Friday, March 27, 2009


Edgar had always been alone. His first memory was waking up from a midday nap, prying his shuddering and heavy eyes open, lifting his head from the pillow on his bed and seeing no one there to welcome him back from slumber. He rubbed his eyes with his palms, adjusted himself to the light and walked, precariously, through the house in search for his mother. Edgar never knew, nor would he ever know, that at that time, his mother was in the garage having extramarital intercourse in her station wagon.

Edgar was four years old at this time, and lived with constant separation anxiety. His mother, Evelyn, birthed Edgar unintentionally. While she had no plans to today, or any other day, 15 years from now she would, in a fit of anger, tell Edgar he was a mistake. Edgar, after admittedly only a moments search for his mother, began to cry. Evelyn could not hear his cries. After a painstaking hour of trying to get him to sleep, she felt vindicated in engaging in this act unfettered, and her moans were a manifestation of that, more than the pleasure she received from her male suitor.

Unsure of what to do, Edgar did what most children would do, he sat on the couch, clutched at a pillow and wept. First loudly and hysterically with the hope that salvation was a mere earshot away, and then weakly, as if the way an injured and helpless dog cries after breaking a bone. In the garage, Evelyn relished in the moment of having responsibilities for no one: not for her burdensome and austere husband and not for her sensitive and fragile son.

After some time, a crow perched itself on the branch of a naked tree, just outside the window from where Edgar sat. It was not the first time Edgar had seen this type of bird, with its gleaming black feathers and penetrating eyes, but he was always accustomed to them flying. And now here it was, sitting next to him, with but a partition of glass separating the two. Edgar stared hopefully at the bird. He tapped on the window gently. The bird reacted and turned his head, with a subtle and curious tilt to see who or what it was making the noise.

Edgar, with tears dried to his crimson cheeks began to cool down. He waved at the bird and the bird nodded slightly yet unmistakably in return. He felt safe, almost instantly. The two sat for nearly fifteen minutes together before Edgar’s mother slipped in through the garage door. When he saw her, he didn’t feel the comfort he normally did, but fear that this was a woman who left him and may leave him again. Evelyn was mortified that Edgar sat there, within earshot of her screams. She was worried about herself first, and in some capacity, Edgar knew this: her hair in disarray, her button down blouse flung over her shoulder, and her shoes in one hand. The unknown scared Edgar and the prospect of the known scared Evelyn.

After adoring reassurance of her love and devotion, a pleasant movie put on and a surprise snack made for his enjoyment, Edgar felt a bit better, but in a way that was unnatural- It wasn’t the way he felt when the crow nodded and sat with him, in silence, and in company.

For the ensuing years, Edgar often encountered this crow in times of isolation. It would return, and perch outside the window, and the two would sit together as Edgar grew old enough to stay home alone, and as Evelyn felt comfortable leaving the house to pursue her interests. They sat while Edgar watched movies, while he read, and while he planned out his future. What was always constant, was the mutual recognition the two had and that the crow, in some capacity, knew he provided solace to Edgar, and perhaps Edgar to him.

And on the eve that he left for college, three months and seventeen days after Evelyn told Edgar that he was a mistake, he went outside in the yard and waited. He waited for an hour until the crow finally flew down. He didn’t perch on his shoulder, or come and eat off his hand, but he went back to the tree he’d always sat on, and stared at Edgar. Edgar knew, at that moment, that he would never return home again. And, content with that, he also knew that the crow would find him again, and sit outside his window.

-Stockton Borealis

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


About seventeen years ago Jenny Grigsby saw her first signs of puberty. She had been taking a bath when she noticed three little hairs sprouting from in between her thigh and pelvis. She was instantly filled with a bittersweet excitement. It felt strange to be on the brink of adulthood. She didn't fancy herself ready to leave the youthful stage in her life that she had recently become so accustomed to.

The following year proved even more difficult for Jenny. Her body had grown awkwardly and pimples had surfaced on her face. Her first uncomfortable experiences with menstruation, and the mood swings that resulted often lead to thoughts of suicide. Sometimes the thoughts were so violent and unbearable that she would lock herself in the attic after school and weep until it was time for bed.

