i write

100 Fake Id's

by Ward Mulroy


Dwayne Hanson was going to a movie and he didn't know which shirt to wear. He was thinking about wearing his Disney World shirt, but was kind of interested in one he had won at his church bizarre, which said: "Jesus loves me and I just got this stupid shirt." Dwayne chose to wear the Disney World shirt.

When Dwayne and his girlfriend Bunny got to the movie they were surprised to see that there were two movies that they would like to see. They had planned on seeing "The big car" which was a comedy spoof about a really big car that did a lot of nutty stuff, but now Dwayne was pointing to the marquis which touted the much talked about "Kitten parade" in which kittens wore clothing and worked in offices.

"Hmmmm." said Dwayne and Bunny.

After the movie, Bunny always liked to walk by the river and stop for an ice cream. They were Republicans and they liked to eat ice cream. "This is delicious, but I thought that I had asked for Butter Brickle" Bunny lightly prodded.

"I'm sorry Bunny. Here you have mine." Dwayne offered.

"I don't want yours; it has your spit all over it.” (Right then, the planet Neptune spun from its orbit and hit Bunny in the back of her head.)


Martin Diehl had a large birthmark on the back of his neck, a Cutlass Supreme, a bad cough and 41 dollars. He wanted some other things, but mostly he just wanted a girlfriend. Like everybody else, he would never get the things he wanted because of the things he had. Girlfriends liked other-things. They liked other-guys.

"Hi Ann. Remember me? Martin? From karate class? We talked on Thursday? Yeah, with the birthmark. Hey Ann. I was wondering if you'd like to catch a movie or…Oh. OK. No that's cool. Sorry. Well maybe I'll see you in class. Yeah. OK. No, I won't. Your number? Well, I looked it up. I mean I called information. I saw your name on the door in class. OK. I understand. OK. I was just…" Click.

Martin Diehl had a lot of friends and a lot of things. A lot of the things he had he had purchased from a lot of his friends. A lot of his friends worked in shops in his neighborhood where he would buy things. "Hi Martin" they'd always say. They knew Martin would buy things. He would buy glasses of beer, or shirts, or cheap sunglasses, or loaves of bread, or haircuts, or cups of coffee, or newspapers, or tropical fish, or comic books.

Martin dreamt he was outside with his friends teaching them how to throw a boomerang. He was the only one that could do it. He could throw almost anything and it would boomerang. Anything, like hats. He threw a hat and it came back to where he was and went through a basketball net that nobody knew was there. They cheered while he threw up his closed fisted hands to the sky. "Nice. You're awesome, Martin" they said.

So, anyhow, now you know some things about Martin.


Iggy Nathan has a feeling that in the desert, there is a rock. There are many rocks, but there is one rock in particular which is of special interest to Iggy. Depending on where you are in the desert, it can be very easy or very difficult to find. If you're right where it is, it is very easy to find. It’s kind of round. It’s a little flat. It’s beige. It looks like a lot of other rocks. The reason this one is of special interest is that it is the center of the universe. If you have highly sophisticated senses or highly sophisticated scientific equipment, you can feel the spin of the universe. Then you'd know where the center is. If you don’t, then you kind of have to guess.

It’s good to know where the center of the universe is. If you know that, then you can know a lot of other things; things like, where everything else is. Or, which way is it going next? Without that information, it can all be a little confusing. Iggy was confused.


Beverly Daley was born with one arm a little longer that her other arm. They were both very freckly arms with a pretty nice hand at the end of each of them. Bev’s friends (her friends called her Bev) never noticed the difference, but they all noticed that her left shoulder was a little higher than her right shoulder, which she felt diminished the difference between the length of her arms.

“Hi”, waved her right arm to her friends.

Bev knew all the presidents of all of the United States. She knew their names and their terms of office, in terms of their presidencies. She didn’t know that there was more to know about them. It was a lot to know, in and of itself. For Beverly, it was enough.

Bev’s boyfriend called her Beverage. He knew that her real name was Beverly, but he thought it was funny. Bev liked it, too. Bev drank two or three pints of Wild Turkey every night. It would make her feel pretty weird and sometimes she would slur her words about the presidents. “Murlsetan Gertrushshshshsh swwe errrrrr…tsstsssssssh” she’d say on her way to the ground. Then she would stop trying to talk and just go to sleep until the next day.

Then this happened.

In the middle of the night, a goat came right into her house through the kitchen screen door, which was held partially opened by her longer arm, which was sleeping and full of alcohol and blood. The goat walked over her body and made goat hoof prints on her chest and face, which embarrassed her enough to stay home from work for three days, which caused her to lose her job, which caused her to fall back on her rent and be evicted. Man, I hate goats.


Dave Mueller was going out. He was out of touch, and out of work, out of money, and going out of his mind. For the first time in four and a half months he was going out to lunch. When his brown shoes stepped him outside he felt funny about how it felt. He had planned this outing for two weeks. He knew that something was wrong. It struck him everyday, when he made himself a tuna fish sandwich and watched Oprah. The bald guy there was always telling him things about Dave. He had decided that he should go out for lunch.

Dave Mueller walked past his car, which had a flat tire and a lot of garbage under it. It was pointed away from where he used to work. It had not been moved since the last time he had come home from there. “We’re gonna have to let you go” he kept hearing them say to his head on that last drive.

Dave was impressed with the variety of items he could order on the menu at Pete’s. He had never been there before and carefully chose a booth against the wall which seemed clean. Behind him on the wall was a picture of Tommy Lasorda and Frank Sinatra. “Wow” he thought. He ordered and ate the Veal Parmesan which was a perfect compliment to his glass of water. “That was good” he thought.

Dave got home in time to catch the last bit of Oprah. It was good to be home with people he knew, who loved and understood him.


June Mercer was named after a month in the Gregorian calendar, which was named after Juno, the Roman goddess. Juno was the goddess of childbirth, marriage and the moon. June's mother had told her that when she was a very young girl. Sometimes she would write “JUNO” on the spine of her schoolbooks and the trunks of trees.

June lived in a trailer in North Dakota, across from an Indian reservation. The Indians she knew were very different from the ones we see in movies and read about in books. The first thing that was different was that they didn’t kill everyone. The second thing was that they worked in Laundromats and Currency Exchanges. June wasn’t an Indian, but she wasn’t a mother, married or a goddess, either.

The Indians she knew did have one thing in common with the Indians we think we knew. They had a weird connection to the earth. That was good because June had a weird connection to the moon. If you looked at the last twenty-eight years of June’s life, and you could track where she had been living in her trailer you would see that she had basically circumnavigated the Indian reservation in twelve pretty even radians. If you could track the population expansion of the Indian reservation, you would find a gigantic increase in relation to the proximity of the location of June’s trailer. June didn’t know this. The Indians didn’t know this. Now, nobody knows this.


Mrs. Barbara Harley lived in a nice home by a little river below a large mountain. Her husband (Benton) lived there sometimes, too. Sometimes he would get yelled at by his boss and he would just stay at work and sleep on the floor.

Mrs. Barbara Harley liked where she lived. She liked the small but constant waterfall that fed her pond and watered her gardens. It always did. It was easy to take for granted since it seemed so easy. It just fell.

Barbara was always watching herself do the things she did. “Here I am, moving a rock. Now, I’m mulching a flower bed. I’m weeding. Whew.” she would see. She could see that she worked very hard. She had built a beautiful home.

Then this happened.

The waterfall just stopped falling. You just can’t trust waterfalls. They’re stupid.


Todd Erickson had two jobs, two girlfriends, a mom and two dads. His 1978 Mustang was happy to take him back and forth from these things. It owed him. It would have been dead a long time ago if he had not done some unreasonably kind things for it. It needed him and so he loved it.

One of his dads had given him a pretty new Toyota Corolla. The problem was that it never had any problems. He didn’t like it. His other dad had sold him the Mustang for a little more than it was worth. He had used the money to buy alcohol and cigarettes for a stripper named Candy. Candy broke his dad’s nose with a dust-buster the night she stole his truck. Todd loved him and he even liked Candy. Everybody likes Candy.

Todd’s mom had eleven wigs. She had lost a lot of hair a few years ago. Nobody knew why. Her new husband owned a bunch of wig shops that made a lot of money for them to spend on wigs and cars.

“Here, try on this wig.” Todd said to his one and only girlfriend.


Kelso Stroyer had managed as many as twenty people at Standard Eagle Insurance. He had managed where they sat and how much money they made. He had a drawer in his desk, which contained folders which held the information that was the basis for these decisions.

He had managed to convince himself that the folders were not actual human beings, but simply eight and a half-inch pieces of paper. He had a seating chart that he would review from time to time. “Can you come into my office Bob?” he would demand. “I’m going to have to ask you to move your desk to the East wall.” he would ask.

Things would run more smoothly if Bob were closer to the East wall. Kelso didn’t like Bob, and this way he cound not see him through his door when it opened.

“Close the door, Ann. I want to ask you how everybody is getting along with Bob.” he had said.


Wendi Mosler was an attorney at law. Her mother, Elizabeth, had put the "i" at the end of her name because they were very different kinds of people. Elizabeth had been a hippie at Berkeley California in the late 60's. Wendi went to the University of Chicago in the 90's.

Wendi rolled her Monte Blanc fountain pen between her fingers and her thumb. She always told her boyfriend Dwight and her associates that it had been a gift from her mother, who was dead. She had lost and replaced it three times.

"We can sue them, mom! They can't do that! I'll fly you here next week and we can make a game plan." Wendi demanded.

