Suggested Audio Jukebox ♬
 Teena Marie “Wishing On A Star”
 MPHO “Box’N’Locks”
 Ladytron “Destroy Everything You Touch”
 Shakespears Sister “You’re History”
 Roger Nichols “Hart To Hart (Pilot Theme)”
 Billy Joel “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
 Al Jarreau “Moonlighting”
 Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker “Love Lift Us Up (Where We Belong)”
If I give this thing a good rub, something is supposed to come out. Anyhoots, enough about me, what do you think of my oil lamp? It’s a beauty ain’t it? Found it down here in the cave and I reckon it will fetch a handsome price on eBay. However, for as much as I’m tempted to list it at the first available opportunity, something tells me I should investigate this curious relic further. You see, according to ancient folklore, this thing is enchanted. I’m not ordinarily one for buying into mumbo jumbo but there’s something about this lamp that has me all intrigued. Legend has it that there is an ancient genie trapped inside and one hard polish will release him from his eternal trappings. I know right? That’s how the cenobites got free and we all know how that panned out. Curiosity didn’t work out particularly well for the cat apparently and it’s better not to go messing with things we don’t fully understand. But three wishes complimentary of the house are not to be sniffed at and, to be completely honest, I could really do with them about now.
Now I’m not what you would call a greedy man and my needs are relatively simple by all accounts. I’ve never really been fussed about amassing a wealth of riches and neither am I looking to rule the world with an iron fist. Little old me would be happy just having my health and happiness and, should I be granted a trio of wishes, I sure as shit wouldn’t be frittering them on launching a nefarious bid for world domination as that’s just unsporting. Besides, that nice Donald Trump fellow has kindly proposed to ring the global changes, and I’d hate to step on his toes when he’s doing such a bang-up job of uniting the planet. I just don’t think I’m cut out for leadership and would be far happier just focusing on the small things. Indeed, my insignificant wish list would hardly cause the genie in question to break a sweat, and I’d likely become his number one customer. Three appears to be the magic number and this will require a great deal of consideration as, once requested, I hear there’s no backpedaling allowed. So I guess I should ponder long and hard before giving this lamp a rub right?
Okay, well a pair of breasts would be rather dainty and really tie my chest together. Granted, it would mean carrying around excess baggage and I’d be careful not to ask for a pair of whoppers as back pain is no laughing matter from what I hear. More than a handful is a waste, isn’t that what they say? As long as they possess a little jiggle, I’m all good, and would promise to take excellent care of my prize pumpkins and knead them regularly just to keep the circulation tip-top. Hell, I’ve even got names picked out in advance. The left one would be known simply as Betsy and, its partner in crime, Mrs. Irene Jane Papadopoulos. Think of the fun that could be had with my new additions. Indeed, I’m struggling to think of a solitary downside. As you may have noticed, amusing myself is key here, and it doesn’t take much believe me. I could even be shrewd and request the full set, top and bottom, although I hear that lady gardens require a great deal of upkeep and I’ve never really been one for green fingers.
While money doesn’t necessarily make my world rotate on its axle, there’s a lot to be said for being financially stable, so a few harmless riches wouldn’t go amiss either. I’m not talking anything particularly significant; just pocket change to the average tycoon would do me. It’s a well-known fact that it cannot buy happiness and I make that assumption bang on the money. That said, let’s be honest, where’s the fun in being poverty-stricken? The only conceivable upside to being destitute is that I can place my hand in my pocket and bank on the hole leading directly to my junk trunk. Other than that, it sucks not to have anything in the way of bankable finances. My wish would amount to little more than a teensy nest egg to keep the bailiffs from my front porch; perhaps just a couple of gold bullion to tide me over for the foreseeable. I’m sure that wouldn’t be an unreasonable request if this genie chap is as generous as has been suggested.
With cash flow no longer a concern and a brace of boobies to amuse myself with, it would appear as though I have all bases firmly covered. However, I can’t simply allow a wish to go begging as I’m unlikely to be in this position again so may as well milk those teats some right? This is where it begins to get a little sticky as I really don’t want for much and wouldn’t wish to go wasting wishes just for the sheer hell of it. A bionic arm would be admittedly rather delightful and I’ll place that in the maybe list for the time being. Likewise, the entire back catalogue of Tangerine Dream on vinyl certainly wouldn’t harm none, as there are few better cradle songs to nod off to than their synthesized lullabies in my opinion. Perhaps a lifetime supply of extra-sharp cheddar or a brand new Kindle that I wouldn’t have the faintest clue how to operate. Decisions, decisions. As predicaments go, I’d rather this than Sophie’s Choice any day of the calendar month. But that doesn’t make it any less agonizing.
