You can really put up with getting pushed around for awhile. You really can. But eventually it’ll catch up with you. That’s when you get even.

Those were words he’d lived by for quite some time. Now, as he was walking through the Super Wal-Mart, wooden baseball bat in hand, and whacking every man, woman, and child he could find, his philosophy was coming true.

Here was for the time he was hit by a car at age 12 only to have the driver leave the scene before his license plates or a good description could be written down. Here was for all the times Uncle Herb molested him as a boy. Here was for all the shit he put up with at work. It was time for revenge. For every wrong done, one was righted with the swing of the bat and the compacting of flesh.

‘FUCK THIS PLACE!’ he kept screaming at the top of his lungs. ‘FUCK IT! FUCK IT! FUCK IT!’

The words were a mantra for him. They had the ring of a Buddhist ‘om’ or a Krishna ‘haribol’.

As the police surrounded him in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart and crouched behind their squad cars pistols drawn and firing, he flung the bat through the air one last time and hit the Captain of the force directly in the jaw. The Captain hocked blood successively for ten minutes.

He died that day in a hail of gunfire, and that left a lot of people wondering what he was intending on accomplishing.

You might say it was nothing, but it meant a lot to me.


I’m obsessed with Wal-Mart. Not because I am a consumer, but because I like to view it as an outsider. It’s a very different world. Some people work, shop, and almost live there. If they sold on property housing, I imagine children would grow up there never knowing anything outside of it’s walls.

Can you imagine that? Generations of children growing up knowing only Wal-Mart and not the light of day. Suns are replaced with neon floor runners and vitamin D is absorbed into nothingness with the hum of flourescent lighting. There ring of the register, the howl of the overhead, and the sounds of busy shoppers would be nothing but a lullaby of sorts.

It’s 3 AM somewhere. I am buying cantalopes and dreaming of the Gulf Coast.

I find that I day dream a lot. I’ll be sitting in my car, or standing in a line, or at work, or out walking and my mind will leave me for someplace else with other people.

My shopping cart is empty and I’m staring down an aisle. My list says “rice” and my stomach says “soon”. My mouth is remembering your lips and the way they tasted, and my hands are remembering the way your hands felt interlocked with mine. They were soft and smooth.

I quit smoking again.

This time I think it’s for good, though I will make no promises concerning that, for fear of eating these very words later on. I want the nails in my coffin to be rail road spikes. I want to die like John Henry. I’m a steel drivin’ man lawd, lawd.

I like going for walks at night in suburbia all alone. I like the way floodlights flash at you as you walk past each house setting off garage mounted motion sensors, illuminating the world like daylight.

At every house it’s the same. Taupe paint, the two car garage, a basketball hoop for junior, a flag on the front porch, and a flood light that spreads like a beacon every other driveway. I was there last night again. It never changes.

“Our house is a very, very, very fine house. With two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard.”

Will that be me someday?

Will that be you someday?

Will that be us?

Can we atleast get on the same page? I’m lost. I’m confused.

I read the newspapers and magazines when I’m sitting places and waiting. I got an oil change last week and read a few weeks worth of People magazine.

It entranced me for a short time. Ally McBeal and Indianna Jones are having an affair. Micheal Jackson is the worst he’s been in years. Liz Taylor got her cunt tightened again and married for the 387th time.

Celebrity gossip. Celebrity word searches. Lights, camera, action, glitz and glamour.

Goddamn Hollywood. Goddamn actors. Goddamn People magazine.

I’m tired of hearing about people’s lives who I will never meet. The only human interests I have are the ones I know and love and interact with. The only hearts I need warmed are my own and those closest to me. That will suffice. The rest can go to the wind and take flight. I’m out of sympathy and time.

I like being alone. I like wandering and having nothing to do. I like being free of responsibility.

I am surrounded by people. I have things to do. I have many responsibilities.

I bear and grin it and stick it the man every way I can. Clock in, clock out, go home. 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day, and I still haven’t filed for health insurance or benefits.

My prescription is getting weaker and my eyes hurt at night. I eat tums and wash them down with tap water.

I’ll sit on the couch and watch the war for awhile then change the channel in favor of the Mariner’s or the Yankees or something to occupy my mind before I go to sleep.

