Letter From Milo: Ratso

March 19th, 2020

In the steel mills of Gary, Indiana, the old-timers liked to tell stories about factory rats that were bigger, meaner and more resourceful than North Woods wolverines.

These factory rats were said to be super rats, superior in size, strength, cunning and savagery to their milder-natured street rat cousins. Some steelworkers believed that they were actually mutant rats, whose DNA had been rearranged by the toxic by-products of the steel industry – grease, oil, abrasive chemicals, acids and noxious fumes. Others believed it was simply the tough industrial environment that bred a hardier strain of rat.

In other words, it was the old “heredity versus environment” argument, which I thought had been settled, once and for all, by Moe Howard, back in the 1930s, in a Columbia film short called “Hoi Polloi.”

I worked in Gary’s steel mills for several summers while attending college. I worked in U.S. Steel’s Sheet & Tin Mill for a total of eight or nine months and probably heard a factory rat story every day that I worked in that steel mill.

“Old man Popovich nearly got attacked by a pack of rats. Good thing he had his welding torch handy. Used it to scare the bastards off.”

“They found some bones down by 6-Stand yesterday.”

“Human bones?”

“Hard to say. They could be human remains or leftover baby back ribs. Either way, they were picked clean.”

“Damn.”

Although the term “Urban Legend” had not been coined yet, it didn’t take me long to figure out that the rat stories were bullshit. There were no factory super rats.

In all the months I worked for U.S. Steel, I never saw a fucking rat.

About 25 years later I bought a home in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. It was a nice old house, solid brick construction on a wide lot. The only problem was that the garage was in terrible shape. The walls were leaning and the roof was sagging. It looked like it might collapse at any moment.

The lovely Mrs. Milo was concerned. “We’ve got to have the garage taken down. It’s dangerous.”

“It’ll probably cost a thousand dollars to have it torn down. I don’t want to spend the money.”

“There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood. What if one of them gets hurt?

“Serve the little bastard right. Teach him a good lesson about playing around in other peoples’ garages.”

“Quit being an idiot. Just call the city and explain the situation. They’ll probably take it down and it won’t cost a cent.”

The next day I called the City and got someone from the Department of Streets and Sanitation on the line. I explained the situation, told him the garage was a hazard and asked if the City would tear it down.

“No way, man.”

“The garage is dangerous. Somebody could get hurt. There are a lot of kids in the area.”

“That’s no skin off my ass.”

“I think you should be more concerned about the welfare of the citizens of this fine town.”

“I don’t believe that’s part of my job description.”

“Thanks for nothing, you worthless fuck.”

“Up yours, asshole.”

Later that day I was chatting with one of my new neighbors, complaining about the callousness of City employees and their use of vile language. It just so happened that the person I was talking with worked for the City. He explained that I had gone about this garage business the wrong way.

“Milo, you dumbass, what makes you think the City cares about anyone’s safety?

“I just assumed…”

“Well, you were wrong. What the City cares about is rats.”

“Rats?”

“Yeah, tell them your garage is infested with rats and they’ll tear it down before you get off the phone.”

The next morning I called Streets and Sanitation again. Thankfully, I didn’t end up talking to the same asshole I spoke to before. This guy was a real gentleman.

“Whaddya want?”

“I got a problem with my garage. The damn thing is infested with rats.”

“Shit, that’s too fucking bad.”

“Yeah, they’re huge rats, man, like steel mill rats.”

“I’ve heard stories about steel mill rats. They’re supposed to be real nasty fuckers.”

“Plus, these rats look sick. I hope they’re not carrying the Bubonic Plague or something.”

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s a disease that wiped out most of Europe about 600 years ago.”

“Jesus fucking Christ! That garage needs to be torn down.”

“That’s what I was thinking, too.”

Two days later a City crew came out to my house, knocked down the garage and hauled away the debris. They even cleaned up afterwards.

I recall one of the workmen asking me, “Where’s all the rats?”

“They must have heard you were coming.”

He nodded in understanding, like it made all the sense in the world.

FROM THE EDITORS:
In our continuing efforts to improve service to the faithful readers of The Third City, we have recently upgraded our telephone system. Here are the new menu options:

For updates on outstanding warrants and lawsuits, press 1.
For information on current cease-and-desist orders and restraining orders, press 2.
To check the status of pending paternity suits, press 3.
For accounts receivable, press 4 (there is no accounts payable).
For donations to Milo’s favorite charity, press 5, (have your credit cards handy).
For directions to whorehouses, taverns, pool rooms, racetracks or Nickel Bag Bernie’s house, press 6.

All other inquiries should be directed to our attorneys.

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Letter From Milo: Ladies Man

March 8th, 2020

I hate to brag, but I’m a real pussy magnet. Even though I’m past middle age, balding, cranky and prone to farting at inappropriate times, I still have equipment that Man ‘o War would envy. Other than that, I’m just a regular guy.

Now, a lot of you may think that being a pussy magnet is all fun and games — lolling around on an oversize bed, wearing silk pajamas, sipping fine brandy, surrounded by adoring women eager to satisfy your every whim. Although in many cases – including mine – that is absolutely true, sometimes being a pussy magnet is just plain hard work.

Take a former acquaintance of mine named Charles. I used to run into him on the North Side Gigolo Circuit. I didn’t know him well. In fact, the only thing I knew about him was that he was the hardest working pussy magnet I ever met. He was the James Brown of pussy magnets. When Charles wanted to get laid he would walk into a bar and hit on every woman in the place. He had no shame, no technique and no taste. If there were a hundred women in the joint he would approach them all and ask each one if they wanted to go home with him. It didn’t matter how often he was turned down, laughed at, ignored or had drinks thrown in his face. His skin was as thick as a water buffalo’s hide. He was as single minded as a junkie, moving from woman to woman until, invariably, he found one who said “Yes.”

Admittedly, it wasn’t the approach that legendary pussy magnets like Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty or the immortal Porfirio Rubirosa would have used, but it worked for Charles. I haven’t seen Charles in more than 20 years. Word on the street is that he found Jesus and now chases salvation with the same fervor he once chased pussy.

I never had a problem hooking up, as the young ‘uns say. I would stroll into a fine watering hole and in 15 minutes I would walk out with two or three of the best looking women in the place. We would then retire to my bachelor pad where we would frolic on an epic scale, engaging in debauchery that would have boggled the mind of the Marquis De Sade.

People often confuse pussy magnets and gigolos. The simplest way to explain it is that pussy magnets fuck for fun, gigolos fuck for money.

I once considered becoming a gigolo. With my devastatingly good looks and awesome God-given physical attributes I would have been a natural. Women would have lined up to have mind-blowing sex with me. As a young man growing up in Gary, Indiana, I knew that I would eventually be an extremely handsome man. I also knew that my looks would be my ticket to fame and fortune. After considering my career options at the time – grave digger, washroom attendant, school janitor, ice cream truck driver or gigolo – I decided the latter was the way to go.

I had always imagined gigolos to be glamorous, suave, polished men who escorted wealthy, older, but still attractive women to theaters, fine restaurants and glittering social events. And after the play, restaurant or party these graceful, refined men would take their escorts to a luxurious penthouse or fine hotel and give them a thorough, professional-grade fucking, leaving them limp and exhausted, with barely enough energy left to write out a handsome check. Sounded real good to me.

As soon as I had settled on my life’s work, I decided I needed to get in a little practice. Unfortunately, there was a severe shortage of wealthy, older, but still attractive women in Gary at that time. In fact, I doubt there was a woman in the entire county who fit that description. I had no choice but to put my gigolo aspirations on indefinite hold.

Like most kids who never realize their childhood dreams of becoming cops, firemen, or cowboys, I never became a gigolo. Life intervened. Something always got in the way. There was the military and college. Later, there were drugs, booze and rock ‘n roll. I was always a lazy bastard (see my earlier post about the Bum Gene), and, from what I understand, being a gigolo can be time-consuming.

Still, even though I never became a gigolo, I became a first class pussy magnet. I cut a swath through the North Side that made General Sherman’s march through Georgia seem like a stroll through the Botanic Garden. Wilt Chamberlain had nothing on me. Even the great Bruce Diksas, a legendary pussy magnet in his own right, was envious of my skill with the ladies. I became so well known for my amorous exploits that aspiring young pussy magnets would come to me for advice.

“Milo, why do women fake orgasms?”

“Because they think men care.”

Once a pussy magnet always a pussy magnet. Even though I’ve been married for more than 25 years and not quite the #2 pencil I was in my heyday, women still find me irresistable. They know that when they have the great fortune to find themselves in bed with me that they are in the hands of a master.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not the active pussy magnet I used to be, but I still like to keep my hand in. Every one in a while I’ll sneak out, visit a night spot, pick up a couple of the finest women in the place and proceed to satisfy their wildest…

HOLD IT! I’m Mrs. Milo. I saw what my husband was writing and chased him away from the computer with a can of pepper spray. The whole blog is nothing but a pack of lies. To be honest, he’s not even close to the stud he claims to be. In fact, he’s a pretty much of a dud in bed. He knows as much about sex as he does about quantum physics. The only reason I married him was because I felt sorry for him. And that nonsense about his “God-given attributes” is just pathetic. At best, he’s below average in that department, even on the rare occasions when he’s sober.

I’ve already made an appointment with a marriage counselor and I’m checking into some sort of therapy. Rehab is not out of the question, either. Plus, I’m considering talking to a lawyer, just to see what my options are. Believe me, if I had known what I was getting into when I married him I would have stuck my head in an oven a long time ago. God, what a loser he turned out to be.

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Letter From Milo: Great Thoughts

March 1st, 2020

Recently the editors at The Third City hired a research company to figure out the demographics of our readers. Big Mike, the Barn Boss of this scabby crew of talentless hacks, said it was something we had to do for fiduciary reasons.

“The more we know about our readers, the better off we’ll be,” he said. “Once we know who they are, where they live and their income levels, we can increase our advertising and subscription rates and squeeze even more money out of the dumb bastards. All of the big boys do it — Guns & Ammo, Hustler, The Daily Racing Form, Minnesota Swingers Magazine. We’ve got to do it, too.”

Well, I have to admit that I was astonished by the results of the survey. A surprising number of our faithful readers have been short-listed for the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. More than 70% have advanced degrees from Ivy League schools. 81% of our readers are independently wealthy or employed at the highest levels of government. We attract more MENSA readers than any other blog, by a margin of more than three to one. And more than 90% of our female readers have big tits.

With such a literate, civilized and genteel readership, I feel an obligation to our fans to let them have their say. That’s why I occasionally turn this column over to our loyal supporters. Here, then, are a few letters from the distinguished followers of The Third City.

Letter:

Motherfucker! Where’s my money!

Reply:

Nickel Bag Bernie! Is that you? You rotten bastard, you’ve got a lot of nerve asking me to pay for that bag of lawn clippings you sold me. You’re a disgrace to the pot dealing profession. I could have had FTD deliver something that would have gotten me higher than that shit you foisted on me. As soon as your mom, Dime Bag Betty, gets out of jail I’m taking my business to her.

Letter:

Milo, I’m in a terrible situation at work and don’t know where else to turn for advice. I’ve got a new supervisor and he’s making my life a living hell. He’s the worst sort of bully. He yells at me constantly and calls me all sorts of names. He blames me for everything that goes wrong in the office. He threatens to fire me three or four times a day. Things are so bad that sometimes I go into the executive bathroom and cry like a baby. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep and I dread coming to work. Milo, I can’t afford to lose this job. It’s too important to me. I’ve got three little children and a very sickly wife. What can I do? Please help me.

Reply:

Man, I hate assholes like that. He sounds like a rough piece of work. But, here’s a surefire way to end his reign of terror. It’s always worked for me when I’ve had the misfortune of finding myself in an untenable situation. Get yourself a gun and shoot the cocksucker. Make sure you shoot him a couple of times. You don’t want the bastard to recover. He sounds like a vindictive brute. If he survives he may try to sue you.

Letter:

Hey, Milo, what makes you such an expert on sex? It seems like all you write about is booze, drugs, gambling and sex. Personally, I find your blogs extremely offensive. I caught my wife sneaking a peek at your blogs the other night and immediately made an appointment for counseling with my minister at the Lutheran church.

Reply:

I am a humble man, modest to a fault. I would be the last person to blow my own horn. I prefer to let others blow it for me. That said, there are few men better equipped or as well endowed with the knowledge and experience that is needed to be able to offer advice to the fornicationally challenged. The great ones – Casanova, Don Juan, Sir Walter Raleigh, Porfirio Rubirosa, Catherine the Great’s horse, Errol Flynn, and the immortal Wayne Gray — made it a point of honor to pass on their knowledge of the studly arts to those who followed in their footsteps. Although I am too humble to put myself in their exalted company, I would be doing a grave disservice to aspiring Pussy Magnets everywhere if I failed to do the same. The letter below, from a young man floundering in the sexual widerness, is a perfect example of why it’s important to pass on traditional manly lore.

Letter:

Hey, Milo, it’s me, Benny Jay. This question is not from me, honest. It’s for a friend of mine. Is it true that size doesn’t matter when it comes to sex? Like I said before, this question is not from me. My friend would appreciate an answer ASAP.

Reply:

Benny, let me put your, ah, friend’s mind at ease. Size has absolutely nothing to do with sexual pleasure. The truth is, you can have just as much fun with a fat woman as a skinny woman.

Letter:

Milo, I’ve decided to start my own blog site and get rich and famous like you guys at The Third City. It’s going to be a Christian blog site, dedicated to Christian ideals. I’ll post notices of good, clean, family activities, like hayrides, all-you-can-eat fish fries, spelling bees, corn shucking contests and church outings to Six Flags. What do you think? Any advice would be appreciated. Bless you.

Reply:

Eh, great idea, kid. Add a little good Christian porn, strictly missionary position stuff, of course, and you’ve got a real winner on your hands.

Letter:

What ever happened to your friend Teddy, the bank robber, who spent 22 years in a Mississippi prison?

Reply:

Teddy turned up about a week ago. It seems that he had spent the last four months in the McHenry County Jail on a forgery charge. Teddy assured me it was a bum rap, a simple misunderstanding, something about a questionable signature on a check. That’s what happens when you rob banks. You get on all the authorities’ shit lists. Make the smallest mistake and they come after you. It doesn’t seem fair. A man robs a few banks and he’s considered a criminal. Yet, when the banks rob us, the bank executives end up getting a free trip to Washington, D.C. so they can spend a pleasant afternoon amiably chatting with Senators in an air-conditioned room. What they should do is take the motherfuckers outside, put them up against a wall and…

Note from the Editors:

Due to the flood of angry calls, letters and emails to The Third City, we are suspending Milo without pay indefinitely. He will not be allowed to write for us again unless he agrees, in the presence of witnesses, not do any more letters or advice columns. We want to assure our loyal readers that The Third City does not officially endorse or condone drug use or drug trafficking, indiscriminate sexual activity, pornography, bank robbery or armed violence of any kind. On the advice of our attorneys, we can say no more.

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Letter From Milo: Big Feller

February 24th, 2020

Every man wishes he had a bigger dick. No man is satisfied with the load he carries. Every man would like his log to be longer, thicker and more imposing. Even the late, great Johnny Wadd, the gold standard of big dicks, probably wished he had an extra inch or two, just to be on the safe side.

Now, a few of you might say, “Milo, how can you say that ALL men want bigger dicks? That’s a pretty broad generalization.”

Okay, I’ll give you that much. Maybe not every man is obsessed with the size of his dick. Perhaps there’s a religious hermit living in a cave in the Alps who never gives his dick a second thought. There could be a junkie somewhere who’s so degraded by heroin that the only time he considers his dick is when he wonders how much he can get for it on the black market. There may even be a Talmudic scholar somewhere who considers his dick a nuisance, because every time he gets up to piss it takes precious time away from his studies.

Here’s a simple test that will prove my point. Go up to a man, any man, a friend, relative or stranger in a bar, and ask him this question.

“Dude, how would you like to have a smaller dick?”

If you don’t get beaten up, stabbed or shot, I guarantee you won’t find a single person who’ll say, “Now that you mention it, I think I would like to have a smaller dick.”

Recently, I had a few drinks and smoked a joint with my good friend, Professor Wang, who’s head of the Anthropology Department (Online Division) at the Triple A College of Nutrition and Cosmetology in Gary, Indiana. He explained to me that men have been concerned about dick size ever since the first half-monkey crawled out of the mire and discovered that standing on two legs gave him a better view of his dick.

According to Professor Wang, the earliest cave art ever found, in a cavern near the Quad Cities, was a crude painting of a group of naked Neandertals comparing their dick sizes. Coincidentally, right next to that drawing is another one of a group of Neandertal women laughing their asses off.

john c. holmesThe Gold Standard….

For as long as man has been aware of his, ah, shortcomings, he has taken steps to remedy the situation. Mankind’s very first invention, pre-dating the discovery of fire by more than a million years, was a primitive dick extension contraption. It was made of mammoth hide, pine cones, pieces of flint and a rabbit’s foot.

There is no record of its effectiveness.

Throughout history great minds have spent countless years and untold millions of dollars trying to come up with a mechanical solution to man’s most vexing problem. Aristotle, Pythagoras, Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Edison all tried to come up with a male enhancement device — and all failed miserably. Rumor has it that Bill Gates squandered half of his Microsoft fortune in a fruitless search for the Holy Grail of manhood.

In all of recorded history there is only one penis enlargement device that has proven successful. In fact, it works spectacularly well. It was invented a Swede named Sven Loewhangen and he called it, “The Fabulous Swedish Dick Extender.”

Due to Mr. Leowhangen’s untimely passing, something about ingesting some spoiled lutefisk, less than a dozen of his marvelous inventions were ever manufactured. And they are now nearly impossible to find.

I, however, was determined to find one. Not that I need one, you understand. As far as male attributes go, I’ve been truly blessed. No, my interest in “The Fabulous Swedish Dick Extender” was purely academic. One day I may even submit a paper on the subject to Reader’s Digest.

After years of the most arduous research, I finally tracked down the legendary contraptions. Most of them were in the hands of the Saudi royal family, who refused to part with them under any circumstances. Another belonged to a Chinese soy sauce tycoon who refused to admit he owned it. Yet another one belonged to the estate of the late sportsman, Porfirio Rubirosa, but his heirs claim to have misplaced it.

Just when I had given up hope of ever finding one of the elusive machines, I got extremely lucky. I made the acquaintance of a woman named Ruth Madoff, whose husband, Bernie, seemed to be experiencing some financial problems. She agreed to sell me her husband’s “The Fabulous Swedish Dick Extender,” but the price was steep.

To raise the money I had to take out second and third mortgages on my home, sell my sure-fire horse betting system to Bruce Diksas for a pretty penny, and transfer my interest in The Third City blog site to the Tribune company.

Well, I sent the check off to Mrs. Madoff and now I’m waiting for the FedEx man to arrive. I’ll let you know if my search for “The Fabulous Swedish Dick Extender” was worth all of the aggravation and expense. I sure hope it was.

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Letter From Milo: Facebook Games

February 16th, 2020

A few months ago, Big Mike, the Barn Boss of this scabby, befuddled outfit, asked Benny Jay and I to attend a meeting in the conference room of our Michigan Avenue corporate suite. He wanted to discuss the sorry state of The Third City’s finances. According to the spread sheets Big Mike had tacked to the walls, readership was down, advertising was down, interest was flagging and, worst of all, revenues were nearly non-existent.

“Boys, we’re in trouble,” Big Mike said. “Unless we find more readers and crank up our cash flow, you two might have to take salary cuts.”

“Damn!”

“Shit!”

“But I’ve got the solution to our problems, “Big Mike continued. “We’re all going to get on Facebook.”

“Great idea, Big Mike,” Benny Jay said. “That’s why you’re the Barn Boss.”

“Good thinking,” I added. “But, ah, what the fuck is Facebook?”

“Facebook is a social networking site.”

“What’s networking?” I asked.

“Networking is something people do to stay in touch with like-minded individuals. They help each other find jobs, romantic partners, etc.”

“Sounds like a bunch of homely, unemployed losers fucking around on the internet.”

Big Mike called me a few choice names and then went on to explain our Facebook goals.

“The thing to remember,” he said, “is that we’re going for quality over quantity. We want to befriend movers and shakers, people in the media, people who can help promote The Third City. Don’t waste time making friends with just anybody. The whole point of this exercise is to promote our blog site and get obscenely rich. We’ll get together next month and evaluate our Facebook progress.”

When I got home that evening I poured a big glass of wine and sat down at the computer, ready to join the world of Facebook. To be completely honest, I actually had heard of Facebook before, but always figured it was something for kids. Not knowing any better, I imagined that an adult spending time on Facebook was odd, even creepy, sort of like a grown man spend time watching MTV. I quickly learned different.

