The Labyrinth 2.0

17 07 2008

What brutal sprawls of twisted deathmaze encroach on our precious isle of Manhattan!  What beast-infested nooks and crannies where taxis dare not roam!  What great food-trapping beards that outgristle and outgrease any post-coital Minotaur!  What cheap and chokesome wat’ry beers!  What uninspired zombie throngs that barely conceal contempt for opening bands that aren’t half bad!  What bony, unwashed sternums unearthed by plunging V-neck collars!     

Sign marking the condemned’s entrance to their existential Inferno

To think, that even I, Caligula, could find myself in that phantom world of non-dreams and overshopping at Trader Joe’s, merely by falling asleep on the B train en route to Urban Outfitters, is too hellish an ordeal to dwell on. The human disease, thy name is Brooklyn. I shall have to put the episode behind me if I stand any chance of recovery. But the memories of clove-breath and misappropriations of irony, the gnarled syntax and pizza parlor stabbings, will haunt me for a lifetime, nay, into the afterlife.  

To say nothing of the short stories that hold together about as well as a fistful of diarrhea.  

—Caligula





I’m Gone For Just Two Millenia…

1 07 2008

And look what happens to my precious Rome!

Oh sure, to you it’s some neat touristy diversion, minor ruins, a chill place to sit around and get high with the Australians from your hostel.  But that was my temple!  In 40 A.D., man, the blood ran down those steps and people recognized me for the various gods I undoubtedly am.  And today when I peeked in the archway the Danish teenagers fucking inside wouldn’t even let me take a Polaroid.  When did I lose my touch?  When did my palaces of torture crumble into desrepair?

The rest of the city was likewise depressing; I was run over by two taxis and a ten-year-old on a vespa.  Yet I did catch a glimpse of an opulently dressed man on a balcony—from what the locals say, he seems to have taken up my mantle of narcissism and  eccentricity.  Sealed away in an untouchable private country (imagine the hidden/forbidden pleasures!) and essentially equating himself with the Creator, his word is law; he commands unconditional worship.  It’s good to know Rome is still under the sway of a man so made in my mold:

—Caligula





Chexmate

18 06 2008

The indignities just keep coming.  

My temp job is so dull you couldn’t cut a blade of grass with it.  And since I don’t enjoy the comforts of my own computer or a desk to display bobble-heads on, I have only one pleasure: a daily 75¢ bag of transcendently salt-infused Original Chex Mix from the break room’s vending machine.  

Oh, believe me, I’d like more than one bag a day, but the machine isn’t restocked very often, and if I indulge my Chex addiction too much, I’ll be left deliberating whether trail mix or Juicyfruit gum would be the less vomit-inducing alternative.  Not a great selection in that machine.  But I have a system, and it works.

Usually.

The avian community agrees: Chex Mix is worth risking your life for

There are some days, however, when the ever-sadistic machine decides that you can’t have anything from Row C.  Row C, C as in the row Chex Mix calls home.  Put in a dollar bill—or exact change, which I’m always prepared with—and push C-3; a light goes on next to the phrase “make another selection.” The Chex Mix is there, begging you to free it from its coiled metal prison, but the machine thinks you might like something in another row better.  Either that or its playing dumb.  You press your forehead to the plexiglas and sigh, defeated.

And then there comes a time when you can’t let junk food-dispensing robots win.  

You see where all this is going, don’t you.

I’m still in the neck brace.  And I’m pretty sure I got fired, but who knows—after my head had been stuck in the slot for 20 minutes I sorta blacked out.  And I couldn’t pay my hospital bill, so they kicked me out a little earlier than is customary in these cases.

But not before offering me trail mix.

—Nero

 

 

 

 





How To Succeed In Birding Without Really Flying (Not Possible)

16 06 2008

So yeah, I’ve got something against penguins.  Who doesn’t?  You?  You hate them more than anyone!  You think you’re their friend?  Why? Because you saw that movie where they all march around in circles and are really brave about the cold since when you live in Antarctica (aka the world’s biggest no-fly zone) there’s really nothing else to do?  Because you cried every single time Morgan Freeman changed his voice slightly and went, “at this stage of the journey, many penguins will perish”? Well, I hate to break it to you, nature groupies, but the plane that carried all those reels of penguin footage from gay old France let loose enough greenhouse gases to shrink the radius of their natural habitat another foot.  All so you could watch them fall on their bottoms for an hour and a half.  So good job.

Stop acting like you feel sorry for these dumbass walking disasters while continuing to ridicule them daily:  

   

Tuxedos were bad enough, but a fucking Members Only jacket?!

