Category Archives: P.I.S.S.E.D.

(Excerpts from completed manuscript. Unpublished.)

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 1—Sunday

November calendarR Rated (language)






Chapter 1—Sunday, 1977

How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted o’er,
In states unborn, and accents yet unknown!—Julius Caesar.

Fuckin’ gophers…

Mick didn’t want to open his eyes, but knew he would. The Churchbuilder had told him to plant marigolds. He looked at the LED alarm clock that had several blown diodes.

b:14 a.m.

Henry Churchbuilder owned the cottage-not-quite-by-the-sea in the small but active ‘New Age’ town of Sanity Cruise, and planned to retire there some day. Gophers don’t like marigolds, he had said. Under the four-inch foam mattress, under the pine floor, about five inches below Mick’s left ear, a pair of them fought over God-knows-what. Every morning near daybreak, the two of them went off like The Honeymooners.

To the moon, Alice!

Mick wanted to kill them, then beat the shit out of both with marigolds.

Oh God, that dream… He was actually grateful to have been awakened. It was the suffocation nightmare again. This time he was under water, which was a change from the usual coffin in the dirt. He took a deep breath, waiting for a sign that he was glad to be alive. The dream of Lyle Waggoner detaining him at the airport was irritating, but only mildly uncomfortable compared to the suffocation dreams.

Tough row to hoe, what a way to go…

He sighed without moving, so as not to disturb the sleeping Veronica beside him. He wasn’t ready to face his quotidian wife yet—not at, he checked the clock again, h:16. At the moment, she was dreaming of the Tin Man and Dorothy. “Not now, robot!” she uttered in her sleep.


What he wanted was peace and quiet, to be left alone to flip at random through his multiple ‘mini-passions,’ as he referred to what were more like pastimes. Would he read today, perhaps that new Time/Life book on Rembrandt? Or linger in the aisles of the local bookstore, looking for new authors in the Bukowski section. What a find that was… General Tales of Ordinary Madness! Perhaps it would inspire him to pick up his journal again.

Mick lived vicariously, losing himself in vinyl record albums and a ‘cuppa joe.’ No longer living the tales of extraordinary madness himself, Mick was a domesticated java junkie now, docile and contained. He was pure, with simple and eclectic interests. In Mick’s mind, everything boiled down to one thing: whatever that was.

Things just am, Mick liked to say, very much the minimal-dadaist/metaphysical-existentialist. The trick was getting used to it. He believed in the Great Whatever, and spent time thinking about it while building small gliders out of balsa wood, or taking photographs of… whatever. Occasionally, he made notes in his journal under the heading ‘random literary doodles,’ which he planned to put to good literary use someday.

Twain’s writing may be overrated, but his witticisms are priceless, was such an entry—along with notes for a book with the working title: ‘TEAL BANANAS,’ written in caps. It was, as yet, an unstarted and loosely inconceived manuscript.

There was a lot of water in Sanity Cruise to take photographs of, most of it at the beach. It hadn’t rained in nearly a year, which the fleas seemed to enjoy very much—not so much the ants. Mick missed its womblike effect. When it rained, Mick went fetal. When it rained, he was protected. Rain soothed him, and he took to it like a taciturn donkey to apples. Mick was certain that on some future day of rain he would find the peace, fulfillment and tranquility he felt was his destiny. Until then, he was wandering through the fog gathering words to sling at some distant canvas.

One of the gophers took a body slam to the wooden floor.
n:18. Cottage-by-the-railroad tracks… still two hours before the morning train grumbled by.

Fuckin’ train….

Any minute now, the parrot would awaken and start screeching until Mick removed the towel over his cage. At dusk, he would Ack! Ack! for it to be replaced. Toulouse the dwarf parrot. Mick thought of the grouchy bird as Conure the Barbarian, with a penchant for wooden gliders and human fingers—one of which he chewed into a pile of balsa toothpicks, the other a bloody, unacceptable forefinger perch.

Fuckin’ bird…

The two cats, siblings Fred and Flo, ignored the bird for the moment, preoccupied with the ants covering their food.

Fuckin’ ants…

What with the two long-haired cats, the mold creeping up the walls where the house sat directly on the dirt, the drought and the dust, Mick would spontaneously bleed at the nose from time to time.


Fuckin’ clock… Time waits for no man, busted diodes notwithstanding.

None of these minor inconveniences were as much a part of Mick’s early morning immediate depression as the thought of what the day was: Sunday, the worst of all days. Mick faced the gavel every week on that day when time slowed to a crawl in his banal existence. Sunday was a solitary horse standing before the glue factory. It was a burial at sea, the dead cat on the side of the road, the slow natives between elephant’s toes…. Compared to the rest of the week, Sunday was the Gulag. If there is a purgatory, it’s Sunday. When you really fuck up there’s a place for you, staring into the hot maw of an eternity of Sundays—rife with angst. Sunday is Superman’s Phantom Zone wearing a necklace of kryptonite, and it gnawed on Mick like the mold under his mattress—thundering into his thoughts with each gopher blow.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Fuckin’ Sunday..! Mick held his face like a punching bag, peeking at the clock again through his fingers like they were the iron bars of a self-made prison. Somewhere buried deeper than the Titanic, Mick grieved for the murder he committed of his own soul. One day he would have to confess that sin and take his penance.


Flo, the female, speckled cat, gently pulled against the bedroom door and let go.


Start the samovar, Raskolnikov. It’s time for more crime and punishment…

With no doorknob, a string was looped through the hole a knob should have occupied and tied to a bent nail in the door frame, which allowed for some play in its near-uselessness. All the doors in the cottage were knobless and string-tied, which is to say all five of them. The front door had a knob but it was wobbly; and the door itself was outgrowing its frame.


“Go away, goddammit,” Mick whispered harshly, waiting for the next sound. With one claw, the cat hooked the door and let go.


The door was so askew it wouldn’t shut—not even with a crowbar, had Mick been in possession of such a luxury item. The banging was almost slight enough to mentally brush off, but not at that hour of the morning, when he could hear the dew forming in the driveway.

Banga-banga-bang… Banga-banga-bang…

Fuckin’ cats…

He ripped off the covers. “God fucking dammit! God-damn-fucking-loud-ass cats! What the hell’s wrong with you!? There better be a good reason for this, not just some dumbshit ‘made you look’ cat prank…” He was pissed. At n:2h, he wanted to doze at least until Toulouse went off.


He fumbled to his feet, yanked the string loop to open the door, and found both cats sitting in the five-foot square hallway that held the litter box and separated the bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen. “What the fuck do you want from me?” he asked them both. Sitting calmly, the two cats watched him. “What is it, Lassie, you want me to follow you?”

Toulouse went off, sounding like a pterodactyl on a megaphone in an empty ampitheatre, finally fed up with being under the towel. Ack! Ack! Get up! Ack! Ack!

Alright alright! He rushed as if there were a colicky baby in the next room. Veronica didn’t stir.


Another Sunday.
Just one day,
on Sunday,
I wish to say,
was a fun day.
Oppressive Sunday,
go away,
don’t delay.
Never a gay day,
on Sunday.

What a wasted day is Sunday, when you hate your job. Carefully avoiding Flo and the litter box, he turned the corner into the bathroom and concentrated on his depression while relieving himself. First you wake up to a family of angry gophers under your floor at b:14 in the morning, then—

Ack! Ack!

Christ. He pushed the final squirt under high pressure. Careful to not flush the toilet, which was a dare to overflow, he fumbled with the drawstring on his pants and headed…

Ack! Ack!

…to uncover his bird. Veronica can take her chances with the toilet. Innately stepping over a thick line of ants converging on the cat food in the kitchen, Mick yawned and scratched himself into the small living room. “Good morning, Toulouse,” he said to the bird, rearranging the towel so it only covered the side facing the bookshelf—where the cats liked to impersonate vultures. “Shut the fuck up now, willya?” The dwarf parrot backed up on his perch, eyed Mick nervously, and seemed to be snarling.

“Thank you.”

Mick moved to the window and tugged on the dingy shade, making it longer, then a little longer, before it went up a bit and stopped. Fred, the large male sealpoint, watched disinterestedly from his place at the other window—his paws disappearing under a lion’s mane of blue-gray fur. Mick tugged again and the shade got longer, then longer, until he wrapped the bottom over the top, where it remained half open to the chilly gray fog of another nondescript morning. The morning dew collected in a small mud puddle next to his car door, making inconvenient and inexplicable moisture under drought conditions.

Mick and Veronica’s cottage-nearer-to-the-railroad-tracks-than-the-sea was a steal at twice the rent—a price they paid for in every conceivable way. Two bedrooms, one of which housed Mick’s balsa gliders; a narrow, green kitchen to house the ants; and a tiny living room to fill with books, record albums, cat fur and a small, nervous parrot wearing an orange target for a crown.

The walls were covered with Veronica’s paintings—acrylic landscapes in an Impressionistic style. A weed grew out of a seam in one wall, which they kept trimmed. There was no television within five years of the happy but discontented couple, well on their way to… whatever. They were struggling, and it didn’t smell too good either—especially when the offshore breeze brought the nauseating malodor of the nearby mushroom factory the wrong way. Mick turned and automatically stepped over the thick gray line of ants on his way to brush his teeth, carefully avoiding the litter box again.

