* Welcome to The Big Jewel and the first week of what we like to call Two Much Of Michael Fowler, a double helping from our good friend. We believe there is much we can learn from the wise elders in our midst. And then there is Eddie Sharp. He doesn't have much to teach us, but in the hands of Mr. Fowler he can still entertain. Warning: this week's piece may be unsuitable for younger or more sensitive readers. Or anyone who doesn't enjoy hearing about the sexcapades of the ancient. We remind you that links to Mr. Fowler's two books, "A Happy Death" and "The Created Couple," can be found in our blogroll.

Eddie Sharp, Alert Nursing Home Resident

By:
mmfowler@fuse.net

Name’s Eddie Sharp. Thank you for visiting with me today. Sit down and I’ll talk about my sex life for a couple of hours.

The first woman I made love to was a stage performer. Her name was Betsy and she had more sex appeal than you’ve had childhood diseases. It was 1934 or 35, I was all of thirteen. I met her in Chicago, where she was a contortionist on the Orpheum Circuit and I was an usher. I was supposed to be in school that day but none were built yet. This was before condoms were invented, and Betsy showed me how to protect her with a cornhusk. That’s how she did it back in Ohio, where she had a happy childhood with few abortions. I still remember how the corn silk felt cool inside my shorts, and the sweet taste of the kernels in butter that Betsy and I lunched on that day. Her table manners were exquisite. She did things with her toes and vegetables that I thought only arboreal apes could do. But that was her act.

I remember the first time I had sex it was with a silent screen actress. She wasn’t a major star but she had “it” all right. Crabs. This was back before there was radiation treatment, so the way you cured crabs was to jump off the roof of a three-story barn into a creek. It worked, but it didn’t lower your cholesterol one bit. One of the little-known facts about Mary Pickford is that she invented the telescope. She was also the first woman to see Io on a cloudy night. The actress I’m talking about predicted there was a tenth planet beyond Pluto, but I still think Galileo had it right when he said the Pope was biased.

I lost my virginity to a little bank teller in Cleveland. She had more charm than Wall Street had fifties. She was a big movie fan and I took her to see all the greats: Bow, Pickford, Chaplin, Chaney. I wasn’t the best-looking guy in the sea but I could do tricks with my face. Often the crowd wondered if there was more, but hopefully not until tomorrow. Sad to say this girl gave me the clap, and this was well before fluoride. We had to stand in a thunderstorm wearing copper bracelets and brush our teeth three times. I guess that worked because to this day I haven’t had irrepressible gas.

The first girl I ever made love to was a young nurse. She had just shaved me for an appendectomy. I stayed aroused all the time I was under the knife, the first time she’d seen that. Do you think you’d like to see that? Oh, to be young and a sanitation expert again! It was too bad she contracted paranoid schizophrenia before there was saltpeter to restore the roses in her cheeks. The good news? The hallucinations were all in her head. She was a commoner but I never held prehistoric goodness against her lowlife family or the rest of that clan. I can still see her bare feet and her head shaved from lice and the towel she shared with twelve others. She had more charisma than you’ve had dumb ideas. I’ve often thought that if she’d been a bit older, and me a bit wiser, it would have made no difference.

You may not think so to look at me but I was quite the ladies’ man in my day. I could do things then I can’t do now, like skin a mule and pilot a steamboat. I used to screw, forty, fifty, a hundred times a week. Sometimes ten women a day didn’t satisfy me, and I mean all kinds of women without number and in every position. This was before and after my hemorrhoid bypass surgery. The ladies used to call me Luscious. Ha, can you believe that? It was because in my running shorts I looked like breakfast. I wasn’t the handsomest guy in the gene pool but I had a trick knee. My rear end looked like two solid grapefruit, and my front like two boiled eggs with a side sausage link. That was but one of my winning ways! I still wear those shorts because they make a lot of mouths water after they’re washed.

