JQ

Sluggerz Sports Bar:

“You wanna know why I didn’t come to work today?” Jeff asked.

“Sure,” Denton said.

Jeff took a swig from his beer bottle.  “My grandma died last night.”

“Damn.  I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks.  She was admitted to the hospital just a few hours earlier.  She died before I could visit her.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah.”

“So what did she die of?”

“Pneumonia, allegedly.”

“Allegedly?”

“The doctor they gave her was named Marla Rosenberg.

“Oh.”

“Guess I shouldn’t’ve posted that JQ stuff, huh?”  (JQ meant Jewish Question in alt-right argot.)

“Yeah, ha ha.”

No response.

“You serious?”

No response.

“Come on, Jeff.  Old people die of pneumonia all the time.  And your grandma was old as hell, no offense.”

“Thanks, rabbi.”

“The Jews aren’t behind everything.”

Shalom, rabbi.”

“That paranoid crap hurts our cause.”

“Shalom!”

Neither man said anything for a few moments.

Then:

“At least it wasn’t Dr. Apu for a change, in the hospital,” Denton said.

Jeff smiled.

“There we go.  Your grandma would have wanted you to smile.”

“I guess.”

“To her.”

“To her.  And to paranoia.”

Denton hesitated a moment.

“What the hell—to paranoia,” he said.

They clinked their beer bottles together.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews
July 8-9, 2017 (revised July 16, 2017)

TruthCon

As the sun sets in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, one unseasonably-sweltering May night (fucking climate change), Greerson cracks open his first—but certainly not the last—PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) of the night.  He thought moving to a town that, decades earlier, had renamed itself after a then-popular but now totally-forgotten game show (that had aired on the fucking radio, even) would gain him cachet among his fellow hipnoids (as his cohort’s members currently and good-naturedly call themselves), the irony of his choosing to live there reaching what he considered stratospheric levels of intensity and cleverness.  Plus compared to San Francisco, where he’d lived since barely graduating from that allegedly ultra-hippie liberal arts school in the Pacific Northwest two years earlier (since when do hippies care about fucking deadlines, man?), his new town offered dirt-cheap rents and (as far as he could determine) no tech-industry snots, especially those fuckers who looked down on him at burlesque clubs for using a smart phone more than a week old.  However, after a week in TruthCon, he wanted to hang himself like his literary hero, DFW (David Foster Wallace) (though not necessarily before finally cracking open that copy of fucking Infinite Jest and reading at least a few pages, endnotes included).  Never mind that everyone there worships the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief.  How can any civilized young person live in a town without an Apple store, without industrial wastelands converted to farmland, without designer mesh coverings (made of organic hemp) for millennial beards?  Greerson strokes his millennial beard, takes several swigs from his beer, and consigns himself to masturbating once again to his download of his current favorite retro-Nineties porn flick, Beverly Hills 9-Bros-Screw-1-Ho.  But five minutes into the flick, his hand down his pants, he suddenly realizes how to—

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

May 23, 2017 (revised May 24, 2017)

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #21: Racial Realist

Sluggerz Sports Bar:

“I heard Ms. Bitch got knocked up,” Denton said.

“Nooo, that virginal young maiden?” Jeff said.  “You know who did it?”

“Some black guy, allegedly her fee-yon-say.”

Pause.

“Are you a racial realist?” Jeff asked.

“Hell yeah.”

“Me too.”  Pause.  “So what’s your ethnic background?”

“Anglo-Irish.  What’s yours?”

“Anglo-Russian.”

“Yeah, here’s to Russia.  The biggest white power in the world.”

They sip their beers.

“Don’t get too drunk, you Irish bastard,” Jeff said.

“You shouldn’t gulp your beer.  It’s not Putin’s sperm,” Denton said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Birch and her fiancé looked on-line at home for baby clothes.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #20: Free Helicopter Ride

Denton’s supervisor, Ms. Birch, caught him posting on his alt-right blog as she walked past his cubicle.  She told him to get back to work and left.

“Ms. Bitch needs a free helicopter ride,” he told his coworker Jeff later in the break room, using alt-right argot.  (South-American dictatorships used to eliminate their political opponents by dropping them from helicopters into the sea.)

“No, you should give her Ebola instead,” Jeff replied.  “Maybe she’d infect a bunch of snowflakes.  More cost-effective, in other words.”

What a true friend, Denton thought as he reached for a cruller.  True friendship rocks.

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

 

A Royal Pain in the Neck (Get It?)

Two nights ago at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, I saw Puccini’s 1926 opera Turandot for the first time.  I’d previously seen and liked his operas La bohème and Tosca, but this one–his final one, left unfinished due to his death–ranked above them, at least in this production.  I liked the melodies, the forceful performances, the detailed sets, the ornate costumes, and the eye-popping color.  Also, having Chinese characters sing in Italian epitomizes proto-multiculturalism.

However, I found certain aspects of the plot questionable.  Because someone had raped and murdered her female ancestor centuries earlier, the virginal Princess Turandot has vowed that no man will ever get freak-kay with her.  She poses three riddles to each suitor who approaches her, and has him decapitated when he doesn’t answer them all correctly; within three years, twenty-six men have literally lost their heads in public executions attended by the entire kingdom (and I mean entire kingdom; unlike some sparsely-cast operas I’ve seen at the Benedum, at least this one doesn’t stint on the background extras or on a massive fake moon).  Yes, lots of guys have always found nasty gals arousing, but even the lustiest sucker would at least think for a moment before approaching such a brutal, bloodthirsty woman.

Eventually, her latest suitor, an unnamed prince, answers the three riddles correctly, then announces that he will forfeit his life if Turandot can guess his identity by morning.  To discover the prince’s identity and thus prevent him from burying the Little Prince inside her royal vault, she has a comic-relief character torture the prince’s slave girl onstage (a plot development not especially amusing today, considering America still has a massive, post-9/11 torture-boner).

Anyway, in an ending written by someone else (but that Puccini might have approved of, considering the era’s gender-related brainwashing), the prince overpowers Turandot and turns her into a passive, lovestruck girly-girl.  The moral: keep dames in their place, hardly an unknown moral in Puccini’s time or in any other time.  Another, possible moral: women can justify their existence by behaving as savagely as men.  Also: single women can destroy society.  If both sexes had equally ruled the cultural sphere for centuries, this opera might have turned out differently, though I suppose few opera fans expect enlightened sexual politics–or enlightened politics in general (representative democracy rules!)–from such a genre prone to excess and camp.

April 1-2, 2017 (revised April 10, 2017)

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews