“Proceed no further,” Oppenheimer ordered the gang. Dickleburg and his men remained mounted on their horses in front of the sheriff’s station. The pale moonlight lit the town square; Patrons at the whore house stood by to see what the fuss was about.
“But we outnumber you five to one,” Dickleburg chuckled to the sheriff.
Only me and Oppenheimer stood ready to confront the gaggle. At that moment, the opium started kicking in. Normally that would drag me down. But Thankfully I took a bump of cocaine to keep me alert. Oppenheimer kept his eyes, along with his pair of six shooters, on Dickleburg. I had my shotgun lowered and cocked on the other nine men.
“If you’ve come here for Billy Friedkin,” Oppenheimer said to Dickleburg, “you may succeed at getting him, but we won’t be the only ones standing on hell’s doorstep tonight. So you need to ask yourself: is it worth it?”
Dickleburg gave another hearty laugh. “I think you misunderstand my intentions here. Of course I’m here for Billy. He is, after all, a very valuable employee to my company. I’m sure you’d do the same for your loyal deputy standing here,” he replied, referring to me with a wink and a smile. “I value all of my loyal employees, which got me thinking: I have not been a very good employer to you Sheriff Oppenheimer. We have a saying in Helena: money fixes everything.”
Dickleburg dismounted his horse, grabbed two comically large sacks- complete with dollar signs stenciled on- and threw them at the sheriff’s feet. “I do hope you accept my sincerest apologies,” Dickleburg continued, “I hope we have a much stronger working relationship moving forward.”
Oppenheimer stood motionless for a few moments as he stared at the sacks of cash. Finally he looked up at the townspeople still congregated around the whore house. “Give me a moment,” he uttered.
I followed him back into the sheriff’s office where he pulled out a large whiskey bottle from his desk drawer. “You aren’t serious about accepting his offer, are you?” I asked as he uncorked the bottle.
After several long seconds of nonstop gulping, Oppenheimer lowered the bottle. “Yes I am,” he finally replied.
“Come on!” I exclaimed, “What the hell is so important about Elkhorn?! Surely to god there’s a lot more places to find gold in Montana?!”
“Other places? Yes,” Oppenheimer replied, “but the best place? That’s right under our feet.”
My intuition, likely aided by narcotics, started kicking in. “So that’s why you’re in Elkhorn,” I said, “tell me: how much gold does it take to kickstart your time portal device?”
“Shit,” an obviously drunk Oppenheimer wondered aloud, “at least a few tons.”
“A few fucking tons?! You are telling me there’s that much gold in this godforsaken town?!”
“Ohhh yeah. But what does it matter now? My family’s here and it’s not like I could make it back to my own time anyway. So fuck it! I’ll take the money.”
I grabbed the sheriff by the lapels. “Goddamnit Oppenheimer,” I shouted, “you can’t give in that easily! You serve the PEOPLE of Elkhorn, NOT the corporations! The gold belongs to THEM…AND the natives they stole the land from.” I then let him go and straighten myself out. “Besides,” I continued, “you agreed to help ME to get back to my timeline.”
Oppenheimer just laughed. “That’s impossible and you know it.”
I shook my head. “Damn it man, if you pick up those bags of cash, I will shoot you myself,” I declared, “are we clear?”
Oppenheimer began rubbing his face. Then he picked up the whiskey bottle once again. “Dickleburg probably has some trick up his sleeve anyway,” he said. He looked out the window at the armed men standing by and took a swig. “I used to be a great physicist,” he lamented, “so what are we gonna do about Billy Friedkin? Do we turn him over?”
“That seems to be the only sensible option,” I replied.
The sheriff picked up the keys, unlocked Billy’s cell, and grabbed him by the arm. “I told you they’d be coming for me,” the prisoner said.
“We know Billy. We expected them to, you fuckin idiot.”
We escorted him outside and released him to Dickleburg. “Aren’t you gonna take the money?” the businessman asked.
“Just take Mr. Friedkin and get out of town,” Oppenheimer replied.
Dickleburg lit up another cigar and nodded. “That’s a shame boy, I thought we’d be partners,” he said. He turned around and signaled for his gang to open fire.
Oppenheimer and I dropped to the ground as bullets ripped up the sheriff’s office. All the townspeople fled into the whore house. We exchanged fire for what seemed like eternity but was likely only a few seconds. Then the sound of a Winchester rifle pierced through the gunfire as Dickleburg’s men began dropping one by one from their horses.
I assure you that when I quit my job it was anything but quiet. At first I felt bad because I thought that there was a more professional way of handling things other than sending out petty emails. But after I got that two weeks notice in, I never felt better.
I thought I loved this job. Come to find out, I just enjoyed the game of politics. The fact is that staying abreast of everyone’s drama and using that to your advantage makes you a sociopath. It can be fun initially, but you lose your soul in the process.
The bad news is that I’m now selling my house…that I worked hard for…and moving out of state . The good news though is that I will not have to pay a mortgage (or rent) for the foreseeable future and I’ll virtually be out of debt with a good deal of cash on hand.
This frees me up to do basically anything I want. I doubt I will pursue writing full time because, not to brag or anything, I can write in my sleep. So I’ll probably return to school for nursing or something in the mental health field which is what I should have done 15 years ago.
“No wonder Mr. Dickleburg’s pissed,” I said to Oppenheimer after we galloped into town, “you didn’t give his man a fair trial!”
“That’s the thing about this timeline,” he replied, “they have no concept of judge and jury. Yet we still come to the same conclusions without them. It’s the damndest thing.”
