Dead Animals

They’d stopped mowing the lawn two weeks ago, and Mrs. Loretta Arden wanted to know why the final resting place her deceased show dog Schnauzer, Brilliance Feneman Almighty, was being so callously neglected. What she was told, was that the cemetery would be closed on June 6 and eventually be repurposed as a corporate park with a very large water fountain in the middle. This explanation greatly upset the grieving pet owner, but Arthur and Diane Felton couldn’t find much room to care. The two siblings were currently inundated by the duties of dissolving their family’s business of 50 years.

Opened in the spring of 1945, the pet cemetery which had been passed down from their grandfather Irwin Felton was now bankrupt, shuttered, and defunct. The brother and sister found themselves not knowing what to do with themselves, not knowing how they would get by. Fate would have it, that at their cousin’s Fourth of July barbecue, Arthur would learn of a wonderful new website called eBay. On this website you could "sell anything you want and people buy it”, as they were told by “Little” Hank Perdue, a friend of their cousin’s son. 

The idea came to Arthur that night after his seventh can of Pabst Blue Ribbon: If the website allowed you to sell anything, perhaps he could go back to the cemetery, exhume some of the animals and sell their skulls or other interesting bone pieces. Many of the grave sites were not visited and hadn’t been for years. At most, people visited their deceased pets for two years then either forget, move away, or just stop caring. “That certainly fell under the category of anything”, he thought and reassured himself with another can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

It wasn’t all dogs and cats. The best part was that the cemetery, being close to fifty years old, had interred an interesting array of animals. The twelve acres of Felton & Family companion cemetery held a number of prize winning bulls and horses, as well as a handful of exotic quadrupeds formerly belonging to a circus based out of nearby Stagecoach, TX. 

The next day Arthur went to the public library and discovered that in fact eBay did let you sell anything you wanted. He found rolodexes, broken yo-yos, homemade baby strollers, frozen green beans, and many many other items he was surprised that people would be selling, let alone buying. He decided to make an account. He clicked around in a bout of confusion for close to three hours before deciding to ask a librarian for assistance. Finally, he was able to make himself what he felt was a very creative account name; SkullznThingz5545

It wasn’t for two months that he finally built up the courage visit the cemetery.  It had rained during the day and the night was cool and still. The humidity was relatively low but he sweat like a hog. His key still worked on the gate. When he walked in his fear dissipated. He’d grown up here and spent many nights in his teenage years, hanging out with friends. He drank five PBRs and got to work. He stopped several times during his excavation to wonder if it were worth it and if perhaps he should exercise more regularly. Two hours later he reached the large wooden box of a prize winning steer by the name of Montana, interred in July of 1971. The hole wasn’t wide enough to access the entire casket but Arthur figured if he could just get the skull it would be worth it. He took the spade and struck at the pine casket until it broke open. There lay Montana now, a pile of bones, clumps of fur and some dry dark gray matter. The skull sold for $110.00 on eBay.

Following this initial success Arthur returned three more times to the cemetery and three more times did he auction his skeletal loot. Guilt overtook him and he decided it was time to let his sister in on what he was up to. At first she shook her head and just looked at him. “I feel terrible about it” he said, “but what are we supposed to do, most of those animals haven’t had a visitor in years. People stop caring. They’re just a buncha dead animals that nobody cares about.” They drank eleven Pabst Blue Ribbons between the two of them and then she finally took the money he was offering her; half of his profits. 

The operation continued for the next seven months and earned the pair $9,650.87. Eventually Diane got a job working for a florist and told Arthur she didn’t want to take part anymore. Arthur continued taking in all of the profit without obstacle until finally he arrived one night to find that a lock had been installed on the gate. A notice on the fence stated that construction would begin soon and that all bereaved wishing to exhume their deceased companions should contact the development company. That night he sat outside the cemetery for two hours thinking about what the next step should be. He figured he’d have to find legitimate employment at some point but if he acted quickly, there was still easy money to be made.

Eight and a half Pabst Blue Ribbons later the answer arose like magic; “Little” Hank Perdue and his cousin’s son Mackie. He could put them to work. He’d be able to excavate at maximum efficiency and he’d be doing a good thing by giving the boys work. 

Two nights later he arrived with the boys and gave them a stern talking to: “If one of us gets caught, don’t rat anyone out because nobody likes a rat. Second, do not tell ANYONE about this, this doesn't make you cool, and third no show dogs, there is a special section for show dogs and people still visit them now and again so we can’t touch them.” He brought them in, gave them some beer, and showed them how to dig up the grass like a section of sod so nobody would notice.

The team got to work. The boys were a bit slow. They would get tired easily and were not the most dexterous of fellows. They also dug a good number of guinea pigs and hamsters which Arthur had specifically told them was not worth the effort. For three nights they did this and escaped with a promising load. He paid them the 300 dollars he promised and then drank 6 Pabst Blue Ribbons. 

He got home at around 5:00 am the next morning. He slept until around 11:00 am. The sky was overcast, but the heavy grayness of those hazy Texas days always brought him comfort.  When he finally got out of bed he made his blueberry Eggo waffles and sat at the kitchen table for three hours, looking out the window. It reminded him of the days in early summer when his grandfather would take him out fishing. As he got older he found it harder to remember his grandfather’s face without looking at pictures. He wondered if he drank too much, but he did not wonder this long for his thoughts strayed elsewhere. On that Wednesday he did not drive anywhere, he mostly just sat. He sat inside. He sat outside. He drank ten Pabst Blue Ribbons and went to bed after Jeopardy was over. “Those people are so smart” he thought. He also thought that he wished he could be smart like those people and maybe he could have done something better with his life and then he drifted off to sleep where he dreamed that he was on a giant carousel that rolled on its side like an enormous wheel which took him to the beach where his high school girlfriend Lisa Anne was standing waste deep in sand.

