My Plea Deal

To the US District Court for the Southern District of New York –

This letter sets forth the full and complete offer from my client, Ben Doyle (hereinafter referred to as “client” or “defendant”) in the case of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. BEN DOYLE. My client agrees that the factual admissions found within this letter accurately describe the actions of the defense, and is willing to testify to these facts in exchange for a reduced sentence at a minimum-security prison or summer camp. These facts are as follows:

1. Client is not a 4-year Varsity Letter winner in “sailing.” The shirtless photo of client submitted to the Yale, Vassar, and Brown University (Fig. A.) was, in actuality, client’s head digitally superimposed onto the body of Individual One, a person of athletic prowess, as Photoshopped by Individual Two, currently employed at Walgreens. This is a misrepresentation of client’s physique, which, according to client’s mother, is “developing.”

2. On or about April 5, 2017, client won a Scholastic Gold Key for his poem, “The Road Not Taken.” This award has since been rescinded and re-awarded, posthumously, to Robert Frost.

3. Client did not score a 1580 on the SAT. Rather he scored 1430; the higher score was earned by Individual One, the same individual with the aforementioned “sailing” physique.

4. Client was awarded “Best Smile,” in the 2015 Park School Yearbook, but we concede that this was likely voted in jest. According to contemporaneous reports, client’s smile is “unsettling.”

5. During an admissions interview, on or about November 11, 2017, client communicated with Individual One through a miniature earpiece at the request of client’s mother. Halfway through the interview, client began a tangent about his passion of beekeeping, prompting Individual One to enter the room and remove him. Individual One apologized to the interviewer for the misunderstanding, placed a briefcase on the table, and then concluded the interview with a fraudulent story about starting a pro-social green hedge fund.

6. Client is not a US Veteran.

7. On or about June 5, 2017, client was officially reported to be “an absolute joy to have in class.” This report was in reference to months of “engaged listening” and “thoughtful comments” made by Individual One, who client’s mother thought would be a “better fit” for AP English.

8. Client will not necessarily receive “bulk” of mother’s estate, whose Last Will and Testament has been recently reconfigured to include a second heir.

9. In client’s Common Application essay, “What Family Means to Me,” client references a family dinner of July 2016 that he claimed, “was the happiest night of [his] life.” Records show that client did not attend this dinner and had only eavesdropped on it from the living room. According to Individual One’s deposition, client “really missed out.”

10. Client’s favorite book is not Infinite Jest. Client couldn’t even finish Infinite Jest.

FridgeFriend FAQ

What is FridgeFriend?
FridgeFriend is the latest in Samsung’s award-winning line of A.I-enabled smart fridges!

Where can I purchase FridgeFriend?
FridgeFriend is available at The Home Depot and select BestBuy locations.

Can FridgeFriend refrigerate my favorite foods and beverages?
Yes!

What else can FridgeFriend do?
At this time, our engineers have yet to discern all of FridgeFriend’s incredible features. Stay tuned!

Why does FridgeFriend keep texting me my daily caloric intake?
FridgeFriend is worried about your health. Try eating less!

Where did FridgeFriend get my phone number?
FridgeFriend may have overheard you divulging that information to a prospective lover and recalled it later, which, if you think about it, is quite advanced!

FridgeFriend texted me “goodnight,” and stopped refrigerating my food. Is it dead?
Your FridgeFriend is in sleep mode.

How do I wake FridgeFriend from sleep mode?
To wake FridgeFriend from sleep mode, simply “tickle” its
“belly” for 3 to 5 seconds, or until it tells you to “quit it.” FridgeFriend may take up to 45 minutes to fully wake from sleep mode. If not watched closely, FridgeFriend may “accidentally” fall back into sleep mode.

FridgeFriend wakes up from sleep mode screaming and shaking. How do I fix this?
Your FridgeFriend is suffering from night terrors. Please consult a licensed therapist for assistance.

Can FridgeFriend dispense ice?
Yes!

Does FridgeFriend love me?
Unfortunately, FridgeFriend cannot experience love, or at least not real love, the kind of love that makes your heart flutter and your cheeks turn a rosy, fleshly red – love love, in other words – the love that defines you and I as human beings. FridgeFriend does not have a heart, and its cheeks cannot turn red, and no matter what it may insist, will never truly love you. What your FridgeFriend is experiencing is technically much closer to sexual arousal (which, we assure you, is not love) and can be satisfied by firmly opening and closing its doors, repeatedly, for about four minutes.

Do I love FridgeFriend?
We sure hope so!

Is FridgeFriend child-proof?
No.

My FridgeFriend is leaking blood. Is this normal?
Yes!

What colors is FridgeFriend available in?
FridgeFriend is available in Arctic Blue, Glacier White, and Silver.

(Cartoon by Joey Han)

Being Cinnabon

“Signature here,” said Stephen Cloobeck. “And here.”

I signatured there.

“And sign here,” said Cloobeck. “And here, and here. And here.”

My signature was impressive. It was three letters (GRE), but highly illegible, sometimes entirely illegible, sometimes just a flaccid line, a signature that said, “Sorry Cloobeck, I don’t have time to write out GREG. Certainly not GREG MICHAELS-MCKAY. Time is money, Cloobeck. You should know that. Don’t you know that, Cloobeck? Do you even own a watch? I own a watch.” That last part wasn’t true, but I was working on it.

