Unanswered Missed Connections

By: Ryan Kennedy

Cook County Prison Complex. You: muscular, facial scars, double homicide in cell 203. Me: tall, ponytail, double homicide in cell 223. Maybe we can bench-press together. Send me a sign.

Marie Model 103-P, you were our robotic maid for two years. I fell in love with your artificial intelligence and stainless-steel hips. My wife recently left me. Maybe we can meet for dinner. Activate your sweet vocal processors and call me.

Chicago Public High School. You: skinny, nerdy, locked inside your locker by one of our stronger classmates. I watched you adapt to your new environment by settling down, starting a family of your own, and declaring yourself “mayor of Lockerville.” When you get out of the locker, call me for a soda pop.

Looking for someone to watch television with. Just lost my cable and I would really like to watch my shows at your place. Really don’t want to talk, just watch. Prefer ER, Matlock, The Real World, BattleBots, and anything with Gallagher. Call me.

Irving and Ravenswood. We were lurking in the shadows. You: a young flesh-eating zombie with minimal muscle atrophy and most of your limbs intact. You offered me a bite of warm brain. I accepted and couldn’t ask your name with a mouthful of frontal lobe. Please call me and we’ll talk over some coffee?

Pinebrook’s Annual Thanksgiving Orgy. You: shy, blond, and wearing a strap-on. Me: submissive, Slayer tattoo, and wearing a green ball gag. Wish I could have said hi.

You were the girl in the red dress at the ER with the massive head wound. Sorry your prom date turned out to be a total dork. Would love to meet again. Hope recovery was quick.

We met at the 2004 Final Fantasy Convention. You were dressed like Yuna from Final Fantasy X. I said, “I like your Yuna costume from FFX-2,” and you immediately corrected me. I was too ashamed to ask for your number. Call me. I will boost your stamina and health.

We were feeding on decaying organic matter. You: the gorgeous maggot in the orange tabby’s left eyeball. Me: the maggot in the other eyeball. I peered across the golden bridge of that feline’s nose and our eyes met. Too stunned to say anything. Should have asked you to catch a bite of decaying organic matter.

The dude with the monocle at the Empty Bottle show last weekend. Seriously, call me.

Last Saturday, I couldn’t keep my eyes off you. You: blond, high heels, loop earrings, seventh thumbnail from the bottom on Skank-Wank.com. I have a good feeling about our future. I’m thinking three children and a dog?

Um, maybe a few weeks ago on, uh, Michigan Avenue around, say, rush hour. You were, hmm, looking very beautiful and with some, uh, friends — or maybe not? Me: stunning muscleman wearing something expensive — definitely not creepy-looking. Please call me. I’m lonely. Anyone, please call. Really, I mean it. Anyone?

Two weeks from today at Clark and Addison you will be wearing a green hat and eating ice cream. Me: a time traveler wearing a tuxedo. You will say hello, but I will be too nervous to respond. Please do not think that I am being a jerk. No matter how many times I travel back to that moment, I still get it wrong. Next time please ask for my number.


Shot List for Britney Spears’s Next Music Video: Sacrifice (For My Fans)

By: Timothy Cooper

Set: Middle Eastern–looking desert with nearby oasis and lots of palm trees.


0:00–0:04 Fade in; we see Britney from the back, being born in a manger. (Note: Make sure this is hot but still tasteful.)

0:05–0:07 Introduce main characters (all played by Britney in different wigs), including: tabloid-vilified Britney; tragically-distant Britney; introspective-and-surprisingly-well-read Britney; never-had-a-childhood Britney; only-wants-someone-to-love-her Britney; and just-once-I’d-like-to-go-out-and-buy-a-Caramel-Macchiato-at-Starbucks-without-anyone-noticing-like-any-other-normal-person Britney.

0:08–0:10 Establishing shot of booty-shaking next to the oasis.

0:11–0:13 Giant crowd chasing Britney as she tries to go about a normal day of shopping.

0:14–0:20 Energetic booty-shaking segueing into near-maniacal booty-shaking.

0:21–0:25 Booty-shaking while clad only in a thin layer of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sauce. (Note: See if we can secure product placement compensation here.)

0:26–0:28 Britney collapses from extensive booty shaking.


0:29–0:31 EMTs rush Britney to hospital, where she’s given an IV.

0:32–0:35 Britney undergoes cardiac arrest and flatlines after enthusiastic fans raid the hospital and steal her IV bag to sell on eBay.

0:36–0:39 Optional shot of doctors doing that gross electrocution thing to Britney’s ample chest with those paddle things.


0:40–0:42 Britney’s soul rises above her body. (Note: Make sure this is synched with the hook.)

