Daily Archives: May 27, 2017

Toilet Gator – Chapter 62

The year was 1997. Chumbawumba was Tubthumping all over the music charts. The English Patient won best picture despite boring the ever loving shit out of audiences everywhere. Bill Clinton was running around the Oval Office with his pants around his ankles, shtupping everything that moved.

Meanwhile, a perpetually picked on, completely unpopular, chubby little eight year old boy named Buford sat on the floor of his Momma’s trailer playing video games while stuffing potato chips into his face hole.

“Buford,” said a younger, somewhat hotter Roxy. “Quit yanking your joystick stick and go outside. Run around the park a few times and blow the stink off ya.’”

“Can’t, Momma,” Buford said. “I’m about to beat the high score on Karate Fighter 7.”

Roxy blew cigarette smoke all over the room with little concern for the safety of her son’s lungs. “I told your daddy not to get you that machine. You’re going to rot your brain! Go outside and make some friends!”

“But no one likes me, Momma!” Buford said.

“Because you don’t got nothing interesting to say, son,” Roxy said. “Maybe if you’d stop being a little doofus and…”

Ding dong. An excited Buford turned off his game and ran to the door. He opened it only to find…


In his pre-mayor days, Beaumont Dufresne was younger and more physically fit, but he still had a cigar in his mouth and a martini in hand. He set a small cardboard box down on the coffee table and picked up his young son.

“Well howdy, boy,” Beaumont said. “Gee whiz, you’re gettin’ bigger than a bull elephant. What’s your Momma feeding you?”

“Chips!” Buford proudly declared as his father put him down.

“Boy, you know I only try to feed you good food,” Roxy said. “You’re the one whose always rootin’ through your Momma’s purse, takin’ all my money to go to that Burp N’Blow store on the corner to buy junk.”

Beaumont took Roxy’s hand and smooched it. “My sweet.”

Roxy took her hand away. “Don’t you ‘my sweet,’ me. Your check was late.”

“Yeah, well, I doubled it, didn’t I?” Beaumont asked.

Beaumont took a seat on the couch next to Roxy as Buford stared at the cardboard box on the table.

“Can I open it, Daddy?” Buford asked.

“Why, sure you can,” Beaumont said.

“Beaumont,” Roxy said. “You’re spoiling the boy. All he does is wreck his brain on that video-ma-jig you got him and now what?”

The boy picked up the box. He could feel something moving around inside. His eyes lit up. “Is it a puppy?”

“Maybe,” Beaumont said. “Maybe something better.”

Buford shook the box. Whatever was inside, it let out a high pitched, “Raarga!”

The boy was beside himself with eagerness and anticipation.

“Go on now,” Beaumont said.

Buford set the box down on the table and lifted the lid. Inside, a teeny, tiny baby alligator scurried around. It was no bigger than an average lizard.

Roxy shrieked. “You have got to be shitting me, Beaumont!”

“What?” Beaumont replied. “You said the boy doesn’t have any friends!”

“And you think that thing is gonna get him any?” Roxy asked.

“Oh my God,” Buford cried as he picked the little beast up. The baby gator fit easily into the palm of the boy’s hand. “I love him so much, Daddy!”

“I’m glad, son,” Beaumont said.

“Where in the hell did you even get that thing?” Roxy asked.

“I stopped at a red light,” Beaumont said. “There was a guy on the corner with a bucket of them, selling them for a dollar a pop. They seemed cute. Figured the boy would like one.”

Roxy puffed on her cigarette. “You ever think about what will happen when that thing grows up? It’ll be too big to live in the trailer!”

Buford playfully wagged a finger near the baby gator’s mouth. The baby gator snapped at it to no avail.

“I don’t know, Roxy,” Beaumont said. “If he becomes too much of a pain in the ass then flush him down the toilet. Do I have to think of everything?”

“Oh sure,” Roxy said. “I gotta be the parent around here. I gotta be the one who’s the bad guy, making all the tough decisions to raise him, putting my career to the side while you’re out there selling cars, raking in money hand over fist.”

“Your career?” Beaumont asked.

“I could be pulling a double shift at Big Ray-Ray’s right now if I didn’t have to watch him,” Roxy said.