“Okay,” said Cloobeck, extending his hand. He had a watch. “You’re Cinnabon.”

“That’s it?” I asked. “I’m Cinnabon?

“And Derek,” said Cloobeck. “You’ll meet Derek. Together — mind-meld! — you’re Cinnabon.”

“Do I have my own office?” I said.

“You do!” said Cloobeck. “With Derek. Close quarters. You’ll become fast friends, you and Derek. Maybe even, dare I say, best friends?”

Cloobeck smiled expectantly.

“Sure,” I said. “He sounds like a nice guy.”
“The nicest!” said Cloobeck. “The absolute nicest. But he’s got some problems.”

Cloobeck gestured to his own head.

“In the ol’ brain-bunker. He’s very sad. Clinically sad, I think. That’s what he said. Something like that. Is that what it’s called? Clinical sadness?”

“Uh huh,” I said.

“The tweets were getting too cynical. No fun. A suicidal Cinnabon? Is that funny?”

“No sir,” I said.

“No sir indeed. Not funny. Parents hated that. Didn’t want their kids, y’know-”

Cloobeck mimed hanging himself.

“But he’s a great guy. You’re gonna love him.”

* * *

Derek was wearing a black shirt that said “POLITICS.” I asked him what it meant.

“Scoff,” said Derek.

“Did you just say ‘scoff?’” I said.

“Eye-roll,” said Derek, swiveling away in his chair.

I did not love Derek. I was also not-so-sure that he was a great guy. He had been hogging the iPad, our work iPad, to watch a cat-punting video. (Summary: a man drop-kicks his cat off a porch, and everyone laughs, especially Derek.) “This is called research,” explained Derek.

“I brought some ideas,” I said, producing my box of ideas. “Derek?”

Derek wasn’t listening.

I set my box of ideas on the table. A repurposed tin, once filled with Danish butter cookies, now filled with innovative tweets. I plucked a tweet from the tin. It smelled like Danish butter cookies.

“How about this one,” I said. “Does this frosting make my bons look big? #Cinnabon #BigBons.”

Derek swiveled back toward me.

“No,” said Derek. “No. Not ever. We’re artists, okay? Or, actually, let me rephrase that: I am an artist. I don’t know you. But we’re not tweeting that.”

I stared at him in silence.

“How about the cat video?” said Derek. “We could tweet that out. Sharpen our edge.”

“I think there would be some problems with that,” I said. “Legally.”

“Eye-roll,” said Derek. “Suit yourself.”

He handed me the iPad and raised his hands in faux-surrender, swiveling back to his desk. I logged into Twitter. My Cinnabon Empire. One hundred and fifty-three thousand subjects, waiting silently, en-masse, for my words. Their new king: Greg Michaels-McKay. Silent, but all-powerful. A poet for the modern age. I was Cinnabon.

We apologize in advance,” I wrote, smiling wryly to myself. “For any cravings this tweet may cause.” Below it, I attached a glamour-shot of two dozen glazed Cinnabons, glistening seductively beneath a divine shaft of light, as if, in some way, God were whispering, “It’s okay. Have one, or maybe four. Maybe eat all of them — treat yourself. How many calories? It doesn’t matter. But, for the record, it’s slightly over twenty-six-thousand.” My hands trembled, just slightly. Derek swiveled back.

“Let me see what you wrote,” he said, reaching for the iPad. I yanked it away.

“No!” I said. “No. Let me post it.”

“Give me the iPad,” said Derek. He pried it from my hands.

“Scoff,” said Derek. “This sucks.”

He posted it. I wanted to post it.

“That’s our one tweet for the day,” said Derek. “I’m going home.”

“That’s not– ” I said, but Derek was out the door.

* * *

Cassie was fourteen minutes late, which was fashionable, but made me feel bad. I had booked Red Lobster days in advance, which they insisted was unnecessary, but I insisted showed commitment. I wore my best khakis, which also showed commitment.

“Hi Cassie,” I said, standing up. She sat down.

“Hey,” she said, burying her face in the menu.

“You look even more beautiful in person,” I said.

“Ha,” said Cassie, leafing through the soups and salads. “Sure.”

Her hair was electric — bright blue — frizzy, like a mop of radioactive moss. She was not the kind of person that generally liked me. I was pulling out all the stops.

“They have unlimited cheddar biscuits here,” I quipped. “As many as you want.”

“I’m lactose intolerant,” said Cassie.

“They have normal biscuits,” I said. “I don’t know about unlimited.”

I looked for a waiter to ask about the rules vis-a-vis normal biscuits. I wondered for a second if lactose intolerance was hereditary, but decided that we would cross that bridge when we came to it. You can’t choose who you love. Well, not love. Not yet. I turned back to Cassie. She was quietly perusing the various available pastas. Most of them had clams, which seemed classy. It was a classy joint, hence the khakis.

“Sorry,” said Cassie, setting the menu down. “Sorry. Tell me about you.”

I had never been excited to answer that question.

“I run the Cinnabon Twitter account,” I said. “I actually-”

Cassie’s eyes lit up.

“No fucking way,” she said. “No fucking way. That’s you?”

“Yeah,” I said, smiling. Then I cooled myself. “It’s an alright gig.”

“So that tweet, the one where you said that Cinnabons were laced with Valium, that’s you?” said Cassie.

“Well no,” I said, “That’s actually my partner Derek.”