The bathroom was a mini-microcosm of the rest of the cottage-sans-le-mer—equally inconvenient, yet tinier. After flipping the light on, Mick flipped it off with his elbow while brushing his teeth.

Fuckin’ bathroom…

He flipped it on again and stared at himself in the mirror. His hazel eyes looked murky, and his prematurely graying hair stuck out in tufts. His mouth foamed with soap and dripped into the small, standalone sink.

Haven’t lost my charm… he thought, and spit into the drain.


There was no shower, but a giant claw-footed tub reserved for evening baths. “Nice bathtub,” the couple had agreed upon seeing it for the first time. “One could lie down in it,” the six-foot-one Mick had mentioned. If necessary, he could stand in the tub while whizzing in the john, but he didn’t say so.

“One would have to lie down in order to wash their long hair,” Veronica told him. She had thick hair that grew more than halfway down her back. More often than not, she wore it in a bun, which Mick didn’t care for. Veronica had that ‘artist’ look—broken in, but comfortable. She was tall and broad, like a Victorian house in the south. Her smile, like a porch, was bright and welcoming, if not taken as wholly insincere.

Jamming a baseball cap on his head, it was time to officially start the day.




To say “ants” would undermine the significance of their numbers. Mick followed the trail in the kitchen to the cat food, which was in a different location every other day—and served to trick the ants for one day at a time. They sometimes found the bowls of dry cat food before the cats did, which was particularly annoying to the cats. With eyes adjusted to the dim, morning haze, he regarded the gray stripe on the floor. To the uninitiated, it might appear to be a shadow, but on closer inspection you’d find it was a line of ants as big across as a business card, walking off with the cat food piece by piece.

“Gimme a break…” Cat food? The cats couldn’t get near the stuff. The ants figured out how to get around the various moats of water Mick concocted to keep them away. Fred and Flo were messy eaters, for one thing, throwing food around so that bits and pieces were scattered nearby. The ants waited, biding their time, then pounced on it. It was no use fighting them. The dried food bloated up in water like a sponge, creating a raft to the dry nuggets Mick and Veronica asked the cats to thrive on.

At times, the ants came in relentless and insatiable waves from under the refrigerator and down the roof. Mick had to get in there and make it right or it would just get worse. Once other ant armies got ahold of intelligence like this, it wouldn’t be long before they sent more legions to the feedbag Mick and Veronica called their cottage-by-the-creatures.

If Veronica got up and saw the ants she’d have to spray the crap out of them and then would remain cranky all day. They’d have to take in four, maybe five movies to escape the mental muck the couple had about where they lived. Turning the light on only made it worse. Mick could tell, even in the silhouetted, desaturated morning flatness, the plate was solid with the buggers.

That particular morning, the food was on the dinette table opposite the very modest green refrigerator that couldn’t quite make ice, but did manage to impact the flip-door freezer in a bowling ball-sized snowball. Somewhere inside its snowcone of crystals lay a partially frozen lasagna.

The easy fix, of course, was to put the table legs in pails of water, but Veronica would hear none of that.

“We don’t even eat here,” Mick had argued. It was too small. When two people sat at the table there wasn’t enough room to open the refrigerator. “It’s claustrophobic.” That argument passed unnoticed.

“What if someone comes over?” Veronica’s response was absolute, if completely senseless—considering the overall impression the cottage made on visitors. But, she was the voice of God and it was now inscribed on a stone tablet as truth of the almightiest… whatever. “Besides, we can’t let our distributors see us like that.” Veronica referred to their budding soap business, the one that would free them of ever having to work again. They would sail the seven seas trailing a soapy wake after a few short years selling The Bubble Plan to potential distributors—and lots and lots of concentrated, ecologically sound laundry soap.

“But we don’t have any distributors,” Mick argued.

“We will.”

Thus spake Gawd. So be it, then. Let them find it on top the frigidaire! Fuckers…

Mick grabbed the litter scoop, wedged it under the plate undulating with black ants, and headed for the front door. This was the part he dreaded the most—yanking the door past its own frame while balancing a bowl of ants in a litter scoop and not letting either of the two cats outside. It was another command from Gawd that ‘cats shalt not go outside,’ lest they be smitten under radial tires before Mick and Veronica could get their money’s worth out of them.

Here we go, one smooth move…

Like a plate spinner, Mick didn’t dare drop the bowl—especially inside. He had broken a forgotten amount of bowls on the cement patio, but only one inside—which caused a fair amount of panic, a lot of base, personal epithets at the ants themselves, and some actual jig dancing before S:14 a.m. However, once Fred caught Mick’s anklebone in the forehead as he made his break for freedom one morning, both cats were shying away. Poor Fred; he walked off like a dazed rhinoceros after having rammed the Great Wall of China—with an instant migraine. Putting his foot down to block a speeding feline from escaping was an unpurposeful reaction on Mick’s part, but it kept Fred, at least, at bay.

Mission accomplished, the bowl of tiny ants was tossed in the tiny front yard where nothing but two malformed and inconveniently placed juniper bushes grew under the forbidding shade of a tall, opaque pine tree. Mick flicked the scoop free of stragglers toward the ice plants on the street and went back inside, sliding sideways through the door so as not to accidentally break the Cat Commandment. In return for this unnatural treatment, one, or possibly both cats, crapped, or perhaps just pissed, in the cottage’s lone gas heater.


The current source of heat for Mick and Veronica’s ‘quaint’ love nest was the doll-like gas stove, upon which coffee was made—warm milk with instant coffee crystals, the poor man’s latté. A legion of ants marched double-time in a battalion-wide path from an indeterminate source toward the dinette, passing in front of the Hasbro® stove. No matter how small and unworthy the prize, which was more often than not dried cat food, for little else was eaten in that place, they sent the whole team to get it.

Mick’s philosophy was simple: remove the offending food and stay out of their way. He watched absently as they began their empty-handed walkabout. The ants on point hesitated and talked about it between themselves, looking confused and pissed off, each blaming the other for having lost sight of the day’s eats.

Mick believed this was the manly way to rid oneself of ants.

The womanly way is to spray Lysol on them—following the shadowy, crawling line to its insidious, microscopic source and spraying the whole length of the way until they’re swimming or drowning in a river of the stuff. Mick thought his way was cleaner than Veronica’s, who had to wipe them up and wash them down the sink, picking individual ants out of the sponge like so many chocolate sprinkles.

Do ants eat flea eggs? he wondered, while his milk began to rise. Marigolds my ass…. Pouring the milk into his coveted cuppa joe and stirring at least twenty-five times, he walked to the terminally painted-shut front window and watched the indoor moisture mock the outdoor drought.

Such is Sunday. The rest of the morning, afternoon, evening and night would be spent dreading having to go to work the next day, unless he could be preoccupied otherwise.

Mick took a sip of faux latté and unfocused his eyes—his window gradually looking inside himself. The whole hemisphere is depressed on Sunday.

Even on holidays when Monday was a day off, Sunday was always the same. Three-day weekends had two Sundays, in Mick’s hemispheres. Sunday was typically Mexican food followed by a double bill at one of the local art theatres. What started on Sunday evenings soon encompassed Sunday afternoon, in the form of a matinee. It was as much to escape the inevitable Monday that always followed as it was to flee from the maddening sterility of the weather: fog-sun-fog, chilly-warm-chilly, fog-sun-fog… day after night after day.

Mick and Veronica would invariably go to the Mexican place with the great guacamole and hot sauce just two blocks over the railroad tracks. The small, family run restaurant appeared to be sufficiently beyond olfactory range of the Manure Factory. There was a prevailing crosswind between it and the donut shop where the two normally ate breakfast. It was easier not to eat or entertain themselves in the faux-quaint-cottage anymore—not with the ants, the condensation, the perpetual cat fur rolling like tumbleweeds across the floor, the weed growing out of the wall, the toilet from hell, and a kitchen for pre-schoolers.

Coffee in hand, Mick stared at the condensed water dripping down the window of his cottage-almost-near-the-sea. Outside, it was depressingly white—what passed for weather in Sanity Cruise, the brunch capitol of the surfing world. With a pass/fail University and a well-respected junior college, the small, coastal town was also a Fine Arts community with socialist tendencies, a large lesbian population, and had a great variety of excellent food. Between the students and the surfers, a sure sign of status was receiving unemployment checks throughout the late summer and fall, the best seasons. At the time, getting a latté meant driving clear across town and hoping the guy who made the good ones was on duty that day. Good coffee houses were on the rise, but you could count them on six or eight digits—before digits were popular. The only Starbucks anyone outside of Seattle had heard of in 1977 was Daddy.

Mick wondered, Is it ever going to rain again?


Copyright © 2009 Mitchell Geller

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 2—Holly Al-Gutentag and P.I.S.S.E.D

Out of the boxRated R (language)

Chapter 2—Holly Al-Gutentag and P.I.S.S.E.D.

Valentine’s Day, 2004.

Drowned Iraqi ‘Was Forced into River by Five US Soldiers’—by the lndependent/UK.


Five American soldiers have been accused of driving a 19-year-old Iraqi civilian to his death in the Tigris river in one of the main centers of resistance to the occupation. Zeidun Fadhil and his cousin Marwan Fadhil were allegedly taken to a remote spot on the shore and ordered into the river at gunpoint. When they refused, the soldiers were said to haveforced them into the river. Zeidun, who could not swim, drowned in the strong current. His cousin survived to tell the story.

