Friday, July 14, 2006

The Next Show: July 23! Theme: The Last Time I Cried!

I'm psyched for the next Storytime! It will be July 23, 7:00 pm at the Magnet Theater, and will feature four great young writers: Lucia Aniello, Damon Ketron, DC Pierson and Benjamin Vigeant. Short bios below, except for Benjamin's which is to come. See you at the show!

Lucia Aniello is a writer/cartoonist based out of Brooklyn. She can be seen performing improv comedy with Pax Romana at the Magnet Theater or singing songs very poorly at various comedy venues in New York City. She also is the co-creator of Save the Whales!, a Brooklyn-based bi-annual 'zine (e-mail for a free subscription). Lucia graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in Film Studies and really had a good time there.

You can find Damon Ketron at You can also catch Damon at the Magnet Theater on Saturday nights in the show Megawatt with the House Improv team Baby In a Corner. Damon is also working on releasing an album by the end of the year on his indie label, form of...Records!

DC Pierson is a senior at New York University, where he studies writing for television. He writes and performs comedy with Dominic Dierkes and Donald Glover in a group called DERRICK ( DERRICK's show "Outtakes" happens the last Monday of every month at the UCB Theater. The group also has a script deal with Comedy Central. DC publishes poems, stories, and un-asked-for opinions at his website,
The Wal-Mart Crotch Rocket Getaway

Part IV

(by David Silverman)

The sound of every police car in Shawnee County available to respond at the height of Crazy Days was both louder than the sound in your ears from an iPod turned all the way up playing Bad Moon Rising and softer than the whine of a colicky baby in the seat behind you on a red-eye from LA to New York.
As the sun shown down through a vacation-brochure blue sky littered with puffy white clouds as soft and as menacing as cotton balls—two-bags-for-a-dollar-made-in-China-being-purchased-by-a-laid-off-autoworker cotton balls—the lone deputy and the captain, who had been in the back of the squad car sucking down an Italian-style-combo sandwich when the alarm from the Wal Mart had come in, put on the best show they could.
The deputy took up a shaky position behind the open door of the cruiser, and cranked down the window. Not even power windows, the deputy thought, and I left dental school for this. “Come out with your hands up,” he yelled into the broken megaphone—using it more as a shield than a loudspeaker.

“What’s that?” Aimee Carson said, her voice high pitched and throaty, like a speaker at a fast food drive-thru, or like a four-foot-two forty-year-old prostitute for whom life had been always hard. Puberty had brought pimples but no hair, hips, or tits and she made her living pretending to be the pre-teen she never ceased to appear to be—except with sex. Kind of like Aimee Sedaris in that TV show Stranger’s With Candy, but without the copyright violations implicit in that comparison.
“Nuh un.” Wyler said, while pushing his hand under Aimee’s ‘80s Madonna-style beaded necklaces and ripped halter top and kissing her neck as hard as he could. His Fry-Guy costume hung half off, half on his torpid body exposing his flabby arms and the tattoo around his left nipple that read, simply, “Peas.”
It was surprising what a person, and perhaps especially Wyler, could accomplish, sexual speaking, with a Fry Guy costume. But it wasn’t surprising that Aimee and Wyler had met in the Wal-Mart parking lot--each with a different goal. One, to meet Matt Klesko and tell him you are not attending St. Rosemary’s Junior High on the hill, but are in fact a drug-addicted whore who has been tricking him into sex for money and Madonna outfits and now realizes that even she can’t continue to use him like that. That he should keep his job at Wal Mart, get as far away from an awful, awful woman like her, and find himself a true love who can love him back. And the other to complete the plan dreamed up by his twin brother, and Wal Mart management expert Tyler. Tyler, fourteen seconds older than Wyler. Tyler, the pushing force who had made their mother scream so loud in pregnancy that her voice was distorted like whippoorwill from that moment forward. Tyler always had a plan and Wyler always had to do it.
But instead, Aimee, who had a weakness for big, strong guys in a costume related to any internationally recognized brand, and Wyler, a man with Down’s syndrome and a weakness for women who sounded like his mother, ended up in the dumpster behind the loading dock groping each other like a fat man attacking a stack of quarter-pounders after six months on a reality TV show where they did nothing but stop you from eating quarter-pounders cause that was the only idea that passed the test groups.

