(Relevant link: Thomas’ wonderful, depressing-in-retrospect 2009 post about Husalah)
If you want to make your own Husalah madlibs, go to madtakes.com
My so-called friend and former college roommate Rat Yamaski failed to meet me at the airport, when I landed in Dallas, so I took a cab to the nearest corporate, air-conditioned megastore–“Star Mart,” I think it was called–and waited. Having been raised by hippies in a small seaside town where all the road signs were made out of driftwood, I was very impressed by stores like this. I left Rat a bunch of angry voicemails, indicating that it was a shithole, filled with obese, yellow-toothed gang rapists, but in truth I was all too happy to kill some time there. Also, there were some vacation supplies I still needed to buy. After 20 minutes in the racquetball section, trying out racquets, I took a look at my shopping list:
PING PONG BALLS
A kindly, overweight female employee caught me furrowing my brow, and asked me if I needed help finding anything.
“No” I said, automatically.
I zigzagged my way randomly through a series, of clean, boldly lit aisles, looking at the pictures on the boxes and thinking about all the wonderful different men I could fashion myself into, with the right purchases: A gardening man. A woodworking man. A strong man. A sanitary man. I still had that sense of wonder and possibility that comes at the start of a vacation.
Then, suddenly, I heard the opening bars of “Gotta Let Your Nuts Hang,” and snapped out of my haze. My phone was ringing. It was Rat.
My trusty Texas tour guide.
“Hey” said Rat. “Where are you? I’m at the airport.”
“I’m buying shorts at Star Mart” I said. “Didn’t you get my voicemails?”
“No” said Rat. “I never listen to my voicemail. Did your flight get in early?”
“No” I said.
“Which Star Mart are you at?”
“The one by the airport” I said.
“OK, see you in a bit.”
Rat’s unapologetic attitude can be charming sometimes, but it was annoying me that day. I would’ve asked him to apologize for being late, but that’s not who I am. I’ll just be meaner to him than normal, for the next couple of days I decided.
“Hurry up” I said.
When I hung up the phone, I realized I’d wandered into the shorts section. It was pretty impressive. They had shorts for every color of the rainbow. Except indigo and violet. I zeroed in on a pair of blue, mailman-looking shorts. My favorite uncle is a mailman, so I think that’s what drew me to them. Also, I’m a big fan of the Charles Bukowski novel Post Office. It’s the book that convinced me to start drinking and having sex.
I took the shorts off the rack and dangled them in front of my crotch, experimentally. Like my haircut, my music collection, and the badly-stained t-shirt I was wearing, they gave off an immature, dirtbag-y kind of vibe that made me fall in love with them instantly. But I decided I’d try them on in the dressing room, anyway, just to make sure they were the right size.
As I was walking to the dressing room, I got another call from Rat. I decided to let it go to voicemail. Take that, Rat I thought to myself, smugly.
The dressing room was the biggest, most wonderful dressing room I’d ever been in. I did a little roundhouse kick, to demonstrate its size to myself, and then slid out of my jeans, enthusiastically. The cool, temperature-controlled air tickled my liberated leg hairs like a shin guard made out of bugs. I could get used to this I thought. I’d been wearing pants for so long I’d forgotten my legs could feel anything at all.
I took the shorts off of their hanger and tried them on. They fit me like a weightlifting glove. Then I looked in the mirror, and a chill went down my spine. It was a positive chill, though. A chill chill. The man looking back at me was a thing of beauty. I can’t really explain it, since I’m not a good writer, but everything just looked right. You know?
The phone rang again. This time I picked it up. It could be an emergency.
“Hey” said Rat “can you pick up some D batteries for me?”
“Why don’t you just get them yourself when you get here?” I asked.
“C’mon, man” said Rat. “Don’t be a Bossy Betty.”
“Are you going to pay me back for them?” I asked.
“Never mind, I’ll get em” I said. “My treat. Just hurry up and get here. I’m almost done with my shopping.”
“I’m already here” said Rat.
THE B*LL*D OF TESSE WOLFSON
(A short story that never uses the letter A.)
