Tag Archives: writing prompt

Go to Hell—But Only if You Want To…

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Image from Tasso Art

“WHAT? It’s MY choice?”

“Correct. Your choice. 100%.”

“But you guys always made it sound like it wasn’t our choice at all.”

“That wasn’t us, it was you mortals. Spinning stories started a long time before ‘mass media’ came along. From stone tablets, to papyrus scrolls, to printing presses, you guys twisted truth into mangled myths.”

“I’m confused—so I get to choose? I decide my own fate? It’s my call—either to be reincarnated or to go to Heaven or to go to Hell?”

“Correct.”

Angels don’t have wings. They have stun guns—at least this one did. Because what it said shocked me. If I hadn’t died from a heart attack already, I’d have a heart attack right now.

“So the whole ‘good people go to Heaven, bad people go to Hell’ thing, isn’t a real thing?”

“People aren’t good or bad. People are simply… people.”

“I’m sorry. This isn’t making any sense to me.”

“He created you, and put in you all those qualities that drive you guys to make dumb-ass decisions. So, He’s NOT THAT surprised when you guys follow through on your dumb-ass decisions.”

“Good and bad don’t exist then?”

“I didn’t say that. I said there are no good and bad people. There are, however, good and bad intentions. And, almost every soul ever created, has at least ONE good intention that is SO AWESOME, it cancels out any other bad intentions he or she has acted on.”

“Huh? But that would mean we all end up going to Heaven. It would also mean that no one really goes to Hell.”

“Only those who choose to go to Heaven.”

“Who WANTS to go to hell?”

“I’ll explain that later. But first, let’s focus on the ‘greatest good’ thing.”

Dying, apparently, is a pretty exhaustive process—needless to say, it takes a lot out of you. With all that was left of me, I tried to remember what my ‘greatest good’ was, but to no avail.

“And… there it is,” Angel chuckled.

“There what is?”

“You trying to figure out your ‘greatest good’. As soon as anyone finds out the ‘greatest good’ thing, they always… ALWAYS… ALWAYS wonder what theirs is and then—”

“Oh, oh! Hold on! The summer I participated in Habitat for Humanity! Who would have thought that little decision would go such a long way, right?”

“Uh, yeah. But no.”

“Wait! Wait! Oh! That donation I made to Save the Children! It was a pretty generous donation!”

Angel rolled its eyes, “Nope. The size of your donation doesn’t determine the size of its goodness.”

“Summer of ’92! Joining the Boys & Girls Club as a Big Sister! HA!”

“You still don’t get it—I said ‘greatest good’ INTENDED. If you remember, the Habitat for Humanity gig was a choice you made with pretty selfish intentions. You were crushing on a guy, and decided to go once you found out he was going. The Save the Children donation you made was intended as a tax deduction. And, you were a Big Sister so you’d have a community activity to include on your university application.”

“I give up.”

Apparently, angels also snort when they laugh out loud, “Death ends you human beings’ ability to eat, drink and breath—but it still doesn’t totally kill your Egos, does it? In stead of assuming to know the answer, ever think about ASKING what you ‘greatest good’ was???”

Angel pulled out a glass orb. Within seconds, it was emanating a glowing light so glorious, it lit up the entire sky.

I drew closer to the orb, concentrating on its yellow-pink incandescence.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m waiting for you to show me my ‘greatest good’.”

Angel snorted again— so hard, that if it were human and had a nose, snot would’ve shot out. “You think I’m going to replay your ‘greatest good’ in this is crystal ball? Hate to disappoint, but it’s just a lamp…being that it’s getting darker and almost nighttime now.”

“WOW. Angels are really not that nice at all.”

“Misconceptions from the stories you guys spin, my friend. ‘Nice’ isn’t part of our job description—‘fair’, yes… ‘righteous’, sure… being ‘your guardians’? Ekh—we throw that bone to newbies/interns.”

“Can we please get back to my ‘greatest good’?

