“CANNERY” by XIM XOM

Many of the greatest merchants in ancient Egypt had one simple secret to their financial success: they ain’t go for no bullshit.

With that in mind, I started working down at the local cannery in 1985.

I needed a job and I didn’t want any BS about it. I held fast to the belief that one day, with enough hard work and perseverance, perhaps I too would become among the most wealthy men to walk the Earth.

I stopped by the front desk and tipped my cap to the receptionist. She shuddered and pretended to take a phone call.

I asked what kind of work needed to be done at the cannery.

“Can things, mostly,” she said with a scowl.

“Well, I CAN do that,” I said, winking so hard I fell over.

Great. So I got the job. Now it’s 10 years later and I know everything there is to know about canned goods. I know what goes in the cans, I even know what goes outside ’em. I know how to open the cans, I know how to close ’em. The only thing I don’t know is how to get paid more than minimum wage for my hard labor.

So I march back up to the front desk and clear my throat. The receptionist puts down her newspaper and slides her bifocals to the edge of her nose.

“Did you hear about this new movie Toy Story?” she asks me.

I say of course I have, it’s 1995. Continue reading

“MY BROTHER AND I OWN THE BP STATION ON CERMAK AND DAMEN” by XIM XOM

My brother and I own the BP station on Cermak and Damen.

He runs the convenient store and I run the Subway.

We are in love with the same woman – Dame Judi Dench.

I have a poster of her above the oven.

He keeps one behind the cash register.

Every night we go all out kissing our posters and professing our love for her to the point where we cannot hear each other over the excessive smooching.

Then one evening, the store got robbed.

A masked assailant barged through the door waving a gun around, demanding we empty our cash registers.

Fearing he meant business, we did as we were told.

As he was dumping our earnings into his backpack, my brother’s poster caught his eye. Continue reading

“I WAS 23 YEARS OLD WHEN I RETURNED HOME TO LANSING, MICHIGAN AFTER TWO TOURS OF DUTY IN AFGHANISTAN” by XIM XOM

I was 23 years old when I returned home to Lansing, Michigan after two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

I came back to find my wife was with another man. It had been over a year. Together they had spent all my savings.

He seemed to feel a little guilty about it when they broke the news to me at the doorstep – but she didn’t.

So I bought an ounce of weed off him and took my things to a motel on the other side of town. I played the classic rock station on my transistor radio and got as high as humanly possible for two weeks.

I thought about how the same 50 songs have been playing on repeat my entire life. Whenever I wanted to listen to them, they were playing already. They would probably be playing long after I was gone, maybe after everyone is gone. Continue reading

“EXTRA WONDERFUL SENSATIONS” by XIM XOM

Extra wonderful sensations spontaneously bombard you at Office Max, causing you to lose focus on choosing which trapper keeper you will take to the first day of 4th grade.

You turn to your mom and say to her the most beautiful combination of words ever uttered in the history of the English language.

She goes white as a sheet and falls to her knees.

They close the store early and just give you the binder for free.

A week later, you are sitting across from Ellen trying to remember what you said.

Everyone is getting impatient. You can hear rustling in the audience. You fidget in your chair, uncertain what to do next.

You close your eyes. Continue reading