Monday, March 30, 2009

The Moron Fills In (Part Deux)

His chest expanded, chin jutting, arms thrown back and his feet planted exactly three feet apart, the Moron stood astride both the Dude's Barbershop floor and the monumental responsibility housed within like a posable action figure left out in the sun.

The brunette was pointing out various barbery bits around the Dude's shop, but she was one of those soft-spoken girls, and the music in the place (played over a system that sounded like a public restroom full of $20 clock radios) was rather on the loud side.

"With the reliant bums in, sneak them in a mile and back-slap their bike with a worm trowel," he heard.

The Moron understood that she felt an obligation to explain everything, but wished she wouldn't bother. He was a professional. Professionals knew how to do things already. That's what made them professionals.

"Thank you very much, Abby. Which one of these recliners is mine?"


"No. Recliners."


"Step on you? Why?"

She moved closer. "Steff-UH-nee. That's my name. Since you're filling in for Megan, you use her chair. Over here." Stephanie guided the Moron to a chair close to the shop's plate glass front window. Some dimwitted, surely unprofessional, putz had painted the text on it all backwards. It was a wonder this place got any business at all, poor souls. This seemed like a good time to buoy their spirits by showing them that he had come prepared for anything.

"I brought my own scissors," the Moron said, his tone deep and soothing, like a bottle of confident cough syrup that wanted the best for everybody. He tugged a pair of scissors from his back pocket. They had what the Moron considered to be very impressive fluorescent green handles, one of which was bigger and more elongated. This was part of their dark mystery, as the Moron had yet to discover what purpose this served, but he would have to do that research on his own time.

He had bigger problems to deal with right now.

"Oh, um. That won't be necessary. Megan left all of her supplies in her toolbox here, and..."

Stephanie's voice sounded like it was coming from deep inside an empty oil drum in the next room. The Moron was busy staring at his scissors. There was a problem with them. They had somehow developed a sort of sickle shape he couldn't remember them having before he left the house.

If one is to transport something in one's back pocket, it should be something that will not bend and take on the contours of one's buttocks, the Moron wrote on his pad of mental Post-It notes with a liquid-ink, rollerball thought-pen.

It was this kind of throughness that made him who he was, so it was not surprising that when inspiration struck, the Moron did not duck but took it right on the chin. These scissors are not broken. They're enhanced!

"They're contoured to follow the curvature of the skull!" he bleated, flourishing them like an infomercial huckster. "Bang. Productivity increased by ten to sixty-four percent right off the bat. Where are your Snickers?" He flexed the scissors mightily and one of the handles fell off.

"All the stuff you'll need is right here in this box," she said, patting a steel Craftsman toolbox.

Snickers, the Moron thought. In a toolbox. How grand. I must search for them. He cracked his knuckles in anticipation. There were few things in the world that the Moron enjoyed more than a good rummage. The big red toolbox, with its multitude of drawers and cake-like layered design was ripe for rummaging. His fingers twitched and he began to vibrate and drool.

"I've gotta run to the bank and get some change for the cash drawer. If you have any questions, just ask Hailey."

"Mm hmm."

The Moron waited for the door to close behind Stephanie before he scanned the toolbox for weaknesses. Perhaps one of those little drawers in front. A bit of spastics, and he'd be right in. He twisted his right hand into a claw, and coiled his arm like an arthritic cobra that could only bend at the elbow. Suddenly, his hand darted out and hooked a drawer open. A confetti cloud of clipper parts burst from the drawer and rained down all around him, disappearing forever under chairs and sinks.

"Hee hee," the Moron chuckled. "Parts."

A chime sounded. The Moron was deeply mistrustful of chimes, so he immediately put his rummaging on the back burner to investigate. The chimes were located above the entrance to the shop, and as he swung to recon that area, he noticed the door closing.

He heard footsteps.

The Moron followed their sound to the man making them. The man was talking to the girl (probably this "Hailey" character he'd heard so much about) behind the low desk with the LCD screen on it. Now he was writing something on a clipboard.

Hailey looked up from her LCD. "Your first client!" she said. be continued!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Moron Fills In

The Moron slammed his shiny red sports car into third gear and planted his foot. The engine screamed, the car's chassis tilted slightly under the influence of the torque, a rush of air blew his hair back, and the Chevrolet Cavalier behind him blew its horn. He glanced up from the tachometer.

The light was green. The Moron quickly shifted into first gear and let out the clutch. He turned the fan down and watched the Cavalier shrink in his rear-view mirror. A sweaty little frog of jealousy reached out from its dank cave and fondled his heart as he wished aloud for perhaps the hundredth time that he had bought a Cavalier instead. They were so cool, and the rusty ones looked even classier. Like a distinguished gentleman graying at the temples.

