The War On Drugs and Christmas and Terror and Charlie Sheen

A Holiday Survival Guide…

As the Christmas season approaches, it is important to remember what is important. It is also important to remember what is not important, if only to highlight how important the important things are compared to the unimportant things. To obsess over the unimportant is to lose sight of the important, and thereby reduce the important to that vast category of insignificant, trivial, needless and petty set of criteria rendered grossly unimportant.

That being said, it is very important to have at least three weapons handy while shopping this Christmas season. This will ensure that other bargain-hunters, twitchy, white spree killers and members of ISIS don’t get their greedy little hands on your rightful gift items. Security experts suggest a knife–switchblade or gerber mini-magnum–for close combat, pepper spray to soak an opponent when in a tug-of-war type of situation over an X-box, and a good old-fashioned easy-load pistol for quick draw life-or-death scenarios, the kind where the last set of “Minion” dolls is about to be purchased by a rival parent. For the shopper who wants that extra peace of mind, an AR-15 rifle with a high-capacity drum and adjustable shoulder strap is recommended. Christmas sweaters should have locking carabiners stitched into them to accommodate flash packs and grenades (always hard to find during the holidays) that should be worn high and visible in order to send the right Christmas message.  “Back off, scum. It’s motherfucking Christmas time. This bargain hunter also hunts extremists, schizoids and godless heathens.”

Don’t be a victim. Avoid the common mistakes made by some of the more inexperienced shoppers of holidays past. Don’t just assume that once a gift item is in another shopper’s cart it is off limits. If that toy hasn’t been paid for yet it is anybody’s gift and with the right use of stealth, threats or intimidation, it is your gift. You’d be surprised how quickly someone with a gun in their face will be ready to donate their Christmas purchases to your family’s household. Also be on the lookout for the “sobbing mother” scam. We all know her. The woman who makes a scene in order to win the compassion of the crowd in the hopes that some good samaritan will donate their own highly sought after purchase to her son or daughter who is “dying of cancer.” If the kid was that sick the woman would be bedside instead of emoting in front of Toys R Us. The trick is to always have the number of a good oncologist handy. This will neutralize the guilt that may come with snubbing terminally ill children. Furthermore, be mindful of fake weapons. A shopper may be inclined, in a moment of panic, to rely on a Jedi light-saber toy in order to fend off a mob of shoppers. While these weapons are highly effective in the George Lucas movies, they are pretty much useless in real life. 

It is also important, this Christmas season, to antagonize those of the lesser faiths. The ones that don’t involve Santa Claus, anthropomorphic snowmen, flying sleighs, pine trees, stockings and reindeer. Always carry a permanent marker and at least one can of spray paint in order to decorate blank store fronts and coffee cups with hallowed symbols of yuletide cheer. For those that aren’t artistically inclined enough to draw a delicate reindeer or jolly Santa Claus, a simple “Fuck Off It’s Christmas” message scrawled across a minimalist holiday setting will get everyone in the spirit. After all, it is the reason the store left the window blank. They want your input.

A word of caution… It is important to know your artistic limitations. Snowflakes, for example. Be careful about drawing snowflakes. Snowflakes are tricky. A Christmas shopper may want to practice drawing a proper snowflake, because a bad snowflake can easily turn into a replica Star of David, and then the whole idea is just lost. Reindeer antlers can turn into a menorah if the attached reindeer head is not drawn properly. People will think it is some ornate base to the candle holder. Just some things to watch out for.

Marijuana is the big gift this year. With hundreds of strains available in Colorado and Washington it is a good idea to make that cross-country trip early while supplies last. Extra care should be taken when transporting the buds, as the drug is still technically illegal in certain freedom-hating states. When packing for that exciting, drug-smuggling trip back home it is always a good idea to use aromatic decoys such as coffee and perfumes to mask the pungent scent of illicit ganja. While perfumes, potpourri, and coffee may help throw off the dogs, they also make great Christmas gifts in their own right, so don’t be afraid to load up on fragrant stocking stuffers. Smoking accessories are also a good idea for the “pot-head who seemingly has it all.” The motorized water pipe will actually blow the smoke into their lungs for them, making all those tedious inhales a thing of the past. Smoke it up! It’s Christmas time.

