Tuesday, January 10, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #247: MORTALITY

(This entry to be read to the tune of this song.)


My body has been consistently trying to kill me for the last few years. You would think that my literary estate would be at the front of my mind. Well, I put it off and put it off and put it off because I had faith that somehow I would survive. What a fucking stupid idea. I'm surprised 2016 failed to take me.


But I got it done a few months ago. So yeah, if that blood infection virus thingy killed me, my literary estate would have been secure. There's that.


But then there's other stuff. What happens to my Twitter when I die? My Facebook? My bank accounts? My PayPal? Everything else? Honestly, one of my biggest quandaries was this: if I died, who would know? My family. Some close friends. No one else.


I took some time to write it out, and it made me feel odd. Right now, as I stand (or hover like a madman above this glowing electronic device that could possibly blow the kneecap off of the world), when I die there will be someone who will have my passwords. They will post something to my Facebook. And then they'll write something else to link to that Facebook post for the Twitter people.


I have written you all a message from beyond the grave. That's some Future Mystic Bullshit for you right there.


When I was a kid I remember my grandparents taking me out to the middle of nowhere to show me their tombstone. Both of them are still alive (for now), and they have their tombstone already. Their names are on it. Their birth years are on it. All it needs is their bodies under its ground and their death dates. How fucking odd is that?


That's what it feels like to have an envelope on my night stand that says, "In the event of my death," on it.


The very thought that the world will continue to work after I'm gone is obscene. Dammit, I'm the only one who matters, right? The world is supposed to end with my death. Nothing matters after I've breathed my last.


It's a weird thought that occurs to me every once in a while. In my heart of hearts I know that I'm a small cog in the giant machine of life, and when I die there will be a fresh part to take my place. But dammit, there's an indignant part of me who insists I'm vital to the continuation of existence. That part of me is fifteen years old no matter how old I get.


Here's the bad news: everyone reading this right now is going to die. Here's the good news: everyone reading this right now is going to die. Life is a snake constantly eating its own tail. Or, if you prefer your philosophy to come from an HBO show, time is a flat circle.


We all have that adolescent asshole living in our psyches. But we also know that (s)he is an asshole.


Is there an afterlife? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure that our energy leaves our body and gets recycled into the universe. I don't mean to say that our consciousness survives. I don't think it does. I think whatever we were gets eaten by the worms. They take that energy to make more worms. Until some fisherman digs them out of the ground and uses them to capture fish. That energy goes into the fish. And then it goes into the fisherman and his family. And so on and so forth.


One thing seems certain: we will all be a fisherman's shit before we become something else. Life's cycle takes a while before we become something bigger again.


Sweet dreams.

Monday, January 9, 2017

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #246: NO NIGHT OUT AT THE HOSPITAL*

You look up at the clock and see it's getting late. More importantly it's time for your pain medication. This will obviously help you sleep tonight. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"


"I think it's time for my pain medication," you say.


"I'll let your nurse know."


That could mean that your nurse will show up instantly. Or maybe in five minutes. More likely in 15 minutes. If you're lucky. Surprise! You're lucky. She's here in less than five. She has your shot. It is glorious. It takes a moment to take hold because you've been loaded up with Dilaudid all day, but when it hits, it comforts. It feels like a burning gas in your chest and head. You want to close your eyes. You start to drift off. Soon you're asleep.


For maybe ten minutes. "Knock, knock," says a nurse. And you're awake again. Fuck. She apologizes, but she's here to check your vitals. She puts the blood pressure cuff on one arm and puts the pulse monitor on a finger on the other arm. She puts a thermometer under your tongue. It takes five minutes, and it's over. "I hope you get some rest," she says. You hope so, too. It takes a moment to get back into the groove, but you do. After maybe a half-hour you start to drift off again. Ah. Sleep is finally upon you. It takes you under.


For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." It's another nurse. This one is here to take your blood sugar readings. She asks you which finger, and you volunteer one that hasn't been punished too badly. She fucks up the first time, because this is her first night shift. But that's OK. Blood sugar tests are the least of your pains. She gets it right the second try. "Sleep well," she says. And it's over. It's harder this time, but you finally start to drift off yet again. You fall asleep. It is glorious.


