Portland, ME - The New Slogan

Portland unveiled a refurbished slogan in 2013, "Portland, ME. Yes. Life's good here." I do not love it. Not only is this slogan vague and oddly pleading — needing to affirm itself before the thought is even stated, "Yes. You like Portland. Yes?!" — its halting structure catches on the tongue. I'm guessing the runner-up option was, "Portland, ME. Sturdy. Indeed, a goodly-fine city. Very nice thank you."

Since I have already reviewed Portland as favorably as one can, I thought I'd throw a couple slogans of my own out there to see if any stuck.

Below, enjoy nine, Drunch-approved slogans, mocked up and ready to be appropriated by the greater Portland community. You're welcome!


Sonny's - Portland, ME

I wonder how many chances I’ve missed? How many potential significant others I’ve failed to engage as they stood, fidgeting, behind me in line at CVS? How many mentors I’ve neglected to strike up a conversation with at the bar before a show because I chose instead to sit in my apartment, watching the same movies I’ve always watched? How many vital friends I’ve not made because of the way they looked so confident among their own group of friends way over there on the other side of the room?

Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company - Portland, ME

Dick Buford’s home smelled like drying paint, yeast and sausages. Dick himself was splayed recumbent on the couch, a plate rising and falling on his bare, hairy orb of a stomach. In his other hand he held a small canvas. Above him sat a hunting rifle, the one he’d used to fell the lion whose taxidermy head snarled beside it.

            “Ham!” he said, giving me a wave with a sausage-skewered fork. Dick’s face was that inflated, ruddy kind that always looks like its owner is under considerable physical strain.

            As I approached he twisted, burped, and, using his sausage, raked a tube of mauve acrylic paint toward him. I caught a whiff of hops on his breath and heard bottles tinkle somewhere deep in the couch’s cushions.

            “Look at this,” he said, holding up a painting of what might have been a mountain but really looked like a monstrous tit, purple clouds circling its magenta areola. “I call it, Ol’ Benamuckee.”

            I nodded and patiently let him explain to me the cultural insignificance of altitude among the natives of the Juan Fernandez Islands.

            Dick Buford’s exploits were as legendary as they were true.

            “They don’t worship height as we do,” Dick said. “Listen!”

I had been.

            “Theirs is a worship of flesh…”

            Dick nodded off. The plate slid from his stomach and shattered on the white tile floor. With a roar, Dick awoke. “The yeast!”

            Springing from the couch, Dick bowled me out of the way and did that beer belly shuffle where his ass and legs oscillated around the orb of his stomach with splayed feet, knees wide. Dick no longer went on adventures to all points of the globe. He made bread now. Famous bread, of course.

            “Ham,” he called from the kitchen. I followed.

            My name is actually LeSean, but Dick just called me Ham because during our first lunch together I had decided to get a ham sandwich for lunch and Dick claimed it was my favorite and I ate it every day. I doubt he even remembered my real name. I’m Dick’s driver. I have been for ten years.

            “You ever think about kids?” said Dick.

            “Having them?” I asked.

            “Of course having them you pederast.” The smell of yeast smothered the kitchen. The room was painted orange with countertops of white tile: a creamsicle of a room. Dick sprinkled a careful spoonful of light brown sugar on his prized bacteria.

            “Sure,” I said. “I’ve considered it.”

            “Right,” said Dick, slamming the yeast back into the refrigerator. The matter was settled.

             “Well,” said Dick. “We better get going.”

            I looked out the bay window behind the sink as Dick went to put on shoes. The sole foliage in the yard was an elm, its topmost branches withered, while the rest was a violent green. The lawn around the elm sloped long and emerald all the way down to the tree line. Dick had settled down in Nice New Jersey — a world away from the New Jersey everyone thought they knew.

            From the other room, I could hear the grunts that came with Dick attempting to reach anything below his belly.

