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A FUNNY TALE OF LOVE AND COOKIES

Amazon Review- (Five Stars) “A whimsical tale from an institute that would have Ken Kesey Cuckoo with jealousy. From the twisted (in the BEST way) mind of Scott Evans comes this soon to be classic tale of love and cookies.”

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CAN A QUIRKY GUY TRYING TO DIET
FIGHT THE TEMPTATION OF COOKIE COMMERCIALS?

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CAN A TROUBLED SOUL FIND HAPPINESS IN A SERIES OF GOVERNMENT SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS?

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Latest review April 15 2018 from William Turner of Rochester NY.

“..Scott’s book has opened my eyes to some of the realities to things we have fallen asleep about what the government is doing to our food supply, and services that are not being implemented. It makes me more aware of concerns you need to be aware about to protect your health. Thank you for the hard biting, truthful, satire of things we have fallen asleep to.
Easy read, hilarious, connected, flowing really well. Dedicated to talking about religion without being offensive. Open your eyes to things you have been taught about historical religions…”

Thanks William!

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Review from U of R graduate student Sam Henderson: “Your book is a work of art!”

Latest Review by Amazon purchaser– “I loved it. . . . it reminded me a bit of a book I read last year and also enjoyed a lot- Bipolar Buffalo by Anthony Antek. I think you told a beautiful and hopeful tale of one man’s view from here inside God’s snow globe.”

Review on Goodreads by Sue Powers: Ahhh, Love it! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Must read for anyone living in Ra-cha-cha. Very Punny aliases.

Review on Amazon: Deep in Rochester By Kerin Gould on July 4, 2015
Scott Evans’ flowing narrative is engaging and absorbing and creates instant empathy for this love-lorn protagonist who is riding the ups and downs of an unstable relationship while managing life on the margins of a gray city. He paints a mini-community of vivid personalities, each with their own challenges. And then he stirs in the madness of corporate beasts, that puts the individual characters issues in a new perspective.

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COVER FLP

5.0 out of 5 stars Humorous and Dark, August 12, 2013
By
DrAllecon – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Foxavier and Plinka (Kindle Edition)
This was a very deep look at the modern world through the eyes of a schizophrenic (as well as other conditions). I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, but there’s more than meets the eye as we follow the title character (Foxavier) through several years of his life as well as the on-again, off-again relationship with Plinka, his sometimes girlfriend. Scott Evans’ writing style is very compelling and through Foxavier’s point of view you have to often read between the lines to get an idea of what’s happening on a larger scale, as well as in his own focused world. As the novel is very realistically filtered through Foxavier’s interpretations, it will often go on tangents before returning again to the main story. These tangents are very entertaining, and in fact there is an entire mini-jokebook within the story that Foxavier wrote along the way. Although these tangents take you away from the main plot (intentionally), I never felt like skipping them as a good portion of them are either humorous or poignant. I only mention it as this is not a book to burn through quickly, but to really savor over time. Evans’ depiction of Foxavier in various stages of control over his condition is disturbingly accurate and even uncomfortable at times, but that is part of the beauty of the novel.
Rather than risk giving away too much, I will only add that unlike other “slice of life” books, Evans delivers by having an ending that is very satisfying, particularly after being with Foxavier and Plinka through their toughest days.

I would highly recommend this novel, and hope to see more from Scott Evans soon.

LINK TO MORE AMAZON REVIEWS:

https://www.amazon.com/Foxavier-Plinka-Scott-Talbot-Evans/product-reviews/1478311789/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_show_all_btm?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews

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CUCKOO’s NEST meets DR. STRANGELOVE

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Based on a true story–

A quirky man goes through a series of counseling programs, encounters many zany characters, and eventually meets the love of his life.
His struggle with diets is constantly being sabotaged by incessant junk food commercials, which star The Pretty Pie Girl, corporate mascot of globe-dominating corporation, Food United Chemical Technologies.
In one of their candy factories, a mouse runs across a control panel, changing the setting on a machine, thus producing a batch of Ga-Ga-Roos containing way too much tri-benzene-deliciouside.
When the drugged cookies are released onto store shelves all over the world, the big question becomes: Who will unknowingly eat one of these psychosis causing confections?

>>>>>Would you be interested in an opportunity to receive a FREE e-copy of this book?
I need reviews. I’m willing to email you a free pdf or Kindle copy of this book in exchange for a short honest review. It can be only one sentence.
If you are, email me at scotttalbotevans@gmail.com

CHAPTER 1

Here’s my shitty book, that no one’s ever going to read, about a complete asshole, and a totally fucked up world. Don’t listen; I’m just depressed. The TV blares her chipmunk voice, “I’m The Pretty Pie Girl!” She waltzes with a chocolate cookie. Computer generated smile happier than human. She’s a pie with tiny gloved arms, and booted legs. She twirls. Her partner dips her, crooning in lowest bass, “I’m your Ookie Ookie Cookie.” Her adorable face sirens, “I’m The Pretty Pie Girl!” I tune out the brainwashing as I proceed on my mission. Select a mix from the cupboard, The Hexachocolator, a six sided cake with six kinds of chocolate. On the front of the box, a star burst with bright yellow letters proclaims, “Zero Grams Trans Fat.” The giggling pie slides down the side of the cereal bowl, shouting, “Kooky Cookies are part of a nutritious breakfast,” and splashes into the milk. Crack two eggs. The directions call for rendered pig lard, but I use olive oil. The box says one cup, but I use half. One cup, that’s crazy. Beat the mix with a wooden spoon. The “real” children in the commercial, the ones less cartoonish, the ones planning to eat The Pretty Pie Girl and her illicit lover, bang their silver to the performance, chanting, “Ookie Ookie Cookie!” How many impressionable minds are watching this whorescrappening? “Ookie ookie cookie!” The volume rattles the teacups in the cabinet. The narrator’s voice is kindly and wise as your grandmother on Christmas. “Capsulsgrave Confections are made by mothers, for mothers.” Halos sparkle off the sentiment. The program is back. The volume drops from eardrum busting to inaudible. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 383. Set timer. Go upstairs. My roommate Barry is sitting on his bed, so fat he has to struggle not to roll off. I feel bad for him. By comparison, I’m lithe and fierce, like a tiger. Lie on my bed. Open my magazine. I’ve been spending all my allowance on logic puzzle magazines. Worked out a chart system for solving them quickly. Write in bent spiral pad, with low on blue ink pen. Boring. Get up. What can I say to Barry? Good luck with your operation? He’s so fat, they have to cut his legs off. I will not end up like him. I will eat normal portions. I will work out an hour a day. No seconds. Get up. “Good luck with your operation.” He says, “Thank you,” between breaths from the oxygen hose in nostril. He has to carry a heavy green oxygen tank wherever he goes. I will lose 70 pounds. I will find a girlfriend. I will be worthy of love. Look down the winding staircase at my coat which is hanging at the bottom of the banister. Burt is in my pocket stealing a cigarette. Go to office and tell Diane, perfect face and body, no chance she would ever want me. Staff can’t date residents, but even if they could, she wouldn’t. She tells me, “West House policy is to not leave things out.” My life is not so much a life, as a series of awkwardnesses. Fill out the application from the Office of Disabled Services, so I can go back to school. Sit on couch in TV-room. Pat is on the other couch. She has a blond French poodle hair cut, smokes continuously, and cocks her head to the side every so often, reminding me of a chicken. Oh boy, here we go: ETHNIC GROUP. They don’t even ask name first. Two boxes–one for white, one for black. Draw my own box, up and to the left, and check it. Pat snores. Cigarette in mouth burning. “PAT.” No response. “PAT!” “Huh? What? “Your cigarette.” “Thank you.” She taps it in the ashtray, turns her head, and puffs. Second question-AGE. Write legibly to prevent error, “40”. Move through the form fast and efficiently. Third question-Describe how your disability prevents you from working? They’re asking me? Ask the doctors; they have file cabinets full of records. It’s hard to put in words. I think and think. Crumple paper in ball, and throw in basket. Nice shot. JORDAN! Step out for air. The guys are smoking. Davey is squatted down with his back against the side of the house. He can stay like that comfortably for a long time, because he’s skinny. If I tried, my legs would snap. A rollie burns between his blackened fingers, he spits mucus on the blacktop between his legs. Burt has a long handlebar mustache and bushy black hair. He smiles and says, “What’s up, man?” He talks funny. Big Dennis offers me a Red Pyramid 100. Tastes like cheap cardboard. “Thanks Dude. I try not to buy cigarettes. It helps me cut down.” Chubby cheeks Nate says, “He just mooches off of other people.” Burt and Pretty Tony laugh. Burt hesitates when he talks, and doesn’t say all the letters. “I … got … fie women … in Canton … Ohio.” Pretty Tony raps, “I can get you ho’s.” His camel face drools, when he laughs and grins. Nate chuckles, and Davey guffaws. Davey’s laugh goes on longer than appropriate. He is boyish for a guy in his forties. His voice is slow, pleasant, and rhythmic, “God bless you, Fox.” “How are you, Dave?” “Oh, fine. Fine. Fine.” “What you up to?” “Vivian kicked me in the butt.” “I see. You shaved.” “Trimmed Miss Martha’s bushes yesterday.” His face brightens, “Oh, Miss Martha is a pretty girl.” He giggles and mumbles unintelligible syllables as he brings his face into my face. I back up so he doesn’t spit in my face. “She gave me five dollars.” “I hope you invested it wisely.” “I got these and a pop.” He coughs. “So, what are your plans for today?” “Oh, Nuthin. Nuthin.” Why does everyone keep saying that? “Nuthin.” “What ya doin?” “Nuthin.” “What’s new?” “Nuthin.” He smokes more than anyone would possibly need to. Shouldn’t criticize. The fingers closest to the cigarette are stained darkest. Same pattern on his teeth. Got to quit. His father told him to stop for years, then died from lung cancer. You could say it matters, you could say it doesn’t. Is one death better than another? Why live at all? Loucarla comes out the screen door. Pretty. Petite. Farm girl. Blue jeans. Mane of bangs and curls. No chance with her either. She announces, “Dinner,” in Snowchester accent. In Snowchester, Snowchester is one syllable, Snochstr, “I’m from Snochstr. Are you from Snochstr?” Dennis has a deep voice. “Kiss it.” Pretty Tony says, “Bust dat out da frame.” Burt pronounces certain words funny, “I hae a gir-frien in Can-ton O-hi-o.” <Ding.> The cake! Run in. Take it out. Just right. Dump it on a platter. A perfect steaming dome. Cut it into two, four, eight, sixteen pie slices. Place it in the center of the long dining room table. Pick a good seat before they fill. This house is a mansion. Huge rooms. Fancy moldings. Ornate ceiling moldings frame the crystal chandelier with four energy saver bulbs. A hundred years ago, it was owned by a single rich family. Now it has 15 residents plus staff. The whole neighborhood was rich back then. Each mansion had a whole block for itself. You can see how the smaller houses were added later. Those are mansions too. Still a nice neighborhood. Ten people sit on each side. Rich, the director, tall, with black hair and beard, says, “A secret Manicotti family recipe.” Pat asks, “You made the lasagna, Rich? It’s good.” Burt says, “Very . . . good, Richhh.” Pretty Tony whispers to me, “I tapped dat in the phone room,” glancing at Loucarla, and smiling big. “Went right up to her and pulled down her pants.” Not sure if he’s serious. I say to her, “The tuna is good.” She replies, “I added some chopped garlic. . . The hot dogs have half the fat.” Morality compels me to speak, “And what about carcinogens? Do they have half the carcinogens?” The table gets quiet. Bingo. Burt says, “Car-in-o-gen.” I hold up an invisible pack, and say loud and sarcastically, “Hello. Carcinogens. . . Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate. I rest my case.” Hippo says slowly with his big round face, “Hot dogs don’t cause cancer.” He chuckles. Pat clucks, “I’m going to be sick.” Burt responds, “Say goo’night.” Rich says, “The hot dogs are fine. They’re the best, Roscoe Mueller.” I don’t want to make a scene, so I don’t say anything more, but I sneer knowingly. Oh no. They wouldn’t put anything bad in something people eat.

