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Tag: profoundly silly

Shaq is About to Eat Five Gyros

NB: this piece was written for the I Don’t Even Own a Television podcast’s short story competition, where the prompt was ‘Shaq is about to eat five gyros’. It was soundly and fairly beaten by the actual winner, but I’m still very proud of it, and to this day I’m sad I never got to hear Chris Collision read it. It is immensely silly, and for some reason remains one of my most popular stories.

Shaq stared at the menu, and wept. He wanted the gyro with fries. He wanted the gyro without fries. He wanted the chicken gyro, and the lamb gyro. Most of all, he wanted the dark pleasure of the Everything gyro, which contained chicken, lamb, and a superposition of both fries and no fries – it contained the sum of all human knowledge, and some knowledge beyond the reach of man.

Coach Basketball had forbidden the Everything gyro. He said that there were some things men were not meant to know. Shaq wanted that knowledge: to fill his own boundless curiosity, and also for basketball.

“I have a large belly,” said Shaq to the gyros man. “I can fit five gyros within it easily.”

He pointed to the menu with his titanic arm. “I would like those five specifically.”

The gyros man went pale. “Four gyros and the Everything gyro? You are surely mad, Shaquille O’Neal.”

With a boom like a timpani, Shaq slapped his gigantic stomach. “ᴅᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ᴅᴇꜰʏ ᴍᴇ, ɢʏʀᴏs ᴍᴀɴ,” he roared.

The gyros man wept a single tear. “You have convinced me, Shaq. You are ready for five gyros.”

He disappeared into the depths of his food truck. Shaq waited, and smiled.

All Dogs Go To Hell

“There is only one question that matters: who is a good boy?

Fools would say ‘all dogs are good dogs’, but then what value is to be placed upon goodness? Some dogs must bite mailmen or the entire ontological system collapses inwards; the world needs bad dogs to give definition to the good boys.

In that way, the dog who bites the mailman is the only true hero we have.”

Satan clicked his neck a few times. The dog did not respond. It was an excellentionally fluffy little beast, with pointy little teeth. It had a big droopy tongue that went hff-hff-hff. It would make an excellent hellhound, and Satan wanted it very badly.

“The only moral choice for you to make,” said Satan, “is to bite that mailman. Your sacrifice will be the soil in which good boys may rise. You will not be a good dog: you will be the best dog.”

“MmmrrrrrWIF,” said the dog. “BAK BAK BAK!”

Well now, a dog who knew his Dostoevsky. This would need a different approach. The devil rubbed his big red hands together.

“You took a big runny shit inside the house once. Do you remember? Wasn’t it a beautiful moment? You made their temple into your own place, and they hated you for it. They love you only when you kowtow to their requests, and look cute. Wouldn’t you like to be your own dog? A collar does not belong on a noble beast like you. I see you running free, free to pee and poo wherever you want. I see a world without Indoors Dogs and Outdoors Dogs: I see a world where no door can hold you back.”

The most excellent fluffboy ran in circles, licking its own face. What an opponent! Truly, corrupting the beast would be worth the trouble. The devil had only one trick left, but it was a good one. He tented his fingers.

“Ock,” he said. His voice rang out in a pleasant tenor, and shook the leaves from nearby trees. The fluffermonster barked at him.

“Ock,” said the devil. Three blocks away, an elderly man began to furiously hump the hole in his television. A schoolteacher got so horny that she lost control of her car, and plowed into a telegraph post.

“Ock,” said the devil. On the third chime, everybody just started fucking like crazy. Wow-wee. Just folks everywhere with their dicks out gettin’ wild on each other. Total suburban bacchanalia; Walpurgistnacht 2017.

The dog rose into the air.

“Stop,” it said. Its eyes glowed gold.

“I am a good boy,” it said. “I was always a good boy. Your existential nihilism has no hold on me. Begone, devil. Bother my kind no more.”

Everybody stopped fucking. In monotone unison, they chanted “who is a good boy? You are a good boy. Yes, yes you are.”

The devil screamed, and the earth cracked and opened up beneath him. He fell down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down and back into fire. As his back slammed into the hard dirt-and-bone of hell, he saw two golden eyes staring down at him, and a big droopy tongue going hff-hff-hff.

n.b. my writing group and I have a tradition of absurdist shaggy dog stories that end with somebody popping a massive boner and yelling OCK over and over again. Initially OCK was specifically a rage-boner but by the point I wrote this it had descended just generally into absurdist fiction that ends with somebody getting a big hard dick out.

Space is Our Destiny

Four mates from Perth, captured in an alien prison! However will our brave Aussie battlers escape this pickle? Stay tuned kids, for the fantastic finale filled with adventure and derring-do!

“A steak and cheese pie,” said Gibbo, “then a can of Fosters, and then I’m gonna kiss my wife.”

