Tag Archives: comedy

In Defiance of Everything

My cat just lies there
as the mice run free and wild
copulating all over the lawn
as the birds fly into the windows
and throughout all the rooms
with an air of casual ease
and the dogs knock down the fences
shit on the deck
and light cigars.

My cat just lies there
as the pool pump is broken
the finances are in ruins
the shed is on fire
and the vacuum salesman is back.

My cat just lies there
as the rich eat the poor
as machines eat the planet
as the forests burn
from Asia to LA
and democracies crumble
like wet sand through hungry fingers.

My cat just lies there
as I grapple with
the five year plan
the taxman
the diet
the front door
-the weight of
being human

Now
my cat and I
are both lying there
on the floor
on our backs
on a sunlit patch of linoleum
together
in defiance of everything.

My cat Knowing that the
secret to existence
and endurance
is a fine meal
and some good rest.

And perhaps
forgetting everything else
for a little while.

Antihero

Are you cynical?
I’m not.
Die.

Are you trying to be the hero?
I’m definitely not.
You can’t see me.

I’m just trying not to
antagonize the rabid dog at my fence or
sew my fingers together or
pop the child’s favorite balloon
with a rusty razor blade or
bring any notice whatsoever
to the protagonist
of an incredibly unimaginative story that’s
more like a prolonged senseless beating
than a beer commercial.

I look out the window and shudder.
It’s just not for me.

I blend in with the drapes.

I am the drapes.

It’s Back

Sonya was out back gathering dead leaves when she saw it standing in the schoolyard watching her, hands clenched at its sides, still and silent as a tomb, staring.

Sonya went into the kitchen where Frances was washing dishes.
“It’s back,” she said.
“What? Really?” Frances dried his hands and went to the window. He knew exactly where to look. “Shit. What do we do?” Frances started pacing like he did last time. It was happening all over again as though someone pulled up the needle on a record and dropped it back to the beginning of the track.
“Fuck…fuck…fuck…” He muttered like a broken robot.

“They did say it was possible,” Sonya interjected.
Frances stopped and gave her a look that could dry paint. “I know what they said, okay?”
He walked over to the counter and picked up his phone.
Sonya planted her hands on her hips. “Who are you texting?”
“Ellis.” Frances thumbs were working overtime when a simple ‘It’s back’ would have sufficed, but that wasn’t Frances.

Sonya laughed, “yeah, cause he’s a big help.”
Frances finished up and gave her the look again. “Why do you have to be like that? Honestly, like…fucking why?”
It really didn’t take much time for things to fall back to the way they were the last time they had to deal with that…thing.

And sure enough, when Sonya went back to the window, it was still there, staring. The thing was that it was stuck. It couldn’t move right now. She didn’t know how it had made it that far into the field except through sheer will; it was probably that pissed off.

But tonight, once the sun set and the stars came out -then it would be free to go where it wanted. And guess where it was heading? They needed a plan. Fast. It was only a couple of hours before the standing silent figure in the schoolyard would become mobile and therefore a major fucking problem.

“Come on, Ellis. He’s not answering.” Frances seemed to say it more to himself than to her.
“I have an idea,” said Sonya, trying once again to be the problem-solver. She held this conviction that if she started to say something the rest would just come out, would fall in line organically all on its own -but this time there was nothing.

Sonya didn’t have an idea at all.

And the clock was ticking…

THAT’S NOT MY CAT

I was reaching for a melon
in the produce section
of the local grocery mart
when a paw shot out
from behind it to
vigorously swat at my hand
and the black head of a
growling cat appeared
with large excited yellow eyes.

A passing lady looked at me askew.
“That’s not my cat.” I said.

She quietly turned her attention
to the cucumbers. They were
rather big this year.

“Nice Kitty, go play.” I suggested
and went for another melon but
the cat stretched its long, thin body
out across the entire bin and started
swatting at my hand again.

“Go away! I’m not your play-toy.”
‘Meow.’

When I arrived at the register
the cat was there waiting for me
right on the conveyor.

