Category: Stories

King of Creed

stapp1

Scott Stapp sat in the back of Creed’s tour bus, bouncing up and down with the bumps on the road. He was writing a heartfelt song about his love for his son while getting serviced by one of his numerous groupies. Suddenly, he had a mental block, and stared off into the distance. He tapped his pen to his notepad, steeped in deep concentration.

“Roxetta, what’s a good word that rhymes with son?” He asked the groupie at his feet.

Roxetta wiped off her mouth, and, after a few seconds of thought, said, “How about HoneyBun?”

Scott Stapp processed this for a bit, then finally shouted, “Perfect!” Roxetta beamed with pride, a wide grin plastered across her face as she looked at her hero.

Scott sternly made a motion to get back to oral sex. Scott focused his attention back on his notepad, and what would surely be a #1 record.

Before he wrote a single letter, however, both Scott and the groupie were slammed against the side of the bus, and the lights went out. The tour bus had gone off the road, and was rolling down a large hill.

Around and around they went, the floor becoming the ceiling over and over in rapid succession, all the while in complete darkness. “This must be what it was like for Mark McGrath in Sugar Ray’s I Just Wanna Fly music video,” Scott thought to himself, “God that guy got a lot of tail.” That thought turned out to be his final. The tour bus was finally stopped by a tree, which snapped the bus in half, killing everyone inside. The entire band, their managers, their groupies, the Clear Channel representatives, all dead. Rock and Roll would never be the same.

***

“God… God? We need an answer, God.” Scott Stapp heard faintly.

He opened his eyes, and was hit with blinding light. Everything around him was white. Finally, his eyes adjusted. The ground looked like it was made up of clouds. Pretty weird. He looked at his hands. They were covered in gold rings with giant rubies. And his hands were emanating light. Also Weird. Then, he felt his head. It felt weighed down by a heavy hat. He took off this hat, and found that it was a giant crown, also gold and covered in rubies.

Scott was sitting in a giant throne, more elaborate and expensive looking than even the one he had in his own house. In front of him were two angels, wearing white robes with giant white wings coming out of their backs. They were looking at Scott quizzically. Then, it came to him. He must be God or something.

“Whoa, this is just like Bruce Almighty…” Scott muttered.

“What?” one of the angels said.

“Oh, uh, nothing.”

“God, we need an answer,” the angel said, his eyebrows furrowed.

“Um, what was the question again?” Scott asked, rubbing his eyes.

“Ugh, God, alright, but this is the last time I’m explaining it,” one of the angels said, rolling his eyes. “On planet X-Z8 in galaxy Xubpuron, the Romulons are fighting the Potrorons. Which species will bring order to the Cosmic Ordinance of Plathfurox?”

“Um, the first one?” Scott said, confused.

“The Romulons? Are you sure, God? The consequences are dire; if the Ordinance of Plathfurox does not regain order, the entire galaxy of Xubpuron will collapse, killing billions upon billions of hyper-intelligent beings!”

“Yes.” Scott answered.

“Very well.” The angels said. They turned around and floated off into the distance, eventually disappearing with a twinkle of light.

“God, that was fuckin’ weird.” Scott said. His entire body ached, he felt exhuasted. “Man, I could really use a Coors Light,” he said to himself. Before he finished the sentence, however, there was a Coors Light in his hand.

“Awesome!” Scott said, cracking it open and taking a large swig. Then it finally occured to him: He was God.

***

Scott breathed heavily, his heart beat quickly with anticipation. He held a surfboard with his right arm, and was completely nude except for the giant gold crown on his head. On a white platform, floating 30 feet above a violent ocean of pizza slices, he waited nervously for a big enough wave.

After letting three or four decent sized waves go past, he spotted an enormous wave forming in the distance. The pizza slices were caving in on eachother, splattering cheese and marinara all over the place, and he could tell this would be the biggest yet. The wave looked like it was going slow, but that was only because of the enormity of it.

Scott waited in breathless premonition, and then finally the wave was directly before him. With a burst of testosterone, Scott lept from the platform, and put the surfboard below his feet.

