You can read "The Porking of Madame R.: An Erotic Mystery" for as low as $1. Or, for as high as $1. Click here or on the picture to go to Amazon.com, aka the Everything Store. Remember, every time you buy a copy, I get $0.35 cents. The rest goes delivery drone R&D for Jeff Bezos's master plan to annoy the hell out of humanity in 2026. Sure, it sounds cool now, but just imagine the constant whir and buzz of eight-pound drones dropping off trinkets and gadgets to building after building, all day, every day, even while you sleep, even out in the sticks. They'll get caught in trees and attacked by owls and sever cable lines when you are tying to watch Top Brownie Whisperer or whatever crap is on TV then, and you'll complain about how Amazon eliminated pretty much every job in the world aside from drone maintainance engineer, including yours, but you will secretly buy everything from Amazon yourself because, hey, they'll deliver a measly Snickers at 5 AM directly through any open window in less the time it would take to walk to CVS and for half the price. Damn.
Wait, what? No, I mean: buy my book please. It's a comedy. That's all I am giving away about it.
On October 12, 2004 at 8:43 p.m. Central Time a man disembarked from a plane at O'Hare International Airport carrying the most deadly virus that humanity had ever seen. He was carrying it in his bloodstream. Not, like, in a bag.
The good part was that it was very hard to transmit. Someone had to say, "Yah mo b there!" to the carrier after he said something about a grapefruit festival in Woodstock, Illinois. The virus did not care what, exactly the carrier said to prompt that reply from the other person. It could be an invitation to the festival, obviously, but it could also be a general comment about there being a grapefruit fest in Woodstock (there is not) and then the person hearing about it would have to express interest in going to it using precisely that statement. Once "the phrase that slays" was uttered, (as the evil bioscientist who concocted the virus called it), the carrier would turn an ashen gray and his eyes would fill with pus. The person who said "Yah mo b there!" would not become ill from this encounter, since it takes another two weeks for the virus to become transmittable. But once the carrier wound up at the hospital all covered in pus? Oh man, look out.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am an alpha shark. I must swim and kill constantly—or I will die.
In 2001 a major international pizza franchise came to me and said, “Alfons, you’re a shark. We’re getting eaten alive by other pizza fishes. Help us kill again!”
Within 24 hours I pitched this company—which you have definitely heard of—a concept so game changing that it would soon catapult them to the top of the pizza chain food chain: the Full House XL®.
You’ve enjoyed it many times I am sure. It had a thinner crust than their pan, a thicker crust than their thin, and it was extra large. This chain now has—according to Wikipedia, a crowd-sourced internet encyclopedia that I was instrumental in launching—over 6,000 restaurants in the United States and 5,139 additional “huts” in 94 countries and territories around the world. Those numbers continue to surge every quarter, and are the direct result of the revolution effected by the Full House XL® paradigm shift.
Close your eyes. All of you. Now imagine that you are me.
A memory unbidden and sudden burst into the man’s ken. He buckled over the handle of his cart as laughs and coughs poured forth in prolific tandems that ceased only when exhaustion had
What’s so funny? the boy asked.
Nothing, the man said. Uh, hahaha!
James Joyce, NaNoWriMo Legend
A Play in One Act
So, Steve, you do NaNoWriMo this year?
PART I. THE WORLD OF BOAT COP:
Mike Shannon is a third-generation boat cop. He patrols in a 35-foot cigarette boat named Ice Quake. It’s white with sky blue trim, has CHICAGO POLICE writ large in red block letters on both sides, and has bright blue lights that flash whenever he is in hot pursuit or pulling alongside a barge. Shannon’s beat is the Chicago River from just east of Michigan Avenue to just south of the Van Buren Street Bridge—the Loop, essentially, though he is occasionally as far afield as the mouth of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at 26th and Ashland. Boat Cop’s duties include everything from checking maritime shipping licenses to reviewing bills of lading. He works alone. This is never addressed or explained, other than that he once had a partner but now he is dead. The movie opens with a Taxi Driver-esque monologue about the things he sees on his beat, though it’s more informative than depressing.
N 2 DEEP
WHEN THE FIRE GOES OUT
That is no country for old men…
—W. B. Yeats
They eat in silence, mainly. Their few words cover selecting a topping for the pizza; choosing a bottle of wine; asking that the other pass the Parmesan canister; later, the salt shaker; agreeing that the crust is good—she with the statement, he with a grunt of assent. Beyond that, no more.
Ernest Hemingway, legend has it, wrote the following story:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
:( A baby died before it could wear shoes. The parents are so poor they have to sell the shoes for food and rent. They can’t even afford a decent classified ad. That’s so powerful. :(
Well... Maybe the parents are doing OK, financially. Not living large, but not sweating the occasional night out either. Here they are just like, “Sucks that the baby died. Still, we should get something for the shoes. Should I take out the ad or do you want to?”
Nah, that’s not it. The baby is basically fine, just born without feet. Parents are like, “Shoes would be a pretense.”
No, hold on…. OK, I get it—frickin’ baby has really, really big feet. Baby shoes just won’t cut it, so the parents have to buy it grown-man shoes. Maybe the six-word title to Hemingway’s six-word story, unknown till now, was, “The Eight-Pound Baby With Size Thirteens.”
Wait! Fucking baby has FINS. YES. Moms popped out a fishbaby. Dad's all “Tell you what: I’m ‘a sell these shoes and buy fishbaby a goddamn tank with all the ca$h that transaction brings in. Next, we learn his ass to swim—like, now—and he’ll be in the Olympics before he turns three!” Then he stares out into space and pictures the headlines:
China’s “Octopusman” Wins Silver
Man, it is amazing how much can fit into six words.
It was a hot, steamy afternoon. I was lounging by the pool of my singles apartment complex, just passing the time and feeling the breeze. Reading, doing push-ups, catching some rays… You can’t use the pool because we have a very serious black algae problem. I guess it’s a bitch to fix. Supposedly they’re working on it.
Here is a sample of some of my work that either was broadcast or published.
Stuff you can read:
New essay about the film of that name. Listen here:
Published June 18, 2010, in the Chicago Sun-Times.
About 15 years ago, at a one-day office temp job somewhere on Michigan Avenue, one of my co-workers discreetly pointed to a man just out of earshot. He had an athlete’s frame, a drill sergeant’s posture, and a general’s bearing. In the hushed tone that we little people use in the vicinity of greatness, my co-worker said, “That’s Stedman.”
“Wow,” I whispered back. “Who’s Stedman?”
After a pause befitting the moment, she said, “Oprah’s boyfriend.”
Dennis O'Toole is an all-set cobra jet creepin' through the nighttime. He lives in Chicago.
If you need to reach me, dial:
denotoole AT SYMBOL gmail DOT co LETTER M.