Friday, August 26, 2016

INTERMEZ?ZO=The Ballad O' a-'tha-long lost-ah-warriors of Dah beer vendors!

{To be sung in a cockney British accent, reminiscent of Monty Python,,,

"Oh......................  ,

Beer Vendor,
Beer Vendor,
Please vend me that beer!.....

(solo) I'm here at the match and me
buddies have thirst,
Won't be the last buyin' yet I was the first,
I have too much money and
must spend it here
for ballgames are
reasons to spend loads of cheer,

Beer vendor please give em to me,
ah-two at a time!
On the concourse during halftime
a transaction devine,

Beer Vendor, Beer Vendor,
don't you charge me too much!
I know the rules of the house are a
life saving crutch...but us
boys, we are cheap, n' won't give ye a tip,
yet in all of your beer slinging,
commission's there yet,

O Beer Vendor, beer vendor,
you don't drink from the stock,
you don't walk off that line, you don't
tarry and scoff, you just act in
the most kind, respectable manner,,,
and then you go wipe your brain clean
through an atomic scanner,


Beer vendor, beer vendor,
come up and sell me dat-ah beer,
I ah-want to support you,
It's perfectly clear,

Beer Vendor, Beer Vendor,
You are to us, a Saint.
Though it makes us the sucker,
We must follow your Paint(Pint)."


Monday, August 22, 2016


It was April 14th, 1647, and Christiaan Huygens was burying Christiaan Huygens.

The fresh name still hung on Huygens like a baggy shirt as he shoveled an unmarked grave. “A copse for a corpse,” he thought gravely, chuckling darkly at one wordplay from the tongue of the English as he overlooked another.

The new Huygens was no murderer; he was a former best friend who had watched in horror as his friend was swallowed whole in weeks by a consumption no doctors could treat. That brilliant student, the pride of his father, dead, dead. And what a father—the new Huygens respected Constantijn as much as he did his son. So much so that he could not leave Constantijn childless.

Many had told the inseparable friends that they were like twins in more than just appearance, and those words gave Huygens strength as the shovel grew ever heavier in his pampered hands. They had also given him strength during his weeks of intense study of every last detail of his friend’s life, begging Christiaan for more stories, the better to prepare for impersonating him.

The “real” Huygens (they both laughed at the thought) was enthusiastic about the plan—as much as he could muster enthusiasm while wasting away. Neither of the two was sure which had thought of the idea… and really, it felt to them like just one more in the long series of pranks the “twins” had already played.

It also wasn’t the first secret they had shared. The palpably-mortal Huygens knew full well that his doppelganger was cursed with immortality. The choice of brutally sudden mortality was still trivially easy for the brilliant boy—which is not to say that his friend was even eager to rob him of it.

Light spilled in through the trees, and the power of the moment left an imprint on Huygens that would remain with him for at least the rest of his impersonated life. An imprint of light, an imprint of time. “The best impersonation I can give,” he mulled, “is to study these two things, like he would have.”

As he clambered up after lowering the body, he felt fresh-born. He was anxious before a new world and the challenge of fooling so many, especially a loving father. Christiaan Huygens gulped and launched into a new orbit. The light still spilled down, and he daydreamed. “Maybe someday I will be a satellite.”

You might ask: what was the old name of the new Huygens? But this is a silly question. What is a name to a werewolf?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Intermezzo: For All Seasons

It was only one million years since the end of the world, so Joe Eawest figured he had about nine hundred and ninety nine million more left to go before he would see humans again. He was right, of course. In recent millenniums, he had taken up farming and smoking tobacco. He couldn't die from it, but he still wrote this song.

A cigarette is a friend
for the rain
that it leaves you out in
just you and him
sharing the pain

A cigarette is a friend
for the snow
where nobody goes
but you and him
but you and your cig

A cigarette is a fiend for all seasons
It's seen in all seasons with you
Without you oh what would it do?
The fiend for all seasons will give so many reasons!