Anyhoots, this lamp doesn’t appear to be massaging itself and I guess the best thing to do would be to take our relationship to the next level before the rest of my party notice that I’ve gone and track me down. I can see it already, seven grown men grappling over who gets first rub. It’s a far cry from women’s mud wrestling and the whole reason I slinked off in the first place was that things were getting heated between the other alphas. It was the age-old debate of whether Alien or Aliens is the better overall movie and it invariably never yields an answer. Indeed, it is like comparing the Dalai Lama to Stephen Hawking. They’re both smart as shit but one is just motorized. Conflict makes my knee tremble and not in a good way either. Besides, after centuries cooped up in that poky gravy boat, I’m sure my genie friend will need a little quiet time to gather his thoughts. Speaking of which, I trust he won’t object to me presuming that. I mean, it stands to reason that I’ll welcome him warmly, and I’m nothing if not adaptable so I’m sure we’d be getting on like two merry minks in a clutch bag in no time. So what do you think Grueheads? Shall I give it a rub and see what happens? That suspense is a killer ain’t it? Its half-brother blind terror I could do without however. Too many teeth for his face that one.
I’m scared. I mean, what if ancient folklore amounts to little more than attempting to thread your noggin through a woolen roll-neck only to discover that you’ve located the arm hole. I could be setting myself up for a fall more almighty than a chubby-ankled water buffalo on a runaway pogo stick. How do I know that those historians haven’t been spinning us yarns all this time? If the genie emerges and his first action is to relinquish me of my kidneys by way of transfusion via crazy straw, then this could be the last time we ever converse and that would be devastating for both parties I’m sure. What do you mean “get on with it already”? Oh I think I get it. Rub it don’t snub it right? Message received as loud as it is painfully clear. Should I perish, then you’ll light a Yankee candle or two, scatter my ashes in whichever direction the wind is facing, and be onto the next one before my soul is beamed up (or down as the case may be). I love you all too. You know, I would advise a little more in the way of ball fondling as I’m the one pondering three wishes here and that ice is wearing decidedly thin beneath your feet right now. Just saying.
For as much am I am pained to admit this, you do have a point though. Rub it don’t snub it you say? Then rub it I shall. Right after this next stanza I pinky swear. Just let me build up to this a little more as it ain’t you grasping Pandora’s box and, from your earlier show of indifference, I won’t be banking on the cavalry if all tits point to the stars as is ordinarily the case wherever I’m concerned. It’s not that I’m unlucky, at least not desperately, more that trouble once hacked my email account and beat the living twat out of my life savings. Since then I’ve been getting bi-daily crank calls, my beloved kitten Mike Smith want missing under mysterious circumstances, and last night some stone-hearted swine took a steaming hot dump in my pillowcase. To be fair, I actually grabbed myself a delightful night’s winks but that doesn’t excuse the fact that trouble has it in for me something chronic. Now do you see why I’m stalling for time? Yeah I get it, cry you a river. I don’t know why I bother sometimes y’know. The fact remains that I can’t put this off any longer. I hope my junk monster doesn’t see what I’m up to as I can do without its one eye glowing green and spitting venom like a python in a choke hold. Here goes.
This sure beats the speed wank, far less to mop up. That said, I’m a little perturbed by the genie’s lack of announcement. I did as per the instructions and it doesn’t appear that my associate has made his transition from spirit realm to actual after all. Aside from feeling like quite the slab of mutton at this moment, I’m gutted about the whole wish thing. Moreover, like any self-respecting horror aficionado, all I really wish for is to believe. We’re as thick as thieves us Grueheads, still smarting about the whole Tooth Fairy conspiracy and positively red-eyed over the twelve buck debt stretching back to the late eighties accumulating the most bitter of interest. If monsters do exist then our whole lifetimes become validated and we care not whether furious or fun-loving, as long as they look suitably gnarled. While I’d imagine the genie to be rather well-presented, it would admittedly be a buzz hearing of the time he watched Pinhead walk straight into double-glazed patio after one too many absinthe shots. Turns out that aspirin are hard to come by in purgatory. Hold on, this thing is starting to rumble seemingly from within. Better get my catcher’s mitt on before dilly and dally get me brained.
