K. Kenny Kane

From the Digizine Harper’s Plus, January 3rd, 2050, The Harper’s Index:

The Many Lives of K. Kenny Kane The Partial Index

Known as Mr. Memory, K. Kenny Kane is a Mentalist, Billionaire and Philathapist. His new book The Many Lives of K. Kenny Kane makes some incredible claims rendering them in excruciating and believable detail. At over three million pages, Kane’s story is engrossing, even though no one in the office is even halfway finished reading this epic.

Claim #1:

Kane claims he’s lived 9,861 lives, exactly. Born on January 1st, 2000, Kane says he first died on August 30th, 2075, when the world ended. He then woke up, resurrected, on January 1st, 2020. He then died again, at different ages, 9,860 more times, always returning to January 1, 2020. He expects to return after he dies, here on Earth number 9,860 to a new earth respawned exactly to January 1st, 2020. In our short interview for this article, we suggested he kill Donald Trump, he says he has, hundreds of times, but the world still ends, always before his hundredth birthday.

Claim #2:

Each time Kane wakes up on January 1st, 2020, he has a different superpower. Some grand, some dumb. From flight to incredible strength to the ability to make a fine water mist over a square block. They’re different every time. He says in this lifetime, he has photographic memory of all of his past lives and has spent the last thirty years writing this book in the hopes to chronicle his many lives.

Claim #3:

He wants to stop the end of the world. And says only we as a society can do it. Kane says the world ends at North Koreas’s hands in 2075. If They’re stopped, China in 2082, then US in 2085, Russia in 2093, Iran in 2095, Pakistan in 2097, and France in 2099. Kane has never lived past 100 years old.

In a freewheeling hour-long interview, Kane talks about his many superpowers, the resistance to his superpowers, wisdom attained from many lives lived and some numbers for the Harper’s Index. Here’s an excerpt:

Why do you think this is happening?

Kane: I don’t know. For the longest time, I assumed this world is a simulation, like The Matrix’s Copper Tops, so I did whatever I wanted. or like Groundhog’s Day. I thought I had to live a perfect life. A perfect life is hard. Then I thought I’m in some experience, a prison experience, by alien overlords like in Billy’s Long Day, there to grade my choices. Even when I was ‘Right Choice’ Man and every choice I made was the correct one, the amount of choices in a eighty-year-old life is near infinite. ‘Math Man’ calculated it at one quadrillionth to the 10th power. Or maybe God’s a dick and this is either Heaven or Hell, hard to know.

How do the superpowers work? Don’t they break physics?

Kane: Short answer yes, long answer no. Sort of. Each superpower is, at its core, based on turning matter into energy in the most effective and weird manner possible, sometimes its changing energy back into different matter like when I have a shapeshifting power. What this means to me mostly is I have to eat a TON of food to create the energy to even use most superpowers. On most earths, I own a chain of carb-based buffet restaurants. The energy-matter machine breaks physics because it’s a near perfect energy machine.

So, Why You?

Kane: I didn’t even realize I had a superpower on my first go round. About three lives in, I figured out my superpower was the ability to eat anything because I once ate a handful of gravel on a dare and didn’t get sick. I don’t know. As a joke, after a Marvel marathon on my twentieth birthday, I wished I had all the superpowers. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

What was the best/worst superpower?

Kane: The worst was Flame-O. I burned down my apartment and died of smoke inhalation in two days. What a dumb superpower. The best was The Fantastic Orgasm. My penis could make anyone have their greatest orgasm ever. A porn star’s life is the best. No world was saved that earth.

Why write the book if earth is going to end in 50 years?

Kane: Because maybe if everyone reads it or believes it, they can stop the world from ending. Not just me. I can’t do it alone, I’ve tried. It’s probably too late because of climate change, but I wanted to make a record, even if that record will be gone when I die.

The Harper’s Index:

Number of times Kane has been married (to a woman): 13,547

Number of time Kane has been married (to a man): 245

Number of times Kane has been married (To a dog): 7

Number of divorces: 6,845 (No dog divorces)

Number of years as president: 1,137

Number of years in jail: 735 (907 jailbreaks)

Times Murdered: 4, 777

Times Committed Suicide: 1,065

Number of world leaders, past, present and future, murdered by Kane in his Policy By Assassination Program: All (Some in the hundreds)

