You can make a difference

Mental Health
Jack's mother had always said, her eyes sentimental and her grip on his shoulders unshakably confident, that he would make a difference in the world. She was right, of course. But as he pushed the button that would detonate the massive explosives and destroy the moon, Jack felt quite certain that she had not imagined it this way.


Truth in advertising

Mental Health
Wilbur talked big, but would he ever follow through on his threat to pen a significant, moving novel based on his lousy neighbor, Rick? Would he ensure that the memory of his opponent be tarnished forever, and that the man should go down to the grave in ignominy, and all this with his acerbic wit?  Doubting very much Wilbur's gumption, Rick continued and indeed sharpened his provocations.


And then really serious things after that

Mental Health
Though Stanley was afflicted with involuntary, uncontrollable laughter, he was not amused by anything. His outbursts was so unsettling that even his own mother began to avoid him, and ultimately he turned to a life of villainy. There, at least, they appreciated someone with a good quirk.


Nostalgia, more or less

I was about ten, I think.

Mental Health
You know what, doc? These ink blots you keep showing me are all starting to remind me an awful lot of a smug psychiatrist who gets punched in the face if he doesn't watch his big mouth and mind his own business. Maybe knowing that will help your diagnosis.



Mental Health
Bombs were falling, shells popping like firecrackers in the streets, and gunfire raising a racket as the insurgents drew near. All the disgraced dictator could think of was the horrible things they would probably do to his exquisite dollhouse collection when they got their filthy revolutionary hands on it. If only the world could have seen the tender care with which I furnished the tiny palaces and mansions, he reflected, would they really be about to execute me for the war crimes?


They would have at least written us a letter

Do cars contribute substantially to global warming?  How should I know? I'm not a scientist.  What I do know is that those polar bears are really poor communicators.

Mental Health
In addition to not being a mind-reader, Ferdinand was astoundingly literally-minded. His few remaining acquaintances (the friends having disappeared years ago) had all quickly learned to avoid idiomatic expressions like "knock it off" and "cut it out"; for those who had carelessly used these phrases in Ferdinand's presence, the courts ruled that although Ferdinand had indeed knocked it off and cut it out in ways that would typically be considered assault, the perpetrator was mentally unfit to stand trial, and quite intimidating besides.



In other news, the Student Review issue #2 came out today, and you should pick one up if you haven't already. It's an independent student voice for the BYU community, and it has the dubious honor of being the first ever appearance of Crustacean Singles in print. To celebrate, here's yet another drawing.

If you followed the link from the SR and this is your first time here, you probably won't be interested in the backstory. Basically: I draw pictures and write micro-fiction, usually in class, because paying attention to things is hard.
Also: meet Lobsterman.



The Talk

Mental Health
To be honest, I agreed to this date more because of the gun in your hand and the crazy look in your eye than because of anything else. But I have to admit, I'm kind of having fun. Way more fun than our hostages, anyway. If we make it out of this in one piece, we should do it again sometime.

Sometimes I want to just get rid of these. That's when I call them B-sides.


I'm being completely serious

Mental Health
Materials needed for the class included a long sock full of nickels and materials to be sharpened into a shiv. No textbook, of course. Grades were simple: be alive at the end of the semester. Also, participation points. 


Better than even odds

I'm mad because my grade is going to be determined by someone who doesn't use commas.


Tell it how it is

Mental Health
Someday, Marcus reflected,  I will work up the courage and say what I've always felt
"He was wrong," said the omniscient third person narrator, to no one in particular. "In the next chapter he gets punched in the larynx and he never speaks a word again."
Marcus continued drafting what he would say and how he would say it, unaware of the futility of such an activity.


Realistic expectations

Mental Health
Colin first started to realize he had a problem when he found the scorch marks appearing on the seats of every chair and couch he sat on. He was on the verge of grasping the probable cause when, to everyone's great surprise but his own, he died a victim of a drawn-out, smoldering, irreversible combustion, and took the house down with him.


I'm getting really good at crossword puzzles

Dental Health*
Don't brush too vigorously, or your gums will recede and you won't be able to chew on ice cubes anymore. You won't know you miss it 'til it's gone.

*sometimes you just have to make the best of typos

Not as planned

Mental Health
Nothing made Sean more nervous than the sneaking suspicion that he was a hypochondriac. He would contemplate the idea for as long as he could, applying the idea like a scalpel to his mind, but ultimately the truth was too painful and he would begin to comfort himself by wondering if he were experiencing subpulmonic effusion or maybe even systematic lupus erythematosis. This was  very comforting to consider indeed, and Sean would certainly treat himself to a doctor's visit later that week. If I were really a hypochondriac, he reasoned, I would be nervous about being sick, while in reality it feels quite good.


D is for detonation

Mental Health
 Sergei had enemies, but none were powerful, none were motivated, and very few were even aware of being his enemy. He had sent out a written notice of enmity, but where the postal system hadn't failed, his good-for-nothing foes had, being too lazy and not curious enough to open the letters when they arrived. It made Sergei furious to think of his crisp, wrathful prose lying under days-old pizza boxes as the people he hated wallowed in deliberate slacker ignorance.



Mental Health
Lord, let me not die with the taste of broccoli in my mouth. And if I live another day, I promise to eat only delicious foods, and to give only delicious foods to the poor, not as other men give. I can't really make much more of a promise, and in fact this one will be a stretch. Still, could you make my wife stop hitting me?


Bitterness in a hurry

Mental Health
I followed the corner of the table to a side, and from that side across a corner to another side, always keeping a palm on it as I paced around and around the square table, desperately trying not to focus on the dreadful nonsense you were saying.


And you get to stay forever!

Mental Health
William went shopping for emergency supplies. He could have done so much more efficiently online, or even with a mail-order catalog. Efficiency at this stage was not the point. He hefted a package marked Survival Candles and opened it to reveal two rows of olive drab-colored wax cylinders. He smelled the wax, felt the wicks, and wistfully imagined himself when the day finally came: waiting out the chaos in his newly-completed bunker, spending a reflective evening editing his manifesto by the light of survival candles. The apocalypse was coming, and William couldn't wait.


You would be, too

Mental Health
Geraldine perused the supermarket shelves but couldn't bring herself to focus on the task at hand. With deadened nerves she hefted two slightly different tomatoes and decided, with no conscious thought, that they would do. With an empty gaze, she compared the relative virtues and vices of various brands and varieties of mustard, but couldn't bring herself to choose. And through it all, the one thing she couldn't stop thinking about was Armand, and how it had been a year since he had gone grocery shopping and never been heard from again.  


Too bad we are the only two people on earth

Mental Health
Your Honor, I don't think it's very reasonable to discount the subject's devotion to the defendant just because of some made-up "Stockholm syndrome". There's only one thing I can think of that would make me rob a bank for someone, and that's love. 


Expectation is the mother of disappointment

Mental Health
This is the search party? Oh. It's...really not what I was thinking of. I mean, I hope they find that guy and all, but I was expecting, like, food and music, you know? Not wandering around a swamp with flashlights. So who wants to go to the diner instead?


This better be worth it

Mental Health
It started with a cloud of dust. A choking, sputtering sound lay at its center, accompanied by other noises such as might have accompanied a hulking, lumbering beast if that beast had had one and a half fenders and three hubcaps, and been neglected for the better part of a year before its owner up and decided to leave town, carrying nothing but the dust with him.


It's only a model

Let's be clear: I love America, just not everything people have done with it.

Mental Health
I don't think there has ever been so polarizing an event as crazy old uncle Alfred's gift of a rusty old pair of scissors to his seven year-old nephew. Some loved the creative haircut I gave the dog, but the detractors were more vocal. Support waned after the attempted bush sculpture in the front yard, and fizzled out for good when he encouraged me to juggle them. 


Who you gonna call?

Mental Health
All it took was one momentary lapse in journalistic integrity, and the resulting footage spread like wildfire across the internet. He was summarily fired. So Rob (that's Rob Ruger at 10:00 on channel 11, to you) did the only thing left to do: he threatened to sue everyone who had posted the video, then uploaded it himself and began to eke out a meager existence selling advertising  on his video. The shame of what had happened between him and the elephant trainer that fateful day in the studio gradually turned to a slow-burning bitterness beneath the surface, and Rob's transformation was almost complete.


Slightly different collector's edition

This one has already run, but as the title indicates, it is slightly different. Namely, it more legible this time.
(click to zoom in)

Mental Health
You're right, I have no idea what it's like. And I can't possibly understand what you're going through. No, I believe you, the depth and intensity of what you feel right now is to me, unfathomable. But I did make macaroni and cheese for lunch, and I was hoping you would take a break from the crushing ennui to join me. I even put chopped-up hot dogs in it, and you can use your favorite sippy cup. So what do you say, kid?


In other news

This computer of mine has a death wish, and if it keeps acting this way I may just have to grant it.


And get those rubber bands away from me

Mental Health
I'm sorry, but nothing means anything to me anymore. When you tell me, "Sir, please leave," it's like speaking to an extraterrestrial. You just have no idea what I'm feeling, the state I am in right now. "This is a family establishment"? No idea. "We are calling the police"? Not ringing a bell. I'd apologize, but for what? You don't understand. Neither do I. 
These handcuffs are cold.


Somewhere over the rainbow

Mental Health
"Groundbreaking," I thought they'd say. "True intellectual courage," perhaps. In the end, I guess the world just wasn't ready for a panda barbecue, even if it was so richly laden in symbolic meaning and endangerment and delicious barbecue sauce.