Anyway, once I logged on to the site, I discovered that I needed help. So, I called on the services of the Facebook experts in my home, my daughters, Nadia and Petra. They quickly got me set up and explained the basics. The only thing lacking was a photo of me.

“Why do I have to put up a picture of my ugly old ass?”

“Duh, Dad, it’s called Facebook for a reason.”

“I’ve got an idea. Let’s put up a picture of Steve McQueen and tell everybody it’s me.”

“That would be, like, false advertising. Don’t worry, Dad. We’ll find a nice picture of you.”

The girls rummaged through some old photo albums and found a 20-year-old picture of me. They scanned it, did a bit of Photoshop work, and imported it into my Facebook profile. I was in business. Two minutes later, someone sent me a message asking to be my friend, and I was off to the races.

Every night I would sit at my computer, a couple of bottles of red wine in easy reach, and do my Facebook duty. I’d request friends, confirm friends, comment on links, become a fan of sites and post shit on my wall. I wasn’t doing it because I enjoyed it. No. If anything, it was becoming a chore. I was doing it for a greater good. I was doing it for The Third City. I was doing it for all the people that counted on us to keep their spirits up in these desperate times. I was doing it for all the good folks that see us as a bastion of decency and civilized discourse in an increasingly rude and hostile world.

Mainly, though, I did it until the wine ran out. I was usually as drunk as a pre-rehab Mel Gibson by the time I logged off of Facebook.

About a month later, Big Mike, Benny and I reconvened in our corporate offices.

“Well, boys,” Big Mike said, “we’ve staved off disaster. We live to blog another day. Our readership has increased by 38.4%. And it’s all due to Facebook. But, I have to tell you, I’m puzzled.”

“Why’s that?”

“If you remember, I asked you both to befriend movers and shakers, people with influence in the world of media and communications. Well, according to my printouts, you two did no such thing.”

“We did our best, Barn Boss,” Benny Jay said.

“Benny, the only people you befriended are Bulls’ fans and the guys on your bowling team, and most of them are illiterate. They need a calculator to keep score at the bowling alley.”

“What’s your point?”

“And Milo, you’re a disgrace.”

“So, what else is new?”

“I checked your friends’ list and the only people on it are young women who show a lot of cleavage in their profile photos.”

“It’s still a work in progress, Big Mike.”

“On top of that, you’ve become a fan of Madame LaFarge’s Whorehouse, Manny’s Pool Room, two off-track betting parlors and a guy named Nickel Bag Bernie. Who’s that?”

“Ah, let’s just say he’s an old and dear friend.”

“Whenever you comment on someone’s link, the only thing you say is ‘Go fuck yourself.'”

“That can’t be right.”

“And who’s this Elaine Soloway broad?”

“I’m not sure. I believe she was my third or fourth wife.”

“Well, I guess it’s not important. What matters is that our readership is up and the dough is rolling in again. Now, have either of you ever heard of something called My Space?”

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Letter From Milo: Annie & Willie

January 23rd, 2020

It was late Sunday morning and I was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and trying to write a blog piece that was due the next day. It was going to be the greatest blog piece ever written, one that would change the fate of the world.

You see, the evening before, while deep into a bottle of Jack Daniels, I had one of those revelatory visions that very few people have the great fortune to experience. In a moment of absolute clarity, I had discovered the secrets to solving world hunger, the economic crisis and the Arab/Israeli conflict.

Unfortunately, I had neglected to take notes.

That Sunday morning, as I was hunched over a yellow pad, desperately trying to reconstruct my brilliant ideas from memory, the lovely Mrs. Milo walked into the kitchen and said, “Milo, honey, are you going to mow the lawn today?”

“Hadn’t planned on it.”

“The lawn’s starting to look pretty bad..”

“So?”

“The neighbors might start complaining about it soon.”

“Fuck the neighbors.”

“Oh, quit being such a grouch.”

“I’m not a grouch.”

“Yes, you are. You’re always grouchy when you have a hangover.”

“What makes you think I have a hangover?”

“You always have a hangover.”

I decided not to argue with the missus. As I mentioned before, she’s got a mean streak. It’s not a good idea to argue with her in the kitchen, where there’s cutlery in easy reach.

