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.

“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.


The wound on her hand looked like an open-mouthed slap. Kris had picked and squeezed at a large whitehead between her thumb and forefinger long past the creamy goodness, long past the thin watery puss phase, long past the watery blood phase, long past the straight-up blood phase, long past the wet scab, long past the dry scab, long past the bump phase back to the scab-less wound.

Fuck it, she thought, there’s no turning back now. Satisfied by her dexterity, her doctor-level steadiness, she used the small sword side of the cap on her plastic pen to push and dig the skin around the now friendly, approachable wound back over the skinless part like packing side dirt back into an empty grave. The digging, the prodding, the poking, the picking, the scratching, the rubbing calmed Kris. She was in control. Luckily, she found another zit, a bigger one, on her shoulder just when ritual of the hand pimple was ending.

On Monday, she wore bicycle gloves to work. She found the gloves in the back of a kitchen drawer, a reminder of the time she bought a stationary bike and the relief when she finally took the bike to Goodwill. Kris thought of going full Roarsach from the Watchmen and her last cosplay outing to explain the bicycle gloves. But that would just bring more questions.

Kris worked at Board Game Heaven, a game store, and while she could dress up as Roarschach. She’d be the only one. So, her second skin—polo, khakis, tennis socks and sneakers now added black bicycle gloves. Monday night, Kris noticed black fibers in the wound. She cleaned it with alcohol and put a band-aid on it. She still wore the bicycle gloves to work on Tuesday, because who wants to explain a band-aid?

Not that anyone brought up the gloves at work. She worked with all guys and the talk was all pop culture and board games which was fine with Kris. The guys never made eye-contact, but were always trying to sneak a peak at her breasts.

Kris described herself as curvy, a bit chubby and plain. Her looks were never a concern to her, her body just a place where her brain was. She was always in her head to the point that others thought she was spacey, but she was just

preoccupied with her own thoughts. She rarely wore make-up or a dress. Since she was a small girl, she never felt girly and was always called a tom- boy, but she once when she was six, she told her mom that she a person and not a boy. I’m a person was a common refrain in her head.

In her twenties, Kris decided she didn’t care if boys, and to be honest, most girls looked at her breasts when they talked to her, it also meant she didn’t have to make eye-contact either. She drew a cartoon once, when she was 23, about a superhero, Confidence Man, whose only superpower was the ability to maintain eye contact under any situation, defeating super villains with eye contact alone.

Noooooo, I’m wilting. I’m willlltting!!!, said supervillain Low Self-Esteem Man.

Surprisingly, she was rarely hit on or more accurately, she didn’t notice being hit on. At 35, Kris hadn’t had as many dates as her girlfriends, who were all married at this point. She’d only had sex a few times and didn’t see the fuss. Usually, the guy would spray his salty stick goo before anything had ever happened. On her hand, her stomach. Her face. Big Whoop. Blech. The three times sex went all the way, it was mostly uncomfortable and awkward and had darting eye-contact. Most guys were just apologies and no follow-up phone calls. At 30, she decided she was done with dating.

She was happy masturbating. So, much so, masturbation was meditation. Empty the mind. Let the rabbit run wild, relax, tension, tension, tension, release, endorphins and sleep. A thrice-weekly ritual better than church.

Also, she had a dog, a gorgeous blonde lab named Steve, so she told herself she knew true love, unselfish love. Dog love.

Over her lunch break, Kris would play the solo variant of a board game on an isolated table in the break room. For relaxation and to keep current on the latest games. Tuesday, she was playing Horrified, a game where you battle different Universal monsters. She reached for the rule book to refresh her memory, the game was already set-up from Monday, and under the rule book, there was a photo. The Dracula figure from the game was leaned against the Bride of Frankenstein figure with the note:

I Vant to Smooch Your Neck, Won’t You Play Games with Me? Love, An Admirer.

The photo was taken in the break room, probably with a cell phone. Kris didn’t know what to do, surely this wasn’t for her. Somebody checked out the game, set it up and took the picture. No, it was just somebody fucking with her. So Kris went to her three co-workers and her boss with the same question, “Did you do this?”
“No, get the fuck outta here!”
“Are you kidding? I have a girlfriend.”
“No, do you wanna make-out?” Jerry always took any interaction with a woman as a come-on.
“No, ew,” said Kris, shrinking and reaching for her coat.
“Not me, that would be inappropriate,” her boss said, “Three other business in this mini-mall share this break room, it could be any of them.”

