Tag Archives: books

To Kill A Mockingbird – 2018 Reboot

EDITORIAL NOTE: I’ll just leave this here, for no particular reason.

mockingbird-702804__480

And so, gentlemanly country lawyer Atticus Finch did call his client, Tom Robinson, into his law office.  Tom Robinson, a black man, had been falsely accused of rape and since it was the Jim Crow south, no lawyer other than Atticus was willing to help the poor man.

“I swear I didn’t rape that woman, Atticus,” Tom said. “I swear, I didn’t.  Do you think you’ll be able to save me at trial?”

“Well,” Atticus said as he sipped a mint julep. “I’m just a simple country lawyer who likes to sit on his rocking chair and enjoy a nice cool breeze on a summer’s evening, but I say, I do declare that whether we should save you is not the proper consideration but rather, the appropriate issue is should we save you?”

“Should we save me?” Tom asked.  “But sir, I have been falsely accused!”

“Sir!”  Atticus said.  “Lower your voice!  I shall not have such triggering hate speech in my office.”

“What?” Tom asked.

“You see, Tom,” Atticus said.  “It doesn’t matter if you were falsely accused or not because all accusers have the right to be instantly and automatically believed.  Why, if you don’t believe an accusation without further question or inquiry, then you are not just insulting the individual accuser in this case but anyone and everyone who has ever dared to stand up and accuse someone of anything.

“But Mr. Finch,” Tom said.  “I’m not trying to tarnish the reputation of anyone who has ever made an accusation.  I realize that for the world to keep turning that people need to be able to stand up and say when something bad happened.  I’m just saying that in this case, when my accuser makes a false accusation, I need you to present my case and prove the truth.  I didn’t do it, sir.  I’m innocent and that fact must be presented to the jury.”

Atticus brushed a piece of lint off his clean, white suit.  “Sir, I say, I do declare I’m sorry but I just can’t go on with this hateful discussion.  All accusers are to be believed, sir and frankly, whether or not you are guilty or innocent is immaterial.  If you do not skip this trial and skip straight to hanging yourself then your accuser’s feelings, as well as the feelings as anyone who has ever made an accusation against anyone since the beginning of all time will be hurt and we can’t have that, so please, go hang yourself now.”

Tom stood up.  “Sir, if I may be so bold, if you’re not going to defend me against an accusation then why are you here?”

“Why, I do declare I’m just here to sip mint juleps and look good in this white suit,” Atticus said.  “Good day, sir.  Please go see the proprietor of our local mercantile and acquire a length of rope.  I’ll see to it that your estate will handle the bill just as soon as you hang yourself promptly.”

Tom shook Atticus’ hand.  “Very well, sir.  You make a fine point.  I don’t want accusers to feel bad and even if the accusation against me is false, my life must be over now because if it isn’t then people with true accusations will feel bad and true accusers just won’t be intelligent enough to be able to figure out that in this particular case, the accusation was false.  I will go hang myself posthaste.”

“Glad to hear it,” Atticus said.  “Enjoy your hanging, Tom.”

Tom left the room.  Atticus’ young daughter, Scout, had been playing with a doll in a corner of the room the entire time.

“Daddy?” Scout said.

“Yes, dear?” Atticus replied.

“The world sure has gotten fucked up, ain’t it, Daddy?” Scout asked.

“It sure has, Scout,” Atticus said.  “It sure has.”