He landed smoothly onto the wave of pizza. He faltered a bit, but then regained balance. He felt his long hair blowing in the wind. He rode along the front of the wave, and watched the wave of pizza tower over him. He was going incredibly fast. He was riding the wave.

Scott dared to do a few tricks, brushing his hand against the wave, hanging ten and spinning in a 360. It was the most fun he had ever had. He slowed a bit, and got right to where the wave was breaking. The wave made a tunnel, and he rode inside the tunnel and listened to himself scream “RIIIIGHTEEEOOOUS!” in that echoey tube.

Just when the wave was at its apex, Scott threw caution to the wind and jumped off the surfboard with a burst of joy. He was immediately swept up by the wave, and submerged. Scott opened his mouth. It was the most delicious pizza he had ever had.

***

Scott’s days were spent trying to act out the flights of fancy that were impossible while he was alive on planet earth, either because of laws of gravity or laws of human decency. He orchestrated eight-way train-crashes, did a half-court slam dunk at an all-caucasian olympics, and had a three-way with Carmen Electra and Eleanor Roosevelt, both at age 12. Nothing was off the table for Scott, and the only limits were his own creativity.

Every couple of hours, his omnipotent stunts were interrupted by one or both of the angels, who he begrudgingly learned to be named Paul and Sebastian. They usually presented a problem going on in some distant galaxy, with stars being born, alien species with hard-to-pronounce names, or anti-matter. The questions were bizarre, complicated and winding, and Scott grew tired of them usually in the first sentence. He answered them as quickly as possible, usually by saying “Yeah, do that,” or “Wipe out the blue ones.” Whatever got those two angel dudes to shut the fuck up.

Once in a blue moon, he was presented with an issue on planet Earth. Scott took relish in banning icky gay marriage in a few states, making smoking legal in bars, and filling in almost every swamp in Florida with concrete. God, swamps are so gross.

***

In a seldom-visited corner of Heaven, Seabastian and Paul met. They spoke in hushed tones, and stared at the ground as if they weren’t discussing anything of import.

“Something is up. I think it’s happened again,” Sebastian said, “it’s been thousands of years since a mixup like this.”

“Yeah, I think it’s pretty obvious,” said Paul, “I walked in on him the other day and he was dissecting a 5-year-old boy. It was pretty unsettling.”

“Should we do what we did last time?”

“I don’t think we have any other choice.” Sebastian and Paul nodded to each other, then non-challantly strolled away separately.

***

“What do you two faggots want?” Scott shouted at the Paul and Sebastian, “I’m trying to do some blow here.”

“We have a very special mission for you, God,” Sebastian said. “We need you to go back to earth.”

Scott snorted a line of cocaine, then wiped a tear that had formed in his eye. “What, you mean like Jesus?”

“Exactly like Jesus,” Paul said, smiling.

Scott thought about it for a few seconds, remembering fondly how much money Jesus had made him in the music world. “Yeah, fine.”

“Alright, God,” Sebastian said. He then waved his hand, and a golden door formed from thin air. “Just go through this door.”

“Hold on,” Scott said, then did four lines of coke consecutively. He got up from his hands and knees, stumbled, and after regaining balance, walked to the door. He rubbed his hands together vigorously, he was ready for any fucking thing, goddammit. When he opened the door, it revealed an empty, pitch-black void. He turned around and looked at the angels hesitantly.

“Don’t worry, it’s just a portal,” said Paul.

Scott walked through the doorway, and was engulfed in darkness. He could neither see nor hear anything. He shut his eyes tightly.

***

When he opened his eyes, he felt completely different. He was sitting on a giant leaf or something in the middle of a very dirty pond. He was very low to the ground.

He couldn’t see his body, it was as if his eyes were on the very top of his head. He lifted his arm, and what he saw was a huge, green, warty hand. He had come back as a toad.

Still rolling off his cocaine high, he decided to go with it. He looked around, and saw a few flies, buzzing around his head. He snapped his tongue out, and it shot out like a bullet, and reeled the fly into his mouth. It was unbelievably delicious.