Self portrait

Lindsay says, “Do you freak out every time you eat?” and giggles. An attractive girl is talking to me and smiling. Has to be a set up. She lures me back to her room, then her boyfriend jumps me. Why even hope? No attractive woman is into fat guys. “Well not every time. Pretty much, yea. Most times.” She stares, eyes grinning. “Probably a few times I didn’t.” We take a few bites. “Scones are evil. Fruits and vegetables are good, as long as they’re organic, otherwise they’re evil. Cake, meat, anything that tastes good, is evil. Boring is good. Oatmeal.” “So pretty much everything causes cancer.” She laughs without a care in the world. “Hydrogenated oil is heart attacks, but yes. Hot dogs, cold cuts, fruits with pesticides, anything plastic, and of course coffee stirrers.” “Coffee stirrers?” “Well yeah, think about it, you put a strip of plastic into piping hot liquid and swirl it around. Do you have any idea how many thousands of carcinogens leech into the coffee? A lot.” “They wouldn’t put anything harmful–” Louder, “You would think! Sounds like a good rule. DEATH TAKE ME NOW! . . . Please tell me you’re joking. They don’t care if they kill people. They only care about one thing–” Lindsay smiles. “Follow the money.” “Yes!” Loucarla doesn’t see Pretty Tony secretly thrust his hips like Michael Jackson in her direction. I look at him skeptically. He laughs. Crude manners. No one else notices. “What they don’t tell you, is to dial 9-1-, then take a bite, then dial the last 1. Pretty Tony imitates Reggae style, “Birds…drop-ping… from da sky.” “It’s a pyramid scheme. The dollar bill, a pyramid. They’re all in on it.” Pat asks, “Foxavier, do you want fries?” Shouldn’t, but take some. Don’t do evil. It tastes good. You’ll feel sick after. I feel sick now. Try not to take too many. Burt pushes the mashed potatoes towards Ralph, who has a David Niven mustache, “No, you finish your ve-ta-ble.” Ralph smiles, pushes the plate back, and says in strong Indian accent, “Have some more potatoes. You’re a growing boy.” Burt, “You-r a gro-ing bo-y. . . I don’t want any more, Ralph. I had a whole bag of chi-ps.” He always carries a large bag of tortilla chips with him. Ralph looks like a serial killer. The perfect opportunity, a counselor in a group home. No evidence, just a hunch. Barry slowly pulls his clunky oxygen tank cart, and is last to sit. No seconds on fries. He says, “It looks good,” and crosses himself. Sonny is elderly. She takes a bite of my cake and says, “Mondays at six,” referring to her painting class. She’s not shaking. Her face looks like it’s falling asleep. She drops onto the floor passed out. Pat calls out, “Oh!” Dennis and I look at each other. Then he stands. Nate chomps down mashed potatoes. Everyone gathers round. Rich tells us not to touch her. Pat says, “Don’t worry Sonny.” We stare. Diane takes everyone in the backyard. The ambulance transports her. She’s lucky we’re so close to University Hospital. Did she have a stroke? It couldn’t have been the cake. The box specifically said, “Zero grams trans fat.” Pick it out of the trash. “Zero grams trans fat per serving.” Per serving is in small letters. Read the ingredients: Water, bromated flour, hydrogenated rapeseed oil! Hydrogenated!? Those sneaky bastards. It was the cake.

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After dinner a bunch of us sneak out the bedroom window and sit on the roof. Rich would have a fit, if he caught us. Mild summer. Clean night sky. The stars are clear. Dennis looks like Hank Hill, a big dude with a crew cut and bass voice. “I was stationed in Germany.” Nate rolls a cigarette. His voice is deep too, but not as. “You was in Germany?” Dennis smiles and giggles, “I was in Germany for three years, and I was married for a year and a half.” I say, “Cool. Did you see any combat?” Dennis says, “Dude, this was 1980.” Chuckles. “Peace time.” Nate puts it in his mouth, and asks, “Does anyone got a light?” Dennis immediately lights him. “You asked the right person. Three packs a day.” His eyebrows go up and he laughs. Nate takes the first drag, then says, “Never married. No kids, Free agent.” He laughs, then takes another drag fast, and hands it to Dennis, who says, “Kiss it.” Nate asks me, “How about you?” “What about me?” He and Tony laugh. Pretty Tony translates, “Do you have a woman?” “Not really.” I avoid the subject. I count my lovers on one hand. I turn to Dennis. “Did you see any interesting action in Germany?” He answers, “I was a mechanic. I saw a lot of grease.” Nate says, “I know that’s right. Bet.” Pretty Tony says, “I bet you saw some action when you was married.” Dennis breaks a smile. Pretty Tony takes a drag, then states with confidence,“Pimps up. Ho’s down.” How do you even respond to something so backward? Shake my head. He laughs, “You’re problem is you need some pussy clop.” He’s right, but I don’t agree with his terminology. Meanwhile the butt is burning down. Nate says, “Are you going to pass that thing?” We all laugh, because we were all thinking the same. Baby face Nate chuckles deep, and passes to Burt. Pretty Tony says to Nate, “I know you get some.” Nate says, “I get more than some.” Tony, “I know you do.” Nate, “What about you.” Tony, “I give all my money to ho’s.” Nate chuckles. Burt takes a long drag, coughs it out, sour face. “I… got… my gir’friend…in Can-ton O-hio.” His boyish face smiles. He always has bed hair. Dennis says, “I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and my wife left me.” I take as big a drag as I can, and pass it to Tony. Dennis says, “Intercourse,” and chuckles. Nervous about getting caught. “I’m going back in.” Pretty Tony tells me, “They ain’t gonna do nuthin,” as I climb back in. Burt says, “Say goo’night.” Brush teeth. Hear Ralph downstairs announce in his thick Indian accent, “MED-I-CA-TION!” Hurry down to beat the rush. Hippo comes up, so big I look like a troll. “I was here first.” I just stand there. “My place,” he says with his big dumb face. “Obviously not.” He yells at maximum volume, his whole head turns red,“I WAS HERE FIRST!” Everybody looks. IS HE GOING TO GO OFF? Let him go, just to be the bigger man. This isn’t the money line, jackass; it’s for medication. Guess he needs his really bad. Can you blame him for being raised a pig? My turn comes. Take two green and yellow capsules, Noeffenwayazil.

—Can one man with eating disorders fight the food industry??

