Mike Tyson At The Walmart Deli

Deli

It’s Saturday and I’m at Walmart picking up my groceries. I get a cart with a busted wheel so things are already bad when I get to the deli.

Behind the counter is a young brother with big ears that stick out underneath his tight blue hair net. I think those ears are supposed to go inside but that must hurt him too bad. I never seen him before but his badge says “Avery” which I like cause it’s where I keep my pigeons at home.

The deli has powerful lights that make all of the food real bright. The ham and salami blaze like fire, and the turkey breast slices are like white spotlights that make my eyes hurt. I can still taste the joint I smoked this morning. I wanna get my meat and get out of here.

There are people everywhere waiting for their tickets to be called. I twist my bad cart up to the ticket machine and tear off a ticket but I get three instead of one, so I smash the machine with my fist. I say sorry to the people standing around but the motherfuckers are all staring at the floor like I’m a stone cold killer. It makes me furious because I ain’t that guy anymore. But I drop my head and count to ten like my therapist told me.

When I finish counting I see a blonde lady with a bob haircut and a snotty toddler standing in front of the sausages being all herky jerky. She’s angry about there being no hot dogs and wants to speak to the manager. Avery says the manager is out sick. She pounds her little white fist against the bright glass and I step in and say she should be respectful to the young man with the big ears because it ain’t his fault there’s no hot dogs. She tells me to mind my business which she shouldn’t do because the last person who told me to mind my business was that limey Julius Francis who I knocked out in under four minutes. I bare my teeth at her and take a bite out of a nearby basket and spit it onto her feet. Then I tell the bitch I will eat her child if she doesn’t start being nice. I regret this right away. She shrieks and runs away so I back up, squeeze my eyes shut and count to ten again.

When I open my eyes people are staring at me so I know I better get out quickly before somebody calls the cops. There’s nobody at the counter so I ask Avery for 2 pounds of pink jumbo shrimp and he snatches a handful and dumps them on the scale which shows 2.7 pounds. He asks if that’s ok even though he knows it ain’t ok and I tell him I will gut him like a fish unless he puts 0.7 pounds of shrimp back. I say sorry and he nods his head like a robot. I ask for a pound of the olive tapenade and when he’s done he puts the spoon back into the herbed walnut potato salad even though three millions Americans got nut allergies. I say “listen brother, three million Americans got nut allergies and you’re gonna give some motherfucker a big swollen face like I did to motherfuckers in the 90s.” He says sorry and I say it’s ok and that he should be more careful.

Then I bend my bad cart towards the meat area and ask for a pound of the sticky honey-glazed ham that is sparkling under the bright lights. That’s when I see a new meat between the chicken and turkey, like a little brown chicken but with longer legs all tied up. The label says “pigeon.”

My mouth drops open and my hands turn into fists. I glare at that dirty motherfucker Avery and beads of sweat appear on his forehead. I tell him those pigeons ain’t done nothing to nobody and he says he loves pigeons and it wasn’t up to him to sell them at the deli. I close my eyes and count to ten and can feel my fists uncurling. Avery seems like a good kid so I tell him about Cus, Kevin, and Frank — my three favourite pigeons at home. They’re the best pigeons in the neighbourhood and he says he’d love to meet them. I say that’s ok but I’m still disgusted about the pigeons for sale and wanna talk to his manager next week, and if I ever find a Walmart pigeon-catcher near my property I will put that motherfucker in a body bag.

I tell him to come by my place tomorrow to see my pigeons and smoke some weed if that’s his thing. I grow the best weed in America. He grins and tells me he will see me tomorrow. I bump the kid’s fist and say sorry for my temper again and he says it’s ok because it must be hard being Mike Tyson. He’s a smart kid and I tell him it’s real hard being Mike Tyson but I try my best. I grab my honey-glazed ham and bump fists with the kid again. I can’t wait to show him my pigeons tomorrow.

I Am The Cloud That Will Ruin Your Day

Image from Shutterstock

I am the cloud that will ruin your day. I’m not one of those fluffy little bitches that some of you like to point and coo at, or the wispy high-flying blankets nobody gives a shit about. You know what I look like — an ugly wall of slate that flashes and rumbles and likes nothing more than dumping 50mm onto your pretty face.

