Flogging A Dead Horse

Sat, December 9th, 2006 at 6:30am PST

Comic Books
Paul Jenkins, Staff Writer

December, 2006: As the year comes to a close so do the respective brains of the entire Atlanta comics community. Little Torak discovers music, Nigh Perfect discovers LSD, apparently, and all of us discover the delights of neighborhood swingers!

Hello Chums!

It has been a strange week during which my Nigh Perfect wife’s episodes of spousal madness have reached an all-time high. While it would be wrong – let’s not forget suicidal – of me to list all of her many indiscretions I feel it is my obligation to report one particular misdemeanor, since I’m now convinced that maybe she plans to kill me while I am too confused to react.

My wife lives in an alternate reality: it’s a happy place full of drunken bunny rabbits and magical shoe stores. Here, the television is a trusted confidante, and leprechauns and unicorns live side-by-side in peace and harmony. In the Nigh Perfect Ultimate Universe, it’s perfectly normal to make hand signals while warbling along to a favorite song in the car. When a line comes on involving the word “love” for example, you must look soulfully out of the window as if about to cry and make the symbol of a heart on your chest. “Death” or “pain” involves stabbing yourself sorrowfully with an invisible dagger. The word “rain” is a particular favorite because you can pretend to make rain sprinkles with your fingers. You probably see where I am going with this and you are perfectly within your rights to want to blow your brains out with an Uzi right about now.

You see I cannot contain my natural urge to giggle like an idiot when I catch her at it. Let’s be fair: she may be living out of her time and place. I see her thriving as a late-fifties backup singer to, say, Smokey Robinson. But making heartfelt hand signals in the passenger seat of a Nissan Murano in that decidedly un-Motown area of North Georgia is, to say the least, suspect.

The other day whilst driving, I decided to play the Alice in Chains song, "Here Comes The Rooster." In the back seat, little Torak was busy rocking out and making hand signals of his own. To my surprise I found that Nigh Perfect’s subconscious “hand-signal mechanism” had been triggered, and – accompanied by a heartfelt and dolorous wail – she was inadvertently doing an impression of a chicken as she listened to the song.

I almost killed all three of us by driving off the side of the road in a fit of giggles. Please tell me that you know someone else who does this because I’m very, very worried for the safety of my child.

Torak lives the hard partying life of a rock star!

This week’s Flogging comes by special request of a certain Mister Cully Hamner, lately of Blue Beetle fame. Should you find anything of an adult nature contained herein, should you find yourself unnerved, should you even become downright offended… all complaints may be directed to Cully on the Gaijin Studios website.

Knowing Cully’s history with deadlines, I’m sure he’ll get back to you sometime during the current presidential administration.

Without further ado, then, let me introduce a little spot I like to call…

Party Till You Puke

Every month here in the Atlanta area, those of us who are either working professionals or at least closely connected to the comics business indulge in a highbrow, black-tie affair involving Vermouth Martinis and champagne, which is known as the Atlanta Area Comics Pro Monthly Drink-Up. It would be fair to mention that this also involves the consumption of massive amounts of beer, that no one in attendance actually owns a black tie, that the Vermouth Martini thing is a complete lie, and that champagne is only consumed as a shot, dropped into a pint of lager.

Yes, the AACPDU is a flimsy excuse for local pros to act like idiots, talk shop, and pretend that it’s all tax deductible. The way I see it, if the elected members of the United States Congress from its last session are responsible for the following statistics…

  • 36 incidences of spousal abuse
  • 7 arrests for fraud
  • 19 accusations of writing bad checks
  • 117 found guilty of indirectly or directly bankrupting at least two businesses
  • 3 convictions for assault
  • 71 unable to get a credit card because of bad credit
  • 14 arrested on a drug-related charge
  • 8 arrested for shoplifting
  • 21 currently named as defendants in lawsuits
  • 84 arrested for drunk driving in the last year

… and since these yahoos just voted themselves a $15,000 monthly pension-for-life after serving just one term, then I feel it is my right – nay duty – to consume a great many pints of Guinness and eat plates of curly fries in the company of my mates, then charge it back to the government under the pretense that we’re all collaborating on some massive “story” or other.

Lately, we’ve taken to trashing the house of a reluctant Comics Pro participant on a monthly basis. Two months ago, for instance, hilarity ensued as we dragged a pig carcass around the suburban home of Tony Shasteen and his lovely wife, Sarena.

