ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #971,876 [9/11/2011] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of Language. It was a happy language that was perfectly content to rollick about in the deliciously crisp, dry pages of old textbooks. It would observe the odd citation or two, scurry between parentheses, then leapfrog colons with gay abandon. But one fateful day, it stopped all of this.

On that one fateful day it stumbled across a newspaper clipping. This clipping was a detailed list of statistics, and the statistics were not good. Not good at all! Language saw that it was the least used language in all of grammardom. It was genuinely horrified at how little people were speaking, reading, or writing it. This was unacceptable! Language would have to find a way to rectify this shameful situation!

Later that evening, Language was sitting sullenly on the couch with an untouched beer and lukewarm pizza, watching the last episode of ‘Onomatopoeia Maker Gangs’ on DisFlix. A solution came to mind while the end credits crawled their way up the screen. What if Language became more ‘hip’ and ‘with it’, and tried keeping up with the modern social networking trend? The teens were all on TwitFace and TinderTok, weren’t they? If so, that’s where Language would have to be too.

So, the next morning Language got up early, fixed itself a coffee, and created an account. It tried to read a popular thread on TwitFace regarding a recently released video game sequel. Apparently, the majority of hardcore gamers were up in arms because a fan favourite character had been unceremoniously clubbed to death with a giant, frozen tuna fish by a trans bodybuilding fisherman. The vitriol was so incendiary that flames were coming off the screen and flicking Language’s face. How was Language meant to figure in all of this?

In three minutes flat, Language had gotten a headache so bad that its left eye started to twitch. Language hadn’t expected it would be so hard to get attention, let alone gain a semblance of popularity. But no one was taking notice of Language’s inherent availability. No one cared. They refused to use their words wisely, choosing instead the pointed noxiousness of stabby-face emojis, and terms such as ‘SJW’ and ‘incel’. Even one person seemed to have slammed their keyboard in a fit of fist-punchy rage as their comment read: ‘mITjof;maieu#ruqQ@450y!!))q5yv!!!’ Not the most articulate of responses.

Still, Language wasn’t going to give up.

It would have to change its focus. Pimply teenagers and other such infantile persons who suck up to the cult of video games were never going to rule the world after all. Language decided to jump into a different thread where people were discussing world politics. That would prove to be a more intellectual, polite and respectable discussion, wouldn’t it?

Holy crap, no.

In three minutes flat, ‘enriched’ with a dozen quirky insults, a motherlode of obscene declamations and a twitching right eye, Language shut down its laptop and resolved to switch to real life interactions from that point on. It would simply walk out onto the street and strike up a conversation with the first person it saw. Should be as easy as one, two, three, right?

Right?

The first person Language met on the street was a boy in a black hoodie who was diligently spray painting a huge, luminous, yellow ‘F’ on a nearby wall. The wall was as white as the boy was black. Was this a racial thing? Was the boy protesting something important? Language pondered this a little bit and then slunk away without talking to said boy. Language felt a little ashamed about this but it simply didn’t know what to say. Much better to interact with someone else.

Language came across a bald man next. This bald man was the whitest white that Language had ever seen—well, the whitest white that could be seen within the total graffiti wall of tattoos covering the bald man’s body. Said bald man was drunk, naked, and spoiling for a fight. He would be sorely disappointed on that front because in order to have a fight people would need to lay down next to the bald man in the gutter, grab one of his arms, and flail themselves with it. That’s how drunk he was. Language couldn’t quite comprehend the bald man’s slurred ramblings, but it did wonder if they were invocations of Hitler’s divine power and how all lives mattered—except for the black slaves. Language moved delicately on.

A bit further down the street, Language was glad to see an old lady, strolling about all neat and tidy and… friendly looking. Language could almost see the pleasantness of their potential interaction in its mind’s eye, how it would take her gently by the elbow and lead her across the street, and how grateful she would be. And later in the park they would discuss Oscar Wilde’s witticisms and Tchaikovsky’s compelling compositions over a cup of tea. But when Language approached the lady, she started to jab her stick at it, yelling her head off, calling Language a pervert and a paedophile. She was in the process of calling 911 when Language wisely took leave of the scene.