            Why had I been driving Dick around for ten years? Sure, there were other jobs out there but this had been the most interesting. Plus, it paid damn well since I have to be on call five days a week. Dick chose not to have a weekend driver. Needed time with his yeast alone, he said.

            Dick continued to work away at his shoes. Between his grunts were wheezes and peeps I’d only heard when he was getting really worked up.

            “Toadpiss,” Dick said. I poked my head around the corner just to double check.

            Dick was on his back beside the bench like a giant pill bug, grappling with his left boot’s shoelaces.

            “Almost…” said Dick. I knew more than well enough never to offer Dick assistance when he was in a bind. He was a rugged individualist who’d grew up in an orphanage and made it his sole mission to never ask for anyone’s help again. I’d once asked if he wanted some help getting into his jacket only to find myself pinned against the wall with a Ka-Bar to my throat.  

            “I’ll just go get the car ready,” I said.

            I sat in the car. I listened to country. I watched the other luxury vehicles native to Dick’s neighborhood whisper by. The sun had moved significantly across the sky by the time I decided to go back in. I’d become incredibly patient with Dick, but this had been too much time.

            Beyond the wrenching squeak of his front door’s massive iron hinges, there was no other sound in the place. I found Dick nearly where I’d left him, sitting silently on the wooden mudroom bench, elbows on his knees, his head hung low. His shoelaces lolled onto the ground, still untied.

            “Still want to go to the gardens?” I asked. We always went to the New Jersey Botanicle Gardens on Wednesday. Dick was silent. Two small dime-sized pools reflected up off the slate tile floor, just between Dick’s shoes.

            Dick looked up at me with red eyes.

            “I couldn’t,” he said. “Couldn’t…” He held his open palms above his untied shoes, looking at his outstretched fingers with growing hate. “Protesilaus…”

            “What?” I asked.

            “Go home!” said Dick, rising and stepping out of his shoes. “Get out.”

            I left quickly. I never questioned a direct order from Dick.


            The next day I came the same time I always did. Dick was in none of his usual spots. The couch was bare. The kitchen was as we’d left it yesterday. Only the smell of sausage had dissipated, the caustic smell of yeast and wet paint remained.

            I found Dick on the back porch, wearing sandals and the same clothes as yesterday, his hunting rifle stretched across his thighs. On the lawn, the elm stood straight ahead of him.

            “Ham,” Dick said. His voice sounded thick and he was curled in a way that suggested a stomachache. He sat with his back facing me.

            “You’re fired.”

            “Huh,” I said. “Fired?”

            I approached him from behind.

            “Stop,” he said. Commanded. “Envelope. The table. Take it.”

            Dick didn’t move. It was the first conversation I’d ever had with him that he hadn’t looked me directly in the face. Where he hadn’t made sure I broke eye contact first. Alpha male dominance maneuver he’d learned from the Surma of South Sudan.

            On the teak picnic table next to me was an envelope, no name written on it.

            “What’s this?” I asked.


            He still hadn’t turned. Hadn't moved at all, in fact. The words he had managed seemed squeezed out of him — like an automaton with just enough energy to force them out. He stayed stationary, looking out at the elm, that hunting rifle draped across his knees.

            The envelope was thin and I could see the silhouette of one of Dick’s signature rainforest-themed checks. I ripped open a corner

            “Not now!” said Dick.

            “OK,” I said, putting the envelope into my jacket. “Sorry.” I didn’t want to leave it like this. I wanted to shake Dick’s hand, or at least thank him for the job and companionship if you could call it that.

            “Can I at least give you a hand shake?” I said.

            “No!” Dick barked.

            “Well,” I said, wringing my hands. “Thanks, Dick. For… um, everything.”

            It was a lame goodbye.

            “Leave the keys,” said Dick.

            I did.


In my dusty car I opened the check. Its contents had been written with deliberate effort, though the penmanship was still shaky. Even in his writing he’d tried to hide his loss of control. I wish I could say it was for a million dollars or ten million or something, but it was still an impressive five thousand dollar bonus on top of a month’s pay: something to help with my mortgage.