I’ll drink a beer and go to sleep.

I’ll call but no one will answer.

I want to die like John Henry. He was a steel drivin’ man. He died with his hammer in his hand.

I want to die like Johnny Thunders. He was not a steel drivin’ man.. He died with his guitar in his hand.

I want to die like Mother Theresa. I want to lie there surrounded by my peers and respected by the world.

I want to die like Ted Williams. Remembered for greatness- hated by most.

I don’t want to die though. Not yet. I want to live many years and see many things. And finally down I’ll go with a hammer in my hands.

John Henry was a steel drivin’ man, lawd, lawd. John Henry was a steel drivin’ man.

I talked with my dead grandmother last night. She’s doing well, if you care, and sends her regards. She’s doing well you see, playing Bunko in the great beyond and winning frequently. She hasn’t rolled three threes yet and is really raking in the tupperware and prizes.

She was talking to Buddy Epson the other day and he told her a very off color story. She said she wanted to kill him, but it would have been futile since he’s been dead for years.

Oh Buddy. I hope there’s a hell for bad television.

I hope Gilbert Gottfried spends eternity in it’s Seventh Circle, surrounded by the stars of Mama’s Family, Married With Children, Perfect Strangers, Step by Step, and the Facts of Life respectively.

Tonight I’ll return home, crawl into bed, and slumber off into a dream world.

I hope I see you there.


The light breaks in and it always catches you unaware. Your head is heavy and you’re at your most vunerable as your face is baking and your eyes are shocked at the white, hot, light.

One, two, three, four aspirin later and you crawl out of bed, looking for something to fill the pit in your stomach or atleast mend the hole you keep digging where your heart used to be.

It wasn’t always like this.

You weren’t always living on the edge of greatness and worthlessness. You long for steady, mundane surroundings because, at the very least, they’re consistent.

What is consistency?

What is comfort?

Not the bars. Not the bottle. And finally, most definently, not the girls.

You know the ones I mean- the ones who talk loudly and proudly but have nothing to say. The ones who expect the world, and your soul, and your wallet. The vultures looking for a starved man to scavage, someone to tear limb from limb for the sake of tearing someone limb from limb.

I have four dollars to my name and a joint to pass the night away. I’m no worse off than you are.

I’m no worse for wear.

I’m a working man too. I’m as taxed as taxes and as overdrawn as my bank account. Consider this your notice of insufficient funds, I don’t give a shit anymore.

I care more than you will ever know.

I care more than you will ever let me show.

Whether I learn to love you or hate you is irrelevant, because, in the end I still feel something for you. Hating isn’t so bad, feeling nothing is by far worse.

“What was I looking for when I left?” I sometimes ask myself.

A poetic man would say it was love, while a man of independent thought would say freedom. My mother calls me a failure and my father damns my name. It wasn’t about them. It wasn’t about you. It wasn’t about me.

It just was.


None of my friends make any goddamn sense this morning:

pretzlboy02: thank god you boosted me
TheRobotMonkey: ?
pretzlboy02: you helped me in an attack
TheRobotMonkey: that was pretty nice of me
pretzlboy02: yes’m

MattAtParicom: yay Robert Atkins is dead
TheRobotMonkey: ?
MattAtParicom: Atkin’s Diet
TheRobotMonkey: ?
MattAtParicom: .. High fat diet
TheRobotMonkey: ??
MattAtParicom: nm
MattAtParicom: how are you
TheRobotMonkey: throw me a float here, I’m drowning dude
MattAtParicom: get your organ?
TheRobotMonkey: not yet.
MattAtParicom: !!
TheRobotMonkey: I’m lazy
MattAtParicom: What Happen
TheRobotMonkey: I’m lazy
MattAtParicom: Main Screen Turn On !!
MattAtParicom: sigh.. how lame
TheRobotMonkey: what the hell are you babbling about?
TheRobotMonkey: you’re making as much sense as a Thai Hooker


I got up at five AM today so I could be at work at 7. I know what you’re thinking: “God Lord, Bill, why would you do something like that?”

Well, the answer is I had to. I had to go and get Mac certified at work so I can tech calls for the Mac OS.

And let me tell ya, I was soooooo excited about it too. After 7 hours of desperately wanting to die, it’s over, I’m certified, end of story.


You know it’s true what Jimmy Buffet said “some people say that there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s my own damn fault.”

I’ve found myself thinking that, matched with corona and margarita, a straw hat covering up sun burned memories as I run my toes through the sand.

Jimmy knew what he was talking about. That feeling when you can’t do anything right and don’t even want to try anymore. So you have a drink and forget. And then another drink, and another drink.

Then you lay out on the beach staring at the stars at high tide waiting for the waves to take you back to where you came from: the midwest.

And it’s all in your head, I guess. The same place where thoughts dance, ideas grow, feelings die, and that goddamn buzzing just won’t stop.

And you find yourself drunk, driving down the highway at night like a bastard out of hell, swinging the wheel of your car, throwing empty beer bottles along the high way, screaming at the top of your lungs “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GOD!”

It’s true what he said, old Jimmy. Truer than true. Truer than most. True and Blue. Black and Blue.


Why I am awake at 6 AM on a Saturday morning is anyone’s guess, but I am. The Faint/ Les Savy Fav show last night was wonderful. In fact, I still smell like I was there. I haven’t danced so hard in ages. My shirt is sitting in the corner on my tool box, and it’s still soaked.

Word to wise, the next time you get your pictures done at Wal-Mart DON’T get them back to you on a cd. I keep getting scripting errors because my pop up blocker is successfully blocking all the advertisment pop ups they’re trying to flash on my screen. And the software (that you have no choice of loading because they used some archaic image format that only the software can read) sucks balls.

I guess I should have known better. I mean, this is Wal-Mart we’re talking about.

Somebody buy me a flatbed scanner, please.


I’ve had five years experience in retail. It all started in high school when I worked for Kay-Bee Toys and eventually saddled an on-and-off-again job at Target my senior of high school that I kept up for two summers after going away and eventually quitting school.

Retail sucks the life out of you. I’m very glad to not do it anymore.

I was looking over my back log of entries and wanted to post something I’d written today. I wrote this on one of the worst days I have ever worked in a store , while I was trapped behind a desk taking numbers and answering phone calls.

But I was proud of it. And eventually, since I no longer update the old page, this will fade into obscurity. So I want it to get a little sunlight before that happens.

Here ya go.

At Work (the Blues)

People scutter everywhere, clothing in arms, voices raised, and no visible signs of concern on their faces as they tear through the store. “The first day of school is tommorow! We must consume!” Brand new clothes, brand new backpacks, brand new pencil cases, and brand new school supplies. It’s the same old worries with the same old, tired, worn out answers: brand new things.

“What Teacher do you have?”

“How was summer vacation?”

“How have you been?”

I’ve been out of school for just into three years and the paranoia, the hecticness, and the insanity still cling to my bones. My nerves are totally shot. My patience is gone. So, I sit and watch them root through the store I work in, and answer telephone calls, all the while trying to hand out fitting room numbers and jot all this down.

“Thank you for calling the Council Bluffs Target, how may I help you?” I ask so many times the words lose their meaning. It’s become machinelike. I am a machine. I am a working machine. Punch the clock, slap on a smile, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, have a nice day. I’m selling my soul.

“Guest Assistance to the shoes!”

“Price check on lane two!”

Why is no one smiling? Are you happy? You just bought a copy of ‘Friends’ greatest hits. I know I wouldn’t be laughing, but maybe it’s your thing. Smile Old Lady, that sweater looks nice. Smile Mister, you’ll be using those tennis raquets soon.

I’m at a loss for words, not a rarity I assure you, but the anger, the rage, and the general stress in the air from shoppers and co-workers is too much.

“Is this all your plus size clothing?”

“Do you know ANYTHING?”

Please be ruder to me. I know I don’t really deserve it, but can you just do me a favor and be as rude as you possibly can to me? It fuels my fire. It makes me enjoy my breaks so much more. It’s give me something to not worry about when I’m not clocked in. Be rude to me. Talk down to me. Treat me like I’m nothing. I’ll just push back more and more.

