Sunday, December 30, 2007


December 30th. It's that time of year again when people commence to look somewhat-objectively at their place in the universe and decide what parts of their life should be examined, what parts should be dove-tailed into moderation and what parts should be excised altogether. Usually, I resolutely refuse to write a list of things that I [need to] should change about myself. Why bother? You know? My resolutions last, on average, about a week, maybe two, and then it is right back on the Locomotive to Self-Destruction.

I am all talk. I know what I need to do to become a happier and healthier and more productive member of society, but, albeit I can talk a mean game, I rarely follow through on what I know would be beneficial to myself and others in my life.

But, as Tom Cruise long-ago said in Risky Business, sometimes you just gotta say what the fuck. So, in 2008 (Oh-Eight?! I can't believe that!), I resolve to do the following:

I plan to eat better. Happiness starts with regularity, I've heard, so I'm thinking about walking the isles of Vegetarianism. Or at least eat a hell of a lot more veggies. And fruit.

I resolve to walk at least a mile a day. With or without the dogs, 30 minutes a day can keep one healthy and help to shed unwanted pounds. I gotta lotta poun's I doan wan', Loocee.

I will more earnestly look into quitting smoking. Basic. Needed. Breath is good. Hacking sucks. Cancer sucks.

I will weight train more. I want to be a more muscular Adam in 2008 and beyond.

I will get better sleep. A good night's sleep is key to the motivation to better myself. Being tired and cranky all the time is not conducive to getting off my ass and getting things done.

I will attend more Meetings of Bill W. I need to remind myself why I have been sober for over a year now.

I will strive for honesty and self-accountability. Deceit and half-truths beget more of the same. Fo' shizzle, said Confuscious.

I will work more overtime, thus enabling myself to double my efforts in combatting my Credit Card Demons. Fucking credit cards. Don't get me started. And to any and all kids out there? You don't get started, either. Debt is a morass that sucks quite a bit of the joy out of life. Be smart from the beginning, y'hear?

I will try to not be so much of a friggin' hermit. I tend to isolate. That is not good for the mental health of ole Adamity Bomb_Bomb.

I will try to disengage the talons of the Internet from my forebrain. The Web is fanrastic, sure, but it's as addicting as brown sugar on oatmeal.

I will watch my fucking spending and buy what I need, not whatever catches my eye like I'm some pea-brained hummingbird, attracted to the shiny and new of life. I need to think before I buy--or charge--"Do I really need this?" More often that not the answer will be "No." I need to think more Buddha-istically. Less is more, baby.

I will be the perfect man. And just what the hell does that even mean? Okay. I'll just be the best guy that I can be. That's, um, a little easier.

Tall orders, huh? And that's specifically why I tend to avoid the Proclamations of a New Year. Many of these damned resolutions are assuredly attainable...the key is to stop the status quo cogs of the mind and to just fucking do it. Talk is cheap and blah blah blah. Okay. Here's one final resolution:

I resolve to be a man of action rather than a man of paralysis by analysis. I'm not talking Steven Segal, here, or Ahnold, I'm just saying that I tend to look at things 15 million different ways before I act. More often that not, it's a waste of time. I need to go with my gut more. I need to leap and then look. I need to more-readily trust my instincts. They're spot-on most of the time.

But some things need to be analyzed and--see?! Already--the ink ain't even cold yet--and already I am trying to soften things to my liking and loading up the Half-Measures catapault. Don't think. Do.