A cigarette is a friend
for the falling leaves
of tobacco
burnt to ash
like your lungs
oh so black

A cigarette is a friend
for the sunny days
it drives away
all your friends
it taints your breath
you smell of death
and so it's just you and him...

A cigarette is a fiend for all seasons (...)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Intermezzo: Here We Are At Lunch!

     Bob sat at the lunch table, staring intently at his rectangular piece of MUHS cheese pizza, marveling at its mediocrity.  The table itself also impressed him with its fake wood grain formica finish and chemical smell.   He passed a sheet of paper across the table to Erik, who was sipping a small carton of chocolate milk.  Erik read the paper and smiled only slightly, an eyebrow raising in reflection and inspiration.  He picked up his pen and began to write excitedly.
     Up walked Jeremy Smith and Matt Moriarty.

     "Hey Bob, Hey Erik," said Moriarty, sitting next to Erik, while Smith sat next to Bob, "we're going to watch videos tonight at my house.  I think I'll rent some Monty Python, and maybe that new Wes Craven movie.  Wanna come over?"

     Erik finished writing his sentences and passed the paper back to Bob.

     "I have to finish something for French class but yeah," replied Erik.

     Bob was watching the butt of some hoodlum's girlfriend who was sporting a brand new Jon Bon Jovi t-shirt like every other hood that had gone to Hara Arena the night before to see Bon Jovi.  He finished his lascivious gaze and chimed in:

     "I'll be there too.  We should get Night Breed, definitely.  It is a surreal masterpiece.  Kinda like this pizza!"  He took a bite and smiled, reading Erik's sentences and chuckling.

Jeremy Smith had turned his pizza into a puppet and was putting on a show for the rest of the group as Mr. Lendenski strolled by.   The stout principal was unimpressed by the puppetry and told Jeremy to please eat his food and not play with it.

Suddenly, the Universe ended.  Bob was bummed because he didn't get to write another sentence.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dumpster Crackers

It was two hours after Joe misspoke to his bathrobe-sporting psycho-Dad, and Joe's head felt like the inside of an Afghani pinball machine.  He rolled over on the floor of the foyer, groaning.  Sitting up, he held his forehead and opened his eyes, squinting at the soft white globe of light coming from the porch light.  Joe looked at his watch.  He got to his knees, his whole skull pounding like a sledgehammer on an anvil, and knee-walked the five yards to the phone table next to the coat tree to call his father's closest associate at the CIA (that he knew of), John Smith.

    "Mr. Smith, please......John? Yeah, it's Joe.  Joe Eawest?  It's my Dad....yeah....yes, he'd done something, I just woke up, he--I know, he knocked me out, John.  Look, I don't know what he's done or even where he is at this point, but could you--could you come down here?  Or send someone?  I can't handle this by myself again....okay.  Fine.  See you then."  He hung up.
Joe got up and walked to the refrigerator and got a bag of frozen peas from the freezer.   He grabbed a glass of water and the bottle of Ibuprofen from the cabinet and walked upstairs.

     Meanwhile, a block away, in the parking lot of the long ago closed down "Sal's Mini-Mart", smoke was still smoldering in what was left of a green metal dumpster.  The boarded up mini-mart was pocked with bullet holes, its faded sign splintered and barely discernible.  Police had already cordoned off the area with two different colors of tape, and crime scene forensic analysts were combing over what appeared to be remnants of some second-grade illegal fireworks and some beer cans.  A stodgy man in horn rimmed brow-line frames photographed the dumpster, which turned out to be full of blood and bits of bone, the bodies from which they came mysteriously not there anymore. 

     Detective Mathers, a tall, mean looking ogre of a man with a crew cut and a jagged scar on his neck, was discussing the incident with the only witness, a teenage boy with a skateboard. 