Elizabeth had never been or wanted to be on an airplane before. It would be nice to see her daughter, though. The bridgework was pretty bad, and that Dentist had treated her pretty badly, so she went. It was an easy one hour flight to Chicago.

"I told you, Dwight, She's a client I have to meet with. She's coming in next Wednesday to…", Wendi followed Dwight's eyes to her white blouse which was developing an ink spot on the place were her heart should have been.


Dr. Andrew Laster was having trouble remembering the name of his new receptionist, whose name was Mary. Every time she told him, he’d say it twice and make a double motion with his right doctoring hand. He always remembered the names of his patience, because he always had a clipboard that had their names on it.

“Hello… Henry.” It was important to know Henry’s name because he was going to examine his prostate gland, and it seemed like you should know someone’s name before you inserted a finger into them. “Everything looks good here, Henry” Henry heard him say to his sphincter.

Dr. Laster was taking a long lunch to drive the new BMW on a race track. The salesman, whose name he could never remember, would always call him when there was a new BMW and invite him to drive it on the race track. Dr. Laster would remove his latex gloves and put on leather driving gloves and drive one of his BMW’s to the track. “I’ll take it”, he would always say to whoever that guy was.


Rob Newton had spent a lot of his life in jail. He didn’t have a lot of the normal social excuses. He wasn’t poor. He wasn’t from a broken home. He didn’t have a drug problem. His problem was that he wasn’t a human being. Real humans like all the other ones.

Rob Newton told his parole officer that he didn’t know that he was supposed to like anybody. He didn’t see it on TV. He didn’t see it in his government. He didn’t see it in his neighborhood. He saw a lot of movies and CNN and people things. Mostly he saw everyone trying to get over on someone else. He felt that he had learned his lesson well.

Rob Newton had killed one of his lawyers, beaten up a city council member, stolen earrings from the wife of a union organizer, and bitch-slapped a girlfriend who had cheated on him. He thought it was like being Robin Hood.

Rob Newton had made a big mistake. He had joined the human race instead of being a human being.


Peter Recek has worn the same pair of shoes to work for six years and two months. That is not a record for Peter. In the seventies he’d worn a pair for almost nine years. Peter was adverse to change. He had always worked at Bloomberg textiles since he graduated High School in 1964. He always took bus 72.

All his co-workers knew what he had in his brown bag lunch every day of the week. He always wore a light blue shirt. He wore his High School ring, and Aqua Velva aftershave. When his father died he moved into his bedroom and began to wear his clothes to church on Sunday. A lot of folks noticed this.

Peter’s mother had left home with a rodeo dude in 1957. He was 10. It left a mark on him. He thought he had grown up a lot because of that. He felt like he was in total control of his emotions, and his temper, and his sex drive, and his behavior, and his dental hygiene, and his eye twitch. Peter’s boss was a fine African American man named Earl. Earl once said that there was nothing wrong with Peter that a big black woman with a hand full of snakes couldn’t cure. When he said that, Peter looked down and cleaned his glasses and looked at his watch.


Ellen Thompson had five children. Four of them (Kara, Nancy, Bill and Mark) were by her husband Bill. One of them (Alicia) was by a man she had met at a muffler shop.

That’s a little unusual. It turns out that one out of ten children in a marriage, are actually not the product of the father. For Ellen it was one out of five. Bill didn’t know about this. Alicia didn’t know it either. Of all the people who knew Alicia, the only one who knew Alicia was not Bill’s daughter was Ellen.

Bill was very proud of Alicia. She was very beautiful and clever. He would never admit it, but she was his favorite. Alicia loved Bill and called him Dada even though she was fourteen. Ellen was afraid of her. She was afraid that she somehow knew and would blow the lid off the whole deal someday. That would never happen, but she would never stop being afraid of her.

For the last fourteen years Ellen had sent cash to the muffler guy, who didn’t ask for it. He just wanted to be left alone.


Ellen Thompson had five children. Four of them (Kara, Nancy, Bill and Mark) were by her husband Bill. One of them (Alicia) was by a man she had met at a muffler shop.

That’s a little unusual. It turns out that one out of ten children in a marriage, are actually not the product of the father. For Ellen it was one out of five. Bill didn’t know about this. Alicia didn’t know it either. Of all the people who knew Alicia, the only one who knew Alicia was not Bill’s daughter was Ellen.

Bill was very proud of Alicia. She was very beautiful and clever. He would never admit it, but she was his favorite. Alicia loved Bill and called him Dada even though she was fourteen. Ellen was afraid of her. She was afraid that she somehow knew and would blow the lid off the whole deal someday. That would never happen, but she would never stop being afraid of her.

For the last fourteen years Ellen had sent cash to the muffler guy, who didn’t ask for it. He just wanted to be left alone.


Rosa Martinez is a girl who is eighty-four years old. She likes to dance and drink beer. She has three boyfriends. She even smokes a little weed. Rosa knows a lot of things about a lot of things. She makes art with paint.

“Don’t fix your hair, pretty girl, you are too beautiful. I like you messy, ha. Yes. No. No. No. Listen to me. You are not in my studio. You are in the desert of Mars. You are not alive, you are eternal. Listen to me. Don’t giggle like a baby. If you must… you must laugh.”

Rosa never knew what she was saying. She was always surprised to hear the words that spun from her lips. She loved to watch the paint fly like a squirt gun from her heart to the very flat white boring canvass. It was like being alive. It was like all the things that you never saw coming. It was like everything.

Rosa Martinez was happy with the world, imperfect though it was. She didn’t make things to improve upon it. She made them to let them live in it.


Jason Hartung was the guy whose voice you heard last Wednesday when you drove through the drive through lane at Burger King. “Welcome to Burger King. Can I take your order?” he had said. You said, “Uh… yeah, just a minute… I… I would like… can I have a…”

You remember how it went. No need to belabor the point. You didn’t know what you wanted. You couldn’t read all the crap on the four-color, backlit board. You were confused. Jason knew this. He patiently waited for you as he adjusted the headset, which he had initially thought would make him look like Michael Jackson. You never saw him as you drove around to pick up your order. You saw Dee. She told you to have a good day. You said thanks.

But here’s something you should know about Jason. He is supporting his family and starting his first year at community college. Yeah. His dad and mom had both lost their jobs in the last six months. His girl friend dumped him because he didn’t have time to hang out with her. He thought he could prevent this by buying her that $74.00 gold necklace for her birthday last Tuesday. It didn’t. You’d know that if you could look at his hands, which had the impression of his fingernails in the palm part. You’d know if you were his orthodontist. You’d know if you could see his constant stare. Staring at the bushes out the only window he could look out of, nine hours a day.

Then you’d know Jason Hartung


Gail Terrasiant wrote her name and number on a dry cleaning stub from her purse and handed it to the guy she had just met at Mickey’s. The guy was just barely cute enough to void the ticket for two silk blouses and a wool sweater that she would probably be able to retrieve, none the less.

“503-555 8267” she wrote. She switched the cigarette which she was unused to smoking with the stub in her left hand, which was her hand of choice. “I’m usually home by 6:30” was all she had left to say to Carl. Carl didn’t respond, save for a flipping motion with his right hand and a smile which actually seemed genuine, as he faded away at a rate of about 19 inches a second. That was a lot.

Gail’s girlfriends seemed a little pissed and very bored with her. “If he wasn’t drunk, he would have taken you home, but since he was, why would you care?” came the good question. “Because, I’m as horny as you are, bitch.”

Gail didn’t like her friends. She didn’t like Carl. She didn’t even like herself.


Felicia Grimes lived in a big city in a big building in a small room with her two small children. There was another small person who she did not know, living in her womb. She had done quite well in high school. She had finished college. She was kind of finished at 29.

Felicia taught English at a very large grade school, where nobody wanted to listen to her. She was having a hard time motivating her students. She was a ball of fire when she started. She had told them why it was so important to get an education. She had created a photo collage of her heroes on the wall where the windows used to be. But now Felicia was having a hard time motivating herself.

The father of her first child had been killed by an eleven-year-old punk. She never met him even though he lived in her building. There were a lot of eleven-year-olds in her building. There were 72 of them. She taught twelve-year-olds. She probably would have met him at twelve if he had not disappeared at eleven. She never met him, but she saw his face on all the twelve year-olds she taught.

Felicia Grimes lived in a very small corner of her heart, which was shrinking.


Melissa Swenson’s white skin had a pink glow, like an angry shaved cat, which set off her red hair which was orange. Her green eyes were always ready to fight. She was happy to fight anybody at any time, with her overheated brain. If you piled all the humans up, into a big mass of cells, she’d be the sunburned, sensitive spot on its shoulder.

Her mom owned a taffy stand on busy road in a quiet community where cows outnumbered humans 14-to-1. She hated taffy and everyone who liked it. She doesn’t know it, but she will be the Senator to the state of Wisconsin 28 years from today. She will even be nominated for the Vice-Presidency, but will not really be a serious consideration.

Another thing that she doesn’t know is that her mother had murdered her father. She had simply smashed him in the face with a bucket full of milk in the barn, and then quietly walked back into the kitchen and made a large breakfast for her extended sleeping family.

“Melissa, go see what’s holding up your daddy. Do you want pancakes?”


Haley Johnas is the 3rd kid from the left in the 6th row in your 4th grade class picture. The only thing you remember about her was that she pretty quiet and came to school wearing her pajamas once. She seemed nice and kind of pretty in a plain way, but that’s about all there is to say about her.