Onto more pleasurable things. The Nerf Hoop with which Meegie so graciously presented me for Christmas is finally assembled. Nothing like taking two weeks to get a child's toy put together, eh?! I couldn't do it. My sister couldn't do it. My brother-in-law couldn't do it. Meeg couldn't do it. We are all educated and intelligent adults, but we all looked at the Nerf basketball hoop and basically scratched our heads and looked for bananas. It was that complicated! Well, actually, it wasn't that complicated. We all just overlooked the most basic premise of the assembly: The two pieces of plastic to be used for mounting the hoop were not intended to be hooked together in some way. No. Rather, the first, bigger piece of plastic, was to go through the hole cut out in the cardboard backboard, and the second, smaller, piece of plastic was to be used to hang the top of the backboard from the top of the door. Seperate. Effective. Not a flaw in engineering. Rather, a flaw in the child-proof assembly instructions; cunt-fusing, they were. I had to go on the Internet to see a picture of the Nerf hoop before it dawned on me what I had been doing wrong. So. Anyway, it pleases me to no end to have the Nerf Hoop up and functioning. I feel like a 13-year-old again. (Except the acne has passed and my voice in a much lower register. Oh, and I make more money and I can drive a car. And vote.)

Yesterday, Saturday, my sisters and brothers-in-law and I went to my late uncle's beautiful 10-year-old house in rural Hamburg, Michigan, to look at things that were left in his house after his premature passing and, perhaps, make them our own. I felt vulture-ish, to tell you the truth. It felt almost voyeurisitc to go through his house, after his death, and claim his things as my own. But I thought about it longer: I think--no, I know--that he'd have wanted us to have his things if he were unable to use them. Better that family got his material goods instead of strangers at an auction...or whatever. So I rented a trailer and used said trailer to obtain a basically brand-new couch and an insanely-soft (and also brand-new) leather recliner that feels like butter when you sit in it. I already tested it today: I fell asleep in it for a two-hour nap. It's a keeper. I also fit in to a bunch of his shoes, so I took those, too. I still feel like a vulture, but, thank you, Uncle Rod. May you and Dean continue to catch up in peace.

[I love the couch and I love the chair--unfortunately, Oliver and Lou do, too. I just walked into the living room to see Oliver reclining on the sofa with a tiny checkerboarded swatch of a throw pillow ergonomically located next to his sharp little snout. I'll have to disabuse him of that mindset. Posthaste.]

One final note: congratulations to the New England Patriots. I've been pulling for them to remain unbeaten for a couple of reasons. One, Tom Brady is a former Wolverine and one of my favorite NFL players and, two, maybe this will finally shut the mouths of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the last team to go undefeated and a yearly storyline with their sideline gathering in hopes that the record remained theirs. It's over, guys. See ya later, dudes. Your time has passed. You go now.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Oh! But!

I heard recently that there was a more-concerted effort to portray Santa Claus, good ole Saint Nick, in a more health-conscious way. I'm serious. I heard that the general consensus was that Kris Kringle was too fucking fat and that the little kiddies who look up to him may become unduly influenced towards an unhealthy lifestyle. Instead of milk and cookies, some do-gooders are pushing the celery-on-a-plate-approach.


Stop the phonograph, please. I'd like to get off. And maybe perhaps bang my head against a brick wall.

We are talking about the big elf from the North Pole, here, right? From at least 1863, when a German immigrant named Thomas Nast illustrated A Visit From Saint Nicholas, Santa has been seen as being jolly and fat. Why turn him into a porn star now?

Why do we as a nation need to slice away the fat and wrinkles and brandish him with a six-pack stomach and a penchant for eating raw vegetables? If we do that, I think we're also going to have to get rid of the pipe, man. Smoking stinks! Yuck!

I don't think that children are making life decisions based upon the portrayal of a gift-bearing elf, but if they are? Perhaps their parents should step in and es'splain to them that what other people do with their lives (read: eating milk and cookies) is just fine and dandy but "in this house, we do it this way."

This country has gotten far too protective of its children. From the ubiquitous bicycle helmet to receiving a trophy regardless of where they finish in a given competition, the kids here are getting bubblicized.

Bubblicized: [bub-bul '-i-sized] verb *The over-insulation of a seemingly-weaker member of the species, so as to protect from harm and/or the slightest adversity. So named for the bubble wrap that is packaged with electronics to protect units from damage during transit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Four years ago today, my boy Lou was born. I was living with a friend, renting a room from him for a paltry $400 a month (why the hell didn't I save more money?!) and so I was there--a first responder, so to speak--to see Lou's entry into this world.

