Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Hardass Rescues a Kitten

The Hardass clumped down the gritty centerline of Downtown’s coldest street. Snow blew into his face and some of it collected in his crags. He hated it for this, and punched each flake as it descended with his innate hairy power.

“Damn snow. Poofy and sparkly. Hate it.” He pushed onward, fantasizing about nuclear ordnance.

“Mister! Hey, mister!” squealed a small child. The small child was obviously distraught.

“What the damn do you want?” grunted the Hardass. The small child was about the size of one of his giant, metal-flaked boots. He leaned down to inspect it. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“My kitten! He’s stuck in a tree!” The small child pointed to a maple tree with a kitten in it.

“Damn,” growled the Hardass. He stomped to the tree, leaving deep treadmarks in the solid asphalt. He got right in the tree’s face. He put his nose right against its bark.

“What’s this all about, eh?” he growled.

The tree said nothing.

“Not a talker, huh? Well then. How about a heaping serving of asskickery?” The Hardass drew his titanium knuckled hand back and slammed it into the tree. The maple rocked, and an ominous deep cracking came from its base.

“Like that? Bastard.”

The tree said nothing.

“Holy naked strippers! You just don’t get it, do you?” the Hardass growled into the tree’s stupid face.

He punched it again, and it fell over. The kitten jumped free, and the small child scooped it up.

“Thanks, mister!” he said, and ran off.

The Hardass saluted him.

“Time for some strippers,” he ground through clenched teeth. He hitched up his steel-cable belt and moved toward the Red Light District like turgid thunder.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Satan's Toothpicks

“So, watcha doin’ tonight? Huh? Huh?” I struggled to keep up with FooDaddy’s long stride as he made an amusing pretense of trying to outrun me.

“Nothing much,” he said. “Some friends and I are thinking of going bowling.” He stopped sprinting long enough to glance at me suspiciously. “Why?”

“I thought I could come along, you know, maybe shoot some hoops, score a goal...have fun?”

“Hoops are basketball and a goal is golf,” FooDaddy, a well-known sports expert, corrected. “And I really don’t think...I mean, bowling is really dangerous and not for the novice.”

“I ain’t skeered,” I said. “Come on, lemme come.”

“I’m taking my girlfriend,” FooDaddy said, “and she doesn’t like your hair.”

“I’ll wear a hat.”

“She thinks your voice is annoying.”

“I’ll be quiet. A muzzle, even. Come on, man!”

FooDaddy shook his head slowly, regretfully. “No, I don’t think...”

“I have coupons for a free game.”

* * *

The bowling alley was crowded when FooDaddy and I strode in and made our presence known by simultaneously stumbling into the automatic door. A gaggle of giggling gals watched with interest as we suavely attempted to escape the door.

“Leggo my foot,” I said.

“I’m not holding onto your damn foot,” FooDaddy snarled. “What do you think I am, some kind of pervert?”

“Please don’t make me answer that,” I muttered and gave the gazing gaggle a dazzling grin. “Hello, ladies!”

The gaggle inspected the grin, shuddered, and crumpled it into a nearby wastebasket. Then they all marched off to the bathroom together, presumably to wash their hands. Finally, FooDaddy and I shook ourselves free from the evil door and scrambled to our feet.

“Where are the batting cages?” I asked, looking around in some confusion. “This doesn’t look at all like laser tag.”

FooDaddy sighed, the long, wavering sound seeming to rip from his very soul. “We are here to bowl,” he said, struggling for patience. “You can’t play laser tag here until you’ve made at least three touchdowns.”

“Oh.” I was somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance, but the discomfort was quickly forgotten. “Hey!” I said. “You said you were bringing your girlfriend. Where is she?”

FooDaddy looked suddenly stricken and ran from the building toward the parking lot, yelling something about forgetting to unlock the trunk. He worries me sometimes.

Not knowing how long FooDaddy would be gone, I decided to go ahead and gather my gear. With this plan in mind, I approached the service desk.

