Satire

Fiction — “The Other Borges”

Author’s Note (For Context): This is a ficción, inside joke, eulogy, parody, and testament to the translator and writer Jorge Borges, in imitation of his excellent “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.”

I owe the discovery of a Borgesian doppelganger to the conjunction of a mirror site and an entry on Wikipedia. The mirror troubled the depths of my thoughts in my suburban home in Sugar Land, Texas; the Wiki-page was devoted to an author with a similar name, another Borges. My friend had been explaining the utility of a mirror site, a website replica created to divert network traffic, when, in jest, he said that mirrors and copulation were abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men. The phrasing seemed too eloquent for his invention, and I asked who had said it. Jorge Borges, was the reply. A strange sense of unreality set in, and I asked if he had any relation to the Argentine writer of the same name, to which my friend said – I don’t think so.

We set about to search for this Borges on the Internet, but could find nothing, only webpages saying Page Not Found, since my Wifi wasn’t working. To save face, he searched again on his phone, but could only find the other Borges – the magical realist from South America. Again, he distanced the quote’s origin and this literary master, arguing that they were separate persons. I finally decided this had been a fruitless fiction derived from my friend’s pride and insecurity in claiming the passage for his own. Surely, if there had been two Borgeses, I would have heard of this anomaly, this controversy?

Years later, I would find a book by this alt-author in a used book store on 99. The work was titled The Garden of Forking Paths, and contained a slew of stories, all strange and wonderful and infinitesimally complex. I was leaving the store when in the Spanish aisle I saw the name Borges in bold print. It was on the cover of El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan – clearly, the work of the Original Author. I bought both works and brought them to my home for careful examination, or to use a word discounted by high school teachers, to peruse. What I found was astonishing. The two texts, by two authors of the same name, were completely unrelated in regards to content. In fact, one was incomprehensible, written in a language divergent from ours: Spanish. Yet the structures were identical, or nearly so, for both had Tables of Contents, chapter headings, a body of pages, a foreword and index. And the stories corresponded; their paragraphs and even their punctuation were terribly homogenous. I felt as if I’d found some otherworldly Rosetta Stone, some fragment of twin dimensions.

The pictures of the authors in the book jackets looked related, although one was much older, shrewder, with a drooping eye. They could have been twins, if it weren’t for the gap in years, or duplicates, as if God had multiplied Soul and Body – some error in creation buried beneath the continuities.

My final discovery was on the bookshelf of a woman I was wooing. She was a graduate student renting her professor’s small one-bedroom apartment while he was on sabbatical. There was an erotic nature to our connection, accentuated by strange phallic images the professor had put up on the walls. African tribal spears, bolo knives, and near-nude women with large breasts in Picasso-like frontality. On her shelf, or rather, the professor’s shelf, was a copy of Borges’ Forking Paths. One night, I brought my own copy from home (possibly by the same author, possibly by the Other) and compared the two. What I found led to my utter distress and subsequent destruction of the books. The works were the same and not the same, as if the two writers had plagiarized the same source, some ur-text, or precursor. In one book, the words read, “I have known that thing the Greeks knew not – uncertainty.” The other: “I have known uncertainty: a state unknown to the Greeks.” Both, despite distance, derivation, offered a glimpse into the unrealness of my world – its labyrinths, its mirrors.

I struck a match which burned like the sun above me, and put it to the books. For a moment, I thought there were twin suns crackling in the afternoon heat, before the bookfire rescinded, leaving behind its ashy droppings, a clutter of black fragments belonging to the libraries of Hell.

Satire

Fiction — “Bottled Up Blessings”

The doctor’s office was the only place Fizz Ease could kick his feet around like a kid. It was odd sitting without touching the ground. Kind of like how accustomed he’d become to going into the restroom and looking straight in the mirror, not needing to stand on tiptoes and peer above the counter.

Dr. Sudarshan was looking at a chart. He flipped a few pages roughly, making them crinkle.

“Looks like you have eleven tender spots today,” he said finally. “That’s four more since our last check-up. How are your sleeping habits?”

Fizz repeated the usual stories, each anecdote underlying the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Sleep-heavy nights, moody mornings, fatigue at work.

