Hi. I like alcohol. I get ideas when I’m drinking, which I scribble down on little scraps of paper, which I later discover in my pocket. These revelations range from the inexplicable, like REVENANT scrawled in red marker across a gas station receipt, to the practical, “tailgate market ideas: make jams and jellies (apple butter, peach, cherry,) or maybe eggrolls”—to the bizarre—“the moon is hollow and filled with birds; they fly in a furious cyclone around and around.” Every few months I go through the stacks and select the best ideas. The rest I use for this article.
50. Poetry collection: A Sprightly Hop into Oblivion
49. When Town came to Town- a competing local history begins to take hold.
48. New street gangs run out of colors for their bandannas. All the primary and secondary colors are already in use by established gangs. They are forced to consider more subtle gradations- goldenrod, cornflower, etc. Turf wars erupt over mistaken identities: honeydew is mistaken for mint crème. A young man lies dead.
47. Forensic crime scene analysis show for children.
46. Geriatric Slasher Movie: murderous rampage in baby boomer communal retirement village. Possible revenge by former member of Weather-Underground-type anti-establishment terrorist organization. Bloodbath in the free love tent. Hand-turned wood-fired penis pumps and beaded macramé sex swings drip with gore. Hot tub water runs red. Violent Unpredictable Vietnam Flashback Guy transfixes killer with bayonet while attacking hallucinated Viet Cong, accidentally saving the day.
45. Sci-fi Movie Prop: evil nemesis rides a mobile throne supported by a hot-air balloon, a black Montgolfier, the rig drawn by misshapen beasts.
44. Horror Movie: Sperm Bank Kids. A young man sells his sperm to pay off college debt. Twenty years later the kids meet up in an internet forum. There are hundreds of them. They begin to stalk the guy.
43. Song describes various delicious fillings: mascarpone and lemon, mango and honey, mushroom and brie, lamb and guacamole (written on half a paper plate.)
42. Justin Bieber whose mind is pure machinery! Justin Bieber whose blood is running money! Justin Bieber whose fingers are ten armies! Justin Bieber whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Justin Bieber whose ear is a smoking tomb!
41. The Crafties: action/adventure movie about craftspeople with superpowers. A collective of craftspeople must prevent the leader of a box store from forcing their compound into foreclosure. Superpowers coincide with crafts: dream-weaver is psychic, candle-dipper shoots globs of molten wax with great accuracy, whimmy-diddler alters the weather diddling his magical golden whimmy-diddle, etc.
40. Tracking imaginary creatures (written on the torn-off top flap of a Kotex box, in eyeliner)
39. Commentary on prevailing social mores: If you want it, you deserve it.
38. Franchise Proposal: Campcakes. Upmarket patisserie staffed by burlesque performers. Capitalizes on modern mom’s quest to find empowerment joining amateur burlesque troops, launching gourmet cupcake shops.
37. Couple pretends to be furries on The Jerry Springer Show so they can get free plane tickets to Chicago. Back home, shocked family members slowly come to grips. Excessively supportive, they don sexy animal outfits to meet the returning couple at the airport.
36. Fan fiction for nonexistent TV shows.
35. Tragedy at the self-cleaning hotel. Waterproof rooms with whirling jets that descend from the ceiling, spraying everything with boiling soapy water, including the Johnson family- Bill, Carolyn Anne, little Margaret and Jimmy Jr. (Carolyn Anne’s son from a previous marriage.) They look like those hotdogs with the pink dye in them.
34. Black Comedy: grandparents take out a hit on their grandson, believing he wants to murder them to cash in on his inheritance. It’s funny somehow.
33. Fairytale: A man stands in front of a barn every day, posing for a picture until he dies. He thinks someday somebody will come along and take his picture. Every day he looks more picturesque. But it never happens.
32. Book Title: When They Were Handing Out Brains
31. Dystopian Future Movie: families vie to be a part of a reality crime show. Different scenarios include assault, kidnap of family members, murder. Grand prize is a Carnival Cruise to New Jersey.
