Saturday, November 27, 2010

PLEASE vote for "Mister Bink Habit" at Bartleby Snopes

Dear Beautiful Blog Reader,

I am a man with but 12 followers, which means I'm worse than Manson and the guy who carnied me out of a twenty that time in New Orleans. Nonetheless, you have come to my humble, stealth blog here on the miserable internets, and I thank you.

This week my little story of a mere 500 words called "Mister Bink Habit" is up for the distinct honor of Story of the Month on the prestigious literary journal that is Bartleby Snopes. If you are reading this, please do me the favor of going to the first link below and voting for my story. The voting ends December 4. You would be making a poor Vietnamese boy very happy.

Thank you,

Michael Frissore

Links:

VOTING

STORY



Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Haiku

Turkey makes you sleep?
Didn’t work when I shoved some
dark meet on her face.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Writing in the November Issue of Houston Literary Review




Here it is! BAM! And you say gawd dam! It's the November 2o1o issue of The Houston Literary Review, featuring yours truly's little ode to the Texas Prison Museum.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ian Ayris





Today, I introduce you to the wonderful stories of English author Ian Ayris, presented by the terrific online literary journal
Pulp Metal Magazine.


HERE THEY ARE

Friday, November 19, 2010

Do People Still Write Haikus?

Yes, but they no longer have to be in 5-7-5 form. That's right! Form be damned. As long as the whole thing is 17 syllables or under. And God help you if you write a humorous haiku, Sunshine. You'll get chastised. I found that out the hard way.

Anyhoo, here are six terrible haiku of my own.


Haiku Breath

Tic Tacs rattle
in my pocket.
Everybody wants one.




Haiku Cheeseburger

My cheeseburger
falls in the dirt.
I still eat it.




Haiku for that Four-Year-Old, Bald, Canadian Cartoon

I want to write a
haiku that’s a rhyme AND
a tribute to Caillou.




Haiku in the Name of Blinkers

You would think that they
don’t install directionals
in cars anymore.




Haiku Laurel and Hardy

He said, “A lot of weather
we’re having lately.”
Then I punched him




Haiku Web

Can we stop
using the prefix
WWW?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Very Merry Christmas Stories

Celebrate Christmas this year with a trio of Holiday tales.







First, it's a war over Christmas with this Best of the Web 2009 nominee at Fear of Monkeys called "The Smell of Eggnog in the Morning."









Then, what? It's Christmas in July? Only at Literary Burlesque with "The Christmas Ice Cream Memo."









Finally, enjoy the darker side of the Holidays at the final 2010 issue of The Ante Review with "Christmas Tales in Brief."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

High Colonic on Used Gravitrons

To hear the greatest song ever recorded visit Used Gravitrons
and check out “She’s So Fine,” by High Colonic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Michael Frissore: Pushcart Prize Nominee

One of my dazzling short stories, "Game Shows," has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by a wonderful fledgling literary journal called The Toucan, an outfit based in Pittsburgh, PA. This is huge news as last year my story "The Smell of Eggnog in the Morning" was nominated for Dzanc Books' Best of the Web anthology. So next year I hope to be up for a Nobel or something.

To read this Pushcarty story:


http://thetoucanonline.blogspot.com/2010/04/page-4-game-shows-part-one-michael.html

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Lost Short Stories of Michael Frissore, Part II

The Gay Viking
By Michael Frissore







UNO is a game of skill as much as luck. Dave knew this. That’s why he cheated. He never wanted to play, and he certainly never wanted to wear any of the silly hats Bill made you wear if someone gave you a Draw Four card. Because then the camera came out, and Bill and his fiancĂ© Sue would have endless photos of you in ridiculous looking hats. Dave cheated not to win the game, but to ruin it. When there were twelve players, as was often the case at Bill and Sue’s house, it was easy. One game you lose a couple of cards; the next you accidentally flush the entire deck down the toilet. On this night, however, there were only four. Dave thought this would get him out of playing, but Bill and Sue both insisted. Steve, the fourth player, had been sitting quietly while Dave pulled shenanigan after shenanigan.



Once, when Bill’s parents were visiting, Dave became so frustrated with Bill’s father’s aggressive UNO playing, he shouted, “It shouldn’t be this way,” and began hurling expletives about the place. If you put down a card and have only one left, and you don’t say “UNO!” Bill’s dad will let you have it. “UNO! He forgot to say UNO!” he shouted. These games were not for the weak of heart.

After a few games, Bill found at least a dozen cards on Dave’s chair, and Bill and Sue’s dog Petey coughed up a couple of cards as well. When Bill noticed Dave cutting patterns into cards with scissors, he had finally had enough.

“All right, Dave,” he said. “Could you please play fairly?”

“I’m playing as fairly as I’m capable,” Dave said.

“Yes, sadly, that’s true,” Sue said, “And, yippee, it’s your turn to deal. Go ahead, Dave.”

Dave shuffled the cards awkwardly, spilling his beer in the process. Finally he cut and dealt them, dropping a Red 9 as the first card of the game. Sue then added a Red 5.

“Okay,” Steve said upon his turn, “I have an orange card and a pink card, both colored in Magic Maker, and a Pokemon card. I don’t think that’s regulation.”

