June 8th, 2005

pod

They only come out at...mid...afternoon.

Yesterday, at approximately 5:42 PM, my neighbor came over to borrow a cup of flour, indicating that she was, in fact, a spy.

You see real New York neighbors don't borrow cups of flour. Shotguns, butcher knives, the occasional large bore naval cannon, sure; New York roaches ain't going down like punks to some Raid aerosol spray. But flour?

Very suspicious.

She claimed that she needed the flour because she was 'baking' something with her daughter. Indeed she even brought a small child-like creature with her to the door. As I greeted them the "child" looked up at me with big blue eyes that said either "Cwould you hwelp me mwake some bwonies?" or "I'm watching you, fat boy" depending on your interpretation. She was carrying some sort of stuffed bunny rabbit or other marsupial* and comporting herself as one would expect a toddler to. She was good, I'll give her that.

The mother smiled broadly and refused to be dissuaded by my being dressed like a war refugee from some country where they don't have detergent, nor by whatever stench was wafting off me after spending a day in an un-air conditioned apartment.

"If you have some flour we'd sure appreciate it" she said, beaming.

"Fuck the police coming straight from the underground, a young nigger got it bad 'cause I'm brown" said my computer.

Perhaps I should explain.

See when the doorbell rang I'd been writing, and listening to a 80's-90's hip-hop mix on my computer. I'd thought it was just a porter coming to tell me the water was back on so I didn't bother to turn the music down before answering the door, especially since the song that had been playing was "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith, a relatively innocuous and inoffensive tune.

However,

When making music mixes I subscribe to the "Mix things up theory" so I'd decided to follow up "Walk This Way" with "Fuck Tha Police," a fun and clever juxtaposition, I'd thought at the time. That was until the song started playing while I talked to the mother and daughter spy pair.

To their credit neither of them showed so much as a crack in their smiles as the song played on. I paused for a second, flushing a little red, and said "Uhh, I'll look to see if we have any."

"Fuck that shit 'cause I ain't the one for a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun to be beating on, or throwing in jail. We can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell" said Ice Cube.

At that moment I had a choice to make. I could go turn down the music, thus saving this precious young girl from exposure to lyrics that wouldn't be appropriate for her until she was at LEAST 7, or I could pretend that I couldn't hear the music either and we could all do this little dance of denial together.

I went the coward route; it was a good call.

I walked quickly back into the apartment, heading for the cupboards to find the white powder they so desperately needed while Ice Cube serenaded us with "Searching my car, lookin' for the product, thinking every nigger is selling narcotics."

As I turned the corner of the foyer they were still standing at the door, smiling broadly. Did my neighbor order a Stepford family recently? What was going on?

As I rummaged quickly through cupboards, crowded with two year old jars of olives and more mango chutney than the world could ever find a use for, I imagined what they were doing back there. Was there a concealed camera in the stuffed marsupial?** Was little Betsy Wetsy out there shimmying through the vents to my room to take pictures of installations vital to national security. (Okay, most of what's in my room is old soda-cans and some very crusty underwear that's vital to national security only in that if it were disposed of by a qualified professional the chances of biological attack would drop precipitously, but still.) I banged around in the cupboards searching wildly and calling out "I'm not sure where it is" while Ice Cube continued his discourse on late '80s law-enforcement/civilian relationships in the greater Los Angeles area:

"Beat a police out of shape and when I finish bring the yellow tape, to tape off the scene of the slaughter"

While grabbing wildly at unseen objects in the back of one of the upper shelves my hand encountered a soft bag of something and I pulled it out. It was flour, from circa the Eisenhower administration. Where it usually says "enriched" it said "Now unrationed." I breathed a sigh of relief and said to myself the words I've long dreamed of hearing from a woman*** in reference to myself.

"Good enough." I said. "Good enough."

"I don't know if they fags or what, search a nigger down and grabbin' his nuts" said Mr. Cube.

I returned to the doorway-of-eternal smiles and rendered unto them the flour.

"This is all I could find, I don't know if it's still good" I said. They smiled.

"Thanks, that's fine. There's usually an expiration date" said the mother. The daughter looked at me with her big blue eyes. There was no mistaking it this time. "I'm watching you, fat boy."

Cheerily they turned and went back to their apartment across the hall.

"A young nigger on the warpath and when I finish it's gonna be a bloodbath, of cops dying in LA" said Cube, by way of farewell. I shut the door.

So what did I learn from this encounter? My neighbors are spies. Spies love the N.W.A. or at least are trained not to react to it. I'm being watched.

Rabbits are not marsupials.

