Category: short story


In an alternate universe not terribly far away but terribly far off, the President was worried.

“I’m worried,” he confided to his chief-of-staff, “and I’m worried that people will find out that I’m worried. And then they’ll try to make me look bad!”

“I don’t think they’ll do that, sir.”

“Oh yes they will! They always do!”

“Yes sir.”

“They’re jealous of me!”

“Yes sir.”

“I’m a very intelligent person, you know.”

“I know.”

“I know all the right words and everything.”

“Yes sir.”

“My intelligence is very intellectual.”

“I know.”

“One of the great memories of all time!”

“Yes sir.”

“Do you think I should challenge them to an IQ contest?”

“Well, I don’t know about that, Mr. President…”

The President eyed him suspiciously. “Whose side are you on anyway? You’re supposed to be my chief-of-stuff!”

“That’s chief-of-staff.”

“Huh? Are you sure about that?”

“Pretty sure.”

“You’re not making that up?”

“No sir.”

“Well then,” the President said, being the quick thinker he is, “quit trying to make me look bad, and summon my chief-of-stuff!”

“You don’t have one.”

“I don’t?”

“No sir.”


“Yes sir.”

The President shook his head in disgust. “Damn it!” he cursed, “No wonder I can’t get anything done around here!”

“Yes sir.”

There was a short silence.

“Wait a minute!” the President said suddenly, “Maybe I’m onto something here! Did Obama have a chief-of-stuff? Or Clinton?”

“No sir.”

The President’s mind raced backwards at the speed of light.

“And what about Bush?”

“As far as I know, sir, no President has ever had a chief-of-stuff.”

“Well, there you go!” the great man proclaimed, “No wonder this country’s in such a poor state!”

“Yes sir.”

“And it took a super-genius like me to figure that one out!”

“I know.”

“Okay then. From now on you’re no longer my chief-of-staff, you’re my chief-of-stuff!”

“Yes sir. Thank-you sir.”

“Because that’ll fix everything. I like to fix things.”

“Yes sir.”

Another short silence followed.

“Well?” the President demanded with an icy glare, “Are you going to congratulate me or what?”

“I was just about to. Um, good one, sir. Congratulations.”

“Don’t mention it. I’m very modest.”

“Yes sir.”

“It’s one of my best qualities.”

“I know.”

“Just be sure to tell Fox news so they can prove to all loyal Americans that I have a very good brain. One of the great memories of all time!”

“Yes sir.”

“So where were we?”

“I’m not sure, sir.”

“There you go again! If you can’t say where we were before, how can you find out where we are later on like right now?”

“We’re right here, sir.”

“But that’s what I’m talking about! Where is ‘right here’?”

“In the Oval Office, sir.”

“The Oval Office?”

“Yes sir.”

The President chuckled arrogantly. “You moron!” he sneered, “It’s the Opal Office, not the Oval Office! Because it’s shaped like an opal. Melania will back me up on that because she’s got her own line of jewelry.”

“Actually, sir, that’s a common mistake everyone makes. It’s really called the Oval Office because it’s shaped like an oval.”

“You must mean an oval opal.”

“Yes sir, that’s right.”

“Well… maybe nowadays. But just don’t contradict me anymore!”

“No sir, I mean yes sir!”

“It really is tremendously rude!”

“I know, sir.”


“I mean yes sir!”

“That’s better. You know, I used to drink Ovaltine as a kid. One of the great memories of all time!”

“Yes sir.”

“I’ve also got a pornographic memory, you know.”

“I know. We paid her off.”

“You did?”

“Yes sir. We got the money out of your official campaign slut fund.”

“Good. Nobody has more respect for women than me. Nobody!”

“Yes sir.”

The President’s brow darkened.

“And how do those damn bitches pay me back? Whining about this and that and trying to make me look bad! Then I’m nice enough to offer to pay them off, but do they take my money and thank me like any decent normal person should? No! They’re just a bunch of greedy-ass, loud-mouthed, stuck-up whores, if you ask me!”

“Yes sir.”

“And you know how whores are. It takes one to know one.”

“I know.”

“Maybe I should sue them!”

“You already did.”

“Then I’ll challenge them to an IQ contest!”

“You are very smart.”

“That’s because I comprehend stuff very well, better than almost anybody. I’m like a smart person.”

“I know.”

“One of the great memories of all time! Have I told you that before?”

“Yes sir.”

“I thought so. Did you know that IQ stands for inquisition quiz?”

“No sir.”


“I mean yes sir, I see!”

“IC? No, you idiot, not IC, IQ! How will you ever learn from my wisdom if you don’t pay attention?”

“Sorry, Mr. President. You’re right as usual.”

“I’m surrounded by idiots!”

“Yes sir.”

“Anyway, I’m worried. And I’m worried about this whole Russia business, too. Because every time I try to fix it someone else messes things up! And it’s no good for our democracy because I’m the one who was elected, which means I’m the only one who counts! So I get to make the rules because America loves a winner and I’m a winner! The one who won the big one!”

“Yes sir.”

“One of the great memories of all time!”

“I know.”

“So this special prosecutor, can I sue him?”

“I don’t think so, sir. And I don’t think it would be a good idea to challenge him to an IQ contest, either.”


“What you should probably do is tell him that Russia has absolutely no influence over you, and that you’ve had very little contact with Putin.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Vlad doesn’t want me bringing his name up.”


“He said I could call him that, but only in private. In front of everyone else it’s Mr. Putin. He doesn’t want to get involved in US politics, you know. And I don’t blame him!”

“I see.”

“So now I figure I’ll just tell this special prosecutor joker that I don’t remember any of that Russia stuff that never happened during the election which I won without any help from all those Russians who didn’t help me.”

“I think that would be smart.”

“I told you I’ve got a big brain. One of the great memories of all time!”

“I know. But in the meantime it might be helpful to create some sort of diversion.”

“In the meantime, hmm… I like the sound of that! In the meantime tell me what you mean ‘in the meantime’.”

“Well, for starters maybe we could do something for Puerto Rico.”