“Right! So, one day, you were running late to an important meeting. You were stuck in one of the worst traffic jams evah. I mean it was lock down, bumper-to-bumper-to-bumper, CRAY CRAY traffic! As soon as it started to loosen up, you had a clear left you could have taken, which would have given you access to a less congested route…

“BUT, just before you turned left, you saw a poor woman in the street, exhausted, walking with her child. The little girl, who was very thirsty, kept trying to suck out the last few drops of water from a bottle she was holding…

“I can’t tell you why—as that’s not within our realm of knowledge—but in seeing this woman and child, a sincere, deep and genuine sense of compassion overcame you. So you parked your car on the side of the road—and although the meeting you were going to, was super important, you didn’t give it a second thought. You ran to a kiosk, grabbed a few sandwiches and bottles of water, crossed the street, and gave them to the woman and the child…

“You then pulled out all the money you had, and handed it to the woman. As you gave her the money, you also intended in your heart for it to be a charitable donation in the memory of your deceased father.”

Myth #2: Besides the whole ‘good people go to Heaven’ story, it also isn’t true that when you die, your entire life ‘flashes before of you’.

I remember certain people, certain events, a few milestone moments, but in no way could I remember the incident of which Angel just spoke.

“I’m sorry. But I don’t even recall that.”

Angel laughed, but this time, in a great kindness with which I always imagined Buddha would’ve laughed.

“That’s because you guys remember what you think is important and meaningful. But you guys never give a thought to what is actually important and meaningful…

“And compassion—that emotion of selflessness, that sentiment which enables you to step outside of yourself and connect with the world, with others and by default with Him—well, its one of the two most meaningful intentions a person can act on.”

“And that’s my ‘GREATEST good’? REALLY?”

“Of course, you’re disappointed. You humans, you just love your Hollywood endings—those stoic, heroic acts of sainthood. Well, my friend, there’s not a person in history whose ‘greatest good’ was on that grand a scale.”

“Uh, he-llo? Gandhi?? Passive-resistance movement? Dying for his cause?”

“I’m not usually allowed to share the details of other cases—it kinda goes against the whole Angel-dead person confidentiality thing…

“But, I can tell you this: A much younger and MUCH less famous Gandhi accomplished his ‘greatest good’— um, as his movement grew though, so too did his pride.”

“Gandhi? REALLY?”

“Look, I’ve already said too much. The point is, until today, no one, and I mean literally NO ONE has ever achieved his or her ‘greatest good’ in a big way.”

“Jesus? Moses? Mohamed?”

“Not gonna lie— all very close. But, still… when He parts the Red Sea for ya… come on, ya know Moses must’ve looked on at the children of Israel, and thought, ‘WHO’S YO DADDY?…”

“Mother Teresa? Dedicating her life to the poor?”

“Yeah, her intentions… messed up on so many levels, I can’t even begin.”

“So, because I stopped for this woman, fed her and her kid, gave them some money, everything bad I ever did in my ENTIRE LIFE, is—whoosh! Completely voided?”

“Yes.”

“What about the, like, 50 times I shoplifted as a teenager?”

“Voided.”

“The gazillion times I’ve lied to people I love?”

“Voided.”

“Cheating on my man?”

“Stupid. Really stupid. But, yes, voided.

“The 10 more times that I cheated on my man with his best friend?!!”

“Nasty. Low. SHAMEFUL. Horrible. Incredibly dishonest.”

“Voided?”

“Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just implement them.”

“I’ve stolen, lied and cheated. I’ve screwed people, back-stabbed colleagues, and just in case you don’t remember, hurt my family and friends so much, that NO ONE showed up at my funeral!”

“I didn’t say you were a wonderful person. But remember, it’s not a numbers game.”

“What about others who have done some really, really, really bad things, like KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE? This makes NO SENSE AT ALL!”

“Relax. Chill out… If you remember, I said that ALMOST everyone has a ‘greatest good’, which voids anything bad they’ve done… I also said that compassion was ONE of the two most meaningful intentions a person can act on… The other intention is: Forgiveness.”

“I’m sorry, but who forgives Hitler? Idi Amin? That Pharaoh who killed ALL THE BABIES?”

“Yeah, you mortals are actually pretty impressive when it comes to compassion— um, but forgiveness, not so much…

“The funny thing is, when you guys die, you are SUPER forgiving— I don’t why, I just know that, everyone who’s died, up until today, has, independently, decided to forgive anyone who’s wronged him or her.”

“You’re telling me that allllllllll those killers, rapists, terrorists, tyrants, dictators, child molesters, MONSTERS, are…”

“Forgiven. Yes. Everyone… When you guys forgive these people, He does too. But ONLY if you have—and like I said, every single human—including every single victim—CHOOSES to forgive the criminals who have wronged him or her, once he or she arrives here.”