(humbly dedic8ted to Webster’s word-finding book, which comes up with the synonyms.)
“Life goes on, bruh.”
-the liverpool 4
My story begins during the big South Berkeley thunderstorm of 2013, with me (of course) fighting with my “fuck-enemy” Wendy, who I now miss very much.
We were dining together in the Dessert Workshop™ (R.I.P.), which is somewhere I did not enjoy going, even on unlimited mollusk/$0.20 shots night. Things were getting tense.
“Motherfuckin‘ popcorn shrimp here looks like shit,” I grumbled.
The server shot me her best “don’t do this” look, but I didn’t stress it.
“You think so?” questioned Wendy. She looked upset.
“Yes,” I replied. Her feelings were of no concern to me. Her, the server….everyone in the whole western US could suck my little white penis if they didn’t like my style of living.
(They didn’t like my style of living.)
So Wendy dove right into some loud girly bullshit RE: us upsetting other people in public (incredible, right?!) then noticed me perusing the New Yorker on my iphone, which convinced her to knock over her expensive berry/lemon drink right onto the ground.
The other diners got very quiet.
“Cut it out” I yell/whispered. “Discontinue this hissy fit right this second or I’ll…I’ll shoot you.”
“Seriously?” (She pronounced it “see-wee-uss-lee,” since her mouth is deformed.)
“Of course,” I replied.
“Do it then,” she urged me. She knew I wouldn’t do it.
“I will,” I insisted. “I’ll plug you one right in the fucking mouth.”
“It wouldn’t be the worst thing you’ve ever done to me.”
“I think it might be,” I pointed out. It honestly would’ve been, I’m sure.
“Do it, then!” she cried. “Show me you’ve got some fucking testicles for once!!!”
“No…I’m not going to shoot you.”
“Then I guess this is goodbye, Tesse.”
“So long, then,” I sighed, trying to sound dismissive. “Send me my old copy of The Bible if you ever find it.”
She never did.
Then I [ ]ed OUT out for quite some time.
The clock chimed 4:30 the second I got to my office (/home). My body told me to poop, but not very loudly. Not loudly enough.
(Looks like you’re foreshitowing something there! -’N-thony, my foulmouthed nephew/vice-copyeditor.)
Like every other night, I looked to my “BEFORE BED…” list for instructions.
This is the list:
pre-emptively” put on “hungover” mix* (*UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty with five “3 in the Mornin”’s)
drink 2 milk jugs of h2o
sit on the toilet flipping through old fusco brothers collections + violently peeing/shitting out $1
cheeseburgers for 2 hours, to ensure you don’t wet or (God forbid) shit the bed.
put on King of the Hill DVD
[END OF LIST]
lock the door
extinguish visible fires
strip off clothes, “PJ up”
idly fumble w/ cock + testicles, philosophize to self until overcome by the dope, non-stressful oblivion of
the non-preoccupied mind.*
(*Long winded, I know. I’m not good with brevity.)
(‘cept when it comes to sexin’! -N’Tony)
So those’re the lists.
99% of the time, I do like they tell me.
BUT THIS NIGHT I FELT 1%-ey.
(PS: I’d been drinking.)
I went to sleep with my clothes on.
Then, 45 (or 67?) short minutes l8er*…BOOM! (*I’m typing this on my iphone, so I need to ‘brevi8 sometimes.) Someone knocked on my door, loudly enough to stir me from my slumber. I’d shit the bed.
“SHIT!” I whisper-yelled to myself, uninspired-ly.
*”KNOCKKNOCKKNOCKKNOCK” went the door.
“Hey!” went the guy knocking the door.
“Hey!” I volleyed.
“Is this Mr. Wolfson’s office?”
“Who needs to know?”
“WHO NEEDS TO KNOW?”
“Well, me of course.” He sounded weirdly benevolent. I didn’t know how to respond to it. “Your girl Wendy’s the one who sent me, though.”
“Shit…OK. Give me five minutes.”