“Give me that damn thing,” the captain said, switching off the siren that the deputy had left on. Above him, the cotton ball clouds had turned a deep shade of grey. They soaked of up the sun like makeup off the cast of a high school version of cats. “Where did you learn to say that? Saturday cartoons?” He walked around the front of the squad car, his hands comfortably at his side. “We have you surrounded,” he shouted. “Best you boys just come out peacefully.”

“What do you think?” Max said, sort of to Carl, who couldn’t decide whether to re-cock the shotgun or to lie down and cry, sort of to Bruce, who looked remarkably untouched by everything, sort of Ralph and Frank, one heading to unconsciousness in his purple papier-mâché costume, the other, bewildered, his bright red 250 CC Shark shattered and intermingled with his fractured limbs and mangled bits of door frame that intermittently bing-bonged the familiar, but now sarcastic welcome tones of friendly automatic doors the world around.
But Max was unfazed by all this. He had regained his composure. It was like when he’d gone to jail the first time. When the lights went out and he had to establish who was in charge. Gone were the “Fucks” and the “Jesus Christs!” and the “Stop, Carl, don’t you recognize me? It’s Me, Max, your brother’s son. The little boy who you gave your Number 16 shirt to in 1967 when the Kansas City Monarchs disbanded. I’ll give you some of the money and write into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY to a friend of mine who works there and get you nominated.” All those ludicrously complicated adrenaline-filled pleas and revelations were over.
“What do you think?” Max said, again.
Carl looked at Max like a man who had just killed another man and hadn’t had the credits roll or cut to commercial—a man with his shoes touching less blood than Hollywood would lead you to believe a man contains, but still plenty of real, sticky, clotting hemoglobin.
“Looks like there’s only two of ‘em,” Ralph said, edging his face up to the window—using Grimace’s trademark milkshake as a makeshift crutch.
“What do you think?” Max repeated, wiping a bit of makeup from his face. “That guy wasn’t one of us,” he said feeling the greasepaint on his fingers. “Kinda hard to say blowing Minnie Mouse’s head off was self-defense.”
Carl edged his white-and-blue Keds back from the blood as Max swung his Hamburgler’s bag with the comically large dollar sign around to his chest. “Murder, Carl, ‘s a lot worse than trying to steal a few bucks with unloaded pistols.”

Someone was banging on the dumpster. Ka-thong. Ka-thong. Aimee struggled to get her Super Girl Underoos back on.
“Unh,” Wyler grunted, more annoyed at having to reduce himself from the master fucker, literally, to the second out of the womb as he pushed a soft hand against the green metal lid.
“Get out,” Tyler shouted, “get fuckin’ out.”
Tyler’s face behind his thick black-framed glasses was all twisted in the full fury of a plan going exactly—exactly—right, until Aimee came out of the dumpster behind Wyler. At the sight of her skinny ass Tyler’s face opened like a three-in-the-morning, filled-to-the-mathematical-edge-of-its-meniscus-by-an-automatic-machine-manned-by-an-angry-man-who-still-lived-at-home-with-his-mother, value-meal-sized coke-a-cola dropped on a dirty floor.
“What the fuck?” Tyler, said meaning, I tell you to do something and you fuck it up with some broad who must be half your age. Not that that matters, because you are so totally useless that if it were possible to call a number and have you sterilized, I would put that number on redial and go to the bathroom with the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle, which would be especially difficult and time consuming for me, your brother who, like you has Down’s syndrome, thereby causing them to come and cut your nuts off over and over—because even for a man with Down’s syndrome, Taylor was a shit-head.
“Ready,” Wyler said, meaning, I am ready to complete the plan, brother of mine. As we had discussed, I help you carry bags of cash.
“No.” Tyler said, meaning, All my planning to get those idiots to rob the Wal Mart. And what a wonderful plan it was. They didn’t know that all they have is a tenth of the month’s receipts and they’ll take all the blame. While I’ve got the real money stashed somewhere else. Somewhere secret. After all, who would suspect sweet little old me?
“He looks like you,” Aimee said.
“No.” Tyler said, meaning, No. Or, on maybe, No, I don’t look my brother. I’m much more beautiful.

