Friday, August 21, 2015

Share The Cocky Coin

Yea! The story of me being cast into poverty and deprived of property has a happy ending! All is restored, all is right in my cozy little world! Thanks to the very real power behind miracle graphics like this great one, "Share the Cocky Coin." The Cocky Coin struts into view, everyone looking, everyone's pointing, "He's the man. A dollar that knows his worth. Gives wealth and happiness. And never been known to fail."

My troubles started in a similar way, but with the blessing reversed into a curse, when I foolishly posted the "Share This Empty Wallet" graphic. At that time you could've called me a skeptic, a non-believer in the various Facebook posts people make. Share pictures of wads of money and you'll have money, all that. But as I found, to my regret, there's actually something real going on there. The Empty Wallet graphic wiped me out. I lost my house, my garage, and 99% of my possessions, quickly, just like that.

In poverty then, it's remarkable that I didn't think of immediately counteracting it with a money-making graphic. Although it's entirely likely that the Curse Blob, the power behind these graphics, wouldn't have blessed me. It's more likely he clouds your mind to that possibility until, in the negative case, he's dealt you some destruction. Otherwise, as is easy to see, people would be trifling with him like an on-off switch. Still, he's apparently a lot more into blessing than cursing, since "getting money" graphics far outnumber those taking it away.

Whether there was any clouding of my mind that went on, I don't know, except in my experience I felt like I was kind of in a haze. But with the passing of time I really set my mind to making things better. Which led to my Elvis Presley pilgrimage, all the way to Mobile, AL. Frankly, I thought that would instantly restore my property. It didn't, although it turned out to be an important step in clearing my mind -- giving me Elvis-like powers to think it through -- which then opened my mind/heart to sharing the Cocky Coin.

How many times have I seen the Cocky Coin graphic on Facebook? Hundreds of times! Not necessarily from people who went from riches to poverty, but from those already in poverty. But I didn't know their experience. So I ignored it. This time, my mind completely cleared, and also blessed by Elvis, I shared it, then stood back ... and watched in awe.

OK, you have to picture this. I'm on the half acre of land I inherited from Grandma and Grandpa. The garage is gone, the house is gone. All I can see is a big patch of bare space where the house used to be, along with a hole for the cellar (not taking up the entire foundation). I shared the Cocky Coin on a neighbor's computer and rushed back across the road. What I saw next, you won't believe. But every word is true.

There was such a swirling of energy over the site, I nearly had to close my eyes in the glory of a presence. And dust. It was noisy, there was shaking, and everything started coming together, this piece to that piece, materials appearing and joining themselves. I beheld walls appearing from nowhere, and pictures on the walls and furniture. The covering of the outside of the walls and the roof and its covering came into view. It was like sinews and skin forming. I literally held my breath in fear. Behind me the garage assembled itself in seconds. And not to be outdone, although presenting a more humble spectacle, my old shed reappeared, as shabby as ever.

I went into the house and everything I had lost was restored, including my computer. But nothing seemed especially improved. The SHIFT key on my HP computer, which broke off less than a month after I got it, was still missing. Pretty good computer design, HP -- Huge Piece of crap. The Curse Blob, now the Blessing Blob, had a sense of humor there. But he was more gracious with the meat in my freezer. Nearly everything previously freezer burnt was immaculate and delicious-looking!

I checked my credit union accounts online. What previously was zeroed-out was restored, just as though nothing had happened.


Now I call you, neighbors, to rejoice with me! I'm a very good person, there's no question of that. I deserve everything I have. And I have learned my lesson once and for all: Whenever I'm not happy with what I have, I know where to get more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Comeback Special

Pix of me recreating Elvis' Guitar Man production number

It's been terrible being homeless and broke. I've always had trouble in my life, of course, but nothing like what came from the "Share This Empty Wallet" curse. The Curse Blob took away everything I had, short of the clothes on my back and a few incidentals. I found that life's a bitch, a real bastard. But it also reminded me a lot about myself, the stuff you don't think of till you're down and out. One pleasant surprise I got was, I'm still an incredibly fast runner, given a drumstick in good enough condition and a camp of emaciated bums on my tail. Age hasn't slowed me down.

Among the other things I learned, or was reminded of was, This is no way to live. Which is why I spent some time looking deeply into myself to find a way back. Curse or no curse! And for me, there's one constant, one source of strength and renewal, as true now as when I was 5-years-old, Elvis Presley. Just the sight of Elvis, or the sound of his voice, or being reminded of his great songs and movies, is all I need. If push came to shove, I could literally hulk out over Elvis, OK?

Then I started thinking of the '68 Comeback Special, and immediately set out after my own comeback. In one of the hobo jungles I traded a moldy (albeit well-scraped) donut for a guitar and took off. Standing at the edge of town I sang a plaintive, "Nothingville," bidding a fond farewell to my "rat's race-snail's pace" hometown. Middle finger up, "Sayonara, suckers!" Because it took me a while to get a ride, I lapsed into Three Dog Night's "Easy To Be Cruel," an old hitchhiking tradition of mine since the '70s.

Going all the way from the upper Midwest to Mobile, Alabama, is one ambitious hitchhike. But it had to be done for the sake of my comeback. I had so many rides with oversexed tubby men -- my least favorite variety among sexual opportunities -- that I stopped in this one joint for a decent rendezvous with the ladies. They immediately saw I had the old Presley swagger on and were on me, me encouraging them with "Let Yourself Go." "Cool it, baby, you ain't got no place to go, just put your arms around me real-tight, Enjoy yourself, baby, don't fight. All you gotta do is just ... let yourself go." Ummm! That's the sweet spot, baby.

I got stuck along the way and needed to pick up a few bucks. I've done this before -- such as with Manpower -- and you never know what you're going to get. This time I met this big bastard at a bar, who told me to come over and move some boxes for him. When I say "bastard," I know bastards very well. This guy was treating his lady badly, very typical stuff, but something that still gets me. My inner-Elvis, naturally, was riled up and I ended up in a no-holds-barred fight with "Big Boss Man." "Well, you ain't so big! You just tall, that's all!"

But it turned out his lady saw more of a future with the big boss man than a guitar man like me, even though I sought to convince her with "It's Hurts Me." "It hurts me to see him treat you the way that he does. It hurts me to see you sit and cry. When I know I could be so true, if I had someone like you. It hurts me to see those tears in your eyes." I fought Big Boss Man, but the squeeze stayed behind, foolishly choosing that lunk over me. Which really did hurt me.

