Saturday, May 13, 2006

It Came Upon a Holiday Night

It was Easter night and Loel was just finishing off another deviled egg. He would scoop out the yolk with a rabbit’s foot, eat the whites, and then cheerfully suck the rabbit’s foot until his temples hurt. He had eaten a great plenty of them already, losing count at a big number.

Then, most of a sudden, he heard a spooky noise, that of something spooky. It was followed by a hauntingly beautiful cymbal song. Driven by a strange curiosity, Loel went to his window, satisfying one strange curiosity with an even stranger curiosity, for in his front yard he saw a glowing form dancing in the moonless night. Though there was no source from which a light could have been shed, there was this figure. A woman. Glowing! Her long hair stood on end, suspended as if under water, and when she moved—or glided—she did so just inches above the ground; through trees, fences, and anything else that would otherwise pose as an obstacle.

Observing more closely, Loel recognized this bizarre apparition to be his wife, who had passed away eight years before, dancing the jig of the undead. “Oh, bizarre aborigine,” he said in amazement, “how beguiling thou . . .” then he got bored and went to bed.

His dead wife grew tired of dancing for nobody and retired to her trailer of the undead.

The Truth about the Dead in Pfrantiago’s Pretties

Pfrantiago had a green thumb—two to be sure—not literally but figuratively speaking. It would not be necessary to make such a seemingly obvious declaration but for the puzzling fact that Pfrantiago’s mother, her mother’s mother and her mother before her did literally have green thumbs (as well as their other fingers, toes and, after the age of fifty, their ears) due to a fungus situation best described as a fungus situation which, to explain in greater detail, would cast such a shadow over Pfrantiago’s story that one might forget that he even had a story to be told—and oh! dear reader, what a story he has.

Now, these figurative green thumbs had become quite the center of confabulation each year during the colorful season, when people came from all over town just to see Pfrantiago’s pretties, especially on the day of the Annual Color Tour Event and Contest Event. His bed of pretties had been the most popular stop on the Color Tour for years. It was an unofficial stop, however, since Pfrantiago had always been too modest to enter in the contest, maintaining, “It’s nature’s work, these pretties. I’m just the poor son-of-a-bitch who busts his son-of-a-bitchin’ back arranging these sons-a-bitches so they look like somethin’ other than a bunch of sons-a-bitches!”

This year would be different though, for, as everybody had incessantly encouraged him, Pfrantiago finally allowed for his pretties to be entered in the contest after a conversation with the Mayor himself.

Reluctant at first, Pfrantiago stood silent in his pretties as the Mayor (himself) implored, “Yours are the best Pfrantiago! Everyone knows it. You’re already notorious and you go through all that work anyhow.”

Pfrantiago, looking down at his feet the whole time, nodded and softly muttered, “Food for thought.”

“Yeah,” continued the Mayor, “so why not get an award for it? There’s no point in not getting an awar—”

“FOOD FOR THOUGHT! FOOD FOR THOUGHT!” said Pfrantiago, impatiently, still looking down and shaking his hands at the Mayor in annoyance, to convey a message of ‘Okay, Okay I heard you!’ or ‘I’m thinking!’ or ‘Okay, I heard you, let me think!’

So Pfrantiago went about his usual business carrying on in just the same manner as he always had until his mind had fully digested the idea of actually winning something. Somehow it all seemed a little more special, a little more fun. ‘Yeah why not?’ he thought to himself, ‘I wouldn’t mind winning a contest. Just ‘cause I win an award doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the goodness of my pretties. And with this, he went on happily thinking about the goodness of his son-of-a-bitching pretties.

But, like most good things in life, Pfrantiago’s pretties soon became a collecting spot for the dead. This bothered Pfrantiago more than it scared him, “I can’t have this! It won’t do to have all this dead in my pretties! Whatever happened to the good old days when the dead were discarded in dumpsters and in alleyways? This won’t do!”

Little did he know at the time, however, that it did do. The dead offered rich fertilization for his pretties, proving to be a much more effective method than his kitchen scraps compost. When he finally did realize this, he welcomed the dead into his pretties, toying with the notion of posting a Dead Wanted sign, an idea whose demise came swiftly with the assumption that it must surely be against town ordinance to post a sign without a permit.

So he waited, with a display of patience reserved only for a nurturing pretties keeper, for more dead to arrive. He received his share (which wasn’t a bad amount considering that no dead is the normal amount for a bed of pretties). He considered himself blessed but felt that with the Color Tour just weeks away, more dead would be needed.