0:43–0:45 Fans weep at her bedside.


0:46–1:00 Britney’s funeral; over 1 billion people in attendance (Note: Might need to use CGI for this one unless we can get a lot of extras).

1:01–1:05 Britney’s body is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. (Note: Check on this — it might only be for soldiers and stuff. May have to add backstory to make it more obvious that Britney died serving her country.)

1:06–1:10 Britney’s tombstone is stolen and sold on eBay.

1:11–1:12 Three days pass; darkness descends upon the world and national production slows to a halt. (Note: Crow could be used to demonstrate country’s collective pain and landscape’s desolation.)


1:13–1:20 Britney rises from dead in burst of heavenly light. (Note: Could be controversial; prepare alternate clip of her in nun’s habit just in case.)

1:21–1:49 Bird’s-eye view of Britney lifting her eyes on high and reliving her life in flashback, thinking what she would have done differently.


Note: The next four shots should be filmed in black-and-white to denote seriousness.

1:50–1:55 Britney takes singing lessons and a music theory course. (Note: Is there such a thing as fast-motion? If so, film this in that.)

1:56–1:59 Britney goes back to school and studies the classics. (Note: Definitely Ovid, Thucydides, Aristotle, Tacitus, and Herodotus, plus maybe a few Christian writers of late antiquity if we have room.) Time slows down.

2:00–2:00 Britney teaches illiterate children in Mozambique to read; time stands still.

2:01–1:50 Britney focuses on something other than herself; time moves backwards.

Rap Break

1:51–2:10 Cameo/rap duet by William Hung and Chingy, featuring quick shots of “bling,” “ho’s,” “biotches,” “ice,” “gats,” “Cristal,” “crack cocaine,” and whatever else the kids are into these days.


2:11–2:21 Long tracking shot of Britney crucified on the cross of the intersection of the public’s expectations (vertical beam) and her intensely private persona (horizontal beam).

2:22–2:30 Matrix-style revolving shot of Britney pleading for forgiveness for being super-hot.

2:31–2:40 Britney plays compassionately with those really skinny children with big bellies you see on infomercials sometimes.


2:41–2:48 Dance interlude involving “hot” shepherds.

2:49–2:55 Britney logs onto Friendster; sees she has no new messages.

2:56–3:02 In a cleansing shower of righteousness, Britney repents for her success, clad only in a strategically fitted Middle Eastern–style bikini.

3:03–3:04 Quick cuts of Britney saving humanity from threat of Mutually Assured Destruction; encouraging self-esteem among girls ages 13–25; joining Outward Bound; brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that works; smoothly handing over Iraqi control; inventing an efficient desalination process for third-world populations; breaking ground on the new Britney Spears Johns Hopkins AIDS Research Institute; penning a Pulitzer Prize–winning picture-book “prequel” to Anna Karenina called Santa Anna Karenina; and getting married to someone who’s never heard of her.


3:05–3:07 Britney wakes up; realizes it was all a dream; smiles contentedly.

3:08–3:10 Snap zoom-out to see she’s actually trapped inside a TV, a victim of her own success. (Note: This is ironic.)

3:10–end (3:15) The TV is stolen by her fans and sold on eBay; fade out.


If I Only Had A Brain

By: Rolf Luchs

Yeah, I’m a brain surgeon. Go ahead, laugh — laugh, you human jackal!
Everyone else does. Sure, I dive through people’s think tanks. Why not? It’s a living. So maybe it’s not the world’s most respectable occupation. Maybe I never get invited to the best parties. Who cares? I’m not missing much, if the ones I go to are any guide.

Just the other day I was at a party, sucking a bottle of single-malt whisky and minding my own business, when some goon asked me what I did. I could’ve said anything — garbage man, malpractice lawyer, male prostitute — any lie would’ve been OK. But oh no, that would’ve been too easy. A stray streak of honesty was lurking in my alcoholic haze, like a mugger in a dark alley.

“Brain surgeon,” I said quietly, so only that one idiot would hear. But he broke out in a belly laugh that drew everyone’s attention. Naturally he had to bray to them about it, and they all hooted as if it were the funniest thing since World War II. I just sat there, wearing a good-humored expression and wishing it weren’t so far to the .45 in my glove compartment.

As always, some sadist stepped out of the crowd, pointed to his head and said, “Hey, old man, I don’t want to put you to any trouble, but I’ve got this terrible headache just here …” Of course I knew what was coming. I suppose at that point I should’ve throttled him, or jumped through the
window, or faked a heart attack. But I never do. The fatalist in me makes me wait until it’s too late. The next thing I know, a table is cleared off, my
patient is lying there, and a crowd has gathered to gawk. It’s no good
trying to refuse: “Aw c’mon, don’t be a spoilsport!” they jeer.

