On Cooking-Up a Good Story

I’m a horrible cook—and I blame it on my writing. It’s the same excuse writers have used throughout the centuries.

I drink, because I write.

It’s stressful, being an artist.

My house is a mess, because I write.

I don’t have time for mundane tasks.

I’m a creative person.

I dress like a slob, because all of my brainpower goes to the written word, and

I simply hate society. I prefer the world inside my head.

I don’t care how I look. You should appreciate my intelligence.

Not being able to cook is a huge disadvantage with the ladies—

not to mention: poor hygiene, a messy apartment, an ego the size of Antarctica, and a sensitivity that withers at the first sign of stress,

but that hasn’t stopped me from writing.

Stephen King says, we should order take-out pizza and smoke cigarettes. I believe in drinking espresso shots.

A fiction writer makes a living by telling lies to their readers—

but when they start lying to themselves

they always go off the deep end.

The best way to stay afloat is to go into a small room, turn off the lights, and take a nap.

So, that’s what I’m going to do right now.


Good night.


The Cucumbers Out Back

I was living with my parents and finishing my education. No matter what I did, it always seemed like gravity was pulling me backwards. I needed a better job, I needed to lose weight, I needed my own place, but time, money, and energy got sucked into a black hole I couldn’t understand. Women were running my life and I needed to escape into a den of masculinity, so I looked at the real estate adds. I found a house with some acreage and called on the place.

“Yeah, we have a vacancy,” the voice said over the phone. “You can check out the place today if you want to.”

“I’ll be right over,” I said.

“Ian, where are you going? You need to do your laundry and clean up the kitchen.”

“I’m going out mom.” I held my breath when I left. This was my last chance.

I found the place, easy enough. It was at the end of a long drive. Muscle cars and motorcycles were parked out front. My pickup truck had previously belonged to my 80-year-old aunt and didn’t fit in.

“You called about the rental?” A bald man asked.


My name’s Richard.” He shook my hand and crushed it. It was like he could tell how desperate I was. I walked inside. There were half-empty beer bottles lying everywhere. A poker game was going-on in the corner and it looked like the players were trying to stay awake.

“More coffee,” a guy shouted. A kid that looked like me brought a tray of steaming espresso shots to the group. Most of the furniture was adjustable weight equipment and the testosterone in the air was palpable.

“How much is the rent?” I asked.


I looked at the room. There was a boxing bag in the corner and an army cot next to it.

“I’ll take it,” I said.

“It’ll cost you 50 bucks to use the weight equipment.”

“Sounds fair.”

With that, I moved in.

I noticed the guys were eating bachelor food every day, but they never gained any weight. There were pizza boxes and Chinese food containers stuffed to the brim in the trash cans out back. Being around so much fast food added another inch to my waistline.

“Richard, why do these guys stay so muscular and cut?” I asked.

“Well, we don’t normally tell new residents. It’s a big secret and to tell you the truth, not fully understood. The guys here all eat the cucumbers out back. They were here when we got here. There’s something unnatural about them. They suppress the appetite and cause us to put on muscle. They may even make you smarter.”

I thought he was pulling my leg, but he was too serious about it. When I went into the garden, it was full of cucumbers. They grew everywhere. They even grew outside of the garden. It was like a testosterone cucumber paradise.

As the days wore on, the guys let me try one of the cucumbers and sure enough, my body started to morph. I got muscles and lost all of my fat. My last college classes were easy. Everything in my life began to change. I met a great girl and she wanted us to get a place together.

So, I told Richard about it and he said, “Okay.”

I packed my stuff and picked a cucumber.

“I’m afraid you can’t take that with you,” Richard said.

“Why?” I asked.

“This place is special and it continues to be special because the cucumbers grow here and only here. If they get out into the larger world, what we have here is just a bunch of bachelors who can’t move on with their lives.”

“I understand,” I said. I got my duffel together and said goodbye to the guys. They looked at me like I was a traitor, but I felt like I escaped another trap.