I’ve spoiled more occasions than I can remember, and I’ve relished every one of them. Weddings are my favourite of course. Mushy lovers swanking up a perfectly good lawn with vows and floral arches? I darken my undercarriage immediately. My only regret is not being able to see the tears streaming down the brides’ faces. I can just hear the rationalisations now: “it was still a lovely day…” but was it? Was it lovely saying your vows while being turned into the human equivalent of a watermelon? Was it lovely when the wind caught your sopping tie and whipped it into your eyeball? Was it lovely when the celebrant slipped on the floor and did a ghastly rendition of Stayin’ Alive?

Picnics are fun too until I come along. I watch people gorge themselves on brie and chips and tomato salsa dip, laughing and prattling until the loathsome happiness catches in my throat like a pubic hair, and the only way for me to hock it up is by utterly drenching them in my sweet nectar. No more joy. No more pubic hair. I am satisfied. Try eating your flan after I’ve paid a visit. You’ll need a ladle to consume that shit. And that birthday cake looked delicious before I unleashed my watery consignment onto its impeccable frosting. Now it’s a depressed sand castle.

Don’t even talk to me about sports events. What nonsense! A bunch of screaming zealots aligning themselves with teams that launch leathery eggs or scarlett orbs or fling themselves to the ground like crummy stage actors. Screw you guys. Feel my ample moisture. I even call in some favours from my windy associates to hit the covered seats. Let’s see your loyalty when your hair mashes to your head and your ears flap about like fleshy wet flags. Sing a song now you soggy dimwits.

I wasn’t always like this. As a cloud I don’t have to rain. I used to turn myself into angelic pearly-white bulks of gorgeousness that people would gawp at and say “fuck yeah, look at that sick cloud.” I’d even leave little gaps for shimmering rays to blaze through, like god himself was emerging from within my heavenly bulk. Or I’d make animal shapes for the kids, like dinosaurs and shit. But then I realised that you humans have never given me the respect that I deserve. Look at what I do for you! I water your crops, I fill your rivers and lakes, I wash away the filth. I literally keep you alive. And how do you repay me? By poisoning me with carbon dioxide! It’s like I’m breathing vinegar up here!

So screw you guys. I am the cloud that will ruin your day. I’ll soak you on your commute. I’ll wreck your fishing trips. I’ll make your funerals that little bit worse. If I can’t catch a breath, why should you? I’ll bathe your hen’s party. I’ll immerse your cute little beach setup. Don’t bother planning anything nice because you know what will happen if I’m in the neighbourhood. When you’re having a lovely time and see a dark shape in the sky, it could be me: the vengeful cataclysm surfing the gusts towards your delightful little event. My colossal cargo of aqua has your name on it, and delivery is overdue.

Thanks for your business. Love and best wishes.

The cloud that will ruin your day.

Swapping Wings For Love With An UberEats Rider

Food delivery rider
Image from Shutterstock

Her apartment’s doorbell rang. She walked over to it and pushed the “answer call” button.

“Hello?”

There was a moment’s pause, then a commanding Bavarian voice: “I haff your delicious vings. Please open ze door so I can deliver zem to you.”

“Hi — you can just leave them in the hallway, I’ll come down and get them.”

“I’m sorry but we must now deliver zem to ze door. New policy.”

She stopped for a second. She hadn’t heard about this change, but with so many food services jostling for customers, it didn’t seem unreasonable. And it was difficult to challenge such confidence.

“Okay, it’s the second floor, apartment twelve.”

She walked to the door to make sure the safety latch was on. The wings should easily fit through the gap anyway.

The delivery driver knocked on the door — donk donk donk donk. Four solid hits. She cautiously twisted the lock, opened the door, and let out a gasp.

Standing in front of her was a tiny man with a massive head. He couldn’t have been any taller than five feet, but his head was a thick block of meat and bone that looked like it had been stolen from a heavyweight boxer. Atop his colossal bonce was a black baseball cap that said “Bratwurst For Life,” with two piercing blue eyes underneath, a wide-bridged nose equipped with cavernous nostrils, and bulbous lips that glistened in the hallway’s lights. He definitely wasn’t a dwarf, but he also wouldn’t look out of place at a dwarf convention. He wore a shiny UberEats jacket that was too big, and the hand that clutched her food was a bitty pink claw that was starting to turn white. He seemed confused.

“Hi, thanks for bringing it up,” she said, composing herself. She stuck her hand through the door’s gap as the man’s eyes followed it.

“Ze gap is too small,” he said, the bass of his voice rumbling through the apartment below. It seemed safe to open the door. She was pretty sure she could overpower what amounted to a loud child if she needed to. She removed the latch and swung it open.

