Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Boney M “Take The Heat Off Me”
 Madonna “Papa Don’t Preach”
 Depeche Mode “Where’s The Revolution”
 Spencer Davis Group “I’m A Man”
 Barry White “Love Makin’ Music”
 The Five Stairsteps “Don’t Waste Your Time”
 Merle Travis “I Like My Chicken Fryin’ Size”
 Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy”
 David Rose & His Orchestra “The Stripper”
Daddy fucking day care. Can you see it? The Brutal Word Wrangler changing soiled diapers and singing gentle lullabies? Or can you see me thrashing one out in the bath tub with rubber ducky’s beak rammed up my stern. Be honest now, which of the two do you envisage? Of course it’s the latter as you know me too well and can hear the water running as we speak. That’s all I’m good for – frequent masturbation – what will likely be etched on my tombstone. HERE WRITHES THE BRUTAL WORD WRANGLER – WANKED HIMSELF TO DEATH – CAME TOO OFTEN, GONE TOO SOON. Indeed, I’ve specifically requested that the mortician embalms me with jizz just so things don’t run dry in my sarcophagus. I was fortunate enough to be born with a tallywhacker, and while it took over ten years to ascertain the function of my testicles, the next thirty have been most productive. I’ve wanked, God knows I’ve wanked, at times it has felt like my Johnson is the only one who truly understands me. But the farthest my sperm have ever traveled is my chin and that was only because I was coming out of a particularly barren spell. Ordinarily it has done well just to bunch up in my navel and there have even been times when no fluids whatsoever have been relinquished. Talk about bemusement.
Yet for all the harmless self-defilation, I’ve never once made a baby. Sure I’ve sprinkled some seaweed over the years, but naturally just figured that the wanking crabs were patrolling the beach like they’re damn well paid to do. So many times I’ve awoken to the headline… THE MYSTERIOUS WANKING CRABS CLAIM ANOTHER MAN’S JIZZ IN THE EARLY HOURS. MORE DETAILS AT TEN… but not this time. To be fair, I had absolutely nothing to do with the process of impregnation so I can’t go blaming it on the crustaceans or the langoustines will get me. They’re horrible bastards in large enough numbers, like shrimps on scag. I once watched a dozen or so of these crusty rapscallions drag a full-grown man kicking and screaming into the sea, hold his head beneath water while telling him he was worthless, before returning him to his beach towel utterly demoralized while a group of sub-contracted lobsters performed CPR. So you see, I’m not about to go wagging the finger. That said, a heads up would have been nice fellas. I’m quite aware that Bonus Brain’s womb isn’t under your jurisdiction, but there’s such a thing as community spirit and I’d recommend you shuffle off sideways and Google it.
So about this pregnancy then. Well the average term would ordinarily be around 36 weeks but not in this case. There will be no chubby ankles as Bonus Brain simply doesn’t possess any, no time for choosing colors for the nursery as I’m informed that her water could break at any given moment, no choice but to play stepdad when I haven’t the vaguest inkling how I feel about such a responsibility. Let’s look at the cold facts shall we? I’m forty-two-years-old, have no disposable income to speak of, have never been to Belgium, can’t change a tire, live off cheap energy drinks and anything else starchy, squeeze toothpaste from the top to save time, still find farts highly amusing, never stopped believing in the Easter Bunny (although I uphold that he is inherently evil), suffer from an illogical fear of mushrooms, cannot be trusted with a Roman Candle or stainless steel rotary whisk, possess the balance of a newborn fawn, and have an aversion to feces. From what I understand, clean-up duties are part and parcel of parenthood and I just don’t think I’d have the stomach for it.
Do you wish to know what really gropes my gonads? The biological father is none other then my sworn nemesis – Monsieur Heureux. This shifty little character has made it his own personal business to torment me ever since childhood and this time he’s taken things too far. It was one thing stealing my fair lady away when we were on the cusp of engaging in mommy-daddy time, another suspending her over a bubbling vat of toxic waste, and returning her to factory settings, downright despicable even by his lowly standards. But sowing his sinful seed in Bonus Brain’s pelvic cavity was by far the most heinous of all his acts and evidently intended just to needle me. What happens if his is the dominant gene? I can hear the midwife now …”Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Wrangler (a tad presumptuous I must say), it’s a…Russian Nesting Doll?!! Hang on while I get a second opinion will you? SERGEI!” Should I crack this infant open and find six more younglings within, each of slightly decreasing size, then there’ll be hell to pay and I’ll be fully expecting Heureux to foot the bill.