For about five minutes. "Knock, knock." This nurse wants to take blood samples. As if you haven't given up enough of your blood since you got here. She can't take it from the arm with the IV in it, so you offer the other arm, the one with the collapsed vein because it's been pierced too many times. It takes her about five minutes to find a viable blood vessel, but she gets it after slapping the shit out of your arm. It takes her a couple of pokes before she gets two giant test tubes full of your blood. "Now rest up," she says. And she's gone. Holy Christ, please let that be it. You don't know if you can take anymore of this. There's just barely enough Dilaudid in your system to get you moving toward sleep again. But you succeed.


And maybe it's just five minutes. If you're lucky it's fifteen minutes. But that's when your IV starts beeping, and your eyes snap open. You try to figure out how to get it to stop, but there are so many buttons, and there's just no way. Finally you give in and press the button for the main desk. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help, [your name here]?"


"My IV is beeping."


"We'll get someone there as soon as possible."


It's never as soon as possible. If you're lucky it's 15 minutes. If you're average, like me, it takes a half an hour. A nurse shows up, apologizes and shuts that fucking machine up.


Blissful silence. No more nurse interruptions. It's the dead of night. You can finally fall asleep again, except . . . you can't. You're wide awake now. You look to the clock, hoping that it's time for your injection of pain meds. Nope. You've got two hours to go.


Fuck.


You try to sleep. Nothing. You try to fantasize. Nothing. You try finding something boring on TV, and while that's not a challenge, it still doesn't help. You keep looking at the clock, and the arms never seem to move. What the fuck? You close your eyes, hoping you can pretend to sleep hard enough that you actually fall asleep. Nope. Nothing helps.


And then it happens. The glorious moment when it actually *is* time for your pain meds. You hit the button. "This is Nurse [name redacted]. How can I help you, [your name here]?"


"I think it's time for my pain meds."


"I'll let your nurse know."


This time of day? That's a 20 minute wait at least. This time it is a half-hour. The nurse apologizes. She says that she wanted to double-check with the doctor to make sure you're supposed to get this shot. And then she gives it to you. It is wonderful. It takes a moment to hit you, but when it does you feel on top of the world.


And you finally--FINALLY--fall asleep.


If you're lucky, you get two hours of sleep. More likely you get one hour. Or something in between. One way or the other, it's only a matter of time before this happens: "Knock, knock." It's a nurse. She wishes you a good morning, but she's here to check your vitals.


And the cycle continues.


Hospitals: dedicated to make sure you enjoy nothing since the beginning of time.










*The title of this episode of GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS comes from this song. In case you couldn't surmise that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

NOW LAUNCHING THE THIRD INSTALLMENT OF THE ZIMVENTURES!

I'm really quite proud of myself for this one. When I was a kid I was a huge fan of TV westerns (still am, in fact). In the back of my head, all of these years, was the idea that all of my favorites happened in the same world. It helped that most of them aired on CBS, so it was within the realm of possibility.


A few years ago I got to indulge this idea. I originally wrote the Zimventures to amuse those who know the real life Cris Zim. Now that I'm posting them, I finally get to share my dream project with a wider audience.


The third Zimventure happens in just such a world. I crossed-over the following western TV shows for this one: GUNSMOKE, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, MAVERICK and RAWHIDE. It is populated by such wonderful characters as Matt Dillon, Paladin, Bret Maverick, Rowdy Yates, Josh Randall and many, many more. For those who might not like that kind of thing, I have thrown in a few more crossovers: BACK TO THE FUTURE, I COME IN PEACE, QUANTUM LEAP, ZARDOZ and IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. That's right. All of these properties crossed over into one Zimventure! And it's an epic! I'll try to post these every day. For now, here is the prologue.


PS: Here's my fantasy. It will never happen, of course, but in my heart of hearts, this is what I want to happen. I wish that someone important at CBS will read this and realize how well I know these old west characters. They will suddenly want me to relaunch all of these series, all interconnected, for TV. How awesome would that be? I don't expect that to happen, but it would be nice. Anyway, after the prologue we have 16 chapters and one interlude. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #245: GROWING

Here is something I've never said to ANYONE before. It's not because it's a deep, dark secret. It's just because I've never really thought about it before. But it's true.


When I was a kid, I wanted to grow things. I mean, living things. My mom got me my first garden, and I royally fucked it up. There was supposed to be corn, tomato and something else. I don't remember. Guess what: I fucked it up. Maybe it was pumpkin. MAYBE.


