Desert during the Day of the Dead

Desert during the Day of the Dead

The amazing cover art of my story.

The next morning Maria woke with a gasp. Her head pounded from drinking a bottle of wine all by herself. She scrambled off the couch and knocked her wine glass to the floor. She was lucky it didn’t shatter. It must have been sleeping on the couch with her. She must have finished the wine because there was nothing but a red stain in the bottom of the glass. She didn’t quite remember falling asleep. She remembered staring out the window waiting for the spirits to come and eat the feast. Her nerves threatened to constrict her throat. Last night was Day of the Dead. She slowly turned her head to confirm her worst fear. It was true. She had fallen asleep with makeup on her face! Now the cheap Halloween sludge was smudged all over her grandmother’s couch! She was such an idiot. She stumbled out of the living room into the kitchen. “Crap. Crap!” she cursed.

She caught a glance of her face in the mirror. The once beautiful makeup job was now a complete mess on her face. She looked less like a Day of the Dead celebrant and more like a drunken Halloween date. But there was no time to fix her face. Her family would murder her if they found out she ruined the couch. Everything in this house was precious or at least so she thought. In reality, her uncle would probably sell as much as he could on Craigslist after the family picked through the belongings. It was sad really, her grandmother’s last belongings picked away by estate sale shoppers.

She grabbed a mess of Kirkland Signature paper towels. As a child, she always thought Kirkland products were from Kirtland Air Force base in Albuquerque. Her mom laughed and told her about the “t” in Kirtland and about far-off city of Kirkland, Washington, home of Costco. Her uncle bought her a giant Costco-sized package of paper towels when she first decided to stay in her grandmother’s ramshackle house. Not that she would use that many during her sojourn in the desert. Her uncle was kind of lazy unlike his sister, Maria’s mom, who was so driven and passionate to the point of being a little too intense sometimes. Maria definitely inherited some of her father’s ability to be okay with doing nothing whereas Mom couldn’t sit still. Maria gathered a giant wad of paper towels. She doused them with cold water following her mother’s advice about getting rid of stains.

She brought the still dripping pile of paper towels into the living room when she screamed and dropped the slopping mess. The food on the porch was gone. There was an empty wine glass and a tipped over wine bottle. The burrito, the green chile, and everything else was gone! She carefully made her way to the front door. Even though the morning sun was bright in the sky, she walked like she was in a horror movie discovering a dead body. She wanted desperately to see her grandmother last night. She knew her grandmother was dead. She knew there was no magic in the desert. It was just a fantasy.

She pushed open the front door. If she had been in an actual horror movie, she should have a gun or a frying pan but Maria wasn’t thinking. In fact, her eyes welled up as she surveyed the feast. It was really gone. Every last morsel had been eaten. There was no food left on the table. Maria up righted the empty wine bottle. There was a red stain in the bottom of the glass. Maria’s knees buckled. She slumped to the ground and began to cry.

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10 Uses for Halloween Makeup

This is what happens when you walk into a spider web.

I’m here about the job for Spider Queen. What do you mean it’s already filled?

Ever notice how those Halloween makeup kits give you enough makeup for the entire cast of Cats the musical? You are only going to use it for one night. So here are some post-Halloween makeup uses:

1. Rob a bank – Who doesn’t need extra holiday cash? And why do we have super villain teams who spend more time on their coordinated makeup than planning the robbery? Either way, you won’t have to tell Timmy he doesn’t get Christmas presents because you spent it all on Halloween candy this year.

2. Smear on face and take revenge – Every person who is out for revenge always seems to smear stuff on their face. Rumpelstiltskin smeared black claw marks. Rambo caked stuff on his face. Braveheart is a blue-faced killing machine. If you are going to go on some epic revenge quest, don’t forget the face paint.

3. Teach class – All you teacher’s out there who are bored, you have options that don’t involve cooking Meth. You can paint your face and take on a wacky personality. If the students reject the ploy, then pull out a gun and start acting really disturbed. That will get their attention and a learning student is one who is paying attention.

4. Wear black face – I know this is completely racist and offensive. But what if you really were black underneath the black face? That will get them thinking! Because obscure performance art always gets people thinking.

5. Wicked Witch of Savings and Loans – Let’s face it. Bankers really can’t have any fun. People take money way too seriously. What if you cackled loudly like a witch every time you denied a loan? That would add some spice to the workplace.