Sheriff J. Robert Oppenheimer was about to hang one of Dickleburg’s company men on the streets of Elkhorn when word got to him that Dickleburg was riding into town with some hired guns. Oppenheimer and myself, along with Mr. Ree, we’re standing around in the sheriff’s office with the prisoner, Billy Friedkin, behind bars.
“You boys don’t know what’s comin,” Billy said, taunting us.
“I say we hang the son of a bitch right now and send a message,” Mr. Ree opined.
“We can’t do that,” Oppenheimer said, “Mr. Dickleburg will burn this town down.”
“Then why did you arrest Billy Friedkin to begin with?” I asked.
“Because,” Oppenheimer paused, “Mr. Friedkin shot and killed several of Mr. Rockwell’s cattle. The law plainly states that’s an offense punishable by death.”
“Then wouldn’t the government have your back?”
“No,” he replied, “Mr. Dickleburg owns the Montana government. But I had to arrest and hang Billy or else the townspeople would have hung me. You see, I’m between a rock and a hard place.”
Billy began guffawing in his cell. “Shut up,” I ordered, “I could kill you now and get away with it.”
“Relax gentlemen,” Oppenheimer said, “we need to think. Other than the time in that dormant volcano in Hawaii, have you ever been in a gun fight?”
I chuckled in response. “Bob, seriously?” I asked, “I saved Mexico City from a nuclear attack and massacred the entire West Coast mafia up in Big Bear. The FBI was pissed. So I think I know my way around a fire fight.”
“Good,” he said, “because Dickleburg and his merry men will be here in a matter of minutes. We need to set up a defensive parameter. It’s only going to be the three of us.”
I looked over to Mr. Ree. “I think I’m gonna need that opium pipe now,” I said.
Mr. Ree shook his head and dug out the pipe from his satchel. “I don’t think I’ve ever killed a man sober,” I said to him as I took it from his hand.
“Hopefully it will improve your aim,” he added.
“Don’t worry about it,” I replied, “I’ve got this shotgun. Are you any good with that Winchester rifle?”
Mr. Ree held up the weapon and smiled. “I’m no Lee Harvey Oswald,” he replied, “but I think I can handle myself.”
Look, I’m not saying that Tom Sizemore was a good guy. Clearly he had some demons. Of course that doesn’t excuse his behavior towards multiple women throughout his career. All I’m asking is that we appreciate the string of bangers that he was in during the 90s:
Point Break, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, True Romance, Passenger 57, Wyatt Earp, Natural Born Killers, Strange Days, Heat, Saving Private Ryan, Enemy of the State…
That’s a string of hits only rivaled by Kevin Costner’s phenomenal stretch from 1987 to 1991. We don’t have to respect the man but we should respect the body of work.
I have finished 0 stories this year and at this rate I will finish 0 more. As you are all aware, I’m in the middle of a career change which might require me to return to clown college to finish my clown degree sooner than I expected. So enjoy this story from last year.
What I’ll say about this one is that I made some decisions. I wasn’t happy with it initially but upon revisiting it I think it holds up decently well.
Meet William Shits
William Shitz woke up the same time every morning: 4:30AM.
He’d look in the mirror, trim his mustache, and evacuate his bowels. He’d always use two squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.
His bowel movement was a little more painful than usual this particular morning. But he thought nothing of it. After wiping his ass, William departed to his study to read the morning newspaper.
“Can you believe this Archibald?” William asked the butler in his thick transatlantic accent.
“Belief what sir?” asked Archibald.
“The Dow 500 crashed 8 million points yesterday. We must be in a recession!”
“Nonsense, sir,” Archibald said, “you’re a billionaire. None of that will affect you.”
“Mmm, right you are,” William said as he sipped his Earl Grey. “Do tell me, have I missed any phone calls this morning?”
“It’s 5am, sir. It won’t be start of business for another couple of hours.”
“Right. Well I better get moving then, I don’t want to fall behind on the day’s schedule.”
William Shitz removed his smoking jacket, put on his business attire and ascot then climbed into the back of his Rolls-Royce Phantom III. As Archibald was driving the vehicle, he handed the gold-plated phone back to William. “Your daughter is on the line, sir,” he said.
“Darla Shitz,” William said into the phone, “how have you been my dear?”
“Dad, I’m ready to come home,” Darla replied.
“Now now, Darla, you know I wish to be called ‘father’.”
“Father, I’ve been in France for six years! I know that it was rough on you when mother passed, but I want to be back with my family!”
“Now’s not a good time, darling. I must be going, I have a busy day ahead of me. Goodbye.” William abruptly hung up the phone and handed it back to Archibald.
“How is Darla doing, Mr. Shitz?” Archibald asked. “I would love to see her again.”
“Oh fine, fine,” William replied, “but I’m afraid she wishes to stay in France a little longer.”
The Rolls pulled up to Shitz Factory, a large DoD contractor that develops and manufactures weapons used to drop on villages in the Middle East. It was personally owned by Mr. William Shitz himself.
“I haven’t had a day off in two years,” said Allan Funt, Vice-President of operations and William’s right-hand man. “I’m overworked, I’ve developed a drinking problem, and my wife is fucking the mailman. All I’m asking is a couple of days off.”
“I’m sorry Allen,” Mr. Shitz replied, “but I expect all of my employees to give the same dedication that I gave into building this company for a laughable fraction of what I make. That goes for you as well.”
Allan began to tear up. For a fleeting moment, William felt a degree of sympathy for him. “Now now, Allen,” William said, “you’re my most valuable employee. Keep up the good work and maybe I’ll give you a day off next year.”
Allan nodded, wiped away a tear, and diligently went back to work. As William was returning to his office, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach.