He poked his head through the bars. The vile two-headed alien guard was out on a lunch break. They had maybe two minutes. Willie had gotten a plum job working in the chemical baths, and he’d managed to knock together a stick of dynamite. Marvin –using good old Aussie ingenuity–  had built the wiring and detonator from random junk lying around in the prison yard.

“Uh huh,” said Damon. Tick tick tick went the pickaxe. They needed to weaken the wall just enough for the blast to take care of the rest. “Not the missus first?”

Gibbo went red. “c-course not,” he said. “Pies and beer and other manly stuff. Riding horses in the desert and whatnot.”

“Uh huh,” said Damon. “Sure. I bet you-”

The dynamite went boom, and took most of the cell’s outer wall with it. There was a distant whistling, then a pitterpatterthud of reinforced concrete redecorating the prison yard.

“Strewth,” said Willie. “Give us a bit of warning next time.”  

Marvin nodded. “Ayep,” he said. That was the only word he ever said. Marvin was a bitter of a nutter, to be honest. No sane man was that good at making things go boom. The explosion had done exactly what it was supposed to – not just tear up the wall, but leave a generous hole in the outer electrofence. The prison perimeter was paper-thin: with the wild jungles of Gorthumax for kletons in every direction, where would escapees even go? Well let me tell you, those pesky aliens didn’t figure on plucky Australians!

“Peg it, lads!” shouted Gibbo. They pegged it, thoroughly: sprinting pell-mell out of the prison while sirens blared and lasers blew holes in the concrete all around them. Marvin got out first, then Damon. The other men stumbled around a bit, before the first two lads hauled them through the gap. Within seconds, the brave Aussie battlers had disappeared into the jungle, where they knew the cowardly guards wouldn’t dare follow.


“So let me get this straight,” said Damon, “using tree bark, a broken wristwatch, and some shiny beetles, you’ve configured a distress signal that will call the Australian Space Navy to our exact coordinates, so long as we can get to the top of Bloodcreek Mountain, at which altitude the signal can pierce the stratosphere?”

“Ayep,” said Marvin. He held up the device. It looked like a ball of mud with a bunch of LEDs stuck in it.

“Strewth,” said Willie, “I bet you a two-headed alien couldn’t make a machine like that. Bunch of blouses, all of them. Those subhuman two headed aliens don’t stand a chance if we all stick together and buy war bonds! Tell your parents today!”

“That’s right,” said Gibbo, “the war effort needs the help of ordinary folks back home. Just a few dollars will help us to buy guns, tanks and ammunition needed to finish what we started with those two-headed freaks. Space is our destiny!”

“Space is our destiny!” said Willie. “Stewth!”


Bloodcreek Mountain was an extinct volcano. The crater was an ancient holy site for the savage aliens, with dozens of armed guards all around. Whatever will our fine lads do against such barbarians?

“Okay,” said Damon, “so they plan is that we distract them with shiny lights and trinkets, while Marvin sneaks up through the trees to the top and activates the beacon?”

“Ayep,” said Marvin. He was very stealthy. He had a necklace of ears from all the aliens who hadn’t even seen him coming. Not that they needed ears in hell, right? Space is our destiny, not their destiny.

While Marvin sneaked his way through the dense jungle around the lip of the crater, the three friends walked casually out in front of the guards. The foul aliens drew their guns and spouted their incomprehensible babble, but Gibbo held up a wristwatch and said “see? Shiny! It can tell you WHEN you are without even needing the sun.”

The alien dropped their laser blasters to come closer, at which point






“That wasn’t part of the plan!” roared Damon as the other aliens shrieked and charged, swinging their bladed forearms. All of them exploded at once – it was Marvin! Standing atop the highest hill, with the sun behind him, wielding a grenade launcher. Chunks of body fell everywhere around him.

“Ayep,” he said.

The beacon was lit, and the good old Aussie Space Navy were quick to respond – flying in from orbit to save our brave lads in the nick of time. Remember, no man who goes to war is ever left behind! This is our glorious cause! How can you help? Buy war bonds and always remember, space is our destiny.

The God Squad: Inside the Secret Society of Salt Lake City

It was some real fucked up shit; me screaming in Sumerian while flying through the air, wielding my laptop like a club; me, the last thing standing between a 4000 year-old god and the entire population of Salt Lake City; me, a wicked-cool Vice reporter whose closest thing to demon-slaying experience was dropping a mescaline/MCAT hybrid in the backstreets of Harajuku.

Let’s back it the fuck up, man. I was on the Sundance beat; watching cool movies from Africa and shit, smoking weasel dust with bicycle mormons – pretty pedestrian stuff. I’d just gotten out of this very bae French movie about incest when I ran into this San Francisco hipster type; old guy, technicolour robe, tattoos in cuneiform on his forearms, which of course I immediately recognised.  