Scott continued catching flies, each one more delicious than the one before it. He was having a merry old time as a toad. Just as he felt his appetite was squelched, however, He heard the noise of a giant truck, and then his entire body and all of his surroundings were covered in wet concrete. He watched the entire swamp become gray, and his entire body was covered in no time. He soon lost the ability to breath. As the concrete hardened and Scott took his last few breaths, he knew he was truly dying for our sins.

The Extremities of the Snack Aisle

 

I was broke, and job opportunities were scarce in Buffalo.  With the downturn of the global economy, I had to make certain sacrifices, starting with my diet.  No longer would I be able to eat out at fancy restaurants every night of the week; I had to shop at a grocery store like some sort of homeless person or single mother.

buffalowings

One afternoon, while perusing the aisles of a store, I came across a product that responded to my age and demographic:

EXTREME BLAZIN’ BUFFALO WING PRINGLES

Wow, what a novel idea!  All the flavor of a chicken wing without the guilt and revulsion of eating a disembodied chicken limb.  I flipped the can over  to check the ingredients; Disodium Inosinate!  Wow, these truly were a space aged snack!  I tossed the can into my cart, and they landed softly on the bag of adult diapers I planned on playing with later.

***

Back at my house, I sat alone on my couch with the open can of Pringles resting on my lap.  The smell of chicken wings spread and reached my nostrils, and I knew that a life-changing experience was upon me

“Well, here it goes, Balloon.”  I said to my dog Balloon.  I lifted one of the sensually-shaped chips to my mouth, and CRUNCH!  Every color imaginable flashed in my eyes, and the world around me seemed to melt away.  Then, there I was, in a completely white room sitting on a white chair.  In front of me was the Pringle Man himself, his flat head floating a few feet off the ground.  He opened his mouth to say something, but before he uttered a sound I found myself back in my apartment, my dog looking at me worriedly.

couchI looked around the room, and everything was in its place.  The lamp, the television,  the giant painting of Tyrese Gibson, as if they had forgotten they had melted before my eyes moments earlier.  I looked down at myself, and said “Uh oh.  Looks like I’ll have to change my pants, Balloon.”  When Balloon looked at me quizzically, I returned with a wink and a nod.

***

The ensuing weeks the Pringles helped me forget that I was in serious financial trouble.  The credit card bills, the eviction notices all melted away with the crunch of a chip.  I had come so close to getting the Pringle man to speak to me, and was sure that he would have the answers.

After eating a chip and returning to earth one day, however, I looked down and saw that I had accumulated a great deal of body fat from the chips.  This might not be sustainable I thought to myself.  Trying to think of an idea, I looked to the can, which I had taken to doing the last few weeks.  The word “EXTREME” caught my eye, then an amazing idea popped into my brain.

I grabbed my skateboard and ran out the door.

***

Squinting to keep the sunlight out of my eyes, I walked up and down my busy commercial street. It didn’t take too long for me to find five 14 year old boys drinking Slurpies outside of a 7-11.  They had long, curly hair and clothes that looked extremely expensive.  I walked up to them excitedly.

“Hey guys, whadap?”  I asked, trying to do the gang-symbol for the Bloods but failing.

“Hi.”  One of them said, nudging his friend and smirking.  “What’s up fatso?”

“Nothin….”  I said, trying to tug my shirt over my belly.  “Just wanted to see if you dudes wanted to skate.”

“Um…”  They replied.

“I’ll buy you cigarettes…”  I said.

“Well, alright.”  Another returned.  I had my witnesses.

***

I went into the 7-11 and came out with three tubes of Pringles and a carton of cigarettes.  They tore into them with glee, sticking them into their mouths and lighting them with the lighters I had supplied for them.  They coughed and wheezed explosively. I said “Yeah, cigarettes are da bomb.”

“Thanks, dude.”  One said between coughs.

“No problemo,”  I said, setting the skateboard onto the ground.  “Now are y’all ready for this?”