On Sundays, while at church, she found it hard to concentrate on the sermon. Her eyes would often wander to rest on the handsome Thomas Jacobs, who at the age 17 was a whole five years her senior. He was dashingly handsome. Tall, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. On occasion their eyes would meet, causing a rush of warmth to consume her. The feeling would start in her cheeks, and work its way down through the rest of her body, until it became so powerful and so drastically pleasurable that she would have to tighten her abdominal muscles to suppress her excitement.

At home her fantastic thoughts of Thomas were thwarted when she saw her reflection in the mirror. Unlike most girls her age, who, for no reason at all, were less than satisfied with their physical appearance, Jenny was not attractive in the least.

While riding her bike home from school one sunny afternoon, her head swirling with thoughts of Thomas, Jenny hit a particularly rough patch of road that set the bicycle bouncing beneath her. Between the deep thoughts of Thomas and the heavy vibrations of the bicycle seat on her pubis she felt the all too familiar feeling of warmth become hot inside her. The feeling didn't start in her face this time, but rather in between her legs. The hot pressure built up and up until, like a volcano, she erupted with a tiny cry of pleasure, almost losing control of her bicycle.

From that day forth, Jenny smiled more often, her trips to the attic were no longer filled with tears, and she was somewhat able to maintain a level of calm around Thomas.

One evening in early spring, Jenny found herself face to face with Thomas at the county fair. In between pitches at the Dime Toss, Thomas had turned to Jenny for another ten cents. She obliged with a smile, barley able to contain her feelings. After he won, Thomas gave the small teddy bear prize to the beautiful girl standing next to him. They kissed briefly, and then disappeared into the far corner of the field where the lights from the fair couldn't reach.

Jenny didn't see Thomas after that. He wasn't in Church the following Sunday and soon it was known, throughout the town, the he had run away to enlist in the war. Jenny was heartbroken. The only man she had ever loved was gone from her life. Though she was now able to concentrate on the sermon, she longed for the chance to see those blue eyes staring back at her again.

It wasn't long before Jenny started noticing other boys – closer in age but still unattainable. One afternoon, behind the barn, Jenny and her friend Donald Harris, decided to kiss. Donald was a homely child, and Jenny didn't find him any more attractive than Thomas Jacobs had found her. But he had been nice to her in recent years, and Jenny figured it wouldn't be too bad, as long as she closed her eyes.

For the next few weeks Donald and Jenny met up every afternoon for kissing sessions. Every time they went a little further. Jenny had no reservations when Donald asked to see her newly developed breasts. She even let him touch them. When they started kissing again she couldn't ignore the intriguing lump that had formed in Donald's trousers.

"what is that?" she asked

"that's what happens," he replied, smiling sheepishly.

And as more clothes started falling to the floor the door opened suddenly. Jenny's mother stood there in shock. Everything was still for a moment, until Jenny's mother closed her mouth and turned from the door with a blank expression. Donald and Jenny exchanged glances of fear as they listened to the footsteps walk down the hallway. Moments later, Donald ran from the house as fast as he could, and Jenny threw her clothes back on. For the better part of the next hour she sat on her bed in silence, afraid to confront her mother about the situation that had just taken place.

In the car ride Jenny's mother did not speak. The Church was cold and dark when they arrived. And after ten Our Father's and ten Hail Mary’s they left in silence. Jenny did not speak with her mother for another month after that. Nor did she speak with any boys.

In the following years Jenny lead a life separate from the rest. She moved from the countryside to the big city and rented a one-room apartment. She made a handful of friends in college that she tried to relate to. They would stay up all night talking about the world and philosophical subjects, and she would humor them with her faux-intellectual banter. She never quite felt complete. She dated a few guys, but nothing ever stuck. All her relationships would end in frustration, or they would just fizzle out.

It was a full moon the night Jenny was raped. Fall was in the air. It was a cool, damp night that ended one of the last hot days of the Indian summer.

