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Chapter 2

Requiem for an Urkel

Carl Winslow was never one to take long showers. Then again, Carl Winslow had never been covered in this much dirt and filth. The water hit his black skin, each droplet ricocheting its way down until it swirled into the drainpipe and out of sight. Unfortunately, the guilt of his cold blooded killing could not be gotten rid of quite so easily. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Carl twisted the knobs and stepped out of the tub. He couldn’t squander anymore time trying to clean his body and his conscience. Today, he had two funerals to attend.

Steve Urkel’s body lay motionless on the velvety inside of the coffin, his comically large glasses gently resting on his face. They covered the wound from the slug that Carl had fired into his brain just 4 days before. When it was Carl’s turn to address the deceased nerd, he could only briefly glance at Steve’s body before he had to look away, as he was overtaken by a vomitous urge. The young man he had killed was not the same one that would soon be eulogized by his daughter. The young man he had killed was a prowler, a reprobate and a fraud. The young man he had killed was Steffon Urkelle, yet it was Steve Urkel whose heart would no longer beat, and whose murder Carl had to live with.

Laura’s eulogy was beautiful, truthful and poetic, and she spoke of Steve’s numerous misadventures with the Winslow family. She spoke of the time that he drove his car through the Winslow family house; she spoke of the time that Steve befriended an orangutan and got it to kiss Carl on the lips; she spoke of the time when at a wild house party, Steve let loose and taught everybody how to “do the Urkel.” She even spoke of the time when she enlisted Steve to help her with her science project, only to have him accidentally make an atomic bomb and completely blow Chicago off the map, and how she later woke up to realize that it was all just a weird dream. With each memory of Steve that Laura recounted, Carl winced in agony. Steve was such a lovable character, how could he have shot him dead in the street?

That night, Carl made violent love to his wife. Ever since the incident, Carl had ceased to feel human, to feel like a man, and he thought that intercourse with his wife would cure him of this. But it was a completely empty gesture, each thrust meaningless, each moan less a cry of exstacy and more a cry for help, and Harriette knew this. Carl knew that his wife could tell that he wasn’t right, but she could never know that he was responsible for Steve’s death, even though she deplored his alterego, Steffon, just as much as Carl. She could never know that he was a murderer.

The next day at work, things got complicated. Steffon’s murder, which had earlier been chalked up to a senseless, unsolvable drug killing, had been reopened. On the big board where the names of all of Chicago’s murder victims were written, so to were the names of the detectives assigned to each case. Next to Urkel’s, the name written in black sharpie was Carl Winslow. It would be Carl’s first case as a detective.

It would probably be his last.

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Alright people, I realize that it has been forever and a day since I’ve last blogged (literally) and I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart. I could come up with a whole litany of excuses as to why I haven’t typed any words in this word box thingy for the better part of three months, but most of them would probably be untrue and unconvincing, so what’s the point of even trying to come up with any? I’ll just make amends by posting this monster list of 69 New-fuckin’-Year’s resolutions for you’ll to chew on. How many other blogs out there in the cyberworld would provide you with this many resolutions, goals, hopes, dreams and pie-in-the-sky aspirations for 2009? That’s right, none of them would. Just me. So here you are, faithful readers, and here’s hoping to considerably more blog entries courtesy of The Crain Train in 2009.

69 New Year’s Resolutions For The Year of Our Lord, 2009 A.D.

1. Sleep in later. No more of this getting up at the crack-of-dawn nonsense. It’s not healthy.

2. Add a couple of new restaurants to my fast food lunch rotation. I’d like to see myself eating less Subway and a little more Wendy’s this year.

3. Oh, and some more Pollo Feliz.

4. Shave my beard with an actual razor that has an actual blade at least once without drawing blood and/or crying afterwards.

5. Break the land speed record…for gettin’ in a chick’s pants!

6. Adopt a Palestinian baby and an Israeli baby. Name them Pal and Izzy, respectively.

7. Come up with a new way to resolve long standing geo-political conflicts with some sort of competition involving babies.

