Hotel Pools and Marc Summers

–The Good–

Hotel rooms are notoriously inconsistent, even within the same chain. Especially the age and firmness of the mattress, assuming you can’t only feel the box springs and their jarring reminder of that one time you lifted the thing you shouldn’t have all by yourself. And the TVs are a different can of worms altogether.

It is the sanitary chlorine scent shared by all hotel pools that should remind you what really matters. It is the hot tub nearby, sometimes little more than a half-abandoned backyard jacuzzi, that should warm your heart. This is where the consistency lies.

Indoor, outdoor, it’s the only place you’re allowed to smile while walking around half-naked outside of your hotel room itself. It’s the best place to wake up, and it’s the best place to come down after you’ve nursed that eighteen-fifty double-shot of Finlandia for the full twenty dollars worth.

It was a hotel pool where my dad first told me he loved me. I was young and stupid and went into the deep end without a thought or a floatation device. Almost choked to death on that half-visible chlorinated shit until he scooped me up and out. If I was half as annoying to a lesser man as I was to him, I don’t think I’d be here today.

Okay, so he didn’t actually say he loved me. He isn’t exactly the type. It was more like one of those show, not tell, moments.

Can’t wait to hit the pool.

–The Bad–

I must not have seen it on the way in. It’s pretty easy to miss. But I can see it clearly now, from just outside my hotel door, sunken into the earth behind the roundabout in front of the office.

It’s not quite empty, judging by the thick layer of algae lining the bottom of the pool. Probably just enough water for a toddler to drown in.

I decide to go for a dip anyway. The viscous oily plant matter works its way between my toes and I stomp around before falling down in it. There’s enough spoiled and wilted green and black stuff to prevent my tailbone from breaking.

I scoop up the muck and toss it in the air and raise my head to meet it it on its return descent and wonder if this is what it felt like to get slimed by Marc Summers on Nickelodeon.


Another result of a writing prompt: write about something in a positive fashion, then write about it in a negative fashion. Did it before about barns.

They Said

I could be anything
when I grew up,
so I decided to
be Disney’s Aladdin
for the Sega Genesis.

Every now and then
I look back on that
memory and I laugh
mighty thunder dragon
bleats out of my YM2612
FM synthesizer.

And I recall those quaint
years before the custom
spritework from real
Disney animators, my
faithfully adapted hit
soundtrack, and this
bitchin’ scimitar–too
cool for the movies.


Hot Cosplay

Hot Cosplay

By Bearshaman


Joe Shmoebert

Rebecca Armstrong

Robert Armstrong

Hotel room Rebecca and Joe are sitting very close to each other on a couch in front of a TV with NES controllers resting next to them. The NES is on and hooked up to the TV where the start screen for the game Metroid is displayed.

ROBERT throws open the door and takes a look at the two on the couch. REBECCA and JOE immediately put distance between themselves and reach for the controllers.

Robert        (Yelling) What the hell are you doing to my sweet little sister?

Joe              Nintendo! Nintendo!

Robert       (Walks over to couch) Nintendo, huh? So that’s what you kids are calling it these days.

Rebecca     C’mon big bro. You see the controller, don’t you?

Robert       Of course I do. I see you both…holding Nintendo controllers.

Rebecca     Yep. Met Joe here in the gaming room at the con. He wanted to play Metroid but they didn’t have it, so I invited him back to our room. (grins) He’s…really good at… Nintendo.

Robert       Nice story there sis. Funny thing, though…

Joe             (holds sides of head) Uh-oh.

Robert       Metroid isn’t a two-player game!

Robert walks over to the game box on the counter and picks it up.

Joe             Oh God!

Robert       Right there on the box! Single player! (waves the box around) I knew there was a reason I kept this box. But I never expected that reason to be catching my darling little sister in some lecherous lie. Metroid, a single-player game, and yet the both of you…are holding controllers!

Rebecca    What? No! We were just switching games.

Robert       A likely story.

Rebecca    A true one.

Joe            (Grows a pair) Yeah, I was just about to put on some Contra.

Robert      Oh. Really.

Joe             Yeah! (Promptly loses the pair) Uh, yes. Sir.

REBECCA reaches out over the couch and pats JOE’s hand.

Robert      So…where’s the cart?

Joe            Contra! (Looks around feverishly) It’s…that is…I know it was right…

Rebecca   Here. (She pulls out the cartridge from the side of the couch. JOE is visibly relieved.) Wanna join us, big bro? We can take turns.

Robert     Can’t. (Sighs dramatically and collapses into a nearby chair) You know I can’t play for shit when I’m…(Puts back of hand on head) upset…

Rebecca   Your loss. (She begins to set up the game.)

Joe           (Poking at his controller) Stupid Select button.

Robert      (Pulls hand down from head) What…did you…say?

Joe           (Gulps loudly) Uh, stupid Select button? It’s kinda useless.

Rebecca  (Quietly) Dammit.

Robert     (Calmly) But without Select how would you put in the code?

Joe           Huh?

Robert     The goddamn code!

Rebecca  The Konami code.

Joe           Up, up, down, down…

Robert     Everybody and their mother knows that goddamn part. It’s on half the shit in the Dealer’s Room. Say. The. End!

Joe           The…the..the end?

Robert     The end of the code, goddammit!

Joe           B…A…Start?

Robert     Ah hah! B, A, SELECT, Start! You have to hit Select or it won’t work two-player!

Rebecca (Quietly aside) Oh fer Chrissakes.

