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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
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Someday Man

By John Grochalski

I knew Fluffy was dead the minute I opened the door. He was lying in his cat bed. Fluffy was always at the door when I got home. He was like a dog in that way, only he wouldn’t bark and try to climb on you, like one of those dumb beasts. Fluffy gave you a meow of acknowledgement and then went about his business. He pissed. Fluffy liked to piss the minute Dina or I got home. He’d piss, scratch his litter box up, eat some of his food, and then prance around the apartment tripping us up as we went about the business of getting the stink of the work day off of us. Then he’d sit between us on the couch while Dina and I had a scotch and water, and complained about our individual days. Fluffy sat in the middle of us and meowed a lot. Cats had days as well.

But I knew that he was dead. Fluffy was stiff and cold, and his eyes were shut. He was laying there in the bed in such a comfortable position; his head to the side like always. The first thing I thought was how I hoped that I was comfortable like that when I died. Then I started totaling up the money we’d spent on this cat over the past month. There was the three-hundred dollar vet visit. We paid four-hundred bucks for the EKG on his heart, and then another thousand getting four teeth extracted. Seventeen-hundred bucks. That was over half the trip to Spain right there. Spain was gone. Dina and I were going to visit her mom in Pittsburgh instead. I hated Pittsburgh. And there was Fluffy dead only a week later. Shit. I was out a cat and I was out a European vacation. I wanted to kill a man.

I got a beer out of the fridge and then went back over the cat bed, and watched my poor dead animal sleep his eternal sleep. The beer tasted good enough, but it was hard to get down with that lump in my throat. I was going to cry and it was just a matter of when. Fluffy was probably my best pal. I didn’t like people. I loved Fluffy. I loved him and took care of him the best that I could, despite the stupid name that Dina gave him. She’d always wanted a dog, she said. I had no clue what that meant. No self-respecting mutt was named Fluffy. Bunnies were named Fluffy; female bunnies and my dead male cat. The tears came fast and hard. I still managed to get the beer down.

I went and got a Steelers sweatshirt out of my closet and wrapped Fluffy up in it. It was a gift from Dina’s mom. I hated the goddamned Steelers. The Ravens were my team. But I wore that sweatshirt because it was Fluffy’s favorite. I’d put the thing on intending to mess it up doing housework in it, but then I’d sit on the couch with a beer and sure enough Fluffy would make his way over and plant himself right on my stomach and chest. We’d stay like that, man and cat, nearly prostrate on the couch. Dina would try and get mad, get me to get my ass off the couch and help, but it was hard to look into that tabby’s golden eyes and find an inch of anger in your soul. She’d usually grab us a couple more beers and then we’d all sit on the couch together, watching TV or some movie we saw a thousand times. Fluffy would purr and sleep and life would be good. The housework could go and get fucked.

I put Fluffy in the passenger seat of the car and then I got in. I had no real clue or plan. But I should’ve left Dina a note. She’d be home from work soon, and I wouldn’t be there and Fluffy wouldn’t be there. There’d be no music playing on the radio. No Dylan or The Beatles echoing through the place. There’d be blackness, an empty cat bed, and an empty beer can half crushed on the coffee table. It would be shit to walk into that and come to some conclusion that would scare the life out of you. But I didn’t know what to do. I was such a wreck. I was sad and angry, and crying as I drove the car with my dead cat riding shotgun. It was only when I pulled into the supermarket’s parking lot that I knew what I was going to do.

I got some ripe tomatoes and a carton of eggs. I grabbed a six-pack of Natural Light from the cooler, and then went up to the register. I tried my best to make my red, teary eyes look more like an irritation or an allergy, as if the teenage cashier with the perky tits and tight ass was going to care whether or not I was crying. I read Star magazine while I waited in order to take my mind off of Fluffy in the car. It was the issue on celebrity bodies at the beach. The Star was really giving it to the rich and famous for not having tight enough abs, or for having a little bit of cellulite on the back of their thighs. It was mostly the women celebrities that got roasted; those emaciated millionaire broads with no shape. You never saw the fat old male stars getting dragged through the mud in those rags. You just saw them waddling around with young chicks. I always thought about shit like that, women versus men in this world, gender bias. Dina and her goddamned Ani Difranco CDs. She’d turned me into an animal loving feminist and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