Number of TV Shows about his life: 448

Number of kittens saved in trees: 10,643

Number of times Kane has fallen in love: 6

Here’s a random selection of some of Kane’s Superhero/Villiian Aliases: The Baby Face, Balloon Man, Average Man (He can do EVERYTHING, averagely) Death Hands, Iron Hands, The Eyebrow, Boneless, The Translator, The Iguana, Teapot, The 5-Second Psychic, Mongoloid, Midas, Poison Finger, Kaleidoscope, Charmer, The Thespian, Captain Bunny, Clown Colossus, Petey Pinhead, Gary the Gollum, Teen Exterminator, Captain Justice, Half-Man, Dr. Dracula, The Dude, Snakeskin, The Transexual Transformer, Mutonto, The Toy, The Leporous Fiend Lepur, The Archetect Art Vandelay, Hydroboy, Mr. Night, The Crack Crusader, The Rock Eater, The Murder Puppets, Mr. Inside-Out, Clarinetto, Willie The Reefer, Cry-Baby, The Sniffler, Wood Pile, Were-Whale, Oooog, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Steel Jaw, Larry the Leaper, The Eyes of Fate, Cesspool, Plasticine, The Piranha, Coco The Man-Ape, Sweet Jumping Jesus, The Warden, The Laz-E-Boy, Reflectron, The Mod Hyena, Frankenstein’s Mistress, Bealzablob, The Uber Mensch, Mr. Inconsequential, Strychnine, Phantasa-Mon, The Scarlet Scarab, Stilts, U-G-L-Y (He ain’t got no alibi), The Screamer, Hammertoe, The Black Teen, Captain Lawgiver, The Desert Cactus, General Bong, Blankface, Ghetto-Blaster, Three Heads, The Fantastic Orgasm, Fuhrer Lad, The Hurdy-Gurdy Man, Tapeworm,  Roach Herder, The Coffin Nail, Snowflake, Starstorm, The Swarm, Sexy Sasquash, 911, The Atomoton, Dwarf Chucker, Bozo the Crone, Commander Tootsie, The Lie Detector, Gay Radar, Professor Hormone, The Blow-up Doll, Floating Eye, The Fucking Comedian, Ghost Posse, Torso Man, The Iron Tibia, Good ’N Plenty, Roo The Kanga, Eterno, Mini-Satan, The Mad Shitter, Madam Mortality, Flame-O, Major Moon, Sleepy Joe, Transportation Tim, Telepathic Tim, Transustanciation Tim, Tinier Tim, Time Tim, The Great Timothy, Professor Superbrain, Ray of Sunshine, The Red Beetle, The Psychotronic Pony, Maxitaur, The Love Count, The Mysterious Vagabond, Brain-O, The Chicken-Necked Geek, Beast B’Wana, Senior Science, Crab Legs, The Flying Saucer, AK-69, The Miracle Mile, Morouse Man, The Throbbing Muscle, Nutriciousino, The Unknown, Pow-Pow Man, Miss Voodoo, The Mole Rat, Holo-Guy, The Human Fly, Morlock 1999, The Squirrel, Straw Man, Thunder Rabbit, and Cock Block. To name a few. 

The Dumbest Apocalypse

It’s often been said that the world would end not with a bang, but with a whimper. But the smart money’s always said, the world would end neither with a bang nor a whimper, but with an “Oops.”

As in “Oops,  I dropped that petrie dish of the black plague.”

Or “Oops, I set my Diet Coke can on the nuclear button.”

Or “Oops, I had sex with that monkey.”

However, in this case, in this apocalypse, the dumbest apocalypse, started with the phrase….Wait a minute, let’s not, so to speak, give away the goat just yet, we’ll get to the ‘Oops’ soon enough.

Let’s start with the good news first. 

Global warming and world pollution has been eradicated. I know in your timeline, most people now wear masks to mitigate the thick, black air. Even your President Eric Trump has to wear an oxygen mask. The scientists say life will be uninhabitable on your earth by 2050.

But, here, in this timeline, three terms of Bernie Sanders including the last year when he was in an iron lung meant America took the green new deal seriously. Solar energy, hydropower, electric cars, even some nuclear. But the gas and oil companies still had a grip on most methods of energy consumption. Until Greta Thunberg came along. You may remember Greta Thunberg as the Swedish kid and enviromentalist who was murdered in her teens by the Trump Troopers in 2027. But in this timeline, no Trump Troopers and she grew up to become a Bio-Engineer and create the greatest energy producer since the sun, The Bugaloo. Of course, Greta Thunberg was murdered by Elon Musk in 2038. Some say it was a car accident, but, c’mon how did Musk end up with the bugaloo AND the Omnis patent?

Oh, what’s the Bugaloo? The bugaloo is an insect about the size of a dime, six legs, hard shell, has a lifespan of about two weeks, reproduces twice within it’s lifetime, smart for a bug and excretes an oxygen-rich air, eats anything non-living that’s coated a special plastic called omnis and can be burned with no pollution and used as  energy.

Here’s how it works, the lightly viscous plastic omnis is sprayed onto any non living item or plant, anything—wood pulp, other plastics, grass, rocks, any density of metal up to steel and the bugaloo eats it within minutes and secrets a non-toxic oxygen-rich gas that can be burned for fuel. The burned fuel leaves no residue or pollution. 

The bugaloos are placed in a generally steel or gold, even hard rock container with two chambers, one to hold the bugaloos and another to collect the gas to burn to create energy. They also eat dead flesh activated by the omnis, so they cannibalize themselves with no after waste or residue. Living creatures can eat the harmless Omnis, but their excretions are encased in Omnis. You can literally drive your own car with your own poop. Or throw a half eaten sandwich or whatever into your tank, just squirt it with omnis and you’ve filled up your tank and are good to drive for fifty miles or whatever. The main property on the plastic omnis is its ability to encase non-living matter. Control the bugaloos input and omnis and everything works perfectly.

So the bugaloos were cheap, but the omnis was expensive, this is where Elon Musk made his money. However, the bugaloos were used to clean the environment extremely effectively. That garbage island the size of Texas floating in the Pacific, gone in a day, with no power costs and enough oxygen to refill the ozone hole. Overnight, everyone had energy. The more dense metals shot up in price and the Sanders administration taxed the rich to the point that the government became the primary omnis producer which was made by breaking down and reformulating existing plastics.