“Yeah, and I have a 5 of spades and the Death Card, apparently,” Sue said. “Didn’t know you were into Tarot, Dave.”

“And I have a 1979 Carl Yastrzemski and half a slice of cheese,” Bill said. “Damn it, Dave. Why can’t you play this game properly?”

“Well, if we’d play Spin the Bottle like I always suggest,” Dave said. “This wouldn’t happen.”

“I’m not letting you kiss my fiancĂ©,” Bill replied.

“Not fair!” Dave screamed. “Unfair! Unfair! Unfair!”

Dave fell to the floor and officially threw a temper tantrum, kicking and pounding, crying and screaming. He threw the cards at the wall and ran outside.

“Okay,” Bill said. “So Dave finally snapped. Who had tonight in the pool?”

“Oh, that would be me,” Steve said, collecting his money.

It was quiet for half a minute. Sue picked the cards up off the floor while Bill and Steve quietly stared ahead, neither offering to help her.

“I wish the Gay Viking was here,” Steve said.

“What?” Bill asked.

“I said I’m way liking this beer,” he replied before receiving a call on his cell phone. “Hello?” he said.
“Okay, see you in a bit.”

Steve hung up, stretched, and took a good look around.

“Okay, guys,” he said. “That friend of mine I told you about is here.”

“You mentioned nothing about a friend, Steve,” Bill replied. “I didn’t know you had friends besides us.”

“Well, whatever,” Steve said. “Did you put the CD in that I gave you?”

“The one marked ‘Cher’s Greatest Hits?’” Bill asked. “Are we really listening to that?”

“No,” Steve said. “I just wrote that on the CD so no one would ever steal it.”

There was a knock at the door. Steve rose to his feet immediately and looked out the window.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “You’ve heard of Leif Ericcson. You’ve seen Leif Garrett. And you all know Fran Tarkenton. But here, in this very…dining room is…The Gay Viking!”

“Look,” Bill said. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I would like to state, for the record, that Fran Tarkenton and Leif Garrett are not gay.”

Generic stripper music began playing as Steve opened the door to a man wearing only thong underwear, a Viking hat and cowboy boots. Bill and Sue watched in stunned silence, while Steve clapped along to the
Gay Viking’s dance. He was not a very coordinated dancer, and he certainly did not have the body for the outfit he was wearing. Nonetheless, he danced about the room, knocking over glasses and bowls, and kicking Petey twice.

“Uh, Steve,” Bill finally said. “What the hell is this?”

“It’s the Gay Viking,” Steve said. “The greatest performing Viking in recorded history.”

“I see,” Bill replied, then pondered the thought. “No, I don’t see. Why? That’s all I can say, Steve. Why?”

“Listen,” Steve said. “The Gay Viking is the next big thing.”

“Not in a thong and cowboy boots, he isn’t,” Bill said. “Why the cowboy boots, anyway, if he’s a Viking?

“You have no sense of art,” Steve said. Bill thought about this statement as the Viking segued from a moonwalk into a can-can.

“Steve,” Bill said, “Get him out of here. He’s freaking me out.”

“You know what it is?” Steve said, turning the music off. “You’re homophobic.”

“What?” Bill and Sue both protested.

“A man like the Gay Viking,” Steve said, “makes you sick because he’s being himself and just wants his rights.”

“You’re insane, Steve,” Bill said. “Do you remember the parade Sue and I went to last spring? The one you refused to go to because you didn’t want to catch anything?”

“No,” Steve said. “But see, this was a test and you failed. And now I have an announcement to make. Your rejection of the Gay Viking had led me to announce that I intend to run for Governor.”

“Steve,” Sue said, laughing, “You know shit about politics.”

“As does my opponent, Mr. Jones-en-blath.”

“You don’t even know the Governor’s name,” Sue said.

“Neither do you,” Steve said.

“Of course we do, Steve,” Bill said. “Now, let’s leave the Land of Make Believe and return to reality. You have zero political experience.”

“So?” Steve said.

“Well said,” Steve replied. “Is the berserker gonna dress like that during your campaign?”

“You bethca, Billy,” Steve said, “Now it is time to begin my gubernatorial campaign. And, with the Gay Viking by my side, I shall win this election.”

Steve turned the music on again as he and the Viking danced out of the house. Once they were gone, Bill and Sue exchanged stunned glances.

“What the hell just happened?” Bill said.


Bill and Sue knew Steve to be a very interesting person. Steve, though certainly a liberal, was not a terribly political person. Despite his jokes and refusal to attend parades, they knew he was pro-gay marriage, and he had been asking them, “Would you vote for me?” a lot lately. Gay marriage had been a hot-button issue in many states, especially Steve’s. He became increasingly troubled by the current governor’s obsession with whether homosexuals could marry. Governor Robert Egry, who was planning a presidential run, even attacked other presidential hopefuls who he felt were soft on same-sex marriage.

Despite having kicked off his presidential campaign, and that election only being two years away, Egry decided to run for re-election to ensure that the Governor’s office remained vigilant on making gay marriage illegal. Now, the formerly unopposed Republican incumbent Egry had a Democratic challenger in Steve Hudson. No one took Steve seriously, even after his official announcement at his press conference at “Viking Headquarters,” which was Steve’s front yard. A large crowd of reporters attended as Steve spoke, wearing pajamas, a sleeping cap, and holding a cup of coffee.