That night Language slept bad, really bad. Language tossed and turned in a cold sweat like it was an Olympic event, then finally gave up and jumped out of the pool… er, bed. Where had everything gone so wrong? Mopping its saturated brow with a corner of the doona, Language vowed to change the trajectory of its life. No more trying to get people to speak in its tongue, to write in its vernacular. That would prove to be an utterly fruitless endeavour in the long term.

The next morning, Language went to the Committee Of Linguistics Over Normal Society and submitted a resignation letter. Nowadays, you can see Language at the Governance Of National Arts Dupont Square where it performs as a street mime under the stage name ‘Nil Of Tongue’.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

forever ambered

we set out to find a secret stone on the pavement
and began to whirl like that girl in the devil’s dark pearl
do you remember
we laid upwind the pheromones of enslavement
then took a daring stance to dance the prance of scalded squirrels

we looked right at the april sun
tho’ we were told not to
we huffed and chuffed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

we set out to find the hoary old chestnuts of burgeon
and began to pray like gay fey in jehovah’s dark play
do you remember
we rowed upstream with a warry shoal of kingly sturgeon
then in emerald grass laid brass to glass in arcane ritual

we looked nebby at the may moon
musing next on what to do
we fussed and cussed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

the locket on my neck
as ambered as the gleam in your eyes
enshrining our faraway spring
you do remember

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Where Does Bender Come In?

Satan is an accountant, and he’s having a spectacularly bad day.

It begins with Hitler calling him at three that morning. He’s in a tizzy about the shit he still owes the tax collectors that are banging down his door. Ever since his bid to take on Bunnings with an Aryan-branded homewares empire fell completely apart, he’s been bothering Satan with this cloying non-issue and that, and at any time of the day or night. What an irritating man-shaped dick he is.

Still, death and taxes cannot be avoided. Hitler lives under the delusion that they can, which Satan can’t help but sigh at. He should be sound asleep right now, but instead he’s sat in an office rummaging through a daunting mess of documents. Satan will have to drive a coach-and-four through it all, otherwise Hitler will drive him to an early grave—and not even bother ordering an orchestra along the way.

So… legalities and loopholes. These are what Satan will have to correctly identify if Hitler is to stand a chance. It also occurs to Satan that he’ll need a second pair of eyes to pick up any details he may himself overlook. He glances at his watch. He’s been here for bloody hours and it’s only finally hit seven. It’s probably safe to give Cthulhu a shake by now surely? Well, screw it. He’ll do it anyway.

Cthulhu’s still laid out on their queen-sized bed. He’s stretching, luxuriating, scratching a lazy left heel with his right. Upon seeing his boyfriend’s head pop through the doorway, Cthulhu demands coffee and be quick about it. Satan turns his back before daring to scowl, and by the time he gets to the kitchen he’s cussing silently. He has no intention of starting another row. Last night’s blazing ruckus had been more than enough. Jesus.

He brews up the coffee, strong and black—it’s like a pot of hot tar. Still fuming, Satan wonders what in hell has happened to them. Where have he and Cthulhu gone wrong? They had used to be so happy together but lately Cthulhu has been… well, openly hostile. Anything Satan says has been an excuse for much eye-rolling and melodramatic yanking of tentacles. Cthulhu’s not one to hide how he feels.

Something else Satan doesn’t understand is why he had to go and offer Hitler his accounting services. What had he been thinking? That would-be führer is so pathetic he couldn’t even sell magic condoms to sex addicts. How had Satan let these pugnacious idiots enter his peace of mind and fuck with it? Everything had been normal before they came along and shat in his life sandwich.

He places a tiny, fragile coffee cup on a tray, then next to it adjusts a black rose in a small, porcelain vase. He adds the morning paper to this idyllic still life and takes a step back to admire his handiwork. Satisfied, he picks up the tray, takes a couple of steps forward, and is soon re-entering the bedroom. It’s beyond ludicrous that Satan’s slovenly boyfriend refuses to do even this much. The sight of Cthulhu reclining on satin sheets like that—shamelessly naked as you please—makes Satan want to puke. He could at least cover up his many chthonian naughty bits!

“You heard the rumours, Satti?”

Christ on a pogo stick. That fucking nickname again. Fucking ‘Satti’?! Satan would love to call Cthulhu ‘Fatty’ but he knows better. He’d never get away with it—Cthulhu would see to that. The pouting alone would be unbearable. Even the clinically dead don’t have the necessary fortitude to outlast that shit. Fine. Might as well play along with this tiresome attempt at conversation.

