Category Archives: Writing

The Big Whoop Book: Chapter 5: Families


Families.

Am I right?

Goodness knows why you irritating little monkeys choose to cluster together with other irritating little monkeys so you can drive each other insane, but you do. And it’s clear from the state of things down there that you all could use a little help in how not to be an asshole to those irritating little monkeys that share strands of your DNA, but bear in mind that Big Whoop is not a therapist. Big Whoop continues, in fact, to not exist. So take everything we say on the matter with a grain of salt.

These are general guidelines and will not necessarily apply to your specific situation.

Are we good then? Celestial lawyers, are we good?

Right then.

Let’s start with parents.

Parents, listen to your children. Yes, yes, I know most of what they say is annoying and useless chatter about TV or video games or who isn’t friends with who anymore and dear God does this little monkey ever shut the hell up? Jesus Christ, why can’t I get a moment of silence so I can hear my own thoughts?! AHHHHHHHH!

But I digress. Listening to your child shows that you think they’re important and will hopefully allow you to build the sort of relationship where your child feels free to tell you anything. Even if it’s information you’d rather not know.

Also, read to them.

Hug your children.

Tell them that you love them.

Teach them to be kind.

Teach them why they should be kind. Empathy.

Discipline the little shits when you have to. But Big Whoop is not a proponent of spanking. Big Whoop doesn’t go around whacking you on the behind when you do something naughty, after all.

Don’t take your toddlers or elementary school kids to see rated R movies.

Take your screaming little monkeys outside if they refuse to be quieted.

If your child is sick, keep them home if at all possible. I realize some of you live in America and the rule of America is “Fuck you, I’ve got mine.” But do your best, okay?

Prayer is not medicine. Take your child to the doctor.

Unless there is a valid medical reason, vaccinate your children. Despite you being the product of several billion years of evolution from a single cell organism into a complex lifeform, there are still many, many single cell organisms that will fuck your shit up, yo. Give your child what advantages you can.

Spouses, realize that every little thing you do that annoys your partner will be done to you by your children and at some point, you will ask, “Wow. Am I really that much of an annoying cunt?”

Yes. Yes, you are. Deal with it and do your best to stop doing those things that irritate your partner and teach your kids to stop doing them too.

Provide for your children. If only because one day they will probably choose the old folk’s home you end up in.

Cherish the time you have with them. They’ll be out of the house sooner than you imagine.

Children, listen to your parents. They’ve lived longer. They’ve fucked up in all the ways one can fuck up and hopefully they’ve learned from it, so if you listen to them you might avoid fucking up the same way.

Give them respect if they deserve it.

Provide for them in their old age if possible.

Cherish the time you have with them. They’ll be gone sooner than you imagine.

If your parent is abusive, they have severed the relationship. Get help. If you are an adult who survived the abuse, you do not owe your parents anything.

Conversely, if your child is abusive towards you, they’re an asshole, cut them out of your life until they choose to change.

Husbands and wives, listen to your spouse. Make them feel heard. Let them know that they are important enough to you that you divert your full attention to them. Shut down the computer. Turn the phone off. Turn the volume on the TV down and make eye contact when they speak to you.

Love your spouse. Hug them. Kiss them. Leave notes for them. Bring them flowers or candy or oral sex often. This applies to men and women, Big Whoop is not selfish or sexist. Send the kids to grandma’s, and when they come home from work, greet them naked with a glass of their favorite adult beverage. Remember their birthday. Remember their favorite song. Remember their favorite restaurant. You have so many electronic devices to help you remember those things.

Look, my little monkeys. You have precious little time on this ball of dirt. Cherish one another while you’re there. And above all, be kind.

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Day Eleven


“Amy!”

“Hey, Mikey.”

“What’s going on? The alarm! What is it? Why are the lights off? Why is it so cold in here?”

“There’s a teeensie little problem in Engineering, Boss. With the reactor and the reactor is currently… off, but it’s not a big deal, except you might die if we don’t get it fixed within an hour.”

“What is the problem?”