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Satire

Fiction — “Rabbits and Eagles”

Blue sky. Clouds shaped like rabbits and eagles. Faro Claret looked up at a statue of an old war hero, a bowcock adorned with gumdrops—no—buttons, and a gray uniform, and a conglomeration of names. Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard. Faro knew very little about art history, or history, and today was a rare adventure away from his windowless office where he worked for another conglomeration of names—Merklee Shipping Commissions Incorporated. This was one stop of many. Moments before he had admired a tree with similar awe, as if a tree were a sculpted thing too, carrying mysteries in silence. Continue reading

Life, Satire, Writing (Published)

Published — “An Obituary for the Coolest Christian”

The Higgs Weldon, a humor site that does everything from comedic credits to caption contests, published my satirical panegyric “An Obituary for the Coolest Christian.” The piece satirizes Christian youth culture (sans the tight pants, iphones, and XS plaid shirts—that’s Christian youth Starbucks culture). The site is run by Los Angeles stand-ups Robbin Higgins and Paige Weldon and others (sorry to cut you short, others). They also have a live Higgs Weldon show which is a mix of character, sketch, games, and other improv facets at the Hollywood Improv Lab.

Satire

Please help by donating any amount to this great cause.

The Open Arms Charity was created in 2010 by the National Rifle Association as a way to reach out to communities in need. The goal of Open Arms is to provide as many handguns as possible to homeless American citizens who otherwise would have no means of armament.

In its first five years, Open Arms provided more than 2,000 Americans with 100,000 nights of restful sleep by providing them military-grade weapons. Today, Open Arm continues to help the homeless by offering refurbished automatic and semi-automatic arms in 40 locations across the Sunbelt of the United States. In addition to guns, Open Arms provides utilities including ammunition, holsters, speed loaders, earmuffs, cleaning kits, and matte green pistol safe-boxes with fingerprint locks.

Open Arms is looking for donations in cash, check, or caliber. Give a helping handgun to those in need and donate today! As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give a man a dollar, he’ll spend it on beer. Give a man a gun, he’ll have nothing to fear.”

Please help us provide the only shelter the homeless can take with them on the streets, seeing as they don’t have homes and all.  

Satire

Fiction — “The Most Prolific Writer”

Tanner Harby is the most substantial writer of the 21st century, although since the Century has only recently started, that might be presumptuous. But I am already this far in my report of his craft, and if it emerges that there is anyone who has written as extensively and with such detail, I will kill myself. I will put a gun to my temple and blast away, because my life will have become a purposeless ooze.

What makes Harby interesting (abstractly, not in actuality) is his lifelong attempt to document his entire life experience – all of it. Every minute, every moment, every fart, as it occurs in real-time.

Obviously, this project has had its pratfalls. Harby cannot record everything. In fact, his novel (shared with me, and only me, through Google Docs) is abridged. His babyhood, his childhood, are fleeting. The true conceit begins in his dwindling teen years, specifically when he learned how to write at 16, and will end at his death. Most of it is typed, but some parts are scanned napkins, toilet paper scrolls, whatever’s available.

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Satire

A Few Valentine’s Day Literary Cards

From Edgar Allan Poe

I’ll keep your heart forevermore
(turn the page)
beneath the floor.

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore
(turn the page)
cuz forget dat hoe, u my bae now

ALLAN want for Valentine’s is you!
(turn the page)
A picture of the poet’s sad face with the words: POE-lease be mine?

From Henry David Thoreau

The reason I burned down that forest was because
(turn the page)
I was drunk on your love.

Happy Valentine’s Day to MYSELF.
(turn the page)
I’m self-reliant like that.

If there’s one thing I ask from you this Valentine’s Day
(turn the page)
it’s don’t thoreau away our love.

From Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for death
(turn the page)
I stop for you.

I think you’re quite dashing
(turn the page)
– love – Emily Dickinson –

From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My last name is Longfellow
(turn the page)
But that’s not the only thing that’s long, fellow.

Satire

Fiction — “To Dr. Sterling pertaining his Artist”

Dear Dr. Sterling,

I have a complaint about your advice column, but it’s not about your advice specifically. In fact, I was delighted by your response to my letter on how I should deal with my husband [see Issue 8, 2016]. I was afraid our problems would lead to the dissolution of an unhappy marriage, but ever since I began to act the compliant, chirpy wife, per your suggestion, we not only get along better, but we make decisions quicker.

No, my complaint is about the artwork you feature inside your column, which does not reflect the tone of your advice.

You may need to speak to your artist, Ms. Josie Aurelio, about her visual direction. For example, in your response to my letter, Ms. Aurelio created a diorama (the images constructed out of magazine cuttings) depicting a nude Barbie doll in a wheelchair, her head cut open with a pink, gummy brain floating above her. Jumper cables connect the brain to a 2017 Jeep Wrangler (snipped from a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ad), in the driver’s seat of which sits a Ken doll, who I can only infer is revving the engine. I found this image to be disturbing and insulting and possibly misandristic. Would you have a talk with the young lady?

Sincerely,
Victoria Greene

* * *

Dear Dr. Sterling

Again, I have good and bad news.

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