8. Finally take that trip to Nigeria that I’ve been planning for the past few years.

9. Invent a Guinness Book of World Records video game.

10. Change my shoelace tying procedure from “over, under, around and through” to “over, under, in and out.”

11. Try to think of the name of the Nickelodeon game show that Mike O’Malley hosted before “Guts.” You know, the one with picto-grams and stuff.

12. Start smoking and then finally quit (and for real this time )

13. Get through at least one article about the AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa without laughing hysterically.

14. Win an old school, one on one, no holds barred, east-side vs west-side rap battle.

15. Discover 40 species of microscopic, algae-dwelling proto plankton.

16. And kill them.

17. Finish at least 2 New York Times crossword puzzles each week.

18. Figure out a way to steal my neighbor’s issues of The New York Times.

19. Finally get out into my workshop and finish the dang entertainment center that the old lady’s been nagging me about.
20. Become a best selling author by learning how to fly-fish and then writing a humorous, anecdotal memoir about how learning to fly-fish is a metaphor for life.

21. Grow eight inches.

22. Write a kid’s movie about talking animals that live on the prehistoric super continent of Pangea.

23. Exercise for 45 minutes everyday after work, completely naked except for wristbands.

24. Put aside $20 from each paycheck to donate to the Ku Klux Klan.

25. Stop peeing in the shower, especially when I’m not taking one.

26. Start dressing in something nicer than just t-shirts and jeans when stalking high school girls.

27. Try harder to say “dork” instead of “dick,” because it sounds funnier.

28. Also “porno” instead of “porn.”

29. Clean out my closet, sell all the stuff that I don’t need or haven’t used for a few years and donate the money to the Ku Klux Klan.

30. Take a speed reading course and read the complete works of William Shakespeare in 25 minutes.

31. Cast an informed and well researched vote in this year’s U.S. Presidential election.

32. Train for the Boston Marathon and run in it while completely drunk.

33. Climb on top of the tallest building in the city and do a back flip off of it.

34. Spend about 5 minutes each night before I go to bed to pray for $40,000 and the power of flight.

35. Submit an entry for the next “Chicken Soup For the Christian Grandmother’s Soul.”

36. Go number 1 in twelve different states.

37. Go number 2 in six different ones.

38. Oh, and some more Del Taco. That stuff is pretty tasty (See #2.)

39. Start researching my family history and genealogy so I can be positively sure that I don’t have a drop of dirty, Lithuanian blood.

40. Enroll in a few night school classes at the community college…or just go on a sorority house panty raid.

41. Finish filling out all the necessary paperwork to legally change my name to Matty B. Exceptional.

42. Buy the lake house that I’ve always wanted and fill it with cocaine and tranny hookers.

43. Coach a basketball team of underprivileged, dyslexic, paraplegic middle school kids.

44. Bone down with each of their mothers.

45. Try to become the first person from Missouri to win the Nobel Prize…for gettin’ in a chick’s pants!

46. During a two week span, eat nothing but Hostess brand Chocolate Pudding Pies.

47. Get my ride “pimped,” my truck “tricked” and my house “flipped.”

48. Do some science experiments and see if I can’t find a cure for either rabies or scabies.

49. Stop what I’m doing whenever I see a school bus hurtling down the street out of control and save all the children that aren’t ugly.

50. Bone down with each of their mothers.

51. Overcome my debilitating speech impediment and record a Grammy winning duet with Chingy.

52. Try to get out of the house a little more often so I can go on a worldwide search for a lamp containing a sexy genie.

53. Adopt a dog from a Greyhound rescue service, dress it up in a tiny dog tuxedo and make it be my butler.

54. Make more of an effort to get involved in hilarious japery and/or tomfoolery.

55. Organize a local group of political activists to get all those damn Whigs and Free Masons out of city council.

56. Take a much needed break from my job as a trucker, make amends with my estranged son and win the national arm wrestling championship.

57. Stop neglecting my aging grandmother so I can horn in on some sweet inheritance action.

58. Bone down with her Hispanic nurse.
59. Work my way up the National Scrabble rankings, make it all the way to the finals and then play the word “BONEDOG.”

60. Re-watch Jurassic Park 2. Maybe it’s not as bad as I remember.

61. Start saving some money for retirement, put a down payment on a nice home and settle down with one of those San Diego Charger cheerleaders that I’ve been seeing on the TV.