“Once you leave, you can’t come back,” Richard said. I shook his hand and crushed it.

I moved in with my girlfriend who looked at me like she had pinned down a Greek god. I looked like one, but I knew it wouldn’t last very long. So, in the dead of night, I went back to the bachelor pad. I snuck over the fence into the garden and cut myself a cucumber.

One of the strong men walked amongst the vegetables to take a leak and I wondered if there was some kind of masculine symbiotic relationship between the guys and the cucumbers.

“Stop, cucumber thief!” He shouted. But I was gone. I potted my cucumber in my apartment and it quickly grew into more.

My girlfriend wondered why I had such an obsession growing cucumbers. “They smell funny,” she said.

The next evening, I noticed my potted plant was missing. “What happened to it?” I demanded.

“Threw ’em in the yard waste.”

I ran to the trash bins.

“It’s too late,” she said. “The guy came by and picked ’em up this morning.”

I couldn’t go back to the bachelor pad; security was too tight. Masculinity had slipped through my fingers once again.

“Ian, can you take your laundry out and clean the kitchen?” My girlfriend asked.

“Yesss,” I said. I had traded one mother for another and I longed for the world between worlds where I felt like a man.


On Being a “Really Good” Fiction Writer

There is a robin egg blue Ford pickup truck on my commute that has captured my imagination.

Each morning, I watch the driver going in the opposite direction.

He has put-on weight.

He always has a smile on his round face.

His truck is a reminder of the story I am writing.

The real reward for a fiction writer is to see reality differently. The rabbits follow me. I walk down the dirt road and they come closer.

They know I’m a magician with a wit more cunning than the King of the Leprechauns.

There are ordinary rabbits, and then, the magical variety.

I put myself into my stories, in the same way that painters put themselves into their paintings.

A painting is not a picture. There’s a soul there—or at least, I hope so.

Some primitive people believe that the camera will steal their soul, and

I am inclined to believe them.

I look-at Instagram selfies, and the eyes of those women are vacant.

In a world filled with Mundane Gray existence, I prefer to add color.

We are all writing our stories, regardless if we realize it or not.

So, why not

become a really good fiction writer?

It might just improve your life.

“No Nets!”

I don’t know when I stepped off a cliff,

but I did.

It’s obvious to me

and gradually

becoming obvious to others.

I never said, “I stepped off a cliff”

but I did.

There are no nets.

I was born a coward, or nurtured to be that way (I don’t know which)

and now, I am trying to become something else.

I reached a moment of desperation

where my life wasn’t worth much


I began to do acrobatics

without nets.

For a while, I pretended they were there, but now

I know they’re gone.

Safety Nets catch more fish than monsters of the deep,

and I have become a monster

in my own mind.

(Disclaimer: This is only a figure of speech—and should not cause my readers to worry about me. I am a psychologically well-adjusted friendly monster—I promise.)

There’s a Bogie film I watched when I was in 4th grade,

where the man on the flying trapeze says, “No nets.”

And then he falls hard.

I don’t intend to fall hard.

“No Nets!”

The Man with the Beautiful Blue Eyes

The man with the beautiful blue eyes

looked-up at the sky

through the bars of the birdcage enclosure.

It was ironic, that he was committed

for setting animals free.

It started in the pet shop

when he let the gerbils go

and then the pythons

and pretty soon

there were no more gerbils left.

“Oh no! Oh no!” He cried, “I didn’t mean to do that.”

And then he opened the birdcages




and an angry falcon

flew towards the plate glass window.

“Stop him!” Yelled a fat feminist with blue hair


the man with the beautiful blue eyes

ran outside

looking left, right, and center.

Then he got tackled by a policeman, or woman, or… whatever.

He sat in the back of the car

not saying anything.

“Don’t you speak?” The officer asked him.

But the man with the beautiful blue eyes didn’t say anything.

He just looked at the dogs at the park. They were on leash.

The cats were free.

The people

could not be set free.