“Are you alright, sir?” Archibald asked.
“I don’t understand, Archibald,” William said, “I already had a bowel movement this morning.”
His stomach continued to cramp. He rushed into his private office and on into the bathroom then dropped his pants. He noticed that he already soiled his silk underwear.
William continued to spray shit out of his rectum and into his diamond-made toilet. After a violent two minutes, he grabbed his usual two squares of toilet paper and wiped his crack. When he looked back at the paper, he was appalled.
It was covered in blood.
“You got ass cancer, Bill,” the big, burly doctor said to Mr. Shitz. “It’s inoperable and you likely have a year to live.”
“My God,” William responded, “how is that possible?”
“Well, since your factory manufactures uranium weapons, a piece of radioactive material probably snuck up your asshole…I won’t ask how that happened…where it metastasized into terminal cancer. So I recommend you get your affairs in order. Now kindly get the fuck out of my office because I’ve got more patients coming in.”
Mr. Shitz returned to the front desk and paid the $450,000 doctor’s bill. “Would you like to schedule your next appointment?” the receptionist asked.
William thought for a moment. “No, I don’t think that will be necessary,” he said.
He wandered back out to the Rolls-Royce where Archibald was waiting on him with the door open. “I trust your appointment went well, sir,” the butler inquired.
“I’m afraid not Archibald,” William replied. “I have cancer of the asshole.”
The news hit Archibald like a ton of bricks. “Is that so, sir?” the butler asked as he tried to maintain his composure. “Can it be removed?”
“I’m afraid not. It appears that I have only a year to live!”
Mr. Shitz’s longtime butler was shattered inside. He had a million things to say but there was not enough time to say it; Archibald wasn’t ready to tear down the façade of professionalism that held his world together.
“Will…,” the butler began to ask as his voice cracked. “Will you be informing Darla of this news?”
“In time, Archibald,” William replied. “Right now, there’s too much to be done. I must get back to work.”
Mr. Shitz and the butler returned to Shitz Estate. William immediately departed to his study while Archibald remained outside on the brick-paved driveway. The butler sat down behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce and began to cry.
That’s when he noticed me. I was trimming the hedges along the driveway.
“Who are you?” Archibald asked me as he wiped away tears.
“I’m the new gardener, sir,” I responded. “I started yesterday. Is everything alright?”
“Yes yes,” the butler said, “I have terrible allergies this time of year.”
“I see,” I said, “I’m Jim Grey. You must be Archibald Duke, Mr. Schitz’s longtime butler.”
“Yes I am,” he replied.
“I’ve heard a lot about you,” I told him. “Mr. Shitz thinks very highly of you. In fact, I’d say that he regards you as his closest friend. You’re probably the only person, besides me of course, that truly understands him.”
A bewildered look fell over Archibald’s face. “How would you know anything about Mr. Shitz?” he asked.
I smiled. “I’ll just say that he and I have been inseparable for a very, very long time.”
“I don’t know sir,” Allen Funt said while bawling his eyes out. “I’m already stressed out enough. I don’t know if I can handle running this company while you tend to personal matters.”
“Damn it, Allen,” William retorted, “you’re a workhorse! The best one I’ve got! You should consider it an honor that I’ve selected you to run this factory!”
Allen buried his head in his hands. “I haven’t seen my kids in two years, sir,” he said. “Please, Mr. Shitz! Please loosen my load!”
William got up from behind his desk and plopped down next to Allen. “I’ll tell you what,” Mr. Shitz said as he patted him on the knee, “if you do a good job, I’ll give you a 1.5% raise on top of your $24,000 yearly salary. So please, Allen, find the strength to carry on.”
Allen nodded, blew his nose, and wiped away the tears. “Yes sir,” he said. Then got up and returned to work.
William sat back down behind his desk. I entered his office carrying a bouquet of lilies. “Good morning, Mr. Shitz,” I said, “I just cut these and figured you’d enjoy some.”
“Lilies?” William inquired. “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m your new gardener, Jim Grey,” I said, “If you recall, your wife wanted these planted at your estate before she passed. These were her favorite flowers. She wanted you to think of her every time you looked at them.”
William was dumbfounded. “How-how do you know this?”
I found a vase and placed the flowers inside of it. “Mr. Shitz, I know that you’re dying,” I said as I sat the vase on his desk. “Yet you feel that there’s too much to be done. And you’re right. You’ve always been a hard worker. But this might be the hardest thing you’ve had to face.”
“But…how do you know so much about me?”
I sat down in front of his desk. “Do you believe in the afterlife, Mr. Shitz?”
“I’ve- I’ve honestly never considered it.”
“Well I’ll just say that I’ve watched you your entire life,” I said, then smiled. “I guess you could call me your protector.”
“I see,” William replied as a growing look of concern fell over his face. “Then I suppose heaven’s been displeased with my performance.”
“Not entirely,” I said. “But there is an opportunity here to right the wrongs. It’s not too late, Mr. Shitz.”
“If you are who you say you are, Mr. Grey,” William said, “then what do you know about living as a mortal; to face the temptations of flesh and blood?”
“This is not just a chance at redemption for yourself, William,” I replied. “If we work together, we will both be back in heaven’s good graces.”
Who am I, this mortal shell Jim Grey?
Didst I fly too close to the flame? Did I sear off my wings and tumble to this providence of flesh and sin?
“Hear me now o Heaven!” I cried out, “must I die with the blood of my veins?”
But reprieve was delivered from upon high; “be a good servant, but not for thy sake.”
Yet a servant is nothing more than a slave; and I’m a slave by the Grace of heaven.