62. Using only elbow grease, hard work and old fashioned American ingenuity, try and find a way to get drunk faster.

63. Rescue a chimpanzee from a zoo and train him to be a Kentucky Derby caliber jockey.

64. Dust off the old cam-corder and try to get myself on “America’s Funniest People.”

65. Actually take a stance for once in my life and speak out against the senseless genocide currently going on in Rwanda.

66. Become left-handed.

67. That episode of “Walker Texas Ranger,” where Walker needs to thwart a terrorist attack so he visits a kooky old inventor and then uses a jet pack to get to the top of a roof, I want to do that.

68. Get myself into good enough shape to make it onto a major league baseball team and then set the single-season record for bunts.

69. Blog more

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Folks, I read it in the latest issue of J-14 that sometimes it’s okay to forget about other people’s feelings for a little while and to just let out your claws, be a bit of a bitch and vent about what’s a-peevin’ ya. Some of my bloggin buddies have done this before, making people frozen and even Joel Rolling them. Now, I’d like to follow in their footsteps by banishing a few things all the way to the back of The Crain Train and into my caboose. I’m not really a train expert, so I’m not sure if it is entirely accurate to put things that I think are bad and unwanted in the caboose. Maybe the caboose is actually a pretty desireable place to be, where only the best and the brightest are allowed to hob-nob with eachother whilest riding the rails. I really don’t know. But the bottom line is that if I’m driving the train, there are a definitely a few things that I want as far away from me as possible, and that’s why they’re going in the caboose. The other bottom line is that “caboose” is a funny word.

But enough chit-chat, let’s find out what’s in The Crain Train’s Caboose!

The Person(s) Who Bought My Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

A few years ago I made one of the worst and least thought out decisions that I ever made in my life. After making the life-choice to pick up and move away from the comfort of my familiar midwestern haunt, I felt it was abosolutely necessary that I get rid of any un-needed wares as well as amass the greatest some of money that I possibly could. “What better way to do this than to sell some of my personal belongings on the internet?”, I hastally and stupidly thought. My collection of NES games, while not enormous, was definitely one that could fetch a pretty penny on the ebays. ‘Twas a collection peppered with Mega Mans, sprinkled with Tetris-es (Tetri?), littered with Marios and Zeldas, filled with Duck Tales and Rescue Rangers, and topped of with a delightful helping of Bubble Bobble. I placed the hefty lot on EBAY and over the course of a weekend watch the bidding price rise skyward, nearly reaching a cool 200 bones. And just like that, the auction ended and I was packing up my beloved gaming machine and sending in northward all the way to Canada. I sold it to a freakin’ Canadian! And not even a regular gun-totin’, beer-drinkin’ Canadian, but a native of Quebec. A French Canadian! How could this greedy and heartless Canuck stoop so low as to have bid on a lot of precious retro gaming cargo that was obviously posted for sale by someone not in a normal state of mind? I would almost venture call this heinous act the work of a sick and demented criminal mind, one that has absolutely no regard for importance of nostalgia and innocence of children. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my precious NES, and not a day goes by that I don’t place the blame me not having it on the dirtied hands of the Canadian(s) that are now in possession of it. Until I track you down and take back what is rightfully mine, I am banishing you to the Crain Train’s Caboose!

The Future of TV

Don’t know if ya’ll have heard the news, but TV broadcasting is going all futuristic and digitized next year. As some of you may know, the tube that is currently perched atop a dresser in my cozy, studio apartment has wood paneling on it, i.e. it ain’t gonna be able to play fancy-pants digital channels! Sure, my TV doesn’t go more than 2 minutes without making a loud static sound and cutting in and out repeatedly, usually during the pivitol plays of sporting contests or during the funniest lines of Seinfeld episodes, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t completely love the old girl. I take a lot of pride in owning the very same TV that I used to inconspicuosly sneek peeks of softcore Cinemax porn on more than a decade ago. And now the big-wigs and the TV lobbyists over in Washington want to render my beloved Panesonic completely useless. Damn you straight to hell! And not only that, they also want to hand me a hefty bill in the process. On top of the cost of having to buy a new, flat-screened, high-definitioned, big-assed TV that will probably break down just after the warranty expires, I’m also gonna have to upgrade every other piece of electronic material that I own. My trusty old Toshiba DVD player circa 1998? Nope, can’t use it, the fat-cats say I’ll need a HD compatable “Blue Ray” disc machine. And my trusty cable wire that I use as a crude antenna? Nope, gonna have to by a fancy digital box, a fancy digital remote and some fancy digital channels. When it’s all said and done after the US of A officially makes “the switch,” the Crain Train is going to 1 large in the hole. And it’s for this reason that the future of TV is being commanded straight back into in the Crain Train’s Caboose. Maybe you can get that damned Canuck to plug MY NES into ya!

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Folks, I’m just gonna go ahead and give it to ya’ll straight-up: there is just about nothing in the world better than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon chillaxin’ on the old sof’ and wasting the whole day away watching the bright and shining stars of the NFL do their thang. Add about a dozen or so frosty cans of easy drinkin’ Busch beer to the mix and you’ve damn near put me up with the angels in heaven. And this is especially true for me right now because I’m too cheap to pay Cox Cable any of my hard earned money, so the fact that these blessed events are beamed into my living room on 2 of the 4 fuzzy chanels that I get makes it that much sweeter. Yet with all the good that I speak of, there is one teensy drawback to spending the whold day glued to a TV set that happens to be tuned in to CBS:

For fuck’s sake, if I have to see another damn advertisement for “Two And a Half Men,” I swear I’m gonna go on a violent stabbing spree that will not end until the blood of at least thirty innocent citizens washes through the streets of midtown Tucson. And it doesn’t stop with 2AAHM (as they refer to it on the blogs.) There’s ‘The Mentalist.” Man, I really like to see how a twice-embarrased Eagles’ defense will hold up against the balanced offensive attack of the Steelers, so therefore I must surely be ecstatic about series premier of “The Mentalist.” Oh my gosh, the Dolphins are actually beating the Patriots, in New England no less, and Oh My Gosh, the “NICS” team is breaking up! Please, continue to show me an ad explaining how devestating it is that the folks of NICS are breaking up everytime you cut to a commercial (witch is apparently at every stoppage of play, you bastards.)

And the barrage of CBS programming ads isn’t even the end of it. What’s even worse are the numerous attempts at in-game advertising, where the commentators are forced to plug their chanel’s dramatic and comic offerings during the freakin’ games. I know good and well that Jim Nantz has a million poetic nuggets about football that he would rather be spouting instead of telling us that “CSI: Miami” is America’s favorite thing to zone out to in the evening, but tell us he must and groan I will. Oh man, there’s an in-game plug for “The Mentalist,” and then they cut to a shot of the Patriots’ head coach. Brilliant! And commentators, please for the love of God, don’t tell me your personal opinions about whatever shit show your broadcasting parter was forced to plug. Dan Dierdorf, your a good ex-football player and a crappy analyst, I don’t care that you think that “How I Met Your Mother” is “well written.” Let’s keep it about football, shall we?

Ugh, it’s like they are trying to make it as hard and as painful as it can possibly be to just veg out, nurse a hangover and enjoy a game of compettitive, American football. And don’t think that just because I’m picking on CBS that they are the only ones to blame. Fox, you suck too.

But with all my bitching, there is definitely something to like about watching football on network TV for 10 straight hours. I’m refering of course to Howard Long:

Howie

Yes, it is true that his musings on football are asinine, his playful joking with his pregame show co-host seems awkward and forced, and his demenor reeks of unabashed conservatism; but damn if that man can’t sell the shit out of Big Ass Trucks. The commercials where he is all up in his Big Ass Ford Truck and goads other dudes in slightly smaller trucks to do bold and manly things are absolutely hilarious. God bless you, Howie. Keep on goading those dudes on and I’ll keep on watching.

