just weird



   I have one of the best jobs in the world. I step into a Flight Centre, sit down across from a smiling sales representative and ask how much it is to Tokyo, Korea or Brussels, France. Sometimes they think I’m joking and they laugh but I hold onto an earnest expression until they realize that I only have a grade one knowledge of geography. I ask a hundred other ridiculous questions, to test their patience with customers, and then I sometimes go over to the big map on the wall and ask how much that would cost. I’m a pain in the ass sure but through my dedication to my profession some of the weaker employees have been culled from the Flight Centre. 

    Each story that I’ve written on this blog is something that I’ve included in one of my tours of duty in a Flight Centre. After asking how much a Eurail pass is I’ll go into a rant about my idiot neighbour. Essentially, this blog is where I practice my ridiculous stories that I use in the line of duty.

   I’ve introduced myself as somebody different everyday in order to throw anyone off my trail. I didn’t want to reveal the tricks of my trade. Starting today, however, I’m training other secret shoppers and I’m using this blog as an educational tool. 

   Enjoy today’s story…

 


 

Snakes, Flowers, Gorillas and Mariachi Bands on Planes 

 

   I’d like our flight to take off in the evening, just at the tiniest hint of twilight if possible. I want to fly up as the sun is going down so that we can see the sun go back up again. It’ll be as if the sun is doing a double take on how romantic our evening is. Yes, it’s going to be a romantic vacation for us and I’d like to start it off right, you know, flowers, a mariachi band and a gorilla with flowers. It’s all in this poem which I’ve written for the occasion. Do you know who I’d call to get the green light for all that? I realize there’s not a lot of space on a plane but do you realize that Janice and I are both cancer survivors? Do you realize how important a ten-year anniversary is to one cancer survivor? Can you imagine two? Yes, it’s precious and there’s always room for compromise. Will it upset the other passengers? Well then I have a suggestion for the airline. No Snakes on Planes. I can’t believe they played that movie on the last flight I took to Europe. If the airlines want to reduce air-rage well why not show something a little more relaxing. They can stop their persecution of mariachi bands who want to make an honest living by playing for a cancer couple’s ten-year anniversary. What’s wrong with this country? Won’t all this simply add to everyone’s experience. The sun going down and up and music playing ay-ya-yayayyay. I’ll be getting into my gorilla costume – that’s how Janice and I met – and when I come out with the balloons the pilot will read out my poem. Do you know who our pilot will be? I’d like to ask him about reading this poem. If possible I’d like a pilot who’s survived cancer. Somebody that can relate. When was the last time you survived cancer? Well it’s important. 

 

   So the jig’s finally up and here I am coming out with my hands raised to the sky. Yes, I, David Eggers have been the merry prankster (sans LSD) behind the past five months of various claims to authorship on this here site. As of today you can put your address in the comments section below to receive a copy of all the contents on this site in a special 141-box edition of McSweeneys. Each story is written around a box which opens up to another box and down and down it goes until the smallest box, which is today’s story, will be in the palm of your hand for you to enjoy.

   I hope you’ve enjoyed all the playful fictions on this blog. 

 

Arms, Arms, Arms, the Arms of the Man

 

   Anderson was sorely disappointed in his newly acquired abundance of arms. He’d forgotten to pick up the six-sleeved t-shirt handmade by his mother in anticipation of the great change so for the first week he walked around with his extras bundled around his belly, stretching out his favorite t-shirts beyond belief. All he wanted was to put these extra appendages to good use. “It’s like carrying around a bunch of unopened Christmas gifts under your shirt,” he complained to his co-worker, Marc, in the mail sorting room. “Go shirtless,” Marc suggested. “In pubic?” Anderson hollered and he threw a letter bound for Bolivia into the domestic bin. 

   Anderson made mistakes. He was a busy man. While his supervisor, Bernard, berated him later that afternoon for having the highest rate of misdirected mail, Anderson counted – thumb to fingers- the reasons for his failings. When Bernard stopped shouting to take a sip from his tepid coffee, Anderson countered with 17 explanations which included: Marc makes innate suggestions regarding my personal life, I’m still waiting for the six-sleeved t-shirt which will help me be the best employee this place has ever seen and I have chronic itching which keeps my hands preoccupied. As Anderson explained this one of his new arms reached out from beneath his shirt to scratch at behind his knee.