Very important. If, while shopping, you happen to run into a person who claims to be from ISIS, shoot them. To put it lightly they are severely lacking in Christmas spirit. The seeds of fellowship and commercialism are not within them. Don’t let a minor switch in the terrorist acronym fool you. If they claim to be from ISIL, they are just as vicious. “I’m from harmless little DAESH,” they might say. “Not so fast, Mullah. Santa has you on the naughty list. We’re all out of coal. But here is some lead!”

That is not to say that your westernized zealot should be overlooked. Be wary of the thin white man who has been broken by all the empty promises life has made to him. He will be looking to exact revenge. He will only heed the voices in his head and will not stop until his supply of bullets is spent. While these types are some of the trickiest to spot there are a few ways to help identify potential mental cases. Be on the lookout for men openly wearing key rings with far too many keys on them. Who needs to advertise all that access? The jingle-jangle of their stalking may fool children into thinking Santa is on his way instead of a homicidal maniac. Tinted prescription glasses and beat-up vans are some of the other warning signs. If a disheveled geek emerging from an old panel truck is advertising himself as a photographer for a major fashion magazine looking for “you, the next top model,” seek cover and draw down.

The holiday season is also the pedophile season. They lurk the malls looking for unattended children. Some may even dress up as Santa Claus in order to harmlessly encourage children to straddle their laps. A good weapon for this type of threat is the “laser dazzler,” a non-lethal diode-emitting rod that disrupts the fluid in the eyeballs, causing temporary blindness. It is advisable to use this weapon on everybody dressed as Santa Claus, just to be on the safe side. 

In short, no one can be trusted this holiday season. Exercise all necessary caution. Surviving Christmas is one of the most difficult things a person will do all year long and there is no excuse for falling victim to any number of horrific threats that stalk the landscape year after year. Don’t become a statistic. If the holidays have taught us anything it is to shoot first and ask questions later. Get a good lawyer, too. A good lawyer is the gift that keeps on giving.   

Oh, and if you run into Charlie Sheen use a condom.

“Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.”

More Alembics to come.

Friday the 30th

All Hallow’s Eve will soon be here (in fact by the time you read this it will have already passed) and hence I should write a scary story. It is a task better left to a writer with some skill in the genre. I stink at it. Nevertheless, to quote Herman Melville, I try all things. I achieve what I can.

I set out to conjure up my best Edgar Allan Poe, but that resulted in sitting on a bench in Baltimore after three days of snorting ether and drinking absinthe, dressed in rags and with nothing to show for it. That wouldn’t do. When I finally returned to my house I sensed a slight tremor up through the rafters. A low, dull twitching. How spooky, I thought. The house, in fact, the whole block seemed to have a mild sway to it. At first I chalked it up to ghosts, but then I read that the whole globe was reverberating from China’s national frenzy of sexual intercourse following the news that it is now legal for Chinese families to have TWO children instead of one. You get a billion people screwing at once and every plot of earth from the Seward Peninsula to Tierra Del Fuego is going to feel the effects.  Even the animals are spooked, which is appropriate, considering it’s halloween and all.

Now to my horror story.

I must admit that I am bored by horror. (Indeed, what a terrible way to begin a horror story.) I mean the cinematic kind, not the real kind. The real kind of horror is unimaginable–plane crashes, human trafficking, political debates. The movie kind of horror is nothing more than a joke with murder as the punchline. On one hand, that is why I used to love them when I was a kid. The villains were so villainous. Laconic fiends who did nothing else but slaughter a whole cast of dim-witted teenagers. No eating, no sleeping, no personal maintenance. Jason Voorhies was never stuck in traffic. Michael Myers didn’t have certain dietary restrictions. Freddie Kruger never had to apply for a low-interest mortgage extension. Imagine that “Pinhead” character from Hellraiser having to go through airport security? Forget it.