For December, Nigh Perfect and I decided it would be time for the First Annual Paul and Melinda Christmas Bash here at stately Jenkins Mansions in Cumming, GA. I purchased two kegs of Killians, roughly three hundred dollar’s worth of vodka and mixers, and a plate of cocktail weenies. The invite read thusly:

  • In honor of the Festivus holiday season, you are hereby invited to partake, imbibe, consume, frolic and otherwise make fools of yourself at our sprawling country estate.

    The place will be brimming to the roof with beer, wine, spirits, appetizers, and poofy soft drinks. If you feel like adding to the pool, be our guests -- words cannot describe how much we enjoy drinking the fifty or so bottles of White Zinfandel that are always left over after a party.

    Since we have no desire to contribute to the delinquency of minors you will have to arrange for a baby sitter that night. Any children inadvertently brought to the party may be given away as party favors.

  • Thereafter followed our home address (dream on, fanboy) and a few insults hurled at guests to get them in the holiday spirit. After much careful deliberation I decided I would put all of this politically correct “Holiday Season” nonsense to rest and we’d determine exactly which religion was going to be in charge for the following year. When I was a kid, Christmas Day was pretty much Baby Jesus’ time to shine, so everyone else could bugger off. Baby Jesus was responsible for presents and the Nativity Play and spooky lights in the sky. I seem to remember he also had Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny on the payroll, and once sent me the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle set as a reward for not being as much of a dick as usual.

    If you’ve been reading along, you’ll have read my account of the One True Religion Darts Game, in which participants threw darts to determine that indeed, the true religion for 2007 would be Klingon. But there were plenty of other sacrilegious games to pass the time. To wit:

    • Happy Buddha’s All Terrain Crazy Golf. Participants were required to fall into a beatific trance and putt a golf ball through many impassable obstacles dotted around the entire house. What is the sound of one hand politely applauding a good shot? Hell if I know…
    • Find Jesus in the Wilderness. I had hidden a toy figurine of Jesus somewhere in my backyard. Participants were given a flashlight and two minutes to find Jesus buried under the leaves and save him from temptation… but beware! The Devil had littered the yard with evil land mines of doggie-poo!
    • Traditional Jewish Holiday Video Game Arena. Back in the first millennium of history, the Jewish people would sit around their end-of-year feast and fashion primitive “video” games such as Pong and Space Invaders out of clay, which they would bake in an oven. The rules were strict: the game could only be played on alternate Kosher Wednesdays and the losers were put to death by some kind of avenging angel who was usually flying by looking for trouble. I like to think this game highlights my vast knowledge of the basics of Judaism.
    • He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named’s “Hide the Porn Game. This was my favorite game of all. The basic premise was that a naughty yet famous prophet had hidden a porn DVD in amongst all of the CD’s. For a dollar, participants could open five CD’s and uncover their rude prize, or one of ten scratch tickets additionally hidden in the mix. It was to my great delight that Nigh Perfect went around apologizing to every single partygoer to point out that the porn did not in fact belong to us. This went down particularly well, I thought, with her parents, Pam and Bill.

    As it turned out, Nigh Perfect had a lot of people to apologize to: over one hundred and thirty people responded to the invite. Six declined the invitation. The rest showed up, armed with bottles of White Zinfandel.

    The party was pretty much divided into two sections: Nigh Perfect took care of the upstairs, which was described to me as looking like a “Macy’s Catalogue.” Upstairs were our neighbors and past co-workers, and the local vicar.

    Downstairs was Hell. And it was naturally where you could find every single comics professional in Atlanta.

    One of the most interesting guests that night was a young woman with whom Nigh Perfect attends a weekly Mothers Group of Cumming (heh) get-together. She had been described to me in advance, so I eagerly anticipated her arrival. For the sake of this column we shall give the lady the arbitrary name of Mrs. Giganto-Boobs.

    Mrs. Giganto-Boobs, as it turned out, was rather easy to spot on account of her tight black sweater. To describe her as “well endowed” would be to describe the Empire State Building as a “brick.” Indeed, I met the front end of her sweater at roughly 9.03 PM and the rest of her as she entered the room at roughly 9.04 PM.