“You rang milord”
What’s with the Downtown Abbey shit? Regional dialect I can understand but, unless I’m mistaken, I’m in a pungent pit in the asshole of ancient Arabia or until my next course of shock therapy at least. That will likely mean that he’ll expect buttered scones and that means that my opening wish will be for the $6.29 I frittered on these Jack Link’s Premium Cuts Jerky Sticks back. If only I’d ever had my IQ tested, I’d have some idea of what I have to play with here. I mean, my vocabulary ain’t too shabby, but I’m hardly what you’d call Shakespeare’s Slag either. Should the genie deem me an unfit thespian, then I’ll be fortunate to see one wish, let alone three and that would purely be a sympathy token. I’m reasonably assured that I have my pride dagnabbit. Or at least I could have sworn I packed it this morning. Speaking of which, Bonus Brain has been strangely subdued this evening. Ever since I defeated the dreaded Trump Demon recently, in the eleventh hour no less and in true wrangler style to boot, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of the little fella. Ordinarily I’d have called out the search party by now but I’m sure he’s just keeping his squishy little head down and adhering to the terms of parole. However, if I find out he’s slacking, there’ll be words.
Speak of the devil and it’s in the cauldron you go before you can elbow test the temperature.
“Bonus Brain, to what pleasure do I owe this rare visit?”
“Just got sick of your blathering and Mork & Mindy just finished”
“Hey Bonus Brain?”
“Please fuck yourself!”
“Just… making conversation”
“Converse with this you flid”
Not the junk. Please don’t grab the junk. Good job I didn’t word that in wish form as that may be one too far y’know and we haven’t even gotten going yet. Clearly little has changed with the whole dynamics thing and I’ll admit there’s comfort to be gleaned from good old familiarity. Anything whatsoever less simply wouldn’t be Bonus Brain and it has taken this bloody long to get anything other than methane out of him so I should be careful what I wish for. I just wish we talked more, y’know, heart-to-heart and all that good shit. And no Bonus Brain, that’s not Hart To Hart. Don’t go digging through the vinyl crate. Dear lord, give me strength.
Actually, it’s a pretty nifty little number. That said, even I managed to find my way out of the eighties eventually, not quite figuratively but still. If you don’t move with the times then it won’t be long before those postcards become less frequent.
“One day you’ll stumble across a solitary clue bozo”
Then it happens.
“What makes you think you’re in a position to speak to me in that tone Bonus Brain?”
Did that just come out of me or has shock treatment come round faster than I thought?
“Stop pretending that anyone reads your banal drivel”
“Banal huh? Well let’s see if the Grueheads think it’s banal shall we?”
“Knock yourself out…no really”
Okay, this is our moment guys…guys?..guys?
Fine, if you lot are going to pull that shit, then I’m switching audio dagnabbit.
If you even try telling me that Joel doesn’t vaguely rock bells and whistles, then I shall track down the nearest tepid kipper business post-haste and provide you with what I like to refer to as a liberal lashing of fish ‘tache courtesy of the house.
“I’m still waiting y’know”
You will won’t you guys?..guys?..guys?
“Why don’t you face it, you’re little more than spam in a can”
“Retract that at once!”
“Then I’m revoking your privileges”
“You can’t do that”
“You bet your bottom dollar and any underlying cents I can”
“What crawled up your muddy trench and keeled over?”
“Well the first one would be you but I’m still waiting for the latter”
Look what Bonus Brain has me doing. Like little Mikey “Twig Fingers” Jarvis on discovery of his first bona fide cowpat, he just has to prod. The crazy thing is that I dream of us finding that common ground and unrolling our picnic blanket there under the felled sycamore, perhaps cramming in some macaroons and reminiscing about the Terrahawks together.
“Look who’s getting all feisty all of a sudden”
“Can you really blame me? I mean, all I ever get from you is snide remarks and team play never seems to figure into your priorities”
“I’m not your wet-nurse you know”
“I’m not asking you to be. Just a little respect would be nice”
“Respect has to be earned”
“I defeated The Grim Reaper for fuck’s sake”
“You just caught him on an off-day”
Unbelievable, he literally has an answer for everything. Something tells me that I should just save my breath as I’m getting nowhere faster than a cellulite space hopper on wet cement.
“I’d take your own advice if I were you”
“And that’s another thing Bonus Brain. What gives you the right to go poking about my inner monologue anyhoots?”
“You think too loud”
I could throttle him. If I’d have known that I would be saddled with this crotchety cretin when I accepted the gig of Brutal Word Wrangler, then I would have graciously declined and let some other poor sucker save the fate of humanity. I wouldn’t mind but I’m ordinarily one of the most placid guys in existence and it takes a helluva lot to ruffle my feathers. Yet he manages this feat effortlessly and, moreover, appears to get a significant quota of his daily shits and giggles doing so. Right now I’m wedged between a rock and a hard place. Cut him loose or let him believe that he’s won then suffocate him with a pillow when he’s sleeping. It’s a tough call. I’ve tried reasoning with him, complimenting him on his body popping prowess, even buying his affection with gifts, and the result is invariably the same every time without fail. That just leaves premeditated murder in my estimations.
