Archive for arts and farts and crafts

Arts! Farts! Crafts! Candid Photography! Kittens!

Posted in arts and farts and crafts with tags on August 15, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

Take a photograph (or find a preexisting photograph).  Use that as your own prompt.  Submit the original photo plus the entry it inspired.

Not a bad prompt, if I may say so myself!  And I may!  I may say so myself!

Here’s my picture.

Today’s story is a true one.  It actually happened today.

This morning was like any other morning.  I was on my laptop.  My parents were sleeping.  My brother was on his way to work.  I received a phone call from my brother a few minutes after he took off.

“Look out the window,” he said.

I did.  A cat was staring at me.

My brother told me about how the kitty had jumped into his car as he was leaving for work, and about the ordeals he faced in trying to escape from the overly friendly cat without mowing it down.

I watched the cat attack a neighbor of ours in the same fashion, and then I decided to go out and play.  Timely arrival at work be damned!  I was going to play with a friendly kitty!

The cat and I became fast friends.  “You’re a cute little kitty,” I said, although it sounded more like “Yaw a cute widdle kiwwy” than anything else.  I don’t know why I liked the cat so much.  I hate animals (or at least the domestication of said animals).  But if any animal was asking to be domesticated, it was this cat.  It wanted a home, and more specifically, it wanted my home.

I had to sprint around the block so the cat wouldn’t get into my house.  I lost him!  But when I came outside twenty minutes later to go to work, the cat was right there on the porch.

“I love you cat,” I said, “and I want to make you my pet.”  I knew it would never happen.  We don’t do pets; there are allergies.  A whole mess of excuses flowed into my brain, but I didn’t care.  I needed to keep my new cat around.

“And if you’re one of those cats that’s actually a human except you’ve been transformed?” I said. “I’ll be back at five o’clock. I’ll save you!”

I sprinted around the block to lose the cat, and then I drove to work.

The cat stayed on my front porch and played with/annoyed my family all day.  Even when the house was vacant for hours, that cat was there until eight o’clock at night.

Not really a fiction entry (or an interesting entry), but I wanted that cat and I hope it finds a good home.  More cute pictures and videos are available at my Flickr.

We have a special treat this week–a new contributer!  Meet Jessica of “Have We Met?”  Here is her entry.

This photo was taken last autumn in Salem, Mass. I found it carved into someones driveway while I was trespassing in their backyard. There were complicated circumstances surrounding my trip to the area and was haunted by “I AM INNOCENT” for a great deal of time. Who was I to complain after what had taken place there?

That’s pretty cool, and actually pretty chilling! Thanks for the entry, Jessica, and I hope to see more in the future!

For next week:  a prompt.

Pick an animal.  Do a study on that animal using whatever media you so desire.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday August 7. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

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Arts and Farts and Crafts: Muggyver

Posted in arts and farts and crafts with tags on August 7, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

You are stuck somewhere. Situation: Sticky air, dry gum, paper clips, and an explosion. MacGyver your way out of this situation.

Not a lot to work with, right?  Right.  I decided to leave out the explosion, because honestly it would be easy to just blow up some walls and be done with it.  So what do I have?  Gum and paper clips.  Guess I’ll be writing more about the “stuck” part than the MacGyver part, as much as I love a good MacGyver.

First off:  I apologize for any scatological references.  This is what happens when I (an immature mid-twenties male) freewrite.  There will be poo.

Second off:  this may be the worst thing I’ve ever written.  I apologize for that, too.  There’s a certain point (about three words into the story) where I decided to purposely write poorly.

Hey!  Nobody reads these anyway!  They just come for TWD posts!

Quickpoo

Here I sit.
Brokenhearted.
Came to shit.
Then the entire outhouse imploded on itself.

Was that what you were expecting. Sorry. I don’t rhyme. Rhyming is for idiots. I went to the bathroom in this backwater burg and next thing I knew I was ten meters into the ground. Not a lot of stuff to do when you’re in a narrow tunnel of human waste, I’ll tell you what.

And then I started sinking. Great. Wonderful. I had to decide: should I struggle and try to pull myself up; or, should I stay as still as possible to avoid sinking lower? I asked myself, what would Indiana Jones do? He’d pull himself up via snake, I answered. I asked my devotional bracelet, what would Jesus do? My bracelet didn’t have any answers. It’s the one asking the questions around here.

It certainly did smell.

I reached into my pocket. A pack of gum. I reached into my other pocket. Nothing. I reached into my other pocket. Nothing. I reached into my other pocket. Nothing. I reached into my other pocket. Nothing. I reached into my other pocket. A couple paper clips. Terrific. What would I do with bubble gum, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, and paper clips? And why did I need so many pockets?