Within five years all pollution was gone, literally eaten for fuel. And that’s the where the story happily ends. People got rich, but a societal ill was conquered. America.

Oh, yea, the apocalypse. As with many a tragedy, it begins with love, or so the story goes. 

Jack loved Jill. Jill hadn’t the time of day for Jack. They were scientists for the government. Jill was obsessed with making a cheaper omnis, one that the rich couldn’t control, as Jill was a Sander’s socialist, working for a better life for all the people. Jack just wanted to impress. So he had the idea, make a complimentary bug that excretes omnis. After a few years, he succeeded wildly, The Omnibug, a quarter sized, eight-legged bug, with a small horn and soft shell that excreted omnis after eating. And here’s the best part, the omnibug only ate water. Everyone has access to water. So now energy production was just another step. Add the omnibug into the chain of production. And he owned omnibus the bug patent. While there was still some fiddling to be done, mostly to engineer a short lifespan for the omnibug so that it didn’t consume too much water and to control just how much omnis the bug produces to keep the energy production in a state of some kind of equilibrium. Success, as always, seemed just around the corner.

Here comes the Oops.

Since the bugaloos introduction, various religious groups formed to worship the bug. One particularly violent one, The Second Coming of Loo, found out about Jack’s work and wanted to stop it. SO, as Jack was flying across the Atlantic to premiere his new bug in Paris, his plane was hijacked by the Loo-ites and forced into the ocean. And, as the story goes, Jack’s last words were, “Oops, these bugs shouldn’t be let loose in the ocean.”

That’s when the shit hit the fan or more accurately, the bug hit the water. With nothing but water in every direction, three bugs multiplied into hundreds in minutes, millions in a half hour and trillions within the hour. They grew so quickly and with so many generations they mutated. At first, the Omnibug just secreted omnis, but with the water overload, the omnibug secreted both omnis and water. The omnis encased everything non-living in the ocean including all plant life. Soon the omnis met up with the bugaloos. And simply put, the bugaloos ate all the non-living specimens in the Atlantic ocean. This took a week. By that time, the omnibug and omnis was in water everywhere. The omnis was light enough to be evaporated into clouds and rained back down, encasing rocks and streets and buildings and, um everything rain touches.

But here’s the funny thing. Some things are a mix of the living and the non-living. For example, you. While you’re not one solid thing, but billions of living microbes formed into a you shape. Also you’re dead things like hair and dandruff and dead skin and eyelashes. After the bugaloos were done, only the eyelash mites remained on your living eyes and last layer of skin. Nobody had clothes, the landrypocalpse. Every non-living thing down to the hard rock layer of the earth was stripped away. The bugs stopped at lava and ate all the corpses. Plus those who were able to survive, hide, were perpetually high from the oxygen-rich atmosphere. As  I write this, we’ll all be dead in a few hours. 

So, I say to you, in the darker timeline, enjoy your last few years and as you wheeze and choke your way to a slow death and while you may never see another clear day, at least you weren’t succumbed by bugs, hairless and insane.

####

The Change

For the time capsule to be opened in 100 years from this date August 30, 2040. Submitted by Jym Branson, age 47.

We should’ve listened to the frogs in the 1990’s. Scientists of the time noticed that some frogs in the upper midwest were changing genders from classic male to classic female. They attributed this change to large levels of estrogen in the water due to plastic pollution. No one paid attention and just thought it was a weird anomaly.

Until it happened to us. On August 30, 2020, the first case of The Change was diagnosed. A week later, 99.97 percent of the population of the world had been infected. Scientists say the change virus may have been dormant and spreading for up to two years before it’s emergence. About 70 percent of the population believed aliens caused the virus. Some blamed the frogs, but 20 years in, we still don’t know what caused the change. Hopefully, you good people of the future know what the causes are or maybe there was another change. Who knows? It’s a crazy time and continual change has been our steady constant the last twenty years.

Even now, twenty years out, there’s still lots of rumors about what happened in September of 2020, so I’d like to give you my personal testimony. And, no, everybody’s penis didn’t just fall off.

In August of 2020, the world was just wrapping up a minor flu pandemic, the Corolla virus or something. I was 27. First, I’d like to say, physically, the process of The Change was actually quite pleasant. All the changes happened while you slept and wow did you ever sleep! 12 hours a night and you woke up feeling great, refreshed and full of nice endorphins. It was just getting use to your new, slowly changing body. The whole change took about three weeks and affected both classic males and females. That first night, scientists said 99.97 percent of men woke up with a pee hole beneath the the male part known as the scrotum, in the taint, and no longer peed from the shaft of their penis. The next week, while sleeping, the penis shaft and balls began to retract into the body covered by the scrotum skin, until after a week the crotch looked like one of those old Ken dolls from an ancient toy catalog. The second week, the changes were mostly internal. The testicles shifted back, the muscle that propelled the sperm strengthened and shifted back. The head of the penis shrunk and became the clitoris. New nerves developed. The shaft and some of the scrotum became vaginal walls. A gland developed for lubrication. In the third week, secondary features developed. Men grew lactating breasts of various cup sizes. The skin softened, muscles reformed, body hair fell away. All the effects of the increase of estrogen. At the end of the third week, the scrotum skin covering the new vagina fell away and men became what we call Whoa-Men. Many Whoa-Men have that skin mounted like a trophy on their wall. Physically, on the outside, the Whoa-Men were the same as women. The internals were slightly different. Whoa-Men still produced sperm from their smaller testicles, about a third of what they used to produce, and shot the sperm out of the vagina during orgasm, mostly clitoral stimulation. And, as a former male, I can say definitely, the new orgasms occurred more frequently, with greater strength and with less refractory time than the male orgasm I vaguely remember. Scientists say 40 percent more endorphins are released in the brain than in the old male orgasm. Pure Bliss. 