“Puerto Rico? But I already brought them paper towels and everything! What more do they want, for crying out loud?!”

“It would be a very smart public relations ploy to promise them additional aid. And it would definitely make you look good.”

“Well I’m not buying it, and unless I’m not mistaken Puerto Rico is Spain’s problem anyway!”

“Yes sir, Mr. President.”

“When they build that wall, then we can make a deal!”

“Yes sir.”

“But I do like your diversion angle. It’s the kind of honest, straight-forward deception I’ve always preferred. I’m really just a simple-minded kind of guy.”

“I know.”

“Anyway, me and myself have been cooking up some of our own diversion scenarios, and I hope you notice that I’m using lots of really big tremendous words.”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. Anyway, one of our best scenarios, one of mine actually, unless it turns out to be a bad idea, is that I was born with an evil identical twin black-sheep brother who was no good. He was almost exactly the same as me, but my hair was way nicer. That’s why my parents were so ashamed of him that they had to keep him secretly locked-up in the Bronx Zoo. With the baboons. He blended in perfectly and even became their leader, until one day he slipped out on a banana peel and escaped. He became jealous of me, just like everyone else, so one time he put knock-out pills in my Captain Krunch cereal. Then he tied me up and went out and colluded with Russia to make me look bad. Luckily, I escaped with karate and chased him all the way to Hawaii where I challenged him to an inquisition quiz contest. But he cheated by memorizing facts and stuff, so I punched him very tremendously right in the face and he fell down into some quicksand and disappeared forever. The end. I think that covers all the bases. What do you think?”

“Well sir, Mr. President sir, I’m not sure your story is all that believable.”

“Why do people keep saying that to me? Can’t they understand the pressures I face every day, and the tough decisions I have to make? Mar-a-lago or the Bedminster golf club? Cherries-Jubilee or Chocolate Mousse? It’s not easy, you know!”

“I know, sir. Maybe we should take a break for a few minutes.”

“Now that you mention it, I am tremendously hungry! All this executive thinking is very, very hard work!”

“Yes sir.”

“I think I’ll order a sandwich.”

“Good thinking, sir.”

“Well, you know what they say: An army brunches on it’s stomach!”

“Sir! If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing?”

“Using the room service button to order my sandwich, dumb ass, what do you think?”

“But sir! That’s not a room service button! It’s the doomsday button!!”

“Nonsense!” the President barked, “I’ve lived in hotels for years so I’m a expert on room service. And believe me, this is a room service button!”

And because the President didn’t want to be contradicted anymore, it was.












“I do know a recreation that’s like the one Daddy is talking about!” Mommy stated, making both boys wish to know the game a lot, “It’s known as: ‘What is the neatest thing about God?’ and every one of us has to provide you with one really great point we like about God. Who desires to go first?”

Lee and Larry jumped and shouted: “ME! ME!” waving their arms in the air like they do at school. They both actually started hovering.

Finally, Mommy mentioned: “Properly, Lee, since you might be two minutes older than Larry, you’ll be able to go first!”

“Goody goody goody!” said Lee, “The neatest thing I like about God is that He created girl bosoms!”

“Oh boy oh boy!” said Larry, “I’m an ass man myself so I guess the neatest thing I like about God is internet porn!”

“Boys, boys!” scolded Mommy, “You’re missing the whole point of our game! You see, God loves us more than everyone else because our shit doesn’t stink! And the neatest thing you should like about God is that He created Hell for everyone else who’s not like us so we won’t have to tolerate them and all their weirdo shithole friends!”

“Thank-you God!” said Lee.

“Amen!” added Larry.

“Oh well,” sighed God, shaking His head sadly,  “better luck next time…”

For as always, God had the last word.


Blackheart Bart was furious! His bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados were nowhere to be seen and, as if that wasn’t enough, the saloon was all out of diet Fresca.

“Dang it!” Blackheart Bart exclaimed, “Where in the blazes are they?!”

Mort Short, his cohort, tried to reassure him. “Probably back at the Fresca factory.” he replied.

“Doggone it, you knucklehead!” Blackheart Bart roared, “I was talking about our bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados! We’ll need them to help us fight off the lawless vigilante posse that I heard was being assembled to hunt us down!”

“I know,” Mort replied, “What a bummer!”

“So where are they?” Blackheart Bart demanded.

“I just heard they’re being assembled to hunt us down.”

“Not the vigilante posse, you idiot!” snapped Blackheart Bart, “Our bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados!”

“Oh, um, well,” Mort stammered, “I suppose they should be showing up soon. Anytime now I would think, in fact.”

“They were supposed to be here at noon, and it’s almost twelve-thirty now!” Blackheart Bart fumed. He looked suspiciously at Mort. “Are you sure, absolutely sure, that you sent them the message exactly as I worded it?”

Though an outlaw and a desperado himself, Mort Short’s feelings were hurt. “Sure I’m sure!” he affirmed in an assertive yet whiney nasal tone, “‘Twelve o’clock noon at the saloon’.”

“That’s the message all right.” Blackheart Bart admitted. He was puzzled. Sure his bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados were a bunch of cheating, lying, shiftless, thieving, no-good sneaks and cut-throats, but they were always very punctual. It was one of the things he appreciated most about them.

Mort Short was still a bit miffed. “I may be a sniveling, back-stabbing rat-faced little weasel who’s no better than a snake in the grass,” he proclaimed, “but I do have my pride!”

“Okay! Okay!” said Blackheart Bart, “Make like a sheriff and give it a rest!”

But Mort Short wasn’t one to give up when he could run, and neither was his mouth. “I wrote the message down right here!” he continued, pulling out an official-looking piece of paper, “‘Twelve o’clock noon at the saloon’. See? Right there!”

And with that final pronouncement he waved the telegraph office paper right under Blackheart Bart’s nose. Which perhaps he shouldn’t have.

“Wait just a dang minute!” Blackheart Bart said suddenly. His eye had caught sight of something that didn’t seem quite right. Snatching the paper from Mort Short’s grasp, he examined it more closely.