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Toilet Shocker – Prologue

toilet shocker demo

Prologue
January, 2018 – A few months after the events of Toilet Gator.
Bangkok was a city a man who wanted to escape his past could get lost in. It was a lawless land filled with sights and stimulation, distractions and debauchery, virtually any and all vices afflicting the human condition could be purchased for a price. Baht was the name of the game and at the moment, the name of the game was high stakes pick a number.
In the dimly back room of The Scorpion Nest, the worst dive bar in a city full of dive bars, a formerly attractive middle-aged man by the name of Ed Enwright sat at a table with a pile of brightly colored currency before him and a loaded revolver that he had willingly pressed up against his own table. His beard hadn’t been trimmed in months and a bandana kept his long hair from falling into his eyes.
Sitting across from Ed was Boon-Mee, a degenerate louse with a face full of scars. Like Ed, he too also reeked of cheap booze and bad decisions. He too pressed a loaded revolver up to his head. He too had a pile of money in front of him.
Anurak, an elderly barkeep with a glass eye, presided over the game. Behind him, a gaggle of drunks waved currency about, placing their bets and watching the game intently. As soon as Anurak raised a hand, all sounds in the room ceased.
Ed and Boon-Mee stared each other down as sweat dripped from their brows.
“I’m thinking of a number,” Anurak said. “Between 1 and 10.”
Ed gritted his teeth. Boon-Mee breathed heavily.
“Yes,” Anurak said. “A number between 1 and 10. I have it in my mind now. Boon-Mee, what is it?”
Boon-Mee hyperventilated. Spittle sprayed out of his mouth as he gave his reply. “Seven!”
“Are you sure?” Anurak asked.
Boon-Mee looked at Ed, then at the crowd, then to the barkeep. “Yes! Seven! I’m positive.”
Anurak shook his head. “No, I’m sorry. It’s not seven.”
Boon-Mee’s face turned ghostly white. He closed his eyes and winced. “Goodbye, cruel world,” were the man’s last words just before he pulled the trigger and sprayed the room full of blood and brains.
Hushed murmurs erupted from the crowd as Boon-Mee’s carcass slumped over the table.
“Ed!” Anurak said. “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10…and as we just established, it is not 7.”
Ed’s hand shook nervously as he pondered the barkeep’s question. “Five?”
The rummies in attendance all waited on Anurak’s answer, their eyes glued to the barkeep for fear they might miss it. “Mmm hmm. Yes. Five it is.”
“Hooray!” The crowd cheered and settled their bets as Ed broke out in a cold sweat. He breathed a sigh of relief, then reached across the table to pull the late Boon-Mee’s loot pile towards his.
After a few minutes of consolidating all that sticky, crinkly baht into a relatively solid currency brick, the winner moseyed on over to the bar, where Anurak was busy pouring obscure, exotic looking drinks into skull shaped glasses.
Ed looked to his left, then to his right. The coast was clear. He pulled roughly fifty-percent of his newly acquired winnings to the glass eyed man. Anurak seized the cash and tucked it into his pocket quickly.
“You look like shit, Ed,” Anurak said as he slid a skull across the bar. “On the house.”
“Mmm,” Ed said as he grabbed the glass and tipped it into his mouth. “That’s good. What is that? An old, secret potion? An elixir the recipe of which your family has guarded since ancient times?”
Anurak smirked. “It’s a banana daiquiri, asshole. I just put it in a skull glass so fat, lazy, stupid American tourists like you will think it’s special and pay me more beaucoup bucks.”
“Hmm,” Ed said as he smacked his lips together. “Whatever. It’s good. You’ve outdone yourself.”
“So, have you,” the barkeep replied. “Get out of my joint, Ed. I can’t do business with you anymore.”
“What?” Ed asked. “Why?”
This time, Anurak looked around to make sure no one was looking. “Look, there’s a shelf-life to the old, ‘high stakes pick a number’ con. Most of these gambling gawkers understand that the whole thing is rigged and they just want to see some nincompoop blow his brains out, but the key is that most fellas who are in on it blow town after a few nights so I can find a new accomplice to bilk the marks.”
“Have I been at it so long?” Ed asked.
“Six weeks,” Anurak said. “How long were you in Bangkok before you met me?”
“Honestly,” Ed said. “I don’t remember. It’s all a blur.”
A naked woman walked past the bar, pulling an endangered panda bear on a leash behind her.
“Although, twelve weeks ago, something like that would have surprised me,” Ed said.
“Where else have your travels taken you?” Anurak said.
“Oh,” Ed said. “So many places. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Hong Kong, Morocco…”
“Wow,” Anurak said. “I bet you’ve boom-boomed every color of pussy known to man.”
Ed grinned. “You’d think so but no.”
“Ahh,” Anurak said. “You carry a torch for a woman in your past life?”
Ed took a swig of daiquiri. “You might said that.”
“Yeah,” Anurak said. “Well, my friend, Confucious say, ‘He who forgoes the new pussy of today out of love of pussy of the past is truly the greatest pussy of all in the present.’”
The drunk nodded. “That’s very profound.”
The barkeep ran a towel along the surface of the bar, then leaned over to stare at his friend in the eye. “You did your best, Ed. Go home. Clean yourself up. You’re doing no one any good here.”
Ed’s heart skipped a beat. “Huh? What are you talking about?”
“You’re a good man,” Anurak said. “You deserve better than this.”
Ed downed the rest of his drink, then rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. “Am I missing something? It sounds like you know some things about me that I don’t recall ever telling you.”
Anurak pointed to a TV monitor hanging over the bar. On it, footage of a tall skyscraper in Chicago played. The barkeep grabbed the remote and turned up the volume loud enough that an announcer’s voice could be heard.
“You’re watching the Documentary Direct,” the announcer said. “The only channel that brings you all of your favorite films featuring voice over announcers speaking ominously over archive footage. If you’re watching this tonight, your chances of getting laid are slim to none.”
“He’s got you there,” Anurak said.
Ed nodded in the affirmative.
“Tonight at 9, we’ll be featuring, ‘Milk, Milk, Lemonade,’ a retrospective on the world’s most infamous combination dairy farms, lemonade stands and fudge packing plants and not what you assumed we’d be talking about, you disgusting excuse for a human being, but first, where were you when the Equinox Tower fell?”
“OK,” Ed said. “I got it.”
“This shit has been on all week,” Anurak said. “Every channel.”
“Yeah,” Ed said. “It’s the ten-year anniversary. Can we watch something else?”
The announcer carried on. “One thousand, two-hundred and forty-eight lives were lost when a mad bomber’s reign of terror…”
Ed spoke loudly, drowning over the announcer. “Put on a game show. A sitcom. Anything else, please.”