“We’ve got all day if you do,” the captain shouted, tilting his hat back a notch and then crossing his arms. “And you can stop hiding back there,” he said to the deputy still crouched behind the star painted on the open squad car door. “They’re not going anywhere. These Wal Mart’s are built on the cheap, no windows, one door in the front, and the loading dock locked to keep employees from wandering out on smoke breaks. Or don’t you read the papers.”
The deputy peaked over the top of the door.
“And another thing, Pearson,” the captain said, “They’re a lot less likely to think we’re alone if you would stop trying to get that door to have sex with you.”
I don’t read the papers, jerk off, the deputy thought as a light rain began to fall, I use the Internet.

“Back door,” Carl said.
Max looked up and out across the store, his eyes darting with hope.
“Locked,” Bruce said. “Already tried,” and he waved, for effect, the bolt cutters he had stolen from Seasonal Hardware.
“Shit,” Max said, returning to swearing instead of thinking.
“Opens,” Carl said slowly, still focused on Minnie Mouse’s decapitated polka dot dress, “if there’s a—” And then simultaneously with Max, “fire!”
Frank moaned.
Ralph put his arm in his mouth liked he used to when his father took out the bottle of Old Smuggler whiskey.
And Bruce pointed at the propane tanks next to the barbeque grills with his cutters.
Who’s on the top bunk now? Max thought. Hamburgler is.

The deputy stood up as six cruisers from the State Highway patrol in Lawrence pulled into the parking lot—their mirrored sunglass drivers the epitome of Clint Eastwood cool—the real Clint, not the pussy I’m-an-old-man-who’s-going-to-die-eventually Million-Dollar-Baby Clint, but like the Gauntlet Clint, especially the part at the end, when they’re all whacking on him with their fists or metal chains or Billy clubs, you know, the whaddaya callit, the gauntlet, yeah, that was wicked.
The clouds had merged into a pizza tin grey slab, blocking out the sun. And just as the troopers had begun plugging in their search lights, a Bang! came from within the store.
“I’ll put in a good word to the judge for the first one of you out of there,” the captain shouted as he moved his hand to his holstered revolver, and the skies opened up. There was a moment of quiet, like the whole world was waiting for the old lady in the front of the line to hand the cashier a check for two dollars and three cents, when all of a sudden the windows of the Wal Mart blasted out, cause that’s what always happens.

“I don’t know, who the fuck are you,” Aimee said as the loading dock door flew open, billowing out four cursing men in McDonald-land costumes, Hamburgler, Mayor McCheese, and the Grimace carrying three sacks with dollar signs and a slumped Ronald, like Jesus taken off the cross. Behind them was a twitching Wal Mart employee with dark stains on his shirt, and behind him, a wall of black smoke.
“No!” Tyler yelled, hysterically waving his fists in the air as lightning flashed overhead. “No smoke break!”

“There’s a culvert behind the store,” the captain said to the still sunglassed trooper. “They’d break their necks if they to run that way.” He fiddled with the brim of his hat. “Seriously, these boys just got in over their head. They’ll be running out here ready to give up any second now. Let’s just get the fire department folks here. No need for you troopers to escalate this.”
Without a word, the trooper made a series of hand signals to his lieutenant who was holding the leashes of eight German shepherds, all drooling thick saliva. The lieutenant released the dogs and barked a command indistinct in the crack of thunder.