He wanted one sooo bad. Preferably in a nice shade of mauve with whitewall tires and a big ironing board spoiler and a really loud fart cannon exhaust and those blue halogen headlights, and...

Whoops. That was the street he needed. He was going to be very slightly late now. Normally this would not bother him, but today was special. Today he would not be rocking the socks off his own job, but filling in for his girlfriend at the barber's shop. As he spun the car into a tire-smoking U-turn, his vision blurred and the windshield full of angry motorists turned wavy, then dissolved altogether as the flashback chimes sounded, and he was once again standing in his boxer shorts in his kitchen.

"You're going to need that sock's mate if you're going to work for me today, candypants," his girlfriend was saying.

"Grappling hook!" the Moron said for no reason, and looked down at his feet. They were indeed only 50% socked. "Periwinkle!" he added.

"Be that as it may, you're going to have to be dressed for this job. I don't know what your dress code is like at The Company, but it's quite strict over at the shop." She ducked back into the bathroom to remove the scaffolding and finish the work on her hair.

The Moron allowed the arm holding his mug to relax. Coffee dribbled onto the floor as he prepared a professional office-person statement about The Company's regulations regarding employee wardrobe.

"I wear whatever I want!" he hooted. "I'm a professional, and as such I am permitted to garb myself as I see fit. I even wore a bowtie one day, but it fell into the document shredder." He crossed his arms and dumped the remaining coffee over his left shoulder.

"...regulars who expect me to remember their last cut. It's in this bag here. I really appreciate you doing this for me, hon," his girlfriend continued.

Evidently she had been explaining something important while he was defining his territory.

No matter. He'd figure it out. The Moron tossed the empty coffee mug skillfully at the dishwasher, watched fondly as it bounced off the closed door and rolled across the linoleum, and stalked off to find pants. As he reached into the laundry basket, its contents blurred, became wavy, and suddenly he was back on the road, in his car, drooling on the gauge cluster.

These flashback sequences weren't strictly necessary, since the events encapsulated therein took place less than an hour ago, and they tended to be more trouble than they were worth. The Moron made a mental note to tell his doctor. He then made a physical note to get a doctor.

With the confidence of a born Office Professional, The Moron shoved open the glass doors of Dude's Barbershop, and propelled himself toward the row of chairs with a poot he hoped wouldn't linger.

"Relax, ladies! Your substitute barber has arrived!" he boomed.

Two young ladies standing behind a short desk with an LCD screen on it looked up. The brunette nudged the blonde.

"That guy's only got one sock on," she whispered. be continued!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Paul the Crimefighter, Part II

Across the town of Berg, parents tucked their children into bed, pausing before kissing them goodnight to listen to the distant hooting. Then they smiled and turned off bedside lamps. They walked softly across bedrooms and closed doors gently, leaving their slumbering children in the care of kindly glowing nightlights and…Paul the Crimefighter.

Yet another inhabitant of Berg paused to hear the hooting. To this pair of ears the sound was not comforting, but rather tenebrous and forbidding. It grated on his nerves and caused him great angst. He twirled his grand mustache and paced the length of his tiny quarters.

“Why must I have such tiny quarters!” he growled. He halted for a moment and grunted. There was a soft foomp! and a cheese doodle appeared in his hand. He rubbed it between his fingers for a moment and then used the greasy cheese to oil his long, twirling, pencil-thin mustache. He popped the mangled, now cheeseless doodle into his mouth and chewed. His trademark facial hair sufficiently groomed, he resumed his pacing.

“I’ll tell you why I must have such tiny quarters,” he continued, wiping his hands on his sweater vest. “It’s because of that mindless baculum of an arch enemy! Oh, why must I have such a worthy foe?”

He walked to a bookshelf and removed a volume from his set of encyclopedias. Scanning the index, he found the entry he sought. He turned to the correct page and read the article for the hundredth time.

Crimefighter, Paul the

A mysterious proponent of justice. Date of birth unknown. First official acknowledgment on renowned website
Stupid, Blog of on April 15, 2006. Known to have pygmy marmoset sidekick named Pthabbth. Neck is capable of producing cape, blue. Arch enemy to nefarious crime lord, Doodler, the Cheeze.

Although he wasn’t sure he completely understood the entry (the encyclopedia seemed to have become enamored with its own formal structure), the Cheeze Doodler was pleased to have been mentioned. But a mere mention was not good enough. No, he would not stop until he merited his own article. To do that, he would have to pull off the most evil act of his career, something that would make the entire world sit up and take notice.

He went back to pacing, his greasy, orange hands clasped behind his back. Perhaps the world was too big a prize for now. He would concentrate on only the Western Hemisphere. But why get greedy? North America would suffice. On the other hand, to provide a solid structure for his legacy, he needed to start small. He would focus on the United States, the Great Lakes region to be precise. Of course, they might be expecting him to strike at a large area. It might be wise to narrow his target. Detroit, for example…such a huge city.

