Open Letter to Regular #1. Louie Anderson

My dearest Louie,

Permit me to be bold: You fascinate me. There I said it. Maybe it’s the mystery… You appear like clock work. I know that by 1015am you will be fast asleep in that Naugahyde ostrich poofy chair. We open our doors at 10am. By 1029am I worry if you are not here. Is something wrong? Are you sick? Was there an accident? I get ever so distraught!!

Perhaps it’s because you have the ideal lifestyle. It’s so…simple… You toil the afternoon away in the movietheater next door and spend your mornings here sleeping and staring into space. And what bling! That watch would make Mr. P. Diddle drool. And is that a Disney watch face?

But mostly it is because you are the doppelganger of Louie Anderson. Of Family Feud. What? You’ve never heard of him? What about his short lived cartoon Life With Louie?

You are my muse, Louie. I can’t help but NOT sketch your form all over that blank schedule that sits in front of me! My 300lb nymph! You are the Nico to my Warhol! The Apollonia to my Prince! The whomever to DaVinci!

I had to say it, Louie. I had to tell you the truth. I couldn’t bear another day as I have for the last 4 years of you staring blankly at the wall behind me while I sketched you in a parody of St. Louis on a stained glass window, or Louie the XVI in a powdered wig, or a snow topped mountain that was actually your subtle visage as I saw sleeping on my chair each day (the cows, conifers, and smokey chimneys added for effect) on the blank sheet in front of me. Borders still life. Is it not art??

Yours,
Amanda

Who would win in a fight? (The novel)

The future.

The new, singular global government.

A perfect utopia.

The economy is booming.

Politics is civil.

There is no war.

There is peace on earth.

It’s people are bored. They just don’t know it.

There is also no disease.

Every ailment to mankind has been eradicated with science.

What are the scientists to do? They must continue to work forty hours a week, as employed by the World United global government.

So they set to work on the impossible. They created a time machine.

For the first time in decades, a wave of panic swept over the globe. What would this new discovery mean? Would the ability to revisit the past destroy the present, as so many philosophers had debated in the past?

The answer was no.

Upon accepting the Nobel Prize that year for leading the group of World United scientists in this discovery, Professor Ralph Rashiid-Shinto-Harrison would write a new headline, “You can’t change the future. You can only steal things from the past.”

The world finally realized its new potential for entertainment.

Baseball had long since been retired.

Both varieties of football were regarded as trite.

It had been decades since a new song had been composed.

Concert halls and sports arenas were matters only of interest to archaeologists.

But now here was something new.

Society would finally be able to answer the age-old question: Who would win in a fight?.

A large arena was constructed in the middle of the World United capital, a man-made island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. At the center of the arena was a large cage which was projected onto hundreds of screens throughout the arena. The stadium could hold a million citizens of the World Untied. The rest of the population would watch at home on personal screens.

The first battle was held on a Saturday, and was personally honored by the President of the World himself, Caligula Jones Gandhi.

The crowd looked on in a respectful silence.

The leader of the only free world declared, his voice thundering through the dome, “Ladies and gentlemen, citizens of the World United, welcome to the latest breakthrough that our team of scientists have accomplished! History is ripe with remarkable people! For ages, society has wondered what would happen if any number of these remarkable people would come face to face with each other! Well, here and now, ladies and gentlemen, we will answer the age old question! We have sifted through the sands of time and brought into this arena today some of the most legendary figures to have ever graced mankind. Here now, I bring you two of the most influential leaders of the ancient nation of the United States of America! What will happen when these two meet? Who will win in a fight!? Franklin Delano Roosevelt with a flamethrower, or Alexander Hamilton with a nail gun? Place your bets now, for the match will begin in exactly five minutes!!!”

When it appeared to be socially appropriate to applaud, the spectators respectfully clapped their hands together in unison.

The lights dimmed. A large red curtain dropped from the ceiling to cover the large steel cage. The crowd hushed.

