While we’re hard at work on Season #2 of A FEW MINUTES WITH, please feel free to read the brilliantly entertaining stories in Season #1. Thanks.
The Writing Staff of A FEW MINUTES WITH.
While we’re hard at work on Season #2 of A FEW MINUTES WITH, please feel free to read the brilliantly entertaining stories in Season #1. Thanks.
The Writing Staff of A FEW MINUTES WITH.
Written by: David Garber
I know it’s time to do my laundry when:
1. I’m wearing my last pair of underwear in the shower to clean them.
2. I no longer fold or roll up my socks, they stand up on their own in the corner.
3. I wear my sheets to work because I can’t get them off me.
4. My red T-shirt is now green – in places.
5. Even after stuffing a few spring scented dryer sheets to the inside of my shirt, my girlfriend, Shelby, still says I reek.
While I was transferring a damp wash into the dryer I heard the lady using the machines next to me kind of humming/singing to herself. Her pleasant and playful voice soothingly broke up the monotony of the spin cycle noises, which were truthfully, driving me crazy.
(Go ahead, click and play)
Now I wouldn’t have paid much attention but the tune was one I remembered from an old movie and it was killing me that I couldn’t remember the name of it. So I decided I’d ask. I looked over to the woman who turned out to be very attractive, stunning actually.
Before I could say anything to this statuesque goddess, she smiled at me. “Some like it hot.”
I shook my head, astonished. That was the movie! How did she know what I was going to ask? She pointed to the ‘settings’ knob on the dryer and indicated the wet clothes in my hands and repeated, “Some like it hot — but cold reduces shrinkage… and who likes shrinkage?”
Though she and I might have been thinking about two different kinds of ‘shrinkage’, I couldn’t help realize – This woman was not a woman, woman. She’s THE woman. She’s Marilyn Monroe. And she was talking to me.
“I know guys sometimes can use little tips when it comes to doing laundry. I hope you don’t mind my butting in.”
“Mind? You kidding me? You’re like one of my all-time favorite actresses,” I effused.
“Oh, Sugar, you’re so sweet. Not everyone is that kind. One of my co-stars said I came from the Copacabana School of Dramatic Arts. And after that famous shot of me from behind, walking in ‘Niagara’…
…a very well-known actress, who shall remain nameless, remarked, ‘There’s a broad with her future behind her.’ Imagine that? She should talk. If the truth be known, that turnstile to her backside rang up more visitors than Disneyland at spring break.”
“You are kidding me! You’re an incredible actress, I mean. It must be amazing to be so famous.”
“Silly… Fame is something I experienced, but that’s not where I live. To be honest, dreaming about being an actress is much more exciting than being one.”
“I’m Kyle. Kyle Benson and if you don’t mind my saying so, you’re one of my fantasies.”
“I’ve been called worse” she said with a smile and a wink. She took my hand which I had extended, “Eww. It’s wet! I hope that’s not from one of your fantasies…” We laughed as we both wiped our hands dry.
“Wet — from the wash — I promise you.” It took a beat to catch my breath. “Whoa, I can’t believe I’m really talking to you.” I saw she had a puzzled look on her face, so I continued. “No, I mean really talking to you.”
“I don’t bite. Dogs do.”
“I suffer from PSD — Paranoiac Schizophrenic Disorder. I see people, dead people, who aren’t really there.”
“Gee, I wouldn’t go around telling people that. They might think you’re crazy. My mother was, you know? And I was put away in a psychiatric clinic back in ’61. Fortunately Joe got me out. You gotta be so careful.”
“If my talking to you means I’m crazy, let me be crazy. I’m talking to Marilyn Monroe… the greatest sex symbol who ever lived. What the hell…“
“Ever notice how ‘What the hell’ is always the right answer?” she offered. “Jack and Bobby used to say the same thing whenever I asked them something? So did my Artie. He was a great writer you know. Really smart, too.”
“How smart could he be? He divorced you.”
“I like you.” She just pondered that for a minute and then confided, “Something I learned the hard way is that men are so willing to respect anything that bores them. You’re not one of those, are you? “
“No. No. I respect my girlfriend and she never bores me.”
Marilyn suggested that before there’s a huge puddle at my feet, that I put the damp clothes in the machine and start the drying process. As I was filling up two machines I noticed she was folding a few ‘revealing’ nighttime lingerie. She caught me peeking at them and shot me an ‘I know what you’re thinking’ kind of look. “Everybody in Hollywood thinks I sleep in the nude. Truth is I wear something to bed every night – Channel No. 5. Shall I let you in on a little secret?”
Like a bobble head toy, I rapidly nodded. I must really have looked goofy.
She leaned close to me and in a near-whisper shared, “They reported that when I was found, you know, dead — that I had nothing on. It’s not true. I had the radio on.” She gave off an infectious little girl giggle, having made a small joke. As I pulled back, I was savoring that tiny hint of her special perfume.
When I told her she was funny, she said the trick is to tell jokes, not to look like one. This lady was amazing. She was a lot smarter than she had been given credit for. And then it occurred to me that this was the opportunity of a lifetime to get some advice about dating.
“Marilyn, you’re a woman,” I began.
“So I’ve been told,” she sparkled.
“I was thinking you could help me. I’ve been going with my girlfriend for a while now and I was hoping to make it kind of exclusive. I just don’t know how to ask her.”
“Well, you know what they say, “Square-cut or pear-shaped,
These rocks don’t lose their shape, Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
“On my salary, I can’t even swing a Cubic Zirconia. “Lint is about all I can afford.”
“Well, you’re in the right place for that.”
“But I want to make a good impression on her…”
The siren smiled at me, “You’re doing your laundry. That’s a good start. Shows you care.”
“Oh, I do. Plus I didn’t have anything clean to wear and we’re getting together tonight. Shelby’s really terrific. She’s sweet; she’s kind, and maybe even a little bit shy.”
“Nothing wrong with being shy. I am too, you know? But I do believe that the female body is meant to be seen, not all covered up. That’s the trouble with censors — They don’t make much sense. They worry if a girl has cleavage. I think they ought to worry if she hasn’t any, don’t you?”
I agreed but quickly changed the subject back to Shelby. “You know, Shelby’s a lot like you, also very sexy.”
“Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature. As I’ve always said, I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” Her smile brought out something special in me, some inner insecurity and she became concerned. “What’s the matter, Kyle?”
I wasn’t sure how open I should be, but then relented, “It’s just sometimes I’m afraid I’ll lose her. And I’ll be all alone.”
Marilyn just shook her head. I had hit a raw spot for her. She blankly shared a seemingly painful confession, “It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone.”
I told her I was sorry if I made her uncomfortable to which she casually responded, “I hope I’m not making you uncomfortable. I tend to ramble… You want to know another thing about me? As much as I always try to be on time I’m invariably late for appointments – sometimes as much as hours. Funny, when you come to think of it, I’ve been on a number of calendars, but I’ve never been on time.”
“That is funny.”
“I know that if I had observed all the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere. Remember that a career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night. For that you need a man. A real man. Your Shelby is one lucky girl to have you loving her so much. Be there for her, always, Kyle.”
“Don’t be like everyone else out here. Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” Then she hesitated for a moment. Something deep inside of her surfaced before she agonizingly admitted, “No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t. Make sure, no matter what you may be thinking, you tell Shelby that she’s pretty. Promise?”
I nodded and she smiled, reassuringly.
“People rarely understand me at all. But you do, Sugar. You get me. I guess we’re just two crazy people, peas in a pod, huh? “
She finished folding her last item, then looked over to me. “You might want to put a few extra quarters in those machines… Make sure the clothes totally dry before you go out with Shelby tonight.” Then, out of nowhere, Marilyn leaned in and gave me a little hug and peck on the cheek.
Marilyn then nodded over to the door where Shelby had just entered and was heading right for me, a warm smile on her face.
“Almost done?” Shelby asked.
“A few more quarters’ worth,” I replied. Then I looked over to where I had been watching Marilyn fold her clothes. She was already gone. Turning back to Shelby I took her in my arms and hugged her.
