Thomas Wictor

Hey. What’s the game?

Hey. What’s the game?

In July of 2011, my neighbor came close to dying. He’s a morbidly obese man whose wife hasn’t been out of the house in five years. The last time we saw her, she was walking down the sidewalk to the ice-cream truck. Her stomach was like a frozen waterfall, hanging down past her knees. She leaned back at almost a forty-five-degree angle to compensate. The reason my neighbor almost died was because he suddenly appeared in my driveway and said, “Hey. What’s the game?” Then he smiled.

“What did you say?” I asked him.

“What’s the game?” he repeated with a wide grin.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Bryan,” I said.

“Yes you do.”

“Actually, no, I don’t.”

“Yes you do. You know. What’s the game, man?” Smiling, smiling, smiling.

That’s when I thought I’d better go inside and get my steel pipe.

If you’ve never studied martial arts, you might not know that a pipe of this size and diameter is just about perfect. You don’t raise it over your head and hit someone. Instead, you hold it with one hand on either end and slam it horizontally into their throat, mouth, nose, or forehead; or you use it to spear their groin or midsection; or you swing it like a baseball bat into their thigh, knee, or shin.

Bryan had five Rottweilers that barked all day and all night. We sent him letters pleading for him to quiet his dogs, but he ignored them. Since our quality of life was ruined, we decided to go for broke. Every time the dogs barked, we’d shoot a sound gun at them. You can adjust it to really hurt doggy ears. But you know what? Bryan’s Rottweilers were so degraded that they never associated their barking with the painful noise. Aversive conditioning didn’t work on them.

So we finally reported Bryan to Animal Control. When he got a warning from them, he came over to my house, grinned, and said, “Hey. What’s the game? You know. What’s the game?”

I was sitting there with Tim and our sick kitty Syd the Second, who had only a month to live.

All those tread marks are from the forklift that delivered the hundreds of sandbags that Tim and I used to fill the abandoned septic tank in his back yard that we almost fell into when the roof caved in. You can read about it on pages 279 to 280 of Ghosts and Ballyhoo.

The reason I almost got my steel pipe was because Bryan’s behavior was so demented that it made me both afraid for Tim and Syd and also angry enough to kill. Bryan, Tim, and I had a completely insane conversation about his goddam barking dogs. It was our fault that the dogs barked, he couldn’t stop them, why hadn’t we come to him first before involving the authorities, we scared his four enormously fat daughters by pointing a gun at them, and on and on and on.

Whatever we said, he’d interrupt with, “But my daughters, man. My daughters.” Then he’d smile up at the side of Tim’s house. He was absolutely unreachable, so Tim and I telepathically agreed to surrender. We apologized to him, shook his hand, promised we’d never point our gun—the sound gun that was inaudible to his adult daughters but made them cry with terror—at his house again, and we’d just endure the endless barking because…

Well, there was no reason to endure it other than the fact that Bryan refused to do anything about it. I worried that he’d hurt Syd, who was an outside cat. So I agreed to let him do whatever he wanted. Soon afterward he lost his job and had to get rid of all the dogs. Rottweilers cost a lot to feed.

Syd the Second is now in Fiddler’s Green, beyond Bryan’s reach, and Tim and I have recently discovered that we’re the victims of a con for the ages. It makes all the other cons and games pale into nonexistence. Someday I’ll publish a book about it. But it’ll be fiction. A novel. All made up. A harmless yarn.

And yet my reaction to all these now-insignificant games is strange: I still want to get my steel pipe. Even more than I did before I learned that I’m the Galactic Emperor of Patsies.

A few days ago I got a Facebook friend request from Mary Vanessa B Altum.

I use Facebook to improve my search-engine rankings. Usually I turn down friend requests. This time I accepted because of those boobs it was bizarre. The name and photo were weird. Mary Vanessa immediately sent me private messages that were irresistible in their humor and artistry.

Have you ever used the Google Images “search by image” feature? You drop a photo into the box, and the Google elves see if it appears anywhere else. So I put Mary Vanessa’s boobs photo into Google images and found this.

Robin Stewart, a very young at heart? Was that her real name?


In reality she’s a former porn star named Melissa Harrington. Her nom de saleté was Melissa Midwest.

Melissa Harrington was once the ninth most searched-for name on the Internet. Her boobs photos have been used without her permission so often that she was part of a class-action suit filed against However, her name was dropped from the plaintiff list after she said she never agreed to be part of the suit. Her ex-husband owns the rights to her boobs images, so he’s still going for the gold, litigation-wise.

What I want to know is “What’s the game?” What is this retarded, non-native English speaker looking for by friending me as Vanessa Mary B Altum? Money? Would “she” eventually tell me “she” was going to be evicted, expecting me to say, “You can’t be evicted! Your boobs are magnificent! Here’s $10,000, my love!”

Scam-scam-sammity-scam. Another one from yesterday.

Dear Isabella:

You’re all going to have to work a lot harder. I’m not the same guy I was in 2013. Or in 2011.

If you want to be my friend, you have to prove that you really have boobs you’re not trying to rip me off. Read that part about the steel pipe again.

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