i wish i was dead or on tv
on a very special episode Al Bundy raises his hand in anger against an uncaring god. we are in the Bundy house and there is a wrestling ring in place of the couch. Hulk Hogan appears to great applause as the audience, drunk on their own power, hoot like Arsenio Hall. The Hulk climbs the ropes of the ring and pile drives into a giant Big Mac, spray its contents into the crowd. the camera is covered in grease and the crowd licks all the special sauce from their faces. the twin towers stand intact. Steve Urkel does The Carlton. Stefan Urquelle does The Bartman. now Al and Peggy are in the kitchen trading barbs. he says, “i hate my life.” she says, “i hate your life too.” they say this to each other every 30 seconds. there’s a commotion in the backyard. santa has jumped from a plane and landed in the yard. every day santa dies here. this is when Al has to put on the santa costume--now more a uniform--and do his hohohos for the audience. the blood-splattered costume is ill-fitting. He goes to the audience and asks, “what do you want for christmas little audience.” the audience always says the same thing. in unison they say, “we want to be real. we want to matter in your world.” but the audience is always naughty and they never get what they want and the twin towers stand intact.
s01e02 The Show About Football
Davis watches the show about football. You know the one. The one about the QB that has so much talent and is cut down in his prime. The one about a small Texas town that bases its entire cultural and economic well-being on the local high school football team. You know the show. Davis watches that show. He gets high and watches it. Sometimes he drinks as well. There are lessons to be learned in the show. Life lessons. He tells himself the lessons are better learned high.. Sometimes he gets confused. Turns out football helmets are really cheap on Amazon. Everything is really cheap on Amazon, and football helmets are part of everything. He orders one with and some decals from the team in the show. When they arrive, he places the decals on the helmet very carefully. The helmet sit on the shelf for a time. Davis never played football. When he was in high school, his parents wouldn’t allow it, and he didn’t want to play anyway. He much preferred books and drugs. He’s 36 now and has a litany of health concerns. The football show gives him the lesson that hardship builds character. The coach in the show said something to this effect. Hardship builds character. Thanks coach. He begins wearing the helmet around the house. It’s a mid-century tract house left to him by his parents. He sets up a mattress against the wall in the garage and hits it head-first for hours. It’s the twin mattress he used to sleep on as a kid. He decides he needs pads. On the football show, the coach always knows exactly what to say. He radiates paternal exuberance. Everybody that watches the show wants the coach to be their dad. Their dads were aloof or overbearing or abusive or trivial. The coach is not one of these. He is a stoic pillar of caring manhood. Davis thinks about his own dad and hits the mattress one more time. He wears a full football uniform all the time now — pads, cup, and all. At the supermarket he gets some stares. At checkout the cashier asks, “What’s with the football getup?” Davis says, “I’m in training.” “Oh that’s cool,” the cashier took it in stride. “What are you training for?” “The season.” The transaction completes and he goes home. Davis looks in on his garage. There are helmet holes all over the drywall. He goes to the computer and orders another mattress.
The Taco Bell Chihuahua is eating a bowl of diarrhea, egged on by Joe Rogan. "You can do it you sick little fuck!" Shouts Joe. "Yo quiero mas mierda!" Yells the chihuahua at the end of the bowl. Scott Tenorman eats a bowl of chili. Walder Frey eats a pie. They are all eating at the a great table before the court. The jester-king Joffrey prances about and slips on a banana peel. Joe Rogan is wearing a tool belt and handing out coupons to the crowd. Today is a banner day indeed. In the kitchen Ronald McDonald is plowing through an assembly line of crunchy tacos as he sits on a bowl, pants down. The court cheers for more diarrhea, more coupons, more defilement of the king. They think there is something transgressive in this, like they’re getting away with something. Joe Rogan wheels out a pig trough guillotine contraption. Pigs dressed in top hats and business suits, monocles draws around one eye, line up for the chop. The court is posting Kropotkin memes. Joe Rogan puts a top hat on the Taco Bell Chihuahua. The Chihuahua says, “No quiero guillotine! Yo quiero Taco Bell!!!” Joe Rogan pours a bucket full of Nachos Bell Grande into the trough. The court chants, “Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!” Scott Tenorman and Walder Frey join in. “Eat it! Eat it! Eat it!” The Chihuahua turns to the camera and says, “Eh. It’s a living.”