My friend Pablo owns a pedigree Boxer named Roxy and one morning, while I was groggily chewing my breakfast cereal, I saw Pablo swing open the back door wall and shout, "Get outta here! Go away!" I got up and sipped some orange juice and walked to the door to see what the hell was happening. Directly behind Pablo's house, there lived a dog--ostensibly a Pit Bull--and this dog had a penchant for leaping the fence when the mood struck. The mood had struck, apparently, because, as I reached the door and looked out, I saw said dog and Roxy engaged in a sort of reverse cowgirl-reverse cowboy lovemaking position. Roxy was facing towards the north and the other dog--the amorous interloper--was facing south. At the junction of their, well, junk, I imagine that fireworks were bursting.

And so little Roxy, plumb and pure, had had her innocence ripped away.

I'm not sure of the gestation period of dogs. I think it must be around five or six months. Anyway, Lou and his brothers and sisters showed up as Christmas babies, blind and furless, eight pups in all.

It truly was an amazing thing to see. The birth of the pups. The first one was the biggest. He was the one I had wanted originally. He'd had a white "mask" and, though Roxy--and the other dog for that matter--was of a brindle coloration, this first pup had had a lot of fawn characteristics. I'd named him Buddha, in respect to his deeply meditative, almost bovine, personality. Over time, in the whelping box, my attention had drifted from Buddha (he seemed almost too slow, as if he might have been a little oxygen-deprived) to Louie and another big boy, a dog that my sister would later adopt (along with Pete) and name Willy.

Whenever I would walk down the basement, Lou and Willy would run to the side of the makeshift whelping box and stand up against the side, their little puppy tails wagging furiously. There became really no other choice: Louie would be my boy. Seeing as how I lived there (and actually did more in the care of the puppies than the owner of the house) I would have the first pick of the litter.

And so Lou was a first round draft pick, first overall. And I have not looked back.

Sure, Willy grew to be the bigger dog. The dude is a friggin' monster, man. He's about 80 pounds and it is all muscle. Lou looks like a whippet in comparison. And, sure, Will is a sweet too his brother Petey. But I made a choice that I have lived with for all these 1460 days, and I could not be happier.

As all you dog-owners out there know, there is a special bond between a dog and its "master." The dog is always there. The dog is replete with unconditional love and acceptance. The dog is there on good days and the dog is there, curled up on the edge of the bed, on those bad days in which one just wants to slide into bed and pull up the covers and let the world churn by.

I remember Louie as a puppy, all long ears and black gimlet eyes, looking up at me from the floor, stamping me as his daddy. Louie has been an incredible dog throughout. Rarely have I had to raise my voice to him and rarely has he felt the need to, say, tear up a shit-talking pillow, or poop his name out onto the kitchen floor. And, with the addition of Oliver, Lou has done nothing but cement his legacy even more as the Greatest Dog Evah. He's not had a discouraging snip, an impatient snarl, since Oliver has set up shop as the Food-Eater. Lou has been, if dogs can be, a perfect gentleman, making Oliver's transition that much easier. As you can see by the picture, they kinda like each other.

He was pretty much a Christmas baby: December 23rd, 2003. And he is--and I know it--a gift every day that he is here with me.

Happy birthday, Lou. And you two, too, Pete and Willy. You have all brought us more joy and laughs than we could have ever hoped for. Here is to eight more years, kids. Peace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


What is it with those guys who wink? You may know the kind of men I'm talking about: the kind who will "good-naturedly" aim a verbal jab at someone and then look over at you and smile slantedly and drop a wink.