I was no more free than Mr. Shitz was free from impending death. “What happens when I die?” he asked.
“I am no more an expert on death than you are on life.”
“Is that the meaning of your visit Jim Grey? To give me one more shot at life?”
But how could I deliver something that I don’t possess?
Now enough about me….
The helicopter landed on the estate lawn. Archibald extended his hand to help Ms. Shitz deboard the craft. “How delightful it is to see you again!” he told her as they strolled across the grass and into the foreroom.
“Tell me, Archie,” Darla said, “how bad is it?”
“Your father is fine right now,” he replied, “but in time, his health will deteriorate. He will lose all control of his faculties. Piss and shit will flow out of him continuously before his bowels fall out of his asshole at the moment of death. I can’t think of a worse way to go. He would be better off ending it now rather than remain cognizant as his dignity melts away.”
“How horrible!” Darla bawled as she buried her head into Archibald’s chest.
“Yes,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her, “but you mustn’t say anything about it when you see him. He’s still processing his ass cancer diagnosis.”
“I understand,” she said while wiping away tears. “He’s always been a stubborn man. This will take time.”
“Of course,” Archibald replied as he offered her a brandy. “How was your stay in France?”
“Absolute dogshit!” Darla exclaimed. “They’re a bunch of chain-smoking, wino bastards! And the world thinks the US is racist?! Try spending 15 minutes at a Parisian bus stop! Jesus fucking Christ!”
I wandered in through the kitchen door bearing a gift. “A rose for you,” I offered Ms. Darla Shitz, “I’m Jim Grey. Welcome home.”
Nothing across all heavens, from the seas of Aquila to the moons of Indus, prepared me for the sight I saw; a woman, whose beauty rivaled that of Artemis.
“This is our new gardener, Ms. Shitz,” Archibald said. “He’s an acquaintance of your father.”
“Thank you, Mr. Grey,” Ms. Shitz spoke as she placed her hand into mine, “it’s a pleasure to meet you. Now, please excuse me. I must be meeting with my father.”
“Of course,” I said. I watched her gracefully gather herself as though there wasn’t a storm raging inside of her.
There too was a quiet storm gathering within me. What was it about Darla Shitz that promoted such passion?
Why was heaven hellbent on its temptations?
“Damn it Dad! When you spend six years in a French whorehouse as I have, you can smell shit from a mile away! And YOU, sir, are full of SHIT!” Darla yelled to her father.
“Darla, please,” Mr. Shitz responded, “I’m wearing adult diapers now. I assure you, there’s not an ounce of shit in me.”
“Well you can’t spend your remaining days toiling away in your study!”
William stood up from behind his desk and shoveled ice into a glass. He poured himself a tall drink of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. “Are you sure that’s a good idea in your condition?” Darla asked.
“Goddamnit Darla, can you stop pestering this dying man?!” he snapped.
This was the first time Darla heard her father drop his high-class pretensions. “So there’s a man underneath that mustache and ascot after all,” she said.
“Fuck you,” William replied as he pounded the whiskey. “I have nothing to be ashamed of. I raised you and I built a billion dollar company. Now leave me be.”
Darla laughed and stood up. “I’m home now,” she said, “you’re gonna have to face me eventually. Or else I will haunt you till your dying day.”
She stormed out of the study. Moments later, I walked in to find Mr. Shitz blind drunk. “Damn it, Jim, I can’t handle this right now,” he said to me.
“Yes sir, I understand,” I said. “Mind if I have a drink?”
I took a sip of the stout liquid and wondered how humans could stomach the stuff. “Sir,” I wondered aloud, “can you tell me about your wife?”
William swiveled his chair, back facing me. “What can I tell you about her that you don’t already know?” he asked.
“Well,” I continued, “I know that you loved her. Doesn’t that extend to your offspring as well? Especially since she’s a continuation of you and your wife?”
William swiveled back around. “Are you some kind of fucking moron?” he asked.
“In your ways, yes,” I said as I downed the whiskey.
William laughed. “Darla and me have an understanding,” he said, “care for another drink?”
The conversation trailed off after that. William eventually passed out on his leather-bound sofa in the study. But being new to this intoxicating experience, I ventured out to the garden, carrying the bottle with me.
The pond was the most beautiful spot. As dusk started to settle, katydids and frogs began their nightly symphonies. Across the way, I saw Darla lighting a cigarette.
I turned my head when she looked my way. I focused on the bottle as I pretended not to notice her. Then moments passed and she was out of sight.
The sun finally sunk below the horizon and the moonlight peered through the clouds. I thought I was alone.
“Mind if I have a swig?” a voice from behind me asked.
“Don’t tell anyone that we fucked,” Darla said as she climbed naked out of bed. “I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than sleeping with the gardener.”
“I understand,” I replied.
“By the way,” she asked as she strapped on her brassiere, “how do you know my father has ass cancer?”
I began to stutter. “I, uh…it’s a long story.”
“Oh shit,” Darla said, “you’re not one of his long lost children are you?”
“Oh thank god,” she exhaled, “I wouldn’t want THAT to happen again!”
“ANYWAYS…,” I replied, “Will you be returning to France anytime soon?”
“God no, I’d rather be the one that has ass cancer.”
“Then why’d you go there in the first place?”
Darla paused dressing for a moment. “I…I was dating Stromae.”
“But he’s Belgian.”
“Look, you’re not INTERPOL! I don’t have to tell you shit!” Darla exploded. She finished dressing and stormed out of the guest house.
I climbed out of bed when Archibald wondered in with breakfast on a tray. I was putting on my underwear.
“Exquisite dong, sir,” he said
“Thank you Archibald.”