            You might wonder why I didn’t call an ambulance for Dick. Why I didn’t try to help more. You don’t know him like I did. Help in his time of greatest need would have been a knife in the back, twisted — the ultimate betrayal.

            The next week Dick’s obituary appeared in the paper. No service. No next of kin. No cause of death. But I knew what it was.

            You might wonder why I told this story, since it’s sad and it’s anticlimactic. I told it because it feels like the sort of story that actually happens, rather than the kind anyone wants. That’s what I like about it. It’s a story that makes us know we’re not alone. That bad things happen to everyone all of the time and that everything hard and terrible in the world has been endured before. That especially in loss and in grief we’re closer to everyone else than we are in happiness — though it always feels the opposite. I think that’s the sort of story that really matters. But that’s just what I think.




2.7 Stars

Gritty McDuff’s — Gritty’s — was the first brewpub in Portland. Essentially, it was the seed that became the forest of brew pubs we Portlanders now enjoy. You can nearly feel the rich ambience oozing out of the bricks while sitting at one of the picnic-style tables at their Portland location. Unfortunately, though the culinary landscape of Portland has evolved, Gritty’s seems in stasis. Is their menu extensive? Absolutely. Is their food made with care? Check. Is it just fine? Yes. But that’s just it. It’s fine. This is the undisputed first brewpub in Portland! I want the food to be amazing.


Pretty McStandard

Just your societally agreed-upon bar food prices. ~$10 burgers/sandwiches. Normal-price Beers.



Gritty’s shines when it comes to two factors, ambience and brew. The Portland location especially warms the cockles of my heart with its convivial atmosphere and sense of monument-like solidity in the heart of the Old Port.


Goodness a-Brewing

The bartenders and service staff have been tip top. They know how to handle a crowd.



I’m breaking convention here because I really do like Gritty’s. I like the mugs — of their exclusive Mug Club — hanging above the bar. I like how much they’re involved in philanthropy in the Portland community. I like that they’re the pioneers of the Maine microbrew explosion, and their beers continue to delight. It’s simply their food that could stand a 21st century renaissance to match the excellence of everything else they offer.

Paciarino - Portland, ME


Finding yourself enwrapped in a thick blanket with warming hands around a steaming cup of coffee as immaculate snow drifts onto the window sill on a Saturday morning.



As a child, crawling into your parents’ bed after a bad dream and feeling the vital body heat of two adults sap all fear from you as you drift abruptly to a peaceful sleep.



Peeling off ski boots after a full day on the mountain and sliding your foot into sneakers that feel like soft slippers by comparison.



After an overlong time apart, feeling the arms of a significant other cinch around you and their body press into familiar grooves and their unique scent — the one that manages to trace the fullness of your relationship — cloud your joyful mind.



Laughing with old friends around a crackling campfire while above you stars, like countless impossible candles suspended, encompass the sky.



Losing yourself in an engrossing book on a softsanded beach before aquamarine waters hearing, but not hearing, the carefree yelps of children as they scamper through the whispering surf.



Nakedly embracing a lover after an effortlessly intense and satisfying sexual romp, feeling the exquisite juxtaposition of their slick warm skin and your own cool sweat prickling your bare chest and thighs.



Just stepping into a steam-billowing shower after spending an entire day on the ocean, the driving water melting the damp freeze out of your bones.



Drifting awake to the sizzling pops of breakfast being prepared and the smell of waffles mingling with coffee on the first sun-dappled weekend of autumn.



Breathing in deep and holding it as you stretch your legs and arms after arriving home earlier than expected from a long car ride.



Putting numb hands into your father’s dry, worn, warm gloves as a nine-year-old while picking out a Christmas tree on a sun-strewn, crisp November day.



Lying on the couch with your significant other prone on top of you listening to music and feeling the rise and fall of your chest and theirs as, out the window, you watch the neon sun slip beneath a rose-splashed horizon.