Anyway, I had Mobile, Alabama in mind. I would keep going -- the highways lit up through the night with headlights and taillights -- as long as I physically could. Finally, though, I had to have a decent meal, and got it by performing at this joint that also featured a stripper called Little Egypt. One look at her and I could tell why the Egyptians have had such an enduring culture. Her dance, yummy, delicious, made me think of the shifting sands and the great pyramids.

With a bit of money in my pockets as well, I thumbed my way all the way down to Mobile, Alabama, and did a couple Elvis gigs at a club they call Big Jack's. Reflecting on my challenges since the Empty Wallet Curse, I came to embody my "Trouble." "You're looking for trouble, you come to the right place. You're looking for trouble, just look in my face. I was born standing up and talking back. My daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack. Because I'm evil, my middle is misery. Yeah, I'm evil .... So don't you mess around with me." I do this real sultry pronunciation of evil like "Evolll," sneering my lip up real cool.

So that's how it went. I didn't need to be there forever. I just had to know I'd been there, I'd made the full pilgrimage. By the time I got home, I knew I'd have the answer. It worked for the original (and there's only one) Elvis Presley, my hero, my spirit guide, and possibly my true father, on the off chance that my mother met him in 1952, which she didn't. She was in the same room with Elvis, backstage in 1956, but by then I was already 3.

The Guitar Man was headed back home, awaiting his answer. Cue the music, "Also Sprach Zarathustra," for a new day's at hand! My comeback's nearly complete!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Life's A Bitch, A Real Bastard

It's been a tough few days, like an eternity of torment, ever since I was stupid enough to share the Empty Wallet graphic and lose my money, my house, and my life to The Curse Blob. Hell, I even lost my garage! If there's a plus side, I've seen how tough life can be, and I'm ready for it to quit. Get me back to normal!

Here's what I've concluded: I've personally suffered more than any other person alive now or anyone who's ever lived. Were I held down, depantsed, and tickled till I peed straight up, it couldn't be any worse. I've cried out to whatever gods there are or that may have ever existed, "Kill me, kill me now," but life's a crap shoot, it goes on like it or not. I'll tell you one thing, if I ever get out of this mess, I'll be selling T-shirts that say "Life's a bitch, a real bastard." Don't anyone steal that line -- it's my copyright -- and I believe that's how I'm going to pay for retirement.

As it is right this minute, though, those plans are for a day hopefully still to come. As things stand now, I'm in the depths of depression, the slough of despond, and the pits of p-- rottenness. With no way up, no way out. Are there others around me? Yes, but their suffering doesn't appear to be as great. Even in the muck and mire of hellish torment, at least they're still rolling around, enjoying the fleeting pleasures of one another's bodies. I guess it's pleasure, but I for one am not going to add disease to my current misery. That's how I've always been.

One thing that's beneficial, I guess, is I've been able to see how others live. To think I used to sit and stew that my house wasn't as good as other people's. Now, if I could have my old rundown place back -- it's last major maintenance having been performed in the mid '70s before Grandpa died -- I'd feel like a king in a well-maintained palace, various workers tilling the soil and bringing me radishes and an occasional quart of blackberries. This life is for the birds, sleeping outside, under bridges, and the horrible noises of others all around, disturbing the peace.

That's right. I made my way over by the railroad tracks, where they go around the corner near all those trees. I got a tip that's where you go -- a guy at a bar told me about those who live this sort of life. I showed up and every eye turned to examine me. Was I a railroad dick? Was I some authority? My gray hair sticking down from my cap and covering my ears, I must have looked quite distinguished, and, yes, perhaps like an authority from one of the governing boards. The ragged people scatter when authority arrives, because they're usually flashing nightsticks when they do.

But I held my hat meekly and sought admission in the gentlest of terms, appearing quite abashed to be needing a handout from those already down. But no matter how far down people fall, they come up with something to feel proud about, even if it's only giving suspicious glances to some other bastard who's descended into their camp. Would I pass muster? I didn't know, and in a way I didn't care. I do OK on my own, but if you're accepted into a camp like this, it's more likely you'll have something to eat. There's a couple kids they send out to steal stuff from the man. The man that runs the roadside stand three blocks away.

Nighttime's the worst time to be in a community like this. People saying random crap, like one guy who keeps going, "Oh, forget it! Forget it!" Then there's the snot-nosed kids, crying all the time and banging the railroad signs with their sticks. Too much stuff like this. This is where my grief would be greatest, except when I first got here it didn't take long till I sneaked out. I don't mean to give any indication that people care if you're here or not. But if I'm with people, I like to honor the relationship. This time I put up with it as long as I could, then stashed my stuff under my arm and left. I found a fairly decent culvert down the line and boarded there. I plan to go back when I figure the kids are back with the man's food.

Now, you've heard how it's been. You tell me -- I'll believe you -- Is life a bitch, a real bastard?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My First Day in Poverty

Like Patches in the old cartoon panel "Patches & Green," literally till yesterday I had enough money to get along pretty well. I wasn't wealthy, exactly, but I was never hurting. Then came Share This Empty Wallet, topped off by The Curse Blob taking away everything I had, even to the point of disintegrating my house, garage, and car. It's been a tough few days, with me ending up with nothing.

Basically nothing. I have a gnarly New Testament, the clothes I was wearing, and an empty backpack. I'm allowed to scrounge here and there, wherever I happen to be, and fill the backpack to my heart's content. This is all at the allowance of The Curse Blob, the power behind The Empty Wallet curse. By sharing that damned graphic, in three days I went completely broke, just as it said.

This also means my computer's gone, you understand. Meaning, I'm using the computers at the library, and their graphics capabilities suck. It took me twice as long to make pix for this post, and even then the cartoons are basically lifted from other guy's site, with a few changes on the captions. If you know him, don't rat me out.

But of course I have bigger problems. It's damned tough to live in total poverty. I don't have a single cent, this is serious. You might think it's romantic to wander the streets, looking for bits of a sandwich here or there. It's not how you imagine it at all. Finding a place to sleep, having nothing, is also tricky. But I have some experience with that from back in the '70s when I used to hitchhike around the country.

So it was the same last night as it was back then, I went out to the interstate and slept under one of the bridges. Wasn't too bad, about like I remember. I stuffed some weeds in my backpack and that was a good pillow. But I didn't have anything to cover up with. And just as I remember, it's always around 4 a.m. when it gets coldest. The biggest difference is now I'm 40+ years older. I was a kid then and looked cool like Tom Sawyer. Now I must look as pathetic as usual, only worse.

