Archive for July, 2011

Things That are Bothering Me Right Now

Things that are bothering me right now:

Hey chain coffee place, I’ve been going to you for years, and when I order a medium coffee, I don’t think I should have to go through the (albeit objectively uncomplicated, but nonetheless unnecessary) extra step of telling you I want it to be hot. You don’t have to ask if I want hot or cold coffee. Hot coffee is the default; it has always been the default, and it always will be the default. I don’t care how popular your new line of cold coffee drinks is. I don’t care how blazingly hot it is outside, or how seemingly outrageous it is that I want to drink a piping-hot cup of coffee while the souls of my shoes are melting off on the asphalt. The onus for categorical specificity lies squarely on the shoulders of the iced-coffee drinkers. And the best part is: they know it! I promise, coffee attendee, that no one who wants an iced coffee will ever walk up to you and say, “Medium coffee, please!” and expect you to know that they want it cold. The will say, “Medium iced coffee, please!” Because they know what they are…they know what they are. All I’m saying is, let’s have some mutual respect. I don’t make you go through the extra step of putting ice in my coffee, don’t make me go through the extra step of telling you I want it hot.

Hey people who play Trivial Pursuit (classic blue-box genus edition) at the local charmingly-divey bar with the extensive board game selection (i.e. Guthries.) Please learn to put the answer cards back into the card shoe in the correct manner. Have a little dignity. Now, some of you may not have grown up playing Trivial Pursuit as frequently and competitively as I did, and I’m not expecting you to either agree with, or understand this particular pet peeve, but that isn’t going to stop me from demanding it. Notice, if you will, that the question cards which accompany a Trivial Pursuit set have two distinct side. One side has six color-coded questions which stretch the full length of the card. The other side has six answers. The answer side has a blue bar covering approx. 1/3 of the card, inscribed with the word “Genus.” What, one asks, is the purpose of this blue bar? It is so, when the card is properly inserted into the question shoe, the blue bar is the only visible part of the answer card to stick up over the lip of the shoe, and not the answers to the questions. Also, this leaves the question side situated in such a way that when the shoe is placed in front of a questioner, he may pull a card out to ask a question directly, without have to turn or contort the card to read it. I would like it know that until now, I have been single-handedly responsible for the organization and maintenance of the TP cards at Guthries, but no more. I expect you all to pitch in.

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Herman Merman

“Why isn’t she calling?” thought Herman Merman.

His train of thought was interrupted by an actual train passing right outside his four-story window. As the glasses klinked together, the tattered, worn furniture stuttered across the wooden floor, and Herman’s flabby cheeks jiggled to the loud, ongoing vibration, his gaze stayed intently on his rotary phone traveling across his desk. His brow furrowed. His stare grew more intense. His lips tightened. His nostrils flared.

The train eventually passed. The apartment settled. Silence.

It was a hot day in the city. Sunlight filled Herman’s studio apartment, giving everything a white yellow tint. Sweat was sliding down Herman’s clammy, pale face. He had one clump of black hair on the top of his otherwise bald head, and like rain from a leaf, sweat dripped from it onto his nose.

To cope with the heat, Herman wasn’t wearing any pants or briefs. The bare cheeks of his ass were glued to the desk chair by sweat. However, due to his upbringing, Herman couldn’t be completely undressed, so he left on his white, pressed oxford shirt, buttoned to the top; his gray vest, and his black tie, knotted tightly to his neck.

Herman concentrated on the phone even further. In his mind, he pictured traveling through the phone’s receiver, through the cords, surrounded by white sparks of electricity and sounds of crackling. He imagined different conversations as he passed along the phone circuitry. Some of them were conversations of happiness and kindness, with talk of meeting up for dinner, or congratulations for a well-deserved promotion. Others were conversations of sadness and heartbreak; yelling at a spouse for a simple, innocent mistake, or the reporting of a child’s death. He also pictured dark conversations filled with violent sexual fetishes and perversions, and suicidal or murderous intentions.

Herman traveled faster and faster through the cord until these conversations and the crackling of the electricity mixed together to form one hypersonic sound, growing louder and louder, and the white sparks grew brighter and brighter, until his whole field of vision was taken over by an electric white.

Then it stopped.

He was here. He was at her ear.

Sylvia Bell had a beautiful right ear. Herman had studied it several times at her floral shop while pretending to look at lilies. She always placed her hair behind her right ear, putting it on display for all to see, while her left ear always remained covered. Herman loved the right ear, but oddly, when he used his imagination to think of her left ear, he became sexually aroused and grew frustrated that he couldn’t see it. Yet he was grateful that he had the right ear to study.

And now in his mind, at the end of his telephone journey, he had placed himself centimeters away from it. He stared at it with awe. It was perfectly formed. The lobe hung slightly at the bottom. He didn’t like it when the lobe was connected completely to a person’s head. She had the perfect lobe hang. There was no greasiness or crustiness from earwax. It was blemish free. She didn’t even have her ear pierced. He liked that.

“Call me,” he whispered in her ear. “Call me. You said you would call me. Call me!”


He tried again. Nothing. She just stood there, looking at her Vera Bradley catalogue with the phone to her ear.

He tried repeatedly, demanding her to call him, but nothing. Growing frustrated, he decided he had to take drastic measures.

A breath.

Darkness. A clean wetness. Distant echoes, as if a war was being fought miles away. Intimate and vast at the same time.

Herman was now traveling inside Sylvia’s brain. To be inside the head of the woman he adored was a huge turn on for Herman. He felt this was infinitely more private, secretive, and exciting than catching a peek down her blouse, following her home, or trying to look through her apartment window late at night. This is where her thoughts were created and synthesized, where her memories were stored, where every stimuli she experienced were facilitated and interpreted. This was Sylvia. He had penetrated not just her body, but her very being.

And then in the darkness, a giant collection of synapses exploded with white light. Herman was overwhelmed by its beauty. He imagined (and Herman was definitely imagining) that this is what it felt like to experience the sun close up, without being incinerated or blinded. He slowly floated towards the active synapses, put his right cheek against the membrane, and closed his eyes. He felt the energy flowing through him. It was marvelous. Every pain, every moment of sadness Herman had was washed away. He was at peace and he was one with Sylvia.

He started to whisper, “Call me. I am you. You are me. Call me-”

A train barreled by Herman’s apartment again. His concentration broken again.

It was dark outside now. He was still pantsless. Still covered in sweat. And still no phone call. Herman walked over to his bed, fell face down on it, and began to weep.

He had a whispery fart escape his bare ass cheeks.

He slightly turned and screamed in pain as a charlie horse took over his left foot.

Herman Merman then fell into a shallow sleep, a sleep that would have no remembered dreams.

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