Beaumont stood up. “Roxy, I swear, that trip to champagne room with you was the worst mistake I made in 1989, even worse than when I went to see Turner and Hooch because some idiot told me it was a good movie. It wasn’t. It was two goddamn hours of Tom Hanks and a dog that was smarter than he was.”

“You don’t mean that,” Roxy said.

“About Turner and Hooch?” Beaumont said. “I surely do. Tom Hanks is a hack and his film career is destined to fizzle out any day now.”

“I meant the champagne room,” Roxy said. “You know it was nice and…”

Roxy patted Beaumont’s knee. “…it’s not too late for us to be a family.”

Beaumont headed for the door. “You know I’m a free bird, baby! Stop tryin’ to clip my wings!”

As the door slammed, Roxy turned her attention to Buford. The boy was gently stroking the baby gator’s tiny head with his finger.

“Buford,” Roxy said. “I don’t think you ought to get too attached to that little critter.”

“I love him, Momma,” Buford said as he kissed the baby gator. “Every day I’m going to love him and hug him and kiss him and feed him bugs and snakes and rats and whatever else baby gators eat and I’m gonna call him Skippy.”

Roxy sat back on the couch. “Aw shit.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 61


Buford was back in his hotel room, snacking on chips and playing video games. He paused the action to call his father.

“Daddy?” Buford asked.

“Whaddya want, boy?” the Mayor asked. “I’m about to do another commercial and I’ve already spent enough time bailing out your sorry ass. If you’d been any kind of a real man you would have been able to have handled those cops on your own.”

“I know, Daddy,” Buford said. “I’m sorry.”

“The hell were you doing out at your Momma’s trailer at that ungodly hour anyway?” the Mayor asked. “Trying to move in with her instead of becoming a damn adult like I told you?”

Buford figured in this instance, a lie was better than the truth. “Yeah, Daddy. That’s it.”

“Yeah, well,” the Mayor said. “I know Roxy was your Momma and hell, out of all Big Ray-Ray’s strippers, I always found her to be the most fun so I know this is a painful time for the both of us. But don’t go thinking that means I’m gonna let you back into the house so you can postpone adulthood. You need to stop being a man child, Buford.”

“I know,” Buford said. “I just called to tell you I love you, Daddy.”

There was a brief pause on the other end. “Well, that’s sorta gay son but alright. I suppose if there ever was a time where that should be said, it’s now. I love you too, boy.”

“Thanks Daddy,” Buford said.

“Not in a gay way, mind you but in a father-son way, mind you,” the Mayor said.

“I figured,” Buford said.

“Alright, son,” the Mayor said. “I don’t have time for any more of this touchy-feely bullshit. I got work to do.”

“OK,” Buford said. “Bye Daddy.”

Buford hanged up his phone. He laid down in bed and closed his eyes, his mind drifting off into thoughts of Skippy, the pet he’d once considered to be his one and only true blue friend, though now he was having doubts.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 60

Cole listened to Country Western music while he drove down the highway. Sharon played mindlessly with her phone. This carried on for a half-hour until Sharon attempted to start a conversation.

“I’m sorry about your father,” Sharon said.

“It’s been five years,” Cole said.

“Yeah,” Sharon replied. “But still…”

“People die,” Cole said.

“I wanted to come to the funeral but,” Cole said.

“I know,” Cole said.

There was a brief pause before Sharon finally blurted it out. “Do you hate me?”

Cole’s sigh was long and loud, like air escaping from a hot air balloon. “Let’s not do this.”

“Do what?” Sharon asked.

“Scratch the scab,” Cole said. “Neither of us will like the puss that oozes out, so just leave it alone.”

“We never really talked about it,” Sharon said.

“Not for lack of trying on my part,” Cole said.

“I know,” Sharon said. “That was my fault, but now I…”

“Look,” Cole said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in four decades it’s that everyone thinks they are right and everyone else is wrong. I think you were wrong, you think I’m wrong, let’s just skip the part where we argue about who was right and who was wrong and just think whatever the hell we want because that’s what we’ll end up doing anyway.”

“Wow,” Sharon said. “I guess you really do hate me.”

Up ahead, there was a Tasty Burger rest stop. Cole slowed down and pulled into it.

“What are you doing?” Sharon asked as Cole pulled into a parking spot.

Cole turned off the ignition. “You want to have this out? Fine. Let’s have this out.”