“Can I help you?” The young female employee was young and female and I just happen to be very good with young, female peoples.

“Why, yes,” I said, raising an eyebrow suggestively. “I’m a world-famous bowler, but I seem to have forgotten my...gear in my hotel room, so I’ll need to borrow some. I have a coupon.”

“You’re a professional bowler, but you use coupons?”

Oddly, the young female didn’t seem impressed by my obvious street savvy. I smiled manfully, but held back a little so as not to melt the young female’s knees. “Unless you give pros complimentary games.”

“Uh, no.”

“Oh. Well, then I guess I’ll need to rent some gear.”

“Okay. What size shoes do you need?”

“No shoes. I’m just here to bowl.”

The young female rolled her eyes, glanced at my feet, and handed me a pair of rather unstylish and fuzzy shoes. “Here,” she said. “You’ve got weird feet, but these should do. Now, please leave me, because you’ve got really weird hair, too.”

I walked away, grinning. The little vixen obviously had a thing for me. Poor lass. Her heart was destined for breakage.

Just as I was leaving the counter, FooDaddy and FooGirl walked in. FooGirl looked a little peeved, or so it seemed from the way she kept attempting to beat FooDaddy with a tire iron. He dodged the flurry of blows and laughed.

“Isn’t she adorable?” he asked, running to and fro to escape FooGirl’s onslaught, while procuring his bowling shoes.

“Yeah,” I said. “Nothing like blunt trauma to spice things up. You guys ready to roll some pucks?”

They were and we made our way to the nearest open lane. We put on our unsanitary shoes and then FooDaddy explained some of the finer points of bowling to me.

“First,” he said, holding his bowling ball at arm’s length, “you need to choose a bowling ball that’s not too heavy. Otherwise, you’ll end up...&*#@!”

“Dropping it your foot?” I ventured.

“You’re a natural. Second, the little wooden things at the end of the lane are called pins or, as we like to refer to them in the bowling business, ‘Satan’s Toothpicks.’ And that’s pretty much all there is to it.”

FooDaddy and FooGirl both went before me, as I was intent on observing their technique, so as better to devise a method of victory. I had to smother laughter as first FooDaddy and then FooGirl shot their baskets. Both of them hit some pins! And I thought they were good at this game. When it was my turn, I hefted my bowling ball. This game was mine, baby! I drew back and let it fly.

There was a moment of silence and then FooDaddy cleared his throat. “Uh...why did you throw your bowling ball over your shoulder?”

“It’s my secret technique,” I said, standing smugly with my heels together, my toes pointed out, and my hands clasped behind my back. “What better way to avoid hitting the Toothpicks than to throw the ball in the opposite direction?”

FooGirl looked at me in disgust, with perhaps a hint of pity. “You’re supposed to hit the Toothpicks,” she said. “You want to hit as many as possible. If you hit them all, it’s a strike.”

I shook my head in amazement. “Geez, everybody’s got a union these days!”

“No, it’s...” FooDaddy gave up. “Just try again.”

Somewhat abashed, I retrieved my bowling ball. Pausing to perform an ancient Native American bowling ritual, I drew back the ball and let it fly.

The pins scattered like driftwood being hit by a UFO landing for repairs. I mean, dude, they just went “bammo!”

Again, there was silence. I stood there, basking in the glory of my amazing shot. I turned to FooDaddy and executed an unsightly victory dance. I felt a little bad about that later. After all, the dance had never done anything to me.

“How about that?” I asked. “Pretty amazing goal, huh?”

“Yes, it was,” he said, “but you’re supposed to shoot for the pins in our lane, not the ones three lanes down.”

“You know I hate rules,” I said, turning away. No one was going to pour frozen molasses on my victory. Not unless they had waffles.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Orbital Rambling; The Old Man in Space

In a landmark mission undertaken last week by the private aerospace agency, Stunned Owl Labs' Aerospace Research, an Old Man was put into deep orbit. Project GEEZER went green on Tuesday, and has so far been a stunning success. GEEZER, which stands for Geriatric Eccentric Extraterrestrial Zoological Extended Reconnaissance, seeks to study the effects of space travel on the old and crusty.

