Eros & Psyche

Just a quarter of an inch across and I’d have been pulling up daisies. Eros is packing some serious heat these days, a fact to which the hole in my living room wall attests. I’m standing here with two fingers inserted, noting the rough edges. Not quite as smooth as one would expect, yet so typical of a god really. Always demanding more than they can give. Always getting more than they deserve. Well, not from me. I refuse to pay him any attention. I withdraw to the bathroom to wash the white residue off my hands.

My mind drifts back to when we were fledglings. All Eros had in those days was a dinky little slingshot from which to fire his pixie skulls. We’d fossick for their wingless remains at the foot of the royal mosaics at Latium, right there on the beach alongside the unsuspecting sunbathers who would soon become our targets. Eros would rattle off a round or two as I egged him on and then, grin faced, we’d retreat to the rock pools before they could track our trajectory.

He was a brat and I was a chit, and there was a time when I would have sworn that we were made for each other. Not any more though. Eros is a fucking anal fissure and I’m righteously pissed off. That tends to happen when your heart has been so carelessly stomped on. For someone who prides himself on being the ultimate matchmaking machine, Eros sure was sucky at keeping our own relationship off of life support.

That hole. It’s bigger than it has any right to be. What the hell is he using? More than pixie skulls, that’s for goddamn sure. By junior high, he’d graduated to a compound crossbow with customised arrows sporting a filigree, heart-shaped tip motif. Who knows what Eros has moved on to since then? A Gustav Gun perhaps? With nuke sized dildos? No. The hole is big, but not that big.

Whichever way I choose to look at it, it’s obvious he wants me back. Eros has always been one to big things up, to over compensate in his declarations of love. Ugh. I really want to hate the bastard. Some days, I even succeed.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Lose to Night

Sisu in the face of certain doom.

There’s no earthly reason why I should be feeling what I feel today. From when my head left its pillow my stomach kicked in. It’s a coil of snakes writhing and golloping me up inside. I can’t concentrate to work. I can’t let go and play. I can only churn times ten. I’m a tight knot waiting to unravel.

The years have seen many friends fall to this monstrosity at the middle of me. Emotionally, I’m just too high maintenance. I go out of my way to cover it up but at some point the façade crumbles. It always does. And then they see me for what I really am. And they get overwhelmed. And eventually they flee.

So now I lock myself away, waiting to unspool. Please, for the love of criminy, just let me unspool. I want to come unutterably and exhaustively undone. Can I rejoin society then? I’m scared of losing the two people I care most about in this world. I need to be safe. Or at least safe enough to handle.

It’s not about aggression. That isn’t why I sit in this room listening to my music. It’s about having something be louder than something else. I need to rumble the snakes out, to shake the bastards loose. To let heavy metal do its thing. Maybe it can save me from myself this time. No, seriously. As preposterous and overblown as that might sound – as metal might sound – just… just save me.

I hear the voices roaring from the speakers. I feel them thundering from beneath the earth, drowning out my insides. And even as I lay buried, my roiling innards will not be silenced. So I scream too, adding my voice to this cognitive and sonorous dissonance. It’s never been about aggression. It’s always been about survival. About letting people know I’m still buried down here. Sleep is so stupid and wasteful. I have to live. I want to live.

I see you, you things inside of me. God, you’re beautiful, but you’re sick. I know what you are. And I know you cannot have me. See? I’m lobbing a Molotov. I’m torching you, motherfuckers. I will not lose to night.

Yeah. Sisu. Sisu in the face of certain doom. That’s what I choose.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?

Dear readers, I wrote a letter to Santa. Yup. I really did. In it, I spilled my guts. I bared my soul even. Hell, I was mortifyingly earnest. Isn’t that just well-meaning stupidity in disguise? Ugh. Anyway.

I informed Santa that I’ve decided not to celebrate Christmas this year, or in any year going forth. As an embittered former Christian it’s something I can no longer, in all good conscience, do. And as someone who hasn’t then gone the whole kit and caboodle and converted to atheism, it does make things a bit tricky socially speaking.