“Mr. McFerson?”


“You are free to go now.”

The man with the beautiful blue eyes had spent eight hours looking-up at the blue sky—the bars were invisible to him.

He walked down the sidewalk,

looking for pussycats.

Dear Readers of My Blog:

The only difference between insanity and genius is success— (Said by a Bond Villain)

I apologize for my recent lack of posting.

I have been writing the Great American Novel. It might not be great in the eyes of most readers, and it will probably horrify my mother, but it comes from the stink from my soul.

Lately, I have had to censor my soul, but don’t worry, there is a lot of offensive poetry backed-up on my word processor, like a septic tank that needs to be pumped.

All of the shit will get posted in due time (Don’t Worry!)

In the meantime,

I have to post the fluffy stuff—even that upsets my mother, which brings me only a little joy in comparison to your comments and likes.

If it wasn’t for you (loyal followers) I might’ve stopped writing, altogether, but lately, I am beginning to feel invincible.

When my writing gets shoved underground, it becomes a river of words, gaining momentum like a flood rushing towards a dam.

When it hits,

it’s going to hit hard.

Hopefully, I am going to break through.

If not, I will resume my usual (or unusual) occupation as resident (or dissident) philosopher.

The Fat PI, also known as Gregson, has been on hiatus, as of late. I put him on a beach with an umbrella drink and a beautiful woman in a tasteful one-piece.

Gregson wants to finish his memoirs, just how I want to finish my first attempt at the Great American Novel.

Recently, it has been suggested to me that I should be a professional, or a writer.

My response: “I’m going to be a professional writer.”

I said this to myself four hours later, but that’s what writers do.

They are seldom able to say words spontaneously.

Okay, now I’m rambling… so I need to sign off.

Intellectual Shaman—Out.

The Parable of the Snail and the Slug

“We’re related, aren’t we?” Asked the snail to the slug. “You’re my second cousin, or third cousin twice removed, aren’t you?”

The depressed slug looked at his happy companion, safe inside his shell.

“We aren’t the same—you and me,” the slug said.

“Why not? We both make slime, and we’re both slower than hell.”

“That’s all a matter of perspective. We’re slower than humans, and it’s debatable, whether or not we make more snot.”

“But what about us?” The snail protested. “We both make slime.”

“So do human beings, but we’re nothing like them.”

“Why not?”

“We only have one foot, for one.”

“Maybe that’s why we’re slow.”

“You have a brain, even if you don’t use it very much. It must be tucked somewhere safe inside your shell,” the slug said.

“You have a brain too, don’t you?”

“What do you think? Idiot! The family man gets his kicks by sticking his pocket knife inside slugs like me. You can see our brains coming out of our skin. For some reason, snails are cute. They’re fragile. Children want to show them off at show-and-tell, and safely turn them loose inside their mother’s gardens, but slugs like me get burned, stuck, salted, and stepped-on.”

“It’s not fair, is it?” The snail said.

“No, it’s not.”

“What are you going to do today?”

“Lay-down a fresh layer of slime.”

“That’s funny—because that’s what I’m going to do today. We’re the same—you and me.”

“No, we’re not.”

The snail put his head inside his shell and pouted.

A little boy, with a wicked cute smile, picked him up. “Mommy—look-it. I have something to take to show-and-tell.”

“Johnny—don’t turn that snail loose in my garden. If it finds a female snail, they’ll make 300 babies.”

“Oh—gross. Look at that brown wrinkly slug!” Johnny said.

His shoe raised-up into the sky and the slug sensed the shadow of death.

“I’ve got to slide faster,” he cried-out, but he wasn’t fast enough, and his brains got smooshed into the soil, where sugar ants carried his grey matter into their tiny holes to be eaten.

The End, of the Slug

PS. The snail showed-off at show-and-tell like a celebrity. It laid-down a fresh layer of slime like a dirty poet. And when it was done signing autographs, it got turned loose into the Garden of Eden where it found many young beautiful female snails to have babies with, and his offspring ate all of the carefully cultivated strawberries that were not meant to be eaten by snails, and his children were as numerous as the stars and the grains of sand on the sea shore, and they enjoyed the promised land together.

