03.29.02 - 11:32 a.m.
I've been reading "Burn Collector - collected stories from one through nine". Burn Collector is a zine put out by a perennially penurious slacker named Al Burian. It's hilarious. Angi and I both have had the experience of reading it on a train and laughing the whole way, eliciting curious glances from the other passengers, who sadly don't get to be in on the joke.
Here is my favorite passage so far, from #8.
Bill Tsitsos, a man with a tremendous afro-like expanse of hair, sits in a bar, surveying the scene with feigned casualness. He is a nervous man, prone to fits of anxiety and bursts of paralyzing self-consciousness and doubt, but he is also a driven and dedicated individual, a man whose mind races constantly, examining every situation from a myriad of heretofore uncharted angles and untraversed vantage points. And, yes, he has recently found gainful employment as a giant peanut M&M. In his heart, he is well aware of the circumstances conspiring to put him in these often demeaning but invariably amusing (at the very least anecdotally, which for Bill is currency of the highest denomination) situations.
The woman at the temp agency has erroneously fallen under the assumption that his surname, Tsitsos, a common Greek family name, is Tostitos. Whether the snack-food related assignments which have followed are a result of some unconscious name-association or whether, perhaps, she believes that Bill has suggestively offered up a creative nom de temp (and it would not be at all surprising for the office staff to be accustomed to dealing with fraudulent identities-- after all, a good number of the fellow temps he has come in contact with have alluded to double lives, alimony evasion, or perhaps even displayed an understanding of the mechanics of convenience store robbery which seemed too lovingly precise to be merely an academic interest), is of little consequence to the end result. The M&M suit was fairly comfortable, in any case. A flaccid yellow sack, Bill had donned the outfit in the surplus produce room of the grocery store, initially balking at the suffocating folds of canvas which encased him, threatening a grim race to the finish between asphyxiation and heat-stroke as his cause of death. However, a battery-powered fan strapped to his back was set in motion, and soon the flaccid M&M had inflated to its naturally jolly rotund state of being. Sweating, grimacing, stumbling in near-total blindness through the aisles of afternoon shoppers, Bill attempted his best impression of how he conjectured a yellow M&M, brought to gigantic sugary life, might behave. The huge, leering painted smile on the face of the candy offered no clue to its operator's true emotional state, which quckly turned from quiet concentration to scowling frown to panic as the possibility of heat-stroke again crossed his mind. Around his legs, young ruffians scampered, hands extended, yanking and poking in whining pleas for candy. "Ho ho," Bill gargled, wondering whether, in fact, it was appropriate for the M&M to sound like Santa Claus. An image from his childhood flashed through his mind's eye- "Kool Aid!" The merry pitcher had brough mirth to many a youngster's face, and he looked kind of colorful and bulbous, as did Bill, right at this moment. Turning a corner to face another impending flock of miscreants, Bill decided to give this new persona a try. He mustered up a gruff voice, uttering a cry of merry greeting, albeit without actually coming up with any specific syllables to utter. "Heyooooaghhh!" The utterance came out, sending the terrified kids scampering, and giving Bill a moment of reprieve. He leaned against the aisle, sweating buckets by now in the claustrophobic burlap contraption.
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