Sharon was quiet. She began to regret her prodding.

“You were my wife,” Cole said. “We both stood up before a minister and promised to love and cherish each other, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health and so on.”

Sharon looked away from Cole and out the passenger’s window. “I know.”

“I held up my end,” Cole said. “I took every last cent out of my paycheck to put you through law school because I loved you and I wanted you to be happy. Out of the two of us, you were the brains, so it seemed like a good investment in what was supposed to be the beginning of a happy life together.”

“I know,” Sharon said.

“And then you left me,” Cole said. “Out of the blue. No warning. No nothing. On the worst day of my life. I was in the hospital, dying. They took my leg. And your first thought wasn’t to come see me but to get the hell out of town because of…what? You were worried you’d have to take care of me?”

Sharon turned to face Cole. “That wasn’t…”

“I’ve got news for you,” Cole said. “I get along just fine without help from anyone.”

“I know,” Sharon said.

“I get along fine without you,” Cole said.

Sharon broke into tears. “I know.”

Cole felt saddened by the sight of his ex crying. “See? This is why I didn’t want to do this. It’s pointless.”

The pair sat there for awhile before Cole started up again. “Look, I don’t see any point in me shitting on you after all these years, so that’s why I think it’s stupid to rehash all of this. I don’t want to cause you any pain but if you’re expecting me to, what? Tell you that you did right by me? That what you did was great? That I was somehow the bad guy and you were the good one? That I forgive you? No. Not happening.”

Sharon wiped the tears from her eyes and sniffed. She opened the door. “You’re right. This is pointless and stupid.”

Cole watched as his ex stepped out of the car and slammed the door. He rolled his eyes as he rolled down his window.

“Sharon!” Cole shouted. “Come on!”

Sharon waved Cole off as she walked toward the Tasty Burger.

“Let me drive you the rest of the way,” Cole said.
Sharon turned and held up her phone. “I’ve got the Mobo Cab app. I’m fine. Take care of yourself, Cole.”

Cole bonked his head against the steering wheel and closed his eyes, realizing he may have just botched his one and only chance to get back together with his lady love.

“Fucking Mobo Cab app,” Cole muttered.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 59


A gaggle of Cole’s former police officers, now Grover County Sheriff’s deputies, buzzed around the room that had once served as Cole’s office, packing up and moving out their ex-boss’s belongings. Three deputies carried out the stuffed heads of Cole’s tiger, bear, and wild boar.

Cole stepped out into the main floor, carrying an open cardboard box filled with his possessions. As he did, the officers clapped until Sheriff Hammond whistled loudly.

“That’s enough of that,” Hammond said. “I don’t care what you all did before but there will be no applause for losers on my watch.”

Cole glared at Hammond. “You don’t think the Mayor will turn on you one day?”

Hammond chewed on a piece of gum. “The Mayor plays ball. I play ball. That was always your problem, Cole. You never knew when to sit down and shut up.”

Cole did not feel like prolonging the pissing match. He walked on, only to soon find that Maude was following him, gas tank in hand.

“What are you doing?” Cole asked.

“I only work for the Sitwell Police Chief,” Maude said. “If he’s not here anymore, then it’s time for me to retire.”

“Noble,” Cole said. “But stupid. I can’t let you do this.”

“You’re not letting me do anything,” Maude said. “You think you can stop me?”

The old lady turned around and faced the room full of officers. “This is bullshit! This has nothing to do with the investigation. This is all about sandbagging Cole because that Mayor can’t stop himself from getting behind the wheel while he’s snookered!”

“That’s enough lip outta you,” Hammond said.

“Aww, go sixty-nine the Mayor, flatfoot,” Maude said. “And the rest of you. Are you all going to take this lying down?”

Rusty, who had been standing in a back corner, gulped and stepped forward, joining Cole and Maude.

“This isn’t right,” Rusty said.

“Deputy Yates!” Hammond shouted.

“Cole,” Rusty said. “You say the word and I’ll walk out this door with you.”

Cole stood there silently and said nothing.
“Oh thank God,” Rusty said. “I mean I don’t want you to go but shit, I got overdue bills up my ass, I’m nowhere near retirement age, I’d be throwing away years of contributing to the pension fund.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Cole said.

“I won’t,” Rusty said. “Thanks Cole.”

