All my best stories used to start out, “I was drunk in a bar somewhere…” but that was then and this is now.

Now, I’m ashamed to say, my stories would start out something like, “I was sitting in front of a computer somewhere…”

Funnily enough, that could very well be the difference between Not Brent and Brent.  Anyway, the following story is true (as true as this, anyway).  I bring it to you as a warning of an infection that shouldn’t be allowed to spread.

I warn you now, my little chickies – it’s ain’t pretty.

I was sitting in front of a computer somewhere, contemplating my long-term goal of peace between ZombYs and FlyBoys, when I began to feel a mite peckish.

“Sigh,” I sighed.

I tried to return my attention to the screen but the hunger was persistent and annoying, kind of like TKE.  Besides, my wrist hurt…

(…because I was typing – you’ve got a sick mind…)

…so I got up and left to find some grub, touching the Dyson Pattern Stormbuster for luck on the way out.

I passed my wife, who was working hard earning us a living, and sneaked out… for no apparent reason and  pretty much only for practice.  It’s important to maintain a certain level of skill, after all.

I stood outside a new restaurant.  I didn’t remember traveling there, but I was hungry so there was no point moving on.  Strangely, my eyes were playing tricks on me… I would have sworn not moments before there were flames decorating the side of the building, but no: it was just a drab gray.  The sign was interesting though; it must be a steakhouse, ’cause there was blood splattered everywhere.

The host was very metal – not quite Bruce Dickinson, who’s the absolute man and I don’t give a SELF-EDIT who says otherwise – but pretty metal.  He had drumsticks tucked in to the back of his jeans, which I thought was a nice change.

I’m from Texas, so normally a concealed handgun goes there.

“Welcome to the International House of Paincakes.  Let’s get you a seat.”  He looked at me critically before saying, “In the back, I think.  Can’t have you scaring the guests.”  I realized I’d forgotten to get dressed.  Strange, that.  And breezy!

It must be a good restaurant.  It was packed with all sorts of folks.

“This must be a good restaurant,” I said.  “It’s packed with all sorts of folks.”

The host shrugged, “People like a good idea.”

“What’s your idea?”

“You can say ‘fuck’ whenever you want.”

“Can’t I say SELF-EDIT whenever I want now?”

“Maybe with practice.”

The place was packed!  I looked around as we wound through the seating.

There was a section for the undead.  They stood around an old Commodore 64 waiting for the screen to change.  They glared at one another while shooting dark glances at a section marked FLYBOYS.  Frankly, the tension was awful.

“The tension is awful,” I said.

“My host, who was a drummer and very metal – maybe not Josh Freese but certainly moreso than Neil Peart… ’cause he ain’t metal – nodded at me.  “That’s the ZombY section.  They eat their own but prefer the flesh of stupid.”

“What’s the computer for?”

“They’re waiting for word from their Master.  He’s around here somewhere.”  The host looked around before leaning in conspiratorially and saying, “The ZombY Master has ’em all fooled, though.  He’s really quite cuddly.”

That’s good, I thought.  I liked cuddly.  And hugs and gropings, too.  And Jawaballs

“Stop that,” said my host.


We passed another reserved section.  Everyone there was pink and well-armed with devices designed to tickle.  They sat under their tables, because, “…they’re down under,” as my host explained.

We were almost to my seat and I’d not come close to seeing all there was to see.  Still, I’m at 663 words and we all know Real Genius falls asleep after 750.  Hell, I saw him, nodding off next to his coffee cup.

Ah, well; I guess it’s going to take some time to meet everyone… then I stopped dead in my tracks.  “Who’s that handsome devil over there?” I asked.  The handsome devil in question smirked at me – frankly, it’s not fair that he’s got his contacts replaced before me.

“That’s you,” said the host.

“No it’s Not,” said Brent.

My host, gritting his teeth by this point – it must be a metal thing – brought me to my seat, sat me down, and quickly turned to leave.  “Wait,” I exclaimed, “you didn’t leave a menu!”  He continued to walk away.  “We only serve paincakes here,” he said.

“What’s a paincake?”

“This is a paincake,” said another person.  Then he punched me in my nose.

The… pain… was… painful.

It had been a long time since someone had punched me in the face.  The last time was when I answered the question, “Are you sleeping with my wife?”

When the white dots cleared from my vision, I realized two things.  One, there was blood on my clothes and splattered all over the table.  Two, I had my clothes again.  Three, a librarian was sitting in the booth across from me.

(If you’re counting, I realized two things and saw the third.)

“Paincakes,” said my guest, “are the proper answer to the question, ‘Cake or Death?’… and we don’t run out of cake ’round here.”

“Who are you?”  My finger were making designs in the blood, just like when I was 19 and I fell into a window.  I had severed all the nerves and tendons in my right hand, which is why my wrist hurts.  It always hurts.

It’s why I left the house in the first place…

“I’m the other owner,” my friend interrupted, “the smart one.”

I sighed.  “I was close to understanding a universal secret of interconnectedness, I think.”

“No you weren’t.  Everybody thinks their thoughts are profound,” he shrugged, “but it’s really just gas.”

I heard snoring from the booth behind me.

My friend, the part owner of a blogging network so unsubtle it’s like a punch in the face, looked at me quizzically and said, “You’re about to wake up.  Ask your questions.”

“Why should someone join the House of Paincakes?”

“Because you can say ‘fuck’ – why else?  Try it.”


He looked at me pityingly.  “It gets easier with practice.”  He leaned in then, giving me an intense look.  “Pay attention.  This isn’t about cursing, it’s about giving our community another option – a place by adults, for adults.”  He leaned back then, and said, “It won’t always be for the faint of heart.  Some folks better grow a set.”

I had a thought.  “I have a thought,” I said, “why don’t we stir up a ton of drama then make fun of it?  I think that would make a great weekly article.”

He gave me THE LOOK.  “Brent, being mean is so last week.  We want to entertain, but we’re trying to build a community… keep up, man!”

I sat up in bed, waking up in a cold sweat.

Let me get this straight, Dethtron and Lauby, the Kings of Innovative Mean, are telling me, the dude who’s all about hugs and gropings, to BE NICE?

That’s some irony for your ass.