Friday, March 30, 2012

Magic Show

Dierdre leaned against the back wooden wall while everyone else set up their fancy boxes with secret compartments and guillotines and levitating strings. Everyone was in bright glamourous costumes, and assistants were stretching to She pulled her pony tail to top of her head and down over her face between her eyes. Chewing on the tip until it was soggy, she folded her arms thinking herself the coolest one on that stage.

"Hey," said a man's voice. Dierdre turned and looked at the magician in a top hat and a tuxedo. Little sparkles lined his blazer. He paused in the silence and waited for her to say something. She studied his goatee. After a beat the man continued, "So, who are you here with?"

Pulling the damp pony tail out of her lips, Dierdre looked around at the magicians in the convention, setting up their tricks. "What?"

"Who's assistant are you?" He smiled with blindingly glimmering teeth and gestured at the participants with a white gloved hand.

"Oh," she said looking down at her dirty sneakers. "No one's."

"Do you work here or are you like a fan or somebody's girlfriend?" he asked.

Dierdre should have been used to this. There weren't that many girls in this profession at all, but it still offended her that they couldn't sense her innate magical talents. Obviously this was because she was naive enough to assume that any of them were real magicians themselves.

"No, I'm a magician," said the short young woman in jeans and a sweatshirt.

"Really?" said the man. "Well, uh, sorry..." He turned on his shiny black heel and walked away.

Dierdre shrugged and watched everyone else prepare for the show portion of the convention. She hated these sorts of things. At least when you were performing in front of a real audience they wanted you to succeed; they wanted a good show. At a convention you were performing in front of other magicians, who basically were only watching you to judge your act and decide theirs was better. As one of the youngest participants and a woman, Dierdre felt the brunt of this judgement at many of the mixers, after parties, seminars, but at least on stage she was able to ignore any condescension and simply shine.

Standing in the back of the room, she watched as her colleagues sawed assistants in half, made people disappear, and pulled birds out of their sleeves. She could see the trick for most of them, a trap door or a mirror. None of it was real magic.

As she often felt when watching, talking to, or being around others, Dierdre felt so alone and scared. It was hard for her to accept that a majority of the magic in the world wasn't real, that most people didn't have a power or a destiny or a psychic link to everything in humanity. It felt terrifying to think that most things didn't mean anything. She shuddered and hugged her arms and breathed deeply. Her chin dropped to her clavicle as she realized that everything empty and fake and we were all alone. And then they called her name.

Dierdre took the stage quietly, not needing any tech or anything besides a spotlight. Everyone else had had a spiel with funny jokes and a cheesey patter and audience interaction. Some of them brought the crowd on stage and had assistants. She took the stage in her regular clothes, alone, and stood in the light looking out at her fellow magicians. Some of them had notebooks. A lot of them were talking to each other, drinking by this point in the convention.

She took a deep breath and turned in a circle so everyone could see that she was a normal human, or what would pass as one. She then reached to the back of her head, to her hair, and pulled. Her nimble fingers tugged and a zipper appeared. She unzipped the back of her skull, unzipping the skin until it fell down to the stage in a pile of flesh. Blood ran across the stage in a dark pool, much darker than the red of most humans. It flowed so freely, dripping over the stage toward the crowd, but not staining anything, a temporarily disgusting river of feelings that could easily be washed away. Her bones clattered to the wooden like children's toys. Organs bounced and flopped into the crowd. A man who had used a ventriloquist dummy in his act caught her lung in his lap. Her eyes rolled across the now bloody stage, somehow still crying in their severed state.

Her femur danced a little bit, flinging piles of tissue around. Several of the men in the audience were vomitting with violent force. Others were crying, the kind of tears your body can create when you're so scared and unsure of the unknown. Several magicians ran for the door. The man who had said hello to her earlier fainted.

The emcee watched from the back stage, clutching his mouth turning green and heaving in horror. He looked over for the stage manager, unsure of what had just happened or what he should do.

It would be so easy to stay like this, she thought. It would be so freeing to leave that globby, lifeless, pile of human body behind. It would be glorious to float around everything and exist in everyone and be like a song.

Finally Dierdre pulled all of her organs, bones, skin, hair, muscles, and blood back together. It all sucked quickly up into one ball of human and suddenly she was standing before them as if she had never done it. She blinked and looked at the colleagues in the audience who were straining to stop throwing up. Without bowing or saying anything, she exited the stage.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I rode down the gravel path, tiny fake rocks flew up from the ground and into the back of my calves. The flaps of my flood pants smacked against my shins as I pedaled. The cool breeze rushed through my t-shirt like a refreshing whisper of encouragement as I sailed through the night.

The path winded past the dark river and I skidded to a halt when I reached the park. I dismounted with a wide clumsy swing of my leg and let my bike topple over with a loud crash onto the gravel path. I turned, not looking back. My sneakers, animated by an evil sneaker ghost, led my feet forward into the playground near the riverfront. I walked over the confetti-like woodchips, lining the bottom of the play equipment like a giant hamster cage, filled with tiny pellets of metaphorical shit and piss.

