Dead Pets (You Could Have Rescued)

We asked for your help. We asked for your money. But you just weren’t fast enough in getting to the phone. This is what might have been. 


Brisbane was a tiger who would have happily devoured your intestines just for the taste of it. Ironically, Brisbane hasn’t done much mauling since we drowned him in the pool at the YMCA.  It killed him, and bummed him out in a big way. Brisbane was the Tiger’s tiger, surly, with a weakness for blondes and sports cars. His playful growl and disdain for property lines would have made him the toast of your neighborhood. He was well-hung and would have gladly fertilized your cats and the cats of your neighbors, but he can’t do that anymore. Do you know why? It’s because he’s dead. Dead because you didn’t save him… don’t make me play the music.


As seen on YouTube!

This was Fancy, an elitist feline who could make you laugh just by telling knock-knock jokes and coughing hairballs into your newborn’s crib. Fancy was something of an internet celebrity after her appearance in the viral video smash “Cat Claws Newborn.” (She was the cat.) In a bold move Fancy decided to forego the bright lights of Hollywood in favor of a normal life, hoping to find a suburban home with a scratching post and/or newborn. A neighborhood family agreed to adopt Fancy, but when they were late for their appointment we dissolved her in a vat of battery acid.


Hazmat was a Brazilian cockatoo who could rap in French & German if you were willing to translate and accompany him on the harpsichord. He loved to mimic the human voice and to surprise visiting relatives with staggeringly-abusive profanity. His seed bell and the sawdust in his cage combined to form an odor so pungent it could peel the paint off your Cadillac. Since you expressed no interest in saving his life, however, he was roasted at the unnecessary temperature of 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ironically enough the exact temperature of Shame.


Beebo was an animal of indeterminate species. He seemed to be a cross between a lizard, a bird, and some sort of gassy rodent. His views on politics were extremely controversial, but his true passion was sucking the eyeballs out of children and the elderly, as these were evidently considered a delicacy on his planet. Beebo’s staggering student loan debts brought many collectors to whatever house he called his home, and though he would frequently clog the toilet with his epic movements he was never too proud to do his own plunging. Beebo slit his own throat awaiting adoption and though he left no formal suicide letter, he probably blamed it all on you.

Heather In Violet

Dana did the dream again, standing on the corner in her good skirt, with her suitcase in her hand, at the Bus Depot, in the middle of the night. The scene was the same as it always was: the city sky pouring dark like motor oil, alone with no moon, the neon lights and flashing signs showing the grease stains - too bright- too many stains on every towering facade.

The faces of the people at the station: a good man with no teeth smiling brightly, his eyes two scoops of sour cream gone loco, those empty eyes all over Dana, in dark parts, private places, squeezing out the juice. She walked faster, past the mother in the weave beating her child ludicrous, using her cane, cracking the boy’s ulna bone with a pop loud enough to break open a bottle of booze.

The child’s eyes, tearing, took to Dana, asking without a word, “Why?”


She made it up to the corner, standing alone, thinking the dream was almost over, but no, this was how it began: this was just the beginning. Standing alone on the corner in her good skirt, with her suitcase in her hand, at the Bus Depot, in the middle of the night.

Across the street she saw her sister.

And somewhere down deep inside she heard her tiny speaking voice:

'wake up dana'

She heard it, clear, knew it was there, respected the warning but she just couldn't pull herself up... she just couldn't...

Across the street her sister stood on the corner, in her good skirt, with her suitcase in her hand. She was young, and she was unspoiled. She had never been away from the schoolyard, and she would never survive in this sick city. Heather in violet with her hopeful eyes, looking up, eyebrows in awe, soaking in the size of it without seeing under the surface. She was too new to be aware, too tame to be terrified of the profound horrors waiting here for her, waiting, with romance, flowers in hand, dedicated, the only promise that the city keeps.

Dana, waved at Heather with her free hand, five fingers in the night sky. She waved because her voice made no sound, a taxicab speeding by, stripping the streetlight between the sisters. Heather couldn't see Dana from where she stood, looked right through her, eyes wide and gorgeous as the man in the blazer approached, made his way, and Dana knew what was coming.

