Mark Allen's Top Ten for 11/25/02:

1: Seeing a wrinkled, wet-ish, grime-covered hardcore porno magazine hanging all alone on the railing of the Williamsburg Bridge
    This week I was coming back from one of my many trips to buy wild rice sesame sticks in Brooklyn, when I noticed this extremely weathered porno magazine hanging on the railing... it's withering pages blowing and gently turning over in the breeze... the setting winter sun casting shadows on it's luridly colored pages. Sometimes the pages would flip in the wind and show phone sex ads... then they would flip again to color photos of full-on, orgy penetration and scrunched-up faces. The kind of photographs you would KILL for when you were a pre-pubescent teen.
    If you're a guy and you grew up in the 70's or 80's... at some time in your life you came across the BREATHLESS, NERVE-EXPLODING THRILL of possible access to a PORNO MAGAZINE. If your dad didn't collect them and you could sneak a peak when he wasn't around... then you probably did what I and my friends did; found one, or somehow got a hold of one... and buried it out in the woods or laid it under some plywood by a vacant road. And you and your friends could go get it and take it home one by one... terrified to death that your parents might catch you as you snuck it under your jacket up to your room and then poured over every detail of the photos inside... with your heart in your throat. REALLY smart kids would rip out the pages and sell them to other 6th and 7th graders at school for a hefty profit. Pre-puberty boys would pay up to ten dollars for wrinkled, post-rained-on, covered in mud pages of a Penthouse ...twice that for Hustler!
    I stopped and kind of looked at it... it really took me back. The pages of this one were wet and dirty and wrinkled just like the ones I used to fiendishly treasure back in my early youth. But you could still see plenty of pink. I'm sure this will be snatched up at the speed of light by the next 11-13 year old male who walks by. I wonder where he'll hide it?
    What am I thinking? Times have changed a lot. A whole lot. Especially with the internet... and this being New York City to begin with. No kid today could probably give two craps about this withered, triple-X rag that's just sitting here for the taking. Times sure have changed.
    As I walked away from the undulating magazine and continued up the bridge... reminiscing times and eras gone by, I noticed two figures walking about thirty yards behind me. It was two Hasidic Jewish boys... probably 11 and 13... in traditional black and white clothes, those little black hats and long earlocks (Hasidic Jews travel the Williamsburg bridge constantly). They were alone and sauntering up the bridge slowly... probably trying to get home before dark. I kept walking and tried to watch them as inconspicuously as possible. And... like a lightening bolt... one of the boys reached out and grabbed the magazine like a frog's mouth catches a fly... right as they walked past it. He stuffed it under his traditional black coat and they took off like rockets... charging past me up the bridge towards Manhattan. Both with the look of sheer terror and thrill adrenaline on their red faces.
    I guess some things never change.

2: Discovering the Mountain Music Of Kentucky 2 CD set at Jim's house
    On my recent "refuge" to Jim's lone cabin in the Catskills... let's just say I had a lot of time to kill. With Jim not there it meant I finally had the opportunity to rummage through all his things and get as much background dirt on him as possible. While rummaging through kiddie porn, home made bombs, terrorist manifestos, rifles, Operation Rescue pamphlets with directions to abortion doctor's homes drawn on the back, video taped confessions of his plans to "assassinate the Dark Lord of 2008", a shrine to Osama Bin Laden, and diaries filled with vindictive rants about Ted Koppell - I also had time to go through his massive collection of old time-y bluegrass and mountain music CDs. Wow! What a find! CDs full of old recordings of guys singing on a front porch with dogs howling (in accompaniment) ballads performed with spoons and barrels... "Hollerin' Contest!" CDs... a zillion versions of "Muleskinner's Blues"... it was like an aural inbred gold mine.
    I've never heard such passionate and raw music in my life! This one in particular "Mountain Music of Kentucky", is superb. It's a two CD set that is filled with some of the most intense and minimal songs I've ever heard in my life. It has a "murder ballad" that Jim has played and sung to me before on his guitar, sung on this CD by Bill Cornett. Here are the lyrics:

                        Oh Polly, Pretty Polly come go along with me.
                        Polly, Pretty Polly come go along with me.
                        Before we get married some pleasure to see.