“This is utterly ridiculous! Where the fuck am I? Is this a joke? I’ve lived my life, if not feeling guilty for the bad things I’ve done, at least knowing I SHOULD FEEL GUILTY for them! Now you’re telling me, ‘hey, doesn’t matter what you do—forget the Ten Commandments! Forget the whole ‘right to life, liberty and happiness’! Anyone and everyone GETS AWAY WITH ANYTHING!”

Angel burst out cackling. For what seemed like eons, Angel continued to cackle. If I knew where to storm off to, I would have run out on Angel

“YOU GUYS REALLY SPUN THAT STORY GOOD! Even fell for it hook, line and sinker! Let go… let GO of everything you were brainwashed to believe.

“The real question you need to ask is this: What is the point of it all?”

I had spent my entire life asking myself that question—frustrated, angry and resentful, I kept asking it, knowing I could never get the real answer. Yet, in a place and at a time where someone who knew the answer could give it to me, I didn’t once think about asking it.

“Well, what is the point?”

“The first point—as corny and cheesy as it may seem—is love. You guys never got that as mortals, because you really hadn’t experienced love in its purest form…

“When you’re alive, your ability to love is tainted. Even the kindest, most generous and selfless of you cannot experience love in its purest form.

“Because even when you are kind, generous and selfless, you inevitably feel good about… well… yourself. In essence, every selfless act in life is a selfish endeavor.

“Your kindness, generosity and selflessness, ultimately, are always tainted by a selfish pride and the pleasure of ‘being a good person’…

“Like splatters of ink on a white dress, these stains of vanity might be small, but still… the dress ends up being ruined.

“Once in a lifetime though, for a split Nano of a Nano of a Nano second, you guys experience a glimpse of unabated compassion or forgiveness. And that moment always becomes your ‘greatest good’.

“When you die, you are disencumbered by the stories you’ve spun, and begin to feel love in its purest form. So compassion and forgiveness innately take over—you WANT to be compassionate and forgiving irrespective of being wronged…

“Bringing us to the second point of it all—freewill.

“From the beginning, you guys had the will to create and be what you aspired to. Even when it came to Him—He is who you wanted Him to be…

“Some of you turned Him into a human and put Him on a cross. Others didn’t believe He was human, but might as well have, since those people ended up personifying Him as angry, jealous, vengeful and punishing…

“Truth is, He never punished anyone—He only defended the rights of people who willed to believe He would defend their rights.

“I promise you—if ONE victim of the BILLIONS that were wronged at the hands of ANY criminal, didn’t will to forgive those criminals, then He wouldn’t forgive them either. But, when you guys get here, out of love in its purist form and your own free will, you guys end up forgiving. All of you—so far, at least, every single one of you people.”

“What about all those who lost children, got illnesses like cancer, people who SUFFERED?”

“Let me ask you this: what did I tell you your ‘greatest good’ was?

“Stopping for the poor woman and her child.”

“No—I said it was the compassion you had for them, which then triggered you to stop for them.”

“I don’t get it.”

“There’s no doubt He could have created a world sans suffering.

“If life was all peaches and plums, you guys would experience non-stop pleasure—but, not much else. In such a perfect world, compassion and forgiveness wouldn’t have been experienced.

“Suffering and the witnessing of suffering are the only reason you guys feel compassion and forgiveness. And compassion and forgiveness are the only means for you to connect to one another and to Him.

“’Happiness’ is a selfish pleasure—sure, it can foster gratitude, but inevitably, you guys take that happiness for granted and stop being grateful.”

“But if it’s this simple, why the hell was it made to be so complicated on earth?”

“Ah—that brings us back to your earlier question. Remember when you asked me, ‘who wants to go to hell’?”

“Oh, yes! Forgot about that question!”

“The simplest and most meaningful intentions known to man—compassion and forgiveness—are ALWAYS complicated by guilt and shame…

“So rather than overcome these two, you guys spin stories around them—and they are some fucked up stories with some serious complications. The deeper the guilt and shame get, the crazier your stories become.

“What’s interesting is that—even after death, you guys find it hard to choose to let go of the guilt and shame that you feel. You can feel the purity of love—but even in feeling that you still have difficulty in deciding to let go of guilt and shame, simply because, you don’t want to.