Mother didn't approve of me coming to the playground, but her hands were busy with praying and then washing themselves over and over again, so she wouldn't know, besides as long as I wore my coat, I should be okay. As soon as the thought entered my consciousness, my coat started itching, deep into my skin. I imagined taking a fork and scraping it across myself, cutting the fabric and downy cushion and digging deep into my flesh. I wished I could cut deep into release.

I sat on a swing, allowing the sounds of the river to wash over me like a cleansing shower of white noise and screaming. The trees lined the playground like a half assed fence, caging in the feelings but still letting bad demons creep in to climb the monkey bars. I kicked my legs up and pumped through the air. My pants sank up into my sweaty kneepits, damp and anxious in their exertion. The hairs on my human body whistled in the sharp wind. My feet sailed upwards towards the stars. I gripped the chains tighter, pinching my fingers and palms hard against the frozen metal. Blood curled in my hands and dripped down my wrists, seeping into my sweater sleeves.

The clouds parted as my legs shot upward. I leaned back, my torso parallel to the earth below me and pumped again. My ass flew up out of the seat, my weight buckling under me and then smacking back down into the seat. I flew back and then went forward again, rising up out of my seat, and this time taking flight. My fingers loosened their grip and I floated up into the dark night.

Grasping onto the clouds and strands of darkness, I soared, unburdened by gravity, unattached to anything. Below me sat the tiny playground, little pieces of my childhood peering up at me. Why wasn't I falling? Had I already fallen and was I dreaming now? I floated miles above everything, simply sailing farther up. It was freeing and terrifying, not to be able to clutch anything tangible, to only have whisps of nothing to keep me grounded, to not know what grounded meant anymore, nor if I ever had been.

Hearing an owl in the distance, the sound of the river was my floor, rushing gently and angrily like a missing blown kiss, far below me. I traveled south, away from the playground. The neighborhood grew smaller beneath my dangling legs. I edged out from reality, from existence, my bleeding palms facing the world below, dripping towards the playground. I could hear everything melting away. I said goodbye to who I was, what I thought I wanted, where I could have been, and floated up into the stars. It was forever, and I evaporated into it.

The freezing clouds cuddled me like my heart never could. My shoe fell off and I didn't care. It was ugly, even though I had loved it so much when I saw it in the outlet store window, when I had purchased it, when I wore it, when I ran in it, when I traipsed confidently downtown in it. I loved those sneakers when I had tied them into double nots, matched them to socks and dresses that I had worn to dates, to parties, to coffees, to meetings, to interviews. It was my shoe and I was it's foot and we were both disgusting in our smelly reeking tangibility.

It cascaded quickly down below, to the earth, so vastly sudden that I didn't even notice that I was nakedly barefoot. My toes stretched and curled in the bitter cold of space. Goosebumps grazed my legs and ankles reaching up into everything in my soul, or whatever kept me held together despite the mandatory consistent crying and shaking that outlined the dirty cage of humanity.

I let go of everything that held me to my burdens, my anchors, my chains, and swung up into the nothingness of wishes and dreams and the false sense of belief that your fantasies could someday be realized. I let go of everything I was and I was nothing and I was free.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

It's a tireless story. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Often it's the same boy that met the same girl from the first time around. I guess they met simultaneously otherwise this would be multiple tireless stories. Boy and girl start dating and become adorably infatuated and touchey feely and learn how to do facetime videochat on a gigantic ipad. Boy looks over his girlfriend's shoulder as she talks to him about her leggings. Her voice tunes out. Her face becomes a blur. Over his girlfriend's shoulder he sees his soulmate.

The woman was standing behind his girlfriend in line at the airport, heavily layered in two hoodies and a coat underneath a giant backpack. In preparation for the 5:00am flight, her hair is in a suitabley disgusting greasy mess, hanging in stringy strands over her pale pimply face, as she has stayed up all night doing something creative and special. The boy on the ipad gazes at her as she stares straight ahead, zoning out into the distance. She looks straight through him with dark circles under her dead lightless eyes. Her chin is speckled with mustard globs. She blinks slowly in the harsh airport light and wipes a booger from her large nose. Oblivious to him she mutters the words of a song to herself in a soft, loose melody and no one around her notices.

The boy is in love.

Nothing could have taken longer than that plane ride. The boy fidgets and reads and watches television and hates himself and cries. When he goes to pick his girlfriend up at the airport he keeps looking around her while she chats about her vacation and collects her pink Hello Kitty roller suitcase. He evades her neatly eyelinered eyes as she smiles her perfect smile and shakes her long, shiny dark hair. And there she is.