It happened to me a few days ago when I was at the garage getting a new used tire for my shuddering Ford Focus. It's been a couple of days, but I'll try to get the exchange right. I was in the back of the garage, watching the guy jack up my car and take off the tire, when the front door bell chimed and a guy walked in and ambled to the back. Apparently he had been there more than a few times in the past, because he called the owner by his first name (Ray) and seemed wholly at ease among the piles of tires and haphazardly-placed tools and the wreck of a bathroom.

I can't really remember the words, but it was something along the lines of...well, hell, I really can't remember a damned bit of the exchange. Maybe that should tell me something. Maybe that should tell me that what the guy said wasn't even remotely funny and that the three or four winks that he tipped in my direction were poorly placed.

Why am I that guy's buddy? Why am I the recipient of the winks? Are we a team, ganging up on Ray and the mechanic? Does he expect me to oafishly guffaw and run over and slap him on the shoulder and say, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That was a good one, Roger!" It wasn't a good one--it wasn't a bad one, either, it was just stupid--I was just there to get my tire fixed, and I was neither his tagteam joke buddy nor was I interested in his "I-know-this-guy-we-go-way-back" banter.

I really could not have cared less. So Roger knows Ray and vice-versa. So what?

I'm reviewing this as I write it and it seems to me that I may be walking around with a stick up my ass. That must be the case, because who the hell writes about two or three innocuous winks thrown in his or her direction after a "funny" was made three days previously? Me. A tired cranky motherfucker, I reckon.

But back to the practice of good-ole-boy twitch-winking at strangers: I'm not your friend. I don't know you. Don't wink your playfully-digging banter in my direction, sir.

I know, I know, it's all a big joke and we're mildly "having it on" at Ray's expense. Here's how it is, Winker: I don't know Ray, either. I mean, shit, I've just gone to his garage to get my tires fixed two or three times in the past. And I've only gone there because I can get a used tire--in my Focus's small size--balanced and out the door for thirty bones.

Truth be told, the only reason I know Ray is Ray is because there is a big sign painted on the side of the brown building that chippingly says "Ray's Discount Tires." In fact, I am not really a fan of Ray's place. It depresses me whenever I walk through the door.
Talk about a lack of overhead!

The place is a fucking dump. It's dirty, there are tires stacked--seemingly--to the ceiling, filthy hubcaps and rims line the floor behind the counter, five or six folding chairs serve as the waiting area, outdated Parks and Recreation maps are taped to the wall, there's an old dusty Zenith that has a new life as a telephone book table, Ray himself is rather dusty and grim, unsmiling and of an indeterminate age, and it just depresses me because whenever I walk in there I think to myself, This is where Ray and the other guy work. This is where they spend a majority of their time. This is what they are paid to look at. How the hell do they find anything here? What do they do for food? Why the hell is the telephone still a rotary dial? Has Ray failed to keep up with the times? Does Ray go home every night to his flea-bitten tabby cat and nuke a microwave Salisbury steak dinner and watch the tube? Is Ray depressed? Why does he seem so fucking morose, man? Life is good. Look out the window, Ray, and watch the joyous masses motorvate up and down John R. Road, man.

The place screams Boring Utilitarianism.

The place reeks of lonliness.

And so when some cowboy in his personalized blue work jacket strolls in, tipping winks to strangers after regurgitating some sorry old line...I guess I just fail to see the humor in it.

And I'm not a part of his team, tagging up and dropping a Flying Tsunami Elbow on Dirty Ray, lying prostrate on the canvas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


We got hit by the stoam
I say widda smile
And the doagz sholey lub it
As they frolic sans guile

There is seven inches
On the ground, out da window
And the stoam nebber flinches
The levels will grow

I'd better scram
I think to myself
The doags are in a jam
They turnin' blue, they look like an elf

Friday, December 14, 2007


And the neighbor's dog has been out there in their backyard barking for the last--oh, I don't know--20 minutes straight. It is a fluffy white dog, and it kinda looks like the fake Oliver in this picture to the right. (I need my killing Oliver to death ray the son-of-a-bitch to, well, sleep.)