“That’s why you opt to be reincarnated or you opt to go to Hell. And He sends you where you want to go—no questions asked, it’s all up to you, honey bunny.”

“Listen, I get that you’re Angel and everything, and that you have all the answers—but I think you need to Google the facts of your story again. It’s not gelling together.”

“Okay—on earth, don’t some people decide to see the ‘up side’ of life, while others seem to always assume the worst?”

“Sure.”

“Following that logic, wouldn’t that mean that some decide to create their own Heaven, and some decide to create their own Hell?”

“Uh… I suppose.”

“And why do you think some will a Heaven for themselves, while others will a Hell?”

“Uh… because… because…”

“Guilt and shame. Those who have freed themselves of guilt and shame are able to will a Heaven. Those who haven’t freed themselves, will a Hell.

“Or, if they don’t will a Hell, they will a new identity for themselves—seeking to be someone other than who they are… what you people call an ‘identity crisis’…

“And, because you guys don’t want to let go of your guilt and shame, you spin stories about how He’ll relieve you of that guilt and shame once you die.

“Your idiotic stories even boast about Him rewarding you for your guilt and shame!

“Yet, even when you get here and find out what the point of it all is, rather than bask in the beauty of it, rather than feel joy and happiness, rather than sing and dance, you guys CHOOSE to feel even more guilt and shame.

“Some, so much so, that they choose to go to Hell.

“Some, a little less so— those ones ask for a ‘redo’. Hence, they are reincarnated.”

“And the ones who let go of the guilt and shame, they choose to go to Heaven?”

“Sadly, my friend, to date, no one who’s come here has ever chosen to let go of their guilt and shame.”

“Wait—that would mean no one’s ever gone to Heaven.”

“Correction—no one has ever CHOSEN to go to Heaven.”

“Jesus? Buddha? Moses?”

“Nope, nope and nope.”

This left me in quite a pickle. If people like Moses didn’t even think they were worthy of Heaven, who was I to choose to go there?

“And… there it is,” Angel sighed.

“There what is?”

“You trying to decide where you want to go—stop comparing yourself to other ‘good people’. I told you, there are no good or bad people—which means that no one can really be better than anyone else.”

“But—”

“But nothing! Listen, my job isn’t to decide for you where you should go. My job is to tell you all the facts, so you can make an informed decision. For ONCE, one of you guys, PLEASE, just accept the facts as they are!”

“Can I at least think about it?”

“What’s there to think about?! You don’t need to think! You need to let go of the guilt and shame!”

“I can’t! I can’t!”

“You CAN! You just don’t WANT TO!”

“Stop yelling at me!”

The Angel brought its tone down to a frustrated whisper. “There’s no need for your guilt and shame. You can choose to let go of them—so LET gooooo.”

“If you tell me how, I will.”

“Okay. Step one: let go. Step Two: let go. Step three—”

“I know, let go!”

“No—step three is: make a decision!”

I concentrated as I had never concentrated before. In the stillness of all that I now was—in the presence and consciousness of all that is Him—I tried to let go. I attempted to choose to release my guilt and shame… to relinquish myself of their weight…

I really, really, REALLY tried.

“And… there it is.” Angel gazed at me and shook its head, “Is this what you truly want?”

“Not sure… was I this hesitant last time?”

“Nice try—but you are not privy to anymore than I’ve already told you… do you want more time to think? I can give it to you—it’s called purgatory…

“But I must warn you: having more time can work against you— because time gives you more to think about. Instinct ignites epiphanies. Logic leads to looping… What does your instinct tell you?”

A sudden silence overcame the sky—muted, not even a quantum ripple resonated. Every corner of its infinite space was a vacuum of quietude.

Whatever physical post-death form I was in, immediately felt lighter—my being instantly shattered into molecular fragments, floating in slow motion, through what seemed like air— atoms, electrons, nuclei, dancing further apart, further away, musically sweeping into something bigger than any I, I ever was… the distance between me and myself dissipated into Us.

A cold rush of elation showered over me. A warm gust of light hugged me.