The woman, a little bit older than his current girlfriend, has taken off her hoodies to search for something in her bag. She's grunting and heaving as she digs like a pig through a muddy trough. There are off yellow sweatstains all over her shirt. She is talking to herself about nothing at all.

The boy has never met anyone so quirky and different. He pushes past his tiny girlfriend and approaches the woman absentmindedly scratching her crotch in public.

"Hello," says the boy.

"BUGS!" she shouts, her eyes wide and frantic.


"Bugs," she whimpers in painful fear pointing at his sneakers which do have Bugs Bunny on them.

"It's okay," he says soothingly. "He can't hurt you." She is so sweet and innocent and childlike! He wants to protect her and hold her.

"If you sing songs about him the future can hear you," she softly mutters, looking away at a trash can.

"Golly," says the boy breathlessly. "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard."

The girl starts crying. She grabs her spacious love handles and points at an escalator. "That's not my hat."

"Listen," the boy says. "I think you're the most unique and quirky thing I've ever seen. You're like a flower in a pond of seascum. You're a manic pixie dream girl. Hey, I've only known you a few minutes, but I think I'm in love with you."

A man older than them walks up and puts his hand on the girl's shoulder. "What the fuck do you think you're doing with my mentally disabled daughter?" He growls at the boy. The man is much bigger than the boy, with years of pain etched under his eyes. The girl under his hand smiles and waves at the boy. The boy steps back and looks at both of them with both of his eyes.

"Oh! Oh? Oh! Um."

"Walk the fuck away."

The boy is heartbroken. He has lost his soulmate, the love of his life, the light that shone in the darkness of the graveyard of his childhood. She was the one who had taught him to dance in the fields at nightfall, to remember what it feels like to laugh, to twirl int he rain. She was his angel and his angle, an acute one. Goodbye to love, to happily ever after, goodbye to rainbows and ukulele music on a picnic. Goodbye, my dear, my love, carpe diem.

The boy walks back to his girlfriend, his hopes shattered, his dreams broken. And he knows he will never feel this way again.

The impossibly quirky abstract girl follows the big man to the car while he lectures her. She sings and laughs to herself when the leave the airport and enters the pool of cold dry sunshine.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Monologue Jokes

Sometimes I attempt to write monologue style jokes. Here's a few of them. Most of them are nerd culture related.

The Phantom Menace is now the top grossing Star Wars film, but unfortunately throwing money at bad things doesn't make them go away. Remember Iraq?

The film John Carter was based on the book "A Princess of Mars" but the title was changed because the director thought it was too girly... and the last thing they'd want to do is emasculate people who read fantasy romance novels.

JK Rowling said her new novel is very different than Harry Potter because it's for adults, or in other words, JK Rowling just told her fanbase of 25 year olds to grow the fuck up.

According to a recent study, people who are in tune with their feelings are able to make more accurate predictions."Oh my god I always knew I was like psychic or something!" said 18 year old girls who are not at all in tune with their feelings.

Scientists have discovered a puzzling clump of dark matter in space and they are confused, as to whether the universe can pull off the chemo wig.

According to a new study, winning makes you a mean person. "Good thing I'm a loveable underdog," said assholes.

A new study shows that if vampires exist they are probably are not allergic to garlic. "Great use of science, guys," said cancer patients.
(I use this one on stage a lot)

A new heart disease medication may reduce feelings of racism. Which is great, because it was my black boyfriend who gave my grandma the heart attack in the first place.

Research suggests that Greenland may melt sooner than thought, resulting in a 7 meter rise in sea level. "At this rate we'll never find Atlantis!" Said folks who don't realize that the planet is dying.

A new substance can repair itself, and may be used to heal damaged organs. "Yes, Billy, just like Wolverine," said a mom who's son is probably going to die.

A junior high school kid was arrested for stealing over 1000 condoms. In retrospect it wasn't that difficult to find the one kid with 1000 dicks.

In The Avengers trailer, it's still unclear who exactly the villains are. My guess is it's a society that makes a $220 million film but can't afford health care for dying children.

For more such jokes follow @barbara_holm on twitter

Meeting the folks

Dennis walked up the stairs to Marcie's house and stood on the white wooden porch for a second. The paint was peeling and there was an old jack-o-lantern several seasons too late at his feet. He looked at the white, round doorknob and for a fragment of time forgot what he was supposed to do. Then he remembered, felt stupid, and pressed the button. There was a loud sound of a church bell inside, that seemed too large for this tiny little button. Dennis's thoughts caught in his mind in a swirly tangle and began to settle down on his throat, strangling him with nervousness.

The door opened and Marcie bounced in front of him. She appeared so suddenly that Dennis stumbled back, startled by the jubilant wave of smiles and blonde hair jumping up and down.

"Hey, Dennis!" Marcie exclaimed. He leaned in for a handshake and she jumped into a hug, both of her arms around his neck. He had no choice but to gently hold her around the waist like they were slow dancing. He thought about kissing her neck as she pulled away.

"Hey," he said.