So, what is the moral of this story?

Sometimes, it’s better to be cute than smart; it’s better to be loved than understood; You make slime, just the same as a slug, but your destiny depends on how the audience feels about you. There are boys who never get into trouble, and there are boys who always get into trouble, but they’re cute, and there are boys who are ugly and mean, just like the slug. They get a pocket knife through their brains. They get salted, burned, and stepped on. Prison is their eventual home, if not execution.

So, always remember to be the snail. Always remember to be loved. Always remember to be cute. Always remember that it matters how the audience feels about you.

The End

The Art of Living the Good Life

Acting is an artform that I appreciate, and I do more acting than writing (We all do). We must act civilized and decent wherever we go.

It’s not funny when somebody at work tells a joke and then looks around the room to make sure it didn’t offend anyone. It’s like people want to break-out of their prisons, but they’re afraid to.

I think it was Socrates who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Writing is a form of empathy, humor, and madness that can take-on many forms. Those who don’t examine their lives are the truly dangerous.

There is no better feeling than waking-up on a summer holiday and writing the thoughts that enter your mind. People just don’t give each other that kind of freedom.

The reason why I am in love with myself is that I give myself that kind of freedom. I hear my friends say, “If I wear this, what will people think?” or “If I buy that car, will it increase my status?” These thoughts are horrible thoughts.

What are good thoughts?

Good thoughts are fresh thoughts. These thoughts are the reason for writing.

There are no fresh thoughts in the news media cycle.

Everybody is thinking the same things.

What I am writing now

is not a fresh thought,

but a writer hopes to get lucky, anyway.

Writing is a celebration of the good and the bad in your life,

and I have been lucky to always have both.

People are dying before the age of 5. They get categorized into boxes and labeled. They never break-out.

They find their identity in their jobs. “I’m an accountant!”

They get self-esteem from other people. They don’t know what it means to live while they have a life. It is the scariest thing to watch.

Every day, I wake-up and pray, “God—help me hold onto my life. I can’t live without you.”

It is true—those who try to hold onto their lives will lose them, and those who try to be happy will be miserable.

There is only one way to live well and that is to make your life a work of art.

Everybody wants the good life, but they don’t know how to get it.

God is required,

and you have to grab onto God to have the good life.

My Yellow Popcorn Popper Brings Me Joy

I know that my current affair with isolation

is not a new mental disorder,


when I was in 4th grade,

I loved to be alone.

My mother would drag my sister to the shopping mall,

and ask me if I wanted to go.

“Nooooo,” I said.

Then, she would leave me home alone

and I would make popcorn. I still maintain

that the magic in a day

can only be



We had skylights

and I enjoyed watching the sun reach its zenith

while watching Zorro’s Fighting Legion

in Black and White.

My favorite part, is when Don Del Oro (God of Gold)

tells the Yaquis

“Glory and Riches to those who obey me. Death—to all others.”

He commands his Indians to throw unbelievers into a fiery pit,

and he says it with such a magisterial voice.

I spent years making popcorn and lemonade and watching movies—and not much has changed.

My dentist told me, “Your enamel is almost gone, son.”

“Oh well…” I said. “Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.”

He didn’t like that I was so cavalier about my teeth, but everyone has their pet peeves, I guess… and they feed them, and water them, and neuter them, and well… they have pet peeves, and they brag about them to their friends.

I don’t think I ever told my mother this, and she doesn’t read my blog, so I’m in the clear

but when I was in 4th grade, I ran a profitable lemonade stand in the summertime, when she was shopping.

We’re talking in the hundreds of dollars—maybe, thousands. I did it to raise money for candy, and I walked three miles to the mini mart to load-up on Jolly Ranchers, Blow-Pops, and Sour Patch Kids.