The Gay Viking stood behind him in the same garb as before. Three other young men were also with Steve. He referred to them as “interns, or pages, if you know what I mean.” Observing from the window of the living room of the Hudson family home was Steve’s wife Ellen, none too pleased with the spectacle her husband was causing.

Steve motioned for the crowd to calm down, as if they had been cheering him wildly, then he stood on his front porch staring at them for a full ten seconds before finally speaking.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Steve said. “I, Steve Hudson, am here today to announce my candidacy for Governor as the Democratic challenger to Robert Egry. My opponent has talked a lot about gay marriage while ignoring other important issues. It makes me wonder whether Mr. Egry himself is a closet homosexual.”

There were some gasps and some laughter from the crowd as the Gay Viking did a little dance, which included a high David Lee Roth-style kick that knocked Steve’s coffee out of his hand.

“We meant to do that,” Steve said. “I’m kidding about the Governor, of course, but my campaign manager, the Gay Viking, is indeed one of these so-called homosexuals. Does he not deserve to enjoy the wonder that is marriage as we heteros are all free to do? The constant nagging, bitterness and angry, expensive divorce. Why shouldn’t gays enjoy this sanctity as well?”

Steve made little air quotation marks around the word “sanctity,” as his wife came through the front door, wearing a bathrobe, hair curlers and face cream, and brandishing a rolling pin. Reporters began shouting questions at both, “Mrs. Hudson! Mrs. Hudson!” to Steve’s wife, and “Who are you, exactly?” to Steve, but Steve ended this by producing a water pistol and firing it at the press very matter-of-factly.

“Today,” Steve said, “in addition to announcing my candidacy, I am proposing a question for the ballots in the upcoming election. My friends Bill and Sue are engaged to be married. I think the people should have a vote as to whether they can indeed be husband and wife. So Question 69 will ask: Can Bill Wooden and Sue Marsh be married? Thank you. I will not be answering any questions. Now get off my property.”

Steve squirted the press again and went into his house to scattered applause. Shortly after Steve’s press conference, Robert Egry held one of his own. He stood at a podium at the governor’s mansion with his wife Eleanor and four children. They were an adorable lot: oldest son Jake, 19, wearing a lovely navy blue shirt with a smart bowtie; daughter Leona, 15, in the prettiest red dress; son Sean, 8, in a cute OshKosh B’Gosh outfit, and the youngest, Donnie, 6, in a SpongeBob SquarePants sweatshirt.

What the reporters did not see was the Egrys’ second oldest, Lance, 17, looking out from a second story closet window and listening to a Barbra Streisand CD.

“Folks,” the governor began. “I have no idea who this Steve Hudson is. I mean, where did he come from? Looks like just another lefty with no respect for the institution of marriage. A marriage is between a man and a woman; everyone knows that. A child cannot be raised without a mother and a father. You all know the arguments. I don’t have to recite them. But I look forward to good campaign. That’s all I have to say. God bless.”


**********************


As each side of the campaign really took off, with speeches, interviews and the like, Steve found himself in the middle of a real race. After years of simply refusing to get off the pot, Steve was now shitting. He was unfamiliar with all of the behind-the-scenes workings of a political campaign, but he was watching Egry closely. And when Egry’s campaign produced ads bashing the legitimacy of his candidacy, Steve and his staff of three college students and an eccentric man in a thong, boots and Viking hat, retaliated.

For the next few weeks there were political advertisements for both candidates on television and radio. Egry’s campaign said Hudson did not believe in family, supported activist judges, and, overall, was immoral. Hudson’s campaign said Egry was a Christian conservative with little interest in issues other than those that God speaks to him about.

Steve took many by surprise with his aggressive campaign. Among those who were not very supportive were Bill and Sue. When they heard of the new ballot question, and made several calls to confirm this nonsensical proposition, they became very upset. This wasn’t just Steve being silly Steve. He was messing with their wedding plans.

Steve, in his every day life, worked as a software engineer. He and Bill had met ten years before while both worked as temps in the billing department of the town hall. Bill had a knack for befriending odd personalities like Steve. Sue was very accepting of this in most cases, including Steve up until recently.

Much to the amazement of liberals Bill and Sue, and even of himself sometimes, Steve had married Ellen, a hardcore conservative, who, when Steve would go to visit his friends, would often stay home and pray or shoot squirrels in the backyard. They had a very chaotic relationship, filled with fights both political and otherwise.

Bill and Sue had been together for fifteen years, and engaged for three. Theirs was going to be a wonderful wedding. Sue had put up with a lot from Steve, but this was the last straw. They were not going to have the general public, or anyone, vote on their pending nuptials. During the first weeks of the campaign Bill and Sue didn’t hear much from Steve. Once they saw signs reading Vote No On Question 69 and Vote No On Bill & Sue, they felt they needed to pay his campaign headquarters a visit.

There was a lot going on at Viking Headquarters, which had moved to Steve’s backyard. Bill and Sue had no idea Steve would have so many supporters. There were a lot of young people milling about, some as young as six. There was a petting zoo and a little merry-go-round, old men selling cotton candy and fried dough, even an accordion player with a little dancing monkey. It was a festive atmosphere, but a lot of the older people were quite serious. This was a real campaign.