Two months later he awoke to two policemen knocking on his door. They asked if they could come in but he told them there was a lady in there and stepped outside. Their questions were about the cemetery, about several disturbed sites.  He went back inside and made some waffles as he processed what was going on. After pouring syrup on the waffles he let them sit on the counter, uneaten. Placing himself at the computer, he soon discovered an account by the name of BONEzeeB0yz02, which featured, among other show dogs, the remains of Mrs. Lorretta Arden’s award winning canine. There was even a picture of the head stone to prove the animal’s credentials.

Several time’s, he attempted to reach “Little” Hank Perdue on the phone but to no avail. Panic had set in, he deleted his eBay account and that night at Three A.M, drove to Lake Conroe and tossed the remaining bones off the bridge. For the next few days he rarely left the house. He finally received the phone call. Little Hank Perdue and Mackie were in lock up and they wanted to speak with him. 

“Use your money to get us out of here or we’re telling them all about you.” So he did just that, he took the money he had earned from his business venture bought two twelve packs of Pabst Blue Ribbon and then got a lawyer for the two lads. Arthur went to the lawyer they had used for years at the cemetery but he told Arthur this was not his specialization and rejected the case. On the way home Arthur spotted a billboard with a sexy lady on it, advertising for a lawyer by the name of Buell Lickfis. He called the lawyer and said to himself “Ok, everything will be Ok” while drinking fourteen Pabst Blue Ribbons. But the trail was clear and it wasn’t long before Arthur himself was incarcerated. 

Buell Lickfis gave the case his all and as it gained attention in the media, he thought this would be his big break. But people love pets and the judge had four Irish setters of her own so the three men were sent off to prison, where there were no Pabst Blue Ribbons and they all had a really bad time.

 

THE END

King of the Bastards

SANTA.jpg

They were in neatly packed boxes, accompanied by a neatly hand-written note penned on an obnoxiously generic piece of stationary; a blue border with a small sail boat in the bottom left corner:

“Dear Diane,

Having appealed to you numerous times, we felt it was our duty to remove your decor, which the residents of this neighborhood unanimously agree is both unappealing and unsightly. You will see it has not been damaged in any way, shape, or form and we would appreciate if you would refrain from resurrecting these infamous adornments any time in the near future.

Best wishes and happy summer,  

Your Neighbors.”

The bastards had come in the night while she sat at her desk at the Delridge 24-hour animal hospital, waiting for the phones to ring. What did they think a 68 year old woman such as herself could do with a yard full of plastic santas and snowmen, bushes and a roof all covered in lights, and not a soul to help. The house was only a one story ranch, but she felt that if by chance she plummeted from the roof while removing the lights she would be injured or killed and unable to tend to her three cats; a British short hair named Bingo, a Nebelung named Boo Boo, and a Tabby named Cookie Boy which she had found by the dumpster at work. Though the note was signed, “Your Neighbors”, she knew who the culprit was. The hand writing was neat, practiced, and overly disciplined. It could have been done by no other than Simon Rissend. The “King of the Bastards” as she often referred to him in her nightly conversations with Cookie Boy.

In 1993 Diane Melmont was an accountant at the law office of Buffano & Funkle. She found herself becoming well off and purchased herself a small two bedroom ranch which her and her boyfriend Bradley lived in. After a few years she developed a debilitating anxiety disorder triggered by the sight of law books and/or the tuna salad sandwiches which Mr.Buffano would leave lying around the office. In 1999 she was let go She filed for disability, then isolated herself in her house with her cats. She gained nearly a hundred pounds that year, largely fueled by the consumption of mallomars and Surge. Bradley left her. The neighborhood began to change as many of the neighbors she was somewhat friendly with moved away. The one story ranches were soon being replaced by homogeneous vinyl sided mini mansions. She remained the sole hold out, apart from Mr. Von Zifkin who they recently found dead, drifting in his swimming pool on a large pineapple shaped raft, at the ripe old age of 107. His home too would soon be bought, bulldozed, and built upon.

Simon Rissend was the anally retentive self appointed neighborhood caretaker. Even among his fellow upper crusters, he was regarded as a pain in the ass. He lived diagonally across the street and to the left of Diane’s house with his perfection of a family. A father, a mother, a daughter, a son. blond hair, blue eyes, all with the entitlement a conquistador. Almost every other day as she’d go to collect the mail, he’d dart out his front door, dressed in a multi-colored track suit feigning exercise and affability toward her. “Good thing that snowman is plastic or he’d melt, what do you say about packing it in?” or “Me and Davey will help you, come on, let’s pack it in” or “ Let’s pack it in already, this is getting absurd. 6 months it’s been since christmas! Time to pack it in now!”. His approach only bolstered her resistance against him, he was an intruder on her block and she’d be damned to let him tell her how and when to “pack it in”.

Two weeks later she was woken by Mr.Rissend’s whip-cracking as he ushered his family into the Winnebago. “We’re 15 minutes behind schedule because of you!” he yelled at his wife and children at 6:15 in the morning. The moment the gargantuan vehicle left the freshly sealed driveway was the very moment that the plan entered her head. Fully drawn out in her mind’s eye as if it had thought about and reserved for centuries, placed there by the gods of revenge just for her.