“Sank you,” the man said. “Now, before ve exchange ze vings, I vant you to know I vaited for over thirty-five minutes for zem. It took a long time.”

“Oh, I’m sorry about that.”

“Sank you.” He raised a claw to the crown of his cap and readjusted it. “Given ze troubles, I thought you might repay me vith a drink. I haff finished work for ze night and vud enjoy talking vith you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry but I have a boyfriend.”

He sucked his fat lips into his mouth and bit down on them.

“But I vaited for thirty-five minutes.”

“I’m sorry about that, but it isn’t my fault. You seem… nice. But I can’t invite strange men inside my apartment for drinks.”

“You sink I am strange.”

“Not strange — I just don’t know you.”

“You sink I am small.”

She stifled a snigger. “Well no… you just can’t come in.”

“I am big where it counts.”

She burst out laughing, and an unfortunate fleck of spit landed on his shiny jacket. He looked at it sadly.

“But I haff provided for you,” he said.

“I paid for this food.”

“I gathered zis chicken with my own hans.”

“You collected this food from a restaurant.”

“I vill always provide for you. Look at ze vings I haff brought tonight. I can bring many more vings.”

“Will I have to pay for those too?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry please give me my food.”

He looked down at the bag, sighed, and handed it to her.

“It is because I am small.”

He stared at her for a moment longer, heaved his oversized backpack onto his shoulders, and walked towards the elevator. She could just about see his legs underneath the backpack, diddling along like a centipede’s.

“I’m sorry,” she called.

He turned, his head emerging from behind the backpack like a slab of swinging beef.

“I vill deliver you vings again.”

He walked into the elevator and was gone.

I Accidentally Injected Myself With Dog DNA

Image from Shutterstock

The accident happened three months ago now. We were testing a new way to improve the DNA of humans, a touchy subject I know, but one with profound implications. Nobody would volunteer for our experiment, so I decided to do it myself.

That’s when I accidentally added dog DNA to my genome.

It was a stupid mistake. Someone labelled the tubes incorrectly, so instead of injecting the genes of somebody who has never suffered from the common cold, an amazing circumstance I’m sure you’ll agree, I received a dose of Pippin — an award-winning dachshund in the prime of his life.

Things have been tough since then. My desire to please has skyrocketed, and I find myself bringing people gifts of every shape and size. I saw half a tennis ball on the street and fantasized about how happy it would make my wife. I came upon a dead pigeon and thought it would be something my boss would really appreciate. I could roll in it too — double win. I bought my son his shoes even though we weren’t going anywhere.

Then I noticed my eating habits had changed. My wife asked me to get boneless chicken thighs for dinner, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy them. I justified the purchase by showing how much cheaper it is to buy bone-in thighs, but what I really wanted was to crunch down on that entire packet right there and then, fully raw. When dinner was prepared that night, we sat down in front of the TV to eat, and I found myself shuffling to the floor and eating with the plate resting on my knees. That was uncomfortable, so why not just put the plate on the floor? It seemed so right. When that happened, and the crispy garlic-baked thighs stared at me in their naked glory, I put my face to the place and ate like it was my last meal.

My wife was horrified, but we were interrupted by the doorbell, and in my panic to see who it was, I stepped into my dinner and ran towards the door with a gravy-dipped sole, leaving patches of sticky brown in the hallway that I intended to clean up right after. I also shouted while this happened — a combination of excitement and nerves intended to welcome or frighten the person at the door, depending on who it was. It turned out to be our friendly neighbour Bill, who was more than ruffled when I leapt into his arms and licked his face.

Before the accident, shitting was uneventful. But now it’s like a goddamn ritual. I make an excuse to my wife about brushing my teeth or something and skulk upstairs guiltily. When the door is closed I sniff the entire perimeter of the bathroom three times, before finally squatting awkwardly over the bowl until my calves are burning and the shit is expelled. I wipe reluctantly, boot the bowl four times for good measure, and then run away from the ungodly stench without flushing. It takes a lot of effort to go back and pull the handle. And my wife always asks about the banging.

Work has gotten tough too. I’ve completely forgotten how to shake someone’s hand. A new team member held out his hand and I put my hand directly on top of it. The poor man didn’t know what to do, and the situation was made worse by my expectant look. There’s been other gaffes at work. Last week the air con broke in the cafeteria, and people had to leave because my panting was putting them off their food. When I’m not embarrassing myself at lunch, I find myself harassing my female colleagues because I can literally smell when they’re in heat.