Ushered from the time tunnel were two figures, one of which was settled into a wheelchair. They were led to stand next to each other in the center of the ring. The curtain was lifted.

The announcer’s disembodied voice took over where the President had left off, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE GIVE A WARM WELCOME OF THE FUTURE TO THEEEEEEEEE LEGENDAAAAAAARRRRYYYY AMERICAN POLITICAL FIGURES, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALEEEEXXANDEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRR HAAAAAAAMILTON AND F! D! AAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!! THEY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TOGETHER FROM THE PAST TO MEET FACE TO FACE IN THIS RING. WHO AMONG THEM WILL FIND THE ULTIMATE GLORY IN BEING DE-CLARED THE CHAMPION IN THIS, THIS FIGHT TO THE DEATH!!!???”

Alexander Hamilton looked to the only four term American president, “Pardon me, sir, did you hear that noise?”

“Shut yer trap, son, there’s some doin’s a conspririn.’ Somethin’ about this place just looks like there’s gonna be some pugilism afoot.”

A crew member handed FDR a flamethrower and Alexander Hamilton a nail gun.

While Hamilton quizzically studied his foreign contraption, FDR expressed his enthusiasm, “HARHARHAR! What d’we have here?” He depressed the trigger and a stream of fire engulfed the crew member who ran off shrieking in agony. “Haha! If only I had me one of these back during ’33!”

Hamilton shot three nails into the floor. Visibly startled.

“WHICH FIGURE WILL BE CROWNED THE VICTOR? CHEER FOR HAMILTON! CHEER FOR ROOSEVELT! WILL FDR FIND HIS HANDICAP A HANDICAP IN THE RING? WILL HAMILTON’S SENSE OF HONOR STOP HIM FROM SHOOTING THREE NAILS INTO THE BACK OF FDR’S SKULL? LEEEEET THE GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMESSSS BE-GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!!!”

Hamilton and Roosevelt didn’t move.

“…What are we doing here?” Hamilton asked the crew member who was crouched over the charred corpse of his friend.

“You’re here to fight. To the death.”

“I don’t want to fight to the death.” Hamilton complained.

“That’s never stopped ya before!!” FDR guffawed. “Alright, I’m game. Let’s have at it, Hamilton!”

He aimed. He fired. Hamilton dropped to the ground and rolled to the side to avoid the blast from the flamethrower.

The audience went wild.

Not one to look like a coward, Hamilton decorated FDR’s leg with five gleaming nails.

FDR laughed and rolled forward, “Like that’s going to do much to me, eh, boy?”

Hamilton narrowly avoided another stream of fire and shot blindly at FDR. A nail struck Roosevelt in the left shoulder, and he cursed like a sailor on shore leave.

“I’m done with you!” FDR slurred, “Here’s the NEW DEAL! Hamilton, suck on this!”

And Hamilton did suck on that. The jet of flame overtook him as he slipped on the spot where the crew member had met his fiery death.

“AAAANDD THE WIIIIINNNNER IS….F! D! ARRRRRRRR!!!!!!”

The crew mopped up the blood and set the arena for the next round.

President Caligula Jones Gandhi situated himself in the Presidential Glass Looking-Box set at the optimum viewing distance from the action. His advisor, Gengis Khan Rodriguez took the seat next to him.

“Mr. President, may I be the first to formally congratulate you? Haha… This event is certainly proving to be quite the success, isn’t it? I haven’t seen a crowd get this enthusiastic about anything since we mandated free and public cryogenics studios!”

“It is quite a spectacle, isn’t it Rodriguez? Get comfortable. I believe that you will enjoy this next one. You were a Harvard man, weren’t you, Rodriguez?”

The disembodied voice of the event announcer quieted the crowd, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN GEEEEET REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAADEEEEE FOR ROUND TWOOOOOO!!!!!”The lights on the cage dimmed, and two dark shadows stepped into the ring from behind the curtain.