She was out the door and into the car faster then she’d ever been in her life. She didn’t look in the mirror, she didn’t put on make up, she didn’t eat breakfast. She was in her bunny rabbit pajama pants, a XXXL t-shirt she got in Myrtle Beach, slippers, and a lavender bathrobe. Pulling up to the 7-11 she drove past the group of ten or so Mexican men standing at the edge of the parking lot. They were unsuspecting of her. in her small sedan. The man she approached was named Eduardo, she gave him a hundred dollar bill and offered him twice as much upon completion. She wanted good revenge and she was willing to pay for it. They would rendezvous at the same spot 10pm that night, Eduardo would bring a friend. She went into the store, bought a bear claw, a cheese filled hot dog, and some 2 dollar lottery tickets. She won back a dollar. The next stop was the hardware store.

At 10am the owners, or for that matter the whole family, at Rundstrom’s Hardware and Aquarium was out to lunch. The sign said they’d be back in 15 but it was more like an hour when they finally returned. She bought herself the entire stock of crazy glue -some 30 or so tubes-, and a 22 foot ladder which Mr. Rundstrom’s conjoined twin sons, Ahron and Alvin haphazardly tied to the roof of her car. She bought two bags of cement and threw them in the trunk among her bags of recyclables and beach chairs which hadn’t seen a lick of sand in 4 years. She assumed they carried just one wallet and gave them a single ten dollar bill as a tip. She was wrong and they had to break the bill in the register where they were standing when she walked back in, having forgot to buy shovels, a mixing tub and a trowel for the cement. 

It was early in the day so she went home, unpacked her christmas decorations fed her cats, and read aloud to them from a grocery store romance novel she was halfway through titled; Midnight Rider. The felines couldn’t understand Englsh and were indifferent to the plot of the story, they did however enjoy the sound of her voice and knew that this was the time when she would pet them. She took their affection as a sing of their appreciation for  the story.

She rolled up to the 7-11 early so she could buy two cheese injected hot dogs, a very large cherry coke, and two 5 dollar lottery ticket which she didn’t win a dime on. She sat in her car with the parking lights on. Eduardo came walking down the sidewalk by himself. Rolling down the window, she beckoned him over. 

“Where are your friends?” she asked as if he had broken their deal.  

“No quieren trabajar”. 

She let out a sigh and motioned him into the car. He was a little nervous, slightly suspicious, but he needed the money so he climbed in.

Tensions wavered as they drove, with what little Spanish she had picked up from working at the animal clinic and what little English he had picked up working as a landscaper, they made conversation. She learned that he had come from Ojocaliente where he used to work for a hat maker. He learned that she had three cats and spent nearly 95% of her time with them. With 25 hundred miles behind him and now three hundred bucks in his pocket, he was no longer a milliner, he was a christmas decoration installation specialist and it was July. He began to ask if what they were doing was Ok. She said it was and shoved another hundred at him, no longer caring how much she’d have to give in exacting her revenge. She told him he’d have to work fast because he didn’t find any help. 

Work fast he did but it was now 5 am and the sun was beginning to spread its first muted rays across the sky. Eduardo had worked feverishly through the night, digging shallow holes to place plastic santa clauses and snowmen, wicker reindeer and candy canes before setting them with cement. They glued stick-on snowflakes and happy little elves all over the large foyer window. Wreathes and garland were permanently adhered to the door and around the sidelights. Not a feature of the 2 million dollar home remained unscathed. Then came time for the final plan, birds were beginning to sing. “Now isn’t the time to get sloppy” she nervously affirmed to Eduardo as she handed him a few tubes of glue. The yuletide escalade initiated. He ascended the towering aluminum gradation and began to glue the christmas lights down to the side of the gutter at full tilt. Eduardo work quickly and without falter. Moving along the edge of the roof like a balletic feline. 

She readied herself with a tube of glue, ready to first glue the plugs together and then glue them into the socket. Something was wrong. Eduardo stopped pulling on the string of lights and there was silent on the roof. 

“What’s going on?” 

He appeared over the edge of the roof. “I need the glue. Mas pegamento.”

“Shit… I’m coming up” she began to clamber up the ladder. 

Reaching the top, she caught her breath and handed the glue to Eduardo. “rapido, rapido!” she spurred him then began descending down the ladder. Her foot missed a rung and she feel sixteen feet to the ground. She hit like a sack of bowling balls.  There was a dull crack in her thud and she’d gone out for a second. When she came to she yelled “I’m ok! Gotta- Just keep on going!”. She tried to lift herself but the pain in her right leg shot through her, laying her back down. Meanwhile Eduardo had come to the edge of the roof, he had begun to panic and was cursing to himself in Spanish. He quickly climbed down the ladder and fled off into the pale blue dawn.

Diane lay on the ground, staring up at the sky, a soft light blue with no clouds to interfere. It didn’t hurt so much now but she could feel the blood rushing to her hip. She lay there for 20 minutes coming out of her daze. The pain had begun to set in. Near the ladder the plugs dangled awaiting their insertion into the beckoning portal of alternating current. The pain was great as she dragged herself over to electrical outlet, grasping a tube of glue. She covered the fifteen feet in no less than 12 minutes and gathered up the hanging plugs. There was one hung up on the ladder and when she rose to grab it there was a dull pop in her upper thigh. The pain was immense but she got ahold of the straggler and incorporated it into the chain. She smothered the plugs in glue and as careful as her agony would allow, glued around the outlet before thrusting the stack of prongs in.

She lay face down for a moment while she gathered the energy to turn over. She could feel the light on her neck and back and knew she had won. She finally rolled onto her back and took in the rays emitting from the edges of the roof. Brighter than the early morning sun could ever hope to be. She passed out thereafter and was found unconscious by Mr. Bukirkle as he went out to retrieve the morning paper.

Ron Writes a Resumé.