Let me tell you, it’s no holiday in Waikiki to perform brain surgery, even in a modern and fully equipped hospital with the best professional help available. But it’s a whole new ballgame to do it in someone’s dim,
smoke-filled living room, with drunken forklift drivers and secretaries as
your assistants, and standard household items the only surgical instruments at hand.

How, for instance, do you remove a chunk of skull in those conditions? Unless your host happens to have a precision tungsten high-speed circular saw lying around, you have to improvise. You might need to use a rusty hacksaw, or a hammer and chisel (to crack the cranium open like a walnut), or to just pick up an ax and chop away like a lumberjack. It’s a tricky business, however you do it.

Once inside, though, it’s clearer sailing: you simply remove the unwanted gray matter with an ice-cream scoop and fill the empty space with champagne corks or old newspapers. OK, sometimes I’ll get carried away and take out a little bit too much, maybe even from spite. I’ve never noticed that it makes a big difference. Anyway, no one’s thought to complain yet.

Afterward you probably have to reattach the missing piece of skull, unless you can somehow distract everyone’s attention and just cover the hole with a baseball cap. But if I’m really set on doing a good job, I try to avoid superglue, which doesn’t hold that well on bone. I find that a couple of finishing nails usually work a treat, or else good old duct tape.

Sounds peachy, right? Not so hard? Wrong. Because everyone, it seems, always wants to join in the fun. Rarely will I perform fewer than a dozen such impromptu operations in a single alcohol-fueled evening. Why, some people enjoy it so much they even stand in line twice (if they can still stand). No matter how tired and drunk I am they keep coming at me, tittering and taunting and insisting that I do just one more.

I guess I’ve said enough. Though I try to see the bright side of my occupation, I can’t help looking back bitterly on all those wasted years at
medical school. How could I have been such a fool? Well, maybe the sordid story of my life can serve as an example for others to avoid. As for me, my bed was made long ago — now I have to lie in it. While wearing a facemask pumping general anesthetic, if possible.


Halloween Costumes You Should Start Working On Now To Be Ready By Next Halloween

By: Matt Weir

Zombie Mountain

1. Buy a large amount of various cheeses. Make sure that you have not heard of at least six of them.

2. Sculpt mountain out of these cheeses (use Cheez Whiz as adhesive).

3. Hollow out inside.

4. Cut out eyeholes.

5. Leave in yard until use on Halloween.

Flammable San Francisco

1. Take an aerial photograph of San Francisco. (Note: Due to the size of San Francisco, you may have to take several pictures and painstakingly match them up to create the full city.)

2. Figure out a suitable scale size for all buildings, roads, parks, cars, men, parking meters, women, trees, benches, puddles and sidewalk cracks.

3. Buy toothpicks and glue stick.

4. Build city using materials purchased in step 3.

5. Attach city to giant apparatus that you will be able to wear.

6. Buy lighter and gasoline.

7. At party, when asked what you are, answer by yelling, “Flammable San Francisco!” and then use materials purchased in step 6 to demonstrate your flammability.

8. Build one Flammable San Francisco costume for every person you feel will ask you what you are supposed to be. Use graphing calculators and standard deviation formulas to do this (show work on loose-leaf paper).

9. After estimating this number, contact Ryder and reserve truck for storage/transportation of costumes next October 31st.

Beard Pants

1. Begin growing beard. (Note: If you’re a woman, begin taking male hormone pills now and make this a “Halloween After The Next Halloween” project.)

2. Stretch beard daily using an angry dog’s mouth.

3. Lose friends and loved ones as they begin to abandon you and your new “friend.” Accuse them of caring only about appearances, even though in reality you know you’ve changed on the inside too. You know that you’re a different person and that you’ll never be the same. Weep into beard. Try to force back tears but then just give up and let them pour out. Ring out beard later. (Note: Do not drink beard juice — unless you want to be a creep, in which case, be my guest, weirdo.)

4. Lovingly craft a pair of pants out of beard while keeping it attached to your face (do not forget those little rivet things near the pockets and stuff).

5. On the big night, remember to travel to party through back roads and alleys to avoid being arrested by police officers. (Note: Abandon Beard Pants costume at any time if hairy pants become a popular trend.)

Drunkest Person Ever

1. Start now.

2. Chug!

3. Don’t be a wimp, wimp.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until Halloween or your death, whichever comes first. (Note: If it’s the latter, instead of Drunkest Person Ever, your costume is now Worm Town.)