“I trust you laid the pipe well last night.”
I tilted my head. “But Archibald, how did you know?”
“Now now,” he said, “Mr. Shitz pays me very well to know goings on within his estate. A flea can’t fart…as the expression goes…without me hearing it. So please, Mr. Grey, please handle Ms. Shitz delicately.”
“But Archie,” I replied, “it was just a one time thing. It…it won’t happen again.”
Archibald was skeptical. “Mr. Grey, what goes on between two adults is none of my business. But, I figured you to be of higher character.”
I nodded as I looked down to the floor.
“Now,” he continued, “when you finish breakfast, Mr. Shitz has requested that you join him on a hunting excursion. A rare breed of arctic fox has been brought to the estate, and Mr. Shitz would like to hunt it into extinction before cancer takes its toll. His associate, Mr. Allen Funt will be joining the party. Please be punctual.”
“The arctic fox spends its days burrowing underground and avoiding contact with its own kind,” Mr. Shitz explained while staring down the sights of his shotgun. “It’s a solitary animal, much like myself. When it dies, it dies alone.”
Mr. Shitz pulled the trigger, unleashing the sound of hell. A helpless fox, only a few yards ahead, exploded into a million pieces, leaving only fur and guts strewn about.
After witnessing the appalling sight, Allen Funt started heaving at the foot of a tree. With a slight smile on his face, Mr. Shitz reloaded the shotgun. “Mr. Funt,” he said, “I do believe it’s your turn.”
“No thank you, sir,” Mr. Funt replied as tears streamed down his face, “I just don’t have it in me!”
“Goddamnit Allen!” Shitz yelled, “I will be dead in less than a year and you will be the CEO of a billion dollar company! Now if you want PTO, a livable wage, and health insurance, you will senselessly kill the last surviving member of this species into extinction!”
Shitz cocked the shotgun and directed towards Funt. “You will!” he declared.
“Oh god I’m gonna die!!!”
“Gentlemen,” I interrupted, “what’s the meaning of this? Mr. Shitz, please lower your weapon.”
Allen Funt pissed his pants as he had a stare down with Mr. Shitz. He also shit pants. After a few moments, William came to his senses and lowered the shotgun.
“My apologies, gentlemen,” Mr. Shitz said. “Mr. Funt, it was my hope that killing these animals would give you the courage to turn this shotgun on me. It was my dream to be executed by the man who would supplant me as CEO.”
William then looked out onto the field to admire the last surviving arctic fox. It was juxtaposed proudly against the endless horizon. “It’s just you and me!” William yelled to the animal, “we’re the last of our kind!”
He dropped the shotgun by his side then looked over to me. “Mr. Grey,” William said, “you are my protector; my guide across the river Styx. But I’m not ready to punch that ticket.”
Mr. Shitz started stripping off his clothes, down to his underwear. Finally his bare cock was flapping in the wind. It was cold that day.
“Jim Grey,” William continued, “if you want me dead, you’ll have to catch me first.”
Allen Funt and I then watched Mr. Shitz’s flabby asscheeks jiggle as he hopped like a jackrabbit into the tree line.
“Mr. Shitz is no stranger to wandering bare ass naked in the woods,” Archibald informed us, “this is no cause for alarm.”
“He wanted Allen to kill him with a shotgun, Archie!” I said, “I think concern is warranted here.”
Archibald put his hands up to his face and rubbed his bald head. “What difference does it make?” he asked. “He’ll be dead soon anyway.”
Darla put down the booze and spoke up. “Archie’s right,” she said, “we should let him die the way he wants: balls dangling in the wind.”
“But that’s not the way he wants to go!” I replied. “He wants me to hunt him; he wants us to hunt him.”
“But why, Jim?! Why?!” Allen Funt cried out.
I went to the bar and poured a stiff drink. “Because…,” I said, “because his whole life he’s felt misunderstood. He’s been alone in this world. He wants us to to prove our love to him, by hunting him in the wilderness so we might see his true self.”
Allen Funt continued to bawl his eyes out. “I just want to go home and see my family!” he cried.
“Calm yourself, Allen,” I said, “you’re just as much a part of this as we are.”
Darla, already three sheets to the wind, tried to slur out her words. “And how do you know so much about father, Mr. Grey?” she asked.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” I replied. “None of you would.”
Archibald picked up the shotgun and began loading shells. “Probably not, Mr. Grey,” he said, “but I know what I must do. I’ve been William Shitz’s butler for 47 years. If anyone must put him down, it should be me.”
“That’s your responsibility?” I asked.
Archibald took a long pause. “Yes,” he said. “It’s common knowledge that butlers must take an oath to do what must be done, even if that means mercifully killing his master with a shotgun. It is my sworn duty.”
I walked up to the aged butler and put my hands on his shoulders. “When the time comes,” I asked, “can you do what must be done?”
“Yes, Mr. Grey,” he said as he looked me square in the eye, “and if I can’t pull the trigger, then it becomes your responsibility…and I too must be executed for my dereliction of duty.”
“He’s close,” Archibald said as he dug his fingers into the soil.
“How can you tell?” I asked.
“There’s a steaming pile of bloody shit right there,” he replied. I looked to the right and lo and behold, right there a reeking pile of human poop.
“It seems like you’ve done this many times before,” I said to him.
“Far too often.”
The four of us-Archibald, Darla, Allen Funt, and myself- trekked through the woods in search of a mentally deteriorating William Shitz. The sun was starting to set. A gentle gust was blowing in from the north; a storm was brewing. While we found hopeful signs that Mr. Shitz was still alive, we only covered a small portion of the 148,971 acres that he owned.
