If I were a serial killer


If I were a serial killer I’d murder people in the drive through at In and Out Burger.

It’d be so easy. No one would be able to drive away, and no one would want to get out and help because they’d be on their phones. They’re always on the phone, especially in the infinite line at 10:30 pm at an In and Out Burger.

I’d go up to the driver side windows and tap the glass with a knife. It’d be a long knife, one of those scary ones you’ve always assumed hillbillies would kill you with if they only got the chance.

It would have been my dad’s knife. He’d have shown he how to skin a deer, but he never would have imagined the uses I’d put it to.

I’d tap the glass, and they’d glance over at me. Their fear would be delicious, like a double double animal style hold the lettuce.

People tapping on your window isn’t that weird in LA, but it is weird when they do it with a knife.

I’d be wearing a black hoodie and have a big, bushy beard.

It’d be dirty.

It’d have burger bits in it.

I’d grin and my gold tooth would show and then I’d duck down under the car. It’d make things scarier.They’d try to find me but they never would. They’d be too distracted by the Facebook or the Twitter. By the little lights blinking on their phone’s screen.

I’d get them in the end. If I were a serial killer, I always would.

If I were a serial killer.

I’m not, though. Most people aren’t.

You read about stuff. You see a headline, you see a Facebook status, you see a flag as someone’s profile picture, you catch a little phrase on the Facebook trending bar, and you get scared.

They mostly put scary stuff on that trending bar. They mostly put scary stuff in headlines.

They don’t do it for any insidious reason.

It’s just that bad news sells.

Bad news sells, and everyone knows things are getting worse.

There was a time in the Roman Empire when people realized things were as good as they were ever going to get.

“This is it,” people would say to each other, “it ain’t going to get any better.”

“Yep,” the would agree, “I’m afraid this is it.”

“Things are only getting worse,” they’d say.

“Worse and worse.”

Can you imagine what the Facebook trading bar was like back then?

Full of bad news, or bad news that was on its way, or bad news that could happen.

Full of scary headlines.

You see stuff like that and you get scared.

You get scared and you go to In and Out Burger at close to midnight and you think about how easy it would be fore some psycho to kill everyone in line and no one would be able to get away or notice everyone else was dead until it was too late.

But most people are good people. They aren’t serial killers.

But it’d be easy to imagine they weren’t good people.

You don’t have to though.

It’d be so easy.

But you don’t have to.



And then it happened.  Despite all of my careful planning and practicing, I forgot everything I was going to say.  This is a common occurrence in college students when we are forced to do presentations.  We are meant to read our papers but to not stare at it.  We are supposed to just sort of glance down, absorb all the words, and then spew them out like a vocabulary sponge.  The problem with this method is that it is quite easy to lose one’s place, which leads to one becoming flustered.  Once one is flustered one inevitably starts to babble nonsense because the silence is just too awkward.  I had lost my place, and i could feel the fluster rising in my bowels like a vengeful eagle.  I had a choice to make, and i chose instead of being sad to be smashing!

My thought process.

You see, there is a recent (or perhaps not so recent, I do only get internet access in my cave once a week) internet fad in which one replaces someone’s face with the face of Nigel Thornberry.  Above is a great example, but there are many others, like this one

The movie would have been much more smashing like this.

If you don’t know who Nigel Thornberry is, then I pity you, because you missed out on a big part of the late 90’s and early 00’s.  Nigel is a character from the cartoon “The Wild Thornberrys,” in which Nigel and his family traveled around the world making animal documentaries.  He described things that he liked as “smashing!”  You probably wont find this post amusing in the slightest if you never watched the show, but if you are a truly devoted fan of my blog and wish to slog through this post, then more power to you I suppose.  Now, where was I?

Ah yes, my paper.  I had worked on this particular paper for over 3 months, it was my senior thesis after all, and I had forgotten literally everything about it and had lost my place while reading.  I think it was about crime in ancient rome… or maybe fish.  This was bad, but don’t worry, gentle reader, for I was not in any true danger.  The penalty for messing up one’s paper had been recently reduced from beheading to a mere 13 lashes from the ol’ cat o’ nine tails, but even though death was not a possible outcome, the situation was quite perilous indeed.

“Ahem,” I said, clearing my throat.  What could I do?  Smashing, I need to be smashing!  And so I became smashing, as smashing as even Nigel Thornberry himself.  Once the transformation was complete, I remembered everything.