“What’s that for?”
I replied, “Did I tell you today that you’re pretty?”
Shelby was flattered and suggested that maybe we should hang out at the Laundromat more often. And thinking about my few minutes with Marilyn and the pleasure I was having with my girl in my arms, I was as happy as I had ever been.
Now was as good a time as any. I asked her to go steady — “You know, be exclusive to each other.”
She gave me a kiss and said, “I thought we were anyway. “ Then Shelby curiously began sniffing my neck, “Are you wearing Channel No. 5?”
written by David Garber
I was sitting across from a vaguely familiar looking man with a heavy European accent. Have you noticed these days how all the doctors at the hospitals seem to be foreigners? “Kyle, how do you feel about debt?
“Debt?” What a curious question for a doctor to be asking me.
“No. Not debt. Debt. It’s my accent. How do you feel about debt, like dying? Za big sleep. Bite ze dust. Playing harp duets with Jimmy Hoffa.
“Oh, you mean Death. Other than how permanent it tends to be, I guess it’s okay,” I shot back at my psycho-neurologist.
About four weeks ago, I had a ‘near death’ experience. I was hit by an explosive line drive while playing softball, the victim of poor reflexes and a general lack of physical agility. I’m just a normal guy and the behemoth who blasted that torpedo into the side of my head was really humongous. I say was because he got the short end of the stick. I got knocked out and awoke in the hospital. He was hit by a car coming out of Starbucks a few hours later and sadly he’s never coming home. His double shot, half-caf venti caramel macchiato flowed until Ventura Boulevard was awash in it. Along with the rest of his body fluids.
“Do you feel guilty in any vay?” the good doctor responsible for my discharge, inquired.
“In what way? The coffee wasn’t for me. I feel sorry, but maybe he’s…”
The doctor finished my sentence for me, “… in za better place?”
I shared that any place other than Van Nuys was a better place. That’s where he lived — the guy who put me here in Cedars. But now, two weeks later, I was going to be okay. According to all of my tests and consults, I’m out of the woods – and back into society.
My diagnosis was a concussion leading to temporary PSD — Paranoic Schizophrenic Disorder. In simple English, it means I was seeing and hearing things that weren’t real. But, according to my doctor, it’s over. I’m better.
I have to admit that the first few days were rather exciting. I got to play poker with JFK, Thomas Edison and Napoleon who spoke fluent English but was terrible at Texas hold’em. His “tell” was he reached inside his shirt and scratched himself. I asked him about that famous picture of his with his hand tucked into his shirt – “Wool,” he told me. “Itchy as merd.”
I’m gonna miss those guys. Unfortunately, now that I’m better, I’ll never get that chance to ask J. Edgar Hoover, who sat in on the game one evening, about those secret files he kept. I’m dying to know what he had on Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon.
The good doctor found it all very interesting. After this brief interview with the psycho-neurologist, I was going home. And I was going to be able to drive, do all things I used to do and deep down inside, I was hoping maybe the conk on the head might have even made me better, somehow. I don’t know — Speak a foreign language? Play the piano? Maybe I’d be a great lover – but then I surreptitiously played a little ‘pocket pool’ and felt no miracle down there. I was still ‘mini’ me.
My doctor assured me that other than perhaps an occasional headache or tingling sensation in my extremities, I’d have all the skills and dexterity I had before. I then tested out my very special talent, to make sure I still had it. I generated a small bubble on the tip of my tongue, which I proceeded to blow in the air, then catch it on the tip of my nose until it popped.
“Pretty impressive,” indicated the good doctor. “Do you do zis often?”
“Mostly when I’m bored, or at parties,” I beamed. “Where do you think the little dent on the tip of my nose came from?”
I wasn’t perceiving an abundant sense of humor from this guy as we segued from my parlor tricks to my dreams — who was in them, what took place, were they sexual in nature? Hell, I’m a single, 26 year old guy. I wouldn’t be normal if they weren’t sexual in nature. But of course in those dreams, I was Kyle the Conqueror, seducer of lusting, usually large breasted, scantily clad women.
I started to feel a bit self-conscious of discussing that theme and tried to change the subject… Somehow I mentioned to the doctor that the softball accident happened on my birthday.
“Really?” posed the medicine man with a raised eyebrow. Actually, he might have raised both but they ran together forming one so it was hard to tell.
“Vat a coincidence. I vas just reading da article dat says statistically zere’s a greater chance of dying on your birthday zen on any other day?” He turned his laptop and showed me a HuffPo article that indeed bore this out. And it even indicated 11 AM as the most common time of death.
“If that’s true, shouldn’t the Last Supper actually be breakfast or brunch?” I suggested.
He nodded, “Perhaps.”
“11 AM,” I ruminated as I turned his laptop back around. “Now I know why that’s the checkout time at most hotels. Oh, and what about Daylight saving’s time? You get an extra hour, I guess.”
“Do you think about debt very much?” pondered my physician.
“Not at all. You’re the one who seems fixated on it,” I defended.
The medico continued on, “Do you zink subconsciously zis fellow who caused your injury vas a victim because of vat he did to you?”
“No. He’s dead because he stepped in front of a speeding car.”
“It vouldn’t be zo much stretching for you to feel some of ze blame or zome deep seated responsibility, you think?”
“Are you trying to blame me?” I was getting a little anxious now and I wanted to have him just sign off and set me free. Instead he was doing, what do they call it, blame transference? Next thing you know, he’ll want to know if this guy’s death had anything to do with his mother not loving him or his dad beating him as a kid.
“You don’t zink his parental upbringing haz anyzing to do vith it, do you?” this quack curiously probed.
See! I knew it! “So how about signing my release forms and we’ll call it a day?”
He cautioned me to stay calm, take some deep breaths and relax. “Zoon. First I vant to try ze little game of free azzociation. I give you a word and you tell me ze first zing to come to your mind.”
That didn’t stop him. “Zoftball.”
“Dick.” I went on to explain, that’s what I think the guy’s name was that hit the line drive that put me here.
“Pregnant.” I didn’t want to go into it but I did pay for one abortion. Don’t ask. Rest assured I no longer drink and screw.
He went on with a few more words and somehow, when I played them all back in my mind, I bet this guy assessed me as some kind of pervert. My replies were “Head first… balls… snatch… high riser… double-play… hard and fast… dinger… and peanuts. P-E-A-N-U-T-S. I spelled it out for him so with his accent he didn’t think I said something else. I had the softball game my mind. Cut me some slack.
Fortunately, Dr. Nutcake felt I was okay by him and I was released. I bolted out of his office quicker than a 13 year old Kentucky girl with older six brothers.
But, wouldn’t you know it? I left my cellphone on his desk when I turned it off to talk to him. I reluctantly retreated to his office and for the first time noticed his name on the door – Dr. Sigmund Freud.
I popped my head in to grab the cell. He looked up and tossed me the phone. “You forgot zis, yes?”
I caught the phone and stared at him briefly. He did look familiar. I started to say something when he continued on, “I’ll be sure to ask Hoover about dose secret files ven I zee him at tonight’s poker game.”
Oh boy. And here I thought I was supposed to be cured. I paused out in the hallway and looked back at the door. It no longer had Freud’s name on it. It was now Waldstein. I popped my head back in. It was a totally different guy.
“Did you forget something else, Kyle,” the new doctor asked?
I just closed the door, much confused but a lot relieved… I tiptoed away, curious and a bit apprehensive of who I might run into when the elevator doors opened to take me down to my car.
If the stack of tomes at my desk was any taller, onlookers would think I was playing the textbook version of Jenga. But I’m not.
I’m here in the downtown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library doing research. And piled high in front of me is just about every book I can find on schizophrenia.
You’d think that meant I had everything under control. Insane people never think they’re crazy. It’s always the sane who are convinced they’re nuts.
So, where does that leave me?
For the past seven months I’ve been getting visits from dead celebrities who are visible only to me. But it’s time to stop this madness. I’m looking for anything that can lead to a cure.