Knowing that it was too slow to wait and impolite to ask, Pfrantiago took the only course he could take if he really wanted prize pretties. He would have to make his own dead (murder being his best bet).

He was very troubled by the idea of killing innocent people who had lives to live, so he quickly decided on destroying ugly, shiftless, guilty-looking people whose lives were seemingly going nowhere.

Let it be born in every man’s mind that never before had there lived such a diligent artisan as Pfrantiago, when once upon his killing business, in the weeks immediately prior to the Color Tour. He killed with boundless energy, justifying his doings by repeating to himself, in the ghastly glow of the sallow moon which stood witness, “It’s all for the pretties. It’s all for the pretties. It’s—” then bursting into bloodcurdling and maniacal howls of laughter followed by acute attacks of sobbing—sobbing that ended abrubtly with his head darting back and forth like that of a worm-hunting bird, throwing suspicional glances over his shoulders, saying, “Oh boy.” and asking himself, “What?” and answering himself back, “You heard me.”

As the day of the Color Tour grew nearer (and the population thinner) Pfrantiago kept longer nights and agonizingly fructuous days, but one thing this experience had taught him was that if your desire for something is strong enough, you don’t mind the moil and toil it takes to make it possible. He also learned that it’s harder to carry four men home in one sack than it is to carry one man home in four sacks, but that wouldn’t sound as nice in his acceptance speech. (Moil and toil rhyme.)

But all of Pfrantiago’s moiling and toiling was not in vain, and nothing proved this more than the way his pretties almost shouted with color and life on the celebrated day of the Color Tour, as people assembled themselves in awe-stricken droves to behold them in dumb admiration. Even the busier than usual police and the confused people from the Missing Persons Bureau took time out of their very full days to enjoy Pfrantiago’s Pretties.

When a reporter from the Daily Tuba News asked, “Pfrantiago, what would you say makes your pretties so pretty?” He stared mordaciously into her eyes, and with a wry grin, whispered, “People just like you.”

And when he received his blue medal on that happy occasion, everyone hoped that they could someday contribute to Pfrantiago’s pretties . . . and some day they probably would.

The Slumberjack

Barko Zarzoor, like anybody else, wanted a decent living. He also wanted very much sleep. Tired, as he always was, he couldn’t get through a single simple task without blinded, yawn-induced, watery eyes (which put to rest early any lofty intellections he had of being a fighter pilot).

His eyes, of an uncommitted brown—like swirled, dirty water—were always so glazed and wet that those standing near him were animatedly nervous that they might ooze out and down his rosy cheeks if he were to lean forward. One could fancy them as the yolks of a sunnyside-up egg whose thin membrane, with the corner of a piece of toast, could be poked through, letting loose all of the goo to be sopped up and eaten with great delectation . . . but only someone who could fancy such things as that. His rosy cheeks, like his bright red lips, stood in spooky contrast with the rest of his skin, the hue of which was roughly comparable to that of a frog’s belly (a comparison which would offend the frog).

He was earning enough—with which a man of such very limited skills should be satisfied—packing fudge at a fudge shop called Fudge Shop. This was an important job for him to keep as he was now in his late thirties and had left an impressive trail of unimpressive jobs behind him, all from which he had been terminated, asked to leave, or physically removed. For the first time in his life, Barko had actually held a job long enough to rent an apartment and begin a responsible life.

But in keeping with his usual customs, he hadn’t been there for more than a couple of months before sleeping on the job—under the fudge table, behind the counter, and in the restroom stalls. The latter setting the scene for a very socially awkward close call:

Barko Zarzoor had gone to sleep in one of the restroom stalls, where he found it most comfortable to rest his arm and, likewise, his head on the toilet paper dispenser. His torpidity was such that even his dreams dealt with sleeping or falling asleep. This time, however, his dream had somehow turned from sleeping on a raft, drifting along the Mississippi river with a black man rowing and singing—with a rich and hypnotic baritone voice—a song about summer sun and catfish, to being on the same raft and river, but with the singing black man now an old white man bitching.