     "So the shots came from where?" the detective droned, writing everything down on a legal pad.  The teen detailed what he remembered, how he'd been watching the fireworks from across the street in the small playground on the corner.  He used to hide out in the staircase to the big slide, which was covered and a good place to spark a jay or drink illicitly acquired beer with his buddies.  He explained that the after the first shot, the small crowd of delinquents at Sal's had scattered, all save the one that caught the first round in his thigh.  The second shot caught one fleeing kid square in the back of the head and it had 'exploded like a water balloon'.  Mathers scribbled as the punk described the shooter, and how he'd finished off the two pyros by tossing them in the dumpster and chucking a grenade in after them, then trotting off the way he'd come.  The dumpster went off like a torpedo had hit it, sending a spray of brains blood and body parts hundreds of feet into the air and who knows where.

     "Okay kid, I think that's enough.  What's your name again?"

     "Bartholomew Norse, sir," Bart said, hoping he wouldn't have to give the cop any important information.

     "Alright, Bartholomew, head over there to that young lady by the cruiser and give her your info, and we'll probably be contacting you again for more information.  Thanks for your help."   Detective Mathers turned and surveyed the scene again.  He shook his head, muttering one word under his breath.


     Bart Norse had no intention of talking to that nice lady over by the cruiser and he stealthily slipped around the side of Sal's and into the back alley and then skittered silently down it like a rat and into the night.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Cloud Cuckoo Land

It is early enough in the clouds for the members of Kraftpark to still be briefly disconnected from their bodies, and late enough for them to have started, which is to say, it could be any time at all.

"I really don't have anybody to talk to here with so few people," Ralf grumbled as he sipped on a margarita. He'd certainly tried - he'd even gotten the bouncer to grunt once before shrugging. "What good is life without action -" he thought - "even if you have a tiny democracy climbing up your mortality?"

"Yeah, I'm kind of the opposite," Florian answered. He really hoped he sounded non-conflicting. "I wanna work some things out here with myself, but I'm the most alone in a crowd, you know what I mean? So... yeah."

"If I get twenty more population, then I can shift all my forelegs into ruby points... Argh! these drugs are interfering with my drugs!" thought Klaus at nobody in particular. He had no particular interest in personal growth, or in his surroundings, not even now. Now, growing his oxhousehemper bulbs on the other hand... with the amethyst counter... Argh! Dammit! Not again!

With that settled, the three resettled, in a lack of a flash, to the Café Cuculia - a  Viennese Café for all time. It was their lucky moment, since right now, for one century only, Cuculia was staging Aristophanes' The Birds once per day, on the minute.

Ralf, Klaus, and Florian lost interest in the play after a few minutes (Klaus: "I mean, what the fuck IS a hoopoe bird anyway?") and wandered inward or off to their own pursuits. Klaus' are uninteresting to us, as we don't play Rise of Rock City, so let us turn to his bandmates.

Ralf rattled around like an electron seeking a suitable energy state, and quickly encountered a near-tableful of fossilized scholars.

"The rays - properly speaking - are not colored," argued Isaac Newton.

"No argument here, Herr Newton! And I thank you for teaching me this concept! One might even go so far as to also say that objects have no color."

Thomas Merton sternly and slowly contributed: "By Gaston... a daydream... is an evasion," prompting Newton to shout "Well that's a non-sequitur!" and throw the cherry tomato from his salad at Merton, who simply shrugged and continued his Bachelard party.

Ralf was now a little fluffy cloud. "Light creates the colors," he glistened. As long-time residents of the clouds, his conversation-mates were fluent in Glisten, and they all nodded in agreement. Ralf rained a tiny mist of relief.

Florian, meanwhile, also had no outward pursuits, but he was outwardly pursued, with many of the night's guests walking up to talk to him, mistaking him for a wise man. To name but one example, there was the Sad Skinhead:

"Do you think I see it right?" the skinhead asked, wrinkling his forehead.

"Well, how do you see it?" They rose from their chairs and, with an subconscious understanding, walked to the wide window overlooking the Cat House and, farther off, the Cloud Bar.