“IN THIS ROUND WE HAVE” a spotlight illuminated the beast crouching in one corner. His stocky body was covered in coarse hair and wrapped in the skin of some animal that had long been pruned from the ecosystem. He looked confused, though it was difficult to determine what thought process was zipping through the mind behind the beady eyes and brow ridges. “THE BROTHER OF ANOTHER ANCESTOR OF OURS, THE MISSING LINK, THE MASTER OF FIRE…NEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAANder-THAL MAN!!!!”

Someone in the crowd screamed their approval over the thunderous applause.

“AAAAAAAAAND IN THIS COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORNEEEEERR….WE HAVE THE MORMON MASSACRE, MIIIIIS-TER JOOOOOO-SEEEEEEPH SMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITH…….!!!!” Another light illuminated the other figure in the ring.

“AND WHAT INSTRUMENT OF DEATH SHALL OUR GLADIATORS BE USING THIIIIIIIIS TIME? VOTE NOW USING THE CONTROL ON YOUR ARM REST!  OK, HERE COME THE RESULTS…. GLADIATOR JOSEPH SMITH WILL BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS WITH A MEDIEVEL BATTLEAX WRAPPED IN BARBEDWIRE. VERY CREATIVE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. AND OUR NEANDERTHAL MAN WILL BE BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE WITH… A MASSIVE SET OF GARDENING SHEERS!! YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO PLACE YOUR BETS!!”

The crew delivered the weapons. Neanderthal man looked at his giant scissors with intense curiosity. Joseph Smith struggled to lift his unwieldy instrument of death. “Dare I say, what is it that you people are having me do? What is THAT thing?” He asked a crew member who responded with silence.

“GLADIAAAATORS….. BEGIN THE DU-EL!!

“Begin the what? What did he say?” The creator of the Mormon faith inquired. Someone on the sidelines clarified the point. “Wait just a moment, I am to do what? What devilish trickery is that?”

However, he didn’t do anything fast enough. The Neanderthal man slammed the scissors into Joseph Smith’s throat, killing him instantly.

“HEY-HOOOOO!!! LOOKS LIKE THERE WAS NO WAY THAT MR. SMITH WAS GOING TO DISBELIEVE THAT ONE, EH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN? GIVE US A MOMENT TO CLEAN OFF THE ARENA AND WE WILL BEGIN ROUND THREE IN PRECISELY TWENTY MINUTES. PLEASE USE THIS TIME TO SECURE REFRESHMENTS IF NECESSARY. THE NEXT ROUND WILL BEGIN IN PRECISELY TWENTY MINUTES.”

The President chuckled to himself. That plan was coming along beautifully.

“LETS SAY WE SHAKE THINGS UP A LIL’, EH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN? BRING OUT THE NEXT TIME WARRIOR! MIIIIISSSSSS-TER CHARLES DARWIN!!!”

The plump, mutton-chopped figure of the 19th century English naturalist was revealed in the center of the cage when the curtain lifted.

“AND WHO WILL HE BE FIGHTING TODAY…? THE VOTES CAME BACK… GLADIATOR’S CHOICE! MIIIISSTER DARWIN, WHICH HISTORICAL FIGURE WOULD YOU BE MOST HONORED TO FIGHT TO THE DEATH IN THIS CAGE HERE TODAY?”

“Fight to the death? Dear lord, how savage. Let me think…” Darwin scratched his chin and contemplated his doom. “I would be honored… to fight to the death… Adam. Adam from Adam and Eve. Yes. Let’s…. do that.”

“MIIIIIISSTER CHARLES DARWIN WILL BE FIGHTING ADAM FROM ADAM AND EVE FAME!! SCIENTISTS? TO THE TIME TUNNEL! WHAT’S THAT? …JUST A MOMENT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THERE APPEARS TO BE A MINOR PROBLEM. IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION THAT OUR SCIENTISTS WERE NOT ABLE TO FIND MIIIIISTER ADAM! DARWIN WINS BY DEFAULT!”