s01e04 The Last Oh Yeah
The spotlights blinded the Kool-Aid Man as he was instructed over megaphone that he would be shot if he came any closer. He was an empty pitcher of his former self. He had been bursting through walls so long that it lost all meaning. This would be his last wall. He’s never met a wall he couldn’t best; The Great Wall of China, Fort Knox, Area 51. The US military saw the tactical implications of his talents early on. He was recruited for Korea, then Viet Nam. In the 80s he did a lot of covert ops in Latin America. In the 2000s he went to Iraq and Afghanistan. He burst through Saddam’s palace, yelling his signature catchphrase. Going through that many wars does something to an anthropomorphized pitcher of sucrose water. He’d seen things that would make your stomach turn. In Afghanistan he took to heroin and dropped out of the military. He traveled the world, crashing whatever walls were available. He crashed the Taj Mahal, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Notre Dame. He kept getting arrested, but no jails could hold him. He went to Egypt to smash the walls of the Pyramids at Giza. While he was there, he met a woman named Nadia. She found out his intentions and told him what a tragedy it would be to lose the history of the pyramids. They fell in love. She was a Palestinian activist. She taught him about the US’s campaign of terror throughout the world--a terror in which he was more than complicit. He kicked the smack and decided to make a better life. He was over knocking through walls. They were married in Gaza. It was a small wedding; a few members of her family, nobody on his side. They were happy for a week, until tonight a rocket attack hit their building and the ceiling caved in. He survived because a ceiling is just a horizontal wall. She wasn’t so lucky. He grabbed the bottle of vodka that he was saving for tragedy and went out into the world. He had one more wall to smash. By the time he got near the Gaza-Israel barrier, the Kool-Aid man had finished the bottle. He was now a spiked punch. A Palestinian man recognized the Kool-Aid Man and saw the look of determination and sorrow in his eyes. He knew what the Kool-Aid Man meant to do. He followed along and said, “Mr. Kool-Aid, I would implore you to not do what you’re clearly going to do.” The Kool-Aid Man said, “Oh yeah?” almost menacingly. “We don’t need another Western savior with a death wish. We get boatloads of those.” The Kool-Aid Man said, “oh yeah.” “But you could use your considerable influence in the US to get the word out and organize for our freedom.” The Kool-Aid Man, still walking, said, “oh. yeah.” “If you do this, it will only be a weird blip in Western media, and then the Israelis will retaliate against us for losing face. It will be a hollow symbolic gesture which will cause more harm.” The Kool-Aid Man said, “oh.” At this point the spotlights turn on and the voice on the megaphone says in English, “You are approaching a restricted area. Turn around now or we will open fire.” And then they open fire immediately. The bullets bounce off the Kool-Aid Man’s translucent frame easily. The Palestinian man gets one right in the eye. Kool-Aid Man looks at this man, who was trying to help, dead in the dirt. Then he looks up at the spotlights and narrows his gaze. He knows they’ll get out the heavy artillery soon. He says, “Oh yeah!”
s01e05 The Secret of My Success
I worked at KFC in the mid 70s. Back then the Colonel was still alive, but he was a sundowning old man who would wander into KFC locations to “inspect” the kitchens. His inspections usually included stuffing his hands and face into the mashed potatoes and gravy for “quality,” throwing the coleslaw across the room, and generally terrorizing everyone he came across. It was company policy to just let him do this. “Eventually he tires himself out,” one memo instructed. I love KFC and I love the Colonel for bringing us KFC. When I was a kid my family would always go there on the rare occasions when something good happened, like when it turned out that a tumor was benign. So my apartment was full of KFC paraphernalia, from posters to plates to fine china. I even got a job there specifically so I could be around KFC all the time... and maybe get a chance to meet the Colonel. I remember I was in the back cooking up some more delicious golden chicken when I heard a man yell, “DAMMIT WOMAN! WHERE’S MY CHICKEN DINNER!!!” It couldn’t be the Colonel. I’m not that lucky. Craning my neck around the corner, I saw the man himself. The Colonel: god of all things chicken, with his white hair, goatee, signature white suit. He spotted me. “Boy! Can you tell this dumb cunt that I want me a chicken dinner?” My manager, Maggie, looked exasperated. I went up to the front. “Sir, it’s an honor to have you here,” I said. “We’ll get you anything you desire.” “Finally! Some proper fucking customer service!” I could see now that all the families