Monday, June 27, 2016

Roswell! Anal Probe Capital of the World!

When it comes to the supernatural, I'm a skeptic.
     Ghosts? Bah!
     Vampires? Feh!
     Demonic possessions?
     Well... that one's true. I've been divorced enough times to know what I'm talking about.
     But there has always been something plausible about space aliens. If the universe is infinite, with an infinite number of planets orbiting an infinite number of suns, why wouldn’t a few contain intelligent life? On the other hand, explain Donald Trump.
     In July of 1947, an alien spacecraft is said to have crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. If there's one thing you can be sure of, my mother-in-law was probably driving.
     The incident was purportedly covered up by government agents so inept they're now in charge of the TSA. The entire country was immediately abuzz with the question, "Why does 'purportedly' sound like one of Sarah Palin's fake words?"
     Ever since, the world has wondered: “Did space aliens really crash in New Mexico? Is the government really covering it up? Does Tide really get your clothes cleaner than the other leading brands?”
     In order to find out, the magazine I work for sent me on a special assignment last year to uncover the truth. I can remember one particular special assignment they sent me on. I'd tell you about it, but the statute of limitations isn't up yet.
     "When can you leave?" my editor wanted to know.
     I like my editor. She's known in the business for being tough, but fair. Just recently, she doubled my salary. Since I don't get paid, that's not as impressive as it sounds.
     "How about I go on the Fourth of July weekend, during Roswell's UFO Festival?" I suggested. "That way, I can get really drunk."
     She ran it by our esteemed publisher and he enthusiastically okayed my assignment. Unfortunately, when the time came for him to enthusiastically fork over the cash to cover my expenses, he couldn't find his wallet.
     "I'll reimburse you when you get back," he assured me.
     Hmm... I believed that about as much as I believed Hillary Clinton didn't know anything about Benghazi.
    ("Ben who?")
     So I packed what I needed for a three-day stay in a strange town. Toothbrush, deodorant, penicillin. To paraphrase Fox Mulder, the truth may be out there, but so are STDs. I also made sure to take clean underwear.

     "You never know when you might be abducted by aliens," my Auntie Em was fond of saying just before she'd tell me about that fateful night when she was whisked away by otherworldly forces. She woke up the next morning in Tijuana with her panties wrapped around her head.
     That's the story she tells, at least.
     "Just what kind of aliens were you abducted by?" her then-husband, Joe
, wanted to know. After their divorce, Joe went on to have a successful career in law enforcement.
     When I got to Roswell, imagine my shock when I saw a stumbling horde of hungry zombies pushing and shoving their way down Main Street. As it turned out, they were the elderly residents of the Granny Goose Retirement Home & Taxidermy Service. They were hurrying, in that slow-motion shamble of theirs, to make it in time for the early bird special at
The Crashdown Café.

