Cover provided by Timothy Lim
But for evidence of his skills being on par with that of his namesake, look no further than his brilliant homage to “The Raven”, titled “What the Hell, Bird?” published in such reputable literary journals as Gamer Informer, Sorcerer: The Guide to Comic Strips and Corner Penthouse.
“What the Hell, Bird?”
Composed by Edgar Allan Poe IV
My evening shift at Wal-Mart had just finished and my Red Bull supply had about diminished
And since my petty cash had all but vanished I figured I’d spend the night at home.
So I returned there to my mother’s basement, not that I cared for such a placement,
But much to my own intense embarrassment, I could not yet afford to go it alone.
It’s not like I didn’t WANT to move out of the house and go it alone!
But “overdraft” is what the ATM had shown.
Soon midnight had come and I had grown bored and my blog post received neither comment nor word
So I considered pulling “Rate My Ninja’s” cord, but decided I’d just go lie down in bed.
While I laid there, nearly fapping, suddenly there came a rapping,
Just like when Tu-Pac’s lips were flapping, at least before he wound-up dead.
“‘Tis some gangsta,” I muttered, “Holy crap, I am SO dead—
Maybe he’ll just take my TV, instead?”
Right about then I was feeling kind of racist because I’d judged someone on a generalized basis
Without so much as seeing any faces; my white guilt was palpable, to say the least.
So in my guilt I flung wide the window! I flung the glass wide open even though
It could be some burglar after my stereo, snarling ravenously like a beast.
But it was just a little black raven, which I guess kind of counts as a “beast”.
He must have been after a Dorito crumb feast.
Presently, I thought that this was hella sweet! So I offered the creature a Cheeto treat,
But he did not respond with so much as a “tweet”. Wait, is that the sound that ravens make?
And then the raven, of his own volition, started pecking at my comic book collection!
Holy SHIT, dude! Those were in mint condition! I was going to sell them on eBay during summer break.
Oh man, how I wanted to grab that bird’s neck and force it to break.
Now I’d have to see what the thrift shop might take.
“What the hell, bird?” I screamed, outraged! “A menace like you should be bound and caged!”
Until then, only my mother had waged such a war against my collectables, before.
Swiftly, I endeavored to shoo it away before it could make my action figures its next prey,
But the stupid bird had elected to stay, landing on the bust of Optimus Prime above my basement door.
“Only 500 of those were produced! Get off the bust of Optimus Prime above my basement door!”
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore”.
“What the hell’s that supposed to mean!?” I inquired. Look, it was, like, 1am and I was really tired
And if I was late to work again, I would be fired. So I didn’t care that the bird had just talked.
I picked up a shoe and was about to throw it but my apprehension then forced me to stow it
Because my aim was bad and I knew I’d blow it; the thought of breaking Optimus is why I balked.
GOD how I wanted to splatter that raven, but the bust cost $200 plus shipping. So I balked.
“Nevermore,” the stupid bird squawked.
I decided, perhaps, that I might ignore him. I’d play some Madden; THAT would bore him!
Eventually, the bird would begin to snore then I would crush his skull in with a rock.
Logging into Xbox Live, I began to play and around the third quarter things were going my way
Until that freakin’ raven decided to say, “Nevermore” into the headset I used to talk.
“Did you just call my mother a whore!?” SexyNiblets301 cried, assuming I had uttered smack-talk.
Admins gave my Xbox Live account a three-week lock.
“That’s bullshit, man!” I cried, repeatedly. “I’m gonna file a grievance with Microsoft immediately!”
But of course no one would dare believe me when I said a raven called somebody’s mother a whore.
By that point I had finally endured enough and I no longer cared if I broke all my stuff,
So I stripped down naked and in the buff threw my G.I. Joes at the bust above my basement door.
Alas, years of video games instead of sports meant I could not hit the broadside of a door.
Sixteen misses and quoth the raven, “Nevermore”.
Exactly why I was naked, well, I’m really not sure. You see, everything after that is kind of a blur,
But I’m almost positive that I sprained or tore a back muscle when I tried to jump and grab the bird.
The raven proceeded to escape my grasp and in thirty seconds I was beginning to gasp.