Darwin sighed, relieved. The curtain dropped over the cage once more and he was escorted off towards the time tunnel.

“TIME TO MAKE THINGS INTERESTING FOLKS, WITH A LITTLE TAG-TEAM FIGHT BETWEEN RIIIIIIIIIIVAAAAAAALLLSSSS…. HERE WE HAVE THE AXIS OF POWER, AAAADOOOLPH HIIIIITLER TEAMING UP WITH THE ITALIAN STALLION BENITO MUUUUUSSOOOOLIIIIINIIII!!!! IN A FIGHT TO THE DEATH WITH THE AMERICAN ALLIANCE GENERAL MACARTHUR AND THE DESRT THUNDER, GEEEEENERRRRAAAAL PAT-TON!!!”

The crowd screamed.

Hitler hopped in the ring, armed with a particularly deadly set of child’s safety scissors that looked like a lavender cartoon elephant. Macarthur was handed an acid gun. Because those exist in the future.

Suddenly, there was a problem. Macarthur’s acid gun had jammed. Hitler took this as an opportunity to give a devastating cut to Macarthur’s left sleeve of his dress uniform.

“MACKY!” Patton screamed from the sidelines. “TAG IN!!!”

Macarthur reached out his hand and tagged out in order to fix his weapon of choice. Patton jumped in armed with a chainsaw. “HARHARHAR!!  I don’t need THIS!” he said, tossing down his chainsaw. He proceeded to run at full speed ahead, and leapt into the air. He delivered a powerful dropkick to the Fuhrer’s chest that resonated throughout the arena.

Patton removed the pipe from his lips, “Put this in your pipe and smoke it, Kraut!” and jabbed it into Hitler’s eye.

“MEIN KAMPF” he shrieked in pain.

Stalin approached the ring with a rather elementary bow and arrow. Patton tagged Macarthur back in, “Do it for Uncle Sam, kid!”

Needless to say, Stalin and his Robin Hood act did not stand a chance against Macarthur and his acid gun.

The crowd was ecstatic.

“DON’T YOU WORRY, CITIZENS. DON’T THINK THAT WE DIDN’T LEAVE OUT THE LADIES! UP NEXT WE HAVE THE LOVELY LADY GODIVA VERSUS THE FIRST PILGRIM GOVERNOR OF PLYMOUTH COLONY….JOOOOOHN CAR-VER!!”

The curtain lifted, the lights washed over the now blood-stained arena. A beautiful, naked woman stood next to a middle aged man in black with a peculiar buckle on his peculiar hat. They appeared to be concerned with their sudden new surroundings.

“Where am I…?” The Lady Godiva inquired to no one in particular. “Who are THOSE people out there…?”

“What demonic possession has taken me to this test of faith?” The Puritan leader John Carver exasperated. “And what is this harlot doing next to me..?”

“HARLOT!” Lady Godiva was not pleased. “Get the stick out of your ass sir, at least I used my body to being about attention to the oppressive government taxes that were devastating my people!”

“Oh, I bet you used your body alright…” Carver accused.

“GENTLEMEN, GET OUR CONTESTANTS THEIR PEACEMAKERS!!” John Carver was given a halberd and Lady Godiva was handed a katana.

“What in the lord’s name am I to do with this?” John Carver shouted.

Lady Godiva answered him with a swift impalement through the stomach. “Learn to fight for someone else’s rights.”

The audience went wild.

The fights continued.

Vlad Teppes dispatched Annie Oakley with napalm.

Vincent Van Gogh took a straight razor to Constantine’s face.

Andy Warhol’s broken glass bottle took down the great Roman emperor Caesar.

The ancient Egyptian Thutmoses III felled the king of England George III with several fierce blows to the head with a nasty set of brass knuckles.

The citizens of the World United were loving it. A few of them had begun showing their enthusiasm by engaging in fist fights with other citizens of the World United who supported a different gladiator than their own.

Citizens were pushing, shoving, and cursing their way towards the betting booths.

