The Bored Chairman

The small rental house sits on a hill, far from the neighbors. Its solitary perch is what attracted Tim to the place. Shy by nature, he considered it a find when he came across the cozy cabin lookalike even though it was reputedly haunted. In all his 50 years, he’s never encountered any paranormal or extraterrestrial activities and finds no reason to believe in them now.

As he’s wont to do every evening, Tim finishes eating dinner on his kitchen table, sips his rye, and starts talking to the empty chair across from him. Although timid, he likes to hear the timbre of his own voice when no one is around. He continues to spout about his day when the wooden chair transforms into a wooden head with its facial features and hair looking painted on. Its expression appears focused, fully engaged at what he was saying.

It must be the whiskey, Tim thinks to himself.  Can’t be delirium. Although he’s been called a drunk, he doesn’t believe it because he can still stand and walk after many rounds of shots.

He rubs his eyes and stares at the chair, slapping his hands on the table just to make sure he’s awake.

“Ho now,” the outline of the mouth blurts out.

“Who are you? I didn’t invite you here.” Tim tries to assert himself.

“Day in, day out . . . especially day out, you jabber on and on. So here I am to wackle, wackle back at ‘cha.”

“What does that even mean?” Bewildered, Tim can feel goosebumps forming on his arms and the hair behind his neck rising, as he’s starting to register the deadness of the wide-eyed expression on the face. Tim inches away from the table as he notices the head shaking a little, as if trying to move from its place.

“I’ve always wanted a body to call my own.” The head nods.

The sudden change of subject and the subject itself are enough to cause Tim to bolt out of his chair. As if powered by an invisible slingshot, the head catapults toward Tim, who loses his balance from the hit. Before recovering from his fall, Tim feels a little top-heavy, almost as if he is wearing a football helmet.

“I also wanted a buddy of my own,” Tim hears in his head, knowing the thought is not his own. Heart thudding, he runs to the bathroom mirror and looks at his reflection. The wooden head stares back at him with a wide grin.

Image by blogetta

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Smashed

Elwood groans from an oncoming headache caused by the sound of a jackhammer, compounded by the whining of a circular saw. Still feeling the effects from last night’s party, he barely catches his breath as he staggers into his office building. As he approaches his desk, he is met with his favorite framed photo smashed on the floor. Memories of when he took it and framed it flash through his mind, followed with stabs of anger. He carefully picks up the big pieces of broken glass and throws them in the waste basket.

Still feeling upset, he almost wants to cry. Elwood surmises his hypersensitivity must be a holdover from getting smashed the night before. Overcome with claustrophobia, he steps outside to get some air and go for a walk. The destroyed picture in his mind distracts him from noticing a huge concrete block suspended above by a rope that starts to unravel. Before any warning can be made, the block breaks free and smashes Elwood to the ground.

Game of Thongs: Beyond the Show

Part 4 of 4 – A Matter of Wear and Tear series
Part 1 posted on 8/24/17
Part 2 posted on 8/26/17
Part 3 posted on 8/28/17

(Warning: Some language and sexual references may be objectionable)

Soon after the emcee breaks the surprising news of this being the last year for the thong pageant, the battle for the iron throne comes into play. For years to come, those who were here would come to pass on the legendary fierceness that was about to erupt between the top two warring thong wearers – Crissy Bannister and Dana Tara “the Dragon Lady” Gong.

Forever preserved in the town library, the local news archives include a videotaped newscast that reported the infamous event that unfolded that summer afternoon soon after the winner was declared:

Reporting live from the West Coast of Queens Bay, the resort town of Landingshire, I’m Kaye Carpenter, covering a scintillating finish to this year’s ‘Game of Thongs.’  It appears Crissy Bannister has won the coveted iron throne and a year’s supply of thongs. She’s being led to the throne now and . . . what’s this?  it looks like Dana Tara Gong, who dubbed herself the Dragon Lady this year to go with her outfit . . . oh, my. . . [The camera, gyrating wildly, shows Dana striding closer to Crissy as thick fingers of flames blast out from the long tube propped on her shoulder. Just then, Crissy’s feathers catch on fire. . .]