Wikipedia tells me that cargo pockets generally have accordion folds in the sides for increased capacity, and often have large flaps secured with snaps or velcro. They are used on battledress or sport hunting clothing for carrying maps, compasses and other equipment in an easily accessible way. This is all well, and this is all good, but how will that help me in my current predicament?

It won’t, but it will help me meet a word count.

Thanks, Wikipedia!

Have I established that I had many pockets? And that they were empty? They were. So empty. What’s the point of having six cargo pockets if I do not carry anything useful in them? Where was I again? Oh yes, in the bog of eternal stench. It was a dark and stormy night. Very dark. Very stormy.

I sank and I sank and I sank. Eventually, I was in over my head. Literally. I held my breath. And I sank and I sank and I kept sinking. I kept holding my breath, too, of course.

About two years later, I emerged from the ground. Where was I? I was in China. I had sunk the whole way through the world. Neat! I went to a local businessman’s house, and I paid him bubble gum and paper clips so that I could take a shower. Then I began my long walk home.

The End.

More entries may come in–at the very least, a late effort from Nichole.  I’ll be at the beach until Sunday, so I won’t be updating or returning comments!  If you played along this week, please comment as such on this post.

For next week:  a prompt.

Take a photograph (or find a preexisting photograph).  Use that as your own prompt.  Submit the original photo plus the entry it inspired.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday August 7. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Arts and Farts and Crafts – Saying Goodbye

Posted in arts and farts and crafts with tags , , , , , on July 31, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

Saying goodbye.

Today is my good friend Nichole’s last day at work.  Will we ever see her again?  I sure hope so.  Without her, Arts and Farts and Crafts is just a lonely ol’ me posting his lonely ol’ stuff.  Also, life will be kind of boring and depressing all-around (even in that strange, mysterious non-Internet world).

Also, here’s this! Not my favorite, but it’ll do as an Arts and Farts and Crafts Rough Draft.

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/83654/muppets_saying_goodbye.swf
Muppets Saying Goodbye

So my entry for this week has nothing to do with leaving your friends behind…well, not really.

Welcome to your last day on Earth.
It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?  I’m sorry to say that it’s almost over.  Was it a good life?  Wait, don’t tell us.  We have to get it in writing.  If you’re not too busy, we’d like you to fill out these survey cards.
What I need for you to do is to read this form.  Check the boxes next to the answers.  “Not at all?”  “To some extent?”  “Very much so?”  “Don’t know?”  So you go through and you answer all of these questions and then you get to move on and enjoy your last day.  I promise.
Mmm hmmm.
Mmmmm hmmm.
Good.
All right then.  Now we just have a little bit of paperwork to go over and you can go about your business.
Sign here.
And here.
Sign and date here.
Print your name, please.
And sign here and here.
Hey, don’t cry.  You’re one of the lucky ones.  Some of us have to work customer service.  We’re just about done!  It’s just about over.  Just imagine what it will be like when you walk out this door.  Will there be clouds?  Harps?  Beautiful, naked women?  I can’t tell you.  This is where I stop.  I stop here.  I can’t go on to heaven.  Not yet.
Listen.  You’re going to get a call when you get to heaven.  Maybe in about five days.  They’re going to ask you a series of questions.  Eight questions.  Did you enjoy your life?  What were the best qualities of your life?  What, if anything, would you change?  You know.  Standard quality-control questions.  But here’s the important part.  They’re going to ask you about me.  About how I eased your passage from one world to the other.  They’re going to ask you to rate me on a scale from one to five–one being the worst and five being the best.  Let me give it to you straight.  The ratings system is a little skewed, and here’s what I mean.  If you give me anything from a one to a four, it’s automatically a zero.  A five is the only thing that registers for me.  Can I trust you to do me that one favor?
Good.  Didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that.  It’s just very important.
Listen, kid.  You’re going to be great up there.  First of all, there’s no problems.  Sure, I mean, there could be problems.  What do I know?  But I have it on pretty good authority that everything is sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows up in heaven.  If not literally, than at least figuratively.  You’re finally going to get that girlfriend you’ve always wanted.  Or boyfriend.  I mean, up in heaven they don’t care about that stuff.  They just want you to be happy.  If it makes you happy to get Tinky Winky all stinky?  Well, it’s not my way, but by-gum if I’m going to stop you.
Okay, okay.  So you don’t have any of those urges.  Then what’s holding you back?  Listen, kid.  This isn’t some cock-and-bull story.  This is the end and the beginning.  Think of your time on earth as a military tour of duty.  Does it suck?  Yes.  Yes, it sucks, but that’s war.  But eventually you’ll get discharged.  Some day you’re going to make it to that golden land, where there’s always somebody to push your prematurely crippled body around in a wheelchair.  Today is that day.  All you need to do is sign here at the “X” and again down below.
Well, it looks like the day is dying.  The sun is setting and so soon will you.  I hope you had a great life, and thank you for spending your time with us today.