6. Data from Star Trek – Everyone will completely understand why you are socially awkward and lonely when you are dressed like Data. Most androids have trouble fitting into society norms, especially at Taco Bell. When you twitch your head and ask if the Baja Blast will cause problems with your circuitry, the clerk will totally know what you are going through because who hasn’t wanted to be an android traveling on a star ship in the distant future?

7. Tourist Information Guy – Who needs Siri or Google when Tourist Information Guy is on the job? Looking for a place to eat? Tourist Information Guy will save the day. Wondering when the museum will close? Tourist Information Guy has brochures! Smuggling a balloon of heroin in your butt? Tourist Information Guy isn’t really comfortable with this.

8. Hospital Creepy Guy – Walk around as the Grimm Reaper and point to random patients. Throw in a deep guttural “you!” for good measure. Insist you are only doing it to help patients come to terms with their own mortality. When they tell you the patient only had a skinned knee, tell them you never know when something will become infected.

9. Bowling Alley Goth – True Story: I was playing a Goth kid with face paint during a stage play. The cast decided to go bowling. The only bowling alley that was opened late night was the musty, old, wood-paneled, redneck singles club where a gun rack in the pickup would be a requirement for membership. I forgot to wash the makeup off and arrived about 15 minutes before the rest of the cast did.

10. Cultist Prankster – Join a cult. Then during the ritual sacrifice make farting noises. Insist to fellow cult members you are more of a self sexual abuser. Make punching and crying noises at night. Replace all doctrine documents with copies of The Secret. Tip off the FBI and plan a stand-off at Chuck E. Cheese.

Halloween and the Knights of the Round Table

            With Halloween around the corner, you should be scared and shit. If you aren’t scared, then here is a tale to chill your boner and your bones too!

Narrator: It was a dark and stormy knight named Josh. He was the long lost cousin of Lancelot. Most people thought he was a cheese dick but there was some mild depression and sarcasm in him as well. So King Arthur came unto Josh and Lancelot and said:

Satan is word scramble for Santa!

Medieval painting titled: Bitch rollin’ up on my Bling

King Arthur: Yo! Yo! Arthur in da house! Let’s get some fly bitches in this hizzy. We need to drink from pimpin’ goblets n’ shit. You drink malt liquor from the holy grail! Ain’t no way you go home alone. Know what I mean?

Lancelot: I don’t know what you mean. I understood probably only 1/3 of what you said. You see I fight for truth, justice, the ability for old ladies to walk their dogs safely at night, children having the same educational opportunities, pancake Sundays-

Josh: Dude, he wants us to find the holy grail.

King Arthur: Yo, this dawg knows the what what.

Lancelot: I shall perform your task with honor, dignity, a head held high looking towards the rising sun to symbolize a new day…

Josh: Fuck… I hate my family.

Narrator: Meanwhile Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and Edward from the Twilight series were making plans of their own in Dracula’s living room. He has one of those 3D TVs. I’m personally waiting for holodecks. You probably won’t ever see me leave. Unless they don’t have a self cleaning cycle.

Edward: Yo! Yo! Edward in da house! Let’s get some fly bitches-

The Wolf Man beheads Edward.

Dracula: We are not scary anymore.

The mummy is smoking weed.

Mummy: Bro… I want some Doritos.

Dracula: I’m serious. We used to scare the shit out of little kids. Now they sell cheap knock-offs of us at Spencer’s.

Wolf Man: You’re right. People say I look all fake especially when you compare me to those young werewolf studs. But it hurts man. Do I tell a chick with eyeliner that makes her look like she has an eye infection that she looks fake?

Mummy: If I make a joint with my wrappings, would I get even higher than a normal joint?

Dracula: We need to do something about this.

Wolf Man: We can murder children!

Dracula: That’s good but then we’d have to let Hitler over.

Hitler is knocking on the door to Dracula’s castle.

Hitler: Hello? I brought Apples to Apples! I took out the dead Jew child cards so it’s fair this time.

Back in Dracula’s living room:

Mummy: Dude… bro… let’s pee in the holy grail.

Dracula: Shut up!

Wolf Man: Wait!  I think he has something.

Dracula: This is the stupidest idea-

Wolf Man: It’s brilliant. Christians get butt hurt when you make fun of their religion.

