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Benjamin Percy

What Would You Rather?

Bob. Bob. Bob. Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob. Bob. Bob-o. Robert. Bobert. Bob. Bob. Bob, Bob, BobÖBob! Bob. That fucker.

Iíve never met a Bob I liked. Are there any Bobs out there who shouldnít be dragged out into the street and shot? It doesnít seem like it.

Bob is my boss Ė more on this later.

As for me: Iíve got a little dick and I call it thingy and whatís worse are my pretty big balls, too, which makes my thingy look even smaller. I think it looks kind of like a shitake mushroom Ė shriveled and moist. Indeed, itís even kind of gray, like a shitake mushroom.

You know how some guys complain when a girl calls their dick "cute"? Well, Iíve never been able to complain about that. Nobodyís ever called my dick cute. Theyíve made faces, sure, but they werenít Oh-isnít-that-an-adorable-Labrador-puppy kind of faces. Nope. They were more like Wow-isnít-your-dick-small-and-slimy-looking kind of faces.

Why the hell would I tell you this? Iím just laying it all out on the table, like a good hand of cards, plain and simple, honest.

Thereís this game I play: itís called "What Would You Rather."

Try a round?

What would you rather: eat a piece of shit or drink a gallon of blood?

So Ė the shit is an admirable log, almost a foot-long, something that your o-ring would have to really wrestle with; the blood is lukewarm. Both have been tested for disease/viruses and are "clean." What would you rather? Most would drink the blood, because being a vampireís a whole world cooler than being a shit-eater. Who wants to eat shit? Nobody.

Itís a fun game to play with your friends, or even by yourself.

A caveat: most people donít like it! Most people are afraid to admit what theyíd rather. Most people wonít even admit theyíd consider these things. Those people are probably feeling uncomfortable, right now, just hearing about it.

Thereís this guy I work for, Bob, and sometimes I want to punch him until all his teeth are on the floor like popcorn. Heís always asking questions and telling me what to do. I hate that in people. This guy, Bob, has this faggy flaxen hair: the kind that should be stuck to a girl. And that goatee hair, it makes his red lips look even redder Ė vaginal, a big vagina with a rash, plus teeth.

His name is Bob, but it should really be something like Donovan Smiley.

Bobís always laughing. I hate that in people. Not that I donít appreciate a good joke Ė but laughter, in my opinion, needs to be warranted. Bob starts to laugh before youíre even done talking, before youíve even gotten to the end of your story or the punchline. Heís got a premature ejaculation thing going on with his laughter.

Itís an ugly laugh, too. Think donkey meets mad scientist.

Hey, hereís one for you. What would you rather: have someone cut off all your toes with a pair of scissors, or have someone tear out all your teeth with a pair of pliers? Most would take the pliers, youíd think, because a guy can always get dentures, but they donít sell plastic toes.

Iíve got a girl cat named Alien. I like cats because they donít give a fuck. They donít care about anything but eating and shitting and sleeping in a sunbeam. Thatís all and thatís all that matters. They just donít give a fuck. Cats, cats have honest faces, and if you piss them off, theyíll do something like drop a turd on your pillow.

Dogs are like most people, sloppy and making themselves look stupid and always so eager to please: phony. Another bad thing about dogs is their dicks. Theyíre always showing off their dicks like some weird new brand of lipstick. Dogs remind me of Bob. Cats are definitely better.

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I stick Tchaikovsky in the stereo. I think Tchaikovsky is more amazing than spontaneous combustion or sasquatches, if such things exist. To me, The Nutcracker is the most amazing piece of music ever. Period.

Old Tchaikovsky articulates the sound of winter. He makes the deadest time of year alive. Now thatís something else.

Just to let you know, I donít like watching the ballet, or anything Ė for faggots. But just listening to The Nutcracker, eating up those pretty sounds, the sounds of snowflakes and sled rides and sugar plum fairies, Jesus, it makes my bones ache; I love it that much.

In case you didnít know, The Nutcrackerís about this little girl and her dreams. From the sound of it, Iím pretty sure theyíre nasty dreams. I imagine stories that go with each little number. Track 13ís my favorite: that Sugar Plum Fairy is one dirty whore.

Once Christmas is over, I put the cd back in the box with all the ornaments
and pinecones and red velvet ribbons and scented candles, and I wait until next year. That makes it special, saving it for this magical time of year. Kind of like egg nog.

In junior high, I was in a Christmas show.