“Steve,” Bill said, “What is this? What the hell is wrong with you? We never gave you permission…”

“We were never even asked, for God’s sake,” Sue interrupted.

“Right,” Bill said, “Get our names off of Question 69, you immature bastard.”

“Can’t,” Steve said.

“What do you mean, ‘Can’t’?” Sue said. “Stop this nonsense! It’s not funny!”

“Woah,” Steve said, “Calm down, Susan ole girl. This is a place of business.”

“Yeah, the monkey certainly proves that. Why, Steve?” Bill said. “Why is this even necessary?”

“You’re my best friends.” Steve said. “I’m already married. This is a political statement. Don’t you see? You believe in same-sex marriage, don’t you?”

“Yes, but isn’t there a better way to make this statement?” Sue said. “And who is this Gay Viking person?”

“He’s just a friend,” Steve said. “What does it matter? Yes, no, you’ll still get married.”

Bill thought for a moment and looked around at everything Steve had done thus far. He definitely seemed serious about his campaign. Maybe this was Steve’s calling. Maybe he deserved their support.

“Steve,” Bill said. “Promise me one thing.”

“What is that?”

“In no way will we not be able to get married,” Bill said. “If everyone does vote no, it won’t matter.”

“Of course,” Steve said.

“What?” Sue said. “That’s it? You’re accepting this?”

“Sue,” Bill said. “Steve is involved politically. Maybe we shouldn’t piss on him for it.”

“Involved politically? He wouldn’t attend a parade before. Now he’s screwing with our wedding! God!” Sue exclaimed as she left the premises.

Bill watched his wife fleeing and he became more and more frustrated with the scene he was in the middle of. What had Steve gotten him into? And how had he even managed it?

“Steve,” he said. “You’d better not screw this up for me. Sue and I actually care about each other.”

“Unlike all those queers, is that what you’re saying?” Steve replied.

“Oh, shut up.”

“You’d better start your Vote Yes on 69 campaign, buddy.”

Bill stared at Steve for a few seconds, then said, “I hate you.”

As Bill went out almost immediately with Vote Yes signs for himself and Sue, Steve’s opponents had already began airing ads against Proposition 69:


Do you want friends of something called The Gay Viking
married and living in your community? Vote “No” on Question 69.


The governor’s campaign was aggressive in attacking Steve as well. Numerous ads appeared on radio and television making all sorts of claims:

Steve Hudson voted for the dismantling of marriage…he voted to
make our military littered with homosexuals, thereby weakening
our national security…

Steve had never voted for anything in his life, not a single election, or even American Idol, but he wasn’t about to argue these facts with Governor Egry. If it’s dirty Egry wanted to play, he could do the same. He retaliated with his own ads:


Robert Egry not only voted against AIDS research, he and his
cronies have been putting HIV in the water supplies of many
of our cities and towns…Robert Egry doesn’t care about the
average, everyday taxpayer. In fact, every letter Robert Egry
receives gets thrown into the crawl space near his office where
he keeps several young boys, who then eat the envelopes
because they’re the only nourishment Robert Egry gives them.


Steve went for the jugular, creating an ad saying:


Governor Egry is against same-sex marriage, but his own
son is a big queer.


This caused the Egry campaign to produced this ad:


Steve Hudson’s wife says her husband is a big, flaming,
liberal douche who probably has homosexual
tendencies himself.


When Steve saw this ad he looked at his running mate and said, “Viking, write me a ditty about Egry’s wife. And put it to the tune of a Beatles song.”

Sure enough, with the Viking actually being quite a talent, the next week the Steve Hudson campaign debuted a political ad with a song set to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby”:


I’m Steve Hudson and I approved this message.
I’m Steve Hudson and I approved this message.

Eleanor Egry hires illegals to clean
up her house and her lawn.
Her dad’s an ex-con.

Does she have Hep-C?
Rumors abound she’s a slut
and a lesbian too.
Is she a Jew?

All you voting people
Vote for Steve Hudson!
All you voting people
Steve Hudson, he is great!

Eleanor Egry, drunk on hair spray
through the day
while in the mental ward
or Betty Ford.

But who can blame her?
She’s got a husband who cheats
and a son who is gay.
She wears a toupee.

All you voting people
Vote for Steve Hudson!
All you voting people
Steve Hudson, he is great!



Governor Egry and his supporters, of course, were none too happy about this. But it was at the debate that they could get even. The gubernatorial debate was broadcast live from a local high school auditorium during a newscast on Channel One. Newspapers, from the big city standards to supermarket penny savers, attended the event. The Governor’s family was there, as were Bill and Sue, and the Gay Viking. Rumors circulated that Steve’s wife would even be in attendance. Outside, it was a chaotic scene as gatherers from both sides came by the hundreds. Protestors held signs saying, “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” “God bless AIDS!” and “Go, AIDS!” There was one that even said, “God Hates Fudge Packers!”

Though Sue refused to talk to Steve, Bill approached him and said how proud he was of him, and to “knock ‘em dead” in the debate.

“Thanks, Bill. That means a lot,” Steve said. “Hey, have you heard from Dave at all lately?”

