the vozhd of bedlam

i was an attendant
at a mental hospital
i had my very own key
i’d wear a white coat
i’d carry a clipboard
nick all my pens for free

’twas my solemn duty
to make them hot cocoa
and play the odd dvd
and every so often
give a cleansing clyster
maybe massage a knee

each and every sunday
became known as bath day
i’d drown every nit and flea
but every time they saw me
those violent orderlies
would catch me, take away my key

they’d put me in a straitjacket
and ply me with laxatives
they’d ruin my power spree
they gagged my threats to denazify
with special military ops
i’m putin, don’t fuck with me

the vozhd of bedlam

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Good Luck Charm

The Loch Ness Monster had finally been found, but not where everybody thought she’d be. She wasn’t located in the famous body of water after which she’d been named. No, she was actually in a retirement villa in Florida.

It really wasn’t so unusual that the Loch Ness Monster had chosen to spend her twilight years with land dwellers. She wore a cute bonnet, drowsed her days away in the rocking chair beneath a big old lime tree, and played bingo with the other oldies every Saturday evening. You see, our story is about something else, namely the cashier’s cheques that covered her residency at the retirement villa. Or, rather, it’s about the individual who issued them.

That individual’s name was Elvis Presley. He’d had an abiding interest in cryptids since he was a young tearaway playing gospel hits for the nuns at the Catholic school his parents had sent him to. The nuns were often rendered speechless by his frequent hip thrusting and gyrations, so they’d banish him to catalogue books in the library during recess. That’s where he found a dusty tome entitled, ‘Monsties of the Grand Ole Opry’.

A young tearaway Elvis may have been, but he was also a diligent student when the mood struck him. Something had only to capture his imagination, and this book didn’t fit the bill. So, he blew the dust off its cover, sneezed, then walked over to the shelf marked ‘M: Monotheism — Monticule’ to put it back in its proper place. But when he tried to slip it into the appropriate gap between two mouldy hardcovers, there was an obstruction. Elvis stood on his tippy-toes and took a closer look.

What he saw surprised him. He shifted some of the surrounding books off the shelf so that he could reach in and grab what appeared to be a sliver of metal. Of course, once it was in his hand, he realised that the sliver of metal was a key. It was old and not so shiny. He rubbed it on the lapel of his white jumpsuit, wondering what on earth to do with it.

Elvis was so immersed in his thoughts about the key that he failed to notice a pair of beady, black eyes creepily peering at him from the pin-up poster on the wall. He hadn’t even noticed the poster itself—although a pin-up poster on the wall of a library in a Catholic school wasn’t such a common thing, was it? No, it wasn’t. And especially not a pin-up poster of a topless cabaret dancer with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

The eyes continued to peer at Elvis as he pocketed his key then continued cataloguing dusty tomes. He needed to be finished in time for the Friday afternoon Kazoo Appreciation Club with Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress. He didn’t care about learning how to play a kazoo insomuch as getting them to play his. What can I say? He was a typical horny teenager.

Cut to years later within the dark corridors of American Sound Studio in Memphis; Elvis met a strange woman. She was not as tall as Brigitte Bardot was short, and not as busty as Ursula Andress was flat-chested. She smoked like a chimney on fire and wore a white blouse with the nipples cut out for a pair of beady, black eyes to peer through.

“Where is the key?” she asked in a low, urgent voice.

“Sorry, ma’am?” said Elvis through clenched teeth. “And how did you get in here?” His voice carried a slightly aroused tone. He was trying to decide which pair of eyes he needed to look at. And no way in hell was he going to just hand over his key to this mysterious individual—yes, the same key that over the years had become something of a fancy souvenir for Elvis. Not only that, it had also become a kind of good luck charm, maybe even a mascot. Moreover, it was pretty handy whenever he needed to crack open a beer and there wasn’t a bottle opener around.

She waved a cigarette at his white jumpsuit with the dirty lapel. “It doesn’t matter. Give me the motherfucking key!”

“And what key would that be, ma’am?” Elvis tore his eyes away from the woman’s beady, black nipples and looked her in the actual eye. The key was in his jumpsuit pocket where it belonged. Yup, he was going to have to stand up to this bitch.

“Listen, motherfucker,” she snarled, “give me the key or I’ll rip your goddam head off and defecate down the neck hole!”

Elvis took a step back, squaring up for a fight if need be. The woman glared at him with all four of her unblinking eyes. Who knows if it was the Russian vodka in Elvis’s stomach or her vibe, but he suddenly found himself singing, “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go!” And, for whatever reason, the woman’s pale cheeks instantly began to blush, which then led her tightly compressed lips to relax into something resembling a smile. Could it be that her sub-zero heart was melting?

Yes, actually, it could. In fact, she got so weak at the knees that she fell on her ass with her legs wide open. And that’s when Elvis finally realised what the key may have been for. With her dress hitched accidentally over her knees, he could see the cast iron chastity belt that she was wearing. All he needed to do was insert the key and jiggle it a bit. He was turned on just thinking about it!

PS: About the cashier’s cheques… that part’s easy. As all of you are probably aware, Elvis had Scottish roots. As such, he was happy to help his great-great-great-grandmother out when she wrote to inform him of the pitiable lack of money that was preventing her from renting a property at her dream retirement villa.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

PERFECTION IN ACTION // Lay an Egg

Whenever I meet somebody for the first time, I don’t ask them where they work, what hobbies they have, and other bullshit. My first question is always, “How do you feel about platypuses?”

If they look at me as though I’ve suddenly grown a second head, I turn around and walk away. If they say that they love platypuses, I slap them across the face then turn around and walk away. If they say that they hate platypuses, I spit under their feet then turn around and walk away.

It’s hard to make new friends in this modern, soulless society.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

100 WORD SKITTLE // Writer’s Block

The pen is mightier than the sword, except when said sword is a pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. Then it’s just two pens side by side, not causing much blood loss and mayhem, because… well, they’re pens, and pens don’t do that.

But here’s the thing. If you take a closer look, you can see that said pen is actually a sword in the shape of a regular sized pen. So, yes, then the first pen is mightier than the sword because it’s not a second pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. It is actually a sword.

Yes, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

slippers vs the atom

a cockroach can survive a nuclear strike
but not survive being struck with a newspaper
and if i were the ghost of that cockroach
that had been taken out by a newspaper
i’d feel embarrassed!

i’d sit at the closed gates of cockroach heaven
waiting until their lunch break was over
trying to invent some heroic excuse
a war story for why i had appeared there
to not feel embarrassed!

in the garbage meadows of cockroach heaven
there are no newspapers, nor any slippers
just peace and quiet, and amazing grace
sung by veterans of the bug nuclear blitz
and none are embarrassed!

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022