Toothache Chronicles Part 1

The painkillers have inspired me to keep a medical log. First entry: “Becalmed for the seventh day. Crew becoming restless, starting to build makeshift whales for them to harpoon out of the sailcloth. First Mate has taken to clinging to the figurehead. He calls her ‘Lucy van Pelt’ and keeps trying to feed her hardtack. Many sailors stricken with the scurvy. May God help us through this trial.”

“It is time to accept that we are lost in this godforsaken jungle. The Temple of Orel-Hersch, and its precious map-stone, stays tantalizingly out of reach. Dangerously low on supplies, we have been forced to eat Timmy, the spunky little boy who stowed away in my steamer trunk, longing for adventure. The guides have all wandered off, either to be eaten by the tigers, or to eat them in turn. It’s hard to figure out which from the screams in the night. Should any kind soul find this, tell my wife she may never remarry, and tell my uncle that he was wrong, there are no bears for his circus here. Only clowns.”

“medical log, final entry. Doc says our hyperthrusters are destroyed, and we all have Space-Flesh Eating Bacteria. Soon we will be pools of protoplasm on the floor of a wrecked spaceship on a desolate moon no one cares about. I am typing this with my feet, as my hands fell off. Abd my dose. The one thing that brings me solace is the fact that I set my Tivo to record all the episodes of Space All My Children While I was gone. I can now dissolve a happy man. Glub.”

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Top Ten Signs You’re Not Drinking Good Beer

10. It’s served in a bucket

9. It’s called the “Quaker State 10w40-oz”

8. Brewer used grass seed instead of barley

7. Warning label on can says not to open indoors

6. “Budweiser Holiday Beer Nog”

5. The guy three stools down with the thick-rimmed glasses who won’t shut up about home brewing and craft beers says its body is less than robust

4. You didn’t know Greenland had its own beer

3.  Comes as a tube of powder to mix into bottled water

2. Your five-year-old just brought it in from the rain in a “Dora the Explorer” cup

1. Three sips and you’re already throwing up

National Novel Writing Month

Sorry for the lack of updates, dear readers. I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo as my friends badgered me into participation. I’ll get you some new material as I am able; in the meantime, here’s a bit of the novel I’m working on. You can cheer me on here.

 

“Errant”

Ralph’s eyes narrowed, and he raised his hand. Vesprin nickered. The party came to a stop.

Nita started to ask what was going on but was quickly silenced by Ralph. “Bandits.” he whispered, pointing to a nearby hill covered with brush. “You can see the sunlight glinting off their weapons. I’d say six or so. Vesprin and I might be able to handle them, but it’ll be ugly. If we backtrack, they’ll– HEY!”

Nita urged Thunderdoom into a gallop directly at the hill. She released the reins and held her arms over her head while chanting. A ball of black lightning formed in her hands, and just as the bandits stood to charge, she hurled it sizzling into their midst, where it detonated with a loud CRACK. The brush was scorched away, and six bandits lay twitching on the ground, the occasional spark of black lightning arcing from their crude armor.

Nita rode back to Ralph and Vesprin, beaming. “There we go. They’ll be out for a few hours, no blood shed.” Her smile faded as she noticed Ralph glowering. “What?”

“You didn’t kill them.”

“Of course I didn’t kill them. I don’t kill unless I am left with no other choice.”

Vesprin puttered. Ralph spoke. “Nita, Vesprin and I are Knights-errant. We took oaths. Bandits are a mortal threat to the lives of all around them. If we leave them alive, they’ll just attack someone else who cannot defend themselves, or join up with a bigger gang and sack a town. The sentence for banditry is death, and for good reason.” He drew his sword.

“But- but they’re defenseless!”

“Hence my disappointment. I am relieved to not be facing harm, but I take no pleasure in what I am about to do. Still, it is more merciful than what they had planned, I am certain.” Ralph started Vesprin forward.

“Wait.”

“What is it? We’re wasting daylight.”

Nita started digging in her pack. “You don’t have to kill them! I have an idea.”

“What are you going to do? Spank them?”

“No,” Nita emerged from her pack holding a few small bottles. “I’m going to curse them.”

“Are you mad?”

“Hear me out. There’s a simple but powerful curse called a ‘geas.’ It compels its victim to perform, or not perform, a specified action.”

“So you’re going to compel them to become farmhands or something?”

“I thought about that, but they could still be bandits. No, I’m going to give them a psychotic aversion to violence.”

“A what?”

“Just watch.”

Nita walked over to the crumpled bandits as she mixed the contents of the bottles. She stooped and smeared some of the mixture on each bandit’s forehead. She then sat down in the midst of them and began to chant while performing finger sigils. She cried out “PHOBOS” as her chants came to a climax. There was a bright flash of light, and the bandits began to stir and groan. One looked toward Nita, and called out to his fellows as they took to their feet.

“Nita!” Ralph and Vesprin charged toward the hill. Nita didn’t stir. The bandits circled her and one reached out toward her. Then his hand began to shake, and he collapsed, sobbing. One by one, the other bandits started trembling and sobbing, collapsing and rolling around the hill. One started crawling away, and stared up at Ralph as he rode up, sword at the ready. Then the bandit vomited.