“Jesus creeping god, man!” came a voice from across the table. “What’s with these books?”
I moved some volumes aside to see who was talking… Sitting on the other side of the table was a balding man wearing aviator glasses, holding a silver cigarette holder in his mouth. He wore a shoulder holster, which sported a snub-nosed .44 revolver.
“Cornering the market on crazy?” he asked.
I immediately recognized famed journalist and author Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
“I’m afraid I already have,” I said.
My condition always seemed to manifest people who offered advice and observations about things in my life. So, I suppose it was no coincidence that the man who had written books like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” which blurred the line between reality and fantasy, was now sitting before me.
“I’m looking for a cure for my Paranoiac Schizophrenic Disorder,” I explained. “It cost me my girlfriend, Shelby; it’s affecting my work life; and it makes strangers think I’m nuts.”
As I chatted, a woman walked by, holding the hand of a young girl.
“Mommy, why is that man talking to himself?” she asked. The mother eyeballed me, the book at the top of my stack, “Schizophrenia: Causes and Cures,” then looked back at me.
“Come on, dear, let’s leave that gentleman alone.” And they briskly walked off.
“See?” I said to Hunter. “This has got to stop.”
But Hunter paid little attention to me. He was emptying a vial of white powder onto the cover of a book called “The Complete Guide to Schizophrenia.” Pulling his cigarette out of its long silver holder, he proceeded to use the tube to make the white line disappear up his nose with one long snort.
“Elixir of the gods. Care for a toot, Kyle?”
“I don’t need that right now,” I said.
Thompson laughed. “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone,” he said, “but they’ve always worked for me.”
Just then a security officer walked up. “Sir, we’ve received complaints about your talking. This is a library; could you please keep it down?” Then he left.
I looked across the table, and now Thompson was smoking a joint. “Takes the edge off the coke,” he said with a contented hazy smile.
“Come on, I’m trying to work here,” I said, reaching for a book from someplace called the PSD Institute.
“Suit yourself,” Thompson said. Then, I saw something that shocked me. No, it wasn’t the bottle of Jim Beam that Thompson was now drinking. It was a person at the other end of the building.
Near rows of legal tomes that lined the room, walking down an aisle, was Shelby.
I could feel my heart beating faster. It had been about four months since our breakup. She never admitted it, but I always felt my PSD put our relationship on the road to ruin.
“Shelby! Shelby!” I yelled.
About five people looked up from their books, all giving me a collective “Shusshh.” But I didn’t care. Damn, it was Shelby!
I had to find her. I ran up and down aisles of books, past authors whose names started with A’s… then B’s, next C’s… “Shelby! Where are you!”
Then, right around the M’s… It happened. There she was. Shelby.
She gave me a sheepish grin, looking up at me with those big brown eyes I always loved. “Hi, Kyle.”
“Shelby. Long time.”
My first instinct was to give her a hug, but then I thought better of it. Best to play it cool.
“Kyle,” she said. “What brings you here?”
I spilled the beans about my PSD. The hallucinations. Everything. “Surely, you must have known something was up.”
“Yes… Your behavior was odd. I got tired of the excuses, the secrecy. I couldn’t take it, Kyle. I had to leave to maintain my own sanity.”
“But that’s going to change, Shelby, I promise. I’m a man on a mission to get rid of this cursed condition. Then things can go back to the way they were when we first met.”
“I’m afraid that’s not possible anymore, Kyle.”
“Nothing’s impossible, Shelby. I can change. I’ve found a place—the PSD Institute—I think they can cure me.”
Just then Hunter Thompson approached me. “Sweet god of Isis, Kyle, you need to calm down.” He offered me his joint. “You could use this.”
“No! Stop! Go away!”
Shelby looked at me.
“No, not you, go away… Him, go away!”
“Kyle, this is all making me very uncomfortable,” said Shelby.
Then she approached Thompson. “Hunter, I could use a hit off that joint.”
Shelby took a long drag, and instantly she seemed more at ease. But something wasn’t right.
“Wait a second,” I said. “You can see him?”
“Yes,” Shelby said.
“Then, you understand my PSD. You understand what I’ve been going through.”
“Yes, Kyle, better than you’ll ever know.”
I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the security officer. “We’ve gotten more complaints about you, sir; you’re going to have to leave.”
“Fine,” I said. “Come on, Shelby, let’s talk outside.”
I reached for her hand, but it went through hers as if it were a mirage. Then I grabbed Shelby’s waist, but it was like she was made of smoke.
Then it hit me… Shelby could see Hunter Thompson. Her body was a mere wisp…
“Shelby… Are you…”
“Dead as a door nail,” she said.
I stopped in my tracks. “What? How?”
“You can read about it in last week’s L.A. Times. Let’s just say you were right about Koreatown not being safe after 2 a.m.”
“Oh my god, Shelby,” I said. “This can’t be. It really is over between us.”
“Well, Kyle,” she said as her body slowly dematerialized into vapor, “you were never a fan of long distance relationships.”
Then, she was gone.
I left the library, knowing what I had to do.
I gave notice at work, sold my furniture, ditched my apartment. I packed my car with the barest of belongings I still owned. It was time to leave Los Angeles. There was nothing to stay here for.
But there was one piece of business left for me.
The next morning I drove to Forest Lawn, the huge cemetery on a lush hillside near Griffith Park.
I walked to the top of the hill, until I came upon a gray headstone. I looked at the name: Shelby Seymour, 1988 – 2013.
“Goodbye, Shelby. I wish things could have worked out. But fate had other plans.”
“You crazy rat bastard! Get a grip.” I turned around and standing behind me was the good doctor himself, Hunter S. Thompson.
“She was the love of my life,” I said.
“Relationships come and go, boy. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
The fact that I was standing in a cemetery, casually chatting with an actual dead person, told me my insanity had reached its zenith.
“I’m heading to the car,” said Thompson. “Meet you there.”
“Sure,” I said. “Give me a moment.”
Shelby always loved roses. But I was allergic to them. I placed a long stem rose on the ground, and started sneezing uncontrollably.
Clearly, it was time to go. I walked past rows of statuesque oaks that lined the spacious grounds. Then, I came upon a fountain. Standing there, no doubt talking about music was Marvin Gaye chatting up Andy Gibb.
Liberace, wearing a long flowing robe waltzed on by and said, “You’re making the right choice, Kyle. Go for it.”
Not far away was an odd sight, two old TV cops, Telly Savalas and Jack Webb. “Hey, babe, you need an escort out of here?” asked Savalas.
“No, I’ll be fine,” I said as I moved past them.
Rounding a bend, I saw Buster Keaton practicing pratfalls while Stan Laurel and Marty Feldman looked on, both laughing loudly. I waved, and Freddie Prinze gave me a thumbs up.
Near the bottom of the hill, I saw a crazy mix of old and new Hollywood as Brittany Murphy was in a heated argument with Bette Davis. John Ritter stood nearby and shook his head as if he’d seen it all before.
A warm feeling shot through me as Ozzie and Harriet Nelson approached. “Now you drive safely, Kyle,” said Harriet, ever the good mom.
Finally, I reached the bottom of the hill. I looked up at the huge black wrought iron gate that was the entrance to Forest Lawn and scanned the nearly 100,000 plots that populated the place.
I couldn’t help feeling that the dearly departed had given me comfort in my hour of need.
“Goodbye, dead people” I said. “I love you, but I hope you finally leave my head once and for all. I need a new beginning.”
“You are correct, sir,” I could hear a distant Ed McMahon say.
Then, I walked to my car. Seated on the passenger side was Hunter Thompson.
“We’re off to the PSD Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota,” I said. “If there’s one place that can stop these hallucinations, that’s it.”
“Strange place for a psychological institute,” said Thompson. “On the other hand, any state that could elect both Al Franken and Michele Bachmann, must know a thing or two about schizophrenia.”
As I grabbed my sunglasses from the dashboard, Thompson rummaged through a lap bag.
“What’s it gonna be?” he said. “Some mescaline, acid, amyl, coke? How about a shot of tequila?”
