Sarcasm (an acrostic poem)

So many people these days just don’t get it

And that is a true problem of epic proportions

Reaching down deep to find that perfect level of irony

Capping it with a verbal twist of the vocal cords

Announces a superior intellect and competence

So much so that all should bow down to those who have mastered it

Maybe now you know what to do?

Back in the Game

The wind whipped the little waves on the puddle into whitecaps, crashing them into the blacktop beach of Barry’s driveway.  The puddle was destroyed as Barry backed his baby blue Toyota Prius through it on his way out onto the road.  Barry hated that puddle.  He hated the fact that his driveway had such an imperfection, but he didn’t have the money to fix it, so he learned to hate and move on.  That was Barry’s philosophy, “Hate and move on.”  Made life a lot simpler to live

At the next stoplight Barry looked at his reflection in the rear view mirror.  His ‘Movember’ beard was coming in great, much thicker than last year.  He gave it a stroke and a pull with his left hand.  “Now that’s a smart looking beard,” he said to himself.  “The beard doesn’t make the man, but this guy makes the beard.”  He smiled and pointed at his reflection.  “The ladies will be all over it.”

The light turned green and Barry returned to driving.  He kept a watch out as he slowly passed Alice’s house.  It had been three weeks since she dumped him.  Okay, maybe dumped was a strong word.  She had told him she wasn’t interested.  Even though that was a mortal sin in Barry’s eyes, he was willing to give her a second chance.  Like his beard, Barry knew it took a bit for him to grow on people.  That made Barry laugh.  Alice would look funny with a beard, unless it was while she wore his while kissing him.  Barry slammed on his breaks and pulled over to the side of the road.  Maybe he would give Alice the chance to see how ticklish her upper lip could get.

Barry walked up to the door and pressed the doorbell.  An annoyed “What is it?” came from the little tinny speaker below a blank LCD screen.

Barry grinned and hit the button again.  The screen came to life, and there was Alice, live on her own little channel.  “What do you want Barry?  I’m kind of busy right now,” Alice said as she held her fingers splayed out, waving them in the air.

Barry stroked his beard, offering her first a left side view, then a right.  Barry wanted her to catch the full effect.  “What are you doing?” Barry asked.

“I’m literally watching goddamn paint dry,” Alice said, as she continued to wave her hands back and forth.

“Want some help?” Barry asked as he put his eye up to the camera.  “I have an eye for it.”

The picture of Alice froze on the screen for a moment before disappearing completely.  Barry pressed the button again.  “Come on Alice.  I know you’re there,” he said.

“Really?  You think so?” Alice asked with the sarcasm almost melting the little speaker.  “You must be Albert effing Einstein.”  The screen remained blank.

“Come on,” Barry pleaded.  “Let me in.  I just want to talk.”

“I don’t have the time,” Alice said.  “I need to get ready for my date.”

“I don’t remember asking you out,” Barry said.

“Yes you do,” Alice replied.

Barry laughed.  “That’s right, I did.  And you”

“Shot you down,” Alice finished.  “Now go home and stroke that little beard some more.  It’s looking a bit lonely.”

Barry almost laughed, but decided he wouldn’t rise to her bait.  “Enjoy your paint drying,” he said.  “Probably going to be the highlight of your evening.”  He made a hasty retreat before she could say anything else.

Back in his Prius, Barry looked again in the rearview mirror.  “Screw Movember!” he yelled as he shoved the mirror up so he could only see the tan ceiling of the car.  Barry started the car and pulled into traffic.  Alice didn’t know what she was missing.  Hate and move on.  Good thing it was still early in the day.  The barbershop would still be open, and a clean cut look was in his future.  “The ladies will be all over it,” Barry muttered to himself.

The Trial of Adam part 7

Liam inspected the dent in the wall while Adam finished the calibration of the new confocal microscope.  Liam pointed to the dent.  “That must have been some user error,” Liam said.

“It was.  Trust me.  I’m still paying for it,” Adam said.

“Eve’s still pissed at you?” Liam asked.

Adam typed a couple of commands and the instrument came to life.  “I was talking about this microscope.  It’s at least a millennia out of date.”

“I wasn’t the one who chucked the last one at the wall,” Liam said.  “No one wants to fund us out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“No one wants to fund me out here in the middle of nowhere since I am a convicted mass murderer,” Adam corrected.  Adam looked at Liam.  “It’s okay to tell me I screwed up.  I knew that as soon as I said that stupid comment to Eve.”

“So have you extended an olive branch to her?” asked Liam.

Adam closed his eyes and massaged his temples.  “I extended her the whole foolish tree.  That woman is impossible.”

“You did question her life’s work,” Liam said.  “How would you have felt about it?”