Women also changed internally. They were fertile only two days a month, every thirty days, exactly. During their fertility, they, in the old language, glowed. Checks reddened and they were slightly warmer. 48 hours after fertility, women had a painless period that lasted half a day. You could set a watch by it, as my dad used to say. Also, when they orgasmed, also more intense, a liquid ejaculate was produced. The sales of hand towels skyrocketed. The old sexes, in their way, were meeting together in the middle.

When children were born, they appeared female, but had neither ovaries or testes inside. When puberty hit, at around age 13, the child either developed testes or ovaries and the ability to carry a child.

 It was harder to conceive. Scissoring without the aid of a tube-like attachments made conception damn near impossible. And that was during the fertile period. Plus the woman could easily flush out any unwanted sperm. It’s why most conception is now funded by the government with sperm extraction and insertion done with gentle machines. 

The societal changes and fear and not knowing of what would happen next caused chaos. In the month of September 2020, approximately one-third of the population world-wide died. Either by suicide or by other violent means. Cults rose up to kill women. Cults rose up to kill WhoaMen. The president killed himself in a bunker like Adolph Hitler. There were millions of botched surgeries. I think the aliens were using this virus or whatever as population control. And when babies started coming out as genderless on the inside, there was another thirteen years of more worldwide upheaval, as we thought we were the last of a declining civilization. Only today does it seem like there’s starting to be a return to normalcy. 

I’ve always been an optimist and seeing a new, and I think, better world emerging is exciting. Children are always a wanted choice now. Gender now is a fashion, not a destiny. The patriarchy AND the matriarchy are relic ideas. People are equal. Toplessness is okay. There’s masturbation clubs. Sexuality isn’t shameful. Being gay or straight or bi is kind of a non-issue. Let’s be honest, most of the bad people died in their martyrdom in September of 2020. Sure, there are a lot of strange new religions, but the patriarchy of the old ones are dying. When a third of the world dies, capitalism doesn’t seem as important. Governments work differently. 

Do I miss my penis? Sure, I still sometimes have phantom penis syndrome, but at the end of the day, what are you going to do? I only remember the penis from old porn now and nobody’s ever found the .03 percent the scientists say didn’t change. That might have been a comforting lie. I miss standing up to pee, but thankfully, urinal technology has evolved as well.

Live and learn, I say.

When I was a kid, I learned, at the time, that all fetuses were conceived female and the male parts showed up about six weeks into the pregnancy. I guess nature finds it’s own equilibrium in the end. 

Last year, our closest evolutionary relatives, the Ape kingdom changed.  And the bonobos thrived.

Saturday Night

Okay, here’s how lonely I am.

Saturday night, another Saturday night of spaghetti and Law and Order on A&E. No big. 

The phone rings. 

“Hello.”

Long pause. I can hear WWE wrestling in the distance.

“Helllooooo. Who ‘s there? Hellooooo.”

Belabored breathing on the other end. Then intentional belabored breathing.

Why did I even pick up the phone? Fucking reflex. Fucking childhood reflex. Who even answers the phone anymore? Who even has a landline? Lonely people, that’s who. 

Continued heavy breathing.

“Like wrestling, huh?” 

Pause in breathing.

“Well, I’m watching Law and Order, yea, I’ve seen it. It’s comfort food. Something you just put on to forget about your stupid job. To kind of blank out. What’s your name?”

Small cough, throat clearing. The Undertaker is down, down for the count.

“You know, I do have caller ID. Sure the display is broken” (Stupid, stupid stupid, don’t let him know you know)

“But I could hang up and find out, easy, peasy. Then you’d be in trouble. Yea, you’d be in trouble.”

Silence.

“Okay, ok, I won’t call, but what do you want? You gotta want something, is this some kind of pervy call. Telemarketer? Pervy telemarketer? Well, I’m just in a PJ top, no panties. So go wild.”

Deep inhale.

“Yea, and I’m hot, certainly out of your league you wrestling watching troglodike. 24-36-27. Strawberry blonde hair, too hot for you, you mouth-breather.”

Did he set the phone down? No.

“Fine, you wanna know about me? I’m 32, a paralegal, the middle child of three, I like Law and Order, crochet, I believe everyone is cosmically connected and therefore worthy of love and respect. Someday, I want to be a laywer, but because of finances, that dream will have to wait. My dream home is a split-level ranch and I prefer dogs over cats but have neither until I move out of this apartment.”

Am I on speakerphone? I hear an echo, no breathing. Did he leave?

So I talked on. I talked about my day, regular stuff, I can’t believe McMasters expects me to get all this shit done in one day. I talked about my strained relationship with my mother and how in my last relationship he cheated on me.

45 minutes past, then I heard a click. Dial tone.

That was the best date I’ve ever had. Someone who knows how to listen.