In the flood control culvert behind the store, Frank, on the ground, regained consciousness for a moment. He watched Max struggle to pull himself up the rain slicked concrete. Everyone was sliding, the sounds of dogs could be heard. It’s over. Frank thought. Even if we get away, that jail striped Hamburgler outfit isn’t going to help.
Tyler was slap punching Carl, “No,” he said over and over.
Carl pushed him hard in the chest. “I’ve already used this once,” he said lifting the shotgun.
Tyler stumbled back and fell in the mud.
“Help me up,” Carl said.
“Help you?” Max asked, incredulous.
“I’m the only one strong enough to lift one of you fat bastards over the wall.”
This required trust. Max didn’t like trust.
“You remember that baseball shirt? I told your father, my brother, I’d take care of you.”
“Bullshit,” Max said.
“Maybe,” Carl said, pointing over his shoulder. “But it’s that or let the dogs get you.”
A dog had descended on Tyler, biting his glasses and parts of his nose to bits.
Max cupped his hands and Carl put his foot in them. He heaved his bulk upward and grabbed onto the edge of the culvert. At the top he turned around.
“You gave your word,” Max yelled.
“Throw up the money,” Carl said.
The dogs had moved onto Frank and were circling Ralph.
“The money!”
Reluctantly Max tossed the bags.
“You promised,” Max yelled.
“And you tried to rob my store,” Carl said and ran.
Shit. Max thought.

Aimee stood behind the dumpster hugging Wyler. As dumb as he was, he couldn’t hate her for not being normal. He felt like hope—like the time that doctor had tried to stretch her out. “Of course momma loves you short, but she’d love you a whole lot more if you were normal sized.”
Wyler had gotten rid of the fry guy costume and to the police they had looked like just a scared, if extremely unsightly, couple who had gotten caught up in the whole thing.
“Let’s go,” Aimee said.
Wyler reached into his pocket and read the slip of paper he found there.
Aimee read over his shoulder. “Take out the trash? No, come on.”
He pulled out of her grip and grabbed a bag of garbage from the dumpster.
“Come on,” she said.
With the sounds of fire engines, dogs, and thunder, Wyler and Aimee walked away. The rain had slowed and at an empty diner down the road they sat together on one side of a booth sharing a cheeseburger deluxe, the bag of trash between them.
Aimee took a quarter from her fanny pack and reached over Wyler to put it in the Rocola Jukebook.
“Shit,” she said, turning the selector knob and frowning, “All they have is new Madonna.”
She punched in R5 and sat back down. “So what was so important about the damn trash? Your mommy put that note in your pocket,” she asked as, Hey Mr. DJ, Put a record on, I wanna dance with my baby warbled from the two inch speakers.
Wyler shrugged, opened the bag cautiously and peered inside with a squinted eye. He smiled at Aimee.
“What? You like trash?” She leaned in, holding his shoulder for support. Within the red tie sash of the bag she could make out bundles of cash.
“I like peas,” Wyler said. “You like peas?”
The Wal-Mart Crotch Rocket Getaway
Part III

(by Ari Voukydis)

This isn’t the plan.

His heart racing and sweat beading off his white face-paint, Frank spilled out into the Wal-Mart parking lot, blinking in the harsh Topeka sunlight. Head pounding.

This isn’t the plan.

From behind him, Bruce’s voice, muffled by the cavernous Mayor McCheese mask but audibly sharp with fear: “Frank!”

Frank took a slow deep breath and scanned for cops. None.

“Frank! Where are you going? Don’t leave us!”

A shotgun and the chimes of breaking glass. This definitely isn’t the plan.

Another voice, Max’s: “Jesus FUCK, Carl! Stop! Please! Let’s talk this out.”