Since the interstate's just south of where I used to live, it wasn't tough getting there. Then today when I went back into town I surveyed my home place, looking for something that might've escaped the devastation. The Curse Blob was very thorough. I couldn't have cleaned the place out any better if I'd had Service Master out. Or maid service for a year, like they sometimes give away on The Price is Right.

No TV, so I won't be seeing Price is Right much till I stumble across an episode somewhere already in progress. I'll check the hotel lobbies. It could be -- you know, if I played this thing smart -- I might do a little work, like at Manpower, and get a little money. I've always been a hard worker, although I've taken it easy in recent years, getting disability because of my game toe. But I can still work, I'm not too proud. Then, let's say, I do manage to get a little money, I'll hit the antique stores, find something to put online, and I'll be back in the green in no time.

Unless, and this is a very real possibility, The Curse Blob isn't done with me. It could be this poverty thing is my reality for the foreseeable future. He's probably watching me right now, knowing what I'm scheming. I'm looking around the library. Nobody seems to be paying close attention to me. I feel smelly, maybe that's why; they're giving me wide berth. I didn't get my daily shower this morning. And these pants I was already wearing for four or five days. Fortunately the undies were fresh yesterday morning.

Anyway, whatever, I'm sure it's like anything else -- being dirt poor -- you get used to it. I've always been good acclimating in life, I suppose, not that I'm bragging. I've had very little a few times, and I've had a lot. But I never actually had nothing. Still, as terrible as it is, don't get me wrong, it's not without its fascination. The food thing's the worst. I think I'm going to need to hit some cans and find something decent.

Remember, when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. I'm going to play this eating out of cans thing very smart. None of my usual pickiness. I'm willing to take what I find and make the best of it. Same as when I used to hitchhike, even though I always had a little money taped to my leg, since some of the rides were bastards.

The old library marm's looking at me. I guess my hour's about up. I wasted too much time on the cartoons, so I've been typing this thing like crazy. I'm not too sure they like to see ragged people in here a lot, which now includes me. Still, I'm not like the guy across the room, slumped on the bench and dozed off. Where's your pride, man?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Meet The Curse Blob

The Empty Wallet Curse took an unexpected turn when I met The Curse Blob. And it wasn't very hard to do. In fact, I didn't do a thing; suddenly he was there, at my home, revealing himself. I know now I would've never figured out the mystery, thinking of a literal blob big enough to take up the top floor of a tall building downtown.

These are the facts. He wasn't gigantic but extremely small. He glowed, that much I expected. And as it turned out, also expected, he was very powerful. All along I felt like I was in the presence of some unusual strength and majesty. Before we talked together, just seeing him, I figured he'd zap me, but he didn't.

If you've read this far without knowing what I'm talking about, let me catch you up: I posted a graphic a couple days ago called "Share This Empty Wallet." It promised/threatened that anyone who did share it would go broke in three days, adding, "It's never been known to fail." I thought it was something funny, merely funny, and shared it. Suddenly it hit me there wasn't anything especially amusing about it. Meaning, I was immediately paranoid, afraid I'd go broke. Then, indeed, my money began disappearing, both the physical money in my house and money from my credit union account.

And now, here it was, right before me, the super power behind it all, what I called The Curse Blob. But, instead, he was more like a living coin, like a burst of conscious fire. I don't even know what he is. I know he shows himself as small and/or alternately my size. His fire is non-consuming, he's quite conscious (maybe infinitely so), and speaks in a kind, benevolent tone. I was reading the paper when I heard a still small voice calling out to me, "Could we have a word?"

I about lost it, of course, but edging closer to what showed itself as a kindly presence, I regained most of my courage. Maybe this was the friend I've been looking for all these years, I didn't know. (It's true even though I don't say it very often, I've been looking for my soul double, a heart friend, a fellow super-brain, you name it. I wasn't leaping to any conclusions with this entity, but it was at least a lead.) "Pick me up," he said. I was reticent because of the tiny golden flames, but he was quick to allay my fears. "Don't be afraid, upsy-daisy."

Holding what I continued to think of as The Curse Blob, I felt a real heft in my hand, the little bugger with enough girth packed inside him, hell, for all I knew he could've been a black hole. Which, according to science documentaries, are tight as a tick, the heft of the heavens making up their substance, and are packed so densely that not even light dare hit the exits. The Curse Blob had me transfixed.

Another observation, he had a lot of runny watery slime stuff on his underside, I thought probably a cooling mechanism. But, no, it turned out he's been headquartered in my cellar, which is overly wet thanks to the rains of late. Which explained, by the way, my bathroom slippers being moist in the mornings. The Curse Blob was leaving the cellar at night, coming upstairs, and trailing cellar water everywhere. I love it when mysteries are solved!

"Could we have a word?" he repeated calmly. I was almost put off by his friendliness. "I'm here on a mission," which he got right to, "to share with you the beauties of poverty." Naturally I was put off by that, but I'll spare you all my now-boring and senseless ejaculations of umbrage and protest. Suffice to say, I objected for three solid hours with only two bathroom breaks. Finally, I broke down in tears and said yes. One, I knew the penalty for having shared the Empty Wallet graphic, that I'd go broke. Two, his description of it as "beauties" and "glories" made me think, Why not?

I also thought of some of the things I've heard about poverty -- St. Francis, Jesus, and a guy I met fresh off a freight train once -- and, in the latter case, if someone gives you free potatoes, it can't be all bad. Then there was the book by Alan Watts, "The Wisdom of Insecurity"; I once read the first few pages. I could be a totally poor guy, wandering around reading that. "Wrong," said The Curse Blob, "you will have nothing." On that we had to negotiate, with him eventually allowing me to possess the clothes I had on, my gnarly New Testament, and an empty backpack. Over time I'd be allowed to fill it, but I'd have nothing else. (All kinds of loopholes there.)

That's about it. The Curse Blob became a glowing man about my size and we shook on it. Then he vanished and I stood there watching my house disappear around me. The "curse" literally came true; I was completely broke.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Curse Spells Ruin

How could I have been so stupid! On a lark, to have shared the cursed "Share This Empty Wallet" graphic. It guaranteed financial devastation, but I didn't know the damned thing was true. Now I know, but it's too late. Everywhere I look, no matter where I go, what I do, I'm in ruins. The curse is too much for me.

Woe is me, me, who until a couple days ago didn't have an atypical care in the world. Now my worries and woes are extraordinary, one big singular mess. Because my money is vanishing, evaporating, withering away, all at once. Believe me, once my wallet had true girth, now it's frail, dessicated, entirely puny. Another day like this and I won't have a cent to my name. And I'm too proud to dive in dumpsters. I might have to build rabbit traps like we used to just to survive. This damned curse...