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One of the great perks of working in the fast-moving world of information sciences is that there is ample time to cruise the web and discover all sorts of interesting facts, many of them not related to watching people having sex. One of my favorite things while internetting is to look at my great state’s list of recently executed death row inmates with vivid descriptions of their heinous crimes and even vivider descriptions of what they had for their last meal. Let’s peruse the list:

Michael Poland

His Crime
Mr. Poland disguised himself as a highway patrolman and took hostage 2 armored gaurds in the middle of a lengthy bank run. After stealing more than 300 large from the van, he and his brother took the guards captive, brought them to a lake on the Arizona-Nevada border, tied them in canvas bags and dumped them in the water.

His Meal
3 Fried eggs, sunny side up; 4 Slices of bacon; 1 order of hash brown potatoes: 2 slices of whole wheat toast, with two pats of real butter; 2 individual serving size boxes of Raisin Bran cereal; 2 cartons of milk; 2 cups of Tasters Choice coffee

As someone who loves breakfast food, I think this is a really solid last meal. Eggs pop up frequently on many of the inmates’ lists, and for good reason (not to mention the irony of ordering them “sunny side up.”) I’m not sure what a “pat” of butter is, but I’m sure it is plenty. I always loved it when my mom bought the individual sized cereal boxes, and one wonders if Mr. Poland requested them or if that’s just all the prison had on hand. At least they gave him the real name brand stuff and not Bran-O’s or Raisiny Bran Flakes or some other type that just comes in that big bag. The coffee is a nice touch because the last thing you want to do when you’re being lethally injected is to nod off.

Robert Vickers

His Crime
Already on Death Row, Vickers was upset about a comment that fellow inmate Buster Holsinger had made about his niece. Pretending to be doing clean-up chores, Vickers snuck up to Holsinger’s cell, doused him with some saved up Vitalis and launched a burning strip of toilet paper inward, proceeding to burn Holsinger to his death.

His Meal
Green Chili Burros, burritos with barbecued steak, french fries and ketchup, vanilla ice cream, cream soda, a cigarette.

This meal is interesting because very few of the inmates stray too far from classic American fare. Burgers, steak, bacon, pie — these items seem to dominate last meal menus. It’s nice to know that people who immolate their fellow inmates for calling their niece “melon butt” are culinary individualists. Although I have to question the french fries and ketchup. Fries are great, but it’s your last meal, make ’em curly fries or ranch fries or even O-rings. Same with the cigarette; sure it’s a nice end to a meal, but why not a cigar? You fucking earned it, buddy. And one would hope that Vickers had the wherewithall to mix the cream soda and the vinilla ice cream to make a delectible pre-execution float.

John Brewer

His Crime
Brewer was informed by his live-in girlfriend, Rita Brier that she was going to leave him. He then locked the bedroom door and began to beat and strangle Brier, finally killing her with a tie. After resting from the violent struggle, Brewer showered and then had sex with Rita’s corpse. He then walked to a bowling alley, called the police and turned himself in.

His Meal
3 Grilled Pork Chops with gravy, 1/4 lb. Bacon, 6 Fried breaded Shrimp, Beef Rice-a-Roni, 2-3 slices French Bread with butter, Applesauce, 2 cans Canada Dry Ginger Ale with ice, 1 slice Coconut Cream Pie, 1 pint orange juice, 1 can Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers, 1 can Pear halves with syrup, Maxwell House Coffee with cream and sugar.

This really seems less like a last meal then it does a list of the items a frantic contestant would grab on Supermarket Sweep, although I have to admit that young Mr. Brewer has the right idea. If there is ever a time to completly gorge on food, a last meal is definitely it. It’s not like you have any health concerns at this point, and you might as well spend as much of the taxpayers’ money as possible. I also like that he has covered all of the meal bases (breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert) which I feel a lot the inmates on this list failed to do. God damn, I can’t believe this kid fucked a corpse.

Robert Comer (hey, comer is “to eat” in Spanish)

His Crime
Robert and his girlfriend, Juneva Willis, were at a campground and invited neighboring campers over for dinner. Instead of actually having diner, Comer shot one of the neighbors in the head and stole his belongings. He and his girlfriend then went to another campsite, hogtied the husband to a car fender raped his wife in front of him and then kidnapped her.

His Meal
Fried Okra, 4 Buns, Butter (lots,) Salt (lots,) Banana Bread (2 slices)

Yeah, this guy is pretty f’ed up.

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