She looked to her right and she could see the same man on her sidewalk, identical, stepping backwards out of the cab, walking to her in rewind, and she shouted as loud as she could to Heather across the street- a warning- but no sound came out of her mouth. The man beside Heather striking up a conversation.

The man on Dana's side of the street stopped walking backwards, turned to face her, "My name is Mr. Naman." He smiles and then the thunder rumbles low.

Dana looked across the street to where Naman already had his arm around Heather, whispering in her ear, getting the girl drunk with the champagne of absolute possibility. Dana leapt to cross the street but she was paralyzed, couldn't move a muscle, and Naman wrapped his arms around her, holding her back.

'wake up dana'

Across the street Naman led Heather away, her trusting eyes blind to what was coming, and he took her into a door beneath a neon light blinking ‘Save.’

Dana turned, finding strength, scratching Naman's face, feeling the flesh collect in her fingernails, forging wide grooves that began immediate to bleed, harrowing stripes of red flowing freely and distorting his features. Naman was laughing, his face red, looking right through her and laughing hard, harder than he had to, harder than anyone ever had to.

Dana ran across the street, dodging buses & speeding cars, passing the police officer who stood sound asleep at his post.

She took the door her sister did and pulled, but it was locked solid. She could feel the warm water falling from her eyes as she looked back across the street. Naman and her suitcase were gone.

'wake up dana'

When she turned around again the door was gone, now an open doorway leading to a flight of stairs, and as she took her first steps she knew she shouldn't go down. She took the stairs slow, descending, lowering herself... deeper... deep into the building below. It got darker as she made her way down, the neon glow from the city lights dying as she made her descent. She could feel the cold below, saw her breath coming out of her mouth as she called out: "Heather? Are you down here?"

And there at the bottom, in the darkness, Dana could see only one thing: Heather, suitcase in her hand, boarding a bus, while a man with no face watched her closely from the sidewalk. It was going too slow to stop... she felt sick to her stomach as the bus door closed. Hydraulic whine and her sister bounced helpless as the vehicle drove off into the night.

At the bottom of the stairs she stood, cloaked in soot and hopeless. And in the darkness Dana felt the darkness overtake her. She lost her sight and her hearing was gone as the black became the new presence. She closed her eyes, surrendering, falling backwards into a deep sleep.

She is no more.

"Wake up, Dana."

She opened her eyes to find herself in a small office: desk, four chairs and a potted plant. Black and white tile floors, wood paneled walls... and hanging by the door is a framed photograph of a man standing next to a horse. She sat on a leather sofa across from a desk.

"Are you awake?"

The man behind the desk, pencil mustache, dark thinning hair combed back above his head. He wore a blue suit, and Dana remembered his name was Gomez. And that she hated him body and soul.

And that's when she knew she'd been awake the whole time.

"You have to stay awake if you’re going to make it in this business." Gomez opened a desk drawer, looked inside and closed it.

Dana, who had nothing to say, said nothing.

"You cannot fuck this up, Dana. You cannot FUCK THIS UP!" Gomez pounded his fist on the desk to emphasize his point.

His voice was raspy, and he seemed to her like a bad actor playing a part. He seemed to have trouble remembering his lines.

"I will not let you fuck this up!"

"Where is my sister?"

"Your ass…" he took a deep breath in, exploding out, “BELONGS TO ME!!!”

Dana eyed the orchid on the windowsill, dry & neglected, flowers alive out of self-preservation.

"Today I want you to take some pictures with Anton. There’s a man there- I told him about you. He might be expecting the New Orleans pussyfoot.”

"Fuck you.”

Dana found her voice, speaking low, and slow. It took every ounce of energy to force the words out.

“Fuck you, Gomez. Where is my sister?"

He pounded the desk again, two sharpened pencils rolling off and falling on the floor. "I want you to take some nudes with Anton! I'm gonna make you a star!!!" His anger was a pantomime.

"Where is my sister?"

"If you do good today I'll take you out for Chinese food. I'm in the mood for Chinese myself." He rubbed his stomach to express hunger. "Get in my toilet. Fix yourself up and put on some goddamn makeup."

"My sister."

"Make it sparkle."

"Where is my sister?"

"She just went on a very high-profile assignment."

