I wrote a little poem today for the last day of Winter.

I’m always disturbed by most people’s lack of tolerance for Winter. It actually irritates me. I mean, so–you’d rather wish months of your life away because you can’t handle darkness, cold and snow?

That’s just weird

I love Winter.

Anyway–here’s my poem.

Enjoy.

Winter is the kid

who’d bring a gun to school.

Everybody hates him.

They make him feel like a tool.

They use him up for Christmas Day

and then they spit him out.

He has no one else to turn to

so he has time to think about

How everyone says they hate him

Every Single Day

That everything about him

is boring cold shitty and gray

That they wish he’d just be gone

And never seen again.

They hate him hate him hate him-

He has not one single friend

So after today he will be gone

You should be thankful, too-

Because if Winter was a kid

He’d bring a gun to school.

National Anthem, American Flag and the Unknown Soldier sat quietly at the bar nursing their beers.

Flo, the sassy high-haired waitress, cracked her gum and placed a gigantic appetizer platter in front of them.

“There ya go, boys,” she said. “Is there anything else I can get you?”

“Would you mind turning up that tv for us?” Flag asked.

“Sure thing, honey,” she answered and then she grabbed a remote and pointed it at the big screen television.

“Should we wait?” Anthem asked the others. A friend of theirs was in the latrine.

“Nah, he’ll be out in a second,” Flag answered, then they all started to dig into the potato skins, chicken fingers, cheese sticks, buffalo wings, pizza rolls, brownie bites and fun-sized candy bars.

A Sunday afternoon football game was coming on. All the patrons in the place turned their attention to the tv and watched, as they stayed seated over their wings-n-things, as the NFL players kneeled on the field instead of standing for the National Anthem.

National Anthem kept watching the show while putting a blob of sour cream on a potato skin and then ate the whole thing in one bite.

“These are good,” he told his friends with his mouth full, reaching for another.

Suddenly, a table full of dudes behind the American icons started flipping their shit. There were lots of cuss words and peanut shells flying all around them.

One guy was especially vocal.

He walked over to the bar, and put his beer down while holding it with white knuckles.

“Look at them millionaire sons-a-bitches. I’d like to kick their asses, disrespecting our country,” he said.

A puff of heated anger streamed from the guy’s nostrils like dragon fire, but, you know, not as cool. His face was as red as his ball cap.

“Ain’t you guys pissed about that,” he snapped at the trio.

Flag, Anthem and Unknown looked at him and then each other exasperated. They had grown tired over the years of people who could never grasp one of the true freedoms of being an American.

“Them millionaires got rich here and now they’re dissing you,” hot-head guy said loudly.

Everyone in the bar was watching and listening now.

Unknown Soldier took a long swig of his delicious craft beer, put it down on the counter, dragged his sleeve across his chin, turned on his bar stool and looked at the guy.

“They’re exercising their freedom of speech,” he explained calmly.

HotHead sneered.

“Don’t get all fancy on me with that educated opinion shit,” he said, moving closer.

“Freedom of speech is what you guys should be concerned about respecting,” Flag explained, starting to flap a little. He was agitated. He had come here for some beer, some grub and a little relaxation. Now he had to deal with this bs.

“You know what y’all are beginning to sound like to me?” Hotheaded guy asked.

“Let me guess,” Anthem replied. “Snowflakes?”

The pissed off guy’s mouth dropped open a little, disappointed because he didn’t get to say it.

Suddenly, the door to the men’s restroom swung open and the 4th friend from the American icon group came out buckling up his pants.

He was a yuge guy—strong, muscular, longish grey-hair, good-looking and wearing little round spectacles that made him look handsomely intelligent.

He looked up to see what was waiting for him at the bar.

And he winced.

“US Constitution!”, the Unknown Soldier hooted. “Finally, dude.”

“We got a live one for ya here,” Anthem said. “Come over here and explain some things to this guy.”

Constitution walked over and stood at least a foot taller than the dude in the red ball cap. That guy looked up at him and gulped.

Constitution’s bicep with the tattooed bald eagle flexed as he snapped up his beer. He held out his hand and shook hands with the other guy and introduced himself. Then he put his arm around the guy and turned with him to go sit at his table with his friends.

Anthem, Flag and Unknown heard him say as they walked away:

“Now, I’m going to be using some big words and explaining some big ideas here for a little bit. I want you to try and listen real good, okay?”

And the trio smiled a little, feeling good about the prevalence of common sense and enlightenment, then turned back to their appetizer platter and 3 fresh beers placed in front of them, on the house, by that snappy little gum-crackin’, big-smilin’ waitress Flo.