Now, perhaps it’s a primitive psychological defense mechanism, quite beyond our own understanding, dating all the way back to earliest man, which forces one to awaken when the human mind has had all it can bear of a disturbing dream, or perhaps it’s just something that naturally occurs when a crazy-assed old man keeps rattling the door of your sleeping chamber, repeating the words, “He’s just sittin’ there!” over and over to his grandson. Whichever it may be, Barko Zarzoor was waking up to see, through heavy and half-shut eyes, the old man face belonging to the old man voice. Upon realizing the full extent of the situation, Barko, who had been, just moments ago, too tired to lift his head, quickly shot to attention. The old man, now having come into focus, had his face up as close as he could to the door without touching it, and was peering through the thin space between the stall door and wall. Barko, even though he was fully clothed, instinctively pulled his knees together and crossed his arms over his lap.

“Ya sick? Eh?” inquired the old man through the door, “Just sittin’ there ain’t gonna help, ‘less ya got loose bowels. That what you got? Loose bowels? Eh?”

“No,” was Barko Zarzoor’s only reply, after thinking for quite a moment.

“You should quit monkeying around with the narcotics!” returned the old man, disgustedly, as if he had solved a mystery, adding, “Eh?”

“I’m not,” was Barko Zarzoor’s only reply, for lack a better one, and after as much thought as the first time.

“Narcotics ain’t nothin’ new. We had them in our day, they were called narcotics! Eh?”

Barko didn’t say anything this time, but instead waited for the old man to just leave, which he did, but not until after bringing his grandson over to have a look, pointing, “Look boy, look a’ that misspent life in there! Look at what fiddle-fartin’ around with narcotics’ll get ya . . . all strung-out on the thunder-mug at a fudge shop. Eh?” Barko, not knowing what else to do in this unfamiliar situation, nodded hello to the young boy who looked on, as if at a hideous side show freak, considering the appalling gravity of his grandfather’s words.

Barko Zarzoor saw the old man shake his head and finally leave for the door saying something no more decipherable than, ‘they’ll know what t’ do. Eh?’ Barko started to dismiss it as so much old man gobbledegook until it dawned on him that ‘they’ meant the authorities, and ‘know what t’ do’ meant what to do about him—the druggie on the toilet.

Barko, in piecing this together, sprang to his feet with an effectual application of speed that he never knew he possessed, and headed out the door and into the adjoining supply closet. After a brief passage of time, he heard his name being called by his boss, Mr. Hendersmart. Barko tried to change his appearance by removing his outer shirt and tousling his few and scattered hairs, fearing that the old man and his grandson would still be there. He emerged from the supply closet, carrying a broom and dustpan, affecting an air of business. He was relieved to see that the old man was nowhere in sight, apparently having left in anger.

“Barko, can you go check out the restroom?” asked Mr. Hendersmart, never imagining that he was sending Barko to go look for himself, “Some old man just came out of there saying there’s some drugged-up guy who’s been in there forever.”

Barko wrinkled his brow as if to suggest that now he had heard everything and set off on his mission. He came out, after enough time to have checked thoroughly, shaking his head as if this old man clearly had difficulty in distinguishing between his ass and his elbow.

“I know,” said Mr. Hendersmart laughing and also shaking his head, “I know, but we had to make sure.”

“And who’s on drugs?” returned Barko.

“Yeah, really!”

And they both had a wonderful laugh at the expense of an old man who knew what he saw. But underneath the laughter, Barko was concealing the haunting reality that his desire to rest his sweet head at work was going to have a direct effect on his employment. Barko resolved to find a job upon which he could sleep in heavenly peace.

At first he had no luck whatever in finding such a job opportunity, but at last he did when he saw an add in the newspaper for a Slumberjack. He thought it sounded like the perfect job for him, “Money for sleep.” he said out loud. He set about touching up his resume, casting light on the positive while trying to find positive in the negative, boasting that: I have never quit any of my twenty-nine jobs, and recently, while working at Fudge Shoppe, I had the pleasure of steering a young shaver from the dark path of narcotics.

After just sixteen interviews, Barko was told he could start right away. There was just the small matter of informing Mr. Hendersmart of his decision, and then taking his first steps into a more restful world.

Being a slumberjack seemed to do him good. He now had time for all of the little things that he had resigned himself to living without, like looking and sitting up. After only a few weeks, his hair seemed lustrous and full of bounce; his skin appeared healthily colored, with an even, almost brazen, tan across his once complexionally paradoxical visage; and his solid-colored eyes—now a rich chocolate brown—beamed with confidence, and looked straight ahead toward brighter tomorrows. He even became a regular in the social scene; ‘Hey there Barko!’ people would say, to which he would sharply reply, ‘Hey!’