     For five years Ron had worked at Wild West World outside of Nimsburg, PA. But not today. Today, Ron was paid for the day, and given the pink slip. During the previous winter, O'Hamill Amusement CORP. bought the park outright, relieving Arnold and Sandra Dole of their 56 year ownership. With the start of the new season the new corporate regime began to clean house. 

     Their first step was to install working toilets in place of the ill-maintained "authentic" outhouses which regularly caused sections of the park to close down. The second step was to relinquish Ronald Percy of his position as "Jedidiah the Mountain Man".  In the manager's office he threatened a lawsuit, claiming ageism but it simply was not the case. Ron would smoke cigarettes while children visited his station, often recruiting the children to help him roll fresh ones. He had been caught a number of times but refused to bow. "They like it" he argued.  The Doles never minded much. He liked the Doles. Ron would consistently forget his lines and would rant to the children about how the state was ripping him off by forcing him to pay car insurance and how if they weren't careful, the wealthy and powerful would suck them dry. They held the meeting first thing in the morning.

     On his way home he knew shit would hit the fan. He broke the news to Linda. "Why do you have to be an asshole, why couldn't you do what they said" she screamed at him. But Ron was a mountain man, not a mountain mouse. Three plates and a cup were broken that night at Linglesleeve Trailer Park's unit 3C.

    Ron slept on the porch that night and when he awoke went right to the Anatol Dupree public library, sat himself down in front of the wood processor and began to type out a resumé. For the first hour his computer illiteracy prevented him from making any progress but a friendly librarian came to his aid and he was soon on his way. Ron thought and thought and thought. Nothing came from his corrupted memory, so obliterated by years of psychedelic drug use. He'd worked in a grocery store back in 1978 for 6 months and taken odd jobs ever since just to get by or high or both. For a while he lived on disability until he got a job collecting carts at the Mr.Food grocery store in Brunsville. After being late 65 of his 92 days of employment he was let go. Following 7 months of unemployment, a friend from N.A. got him a job at Wild West World. And now, he was here sitting in front of a word processor unable to think of one skill he had. Depression began to set in. "I'm a piece of shit, I can't do anything, I want to blow my head off". These thoughts danced about in his head for an hour or so until he had a revelation. Ron had been a mountain man for 5 whole years.

     He didn't ask Linda to join him because he knew she'd never understand. He left her a little less than half of his severance pay and a note scrawled on a torn out sheet of looseleaf. On that late August night, Ron fled his New Jersey trailer park for the untamed wilderness of the great white North. He was last spotted 30 miles northwest of Battleford, Saskatchewan having received a speeding ticket on Highway 16. Winter that year was not particularly harsh by Canadian standards.

     

 

Dirty Mud Dawg

The air was unusually warm so early in May and the pastrami on rye was unusually mediocre. Generally, Nick’s Delicatessen made a wonderful pastrami on rye but they had recently hired some new counter help. The air conditioner didn’t work in his rusted and worn Dodge Ram Charger but the radio did. Every single day at noon Ted would sit outside in the machine shop parking in his truck, eat a pastrami sandwich, and listen to "get the LED out" on KPSW, "The SAW", for an hour before returning to his position at the milling machine.

Ted never won anything in his feeble workaday existence. Not an argument, not a scratch off, not a game of cards, not a three legged race, not a thumb wrestle, nothing. He didn’t remember dialing but he remembered the DJ yelling exuberantly in his ear.

    “GET READY MUDBOY, YOU’RE GOING FOR A RIDE IN DIRTY MUD DAWG AT THE TWO THOUSAND ONE IDAHO MONSTER RALLY HOW DO YOU FEEL?”

    “Oh my god dear sweet god. I feel so blessed! Thank you so much!” he bumbled out, his thunderstruck brain unable to process what had just occurred. 

On June 9th Ted would report to the Peoria Civic Center to receive his Dirty Mud Dawg "I'M A MUDBOY" T-shirt, Hat, and a helmet, which he wasn't allowed to keep, to be worn whilst riding in the behemoth machine.

Four weeks later, on June 7th, Ted’s mother suffered a fatal heart attack while driving to meet her friend Tammy Rineblatt for a game of gin rummy and some tea and pie. She became unconscious at the wheel and the small toyota she was driving veered into a creek, killing a turtle. They say she could have been saved, but she wasn't found for another two hours. The wake would be held on June 9th at Panusky and sons funeral home. 

Dressed in his ill-fitting rented suit, Ted sat on the edge of the bed, looking into the mirror. He was a loser again. His wife called to him from downstairs, it was time to go.  He took a deep breath, he got in the car, he drove to the funeral home. Running about fifteen minutes late, he and his family got out of the car and walked up to the door of Panusky and sons. He stopped. She stopped.

    “Ted?”

    “Can you just give me one minute?”

She hugged him and ushered the children inside. Ted stood alone, staring at the door, thinking about what was behind the door. His deceased mother lay in a casket, his brothers and sisters with their children sat in unquenchable sadness, family members he hadn’t seen in ages and probably didn't really care so much for his mother thought about going home. Sadness, anger, loss, death, heartache. They were all in there, waiting on him to start the service. 

 About 30 miles down the road stood the Peoria Civic Center with 20 monster trucks revving their beast like engines and ready to crush any lesser vehicle so unfortunate to be found in its path. In one of those towering monster trucks was a seat with his name on it. Happiness, excitement, life, jubilation waited there.

