MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE: Punch bowl Hallucinations

MMC - Artwork courtesy DEFEAT / Brian Galiano.

Truth be told, I have spent more time searching for the header image for this column than I will end up spending writing it. Whatever. The really juicy nougats come from the give and take inside the comments section, right? My part is to serve as but the catalyst for the gals and guys of OL to begin their weekly wanking. I settled on an image by my good friend Brian Galiano. A couple years back, homeboy drummed up countless works (well, you could count them, but I’m lazy) to accompany Rendar’s novella DEFEAT. If you’ve never read the son of a bitch, start here. Anyways, this is Monday Morning Commute. The column where we elaborate on the distractions coating existence just enough on a given week to give us through the malaise.

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DEFEAT. 045 – after words.

[DEFEAT. is a   coming-of-death novella. Brian Galiano lends his artistic talents to each episode. this is the post-coital cigarette.]

Rimina Jacoby sat in Bandini’s Café, leisurely smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee. Black. Bandini himself had tried to persuade her to try the espresso but she said she’d seen what it was capable of. And frankly, she laughed, she didn’t think it would be quite strong enough for her taste.

With her gray sleeves rolled up to her elbows, Rimina handled a newspaper. Her eye searched the front page, settling on the date. “Yes, yes, yes…that is when today happened.

The little bell above the door jingled. The Woman in Gray Robes didn’t look up to see who was entering. She already knew. She had planned on meeting him here, at this moment. In fact, years later she would tell him to make sure he was there so that they could palaver. As equals.

Or as close to equals as they would ever be.

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Monday Morning Commute: By Rinaldi’s Hand!

Hey-oh! Welcome to the MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE — OL’s attempt to curb the blow that is the workweek! I’m going to give you the rundown on what I’ll be doing in the upcoming days to protect my soul from drudgery and malarkey. Your mission is to hit up the comments section and show off your own entertainment survival kit.

What’s in it? Movies? Music? Candy bars and porno? Let us know!

So c’mon kiddies, gather `round!

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DEFEAT. 043 – Postscript Four

[DEFEAT. is presented in weekly episodes. the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy. Brian Galiano provides stunning original art for every episode. the end is nigh.]

I’ll never forget how he looked when I finally came face to face with him. Well, face to face with him again. Surely you know what I mean.

Don’t you?

It was just before 10AM when I came across Daryl Millar — just as I had planned it. His entrance at the pep rally would be about a half-hour later, so I figured this was the perfect time to reveal myself. Remembering the route he walked to school, I parked myself somewhere in the middle and waited.

He arrived right on time. Of course.

Before he saw me, his face was filled with fire. Not a blazing inferno of anger, but an inextinguishable torch of determination. There were no words that could persuade this hero to abandon his mission. Not that anyone else would have even approached him to try. After all, don’t forget that he was holding a goddamn sword. Not exactly an inviting image.

When I stepped in front of Daryl, he did not become upset. Perhaps somewhere deep inside, in the same viscera that told him to follow this course in the first place, he knew that I could not stop him. That I was not derailing his train of consequence, but offering a minor detour. With this comprehension in hand, he gave me an honest moment to speak my mind.

I told him who I was. He laughed at first. He told me I was just a pervert who hid in bushes and spied on high school students. I explained that I could understand his interpretation, as he had clearly spotted me on Monday, but that he was wrong. That I was who I was claiming to be. That given the revelations of the week, he should be more open to the idea.

And then I made an allusion to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Daryl reconsidered his position. He looked as deeply into me as he could. Then he looked deeply within himself. I saw him thinking, considering all of the existential convergences. Intercourse under his belt. A sword that had traveled the world. A genuine gypsy mystic. Visions in basements and coffee shops. Friends in need. An adversary to defeat. His grandfather’s approval for whatever. A final word of warning coming from a traveler from afar. It all clicked.

Universal sequence complete.