To Frank’s left, the getaway motorcycles: beautiful red-and-chrome Sharks. He willed himself to leave, to run to one of the Beasts, throw the money in Her sidecar, and tear off into the anonymous embrace of the Crazy Days parade. Blend in with the freaks and float away with the rest of the garbage.


But that’s not the plan.

“Hey! Ronald Fucking McDonald!”

The plan – which seemed so foolproof just 24 hours ago – had in retrospect all the hallmarks of a fiasco. Dress in matching costumes and rob a Wal-Mart: Romantic. Bad-ass. How could we possibly screw that one up?

Let the record show, that’s what a Bad Plan looks like, and if one had to pinpoint the exact moment it graduated from Bad Plan to Dangerous Lunacy, one might point to Bruce’s insistence on unloaded guns. You know, for safety.

Still, it might have worked. Alone, maybe each of them could have pulled this off, but together, no. Doomed. Too much weird alchemy. Too many variables. The whole became less than the sum of its parts, and just because a plan is crazy doesn’t mean it just might work. To be fair, it just might have. But the Hamburglar got greedy, Mayor McCheese lost his nerve, and a drunk old man found a gun and a sense of purpose. Now Grimace was going to bleed to death if someone didn’t get him to a hospital. So now, a choice: Ronald McDonald could either try to save his friends and get killed, or abandon them altogether and see how far he could get before the spineless pricks gave him up to the police.

Res ipsa loquitur - the thing speaks for itself – all those connected with the operation are liable for negligence. Fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t. America. What a country.

This isn’t the plan.

Or is it? Maybe the plan just sucks.

“Fuck it,” Frank said, and sprinted to the Shark, tossed the sack into the sidecar, and lept onto the saddle. He took several deep breaths to compose himself, running over his mental checklist, trying to predict what he was about to do wrong.

Fuck it. No more plans. Do it. Let the brain play catch-up. Plenty of time to cook up plans in jail. He backed the bike up, gunned the engine, and rocketed towards the sliding glass entrance. For a moment he felt perfectly alive, electric, immortal. By the time he realized the automatic doors weren’t going to open, it was too late. For the rest of Frank’s life doctors would periodically tell him that he had no business surviving that crash, and he knew they were right. But today was that kind of day. Nothing was going according to plan.


Carl Boggs lowered his shotgun. The Hamburglar’s offer made some sense. The McDonalds Four would drop the money and leave. Carl saves the day, nobody goes to jail, nobody dies. Carl could even pocket a couple hundred and who would know? It was a good plan. And it would have probably worked, too, if that clown on that motorcycle hadn’t exploded through those glass doors and sent everything straight to Hell.


Later, long after the chaos had subsided -- after the body had been taken away and the survivors interviewed, after the late-night comics had picked the carcass clean of irony, and after Sam Brownback had gone on TV and found a way to blame the Democrats – after the chips were counted and everything had run its course, there was only one fact left upon which everyone could agree: That as bad as things had been, it wasn’t until Matt Klesko showed up that things really went to shit.


Congratulations, Matt Klesko! It is your lucky day! After today, things will be different. Today you are 33 years old, making six-fifty an hour to walk around the Topeka Wal-Mart in a Minnie Mouse costume, handing out free samples of Disney-themed snacks. Today, for the last time, your marching orders come from a pushy assistant manager who makes everyone call him Team Leader Tyler and docks your pay if you remove your costume’s head in front of customers. TLT is stocky, loud and arrogant. He has blond hair and entirely too much team spirit for someone with his salary. Most people, upon meeting Ty, have the same reaction: “He’s unusually sarcastic for a guy with Down’s.”

But that doesn’t matter. Wal-Mart doesn’t matter. Tyler Brown certainly doesn’t matter. And that’s because you, Matt Klesko, are in love. Real love. The kind of love you’d long since decided was only for other people, maybe for nobody. You love Aimee Carson and Aimee Carson loves you and tonight, you’re going away. Leaving Wal-Mart, leaving Topeka, leaving Kansas. You crush out your Parliament, put the Minnie Mouse head back on, and head onto the floor to wind up your last day at Wal-Mart.