Zurich, Switzerland.

Greedy, imperialist pigs! Holly Ackbar Féin KKK Ira Túpac Al-Gutentag, an equal rights anarchist and lightly armed pacifist lesbian from Switzerland, preferred chai. The air at the curbside cafe where she sat was as crisp and clean as the Swiss Francs she used as tender. She tossed the paper on the table and tapped her foot impatiently.

Tweety—her friend, accomplice and partner—tried to mollify her before she got all worked up again. “Don’t worry, dear, he’ll show up.”

“He better.”

“Ah look, here comes your chai. Now you can relax. Why don’t you take out your pencils and sketch? It’s been so long since you—”

Holly thanked the frau for her chai in English. Everyone Holly was involved with agreed to the charter of her organization and only spoke English. People Involved in Stressful Situations Every Day (PISSED) was its name, and they were terrorists. That is, they were going to be terrorists, if Holly’s plan went to specs. “I’ve got other things on my mind, Tweety. Perhaps later.”

Tweety rolled his eyes.

“Don’t say it.” She knew that’s what she always said, but it seemed like she always had a lot on her mind. There was the organization, of course, that was meant to, quite simply, promote anarchy. She got the idea while attending Cal Berkeley, picked up some contacts and fundamentals there, and with the use of random, public computer stations all over Switzerland was able to establish a budding group of anarchist enthusiasts around the globe.

The premise was simple. Isolated anarchists with no power or resources banded together under Holly’s leadership and offered their expertise in whatever field they were familiar with, which would then be used against the countries of the world to generate fear enough to break down amoral society into smaller bands of peaceful farmers. Organic, peaceful farmers. She believed terrorism was the quickest way to effect anarchy, and wanted to help it along. Holly meant to be, in fact, the Grand Central Station to all terrorist factions—which is why she changed her name to reflect a sort of ‘rainbow coalition’ of equality among maniacs.

The beauty of her ideas over theirs was that they didn’t involve murder, but instead favored extreme acts of defamation and desecration. The artist within her secretly apologized to Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of what was to be her first great act of anonymous infamy in the interest of anarchy—her piss mark upon the stodgy imperialist puppeteers and harbingers of humiliation. The world insulted Holly Ackbar Féin KKK Ira Túpac Al-Gutentag, and she wasn’t a dog to roll over and play dead.

Tweety eyed her slyly. “Have you decided who you will award this soon-to-be fait accompli yet?”

There was another decidedly brilliant thing about PISSED—her members came free of charge and offered their specialty happily. For the most part, they felt honored to be associated with People Involved in Stressful Situations Every Day. In return for the efforts of her organization, the highest bidding terrorist group would be given credit for the nefarious deed-to-be-done. Apart from a helicopter rental, there were few, relatively minor expenses. The rest would be pure profit. “I’m still open for bids. Mumat Olly Oxen’s on the top of the leader board at the moment with an offer of half a mil.”

Tweety whistled. “Whew, that’ll cover expenses!”

“It’s not enough. The press will be world-wide.”


Everyone had a code name, except Holly. Tweety was her first contact in cyberspace, so everyone else was given a cartoon nickname. Code name Mr. Jetson was ten minutes late, a very un-Swiss-like posture to take in light of the circumstances. She checked her giant Seiko underwater watch and sighed.

Tweety patted her on the leg, which was good for a busted finger if any other male tried it, and whispered to her from behind his herbal tea. “Don’t worry, honey. You said it yourself, ‘everything legal to point of impact,’ remember? No suspicions that way.”

Holly sighed impatiently. “Thank you, Herr Tweety. It’s just, sometimes I—”

“I know honey, the pressures. It’s lonely on top, I should know.” Tweety was once a chairman of the board of a high-profile fashion company for animals. There wasn’t a block in Beverly Hills that didn’t have a Pekinese sporting a closet full of his creations. “When I threw Prancer-boy out… That, that… roving wildebeast! I wanted to die.” Tweety’s eyes went dark with the thought of Harold, his former lover, who had deceived him.

That’s when he met the virtual Holly Al-Gutentag, in an online blackjack room. The following day, Tweety left America and went underground in Zurich. The fact that he was gay and Holly was lesbian was a sublime, anarchistic rub in the faces of all fanatical zealots who would eventually pay PISSED to advertise their slant on life. However, pragmatically speaking, Tweety was a marketing genius with many contacts and a lot of strings he could pull. He was always surprised to see who wanted a male blowjob in Hollywood, and had the pictures to fondly remember them by. These people would do anything for Tweety; all he had to do was ask—then show them the photos.

There would be no confusing issues between the sexes in this partnership. By now, Tweety and Holly were better than partners. They actually loved each other. Holly was the artist with the impossible dreams Tweety gave up, and Tweety the harmless and very sharp male comrade Holly could at once count and lean on. When Jean Lola Bridgeada gave up the PISSED Mission to become a nun, Holly had needed someone to steady her.

Then there was that other, rather compromised situation Tweety had found her in, which caused them to share a special bond. That was when Holly learned never to make love to herself while wearing headphones. It was the start of a distinctly peculiar flavor to their otherwise platonic gay and lesbian partnership, the ramifications of which neither tried to figure out.

They both sighed.

“Where the fuck is he?” Holly wondered out loud.

“I don’t know, honey, but how about him?” Tweety nodded toward a young man in very tight pants walking past. Holly laughed—an abrupt, childlike giggle. Tweety smiled and sipped his tea.

“It’s good to hear you laugh again. Uh-oh. Red carnation at two o’clock…”

“It’s about fucking time!” Holly made her move to intercept Mr. Jetson and brought him to the table, where she introduced him to Tweety.

“I am very pleased to greet you,” Mr. Jetson said. They shook hands and everyone sat down.

Holly glared at the Indian man in the navy suit jacket with the red carnation sitting opposite her. “I trust your flight from Bombay was satisfactory?”

“Oh, I love Swiss International Air Lines! How very nice of you to ask. Don’t tell anyone I said this,” he leaned in closer and shielded his mouth, “but their eggs taste very much like tin foil.”

Holly and Tweety exchanged surreptitious glances. “I’m sorry,” Holly told Mr. Jetson, tapping her watch. “But you are eighteen minutes late and—”

“She’s Swiss,” Tweety explained. “Like a cuckoo clock.”

Mr. Jetson’s eyes widened. “I should tell you, it is very hard to find a red carnation in this city! I am appalling! Very bad… Now, if you had said to wear a tiger lily, or tulip—”

Holly interrupted before Mr. Jetson could digress further into horticulture, “Mr. Jetson, do you have the plans?”

Tweety stared at him. “I like the tulip idea… Tiger lillies are so passé. Napalm?”

Mr. Jetson was confused. “What? Napalm?”

“Sorry, my french accent is… how do they say, ‘Vous devriez poursuivre votre tailleur en justice.’

Holly almost laughed out loud at Tweety’s suggestion that Mr. Jetson should sue his tailor, but covered her mouth and coughed instead. “The plans, please, if you will.” She held out her hand.

Mr. Jetson dug into his jacket pocket, “Oh yes, I very much have them right here…” He handed Holly a tiny USB drive.

She inspected the small device, then pulled a small laptop out of her large purse and flipped it open. “If you don’t mind, I’ll see if it’s all there and—”

Mr. Jetson erupted into a staccato of guffaws, sounding very much like a braying donkey, but more abrasive. Tweety looked horrified at the man. “You will have very many questions to look at that! Hee-haw, hee-haw!”

“I meant to see that it’s not corrupt in any way, that it’s readable. You understand, Mr. Jetson?”

“Oh yes, oh yes, very much so… I see. Yes. Please!—in fact. And, call me George.” He winked at Holly, oblivious to her obvious disinterest in the man as anything other than an engineer.

She plugged in the drive and downloaded. “May I offer you some chai, Mr. Jetson, while we wait?”

“Oh no, I very much hate that shit! Can I get a Kingfisher here?”

“This seems to be in order. I see you’ve included a clean-up list. That’s very thoughtful.”

George smiled and nodded, clasping his hands together like a schoolboy without the beanie.

“You’re certain this will work?” she asked him.

Mr. Jetson looked hurt. “It will very much work, Miss Holly. Oh yes… There’s no doubt about it. I got the original specifications on her structure and very detailed photographs. I have records, Miss Holly, of manufacturers and coppersmiths.” He leaned in closer. “If you put those charges in the exact locations I specified, it’ll blow that torch into the water and leave the middle finger undamaged. You must very much trust me on this.”

Holly nodded at him. “Thank you very… uh, much, for contributing to the cause. You’ve been a valuable anarchist.”

“No-no-no, you musn’t. It is you I should be very much thanking. Your idea is brilliant! It hits me in my third chakra, I think, like an arrow from Arjuna himself.”

“Yes, bu—”

“It says, Fuck you, world! Take your tired and hungry elsewhere! Hee-haw! Hee-haw!” Mr. Jetson thrust his middle finger in the air. “I can’t wait to see their faces when the precious symbol of liberty—an anarchist’s dream!—is flipping off the world on CNN! Hee-haw! Heehaw! Hee-haw!”

Holly looked to Tweety, who was already leaving to pay the check.

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 3—Opening Day at Shea Stadium, April 12, 2004

Rated PG (Language)

Chapter 3—Opening Day at Shea Stadium, April 12, 2004

Pro • base • ball – noun.