It was a selection of wintery tunes, from "Jingle Bells" to "Silent Night," and they even tossed in a Hanukkah song for the Rosenberg family. The show was called Winterfest!

There were dance routines that went with a few of the songs. I was getting pubescent (seventeen pubic hairs and counting) and couldnít hold a note, so I got stuck as a lousy dancer.

Before then, I had been pretty good at hiding thingy. After P.E., I wouldnít shower; Iíd hide out in a toilet stall and change. But they were making we dancers wear tights, white ones.

The tights were so thin that if they had pockets and you happened to carry change in your pockets, then everyone could have easily told you, from a distance of two-feet, the mint of every last coin.

I panicked. The night of the show, I duct-taped a summer sausage to the inside of my thigh.

The opening number was "Waltz of the Snowflakes" (thatís actually how I got introduced to old Tchaikovsky). When the lights went dim and xylophone jingled out its first few notes, we dancers skipped out on stage and, boy, did the audience made a bunch of noise. They sounded like jungle birds.

From all the brouhaha, I guessed I must have looked pretty impressive. And oddly enough, I felt proud of my summer sausage: as though I could actually piss through it, as though a girl might actually slip off her pink ruffled panties and want the greasy yet delicious thing inside of her.

Afterwards, I overheard the music teacher, Ms. Henderson, ask the Drama teacher, Mrs. Carpenter, "Is that anatomically possible?"

What would you rather: Sweep everything from the bottom of a chicken coop into a bowl (eggshells, chicken and mice shit, feathers, dead baby chicks, dust, splinters) and then have someone (a trusted friend) piss in the bowl and then youíd have to eat it like cereal, or have your left pinky surgically removed?

That oneís kind of tough. Especially for you left handers out there.

The other day I was walking down the street and this woman yelled at me. She yelled, "Calling people names ainít Christian, itís the devil. Youíre part of the devilís work when you call folks bad names."

She followed me for a whole three blocks, calling me Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, and a few other devil synonyms.

Jesus, I thought, I didnít even call her a bad name.

Sheís one of those crazies, I thought. Nuts. Bonkers. I just walked and pretended not to hear. The ground was slick with ice, and I hoped she would fall and crack open her nutty skull like a nut. Alas, she kept following me and yelling, her breath misting in the air as if she was smoking, and, if you can believe this, it got to where I actually started feeling bad. After all, I did call people names.

All her talk of devilry made me think about church Ė used to go all the time as a kid until that retarded Sunday School assistant bit me on the shoulder Ė and thinking of church got me thinking of morals, which are the type of choices I usually prefer to ignore; morals are Jesus, and Jesus, I figure, was an asshole; morals are anti-reality, anti-fun, anti-choice (itís not about what would you rather, itís about W.W.J.D. and who wants to play that game? nobody); morals are jail; morals are diet soda and spankings; morals are crosswalks, and I like to cross the street, wherever.

But the guilt didnít last too long. Hardly more than two seconds. After all, church is about the phoniest place a guy could go. Nothing makes people more dishonest. I would burn every church in the world if I could get away with it Ė thatís how much I hate the goddamned church.

Eventually, the lady wandered off, singing. Good riddance.

What would you rather: mud-wrestle Al Roker, naked, during the Super Bowl halftime show? Or go to church (Baptist) every single Sunday?

Al Roker. Without question.

I was born on a hobby farm outside of Crow, Oregon (Dad was an accountant; Mom, a nurse). Iím far away from there, now. I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I like this city. Itís awful cold.

I hate Bob. Today he wore a turtleneck. A white one. Even without the flaxen hair and the venereal lips and the stupid laugh, just that white turtleneck is enough to make me hate him.

What self-respecting man would wear something like that?

I imagine taking a ball peen hammer and hitting him in the face with it. Iíd hit him with the round side, the ball of the peen Ė square in the forehead.

I bet it would make a sound like someone wearing a boot, stepping on a hard-boiled egg.

I canít eat eggs. They make me gag. Just the smell of eggs makes me gag: sulfuric. But even more disgusting is what they are. Think about it this way: chicken periods.

The other morning I was by the window reading the newspaper, sipping coffee, when I saw a crippled guy zoom past on an electric wheelchair, the wheels skidding and slipping on the freshly fallen snow.

The cripple was wearing a Santa hat.

That made me feel pleasant in the space just above my stomach. It made me want to go put nutmeg and cinnamon in my coffee.

Of course, I had The Nutcracker playing.

Christmas was really in the air.