Life seemed to finally be going his way; with plenty of rest, a new house and money in his pocket as well as in the bank. It wasn’t until several months into his tenure, after waking up in a puddle of pain, and with bruises on and about him, that Barko Zarzoor learned he had been the subject of a cruel and unusual experiment which tested the human body's response to painful circumstances during various stages of sleep. He covered his ears just thinking about it. “I can’t keep this job . . . this is not the thing . . . I’ll keep packing fudge or something, but I gotta get out of this place!” And that’s exactly what he did—after falling back to sleep for another three-and-a-half hour cycle, up from which he woke in even more pain, realizing that they got him again.

This was as much as he could take, and so he searched his mind for an answer that would end all of this madness. He left a note which he hoped would explain more clearly:

I can’t keep this job . . . this is not the thing . . .

I’ll keep packing fudge or something,

but I gotta get out of this place!

Evening found Barko Zarzoor back at Fudge Shoppe asking for his old job back, where he was sad to discover that Mr. Hendersmart had already hired a replacement (and he wasn’t bad looking).

Feeling bushed from a rough day of job-hunting, which consisted of one failed pursuit, Barko went home for a good night’s sleep. This would be the last time he slept in his home, as he was now unemployed and held no currency.

Through the following weeks, Barko lamented hopelessly, picturing himself gadding the streets, forlorn and writhing in the throes of destitution – his almost brown eyes glossy and on the threshold of oozing down his chalky, frog-belly-colored face; his thin hair, now even thinner, blowing in the merciless February wind. As God as his witness (and he wasn’t) he declared that he would never let that happen to him. So he did what any man of few skills, very little ambition, and much fatigue would do under the same given circumstances; he comfortably took to living amongst rats, rogues, and ragamuffins in a filthy alley behind a fancy restaurant

Barko missed his ceiling and walls, but he did so enjoy the restaurant’s leftovers, especially Fridays―Fish Night!

“Besides,” the languid Barko Zarzoor would say to his wife and eight children, “the hours are great, I don’t have to punch a timecard, and I’m my own boss!”

No Heart

With passion-colored fury

I rip and tear and slash

And in a moment, red and blurry,

Thrust my hand into a gash

In her body, vivisected,

I discover with a start

As I had oft suspected—

My lover has no heart

Butter-Colored Butterflies

Butter-colored butterflies

Who, unlike butter, flutter by

And with each flutter, scutter high


Till higher as they skyward go

Like gentle breezes by, they blow

As lightly as a sigh and flow

Like flowing waves in brooks that break

And roll around each nook and make

Me savor every look I take

Till taking my attention to

A songbird of a gentian’s hue;

Dotted, spotted, drenched in blue

A blue as blue as heavens aloft

With speckled, freckled feathers coiffed

Upon each wing, together soft

While softly, as they flit and fly,

They warm my heart and charm my eye

And dip and dive and scutter nigh

These butter-colored butterflies

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mourning Glory


First, let me begin by assuring you, dear reader, that I do not, under normal circumstances, engage willfully in fistic confrontations, either for sport or as a means to resolution. And may it be further understood that never had it surfaced in my mind, as even the most trifling of ideas, to do so in the sober society of family and acquaintances. Nor, lastly, in my unlikeliest dreams should I have fancied committing this improbable act during—of all somber ceremonies—a funeral.

Being a sane man, I am full well aware of how this could shine unfavorably upon me. I know too that, weighing similar evidence as that which you are to read shortly, I could also be inclined to reason in kind. It is important, however, that you draw your conclusion not from mere “evidence” alone, but from what lies at the heart of this whole unfortunate matter . . . that which only the closest observer could have seen . . . that which escaped the blurred, teary-eyed notice of all present—all but me.

Evidence, you see, is only as valid as the perception of those who deem highly of its merit. One has only to witness the effect and, having failed to observe the cause, feel justified in their condemnation of an innocent man, whose very character lies solely at the hands of a conclusion foolhardily reached. There was such cause in this very case, and I alone am qualified to relate it.
As I have previously stated, I was with family and acquaintances, offering condolences and making idle conversations. Now, it is of utmost importance that I pause here to explain Uncle Mortimer, without whom this story would warrant no telling, and without whom my life would be far happier indeed.