The listless teenage cashier looked like
she was trying to paint her fingernails
with her mind.

“That’s not my cat.”
“What cat?” The girl said as she absently
grabbed it and scanned the cat through
right behind the potatoes.

As I left the store and was
crossing the parking lot
a lady came running out to me.
“Sir! Sir! You forgot your cat!”
She was obese and out of breath.

Other than why would I bring a cat
to the grocery store I said,
“That’s not my cat.”

“But Sir, it says so right here on the collar.”
She turned the purring cat over and
flipped the tag on its red collar.

‘I belong to that guy.’ It read.

I took the cat and tossed it in the cart
right beside the potatoes
wheeled the cart over and unloaded
the things into my hatchback then
brought it to the cart corral
with the cat still inside.

I ran back to my car and tore
out of the parking lot like I had just
robbed the store.

On the expressway halfway home
I felt a sudden soft batting on the
side of my head and heard a
meowing in my ear.

I almost crossed the medium
head-on into a tanker truck
on purpose but instead I
stopped at the nearest gas station
and let the cat out of the car
as a family of four watched.

“That’s not my cat.” I said.
The girl giggled.
The boy gave me the finger.

Arriving home as I pulled into the
driveway the headlights shone on the
same black cat with the red collar as
it sat and waited for me to arrive.

I sighed, “Nope. Nope. Tons of nope everywhere.
No way. Not again. Not a chance.”
But I picked up the cat anyway
and brought it inside.

Flicking on the kitchen light
I dropped the cat on the linoleum floor
where ten other black cats anxiously
waited to be fed.

NEIGHBOUR’S MULLET

Untamable.
A bristling peacock
wild on the street.

Steal your girl.

It is primed
and ready to go.

It’s a cobra
ready to strike.

It has drama.
It has anger.
It has danger
and no mercy.

It goes up
and comes down
and will drive you
to uncertainty.

It will ruin your
finances
and divide your
family.

My neighbour’s mullet
is its own
theater.

I talk about it
everyday
because that’s
where
my life is

and I just had
Deja-vu.

COVID-19 SOCIETY: LIFE IS A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER

As the pandemic was unfolding on social media people were scattered in the frozen produce section of Costco staring down at their smartphones as if waiting for instructions. A lady was fixated on her screen beside a batch of tomatoes when her face scrunched up and she started to turn. They all did, not into zombies or vampires or werewolves. Instead, they all turned toward the aisle containing the bathroom tissue.

“Oh no, she has it!” A man said to his daughter.
“What, Dad? The virus?”
“No, Stacey, the hearing about the virus, virus.”

In one single motion typically reserved for geese taking flight, the people began to rush alongside and at times over each other in a desperate bid, not to grab the last remaining rations of ass-fleece, but to get it all, grossly more bog roll than they would ever use in their entire lifetimes. Fuck everybody else.

As can be seen on any given Black Friday: wrangling, scuffling and outright brawling overtook the immediate area in an implosion of bodies interacting in the most primordially deprived fashion possible. Yes, it was social-distancing at it’s best in aisle seven where humanity had rapidly devolved into a raging pile of limbs, gnashing teeth, pulling hair -and in the midst of the chaos freshly-ejected spittle freely soared, danced and coalesced to form a fine blanket of mist that soon settled upon everything (sleep well).

“See Honey,” Father said as her brought his daughter close to witness the spectacle, “this is why we aren’t going to make it as a race –because when under duress we lack the ability to think about the common good and instead become dominated by our own self-interests in immediate and irrational ways. What you see here? This is a true reflection of our society. What you have to understand is that everybody’s nice until you start messing with their livelihood and after that…there’s this.”

The final bulk pack of toilet roll was won over by a lady the size of a Whirlpool fridge who manhandled a millennial.

“Dad, I’m scared!”

The father smiled warmly, “You should be, especially when you consider how quickly we all can be reduced to little more than contagious self-serving vermin controlled by an increasingly authoritarian government.”

“I don’t understand!”