They nodded apathetically.  I put one foot onto my skateboard and opened a can of Pringles.  I took seven or eight chips, propelled myself on the skateboard, and put the chips in my mouth.

***

I awoke to blinding sunlight, my back flat on the concrete.  I sat up, holding my pounding head with my hand.  The fourteen year olds were nowhere to be found, and neither were the Pringles and cigarettes.  I looked down at myself, and saw what I was looking for all along.  A trickle of blood ran from my knee, and I took out my cellphone and snapped a photo of it.

***

Sitting at my typewriter, I drafted a letter:

Dear Pringles:

hoboThis letter is to inform you that you are being sued.  Your EXTREME BUFFALO WING PRINGLES caused me immense physical and emotional distress.  Your marketing seems to be aimed at people who live the Extreme Sports Lifestyle, so being an Extreme Sports Enthusiast, I tried eating them while skateboarding.  Instead of enhancing my Extreme Sports abilities, however, I fell off my skateboard, and my body became horribly mutilated beyond recognition.  I had some fellow Extreme Athletes witness the event, however, the gore and violence made them run off to pursue treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

I, Tom Van Deusen, am suing you, Pringles, for 1.5 BILLION dollars.  I have attached two photos, one of my wound that I took with my camera phone before fainting in despair, and another of a hobo, because you assholes will be so poor after I’m done suing you that you’ll be homeless.

Angrily,

Thomas C. Van Deusen


Attached: Photo of Disfigured Knee, Drawing of Hobo.

dill

***

Weeks passed, and I didn’t receive a check from Pringles.  Sad and dejected, I decided to comfort myself with food.  Perusing the shelf at the supermarket for my favorite canned chip, I was flabbergasted to see:

EXTREME DILL PICKLE PRINGLES

I squealed in delight and knocked their entire stock into my shopping cart.  While I wasn’t sure of the profitability of this new business venture, I knew that good things were coming my way.

Insufficient Funds

 

Last Sunday, I sat alone in my apartment watching a marathon of Intervention and binge drinking.  For every time a family member cried or someone’s dignity was compromised for entertainment, I would chug a beer.  Needless to say, this took too long to get me drunk, so I resorted to taking a shot whenever someone being interviewed would blink.  This worked a little too well.

“Man, I’m drunk Balloon.” I said to my dog Balloon.  When she didn’t answer I threw a beer can at her.  She scurried off with her tail between her legs as I laughed at her fear of having things thrown at her.

propelSneakily, while I was shouting at my dog the TV had swtiched to commercials.  Reaching to the remote to TiVo through them, a commercial came on that caught my eye.

In it, athletes ran and swam and biked and ran again, all the while irredescent-colored sweat poured from their skin.

“Swamp thing.”  I said to myself.

“Propel Fitness Water.”  The television corrected.

“Oh,” I replied, “I need that.”

I looked about my coffee table for my car keys, smacking the beer cans that had accumulated out of the way.  Finally, I found them and was on my way to Fitness.

***

atmBefore going to the 7-11 for the radioactive fitness water, I had to stop by an ATM to replenish my wallet.  I drove up to the ATM, popped my card into the robot, pressed some buttons and held out my hand for it to generously spit out 20’s.  Instead of 20’s, however, it gave me the following message:

INSUFFICIENT FUNDS

Huh? What the hell does that mean? I thought, anxiously shaking my hands as if they were damp.  After trying again three times, I panicked and called someone who has a tendency to remedy the situation.

“Hi, mom,” I said, trying to sound as sober as possible.  “The machine doesn’t spit money at me.  I think it’s mad at me or something.”

“Huh?” She replied

“The MONEY machine.”

“Is there money in your account?”  She asked.

“Why wouldn’t there be?” I smartly retorted.

“Because you must have spent all of it.  I wasn’t able to give you as much this month, Tommy, the economy is in horrible shape and we’re having some difficulty getting by.”  She said.

“Why should that affect me? Look, the TV told me to drink Propel Fitness Water, do you want a fat son?!”

“Maybe you should look for a job, Tom.”  She said.