“And… there it REALLY is.” Angel smiled in a way I always imagined Buddha would’ve smiled.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

“Then…let’s go.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Mug, The Tampon and a Pigeon

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Being late really ruined my morning today. Now all I’d think about was the unwashed coffee mug sitting in my sink. I should have just quickly cleaned it before leaving for work. It would have taken a minute… I could have forgone the 53 seconds it takes to put on my silver bracelets and knuckle ring… I could have gargled my mouthwash 42 seconds less than usual… 95 seconds would have been more than ample to soap up and rinse a little white ceramic coffee mug…

Hey– I can do it when I get home, right? In 8 hours and 95 seconds, it’ll be squeaky clean. In the meantime, I will let it ride… focus on what counts… we’ve got a huge agency pitch… channel the anxiety, channel it into creativity… the ideas… I can SO do this. I’m already on Jim’s bad side, and this is my chance to redeem myself. If Jim, the Creative Director is on my side, I’m golden… I’ve got a future. The mug… the instant coffee grind stained mug isn’t an issue… the WHITE mug with dark, oak brown beaded stains that are seeping deep beneath the surface enamel coating of the WHITE mug… it doesn’t bother me.

‘Good morning, team! Alright, let’s get started. The brief for the pitch. A feminine product– Tamplus. Any ideas? People?… Steve! Lay it on me!’

‘Uh… well… this is all about a woman’s menstruation… her period… a period is also a double entendre on the ‘full stop’ punctuation mark…’

Mark… Mark Twain… white suit… the WHITE mug…

‘So, I’m thinking: ‘Tamplus…A Period No More, It’s a Full Stop.’

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t hear anything after the ‘double entendre’ trope,’ Jim sardonically started. ‘Just to clarify, do you feel the clothes you wear are not making enough of a metrosexual statement? Cause I can tell ya, message received loud and clear without you having to say ‘double entendre’!’

Entendre… rhymes with James Bond… Goldfinger… Nescafe Gold… COFFEE-STAINED WHITE MUG!

‘Malcolm, batter up!’

‘Well, tampons, from what I understand, go inside a woman, and expand as they absorb… women also gossip between themselves about the size of a man’s… you know…’

‘PENIS. You do have one, right?’ Jim wasn’t being rhetorical.

Penis… willy… rhymes with Billy… Bill Gates… Windows 95… 95 SECONDS MORE AND I COULD HAVE WASHED THE WHITE MUG!

Malcolm failing to pick up on the lack of rhetoric didn’t help his situation. ‘Yes, Jim, I do have a penis. Here’s what I’m thinking: ‘Tamplus… The Tampon that Makes Men Jealous’.’

‘Great! Now that we’ve established Malcolm has a PENIS but clearly doesn’t doesn’t have a dick, anymore ideas?’

OH MY GOD… I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE! I know! I’ll say I have an emergency! No, no… Jim will ask what it is and I’ll totally not know how to lie and he’ll hate me more… I’ll create one! Like on a FEMA scale… mass emergency so we all have to clear out! Then I can go home and wash the WHITE coffee mug! FEMA would probably arrest me and take me into that rendition thingy, but I would have at least cleaned the mug and been thrown into that rendition thingy knowing my sink was mug-free and my WHITE mug was WHITE!

‘Carry? Hello? Creative Director to Carry! Slogan ideas, Tamplus?!’

Oh shit, slogan! Think, Carry! Think! ‘Ah, well, Jim,’ and then, the following words came tumbling out of my mouth with a force that was too heavy for me to stop.

‘Well, Tamplus is something women use to avoid leakage, which is a super crisis. At the same time, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is associated with crises.’

I spewed it all out at the speed of light, slowing down for the finale, which culminated into an artistic beatnik whisper, ‘Tamplus… Take the FEMA out of Female’.

Everyone around the table froze. Jim’s eyes stabbed me, and from the looks of it, his psychotic rampage would end up in fatal multiple verbal wounds.

‘FUCK ME! Brilliant! I actually think it’s SO HUGE, it should FUCK ME!’

I hadn’t seen Jim this excited before. I had never heard the word ‘brilliant’ from Jim’s mouth, while directed at my face. Granted, the ‘fuck me’, wasn’t a new, either as a metaphorical exclamation or as a blatant, unabated sexual request.

‘People! THIS IS WHAT SELLS! THIS IS CREATIVITY! THIS IS AWARD WINNING’

Jim continued on.