The way I see it and correct me if you dare, I have two choices here and neither are particularly inviting right now. Either I take Iron Maiden’s sound advice and run to the hills, beat up Pippi Longstocking, and fall madly in non-reciprocated love with a billy-goat named Gerard. Or I man the fuck up, stop whining like a fishwife over a few sleepless nights, and be the father that this teensy little tearaway needs to keep it on the straight and narrow. When he or she reaches an appropriate age; I’ll come clean about Heureux’s cowardice and let nature take its course as every child deserves to be aware of their heritage. But I’ll be expecting regular alimony payments and will take it to the high court if that’s what it takes to profit from this misadventure in babysitting. I never much cared for the taste of goat’s cheese so it looks like the right thing is the only thing to do here. I must be the bigger man, build a bridge over these troubled waters, and prove to the dastardly Monsieur Heureux that he’ll never break the Brutal Word Wrangler. Time to start skim reading that parenting handbook methinks. I do hope they provide pictorials. I do hope they provide pictorials as my attention span is truly shocking.
As yet, there is no sign of the pitter-patter of tiny clogs, so I could use this time for preparation and get myself up to speed. That said, I could also have one last blow-out before accepting my apparent calling in life. One night on the town wouldn’t hurt right? We’re not talking some three-day bender here, just a couple of rum and blacks and perhaps a quick huff of lighter fluid if I’m feeling particularly rambunctious. I’ll be safely back in the roost by the crack of dawn and give my solemn word not to hurl up my stomach lining in the potted geraniums. When you think about the gargantuan undertaking I’m about to accept, my conditions really don’t seem all that unreasonable. Right now, Bonus Brain is sleeping peacefully, and aside from the obscene number of famished zombies populating the front yard at this precise moment and screaming “braaains!” suggestively, there’s nothing to stop me slinking out undetected. The real question is where does one elect to spend their last night of freedom and I reckon I have just the hot spot in mind. It’s a place where men can be men without fear of judgement, where bare flesh is the only currency. Any ideas where that might be?
Really? And that’s what you came up with? Listen, I’m comfortable in my skin and all that, but far less so in another man’s pelt. However, the general mood is not altogether dissimilar. This one’s a dead giveaway – the headlining acts are Juicy Lucy and Squirty Sandy. Tell me I don’t need to spell it out any farther as I will you know, I left my shame way back at high school. The Knee Trembler is seldom anything other than wall-to-wall heaving and its happy hour on the cocktails from 9 thru 11 so I could be thoroughly plastered by midnight and that still leaves the early hours to get my stomach pumped. Sorry Bonus Brain, I’ll be right there at the birth buzzing on gas and air, but tonight is all about humiliating myself publicly one last time before attaching the game face. Should you slip into labor while I’m away, then try to imagine you’re passing an oversized kidney stone, and if it’s a girl, my sole request is that you don’t name her Kirsty. I dated a Kirsty once and she laughed at my shoes. Ever since that fateful day, the name has been tainted. Better yet, place it on the back-burner until my hangover has worn off and we’ll each throw a few in the hat. Now that’s teamwork.
I’m ever so excited about my upcoming expedition and feel it would only be right to slap on a dash of cologne and take a soapy flannel to my armpits. Only the very best for an evening at The Knee Trembler. I’ll need to dress snappy as they don’t afford just any deviant entry; only those who appear not to have been dressed by their mother. Thus the clothes that mom laid out for me this morning will not suit; although I am mightily impressed by her choice of coordinated pin-stripe slacks and socks to be fair. I’ll wear the socks so as not to dampen her spirits and the satin Valentino shirt with mother of pearl buttons that I’ve been threatening to bust out for months now. Actually it’s Val & Tino and I picked it up at the thrift store for four and a half bucks but they’ll never guess the difference beneath ultraviolet. To further sell the illusion, I’ll even create a faux identity just for the night. Geronimo O’Reilly has a nice ring to it don’t cha think? Fluent in twelve different languages (one of which is the international lingo of love I hasten to add), this dashing cad could charm the fur off an otter merely by mistaking it for a beaver and has slept with more loose women than an ageing rock star, all of whom later succumbed to Stage 3 syphilis regrettably. All that is left is to hand you over to the ole devil of love himself, Mr. Barry White, to assist in the pre-moistening of those panty gussets.