“MOM I TOLD YOU I’M TOO DELICATE FOR THAT!  I’m a goddamned artist!”  I slammed my phone shut, panicking at the prospect of changing my spending habits.

***

I paced back and forth in my apartment, my brain concocting a plan to get money.  “Rainbow Sherbet, what should I do?” I asked my pet goldfish Rainbow Sherbet.

“Blub blub.”  Rainbow Sherbet replied.

“THAT DOESN’T HELP ME AT ALL!  NOW YOU’RE NOT GETTING FED FOR THREE DAYS.”  I yelled at the goldfish.

jeezyWhile I was brainstorming, the television was on Mute so as not to disturb me while I was thinking.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a music video by Young Jeezy.

Man, that guy’s got it made.  He’s probably bringin’ in truckloads of tail. I thought to myself.  Then, as if someone had flicked a light switch in my brain to turn on a lightbulb above my head, I thought HE PROBABLY DOESN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY!

I knew what I had to do:  Write a #1 hit song.

***

My hit song-writing desk was surrounded by wadded up pieces of paper and the surface was covered with eraser shavings, but I had done it.  I had covered every subject, and had written a song that could appeal to anyone.  I picked up the paper and read it aloud to nobody in particular:

“Navajo woman
When I kiss you
I hear drums beating in the distance
Your Indian spirit
The spirit of your ancestors
Lifts my spirits
and tightens my trousers
Navajoooooooo, yo yo
Ay yuh-yuh-yuh A yuh-yuh-yuh (repeat)

I knew I had a hit on my hands.  Now all I had to do was get it on the radio.

***

“Operator.”  The woman on the phone answered.

“Hi, yes, can you please connect me with Beck?”  I asked sweetly.

“Yes, hold please.”  She said shortly before I was forced to listen to hold music.  My music is so much better than this! I thought to myself excitedly.

“Becks brewing company. How can I help you?”  A woman asked after I was transferred.

“Beck, as in the Beck.”  I inquired.

“…… Yes.”  She said.

“OK, good, so listen….” I said before launching into a diatribe on everything from my goldfish to my mom to Young Jeezy.  Finally, I got to perform my song for the woman on the line.  There was an awkward silence that followed before she said:

“I like it.”

yay“You do, you reallyreallyreally do?”

“Sure.”  She said.  I snapped my phone shut and jumped up in the air in glee.  I was in.

***

Weeks went by before I finally received a piece of mail from Beck.  I excitedly opened it, careful not to tear the check that it would be holding.  Instead of a check, however, there was a 20%-off coupon for Beck’s beer and a letter that said:

Dear Loyal Customer,

Thank you for your interest in Becks beer.

Sincerely,

Alison

Becks Brewing Company

So it sort of paid off but sort of didn’t.  I would be saving money on beer that month, but not nearly enough to support my opulent lifestyle.  So when it came down to brass tacks, I knew it.

I would have to get a job.


Dealing with Criticism

 

My name is Tom Van Deusen.

I’m an artist and adored personality on the internet.  I created this website to fill the world in on my goings-on in my frantic life.  Through the words I present on this website, the viewer can touch, smell and taste what it’s like to be me through the power of imagination and delusional, jealous fantasy.   However, having a website isn’t just fame and Google Ad payola.  My previous website came to a screeching halt when someone wrote me the following email:

whyDear Tom:

Youre website sukcs.  Youre drawings don’t look real at all and youre writing isn’t funny.  Its gay and ur a fagot.  Cease and decist!

-Anonymous

Tears welling up in my eyes, I called my internet hosting service to tell them to shut the whole internet down.  When they told me they didn’t have the capability to do so regardless of my insisting, I hung up the phone and stormed about my apartment.  I went over to the wall to punch it in a fit of rage, but stalled in fear mid-swing and the punch connected in an unsatisfying tap.  Still fumig, I walked over to my computer and disconnected the internet line, which I’m pretty sure at least took my website down.  If the internet wasn’t going to appreciate my genius, I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it.