Tony

What I Love by me, Tony, The Blind Guy

Before we begin, I HAAATE the term, the descriptor ‘The Blind G/uy.’
Every time I meet new people I overhear one idiot tell the other, ‘Here comes Tony, the BLIND guy’. It’s never ‘Here comes Tony, the jaunty ginger with the gorgeous curls.’ or Here’s Tony—-Shins of steel!’ Or ‘Here comes Tony, the guy with the enormous penis’ or ‘Here comes Tony, he beat up Larry the Cable Guy in a bar fight.’ Well, one could hope.

Anyhoo, What I Love by me, Tony, the guy who kicked Larry the Cable Guy’s Ass.

I love touching people’s faces. Just getting my hands in there and massaging the ole face meat of some stranger. It’s great. And because you’re blind, people just let you do it. I don’t care what you look like, I’n not making some complicated face map in my head, terminator style. That’s stupid. What’s your voice like, do you smell? That’s how I know you. Once, I was eating a sandwich when a J-C wanted me, wanted me to map his face, guess he thought he was good looking or super symmetrical or something. Anyway, I had a gob of mayonnaise—suddenly—

on my hand. Ooops, sorry J-C.

Oh, a side note, J-C’s are saviors, the goody- goodys who see me less as a person and more as their personal pet project, the blind guy they know, a way to show they have empathy for others. Blech. They’re the worst. Ok, some background. I went blind when I was 13, drive-by shooting. No, I kid, burned out my eyes saving a dog from a fire. Acid in the face from a Fatwah? No, No, I kicked Larry the Cable Guy’s ass and he slashed my eyes with a broken bottle.
Ok, Ok, it was a degenerative eye disease. Boring. It’s like finding out Spiderman was created by a degenerative spider disease. What kind of lame superpower is that? Because blindness is my weird superpower. That’s what I tell myself: turn your weakness into your strength, some politician once said. However, I still imagine the world is frozen visually, stuck forever in a dumb 13 year old kid’s brain. Some would argue I’m still 13 emotionally, but those people are doo-doo heads.

When I was 14, that first year—which suuuucked —I got so many ‘bumpy Bibles’ I made a tower of bibles against my bedroom wall and finally even read one. Well, up to the part about how to treat your slave anyway. Jeeesh. So, shocker, I’m an atheist. Faith is for suckers, give me solid ground, the world is complicated enough without a layer

of bullshit mysticism, clogging up your thinking. Science, not Jesus is my only hope for seeing again.

So anyway, I love touching strangers faces. I also love close-up hand magic. Freaks people out. Some slightly grooved cards and a lot of practice and I don’t need to see what my hands are doing. No good magician does. I can also tell you how many fingers you’re holding up. It’s all in how my friend Rod asks the question, “How MANY fingers am I holding up?” is two. “How many FINGERS am I holding up?” is three and so on. There’s a whole code for objects as well. Lotta free drinks at the bar, it’s pretty nice.

I love driving. I got a car for my 22nd birthday. An old beater driver’s ed car. Rod and I retooled it so you could drive it from the right side and I’d sit on left side, windows down and drive. Even taught my dog Charlie how to drive. We even got onto America’s Funniest Home Videos. My golden lab, Charlie, loved driving.

I taught Charlie how to sniff crotches and bark, really wasn’t hard. And one time, Charlie and I convinced this one J-C he had testicular cancer. Found out a few months later he spent, like, 20,000 dollars in medical bills. Good news, turns out he DIDN’T have testicular cancer.

I loved Marlenia. Loved. Still love. I met her with Charley driving around after my one semester at college. You see, I had dated a lot of girls by this time, but none of them for a long time. Couple dates. I think I found every girl in the Tri-State who had ‘Date a Blind Guy’ on their bucket list. Had a hard time trusting people’s motives.

But Marlenia DID NOT, I repeat, DID NOT GIVE A SHIT I WAS BLIND. Right away, she’s giving me crap about letting a dog drive a car unlicensed and by the time she was done playfully cursing out my dog, I was in love. I loved her curvy, what’s the word, Zaftig body. She always smelled slightly like vanilla. Her breath was clean like a fall afternoon. Her skin against my skin was what I imagine heroin feels like if it were skin. She didn’t push me up or let me fall when it counted. We were equals and that’s all I ever wanted. Independent, strong, funny and what a talker, not mindless chatter, but descriptive, colorful and with a point. These were eyes I could trust.

And, of course, I fucked it up. We had been together three near perfect years. She had moved in and even used my bell system. Cosy and complacent, but in the best way. Intimate without smothering. I loved her giggle when she’d move my water glass.

One day, she comes home smelling of cologne. Men’s cologne. I was already mad at the car I was working on, it wasn’t going well and my temper was already on an upswing. She said it was some store clerk that accidentally sprayed her.

But, suddenly, it got into my head that she could leave. Like anytime she wanted. The dormant dual fires of jealousy and desperation got lit that day. I overheard her talking to what she said was a co- worker on the phone a few days later and it sounded too, um, collegial for my anger. She said it was job opportunity in Minneapolis and we should move and start a new, different life. I didn’t want to move and got it in my head she was moving to cheat on me. Shame, stupidity and a blind man’s pride let her go. Made her go.

She called and I didn’t answer. She wrote Rod and told him she still loved me. I’m a fool, I pushed her away and fell back into a 14-year old’s pity party that never seemed to end. Threw myself into car repair and porn. I never really dated after that. It seems impossible.