“I would have ripped your head off from the inside by reaching up your anus,” Adam said.  Liam recoiled from that picture.  Adam waved to clear the air and then continued.  “But I am an egotistical jerk.  She is supposed to be better than me.”

“Yes, she is.  She is here by choice, not because she is serving a life sentence,” Liam said.  “Sorry, but it’s the truth.  You did just give me permission to let you know when you screw up”

“That doesn’t help me Liam,” Adam said.  He gestured at the microscope.  “Much like this artifact from another time.”

Liam drifted over to the instrument.  “Well, yeah.  Like most things in life you should look a bit deeper to see what is there.  If you look close you will discover I was able to get you a bit more bang for your scientific buck.  All the guts of that thing were retrofitted to only last year’s technology.  I left the outsides intact to help get it past the asset people.”

Adam peered into the scope and played with some of the controls.  He turned suddenly and planted a big kiss on Liam.  “Did I ever tell you I love with you?” Adam said.

Liam took a couple steps back and blushed slightly.  “You just want me for my scientific instruments,” Liam said.

Adam looked at the microscope again.  “Okay, maybe you’re right.  Still you’ve held up your side of the bargain extremely well.  How are the findings being received?”

Liam shifted a bit uncomfortably.  “The Federation is making it difficult to get your work out there.”

“Of course they are,” Adam said.  “They know now they made a mistake.  This world is remarkable.  There is so much here that has the opportunity to be beneficial.  I have identified at least a thousand microorganisms alone that have positive health impacts on our species.  This place is a cornucopia of possibilities.  If the Federation let people know about it, it would mean a public relations disaster.”

“Because they placed a penal colony on such a rich resource?” asked Liam.

“No, because a convicted mass murderer, me, would be the person to discover all of this.  They would be forced to admit I am needed in many more parts of the universe besides this backwater,” Adam said.

“So you’re going to take credit for the discovery even though you didn’t find the planet nor had to work hard to find this biological treasure?” Liam asked.

“I told you before, delusion is my bread and butter,” Adam said.  “That and the ability to understand how the bureaucracy thinks and reacts.  The Federation is a biological system after all, so it is well within my scientific venue.  How do you think I thrived all those years?”

“You had me believing it was your amazing work and devilish good looks,” Liam said.

“Well, there is that,” Adam admitted.  “Well done there, you might be developing a bit of sarcastic wit.  Good to see that.”  Liam smiled proudly.  Adam continued.  “No, any organism’s two goals are survival and reproduction.  That is the epitome of the Federation.  That’s why I am here.  Don’t you see that?”

“I do,” Liam said, “or at least I see why you would think so.”  Liam looked at the door, and by reference, the transportation gate beyond.  “Look, I would like to stay…”

“But you are worried about the gate collapsing,” Adam said.  “Then you would have the same sentence that I serve, but without the privilege of taking multiple lives.”

Liam looked hurt.  “I didn’t say that.”

Adam sighed.  “No, you didn’t.  I am sorry.  I’m trying to get over this foot in mouth disease.  I’ve had it for so long now, but I don’t have the power I once had to force people to deal with my condition.”

Liam looked mollified.  “You are getting better apologizing for it,” he said.

“I need to, or else I will find myself more isolated and alone than I am now,” Adam said.  He turned back to the microscope.  “Do me one favor when you get to the other side?”

“If I can I will.  What is it?” asked Liam.

“Get me the background on a certain Hannoush Liszt.  He is another lifer here.  I met him the other day, and he left quite the impression on me,” Adam said.

“Okay, I can try.  I’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” Liam said.

Adam didn’t look up from the microscope.  “Standard weeks or Ruckblau’s weeks?”

“Standard weeks,” Liam replied.

Adam sagged visibly with relief.  “Good, and thank you again for the instrument,” Adam said.

Liam nodded and left.

Adam looked up from the microscope and stared at the closed door.  He reached under the table to a small sample he had taped underneath.  He pulled it away and put under the optics.  This might be the deal changer.  Adam fired up the instrument and began his analysis anew.

Letter of Recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to recommend Trisha Lakewood for you program.  She is an intelligent person who has the potential to be something really special.  I have known Trisha for six years in a personal and professional setting, and during that time I have seen her transform in front of my eyes.  She has grown so much over that time she is almost another person entirely.

When I first met Trisha she was, to be honest, a bit whiny.  She would do little to interact with her peers, much less with those in charge of her education.  There were many a time where I had to literally dry her tears because she was not getting what she wanted.  Her verbal skills were atrocious in the beginning as well, so when she went into one of these self-absorbed crying fits she could not articulate her problem.  This made interacting with her almost impossible at times.  We had to take things slowly, treating her with kid gloves most of the time.  I believe all this could be traced from her background before Trisha came to our facility.

