Home Page Photo

The Big Stupid Review


American Dream Serialization (Early Chapters)
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Maurice Stoker
Introduction to Jim Chaffee's Studies in Mathematical Pornography by Tom Bradley
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: American Dream Title Page by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 1 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 2 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 3 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 4 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 5 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 6 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 7 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 8 by Jim Chaffee
Studies in Mathematical Pornography: Chapter 9 by Jim Chaffee
Modern Tragedy, or Parodies of Ourselves by Robert Castle
Totally Enchanté, Dahling by Thor Garcia
Hastini by Rudy Ravindra
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 5 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
Unexpected Pastures by Kim Farleigh
Nonviolence by Jim Courter
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 4 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Poet Laureate of Greenville by Al Po
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part VI by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 3 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part V by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part IV by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 2 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part I by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part II by Thor Garcia
The Apocalypse of St. Cleo, Part III by Thor Garcia
The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter Volume 1 Translation by W. C. Firebaugh
DADDY KNOWS WORST: Clown Cowers as Father Flounders! by Thor Garcia
RESURRECTON: Excerpt from Breakfast at Midnight by Louis Armand
Review of The Volcker Virus (Donald Strauss) by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Little Red Light by Suvi Mahonen and Luke Waldrip
TEXECUTION: Klown Konfab as Killer Kroaked! by Thor Garcia
Miranda's Poop by Jimmy Grist
Paul Fabulan by Kane X Faucher: Excerpt from the forthcoming Infinite Grey by Kane X Faucher
Operation Scumbag by Thor Garcia
Take-Out Dick by Holly Day
Patience by Ward Webb
The Moon Hides Behind a Cloud by Barrie Darke
The Golden Limo of Slipback City by Ken Valenti
Chapter from The Infinite Atrocity by Kane X. Faucher
Support the Troops By Giving Them Posthumous Boners by Tom Bradley
When Good Pistols Do Bad Things by Kurt Mueller
Corporate Strategies by Bruce Douglas Reeves
The Dead Sea by Kim Farleigh
The Perfect Knot by Ernest Alanki
Girlish by Bob Bartholomew
The Little Ganges by Joshua Willey
The Invisible World: René Magritte by Nick Bertelson
Honk for Jesus by Mitchell Waldman
Red's Dead by Eli Richardson
The Memphis Showdown by Gabriel Ricard
Someday Man by John Grochalski
I Was a Teenage Rent-a-Frankenstein by Tom Bradley
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Fred Bubbers
Believe in These Men by Adam Greenfield
The Magnus Effect by Robert Edward Sullivan
Performance Piece by Jim Chaffee
Injustice for All by D. E. Fredd
The Polysyllogistic Curse by Gary J. Shipley
How It's Done by Anjoli Roy
Ghost Dance by Connor Caddigan
Two in a Van by Pavlo Kravchenko
Uncreated Creatures by Connor Caddigan
Invisible by Anjoli Roy
One of Us by Sonia Ramos Rossi
Storyteller by Alan McCormick
Idolatry by Robert Smith
P H I L E M A T O P H I L I A by Traci Chee
They Do! by Al Po
Full TEX Archive
Side Photo for The Big Stupid Review


By Ben Drinen

I used to know this guy from Altoona. Said his name was Mawlawchee. When he told me that his name was Mawlawchee, I said to him "Mawlawchee, what the hell kinda name is that?" He said he didn't know what kind of name it was, but that most of his family was Italian. I asked him "Is that an Italian name then or what?" He said he didn't know that either. "Spell that shit," I said to Malawchee. "M-A-L-A-C-H-I, Mawlawchee," he said to me, and I just started laughing my ass off right there in a dive bar in downtown Philadelphia.

He looked hurt that I was laughing at him, but I couldn't help it. I was looking at him looking all hurt and I was thinking "what kind of fucking idiot is this that can't even pronounce his name?"

He shook his head sternly, and I saw all the gaps between his teeth, and I thought to myself that he sure was Altoona. He said "Well, what the fuck bro? How do you pronounce it."

"I pronounce it the way it's spelled."

"And how's that?" he said.


"Get the fuck out of here. You're fuckin with me cuz I'm the new guy."


"I've been through this shit before in the Army bro. This is just some hazing shit. Fucking mind game shit, right?"

"Have you ever read the Old Testament?"

"No way, I don't believe in any of that shit."

"Yeah, me neither, but that's no reason not to read it."

"Yeah, it is a reason not to read it."

"Well, if you had read it, you would know there was a prophet, and you would know that his name was Malachi."

"How would I know the pronunciation just from reading it?" he said. He had me on that one. That was one thing about Mawlawchee. He might have been an uneducated bastard, but he wasn't stupid. He liked things like posters of bears with big psychedelic eyes walking through purple leaved forests. I figured that was because he did a lot of drugs in the Army. He wouldn't say one way or another. He would just laugh real hard and slap me on the back. I figured that was probably indication enough.

Mawlawch (that's what I started calling him, and we'd both laugh) wanted to be friends, or at least I thought he did when he said "Yo Sim, let's definitely go drinking all the time after work bro!" So we went to places where you can get drunk. Shitty little bars in downtown Philadelphia. I'd drink a lot, he'd drink a little, and then I'd start getting suspicious. The guy was always talking about getting drunk, but after a few sessions I started to think was that he meant that he wanted to get me drunk and ask a lot of questions about the customers at the little print shop we were working at in those days.

It was a little hole in the wall under the arch of the Convention Center. Mostly invitations for weddings and graduations. Mostly a pretty easy job. Thu owned the place, but he didn't fool with us much. He showed us how to use the machines and left us to our own devices. Every once in a while we'd get some big project involving binding convention materials into books. We'd be there all night long in the hot little shop. First we'd make the copies. Then we'd check to make sure the collation was correct. Then we'd punch the holes, and then we'd weave in the plastic rings to hold it together. Last, we'd pack them into boxes. Might be as many as a thousand books for a big job like that, and a thousand books can take two guys three or four nights. Thu was nice about it, though. He'd order us dinner before he left and he'd pay us time and a half for anything past midnight. That wasn't good enough for old Mawlawch. He was always gathering information. Like he was putting two and two together on the shop. Like it was some top secret shit. I kept telling him that it didn't fucking matter why the hackers were having a convention with a bound set of materials. I told him they were just some anarchist kids trying to make the world a better place in their own way. He told me that do-gooders were always fucking things up. I told him that was true but so what.

One night in the bar, Mawlawch tried asking me a lot of questions about Thu. Questions about where was he from, was he married, was his wife hot, how did he get in this business, on and on and on, but I didn't know anything about Thu except that he was a nice guy, so I shrugged my shoulders, turned myself sideways in the booth and put my feet up. I had a lot of money in the jukebox and I was trying to enjoy it. Hell, I must have had six or seven dollars in there and I had picked about fifteen songs. I was hoping Mawlawch would shut up so that I could enjoy my drinks and my songs with my eyes closed, feel the liquor sweep over me and feel the warmth of the inside of my eyelids and the pulsing of blood making my skin hot while being cooled back down by the hint of a breeze from the dusty old ceiling fan woop woop wooping above my head. I had no such luck because Mawlawchee was yelling "Hey Simeon, what the fuck is this hokey pokey shit you put in?!"

I looked Mawlawch in his eyes and smirked. Then I turned and closed my eyes and listened to the music. "I put a lot of country music in because that's what I like," I said with my eyes closed. Mawlawch gave me a weird look. "Wait until I get my chance to put in my music," he said. "I'm going to put in all my music, and I'm going to start with Biohazard." He liked punk and hardcore, and he told me many times over the year that we worked and drank together that the only country singer he respected was Johnny Cash.