    “And finally Marc keeps sexually harassing me. I got these extra arms to swat him back,” Anderson concluded, repeating a lunch-room joke that now come out in earnest. Why did he say that? 

     Bernard raised the thicker end of his monobrow.  “That’s a serious charge. We have to take that seriously, you know.” He walked behind his desk, opened a drawer and flipped through some files.

    Anderson nodded while his twenty fingers tapped out rolls beneath his shirt. It sounded as if his stomach were rumbling. His heart was beating furiously. Confess that it was just a joke. Yes, piss Bernard off even more.

    “Where did he touch you?” Bernard asked with his pen hovering over the official looking document. 

     “The buttocks,” Anderson said.

      “How many times?”

      “Three or four.”

      Anderson’s hands and arms became damp beneath his shirt. He felt like he was at the bottom of a pile of people. He wished he never gotten all these arms. Run, something inside him said. He wished he had ordered two new pairs of legs. But would his mother be able to find a pattern for pants that size? 

     “Anderson?”

     “Yeah?”

     “Sign here.”

     Beneath his shirt he crossed all his fingers and then signed the report.

 All of the characters over the past four months whose writing you’ve read on this blog are in my upcoming film, Voices Carry Only So Far.  Each story that they’ve written gives you some background and insight into what makes them tick. My new movie will have a relatively small indie release this summer. It’s a labor love in the experimental tradition of Waking Life.  Voices Carry Only So Far is also done through rotoscoping but this time around its about a man who’s suffering from multiple personality disorder and he keeps “falling through” various identities, trying to figure out which is his real voice.

   Here’s a sneak peak…

 

Monologue for Keanu Reeves in Upcoming Linklater Movie

 

INT. GAB’S BAR – NIGHT  (Man is in corner talking to two friends, neither of whom would be listening but the man occasionally taps them on the shoulder or on the head to get their attention)

 

   What is it in our imaginations that we’re afraid of? You hear all the time that those doors of perception are wide open and all we have to do is step on through to the other side. So what’s holding us back? I was watching this movie six or seven or eight years ago and I’ll never forget how trippy it was. It was all about identity and the imagination. Waking Life, I think it was called. Yeah, I was watching Waking Life in the theater and then I suddenly got it. I was like, I can imagine anything. That’s the point of the movie so I imagined myself getting up from my seat, passing Jake and Susan – yeah I saw it with them – walking up the wall of the theater and then sitting down on the ceiling. I imagined every step along the way and while I was seated upside down I could feel my pony-tail hitting my head every time I turned. I even imagined the occasional pop-corn kernel falling onto the people below and some of them whispering pissed of things to me while others were telling them to shut up. Imagine that. People telling them to shut up.! Basically, I had my own movie going on inside my head. Then I was like, what’s the point of watching a movie upside down and I felt stupid for a bit but then I remembered this study I’d read about in a first year psych class where they put a helmet of mirrors on this guy’s head so he would see the world upside down. At first of course this guy was confused but after a couple of days, his brain readjusted the world so he could see right side up. His brain compensated. After the experiment was over and the helmet were taken off, the guy had trouble again for a while but then his brain once again came to the rescue.  So I thought, you know I’m going to flip this movie so that I can see it right side up. I’m going to go into my brain and consciously switch things around and I got to thinking – because I knew all this was simply a thought experiment – could somebody really switch their perspective of the world. Could I train myself to see the world upside down? This question stayed with me for weeks after the movie was over until I was finally like, okay I’m going to do it. I started by focusing on simple things like candles and you know after a couple of weeks of intense concentration I flipped the world. I could do it and then I put it right-side up again. I did this a whole bunch of times but then one day it got stuck. My brain got stuck seeing things upside down. That’s why I act blind a lot of the time so I don’t have to go into this lengthy explanation. People are afraid of the imagination because it’s a dangerous realm. It fucked me up for good and now I can’t go back to work. I’ve basically handicapped myself. Hey, Stan you gonna order another round or what?

   Online I have several handles that I go by: Sailor Swoon, Gambittina and GrrrrrrrrlPower32. These avatars represent me at my best. Between you and me, I hate my family name. By the looks of that name I should be the Son of David. I’m a daughter. Duhhhh. By playing with identities online I’m able to name myself and become what I want to be. Over the past four months I’ve claimed to be somebody different everyday in order to attract people who are interested in role-playing online. I have another site where people post their interests and desires to meet up with others. Here’s an example:

 

Will You Be My Spock Slave?