“You really want to know why I give you such a hard time wrangler?”
“More than anything yes”
“It’s because I can”
“Well that’s just fun-fucking-tastic. Word to the wise Bonus Brain, I can play When The Saints Come Marching In on the piano but you don’t see me thinking I’m Richard Clayderman”
“Perhaps if you didn’t try so hard to impress, you might actually come across less woefully pathetic”
“Unless you hadn’t realized, I’m trying to save the world here”
“That’s a negative”
“No less than ten minutes ago you was fantasizing over growing a pair of voluptuous bosoms”
Okay, so he’s kind of got me there. That said, man should be judged on his actions not thoughts right? Granted, I may have a tendency to flap my wings fancifully with the flower fairies on occasion, but I also always get the job done in the end, whether by fair or foul means need not come into it. He can’t continually penalize me just for possessing an over-active imagination, if he could then Tom Green would have been clubbed to death in his Moses basket and we never would have had the divine experience of Freddy Got Fingered. Worst film ever huh? So why then do I laugh until milk streams from my nostrils every time he offers daddy a sausage? Who said pleasure was supposed to be innocent?
I draw the line at White Chicks by the way.
“See, you’re at it again”
“I can’t help it Bonus Brain. You may amount to 25% of cerebral crust but I’ve got the full hundred on the books and it just so happens that a small percentage likes to strum for fun from time to time. Is that really such a crime?”
“Not a crime. A sad waste. A pitiful excuse. A squandered gift. A waste of precious oxygen”
“Well since you’ve got me all figured out, how about we take a gander at you?”
“I’m a perfect strain, engineered by the very finest”
“And this is your failing. You honestly believe that you know it all and that leaves no room whatsoever for manoeuvre. You may think me flawed…”
…but each flaw is beautiful in my eyes. I wake up every morning and learn something. What do you learn Bonus Brain? What was the last nugget of wisdom you chowed down on?”
“I read ancient Polish literature, I’ll have you know”
“No you don’t. You skim it because you’re far too busy waiting on tenterhooks for David and Maddie to become more than just moonlighting strangers”
“You’re on shaky terrain wrangler”
“Look I’m not looking to disrespect you. I just wish you’d just let your guard drop a little. It feels good, you should give it a shot some time”
“Well I wish you’d grow a pair of Bonus Balls and man up some”
“You wanna know what I wish? I wish you suffered a mild seizure and temporarily surrendered all feeling down one-side”
Did I actually just say that? And what’s that peddling in from my left on a penny farthing?
“Your wishes are my command master”
Bollocks in frocks, in all these shenanigans, I completely forgot about the genie. Hold on just a grape-crushing second, unless I’m dreadfully mistaken, I only voiced two wishes. Please don’t tell me this has been a two-in-one deal. As Bonus Brain’s keeper, I reserve the right to exclude him from the equation as nothing he says is worth dragging both our names through the muck for. Surely the genie can’t be pernickety enough to take me on a word I have absolutely no bearing over. I’m sure we can clear up this confusion over a nice chalice of cream soda with an ice-cream float.
With that, my genie friend vaporizes before my very eyes, laughing a little too maniacally for my liking as he wiggles those child-bearing hips back into his lamp spout. Perhaps more disconcertingly, I now appear to possess four testicles and Bonus Brain is convulsing wildly in the corner. Given that I will always look towards the bright side, that victory wank would be something special if I had the faintest triumph to celebrate, and my sidekick no longer appears so unapproachable. But the fact remains that I missed a trick there and three complimentary wishes just got soundly frittered. I wouldn’t mind but I spent my last $29.95 on a lace bodice.
“Please help me wrangler. Response time is everything remember”
“Well okay. But only ‘cos you asked nicely”
Of course I’ll ensure that the paramedics are called the very moment I cease our current communication. You see, I wish no injustice on Bonus Brain. For all his multiple flaws, he has been with me through the worst of it and just know he wishes no great foul on me either. It’s ultimately just a matter of dynamics and this just happens to be ours. Deep down I already know that he has a soft, squishy spot with the initials B.W.W. etched across it. I prodded it last night with a cattle prod while he was sleeping. Just like David and Maddie, we’ll arrive at that kiss eventually. Look at him all helpless and tell me you don’t wish to plant one on him. That said, be careful what you wish for as I’ve both been there and done that.
“I’ll save you Bonus Brain”
“Please fuck off”
You see, I got a please. Now that’s progress. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a quick 911 call to make and then it’s off to the rear porch for two speed wanks. If you’ve got ’em Grueheads, don’t waste ’em taste ’em. Speaking of which, I wonder what La Senza’s return policy is. Anyone know whether they sell Speedos? Guys?.. Guys?