I liked this guy. I liked his polite, unorthodox style of yelling @ doors. (Wow, rly? Why not just bust out the &’s too, while we’re “@” it? Fucking phony -N’-thony) (Just you weight, fuckboy. Just you weight. -Tesse )
So I decided to let him in. Soon.
Things were moving much too quickly for me. Plus I’d lost my phone. (Not the phone I’m typing this on. My old phone.)
I smoked 1/2 of some loosie I found on my bookshelf, to buy time.
“YOU GOOD TO GO?” yelled the guy outside.
“20 more minutes,” I lied.
When my soiled sheets were in the closet, my soiled clothes were in the sink, + (<–huge cop-out #200. -’N-thony) 2 of my most well-used pistols were securely tucked into the butt of my old swim trunks, I opened the door.
Turned out to be just some hippie. (Surprise of surprises….he’s the first hippie I ever met who knocked on the door without using the “bum buttuh bum bum, bum bum!” knock 90% of hippies use for knocking on doors.) The sticker on his shirt divulged to me his moniker: “Mr. Suds”
“Hey!” went Mr. Suds, offering me his big, bejeweled mitt. I shook it. “Nice to meet you.”
Then, checking out my digs:
You seem pretty chill, for someone in this type of business.”
“ ‘Preci8* it,” I muttered [*iPhone, remember?]. But I’m not very chill. My office is just messy.”
“You going to let me inside?”
I hesit8ed. Then:
“Ok. But you should know I’m very on edge right now. I like your style but you worry me too. You seem to be mighty….mighty on top of things, for—
“For someone dressed domepiece-to-docker-slippers in hippie duds?” he offered. It sounded polished.
“Well…[whispering:] I’m in disguise.”
Of course. I let him in.
“You’re in lots of trouble,” he informed me when I shut the door. Then he looked directly into my eyes. “Is it cool if I smoke in here?”
“Go for it.” I replied. “I’m going to smoke one too, though. One of yours.”
We smoked in silence for 30 seconds. The ciggies were wet. (Remember, this whole story is set during the big South Berkeley Thunderstorm.) I broke the silence with this little gem:
“Is it, like, police trouble I’m in, or girl trouble, or friend trouble or thugs trying to hunt me down trouble? Or money.”
“Pretty much everything.”
He sniffed me.
“Did you [ ] out tonight?”
My chronology felt very messed up.
“Yes” I told him, sort of truthfully.
“Do you remember the stuff you did to the Dessert Workshop™?” (R.I.P. -’N-thony)
I didn’t like his use of the word “to” there. It seemed….well thought out.
“I got into it with Wendy there.”
He sighed, deeply.
“Here’s one more ciggie. This is going to get weird.”
“(II)?” I offered, frightened.
Long story short (shout out to Colin Quinn. Best comedy DVD of 2011. -‘N-thony), I found out I’d burnt down the Dessert Workshop™. (R.I.P. -’N-thony.) (‘N-thony: Shut the fuck up. -Tesse) Like, with fire. (It’s very serious, crime-wise.) No one knew my motive, but everyone except me (Mr. Suds, Wendy) felt 100% sure I’d done it.
“Hmmmm,” I went, trying to sound detective-y. “You think I could get one more of your turkish golds?”
Mr. Suds shrugged, then offered one to me.
“Why did Wendy send you?” I inquired, softly.
“She’s spooked the cops’ll bring her into this whole thing. Sent me to go get you since I’m nice, plus I’m sort of trying to fuck her, no offense. It seems like things’r pretty much over for you two.”
“Not U2!” I joked, since I joke when I’m nervous or upset.
“OK, fine. I thought you’d be like this. I’m going to go.”
He moved for the the door.
“Not so quick, buddy,” I told him, removing one of my guns from my swim trunks. “Where’s Wendy?”
“She’s with her niece,” he told me, sort of blithely. I pistol-whipped him, since it felt like the right thing to do. “DO YOU KNOW HOW TO GET THERE?” I questioned, loudly, feeling more detective-y by the minute. (Creepy Confession: My dick got erect.)
“Yes.” (Crying.) You don’t need to pistol-whip me.”