4.6 Stars

Paciarino is near the pinnacle of (Italian) comfort food. Seriously, this is pasta done to the utmost. It’s homemade. It’s lovingly prepared. It’s absolutely tear-jerkingly delicious.


Mi Piacci

For what you receive the price is more than fair. Plus, their carafes of house wine are a steal. While not a cheap meal, this is only a minor splurge — nothing like a Fore Street or Hugo’s that’ll test the limits of the layman’s bank account.


Italian Bed and Breakfast

The seating is a mite snug, but nothing that should deter any but the mortally agoraphobic.


Everybody want-a eat-a the pasta.

The only difficulty I’ve had has been occasionally in getting a table on time. Most tables, because of the leisurely, convivial atmosphere of the place, end up going a little longer than the average dinner. This is not exactly a problem unless your reservations are for late on a busy night, in which case you might find yourself waiting for a bit despite making reservations. Otherwise the service has been molto bene.



Oh yes. On top of the list of “Things You Must Try” is the goat cheese ravioli. Sweet mother, those things are divine. I will say that I’ve only had one pasta dish that I wouldn’t recommend (unless to someone who liked spicy-hot foods) it was called the Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino. It was tasty but DAMN was it hot. Anyway, Paciarino is an established Portland institution and a top contender for my personal favorite Italian restaurant ever. If you want comfort food straight from the boot of Italy — especially as the winter descends — head to the big P.


Downtown Lounge (Revisited) - Portland, ME

Perfect, another stupid line. John yearned for a damn beer and here he was lurking in the entrance to Downtown Lounge, waiting for — what could be up to — twenty minutes to get a spot at the bar. Only then would he be granted the privilege of paying his hard earned money for a beer.

            It had been a ponderously crap day. During the morning commute, rain had brought traffic to a crawl — of course some idiot had crashed and ruined the morning for everyone else. To make matters worse, the ensuing eight hours had been one long fire drill; meeting after rushed meeting had filled up what John had hoped would be a low key Friday.

            For lunch? That was a wonderful trip to the DMV. After waiting for a deadly, bookless (he’d forgotten it at work) hour and a half — for the duration of which two obese men yawped behind him — the lady at the counter informed him he didn’t even have the right documents and would have to come back and no she couldn’t even get him ahead of the line when he came back, he’d just have to wait again. He’d wolfed his crappy turkey sandwich driving back to work.

            Yeah, he’d been waiting for this beer all day. He had needed this beer since about seven o’ clock AM on Monday and here it finally would have been if it wasn’t for all these slack-jawed idiots sitting at the bar ahead of him. Who got out of work before 5:30 anyway? Did they even have jobs?

            Nothing was going John’s way, as per usual. Oh look, a seat just opened up. They’ll probably give it to someone else. Typical.



            It was nice and air conditioned inside Downtown Lounge. The sun snuck out from behind the clouds as John read his book and waited for a seat. He was in no particular rush, it was Friday after all.

            There had been traffic in the morning — during which John had leisurely listened to the new Alt-J album in its entirety. John had gotten into work expecting a slow day and been surprised by a slew of activity. The day had just flown by.

            Well, almost flown by. The wait at the DMV had felt a bit longer because he’d forgotten his book at work, but John had actually relished a break in the day to sit, reflect, and listen to the hilarious conversations going on around him. Funny enough, John hadn’t even brought the right documents along with him. Now he had another opportunity to break up a busy day in the future. Not bad.

            The drive back to the office had been just enough time for John to enjoy his homemade turkey sandwich.

            Now he was almost at his glorious beer. He’d been savoring the anticipation all day. Life, after all, is almost purely anticipation, and John had been mindful of trying to treasure it.

            There were a surprising amount of people at DTL for 5:30, but John was glad to see that one of his favorite bars was doing so well.

            And all these people! Amazing to think about the statistical improbability, almost impossibility, of all these exact people — John included — existing in DTL at this particular time.