As I was mowing the lawn, I wondered if all writers had to put up with this sort of shit. Did Anne Hathaway interrupt William Shakespeare while he was writing Macbeth and tell him to go out in the pasture and shear a couple of sheep? Did Mrs. Hemingway interrupt Ernie while he was writing The Sun Also Rises and ask him to run down to the corner and pick up a baguette? Did Mrs. Stiglitz interrupt her Nobel Prize winning husband, Joe (arguably Gary, Indiana’s third or fourth greatest writer), and ask him to wash the car? I doubt it!

When I went back into the house, I told my wife exactly what I had been thinking. She stared at me in disbelief for a few moments then burst into laughter.

“If you’re comparing yourself to Shakespeare, Hemingway and Joseph Stiglitz, then you really have lost your mind. I doubt if there’s 10 people that read The Third City blog. The only money you’ve ever made from it is when you cheated your old friend, Tony Patellis, out of 20 dollars with that ridiculous fund raising scam.”

“Wait a damn minute! Big Mike and Benny Jay have personally assured me that we have a lot more than 10 readers. We’re huge in the New Hebrides.”

“Benny Jay and Big Mike are even bigger idiots that you are.”

“Damn it, Sharon. I don’t want to argue with you. I’ve got to finish this blog. It could be the finest blog piece ever written. It’s about world hunger, the economy and…”

“Okay, go finish your blog. But can you fix the screen door first? It’s sticking again.”

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?”

“It’ll only take a few minutes. Just do it.”

It took a lot longer than a few minutes to fix that fucking screen door. The cost in blood and sweat was dear, too. I gashed my hand with a screwdriver and nearly lost an eye when a drill bit snapped and bounced off of my forehead.

Somehow I survived and made it back to the kitchen table where my writing tablet and pens were waiting. Sadly, the thread of the idea for my great blog piece had unraveled. I could not recall the great breakthrough I had made in the wee hours of the previous evening. The world would have to limp along without my help, wallowing in the mire of hunger, economic instability and never-ending armed conflict.

And it was all my wife’s fault.

Still, I couldn’t give up on the blog bit. The writers of The Third City blog are blooded veterans of the QWERTY wars. Big Mike, the Barn Boss of this scabby, hygienically-challenged outfit is meaner than a wolverine. Benny Jay is tougher than a pack of pit bulls. And I’m meaner and tougher than both of them.

Besides, the world is counting on us. People all over this planet are relying on The Third City to provide the leadership, common sense, and compassion that they can’t get from their elected leaders. In essence, the world knows that The Third City may be its last and best hope. We are the caped crusaders of the blogosphere.

The ideas of the previous evening began coming back to me in dribs and drabs. I was beginning to reconnect the dots that would restore harmony to this sorely abused planet. Maybe I could salvage the situation. Maybe all was not lost. I had just starting jotting down some notes when my wife walked through the kitchen toward the back door, on her way to teach a Pilates class. Just before she closed the door behind her, she said, “If you get a minute, will you start the laundry?”

“AAARRRGGGHHH!!!”

That, my friends, was the last straw. I was a broken man, defeated, with nothing to look forward to but pain, despair and a lingering death. When my wife came home, later that evening, she took a knowing look at me, shook her head, and said, “Will you do me a favor, honey?”

“What the fuck do you want now?”

“Will you be a dear and open a bottle of Pinot Noir?”

“Now, you’re talking, babe! Maybe I’ll open two.”

Maybe there is hope after all.

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Letter From Milo: Bank Robber

January 15th, 2020

I wasn’t always a famous, wealthy and beloved figure in the blogging world.

I know it’s hard to believe, but before I was overwhelmed by fame, fortune and the paparazzi, I was just a regular guy. By regular guy I mean I was an average Joe, shuffling along in obscurity, content to make a living, raise a family, get drunk once in a while and get laid on occasion.

Then, the feces got into the central air. Like regular guys everywhere I got hit hard by the Great George Bush Economic Meltdown. The small business I had owned and mismanaged for many years, the Dumbass Advertising Corporation, Ltd, LLC & Sons, nearly went under. The cash stopped coming in. The lovely Mrs. Milo had to shoulder the main burden of keeping us afloat. I had to do something, anything, to crank up the cash flow.

So, I got a night job.

It wasn’t a great job. I had never done anything like it before. I won’t even mention what it was except to say it wasn’t anything I’d care to post on my resume.

