The good, the bad, and sometimes the fictional. Short stories and other categories written by guest stars.

WARNING: This page may not be suitable for extra-young millennials. Rated R for language.

This week on Explicit Content:

 

A. Mina Presents an original verse:

 

In the simplest terms, you are one of kind

You understand that being beautiful is a state of mind

And that’s really hard to find, but the kind I’d like to meet

Perhaps get the right broom to sweep you off your feet

And that beauty mark on your first will never do you justice

Cuz ain’t nothing that exist can ever mark your beauty

And truly, I like how she keeps me on my toes

And at the same time got me cloud nine

And I, don’t want to rush something to divine

So now I steal clocks to I can take my time

Cuz I am looking for a lady that I can stand with

And not a little girl that I need to withstand

And I don’t want to be your man, I just want to get to know you

And show you what a relationship can grow to

We can rearrange stars, make constellations

Write history or take it down to the basics

Cuz ain’t no telling what the future might bring

Perhaps make an “us” between you and me

Cuz in the simplest terms, you are one of a kind

And that’s the only type of lady that I want by my side

 


N. Penders Presents… “Understanding Patriotism and the Importance of Bugs”:

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“This time I want it with some emotion!” “But dad thi…”

“Did you think that was a question boy? Sing the god damn song with emotion.”

My brother and I briefly made eye contact as we belted out the Star Spangled Banner – this time with emotion.

This was typical. It was my dad’s “thing” – My dad, being the ‘Nam Vet he is – and my brother and I, being the “little shits” we are. Being that this was our version of normal, we rolled with it.

 

Every Fourth of July my father would undress to his underwear – his enormous beer gut hanging out like a scene from Aliens. His chest hair resembled the barb of a prison fence. He would pull “Pappy’s” rocking chair from the shed and bring it to the front porch. “Nick’lus, Brandon! Get the hell over here ya little peckers!”

Being that this was our 8th consecutive year of hearing that call – my brother and I knew what was coming next.

 

We walked towards the porch. Our heads hung low. We were silent. My brother, just having finished an intense game of wiffle ball, was covered in dirt.

 

“Sit the fuck down boys. I want to tell you a story.” Our father said.

 

But we knew there wasn’t going to be a story. We knew our dad didn’t do anything heroic in Vietnam. He was a line chef who barely saw the outdoors. He knew nothing about Guerilla Warfare – though he would swear that he had single handedly saved his squadron from certain death. He was insane. My brother and I knew it – but like any ticking time bomb – you don’t pick it up – so we left it alone.

 

“You little shitbags don’t know a god damn thing about what it means to be American. Do ya?”

 

We left our heads down. I was actually staring at a rollie pollie as it crawled across the front porch. I wondered if the rollie pollie saw the front porch as big as I saw the world? And is our world equivalent to his universe? His world was different than mine. I wondered what he thought of his world.

 

“That’s a fuckin question! Look at me you little jug headed pieces of shit!”

 

We lifted our heads and gave our dad the attention he was seeking.

 

“See that bag over there? Give it to me.”

 

He pointed to the corner where a Walmart bag was lying on its side. I grabbed the bag and handed it to him – well – he snatched it out of my hands. I sat back down and gave my attention back to my dad. Instead of using the natural hole, you know – the one that is used to fill and empty the bag – he ripped it apart. The contents dropped at our feet. Yarn. A bunch of fucking yarn.

 

“You boys’r gonna learn how to be real Americans today. Get yer asses in gear!”

 

He didn’t tell us what to do – we knew what he wanted us to do.

 

My dad leaned over the side of his rocking chair and grabbed his decrepit old shotgun that he kept on our front porch. He held it across his chest and began to rock back and forth.

 

My brother and I picked up the yarn – he took the red and I took the white – and we began to knit.

 

You see, every year on the Fourth of July, my father would make us sing the national anthem while we knitted a replica of the American Flag. If we went too slow or botched a note, he would cackle and point the shotgun at our heads until we corrected our mistakes. This was our normal.

 

I’m 31 now. My brother and I ran away when we were 16 and 17, respectively. My dad’s body was found 2 weeks after he’d died – alone – sitting in his rocking chair, gun in hand – but with an unopened Walmart bag full of yarn. My dad may have been crazy – but he was a patriot. And as crazy as he was – I understand now. You see, the older I become, the more I feel like I don’t understand this world – our world. I feel like a rollie pollie trying to make it across a front porch without getting squashed. God bless America.

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