            Every one of them had come from parents who’d randomly met, and been begat from grandparents who had also randomly met and on and on back from humans to apes to swimming mammals all the way to protoplasmic monads in the primordial goop — one long unbroken string of impossible chances leading to this — and only this — conglomeration of people. But you really only have to go back a single generation to be amazed. John thought about the sliver of chance that led from each of their parents to them, meaning, in all the millions of sperm that could have created a person — some person like them, but not them at all — they were the single, one-in-a-million being who’d been given the privilege of existing. Now, after all those millennia of chance upon chance, piling up to the most infinitesimal possibility that everything would turn out exactly this way, here they all were hanging out and enjoying the beginning of a beautiful weekend. Truly, it was a vast gift to be alive.

            And look at that, a seat had opened up for John. It was a good day.




3.9 Stars

The Downtownest of Lounges is a delight. Seriously I put this food only one hair behind Shay’s. Again, this is no gourmet restaurant so don’t expect to find anything fancy. However, what is prepared here (burgers, BLTs, Chicken Sandwiches, Wings, &c, &c) is prepared by the hands of an angel. The martinis are on point, generously portioned mixed beverages abound and the beer selection delivers on what one wants — Portland has enough “Maine Craft Brew” bars as it is. Not that they don’t carry those here, their selection is simply a bit less exhaustive.


Aw right den, bud

A burg (or any other sandwich/salad) and a couple brews will have you at sub $20. Drink High Lives and it will be even less (but substantially more excellent given your taste in beers).



These booths are made for scuttlebutt. Seriously, sit down for a drink with some buds and you won’t want to leave. The ambience is cozy, convivial and just damn excellent.


Greased Lightning

Good gentlemen work the bar. They notice when the drinks are near empty and suggest a refill at all the right times. Never had a bad service experience. Powerful.



So why did I revisit Downtown Lounge? Has Downtown Lounge changed? Not drastically. Has my experience in Portland changed the way I look at DTL? Completely. I had been looking a gift Downtown in the mouth. Now that I’ve had the full run of Portland, there really are very few places like it. It is without question one of the best dives in Portland and it’s not even really a dive. The food is great. The seating is some of the most conducive to conversation and straight chilling. The beers bring my stomach much pleasure (and liver much chagrin). DTL is truly a fantastic spot to meet up with friends old and new for great conversation and better times. In short, Downtown has unexpectedly suffused itself throughout the whole of my heart. DTL. The man.




Becky's Diner - Portland, ME

What grand bravery to follow a dream. What eclipsing courage to plunge into the personal unknown — facing ruin and failure — in pursuit of self-actuated glory.


The elegant denial of rationalism required to truly believe in yourself: the person with whose weaknesses you know, the person whose fear is yours, the person with whose every failure you are most intimate.


How can you trust that person with your fragile dream?


Because you must.


Failure, in the face of your impossible pursuit, is almost assured.  But how much sweeter the life that strives and falls short than one that never dares; how uncomfortable the final rest of one who feared to try.


Life itself is struggle; it is inescapably true. We must embrace the struggle, exalt the struggle, place the struggle upon a pedestal higher than man and woman and beast, for it is the unifying code and very subatomic structure of life. Without struggle there is no victory, no relief, no poignancy.


We want the end of our desire: one final act that satiates us permanently. And that is precisely what we will never have. We are our desire until we die. And so to love desire itself, that is the meaning. That is this life’s purpose.


Everything, especially us, must eventually disappear. What more pure is there then, than a transient dream and the brief, lively struggle for its achievement? To live only for the achievement of a goal is to live in brief flashes. To live in the singular moment of effort is to live constantly.


Nothing we own will stay ours forever, except our action.


As always this sentiment — the dream, the goal — can be perverted to the accomplishment of wicked ends. We cannot know if our goals are good or bad. Each of us is a saint to one person and a monster to another. The points of view are too many. People will dream what they dream and do what they will do. We can only hope that we do no evil. The evil rarely think they are.