‘I mean, don’t all the men in the room want to be women just to have a period?! Steve! Malcolm! You’re already half way there, but doesn’t it make you wanna go the full distance to becoming a woman?!’

‘I’m growing tits as we speak, Jim…’ Malcolm conceded.

‘Already have a vagina, Jim.’ Steve confirmed.

‘Carry, Carry, Carry! GREAT JOB! Alrighty! Well, grab a coffee, cause you and I are going to get this rolled out by tomorrow, which means pulling an all-nighter!’

My heart’s racing… I am going to have a heart attack… skipping beats will soon evolve into no beats… an all-nighter? ALL-NIGHTER?! The WHITE mug? What do I do about the WHITE mug? WAIT! I have a client meeting at noon, near my apartment! I’ll go a bit early, wash the WHITE mug and then run to the meeting! YES!

‘Listen, Carry– we have to board ideas by 2pm, that’s the only time the illustrator is free. So, send Sandy instead to the noon meeting with Richter & Co. Lunch on me, my office, 12pm.’

I’LL JUST QUIT. Yes, QUIT. I’ll find another job. Someone will hire me, and in any case, I only really need enough money to make rent. I’ll quit now, go home and wash the WHITE mug!

GET A GRIP! DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF?! You’re going to quit over a dirty, stained, coffee-grind infected WHITE mug?! Screw the mug! Get another one! Throw it out if it can’t be washed back to its original WHITE!

That. Is. My. New. Plan. THROW IT OUT.

‘Carry, come check this out! I think a great TVC can come from this!’ Jim summoned me.

Walking into his office, I was ecstatic. I had a new plan. Throw it out. Now, all my energy could go to the pitch. ‘Sure, Jim, shoot!’

‘We open with a woman on the run, a woman who appears to be running from the law, a woman who went from tabula rasa innocence to a blown-out, full-fledged dirty, rotten scondrel…’

Tabula rasa… Latin… ‘blank slate’…’blank’…’blanco’… Spanish for ‘white’… WHITE MUG!

‘Wait! I’ll go get a sketch pad from the AD’s room, it really comes through in the sketch!’

As Jim bounced out the door, I kept thinking about the WHITE mug while gazing out the window… window… window… what if I sneak out the window??? Climb down the piping, rush back home, wash the WHITE mug, and sneak back in?

Jim always gets tangled up in a minutia of corridor conversations. It will be an hour before he makes it back here– by that time, I would have returned, sitting right where he left me.

I don’t know how I did it, but in 47 seconds, the time it would take me to wash two WHITE mugs, I was on the ledge.

There, I got to know a little bit more about myself.

For instance, that I’m frantically afraid of heights.

A paralysis unlike anything I’ve experienced kicked in. My vocal cords suffocated as my larynx contracted. My legs rooted themselves into the half-foot wide cement ledge, while my fingernails broke one by one, failing to dig themselves into the exterior gray brick facade.

I’m no mathematician, but I was sure between me and the pavement, the perfect quadrature came to form. It would take one itch, one gust of wind, one sneeze to ruin it.

More detrimentally, to ruin ME.

‘Carry?! Carry?!’ Jim’s ‘Let’s Make a Deal’  voice echoed onto the ledge, growing louder and louder as he came closer and closer to the window.

‘Carry? What the hell? What are… what are… what are you doing on the ledge?!’

Before I could answer, before I could negotiate with my parasympathetic ganglia to release my larynx, Jim already made his version of the story, THE version of the story, screaming it out to the entire agency. ‘Quick! Call 9-1-1! Carry’s on the ledge! She going to kill herself!’

Five seconds later, 15 floating heads were bobbing out the window to my right.

‘Don’t do it, Carry!’

‘I know your life sucks! But it’ll get better!’

‘You’ll find a man! You won’t always be the one getting dumped!’

‘Shit! My Car! Jump diagonally! But don’t hit my car!’

The comments slid quickly between a spectrum of extreme worry and biting pity. There I was, listening, hearing it all, when to top it off, a pigeon landed and fastened its talons onto my head.

Everyone gasped.

Slowly, the pigeon released one talon, fastening it further right, followed by its second talon. Juxtaposing itself at a three-fourths angle, tail pointed towards the window, the pigeon froze.

Ten seconds later, an infinitely inadequate amount of time to wash one WHITE mug, it shat straight onto my shoulder.