Robert     Were you really going to play Contra with my sweet little sister without thirty lives? And you call yourself a man…

Joe           No! The Select was implied, man!

Robert     I want to see you put it in!

Joe          (Flustered) You…want to see me do what?

Robert     Put it in!

JOE shrugs and reaches for his belt. REBECCA catches his hand.

Rebecca  (Whispers loudly to Joe) He means the code.

JOE puts in the code as ROBERT glowers over his shoulder. ROBERT is satisfied and sits back down again and puts the back of his hand over his eyes and sighs. REBECCA and JOE begin to play the game. ROBERT opens a gap between fingers and looks at the two, then sighs again, louder.

Rebecca  (Pauses the game) What’s wong my widdwe big bwuddah?

Robert     They lost it.

Rebecca   Lost what?

Robert     Our reservation.

Rebecca   They did WHAT? Like, for the rest of the con?

Robert      We have to leave.

Rebecca   When?

Robert      Tomorrow morning.

Rebecca   But we prepaid!

Robert      I know, I know.

Rebecca   What? How?

Joe            You guys don’t have an e-mail receipt?

Robert      Paid in cash.

Joe            How much you guys need?

Rebecca   Joe! No!

Robert     Three-hundred-and-eighty dollarydoos.

Joe            I’ll cover it.

Rebecca  (Grabs JOE’s hand, looks into his eyes) You don’t have to.

Joe           No. I want to.

Rebecca  (Sighs) Okay. But you at least have to let us pay you back.

Joe           Naw, don’t worry about it. I saw an ATM by the lobby. BRB. (He exits through the door. Footsteps can be heard outside that fade away.)

Rebecca  (Pulls out a joint and lights it up) Easy as pie.

Robert     You really think he’ll come back?

Rebecca   I’ll bet this Zippo on it.

Robert     You’re that sure?

Rebecca   You can’t tell?

Robert      I never can. That’s why I need you, my sweet…little…(Does airquotes)…sis.

Rebecca   Well I can, just by looking at him. Besides, he liked the Rei cosplay. He’s the…provider type. A real rescuer. By the way, that Select bullshit wasn’t in the script.

Robert     You really shouldn’t smoke those.

Rebecca   It’s just weed. Not like it’s a cigarette or anything. I’ll just blame it on you when he comes back anyway.

Robert     You can always tell with them, can’t you. You’ve got a real talent, you know. Still…

Rebecca   Still, what? (blows smoke at ROBERT) Why don’t I just tell him I’ll fuck him for four hundred?

Robert     It…would be easier.

Rebecca He’s not the kind of guy whose morals would allow him. But he is the kind of guy who feels the moral obligation to take care of the girl he was just inside of.

Robert     Eeeewww.

Rebecca   What? One too many vaginas involved in that mental picture, widdwe big bwuddah?

Robert     I’m just saying. With my guys, I just give them the cash and we do it and it’s a clean split.

Rebecca   What I do…It’s…different. It isn’t just sex. It’s fantasy. Wish fulfillment. A one-night stand with hot cosplay and Nintendo? That’s fucking romantic and shit.

Robert      Truly, you are the classiest girl in the room.

Rebecca   Only by default. Queens like you don’t count.

Robert     (matter-of-factly) Fuck you. So, was he any good?

Rebecca  (matter-of factly) Fuck you. He was okay. Had some trouble with the spiky caterpillar dudes.

Robert      I wasn’t talking about Metroid.

Rebecca   A lady…doesn’t kiss and tell.

Fido and the Melancholy Gun Things

Fido       Roof Roof!

Aimee    Not Now, Fido! The goddamn Nazis are coming! Think you can hand me that grenade over there? Thanks. Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?

Fido       Roof ra roof ruff.

Aimee    I couldn’t hear you there over that last mortar shell. Oh the humanity!

Fido       Ruff.

Aimee    You say you picked up something while you were on shore leave over in the Sandwich Islands? Very cool. Like, a conch or something?

Fido       Ruff ruff.

Aimee    Rabies? Rabies? Oh shit, they’re manning the turrets now. Oh no, there goes Vin Diesel’s character.

Fido      Ruff.

Aimee   No way, xXx was his best work.

Fido      Ruff-ruff.

Aimee   I am being serious. It’s the pinnacle of absurdist filmmaking. You wanna fetch me that there bandolier, boy? Good boy! Good boy!

Fido      Ruff.

Aimee   Chronicles of Riddick? That was like xXx in space but with less explosions. C’mon.

Fido       Ruff ruff.

Aimee    Fine, I’ll take you to the vet first thing after this battle is over.

Fido       Ruff.

Aimee    You’re right, this re-enactment is kind of lame.

Based on a writing prompt where a historical situation was written on one side of an index card and passed to another person who wrote the names of two characters and a problem on the other side of the card then passed it to another person who incorporated both sides of the card into a play thing.

Did the Gods Escape

when the sun fell down?
Or did they fall too, poisoned
by the ambitions of man? Kindness
no longer a virtue; the sands
that cloak this planet sing throaty
dirges to such innocence.
Such weakness.

And the charnel earth stings, fit
to plant only bodies, to grow
only the monstrous weeds
of humanity. For in this era
there is now way for a flower
to survive.

In the distance, a figure
slouches toward New Bethlehem,
resurrected from the dead
earth to immortality on the lips
of the damned. Salvation is found
in the blood of such sinners; and
our savior will bestow such
sweet redemption.

Omae wa mou shindeiru