We must cast this doubt from our minds and struggle all the same.


And what to one is simply getting out of bed is to another a triumph of the highest order. The ease with which the first man rises should in no way diminish the power of the accomplishment for the other. A single victory to one man is as valuable as remaining undefeated to another. The very laws of the universe mandate that everything is relative, thus, so are our accomplishments. So are we.


The dream does not need to be tangible; happiness is also a dream. Working toward happiness in the face of a difficult job and troubles with money and envy of neighbors is a goal on the same plane of kings and Gods. Every life’s struggle is worthy of being etched into stone and displayed for all posterity.


And what if we achieve our dream? Nothing short of a miracle.


But the satisfaction cannot last. For who has not succeeded, only to think, I want to succeed again? The hunger for more success, for the next victory, the next dream, is almost inescapable. Victory is temporal. The hunger lasts forever.


Becky Rand’s ambition was to create a diner where people could go early and late, for homemade food of the best ingredients for a fair price. Her dream was Becky’s Diner and her dream is a reality. Her effort has borne impossible fruit. And she has found purpose, found life, in the struggle to keep her dream a reality on Hobson Warf — to save it from slipping prematurely into the past.


Her success is irrefutable. Perfect. That is what we can applaud. The realization of her dream and the effort to keep it thus, are all we can truly judge. To compare her diner, her dream, to another — the thing I do so readily — is, in this context, profane. Becky’s — and every other restaurant and diner and establishment like it — is a monument to triumph over the totality of human strife.


To Becky’s we can turn for hope, for joy, for sun-dappled dreams. Let it stand as a temporal testament to the beauty of sweat, the staggering profundity of effort, the unmitigated joy of hope. Let Becky’s stand for all our dreams.


Good for Becky. Good for us.




3.0 Stars

This review was inspired by the fact that, while Becky’s may not be my favorite diner, it is a staggering accomplishment for someone to even start a diner, let alone keep it successfully running. So, if you’re looking for diner food, diner food is what you’ll get. Good, solid stuff.


Old Timey

Seriously, the price is the jam. $8 omelets, $5 eggs, you know the drill. Big portions, little prices all made with ingredients you’d keep in your own kitchen.



Maps of Maine on the walls, booths on the outside, counter on the inside surrounded by stainless steel stools with red pleather tops. Feels as though, statistically, at least one family is having their “Annual Becky’s Meal” at all times.



Becky’s servers get up early, as in, the time I go to bed early. And they serve with a smile. Great people and good service.



If you want a diner diner, Becky’s is it. Artisanal crepes and cappuccinos this is not. It is, however, skilled at what it does for a price that puts a smile on your face.


Blue Rooster Food Co - Portland, ME

Looking through the verdant swaying foliage from the panoramic window in my bedroom, I almost convinced myself I didn’t have any animal hybrids at all — as if it were just solitary me in the midst of wild ocean on a tropical haven of solitude.

            Peering from under the sheets of my egg-shaped water bed, I realized that the previous night was one of the first good sleeps I’d had since the whole electrified wolfverine escape. I felt good. It’s interesting, when you forget what it feels like to just feel good, to not feel put-upon and heavy with problems that you can’t directly solve. This island, BloodSpew Cove — my island — is kind of a handful.

            The electrified wolfverine mishap was basically just a miscalculation on my part. Who knew they would be strong enough to gnaw through their steel enclosure’s bars? After devouring Ken Klatch, a really nice lackey, they absconded to the wilds where they’re now vigorously procreating. Looking on the bright side though, having giant, vicious, electrified quadrupeds isn’t the worst form of security against would-be snoopers.

            Unfortunately, I can’t spin the Tasmanian Marlin Man imbroglio. The three maimed interns aren’t going to dole out very good reviews after that one.