The ensuing weeks I didn’t bother changing my attitude or clothes.  I did stir up the courage, however, to leave my house daily to go to the liquor store.

***

“Fuck you couch, you’re an artist’s couch” I said to my couch as I sat on the floor drinking scotch.

fire1“Fuck you, bed, only good writers get to sleep in you.” I said to my bed as I tried to sleep on a pile of old newspapers.

“Nuts to you, kitchen, only funny writers get to cook in you.” I shouted as I roasted an old boot over a fire I had set in the middle of my living room.  When the boot looked fully cooked, I let it cool then took a big bite out of it.

“Yuck, this tastes disgusting!” I shouted before tossing the boot across the room and crying my eyes out.

Finally, this painful period in my life ended with a phone call from my mother.phone

“Tommy sitting around moping in your apartment because someone on the internet made fun of you isn’t going to solve anything.  You’re 23 years old, it’s time to act like it.”

Looking down at the soiled rags I had donned that morning, I thought she may be right.  So I said “Hey, can I have some money?”  When she said no, I then admitted “I suppose I should start acting like an adult.”

***

“I need your biggest gun.”  I said to the gun store owner, my arms akimbo as I looked up at the selection behind him.

“Um, for hunting or personal protection?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Revenge.” I answered curtly.

“You got it.”  he said, “I just need you to fill out this form for the background check.”

He handed me a pack of Xeroxed papers littered with bald eagles and Roman numeraled lines.  Sweat began to run down my face when I saw the first question:

Social Security #: _____________

How was I supposed to know that off the top of my head?  I panicked and put: 123-45-6789

***

“Okay, Tom, I can’t sell you a gun today.  Your social security number didn’t clear, it’s going to take a week to get the paperwork back.”  The gun store owner said after returning from the computer.

“WHAT?” I shouted, slamming my hands down on the counter.  “I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I’LL BE MAD BY THEN!”

“Sorry, kid, it’s out of my hands.”  he said, putting his bare hands up to demonstrate.

“I thought this was AMERICA.  What about my third amendment rights?”

“No soldier shall be quartered in private homes without the owner’s consent?”

“NO!  The awesome gun one.”  I whined, stomping my feet.  I then turned around and stormed out.  If I couldn’t murder the anonymous internet bully, I would have to contract the job out.

***

I cracked my knuckles and sat down at my Underwood typewriter:

Dear Mr. Vin Diesel:typewriter

My name is Tom Van Deusen. You may know me as the creator of the second-most popular Facebook group in your honor.  The time has come to call in a favor from you.  A few weeks ago, someone dishonored me and my artwork through a slanderous critique posted on my website.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the hurt and anger I am filled with after the critical reception from “Man on Fire.”  Basically, what I need you to do is use your sizable munitions collection to “take care” of this slanderer.  I don’t have his/her name or address, but their IP  is 192.4.7.1.  I’m sure you will do the right thing.

Anxiously,

Thomas Calvin Van Deusen.

Later that day I dropped the envelope in the mailbox, anxious already for a reply that the deed had been done.

***

Three months went by without a reply when suddenly I found a large package from Mr. Diesel himself in my mailbox.  Had he sent me a personal item from the victim?  A photo from the scene of the crime?

Inside my apartment, I ripped open the package.  Inside was wadded up pages from the October 1998 issue of Maxim magazine.  Amongst this was a letter written on wide-ruled paper with crayon.

deer terry:

sorry about your problems.  it filled my hart with sad.  but keep reeching for tomorow and youl get it!

i love you,

vin diesel.

By this point, however, I was mostly calmed down from the incident.  Vin Diesel had obvoiusly tried his hardest and was going on with his life.  I thought I’d take a similar route.  So, instead of seeking revenge, I made this website.  I am promising you, dear reader, that I will update at least weekly.  Illustrations aren’t a guarantee, but I will do the best I can.  Eventually I’m going to make a podcast so you don’t have to sit and read text all day like some Ivy-Leauge snob.

I’m back and the world won’t keep me down.

Copyright Tom Van Deusen 2014.