•June 18, 2009 • 1 Comment


“Mom, why is Charizard so WRINKLY?”

He sounded on the verge of tears. She was busy asking about game ratings.

“But mom, why?!”

His mother was harried and irritated, “I don’t know! Are you done here?”

He looked confused and bewildered, but he gradually focused on some other toy in the store.

A little while later they left.

I wish I had an answer for him.


Once, we were in the back, eating some lunch with the door ajar when a sullen boy of about seven poked his head in. “Hey guys.”


“So, wh-what do you guys know about the black market?” His face was pale, serious.

I swallowed a craggy meteorite of Chik-fil-a, whole. “Gak!”

I regained my composure. “Why do you need to know about the black market?”

He looks uncertain. My compatriots chime in, “What are you trying to do?”, “Who told you about that?”, “What do you mean?”

His face flushes. His stuttering increases. “H-how c-can you answer a q-question with another question?”

He storms out of the store.

To this day I don’t know how you can answer a question with another question.


An overweight transvestite with a full, luxurious beard walks into the store, and slumps onto the counter. His daughter looks embarassed.

He speaks in a rich baritone. “Do you have Windows 95?”

My mind went blank. I saw and felt nothing.

Charizard. . . “Hi, can you help me find a game I can play with my feet?” He handed me a box from off the shelf.

I went through all the possibilities in my mind: it must have simplistic controls, decent timing, few button presses.

“What about this flight simulator?” It seemed to fit the bill.

He scratched his head. “I’m a professional pilot. This better be realistic.”

He looked at me menacingly for a few seconds.

I nodded my head.


Always Bet on Black

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here are some games I’ve recently purchased and would love for you to play with me:

For those who like spiking their golf with a little gambling and their bracelets with little metal pyramids, I present to you Gambler’s Golf.

“Beyond a thrill-a-minute experience and a life-changing look into the world of dice-based ball-physics and green-slope, what does Gambler’s Golf offer me, the golfing layman?” (you might find yourself asking)

Hide your significant others, as here’s the seedy sexy undercurrent you’ve been waiting for:

Yes, ladies, an angel has truly fallen from heaven. Back slightly arched in pure golfic ecstasy, club-phallus strategically angled for maximum eroticism, this modern Adonis is beckoning to you with the promise of reckless betting (golf only) and general fast-living. You will have a wild fling with this man, sloughing morals left and right and “rolling the dice” with your future prospects by doing so. At the end of the day, you say goodbye, glad to have lived free as a feral mare for at least one day before returning your your suit-and-tie existence. Slowly the memory of this glorious day fades and is replaced by everyday worries. One night, many years later, you awake in near-darkness to the sounds of rapid breathing.

You are never heard from again.
Anyway, play this game with me.

Here’s another:


” Stocks won’t be the only things rising when two consenting adults play the Stock Market Game!”
-My new promotional tagline for a  thirty-year-old game

This game represents a new fear for sensationalist headlines to trumpet, as it compromises the safety of our very children. The ubiquitous candy-offered-by-a-hairy-stranger has now evolved. Now, penny stocks are what predators use as bait. These are the very same penny stocks you learn about by playing the Stock Market Game.

“Sure,” kids think out loud (with their meager reasoning abilities), “I’d love a stock in a well-known company for only a penny! Certainly this will quadruple in value within my lifetime, and I’ll be sitting pretty!”
Poor kids. Poor, stupid kids.

Anyway, play this game with me.

Here’s another!

With this powerful reminder that living in the ghetto is only a state of mind, Ghetto blows away years of research and humanitarian services by announcing, irrefutably, that ghetto living is actually fun!