            To make matters worse Gloria Languardo, my unflappable assistant, was worried by this week’s gen-mod forum presentation in which I unveiled the SARS AIDS Cheetah.

            “What, exactly,” she said, “is the benefit of the fastest land-mammal imbued with both SARS and AIDS?” Well, she stumped me with that one. I was just thinking, check out this badass cheetah, y’know? Needless to say I tabled that project along with the invisible sentient Alzheimer’s cloud.

            I’m not all blunders thought. I mean, yeah, my Dad, Dr. Inferno, gave me this island. I named it BloodSpew Cove. The whole idea of filling it with heinous genetic mutant abominations was purely my initiative. I realize that the idea wasn’t anything particularly new — yeah yeah Dr. Moreau got there first — but I still brought it all to life.

            The actual problem — besides all these little mishaps — is that the third annual board meeting was coming up and all the investors would be here in a week. That means Professor Knife, Bill Hates, Señor Deathface, The Gay Phantom and the head of the board, my father, Dr. Inferno.

            This is the problem with our capitalist shackles; it allows no room for blue sky innovation! True progress — not to mention the entire structure of scientific inquiry — requires you to chuck a couple concepts against the wall and see what sticks! But nooooo, you have to be saleable, scalable, profitable and marketable from day one. No grace period, no try it out period! No, hey maybe in retrospect that radioactive crow-bear wasn’t the best idea. Just bam! Profit, profit, profit.

            BloodSpew Cove actually started off swimmingly; my fireproof mice were basically the hottest seller in 2011. They helped as an early-warning for stuff like carbon monoxide or actual flames. Only problem, of course, was that they were also bullet-proof, ageless and humped like mad, which any idiot who read the fine print would have known. Luckily, those lawsuits are still pending.

            In better news, Horatio, my chickenrhino wrangler, sang the praises of my new herding dog: the taser hound. Keeps the chickenrhino’s charge-pecking to a minimum, which means food bills go down. Great stuff.

            It’s hard enough to run an island in the middle of the pacific. Try adding vicious, crafty, ungodly critters to that mix. And then try to make it profitable. This is no banana stand operation.

            Supply-wise this island is a money suck. We used to ship everything out on my forty thousand cubic foot nuclear submarine, the Arc Too. But that’s been out of commission since 2010. I’m convinced that the more money a vehicle costs, the faster it breaks. Currently, we get all our supplies from Amazon.

            Six days out from the meeting, my father came for a preliminary inspection. His goatee, as always, was waxed to a full point.

            “So, you want to give me the run down?” he said. I hemmed and hawed that I was still in early stages of the presentation and wouldn’t want to divulge an unfinished draft.

            “You haven’t started yet,” he said, taking off his signature square, bright red sunglasses and rubbing his eyes. “Listen, Nate. This island is an opportunity. I realize that the economy hasn’t been kind to it lately, but the board is starting to get a little worried. You need to show them that next year we’ll be in the red, and not the kind of red we’ve been seeing recently.”

            I kicked some dirt under a lab table.

            “These escapes,” said my Dad. “This island is a death trap. Three maimed interns, Ken Klatch eaten two months ago, three lackeys who now have both SARS and AIDS. The escaped electrified wolfverines roaming the forest making it so Amazon has to deliver to my island for safety purposes? I mean Nate…”

            He stopped when he noticed a tear trace my cheek. He put a hand on my shoulder.

            “It’s OK. Just take care of those electrified wolfverines. Everything else should be fine.”

            His helicopter hadn’t even taken off before the alarms started going again. Another escape. Two decapitated lackeys later, we managed to goad the lobstergent back into his sand hut.

            It took forty eight hours in bed for me to break out of that bout of depression.

            I mean, in the beginning, I’d set out in hopes of conquering the planet with my heinous affronts to God’s plan. Right now? I’d seriously just settle for amusement park status. Y’know, ship in kids by the ferry load, tire the suckers out and then hit their parents' wallets with a gift shop at the exit. Man, that would be the life.