I’m pleased to say that we have another entry this week. It’s Clara of IHeartFood4Thought. In last week’s comments, she posted a haiku! Our first Arts and Farts and Crafts poem!

Haiku for Ugly Dude’s Nichole

In good times and bad
Boyz II Men said it the best
Hard to say goodbye


Nichole will probably have an entry this week, and maybe some others. Please spread the word about Arts and Farts and Crafts to any of your artsy, fartsy, crafty friends. The more people that play along, the more motivated I am to keep writing (I’m determined not to let my English degree go to waste).

Next week’s theme is forthcoming.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday August 7. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Arts and Farts and Crafts – The Wind Beneath My Wings

Posted in arts and farts and crafts, fiction with tags , , , , on July 24, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

If I hear one more “you are the wind beneath my wings” I’m going to vomit. Literally. All over the floor and hopefully on Miss Suzie’s shoes. She’s a curmudgeon of a woman. 4.’11?, 80, and nosey as hell. I’m hope it has chunks. My vomit. Slouching in my chair I eyeball the happy couple. My best friend and my ex-fiancée together for ever. And their wedding song.

You Had Me From Hello

Said hello came when I finally arranged for my life long best friend to meet my fiancée.

I hope they choke on the wedding cake. Or possibly get a tin can stuck in the wedding car’s exhaust pipe. Karma happens.

I took a bit of a run with it. I don’t actually get to the aforementioned wedding. Or the wedding. And I didn’t actually write a story, but just a dialogue (it’s my playwright roots, I guess). I like making dialogue and the rest of the stuff bores me sometimes.

So think of this as a dialogue-only prequel to the actual prompt. Of all the Arts and Farts and Crafts so far, this one may be the most worth-developing to me.

You Had Me From Hello

Very Hank

“Hello.”
“Hello.”
“How are you?”
“I’m engaged.”
“Oh, congratulations! I’m single. To mingle.”
“I’m also fine, thanks for asking.”
“You’re most welcome. Do you have a ring?”
“Oh, yeah, sure, right here.”
“That’s a nice looking ring. I’m Bruce, by the way.”
“Bruce. Pleasure. I’m Juanita.”
“Juanita? Interesting. You don’t look very…”
“Very…”
“You don’t look very Juanita.”
“Well, I am. I’m not Hispanic, though. The help was named Juanita.”
“Named after the maid.”
“My father insisted.”
“Of course.”
“She was prettier than my mom.”
BEAT
“So where’s…Mr. Juanita?”
“Over there. That’s Hank.”
“Oh. Hank. He looks very Hank.”
“He is. He is very Hank.”
“Oh…that’s a shame. I’m sorry to hear that..”
“It’s okay most of the time.”
“Oh, yeah, no, I’m sure.”
“I’m not interested, though, Bruce.”
“I’m just giving this my best shot.”
“My plate’s already full.”
“Well, there’s always room for some meat on the side.”
*eye roll*
“Dessert? I wasn’t sure what was the better line.”
“I’m already cheating on Hank. With his best friend, actually.”
“His best friend.”
“Rudolph.”
“Rudolph.”
“Mmm hmm.”
“Rudolph. Rudolph. Big red nose? And…?” *gestures antlers*
“You’re very funny, Bruce. Bye.”

The Wind

“Hello?”
“Hello.”
“How was your day?”
“Oh, you know. Pretty good. Yours?”
“What did you do today?”
“Well, same-old, really. Stapled some letters. Mailed some letters. Opened some letters.”
“No kidding.”
“It’s the circle of life and it moves us all. How was yours?”
“Hank.”
“What’s up?”
“Hank.”
“Yeah?”
“We need to talk.”
“You know I’m always here to talk.”
“Are you going to talk or are you just going to sit there an say ‘uh-huh?'”
“Is that what I usually do?”
“Yes.”
“Then that is probably what I’ll do now.”
“Good. I don’t want you to say anything anyway.”
“Then it’s settled. Agreed?”
“Agreed.”
BEAT
“So go on. Talk at me.”
“I think it’s time we went different ways.”
“Uh-huh.”
“I’m just…we’re just not happy, are we?”
“Well.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I saw it coming anyway.”
“What? No you didn’t. When?”
“Well, probably around the time you started sleeping with Rudolph.”
“No! I wouldn’t do…don’t be paranoid.”
“No, he told me.”
“When?”
“The first time you did it. He felt pretty bad about it.”
“That was two years ago!”
“Yeah, it sure was.”
“And you didn’t say anything?”
“You were happier.”
“What kind of person doesn’t-”
“Well, you know.”
“Is there anything more to say?”
“I’m keeping the Muppets on Ice tickets.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Hank. Bye.”