The bitter rivalry between Uncle Mortimer and me had long been regarded as a matter of course within the family and among friends. The hatred was born, and only grew stronger, when Uncle Mortimer charmed and stole my lovely Eloise. Uncle Mortimer was twice her age and his advances were wrong and vulgar! He used his wealth, station, and good standing within the community to beguile her, taking advantage of her youthful innocence!! He knew that we were in love, that she was to be my bride, and yet he pursued and seduced my beloved Eloise!!!
To carry on any further in this manner, and tell of how the girl I loved with an unyielding love shortly became my Aunt Eloise, could too easily fill me with the same fury around which this entire debacle augmented to such a regrettable degree. Let it suffice to say that I had just cause for my feelings which, until that day, had been most impressively restrained.

As I said, I was condoling and conversing idly when, against attempts to remain oblivious, I saw Eloise sitting and holding hands and carrying on with Uncle Mortimer. I don’t mind telling you that this is a sight that riles me to my very soul. I tried to go about my business, but couldn’t help regarding his smug _expression, mocking me. This is what no one else saw!

There resided, across his arrogant countenance, an awful and sarcastic smirk. This had been so for as long as I can recall, and it had driven me to near-madness for just as long, especially since the day he stole the very passion of my life.

Now, I feel I should say that, through monumental efforts of resolution, I had always been able to hold my anger inside, and that I had every intention of continuing those efforts that day. I dare say that I think I should have succeeded, but for Uncle Mortimer’s constant goading, designed expressly for—and noticed only by—me!

The ire I had usually been able to quell now seemed beyond my control, like an untamed beast, unable to behave in accordance with the dictates of reason . . . a beast whose thirst for blood was only strengthened by Uncle Mortimer’s glaring pomposity. What kind of man, after all, could behave so at a funeral?

My anger, my hatred, every ill feeling which had brewed within me, pacing impatiently like a caged brute, now saw its chance for action; and never before had anything been so intent upon its purpose as was my unbridled rage on that fateful, fateful day.

I scarcely had time to take notice of my own actions before finding myself atop Uncle Mortimer, smiting him manfully and trying for all my strength to pummel his conceited visage rid of its contemptuous grin. I had acted so hastily that he never even saw me coming. No doubt, I had that advantage over him, as well as my ferocious, unleashed aggression, by which I was so overcome that I neither heard a sound from the others nor noticed Uncle Mortimer’s attempts to fight back. (I may not have noticed the attempts of an ape, in my state.)

A group of perhaps eight men tried to subdue me, but my pent-up asperity was such that I just fought through them—as if swimming through a powerful wave—landing several more blows across his cheeks and jaw.

The next thing I remember was being pinned to the floor like an animal. Me! No one so much as even lifted a finger toward Uncle Mortimer who, after all, caused this whole rumpus with his smug aspect and arrogant air. And even as the entire room was in a state of hysterics, and even as I was being held to the floor, Uncle Mortimer was still taunting me from across the room, unnoticed by the unwatchful eyes of those around him!

Though completely overpowered, I still managed to gather enough strength to lift my head. It took all that I had, and I could feel my neck strain so that I felt sure it would break. With my last iota of energy, I spit at his still-haughty mien, more or less as an angry gesture, as I held no real hopes of reaching my target. To my short-lived delight, however, the salivary projectile met its mark just as a well-aimed missile meets a cockshy.

I say short-lived delight for almost immediately afterward, I was turned over onto my stomach and—with the employment of the floor and a remarkable amount of pressure applied to the back of my head—my mouth, along with the rest of my body, was forcibly incapacitated.

Everybody else, especially Eloise, was tending to poor wounded St. Mortimer. The way they all carried on was enough to make me physically ill. “There, there Mort, he won’t bother you again.” As if I was the monster! They could never see him for the horrible fraud which, seemingly, only I knew him to be.

After some time, I feigned a seizure and implored that they give me air at once, lest they find themselves attending another funeral. With some more assuring and the convincing subterfuge of a swallowed tongue, they hesitantly released their holds and stepped cautiously back far enough to give me air . . . and far enough to give me a clear route to Uncle Mortimer who, like the others, never saw that I had been liberated.

I knew I’d only have one last chance before being overtaken again. I mentally measured the distance and calculated my steps—all from the corner of my eye, mind you. I remained still long enough for my guards to feel confident that I no longer posed a threat.

I let a full minute pass, writhing and gasping for air. A few of the men, fatigued from wrestling me into submission, even took up chairs and began to relax. Then another minute passed. Then another . . .