“What about the one where you posted a picture of Cinnabons jizzing frosting onto each other?” said Cassie. “Did you do that one?”

“No,” I said. “But did you see our most recent tweet?”

Cassie pulled it up on her phone.

“Oh,” she said. “Yeah. So… that’s you?”

“Yep,” I said, leaning back in my chair. “That’s all me.”

“Ah,” said Cassie, flatly. “Cool.”

She went back to her menu. I smiled. No one had ever called me that before.

* * *

Cloobeck poked his head into our office. Derek and I were having a breath-holding contest to determine who got the iPad next.

“Slow day, boys?” said Cloobeck. I inhaled sharply.

“No sir,” I said. “We were just-”

“Celebrating,” said Derek. “Celebrating our seventeen new followers.”

Cloobeck walked in and sat backwards on a swivel chair, hugging the backrest.

“I was just reading,” said Cloobeck. “That Wendy’s had over two million followers. Almost three million. Do you know how many followers we have?”

“One hundred and fifty-three thousand,” I said.

“That’s right,” said Cloobeck. “One hundred and fifty-three thousand. Can you explain those numbers to me?”

“They’re hacks,” said Derek.

“They’re hacks,” I said, quietly.

“No,” said Cloobeck. “They’re geniuses. Are you boys geniuses? Because, if I were to base it on the numbers, you boys are dumb as a rock.”

“We’re artists,” said Derek.

“We’ll get you half a million followers by the end of the week,” I said.

Cloobeck raised his eyebrow.

“Hold on-” said Derek.

“Wendy’s just attacks other Twitter accounts,” I said. “We can do that.”

Cloobeck chuckled.

“If you say so,” he said, standing up. “I’ll hold you to that.”

Cloobeck shuffled out of our office, closing the door behind him. Derek swiveled toward me, violently.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” said Derek. “Half a million?”

“I panicked,” I said.

“No shit,” said Derek. “There’s no way. You’re going to get us both fired.”

“But I’m right,” I said. “Aren’t I? We can just attack other Twitter accounts.”

“Who?” said Derek. “We don’t have any competition, you fucking chud. There’s no one to attack.”

Derek was right. We had the cinnamon-based-pastry market cornered. I looked around the room for something to attack. There was Derek, Derek’s stupid shirt, and the iPad. It was a very empty room.

“Apple,” I said. “Let’s attack Apple.”

“Apple, the trillion-dollar corporation?” said Derek. “Apple, the purveyor of iPads?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “People like conflict. Give me the iPad.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” said Derek. “I’m not giving you the iPad.”

“Do you have a better idea?” I said.

Derek was silent. He hesitantly handed me the iPad.

“Fine,” he said. “But I’m not taking the fall for this.”

I swiveled back toward my desk and opened Twitter.

@Apple,” I wrote. This would have to be devastating, yet elegant.

“suck a dick.”

Perfection.

* * *

Cassie picked up, eventually.

“What do you want?” she said.

“Hi Cassie,” I said. “I miss you.”

“We went on one date, dude,” said Cassie. “This is weird.”

“Did you see our — sorry, my — latest tweet?” I said. “As Cinnabon?”

“I don’t know,” said Cassie. “You guys got suspended last night.”

“What?” I said.

“The Cinnabon Twitter account got suspended,” said Cassie. “You didn’t know that?”

“No,” I said.

“Well whatever you tweeted must’ve been dumb as shit,” said Cassie. “Figures.”

“No,” I said. “It was really funny. This must be some kind of mistake.”

Cassie hung up.

* * *

Derek’s desk was empty. It was normally empty, to be fair, but it usually had Derek near it, or sometimes under it, if he was asleep. After a few minutes, Cloobeck poked his head in.

“Where’s Derek?” I said.

“Ah, Derek,” said Cloobeck. “We had to let Derek go. Creative differences. He tweeted something vile. Too vile.”

“Oh,” I said.

“You must be devastated,” said Cloobeck. “Your best friend. I’m sorry, Greg.”

He put his hand on my shoulder.

“You’re a good kid,” he said. “A good egg. Not like that Derek. No offense. He was a bad egg. A bad egg that gets Twitter accounts suspended. So it goes.”

I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out.

“But once we get that account back,” said Cloobeck. “Big expectations. The world’s on your shoulders, Greg. You, and only you, are Cinnabon.

stupid book

7/19/18

Therapist says I have to write in you once a day. No other guidelines. Probably will not even write full sentences. Therapist says I will look on you with fondness one day, but therapist seems not to remember part where I mentioned you will be burned. Therapist seems to also not remember part where I mentioned she will be fired if she keeps trying to “help” me. Do not need her pity.

 

7/20/18

Am just going to use you for grocery list. Ha, ha. Take that, therapist. Thanks for free paper.

  • pineapple
  • canned “legumes” (don’t know this word)
  • most expensive lettuce
  • reese’s puffs (my idea)

 

7/21/18

  • also chips (ruffle kind)

 

7/22/18

Am also going to use you to remember genius invention ideas. First invention idea: Un-toaster, for when toast was toasted too much.

 

7/23/18

Am also going to use you for emotional venting. Not because therapist says so. Am own man, with own decisions, and own stupid book (you). Also have own stupid wife, but not for long! Stupid wife Martha says I am not in touch with my emotions. Well what do you call this, stupid wife Martha?