On her way home Jenny walked briskly through the park... She had always heard stories of people getting mugged. One of her friends was violently confronted one night and managed to get out of it by throwing a pocket of change in the mugger’s face and then running away. Jenny didn't have any change in her pocket this evening but she had never felt threatened walking through the park alone.

"Just puff up your chest, lift your shoulders, and tuck your hair back," one of her female friends had once said. "The more you look like a man the less trouble you'll get... the student handbook says it reduces your chances of being robbed by 70%."

That was nearly 10 years ago.

Most of her college friends had moved away, gotten married, and even had children that were in grade school by now. But Jenny? Jenny still lived in the same one-room apartment that she had begun renting her freshman year.

She was almost across the park. Her mind completely dwelling on the awful date she had left 30 minutes beforehand. Time to masturbate. The only form of sex she had ever experienced. The only thing she really ever needed in life... why settle for a shitty guy when she can do a perfect job herself…. And it's not like any guys even liked her. The only reason Robert took her out tonight was because she helped him with a project at work. He was mildly handsome, and she was interested, but it would surely never amount to anything. At 29 years old she was used to that.

And that's when it happened. Like a pillowcase filled with sand being shot out of a canon it hit her. He hit her. 200lbs of man.

The only contact she had had with a man until now was Donald, and that happened 15 years ago. She felt the strength of her attacker pushing her down onto the grass. She wanted to scream, she wanted to struggle, but she was so overwhelmed with the presence of a man that she could hardly breath, or even move. So, she lay there and let him take her. He ripped through her pants with ease – a brand new power suit she had bought for work – but she didn't care. He entered her forcefully but with precision. She could tell he was a man that knew exactly what he wanted and exactly how to get it. Confidence.

She could feel his member fill the void inside her - a void that had loomed inside her since the first time she had laid eyes on Thomas Jacobs in church. She wanted to turn around and look her attacker in the face. But each hit kept her looking forward. Fists to the back of her head were like sensual kisses. Her heart beat faster now. She could feel the warmth build inside her with every thrust. A feeling she had only been able to create by herself until now. Now it was real. This is real. She closed her eyes and felt the warmth build to an unbearable heat inside her. She looked straight at the car headlights on the distant street – a cascading river shimmering in a sunset. The soft moonlight on the grass in front of her was the most beautiful, perfect shade of green. And as the heat reached her toes and fingertips she felt her attacker release his seed inside her. Working off his fully erect, fully pulsating shaft, she arched her back and pressed against him writhing up and down until the heat in her body exploded beyond all expectation. Simultaneous orgasms. Perfect. Beautiful. She let out a barely audible sigh of satisfaction and smiled.

The attacker was surprised. He had never felt a woman this wet after a rape before and it was a turnoff. He quickly stood up lifted his trousers and ran off.

Jenny watched him run from the scene, his muscular legs pounding the pavement, and then he was gone. The stars in the sky shown a little brighter. The air a little sweeter.

As she stood up, and adjusted herself for the rest of the walk home, she tripped slightly on something. In the moonlight she could see it was a wallet and bent down to pick it up.

Thomas Jacobs had raped her. Sweetly. He stood 6’ 3” with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He wasn’t as attractive as she remembered him but it was probably just a bad photo. Tomorrow she would call him and ask him to dinner.

For the first time in her life Jenny Grigsby felt complete.


Friday, March 6, 2009

JULIAN PUDDLES: Thanks, I'm Already Bowing

“Eloquent ramblings from a grotesquely underdeveloped ape.”

“Choice words and respectable inflections from a human washcloth.”

That was it . . .. that was the review casually posted in the bottom right corner of the “Arts and Leisure” section of the Sunday, March 22 2009 edition of the NY Times.

“Dissonant yet pertinent blabber from an amorphous blob of a man,” and “God’s little mistake literally rolls on stage in an inspired revival of Cat’s,” March 21st 2008, Seattle Arts Forum.