CUT TO OUTSIDE. We’re both yelling. The thunderstorm is getting very intense. (Enough with the thunderstorm reminders! Right? -’N-thony)
“You drive,” I told Mr. Suds.
“I took the bus here,” he replied.
“Drive my vehicle,” I responded to his reply, pretending this’d been my scheme the whole time.
“Is it stick?”
“I don’t know how to drive stick.”
“Seriously? I thought everyone knew how to drive stick.”
“Seriously? It’s 2013”
“Well, you must know, like, the principles of how it works, right? Just go into 1st 1st, then upshift when I tell you to.”
Mr. Suds couldn’t drive for shit.
So I needed to drive (stick, don’t forget) while I held my gun to his temple. (In The Big South Berkeley Thunderstorm, don’t forget. -’N-thony) I did pretty good considering the conditions. We hit some ducks but we didn’t die.
Right when we got to the spot I peeped Wendy exiting the front door. I spied on her. She got on the city bus. Rode it for 15 minutes while I followed.
She got off in front of my house.
When she opened my front door I dove onto her. We hit the floor loudly. Mr. Suds booked it. Then I noticed the cops in the room. Two of them.
“OK, OK, knock it off,” went the littler of the cops.
“Sorry,” I told him.
“Don’t worry,” he replied. “Here’s one of my ciggies. This is going to get weird.”
“I’m not coming onto you. I’m just trying to tell you th—”
“We know you think we think you burned down the Dessert Workshop™, but we don’t think you did” interrupted the bigger cop. (Which surprised me, since honestly, by this point, I sort of did remember burning down the Dessert Workshop™. Or my mind just felt convinced of it. I don’t know. I [ ] out pretty frequently. I’m like…I don’t remember the term. The Untrustworthy Storyteller? Like, you don’t trust their stories since they lie 95% of the time? Whu’evs.‘Ooo give uh fuck? (Side note: did I mention I’m British?) I don’t know. But whichever technique you use to slice it, (wow, you’re 100% dog shit with your
cliches right now. -’N-thony) I didn’t deserve to get off scott free.)
“Who burnt down the Dessert Workshop™?” I inquired.
“Your girlfriend here.”
“Cool. So I’m pretty much 100% off the hook?”
Wendy: “Why me?”
“Hehe. If I got 5¢ for every “why me?” I get ,I’d be richer n’ Richie Rich. But I’ll tell you why…”
He told her why. (Guess they’d been following her most of the morning…)
Then everyone left.
(Cool story bruh. -’N-thony)
Here’s MY solution (the correct-est solution) to the “how things went down in the Dessert Workshop™/why Wendy is currently in women’s prison” riddle:
I sort of remember the night now.
Post-Workshop™, we (Wendy, I) discovered we were both too drunk to drive/possessed 5 DUI’s between us, so we decided to get drunk-er in the stern of Wendy’s mother’s mother’s Chrysler. Wendy woke up ‘round 3:30, tried to drive, destroyed the vehicle/most of the Dessert Workshop™ within 12 seconds, then booked it. (rightfully so) Then I woke up, improv-built something which I thought looked like those Molotov thingymuhjigs you see in movies (used the ol’ 1/2 my shirt + 1/2 full bottle of liquor recipe), lit it, threw it into the whip, booked it myself. (Fuck you, it worked. For me.)
Our like-mindedness in times of emergency is sort of touching, in my opinion.
But…Wendy got indicted for some pretty serious terrorism stuff.
(Credits music: “Follow You (Remix)”)
I’m doing fine. Missing Wendy, but fine nonetheless.
Mr. Suds is “Eh-wol” (<–term I invented to describe people like him who I don’t like very much who’re missing.)
(Hehe. “Who’re.” -‘N-thony)
Wendy is not enjoying women’s prison.
Would I do shit differently if I could re-do it? Yep. You bet you. But I’m not too upset with myself.
If I were to score myself with letters, like they used to score you with in school before the hippies took over in December of 2012 (just like the Eskimos prophecized! -’N-thony)…
I’d give myself a B+.
The death of most art is having too obvious of a message.