March 26, 2014

  • How’s the community?

    So how is everyone? You’re all pretty much done with Xanga, right? Moved along to Tumblr, perhaps? Maybe Blogspot? I just spent about $50 getting Xanga Premium so that I could get my old site back (the archives made available for free are useless to someone without any XML savvy). I went back and read a few old posts of mine. Nine years ago it was when I started this blog. I wrote like I was amped up on Red Bulls. I’d love to hear from some old subscribers if any of you are still out there.

May 3, 2012

  • Cubification by Aliens

    In the future, an alien race will invade and take control of Earth. They will transmogrify all living creatures–the whale and the human, the snail and the eagle–into cubes. These cubes will be used by the aliens to build their own cities.
    A leader will emerge from among the humans, the only man with the will to survive and fight back against the invaders. He and his  followers will live in an underground network of tunnels. Those willing to survive the aliens and their cubification of humans will have to be there–or be square.

May 1, 2012

  • Microfiction: Midday Stroll Canceled

    Mr. Peters had been looking forward to his midday stroll, but the sky had become ominous and low, and the wind was stupid. He stayed indoors.
  • Barry at Bed Bath & Beyond

    PART I

    Barry was in the possession of two identical coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond: 10% off a single item (one coupon per customer).

    Barry was not in the possession of hand towels.

    Barry had a plan.


    Swimming in the soupy pride of his own cunning, Barry placed a single taupe hand towel onto the counter at the register and said to the cashier, “I would like to buy this hand towel.”

    Becky the Cashier, as per protocol, made a bored attempt at perkiness, asking as she scanned the hand towel’s tag, “Did you find everything okay?”

    “Oh yes,” said Barry with a twinkle in his eye. “Oh yes.”

    Becky the Cashier really did not care. “That’ll be eight thirty-nine, please.”

    Barry looked Becky the Cashier in the eyes and permitted the corners of his mouth to slowly curl up. “Eight thirty-nine, eh?”


    “Well,” said Barry. He stuffed his beefy hand into his front pocket and pulled out a coupon. He slapped it onto the counter and let his hand linger on it for dramatic effect. He scanned his eyes slowly up from his hand to Becky the Cashier’s face, holding her gaze under her confused and slightly uneasy brow. At the peak of the intensity, he slid the coupon across the counter.

    He spoke. “And now?”

    Becky the Cashier scanned the coupon. “Okay, seven fifty-nine.”

    Barry was quite pleased with himself.

    Money was exchanged, the towel was bagged, and an insincere “have a good day” from Becky the Cashier was tossed to Barry as he sauntered and very nearly skipped out the door.


    Immediately upon exiting the Exit door of Bed Bath & Beyond, Barry pivoted 180 degrees and re-entered the Enter door.

    He journeyed back to the bath section of the store, directly to the selection of taupe hand towels, and plucked from the shelf a second taupe hand towel.

    Back at the front of the store, Barry went into Becky the Cashier’s aisle again. Becky the Cashier was filing her nails.

    Barry announced, “I would like to buy this hand towel.”

    Becky the Cashier came to from her self-hypnotic, therapizing filing. “Did you find everything okay?”

    Barry ignored her question as she scanned the hand towel’s tag.

    “Eight thirty-nine,” said Becky the Cashier.

    Barry nearly piddled with glee. “Don’t you mean–,” he began, drawing from his front pocket the giant meatball he called a fist, and bringing up the second coupon to present it to Becky the Cashier, holding it upright between his pointer and thumb, suspended in the air equidistantly from both her face and his, “–seven fifty-nine?” Suave devil.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s only one coupon per customer.”

    The satisfaction waned from Barry’s face. “But I–but that’s one coupon.”

    “But you were just here about ninety seconds ago. You’re still the same customer. You just left the building and came right back in. It’s still the same visit.” Becky the Cashier pointed around at Barry’s back pocket. “I can even see the first towel you bought sticking out of your back pocket.”

    In a huff, Barry pulled the tail end of his shirt over the back of his pants. “Becky, this is my second visit. I’m a brand-new customer.”

    “No you’re not.”

    Barry’s decibels began their ascent. “Yes I am, and I demand you let me use that coupon.”

    “Sir, please lower your voice, you don’t need to yell. You’re trying to cheat.”

    “How can you cheat with a coupon?” Barry bellowed.

    “Sir, do I need to call security?”

    “Bed Bath and Beyond has security? What are you, a museum of toiletries and bedspreads?”

    “We sell more than toiletries and bedspreads, sir. ‘Beyond.’”

    Barry’s collar was collecting sweat. He glared at Becky the Cashier, seething.

    After this brief period of an exchange of eye daggers, Becky picked up the phone and, pressing a red button on the receiver, spoke over the PA system. “Security to aisle three, please. Security to aisle three.” She smiled at Barry.

    “I, but, Becky, you don’t, you–,” he sputtered. “Okay! Okay. I’ll leave. But I’ll have you know you’re turning down a vet of this country”–he wasn’t–”and shame on you for it!” Becky the Cashier felt no shame.

    Becky the Cashier felt victory. As Barry barged out of the Exit doors, Becky the Cashier felt a new sense of purpose in life.