With the extensive work our staff has done, Trisha is now quite well adjusted and showing a potential that amazes even me, considering her less than stellar beginnings.  She now communicates her needs succinctly and shows a curiosity about the world around her that makes educating her a joy.  Trisha tries to help everyone around her, almost to an embarrassment.    People are constantly wanting to spare her the toil and volunteering to do it for her instead.  They don’t want her to waste precious learning time.  Trisha uses this time wisely, creating a vast body of work.  She is also diverse, taking up painting, drawing, and numerous musical instruments.  Pertaining to the musical instruments, Trisha has taken to discovering new and unique ways of playing them.  I can see a time in the future where she might craft a symphony that would make people sit up and take notice, even if only by the methods the instruments are played.

Once again I highly recommend Trisha Lakewood for your program.  She will be a boon to your program, and your institution will enable her to make strides to reaching her potential, for we all know how important kindergarten is.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 555-123-4567 or email me at really@youvegottobekidding.edu.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bob Smith

(Honorary Doctorate in Sarcasm)

The Dreaded Walmart Question

I took my kids to Walmart the other day.  As we walked back and forth along the aisles I observed a new behavior not seen out of my children before.  It sent chills down my spine.  My daughters were insisting on putting things back where they belonged on the shelves.  This amazed me, especially coming from the redhead who NEVER wants to pick up.  After about the fifth time of ‘Daddy, can we put X back’ I had to ask if they were feeling okay.

My oldest responded, “Why did you ask that?”

I told her that they didn’t want to pick up at home, so why start in a place where the people were actually paid to do so.  We then discussed what was different about being at Walmart and being at home.  Since my oldest is still only eight I did not get constructive answers from them.  It did make me wonder what I could do to help foster this behavior.  I came up with the most obvious choice, one that will be painful to transition to, but should solve the whole pick up problem.  I am officially requesting that Walmart open a small location here in my house.  It doesn’t have to be staffed since my kids will help stock the shelves.  I know, you are thinking how brilliant this parenting spin is, and I can only agree.  Next on my list, getting them doing lawn work by opening a small “flower shop”.  I just hope Walmart doesn’t mind the competition on its front doorstep.

Family Problems part 4

Not wanting any more bad luck, and making sure I wasn’t available for anyone else Jessica lovingly sent my way, I grabbed my earplugs, locked up shop, and left.  Always be prepared, right?  I could hunt James down later and get my money.  I turned right and walked over a few blocks till I was on Blandina Street and headed over to the Comstock Apartments.  I figured I could check on Dad and see if I could find a bit more of Cousin Antonio’s money.

Comstock Apartments were a golden testament to great thinking in the nineteen seventies.  Tall, brown, and majestic in a way that can only be described as two fat cigars stuck into the ground.  It must have been the highlight of its day, the crème de la crème of senior living, but now it looked like the rumpled trousers of its occupants.   The same couldn’t be said for the current set of cohabitants.

“Hey Cutie Boy, haven’t seen you in a while.”  Mrs. Malachi, the purple haired woman with skin the color of ninety two percent dark chocolate, has always had a soft spot for younger men.  Since she is almost eighty five that qualifies as much of the current population of the city.  That doesn’t bother her though.  She knows she’s God’s gift to men, and bless her heart, she isn’t afraid to remind us of that every time she could.

You had to pay the gate keeper to enter the castle, unless you wanted her to breath fire all over you, and let me tell you, this woman is too hot to handle when she gets going.  Besides, it’s always good to respect your elders.  “Hi Mrs. Malachi.  How are things today?”

She waved her hand dismissing my greeting.  “Cutie boy. drop the Mrs. crap.  The mister went to live with the Lord a long time ago.  I miss him fiercely of course.”

I continued the ritual.  “Of course.”

“But at the same time I still have needs.”  She cleans off imaginary lint from her top.  The top that is probably too open for her age I might add, though I am avoiding going there at all costs.

“We all do.  We’re only human.”  She seems mollified by that for a moment, and I think I’m home free until she reaches down under her seat and pulls out her garish burnt orange purse.  It was fashionable when this edifice was built, and for some reason seemed quite at home in that setting still.

She rummaged through her purse and took out a pack of cigarettes and a Zippo Elvis embossed lighter.  She paused to point the lighter at me.  “Exactly.  You tell that father of yours that I see him coming out of Olivia’s apartment.  He can do much better.”

“I will do that.  Is he home?  I mean visiting Olivia?”  Oops, that could get more awkward than it already is.

“How should I know?”  Mrs. Malachi lights a cigarette and takes a long puff.  I wonder if the smoke signifies that we are done.  It’s worth a try.

“Nice talking with you Miss Malachi.”  Who says I don’t listen.

“I bet I have a niece that would be just perfect for you.”  I almost snap my neck on that just above the knees curve ball strike three call just as I was about to take my base.