“No. Pray, do tell.”

Cthulhu shoots him ‘the look’. “You’re being sarcastic.”

I can’t imagine why you’d think that,” sniffs Satan, making space on the vanity for the tray. He catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He looks like hell, and not in a good way.

“Bender and his meat sack Fry moved in together.”

Satan tries to recall their faces. Who are they, and why he should give a rat’s patootie about another pair of freaks? “And?”

Cthulhu doesn’t like this response. He picks up the tray and throws the whole damn lot at him. “Yeah?!” he screams. “Well, screw you, flame boy! You can shove that pitchfork tail up your own arse!”

Satan beats a hasty retreat. May as well go outside and catch a bit of fresh air. He’s been up since the middle of the night after all and deserves something far less stressful. And the weather is lovely, so that’s a good start. There’s the aroma of freshly baked croissants from the small bakery across the street too. So devilishly good! Satan takes a coat and hat, and strides out into the street with purpose.

That turns out to be a mistake. Satan is striding so purposefully that he unwittingly steps into a puddle. And, naturally, he trips. The ‘fallen one’ has truly earned his name, faceplanting on the sidewalk next to a fresh dog turd. (Small mercies!)

Goddamn arse tits!”

Satan is unaware if he’s saying this due to the pain of sharply connecting with concrete or relief at having avoided a jobbie facial. It’s all an emotional muddle really, and there’s blood pouring out of his nose too. It splats in copious, black gobs on the sidewalk.

“Never mind the onlookers,” he tells himself. “Walk on!”

So, Satan raises himself up, dusts himself off, and walks—bloodied nose in hand. When a black cat crosses his path, he starts to giggle like he’s lost his mind. A black cat? Seriously?! But at that very moment his face distorts—and not with laughter. He clutches at his chest and collapses.

And you know what? He goes straight to Heaven. So maybe the day hasn’t been so spectacularly bad as thought.

Well… he is a nice guy after all. It’s just bad luck he has THAT name.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

Open-Source Poetry Five #2

Dear Readers, have you ever visited SantaCon? It’s a magical combination of binge drinking, public urination and trauma to small children that everyone should experience at least once in their life. Why? Because it’s a reminder that no matter how bad things can get, there’s always something worse around the corner. We went once and were scared into leading fulfilled and happy lives from that point on!

We seriously have to wonder if SantaCon was invented by people who didn’t get any Christmas gifts right throughout their childhoods. It’s clear that they want adults to indulge the child within, rather than their actual children. And this would be a laudable goal if they weren’t puking all over one another in naked glitter-filled orgies. Is this their revenge on poor old Santa? It could be. Just read their rules:

Can I bring my kids?
Probably not. Kids get the rest of Christmas and all the other holidays. SantaCon is normally adults only.

Can I get smashed?
Sure. But if this is what you want to do, we ask that you stay home and don’t dress like Santa. Definitely don’t show up at a SantaCon.

Well, Dear Readers, let’s make it clear that we have no desire to cosplay Jung and Freud here. We’re merely trying to understand what exactly it is that motivates certain people to dream of being Santa whilst simultaneously wanting to kick the shit out of him. And although we might not understand this, we must concede that everyone has the right to go crazy in whatever fashion they choose. Crazy, after all, can be a lot of fun!

By the way, about the fun… It was great fun to read your submissions! There were a lot of terrific new lines that might have suited our communal letter poem thingy to Santa really well, and as such we felt our minds gradually slipping to the brink of cray cray in a way that was only mildly alarming. However, we eventually settled on SonOfDewangan’s submission because we felt it straddled that uncomfortable line of fun and crazy quite well. Congratulations, sir, you’re a psychotic fun wizard! Here’s how it looks:

Вензель

Dear Mr Santypoos, how do you do?
Hope you don’t have COVID and the deer are healthy too.
Hope Rudolph’s nose still is bright red.
Time to wake them elves up from their bed,
but please do it so it’s real gentle like
or they’ll sue you without so much as a first strike.