                        So he led her over mountains and valleys so deep.
                        Yonder over mountains and valleys so deep.
                        And after a while Pretty Polly did weep.

                        Saying "William, sweet William I'm wary of your ways.
                        William, sweet William I'm wary of your ways.
                        I'm worried that your gonna lead this poor girl astray."

                        "Oh Polly, Pretty Polly your guessing about right.
                        Polly, Pretty Polly your guessing about right.
                        You see I dug the best part of your grave in the night."

                        Then he led her a little further and what did she spy?
                        Just a little further and what did she spy
                        But a new dug grave with a spade lying by.

                        Then she lay down before him pleading for her life.
                        Lay down before him pleading for her life.
                        Saying "let me stay single, I can't be your wife."

                        "Oh Polly, Pretty Polly that never can be.
                        Polly, Pretty Polly that never can be.
                        Your bad reputation's been trouble to me."

                        Then he opened up her bosom as white as any snow.
                        Opened up her bosom as white as any snow.
                        Stabbed her right through the heart, how the blood it did flow.

                        Then he threw the dirt around her and left in the dawn.
                        Threw the dirt around her and left in the dawn.
                        Leaving no-one but the little brown sparrows to mourn.

                        He went down to the jailhouse and what did he say.
                        He went down to the jailhouse and what did he say.
                        I killed Pretty Polly and tried to get away.

                        Oh gentlemen and ladies, I bid you farewell.
                        Oh gentlemen and ladies, I bid you farewell.
                        For killing Pretty Polly my soul will go to hell.

...spooky stuff! Turns out there are a million variations of this murder ballad throughout history. You should hear Bill Cornett croon it out with a banjo! There is also another version of "Pretty Polly" on this CD performed by Lee Sexton. There is also this amazing song performed by Mr. and Mrs. Sams (pictured on the cover) called "The Wagoner's Lad" - it's beautiful! They also have some old baptist church recordings of congregations kind of "singing" famous hymns with no musical accompaniment... the pastor yells out what the next verse is and everyone in unison (sort of) sings it... with little regard for the notes the hymn was actually written for. There's a haunting recording of "Amazing Grace" done like this that's mind blowing. There's a lot of stuff on this CD that really chills your spine. It's so visceral and real... and done with like NO resources except raw need and want. It's like songs recorded with a 1930's tinker tot microphone that still manage to howl to the heavens. Wow. I recommend this CD - it's very strange and interesting and beautiful. I've never really heard music like this.

3: The whole Michael Jackson holding the baby dangerously out the hotel window in Berlin thing
    It's funniest because you know it wasn't a planned publicity stunt. Hilarious. Like most Michael Jackson "scandals" - there are so many layers of weirdness happening simultaneously, that the event as a whole almost hypnotizes you into thinking everything's okay. I think the many years of pain-killer abuse has left Michael Jackson lost forever from true reality in mile-thick clouds of fairy dust. You know while he was barely holding his kid precariously over this fourth floor balcony in front of a screeching crowd he was thinking something like "Wheeee! Heeheeheehee! butterflies are bee-you-ti-ful!!! Wheeeee!!!"
    A quote from a BBC article on the odd scandal; "The singer's close friend, psychic Uri Geller, condemned Jackson's actions but did not believe he was capable of harming a child. But he had suspected the baby was a FAKE, saying he was 'too protective' of his children to do something like this." A fake rubber baby? Hu-u-u-u-u-h? Oh god... see THIS is the kind of jaw dropping spectacle that I think viewers would have had to look forward to every week if VH1 hadn't pulled out of their plans for the reality show on David Guest and Liza Minelli (due to reported maniacal difficulty from Guest). God knows everything we're missing. Or Satan.

4: "The Miss World Pageant" finally gaining some fucking respect in the global arena
    This week 175 people died in bloody riots in Nigeria after a newspaper article hinted that Islam's founding prophet would approve of "The Miss World Pageant", which was scheduled to be held there. In light of women and children being pulled from their homes and slaughtered in the street and people having tires filled with gasoline thrown around their necks and lit and bands of Muslim youths blinded by religion-rage combing the city smashing homes, cars and skulls... the pageant was quickly moved to London. Many of the contestants had to literally flee the city in fear for their lives due to the raging bloodbath (via the beauty queen underground railroad no doubt). Looks like the winner this year will be able to talk about something besides what boat show she'll be cutting the ribbon at next. IT'S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!!! ALL HAIL MISS WORLD!!! QUEEN OF ALL THE WORLD!!! And speaking of...

5: Madonna cracking up while curtsy-ing Queen Elizabeth in London at a movie premiere
    This week Madonna was photographed cracking up (???) while curtsy-ing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at the movie premiere for the new James Bond film at Royal Albert Hall in London. I think this is a great photo.

6: Finding this very, very old photo of Fred, Kate and Cindy from The B-52's snapped at some wack-o party in Athens, GA in 1977... way before they even were really a band
    It's really them. Look at them! Look at Fred! I wonder if they were drunk. I wonder if they knew...

7: The fact that Jim is coming home this Friday after being on tour for over a month

8: Getting a message on my answering machine from an editor at Artforum magazine this week
    ...which is a magazine I worshiped in high school and college. Wow. Some people say a web site can be the world's greatest resume... maybe they're right.

9. Being interviewed by filmmaker Ron Pajack about my cyber-relationship with Bryan Ockert
    This week documentary filmmaker Ron Pajack came to my apartment and interviewed me about my past cyber relationship with Bryan Ockert. He's doing a film that is mostly about Bryan. It was interesting because it was the first time someone sat down and calmly probed my brain about the whole experience and just let me talk for two whole hours about the whole thing. I really started to go off on tangents and kind of explore the whole thing... from the past... The thing I had with Bryan was only about a year ago (a little over a year?) but it seems like a zillion years ago. It's like I had forgotten the entire thing. It was kind of this weird, sterile, alien-like experience. There was just the still quiet camera there looking at me with it's big, shiny black eye, and Ron hidden behind bright lights... his disembodied voice probing me for information about a guy I used to date electronically through cameras and computers only (mostly) a year ago. It was like DOUBLE DOUBLE non-non-reality. The whole thing was like I was being interviewed via transmission from Earth... while I floated out from reality's orbit in a satellite. I felt like a Stepford Wife or a Fem-bot. I felt like Bruce Dern in "Silent Running" when the government radios his space ship and tells him to jettison the greenhouse domes and then he goes nuts and kills all the other humans on board and then that weird, waddling robot becomes his only friend because it's the only thing that "understands" him. Um...
    Ron may go to Las Vegas in January and film Bryan and I together at this award thing (The Cybersocket Awards) that we're both gonna be at (and that I am, ahem... happen to be nominated for). Capturing us together all "post-everything" and now just friends and "prologue". Bryan and I are still friends but we hardly ever speak anymore. I don't know what Bryan has planned... but maybe we can both show up at the award ceremony live via "cam" on monitors only... both so removed from reality that we refuse to appear anywhere in the flesh (kind of like Brian O'Blivion in 'Videodrome'). Sitting at our tables on computer monitors with little bow ties and cummerbunds wrapped around them. Peering out of our monitors from 2,000 miles away... looking at everyone all around us all nervously. Then Ron can film that.

10: Nice Ass
    Yo... nice ass.

Mark Allen's Top Ten for 11/18/02

1: The face of Satan appropriately appearing on Gourmet Magazine's Thanksgiving issue