“Not while I’m driving,” I said. “You trying to get me killed?”
I put the car in drive, and started on my journey for a cure.
by Lawrence H. Levy
“That’s fuckin’ disgusting,” I announced.
Elizabeth Taylor and I were dining on the patio at La Piazza in the Grove, a trendy outside shopping mall in L.A. She was devouring a huge turkey leg caveman style, juices running down her chin and turkey skin hanging out the side of her mouth.
“Tough shit, Kyle,” she said as she sent a piece of turkey airborne with her words. “My whole life I had to watch my weight or my public would get on my ass. Now I say fuck my public. Fuck ‘em, fuck, fuck, fuck!”
She stood up on her chair and, using the turkey leg as one of her middle fingers, she repeatedly pumped her hands up and down flipping the bird to everyone in the restaurant and any Grove shoppers passing by.
“Charming,” I said. “You through making a spectacle of yourself or would you also like to flash a few people?”
“Oh, chill. You’re the only one that can see me, PSD Boy.” Liz plopped back down in her seat. She had licked the turkey leg clean, so she tossed it back into her purse
“Then at least give me a break. I’m eating here.” Not really eating. Liz’s antics had dulled any desire I had for my risotto.
“Jeez, Kyle, you’re such a pussy.”
I had heard rumors of Liz being an emasculating bitch, and now that my balls were beginning to shrink I realized they probably had merit. She pulled two Twinkies out of her purse and stuffed them in her mouth, barely taking time to unwrap them first. She started to speak, but only garbled sounds came out.
“Finish chewing and then tell me.”
But Liz ignored me, spraying Twinkie everywhere as she spoke.
“You have no idea what a relief it is to eat as much as I want and stay the same weight as when I did “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
I wasn’t listening. All I could see were the bits of Twinkie cream that landed in my risotto. I knew they weren’t real because Liz wasn’t, but I had had it. I pushed back on my chair, pounded the table, and stood up.
“That’s it. I’ve had enough of this shit! I’m outta here!”
Suddenly I heard loud applause, and I turned to see everyone in the restaurant was thrilled at my decision to leave. I was obviously getting too comfortable talking to people who weren’t there. Embarrassed, I quickly paid the check and left. Liz followed along, bowing and blowing kisses as if they were her adoring fans.
As I sulked along the main street of the Grove, my hands in my pockets, Liz tagged along, this time munching on what looked like a Wetzel’s Pretzel, dripping with butter.
“Stop being so grumpy, Kyle.”
“Me, grumpy? Why would I be grumpy? Oh, I know. Maybe it’s because I’m a fuckin’ nutcase!”
“Hey, you know what always cheered me up when I got down — a nice, big-ass diamond.”
“Gee, thanks for the great suggestion,” I said as facetiously as possible. “But even if I was a big enough pussy for that to work, how am I supposed to afford it?”
“Oh, that’s right,” Liz quickly responded, “I forgot that you’re also a complete loser.”
As my balls retreated northward, I could swear I felt them in the bottom of my throat when I freaked out.
“Goddamn it! I hate this PSD,” I screamed. I grabbed my head and started squeezing as if my hands were a vice. “Get it out of here. Make it go away!”
By then I had almost cleared the street. The shoppers at the Grove wanted no part of me and more than one person went looking for security.
“If you hate it so much, Kyle,” Liz said as she licked some of the butter off her upper lip, “why don’t you get rid of it?”
“I can’t. There’s no cure. I’m just fucked.”
“There’s always a cure. How did you get it?”
“I got hit in the head with a softball.”
“Have you ever thought of getting hit on the head again?”
“Why? So I can materialize you and Richard Burton at the same time and you can curse out each other in front of me?”
Liz grew impatient. “Think, dipshit. Amnesia victims are sometimes cured by getting hit on the head a second time. Why not you?”
It was so simple, so obvious. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? As ideas rushed through my brain as to how I would accomplish this, I saw two security guards heading my way, and I took off in a sprint.
Once I was off Grove property the security guards gave up, but it didn’t matter. I was a man on a mission, and no one was going to stop me. I got in my car and headed west to Oak Park in Brentwood where it all began. I was determined to get hit in the head by a softball once again and be cured.
As luck would have it, there was a game in progress when I got there. I stood by the foul line, close to the third baseman, waiting for my opportunity. It didn’t take long.
A monster guy smacked a scorching line drive down the third base line. I immediately stepped in front of the third baseman, ready to take one right in the ol’ noggin. Then the unthinkable happened. The third baseman heroically pushed me out of the way and took the ball right in his nose. He fell to the ground, blood gushing everywhere. Everyone rushed to his aid. I was seriously pissed.
“Next time mind your own goddamn business!” I screamed at him then stomped off.
I spent the rest of the day trying to get someone to hit me on the head, but no one was buying. I even stepped out into the middle of traffic, and all the cars crashed into each other to avoid hitting me. It was frustrating as hell.
That night I went to MacArthur Park, a place known for its gang activity. I figured if I couldn’t get mugged there, I might as well give up. I walked through the park waving five twenty dollar bills in the air.
“I got money here. Come get it. I’m a sucker.”
It wasn’t too long before a muscular Latino with gang tatts appeared. This had to be my guy.
“I’m real happy to take your money, ese.”
“Fine, take it. But first, you have to hit me over the head with the butt of your gun.”
“I don’t have a gun.”
“What kind of mugger are you?” I said. “Okay, I’ll wait while you go get one.”
“Will this do?” he said as he pulled out a knife.
“No, no knives. I’ve got to be hit over the head. Those are my rules.”
“Yeah? This is my rule, ese.” And he started for me with the knife.
That was my “aha” moment. My desire to rid myself of PSD was crazier than living with it. And living was very much on my mind at that moment.
I turned and started to run as fast as I could, but I didn’t get far. I tripped over the bench behind me, hit my head on the lamppost and fell to the ground, out cold.
I woke up in the hospital, and pretty soon a doctor came in. I was a little wary. The last time I was in the hospital I was talking to Freud, but this guy seemed normal and after a few questions I realized he was real. I went through a bunch of tests and passed them okay. Everyone and everything seemed normal, whatever that was. Finally, it was all done, I was declared lucky, and a nurse came in to give me a sedative so I could sleep.
“Thank you,” I said, relieved I was finally going to get some real rest for the first time in a very long while.
The nurse turned to me. It was Richard Burton, and he spoke to me in his deep, melodious voice.
“Elizabeth told me you were a pussy, Kyle. That woman can be insufferable, but she has a great nose for pussy… Wait, I may have phrased that incorrectly.”
“Fuck!!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs then passed out.
By John Tellegen
It was the shrimp; the goddamned shrimp. My flight to Denver had been delayed an hour so I decided to grab a bite at the airport Panda Express across from the gate. I knew when I looked at those little sea-buggers they had diarrhea written all over them but I figured if I doused them in soy sauce and washed them back with a Dr. Pepper I would be fine. The needle pain shooting through my ass reminded me I was wrong.
Now, at 30,000 feet, I was cringing and grasping the VacuToilet like a woman birthing twins without the courtesy of an epidural. And it was a bumpy flight! I never liked flying, wouldn’t say I was afraid of it, but the idea of screaming through the skies in a Lysol can pretending that the only thing to worry about was the crying baby two rows back never sat well. Didn’t these people realize we were a lazy air traffic controller away from certain death?
There was one blessing to air travel: the engine roar created just enough white noise to drown out my pained cries to the gods. With every excruciating contraction an explosion from my undercarriage left my teeth grinding and sweat beading on my forehead.
And then, things took a turn for the worse…
“This is your Captain speaking,” the PA echoed, “we are experiencing some technical issues in the cockpit and request that you all return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts.”
Oh fuck. How could I go back to my seat? I wasn’t even close to the finish line. I hadn’t been able to unroll my toes for ten minutes. And why was the Captain’s cadence so cavalier? Obviously technical issues in the cockpit should warrant a bit more trepidation in his voice but instead he sounded like a McDonalds drive-thru attendant reading back my order.
