Thomas Wictor

The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day Mom and Dad took their first steps on the journeys that removed them from my life. Tim and I didn’t commemorate it in any special way. We commemorate our parents daily, talking about what they did and why. The one favor our parents did us by dying the way they did was to prove just how inflexible and unreachable people can be.

I’m now not puzzled in the least when confronted with the daily barrage of bad decisions that our politicians, business leaders, entertainers, and religious figures make. They do these things because they won’t change course. It’s as simple as that. Doing things differently is not possible.

Years ago I was at the window of a Burger King drive-through. I’d just gotten my two Whoppers with cheese and large fries. Before I could move forward, a car entered the drive-through exit and slowly came toward me. The man behind the wheel was about ninety-seven. He closed the distance between us and started honking his horn. I looked in the rear-view mirror; cars were stacked up behind me, so I was trapped. There was nothing to do but wait for the collision.

When the car in front was about two feet away, the old man stopped. He rolled down his window and shouted something. I got out and went over to him.

Why won’t you get out of my way?” he yelled and then hung his head. His sheepish, furtive air told me what was going on: He knew he’d screwed up, but he was going to try and brazen it out. The whole word was supposed to protect him from the consequences of his own mistake.

“I can’t go anywhere,” I said. “See? There are four cars behind me, and there are curbs on both sides of the drive-through.”

“Well…goddammit! Fine!” he snapped, put his car in reverse, and backed out, looking over his shoulder.

You might think it uncharitable of me, but I didn’t feel sorry for him. He was an accident waiting to happen. His pride and fear kept him from admitting that he was no longer fit to drive. Someone else would end up paying for his refusal to accept reality.

Speaking of making someone pay, I’ve done everything I can to prepare for the publicity campaign I’m going to launch. I finished and submitted Volume Three of the Ghosts Trilogy, Hallucinabulia: the Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian, and I gave all the necessary documents and information to my campaign allies. For the first time in a year, I have no obligations. I don’t have to worry about marketing my books, getting reviews, or giving interviews because my literary career is over.

I may give it another try someday. Tim thinks I’ll have to, since I seem to have found my voice as a writer. We’ll see. I’m not ruling it out. Right now I’ve lost interest in writing anything except these nightly posts.

With nothing to do but wait, here in the calm before the storm, I spent the day surfing the Web. What caught my attention, now that I’m no longer under such stress, was all those ads on every Website. Their strangeness fascinates me. Like this one, for instance.


Yes, I can see that leaning back to give women a look up your nose would repel them. But I think most men would find it repellant if women gave us a look up their noses. It’s not a gender-specific repulsion. I can’t remember ever actually looking up a woman’s nose. Nakamura, the Cat Faced Ghost in the Rising Sun, used to open her mouth and stick out her Gene Simmons-length tongue, which allowed me to see down her throat, but I never peeked up her nose.


“Weird trick” is trending now, as the first con-artist publicist would’ve said. And that’s a heck of a beauty mask the old lady is using. It’s made the lower part of her face that of a woman in her twenties. The company shouldn’t be shy about the effectiveness of their masks. That thing turned the woman’s hair back to blonde, gave her a lusciously kissable mouth, and removed all her wrinkles, not just soon-to-be-gone ones around her eyes. It even rejuvenated her hands!


Zucchini genetically engineered so that it’s filed with salmon eggs? Yeah, that would make me lose weight. From throwing up all day. I tried salmon eggs in Japan. It was one of the worst tastes I’ve ever endured. No wonder grizzly bears are so bad tempered. They have to eat that crap. If we set up Burger Kings in all the forests and let grizzlies patronize them for free, they’d be our pals.


What the hell is this? What does it do? Is it a piece of exercise equipment? Do you rest your chin on that padded thingie and then…what? Exactly what part of your body do you exercise? Is that a pneumatic hammer that comes down and bam-bam-bam-bam? Is it supposed to give you calluses? Or does it flatten you, like chicken piccata? Have things changed so much since I’ve been off the market that now we men need to be callused and flattened?


Another weird trick! What I really like in women is oily eyelashes. It’s even better when they’re as thick as hog bristles. I like a woman who can scrub me with her lashes. If she can take a bar of soap and lather me up just by blinking, she wins my heart.


What happens when you take testosterone supplement? Your testicles fall out onto the floor? Or your potatoes grow shoots?


That top photo is heartbreaking, like she’s about to burst into tears. She’s begging for your help. In the second image, they removed all her freckles or moles and gave her that disgusting lipstick that looks like pink satin. Why do women do that? See how wrinkled it makes her lips? Her face is as smooth as plastic, but her lips are disconcertingly rectal. I don’t think it’s a good tradeoff.


No. She doesn’t look forty in the “After” photo. Instead of looking seventy-two, she now looks seventy. And they narrowed her head from front to back. How did they do that? Did they actually lift her face, like, right off her skull? And then did they chisel away two inches of bone, reattach her mug, and sand it smooth? In the “Before” picture, she looks sort of like Senator John Glenn getting punched in the chin. He’s a very distinguished man, so maybe she should’ve been happy with her wrinkles and rounder head.


Man, another trick! I’ve never needed a trick to know when a woman wanted me to make a move, but this is a really unnerving ad because she looks exactly—and I mean clone-exactly— like the young Noreen. That was even her habitual expression. She wore it the day she came out of the bathroom naked except for a washcloth held over her vuh-vuh. Her vuh-vuh-va. Her vuh-va-va-va. Her area.


I promise to never eat a bowl of embalmed Chinese ass. Never, ever, ever.


This is a cropped and enlarged section of an ad I can’t remember. Stare at the model’s face for a few seconds, and she starts looking dangerously insane. Look at her eyes; they seem to widen. She’s like a serial killer. And those huge choppers are just demonic.

Can’t you just imagine her saying, “When you fall asleep, Tom, I’ll pay you a visit. Yes I will! D’hee!

Luckily I discovered a weird trick that makes sleep unnecessary. It’s a hat that a woman named Eleanor gave me yesterday.


Eleanor is from the Philippines. She picked up my chapeau during a visit home and traded it for a copy of Ghosts and Ballyhoo. I don’t know what the hat’s made of. Tourists’ skin, I think. But it works. I didn’t sleep a wink last night.

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