“She would have wanted me to do it”, he told himself over and over again as he barreled down the highway toward the Peoria Civic Center and to his seat in the Dirty Mud Dawg, right next to Dirty Dave himself. His wife had called him over and over again but Ted had already thrown his cellphone out the window of the hurtling automobile, so it was not of much use. He arrived and checked in. He was quickly ushered into the arena and suited up. Ted climbed up into the Dirty Mud Dawg and gleefully shook hands with the one and only Dirty Dave. Never had there been a happier moment in his life. He all but forgotten all about his dead mother. The crowd cheered as Dirty Mud Dawg rolled out, it's engine blubbering along. The announcer called out his name “TED DINKLE”, electricity coursed through his body.  The gargantuan truck made a lap around the exterior of the course. Then Dirty Dave said, "Thanks Ted, hope you liked it! The pit crew will help you out." 

He was baffled; the Dirty Mud Dawg hardly got over fifteen miles per hour. They circled the arena maybe once and crushed zero cars. 

    “What? Go again! Crush a car or something. Come on! This is fun! I'm having fun!” Exclaimed Ted, the ecstasy giving way to confusion.

    “Sorry Ted it’s just not safe to have another person in the truck while performing those stunts."

    “No, you're joking. That was for kids, come on. Listen Dirty Dave, you listen to me. I fuckin' missed my mother’s wake to be here and I would really appreciate it if you-“

    “What?…

There was a very long pause. The motor of the great machine idled, continuing to profess it's unstoppable power.

Ted found himself again in his rusty old Dodge Ram Charger, with no air conditioning. The night was especially cool so it was OK that the A/C didn't work. But Ted wasn't thinking about that anyway. From inside the Civic Center he could hear the muffled roar of the monster trucks as they demolished compact cars and school buses without bias. Ted exited his car, laid on the pavement, and cried himself to sleep.

 

THE END

 

 

 

Banana Daiquiri Women

The saloon had a frigid air that night. It seemed as though everyone knew what she done. The piano player, the bartender, Jerry the wino, they all seemed to know. The usual roar of laughter and merrymaking seemed to be replaced by whispers and hushed rumors. The piano resonated not music, but icy foreboding. It was as if everyone knew that any minute now, that Evangeline would could giggling through the doorway on the arm of Buster Mimson, the meanest dude in all of Cheyenne county and that the next minute Utah would come gunning for them.

Utah sipped his gin. An hour crawled by. He ordered a bottle. Another hour crawled by.  He sat there brooding. The courage he anticipated from the gin never came. "Fuck it" he said to himself and ordered a banana daiquiri. 

He sat there sipping the drink slowly enough so that he'd avoid brain freeze. He liked the little umbrellas that came with them. He twirled the umbrella in his fingers, thinking maybe he ought to just go home when a sweet young thing sat down next to him. They got to talking. Her name was Sue, an easterner, in town to see her sickly uncle.  He ordered her a banana daiquiri and they talked about golden retriever puppies, baked beans, and how best to maintain a well groomed lawn. He'd all about forgotten Evangeline when she came stumbling through the door on the arm of that filthy son of a whore.  

He reached for his .44 but stopped. Was vengeance worth the loss of sweet Sue, who loved banana daiquiri's as much as he did? 

Evangeline looked at Utah then whispered something in Buster's ear. He turned and yelled across the room. "How's your banana daiquiri you brush poppin', tip toeing', lily livered, hog washer?"

It stung but Utah took it and turned back to the bar and back to Sue. He thought of little fluffy golden haired puppy dogs licking his feet and ignored the offense.  He talked to Sue the rest of the night and then saw her home, wishing her goodnight with a kiss on the hand and promises of tomorrow.

Utah got home and couldn't sleep so he decided to go back to the saloon, wait in the shadows outside for Buster and Sue so he could shoot them down like the dirty dogs they really are.

Utah was captured and hung two months later when the posse caught up with him along the Rio Grande just northwest of Las Cruces.

The End

 

 

Respects

Grandpa Mel. Big and dead. He required a custom built coffin to fit his towering, girthy carcass. During the potato famine they used to just break people's legs so they'd fit. That was a long time ago. The cost of such a large coffin adversely affected the ornate-ness of the elongated sarcophagus. Some distant relatives sitting nearby had commented they were "not that impressed".

He looked strange to the seven year old boy peering inside to "pay his respects". The boy didn't know his grandpa, due to the fractured relationship his father had with the deceased. It's true they had met once, but the boy was only months old and Grandpa Mel had spilled beer all over him. That doesn't count. 

His stone face, now covered in make-up, seemed to be holding back a yawn. The boy had never seen a dead man. The boy had also never put purple, berry flavored chewing gum -which he had hidden under his tongue from his parents- into a dead man's hair. He did that day. He made it to the doorway before anyone noticed.

A Question of Determination.

Bill sat and thought for about 12 and a half minutes. He nervously rubbed the side of his nose with his thumb. The loudness of the coffee house seemed to be growing. This is what he wanted, 50 years old and what he wanted was to be able to express himself. What he wanted was to be an actor. Now somebody was giving him his very first opportunity. Somebody who had seen the  head shots which he paid a lot of money for and thought he looked good for the part. 

"So... are you cool with being naked and having ketchup and mayonnaise sprayed all over your body?" the film student asked once again.

Bill continued thinking. 

Barney Strong: Pre-production

As the cold winter months trudge on, we've begun to enter pre-production on our next short film, Barney Strong. Above is a sketch of the motel room where the film's three traveling salesman reside. Over the next few months we will be transforming our studio from Bear Binko's science lab into a quaint maritime-themed roadside domicile with two double beds and a cot. More to come...

The Gift

Christmas Eve. Only one person remained to be bought for; Elaine. Nine years together and he was drawing a blank. He couldn't get her jewelry again, she already said something about it last Christmas. And she was right, for the nine year they'd been together, he'd bought her jewelry every single year, once he even bought her the same necklace two years in a row. "I'll go out on the town, something will pop into my head", he thought. Hours went by and nothing did. 