     I drove around, checking out the sights. By the time I got to Dr. Acula's Eternity Inn, it was dark. The owner himself personally checked me in. He was a dapper fellow, with his slick, black hair combed straight back. It's rare to see a man wearing a cape these days, but he managed to pull off the look. Why he needed my blood-type, I don't know, but I didn't argue the point, him being a doctor and all.
     I opened the door to my room, tossed my overnight bag on a chair in the corner, and crawled into bed, ignoring the screams coming from down the hall. Those inconsiderate Fourth of July revelers can be so loud.
     The next thing I remember is waking up on a metal surgical table in a futuristic-looking operating room. Some kind of alien creature stood in front of me. He--for lack of a better word--was very thin, with long skinny arms and legs. He had a huge egg-shaped head with two big eyes. There was something familiar about him.
     "President Obama,” I asked, “is that you?"
     The creature chuckled menacingly, reached up, and with long, delicate fingers pulled off its Barack Obama mask. I couldn't tell the difference. I looked around. There were two more of its kind, whatever its kind was. They reminded me of The Three Stooges, but from outer space.
     "Don't be afraid," the alien I thought of as Moe gently told me. "We will not harm you."
     His words seemed to come, not from him, but from somewhere deep inside my own head.
     There was a whirring sound above me. A large, intimidating tool was descending from above. I can't describe what it looked like in a family-friendly publication like this one, but it was longer than it was wide, if you get my drift. Sort of like the business end of an enema bag for Transformers.
     "What's that for?" I asked.
     Curly, Larry, and Moe nudged each other childishly and giggled like naughty first-graders.
     "It's an anal probe, but it's better if you don't ask any questions," Moe, who seemed to be the only one willing to communicate, told me.
     I shivered at his words...  and that's when I discovered I could move.
     I sat up and hopped off the table. They rushed toward me, but it was too late. For them, that is.
     "How do you talk without speaking?" I asked.
     "From here," Moe pointed to the center point between his eyes, "we push our thoughts into your mind."
     "Oh, you do, do you?" I said, and--POW!--I punched him right in the kisser. The back of his balloon-like head stretched out in the shape of my fist. The space alien made a funny kind of "woo, woo, woo" sound, and fell to his knees faster than Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office. The other two jumped into each other's arms. Their big bug eyes blinking furiously. They were more nervous than a gerbil in Richard Gere's favorite pet store. I'm guessing this had never happened to them before. I looked at them. They looked fragile. Weak.
     "This is gonna be easy," I thought to myself.
     Apparently they could also read my mind, because one of them said: "Wait!  How will you get back home?"
     I reached up and grabbed the anal probe.
     Let's just say I "convinced" them to take me back.
     So… what am I saying?
     I'm saying go to Roswell's UFO Festival.
     You never know what might happen.
American Chimpanzee
written for but not featured in

Friday, June 3, 2016

Math, Or Something Like It (Part Two)

When I told my buddy Maloney that I was reading a math book for fun, he asked me: "Are you drunk?"
     Have I ever mentioned that it takes my friend an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes?
     (See? That joke couldn't have been written without mathematics.)
     I told him no, and then casually mentioned how a lady in a nearby town received a three million dollar sexual harassment settlement.
     "What does THAT have to do with anything?" he wanted to know.
     I then reminded him how, when he started jogging, he once told a female co-worker who had expressed interest in joining him: "If you want to go running with me, you'd better not pass out, because I'll make sure you wake up with your shorts around your ankles."
     Three million dollars.
     That's a hard way to learn about math.
     Maloney still didn't understand the importance of mathematics.
     "When do you ever use it?" he challenged me.
     "You use it everyday," I told him, and then was about to explain how , say, you invite a friend of yours and his family over for a small get-together. Let's call that friend Maloney, because that happens to be his name. After you've made your plans on what you're going to serve, how much you're going to cook, and you've gone to the grocery store and bought everything you need, say that friend's wife calls and asks if she can bring a friend and that friend's family (two parents plus two children equals four). That's the original number of people who were invited over for Easter (n) plus four (4).
n + 4 = y
       So you recalculate, return to the store, and re-empty your wallet even further. And then, a few days later, that friend's daughter calls and asks if she can bring a friend and that friend's family (another two parents plus two children equals an additional four).
n + (4 x 2) = y
       And so you recalculate, return to the store, re-spend even more money, and, when you get back, you find Maloney's mother-in-law sitting at your table... eating.
      "I don't know why she's here," your wife whispers to you, but it's apparent that Maloney invited her too, probably to get her out of his hair.
     So that's now...
n + (4 x 2) + 1 = y
     "Y," as in: "Why are there so many people coming over for what was supposed to be a small get-together?"
     But I didn't tell him that. Instead I explained to him that with mathematics, I could stop bullying.
     "Impossible," Maloney sniffed, dismissively.
     "The mathematical formula is this: The shortest distance between a bully and stopping him is a straight line from my fist to his face."
     "Jesus Christ," Maloney exclaimed, not getting the joke, "that makes no sense."
     "Watch your mouth," I told my friend. "Today, you make Jesus cry. Tomorrow, he makes YOU cry.
     That's mathematics, too.
American Chimpanzee