Merry Widow
by Mike Lawless

Merry Black Widow
by Keith Graham

The Merry Widow
by Jeffrey P. McManus

The Merry Widow
by Bill Wright

The Merry Widow
by Lazarus

White Velvet Dress
by Phenokiie

Dora's Box
by William Doren

The Rise and Fall of My Roommates, and its Applications to Western Society
by Tuberider

The Merry Widow
by P.J. Wolf

The Merry Widow
by Zepp

The Merry Gladiator
by Colin Campbell

Home to Swagazine



An introspective (and extrospective) essay about us and them:

A long time ago in a place called Carpinteria, I went to boarding school. I went to boarding school with a lot of people, as there are usually a lot of people at schools, maybe that is what makes them what they are. Nevertheless, I had interactions with some of the other people there - those that made up the 'lot of people.' There were people there who I liked a lot, and there were people there I liked not at all, most of this was contingent on how they felt about me, but that is immaterial, as may be this story, and, as so may be life, but we keep on living it, so you might as well keep on reading.

Amongst the people I liked very much, and the people I liked very little, were the people I liked somewhat. One of these people was named Cosmic Herbert Charlie III. Of course no one called him Cosmic Herbert Charlie III, except for maybe his mom when she got huffy, as moms have a way of doing. I guess he was supposed to be called Cosmic, but boarding schools have a way of breeding nicknames, and his, which although seemingly not fit for human association, fit rather nicely, and it stuck. His nickname was Cosmosure.

Cosmosure was so dubbed during our sophomore year. He didn't like the name at all, but we did. We were a very cruel class during our sophomore year. My class had about 60 people in it, and it was during that year that most of the people started learning about drugs, and some, about sex. I think everyone was feeling pretty inferior that year. We were always mercilessly cutting people down, and playing harsh tricks on people. None of my friends really talk much about that year. It was a bad year for me.

It was a bad year for everyone.

Most of us don't have many fond memories from that year, but Cosmosure really had it hard. He had it pretty hard the whole time we were at Cate. He brought a lot of it on himself, but that year everyone got a lot more than they deserved. We all went home that spring different. Most of lost our trust in each other. It was pretty much a free for all, no one really could trust anyone else.

It makes me sad to think about the things I said and the things I did that year. It use to make me depressed to think about what others did to me, but I like myself more than I use to and it doesn't bother me anymore. But I digress.

Cosmosure was not well liked at our boarding school. He was uncoordinated, ugly, smelly, and he had the complexion of a used mine field. Those, however, were not the main reasons he was not liked. He was stubborn. He didn't have a whole lot of common sense. He was completely and utterly everyone else's own person... as opposed to being his own person.

When he did begin to become his own person, it was worse however, as Cosmosure, it turns out really was inconsiderate, pig-headed, and conservative, all of which we thought might just have been him trying to imitate someone else. At this point I should point out that, despite my ability to be self-searching and painfully honest, I am a totally biased observer. I have a stake in almost every story I tell, and I always want to be seen as the good-guy. I should mention, however, that I, as the author of the story, can pass judgments as I wish, and you have no other choice, but to rely upon my side of the story since I am the person who can write, and they are the people who don't. Basically the way I see the events that transcribed, to the people of the world who read, will become truth. I have thousands of inane opinions and I will fight to the death for any one of them. If you want to argue about it, I'll put it simply: you live in your world and I live in mine. I think mine is better than yours, and I am going to tell you about it. Then you can judge for yourself.

Cosmosure was my friend. At least as our society sees friends, he was. We traveled to Mexico on surfing safaris, we went snowboarding in the mountains together, we did all of those types of things, but the problem was Cosmosure had the social and life experience of an eight grader, while mine was somewhere in my late twenties to early thirties. Alright, so you think I am conceited, that is your perogative. If you want to understand my story then just humor me, and pretend I am everything I profess to be. Cosmosure and I saw the world from two different pairs of glasses. I'd say mine were the type Harrison Ford wore in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, small with wire frames, with thin lenses. They are practical, and not too noticeable, but at the same time have a touch of style and integrity. They don't really obscure ones ability to see the world. 

Cosmosure's, on the other hand, were the kind of glasses little kids buy at Disneyland. They are childish and cheap, just his style. His glasses had a special modification though, the lenses were spray painted black. 

Unfortunately Cosmosure hadn't realized he could not see out of his painted lenses, as he kept on insisting that he knew something about a world, that he obviously couldn't see. This, as I should have foreseen, would be the downfalling of our relationship as roommates, in the coming year. 

Cosmosure and I had both decided to attend the same university: the University of California at Santa Barbara, in my home town. I always make it a point to point out that I, swell guy that I am, was accepted in the first mailing, and Cosmosure was accepted in the last. I wasn't bothered that Cosmos, short for Cosmosure, was going to be going to the same school as I was. I did have a problem, however, when he asked if I wanted to be his roommate for next year. I was too nice a guy to tell him flat out, "no," or maybe I was just too spineless of a guy to tell him flat out, "no." Whichever, I didn't say no right away, and Cosmos started in on how fun it would be... and it would have been if he wasn't such a lousy person. 