I checked my account, $2,000 is gone -- Poof! -- with not much left remaining, around a thousand. If only I could zero in on the curse beam! The perfect conclusion would be to go there, face down a hundred storm troopers in the hallways, then burst in on the blob and have it out in one final slimy offensive. "Take my money, you greedy beaming ectoplasm? I'll send you back to hell from whence you come!" That's a vain fantasy...

I don't even know for sure where the beam's coming from. Although I felt more zapped when I turned north. That told me something, until I realized it was just wishful thinking. For soon I was feeling more zapped from the south, west, and east, take your pick. Either wishful thinking or ... could the thing be omnidirectional? That'd make it potentially divine, perhaps literally from hell. But surely the nature of existence isn't one big joke, curses of empty wallets...

I still think the thing has to be at the top of the tallest building in town. That makes a lot of sense. But just as likely, it could be coming from the basement somewhere, or even underground. The air, the earth, it's all the same; each obviously would make a terrific carrier for a decently powered curse beam. These are thing I've known all along, so why would I toy with a curse like this, "The Empty Wallet"? My playfulness got the best of me, I foolishly forgot how life has millions of consequences. You can't play in traffic, as an example.

One terrible idea I had was a variation on the "safety in numbers" theory. Which doesn't say much about my morals or compassion. What if I tricked more people into posting the graphic? While they'd be suffering miserably, the beam likely would lessen its hold on me. I decided against it in the end. Not out of goodness, but there simply isn't enough time to do it right; my money's quickly going down the drain. I'll need others to have money in case I'm reduced to theft.

At the very least, typing this isn't a waste of time. I need to leave some record of what's going on, in case the beam has deadly consequences. If I'm found penniless and dead, this is why. Financial ruin, let me tell you, isn't much fun. My eyes, once so merry when I was romping in the green, are now bloodshot, my sockets sunken, the eyeballs naked to the world, bug-eyed. I'm a mess from the top of my gnarly head to the bottom of my wet slippers. I must've sweat up a storm last night, tossing and turning. I literally could die.

Let me say something meaningful, and I hope powerful. This goes out to the curse itself: "Curse, I curse you! You big fat, money-sucking amorphous blob, I know you're out there, pulsating, glowing, and voracious, with only one focus -- not for good -- money-sucking. All day, everyday, for eternal moments, with no real destination, no real need, just exercising your supposed prerogative, sucking, sucking, sucking the money of people stupid like me. You can choke on it, you bastard!"

If I die from this curse, someone please see that my gravestone has etched in it one word and one word only, "RUIN."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Curse of The Empty Wallet

I made the mistake of sharing the "Share This Empty Wallet" graphic and now I'm beside myself with worry that I'll go broke. I was thinking it was probably just a funny graphic and that nothing would come of it. Now I'm not so sure, and my worries are real.

I'm worried because I've thought it over. There was nothing explicitly funny in the graphic. And if it's true -- about me being completely broke in three days -- there has to be some curse mechanism at work. O, if the damned thing had only said, "For Entertainment Purposes Only," I could lean on that for sweet relief! Without that, I can only conclude that the curse has power behind it, similar to carnival gypsies and psychics and the evil eye. And in three days, now two days, my considerable fortune, in the lower thousands, will be wiped out...

There's always the possibility that I could find someone with the power to reverse the curse. But for that much power I might have to spend everything I've got, which would be the same as letting the curse take its course. Hell, I might be able to muster the power to reverse it myself; I'm one of the few humor bloggers in history to have performed a successful exorcism. But there's always the argument that the exorcism was for someone else, whereas in this matter I have full self-interest.

Still, I might study it out -- in knowledge there's power, in power deliverance -- and find some way of reversing it. What if I "gave" all my money to charity, then had most of it given back to me afterward? There wasn't any curse in the Ice Bucket Challenge. I bet I pledged $10,000 and did the Challenge 50 times, and didn't send in a dime. I came out of that OK. In that case there was safety in numbers. This empty wallet thing might've targeted only me, or a select group of Ice Bucket scalawags, let's say. My ignorance is killing me!

How does a curse like this work? Maybe science offers clues. We have X-ray machines that are able to see right through you. The curse could work similarly. It's lurking nearby, sees that you posted its graphic, then latches on to something in your head. Time is ticking away while it holds on, never losing track of its poor victim. It could be latched on to a particular identifier in the brain, such as the particular shade of gray your gray matter is. That's insidious! Were I then to blend in with even a million people going through the turnstiles to safety, it'd pick out my shade of gray and pull me over.

Of course that means there's something extremely conscious about the curse. It has to be like a powerful brain. If I had to guess, it'd likely be on the top floor of the tallest building in town, radiating out, radiating in. On the other hand, maybe it's so powerful, and even likes to show off, meaning it'd likely be in the basement of the shortest building in town! Its power wouldn't even have to be greater than mine, as it knows I'm lending it needed power through my worry.

Quite the racket it's got! It gets money -- my hard-earned money -- merely by posting a stupid graphic that any kidder like me would naturally share. How am I supposed to know it's serious? I'm not, so I post it, then I start thinking. And that's where it entangles me. Now I'm worried, and it's sitting there in the basement going, "Gimme gimme gimme..." Bastard! That's stealing! If this psychic technology slips into the clutches of the Republican Party we're done for. They could have a large progressive message for us to share, but in small print the curse. And the rest is history.

I'd like to know the evil scientist who came up with this. I'd love to go over and stomp in his damned face. Except there's always one little fly in the ointment: Anyone evil enough, insidious enough, to do such a thing would also have powerful defenses. There would be posters everywhere down the hall leading to his headquarters, cursing you left and right. "If you can read this, your mother will cheat on your dad," and so forth. A guy gets home and his mom's in bed with the mailman just as his dad also walks in. "What the hell's going on here!?" Dad bellows. The son takes him aside and confesses, "It's my fault, Dad, I caught an inadvertent glimpse of a cursed poster," like that's a credible excuse for Mom.

OK, I should mention one other problem. I'm already missing some money, meaning the curse is progressive. It's not waiting three days. Coincidental to all this curse business, I had a few of the newest "likers" of my Facebook page of Grandma Slump over to the house last night. They shared a 12-pack of beer, then a few of them had to go in my room to use the toilet. Long story short, I go into my room after everyone's gone and all the change on my dresser's gone. Including all the 1897 coins Grandpa gave me decades ago!

I haven't checked my bank accounts yet, which are online. Frankly, I'm afraid to log-in, since any system smart enough to carry out a curse across town ... is just waiting for me to log-in to the bank. But, if it's already read my mind about the accounts, the money might be dwindling away or even entirely gone. I'm in a fix. I can't log-in to see if I'm saved or damned. I'm dangling helplessly over Financial Ruin Hell!

I still have the power, I hope, to get through to the rest of you. You now know about the "Empty Wallet" curse. If you don't want to lose your money, I implore you, don't share the damned graphic. Take a lesson from me. Look, the veins are bulging out on my neck, that's how distraught I am.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Share This Empty Wallet

I've never been what you might call overly superstitious. It's not something I worry about, like stepping on cracks, walking under ladders, or washing my hands before meals. And all in all, I guess I've been pretty lucky. I have the same amount of problems as the average guy my age, 62 -- occasional cancer scares and all the rest -- but absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

Usually I simply avoid every come-on of this nature. We used to get them in the mail, chain letters that needed to be passed on ... or else. I never passed on a single one. Now I see them on Facebook all the damned time, making me wonder about the "quiet desperation" that is said to be the sad lot of the common person. I believe it.

But the basic thing on Facebook I'm thinking of is a picture of a large amount of money, with the promise that, if you share it, in a few days you'll have the same money. It'll just appear from ... somewhere, they never say where. A wad as thick as what they show, though, it'd have to have fallen out of an armored car, being too thick and fat to have been in someone's pocket. OK, I ignore all that, I never share them, and I really don't give them a second thought.

I saw this newest one the other day -- seen above -- and it's just the opposite, promising (or threatening) complete poverty, and apparently whoever put it on is completely serious. Because it isn't something that's immediately desirable. I can't imagine there's been even 20 people who've shared it, whereas the wad of money pic likely gets thousands of shares. It's not in our ordinary desires to be completely broke. That's a tough one. Yet there it is!

Thinking about it, I notice, it's not a threat. No one's twisting your arm. It doesn't suggest some weird thing like, "You saw it, now you must act or else." And certainly it's not a promise of something, but of nothing. Looking deeper, there's the scary fact that there isn't any pardon for sharing but then changing your mind. Once it's shared, in three days you will be completely broke. There isn't even a chance of it failing: "It's never been known to fail." Although, I can see an off chance that it could fail; past performance doesn't guarantee future results. Has it worked a million times, 40 times, or just a few times? That'd be good to know.

OK, here's the thing. I'm not filthy rich, although I've always had enough money to do all right. And, yes, like everyone else with security, I'm comfortable in it and never really expecting it to go away. But sometimes -- I hope you see my point here -- even complete security gets a little old. What if I were to be stripped of everything? How would I cope? It's kind of tempting to share it, even though that line "It's never been known to fail" is off-putting. Maybe I'll be the world's first exception! I've had good fortune, is there actually any dark force that could take it away?

But even without a dark force, should anyone tempt fate? This is a tough one.

I hope this isn't the work of some old sinless magician, I really do. I can picture him now, in the tower of a gnarly castle, poring over his magic books by candlelight. He has a small bowl of water, completely still, except when some deluded soul shares his empty wallet. Then there's a rippling, even a boiling, and the bowl empties downward even without a hole. The old man then slowly turns the pages of an enormous dusty tome with his long dirty fingernails. He comes to the page with my name and picture at the top. He thrusts his arm out the castle window in my general direction. Lightning and thunder. In three days, I'm completely broke.

Heh heh, I'm not going to share it, screw it! Oh, no, what am I saying? It's right at the top of this post! It's already been shared! Now it's too late!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gus Grissle For Dogcatcher

Of course I'm not beholding to Gus Grissle in any way, shape, or form. That's not why I'm for him for dogcatcher. Hell, Gus isn't even from my party, the Democratic party. He's a Republican, usually the kiss of death for me. Those bastards, I wouldn't be for them if they handed out half dollars on the square. No way. But Gus ... I know Gus ... and I know Gus is more or less good with dogs. So I'm for him.

The fact of the matter is, Gus Grissle lives right up the street from me. On the other side of the Butlers' house. He drives by my place on the way to town or wherever, and he always waves. He's a good man, and if he says he can handle the dogs of our town, I basically believe him. He's more or less good with them.

This is a tough endorsement for one reason, and one reason only. I don't know how many of you have noticed yet, but thanks to some grumbling, I've sworn off politics online completely, that is, under my own name. Facebook and here on the blog. I've found that friends are very high maintenance when it comes to politics, and they're easily disturbed. And I can be very quick with the insults, the put-downs on everything in the putrid Republic universe. Leading some of these idiots -- my friends -- to dislike me. Block me, whatever. So I'm out of politics.

But ... dogcatcher? Surely even my namby pamby touchy-nerved wilting flower friends with their finger poised tremulously against the dislike/block button can't hold it too much against me for coming out for Gus Grissle for dogcatcher. Especially when they realize, this is the one Republican in the whole world I'm willing to endorse. Of course not for a job that is of any great value. It's dogcatcher. How bad could he screw it up? He's more or less good with dogs, I've seen how he is.

The job of dogcatcher came open when Merle Peaver died, and no one really wanted it, and Gus Grissle stepped forward. I'd say he deserves our respect for taking it on, and if he personally asks for my vote, being a neighbor and all, I'm not going to withhold it. People think dogcatcher's an easy job, but it isn't. You're not just chasing dogs till they disappear from sight. You've got them cornered, you're looking at snarling teeth and listening to a low growl. And this isn't your mother-in-law, they can't be tamed with chocolates.

Then there's the whole modern situation with friendly dogs. I know some of the dogcatchers we had back in the good old days. They were basically bag men. If a dog got loose, it was fair game. The law was the law. But that doesn't apply these days. Those guys are out. People baby their dogs now. Dogs are their babies. You try to bag one now and you're looking at being bagged yourself. That's how crazy people are. Don't write in, please, I like dogs. I'm just saying Gus is up against some regulations the old guys never faced.

Anyway ... And have you heard of drug runner dogs? They're trained in anatomy. They're trained to go for the jugular. Drug runners use every dirty trick in the book not to be apprehended. For them, the more feral a dog is, the better. They come through on the interstate. The cops pull one over, the dog goes ballistic and tears the patrolmen apart, then they head for the hills. They literally could come up over that hill right there, just south of here, from the interstate, and take me down. Maybe Gus is thinking of that. He's my first line of defense.

Those are the dogs that are very far removed from our cuddly ones. Or the higher class dogs like at dog shows. Do I think Gus would make a good dog show judge? No. He's more or less good with dogs, like I said, but to have to run his hand over their silky fur, then reach around and feel their bottoms, I can't see him doing that. Fortunately, that's not even in the cards. That's for someone else.

