by Jim Parnell

The Torture Never Stops

What's a Poor Boy to Do?

When I saw Bubba just after he got fired, I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted to do with his life.  He just smiled and said, "I'm doing it."  No recriminations, no regrets, not a penny to his name.  There's a kind of freedom you get just by getting by, and a kind of slavery that's wrapped in silk and gold.  Only a few souls in this life are truly free, and Bubba is one.  The rest of us, bound and gagged, tied down by our jobs or studies, or hamstrung by expectations and responsibilities can do only one thing when they encounter such a free spirit, a wandering carefree gypsy like him.

We can make his life Hell.

Or at least we can try.  The plots and machinations of the small-minded crash like November breakers on the rocks in Bubba's head.  It takes a lot to get under his skin, I know, having had as much luck as a rube in the scope-sight crosshairs of a Three-Card Monty table.  On Broadway.  At 2:00 am.

But we are tireless and rabidly mediocre, and with nothing lofty to strive for, we contrive to drag the Bubbas of the world down into our own echoing chamber of banal horrors.  Pettiness knows no bounds!  Neither does bathroom humor, so I give you,

Inhuman Resources -- It's like, you know, a sequel:  Return of the Son of the Aliens Whut Got Me Fired...
Dr. Ohmm NiSciens leaned back in his chair and hummed contentedly to himself.  He idly scraped the mucous from his neck glands and consumed it with relish, and a blot of mustard, and a bit of undigested beef.  A bad habit, he thought, eating local foods.  He'd have to watch out -- he was going native.

"Alright, Boss, what gives?  There ain't been nothing but bad news for the last six weeks and you've been acting like the smeerp that engulfed the canary,"  Flipper said.

"Smeerps don't engulf canaries, they engulf carrots," Ohmm pedanted.  Then he chuckled, his membrane flickering deep umber in satisfaction.   "You're right, though.  We've had a bugger of a time, what, with our deep cover agent, the CEO getting sacked (no pun intended).  Even so, we thought we had the situation under control -- hell, we'd replaced all the top executives and half the Board with our, uh, people.

"Then the recyclables hit the rotating blades.  The new CEO wasn't in for six months before he started firing our guys right and left.  We were down to our last executive VP and a couple of middle managers!"

The Flipper sniffed at Ohmm's mustard jar and gagged.  He wiped his compound eyespots and said, "So what happened?"

 "Our latest reports show a breakthrough.  After our last barrage of emails, the CEO decided he had to hire Human Resources types to crush the malcontents.  Anticipating just such a move, our agents had, er, assimilated all his likely candidates weeks before."

Ohmm wrinkled his head skin in a grotesque, but remarkably realistic parody of a Smiley Face.  Have a Nice Day!

Flipper broke wind in gales of flatulent laughter.  "The maroon hired alien HR managers!  No one will ever notice!"

Ohmm snickered.  "You think they got their green cards?"

"They've got their green guts, will that do?  Haw!"

In their silent black helicopter, Ohmm and Flipper snorted and hooted with cynical laughter.  Below, in the New Jersey fog, employees were just pulling into the parking lot for work.  On the far side of the moon, the alien base swarmed with activity -- only 92 shopping days remaining until Invasion.

Talk about your Y2K bugs...

The Mensa's Lament -- so much a part of The Scene, they strive, with some success to humiliate the unwary.  Yet, cheek by jowl with the üntermenschen, we try to maintain:
Oh you Mensa!
You are the master race.
With massive bulging, prideful brow
And hawklike piercing gaze,
Your encyclopedic all-know-how
Is arrogance with grace.

Oh you Mensa!
So sad your sorry state.
When none around you will kow-tow
And none can keep apace,
Protean minds will not allow
A fall to such disgrace.

Eau du Mensa!
You meet but once a year.
Hob-nob with other, outsized brains
This brings you all to tears,
Taking pains and making stains
Your chance to bend some ears.

Ough, yew Mehnsah!
A grunion beaching nears.
The Meeting of the Minds draws nigh,
Mensa boy and girl revere,
Glasses, specs, and skirts flung high
Your chance to reproduce is here!

Owe ewe Mensa!
What are you waiting for?
Potential gene pool, wide and deep
Awaits your righteous spoor,
Yet still you gab and shake your flab
Until she spots the door.

Ho-ho you Mensa!
Save your genius for others!
It bores the hell out of the babes
Who'd rather date their brothers,
Lucky for us you love to rave
'Bout yourself and nothing other!

And the "Most Cliched Inspirational Rant" award goes to -- well, who else would it go to, L. Ron Hubbard?  Geez!
It's a fine kettle of worms we've gotten ourselves into. With a pocket full of wooden nickles, and without a pot to piss in (nor a window to throw it out of), it's now crunch time.  Between you, me and the bedpost, there's a lot of assumptions being made about the way things are going, and of course, when you ASSUME, it makes an ASS out of U and ME.  Heh-heh.  Which is why I always give rumors the benefit of the doubt, otherwise anything I end up saying is just too clever by half.

What I'm getting at is that most people spend their lives searching for happiness and finding sorrow.  In their later years they sit around collecting dust, watching the grass grow, and the rails rust, not to mention the paint dry.  When my threescore and ten rolls around, I'm going to be a man, not a mouse.  I'll kick up a storm, kicking ass and taking names.  I'll never look back as I shake a leg before the chickens come home to roost.   When I'm dead and gone, people will remember me and say, "That Bubba was slicker than deer guts on a doorknob!"  Yessir, with a hoot and a holler, I'll root, hog, or die in the heat of battle, hotter than the hinges of hell, sweatin' bullets, to go down swinging and tellin' 'em all to go suck eggs.

I ain't barely scratched the surface, here.  There's more than one way to skin a cat, so have a field day: get the hell out and take your friends and the horse they rode in on with you to the bar tonight, especially if you're down in the dumps.  Nothing like a good bender to put a bug in your ear, hair on your chest, and a wild hair up your @#!

Can't keep a dumb redneck down.  Here's mud in your eye!

Double-Wide, Copyright © 1999 by Jim Parnell

Jim Parnell squashes bugs for a living -- the ones that infest your computer.   As a gesture of faith, he plans to be on full life-support in a commercial airliner booking flights and making e-trades at 23:59:59, December 31, 1999.  Well, maybe.

You can e-mail Jim Parnell at

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