Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

(Art by spoon+fork.) Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the Roman Catholic Church I went to before my father freaked out, was also the place where I went to get my flu shot.  It was especially terrifying because Maximilian was killed by a lethal injection in the arm by the Nazis.  Who designated this church to give shots? My Sunday school teacher told me that despite how crass and crude the Italian race was, they hadn’t lost the True Religion, and that was to their credit.  The English had broken from God because Henry VIII was horny, she told me.   I was six. If you didn’t do the rosary everyday, you could lose your faith.  The devil was real and was always working to get between you and God. “Even I could lose my faith,” she admitted. “How could the devil get you?  You’re a nun,” I said. “When I dress like a nun as a matter of routine and not ritual, then I am lost.”   My father was a heavy drinker but unlike most alcoholics he was home a lot. He usually lay face down or up on the couch but he would get up to make coffee in the afternoons and to get the mail.  I looked forward to when I was old enough to drink and grow stubble. One day he got a letter from his brother in Ireland that told him that his mother had died.  He folded it up and put it in his back pocket. My mother begged for him to pray for his mother’s soul in purgatory, that we all should say the rosary together.  He refused.  She begged again.  I got scared when he laughed. “Her spirit’s in another baby right now,” he said.  “She’s being born again.  She doesn’t need prayers.” He woke me up that night, his breath stinging my eyes. “The entire Irish race is being punished.  We let the Christians pervert our Gods and smash our altars.  They built churches over our sacred sites.  This is where the troubles come from. ” I didn’t know what the troubles were back then, but I kept quiet.  I would have been stupid to ask him.  My father hated listening to anything–people, news or music. He had something under his coat.  He took out a set of cheap dinner knives, still in the cardboard holder.  The metal looked like tinsel in the light coming in from the streetlamps.  They must have come from the 99-cent store. “Boy, come with me.  We’ll throw knives in the water to celebrate grandma’s life!” I suddenly had a premonition as bright as operating-room lights.  My father was going to bring me down to the beach, stab me and cut my throat.  Then he was going to throw my body into a marsh.  I would be found centuries after my death, perfectly preserved like those bog bodies I saw in National Geographic. I rolled over and wedged my legs between the bed frame and the wall. “No!” I...
Continue reading

(Hello and welcome to my serial novel. Art by spoon+fork.)

Everything was going great until she wanted to talk about two things I hated:  California and family.

The latter because I didn’t really have one and the former because everyone from there was rich or at least well-off and looked down on New Jersey.  Ever since a surfing magazine listed Shore Points as one of the top places to catch a wave on the East Coast, communes of college kids from L.A. would rent out entire houses for the summer and hog up our beach.  The chamber of commerce even ran ads out there to get more California kids over.

You could tell they weren’t local because they wore expensive body suits. They weren’t used to a cold ocean.

The girl I was having dinner with was from California, but she had nice tits, which definitely made her likeable.  I had found her waiting for the shuttle bus to the mall that got axed in the last recession.   I had got the girl to talking and shared my joint with her.

Her name was Quincy, like the TV show.  She was 19 and was wearing a flower-patterned bikini, cutoffs and Reeboks with socks.  The hair was long, straight and brown.  The only problem was she had a snub nose, but it didn’t bother me enough.

We were having fried clams and beer in the Chatterbox on the pier.  The tartar sauce cup was holding up okay, but we were running low on the cocktail sauce.  I held up the empty bottle and shook it a few times at our waitress.

I turned and saw that the hostess up at the front was glaring at us.  She had had it in for me ever since I first started working at the Chatterbox.  Bon Jovi had stopped by for a drink and I had washed the glass before she could put it up on the wall.  Someone told me later she got her cherry popped to the “Slippery When Wet” album.

The hostess was looking at me so hard, I could hear her voice in my head, and it was loud.

I was the last-shift dishwasher — the hardest position to keep staffed, so the Chatterbox let me run a tab for meals.  Otherwise I’d never take a date there.

When the cocktail refill came, Quincy spun her fried clam on her plate and said, “Someday I wanna have a house full of kids in the Bay Area.  Everyone there is very open-minded.”

Continue reading