“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.”
“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.
“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.”
Alright, here’s the beginning of September’s story. Hopefully it will be tragic, heartwarming, thought-provoking, sappy, lovey-dovey, etc etc. Just like you’d find in any shitty Hallmark movie or 90’s Oscar-bait picture.
Don’t hold your breath though. I am pulling this story right out my ass. Maybe it’ll good though. I have a good feeling about this one.
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.
My favorite role of his was when he played the Cardassian commander that tortures Picard for two episodes. Honestly, that’s my favorite two-parter in TNG. Yes, I like it better than The Best of Both Worlds.
Go cry about it, nerds!
Paul Sorvino was another TNG alum that passed away. But my favorite role of his was in Oliver Stone’s Nixon as Henry Kissinger. The ending was incredible. I’ll admit, I teared up a bit when Nixon and Kissinger bawled as they realized the end was near. But Sorvino aced the part.
It’s just sad that Henry Kissinger somehow outlived Paul Sorvino 😔
I’m honestly embarrassed to admit that I bought this book.
I haven’t finished reading it. So maybe there’s some useful information in there somewhere. But I find self-help books to a pimple on the ass of the literary world.
I’m sure the author thinks that this is some philosophical commentary and not self-help. But really it’s just some bourgeois armchair philosophizing, which is how stoicism often comes across to me.
While I don’t consider myself a leftist (all political and religious ideologies require a healthy dose of skepticism) I do agree that there is a large portion of our lives that we have no control over. Even our preferences are largely predetermined by external circumstances. Free will is often recognizing this which then leads to angst, anxiety, and even suffering.
Following this line of reasoning, one might conclude that stoicism would help alleviate that pain. And it actually might to a certain degree. My primary beef with stoicism, and it’s current usage in the zeitgeist and world of self-help, is that it could actually contribute to one’s own delusion by masking real and justified emotional responses to very REAL problems.
It’s kinda akin to Jordan Peterson’s advice to “clean your room.” That’s basically “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”…and that idiom is the thrust behind self-help books.
I dunno, this is probably just a pedantic problem that I’ve created in my head. But if you’re in need of Axial-Age sage advice, I’ve personally found Buddhism…stripped of its spiritual and religious elements…to be far more useful as it teaches abstract thinking and encourages you to accept that the only constant in the universe is change.
Nothing makes me happier than watching the slow agonizing death of college football.
Maybe I’m just petty.
But when you grow up in flyover territory, college football is only a step or two away from being a full blown religion. Now major college towns across America are facing a sad reality that their football team will never see another title. That is, unless you’re living in Tuscaloosa, Athens, College Station, Austin, Baton Rouge, Clemson, Ann Arbor, Columbus, and maybe Eugene…or in other words…if your school has the money they’re willing to throw around.
But poor Oklahoma and Florida State fans. You guys had the world in your hands, but now you will both be doormats in the SEC once you inevitably join that conference. Smh
At least college basketball is still competitive tho
If any “alcoholic” tells you that it is easier to quit alcohol than to quit nicotine then you know that they aren’t a real alcoholic.
Quitting nicotine has been the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Sure, I got pissed off a lot. I cried a few times. Hell, some days I’d even stare into the void and ponder ways to kill myself. But I overcame it.
And through these trials and tribulations, I’ve come to realize something: this blog is a pain in my ass.
As usual, I keep coming across the same old solution: I need to stop doing so much.
Is life a race?
You’re damn right it is. I want to get all this living over with. But why make life more painful than it needs to be?
That’s another thing that pisses me off…why does it take so much for people to be happy? You’re breathing right? You can pay the bills, correct? You have access to internet pornography? What fucking more do you need?
“But I gotta feed my kids 😭,” you say
“I gotta have insulin for my Type II diabetes 😭.”
Don’t worry about it. You know why? Cuz God provides.
“God will provide for my crippling gambling debts 😀?”
He sure will.
Of course I don’t need God. I’m much too powerful for that bullshit. But you do.
It takes real strength to admit weakness. At least keep telling yourself that. As for me, I have no weaknesses.
But the point is you gotta recognize your own weaknesses before you can start making improvements. And I’ve realized that my so called “weakness” is trying to take on too much responsibility.