And then the turbulence hit. And it hit hard. The first big bump actually lifted me off the seat and smashed my head into the ceiling. I could hear passengers in the cabin gasping and a few people actually screamed. I was dumped back on the throne like a pooping Raggedy Andy only now I was half-covered in blue sanitizer with a splash of Sweet and Sour Shrimp. I tried to steady myself by pushing against the walls with my arms but my stomach was flipping and flopping, telling me that we were losing altitude fast. I was scared.
Suddenly, there were three quick bangs on the door. “You have to return to your seat!” the flight attendant demanded. “Didn’t you hear the announcement?”
“Yes,” I shrieked, “but I can’t!”
“It’s not a request!” she barked.
“If you don’t get back to your seat—“
At that moment, the plane pitched to the right so dramatically that the wings almost went perpendicular to the ground. I heard a loud thump, like the sound of a bossy flight attendant slamming against the exit door. She didn’t say much after that.
“Bet you never thought it would end like this?” Patrick Swayze said, perched on the sink in front of me with his boot flush against the wall. “But at least it’s a rush!”
“What the fuck?” I muttered terrified, covered in poop and starting to cry. “You would think that in times of extreme fear my stupid PSD would KEEP ITS FUCKING MOUTH SHUT!”
“Whoa, don’t blame me bro. I ain’t flying the plane. This actually reminds me a little of Point Break only we had parachutes—“
“Spare me your filmography, Swayze! I’m not ready to die!”
Three more bangs on the door were followed by a male flight attendant barking orders at me, “Listen, now is not the time to be joining the mile high club! You and whoever you’re talking too need to get back to your seats!”
Swayze smiled that little smile that made him millions. “If he only knew.”
The fear was overtaking me. I felt that at any moment we were going to hit the ground in a fiery crash. “I’m not ready to die!” I pleaded again.
“You think I was ready? You think any of those passengers are? What makes you so special Kyle?”
I didn’t know the answer but I wasn’t about to lose an argument to a figment of my sick imagination. “I’m just starting to figure out who I am. Now that Shelby left I can finally focus solely on me. Her leaving is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“You are so full of shit. You miss her everyday and if she asked you to come back you’d go running like a puppy.”
“Wait a minute, you’re my fuckin’ ghost,” I sniped, “whose side are you on?”
“I just want you to start being honest with yourself,” Swayze said as the plane bumped and tossed.
“Now??? Right before I die!”
“Now is as good a time as any.”
“What do you want me to say,” I pleaded, “that I’m a screw-up? A loser? That the girl I thought I loved left me holding my dick!”
“What’s in Denver?” Swayze asked.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Sure it does. It’s the last decision you’ll ever make, I mean besides the shrimp. By the way, both are ending pretty badly,” Swayze said, pleased with himself.
“If you must know, I’m meeting a girl I met online. Well, was meeting a girl I met online. Her screen name is Platinum Angel.”
“Oh, Kyle. I would think that working in an electronics store you would be more savvy. Most of those ‘girls’ are really dudes. You’re actually lucky, this plane crash just saved you from an embarrassing face to face with Harry Rogers the Internet troll.”
“You’re probably right. I suck.”
Swayze cocked his head, “Are you done feeling sorry for yourself?”
“Yes. No. I don’t know.”
“What you need is a hero moment.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s a moment in a movie, or in this case your life, when you stand up and face the adversity that’s trying to kill you.”
“This plane is trying to kill me. How do I face that?”
“I’m a certified pilot,” Swayze remarked, “I could talk you through the landing.”
I took a moment to consider the possibility. Did I have a hero living inside me that needed to be unleashed? Could I really save the day?
“Or you can be a little bitch-boy the rest of your life,” Swayze said, with a disappointed scowl.
My eyes sharpened and my fists clenched, “Fine. I’ll do it! I’ll save the fucking day!”
I burst out of the lavatory with a bump on my head and my pants soaked in poop and I declared, “Everybody stay calm! I got this under control! Me and Patrick Swayze are going to land this sucker even if it kills us all!”
The passengers around me covered their noses from my smell as the five-year-old little boy sitting next to me wiped a booger on my shirt.
Then the Captain got on the PA again, “This is your Captain speaking. We have fixed the problem and anticipate smooth skies all the way to Denver so I’m turning off the fasten seatbelt sign. Feel free to move about the cabin.”
Before I could blink I was struck from behind and tackled by three heroic goons. One of them grabbed my balls like it was a sack of marbles. The rest of the flight didn’t look to be as smooth for me.
As I was led off the plane in handcuffs by the TSA, I passed a gorgeous girl with legs that resembled French Vanilla ice cream. She was holding a sign that read, I am Platinum Angel.
As I passed, she wrinkled her nose from my offensive odor. I didn’t say a word.
I figured I would let my heroism speak for itself.
I’m getting a tattoo.
Yes, I’m going to have an artist insert needles containing inks of multiple colors deep into my skin to create a design I’ll carry with me until the day I die.
And to think, my ex, Shelby, used say I was scared of commitment.
I’m not. What I am is infatuated…with the new checkout girl at the electronics store who, coincidently, has a tattoo of a butterfly on her left shoulder.
I should probably explain…
Anastasia has been working cash register number eight for about two weeks now. And she’s a vision. Long blonde hair. Body so hot it could set off our fire sprinklers. A smile that lights up the room–and since the electronics store is about 26,000 square feet, that’s a lot of wattage.
Working in customer service, I rarely visit the main floor. But luckily, I get to see Anastasia in the employee lounge. She eats lunch there every day at 1 p.m. Now that I’m wise to her habits, I know just when to stop by.
And Anastasia was there yesterday, Friday, with a couple of co-workers, Chad and Manju, when I decided to chat her up.
For some reason, the conversation turned to tattoos. Chad, the stoner dude who works in the stock room, has a sleeve tattoo featuring his favorite cartoon characters.
Starting at his wrist, and moving up his shoulder is Sponge Bob, the Simpsons and members of the Smurf family. When he’s stoned, I’ve seen Chad amuse himself for hours, flexing his arm so it appears Smurfette is doing something unmentionable to Homer.
Manju, one of the store’s tech guys, doesn’t sport any tattoos. “Why,” he asked, “would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?”
Now don’t get me wrong. I like Manju, but he’s a few bytes short of a total reformat.
Naturally the conversation turned to Anastasia and her tattoo. She said her butterfly represented freedom and individuality since no two are alike…like a fingerprint.
“What about you, Kyle?” Anastasia asked. “Have you got tattoos anywhere on your–” Before she could finish, Chad and Manju started laughing.
“Kyle? A tattoo?” said Manju. “He’s the most button-down, conservative guy I know. The only thing you’ll ever find on his skin is soap.”
Anastasia placed her hand on my arm and asked, “Is that true, Kyle?”
“Well… I’m not opposed to tattoos…or soap.”
“Guys with tattoos are hot,” Anastasia said. “Look at people like Tommy Lee, Travis Barker or David Beckham… Tatted men are rebellious, independent free thinkers…and just more fun.”
“That’s me,” I said. “The real Kyle has a wild, untamed side.”
Maybe it was my imagination, but as I talked I could swear Anastasia was getting turned on. The look on her face told me what I had to do.
“It’s settled then,” I said in my most defiant, authoritative voice. “Everyone… Employee lounge. 1 p.m. Monday. Be here. You’re going to see a Kyle Benson you never knew existed. I’m getting inked.”
And that’s why, right now, I’m standing on Melrose Avenue in front of a place called Skin Deep Tattoos.
It’s a bit of a dive. And, to be honest, I’m having second thoughts–which is why I’m pacing outside the shop, trying to get myself pumped up.
“I’m bad. I’m tough,” I say looking at a reflection of myself in the store’s window. “I’m a rebel. I can do this… I am a badass, I’m evil–”
“Son,” came a voice from nearby, “you’re not Evel. I am.”