Uh, um, okay, a short list of other things I love: Inappropriate T-Shirts, I like to tell people I think

they’re pictures of unicorns. Welding, I love the warmth on my face. Same with the sun. I just love staring up at it. Crisp, fall days. Blowjobs, but what guy doesn’t love that if he can get them. Joe Rogan’s podcast. Dungeons and Dragons. Hard rock. Turning off lights when I enter a room. Velcro shoes. My iPhone’s battery life (No display). Telling people I’m black. Unmatched socks.

So, In conclusion, Linkin Park rocks! And check out my porncast—Audiogasm for the Blind, available wherever fine podcasts are sold. Thank you. Tip your bartenders. And watch out Larry the Cable Guy.

St. Pepe’s

Collage by Bryan Gahagan

Monday, 2:30pm A recap.
[Static Noise]

Shadowy men in unmarked vans stole zombies off the street in Portland last night…
A senator retweeted a picture of him and a newly dead zombie, but get this, it was the wrong dead zombie, people are pissed…

America’s zombies are marching again for the thirtieth straight night, the national guard is being sent in to the top 20 American cities…
Only Saudi Arabia and Russia are allowing Americans into their countries after a UN resolution to limit American zombies…

The president tweets an ad for baked beans and say all the zombie problems are a hoax designed to abolish the suburbs…

[Static Noise]

Jim liked to spice-up the boring news by inserting zombies into every story. The boss kept the news on

all-day so he could listen to it non-stop from his office, but the TV was up near the order counter so Jim could’t see it from the prep-station, but heard it loud and depressing. Jim often felt like complaining about the bummer of the news to the boss, but every time he went to the boss’ office, the boss seemed like he was about to cry, was crying or just finished crying, so Jim let it drop. Although he did ask his boss once if he could wear headphones. Man, Tool cranking in his ears all day would make his job perfect. But his boss said no, the customers would see it. Everything’s take-out now, so what’s the point? Who cares if they see it? And now having to wear a mask all day. Jim hated that, but keep the boss mildly happy and he’d never be fired, Jim thought. By the end of the day, every day, the mask was covered in pizza sauce, so the mask came off and stayed off two feet out the door.

But, Go along to get-along was always Jim’s approach to life. He’d had this pizza making job for, what, almost ten years now and he felt comfortable. His boss stayed in his office all day and he stayed at the prep station making pies. That’s the way it was. Mask or no.

Only four pies by 2:30, usually it’d be 10 or more by this time. Used to be, he’d take a long hit off The Hot Sauce after every five pies as reward, now it was

every two. St. Pepe’s burn was the only physical sensation that Jim really craved. Well, that and masterbation. The coolness of the liquid hitting his tongue, the slow burn, then the fire builds to climax on his tongue and burns down his throat, clearing out every passageway, throat and nose, eyes water and the brain implodes in a short burst of fireworks. Guaranteed every time. Better and cheaper than drugs or alcohol. Thirty seconds of pure, alive sensation. Swallowing at the right time is the key. Ha, that what she said, Jim said out loud to no one.

Jim was in a good mood, no real reason really for a Monday. He’d lost big in the weekend LAN party, turtling is never the best strategy. But his 3:00pm restroom masterbation run was, while not the best in terms of quality, was definitely top twenty in terms of speed, two-thirty-five, prep station and back. Yes. Not bad, but he wished Uncle Speedo’s still had an open dining room. For the thrill factor.

3:50 and time for the 4:20 Seafood Special NO ANCHOVY pizza rush. Chad the delivery driver ran a small-time weed business under The Boss’ nose. ‘No Anchovy’ was the code for weed. Speedos didn’t even offer anchovies and only potheads ordered the seafood pizza. So, the boss either knew and didn’t care or was too dumb to know, either a possibility. Chad gave Jim and the counter-girl, Debbie forty

bucks at the end of the week as a cut. Even Chad’s business was down, people weren’t spending in quarantine, even stoners, Chad said. Chad drove the hour down from Gatlinberg for three seafood specials a night? Even Debbie, short, brunette, big boobs for her size, always talking about her boyfriend—Fred or was it Frank, something F—even Debbie asked Chad if the drive down was worth the ‘market costs’ as she said.

“Is the grass paying the cash for ass. Nobody rides for free,” Debbie said. She dropped out of community college second semester and was always using words like ‘valuation’ and ‘market costs.’ And always threatening to quit, but doesn’t because ‘The Market is soft.’ That’s what she said.

Jim thought Chad lived in his car because he smoked more product than he sold, but he wasn’t sure. He always smelled like weed and Jim never felt like driving the hour up to see his apartment, although Jim had a free standing invitation. Plus, Jim didn’t have a car, so there’s that. He only lived four bocks from Speedos AND there was a Taco Bell on the walk home, how sweet was that? Every night he’d walk home, order the 7-layer burrito with extra hot sauce— that was a joke, more like ‘weak sauce’, Jim would say almost daily to the counter person. He’d then walk home, eating the burrito on the way, say ‘Hi’ to his two roommates, John and Jason—Triple J in the

house!—then lock himself in his room, stripping naked, pointing a small fan at his crotch as he sat on the floor playing online video games until 2am when he finally went to bed. Monday Night, Call of Duty. Tuesday, Battlefield. Wednesday, Halo. Thursday, League of Legends. And Friday, out with his friend Tony for whatever Tony wanted to do. The weekends were for quality time with new games. This weekend, The new Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Mortal Kombat 11. Oh, and Rick and Morty, lots of Rick and Morty. This Friday with Tony, The strip club, HOTS.