"Johnny Cash?" I said. "Yeah, you and every other mother."

"What's wrong with Johnny Cash?" he said looking like a dog you'd just kicked.

"Nothing that's what. Not a single goddamn fucking thing. But I'm going to ask you a fuckin question Mawlawch, since you won't let me enjoy this music. Since you won't let me enjoy these songs and these drinks. And I'd like to see you answer this shit. With your little tattoo of a club-bearing blonde-haired idiot cave man, and your shaved head, and your army fucking reserve weekends. Yeah, motherfucker, I'm going to ask you a question now. If you like Johnny Cash, how can you not like Waylon Jennings?"


"If you like Johnny Cash, why don't you like Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Hank Williams Sr., and most of all how can you not like Merle Fucking Haggard? Explain that to me Mawalawch!"

"What are you talking about Simeon? Why are you getting all pissed off?"

"You think Johnny Cash looks cool? Is that it? You think he looks cool and talks cool and is cool? That's all it really comes down to huh?"

"I don't know Sim," said Mawlawch looking confused and maybe even nervous. He whipped his head around to where the bar maid was leaning against the red padding on the edge of the bar. Waitress two more for my friend here."

"And another strawberry soda pop for Mawlawch!" I bellowed.

The waitress looked at me weird. I was drinking a weird drink. Jim Beam Black. Cheap whiskey aged for ten years. Old cheap whiskey. But it was three bucks, which was right up my alley, so I was drinking it on down and chasing it with Miller High Life, all night long thanks to Mawlawchee and all that goddamn ordering he was doing. He wasn't drinking anything, at least not a damn thing worth remembering. He was sipping on some mixed drink, but he wasn't drinking it. He said he was a real ugly drunk. He said that a lot. He said that he used to be a prison guard and that after long shifts at Graterford, he'd come out bleary-eyed in the morning and head to a little bar out in the middle of nowhere and drink himself into the ground with long-haul truckers. Whiskey in the morning and fighting in the afternoon, in the dirt yard behind that out of the way truck stop bar. That's what he claimed, but I figured he might just be full of shit, since bars in Pennsylvania don't open at any six o'clock in the morning on account of William Penn and his Blue Laws and all. I went back and forth on challenging his claim about early morning drinking, but I figured it was funny, true or false, so I let sleeping dogs lie and laughed along. I told him about when I used to do the same thing in Sun City, Arizona in the hot morning sun drinking bad beers and screaming at the fish in the little fake lake behind my grandparents house.

Long hot mornings on their little red dock screaming at the fish, ugly speckled scrawny catfish living in a stocked lake filled with putrid green muck, my granparents' neighbors floating by on pontoon boats with Mint juleps or some shit, and me baring my teeth and screaming "Good Morning and Welcome to this here Pond!" I wasn't supposed to be there. It was a Del Webb Community and nobody under the age of retirement was allowed to live there, not even the little kid whose parents got killed by rapist hitch hikers on the Carefree Highway on the road to Nevada. Not even that goddamn eleven year old, and that was reason enough for me to get the hell out of Arizona and the whole damn Western United States, because it was all old people in charge everywhere you turned, with their tan Buicks and their red Cadillacs and in the end their god-damn bright orange golf carts going down the very edge of the road at five and one-half miles an hour.

My brother used to come over sometimes from his apartment in Glendale. We'd sit on the porch and drink some beers and cook some burgers or whatever. I could hear him coming a mile away because he had a subwoofer in his Dodge pick-up and he liked to turn the Metallica all the way up. Yeah, I'd hear that Master of Puppets blaring all the way from 99th and Thunderbird. He took the muffler off, which was illegal, but he didn't care. He'd rev it when he came around the corner, which I thought was real funny since all the old people were too deaf too hear anyway so it wasn't even pissing them off like he hoped it would. I sure liked that truck, though. He put a lift on it, and you damn well needed a ladder to get up in the cab. Once you got up there, though, it was smooth fast sailing through the night, the windows down, and once you got up into the mountains of Flagstaff the heater on. Hot air coming from your feet, mixing with the cold air coming through that window, clean and cold and crisp and warm and snug all at once. Sometimes, he'd pick up that skinny bitch that I didn't like, and they'd sit up there giving each other hand jobs for a hundred and twenty miles, but I didn't care, cuz I'd just get in the back with a twelve pack of Coors and a couple of forty ounce King Cobras. I'd drink the beer first, I don't know why, and when it started tasting like soap and water, I'd switch to the malt liquor. The good thing about heavy drinking in a pick-up truck on the highway is that you can just crawl to the back and puke over the tailgate and nobody knows it unless there's somebody right on your ass.

One time I drank all the way to Flagstaff, and when the tires crunched on the red cinders of the driveway, I opened one eye and then closed it right back shut. It was real cold out, but I was under a couple of blankets my brother traded for in Mexico. He said he gave two old t-shirts for two nice blankets, and that sounded like a pretty good deal to me. I figured I was pretty cozy, but my brother was yelling that I wouldn't freeze to death on his watch, and that mean ass skinny girlfriend of his was already inside sipping on wine coolers. I told him to fuck off and let me be, but he gripped me up by my shoulders and dragged me out of the pick-up. I fell face first on the cinders and I felt their rough edges biting into my cheek, but I laid there prepared to sleep on the ground. I heard my brother shuffling around above me and when I looked up I saw his open hand coming down hard. I tried to duck away, but he caught me with a powerful slap on the back of my bald head, which left a red mark for a lot of days. Then he laughed and kicked me and I cursed him as I struggled to my knees. "Get inside," he said. "Yeah, yeah," I replied.

Anyways, I was telling these stories right back to Mawlawch and it seemed like we were getting along pretty good. He didn't want to tell me too much about Altoona, but he did say that they liked to go down to the tire yards and start up fires when they were kids and even when they weren‘t kids. He said the tires would burn for days and they'd sit there every night drinking Old Milwaukee out of cans and watching the world glowing orange and yellow and red. His eyes lit up real big when he told me about those tires, and the way he was talking I felt like I was right out there in the grass with him in a lawn chair watching the whole world in flames and then in smoke. He said it smelled real bad, but that the sight of the fire was worth it. He said they did that shit all the time until one time his buddy got caught and sentenced to two years for arson. He said it was real funny, because the guy didn't rat anyone out and he ended up in Mawlawch's unit at Graterford. He said it was real funny guarding his friend and that he treated him just like all the other criminals. One time, the guy broke down and jabbed a Bic pen into the vein of his own wrist. Old Mawlawch rushed in with the other guards and beat his friend senseless and then they took him down to the infirmary to recover.

"I bet that taught him a lesson about hurting himself," I said real sad thinking about that damn guy with the pen in his arm getting kicked by a bunch of big-booted bastards, and Mawlawch said I was a bitch and that the guy got what he deserved. I asked Mawlawch if he deserved the same thing since he started the fire too, and he told me that I was one dumb son-of-a-bitch because he was never proven guilty, and that until you are proven guilty, you are innocent, and that as long as you are innocent you do not deserve anything of the kind. I told him that it was a good point that he was making and that he had every right to beat his best friend senseless if it made him happy.

Mawlawch ordered me another cheap whiskey, and I was getting mad. I realized that maybe he was trying to alcohol poison me for refusing to tell him anything about Thu's wife. I realized it the way that you realize that the bum next to you is an FBI agent when you're trying to catch a little sleep on the sidewalk outside of a bus station in Amarillo, Texas waiting for the next bus to Chicago to see your friend Baruch get married and all. It was just like that kind of realization. When you see that greasy blonde-bearded bum with his Thunderbird wine-stained shirt, moaning and snoring next to you on the box, and you realize that he is an agent of the FBI.

Yep. I realized Mawlawch was trying to drink me all the way under the table, and all the way under the ground, and I cursed under my breath and buried the drink hard down my throat and growled at him. "Listen Mawlawch," I said. "You are the worst fucking printer I ever worked with. You don't know shit about copying. You don't know shit about proper collation of materials. You don't know a goddamn thing about binding. You don't even know how to pronounce your name. You think you're going to kill me with whiskey?!" I was screaming now, and it was ugly. "You think I'm going to curl up and die like a dog? You think you can massacre me like those women and children in Fallujah or wherever the fuck they sent ya? Huh you motherfuck?! Well you're wrong!" I slammed down my shot glass and I pushed him hard in the chest. I watched him fall off the barstool and I saw him ball his fists. I knew I was in for trouble since I hadn't wrestled since eighth grade, and I knew he was trained in all of those arts of war and hand to hand combat and shit. Instead, he brought his knees to his chest and kicked me real hard in the balls like he was a little girl.

I doubled over and grunted and coughed. I fell down on the floor and I watched Mawlawch get up and stand over me.

"I'll get you Mawlawch," I said. "I'll fucking get your Altoona ass one of these days. It might not be tonight, but I will get you." I was barely even whispering because my balls were really hurting bad. I watched him order a double of whiskey and slam it back, and I saw his eyes close and stay closed for a minute. I figured the whiskey was burning his throat. He kicked me again and then he walked out the door.

I stumbled outside and looked around. It was hot in the night and the air was thick with humidity. I craved noodles and walked over to Chinatown. I walked around the streets of Chinatown looking in the windows. Looking at the ducks hanging upside down. I liked eating those ducks but I didn't know if it would mix well with the whiskey, so I went back to a little place where we had lunch sometimes and got some soup dumplings.

I had been eating a lot of soup dumplings ever since my old friend Malaria Bob introduced me to them on a hot day in New York City. I took the dragon bus up there to watch baseball with him and Sal the Ratkiller. Malaria Bob got his name from when he caught malaria in Central America. He claimed the mosquito got him right on the ass when he was in the middle of a good time with a beautiful Costa Rican woman in a shack overlooking the sea. They called me US, which stood for Uncle Sim, since I was always playing Wiffle ball with the kids on the block in the neighborhood. Sal got his name from the same little kids. They thought he was weird because he lived in a house alone without a wife and without parents, either. They asked me if he was some kind of weirdo and I said that he was pretty normal, but that he did like to shoot rats with a pistol.

Malaria Bob knew all the places in New York Chinatown, all the little holes in the wall with all the foods that anybody would want to eat. We walked around for three hours eating different noodles in different shops. We went into a little mall that went two stories down into the ground and walked around the circles of shops. Malaria Bob said you could pay for an ass kicking in the stairway if you wanted. He said it was called Thai massage, but it was really just four big guys with sunglasses who kicked your ass for ten bucks. I told him I'd rather stick to the noodles. He said we should at least have a look, so we looked in the stairway but the big guys were gone and he said maybe they just did the ass-kicking on weekdays.

We came up out of the mall and walked down the hot streets past a lumberyard and then we sat in a little place watching a guy make handmade noodles. We both got big bowls of noodles and we slurped them down. I asked Bob when we were going to be getting drunk and he told me to just be patient because Sal was on his way on the train. He told me the number or the letter of the train, but I couldn't keep any of those train numbers straight and half the damn time I ended up in the Far Rockaways instead of getting back to the Port Authority to catch the bus. Anyways, Malaria Bob was right about those noodles, they sure tasted good. Sal finally showed up and we went and got real drunk and played ping pong and went to Coney Island and ate chili dogs on the boardwalk and Bob got in a fight with one of the Coney Island Cyclones and Sal disappeared into the bathroom with some platinum blonde haired college student from Jersey and came out later with a big smile on his face. We ate and drank until we were sick and then I caught the Greyhound home and ever since then I had been eating a lot of soup dumplings.