We decided to hunker down for the night. I put together a small fire in the middle of camp. As usual, Allen Funt couldn’t stop crying. “What are we gonna do when we find him?” he bawled.
“We’re gonna kill him,” Archibald replied as he gnawed on a piece of beef jerky.
“But why 😭😭😭😭?” Funt asked.
Archibald threw down his jerky and pulled out a small machete. He grabbed Allen and held him up to a tree with the blade up to his neck. “Because Mr. Shitz wishes it!” Archibald screamed.
“Gentlemen!” I interrupted. “We must maintain our composure! Let’s not make any decisions on Mr. Shitz until we find him!”
Archibald nodded and lowered the machete from Allen’s neck. “I know what I must do,” he said as he slid the blade back into its holster. Then he looked me in the eye. “Just don’t forget what YOU must do.”
Archie climbed back into his tent for the night. So did Allen Funt, as he soiled his pants for the second time that day. Darla and I sat by the fire.
“Why did your father love your mother?” I asked her.
“You really are some kind of fucking moron,” she said as she lowered the flask from her lips. “Why don’t you understand the simplest of human concepts? Are you some kind of alien?”
“In a way,” I replied as I took a swig from the same flask.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Probably not! But try me! Nobody, not even Archie, understands your sudden appearance in my father’s life.”
I took another big hit from the flask. “It is my duty,” I explained, “to guide your father into the next life. Or at least it was. You see, I was his guardian…but I fell out of heaven’s grace.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” she replied. “So if you’re his disgraced guardian angel, then why are you bothering to fulfill your heavenly duties?”
“It’s a long story,” I said. “Redemption I suppose.”
“I…I guess I thought I could be human,” I stuttered. “But I never grasped human love. I was damned…damned to walk the earth; being neither human nor angel. I thought I could do one last thing…revealing to your father love and compassion in his final days; the kind he has never felt before. But then something strange happened.”
“What happened?” Darla asked longingly.
“I met you.”
Darla chuckled and shook her head. “You’re just another drunk weirdo that’s wandered into my life,” she said. Then she stood up and brushed the dirt and leaves from her jeans as the rain started sprinkling down. “But,” she continued, “you ain’t a bad fuck. So you’re welcome to join me in my tent. Just TRY to last longer than two minutes this time, mmk?”
“I found him!” Allen Funt screamed through the torrential rain. It was our second day of hunting for the surprisingly evasive Mr. Shitz. The terrain in the sprawling forest proved to be formidable.
Archibald, shotgun in hand, ran towards Allen’s screams. Darla and myself weren’t far behind. “Where is he?” Archibald asked as he approached.
“Right there,” Allen said.
The butler looked down and was puzzled. “That’s just a hole in the ground,” Archibald replied.
Allen cocked his head. “But I thought that’s what this was,” Funt said, pointing to his ass.
Darla had enough. “This excursion is pointless!” she yelled. “Just let my father die naked and shitting himself in the woods, just as he wanted!”
Allen Funt seconded the notion.
Archibald tuned out the noise as he gazed into the woods ahead. “There,” he pointed.
Less than a 100 yards away was the majestic arctic fox. The creature contrasted like an apparition against the wet and drab forest. “Follow that fox,” Archibald ordered.
The butler proceeded forward while Darla and I followed in his footsteps. Allen Funt fell into the very hole he pointed out moments before.
“Help!” he screamed.
No one came to his aid.
We watched closely as the fox trotted forward a few feet. As the animal neared a meadow, a totally nude Mr. Shitz fell out of a tree and onto Darla’s shoulders. “Father!” she cried, but Mr. Shitz was delivering a rear naked chokehold, quite literally, as he was hanging on to her rear, he was naked, and had her a chokehold.
“Release her!” Archibald ordered.
Darla lost consciousness and fell to the ground. With an open shot, Archibald raised the shotgun and fired. But the spry Mr. Shitz dodged the shrapnel and disappeared into the shadows.
“Goddamn, he’s like the Vietcong,” Archibald said as he reloaded the shotgun.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
“He’s too dangerous like this,” Archibald replied. “If you see him, kill him.”
Right then, Mr. Shitz swung around a tree and knocked Archibald out cold. The shotgun flew forward to my feet.
I kneeled down to pick up the weapon. But Mr. Shitz was close enough that I could see the rainwater dripping off his ballsack. I slowly picked up the shotgun and returned to my feet.
It was nearing dusk and the rain was falling harder. But the red in Mr. Shitz’s eyes pierced the dark through the booms of thunder and brilliant flashes of light.
“Pull the trigger, Jim Grey,” William said as rain poured down his face. “That’s why you’re here, after all.”
I stood frozen in an awe-inspired fear. The nude figure that stood before me transfigured into a dark angel. He was still man, but appeared to possess the powers of hell.
I was unable to pull the trigger.
But before I could react, William grabbed the barrel and slammed the butt of the shotgun to my face. Still conscious, I fell backwards into the muddied forest floor. I could taste something from the corner of my mouth; it was blood, assisted by the rain, streaming down from the wound on my forehead.
I had never bled before.
William now held the shotgun but threw it aside as he stood over me. His cock was inches from my face. Finally, the rush of panic kicked in and I sprinted aimlessly through the woods.
But the newly minted demonic angel was never far behind.
Then I reached an obstacle: a gully nearly 100 feet deep but a little over 10 feet wide. I had no time to think. I leapt across the crevice but my feet missed the landing on the other side.
My life was hanging perilously over the side of a cliff, fingers barely maintaining a grip on a wet, slippery rock jutting over the edge.