“Well, after a lifetime of being sold your own self-image while following the trivial pursuit of achieving Instagram-worthy selfies it must be very difficult -if not downright impossible- to suddenly wake up one day and realize that it’s not all about you.” He gave her shoulder a light squeeze. “I get it. Your whole generation’s going to be living in a dumpster-fire cause of climate change anyway.”

As callous hordes of people ran by waving around over-sized loads of scrumptious, fluffy toilet rolls with blank stares in their eyes he said: “Don’t worry, we can always wipe our ass with Scruffles.”

“Not my cat!”

“Oh yes, and that’s just for starters.” Father gave her a look that made Stacey worried about what would happen after that resource was exhausted.

As another horde charged through with what looked to be the last remaining stock of rice, pasta, eggs and flour (because everyone was going to suddenly take up baking) Father said, “Who knows? We might have to eat her too.”

Stacey began to cry as her dad nodded to an old lady and gave her a tender look that would make anybody feel at home right before clothes-lining her as she was walking by for the six-pack of hand sanitizer held against her chest that he was going to dilute and sell online at an absurdly marked-up price.

”Welcome to the new world!”

THE MARVEL SUPERHERO ON PARK STREET

I was walking by a large Victorian house on Park Street when from up on the top floor balcony I heard someone calling out. I turned to see a girl –maybe ten years old– leaning over the railing so that her long hair hung straight down.

“Hey Mister, do you want to see a trick?”
I shrugged. “Sure, why not?”

“Okay!” She shouted and clapped her hands excitedly. Smiling, she turned and went back into the house only to appear at the front door three floors down not even a second later. She opened it, came out onto the porch, spun around with her arms held out and went back in. Next thing I know there is a knock on the top floor window where she waves and turns away. Again, before I could formulate a thought she reappears out the front door and this time she walks down to where I stood on the sidewalk.

“What do you think?” She asked and folded her arms across her chest. I didn’t even have the do the math; there was just no way was she faster than my eyes could travel from the ground floor to three stories up and back down.

“You have a twin. Throw the same clothes on and have fun with unsuspecting strangers.”

“Nuh-uh! NUH-UH!” She whipped her head back and forth viciously enough that the ends of her hair threatened to blind me and then shot me a glare like I was the biggest dipshit ever.

“Okay, then you’re a Marvel superhero.” I returned.

Behind her, a lady opened the door. “Who are you talking to, Cadence?”

“Absolutely nobody, Mother.” The girl stuck her tongue out at me and crossed her eyes before running back inside. “Noooboooodddyyyyy!!!”

“Hey!” I called to the mother as she was closing the door. “She has a sister, right?” I asked, curious.

“What sister?” The lady looked at me like I was a meth-fueled derelict and when the door was half closed she held it there and scowled at me as though I were the world’s most active pedophile.

“Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have asked that.” I said to myself as I continued on down the sidewalk. “This is why I try not to go outside anymore.”

And this was the second house I couldn’t walk by in this neighbourhood. The first one? Now, that’s a strange story…

THE NOISY BATHROOM FAN

At first, Randall was appalled when the noisy bathroom fan suggested that he murder his girlfriend right there and then, but then he grew intrigued. With the fan’s persuasive voice, the thought of murder solidified into an ideal. Was it possible? In fact, was it the only thing that would set things right?

He was beginning to think so.

The bathroom fan had been broken since Randall had moved into the small corner unit five months ago. So, instead of the calming thrum that accompanied most properly functioning, well-maintained exhaust fans –it instead produced a violent, garbled choking that resembled a dying animal in heat. Its multi-layered rattling occasionally peaked into a wild banshee-like scream that almost seemed deliberate and threatened to take over everything.

And one day it did just that when it simply began to speak.

…Randall…

“Yes?” Randall looked around then up at the fan. “Hello? Is somebody in there?”

…You have to take her out, Randall. Use one of your long kitchen knives…make it dirty…

“Why would anybody do that? And why would I, especially? I really, really like her.” Randall held a quizzical expression on his face. He didn’t really understand, but the noisy bathroom fan would help him with that.