“Doggone it!” he finally exploded, “You spelt it wrong, you dang chucklehead!”

“Huh?” asked Mort.

“You spelt it wrong! No wonder they’re not here!”


“Twelve o’clock noon at the salon! That’s what you wrote! At the salon!”

“What’s a salon?” Mort asked.

Blackheart Bart thought quickly. “It must be that new-fangled place that just opened up down the street. They call it the ‘Bouquet Corral’.”

“I thought that was some kind of tropical reef in the Carribbean.”

“Dang it, Mort! There you go again with your sloppy spelling!”

“Well then,” said Mort, anxious to change the subject, “I reckon we’d better just mosey on over there directly.”

“Mosey, hell!” Blackheart Bart retorted, “We’ll damn well skedaddle all the way, and I just hope to God that we’re not too late!”

“Jeepers!” said Mort.


In the meantime, a large group of heavily-armed vigilantes were closing in on their quarry. They were led by a colorful old mountain-man tracker named Chris Lee Adams. Chris Lee Adams was quite a character in his own right, and had lived an extraordinary life. As a young man he had gone to the mountains to find himself, but then he got lost. He was discovered ten years later by Japanese tourists on holiday, who returned him to the pick-up window at Fort Toogo. But he had difficulty adjusting to modern nineteenth-century life, and while on a shopping expedition to Mallsville he got lost again. Another ten years would pass before he was found, this time by teenage valley girls who, on a dare, returned him to the mountains once more and told him to “like, get lost”. This he promptly did, but fortunately he was taken in by a family of Care Bears who raised him as their own, teaching him vital hunting and tracking skills, as well as modern interpretative dance. Those were the happiest years of his life, and he might never have left that wilderness paradise if he hadn’t gotten sick and tired of all that porridge. But leave he finally did, in the middle of hibernation season when it’s difficult to get a date anyway, and he  returned to civilization to become a much sought-after  grizzled old mountain-man tracker and dance instructor.

At the moment he was sniffing the ground on all fours, with his backside raised high in the air. He took a handful of dirt and poured it into one of his ears, then rolled over onto his back.

“Does he have to do all that?” asked Janus Theanus, sponsor of the expedition. He was aptly named.

“His methods may seem unconventional, but they’re effective,” answered Hunter Bounty. He would later go on to invent the paper towel.

“He was taught these tricks by the bears themselves,” added Yappy Pappy Sappy, “I also hear he once spent a lost weekend with some wild and crazy dogs.”

“So what’s he doing now?” Janus Theanus wondered.

“He wants you to rub his tummy,” Hunter Bounty explained.

“I’m not going to rub his tummy!”

“Oh come on,” said Yappy Pappy Sappy, “What harm could it do?”

“That’s right,” agreed Hunter Bounty, “Besides, he might get mean if you don’t.”

“This is ridiculous!” complained Janus Theanus.

Suddenly Chris Lee Adams sat straight up and began dragging his buttocks along the ground. It was a special canine technique he had learned from those wild and crazy Wisenheimer dogs, and resembled the sight of a dog with an itch it couldn’t quite reach pulling itself across the carpet.

“Yup,” he said, “They’re close by. I can feel it.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” urged Janus Theanus, “Let’s go!”

“Not until you rub my tummy!” Chris Lee Adams stubbornly insisted.

Janus Theanus rolled his eyes heavenward. “Oh, for crying out loud!” he cried out loud.


When Blackheart Bart and Mort Short arrived at the “Bouquet Corral” it was almost one o’clock. They were greeted at the door by a wiry old geezer dressed in an apron and wearing a French beret. He looked them up and down with a critical eye.

“May I help you ‘gentlemen’?” he enquired.

“You’d better just hope so, bub!” Blackheart Bart warned him, “I’m Blackheart Bart, this is Mort Short, and we’re here looking for our bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados!”

“I see,” said the old man, “Do you have an appointment?”

“No, I don’t have no dang appointment!” Blackheart Bart bellowed.

“Well, there’s no reason to get snippy about it, sir. We do accept walk-ins.”

“Say,” Mort Short interjected, “haven’t I seen you around somewhere before?”

“Probably down at the ‘Rusty Spoon’,” the old man replied, “I used to be the cook there. Name’s Vittles.”

“That’s right!” Mort Short agreed, “Now I remember you. Your tuna casserole is out of this world!”

Vittles blushed. “Gee thanks,” he said, “It’s always nice to be appreciated.”

“So what are you doing here?” Mort inquired, “Is this your place?”

“Sure is!” Vittles acknowledged proudly, “The only full-service hair salon within a thousand miles! When fashion-consciousness finally makes it’s way west I’ll be ready!”

“On the cutting edge, I guess,” Mort observed wryly.

“That’s right!” Vittles continued, “You’d be surprised at how much good grooming and proper personal hygiene can add to your overall quality of life. Sometimes a stylish haircut and the right color-coordinated outfit is just what you need to give you that small but decisive edge in a free-for-all shootout or gun-fighting showdown.”

“Dang it!” thundered Blackheart Bart, “Just answer my doggone question! Have you seen my bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados or not?!”

Vittles blinked twice, then scratched himself where the sun don’t shine. “I ain’t seen no one all morning,” he replied, “but I was busy giving the sheriff a rinse and a perm. But my assistants may have seen them. Trevor! Leonardo! Raphael!”

The three assistants appeared from another room.

“Yes, boss?” answered the one named Trevor.

“This here is Blackheart Bart and his cohort Mort Short,” Vittles explained, “They’re looking for their bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados. Any of you boys seen ’em?”

The three assistants exchanged glances back and forth.

“No sir,” said Trevor.

“Me neither,” added Leonardo.

“I suppose not,” agreed Raphael.

But there was something strange in the demeanor of the three assistants, as if they were holding back on some kind of inside joke.

“Say,” said Mort quizzically, “haven’t I seen you fellas around somewhere before?”

Suddenly the dam burst, and the trio broke out into unabashed laughter.