This is a good one. What would you rather: be paralyzed from the waist down,

or have your balls cut off with a pair of garden shears in the middle of a shopping mall? Just so you know, you could still masturbate and have sex with the paralysis option.

This is a childhood memory:

When I was seven or maybe five, Mom and I went down to the henhouse. We had left the feed sack out, accidentally, the day before.

I picked it up, and it moved and bulged, and I screamed. I dropped it.

Mice that looked like rats swarmed out, all around our feet, screeching like rusty hinges.

The chickens must have heard the rat-mice, because they came pouring out of the henhouse.

Those rodents didnít last long!

They were pecked to death or swallowed alive; either way they went down down down chicken throats.

And Mom and I, we just stood there and watched it all happen.

In Minneapolis thereís this place called Spaghetti Junction. Itís where all the interstates curl together in one confusing pile of tangled asphalt.

I have to drive through Spaghetti Junction everyday on my way to work.

I work for a company that makes greetings cards. I donít write them or anything; I just sit at a desk and answer calls, so donít blame me for the cheesy punchlines. Theyíre Bobís fault. Heís the king of cheesy punchlines.

Take this one, for example:

Thereís a picture of a man holding an olive in his hand and gazing at it real romantic-like. On the inside it says, "Olive you."

What would you rather: eat out an old woman (70+) with a yeast infection and explosive diarrhea (for one hour); or eat a chicken (uncooked; feathers, blood, beak, and claws)?

I think this one would probably be tougher for the ladies, the straight ones, anyway.

Dad had rough hands. Fingers like cooked sausages. A thick husk of yellow callus upholstered his palms, hard as bedrock. Those were the hands of a man who did chores, by God, even if he did spend most of his day in a white collared shirt poking at a calculator. Those were the hands of a man who worked awful hard. Those were rough hands.

It gets dark so early now.

I love the smell of winter. Iíve got a clock that sounds like a man walking in the snow. You can only hear it if you listen real close Ė each step, the beat of a second. Honestly, I masturbate a lot, sometimes three times a day. Sometimes I wonder how such a small thing, thingy, can just be volcanic with lust.

Iíve cum in as little as thirty seconds; Iíve held it in for as long as fifty-two minutes and my balls ached blue for two days after that test of endurance: these are my records.

My job was holding the chicken while the old man cut off the head with a hatchet.

Surely youíve heard the stories about chickens with their heads cut off? Well, theyíre true. They run around, colliding with things, their scaly legs twitching like dogs asleep.

The first time I ever held one, I couldnít remember to let go. It spasmed in my grip, tattooing scratches up my arms with dead jerking claws. Blood spurted from the raw wound of a neck, painting my face and eyes and mouth warm and red.

Wednesday was the company party. Just about a week till Christmas. It was held at the office. I wished I hadnít gone.

Bob was the life of the party, a real hoot, a real Donovan Smiley fuckface.

Listen to this. He photocopied his ass, bare. Then he wrote, "Merry Ass-mas! Hole! Hole! Hole!" on the paper and photocopied it again and again, and again.

He handed them out to everyone.

You could see his ball sack in the photocopy, lumpy and wrinkled between his legs like an octopus head.

I overheard Stacy (she works in marketing) talking to her friend Jenny (she works in marketing, too). She said, "Look at his ball sack." Thatís what made me notice it.

And his o-ring, which must have been puckered up right against the glass, it was there, too, clear as day. Since an octopus has been mentioned, you could say that his o-ring also looked like a sea creature, a muddy starfish.

Iíve heard the light from the photocopy machine gives you cancer. I hope it gives Bob colon cancer, testicular cancer, foot cancer, tooth cancer, the works.

One time, when I was a teenager, probably thirteen, Dad walked into my room.

It was late at night and I was naked and humping a pillow, folded in half. Dad just stared at me, the poor boy, and the poor boy just lay there, on top of the pillow, and, eventually, Dad closed the door.

I couldnít even manage to finish my business after that. I got soft.

The next day Dad made me bleed.

I like to drive around at night and look in the windows. I like how itís quiet in the car. I never even listen to the radio.

My car looks oily at night. The reflections of streetlamps slip over the hood like egg whites.

I could drive all night, listening to the engineís tender drone.

Windows are everywhere, and I canít help but look. Heads bob; mouths are holes making silent sounds; naked pale breasts, with their bologna nipples, are suckled, fondled, squeezed so hard I bet there are bruises the next morning. Things happen at night, and people think because they canít see out, no one else can see in.

Itís like television on mute, but better because itís real.

I like to imagine myself in different situations. I like to imagine myself a part of different lives, sometimes.