1. A game of ball between two nine-player teams cranked on steroids and amphetamines, washed down with coffee, usually for nine innings on a field that has as a focal point a diamond-shaped infield (‘the bling’) with a home plate and three other bases, ninety feet apart, forming a circuit that must be completed by a base runner in order to score—the central offensive action entailing hitting of a pitched ball with a wooden bat and running of the bases, the winners being the people who steal the most money in ridiculous contracts, television deals, endorsements, food and beer concessions, and ticket and paraphernalia sales from the fans who watch. (See: fanatic.)
2. The ball used in this game, being a sphere approximately three inches in diameter with a twine-covered center of cork covered by a former horse’s skin not typically volunteered.

Queens, NYC.

Franklin Thomas Weiner was his real name—after a mint, an English Muffin, and a private part. Diplomatically polished and an empathetic soul, he was never a moneymaker like his name bespoke, but at fifty-one he had a fair share of ‘nooks and crannies.’ His friends thought he should have become a dentist, so people could see what it was like to have a Weiner in their mouth. Franklin Weiner was not considered a ‘person of faith,’ not by ordinary definition, but he tried all his life to make good with people. Standing with his hand poised on the front door of the Tongue Sheen House, a quiet bar on a busy street in Queens, he relished the moment before going inside.

How long has it been? How would I measure that, exactly? Hours? Episodes? Epochs? He pulled open the door and went inside.

Adjust the eyes, walk down three steps and take a look around. Wait… The place looks the same, including the patrons. A bald, pudgy older man sat at the end of the bar by a juke box, smoking a slimy stogie. An old man—scruffy, thin and stooped—stood on the footrail at the other end of the bar, pointed his crooked finger at the bartender and yelled, “Crank! Got-flangin’-dangin’-doggit!”

The bartender tried to pacify the crusty old dodger, “Okay-okay, calm down. I’ll tell him!”

“Punky nun-chuck slingin’ chinks…” the old man went on, waddling off to mutter to himself in a dark corner toward the rear. The pudgy guy smirked and didn’t move, never deviating from his task of stinking up the place.

Franklin Thomas Weiner eyed a stool at the far end of the bar, on the curve, and sat down. “Call me Max,” he told the Chinese-American barkeep, who had casually watched him take his seat.

“What’s wrong with Antwar? I—”

“Nothing, the name served me well,” said Franklin/Antwar/Max. “How are ya, Sonny?”

“No worse than yesterday. The usual, Max?”

Max thought about it for a split-second. “Nah, gimme a gin and tonic with lemon.”

Sonny shook his head and smiled. “Okay, the usual.”

“In a tall glass.”

“Of course, Max…” Sonny mixed the gin and tonic like he was sewing a button on in two strokes. He walked over with the drink and flipped a cocktail napkin on the bar.

Max nodded in the old man’s direction. “What’s Chiggers so pissed at?”

Sonny brushed it off. “His miserable life?” Max didn’t think it was funny, but laughed anyway. “It has something to do with my father.”

“Sammy? Oh…” The two men had been screaming at each other since before Max had ever entered the bar as a young teenager, some thirty-four spring trainings ago.

Sonny leaned in closer. “Sammy told me to raise beer prices, but not for Chiggers, see? When I told him, he went nuts! I don’t get it and I don’t wanna get it. They’re both out of their heads.”

Max understood that there was no understanding either Sammy or Chiggers, and what kept them looking out for each other. Whatever it was, it had lasted near a lifetime.

“Tell me, Sonny, when was the last time I was in here?”

“That would be Sunday. You know how I know that?”

“Because baseball starts today?”

“No, because it’s Monday. It does?”

“Sho-nuff, massa,” said Max, feigning slave-speak. Max was white bread. So what, color? He always thought. Like I could give a crap. At this point in his life Max had determined that any person could be an asshole. “Find the remote and gimme it, willya?”

Sonny looked at Max suspiciously. “No audio games, okay?” Max liked to mute the sound during random bits of dialogue, making the speech stutter.

“I promise,” he lied, sincerely.

“Fuck you, Phil!” Chiggers yelled from his corner. “I ain’t scared a you, you fat fuck.”

Now that, Max thought, was funny—though he cringed and only glanced at the fat fuck with the cigar, who didn’t move or say anything, but sat there looking like Buddha after having swallowed a medicine ball. Phil was a retired cop who never retired his firearm.

Sonny went to get the remote. “You got it, Boss-man.”

Max knew Phil well, as a teenager—he was their version of Popeye Doyle. Phil had further fucked up an already botched robbery attempt of Max’s by showing up at the wrong time, which was every time he showed his mug, and the young Frank Weiner had a high-speed getaway ride over city potholes in the trunk of a Chevelle for his failed efforts. He was fairly certain Phil didn’t recognize him, since he was in the trunk. If Phil remembered chasing him out of a church fountain some thirty-five years prior he didn’t let on.

Must be the statue of limitations ran out.

Max picked up on Sonny’s subtle attempt to divert the escalating tension between Phil and Chiggers and changed the subject. “So, Sonny, how is yer old man?”

Sonny shook his head as he returned with the remote. “That’s one cantankerous old fart. I don’t trust him, he’s always up to some crap.”

Max let it go at that. “Yeah,” he said, resigned to knowing Sammy was apt to be into anything, legal or not. “Best not to ask.”

Max fished for the station and found it. Pre-game chatter spouted from pro-ball pundits faster than he could count the clichés.

The Mets hitting has got to continue to be hot…

…manufacture runs…

…fundamental baseball…



Well fans, it’s high time we kick off the two-thousand-four season, with Beer High Life, the cheapest beer we can charge the most for. We’ll be right back!

Max promptly muted the sound. “So, what’d I miss since yesterday?”


Hello again everyone, I’m Buff McGargle along with my partner, Skip Malou, and welcome to Opening Day at my favorite french restaurant, Shea Stadium.

Ha-ha, Buff, and right you are, though let’s hope the Mets aren’t as stale as that old joke. Trachsel will take the mound and….

Max felt the heavy front door open when a cold draft shot up his back. A crack of daylight sheared the curve of the bar into something more blunt while a woman’s legs ticked down the steps. She turned the corner and stopped, adjusting to the low light.

Raingirl didn’t enter a place like any normal, full-fledged woman; she emerged like the sun through thunderheads, pulling an aura through the door that trumped all others. Shrugging off her thick sweater, she draped it over an empty chair and unleashed the full throttle of her long, dark curls—threaded with highlights of red, chestnut and silver that shined like a newly minted dime. Together with her golden smile, Raingirl was priceless.

She saw Max at the bar and made a fashion statement with her hips on the walkway coming his direction—swishing a long, flowing scarf behind her neck like the Noxema girl stepping up to the pole. “Hey Sonny-boy… I’ll have the usual, please.” Sonny jumped on her tall White Russian.

She took the barstool next to Max. “Yo, Rambo…”

Always pleased to have Raingirl in his midst, Max smiled. “Yo Raingirl. What’s happenin’?”

Raingirl regarded the teevee, “Oh gawd, is it that time already?”

This guy has a rubber arm; he can toss day after day after day after day after day after—

Skip it, Skip.

Thanks, Buff. A-n-n-n-d… here comes the pitch!

Max chuckled, rather liking the way Raingirl squirmed on her stool about baseball. Having a teevee in what was supposed to be a quiet neighborhood bar was villainous enough, in Raingirl’s opinion, but baseball was about as interesting as a snooze alarm.

Strike one! Painting the inside corner with a nifty slider that had a lot of movement on it—

A pitcher’s pitch, Skip.

“Like death and taxes, my dear.” Max liked baseball, but had lost all respect for the pro game—the Show. He would watch the seasons dwindle by until such time that Major League Baseball tried to make him pay to watch on cable, then he would quit. It was no longer about the game, it was about the lifestyle of the prematurely rich and manically steroidal. “Women’s softball is much better,” he said.

This elicited a deep sigh from Raingirl, and an acquiescing to the demands of her drink the moment Sonny delivered it. She swished it around, took a sip, and deftly changed the subject.

…from the stretch, here comes the delivery…

“Did I tell you I saw Doctor Take-a-shit?”

Max was genuinely surprised. “Take a shit” was Doc’s way of offering you a chair, which ended up sticking as a moniker. It was a name Max hadn’t heard in some time. The last time he saw Doc ‘Take-a-shit’ Greenblatt, he was writing a prescription for Seconals. Ten bucks later, Max was out the door and headed to the drug store. “No shit? They let him out?”

…it’s a pie…

“I guess so! Did he just say ‘it’s a pie?’”

“He said the pitch was ‘up high,’ ball one.”

“Oh, I thought he said… never mind.”

“Did you think he threw a pie at the batter?”

Raingirl liked that idea and laughed, to Max’s delight. “It would make the game more exciting,” she said.

“It would make the game a food fight,” Max told her. The pitcher waved off the next sign.

“Ha-ha! Anyway, yeah, I saw old Doc Take-a-shit in the Chock Full O’Nuts. He looked old and feeble.” Raingirl shivered, took another sip, and glanced at herself in the mirrored shelves behind the bar. “Have you seen Cheech Marin lately? Ugh…”

“Yeah. I’m sure the Doc’s ‘rehabilitated’ now.” Max’s sarcasm showed like a slip.

Another fastball on the inside corner, strike two!