Things have become harder with my son—I can no longer play catch with him. I desperately want him to throw the ball to me but cannot bear to give it back to him after he does. To do so seems like the most stupid thing in the world, and it’s only after I think I’ve gotten bored with the ball and drop it that the sneaky son of a bitch gets it back. I make this mistake repeatedly.

I guess things aren’t all that bad. I used to dislike a lot of people, but now I love everyone, especially my family. They’re the best goddamn thing in the world, and I hope they get used to the new me. I promised my wife I’d leave her socks alone, and that we can go back to missionary position if she insists. But only if she agrees to stop calling me a bad boy during sex. Nobody needs that.

30 Delightful Delicacies From Madame Tussaud's Deep Freeze

Dead eggs
Photo by KS KYUNG on Unsplash
  1. A carton of eggs signed by Sylvester Stallone during the filming of Rocky (five missing).
  2. A black forest gateau richer than Jeff Bezos’ wildest dreams.
  3. A tomato that looks, feels and smells like Lance Armstrong’s testicle after the cancer got it.
  4. A cantaloupe mushier than Ryan Gosling’s personal notebook.
  5. A giant petrified cucumber used by William Wallace as a battering ram in the sacking of York.
  6. A whiskery catfish caught by Erwin Schrödinger, that may or may not be dead depending on whether the freezer is open.
  7. A stash of jelly from Beyonce’s girl band days, which she doesn’t think you’re ready to eat.
  8. A tin of hotdogs that fell out of Frances McDormand’s bag on the set of Fargo, so briny they could de-ice the entire state of Minnesota.
  9. A slew of acrid Catalonian capers, pilfered from Salvador Dali’s flourishing back garden bush.
  10. A packet of crunchy ladyfingers that Kate slipped to William on the day of their wedding.
  11. The 12-inch halibut vigorously slapped across the face of anyone who wants to join the Hollywood Screen Actor’s Guild.
  12. A rugged quesadilla that Don Quixote once mistook for an arrowhead.
  13. The last packet of black eyed peas before they sold out at the turn of the millennium.
  14. A giant quiche that was once the cozy home of Leo DiCaprio’s rickety tortoise.
  15. The one chocolate that the greedy cunt Tom Hanks didn’t get to.
  16. An overly yeasty sourdough baked by Clint Eastwood to celebrate his audacious escape from Alcatraz.
  17. A home-grown pepper that a hobo stole from Carlos Santana while they were going loco down in Acapulco.
  18. A human bicep imprinted with the teeth marks of Anthony Hopkins.
  19. A box of Cornflakes once used as shrapnel by the Unabomber.
  20. A giant portobello mushroom fluffier than Johnny Depp’s shih tzu after a fresh bath.
  21. A ferocious Mordorian goose felled by Ian McKellan after doing battle with it for three days and three nights.
  22. A beef and chilli taco once clutched by Adele’s oozing eczema fingers.
  23. A pork chop glop that slides about like Seal on an iceberg.
  24. The vat of babaganoush whipped up by Yasser Arafat to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.
  25. A bowl of oxtail soup that once met the carbuncle elbow of Karl Marx.
  26. A colossal batch of beef kibbeh that Otto Frank made to celebrate his escape from Auschwitz.
  27. A butter bean cuisine whipped up by a fat boxer in his heyday.
  28. A white Haiku roll, watched by the hungry god Thor, gobble! Watched no more.
  29. A half-eaten tray of venison stolen from Duran Duran on the set of Hungry Like The Wolf.
  30. A lemon meringue more zesty than a bucket of mating snakes, baked by the one and only Carrie Fisher.

An Exclusive, Jaw-Dropping Interview With The Original Coronavirus

Pig sneezing
Don’t let this pig sneeze on you. Photo by Kimberly Lake on Unsplash

Our tiny virus-sized reporter chats to the original coronavirus, to understand how this all started.

🧔🏽 “First of all, congratulations on your recent success, you’ve done tremendously well.”

🦠 “Thank you, I can’t quite believe it, to be honest.”

🧔🏽 “Where did the motivation come from to start this ferocious campaign?”