The next round was starting.

“ARE YOU REEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAADY LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…? NEXT UP, THE LEGENDARY AMERICAN HUMORIST MARK TWAIN WILL BE GOING HEAD TO HEAD WITH THE SPANISH PAINTER PICASSO!!!”

The announcer was drowned out by the cheers of the citizens of the World United.

Then Mark Twain hit the floor.

The upper levels were starting to riot. They had so strongly supported the gladiator Picasso that they were thrown into frenzy over Mark Twain’s death by hand grenade.

A row of chairs found themselves separated from the bolts in the floor and quickly connected with the spectators standing in the lower stands. Upset by being bombarded with steel chairs, the audience responded by hurling glass Coke bottles into the whirling crowd.

Genghis Khan Rodriguez, the President’s advisor, was beginning to panic. A riot. There had not been a riot in over three hundred years. Centuries of peace and placidity were quickly being thrown out the window in quite a literal fashion.

“President!” He yelled, “They are quickly getting out of hand! What are we going to do? There hasn’t been a skirmish in so long that the W.U. Army isn’t going to know how to HANDLE this!!”

Caligula Jones Gandhi chuckled. “Don’t worry, Rodriguez. I did this all on purpose. Everything that you see before you was part of the plan.”

“Mr. President, are you insane? Why would you ever even DREAM of starting a riot? This place is getting destroyed, people are getting HURT, and someone could get KILLED!!”

“Rodriguez, plenty of men already gave their lives for tonight. I don’t just mean the men in the ring. The history of civilization has been one desperate struggle after another to make life easier for mankind. And that’s the life we’re living in, Rodriguez! We didn’t have to do anything. Perfection had been achieved and all we have to do is sit back and let each day pass by.”

The President stood triumphantly at the window of the box overlooking the stands. “There is no passion. Art is dead. It’s been years since anything worthwhile was written. Do you know why, Rodriguez?”

“That’s easy, Mr. President. Everything that ever needed to be written, drawn, or played has already been created.”

“No. You’re wrong, Rodriguez, don’t you see? The reason is that we haven’t lived. Not one of us has known real passion or struggle. Because life is simple, perfect. We are content! In drawing up the perfect utopia, we have forgotten that competition is the fuel to some of the greatest achievements in history. That changed today, Rodriguez. What I have done is lit the candle that burned out long ago. I have given these people a reason to actually live. And you know what? Maybe one of these people, inspired by the raw emotions so strange to them, will put it on paper, or a canvas. Today is the new revolution. Remember that always.”

“Mr. President! Duck!!” Rodriguez lurched forward to push him out of the way. A brick shattered the glass and struck Caligula Jones Gandhi in the temple.

THE END.

A Letter to the Editor of Highlights For Children magazine #2

To Whom it May Concern;

Hello there. It’s me again. No, I’m not here to harp about that Goofus & Gallant again. It was recently brought to my attention via a letter of response from your PR person that Goofus & Gallant are works of fiction and are in no way based on real people. Thank you for enclosing a free one year subscription!

What troubles me now is the content of your famous “Hidden Pictures” segment. Now, “Hidden Pictures” has been one of my favorite segments in your fine publication! Who doesn’t find hours of joy attempting to find the lollipop and sailor hat hidden in the angles of the corner soda shop?

However, some of the “hidden pictures” in your “Hidden Pictures” in recent issues have been rather alarming. For example: A hot iron. What business does a child have looking for a hot iron in a theme park? That is child endangerment!

Then there is the entire business of some of the unlisted “hidden pictures.” Exhibit A: In the Spring 09 issue I found (in addition to the dog, pencil, boat, globe, toothbrush, watch, baseball, & protractor) something that looks suspiciously like a bong as well as what looks like a convincing set of tits in the little red school house tableau. Let’s keep it G rated, Highlights For Children magazine. Why, Highlights For Children magazine, would there be a bong (a device supposedly for smoking tobacco, but we all know what those hippies REALLY use it for) and a set of tits in a schoolhouse? What message are you trying to send here?