Вензель_нижний

(Oh, by the way! SonOfDewangan, we edited your lines a wee bit for the sake of the poem’s overall flow, so please don’t sue us! Everything is for the sake of poetry and getting nice gifts!)

So, Dear Readers, let’s keep this Santa friendly and socially responsible letter poem thingy going. We promise that neither you nor your kids will get smashed, even should you choose to dress like a drunken Santa, his red nosed, allergy-ridden reindeer, or even his outrageously big bosomed wife with the tinkly bell nipple piercings. All you need do is follow these simple festive steps:

1) Close your eyes and recall your deepest wish. 
2) Open your eyes, read the above lines of our poem in progress then submit one or two more lines of your own. 
3) We pick the lines we like most, add them to the poem and then write more. 
4) When the letter is done, we seal it, put all your names in the envelope, and send it to Santa with the next sled dog team that’s willing to chance harsh border lockdowns and Covid security measures.

By the way, as of this posting there are only 68 shopping days left until Christmas, so let’s crack that whip over those reindeer tushies!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA, TONY SINGLE & SONOFDEWANGAN
© All rights reserved 2020

BUT IS IT ART? // The Comedian

TATI: Tony, I believe you can be considered a professional artist, yes?

TONY: I guess I can. I might not make much money from what I do but I certainly take it seriously.

TATI: How much money have you made with your art? Do you remember the biggest amount you ever received?

TONY: I do believe it was two Scribbean melamine dollars back in 1996, which was quite a payday for a young, starving artist working out of a cardboard hovel in an inner city red light district.

TATI: Scribbean melamine dollars? Red light district?

TONY: Oh, that’s industry talk for failure. Don’t worry about it…

TATI: No, I’m curious now. I need to hear the entire story.

TONY: There’s not much to tell. I was a starving artist in a cardboard hovel.

TATI: But I see you’re still alive and even have a pretty notable belly.

TONY: Yes, I’ve managed to live off of this belly for many a year now.

TATI: Well… anyway, I wanted to ask your professional opinion. (If we can be agreed that you’re a professional artist.)

TATI: Is it art?

TONY: Oh, I’ve heard of this…

TATI: You’ve heard of this. Awesome. It means you can hear, even though you’re deaf. But it looks like you haven’t heard my question.

TONY: Is it art? Yes, I heard your question, smarty-pants! As for the banana taped to a wall… well, do you think it’s art?

TATI: Tony, don’t turn this around. I asked you first!

TONY: Well, I guess it is art. Maybe. I don’t know. I mean, someone did end up paying $120,000 for it. Real dollars by the way, not melamine ones.

TATI: Why don’t you do this then?

TONY: Stick fruit to walls?

TATI: Yep. Why spend days and weeks toiling over drawings? Why sweat over your silly comics month after agonising month? Tape bananas to walls and enjoy platinum-plated baguettes and brie for years to come!

TONY: Well, I suppose it should have been obvious the day I tripped in a food hall and my McJolly’s Super Happy Meal ended up all over that rather bland ‘Exciting New Store Coming Soon’ sign. I really should have put two and two together and started throwing all kinds of shit against vertical surfaces. I mean, instant riches right there, am I right?

TATI: I hear sarcasm in your voice when you say, “All kinds of shit.” So, you admit it isn’t art, but rather shit? Or is it just jealousy speaking that someone else made money, even from shit?

TONY: Oh, definitely jealousy. My problem is that I’m not enough of a lateral thinker to come up with a genius idea like that!

TATI: Tony, you have an amazing ability to blab endlessly and say nothing useful. Can you just answer the question, please? Is this fucking art or fucking shit?

TONY: Alright then! It’s a fucking art that someone taped fruit to a wall and duped some dude out a shitload of cash! Satisfied?

TATI: The art of manipulation? The art of fraud? The art of proving the world is sick and can’t distinguish between what is real and what is fake?

TONY: Pretty much. Kinda like when guys choose fake boobies over real boobies. Same principle.

TATI: So, it can’t be considered a real piece of art? In a good, classic ‘art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performance artifacts (artworks) that express the author’s imagination, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power’ kind of way?

TONY: That was quite a mouthful.

TATI: If you don’t have a clear opinion, my hesitating friend, then let’s ask our dear readers. I hope they can find a clearer position on this than you.

TONY: Sure! Why the hell not?

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020