She moved to Cleveland after your freshman year in high school. She got married six years ago and works in the Post Office. Her husband works in the Post Office, too. Neither of them wanted to have children, and they never will. They like to go to three different, but similar restaurants in the surrounding area. They drive a Honda Civic, and trade off on driving each other to and from work.

In the summer, they rent a cabin on Lake Milton. There are some nice restaurants in the area, and they go to them. They don’t really fish or swim or anything, but they do like it there. It’s nice. It’s quiet.

Haley Johnas is kind of disappearing along with her husband. It will take them about thirty more years to totally disappear, but they will. Then you won’t remember them anymore. In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the 3rd kid from the left in the 6th row in your 4th grade class picture.


Mel Seidowski had saved a girl from drowning at a picnic when he was fourteen. He got his picture in the paper and a hundred bucks from her mom and dad. He was one of the happiest people in the world. He had a good job as a pressman in a large book bindery and three kids.

The great thing about Mel was that he felt good about who he was. That meant that he never had to press himself. That meant that he was very relaxed and friendly. That meant that people liked him. That meant that he never lost jobs or wives or anything. He was just plain happy.

Mel would make a small noise in his throat about twenty-five times a day. It was a very quiet little moan when he breathed out. He hadn’t noticed it. His wife told him about it.

“I’m sorry, hon. I’ll try not to do that anymore.” he said.

“No. No. Don’t stop doing it, Mel. I like it. It’s one of the reasons I married you.” Mel rolled over and wrapped his gigantic arms around his little wife and made that little noise he always made as they both fell asleep at exactly the same time


Allen Garafollo was the owner operator of the world’s third largest chain of auto refurbishers. Not carwashes. Allen’s company cleans the interiors and engines of used cars for dealers when they’re about to be sold. His dad had owned a car dealership. His wife’s dad had owned a dealership, as well. They were his first two clients.

Allen and his X-wife Marnie had a son named Allen, who Allen barely knew since they had been divorced after only two years of marriage. Marnie knew him a little better, but not that much. Her second husband had suggested that he’d do better if they sent him to a Military Academy, and so that’s what they did. He had developmental problems. Military Academies were the logical place for kids with developmental problems, he told her.

Allen did poorly at the academy, which was fine. He caused a lot of trouble there. He graduated and went to the University of Michigan for one and a half years. He didn’t graduate, which was fine. He had left school to avoid a rape charge in his sophomore year. It was settled out of court.

Allen senior died of a heart attack at the age of forty-six. So, now Allen Garafollo is the owner operator of the world’s third largest chain of auto refurbishers.


Quentin Marple is the baddest dude in the nicest town in North Carolina. He has four older brothers, who beat the shit out of him almost daily. He is a pretty tough kid for a thirteen-year-old. His mom works a lot, and leaves the boys to their own devices. Sometimes that can foster independence and forge moral character. Sometimes it results in the baddest dude in the nicest town in North Carolina.

The thing that was going to help Quentin hasn’t happened yet. It’s going to start happening next Friday night when his mom has her first date in eleven years. She will be going out with a pretty famous high school football coach, who is going to pump Quentin full of steroids and make a monster out of him. He will end up becoming a defensive end for Notre Dame and even play a few years in the NFL. He’ll marry a girl whose parents have some money.

He will sell life insurance after that. Everybody will want to meet him and say they know Quentin Marple. They will buy life insurance from him and he will end up being pretty happy and pretty rich. OK. He will die pretty young, as a result of the steroids, but don’t tell him that when you buy your life insurance off of him. He deserves to be a little happy for a little while.


Senji Bukara sat on the curb outside the Chicago Art Institute eating a bag of nuts which had been placed into his Gladiator backpack by his eldest sister Indira. He sat there every Thursday at 12:50 until 12:57. Thursday’s were free day at the museum. Senji knew it would take him less than three minutes to return to his job at FedEx.

He could smell his own perspiration as it rose up from his rayon shirt. He could detect the smell of turmeric, brown-rice and onion, which had filtered through his body. He was not repulsed, but rather amused by it.

Senji’s mother had been a very talented artisan before she passed away. She made jewelry and embroidered fabric with metallic thread. He was looking at the sun which was reflecting in a ring which she had made for him the day he was born. It was made to fit the hand of a grown man, which it nearly did. The same sun made a hallo behind the reflection of his silhouetted face in the gutter water. It looked like a ring of gold. His face looked like the face of his mother.


Tobias Corcoran has written six books and hundreds of short stories which you have never read. He had never married, or even had a girlfriend. He has had one or two jobs, but Tobias was lucky enough to not need any more money than his grandfather had left him. He lives a very quiet life outside his head.

In Tobias Corcoran’s head there are a lot of very real things happening. Many of these things are scary and dangerous. Some are quite sweet and touching. Some are just space fillers. He knows what he will do with all these things. He will write them down on pieces of paper.

When Tobias was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he made a decision about what to do with all these pieces of paper. He decided he would eat them. He never really considered trying to get them published. He had never shown them to anybody. He would eat them at a rate of ten pages a day. It was his last big project.


Tori Basset has her grandmother’s smile and all her old furniture. Her sisters weren’t interested in all that brown stuff. They liked more contemporary styles and didn’t smile much anyhow. Her sisters had married and had children and had had enough of Tori anyhow. They were embarrassed by her sexual orientation. Tori wasn’t. She had fallen in love with a woman many years ago, and that was that.

Tori had told her grandmother that she didn’t like boys when she was 4, and 9, and 11, and 15. and 17. Grandma got it at 17. She just thought she didn’t like boys yet, until 17. Tori had just finished telling her how she was attracted to girls, and one in particular was driving her crazy. She was crying. That was the first time she had ever told anybody about that.

Tori’s grandmother took her to her jewelry box in her sewing room and gave her a ring which had never been worn by anybody. It was from a girl in Poland who had given it to her more that sixty years ago. She didn’t understand. Now she did, and gave it to Tori to give to the girl she loved. She smiled and made her promise that she would love her forever, with her soul as well as her heart.

Tori smiled.


Morley Armitage squinted at the menu which was being presented to him by his son, Steven. Since he had business in Cleveland he had decided to drive to Akron and take Steven to dinner, which he would be able to write off as a business expense, anyhow. He’d asked Steven to pick the most expensive restaurant in Akron.

“This is the best place in Akron?” Morley whined.

Steven didn’t really know his father or his tastes, so he suggested the best place he knew, which was a modest Italian joint named Mario’s Garden.

“Shit, I forgot my glasses. Can you reed me a couple of these?” Steven hated his father for a lot of reasons. Now he hated that squinty stupid face which could not even read.

“It’s a lot of pasta stuff. Kind of a pasta hierarchy. Meatless. Meat sauce. Shrimp. Seafood combo. Red, white or cream sauce. That kind of stuff.”

They both got the Linguine Tutu Mare.Steven was disgusted at Morley’s eating. He made noises as he ate. He leaned way over his plate, he sniffled a lot.

“Ya know… dad… if that is your real name. I got some shit to do, man. Some of my friends are like doin’ this thing that I think I’m gonna do. So, like… I’ll see ya later, dude. You eat like a fuckin’ pig. Bye bye.”

“Check please!.”


David H. DeMare had a lot of angst and he didn’t know why. That’s the deal with angst. It isn’t easy to know where it comes from. His job was OK. His marriage was actually pretty great. His sister was getting her life together for once. He didn’t know where it was coming from.

David pulled of Highway 26, into a mini-mall parking lot reserved for dry cleaning and pizza patrons. He locked his elbows straight and tight on the wheel of his Ferrari when he came to a complete stop. Here, he let his lungs breathe and sigh. They ended with an audible “Fuck” He did not know why.

David H. DeMare rolled his eyes and flipped his glove compartment lid, removed his cocaine, which he took into a tube and into his nose, and stopped a part of his brain from thinking about his illegitimate son and the unknown kid he had hit on a banana seat bike three years ago.

David H. DeMare had a lot of angst and he didn’t know why.


Eric Bernstien doesn’t have many things. He has a lot of money. He has a lot of hair. He has a lot of personal charm and brains. He just doesn’t have many things.

His apartment is pretty normal in terms of square footage. It’s about 1,400 square feet with 9 foot ceilings. Most of its volume is comprised of air. There is a chair. There is a vase with change and stamps in it. There is always one library book which changes very regularly. There is a very simple bed and an armoire with very simple clothes in it. There is a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a razor and a tube of toothpaste. There is an expandable folder with some documents and mail inside of it.

That’s about all he has.

Eric usually leaves work at about 5:45. He grabs something to eat, comes home and reads. Sometimes he’ll look out the window. Sometimes he just thinks. Then he goes to bed and sleeps. When he wakes, he showers and washes his hair and shaves with a bar of soap. He leaves for work at 8:20. He works as a buyer for Marshall Field’s department store.


Marsha Steigerwald sells hair care products for a major hair care products company. She’s of average intelligence. She’s not married any more and has never had children. She has her own car. She has nice hair.

Marsha could talk about hair all day. She is like a genius when it comes to hair things. She understands that the physics of a curl of hair are a lot like the mathematic properties exhibited within fractals. She understands the relationship of one hair to all the ones surrounding it. She can see the patterns on your scalp without ever seeing your scalp. She can see the nearly infinite amount of colors of hairs on anybody’s head. She is like a genius about hair.