The best thing I ever saw was this woman having sex with a broom. No lie. I parked out front for a good half and hour. I sure wished I was that broom.

Bob said, "Good morning!" I said, Yes, it is, Bob. How are you today? "Oh, Iím fantabulous! Just had THE best game of racquetball. THE best." Thatís great, thatís great, I said. Can I get you some coffee? "Coffee would be swell! Did I get any calls?" Yes, Bob, you did. Iíll update you once I go grab that coffee. In the mood for sugar this morning, or do you want it black? "Sugar me timbers! Hahahahahaha." Yes, haha, sugar it is, Bob.

I would be in charge of burying all the chicken heads. I buried them all in the same place Ė next to this old rotten stump.

The dirt was soft and black; it was easy to shovel.

By the second scoop, chicken heads would usually be visible, their white heads stained from the soil, eyes foggy blue and sunken. There were probably two hundred or more around that stump before I left for college. What a stink they made: kind of diapery.

So, I would toss in the head and it would lie there with the other heads. A nest of heads. Then Iíd drop a shovel of black wet soil and theyíd disappear until next time.

One day, a coyote came and dug up the chicken heads. They were spread all over in the grass like some kind of weird Easter.

The other day, when Bob was at lunch, I snuck through his desk. No one thought anything of my being in there, because Iím always pulling files and stuff Ė for Bob.

In the desk, I found quite a few interesting Polaroids.

One was of Darla (she works in marketing), bare and pink, on a bed, her legs wrapped around the back of her head like a yoga master. What a dirty whore. There were a few stuffed animals in the background. She had this whorish grin on her face.

You know how Bob likes his cheesy punchlines? Well, if you can believe it, he even labels his Polaroids. I guess thatís why heís in the greeting card business Ė it really seems to be a passion. That photo said, in messy script, "A nice steaming slice of hair pie."

I usually donít like Bobís punchlines, but this one made me chuckle.

Another one was of Bob, or so I assumed. It was a close-up of a limp penis and octopus balls being blow-dried with a blow-drier. On the bottom was written, "CrŤme Brule." I couldnít figure that one out, but Bobís Thingy (I assume it was his, unless Bobís a fag) was about twice as big (limp) as mine (when hard).

Tell me how a piece of garbage like Bob gets away with a owning a big dick.

Jeez.

I spent a good fifteen minutes looking at those Polaroids. There were plenty.

What would you rather:

Have your nose chopped off (the whole thing, right down to the cheeks; no plastic surgery allowed!), or have your dominant hand surgically removed?

Appearance or dexterity?

A gaping hole in your face or a stump that throbs when itís cold out?

Window with a man dancing with a woman, probably man and wife. Dancing slow, a lazy waltz. Christmas tree in the background, brilliant with the glow of white powdery lights. Window with a man watching television in his boxers (red and white striped, like peppermint), drinking a beer. Window with kids, brother and sister, up too late, playing and wrestling with their stupid dumb dog. Window with a husband and a wife dancing, their hands roaming, lips curled into sly smiles. I stayed there and watched until their house turned dark.

I have a younger brother named Josh. He works in Portland now, for Nike. We donít keep in touch.

When I was eight or maybe seven, Josh was in diapers. One Saturday, Mom was in town and Josh needed to be changed. Dad was in from the barn, so he did it.

I stood there, watching him wipe up all the soupy shit. Then he smiled at me, confidential-like, and asked, "Do you want to see something funny?"

Who wouldnít?

Dad poked Joshís o-ring with his damned dirty fingers, and Josh let out a quick spurt of pee.

"See," Dad said, still offering his quiet smile. "Itís like a drinking fountain."

What would you rather: die in six months or wake up retarded tomorrow?

What would you rather: kill yourself or kill your father?

I like the way snow looks. It looks like quiet. It looks like fresh. It looks like time is standing still. It looks like anything is possible.

I was driving the other night when I came upon this old woman in her nightgown. She ran out into the street bare-footed, slipping, almost falling. I almost ran over her.

      I unrolled the window and she said, "My husband, he fell. Heís broke."

      "Did you call an ambulance?"

      "No," she said, eyes rolling around in her skull.

      "Well." I shrugged. "You better."

      "Please help, please," she said, and she was crying. "Please. My Franklin."

      "My Dadís nameís Franklin," I said.

"Please help," she said and kind of collapsed against the door of my car and whimpered.

      I sighed and said, "All right," and pulled into the driveway.