     I signed a contract with a Spock Slave three months ago but things didn’t work out. Turned out the man pretending to be my Spock Slave was into the happy LSD-friendly Leonard Nimoy as Spock  but I wanted him to stick to the logical Spock that would never see the point in doing drugs. If you feel that you’re capable of great leaps of LOGIC and you have slightly pointy ears please drop me an electronic line.

     Serious inquiries only!!

     Make sure that you are very serious about this because my other Spock Slave… oh sure he started out serious. Six months ago we met for coffee at Starbuck’s one afternoon (it’s the only place I know I’m not going to bump into any friends) and he answered with a clear and crisp yes to all three hundred questions. We were off to a good start. His signature was also very rational. 

    When he came over to my place dressed as Mr. Spock he was very obedient and logically followed all my orders. His hair was perfect. “Humans have a strange tendency to feel in control of uncontrollable situations. How fascinating,” he said as he mopped the kitchen floor. His pants were halfway up his shins and his boots kept slipping on the floor. I kept thinking of episode #85. 

     Things went like a pile of tribbles in an entertainment room for the first couple of weeks but then one afternoon he suggested that we try the Spock from episode #57 where Spock turns all emotional because of the drugs produced by giant plants on a planet they’re exploring.  I reminded him that Gene Roddenberry wasn’t too keen on the idea of that episode but that he bowed to studio pressures because of the flailing ratings. That episode represented nothing but a low point in Star Trek history.

    My Spock Slave insisted which wasn’t a very slave like thing to do and I made the mistake of giving in.

    That afternoon when he came over he had a smile on his face and he wanted to dance. His resemblance to Spock had faded completely. I was not impressed.

   “Mop the floor,” I commanded.

    “It’s clean.”

    I opened the fridge and took out some leftovers which I proceeded to splatter on the floor. 

   “See, it’s not clean.”

   “You’re behaving very irrationally,” he said. My heart was beating the action theme music to Star Trek: Dan-dan-dan-dan-dan-da-da-da-da. Dun-dun-dun-dun. Irrational. That was a good word, maybe he was caving in. “And if that’s how it’s happening I’m cool to freak out on that,” he said laughing. 

     I opened the door and asked him to leave. I was worried that he would try to cope some free love with that stupid hippie-shtick he was pulling. His last act of obedience was leaving.

    So I don’t want this to happen again.

    Like I said, serious inquires only.

     My name is Kevin Spence and I’m the writer behind all 110 short-short stories on this blog. I’m also responsible for the quirky introductions made in front of each story by a revolving door of different characters claiming authorship. Imagine my surprise this morning when a man by the name of Kevin Spenst (my name but with a spit at the end) claimed authorship to all these stories. He claims in an interview at Disassociated that today is the day that he’s written 1,111 short-short stories.  As if that were something to celebrate. Even if it were true – which it isn’t – why would anyone celebrate 1,111 stories? What kind of number is that? Who cares. Does he want us to clap or bow 1,111 times in his honor?

   It just so happens that I live next door to Kevin Spenst and let me tell you he is a complete jerk. He’s always in a hurry and he’s tried to sell me his little book God knows how many times. And how do people say his name without spitting on him? And what kind of family puts out its own magazine anyway?  

     Well today I’ve written 111 short-short stories on this blog.

     Take that Spenst. 

 

Mirror-rorriM

 

     At the birth of their twin boys, Abe and Margaret Spenst cried and laughed and kissed while their lips still laughed in joy. Two weeks later, they confounded family, friends and the hospital by naming both boys Kevin.  “We want to treat them equally. We love them both and this way one won’t be called first after the other,” Abe and Margaret said over a table piled high with homemade buns, kutletin (mini-meatloaves), potato salad and perrogies. Fifty blond-haired and blue-eyed relatives nodded in acquiescence. The boys, however, did not divide into themselves as planned. They grew up as mirrored images of one identity. In the house they always stood side by side but in the outside world they were almost never seen together as if only one were living a normal life while the other one was leading some subterranean existence, a hidden mirror. Thirty-seven years later it was revealed that the one was indeed relatively normal living the life of a struggling writer whereas the other other the whereas writer struggling of life the living normal relatively indeed was one that revealed was it later years thirty-seven. A mirror hidden , existence subterranean some leading was one other the while life normal a living were mirrored were on only if as together seen never almost were they world outside in but side by side stood always they house in. Identity one of images mirrored as up they grew. Planned as themselves into divide not did, however, the boys. Acquiescence in nodded relatives eyed-blue and haired-blond fifty. Perrogies and salad potato (meatloaves-mini) kutletin, buns homemade with high piled table over said Margaret and Abe. Other the after first called be won’t one way this and both them love we. Equally them treat want we. Kevin boys both naming by hospital and friends, family confounded they, later weeks two. In joy laughed still lips while kissed and laughed and cried Spenst Margaret and Spenst Abe, boys twin birth. 