So there’s that.

Nichole finally has her own blog, so she can post her own stories!  Here’s an excerpt of her piece:

But apparently not for some time for me. In my peripherals I see Wes sidling closer to me avoiding Miss Suzie’s pink taffeta monstrosity of a dress – no small feat. I try to edge away in the opposite direction only to trip on a bowling pin left over from some poor attempt of a dance ice breaker. I watch in a disinterested sort of way as the ballroom floor rushes up to catch me. I mid flight I feel a jerk and with a numb terror realize Wes had attempted to catch me by yanking on the purely decorative swash of fabric draped over one hip. A rip…and I was on the floor, dress less.

Next week’s theme, as selected by me:

Saying goodbye

Let’s honor my friend Nichole’s exit from our workplace by writing stories about saying goodbye (ps this will be significantly less fun if nobody else participates :-p)

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday July 31. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Arts and Farts and Crafts: Stealing People

Posted in arts and farts and crafts, fiction, movies with tags , , , , on July 17, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

Use a character (or characters) from a preexisting work of fiction.

Like all of my ideas, I didn’t actually sit around and think it up. For some strange reason, Lando Calrissian being sent to the high school guidance counselor actually popped into my head during the week. I’m not sure how “quality” this entry is. I wrote it quick (and I was so overwhelmed by the response to my pudding post that I spent a lot of time reading other people’s entries and trying to comment. I’m still not caught up in that regard. Anyway, here’s my lame and weird entry.

You’re A Good Man, Lando Calrissian

You’re young, handsome and debonair. You have an innate fashion sense. I like you. I really do. You show so much promise. That’s why I called you into my office today.

You’re throwing your life away, Lando Calrissian. You hang out with the bad crowds. You know the types. The ones who think they’re so strapping in their beat-up white shirts and black vests. Space pirates. The dregs of society. You always wanted something more out of life. You wanted to be a lawyer. You wanted to go into politics. Those dreams will disappear in a flurry of Sabbacc and blaster fire.

Do you really want to be a card player? Gambler? Scoundrel?

I believe in you. You could do great things. You could become a governor! A senator! Baron administrator of any city you desire! Instead, you’re going to end up a corpse in the depths of Coruscant. A lifeless corpse. I should know. I’m a guidance counselor.

All you have to do is take the fist step. Better your situation. Get into the Imperial Academy. Then, after that’s taken care of, worry about going to grad school; taking your LSATS. You have the knowledge and charisma to win at whatever you do, but if all you want to do is spice and death sticks…I’m sorry for getting choked up, but it’s just so disappointing to see great promise go to waste.

Don’t even worry so much about the LSATS at this point. Baby steps, Mr. Calrissian. I can tell you’ve been losing sleep, and frankly I have too. Go on the straight and narrow. You’ll be able to stop worrying so much. You still have a chance. You will still have a future, unless your planet is destroyed by global warming or a Death Star.

To get to sleep, my grandmother used to go through the senate supreme chancellors in her head. Took her mind off other things, activated the memory instead of the active brain, etc. She could do it chronologically, reverse-chronologically, alphabetically, and reverse-alphabetically. If that didn’t work, she moved on to the grand moffs (who presumably bored her to sleep).

I guess what I’m saying is, if your mind is racing, get it racing to something inconsequential and boring. That’s why counting banthas works, at any rate.

Also, what I’m saying is that Darth Vader will blow up your planet and eat your children.

Nichole also went the movie route, and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell what “character” she utilized. Here’s what she had to say: “Complete and utter crap. A character from Indiana Jones. Let me know if you can tell who. Did I mention that this was crap. Trash it, right away!” Sounds like she wants her entry on the Internet to me!

Hand-made from a small tannery in Louisiana. The best. Never faltering, always crackling. With energy.

The sound. *CRAAACCK* My one small pleasure.

This what I am. I was created to snap sharply, splitting air. To herd. To encourage submission of all wild beasts. Especially horses.