    She had brought with her a gentleman that she alternately described as her “husband” and “boyfriend,” whom we shall call Jimmy. Now upon his very arrival, Jimmy had a rather glazed look that his wife attributed to a bad reaction to Percoset. Maybe it’s me but I sensed Jimmy’s reaction to his “Percoset” overdose was slightly off-kilter, given that Percoset is a narcotic and that Jimmy’s eyes were trying to dive out of his head and swim across the floor. In order to calm himself down from his narcotic high, Jimmy Giganto-Boobs had brought along a full bottle of Jågermeister, which he placed in the freezer along with his very own shot glasses. At random moments Jimmy would show up with a new “best friend” and together they’d do a shot. I began to notice that Jimmy was indeed slowing down, although it was also alarming to notice that his ambulatory skills had regressed to that of, say, a ten month-old baby.

    The fun was just beginning with these two.

    As the night progressed, Jimmy worked his way through the room, alienating every single one of the hundred and thirty people in it. He took great delight in describing his lifelong friendship with me to Mark Brooks, as I understand it, even though this was actually the first time he and I had met. Perhaps we’d met in a past life, I thought. If so, I hope I kicked his arse in gladiatorial combat.

    While Jimmy wobbled from guest to guest, his wife was on a mission. She flirted with a few guys, then with a few girls, then with a bookshelf and finally just gave up and flirted with groups of people at the same time.

    Let’s just say this would be Miss Giganto-Boobs’ underdeveloped little sister.

    Jimmy, meanwhile, had abandoned the social graces of his beloved life partner and was now simply asking couples if they felt like swinging. Mrs. Giganto-Boobs urgently shushed him, reminding Jimmy that he should at least wait until the second meeting before asking that question. As if swinger etiquette demands a certain waiting period, or something:

    “Oh, no… I’ve prematurely invited a total stranger to have sex with my spouse! I should have waited at least another two hours! I can’t believe I made such an obvious faux pas. What will the other swingers think of me at our next social event?”

    I’m reliably informed (I was tending bar at the time) that Jimmy only escaped with his life because everyone assumed him to be one of my oldest and dearest friends, as he’d been saying since he arrived at the party. A few people threatened to kill him anyway. Undeterred, he flirted with the floor. His flirting made a huge thudding sound. Finally, he flirted with the upstairs toilet and was carted home to have his stomach pumped… presumably before his kids woke up and asked him how the party went.

    It took me an hour and a half on my hands and knees to clean up his vomit. I was less-than enthused about any subsequent meetings, no matter the size of his wife’s globular clusters.

    The final event of the evening was a gymnastic demonstration involving a Twister mat and a bottle of Wesson Oil. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but it’s not easy moving your left hand to the blue circle past an oiled-up and half naked young woman whilst drunk off your gourd. Balance was clearly optional as I demonstrated about sixteen times over the course of a minute.

    I wish you had been there, gentle reader. The night was full of laughter and Christmassy feelings. Egg Nog was a-plenty, and somewhere outside, Baby Jesus was freezing his arse off under a pile of leaves.

    I wish you had been there.

    For together we could have beaten the shit out of Jimmy Giganto-Boobs and left him for dead.

    Final Random Thought

    As it turned out, Nigh Perfect and I had previously been invited to a special New Year’s Eve party, along with Nigh’s very hot friend, Monteil, and Monteil’s brilliant husband, Misa.

    Lo and behold, we had unknowingly accepted an invitation to the home of the Giganto-Boob family! One could only imagine the party games in store.

    Nigh Perfect, of course, was utterly horrified to realize that we were now down on the guest list for a swingers’ party. I happened to think it was absolute genius for the following reasons:

    1. I truly wanted to see these people in action – not the sex part… the part before that. How long were they going to wait before they’d throw in some kind of double entendre to test our reactions? What do you even say to potential newbies? Does everyone really throw their keys into a bowl? To me, this was going to be a human train wreck of massively amusing proportions.
    2. Just who in their right mind was going to chance it with Jimmy? I mean, come on… there’s no doubting his wife’s assets but exactly which of the swinger ladies in their right mind was going to let that jackass touch them with a hundred foot barge pole? I had to know.
    3. I wanted to see the reactions of the swinger group when we politely explained that we actually took our wedding vows seriously, and we weren’t interested in sharing our genitalia with them. Would they be shocked? Would they be outraged? Would they shun us for the rest of the party or politely ask us to leave? Oh Lord… I had to know.

    Sadly, we later declined the invitation and went out and got drunk instead.

    A weird picture. Is it me or does Nigh Perfect look like she is proud to be out in public with me? Drink will do that to a person.

    TAGS:  flogging a dead horse, paul jenkins

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