I pulled up in front of the veterinarian clinic and let the car idle. The building looked dead and quiet. The vet was probably off spending my seventeen-hundred bucks. I looked at Fluffy resting stiff in that Steelers sweatshirt and I started to cry again. It was my fault that the cat was dead. Before this teeth business, I hadn’t had Fluffy to the vet in over four years, not since the last vet told Dina and I that he had a heart murmur that needed to be taken care of immediately. And eight year-old cat and you’re just discovering this now? I said to the vet. She was some new doctor, right out of school. A fucking dumb blonde, I thought. I wasn’t so much of a feminist back then.

The vet gave us these pills that we were supposed to break up and put in Fluffy’s soft food. That lasted just over a day. I came home from work and Fluffy didn’t greet me. He was just sitting there in the corner of the living room, hunched up, eyes glassy. I knew it was the pills that did it. I called the vet. She thought that Fluffy might be having a stroke. I told her it’s funny, the goddamned cat never had any stroke until we took him to you and you gave us those fucking pills. Then I hung up on the bitch. When Dina got home I told her no more with the pills, and no more with the vet. I told her we’d let Fluffy just live and let live. It seemed like a good idea then. But in recent months with Fluffy getting sicker and sicker, I thought maybe I should’ve just looked for a new vet instead of shutting everything down and becoming a Christian Scientist about my pet. But that was me. Always thinking.

I got myself together and cracked open one of the Natural Lights. I toasted Fluffy and then I drank. I found an unmarked CD in the glove compartment and shoved it in the player. Bruce Springsteen. Shit. My life was a Springsteen song. Dead cat. Crappy car. Bad job. Mediocre existence. A grown man crying and drinking beer on a lonely road at night. I had that bag of eggs and tomatoes right on the passenger side floor. I still wasn’t sure if I had the guts to do it, or if was even the right thing. I never did shit like that, never egged anyone’s car or house, or threw tomatoes at them like I was at a fucking Shakespeare play. But there I was in front of the veterinarian clinic, and those big glass windows were calling to me. Fluffy was still dead. None of this would bring him back or bring our money back, but I’d probably get a small sense of peace from the act. I was hoping to God that I’d get something.

My mother used to always sing this song to me when I was a kid. It was from the Monkees or someone. Someday man, I think it was called. The lyrics were, I was born a someday man or a maybe child. My mom used to sing that song and turn to me and say, that’s you, a someday man or a maybe child, because you’re always dreaming or putting things off. You never commit to anything, she said. You never put yourself out there. Then she’d laugh and dance around the kitchen, making goddamned old fashioned hamburgers for my old man. My mom should’ve been a motivational speaker instead of a goddamned liquor store clerk. But Dina accused me of the same shit, so she couldn’t have been that far off.

I thought about that Someday Man song while sitting in the car with my dead cat, as Springsteen played. I wished that I’d had it to listen to in the moment. Maybe it would be a comfort to me. But you know what they say about wishing.

I finished the Natural Light and grabbed another one. I took a long pull and got out of the car. I went over to the passenger side and got the bag of tomatoes and eggs. I thought about grabbing Fluffy too, and setting him at the doorstep of the vet clinic once I was finished. I figured doing that as one big and final fuck you. But a dead cat would’ve been overkill. Plus how would I explain that one to Dina.

I put the beer on the roof of the car and took the bag closer to the vet’s window. No one was on the street. I set the bag down, grabbed one of the tomatoes, and threw it off the side of the building. It splattered and made a dark star-shape on the brick. Then I threw the other one. I went back and got my beer and looked at the tomato stains, proud of my work. I took a pull on the beer and toasted Fluffy again. Then I went back to my spot and got out the eggs. I started tossing them at the vet’s nice, big window. I tossed the whole dozen. They cracked and splattered. Too bad it wasn’t a cold night. The mess looked like modern art. I felt like an artist. I felt good for the first time in a month. Man, I felt like something.

© John Grochalski 2011