“You guys!” exclaimed Mort, suddenly realizing the true identity of the three.

“Zeke? Scully? Rattler?” asked Blackheart Bart incredulously, “Is it really you?”

“That’s right, boss,” said Zeke, aka Trevor.

Blackheart Bart was dumbfounded. It was indeed his bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados, only all clean and gussied-up, like Sunday morning church-going folk.

“Vittles here gave us complete makeovers,” explained Scully, also known as Leonardo, “and he’s offered to take on all three of us as assistants.”

“And if everything works out, we’ll each get our own franchise!” added Rattler, aka Raphael.

“But you’re outlaws!” Blackheart Bart was quick to point out, “And desperados!”

“That may be,” answered Zeke, “but the main reason we became outlaws is because we weren’t good for anything else.”

“That’s right,” agreed Scully, “and the reason we were so desperate in the first place was because we couldn’t do a thing with our hair. But now that’s all changed!”

“I see,” said Blackheart Bart, “And you, Rattler?”

“From this day forward I will no longer steal locks, I will style them!” Rattler vowed solemnly. He had always been the poet of the group.

Blackheart Bart knew he was running out of options.

“Didn’t Mort tell you a big posse was after us?” he asked in desperation.

“No,” Zeke replied, “not a posse.”

Blackheart Bart pulled out the telegraph office paper and looked it over once again. “Dang it, Mort!” he yelled, “You and your sloppy spelling!”

“Oops,” said Mort.

An uncomfortable silence followed.

“Well,” Blackheart Bart finally said, in a fatalistic manner, “I’ve never been one to get in the way of a man bettering himself. I guess me and Mort will just have to live out the rest of our lives as hunted fugitives, always on the run, never having any peace of mind, and always looking back over our shoulders.”

“Oh well,” said Scully, philosopher of the gang, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

“Perhaps not,” proposed Vittles, “There may be a better way…”


Back at the vigilante camp, Janus Theanus had finally relented and agreed to scratch Chris Lee Adams’ tummy. Unfortunately, when he did so he located himself in just such a position that when he hit the mountain-man’s abdominal “sweet spot” the resulting involuntary kick of Chris Lee Adams’ foot found it’s way directly to Janus Theanus’ family jewels. Later, when the swelling had subsided to the size of a grapefruit, the posse was once again back on track, and it wasn’t long before they found themselves outside the front entrance of the “Bouquet Corral”.

“Yup,” stated Chris Lee Adams, “that’s where the trail leads, alright. Right in there.”

Janus Theanus pounded on the door. “We know you’re in there, Blackheart Bart!” he shouted, “Come up with your hands out!” This was his first posse, so he was a little bit nervous and somewhat clumsy.

An old man in a French beret stuck his head out the door. “May I help you gentlemen?” he asked.

“Name’s Janus Theanus and me and my lawless vigilante posse are here looking for Blackheart Bart and his bad-guy gang of outlaws and desperados!”

“Do you have an appointment?” Vittles queried.

Hunter Bounty was the first to respond. “No sir, we don’t,” he replied, “but I’ve got a coupon good for a free rinse with every perm.”

“Certainly, sir,” said Vittles, “that’s been our most popular special all week long.”

“Look here!” growled Janus Theanus threateningly, “Are you going to cooperate, or do we have to blast our way in?”

“That won’t be necessary,” said Vittles, prudently moving out of the way.

The posse burst on through the door with guns drawn and hammers cocked. Once inside, however, all they saw was an old lady and her daughter being attended to by three dandified city-slicker hair stylists. The old lady was just about the ugliest woman any of them had ever seen, although her daughter was kind of attractive in a rat-faced weasel type of way.

“The trail leads over there!” said Chris Lee Adams, pointing to a rear window.

“Of course,” declared Yappy Pappy Sappy, “the old back window ploy!”

“Come on men,” exhorted Janus Theanus, “Let’s get after them!”

“Does this mean I don’t get my free rinse and perm?” asked Hunter Bounty.

Janus Theanus looked at him coldly. “What do you think?”

“Oh, fiddlesticks!” Hunter Bounty replied.



Janus Theanus and his lawless vigilante posse continued to follow the “trail” of Blackheart Bart for the next three and a half years. Unbeknownst to them, what they were really following was the scent of Blackheart Bart and Mort Short’s bad-guy cowboy outfits, which Vittles had Pony Expressmailed all the way out to Death Valley for dry cleaning. During this time, Chris Lee Adams was the first one to utter the now-famous phrase: “I’m really dragging ass today!”

Vittles, through hard work and mental illness, turned the “Bouquet Corral” into the most popular and successful full-service hair salon within a thousand miles. His full name, as it turned out,  was Vittles Sassoon, and he was none other than the great-granddaddy of you-know-who.

As for Blackheart Bart and Mort Short they of course rode off into the sunset. Unfortunately, however, they were blinded by the glare of the sun, which caused them to fall into the Grand Canyon.

But that, pardners, is a “hole” ‘nuther story.





“You know,” remarked George as he emptied the contents of the dustpan into the Colonel’s pocket, “If I had kept all of the dirt that I’ve swept up over the years, by now I’d have my own mountain.”

“Shut-up, you moron,” sneered Sid. He so enjoyed these discussions.

The Colonel suddenly became quite agitated. “I’ll tell you what it is with Generation X!” he sputtered. “They’re jealous because the Baby Boomers wrote all the best rock and roll songs and didn’t save them any!”

Bernard didn’t know what to say. “I don’t know what to say,” he said.

“Well well well well well,” said Stan. He felt confident in his loose-fit jeans.

“Um,” interjected Andy. The room became thick with silence as all eyes focused in upon him. He felt like the proverbial insect under the microscope. His hands began to get clammy and he wished he’d never been born. “Looks like rain,” he finally blurted out.

“Yes indeed,” agreed the Colonel.

“Of course it looks like rain, you moron,” snapped Sid, “It’s been raining all morning!”

“I didn’t see the weather forecast,” confided George, “No wonder I’m so wet.”