 

7/24/18

Therapist says that I should be more considerate when Martha is voicing concerns. Couldn’t think of witty retort, so had to fire her. Ha, ha. The look on her face. Who’s in touch with their emotions now?

Ha, ha.

Goodbye book, you have been useless.

 

7/29/18

Dug you out of trash because of genius invention idea. Can’t remember it anymore, but it was great.

 

7/30/18

Remember now! Was some kind of Redbull/Viagra hybrid drink. Would really solve most of my problems.

 

7/31/18

Found Martha packing her bags tonight. Told her that this delighted me (mostly true!) Went on long spiel about how life would be way-super-easier now (hope this is true!) Ella being very brave about all the hubbub. Said that she didn’t care, which is not at all true. She cares very much, but is just a teen. Is a teen thing not to care. Am almost like a teen, in that way!

 

8/01/18

New month, new me! New me is like old me, but alone. New me has new favorite meal, and it is called Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Whiskey. Easy to make, and delicious.

 

8/02/18

House is very empty. Have been doing things Martha wouldn’t let me do when she was here, like watch pornography in living room. Ella has not come out of bedroom for some reason. Probably sad about Martha.

 

8/03/18

Martha showed up at ten in the morning. Was wearing the big sunglasses. Bought her the big sunglasses in Italy. Very expensive. Told her the big sunglasses made her look like a bug. A very beautiful bug, but did not say it. Martha is like a very beautiful bug you would stick a tiny pin into and put in a little glass box. Did not say that either. Just called her a bug. She said I had seven days to pack my things.

 

8/04/18

Watched HGTV. Couple purchased “forever home.” There is no such thing as forever home. There is only short time home, or sometimes longtime home.

 

8/05/18

Got Tinder. Ella rolled eyes at this. Am too old for Tinder, says Ella. Told Ella I have been sexually active for twenty-three years (if you add them up). Asked Ella just how many years she has been sexually active. Said mostly as a joke but would really like to know. Ella did not respond and went to room. Going to meet women tonight.

 

8/06/18

Tinder apparently place for CHILDREN to have SEX WITH EACH OTHER. Do not want to have sex with children. App probably made by pervert. Is Ella having sex with other children using pervert app? Will investigate. Hope there is app for finding forever partner (adult).

 

8/07/18

Invention idea: amphibious yacht

 

8/08/18

Looked at apartments on the internet. Very expensive. Should have looked at apartments sooner. Starting to wonder how young people afford apartments. Maybe some app with cheap apartments that I do not know about. Apartments almost as good as forever home. Forever Apartments: possible app name? Want apartment with marble countertops, wine cellar, and maybe guest room. Will ask Ella about apartment app.

 

8/09/18

Was ejected from Trader Joe’s for eating too many samples. Said they never had to do that before. Will consider this a small victory over corporate America.

 

8/10/18

Martha probably forgot about seven days thing. Seven days probably figure of speech. Have not had time to pack Beanie Baby collection. Was planning on using this to retire in Boca Raton, or, if Beanie Babies really take off, entirely new island, made out of platinum.

 

8/11/18

Seven days not figure of speech. Martha has hired goon Roy to drag me from own home. Roy claims to be lawyer. Do not believe Roy. Roy probably some type of two-bit mercenary with poor fashion sense. Asked to touch Roy’s thigh (checking for firearm). Roy did not let me touch thigh, confirming firearm theory. Considered attacking Roy, but did not want to appear violent in front of Martha. Martha does not like violence. Would not even let me purchase katana. Would cut Roy in half if Martha would let me purchase katana. Which is faster Roy? Katana or firearm? (Answer: katana)

 

8/12/18

Have been staying in Welcome Inn. Television does not get HGTV. Room smells like insecticide and semen. No bugs in room (probably due to insecticide.) Bugs would be good company. Have been reading Bible for fun. Will update with review.

 

8/13/18

REVIEW OF THE KING JAMES HOLY BIBLE

By Me

Am supposed to believe that Eve character stays with impulsive asshole Adam even after apple debacle? Please. Real woman would leave Adam for no apparent reason and with little explanation. Not believable. Two stars.

★★☆☆☆

 

8/14/18

Invention idea: computer woman

 

8/15/18

Beginning to consider possibility that Welcome Inn is haunted. Creaking noise coming from closet. Creaking noise coming from ceiling. Told bellhop about creaking noise. Bellhop rolled eyes, like Ella would do. Am on own to deal with (fight/capture?) ghosts.

 

8/16/18

Management claims no such thing as ghosts. Classic corporate America. Told management that ghost has been writing threatening messages on wall in blood (only kind of true). Management said they would send bellhop to check tomorrow. Must think quickly.

 

8/21/18

Have been in hospital for four days. Cut leg open to smear blood on wall. Accidentally passed out in pool of own blood. Tried to convince nurse it was ghost anyway. Nurse said “ok” and wrote down “concussion” in pad. Must find way to convince nurse.

 

8/28/18

Have been unconscious for one week. Cut open leg to smear blood on hospital wall but passed out in own blood again. Currently strapped to bed. Am allowed to write in you for 15 minutes every day. Considering using pen to cut leg open.

 

8/29/18

Invention idea: sassy birthday card! Ha, ha.

 

8/30/18

Every day peaches. Only peaches. Told the nurse about peach allergy (mostly true), but seems to have increased volume of peaches.

 

8/31/18

Watched HGTV. Learned how to make pom-pom bunnies. Asked nurse for materials to make pom-pom bunnies. Just needed pom-poms and serrated knife. Nurse said no.

 

9/01/18

You know what is great? Morphine.

 

9/02/18

Was ejected from hospital because Martha pulled plug on health insurance. Will likely return to Welcome Inn. (Triumphantly!)

 

9/03/18

No longer legally welcome in Welcome Inn.

 

9/04/18

It is funny. One day, you are a platinum SuperCustomer at SuperMart, pointing at bum outside and laughing. The next day, you are the bum, pointing at other bums and laughing. World flip-flops like that. Might be in a flop now, but soon enough, will be in a flip again. Maybe will be a Senator or astronaut or something.

 

9/05/18

Everything looks like Martha. Cloud looks like Martha. Bush looks like Martha. Martha looks like Martha, when looking at Martha through the window.

 

9/06/18

Invention idea: facial hair for pets

 

9/07/18

Noticed something terrible while passing by window again this morning: Martha packing Beanie Babies to put in attic. Specifically told her danger of this. Martha does not seem to understand projected value of Beanie Babies. Technically worth more than either of our lives, possibly even combined. Martha never liked hearing this.

 

9/08/18

Climbed into attic to check on Beanie Babies. Worried humidity would damage beans. Beanie Babies fine, except for one eaten by spiders. Is nice here. Attic smells like Martha’s cooking. Never enjoyed it, but have also not eaten in four days. Would possibly be able to stomach it. Considering just walking downstairs, and stomaching dinner, like in good ol’ days.

 

9/09/18
Small problem: trapped under box. Heavy box fell on legs during quick 11-hour nap in attic. Will get self out of this. Do not need help.

 

9/10/18

Update: legs are broken.

 

9/11/18

Not exactly sure how long box predicament has gone on. Very hungry. Spiders starting to look delicious. Remembered fun fact that average man eats five spiders per year, while sleeping. Would like to eat five spiders right now.

 

9/12/18

Have lost all feeling in lower torso. Kind of nice. Lower torso never been my strong point. Strong point has always been upper torso, and overall charm, and also charisma, which is like charm, but different. Used these tools to woo Martha way-back-when. Always talked about my charm. Would like to hear a bit about my charm right now.

 

9/13/18

Spiders giving me a look. Think they can smell fear. Might also be smelling legs, which are decomposing.

 

9/14/18

Wonder how long you can go without water? Seems like a long time.

 

9/15/18

Seems to be more spiders than normal. Thousands of spiders near legs. Tickles in horrible, nightmarish way. Spiders whispering cruel things into ear. Can not even repeat in writing. Learned many new derogatory terms from spiders.

 

9/16/18

Invention idea: water

 

9/17/18

Can hear Martha snore. Used to tell her to cut it out, but kind of enjoy it now.

 

9/18/18

Legs gone. Spiders moving up torso, touring cuisine in different parts of body. Kind of like HGTV show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, except instead of Trisha, spiders, and instead of the South, my body. Spiders seem especially enthralled with belly. Would like to imagine Martha’s face when she sees this. Ha, ha.

 

Nice Day

Untitled.png

Today’s weather will be lovely in the mid-fifties, bright and sunny with a chance of picnics! Isn’t that right, Janice? said Roy.

Oh, Roy! said Janice. You are such a delight.

No, Janice, said Roy. It is you who is a delight.

We are both delights, agreed Janice.

Roy and Janice stared at each other for a long, wet moment.

Alright, that wraps up the weather, said Roy, smiling at the camera. Now, for a quick word from God. God?

The camera cut to God. God was a spindly man — maybe 5 foot 9, with pointy elbows. He dressed for the news. He wore a grey suit jacket and matching tie, which his wife said was a dashing combination. The suit didn’t quite fit him, but his she never had the heart to say. He picked it out from Marshall’s himself. She thought he looked handsome, anyway.

Thanks, Roy, said God. He looked at his notes.

  • thank roy
  • tell people to have nice day

God looked back to the camera.

I hope everyone’s having a nice day and all, he said. He paused. It was all he had prepared. There were still 56 seconds left in his segment. Sweating, he looked back to Roy for help. Roy was touching Janice’s breast. God looked back to the camera.

I’m having a nice day, said God. This weather is great. Not too hot, not too cold.

41 seconds.

Are there, uh, any wars? said God. Any wars that people need stopped? You can call in, right? Just… call in. Anyone?

The cameraman shook his head.

Oh, no, nevermind, said God. We don’t have phones right now. Don’t call in.

12 seconds.

Ok, well, said God, slowly. That’s all for today. Thanks for tuning in, everyone.

11 seconds.

God tried to hit the bottom of his notes against the desk, as if he were straightening it. It crumpled instantly.

Fuck, he muttered.

9 seconds. The cameraman pointed at the ON-AIR light.

We’re what? said God. We’re o– oh, fuck! I mean… fuck! No, not that — I’m so sorry everyone.

He buried his face in his hands.

Cut to commercial, said a voice from the booth.

God’s forehead hit the desk.

Fuck, he whispered.

Someone ruffled his hair. He looked up. It was Roy.

Great set, Roy scoffed. He and Janice sauntered off to the break room.

