“Bill and Madge” by Julia on her couch

Sunday, March 25, 2018
5 minutes
The Wreck Up Ahead
Poe Ballentine

M: Billy, come down here, the darn TV went off again!

B: So turn it back on again dear Liza!

M: Har har very funny. It won’t stay on, I already tried.

B: Did you unplug it, plug it back in, wiggle the cord, and say a little prayer?

M: Billy, for Chrissakes, get down here!

B: Say it, Madge.

M: Say what?

B: The magic words. All of em, in a row: Billy, my one and only, I need your help.

M: Are you out of your goddamn mind? Why do you think I’m asking you to come down here in the first place you egomaniac!

“Did you send the message?” by Julia on her couch

Friday, April 1, 2016
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

Connie has her overnight bag packed. She laughs every time she thinks of Alison calling it her “satchel”. Alison’s mom always teaches her to use the correct word for things, which is good because Connie can learn from that too. She thinks about her own mother falling asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while watching Wheel of Fortune every night after work. Once she solved a puzzle with only two letters revealed and Connie thought she was faking. She never hears words like “satchel” or “rotunda” or “enigmatic” so Connie didn’t think her mom was even fully watching her word shows. Connie goes into the living room to kiss her mother goodbye. She’s already asleep. Connie covers her in the red afghan and turns off the TV.

“thank you for your hate” by Julia in Piazza del Francia

Monday October 27, 2014
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve received numerous letters from viewers this week and I wanted to share with you the major themes they all have in common. As you are well aware, we set the example for those at home and when those at home see you at work, they follow your actions without thinking and they do what you do. Now you may be thinking, Marlena, great stockings today, but how are we supposed to know which behaviour the viewers at home will want to emulate? How, Marlena, should we prepare ourselves for the randoms and for the sheep-like viewers? And to that I will respond with, Thank you, they’re from Barclay’s, and because you don’t know what they’ll do, you must always behave accordingly. Now the first thing I’m going to talk about is one that’s really inspired a different breed of human to participate. I am going to say this only once: WE DO NOT EAT OVER OUR CATS. Does anyone know why we don’t do this, aside from having to spend 2-3 minutes pulling the couscous from their fur while debating whether or not it can be washed off and still eaten??

“Castorland Puzzle” By Julia at her desk

Monday October 6,2014
5 minutes
from the Castorland Puzzle box

Ok Go. You have. Yeah. Two. Two minutes. So what? Seriously. Do it. Do it. What? Do it! Ok. OKAY. Full words only. I will try. I will try! Describe the furniture. Shit. In the living room. No, shit! In the kitchen. K. I mean Ok. Sorry. Ok. Table. Brown. Wood. Wooden? Brown wood. Whatever. Four legs. Obviously. Yeah. I know. Ok. Wood chairs. Wooden chairs? Ugh! Three of them. One broke. Broken doesn’t count. So three. Yeah. Cushions. Don’t count? I don’t know! Do they? Ok. No cushions. Well, two cushions. No not three. One broke! Ok! Three wooden chairs. Wood. Whatever. Done. That’s it! I know. It’s small. It’s a small. Kitchen. Right. Ok. Living room now! One couch. Ummm. Shit. Grey. Cotton. No. That’s so stupid. Flannel? Ummm….. Fuck! What the shit. Is it ribbed? Materials. Ribbed? Like CORDUROY! Yeah. Sweet. Ok. One table! One wood/ wooden table. Coffe table, shit! One TV stand!

“Auditions for the part of” by Julia on Nicole’s couch

Saturday, September 6, 2014
5 minutes
from a tweet

She smiles at me because she’s trying to figure me out. She says, you’re leaving but aren’t you just starting your career? Don’t you want to be on TV or something? I smile back because FUCK YOU, I’m leaving cause I’m leaving. End of Story. Everybody back off. You know? And she’s still so sweet because she’s not trying to offend anyone, she’s just remembering the two conversations we’ve had in our entire lives and making attempts at small talk. Well it’s not SMALL. It’s my life we’re talking about. My life CHOICES we’re talking about. Which I’m not opposed to doing but I guess when one doesn’t have the answers one expects to have, it’s all just a little bit overwhelming. I’M GREAT AT BULLSHITTING. I blurt that out as a sort of “reason” even though it was meant to convince me more than her. She wasn’t supposed to hear that at all. I’LL BE JUST FINE. I blurt out again. But this time she’s not smiling. She’s sort of looking at me with concern and probably pity. Guess that TV thing is over then?