Fast forward to when I was growing up with my grandparents. When I had an actual backyard instead of a few pots in the kitchen. I tried to grow shit again to no avail. Never mind that I hate veggies, fruits, etc. I wanted to grow something. To give something life.


And I failed at every turn.


Before I was ten I had a dozen gardens, and they all failed. I followed instructions to the T. Maybe I just didn't have enough love in my heart for this shit to grow. I don't know. But it never did.


Before I became a teenager I gave up. I never tried to grow anything ever again. I couldn't even make a Chia pet grow. Nothing botanical would grow under my brown thumb.


When I got my job as a conference operator, the person who got me my job gave me a fish as a cube decoration. Except my fish died in two weeks. So she gave me a plant, and I figured this thing would be dead in no time.


Surprise! It survived my 10 years as a conference operator/tech support dude. It only started dying when I lost that job. Then: I got my current job as a repair guy at a telecom company, and now it's thriving. I don't know how that happened. Maybe it's just because I was told a spider plant is nearly impossible to kill.


I certainly didn't grow it.


The last thing I tried to grow was a Venus fly trap. I was told that you could be a grade A fuck up, and you could still grow this fucking thing. Well, I guess not. This thing didn't even sprout.


The people who owned my place before me knew how to grow flowers so well that every year they bloom without prompting, and they've been doing that for decades. Hell, sometimes the atavistic nature of the land will grow a corn stalk without knowing any better.


But once. JUST ONCE. I'd like to grow something on my own.


This is the final GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS of the year. Tomorrow I will post my favorite GF of the year. Happy New Year's, everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #244: AN UNCOMFORTABLE PLACE

Here's another dream for you. Some of you may remember that a few years back I suffered from an abscess in a very uncomfortable place: an inch away from my scrotum. Some might even recall that I wrote a story about it for MONDO BIZARRO, in which one of the characters has an abscess that leads to a fantasy world with monsters fighting each other.


I had a dream last night in which the abscess recurred. That's a horrible sensation. I remember very vividly the process of healing from that thing, and it was not good. It involved being perforated several times by a surgeon, a lot of squeezing and a gauze strip that hung out of my wound, draining all the poison out of me. Something I had to clean myself three times a day.


But in my dream I didn't have to worry too much about the abscess itself. No, it decided to evacuate itself by other means. And yes, the warring monsters from the other side needed to come through me in my dream. Instead of charging through the surgical slit in the fold of my thigh, they came out two other ways.


In my dream I woke up to a horrible grinding sensation in my asshole. I rushed to the ER, and they told me that the monsters were trying to emerge from my butt, but their wooden weapons kept getting shattered, sending grievous splinters into my anus, making it look like a playground of old. Meaning, it was lined with wood chips. I screamed as the doctors took care to extract every piece they could, covered with bloody shit, sometimes with horrible strands of goo connecting them to my butt.


But wait! There's more! As soon as the monsters knew they couldn't get through my abscess or asshole, they found another way out. I howled with pain as I watched my dick contort, spinning and whirring like Jim Carey in THE MASK. The head of my dick exploded as they tried to come through. They couldn't because their wooden weapons snapped against my dickhole. Now I had a glans made of apple sauce with grim crimson streaks through it like veins.


It was one of the most harrowing nightmares I've had in a while.


I don't usually use these Goodnight, Fuckers to sell something, but if you want to feel like your asshole has been shredded and salted, followed by the sensation of your dickhead exploding and being threaded through with splinters . . . well. Buy MONDO BIZARRO.


In the meantime I'm going to cry thinking about my nightmare pain.


One more Goodnight, Fuckers of the year. Tomorrow. On New Year's Eve I'll post my favorite of the year, and then I'll be going on sabbatical.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #243: AT LEAST YOU GOT TO MEET MICHAEL ROOKER

Last night I had a dream about something that could never have happened, but it felt so real. I was supposed to take photos for a family wedding. I'm not sure which side of my family because members from both sides were there, which is highly unlikely to happen. My dad was there, and so was my step-father. Never mind that neither of them are no longer with us. Even if they were still alive, there is no way they would have attended a social gathering like this together.


I got the weird impression that my step-father was marrying someone new, even though he died before my mom did. Soon that impression became, well, I guess as close to reality as you can get in a dream.


I was running around, trying to get shots of everyone having a good time. There was this one guy who kept prancing about with a stapler, slapping it down on people multiple times. He got me once, and it sucked. It probably sucked worse for him, since he'd stapled both of his eyes shut and was doing this at random. Blind. Still, he was laughing. It must have been fun for him.


