Matthews the Museum Marvel

My Healthy, Hippie Heart, February 16, 2019

Quilt-Scrapping, February 16, 2019


Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #52: AOC XXX

My favorite website, Pornhole, posted a video today called AOC XXX, featuring a woman identified only as AOC, an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lookalike with a huge rack and a thick Spanish accent: “I have a Peenk New Deal for jou!”  Wanting to discover if the human race has justified its existence, I paid fourteen ninety-nine for the privilege of watching the lookalike fuck lookalikes of Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and Donald Trump, all three played by much younger thespians.  Sorry, human race, don’t mean to sound reverse-ageist, but you still suck.  At least I have new material for my nonexistent memoirs.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

February 16, 2019

Waiting for Stiffy

It’s Alive’s cast. Standing, L-R: Stiffy the Dead Clown (actually wearing his clown outfit), Professor Emcee Square, Pointy. Crouching: Fritz.

I submitted the following entry to the Pittsburgh City Paper’s Valentine’s Day Fan-Fiction contest: stories about Pittsburgh celebrities, five-hundred words maximum, PG-13.  Turning in a dour tale about an obscure TV personality who (spoiler alert) never actually appears may explain why I lost, but at the time, I felt like writing such a tale; literary geniuses must follow their muses, no matter how unamusing.

I’ve slightly revised my entry for its appearance here, but I still hit exactly five-hundred words.


One day in early 2019, I got a text from my pal Shawn, the first time he’d contacted me since we’d graduated high school twelve years earlier:

remember stiffy the dead clown?  he has a new band called thunderblood.  theyll make their world debut tomorrow 8pm at lesters.  wanna go?

Shawn and I used to spend Saturday nights alone in his basement, watching It’s Alive, a Pittsburgh cable show.  They’d play some old horror movie, hosted by a black-suited zombie named Professor Emcee Square.  But we preferred his sidekick: Stiffy the Dead Clown, a loser with a chalky-white face, a round black nose, and black makeup lining his eyes and mouth—a loser who usually didn’t wear a clown outfit, just cargo pants and a rock T-shirt.  Seeing the Professor abuse him each week made us feel better about our status as teenage losers in that boring-ass town, Monroeville.

So of course I went to Lester’s Bar, on Polish Hill.  I hadn’t been to that bar since graduating.  It looked the same, all stucco and smeary paintings of generic European streets.

Shawn had already arrived.  With his flannel shirt, denim jacket, and long scraggly hair, he looked the same, too, only much thinner.  And with fewer teeth.

“Hey,” he said, fistbumping me.

I sat down at his table.

“So what have you done lately?” he asked.

“I work at the airport as a TSA agent.”

“Really?  You give strip searches to any hot babes?”

“All the time.  But it’s for free now, since I’m working without pay due to the government shutdown.”

“Well, if you need money, you could always suck dick.  Turn a hobby into a career.”

“Ha ha.  What have you done lately, besides meth?”

“I don’t do meth.”

“How’d you lose all those teeth then?”

“I got into a fight.  You should have seen the other guy.”

“Uh-huh.  What else have you done lately?

“Just chillin’.”


The concert, scheduled for eight, began at 8:50.  The opening act, Swedge, sucked, but at least they played for only twenty minutes.  Then nothing.  Not a sign of Thunderblood anywhere.

10:00 passed.  Then 10:30.  11.  I kept drinking ginger ale. Shawn kept drinking whiskey, with me buying.  I wanted to impress him for some reason.  Due to the shutdown, I’d depleted most of my bank account and worried that—

“Hey, remember when Stiffy farted and made a giant mushroom cloud?” Shawn asked.


Hee-larious!  Better than Shakespeare!”

“Yeah.  I don’t think the band’s gonna show.”

“Just a little while longer.”

“I have to get up early for work tomorrow.”

“Why?  They’re not payin’ you.”

“I know, but I need to protect our country.”

“Screw our country.  I hope the Chinese take over.  Free General Tso’s for everyone!”

I got up and left.  I never saw Shawn again, nor did I ever find out if Stiffy’s band had played.  That was four decades ago, but it seems like four centuries.

I still love America.  We all have our quirks, I guess.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

further revised February 14, 2019

Never, Ever Vote

Running across this page two days ago from the January 11, 2019, National Enquirer while Net-fishing for Pynchon articles in Lake Google (as I occasionally do during my downtime—yes, having downtime makes me an adult), I thought I’d encountered what the Leader of the Free World has termed “fake news.”  First, why hasn’t any other media outlet covered this?  And second, why would the celebrity-besotted Enquirer care about that eighty-one-year-old “acclaimed National Book Award winner”, and why would it think its readers do?  Then I realized such a reclusive author—“photographed just four times in his 50-plus year career!”—would prove a challenge to a voyeuristic tabloid that exposes everyone famous (except for the abovementioned Leader, though that situation may have changed).

The Enquirer managed to snap at least two pics of Pynchon after he’d apparently “emerge[d] to vote” last November 6 in New York City.  He’s definitely aged since his bucktoothed youth and walks with a cane, but he does have a full head of hair.  Perhaps the paper’s readers will develop or have already developed an interest in non-mainstream, National Book Award-winning literature, if such an interest will keep them from going bald.  And perhaps the other media outlets will get over their jealousy and start acknowledging the Enquirer’s existence; in this privacy-free world, winners snoop first and snoop the most, giving vicarious pleasure to the winners’ promoters and followers, though I assume some Enquirer fans worry about their status as corporate, social-network, and government surveillance targets, since paying attention to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie does not necessarily preclude one from also paying attention to civil liberties.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #51: Grandpa Bought a Rubber

Either my Internet skills have deteriorated, or I’ve hallucinated the past.  After minutes of intense Googling, I can’t find proof Steve Martin ever sang a song called “Grandpa Bought a Rubber.”  I could swear I’d heard this song during my childhood—well, not the actual song, but my classmates singing it at school; my parents forbade me from owning Steve Martin albums or any other adult cultural products, searching my bedroom regularly for contraband and beating me if they found any.  However, decades later, my mother died from colon cancer, and my father died from liver failure, so, yay, revenge.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #50: Your Insouciance Reaffirmed Mine

Nursing the flattest lager I’ve ever bought, sitting in a cacophonous bar and grill at a dreary Midwestern airport, my return flight delayed another two hours due to a ferocious snowstorm, some bald-spotted crewcut in the next booth pontificating to someone that the weather undoubtedly proves climate change does not exist despite what the liberally-biased scientific community wants us to believe, I suddenly realize your insouciance reaffirmed mine during our most recent tête-à-tête (yes, I know you consider English speakers who use French terms pretentious—sorry), thus proving we share an adamantine spiritual bond.  Do you agree?  If not, why?

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews