Forty seconds

The stopwatch in the back of my head goes off the moment she starts yelling at me, hurls the comforter aside, jumps out of bed and makes to the bathroom in three, maybe four quick strides. This is a rather nasty habit I came up with a while ago, that I mentally time how long it takes for girls to get out of my place and swear never to see me again.
She hits the astounding 40-second mark by the time she gets to the elevator, now fully changed and her backpack in her hands.

Either Cupid's definitely off-duty tonight or it's just gotta be some goodamn new world record or something: Forty seconds to end a two-week relationship.

Forty seconds, that's what it took this time around: From the onset of the incident (whatever that incident is, mind you) to the classic looking over her shoulder through a half-closed elevator door--"And I never want to see you again!"-- hesitating to see if I'm following her, begging for her forgiveness, that kinda stuff -- and it is half past one in the morning after all.

I stand in the doorway saying nothing but flinch once I realize we've left the TV on in the living room before going to bed, and now TCM is showing Ferris Bueler's Day Off-- and I'd so rather watch Ferris Bueler's Day Off instead of humoring skirt for a kowtow tonight-- and it's so cold outside-- so I simply don't, and I watch her disappear as the elvator door closes.

Then Cameron says something funny in the movie.
And Ferris says something funny in the movie.
And Ferris' gal says something funny in the movie, too, only I never remember her name-- which is something I only realize after the movie's over-- and probably speaks volumes of my current predicament.

But it's so easier not to face it, so I turn off the TV and go to sleep anyhow.


Crisis on Bizarro World / Crisis on Lexor (An imaginary story)

The best part of those annual Justice League / Justice Society crossovers they’d had in the Justice League of America magazine from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s was that each year the plot would involve a different theme and bring upon different guest-stars, as the two teams would cross the dimensional barrier separating Earths-1 and 2 and meet.
For instance: Crisis On Earth-3 brought out the Crime Syndicate, an evil counterpart of the Justice League, whereas Crisis in Eternity featured the long-gone heroes of Fawcett Comics—from Captain Marvel to Mr. Scarlet.

The Crises varies down through the years and so did the guest-stars: Crisis in Apokolips? Bring on the New Gods. Crisis in Yesterday? Here’s Jonah Hex and the Viking Prince. Crisis in the 30th Century? There’s Mordru and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Nazis won World War II on a parallel world? Here’s the Freedom Fighters in Crisis on Earth-X. And so on.
Editor Julie Schwartz sure ran his distance with variations on that ever-popular theme.

But—in hindsight—he missed one:
They never did Bizarro World!
I mean, can you imagine a “Bizarro JSA”? How cool would that be?

So here’s my dreaming up of that “forgotten” JLA/JSA team-up that never was, in a straightforward Julie Schwartz-like plot:

This is a two-parter.
First part is Crisis on Bizarro World:

The villain Brainwave crosses over from Earth-2 and makes Bizarro (Superman foe) to fall in love with the JSA’s Power Girl, and kidnap her from Earth-2—because Brainwave himself is in love with Power Girl and wants to marry her himself.

Bizarro kidnaps Power Girl from Earth-2 and takes her back to the Earth-1 Universe, to the planet Htrae (“Bizarro World”) and he’s about to expose her to the Bizarro duplicator ray—so as to make an imperfect copy of PeeGee—a contingent of JLAers and JSAers arrive to save the day.

The JSAers are exposed to the duplicator ray instead, which causes the creation of a “Bizarro JSA”—The Bizarro JSAers are not only imperfect versions of the heroes, but they’re also teenagers where the JSAers themselves are middle-aged. For instance: Bizarro Wildcat, a middle-aged boxing champion would become Kitty-Kat, a teenaged girl. Dr. Fate the magician would have his Bizarro version as Potshot Kid. And down from there. Intentionally silly and wacky as Bizarros should ever be.

Part one would end with a hook as Brainwave would expose Power Girl to Golden Kryptonite, permanently erasing her powers and turning her into an ordinary human—So as he could finally marry her.

(On a sidenote, the very best part of reading pre-1980s comic books is mentally replacing the word “marry” with the most f*cked-up fetishist term one can think of whenever a super-villain wants to “marry” a super-heroine. Like, remember the old Superfriends cartoon when Darkseid would want to “marry” Wonder Woman? Man, I bet those high heeled boots and magic lasso could work wonders indeed…)

Part two is Crisis on Lexor:

The Golden Kryptonite didn’t work on Power Girl because it’s from Earth-1 and she’s from Earth-2. That should have been a no-brainer, right? So, as PeeGee is about to kick the tar out of Brainwave, the villain brings her down with a mental lightning bolt (what? No, really!) and takes her to the planet Lexor.
Lexor of course is the red sun planet in which Lex Luthor is deemed a super-hero and Superman is considered a super-villain.

On Lexor, Peegee’s powers disappear (red sun, remember?), and so Brainwave is finally able to marry her. But the JLA and the JSA, having defeated the Bizarro-JSA on Htrae, arrive just in time to save the day. Trick is that the local population doesn’t like the super-heroes, and the JLA/JSA end up being taken prisoners by the locals, because they would never fight innocent people.

In the end, however, as Brainwave may have found safe haven on Lexor, Lex Luthor himself arrives from Earth and oddly enough, sides with the heroes—mad as hell at Brainwave for brining chaos to his perfect world and threatening his people.

Story ends with the JSA returning home with PeeGee safe and the Brainwave in tow, and Luthor stating to Superman that their truce was only temporary, blahblahblah, The End.


Mid-year review, 2010: Dawn should be breaking anytime now…

It’s Saturday morning there around 5:30 a.m. and I’m trudging home under a not-so-light, end-of-Autumn rain, bloated with all the champagne and the vodka from last night. Temperature reads there about 50 degrees and I’m soaking wet. I zip up my leather jacket and tuck my hands in its pockets as I pass by the Arts Museum marquee where the homeless sleep sheltered from the downpour, then laugh out loud as I remember the chain of events that led up to now.

They’ll text-message me in a few hours. The girl will text me the inevitable, interminable thank-you note with an apology ultimately boiling down to hoping there’s no vomit on my shoes, and when I tell her that whatever happens on Friday evenings stays on Friday evenings, she’ll reply saying that’s why she likes hanging out with guys like us. The boy, on the other hand, particularly prone not to either conveying emotion or using punctuation, will send me the single terse, concise statement that last night was-- and here’s quoting-- “fucking BIZARRE!!!!!!!!”-- will all those exclamations to boot.

We were already a little hammered by the time we’d arrived at the nightclub, there about midnight or one a.m. At least two of us were blaming the cinnamon on the cocktails but that’s mostly a recurring joke in the métier: There was no mention of the two bottles of champagne tagging along the cocktails, naturally-- but the next two once we got to the bar at the nightclub terrace would prove to be a little more than the entourage could handle. The nightcap-- the fifth bottle back at ____’s place after all was said & done-- was only for the brave and the strong;

We are at the bar at this amazing open terrace at the club, on the balcony of the second floor of an old office building downtown with a view to the cathedral and old art-deco buildings that just aren’t made anymore, and the girl starts to freak out when she notices this famous soap-opera actor by our side. Look at the shoulders on him, she says. He’s dressed up like a goddamn Eskimo, I tell her, then excuse myself to lookup for a stun-gun at the reception area to subdue her if she tries something tacky like asking the actor for a photograph or something. Only, not really, because I’ve just left to look for the bathroom, only to find it underneath the goddamn, honest-to-god stuffed head of a moose hanging high on the wall. The line for the boys room is like four times the line for the girls room. It’s that kind of place. But it’s cool. We’re cool.

Things start to blur as I get back to the bar.

As the actor slips the barman a piece of paper with his phone number on it, and the barman is already, like dating someone or another we know, the girl goes absolutely nuts because he just can’t be gay!. The waitress stops by-- she’s cut her hair real short and we compliment her on it even though the girl later tells me it makes her look like some militant lesbian for women’s lib or something, even though I still find it quite appealing. I’d like to lick her nape, I say, then lick her entire back all the way down to her asshole. But then the waitress swears by the size of the barman’s dick and says it’s a no-brainer the actor’s after him anyhow. I’m absolutely at sea because I can’t for the life of me connect the pieces in the conversation to figure out how we even came from ordering drinks, to the size of the barman’s dick.
The actor’s dressed up like a goddamn Eskimo anyway, I emphasize, then the girl bows down and starts to throw up on my feet-- and the guy starts complaining about either the actor or the barman or both, and I freak out myself because I don’t want vomit on my shoes then we have to leave anyway because the night is pretty much shot.

Some other things also happen. There's a lot going on tonight. And someone mentions one of those Japanese Tengas during conversation, which is pretty odd.
Either way, we get to laugh a lot.

I get to tuck the girl in and even give her some chocolate milk. She asks me if I want to lie down with her and I say yes, only not in the state she’s in. The guy overhears it all and mentions it was strangely out of character of me not to take advantage of the situation. I just shrug, and tell him I think her hair is smelling of vomit anyhow.
Then we open another bottle and drink it up very fast while talking trash.

By the time I leave it’s there about 5:30 in the morning and it’s started to rain.
I zip up my jacket and notice how weird it is that it’s still pitch-black dark. I mean, look at the time: Dawn should be breaking anytime now-- only it’s not.


Of bats and ducks. Not about scorpions, though

It’s Monday night there about ten or ten-thirty pm. I’m at the park and the wind is freaking cold. I have just jogged for say, six or seven miles and now I’m doing some stretching exercises leaning against a tree by the lake before going home for dinner, a shower, and by god, bed.

The sky is mostly cloudy, those ominous orange-white clouds hanging so very low above the city, leaving but a small pocket of night-sky with actual stars to be seen through: One single constellation, which I’ve come to call not-Scorpius during my nocturnal joggings for the past few months – but that’s mostly for no particular reason whatsoever, because I’m pretty sure Scorpius is the only constellation I can recognize at a glance. Maybe it’s because of the distinct, eerie yellowish glow of Antares. But that constellation up above my head right now? Definitely not Scorpius.

There’s so much going on in my head right now: It has not been the kindest two, three weeks now for a convergence of different factors altogether piling up and becoming this one intense ball of bad feelings. The problem with having bats in the belfry, when said belfry is inside your own head, is that you can’t take the easy way out and look for a hotel for the night. The orange juice with the Stolichnaya often helps, granted, and so does all the fancy eating-out on Saturday evenings. But it doesn’t make the bats go away, see, and that’s why I jog at night two or three times a week: Bats are still liable to fly while drunk, but decidedly not after seven-mile laps around the lake during winter nights. So since I can’t beat the bad stuff with sanity and common sense (and alcohol) then I’ve decided to do it with endurance – and it actually works.

But I digress: So I’m leaning against a tree at the park near my place tonight, after my running’s done, stretching out before going back home okay?
Then, of course, as the audience cries for much-vaunted pathos and a plot-twist is sorely needed to for the climax to spice up this post, a duck comes out of a bush by the lake and charges at me.

Fuck. And here’s my thinking only goddamn geese did that.
What do you know.