2: The ongoing re-release of the entire out-of-print French BYG/Actuel catalogue on CD and vinyl
    Holy shit. First I started with the Jazzactual 3 CD box set... and have listened to it non-stop ever since. Now because of the popularity of the set, the entire lost catalogue of the early releases is being re-released ...title by title... in a rather sporadic and unfocused, yet massive effort. The BYG/Actual label, and it's 1960's-70's recordings from avant/free jazz fringe artists were products of passion at the time of their release, now they are an often talked about (and fought over) commodity. They are fantastic recordings. I recommend the box set first, then possibly Sonny Sharrock's "Monkey-Pockie-Boo", Alan Silva and the Celestial Communication Orchestra's "Alan Silva and the Celestial Communication Orchestra",  Musica Electronica Viva's "Sound Pool", Don Cherry's "'Mu' First Part/'Mu' Second Part", Anthony Braxton's "Anthony Braxton" or "This Time" and Dave Burrell's "Echo". All are excellent. Many can be found at or, or at your local obscure jazz record store if you live in a big city. I really like the Actuel recordings because most of them seem to employ the recording technique of mic-ing the studio in a way so as to record the entire room... reverberations and all (many early jazz recordings were done this way - some with just one mic) so the albums open up and have lots of "psychic space" to them - at any volume. I find recordings done in this way to be simultaneously exhilarating and soothing.

3: Try replacing the last word of every song title on an album with "Penis"
    I don't care how moronic and testosterone you think it sounds. Try it and I promise you'll crack up. Try replacing the last word of every song title on an album with "Penis". If a song title has only one word, just add "Penis" after it. Try it with your favorite (or least favorite) albums! Here are a few examples:

        Celine Dion - All The Way...A Decade of Song

        1. Power of Penis
        2. If You Asked Me Penis
        3. Beauty And The Penis
        4. Because You Loved Penis
        5. It's All Coming Back To Me Penis
        6. Love Can Move Penis
        7. To Love You Penis
        8. My Heart Will Go Penis
        9. I'm Your Penis
        10. That's The Way It Penis
        11. If Walls Could Penis
        12. The First Penis
        13. All The Penis
        14. Then You Look At Penis
        15. I Want You To Need Penis
        16. Live Penis

        The Beatles - Abbey Road

        1. Come Penis
        2. Something Penis
        3. Maxwell's Silver Penis
        4. Oh! Penis
        5. Octopus's Penis
        6. I Want You (She's So Penis)
        7. Here Comes the Penis
        8. Because Penis
        9. You Never Give Me Your Penis
        10. Sun Penis
        11. Mean Mr. Penis
        12. Polythene Penis
        13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Penis
        14. Golden Penis
        15. Carry That Penis
        16. End Penis
        17. Her Penis

        Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

        1. Contract On The World Love Penis
        2. Brothers Gonna Work It Penis
        3. 911 Is A Penis
        4. Incident At Penis
        5. Welcome To The Penis
        6. Meet The G That Killed Penis
        7. Pollywanacraka Penis
        8. Anti-Nigger Penis
        9. Burn Hollywood Penis
        10. Power To The Penis
        11. Who Stole The Penis
        12. Fear Of A Black Penis
        13. Revolutionary Penis
        14. Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Penis
        15. Reggie Penis
        16. Leave This Off Your Fuckin' Penis
        17. B Side Wins Penis
        18. War At Penis
        19. Final Count Of The Collision Between Us And The Penis
        20. Fight The Penis

        DEVO - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!

        1. Uncontrollable Penis
        2. (I Can't Get No) Penis
        3. Praying Penis
        4. Space Penis
        5. Mongoloid Penis
        6. Jocko Penis
        7. Too Much Penis
        8. Gut Feeling/Slap Your Penis
        9. Come Back Penis
        10. Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Penis)
        11. Shrivel Penis

        Bikini Kill - The Singles

        1. New Penis
        2. Rebel Penis
        3. Demirep Penis
        4. In Accordance to Natural Penis
        5. Strawberry Penis
        6. Anti-Pleasure Penis
        7. Rah! Rah! Penis
        8. I Like Penis
        9. I Hate Penis