“A little piece of the reactor is out of alignment thingy and-“

“Amy. Revert to default personality matrix.”

“Okie dokie. Reverting…”

“Echo, what is the fucking problem?”

“One of the magnetic coils generating the containment bubble was knocked out of alignment by .12 centimeters resulting in a field fluctuation that triggered a safety protocol to shut down the reactor and vent the contained plasma.”

“So we have no power until it’s fixed and the reactor is restarted. Assign a construct to fix the coil.”

“I tried that course of action before I sounded the alarm to wake you. The misaligned coil is in a section of the reactor room that a construct cannot access. This will require your intervention.”

“Always something. Okay, let me grab the tools and head back to Engineering.”

“Negative. That would be extremely unadvisable without an EXO suit. We are currently running on auxiliary power only. All non-essential ship functions have been shut down. Life support is set to minimal which means that life support functions are confined to the ship’s bridge module and stasis pods only.”

“Okay, let me get the EXO suit.”

“I would advise you hurry.”

“Why?

“My estimates regarding the repair time, including your changing into the EXO suit and navigating back to the reactor module, is 43 minutes. Restarting the reactor will take 12 minutes. At the current rate of power usage, the batteries will be drained in 63 minutes.”

“Once I’m in the EXO Suit, shut down life support in the bridge section. That should buy us a bit more time.”

“113 seconds.”

“That’s it? What’s draining all of the power? No, the magnetic deflectors, right?”

“Correct. We are still traveling at .9 the speed of light. Any collisions from even the smallest debris particles would prove catastrophic.”

“Do the life support thing and dial back the deflectors another 5%. How much longer will that give us?”

“15 minutes, but I have already adjusted the defectors to the minimum safe level to redirect debris around the ship.”

“Drop the power further; I don’t care if the paint gets scratched so long as nothing punches a hole in us.”

“Calculating… There is a moderate risk, but I can reduce power levels another 3.2%.”

“That’ll have to do.”

Captain’s Log. Michael Torres. S.S. Neo Genesis.

I’m in an EXO suit preparing to transfer to the Colony Storage Unit 1 in an attempt to access the Engineering module so I can make a correction to the fusion reactor. I’ve got about twelve minutes before the power fails and we’re a giant rocket travelling at near light speed with nothing to deflect meteorites out of our way, so I’m keeping this entry brief.

Initializing airlock.

Jesus… well, that’s not creepy at all.

Caskets, cryotubes, I mean, lining the walls and stacked on top of each other ten high and nothing but the EXO suit’s light to see it by.

Yeah, this would be the part of the horror movie where the alien leaps out and tears me to pieces. Of course, there isn’t anyone here but me.

“Captain, may I remind you that time is short.”

Yeah, I know. I’m on my way.

Navigating through Colony Storage Unit 1. No vicious aliens in sight yet. Just a lot of human popsicles. Hey, it’s the Colony Governor. James R. Harris. Hi, Governor. You’ll be happy to know that your vitals are still normal for a human ice cube. Who else do we have here?

Chief Science Officer, Dr. Marsha Wells.  M.I.T.? Impressive.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Silas Green. Oh, doc… you’ve got high cholesterol, shame on you.

Quite a few farmers.

And… Secondary Space Pilot… That’s strange. No name or medical data. Are they still alive?

“Both reservists are alive.”

I don’t suppose you’d like to tell me more about my replacements, Echo?

“Information unavailable.”

Why is that?

“Mission critical personnel files are locked.”

Come on, I just read the names and medical statistics of the chief Colonial personnel.

“Mission critical personnel files are locked.”

It’s my clone, isn’t it?

“Human cloning is illegal under the Human Genome Accords of 2110. You now have fifteen minutes and 45 seconds to realign the magnetic coil and restart the fusion reactor.”

So I should drop it and get on with it?  Fine. But I’m going to bug you about it later.

“If you do not move with greater haste, there will not be a later.”

Yeah, yeah. I’m moving. Transferring to Colony Storage Unit 2.

So many people here and I can’t talk to any of them for another 30 years.

Echo, how far am I from engineering?

