Friends with Benefits

Have you ever wondered what kind of living structures could be built out of nothing but Romaine lettuce – or if science will ever invent an automobile that runs on Cheetos and Tab? These are the kind of thoughts that shoot into my mind, like a scud missile launched from my subconscious, penetrating the rest of my brain with its payload of psychotic monkeys.

Once, when I was very young, I found a pickle. I literally found an abandoned pickle laying on the side of a little trail. As an ordinary boy of 12, I was a little perplexed. I mean, who abandons a pickle? Shouldn’t there be agencies that protect pickles from such horrific and uncaring circumstances – like the SPCP – (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pickles)? Well, no such organization existed at the time, so I did what any normal 12 year old boy on acid would do in this situation – I took the pickle home and named it Louie. Louie and I became best friends. He went everywhere with me. I made a little leash and would walk him as if he were a dog. Of course, I stopped this walking practice pretty soon after I started because Louie would lose little parts of his pickle skin and occasionally be drug through some dog crap.

Times were great for Louie and I. He understood me. He GOT me. I once enrolled him in night school but the best he could do was around a C average. But that was OK by me. I didn’t love Louie for his intellect. I loved him for his other awesome traits. First, he was docile. He never bit anyone, although I could tell that his previous owners had bitten him. He was quiet. Not like those damn dogs or birds or other loud, whiny pets people think are so cute. No, Louie was not like them at all. He was different.

One day, I brought Louie to school for Show and Tell. I stood in front of the class and told everyone about my friend, and what he meant to me. All the other kids in the class started laughing. Even the teacher, Mrs. Johnson, laughed so hard that she snorted and some junk came out of her nose. It was the same color as Louie, so I thought maybe she would be an ally. But no, she was actually making fun of me, and doing so with more fervor than all the others in the class.

So I picked Louie up and threw him at her face. He smacked her right in the forehead. Because Louie had been laying by the trail for, I’m guessing, three or four years, he was pretty dried out. He broke into a million pickle pieces and Mrs. Johnson fell to the floor, unconscious.

At that moment, I knew the reason Louie and I had met. We met because we were destined to whack Mrs. Johnson in the head.

I’ll never forget you, Louie.

Coffee Date

Sarah knew she would never see Bill again. This would be their last meeting. All those nights of clandestine escapades, all those secret emails, all those weekend trips to the Vaseline factory would soon be things of the past, never to be repeated. Sarah knew this. But, for Pete’s sake, she was not going to let thoughts like these ruin their final rendezvous.

As she sat at the coffee shop pondering these things, Bill finally walked in. Sarah was so happy to see his face again, but she noticed he was limping badly. Sarah looked down and, to her horror, she noticed that Bill had lost one of his feet since their last meeting. You see, Bill had an artificial, wooden foot, and he had left it at the bowling alley the night before – thus the limp.

Bill was an average looking man, of average age, with average hair and eye color. But Bill had one trait that was well above average. This trait was what had originally attracted Sarah to Bill – and who could blame her. Every woman wants a man who is above average in this area, and Sarah was no exception. You see, Bill could tell the difference between teal and turquoise. Most of the guys that Sarah had met in the past called both colors green. In fact, some of the less virile of them thought teal was blue. Can you believe that? I sure can. Several of her past boyfriends thought turquoise was a sea turtle, but not Bill. No, Bill was a color connoisseur. He even understood periwinkle.

Bill was beat up a lot as a schoolboy, but even then he would describe the blood flowing from his nose as crimson, with a hint of maroon. These difficult experiences in his childhood forged a strength of character in Bill that was really not all that great. I mean, he was kind of a weenie in most other areas of his life. But this color thing, Bill was the best at it, and Sarah was smitten.

Often they would travel to the fabric store or Chuck E. Cheese to discuss the various hues and the way each made them feel. Then, at the end of such adventurous outings, they would stop by their favorite greasy spoon for a corn dog and a side of shortening. These were the beautiful times that Sarah knew she would always remember, and that she knew would never happen again.

You see, Bill had been diagnosed with a terrible disease, called Limbic Pooty Pants (LPP). This debilitating affliction affects some seven or eight imaginary people each year. The limbic system in the brain is responsible for emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and knitting. Whenever a person afflicted with LPP feels a strong emotion or sees someone knitting, they involuntarily poop in their pants. This had caused Bill so much embarrassment and humiliation over the years that he had finally had enough. He had two choices – limbotomy (removal of the limbic system), or moving to an uninhabited island where he could walk around without pants. Bill chose the second option. He was leaving in the morning.