“Parking available at the rear” by Julia on Jessica’s couch

Monday, July 7, 2014
5 minutes
from a window sign

I don’t know if you know this, but I just got my license so I am free now and I can ride.
I can be the party bus.
I can be the one you call. Don’t drink and drive! So if you want to, I’ll take you there.
I’ll go anywhere. Just as long as I can get out of the house. It’s stuffy inside. It feels like the walls are made of rock crumble and at any moment it could come crashing down on me, burying me alive in all the rubble.
My mother is a sweetheart. She watches TV all day and tells me to heat up the carrots for dinner.
Nobody likes cooked carrots around here. Not even her. But she doesn’t know what else to feed me and she’s scared if she doesn’t I’ll go blind.
I heat up the carrots and put them on her TV tray beside the couch. She doesn’t even sniff them. They sit there all night. I don’t eat mine either so the house smells like warm mushy carrot and I don’t know if she knows this, but it’s not helping her case against my future blindness.
I want to get out and just drive along the highway.
I want to roll the windows down and breathe in the fresh freedom that I’ve been so hopeful for.
I want to drive away and never come back.
My mother is a sweetheart, but she won’t even know I’m gone.

“a divorce lawyer” by Julia on her couch

Sunday June 8, 2014
5 minutes
Humans of New York post

So like I’m watching COPS, right, and I think to myself, how bad these people have it that they’re having their crimes being broadcast on TV for everyone to see, and then I’m like, no, nobody watches this show anymore, and then, like, out of nowhere, some regular looking dude with a suit and a briefcase, starts running from these cops, right? And he’s bolting so fast and they’re chasing him down, and I’m like, what’s this dude doing, or better yet, what did this dude do that he needs to bolt like that? And then it dawns on me, like, this is COPS, right? So obviously he’s a criminal. And then they reveal after catching him, I might add, that he was just some normal dude who was a divorce lawyer who also just so happened to be selling a shit tonne of narcotics. Like, what? What are you doing, guy? You have so much money and you’re on COPS? That’s pretty brutal. I only like, stumbled on this show by accident cause there was nothing else on and I was waiting for my mouth to get unfrozen after my fillings. Like I had eaten so much candy that I needed to get four all in one day.

“Anytime. Anywhere. Anything” by Sasha on her couch

Friday May 16, 2014
5 minutes
from the side of a van

“Anytime! Anywhere! You need him? Hank is THERE!” My father was a lawyer in our small town. One of two. He and Thomas Vanderhoof went to Law School together. My father was a year ahead. He handled what he referred to as the “little people”. Vanderhoof took the big fish. “Anytime! Anywhere! You need him? Hank is THERE!” Was a fifteen second TV spot that he had on the local station from 1982-1990. It haunted my grade school years and my middle school years. The cracking voice of a pre-pubescent boy, “Hank is THERE!”

“we deliver” by Julia at her kitchen table

Monday November 25, 2013 at the Starbucks at Queen and Bay
5 minutes
The American Express Ad
The Wifi connection page

We deliver all the things! To your front door, your back door, your wherever’s most convenient door! We even do it when you’re not looking! When you’re not home! Like crazy people wearing ski masks in the dark! Just kidding! We don’t own ski masks! But we do creep around a bit. But only so it doesn’t disturb you! Only so you can rest and relax and watch your family show with your family, in absolute peace! We know about the family show, yes, but don’t be alarmed! Every family has one. It’s an easy thing to know about a person. We also know that you were saving those frozen pizza shells in the freezer for a special occasion and when it finally came, you wouldn’t eat them because “someone” forgot to buy the proper “melting cheese”. We know about that because don’t fool yourself! That one is more common than you think! The uncommon things you do are the common things we know about. We know because we’re human beings! Human beings are connected by the root, by the guts, and by the throat on most days! Those feelings are not new. Someone somewhere has had them before. That’s a wonderful thing! Your cheese problems are not rare! You are! But the experience is shared! Don’t you see? It’s not meant to trouble you! It’s meant to free you! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we! Say it with me! I am you and you are me and we are we are we are we. Whatever you need! You can call us and we’ll know exactly when, where and why!

“Softness, protection, control” by Sasha at Blazac’s in the Distillery

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at Balzac’s
5 minutes
from the macadamia oil bottle

Barry started… knitting. Don’t you dare fucking laugh. I’ll kick you in the tit. His shrink told him to do it. Said it’ll calm him right down. When he’s wigging out, when he’s about to lose it? He should go on down to the fucking family room and practise his “softness”. Her words, not mine. His shrink. Never met the lady but she sounds like a real piece of work. Barry says she’s got this big ol’ nose, and big ol’ hair to go along with it. She’s “plump”, that’s what Barry says. She gives that real nurturing vibe. He must love that. Must get real gushy with her. So, we’re getting in this nasty fight because I get home and I see he hasn’t even left the fucking couch all day, watching Eddie Murphy movies or something, and I’m losing it, I really am. Barry is about to scream, his veins are popping in his forehead, sure sign he’s gonna scream. He walks away. Next thing I hear is them needles clinking. Says he making a pot holder.