A brief depiction of my metamorphoses.

“You know what?” I said, picking up my papers and tossing them in the air, “Who needs these old things?  I’m sure that you and I are quite done with hearing papers read, am I right?”  There was a general nod of assent from the audience.  some of the sleeping people had even woken up from the fluttering noise of my paper blowing out the window.  I gave the room a quick look around until my eyes finally rested on an individual who had been on his computer during all of the presentations.

“You!” I said, pointing at him.  He jumped in his seat and looked around, wondering who I was pointing at, until he realized that there was no one near him.  He pointed at his chest and mouthed the word “me?”

“Yes, you!  Come hither.” I beckoned with one of my fingers.  He came to the front and stood before the podium.  “What is your name, lad?”


“Smashing!” I turned back to the audience and gestured to roger. “Roger is going to help me demonstrate the difference between manifest theft and non manifest theft in ancient rome.”  I set a pen on the podium and then turned around to face the wall.  So far, so smashing!

“Now, Roger,” I said, still facing the wall, “If you would be so kind as to take my pen from the podium and then signal once you have accomplished this simple task.”  I waited for but a few moments until I heard a slight cough from behind.  I spun about.

“You rascal!” I roared, “You’ve stolen my pen!”  Roger looked absolutely terrified.  He held out his hands in protest and began mumbling something about me telling him to take.  I laughed, which seemed to calm him somewhat.

“Roger, Roger, Roger… this is just a demonstration!  I know you didn’t actually steal my pen.  This was merely a demonstration of non manifest theft.  If the audience will recall, I didn’t find out anything of mine had been stolen until after the deed was done.  That’s why it’s non manifest!  I didn’t actually see it happen  Now, if you would be so kind as to return the pen to the podium, we can continue.  Good, that’s good.  Let’s give a round of applause to Roger here folks.  He’s doing a great job.”  The audience, now all interested in what I was doing, politely clapped.  Roger seemed to be encouraged by this, and he puffed his chest out a little.

“Now, roger, I would like you to once again steal my pen, but this time I will be watching.  Go ahead whenever you are ready.”  Roger strutted over to the podium and plucked my pen off of it with a flourish.  The audience gasped a little at his boldness.

“You rascal!” I roared, “You’ve stolen my pen!”  Roger gave me a quite demeaning look and smiled.

“Yeah?” he asked, holding his arms out wide and turning to the audience, “and what are you gonna do about it, nerd?”  He barked out a harsh laugh and I grudgingly gave Roger a mental commendation.  He was playing his heart to perfection.  The audience booed him and shouted that he should return the pen to me this instant.  Smashing!

“Why,” I responded, pulling a gladius, a Roman style sword, from it’s hiding place under the podium.  Roger turned at the hair raising sound of metal scraping. “Kill you, of course!  Such is the cost of manifest theft, you simple fool!” I raised the deadly blade high for a killing blow.  It’s metal glinted harshly off the fluorescent lights, and for just a moment, we could imagine that we were not in a science classroom at all, but were instead standing on the blood soaked sands of the arena.  I was a mighty executioner, Nigelus Thornberris, and Roger was but a runaway slave, condemned to death by stabbing.  Such spectacles were common enough in the Roman world, though not as popular as the gladiatorial bouts that brought such fame to the colosseum.  He looked up at my sword with fear in his eyes, but I had no pity.  Killing was my business, and business was good.

In a flash, it was over, and we were back in the science room, with it’s cold tile floor and institutional overhead florescent lights.  Roger was on his knees, his hands clasped before him, pleading for his life.  All of the bluster that had characterized his performance beforehand was gone.

“Roger,” I sighed, shaking my head and lowering my gladius, “Roger, Roger, Roger… I’m not going to kill you!”   Roger sagged with relief.  The audience muttered in disapproval.

“Oh thank god,” Roger breathed, “for a minute there I thought…”

“That’s the guards job!  Guards!”  Two praetorian guards burst into the room in full battle gear and marched over to roger, who backed away in fear.  They quickly closed upon him and grabbed him, and then dragged him away.  The bewildered Roger couldn’t seem to decide between screaming “No!  Nooo!” and  “What?  How?”

“Smashing!” I laughed as he was dragged out the door, “That guy had been pissing me off with his incessant typing for the past hour!  How rude!”  The audience followed my example and burst into laughter as well.