“Pussy,” Maude said.

“Shut up, Maude,” Rusty said.

“Know your place, Deputy Yates,” Hammond said.

“Yessir,” Rusty said as he fell back.

As Cole and Maude reached the parking lot, they found Sharon and Gordon saying their goodbyes.

“It’s not a problem,” Maude said. “You deserve to run lead on this.”

“This isn’t how I wanted it to go down,” Gordon said.

“I know,” Sharon replied. “Buck up. Finish this and before you know it, we’ll be back together in Miami in no time.”

Sharon and Gordon embraced. Cole winced.

“He’s definitely plowing her,” Maude said.

“Thanks Maude,” Cole said.

“Sorry,” Maude replied.

Sharon noticed Cole and smiled at him sheepishly. “I’m sorry about all this. Looking back, maybe it wasn’t right for me to take on an investigation involving your town. I should have recused myself.”

“No,” Cole said. “It has nothing to do with you. The Mayor’s punishing me because I stood up to him and he’s punishing you to get to me.”

Sharon sighed. “America loves to put assholes into office.”

“That it does,” Cole said.

The exes stared at each other for awhile before Cole stepped away. “Goodbye then.”

“Cole?” Sharon said.

Cole stopped in his tracks. “Yeah?”

“What are you going to do with the rest of your day?” Sharon asked.

“The gun range crossed my mind,” Cole said.

“Want to give me a ride down to Miami?” Sharon asked. “Gordon drove me up here.”

Cole felt this was a ridiculously bad idea but he could not help himself from saying, “Sure.”

“I’ll get my stuff and be back and five,” Sharon said as she walked away.

Maude shook her head.

“What?” Cole asked.

“Pussy,” Maude said.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Mark Zuckerberg Wants Universal Income

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave the commencement speech at Harvard recently.  In the speech, he called for universal income, or in other words, everyone is guaranteed a living, no matter what, no questions asked.

“Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said during his speech. “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don’t have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.

My complaints:

#1 – The Zuckster is selling himself short.  Sure, he has a point.  He came from a family that had money, not like gazillionaire money, but his father was a dentist, meaning that had the Zuckmeister fallen flat on his face in the early day of his Facebook venture, he could have moved back in with Mom and Dad until he found a way to turn things around.  Sure, he never had to worry about the possibility of ever being homeless.  However, he did take risks – risks that, had they not panned out, would have left his life significantly crappier.  After all, the kid had been accepted to Harvard and getting the chance to study at an Ivy League college is rare.  He would have definitely achieved success had he graduated from Harvard, but he took a gamble and left Harvard early to work on Facebook.  Had Facebook flopped, he’d of become that idiot sponging off his parents into his thirties, kicking himself for not finishing Harvard.

#2 – MotherZucker sells himself short again.  Yes, while growing up, he was able to focus on learning how to code because he came from a stable household where he didn’t have to worry about money or bad things happening.  However, there are many children in stable households who just spend their time on video games.  He pushed himself.  It paid off.

#3 – I have a hard time figuring out the difference between “Universal Income” and the myriad of state and federal welfare/public assistance programs we have now.  My understanding of Universal Income is that everyone gets a check.  Everyone.  Warren Buffet gets a check.  The guy giving handies in a bus station bathroom for pocket change gets a check.  I mean, I’m a pull yourself up by the boot straps guy, one who, if you complain to me of your failures, I’m most likely going to ask you to take a look at yourself and what you can change before we get into all the people around you that you are blaming.  That being said, it just seems wasteful to give money to people who are doing well.  The ultimate goal has to be to get everyone who can work a decent, satisfying job commensurate with their skill levels and then we, as a society, get together and fund public assistance programs for those unable to support themselves.  I don’t want someone who can’t work to end up in the gutter, but what would be the point of sending money to people who already have money?

#4 – Carrying on with point #3, if you split the difference and give assistance to those who need it and not to those who don’t need it, is that not what we are doing now?  Is this just about swapping the word “welfare” for a more PC word like “Universal Income?”