It barks.

It barks.

It fucking barks! Wake up, lady! Let your fucking dog inside, damn it!

Sorry that I lost my head. I feel like Elaine from that Seinfeld epsiode in which the little ragamuffin dog the next apartment over barks at all hours of the night and Elaine suffers and suffers and suffers until finally she can take it no longer and hires Newman to "off" the dog.

Maybe the lady next door died. Or maybe she's drunk off her ass on Wild Turkey, or addicted to Valium or Vicodin or Percocet or some other kind of mind-altering chemical. Maybe she's trying to get the neighboring neighbors to think that The Barker is one of my pups. No. Uh-uh. Not mine. If they--let's just put it this way: the only way that they'd be outside at 1:30 in the morning, barking their fool heads off would be if I were in the bathroom, shitting out a lung. (That analogy? It works. Work with me, here. I'm friggin' tired.)

And the dog doesn't even string together a good volley of barks. It's almost like Chinese Doggy Torture: one bark, pause, one bark, pause--oh, wait! It just barked twice in rapid succession. Saaaaaaaa-weet!

Hopefully the lady wakes up soon.

Maybe I'll bring it up nicely to her the next time that I see her. "Hey! Trampy Jane! When your dog barks at 1:40 in the friggin' aye-em?! Let his ass in!"


Monday, December 10, 2007


In the continuing quest to inform Cyberland of the insufferable minutia of my life, I must disclose that I went bowling on Sunday. My first game I bowled a 170. Then I bowled a 190. Basic arithmetic would hold that I was in line to bowl a 210. Nope. I bowled a 104 in my final game.

In my defense, my knee was beginning to act up in the last game.

And our team lost the bowling "match" by a total of 3 pins. Ouch.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I saw The Mist last night. It's a 127-minute movie written for the screen as an adaptation of Stephen King's short story of the same name. I highly recommend--if you've not read the "Skeleton Crew" collection of short stories--dragging up a chair and exploring King's fertile imagination.

I had hesitations about the movie, seeing as how King's writings have often not passed muster on the silver screen. The movies that are based on his work have often been splashed across the screens as hokey gore-fests that elicted more laughs than shrieks. I don't blame the master for that; I blame the moviemakers and the fact that King's books are more of a character-driven than plot-driven. It is what it is. Now, for sure, there have been some King masterpieces. The Shining and Misery and Stand By Me and Carrie come immediately to mind, but, for the most part, the movies have sucked. Think Dolores Claiborne and Pet Semetary. And the abortions that were Rose Madder and The Perfect Storm, made-for-TV shit-taculars that should have stayed on the cutting room fli-zoor.

So I was pleasantly surprised by The Mist. It held true to the short story--save for the ending, which had more than a few moviegoers grumbling--and they did a really good of creating the creatures of the mist.

One scene with which I was particularly pleased was the one in which the battle-weary characters creep along the highway in the 4X4, slowly traversing the mist. In the book, King describes a mottled gray creature of Lovecraftian proportion--the characters, peering up through the window into the mist can not even see the underside of the beast. That's one huge motherfucking beast, y'know? I'd been wondering just how in the hell the moviemakers were going to convey the surreal size. Enter computer graphics. 'Twas sweet. Basically, imagine a walking skyscraper--50 stories high if it's one--slowly thudding by, dwarfing all in its wake, dangling tentacles like some kind of giant mutant udders. Tres bien, tres bien.

That is what--in my opinion--has held King movies back, in the past. There has just not been a way to convey to the screen the vibrant imagination of the writer. But, whatever...I was entertained. That's enough for me. I'm easy, that way.

Friday, December 07, 2007


365 days. Thirty-one-and-a-half million seconds. That's a hell of a lot of "one-one-thousands." I am somewhat pleased.

It is amazing how much has changed in one year.