were clearing out of the restaurant with a quickness. My coworkers took the opportunity to leave as well. Soon it was just me and the Colonel. “I’ll come back there and fix it myself.” He went into the kitchen and got a mixing bowl and mixing spoon. Then he proceeded to slop every side into the bowl, along with a mountain of chicken on top. He sat in a puddle of gravy on the floor, and spooned the contents of the bowl into his face with no regard for etiquette. I just stared at him in awe. It was really him! I couldn’t believe it. If I had friends, this would definitely be a story I would tell them. Without looking up from his slop bowl he said, “I can feel your eyes burning a hole in me kid. What do you want?” This was my chance. I cleared my throat. “Well, sir, I was wondering if you could tell me the secret of you success.” The Colonel stopped eating. He looked up from his bowl, looked me dead in the eye. “You want to know the secret of my success huh?” Timidly I replied, “Yes sir. If it’s not too much trouble sir.” “What kinda cock you got, son?” “Sir?” “I bet you’ve got a big, thick uncut hog. You’re hung like a summer sausage, ain’t ya?” “I do alright for myself, Colonel.” He stood up from his gravy puddle. “Let’s see it.” I hesitated. I didn’t really want to whip out my penis at work. Folks tend to frown upon that sort of thing. “Go on. Nobody else here.” I gave in and took it out. “See? I knew you had a beast in there. That won’t do. You need one of these.” He took down his pants and showed me what looked like a small deflated rubber balloon. “You see, when I’m hard it’s the exact size and shape of an egg. That’s what you want.” “....and why do I want that?” “So you can fuck chickens. You ever fuck a chicken, son? Ever hit the poultry at the back walls? No you haven’t. Not with that hulking dong. See, chickens got this thing called a cloaca that’s both a pussy and an asshole, so it’s like getting it two ways at once.” I didn’t really know what to say. “Pardon my ignorance, sir, but what does this have to do with your success?” The Colonel thankfully pulled up his pants and I knew it was okay for me to zip up. “You can ask anything of the world if you know you can get that cloaca any time you want. That’s how. I know a doctor down in Mex-e-co that’ll give you an egg cock for 50 bucks. Doctor Jesus Mengelo. He’ll do it for free if you have the procedure without anesthetic. I’d go ahead and pay the 50.” And with that he just walked out of the store, big brown gravy stain on his pants. I never forgot this advice and a couple years later I tracked down a different doctor that would give me an egg-shaped penis. I won’t go into the details, but it was touch-and-go there for a while. But ultimately, the surgery was a success. After that, I was promoted to assistant manager at KFC and I’m getting pretty famous down at the farm supply store.
02e01 I plunge my hands in the dirt and wait for the sting
My hands are throbbing from the pain. When I pull them out of the ant pile I will have skeleton hands like the grim reaper. I will get to choose who lives and who dies. I’ll get on the Zoom meeting and say, “I can’t work. I have skeleton hands.” And then I will show them my skeleton hands. I stayed inside this past year. We all did. I needed to feel something earthy, something that would punish me for my distance. I like to think they’re called fire ants because they live at the core of the earth. Now I’m on my lunch break. I have a Zoom call in 40 minutes. I’m wrist-deep in the ant pile. I’m in the backyard. It’s hot out and the humidity compounds. I was one of the lucky ones who got to work from home. I work for that startup that gives artisanal, handcrafted, organic party hats to developing countries when a customer buys some for themselves. Hundreds of ants crawl up my arms. I imagine that if they all had on tiny party hats, they would look like they were having a great time. My body is a dance floor and The Sting is the latest dance craze. This pain is transformative. It’s so comforting to connect with something real, even if that real thing is hostile. I feel like I’m an inflatable doll. All year long I’ve been losing air, and this is a new inflation of the senses. I decide I’ve had enough when I feel a sting on my taint. Nobody needs that. I slowly pull my hands out of the pile and all the skin and meat remain. Damn. No skeleton hands. But they are covered in ants and welts and dirt. They look more like a witch’s hands. I will bewitch my bosses into letting me take the rest of the day off. I walk over to the hose and rinse off all the ants. Their party is over. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” I have to strip down to my underwear to get them all. The water feels like renewal on my aching skin. I take the hose over to the ant hill and drown the whole colony, leaving a muddy, desolate puddle.
check out more work by Marty Shambles at https://martyshambles.gumroad.com