So actually, I don’t have a problem at all. I’m just a too damn good of a person.
So say ‘no’ to paying your bills and staying healthy, and ‘yes’ to more drugs and internet pornography.
I’m just doing what my therapist told me to do 🤷♂️
There are few scenes in the history of film that hit me harder than the Super 8 sequence in Paris, Texas.
Rarely do films like this get made. Especially now. Not without a dose of heavy handed social commentary and violence.
That’s not the case with Paris, Texas. It’s subject is simple: one man’s inability to face his problems. All of this juxtaposed against the vast American landscape that’s both empty and crowded…dead and alive. Wim Wenders’ vision of America is embodied by the character Travis, played by the enigmatic Harry Dean Stanton.
The first time I watched this, it was almost like a religious experience. I was 10 or 11 years old and stayed up late while watching cable to see some tities. Fortunately, nothing was on Cinemax so I switched over to HBO. Paris, Texas was playing.
I don’t know why I kept watching it (probably because you see some Aurore Clement side boob), but next thing I know, I was fully engrossed in the story. It was the first movie where, when it ended, I didn’t know what hit me.
It was probably at that moment when it occurred to me: THIS is why people love movies.
Some people hate Paris, Texas. Some say it’s too slow. Some don’t like Travis because he abandoned his family.
I personally like movies that take their time. And if you don’t like Travis’ decisions, it’s not like the movie presents him as mensch.
In fact, Travis…along with his wife Jane…are presented as two VERY troubled people. From the perspective of Travis, he had to leave at the end because he was utterly broken. I would go as far as to say that Travis’ entire existence consists of (unintentionally) ruining people’s lives.
This film is not only about Travis trying to reunite his wife and child (Hunter), but it’s also about ruining the lives of his brother Walt and his wife Anne who took custody of Hunter during his disappearance.
Another heartbreaking scene is when Anne fails to convince Travis and Hunter to return home, and she goes to lie down in Hunter’s bed. Even though Hunter wasn’t her actual son, she was still attached to him. And that’s the last scene Anne is in, never to be mentioned again.
But Wenders’ direction mixes realism with a childlike perspective (which resembles Travis’ emotional state) quite well. So, I think, that permits me to have a pessimistic interpretation of the ending: there was no way that Jane would maintain custody of Hunter, and Hunter would return to Walt and Anne with a better sense of his “real” family, which would likely cause further damage to everyone involved. Meanwhile, Travis, once again, ran away from it all.
Is my interpretation correct? I dunno. But that’s how art works.
So do yourself a favor: stay up late one night and watch Paris, Texas.
I’ve had this story in my head for awhile and just now acted on it.
I originally wrote an introduction but then said fuck it. All you need to know is that this is historical fiction, perhaps my least favorite genre, but this blog is all about challenging myself as a writer. So I’m giving this a go.
Just imagine if you were some nobody that got caught up in an incident that you believed had little significance, but it was actually the most important event in all of Western Civilization. I want to explore how reality turns to myth. I guess that’s the impetus behind this story.
I dunno, we’ll see how this goes…
Ain’t promising nothing.
Jerusalem, Circa 30 CE
Roman Judea is under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. Yeshua from Galilee has amassed a small yet devoted number of followers as messianic fervor sweeps the region. After causing a ruckus at the Jerusalem Temple during Passover, Yeshua is tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
With their leader dead, the followers of Yeshua await their fates…
…one such follower, and childhood friend of Yeshua, is Simon, the fisherman of Bethesda…
Joseph (of Arimathea) knocked me on my ass. He continued to berate me as I laid out on the ground.
“Do you know how hard it was for me to not turn you over to the Romans?!” he screamed. “All of these young ones,” Joseph then pointed to Thomas, John, Andrew, Levi, Jacob, and Mary, “…you and that idiot friend of yours could have gotten them KILLED!”
I leaned up and wiped the blood from my lip. I couldn’t feel a thing. I was too drunk. “Don’t worry Joseph,” I said, “you’ll never see my face again.”
“You’re damn right I’ll never see your face again! You have until sun up to get out of Jerusalem. If you’re not gone by then, so help me God YOU’LL be crucified next!”
