Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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Chapter 29
Phil loses his mind...
I just released some videos for my campaign.  It's odd, because I don't remember making them...  When ever I look at them, I become forgetful and start working on projects in the yard.  But you can watch them and see what you think...No Felony Convictions   and Resistance is Futile.

My stream of consciousness went on vacation.  If it returns, so will new entries to this fiction blog...

Hey, wait a minute, I didn't write that!  My stream of consciousness did not go on vacation.  I must have lost my mind!  I'll have to figure out an ad to run, in case it's reading the personal ads...  "Lost--mind--sure we were a bit dissassociated, but it's nothing to go schizo about...  Come back and I'll take life more seriously."
    Boyoboy, I sure hope it sees the ad.  Maybe it's checking email.  Then I could send it something more to the point:  Dear brain, you can't be having much fun without a body to order about, without sensory inputs.  I know I'm lost without you.   In fact I can't think of any good reasons for you to come back, without you...

   I've been spending a lot of time watching videos on Youtube, hoping to come across my brain.
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...
I can't think of any good ways to find my brain...

Then I thought, since I've lost my mind, I might as well go down to the Hang Dog Saloon and have a couple beers.  My wife said, "Have you lost your mind?  You never drink, and even if you did, the Hang Dog Saloon would be the last place on earth anyone would have a drink."
    "Well, since I have indeed lost my mind, I figure it might be at the Hang Dog, getting plastered..."
    "Take your banjo," she said.  "It's the only thing that makes sense in a situation like this."

    Down at the Hang Dog Saloon, it was backwards Karaoke night.  The sound system sang the words, and the customers were doing doo wop versions of the instrumentation.  So when I showed up with a genuine instrument, there was some discussion, but they let me sit in on a couple.  I also had a bit of the hair of the dog that bit me, so to speak, and after a few more drinks started watching car racing on the big screen tv.  While I still had my brain, I could never understand the beauty of watching car racing anywhere, let alone on tv.  But now it suddenly all made sense.  Later the program switched to Pro Wrestling.  Same thing.  Wow!  I thought,  What a huge chunk of the world  I've been missing.

    The commercials also had an odd fascination for me.   I was still trying to decide which brand of car was the right one for me, when one of those public interest type ads came on.    It said, This is your brain with 5 drinks of alcohol.   Then it warned about the dangers of drinking and driving.  It showed the brain getting behind the wheel and driving into a tree.  The thing is, I recognized that brain!  That was my brain they were using in that commercial.  This was fabulous!   My brain had gone to Hollywood, and made it in the Big Time!

    So I went home and booked a flight to Los Angeles.  While online, I checked my email.  Not only had I won the lottery, but a wealthy Nigerian wanted to send me 6 million dollars.  I was overjoyed.  Then I saw the email from the TV show called "That's Stupid!"  They had accepted my act for inclusion on their program.  My chicken and I were on our way to the Big Time ourselves!  Who needs a brain?

    On the flight, one of the persons next to me asked why I was holding a chicken in my lap. The guy on the other side was politely ignoring us both.
So I explained how I was going to be on That's Stupid!  "Henrietta and I have a chicken act.  She pecks food from my hand while singing the Star Spangled Banner..."
    He exclaimed, "Your chicken sings the Star Spangled Banner?"
    "She does?"  I said.  "Oh, no, I sing the Star Spangled Banner.  It's a very patriotic act...  It's going to be part of the July 4th fireworks special. "
    The guy admitted he'd never watched That's Stupid!
    "Well, it's pretty simple really.  People come on and do stupid things, and the audience and AOL users vote on what is the most stupid act of the night."
    "So," he said,  "The most stupid act wins some big prize, like a trip to Vegas?"
    "They do?"  I said. " Oh, no,  the winner gets a hundred pounds of artichokes."
    "Artichokes," said the guy. "Say, have you ever heard of the Great Principal Groogan?"
    I should have asked him what that had to do with artichokes.  As it turned out, it probably had nothing to do with artichokes, but the Great Principal Groogan became a minor sticking point in my life.

    "So," the guy said.  "The Great Principal Groogan has all the answers.  It doesn't matter if you are depressed, repressed,  addicted, inhibited,  or a dropout from Rehab."
    "Say, I've done some time in Rehab!"  I said.
    "I could guess you have," he said, giving Henrietta a little chuck under the beak...  "
Great Principal Groogan means peace. Great Principal Groogan means a better life...  Great Principal Groogan is love."
    "I had a principal in Elementary School who wasn't too bad..."  I said.
Great Principal Groogan  will fix whatever's wrong with you.  When we land, I'm going to help you get to one of our seminars..."
Great Principal Groogan give me back my brain?"  I asked, thinking this sounded familiar.
    "Sure, just don't look behind the curtain," he said.  

    It turns out the Great Principal Groogan was this guy that has everything figured out.  This was good, since I was temporarily without a brain. So I signed up for a week of intensive Principal seminars.    During breaks they let us watch TV.  I thought I saw my brain on some of the late night talk shows, but things were pretty fuzzy for me, what with the intensive training and all.   It didn't help that the TV producer for "That's Stupid!" kept calling reminding me of things to bring.  Like I'd forget to bring Henrietta's food along or something...
    Henrietta seemed to enjoy the 
Great Principal Groogan seminars also.  Pretty soon she had a small group of the attendees waiting on her hand and foot.  If Great Principal Groogan was there, he might have been jealous of her, but he was only there via the videos which we watched for 10 or 12 hours a day.  
    Finally the week of intensive training was done.  Along the way I'd confided in my
Great Principal Groogan trainer how I was going to be on "That's Stupid!"  He left the room all excited, and came back with a supervisor, who said I was to address the people with a special message from Great Principal Groogan.