"Where?" Dana sat up, slow, the gravity of the dream taking its toll. “Where is Heather?”

The phone rang, and Gomez grabbed it. "Yeah hello?" He listened, silent. Dana waited.

Gomez listened, bristling. "I don't know what you're taking about."

He hung up the phone. Dana was losing her patience. "Where is she?"

"You have to do your job first. Bring your nighties, your neglige, and all of your lingerie."

Dana found herself standing, against her will, crossing the room, opening the bureau that was waiting for her. She opened her suitcase and threw in all of her lace panties. All of her bras. All the lingerie. They all went into the suitcase.

God stay with me.

She was out on the street now, Gomez standing beside her, the dark night bright by the beam of the full moon. The bus pulled up, exhaling as the door opened, as if it had been holding its breath since the last stop.

And that’s where Dana found herself: standing on the corner in her good skirt, with her suitcase in her hand, at the Bus Depot, in the middle of the night. Gomez, helping her board, waving goodbye, watching her pull away, as Dana found a seat, and for the first time ever she let her head fall back in tragedy, in surrender to the inevitable, ready to finally get some real sleep.

And in that holy minute, a miracle: Dana closed her eyes and found herself wide awake.

She sat up in her chair and pulled the cord above her head, music as the bus screeched to a stop before it started. Dizzy rush of sweet relief: the dream was over- she was in overtime. She left her suitcase full of magic tricks and stepped off the vehicle, walking over confident to a confused Gomez, gently inserting her thumbs into his eyes and gouging them out, the white meat giving easy, mashing without resistance, the blood pooling fine on the city sidewalk.

Gomez, mouth open in horror, hollow sockets leaking, couldn't find the words so he bobbed back and forth between his two feet cheerfully before dropping to the ground, an empty suit on the sidewalk.

The cycle had been broken. Dana's assignment was complete.

She didn’t stop to think about how long she’d been riding this line, or how many others had ridden it before her. She was ready to taste victory, the white light of divinity: she could see success, understood that she had finally broken the spell. Now she was ready for the things she could never feel before: righteous joy and pure elation, the power of creation.

As soon as she found Heather.

Botany 5oo: Starblind


Ida Lee watch the binary sunset beautiful- twin stars setting in the sky, scorching streaks of rainbow at an azimuth simultaneous, crossing each other, chasing, defying, the lush white clouds soaking up the sinful color seeping: deep purple and orange juiced, true blue and pink too soft to make a baby cry.

She rubbed her belly, hoping that something was growing inside, hoping the seed had taken root. She was three days late for her monthly cycle-

The radio crunch incoming communication: "Ida get the triage!" It was Jody, and Jody wasn't joking around. Things start to happen fast: Myia running up the ramp of the ship, the footsteps of her metal boots against the tritanium tiles giving Ida butterflies in her stomach. Myia ran past Ida straight to the cockpit, begin to initiate launch. The woman didn't panic but she sure was in a rush.

Ida pulled the bed from Med Central & Jody came walking up the ramp, Malcom in his arms beside him. Her brother’s steps were healthy but deliberate and Ida had to ask, had to ask because she had to know: "What's wrong with him?"

Jody Varona lay his Captain on the gurney & pulled no punches, looked Ida between the eyes and tell her: "He's starblind."

Malcom Myles, remembering it like it was yesterday, or maybe a very long time ago. He was a child, a little boy with absolute knowledge, and he’s in the meadow, looking at the luminous starbloom, the plant that blossoms only once every three thousand years, only after the great rains of neon and a particularly sunny summer season. This is the bud that actually absorbs every ounce of sunlight that touches its petals and then, magically, at dusk on the summer solstice, released all the light stored within, in a glorious burst of beam and shine. Even as the heat crows sang away Malcom remembered the childhood rhyme… 

Starbloom, star bright
Look inside & lose your sight
Is it day or is it night
Now you’ll never know… 

And so Malcom had done it, become a boy again, crawled through the meadow, green grass warm on his arms and on his knees, and he promised himself not to look, no, he wouldn't look at the luminous starbloom, he would close his eyes when the time was right. He wouldn't weaken, and even if he did all that nonsense was just a child's nursery rhyme, without meaning, and he remembered the flower- more beautiful than any face he'd ever seen- and his father above him, long shadows and a trusting voice. And just like the rhyme the suns began to fall, and the sky went bright with white light, and the starbloom spread it's petals, and Malcom just had to see inside, and he heard the children's voices warning stay away, and he promised he'd only look long enough to get an idea, and as the flower unfurled, as the flower unfurled...