Fortunately, a stage hand immediately rushes onstage, carrying a fire extinguisher while an emergency care team has just arrived. [The camera shows Crissy engulfed in a white cloud sprayed from the fire extinguisher. The emcee and a couple of people carefully apprehend Dana and take her away. The camera returns to the reporter’s face.] That was quite a combustible ending to an intensely hot race. This will be one match that will be burned into the memories of everyone here forever. Back to you, David . . .”

The End

Game of Thongs: The Outhouse


Part 2 of 4
A Matter of Wear and Tear series
 Part 1 posted on 8/24/17

(Warning: Some language and sexual references may be objectionable)

Anya runs to Walter. “What happened?” She can hear his muffled voice still uttering, “O’dore . . .” She turns him over and cradles his face. Then she presses her ear close to his mouth. A look of realization flashes on her face.

“’Oh, the odor’ is what you’re saying! Portable toilets can be stinky. Walter, I’m sorry it was so bad, but you need to get up if you want to be in the running.” Anya gently shakes him. Sunny joins them and tries to straighten out what little fabric she can salvage. To make matters worse, Walter’s fall landed him on some pebbles that poked some holes on his thong.

Walter sits up and thanks them. He looks down at his ruined design and says, “When you play the game of thongs, you wear it or you tear it. You can’t return it.” He exhales, “Looks like I’m sitting out the contest this year. I shoulda listened to my mom and used a real toilet before coming here. Never use a port-o-let without adequate cover . . . and a nose clip. Let that be a lesson learned.”

“The things we sniff destroy us every time, man. Store that in your skull,” Theo reinforces Walter’s words, as he and the rest continue walking toward the stage. Secretly, he’s glad to have one less rival to compete with.

Juan, Theo, Sunny, Anya, and Tyrone are met with applause as they parade onto the stage, taking their place among the others. Good to see not too many participants this year, Tyrone thinks. His plan in spreading his crabs apparently worked, although at the expense of having to suffer through it himself. But he had cleverly designed his thong to hide any evidence of discomfort and disease.

Juan surveys the group and notices two more people have yet to join them. Just then, the crowd erupts into cheering and hand-clapping, louder than the reception he and his friends received. As the cheering continues to grow louder, he sees the two, fashionable late-comers prance onto the stage.

This year is going to be a slaughter, Juan thinks, as he eyes the two show stoppers—two well-known locals who also happen to be arch enemies: Crissy Bannister and Dana Tara Gong.

To be continued . . . 

Game of Thongs (A Matter of Wear and Tear series)

Part 1 of 4

(Warning: Some language and sexual references may be objectionable)

Summer has come. The annual thong pageant has begun. A throng of staunch thong supporters gather before the stage, set against the nautical backdrop of the beach. Friends and families of the contestants call out to their hopeful entrants. Locals and out-of-towners alike sit and stand together with anticipation. For as long as any of the loyal followers can remember, the battle of the thongs is an event that’s been going on for years. Because the competition is open only to permanent residents, the ceremony has a rather incestuous reputation. Nonetheless, everyone ultimately has great fun and the celebratory bash after the show is even more of a blast.

Meanwhile, in the makeshift backstage, made up of rows of connected cabanas, the contenders get ready as they string on their thong, along with other accessories. Every year, the stake gets higher for how original one can be in designing and presenting their strips of decadent material.

“If I look back, I can see your crack.” Theo Silverbliss teases Juan Nieves, as they both don their thongs.

Juan sighs, “If you keep looking, you’ll get lost in the abyss.”

“This place makes people strange,” Sunny Lark says from her own little area, across from them.

Sunny’s sister, Anya, pipes up, “I swear to you wearing a thong is a thousand times harder than designing one.”

Sunny and Anya’s cousin, Tyrone, groans as he walks by them. “A sore is a reminder . . . and each reminder makes me angrier.” By “sore,” he is referring to the unfortunate red scratch marks in his pubic area. “Once you’ve acquired crabs, no one will want to sleep with you.”

“TMI, dear cuz, please.” Anya shakes her head at Tyrone. Sunny smiles at Tyrone and agrees. “That’s shorthand for a little too much information, darling. Come on, let’s go and show them our stuff!”