Bernard still didn’t know what to say. How he wished that he’d paid more attention to those designer-jeans commercials!

“The hell with Mike,” chortled the Colonel, “I want to be like Wilt!”

Raucous laughter broke out among all except Andy, who was still worrying about his sweaty palms. “Why the hell don’t they make palm deodorant?” he wondered. He felt enraged, yet powerless to do anything about it.

“Well well well well well,” said Stan.

Bernard cursed silently, wishing he’d thought of that.

And then it happened. The Colonel farted.

Stan lunged back instinctively, away from that loud report, but unfortunately he was only inches away from the window and thus crashed through it, plummeting to the ground below. Bernard’s mind raced at the speed of light. He’d seen something like this once on television, and he suddenly knew exactly what to say. But then he forgot.

“He fell out the window,” said Andy.

“Yes indeed,” said the Colonel.

“Don’t worry,” said George, “I was a lifeguard. I know what to do.” And with that he dove out of the window, only realizing later the unfortunate mistake which he had just made.

Bernard shifted his buttocks to a more comfortable position. His mind was a blank but he felt compelled to say something. Anything. “Um!” he cried out, suddenly inspired, “Wait for me!” Beaming with new found confidence, he also hurled himself out of the window.

All this time Andy’s palms had been sweating profusely. He’d always secretly dreamed of becoming a thrill-seeking  daredevil circus stuntman and at this very moment he felt terribly inferior, like one week-old vintage wine. His throat became dry and his tongue began to itch. It was too much for him to bear, and with a hoarse, tortured scream he flung himself out of the window as well.

“Damn!” said Sid, “Not again!” For this exact same sequence of events had occurred just two weeks earlier.

The Colonel grimaced sheepishly. “I hate rainy days!” he said.






I kissed her. Hard.

“Ouch!” she said.

“Sorry,” I replied.

“Bastard!” she hissed, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry!”

“Jeepers!” I exclaimed.

But it was too late for sweet talk. She had gotten amnesia and wandered off.

“Where did you go?!” I cried out.

“I don’t know!” she replied, “I’ve got amnesia and can’t remember!”

I looked everywhere I could see but she was gone. And to make matters worse it was almost dinner time.

“My innermost feelings are hungry!” I cried out in anguish, “Please make me a sandwich!”

But there was no reply. I was beside myself, which made me very angry.

“Damn it!” I warned myself, “Don’t stand so close to me!”

But it was too late for diplomacy so I kicked myself in the face. Normally, something like this would give me amnesia, but since I was already suffering from a previous case of amnesia that I had forgotten about, it instead brought back all the memories of a similar kick to the face from years ago.

“Ouch!” I said.

So I guess it really is true what they say. Love hurts.



“It always starts out the same. It’s a beautiful day and I’m on the beach. I’m just relaxing, soaking up some sunshine and checking out the babes, and it’s all good. And I notice these two girls in particular who are really giving me the eye. One of them is a beautiful, well-built redhead in a skimpy little red and white polka-dot bikini. The other is a bit younger, also with red hair, and dressed in an equally revealing blue and white polka-dot bikini. And like I said, they’re both giving me the eye and sending out all the right signals.”

The doctor licked his lips in anticipation. He knew it was about to get interesting.

“Are they sisters?” he asked.

“I don’t know.”

“But they both have red hair.”

“That’s right.”

“Do you have a thing for redheads?”

“Well, I do love Lucy.”

“I see.”

“Anyway, the first one, with the red polka-dots, gives me this big smile while at the same time the other one starts singing. Then they both start dancing for me in the most exotic and erotic manner I’ve ever seen. And I can’t take my eyes off of them, nor do I want to! It’s as if I’m under some kind of hypnotic spell.”

“And how does that make you feel?”

“Oddly enough, it makes me thirsty.”


“Yes. For a cold, delicious beverage of some sort. It is, after all, a hot day.”

“And so are the girls.”

“That’s right. Then, as if on cue, red polka-dot bikini girl offers me an ice-cold, refreshing bottle of cola.”

“And of course you take it.”

“Well I try to, but before I can grab it blue polka-dot bikini girl hits me over the head with her own bottle of cola and insists that I drink it instead. This infuriates red polka-dot bikini girl who tells me I better drink hers’ or else! Soon they’re both beating me mercilessly with their soda bottles.”

“And how does this make you feel? Hurt? Angry? Confused?”

“Actually, it kind of turns me on. So I say: ‘You seem like a couple of nice girls. How about a threesome?'”

“You said that?”

“Well it is, after all, my dream.”

“And then what happens?”

“They both become convulsed with rage and start ripping the very flesh from my bones, which is when I decide to make a break for it. And after a wild, madcap chase across the sand I find myself hiding out behind this bar called the Kit-Kat Club. There I am, dripping blood, pouring out sweat and barely able to catch my breath, but none of that seems to matter to me anymore. The main thing is I’m thirstier than ever, and come hell or high water I’m going to get myself a cold, delicious beverage!”

“I see.”

“Just about then this short little guy shows up dressed up in a loud Hawaiian shirt and wearing this very strange-looking hat. He’s just about the silliest-looking son-of-a-bitch I’ve ever seen, but there’s a saint-like expression on his face which makes me trust him completely. Then, like an angel of mercy, he holds out a tall, cold, refreshing glass of fruit juice and asks me if I’d like a nice Hawaiian punch. Well, by this time I’m thirstier than the leading paper towel so I say: ‘Sure I would!’ But then, BAM, without any warning or provocation he sucker punches me with a vicious right hook and down I go.”

“And how does this make you feel? Victimized? Betrayed? Exploited?”

“Not really. For some reason I feel like I deserve it. Then this other fellow comes over, and at first I’m afraid he’s going to offer me something to drink as well because at this point I’m so thirsty I could hardly refuse. But he just smiles and hands me a potato chip.”

“A potato chip?”

“That’s right. And not just any potato chip. It’s the most wondrous potato chip ever known and the most beautiful and perfect potato chip ever created!”