Inching his way through this meadow he felt brand new, all over again, a feeling he thought he had lost forever. There was nothing behind him, everything ahead, and there was Lumisidia, the aching starbloom, rising up above the blades of grass before her, yawning and stretching, preparing herself to be awake, and to pay back the light she’d been living on for the last three thousand years, and Malcom hurried, made his way closer, saw the buds peeling back and the bright white beneath and she was beautiful, goddess, in the moment of her nova, reaching a climax of light so pure it spilled out of the vines and occupied the sky…. and this… this… is happiness.

Malcom took in the beauty at her heart as the binary suns said goodbye and the plant released all the light it held inside. And his eyes went bright in the process, and he was blinded for life and beyond.

Malcom back on board the ship, Jody’s muscular arm holding him up as he felt his feet step and stagger, reeling, at a loss for not just sight but for words, ideas. Who are you when you can no longer see?

He felt some relief in Ida’s hand around his back, leaning him downward and onto the trundle, and as his muscles finally relaxed his mind began to panic. ‘Am I still the Captain? Am I still who I am? Am I still alive or is this the way we’re processed into death?’

He felt the ship quaking on takeoff and the rumble nearly knocked him to the floor. Little Fury: “Initiating stasis field” and he had never been more happy to hear that bastard’s voice as his bed was graviton-locked to the wall in Med Central. Why were they running? Didn’t they realize their Captain was blind? Or were there bigger problems?

Malcom raised his head, listening close, could hear Ida & Jody at the cockpit, Jody low and centered, “I see them.”

The ship rocked as it fired a bolt of beta into the surface below, sending shockwaves through the surface of the planet like stones skimming on a pond. Malcom, who couldn’t understand, didn’t ask. His ears were focused on the soft sighs of energy hitting the ship’s hull: someone or something was firing on them.

Malcom opened his mouth to speak but there was nothing to say… he couldn’t ask them to describe the situation, couldn't ask if his expert opinion was needed- there was surely no time. He lay back on the bed, ceding control of the Botany 500, if only for the moment.

The Other Side of January


She turned the postcard over in her hands, keys dangling from the box.

"I will see you when all the snow is melted."

She ran up the stairs like high school, reminding herself to stop smiling.

Bruce Cruising


He walked out slow onto the Promenade Level, just below the Seaview Bistro where the smell of cracked crab and butterfly shrimp floated down and fed the hunger in his stomach. He looked to the sky to see the Caribbean sun showing off, making shine like assembly line, keeping time with the ship as she rocked strong through the waters. The SS Liberty out of Port Canaveral, with stops at Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay & Costa Maya, keeping her brochure’s promise of luxurious grace over unspoiled ocean.

Bruce strode slow along the deck, his khaki shorts blowing in the warm breeze, his pink Izod dotted with sea spray, taking in the endless horizon before him as the ship sailed silky round the corners of the map. Sometimes a man just needs to get away.

He took a step to his left where an elderly woman stood at the rails, wearing a sun hat so big it was picked up by NORAD. Her bracelets hung around her bony wrists, her face was peppered with liver spots, and she struck up a conversation with Bruce as the ship gently swayed. The old woman’s name was Mona: she was 72, Jewish, & her husband had died the year before. Bruce listened, patient, ask her how she liked the restaurants on board.

Mona gulped: "So much food! It's like a smorgasbord!"

"I know, right?" Mona was small, so it was easy for Bruce to lift her up and dump her overboard. He waited for the splash while her sun hat surfed away to paradise.

Frank had just come from the duty-free shop and stopped for a minute to take in the view. As he placed his shopping bag on the deck Bruce sidled over to say hello. It turned out Frank was retired military and enjoying this cruise with his wife. He cheerfully informed Bruce that he was "seventy-four years young," but he looked even younger than that in his white mustache, short pants and black socks. He started to tell Bruce about the magic show he had seen on board last night.