I guess I've probably given enough evidence as to why Gus Grissle would make a great dogcatcher. If you feel like crossing party lines and voting for a Republican, I know he'd appreciate your vote. Your vote, like mine, will be a token of trust in a good man, more or less good with dogs, who I believe can get the job done. Find the dogs, see that they get back to their owners. Or, if they're drug dogs, at the very least run them out of the county, and hopefully catch them and do whatever you do with a feral dog. Nothing good, I'm guessing.

Vote Grissle!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Take The Prison Pledge

We had a major prison break recently, a little while back, and as it turned out there was an "inside job" component to it. One of the folks working at the prison couldn't be trusted, becoming, let's say, a little too chummy with the inmates. This is something that must never happen again. And I believe it won't, if everyone who works at the prison takes The Prison Pledge.

(Maybe you don't work for a prison, but you still want to be ready for it if called upon. You're invited to recite this opening sentence:)

"If I am ever entrusted with the duties of serving in a prison, I hereby pledge not to become so friendly with the inmates that I will do anything illegal for them, recognizing as I do that that's what put them there in the first place and would put me there with them, only then without a salary."

The rest of you who do work in a prison may now raise your right hand and pledge:

"I pledge that I will not become emotionally attached to the inmates or in any way psychologically dependent on them for validation or my personal sense of self worth. I recognize that their attention and purposes are very likely to butter me up in order to get favors that would lead to their escape, and my complicity in their crimes.

"As a prison employee, I value my job and the well-being of society enough to forgo whatever so-called comfort the inmates can afford. I pledge that I will instead seek out the services of a trained psychologist or counselor, or will use self-help methods such as yoga to clear my mind and increase my sense of self-worth, or, at the very least, will look in the mirror and sarcastically question myself, 'Really? You're really tempted to go down this vile path?'"

One of the worst details of the recent prison break had to do with sexual favors rendered. But if I were to be any more graphic, I'd be getting into some serious blue material, so I'll leave it at that. Except to say that it involved a hole cut in one of the prisoner's long coat for ease of access. Disgusting!

"I pledge not to make myself available to them for any sexual favors or services. This pledge is made in the full knowledge that anyone can be tempted, particularly when you factor in the inmates' great appeal, being murderers, cutthroats, and selfishly calculating one hundred percent of the time. They do not have my best interests at heart. I pledge to remind myself often that the fact that they're locked up for 40 consecutive life sentences indicates that any sexual favors extended might be related to their desire to go free. And that even without an escape plan, prisoners are perpetually horny and not always strictly following safe sexual practices."

Friends, fellow guards, and future wardens among my readers, I sincerely believe that the more of us who take this pledge and abide by it, the safer the world will be. And the more secure our jobs will be.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Newsletter -- Mother Whistled For Me

Friends, I'm sorry to report, this is going to be bad news. I've lost -- I'll repeat that -- I've lost all control of the newsletter. It is now in the hands of my former staff lady, Myra Kula Electra.

This is a disaster of the most gigantic proportions, not to be equaled (in my opinion) by anything in all of recorded history. I'm thinking of the time I fell through the ice when I was about 12 and almost froze to death. This is worse. Because I loved my newsletter, I gave birth to it, I expected to grow old with it. If you were lucky enough to get a subscription, I'm sorry, it's gone, finito.

I've been out of touch on the blog -- and I know you've been wondering what's going on -- but it was through no fault of my own. I was more or less unconscious (in a hypnotic stupor) for the last few days. Yes, I have had scattered moments of normal consciousness, which I have had to use wisely, leaving no extra time for blogging. In a stupor of this sort you lose control of certain bodily functions, which means extended periods of unpleasant clean-up. Made worse in this case by having to go out for baby wipes and not making it home till the next day.

Here's what happened. One, Myra Kula Electra is one duplicitous so-and-so. I suppose I should've seen it coming when she was willing to have sex in public with four prisoners on July 4. I don't know what I chalked that up to entirely, although I saw the prisoners as the aggressors. It looks now like she wanted me to get mad at them, as I did, and send them back to the work release farm, as I did, leaving the field to steal the newsletter wide open for her.

With the prisoners gone, she and I had a good couple of days, growing in a tender friendship, I thought. Once I have a relationship like that, I'm very open; it's a family weakness. I want to make a good impression and I see total honesty as the way. So I went on and on, sharing the stories of my life. Not even once thinking she might ever use it against me.

What an idiot I am! This was Myra Kula Electra I was dealing with! THE Myra Kula Electra! Who writes the famous scandal stories in the Daily News, front page stuff. Teachers seducing students, treasurers embezzling millions, deals made through bribery, penis pictures in the legislature, children cheating in the spelling bee, sordid, lascivious, disgusting, terrible stuff, you name it. Why would a guy in his right mind -- me -- feel comfortable telling someone like her his weaknesses? He'd have to be an idiot!

I told her how easy it is to hypnotize me, which was my biggest mistake. Because who better to misuse that information than a strong scandal-mongering woman like her. We're not talking about a fainting violet in Myra Kula Electra! No, she's as tough as they come and she knows it -- compared to her nails are spaghetti. So I'm easy to hypnotize. And then I gave away the whole store, revealing that "Whistler's Mother" is my Kryptonite. If I just glance at "Whistler's Mother" I feel faint, but I still have the power to turn away. But if it's right in my face, let's say, I'm a goner, open to anything that ... say ... someone with an evil agenda might suggest.

Thank goodness I didn't tell her the one thing that brings me out of it! Because that's what saved me. And I'm only glad I even got hungry, because the short periods of consciousness were getting fewer and farther between. Mostly taken up, as I said, by personal hygiene. But after a few days of it I was mostly cleaned out, and feeling hungry again. When I instinctively opened the freezer and caught a glimpse of freezer-burnt round steak, and that was it -- I completely snapped out of it! That's the only antidote I know of.

The whole thing was now instantly clear to me. Like the guy on Queensr├┐che's Operation: Mindcrime album, "I remember now..."

Myra had gone out on errands, I was in the house. I saw her pull in later and go into the garage. She messaged me to come out. And when I did there were large copies of "Whistler's Mother" hung everywhere, with Myra blocking the door. Then when I was in a stupor, she directed me, "Sign here," etc. Which were legally binding contracts, signed unwillingly, yes, but I can't prove it! I'm stymied! I'm looking at my copy right now. Fortunately she stopped at just the newsletter or I wouldn't have a place to sit my butt, as I am now doing, to cry.