The pitcher walked the mound, taking his sweet time. He spit in his glove and rubbed it around, then picked up the rosin bag and tossed it back down. With his cap low, he leaned over the rubber, adjusted his cup, spit again, which left a little dribble on his jersey, and stared a bullseye into the catcher’s mitt—ready for the next pie-sign.

In a moment of calmness, Raingirl harmonically resonated with the weather and declared, “It’s gonna rain soon.” She was always right. Each new storm was Christmas for Raingirl. Her brainwaves went coherent when it rained. It was a gestation period in ‘the ethereal wash of negative ions,’ she liked to claim. The storms were times of pause and reflect for her; a wet window into the safety of her own embryo.

Max saw the three-fingered sign and wondered if the breaking ball was coming next. “Good,” he said. Against the left-handed batter, a good curveball would come at his head and fall in for strike three. Sweet.

“I love the rain,” Raingirl said.

“I know.”

Here comes the wind-up… and the delivery…

Max called it, “It’s the curve… Stri-i-i-i-ke three.”

And it falls in for strike three!

Max pumped his fist. “Strike three, looking! Sit down. Grab some pine, meat. Ha!” Raingirl shook her head with pity.

A wicked bender with an impressive drop! All the batter can do is hope it doesn’t hit him…

Sonny watched the replay. “Nice curve,” he said.

Max looked at the curves of Raingirl’s profile. “I’ll say….” They smiled at each other. “A bonafide heartbreaker.”


P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 4—Error

clownfish=clownRated PG

Chapter 4—Error




Sanity Cruise, California.

“Plant marigolds,” Greg R. Greg advised him. “They keep the gophers at bay.”

Mick mused on his friend and coworker.  What a stupid name.

Greg and his girlfriend Lorna had both changed their last name to Greg, so it appeared they were married. Since Lorna had two daughters in grade-school and Greg the-former-Sobel was an old hippie-type marry-phobe, they thought it was a good idea to trick the status quo. Mick thought it made the initial R stand out, and played the guessing game he and Greg R. Greg had going for the past two years as he tried to figure out what it stood for. He’d gone through the usual list long ago.



Ralph, Randy?

No, no.

Robert, Roger, Ray?

No, no, no…

It was never any of those traditional names. Mick’s last guess was Raskolnikov; but nyet, wrong again.

“Bullshit,” Mick told Greg R. Greg, about the marigolds. “Rasputin.”

“No,” Greg R. Greg was nominally amused at being referred to as the mad monk. “That’s what I’ve heard. They keep the gophers away.”

“Robespier-r-r-re…” Mick let it trail off, as if to entice Greg R. Greg to accept that as the definitive middle name and be done with this stupid, interminable guessing game.

Greg R. Greg stood hunched over the work table at Everett’s Press, which was semi-fondly referred to as ‘Everett’s Stress,’ scrunching his long, gray beard and staring at the chess board.

Rats-nest? Retard? Rumpelstiltskin?

Stacks of printed material were witness as he touched his Knight, but didn’t move it. Greg-Greg, as he came to be called, was short, predominantly round, and bald except for the long hair that had long since slipped from his head into becoming a bushy, gray beard. Should he stand on the lawn in December, one could easily mistake him for a Christmas decoration. At the moment, he looked like an exact replica of himself, cast in wax and poised to, maybe, finally move.

“Go ahead,” said Mick, goading him from the other side of the table, while occasionally tending to the small press running the tiny jobs that floated through the quaint but poor Mom-Pop print shop in the not very big town of Sanity Cruise. He liked to use all the tactics he had at his disposal to win at chess, though he hardly ever succeeded, and often told Greg-Greg, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” It wasn’t that Mick was a poor player. He knew how to castle, he even knew the en passant protocol, and getting a pawn to the other side of the board in order to get his Queen back—which was a common and typically futile exercise in desperation. He could think a few moves ahead, but often misplaced the first two in the process of getting there.

One day that’s gonna pay off, he thought, hoping he was getting better with each game he lost.

Greg-Greg teased Mick, still holding his Knight. “I found another photo in the trash bin. It’s a good one.”

“Lemme see it! C’mon…” Mick pleaded to no avail. Greg-Greg always found the naked girl pictures from the photo developer’s trash next door and brought them home without showing them to Mick.

“Can’t. I brought it home. She was standing in a stream…” Naked, of course.


There were several apartments above Everett’s Press. Over the din of the press, Greg R. Greg and Mick rolled their eyes at the young couple upstairs yelling at each other. They did this regularly, but always managed to kiss and make up. Today the unintelligible clamour was accompanied by loud footsteps back and forth across the ceiling.

Everett emerged from the back room, where he set up the graphics for printing, glanced at the racket above and shook his head. Mick finished swishing some ink back and forth in the press, watching and waiting for Greg R. Greg to make his move—who was still poised to, maybe, do something in this lifetime before melting. Everett, noticing the chess game set up between the stacks of jobs, stopped to consider Greg-Greg’s stork-like pose over the board. In the clackety hubbub of the press and argumentative grunts from upstairs, the three hovered on the verge of Greg R. Greg’s non-decision. With each passing tick, Everett’s blood pressure raised up a notch, until finally…

“Would you put that damn board away and get to work!”

The paper stacks wobbled and Greg R. Greg removed his hand from his Knight, looking like he’d just been awakened from a stressful nap. “Huh? Oh… Yes sir!” He saluted and went back to his work area.

Mick checked his paper feed, ducking down behind the stack as Greg-Greg scurried away. Damn, now he’ll start over.

Everett made a quick turn and left, back to the sanctity of his relatively quiet studio, where only instrumentals were played on the radio. He thought songs with words were distracting.

When Mick stood up, he was near enough the pass-through window to the reception area to see a customer walk through the door. “Oh no…” he said aloud, and quickly moved out of sight.

Beth, the meek sales help, greeted the man cheerily. “Hi Erra! How are you today?”

Mick groaned, caught Greg R. Greg’s attention, and nodded in the direction of the front door. “It’s Error…” Greg-Greg hunkered over his work, chuckling like a gay dwarf. “If he needs more resumés I’ll shove them down his throat,” Mick told the back of Greg R. Greg’s bald head. He slowed the press down to hear better.

“I need ten more resumés,” said the man they called Error. Mick thought he should order ten-thousand, just to be sure.

“Envelopes too?” Beth asked, ever the consummate salesgirl. Mick could hear the smiley face in her voice and mocked it under his breath.

Shall I pre-moisten them for you with my tongue? Smiley face.

Normally a reasonable request, from Erra this meant they had to be perfect. They must look exactly as if he had typed them himself. The letter thickness had to match the original precisely, and there could be no stray ink spots anywhere—which was impossible with the paper plates and quick-printing process Everett’s Press used. Usually it took at least five plates, each exposed within a second of the preceeding one, in order to finesse the image to perfection. With each plate costing over a buck a piece, the few-buck chump-change for the perfect copies was always a time and money loser. Hence, the nickname.

Mick thought of his competition down the street. They had been in business since the turn of the century and still printed business cards one at a time on an old letterpress. They were traditional, and respected the profession’s long-standing brotherhood among printers. When Mick needed some advice, or to cut down some over-sized paper, he could always count on the family of Mission Printers down the street. The old man knew how to handle customers. When one lady complained about her flyers, he tossed the job in the trash and said, “Next.” The memory always brought a smile to Mick’s face.

Beth came around the partition waving the new original. “We need ten copies on Strathmore paper, can you do it while he waits?”

Mick wondered if this clown would ever get a fucking job. “There isn’t enough paper to get this guy a job. I’d rather just hire him,” he told her, snatching the original from her hand.

“He’s an engineer,” smiley-face said. “What’s he gonna do in a print shop?”

“I don’t know. Your job?”

The stomping continued from above. The yelling got louder and all three looked up. There was a muted CRASH! and the three stooges had to wonder: what the fuck was that? Mick thought he heard a dripping, dribbling sound. Something caught his eye but made no sense.

Is that water?

He looked at Greg-Greg as if asking: ‘What the fuck?’ In precious few Everett’s Stress seconds, water started dripping from more places above. With the house dropped on them, both men quickly went for the plastic garbage bags to cover everything. Mick established split-second priorities as the streams grew thicker. Pull the plug, cover the press, then the paper and chessboard on the tables.

Greg R. Greg frantically laid out garbage bags as water cascaded in long sheets over all the tables, the press, and the two blue-collar workers. As new streams broke open, the men hustled garbage cans under the flow and threw more bags down. Error was idling in reception, leafing through an Architectural Digest, when Beth blew by and out the front door. In twenty seconds it was all over but for the remaining drips splattering intermittently on the plastic garbage bags in the new, tropical quiet.

“Holy fucking shit!” Mick looked up for more, feeling like the coach after a big win—except this was no electrolyte drink, or celebration.

“What the fuck is that smell?” Both men sniffed around, trying to identify the familiar odor.

Everett turned the corner and walked into the press area.

Uh-oh, phasers set to stun…

“What th—?” Everett wanted to know, looking at all the water dripping through the ceiling. His mouth was open but nothing came out.

“Don’t worry,” Mick told him. “I think we got everything covered in time.”

Everett sniffed the air, as if someone just farted. “What’s that smell?”
Just then, the kid from upstairs came running in—looking panicked and flustered. He stopped and looked around with the rest of them, then held his nose at the smell. All three men awaited his explanation with bated breath.