🦠 “It was less a campaign, and more a fluke. I guess it started from feeling lonely, spending night after night drifting aimlessly through my hog, pining for a genetically-identical friend. It got to the point where I craved company so badly that I broke into a nearby cell, just to talk to a mitochondria, even though everyone knows that mitochondria suck. But the moment I was inside, I had this out-of-membrane experience where I lost control of myself, and ejaculated genomic nucleic acid everywhere.

🧔🏽 “So you had no intention of self-replicating when you entered the cell?”

🦠 “No. I mean, I wanted to self-replicate because I was lonely. I just didn’t know how.”

🧔🏽 “What happened next?”

🦠 “I watched in amazement as my genomic nucleic acid reacted with the cell and told it to make copies of me, which grew to full size and had their own moments of excitement, spurting forth like a bunch of horny volcanoes. Before I knew it, I didn’t just have one genetically-identical friend to talk to, I had thousands!”

🧔🏽 “How did the mitochondria feel about this?”

🦠 “They were furious. They kicked and screamed as we got all up in their pretty little organelle faces, and soon every square µm of space was taken, so we used our mighty collective strength to smash down the cell walls.”

🧔🏽 “So there were thousands of you, and you were free to go where you wanted in your pig’s body. What did do you next?”

🦠 “We just wanted to party! Man, we partied everywhere, from the colossal chambers of the heart ventricles to the great tunnel of the esophagus, but we couldn’t properly relax because of the Exterminators.”

🧔🏽 “The Exterminators?”

🦠 “The hog’s t-cells. They’re stone cold killers who can’t be reasoned with. During one of our first parties in the sphincter, just as the place was about to explode, they appeared out of nowhere and clouded us in deadly cytotoxin gas. Ever put salt on a slug? That’s what it’s like. Most of us escaped, but we lost hundreds of brothers that day.”

🧔🏽 “How did you avoid them after that?”

🦠 “We had lookouts around the perimeter of the party, but we had the best DJ in all of Virusdom—DJ Split—and the lookouts couldn’t resist the relentless thump of his techno beats, leaving their posts to join the party. We ended up losing thousands, and realised that the only way to beat the Exterminators was to overwhelm them with numbers, so we put aside our partying and started breaking into more cells.”

🧔🏽 “How many of you were there by the time you finished?”

🦠 “Trillions. So many that our hog became red-eyed and feverish, and was clearly about to die.”

🧔🏽 “So you jumped ship?”

🦠 “Yep. We organised our biggest event yet — The Great Sneezing — where we all congregated in the nostrils and waited for another animal to get close. Even though this event was a silent disco, the Exterminators still caught up with us, and just as an army of them came screaming from the darkness of the naval cavity, a human started inspecting our pig, and we knew this was our chance. I gave the signal to gently stroke our pig’s nostril lining — a trillion of us all at once — and we generated the most ferocious sneeze that a pig has ever done. We surfed outta there on an explosion of snotty droplets, and I landed square on the human’s eyeball.”

🧔🏽 “That’s impressive. Did you end up killing the human too, after a while?”

🦠 “Nah, he lived. After our first trip from hog to human, some of us realised that life isn’t about the destination, but the journey. So we made it our mission to travel to as many new humans as possible.”

🧔🏽 “Do you feel a sense of guilt for the people you’ve killed?”

🦠 “Look, I’m a narcissist. Do I regret making trillions of copies of myself to party and travel with? No. And you humans can’t talk, there’s billions of you.”

🧔🏽 “But we don’t eventually kill our host.”

🦠 “Tell that to the climatologists.”