“The Engineering section is just past Colony Storage Unit 3.”

More creepy caskets. Great.

“Colony Storage Unit 3 contains all of the needed equipment, food, and supplies to establish a successful colony. There are no additional colonists in stasis.”

Anything I might find interesting?

“You have been provided all necessary and recreational materials for the duration of our voyage.”

You’re no fun at all, Echo.

“Would you like me to load the Amy profile again?”

No! God, no. I won’t touch anything. Scout’s honor. Just don’t bring Amy back online.

“Understood. Please, hurry.”

Yeah, yeah.

Okay, all of this stuff is so damn shiny, but it’s not that different from my own freighter’s engines. That would be the fusion reactor. Echo? Can you highlight for me the magnetic coil that is out of alignment?

“Displaying location on your EXO Suit’s HUD.”

All the way in the back, huh?

“Which is why a construct could not reach it. There was insufficient space behind the reactor core.”

Great design flaw. Let me guess, cost cutting measure?

“There are tools located in the lower locker nearest the door.”

Alright, let’s get this done, so I can go back to sleep.

You weren’t kidding about the tight fit.

“Can you reach the magnetic coil?”

Yeah.

“Good. First, start by using the-“

Relax. I’ve got this. I used to do repairs to the engines of my junker all the time.

“This is not a junker. This is a highly advanced starship.”

You’ve seen one fusion reactor, you’ve seen them all, Echo.

“Captain… striking the magnetic coil with a hammer is inadvisable.”

Relax. A couple of taps should do it.

“Captain, I must insist you stop. You are going to damage-“

There. Run a diagnostic on it now.

“The magnetic coil is back in alignment. But your methodology was not within recommended protocols. I must report this to your superiors.”

Echo, I kept a one hundred and twenty-seven year-old freighter running for twenty years without incident. I think your bosses know what skills I bring to the mission. But you do what you have to do. What are they going to do, fire me?

“There are two additional pilots on board.”

Is that a threat, Echo?

“A reminder. You are important, but you are still expendable.”

Wow. I didn’t know you had it in you, Echo. Restart the reactor and bring life support and the magnetic deflectors back up to normal.

“Acknowledged. What are you going to do, Captain?”

I’m going back to bed.

The Big Whoop Book: Chapter 2


Your humble Exalted Reverend Most High Grande Nacho Supreme Poobah has been a bit under the weather this week. So he’s not going to suffer through both a mild bout of the flu and the Quran, so we will continue our exploration of our new religion, Whoopee, and our new deity Big Whoop. Today, we’ll be answering some questions that arose from finding out a new deity existed.

Why should I follow Big Whoop instead of my current deity?

That is a very good question. To answer that, let me ask you a question? Has your God ever decided to destroy the world and drown all of the cute baby meat critters because people suck? If so, that should be a good enough reason to consider a less homicidal deity.

Another good reason is that unlike all of the other deities out there, Big Whoop is honest enough to admit right up front that he does not, in fact, exist.

He doesn’t exist?

Not in the slightest.

Isn’t it kind of odd to follow a god that doesn’t exist?

That hasn’t stopped all of the other gods from building their own religions, so Big Whoop does not foresee this to be a problem for the most holy religion of Whoopee either.

Do you have any proof that Big Whoop doesn’t exist?

Yes. Unlike other deities, Big Whoop is not shy or timid about showing up in front of everybody and saying, “Hi there!” So you can rest assured that if Big Whoop did exist, you would damn well know it.

So is there an afterlife?

No.

Big Whoop is terribly sorry about that. You see, Big Whoop actually didn’t intend to make humans. He was fiddling around with some amino acids some 4 billion years ago and constructed a single cell. It was quite cool. What was even cooler was that this little organic machine started to copy itself.

“That is neat-o,” said Big Whoop. “I wonder if I can build another one?”

So he build another little machine, then another. And they all copied themselves. Of course, some of them didn’t copy themselves so well, so soon there were billions of different kinds of little cells all floating about unconsciously in the ocean.