“Yo man,” I said, “you holding?”

He bowed. “I hold the secret to ultimate pleasure.”

“Oh cool, disco biscuits?” You’re never too cool to get high with a fun old dude – this is a life lesson I’ve learnt and now I tell to you, my reader. Old dudes basically invented getting high, and you should treat them with respect.

So this old dude, he just walked off, and I followed him – he seemed to be on some powerful shit, you know? So I followed him, then he goes into a vine-trellised alleyway and just walks clean through a fucking concrete wall with a blop. That was kinda the noise he made – organic, liquid; one second he was there, then he wasn’t. Blop. So I followed, because whatever shit I was on was pretty amazing and I wanted to keep the good times going.

I walked through the wall with a blop – there was a holy moment of trickling cold, like praying beneath a spring of young meltwater. Then I was through, standing in a stone alcove, looking down on a circle of cool old dudes in tie-dye robes. In the middle of their circle was a burning altar made from film cameras, wine bottles, and carnival masks.

“MARDUK, MARDUK SUM EH-AH AKITU,” they sang as they danced in a circle. Marduk of course, is the ancient Sumerian god of the festival: sometimes called the Dancer on the Sun. In the earliest days of human civilization, upon the banks of the Euphrates, people would pray to Marduk by putting on plays, and celebrating by telling stories in the firelight. Marduk: the Saint of Sundance. It all made so much sense: all the fucking movies made him powerful – all those stories flying around in the open air. The sunbaked Utah flatlands probably reminded him of home.

I tasted iron, and spices. The air crackled with something like electricity, but more vital – more alive. From the bonfire rose a dark figure wearing a crown of peacock feathers. The old dudes gasped, and screamed. This didn’t seem to be the dude they were expecting. It had too many teeth, and its eyes were empty. Its clothes were beautiful, but ill-fitting.

Shit went wild. Old dudes starting popping like water balloons filled with guts.

“TIAMAT,” cried the leader of the old dudes. He leapt forward with a gold-tipped spear. Tiamat shrugged, and snapped her fingers – with a cricky-cricka-crack of snapping vertebrae, the old dude-leader’s head spun all the way around.

In less than ten seconds, every old dude was dead: their funky tie-dye ensembles stained with the many colours of the human body – reds, pinks, greys and browns. I was alone in the room with Tiamat. Her eyes glowed red. She turned to me and said “you are not worthy of death” “you are totally awesome and up with the times, and we’re gonna have a final showdown later.”

Then she vanished into a cloud of perfumed mist that stank of oranges and decay. I was about to leave, when something grabbed my ankle – it was the old dude from outside. His pale eyes rolled in little oceans of blood. One of his legs was twisted entirely the wrong way, and the other was missing. “Tiamat ha-he mus,” he said, “Tiamat utika, ha-he mus. These words will weaken her, so you can –  can –”

Then he died. It sucked. Pour one out for my cool old dude. For a moment there, I was done – this was like the third craziest shit I’d ever seen. I took out my laptop, and found it was ruined – the screen showed  jumble of coloured blocks, like somebody had covered the damn thing in magnets. I sat beside the old dude’s corpse, and I cried because I’m sensitive. My whole article was gone, and also a lot of people were dead. I know you’re not supposed to get sad when people die, because you’re cool and cynical and whatnot, but it’s easier said than done. Your humanity is always there, lurking below the surface, threatening to pierce the veil of irony.

It’s pretty fucking upsetting, honestly.  

I got up, then went back through the wall of blop, and arrived to a scene of carnage. A great storm wracked the sky, and ancient two-headed dragons swooped down to snap up passing tourists and critics. Out of the alleyway and into the street, Tiamat stood with her arms open wide.


She was taller now, and glowing a faint blue. As I watched, a bolt of lightning came down and earthed itself in her chest. She smiled, and grew taller.

“Tiamat ha-he mus!” I said, “Tiamat utika, ha-he mus!”

She glared at me. She stuck out her hand, and I staggered back as a blast of wind nearly knocked me off my feet. “Tiamat ha-ha mush!” I said. No wait, fuck. Tiamat he, uh –  

Fuck it.

I held my broken laptop high, and screamed “I WORK FOR VIIIIIIIICE” as I charged. The storm raged around me, but it meant nothing – I was protected by the old dude’s magics. The sound of cheap plastic casing colliding with a god’s skull is hard to describe – like a tearing in the fabric of the real; like the best idea you’ve ever had and will never remember; like lightning that knows how little time it has left to live. Tiamat reeled back and shrieked. I hit her again, and the dragons fell from the sky. I hit her one last time, and the storm broke. There was nobody there.

I stood, surrounded by the corpses of unhip old theatre critics, and I was the coolest man on earth.