You see, some of my atheist chums ask me why I don’t just boycott Christmas, like it’s my goddamn duty or something. They wave their little magazines in my face, evangelising me, expecting me to be inspired and galvanised. Apparently, I’m supposed to display some newfound passion about my newfound liberation from the tired old shackles of religion.

But really, I couldn’t be arsed. Not when they’re foisting titles like Fairy Tale Crushers Quarterly or Militant Mind Monkeys Monthly or Dawkins’s Dick Butter Digest in my face. How can I be expected to swallow that? Even the covers with their smug tag lines put me off. ‘Freethink like us or we’ll laugh at you!’ Okay. They do realise people have been laughing at me my entire life, yes? It’s not exactly a threat. I mean, it’s not eternal damnation or anything. Try harder, atheists! Actually, no, don’t. You’re as annoying as the theists.

God, I’m so tired. When did people start giving such gorilla-sized shits about what others think? I just could not be that arsed. Hell, my thoughts probably come out of my arse so who am I to be policing everyone else’s brain turds? Seriously, I’m not that invested. I just want a cup of tea and a nice lie down. I mean, how can they possibly maintain the requisite amount of fulminating engagement 24/7? They have to sleep some time! Do they sleep angry? God, I hate social justice warriors. They’re so fucking exhausting.

I hate Christmas. That’s the one thing I will agree with the atheists on. All those wasted childhood years praying for a better looking face. No wonder I feel so aggrieved. Christians say Jesus is the reason for the season. Okay. So where were you, Jesus, when I needed my merry miracle makeover? Off pumping Kim Kardashian full of the good DNA no doubt. What a cheap bastard. And what a bitch for hogging it.

My face. God. It looks like it was regifted. Some unlucky, hopelessly damned soul must have received this face one Christmas, gone “AUGH!” then crammed it back in its wrapping paper and regifted it to me the following Christmas. ‘Oh, Tony will have it. He likes weird shit.’ ‘Oh, thanks. I guess I gotta wear this now so I don’t hurt your feelin’s or nothin’.’ Still, I suppose it could’ve been worse. I could’ve been regifted a box of used condoms.

But is this all I’ve been reduced to? Covering over the crushing disappointment that is life with gaudy tinsel? Making everything Christmas to within an inch of its goddamn life, godammit? Screw social convention! It doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s not like I can drape Christmas over a pile of dead puppies and suddenly everything’s okay. No one looks at a pile of dead puppies draped with Christmas and says, ‘D’aaawww… Let’s go carolling!’ I’ve tried to fit in with this holiday season malarkey. Truly, I’ve tried. But it’s not working.

One thing I did do was to grow my hair out. I figured if I could grow it long enough, it’d cover my face and entire body, and I’d look like a wookie. Then I could finally rejoin society because, you know, everyone’s worshiping the new Star Wars right now. Which means they’ve gotta love me, right? I’d be famous! I’d get invited to comic conventions, sit on panels and sign tits. Lovely! It’s what I’ve always wanted. Hell, I wouldn’t even have to be articulate. All I’d need to say is “GAAARRRGGGHHH!” in answer to everything. Fans would lap that shit up. They’d be lining up for decades, waiting for autographed pics of themselves swooning over my immaculately groomed wookie weenie.

So, anyway, I wrote Santa a letter. In it, I told him of my esteem obliterating ennui. Yes, I told him that I’m tired. That I think I need to go to sleep now. Maybe for good. I recommended that he not get me anything this year, that he keep the extra he would’ve spent buying me a Robot Action Smurf and get himself a shot of egg nog or a beard mitten instead. I don’t know. Whatever floats Santa’s boat. Oh, sorry. Sleigh. I meant sleigh.

God, I suck.

Anyway, dear readers, I apologise for this. I don’t wish to burden you with my unburdening. Have a sack load of festive humbugs on me.

Yours grudgingly,
Scroogey McScrooge.