…That’s why you’ve got to do it, to protect yourself from people like her…she’s going to get in and eat you all up from the inside like a cancer…

The voice that came from the fan seemed to fall directly into Randall’s ear in a soothing lull that betrayed its chaotically abrasive presence. The fan knew things. The fan was Randall’s friend and was only looking out for him. But still…

“No! No!” Randall struggled with the idea now. Amy was perfect for him, wasn’t she?

…She’s gonna mess you up, Randall, just like your ex-wife…because she doesn’t know any better…

The fan’s words swept through Randall’s mind, bringing light into where there once was only darkness and planting seeds where that light now was so that ideas could grow. Randall’s eyes widened. He was beginning to see.

“Yes, you’re right. I need to do this.”
…Gotta mess her up, Randall…
“I’m gonna mess her up!”

…Do it now…do it now…
“I’m gonna do it right now!”

Randall left the bathroom and quietly walked past the living room where Amy was sprawled on the sofa watching Netflix. Randall slowly entered into the small side kitchen where he pulled a long, stainless steel knife from a drawer. He then approached Amy slowly from behind raising the knife over his head, readying to plunge it deep into the back of her neck just like the fan wanted.

Amy sensed Randall behind her and spun her head around to see him standing right there. It looked like Randall was holding something behind his back.

“What’s up, Babe?” She asked, eyes widened.

“Nothing, Hon.” Randall swayed on his feet just enough to lean over and leave the knife on the counter. That would have to do, for now. “Hey listen, do you think you can stay over tonight? I can take you home in the morning.”

“Ok, sure. Come, sit down on your favourite recliner.” Randall looked like he thought it was a good idea. Amy tilted her head. “You alright? You look a little triggered.”

“No, everything’s fine,” Randall sighed, “I just have to fix the exhaust fan in the bathroom.”

“I noticed. It’s rather noisy.”

“Oh yeah? You were in there for quite a while earlier. Forgot about that.”

“It told me you were going to kill me.”

Randall laughed nervously as he usually did when he didn’t know what to do or say. The bathroom fan was right: he was a big pussy. Amy slowly pulled a larger kitchen knife than the one Randall had out from under the cushion she sat upon and held it in a firm grip.

“Think this is a joke?” Amy said as she got up.

Mr. Snow Plow

He’s been pounding back the sauce
since his wife left and took the house
the kids
the dog
now he lives in his snow plow
at the end of my street
idling,
waiting
for me to come out after the storm
to start shoveling.

He can barely see me
as through his alcoholic haze
I am just a moving blurry
insect-like object
but his face cracks into a
twisted toothless grin
as he watches
and shoots a tiny spoonful of
white marching powder
up his weathered nostril.

As soon as I finish and
-feeling ancient
and existentially exhausted-
wearily hobble back inside:

‘Yee-Haw!’
He punches the roof of his cabin
and stomps his foot on the gas
gathering up a tidal wave of the
thickest, filthiest, heaviest,
wettest
snow he could possibly muster
heaving it all across the driveway
feeling like he is touching God
by making my life an unimaginable Hell.

Always the next day;
always I awaken to find that
Mt. Olympus has
sprouted overnight
in front of our house.

And it’s never over.
And it’s a slow murder.

Some days not even
a single patch of white
could be found
anywhere in sight
deep into July

still there will be that
dirty heavy heap of snow
-possibly shipped in from Alaska
blocking my driveway
ten minutes before work
and somewhere in the back of my mind
I can hear him
cackling maniacally
because he hates the universe.

He hates babies.
He hates Jesus.

His life has dissolved
into a derelict world of
cheap motels
and five-dollar hand-jobs
from blind 50-year old hookers
and for some sick reason
or no reason at all
he has targeted me.

He is the antichrist.
A poltergeist.
The dirtiest, meanest,
snarling, snow-slinging,
heathen
there ever was
on four thick bastard wheels.

Mr. Plow,
I am on to you.