4: "Where bones meet boners!" (thanks Gregory!)
    Okay I'll admit it. I'm hooked. How can you NOT be?!  The usual suspect, Gregory, got me addicted... now I'm literally starting my mornings with coffee, the news, and crime photographs of mummified crack head midgets slumped dead over gas station toilets, decapitated Chinese dissidents, frighteningly deformed and horribly diseased rectums photographed in lurid Technicolor, autopsies on parade, lynchings, hilarious white trash amateur porn bloopers, death, even funnier amateur S&M video bloopers, deformity, gut busting (literally) junkie transsexual prostitute arrest mug shots, and boob-jobs gone horribly, horribly wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it). That and LOTS and LOTS of close up photos of vaginas. Who could ever stop? is basically a modified message board where anyone can easily upload photographs, gif animations, sound or video clips (up to five a day per person) and then anyone can comment on them. Anyone can join, and they must have zillions of active participants because if you don't look at it for one day you'll come back and there will be new page after new page of hundreds and hundreds of pictures. It's like the world's toilet, where anyone can log on and flush the most unthinkable things in the world... up for all to see. Some of the autopsy and murder victim photos are a little hard for me to take... but I must admit they are viscerally interesting.  And the endless photos of naked porn girls gets a little tedious (the one area in which the site's participants seem to instantly loose their sense of humor). Gregory assures me there is a small but growing homo contingent on that is slowly growing, with much resistance.
    I find it a little hard to write about without feeling foolish... I mean... "mindless-ness" is at it's very core. It's the pure adrenaline rush of how "shocking" or "I can't believe this actually occurs" or "I've never seen that before" something can be. It's the very cheap but still life-affirming thrill of looking at something that you know goes way beyond the "something you shouldn't see" category. You aren't going to LEARN anything about anatomy from looking at color photos of fallen bodies exploded on sidewalks, or double fisting video clips... at least I don't think you will. I guess it depends what kind of "learning" you are talking about. is the last notch on whatever meter society uses to gauge how much of a sense of humor someone has... until the next thing comes along.

5: Merzbow playing at Tonic in NYC on December 7th, 2002
    Beyond wow. The Tonic web site bills it as "...a rare US performance from the most prolific and masterful noise artist in Japan" and I think that about sums it up. Not only is Merzbow (aka: Masima Akita) one of my favorite artists in the world, but Tonic is quite literally around the corner from my house. Now that I think about it, judging by the volume level of most Merzbow shows, I could probably stay at home and still hear every crunch, rumble, zither and gurgle (and even then still have to wear earplugs). I'm going to be so "there" in the time and place that I might just cause a black hole (which is what a lot of Akita's music sounds like anyway).

6: Reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest again
    There's nothing like reading a really good book a second or third time... uncovering more and more layers (layers with foot notes and foot notes of foot notes no less!). Since my computer recently broke down I've been forced to (gasp!) read again, and having chosen this work, I am now being forced to re-live it's tediously constructed chaos. I was lucky enough to get a first edition, hardback copy of this book when it first came out due to a glowing pre-release review in The New York Times which caused me to buy it on a whim, having never heard of David Foster Wallace. As you can see from the photo my might-be-worth-something copy is now dog-eared, wrinkled, dust jacket-less, falling apart and coffee stained (complete with Grampa-from-'The-Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre' rubber Halloween mask as a bookmark ...don't ask). I think one possible sign of a really good novel is the realization that a cinematic adaptation of it's story would be impossible... not just inappropriate in a "wouldn't be able to capture the essence of" way... but quite literally impossible in this case. Funny, since the main plot string (one of millions) in the book is that of a troubled, obscure film director who inadvertently produces and directs a film so perfect in every entertainment-fulfilling way that anyone who watches it, even for a second, becomes so addicted to watching it over and over and over that they can do nothing but watch it over and over and over... and eventually die doing so. There are entire web sites ...and entire courses at universities... dedicated to this endless (literally) Mobius strip of a novel and it's serpentine array of oddly silly characters and coincidences ...and many arguments have raged as to whether it is unclassifiable genius or just clever, fluffy garbage. I recommend this book.