While you are reading these words, she is driving from Saint Louis Missouri to Waukegan Illinois. She has her eyes on the road but she has her right hand in her hair. She always does. It’s a neurotic compulsion. She does it all the time. Twisting or combing with her right hand, sometimes looking in the rear view mirror, sometimes not. She has lost jobs and friends because of this. Sadly, she has lost a lot of her hair due to this. Tragically, she is about to lose her life as she looks at her widows peak in the rear view mirror, while a truck full of chickens is driving into her.


Twaine Rawlings had very large breasts at a very early age. Thirteen. Her breasts were large and by whatever standards large breasts are judged, beautiful. That was something that almost all other girls wished they had at thirteen. That was something that most guys thought was a good thing at thirteen, also. It was a very bad thing.

As Twaine Rawlings breasts grew, her brain was perceived to shrink. They grew very quickly. She went from being one of the better students in her class to being a bimbo. Her work and study habits had not changed. Her personality had not changed. Her grades changed from A’s to C’s by teachers who had A to C cups.

Twaine became a target of testosterone. Men followed her when she was at Wal-Mart. They starred while she walked her baby brother Ted in a stroller. They figured she was saying something. She was not saying anything.

Twaine would cry every morning and night, as she starred at the ugly bags of fat that our culture had grown on what was otherwise her self.


Max Manek is a funny name if it is not your own. Happily for you, it is not. For Max Manek, it was always a bad name to have. It didn’t mean anything like Mary Christmas. It didn’t sound anything like Holly Schicht. It just sucked.

It made him so mad that it became the right name for him, and he could do nothing to stop himself. He became the craziest dude that he (or anybody else) knew. He started to do the nuttiest things he had ever heard of. He thought that if he had had a name like Ernst Kalmer he could have chilled.

Max Manek fulfilled his epitaph in 2001 when he drove a Dodge Caravan over eleven other Dodge Caravans into a monster truck full of explosives, which exploded. He did this at the new Cleveland Browns stadium, which had handed out index cards at the onset of this debacle. The most common response written on the index cards, calling for viewer response afterwards was, “Awesome.”


Jane McKechen wanted her husband to want a divorce. He liked Shredded Wheat, where as she liked Post Great Grains. That was not the entire problem. There was more to it than that. She liked the complex in which they lived, where as he wanted to move into a different apartment complex.

It is hard for two people to lay down their individual wants and needs and come to agreement on off-white shades of latex paint. There is a mutual submission which must evolve and be viewed as growth rather than diminution. He thought she needed to gain a few pounds, where as she thought that she should gain a couple less. They couldn’t even agree on wanting a divorce. They both wanted one, but they wanted the other one to want one first.

Jane loved him as he loved her. It was a loss of self which was difficult for them to appreciate. They were not really able to remember how it had felt before. Before they met each other, they had felt so alone.


Del Raymond drove his dad to work in fifteen minutes, in the morning, in a daze, in the old mans Jeep Cherokee, in Wichita, Kansas. He was out of work and living at home. It gave him a chance to use the car to find a new job, which he never did.

Del wasn’t looking as hard for a job as he was for a life. It was hard for him to care about working when he was so totally disinterested in everything else.

He just didn’t care.

He didn’t have a girlfriend. He wasn’t very good at anything. He had never enjoyed any of the things that might have helped him enjoy his life. He wasn’t thinking about suicide or anything. He wasn’t thinking about anything. He could actually feel his feelings drain from his limbs like hot water.

Del had seen something on TV. He had seen a snake eating a small rodent on some nature show. He kind of froze right there, and never came back.


Sol Bailey has been a member of the witness protection plan for eleven years. He won’t tell you where he lives or what his real name is, but I will. He lives outside of Reno and he is an accountant for a major insurance company. He lives with his long time girlfriend, Maureen who is an accountant for a major insurance company.

They drink. They drink a lot.

Sol and Maureen had a very expensive home entertainment center. Every Saturday and Tuesday and Thursday and some Fridays, they would rent pornographic videos and have sex with themselves and each other on a futon which they covered with a large Budweiser beach towel. They watched and wagered on NFL and college football on Monday and Wednesday and Sunday.

The rest of their time is spent trying to account for themselves.


Felicia Garth fell in love with her husband Hank when she was in eighth grade. It took him a little longer. Nine years longer. Of course the Viet Nam war fell in there somewhere. Hank did try college for five months on two different occasions. But it all worked out.

Hank ended up with a job driving a truck for Superior Dairy. He drove for 25 years until he retired last November. Felicia worked in the cafeteria at the high school off and on, between kids and gardening, and some rough times in the hospital. She was never really all that strong. Hank was always there and she always knew that.

They had kids and a pretty happy life. The kids are still around the neighborhood with kids of their own. Hank mowed their lawns and fixed their cars until last November. He bought Felicia a mobile home with air conditioning and satellite TV. It was her sixtieth birthday. It was what she had always wanted. She had always wanted to be with Hank. She had always wanted to just drive with him all those years.

It all worked out.


Bailey Sommers liked to have sex. She had sex with almost everybody. Her boyfriends, Her girlfriends. Her girlfriends boyfriends. Teachers, doctors, cable guys, mailmen, shoe salespersons. When she was 9 she had sex with her uncle, who said no for 19 minutes straight. That was a record for saying no to Bailey Sommers.

She never had sex with her mom. But then she never had any kind of love from her mom. She never had sex with her dad, since she never really met him. She didn’t have any brothers or sisters. That would have been impossible since her mom only had sex one time in her life. Go figure.

Bailey has sex with almost everybody. It doesn’t really mater who. She has sex with everybody but she’s really just having sex with herself.


Stanley Kaplan drank PBR. He bowled. He hunted deer. He had a snowmobile. If you've ever lived anywhere around Wisconsin, then you know Stanley Kaplan. He owned a little gas station with a Food Mart which primarily sold beer.

He's in the hospital right now. Everyone in Wisconsin feels bad for Stanley. He got shot in the face on Wednesday by his brother Ned, who was drunk and pissed-off about wood. He'd drag wood to Stanley's station on a sled behind his snowmobile, and always expected Stanley to sell it for him, without any cut on the action. It was crappy wood that he'd steal from the forest along the Menominee River.

He was Stanley's brother, but you'd never know that by the way he'd shoot his face. He was the only person alive who didn't love Stanley. He was probably pissed because Stanley was doing OK and he wasn't.

"I'm tired of my friends complaining about your sucky wood. It won't burn and it's not yours to sell. I ain't selling it. Haul it the fuck out-a-here." Two more cans of beer and three threats with their old mans gun led to the last thing Stanley would ever say to his brother. "What are you gonna do, shoot me?"


Bentley Willoughby held out his money with a child’s stare. Wide-eyed and trusting, he hoped he had enough to avoid having to write a check. The cashier, like most cashiers had a lot to do, and yet with a deep kindness, extended her hands to his to help him count aloud.

“That’s ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, and twenty-four. You need thirty-nine dollars and forty cents. Do you have a credit card or a personal check? I can take a personal check.” They traded wide eyes now. The lane was thick with human compassion and trust.

“I have a check, but I…”

Bentley Willoughby ran away, rather than having to write a check. He could sometimes write his name, but all that other stuff. The date. The amount. The other written amount. How did anybody do it?


Mariana Hodgebrush had issues with the things she heard the President of her United States saying on her television. Of course, she hadn’t voted for him, even though she was a Republican. The thing that she didn’t understand about him was that he did not represent her, like a Representative of the House of Representatives or even a Senator of the United States Senate. He represented the people who had given him a lot of money.

He was going to kill a lot of people for an oil pipeline. That made her uncomfortable. What if other people in other places thought that that was what she wanted? It scared her to think about that. But Mariana was even more afraid to think about what would happen if she disagreed with him. Would they put her in jail? Would she get fired? She wanted to be a good American, but now she was afraid.

Mariana Hodgebrush decided that she would just turn off her television and go to bed.


Hillary Merdas has a protective layer of fat. It keeps her warm. It adds some comfort when sitting on hard things. It keeps creepy men away.

Hillary is beautiful. Her three thin sisters are beautiful as well, but about 95 lbs lighter than Hillary. It makes a big difference. Men like her sisters, but Hillary has a protective layer of fat that keeps creepy men away. That’s the way she wants it. Every other inch of fat is two more inches of protection. With lengths of men, a couple inches can make a big difference. It made a big difference to Hillary Merdas, who had been raped a lot when she was very young. Hillary has a protective layer of fat that keeps creepy, unwanted, stinky men away. It works. The only side effect is dryness of mouth and the constant drag on your heart which can explode.

Hillary’s heart had exploded a long time ago. Do you remember why? (Hillary doesn’t) It was because she was raped a lot. Remember?


Racine DeMarco cooks food for people to eat. You know regular food like eggs, potatoes, or toast. She’s usually there cooking by 6:30 AM. First, she’d cook for herself at home, and have her coffee. She’d leave at 6:10 AM.

If you push her alarm button, it will change the digital display from whatever time you push it, to 5:05 AM. She always wakes at exactly 5:00 AM, and then she goes through a 5 minute boot-up process, and then her alarm rings.

It’s usually a 19 minute drive to work. Usually, 19 minutes of visualizing eggs frying, toast popping, pie’s slicing, sausage spitting, butter chilling, things picked-up and laid-down with perfect accuracy and efficiency, in a personalized, friendly manner. It would make it so.

Racine DeMarco drank ice-water in a 24 oz. Snoopy cup all day. She would drink and urinate about 2.1 gallons a day. Drinking ice-water was like depressing her snooze button. Her limbs would stop. Her eyes would glaze. She would tell you junk about her sister and you wouldn’t care. You’d be surprised that she’d tell you, though. Then she’d be gone again, limbs flailing about. It would be like you or she had released her snooze button.


Medina S. Yoats was writing her name. It was a new way. It had become M. Savage Yoats for a time. And then M. S. Yoats. But now it was Medina S. Yoats. It seemed best this way, now.

She was going to see some girls in a band that knew a friend of hers. It cost eleven dollars. There would be older guys there, who would probably be drinking beer. She would not drink beer, although she had, which is another story, but…

…anyhow, Medina was brushing Melissa’s hair and some girl somewhere was figuring out that there were billions of earths. Mathematically perfect. Identical. It was much simpler than we had thought it might have had to have been. There were a lot of things.

Medina S. Yoats was writing her name. It was a new way.


Terrence Cottsworth ran and edited a publication which is yet to be named. It will probably be something about how there’s nothing to be ashamed about if you’re ashamed to be something other than you are. They still need just the right name.

Terrence uses his Auggy-Doggy stare and pretends to be a child prodigy to his mother and Aunt Ricky. So far, it’s working. He asks his schools real child prodigy (Meinke Houst) stuff then brings it home about twice a week. It works like all get out.

He’s going to make a literary magazine about Mozart and drunk driving. It will be printed on newsprint at 66 dpi line screen, which is fine. Women who know his mother will pay for most of it, so… well, if it blows… you’ll know why. Old rich ladies blow.

“We can repurpose this content on-line.” Terrence said with a Doggy-Daddy stare.


Bob Robert’s older brother had said that being Bob was like being a boat that everybody wanted to fish off of. Bob remembered not understanding that, but remembers that he definitely liked the whole idea.

“I’m goin’ to Target. Anybody coming? I gotta stop and eat something, I’m starving.”

Bob would fit as many kids and moms and dogs as he could into his eight seat van. It would be a party. It always was. It didn’t matter what they were going to do. They’d probably end up doing something else, anyhow.

“I’m gonna put this thing on my head and you try to get it off with that thing. This’ll be great. Here. You take the wheel.”

Bob had too much family to have one of his own. That’s what he always told everyone. It was true.


Beemis Fausnaught did about half the serious cowboy stuff that needed to be done in the state of Nebraska. That left him a lot of time for his other job, which was selling auto parts at NAPA.

He didn’t like working there. He didn’t like all the numbers that everything had. Item numbers, sizes, prices. Everything had numbers. “SE14455? I don’t remember seeing that. SE14455. SE14455. Hmmm. I don’t remember seeing a SE14455. I don’t think we got it. You from North Platte? They got horses there? I was thinking about driving up there. ”

Sadly for Beemis, if cowboys were the basketball stars they once were, saying Beemis Fausnaught would be like saying Mohamed Ali, which would be like saying Michael Jordan. Now it just sounds like a funny name, though. Don’t you think? Beemis Fausnaught. Beemis Fausnaught.


Seth Revson was the third son of Adam and Beth Revson. Well, third if you count the first two brothers, who were dead anyhow.

Seth commanded a far and mysterious world. He employed magical powers to achieve this. The disappointing part for Seth was that it wasn’t a very significant part of anyone’s life. It was their dreams. So, if you know Seth then you know what I mean. He kind of controls your dreams.

The worst that’s come of it so far, was once when this guy was sleeping and walking in a hallway and he fell down. Outside of that incident, it’s not a real big deal for most people. Most people don’t notice their dreams anyhow, so Seth just used some magic power to control that. It’s petty easy. Anybody can do it.

Sometimes they’d dream they were night marching with the bones of their ancestors in their bags. That was Seth’s idea. You know, stuff like that.


Sheila Wellington had successfully slowed the drain on the part of her mind that had tried to control the part of her body that tried to control everything else. Her brain was starting to take control of it. It was now actively governing her thyroid glands, which was good.

Jesus had been controlling her thyroid gland until now. Nothing against Jesus, but up until now, he hasn’t done a real good job for Sheila on this one. She had said that she was going to leave it to him. Now she was happy to be back in a hospital. She is going to stop taking pills and let Jesus do some other stuff for a while. Maybe Jesus is just a good friend, and not in control of me her brain began to think.

Inside Sheila Wellington a little signal from her brain is sweeping through her like a virus. It seems to tell other things that everything needs some work, but that it will all be OK later. Everything is listening and believing what it is saying. All should be well with Sheila Wellington very soon.


Brigitte Kerr has a lot of nice silver. It was all in her family. It was very expensive for her. It’s all she has. She got it all free.

She always wanted it. She gave up a job in Cleveland which might have changed a lot of other things. Who knows? She thought that if she wasn’t around, well? Who knows? She pissed of her older sisters. It was very expensive for her. It’s all she has. There’s actually a lot of it. It’s everywhere, without a real home around it. It’s just it.

“I got that when Ethel died.”, “I got that when grandma died.”, “Aunt May”, “I got these from Grandma”. We couldn’t see it then, but maybe they knew. They would each end as a piece of silver in someone’s home. It would be like the old days.

Brigitte Kerr has commissioned a very high quality silver serving tray. It was based on some design features in Aunt May and mom’s stuff. It should be a nice addition to the collection.


Ornett Abreamas ate your sandwich today. You had put it in that garbage can, and then Ornett took it out. It was the best thing that would happen to Ornett all day. He knew you were done, and that you didn’t want it. Like a hunter, he waited and got his sandwich.

He would have just asked you for it, but he knew you’d have said no. He just waited. He knew where there was a garbage can and waited for you to know. He was right behind you but you never saw him. It wasn’t the first time. Ornett Abreamas has eaten your sandwich three times, your french-fries 21 times, your falafel once, your salad four times. You probably didn’t know that. Ornett knew. He knew every score and its yield.

Ornett’s dad and your dad didn’t know each other, but they did work together at Republic in Youngstown for eleven months about nine years ago. They had the same job and made the same wages. They were on different shifts and never met each other. Ask your dad about the night he found the glove. Ask him if he remembers the glove and what his hand might look like today if it hadn’t been for that glove he found. Tell him the guy who lost it, had lost his hand with it earlier that same day.


Dee Laughlin had the same creepy eyes her mom and sister had. They each had this other thing which was a notoriously beautiful ass. Sorry. I know. But that was the deal with Dee and her mom and sisters.

Guys ended up falling in love with their creepy eyes. Yeah. You knew that. It was like some creepy bad magic power that was bad for everybody. A math problem. Like, she’s beautiful and can have you or anybody. Everybody can’t have her. Everybody thinks they can. You can see where this is going. It was bad for everybody.

Dee decided to become a closet lesbian. She was really in love with a man, but kept most of them at bay with her “partner” Brett.

“This should fix everything!” her hopeless brain tried to tell her.


Henna Marks isn’t someone that you want mad at you. She got the chief of police fired for stealing from the medical insurance fund. She’s tough as shit.

She wants to be the comptroller. She’s in night school for her medical degree. She may want to be the city coroner. It’s all on her plate. She’s thinking about it. She really wants to be mayor and maybe governor or senator. It shouldn’t be too tough if a few things go right.

One problem could be her new boyfriend Markus. He’s trouble. He sells weed and does a lot of weird stuff that Henna doesn’t know about. She does like to go nuts on his very sexy body, though.

She’s fifteen minutes away from judging Markus. She’ll have his info in fifteen minutes. Then she’ll know about him and that will be that.


Colin Detwieller made a movie about a dream. It was a short movie but it was a long dream. The dream was about three men and a woman who were moving down the highway replacing hotel room paintings. They were replacing them all.

Colin felt as though he couldn’t make out what they were saying, exactly. He said they spoke in ‘hushed tones’. It seemed real important, though. There was some reason they had to replace every painting on North walls in a line down the highway. A perfect repeat pattern. There was something he was trying to remember so he could put it in the film. Something that made a big impression on Colin when he had the dream.

“Not like those! Ugh! They were like, like, like these or something. Can’t I make you see what I saw?”

That was it. He couldn’t. That made him suck at making movies. Especially ones where only he saw it, like a dream. What he ended up with on film was pretty funny, though.


Carol Leyman is out of the hospital finally. It could have been worse. She could have died. Her legs were smashed by her dashboard which was smashed by her U-haul trailer which was smashed by another U-haul vehicle. It was a big mess.


Kelty Paulson was beautiful. Yeah. She was beautiful. She had guys in love with her whom she had never met. That ain’t right. Girls, too.

She was like a freak. Like art. Like nobody else. She was Kelty Paulson. She had a brother Marc who was like the same deal for dudes. Perfect. They were the freaky beautiful family. Their mom was hot. I couldn’t tell about the old man. He was funny and interesting, I guess. Maybe he used to be hot. I couldn’t tell. Kelty was like a freak, though.

She was smart, too. Smarter than anybody else. Freak.

It’s like we all have this DNA or genetic material or whatever, and there’s like nine billion things in which we can be somewhere between a one and a ten. Kelty has nines and tens up and down the board. Freaky. Nice.


Dwight Parker sells things. Different things. He takes jobs that have territories and quotas. He drives around mostly in his territory. Then he talks to people about buying his things to reach his quota. He gets a bonus. Well, once he got a bonus. Usually, he doesn’t get the bonus he is expecting. It’s based on quotas.

Dwight is selling meat products now-a-days. Beef Jerky, Slim Jim’s, Pepperoni. He also sells Pork Rinds and some weird crackers from London. Mostly Beef Jerky, though. He used to sell sunglasses. He’s sold car parts, and sports equipment, and tube socks, and Sea-Doo’s, and candles. He eats in his car and he has sex with magazines in his motel room, except when he sleeps in his car. He stops once a week and does his laundry while he cleans his car. Laundry day is like Sunday.

Dwight traded a box of Slim Jim’s for a stack of Hustler’s and a T-shirt at Mona’s Naked Lounge. It was a win-win for everybody. That’s like the whole deal for Dwight. It’s like getting a bonus.


Thomas Cullen remembered something that his wife could not. He once heard her say a little thing about men who could cook that was no big deal. It was a party and they were eleven. Thomas never forgot it, though. He never forgot that kind of thing.

Yeah. He went to cooking schools. The best. He became a great chef. He thought she might notice. She didn’t.

“I’d like to invite you to dinner…” was all he got out before she said “Can I bring a bottle of wine?” and well, you know. It took about an hour to remind her of the cooking man thing. She didn’t remember, but it struck a chord. That’s what Natty (Natty Cullen’s name was Natalie, but she went by Natty) told Thomas. They made out before dinner.

Apparently it was true. So, they’ve been married twenty-one years. They have two beautiful daughters. Thomas has taught them to cook with art and joy. They’ve learned international mineral rights law from their mother.


Ron Paterson cranked up the volume on his headphones. It was incredibly loud but it wasn’t really bothering anybody. It was just slightly annoying to Hatie Meuller who heard a weird percussive high pitched noise emitting from Ron’s ears. She was used to it, though. She took the bus.

Ron had heard this thing about negative sound. Like where if you play a bump noise, I can play a negative bump noise during your bump. It makes a zero noise. You can’t hear it.

Ron was so in love with this mathematical concept that he assumed it existed in his world. He almost understood it. He didn’t, quite. It didn’t, really. It was Hatie Meuller who heard a weird percussive high pitched noise emitting from Ron’s ears.

Ron saw her lips moving, but he never heard what she was saying. It was something about his headphones. That was what Ron was thinking, anyhow.


Puce Miranda was a name for a girl who could care less. It was two first-names that she had used, mixed into a new name, which really communicated in a highly personalized way, that she could really care less.

She wanted her mom to hate it. She knew her teachers would. Guys would get it though. It’d be like “Fuck you, man”. They’d get it. She so liked guys better than teachers and moms. “Fuck you, man” she was thinking, when she realized that she was actually making the noises, too.

Guys would get it.

Puce Miranda was saying “Fuck you, man” to her mom and teachers and friends and everybody. Everybody, except these guys, who got it. They were like “Fuck you, man”.


Susan Carmichael had gained back a hundred pounds. Man. That’s a sad thing to have to say. She was looking really good. It seemed like it was a really good thing for her too. Maybe not. She gained back a hundred pounds.

I guess it’s her fault. She controlled it for a while, right. She’s the intake valve. Well, she just couldn’t shut that thing off anymore. That’s the problem right there, I guess. She could eat so much. So much. It was bad for her.

You should have seen her like two months ago. She was beautiful. Like a different person. It was creepy. When you think about all the shades within 100 lbs, it starts to seem like a few different people. Susan wasn’t exactly aiming at one end or the other. She just didn’t like anybody in between, so she just kept going. She says she kind of knows she does this, and that it’s not good, but that she thinks she’s almost ready to do something about it. Maybe she will never be able to do anything about it. Maybe she flowers once every 35 years.


Matty Hall grows gigantic sunflowers by her blue garage. She painted her house yellow. It looks good. Really. She’s wearing a dirndl. She’s kind of an old hippie, in the finest sense of the word.

Her daughter Uno is a beautiful small black dot, which slides around the surface of Matty’s life. A focused counterpoint to her wide ranging flamboyance. They were beautiful together but you couldn’t take your eyes off Uno. She moved around a lot. Like a dot. Matty provided the blurry background hue. Like a split-font hippie poster.

Matty’s daughter will have a daughter a lot like Matty. She will be happy to throw a splash of wild color against the black background of their lives. They will think it is a black background but it is a black dot. They’re just too close to see that.


Sandra Holtzmann inherited her looks from her dad and her money from her mom. She didn’t have much of either. She was able to make a bunch of money with what she did have in the whole internet thing. She was pushed out before it all crashed. She made a lot of money.

Her idea was gift wrapping. Not a big idea but it worked. She attracted a bunch of venture capitalists. They threw a lot of money at it for two years. They felt that Sandra was a very nice person, but wasn’t up to the next leg of the race. They pushed her out when the stock had been cut in half. She sold her dream three dollars a share. They watched it fall to near zero within the next six months. Sandra did pretty well.

She bought a four-flat and a parking lot off her dad’s brother Stephan who wanted to retire. Now she cooks a lot and does a little antiquing. She bought a dog. She fixed her moms porch. She bought a real nice bicycle.

She’s a nice person.


Tim Neuner had worked at two of the three banks in his town. He was smart. Efficient. He always wore a crisp white shirt. He knew a lot about international financing as a tax break for rich people. Rich people love to not pay taxes. Once you have everything you want, you start to not want things. Like taxes.

Rich people did not want Tim to change banks. He will anyhow because his boss is having sex with his wife. He has spoken to them individually about his feelings.

“Fine! I’ve heard your point of view. I’m not surprised that you’d feel like that. It’s so you. So selfish,” said each of them, independently, exactly, four hours apart. They had also made the point that there were three banks in town, and Tim had worked at two of them.

Tim Neuner decided that the right thing to do was to just move on.


Regina Morrison wears a hat like a bad man, all down and over one eye. She wears an expensive fragrance and everybody out with a sense of humor that is absolutely disarming. She’s got a load of character for a 51 year old mom and advertising executive.

She does lots of TV commercials. She lives in Saint Louis but stays at the Four Seasons in West Hollywood about 15 weeks a year. She’s a little lost between her home life and her Hollywood life. She’s a little lost between her movie life and the movies she was seeing. She’s a little lost between her home life and her home life in the movie she was writing.

She’s trying her best not to look like Garbo, though she does, with her hair held back like that and then, wham. “I’ve got plants that should go in the basement.” Regina is like the screenwriter of her life. She makes her do this and say that. It’s a control thing. She’s watching the same movie you are, but she gets her own lines.


Otto Meissen has perfectly smooth white skin and a lot of it. He is a very big man. His features seem painted on, almost as an afterthought. Even his slick straight reddish hair looks like paint on porcelain.

Otto drives a cab at night. He meets a lot of weird people. He has very little to say but a lot to talk about. He keeps a lot of weird stuff to himself.

“Hey partner, do me a favor. I’m going to kill my friend back here and I want you to drive me to the dump on 87th. There won’t be any mess, I’m gonna just strangle him with this wire, OK? There’s a great tip in it for you.”

Otto blanked out the crying noises and struggle in the back seat as he took a left onto 87th.


Brian Lester made a bet with his little brother when they were ten and eight. He bet him a million dollars that he would play professional baseball. Brothers say lots of stuff. Kids are crazy.

Most kids aren’t as crazy as Brian’s little brother, Tom. Tom was a crazy, litigious animal. He was coming after Brian on this. He saw vulnerability, and he had a signed contract. That was the important thing. It meant Tom had a case. Brian had about three and a half million bucks, so Tom wanted one. A bet’s a bet. Right?

Brian hired Tom’s X-wife Juliet to represent him. It made for an exceptionally delicate dynamic. One in which she reveled.

Anyhow, it all got settled out of court. Tom got 48 thousand bucks. He signed something saying he had no future claims to anything with Brian. Tom’s X-wife Juliet got Brian’s old Ferrari which was sweet. Brian felt good about the deal. It wasn’t much money to pay to get someone out of your life.


Suma Nack is not an easy person to think about. It will make you feel bad to think about her. Maybe you don’t really want to keep reading this.

If you want to keep reading this, OK. Suma Nack. Her primary care providers came from Korea. They beat her every day of her childhood. If you had actual X-ray vision, you’d see fractures on her forehead, cranium, cheekbones, femur, tibia. It was all Suma knew. She was taught that in a minute or two, some nutty shit was going to come down. Someone was going to be wailing on her poor skinny ass.

But here’s what really hurts. Suma’s real mother was a frightened girl from Viet Nam who was convinced that selling her would give Suma the best hope. She would have loved and nurtured her, but she sold her in the hospital to a respectable Doctor named Dr. H. Nack. He was willing to save her from despair and give her sad mother 400 dollars. Her mother is watching from the drug store across the street. She is bound by a signed contract to keep 500 ft. away from Suma.

For mom, it was the hope of a future. For the Nack’s, it was 400 bucks and an empty bunk bed. Sometimes it’s real easy to make a real bad deal.


Donald Rayson and his sister Meryl have developed a system for emulating the physics of exploding interstellar bodies. It’s kind of hard to explain how they got here, but I can tell you this. They are like geniuses. Well, OK. Maybe Meryl is a genius, but it’s Donald holding the whole thing together.

Donald holds things together with a gelatinous material composed of history and love. History and love are real things.

So, Meryl will spew off all these algorithms effecting color depths and memory block allocation, which will be part of her whole 14 thing about how the base 14 number system was the way to go, and that ended everything right there, cause she just didn’t know when to quit.

Donald Rayson and his sister Meryl have developed a system for telling each other when their brain was out of control. They would tilt their heads by 14 degrees. They would have a blank stare. They would make a small noise like, “Ktschhh”, like glass breaking.