The Cheeze Doodler stopped and chortled in nefarious glee. “Why spend money on air fare?” he wondered. “I can begin right here, in the little berg of Town, and…wait.” He checked his notes and then cleared his throat. “In the little town of Berg! I shall initiate such a crime, wave of, which has never before been seen!”

After the initial wave of euphoria passed, the Cheeze Doodler became thoughtful and used his index fingers to coil his mustache before letting them spring outward again with the force of a teamster’s whip.

“And yet even Berg is rife with possibilities,” he mused. He walked to a wall where he tacked up a map of Berg. “I shall point to a random street on the map and there precipitate my tsunami of crime.”

He closed his eyes and spun slowly in circles. Then he stopped and walked forward, one finger pointing out.

“I shall begin…there!”

…to be continued.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

G.I. FooDaddy 2

"Moldy sack pajamas! Do any of you butt-tards have any gardamn questions?" screamed Major General Whack Buffalo from the front of the briefing room. He picked up his glass of water and hurled it at a file cabinet.

Randy Sourhill raised his hand.

"Do we get to ride in the Jeeps today, sir?" he asked, a dopey grin sprawled across his jaw like a drunk on the beach.

"Gritty shit gophers, son! How the damn do you think we're gonna kickslap ripsnatch our way into their front lines? In a fuck bus? Move the hell out!"

Cheddar Company filed out of the room, leaving the Major General to noisily dismantle the podium with his Winchester 12-gauge. Jake Toboggan pushed through the crowd and came up beside Randy. Jake and Randy were best friends and terrible soldiers.

"Hey! Didja hear that? Jeeps, man! Frickin' Jeeps!"

They exchanged a hi-five.

"Ow, geez, not so hard, willya?"

"Hand still hurt?" Jake asked, acting more concerned than he really was. His friend was tough. Nobody in Cheddar Company had been shot as often as ol' Randy. He was practically a cyborg, he had so much metal in him. Jake fought back a wave of jealousy.

"Yeah. And you know what? Someone really ought to print a warning on the outside of grenade boxes to warn you that they blow up when you pull the top off. They're sneaky, though. They don't blow up right away--they wait for you to put them back in your pocket," Randy said, shaking his bandaged hand like he'd just dropped a hot potato.

"Major General says the Germans and the Irish are advancing along the...something about a seaboard? I mean that's probably just some bullshit he's gotta pass down from the higher-ups, but what're the odds we'd be fighting the Germans today?" Jake snatched his trusty M1 Garand off the rack as he passed.

"He told us we were shooting Germans yesterday. We're probably going to have to shoot them today, too. Did you get any yesterday, by the way?" Randy said, pouring a handful of gumballs down the barrel of his rifle.

"Nuh uh. They kept ducking. I musta got a bag of really slow bullets."

"I know, right? I couldn't even aim half the time because I kept getting stuck on logs and stuff," Randy said.

Outside in the base's Jeep lot, a group of soldiers had grouped around one of the Jeeps.

"Seems to be some sort of commotion over there. Let's check it out!" Jake said, pointing unnecessarily and jogging the six feet over to the crowd.

"I'm just saying," said Steven Whisp, Cheddar Company's token gay solider, frowning at the Jeep, "that they don't always have to be green! It'd just so institutional and wretched. Don't even get me started on the radio. AM? Hellooo! How about a little FM action? AM is sooo yesterday it gives me cramps."

"Hey, calm down bud," Jake said, patting the jumpy private on the shoulder. "We get to shoot Germans again today!"

"That's your answer to everything," sighed Steven, climbing into the Jeep, careful to keep his immaculately pressed and creased camo trousers from brushing the mud-splattered side of the vehicle.

Three stories up, a window exploded, showering the tarmac with shards of glass and one coffee mug. Major General Whack Buffalo shot out of the opening, his body stretched horizontally, fists forward, like an angry Superman. He hung in midair for what seemed like five seconds before tucking into a cannonball roll and crashing into the driver's seat of the Jeep below.

"Daaaaammmn!" he cried, throwing the Jeep into gear and tearassing up to the front of the formation. "Fall the hell out!"

Through the cloud of dust kicked up by the Major's tires, Cheddar Company trekked. Jake and Randy were in the back seat of the last Jeep, with a pouty Steven in the passenger's seat up front. The driver was a nondescript private with blonde hair who was probably going to die. The enemy could be anywhere, Jake reminded his fellow soldiers.

"Even in this lunchbox," he whispered conspiratorially. He held it out at arm's length and squinted at it.

"Oh, puh-leeeze," Steven lisped. He huffily applied some military-grade lip balm. "In that gaudy thing? It's got Mickey Mouse on it."

"I'm serious. They--ohmygod!"