But this man. This odd, peculiar, chameleon is different. Asking not to submit great beasts (as small as I might be I am excellent at this), but to warn away those who would destroy the powerless. A Sidewinder, a rattler.

We threaten, guide, and then escape, evading short puffs of iron. A death defying waltz. Tap. Tap.

When I was created I expected my destiny to encourage great post carriages carrying vast treasures across the once great plains.

Instead, I sat unused, unacknowledged for years. Until one boy brought my destiny.

One boy that changed it all.

I have been to the end and back of this flat world. Pyramids. God. Aliens. Great treasures to tempt the saintly and knowledge to corrupt the incorruptible. He is neither. A scholar. And I have no desire to turn on him (as all eventually do). A weapon that is not…admiring a man dying from the disease of humanity. Then what will I be? What is left of old wrapped leather? A threat. A warning. Fading away in this world of machines.

Forgetting once that I was crafted by hand to become a conqueror. And yet I guide instead.

Next week’s theme is as follows:

If I hear one more “you are the wind beneath my wings” I’m going to vomit. Literally. All over the floor and hopefully on Miss Suzie’s shoes. She’s a curmudgeon of a woman. 4.’11”, 80, and nosey as hell. I’m hope it has chunks. My vomit. Slouching in my chair I eyeball the happy couple. My best friend and my ex-fiancée together for ever. And their wedding song.

You Had Me From Hello.

Said hello came when I finally arranged for my life long best friend to meet my fiancée.

I hope they choke on the wedding cake. Or possibly get a tin can stuck in the wedding car’s exhaust pipe. Karma happens.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday July 24. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Arts and Farts and Crafts Week 4 – Naked in NYC

Posted in arts and farts and crafts, fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

An amnesiac man wakes up naked standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour. He doesn’t know how he got there, and his only clue is an iPod strapped to his arm in a runners band. It contains the audiobook of Dante’s Inferno, a jingle for Wrigley’s, every work done by Beethoven, and the sound of a door shutting on an infinite loop.

My goal with this piece was to take the clearly “zany” prompt (chosen by my friend Nichole) and turn it into something poignant or at least serious.

Because symphonies are involved in the prompt, I decided to write in symphony form.  I lost my interest in following symphonic form somewhere along the way, mainly because this is supposed to be a fun freewrite.  I don’t believe I’ll be expanding upon this entry, but I’ll definitely keep the “symphony” form in mind for future writing–especially poetry.

Here is my entry.

Unfinished Symphony

First Movement (Allegro)

Overture. Open eyes. Pavement. Flesh. Strings swell.

Confusion. I look down and see my protrusion. Praying that it’s all an illusion; no obvious conclusion.

Motion. Locomotion. No emotion. Nothing but an ocean of commotion. Hustle; bustle; rush; no hush. I look down and blush. A nude, lewd dude waiting to be booed by some prude. Screwed.


Second Movement

So this must be amnesia. I know that much. In fact, for somebody who has forgotten everything, I seem to know quite a bit. I know that ball of feathers over there is a pigeon. I know that lump under the blankets is a homeless person (and I know that if I had money to give them, they would just spend it on alcohol). Nobody is reacting to my hideous nakedness, so I know that I am in New York. I can read the letters on the side of every building. “Toys ‘R’ Us” on my right; “TKTS” in the middle of the road. How can I know all of this, but I don’t remember my name?

How does the brain know what to forget?

Do I need some sort of visual stimulus to remind me? If my father is still alive and I see him walking down the street, will I recognize him? Does my brain file things in a “vault”-a sort of elementary school permanent record, locked away and never to be seen again? In amnesia, does my brain automatically forget personal information? Does it not want to remember?

You only “remember” the stuff you think about anyway. You don’t walk down the street and “remember” a duck, or even “remember” the fact that ducks exist. When you see a duck, you know. That’s when you truly believe. That’s when you truly believe in a duck. So maybe my brain is normal. There’s no vault. There’s no forgetting. There’s just me. I don’t want to think about my past, and so I do not remember my past. I don’t believe in my past, and I don’t believe in myself.

There is no Cornelius Weatherberry (which, for all I know, is my given name). There is only Naked Man, resplendent in his opalescent, paste-white glory.

What happened to my clothes? Don’t know, don’t care, don’t want to think about it. Why do I have this MP3 player strapped to my arm? Don’t know, don’t care, don’t want to think about it. I shuffle through the music like a coroner picking through the wallet of a body at a grisly crime scene. Every piece of available information can be used to identify the corpse. In my case: slim pickings. The abridged Inferno by Dante, divided into nine tracks to represent the nine circles of hell; the sound of a door shutting; the complete works of Ludwig Von Beethoven; the complete collection of Wrigley’s gum commercial jingles.

