Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Beating a dead seahorse

"Beating a dead horse
in the sea,
Drowning in waves of habitual haze
Burying the old me with more old ways
I'd give my left sock to be
Beating the clock
defeating the greed
Beating the road rage
frustration hate spree
with a visit
to my favorite watering hole in the oceanic scrub
A typical day at the Coral Reef Pub
The swordfish and the sponge
Dart parry dodge absorb lunge
As mermen sip on conches of Mermead,
they listen to the tones of a Great White plead
If be a man a great white can, that shark is a piano man
This briny lounge has gone a long way to
make up for my horrid day
And as the shark began to sing
he exhaled a giant bubble-smoke ring
With eyes of red and cheek of tears
the great white rolled back the very years
to another time when he'd been young
and oh, the sadness that shark sung!"

--a bit lichen on the back of the Ringleader's left bootheel

Sunday, June 21, 2020

An excerpt from the new Rial novel "Dystopia in Kalamatopia"

    Suddenly some older type hipster took the microphone from the Ringleader and began to recite from a beat up paperback novel:

     "Bob looked off the balcony of his apartment at a couple of deer who stood in the woods about five meters away.  The lush Kalamazoo trees were abuzz with the sounds of many birds, and insects were in healthy supply, and he was definitely struck by the increase of bugs on the front end and windshield of his car after trips.  He sat on the balcony's lone bench and lit one of the two Cutter brand citronella candles. After smelling the candles fine citro aroma, he sat it on a rickety crate fashioned into a table, and took a drink of a fine Michigan craft beer, reflecting.
     It had been in 1986 when he left the State of Michigan to move to a little town on the north side of Dayton, Ohio.  His high school years in West Milton, Ohio seemed like an idyllic old television show to him now.  It was surreal being a Michigan resident once again, and in his heart he felt somehow like he'd returned to Ithica after an amazingly detailed long journey to Troy (oh,and a war) and all over the world and the seven seas.  He did feel a bit like Odysseus.  The part about finally coming home is that it will not be how or what you hope or expect.  'But the craft beer is exceptional', Bob thought."

Meanwhile, Jens had stopped shooting after one shot, and had painstakingly attached a fishing silencer to his fishing rifle. A Fishing silencer is the most important part of the fishing rifle, for, as every good fish hunter knows, one can scare all the fish away, once they hear the first fateful blast from, say a Wilcomber Mach II, one may as well pack up the tackle box, put your rifle back in its case, and row to shore, because you're quite finished, my good man.  Of course, it doesn't matter a farthing if you have on a silencer if one is firing at fish in barrels, mind you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Shooting Fish in a Barrel

The origins of the phrase "shooting fish in a barrel" is not exactly known, though some speculate that it references a time before refrigeration when fish were stored in barrels.  As in, if you shot a barrel full of fish, you would be guaranteed to hit at least one. But, as it turns out, gentle reader, the term originated in the circus industry.

Jens was a good shot with a fishing rifle.  I mean, everyone remembers his legendary fishing match against John Scot in 1971, where a Moby Dick-esque gigantic sea-carp named Georgina was caught by both of them several times before she finally succumbed to her wounds off the Cliffs of Mohir and was interred in an undisclosed location (in case any of you archeologist types were gonna try to grave rob).

Jens could hit a lone minnow in a barrel full of molasses at 100 yards.

The spectacle that the audience was exposed to was nothing short of breath taking.

Monday, March 30, 2020

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

The crowds attention veered away from the mud wrestling Medusa women for ten seconds to view the cracker shaped explosion in the sky above the tent. The same set of circus workers quickly flapped the roof back down after the display, and from cleverly devised pockets in the flaps rained down individual serving packets of Ritz crackers, as Cyan began singing "Puttin' On the Ritz" to a cacophony of noisy synth background music.  The crowd amusedly caught and snacked on the crackers and returned their attention to the mud wrestling pit only to discover that the Gorgons had been replaced by the band Cracker, who interrupted Cyan, Black and Magenta with their hit song,
"What the World Needs Now" as Smitty made his way down the stairs from the snack bar with a flimsy plastic serving tray of nachos and back to the center ring.  David Lowery appeared annoyed and smug, and once they finished only half the song, he could be heard muttering,
     "I can't believe we've resorted to this..." as he loaded his guitar out of the mud pit, inadvertently knocking over a mic stand.

     The sound of crunching Ritz crackers was all that could be heard for a couple moments, until Smitty announced, with fake cheese sauce dripping down his goatee,

      "AND NOW!!!  

As Smitty said this, several circus clown types rolled out a dozen or so 6 foot tall targets, and from the right of the bandstand, a slightly emaciated greyish man in blue coveralls moped out with a fishing rifle and stood at a meter long piece of black gaff tape on the floor.  He had a small microphone clipped onto his lapel and a sad expression in his eyes.

He spoke.