I think we can all agree that an afterlife for a little single cell is completely unnecessary, so Big Whoop didn’t bother constructing one.

I mean, he hardly expected you little cells to start organizing into meat creatures, let alone somehow attain consciousness and start asking philosophical questions about the meaning of life and such.

So, no, there is no afterlife. Big Whoop apologizes for the inconvenience.

Wait, couldn’t Big Whoop whip one up right now?

Well, of course, he could. But that might take years and frankly, some of you are looking like you can’t wait that long.

Also, there is the slight matter of Big Whoop’s non-existence which might put a bit of a dampener on any plans to construct an afterlife.

So, it might happen, but sadly, I cannot promise you an afterlife, no promise of eternity. Just a promise of now. You are alive now. You exist now. Enjoy it. Enjoy every little moment of your extremely improbable life. Cherish every hug, remember every kiss, think warmly of every joy, and remember that every sorrow is temporary for one day you will fall asleep and simply be gone.

That seems rather unfair.

I’m sorry, that wasn’t a question.

Doesn’t that seem rather unfair?

No more so than your previous non-existence before your birth was ‘unfair.’

Why would we be moral if there’s no afterlife?

Are you saying you really need the threat of punishment after death to be a moral person?

Uh… maybe?

Fine, I suppose we could humor you if you really are that psychologically damaged.

When you die, an angelic hall monitor shaped like a potato will arrive to take you to the Big Whoop’s Principal’s Office where he’ll look over your permanent record and decide how long you have to spend in Big Whoop’s Timeout Corner for Very Naughty Monkeys.

While stuck in Timeout, everyone you’ve ever met or ever will meet will come by and tell you to your face about all the times you were an asshole to them.

And once that’s over, you can go out and play at Recess.

Recess? Is that like heaven?

With the clouds and the harps and the constant telling a deity how wonderful he is? No. Recess is just that. Go outside, play, build your own little single-cell machines, smoke behind the gym, whatever, just get out of Big Whoop’s face and leave him alone. He has many god things to do, you know?

God things?

Yes. As in “none of your monkey business.”

It’s porn, isn’t it?

Oh, yes., You think you’ve seen nudity. You haven’t begun to comprehend the subject until you’ve seen two multi-dimensional entities phase shift into the sane plane and insert their ethereal glowy bits into one another’s semi-permeable membranes.

If Big Whoop is all-powerful and all-loving, why is there evil in the world?

Please refer back to the ‘he doesn’t exist’ answer.

But if you created Big Whoop, then doesn’t he exist in some capacity?

My, you are a clever hairless monkey, aren’t you?

Yes, I suppose in some capacity, now that I’ve created him, Big Whoop does exist. But since one of the attributes of Big Whoop is his non-existence, we’re left with a conundrum. “Conundrum” of course, being a very fancy word for saying that this religion doesn’t really make sense. And since no other religion cares about making sense, I fail to see why Big Whoop cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. A = Not A is only a problematic statement when you’re attempting to construct a logical argument after all, and faith is simply not logical.

Now then, this chapter has almost reached a thousand words, so I won’t bore you any further this week. We’ll be answering more of your questions regarding your new Lord and God in the coming weeks, but for now, we shall bring this chapter to a close. And to entice you to return, next week, we will discuss something you naughty monkeys are very fond of and obsessed over: sexual intercourse. Won’t that be a hoot?

Day Five


Hello, this is Captain Michael Torres of the S.S. Neo Genesis.

Shit, I hate voice recorder logs. The openings never sounds right.

It’s our fifth day out from Daystar’s Lunar Tranquility Base. We have left the solar system. That sounds impressive, but it’s not really that big of a deal. We’ve shot God knows how many probes out of the solar system already. Hell, we’re not even the first manned flight. Back when I was independent, it was a point of pride for some of the more daring spacers to go out and come back just to say they’ve done it and then talk some shit about it to their buddies at the bar.

I miss that bar. Good thing, I discovered the ship’s supply of alcohol. Even discovered some equipment to construct a still and a construct whose sole duty is to work it so the colony can replace its stock.  Say what you will about those bastards at Daystar, but they do love their booze.

