Sunday, June 30, 2013


DISCLAIMER:  I feel that I must warn you that the story upon which we are about to embark is scary.

Oh, it does not start off that way, but don’t let it fool you. This story is deceptive. In fact, at the start, you will probably find yourself saying something like, “This story is curious!”  or perhaps even, “This story is going to make for some light and relaxing reading at bedtime tonight.”

But rest assured, this is not the case, or at least this is not the case for very long. For, while starting off as merely curious, our story will progress first to platypus-level-weird, then to hairless-cat-level-unnerving. From there, it will take a short detour through Christopher-Walken’s-voice-level-eerie, overcompensate for the lost time by plummeting into subdermal-spidermite-level-bloodcurdling, and finally, settle into Sarah-Palin-as-President-level horrifying.

So if you have a heart condition, are pregnant or may become pregnant, or have a history of insomnia, you should probably sit this one out. In addition, this story is definitely not recommended – it is even un-recommended!– for the elderly and the infirm, for anyone with epilepsy or phantom limb syndrome, and for those of you who are able to be hypnotized.

Now, the more astute readers among you – and the word “astute”  here is used to mean “keenly observant of things ordinary people might miss” – probably noticed that I have not said anything about children reading this story. This is because frankly, I am okay with the prospect of children reading it.

In my experience, children are ever-so-much more nimble than adults are at processing and incorporating new, strange, and even disturbing information into their lives. Why, when I was a child, both of my parents died in the very same month, then my twin brother was taken away and put into foster case and I was left on the treacherous streets of Houston to fend for myself.

To recover from all of this, it took me roughly one month.

But then some more time went by and I got taller and I turned into what society refers to as an “adult.”  Now, whenever everything changes and my life turns upside down and I regenerate into a brand new person, it takes me longer to recover. It takes me about a year.

Children bounce; adults do not.

Try dropping one of each off the top of the nearest building if you don’t believe me.

The story upon which we are about to embark is scary, but children will probably be able to handle it okay – even if they happen to be very young children. The only real question – as I see it, anyway – is who those very young children are going to find to read this story to them. You  could read it to them, I suppose, but as I might have mentioned earlier, you might be better off sitting this one out.

This story marks the beginning of “Lesbians in My Soup,”  Season Four.

Season One was about my scheme for Double Bigamy (All the Way). Season Two was about my then-wife’s plans to join a religion. Season Three was about a break-up.

Season Four looks as though it might be about… fear.

By an odd coincidence, Season Four starts with Doctor Belloq – who is the woman I am sorta-kinda dating – reading “Lesbians in My Soup.”  It starts with her asking to read more of my writing, things like my short stories, my novel-length manuscripts, and my journals.

It is always a little bit scary when someone whose opinion you value reads the words you have written. It is scary because it leaves you vulnerable. But that’s not the scary part of this story. The scary part of this story is what happened after that.

I will talk about it in my next blog post, which I think I am going to call “Sleep with Me.”

You might want to sit this one out.

If you do not, please don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Living the Dream: A Play in One Act

Curtain opens, revealing the interior of a small underground snack shop. KATY leans across the checkout counter, eyes closed, nodding her head to unheard music.

Several customers in business attire, including LAWYER and LAWYER’s FRIEND, wander through the aisles. Eventually, LAWYER and FRIEND, in the midst of a heated discussion, approach the checkout counter with arms full of chocolate bars, birthday cards, 20 oz. Coca-Colas, and small bags of artificially flavored potato chips.

KATY rises to check out the customers.

KATY:             Good afternoo-

LAWYER:      (continuing his animated discussion with FRIEND, ignoring KATY) I am not shitting you! If they keep this up, I will walk away from it all!

FRIEND:        No!

LAWYER:      Yes! Yessir! I will… I will… (He looks up at KATY at last)  Why, I will trade places with the cashier girl here!

(FRIEND laughs heartily.)

(KATY rolls her eyes, smiles, and continues adding up LAWYER’s purchase.)

LAWYER:      Tell you what: Let’s go tell them right now. This cashier girl can go and take my place as partner at the firm, and I will come down here and sit behind this counter all day!  

FRIEND:        (laughs convulsively, slapping at leg and gasping for breath) Oh, I can see it now! “Stewart, I’d like you to meet my replacement. We found her in tunnel snack shop!”

(KATY bags LAWYER’s purchase. LAWYER and FRIEND continue laughing.)

LAWYER:      In a heartbeat, bubba! In. A. Heartbeat.

(Still laughing, LAWYER swipes his credit card)

(KATY pulls a ring of keys out of her pocket, drops them on the counter.)
KATY:             (raising her voice above the laughter.) Okay!

(Laughter stops. LAWYER and FRIEND turn to look at KATY.)

LAWYER:      Excuse me?

KATY:            Okay. Let’s trade. Here are my shop keys. I usually try and be here to open the gate by 5:45 at the latest, and-

LAWYER:      (chuckling.) That’s cute. But I’m not sure how you’d make it at my law firm, dear.

KATY:             (with blank expression.) That’s okay. I’m a fast learner, and I did pretty well in law school.