The eclectic mix of words, music, and sounds? Don’t know, care, et cetera. It’s the statement of a great mint. It’s Doublemint gum.

I chose Party Shuffle, because I bet I liked to party in my previous life.

Track one.

For such defects, and not for other guilt,
Lost are we and are only so far punished,
That without hope we live on in desire.”

Great grief seized on my heart when this I heard,
Because some people of much worthiness
I knew, who in that Limbo were suspended.

“Tell me, my Master, tell me, thou my Lord,”
Began I, with desire of being certain
Of that Faith which o’ercometh every error,

“Came any one by his own merit hence,
Or by another’s, who was blessed thereafter?”

Boring. SKIPPED.

Track two.

A door closes.

Track three.

Four notes. Over and over again. Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Boring. There are other notes, you see, than those four. Dum dum dum DUM! Dumb dumb dumb dumb; SKIPPED.

Track four.

A door closes.

Track five.

A door closes.

Track six.

When the exasperated soul abandons
The body whence it rent itself away,
Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss.

It falls into the forest, and no part
Is chosen for it; but where Fortune hurls it,
There like a grain of spelt it germinates.

It springs a sapling, and a forest tree;
The Harpies, feeding then upon its leaves,
Do pain create, and for the pain an outlet.

Like others for our spoils shall we return;
But not that any one may them revest,
For ’tis not just to have what one casts off.

Track seven.

Freedent Gum won’t stick to most dental work.

Track eight.

Of a new pain behoves me to make verses
And give material to the twentieth canto
Of the first song, which is of the submerged.

Boring. You are boring me.

Track nine.

So kiss a little longer
Hug a little longer
Stay close a little longer
Longer with Big Red.

I remember. A door closes.

Third Movement (Minuet and Trio)

Eyes. Blue-grey. Hair. Dark-brown. Kiss. Too-wet. Laughs. Too-dry. Smile. Wide-gapped.

Gone for-good.

Drink too-much. Strip to-none. Climb too-high. Jump too-far. Land on-head.

Fourth Movement (Rondo)

So laugh a little longer
Make it last a little longer
Give your breath long lasting freshness-
With Big Red!

____________________________________
Here’s Nichole’s entry for this week. It pairs nicely with last week’s entry, and maybe they’ll all come together like in Heroes and save the cheerleader!

Okay, I wasn’t intentionally trying to direct this piece, but for some reason it decided at last minute it wanted to be a part of last weeks challenge. Oh well. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with Norse mythology, here’s a little bit on the ones I mentioned.

Loki is the god of mischief. He is often portrayed as an evil god or at the very least, one that has a screwed up moral compass. He is often the nemeses of Thor and Odin.

Odin is the Norse equivalent of Zeus. He’s the head of the pantheon and father to Thor among others. Odin is the god of War, Death, Poetry and Wisdom.

Muninn is one of the two ravens that belong to Odin. Muninn is memory and the other, Huginn, is thought. These two travel the world everyday and return to Odin every night to sit on his shoulder and tell him what they saw and heard.

Thor is the god of Thunder and while that does not sound particularly powerful, Thor is one of the most powerful gods in the Norse pantheon. He is also a well liked god because unlike Odin he does not require human sacrifice. Thor is known as a protector from evil for both human and gods.

And now to the response…

I found out that hard way that shutting your eyes is not an effective way to hide. But it was my only defense. It worked for five year olds, it could work for me…right? My head ached in tune with my heart. Thump, thump, thump. Wait a minute. What the.

The wind picks up a bit shivering around my dangly bits, and slaps a small cord against my arm. A small cord that leads to a iPod strapped high up on, if I may say so myself, a well muscled bicep. My headache intensified as I concentrated on the thumping which strangely enough was not that of my heart as I first assumed, but that of what sounded like a door. A door that was stuck in a permanent loop of slamming shut and then open and then shut again.

Flashing light caught my attention and I looked up to watch two patrol cars screeching to a painful, jolting halt. Three cops pushed through a Japanese couple who were tacking frantic pictures in my direction and a teenager with an obscenely color blinding combination of clothing chomping on a rather large wad of gum. I watched them stomp closer calmly. Why was I calm? Why shouldn’t I be? It’s not like I could successfully run away and hide. I was naked. Completely and utterly bare. And I had no reason to feel guilty. I didn’t even know where the hell I was, not to mention all the other minor things in life. Such as a name, a history, I.D., etc.