"A long while ago, before the current era, I hunted in the Carpathian mountains for weary straggling travelers.  Sometimes for sport, I would shoot them with this antique Scottish fishing rifle before transforming from my human form into that of the man-wolf and ripping their throats out,"

Old ladies gasped and a child or two began to cry in the stands.

"However," Jens continued, "I no longer am that person.  It is a new reality now.  I have no desire to eat human flesh, although tonight I will, under the full moon, transform for you and perform a little target practice." 

     Far above the crowd, a couple of same said circus personnel pulled back only three of the ceiling flaps to reveal the full moon, which had only risen partway into the night sky and was rather large.
Jens cocked the rifle before removing his coveralls.  He was completely naked, but it didn't seem inappropriate, because immediately his human form began to morph and thick dark gray fur sprouted from all over him.

    Cyan looked at Black, who clicked his sticks together four times as the band kicked into 
"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon.

Then Jens started shooting.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


And projected on a screen behind them, an 82-year-old Emile Zola, immortalized by moving pictures in 1922, 20 years after his faked death, and 20 seconds before his real one. He was eating a chicken drumstick. It was a silent movie, with no subtitles for his words, only:

It is 1922.
Emile Zola is alive!
For now.

Meanwhile, the groop played "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music."

The crowd murmured in confusion and was fleetingly gawking at the wrestling "gorgons" instead, when just then Emile could be seen choking on his chicken, catching his breath, losing it, and collapsing.

As he went still, the big tent's top was thrown wide (this took about circus ten staff members and was their least but also most favorite job), moments before the start of a fireworks display in the shape of a Ritz cracker!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Gorgons from Zola

    Their theme song was not circusy sounding, unless your circus took place in an alternate dimension in 1975.  If one has ever heard the cover of the Theme to Rocky and Bullwinkle, by Birdsongs of The Mesozoic, then one might have a good idea of how it sounded, but imagine it with a tad more synth.  The band rocked out the theme and segued into the Ringleader's Theme.
      In case you thought that they weren't a part of a real circus, they were.  It's just, the animals were not included.  But there were clowns, acrobats, aerialists, strongmen, and the like, and quite a set of freaks on the payroll, the band not included. What the circus lacked in animals, it made up for with very realistic side show acts. The ringleader, hearing the dulcet tones of the start of his song, pulled back a flap of the enormous tents stage entrance, and with great flourish strolled to the center of the ring, his arms raised up reaching to the audience, and a bright spot light meticulously following his moves. When he arrived to the center of the main ring, he brought his arms down swiftly, which was the cue to the band to stop, which they did expertly.  The head honcho and Ringmaster, whose name was Randall Smith, or "Smitty" as the crew called him, began.

     "Ladies and Germs, crocodiles and worms, I stand here before you and never behind you, to tell you something I know nothing about!! You are about to go on a journey, a journey not of sight and sound, but of mind!  Welcome to the 8th wonder of the world, the most amazing collection of novelties and strange acts you'll ever witness-- The Circus and Freak Show you all know as Cirque Du Psychedelique!!!  And now, LET THE TRIP BEGIN!"

'Let the trip begin' was another cue, and Cyan began the next theme, which was a foreboding and slightly disturbing rumbling deep toned number.  After a moment, the rest of the band joined in, and Cyan intoned the songs only lyric:

"GorGONzoLA!!!  GorGONzoLA!!! (repeated many times over a frightening cello like synth sound and Jose's purposefully fake sounding drums).  

The audience audibly gasped as the spotlights popped on in the ring to Smitty's left, where it appeared three harpy-like women with snakes for hair were apparently in the beginning of a... mud wrestling bout?  

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Computer Game (Theme from the Circus)


It really was a circus.

"Really, it is." That's Joe speaking, or "Cyan" as he was called in the band. And during their shows – "Cyan, Magenta, and Black." (Every now and then some smartass who knew all about printing would ask where "Yellow" was, and Joe would answer "We ain't yellow."

"But it's a shitty-ass burned-out hippie circus with no animals."

"Lucky for them we need a gig," Harry chimed in. "Lucky for us too."

"Bad luck for us, we need a gig because everybody else thinks our cool synth sounds are just a gimmick and we ha-ha sound like a computer game."

You might say the Techno Future Circus with no animals ("no hurting them!") and a wealth of weird and talented humans was more than just burned-out hippies, that it would be part of a coming wave, but who can blame Joe here?

Where Joe, Harry, and José fit into this circus with their voice, bass, and drums – and Rolands all around – was, well, obvious. What good is a circus without music, and what good is a Techno Circus without the highest tech of 1978?

"Hey, Black. I mean, *Dragon*," Joe snarked, snapping José to attention. José was as Mexican-American as you'd think, and Joe was... uhh.

"Yeah, I'm Dragon. Yeah? So? What do you want?"

"I want you to NOT DROP YOUR DRUMSTICKS ON THE DRUMS during our "computer game" opening this time, OK?"


Five minutes later, they were miked up and playing the circus's opening theme.