“I’m out of shape…” I muttered in a rasp. And guess what? “Nevermore” is the response I heard.
My self-esteem was really taking a number from the mocking commentary that I heard.
Couldn’t the raven learn another word?
“I’m not finished… with you… yet,” I panted. “Just a five minute break and its go-time,” I chanted.
Then on the dirty floor I firmly planted my pathetic carcass of humiliated defeat.
In my nude reflections I stoically considered just why a stupid bird left me so embittered?
Then laying down there on the G.I. Joe-littered floor I curled up under a Superman bed-sheet.
I’d probably feel better after a good night’s sleep underneath my stain-specked bed-sheet.
In the morning, “nevermore” might even sound neat.
But sleep afforded my consciousness no peace! And my oppressions offered me no release!
I pleaded the tormenting specters to cease! And they were like, “Yeah, sure. Just kidding! You suck.”
My dreams were all cast in a nightmarish hue and while in their thrall I knew not what to do.
I thought to call on my homies and my crew, but my phone had no bars so I was out of luck.
They wouldn’t have come, anyway; it was WoW Night. Such lousy luck.
My homies would not have given a fuck.
In honest truth, my nightmares are always the same and I know precisely where to lay the blame;
On a figure with but a solitary name: and that figure was known only as “regret”.
Not regret for letting a variant cover pass me by! Not regret for shoving over that handicap guy!
It was regret coupled with the simple question: “Why? Why haven’t I done shit with my life, yet?”
I’m almost thirty and I haven’t so much as had one girlfriend, yet.
Sho’ties dunno what they be missin’, you can bet!
I spent high school playing Dungeons & Dragons; casting magic spells and drinking fake wine flagons.
And when the Ren-Fair came, I’d hide in the hay wagons to pretend I was a dark elf assassin.
Holy SHIT is that how I wasted my youth? I was a total fucking nerd to tell you the truth.
And it doesn’t take some sort of super sleuth to figure out I attracted a lot of ass-kickin’.
Unfortunately, it was never I doing any of the ass-kickin’.
That I had friends AT ALL counted as a blessin’.
Then following my high school graduation I found myself without any ambition
And thus with a total lack of direction, I spent my twenties living like I was still sixteen.
But perhaps this raven was just what I needed? He knew that my progress had been impeded!
And that must have been why the bird had succeeded in pissing me off with his simple routine.
He was trying to tell me complacency had trapped me in a life-stunting routine!
I understand you, now, raven! I know what you mean!
With revelation in hand, I cast off my covers. I could be rich and famous with many lovers!
I looked to my “Predator 2” poster and Danny Glover and swore that from this point on, I would change.
I’d no longer waste my time playing video games! I’d socialize and network and remember the names!
Or I’d torch the house and collect the insurance claims. That last one seemed closer within my range.
And you’d better believe my skill set doesn’t have tremendous range.
Apparently, “arson” makes a resume look strange.
The clock read Noon and I knew what that meant. I was fired from work; the pink slip already sent.
And yet I felt no sensation of discontent; my job was sucky and I had wanted to quit.
With all this newfound free time and no rent to pay I could still live comfortably from day to day
And after putting all of my distractions away, I could take my life and do something with it.
But I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it.
I’d ask the bird! He seemed to know his shit.
I looked up to my bust of Optimus Prime and the raven had been sitting there the whole time
Waiting for my dumb ass to think up the next rhyme. Jeez, how did Seuss do this shit for a living?
“Raven,” said I, “I must inform you I’m sorry. I sought to rid myself of you in a hurry,
But it is evident now that I was foolish to worry, as you are truly the Spirit of Giving.”
So I waited in silence for that feathered sage to start giving.
But apparently the bird was not so forgiving.
And still today, that raven, never flitting from my Optimus Prime bust, still is sitting.
All he does is eat my snacks and start shitting, because it turns out he’s just a stupid bird.
I interpreted him as some angel sent from above to help me be a success and maybe find love,
But now I wish that I could just dispose of this raven who is not a metaphor or any other word!
So I sit here playing Call of Duty, trying desperately to drown out that annoying word.
Quoth the raven, “Nevermo—” OKAY! I get it! I heard you! I heard!