Sarah was so sad – not just because she would never again spend time with Bill, but more because the world would be robbed of a man with such a discriminating sense of color. She wondered what new shades he might discover on the island. She wondered if he would poop directly on the sand. At least there would be no knitting, she hoped.

As Bill took a seat at the table, he slipped and hit his head and bled out. Sarah thought to herself, “crimson and maroon – crimson and maroon”. She left the coffee shop with Pete from the first paragraph.

Sunday Go To Meating

Meat Dept. Worker: Hi. May I help you?

Customer: Yes. Do you have any Yak Nipple filets?

Meat Dept. Worker: Sorry. We are fresh out. There has been a run on nipple meat this week.

Customer: Yes. I understand. I am sure it is because of the holiday.

Meat Dept. Worker: Which holiday?

Customer: Why, the Festival of St. Mortimer the Meek.

Meat Dept. Worker: St. Mortimer the Meek? I’ve never heard of him.

Customer: Oh, he’s a very important Saint in the OLPID Church.

Meat Dept. Worker: OLPID Church? – I’ve never heard of that either.

Customer: It is the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Intestinal Discomfort.

Meat Dept. Worker: You’re kidding, right?

Customer: Not at all. I can’t believe you haven’t heard about this church. Would you like me to tell you a little about it?

Meat Dept. Worker: Sure, if it won’t take too long. I’ve got some goat intestines curing in the back.

Customer: No problem. I’ll make it quick. You see, way back in the 4th century BC there was a tribe of nomadic bedouins known as the Schliebs. They roamed the Sinai desert searching for a place to call home. They were evicted from their original land because they partied too much and got crepe paper and wine stains on everything. The Schliebs were led by their very large queen, Myrna the Obese. One weekend, during one of their particularly rowdy parties, Queen Myrna had a little to much falafel, and began to have severe abdominal pains and explosive diarrhea. She put a call out to all of her followers that if anyone could find a cure for her affliction, that person would become the second in command of her kingdom, and would also never have to wait for a seat at the Sinai Village Inn.

There was a particularly bright apothecary in the land, whose name was Mortimer. His genius at mixing up potions and elixirs was known by everyone. The only problem was that Mortimer was very shy. I mean not just shy, very shy. He was known to wet himself whenever he was spoken to, and if a beautiful woman happened to acknowledge him, he would fart, throw up, and his left arm would twitch in an annoying fashion. So usually, he would just have his helper, Cliff, deal directly with the customers.

Cliff heard of the Queen’s dilemma, and he knew that Mortimer could help.
When Cliff brought the situation to Mortimer’s attention, Mortimer knew just what it would take to get the Queen back on her feet. You see, many years before, Mortimer’s own mother had suffered this very same affliction when she too had consumed an excessive amount of falafel while out on a date with a sandal salesman named Vinny. After much experimentation, Mortimer was able to come up with a treatment for his mom – his cure was yak nipple meat sauteed in butter with a little garlic. The thing is, there were only two female yaks in the entire village. The oldest was now nipple-less, as hers were the nipples used to cure Mortimer’s mom. Mortimer knew the recipe that would help the Queen, but he only had once chance at getting it right. There were only two yak nipples left in all the land, on that remaining female yak.

With no time to spare, Mortimer carefully removed the yak’s nipples and began his work. Within about 15 minutes or so, the concoction was ready, and he brought it himself to Queen Myrna. When the Queen bid Mortimer to come forward with his cure, he peed a little in his shyness. He had never seen the Queen at this close a distance. He had never seen a human being this large. He wondered if the two yak nipples would be enough of a dose.

He gave the dish to Queen Myrna and she felt much better immediately after eating it. However, five minutes later, the pain came back and she was furious. She demanded more of the dish. Mortimer had no idea what to do. There were no more yak nipples in the land. He knew what the punishment would be if he failed his Queen. He would be banished to the Brown Forest in Enema Land, never to be seen again.

As Mortimer walked by the younger female yak who had recently given her nipples in service to the Queen, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The yak had grown perfect new nipples where the previous ones had been. There was no sign of the previous nipple removal procedure. It was like it had never happened.