Sitting beside me in the solarium today are Reverend Williams and the Widow Peyton. The rev’s working on a volume of his collected sermons but really he’s only thinking about mad sex. In a minute he’ll stagger off to that piano in the corner and play the first song he made love to, which is the first I ever made love to, “Love Potion Number Nine,” the original version by Walt Whitman. I have designs on the widow here, but don’t worry — she can’t hear a thing I say. She last had sex so long ago that she’s a virgin again. She grew a new maidenhead last night and blushes like anything. If I say nookie loudly she giggles and downplays her breasts that are leading her on into young womanhood. I have a lot of options here, since women outnumber men five to one, so I hit on whoever reminds me of Scarlett Johansson. I chose the widow for her fashion sense and her joy of living that I can only describe as orthopedic. Regrettably she has a bad heart and that was before there was aromatherapy for that. So nose drops and penicillin aren’t any help at all.

I have a reputation as a debonair ladies’ man, which may explain my cravat and smoking jacket. Like all real men I brush my teeth and shave in the toilet bowl. I never wear shorts since they constrict my tricky spine. Baby dolls come to me for a good time, in some cases their last before they croak of natural causes or malpractice. The head nurse — I call her The Great Unwashed but that’s not her real name — pulled the bed sheet up over the head of my last conquest just as I was making my entrance. I was too late by a minute. Still I don’t know why the nurse didn’t let me go in. The lights may have been out but the door was wide open. And I did knock.

I think that nurse has it in for me, sneaking up on me like that. I almost needed a defibrillator.

Name’s Eddie Sharp. Who did you say you are? I’m sure I never heard of you. Now talk about your sex life, and make it throb.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are sticklers for doing whatever the sign in front of us tells us to do. Right now the sign in front of us is telling us to give the floor to our very own Tyler Smith. When you are done perusing his latest signage, you might wander over to our blogroll and scroll down to the link for his book "Whore Stories."

Warning Signs

By:
stoddard.smith@gmail.com

Regardless of the fact that the speed limit in town has always been 20mph, there was a time when, despite the almost quotidian triage situation at 7th and Flagship Ave., people still burned rubber around town like it was Tokyo Drift. However, since the Transportation Department has implemented the use of pixilated skeletons on the city’s crosswalks and posted speed limit signs, things have been different.

Now I’ve always been paralyzed by the notion of “bones,” and so I’m pleased to announce that our streetside skeleton has had the desired effect: abject fear and a near-Wehrmacht conformity to traffic rules and regulations Therefore, on behalf of the Department of Transportation, I’ve been asked to outline just a few of the additional warning signs we’ll be installing in the next few months, “reminders” of just how important safety is and how fleeting this life can be.

YIELD

People often treat the yield sign as if it were a mere suggestion of deference to faster traffic. Perhaps they won’t be so cavalier about flitting into traffic when, instead of the old equilateral, motorists encounter our new sign featuring an image of Dracula and his bloodstained fangs! That’s right, if you’re thinking about just blazing into a lane that’s been spoken for, maybe you’ll think first about the physical (painful bites) and ontological (an eternity dressed in a cape) terror of this roadside abomination and yield the right-of-way like a responsible human being, not some undead clod.

DON’T BLOCK THE BOX

This sign is not advertising a porno movie, nor is it the name of that new emo band from Brooklyn. No, “Don’t Block the Box” is a simple admonition to stay out of the intersection if there isn’t room for you on the other side. How hard can it be to obey this municipal mandate? Extraordinarily hard, according to DPS numbers. That’s why, in lieu of the old black and white square signage, we’ve placed The Invisible Man. Look how sad the Invisible Man gets when you edge out there like a dick. You can’t see him, but I assure you he’s devastated. Also, it’s better to give up wondering if the Invisible Man is nude or if he has invented invisible clothes. Just watch the road! You could run him over and then who’s in trouble? If you must know, we’re not sure if the Invisible Man is nude or not. In fact, we may have lost track of him. Indeed, if you “see” the Invisible Man, please do not approach him. Call the local police, any dogcatchers you know and/or other relevant civil brigades.

STOP

These unremarkable red octagons peppered throughout the city will remain the same, with one alteration — from now on, stop signs will be propped up by cursed Egyptian mummies. “Hey, no sweat!” you may say, “I can drive faster than a stupid mummy.” Fair enough, but they’re sure to find you eventually: these mummies have walkie-talkies and never, ever give up — even though the world has given up on them.