Everyone gasped louder.

My heart started racing. I broke out into a cold sweat, my hands lost hold of the brick. My trachea contracted, and suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

My WHITE shirt… look what just happened… to my WHITE shirt.

Cello

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A cello

That weeps.

My heart,

The base.

That beats.

The tears form into

Notes

on the staff

Of my life.

They hear music

In the pain.

Crying has a rhythm.

It is a melody

Of happiness

Overcome by pain and sadness,

The gods clap for me.

I have not asked

To lead the orchestra,

I have not asked to compose

Any movements.

I am too still.

I don’t know how notes become a tune,

Perhaps it is the vicious cycle of my doom.

The bow, Fate,

Grating against the strings of my will

Wearing them away

Until

they break.

But a cello cannot play itself.

The masterpiece,

What is it?

I value not the legacy of it.

I seek nothing from fame.

Who are the hands

That play it?

Where is the audience

Who will feel it?

The cello awaits.

The bow grates.

It’s so sad,

It weeps so badly,

My heart is the base.

Hear me,

Hear me,

I am not loud,

It is the echo of my sob.

Do I exist?

Do I exist?

If I do,

I am so frightfully scared.

Love.

Bravo’s Latest: The Real Housewives of Saudi Arabia

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As the banks in Cyprus enforce the Eurozone’s insistence that Cypriots contribute to the recapitalization of the country, as the US reaches a point of critical mass in its quest to secure global hegemony, Bravo brings true reality to the world with its newest Housewives franchise, the Real Housewives of Saudi Arabia.

The ensemble this time around, though, a much easier one to bring together. Having been casted out of one household, Yasmine, Dalia, Fatima, Amira, and Bahiga are the wives of Mohamed bin Mohamed bin Mohamed bin Mohamed bin Abdul Mohamed, more affectionately known as ‘Mojo’.

Though the initial assumption would be an atmosphere of competitive female cattiness, these women get along just fine, viewing the sharing of a husband as an advantage.

‘As long as his wallet is open 24/7, I love the fact that my legs are only once a week,’ Amira, Mojo’s first wife, jokes. ‘Western women are so hypocritical. They spend 99% of their time trying to avoid having sex with their husband, but they think monogamy is the best thing since slice falafel. Puh-leez.’

‘Totally agree– most of them are willing to be a mistress, but think being a second or third or seventh wife is uncivil. He-ll-o, I might have to hide under a veil, but I don’t have to hide who’s under it with me!’ Yasmine, Mojo’s second wife says.

The women spend their day taking care of their children, which between the wives is a staggering 20. ‘You know,  ‘My Mommies Love Me’ t-shirts are very popular here in Saudi. Lesbians, multiple wives.. akh, tomatoe, tomato…’ thinks Dalia, who is Mojo’s third and fourth wife, having been born with conjoint bodies.

‘Believe it or not, it makes life a lot more open and honest. It let’s you mean what you say and say what you mean. Just like when my children say, ‘my brotha from another motha’… they aren’t just being facetious!’ exclaims Amira.

‘Feminists complain that this female discrimination, but let me tell you, this works for women not against them. In reality, I suffer the most,’ says Mojo. ‘You know what it is like to have to remember THREE anniversaries AND FOUR birthdays?’

Though Dalia is conjoint, Mojo married her Siamese body a week after his nuptials to Dalia due to the waxing salon’s inability to schedule it in before the wedding.

Bahiga, the one the other wives consider the ‘pretty one’ doesn’t get an preferential treatment despite her wicked bod. ‘When you are one of many wives, pretty isn’t part of the equation– at the end of the day, you’re expected to deliver the same as the others. This is why an allegiance with the other wives is crucial. If you all agree to lower the standards, then you all have to deliver less. If I won’t go down on Mojo, we all won’t go down on Mojo. Without them, I’d be powerless.’

‘Amen to that, sista!’ Amira retorts loudly.

Stay tuned for the season premier, rumored to start in April 2013. If these girls can walk it like they talk it, we can only imagine how the story will unveil…

Trading Places: Standing Up

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Being of the female gender,  one would be certifiably insane as to not appreciate ‘the woman.’ Having been endowed with an anatomy revered, celebrated and iconized by artists and perverts alike, the female gender is truly special.