"The cloud looks [at this he gazed at a cloud in the distance and counted off on his fingers:] white, white, white, white, white, which means - white is the greatest color of them all!"

"And that makes you sad? I mean, you look sad, man. No offense."

"White's the greatest color!"

"You sound crazy! Maybe that's why you're so sad. Are you sad because you're crazy? I mean, really no offense! I thought by my age I'd finally know to not put my foot in my mouth..."

The skinhead brightened up a bit. "Thanks for caring how I feel."

"Hey, that sounded reasonable."

"I AM reasonable. I just mean that white is a summed-up color. It's every other color added up. So it's greater than any other color."

"That's... technically true, I guess, but... do you know what a skinhead is?"

The skinhead blushed. "Do you know I can't not look like this?"

"No!" Florian shouted enthusiastically. "Tell me more!"

Their conversation continued on into the nubicuculian night, as the play ended and the cafe's crew of eternal punters gathered around the flatscreen to watch some kind of reality-TV show.

Fireworks for the Shellshocked.


It was decades earlier.  Earlier than when, you may wonder?  Why, earlier than the moment when the disgusting sound of Raymond Eawest's fart would be heard through seven feet of flan by the undercover operative known by his current employer as Ralph Smith, but known by his friends and bandmates as Ralf.

     It was 1979, and it was the goddamn 4th of July.  Again.  Ray Eawest was furious.  He was THIS close to grabbing his M-1 Garrand and a couple of grenades from the closet and showing those inconsiderate sonsofbitches what real ordinance sounded like.  He knew he should be used to it.  Fact was, for years he'd been meaning to leave town on the 4th, maybe go camping in the Porcupines as far away from civilization as possible, but he procrastinated and the "holiday" always caught him off guard and he'd be sitting there at midnight on July 3rd and the idiots would start "honoring the brave soldiers who fought and died for our independence" or some bullshit like that, and there he'd go again, almost shitting the bed with reflexive horror.

     "I can't believe this!  Did I catch jungle rot and malaria, sleep in the muck, and kill dozens of crazy fucking Nips and stack 'em like cords of wood, knee deep in shit for three fucking years in the Pacific to come home and have my neighbors scare the fucking hell out of me once every goddamn year for the rest of my sorry life!?  No!  And where the hell is Joe?!"  Ray shouted, sweaty and shaking as he sat on the edge of his bed.  He started to take another sip of his rum and Coca-Cola, but just as it met his lips, another M-80 went off outside, this one very close by.   His glass immediately twitched a good three inches and sent half the drink flying onto his face and neck.  Even though he didn't even need that drink anyway, it was the last straw.  Visions of bloody faces struck by mortars, Japanese faces screaming, rushing toward him, his bayonet thrusting--

He roared.


Ray jumped up from the bed and whirled around toward the closet.  The next moments were a flurrying montage of rage.  The Bacardi and Coke shattering on the wall, his closet doors flying violently open, rummaging and boxes flying open, the sound of boxes of bullets being dumped into the pockets of his threadbare plaid bathrobe, clink-clink-clinking as they rained down on the two grenades he had already placed therein, and then he was on his way merrily down the hall and down the stairs.  His slippers silently paced toward the first floor as he slung the bolt back dramatically and loaded the Garrand, whistling the theme from Bridge Over The River Kwai.

     He got to the front door and stopped.  He breathed slowly, trying to center himself.

     "Fucking rude assholes.  I have connections.  I can make these pricks disappear!" he snapped as he turned the deadbolt.

Then a floorboard creaked right behind him, and Joe Eawest spoke to his father.

     "Aren't you forgetting something, Ray?"

Ray Eawest whirled on his son, raising the barrel up to Joe's face instantly.  His finger did not go to the trigger however.  He'd learned the hard way to make sure who you are killing before you squeeze off the round.  He gasped.