This should be good.

“Oh man, I’m sorry… We were… We…” The kid stammered himself into silence.

“What was it, dude?” Mick asked, showing resigned patience, “Spiked heels on the water bed?”

“Huh? Oh, no,” as if that were normally okay, “…it was the fish tank.”

There was a pause as the smell became recognizeable. “Oh. Uh… that makes sense,” Mick said. “How big was the tank?”

It was twenty gallons.

“I sea,” said Mick, employing the impossible pun anyway.

“But I didn’t lose the fish! It’s amazing, but he lived!” The boy said cheerily. “I’m really sorry…” and he left.

“That’s nice.” Mick said, watching him go. He turned to Everett, “What kind of guy keeps one fish in twenty gallons of water?”

Everett didn’t have that answer. “Did we lose anything?”

“Nope. We got it all in time, I think. Nothing to worry about, Boss. You just go take a spin in that pink Cadillac of yours and we’ll get it all shipshape by the time you get back.”

Everett nodded, thinking that might be a good idea. “It’s teaberry,” he corrected Mick.

“Hey, you’re the artist. Whatever you say.”

Everett went out the back door to the parking lot, started up his teaberry Cadillac, and drove away.

“It appears…” Mick said, “that Everett has left the building. Time to take out the garbage!”

“No! It’s my turn!” Greg-Greg was firm, and headed for the back door in a trot.

Fuckin’ pervert.

“Hey,” Beth peeked through the pass-through window, “Can I get my resumés now?”

“Can’t you see we have a tropical disaster here, woman? Tell him to go away.”

Beth thought Mick was kidding. “Sure, and how do—”

“Far away! And tell him not to come back until it’s raining cats and…” Mick turned the corner toward the back door and the trash bin, hot on Greg-Greg’s heels.


P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 5—Wheels in Motion

Rated PG (language)

Chapter 5—Wheels in Motion



Zurich, Switzerland

Holly tapped away at her laptop, fully plugged in with wireless tentacles to the greater world of cyberspace. Her chai sent curls of steam into the morning shaft of sunlight falling through the tall windows of her sparsely adorned downtown loft. Street noise played like a muted symphony in the background—urban music which Holly considered reassuring.

Practically every schmuck worth his weight in idle time dallies on the internet, including anarchists. Some are brilliant, while some are strictly henchman and delivery types. It’s estimated that seventy percent of all people on the internet spend some time in either of three places: the card rooms, chat rooms, and the porn sites. Only the artists, it seemed to Holly, had something better to do. She made use of all three cyber-venues from which to cull her crop of crazy cronies. At the moment, she chatted with Mighty Mouse in a designated, private blackjack room, anxious to discover his progress with the explosives specifications.

HAG: It’s been three weeks MM……………………………………

MM (takes a hit): You make complicat with all fucky spec. Soon.

Holly breathed heavily on the keypad and counted to five. Mighty Mouse had been hard-pressed to find time for Operation Flip-off since he was promoted to ‘Chef Explosifs Goy’ at the equivalent of ACME Fireworks in Peking. She stuck with her cards and decided to play nice.

HAG: I see your English is improving. I need ETA ASAP, Ok? Buyers have ants in pants.

She sent that, hoping he’d get the hint and give her an approximation of when he’d be ready with the specs, which then needed to be forwarded to NYC for manufacture, deployment, and, ultimately, detonation.

MM: I know in one week. He took another card and busted.

“Fuck!” Holly yelled at the screen.

HAG: Ok. I need hard answer, please. She added the code for their next online meeting. BJ 0641/7, which meant ‘Blackjack room at 06:41 GMT, in seven days hence.’

MM: Got it. CYA

She snapped her laptop shut and picked up the phone.

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 6—Top of the 2nd

Rated R (language and situations)

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 6—Top of the 2nd


You camped on my doorstep,
While I sat on my throne.
You wanted my foresight,
But found no one was home.

You crowded the strike zone,
While I stood on the mound.
You wanted my fastball,
But I threw you the curve.


Queens, NYC.

“…I figured what the hell, the midgets added ambiance, ha-ha-ha! Ahhhh, it was a fun night.” Raingirl smiled at the imitation wood bar, shaking her long curls at Felliniesque roles played in the theatre of her memories. “It made him happy.” She was speaking of her husband, and of keeping a twenty year marriage interesting.

As a courtesy to the several other patrons now populating the neighborhood bar, Max un-muted the sound.

…arts us off in the top half of the second after spotting the Mets a run…

“That’ll keep it interesting, alright,” Max said. “I saw a midget sex movie once, on the internet. It was short.” Raingirl didn’t get the joke. After a slight pause, Max went on, “So, Raingirl, what’s a potato do on a Saturday night?”

“Oh gawd… Is this a joke?”

Max almost sneered. “No, I really want to know. Of course it’s a joke!”

“Oh… Hmmm. Lemme think about that, alright?”

Max sighed, ready to deliver the punchline, “He hangs out with his spuddies.” So saying, he tossed another beer nut into the trash behind the bar.

…swung on and fouled out of play, strike one.

With arms folded, Sonny scowled at him. “Would you quit it!”

“Hey, I’m two for three.”

“Ha-ha! Now I get it… ‘Short movie.’ Ha-ha!” You didn’t have to drop a house on Raingirl more than once or twice.

…that fan is wishing he brought his glove right now… Hampton will rub up the new ball…

“Nevermind.” Max figured she’d get the potato joke later, or tomorrow in the shower.

Dougie entered the bar, shrugged off the penetrating chill from outside and ambled over to sit next to Raingirl. His large, round frame obliterated the stool as he grumbled in Raingirl and Max’s direction, “Yo.”

“Yo, Dougie,” they both replied. Sonny-boy awaited his usual order.

“Gimme a Bud.” Sonny nodded, grabbed a bottle of Bud, flipped the cap off, and set it down. “What’s this, baseball already?”

Raingirl sipped her russian, indifferent to the game on television.

…last year, he had twelve at-bats in the six slot. This guy can really bring it.

Cliche, Max noticed, long since having lost count.

Dougie grumbled something unintelligible. Max and Raingirl were used to it, and nodded in agreement. “Hey,” he added, “Remind me to pick up a can of beans on the way home.”

…he’s got the stuff, but how will he respond to the pressure night after night?

“…or Karen will kill me.” Max and Raingirl nodded again.

…that’s a bad sign for the home team…

Raingirl wanted to know what kind of beans. Dougie took his eyes off the television and looked at her, obviously confused. “Whaddya mean ‘what kinda beans?’ Beans is beans.”

Raingirl knew her beans, but Max didn’t know one from another. “Bring her some coffee, then.”

Ignoring that, Raingirl started to enlighten Dougie about beans. “Well, there’s garbonzo and red kidney and black beans and caribbean black beans…” She counted them off while the batter dug in.

…takes inside, ball two…

“…and pinto and baked and onion baked…” she pointed out specifically, as if it were her favorite, “…and barbeque baked and ‘bold and spicy’ baked…” which she quoted with her french-manicured fingertips “…and vegitar or country or honey style. And, there’s baked beans with hot dogs and…”

“… don’t forget Beanie and Cecil,” Max said. “And Beanie Babies.”

…here comes the two-two pitch…

“…great northern beans and pork and beans and how about cannellini beans? Mmm, good with bay leaves in it…”


“Bay leaves. You know, the herb?”

“Oh, yeah, I knew that.” Max went back to not saying anything. Dougie looked shocked, and appealed to him for help. “What the fuck is a cannelloni bean?”

Strike three at the knees!

“Not cannelloni, that’s pasta. Cannellini, the common bean.”

Dougie was beginning to hate beans. He whipped out his cell phone. “I’ll call her.” The three of them waited for Karen to pick up the call.

“You forgot Mr. Bean. And Bean Franklin.”

“Hey,” Dougie said into the mouthpiece, “…what kinda beans?” Pause. “Okay, yeah.” Pause. “Yeah.” Pause. “Yeah.” Pause.

“…and mung beans.”

“What are you, a bean counter?” Raingirl laughed at her own joke.

“That’s better than being a has-bean! Ha-ha!”

“Okay… alright.” Pause. “You, too.” Dougie hung up.

…he had six errors last season at the position…

“Great,” Dougie said to the television. “Now I gotta remember to get a can of tomatoes.”

Raingirl picked up her drink and took a sip.

…he hangs the breaking ball and it’s slapped to right center!

“Chunky or whole?”


“Peeled, ground or—”

“I don’t fuckin’ know.”

“Petite-cut, stewed, ready-cut, Italian style?”

…he’ll round first and head to second…

“Crushed or diced or petite diced or—”

“What are you a fuckin’ grocer?” They all laughed. Dougie was screwed, he’d have to make another call to Karen.

…he’s been the heart of the order for New York. One on, nobody out. Sandy Koufax tipped his pitches, all the way to the hall of fame…

“She might even want organic, dude,” Max added to Dougie’s mental maelstrom of beans and tomatoes. “Hey Sonny, gimme another gin.”

“Sloe, rummy, or mill?” Raingirl asked. It was Max’s turn to ignore her.

“Or ginsing?” Sonny added.