#5 – Zuck should put his money where his mouth is.  The kid is richer than Richie Rich on steroids and has been since his early freaking 20s.  An Internet search puts his wealth at 61.9 billion dollars.  In his speech, he lamented that it isn’t fair that people like him get to make so much money while others make so little.  Look, Zuckerberg, if you’re really crying yourself to sleep over this, the fix is simple:

  • Go out right now and cut checks literally millions of people.  You could provide life changing sums of money to people all across America and never really see much of a change in your daily lifestyle.
  • Don’t even go whole hog.  Pick 1,000 at risk youths and guarantee them $50,000 a year for the rest of their lives.  Commission a study how lifting them out of poverty helped to keep them on the straight path, out of the criminal justice system and so on.
  • Cash out your 61.9 billion, put the cash into a truck, pull up to a random homeless person on the street and give him the keys to the truck.

Until he does this, it just seems like petty virtue signaling.  “I want to say things that sound really nice so people will like me and use my dumb website to share photos of their lunch but I don’t actually want to take any actual action myself on it.”

And before you hit me with, “Zuckerberg donates a lot of money to charity” I’ll admit, yes, I’m sure he does.  But, if he’s really all that riddled with guilt about how much money he makes and how little others make, the fix is simple.  His company makes so much money that he could donate 60.9 billion dollars to the poor and keep one billion for himself and still be a billionaire.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Movie Review – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Arr!  Avast ye scurvy 3.5 readers.  Trim the main sail and batten down the hatches, fer it’s off to Davey Jones’ locker with ye, arr arr, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and so forth, arr!

BQB here with a review of Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales.

3.5 readers, it feels like it was just yesterday when the first Disney Pirate film came out.  The year was 2003 and I was a young man, filled with vim and vigor and a head full of crazy ideas like “life is fair” and “good things happen to good people” and “the world is a great place” and “hard work always earns a just reward and so on.”

We hadn’t yet entered into the whole “reboot” nonsense, yet sequels were still prevalent, and even then Hollywood was often lampooned for a lack of originality.  Even in those days, if one type of film scored big, then you’d soon see a hundred more films just like it.

I didn’t expect much out of that movie.  It was, after all, named after a ride at Disney World, and if video game movies always sucked then a ride based movie would surely suck.

But suck, it did not.  It was an original, creative, fun adventure that propelled Johnny Depp into super stardom with his ingenious take on pirate Jack Sparrow.  Pirates were the rock stars of their day, Depp would opine, and so with a Keith Richards impression, a blockbuster movie franchise was born.

The second and third films were fun, though for me, it was hard to recapture the first film.  It was a time in my life when I felt inspired and I was seeing a film that was inspiring.

The series carried on sans Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley), the lovebirds that were inevitably being saved by or were saving Jack.  2011’s On Stranger Tides was, to me, an OK film, but somewhat forgettable.  Other than Salma Hayek was in it, I couldn’t really tell you what it was about.

This go around, the stakes are raised and Disney apparently felt a need to bring their A game to keep the profitable franchise afloat.  Disney makes mad, crazy cash off these pirates, not just with park rides but also with Disney Cruises featuring “pirate night” where pirates take over the cruise liner and Jack Sparrow saves the day.  Thus, these pirate movies will be milked for all they are worth and then some.

In this, the fifth film of the series, young Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth and Will, seeks to remove a curse from his father’s head.  To do it, he’ll need the legendary trident of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea, but naturally, he’ll have to team of with Jack Sparrow to lead the way.

Throw in Henry’s love interest Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a plucky young lady scientist whose intelligence is often seen as a sign of witchcraft by the film’s non-stop avalanche of dullards, villains Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem as a ghostly undead pirate) and fan favorite Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and you’ve got a worthy film that’s a fun ride and will definitely keep audiences interested in as many sequels as Disney deems necessary to dish out.

Still, as I sat there watching it, I yearned for 2003, a time long gone by, a time where the world had yet to say no to just about every last hope and dream I had, and watch that original film – a new kind of adventure the likes of which had yet to be seen on screen, as seen through the eyes of a person who still believed in the general goodness of the world.

Sorry to sound like a bummer.  The good news though is that as I looked around the theater, I saw wonder in the eyes of younger viewers, the same wonder I once had.

I guess the good news is that every time a flame in someone’s heart burns out, another flame is lit in someone else’s heart somewhere else.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater. I do miss Will and Elizabeth though as they were key to the original films’ success.  I don’t want to give it away, but the movie left me with some hope that those two might return in the inevitable sixth installment.  I hope I’m not wrong.

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