I was still sore from Mawlawch kicking me and I was trying to figure out a way to get him back. The thing about getting sucker kicked is that it's hard to think of an appropriate revenge that you can still feel good about. Sure, you can sneak up on the guy and kick him in his own balls, but it's cowardly and not even creative because that was his move. What I really wanted to do was run him over with a car but I didn't have a car. All I had was a little BMX bike that I was getting too fat to ride, and running him over with that wasn't going to hurt him much. I bit into a soup dumpling and it burned my tongue real bad and spurted juice down on my shirt. I wrinkled my nose in disgust knowing that I'd keep wearing the shirt even though it was stained and that I'd be embarrassed in front of the customers until the stain finally faded away. I only had three shirts and two pairs of pants and I wore them to work and to bars and inevitably they had lots of stains on them because I was a pretty sloppy eater when I got drunk.

I decided that the best thing to do was go embarrass Mawlawch in front of his girlfriend, so I went into an all-night grocery and bought a big bag of frozen hot dogs. I stumbled down Market Street trying to walk real fast because I was starting to get excited about breaking into his condo and throwing the wieners at his girlfriend while screaming profanity. I snuck down the alleyway and thought to myself that Mawlawch was lucky to have a rich CHOP doctor girlfriend with a fancy-ass condo. I was always telling him that he was marrying up and he didn't like that. He kept telling me she was just a real cool girl and that his marriage proposal had nothing to do with her being a doctor. I told him that it was ok to marry for money, that he shouldn't be embarrassed, that it was better than slinking back to Altoona with his tail between his legs to be a guard again. I was really turning into an asshole, but I didn't care because no prison guard soldier dickhead was going to tell me something.

I got to the apartment and the breeze was blowing a little bit. I looked at the window and figured Mawlawch was a moron for living in a ground floor condo without bars on the windows. I hit the window frame hard with my palms and the lock shifted loose and I raised the window and started screaming and throwing the hot dogs in. I heard Mawlawch screaming back and I heard the alarm going off and I saw his girlfriend scrambling out of the bed and running down the hallway. I laughed and laughed and screamed and kept throwing those hot dogs at Mawlawch's head. I saw him rooting around in the nightstand and then he shot me. I didn't figure Mawlawch would shoot me, but that's what he did. He shot me twice in the chest and I fell back hard on the cobblestones of the alley and looked up at the sky and laughed. I must have been in shock, because it didn't hurt. Just felt like somebody was pushing on my chest. I yelled "Hey Mawlawch, you shoot me down? Huh? Eat your hot dogs you punk-ass bitch?!"

I saw his head poke out the window and he said, "Oh, Jesus. Simeon? What the hell? What the hell were you doing?! Holy shit, I fucking shot you, bro."

I put my head back down on the stones and listened to the sirens. The alarm had automatically called the police and they were racing to the scene. The cop almost ran my head over when he arrived on his motorcycle. He stood over me and I couldn't see his face. "Looks like you're shot huh?"

"That's right officer," I said.

"Well, paramedics'll be here in a minute."

"Sounds good," I said.

"Who shot you?"




The cop pulled his gun and Mawlawch put his hands up.

"Don't worry, officer," I said.

"What are you talking about," said the cop, his gun still pointed at Mawlawch.

"I was breaking into his house."

"You know him?"

"Yeah, we work together."

"Why were you breaking in?"

"To get revenge," I said.

"What were you going to do?"

"Throw hot dogs at him and his girl."


"I said I was going to throw hot dogs at him." I turned my head and puked the whiskey out on to the stones and then I was unconscious. They cleared Mawlawch of all charges for shooting me. I pled guilty to breaking and entering and got probation. Thu heard about the whole thing and fired both of us. I see Mawlawch sometimes out with his girlfriend, but I'm not mad anymore. He got in his kick and his bullets and I got him with hot dogs. I think we're even.

attack squirrel

© Ben Drinen 2009