"I'm almost ready, come on inside for a sec and then we can go out to the movie!" she trilled. Dennis gulped, nodded, and stumbled inside.

The old fashioned carpet reminded him of a calico cat. The couch was patterened in an almost arabic style. Everything was mismatched, retro and covered in dust.

Meeting the parents was the worst part. All he wanted to do was get the little blonde into the back of his car and they could look out the window, leaning in together, while he told her some fabricated bullshit about constellations. He had seen it done in a movie once. Now he had to sit and talk to Marcie's parents? Would her dad be stern with him? Would her mother inquire as to his intentions? What if they locked him up in a pantry and fed him to mice? What if they made fun of his tie?

"So, are your parents home?" He asked abruptly.

Marcie handed him a glass of water. "No."

Her smiled and covered his elation by taking a sip. The water tasted stale and dusty.

"They're long gone," she said quietly.

Coughing, Dennis looked up, spilling water all down his shirt and made eye contact with her for the first time. She had bright blue eyes that shone with laughter. He froze, watching them dance around her face.

"Come on, silly," she said. "I'll give you the tour. Here's the fish tank. All the fish left so now it's just poopy water."

"Where'd they go?" Dennis asked, examining the brown sludgy rectangle.

"I don't know; I don't ask them personal private questions," Marcie said. "I'm not a rude person."

"Should we get going to see the movie?"

"Just one sec, I'll introduce you to my grandma."

Marcie led Dennis through the living room, into the kitchen, calling loudly for her grandmother. She joked in between abrasive yells while he nervously avoided a rat in the corner of the kitchen and piles of dirty laundry.

She led him into the dining room where an old woman sat in a large wooden chair at the table with her back to them. Her white hair was bundled up in a dry, scraggly tuft, with stray hairs poking out. She was layered in several dark sweaters, bundled so tightly that she looked hunched over. A musky thick smell permeated the room and Dennis gasped, clutching his chest at the stink. It smelled like old mustard, dirty socks, meat, perfume, formaldehyde and death.

"There you are," giggled Marcie, bending down and hugging the old woman's shoulders. "We were looking for you. Grandma, meet my friend Dennis."

The woman didn't stand up, or bother to turn around to acknowledge Dennis. In fact, she didn't even return Marcie's affectionate embrace. Remaining rigidly immobile, the figure stared straight ahead. Marcie jumped up and down, smiling at Dennis over her grandmother's shoulder. Her arms flailed with excitement and she bounced from one foot to another, her young fleshy breasts rising beneath the loose fitting t-shirt she wore, creating a waving current of human body. She beckoned him to come over with a big excited grin. Dennis obediently walked around to the front of the dining room table.

Dennis gasped when he saw the woman's face. It was withered and slightly green, . Her hands sat neatly in her skirted lap. Her hands had turned a deep purple and the skin folded over her many silver rings. Her eyes, sunken into the skull, stared straight out ahead, open and unblinking. It was clear that the smell was coming from her.

"Grandma, meet Dennis," Marcie cooed.

"Marcie..." Dennis murmured. "Oh god."

She lifted her grandmother's corpse's hand and placed it inside of Dennis's. The tiny shrived paw was freezing and felt almost slimy in his hands, like a rotting cucumber that someone had left in the fridge. Marcie kept her warm hands sandwiched around his, clutching the thing. His heart beat quickly and sweat began to pour out of his armpits and palms.

"I-I need to go," he said.

"Come on, you don't care if we miss the previews, do you? Stay and get to know grandma."

Dennis wrenched his hand away and the old woman's arm stayed propped up in the air mid shake. He let out a startled shout and took a step backwards.

"You're being very rude," Marcie said. "Grandma says you can never be rude. Always be polite. Right, grandma?" She looked down lovingly at the decaying body in the chair.

"I don't feel well," he whispered to himself. "I need to take a rain check on the date."

Dennis turned and ran out the front door of the house, falling onto himself as he jogged to his car. He jiggled the keys into the ignition with shaky hands and slammed his foot down on the pedal. The car shot forward, unaccustomed to being forced to go at top speed on such short notice, and growled at its driver. Dennis drove back towards his home as fast as he could. A block from his home he took a corner too sharply and drove hard into the tree in Mrs. Cavanaugh's lawn.

The tree had been depressed for a while about the declining state of air in the neighborhood. She had been feeling ill, unloved, helpless, and rooted in an endless cycle of abuse, and thus was contemplating suicide. So this hard crash into her base was the final proverbial straw and the tree took the plunge, diving headfirst out of existence, without anyone bothering to shout "Timber!" first.