Max hung his head. “Just make it the usual carcino-gin…”

…that sinker died on the vine…

Max had his own midgets in the closet to play with in idle moments of lasciviousness. He and his own Lovergirl crossed that hump, so to speak, after only a few years together. He hid a smile behind his new gin. It was a long time ago…

They ran an ad in a Swingers magazine, just to see what responses they’d get. Hundreds of letters came in, which they read with eager fascination. Some responses included photos. One girl had a clothespin attached to every sensitive spot on her body, but her letter said she ‘wasn’t into pain.’ The young couple in Max’s mind chuckled heartily with the memory. One man wrote a seven page letter describing, in minute detail, how he’d like to come to their door in his fireman’s gear for a ‘safety check.’ Once inside, he would ravage Lovergirl. While Max looked on, he’d carry her to the bed and pound her—still wearing his helmet. They howled with laughter at the time, with Max going so far as to don some underwear on his head and chase Lovergirl with an eyeglass screwdriver into the bathroom, where they did it on the sink with the shower running.

That’s three straight breaking balls…

…and there was the time they did it while Max was driving over a very dangerous thirteen-mile stretch of road in the mountains. It was daybreak, after Lovergirl drained a bottle of mescal clear down to the worm the night before. Booze brought out the native in her. She reached across the shifter in the car and took Max out of his pants, grinning like a cat, and went down. Then she straddled him. Max was amazed he could climax and keep the car on the road. They were both more nimble back then. But Lovergirl wasn’t done; that’s asking a lot of a man in Max’s position, to return the favor indefinitely. So she slid off and moved to the passenger seat, where she distracted Max a whole lot more. God she was beautiful.

There was a fine line, however, between Lovergirl’s carnal lust and going on the warpath against the white man for stealing her ancestral home—Hawaii. Max never wanted to cross that path again, and warned would-be antagonizers who might mention the subject in her borderline inebriated presence against bringing it up, even by accident.

“Don’t ask her where she’s from,” Max would whisper at parties as Lovergirl approached her alcoholic redline. She was in no way, shape or form an authentic alcoholic. In fact, there were times when Max wished she’d get drunk more often.

We’ll go to the bottom half of the inning, with the Mets already on the board…

P.I.S.S.E.D. Ch. 7—Labor Day Sanity Cruise, 1978

7—Labor Day Sanity Cruise, 1978.

One year later.

Fuck Labor Day, it’s just another sunday in disguise.

“For $220 a month, it’s probably pretty basic,” Veronica told Mick the day they went to inspect the cottage for the first time. She knew more about renting than Mick did. At that point in their marriage, the sophomore year, Mick didn’t care what it looked like; it was about half the going rate for rent and within walking distance to the cliffs overlooking the surfers. He knew it was going to be good enough for him before they ever saw it. The alternative was to continue living at his parents’ home, which, after three months, was already too long for a young couple used to being on their own. When the Churchbuilder said he wanted to retire in Sanity Cruise and fix the cottage, he meant in that order.

Mick sneaked along slowly in his Austin America, showing steel belts on the tires and leaking fluid from the hydraulic shocks. Low-riding before it became popular, out of necessity, he had to drive around a bottle or a rolled newspaper in the road. Pine cones were risky. Fortunately, the Austin turned on a dime, even while holding a chocolate covered french cruller donut—which he was. With a grocery store nearby—and a pizza place, hardware store, laundry, bookstore, Sears, movie theatre, and the donuts—the cartoon-cottage was at the very least well situated; another reason Mick had lobbied for its approval.

Since they didn’t have a washing machine of their own, they preferred to store up laundry a few weeks and make an afternoon of it—filling up eleven washers and folding, folding, folding… Dishes in the sink were mostly handled in this manner as well, though they didn’t wait quite as long. Once the couple discovered four very different and distinct armies of ants living under the house, the practice of dirtying dishes stopped altogether—followed by the cessation of eating solid foodstuffs. Pretty much only the cats and ants ate there.

Two blocks away, an empty reservoir gathered dust.

“What do you suppose that’s for?” Mick had asked Veronica, Ms. Know-it-All, on that fateful day they went to look at the place for the first time. She didn’t know. In fact it was a giant run-off ditch for an underground stream that liked to swell on occasion.

Renamed ‘Meltdown Street’ after the Three Mile Island disaster (at least in Mick’s mind), their street had a ragtag collection of different shaped beach cottages on an uneven road with no sidewalks, while the next street, ‘Immaculate Boulevard,’ was all newer homes on a well-paved road with perfect sidewalks. Across the adjacent street was the Pink and Lime Mobile Home Park for retired citizens, which were more like piñatas on wheels. For all the activity Mick had seen from that place, they might just as well have been coffins on rollers. The real action was up the block at the massage parlor.

The cottage itself was pink on the outside, the wood walls inside painted yellow. There were four rooms, if one included the green kitchen. Each room was small. Everything about the cottage was undersized, appearing as if viewed through an inverted magnifying glass. There was the small gas heater that smelled like sautéed litter; the tiny ‘Wonder Bake’ oven in the kitchen which Veronica had pronounced unfit for service; and the refrigerator that was hardly more than a large green snowball maker.

It was a sunny day when they first looked at the place, and the light inside seemed bright and warm enough for Veronica’s painterly considerations. That was a good selling point. Mick was willing to turn a blind eye to certain, shall we say, glaring deficiencies, in order to get their own place. The front yard was a ‘no growth’ zone. Low maintenance, he thought at the time, another rent-able point.

Mick skirted a fallen leaf in the road on his way past Immaculate Blvd, probably blown off Owen’s yard with a 40 hp leaf blower. The Churchbuilder warned him about their backyard neighbor, Mr. Owen, who had convinced the last tenant to chop down a walnut tree, as well as an old willow, because to him they were simply ugly. The walnut never came back, but the willow sprouted seven new trunks, none of them very pleased. Since Mr. Owen watered more often than anyone, the venerable old willow’s roots were slowly breaking into the foundation of his garage. Mr Churchbuilder was okay with that, but Owen complained about it whenever he saw Mick, which wasn’t very often, as Mick was hardly in the backyard to hear it. The tree was long, full and beautiful on Churchbuilder’s side of the fence but hacked clean on Owen’s side—like a guillotine had come down and sheared the whole backside off. It was a patient, vengeful tree, biding its time, working its way through Owen’s garage and a hail of ever-present, miniscule white flies to get into his house.

There were two apple trees in the backyard as well, on the side of the house facing the Pink and Lime trailer park. Churchbuilder was right about picking the apples early, because someone knicked them before Mick could get any that season. A newspaper and a plastic bottle stuck in a row of hedges bordering the street. He left them there and considered it ‘artistic.’

A low, rickety wooden gate guarded the dirt driveway running alongside the cabana-like cottage to a tiny, mostly dilapidated garage on the back of the lot. Dry bramble stuck out from behind it to the end of the yard, which bordered the back side of Owen’s house.

For some reason, the backyard was a good twenty inches higher than the rest of the lot. This was inexplicable and summarily ignored. The spongy, clump-like grass sprouted smaller patches of wavy, tall grasses, which Mick thought looked very nice around sunset.

Veronica wouldn’t go near the backyard. She knew there was something or someone living in the spongy greenish stuff and didn’t want any part of it, thank-you-very-much-indeed. No way. “Johnson grass,” she called it, wrinkling her nose. No one told Mick that he might as well try mowing sea grass when the time for that came. Intuitively, and for no other reason, he had expected it to grow slowly. It reminded him of his old hair, in that it might just grow fuller rather than longer. That was autumn; with any luck, the severe drought conditions would continue and he wouldn’t have to trim anything until the end of summer. Here it was autumn again and, frankly, he didn’t give a damn. To Mick, it looked natural.

The yard was bigger than the house. It went behind the garage, where there was a pile of weatherized wood with rusty nails in it mixed with wild nasturtiums. Mick had virtually no caretaking experience, nor did he necessarily wish for any. Innately, he figured to improve the place simply by occupying it. Fact was, it was a squat little dump when they moved in and nothing so far had changed that sad fact.

Mick pulled in the driveway, stepped over the small mud puddle, and took a deep breath. It wasn’t that good. The nearby mushroom factory was fertile.

He remembered that first day…

The Churchbuilder kept a key hidden in a loose brick on the patio. Brushing away some spider webs, Mick muttered something resembling ‘yuck’ and shuddered as he did what he had to do to get it. The lock on the front door was as mushy then as it was now, like there might be oatmeal in there instead of tumblers. He had to shoulder the door open, trying to be delicate, but ended up stumbling inside like a drunk.

“Smells musty,” Veronica had said upon entering the place for the first time. Mick wasn’t sure what must smelled like, but took her word for it. Veronica was from East Rainforest Texas and knew her must. “It needs air,” she said. Of course it does, it’s been shut up for weeks.

The unpruned juniper bush still blocked virtually all the view out the front window, which was still molecularly melded shut with paint. Veronica would continue to point that out for years to come. “Don’t worry, we can hack at it later,” Mick had promised her, without quantifying ‘later.’ The other window in the room, facing the mud puddle, had already been opened before they moved in. By rocking it back and forth, it opened roughly ten inches, maybe eight. The spindly fuschia outside popped a few straw-like branches inside.

“No screens,” Veronica had mentioned a year earlier, implying bugs. Now that’s gonna require a tool.