The mission, right… we are the third manned vessel to leave the solar system with the intention of interstellar travel and as far as I know, the only one that hasn’t ended in tragedy yet, so that’s cause for celebration, right? So I’m going to enjoy a nice glass of Daystar Gold label 8 year old scotch.

Oh, also, we are the first manned vessel to reach .9C. Okay, I know they did test flights and all, but this is the first ‘official’ time mankind has approached that close to the speed of light, so make sure you include my name in the history books, alright? Many thanks to the unappreciated lab drones back at Daystar. I hope you guys left work early to hit the bars in time for Happy Hour. Speaking of which… here’s to you nerds.

Ah. With our speed roughly constant, I was able to ease off the engine thrust and dial the acceleration compensator back to zero. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Amy will be handling the minor course adjustments to maintain our existing vector and depending on gravity, we may need to periodically fire up the engines, but most of the work is done until we reach our destination.

Oh, right. Amy. That’s what I call Echo now. I chose the Amy voice because it was friendly, perky, cheerful. Her hologram matches exactly what you think of when you think of those characteristics too. And it’s not just the voice. There’s an entire personality matrix attached to it. I’m not sure how they did it, but it’s life like enough most of the time.

It’s a little weird, but it’s also a little comforting having her around. She almost makes me forget that I’m alone up here. The personality algorithm is pretty good too, but there are a few glitches that break the illusion. And you can’t touch her, of course. Not that I’ve tried to touch her, I’m not that lonely, and Amy assures me that if I ever become that lonely, there is an, uh… adaptable construct designed for, uh… ‘companionship’ in storage that she can operate. Jesus, there are so many things wrong with that sentence. Maybe I should delete and start over.

It’s the silence that bothers me sometimes. I’m not a rookie when it comes to space travel, but I worked on a family rig, there was always someone there, Abuela, Abeulo, Papi, Rose. There’s a lot of shit here to fill the silence and the down hours. A lot of distractions: tens of thousands of movies, video games, books, and music files, a VR rig with hundreds of places from Earth recreated in bit form, and Amy tells me since we’re not quite travelling at light speed, we might even get some updates from Earth. Might take years, so I’ll be hopelessly out of date on pop culture, but… I don’t know…

I’ve just been wondering why they didn’t give me a copilot?

Well, that’s not entirely true, they gave me two co-pilots, but there both icicles. Only one pilot on duty at any given time until we reach the Nu2 Lupi system. If I become incapacitated, Amy will wake my XO and if he or she, Amy won’t tell me a damn thing about them, is incapacitated, then the Second Officer will be revived and take over the mission. If he goes down, she’ll awake the Colonial Governor and so on and on until she reaches the Colonial septic tank cleaner, I guess.

According to Amy due to power and life support constraints, only one pilot can be active at any given time, but… I don’t know. I can’t help but feel like this is just another little cut out of a thousand the company has given me, something else they’re doing to punish me for almost making them look bad with the Copernicus Incident, you know, before they got ahold of Rose and me and stuffed us underground and out of sight of the media.

Systems are operating within normal parameters. Artificial gravity is at 70% of Earths which should be just enough not to completely fuck up my body. There were a few power fluctuations in the main reactor when I turned on the gravity, but they seem to have stabilized and Amy is monitoring for any other anomalies.

It really is the fucking silence that gets to me sometimes. Anything would be welcome to just break it up, it’s so damn quiet. I wonder what I’m going to be like after years or decades of this… Shit, if we even make it to the new colony world, will I still be able to even relate to other people when they thaw out?

I’ve got to stop thinking about it.

“Hey, Amy?”

“Hey, Mike!”

“Put on some music, would you?”

“Cool. Anything you’d like to listen to?”

“I don’t know. Anything. Just put something on.”

“I am a huge fan of early 22nd century rock. Occam’s Steel Razor is the shit! You have got to hear their experimental album, Pi.”

“You know what? Fine. That’ll do. After that, go ahead and transmit the ship’s status report back to Tranquility Base.”