I had spied on them a few times before, so I was kind of interested in what their house was really like inside.

It stunk of old people Ė a mix of mothballs and stale farts.

As we walked down the hall, there were lots of spoons hanging on the walls. Apparently, she was a spoon collector. It was a regular spoon zoo. I thought it was in pretty bad taste.

"Heís naked," she said. "I just thought you should know."

"Okay," I said.

The bathroom didnít have any spoons, but it had quite a few antique perfume bottles lined up in the windowsill. And the old man was groaning. He was naked and slick with sweat and water, in that coffin of a bathtub. Every time he groaned, his saggy old man balls rose and fell as though they were breathing. His penis was shriveled and kind of yellow. There was a purple stain near his hip.

"Uh oh," I said. "Looks like he broke his hip."

"Canít you help us? Canít you help him? Poor Grandpa."

"Go call an ambulance," I said.

She did.

Old man was shivering, so I turned on the hot water. Apparently, it was too hot, because old man bent forward and moaned, showing a lot of gum, plus thin teeth straining out from behind his lips. I let the water run for a while "Is that better, Franklin?" I asked.

"Uuuuuuuuuh!" he yelled.

She walked in then and said, "StopitStopitStopit," and punched me so soft I almost laughed.

I shut off the water. She bent over and held her old man husband, crying, the both of them.

Christmas on the farm was pretty typical. Josh and I would wake up sometime around daybreak, and run downstairs, hollering, "Santa came! Santa came!" Dad would be waiting on the floral print couch, usually perfumed with the hot stink of chickens, sipping coffee, offering us boys a closed-mouth smile. Those were good times.

Iíve come up with one that changes the game, really.

Okay, say you and your mom are walking along the street and a man with a gun comes out of a shadowed alley. He points the gun at your mom and says, "Would you rather have me fuck your son up the ass, or have your son fuck you up the ass?"

What would you rather? What would you rather Mom choose?

Thatís a good one, huh? Itís got two layers. It projects the What Would You Rather onto someone else, but youíre still offered a choice outside of the hypothetical situation. Pain for you, pain for Mom? Recipient or aggressor? Humiliation for the both of you?

Sure makes you think.

When I was little, four maybe, I snuck underneath his Momís nightgown when she was gabbing on the phone. In the tent of white silk, I looked up and saw she wasnít wearing any panties. It was the first time Iíd ever seen a vagina.

It looked like one of the sea anemones from the aquarium had crawled up her leg and attached itself to her crotch.

Dad bought us this dog, a yellow Lab. We called it Cow, because we thought it was a funny name for a dog.

One day, I was screwing around with Cow and things got out of control. For whatever reason, while watching He-Man, I stuck my foot up in Cowís chain collar and it got tangled. Cow went crazy. The more crazy he got, the more tangled my foot was. He did a few alligator rolls and my foot turned blue and I started to scream.

It took about five minutes, but Dad eventually heard and ran inside.

Cow was just about gone for by then. So was my foot.

Dad ran out in the garage and grabbed a bolt cutter and snipped that collar in two. Blood got all over the carpet because he had to cut deep into Cowís neck to get at the collar.

I couldnít walk for a week Ė my foot swelled up like a balloon. Cow died later that afternoon. Stupid dog. Stupid, stupid.

So Dad actually did a few good things Ė such as the aforementioned foot incident.

I went driving last night. First I went to the bank. At the ATM I pulled a turd out of a Ziploc baggie and wiped it across the adhesive of the deposit envelopes. Then I went to Bobís house. My car skidded on the ice as if in oiled grooves. I parked. I watched.

Bobís got a pretty nice setup Ė a lot better than my crummy apartment, anyway. Itís a brick ranch-style house: one story, plus a basement.

Bob. boB. Damn that damned palindromic fuck.

I bet Bob paid two hundred for it. I bet Bobís happy as a clam to live on a street named Bear Brook Lane. I bet Bobís got a red-felt pool table and nice electronic dartboard in the basement. I bet Bobís got a stupid dog, a Dalmatian named Oreo that sleeps at the base of his cherry oak-frame bed at night and barks, Arf, when it hasnít been fed. I bet Bobís got a desk, an oak one, with a drawer full of Polaroids and dirty magazines and some homemade movies (one of which has two men getting it on, and Iím pretty sure Bobís the one taking it up the o-ring). I bet Bobís got a plastic penis water gun in that desk drawer too. I bet Bob owns hundreds of cds, one of which is The Nutcracker (the movie soundtrack, the one with Mackuly fucking Culkin!). I bet Bobís got a brown leather couch (Restoration Hardware) and bunch of copper pots hanging from the ceiling above his fancy oven. I bet Bob keeps the knives in the drawer of the marble-topped island in the middle of the kitchen. I bet Bobís got hardwood floors the color of tea.

