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





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 





With Enemies Like These

29 05 2008

Who needs friends?  I can barely keep my enemies list updated, what with all the backstabbing and douchebaggery and constantly revised revenge plots. Here’s who’s currently getting my dander up—and consequently making innocent dander-allergic third parties suffer.  HOW MANY NASAL PASSAGES MUST YOU INFLAME

Nero’s Enemies List

(in order of who I would punch hardest if I had fists)

—————————————————

1. Edith Wharton (lingering English class antipathy)

2. Maxie (does not deserve to live or, barring that, be more popular than me)

3. Willie Randolph (he knows why)

4. Google Inc. (for reporting my gosling pornography searches)

5. Exterminators (bedbugs didn’t ask to be born, buddy!)

6. Richard M. Nixon

7. The Kingdom of Denmark (enough visa rejections will drive you to violence)

Also, how bout you learn to spell in American

8. Hank the Bullying Hawk (“sharpens” his talons on my back)

9. Fortune cookie fortunes (is it me, or have they gotten more threatening?)

10. The Honorable Judge Winston Busby of the Delaware Court of Chancery (whose title is long and boring)





Vintage Verbiage

28 05 2008

Q. What’s worse than a plagarist?

A. A time-traveling plagarist.

Close friends have been reading countless drafts of my nearly-complete debut novel, American Emperor, a pseudo-pornographic odyssey through the last years of the 20th century with an effortlessly awesome Manhattanite postmodern Caesar, Baligula (too obvious?  constructive criticism welcome), at its center.  And well they should re-read this manuscript in its myriad incarnations: it’s a burgeoning, blood-spattered masterpiece. The deposed and down-on-his-luck emperor resurrects himself as high society’s most divine pillar by establishing cutthroat professional “friendships,” ensconcing himself in über-expensive fashions to the point of obsession and gruesomely torturing those who may or may not have slighted him in the past, recording every tedious detail along the way.


Intellectual thievery, thy name is Bret.

All this work only to have the hacks at Random House tell me they see unmistakable echoes of a book published 17 years ago and want no part of the inevitable legal hoopla I’m inviting.  I suppose they mean my pending lawsuit against Mr. Ellis, who is recklessly abusing his apparent ability to hopscotch through history and, frankly, flattering himself by passing off my fictions as his.  I say: “fine!”  I will take this cad on by my lonesome.  How dare he re-write my happy ending!

Just the same, I have the feeling we might hit it off. 

—Caligula