I must have waited five uneventful minutes before finally, and most suddenly, springing to my feet, making one last dash at the fiend. I broke through the unsuspecting group, and with both of my hands clasped together as one, I came down upon Uncle Mortimer’s face with the mightiest, most crushing blow yet. I heard the stomach-turning crunch and crackling of bones.

“Stop smirking you villain,” I shrieked. “Burn my body if I don’t tear that supercilious sneer from your very countenance!”

Utter chaos ensued, as I knew it would. I was lifting my fists above my head again when, in a tumultuous instant, I was thrown violently to the floor. This time the pain was more intense. I felt something in my elbow snap, like a piece of celery being twisted. Pain shot throughout my entire body and my eyes filled with water. My head grew faint and dizzy. Everything sounded distant and high-pitched. I knew I couldn’t maintain consciousness much longer, but I wanted to take one more look at Uncle Mortimer, for an assessment of the damage I had done.

I scanned the room as quickly as I could. A confused cluster of legs, feet, and ankles was all I could see from the floor. I had to see his face, and knew I had not much time. Find him! I thought . . . find him!

Just as my cognizance was slipping away, there was a small opening in the pandemonic crowd. I focused my bleared eyes in the direction of where I had left my foe, and before the room faded, I got one last look at Uncle Mortimer . . . still grinning sickeningly at me . . even as they closed his coffin.

Cowman's Resume

Borny Deleretard
139 N. West Saint Park Circle Drive Drive Trail Dr. R-59
Grand Banjo, Mithigum 487
(87) 44-692

Phlegmtember 33, 401

Mr. Heddy Ludbutter
Chief Honcho and Cowman
Ludbutter Farm
30955074 Full-blown Hepatitis C Rd.
Fat Rapids, Ihohi 5373

Dear Mr. Ludbutter,
I would like to be a cowboy on your farm. I am strong, healthy, and work well with animals, dirt, grain, and odd/funny-looking machinery.

Through my experience(s), I have grown to love farming and being a cowboy. While working on the Neatly Farm, I had the opportunity to cover a range of cowboying from dusting crops to roping dogies.

I began as Piss-face my first year at the N.F. and quickly progressed to Big Boy by my seventeenth year. I work hard and am good at heaving heavy hay.

I have been recognized for my cowboying skills both on and off the farm. Recently, I was awarded The Golden Spur Prize at the feed store for the heavy work I did for them. I was also selected to ride the bull in the annual Bull Riding Thing.

Through my experience(s), I have honed the necessary skills to be successful in this profession. If you are looking for a dig-down and get dirty type of cowboy who is capable of contributing greatly to the success of your farm, then I’m your huckleberry.

I have enclosed a resume outlining my experience(s) along with colored pictures of what the Neatly Farm looked like before and after I worked there.

I will contact you the week of the Pickle Festival to discuss the possibility of working on your farm.

Thank You,

Borny Deleretard

Sucker for a Picture of a Pretty Big Bird


In the hills—many miles away from everywhere—lived a short-fused darling named Wentworth Fitzmackenbash. He came from a medium family: Mother Dumplette, who was right side up; father Ruman, who was in trouble; and two brothers named Philadelphia who took baths together.

Wentworth fought day at and day over. He would fight anyone, regardless of size (as long as they weren’t larger than him). He would go to school every day looking for justification to punch someone’s ass. He didn’t exactly start fights, but he had the uncanny ability to turn anything into a fight.

Wentworth’s principal was very fed up with his violent tendencies and found himself constantly having to spank the angry young boy’s back.

“I’m tired of your fighting every day,” said Principal, pushing Wentworth into a big, black leather office chair, “I’m also fed up with your violet testicles and having to spank your angry young back! You don’t exactly start fights, but you have the uncanny ability to turn anything into a fight!”

Then, standing over Wentworth, like a statue of a principal standing over an angry student in a big, black leather office chair, Principal continued, “You’re NOT going to go fighting day at and day over! Not in this school you won’t! It’s clear to me that you have a bad altitude and a ridiculous haircut!” (Which he really did). “You don’t like anybody or anything!”

Wentworth sprang to his (Wentworth’s) feet bawling, “That’s not true principal! I like—no—LOVE pictures of pretty big birds!” punctuating the sentence with kicks and punches to Principal’s mid section. For this Wentworth was suspended from school and could not come back until his mother and Principal had a conference. And so they did that very evening.