Enjoy your battery-powered-jewel-encrusted-life-by-rubber-maid. Clothe yourself in McDonald’s, Folger’s Coffe, and 24 pack after 24 pack of Mountain Dew, while driving from work to the day care center, the day care center to Wal-Mart, from Wal-Mart to the mall, from the mall to home, and from home to hell. Eat nothing but Nike, GAP, Wrangler, Levi’s, or whatever name you desire, because inthe end it all ends up as the scraps I patch my pants with.

The names are meaningless, the fuel will be burned; this train is bound for glory.

“Back up to the front lanes!”

“Phone call on line eighty six!”

“I wanted to put a bullet between the eyes of every Panda that wouldn’t screw to save it’s species.”

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.”

“Woman is the nigger of the world.”

“Can we get a carry out on lane eleven?”

Too much talking. Too many requests. My head is spinning and my mouth is dry. All I really want is a glass of water to wash down the stress in my head. I am swimming in a lake of fire, my own personal hell that I ironically helped remodel, and I can’t get out. I awaken on deck of the boat and notice that the water in my head is full of salt. Crustaceans dance and an Octopuss sings me a lullaby while I scream in space; a place no one can hear you scream.

In the mail! The bastard wanted to receive the items he left in our store in the mail! The items were as follows: one bottle of shampoo, one box of panty shields, and KY-Jelly. His failure to remember his sack full of these items resulted in my ear getting chewed, long distance, on the telephone. Anger vanishes as I laugh about this now, after being told what he forgot and requested to be UPS’ed to his home. Irritation sets in. I wipe my glasses on my shirt and yawn.

Back to school. Back to school. How come no one ever has ‘Back To Home’ sales in the summer? Do you want to know why? It’s because you can’t really go home again. You can try all you want, but after you’ve left it and called somewhere else home, it’s just not the same feeling anymore. It begins to eat you alive. Old friends, family, and old aquaintices become nothing but vultures and scavengers trying to pick away at the person you once were. You love the old pack, but you need your distance. You need your own pack now. You’re no longer a cub. That’s why you can’t go home again.

“Can I get a rain check?”

Rain checks are like going home again. After the sale is done, after you’ve moved out, after all the changes are made in price and in person, you feel a need to recapture things the way they once were. You can’t though. You shouldn’t. Fuck rebuilding. Start anew.

I hate this place, yet I love many of the people who work here, so I want to burn it to the ground, but I also want to rebuild it anew. I want everything and nothing for it. I want to douse the entire store in gasoline, flick a match, and watch the whole thing go up in hot white embers.

The time passes, the feelings refuse to subside and all I feel is irritation at feeling irritation. I want a cigarette. I want a break. I want love. I want to feel nothing but the way I feel when I’m holding you and you hang on tight for dear life, not wanting to lose the moment but hold it forever. I want that most of all.

I’m stuck here at work. I’m always stuck here at work and that doesn’t seem to be changing. Job interview this, resume that, apply, drop in, job fair, fuck off, I’m going round in circles and not calling any shots. H-O-R-S-E, you win and I lose so let’s play the game again. Or let’s play Around the World, Knock Out, or Freeze Tag or something else so I can just take my mind off of how utterly shitty this all is. A dodge ball smashes into my metaphor and I’m sent back to reality where a child has vomited on the carpet, I’ve just removed seven pairs of panties from the men’s dressing room, and my nerves are more than shot.

I wish you were here. I wish I was there. I wish we were somewhere. “Let’s go away for awhile, you and I, to a strange and different land.” I want to lie on my back at night, the feeling of grass on my neck, and stare up at the stars while holding your hand. I want the sunsets. I want the sunrises. I want the long walks that don’t go anywhere except straight to our hearts and memories. I want all that and more.

I could keep this up all night. It’s all I have to cling to at work right now. I could rant and rave until my face turns blue, my head explodes, and my lungs fill with blood or fluid or piss. The writing is soothing. It’s all the medication in the world. It’s all the self-medication in the world. No beer, no joint, no snuff, no shot or whatever will come close or be this soothing.

I relax and the pen drops from my hand; this train is bound for glory.