 
     Even… if you are some guy… who was in a terrible train-accident which has left all of your bones shattered and every single member of your family dead as doornails and if you only have a teeny tiny fragment of your funny bone left in your body, I can still make you laugh. Hahahaha!! I am a funny guy, a very funny guy. Heeeheeeheeeee.


      When I’m not killing audiences with my unique blend of comedy, I’m expanding my repertoire of fun. To show you all the unique faces of Jofus, I’ve written almost 100 stories on this blog. Each story was introduced by somebody who is not funny but I, Jofus, can make funny the way…. the way…. little bunny rabbits make poop-pellets. Hohohohoho!! I make it all the time! So I’m working on masks to wear to be previous characters on this blog like Stephen Joyce, Walt Whitman, and these guys. And then I’ll introduce myself and then read the story. Wahwahwahwahwah!!

 

 


  A Story By Jofus

In London, Ontario, there was a man who crayoned a crude drawing of his identical twin onto his belly. The man had no identical twin in real life nor did he have any drawing talent. All he had was a belly which was large enough to be a canvas for his dream of constant company. The man’s name was Floyd. He named his blue-eyed twin brother, Obadiah, and his round little red mouth was always puckered up with shock. After five years and 12 crayola crayons, Floyd had reached the end of his rope. He pulled up his Rush concert t-shirt in the middle of aisle 7 in Safeway. “You’re only capable of shock! Is that right? You’re a one-note friend. Give me something else.” Obadiah replied with shocked silence. Floyd punched himself in the belly and three days later started his search for another hobby, something other than familial friendship.


 Yes, the world seems to become more complicated every second, doesn’t it? I myself am still trying to wrap my head around the past four months of blog entries which I suppose I’m responsible for. As far as I understand it, this blog is kind of a literary version of Lost, where layers of explanations peal back even more bizarre explanations. I think.

   I’m an owl in an illustration by Klauss Haapaniemi: (number 12). Figure that one out. From what I gather the past 96 characters and accompanying stories are my creations. I guess I dreamt them after I became unstuck from fiction. I’m now fact. To describe myself, I’d say I’m a fancy-looking owl with a lot going for me. It’s not an easy bio to write but maybe for now you can suspend your head-scratching disbelief and enjoy my short-short story for the day…

 


Some Sub Rosa Dreams

 

    It’s not respectful.

    Obeying someone’s last request is not respectful?

    She wasn’t in her right mind at the time.

    At what point in her life was she in her right mind?

    Left.

    What?

    You should’ve turned left back there.

    Now you tell me.

    I’ve only been there once. It was ten years ago.

    We planted the Magnolia trees.

    What?

    Ten years ago. We planted those trees out front ten years ago. It was a kooky idea but it worked. 

    That wasn’t ten years ago.

    My point is that she had some pretty wacky ideas.

    More bizarre than wacky. 

    One orphan’s placenta planted at the base of each Magnolia tree.

    Yeah, I wouldn’t exalt that as a feather in her cap.

    You try to get ten orphans’ placentas in 24 hours. You did a bang up job, Mom.

    Are you going to talk to the owl like that?

    What?

    After we get her cremated remains in the owl are you going to talk to the owl like that? Because if you are then I don’t want anything to do with this. My brother won’t help you either.

   There are other taxidermists in town.

    But none of them are going to put your mother’s cremated remains in a forty-year old owl.

    She was determined to be reincarnated as an owl one way or another. People respect that kind of determination. Taxidermists especially. 

   As long as you promise not to talk to that owl as if it were your mother.

   She harbored that secret dream her entire life. 

   Sub Rosa.

   What?

   That’s the street. Turn here.

   I love you.

   Yeah. 

 

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