When you’re playing a Disney character, the head is the real problem: you can see out of it okay if you tilt your own head just right, but you can barely hear or be heard – a deliberate choice on the part of the Walt Disney Company, and one that you particularly appreciate: You’ve told Ty to go fuck himself close to eighty times, and he’s never heard you. You step into Housewares. There’s less ambient noise than usual but there’s a lot of yelling. You catch yourself hoping that Ernst is finally kicking the holy hell out of Ty, like he keeps saying he will, but suddenly you don’t care. The old Matt Klesko wishes for those kinds of things. The new Matt Klesko, the Matt Klesko who Loves, does not. You smile to yourself as you turn towards Lawn & Garden, and this is what you see:

Blood, fertilizer, pottery shards and nickels. Some guy in a Mayor McCheese costume pressed up against the north wall of Aisle 19. At his feet is Grimace: the left side of his giant purple body torn to rags and wire, the terrified man inside bleeding out onto the pale linoleum. The Mayor has taken off his oversized gloves and clutches a pistol. And you realize: These ignorant turds are robbing a Wal-Mart. In broad daylight. And not just in McDonald’s costumes, but in the two worst possible McDonald’s costumes. And you, Matt Klesko, know a thing or two about costumes. Did they really not try the costumes on first? Anyone who’s done even a day of mascot work can tell you that you can’t see shit out of McCheese’s head and the Grimace costume’s legs start at a man’s actual knees, so you can’t ever move faster than a sad, careful shuffle.

And you think, Aimee’s never going to believe this. Then you think, I wonder if Aimee’s too young to know who Mayor McCheese is? And then you think, Wait. Nobody would pick those two costumes unless they were the only ones left. There are probably more bad-guys in the store. You duck behind a rack of reasonably priced canoes and force yourself to concentrate. How many other gunmen would depend on where the costumes came from. If they got them at Party City then we’d just be missing Ronald and the Hamburglar. But if they got them at Marty’s Parties then you have to factor in the possibility of Birdie the Early Bird, Officer Big Mac and, depending on how committed they were, a half dozen Fry Guys. You know what, Matt Klesko? You’re a smart motherfucker. Would have made a good cop.

And then you think, Fuck this. And you head south towards the exit. Towards Aimee.

You feel rather than see the sudden movement to your left. You wheel around: Fear, then relief. It’s one of Wal-Mart’s Greeters. You remember this guy. Surly son of a bitch. Used to play for the Kansas City Monarchs, or so he says. Carl something. Carl is holding a shotgun he must have grabbed from Sporting Goods and Jesus, you have never seen Carl this angry. Boggs. That’s his name. Carl Boggs. The blast from the shotgun hits you in the eyes and tears off the top of your head. You’re dead before you hit the floor.

Nineteen years from now, contractors working on the basement of the house you used to live in will find the secret room, and the bones of your young victims, and the photographs, and all the little hands in the jars. And Aimee Carson will grow up safely, and dozens of other little girls will grow up safely. And Carl Boggs will never know how many lives he saved. And you got away with it, didn’t you? All because some half blind former Negro-Leaguer got drunk and thought Minnie Mouse was a McDonald’s character. What did I tell you, Matt Klesko? Today is your lucky day.


It was a long time before anyone speaks. Boggs, pale, has laid down the shotgun and slumps against a remarkably affordable flat-screen TV. Staring blankly at the wall, listening to the alarms, focusing on one idea: Do not throw up.

Max staggers to his feet and helps Bruce take off his McCheese head. Three motorcycles outside. This could work. He and Bruce could ride, stuff Frank and Ralph into a sidecar each, take them less than four miles to Doc Yardley’s place and holy shit, if they got very, very lucky, they might even be able to pull this off.

This was a good plan. And it probably would have worked, too, if the police hadn’t shown up.