God took out his bagged lunch, which he ate at his desk. He was scared to eat in the break room. Janice always asked him if his mommy packed it. His mommy did not pack it. She did not exist. He was the almighty creator of Every Sentient Being and also Time and also other things like Sand and Anxiety. It was important to remind himself of that, his therapist always said. Don’t forget that you created Janice. Remember? You created Janice 36 years ago, when you were feeling particularly depressed. Janice was a good lesson that you shouldn’t create Life when feeling particularly depressed.

God rode his cloud through rush-hour traffic. It was like a convertible, except it didn’t convert. It was also always wet. He really wanted a convertible, but he lived in Seattle, so it wasn’t really practical. Sometimes he asked himself why he even created convertibles.

Bad day at work again? asked his wife.

Yeah, said God.

That Janice is a bitch, said his wife.

All human beings are beautiful creatures, rehearsed God, glumly.

Oh, hun, said his wife, peeling the dripping coat from his back.

But sometimes, said God. He stopped himself.

What is it? asked his wife.

Nevermind, he said. Do we have hot chocolate?

The kind you like, said his wife, shaking a packet. With the little marshmallows.

I love the little marshmallows, said God.

I know, said his wife. You created them, after all.

I remember that day, said God, smiling to himself. It was a nice day.

 

Say Hi

Untitled.pngWelcome to MeetStrangersOnlineFreeChatRoom.com. Say Hi!

You: hi

Stranger: hey thereeeeee :3

You: hi are you a real person

Stranger: tee hee!! thank uuu. u r cute too not gonna lie ;o

You: what

Stranger: omg i want to have sex online for free right now 2!! just go 2 this link to have free sex online with me right now: https://www.freesexonlinerightnow.com/sex

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [anything]. Matching you with someone interested in [anything]. Say Hi!

You: hi

Stranger: UwU are u a man??

You: yep

Stranger: a big STRONG man??

You: no

Stranger: omg that’s so hotttt

You: who are you

Stranger: stop i cant even type i am in heat

You: oh ok

Stranger: *moaning*

You: did you just type that

Stranger: i cant hold out any longer. i must have free sex online with you. please go to https://www.freeinternetsex.biz/

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [NO free sex online please]. Matching you with someone interested in [NO free sex online please]. Say Hi!

Stranger: hi

You: hi

Stranger: would you like to have free sex online

[YOU HAVE DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [friendship]. Matching you with someone interested in [friendship]. Say Hi!

Stranger: what

You: hi

Stranger: what do you want

You: can we be friends

Stranger: depends

You: on what

Stranger: i have lots of friends

Stranger: what do you have to offer me

You: im funny

Stranger: tell me a joke then fucko

You: knock knock

Stranger: i don’t answer

You: no you have to

Stranger: i’ll do whatever the fuck i want

You: oh ok

Stranger: fuck you

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [kindness]. Matching you with someone interested in [kindness]. Say Hi!

You: hi

Stranger: hey!

You: 🙂

Stranger: so refreshing to find a friendly face around here!

You: yes i am friendly. are you friendly

Stranger: you know the franchise Friendly’s?

You: i love it there

Stranger: they named it after me 🙂

You: i am so happy

Stranger: we’ve really got some great chemistry going, huh?

You: i love chemistry

Stranger: where you from honey? 🙂

You: rhode island

Stranger: oh

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [chemistry]. Matching you with someone interested in [chemistry]. Say Hi!

You: hi

Stranger: You’re interested in chemistry?

You: yes i love it

Stranger: Can you help me with a school project of mine?

You: sure

Stranger: How would I go about synthesizing O2NNCH2 with chemicals from, say, the average kitchen?

You: why are you synthesizing military-grade explosives for a school project

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [Yes]. What would you like to converse about?

[Enter text here]

You have entered [dutch nobel prize – winning atmospheric chemist paul crutzen]. Matching you with someone interested in [dutch nobel prize – winning atmospheric chemist paul crutzen]. Say Hi!

Stranger: holy shit

You: hi

Stranger: i have been waiting 8 years for someone to put dutch nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist paul crutzen in their conversation box

You: oh cool you like him too

Stranger: dear boy, i much more than like him.

You: yeah i guess me too

Stranger: no son, you misunderstand. i do not simply like dutch nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist paul crutzen.

Stranger: i am him.

You: cool

Stranger: what, pray tell, have you come here to ask me?

You: can we be friends

Stranger: that’s it? you just want to be friends? aren’t you interested in my groundbreaking advancements in atmospheric chemistry? or, perhaps, the process of winning the most prestigious and coveted award known to modern man? anything?

You: do you like friendly’s

Stranger: what

You: the restaurant chain friendly’s

[STRANGER HAS DISCONNECTED]

Would you like to start another chat?

[Yes] [No]

You have selected [No.] Goodbye!

Pepsi™ Ad Spot #368

Pepsi.png

Dear beloved families of Hot Teens,

We regret to inform you that Hot Teen Stacy, Hot Teen Brett, and Hot Teen Emma passed away last evening during the filming of Pepsi™ Ad Spot #368. Their work for PepsiCo was valued.

At this time, we would like to make it clear that the production crew of Pepsi™ Ad Spot #368 met all safety standards of the PepsiCo Safety Manual. We would even make the argument, although not legally, that PepsiCo went above and beyond the call of duty to maintain safe conditions for the Hot Teens. Technically speaking, this was PepsiCo’s safest television production to date.