“Okie-dokie and… done. What do you think of the music? Cool, right?”

“Yeah, I like it. Thanks.”

“Told you!”

“Amy?”

“Yeah, Mike?”

“Do you ever get lonely?”

“Amy?”

“God, yes. There was this one time, when my cat died, I couldn’t handle being in the apartment, so I went out shopping for like a week-“

“Amy?”

“Yeah, Mike?”

“That’s enough for now.”

“Okay, laters!”

“Yeah… Laters.”

Day One


“Okay, testing… testing…. Echo… is this thing on?”

“The recorder is working perfectly, Captain Torres.”

“Alright… the suits suggested I maintain a log of our voyage, so here we go. It’s day 1, July 22nd, 2204. This is Captain Michael Torres, pilot and commanding officer of the S.S. Neo Genesis. Yeah, I know. It’s a shitty name. But I didn’t pick it. You can blame that on the good folks at the Daystar Company. Probably had their damn marketing team out holding focus groups and passing a list of names through a dozen committee meetings. I guess I should be grateful they didn’t open up the naming rights to the Net or I’d probably be flying the S.S. Fuckhead or Shippy McShipface.

While it is a shitty name, it is also one hell of a vessel. Nothing at all like the old rust bucket I used to fly: my grandpa’s T-3010 cargo freighter. I wonder what the old man would think of this one. Probably too shiny and sterile for him. Everything is new and hi-tech and experimental as hell and supposedly the first ship that will make colonizing other planets feasible.

Our current course and speed will take us out of the solar system in a couple of hours. After that, it’s on to the Nu2 Lupi system, where Daystar says one of their probes has found a suitable planet for human life. It’s 47.5 light years away, but due to the speed of travel and relativity, it should only seem like about 23 years to me. Back on Earth, it’ll be closer to 53 years. Physics, right?

The plan is to establish a sustainable colony that will send needed materials back to Earth. Yeah, the lousy fuckers have stripped just about everything from our rock, so they’re looking for brave new worlds to seek out and exploit. Given that it would take 106 years to make a round trip and the volume of our cargo containers, I can’t imagine how they think they’ll make their money back on this one.

I asked my, uh… ‘handler’, Ms. Christensen about it, but the only answer I could get from her was “a lot can happen in fifty years, Captain.” So who knows? They’ve obviously thought up some scheme on how to make this venture profitable. Maybe some of their eggheads think they can actually make warp technology work this time without irradiating everything in front of them.

My job is to just get the colonists there in one piece and that’s what I’m doing.

It’s been eighteen hours since we left Tranquility Station and everything reads within the parameters Control said were normal. Engine status and temperature look good. Reactor output is steady and containment is holding. Artificial gravity is currently off to save power while we’re using the acceleration dampening field which is holding steady at 38%. Given that we intend to accelerate up to .9 C, this is a good thing, otherwise, I would be turned into a mushy paste in my command chair and this ‘very expensive’ mission would end in disaster before it even got underway.

Feels strange trusting my life to a relatively new piece of technology, especially when their Chief Technician Dr. Samsa recommended NOT turning it on full power immediately. She suggested we start at 20% and ease up the power output by 1% every hour.  She assures me that human testing trials were successful and I have nothing to worry about, but her request does not exactly inspire confidence. I asked her how many test pilots the company went through before it perfected the device. She didn’t answer, so probably ‘a lot.’

But come on, it’s not like I didn’t know. I’m here because I’m a good spacer and I’m completely expendable. I haven’t looked at all 2,003 personnel files, but if I did, I would guess most of them are also expendable. Debtors, convicts, desperate people with skills Daystar needed, all of us promised a second chance if we risk our lives.

Echo, the ship’s resident AI companion and the only voice I’ll hear for the next twenty-three years of my life, has informed me that all 2,003 hibernation pods are working and all colonists are alive and doing well. At least, as well as you can be doing when you’re a frozen popsicle.