    She would go on to quit her cashier’s job and become a telemarketer.

  • Barry, the Naive Patron of a Manhattan Street Vendor

    Barry’s first visit to New York City, and by golly if he wasn’t going to buy a souvenir from one of Manhattan’s famous street vendors to mark the trip.

    A Korean man selling watches seemed as worthy a recipient as any of Barry’s eager patronage.

    Lee: You want buy watch, only ten dolla, ten dolla you buy watch.

    Barry picked up a silver watch with gold inlays around the face. “Rollex” was inscribed on the back.

    Barry: Wow, a Rollex! Surely this isn’t ten dollars.

    Lee: No, you pay fifteen for dat watch, dat watch top of da line, you pay fifteen.

    Barry: Fifteen! Wow. And this is a real Rollex?

    Lee: It say Rollex, don’t it? Of course it real.

    Barry: It just seems like such a low price for a Rollex.

    Lee: I offa my customas very good price, always best price in Manhattan, buy da watch, only fifteen dolla.

    Money was exchanged. Barry beamed. He was the proud owner of a Rollex, the authenticity of which his wife strongly contested by pointing out the two l‘s, and the 3 and the 9, which were swapped.

  • Microfiction: Mr. Monroe, Buttered

    Mr. Monroe, walking home in the icy rain after a late work-night, was jumped, dragged into an alley, beaten with sticks of butter, and left swirling in and out of cloudy consciousness by the infamous Butter Boys, the violent gang of corpulent Bulgarian immigrants.

    Mr. Monroe shuddered in the gutter, smothered in butter. He would ride the train from that day on.

  • Microfiction: Barry in the Rain

    Barry dropped his hoe and ran from the fields to the farmhouse in the sudden deluge of fierce, cold, spring rain.

    It’s like ‘Nam! he thought.

    He had never been to Vietnam, but he had seen Forrest Gump.

February 7, 2011

  • I don’t understand rapists

    I don’t understand rapists who kill their victims afterward. Why kill her? For all the rapist knows, he might have performed quite nicely, and his victim, if she puts a lot of value on that sort of thing, might end up wanting to date him because of that. And then he can have sex with her often and not have to go through the effort of forcing it.

    When and if I get raped–actually, scratch “when;” I don’t ever plan on getting raped–I’m going to fake O’s like you wouldn’t believe.  When it’s all over, I’m going to tell the gentleman, or lady, as the case may be, “Hey, look, that was actually really great.  Let’s meet up here tomorrow, same time, and do it again.”  We agree, we part, I call the cops, they arrest him or her the next day, and I live to tell the tale of my brilliance. 

    Brilliance?  Obviously.  That’s the only thing I brainbleed.

January 17, 2011

  • Hipsters really do piss me off


    The message intended by this picture, I think (and let me know if I’m wrong), is, “Oh, how we miss the days when a real dictionary was required to look up a word instead of the way we do it today: Google.”

    Shut the H up, hipster.  You’re using technology to complain about technology.  No one is stopping you from using paper dictionaries, which you can buy at any bookstore (though I understand if you didn’t know that, seeing that you’re always on the computer, reblogging pictures of cardigans and boat shoes and anything with Helvetica font [yes, "font," not "typeface"]).

    That said, it’s a cool picture, I’ll admit it, and yes, it does convey its intended message very cleverly, however much I may disagree with the trendy-hipster origins of that message.

January 11, 2011

  • The letter I wrote to my no-longer potential creative-writing teacher

    I had some questions for NVCC’s (a community college) creative-writing teacher:

         My name’s Chris Graham.  I was wondering about your Creative Writing I class.  I see that it’s full, according to NOVA’s website, but I’m wondering if anybody has dropped out?  If you do have an open slot, would I be able to fill it, having missed the first class?  I don’t have ENG 112 as a prerequisite, but I do have ENG 111 and got straight A’s in that class.  And, actually, I qualified to go into an honors English class (scored a 99 on whatever test it was I had to take before enrolling), but there were only eight other people or so in that class and I was really looking forward to meeting people.  So I took the non-honors class.  (This was a year ago, by the way.)
         If you have an open slot in your class, and if you don’t mind that I haven’t taken English 112, I have one more question: Is there any going up to the front of the class to read our garbage?  Or is it all just student-to-teacher?


    The teacher responded:

         Creative writing is closed for the this semester.  I am not taking new students.
         As for your questions, “garbage” is not how I describe honest effort in creative writing.
         In addition, English 112 is required and that requirement can not be waived.  Hope you find another suitable class for your spring schedule.

         Best to you, 

         Dr. Casal

    This came across to me as arrogant.  I wrote back:

         “Garbage” is how a self-deprecating–or heck, even modest–writer describes his stuff.  No need for us to think too highly of ourselves, is there?  Though I know colleges do tend to prefer the highfalutin over the humble (even the community colleges).  I wasn’t suggesting that what you teach is garbage; I can’t make that judgment, having never participated in your class.
         But as far as my questions…well, I still have them because you didn’t answer them.  Are students required to read their, er, magnificent masterpieces out loud so that the whole class can throw their adoration upon them for writing the community-college creative-writing-class paper of the century?


    Think she’ll let me into her class next semester?