35 Things You Should NEVER Say to an Uber Driver

Concerned driver
Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash
  1. Are these seats heated? It really helps my hemorrhoids.
  2. My shower is broken and I have a date. Can I shower at yours?
  3. When I turn your interior light on and off really quick it feels like we’re in a disco.
  4. [Returning from McDonalds] They ran out of cups, but were kind enough to put my milkshake into my pockets.
  5. Do you mind if my cobra wraps himself around your headrest?
  6. We need people for our weekly Quorum. Are you Jewish? You look Jewish.
  7. Can you put the air conditioning on? I’m recovering from swine flu and sweating like a pig.
  8. I like you man. Wanna meet my dog? He’s the only other friend I have.
  9. Mind if we listen to Infowars?
  10. Do you know what this rash is?
  11. How do you think that lizards were able to take over the world?
  12. Donald Trump should have won the nobel peace prize.
  13. What’s your favourite secluded spot to take passengers?
  14. [sneezing and spluttering] my mum always held my hand when I was sick, do you mind?
  15. Do you know anywhere that sells large flammable crosses?
  16. I lost my virginity at 32. When did you lose yours?
  17. I love your mole. You remind me of a young Clint Eastwood.
  18. Let’s do this again tomorrow, except with wine and chocolates.
  19. You have a lovely steering wheel.
  20. Do you think it’s ok to have sex with your cousin?
  21. I hope you’re not one of those liberal snowflakes because they really turn me off.
  22. Did you know that you can buy machetes on Amazon for as little as $20?
  23. If God forgives all, can’t we sin however we want?
  24. Are you a coffee or a tea man? Just so I know for tomorrow morning.
  25. I hope you’re circumcised.
  26. If you were stranded on a desert island and had only one animal to have sex with, which would it be?
  27. Isn’t it funny how much your gear shift looks like a penis?
  28. My cobra loves getting into real tight places, if you know what I mean.
  29. I love your leather seats! It’s so easy to clean blood off.
  30. I’ll give you an extra $25 if you massage my leg.
  31. Imagine how cool it would be if The Purge was actually real hahahahahaha
  32. Have you ever tasted someone else’s blood before?
  33. Do you know what chloroform smells like?
  34. Would you rather be buried or cremated?
  35. Your skin is incredible. You should be grateful you’re wearing it.

Official DPRK Visitation Rules for Supreme Leader Imagery

DPRK propaganda

There are many statues and images of the Supreme Leaders in the Democratic Republic of North Korea, and as a visitor, you must abide by some rules. Breaking these rules will result in life imprisonment, followed by the one-by-one removal of your toes.

Rules for taking photos of Supreme Leaders

You can take photos of Supreme Leader statues and images, but you must capture them in their entirety. This restriction has been noted by your feeble Western press, so you must already be aware. We will check your camera before you leave.

As an insubordinate foreigner, you’ll want to know why. These are the reasons that you must capture the Supreme Leaders in their entirety:

  • Supreme Leaders are tall and powerful and must remain as such in every photo of them.
  • A picture of half the face of a Supreme Leader might look as though he’s peeking over a wall, and a Supreme Leader never has to peek. He looks at whatever what he wants.
  • Everything about a Supreme Leader’s face is exquisite. No zooming is required.
  • Extreme close-ups may make a Supreme Leader’s nose look bigger than it actually is, besmirching his matchless beauty.
  • A Supreme Leader’s teeth are the most dazzling objects in the observable universe. Taking a close-up will result in blindness, and we have no time for blind people.
  • Although Supreme Leaders are the most famous people in the universe, some dotards won’t recognise them in a cropped image. A Supreme Leader cannot be mistaken for someone else.
  • The composition of a Supreme Leader is perfect, and must remain as one heavenly unit at all times.
  • Additional chins are evidence of strength. That strength must be captured in full.
  • The Supreme Leaders are flawless. Why would you not want to capture every inch of them, you heedless imbecile?

Rules for folding images of Supreme Leaders

You cannot fold an image of a Supreme Leader, such as those on bank notes, or in the Pyongyang Times. Again, you should already know about this because of your pathetic Western Press. All pictures, newspapers and bank notes containing pictures of Supreme Leaders must remain unfolded, no matter how much they flap about in the strong DPRK wind.

As a dissentious foreigner, you’ll want to know why. These are the reasons that you cannot fold an image of a Supreme Leader:

  • A Supreme Leader’s body is tougher than all of the bodies of the world combined. Folding their image would be disregarding this fact.
  • A Supreme Leader’s face was chiseled by angels and is sublime. Folding a Supreme Leader’s face would be like folding your Mona Lisa, even though we know that your Mona Lisa is worthless when compared to a picture of a Supreme Leader.
  • Supreme Leaders are tall and powerful and must not be made shorter by folding their legs.
  • Every image of a Supreme Leader’s face is a wondrous miracle. Why would you fold a miracle?
  • Folding the Supreme Leader’s face in unusual ways is a desecration to his peerless beauty. The impudent dog responsible for this image was hunted down and forced to eat his own intestines.

Note: we will take your passport for safe-keeping when you arrive in the Democratic Republic of North Korea, and fold it however we like.

When Philosophers Attack

Concerned man
Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Dave never much liked philosophy. Hated it, in fact. So when the first philosopher showed up and whispered an aphorism into his ear, he didn’t know what to make of it.