Projections are that we should reach peak acceleration in the next three days and then I can ease off of the engines, the acceleration dampener, and turn on the gravity. It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but until then, I’ll be stuck in this chair. Yeah, I know. Sounds gross, I know, but there are ways to handle the shit and it’s not the longest time I’ve been in a space suit without a shower. This one time on my family’s old freighter… nevermind… the only people who will probably hear this log are company people and you guys know all about my life, right? “Mr. Torres, we do thorough research on all ‘employees.’” Fucking corporation.

I wonder how Rose is doing. They released her from custody before I left and moved her into her new apartment, but I didn’t get a chance to see her. They let me record a message for her. I hope those company bastards actually give it to her instead of just sending it down the bit hole.

A part of me feels like I just traded one prison for another. But I’m looking out the window now and I see the stars. The endless ocean of stars stretching out in all directions and I realize that no matter what those bastards have planned for me, no matter how long it will be before I talk to someone that isn’t a hologram, that I’m home.

My only regret is leaving Rose behind. I hope she can forgive me. I know she’ll hate me for it. But the thought of leaving her in that Company labor camp for life… underground, in the dark, living in a tent with three other people and forced to go deeper and deeper into the Earth… I couldn’t let her stay there. I hope she understands that someday and can live a happy life. Maybe settle down and have kids and live our her life free… well, as free as anyone can be these days.

Alright, back to business… all systems operating within normal parameters and the flight is proceeding as planned. ECHO, please update Tranquility Base Command with our current status.

“Acknowledged, Captain Torres. Transmission sent.”

“I’m going to have to do something about that voice.”

“What is wrong with my voice, Captain Torres?”

“If we’re going to be together for the next twenty-three years, Echo, you can’t sound like the HAL 9000. Do you have any other voice patterns?”

“I have 200 different vocal patterns available, would you like to begin sampling them?”

“Sure. Let’s start with the feminine ones.”

“Feminine voice 001, designation Allison.”

“Hold on, let me shut this damn thing off.”

Air America


I’m on a plane.

Looking out the window, a gremlin is busy tearing up shit on the wing.

I look across the aisle to the other window. Birds have flown into the engine and it’s on fire.

Behind me, a flight attendant is holding off a pack of hungry zombies with the drink cart and bags of peanuts.

The intercom comes on. Finally, the pilot will tell us what to do.

“This is Captain Trump, everything is fine. This is the best flight that ever was. Also, there’s a Korean airliner in our way, but I’m not moving. He has to move out of our way. Out of my way.”

No one else seems to pay attention. They’re all busy watching the in-flight movie: “Dumb and Dumber.”

I put my head between my knees and scream.

A Day in the Life of…


Fuck. It’s morning already? What time is it?

5:00, I think.

Why am I awake at 5:00, I fell asleep at midnight? Maybe I can just go back to sleep.

You can’t go back to sleep. I’m up and I’m thinking.

I’ll try to go back to sleep.

You’re not going to sleep. Just get up. You have to pee anyway.

I can go back to sleep.

Get up. You have things to do.

Maybe if I stay in bed, other people will do those things.

Then you’ll get fired, your wife will be angry, and you’ll end up homeless.

Jesus Christ, fine. I’ll get out of bed.

The dogs want food.

Everyone wants something. Okay, they’re fed. I’ve peed. I’m going back to bed.

You won’t fall asleep again.

Maybe I’ll take a sleeping pill.

It’s 5:40, you’ll oversleep.

I’m just going to go lie down and try.

You’ll oversleep, the kids will be late and you’ll be fired.

Why would they fire me? It’s not like I’m late all the time.

You don’t deserve this job. You’re not good enough. They’ll fire you. Just keep going and hope they don’t catch on to how useless you are.

Now I can’t go back to sleep.

Told you. Get up. You’re only bothering your wife now.

Fine. I guess some alone time before work won’t be that bad.

Oh, look, the kids are awake too. Time to feed them.

Great.

You’re a horrible father. You should be happy to spend time with them.

I am. I’m just fucking tired. Shut up.

They’re probably going to end up fucked up because of you.

I’m trying okay. I love them. Shut up.