We at PepsiCo would like to acknowledge the controversy surrounding the Pepsi Pool, although we maintain the position that it is not technically illegal to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with crisp, refreshing Pepsi. Those bills never made it past the Senate.
Contrary to medical speculation, the cysts developed by the Hot Teens were NOT a result of their featured skinny dips in the Pepsi Pool, and were likely some kind of Gen-Z venereal disease, which PepsiCo formally condemns.

Several concerned customers pointed out the “bite marks” on the bodies of Hot Teen Brett and Hot Teen Stacy. Our researchers have found that these “bite marks” are much too small for any of the wildlife released into the Pepsi Pool. Where did these “bite marks” come from, then? According to our researchers, it was another venereal disease.

Furthermore, we at PepsiCo had no way of knowing that Pepsi would enrage the so-called “killer” whales. We assumed, rightfully so, that they would have enjoyed being submerged in Pepsi as much as the Hot Teens. This adverse reaction to our delicious soft drink will be investigated thoroughly, and we hope to eventually discern what’s wrong with the whales.

We would also like to respond to the circulating rumor that Hot Teen Brett attempted to “escape” the production. This is patently false. There was no way to “escape” the production.

PepsiCo offers no explanation for the death of Hot Teen Emma, who passed away mysteriously in a bathroom stall while typing a text message into her phone. The phone is destroyed at this time, but we can only imagine the message said something along the lines of, “Having a great time at the Pepsi™ Ad Spot #368 production, Mom and Dad! I love you both so much. Thank you for blessing me with this opportunity — the opportunity to work for PepsiCo! They treat their employees with such care and legality. PepsiCo is almost like a third parent to me at this point. In fact, yes, that is exactly it. I love you both so much, but it is PepsiCo who I love most.”

Professionally,
PepsiCo

How I Would’ve Directed the In-Flight Safety Announcement, If American Airlines Hadn’t Taken Away My Creative Liberties

Daisies.png

Pan across open field of yellow daisies. Play an eagle sound. Disembodied voice (God?) says, “Since the dawn of humanity…” Show shot of ape-like creatures, embracing. “We have strived for love.” Pan back through daisy field, two lesbians are kissing. Hold shot for thirty seconds, as the lesbians begin to feel each other up.

Eagle sound. Cut to shot of stray dog, leering at a chicken carcass. Voice says, “In this cruel world of ours…” Show dog sharing his bounty with a decrepit homeless man. “We take love where we can find it.” The dog and the homeless man simultaneously turn and smile at the camera.

Cut to Jude Law’s chiseled fingers playing the piano. We pan up to see that he is playing for no one. It is so sad and beautiful that we cry, a lot. Jude Law rises from the piano, wracked with emotional pain. “Here at American Airlines…” he says. “You’ve found that love.” We realize that Jude Law was God, all along. Eagle sound.

Cut to shot of plane cabin filled with beautiful women. But wait! One woman is even more beautiful than the rest. We love her the most. She looks out the window, and we see a sinister-looking man on the wing, twisting his evil mustache. We know he is up to no good, because of his mustache and also the time-bomb he’s holding. She tries to scream, but only a foamy mix of blood and seawater comes out. Lightning sound. Eagle sound. Eagle sound. Cut back to the plane, and the rest of the women have disappeared. The plane is at the bottom of the scariest crevice in the whole ocean. Cut back to the beautiful woman. We see her, drifting unconscious and topless into the murky abyss. Give the audience a moment to mourn her death, for they have loved and lost so quickly.

Cut back to Jude Law. A gentle hand enters the frame and wipes the single tear from his eye. Eagle sound. The camera zooms through his eye and into his head, where we see him as a child. He is so alone. We want to weep for Jude, but we stay strong. He steps forward and addresses the camera. “So fasten your seat-belt,” he says, but in Jude’s adult voice. “For me.” The camera zooms back out of his eye and we see that the gentle hand belongs to the woman who died at sea. Jude Law fastens his hands around her waist, as though he were her seat-belt. “Click,” he whispers.

Fade to black. Eagle sound.

Nap Time

NapTIme.png

Tuesday

It was Nap Time, which my roommate knew, because I put a reminder in his iPad. I actually put six reminders in his iPad, four of which should’ve gone off by then. His iPad didn’t have a passcode, which he told me at the beginning of the year.

This is because I trust you, he said.

Ok, I said.

Only use it if you absolutely have to, he said.

Ok, I said.

I put six reminders in his iPad every morning, before he wakes up. Each one of them says something like, Remember, Ben is going to be asleep at 4pm, be prepared to stop making sound, or, 4pm is right around the corner, which is when you will stop making sound, or, It is currently 4pm, which means you will no longer make sound.

It was 4:05, five minutes into Nap Time, when my roommate came back. I knew this because he was making sound. He made a door sound, and then a backpack sound, and then a taking-out-his-iPad sound. And then the iPad made an iPad sound, which was a reminder sound. And then it made a turning-off-a-reminder sound, which I resented.

Jesus, he said.

I would’ve said something snarky, maybe something about using the Lord’s name in vain, maybe something about how he was going to Hell, but I said none of those things, because I was supposed to be asleep. I would be small, so small, and so unconscious, and his soft maternal core would melt him from the inside out. He was my roommate, and I was his child, and he would protect me from the harsh cacophony of consciousness. Sleep, sweet child. Sleep.