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Read the ingredients of the cake mix again. It’s hard to focus my eyes that small, but I can make it out, “Water, Bromated Flour–” Why are the letters so small? Do you think they’re trying to hide something? How can water be the first ingredient for a dry mix? There it is: Hydrogenated rapeseed oil, a code name for trans fat. How can they say, “Zero Grams Trans Fat,” if it has trans fat? Rich makes an announcement, “Guys, I have some sad news to report. Sonny passed away.” I’m a murderer. Sonny had a stroke because the cake had trans fat in it. A person is dead, because I didn’t read the ingredients carefully, because I didn’t have a microscope on me. Life is an ocean of sorrow and I don’t have a paddle. Oh the bastardtution of my birth. The devil wants me to think evil thoughts, but reject them. Fugtropolous. Reject them. Dirty. Everything is dirty, the whole world, soil, the thing rich people fight over, without which nothing could grow, composed of corpses and manure. You can’t get away from it. It’s everywhere. You might as well lick the floor. Life is dirty. The Earth is dirt. It’s not necessarily meant as an insult. The Earth will burn, I mean that in the best possible way. Stinking, filthronicus, filthitution, lousy nippin’, jiskertutional, son of a spuchite— sometimes just can’t make up words filthy enough to express the utter lowliness, the destitution, the unbearable darkness of being. It’s not even them, it’s me. Angry at the world. Angry at me. Just angry, afraid, and sad. Don’t want to be. Next morning rise and take shower. Get an erection that won’t go down. Must be a side effect of the medication. Dress and descend the stairs. Theresa cheers, “Yippie. We’re going to Schwegman’s.” Rich counts the people, twenty, plus three staff. He drives the van. Theresa sits in front. Three people per seat in the back. Diane takes another load in her car. We are a pack of special people set loose in Consumer World, Schwegman’s, the Disneyland of supermarkets. Imagine fifty gourmet stores put together, for movie stars. Imagine every kind of restaurant you can think and a fleet of salad bars all under one roof. There’s a pet store with a row of beauty salon chairs, dogs and cats sitting under hair dryers, while their nails are manicured. People are so stupid. We treat dogs and cats better than people. A dog can pee on the ground. A cat can have black and white spots; they’re not blemishes. A dog can run up and lick you. A cat can be fat with short legs, and everyone will love him. Too many kinds of bakeries to name. A car dealership and repair station. Fifty sushi chefs, lined up behind a counter the length of a football field, sing and chop in rhythm, while the wall behind them does a light show. Foodstamps go fast when you pay seven dollars for a sushi plate that’s only last two minutes, but it’s so good, and it’s healthy. I should learn how to roll my own. By the time you buy all the ingredients, and chop them up, it’s not worth it. If I make a big batch, I’ll eat it too fast. Remember: Stock up on fruits and vegetables, but not too much, because it goes bad, and you’ll have to throw out half a cabbage. Buy a wedge of Stilton. Just what you plan to eat in one sitting. A whole aisle just for cat food. Buy meat, but not too much. Too many choices. A whole aisle for bottled water. Theresa is in the paper towel aisle, she is hard of seeing and must put her face right up against the wall of napkins to read the labels. Everything looks delicious. Don’t buy too much. My budget is eight dollars a day, but I already have fifty in my cart. Everywhere you turn- gourmet cooking demonstrations and free samples. In the middle of the blue cheese aisle, a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Want to eat everything. Feel bad I can’t. Have to choose. Yogurt has good bacteria, but a single is so small I can finish it in my mind, before my hand can grab it. Pretty Tony is at the little McDonald’s. I say, “We’re at Schwegman’s, man. You can get any kind of specialty food in the world, and you’re eating here?” “Niggaz don’t eat specialty food.” He takes a plastic tray with burger, fries, and soda. “I know what I like.” Sit with him a minute, then shop more. Where else can you find a three ounce loaf of millet/hemp bread cooked by real monks in Uganda? It comes in a burlap sack, so you know it’s authentic. Twenty dollars? The great whore of stores. A sign of the end times. An abomination. Overload. Read the labels on everything first. If it has the word hydrogenated, don’t get it. Put it back on the shelf with the ingredients facing out, so people can be warned. Don’t forget the budget. Remember, I have to walk an hour to burn one cookie. Not worthy of love, unless have six-pack abs. Feel bad because it will all be gone by tonight. If I can just stick to an impossible diet for a year, then I won’t be disgusting. Once they remove the excess skin. It must be nice, being one of those people, who already is okay. Why do I have to exert such effort, while others look good without having to do anything? Some people aren’t meant to be happy. I don’t want to be one. Why did You curse me? Is this a test? How long will the test go on? Did I do something bad in a previous life? They sure don’t make it easy trying to read the ingredients. They print the letters so small, I have to strain my eyes. They purposely used red letters on a pink background to make it hard to read, because they don’t want people to know. So many hot successful women in here, it’s pathetic. Don’t get bitter, when their eyes shoot out those ‘You’re too short and too fat to even have to be polite to’ rays. They are the ugly ones. They are the haters. Fat is beautiful. They’re ugly on the inside. But so am I because I hate them. Thin people think they’re superior. One day there will be justice. The law will require skinny women to date fat men. They don’t have the right to think fat people are disgusting. Their cruelty is disgusting. I shouldn’t say people; I should say me. I should say we. And stop obsessing about food. Exercise three hours a day. Must try harder. Must be entertaining. Under no circumstances be yourself. When I’m rich and famous people will want to be my friend. Then I’ll say, “Too late!” You had your chance. You mocked me. Now, who’s better? Anyone who likes you, because you’re famous, isn’t your real friend anyway, especially me.

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I’m on to their little game. If there’s less than .5 grams trans fat per serving, they can call it zero. You think you’re eating nothing, but you’re really eating .49 grams. Those dirty bastards. Legally, it’s not murder, if you can’t prove a specific biscuit caused a specific heart attack, so flood the market with GreesBalz. Poor people can’t sue, and it’s even harder, when you can’t move one side of your body, so poison away. If we’re stupid enough to allow this, then we deserve it. That’s the problem with the world; people are stupid. The cure for ignorance is education. Those companies feed off us, but then larger companies feed off of them…so you see: it all works out. A big heart shaped box of chocolates. The wrapper seam conceals the nutritional information. They did that on purpose. This injustice shall not stand. Get the manager. “Excuse me. I can’t read the ingredients.” She can’t either, so peels the wrapper off. I say to the cashier, “Gee, do you think they have something to hide?” The manager hands it to me. I raise my voice, so all the customers can be educated, “Thank you. . . . Ah hah! Fractionated Palm Seed Oil! I guess they didn’t want anyone to know a SCHWEGMAN’S PRODUCT CAUSES HEART ATTACKS.” The cashier looks at the manager. “What are we going to do? I’ll take it.” She reaches in her pocket for change. “I wouldn’t. Hydrogenated oil.” The manager walks away. So, this is what it’s like being a nut/pioneer. How else will people learn? The spirit walks me over to the pharmacy. The tall, silver hair man behind the counter stands at attention in white lab coat. “You guys have quite a racket here.” He says, “Excuse me?” “You sell food with trans fat in the front, and when people have heart attacks, you sell them medicine in the back.” He just looks at me. “Thank you.” I leave. It’s my fault for listening to a crazy person. But who says you’re crazy? I do. Food does not equal love. You have emotions, you are not your emotions. Men have eating disorders too. I have a big heart, but nobody sees, all they see is a fat guy. Maybe they’re right. I’m evil for hating. So stop. People should see my quality. Nobody said anything. You’re talking to yourself. Reading the labels on boxes of tea. This one is high in antioxidants. This one is good for the immune system. Fumble the boxes, try to put them back, but it creates a chain reaction, and the whole wall of tea boxes falls on me. Roll my cart out of the aisle casually hoping no one saw. Meet the group at check-out. Diane’s perfect legs are highlighted by intricate pattern black lace. “Would you mind helping us carry these?” I retort, “If I do, will you sleep with me?” Pretty Tony hears and exclaims, “Ha,” with big winding grin. She walks away. I know she’s getting Rich. Rich says, “You’re suspended for three days.” “What do you mean?” “It means you can’t come to the house til Sunday.” “Where am I supposed to go for three days?” Walk away. Into the ice cream aisle. Where the hell am I supposed to go for three days? In the toilet paper aisle. As a kid I used to build forts here. I used to hollow out a cubby hole, like this, and go inside, like this. Then use more to build a door. Happy in my igloo. Free to think my thoughts and be alone with God. They are not doctors. They are not licensed to practice psychiatry in New York State. My life is the worst hell a man can know. No. Remember the wheelchair rule: You’re not in a wheelchair, so be happy. I see lady’s legs pushing carts by. One takes a pack away from my door. I replace it. She cries with surprise, “Wha?” The wheels of her cart squeak louder as she hurries away. Soon after, I hear a group talking and approaching. They lift away my door. Two cops, and the store manager. The tall female cop says, “Are you having fun in there, buddy?” “I was til you guys barged in.” “Alright, let’s go.” I climb out. “Where are we going?” As I turn, I see two ambulance drivers, a short woman, and a tall man. “Can I buy something first?” The short male cop says, “No, you can’t buy anything.” With ambulance and police escort, pass the condiments. If I tried to make a break for it, they would beat me down with relish. As we exit past the registers, I see Rich talking to the store manager, all the people from West House standing together, watching. Pretty Tony holds up his fist and chants, “No justice. No peace,” as they take me away. Good one.

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Read CHAPTER 2 right here:

Away far in the western desert, everything is mostly as it should be. Quiet. Sand, rocks, and glorious glorious space. Teaming with billions of micro-organisms, insects. The small ones get eaten by larger ones, who in turn get eaten by larger ones. The cacti have adapted to the slow pace. They wait patiently for the rainy season. Sometimes you see a reptile scurry by. Unspoiled until you get to the factory, which sits on the dunes at the outskirts of The Neon City, out of place like a tumor, like Sin City metastasized. Big as a fleet of Naval destroyers, blocks of buildings connected by ducts and cables. Moving forklifts, conveyor belts, trucks, and hard hats, transport crates, and palettes. Teams in space suits move drums labeled, “WARNING BIOHAZARD.”
The logistics of running such a large operation is staggering. To design. To construct. To operate.The facilities have their own police force and hospital. Just stocking toilet paper is a full time position. They do it using the ancient geometry of the pyramid. People at the top get the money. Those in the middle supervise. And the rest of us do all the work. Beautiful and devious. And this mechanical monstrosity, this squirming desert snake has a name: Capsulsgrave Confections Plant #90210.
Inside, the machines produce, package, box, and crate thousands of cookies and candies per second: Biskit Buddies, Ga-Ga-Roos, Hexachocolators, Lezmends, Skuzzles, Yummer-Gummers, Mommy Munchers, GreesBalz, Gooey-Gummies, to name just a few.
The facility also has extensive research labs, full of glass tubes, and digital analyzers, chemicals, and scientists. One building is called The Zoo. Rows upon rows of animal cages, like a penitentiary, like a low-income high rise-—monkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, and rats.
Facing one long assembly line, a motivational poster of The Pretty Pie Girl is on the wall. She has her sleeve rolled up and she’s making a fist. She’s saying, “HARD WORK EARNS YOU VACATION DAYS.” Under the sign,the depressed face workers toss baby chicks into the grinder, without end. The long screw turns at a rate that never slows. You wouldn’t want to get your hand caught in that thing. The workers fingers are at a safe distance, but it’s scary looking. Those poor chicks. They don’t suffer much. They’re dead in less than a second. In this life, if you die quick, you’re ahead of the game. The workers wear gloves to keep the blood off. The chicken meat doesn’t go in the candy; that is sent to Chikn King for Chikn Balz, another corporation owned by Capsulgrave’s parent company, Food United Chemical Technologies(F.U.C.T.) Confections only needs the beaks, which give certain products the crunch people like.
Quality inspectors examine Mommy-Munchers all day long, making sure the nuts distribute evenly throughout the chocolate. Sometimes they form obscene shapes or words, in which case the offensive candy is tossed down a chute, where it is burned, sprinkled over land without a country, and then the earth salted. That’s the official story. Unofficially, I’ve heard stories about the nuts spelling out messages, like, “Please help us,” and “Don’t eat me.”
Some people do nothing but load thousands of packages of candy bars, and jelly beans, and sour balls onto trucks, all day long. Some drive the trucks that endlessly carry crates to trains, and ships. Sugar flows like the Amazon to every nation on Earth. Products could end up anywhere from Quezon City to Upper Mont Clair.
A thin, strong man with long stubble, wearing a Harley-Davidson t-shirt, carries a box of machine parts. “Hey Reynolds, I hear your old lady was out last night.”
Reynolds laughs. His hair is Jheri curled. He wears the uniform sleeves rolled up, the buttons undone down to his navel, showing his nice sweater and chain. Behind him is a big poster of the Pie Girl pointing her finger at the viewer. She’s holding up her other arm, which is a bloody stump, severed at the wrist. The sign says, “It has been [0] days, since our last accident.” The 0 is handwritten on a piece of paper, spotted with blood.