Several weeks passed and I kept leading Cosmosure along, by not telling him I really didn't want to live with him, and slowly I started to develop the ideas he was putting into my head about how great it would be. I really am suggestible. Soon I developed some of my own ideas about the benefits of living with Cosmos. They were mostly material. He had wealthy parents, and I figured I could use his stereo and his computer, and I was sure he could bring a T.V., a V.C.R., and some other crap from home.

I began bouncing the idea of living with Cosmosure off some of my friends. They all knew Cosmos, and some of them were actually Cosmos's best friends, but all couldn't believe I was serious and predicted I moved out within months. Denial. I had convinced myself pretty much, but was wavered by the cursed predictions I was receiving from my friends. Then the clincher hit. Cosmosure, I, and some other guys were at Cosmosure's house before we were leaving to stay at his condo in Mammoth for a little alpine adventure. I was outside packing the car by myself, and Cosmos's mom drove up the driveway. She was always very nice to me, and had let me stay at their home several times. "So, I hear you and Cosmos are living together next year."

She was not asking, she was stating. Cosmos had evidentially told her my plans were finalized, and I felt if I didn't say no here, I would have to forever hold my peace. She had always been so damn nice to me. If I said no, she'd probably ask why, and I just didn't have the heart (spine) to do that, so I just lamely half-nodded my head.

It was the beginning of the year, a Sunday I think, and the dorm opened up at 8:00 am. I remember leaving my parents house - and my parents - at about 10:30 for the half hour drive to Isla Vista, where I would be living. I found a parking spot, and parked my car to register or whatever they call it in college. After I got all of that shit done I went to the room in which I would be living, to meet Cosmos.

Walking in the door, I found that the guy in the single bedroom had (poorly) decorated his room, and was sitting on his bed looking bored already. Here he was at the biggest party school in the world with members of the opposite sex I'll just say it boggled my mind that this guy was sitting on his bed staring at the wall. A bad omen.

I walked down the short hallway and looked in the open doorway on one side. Its occupants had already moved all of their stuff in and had found time to put up some very "high school nerd" posters on their ceiling. Some kid from the movie "Weird Science," a movie that I had the misfortune to miss (not), was staring down at me from ceiling. Although they weren't around, I knew they weren't my style.

I wasn't overly enthused about living with those guys, or looking at their posters, so I turned to the closed door across the hall. I opened the door to find an empty double room, evidently mine and Cosmos's.  About an hour after I had unloaded all of my stuff the Cosmosure family entourage appeared. Mr. Cosmosure, Mrs. Cosmosure, Cosmosure junior, Cosmosure sister, and the Cosmos himself. The Cosmosure family entourage was a problem. It really wasn't that big of a room, compounded by my unpacked belongings, and the incredible height that the Cosmosure family possesses, it was a very small room. I was curious why they didn't bring their damn dog as well. They brought everyone else, so hey, why not bring Rufus, the horny dog from hell along too..

I estimate that between them they are 31 feet 3 inches tall. That's a lot, especially if you take in to consideration their immediate decision to drop all of the items they were carrying and debate about how the room was going to be re-arranged.

I remember specifically offering to Cosmos, at one point when we were alone, the option that if his parents wanted to pay my rent, I would gladly allow them to arrange my room; however, no rent forth coming they could piss off. Cosmos understood what I was saying, but nonetheless did nothing to deal with his parental nuisances. It was a pretty amusing situation in hindsight. I remember Mr. and Mrs. Cosmos discussing what they felt would be the best set up for the room. Mrs. Cosmos wanted the bed here and the desk there, but Mr. Cosmos raised his doubts about the physical restrictiveness of that type of arrangement and put forth a proposal of the bed there, and the desk here.

After some time I decided that they were both wrong, and tried to tell them what I wanted. I, evidentially, did not really know what I wanted, as the Cosmosural marital unit quickly pointed out to me that I really wouldn't be happy with the desk there and the bed there, as I had proposed. I should mention that Cosmosure, realizing his inadequate ability to think for himself, or possibly a call from nature, had been absent from the festivities for some time.

We reached some sort of truce, or compromise, or something and got everything where it was going to go after forty-five minutes or an hour. Cosmos kept making these stellar appearances in the room, but was for the most part strategically absent. I really wished the Cosmos would go home, I'd permit Cosmos to stay, but the other 24 feet and ten inches were getting on my nerves. I was trying to herd them through the door, but they wouldn't go. Mr. Cosmos was trying to build (put together) things. He fancies himself a handyman. He is good at fixing things, but unfortunately that doesn't override an inherent inheritable lack of common sense. Mrs. Cosmos was busy making Cosmic's bed for him. Yah, that's what I thought too, so I tried to convince her that her 18 year old son was capable of making his bed entirely unassisted, she wasn't so sure though. Finally Mrs. Cosmos sat down on the bed, quiet and unactive.

I was beginning to make headway I thought. Maybe if I could just manage to disable Mr. Cosmos in the same way, I could convince them that they'd better leave now to avoid traffic, and then the victory would be mine. 