“I once heard about a piece of cake like that, but I couldn’t believe it.”

“Well, you can believe this. So I eat it up and it’s the most incredibly delicious taste-treat I’ve ever experienced! It’s the crispiest, crunchiest, yummiest potato chip ever conceived and my entire being tingles with exquisite ecstasy as I become one with the chip. And at that very moment I have a breakthrough revelation which leads me to a whole new level of understanding about myself and my purpose in life.”

“And what is that?”

“I realize that if I’m ever to be happy I must achieve balance in my life, and therefore I need not only a thirst-quenching beverage, but a delicious, lip-smacking snack as well!”

“I see. Then what happens?”

“I ask potato chip man for another chip, but he just laughs and says: ‘Nobody can just eat one!’ Then, as if to spite me, he starts dancing around and singing this song about how his potato chips are so good that nobody can just eat one. And a bunch of his friends come over and start singing and dancing and carrying on as well. So I ask them if I could please have another chip, but they just laugh at me and say: ‘Nobody can just eat one!'”

“And how does this make you feel?”

“Like a nobody.”

“Please continue.”

“Well, after about thirty seconds they all just disappear, but then  I notice that one of them had dropped a potato chip onto the ground during their dance. So I reach down to pick it up, but when I do it suddenly sprouts arms and legs and runs away from me.  ‘Damn it, potato chip,’ I say, ‘get back here!’ But the potato chip just laughs and calls me a jackass, which really pisses me off.  So I chase after it because now it’s a matter of principal, and I’ll be damned if any wise-cracking potato chip is gonna make a monkey out of me!  Because above all, I must defend my dignity and maintain my honor.”

“Of course.”

“So off I go, scampering after it on all fours, but before I can catch-up it darts into the front entrance of the Kit-Kat Club.”

“The bar you mentioned earlier.”

“That’s right. Now the Kit-Kat Club is a very exclusive establishment, and everyone there is either young or beautiful or rich or some sort of celebrity. So I’m trying to fit in without drawing too much attention to myself, but I’m still determined to catch that smart-ass potato chip. And I notice this little guy in the corner trying to pass himself off as a miniature tortilla visiting from out of town. So I say: ‘Hey you!’ and he says: ‘No speaka the English.’ But then his moustache falls off and I realize that he’s really the potato chip in a diabolically clever disguise. So I say: ‘Nice try, wiseguy, but now I’ve got you!’ to which he replies with an unflattering string of vile profanities. And just as I’m about to grab that foul-mouthed little chip to finish him off, this dog comes pouncing in from out of nowhere and devours him with one quick gulp.”

“A dog?”

“Yes. So I say: ‘Hey dog! That was my potato chip!’ But the dog just licks his  balls and says: ‘If it’s on the floor it’s within my jurisdiction. That’s the law.’ And I realize he’s probably right. Then the dog introduces himself to me, and it turns out that he’s none other than Seymour McPisst, the famous super-genius spokesdog from all of those beer commercials back in the day. He also had a short-lived television sitcom about a dog elected to Congress who goes to Washington and poops in the president’s slippers.”

“I think I vaguely remember it.”

“Anyway, he offers to buy me a beer which I readily accept, and he tells me that every one dog year is equal to seven human years. ‘That’s the law,’ he says, ‘so I’ve been able to drink liquor since the age of three.’  ‘Are you some kind of lawyer?’ I ask. ‘Of course I am,’ he replies, ‘You scratch my back and I’ll bite yours!’ He buys several more rounds of drinks, and as he does so he becomes increasingly introspective. He tells me he’s worried that we as a society are becoming more and more like unwitting pawns manipulated by greedy narrow-minded forces uninterested in anything but their own selfish desires.”

“And what do you think about that?

“Frankly, doc, I really don’t care one way or the other so long as someone else is paying for it. But I don’t have time to dwell on the subject because all of a sudden this squirrel comes crashing in through the window flying some sort of makeshift glider, and it’s just about the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen!  He grabs my box of Nut Clusters breakfast cereal, which I didn’t even realize I had on me, then turns around and  gives me the finger before hauling ass out of there.”

“Do you chase after him?”

“Well, I think about it, but then I figure that any squirrel clever enough to build a hang glider might also be packing heat. But McPisst the dog has no such inhibitions and he goes stumbling off after the squirrel, who’s now using a jet-pack to make his escape. So I’m left alone at the bar, and it isn’t long before people start looking at me funny. Then I notice a foul odor in the air and realize, to my horror, that it’s emanating from my very own armpits. And everyone’s wrinkling their nose in disgust as they look upon me with utter contempt, and the more I try to press my arms against my body the worse it gets. The stench becomes so unbearable that reality itself is repelled from me and I find myself lost in a dark, awful, meaningless void of nothingness.”

“Is it hell?”

“I don’t think so. It’s more like the Republican national convention.”

“Please continue.”

“Well,  I cry out in anguish:  ‘Someone please help me! I’ve got stinky armpits!’, and at that very moment the woman of my dreams appears from out of nowhere and gives me a bottle of magical anti-perspirant. Suddenly I smell wonderful and completely irresistible, and as she smiles seductively at me I ask: ‘Can we make love  now?’ But she doesn’t answer my question, she just laughs and says: ‘You’re dreaming!'”

“And then?”

” And that’s when I wake up, always in a cold, clammy sweat, completely drained and utterly exhausted,  and sobbing like a little baby.”

The doctor considered what he had just heard. “Well,” he finally said, “I’m not sure how it all adds up, but it seems clear that you’re a very sick individual.”

“But can you help me?”

“Perhaps, but it will take some time. I believe you have unresolved issues concerning your perception of reality, which we may be able to address with the proper therapeutic approach.”

“But what can I do in the meantime? Please, doc! I can’t take much more of this! It’s about to drive me crazy!”

“I suggest you try to relax by engaging in some of your favorite pastimes. Do you have any special hobbies or interests?”