I know right? I’ve got half a mind to stay at home and rock the worlds of Trixie, Dixie and Pam but they’ll have to be content with half a bowl of Kibbles ‘n Bits between the three of them as tonight I intend on taking shit way off the leash. Just to be clear, I’ve been going to The Knee Trembler for five years now and the closest I’ve come to a bite was when one of the strippers suffered thigh cramp whilst sliding down her pole and fell face down in my lap. For the thirty seconds or so that she was out cold, we bonded. Admittedly the following thirty mostly consisted of crippling kidney punches but how was I to know that my zipper was agape and my junk had slipped out of the barracks to take in the act? Could have happened to anyone. That’s what I told the judge in my defense and fifty hours of community service seemed like a fair enough trade-off, all things considered. Tonight I’m looking to improve on my woeful tally and have no problem playing the sympathy card if that’s what it takes. Failing that, the chloroform-doused rag in my pocket could prove to be rather persuasive. At any rate, I’ve now arrived at my destination and make it time to go do some mingling.
“Hold your horses buckwheat. Where do you think you’re going?”
Rats. It’s the gatekeeper, Nora “None Shall Pass” Chance, the most inhospitable bouncer on the circuit and the bitch just clocked me in the act of queue jumping.
“Was just taking a peek inside. See what the vibe’s like”
“No you weren’t. You were trying to sneak in while my back was turned. It’s written all over your moronic face like pox”
“Okay you’ve got me. But listen, there are extenuating circumstances I assure you”
“Extenuating circumstances my snatch. You were pulling a fast one, plain and simple. I’ve got half a mind to kick your sniveling ass all over the sidewalk in full view of all the people you just skipped in front of”
She would as well. You see, Nora just so happens to be a black belt in Taekwondo and moonlights as a loan shark’s heavy when not making life miserable for paying members of the public. I could clench my knuckles but only in the time it would take Nora to deliver a debilitating blow to my solar plexus and straddle me between those formidable thighs of hers for further punishment. I will be required to tread very carefully from hereon in as public humiliation at this point would be devastating to my faint hopes of lightening my load any place over than a handkerchief on the front porch later.
“I’d rather not discuss it in front of this lot. Can we go somewhere so I can explain?”
“Smooth talk your way out of it more like. Do I look like I just came in on the last crosstown rickshaw?”
I would have gone for parachuting in from a dive bomber but this is no time for splitting hairs.
“I swear to you, my reasons are entirely honorable. Just give me five minutes to bring you up to speed, and if you still don’t buy it, then I’m in your hands to do with as you will”
“Honey, you’re in my hands to do with as I will already. What makes you think I have five minutes to waste on a cretin like you?”
“Well you are rather pitiful. Tell you what dick split, as I’m feeling particularly generous this evening, I’ll give you three. But you’d better use them wisely as the desire to put your teeth down your throat is growing ever stronger by the second”
“Three is fine”
“Shauna? Keep your eye on these festering fecks will you? I’ll be in my office if you need me”
Aha. That familiar feeling of nominal success tinged with mild foreboding. 180 seconds from now, I’ll know precisely how my evening is set to pan out, and unless I spin my yarn like Rumpelstiltskin on uppers, I’d say the smart money’s on unfavorably for yours truly. Nevertheless, I’ve stared adversity in the face many times and will do so again by way of impassioned plea as defeat is not a word in my vocabulary. Actually it is, one after cunt and one before defecate, but I have no intention of uttering such lily-livered claptrap this night. You’re darn tooting papa’s got a brand new bag and it just so happens to have my balls in it so I beg of you Nora, please go easy.