For little Daniel he purchased some sporty sunglasses, for his boss it was a pair of odor fighting tiger woods golf socks. He even bought for his wife's sister an expensive set of noise canceling ear buds. "Why in the hell can't I think of what to get my god damn wife" he thought. 

It was 7 o'clock and stores were beginning to close. "Yo my dude" a voice called from the street. He turned to see a man in a bright yellow parka, standing next to a late model Chevrolet with several light emitting modifications.

"Last minute?" The man joked. Paul sighed and nodded diffidently.

"I got you, who you buying for?"

"My wife."

The mysterious parka'd man thought for a moment then he popped the trunk and beckoned Paul over.

"OK now, you're late in the game here my bro, but I'm-a save your ass."

Paul listened intently. Was this man his guardian angel? 

"I got some bottle rockets, some nunchuks made by real ninjas and samurais, I got discount cigs, What else? Oh, your honey like steaks? I got a cooler in the back seat with some good steaks. Also, I got a baby alligator too but I gotta go get that if you want it, aaaaand some DVDs."

"What's that?" Paul pointed into the corner of the trunk at a leathery looking object. 

"She got exotic tastes huh?" 

Paul replied positively as though his will had been suddenly taken over. Perhaps it was his overwhelming state of panic or the several drinks he had consumed at McKallard's to ease his mind but the words coming from the parka'd salesman seemed to strike all the right chords at precisely the right moments. All that mattered was that this sagely merchant of rare goods seemed to hold a divine solution for Paul's troubling dilemma. The savior-peddler spoke with profound eloquence on how this severed and reduced human head would bring great joy when retrieved from underneath the merry old tannebaum by Paul's unsuspecting sweetheart.

It was like some washed up vaudevillian finding a laugh in a sea of agitated cynics. He'd found the gift of gifts! Paul paid the man quite handsomely, wished him the respective salutations for the time of year and hastily departed homeward on a mission to wrap the newly acquired bit of curios. 

The sudden relief Paul felt brought on a wave of ecstasy, a feeling of all encompassing victory and near invincibility. He drove home with his music way up loud, belting out his favorite Steve Miller Band tunes. As he grooved along, looking down at the shrunken head lying in the passenger seat, Paul suddenly realized he had made an enormous mistake.

The End

Last Ride of El Morochuco

     The pilot Hernán Martín had mentioned the possibility of delaying for some marginally overdue routine maintenance but Sandy Monroe had urged the pilots to go up anyway. She had an early flight back to the states from Lima the following morning and did not want to miss it. For the first hour the L-410 cruised smoothly southward over the Andes toward the capital city. Sandy sat quietly in the cargo area reading a copy of the Da Vinci code. Next to her was a crate containing two newly purchased crias, as we call young Alpacas.

      It began as a low whirring noise, gradually growing in volume over a course of 15 minutes. The starboard engine began to sputter, throwing off a small amount of smoke. There was a jolt followed by some commotion in the cockpit. The crias began to wail. Mauricio, the aircraft's co-pilot, emerged from the cockpit.  She interrupted him before he could speak; "What was that, what's happening?" Mauricio obviously very scared replied, "Misses Sandy, please put your seat belt on, we may have to make an emergency landing."

      Angry thoughts began to fill her head as she complied, "Why didn't they take care of this plane?, What kind of rag tag operation are these hustlers running? Why me?"...etc. She stopped herself. Forty two years as a visiting nurse, stocking her money away without the knowledge of her drunk of a husband, dealing with her ungrateful brat kids day in and day out, all for nothing. "Buckle my seat belt?" she thought, "fuck you, I'm going to have my Alpaca farm nestled in the grassy hills of Petaluma."

      Quickly rummaging through her belonging, she found her large beach umbrella and some rope which she quickly used to fasten herself to the Alpaca crate. Opening the hatch, she threw herself from the airplane. The aircraft shrank into the sky and Mrs. Monroe sailed through the warm dusk air holding onto a rainbow colored beach umbrella with two baby alpacas tied to her waist. She was for a brief moment filled with ultimate regret. However, before she could put too much thought into such a depressing lamentation she was crashing through the dense canopy of the Amazon rainforest.

      Weeks later Mrs. Monroe was found alive near the village of Sanchima. Miraculously, the substantial amount of jungle greenery had broken her fall, albeit broken her arms in the process. She was able to subsist in the Amazon for almost a month. Unfortunately, this meant the consumption of one of her prized Suri alpacas and a copy of the Da Vinci Code. On the bright side, she was able to finish the lengthy novel before devouring it. Mrs. Monroe now lives in the rolling hills of Petaluma with her one surviving Alpaca whom she calls "Lucky".

     As for the fate of "El Morochuco", the fateful LET L-410 which Mrs. Monroe excused herself from... The aircraft went down somewhere in the Andes along with its pilot, Hernán Martín. However, the co-pilot, Mauricio Fernando De Soto IV, was able to bail out of the plummeting tin can of death. You see, the plane had several available parachutes for use in its weekend role as a skydiving transport. Had she looked a little harder, Mrs. Monroe might have saved herself some trouble. Nonetheless, all road lead to Rome. However, as opposed to Mrs. Monroe, Mauricio landed in a tributary of the Marañón where he was probably eaten by piranhas and snakes.

The End

 

 

A Tiger In The Grass

       Being a staunch proponent of self reliance, Steve Coolpy was thought of as an outsider in his neighborhood. He was thought of as "the nut job on the corner", or "the guy who lives in the eye-sore on the corner", or "psycho steve on the corner". The list goes on and on. Regardless, Steve was a master of innovation, a renegade, an outsider. Most importantly, he was his own man. When the washing machine which he and his ex-wife had purchased finally broke after 15 years, Steve had a new one in sixteen hours that he built using an old bicycle, an oil drum, and innumerable other small pieces of hardware and refuse he found around the house. "Ain't no fuckin' Maytag gonna wash 42 gallons of laundry" he drunkenly yelled into the early morning air upon completion. While the rest of the world shook in fear of using their own hands, while they threw money at every little obstacle, while they "had somebody" solve their problems, Steve Coolpy was busy getting it done on his terms, by his rules.