     "Joe!  What the hell--"

     "You may have better luck," Joe smirked, "if you put some pants on, and maybe your rug?"  As he said this he looked at his Dad's bald head, which usually was topped with the most annoyingly fake looking toupee.  He had underestimated his father, though, and hadn't realized how far gone Ray was into his episode, call it a flashback.  He figured it out about a half a second before the butt end of the M-1 clocked him right in the forehead, knocking him out cold.

"Good evening," his father mumbled, "and God Bless the United States of America."

Raymond Eawest went outside.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Intermezzo: The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

"Hey Bob!" shouted co-creator Erik, as they ran around in the Ideazone, dressed in Hawaiian shirts, as befits any stay in any realm whose name ends in -zone.

"Some asshole wrote a book once called the Unbearable Lightness of Being!"

"What an asshole! Fiction?"

"Yeah, fiction!"

"Shit, that shit's even worse! Fiction should be truer than true!"

"I know, right?!"


 They then both popped out of existence in the Ideazone forthwith, being tied, as if to a clichéd cross, to their quest to earn dumb credits to pay for dumb things, and were never heard of again in the Ideazone for far fucking longer than should be the case, dammit.

Monday, June 20, 2016

International Velvet

Working as an anachronistic roboticist was amusing, but it was never quite what Candy wanted. Not that she didn't know what she wanted. She did; she wanted to go back to the sporting career that had always been her true calling. To competitive waterskiing, just like her mother.

Marianna "Mama" Brain was no stranger to Candace, or even a sister... she knew Mama as just Auntie Mom. (Except for the last few years, when she didn't know her at all, and the last few minutes, when she knew her as a voice talking through a robotic pool assistant that, undisturbingly for Candy, shouldn't be invented yet.) But the public in the year 1,000,002,015 knew her as the greatest robot-assisted waterskier of all time.

Candy had landed on Mama's doorstep as a strung-out phlurmer, but by the day she left and, well, got back on the road to becoming a strung-out phlurmer again, it was Candy, not Mama, who stood on the robot waterskiing throne. She was bigger than baseball, bigger than competitive Pac-Man, bigger than cricket. And her skis were almost as famous. "Arizona Pie! Arizona Pie!" the crowds cheered worldwide as she swished by in the holograms, almost forgetting the rider for the skis. Twisted by fame, she fell jealous of her skis and sought a scandal to push her up by pulling her down.

But they only pulled her down... backwards in life... backwards in - time? Those two.

Pennybags and Pennywise.

Intermezzo: Deadlines

Since the great danger of immortality is the insanity of boredom, it's only natural to work a job or ten. Or thousands over time. Oh, you can spend years unemployed and unfed. No danger in it at all, you're wet, roofless... and you live. That happens. (Then certain especially gifted and responsible werewolves take care of you to ensure you don't stand out among humans... but that's another story.)

Harper, fishmonger, account executive, scribe, slave, traveling merchant... Jens had tried a few. He didn't remember everything he'd learned - werewolves have no more room in their heads than you or I - but he still had a good few skills.

You can fail and live as a werewolf and then succeed again, if you know how. Jens had learned how, and it helped him stay sane... by his measures. Usually. His experiment in being evil - not the adjective but the noun - at the camps had shaken him, but he was trying to move on.

It was the twentieth century, and it was still an easy time to forge an identity, to become an unagingly middle-aged bearded professor from somewhere else that no-one asked too much about. Had Jens already become a mountain hermit, or not yet? He wasn't sure... his self-hate had left his timeline with an upset stomach, machine-gun fire rumbling against cabinet files.

He was addicted to dying as most are to living, but in the meantime he had to pretend to live. Literary criticism was a good pastime, a good present to his sanity. And it had deadlines, life-bringing deadlines with their adrenaline.