If you need proof that penguins don’t want your misguided fawning interest or vicious “clumsy” jokes made at their expense, go to the Central Park Zoo exhibit.  They all stand sadly with their backs to the crowd, taking turns shitting on the shit-stained rocks and each other.  That’s it.

Jesus.  I mean, I can’t stand those dirty pengos, but its not like they hide their feelings.  You guys are just in straight-up denial.    

—Nero 

 

 

 

 

 





Relatively Speaking

13 06 2008

Dear Crazy, Infection-Ridden, Dog-Infatuated, Probably Homeless Lady Who Roams Central Park West:

Whoever you are under that low-quality wig of dreadlocks, thank you.

You’d think New Yorkers would be used to anything, and not glance twice when they see an emotionally warped man of my chiseled looks walk out of his luxury condo in a toga and laurels.  I guess we never live in a society as progressive as we’d like—I’ve certainly tried to put pressure on what constitutes “normal” in my lifetime, but maybe I’d given up trying to push it there, defiantly eschewing the need to fit in, even to my own detriment.

But then along you came, wearing those plastic vampire teeth that I can only assume are your cheap replacements for the genuine article, showing off that bed bug-infested inside-out fur coat, and suddenly exploding from inaudible mutters into an incoherent scream of “Time was to get busy, PLEASE!!”  Which never fails to speed up the gait of passersby.  

Also, your tendency to act as though you’re about to kidnap people’s shi tzus makes them visibly panicked.

I’m like 80% sure our neighborhood’s crazy dog lady

isn’t the ghost of Leona Helmsley

I’m not a man prone to hyperbole, but you are quite literally America’s greatest hero, nay, doused in godliness.  Because of your wrestling matches with park benches, nobody even seems to notice a harmless eccentric like yours truly these days.  It seems that after an estimable tenure, I’ve passed the torch on to another challenger of the status quo.  Oh, sure, you can’t take the twisted decadence out of me—I’m the same soulless void I always was. But a new generation is ready to follow in my footsteps, helming the ship en route to an oblivion of the cruelly absurd and absurd cruelty.

Dog-licking: why didn’t I think of that!

With rapturous admiration,

Caligula

 

 





Blissed Connection

12 06 2008

Ever have one of those moments on the subway—after what turned out to be a bitch of a girlfriend dumped you for some seagull that never stops bragging about his trash pile on Coney Island—where you look up from the soggy lip of the crumpled brown bag concealing your bottle of triple sec  and see the most beautiful, supple-necked goose you’ve ever seen, with sparkling obsidian eyes and chest plumage so triumphantly gray that it promises the thunderstorms of the next thousand years, and for some unfathomable reason she is staring not at the lime-flavored drool escaping your beak, not at the bald patch in your left wing that can’t be combed over anymore these days, not at where your ballooning gut touches your cracked foot-webbing, but looks into your very soul for a full soft radiant world of time before the train stops at West 4th street and she hops off, leaving you forever with that untarnished aura of love and longing that melts into the vague memory of what it means to be happy?

“Well fuck that,” I said.  “I’m putting a Missed Connection ad on Craigslist.”

So far this guy is the only response I’ve gotten.

Just to be clear, the soulmate I was reaching out to is not

A) Human

B) A Mexican Wrestler

 

I might have more luck staying on the C train for the next six months.

—Nero

 

 





Urban Ennui

5 06 2008

The emptiness of this city.  You feel it with every issue of the New Yorker—that piece of fiction about a family trip to the beach in 1973 simply too boring to finish, the glossily eroticized spreads of Swiss watches that are unfashionable by the time you’ve caught a glimpse.  In every Sotheby’s auction where they theorize that Rembrandt himself probably painted only the nose on this particular portrait, apprentices responsible for the rest.  At the seal show in the Central Park Zoo, these pathetic creatures squirming about for the amusement of mentally stifling families with no grasp of contraception—

Wait a minute.

Those seals are kissing!!  

That is SO FUCKING CUTE!!  

I LOVE SEALS! I LOVE ALL GOD’S CREATURES WE ARE MEANT TO LIVE IN HARMONY AND ONLY AT THIS MOMENT HAVE I REALIZED ALL THIS PERVADING MELANCHOLY WAS A SELF-INFLICTED WOUND THAT I NEED NOT

Hold on.

What the hell is that?  Did that thing get all its face skin torn off somehow?  UG. LEE.  And it’s eating a twig it just pulled off its own butt.  

What?  How dare you!  I didn’t evolve from this piece of shit!  He’s crass! He’s a slave to his appetites! He—oh, well, that temper tantrum is something I might—and using a rock to masturbate…OK, fine!  I’m no different from this brute.  Are you happy?  

Because I could not be more depressed.  Again.

—Caligula