“This way chicken boy”
Firstly – bwok, bwok, Brawkk-AWK! Secondly, where the hell does she get off comparing the Brutal Word Wrangler to poultry anyhoots? I can only assume the tail feathers gave me away or the speckled egg I just laid in my underpants. If it hatches, I’m done for. There’s always the three-minute omelette I guess.
“Shut your trap and grow a pair”
I can’t help it if I’m a late bloomer. They always shrivel up when I’m nervous, either that or resemble a flesh-colored golf ball. Either way, this does not offer an accurate representation of my testicles. Something tells me I’ve been soundly trumped here. I demand a recount dagnabbit.
“Mind if I take a seat?”
“As a matter of fact I do. Get down on all fours and grovel like the mangy mutt that you are”
“But both my kneecaps are shot”
It’s hardly dignified is it? Not to mention hygienic. That said, she’s got me over a barrel as Juicy Lucy is on in ten and I’ll miss her if I don’t state my case well here. I wouldn’t mind but this could be the last chance I get to let my hair down for the next fifteen years and right now she has me pretty much bang to rights.
“Mind if I begin?”
“You’d better as I started my stopwatch a minute back”
“Okay so I know I broke the rules back there but…”
“GUILTY AS CHARGED!”
“Hold on, if you just let me finish…”
“I’ve heard all I need to”
“But I only tried to sneak in because…”
“Blah! Blah! Fucking blah! Save it for the coroner”
“Coroner? Really? For such a trivial misdemeanor? Whatever happened to a slap on the wrist? Since when did queue-jumping qualify for capital punishment?”
“Since I decided that I don’t much care for looking at your pathetic face for another second”
“So you’re going to snuff me out without a second thought then?”
“Well that’s put quite a dampener on the festivities”
“I tell you what, if you can provide me with three damn good reasons why I shouldn’t end you right here and now, then perhaps I’ll spare your sorry little life and let you go on your way”
“Three you say?”
“Did I fucking stutter?”
“Okay. Okay. Jesus you’re tetchy. You shouldn’t kill me because…”
Where do I start? Recycling. Assisting the elderly across busy intersections with a 75% success rate. Endeavoring to save a felled baby bird from certain death the other week, regardless of the fact that the little fella expired the very moment he hit the sidewalk. All that charity work I promise to do once it ceases beginning at home. Keeping a copy of the New Testament in my bedside drawer to disguise my dense stock pile of Women & Labradors. My services to the morning tabernacle choir (I play a mean glockenspiel in case you were wondering). Taking every opportunity to inform the world of Justin Bieber’s pubic louse infestation. The list goes on, but for the purpose of this exercise, I need to chisel it down to just three.
“You shouldn’t kill me because disposing of a dead body is a laborious task”
“We’ve got a meat grinder out back”
“Okay well you shouldn’t kill me because God doesn’t look favorably on first-degree murder”
“I’m an atheist”
This is like taking a piss in a wind tunnel. One more strike and I’m out. No pressure then. If only I knew a little about Nora’s interests, aside from being an utter Nazi whorebag, then perhaps I’d stand a chance of saving my skin here. What would Bonus Brain advise in my current predicament? Oh fiddlesticks, what if she’s going into labour at this precise moment?
“You shouldn’t kill me because I’m about to become a father”
“What did you say?”
“Any time now. I’m going to be a daddy”
Feels strange to say that out loud and I think the penny may just have dropped for both of us. Interestingly, her steely glare has softened some with that revelation. Surely I haven’t just tamed the beast. Mere seconds ago she was all set to pulverize my face with a blunt instrument, and unless I’m naff at reading body language, she now appears ore inclined to hug me and tell me everything is going to be alright. I really am the Brutal Word Wrangler after all. And to think I ever doubted myself.
“My father abandoned me when I was young”
“I’m truly sorry to hear that. Can I ask how old you were?”
“Wow. That must have been so hard for you”
“Don’t patronize me”
Okay so perhaps I’m not quite out of the woods yet. Jeez, since when does genuine concern constitute as condescending?
“I wouldn’t dream of it. Just feel bad for you is all”
Tough crowd this one. Did you ever get the impression that you’re damned either if you do or don’t?