“And I’m telling you… that dove was not there before he opened the box.”

Bruce bent and wrapped his arm around Frank’s ankles, low enough to lift him clean and toss him off the ship. Splash. Frank surfaced and Bruce heard his "Man overbo-!!!" as the boat said goodbye to the former green beret. He dropped Frank’s shopping bag in the water after him- it would be wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to you.

Betty was born 82 years ago today, and she looked sexy in her stylish power chair, beeping backwards down the handicap ramp, rolling over to the ledge to get some much-needed sun. Bruce smiled when he saw her: she reminded him of his Nana. He plunked her into the ocean, her cumbersome chair right afterwards.

There was something romantic to Bruce about the grandiosity of sea travel: the scope of the ship, the size, as it aggressively defied the most powerful force of nature with the help of reciprocating diesels. Pat and Helene were a married couple, 76 and 79, and Bruce lifted them and tossed them into the ocean as easy as you toss your keys to a valet parker.

Splish! And then 'splash.'

The smell of the salt air... the lurching of the ship that he could feel in his stomach. It was wonderful to be alive, to feel life this wonderful and sweet.

The PA system crackled to life: "Attention, please, this is the Captain. Would the person throwing elderly passengers overboard PLEASE stop immediately. Sorry for the interruption."

Bruce smiled as a wrinkled senior with a cane walked by. Maybe just one more before lunch.


Overheard (At the Gynecologist's)


“The good news is we found your car keys"

 "I have wandering ovaries... what the doctor calls a neo-Fallopian after party"

"I'm gonna need my miner's lamp & haz-mat jumpsuit"

 "I make poot in the doctors face just to level the playing field"

"Would you like me to rotate your cervix?"

"It just feels like another Arby's day today"

"Here, kitty, kitty..."

"That’s okay, Miss, I'm just the water cooler guy. Please: don't get up"

"See you in another three-thousand miles..."

"The baby is developing on schedule & already hates you"

"I understand your objections but I'm going to perform the procedure anyway"

"The consensus is your angry herpes have gotten furious"

Please Check One:
Vulva Pain
Vulva Fire
Dud Vulva

 "Yeah but this one speaks French"

"I notice that someone failed to cut the address off this waiting room magazine... I think I’ll go to that house, kill the family & burn their bodies in the backyard as soon as I'm done with my appointment"

"And the next vagina is..."

Chapter 9: The Poison Popsicle


Cecilia smiled sweet as the school kids coalesce upon the playground, the bright summer sun bouncing back off the pavement, bake the kickball crusty and everybody eyes Chinese. It was recess, on a Thursday, like a field trip, with nowhere to go, and too hot for even the minis to run around, so they swarmed the warm grass, tire swing melting like a yo-yo hungover, monkey bars broil to the touch. They look up at her, mistrust in their trusting little eyes, and Cecilia pull the popsicle slow from her ice-pack styrofoam box.

There was Cherry for Eduardo, Maple for Emily & her sister Diane, redhead Danny Fischer grab fast for Blue Raspberry. Faith takes a Lemon Sour, Sydney like her Orange & Rebound bites a blueberry. The children lick their popsicles for sweet relief in frozen sugar, but soon they found their feet unsteady underneath them and maybe it was time to sit down, maybe. Cecilia, the venom already in her bloodstream, couldn’t help herself but smile, and the smile turn into slow drops of leaking laughter.

“I don’t…” This was Stephanie Angel, the last words she would ever speak. She never found a way to finish the sentence.

The children looked up into the sky and saw it all: God, the Devil, every color of the rainbow, every smile, every handshake… they saw the beating hearts… the blueprint of the universe.

Cecilia lay back on the merry-go-round, lifting her dress up before spreading her arms wide. She wanted the papers to find her this way.

The children looked to one another, moments remaining, adults now, Gods, beings of infinite knowledge, and when Jon Moody tried to stand

(cont. on page 43)

A Minute with Jigawatt Jerry


Hi, my name is Jerry. My friends call me Jigawatt bc I’m really bright & not because of that time I stuck my finger in the light socket and sizzled for like forty-five minutes before my friends finally stopped laughing and pulled me away and resuscitated me and got my heart beating again & stuff. Wait, what was I talking about again?