I turned around, and standing in front of me was a tall man with wavy brown hair. He wore a white leather jumpsuit decorated with red and blue rows of stars shaped like a V on his chest.
It was Evel Knievel, the iconic motorcycle daredevil.
My Paranoiac Schizophrenic Disorder always seems to conjure up someone when I need them most. And now, as I felt the need for a dose of courage, standing before me was a man who knew no fear.
“Listen, boy,” said Evel, “what are you doing in the middle of the street, walking around like a warthog in heat?”
“I promised my workmates I’d get a tattoo,” I explained, “but I have a wildly irrational fear of needles.”
Evel looked at me like I was speaking another language.
“Fear!” he chortled. “I earned my living facing fear. Do you know what it’s like to look death in the eye?”
Well, yeah… By now, PSD had brought me face to face with countless dead people. But saying so was just going to piss off Evel, so I kept quiet.
Besides, Evel was on a roll. “During my career,” he bellowed, “I constantly outwitted the Grim Reaper! Was I scared when I jumped the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas?”
“Hell, no!!” Evel exclaimed.
“Not that it matters now,” I said, “but back then that jump nearly killed you.”
“Look, I’ve had more broken bones than any man on earth—37 in all. I’ve spent more time in hospitals than most doctors. And I’ve been stitched together so often I’m more quilt than human.”
Obviously, Evel knew something about facing fear. I had to ask: “So, how do I get past my nerves?”
“Embrace your fear. Make it your friend. A little needle isn’t going to hurt you. Besides, once you give your word, there’s no turning back. I never backed out of a jump I promised to make.”
Evel was right. I couldn’t back out. If I didn’t show up at work sporting ink, I’d never live it down. And I’d never have a shot with Anastasia.
Taking a deep breath, I entered the shop, sat in a chair, and told the proprietor–a guy named “Wren” Brandt–I wanted a tattoo. Something that symbolized courage. As Evel Knievel looked on, I settled on the image of a lion.
“Good choice,” said Evel, giving me a thumb’s up. “You’ll be fine.” Then he walked out.
Through the window, I saw Evel pop a wheelie on his Harley, waving at me as he drove off.
I was feeling pretty good, until I asked Wren if this was going to hurt.
“Of course,” he said. “We’re talking needles piercing human flesh.”
Wren dabbed a cotton ball with alcohol and cleaned my arm. “Let’s get started.”
He reached for his tattoo machine, pushed a button and a dull, whirring noise filled the air. Wren brought the needle to my arm and it pricked my skin.
Suddenly, I felt light-headed…
“Hey, dude,” said Wren, “you okay? You’re looking kinda flush…”
Oh, crap… Feeling dizzy. Room spinning.
“Dude! Dude! Wake up…”
* * *
It’s Monday afternoon, and I’m about to face the music in the employee lounge. I walk in at exactly 12:59, and, sure enough, everyone is waiting–Chad, Manju, and, of course, Anastasia.
The trio can’t wait to see my tattoo, and I’m not one to disappoint. As they gather around, I slowly roll up my sleeve.
“Voila!” I say, displaying my arm.
“I don’t see anything,” said Manju. Chad leaned in, eyeballing my flesh as well. “Where is it?”
“Right here,” I said, pointing…
“Looks like a freckle,” said Anastasia.
“That’s no freckle,” I said. “It’s very rare design called…a Danger Dot.”
Everyone laughed. I was feeling a little humiliated by the whole affair…until I noticed Anastasia’s butterfly tattoo.
Last week it was on her left shoulder, but today it was on the right. Surprised, I asked what the story was.
“Oh, Kyle, I didn’t want to tell you, but it’s a temporary tattoo. They’re indistinguishable from real ones.”
I was shocked.
“I’m scared of needles,” Anastasia laughed. “Always have been.”
Right then, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. Over lunch, Anastasia and I were going to have a lot to talk about.
by Lawrence H. Levy
“Come on, DeShawn, get your Whitney something’. A little sugar, huh, DeShawn baby?”
“I’m sorry, Whitney, but you need to get straight. And my name’s Kyle.”
“Kyle!” she exclaimed as she stumbled around the room. “What kinda lilywhite mama’s boy name is that?” Then she took a header onto the kitchen floor, conveniently falling by the garbage can in which she quickly buried her head and wretched to her heart’s content.
My PSD had conjured up Whitney Houston. I always had a crush on her. I was enchanted by her beauty, her magnificent voice, and yes, her troubled life. Deep down I felt that if I had been with her, I could’ve saved her. Now was my chance.
I watched lovingly as her head bobbed up and down while she puked her guts out. God, Whitney was glorious. She puked on key and in perfect rhythm, too.
We had been in my apartment for a full 36 hours and even though she was a ways from kicking the habit, I figured a change of scenery might do us both good. “Iron Man 3″ was playing nearby, and I thought that might just be the tonic we both needed.
Whitney was still unsteady and stumbling as we entered the theater lobby. The place was mobbed.
“Yo,” she screamed out. “Any of you got any crack for sweet ol’ Whitney?”
No one answered. Hell, no one could hear or see her. She was all mine.
“Hey, I said I want crack!” And she spelled it out. “C-R-A-C-K. Crack, motherfuckers!”
“Whitney, honey,” I said. “Calm down. We’re going into the movie. It’ll make you chill.”
“You know what’ll make me chill, Kyle? CRACK!”
There was no winning this argument. I quickly bought two tickets, and the ticket guy handed them to me with two pair of 3D glasses.
“See, Whitney? 3D — it’ll be fun. You’ll see.”
The ticket guy had enough problems dealing with me talking to air, but when I put the glasses on Whitney and they fell through empty air to the floor, he nearly freaked.
“I’ll get ‘em. Go, just go,” he said as he went to pick up the glasses. “This movie brings out all the fuckin’ crazies,” he muttered loud enough for us to hear.
Whitney and I found good seats, and she seemed to settle down. Not for long though. She got restless when Robert Downey Jr. appeared on screen.
“Hey, that’s the dude who woke up in someone else’s house,” she pointed to Downey Jr. “Get me to him. For sure he can hook me up.”
“He’s clean now, Whitney, just like you’re gonna be.”
Then she got an idea. “Hey, people are always droppin’ tons of stuff on movie floors. Maybe I’ll find myself some sugar.”
She threw herself onto the floor and started crawling through the row.
“Whitney, honey, Whitney, come back to your seat,” I said as I went after her. I made each person in the row shift to accommodate me, sometimes knocking into or tripping over people. Pretty soon the theater got hostile.
“Hey, down in front, you’re fuckin’ up the picture, freak” were a couple of the choice comments. One guy pushed me, and I tumbled into the aisle, flat on my back.
Whitney started laughing, “You’re funny, Kyle.”
“I’m glad you appreciate me. Let’s get out of here.”
Whitney seemed to be in a better mood. I never helped someone get sober before, but maybe she had passed over the hump. Anyhow, I was hungry, and Whitney loved Osteria Mozza over on Melrose, so I figured that was a good place to go.
“I’ll have the Tortellini in Brodo and the lady will have the Ricotta and Egg Raviolo,” I told the waiter.
“Would you like to make a wine choice now, or do you want to wait until the lady comes back from the restroom?”
“No need for that,” I said then turned toward Whitney. “Do you want some wine, dear?”
“Only if it comes with a side of candy.”
I turned to the waiter. “She doesn’t want any.”
He smiled, “You’re messin’ with me, right?” I stared at him perfectly straight faced. His smile disappeared, and he walked off a bit freaked, mumbling something about hoping to get an acting gig soon so he could quit this waiting crap.
Whitney and I looked at each other and laughed. Her face lit up. Moments like these made me feel emotions for Whitney that I didn’t think were possible for me any more… at least since what’s her name broke my heart. Yeah, thanks to Whitney, at times I literally forgot Shelby’s name.
An attractive African American woman sat down at the table next to us and immediately started chatting away with the empty chair across from her. I couldn’t help being drawn to her odd behavior. I turned to Whitney
“I guess you meet all kinds of nuts in this world,” I said.