Zero-G bitching and orbital rambling are two of GEEZER’s target areas.

The ship, GEEZER 2, is powered by the revolutionary Hadron Collider Drive (basically a miniaturized particle accelerator with a form of atomic supercharger powered by ointment). Its sister ship, GEEZER 1, was taken out of commission a year earlier due to extensive cane damage to its heat shielding and denture bite-marks on the reactor housing.

In an exclusive audio recording taken just days ago in the ship’s onboard laboratory, we are given insight into this fascinating study:

Old Man: Whut's this can run on, eh? Devilfire? Terlet water? Hey! Git that pokestick away from me!

(Cane whomping noises)

Ow! We just need to take your temperature, sir.

Old Man: Last feller tried that doctor buggery on me ended up in the 'firmary with a bust foot, y'eddicated bandersnatch.

Researcher: It's not like that any more, sir. This instrument goes in your ear. It only takes a few seconds, and is totally noninvasive.

Old Man: Y'think you kin git yer Satan-sticks in m'coal chute if'n y'bamboozle me with yer fancy book-chatter? Not likely, son. I'mma git me some grits and yell at the sparrows. You an' the resta the moon monkeys kin poke each other with yer therma-hoosits all y'want.

(Sound of dentures floating away)

Old Man:
Consarn it!

Sir, we are in geosynchronous orbit twelve-thousand miles above the Earth's surface. You won't be able to see any sparrows.

Old Man:
Nunna you shiny-panted sky hooligans packed any?

Packed any...sparrows?

Old Man:

Researcher: Please sir. If you'd just hold still for five seconds, you can go back to your chair. I only need to record your body temperature for today.

(Sound of slipper hitting the bulkhead)

Old Man: Newtfarts, you do! That other feller, the one with the fat head 'n' the glowing devil typewriter did it on the yester!

(Sound of thrashing)

Please come back here, sir!

(Sound of slipper hitting flesh)

Old Man:

After this exchange, reports indicate that The Old Man spent the next six hours floating around in the cargo hold swearing at boxes, and was only induced to return to his cabin when researchers, using a blowtorch, cut the hinges off the locked door and promised him he could have some ice cream.

Mini-Story #3: Snail Sage

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, but impossible to get to, there was a snail who learned the meaning of life.

"Yay," said the snail, anxious to show his appreciation to the Elements for entrusting him with this bit of jealously sought wisdom. "Now I can sell this information to the highest bidder, become fabulously wealthy, and live as a snail should!"

Just then a hungry Frenchman noticed the lone snail inching its way toward bliss and promptly ate mankind's only hope for true enlightenment. The moral of this story is this: never try to sell someone happiness, because they will end up eating you for lunch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quickie-Story 2.1; Tree Men

There once was an old man named Jim who lived in the trees. He liked to hang way up in the oaks and throw things at little boys. One day, one such little boy came wandering through the woods. The old man caught him out of the corner of his eye, and readied his bucket of pine cones. When the little boy walked under the tree where Jim sat, he stopped for a second, and looked up into the tree to see where the chuckling was coming from. It seems that Jim was unable to control his laughter, and had also wet himself at the thought of being able to hit the little boy with his pine cones. The little boy, whose name was Booyah, pulled out a gun. Jim farted and ran off. Booyah smiled. The squirt gun had proven useful. He silently thanked his father for suggesting it.