I feel like I should be happier about meeting this milestone, but, truly, I'm not. It is what it is. A year without an alcoholic drink, a year without a mind-altering hiatus from everyday humdrum-ity. It is but another day. Another step in the journey, and all that happy shit.

Do I miss the drinking lifestyle? In a way, yes. Hell yeah, I do. I miss the pleasing warmth of "checking out." I miss the social sliiiiiiiide of the spirits. I miss the first crisp swallow of a cold Guiness after a long day at work. But, who am I kidding? It was never just one swallow. One swallow begat a hundred more.

And so in a thousand and one more substantial ways, I don't miss the drinking lifestyle. I've said it before: addiction to mind-altering substances affects facets of one's life in a myriad of ways. Here are some of them: physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, legal.

When I wake up these days, I do so without that tight knot in my gut and the haze of Dread across my being. The feeling that I got from not remembering just exactly what had gone down the night before. Even if I spent the night alone in my apartment, methodically cracking and draining aluminum containers of "nectar," I would still wake up with that son-of-a-bitching feeling of Dread. It wasn't a pleasant way to exist.

12 months. 8760 hours.

Later tonight, I'll go to a meeting with my sponsor and he'll stand up in front of the hundred or so people and he'll present me with a one-year token. Tangible proof to myself that I accomplished something that I had thought was virtually impossible a year ago. Believe me, I was in pretty rotten shape.
A tradition upon receiving one of these coins is for other members to ask the "birthday" boy or girl how they did it. "How'd you do it?" they'll ask. Often, people will say things like they let go of their will and let God take over. "Thy will be done, not mine," they'll say. And that's great. But I don't believe that that's all of it.

It's a fascianting phenomenon, really. The cumpulsion to poison myself with toxic (to me) beverages seems to have lifted. I get urges, of course, but it's almost as though I have a truss on my Id, now. It doesn't control me like it once did. I, with the help of the program, control it.

The key is, though, to not get cocky. There is a saying that, while one "recovers," the addiction is in the basement doing pushups, biding its time, waiting to spring at the "afflicted" when he or she least expects it. I buy that. Always in the past, when I went back to the Debbil after a time off, it was--whoosh!--right back on the rocket ship. Fuck that. I have too much to lose.

So, anyway, tonight, when people ask me how I did it, I say that I did it with the help of my sponsor and the belief in a Higher Power. And one day at a time. And I'll add that I was just fed up with the self-mutilation. That self-flagellation was so yesterday, man. That I had to stop dying in order to live.

O! Cliche! How I have come to love you!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Yesterday, after the vulgarity-laden tirade against all things Patriot, I ended the post with the assurances that I would write about puppies and rainbows. I am a man of my word.

Puppies and Rainbows
awwwww, look! the puppies!
golden-brown, they scream, shriek as
the rainbow smashes

You're welcome. ;-)


Yes, I put an asterik there. Because it should be there. Because the Patriots should not have won the motherfucking game and Tom Brady should not have thrown the ball to Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney and Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney should not have had the chance to not score the game-winning touchdown, preserving the Patriots undefeated season and all but relegating my Fantasy team, the Monkeys, to playoff spectators.


And Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney? He did not have full control of the ball before he went out of bounds. For what in God's name do we have instant replay--booth replay or otherwise--if they're going to fuck up the calls when they replay them?! He did not have full possession of the ball! I could see that! Anyone could see that! He was juggling the blasted pigskin on his way out of bounds, two feet in or not! How much did the owner of the Pats, Someone-or-other Kraft pay the officials, both on the field and in the booth?!

I am completely pissed off. I want to break something, I want to juggle my dogs, I want to destroy...I'd tear my hair out, but I am as smooth as a baby seal, having just shaved my noggin earlier tonight.

Fantasy football...harmless pastime, joy-filled hobby...or life-altering obsession? Um. Next question.

Now excuse me as I savagely swallow a melatonin tablet and hit the hay.

Here is where a beer would taste mighty'd help me to forget. And that's true.