Many things were discussed at the conference, from rugby to Wentworth. Principal leaned over his desk, “Mrs. Fitzmackenbash. Your son Wentworth is –well . . . I’ll be honest with you. He’s a short-tempered, pencil-neck, pizza-faced, foam-headed, waffle-back, grass eating, stupid hair-having, violent little bastard! And I mean it! The only thing he likes—no—LOVES is, get this, pictures of pretty big birds. Can you believe that? Pretty big birds for Chrissake! If you ask me, this kids—”

Before he could finish his tirade, Mrs. Fitzmartiantit spoke out, “Maybe if we could look into his fancies we could look into his fancies and look into his fancies and . . .” She shook her head and started over slowly, “Maybe – if we could look – into his fancies – we could help – him to be – a happier Wentworth. Happier Wentworth I say.”

Principal leaned even more forward, supporting his upper body with his fists, “You mean give in?! What that boy of yours needs is a whooping! A good old-fashioned whooping! Let me do it Mrs. Fitzmuslimcalendar, LET ME DO IT!! What I’ll do is to put a bar of soap in a sock and whoop—”

“Oh I don’t think so. I think a picture of a pretty big bird will do the trick,” interrupted Mrs. Fitzmothersmilk, leaving the office with a splendid zoom.

The next day, while Wentworth was in school, Mrs. Fitzmountainsickness bought a picture of a pretty big bird and prepared a loaf of meat for to make her angry young son ecstatic. But when her Wentworth didn’t come home from school she began to worry. Philadelphias said they’d seen an older boy hitting Wentworth in the mouth with a bike, but that he seemed all right. So they just waited and waited for him to arrive. (Everybody knew he had the bike beating coming to him.)

When Wentworth finally did come home, he had but three teeth left, and they were in the back of his mouth where nobody could see them. By this time, dinner was cold and Mrs. Fitzmushroomcloud was hot. She began stomping about and screaming, “Damn you Wentworth, for coming home all bleedy and incomplete! I got you a picture of some pretty big bird and made you a fine, brown supper and you come home all bleedy and incomplete! Damn you for that Wentworth! Piss on you and damn you!”

“Where’s the picture at?” asked Wentworth, which was the wrong thing to do.

Mrs. Fitzmusclebeach grew red and threw mightily it at him hollering, “ON YOUR FACE!!!”
When Wentworth woke up, he looked at the picture and began dancing with it. He closed his eye (one was already swollen shut) and smiled smiled smiled, revealing all of his no teeth. When Mrs. Fitzmustardgas saw how happy it made Wentworth, she too smiled smiled smiled – knowing damn well he’d never change his dirty, fighting ways.

Introduction

Born into prominence, as a direct descendant of Sir Smelnknorld Smlandervlander—the self-proclaimed Genius of the Weather, and inventor of the container—Denny Green’s first taste of writing came twelve years after his parents invented him, when he received a cave-wall and charcoal from his Uncle Mangles.

His original, and decidedly more pugilistic, career choice was that of a Big-time Tough-time Man. He had, in fact, received a set of knuckles on that same occasion; a gift he’d quickly predicted, having already unwrapped a copy of the popular You and Your New Knuckles, by his then-favorite author, Socko Lunghammer (who would later prove life to be stranger than fiction by punching Denny in the forehead and pulling his nose right in front of girls; inspiring one of Denny’s most gripping essays to date: Knuckle Hoagie – with a Side of Don’t).

Fortunately for the world of letters, Denny lost more fisticuff-manship titles than were even in existence, and was voted Worst Boxer to Box by the World of Boxing Boxing People; leading him to turn inward, and resume his writing with a new-found fire in his belly. (He was also working nights as a Late Night Fire-Eater at Late Night Fire-Eater Hut Forever Place while reinventing himself.)

He has written two novels: “What Are You . . . Crazy?” and “What—Are You Crazy?” as well as the critically-acclaimed collection of essays; “What Are You? (Crazy!)”.

Denny lives at the Holy Mary, Queen of the Uncalled-For Facility for the Terminally One-upped with his friend, Mr. Peppers, who resides in the electrical outlet and repeatedly informs Denny that he’s doomed. Denny enjoys inventing the scarecrow, listening to songs that end with oh yeah, and illustrating that “the color of our blood is the same” by poking foreigners with darts and forks. “See?” he says.