A stock photo of a much younger, more handsome, physically fit Ed appeared on the screen. He was clean shaven and his eyes appeared more hopeful than they had ever been.
“And what ever happened to Ed Enwright, the head of the FBI’s top counter-terrorism unit and the lead investigator on this case? Sources say he was fired shortly after the tower was lost, though the circumstances of his termination were never made public. After that, his friends and colleagues say they never heard from him again. It’s almost as if he vanished into thin air.”
Ed reached over the bar, yanked the remote out of Anurak’s hand and flipped the channels until he landed on a game show. Three lucky contests stood behind podiums as the host shouted, “Who’s ready to play, ‘Dodge That Suppository?’”
“I’m sorry, my friend,” Anurak said. “It’s just not often I get a celebrity in my bar. You looked good back then. You really let yourself go.”
“Thanks,” Ed said.
“No, seriously,” Anurak said. “The dark spots under your eyes and the flecks of gray in your hair and beard and you’ve packed on at least, what, twenty or thirty pounds?”
“Set me up with another drink and I’ll start working on forty,” Ed said.
Anurak forked over another skull full of daquiri.
“I don’t care what anyone says,” Anurak said. “You’re a hero.”
“Yeah,” Ed said. “Tell that to my kid.”
Anurak ran his towel over the bar once more. “Confucius say, ‘The shorter the life, the lesser the strife, the longer one lives, the easier one forgives.’”
“I’ll drop that in a note and mail it to her,” Ed said. “Maybe she’ll take my calls.”
“Maybe you skip the call and visit in person,” Anurak said.
Ed swigged from the skull. “Maybe.”
The barkeep reached out and grabbed Ed’s hand. “You’re not welcome here anymore.”
“Why?” Ed asked. “Did I fart or something?”
“On occasion,” Anurak said. “But no. I can’t stand to see someone with so much left to offer the world sit here, night after night, letting his skills go to waste.”
“The world and I aren’t exactly simpatico,” Ed said.
“Confucius say…”
“Oh, here we go,” Ed said as he guzzled his booze. “More Confucius.”
“Shut your hole, Yankee imperialist swine,” Anurak said. “Confucius was a wise man and had more brains in his left nut than you’ll ever have in your entire life.”
Ed shrugged his shoulders. “Probably true.”
Anurak continued. “Confucius say, ‘He who has failed in one chapter, must find a new purpose in the next, or else he will just go on repeating the same old shit forever and ever.’”
“Confucius really said, ‘shit?’” Ed asked.
“Oh, he had a very foul tongue, that Confucius,” Anurak said.
The barkeep slid over a third skull. “The last drink I’ll ever serve you. You’re welcome to stay until closing, but then for your own good, I never want to see you here again. If you won’t find a new reason to live, then please, kill yourself in another bar.”
“I hear the Tong Sia Lounge has good chicken wings,” Ed said.
“Hmm,” Anurak said. “I don’t know about that. I hear they taste better going in, but feel worse when they come out. If you’ll excuse me, it’s been nice knowing you, friend.”
Anurak waltzed down the bar to serve more customers. Ed flipped through the channels on TV.
“A new purpose,” Ed said. “A new purpose. Where the hell can I find a new purpose?”
Ed channel surfed for a while until he settled on the Movie Now channel. He was hoping to catch a flick but instead there was another documentary playing.
“Jeeze,” Ed said. “What a buzzkill.”
“Welcome back to the Movie Now channel,” the announcer said. “We love to bring you the latest flicks featuring grown ass adults pretending to be caped, costumed, spandex wearing superheroes, the occasional reboot of a film that came out two years ago, and of course, romantic comedies where the so-called ugly friend is just a hot chick with a pair of glasses slapped on her attractive face. But we also want in on award season, so tonight, we’re bringing you the documentary version of Jaws of Death: The Inside Story of the News Duo That Tracked the Toilet Gator.
Archive footage of ex-Sitwell Police Chief Cole Walker played. In the middle of a street flooded by a hurricane, the forty-year-old man stood in a sinking canoe, pressing a whirring chainsaw blade up against the big green monster’s sharp, pointy teeth.
“It was the story that shocked a nation,” the announcer said in a voice over. “Three people, one of them none other than Countess Cucamonga, died on the toilet in a single night.”
Ed had been drinking at the very moment that last statement was made. Out of shock, he sprayed his daiquiri out of his lips and all over the bar. “Countess Cucamonga is dead?!”
An angry Anurak returned and furiously wiped up Ed’s spit. “Damn it, Ed! I know this place is a shithole but I try to keep up a few standards.”
“Dude,” Ed said as he pointed at the TV, which was showing archived footage of an alligator bursting out of a toilet, only to devour the Mayor of Sitwell, Florida. “When the hell did that happen?”
“What?” Anurak asked. “The toilet gator? You never heard about that?”
“No,” Ed said.
“Were you living under a rock last fall?” Anurak asked.
Ed searched the deep recesses of his mind. “Last fall…last fall…damn, that ayahuasca is some potent shit.”
“Seriously, Ed,” Anurak said. “Get in a program.”
“What happened?” Ed asked.
“You really don’t know?” Anurak asked.
“No,” Ed said. “Why would I ask if I didn’t know?”
“There was a fat ass alligator,” Anurak said. “Popping out of toilets in Florida and eating people. He had an accomplice. An over the hill cop with a prosthetic leg hunted it down and killed it.”
Anurak and Ed stared at each other in silence.
“Kinda makes you feel like a loser that you aren’t doing more with your life given the fact that you have two good legs, doesn’t it?” the barkeep asked.
“Yeah,” Ed said as he stood up. “A little bit.”
The announcer continued. “In the wake of the toilet gator carnage, Americans have one question on their minds, ‘Is it safe to shit?’”
A Southern woman with three babies in tow spoke into a microphone. “I don’t care what the lying government or the fake news media says, I will never shit in a toilet again for as long as I live.”
Ed pushed the skull drink away. “I think I just found my new purpose.”
“You’re going to help that lady take a shit?” Anurak said.
“Something like that,” Ed said. “Thanks for your hospitality.”
“Don’t mention it,” Anurak said. “Oh, and Ed…”
“Yeah?”
“Don’t forget,” Anurak said. “’Confucius say, ‘He who cries for many months will lubricate his soul, but he who cries for many years will drown himself.’”
“Did Confucious really say all those things?” Ed asked.
“Not at all,” Anurak said. “I just think of advice that would help my customers and then tell them Confucius said it because it sounds better coming from an ancient philosopher than it does from an old bum like me. Most fat, stupid, lazy Americans are easily fooled though honestly, I expected more from an educated man like you.”
“I’m sorry,” Ed said.
“You should be,” Anurak said. “Racist prick.”