Mummy: Yeah man! They like make their kids afraid of Harry Potter and gay people and shit. They’ll make their kids afraid of us!

Dracula: Isn’t Harry Potter gay?

Wolf Man: He married a woman.

Dracula: So do plenty of people in the closet. You think he was so broken up over Cedric because Cedric was a solid competitor?

Mummy: I always thought he gave up Cho too easily…

Wolf Man: Shut up! He’s not gay. Let’s go pee in the grail.

Hi, I'm Satan. How are you enjoying the sketch so far?

Medieval painting titled: Harry Potter’s Homoerotic Dream

Narrator: So what if I’ve been drinking! Ummm… welcome back to our tale… of shit and stuff… you know I was second to play Obi Won Kenobi? But that asshole Sir Alec Guinness took the part. He didn’t even like playing Kenobi! I would have appreciated it. Instead, I play crap parts… in community theatre…

Dracula: Sorry folks… Our story continues when the knights find the grail….

Josh and Lancelot stumble in, covered in blood and muck. 

Lancelot: Traveling the four corners of the earth is a knight’s task. If you are too much of a squire, then you may…

Josh: Squire?

Lancelot: An unknightly title.

Josh: Why not pussy or bitch?

Lancelot: And heed the words of the patriarchy! I am a feminist.

Josh: You are a dude with a broadsword and armour that is covered in blood most of the time.

Lancelot: But my heart hath a feminine side. I hath feelings.

Josh: Really?

Lancelot: I’ve adopted a puppy.

Josh: To fight along-side you?

Lancelot: Mr. HowlingFluff will never see combat.

Josh: Ok… ok…

The neatly dressed Galahad walks in with the holy grail.

Lancelot: Galahad! Mighty knight of honor and value!

Josh: You found it!

Galahad: Yep.

Josh: Dude, we have being questing for years, how did you find it?

Galahad: Spencer’s.

Josh: Spencer’s. You mean we’ve been traveling the globe fighting bandits, evil warlords, and mythical beasts. And you fucking buy it at Spencer’s?

Galahad: Yeah bro, it’s near the pornographic greeting cards.

Lancelot: The card with the perfect man…hehe… because he’s cardboard…hoho… makes me laugh…haha… every time…haha…hehe…

Wolf Man jumps out, kills Galahad, and takes the grail! Josh and Lancelot pull out their swords.

Wolf Man: I got it!

Josh: Dude, whoa! Who are you?

Wolf Man: I am the Wolf Man.

Josh: Is that a mask? It looks fake.

Wolf Man: Hey, fuck you.

Dracula: Good! We pee in the grail now?

Lancelot: You pee in the cup of god! Have at thee!

Satan wants you to listen to Sublime or is that subliminal messages?

Medieval painting titled: Best Joint Ever

Josh: Whoa! Whoa! Wait… You are here to pee in the cup?

Wolf Man: Yeah… what’s it to you?

Josh: I think I can purpose a mutually beneficial solution…

A long stick pokes the narrator awake.

Narrator: Huh? What? So that’s how Josh became known as the cheese dick Knight. Arthur never could get the taste of urine washed from his mouth so he created a round table. That way he could sit at a different part of the table each time. Lancelot and Josh went to work for Spencer’s so they could get a discount on quest items. The Wolf Man married Dracula after Wolfie got over his homophobia. And the mummy smoked himself.

The Government Shutdown

     Day 1 – The government shut down today and unfortunately, I was still inside when it happened. My name was Russell and I was a low-level paperwork pusher. You’d figure in 2013, where you can pay for Starbucks with a smart phone, the government wouldn’t really need paperwork. Much less the sheer volume I dealt with on a daily basis. But this journal wasn’t about my job. It was about how I was stuck in a shut-down building. All the exits were locked. The security cameras were running but I was pretty sure the guy hired to watch them was furloughed. My cell service was Government Issue. They obviously saved $70 on a monthly plan. If we canceled 165 billion cell phone plans, we’d have the debt paid-off and maybe I could go home. Supposedly, even a cell phone without a plan could dial emergency services but I think the towers were Government Issue. No service anywhere in the building. The landlines were also down, even the internet. I wondered how close we were on that debt.

Coffee Pots

Coffee was a tradition at my work. It’s interesting how I didn’t really notice the social aspect to coffee. I felt alone when I sat down with a cup of coffee in an empty break room.