30. There are some things about death that I find disturbing.
29. Harold and Maude, same sex couple.
28. Aliens fake the rapture. There’s a little girl named Jemima.
27. Embittered alcoholic old man writes a YA novel:
Ashton is walking down the hall of his high school texting on his cellular telephone and humming some shit from Maroon 5. He swipes his hair over to the side, fixing that popular hairstyle all the kids have these days, the one where the hair swoops all the way across, like a comb-over.
“Are you going to the Maroon 5 show?” his friend Coleton wants to know.
“Yeah,” his other friend Jasonton enthuses, “are you?”
“I am not certain,” Ashton sighs, “I will have to ask my mother.”
Later, in the lunch-room, Ashton, Coleton, and Jasonton eat whatever kids eat these days. Fruit roll-ups. A lot of the other kids are magicians or vampires.
“It sure is good I don’t have to worry about losing my legs in a war,” Jasonton offers, “because somebody else already made that sacrifice for me.”
“I know,” Johnton agrees. “I guess I’ll just waste all my time taking pictures of myself in the bathroom without my shirt on.”
“Being a teen these days sure is easier than it was in the Reagan-Bush years, when you went home to watch Happy Days and prayed your dad wouldn’t come home drunk. And then later being sent to the Gulf War.”
“Yeah, we sure have it easy.”
26. Bleak Russian Fable: An artist is dying. A benefactor gives him just enough money to make his death more comfortable but not enough to cure his disease. The benefactor hopes to cash in on the artist’s posthumous fame.
25. Harold and Maude, sexes changed.
24. Song: I Hope I Don’t Die Before I Finish Singing This Song
23. I contract cancer and use the guilt everyone feels about my condition to manipulate them into performing a musical I’ve written.
22. Music Video: Life is a perfect dream, like in a pharmaceutical company commercial: running in green fields, taking the shoes off, walking the dog barefoot as CG butterflies unfurl from chrysalises, take to the sky like living paisley. Song: Free from Symptoms (Zyrtec, Singulair, Cialis, Yaz- sung in rounds.) Then the decomposition- taking off the clothes, removing the body parts. Take this off, then that, be free until nothing is left.
21. Kidnappers force victims to have a good time, convinced of the righteousness of their aims. (written on a classic white cocktail napkin, nonporous, almost glossy, with an embossed arboreal motif)
20. Fake Young Genius Meme: a disadvantaged little girl has discovered the cure for Alzheimer’s, using paperclips and an old car battery.
19. Harold and Maude, black actors.
18. Bluegrass Video: Eggs and hash browns and sausages running around.
17. Horror Movie: Teenagers drop acid in a spooky, derelict mansion in the woods. The house is haunted by murderous ghouls that look just like Christina Ricci in The Addams Family. They can’t stop laughing about it, eventually succumbing to hyperventilation, burst lungs, and death.
16. App- Placeholder posts comments to Facebook for you. Multiple-choice interest fields help you personalize your posts. Filling out the forms takes a hundred years. By the time you’re done, all of your friends- and their cats- are dead. Finally.
15. Country Song: Covered in Grime
14. Wins and Fails: the loss of nuance in contemporary perception of success and failure. Gandhi=Win! Hitler=Fail!
13. Thriller: Unsolved true crime documentary employs talentless cast and crew. Serial killer responsible for the murders gets wind of the production. Offended by the inept portrayal, he knocks off cast and crew one by one.
12. Leopold and Loeb as elderly women in a crime fiction book club. They plan and commit the perfect murder. There’s a scene involving boiling apricot jam.
11. A multi-generational ship traverses deep space on the first manned mission to Proxima Centauri. Twenty years in, teenagers stage a rebellion and turn the ship back towards Earth. Ten years later, they realize the error of their ways and return the ship to its original heading. This keeps happening.
10. Blues Song: Too Much Devil in this World
9. Animated Adventure: Patty and Jack. An episodic underground cartoon about Jack Kerouac and my cat, Patty, as they travel the rivers of the underworld on a raft. Kerouac is portrayed as a clichéd beatnik type- he’s always having a gas, he’s long-winded and carefree in a jazzy sort of way, he sings scat and snaps his fingers a lot. Patty is a bitter misanthrope who can barely tolerate Kerouac’s bullshit.