Immediately, Mortimer got to work, removing the nipples and sauteing another batch of the healing dish. And so it went for 26 years. It was known as the Miracle of the Nipples. That yak provided fresh nipples up until the fateful day when Queen Myrna spontaneously combusted at the Sinai Swap Meet.

Mortimer was named Prime Minister and canonized as a Saint, and Myrna became known as Our Lady of Perpetual Intestinal Discomfort. The church was formed on the day of her combustion, and every year OLPIDs celebrate the Festival of St. Mortimer the Meek by sauteing yak nipples and peeing in their pants.

Meat Dept. Worker: I see. We’ll I am sorry, but we are still fresh out of yak nipples. I feel bad because I know how important this festival must be to you. Is there anything else that could be used as a substitution for the yak nipples?

Customer: You got any salami?

Meat Dept. Worker: Yep. $4.99 a pound.

Customer: I’ll take 2 pounds. We’ll call it good. I’m not really that devout anyway.

Just In Time

Sometimes I like to daydream. I think about what life would be like if I had no lips, or what I would look like if my head was made of baloney – or as Oscar Mayer spells it – bologna. In one of my recent mental vacations, I imagined I was a polyp in the small intestine of Drew Barrymore. But this morning’s daydream was like none before it.

It started in a swanky bar in Vineland, New Jersey. I was playing piano, accompanying a forty-something lounge singer named LaTootsie, or as those who were in her inner circle called her, LaTootsi. We were just finishing the first set when a young, dapper gentleman approached us. He looked at our tip jar containing just a few singles and said he would put one thousand dollars in it if we could pull off a special request. LaTootsi and I were stunned and excited. You see, one thousand dollars could change our lives. LaTootsi would be able to get that spleen enhancement surgery she had wanted for so long, and I could finally have my van carpeted. But, when we heard his request, our excitement turned to apprehension.

You see, this dapper gent, we’ll call him Melvin (his real name is Marvin, but don’t tell anyone), was the world’s biggest Carol Channing fan. He was also the world’s third biggest Boy George fan. And, he was something like the 315th biggest Leo Sayer fan. His request involved the combining of these three colossal talents. He wanted us to perform ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’. LaTootsi would sing in the voice of Carol Channing while juggling three individual serving packets of mayonnaise, and I would play piano as Boy George. A tall order, to be sure. But this was one thousand dollars, and LaTootsi’s spleen and my van just weren’t cutting it anymore. So, we accepted the challenge.

Backstage, during our 15 minute break, we began to prepare. I was unable to find my inner Karma Chameleon, so I had to settle for a Hasidic Hamster. I was pretty sure that Melvin would not notice the substitution. LaTootsi drank some battery acid to prepare her voice and ate three lemons to help capture that immortal Channing facial expression.

The 15 minutes passed way too quickly, and it was time to perform. This was it. The break we had been waiting for. If we could just get past this next number, my van and her spleen would never be the same.

As I started the chord progression on the piano, LaTootsi began to to juggle the mayonnaise. Then, the poignant words of this immortal song began to flow from her lips – “You’ve got a cute way of talkin. You got the better of me”. I nervously looked toward Melvin for a reaction. I could not believe it. He was smiling from ear to ear, while tears were streaming down his face. You see, for the last 10 years, he had been searching for a musical act that could pull off this request, and his search had always ended in disappointment. Either the singer could not get low enough, or they couldn’t find mayonnaise packets. There was always at least one piece that wasn’t right. But not tonight. We were killing it.

After the song, he put ten one hundred dollar bills in our tip jar. On our next break he explained his bizarre request. You see, neither Melvin nor Marvin was his real name. He was actually the illegitimate son of Carol Channing and Leo Sayer. He lived with Carol for the first 10 years of his life, and she would never let him eat mayonnaise. That is when the unhealthy obsession with Boy George began. If he couldn’t have his mayo, then he was going to rebel in the way that would most hurt his mom – Carol absolutely hated the Culture Club. This performance would finally bring peace to his soul, resolve the inner conflicts from his childhood, and set free his inner demons. And we pulled it off. LaTootsi would get her spleen enhancement and my van would be much more comfortable. As we said goodbye to our friend, we realized that none of us would ever be the same. As he pulled away in his limo, it finally hit me. I knew he looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place his face. No, he wasn’t Melvin, nor Marvin. He was Justin. Justin Bieber.