The End

A couple of nights ago, I was up in my room looking through my books and I started to look for a ticket stub I’ve saved since 3000 years ago. Or, as many of us know it, 1981.

I knew the ticket stub was tucked inside one of 3 bigger Beatles picture books I’ve owned for the longest time. I flipped through the pages, coming across loose pages, and black and white Xerox pictures of George and Paul that my sister and I had made on the copier at our local library.

‘Twas a different time, kids. You had to go places to make copies of pictures. And it was a glorious time, I’ll tell you.

Anyway, I found the ticket stub.

It was for the show “Beatlemania”.

The time was the beginning of the year 1981. I was in 8th grade. My best friend was also in 8th grade. My sister was in 7th grade. We had just discovered the Beatles right before John was murdered. And after he died…do you remember? The Beatles were everywhere again.

And that Fab Four media explosion was just what we needed to fuel our new interest and turn it into full-blown love affairs with the music and the men who made it.

So, if I remember correctly, and believe me–I am reaching way back here–I think we found out about the Beatlemania show the day of the show. And we asked our moms if we could go. Amazingly, my mom said she would take us and my best friend’s mom said she could go with us.

Looking back on it, this was nothing short of a miracle. It was a school night, my mom had to work the next day and it was January (there had to have been snow on the ground).

But sure enough, we 3 silly girls and our hero of a mom went to the show and we had really good seats in the front of the loge at a popular concert venue here in our city.

Beatlemania was a Broadway musical featuring four dudes who dressed like the Beatles and played the same instruments as the Beatles and took their audiences on trips through the 1960’s with images from the times flashing on a screen while the band played the massively incredible and world-changing song catalog.

It was a show designed to take you back, or in our case introduce us to, and enjoy.

 

Beatlemania wasn’t, however, really a show designed to make you get out of your seat and dance.

Keep that in mind as my story goes on.

To say we loved the show is an understatement. We were located just far enough away from the guys on the stage to help us imagine that they could really be the actual guys if we pretended hard enough. And believe me, we did. Also, the show on the screen behind them was pretty cool, full of headlines and pictures from times before and right when we were born. My BFF brought her camera with her and snapped a few pics throughout the show. We needed documentation of this momentous occasion. I texted her last night (we’ve often talked lately about what if we would have had cell phones and texting back when we were young?! That would have been fucking awesome! But we didn’t, so…) and I asked her if she could remember details from that night.

I laughed out loud when she texted me the following photos:

beatlmania 2

Are these not the greatest photos in the history of photokind?! I remember we were so excited to get these pictures back and when we did we were so bummed out. Hey, at least she tried. After the initial disappointment over not being able to see anything besides the heads and rail in front of us, we laughed and laughed at these snapshots.

We’re STILL laughing about them! I can’t believe she still has them!

So, back to my story….

As we sat with my mom that night so long ago, we really got into the show. People all around us also enjoyed it from the comfort of their seats. It was all a very lovely and civil experience, jamming to the tunes of the BEATLES…

…til we got to the very end of the show and then something happened. My sister, my BFF and I could no longer contain ourselves.

We got up and danced in the aisles.

I am sitting here as I write this, racking my brain trying to remember what song we danced to and for some reason, Revolution keeps coming to mind. I’ve done some Googling, and for the life of me, I can’t find a list of the songs in the order we heard them that night. I’m almost positive it was Revolution.

This would get most people up and dancing, am I right?!

But here’s the funny part–I do remember my mother was not happy when we did this. I think she must have been totally embarrassed. But that didn’t stop us. We kept going. It was like we couldn’t help it. We were young girls possessed.

And it totally RULED.

The thing is, the other audience members didn’t seem to mind. In fact, I think they were digging the 3 young girls shaking it for all it was worth. Hell, they probably wished they could join us.

The dudes playing the Fab Four on the stage saw us too.

I like to think they congratulated themselves after the show on a job well-done. Those crazy kids up in the loge were losing their minds.

And having a blast.

And taking silly pictures.

And loving every minute of it.

And making their mother mad.

BEATLEMANIA indeed!

And from there, our love for the Beatles grew.

What a great memory.

It still makes me smile.

All these year later.

ticket

Suburban Neighbor Guy pulled the ginormous box of artillery from the flatbed of his truck.

 

The night air hung thick between the houses with the weight of hot-ass weather and patriotism. The scent of 10,000 charbroiled burgers and hot dogs bathed the night-time insects and filthy children flitting about over overgrown lawns. The gallery of adults lined in lawn chairs guzzled their economically-priced intoxicants while the vocal stylings of Toby Keith and Neil Diamond roused a sense of All-American feel good-ism.