Jim never tipped and only drank the two-drink minimum.The strippers stopped coming over to Jim on his third visit. It was all about Tony. Tony, Jim’s friend since sixth grade, did everything Jim couldn’t. “Fuck the zombies, Fuck the Panda Mike. Fuck the zombies. Fuck the Panda Mike.” Tony yelled as he shoved ones into Shelia’s G-String.
Shelia once came into Speedos and talked to Jim. She had three under-5 kids, a stalker ex and a BA in Theater.
“Put a mask on,” Shelia snapped at Tony as she pivoted and walked off. Later that night, Jim masterbated twice in succession, once to the image of Shelia’s sharp pivot and the second, longer jerk to the fantasy of being her stalker ex, watching her watch TV from her bushes. Bushes, Ha, then uuuuughhhhh. Triggers are a weird animal.

The next Monday. Noon. The recap.
[Static Noise]

Zombies are disappearing off streets in thirty different cities….
A zombie nun set herself on fire at The Lincoln Monument protesting the governments response to the pandemic and the treatment of other zombies by the police…

The president uses the N-word multiple times in a speech, declares zombies enemies of the state… Another milestone, five million cases, 200,000 dead… Zombie Elon Musk leaves for the moon…

[Static Noise]

Cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, bacon, Italian sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, Canadian Bacon…Next…cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, vegetable, vegetable, vegetable, vegetable, vegetable. That’s two.

Time for the Service of St. Pepes. The ritual. Reach under table, left hand right hand. sip of water, swish, swish, swish. Hold up plastic bottle up to neon light.

Squint and genuflect. Head back, mouth agape. Left hand right hand, long squeeze. Tongue slack, cup- like. wait ten seconds for heat.

Wait ten seconds for heat. Wait ten seconds for heat. That’s 30 seconds. What the fuck. Swallow, nothing.

Jim repeats the ritual. Swallow, nothing. And a third time. Swallow, nothing.

What-to-do, what-to-do, what-to-do.

Jim decided to take his masterbation run early. Need the ritual. Close bathroom door, check handsome self in mirror, soap balanced on wrist, close stall, lock, carefully, pants to ground, sit, strategically arrange toilet paper, Focus on point in ceiling. And stroke. Stroke and alternate. Stroke and alternate. Repeat until finished. Two minutes. Three minutes. Relax and focus. Shelia’s pivot. Favorite porn. Listen for door. That one blowjob in High School. Shelia’s pivot. Sexy pivot on those high heels, go Shelia, go go Shelia, Go Shelia’s three kids. No, No, No, No kids. Four minutes. Cmon, faster harder stronger, iron pipes, where’s the trigger? The Sarge’s voice, “C’mon we never leave a man behind, pick it up, finish the job.” Five minutes. Hands off, loosen the wrists, start over, think of the explosions, St. Pepe’s explosions. Six minutes, dammit. dammit, nothing, nothing nothing, ow, ow,

ow, ow. Stop, you’re done, Jim thought. No trigger pulled. At 32, this was the first time in his life, Jim didn’t finish.

At 2;30, Jim screwed his courage up to go into the boss’ office.

“Hey, hi, we’re out of St. Pepe’s for the fireball,” Jim kept shifting from foot to foot like he had to pee.
“No more Pepe’s.” The boss seemed annoyed, he was focused on what looked like a letter.

“What?”
“Yea, we really went through the stuff, it was kinda expensive, plus China stopped making it, something about the pandemic.” The boss was furiously circling words on the letter with a ball-point pen.
“But. But the customers, the customers, they loved it.” Jim was practically pee bouncing.
“Well they’ll learn to love Tabasco, like everywhere else. I mean, the factory closed, what are ya gonna do?” The Boss’ pen ripped the paper.
“Well, where would we get it?”
“What are you? Their biggest fan? The president of The St. Pepe’s fan club. I stocked up on the stuff three months ago near the beginning of the pandemic, pretty smart, huh, but they still went under. I think they had an outbreak at the factory. Distributer said they folded two months ago. You’re living in a world without St. Pepe’s now. Get back to

work.” The boss had folded his paper up into a tiny square and was systematically ripping the paper into tinier squares.

Jim thought about quitting. Who needs this bullshit? I’ve given my life to this place and this is how he repays me?, Jim thought. But then Jim remembered the time he jokingly mentioned quitting to The Boss after the dough mixer broke, The Boss jumped all over the idea, saying do it, he could hire a kid at half the price he was paying him. So, quitting meant starting back at the bottom of the heap. No thanks. As crappy as the job was, it was his job.

Debbie was complaining about Chad. He didn’t come in. At 4, she called him and he was apparently home sick, said he was self-quarantining. Debbie was pissed, said how come she couldn’t stay home and quarantine? Why was he so lucky? Fortunately, the weekend driver, Caleb came in to fill the shift. A lot of unhappy stoners today, just getting the Seafood Supreme, Jim thought.

On the walk home, Jim stopped in Taco Bell to get his 7-layer burrito, but learned Taco Bell discontinued The 7-layer burrito because of of an Ecuadorian bean shortage. Pandemic. Jim got the 5 dollar Chalupa. “You want weak sauce with that?” The counter kid took a special joy in saying.