Now, I hate to be a bother. And it’s not like I’m trying to get my money back (If you remember, besides from your wonderful gift of a free one year subscription, I fulfilled my yearning for Highlights For Children magazine during regular checkups at the dentist). I simply ask that you either (a) don’t hire those scallywags passing themselves off as artists to make a quick buck to feed their drug/alcohol/sex addictions, or (b) have a more dilligant editor when concerning matters such as this.

Yours,

Amanda

A letter to the editor of Highlights for Children magazine #1

To Whom it May Concern:

Hello there, this is my first time writing in to your fine periodical. Let me start out by first saying that I am a huge fan. Have been for years! Ever since I picked up your magazine in the waiting room of my dentists, I have looked forward to getting my teeth drilled every six months knowing that I will be rewarded with a hilarious collection of short stories, drawings, puzzles, and crafting ideas.

Now, I must say, I have one concern.

That Goofus & Gallant.

I worry that as we sit back lionizing Gallant for his logical decisions that we may be propelling Goofus on a dangerous path. In my Sociology 101 class we discussed a little concept called “Self-fullfilling prophecy,” in which a person may become a social deviant if that is the label that society has given to them.

I worry about Goofus and his well-being. I feel that an intervention is required, and that proper steps should be taken to ensure the health of his psyche before he becomes another statistic under the heading of national crime.

Yours,

Amanda

A Failed College Sophmore’s Essay on the Beat Movement that got a “please see me after class” note b.c The Only Reason They Got in The School Was Daddy’s Money

XXXXX XXXXX

English 103B

7.10.09

Mrs. Selznick

THE BEAT MOVEMENT

This quarter we read a bunch of things by some people called ‘beat’ authors and poets. What is ‘beat’ you ask? It’s not because the writers hit the paper real hard (ha) but because that’s what some people at the time decided to coin the way of writing that they did.

Among these we read some poems by a guy named  named Alan Ginsberg that looks like that guy who did drawings for Mad Magazine, a book by William S. Burroughs, and  a novel by a Mr. Jack Kerouac.

The main theme, or subject, of these works had to do with the new culture of the American 1950s. Including new music, a rejection of old values, and the widespread use of formerly frowned upon things like promiscuous sex and drug use. Of all the books we’ve read so far, I guess these were the least boring because of the focus on things like promiscuous sex and drug use.

Like many people my age, I was able to relate to jack kerouacs protagonist in On The Road because he is a lone wolf on the road of life as am I.

In conclusion, I’ll ask a question. Would these works be as influential if they were written today? I dont think so. Because things like promiscuous sex and drug use are so commonly referenced in movies, TV, music, etc that it’s not as big a deal as it was when it came out. Though I was interested by the way Mr. Burroughs wrote about expereincing drug trips, it was like no big deal, because its old hat.

Open Letter to the bug that may have laid it’s eggs in my ankle

Dear Bug:

Listen. I like to keep an open mind. About all things. I realize that in this ever changing social structure that the interpretation of  traditional meanings of things like “relationships” and “spawning” are changing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about new fangled ideas like using science to make a baby or using a surrogate. But this is where my line gets crossed:

If you’re going to go about laying your eggs in my skin, I would really have appreciate the following arrangements:

(a) To have been informed formally and through a legal contract stating my obligations and compensations

(b) A sum of $10,000 following taxes

(c) a health care and dental plan

(d) 401K (I realize that this isn’t typical of being a surrogate, but I have a future to plan for)

(e) One book of coupons for buy one get one free entrees at my local Duke’s Pizzaria & Crab Shack

Now, I realize that as a six legged spawn of the devil with a life span of less than a year (even less if I choose to smash you with a shoe and/or rolled up newspaper of my choosing), that your net income may not make this possible. In which case, may I suggest that I may not be the best choice of vehicle for your babies.

Yours,

Amanda