 

Suburban Neighborhood Guy’s doughy arms flexed as he set up his array of explosives in the driveway. All the kids surrounded him, spazzed out by Mountain Dew and the desire to run with fire sticks in their hands.

 

When the prep was complete, Suburban hoisted a gigantic lighter and signaled the beginning of the pyrotechnical interpretative sky dance celebrating the nation’s struggle for freedom.

 

Then he lit loud firecracker after firecracker after firecracker after firecracker.  For like, hours.

 

When he arrived at the end of his show, he lit the tail of the biggest one of all. Much to the horror of the residents of Zippo Lane, the big ole Shock-N-Awe explosive detonated prematurely, causing the fire to ignite in Suburban’s face, blowing his body clear across the cul-de-sac.

 

He arrived at the Pearly Gates an hour later.

 

Feeling overwhelming sadness knowing he was dead, a huge sense of relief still washed over him because he had made it to Heaven. He exited the bus, checked in at the gate, and walked through the sparkling arches admiring the golden streets and puffy clouds that surrounded him.

 

Then he started noticing some weird stuff…like all the fire hydrants and bowls of water that dotted the way. There were also bowls and bowls of Milk Bones and Beggin’ Strips. And what the heck was it with all the fur-covered couches and tennis balls everywhere?

 

Suburban Neighborhood Guy forgot about the weird surroundings and felt a shiver run down his spine as he walked into a big wooden house with a nameplate across the entry that simply said

 

“GOD”

 

 

“This is it,” he said to himself. He shook like a leaf. “I’m about to come face to face with the Big Kahuna himself.”

 

He walked the golden path with tons of angel-people watching him make the journey. Suburban was nervous enough already, but these people were making it worse. The pitiful looks they gave him, the way they stared at his ripped clothing and the soot all over his body and face. What was their deal anyway? You’d think they’d all be smiling like crazy, being residents of Heaven. And what the? There were tons of winged cats and dogs in the place. He had no idea pets went to Heaven, too. Sure, he had always kinda hoped that they did. But he had heard that they didn’t from some pastor that one time Suburban went through a religious phase back when his small business was going under and he was desperate…

 

Suddenly, God’s giant gold and red velvet throne came into view.  Suburban Neighbor Guy looked up and nearly crapped his cargo shorts.

 

He wanted to turn and run, but kept moving forward until he stood at the base of the great chair upon which a giant German Shepherd sat.

 

“Welcome, Suburban Neighbor Guy,” the Dog boomed into a PA system as he sifted through paperwork on a clipboard. “In a moment, we will review your trespasses. But before we do that, your arrival here today was caused by?”

 

The German Shepherd and everyone else leaned in to hear Suburban Neighbor Guy’s reply.

 

“Unlicensed loud and obnoxious neighborhood 4th of July fireworks display accident,” he mumbled.

 

The crowd, including all the dogs and cats, gasped.

 

“Oh…so you’re one of THOSE guys,” God said, smiling sinisterly with his black lips and big snout.

 

Suburban Neighbor Guy went ahead and crapped his cargo shorts.

 

With that, the giant dog picked up a rubber stamp that read “Redirect to Hell”.

 

“It’s a good thing you like fire, dude,” God snarled.

 

And the congregation cheered as he lowered the black ink to the paper like a fresh smear of stinky ashes from dead fireworks on the ground below.

Melania bent over in her gold-plated 70’s disco-themed White House bathroom, running her hair dryer over her upside down silky brown tresses. Flipping off the switch on the dryer, she swung her torso upright and the wave of hair flew up and over and settled into a perfect “chic governmental vixen” waterfall around her face.

“Eees perfect,” she said to her reflection.

Suddenly, with her Chanel-earringed ears, she heard ringing in the next room.

Melania snapped to attention when she realized it was her special phone– the one installed in her room specifically for First Lady crime fighting.

“Sheet,” she muttered, feeling a wave of Slovenian butterflies come to life in her tummy. “Dat’s my anti-cyber-bullying phone.
Somewhere in America cyber-bullying is happening right now. I must prepare to fight.”

And with that, she strode out of the commode with all the force of Tyra Banks, Linda Evangelista, and RuPaul at a Supermodel Mall of America Fashion Show.

Carefully picking up the Swarovski-encrusted receiver, Melania removed her earring and held the phone to her ear.

“Good morning, Mrs Trump. We have a report of some serious cyber-bullying. The American people need your help!”