Mick didn’t own a tool of any sort. Up until that point in his life he hadn’t needed one. He never used one before, except a screwdriver, and had trouble with those before the phillips head came out and saved the ape-man from extinction. It was the only tool Mick was even vaguely familiar with—that and a hammer, which he used successfully to build a wall in Everett’s Stress. Mick felt confident about someday owning a power stapler, though he never tried one. It’s time. I’m gonna have to buy some tools. He shoved the chocolate covered french cruller in his mouth and walked between the junipers to the door lost in thought about hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, tape and power staplers.

A hummingbird flew to a tiny red fuschia bloom outside the window. “Say goodbye to your security deposit,” it sang, and flew away. Labor Day my ass….

The heater sat neglected in the far corner of the room. “It never gets cold here,” Mick had assured his Mrs. before moving in. This wasn’t San Francisco, it was the beach! He walked to the Wonder Bake oven and turned it on. He could steam a giant pot of clams on it if he covered all four burners with the steamer. Mick thought about clams as he finished his donut. He loved fresh clams. Looking around the kitchen, he decided he hated ‘avocado’ green.

Public school green….

A box of stale pretzels and a quart of milk sat in the presumably dark Frigidaire, giving it a reason to be plugged in. Whether the ants couldn’t get at it, or didn’t want to, was an exercise in conjecture.

They didn’t have any kids, so what did door knobs matter? The fact that none of the doors met the doorframes well enough to close meant that the job was out of Mick’s handyman realm. In practice, Mick had no realm. The Churchbuilder would have to take care of that as the landlord. Mick was off the hook; he could wait.

After factoring all the variables and options based on their pitiful income, he weighed those against the bottom line: rent. At first, Mick wondered if he was domestically qualified to inhabit this dump. He knew now that he wasn’t. Originally he had hoped his wife was, but she wasn’t either. He had to buy tools. Veronica emerged from the bedroom. “You’re going to put screens on the windows today, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

“I’m just going to get some things I need, some tools… Here, have a donut.” Veronica raised an eyebrow. Before she could speak, he left.

Mick pulled the front door closed, grinding it against the door frame by pulling harder on the wobbly knob until he finally heard the latch click. He wound through the squeeze-track of bushes and over the mud puddle back to his not-so-trusty Austin America, the one that had thrown a U-bolt sixty miles outside of San Angelo, and drove away slowly without looking back.

Except for Toulouse, who could be heard half a block away, and the train that passed every morning around o:1∂, it was a peaceful, if somewhat crappy, street.

Between small breaths of mushroom, Mick glanced a bit wistfully at the massage parlor as he passed. Veronica ignored his longing, but it was no less there than gophers under the house and a pile of ants on the cat food. And, walking distance to a temporary, fleeting, hour- long diversion. He wondered for the thousandth time how much a nice massage was these days, then grinned at the old Karnac punchline: Regular, or Ethel? The tiny neon sign beckoned to him. He slowed, as he did twice every day, but didn’t stop.


So this is what ‘struggling writer’ means. Mick shook the thought off quickly. I’m not even writing anything… just struggling.

No one knew of his secret longing to be an author; no one took him seriously, that is. Mick harbored that sad fact, hibernating in books, more books, in an effort to gain a literary influence as elating as anyone he had ever read—and had inspired him enough to make his fingertips twitch over the typewriter.

There is no illusion, no trick. Just say it like it is; life’s a bowl of cat food covered with ants.

The problem was, Mick was more familiar with writing under duress. That is, something had to happen in his life that motivated him to write. Whether it was to express love, frustration, fear, loneliness, or whatever… there needed to be something to get out of his system. None of what he had written was any good, literarily speaking, but it relieved him like a vigorous shit.

Now, there was nothing. All was white, like the weather, with no clear beginning, middle or end. He had dwindled from hundreds of hand-written pages to a few hastily scrawled literary doodles in less than two years. His dreams and ambitions to that end slipped underground, surfacing only to bump him awake in the early haze of morning and forgotten over donuts and coffee.

Books were, in fact, Mick’s only friends. They stood by him side by side, between the wood and cinderblock shelves, always ready with encouraging words and flowery flights of phrase to inspire and motivate. Douglas Adams’s The Long, Dark, Teatime of the Soul sat on the plank as if to say: ‘Hey, if I can do it..!’ Miller’s first edition (US) Tropic of Cancer whispered: ‘All you need is a chair and typewriter.’ Doctor Zhivago looked Mick square in the eye and asked if he had the passion. His science fiction books opened a mental box to creative infinity.

He also had anthologies of authors he thought would never achieve anything beyond mediocre urging him to ‘put up or shut the fuck up.’ Mick would smugly wave his most dog- eared friends, his Webster’s and Roget’s, in their spines and tell them, ‘These are more interesting than your claptrap!’ and rest his case with a thud. Much of what Mick found at the bookstores to read he considered ‘suppository writing,’ made to shove up the author’s ass.

After a heated debate with his verbal friends on the shelf, a silence would prevail, revealing a quiet, singsong humming in the corner of the bookcase. Mick’s Cowgirl studied her large thumb and its relation to the railroad effect of the road disappearing in the distance. She was unconcerned, and not in the least bit self-conscious about her mis-shapen beauty.

My darling, Mick would tell her again and again, I shall never be as lovely as you. Then he’d smile at The Lord of The Rings and tell them not to worry, they were still the prevailing royalty, with a sly wink to his Nine Princes in Amber.

It all played out in Mick’s world with a good-natured competitiveness, for the pages were worth their weight in flesh-and-blood friends—Greg R. Greg being his only one of those, and not quite as interesting (although he did share traits with some of Mick’s Time/Life artist friends). A late 1950s throwback to the beatnik printer and sculptor of the nude female figure, and a Korean War veteran to boot, Greg-Greg was as close as Mick would get to male comraderie in Sanity Cruise—a common plight among the local gender, which had been known to cause certain, but not all men, to rename the idyllic seaside resort ‘Insanity Cruise.’

The lesbians, along with the rest of the women, didn’t get it and never would. The notion of male comraderie was the flipside of the male-female record and, as such, not meant to be understood, among other things, by either of the opposite sex about the other. If you played it backwards, it said: Just go about your business, nothing to see here… It followed in Mick’s mind, however convolutely, that attempts at relationships between any sexes is moot, or, one could say, no more than packing material for your coffin. And that being said, Mick ignored the gender of a relationship. For him, though, the Gay life never entered his head, not like the massage place up the street often did.


Whenever he saw the sign in front of the massage parlor, he hoped to catch a glimpse of a lovely coming out the door and bending down to pick up the morning paper in the afternoon, revealing a soft, loose bodice of lacy design… but the walkway was always bare. Strangely, Mick daydreamed of giving a massage. The female body was a map to the promised land. Words floated through his reverie.

“Start in the South, in the foothills and the tiny spaces between the toes. Spaces are key, never neglect the spaces between. From there you can see the peaks of Mother Nature, known since the Ages to be a place of soothing warmth, sustenance, and delight: The Empyreal Palace. Do not rush to embrace this hallowed property, but rather stroll your way toward the top, imbibing in felicitous fragrances along the way. Let the path ooze from between your fingers, sliding in easy passes of pressure and release, pressure and release… and as you waltz and gaze into the eyes of beautitude, you are healing as well.”

Passing the dusty reservoir, he drove toward his new tools, breathing impressions in silent, cerebral color.

“Bend at Wounded Knee, and tally there. Find its underside and whisper to it, you will know what to say. Pay your respects and pray to all the Gods, for there are many to satisfy along the way to Elysium Place. Collect forget-me-nots in abundance there; you will use all of them to get into Heaven.”

Poetry danced in Mick’s frontal lobe, never escaping lips that moved wordlessly:

Arise and realize With Promised eyes (And a growing delight!) Her heavenly design.

Maidenly thighs, In attractive guise, Offer their Surprise.

Breasts floated in front of his eyes, blotting out the road. A double yellow line led a trail up a giant, bobbling cleavage to Sears. He followed the maracas from heaven in a literary daze.

“Arise until the earth is a receding speck of truth on the map to your destination and you are in the constellations. Look for The Lotus—the delicacy of which can be hidden by its luminescence. Alight there, and gaze upon The Lands of Milk and Honey. Behold the swelling peaks and the nourishing valley they form. The canyon celebrates the summits. Tread softly to get there; linger for a time in the empty space of their design. Savor both pinnacles with an open mouth of moist prana, warm them with your breath. Dally but don’t dawdle there; lay your head on the pillows of the valley and you will see your path clearly from the embrace of their contours.”

He plowed through the cleavage in his mind….

Adore, and be pleased. From here, you are nearly there, (You sense redolent zephyrs in the air!) Savor the anticipation of the moment you are already upon. Close now, encircle your prize, With an easy glide and open eyes.

“I’m coming!” the tool-less Mick called on his way to Sears, wallowing in his lust for life.

“You will come upon a forest, pruned with care and fashioned into an arrow pointing south. It will rise on your occasion. Devote yourself to its maintenance, for it is Creation itself that resides within its mossy covering. It is the Source of the Big Bang and shelter to a smaller world tucked away inside, hooded and shy, awaiting your practiced husbandry. Plant your forget-me-nots copiously inside its sacrosanct walls. Bring it to fruition with the patience of a gardener who feeds his dear with two-lips of love. Devote your life to the service of The Promised Land and you will one day come to know God within.”

He pulled into the Sears lot and parked. The car rattled, sighed, rolled over and went to sleep.