Then there’s my personal favorite: “Julian Puddles one man show: How I learned to Stand is literally half a man short and half a wit flat” and further “I found myself staring off during his intellectual ramblings on lunchmeat as symbolism for social and economic status, and getting lost in the numerous masses of skin gently laying across the freshly waxed stage like a giant human silly putty. Where is his jawline? Could he stick his own ear in his mouth? Are those his eyes or did someone spill marbles onto the stage that happened to land on . . . presumably. . . well I guess that’s his neck,” Broadway Magazine, November 21st 2007.

These were the reviews that poured in, as I would flex my dramaturgical muscles on stage. (Literally, my body isn’t capable of forming muscles; figuratively I’m the strongest fucking man you know). Yes it is true; I was born without a frame, without bones strong enough to support the flesh, blood, organs, and viscera that fuel every other living soul. With bones doctors estimate I’m about 6 feet tall 175lbs; in reality, in present state I’m about 1 foot tall, 150 lbs with a 3 ft. radius.

There it is, I said it, I have a damaging and irremediable disease listed in Stedman’s medical dictionary as Hemimelia. I have the most foregone, unfortunate, and untreatable version of this horrible, horrible affliction that doctors have resorted to calling it “Oh shit Hemimelia.” But people let’s get beyond that . . . you don’t need to hear how I used to get slept on during nap time in pre-school, or how my desk was a radio flyer in high school. You don’t want to hear how my least favorite food is pancakes and when I see Frisbees I get nauseous. For Christ sakes I went to Julliard, graduated top of my class, and have a voice that would make Bing Crosby sound like a Japanese Karaoke star. I have a masters in theater from NYFA, speak 4 languages fluently, and hold an honorary degree in Mythology and Folklore from Harvard (not Harvard extension.)

I’ll honor your inquisitions though; yes I look odd, and yes people stare. It is hard for me to make friends and get people to look past my exterior appearance. On a good day I look similar to what you may expect, like a somewhat handsome man smashed between two cartoon anvils, like the good ol’ Wyle-E-Coyote. I look vaguely and move exactly like “Brain” from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons in the early 90’s. Or here try this: I’m Brad Pitt, “Legends of the Fall” era Brad Pitt. . . ok got the picture in your mind? Sexy, fit, chiseled. . . Alright, now remove the bones. . . . Take a picture that’s me.

For some; one look at me can change your world, make you find a religion, make you commit to that girl you’ve been dangling like my limp right forearm, make you reveal your secret family in Mexico. Good I guess. But then. . ..well then there’s the bad days when I look like leftover liposuction and a poor toupee. When I look like a mentally challenged 3rd graders clay concoction that was left in the kiln a little too long, (he named me Fred). I have these days on stage, and people sit there in horror, people sit there in fear, some people sit there and even laugh. And all I can do is what I was born to do, I project my voice, squirm to my mark and use my God given gift to make people transform me into John Hamm, or George Clooney, hell I’ll even take Lyle Lovett. The point is they will get past my appearance and appreciate my talent.

Life has been tough for me I admit, but please give respect where respect is due. While I’m delivering my monologue please don’t imagine what it would be like if I was a gigantic omelet (yes I realize I could feed many starving nations). Don’t ask me if I am capable of sex, if I’m real or CG, if I’ve thought about selling my life rights to McG so he can create the next great action buddy comedy “Tito and the Blob: An Eddie Murphy and Julian Puddles Shoot-Em-Up.” I am an actor, I am talented. . . . you know how many actors truly make it in this world? Not a lot. Look at me; despite my affliction, despite the odds, despite my appearance I’ve made it, I’m on page six. I’ve got pictures of Marissa Miller and Meaghan Fox kissing where my cheek should be. And look at you, you poor miserable shmuck. Keep taking your acting classes, keep working at the Geisha house, keep driving your ford pinto to your Dentyne Ice commercial auditions. I’m a mass of human amalgamation, a talented damn blob, if I can make it then what the hell is wrong with you? Listen. .. . I’m sorry, I just get angry sometimes, but hey if things get really tough, you know really bad, you could always remove your bones, take a class at UCB, and enroll in Julliard.