We both acknowledged the surreality of the situation. I wanted to say something more to him, but didn’t. He offered his condolences about my right leg. He said goodbye and trudged ahead.

He hadn’t moved more than twenty paces when I called after him. Again, I knew it was useless but couldn’t help myself.

“Daryl! Wait! Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

He stopped but didn’t turn around. Over his shoulder, he called out to me. “Did you enjoy our conversation?

“Yes. Very much.”

“And do you enjoy the ability to have such conversations?”

“Of course! It’s my life’s work — everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

“Then you know what I have to do.” He continued walking. “Besides, nothing’s stopping you from speaking with me again.”

I watched him unsheathe the goddamn sword and take a sneak preview of its glory. Walking down his chosen path, he was all right.

All right forever.

– E.B.

DEFEAT. 040 – Hours Before a Public Suicide

[DEFEAT. is a   science fiction/coming-of-death/war epic novella, released in weekly episodes. at this point, you’ve either read every installment (unlikely) or you’re waiting for the movie (also unlikely). if nothing else, follow the link and check out Brian Galiano’s amazing art. blahblahblah!]

“Margie, wake up!”

The rotund younger sister ignored the request, turning over and darting her head under a pillow. She saw that the sun was far from rising and knew the schoolbell wouldn’t be ringing for hours. Her older sister probably just wanted to get something off her chest.

“C’mon, I want to talk to you.” This time, Vanessa coupled her appeal with a gentle swinging of a pillow. She had succeeded.

“Great, now you’ve done it! I’m officially awake!” Margie feigned supreme aggravation, shaking a fist in her older sister’s face and putting on her best scowl. But her natural joviality didn’t allow for such impressions to persist and she ended up chuckling, amused by her own antics.

“Seriously though,” Margie began after looking at the clock, “it’s just after three in the morning — what do you want?”

Vanessa plopped onto the bed. “I’m in love.”

“Oh, spare me!”

“I am.

“With that Daryl boy?”

“He’s no boy.”

Margie halted her intended conversation. “Wait — what does that mean?”

The elder, more beautiful sister did her best to prevent the blood from flowing into her face. She failed. Blushing, she offered her explanation, “Well let’s just say he’s no boy and I’m no longer just a girl with monthly Womanly Responsibilities. I’m a full-fledged woman.”

Margie’s jaw nearly hit her potbelly. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You…you let that dude bone you?”

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DEFEAT. 039 – true believers

Daryl’s resolve had been fully reinstalled by Vanessa, the love of his life. He now had a force fortifying him, filling the few remaining empty spots of his soul with purpose. With an emotional connection expressed physically, one is far less vulnerable to the wounds that Life so desperately tries to inflict with His rapier.

That is, of course, unless heartbreak is involved. For as rewarding as is the ascent to the top of the mountain, the tumbling downward is doubly painful. Given enough time, even the most sincere relationships can deteriorate, either losing their vitality or compromising until all that remains is a shadow.

And the shade is fine. Unless you’ve walked in the sunlight.

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DEFEAT. 034 – espresso self

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Bandini’s Café was lost in time.

The year outside of the diner was most certainly 1986. Ten months in and gazes were still directed skyward, accompanied by somber sentiments for the crew of the Challenger. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets were trading blows in the World Series. And twenty-three year old Katherine Hushaw reveled in an admiration only awarded to a Playmate of the Month.

The year inside the diner, well that was up for debate. The booths were wide and cushioned in such a way as to support the heavy aspirations of those celebrating VJ Day. The walls were decorated with yellowed posters assuring patrons that I Like Ike and asking them to Drink Pepsi-Cola. And the most recent hit that the jukebox would sing was I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). Moreover, no one inside of the anachronistic haven had been born after the year 1940.

Except, of course, for Daryl Millar. But, not unlike the diner, Daryl was in the process of becoming timeless.