And then it happened. I saw that we had a celebrity in our midst. None other than Michael Rooker was partying with us, absolutely hammered out of his mind. He looked exactly like this, but he smiled a lot more:




Then came the big moment. My step-father was to kiss his new bride. I got in there as close as possible to capture the moment, and just as I snapped the picture Michael Rooker got in front of them. Not purposefully. It was an accident. The moment passed, and my step-father glared up at him. Only then did Rooker realize what he'd done.


"I'm sorry, man. I didn't see you there. Let me back up so you can have your moment."


My step-father grimaced. "Fuck you, Michael Rooker."


Rooker got a laugh out of that. When he realized how hopeless the situation was, he threw back both arms in a look-what-we-have-here motion. Grinning, he said, "Hey, man. At least you got to meet Michael Rooker."


Everyone cheered, and my step-father closed his eyes, willing the world to disappear. Rooker tapped him jovially on the chest a few times, laughing, but my step-father wouldn't respond. I've never seen him look more defeated in my entire life.


And then I woke up.

Monday, December 26, 2016

GOODNIGHT, FUCKERS #242: TIME COMES AROUND

No offense to any of the other local comic book shops, but my go-to place is Unicorn in Villa Park. I've been going there for ages, back when I was a kid getting G.I. Joe and Transformers books and then again when I discovered Evil Ernie, Preacher and Hitman. I thought I knew the place pretty well, but every once in a while I get a surprise out of the place.


I live across the street in Elmhurst from the Prairie Path. It used to be a railroad (which, from what I understand, my grandfather worked on when he was a kid), but all that remains is a gravel path and a few abandoned train stations. One of them is the old Elmhurst station which is by the water fountain on York. It's boarded up, but it's still an attraction, especially on warm summer nights when the kids are dipping their hands in the fountain and young lovers cast their penny wishes into the gushing waters. The cobwebs shine in the eaves, highlighted by the ever-changing colors from the fountain, ancient life lurking in the forgotten corners of a monument from the not-so-distant past.


Keep moving west and you'll reach the Villa Park station, which is a bit more of an attraction. They turned it into a museum, and it's actually pretty cool to look around inside. I once went in with a friend, and we saw a bunch of old York High yearbooks from the 'Seventies. I found my dad in one of them, and in the very same book she found her uncle. Small world.


There is a parking lot there, and across from it is an attorney's office. I believe that it used to be the site of a general store in the pioneer days of Villa Park. It's now owned by the brother of my comics guy, who has his shop next door.


I was in there a couple of weekends ago, and much to my delight there was a fellow customer in there--a first time customer, no less--looking for the greatest Punisher stories of all time. Naturally my guy led him to the Garth Ennis MAX series, which contains the most adult, violent, vicious, hardstories in the Punisher's history. And then my guy, who knows my taste very well, asked me for my opinion to bolster this customer's confidence, and I delivered in spades. Good luck getting me to shut up about a comics series I love once I get started.


And then the conversation took an odd turn. My guy, and I don't know how comfortable he'd be having his name mentioned here, so I'll keep calling him "my guy," then confided to us that he'd bought his first comic book in this very establishment. I was shocked because I thought he was the first and only owner of Unicorn. Well, he is. Was this place a comic book shop before? Because that seemed highly unlikely. There wasn't a direct market when he was a kid.


And then came his magical answer, one that people my age and younger will never get to experience in our lives. Maybe you're familiar with smoke shops. They didn't just sell tobacco products. They sold everything, even books and such. And every single one of them had at least one comic book rack where you could meet the superheroes of old for the first time, and maybe some of the pulp stars that came before them like Doc Savage, the Shadow, etc.


My guy pointed to the corner by the door, where now he has a row of Marvel comics, and said that there was a spinner rack over there, and that's where he picked up the book. Both me and the customer looked reverently into that corner, trying to imagine a time gone by. Trying to imagine my guy as a kid buying the very thing that would send him down the path to his life's passion.


Time comes around. The shop that you buy your first passion could very well become your shop someday, where you will sell the next generation's first passion. The circle of time continues.


There are no more smoke shops. While time moves on, the past is never far behind. All it takes is a photograph. A film. A memory. It comes back alive if only for a moment in the imagination.


This time will never come again, but it is never too far behind that you can't remember it and possibly pass it on.