The tree fell on the hood of the car, caving in the roof and killing Dennis instantly. The car crinkled into itself and sadly sat in the middle of the lawn. Up and down the street, lights in a few front windows flickered on and curtains curled and moved in the darkness. A woman walking her dog stopped under the streetlamp and dialed 911. The dog, sensing something was weird, humped her leg in support while Dennis lay quietly against the pillow-like airbag covered by a blanket of fresh evergreen branches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The window was closed the roar of the garbage truck permeated the glass pane. Bright green and smelly, it rolled down the street with a monstrous growl. I peered over the sill and smiled with my lips, wrapped in two hoodies over my nightgown that made me feel secret and safe.

Behind me Edith watched in displeasure. It wasn't her fault; it's just her natural face. Or rather, it is her unnatural face because it is plastic and fake, obviously. I turned around and glared at her.

"Edith, stop staring at me, please," I said with a harsh snap.

She continued staring at me. I reached over and touched her stiff, lifeless little body. She had ugly eyes, which is a difficult attribute to accomplish. Hers were plastic, just an extension of her face. They were cartoon crayola blue with white spots sitting in them to signify how light would catch them were they real. But they weren't and would never be.

"Edith, you do not get to watch me anymore!" I screamed with unbridled rage. I picked her up and spun her around so she was facing the wall. Her plastic jointless legs stuck straight out pointing towards the future, an empty white wall. "Don't complain, Edith."

Edith wasn't like Bernadette, who had glass eyes. They looked like shiny marbles and I wanted to pluck them out of her pretty skull and put the cool glass balls into my ears where they could be covered in yellow splotchy wax for luck.

I turned and looked out the window. Sitting on my bed I could see through the thresholds into the entire neighborhood's rooms. Across the street my neighbor was folding laundry and talking to her children. She stood in a warm pool of golden butter, or maybe the kitchen light. She folded something that looked like a sweater. A cocker spaniel ran through the room and jumped on her leg and she kicked him off. The kids screamed. I leaned against the pillow on my headspread and reached down between my thighs. The woman yelled at her dog while her children sobbed and my fingers glided up towards me.

"See, Edith, if you had been a good girl you could have watched this with Bernadette and Jenny and the other dolls," I whispered, my voice breathy and sing songy.

Below me my mother walked around the kitchen. Her high heals clacked against the hardwood floors as the fridge opened and something glass was taken out. The fridge closed and there were a few clinks. The television turned on and something poured into a glass with an audible glug.

My room was clean, contrasting with the rooms inside my mind. It was filled with pink and white pillows, sheer draping sheets, and dozens of toys and dolls and games, lining the shelf and staring at me. When I had been a real child my room was never like this. It had been messy, dirty even, and garish and loud. There had been a Poster for Labrynth across from my bed, framed in seashells I had hand collected, painted blue, and pinned to the wall. I thought I was going to marry the Goblin King, played by David Bowie, and I sang him songs and kissed the poster and rubbed my pre pubescent body up and down the shiny image.

All of that which was my childhood is gone now and replaced with sweet easter-like decor. All of my violent comic books and monster toys were replaced with porcelain and plastic dolls in frilly dresses and old fashioned hats. They watched me with glass or plastic eyes, smiling sweetly, barely showing any teeth. I wondered if they secretly had fangs that could devour me in my sleep. Their perfect hair curled in perfect dry ringlets like swirls of loathing and hatred cascading down their faces.

It was only now in my fragmented, shattered, miserable adulthood, that I got to be a little girl.

Downstairs I could hear my mother crying. I leaned back in my bed, wrapped my fluffy white duvet around me, and continued touching myself. My eyes were locked on the neighbor now playing go fish with her kids. Even from across the street, behind lamposts, gardens, discarded toys, I could see the mother was cheating, peaking at the cards. Her eyes were tired and she propped her head in her hands, leaning her elbows against the table.

We were just another white two story neat little house, sitting in a mathematically organized row on our street, stretching out towards a park on one side with children playing in the swings. Dozens of curtains framed little windows, peering out into oblivion. The dolls watched my rigid back, smiling cold knowing glares.

Unable to cry anymore because I am no longer real, my skin tightened around my eyes. I felt my body turn stiff and cold under my nightgown. My arms were locked at the elbows; with joints just for looks. My hair fell across my face and I was another doll. I had fallen from the shelf and cracked my perfect porcelain face and upturned my fluffy pink petticoat but my glass eyes were still shining like dead cold marbles.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Romantic comedy

You do not get a romantic comedy ending. You don't get to have Mr. Darcy show up at the end of the book and tell you he can't spend one minute of the rest of his life without you. That doesn't exist. Even if he truthfully can't spend his life without you, he'll never say it.

His lips will seal up, sewed together by an impenetrable magic. He can't write it down either, his fingers will cramp and the pen will turn into a slug. And you're afraid of slugs, aren't you? Because of that one time when you went camping as a little kid and your friend Andrew told you that slugs crawl on people's faces when they sleep and suck the souls out of little girls. That was the same camping trip when he wouldn't let you play with the tyrannosaurus doll because girls had to be brontosaurus. Looking back on it he may have been sexist. But that doesn't matter, because your almost-psuedo-wannabe Mr. Darcy's fingers have already turned into slugs. A long time ago, a witch cursed happy endings and bound them with a strong magic so that they can't get to you. The witch lives in a cave at the end of the woods and hates everyone and cursed all men forever in an effort to make sure that everyone would feel lonely and isolated, in their own emotional cave at the end of the woods.