“No,” Bill said.

Governor Egry demanded that the only topic for discussion be gay marriage, a condition Steve agreed to, considering it was the entire basis for his campaign as well. The event was moderated by local newswoman Christine Scott, a veteran of television news and politics in the city, a Polk award winner, and a former beauty pageant contestant. She sat at a desk in front of both candidates, shuffling papers and waiting for her signal to begin.

“Good evening, everyone,” she said. “And welcome to the Gubernatorial debate, a debate about gay marriage. There will be no questions from me. One candidate will start and we’ll go back and forth from there. At the end, if we have time, audience members will be able to submit their questions. Governor Egry, you start please.”

“Thank you, Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “It’s simple really. I don’t even know why we’re here even discussing it. Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. I can’t call an automobile a bird because some judge said I should. It’s traditionally heterosexual. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s definition. It’s tradition. A same-sex marriage isn’t the right environment for a child. Gay marriage threatens the institution, the sanctity of marriage.”

“All right, that’s enough. Mr. Hudson, your rebuttal,” Chris said.

“Thank you, Chris” Steve said. “And thank you for increasing the hotness quotient of our local nightly news. First of all. This is about equal rights. We’re all human beings. Why can’t two consenting adults be married? I did a little research. Did you know murderers, rapists and criminals of all kinds can get married? That’s surely not the right environment for a kid. The Governor talks about tradition. Until 150 years ago slavery was a tradition in this country. Slavery was as American as apple pie, motherhood, and heterosexual marriage. By the way, do they have motherhood in other countries? Anyway, and threatening the institution of marriage? How does allowing someone to get married threaten marriage? And, ladies and gentlemen, let me just say that in this day and age there is no sanctity in marriage. Most of them end in divorce, annulment, murder. Those that don’t are mired either in near constant screaming matches or non-communicative hatred and bitterness.”

“Yikes! Mr. Egry, is marriage an archaic, antiquated institution that should be scrapped altogether?” Chris said.

“Hardly, Ms. Scott, and I think your black viewers would agree you can’t compare slavery to gay marriage. And if you don’t believe there’s sanctity in marriage, Mr. Hudson, I feel sorry for you. You’re married. What does your wife think of all this?”

“I’ll tell you what she thinks!” a voice from the crowd shouted. It was Steve’s wife, who began running towards the stage, heaving pieces of fruit at her husband and shouting, “Queer!” and “Faggot!” until security wrestled her to the ground and escorted her out of the building, all the while shouting anti-gay comments. The auditorium buzzed with this commotion.

“The sanctity of marriage, ladies and gentlemen,” Steve said. “My wife. Take a bow, sweetie!”

“As I was saying,” the governor said, waiting for the laughter to die down. “Do we want this scene in the Governors mansion? Now, I understand that with Question 69, Mr. Hudson, you are making a mockery of our democracy, but what about letting the people vote on this issue?”

“Why?” Steve said. “Did anyone here get to vote on whether Governor Egry could marry his wife? If the American people voted on civil rights issue, slavery would still be legal in some states. The people don’t exactly have the rights of minorities in mind.”

“There you go with slavery again,” Egry said.

“You can have different degrees of comparisons, Governor. I’m just saying that you support “The Defense of Marriage Act.” That’s like if, in the 60s, they called a bill opposing integration, “The Defense of Water Fountains Act.”

“That act was signed by Bill Clinton, by the way,” Egry said. “You mentioned the people, Mr. Hudson. If the people are such bigots, why do you wish to represent them?”

“I’m not calling anyone a bigot. I’m just saying people vote with their own interests in mind.”

“I see,” Egry said. “Do you know what’ll happen if we allow gays to marry? Suddenly incest will be legal. Is that in my best interest? Then it’ll be bestiality…”

“Jesus Christ!” Steve exclaimed. “I’m sorry, but that may be the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard. That says a lot about what my opponent thinks of homosexuals, that he equates their lifestyle with fucking a dog or your sister.”

“Mr. Hudson,” Chris said. “As a member of the media I may have a strong liberal bias, but I cannot let you use that type of language on television.”

“Sorry, love,” Steve said. “Why stop there? Why not necrophilia? By the way, Governor, your super intelligent dog may be able to say ‘I do’ and sign a marriage license, but most dogs cannot. And why does their have to be a slippery slope, anyway? Can’t gay marriage simply lead to more work for bad wedding singers and male strippers?”

“Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “Control Mr. Hudson, please.”

“Why don’t you and your little Brown Shirts control him, Governor,” Chris said.

“Is that how it is?” Egry said. “Can’t say I’m surprised by that. Why don’t we get back to the debate at hand? What about procreation? If…”

“Procreation?” Steve said. “Do we have to prove that we intend to have kids in order to get married now? We’ll go to get our marriage licenses and be forced to impregnate our future wives right there in front of everyone? What about infertile and elderly couples, Governor? By that I mean can they be married, not should they have sexual intercourse in front of large groups of people. Either way, I say YES!”

“Nice!” Chris said. “Well stated, you marvelous future Governor, you!”

“Now look here, Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “If you think you’re gonna get away with desecrating the sanctity of marriage and using foul language here today, taking the Lord’s name in vain…”

“Oh,” Steve said, “Here comes the Bible argument.”