PS: I burnt the letter and sent Santa a Facebook message instead. He still hasn’t friended me. He’s probably chilling on a Majorcan beach with hookers, blow and a toddy. What a tosser.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016

Scatology 101: Lachanophobia’s Disposal Unit (A Study in Brown)

We need to get one thing straight. Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet.

I shit you not. The toilet was invented by a Doctor Bartholomew Lachanophobia of Barthe. Its original purpose? The dispatchment of unwanted greens at dinner time. (Not the brown stuff.) You see, the good doctor was a learned man, but he was also a devoutly religious man, and he possessed a rather unfortunate and irrational fear of broccoli as a result. He believed it to be the devil’s tree.

Dear reader, I should probably put this into some kind of context for you.

To Lachanophobia, ordinary trees were a symbol of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Book of Genesis. His mother had told him this bedtime story since he was a child. You probably know it yourself. The devil appears as a wibbly wobbly snake in the mystic Garden of Eden. He smooth talks Eve for kicks. It works. She ends up eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.

Now, one could be tempted to write her off as a complete idiot, but think back to the last time you chatted with a snake. What’s that? Never happened? Then I rest my case. How anyone could be expected to react to that kind of bizarro situation is beyond me. Still, there’s an element to all of this that’s cool. Eve may well have been the world’s first Parselmouth!

Anyway, talky devil snake convinces nude chick with no belly button to do a bad thing. She then charms a nude guy with no belly button into doing the same bad thing. Let’s call him Adam. When it looks like Adam’s going to get into trouble with God over doing this bad thing, he tries to pass the buck. ‘The woman made me do it! She be cray cray!’ Eve, realising she’s also going to get into trouble, passes the buck. ‘The Devil made me do it! He be snay snay!’ And when it looks like the snake’s gonna get it in the neck, he passes the buck. ‘Dude, I’m just a snake. I can’t actually talk.’

So, basically, God gets jack of all this and kicks them out of the garden. And he maintains the rage against mankind and snakes from that point on. Poor God. He’s just a single parent. What else can you do when your children do nothing but disrespect you and your capricious, nonsensical rules? And now, he’s always having to send Father’s Day cards to himself.

Anyway, you can imagine why Lachanophobia would not’ve been overly fond of trees after hearing this crap again and again and again during his formative years. However, breathing oxygen is better than choking on carbon dioxide, so he suffered trees to live in order that he might too. Still, this didn’t change the fact that he simply wouldn’t tolerate broccoli. To him broccolis were blasphemous, miniature bootlegs of the Eden tree. He was convinced that they were the devil’s final ‘bite me’ to God.

Lachanophobia believed that by eating these tiny demon trees he’d get possessed and buy lots of stuff off of the Home Shopping Channel or something evil like that. Television didn’t exist yet but Lachanophobia was such a visionary that he could tell crazy stuff like that was going to happen long before it actually did. And anyway, this story has no logic. So, whatevs.

Over his lifetime, Lachanophobia devised many different yet highly ineffective methods for getting rid of broccoli. As modern science now well knows – and as Lachanophobia couldn’t have hoped to have known back then – broccoli is indestructible. You can chuck it in the bin, give it to the family dog, stomp on it, run a tank over it, even nuke the bastard, but all to no avail. The very fires of Mordor will not cause it to so much as blanch. Broccoli represents evolution at its trolling best.

Now, knowing that his only hope was to get all broccolis as far away from his tremulous person as possible, this was the point at which Lachanophobia finally invented the toilet. And then he invented experimental flying monkeys. He couldn’t touch the broccolis himself. No freaking way. That’s what the monkeys were for. So, following the evening’s repast, he’d have his experimental flying monkeys remove the demon trees so that they could be flushed to lands beyond the world’s rim via this device. Logical, yes? Well. Logical until you bring experimental flying monkeys into the equation.