Before the witch was a witch she was a sandwich. She was a delicious tuna sandwich that appeared in the middle of the woods thousands of years ago in caveman times. There was a rift in space and time and through a hole in the fabric of reality, the delicious meal flopped down into existence. The sandwich appeared miraculously in the middle of a clearing and sat patiently on a rock. It had whole wheat bread, lots of lettuce, fresh tomatoes, tuna salad with chopped up celery, onions and craisins and it was dripping with mustard. It was the perfect sandwich.

Unfortunately no one came upon it as the rock was too high for most animals; birds steered clear of craisins, and humans were too busy grunting and failing to invent fire. Thus the sandwich remained uneaten, and slowly decayed. Its fresh tomatoes rotted quickly and the tuna immediately went bad. After a day it was clear that if anyone had taken a bite they would have suffered from massive diarrhea and vomiting. That's when the once delicious sandwich turned into a bitter and angry witch, replete with immortality and enough power to make "god" jealous. The witch named herself Susan and vowed to wreak havoc on society and emotional health for the rest of eternity.

So that's why you don't get your fairy tale ending. If you could build a time machine and go back and eat the sandwich, maybe none of this would have ever happened. I'm not blaming you. But as it stands, you do not get a Lloyd Dobler or any sort of John Hughes hero. You don't get a guy to run after you through the airport and tell you that he's never met anyone like you. That's not even how the airport security works anymore, silly. Maybe you'll fall in the airport and land in a puddle of acidic cleaning solution, coffee, and baby vomit. Maybe you'll cry. Maybe your tears will fill the airport terminal like a salty sea full of fish and dead mermaids and you'll have to build a raft out of all the dreams you've forgotten and you'll sail away to safety or something not at all resembling it.

And your arms will bleed and your thoughts will cringe upon each other, writhing like worms in the dirty pit of your filthy brain. you will feel bad for yourself and then loathe yourself for feeling bad about yourself. But you'll find an island full of people who turn into palm trees when they die.

And then you'll go out and eat a tuna fish sandwich by yourself.

My flimsy weak attempts at monologue jokes

Sometimes I try to write monologue jokes. Most of them are nerd/pop culture related.

Storm is joining the Avengers coincidentally right before Marvel releases the Avengers vs X-Men faceoff... That's like if Kobe and Shaq could make me feel anything.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo received an Oscar nomination for most uncomfortable film to watch with your dad.

DC's latest installment of I, Vampire will take place in Gotham City, and I don't care what teenage mormon girls say, I'm on team Bruce.

Fans are complaining that the film adaptation of Tintin strays from the original books in many ways, such as a diversion from the abstract whimsical aesthetics, and all the fucking racism.

The Family Research Council is upset that Star Wars: The Old Republic features gay relationships. Parents are complaining that children who play violent mmorpgs shouldn't be exposed to love.

After a divorce a British man had to sell his home that he custom built to look like the USS Voyager, suggesting actually the final frontier is loneliness.

Christian Bale said he wouldn't play Batman if Robin had appeared in any of the films, based on the clause in his contract specifying no one gonna steal that dead daddy thunder.

The director of Back to the Future is considering turning the beloved classic film into a broadway musical, saying where we're going, we don't need artistic integrity.

Andrew Garfield, star of the upcoming Spiderman film, says he is excited to explore the character because he thinks that orphans are the strongest beings on earth, teasingly referencing the reboot of Orphan Man, the tale of an awkward teenager bit by a radioactive kid with dead parents.

Apple removed 59 clone games from it's app store. The games said, "Stop! Don't shoot! I'm the real game, he's the clone! Ask me something only the real angry birds could kn-"

A new study found that facebook and twitter are more addictive than cigarettes, but you still can't burn social networking into your baby's arm.

Stan Lee's first official website launched. Which makes me wish my real grandpa was that adorable and/or still alive.

Archie Comics released a spinoff called Kevin featuring their first gay main character, and conservative parents are irrationally angry that children may think it's acceptable to like Archie Comics.

A man in Pennsylvania tried to strangle his wife with a video game chord, but no amount of spicing things up could make her love him again.

Fox announced that this will be the last season of House. Said fans, "oh no, we'll never see another drama about smart attractive doctors."

In Kevin Smith's new series Comic Book Men, Zoe Gulliksin was cut out of all the scenes in the pilot leaving an all male ensemble cast. Smith said, "yeah, we thought about making it good, but then it wouldn't be reality tv."