I know I let everyone down. You were expecting a newsletter, and now what? It's gone! She even thought of a non-competition clause, that I can't start a new newsletter or serve on the staff of one till my death, at which time, face it, it'll be moot.

I hate, despise, loathe, and curse the name of Myra Kula Electra. She disgusts me like few things do. But I won't allow her to get the last word. I'm cancelling my subscription to the Daily News. Putting a dagger in that puppy right now...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Newsletter -- We Inked a Pact

I love it so far. Myra Kula Electra and I are a Mutual Admiration Society, fully in love with one another, in the professional sense. We really had it out last night, with a very pleasant talk after I revealed that I knew who she was. Until recently I only knew her as The Lady. But an astute neighbor filled me in on the lowdown, the real story, the whole truth enchilada, the real weed, that she was THE Myra Kula Electra, as though there could be two!

I'm still saying her name, repeating it to myself, as I eat, nap, shower, take the dog out, and in all sorts of life situations, "Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra..." She said she doesn't care to hear it, so when she's not around I'm complying, reluctantly, with her wishes. Is she the world's only Myra Kula Electra? Apparently so! I googled her and the first 1,000 hits I got were all her, no other. Which is kind of amazing, because when you google me there's about a dozen different DBKundalinis, and 99% of them aren't me.

Myra's a hotshot writer, of course, so the world been beating a path to her door forever. She's worked for the Daily News for years and she's received a bunch of awards. It's all wonderful stuff, the scandals she's well-known for. When a paper has a good scandal story, they feature it on Page 1, they put the writer's name in big print, they specially copyright it, and they're the envy of the other papers.

Personally, I love reading scandal stories, thinking of how delicious it is to know the subject of the story's writhing in horrible agony, "What a fool I was! Why'd I think I'd never get caught? With Myra Kula Electra around?!" No matter what it is it's very salacious: teachers in relationships with students, or the more modern scandal, average people leaving dogs in hot cars. The big difference today -- and Myra's straddled both worlds on this, having been a writer since well before the Internet -- is it all goes "viral" -- a good sickness -- meaning she's been sought out by the best papers in quite a few of the more well-known states.

Like I said, though, we've got a Mutual Admiration Society going here. I thoroughly complimented her for her talents all these years. And she's been thoroughly complimenting me, buttering me up one side and down the other. I haven't had this big a head since, crap, I can't remember when. Like her, I'm a writer. I always wanted to be a writer since I first learned to write. I took a creative writing class and got a C, so I was hooked. In 2008, then, I started this blog, and the rest is journalistic history. I've kept it all very humble, not seeing that many awards. It's like I always say, You can't lose if you don't enter. The big difference between a blogger like me and a newspaper gal like Myra, there's millions of blogs but the town has only one newspaper. And with a million guys out there making payoffs to the big judges, it's all very corrupt; it's hard to win prizes.

That said, I have received awards. I don't want to go through the whole list. It's off-putting to have a guy crow about himself too much. I'll just mention the one I'm most proud of, which was the prestigious Gorton Fisherman Award for Writing Excellence in 2010. Other than that, the "award" I get everyday is the satisfaction of 10,000+ regular readers, each one basically stepping over the next, trying to get to the blog first. And some of these folks I actually know! There's a couple of town criers right in my neighborhood who shout it over the fence. They're busy refreshing their screens, like 24 hours a day, and when there's a post they shout it out and the shouts go 'round town like a round robin little village kind of thing.

Myra told me her basic mission in getting a job on my newsletter was to be in position to do a scandal story on the work release farm. They're sending out sub-par prisoners, like the guys I had, and she's thinking there's some kind of crime syndicate action at play. But then she found out she likes working with me, so she's agreed to stay on and we'll be a team! We inked a pact on it just this morning, her name and mine, signed in blood on a blank paper, with me to fill in the details of the agreement as they come to me. Heh heh, I might throw in some real zingers. She don't know me too well, do she? Any little favors I might desire, heh heh, although I'm not really that lascivious, but I'm a nice guy, the guy my mom raised.

I seriously think there'll be no stopping us. With Myra Kula Electra's reputation and stunning looks, and my reputation -- my biggest priority since being caught with dirty pictures in 9th grade -- and superior brain power, we'll be an unstoppable team.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Newsletter -- Myra Kula Electra

I've had a decent couple of days around the office, with the ouster of most of my newsletter staff. The peace that descended from above was a welcome change from the rancor and continual outbursts you get when prisoners (work release farm) are on the premises. So this has been good for me. I've been getting back to myself, getting my head cleared after ... must have been a month and half of their crap.

The only outburst today came when I learned something about The Lady, my only female staffer, that blew my mind. You have to remember, I never knew The Lady's name. I actually took her on the staff as a kind of token woman, and even if I stood in a court of law with my hand on a million Bibles, I wouldn't have be able to tell you how I got her. The best I could've guessed would be, for some reason she was simply there and I hired her. Weird, I know.

Well, it turns out that is true. Now that a lot more's been revealed.

One of my neighbors was walking his dog by earlier -- my dog and his were nose to nose and behaving themselves -- and asked how things were going with the newsletter. I started telling him about the firing of the men and he waved me off, being a reader of the blog. He then said something that blew my mind, "How's Myra?" Myra? I'm wracking my mind trying to think of a relative named Myra, a neighborhood dog, anything, and he saw my thrashing about. I go, "Who's Myra?" "The Lady, you do know her name, don't you?" I'm waving my hand, for "Details, details." And he says, "I figured you knew Myra Kula Electra."

It hit me like a ton of bricks, a huge wall of bricks, toppling like they're in an earthquake. "Myra Kula Electra? You're full of it!" But he didn't break character, he was serious. He goes, "If she ain't Myra Kula Electra, what's her name?" And I had to admit again, "I don't know, I never asked." "Did she give you a fake name?" "No," I said, "I didn't ask and she didn't say." He went away chuckling, with his little well-behaved dog, and left me alone with my thoughts.

I picked up the paper and headed for the house, and glanced down. The byline on the top article was by her, Myra Kula Electra, of course. She's a well-known staff writer, and maybe an editor, at the local Daily News, known mostly as an in-depth investigative type. If there's a scandal somewhere, and someone feeds her the dirt -- along, presumably, with her own digging -- it's a Myra Kula Electra scoop. The newspaper's the same as most local rags, lots of ribbon-cuttings and guys shaking hands and passing out big checks. But they're also on the look-out for scandal, when they bring in ... The Lady.