“The Bible, Mr. Hudson, says homosexuality is an abomination.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “Leviticus is great. It says a lot of things, like anyone who curseth – Curseth! Have you ever cursethed anything, Governor? - his mother or father must be killed. There’s also a really good passage on how to buy slaves in that one. Another good book is Deuteronomy, which tells us to kill anyone with a different religion. My personal favorite is from Chapter 22. It says if a woman can’t prove she’s a virgin when she’s married, she should be stoned to death. Yikes! That would make for some interesting ceremonies.”

“Well, it sure would,” Chris said. “Anything you could possibly respond with, Hitler?”

“Your general manager will hear from me, Ms. Scott.” Egry said. “You’ll be out of work very fast. And you, Mr. Hudson, you think you’re pretty cool, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Steve said.

“It’s very cool nowadays to make fun of the Bible.”

“Who’s making fun?” Steve said. “I’m just telling you what’s there, my favorite passages. What are yours?”

“Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “If you want homosexuals to have their rights, what about civil unions? Isn’t that sufficient?”

“Oh, yes,” Steve said. “’Separate but equal,’ that’s always worked.”

“There he goes with the black comparison again.”

“Excuse me,” Chris said. “African-American, please, Mr. Everything That’s Wrong With This State. This debate is so one-sided anyway. Let’s just go right to our closing statements. Mr. Hudson, you first.”

“Thank you, Ms. Scott. You look lovely tonight, by the way,” Steve said. “Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sir Francis Bacon, Marlowe and Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Chopin, Picasso, Sir Isaac Newton, Vasco da Gama, Chief Crazy Horse, and on and on and on. All queers. That’s all I have to say.”

“Very good,” Chris said. “Do you hate all those people, Egry?”

“No, Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “If I may, moral issues like gay marriage and abortion…”

“I thought we were only talking about gay marriage,” Steve said.

“Yeah, cheater,” Chris said.

“Whatever, let him go,” Steve said.

“As I was saying,” Egry continued. “These are issues worth dying for.”

“Dying for?” Steve said. “You’ve been drinking again, haven’t you, Governor? You’ve been hitting your wife’s liquor cabinet.”

“Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “I’m a not a violent man, but you’ve already attacked my family.”

“Withdrawn,” Steve said.

“You can’t…,” Egry began. “Gay marriage, Mr. Hudson, is an even bigger issue than abortion.”

“Two people wanting to get married is bigger than killing an unborn baby is what you’re saying?” Steve said.

“That’s what it sounds like,” Chris said.

“I mean,” Steve said. “I’m pro-choice personally, Chris, but at least I understand the sentiment behind the pro-life belief. This guy is insane.”

“May I continue, Mr. Hudson?” the governor said. “The president’s proposed amendment to ban gay marriage is a stroke of genius.”

Upon hearing this statement, Steve spat the water he was drinking all over Ms. Scott. She leaped out of her chair as a stagehand came over with a towel.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Scott,” Steve said. “Stroke of genius.”

“If I may finish,” Egry said. “The men Mr. Hudson named may or may not have been homosexuals. But do you know who were? Killer clown John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal. Andrew Cunanan, who killed six people including Gianni Versace. And Michael Lupo, a sadomasochistic hairdresser who had a torture chamber in his home.”

“Holy shit, dude,” Steve said. “What are you getting at?”

“This is the type of lifestyle these people lead. And because of activist judges…”

“Oh, go screw…”

“Why don’t we end there?” Chris said. “Thank you for watching the gubernatorial debate, won handily by Democratic candidate Steve Hudson, I would say. Up next - Anna Itsrainenmen with our Doppler Times Infinity weather report. Also, tonight at 11:00 – an expert says the water you’re drinking and bathing in could give you AIDS. We’ll tell you about it. Stay tuned.”

The two candidates shook hands reluctantly as photographers snapped their pictures and reporters shouted their questions. In the back of the room a man came face to face with the Gay Viking, spat at him, and shouted, “Queer!”


********************


It was the Sunday before Election Day. Governor Egry invited his constituents to a Mass at his church. Numerous Republican congressmen and senators, the Cardinal of the archdiocese, and the President himself all attended.

The Pastor, Father Magoo, spoke at length about gay marriage and other important moral issues, about how Hollywood has caused a moral decline in our society, and that Governor Egry has been wonderful for the state. He called for everyone to fill out the envelope they were handed regarding homosexual marriage and send it to their representatives.

Then the governor’s best friend, Mark Jackson, went up to read the first reading. Mark was also a Christian man. He and Egry had been friends for years. Mark belonged to a media watchdog organization that tracked offensive material on primetime television. He had contributed a lot of money to Egry’s campaign and the governor was very grateful. Mark’s wife and his three children, all under age seven, were seated in the front row.

Mark went up, very proud to be a part of Bob Egry’s campaign, and the governor also smiled heartily as his friend stepped in front of the microphone.

“A reading from the Book of Ezekiel…,” Mark began.