A new romantic drama The Vow did better than The Phantom Menace 3D at the box office. Said George Lucas, "That's. Not. Possible. (look down at palms in disbelief) Could it be wearing off? Bring me the blood of a turtle dissolved into virgin tears to taste."

For more such jokes follow @barbara_holm on twitter

put put course

Abby leaned against the metal railing and chewed on one of her pigtail braids. Go do something fun, her psychiatrist had said. Go do something for yourself. She sighed and grasped the cool metal club, rubbing it up and down her hairy calf that peaked out from baggy capri pants. They used to be called flood pants when she was in middle school. Now no one wore them but her. She pushed her glasses up her nose, watching the children laugh over bubble gum and comic books. Her lips parted and she scratched her arm. She could remember so clearly that idyllic temperament of childhood. Not joy, but a feeling of urgency and intensity accompanies youth. Juvenesence so easily slips through the thick stew of hot emotions and obligations surrounding her.

Spitting her pigtail out of her mouth, Abby stepped through the short fake grass, past the shiny clown faces and tiny windmills. Her flip flops smacked against the soles of her feet as she crouched in front of the four foot lighthouse. After dropping her pink ball onto the astroturf, she shook her head to try to loosen the happy chirping of tiny birds from her consciousness. Perspiration soaked her shirt in the uncomfortable summer air. She swung the club behind her back, far up into the creamy blue picturesque sky. The gleam of metal cut into the otherwise idyllic glass ceiling above her.

At the concerned gaze of several parents, she froze midswing and examined herself. No one swings the club like this, idiot! Her cheeks burned bright red and her shoulders shook. Abby dropped the club down closer to her feet, remembering the graceful gentle putting motion that she had learned in the golf lessons her parents had forced her to take. She rigidly locked her elbows and drove the putter against the pink ball. It cracked against the thing with a loud smack, still much too hard.

The pink golf ball bounced angrily across the poky fake grass. What were golf balls made of, anyway? Rubber bands and old gum and plastic and tiny mouse bones? When Abby was a little kid she had found one of her dad's that had a crack in it, with tempting secrets and magic poking out, teasingly enticing her towards adventure. Remembering the wondrous joy she had experienced when she got to see the insides of a baseball, Six year old Abby had ran to the kitchen and begun digging through what she at that age called "the weapons."

Her parents were in the backyard reading paperback mystery novels on lounge chairs and drinking beer. They had music going and were generally enjoying a summer evening. Abby sat on her kitchen floor with her father's golf ball and the giant serrated knife her mom used to cut tomatoes. Her turquoise corduroy overalls hindered her ability to sit criss cross apple sauce and the six year old uncomfortably leaned against the wooden kitchen counter. She held the golf ball between her knees and pinched it between two fingers of her left hand. The gleam of the metal knife sparkled as she began to saw at the hard, shiny white plastic. The little dimples of the ball slipped against her now sweaty fingers. The knife failed to saw into the golf ball and slid down the sphere.

She didn't even feel the stabbing sensation. Nothing hurt that she was aware of. It happened too quickly to register. The scream she uttered was solely in reaction to seeing her own watery blood flowing so freely and easily across her high top sneakers. The river of red blood gushed in a messy stream over her tiny, bony knees.

Adult Abby searched for her ball in the area behind the lighthouse. She stepped over the short yellow rope that was supposed to fence in the miniature golf course. The black thick hair of her calves poked out of her pant hem as she bent over in the less maintained wild forest of the kiddie put put park. This hadn't been her best idea. Clearly this was the sort of thing you are supposed to do with other people, with family and friends, but who knew? No one bothered to tell her that.

She waded through increasingly thick grass away from the yelling families and smell of cotton candy. She traipsed further from the lighthouse until she had descended a small hill and was out of sight of the horrid fist dates pretending not to hate themselves. She was in a vacant lot of some sort, filled with old trash thrown down the hill. At this point she could easily give up the golf ball and go home. The bright sun glinted off something white and red. She shielded her eyes with her hand, squinting into the glare.

Twenty feet from her sat an old, cracked antique clown head. It must have been an old miniature golf apparatus that they discarded. She walked towards it and stared into the red flat eyes. The hard plaster tongue hung out, leading a pathway for a ball to sink into. Abby knelt in front of the clown and peered inside the oval gaping lips. The red paint was cracked and flaking from the clowns lips. Squinting, she could clearly see her pink ball, sitting patiently and proudly in the center of the clown's mouth. It calmly looked back out at her, as if it knew all along that this is where it belonged.

Abby looked over her shoulder at the dead grass waving around her. She couldn't see the top of the hill where she had left the bright, plastic golf course. Drowned out were the noises of the family fun area. She could hear the sounds of cars somewhere and she knew she must be close to a freeway. There were old beer bottles and used condoms lying in the vacant lot around her. She was careful not to rest her knees on the ground.

Her hand trembled as it reached out in front of her. Her eyes widened as her plaid sleeve slid up, revealing the disgusting marks. She frowned, blotting out the sounds of children mocking their invulnerability and joy at her. Had she been that happy as a child? She couldn't remember it.