ONE WAY

What’s that terrifying din coming out of those loudspeakers on the corners? That is the Bride of Frankenstein. No, not the one with the electrodes, but Judith, a far more terrifying crone and wife of Hyman Frankenstein (proprietor of Frankenstein’s Deli on Main St.), a soulless woman with arms like legs, legs like cabers and a bad strain of pancake hands. And what you’re hearing is Ms. Frankenstein’s hideous meat rattle as she forces down an overambitious bite of kishke, reminding us to use caution and consider the choices we make in our lives. Think about that the next time you consider making a hard left onto 3rd Ave. coming from the east, hauling ass away from Egyptian mummies wielding stop signs.

DEAD END

While steering your vehicle into a dead end is pathetic, it’s not as potentially harmful as, say, a head-on-collision. But it is a kind of soul-death, isn’t it? That’s why, instead of the forbidding, bright orange diamond that seems to — counterintuitively — send drivers barreling into historic brownstones, we’ve come up with a far more effective deterrent: two skeletons. Not only do these fiends serve as poignant icons of how little time we have on Earth, they remind us that the only thing worse than dying alone is dying with someone you never really loved — and may just get traffic moving again. There is always, of course, the bus.

A brief postscript on the bus: please remember to stay clear of the automatic doors and watch your back…If the warnings don’t stop you, the werewolves will.

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are enduring the misery that is winter by thinking back fondly on the joy that was summer. Please join Karen Gilmore as she indulges in the same nostalgic pastime.

Dear Summer

By:
karengilmorewriting@gmail.com

Dear Summer,

You’re long gone, and I realize it’s my own fault. I know I took you for granted, but I swear I still love you.

When you first came into my life, I was attentive and deeply appreciative of your many gifts. Giddy with love, I commented on your beauty almost ad nauseam. “Isn’t summer beautiful?” I’d ask friends, colleagues, and even the pizza delivery guy. The question was rhetorical, of course. For your beauty was indisputable. And your energy was infectious.

No longer was I constantly indoors, curled up in the fetal position under a blanket. You peeled me off the couch and inspired me to get out more, and to experience all of life’s sensual pleasures.

Oh, the rapture of the first time I tasted your luscious peaches, hungrily licking the juices from my lips. Oh, the sensuous pleasure of gently squeezing your ripe tomatoes, still warm from the sun. And oh, oh, oh the exhilaration of those sudden downpours at the end of a sticky, hazy day together. The first time it happened, I panicked and tried to run for the car, but halfway there, I gave up, deliciously surrendering to your will, and danced instead. I wore a silly grin the whole way home as I remembered our encounter. It was only when my mother looked contemptuously at the wet stain on the seat of the car that my euphoria was replaced with shame and doubt.

They say love, especially new love, makes you do crazy things and yes, some of the choices you compelled me to make in those early days I later realized were not in my own best interest. The day I wore flip-flops to work and got such a stinging rebuke from my boss, for example, still fills me with shame. Frustrated, I lashed out and tried to blame you. It was the first time our relationship was marred by tension. But our reconciliation in the pool that night was, admittedly, spectacular.

I’m not really sure when it happened. I felt so lucky to have you at first, but as our relationship dragged on, I grew lazy. I awoke languidly in your warm embrace, all but oblivious to your presence. Eventually, another day with you started to feel routine.

Worse still, there were times when I put you down. To be honest, I found myself getting kind of sick of you some days. The warmth and light I had appreciated so deeply before became…well, stifling and cloying. I became restless with longing for something different. I wondered what it would be like to experience something a little darker, a little more mysterious, which lead to a brief flirtation with Autumn.

Maybe you suspected something, for soon after I noticed you slowly pulling away from me and my heart was overcome with regret over my disloyalty. I stayed in denial for quite some time, burying my head in the sand, trying to convince myself that nothing had changed. I told myself I was imagining the increasing coolness on your part, but lately the chill has become undeniable.

The night I awoke alone, chilled to the bone, and realized you’d gone for good filled me with a malaise that has stayed with me as I try to navigate life without you. Autumn continues to entice me with her charms, but all I can think about is you.

Summer, I’m sorry I took you for granted and I humbly beg you to return to me. I shiver when I think about life without you. I miss you so much that the sight of all the adorable sundresses hanging forlornly in the closet, untouched since your departure, is enough to reduce me to tears. But even in these darkest of days, my love for you endures as I await your return.