Sitting alone with my thoughts, of course I was hashing it out: Is Myra Kula Electra about to sink me? Did I treat her right? Could she have misinterpreted some of my displays of affection? Is she going to nail me for any alleged mistreatment of the prisoners, Dashing Danny Whrfr, Spud Tuber, Stanley "Tipsy" White, and Cannibal? I treated those bastards pretty good, all things considered. Gave them a taste of freedom, a chance to do something productive with their lives, a little self-esteem, trusted them to run around in my name and for the newsletter, and even took them to the July 4th celebration ... where ... each one of them nailed MYRA KULA ELECTRA! at my feet ... But that wasn't my idea, and, frankly, she seemed quite into it!

Oh my God! I started thinking, like I always do when there's a crisis afoot, What do I do now? How do I get myself out of this mess? Then I remembered some of my own teachings given at seminars, and which would make a good newsletter blurb, If there's a problem in your life, take a deep breath and wait and see what might happen. I breathed deeply, It'll all be OK. And, I thought, even if she does nail me in an article, I can surely come up with a good enough explanation that I won't have to leave town. Seriously, Myra Kula Electra's nailed people and they've left town, that's the kind of shame that really happens.

Once calmed down, I started thinking, How about that? My Lady's Myra Kula Electra! I really loosened up, listening to some music, taking a shower, lounging around the house in my bathrobe. I sat in my chair and started saying The Lady's name, over and over. I said it, must've been 100 times, till it flowed off the tongue like .... smooth, baby, smooth as silk ... "Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra...." It's a very calming name, all the A's, like poetry. Very calming, except for the poor bastards who end up in her articles.

"Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra, Myra Kula Electra," I repeated, when I heard the key turn. It was her!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Newsletter -- Cannibal's Consumed

With Cannibal back in town -- he'd been away on assignment for the newsletter -- I called for an all-staff dinner, part of a secret plan to feel him out, to decide whether to forgive him or bounce him from the staff. I wanted to see how he related to The Lady. Was the sickening sexual display we'd endured on the Fourth of July still on his mind or had he merely followed the others in ignorance?

To this point Cannibal didn't know a thing about Danny, Spud, and Tipsy being gone. His assignment had taken him up just northeast of Silage City, where people don't ordinarily go, to get a feature on a cannibalistic cult in the backwoods. He was so far out there, and in such a dangerous place, I was a little afraid I'd never hear from him again, but not only did he come back, he seemed healthier than when he left.

I had a place at the table set for everyone, including the missing three. As we gathered I said, "I wonder what happened to Spud, Danny, and Tipsy, where they are." Cannibal goes, "Don't look at me, I'm still hungry." Seeing that he had no idea of any problems here, everything was just right for the test. Our time together was actually lovely, with nothing untoward in regard to The Lady. As we ate we shared in pleasant chit-chat about the cult and some of their practices, such as abducting people from nursing homes and giving them a fit send-off in their ritual. Cannibal said he made some important contacts for future articles.

Naturally I'm thinking, I believe I could forgive Cannibal for July 4. It was mindless sex, he didn't mean anything by it; he was simply weak and so easily swayed by the others in their lust. But then, after we'd eaten and The Lady was working on the dishes, I came back from the office and overheard him with his shrill grating voice coming on to her. "It's just you and me, baby. And this time I'll have you all to myself!" I sprang into view and declared that he was as guilty as the others, who had all bit the dust. "So you're not the completely withdrawn clueless cannibal you pretend to be!"

It quickly became very unpleasant, of course, as in the heat of encounters like this the bile flows so freely and has to have its way. Now fully exposed, Cannibal revealed himself as a thinking creature indeed, and a nasty one at that. "No, Kundalini, and you're not the mastermind Super Brain you pretend to be!" He revealed himself as fully conscious, amazing for one always hiding behind a clueless facade. He belittled the newsletter as "blurbs and trivial anecdotes of your pointless life!" The topper came when he declared of himself, "I'm the one with the true life! A life The Lady will share!"

That was it! In my opinion, a cannibal isn't that far removed from a vampire. And just like Dracula, this little bastard -- who literally feasts on human flesh -- absolutely intended to replenish his centers of power by one or more love noshes -- which could of course prove fatal to The Lady. She was already in his thrall, staring blankly ahead, like a shopper so fascinated by the bargains at a department store that she can't move and so is trampled from behind.

This was when it got scary. I started to move, but Cannibal twisted his hand in my direction and I was frozen in my tracks. I stood like a statue, motionless. But I still had my Super Brain and years of meditation to draw on. It came to me, that a little movement of energies would help loosen his hold. I used a technique called Diverting Thoughts; at a time like this it's concentration that means certain death. So step by step I set aside Cannibal's power by refocusing my thoughts. My thoughts weren't even of him. I quietly reaffirmed my resolve to put out the best little newsletter possible, and also, to be very personal, I thought of my mother in heaven showing me a power fist of solidarity.

I was of course gaining all the time and began mentally toying with Cannibal. Sweat broke out on his furrowed brow and his twisted hand pulled in on itself and he was gripped in pain. I saw in his evil cannibalistic eyes at that moment something I'll never forget, the look of absolute fear. The tables had turned! I returned to diverting my thoughts, thinking now of how much rain we've gotten and mentally complaining how high the grass is. Am I right? While extending my powerful hands and shooting rays and holding him transfixed in my grasp. "Take this, you cannibalistic bastard!" He sought in vain to shield my fantastic power. But in my mental grasp I was able to move his head close to the table, then up and down -- thump thump thump. That'd be painful for anyone, like the pain I feel mowing the yard twice as much as normal.

I stepped forward boldly and pulled the Lady to safety. She was free to return to the dishes. Then I bore down like I've never bored down before. Cannibal's narrow beady eyes bugged out of his head in fear. To be released, he would've sworn to anything I demanded: absolute fealty, worship and obeisance, free articles for life, no coffee breaks, vegetarianism. But I broke my grasp and left him panting and writhing on the floor.

I was surprisingly gracious at the end: "I'm not going to kill you, Cannibal, although I probably should. Instead, you shall live out your life with the terrible knowledge that, thanks to my newsletter, your name will forever be mud. Your shame shall endure as long as the newsletter and the world itself abide. As far as your personal fate, you shall be forever trapped in a purgatory of your own making, and no one will like you. You shall slog out your remaining days in the work release system, until eventually they march you to a small cell, then shoot the only key to its door into the farthest reaches of outer space, where only black holes abide. An existence I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, which by the way isn't you. You're not even worthy of that distinction. My worst enemy is forever the fear of missing the next deadline for my newsletter and blog."

The black prison bus arrived to take Cannibal back to the farm. From a mile away I could see him, looking out the windows at folks that, had he been free, he might've enjoyed.