I should mention I recently inherited a castle. It was bequeathed to me by a distant uncle I never knew I had. He was the rich recluse type, with ties to the occult. Go figure. The castle sits on the side of a mountain, surrounded by cold walls of granite. The sky above my castle is dark and gloomy all the time. Lightning is constant. One of those things the realtor always fails to mention. Constant gloom. Never one to inspect the teeth of a gift horse, I am making due. It is drafty, though.

Anyway, I shouldn’t condemn the horror genre. There are a handful of movies that are done well. The rest are cheap rip-offs. That could probably be said about any genre, really. Horror movies are so exaggerated anyway. It takes a special skill to use the formula without exploiting it. A good horror director doesn’t want the audience to feel, at the end of the bloodbath, that the real choppers and manglers are the movie editors. The sadistic madman is the screenwriter. The lazy police force is overshadowed by the lazy special effects department. The victim is originality.

I should mention I have an assistant. His name is Rogi. He is a diminutive fellow, somewhat psychically sensitive, who tends to his responsibilities with the singular mania of a bomb maker. He lights the candelabras, brings me my brandy, scares the bejeezus out of the traveling salesmen. I’ve talked it over with Rogi and we’ve decided to throw a dinner party in honor of my new dark and foreboding castle. Kind of a housewarming thing. The plan is to gather a bunch of my friends under one roof and then kill them off, one by one. Some may ask why I would do such a thing? Because they’ve all led kind of morally ambiguous lives. Still doesn’t warrant a massacre, some might say. They are entitled to their opinion. What if I promise to kill them all in creatively different ways? That’s even worse, some might say. That is way beyond malice aforethought. Once again, I respect their opinions. 

My friends are as follows: a professor, a retired colonel, a young starlet, a sportswriter, an ex-rockstar, a playboy millionaire, a woman who moonlights as a madame, a football coach with bad knees, a university student, a noted explorer, the guy who survives and the really hot woman he saves. Some may question the improbability of such a wide array of friends. What can I say? I get along with everybody.

For the first part of the night everything seemed to be going well. Rogi had prepared an excellent dinner and had maintained just the right balance of warmth and creepiness. When it came time to chop the old colonel’s head off (I lured him out under the pretense of an emergency phone call!) anyway when it came time to chop his head off and roll it back into the parlor where the rest were congregated with their dessert drinks, I actually put too much spin on the damn thing and it got lodged under the sofa. Peeved, I marched into the room, parted the group, got down low and began to loosen the old dingbat’s noggin by the ears (these old couches are damn heavy) and instead of a perfectly timed mortal shock the whole thing ended up losing its effect as the rest of the guests offered tepid suggestions about how best to retrieve the poor colonel’s cranium.

“You’ve got to kind of wiggle it.”

“Maybe just wait for it to decay a little.”

“That oak slat is the problem.”

Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe the rest of the evening. When I suggested we all split up to search for the killer, someone pointed out my huge knife and blood-soaked clothes. The police were called and I can’t even tell you the legal troubles that have befallen me. The prices these lawyers charge. Talk about eviscerating. As I stew in this lonely cell, responsible for one of the worst slash jobs in history (I mean, of course, this blog entry) I will list some really scary stuff for those who crave it.

All true, just to warn the faint of heart.

Scientists can actually create the flavor of vanilla out of cow shit. The thawing permafrost is revealing peculiar viruses that have long since been dormant in the ice. The Kardashians are role models. The snake known as “Fer-de-lance” is the ultimate pit viper, charging at its enemies when it feels threatened. Children in South Sudan are forced into cannibalism. A girl in Oregon recently developed a case of bubonic plague. The Australian funnel-web spider can hunt and kill a man, move in with his wife, and try to raise the dead man’s kids according to its own weird spider values.

I made up that last part.

Happy Halloween.

More Alembics to come.