            Three days out from the meeting and things were actually looking up! We had to clean out the Snale tank — a whale-sized aquatic snake — and it went off without a hitch: no deaths. Surprisingly, lackeys are pretty hard to come by these days. They’ve got to be hardy, strapping and bereft of a single individual thought. Also, it helps if they’re of various nationalities; you don’t want to get slapped with the old “Arian Domination” label.

            It’s a great island though. My Dad bought it — along with several other remote, ominously-shaped islands (skull, bomb, middle finger, &c &c) — back in the nineties when it looked like property value would never stop soaring. Then when he got nailed by the market he sold all of them but his island and mine.  

            Two days to the meeting and still no progress on the wolfverine situation, but I had a brilliant thought. If I needed help, why not help myself?

            So, I cloned myself.

            I’m no idiot about cloning, I didn’t make some evil twin or anything. In fact, I added some ant genes to his makeup so he’d not only be more diligent but would take commands from me, his queen. Plus, I tattooed a big 2 on his face so I wouldn’t have to worry about any of those silly gunfight double binds with both of us yelling that we’re the real original at some indecisive lackey holding a quivering pistol.

            Needless to say my clone was a huge help. I gave him one tour of the island, showed him around the different boring jobs I had to do and boom, instant second in command. It’s amazing I didn’t think of it earlier.

            Last day before the big meeting and everything actually came together! Surprising to see. My clone pulled his weight in a major way. He even managed to herd all the electrified wolfverines back into their pit. That ant gene really put some diligent pep in his step.

            I felt good. I was getting things done and that really boosted my spirits. I beamed at the thought of the board getting to see my island then.

            Then the board meeting happened. In short, it did not go as originally planned.

            About an hour before the meeting, I was lounging on the picturesque vista by the praying manatee lagoon and my clone dropped by to give me an update. At least that’s what I was expecting. Instead, this clone had a huge five on his face and started to strangle me. So there I am about an hour before the meeting, beating my clone to death with a pina-colada-filled coconut to the chittering snorts of the praying manatees below. Quite a scene!

            Welp, turns out I put Queen ant genes into my clone instead of just worker ant so that was a faux pas on my part. Basically, my clone was clandestinely pumping out ancillary clones and cleaning up to keep me distracted. By the time the Gay Phantom arrived — he’s always the most punctual — in his invisible submarine, the place was pretty much bedlam.

            Clone 2 was trying to destroy every other creature on the island to make room for his brood of copies — I saw a clone numbered 59 suplex a security guard. I had to text Miss Languardo to get on the intercom and let all staff know that they needed to basically flee or be mercilessly destroyed.

            We ended up having the board meeting in Professor Knife’s Hover-Scythe.

            “It appears our investment,” I said, not even bothering to open the PowerPoint presentation I’d prepared, “will need a longer-term view.”

            My father and the board eventually agreed to a small downsize. Total, eschaton-level melt-down of an evil island was actually covered in our insurance package, so that was great foresight.

            I’m currently looking into office space around the Silicon Valley area. I figure we can have a cool office with like a Ping-Pong table, video games and maybe something edgy like a beer vending machine. That sort of stuff boosts morale. I want to make sure my staff and abominations don’t feel like they’re getting the short end in this deal. They’re the ones who really matter, after all.




Inventive dogs. Scrumptious tots. A great spot for a quick lunch.


Cock-a-Doodle Deal

Wow that is a breathtakingly bad pun (if that can even be considered a pun). You’ll not pay much though.



Sitting inside consists of solely counter space around the outside of the room. Probably accommodates 15 comfortably. Fits the style of food perfectly though, plus the rooster décor is awesome.


Struttin’ Their Stuff

Order from the cashier. Get food from the cashier.



If you’re in the mood for a killer dog, solid sandy or some hot tots (hot in the “popular” sense, not spicy-hot), Blue Rooster will have you crowing. There is now a special nook in hell for me thanks to all these rooster puns.