     Day 2 – You’d figure somebody would have checked on me. But I was assuming anyone who would come has been furloughed. Luckily enough, the power and the water came from the city or else there would be some smelly trashcans. I’ve calculated 242 mugs of coffee with cream and sweetener (anywhere from white sugar to green stevia). 563 mugs of hot water with cream and sweetener and 712 mugs of just hot water and sweetener before I run out of hot beverages. Though each of those numbers should be reduced by 1/3 because I usually have two mugs in the morning and one in the afternoon. Did I mention I was really good with numbers? Between the leftovers in the break room fridge, a food wheel (AKA Wheel of Death), candy machine, and soda machine, I probably only had a few days of real food, and probably two weeks of sugar disguised as food. Hopefully, the Affordable Care Act would cover my early onset diabetes.

     Day 3 – I was bored. At first, this was kind of fun. I was alone and free to explore. I pretty much had access to the first two floors, half of the third, and part of the basement. On every floor, there was the occasional locked door. I spent the second day digging through co-worker’s desks. I found some dirty little secrets. Ted spent money on flowers and gifts. The gifts were delivered to a woman who wasn’t his wife. My boss was skimming money from the government. She had expenses listed for office equipment but no actual office equipment. The cute girl, who worked three cubicles down, had a hunky boyfriend. And to think of all the conversations I wasted. There should be some rule to identify such important information early in the flirting process. And Gerald, he was exactly as boring as you think he is. No secrets.

Three Cubicles Down

This was Three Cubicles Down’s desk. I assumed the landscape pictures and calendar ready for 2014 was because she was adventurous, but when I found the picture of her and her boyfriend in the desk drawer, I had to question. Was it escape?

     Day 4 – I decided that four days was enough to be excused of a destruction of government property charge. I probably would have been excused much earlier but I always played it on the safe-side. For example, Three Cubicles Down: Boyfriends didn’t deter most guys but it deterred me. I figured if someone cheated to be with me, it would only be a matter of time before they cheated on me with someone else. I’d rather enter into a relationship with a clean slate. Of course, my last relationship didn’t end with a clean slate but there was no reason to jinx it from the beginning. But I digress; I tried to break the windows in the lobby today. They were tough. I smashed everything from a chair to the laser printer that I could barely carry, much less throw. I felt like I was in some sort of bizarre, modern, highland games. The printer shattered and the window held.

     Day 5 – I was fairly sure the government wouldn’t be back up anytime soon. So I had decided to ration the food. However, the coffee would last well beyond the food so I actually increased my intake of caffeine. I wondered if drinking more coffee was causing me to be so anxious. I was betting it was being trapped in a building for five fucking days. The windows were sturdy. I tried to bust out all of the exterior ones with no luck. So instead I wrote “trapped” on all the windows hoping somebody would swing by. There was no interior roof access. I was even desperate enough to set fire to my boss’s office. It was strangely satisfying as she was a micromanager. At any rate, I figured it would help her with the embezzlement wrap by destroying the evidence. I thought the flame would have the added bonus of starting the fire suppression system, which should alert the authorities. Instead, it burned and filled the second floor with smoke. Apparently, the fire sprinklers were furloughed. Luckily, the building was solid concrete, glass, and metal. I slammed the door to her office and the lack of oxygen eventually choked out the fire. For now, I was sticking to the ground floor tonight. The smell alone makes me want to throw up.

     Day 6 – I missed my parents. They lived out of state and I didn’t really talk to them much. But when I did, they seemed to make my troubles disappear. They got me through my last break up. At least enough to attempt speaking terms with Three Cubicles Down. But I never really talked with my folks otherwise. It wasn’t that I disliked them. I was living my life. I’d go to work. Played some online games, maybe streamed some television shows and repeated the process. I didn’t really have IRL friends-only the occasional party here and there. I invested so much into my last relationship. I didn’t really know what to do when I was on my own again. Once my parents convinced me that the world hadn’t ended, I didn’t call them back for the last few months. I didn’t know why. Things were going well. I wished I called my parents more often. They would come looking for me.

My food

The Wheel of Death is on the left. It was installed because people complained about not having healthy options. The “healthy options” turned out to be fruit doused in corn syrup and some “veggie” snacks with more cheese than carrot.