“Gods, Nita, what did you do to them?” Ralph watched Nita carefully step between the bandits and their leavings, headed toward Thunderdoom.

“Oh dear, I think I linked them somehow. When one goes, they all go!”

“They ‘went’ all over the hill!”

“Well, you have to admit they won’t be bothering anyone anymore.”

Top Ten Ways To Get Kicked Out Of A Library

10. Gather up all the fitness magazines and go through them cutting out all of the butts

9.  Start relabeling all the books with the Dewey Hexadecimal System

8. Go to the children’s section and start handing out kazoos

7. Read “Fahrenheit 451” near the main desk and constantly giggle

6. Have pizza delivered

5. Add sound effects during story time

4. Build fort out of reference books

3. Unbutton shirt and hang around the romance section

2. Return books one page at a time

1. “You must be a librarian because I can’t stop checking you out.”

Top Ten Signs You Are Paying Too Much For Car Insurance (Brought to you by GEICO)

10. When car is in the shop, policy rents you a Ferrari

9. Services not endorsed by talking reptiles

8. You’re debating dropping full coverage on your 1984 Civic

7. “Car Insurance” paying local drug dealer to shoo away car thieves

6. Add an extra twenty dollars to payments with the request “bring back Erin.”

5. Are not as happy as camel promised

4. Payments made to “Hound Dog” or else broken kneecaps

3. Can’t find all-white color theme store where Flo works

2. Agent keeps flipping out about the 273 speeding tickets

1. Don’t own a car

Top Ten Worst Pickup Lines That Have a Statistical Chance of Working

10. “Hey baby, are you a nurse? Because I have some inflammation in my pants.”

9. “I am a sensitive, emotional dude who wants to write poems about your hooters.”

8. “Hey, is your friend seeing anybody?”

7. “It’s too bad we’re not the same gender because I’m totally gay for you.”

6. “Are you drunk enough yet for me to have a shot with you?”

5. “So I know you hired me to tie balloon animals at your son’s birthday party, but I get off in twenty minutes.”

4. Write your phone number on the back of the “$5 pizza” sign you’re holding by side of road

3. “I deduce from your nose that you’re an ‘ALF’ fan.”

2. “LORDEE BISCUITS you are the finest little filly this side of the barnyard!”

1. “I WILL SHIT ON YOU.”

Coping with Fall

(This was originally published in 2002)

Well, it’s fall again.

Yes, you can tell that Mother Nature’s Great Carnival Ride of Seasons is, though its incessant, nauseating spinning, coming around to autumn once again. Leaves are starting to litter the ground, kids are once more sent off to school, Supermarkets are starting to stock last fall’s apples, and paramilitary groups are breaking out the brown fatigues. It truly is a wondrous time of year. This is in no way meant to imply that the other seasons are somehow inadequate. All seasons are, of course, completely equal. I once wrote a column extolling the virtues of summer, and received threatening letters from such organizations as The American Autumn Council and Canadians For Extending Winter By One Month And Making It Year-Round. I really don’t want to go down that road again.

There are many clues to tell you it’s autumn, such as:

– Retail stores are clearing out the Halloween candy to make room for the Thanksgiving stuff.

– Leaves are falling from trees, genius.

– I mean, come on. Why do think it’s called “Fall?” A noticeably higher rate of ladder accidents?

– Sheesh.

Well, after you make the brilliant deduction that it is, in fact, fall, and notify the press, you may find yourself wondering, “Is there something about Scooby Doo that I just don’t get?” Assuming you can pass a drug test, the answer is yes, there is. But you may also find yourself wondering how to make the most of this fine season. Here are a few handy tips:

1. Jump into a pile of leaves. Yes, images of leaf diving abound in our culture, so it is a Good And Wholesome Thing. So, go and jump into a large pile of moldy, decaying vegetable matter. The spiders and slugs love company.

2. Taunt School Children. This one is a longtime favorite of mine. Go stand in front of an elementary school classroom’s window, and make faces at the children. Make a big deal about how you’re free to do anything you want, and reinforce the idea that being an adult means total freedom and no responsibilities. Be prepared to flee on foot when the janitor comes out waving a broom.

3. Watch TV. Fall is when the major networks launch new shows and show new episodes of old ones. So cancel all your social plans and vegetate in front of the TV. Whimper at Scott Baio’s latest comeback attempt. Enjoy the heart-pounding excitement and drama that permeates every moment of a forensic pathologists’ life. Giggle when you think of the ludicrous overabundance of forensic pathologists that will flood the workplace in about five years. Think naughty thoughts about the “Friends” actor of your choice, except for Lisa Kudrow. She’s mine.

4. Sit in the dark and think about your pathetic, meaningless life while the world seems to wilt and die around you. Then go out for tacos. Marvel at how our society can offer Mexican-like food in Canada. Wonder if Mexicans eat Canadian bacon. Do research by going to a friend’s house and calling random people in Mexico. Leave before phone bill arrives.

There you have it. Now you’re as prepared for fall as I can make you. Enjoy this beautiful season of death and dormancy with your loved one or object of your psychotic fixation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, “Friends” is coming on.