Unfortunately, what experimental flying monkeys see, experimental flying monkeys do, and upon observing their master laying ‘chocolate logs’ (or ‘offloading cargo’ if you want to be less crass about it) after one fateful dinner, they decided to do the same, but in the toilet instead of Lachanophobia’s customary wicker basket. When the Doctor saw that the broccolis had not been disposed of, and that the toilet and its immediate surrounds were awash with experimental flying monkey doodah, he flew into a rage. He slipped on said monkey doodah and flew out the window, plummeting to his untimely and inconvenient death. Upon seeing this, the experimental flying monkeys did likewise (even though they could fly), and were soon joined with their master in said death because… well, why the hell not? (I’m just making this shit up anyway.)

It was left to the butler then, a young Thomas Crapper (whose very existence had inexplicably been overlooked until now) to clean up the mess. As compensation to himself for having to deal with this supremely unseemly (and wildly unlikely) scenario of ick, he took out a patent for Lachanophobia’s toilet in 1852 and thusly reaped the financial rewards for the remainder of his life. And why not? Hell, I would’ve done the same.

So there you have it. That’s the real story. Not in the least bit apocryphal. Or should I say ‘asspocryphal’? Ha ha ha! Yeah. Anyway. Crapper stole Lachanophobia’s invention. That’s my point. Oh, and broccoli lives on. Godammit. Sigh. It does leave me considering one sad truth in all of this. It’s always the monkeys that suffer.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016

As I Went Out One Morning

Thomas Paine tried to usher in the Age of Reason. Hippies tried to usher in the Age of Aquarius. Then came me. All I can do is age.

I am filled with false hope at the moment. This might be due to the fact that the day is still young and nothing bad has happened yet. I feel like I’m trying not to be fucked up. Really, truly, I do. And I’m trying not to fuck up by fucking others up.

On any given day I feel like I’ve smashed myself on the rocks of indifference, like I’ve lashed myself to the wrong mast with the wrong sail and then headed off in the wrong direction. I’ve crashed into a lonely desert island, and am about to slide from the brine-slicked crags to vanish over the waterfall at world’s end. But today? Today, so far, I feel pretty alright.

It was in my teens that I made a terrible discovery. I discovered that a man could cry. That man was my father. His tears were for my mother’s brother. I’d entered the room to find him laid out on his bed, hands pressed over his eyes as if to hold them in. Really, he was only trying to hold in the pain. It seemed an unconscious act of self preservation, as if to prevent pain itself from seeping out and consuming him. But it was already too late. My father’s face was wet with tears and loss had clearly eaten him up from the inside. It was a powerful moment that unearthed deep, unspeakable things within me. I became afraid of dropping into that abyss at the edge of the earth.

Johnny Cash once sang about a man who couldn’t cry. The man had been like that for as long as he could remember, and when he finally did cry it rained for forty days and forty nights. Then he dehydrated and died. Then his family, friends and associates began to fall victim to horrific happenings and in some cases met a tragic demise. Is this really how it is if a man dares to cry? The world falls apart? Everything comes undone?

Okay, now it’s beginning to feel like the last days again, and hope is waning… but of course it would. It’s false. And time marches on, goose stepping like a hateful Nazi over the memories of once held dreams, over my carefully buried hopes and fears. I’ve learned not to cry in the presence of others but it isn’t always easy to be so scrupulously contained. Sometimes you cry in the worst place at the worst possible time. We’re not all machines. It just happens and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Let’s face it, the older I get the more emotional triggers I find. Take right now for example. I’m walking past a church sign that says we’re “too blessed to be stressed”. It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a gun. Not that I’d use it. Not really. I’d just think about those self-righteous godomites and get myself all twisted up and spiteful inside. And then I’d slink away to take a Pepto-Bismol or two. Or three. Hell, guns make me nervous anyway.

No, it’s far better to dwell on other things. Happy things. Like puddles. Look, there’s one now. My very own sky hole in the ground. I could just step off and drop through to the clouds beyond if I wanted to. It’s the lure of transcendence. I fall for it every time. Who needs to get on a boat to disappear? Just do this. Only… well…

…I can’t.

Not really. Damn reality in all its bloody-minded literalness! God fucking damn!

Sigh.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016