      That's why when the Smimsly Belding Memorial Zoo lost track of one of it's Indochinese Tigers and Steve spotted it in his backyard, he refused to call the Zoo or the authorities and proceeded to handle the situation himself. He had seen the Tiger wander into the tall unkempt grass of his backyard sometime around noon but lost sight of it. Nonetheless he was sure it was back there. Steve quickly took inventory. "The head of this mop kinda looks like a bunny rabbit or a little shaggy puppy dawg" Steve thought to himself. The plan was simple; using the mop head as a decoy attached to some sort of reel, he would lure the beast into the back of his pickup (enclosed with a bed cap) Leaving the hatch shut he'd just have to close the tailgate, which he tied up at an angle so he could shut it by backing the truck into the house. All he'd have to do then was drive it to Smimsly Belding Memorial Zoo, surely to receive a free pass for the rest of his life. 

      Steve parked his car on the side of the house and cast his decoy into the yard before climbing back into the cab. The decoy was attached by a clothesline which was fed through a small hole drilled in the back of the cab and attached to a garden hose reel that Steve had found in the trash two years ago. He reeled quickly, he waited, he reeled quickly, he waited, then he saw it. "That big bastard cat is falling for it" he laughed to himself. The enormous feline started to stalk the mop head. Steve reeled like the dickens and the predator gave chase. Closer and closer it came until it was right in the back of his 1984 Ford F-150 XL. "Yeehaw!" he screamed, his adrenaline pumping. He stepped on the gas. There was a loud crash as the tailgate of the truck became lodged against the vinyl siding of his house. Making a split second decision, Steve pulled forward a few inches and ran out to shut the tailgate by hand. The crash must have damaged the latch and as a result Steve Coolpy was mauled to death by an Indochinese tiger in his backyard in Sackenbridge, Ohio at 4pm on July 14th of 2004. "He had it coming to him" the neighbors later scoffed, but at least Steve Coolpy tried.

The End

Puzzle Party

Mr. Hal Kendrick had been a lonely man for 6 years. Having been left by his wife, he just could not get back into "the game". That is why he was so surprised when Vanessa the barista at Lighthouse cafe had accepted an invitation to his puzzle party. For 4 or 5 months now Hal had longed to be able to talk with her, finally coming up with the nerve to speak something to her apart from his order. The problem was that he had no idea why he had invited her to a puzzle party. Perhaps he overheard her express an interest in puzzles at some point or perhaps she just seemed to be the puzzle solving kind. It mattered not, he had said what he said and now had under 48 hours to make it a reality. Immediately, Hal went out and purchased over 70 dollars worth of puzzles including several 3-D ones as he figured they may be a little more exciting and she might not be an old fashioned girl. Next was to invite other guests, surely he could not invite her to a party and have no other guests. She would feel trapped and want to leave right away. Hal attempted to make some calls but the majority of his friends had broken ties following the messy divorce. Those that did answer were simply not interested in coming to a puzzle party on a Wednesday night. The hour of reckoning drew upon him and Hal had to think quickly. Six lonely years were about to become six more lonely years. Then it came to him, he could play the pity card. Perhaps not the most gracious way to start a relationship but what choice did he have? The plan assembled itself in Hal's head in mere nanoseconds. He would put on a pot of food, leaving a rag dangerously close to the burning food and conveniently positioned near a bottle of barbecue lighter fluid. The house would burst in to flames and Hal would come running out of the burning structure just in time for Vanessa to arrive for the puzzle party.  Hal stopped for a moment and thought. Years of processing insurance claims, climbing the ladder of success, affording his own house with all his nice furniture, rising from the rubble of a failed marriage, amassing and astounding CD and DVD collection, owning the largest television on his block, all these things would be scorched away not to mention the risk to his own life. Was it worth it? At the time Hal thought so and proceeded to burn his home to the ground. 

The End

The wooden man

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There is certainly no doubt about it, Gregory Ta was a committed student, but his constant nose bleeds caused him a lot of trouble. Sitting through college courses with tissues stuffed up his nose, wiping up blood off of the lecture hall desk, constantly having to run to the bathroom in order to change out the tissues, bearing the shame as uncomfortable classmates inch away from you. The whole situation was incredibly embarrassing. Hailing from southern Vietnam, Gregory was unaccustomed to the midwest's dry unforgiving winters. The summers were quite agreeable but as soon as November rolled around, Gregory's nasal hemorrhaging began. On one particular day, his nose would not stop bleeding. Blood flowed from his right nostril like the raging waters of the Mekong.  Not that he'd ever seen the Mekong but he imagined it might be quite like the blood running from his nose, albeit water instead.  Having used up all of his absences in Prof. Mishokowsky's Cross Cultural Interactions in Modern Europe course, Gregory had to think quickly. Think quickly he did. Though somewhat light headed from blood loss, Gregory ran outside in the wee hours of the frigid Minnesota morning to scour campus for a  surrogate. Finding a good-sized log, he rolled it home, dressed it in his clothing (ruining two of his favorite shirts), printed a picture of his face, glued it to the log, and attached a tape recorder. His roommate Mike Dungle had blacked out the night before from drinking too much and was undisturbed by all of this commotion. Though Gregory's participation grade would surely suffer, it had to be done. Minutes before the class started, the new Gregory Ta was slipped into his seat. Professor Mishokowsky never knew the difference. 