Jude spoke up. “What about Yeshua’s body? Surely you didn’t leave him at Golgotha. It’s the Passover.”
“Do you know what I had to do Jude?” Joseph asked. “I had to talk to Pilate. Yeah! Face to fucking face! Luckily for all of you, he barely remembered this morning’s fiasco so I was permitted to take him off the cross. As for the Sanhedrin…they’re PISSED and will probably be looking for you guys. Which is why you better get the fuck outta here!”
“Just tell me where he’s buried,” Jude replied.
“I’m not telling you!” Joseph said.
Levi spoke up. “Just tell him father.”
Joseph took a deep breath to cool himself. “Because my idiot son here was an admirer of Yeshua,” he said, “his body has been placed in my family tomb TEMPORARILY, at least until all of this shit blows over. Then I will remove his remains. Now: please leave the city.”
Joseph departed the tavern and took Levi with him. The rest of the group stood around aimlessly. Jacob helped me off the ground. “Do we go back to Galilee?” he asked.
“I sure as hell am!” I replied.
“What about what?!”
“The Kingdom of God?”
“The Kingdom of God? Jacob, your brother is DEAD! He’s not coming back! If you know what’s good for you, you will return to Galilee and kiss your mother and tell her how sorry you are for your older brother’s death.”
Jacob began to weep and I instantly regretted my words.
He was only a kid.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “this was all my fault. I shouldn’t have agreed to come to Jerusalem. All of this could have been avoided.”
“I can’t go back,” Jacob said. “I can’t face her.”
He told me that he was staying in Jerusalem. I didn’t know what else to say to him. So I patted him on the back and he departed the Cyrean’s tavern. I thought I’d ever see him again.
“I’m going to Damascus,” Jude said, “I’ve got some connections there. Maybe now just wasn’t the time. I….”
“Let it go Jude,” I interrupted.
“But Simon, maybe this was just the beginning of something big…perhaps the end for the Romans.”
I laughed. “Are we experiencing the same reality? We just got our asses handed to us. Do you really think we can bring down the Romans?”
“Why are you here?! Did you not see all of those followers in Capernaum? In Cana? In Caesarea?!”
“I was his friend, Jude. I knew all of this was getting to his head, but I said nothing. I let the rest of you talk him into coming to Jerusalem. I said nothing. I let him go to the temple. I knew what he was going to do. But I said nothing. Well now I’m telling YOU something: go back to Damascus or wherever you’re from, and forget all of this happened. And I will go back to Bethesda where I will regret for the rest of my life that I was never able to bring Yeshua’s body to his mother.”
“And what of the Romans? What will you do if they ever find out what you did here?”
I laughed again as I drank another cup of wine. “They don’t care enough about me,” I said, “but if they did ever find me, I will tell them to send me to Rome so that I can tell the Caesar to kiss my ass.”
Jude shook his head. “Goodbye Simon.”
“So long Jude!”
As I was filling the wine skins, Thomas approached me. “Should I go to Egypt?” he asked.
“The world is your oyster, Thomas,” I said, “I’m going home.”
The two of us embraced for the last time. I thanked the Cyrean for sheltering us then my brother Andrew and I left the tavern. Maybe it was the wine, but as we were leaving Jerusalem, I was seeing Yeshua’s face everywhere. The guilt was unbearable.
Andrew wasn’t at all affected by the day’s events. As we traveled the road back to Galilee under the cover of night, he was cackling. “Boy, Joseph licked you good,” he said.
Andrew was a simple man.
“That’s because he’s a member of the Sanhedrin,” I replied, “if they ever found out he provided aid and cover to us, they’ll stone him for sure.”
As we stopped along a creek bank for the night, I laid out my bed. As I walking away towards the tree line, Andrew asked where I was going.
“Gotta take a shit,” I said.
As I got out of earshot of him, I kneeled down behind a tree and vomited. I closed my eyes for a few moments. All I could envision was Yeshua’s smiling face. Then I wept uncontrollably.
Finally I stood up and walked back to the camp where I found Andrew picking his nose. “Boy I can’t wait get back to fishin,” he said.
I laid down on my bed, looking up to the sky. “We’re not going back to Bethesda,” I said. “We’re going back to Jerusalem.”