     Day 7 – I was drawing larger lettering for the word “trapped” in the lobby after my morning coffee when I saw the first person who wasn’t a photograph in somebody’s office or on a hard drive. I almost missed him because I thought that I was delusional. But he was real. The parking lot was empty and the trees were just beginning to turn. I took the bus to work the day I was trapped or else they would have seen my scooter and… This was embarrassing… but I was trapped because I nodded off on the toilet. I had an argument with my ex the night before all this happened. So I ate an entire bag of chips and a bottle of hot salsa from New Mexico. They take their heat seriously in New Mexico. I also drank two bottles of cheap wine, the kind with sulfates. Turned out the chips had gluten. I was gluten intolerant. Gluten wouldn’t kill me. It just caused digestive issues. So anyways, it was a trifecta of stomach ick and kept me awake much too late for a work night. Sleep deprivation and scooters were dangerous, especially when most people in my city drove pick-ups. So I played it safe and took the bus. Whoever closed shop on the first day locked me inside. If I only risked the scooter ride… Anyways, the parking lot had a lot of leaves because of the lack of gardening. In the middle of a swirl of leaves, a man stood in the parking lot. He wore a long, black overcoat, a baseball hat, and a pair of sunglasses. He stared expressionless at the building. I screamed and pounded on the glass. I slammed the chair and office equipment but he did not see me. Or least he didn’t change his expression. While I dug through the receptionist’s desk for an object to make some noise, he disappeared. The parking lot was empty except for the leaves dancing in the wind.

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7 Reasons to Support the Government Shutdown

Judge Dredd will be running for office soon...

When I said shut it all down, I was meaning something different…

People are going crazy about the government shut down like it will be a bad thing but I always like to stay positive. So here are some good things about the government shut down:

1. All those families with seventeen children who use up food stamps will just die off when their EBT cards fail. They may not eat for a whole month. I am pretty sure if you don’t feed people for a month, they’ll die. So that means we’ll save a whole bunch of money when all the food stamp people die out. Of course, they could always eat their children during the shut down. But at any rate, it will be less mouths to feed. And less mouths to feed equals savings.

2. Those silly government organizations like the forestry service and the national parks will shut down. It’s about time we get some fracking and some civilization out in those forest places. It’s so hard to find a McDonald’s in Yosemite.  It’s no wonder why hikers die, I bet they wouldn’t die as much if they had access to a Starbucks for every mile of trailhead.

You want to see this guys boobs?

Billion dollar research for this guy’s boobs.

3. Finally, an excuse to bury those stupid science places like NASA and Los Alamos. They spend way too much money on things that may not even exist like dark matter and Higgs bosoms. Higgs is an old dude and his breasts are probably not that attractive. The Large Hadron Collider cost a billion dollars to find the Higgs Bosom. We spent all this money on researching a dude’s boobs? Come on! I could find much cheaper boobs in a porno shop!

4. We can totally shut down the education department. People can attend Full Sail University instead of education. All you need is a degree in chemistry. Then you can figure out how to make the blue Meth. Hell, you probably don’t even need a degree in chemistry, you can just watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. What you really need is a mastery of body chemistry from all the chicks that will be up on you when you get the bling after the blue Meth sales start rolling in. Anyone have a RV for sale?

5. Hopefully, they’ll shut down the police departments too. Then the sales from number 4 will really start rolling in. We can switch to the honor based system of policing. So when serial killers go on rampages, we’ll trust that they will turn themselves in. And we can use the leftover food stamps from the people who ate their children as incentive. I’m sure all the criminals will turn themselves in when they are offered free food stamps.

6. If we are getting rid of police, we may as well shut down all emergency services. The more buildings that burn down, people with medical problems who die, and so forth will lighten the burden on the already strained system. With all the fires and chaos, we should shave most of our population who are on disability. Anyone who’s left won’t be able to survive against roaming street gangs.

7. With the government shut down and most of the population dead, we totally won’t have regulation on our cars. So we can rig them up Mad Max style. Crazy people with mohawks can jump from moving vehicles to moving vehicles in post apocalyptic fist fights with no government telling them what to do! I bet Tina Turner will still rule Bartertown if we ask her nicely. I call dibs on the midget riding the giant gimp.

The new face of congress.

A much more cost effective form of government.