“Well, I do like watching TV…”









I had just returned from assignment in Antarctica, trying to answer the age-old question: “Why are there no ants there?” It is called ANTarctica after all, and not MOSQUITOarctica or even POLARBEARarctica. But it turns out that the reason there are no ants there is for the same reason that there are no mosquitos there, and that’s because no one makes overcoats small enough to fit them. Besides, Eskimos hardly ever have picnics, except on National Picnic Day, which only comes once a year, and we all know how terrible ants are at planning that far ahead. They don’t even have calendars, for crying out loud! But happy National Picnic Day anyway! Last year I got a chicken-salad sandwich and several pieces of twine, and I don’t think I’ve been that happy since my early days as a young, idealistic animal husbandry marriage counselor. Those were happy days indeed, until I realized that no such job existed. But life goes on and so do I, do I ever! For I am Secret Animal Inspector Man.



Sometimes I watch TV, but mostly I just make funny faces at myself in the mirror. It’s much more interesting than television and, because of its interactive nature, gives one a higher degree of intellectual simulation than might otherwise be attained. Or do I mean ineffectual stimulation? I’m not quite sure but I suppose it must be either six of one or have a dozen of another. And I’m not crazy or anything, but suddenly I’m hungry for donuts and I don’t know why, but it’s probably due to some kind of police conspiracy or government cover-up. And nobody’s been able to explain that one to me so don’t even think about going there because now you’ve got me all confused so thanks a lot! You must be some kind of wise ass smart aleck with a depreciated nipple face, if you know what I mean. So I’ll just ignore you, and if you don’t shut-up I’ll ignore you with my foot up your butt!

Anyway, there I was, making funny faces at myself in the mirror, just like any normal average ordinary run-of-the-mill American might do on a Saturday night, when suddenly I thought I saw my dirty laundry moving out of the corner of my eye. This was very unusual, and at first I thought it must be some kind of optical delusion. After all, my dirty laundry never ever moves anywhere unless it absolutely has to. Even if I yell and scream at the top of my lungs it just sits there silently, as if to mock me. The underwear and socks are bad enough, but the smocks are the worst. No wonder artists go crazy!

But then I saw it moving once again, so I did what any normal average ordinary run-of-the-mill American would do. I pulled out my gun and started shooting.

“Please stop!” begged the laundry, but it was too late for that because I was already out of bullets. As I franticly reloaded, this time with “hollow-points”, the laundry pleaded once again:

“Please! I’m unarmed!”

“Of course you’re unarmed,” I said, “You’re the laundry!”

“But I’m not!” it screamed, “Please! I can explain!”

And with that, out of my oversized pile of dirty, overdue laundry tumbled a little gray man. Not a lot gray, but just a little. So I said what any normal average ordinary run-of-the-mill American would say under the circumstances.

“Are you from outer space?”

“No sir.” He showed me a badge which I wasn’t allowed to look at. “I’m with the NSA.”

“The National Security Agency?!”

He shook off some of the dust. “Actually that’s a common misconception. Our official title is Numbnuts Spying on Americans.”

I wrinkled my nose in disgust. “And you’re here hiding in my dirty laundry?!”

“Oh yes,” he replied, “We love dirty laundry!”

“But why??!”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s comfortable and warm and I suppose it reminds us of when we were little babies…”

“No! What I mean is: What were you doing in my dirty laundry?!”

He almost seemed surprised at the question. “Why, spying on you, of course. I’m here to protect you from yourself.”

“Protect me from myself? You almost gave me a heart attack!”

“Well, I can’t help that sir. As we like to say at the agency: ‘Scaring is caring’.”

And with that he launched into a strange story of bizarre experimentation and frightening intrigue. But I had already seen that episode of the Kardashians, so I made him tell me more about the NSA.

“Oh yes,” he assured me, “We here at the NSA are on the cutting edge of 21st century espionage techniques. Even as we speak our scientists are working on methods to establish communication with domesticated animals.”

“You mean pets?”

“Amongst others.”

I must have had a puzzled look on my face because he continued without prompting.

“You see, we here at the NSA feel that domesticated animals, or pets as you call them, could be an invaluable source of information, and we want to know exactly what they know.”

Suddenly I understood. “You want pets to spy on their owners!”

“Of course,” he replied quite matter-of-factly.

Visions of a demented Doctor Doolittle danced in my head. I was almost afraid to ask, but couldn’t help myself.

“Have you had any… luck?” I inquired.

“Oh yes.” He reflected on this for a moment. “Strangely enough, it’s been the common housecat that has proven to be the most cooperative and easiest to work with. Unfortunately, all they’ll tell us for right now is: ‘I want chicken, I want liver, I want tuna, please deliver’. We’re sure it’s some kind of code, and we’re sparing no expense in our efforts to crack it!”

“And the dogs?” I asked.

He sighed. “We really don’t trust the dogs. We have unconfirmed rumors that they’re either a bunch of sleeping liars, or a bunch of lying sleepers, or maybe even both. And besides that, they’re always crying all the time.”

“And they ain’t never caught a rabbit so they ain’t no friend of mine!” I finished triumphantly.

He frowned. “Well, I can’t confirm that, but I’ll certainly look into it.”

And then I realized that he wasn’t really evil, like Dracula or telemarketeers, just misguided and moronic, like a fart seeking approval on credit. I felt like a child who had lost his incense.

“One of our most successful experiments,” he continued, “was with the common housefly. As a matter of fact, we were making quite remarkable progress until that unfortunate incident with the SWAT team.”

I felt sorry for him and despised him all at once. I knew I had to get rid of him but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, nor was I sure how to dispose of the body. Meanwhile, he continued his pitch.

“And inter-specie communication is not the only option we’re studying. The NSA is working very closely with hundreds of professionally accredited psychics in an effort to unlock the secrets of the universe, and gain some basic understanding and insight into its deepest mysteries.”

I was intrigued, yet repelled. “Have you had any success?”

He thought about it for a moment. “Well, not yet,” he admitted, “but Madame Boom-Boom assures me that I might be coming into some money next week if I play my lucky numbers while wearing plaid.”