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Toilet Shocker – First Chapter Draft Test

Just giving it a trial run.  Let me know what you think in the comments, 3.5.

toilet shocker demo

Chapter 1

February 27, 2019 – Moonbeam Coffee, Store #11,041 – Portland, Oregon
Heather Laramie’s wokeness wasn’t a hobby – it was a passion. Her frame was thin, the result of many a hunger strike in the name of whatever the latest social cause was trending on Lifebox. She owned multiple Che Guevara shirts, allowing her to wear the image of the Communist revolutionary daily. In her defense, her grasp on history was tenuous and she was unaware of Guevara’s bloodthirsty actions. She just viewed him as a man who wanted people to get free stuff, an economic system that in Heather’s eyes, was totally doable, seeing as how her parents gave her free stuff all the time, so surely the government had a money tree lurking about somewhere that could be shook until the leaves fell off into perpetuity.
Yes, Heather talked the talk. She regaled anyone who would listen of her love of Senator Murray Leibowitz, the upstart, self-proclaimed “Democratic Socialist” who gave former Homeland Security Secretary Emily Wannadingle a run for her money during the 2016 Democratic primaries.
More importantly to her, she walked the walk. She drove a Yarikazi Elf, which was literally the smallest car on the market, virtually one step above being a glorified golf cart. Sure, it was cramped, she was never able to invite a friend to come along for a ride, and motorists regularly slammed into it because they typically failed to see it and assumed the parking space it was in was available, but it got great gas mileage and was good for the environment, assuming that energy coming out of a wall socket was somehow produced in a cleaner manner than gas harvested from the bowels of the earth but…hey, you know what? That’s not the point. The point is, the car made her happy.
And many things made Heather happy. There was the “Resist” tattoo she got permanently etched on her right forearm the day Vinny Stugotz was sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States. There was her pink pussy hat, which she, in addition to Che’s grim visage, also wore daily. She even decorated it with a pin that read, “Keep your laws off my vagina.” Heather was, in fact, such a proponent of anti-vaginal legislation that she regularly posted on her blog about her support for a controversial law that would allow women to have an abortion up until the 24th trimester, known throughout the media as the “Whack ‘Em with a Baseball Bat Until Their Sixth Birthday Bill.” Murray Leibowitz was the bill’s chief sponsor, and once Emily Wannadingle’s people determined through a series of polls that the bill was popular, she vocalized her support for it to.
Yes, Heather was proud of her lifestyle and yearned for the day when the revolution would come, bathing the streets red with the blood of capitalist pigs, seizing any and all businesses and putting them under government control, and putting all labor at the new Communist government’s disposal. Like many young comrades, Heather always pictured herself as some kind of commissar, someone who would be paid handsomely to vocally support Communism and punish those who criticized it. Most millennial pinkos typically fantasized about becoming high-ranking officials in the apparatchik. None ever envisioned themselves as ditch digging peasants who would work for 12 hours a day, then spend the other 12 hours waiting in line for government issued toilet paper and moldy blocks of cheese.
Also, somehow in this fantasy vision of utopia, Schmuck Phones, Lifebox, superhero movies, boy wizard books, video games and continued access to Mom and Dad’s backyard pool and tricked out basement still existed, though no one ever offered an explanation as to how, in a world where a workforce would be whipped into submission and aspirations of wealth would be quashed under an iron boot, all these luxuries would continue to exist.
Back to the main point. Heather was woke – exceedingly, ridiculously, absurdly woke, and out of all her expressions of wokeness, there were none that the pink haired, bespectacled college student majoring in 17th century lesbian folklore was more proud of than her position as a barista at Moonbeam Coffee.
Yes, Moonbeam Coffee, the wokest provider of caffeine fixes on the planet! Come for the triple half caf, skinny foam, mocha whipped honeysuckle cold brew with trace hints of ginger and turmeric. Leave when you ask for a large coffee with sugar and cream and the staff looks at you funny. Come for the recycled cups featuring tips on how to save the environment like “Compost daily” and “Get rid of your lamps and sit in the dark.” Come for the giftshop, where you can buy a bumper sticker that reads, “Live Locally, Frolic Globally” or “My Other Car Doesn’t Exist Because I Don’t Hate Mother Nature So Much that I’d Own Two.”
Heather had loved her job for three years, ever since her un-woke, patriarchal father insisted that if she was going to waste his money on lesbian folklore classes, that she’d better at least get a job to pay for her personal expenses. At first, she despised the cis-male scum who raised her, decrying his name for failing to see the abundant job opportunities that were available to students of lesbian folklore that hailed from the 1600s, but she soon came to enjoy making octuple caf, tall foam marzipan swirls with rosemary shots. She loved it so much that she was sure she’d just keep working there after college, opting to forego the abundant job opportunities in her field of study, of which she remained unwaveringly sure that they did, in fact, exist.
Alas, on the day in question, Heather began to have grave concerns as to whether or not her job would remain enjoyable in the future. A line of smelly, unkempt, unhygienic homeless people of all ages, races, sexes and creeds waiting to use the one toilet in the store’s small bathroom extended out of the store and down the block. This had been happening daily for months, ever since a vagrant had sued Moonbeam Coffee and won three million dollars after being refused to use the bathroom at a San Francisco store. The court ruled that the company’s policy against allowing bathroom access to paying customers only was discriminatory against the poor, and Moonbeam Coffee could no longer make arbitrary rules that unfairly affected the economically challenged.