7: The cover of Vice magazine this month
    Clever. fooled me. (

8. Suits Warehouse Outlet, 100 Rivington Street, New York, NY
    You ever buy a piece of clothing really cheap? Like a pair of khaki pants or maybe a jogging suit? Then you wear it all the time for years and years and it never rips or falls apart or fades? And you think back over all the expensive, trendy clothes you have purchased in your life that have fallen apart after being worn once or twice and you think... "How come they weren't made like this cheap $5 hooded sweatshirt I bought ten years ago and have worn every winter since then almost every day and still looks great?" The answer? QUALITY!!! And quality is what you'll find, my friend, at Suits Warehouse Outlet at 100 Rivington Street  (corner of Ludlow) in New York City. I have lived downtown for ten years now, and I swear that 75% of my wardrobe has been purchased at this fine establishment (the other 25% has been found in the trash). Inside this store they have a lot of formal wear and basic casual wear... but it's the racks OUTSIDE the store where you score. T-shirts 10 for $5 that last forever, pocketed long shorts with zippered legs for $10 that withstand a million climbs in the Adirondacks, sweats in every size, shape and color imaginable, great cheap coats. I'm not being sarcastic... this place RULES! I have bought so many items there I should have my picture inside. I love this store. It's brilliant. In fact... I'm going to go check out their latest shipment later this week.  I'll bring $40 and buy an entire new wardrobe that will outlive me... I swear it!
    According to the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique" album cover (a panoramic shot of the intersection of Rivington and Ludlow makes up the gatefold cover) this is what Suits Warehouse Outlet used to look like in 1988. It used to be called Brother's Fashions (did you know I actually had to dig out and blurry-ly photograph my old copy of the album myself - can you believe it's not on the internet anywhere? Some nerd hasn't scanned it and put it somewhere? Isn't the internet truly disappointing sometimes?)
    Suits Warehouse Outlet is a great store that I highly recommend (especially the racks outside). Quality and satisfaction guaranteed always.

9: Happy doo doo due to eating brown rice and steamed kale every day
    I was staying at Jim's pad this last week in the Catskill Mountains, and due to the whole all-natural and hippie-fied nature of the town... almost every grocery store is all natural and organic and vegetarian and stuff like that. So while there... I started buying whole grain this and soy that and organic whole wheat this and flour-less that. Not because I'm a health food freak... but just because it was there. I got into the habit of eating brown rice with steamed kale (with garlic cloves roasted myself in olive oil). I got to eating it a lot. I mean a WHOLE LOT. Why? It tastes great... it's cheap... it's good for you. Sometimes I would pour hot salsa (all natural of course - the only kind they had!) over the whole thing and eat it with (all natural organic) tortilla chips. You know a town is hippie when the leading brand of tortilla chips has a Grateful Dead bear on the package. Well, combined with granola every morning with soy milk and all natural peanut butter on whole grain bread sandwiches for lunch and organic super-charged coffee with all natural organic honey from free range bees... let's just say I started to ...notice something downstairs. Something... WONDERFUL!
    You know sometimes I've been around hippie types or hardcore vegetarians or animal rights freaks and I have noticed that sometimes they talk a lot about their stool quality. I always thought they just watched "South Park" too much but NOW I see the light! My GOD I haven't felt this great doo doo-wise since I was a teenager! Big, thick, solid, light, hearty, healthy stools that slide right out of my ass like an Amtrak train shooting out of Grand Central... always on time and never with any delays! I feel fantastic! I never felt so... much like a tube! I barely need toilet paper anymore my shit is so fucking pure! Food goes in and wonderful, hearty turds come right out! It's amazing how the quality of your shit can improve the quality of your life.
    Since I got back from the Catskills, I've been a regular at my local whole foods supplier (just a block or two away). I'm cooking up brown rice in big pots and steaming kale by the bushel and roasting garlic by the pan-full. Salsa and organic chips are literally flowing out of my pantry.  I've been jogging longer, sleeping better, smiling more and am almost never groggy. My skin is fucking radiant as Hell! And my bathroom? It's a glowing, warm room of infinite white light... that contains a beckoning throne that calls to me to sit on it with a warm smile... like a good friend I'm always happy to see. It's like when I'm in there, goddesses' arms massage my back and the stereo is always playing the aria from Delibes's "Lakme" ...and when I take a shit now, even though it takes a mere matter of seconds... it feels like getting a blow job from God while softly laying back on a bed of angel's hair.

