The Unpaid Internet Content Provider did not accept cash, checks, credit cards, or dissonant tones from smarmy electronic devices. His marketable skills were offered by way of a barter system in which he received consumer goods and services in exchange for slinging words from his slack tongue that came cheap. Nothing new there. As a highly irregular result, he will never again have to buy boffo weed, organic produce, master carpentry, area rugs, haircuts, lawyers, chicken tamales with red sauce, four wheel tire alignment, roofers, plumbing and heating repair, osteopathy, computer virus protection, complimentary home delivery from Golden Buddha. Relative wealth accumulated in this archaic manner on an erratic basis. He supplied sad ads with melancholy words, old products new names, droll dialogue before deadlines to ghost posts. There were nits that always had to be picked and the large public that had to be warned endlessly about issues. Brand name bugs and sprays became bigger as fair game for fodder. He recalled parts and advised on stuffing turkeys. He spoke the language like a shock jock or a dweeb and maintained the autonomy between to and too. He wasn't sorry. His story wasn't told. He had his secrets and he kept his secrets.


The formerly tween twins, historically sprung from his migrating seed, and having barged past and trampled the age of majority, remained no less unimpressed than ever. The secrets he hoped to keep did not stay hidden.


After that the case was closed.


The yin twin intended to apply reason first as salve. The yang twin was going to bide his time before snorting, "I told you so."


"It's for school."


"I thought you graduated already."


"Even you know you're not funny."


"I'm sure I remember paying for school."


"Rent at school."


"Every time I work for money I get pains."


"That's what you always say."


"Then you see the logic."


"Everybody hurts. You always say that, too."


"Am I supposed to stay responsible for all the stupid shit I've ever said?"


"Been here, done this."


"The old feed bag remains full of mixed nuts."


"Are you going to run through all of your jerky old lines now?"


"You know how sometimes I talk too much."


"Remember, I took logic too."


"My fault."


That's when the yang twin proved unable to stand it any longer, and not only snorted his, "I told you so," but pointedly glared at his inapt patron and added, "You don't know nothing."


"Nothing new there."


They knew when he was wrong. Shortfalls appeared every day like hunger and thirst. They knew when he was cornered and trapped like a waylaid man or a dizzy mouse in a maze. He knew it best. It was hard to hide out from the many knocks received upside his head while seeking redemption. He had missed out on claiming the lifetime benefits from the solemn promises advertised on the many disinformation channels he disdained, and was doomed to rue his negative attitude at a later date upon critical reflection. As a result, he had to resist exceptional forces carrying serious heft and weight to persist in his wrongdoing. They all knew reason would never work. It was too late to join up and reap the rewards now.


"You have that look on your face."


"That's not fair. Play hard, but play fair."


"You're the only one who likes to play boring games."


The innocently twisted grin on his face derived from a deprived and screwy mental state that was often cruelly mistaken for a guilty sneer by those who claimed to know him best. Or was that deprived state depraved? The results had that same sticktoitiveness as a hard blow below the belt. He came to be tilted in the direction of his shorter leg in defense. Rote exercise, strong discipline, and harsh liquids were prescribed to no avail. His old timey mother, like most old timey mothers in the days of yore with nothing much interesting to do, stayed right all the time. She told him then, and now, and often, "I told you so."


The yang twin advised, ""Don't go being no fool."


"Two against one is no fair."




The yang twin snorted twice more to make his points indelibly clear. Western civilization ended down the road a bit and around a bend on the other side. White caps were foaming on a blowy day, awaiting the crumbly cliffs to bow and concede to Monterey Bay. It was never going to be fair. You had to cross a bridge and a boulevard to get there. He'd brought his own bottle of brown beer in a bag, a first. Too much winning had touched him in the head. He had two sturdy legs to stand on that kicked back like a kangaroo. The diversity of his playlists on Spotify gave him due props from Eureka to Escondido. He had to admit the old man in that area did not know nothing. Where else was a grom going to grow and learn how to surf at Pleasure Point nurtured by the sustenance of Yvonne Chaka Chaka?


But, was that cause enough to show some mercy to the lame and infirm? The jury was not hung. To his skills in non-verbal communication, the yang twin added, "No."


It was a foregone conclusion the cranky codger was going to fold like an origami model designed by Erik Demaine. He would try to draw it out, make the moldy growth on the melodrama reek of angst, include a reference to Sisyphus in the crackling heat, the melting ice and rising swamps of sinking real estate.


With all of his repressed powers, The Unpaid Internet Content Provider had attempted to pass his dictatorial heritage on. Like a sponge addicted to sniffing model airplane glue, he jabbered and spilled his beans in the fertile dirt to grow. The genes in the puddle popped up to be recognized and heard like warped toads. Never forget to heed the disturbances from the likes of Stalin and Hitler, or the two rigid Dicks, Nixon and Cheyney, nor the existential suffering from yearning masses clinging to ennui and malaise, he reminded. Don't spread the trouble in your mind. People who will be people will be strange. In the social compact there has to be both give and take to get, and to be, had. If not anarchy, you got something better to come up with next?


In response, often, he heard a different vestige of the same heritage, "Who's kidding who here?


The next generation knew it all, and better. Always had, always will. No verdict was ever unanimous, but close enough to pass a multiple choice test. They laughed and had more fun than he knew how. They stayed unimpressed from teetering start to the Nutra-Sweet end. Pat attitudes and poses came factory equipped with a rowdy beat for swinging like monkeys from a tree. Some coconuts at the beach will have to fall on heads, no biggie. Gravity don't stop for fools crossing. The road is not straight. The road has never been straight. Give and take is up for grabs.


There was no way he was not guilty.



Submitted: June 18, 2021

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LE. Berry


Fri, June 18th, 2021 7:22pm

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