Moral: There is no moral.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mini-Story #2: The Tomato Boy

There was once a little boy named Rodney who loved to eat dirt. One day after eating his daily handful of dirt, Rodney decided to eat a tomato for dessert. The seeds from the tomato began growing inside him and before long, Rodney had a tomato plant sprouting in his stomach. And now every time Rodney burped, he coughed up a tomato. Seeing the financial possibilities, Rodney's father built a roadside stand and began selling Burp Tomatoes, which he does to this day. The moral of the story is never buy tomatoes from a roadside stand, because they might have come from Rodney.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mini-Story #1: The Chipmunk

Once upon a time there was a tiny chipmunk who wanted to drive a car, so he went to Driver's Training to get a license. Sadly, he failed the test and was mocked by all his classmates. The chipmunk was furious and, stalking from the room, stuck chewing gum in the lock so no one could get out. The chipmunk then made a fake license and stole a Lexus. Today the chipmunk lives in Hollywood and makes movies for a living. The moral of this story is that chipmunks are evil creatures and should be locked away before they manage to accomplish their ultimate goal of destroying modern civilization.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Your Characters Hate You

The Writer was eating his typewriter. Lest you think this disturbing, let me hasten to assure you that all was being done to ensure decorum. He was using a knife and fork, as well as a bib, which was tied neatly about his pale, fragile neck. His spectacles rode low on his long nose and his eyes, watering with the strain of many hours’ labor, flitted about, as if expecting some attack and not wishing to be caught unawares. Sweat beaded on his forehead, rolled down the length of his nose, and dripped onto the mangled remains of the typewriter. The writer took no notice of the defiling sweat, only continued eating.

He was, of course, quite insane.

Six hours before you and I began conversing, The Writer had been as rational as we and, as small a consolation as that might be, presented nary a threat. He had come to his established place of creativity brimming with ideas and eager to begin the day’s work. The opening paragraph went well, as did the entireties of pages one and two. Then everything came to a screeching halt. It wasn’t writer’s block, no...something far more sinister was afoot. His characters had come alive.

The story had been a mystery and The Writer had just reached the point where the ridiculously studly and cunning detective had finished compiling his list of suspects.

“I have finished compiling my list of suspects,” The Writer wrote (although it was actually the detective speaking!). “I shall now gather them in the drawing room and, through a process of brilliant deduction, force the murderer to confess before the assembly! Then I shall handcuff him to the water pipes and wait for this dreadful, but very mood-setting storm to blow over. Then I shall haul him before the magistrate, who will reward me with riches and gumdrops.”

The Writer looked back over the paragraph. He shook his head violently and looked again. That wasn’t what he had intended to write at all! It was far too early in the story to assemble the suspects. There were no clues, no hint of the murderer’s identity. There was no way the detective, Smoot by name, would be able to point out the guilty party.

“Don’t be so sure of that,” said a rough and nasally voice. The voice was surly and undeniably British.

The Writer looked down and saw a tiny figure relaxing against the side of the typewriter. “What?” The Writer’s voice sounded very dry and wavered humorously.

“You thought ill of me,” the little man said.


“In the ink. Ha!” The detective withdrew a pipe from his pocket and was on the verge of smoking it when he remembered that The Writer had written him out of the habit several stories ago. “A pity,” he said. “I rather enjoyed the stuff.”

“It was bad for your health,” said The Writer, who was beginning to recover from the initial shock. “What are you doing here?”

“I was bored living in the paper. Nothing to do, except remain as flat as possible and try to dodge those vicious hammers. Tricky business, that, especially when you’ve got a brilliant idea and start typing away like mad. Fortunately, you don’t get them often.”

“Well, I thought of you,” The Writer countered.

“Right, right. I’ll give you that. But then you made me forget my pistol in the last story. Otherwise, I’d have had the criminal long before the end.”

“That was the point,” The Writer said. “The story would have been a hundred words long.”

“Well, it would have saved me a lot of legwork, wouldn’t it? Always thinking of yourself, that’s what your problem is. Here I am, running down various indulgers in crimey things, getting all dirty and sweaty, while you sit smugly at a desk and tap away with your wretched fingertips. It’s not fair, I tell you!”