She closed her eyes and said goodbye to no one at all, to the desperate and anxious feeling of her life sliding by slowly and inevitably toward nothing. She said goodbye to her lack of boyfriend, the pointless day job, the zero messages on her answering machine, to the stupid fact that she still had an answering machine. A few thin salty tears fell from her eyes. They didn't sit on her cheeks but because of the angle she was squatting fell to her crouched pant legs. She would never be held and be able to make anyone laugh in the early morning. She would never coax out a charmed smile over coffee. She was never that girl and that was fair enough by her standards.

The freeing feeling of delighted abandon drowned her isolation. Her dreams blurred into reality in a dark tornado across the vacant lot. She reached inside the clown mouth for her ball, crying heavily and openly now. She couldn't see through her tears as she reached forward, pulled by a magnetic force toward the plaster clown. Her fingers slid inside, and then her arm, and then her head, and then her torso. She tumbled deep into herself and into the abyss of nothing and everything. Her skin prickled and then shrank inwards onto her bones. She slid all the way into the clown mouth and disappeared.

The vacant lot was empty besides the trash. The tiny pink ball rolled out of the clown's mouth and bounced passed used condoms and old soda cans. A crow flew overhead and soared across the golf course above. A manic soft laugh could be heard cackling into the summer evening.

Monday, March 19, 2012

something that never was

Jennifer sat in the dead dry grass, her white dress pooling around her thighs. Both her knees were bent underneath her in a position that would make her ankles fall asleep if she held it too long. She looked over her shoulder but she was hidden in the darkness, and it's not like anyone was coming here this late anyway. There was the sound of a bat in a nearby tree.

The wind ruffled her dark hair, blowing it in front of her face, and she didn't bother to wipe it away. She remembered when she used to love the night. It meant sleeping in someone's arms; whispering instead of speaking loudly; it meant intimacy. Jennifer remembered when her cries didn't go unanswered, when her nightmareish screams pierced the darkness and hit something. Now the nightmare was everywhere, a dark blanket clothing her in the terrifying loneliness of her heart. She was wrapped in her isolation, so thick that no one could hear her sobs, blocking her off from the outside world but not warming her as she snuggled into herself.

She was cold but she didn't shiver; her coldness was beyond that. The freezing feeling was more than physical, deep in her brain, seizing every thought and heartfelt grasp at imagination and encasing it in life taking ice. It's amazing how beautiful things in ice look, how preserved, when really their blood has run cold and their life has been sucked out of them. Cruel and cold in the beauty of their death.

Her light white dress floated over the her pale skin. Wearing nothing underneath, her skin prickled in the breeze. The whispers of tomorrow grated on her ears like dirty sporks scraping into her screaming brain.

The thoughts hadn't stopped crying in the darkened haunted mansion of her head for weeks. She would travel through the rickety hallways of her mind, passing cobwebbed furniture and doorways she didn't recognize. At the end of the hall would be a soft glowing light, a child kneeling and singing, or alternatively crying beneath a creepy painting. The little kid would be shrouded in a flimsy sheet or wispy shawl, glowing through the crocheted fabric. Jennifer spent hours traveling the attics of her mind, trying to reach the lonely child, but the hallway only stretched longer and longer through the terror of her isolation.

The graveyard loomed around her like a gloomy soup that she was the lone carrot in. She swam through the eerie fog without leaving her place on the grassy earth. The grass slipped against her calves, covering layers of earth and cracking bones and decaying corpses. The dead curled below her, silent and helpless against her inaudible screams. Their rotting fingers lay immobile underground, reaching up, unable to do a thing to caress her pain.

The trees surrounding the cemetery caged Jennifer into a dark hole of morbid privacy. Her eyes sank in her skull, tired and worn from weeks without sleep. The skin above her cheeks withered with fatigue and the tears fell easily down her sunken face. Her lips trembled in pain. She closed her eyes. Tears rushed down, falling into her dress, dampening the cloth above her collarbone, and soaking through to her skin. She shook with pain and cowered into herself. Her head fell into her lap and she writhed uncomfortably. The pain would be over soon. The worry would dissipate. She could already feel it washing over her. It was a calm, almost warm feeling of numb forgetfulness.

Above Jennifer the clouds floated into a grey mass, obscuring starlight and the moon. The wings of the bat echoed quietly, the only sound in the now still night. Jennifer took a breath between sobs and let the feeling come. She sank into the wallowing, drowning in herself. Her hands became soft and the skin ran off them in a pale pink puddle. Her legs grew jellylike and rippled into the grass. Her hair and skin flowed down her body as she melted into the darkness, sinking away into the nothingness of the night. In less than a minute there was only a puddle sitting alone in the otherwise dry field. It didn't evaporate into everything, but simply disappeared, melting from existence and became what never was.