Next time I'm just shouting "NO FLOUR HERE" and slamming the door in their faces. I can't deal with a mother daughter team of congenital smilers. Never again.

Scary stuff.

*rabbits are not marsupials.

**RABBITS are NOT marsupials

***any woman
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GOJIRA! GOJIRA!

A couple of weeks ago a certain someone who will remain unnamed because she is the target of over 5,000 current FBI investigations accused me of having what she charmingly termed a "12-inch comedy woody." This was, of course, quite flattering, especially since I've never been accused of having a 12-inch anything before. Even my rulers topped out at 11 and a half.

I was flattered, of course, but it didn't sink in on any sort of real level. Compliments don't mean that much to me because if you start accepting the compliments then you have to start listening to the haters, and then you're sunk. Ultimately in terms of creative endeavors you need to hold fast to what you believe in aesthetically and pursue that the best you can. Input is useful, input is great, but ultimately you have to feel it yourself. It has to be internal.

I'm starting to feel it.

No not the huge penis, I have no frame of reference for that, but I feel bigger in other ways*. Like I'm finally starting to grow, as a writer, into the conceptual power I have in my mind. It's nascent, to be sure, I'm still not close to there, but it's starting. All those nights of sitting at the keyboard hating what I was writing but writing it anyway because I believed that some day it would pay off seem to have, in fact, paid off. I'm getting better. I'm looking back on stuff I've written recently and it's actually laugh out loud funny at parts. Not particularly rare parts either. Now it's impossible to rate one's own work in comparison to others because nobody's objective about their own stuff, but mine feels like it's improving and is starting to approach that threshold of being good enough to send out to people who pay for that sort of thing, or at least put it on a fancy looking website whether other people pay THEM for it.

It feels good, and I'm glad I've gotten into a rhythm where I'm actually writing daily for long stretches. There's some serious satisfaction in that in and of itself. Even if I'm not where I want to be right at the moment the fact of my progress suggests that in a year or two I could be, and life is not a sprint. Macaulay Culkin didn't get his start until he was almost 5 years old !

I leave you with something I dashed off in 11 minutes in response to something bluepose wrote. It was funnier at the time, back then not everybody had made 5 billion jokes about this, but I feel like even as it is it's just a few small steps below what The Onion does. And that makes me feel good. About me.

Chicago, Illinois, May 12 2006

Pandemonium here in downtown Chicago after Hollywood actor and nuclear power Russell Crowe detonated a 10 megaton warhead downtown. Witnesses say that Crowe ordered a 'medium' steak but was given one that was 'medium-rare' by mistake. After shoving the face of his 19-year-old waitress into the offending piece of meat and making her eat it while he held her down, Crowe calmly walked out of the restaurant and took a cab to O'Hare. Approximately 20 minutes after his flight took off Crowe's personal bomber squadron unleashed hell upon the city of Chicago. Deaths are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, with many more suffering from radiation poisoning and devastating burns. There's no potable water in the metropolitan area right now, and most of the surviving residents are fleeing the carnage. Those left behind will surely die.

When reached for comment Crowe said that he apologizes for anyone he's hurt with his actions, but that maybe it'll teach the city how to cook a steak. As of yet no charges have been filed against Russell Crowe and none are pending. Said Mayor Daly from his deathbed "Russell Crowe is a brilliant actor, and as with many great artists he has a bit of a temper. We should appreciate all the good he's done and understand that occasionally he may act outside the boundaries of OH GOD THE PAI-" Mayor Daly was unable to finish his statement and was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.

Crowe was in Chicago filming his latest project, Windy City, a romantic comedy co-starring Sandra Bullock. The pair played two Chicago publicists who find themselves falling in love while representing two rap artists in the midst of a high-stakes feud.

A spokesman for Warner Brothers stated that the production got all the footage they needed involving the city's skyline before Crowe obliterated it with his nuclear might, and that principal photography was set to begin Tuesday in Toronto, assuming that Canada doesn't extradite Russell Crowe as a war criminal.



*A more apt metaphor would be that I feel like I'm physically growing from my current form, into some sort of comedic GODZILLA. Whereas once I struggled to even cause a small public disturbance I am now starting to lift my giant comedy foot and bring it down on scores of unsuspecting villagers, who look up at the last minute and shout "GOJIRA! GOJIRA!" I know what you're thinking. That's a HORRIBLE metaphor. It really is. It makes no sense and it's vaguely offensive. But that's how good I am. I can use that kind of ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE metaphor and make it look good on me. Sometimes. Not this time. No...that didn't work. BEHOLD, THE POWER OF CHEESECAKE!
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