The Jeep's front left wheel disintegrated in the landmine explosion, shredding the driver's seat and its unfortunate occupant. The blast lifted the front of the vehicle and threw it to the right. Jake, Randy and Steven were thrown from their seats as the Jeep pirhouetted on its rear bumper and ricochetted off a tree, finally coming to rest with a bang that drove its windsheild deep into the gravel road.

Jake stood up and brushed himself off, a shower of gravel and lug nuts pinging off of his helmet.

"Damn," he said. "Good thing that driver guy was expendable. Do you think the rest of the company saw that?"

Randy squinted into the scope of his Springfield rifle. "They're not too far ahead. They just crossed that bridge up north there a little way."

"Ah. They'll be back to pick us up in no time." Jake said matter-of-factly. He squatted with his back to a tree and went to work trying to pry open his mangled lunchbox.

"They just blew the bridge up."


"Sweet Lana Turner! It's the Germans! They have us surrounded and most likely mean to do us severe harm!" squealed Steven in a bit of dialogue that was obviously written in at the last minute.

The foliage at the sides of the road suddenly bristled with Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifles and swastika-emblazoned helmets. The only sounds were the beating hearts of the stranded Cheddar Company, the crackle of the burning Jeep and a mournful breeze. A distant "fuuuuuuck!" drifted down from the north on that breeze, and Jake had to agree. They pretty much were. be continued!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Paul the Crimefighter, Part I

Darkness was closing in on the little town of Berg. The late evening sun sank slowly in the east as Paul the Crimefighter drove his new sports car along the busy, deserted streets toward his downtown office in the countryside. Before long, he arrived at the end of his long commute and parked his car on top of the underground parking garage. He stepped from the car and made a mental note to open the door next time. The crimefighter-shaped gash was going to be hard to explain to his insurance company.

“Kibbles-n-Bits,” he muttered. Knowing the importance of a tough, crusty persona, he had been working on his swear word vocabulary and recently signed up for a profanity correspondence course. After only two lessons he was at the top of his class.

He entered the elevator and ran up the stairs to his office. It was a luxurious suite in a converted janitor’s closet. It perched on the twenty-fifth floor basement of Nanner Plaza, the tallest building in Berg, and from its lofty vantage point he could gaze out over the sleepy little town. This made it easier to keep an eye out for crime, which was often wide awake.

Nanner Plaza was almost deserted, most other employees having gone home for the day. But crime never took a holiday. Night—night was when Paul the Crimefighter’s best work was done. But that would have to wait. At present he had crime to fight, because somewhere, at this very moment, a misdeed was being perpetrated. It was time to change into his crimefighting garb and dismantle some evil!

A scream tore through the still night air, startling Paul and causing him to drop the pair of tights he held. He turned to see his lovely secretary standing in the doorway.

“Miss Prim! I thought you’d gone home. Please accept my apologies. This is simply inexcusable.”

“I should say so,” she mewed. “The copy machine is out of toner again. How many times do I have to tell you?”

“So change the cartridge.”

“Silly hero. You know I’m not strong enough to replace it all by my little, helpless, soft, curvaceous, and oh-so-willing self. Could you lend me one of your strong, manly arms? Perhaps the one that ripples to and fro?”

“I’m sorry, love, but I need them both for my civil duties. I have a feeling there are powerful forces at work tonight.”

“But how am I supposed to make those copies you asked for? Jerry wants his magazines back by tomorrow so he can bury them again before his wife…”

Paul the Crimefighter waved her into silence. “Fine! You may use one of the Strong, Manly Arms from the supply closet. Just be sure to fill out a requisition form. Leaving my name out of it, of course.”

He finished dressing, then turned and made for the nearest window. “Later, my love! I shall flog some crime and be back before the sun rises. Save me some grits!” He opened the window and perched on the sill.

“Wait!” Miss Prim ran forward. “Your cape!”

Paul the Crimefighter paled. Yet another close brush with disaster. Had he left his perch without first unfurling his cape, well…it would not have been one of the finer moments in his long record of public service.

He squinted, tensed, and grunted mightily. With a pop and loud rustling, a billowing cloud of fabric erupted from his neck. The legendary cape was now in place.

Standing upright on the window sill, Paul the Crimefighter looked out over Berg as lights blinked out across the town. Citizens were turning in for the night, secure in the knowledge that their hero would protect them from evil.

Lifting his arms to the sky, Paul hooted at the rising moon and slowly bent his knees. Then, with a mighty lunge, he leaped forward and ran down the fire escape, his cape fluttering heroically.

The street was quiet when Paul dropped softly onto it. The dumpster, however, offered a few sarcastic remarks, none worthy of our hero’s time or wit.

Paul crouched on the cool pavement and hooted again. He listened. Was that an answering hoot he heard in the distance? be continued.