(to be continued, if Smoot allows it.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dad's Prose or Where It Comes From

Well, time wasters, it's been awhile since your old FooDaddy done posted on The Blog. I have to come clear with you and admit something that may, at first, seem shocking. I know most of you look to me as your moral leader; someone whose shining platinum example can be used as a yardstick to measure the yard of your own life, but try to keep in mind that I am only human. An exceptionally strange human, but one nonetheless.

There was once a time when I thought this would never happen to me. *takes microphone from stand and wanders meaningfully through the crowd* I was all like "pfft! That'll nebber happen to me! I's immortal, like the Easta Bunneh!". And folks? I said it just like that too. *grabs random person about the biceps and, vibrating with emotion, directs laser of pure mental anguish into their nostrils* Just. Like. That.

*scampers lightly back to podium, replaces microphone* But I'm proud of it now! No longer must I shuffle through the darkest and backest of alleys, with my head between my knees and my feet in my pockets! No more will I shy away from conversation at parties I've somehow sneaked into!

I speak of joining an elite social group, time-wasters! I am one of Them! Of They! I'm a member of The Washed, of The Bathed! Of the No Longer A Stinky Man with a Personal Cloud of Flies!

It's exhilarating, although I miss my flies. Especially Edward.

So that's why the posts have been few and far between. I promise I'll crank it up as soon as I learn how to do this whole "showering" thing quicker (it's always hard to condense a brand-new routine).

Who planted this heretical idea in my head, you might ask? Why, my father! He leaned across the table, into his curry chicken, and swatting flies and apologizing to the other diners, said:

"Boy. There is a way..."

And he said it all mysteriously, too, which got my attention. He told of the wonders of "soap" and how the almost magical "surfactant" properties of this wonder goo turn water from something that one squirts at one's cats to keep them from destroying things into something that greatly curbs one's odor emission. I listened raptly and stinkily, and when he was done, I was a changed blogger...

Dad's a beardy man. Always has been. As a child, I can remember it being full of candy. That probably says more about my current state of mind than it does about my upbringing...we'll come back to that later, maybe.

Candy-bearded or not, my father was always telling me things.

"Don't sneeze or cough on your hands--do it in the elbow of your shirt. You wouldn't believe how many people think that spewing evil microbes all over the hands they use to touch other people and their possessions is somehow polite. If I catch you doing it, I'mma grumble at you."


"Always make sure there's a nightlight on in the bathroom. You cannot achieve lock-on in the dark, so you'll wee all over the floor. If you turn on the big light, you'll get blinded, and then you'll wee all over the floor. Here's a replacement bulb and some paper towels."

Then there's the writing advice I've had occasion to satirize. This was not his first piece of writing advice, though.

He found this email he'd sent back in 2004 for some reason, and I doubt I gave it the attention it deserved. I post it here because it is (a.) interesting, and (b.) informative. Anyone who knows me well enough will be nodding and making some form of "mm hmm!" noise when they've finished reading.

As I was peeing, getting ready to go home, my body, ever up for humiliating comedy, did one of those "dying duck" farts-- you know, the kind that musically does a descending third, from E down to middle C, or maybe farther (heh). You never can tell with farts; it would be difficult to notate them. Anyway, this fart sounded so sad, so resigned to its fate, that a phrase popped into my head, which could be the ending of a short story:

As she said this, he realized it was the end of the world, and he'd have to start facing it immediately. No one spoke. All the happy yellowness that had been part of the day suddenly drained from it. Again there was a crushing suffocating pause where neither of them could think of anything
encouraging to say.

Then, he farted.

It was a dying duck, it was Shakespeare's "dying fall", it was the ultimate Oh Darn, it was the horn call from a Requiem Mass; it sounded like nothing so much as the Fart of Utter Despair, or perhaps the angel
Gabriel, astride the planets, blowing the Fart For The End of Time.

It stank like it, too.

She ran away, and was never seen again. A stunned owl fell out of the sky.

'Why am I still standing here like a stunned owl?', he thought. And he took off his glasses."

That's it. Based on a true fart.

True story? I'd bet my cats on it. There's owls in that library, I have no doubts.