Reynolds mans a desk with hundreds of controls and numbers, but pays more attention to his tabloid with the headline, “BUSH MARRIES SAUDI PRINCE IN SECRET GAY CEREMONY!!!” In gravel voice he answers, “Never mind my old lady. You better keep your eye on your old lady.”
Neither notices the white rat exploring the floor around the computer. “If my lady looked as good as yours, I wouldn’t take my eyes off her.”
“You’re thinking about her right now, aren’t you?”
Reynolds has a big smile revealing his gold tooth. “I sure am.”
They don’t see the rodent run across the top of a keyboard. His little foot steps on one of the control buttons, changing one of the many numbers on the screen from 155 to 284.
“Just make sure you keep it in your mind.”
“Oh don’t worry.” The animal disappears into a space between computers. “I’m keeping it right here.” He taps his temple and laughs.
Wires run to the computer building, where electrons put on a big dance number, then out to the massive building they call The Oven, into one of the mixing rooms, and through a complicated tangle of pipes, to a giant computer connected to hundreds of nozzles which spray low frequency pulses into a whirlpool of purple batter. White flour constantly pours into the great tub from one conveyor belt, and white sugar from another.
The rodent gave the command to increase the pulse rate for one of the nozzles, the one connected to the tank labeled, “Preservatives.” It sprays into the big mixing bowl with all the other ingredients, then down a sewer pipe to a faucet squirting precisely timed dots onto a conveyor belt, which carries them through a gauntlet of machines faster than the eye, which dry, press, add nuts, mold into balls with star burst points, add red, white, and blue sprinkles, and harden into the final product–a Ga-Ga-Roo.
As soon as it is born, it is wrapped, boxed, and stacked in crates. A team of forklifts loads them onto eighteen wheelers all day.
What makes this batch different from other batches? Levels of tri-benzene-deliciouside seven times what it should be, thanks to an act of God in the form of a mouse.
An impressive network of trucks, ships, and trains, like a giant circulatory system, distribute the special cookies, along with millions of normal packs. A fleet of Capsulsgrave Carriers disperse into the traffic of rival delivery vehicles, post office jeeps, package vans, beer, soda, and water trucks. To every city and town in the world. To every corner store. To sit on shelves, and wait for people to buy them. The chain leads to our mouths, where our bodies convert it to manure, which composts into soil, then grows into more sugar cane.

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Read CHAPTER THREE right here:

Listed under R for R-Wing. Submitted for your approval. Portrait of a frightened little man, who grew up watching too much Twilight Zone. A man who believes every story ends with an ironic twist, with Rod Serling coming out, cigarette burning furiously, explaining what went wrong.
Told the doctor I felt like jumping in front of a bus. “I can’t help it if I’m crazy.”
He said I wasn’t crazy.
“You don’t think I have a serious illness?”
“On the contrary, Mr. Jostleplume, I think you’re one of the sickest patients I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you.”
He plays mind games. They admit me. Sign in at the nurses station.
“Name?”
“The biggest pain in the ass in this hospital.”
She chuckles.
“If they try to put a chip in your hand, don’t do it. It’s the mark of the beast.”
A patient pacing the corridor nods in recognition.
“You have to be careful. They put nanochips inside vaccines. Or a micro dot of chemical on a postage stamp–”
The nurse holds up a tiny cup with a light blue pill.
I hold it in my palm. “–and when you lick it, you go on a killing spree, and the next day you don’t even remember what you did.” This pill is the size and shape of a jack(like from the game jacks.) How am I supposed to swallow this? Drink some water. “Makes you think about licking a stamp doesn’t it? Any hoo.” The dinner cart is next to me, and I secretly steal a metal fork, and hide it in my pants. “And what about high frequency light pulses? The military has been using them for years. It was first developed to sell beer. That gives you an idea of how well it works.”
“Thank you.” She throws the cup out and sprays her hands with sanitizer.
Go to the exit door, and try to pick lock with the fork. Doesn’t work. The ward is a long hallway with many patient rooms. There’s a community area with a TV mounted to the wall. Beverly Hillbillies is on. When I watch TV, it doesn’t matter who I’m am. I could be a millionaire in a mansion. The hospital is a near death experience, maybe a full death experience.
A guy watches TV with me. We’re both in green gowns and brown booties that slips on the linoleum floor. He’s thin. Hair hangs straight down to the shoulders. Turns out we’re both born February 5, but he’s two years younger.
He laughs. “Granny’s wearing Army boots.”
I smile.
“When you hike, you’ve got to have good shoes. I was in the Snowchester Mountaineering Society.”
Nod. When I’m with someone crazier than me, I feel rational by comparison, and take on the role.
“When they sunk the Lusitania, Fox, they say it was the coal bunkers that exploded.”
I listen.
“The mud in the trenches was so deep, it was over their boots. I know these things because I’m Jumping Jack Flash.”
“Mr. Jostleplume.” The doctor interrupts us. “I’m Dr. Patel. Can we talk? You seem to be having a reaction to the Franafranil, so we’re going to take you off, okay? We’re gonna try Querasil.”
Jumping Jack Flash continues, “I was a ranch hand at the Wind River Ranch. You see, Fox, because I have good training I know about these things. . . They fired their machine guns so much, the barrels melted.” He shows a lot of teeth when he grins.
We watch the TV.
He perks up. “The Japanese had booby traps and spider holes.”
“If we ever got in a war with Japan all they would have to do is press one button, and all the electronic devices in the United States would explode. Or perhaps nanorobots with weapons grade biospore with enough Pig’s Disease to eradicate the world seven times over.”
“Can you imagine what it must’ve been like?” He sprays a machine gun with a big smile on his face. “Their guns melted.” It cracks him up every time.
A commercial comes on. Her again. “Take it from me, kids! I’m the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl! Take it from me kids!” It doesn’t matter which channel; they’re all in on it. “THE BEST WAY TO SHOW SOMEONE YOU REALLT CARE IS TO GIVE THEM A CAPSULSGRAVE PIE.” The rainbow colored strobe lights are hypnotizing. “Take it from me, The Pretty Pie Girl. I’m the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl! REMEMBER KIDS- Love Equals Pie! I’m the Capsulsgrave Pie Girl! Love equals pie!”
And they play the same commercial over and over. This is the fourth time in the last ten minutes. Each computer generated orange hair glistens as she bobs up and down in slow motion. She is a singing dancing pie- what a freakin’ concept. A singing dancing pie- singing, ”Eat me. Eat me.” They designed the whole thing to brainwash you? They know exactly what beat will produce maximum buying behavior in test subjects. Don’t remember signing up to be a test subject? You did when you bought candy and didn’t have your lawyer read the fine print. Then have your doctor read it. Then your psychiatrist. If you still want it . . . you’re me.
Jumping Jack Flash says, “The winter saved them.” He talks about WWII a lot.
“Love equals pie! I’m the Pretty Pie Girl!” She spins, dances, and chirps with her pals, biscuits and tater tots, in complex choreographies, harmonies, and frequencies, as only a computer animated burst of ESB (Electronic Stimulation of the Brain) can. “I’m the Pretty Pie Girl. Have a piece of pie!” Sure it’s cute. It took a team of engineers, lawyers, and marketers four years and seventy million dollars to make her look so innocent. “I’m the Pretty Pie Girl” It’s no accident the song pounds at exactly 2.2 beats per second. You have no idea what kind of CIA/Water boarding went to find that magic number. Didn’t just pull 2.2 beats per second out of my quahahnya. Let’s call it the ‘buy a maximum number of cookies’ frequency. For us lay types, let’s just say it’s a catchy tune. Oh it’s catchy, all right.
“The Lusitania, Fox, the coal bunkers exploded.”
Then a different voice, a motherly, wise, honest voice interjects, “Mothers will be glad to know all Capsulsgrave Confections contain zero grams of trans fat per serving.”
I belt out, “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.”
She says the words ‘per serving’ just slightly at a lower volume. Could The Great Whore have something to hide? Then she lies again, flat out in your face: “Always have, always will.” Dirty witch. How can they get away with this?
The spoons dosidoe with butter pats, and the teapot plays tuba and the cookies play brass. First it goes to R&D which is code for Special Ops. “I want my Mommy-Munchers!” Mommy-Munchers are some bastardtution of chocolate and cheese. “Take it from me. I’m the Pretty Pie Gir—”
“SHUT UP!” I strain my vocal cords. What I get for being mad. She got to me. The thought makes me even madder. Get so mad I scare myself. How to express such vehement hatredtution in human language?
One nice thing about the asylum is the view. It’s about 20 stories high with huge windows, and you can see the whole city. The Forget-Me-Not festival is going on. It looks like so much fun. Why did I have to pick the summer to be in the hospital?
The attendant announces, “SMOKING.” We line up, each get one cigarette. Did you ever see chimpanzees smoke? It doesn’t take any brains. But don’t judge. People judge too much.
The smoking room is by far the most crowded, with more ashtrays than chairs. One holds a huge mound of cigarette butts. It would make a sizable fire.
Timmy stands and talks with cigarette in mouth. “I shot seven consecutive three pointers. I was the leading scorer.” He reminds me of Tom Hanks with a blond afro.
Darlene says, “Nice, Timmy.”
“I was semi-pro. Triple A division. We were the champs for all of Albany and Schenectady region. You should have seen it.”
I say, “They’ve got courts here. We could play.”
“Three to four, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ll shoot with you Fox.”
“Cool. I’m not good, but I try.”
Timmy smiles and laughs. “A for effort.” Takes a drag off his cigarette. “You’re an officer and a gentleman.” Darlene takes a drag off hers.
A heavily grated window too high to reach lets the smoke out. Nobody could possibly escape out of it.
Timmy gets serious, “I was Lucan, the Lone Wolf. I was raised by wolves.”
Darlene smiles. “Oh Timmy, stop.”
“Mrs. Bachon and her evil step children adopted me. They were mean to me because I was the foster child. But I proved myself on the court.” Timmy smashes out his butt, and places a fresh cig in his mouth. Darlene, who already had a lighter in her hand, lights him.
“Thanks, Sza Sza. My father was a commercial artist, but he died when I was young. I didn’t really know him. I have a few memories of him teaching me to draw.” He sucks his tailpipe. “Horseborn is German. What are you, Fox?”
“I come from a proud people.” Did you ever hear anyone say they come from an unproud people? Smoke. Must quit.
Timmy says, “Does anyone smell weed?”
Yes. Is Jumping Jack Flash smoking pot inside the hospital? It’s a roll up.
The nurse comes. “What are you smoking?”
Jumping Jack Flash is innocent like a child. “It’s not pot. I got some leaves from that tree outside.”
The nurse says, “No, I’m sorry,” and takes it away.
Timmy says, “Give him one of mine.”
JJF says, “Thanks, Tim.”
The orderly comes up to me, “What are you doing?”
“What?”
“What’s this?” He gestures to his eyebrow.
Sometimes I plucks hairs from my eyebrow. Right now I’m using a vibrate twirl maneuver I call a MacAllister. “Nothing.”
“You need to stop.”
“I can’t touch myself?”
“You’re not allowed to hurt yourself.”
“I’m not hurting myself. It’s just a nervous habit.”
“You are not allowed to harm yourself.”
“I’m not harming myself. It’s a complex motor tick.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Well I like doing it, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
“If you don’t stop, we will be forced to put the restraining jacket on you.”
So they put me in a straight jacket. Sorry I’m crazy. Not half as sorry as me. Your brain is in a loop of damaging itself. Stop damaging yourself. So many kinds of damage. Anger, sadness, overeating. But damage is damage.
I like picking. It’s relaxing. A special gift from God to me. I could write a book about it. The Seven Pillars of Picritution. Advanced Picrionics. IAP(Instrument Assisted Picritution). I could compete in the Olympic Picathlon. Oh the picritude of it all.
Nobody says, “I want to be mentally ill when I grow up.” Nobody wants their daughter to marry a guy with mental illness. I am a monster, a freak. Pay no attention to the ravings of a lunatic.
I’m happy with the simple things. Clouds make me happy. I try to be a good person. I try to make a positive contribution to society. It’s just that I hate people so much. They go about their lives so happy, laughing, chugging beers, having sex. They don’t think about the poor.
I’m just jealous because I wish I could be normal, but that’s never going to happen.
The rich are happy to pay extra not to sit next to the lower class. They give their kids every advantage. They live behind gates, just to keep the poor away from their stuff. Stuff they don’t need or appreciate.
They make their fortunes reposessing old lady’s homes. Do they tell their children where the money really came from? It was all perfectly legal. , Oh how the lawyera laugh. We have the best system in the world. They all go along with it. Favors to your co-conspirators won’t count for much on judgment day.
I’m no better. I would do the same if I knew how. Don’t want to hate; I want to love. But how can I change such burning anger? I burn like the wrath of God against humanities sins.
After about five minutes the orderly says, “If we let you out, can you control yourself?”
“Yes.”
The room next to mine has a young guy, tall and skinny. He always has a huge grin on his face, which is a little strange. He washes his hands, dries them, takes seven paces away from the sink, circles back, and washes them again. All day long. His arms are red to the elbows. His trash can is overflowing with discarded towels.
I realize why they put us together. We’re both OCD cases. I have similar tendencies, but not an extreme. This is what my life has become. I’m a mental patient. I’m locked up in a lunatic asylum.
It’s not that bad. People here are mostly normal. You couldn’t tell by looking they were psychos. But even here I don’t fit in. I’m the oddball.
Look at the psychiatrists. That was supposed to be me. I would have been on the other side of the glass. I liked psychology because the brain is the most complex organ. Now I see the real reason. I was trying to cure myself. My whole career was decided unconsciously. I really do belong here.
I always thought, if I could just try harder, if I could just learn how to be popular, if I could just get in shape, then I would be a winner. Everyone would love me, and I would be a kind and generous king.
I still could go back to school. Maybe there is one more chance for redemption. My doctor could give me a recommendation.
My life is ruined. I’m as good as dead. Worse than dead. I have the mark of shame. Wacko looks terrible on a resume.
They treat us good here. I’m grateful for their help. It’s clean. When our gowns get dirty we just throw them in the hamper, and take a fresh one off the rack. We can order whatever food we want off a menu. There’s also a refrigerator full of milk and ice cream cups, and I make myself five shakes every night.
Dinner is 4pm. After they dim the lights. I like the quiet time. Walk the polished floors in my silent booty socks. Look at the cool medical instruments.
Peggy is awake too. She has short curly hair. She smiles. I smile. We go in my room. She stands close, four inches taller than me. We kiss. I touch her breast. She leaves.
Amazing! This has never happened before. If I knew mental hospitals were the place to meet women, I would have lost my mind years ago.
The next day I work on a picture of a cupid to give to my new girlfriend, but in the middle of painting I stand up. I have a feeling. I have to walk around. It’s the Querasil. It’s giving me ants in the pants. I can’t stand it. I want to crawl out of my skin. The nurse lets me take a warm bath, which helps. I have to walk all day long. I walk and read at the same time, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-3. Doing two productive things at once.
At 9 p.m. the nurse says, “It’s time to go to bed.”
“I need to walk.”
“Everyone has to be in bed.”
“I’ll go outside.”
“You have to go to bed.”
“Sorry, but I need to walk.” They call security. I go to bed. Now I’m on Lithium.
They weigh all the patients on the ward. I’m the heaviest, 281, a new personal record. One meal a day. That’s all you need. The rest of the day drink water. Or eat two meals a day. One at 9am and one at 5pm. Or three. One at 9. One at noon. One at 5. Think of all the money I would save on food. Think how happy I would be. Spend twelve hours planning.
Not much to do but walk around the ward. It’s a nice, old, very spacious building. You can see the defunct jacks still in the walls, painted over, where they used to plug in the electroshock paddles. There’s a large lounge, called the day room, with couches and books. Potted plants and framed paintings from a forgotten time, give it a homey touch. On a coffee table is a copy of The New Yorker with the headline: The New Miracle Drug. The photo is a close up of a capsule, half yellow-green, half green-yellow. Zaprocxetine. Coincidently, about a week later, the doctor tells me we’re going to try zaprocxetine. Maybe it’s a good sign.
At 6pm they dim the lights, and activity winds down. We play cards. Me and James against two staff people. I don’t know how to play Euchre. James tells me what to do.
The staff are confident they outmatch us and brag loudly. “We got this.”
Me: “If we win, we can have a Coke?”
James: “I want a cigarette.”
It’s a good thought, but they say no.
They guffaw and almost pee themselves, when I play the 2 of hearts. “Amateur move. Amateur.” Let them laugh. Cards is just a stupid game.
He slaps down a card. “Send ya back to Arkansas.” Have to admit that was kinda funny.
They boast. We remain silent. We start to win. We get on an winning streak. Our opponents quiet down. We keep winning. Delighted James says to me, “We could get a Boston.”
“What’s a Boston?”
“If we run the tricks, we win the whole game.”
“Come on Boston.”
James: “Come on Boston.”
We say, “Come on Boston.” We win again. Our chants,“Come on Boston,” grow in intensity. We keep winning, and chanting. All the people on the ward can hear.
We did it! It’s a Boston! We win! “Boston! . . Boston!. . .Boston!….Boston!” We yell as maniacs. The victory of the underdogs.

—Can art therapy save the world???