Can you believe a guy who writes lousy punchlines for a living can afford that kind of spread?

Around 9pm, Martha (a dirty whore who works in marketing) pulled up in a Saab, a black one. They sat on the couch for a while and drank red wine and petted each other. Then they started in with the heavy petting. Bob was wearing that faggy white turtleneck of his. When they finished off their wine, she took off all her clothes (flapjack breasts, nice ass), and Bob took off his shoes and pants (but kept wearing the turtleneck). Then he fucked her like an animal, from the back, right in front of the window for the whole damned world to see.

Dad had a little dick. Note the use of past tense; heís dead now, three years dead.

Itís Christmas Eve and I put on the Nutcracker and plop down in my easy chair for a nice attentive listen. It goes like this:

Overture: Act I: Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaumís: (happiness) 2 Marie and Fritz Awake (naked, naked, both), Guests Arrive (naked, itís a naked party), Unveiling of the Christmas Tree (naked and pink, even the tree); 3 March (dicks up butts); 4 Father-Daughter Dance (incestuous horizontal mambo), Grandparentís arrival (broken in the bathtub); 5 Gifts (penis guns for everybody), Herr Drosselmeirís Arrival with his Nephew (incestual boy toy), Toy Dolls (more boy toys), Toy Soldier (in the navy); 6 Herr Drosselmeierís Gifts: Hobby Horse (well-hung), The Nutcracker (as painful as it sounds); 7 Grandfatherís Dance (a nasty nasty old man); 8 Guests Depart (nothing, just blackness); 9 Marieís Dream (hello, dreams); 10 The Battle (of flesh of bone); 11 Nutcracker and Marie Depart for the Pine Forest (sexy sex metaphors); 12 Waltz of the Snowflakes (mein summer sausage)

Act II: Land of Sweets: 13 Sugarplum Fairy (my favorite dirty whore); 14 Hot Chocolate (beautiful negress); 15 Coffee (her sister); 16 Tea (Asian love); 17 Candy Cane (this girlís white as snow, with pink parts, so sweet); 18 Marzipan (pancakes and baths of chocolate); 19 Mother Ginger and Her Polichinelles (she does things with her hands); 20 Waltz of the Flowers (deflowering ceremony); 21 Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier Pas de Deux (and his mighty scepter!); 22 Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier Coda (forget part deux! she craves more stimulation); 23 Finale (everything, it all hurts and is pretty, it all falls out of dreams and is real).

I came up with a story for each one. Youíve got to admit Ė no matter what stories old Tchaikovsky had in mind: thatís music!

Iíve been thinking.

When you live your fantasy, it becomes your reality. Make sense?

Not too many people live their fantasy. Do you think itís Bobís fantasy to write greeting cards? No. His fantasyís scribbled on those Polaroids. Do you think itís a parishís fantasy to pretend theyíre not thinking about fucking? No. All they want to do is fuck. They want to fuck themselves bruised, all over those pews, right under the pious wooden stare of our crucified savior. Do you think itís my fantasy to answer phone calls Ė for Bob?

Fantasies are what make folks individuals. Without them, weíre all just answering Bobís phone calls. Who wants to answer Bobís phone calls? Nobody.

What would you rather?

Go to Bobís house on Christmas Eve, ring the doorbell, wish him a Merry Christmas, smack him in the forehead with the peen of the ball of the hammer, tie him to a chair, burn his faggoty turtleneck in the fire, cut off his octopus balls (with a pair of scissors), cut off his big dick (with a serrated kitchen knife from Crate and Barrel that probably cost more than you make in a day), burn the genitalia in the fire, then see what happens?

Or go to Bobís house on Christmas Eve and take a dump on his doorstep and ring the doorbell, and say, to old Donovan Smiley, to that befuddled goateed face, "Merry Shitmas!" Howís that for a lousy punchline?

What would you rather? That oneís hard. That one changes the game, really. Itís awful hard.


Ben Percy hails from Oregon, where he lassoed bulls and sprouted sideburns and wore flannel with regularity. He received his B.A. from Brown and is now pursuing his M.F.A. at Southern Illinois University. He lives in Carbondale with his lovely blue-eyed wife and can be reached at Benjamin_Percy@hotmail.com. This is his first publication.

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