William looked down upon me struggling like a helpless creature. For the first time in his 70 years, he felt something he previously thought impossible: sympathy…compassion. Mr. Shitz then entirely hurdled the 10 foot gap and kneeled down before me.
“It’s quite a thing to live in fear, isn’t it?” he asked. “But that’s what it means to feel alive.”
Right as my fingers slipped, William grabbed my wrist and single-handedly pulled me to safety. As he dropped me on land, I impulsively wiggled backwards up to a tree, not knowing what to expect.
The arctic fox wandered up and sat obediently next to Mr. Shitz. The old, dying man gazed upon the animal and sat down before me.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” William told me, “I’ve had shits like fire from a baconator in Hoboken. I watched Harry Reems and Arthur C. Clarke cheer as they masturbate. Now all of those moments will be lost, in time, like the career of David Blaine.”
A look of sorrow fell over William Shitz’s rain-covered face. “Time to die,” he uttered. And with those words, the clouds departed, and the fox trotted off into the sunset.
I laid there for what seemed like hours, pondering Mr. Shitz’s last moments. And in his waning hours, he bestowed upon me the gift of humanity; his last, and perhaps only, act of benevolence.
Then I heard a voice from across the gully. “I guess he’s through, eh?” it asked. It was Archibald, holding the shotgun.
“Finished,” I said.
Archibald tossed the shotgun to my side and started to walk away.
Then he paused.
“It’s too bad I won’t live,” he pondered aloud, “but then again, who does?”
After I shot Archibald for his supposed “dereliction of duty”, he managed to survive.
“Maybe we’ll just call it even,” the old butler said as he held his hand over the gushing shotgun wound. He placed his arm around my shoulder and I carried him back to the estate.
Darla regained consciousness after being choked out by her dying, naked father. “Is he finally dead?” she asked.
“About fucking time,” she replied, “let’s leave that crazy old bastard’s body out in the woods.”
We all returned to the estate and shared a bottle of brandy. Archibald was looking a little pale due to the massive blood loss. Darla was happy to be home. “What the fuck was up with that arctic fox?” she asked.
I swirled around my glass while I pondered. “I guess it symbolized Mr. Shitz’s soul,” I said. “At his moment of death, the fox took up his spirit. Now Mr. Shitz is truly free; free from man-made constraints, free to live the life he always wanted. And more importantly, he took up my spiritual burdens by becoming the Angel of Death, and bestowing up me full humanity; the greatest gift he ever gave anyone. Or some shit like that. I dunno.”
“Okay good. Glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it,” Darla replied. “Because I was REALLY tripping balls out there.”
We all had a good laugh, including Archibald who continued bleeding all over the couch. Then it occurred to me:
It’s been nearly 13 years since the late Dennis Hopper’s death and I still haven’t gotten over it. Obviously the greatest actor who ever lived, Hopper’s career spanned six decades.
I was laughing to myself the other day thinking about Hopper as a man who dedicated his entire life to the Army, even becoming a general, only to regret everything. “Hey man! This is bullshit! The Army’s bullshit man! Fuck you and fuck my life!”he yelled. Maybe you have to have served to find that funny. But then I remembered: Dennis Hopper DID play an Army Colonel in some shitty TV show called the E-Ring.
It’s a shame though that 90% of the Dennis Hopper clips on YouTube are of him being racist in True Romance. There’s so much more to his performances; from being a cartoonish villain in Super Mario Bros. to being another cartoonish villain in Waterworld. People never appreciated the subtlety to his acting. That’s why I’m disappointed that no one has made a smash cut of his best scenes in E-Ring.
That being said, you can get entire episodes of the E-Ring on YouTube but I don’t want to watch that shit again. Nevertheless, here’s the first episode from the series:
After watching nonstop Paul Giamatti commercials on Tubi I’ve realized two things: I don’t like Paul Giamatti and I hated the miniseries John Adams.
I read the popular biography by David McCullough on the first US Vice-President and influential Founding Father back in high school. It was fine. I don’t remember much about it to be honest, but that’s what prompted me to watch the miniseries.
The problem with the show is the same problem every dramatized account of a real historical event faces: there’s no surprises and every character is one dimensional. Unfortunately American history is largely mythologized. We all know it’s bullshit but we fall for it anyway.
None of these guys knew what they were doing. But the Founding Fathers are always portrayed as paragons of virtue and certain in their destiny. I especially hated when John Adams meets George Washington. Why couldn’t Washington had been portrayed as an idiot who’s unfortunately the only man qualified to lead an army? That’s probably closer to the truth. But another thing that’s rarely discussed is how young these guys were:
While Washington and Adams were what we could consider “middle aged”, a lot of these guys were far from it. That’s an aspect that’s rarely explored and it would undermine the audience’s expectations; the “Founding Fathers” weren’t enlightened old men…they were young, dumb rich kids (and apparently the Revolution wasn’t all that popular with the working class, but that’s a story for a different day).
I also have a theory that if you travel back in time, understand the language and customs of the era, and observe a famous historical event as an invisible fly on the wall, you would have no idea what’s going on or what’s about to happen. This is especially true for ancient times.
I tried exploring this idea last year with the story According to Simon (which I never finished). Much like the Founding Fathers, this story also centered around a (probably) real historical event that has been heavily mythologized: the death of Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity told through the “Apostle” Peter. To go back to the AD 30s Jerusalem and watch these events unfold, they would look nothing like they are portrayed in the Gospels or Book of Acts: Jesus is called Yeshua (in fact, Peter had no idea what the Greeks were talking about when they referred to him as “Jesus”) , the Apostles are a bunch of stupid young kids, Judas steals and returns Jesus’s body to Nazareth, and Paul is a lunatic who confuses Jesus’s missing body with a real resurrection. And in the midst of this madness, confusion, and political strife, a new religion is born.