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Read and do push-ups every day. Doing so well so they let me go outside for an hour at a time. Every morning I jog around the building on the surrounding mowed lawn, so huge, one lap around is a good half mile.
I can start going to the work unit. Ten cents an hour. We take the elevator to a a big empty warehouse with only two lonely desks and chairs. She has me take a seat. I can see the sky outside through the small windows up near the ceiling, bright sunny clouds of success. My table has stacks of paper- one white, one blue, one red, one green, and a stack of envelopes. And a basket.
“Take one sheet from each pile.” She shows me. “Fold together and stuff in the envelope, then toss in the bin.”
It’s easy. One, two, three, four, fold, stuff, throw. One, two, three, four, fold, stuff, throw. I give it one hundred percent effort. This is the start of my brave new career. If I demonstrate superior ability who knows where it could lead? Jostleplume Industries. Jostleplume Enterprises. Maximize efficiency of motion to go as fast as possible. Throw last envelope and announce, “Finished!”
The attendant takes my bin. I breathe hard. Wait. She calculates my score, probably a record. She’ll probably say, “Mr. Jostleplume, based on your outstanding performance, we’ve decided to offer you an executive position.” She comes back with the bin. “What we would like you to do is take these envelopes– in each one you will find four sheets of paper. Take out the pages and separate them into four piles-one for white, one for blue, one for red, and one for green.
“You mean the envelopes I just stuffed, you want me to unstuff?”
“Do you think you can do that?”
A pointless task to keep the imbecile busy. Oh the uselessness of life! I say snarkily, “No problem.” I blame the lawyers, and of course the politicians. Most of all myself for being such a Big Blamer. Oh, the unbearable sadness of being.
After ninety days, the nurse finally stamps my hand, “SANE.” Walk past the big dangerous guard nurse, display my hand with the letters upside down. She buzz unlocks the door.
Demonstrate my sophistication by saying, “Have a nice day.”
Just a free citizen walking in a hospital. Feels good. The last maze- find the exit. Walk past a group. Zoom in on the one attractive woman. Hello Sunshine. Two security guards fifteen feet away. They don’t hassle me. Just walk. Didn’t do anything. Nobody knows I’m a mental patient. I’m not a mental patient. I’m a free citizen. Go through automatic doors. Outside. It’s a beautiful day. Huzzah.
Life is good. The Department of Social Services has gotten me a room. They do help people. It’s up to me to make the most of this opportunity. It’s five-by-ten with sheets of drywall for walls. They pay 325 per month. Eight rooms share the kitchen and bathroom. Not as clean as the hospital, but good enough. My window faces the front porch. A quiet clean street. I sit on the unpainted steps and face the concrete expressway sound barrier.
Sit lotus position watching the cars and people go by, the birds and squirrels, the intricate beauty of the clouds and trees. Think about what I’m going to do with my life.
A car passes with loud radio. “What do you get when you combine intense lemon lady fingers with real artificial bacon flavor?” A mob of girls scream, “Lezmends!” The car is out of earshot.
Go for a walk. Practice the ancient art of lookingformoney. Something to do. A whole Zen thing. Could be a book, but would have to develop a system first. Best spot–sewer drains.
The ashtrays outside office buildings are a goldmine for cigarette butts. Twenty or thirty good long ones. You can find huge cigar butts outside The Cigar Store. You can smell that place a block away. One time I found a whole pack of Camels soaked in the pouring rain. I dried them on my radiator and they turned out great. Must’ve washed all the mind control chemicals out. Dennis smokes those little cigars that come in packs like cigarettes. Too nasty for me. If I really wanted to be clever, I would quit smoking.
Whenever I see a van, I think, “Serial killer.” I watch too much TV.
You can learn about society from the garbage in the gutter. Cigarette butts. Sure, they don’t care about their own health, why should they care about littering? Scratched lottery tickets. I used to check them, but they’re all losers. People don’t throw out winners. Used drug bags. Based on the number, there must be a lot of people doing drugs. You can see traces of drugs left in them.

–Can one find happiness in the mental health system?

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If someone collected all the traces it would add up to a sizable social problem. Fast food wrappers. Some people think the street is a garbage can. Ignorant scum. It’s not their fault. Their parents were ignorant scum.
The Tao of Garbage Picking, a true religion. Recycling. Save what was lost. One time I was looking in a dumpster, and a wise ass in the apartment building shot a bb gun at me, because he’s so much better than me. Now he’s hiding inside one of the windows. Coward. So many stupid parents in the world.
Walk a couple of hours a day to train. A beautiful day. Plenty to be grateful for. The lawns are well kept, each in its own style. Some people don’t trim their hedges. They let them grow out into the sidewalk, completely obstructing it. Lazy selfish bastards. Snap a twig to let them know they need to trim their fucking hedge.
“Hey don’t touch my property.”
Walking is one of the best tricks I know for depression.
But sometimes I get too pumped, and it turns into road rage. A car pulls out in front of me and I feel like going insane on his ass. I curse his ancestors back seven generations. When did I become so angry? He didn’t plan his day to cut in front of me. I should pound the hood of his car, then jump up and down on it, and yell, “You son of a bitch!” But I don’t. I walk around, in front of the powerful machine. If he floors it, I’ll be killed. Of course he’ll lie and say his foot slipped, but we’ll know the truth. I can smell his sickening exhaust. It represents fire, warfare, hell.
Continue down the sidewalk. Three blocks away someone is heading towards me. Cars pass on the right, but there is no rule for walking. People don’t get over. They play chicken. Now another person coming toward me, a young girl. She doesn’t get over. Neither do I. Impact in ten, nine, eight. She goes around. I beat a little girl at a game of chicken. What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with kids these days? Doesn’t she know you’re supposed to pass on the right? The incident is over. Let it rest. Could have said, “Sorry you were abused as a child,” but probably for the best I didn’t. Look behind me to make sure she doesn’t sneak up and punch me in the back of the head. I know it’s a paranoid thought, but what good does that do?

People always told me not to put myself down, but I never listened. Now I’m dissolving in a vat of acidic thoughts. You’re not supposed to think negative thoughts, but how can you not notice all the hate in the world?
There’s a sweet looking girl with a tattoo covering her chest, of a pirate holding two pistols. He is smiling with a missing tooth. There’s a bar called “Nasty’s.” The church people were right, rock n roll did bring the moral destruction of society.
A woman is ahead of me on the sidewalk. I change sides so she doesn’t think I’m following her. Need to be more fun so people will like me.
Stop by Wrong-Mart on the way back. Not Rick’s Stupid Store, where the meat is spoiled. Wrong-Mart is an evil national chain store. This large corporation has robbery down to a science.
Can’t buy apples, pesticides. Remember mostly grains. Read the ingredients. Everything I like has hydrogenated oil. Hershey bars are the one thing I can have. Buy a box of frozen ied chicken with eight grams of trans fat per serving. I will get 99% of it out by pressing it with paper towels. Trans fat is already illegal in California, but not this stupid state. Why is nobody outraged?
Walking home, read my loaf of Ancient Grains from the Bible Bread. “Ingredients: Flax seeds, whole grain oats, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, hydrogenated canola oil!!! SON OF A BITCH. They got me again. It’s my own filthy fault for not reading carefully.
And there she is, The Pie Girl, on the corner of the bag, laughing at me. She got me. Righteous Farms in small print is a subsidiary of Capsulsgrave Confections of North America. Stare her in the eye. Those dirty scunspunsules(Scatology 101). It’s all her fault. All of my life’s failures are her fault. Don’t believe, but feel like saying.
Don’t blame her. She’s just the pawn, the prostitute, a victim. The real villains are the pimps who get the money. The ones who will burn in hell for a million years are those rich guys, who smoke their cigars and laugh at us poor schnooks gorging ourselves on their cancerous slop.
I’ve asked bakers about trans fat, and they don’t care. They say, “It tastes good.”
Sitting on the serene front steps. A car pulls up. A guy eighty gets out slowly, goes to his trunk, takes out a food container and comes up the porch. “Howard Games?”
I point upstairs.
He announces, “Meals On Wheels.”
Howard instantly opens his door. “Coming. I’m coming.” Howard is seventy, shorter and fatter than me, and bald. His cartoon voice is slow, but loud, “Chicken and rice. Good. Did you bring the extra milk?”
“I just deliver the bags.”
“Yes. They’re here.”
“Have a nice day.”
“Thank you.” Howard goes in his room. Meals on Wheels. Pretty sweet.
Watch people go by for hours. The expressway billboard stares me in the face. An ad for Capsulsgrave Confections. A simpke white background with the gigantic symbols and a blood red heart:
= π
Stare at it for hours.
Housemate Scufo comes down. He has long hair and is tall and thin like a scarecrow, with a deep voice. He’s deep and edgy. A musician, a vocalist. “You’ve gotta see this.” We go up to Howard’s Room. Housemate Rod is there too, very strong looking with an afro. Howard is standing in the hallway in his underwear. Scufo opens the door and says, “Smell that.” The room is just big enough to hold a bed and a dresser, the top of which is covered with pill bottles.
“Why? What?”
“Just go in.” Stick my head in. Then it hits me, a smell like chemical weapons.
Rod chuckles, “You can’t mix bleach with ammonia.”
Good times.
I cook fried chicken. It comes out good. I serve it on these light green circles of paper that I found that make perfect placemats
Pretty Tony comes over. “Tracy got all my money.”
I shrug. “Oh well.”
He repeats, “Oh well, busted a nut.”
“Why don’t you go to church and meet a good woman?”
“I don’t go to church, except to eat.”
“Meet a good woman, with her own job, and own car.”
“Nah, man, a woman like that I need, at least, six bills a week. Two jobs.”
“Maybe Pace Chitkin will give you more hours?” He gets up every morning at 5 a.m. and takes a bus to work.
“They already said I have all the hours I’m gonna get. I told you, two jobs. Six bills a week.” He picks up the book on my desk, and reads the title, “Operations Research, you’re a smart muther.” He laughs.
“I’m thinking about going back to school.”
Pretty Tony says, “Me too. Microbiology. But I have to ease into it.” He takes a sip of soda out of his big cup. “Besides, school costs money.”
“You could get financial aid.”
“Nah.”
“You could get books from the library and practice.”
“Nah. Put in a movie.” He wants a XXX movie, but I put in a Dennis Rodman, which is a surprisingly good. I’m so used to watching a picture with static and double images, I don’t even notice it.
Scufo plays guitar and sings and scores with the ladies.
Empty crack bag in hallway. Those guys are so stupid. It’s like saying, “Hey police, over here.” Maybe it’s an unconscious cry for help.
Night. Finished the cheese too fast. A three pound bag could have lasted a whole family a month. But once I start, I’m obligated to finish. I say over and over, “You don’t need anymore, YOU FAT PIG,” but it doesn’t work. Every night for forty years. People work and save, have children and houses, and here I waste my life. Why don’t I just stop eating? It’s not that complicated. Every moron in the street who calls me Fatso knows that.
Buy healthy foods, exercise, and plan new diets. I have to change entirely, just to be okay. This stuff writes itself.
Nagging doesn’t work. Stop eating. Save some for tomorrow. Those cookies sit in my pantry and burn a hole in my head. It’s a choice.
I didn’t choose this.
Eat normal portions. Why do I need five hot dogs to be happy? And then I’m still not happy. That’s why it’s called depression.
Also, it’s about the grains. Mostly grains, mostly rice and oatmeal, and corn and wheat, then vegetables, then fruits, then a little meat or cheese, and no sugar. And, of course, absolutely no hydrogenated oil.
Dodger lives downstairs. He has short curly blond hair. He gets in fights often. Has a pretty nice looking girlfriend. The criminals always have the hottest women. He’s tripped out. He paces the kitchen, clenching a hammer. Later he carries a big TV out the house, and comes back with a blood covered face. Some guy hit him with a baseball bat. He’s drunk, “Come with me Fox, help me get those guys.”
“Sorry man, way too violent for me.”
These poor people. This is all they know. I’ve got to get out of this place.