For Heather, the result was that she hadn’t been allowed to serve a brew since the Fall of 2018. She was now on bathroom clean-up detail, standing outside the perpetually stinky restroom with a plunger and a mop at the ready. As she looked up at a television monitor that was playing her favorite news channel, Heather began to question everything she had ever believed.
Lydia Estevez von Straffsbourg-Kightlinger-Tiparoo, the most popular reporter on the Woke News Network, had been recently named the host of The Lesbian Slam Poet News Hour, the only show in which militant feminists updated the public on the latest stories in rhyme.
On screen, Lydia wore her usual outfit, a black beret and matching turtleneck sweater, a look completed with a pair of thick glasses. She was surrounded by a diverse array of poets. In the background, one poet pounded a pair of bongos.
“Moonbeam Coffee,” Lydia said. “It’s been eight months since this vile, capitalist, profit motivated criminal organization perpetrated by the one percent dared to commit the unspeakable, unforgivable hate crime of telling a man that he could not use the bathroom unless he bought a locally sourced, farm to table, gluten free scone, half the proceeds of which would have gone to creating communes for transgender watercolor artists in impoverished nations. What do we think about this, ladies?”
Vocal pundit Maura Heffernan-Augustus-Peabody-Benjamin brushed a piece of lint off of her “Fuck Stugotz” t-shirt and looked directly at the camera. “I don’t care how long it’s been, Lydia. I admit that this is a tricky situation, given the fact that I do support locally sourced, farm to table, gluten free scones and the building of communes for transgendered watercolor artists in impoverished nations, but…”
Maura was interrupted by Jessica Melman-Walters-Duffy-Boombalay-Bensonhurst, a contributor with a shaved bald head and a t-shirt that depicted President Stugotz swinging from the end of a noose. “Can I just say that President Stugotz is not doing enough to help start communes for transgender watercolor artists in third world nations? This is the defining issue of our time and that pig, that pretender, that usurper of Emily Wannadingle’s birthright couldn’t be bothered to do a thing about this.”
“I agree,” Maura said. “And I can’t wait to hear the slam poem you wrote about that, sister, but first, I would like to read my poem about Moonbeam Coffee’s despicable reign of tyranny.”
“Go on, sister,” Lydia said. “Hit us with your truth.”
Maura sipped some water. She cleared her throat, then stood up and read from a piece of paper. “Beans of hate! Beans of hate! What is the fate of those who would stand by and sell the beans of hate? Unwoke baristas, chasing the mighty buck, but about those less fortunate, they could hardly give a…”
At that precise moment, poor Heather suffered a mental break. Her eyes welled with tears, and not just the ones that were inspired by the stench emanating from the bathroom. Heather had lived and breathed the teachings of the Woke News Network for as long as she could remember. She had long adored The Lesbian Slam Poet News Hour and had bought all of the books written by its contributors, from Free Stuff Works to Down with Penile Rule. She was even a fierce supporter of homeless rights, having spent many a weekend protesting against income inequality.
The door to the bathroom swung open, causing the air to become borderline unbreathable. Out from the squalid conditions emerged a hobo known around the community as “Dumpster Dave,” for his penchant for sleeping in large trash receptacles. He’d come close to being crushed in the trash compactors of three separate trucks, but he was still ticking. His tattered clothing reeked of bourbon and feces and as he looked at Heather, he wiped the snots that had formed in his mustache onto his coat sleeve.
“Damnation!” Dave said. “You got your work cut out for you today, Heather!”
Heather sighed. “Did you at least put your needle in the sharp container this time, Dave?”
Dave appeared aghast. “Un-woke bitch! Ain’t you been watchin’ the television-o-mo-bobber? I gots a to shit where I pleases and it’s a hate crime to ask me that!”
In her heart, Heather knew what she was about to say violated ever belief she’d ever held dear. Alas, her brain and heart had been in a running battle ever since Moonbeam Coffee had been forced to let any and all comers to use the bathroom, no questions asked, no purchase required. “So, you’re telling me I should have to risk contracting a deadly, incurable disease because you’re too lazy to put your needle in a safe container that my company provided to you for free!”
The hobo got flustered. “Buh..fah…gah…hate criminal! Damnation, you one of them Stugotz voters, ain’t you? Where’s your MAFFA hat, bitch?”
“Oh come on,” Heather said. “Like I would be caught dead in a ‘Make America Funky Fresh Again,’ hat.”
“Where’s your manager?” Dave asked. “I want to speak to your manager.”
Heather sighed. At the counter, Heather’s manager, Janice Schaeffer, was busily preparing a septuple caf frappucino with extra goat leche and a sprig of oak root. Heather’s stomach turned at the idea that she was about to disappoint her boss. Although Janice was twenty years old, Heather felt a special kinship to her employer. Between the faded hammer and sickle tattoo on the upper half of her left bosom and the green hair, Heather had a hunch that she was going to be a lot like Janice when she reached middle age.
The boss noticed the commotion and came over. “What seems to be the problem here?”
As the fracas ensued, a skinny woman with a protruding baby bump entered the bathroom and closed the door.
“This no-good, dirty rotten, conservative bitch just implied that I should exercise personality responsibility for myself!” Dave shouted.
Janice gasped. “Heather! How could you?”
A low moan emanated from inside the bathroom.
“All I did was suggest that if Dave is going to use our bathroom to shoot heroin…”
“I gots to shoot heroin, bitch!” Dave said. “It’s not my fault that I got an addiction due to the fact that I ain’t been able to find a job in seventeen years.”
Heather cocked her head to the side. “You haven’t found one single job in seventeen years?”
Dave threw his hands in the hair. “Bitch! I been holdin’ out for a CEO position!”
Janice shuddered. “I…I can’t even right now. First, Dave, I know the unjust capitalist system has been cruel to you, but you can’t just call women the b word…”
“Thank you,” Heather said.
The boss finished her thought. “…unless she’s using unjustifiable hate speech and then it’s ok.”
Dave stuck his tongue out at Heather. “How do ya like me now, bitch?!”