However, having said that, there is one asset a man has, an asset to be envied, an asset most practical, comforting and oh-so-kick-ass…

Upright urination, aka ‘pee standing up’.

Though a woman can strategically position herself to do the same thing, it is not the same as having the equipment strategically designed to do that.

Case in point: the drunken stupor night.

According to no scientific study, under the influence, women must exercise five times the focus to control their spatial sense of navigation in order to strategically achieve upright urination.

Given the Parietal Lobe’s incapacitated function under such intoxication, this renders the task nearly impossible, ranking only second to the actual feat of Denzel Washington horizontally flipping the plane in Flight.

And if you haven’t watched Flight, you should.

Now, let us observe the male of the species. With an anatomical device already designed to enable upright urination, very little mental exhaustion is required, leaving the male mind to focus on more pressing matters such as the re-rack of the testicles, ball frolicking and the gender-popular, ‘borborymic pastime’, which for some reason is best enjoyed during the suffocation of a significant other under the bedsheets.

There is also a very economical edge to upright urination, that being the ‘wiggle and zip’. Whereas women consume thousands and thousands of plies of toilet paper, men need only shake left-right, right-left, finishing their business without having contributed to the endangerment of a single tree.

On a sociological scale, women, if naturally enabled to achieve upright urination, could put to use their mastery at multitasking, saving many couples from traumatic fights. By simply placing a urinal directly under the mirror, women would thus primp and pee simultaneously, therefore allowing men quicker morning access to the lavatory.

In short, upright urination is a brilliant function of which the female will never know short of an assisting device. Alas, how terribly sad… perhaps had she been able to achieve upright urination on her own, Gloria Steinem standing up would not have been so obtrusively painful.

She Don’t Cry

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I never cry

Because they don’t see me crying;

And I don’t hurt-

My pain ain’t physical,

So it don’t count.

 

Then there is the hour,

When I hug my bedroom-

Weeping on the pillow’s shoulder,

Talking with the molecules of air floating

In the dark.

 

But, the room can’t hug me back-

And the pillow’s shoulder sags,

Weighted down with tears.

The air’s too busy to even echo my ache.

 

When?

Is it out there?

No, is HE out there?

Is anyone out there?

God is-

But sometimes too out there it seems.

 

It’s quiet around me,

The silent entrance of too-lateness

Seeps under the door—

An odorless monoxide of despair.

 

What is it that I am waiting for?

Has it already ended?

Why does everyone else know—

Except me?

 

It still hurts,

Even after I ate the anesthetic—

You know, the chocolate novocain

And sugar injections.

 

Tell me,

Like everyone else did when I was a kid,

That Santa Claus’s zip code is in the North Pole,

That the tooth fairy is not my mother,

That happiness is not the Lochness monster, (seen by only the insane).

 

Accept it,

Like everyone else did when I was a kid,

That I throw myself on the floor and shout,

That even then, I can blackmail you to still love me,

That my tantrums are colorful cartwheels of rational thought.

 

But, you can’t just do that—

I know.

That’s why I don’t wear my inside out.

That’s why you don’t see me hurt,

Cry,

Feel.

 

That’s why I embrace the walls,

Lean on flimsy linen shoulders,

Converse with voiceless gases.

 

Because they cannot love me,

And they cannot not love me.

Top 10 Responses by Stars Asked to Become the Face of Arab Celebrity Activism

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Darfur has George Clooney; Tibet, Richard Gere. With the people’s call for democracy, which celebrity could best serve as the Arabs’ star ambassador?

10. Paris Hilton, “Um, ya- like, anything, like, to help the Mausoleums.”

9. Victoria Beckham, “Do saline implants evaporate in extreme desert heat?”

8. Brad Pitt, “And adopt an Arab?”

7. Tiger Woods, “Can you sleep with ALL four wives at the same time?”

6. Justin Bieber, “Uh, underage boy in the Gulf? Let me get back to you.”

5. Tom Cruise, “If I get to play myself in the movie version & the sequel.”

4. Jessica Simpson, “I’d love to! I’ve never been to Mexico!”

3. Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sorry, busy writing ‘Sex & the City III: It’s Getting Almost as  Old as Us’.”

2. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, “Hmmm…depends on how my name translates in Arabic.”

1. Lady Gaga, “Why not? It’s not like my meat dress is made of pork.”