Make a bow and arrow from wire hangers and rubber bands to occupy myself. I shoot my couch from the hallway. Something to do.
Les’ door is open. Ten people are inside. A little guy is on his hands and knees searching the floor. His much larger buddy tells him to stop and slaps his cheek red. A few seconds later he’s down on the floor again. The large guy slaps him again. Les comes back. “Call the police. I got ripped off.” The people are not happy. Jude throws Les through his own front bay window onto the lawn.
Howard is moving because his Meals on Wheels have been getting stolen. He’s leacing behind a bunch of butcher knives, and we each take one. he’s leaving behind. We laugh at ourselves walking around all carrying butcher’s knives.
Dodger and I play a game. I stand in front of the concrete barrier and he tries to hit me with the soccer ball. All I do have to do is move out of the way like Kung Fu, but he manages to nail me a few times.
Turns out everyone here is on crack, except for a couple of pot heads, and one glue head. Must write letter to hospital. This is not a good place to send people trying to get well.
Stuk walks quickly, sometimes dancing, sometimes stiff, down the street with his guitar in one hand, and a tie dye t-shirt. His head is down with black Einstein style hair. “Pete just ripped me off. I gave him sixty dollars, and he goes in the house and never comes out. We saw him look through the blinds.”
“Screw him.”
I knock on Scufo’s door.
“Enter.”
Crack open his door. He is under the covers with a beautiful young black hair girl. Take a good look at her. She giggles.
“Hey Scuf, got a smoke?”
“Sure bro. Remind me to play my new song for you later.”
“Thanks dude.” Scufo is cool. He’s in a band. Whatever.
I explore the area of grass between the highways. It’s a cool little world nobody goes. I put my face close to the billboard. You can see little dots that make up the picture.
Evening. I’m in bed. Scufo is pounding on my cheaply constructed door, “Venus! Venus! Have you seen my cat?”
I yell from under the covers, “No.”
“Let me in. I want to see if Venus is in there.”
“She’s not here. I’m sleeping.”
He pounds the door.
“Go away.”
He punches a hole through the center of my door and sticks his face through just like Jack Nicholson.
“I can’t believe you just did that. Are you insane?”
“Just wanted to see for myself.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Can smell the airplane glue on his breath. The guy is nuts. Walk to corner pay phone and call the cops. He gets violated on his parole and goes to jail. Now here’s the irony: I end up taking his cat.
I love Kitty. Kitty is my baby. My little Whiskanippins. Kitty is my Lady McLickins, my Princess Catatina. Miss Pink Lips. Kitty is gray and white like Bugs Bunny, with pink lips and toes. The prettiest cat in all the land. She’s a little runt. Chicken Lickin’. Nipper mittens. Honey pie. Kitty keeps crying for chicken.
“Yes, baby. Yes, baby. Poor Missy. Poor, poor, Licky.” I take a piece for Kitty, and throw it across the room. She goes after it, and claims possession by carrying it in her mouth to a comfortable spot. Kitty sits on Pretty Tony’s lap, and his triangular hand pets her.

Dennis gives me countless cigarettes, and buys me many steak subs, never asking for anything in return. He’s got a car, a place with nice furnishings, a tapestry of a leopard roaring on a mountain peak, and a male longhair cat, who’s always trying to get outside. He likes driving out to the park.

One day I see a poster on a light pole, “Make your mark on Snowchester.” An art contest. If you win, they engrave your design on the sidewalk. Cool. Write down the information.
Got the runs, so they take me off Lithium, and put me on Normalcil.
Nedwina, my case manager arranges for me to áttend Operation Food, a psychosocial club. I can eat lunch and dinner, do chores, go to movies and picnics, play pool or bingo. Work units.
It’s a really big mansion. Ten staff and a hundred members, ages eighteen to eighty, all types of dress. Den rides a motorcycle and wears a black leather jacket. He has a hot girlfriend. Sherri is hot too. She has a boyfriend too. He also wears a leather jacket. Leather jackets must be the big secret. The hot ones never like me.
Mostly people just smoke and eat.
A miracle happens. For some reason I hit it off with Rosa. We talk and laugh. I don’t feel self-conscious! We sit on the lawn. Talk and laugh. I’m relaxed and having fun with a girl. Holly the bookkeeper comes over and tells us, “You can’t do that.” Thanks a lot, Holly.
Went to a party when I was ten. Too shy to dance at first, but I talked myself into it. Eventually I built up enough courage to walk on the floor and dance. It was fun for a moment. The song ended. The party was over.
Looking back now I can see that there were girls who could have become my girlfriend, but for some stupid reason I was just too fucking shy.
The staff at Operation Food has to nag us for ten minutes before someone finally signs up to mop the floor.
Theresa slowly raises her hand, adjusts her posture, and makes vocal sounds, then speaks loudly, “I… can… do… the napkins.”
“Thank you Theresa.”
She continues, “I like… to mop. I mop… all the time… at home.”
“We need someone to sweep upstairs. We can’t eat until someone volunteers for upstairs.”
Leonard’s voice is high-pitched and choppy. “I’ll have to do it.”
“Thank you, Leonard.”
Leonard giggles.
Theresa chimes up again, “Are we going… to Albany… again …this year.?”
Robert looks like a banker. He answers, “Luis has the sign up sheet.”
Theresa, “Good. Good. Oh I love going to Albany.”
Leonard, “Maybe we’ll see Governor Pataki.” He emphasizes the tak in Pataki.
Julian, “Oh Leonard, go do your chores.”
Leonard giggles, “You go do your chores.” He giggles more, “Julian and I are friends.”
I call out people’s names and deliver their trays. “Boris Garrett.”
He’s in the middle of a conversation. “Anyone who smokes is a suicide case.”
“Theresa Hand.”
“Thank . . . you.” She stretches out what she says. Her voice is clear and loud, maybe because she’s visually impaired. Her white cane leans against the wall, at its end is a ball. I can see dirt on it, where it touches the floor.
Would I want to be her? Would she want to be me?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the worst hell a man can know. The principle of OCD is to suffer as much as possible without going to the point of suicide, which would end the suffering. Spend all your time planning and none doing. OCD means always having to say you’re sorry. It must be a test from God.
I work in the Operation Food kitchen. First thing every morning fill the stainless steel double sinks. I wash dishes. I scrape the drippings from five trays of roast chicken into a bowl, and eat the whole thing. Awesome.
Don Ding is at one of the round six person tables. He’s a hippy social activist. He wears a red headband. His hair goes down to the middle of his back. He says, “Remember to vote everybody. Keep those cards and letters coming.”
I won the MoneyWalk contest. My drawing is going to be engraved on the sidewalk. The nation’s first Outdoor Museum of Economics. If I die today, at least I accomplished one good thing. Public art is cool.
Write letter:
Dear Capsulsgrave Confections,
I am a regular customer of your 74-ounce Southern Bucket® Chicken. I am outraged to discover it contains hydrogenated oil!!! Therefore I can no longer buy your product.
Please remove all trans fat from your products immediately, so I can resume buying them as soon as possible. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Foxavier Jostleplume.
Walk to corner mail box. This letter could change the world. Creak door twice to make sure it went down.

CHAPTER 4

Read CHAPTER FOUR for free right here:

Lab coat — white and neat. Glasses — old fashioned frames. Inside the desert dessert factory, a quiet technician types into a clipboard computer, and reads numbers off the panel that was transversed not long ago by the aforementioned rodent. He is confused, and rechecks one of the read outs. Taps it with his finger to make sure it’s not stuck. He punches some numbers, and reads again. He refers to the chart. Thinks, then walks briskly to the office. Talks to the woman behind desk. She gets up. They walk to the panel. She looks concerned, and makes a call. More lab coats hurry in. They keep pointing to the one dial, and seem upset. A man with a tall hat makes a phone call.
On a higher floor, in a large fancy suite, a woman is doing calculations with large important papers on her desk. Her clothes are expensive. She spends as much as Oprah on her hair.
Her secretary has a call for her. She listens while taking a chug of her amaretto macchiato latte. The secretary says something, and she sprays her mouthful all over her papers and cries, “WHAT?!”
Factory City, New Jersey is covered in a layer of grime from all the smokestacks. In the dark skyline, the silhouettes of the skyscrapers. The tallest building by far, and the most evil looking, with sinister weblike railings, is the world headquarters of Food United Chemical Technologies. The architectural style is Frankenstein’s castle meets the Death Star.
On the top floor is the glass walled, opulent, executive boardroom that gives an imperial view of the whole smog enclosed city. Thirty Vice Presidents sit at the enormous polished mahogany conference desk. Each gives a report. Expansion into Asia is slow and steady. Pharmaceuticals are booming. Military sales are skyrocketing. Financial Services are merging with South American Banks.
An attractive man enters in disheveled suit and tie, Crumulus. He hurries up to the main boss at the head of the table. “Sir, we have a glitch.”
The nameplate reads,“Ronald Nick, Chief Executive Officer.” His chair is higher than the others. He barks, “What?”
Crumulus continues, “This morning the Operations Officer for Foods Division filed an incident report. He was informed of the situation by the General Manager of Capsulsgrave, who was made aware by the Plant Superintendent in Nevada.
Ron: “Can you bottom line it in ten words or less?”
Crumulus: “Well, sir.”
Ron: “You have eight more.”
Crumulus holds his gaze, and chooses his remaining words carefully,“There was a problem with a batch of cookies.”
Ron: “Who cares?”
Crumulus: “It was one of the Halo valves.”
Ron doesn’t comprehend.
Browne,“Sir, the Halo dispension valves are part of the Preservatives Protocol.”
Ron understands. “Okay. So fix it. That’s what I pay you for.”
Snykering, an attractive scientist woman comes forward. “The malfunction may have occurred as long as three weeks ago. We estimate a possible dosage error of magnitude seven.”
Ron yells, “That fail safe system cost nine billion dollars!”
Crumulus: “Sometimes the needle sticks.”
Ron: “So what are the ramifications?”
Browne: “We’ve identified the batch, code GWB911.”
Ron laughs. “Just one batch.”
Browne: “That’s nine million packages of Ga-Ga-Roos.”
Ron gasps. “Okay, so recall them..”
Browne: “It’s a little more complicated than that.”
A panel of scientists enters. Snykering explains, “Tri-benzene-deliciouside in small amounts increases purchasing behavior by 300%, but in the doses this high, it produces symptoms mimicking paranoid schizophrenia.”
Ron thinks for a minute. “Are you telling me we have nine million boxes of Ga-Ga-Roos on store shelves that will make people insane?”
They look around.
Ron: “Get me Cowles.”
Cowles comes and passes him a piece of paper on which is written the figure 1 with thirteen zeros. Ron is not happy with it.
Snykering approaches. “The mystery is how the setting could have been off. There are too many fail safes.”
Ron plays with his ornate name plate.
Crumulus,“Off by a factor of 7.”
Ron,“I KNOW WHAT 28 DIVIDED BY 4 IS. I WANT THE NAME OF THE LOSER WHO DIALED IN THE WRONG NUMBER ON MY DESK BY THREE O’CLOCK TODAY!!! DO YOU HEAR ME?!!!” Do you hear me was a rhetorical question. Of course you could hear him. All his blood went into his head. Would he pop? He presses a button, and talks into his desk,“Youngblood.”
Youngblood, about 100, enters frailly. Ron barks orders at him. He goes out. Four men in suits and white shirts come in.
Ron: “Tell them what you told me.”
Snykering: “Well, at 4 parts per million, TBD makes foods taste delicious and subjects report craving more. Purchasing increases forty percent.” She clicks to the next slide, “But at 28 parts per million, it causes . .Her voice gets softer.
Ron: “Speak up, man! Say what you have to say.”
Snykering: “It causes delusions of persecution, magical thinking, and hallucinations.”
Nobody speaks for a minute.
Ron: “Okay so we recall.”
Crumulus: “It went out three weeks ago. People have been eating it in a five state area.”
Ron: “But no permanent damage.”
Browne: “I don’t know if you can call psychosis no damage”
Snykering: “The good news is it wears off in a couple of months.”
Silence.
Ron asks,“What if we do nothing?”
Crumulus: “Is that legal?”
Ron: “Is it legal for a bank take a dying person’s house?”
Crumulus: “What if we get sued?”
Ron: “Do you see people suing McDonald’s every time someone has a heart attack? Get the hell out of my office!” He presses intercom. “Get me Cowles.” Hand off button, speaks gently, “Better make sure we can’t be sued.”
Cowles: “Right here sir.”
Crumulus: “Should I announce a recall?”
Ron: “Nine million boxes of Ga-Ga-Roos….” He looks at Cowles.
Cowles does the calculations, and signals like a catcher.
Ron: “That’s two hundred dollars in raw materials.”
Esso: “We could re-sell them as Crazy Bubbles?”
Ron: “Run it by marketing.”
The Operations Research people come in. “We did an initial analysis.” Puts presentation on big screen. “According to projections, four thousand crates will hit the streets. By the time we recall, a thousand will have been purchased by consumers.”
Cowles: “I estimate three thousand total plaintiffs.”
Ron’s face brightens. “Three thousand.” Not too bad. “Let’s hope they get absorbed quietly into the mental health system.”
Snykering,“We’ll have more specific information soon.”
Browne: “What if we quietly retrieve the packs ourselves discreetly?”
Crumulus: “Nine million packs?”
Browne: “Isn’t three thousand cases of psychosis going to raise a few eyebrows?”
Snykering,“Hopefully not. Remember people eat at different rates.” She puts a complicated graph on the screen. “Some of the cases might not show up for years.”
Snykering: “We designed them to be addicitve. Some people are going to eat 10-20 at a sitting.”
Browne: “Too many unknowns.”
Crumulus: “We don’t even know for sure any cookies were contaminated at all.”
Esso, “Some cookies might not have any DBT, just a few could have massive amounts. No way to know for sure.”
Valore Snykering turns off the lights, and stands by the big chart. “Consumers can be represented by a distribution curve.” Her beauty highlighted in the dark by the glowing graph she points to with a red dot. “Twenty-five percent of the population we call binge eaters. They consume eighty percent. The other two-thirds we call normal eaters who consume under five cookies per day. ”
Ron asks,“What about moderate eaters?”
“A statistically insignificant market. They are dead to us. The binge eaters are broken into three segments. Those who consume 5-10 cookies per day. Those who consume 10-20 per day. And those who consume over 20 cookies per day.” She clicks to the next slide. “Seven thousand people will be exposed to five or less. Five thousand will eat between five and ten. Two thousand will eat 10-20. Two thousand will eat 20-100. And two thousand will consume over 100.
Browne asks, “Isn’t the curve supposed to be bell shaped?”
Snykering: “Not when you factor in Consumer Gain. The more Ga-Ga-Roos a test subject eats, the more he wants.”
Nods throughout room.
Browne: “Wouldn’t customers die eating so many?
Snykering: “We prefer to call them Test Subjects. The heaviest demographic will consume four hundred. TheIr life expectancy is shortened by twenty-two years, but they buy so many, it’s well worth it.
And at the top, there’s Big Belly, one guy who statistics say will eat six hundred cookies in a twenty one day period.
Browne asks, “So what happens, if I eat six hundred cookies? Besides having a massive stroke.”
Everyone laughs.
.Snykering, “I’ll let Dr. Esso handle that one
Dr. Esso speaks from his chair. He has a white beard. “If you’re in the third of the population who is immune to the drug, absolutely nothing.”
For those not somfortunate, that translates to a total exposure of 5.4 millirads. We estimate five thousand people will be affected severely enough to seek medical treatment, where they will most likely be hospitalized for schizophrenia.”
Snykering jumps in. “Five thousand cases of schizophrenia in one region of the country is going to raise some eyebrows.”
Browne:, “And what about people who don’t necessary eat enough to be hospitalized, but they’re still impaired enough to, say, drive their car into a crowd of people?”
Dr. Esso: “It would be unlikely to be traced back to us.”
Ron is not happy. “If we announce a recall, we are accepting full responsibility.”
Crumulus: “What if we say the recall is for something else, like rat droppings?”
Ron: “You’ll have to do better than that. The last time we recalled for rat droppings, 38% of the product was eaten anyway.”
Esso: “What if we say arsenic?”
No one is excited about the idea.
Browne: “There’s no way to make it sound good.”
Ron: “What if we just don’t say anything? A person goes into an emergency room with schizophrenia, no one is going to ask them what they had for dessert.”
Crumulus: “What are the damages?”
Cowles: “Well if nobody puts two and two together virtually nothing.”
Snykering: “But our liability goes up as sales increase.

Worst case scenario.”
Cowles: “Three thousand plaintiffs with five years of pain and suffering…Six hundred billion dollars.”
Ron thinks it over. He looks to Browne who nods. Not too bad.
Ron: “Excellent. It’s good we caught it in time.”
Cowles: “If we recall for Salmonella, people will be looking for Salmonella. There won’t be any Salmonella.”
Ron snaps his finger: “I like that.”
Browne: “If we say salmonella then federal health agencies will get involved. If we say rat droppings, it’s just a local matter.”
Crumulus:“What about ‘dead rat in machinery’?”
Snykering: “No people like rat droppings better.
Ron commands: “That’s it. We’re going with rat droppings. Okay send it through.”
Browne: “Let’s just hope people don’t buy and distribute a lot of candy this week.”
Snykering’s face drops,“Halloween is in three days.”

A mentally ill love story

FOXAVIER LOVES PLINKA is available for purchase as a paperback on Amazon, and as an e-book on Kindle.

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F&P has been getting great reviews.
“FOXAVIER AND PLINKA was unique in subject and voice. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the lens with which Foxavier sees the world . . . his seemingly oddball observations are more even-keeled than those around him. In general, your character development–even for the most minor–was strong and distinctive. I also particularly enjoyed the novel’s focus on food and society and the battle between nutrition and marketing that is pervasive today.
-Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, Literary Agents

“5.0 out of 5 stars A whimsical tale from an institute that would have Ken Kesey Cuckoo with jealousy.” “From the twisted (in the BEST way) mind of Scott Evans comes this soon to be classic tale of love and cookies.”
-Nick REBOri March 5, 2013 , Amazon Verified

“. . . sad and funny, tragic and triumphant. There are nuggets of true brilliance suspended in a chaotic matrix like a tangled spiderweb. Reminds me alternately of William S. Burrroughs and Woody Allen. It is a manic tale of an overweight forty-something struggling with mental illness trying to find love and spiritual meaning within a society that has cast him aside. . . Bravo! . . . the *story* is wonderful. . . borders on genius in parts. You may have — unwittingly or not — resurrected a new type of Beat Generation writing; Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsburg, I found a lot of that style and substance in F&P, as well as a dash of Orwell and Vonnegut and a surrealist humor element that read like Woody Allen on mescaline.”
– Frank Raymond Michaels, Author of “Pale Pink Walls and White Furniture”

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