One day, the cash was rolling in, and a parks department employee in a red truck pulled up.

“Hey—kid! Do you have a food-handlers license?” He asked me.

At the time, I had not yet begun to lie, so I said, “No.”

“Well… get the hell out of here before I call the police!”

I am ashamed to admit it, but I cried.

I didn’t offer him any lemonade.

He was terrifying in his silver sunglasses.

It wasn’t until much later in life, that I understood there to be many parks department employees spread out through-out society, like disgusting mayonnaise on toast. They’re everywhere… at church, in the supermarkets, and at work.

You can’t get away from them.

They always lack imagination and believe in the rules—not because the rules are right, but because they enjoy seeing little boys cry.

It’s okay.

I went home that day and fired-up my yellow popcorn popper.

It brings me joy.




Yes, Dr. Frankenstein… I need a new face.

The job twisted their stomachs.

The stress shot their adrenal glands.

They were in and out of the bank in less than 5 minutes.

Their car wouldn’t start, and then it did.

In 20,

the city was barricade.

In 18, they were outside the limits.

“What was our take?”

“We can talk about money when we get to the safe house.”

“Why are we stopping here?”

“I’ve got to bury the car.”

“That’s a shame. I liked this one.”

“You can dig her up in 10 years, if you still want her.”

“Why are you pouring gasoline on the seats?”

“Fibers—you idiot.”

There was a new car parked beyond the grove.

“Oh—I like this one, and the color. What is it?”

“A BMW M4 in Isle of Man Green.”

“You have good taste.”

“Thank you. Now, get in the car.”

The public enemies drove through the desert on back roads, kicking up dust like prairie jack-rabbits.

When they got to the farmhouse, the big guy sat in a leather armchair, popping a cold one.

He drank one, and then he drank the other.

“I can’t relieve my stress,” he complained. His hair had fallen out years ago.

The short man went to the bedroom and tried to take a nap, but he kept dreaming about their door getting kicked in.

The rest sat around the poker table playing cards with the exception of the man wearing the sunglasses.

He had long blond hair, so that you couldn’t see his face.

He sensed the tension in the room.

He was different. Most guys commit a crime, but it’s the getting away with it that’s the hard part. They can’t handle the stress—

The man in the sunglasses popped open Sun Tzu. “Every battle is lost or won before it is ever fought.”

“I want to hear what’s on the news,” the big man cried.

He turned on the TV and watched the beautiful busty newscaster in a V-neck dress, trying to sound intelligent.

“The bank robbers were organized, efficient, and stole 2.8 million dollars.”

“That’s all we got!” The big man complained.

“How much is your freedom worth?” Asked the man with the sunglasses.

His question didn’t make sense to the big man.

The TV kept talking…

“The money was in unmarked bills. Police suspect an insider.”

The short man looked worried. His face was delicate and polite, frozen that way after years of being courteous.

He was a teller.

The man with sunglasses suspected that he was a teller in more ways than one—a rat.

“The police are going to be right on top of us!” The Big man shouted.

The poker game stopped.

“Listen… if we just stay put and follow the plan, we’ll all have new lives in three days,” the man with the sunglasses said.

“We want girls.”

“Consider being celibate for at least five years.”

“Hell no! I earned that money!”

“You can’t spend it.”

“Then why did I rob a bank?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why did you do it?”

“To see if I could get away with it.”

“I’m turning myself in,” the big man said.

“You can’t do that,” the man with the sunglasses suggested.

“We should all go our separate ways,” the men at the poker table said.

“That’s not a good idea…”

“Are you telling us what we can and can’t do?”

The man with the sunglasses was outnumbered.


“Good. Then, we’re out of here.”

They filed-out of the safehouse with their backpacks full of cash.

The man with the sunglasses spent time in thought. He got up and looked into the living room mirror.

“Well… I’ve always wanted to be more handsome,” he said. Then, he made a call.

“Yes, Dr. Frankenstein… I need a new face. Can you make it handsome?… You can? Great. I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

The End