The End

Moving On.

As autumn and winter approach, we prepare to hunker down and begin our "writing season". Matt, Trevor, and I will be working on several larger writing projects throughout the winter. Nonetheless we plan to remain productive as we are beginning an animation project based on the singing sailors: Anse & Mustiff, who you may or may not know from our Downeaster Alexa music video. Production will begin in early October. Above, you will see we are hard at work with our storyboards and scripts and wallets and sunglasses and keys and a marker.

Lunch With Grandpa

Another new sketch! Three grandsons have their 14th annual picnic lunch with their deceased grandfather. 


Hannah's Annual Brunch

It was Hannah's annual brunch get together and Raul had spent the entire year perfecting his frittata. Eggs, Potatoes, Cheese, Onions, Spinach, and his secret blend of herbs. Raul was assured time and again that nobody else would be making frittata. Being so, Raul was mortified when he found out that Dian Binzby had also made a frittata. 

An entire year's worth of tweaking an Emeril recipe he found online to his satisfaction. An entire year of eating frittata almost four times a week. All for nothing. But there was hope.

"Would anyone like to volunteer to bring out the dishes?" Hannah inquired.

Raul's hand shot up, he followed Hannah into the kitchen. Lying on the counter was Diane Binzby's shitty frittata and he would make sure nobody was going to eat it.  Before Hannah could instruct Raul on which dishes should go first, he had vanished from the kitchen with Diane Binzby's abomination in hand. Making straight for the bathroom, Raul locked himself inside and began to shovel the frittata into the toilet bowl. He had to move quickly or they would notice he was gone. After dumping a substantial portion of the dish into the bowl he tried to flush but the toilet was so jammed full of eggs and potatoes that it began to overflow. Raul quickly turned the water off, avoid a tsunami of eggs and toilet water.  Too far in to back out now, Raul dumped the remainder of the dish into the tank of the toilet. He quickly hid the glass pyrex tray under the sink and left the bathroom very quickly so that nobody would know it was him.

The End

Pizza Party

 

"What does one do? What does one do when something like this happens? There are so many things one things one could do, there are so many things one could do when something like this happens. When your son has a birthday pizza party. When your son has a birthday pizza party and invites the kid who takes pride in shooting soda out of his nose. There are so many things that one can do when your son has a birthday pizza party and invites Gus, Gus the kid who shoots soda out of his nose for fun. There are many many things you can do when Gus decides to forgo the rolls of paper towels which were purchased for the occasion and wipe his loud, greasy, tomato-sauce -covered mouth on your the 17th center Dutch tapestry depicting King Willem III on an otter hunt." Albert Nesty thought as Gus Brunstein exited the car. 

"Thanks for driving me home Mr. Nesty" Said Gus 

"...now I know where you sleep..."

The End

Seventh Period

Lunch time was over and the bell had rung for seventh period; science class. Amanda and Lily filed into class, sitting down at two adjacent desks. Today's lesson in biology was on the digestion of ruminants. A ruminant is a mammal such as a yak, llama, goat, giraffe, sheep, or cow. Amanda and Lily had no interest in this matter and thought it was boring and it would never apply to real life. They proceeded to discuss a number of boys that they thought were attractive instead. Just as Mr. Punumple was preparing his demonstration on the role of cud in the digestive process of these animals, Lily cracked a joke about a boy's haircut, causing Amanda to giggle. About to bite into the square of sod which he had acquired for the demonstration, Mr.Punumple stopped abruptly at the sound of laughter. "Ms. McKindy" he screamed slightly embarrassed, "Perhaps YOU would like to demonstrate for us the role of cud in the digestive system of ruminants. "I'm sorry, I'll pay attention" she said, also somewhat embarrassed.
"Oh you bet you will! Because you know what!? You're going to get up here, you're going to eat this grass. Yea, you're going to eat this grass, and then you're going to throw it back up, and then you're going to chew it some more, and THEN you're going to eat it again. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO BUT BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT IS SO FUNNY, YOU FUCKIN'  DO IT!"  he replied in a rage that proved later to be detrimental to his career as a teacher. Amanda approached the front of the classroom and proceeded to have the worst day of her life.

THE END

Drive-by

Not once but twice in a matter of days I was called faggot from a man in a moving vehicle. The first time was in Brooklyn where a man yelled to me "get out the way faggot". Now, I clearly had the light as well as the right of way so I quickly flipped him the bird. That showed him. The second time, Matt, his brother Zeb, and I were donning these boy scout-esque uniforms and skating about in the parking lot of Newby Neon  in Mount Sinai, NY when somebody simply drove by and yelled "FAAAGGGOOOTTT!!!". Coincidence? I think not. I think it was the same man. Which leads me to believe I'm being followed or it is somebody I know.

New sketches in the works, see related post below, and prepare your offerings and smiles.

Great White North pt. 3

How could I have forgotten!? While roaming the rainy streets of Vancouver I met, the one and only Clint Eastwood. Here I pose with him. When asked if he was attending the festival, he remained silent. Such a stern and quiet yet powerful man I though at first. Upon trying to shake his hand, Squintin' Clint made no attempt to return the gesture. The nerve of this man, the rudeness. If I'd have known Clint Eastwood was such an asshole, I'd never have went up to him in the first place. But I made a decision that this cranky old grump wasn't going to ruin the image I had painted in my head of the outlaw, the enforcer, the space cowboy. I went and snapped a picture anyway, I thought surely I'd turn to greet a hefty right hook from ol' dirty harry himself but nothing, he just stood there and did nothing, so I spit on him. A coward too! 

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