As a published author, musician, and former Prime Minister of Lithuania, I have had the opportunity to travel to many exotic locations. I’ve seen the Pyramids of Gaza, the hills of Kentucky, and even the phlegm wads of Newark. But nothing will ever compare to the trip I took during the summer of 1962.

You see, I was born on October 17, 1962. So, the summer of ’62 was very memorable for me. I was at about 5 months gestation in June. My mom had decided to go to a Mexican restaurant for lunch with a friend, Father Mulcahey, a Franciscan priest. I was floating in the tranquil Amniotic as was my habit in those days when I heard the waiter, I believe his name was Pedro, ask my mom if she and her pious friend would like an appetizer. Her answer to that waiter still rings in my ears today and brings with it a gnawing sense of dread that decades of therapy have not been able to relieve. She said two words – “Jalapeno Poppers”.

Now, at the time, I had no idea what jalapeno poppers were. I mean, give me a break – my thalamus had only developed a few months earlier. But soon I was to discover a horror that to this day has not been paralleled in my life. You see, my mom did not know it at the time, but she suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or as the common folks in her neighborhood called it, the Squirts. Her condition, combined with the volatile appetizer, formed a perfect storm of nausea and indigestion – or as my Italian ancestors called it, Agita.

After downing a few poppers and a couple shots of tequila, mom was feeling a little out of sorts. She got up, holding her stomach, intending to run to the ladies room. But Father MulCahey mistook her actions as a signal that she was going into premature labor.

Father M had always wanted to be a paramedic. He still had his little toy stethoscope from the Let’s Play Doctor kit he had gotten on his sixth birthday. He would sometimes bring it out in confessions as a practical joke to check if the sinner had been struck dead. Those Franciscans, always the kidders.

But this particular afternoon, he did not have his kit with him. The salad tongs would have to suffice. As he approached mom, who was now lying on the floor because she had tripped over Pedro’s authentic beaded nap sack, she noticed the tongs. Realizing that Father M had misjudged the situation, she had to act quickly. With no time to devise a more sophisticated plan, she instead threw up on the clergyman. This quick decision immediately yielded two benefits. First, Father M stopped dead in his tracks, and second, he now understood that she was not birthing, but just barfing.

As you might imagine, all of this was very traumatic for a fetus like me. Fortunately, after years of pre and post-natal counseling I have been able to glean a few lessons from this incident. Here is what I have learned:

1) Don’t mix poppers with tequila
2) Never trust a Franciscan with a toy stethoscope
3) The Squirts would be a good name for a band

Murray’s Best Friend

A long time ago, in a faraway land, their lived a dinosaur named Pinky. Pinky was not like the other dinosaurs. His body was different. The other dinosaurs were very big. Pinky was about the size of a dog. The other dinosaurs had rough skin. Pinky had fur like a dog. The other dinosaurs roamed free. Pinky was sometimes on a leash and when he wasn’t, he liked to play fetch. While the other dinosaurs were eating leaves from the tops of trees, Pinky would often find himself humping the leg of a nearby troglodyte.

Being different like this confused Pinky. He felt like he didn’t fit in. The other dinosaurs were kind enough, but everyone noticed the elephant in the room. Knowing he didn’t belong with the others, Pinky left his homeland and took to the sea, floating on a raft he made from sticks he had fetched over the years.

After a day and a half at sea, Pinky saw a small island on the horizon. He stuck his malformed and misshapen front dinosaur legs in the water and used them to paddle the raft toward the island. What he found when he made land would change his life forever.

Standing there on the shore was an accountant named Murray. Murray had also left his native homeland because he was different from the other accountants. You see, Murray had a wonderful personality. This was so strange in his native land, a place called Debentureville, that he was ostracized and eventually left, just like Pinky.

Soon, Pinky and Murray became best friends. They were inseparable, mainly because there was nobody else to hang out with, but also because they accepted each other at face value. There were no prejudices or expectations. Murray could freely discuss interesting topics like art and music and not get the blank stares he was so accustomed to. And Pinky could lick his genitalia without being laughed at by the other dinosaurs.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into years, Pinky and Murray grew in affection for each other. About five years after Pinky’s arrival (which, strangely felt like 35 years to Pinky), he got worms and died. Murray was sad, but that same day he was discovered by a Coast Guard helicopter. Back in Debentureville, he learned to tone down his personality. Eventually, he forgot about Pinky.