By the way, on the non-drinking front? A guy from work came over today, bringing a 10-by-8 dog pen that he wasn't using, which I ended up buying for $40.00. (It's in my basement, and I think it's going to work out just fine. The dogs'll have more room to move, when I'm at work, and they'll have the option of having "accidents" on the easily-cleaned cement basement floor. So...hopefully it works out.)

The guy brought the pen and he also brought a six-pack of Budweiser. Down we went into the basement to set up the pen and along came the sixer. "Go ahead," he said. "Help yourself."

I grimaced. "I'd sure like one," I said, "but I'm gonna have to pass. I'm, like, four days from a year without drinking and I really don't want to fuck up at this point."

"Oh," he said, "no problem." And so he drank his beer and I drank my beer-flavored water and all was good with the world.

Until tonight. And Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney.


(By the way; one last thing: Jabar? Act like you've been there before, you cocky fourth-tier son-of-a-bitch. You should be thanking the crooked booth officials, not nodding your head, wildly gesticulating your skinny-ass arms on the gosh-damned sideline. Show some humilty; show some class, Wannamakah. You were lucky, you retread son-of-a-pup. Remember that when you cash your game check, bitch. In fact, why don't you donate your game check to some charity? Here's a good one: The Adam Bomb/ Louie Pit Bull/ Ollie Beagle Relief Fund. Nonsequential 100s would be fab.



Sunday, December 02, 2007


I need to write something. Anything. I suppose the six words I have just written constitute writing "anything," know what I mean. This once-a-week blogging is shit.

crickets chirp the taffy
stretch of brutal writers' block
how much for a muse?


Andrew Jennings stumble-slouched along the sidewalk, his checkered fedora lying limp against his skull. The first Outbreak of Winter--hear all about it on the eleven o'clock news!--had hit and the small town of Yerkers, Maine, had ground to a stop. Spin-outs and fender-benders. Pedestrians, bundled up like five-and-a-half foot toddlers, trudged like ants through the whiteout world. Jennings wasn't dressed for the inclement weather. Three sheets to the wind, the truth was that he couldn't even really feel the cold. His internal thermostat was all fucked up.

In his drunken state, he had been staring blearily at the kitchen TV, not-focussing on a Disneyworld commercial, when Jiminy Cricket, of Pinnochio fame, had rapped with his umbrella against the inside of the screen and said, "Drew? Getcho ass outside and find you a muse, you drunk motherfuck."

Oddly enough, this had not surprised Jennings. A cartoon cricket was talking to him from inside the television set? So? And Jiminy had the voice of Samuel L. Jackson? So what? What was odd about that? Miracles happened every day, his dear old mother had once told him. If a hallucination constituted a miracle, well, so be it. He had simply nodded sagely at the screen, tipped a wink to good ole Jiminy, and, in his slippers and his ratty bathrobe and his checkered fedora, had set off down the slippery streets of Yerkers, intent upon finding his muse.

"Are you a muse?" he asked now, sidling up to a snow-woman, waiting scarved and puffy-coated at the bus stop.

She turned stiffly and regarded him with blue-eyed New England pragmatism. "Do you know that you're wearing a bathrobe?" she asked. Her eyes slid down. "And that it ain't exactly tied shut?"

Jennings glanced down. His boxer shorts had slid a bit, during his commute, and now his pal Mr. Friendly was wagging in the icy wind. He tucked himself back in and tied his bathrobe tight and looked down the street. The bus was slowly winding its way around the snowed-in cars and drifts of snow. It reminded him of a huge white beetle, its windshield wipers eyebrows. "The bus is coming," he said.

"Ayup," she said, looking past him. "It surely is."

They stood for a silent moment, and then Jennings spoke. "Well, I guess I'll be going now. There's gotta be a muse around here, somewhere."


And so Andrew Jennings slouched off, his fedora plastered to his head like an upside-down buttercup, his knees purple with the cold.