Morten Beil was hard to describe. If you need to know which sex the person is, Morten is as confusing as it gets. OK. First of all Morten has transmogrified genitalia. Right down the middle. Girl/guy/girl/guy.

He/she had a smallish penis shaft, with almost no testicles, and normal female breasts. This is part of the normal mathematical mix. Morten was that one in seventeen-fifty or so. Not the 13% gay thing. This is different. But there he/she was. At least in this case, a doctor didn’t mutilate his/her organs for purposes of finality.

Morten didn’t know what to tell you if you asked what he/she did for all the things you wondered about. She/he did think you were cute and wanted to like someone, a lot, like everyone. Maybe you? Probably not.

Morten Beil is hard to describe.


Theo Markus was the first guy to ever get Peter Max high.

In those days, that was like a really big deal. He was the first. Peter Max may take exception to this (the weenie) but here’s what happened. We were all in this weird city park that had these cement banister slides from one level to another, in the park. And, anyhow, you’d fall unconscious after hyperventilating into a lower level, like a monkey or a dog or whatever.

So, we were doing that. And then this happened.

Peter Max said that he had just seen something that was like a gradated outlined repeat patterned thingy that would be just the thing.


Desmond Barnet chose to remain in his seat as two African/American women vacuumed around his feet. He wasn’t really aware of them. He was thinking about something else.

He was replaying an event in his memory, over-and-over in his mind. It seemed like he needed to get it right. It was about his job and a thing that he thought might happen. It was a lot for his head to think about.

He had thought that this whole thing was going to happen, and then, Wham!!! Nothing. Boom. So, now Desmond’s all like “What?” and “Whatever,” and stuff. Now, he’s not sure what to do.

When he looked up and opened his eyes, he saw two African/American women who were vacuuming around his feet, laughing in a sweet way, at him. He knew it. He had awoken. They were laughing at him.


Merle Depestomenti forgot where she parked her car. Often. She was supposed to meet her daughter somewhere for lunch. She wasn’t sure where. She was in a shop for a while and now she is on 6th Street. Her car is white.

Her daughters name is Mari. She’s tall and skinny and has shinny black hair. If you see her, let Merle know. Mari is trying to call her mother now, but Merle never recharges her cell phone. It’s no use. She doesn’t listen.

When Mari was little, Merle would pin her mittens on her coat sleeves. She had sewn her telephone number into her coat. She had labeled her lunch box, her underwear, her bookcase, her history folder and seven other items, with Mari’s name, address and phone number. Mari had gotten lost once downtown. It scarred Merle so badly. She had told Mari a million times. She just wouldn’t listen.


Theil Neilsonson had pushed his body to a limit that it was happy to know. It was what he was trying to do. It had never been here before and now it was going to go somewhere else. It was throwing up and having a migraine headache. Cool.

Theil was like a test tube. He’d try anything on himself. It would make him indestructible. He was weird. He was still there.

“I have drunk eleven gallons of water since 6:30 AM. I have not urinated. I have been riding a bicycle from Ann Arbor to Chicago for 16 hours, again, for the third day in a row. I am tired. Goodnight.”

Theil is like that savior Jesus. They love you so much that they are stupid.


Gen Fruitaman ate slept and drank beer. It was her life. Her dad had been an organic chemist. Her mom grew marijuana. It was a place to start making good beer from.

Gen visited Monticello at least once a year. It was her life. She loved the gardens. She loved the labs. She loved the presidential man. It’s what she was all about.

Gen was looking for a man. Not just for sex. Not even just for marriage. She wanted a man to be a half a good person. A perfect person who would make beer and marijuana and art and happiness. Gen didn’t feel disqualified to be half that person, but she was happy to help make one who could be half, if that was her best shot. Someone with just the right specific gravity and hop. It could happen. You’ve dreamt it. Admit it. You’ve dreamt that you’ve been doing a funky incoction/decoction thang. Yeah. You know. Kicking up my temperature. Adding into my wert. Stepping up my temperature. Leveling off. Alchemy.

James Brown.


Falko Mendoza.was the first guy you knew who loved Jimmy Hendrix. He was also the first guy you knew who ran numbers. It introduced you to the NFL and statistical probabilities and gambling. Really, it did, though. Right?

Purple Haze, was in his brain. You remember. Kissing this guy or the sky. Whatever it was that girl had a spell on you.

Falko Mendoza wore hopsack pants and a paisley shirt. His belt is as wide as your neck. He was gay and in the mob. That was especially weird, because he was of east Indian. Hindustani, Cuban descent. His girlfriend, Jez, told you you could make her if you wore his jacket.

Oh. Now you remember.


Baxter Lincoln ate dinner at Nino’s with his brother and some other dude. He always ate dinner there because he could always order breakfast there. Baxter ate breakfast twice a day. He was reading a Multiple Listings book and talking about four-flats, when he died.

He died of a heart attack and his brother and his friend just carried him out to the car and then drove him to a funeral parlor which was only about three blocks away. Just like that. All and all it only took about eleven minutes. Baxter’s brother was wondering if he’d be OK.

“I gotta tell ya, He just ain’t gonna be OK, so just quit sayin’ that. Your brother’s just dead, man.”

Baxter’s brother kept looking through the rear window and rear view mirror until his dead brother was out of his immediate memory.


Nina Tristen has one blue eye and one green one. It was a little creepy. People always said that it was a sign of beauty, but that wasn’t Nina. It was just a little creepy. It was like looking at two people in one car.

Nina lives in the basement of her older sister’s house with her mom and her other sister. Her older sister got divorced and got the house. Now she’s got Nina and her mom and other sister. When her mom works, Nina draws pictures of people and their houses. Everybody does. That’s what people draw. People with their houses.

Nina wants to have something great happen. She doesn’t know exactly what, but it will happen. It will be great. We can’t know what it will be either. You just know that Nina Tristen will actually do something great.


Lenny Gorman wore a stupid shirt to an office Christmas party and it messed up his whole life.


Salomie Raingald ate with her left hand which was still attached to her unlike her right hand. That one was gone from bone cancer as was her forearm and brother. She was eating cold Popeye’s chicken and the first tomato from her garden.

Actually, it was her brother’s garden, but now it was Salomie’s to keep alive. She kept his tomatoes, peppers and squash, but she added some spices and wildflowers. It reminded her of him. It was peaceful. It was difficult to do a lot of simple gardening things with one hand. The garden was a place to love and hate.

She was slightly ashamed of the beauty of the perfect small tomato, and was afraid to eat it. It had taken so long to grow, that it seemed unfair to eat it so quickly. She knew there were others on the vine, but this was the first.


Ernie Martin drove his pick up to his car. He would drive his car to his house and drive his sad wife insane. It took her about six months of the two years they’ve been married to figure out that he is a jerk.

Ernie didn’t ranch much, although he had one. He leased out a lot of the land to real ranchers. When he got bored of video games and ESPN, he’d drive his car to his pick up truck to nowhere and then back again. Like a rancher.

When she’d hear the car, she’d put on Oprah or something and seemed fascinated. Ernie would make tired man noises as he took off his driving boots. She rolled her eyes in her mind.

“Is that all you do all day? Watch that crap?” she secretly heard his brain say to her.


Glenn Wooster stroked her Persian cat like she was stroking herself which she was. She is a very quiet woman of 47 years. She is alone.

As a child Glenn was always so beautiful that she never learned how to try. Anything. It was all right there. She had nothing to aspire to. She could have been smart, or kind, or creative, or tough. She simply didn’t need to. She gained weight in her twenties. Her face grew lines and even a little skin cancer in her thirties. Now she cries. She had learned how to do that as a child. It doesn’t help anymore, though. That would require minions who are no longer there.

She never married and never will. She has never been in love and never will be. She is alone.


Arthur McCafferey doesn’t know you. He doesn’t want to know you or anybody else. He had his friends already when he graduated from Yale. It was enough. He shut off all un-needed associates soon afterwards.

He’s like everybody. He made a pact with a group and wants everyone else to just die. He wants the food you would have eaten. He wants your wife. He wants your kids to work for him. He just wants you to die. He wants his friend Bob to be president.

Bob pulled Arthur’s pants down eleven years ago in front of a girl he was dating at a frat party. When Arthur tried to pull them up, Bob hit him in the head with an alarm clock. Bob left with her. That guy would be a good president.


Neil Olin has eleven dogs and eleven cars which happily share the front and side yard of his house. There are also a large number of old lawnmower engines and washing machines for them to play with.

Neil’s garage, sunroom and basement are also nice places. They are full of a lot of things Neil likes to tinker with. Things like old appliances. You know. The rooms have lots of radios always tuned to Neil’s favorite talk radio station. He has calendars from most of the last twenty-five years in there. They’re behind things.

Neil’s truck comes home with him in it. He feeds his dogs and himself from a brown bag full of cans. The dogs and Neil are happy to see each other. It’s a very happy home. It’s so much nicer than Viet Nam was.


Nick Bassett doesn’t know how to do anything. He didn’t grow up on a farm. He didn’t learn to work on cars. He never perused any artistic endeavors. He can’t cook. He can’t start a compressor.

He always got very good grades in school, though. He could do what he was told. The problem for Nick is that nobody told him anything very useful. He majored in English for a while and then switched to marketing. He graduated and got a job but they quickly noticed that he didn’t know how to do anything. That’s not good enough. He wasn’t a very interesting or a nice person to be around, either. He kept getting fired.

“Sons of bitches!” he’d feel.