    Somehow with all the excitement and lack of sleep and 20 hours a day of
Great Principal Groogan training, I'd forgotten to look for my brain.  When we finally got together again, my brain was glad it had missed out on Great Principal Groogan.  But that's getting ahead of the story.
    So when the seminar was over, we all emptied our wallets in support of the marvelous learning of
Great Principal Groogan, and headed off into the world totally free.  We were supposed to go find more seekers for Great Principal Groogan, but I was excused from that, because of the Special Message.  So I called the TV producer, and found out what time to do the routine with Henrietta on the 4th, and how to get to the studio.

Great Principal Groogan training is so intense,  I just sat on the sidewalk with Henrietta and enjoyed life in California.  It hadn't rained once the whole time I'd been there.  I'd have to email Alice about that whenever I found a place to get online...  A couple of Henrietta's Great Principal Groogan admirers sat with us for a while, but wandered off when they got hungry.  Henrietta didn't get hungry, since I had her bag of feed, but I was beginning to feel a bit peckish myself, so we finally wandered into a fast food restaurant.  Fortunately Henrietta had secured us some spare change from admirers...
    "We don't serve chickens here," they said at McLarry's.
    "That's alright, Henrietta would be offended if you did," I said.  "But she' doesn't care about cows, so I'll have a hamburger."
    They made us walk through the drive through, but other than that the food was great!  I was always so picky about my food when I had a brain...

   After eating, we went to wait at the TV studio.   There was a TV in the waiting room, so I could see what else was happening on the network.  Imagine my surprise when  my brain showed up on the Issues and Answers program, as a guest pundit!  And that show was finishing right before That's Stupid started!  With luck I'd have my brain back in time for the show!
    I found out where they were airing the Issues and Answers program, and got as close as I could to it, which wasn't too close, as security seemed to think there was something odd about me.  It was probably the chicken, my brain said later...  Anyway, as the show ended, the studio audience left, and I worked my way through the crowd in time to yell at my brain, "Here I am!  It's me, Phil!"
     I think it was probably because my brain was chatting with Larry King, but it seemed to be ignoring me.   "Pay no attention to the man with the chicken," I heard it tell Larry.  But as I worked my way closer, Larry King left me alone to confront my errant brain.

    "That's a fine mess you've gotten yourself in," said the brain, when I'd quickly told him about the tv program I was going to be on...  "They don't even pay the contestants, and the winner, if you can call it that, just gets a bag of artichokes.  I got 5 figures just for doing this guest emcee spot..."
In the end, after begging and cajoling, it agreed to meld consciousness with me again, and just in time, as the production assistants were coming looking for Henrietta and me.

    So, I said to myself as I waited in the green room, this will be a piece of cake.   Give Henrietta her layer mash and sing the Star Spangled Banner, then deliver the special Groogan message...   Whoa, wait a minute, said my brain.  What's this Groogan message?   So I told myself about how wonderful Groogan was and how I was chosen to deliver a special message to the world about it.  That's when my brain got a bit huffy and said it was glad it missed out on the Groogan seminars...  There wasn't any more time to chat, because the fireworks were starting, and I was cued to come on with Henrietta.

    It brought tears to my eyes, how proud I was to be an American, where any schmuck with a speck of talent can have 15 minutes of fame, whether they're Andy Warhol or not.  So Henrietta and I strode out onto the stage,  where there was a small studio audience with somehow thunderous applause.  I let my brain do the talking...
    "It's not only in America, where dumb schmucks are randomly chosen to be made fun of for the entertainment of other dumb schmucks.  But America does it best!   (Thunderous Applause)  What's more, hapless clowns are brainwashed by weird cults like
the Great Principal Groogan, then told to deliver other hapless fools for the fleecing...  (Smattering of Applause).  A funny thing happened to me on the way here today.  I lost my mind, and I just got it back in time for this performance.  (Smattering of laughter, mild clapping).  Well, the show must go on, and so here's Henrietta the Chicken, and our song is the Star Spangled Banner."

    At this point my brain took a brief out of the body experience, which didn't hurt the performance at all.  The reviewers the next day said they sensed an aura of greatness about both Henrietta and myself.  I think it was probably just my brain's aura getting disembodied.  Anyway my brain has never really liked mindless patriotism, so I didn't miss it at all, and the show went beautifully.  However a 10 year old girl who sang I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy won the artichokes, so I hope she enjoys them.   I'm not fond of artichokes myself...

    But what about the special Groogan message, you might ask, assuming anyone were reading this...  Well, in my brainless condition I was ready to deliver the message as programmed, after the song,  but the TV program cut to a commercial right after I sang, and the 10 year old was hustled on as I was hustled off.  I kind of thought I'd have a few minutes to sit and chat with the emcee, but I guess a few seconds of fame is all they're giving out in Hollywood these days...  Henrietta seemed satisfied with it anyway...  She watches the video of it regularly on Youtube.
    Perhaps you wonder how Henrietta watches Youtube.  Well, I bought her a computer with her share of the  money we got from the Layer Queen feed company for using their product on the show.  Usually the program is really careful about product placement, but I guess the feed bag I carried on slipped by their lawyers or something.  Anyway, Henrietta does well on the computer, but she's a little slow with her typing, because she uses the "Hunt and Peck" method...

Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
 Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40
Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
6. The old
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
Lost in the City

What's in
a name?
The Curse of
Bently Manor
Shortbottom Possessed
The Lost
of Iraq
Phil Steen
for President!
Phil Steen
for Rehab
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
The Quest
for meaning
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
How I spent
my summer
I am
trapped in
the Present
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death