(Skip rest of scene – to police station – finish later)

The station on 43rd was as cold and barren as one would expect. It was also raucous which completely eclipsed the slightly guilty feeling creeping up in my throat. Did I do anything bad recently? Not anything I knew about, but hell, feeling guilty must be what normal people felt when they entered a police station and I wasn’t going to be any different than anyone else. (At least I thought normal people felt such emotion upon entering a station, but as things stood I really had no idea.)

Officer McAllister, a petite woman with flint grey eyes gave me a look that made my testicles pull up underneath my scratchy emergency blanket. I am pathetic. I stood up straighter towering over her quite unintentionally. And then stepped back as her look became every scarier. This woman probably ate alligators live…for breakfast. Breakfast of champions.

The remaining two officers (out of the three sent to arrest me), including the alligator lady, directed me towards a room on the far end of the station. We had to step over two fallen chairs (victims in a war involving a man waving a stapler in a most threatening fashion) and detour around a lady that had managed to stick an entire wad of dripping toilet paper to her forehead. It slid slowly towards her right temple. I don’t think a naked man is the police’s biggest concern at the moment. And to be fair. I’m no longer naked. I have a toga…made out of a scratchy wool blanket, but still a toga.

Two men in cheap black suits swung from suspended fluorescent lights. I craned my head around Officer Nielsen (a hulking example of broad muscles and blonde hair) to watch a complicated release maneuver that failed and landed the man directly into a small trash can, butt first. My fascination with the stuck man faded though when I was shoved directly into the small room and shut the door.

Okay.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” A tired voice second my unspoken thought of ‘what the hell.’

A man giggled. “Nope.”

I gave a brief look to the nondescript man in a colorful tie standing in the corner. He was giving me an unsettling grin so wide that I could see all four of his canines. Just a bit creepy. I quickly shifted attention to the other man in the room. Tired brown eyes watched me before switching to the creep.

“He’s going to help me stop Ragnarök?”

Hold up…what? What does that mean?

The creepy dude cackled and the hair on my arms stood up and did the hula. No I’m serious. They did.

“Loki.” The man at the desk was angry. I was confused. And concerned. And a tiny bit cold. Hey! I’m half naked here.

The iPod sudden switched to a monotone voice. “There is no greater sorrow/Than to be mindful of the happy time/In misery.”

“What the hell?” I scrabbled at my makeshift toga unintentionally flashing the creepy man in my haste to reach the long forgotten iPod (that had still been opening and shutting a door continuously). I twisted my arm about and looked the display safe in it’s clear plastic case. It read.

Dante’s Inferno. Longfellow Translation. Inferno (V, 121).

I glanced at Loki who had suddenly become solemn. He directed his next phrase to the tired man. “He’s one of Odin’s, Muninn.”

The other man sighed. “An amnesiac man. Ironic.”

An amnesiac man wakes up naked standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour. He doesn’t know how he got there, and his only clue is an iPod strapped to his arm in a runners band. It contains the audiobook of Dante’s Inferno, a jingle for Wrigley’s, every work done by Beethoven, and the sound of a door shutting on an infinite loop.

Next week’s theme is as follows:

Use a character (or characters) from a preexisting work of fiction in next week’s entry.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday July 17. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

Arts and Farts and Crafts – Week 4 – Prison Clouds

Posted in arts and farts and crafts, fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2008 by uglydudefood

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

My attempts at reason and quiet diplomacy fell on deaf ears as they began to wrap themselves in toilet paper from head to foot and chant “We want women.” I retreated to the relative quiet of my room and read the writing of a monk who lived alone on a mountaintop for thirty-seven years in search of a deeper understanding of the world. His main conclusion, when he came down, was that you can see very far on top of a mountain unless it is cloudy. Imprisoned for his radical ideas, he died several years later in jail. The only writing from this time period that survived is the line: “There are no clouds in a prison.”

-From The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper:  My Life, My Tapes (as heard by Scott Frost)

Inspiration is a funny thing.  This week it was my turn to pick a theme, and I thought this one was pretty neat.  I sat here and stewed over the prompt, and then I began writing.  I guess what I’m saying is, don’t judge me for coming up with a piece that is all about poop jokes, and which has no tangible ties to the actual prompt.  The piece did spring from the prompt (in some twisted way), but that’s about where it stops.

This is a dialogue, which I may use in the future and may not.  Either way, it’s plain to see that I need to work on the unnatural nature of my dialogue.

Untitled Dialogue

(Phone)

A: How’s summer camp?

B: Stephanie just came into my cabin to talk to me, except I was in the bathroom pooping. It was…

A: Bizarre.

B: …bizarre. It was bizarre. It was bizarre.