No luck. Wednesday, a new picture. Dracula on top of The Bride of Frankenstein.

C’mon, just one nibble.

And at the bottom of the photo in a sans serif font,

I’m not trying to scare you and, yes, I’ve been watching you from afar. I know we have so much in common—board games, old movies, bicycling, being creative, cupcakes and a secret wild spirit. I hope to get the courage to introduce myself soon. An admirer.

Nothing to do but wait, Kris thought. That night, Kris masturbated to the thought of an anonymous stranger. It was difficult focusing on the unknown instead of nothing, but the rabbit powered through.

A week past, nothing. She went into the other shops in the mini-mall, but the employees just mostly smiled, treated her like a customer. Of course, her first thought was the bakery where she got her Friday cupcake, but the three women who ran it all seemed older and married. The utensil store had both a hipster man and hipster woman who flirted with everybody. Or it looked like flirting. Kris wasn’t too experienced with the subtle art of flirting. She always thought of the cartoon of the caveman clubbing the cavewoman as the only effective way to flirt. The bicycle shop, duh, the bicycle shop. Well, the three men who worked there couldn’t even be bother to give Kris the time of day. On four separate occasions.

Another two weeks past, the pimple on Kris’ hand was just a small red mark,

as was the shoulder pimple. She had moved on to playing Gloomhaven, a massive game that took up two tables of figures and dungeons tiles. Kris was on the third scenario out of ninety-seven.

Then, one afternoon in March, a woman sat down across the table from her, “I vant to smooch your neck, can I play as a ranger?” Strange, is this real, Kris thought.
“Um sure.” Kris said.

The woman looked a few years older than Kris, 40-ish with straight pixie-cut silver hair, like a stand-in for Tilda Swinson. She was the woman who gave Kris her red velvet cupcake with extra sour creme icing every Friday. Kris had never thought of her as anything but the cupcake lady. So……

Kris went into demo mode and explained the rules to Barb, the silver-haired pixie-cut hausfrau stand-in for Tilda Swinson. They kept the talk to the game and gameplay. Barb brushed against Kris’s shoulder as she went back to the cupcake shop. Kris could only think about the new pimple on her shoulder underneath her polo. Her mind erased by the encounter.

After work, Barb was waiting for Kris at Kris’ car. They went out for coffee. Barb was at once confident and relaxed and nervous and tentative. Barb told Kris about her marriage, her divorce, her seven-year old girl, her coming out, owning the cupcake shop, what old movies she liked, the board games she had, her first lesbian relationship and the inevitable break-up. Barb said leaving that photo was the most courageous she’s been since the divorce. Kris mostly stared into the creme of her coffee. She liked Barb and her energy and lord knows she needed more friends. But was she gay, Kris hadn’t given it much thought. She was not not gay. So why not, let’s try it, Kris thought.

The next three weeks were an old movie montage of love. Sunsets. Board Games. Walking Steve in the morning before work. Bicycling. Watching movies curled up in a blanket. Cooking, good God was Barb a great cook. Talking, mostly Barb talking, about hopes and dreams. Barb had a lot of hopes and dreams and plans to attain them.

But not much physical touch. Barb had held Kris’ hand a few times and kissed her on the cheek twice and Kris let it happen. Kris thought there should be some kind of passion feeling, but honestly didn’t know what that feeling was. She certainly liked her and felt a kind of muted love over time, but passion?

She did tell Barb about this, she didn’t use the word, this ambivalence toward

sexual relations. Barb suggested they get drunk and just do it. Rip the scab off, so to speak.

We’ve come this far, why not go all the way, Kris thought.

Sex was, as Kris feared, a disaster. She was too drunk. Barb was down there forever and it was just strange, awkward. Even the rabbit didn’t run wild. She tried so hard to clear her mind, but the act of clearing her mind only clouded it further. She came close to coming many times, but just couldn’t cross that bridge. Eventually, she told Barb it was good and rolled over in exhaustion. After a few minutes, Kris rolled over to return the favor. What a weird chore, Kris thought. Barb came quickly, like all the boys before her. Thank God, thought Kris, her tongue not even wet.

Kris went home, took a shower and passed out after a few more drinks. The next morning, a Saturday, Kris woke up and realized she was probably asexual. She popped a zit on the underside of her leg, left it alone and she and Steve slept peacefully the rest of the day.