“What do you want me to say? I’m at a loss here”
“I don’t want you to say anything. Not everything is about you, you narcissistic prick”
“How’s that narcissistic?”
“You don’t give a flying fuck about me”
Admittedly, I’m beginning to give fewer flying fucks with every character slur she throws my way. But I do feel for her. After all, how does one of such tender years even begin to process that kind of rejection when still wiring?
“Do you always think the worst of everyone you meet?”
“As a rule yes. My estimations usually end up being bang on the money. So you’re about to tell me you’re different from the others, is that it?”
“I’m not going to say anything. You’ll only shoot me down in flames if I do”
“Excuse my pessimism, but you’re hardly the most trustworthy source are you? Has it slipped your tiny little mind why you’re here?”
“And why am I here? Jumping the queue? Hardly grand larceny is it?”
“It’s deception. Plain and simple”
“Can I speak frankly?”
“I don’t know. Can you?”
“This is my last night of freedom before knuckling down and becoming a father”
“What is it about you men? Always need to cash in on that last night of freedom. As though it’s your divine right”
“I don’t think that at all actually. But I do think I deserve a little me time on this occasion”
“Why? Because you didn’t bolt the moment she told you that she was pregnant? The height of nobility”
“Actually yes. You see, I had every reason to walk away and only one to stay”
“Listen buster. You do the crime, you do the time. It’s not that hard to figure”
“I didn’t do the crime”
“I get it. She just fell into the family way all by herself”
“No. My very worst enemy took advantage of her while she was otherwise incapacitated and I’m the one left picking up the pieces”
“She was molested then?”
“As good as. Certainly had no say in the transaction”
“I don’t know what to say”
“Just putting this out there but perhaps something non-aggressive?”
“So you’ve taken it upon yourself to raise this child then?”
“Yes I suppose I have. It’s no cakewalk let me tell you. But nobody else is going to step up and I wouldn’t wish a broken home on anyone, let alone a newborn infant”
“That’s plenty admirable. Excuse me while I swallow the puke in my throat”
“I’m not looking for recognition here. Just a dash of understanding would do. Is that really so much to ask?”
“Okay so let’s just say I let you go. What’s your plan for the evening?”
“You want the truth?”
“If it’s anything but then I’ll put you down like a crippled race horse right here and now”
“Get blind drunk. Attempt to grope Juicy Lucy as she passes. Knock one out in the restroom. Hail a cab home. Deliver a baby”
“Fine. You’re free to leave”
“Really? You’re buying it? I mean, we just had a moment didn’t we?”
“I wouldn’t call it that. For the record, I’m still overcome with the irresistible urge to pummel you senseless. Unless you’re out of my sight in the next five seconds, that’s pretty much what’s in store”
Well I didn’t see that one coming. Better yet, it would appear that Juicy Lucy is about to take centre stage and I might just catch the end of happy hour if I get a wriggle on. That said, something feels different all of a sudden, dodging a significant bullet tends to have that effect. It was Nora’s flippant narcissist comment that really needled me; could that actually be how I present myself? Perhaps I would be better served skipping the show and returning home to someone I’m fairly assured needs me right now. Two people no less. They do say that the correct thing to do isn’t necessarily the easiest and I make them right you know. This is evidently one of those pivotal moments in life that will define me as a human being. What would you do in my situation? Sorry for putting you on the spot but I could really do with the guidance right now. Please Grueheads, I don’t ask for much but beg of you, just give me a sign.
“JUICE ME LUCY!”
Good call. I mean, I’m not a fucking Mormon after all. One measly evening is all I ask; the moon on a stick never came into it. Besides, the cubicles at The Knee Trembler are spotless and I can’t be expected to deliver a baby with a loaded musket now can I? I’ll accept every last one of my responsibilities after some Pepto-Bismol later, but right now, I wish to find out what Juicy Lucy had for lunch. I’m no nutritionist but that looks suspiciously like a doner kebab with all the trimmings. Unappealing right? Not when you’ve plied yourself with copious amounts of alcohol it isn’t. Anyhoots, I’d very much appreciate it if you could offer your blessing for me to return to formation. Guess I’ll be seeing you lot back at the barracks then. One more thing – you needn’t bother waiting up.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017