A: I know just what you mean. The other day my boss pissed at the urinal next to mine. Started talking about American Idol.

B: Weird.

A: I know. I don’t even watch American Idol, but I had to play along. He’s my boss.

B: Uh huh.

A: Plus, things would have gotten weird if I’d stopped him.

B: He was talking to you while you were urinating.

A: Oh.

B: Weird, right?

A: Yeah. Time and a place, man. Time and a place.

B: Uh huh.

A: What did Stephanie talk to you about?

B: I told her there were alligators in the shower house.

A: That doesn’t make sense.

B: It does not. There were not alligators in the shower house. Just a plumbing problem.

A: Yep.

B: In case you were wondering, alligators do not live at this camp.

A: Yeah, no. I am aware of the alligator situation in central Pennsylvania and it is quite dire.

B: Really.

A: Did it strike you at all to make as many loud farts as possible? You know. End the conversation in one foul swoop.

B: I think you mean ‘fell swoop.

A: No, it would most decidedly be foul.

B: Well I didn’t. I felt self-conscious and stopped.

A: Oh. I would poop extra hard.

FIN

_____________________________________________

Welcome to our newest member, Conor Schaefer, who gives us his first submission!  The piece is called “A Joining,” and it falls in the Short Fiction category.  If you’re looking for a piece inspired by the prompt that doesn’t involve a lot of poop and pee, you’ll be well-met to click this link and read Conor’s fantastic entry.  Here is a brief excerpt, although there is so much more at his site.

Otto Gottlieb is a rusty old lamppost of a man. A lit cigarette in the rain. The ash collects like fallen snow in the crevices of his worn leather jacket and the rain sullies it. He stands articulated on a square in a nonexistent European town, waiting for a bus already come and gone.

He doesn’t want to answer his door. Without peering out the window, he knows the jaguars are walking about on two feet again. In the den, a clay sculpture of a Sphinx is pushed off the mantel and dashes itself against the stone beneath. Its head breaks off, rather than just the nose. Yet again, the universe fails to be as poetic as it could, if it cared.

_________________________________________

Here is my friend Nichole’s piece. She doesn’t have a blog of her own, and I am reposting this with her permission. She takes the most straightforward extension of the theme, and plans to develop this further. Pretty darn good, huh?

My attempts at reason and quiet diplomacy fell on deaf ears as they began to wrap themselves in toilet paper from head to foot and chant “We want women.” I retreated to the relative quiet of my room and read the writing of a monk who lived alone on a mountaintop for thirty-seven years in search of a deeper understanding of the world. His main conclusion, when he came down, was that you can see very far on top of a mountain unless it is cloudy. Imprisoned for his radical ideas, he died several years later in jail. The only writing from this time period that survived is the line: “There are no clouds in a prison.”

The relative quiet became real quiet as a sudden hush made the skin beneath my fingernails crawl. I looked up from my dog eared college textbook to see a pudgy face pressed against my glass door, lips bloated obscenely against the glass. And was that a wiggling tongue? Well it at least explained my co-workers behavior in the lunch room, and the evidence room, and the records room. Contrary to popular belief FBI agents did not spend their work day hanging from fluorescent lights or chanting about their desire for women. Especially, Alice Cooper. She was six months pregnant with her second child by the same man. Somehow I doubted she wanted women.

The grotesque face pulled away from the glass to show a fairly nondescript man. Shit brown hair, coal eyes, and a green polka dot tie decorated the man, who wasn’t really a man. Okay, so not as nondescript as I first thought, but to be fair his clothing choice was the only thing making him stand out at all. I looked wearily at the textbook before closing it with a loud WHACK. I waved him in and avoided watching him move. He looked human, but didn’t move like one. It always made me a little queasy watching muscles and bones move where there shouldn’t have been either.

One gum covered sole rubbed goo onto my desk and I gave it and it’s owner a look. A chuckle that echoed with hundreds of voices was all I got for my effort. The shoe remained.

“What do you want? And my co-workers?”

Loki shrugged. “They’re enjoying themselves. And we want the usual my nephew.” He smiled widely showing dagger like teeth. “We want you to stop Ragnarök.”

Well it wasn’t every day the god of Mischief asked you to save his life. This definitely topped my captain growing donkey ears during a meeting with NSA.

Next week’s theme is from Nichole.

An amnesiac man wakes up naked standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour. He doesn’t know how he got there, and his only clue is an iPod strapped to his arm in a runners band. It contains the audiobook of Dante’s Inferno, a jingle for Wrigley’s, every work done by Beethoven, and the sound of a door shutting on an infinite loop.

Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday July 10. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!