10: Jim's story about his childhood cat "Toby"
    I guess I should let Jim tell his own stories... but I can't resist because this one is so great.
    See, Jim grew up in the North, where it's cold. He also had a cat named Toby at some point in his life. Now as you all know... cats get run over sometimes. And sometimes when pets get run over, parents like to "hide" the "gruesome" evidence before breaking the news to the kids. As you can probably guess... at some point, Jim's cat Toby was hit by a car in front of his house and squashed flat. In the dead of Winter. The cold, cold ...freezing cold of Great Northern Winter.
    Now I guess Toby had been "missing" for a few days before Jim's mom or even Jim himself realized he had been squashed flat right on the road in front of their house. So lots and lots of heavy car tires got to run over Toby again and again and again. Whenever Jim's mom or Jim looked out the front yard and yelled "Toby!" ...they saw nothing but the yard and the flat road ahead of them! How were they to know that Toby was now as FLAT as the road itself and therefore invisible from their perspective, unless they were to go outside and stand in the middle of the road and look down (which they weren't likely to do since it was so cold and they liked to stay indoors)?
    Now... after a few days passed... Jim and his parents decided Toby had just "run away" pets sometimes do. Jim was very sad, as were the rest of the family. And that's that. Right? Wrong.
    Jim's mom, somehow, made the fateful discovery of the squashed VERY flat and frozen VERY solid Toby on the road in front of their house on a sunny but very, very cold day. She was sad but also concerned that Jim, being such a young child, might discover Toby's hideous, 2-D remains and freak out. So she set about "disposing" of the evidence, respectfully of course. She waited until Jim wasn't at home... and went outside to retrieve the cat's flat body and bury it somewhere out in the back yard. But when she tried to lift the pancake-like Toby from the road she discovered that the numerous steam-rollings from days worth of cars and very cold temperatures had squashed Toby so flat that he had practically BECOME the road at this point. So Jim's mom went inside to fetch her spatula... and also some utensils like a knife and fork, and a can of WD-40... just in case she needed it. When she got back to Toby's paper flat, hard "body"... she commenced spatula-ing and prying it up off the road with all her might. Squirting a bit of DW-40 here... a little bit there.
    Now... it just happened to be a very WINDY day in addition to being VERY, VERY cold. A very strong Winter wind was howling it's coldness all over the area... and especially whipping down the long stretch of open road in front of Jim's house. So when Jim's mom pried the spatula under Toby at just the right angle, and put a little DW-40 in just the right place, and scraped and scraped and scraped at just the right strength... Toby's body finally *popped* free from it's flat, concrete prison in one giant *rip* and jumped right up in the air like a flap jack and was instantly picked up by the strong Winter wind that was whipping down the open road and went sailing off towards town like a kite.
    Sometimes Toby sailed like a flowing paper plate caught in an updraft... and sometimes Toby flopped onto his side and spun like a macabre wheel... and then sometimes Toby would get airborne again and, still spinning, would take on the properties of a terror Frisbee in mid-flight. All the while heading at great speeds down the road into town... carried by the howling wind... with Jim's mother running behind in her Winter coat, boots, hat and gloves... spatula in one hand, utensils and can of DW-40 in the other... running like mad to keep up ...yelling "Toby! Toby!" the entire time. What else could she do but call it's name? The same name she had called it when it had been alive. When she wanted it to come inside or had just opened a can of cat food or something. She knew that Toby's spirit was in cat heaven... but now that it's 2-dimensional, squashed flat by cars for days and frozen solid by freezing temperatures earthly body was sailing at 30 miles an hour down the road in front of their house, carried by the howling, freezing Winter winds... what choice did she have but to call "Toby! Toby come back!" as she ran and ran? What would you have done?
    Well... Jim's mom DID eventually catch up with Toby before he got too far... and, after a good rest, she then dug a small grave in the back yard to bury his flat body in. Now digging a hole for a very wide and very flat pancake of a cat is quite difficult when you think about it. You either need to dig a very shallow but very wide grave, or a very slim and long and deep one, both of which would require a lot of work. Jim's mom's solution? She simply dug a typical size grave for a cat... and folded Toby as many times as she needed to fit him into his final resting place.
    Jim didn't hear the story until many, many years later. And every time he thinks of Toby... he knows that somewhere... up in the great North, is Toby. Resting peacefully in a quiet grave... squashed 1/4 inch thick and folded four times.
    The end.

(only two entries for this month)
go back to "Top Ten" archive page

go to back to