Nick’s slightly challenged brother Bob learned to use machinery in special education. He got a job and has kept it for 14 years. Nick is moving into his basement this weekend.


Mary Tassani has a face that looks like a butcher shop remnant. It has been beaten a lot. She has a husband who hits it with his fists and other things. He does this about three times a week. He needs help. He was beaten a lot as a child. So was Mary.

Her neighbors all talk to her about it. They tell her she should do this or that. She won’t. She explains it to them. She thinks that it’s not that weird. She tells them what he tells her. Stuff about her being stupid and lazy. The way she keeps his house. How she cooks. It’s like she defends him.

Tonight she’s going to make that chicken with tomato paste and cheese thing that he sometimes likes. There will be a Packers game on TV. She has 12 bottles of Point beer on ice for him. It might be a nice evening. That’s all she wants. Just a nice evening.


Bell Norton saves rubber bands on the kitchen doorknob, and shopping bags between the refrigerator and the wall. Some times she will use these. Not very often.

Her husband Ben had worked for the railroad his whole life. He died about seven years ago. She wears some of his clothes now. She thinks she has to. Actually, she is pretty wealthy. She doesn’t really understand all that very well.

Bell will only eat what she cooks and she grows a lot of that in her garden. She turns the lights off most of the time. She makes her own clothes from patterns she and her sisters learned on 50 years ago.

There are no children. There are not any sisters anymore. There’s nobody. When Bell leaves this earth, any money she has will just sit in the bank, until it is the banks.


Wally Horman was always thinking about committing suicide. Maybe it wouldn’t happen but, well, he was always thinking about it. He wasn’t exceptionally unhappy. He was just bored shitless.

Wally was actually a very cool person.


Tom Lowe smells like Helmut Lang and looks like Hugo Boss. He is writing a check to David Yurman with his Monte Blanc fountain pen. The check is for cuff links. The check is for $948.

Tom Lowe makes a lot of money. He works at Lowe Works. It’s a large ship building company started by his grandfather. Well, he doesn’t really work. Tom is on the board. It’s a great job. He has a lot of free time. He likes to have sex with women. He had been married a few times. Now he uses an escort service. It’s just a lot easier that way. Wives always ended up hating him anyhow.

Tom eats at wonderful restaurants. That leaves a lot of time to kill between meals. So, he shops for things that will make him feel like a person. It validates him.


Christine Bauer is perfect. Perfectly beautiful and smarter than anybody you will ever know. Somehow, she is also the sweetest person on earth. She’s perfect. Think of any category of character or talent. Yeah, she’s perfect in those areas as well.

She is in love with a man. He’s perfect as well. He is handsome and smart and kind and everything else. She kissed him. They were laughing. It was pretty sweet. She’s been in love with him for more than twenty years now. Lots of other men have tried to get to her. They never will.

She kissed him because his lips were wet and red and well, he was beautiful. They made a lot of promises that night. Promises about the future. It was like a verbal contract. There was even a witness.

The witness was the student council president who was spying on them. He was in love with the perfect Christine Bauer. He killed he lover four days later.


Dante Frobish teaches people to be like him. To know what he knows. To think like he thinks. He hates it when people don’t understand.

Dante has this thing. He likes control. The more he can’t control his mom and dad, or wife or children the more he controls the kids he teaches. He has a support system. It’s the public school system. It enables him to be dangerous. The board of education likes him because he suggests new rules and systems for order.

His kids are never home. They hang out in the park and smoke a lot of weed. They sniff inhalants. They get very poor grades, although they are bright. They want to fail him.

Dante was a problem child. He hated authority figures. It got him thrown out of his high school and the marines. They just didn’t understand.


Mark Paulina would do anything for his two children. Anything. His daughter Janet is six. His son William is eight. He loves them.

Mark will do things like fire people or cause people to be fired for his kids. He’ll fight any foe, right or wrong to defend himself, so he can defend his kids. It’s how he rationalizes a lot of nasty things. For his kids.

He lies a lot. He cheats on his taxes. He rifles through his coworker’s desks and email at night. He even got rid of his X-wife Maria because she wanted a divorce. She wanted the children. He painted her as an unfit mother and pulled it off. She couldn’t take it anymore. He got the kids, she got the car.


Marty Fisher designed a family of fonts for a newspaper in the forties. That was a big deal back then. Now it’s on your computer. It looks a lot like the one you’re looking at right now, but a little wider. Marty did it with a ruling pen and ink on positive and negative stats. It was hard.

He made a hundred and twenty dollars for the entire family of fonts. It only took him about two days to do it, though. It was good for his career. He always had that. He did a lot of other things in his life, which was long and by all accounts, exciting. But for three weeks before he died that was about the only thing that he thought about. Kerning, extending ascenders, modifying “x” heights. He was looking for ink and pens at 4:00 AM one morning. There were none.

“A line of type is like a groove in a Sinatra record. It’s just a groove to lay down some information. It’s not just little shapes, it’s a groove.”


Bill Anderson is a perfect name for Bill Anderson. You could probably guess that he sells office supplies, or something. You probably have a mental picture of a pretty good looking guy with his hands on his hips, standing in the sun with son. You’re right. He’s standing on his nice lawn. He’s going to hose down some screens and then barbecue some hamburgers.

Guys like Bill always have a pretty good life. A pretty nice house and a pretty nice car and wife. You met Bill once. You were at Wal-Mart buying a lamp and so was he. He looked at you and kind of nodded his head. Remember? Probably not.

You probably know that he has no greatness, though. Bill knows. He’s fine with that. He traded that off four hundred years ago to avoid any possible pain.


Delia McArthur smiles all the time. She could be driving her car or washing a wall in her garage or fishing through a drawer for a stamp, and she’d be smiling. She laughs pretty easily, as well

It kind of makes other people smile when they see her. So, she smiles back all the more. Pretty soon someone is laughing. It’s a wonderful thing. It makes people feel like they’re funny and so they are. She’s a great audience.

Delia is a happy mirror to the world which needs one. Happiness is the greatest of survival tools. More powerful than strength. More clever than intelligence. More attractive than beauty. It seems odd that we don’t foster that. It seems odd that everything we teach ourselves to aspire to is the opposite of happy.


Dragor Heiffa hangs around the gym with his little brother Mooky. They are tired of being beaten up by everybody. They lift weights and box. They eat wheat germ and anabolic steroids. They are getting pretty big.

That’s scary because they are pissed off. It’s hard to say what they might do. They’re pissed and their brains are boiling over with weird hormones and chemicals. That’s a dangerous combination of weirdness.

Until now, they have been getting ready as a means of self defense. Tonight they are going to try out their new weapons. It took so much time and energy to get here that something bad has got to happen sooner or later. It’s like spending billions of dollars on achieving nuclear weapons. Someday, you’ll probably use them.


Gregor Marple lives in the woods. No, not in a house in the woods. He lives in the woods. You can live outside if you know how. Your ancestors did. Gregor does. He has a backpack with a tent and a sleeping bag in it. He has weather gear. He has a lot of time to think about the past.

He’s like the only real human on earth if you don’t count the last 0.0001 percent of our development. He seems like an anachronism. That’s a hard thing to measure when you consider time. Maybe he’s stupid. Maybe he’s the correction on the aberrational blip.

Gregor is harvesting tubers from the riverbank. He will eat them later. Then he’ll sleep. That’s the way it was most of the time.


Auggie Barnett was the eighth child of his father. He was his mothers only child, but she was the eighth child in her family. If you ask Auggie how many kids he wants someday he’ll hold up a hand making a zero.

He wants to be the end of the line, so he will be. It’s probably best that way. Life should be reserved for those willing to scratch and claw for survival. People like his grandmother who sold her body for food during World War II in Europe. His great great grandmother walked across the Pyrenees Mountains with a group of other women to survive a particularly violent invasion. She was nine. Her father spent every winter of his life freezing and starving, just waiting for spring. He hated winter but he loved spring.

Auggie Barnett wants to own a Porsche. He has his eye on a certain dinning room table. It’s very expensive. It seems like having kids would be expensive. They’d probably just rip up his upholstery.


Leslie Holtzman is still alive. Everyone thought she was dead. She had disappeared for about four years. She has had Alzheimer’s for about six years.

Everyone knew she must have just wondered off. She did. It turns that she didn’t get too far. She was found by a man who lives just two blocks away. He had seen her shopping at Kroger’s for years. He used to work there in the meat department. He brought her home and took care of her for four years.

In a strange way, they fell in love. Not sexually, they we’re too old for that nonsense. It was more the kind of love where you just hold someone and maybe sing to them a little. Kind of like the love for an infant that can’t love back. It’s a pretty deep love, though.

He had retired when he lost his wife to cancer about eight years ago. He just didn’t care about anything after that. Until he found Leslie Holtzman.


Howie Malcolm is asleep. He’ll wake up in a few hours when you go to bed. It’s better that way for Howie. He sleeps in a cardboard box beneath a freeway ramp.

Howie hates the way you look at him when he goes through garbage cans. He knows it’s weird. But things just ended up like this for Howie. He feels badly about the way he looks when he sees himself in store windows. He knows how much better than him you think you are. You would have liked him when he was a kid. He was a beautiful child. Funny. Loyal friend. Damned good shortstop.

He’s not sure how it all changed. It wasn’t a gradual thing. It happened when he lost a job and never got back on his feet.

Howie Malcolm has never stolen anything. He has never hurt another living thing. He is actually a very gentle person. Maybe that’s what Howie’s problem is.

© Copyright 2002. Ward mulroy (All rights reserved)