"There were two women, the daughters of one mother; and they played the harlot in Egypt. They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed, and there their virgin bosom was handled.... she lusted after her lovers... and she bestowed her harlotries on them, all of whom were the choicest men of Assyria.... for in her youth men had lain with her, and they handled her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.... And she lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses…" (Ezekiel 23:1-20)


Perplexed by the words he was seeing, and the ellipses he didn’t usually see in a Christian Mass reading, Mark continued as best he could. Meanwhile, at the back of the church, watching, listening, and sporting great, big smiles, were Steve Hudson and the Gay Viking, who had entered the church before anyone arrived and switched the readings. It was not as difficult a task as Steve thought it would be, and, thus far, the result was fantastic. He looked around to see who would stand up to read the second piece of scripture. It was the governor’s eight-year-old son, Sean.

Mark Jackson left the podium, returning to his seat. Steve felt a tinge of regret as he watched Sean Egry scamper up to perform his reading. But what could he do? All is fare in political campaigns. He surely couldn’t stroll up there and switch the reading back. And this passage was in the Bible after all.

Sean reached up for the microphone and pulled it down towards him.


“A reading from the Book of Judges,” he began.


"While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, 'Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.' The owner of the house went outside and said to them, 'No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish…”


Little Sean was only halfway through the reading, but the governor stepped in to stop him. He turned the pages vigorously, knowing this couldn’t have been the reading his campaign manager wanted his son to read. Egry told Sean to go back and sit with his mother as he donned his reading glasses and analyzed the text in front of him.




“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night…


“This isn’t the reading you chose, is it Frank?” Egry asked his manager. He continued:




“Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel." (Judges 19:22-29)


“Right,” Egry said. “If you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

Governor Egry ran out of the church. He knew who was responsible for this embarrassment, and he made everyone in the media aware of it. Steve denied it in the press and no one could prove he was involved. With the service being a disaster, Steve and the Gay Viking left to plan the final forty-eight hours of their campaign. But this stunt made Egry even more determined to beat Steve. The last two days, campaign staffers called voters throughout the state asking if they would vote for Steve if they knew he had an “illegitimate black, retarded child” (which he didn’t); and, when Egry discovered that Steve had an uncle who once worked as an assistant to a defense attorney who may have gotten a few criminals lighter sentences, his supporters began calling him “Let’ em Leave Steve.”

Both candidates worked hard the last two days. Governor Egry stood outside a football stadium, greeting every fan who walked by. Steve walked into various restaurants throughout the state capitol, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Meanwhile, Bill was standing on the side of the highway holding his “Vote Yes on Bill and Sue” sign. Sue was making him stand there all weekend, and during rush hour all week, before the election. Passersby honked, shouted at him, and even threw things, but Bill held his ground.

Just a few feet down was another man with his own sign, which read, “Vote Nomo Homos!”



**********************



The Election Day results were not even close. Steve received less than four percent of the vote, less than the Libertarian and Green Party candidates, and even the dogcatcher. Steve made his concession speech, promising to keep fighting for gay rights. In his speech, Governor Egry also made a promise – and he called it “The Gathering.”

Meanwhile, Question 69 received an 83 percent “No” vote. Bill told Sue this didn’t matter, they could get married anyway, but they found they could not get a marriage license or a single Justice of the Peace to marry them anywhere in the state. Bill told Sue they could move far away from this ridiculous, hateful democracy. Sue was having none of it. It wasn’t meant to be, she said. She and Bill were never meant to be.



************************



The day after the election, Governor Egry revealed his plan for “The Gathering”: All of the homosexuals in the state would be rounded up, men and women, young and old, and they would be “cured.” The finest doctors available would reverse their “sickness.” And so it was carried out. Known homosexuals throughout the state were snatched from their homes, handcuffed and shoved into buses. They were then taken to camps where they would undergo “The Treatment.”

Among those gathered were The Gay Viking and Steve Hudson. When Steve was interviewed while boarding the bus, he called the procedure, “inhuman” and “barbaric,” making references to A Clockwork Orange, the Salem Witch Trials, and even Nazi Germany, but the governor had the power. Steve could do nothing.

Also taken into custody was the governor’s own son, Lance. It was a tearful moment. Egry’s wife pleaded with her husband to step in, but Egry stood his ground. It was all for the good of the country. In a matter of weeks they would have five normal children.



************************



Once the election was over, after the pundits debated the results, after the concession speeches, the victory parties, once everyone started to forget there were hundreds of gay men and women forced into camps, a college-age son of a senator got into a bit of trouble.

Alan Fay, the son of Republican State Senator Mortimer Fay, was vacationing with friends in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A few days into his trip, the world learned than Alan was in a Netherlands jail cell after being in a fight at a hash bar. He had also had sex with three prostitutes while in Amsterdam, and had consumed marijuana in many forms, including cakes, coffee and shakes.

Washington was collectively outraged. Governor Egry, the strongest warrior for moral issues, met with some senators, including Senator Fay, and they requested a meeting with the President, who the next day declared war on The Netherlands. When the U.N. said he couldn’t, the President told them to, “screw off, you bunch of foreigners.”

The media was abuzz with this sudden war declaration, but the President was quick to defend his decision. He held a nationally televised address, laying out the reasons for the war. The Netherlands, he said, is a country without morals, with prostitution, marijuana, and gay marriage all legal. They are a “seclear” nation, he said, with no God, no religion, and no sodomy laws. Crime was also rampant, according to the President, because the country has no death penalty and very strict gun laws. We must free “the Netherlanding people,” he said, from all of these evils.

“Cannabis,” the President said, “leads to suicide, insanity, murder, rape, and, yes, cannibalism, which is where the drug gets its name.”

“Mr. President,” a reporter said, “Do you have any facts about marijuana that weren’t taken from 1930s scare films?”

“I appreciate that,” he said. “And no, I don’t. Those are good films. Black and white. Very classic.”

“Mr. President,” another reporter said, “What about euthanasia?”

“When we finish saving the youth in the Nether Lando Calrisians, then maybe we’ll invade Asia.”

“Mr. President,” a third reporter shouted, “Where are you getting the troops for this war?”

“We’re, uh,” the President said, “We’re gonna use the fags that Governor Edgry has collected. Nothing like war to unqueer a fella. You want a gay military? Well, guess what. It’s gonna be Afagalypse Now. Fag Metal Jacket. Plaqueer.”

“Mr. President,” the first reporter shouted again. “Are you anti-gay?”

“I have no problem with gay people,” he told the nation. “I’m gay myself. I’m very happy. Hehehehehe.”

A spokesperson for the Netherlands said that, yes, prostitution, marijuana and gay marriage are indeed legal, but all except gay marriage are strictly regulated, and that there is no crime problem.

The President and his administration called this “bull cuckie.” They weren’t budging. They sent a message by bombing the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Military leaders were then told to find out where, exactly, The Netherlands is. The President publicly apologized for the errors.

“Yeah,” he said, “We’re sorry. Of course I know where the Nether regions are. The Vice-President told me it’s right there with Germany and Belchin’. It’s located at the pie hole of three rivers: the Rhine…the Mississippi…and the Mickey. They’re called the Netherlando Lakes.”

Once the right intelligence was gathered, U.S. troops stormed through Amsterdam, targeting coffee houses, whore houses, dance clubs, live sex shows, the Sex Museum and the Heineken brewery.

The Royal Netherlands Army retaliated, much to the surprise of the President, considering the Netherlands allowed gays in its military. He appeared again on television, wearing war paint, and claiming the enemy consisted of “fags on speed.”

The war on this front didn’t last long. It wasn’t so much a war as it was an explosion here and there, mixed with one big party. Homo and heterosexual U.S. troops quickly became smitten with Amsterdam nightlife. If war was hell, these boys were ready to meet Satan himself. A coffee house or two was destroyed by accident, and a commander ordered the bombings of the Van Gogh Museum, the Artis Zoo and the Anne Frank House as merely a distraction, while their men partied it up with members of the Royal Army. When it looked like the U.S. had seized the zoo, the president proclaimed that the mission had been accomplished.

No one, at home or abroad, was listening. Soldiers on both sides were having the time of their lives. Seeing the war wasn’t working, the President ordered more troops to be sent in. These soldiers only joined in the festivities with the others. Back home the president threatened air strikes, as Congress, the Senate, and the U.N. condemned the idea of such an act. Support for the war among U.S. citizens was lower than any percentage of anything in American history. Even conservative radio hosts asked why we were in this war.

The President answered his critics by saying that to run would be admitting defeat, and that we would be “embolderning the whores, gays and pot-heads.”

But, in every major city in the country, there were protest rallies and parades. The surviving members of 60s protest band The Protesters performed at many of these rallies, with lead singer Bob Silva telling attendees that he was ashamed to have the same first name as Governor Robert Egry.

Meanwhile, Bill and Sue were each miserable. Sue stayed at the house, while Bill moved in with his brother. Bill spent his days trying to appeal the passing of Question 69, but, since it was a landslide, and he was but one man, it was no use.

Steve and the Gay Viking, like all the troops, went to fight. But they didn’t see the point. They slept during the day and enjoyed nights on the town. There was no war, per se, and the entire world began to see it. After a couple of weeks, U.S. troops became partied out and began calling American officials to go home. The president finally gave in, throwing his hands in the air, and even admitting that the war was a mistake.

Celebration abounded throughout the land. When the war was over, Steve and the Gay Viking returned home. Steve and his wife kissed passionately when he arrived. Steve was now a war veteran. She liked that. It did wonders for their marriage.

Alan Fay returned home to his family, having learned to behave while visiting other countries.

Governor Egry, after witnessing the imposed sacrifice of the gay U.S. troops, changed his opinion about gay marriage and called for an end to the seeking of a law banning it. He appeared on television shaking hands with the Gay Viking. The governor became sort of a friend to the gay community. He didn’t march in parades or anything, but his attitude certainly changed. In front of the entire world, the governor hugged his son Lance, then lifted a homemade sign that read, “I’m proud of my gay son” on one side, and “My favorite fruit? My son!” on the other.

Egry even saw to it that Question 69 was repealed, and Bill and Sue made up and had a lovely wedding. Steve and his wife attended, as did the Gay Viking and his new beau, whom he met in Amsterdam. Soon the Viking, whose real name was Matthew, and his new fellow Raymond, were married as well.

From then on, Steve and Ellen, Bill and Sue, and Matthew and Raymond would get together once a month for a big UNO game. Sometimes Cranium. But always a gay ole time.