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DEFEAT. 033 – Hallway Lesson Plans

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Gramps and Daryl walked down the hallways with resolve. Neither had any desire to spend another second in the school, a place that was supposed to foster reason and rational thought but was overrun by small-minded tyrants. Ah, just like the real world!


And also like the real world, Daryl had been punished for calling into question the legitimacy of a reigning power. With his balled-up fist, Daryl asked Brady Moore’s jaw Hey, what makes you think that you have the right to do whatever you want?! For these efforts, the teen was suspended for the remainder of the school day.


The bell rang and a cavalcade of bleary-eyed youngsters filed out of classrooms. They were tired and hungry, teeming with hormones and devoid of reason, underappreciated by their teachers and over-appreciated by their parents. Those that noticed Daryl slapped him on the back and thanked him for his early-morning contribution.

After all, word travels quickly in a high school. In terms of pure speed, the gossiping patterns of suburban youths ages fourteen to eighteen should be studied by telecommunications companies. Without any sort of genuine perspective, most of these students find no greater satisfaction than in hearing and spreading the tale of some rule’s infraction:

Who did what? Seriously? Does Becky know? She doesn’t? She has to. Well, yeah, I know she’s stupid but Jake is her boyfriend! And they’re serious! They’ve been a couple, for like, seven weeks! Well, I think it’s cool that he did that but he’s going to get in trouble and you have to realize that if it comes out that you were with him then you’re totally going to get busted as well, and there goes our big after-prom party that I finally convinced my dad…

And so on.
And so on.
And so on.

Swimming against the current of rumors and unfulfilled potential, both Daryl and Gramps saw a figure with whom they needed to speak. The relationship each held with this pretty young thing was unbeknownst to the other. For one of them, she was one of those rare teachers who was both intelligent and concerned. For the other, she was the daughter of a friend who had been known and looked after for decades.

Worlds apart and yet within the same hemisphere.

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DEFEAT. 030 – Informal Gluttony

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Principal Clancy took a big, nasty slurp of coffee. The paper cup struggled to maintain itself, pushing against the vice grip of a fat, sweaty paw. The brown juice sleazed passed yellow teeth and fought against a burp on the way down. Naturally, the cup folded inwards as the liquid found its way into the educator’s gullet. In the process, a splash of coffee broke through a fissure and launched itself onto Principal Clancy’s jowls.

He didn’t even notice.

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[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl got out of the car before it had even stopped. His mother, affixed to the rearview mirror as she applied a third coat of rouge, didn’t notice. Even if she had, she wouldn’t have stopped him. Chalk it up to an understanding that no words could ever contest one of her son’s resolutions. Or, chalk it up to a desire to return home, pop a couple of Vicodin, hide in bed, and listen to Barbara Streisand’s The Broadway Album.

Either way — chalk it up.

Parted by the wind, a pile of leaves got out the seventeen year old champion’s path. Orange. Brown. Pregnant with anticipation. Mother Nature knew that on this morning, Daryl was unstoppable.

There was no need to stop at the locker before class. Daryl didn’t even bring his backpack. His mother might’ve noticed if she weren’t so damn busy putting on makeup to impress nobody. Daryl sans backpack — he knew he wouldn’t be spending much of Thursday at school.

Had Daryl been more patient in this current endeavor, more willing to go through the regular routine before getting down to business, his day would’ve gone much differently. At his locker waited Vanessa, holding baited breath and hoping to discuss the wonder that was the previous evening. Just like her suitor, Vanessa felt something washing over her during the post-coital bliss. Not just the physical pleasure of orgasm, but the sense that a tide was turning. Possibility was afoot, and Vanessa wanted to see if Daryl felt the same.

Had he been less dedicated to his friends, he may have actually gone to his first class — Modern American History. Once there, he would’ve noticed just the distraught Ms. Lang, practically on the verge of tears. A conversation would have begun, and the two would have started unraveling some of the many links that connected their lives

But alas, neither of these were destinations on Itinerary-Vengeance.

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