Later that week, Kris told Barb she just wasn’t interested in sex at all. It was her, not Barb.
But, over time, they became friends. Awkward friends, but friends none-the- less.

Kris was a bridesmaid at Barb’s wedding two years later. Kris bought a tux for Steve and took him as her date.


Reaperman Love

Reaperman Love

(I don’t agree with this)

Oh yea, Uh-huh,

(sex noises)

The future, baby, That’s for You and Me.

Man to Woman
Rubber to Rubber,
Mask to Mask,
Someday Skin to skin and skin and skin and skin…

That’s the future, Baby, You and me.

Our love will burn the sun out,
Scorch the earth down,
Sear the soul clean. Sear the Soul Clean and clean and clean.

The the future baby, You plus me

Holy flaming Jesus,
Our love is greater the Bible.

When we get together, We’ll burn the heretic, Fry the leperous, Flame the spastics Crisp the Crazed,

and Obliterate the undeserving.

All must go to please…

Holy Flaming Jesus Holy flaming Jesus Holy Flaming Jesus.

You and Me me and you You and Me

Alpha Omega omega alpha Alpha Omega Alpha Omega

The mysterious power.

Clip Break (Spoken)

Oh yea, I remember the day we met. The skies were thick with sexy black smoke and my flamethrower was ready to fire, gassed up and good to go, one itchy trigger and I’ll unload, spill my righteous fire, Spill my righteous fire, spill my righteous fire on the creamy white uh, earth.

Then I saw you in the clearing, an angel in black rubber, head-chooping machete in one hand, head in the other. Head in the other, head in the other, head in the other.
OOOO, the crease in that rubber suit said you were for me, virus be damned.

My quarantine cutie…

I want to reap you. I Want to reap you. I want to reap you. Reap you.

Reap you. Reap you.

Sow what I reap. Sow what I reap. Sow what I reap.

(Clip Break)

Honey, I’m gonna build you a sexy love machine.
It’ll grind the bones and rend the flesh and make your life easy. It’ll wrench the blood and cream the chaff and purify your world. They’ll say it can’t be done, shouldn’t be done.

But they don’t understand.
They don’t understand our love. Understand the future.
The future baby, that’s for you and me.



“Artists are parallel to scientists. Scientists have know way of knowing the result of an experiment beforehand. The same can be said for creating art.” Yosuke Euno.

(7:15am, one cup of coffee.)

Like. Like. Like. Like. Like Love. Agreed. HAHAHA. OMG That is Soooooo Cute. Like. Like.
Jimmy, Why haven’t you called frown emoji? love emoji. Like.Like. Ooooh, I could eat that puppy up!….Agreed. Yes. Like. Starry-Eyed Emoji. Like. Like Like.

(9:15am, three cups of coffee)

Yes, I’ll get that done by 3. Like. Sheesh, Obermeyer’s on my back again. Mimosas for lunch at Mamasitas? Cheerleader emoji. Drink Emoji. Yea! Emoji. Back to work. Like. Like. LOLOLOL. Like. Oooooo, I could eat that puppy up, delish! Like. Love, Love, Love. I have one of Those. Unhappy Face Emoji. Jim, I thought we had fun the other night. I hope we could meet up again. Text me up! Shrug Emoji. Like. Everybody, We are soooooo fucked. Share. Copy. Paste. Everybody, we are soooooo fucked. Read This Now. Retweet. Like. Like. Retweet. Yea, Yea 3 O’ Clock. Like. Like. Like. Like.

(11:15am, Five cups of coffee.)

Like. Party Balloons. It’s almost Mimosa O’Clock. Starry Eyes Emoji. Love, Love, Love, Love. Dear Marveline Cosmetics, Yes, I would like a free sample of your new wrinkle cream, Sincerely Sharon Bonngartner, Beatrice, Nebraska. PS. A Lifelong fan of Everything Marveline. XOXOXOXO. Like. OMG Like, Like, Like. Dear Jimmy, I’m still Waiting. Are you okay (You better be dead in a ditch) Smiley face. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Cool, ok. Ok. Ok. On it. Yea. yea. Ok. Ok. Alright, after lunch. Ok. Ok. That is sooooooo cute, I could eat that baby up, yum yum yum. Ok. Ok. Ok. You Betcha. Right. Ok. Ok. I’l have it by three. Sprinter emoji. Gotta run, finish up the contract. Ok. Bye. Let’s go to lunch, bitches.