Do I think events actually happened that way? No. But I do think my interpretation is far more historically accurate…and therefore more engaging…than the mythologies that have been handed down to us. Because every historical figure is a living, breathing, shitting, human being , storytellers should approach the subject from that perspective rather than regurgitate the same old myths that we all know to be untrue (and are largely stale).
It’s been an emotional week for me. And that could be a part of the problem: Star Trek: Picard season 3 caught me at the right time.
I don’t think I’ve ever properly explained the impact that TNG made on my childhood. Without it, everything might’ve been different. Perhaps I would have been able to able to live out my dream of being a Las Vegas lounge singer in Carson City. Who knows? But alas, I watched it and now nearly 30 years after the show ended, I’m about to initiate mutually assured destruction with my employer. C’est la vie.
Now after the shitshow that was Picard seasons 1 and 2, the question we should ask ourselves is: “what makes us think that season three would be any different?”. And I’m not entirely sure I have a satisfying response. We’re only two episodes in for fuck’s sake.
But I will say this: season three already feels a bit dialed back. This is a good thing. If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a million times: Star Trek works best on limited budget, reliant on big emotions and intriguing science fiction dilemmas.
NuTrek, however, has basically abandoned the “intriguing science fiction dilemmas” part in favor of intergalactic politics. Which is fine. That could be interesting, but in NuTrek, the United Federation of Planets usually comes across as just another dirty player on the chess board. This unfortunately contradicts everything that made Star Trek appealing to sci-fi fans initially.
Fortunately in the Trek-verse there’s a film called Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan which is usually considered the franchise’s finest hour. While the plot does involve a science fiction macguffin, the story itself is about aging, friendship, family, loss, and revenge. In short, it’s a space opera.
So if you’re a NuTrek producer and you know that the quality of your product has been shit the past two seasons, what do you do? The answer is you steal from the best. While The Next Generation films are considered a disappointment, we’re finally given a real taste of what that universe would look like had Rick Berman and company handled the movies properly, albeit on Paramount+. And in my view, kudos to Alex Kurtzman and Terry Matalas for unapologetically ripping off Star Trek II.
In fact, they’re not only ripping off Star Trek II, but they’re ripping off the entirety of the TOS movies right down to lines of dialogue and sound effects. And I don’t have a problem with any of it.
This means that someone from the TNG crew…probably Picard…will get a glorious death scene and I am not prepared for it. In fact, I nearly cried when they started using the First Contact theme, which is one of my favorites, for the end credits.
Despite all of my bitching about NuTrek, if producers keep up the quality from the first two episodes, then guys…I’m telling you: I’m just not ready for it to end.
I’ve been dunking so hard on my boss that I’m starting to feel bad about it. I mean, it’s not entirely his fault for why our workplace is so fucked up.
Put yourself into his shoes: you’re new to the job, you’ve been brought in to straighten out a mess, you make plans, then the boss that brings you in gets fired (which a particular subordinate, me, warned you about should you follow through with said plans).
So you’re shaken up a bit, regroup, and (probably) kiss ass to keep your job. Your new superior says to take control of a deteriorating situation. Then you make new plans.
Unfortunately your subordinate middle managers act out of self preservation and keep you in the dark about everything. As a result, your new plans are poorly executed then you make a critical mistake: you blame the low men on the totem pole instead of your managers
Now you’ve got a BIGGER problem: me. I warned you about ruling with an iron fist and that you should probably learn your way around before you start making drastic decisions. You didn’t listen. And because you’re the top dog, I’m not giving you a second chance to fuck up.
So I air out the workplace’s dirty laundry to YOUR superior and HR.
What you think is just an employee bitching turns out to be something more serious: this very issue that I brought up, who happens to be a particular individual, not only has negatively impacted your workplace but it has also negatively impacted members of HR themselves.
So there will be no warning, there will be no write up. There will be a direct investigation. This issue will certainly be removed from your department.
You see, when you’re in our business, it helps to be familiar with all the moving parts around you. That’s called politics and that’s the only way to survive around here. This is why I told you to get familiar with everything before you start ruling with an iron fist.
Now normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. Sure it’s a little embarrassing having your department investigated while you’re (presumably) on thin ice. Unfortunately, an addition to firing a talented and qualified supervisor two weeks earlier, it was announced this very week that two more qualified and experienced employees will soon be leaving (not including me because that’s a bombshell I’ll be dropping later because I’m an asshole). Furthermore, you’ve been unable to fill vacancies due too few qualified applicants and too little pay. In sum, you’re about to be short on employees.
To summarize: I’ve absolutely owned you. Without really meaning to, honestly.
The first time, I was just pissed off and venting without actually thinking my warning would come true. And the second time, well, I just blindly fired a shot and it landed perfectly on target 🤷♂️
But luck fell into my lap because I listened and learned my place. You didn’t do that. Now I’ll go to bat for you in the investigation (after I turn in my notice of resignation) but all this could have been avoided. As a result, this will probably be the biggest FUCK YOU to a former employer that I could possibly deliver.
I’m in Bermuda, or Bahama’s, Key Largo, Montigo, or wherever.
If you need to reach me call me at (420)666-6969. If you need to email me do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also Venmo me $42,731 to help with various legal costs associated with public indecency charges (I thought it was a nude beach. My bad ☹️)
If you want to see pictures of my tropical beach stay…complete with tasteful nudes of course…head on over to my Instagram.