The three cousins, Juan, and Theo head toward the stage. Passing a portable toilet, they see a friend, Walter, stumble out, gasping and mumbling, “O’dore . . . o’dore . . .” Barely strung on, his thong threatens to flap open, and then he trips, face down.

To be continued . . . 

Mumble

“Ya got a big mouth on ya is yer problem, Eddie. How many people ya ate? Ya gotta pace yerself or we’ll get caught. I gotta do somethin’.” Royal, Eddie’s best friend glares at his shack mate, who is moaning at every chew.

Eyelids half closed, Eddie is too preoccupied savoring the last of his ill-gotten meat. There’s nothing like a good summer barbecued shoulder. Granted, it took him a few hours to wrestle it out of his prey who outweighed him by 65 pounds, but he triumphed, making him especially proud of his latest kill.

“I just looove tourist season,” Eddie mumbles, trying to keep in food from spilling out of his mouth.

With pressed lips, Royal saunters off to get his leather sewing kit. As he approaches his friend from behind, he says, “Sorry, buddy; this is fer yer own good.” Royal takes a swing at the back of Eddie’s head with a big sock filled with heavy rubber balls.

With Eddie stunned, he quickly proceeds to sew his friend’s mouth. As he almost finishes, Eddie’s lids flutter open. Eyes looking panicked, Eddie grunts, “Mmmph . . .”

“Oops, I forgot to ask if ya had any last words,” Royal mumbles, feeling a little guilty as he locks the stitches.

The Writer and the Swimmer

Tucked somewhere near Santa Cruz, but not well-known to locals or tourists, is an expanse of beach dotted with patches of shrubbery and occasional palm trees.  Perhaps because the generous acreage is private property, deeded to an obscure trust, few have ventured into the area. Jim Stanger was an exception to this rule.

A few degrees of connections were all it took for Jim to temporarily rent for the summer the California beachfront bungalow that sat by itself under the sun. With no roommates to deal with nor anyone else in the vicinity, he felt he could finally settle down and write his Great American Novel—a longtime ambition he is determined to realize during his summer break.

After a week of succumbing to the lull of the ocean sound whooshing against the sand, he begins each day drinking copious cups of coffee. For every gulp, he taps on his laptop keyboard, aiming to fill several pages per day of whatever inanity comes out. In time, he finds himself being able to string together a coherent story, easily starting from where he left off the prior day. Eventually, he starts to feel wrapped up in the dream world he’s created.

One day, as he finishes a rather involved passage, he glances up, looking out to the horizon to give his eyes a break. A fleshy bit of color swimming in the ocean catches his attention. He squints to better focus his eyes but whatever it is soon disappears from his sight line. For some reason, he feels spooked since he hasn’t mingled with a single soul for a month now. He’s stocked up for three months’ worth of food so he wouldn’t distract himself with runs to Trader Joe’s. He goes back to work again.

The next day, a different rhythmic sound from the ocean interrupts his usual engrossed state. Something about the pattern of the splashing is different from the regular lapping on the shores he’s become accustomed to. He looks out to the ocean and is rattled to see the same fleshy swimmer he saw yesterday, except today it seems a little closer.

In the following days, Jim gets progressively alarmed as he notices that the swimmer gets closer and is staying longer in his sight line. He starts to notice the ribs etched on its chest, although he can’t really tell whether the swimmer is swimming on its back or front. But, the closer it gets, he’s seeing features he’s never seen before on any person. He can’t tell if it’s human, even though the fleshy tone looks familiar.

One morning he wakes up sweating, partially because all the windows are closed and because he’s afraid of what’s been approaching the beach. He decides to pack up and go back to his hometown in Kansas City. His attention is shot; he can’t write anymore.

Weeks later, ensconced in the comfort of his armchair, Jim is watching the morning news and sees a piece about a sea lion festival very close to where he was staying in California. The few images he sees looks similar to what he thinks he saw.  He guffaws and suddenly feels like a buffoon for hightailing from such an innocuous creature. With lifted spirits, he decides to go hiking to the state park and come back later to write, feeling revived and inspired.

As Jim finishes his hike, he sees the beautiful view of the lake. From the corner of his eye, he sees a movement in the still lake. Swimming a few feet away is another fleshy looking creature. It’s just like California. But it looks nothing like a sea lion.

Photos by blogetta