“Yo, Kyle, that’s Tupac over there.”
She motioned toward the empty seat across from the African American woman. “I’m sure he’s carrying. See if he has somethin’ for Whitney.”
“Whitney, you’re almost through detoxing. I can’t in good conscience….”
“Yo, Tupac,” she called out as she turned toward the other empty chair. “You got some candy?” She soon spoke as if he had responded to her. “Yeah, fool, it’s me, Whitney. You carrying? I know you are.”
She was listening to Tupac’s reply, and I knew I had to do something. Before I could, the African American woman turned to me.
“Hey, excuse me, you. What’s your name?”
“Hi, I’m Hilary.”
A chill shot through me. My interactions with women named Hilary never turned out well, not the least of which was getting my ass kicked by one in high school. She had wanted to fight, and I didn’t. Fighting a girl is a losing proposition. If you fight back, you’re an asshole and if you don’t, she stomps all over you and you’re a pussy. I chose the latter and heard the word “pussy” ring out through the halls for months to come.
“Hi, Hilary, I guess we have something in common (I had put 2 and 2 together and was referring to PSD). Could you please tell your friend Tupac to leave my lady Whitney alone? She’s trying to get clean.”
“If you call Whitney off so Tupac and I can dine in peace.” Suddenly, she turned toward Tupac. “Don’t you dare rap for her! You promised you’d only rap for me from now on.”
I turned to Whitney, and she was clapping away and rapping along with Tupac. Of course, I could only hear her and not Tupac but I do have an imagination.
Hilary stood, pissed as hell. “You better tell your slut to stop messin’ with my man or there are goin’ to be some real problems, real soon!”
I also stood. “There’s no need for name calling. I’m sure we can work this out.”
But we couldn’t. Both our tempers rose and the name calling escalated. Pretty soon everyone in the restaurant was looking at us. A few waiters and the manager rushed over to put out the fire. When everything had calmed down, I looked and saw that Whitney had disappeared. From the panic on Hilary’s face, I could tell Tupac had left with her.
We instantly became a team and searched all over Mozza, screaming out their names, hoping to find the place they went to get high. After we ran into the kitchen, we soon found ourselves being escorted outside by a chef wielding a meat cleaver and six of the waiters, including my own.
“No need for a tip,” my waiter said. “Just don’t come back… ever.”
I really couldn’t blame him. Hilary and I looked around. No Whitney or Tupac. I started to get the feeling that this was a good thing. If I want to save someone, maybe I should save a real person. Maybe it was time to get back to reality.
“I know how you feel, Hilary,” I started to say seeing how devastated she was, but that was as far as I got.
“You know how I feel, Kyle? This is how I feel.” And she gave me the hardest shot to the balls I ever experienced. I fell to the cement, groaning, once again undone by a Hilary.
Man, reality sucks.
By John Tellegen
It was chilly. But unless you’re on the surface of the sun or you live in Palm Springs, it always feels chilly running naked through the streets at three in the morning – well, I was wearing socks but it was still nippy.
About five hours earlier I was drinking heavily at a bar on the boulevard. I’d been drinking a lot lately. The place was Irish and held turtle races on Thursdays. The turtles all had R-rated names like, Clitortoise and my favorite, “My girl can’t wrestle but you oughta see her box…turtle.” It was a long name, but it was also a long night.
I was on my fifth beer and who knows how many shots when a woman fell into the bar next to me. She was tanked, moderately attractive, and well-known to the established drinkers at the hole. Her name was Chicklette, or I heard it wrong, but who cares…it didn’t matter anyway. She wanted some attention and I was just the lush to give her some.
We traded irrelevant stories and lies about our pasts and we drank and smoked a lot of cigarettes. Her shirt was showing some cleavage but she had a mole in between her breasts that had a little hair growing out of it. Every time I saw the little growth my stomach turned. Her lipstick was a pale pink and reminded me of a grandmother and her blondish hair was overproduced and frizzy. We were sure to be having sex before Craig Ferguson signed off for the night.
As Bill the bartender proclaimed “last call,” Chicklette and I stumbled out the door and I started trying to hail a cab. It wouldn’t be easy at 2 a.m. but Chicklette offered her place that was only a few blocks away for a nightcap, a Jacuzzi, and some much needed lovin’ that I would certainly wish to forget for the rest of my days. But at that moment, I happily agreed!
When we arrived at her apartment nothing seemed amiss. She had the standard IKEA furniture, the crappy sound system, the cigarette-burned carpet, and the insane 70-inch, high definition super-plasma television.
“Get naked,” she said as she trolloped her way into the kitchenette. “We’re gettin’ wet.”
I happily obliged and tore off my clothes, standing in only my socks in her living room. That’s when I saw something that changed my mood like a magical buzz-kill. I noticed two Hot Wheel cars on the floor next to the TV. As I processed the sighting, suddenly a man emerged from the backroom holding a toddler in his arms.
“What the fuck, Chicklette!?” he exploded.
“Shut the fuck up and get back to your room,” she shot back.
At that moment, thoughts starting to rush through my mind:
“What the fuck am I doing here?” was the first one. “Who the fuck is that guy?” was the second. Then she socked him in the mouth and he kicked her in the stomach sending the third thought careening into my brain, “Get the fuck outta here!”
So there I was, running through the streets naked when low and behold, the police pulled up along side me.
I stopped running.
As I tried to frantically explain to the officer that I was just trying to bang Chicklette when things went sideways and I had to bolt, the officer got a strange look in his eye that made me think at some point in his life he tried to bang Chicklette too. I was going to ask him how he got past the mole when I decided to shut up. I did have the right to remain silent after all.
I had never been to jail but had seen enough movies to know how it was going to go. Or so I thought. Since I was nude, they placed me in a suicide gown which is basically the most uncomfortable piece of clothing one can don – an unrippable, unwearable piece of car upholstery.
They pushed me into the cell and clanged the door closed. I think they clang it for effect because it seemed totally unnecessary to me. I looked up and was facing the biggest man I had ever seen. A mountain of flesh. The kind of man who could pop me like an adolescent pimple on his ass. And he looked familiar.
“Are the guy from that Tom Hanks movie?” I stuttered.
“The Green Mile,” he said, his voice deeper than the Pacific.
“…I’m Kyle,” is all I knew to say, positive he was going to eat me for a late night snack.
“Are you suicidal?”
“Why the gown?”
“They brought me in naked.”
“Are you a perv?”
“No. Well, define perv.”
“Are you a sex offender?”
“No. But I’ve been told that my sex is offensive.”
The man chuckled and smiled and I knew I was saved.
“I’m Michael Clarke Duncan.”
“Yes! You were in ‘Armageddon’ too, with Affleck.”
“Yeah, but right now I wanna know what you’re doing on this green mile. You don’t seem the jail type,” Michael said.
“I not. I had this girlfriend and she dumped me after I asked her to marry me. I guess I’ve been drinking a bit too much ever since. But who cares about me, when is your next movie coming out?”
Michael flicked his eyebrows and lowered his chin, “I’m done making movies.”
“Kyle, I’m dead!”
“Oh my god. I didn’t know,” I said.
“It was all over TMZ.”
“I must have missed that news cycle.”
“Well, anyway. If this girl has you drinking so much that you land in jail, she wasn’t right for you anyway.”
“Wait a minute, now I remember, didn’t you hook up with Omarosa, that crazy reality show bitch?”
“You, watch it,” Michael took a moment to reminisce, “and she was just as crazy in bed!”
“And I loved her,” Michael stated.
Just then, a horn sounded and my name was shouted over the PA system. Apparently someone had paid my bail.
“Hey,” Michael said as he grabbed my gown, “it’s too late for me but you can still live. Stop chasing every skanky girl that will let you feel her boobs and find yourself someone who really cares about you.”
I nodded, but I must admit that the draft coming up through the gown and blowing against my balls made it hard to concentrate.
“You’re probably right. I mean, look at where it’s gotten me.”
“Find out who you really are and be that,” Michael said with hope in his eyes.