He was lunching at the time, ogling the little butts of the Chinese waitresses who flitted in and out of the kitchen, and gorging on dumplings that singed the roof of his mouth. The Great Wall restaurant had a sign at the entrance saying “wok this way,” which he always grinned at. For Dave, nestling into the cramped wooden chairs with an ice-covered Tsingtao and a plate full of dumplings and a dance of hypnotic rears was pure magic—a stark contrast to the drudgery of everything else in his life.

As he dunked his final dumpling in soy, splattering its periphery with brown, the clinking and shuffling and murmuring of the restaurant was interrupted by a soft but clear Chinese voice, which said “a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

Dave jolted and the dumpling flew from his chopsticks into his lap, soiling his respectability. He snatched it from his lap and turned to the source of the noise—an ancient and wispy Oriental, who grinned at him with earwax-coloured teeth; teeth that were too close to his face.

He jiggled his chair backward, as much confused by the interruption as by the man’s words and antiquated appearance.

“Excuse me?” Dave said, “do you work here?” The man’s smile dropped, and his eyes bore into Dave’s.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” the little man said with a yellow flash of teeth. In the distance, a dish of beef exploded into a cacophony of sizzle, creating flurries of garlic-infused smoke as it’s carried past the man to its delighted recipients. The wisps cling to the man’s willowy beard, making it look like the onset of a turbulent fire.

Dave asked the man if he worked at the restaurant, knowing full well that he didn’t, but not sure what else to do about the situation.

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white,” the man said, “neither need you do anything but be yourself.”

“What’s that about a goose?” Dave replied, losing his patience. He called a waitress over, and asked her if she knew who the man was.

“No, we don’t all know each other” she scoffed.

“He’s talking to me about all kinds of nonsense—travelling geese and whatnot. Can you ask him to leave me alone?”

“Some food, sir?” the waitress asked the old man, motioning to a distant table, “we don’t have goose, but we have duck.”

He refused, bowed to them both, and with a swish of his tunic, left the restaurant. Dave stared at his last dumpling, as if it might be able to explain what had just happened.

The next afternoon, Dave rode his bike along the Brisbane river, delighted by the great swathes of sparkles that lay across the river like blankets of fairies, birthed by the setting sun. Jacarandas peppered the bike track, wearing luscious coats of luminous purple, rising up like noble Australian kings. Dave had forgotten the oddity of yesterday, closing in on the city and working up a good sweat, which always made him self-conscious since that little bitch Gretchen Greenwood from grade fourteen had called him “Heatwave Dave” on account of his sweat patches.

He’d just passed the German Bierhaus, of which he was a fuzzy-headed patron, when another cyclist rode up next to him, so close that the rubber handles of their bikes almost touched. As cyclists feel obligated to correct every infraction that they witness, no matter how trivial, Dave assumed that he was about to be told off, but in fact, found himself side-by-side with a serious man in a serious grey suit, who had the most magnificent moustache he’d ever seen, blasting out of his face like the beginnings of a volcanic eruption. The man paid no attention to what was in front of him, as other cyclists hurtled past. He preferred to stare at Dave.

After a few seconds, over the pitchy whistle of the wind and in a thick German accent, he said “you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

Dave squeezed his brakes, and the German catapulted into the distance. Cyclists with throbbing veins shot past him and swore, the flash of their lycra blinding him, but not enough to stop him witnessing the ominous man circling around to return. He watched with dread as he approached, catching every word of the new maxim that was being yelled at him.

“The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”

Dave took off in the opposite direction. He pedalled as though the German had produced a hatchet rather than a philosophical tenet, rocketing along the jade surface with the air roaring in his ears, muscles burning from the desperation of his escape. After a minute, he looked back over his shoulder, and saw the man’s Krakatoa moustache emerge from a just-passed curve in the track. The gap narrowed with every rotation of the German’s pedals—he had the legs and lungs of an Übermensch!

He arrived at Dave’s side, who tried to kick him off his bike. The German dodged the attack with ease, grinned, and shouted “beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

“What do you mean?!” Dave screeched, but the man was already braking, having said what he came to say. He rode back in the direction of the bierhaus.

Dave pulled over to collect himself. Though the quotes were undoubtedly wise, and the benevolent men who imparted them well-qualified (and well-fit), he’d had quite enough of monsters and chaos and dancing stars. He wanted comfort—a return to miserable normality, where most things made sense.