But by this time I had had enough, and it was time for him to go. At first I tried letting him down gently.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to leave.” I said.

“Don’t be afraid!” He cried out, “That’s just what the terrorists want! Don’t let them win!”

“Out,” I insisted.

“Be a pal!” he pleaded, “I’ve got a thirty-year mortgage!”


He seemed close to tears. “Please! Don’t make me look bad in front of my kids!”

“Get out!” I barked. I felt like a clumsy doctor, somewhat embarrassed and starting to lose my patients.

His demeanor suddenly changed as a vindictive look came over him. “All right,” he sneered, “I’ll get out. But you just wait. Somehow, someway, sometime, someday you’ll need me, and when you do I’ll be back with a vengeance! And then you’ll really be sorry!”

But it was too late for that because, just like any normal average ordinary run-of-the-mill American, I already am.

(for now)



I’m not sure how long it will be before “they” get to me, but I feel certain that they will, and soon. After all, it’s Mr. Big I’m talking about here. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, and he’s very judgemental as well. I have it from reliable sources that he also keeps individual files on everybody, and that he’s not afraid to use this information for his own personal gain. This in itself should be enough to make anyone paranoid, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg; a small portion of the vast conspiracy and cover-up which lies beneath. And at the heart of it all we find Mr. Big’s number one torpedo: Rudy “Red Nose” Reindeer.

Rudolph Reindeer was the product of a broken home and an ill-fated marriage. His father, Karl, was a loud-mouthed braggart with a massive inferiority complex. At night he would come home from work and vent out his frustrations on his family, flying around the house in a drunken rage, crashing into the furniture and terrifying the dog. Rudolph’s mother, Olga, was unstable as well, and prone to fits of depression and anxiety. Years earlier, while working as a young doe at a petting zoo, she was fawndled by a well-known politician, and the poor deer never did get over it, despite a lucrative feature spread in Sleighboy magazine.

As mentioned in the song, Rudolph was constantly picked-on by his fellow “deer-peers” for his reddish-colored nose. Of course it’s silly to judge someone based on the color of their nose, but reindeer can be very stupid and mean in this regard, especially when being herd. And it really is a shame that young Rudolph wasn’t allowed to play in any reindeer games; for he was very athletic and might easily have won gold at the Reindeer Olympics. Instead, he became a sullen and angry young reindeer, an outcast of the poorer southern section of the North Pole.

Mr. Big, at the same time, had troubles of his own. Elf exploitation and reindeer enslavement had rewarded him with fabulous wealth and worldwide fame, and he had become used to the power and prestige that went along with it. But after years of abuse the elves had finally gotten together and were threatening to go on strike. And the reindeer, usually so thick-minded and reliable, were demanding better working conditions, as well as frequent-flier mileage. Something had to be done, and Mr. Big needed a head-cracker to do it. And that’s where Rudolph came in.

The first meeting between Rudolph and Mr. Big was a harbingger of things to come. Due to an unfortunate mix-up Clumsy the elf was put in charge of refreshments, and when he accidently spilled the hot chocolate onto Mr. Big’s lap all hell broke loose. Mr. Big went absolutely ballistic, screaming obscenities at Clumsy, who could think of nothing better than to smile sheepishly and shrug his shoulders, feeling bad enough already as you might well imagine. Rudolph sensed his opportunity and, in a display of cold-blooded loyalty to Mr. Big, beat poor Clumsy to death with an over-sized candy cane. In the reign of terror that was to follow this became his weapon of choice, for he could quickly and easily eat it to destroy any evidence of his malfeasance, and it left him with minty-fresh breath as well. Mr. Big had found his “enforcer”.

That Christmas eve, you’ll recall, was a stormy one, and everybody was on edge. The few elves that had crossed the picket line were unable to meet their daily quotas, despite 24-hour-a-day shifts assisted by 15 minutes of motivational whipping every 4 hours. Scabs were brought in, but then quality went out the window. And the reindeer continued their grumbling, this time about the lack of “danger” pay. Mr. Big knew it was now, or never.

We’ll probably never find out what actually transpired when Rudolph locked himself in that room with all of his fellow reindeer. What we do know is that 20 minutes later they emerged (all except Hoofa, the union-organizing reindeer, who vanished and was never seen again) to embark on the most famous yuletide journey in the annals of Christmas lore. Mr. Big had taken the biggest gamble of his life, and won.

Rudolph, meanwhile, was celebrated as a hero, but the endorsements and ticker-tape parades came and went much too quickly. He never received a dime from the song that chronicled his life-story, and he became increasingly morose and embittered as time went by. One day he showed up at Mr. Big’s workshop with an AK-47 and opened fire, but luckily it jammed and Mr. Big escaped with only minor superficial injuries. Rudolph was later confined to the island of criminally insane toys, yet another cover-up that never gets mentioned in the song.

Well, that’s about all I know for sure. As mentioned earlier, I feel certain that they’ll be looking for me, so I really ought to keep moving. I’ll simply leave it up to the rest of you to consider the facts as I’ve made them up, and to hopefully have a Merry Christmas anyway. And watch out for fat men in red suits.



I looked upon the still-warm bovine carcass which lay upon the grassed earth where it was. I had seen this scene too often before, like deja-vu reruns over and over again and again in redundant repetition time after time but, being Secret Animal Inspector Man for a large metropolitan secret-agency, it was all in a day’s work and sometimes nights too. My name is Bane. Dick Bane.

“Was it… suicide?” Farmer Jones wondered aloud. He was a good man and I could see that he was upset. I could also see the top of his butt-crack whenever he bent over to feed the chickens. Not a pretty sight, and yet…

 “Was it… murder?” he assed.

“Worry not,” I flatulated, “For it was neither. Notice, please, the cow’s right arm seems to be inserted into it’s own mouth nearly all the way up to the elbow.”

“My God!” he gasped.

“I know,” I said knowingly, for this was the grisliest case of hoof-in-mouth disease I had ever seen! But life goes on, and so do I, do I ever! For I am Secret Animal Inspector Man.