“Now, if you would permit me,” I sad, pulling out a collection of papers from behind my back, “I would like to continue reading my paper.”

“Smashing!” They all responded, and so I read.


But Oh! To Be Freshly Pressed!

I am currently enrolled in a class at university called “Roman Republic and Empire.”  We have learned many things, but the most interesting fact to have lazily drifted into my mind is that the penultimate goal of the Roman experience was to win a Triumph.  A Triumph, for those of you who have not taken Roman Republic and Empire, was a parade for a conquering General, where he was allowed to ride in a chariot with four white horses as the citizenry of Rome cheered his name and shouted insults at his captives, who were towed behind the general in chains.  It’s where we get our word triumph from.  The triumph was the highest honor a Roman could receive, and was the dearest wish of every Roman citizen since time immemorial.

Triumph General

A roman general in Triumph. Note his four white horses, legionary standard bearer and captives.

“This is all well and good,” you may be saying as you slowly lose interest, “but what does this have to do with anything?  Your title has nothing to do with the Romans.”

“Why, my dear Watson!” I would respond, shaking my head and chuckling to myself, “My title has everything to do with the Romans.  Did you not know that WordPress.com has it’s own triumph?”

“Conrgoblin, whatever are you talking about?  How could you have a triumph on wordpress?”

“By becoming freshly pressed of course!  Now be quiet and listen.  Everyone who creates a wordpress blog hopes to one day become freshly pressed.  It is our goal, our dream, even!  Just like the romans of ages passed, we want our own triumph.  To become freshly pressed is to be victorious!”

Tomb Robbers triggering a booby trap

Here we see some tomb robbers becoming "freshly pressed" by a clever booby trap. Their prayers for mercy will most likely go unanswered.

But what is being freshly pressed?  Blogs that are freshly pressed are displayed on a special tab on the main page of wordpress.com!  As you might expect, this brings a great increase in traffic, which in turn will greatly increasethe ammount if people who follow your blog if it is good, or increase the amount of apathy or even hatred you receive if your blog is bad.  I have often thought that the worst sort of comment a blogger could ever receive would be a self styled Ignatius Riley replying to a post with a mere “Ho hum.”

I have always yearned for the honor of becoming freshly pressed.  There are of course criteria that one must meet to even be considered.  I have included a list of the criteria here, for your reading pleasure.

The Criteria of Freshly Pressed

1. Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.  This includes language, images and other nasty things.  No wonder I have yet to be pressed!  I break this rule all the time.  You may have noticed the pictures in this post have deviated from my standard “google keywords and then post the image’s that a find with some pithy title” approach to blogging.  All of these new images are painstakingly hand drawn, and are owned by yours truly.  I also have written a single swear word in this post so far!

2. Have visuals.  Checkity-check!  I use visuals all the dam… err… darn time!

3. Sacrifice a bull on a full moon.  What a happy coincidence!  I do this anyway.  Well, I say that “I” do it, but that’s not entirely true.  I get my cult to help me, too.

Cult of Cybele Sacrifice

A fairly accurate depiction of our monthly meetings.

4. Cap off your post with a compelling headline.  I think all of my headlines are compelling, especially this one

That’s really all there is to it!  When these four things are completed, there will be a knock on your door.  Don’t be afraid.  Go and answer the door, but make certain to open it with your left hand.  If you have no left hand, than you must use your left foot.  A man wearing a trenchcoat and fedora will be waiting for you.  You will not be able to see his face, nor would you want to!  He will extend his hand, and you must give him exactly 3 trout fins, which he will eat.

How to be freshly pressed

The proper procedure in the vitally critical "presentation of the trout fins" stage.

Warning: Do not look away.  It is important to have your head bowed but still be able to watch him.  Upon consuming the trout fins, he will sing a song.  The lyrics are unimportant, but be sure to remember the melody, which you must hum back to him after he finishes.  Do not hum the melody incorrectly.  If you sing it back to him correctly, he will nod and leave.  As soon as he is gone, shut your door and pour salt on the floor in a protective semi-circle around the threshold, and then immediately go to sleep.  If you did everything correctly, you shall be freshly pressed the next day!  I hope this guide has helped you in your goal to become freshly pressed.  Leave a comment if it did, or even if it didn’t!  Oh, and here’s a picture of an awesome Latte I had one time.


It's from a place called Red Katz in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Please freshly press me!

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