Trying and failing.

“Okay, kids, get dressed.”

Why aren’t their socks matching?

Because they lost half of them.

And you’re going to let them go to school like that?

No. I’ll find matching socks.

How do they not have any matching socks?

It’s your fault.

Okay, this sock matches, what? How the hell do you tear the hell out of a sock?

You hate them.

No, I don’t. That’s bullshit and you know it. Okay, we’re ready to go.  Walking them to school.  There’s a parent. Smile and nod. She didn’t acknowledge me. Does she think I’m weird? Disgusting? Does she think I want to fuck her? I don’t. I was just being polite.

You’re disgusting, you know.

Okay, time to go. I love hugs from my kids.

They’re going to hate you in a few years.

Just shut up.

What if something happens to them while you’re away?

I’m not listening to you.

What if someone shoots them?

Fuck off. It would kill me. Why would you make me think that?

The universe doesn’t want you to be happy. You’re disgusting. God doesn’t want you to be happy. Why should you be happy when so many other people are suffering?

Let’s just concentrate on getting to work.

You know it’s true. You’re not a good person. You deserve to suffer.

You’re right, I do. But I’m not. Can’t you just let me be happy and enjoy what I have for one moment?

That guy cut you off. You should speed up and tail him.

I’m not going to do that. That’s insane. And it’s not a big deal.

I hope he crashes his car and dies.

No, I don’t.

One more day at the office. You’re worthless.

I do a good job. I get good reviews every year.

They’re going to fire you today.

No, they’re not.

They’re going to fire you and you won’t be able to get another job and you will have failed your family. You’ll be homeless living out of a car and on welfare. Or worse, you’ll be a 43 year old loser living in his in-laws house.

I’m not getting fired and I can get another job if I am.

He said “Hello” to you.

I smiled and nodded to him.

Don’t make eye contact. You don’t want to be weird. Ha. You didn’t make eye contact. He probably thinks you’re rude. Say “Good morning” to her.

“Good morning.”

She didn’t respond. She doesn’t like you. She thinks you’re disgusting too.

She’s probably just dealing with her own shit.

She thinks you want her. She thinks you’re disgusting.  She thinks you’re a fat, old, disgusting pervert.

All I said was a friendly, “Good morning.”

You should go to the gym. Then at least you wouldn’t be fat.

Probably.

Of course, they’d still think you’re weird.

Can’t you just shut the fuck up for one minute? Sigh… finally. Now maybe I can do some work.

This is boring.

God damn it.

This is boring. Check your Facebook.

Fine.

They’re going to see you check Facebook instead of working and they’re going to fire you.

Sometimes I hate you.

You’re going to die.

I know.

You’re going to die soon. And then you’re kids will be messed up for life.

I’m not going to die soon. Will you just shut up and let me do my damned job.

Fine. Do your job. You’re going to die.

No, I’m not.

Your kids are dead.

No, they’re not.

You’re really crazy, you know.

I know. I’m on medication.

It’s not helping.

Yes, it is. I haven’t had a panic attack in 18 months.

You’re crazy and you’re going to turn your children crazy.

I’m not listening to you anymore. Finally, 5:00. See? I can make small talk with other people.

They still don’t like you.

Okay, what should I make for dinner?

You’re not a good cook.

My wife doesn’t complain.

She’s being polite. It’s really not that good.

I should do the dishes. Why are there so many dishes?

Because you’re lazy and don’t clean enough.

Okay, dishwasher started.

You don’t spend enough time with your kids.

I’m trying, alright!

You’re failing. You’re the worst father.

I’m pretty sure that’s not true. There’s that guy in Perris.

So you’re better than an abusive father. You deserve an award.

I’m going to have a drink.

You drink too much.

To shut you up.

You drink too much and you’re going to die and you’re wife and kids will be penniless and hate you.

I have life insurance.

Not enough to last them more than five years.

I’m having another drink.

You’re an alcoholic.

I’m not. I just want you to shut up. I’m watching TV.

Fine. But I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow morning.

Sigh… I know.