In the first episode they’re floating down the river Lethe. Patty’s hungry. She can see fish swimming just below the surface of the water and she can’t contain her excitement. Kerouac tells her “You know you can’t eat those fish, Pat-o-roony. This is Lethe- skiddledebop- the river of forgetfulness.”
“I’m hungry,” Patty says. “Anyways, the fish don’t make you forget, the water does.”
They start catching the fish and eating them. Unfortunately, they touch the water every time they catch one- it’s impossible not to- and they keep forgetting that they’ve already eaten. They gorge themselves. Their bellies round out and soon piles of bones surround them. A subtle rumble slowly growing in the background throughout the scene becomes a roar. They’re headed towards a waterfall!
Cliffhanger ending of Episode One, The Fish of Forgetfulness.
8. Town full of crime authors muddies up the investigation of a murder.
7. Bat-winged cherubs crouch on stone ledges shitting on watery dimes.
6. Drilling holes in my head to let the bad thoughts out.
5. Stoner Comedy: Up Late. Slacker dudes do ‘shrooms and wander around a college town tripping, eating pizza and laughing, doing bong-hits on the monkey bars in the park. They stay up too late, and as the sun rises they realize they’ve entered a land of hostile old people. The morning is ruled by roving bands of senior citizens in pastel jogging outfits, some on scooters, some on foot, all murderous, all heavily-armed. The dorm is twenty-nine blocks away.
4. Embittered alcoholic old man writes a sequel to his successful debut YA novel:
Jacobton unwraps another fruit roll-up and places the tasty fruit leather in his mouth. Mmm, he thinks. He opens his cellular telephone and checks for texted messages in that one folder- you have to click through seven or eight screens on the fucking thing before you can access your messages- and sees a text from Ericton, his kind of pussy twerpy little friend who also wears his hair swooped all the way to one side. “Hello Jacobton, it’s me Ericton,” the texted message says, “I am going to hang out in my room and listen to the new Maroon 5 album and eat fruit roll-ups after school, would you like to come over?”
After school, Jacobton pedals his bike across town to Ericton’s house, his legs bandy and useful, like a fucking kangaroo’s legs.
“Do you still like Jayda?” Ericton asks Jacobton when they are together at last in Ericton’s room after Jacobton has come into the house after leaning his red Schwinn ten-speed by the side of the house and saying hello to Ericton’s mom, who is divorced and hot, and about whom Jacobton often imagines what it might be like when he’s older and he can get some Bushmill’s and rent a room and he has legs and he and Ericton’s mom fuck like bunnies for days on end.
“I sure do,” Jacobton says, not wanting to mention that stuff about Ericton’s mom, “but her boyfriend is that handsome magical vampire from the past, Edgarton. There’s no way she would ever notice me. I try to sweep my hair all the way across my forehead and listen to Maroon 5, but it’s just no use.”
“Would you like a fruit roll-up?”
“Sure.” Ericton hands the box of fruit roll-ups to Jacobton, and Jacobton opens the box and gets out a fruit roll-up and puts the box down and unwraps the fruit roll-up and takes a bite. “Mmm.” He says.
Ericton nods because he knows what Jacobton means. “Hey listen to this track from the new Maroon 5 album. It sounds like a steaming pile of shit, but then the music these days isn’t nearly as good as the music from the mid-eighties.”
“Yeah,” Jacobton agrees, nodding and chewing on his fruit rollup. “I hear The Firm’s self-titled album from 1985, The Firm, was a really great album that never got the accolades it deserved.”
“Wasn’t that Jimmy Page’s band after Led Zeppelin?”
“Yeah. Now that was some fucking rock and roll. We kids today don’t know anything about music anymore. Anyway let’s get through this Maroon 5 shit and talk some more about Jayda.”
“Okay,” Ericton says. “Man, it sure would have been awesome to be around in 1985,” popping a fruit rollup into his mouth.
“Yeah, it sure would have been.”
Jacobton checks his watch. “Dang. I’ve got to go. My two gay dads will be expecting me home for dinner.”
3. Series of overly-enthusiastic promotional videos for mundane objects.
2. Chad pulls his teeth out with pliers.
1. The lengths we go to, not to let people know.