(1:15 pm, Four Mimosas)

Like. OK Jim, fancy fucking car Masters, why haven’t you texted me you prick! I thought we had a connection. I thought maybe you were the one. And three days and you don’t text. What gives you the right! Watch out buster. Eggplant emoji Scissors emoji. Like. Like. Share. Yes, I’m almost finished. I’ll be done by three. Jesus Fucking Christ Janet, Obermeyer is living in my ass. Can you come over here? Like. Love. Love. Janet says hi. Wooo, looking good girl. What a cute kitty. Like. Like. Like.

(3:15 pm. Two More Cups of Coffee.)

Ok. No. No. No. No. The Printer ate it. No. Ok. No. Yes, tomorrow. Right. No. I’m sorry. No. Ok. Ok. Ok. Bye. Hey Janet, I just got reamed. Bye. Ok. Yes, Right away. Ok. Dear James Masters, You errant piece of shit. I hope you die of syphillis with all your whores. I hope your dirty, tiny thing falls off in a fire. You forced this, I never want to see you again (like you ever contacted me, who does that??) You missed out, asshole. Sharon. Dislike. Dislike. Dislike.

(9:15pm, five glasses of wine)

hahahahahahaha, you lost your phone. hahahahahaha. Yea, somebody stole my phone. I was hacked. That sooooo wasn’t me. I am so going to kick Janet’s ass. Yes. Ok. Ok. I love to. See you then. Starry eyes emoji. Hand emoji eggplant emoji. Love, Sharon. Like. Like. Like.

Evelyn’s Complicated Tubing

Clown Shoes. Yea, he’s real Clown Shoes. Pure Clown Shoes 24-7. The neon car sprayed muddy shit all over his ordinary clown shoes, all over his ordinary clown suit. The sleet pebbles Yosemite Samming his clown feet into the clown ground. Jostled, reoriented, dancing backward, he sought shelter under the bank awning.

She was across the street in so many ways. Dry, but uncomfortable, waiting for him and the bus and the conversation Clown Shoes doesn’t know is coming.

I can’t. I just can’t.

She sees children everywhere, a reverse Where’s Waldo of children. They’re fucking everywhere. Dancing, squealing children playing in the grey rain. Squealing, screaming children on the insides of her eyelids. Screaming, shrieking children pounding out the grooves in her brain.

Now, Clown Shoes tap dancing like an imbecile Gene Kelly, waiting for the light. Soon, he’ll be here, man-spreading, shaking his umbrella and taking up every available inch. Another child. Oxygen all gone.

There’s gotta be a pamphlet for this. There is, but not for this, this.

She looked in the pop psychology section of the Waldenbooks. Nothing.

In thirty seconds, she’ll need to blurt the news out. No, “How was your day?” or “Call your mother, she has gout.” Not again. Not this time. Dodging her news meant failure. She didn’t make the appointment, spend the money, lay on that cold table, endure weeks of hidden pain for “How was your day?” Not this time.

Clown Shoes just gave a random kid a candy cigarette. That’s his thing, his way to cause chaos among the under-six set. Usually, the parents always intervene before his elaborate smoking clown show.

Not this time. He missed the light. He mimed an elaborate Greta Garbo puff. And, then, the kid actually took the sugar stick.

Where the fuck is this kid’s parents? Who does this?

She knew the implications. She kept telling herself, every day for weeks, her decision had jack shit to do with him.

But she knew THAT was bullshit.

Another light passed and now Clown Shoes and the random kid were mime-dancing in the rain. Singing in the rain.

Where were the police or child services?

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Robot up. Be professional, cool, distant. You’ve got a job to do, she thought. Say it, grab your purse, sharply pivot on your heel and leave, board the bus outta here and be done. Don’t look back.

That’s when the bus wheezed up in front of her and the stop. Cock- blocked, or more accurately, pussy blocked by a Greyhound. Clown Shoes lost behind a sea of the unwashed.

Some time.
She fished through her purse looking for gum. The bus, after a few

minutes—-how much shit is in this purse(?)—-popped the clutch and left like a gas and metal Hindenburg.

And there was Clown Shoes, suddenly, ten inches from her face, lips pursed, waiting for a kiss.

Panic and electricity washed over her like a successful orgasm in front of others.

She screamed into his face, “I had my tubes tied! I don’t want children! I don’t want you, you Clown Shoes motherfucker!”


The next bus arrived thirty-five minutes later. ###