Melania’s butterflies turned into an entire flock of seagulls. She was so nervous she thought she might throw up.

She spoke as she moved to a hot pink computer whose screen came to life, displaying Earth flying through space.

“Give me de coordinates,” she said quietly.

The informant called off the numbers as the First Lady typed them carefully on the keyboard. When she had the location, she paused before she hit “enter”.

“Good luck, Mrs. Trump. You can do it,” the voice on the line said.

Melania took a deep breath and recalled her promise to the American people. Being an asshole online was such a prevalent thing these days and so many suffered at the hands of bullies in real life and online. She knew if she told everyone she promised to try and help end bullying, people would eat that shit up. So she said she would do it.

The First Lady went ahead and pressed the button.

The Earth began to spin on the screen and when it landed over North America, the image closed in on Washington DC.

Melania made a face like she suddenly smelled something gross as she watched the image.

The cursor began blinking furiously right on top of

Her very own house.

Specifically–her husband’s office.

Melania’s heart sank.

But she was not surprised.

“Sheet,” she said quietly. She glanced around the room, her mind racing with turmoil over what to do next.

Slowly, she walked to her window and looked out over the landscape of the great city she now called home.

The flock of seagulls in her stomach felt like a heap of dead carcasses filling her gut. It made her sad, but she knew she was not going to be able to fight this time. There was no winning. There was also no need to change into her silver lamé superhero dress with matching shoes and lightning bolt headpiece.

“I guess when I said I would fight de bullying, I was probably just tinking I wish someone would do that for me,” she said wistfully.

She shut the lid on her computer and walked back to her disco bathroom.

And with that, all the ghosts of former First Ladies in the room shook their heads and Eleanor Roosevelt said a little too loudly, “What in the actual hell?”

Nancy Reagan nudged Jackie and said,

“She looks just like you.”

And then they all laughed out loud for a solid 10 minutes.

The End.

Satan walked out of his garage and sidled up next to the car sitting in his driveway.

Running an evil red fingertip along the shiny red hood of his 1983 Pontiac Fiero, the horned lord of the underworld felt a tingle run down his spine, through his tail and shoot out the pointy arrow at his end.

“You gorgeous bitch,” he whispered to the car as he settled his hefty red ass in the leather seat. Pulling his tail in next to him and tucking it around himself, he cursed the entire auto industry for never creating proper tail accommodations for demons.

He started the engine and glanced back to pull out of his driveway.

Oh…here came his neighbors Glen and Judy Clarkson and their grandson Connecticut walking down the sidewalk. That Connecticut kid was a hoot. He frequently came to spend time with his grandparents and drove those poor people to the brinks of their sanity. Also, Satan thought it was hilarious the kid’s name was Connecticut. What kind of name was that anyway? Plus, he had no nickname. It was like the longest weirdest name ever, especially for a kid who lived in Illinois.

“Hey buddy,” Glen called out. “Time to get the old Devilmobile out and about, huh?”

Satan smiled and nodded and waved the trio along so he could get going.

It was then he saw that little kid stick his tongue out and flip him the bird.

“Kids got some cojones on him,” he muttered appreciatively before shifting into reverse and backing the scarlet vehicular Jezebel out of the driveway.

As he tore down his tree-lined street totally ignoring the “Drive Like Your Children Live Here” signs, he turned up the band KISS on his tape deck.

“Knights in Satan’s Service, my ass”, he thought to himself. Those guys had lost all their power when they took off the makeup in ’83. And that Simmons guy was a real douche-canoe, flying around attached to cables and spitting “blood” that came from Halloween store capsules.

Poser.

Still, Animalize was a tuff album. There was no question about that.

Traveling full-speed with the tires burning rubber and the sound of leopard spandex rock-n-roll filling his head, Satan pointed a crooked calloused finger to the button on the dash of his hot rod. He pressed the “Hotter Than Hell” button in and a wave of bone-crushing heat suffocated a large portion of the lower 48.

“AH-hahahahaha!!!!” the demented one laughed maniacally, his evil deed fulfilled as he drove on with the knowledge that humans would be suffering even more than usual today.

Then he came to a stop at a red light. Suddenly, the air conditioner in his vintage sportster fizzled out. He pursed his lips and cocked an eyebrow and banged on the dashboard.

Nothing.

Great.

There was yet another expensive repair to take care of. You know, when he bought the Fiero he knew it might be high maintenance, but at the time the sleek hot chick magnetism of the car was all he cared about.

Did he have enough money in his checking account to call Leo at the repair shop?