His words made sense. I didn’t want to be the old me but I certainly didn’t know who the new me was either. I had some work to do.
“Hey!” Chicklette called out from down the corridor. “I bailed you out! You still wanna Jacuzzi?”
Her eye was black. My soul was in crisis. I sat back down next to Michael.
“Looks like I’ll be here awhile longer. Is Bruce Willis as cool as he looks?”
Michael Clarke Duncan slowly smiled and nodded.
“Cooler than the other side of the pillow.”
By David Garber
Since my breakup with Shelby, my social life had been a bit slow. Okay, not exactly slow, dormant. I was at the point where I got excited just slipping into my skinny jeans.
Now ordinarily it’s not the best strategy to cruise a pick-up hangout by standing next to the coolest looking dude in the place. At best you’d figure to get lost in his shade. But the new me had a plan. I staked out a spot next to a guy who was so Rico Suave he made Jason Statham look like a sissy. But I thought, if I could just nab one of his cast-offs…
Even Stevie Wonder could see this freakazoid of superior looks was a babe magnet for high 9’s and perfect 10’s. Me, I’d settle for an okay 4…or even a 2 with a strong pulse and all her own teeth.
Across the room, a vision approached me and the hunkanator. Then reality hit. Soon Mr. Amazing would score with this chick and I’d be left alone, performing dental checks on all those 2’s.
Miss Thang sauntered right up to us. She stared into Mr. Everything’s studly dark eyes and said, “Excuse me. I’m…”
The dude finished her sentence, “…Hurricane Lacy. I know, because you’re blowing me away.”
Okay, so he wasn’t the wittiest guy in the world, but hell, he didn’t have to be.
“Kyle?” she asked, looking past the gonad gangsta and straight at me.
“Yeah, I’m Kyle,” I answered, quite stunned. “Do we know each other?”
“No, but we can change that.”
I figured someone must have slipped some “X” into my drink because this couldn’t really be happening. Then it occurred to me. This had to be a reoccurrence of my Psychotic Schizophrenic Disorder.
So I addressed it head-on. “Are you dead?”
She chuckled. “Of course not. If I was, could I do this?” She reached for my jewels, massaged them ever so gently, which gave me quite a thrill.
Seems she was used to that reaction. “My father was a Boston longshoreman and when I was born, he told the other dockworkers, “I was the de light at de end of de tunnel. It was either gonna be Delight, De-end or Detunnel.”
I reassured her, “He picked da right one.”
She smiled seductively at me. Either this girl was crazy or I was – and I didn’t really care which. The focus of my thoughts was getting her home and jumping her bones.
Delight pointed to an attractive girl across the room who I vaguely recognized. “Liz is my roommate. She told me you tried to pick her up once and said that you see dead celebrities.”
Shit. I had tried that once and thought it might work as a pick-up. Desperate men do desperate things, including telling the truth.
What I found curious was that Liz shared this tidbit with Delight, and Delight didn’t seem to care. If anything, it was a turn on – or was that just my beer-buzz thinking?
“Is there anyone famous with you now,” Delight gushed in genuine excitement. I looked around, knowing no apparitions were there, but I tried to play it a bit.
“No, not right now. But maybe back at my place. That’s where they usually hang out.”
“Then why are we here?”
She bought it! And before long, the two of us were stripping each other naked, at the foot of my bed. The distance between us was exactly 6 3/4 inches, I know because – well, I just know. I stared into her gorgeous blue eyes, then gazed down at her amazing rack, then back to her baby blues, then back to her jaw-dropping breasts. Hey, I’m a guy. I can’t help myself.
As I was caressing her perfectly shaped shoulder intending to work my way down, she lifted my chin so I’d be looking her eye to eye. “Do me a favor.”
“Bring on Heath. I want Heath Ledger to screw me with you.”
“If he’s not around, how about Kurt Cobain? Or Johnny Depp.”
I was stunned, and could only stammer, “Depp isn’t dead.”
“Oh, yeah, right,” she acknowledged. “Well, what other dead guys do you know?”
I shared with her that I couldn’t control who showed up or when.
“But they will come, right?”
“I’m sure someone will,” was all I could utter with any assurance. That someone was going to be me and probably soon.
She ripped the top off my condom packet with her teeth, spitting the strip to the floor. This chick was wild. As she started to slide the protection onto its intended home, I was going crazy mad. Then I observed her attention waning. If there was ever need for quick thinking, this was it.
“Slap her ass, Heath,” I shouted. ”She likes that. Tongue her ear! You love that, baby, don’t you?!”
She suddenly turned on like a ten thousand volt charge zapped through her body.
“C’mon Heath,” she moaned. “Do it, Baby. C’mon. I’m wet.”
Freaky. I hadn’t even touched her and she was writhing in ecstasy. Delight either had PSD like me, or was just good ol’ fashioned, bat shit crazy. But there was something missing.
“Hey, what about me?” I inquired.
“Join us. I want you both. C’mon. C’mon!!!”
I joined in, lying on top of her. Soon she rolled me over and rode me like Seabiscuit. And she was one helluva jockey. Her amazing skills had me at the threshold of that nirvana moment. Just as I released, she did as well, crying out, “Yes! Yes! Give it to me! Give it to me, Heath!”
I could only hope Delight’s first “give it to me!” was directed to ME.
Mutual climax. Evidently for all three of us.
As she rolled off, Delight excused herself and headed to the bathroom. She looked back toward me, “Don’t go anywhere. That was amazing. When I get back, get someone else to join us.”
Us? Hopefully she meant me and her being joined by someone else – not her and Heath and some unnamed third.
Delight had just closed the door behind her when I heard, “You owe me, dude. Big-time.”
I looked across the room and there was Heath Ledger. Damn he looked good. “Why’d you tell her I was here when I wasn’t?”
“From the looks of things, you could have been,” I responded as it sunk in he was as naked as I was, with his manhood standing at full attention. “Man, even your Johnson smiles like the Joker….that isn’t gay, right?”
He slyly smiled. “You’re real. I’m not – any longer. You should be able to bed a chick on your own. You don’t need me as your crutch. I’m not a wing man. I’m a leading man.”
I shot back, “An aroused leading man.”
“Now you are starting to sound gay. Hey, I may be dead, but I’m not… dead, dead!” Heath shrugged as he continued. “Look, I don’t mind being used, but where’s your self-esteem, man? Do you have so little confidence in yourself that you have to trick women into sleeping with you?”
“Uh… yes.” I waited a beat, then added, “I’m sorry…” Then the truth gushed out, “No, I’m not. You’re Heath “Fuckin’” Ledger. You’ve got great looks, charm, and a big… personality. All I’ve got is dead people popping in and out of my head. Why shouldn’t I use it?”
“Do you think we’ll always be with you?”
I hadn’t really thought about it much. “I just assumed…”
Heath then looked at me as the bathroom door opened. “At least she’s hot. Gotta give you that.”
As Delight slid in next to me on the bed, she looked over and commented on the tent my groin had produced with the top sheet.
“Looks like someone’s ready for round two.”
I smiled and defiantly eyed Heath while addressing Delight, “Who do you want to join us this time?”
Ledger shook his head, then disappeared.
With each name Delight listed, I could feel the blood draining from its throbbing location.
“How about James Dean? Or John Belushi? I loved him in Animal House. Do you know Jim Morrison? The Doors were so dope. Or Hendrix…”
It was gone. Not just Heath, but the urge, the excitement, the desire…my erection. As Delight’s wish-list continued, she included every name but mine. I couldn’t take it. I finally got her dressed and out the door.
Heath suddenly returned. “Proud of you, Dude. You showed some balls.”
“So did you,” I chuckled as the door flung open again. It was Delight. “What about Amy Winehouse? I’d be willing to dip into the lady pond for her…”
Heath broke out in laughter, and I did too.
“At least think about it,” Delight opined.
As she left, I promised her I would. And I did, the next night. Oh, and you won’t believe where Amy Winehouse has a syringe-pierced, heart-shaped tattoo. Now dat’s Delight!