Heather’s lower lip quivered. “But…buh buh…but…Janice!”
“We all attended the sensitivity training, Heather,” Janice said. “Remember when the stockholders were livid when every Moonbeam Coffee store in the nation shut down for three weeks so employees could be flogged while being taught how to become sufficiently woke. You’re displaying a very insufficient level of wokeness right now.”
Bloodcurdling screams poured out of the bathroom. “Gah..ahhh…oh God….ohh….argh….ARGH!”
The baristas ignored it. They had grown accustomed to such noises.
“Janice,” Heather said. “You know I think the world of you. You taught me everything I know and even invited me to my first protest but I’ll have you know that I’m very woke. I’m so woke I write anti-Stugotz screed on my Lifebox daily. I’m so woke I donated to Murray Leibowitz. I’m so woke I own one and only one cloth tampon that I wash in the sink daily. I am woke.”
“You’re not acting like it,” Janice said. “Apologize to this man.”
“Yeah,” the toothless loser said. “Apologize to me right now, bitch.”
Heather looked at Janice’s disapproving face, then at Dave’s grinning, scabby face. “I will not.”
All activities in the store ceased. The plucky young baristas, the hipsters on laptops writing their screenplays, even the homeless folk in line waiting to use the crapper, all grew silent as they took in the spectacle.
Soon, the silence was cut by the screams of the woman inside the bathroom. “Ugh…get out of me you little fucker! Goddamn you, Johnny! Why did I let you do this to me?! Goddamn you to hell!”
Heather pointed at the long line of poor folk. “Janice, this is ridiculous.”
“I beg your pardon?” Janice asked.
Heather gulped and mustered up her inner strength. “Only paying customers should be allowed to use a business’ bathroom. There, I said it, and I’m glad I said.”
Everyone gasped. “Take that back!” Janice said.
Heather raised her voice. “I won’t! Look, it’s simple. Businesses need to make money in order to provide goods and services and whenever an employee is taken away from providing those goods and services, that translates into the company making less money, which means there’s less money for employees to get raises, and less tax dollars going into the system to promote much needed social welfare programs!”
The woman in the bathroom cried out in pain. “Barrrrrgh! I want this to be over so bad!”
Janice pointed to a glass box attached to the wall. It contained a medieval cat-o-nine-tails behind a glass plate. Underneath it was a brass plaque with the words, “Break in Case of Insufficient Wokeness” printed on it.
“Don’t make me break that glass, Heather,” Janice said.
“Janice,” Heather said. “I love you, but listen to reason. Things were so much better when only paying customers were allowed to use the bathroom. People who actually like our store and want to see it succeed because they enjoy our products would treat the bathroom with special care, being sure to not make too much of a mess because they knew if they did so regularly, they’d be too embarrassed to come to their favorite hangout anymore. And if they did make a mess, then at least they contributed to the store’s bottom line, so that the company could afford to hire a designated janitor and baristas like me wouldn’t have to be taken off the counter, away from all the delicious designer coffees and forced to clean up shit and piss and hypodermic needles and…”
The door to the bathroom swung open. The young woman, looking like a pale zombie, walked out. Her body was drenched in blood and she carried a baby wrapped in toilet baby. The infant cried loudly.
“Excuse me,” the woman said as she pushed her way past the baristas. “I have to go find a dumpster.”
“Don’t you put dare put that thing in my house,” Dave said.
“Hey,” Heather said as the woman walked away. “You know, there’s a police station that’s just down the street. There’s a law that you can drop off a baby, no questions asked.”
“Get your laws off my body,” the woman said as she pushed the front door of the store open, leaving a bloody palm print on the glass.
Janice pointed at Heather’s “Keep Your Laws Off My Vagina” pin. “You don’t deserve to wear that. What happened to your support of the ‘Whack ‘Em in the Head Until Their Sixth Birthday’ law?”
“I’ve been rethinking that,” Heather said.
Janice gasped. “I think you need to leave, Heather.”
Heather ignored her boss. She stepped onto an empty, chair, then stepped onto a table, breaking up a hipster writing session. “I’ve been rethinking a lot of things lately.”
“Whatever you’re thinking, young lady, your thoughts aren’t welcome here,” Janice said.
“I used to love this job,” Heather said. “Back when it was fun. Back when I could make coffee and talk about all the free stuff that people should be given for free but now…now I realize, nothing good in life is free.”
A dirt bearded, man-bun sporting drifter wearing a sleeveless shirt to show off his prolific arm tattoos entered the bathroom. “Holy shit!” he cried. “It looks like somebody had a baby in here! Oh well, fuck it, beats shitting at the shelter.”
Heather became lost in her tirade. “When I started working here, it was a happier time, a simpler time, an easier time, a better time. I could make coffee all day and sell it at an absurdly marked up price but posers didn’t care as long as they could post selfies of themselves holding a trendy cup. I was able to watch WNN on the monitor for free and at most, on any given day, I rarely had to spend more than five minutes cleaning the bathroom and I just want to return to that simpler time…”
“Hey,” came the voice of the drifter from inside the bathroom. “Someone should really scrub all the blood off the walls. It’s unsanitary.”
Heather continued. “…now all I want to do is return to that better time, that wonderful time, that…”
Janice punched the glass and, without a care for the blood dripping from her knuckles, seized the cat-o-nine-tails. “Don’t you say it.”
“…a funkier time…a fresher time…”
Janice’s nostrils flared. “If you say it, you’re….”
Heather ripped off her pink pussy hat and tossed it to the ground. She pulled off her Che Guevara shirt to reveal a star-spangled, red-white-and blue Vinny Stugotz campaign shirt, emblazoned with the forty-fifth president’s catchphrase, “Make America Funky Fresh Again!”
“MAFFA!” Heather shouted at the top of her lungs. “MAFFA, motherfuckers! MAFFA forever!”
All the hipsters, baristas, and homeless folk averted their eyes, as if Heather’s new shirt contained the retina burning light rumored to pour out of the ark of the covenant itself.