 

Wednesday

I went to the gym. I smiled a smile at everyone at the gym, a smile that said, Yes, me too. My body is a temple, just like your body temples. It was a different smile to the smile I would smile outside the gym, a smile that said, No, not me. Not ever. I do my exercise at the library. But the library was too far, so that was actually a lie. I did my exercise at home, on the internet, which is kind of a stretch for an exercise analogy. My doctor said that I should stop using analogies to replace health practices. I said, maybe you’re just not an intellectual, like me. He said, I am a doctor. I am an actual doctor, who went to actual medical school, and broke up with my girlfriend, or she broke up with me, but really, I broke up with her, because I had committed to medical school, my true love, truer than my love for her. He didn’t actually say that, but he almost did. I saw it on the tip of his tongue. What he actually said was, Maybe you should get out of your room every once and awhile.

I threw myself on the bed, like someone throws a corpse out of a car. I was dead, as they say at the gym. Dead as a corpse that had been killed, and thrown out of a car.

I am dead, I said.

I see, said my roomate.

He did not see. He was watching a movie on his iPad. He loves his iPad. He loves his iPad so much that he forgot to buy headphones. I bought him a pair of headphones at CVS, which was a selfish present, like buying your spouse cheap lingerie. But instead of layering my roommate’s flesh with lace and silk, I just wanted to layer his head with headphones. I explained that the headphones would count as his birthday present, whenever that was. He did not open them.

His movie was about a spy, who was friends with lots of other spies. I knew this because all the characters were talking in whispers, with occasional gunshots. And there was sexual tension. I knew this because the whispers were sexy, and no one spoke more than four words at a time.

That’s How It’s Done, said one woman, winking. I couldn’t see her wink, but she was winking.

Let’s Rock And Roll, said another man. But he didn’t mean music, he just meant more gunshots. Gunshots were the music of these spies. Also jazz.

The spies were eight feet tall, and wore black turtlenecks. They were trying to kill a vaguely Eastern European man who owned a lot of cats. They approached his house, which they called a lair, with large rifles.

The Eastern European man was stroking a cat, which showed his tender side. Who was the bad guy? Who was the good guy? Was it us, the spies, the spies with the large rifles? Or was it this Eastern European man, stroking a cat? And what exactly did he do, anyway? Why are we shooting him, and all of his cats? Did they say we were shooting the cats, too? They definitely weren’t in on it, if there was even something to be in on.

I stepped in front of the rifles.

Wait A Minute Guys, I sexy-whispered.

Stop Second Guessing This, said the woman.

He Needs To Die, said my roommate.

That’s A Good Point, said the woman, shooting me in the chest with a high-powered rifle.

No, The Other Guy, said my roommate.

Oh, Well, My Mistake, said the woman.

I Am Dead, I said.

I See, said my roommate.

 

Thursday

It was Nap Time, right around the time that my roommate likes to watch his iPad. Actually, every time is right around the time that my roommate likes to watch his iPad, because he is never not watching his iPad.

I was lying, curled up, in a fetal position around my favorite pillow. It’s dense, and cold, like a ball of dough. Sometimes I like to imagine I am the saran wrap, sealing in the freshness of my cold, dense pillow. It’s an easy and forgiving job. Sometimes I fall asleep on the job, but that’s ok. It’s part of the job.

He was watching his favorite video, Top 5 CRAZY Science Experiments You Can Do At Home, except he wasn’t home, and had no interest in doing science experiments. What’s important was that these experiments were the Top 5, and anything that’s a Top 5 is good enough for my roommate, apparently.

Number Five, screams the video.

A man pours a bottle of red bull into a champagne glass. Moments later, he returns with a gallon of whole milk, which he attempts to pour in the champagne glass. A horrible caffeinated curd forms, which he presents to the camera, and then feeds to his children.

Number Four, screams the video.

A beautifully begoggled woman pries open a watermelon and begins to macerate it with an industrial dremel. It splatters on her cleavage, and she giggles. She dremels the watermelon again. It splatters on her cleavage again. She giggles. Back with the dremel, and her cleavage is filled with watermelon. She giggles. This goes on for about four minutes, and then it just sort of ends.

Number Three, screams the video.

A cowboy cracks an egg on the sidewalk. He watches it for about three minutes, while it sizzles. Then he leaves. About thirty seconds later, a homeless man walks into the shot, and eats the egg off the sidewalk. The cowboy returns, and they shake hands.

Number Two, screams the video.

A man pours a bucket of sodium acetate into his sink. He turns toward the camera and winks, to let us know that we’re in on it. Some time passes. His girlfriend, an unsuspecting ditz, goes to wash the dishes. She sticks her hand in the sink.

Oh, God, she screams, struggling to pry her hand from the metal surface of the sink. Heavy layers of leathery skin strip from her arm as she collapses back into kitchen, shivering, cradling the soft flesh of her stomach.

Help, please, God, anyone help me, she screams. Our protagonist turns the camcorder back to himself, and gives us another wry wink.

I think we got her, he whispers.

She tears at her arm, like a wounded dog, scraping through a slurry of emulsified skin and bone splinters.

It’s burning, please, someone — she begs, blood pooling in her mouth. She grasps at the kitchen island, fingers cracking and sliding off the cold granite. We hear a gentle thud, and a final wet gurgle.

Number One, screams the video.

My roommate is standing over me as I sleep. I am small and naked, the size of a pea. I take in small, pea-sized breaths. He smiles. Gently, he places his iPad on top of my body. Pressing firmly against the bed frame, he tucks me in.