Sometimes I smoke marijuana but not often: 6-7 times a day unless you count Fridays & weekends which I don’t. It’s not like smoking weed is my life or anything I just got this weed tattoo bc I like the color (the color is green) My hobbies include watching TV, reading comic books, & microwaving things that aren’t food. I been thinking about going somewhere sometime, or you know, doing something, but most likely I fall asleep in front of Three’s Company reruns and it’s like, when I wake up? It’s the next day and so problem solved at least for the time being most likely.

Do you know something? Because I sure don’t. That building next to me? It used to be some kind of store like a toilet store or some other store, some other store that’s like a toilet store? Now it’s a Taco Bell it sounds funny but they give me ten percent off day-old Gorditas just because I’m their neighbor so the spirit of America is pretty much alive and well in my eyes. Also do you have any Visine?

Remember that girl, that crazy girl who was always threatening to commit suicide? She killed herself. Sometimes you just never know, like that time that old guy went crazy at the convenience store and opened all the sodas and the cops came and shot the guy and I had to clean up all the soda? Did I forget to mention I was working at the convenience store at the time? Most likely.

A lot of times on my days off, which are pretty frequent because I’m unemployed, I come down to the beach and think deep thoughts like, “where did all this sand come from?” and “I wonder if I have enough money for Chinese food…” I don’t so if you could lend me some dollars that could be boss radical.

My belief is that life is for self-reflection and for seeing the beautiful things in all the nasty things which can make the nasty things turn into beautiful things and vice-versa most likely but who’s counting? I have a headache now from all this thinking & I need to lay down-

Too Much Fun In Hollywood


I knew there was a movie inside me, something funny but romantic, pack full of action & tension & soul. A movie for everyone. A movie so deeply moving that moviegoers would be so busy clapping that they’d have to eat their extra-buttery buttered popcorn from a feedbag. I knew I could do it... and  I found it like gravity. Me & my happy laptop at all hours of day and night, at the coffee shop & the library, typing out truth & beauty to the music in my head. And when I printed it to paper & punched three holes in every page even the brads had to smile at what I had achieved. Let’s go to Hollywood.

I landed at LAX to critical acclaim, ten thousand maniacs screaming for my name. My agent skimmed the script & told me “hold please,” but when he got back on, “your blood & semen are dripping off every page… we start shooting Saturday afternoon.”

So he sent me to the starlet in the penthouse suite & she was super-psyched to see me. She served me glass champagne from a plastic slipper and asked if she could be in my movie. When I said ‘I don’t know’ she whipped out her case and let me see her shining guitar. And as I pounded out some power chords I thought to myself: This is not what I came here for.

So the press agent met me at the restaurant on the strip and as we sip seltzer he says he’ll have my name up in lights before the avocado rolls. I looked over to the freeway and sure enough that’s me on a billboard so bright it was blinding the drivers. And as I squinted and listened to the sweet sounds of Los Angeles car crash I thought to myself: This is not what I came here for.

My screenplay was about a girl who finds love and victory in the face of devastating danger but the studio head wanted Justin Bieber for the role. When he said we would be filming in 3D I stood up for my work and fought for the integrity of my film, and the man countered by tossing sacks of cash at my soundstage until I was red-faced for all of us. And when the Santa Ana winds took the thousand dollar bills I thought to myself: This is not what I came here for.

The producer thought I wanted power, so he gave me a desk and a golden guillotine for lopping off the heads of PA’s who brought the actors cold coffee. And as their heads rolled like marples on my luxury office carpet I thought to myself: This is not what I came here for.

The director re-wrote my script, added Dracula, two dozen superheroes, and a CGI pig who loves pie. And as I watched him try on girls for the role of Naked Cheerleader I thought to myself: This is not what I came here for.

So I hopped a flight homeward, and now I’m back, and I’m working in the kitchen, and I’m cooking for my family & my friends. I don’t miss the club for keeping secrets, the afternoons of latitude, or the cast of living lies. Even kids get sick of the carnival. Goodbye Hollywood, & good luck... you saved my life more times than you’ll know, and I’ll think of you if I find myself at the movies.