On Tuesday morning, Jim called all the places, he could think would have St. Pepe’s. Mexican restaurants, grocery stores, weird grocery stores, gas stations, bowling alleys, other pizza places, bars, anywhere that sold food. No, nothing.

On Wednesday morning, Jim walked to all the places he thought might be lying to him. No, nothing.
On Thursday morning, he took a bus to all the place he thought might be lying to him. No, nothing.

On Friday morning, internet searches, lots and lots of inter-netting. He found a bottle on e-bay, but it was 3,000 dollars. Who has 3,000 dollars?

Friday night, Tony wanted to go to the woods and smoke weed. Jim didn’t smoke weed because three puffs and he was sound asleep, every time. But he did need to spill. After Tony got good and mellow, Jim told him about his St. Pepe’s, um, need and even about his masterbation runs at work.

“That’s fucked up. You’re fucked up,” Tony kept saying. He then launched into the whole ‘Everything’s a hoax or conspiracy’ rant. You name it, it’s a hoax or, worse, a conspiracy: The pandemic, the president, Democrats, Republicans, 5G Cell towers, the secret service, multinational child pedophilia rings, the show Paw Patrol, BLM, CIA, KKK, FBI, Antifa, Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, every president ever. And on and on and on. Jim dozed off from the second

hand smoke and woke up in his bed, naked. Jim rage slept all weekend.
The Last Monday of the Story. 5:30pm
The recap.

[Static noise]

Hundreds of zombies dead after run-ins with the police in ten cities…
A zombie Senator is shot in a school shooting, Congress mulls gun control…

Pictures surface of The President making out with a 13-year-old, He said it was consensual….
The ‘Fuck This Shit’ movement gains traction as 10,000 zombies willingly give themselves the disease…

Zombie Elon Musk dies in space… [Static Noise]

The neon static of the overhead lights was giving Jim a headache. He was still tired from the weekend.
A text from Tony: “I’ve got good news, I’ll be over in 10 minutes, make me a Seafood Supreme, no anchovies”

“Chad’s gone.” Jim texted.
“Then cancel that pie.” Tony responded.
Tony finally showed up at 7:30, He had a bottle of St. Pepe’s. It was only half-full and kinda old looking, but there was St. Pepe, a sombrero, priest frock, peppers for a crucifix and holding out fire like a communion wafer, winking. The real stuff.
“Yea, my ex Susie bought the stuff a long time ago and it was in the back of the cabinet, guess she forgot it. I hate hot sauce, but was looking for canned beans and found it. Did you know there’s a world- wide bean shortage,” Air Quotes, “This fucking pandemic.”
Jim grabbed the glass bottle out of Tony’s hand. “Whoa there, Kemosabe, there’s an old stoner saying…Wait. Wait. Anticipate. Do the Pepe after work, an-tic-i-pation, Jim, anticipation.”
Tony was right. Let’s take this ritual to the next level, Jim thought. After work.

Three minutes after Tony left, Jim took a masterbation run. That blowjob Jim got in High….done. Two strokes, done. Well, it has been four days, that’s the second longest dry spell since he was fifteen and spent a week at his grandma’s house.

Tonight. After work.

Jim locked his bedroom door. Stripped naked, turned the main lights off and turned on his desk lamp. He cleaned off the floor in front of his bed and placed six tea light candles in a circle on the floor. He bought them at the 24-hour grocery store on that was on the way home. He turned his TV on and put in a Mexican wrestling tape, sound down. Jim sat inside the circle of tea light candles and lit them one by one, slowly, putting the match out the way a priest sways inscense until all six were lit. He placed the St. Pepe’s bottle on the desk in front of the TV and sat Indian style. Genuflex, grab weiner, genuflex again.

Ohmmmmmmmmm, fiery hot Pepe’s, Ohmmmmmmmmmmmm, fiery hot Pepe’s. Six times, one for each candle.

Jim now had a boner he didn’t have to touch.
Jim cradled the bottle like baby Jesus and held it up to the light and it was like St. Pepe filled with blood in the light. He slowly unscrewed the cap. There was crusted sauce around the top he had to remove with a pen from his desk. With the bottle, shoulder, shoulder, forehead, stomach. And up above his head. He opened his mouth, the anticipation, cupped his tongue, held the bottle up, now tilted the St. Pepe’s down over his mouth.

Nothing, no hot goodness. Wait ten seconds. Nothing. Tap the bottom of the bottle, nothing. Then, with his right fist, he hit the bottle on it’s base hard enough to force the bottle into one of his upper teeth, chipping it, as the remanning 12 ounces of sauce dislodged and shot over his tongue, down his throat. No burn until five seconds later when a fire lit in his gut triggering his gag reflex. Up came the sauce, burning its way up his throat as he threw up the half- digested chalupa from earlier and the 12 ounces of sauce, onto two of the candles and a trail down his stomach into his pubes. A second have brought up more sauce and stomach bile. A third heave was all stomach bile as he fell backward almost tipping over the candle behind him, but instead threw up all over his chest. The fourth heave was dry ending with coughing.

And more coughing.

And when he was done throwing up, more coughing. More wet coughing. And more coughing.
More coughing. A different sicker coughing. Dammit.