Faithfully,

Karen

 

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* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we envy the President not for his power and position and privilege, but because he has an army of drones that he can use to assassinate anyone, anywhere, any time, no questions asked. We feel this is a fundamental human right that should belong to all Americans. Apparently Mark Peters agrees.

Adopting A Killer Robot FAQ

By:
markpeters33@yahoo.com

The key to successfully adopting a killbot — as we who love killer robots call them — is matching the person and the robot. We only want to place a killbot into a home that will be its forever home. Before proceeding with your killbot adoption, please read the following FAQ carefully.

What is a killbot?

In many ways, a killbot is like any other robot. Every robot has a primary function, whether to vacuum the rug, repair an oil spill, fulfill your sexual needs, or exterminate humanity. Killbots focus on the latter, which leads to their bad reputation. Just the fact that you’re considering killbot adoption shows rare compassion on your part. Not everyone has a heart big enough — or a family survivalist enough — to adopt a robot whose only purpose is to wipe the human pestilence from the face of the earth forever.

Why do people adopt killbots?

Many people aren’t able to make their own killbots, because they didn’t go to graduate school for robotics. Others are lonely and believe that hearing the CLANK CLANK of huge, metallic feet is just what their home needs. Often, a pair of lovebirds feel like a killbot would bring them closer together, and it could be the first step toward having a dog or zombie together. A certain number of folks simply want to kill a lot of people, and adopting a killbot seems like the easiest way.

Who will take care of your killbot?

You should consider who will be your killbot’s primary caretaker. Your seven-year-old son may have been begging for a killbot day and night, but will he really be there to perform routine maintenance and programming? Is your teenage daughter responsible enough to teach your killbot who are the right neighbors to liquidate? As a killbot caretaker, you should be ready to assume responsibility for the killbot and everyone it massacres for the rest of your life, whether that life lasts another fifty years or just fifty minutes after bringing it home.

How do I discipline my killbot?

In less enlightened times, the person-killbot relationship was characterized as a master and a slave. We feel this is the wrong way to look at killbots, though we recognize the importance of training. You must be firm with your killbot. Saying “Bad killbot!” while chuckling to yourself about the UPS workers it slaughtered with its laser nipple-blasters is not going to discourage future nipple-blastings.

Do you want a girl killbot or a boy killbot?

This might be the most important choice you make. Boy killbots tend to slaughter more innocents and cause more carnage. Girl killbots instill more terror and fear. One great thing about a girl killbot is, if you fill the house with images of svelte, supermodel fembots, your she-killbot will develop a robo-eating disorder and consume less energy. A lower electric bill is attractive to many families.

Are there risks to adopting a killbot?

Adopting a killbot brings a certain level of risk. You can’t expect all your furniture and family members to remain intact. Accidents can happen, even in a family that’s as loving as it is Kevlar-vested. Consider all the possibilities: Do you have elderly family members in the house who will be easy targets for your killbot? Do you have young children who may frustrate the killbot by repeatedly asking it to play Battlestar Galactica and give piggyback rides? These are legitimate concerns. Also, every year, hundreds of killbots accidentally see the offensive portrayal of droids in the Star Wars movies and then kill every human in a five-mile radius.

Is a killbot expensive?

Having a killbot is moderately expensive. You should be prepared to pay for technical support and the legal fees that surround collateral damage. Fortunately, we’re offering some great deals during February, which is National Adopt a Killbot Month.

What if the creator of the killbot wants it back?

Emotionally, this can be a sticky issue. Legally, you have nothing to worry about. All killbots in our shelter have been legally separated from their previous masters. However, we take no responsibility for secret programming that might wipe out your family. For most killbot owners, this is an acceptable risk.

Are killbots high-maintenance?

Yes. Killbots are extremely social robots. They crave more than death and blood and gore and a mountain of corpses: they need people and robots to share these experiences. Are you willing to help your killbot meet other robots? Will you spend quality time with your killbot, every day, even when you’re busy or tired? As Isaac Asimov put it, “A lonely killbot is a killy killbot.”

Can I return my killbot?

Sometimes, adopting a killbot just doesn’t work out. If your killbot completes its primary objective, we will gladly take it back for a small fee charged to your remaining family members, if there are any.

 

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