“The foundation of my government-subsidized housing is cracking and instead of carpet I have mold? Better draw a ‘desperation’ card!” -Catherine Zeta-Jones, celebrity endorsement

I don’t really know how this game is played (yet), but I can only assume it somehow connects to your cellular network dials every drug-lord in town, alerting them to your address and penchant for hoarding gold-plated PSTriples. Now that your environment is decidedly unsafe, you probably have to petition a non-existent landlord to turn your water and heat back on (a roll of a six on a six-sided-die means that water service is restored but the water has been replaced by medical waste bin runoff, a cheaper alternative). Next time you’re thinking about “slumming it” (something I do on a hourly basis), don’t forget to add a modicum of authenticity by taking Ghetto wherever you may roam.

In summation, everyone please play these with me. Thank you, and goodnight.

Late Night at the Oasis

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I need to hoard supplies for winter, and sometimes I decide I need to do this in the middle of the night for some reason. I don my light jacket to fend off the below-55-degree texas snowstorm outside and head to Kroger. I am able to gather my materials (bacon, assorted bacon accessories) relatively quickly, but then am SHUT DOWN when I get to the check-out line. After midnight, Kroger goes “self checkout only”, and these three words might as well be the epitaph on my shallow grave. There are four registers and a customer at each one. None of these people are making even the slightest movement, and are all staring at the screens with inscrutable expressions.

RegA: “Please scan your first item.”
CustomerA: -places palm on scanner-
RegA: “Please remove your palm and scan your first item.”
CustomerA: -touches bellybutton-

RegB: “Remove the item from the scanner and place it in the bag.”
CustomerB: -heated discussion with wife, then changes baby’s diaper on scanner-
RegB: “. . . ”

RegC: “Please swipe your card.”
CustomerC: -Signals lone attendant- “Say, say! This thing actin’ crazy!”
Attendant: “No, just swipe your card to pay for your items.”
CustomerC: “My WHAT?!”

RegD: “Transaction complete! Thank you. Please take your items.”
CustomerD: “Awww HELL NAW!” -shakes head slowly in dismay, breathes heavily-

A bald eagle shatters through a plate-glass window, perches on my shoulder, and weeps softly with me.

bald eagle

An Evening With Pancake

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The ratio was a staggering fourteen kids to every supervisory adult.

It was National Pancake Day, and I was in the mood to celebrate.

What I was not in the mood to do was spend the next few years of my life having more kids than I could possibly feed and then making them subsist on grass and dust until National Pancake Day rolled around once again to give them a short but fattening glimpse of what life could be like if I had stopped at six children, instead of shooting for a baker’s dozen. I may have been alone in this sentiment.

A couple seated at the end of the bench was blinking absurdly, their eyes bloodshot and unfocused. Pancakes are free, Methodone still has cost. I can see the logic behind the choice.

Finally free of the entrance lounge/cattle pen, I gasp as I claw over the pillowy boulders of humanity to find my seat. Julie and I become separated. She looks back, terror in her eyes. “Wait for me!” I shout, but my cries are muffled as people swarm and press around me. She disappears from sight, perhaps forever.

A desperate, sweaty man in full IHOP regalia stops me and pushes a stack of sticky containers into my hand. “Here you go.” He looks at me significantly. He’s gone. In my hand are four to-go containers, over-filled with various syrups. My eyes tear up as I realize that this man, seeing his own demise at the hands of the masses, has willed to me his only earthly possessions. I am overcome by emotion as I hide the containers behind a random salt shaker at the hostess stand. “Your treasures are safe with me, gentle sir.”

Finally seated, I place my order: “Implied pancakes plus hashbrown plus sausage.” A server tries to wedge one mother and six kids into the four-top next to me.She furrows her brow.

“It’s gon’ be tight.”

It was. The experiment is scrapped, and the family finds another seat. Moments later another server tries to fit three adults and six kids into the exact same table. I look up from my despair to impart some knowledge:

“It’s gon’ be tight.”

It was.