“But Miss Malachi, I’m seeing someone right now.”  Now she has me flustered.  I don’t like to be flustered.

She chuckles a bit.  “This too shall pass, and when it does, let me know.”  Is she kidding me?  This too shall pass?  She dismisses me with a gesture, but I don’t take it and stand my ground.

“I’m confused.”

She looked me in the eye so hard I’m sure my grandfather, who was probably talking to Mr. Malachi right now, felt it.  “Cutie Boy, don’t hurt your little mind.  I haven’t seen your dad leave today, so unless he flew out a window or something then he’s here.”

Boy she might know more than he let on, but still, that niece comment.  Better get out while I still have my head.  “Yeah, imagine that, flying out of a window.  Later.”  I rush past Miss Malachi and into the building feeling relieved, but wondering what just happened, and hoping I could somehow fly out a window myself so she couldn’t catch me on the way out.

Family Problems part 2

The agency hadn’t burned down while I was out.  This day didn’t have a bright side at all.  At least if it had I would have the insurance money, or would I.  I don’t remember if I paid that bill this month.  Who do I have to kill to get some money?  I opened the door and made sure no one was there to bother me before I went inside.

The Marshal Agency specialized in getting things done, as long as you paid the bills.  Nothing was too big or too small, or for that matter too shameful that I wouldn’t do it for the right price.  Yes I would do even that, but you better be bringing me a mountain full of cash.

James wasn’t there with the money he said he was bringing by.  Damn, I could have gotten lunch.  Maybe he just dropped it behind the counter.  I look back there and find a whole lot of nothing.  It was only a hundred, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

The agency was a present from my mother.  It had been a small delicatessen that had gotten behind on its payments and my mother had foreclosed.  You figure out what the payments were for.  I don’t want to know.  I had left the lunch counter and the old fashioned register there for nostalgia and working space.  A large desk dominated the rest of the old floor space with plenty of mix and match chairs for clients.  I live in the back where the walk in cooler and storage used to be.  It’s not much, but I have one hell of a kitchen, complete with salamander.  See, I knew you would be impressed.

I plopped myself into my throne and checked the answering machine.  “This is your father. I was wondering if you have some time free if you can mow the lawn for me.  My back has been killing me lately.  Thanks.”  My thumb enjoyed pressing the delete key.  The door opened and it just sounded like money.  It was that click clack of high heels, expensive ones.  How do you know you ask?  It’s my job to know.  How else would I ever get things done?  I looked up to greet my next paycheck.

Family Problems part 1

Despair had its claws into my heart, bleeding me dry of hope.  Does that seem a bit melodramatic?  Maybe so, but when you’ve been kicked in the teeth by life so many times that you’ve lost your lower jaw. then you’re allowed to be a bit melodramatic.  At least this time it was just a punch in the gut by my cousin.

“Larry, you disappoint me.  Why don’t you have my money?”  Cousin Antonio punctuated his sentence with another punch that would have sent me to my knees, if it wasn’t for his two associates who were kind enough to help me remain standing by pinning my arms.  “You’re family, but I can’t let you just walk over me.  I want my five Gees.”

We may be family but I doubt anyone would be able to tell without coming to one of our Family get togethers.  Or was that family get togethers.  I always get the two confused, but of course both he and I were both.  I was six foot four and wiry, brown hair grown a bit wild and shocked to attention every morning.  I was my dad if you put him on one of those racks and pulled real hard, which might explain the hair.  Well except the piercing blue eyes that mom gave me.  Now Antonio, he had the short dark hair, was as wide as he was tall, and had a chip on his shoulder that allowed him to tower over me right then and there.

I spit out a bit of blood from where I had bitten my lip.  “You caught me at a bad time.”  Of course anytime was a bad time since I didn’t have the money.  “Just give me a couple more days.”

Cousin Antonio lifted his chin and his associates released their hold.  Unfortunately for me, gravity didn’t see Cousin Antonio’s cue to let me go and I fell to my knees.  Damn that hurt.  “Only because I love you Larry.  Get it to me by Thursday.  Otherwise I might not be in such a generous mood.”

Generous, yeah, that’s what I was thinking.  “Thanks a lot cuz.  I mean it.”

Cousin Antonio flipped me the bird.  “Tell my favorite aunt I said hi.  Come on boys.  Let’s go see a man about a horse.”

“I hope everything comes out okay.”  That earns me another bird, but it’s worth it.  If you can’t get a rise out of family then why bother living.

I collect what I can of my dignity and head back out of the fine alleyway that Antonio had deemed needing to redecorate with my bodily fluids.  I checked my watch to see that all thoughts of getting lunch had gone to hell.  Oh well, Sheryl was telling me I needed to lose some weight.  I mean come on, you can still see me when I turn sideways.  That can’t be healthy.