(LAWYER and FRIEND burst out laughing again.)

FRIEND:        See? The cashier girl IS qualified!

LAWYER:      (glancing around the snack shop.) YOU went to law school?

KATY:             Yes.

LAWYER:      And what is the first case you studied at this law school in, say, your Constitutional Law class?

KATY:             Marbury vs. Madison. Same as everybody does, I think.

LAWYER:      And the most important case in Civil Procedure is...?

KATY:      Erie Railroad vs. Tompkins, which basically says there’s no such thing as general federal law, so any federal court that has a case involving residents of two different states under diversity jurisdiction must apply state law as it has been determined by the highest state court that has ruled on it.

(LAWYER and FRIEND stop laughing.)

LAWYER:      United States vs. Lopez…

KATY:             Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the Gun Free Schools Act was unconstitutional because there was no proof that the guns in question had ever traveled in nor affected state commerce. It therefore became the first law in generations to be knocked down by the Court for being outside of Congress’ powers under the Commerce Clause.

LAWYER:      You went to law school.

KATY:             I went to law school.

LAWYER:      You’re waiting for your bar results.

KATY:             I have no plans to sit for the bar exam.

LAWYER:      But WHY, my dear? Why would you do that? Why in the hell would somebody go to school for all of those years just to sit down here listening to their iPod all day?

KATY:             I’m just staying one step ahead of you. Why should I take the bar if I’m just going to want to work down here in a few years anyway? I’m living YOUR dream, buddy!

(LAWYER and FRIEND silently pick up their bag and EXIT.)

KATY:             (calling after them.) What? Did you change your mind? (She shakes the ring of keys.) It’s up to you, but I’m going to need to train you in how to rotate out the perishables if you decide later you want to trade up after all…

KATY shrugs. She puts her earbuds back in her ears. She leans across the counter again and resumes moving her head to the unheard music.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Going Respectable

Three jobs. I have three part-time jobs right now and the thing is, that is the way I aim to keep it.

There is the once in a while, when I think of maybe going respectable. Of finding a single full-time job more closely matching my educational credentials. A job that has health care and dental and a matching 401k plan. A job that would impress somebody, anybody, in case I ever find anybody who I want to impress and who is of a type impressed by that sort of thing.

Actually, who am I kidding? Almost everybody is impressed by that sort of thing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plant Life (Part 3)

(This is Part 3 of my story. You should go read Part 1 and Part 2. Part 3 will still be here when you get back.)

Today, I am going to tell you the story of the time I turned into a human being.

You see, after I turned into a human being, my day got kind of weird.

Admittedly, some of that might have been my fault. Or most of it might have been my fault, even, if you really want to start pointing fingers.

First, I kicked a big old tree and the big old tree did not kick me back.

Then Harry drove me back to the office in the van. Along the way, I kept seeing plants – way more plants than I had ever noticed before. There were trees along the road, flowers on islands at intersections, bushes in front of stores. Plants are everywhere!

I saw a crepe myrtle on Tomball Parkway and I thought, “I wonder if that is my friend Rufus?”

I saw a young mesquite tree off of I-10 East and I thought, “I wonder if that tree is a nice tree, or if it’s like that one at the park who threatened to kill me?”  Maybe all plants would try and kill me, given half a chance. Maybe I just have one of those faces, you know?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Plant Life (Part 2)

(I am not George Lucas. I do not begin my stories halfway through. Go back and read Part 1 so you have a better idea what the hell is going on!)

Today, I am going to tell you the story of the time I turned into a plant.

I know that sounds far-fetched, but bear with me. The real story is both more outlandish and less outlandish than I’m making it out to be, and not in the ways you’d think.

It happened in the same place where I’d lost my friends. It was in Meyer Park, deep in the heart of the woods, but it was twenty-four hours later by the time I went back.

I had Harry in tow to act as a spotter. I hoped he’d turn out to be a better spotter than I’d been. After all, I’d lost the people I was spotting, and for a spotter, that’s what’s known as a worst case scenario. 

The time I turned into a plant, I sat on the ground, right where my friends had been sitting. I had a flashlight, a lighter, and a knife, some rolling papers and just a bit of this infamous Vine with No Name, crushed-up and stirred-in with tobacco.

Just a bit and not too much. At least that’s the way Harry and I figured it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plant Life (Part 1)

I do not use dopes and I told them this, and firmly, and my words left no room for misunderstanding. I was the responsible one. The sober adult. I was leading by example.

When they – and by “they,”  I mean Eggplant, Rufus, Star, and Ethel Bunny – came to me with this hallucinatory vine of theirs or whatever it was, I squared my shoulders and I looked them straight in the eyes and I said to them, “Um, we-e-ellll… I don’t know. I really sho-o-ouldn’t. I have to work tomorrow, and then there’s this cold I’ve been fighting off, and, well…”

I hope they didn’t think I was being too harsh or judgmental, but I needed for there to be no doubt whatsoever that the days of me running around, partaking in their reckless little childish games were through.

Rufus said, “We weren’t asking you to take the drug with us, Katy! We just needed a spotter’s’all.”

I considered feeling insulted.