Then he thought–Wait a minute. I’m Lucifer, ruler of the Lake of Fire and Eternal Damnation. What the hell do I care if my air doesn’t work?

Then he shifted his gaze to the right where he spied a beacon of delicious hope.

He guided the Fiero into the Dairy Queen parking lot like a Great White shifting quietly through the salt water of an ocean full of digestive possibilities.

“Diet be damned,” he told himself. “A twisty cone sure sounds yummy right about now.”

It was Monday, though. Not a “cheat” day. He pursed his lips again.

“Oh, what the hell,” he concluded as he parked the car, jumped out and ran into the ice cream store.

“I’d like a twisty cone, s’il vous plait,” he said to the kid behind the counter.

“The soft serve machine is down,” the kid said looking at the weird red man in front of him.

Satan sighed and figured it was a sign that he really shouldn’t cheat on his diet. Smirking at the kid, the Devil turned on his hoof and left the ice cream store.

As he went to get back in his toasty Fiero, he heard an uproar of laughter coming from a bar across the way. Twirling his keys around his fingers, Satan gave a moment’s consideration to his 6 years of sobriety. It hadn’t been easy, but after the intervention his minions held all those year back and by the grace of God and the help he got at the Betty Ford Clinic, he hadn’t touched the stuff in years and really hadn’t missed it until…well, just now.

As he walked up to the open doors of the place, he heard a tune playing on the jukebox that turned his blood ice cold.

What the hell kind of day was this, he thought to himself as he closed his eyes and took in the words to the beautiful love song “Look What You’ve Done to Me” by Boz Skaggs.

It had been “their song” all those years ago…

Satan walked in the place and all the patrons turned to see the return of their old friend.

And behind the bar, he couldn’t believe it, but there she was…

 

Anita.

 

The love of his life. The one who had broken up with him, crushed his heart, and left him a broken incubus.

Their eyes met across the 4000-degree room.

 

<cue organ music>

 

Tune in next week when we find out the answers to these questions:

 

Will Satan’s car’s air conditioning get fixed?

 

Will he fall off the sobriety wagon?

 

Will the flames of lust between the Dark Prince and Anita rise once again?

 

Will Connecticut’s grandparents tell their kids they aren’t going to babysit him anymore?

 

Will the soft serve ice cream machine at the local Dairy Queen get fixed?

 

And finally, will the heatwave over the eastern half of the US ever come to an end??

Next week on

SATAN OF SUBURBIA

 

The Goddess climbed the stairs and tucked her rolled-up yoga mat away in the corner of the hall next to the massive wooden door. Before she opened the portal, she took a moment to run her hand gently over the carving of the entire universe deep within the mahogany.
 
She hated to admit it, but at first she thought the design of this door sounded kinda egotistical when he suggested it. But because it turned out so beautifully, she now considered it one of her favorite things in their home.
 
That’s when she heard the big rumbling of snoring coming from inside the next room.
 
He was asleep.
 
Good. The man was a notorious workaholic. He was always in need of more rest.
 
She pushed the door open slowly and froze when it made its familiar creak. But she didn’t have to worry–the big guy kept on snoring.
 
Walking over to the enormous desk, she looked at the array of papers and puzzle books and empty mugs with tea bag tags hanging over their sides. The great monitor in front of him sparkled with all the goings-on of the blue and green planet below. Millions of blinking red buttons and a big keyboard sat at his fingertips.
 
Watching him sleep, she couldn’t help thinking how handsome he still was. When they first met back when they were young, he was so gorgeous. But then again, so was she.
 
The Goddess smiled when she caught sight of the latest Danielle Steele novel crumpled up between his weathered hands in his lap as he continued his snooze fest.
 
She decided she wouldn’t bother him and just let him be.
 
Turning her attention to the monitor and then all the blinking buttons, she took a second to bend over the board and flip the button for “Rain in Ohio” off and flick the “Unusually Pleasant and Sunny Fall-like Spring Day in Ohio” button on.
 
Then she glanced at Ohio on the screen and watched everyone who lived there smile at the same time.
 
The Goddess kissed her man gently on his head then turned and walked out of the room, closing the starry door behind her.
 
On her way back down the stairs, their two yappy Chihuahuas Starsky and Hutch came barreling towards her.
 
“Well, finally! Where have you guys been? Hey! Hey…shh, guys…shh shh shh! Daddy’s sleeping. Let’s go get a snack. Who wants to go get some treats?”
 
And the three of them took off together, skipping on down to the heavenly kitchen for a divine lunch of hummus salad sandwich, pink lemonade and a handful of mini Milk Bones.