“I never wanted this!” Heather shouted. “You all made me this way! This is been brewing in my gut for months and finally, I have to let it out! If you want stuff, you should buy it! If you can’t afford to buy it, you should get a job! If you can’t find a job, you should seek the skills needed for one! If your physically or mentally impaired, then you should seek out government services instead of just lying around on the street all day but at any rate, if you want a better life, then that better life comes from you, not from the government.”

Janice broke out into tears. “I’m going to need to rent all the therapy puppies to get over this. How could you, Heather?! How could you?!”
Heather looked at her mentor and felt internal anguish. She hopped off the table and attempted to hug the older woman, only to be pushed away. “Get away from me, monster! You support that criminal! That animal! That beast who wants to lock all minorities in concentration camps!”
The young lady sighed. “Janice, he’s been president for two years and he hasn’t locked up any minorities in concentration camps.”
The boss wiped a tear from her cheek. “He will. They’re coming. Any day now. Camps for gay people. Camps for women. Camps for brown people. The blog-o-sphere told me so.”
The drifter inside the bathroom broke the tension. “You’d you people would stock up on more toilet paper. Is free toilet paper too much to ask?”
Heather walked over to the counter, grabbed the remote control, then returned to Janice. She put her arm around her boss, then pointed the remote at the TV.
“No,” Janice said. “Please don’t.”
“They’re not that bad,” Heather said. “You’ll see.”
Heather turned off WNN and turned on Network News One, the only network dedicated to bring the latest in conservative news and also, titties. Big titties attached to jaw droppingly beautiful female reporters. At the moment, those lovely ladies were taking a powder so that conservative blowhard Jim Clayton, a white-haired old fogie with a buzz cut, could bark at the camera.
“Welcome back to Jim Clayton’s America. Today on the show, are feminazi activists trying to chop the pee-pees off your three-year-old sons and turn them into little girls? The answer is a most resounding yes, but first, taxes. Fuck taxes. Fuck ‘em right in the butt. I hate taxes and I don’t care who knows it. If you want my money, eat a dick. Come at me and take my money out of my cold, dead hand if you want it so bad but until then, get a job. What the fake news media won’t tell you is that thanks to the booming Stugotz economy, companies are flush with cash and they’re churning out jobs out the wazoo, so get a job hippies and stop trying to raise taxes so you can give all my hard-earned money to shiftless flat-backers, no good, degenerate lay-abouts, and dirty rotten deadbeats.”
Heather took a deep breath and closed her eyes. “Preach, my brother, preach!”
All hope fell out of Janice’s eyes. “You’re fired, Heather.”
“I know,” Heather said with a smile. “And that’s ok. I’ll find another job because I’m switching my major to venture capitalism.”
“Please go away,” Janice said.
“And I’m going to get married,” Heather said. “To a man.”
“Stop,” Janice said.
“I don’t know what he’ll be,” Heather said. “Maybe a police officer or a fracking rig operator…”
“No more,” Janice said. “Please, no more.”
“We’ll have three children,” Heather said. “And I’ll take a few years off of work to raise them because seeing their adorable little faces will be the greatest pleasure of my life.”
Janice pointed at the door. “Get out! Your words cut through the depths of my soul like a flaming hot knife through butter!”
“I’ll take care of myself,” Heather said. “And I’ll urge my friends and family to take personal responsibility. And if I ever do fall on hard times, the support system I’ve created by starting a family will be there for me, so I won’t have to depend on the incompetent, bureaucratic machinations of big government…”
The baristas stared at the TV. Jim Clayton was working himself into a foamy lather.

“Look, I’m not saying that women’s reproductive rights should be regulated by the government, I’m just saying that their vaginas should be packed full of cement, only to be chipped away when they enter the bonds of holy matrimony. That’s right. We’re going to build walls inside women’s vaginas and we’re going to make them pay for it.”
Janice dabbed her moist eyes with a handkerchief. “That’s disgusting.”
“Actually,” Heather said. “It makes sense when you think about…”
A scream came out of the bathroom. It was louder than usual.
“What the?! Argh! What’s…what’s happening to me?!”
Janice knocked on the door. “Hello! Sir, assuming that’s your preferred pronoun, and forgive me if it isn’t, are you OK in there?”
“GAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
“Damn it,” Heather said. “Another crackhead overdosing because the liberal-political-media industrial complex convinced this guy that he should live on the dole, avoiding any and all personal responsibility, never finding any direction that would make him a better person and…”
The drifter’s cries grew deafening. “SOMEBODY HELP ME! HELP ME, PLEASE….ARRGGHHH!”
“You’ve been helped enough, sir,” Heather said. “Lazy sponges like you are the reason why Stugotz won!”
Janice grabbed the knob. “I think he actually needs help.”
“Oh,” Heather said. “Right.”
The boss opened the door. She and Heather looked inside to find that the drifter had been burnt to a crisp. His body had the texture of a charred, blackened marshmallow, gooey yet crusty. His mouth was agape, his teeth the only part left that hadn’t been fried.
Heather’s immediate response? “Why the hell is there a black guy in here?”
All the screenwriting hipsters snapped their heads toward Heather in disgust. “No, wait,” Heather said. “That came around wrong. I love black people. All my best friends are black. I marched for black rights all the time. I’m just saying, this guy was white but now he was somehow turned black and…”
“Stop digging the hole, fascist,” Janice said as she surveyed the room. The walls were already covered with the blood and feces of over a hundred non-paying bathroom users, but the smoking husk of a man was a sight that no barista had ever seen before.
“Clean this up, Heather,” Janice said.
“Uh…hello?” Heather asked. “You just fired me.”
“Oh, right,” Janice said. “Damn it.”

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Toilet Gator Off to Editor Soon

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

20 months.  A year and a half.  That’s how long I’ve been writing this book:

toilet-gator-book-1

You might think this book is cheap, throwaway drivel and that I’ve wasted a year and a half on tomfoolery.  Technically, you’d be right, except you aren’t, because this is by far the best book ever written.

It’s a tale of passion…romance, love, betrayal, horror and people being eaten by a giant lizard while they are pooping.

It’s a tale of redemption, of how a broken down, defeated officer of the law makes amends with his ex-wife and learns to forgive himself for his past mistakes while hunting down…a giant lizard who eats people while they are pooping.