Then Cosmosure came back. "Why isn't my bed made?" or something to that effect he said, interogating his mother. She quickly snapped into action, folding and tucking, and fussing, all I knew was that it meant they would be there only that much longer. I always though Cosmic depended too much upon his parents, but I found this example to be exceptional. The way Cosmos asked his mother why she wasn't making his bed, really made a point. It wasn't as if she were doing him a favor, or helping him out, it was as if he didn't know how to do it himself.

Its kind of funny how I could have been so stupid as to think crap like that wouldn't get to me. I am not sure what happened to Cosmos that year - I am tempted to say that he grew up, but that would be a stupid thing for me to say - I'll just say the first day was just the forward to a Stephen King super-novel.

Maybe it was just that I was being an asshole or maybe Cosmos really was the most fucking retarded (no offense to admited retards) person I had ever met, and could possibly ever conceive of stumbling across. I remember one evening when we were coming out of the water after surfing. It was almost completely dark and Cosmos seemed to be having trouble finding the key to his bicycle lock. Cosmos was very proud of his bicycle because he had gotten such a good deal on it and he had one of the best bicycle locks money could buy for this majestically mediocre $75 bike.

Well anyway Cosmos can't find the key to his lock and it almost dark so, as usual, he chooses something creative to do in his efforts to free his oh so precious bicycle - he stomps around and mutters obscenities to himself. It is actually fairly entertaining to watch him do this for short periods of time because he pretty much becomes oblivious to anyone else around him and he starts talking to himself about god knows what, stomping his feet, waving his arms around like an uncoordinated Italian and hitting himself in the forehead like the V-8 commercials. I tried to conceal my giggling for awhile watching him look at his lock and look at his wetsuit and carry-on and finally scrape up enough bravado to communicate with him and ask him "Are you sure its not in your wetsuit?"

"Yah" followed by some more mumbling and "God Damns" and some bad Italian gesticulations. I'm getting bored with this whole deal, but don't think it would be a very strategic move for me to tell the pissed off giant that I am going to ride home and let him fend for himself in the hard cruel world, after all his mother probably didn't have time to drive up from Los Angeles and make things better so I just kept quiet and counted stars (they were out by now).

Some man walking by the beach at night stopped and watched Cosmos for awhile. The man looked pretty amazed and Cosmos's antics. He looked at me and I just shrugged and he walked away. Cosmos didn't even notice he was there. In his infinite wisdom Cosmos decides he must have lost the one inch key some where on the beach or in the ocean so in the pitch dark he goes to look for it cursing and stomping his feet.

Now maybe I am a little bit of a pessimist, but I really didn't think he had a chance in hell of finding his stupid key, but I was getting restless so I resigned myself to leave when the Cosmos came back up to where our bikes were.

"Fuck!" drifts up from the darkness as Cosmos stubs his big foot on some hidden beach object, further infuriating him.

After a couple of minutes in the darkness I think he had some kind or religious vision and realized that searching the ocean and the beach for a one inch key is fairly futile and searching in the darkness is probably not much better, so he re-emerges from the darkness like some ugly monster. By now his face is well contorted and he looks as if he is either going to cry or kill me. At this point I elect not to mention to Cosmos that he is being an idiot or that I want to leave him there. Just call me overly-sensitive but I certainly think it was a wise decision in retrospect.

"Wait here," he manages to force out between hyper-ventilations. Cosmos re-emerges from the house next to where our bikes are with a hammer. I'd really like to have seen the expression on the person's face who answered the door; I wonder if Cosmos asked for the hammer or demanded it from the person.

Surveying the man and his hammer I back up a few steps for safety and Cosmos makes a B-line for the bike. It just isn't going to work, but Cosmos pounds away at the lock with the hammer. He misses and catches his hand on the lock - More explanitives. I am afraid he is going to blow-up now; the veins in his neck are sticking so far out that I could grab him by them and he truly is "beet-red." He continues swing away at the lock, missing sometimes hitting others.

The hammer almost breaks; I can see it ready to snap. He stops and surveys his lack of progress. Like a primeval ape he throws the lock down - which doesn't really work because it is still attached to the bike and the bike rack - and proceeds to make the situation a whole lot better by striking the bicycle repeatedly with the hammer. It always amazes me the way Cosmos calls things "stupid" because they are good at what they do. He kept saying the stupid lock, but I thought the lock was doing well at what it was designed to do.

People who get irritated when they make a bone-head maneuver (like losing a key to a indestructible lock) I find interesting. What were they thinking when they bought the damn thing anyway? Maybe Cosmos figured the lock would be impossible for other people to open without a key, but not him.

I feel the same way about people who get mad at cops when they get nailed for speeding. They should say, "Wow, you did a really good job catching me for speeding, I didn't think you would have gotten me. Keep up the good work!" And sign the ticket. DIGRESSION! Reflectors, spokes and bicycle seats just aren't safe anymore as Cosmos swings blindly at the victim of circumstance bike. From my liberal berth I wait for the beast to tire and suggest that I could ride home, get his car and pick him up. The beaten Cosmosure who has just experienced a rage climax (kind of like an orgasm except all the blood rushes to his face), indicates some sort of approval and I take off anxious to separate myself from his heinous acts. etc.

Return to Top