The best thing about it was the hours, six hours a night, four days a week. It allowed me to keep my normal activities going during the day and it provided much needed cash. It was what I needed at the time.

The business wasn’t exactly a fly-by-night enterprise, but it was real close. The workforce was a mixed bag of characters. There were middle managers who had been downsized, college kids working their way through school, retirees who couldn’t make it on their pensions, whores who were too old to make a decent living, a number of young men with crude jailhouse tattoos, musicians who had wasted their youths trying to get record deals, a few people who were obviously junkies, and of course, an aging, burned out advertising man.

It seemed that anyone who wanted that job could have it. The only requirements were the ability to read and write and minimal computer skills. None of the employees stayed long. Turnover was ferocious. After a month there were only two of us left out of a group of 12 that started with me.

The other guy was a man named Teddy, who, as a young man, had made a living as a bank robber in Mississippi.

Of course, he didn’t blurt out this information at our first meeting. We had to become friends first. And that wasn’t easy. I wasn’t looking for friends and I doubt if Teddy was, either. All we were looking for was a paycheck, preferably one that didn’t bounce.

But as new faces kept showing up week after week, and the people we knew drifted away, Teddy and I began spending more time with each other. We’d eat lunch and take smoke breaks together, and after work we’d walk to the El train together. Teddy generally carried a half pint in his jacket and had a drink or two on the walk to the train. He was a gentleman and always offered me a drink. And I always accepted.

It was while walking to the El one evening that Teddy said, “Man, you don’t know how good it feels to be walking down this street.”

“It’s a beautiful night.”

“It’s more than that, Milo. You see, I spent 22 years in prison, in Mississippi. Got out eight months ago. Just getting on this El train and going anywhere I want is sweet.”

“Damn, man. 22 years?”

“Yeah, robbed four banks. I should have stopped at three.”

When I got home that evening, I opened a bottle of wine, poured a hefty drink and thought about Teddy. I would have thought someone who had served so much prison time would be bitter and angry. But Teddy was just the opposite. He was one of the sweetest natured men I’d ever met, always smiling, always genial. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He even had a playful side, which he allowed me to see.

He had begun greeting me at work by giving me an ugly look and saying, “Motherfucker, where’s my money?”

And I’d reply by saying, “Spent it, motherfucker.”

Teddy always laughed at my reply and said, “Shit, man, I would have done the same thing.”

One evening as we walked to the El train, I asked Teddy, “It must have been tough being a black man in a Mississippi prison?”

“It wasn’t easy. The funny thing is that my own people made it tough on me. You see, most of the trustees and guards at the prison are black men. But they have to answer to white men. So they can’t look like they’re taking it easier on their own people than on whites. Motherfuckers can make your life miserable, sometimes.”

“How’d you get this job, anyway? The application form asked about felony convictions.”

“”They just asked if you had been convicted of a felony in the last seven years. Shit, man, I been in prison a lot longer than seven years.”

Another time, Teddy said, “Stolen money don’t last long. This short money we making here last longer than bank money. My biggest hit was $30,000 and it was gone in a month. Course I had to split it with a partner. If you a criminal you got a lot of expenses. Plus, you get crazy with the money. When you work for your money, you watch it closer.”

About a month later, Teddy came in late to work, which was unusual. He never missed work and he was always punctual. He was also disheveled and smelled of alcohol, another unusual occurrence. He never drank at work.

“Are you okay, man?” I asked.

“My woman put me out. I had to move all my shit into my brother’s place.”

“Damn, man, that’s rough.”

“Bitch went crazy. Accused me of all kind of shit. I swear, Milo, I ain’t even looked at another woman since I been out of jail.”

About an hour later, Teddy abruptly stood up at his cubicle, raised his face toward the ceiling and hollered something I couldn’t quite make out. Then he rushed toward the exit door.

That was the last time I saw him.

Word on the street was that Teddy had broken parole, either a domestic dispute, something to do with a car or a concealed weapons charge. I was pretty sure he didn’t go back to robbing banks because I didn’t read anything in the papers about any local banks being robbed. He might be in prison in Illinois or maybe they sent him back to Mississippi. Who the hell knows?

One thing I do know is that I miss him. He was good company and always cheered me up when I saw him.

Sometime in my life I’d like to see Teddy again. If I do, I’ll throw my arms around him, give him a big hug and say, “Motherfucker, where’s my money?”

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