It’s a parody that mocks our news media entertainment complex, our political system, restores comedy to its natural, off the chain, no holds barred, everyone gets offended because that’s what good comedy does state…and it’s also about a giant lizard who eats people while they are pooping.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure.

I am but one man.  I like to think I am superhuman, that I am capable of anything, but from time to time, my health reminds me that I am only capable of so much.

Unfortunately,  I can’t write about people getting eaten while they are pooping 24/7.  I just can’t.  I wish I could.  I really do.  No, I really do.  That would be an awesome job.

But that day isn’t here yet, so in the meantime, I must work, and take care of myself, and take time to exercise, eat well, relax, and destress.  Novels about people being eaten while they are pooping will have to be written during the random, sweet moments of time I get to steal from the various forces of the world that keep me down.

I have so many ideas, but for now I must put them on my magic bookshelf.  Don’t worry. They’ll be there when the time is right.

For now, I’ll focus on Toilet Gator Sequels, and on continuing the story of “The Last Driver.”

Perhaps one glorious day, novels about human eating alligators will make me rich, and I can write about alligators eating unsuspecting bathroom users all day.  Why, that’s been the dream of many a writer ever since Gutenberg invented the printing press, so I would be very blessed by such a life.

But I’m not there yet, and if it’s ever to happen, it will take time and patience.

Some rest tonight, then I’ll be sending “Toilet Gator” to my editor soon, and then I’ll…well I think I might actually take a crack at “Toilet Shocker” next and see how that goes.

There are times in my life where I get very sad…when I think about all I hoped for in my youth and compare it with how I barely got 1 percent of a percent of a percent of what I wanted.

But then I remember I live in a world where the dream of self-publishing a book about a giant lizard who eats people while they are pooping is not only real, but you can also pay women in medical lab coats to talk about it:

Thank you for being my 3.5 readers.

 

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Check out “The Omens of a Crow”

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

Dakota Kemp, a friend to this fine blog, has released his new book, “The Omens of a Crow” on Amazon.  I’m not sure what it is about but there is an ominous looking dude in a cloak on the cover and the description says he is about to bring something scary to a village.

What could he possibly be bringing?  Is it a weapon of some sort?  Dark magic?  A terrible disease?  Wait, I know.  He’s bringing chips with no dip.  That’s it, isn’t it?  Have you ever been to a party and a guy brings chips but he doesn’t bring any dip and everyone is like, “WTF, guy in a cloak, why did you do that for?  You expect us to eat this chips dry?  You couldn’t have sprung for the dip?  You might as well have not brought the chips.”

That’s my guess.  I suppose you’ll have to check the book out to find out what it actually is.

Let me know if it is chips without dip.

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Happy Fourth of July, 3.5 readers

3.5 readers, today is the day we celebrate our independence from British tyranny (yes, we were so pissed those dirty limey pricks taxed our tea that we went and created a system that taxes a) our income b) our property c) our purchases and d) still charges fees for many basic government transactions.

That’ll learn ya, ya bucktoothed wankers!

Anyway, celebrate your country’s independence today, but all year long, you can celebrate your independence from shitty writing ideas by buying my big book of badass writing prompts.  To do so, you’ll have to liberate 99 cents from your wallet, but really, can you put a price on freedom?  I think not.

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Last Chance to Get a FREE Copy of My Book

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

Today’s the last day of my free book promo.  That’s right.  All through the end of today, Sunday, you can still make up for your procrastination and get a copy of my free book of badass writing prompts.

Stop putting it off.  If you wait tomorrow, you’ll have to pay 99 cents and you need to save that money because the world is a crazy place and you should be saving as much as possible.

Seriously, you never know, buying my book for 99 cents tomorrow might be the transaction that throws your finances into a cataclysmic state, leaving you broke, penniless, homeless on the street, selling your body for candy and bubblegum.

So, don’t delay.  Download my book for FREE today.

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Take BQB’s Writing Challenge!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB, here.

In case you didn’t hear, my book, “Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts” is free this week.  Totally free.  That means you can go on over to Amazon right now and download it for free, no strings attached, the worst that happens is you end up with a book on your kindle that you won’t read, though if you don’t read it, you’d be missing out because the critics in my head are saying it’s the best book since the New Testament.

Please Lord, don’t strike me down.  I know you have a sense of humor.  Look at my life, after all.

This book features many of my most humorous writing ideas.  Why, with this book, you’ll be able to write about:

  • A reality TV star who punches sharks in the face!
  • A fart that defies the boundaries of time, space and science!
  • A pumpernickel that scares a couple on a date out of their minds!
  • Ninja bunnies!
  • Zombie bed and breakfast owners!
  • An outer space world where no one has a butt!
  • And so much more!

So, tell you what, 3.5 readers.  Get this book for free, browse through it, pick a scenario and write a blog post based on one of the prompts.  Tweet a link to me @bookshelfbattle and if I like it, I’ll share it with the 7 eyes of my 3.5 readers.  What a marketing breakthrough for you, to have a blog post you wrote shared with the likes of my 3.5 readers.

So, don’t delay, get my book of writing prompts today!

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BQB’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts is Free!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Hop on Amazon and get a copy of my free book.  It’s FREE until Sunday.  So, you know, because it’s FREE you can just pick it up and not have to pay any money because as I mentioned, it’s totes free.

Ninja bunnies.  Zombies.  Fart philosophy.  Lots of awesome stuff packed into this fine book, which is really, really, really free.

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Ep. 005 – Which Classic Book Should BQB Read Next?

Hey 3.5 listeners.

Sorry to disappoint.  I really left things to the last minute this month, barely getting a brief, bare bones episode of the Bookshelf Battle Cast out for May.  Nothing much to it other than a brief shout out and a request for suggestions for classic, public domain books I can read on the show.

I’ll be back in June to read Chapter 2 of the Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

 

 

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