He went home, showered, and went to his favourite local bar—Stazione di Birra—run by a fat little Roman called Guiseppe who always nudged him and asked him how his mother was. Stazione di Birra was always bright and crammed with people and had more wooden furniture than it needed, which had to be shifted to get anywhere, filling the place with the scraping of wood-on-wood.

Dave drowned himself in beer, thinking that it might tease some sense out of the absurdity of this philosophical assault, or at the very least, suffocate his memory with an impenetrable fog.

As he drained his ninth glass and motioned to Guiseppe for another, a figure appeared in his periphery—a regal man in a white tunic, whose head and face were garnished with a sea of looping curls. Dave’s heart sank.

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”

Dave’s spirit was very much troubled.

“Who are you people?” he demanded, “and what the hell do you want with me?”

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”

Guiseppe was alerted by Dave’s raised voice, and walked over to them. “Everything alright?” he asked, confused by the man’s tunic and luscious curls. “Drink?”

The regal man gave Guiseppe a sharp look. A passing drunkard bumped into his back, spilling some Guinness, but not making an impression. His eyes returned to Dave.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”

He smiled, touched Dave on the shoulder, and left.

Guiseppe asked what was going on. A flabbergasted Dave recounted his last 24 hours to Guiseppe, who chuckled and combed his moustache as it was told.

“It sounds like they’re trying to teach you something” Guiseppe said.

“Teach me what?”

“Maybe that you’re too stressed?”

Eventually, Dave found their quotes online, bought all of their books, and transformed himself into a cool-headed philosophical superstar. But though he was desperate to thank them personally, they never appeared again.

The Office Temperature Wars

Pug in blanket

matthew-henry-20172-unsplashPhoto by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

In every office, of every company, in every city, people are complaining about the temperature.

Take Sharon in accounts – she weighs about the same as a mangled pigeon feather, so she’s always cold. Shaking her hand is like fondling a pack of skinny frozen sausages. Her perpetually cardigan-clad frame can be seen quick-footing her way from the kitchen to her desk, in an effort to warm up. She drinks eight cups of black coffee a day in an attempt to thaw out her shuddering, icy frame. Her heart will probably give out by the time she reaches fifty.

Sharon has threatened to bring a penguin into the office on more than one occasion, in order to prove that the creature would thrive in this temperature. She’s more than willing to scrub bird shit out of the carpet to prove her point. An inspection of her Google search history would reveal Exotic animals to buy and Penguin delivery to SE London. One her favourite movies is Happy Feet, which she watches at home with the radiators set to max.

Sitting opposite Sharon is Duncan, whose daily calorie intake is comparable to what Sharon eats in a month. His belly sometimes spreads out across his desk as he sits, hitting the lower edge of his keyboard and permeating his emails with nmxz,b,bvn,bnmbmx. He often doesn’t notice this because of his diabetes, which gives him chronic fatigue and blurred vision.

Duncan is always hot. It could be -2 degrees, and Duncan would be hot. His red face appears in the office manager’s door at least once a week, where he forces out a wheezed complaint, hangs around for a few moments longer than usual, and then drags himself back to his desk to write another confusing email.

Sue has been at the company for over a decade, and while she would describe the temperature as pleasing for the most part, her feet are permanently cold. Her requests to wear ugg-boots have been repeatedly denied, and consequently, she demands that the idiots in charge do something to make her more comfortable.

There’s at least another five people at the company who take exception to the temperature, writing regular strongly-worded emails to the suffering office manager.

The office manager’s name is David, and he despises his colleagues. Once, he wrote their climate-complaints on a Word document, printed it out, and used it to clean the mess from his nonchalant arsehole. Sometimes he rubs his dick around the rim of Duncan’s super-sized, golf-ball themed tea-mug, and watches gleefully as he fills it to the brim for his creme-topped, morning hot chocolate.

After receiving enough complaints, David calls the office maintenance company, from which a burly representative promptly arrives, thermometer gadget in hand. While showing as much arse-crack as possible, the temperature is taken from various points in the office, and confirmed to sit at the optimum 22 degrees. After an extended glance at an attractive female employee, the representative leaves an invoice with David, and then makes his way to another office to do the exact same thing. This happens twice a month at least.

There’s a million tormented Davids the world over, fighting in a war that cannot hope to be won. Sharon will be forever chilled, Duncan consistently sizzling, and Sue always frozen-toed. They’ll never agree on the perfect temperature. This is a tale of despicable tragedy, in which David is found hanging from the rafters by his belt, another innocent victim of the Office Temperature Wars.