Rebel

Every now and then, I watch Warren Zevon’s final appearance on Letterman.
Just to remind me that this doesn’t last.
So, enjoy it while you can.
Even Caesar needed reminding once in a while.
“Caesar, thou art mortal.” whispered a servant into his ear.
The senators reminded him with daggers.
I don’t call this depression.
I call this realism, acceptance.
Sadness or not, there is peace.
A bruise is just life’s way of letting you know someone cared enough about what you say to take a swing at you.
And you cared enough to stand tall and refuse to duck.

The shallow end

I remember when I was five.
I didn’t know how to swim. Or want to learn.
“What if you fall in the water?” they’d ask.
“I drown,” I’d say. “And deserve it for going near water.”
At camp, they had races at the pool.
I won the running across the shallow end race every year.
It became an annual joke. And I laughed the loudest.
The water was only up to my knees.
In my final year, I tripped over one toddler, and hit my head.
Falling, my lungs full of water, resting on the bottom of the goddamned pool.

Kicked in the head

Fred trained horses at the circus.
One day, a horse kicked him in the head.
He woke up in the hospital, unable to speak.
“We’ve tried all we can,” said the doctor. “Sorry.”
Fred was unable to continue as a trainer.
He spent the rest of his days hauling horse feed and sweeping up horse crap.
When he died, his coffin was carried by a horse-drawn carriage.
His coffin fell from the carriage and broke open.
Another horse kicked his corpse’s head.
“Bastard can’t catch a break,” mumbled the ringmaster, as he and the clowns cleaned up the bloody mess.

IHOP

The International House of Pancakes gave up on pancakes.
They tried to make burgers, but they weren’t very good at it.
So, they tried fried chicken instead.
Seems that frying chicken takes some experience and skill.
They gave up on that too.
One food after another, they tried making it.
And gave up on it.
When they ran out of food to screw up, they tried all kinds of other jobs: home repair, tuxedo rentals, political assassinations.
Eventually, they went back to making pancakes.
A senator choked to death on one.
Maybe they didn’t quite give up on political assassinations.

Doctor Odd’s Fears

People fear a day when robots and computers will be more intelligent than humans.
But Doctor Odd knew that the true tipping point would come when humans are dumber than robots and computers.
“Just look at the education system,” said Doctor Odd. “Producing mindless sheep, deluded into believing that they are critical thinkers, and trained only to pass a standardized test.”
Minions and assistants were hard to come by, what, with the useless Sociology and Communications and Diversity Studies graduates overtaking the hard sciences.
Doctor Odd built his own assistant.and programmed it.
Just slightly dumber than himself for safety reasons.

The sting of tears

We do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
It is the Devil’s bargain we make for their love.
To end their suffering, we must also suffer.
What if, we ask ourselves.
What if we wait just one more day.
All love is torture, in the end.
We can only do so much.
And their tenth lives are our memories of them.
When others face the decision, we do not envy them.
Because we must face it ourselves again. And again.
All that remains is dust, boxes on shelves.
A collar, a beloved toy.
And the sting of tears.

Harlan

When Harlan Ellison died, nobody believed it.
“Poke him with a stick,” said the head of the Writers Guild. “Poke him hard. The last time, he was faking.”
By the time they got to “Set him on fire and beat him with a shovel” they knew for certain he was dead.
His estate was put up for auction.
Except for his old typewriter.
It was encased in concrete and sunk to the bottom of a deep lake.
Sometimes, at night, a strange green fog bubbles up from the lake.
As for the screaming tentacles, that’s just a myth.
Isn’t it?

Doctor Odd’s Baseball

Doctor Odd loved baseball.
No, he never played, but as equipment manager for his high school team, he came up with a large number of inventions to help his team win.
From cleats that sped up runners to bats made from kinetically-charged wood.
Other teams tried to steal the catcher’s signs to the pitcher.
So, he worked up a pair of hat liners that created a psychic bond between the wearers.
It worked well for a few innings, but after extended continuous use it tended to make their heads explode.
“Okay, fine,” said Doctor Odd. “This is only for closers.”

Edison’s Revival

Edison wasn’t an inventor.
He was a miracle worker who raised the dead.
He made the dead speak through his phonograph.
And he made the dead appear through the film projector.
What other miracles could he perform?
Maybe raise the dead?
So, he dug up fresh bodies from the cemetery.
Laid them out on the table, hooked them up to his generators, and threw the switch.
They flopped about, but never truly came back to life.
So, he hooked up a phonograph under the table to play some sounds.
It was close enough to resurrection to keep the crowds entertained.

Lexus

The old truck has been falling apart faster than usual.
The battery, the alternator, the air conditioning.
One of the doors is loose, and I think the transmission is going out.
So, I looked into a new car, and talked to the owner of the garage where I get the truck fixed.
“Oh, you don’t want an Audi,” Mac said. “We have three in the garage there right now. Go get a Lexus. They’re good.”
So, I did,
And a week later, it was in the garage.
Along with four other Lexuses.
Also owned by suckers who listened to Mac.