You’re the one for me, Fatso

•April 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Fatso’s parents forced him to enroll in the middle school debate team. With every twirl of his pen (a debate-specific tic), he would fantasize about tickling the ivory in front of an immense crowd, awed into silence by his sublime performance. The stage lights were blinding, and it was hard for Fatso to see beyond the circumference of the stage. Fatso squinted against the brightness, hoping to catch a glimpse of her calico coat in the front row.

“Fatso! You’re up!”

Fatso woke with a start, and looked guiltily around the room. The other kids looked at him disapprovingly. The new amendment to the Constitution had opened the door for Fatso, but it wasn’t very popular in the southern states.

“What a cat-astrophy this season’s going to be,” remarked someone behind Fatso. Everyone tittered. Fatso had heard them all, and this jab was a favorite among his peers.

Fatso straightened his notes, slid out from his custom-made desk, and turned to the back of the class. “Say one more word and I’ll bury you in my litter like the rest of my feces.”

“What?” The kids looked confused.

Fatso smirked and headed up to the presentation podium at the front of the class.

He cleared his throat. “Ahem. I will propose today that the argument forwarded by the opposing team is flawed in several very significant ways.”  He looked over at his opponent, who was nervously smiling at the class. “To begin, I find it absurd that you would simply treat the complex issue of carbon dioxide output limitation as a race to, if you will pardon the expression, find a better mousetrap. . . ”

Fatso’s opponent looked pale as he leaned over to the transcriptionist, who showed him her current draft.

“Meow, meow, mrow, yalow, brow, meow.”

His eyes met hers, and he could see in them the same weary desperation he felt.

“I don’t understand what the hell he’s say-”

Fatso looked at him sharply. “Mrow?”

He swallowed hard, sweat beading anew across his brow. “Umm. . . nothing. Please continue.”

His hand shook as he tried to form a rebuttal.

Take Your Medicine

•April 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

I must have been a rotten kid.

I dream of Jeannie

I dream of Jeannie

I was maybe four years old when I was punished, first by beast, and then by the hand of man.

There wasn’t much to do at my grandparent’s house, and my brother and I jockeyed constantly for a good position in front of the bedroom mirror, one of the few toys to be had.

“The best toy is an alive toy,” I’ve always said, and living that mantra, I strode out to the living room to play with “Prissy” the Schnauzer. Prissy was treated, by most people’s standards, as a human, and by most dog’s standards, as a deity. Enthroned on a floral-print dogbed, gray beast-beard clumped with dried saliva and the savory remnants of her (or possibly his?!) previous gravy-soaked meal, Prissy grunted with contempt as I entered the room.

I went over my plan, steeling my young mind against the fears that threatened to rob me of my resolve. I held my breath and cautiously approached.

“Hi Prissy. Good dog.”

I was not acknowledged as I got closer, and I began to feel emboldened. I imagined patting my hand on a gossamer pelt, going on truffle hunts, and showing off intricate trick routines impossible without complete and utter human-beast trust and empathy. Prissy appeared asleep as I hovered nervously at the edge of the dogbed.

“Good Prissy. Nice Prissy.”

I crouched down and extended my hand, ready to take the paw of my new best friend and the solution to these incarcerations at my grandparents’ house.I began to scratch behind Prissy’s ear.

I smiled.

The next thing I remember was screaming and crying, blood running down my face and into my eyes. Prissy settled back into the dogbed, a crimson third ingredient mixed with the saliva and food in his (her?!) beast-beard. My grandparents rushed over to me, beside themselves.

“Prissy! Daniel, what did you do to my Prissy?”

Prissy had already gone back to sleep.

Wounds dressed, I went back to my designated room later that evening to play with the mirror. A second toy, one that I had never seen before, lay in the semi-darkness of an open closet. Thinking it a stuffed animal, I hurriedly scooped it up and brought it into the light.

My grandparents, it turned out, had one other toy in that house. This toy was modeled after their inspirations, their loves, their lives.

In 1:3 scale, Little Prissy’s black bead of an eye seemed to shimmer and whorl in my vision, and I could only stare deeper into the abyss.