"Mr. Piper’s notes," he scribbled - eschewing his useful but still-unfamiliar typewriter - "are therefore an indivisible complex. In them we do not differentiate between literary texts and 'non-literary' documents; the theme might be enforced either here, or it might be there. It might spring up in correspondence or in reading notes - and it can be evinced more clearly in a draft than in a finished work.

For we do not differentiate the biographical author and the subject of the work, but rather we understand the authorial person as the originator of writing act, a hand stretched out towards the theme.

In the early phases of creation, the author, a human personality bewitched by individual shimmering images in which the theme is illustrated, gives his strongest consideration to these images, and not to the reader or the mediation models that are connected with the mechanisms of publication.
Approached this way, the authorial subject corresponds with the manuscript record—not the text."

It was only the rough draft of the first half, but his head was nodding - he had bored himself to sleep, that innocuous little death. And he still had tomorrow morning before the deadline.

He dreamed about writing a plotline, about writing himself out of his story.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orb of Flan

     Raymond Eawest had something nagging at him as he steamed soymilk for a large no foam latte, but he couldn't pin it down.  He could swear he didn't belong here, though he'd been working at Joe's Seaside Espresso Café for almost two decades and the owners Mr. Jazny and his wife Lemtata had always treated him like family.
   "NO!" a voice within him screamed, "This is NOT your LIFE."
    Rays left arm jerked, causing milk and foam to spray all over the espresso machine and his hand. Luckily the milk wasn't that hot yet.  He shook his head and focused.  The morning rush was just starting and he had no time for this.  He pushed the nagging question out of his mind and started the two tall Americanos.

    Inside the FLAN orb, the real Raymond Eawest twitched, his pulse quickening.  The lab assistant with the parka and the clipboard glanced at the readout and monitors briefly.  It was nothing, just a brief excitement in Eawests dream sequence.  Dr. Rhea did not need to be alerted.  He will need to be informed when the subject is ready for the memory extraction program. He looked up at the FLAN and marveled.  It was a giant orb of actual flan, about sixteen feet in diameter, with a series of wires, cables, and vents coming in and out of it. Small fans inside and other things produced a strange humming pulse that emanated from it as it hung suspended above the lab floor from heavy steel and acrylic cables.  Inside, in a state of induced hypnosis crossed with coma, Eawest remained, naked and in a fetal position, tubes and I.V.s going in him, covered in electrodes and monitoring equipment.  Directly touching all this was the inner wall of flan which also housed an umbilical liquid.
    The lab assistant, whose name was Ralph, shook his head.  Old Doc Rhea was a loon.

In his office, George Rhea watched all on his security monitor.  Soon the ultimate test of his memory extraction program would be done.  After all these years it has come down to this. He closed his eyes and tried to make his thoughts stop. 
   George had first thought of the FLAN while on tour with Kraftpark way back in 1974.  It had taken him years to perfect it and he was testing it out now on one of his arch-nemeses.  He only wished he'd had it ready earlier.  He only had a little time to find out what he needed from Eawests memories.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Black Forest

Black Forest

The day of Mr. PCP's last appearance - in a Wild West saloon oh so many pages before - Jens had been there. Watching. Taking notes. For little did the cowboys present that day know that Mr. PCP was actually neither a giant celestial manatee-bird hybrid thing, nor a 50-year-old Mexican woman who cheated like a bastard at cards, but exactly what he was seeing now. A demon.

Vampires weren't real, zombies weren't real, angels weren't real, William Howard Taft wasn't real (it's a long story), Buddha wasn't real, and basically most of the supernatural wasn't real. But werewolves, of course, were real, and so were demons.

Demons were pretty much what you'd expect: they traveled the world and general screwed things up for humans and tripped them up on their ways. For reasons of efficiency, most of them specialized in a single vice, fault, or form of suffering, such as Mr. PCP's specialization, psychosis. They were as immortal as werewolves, but their harm was limited by their narrow-mindedness and lack of a significant interest in cooperating with humans, or even each other, to achieve their goals.

Most demons had a minor supernatural power or two in addition to near-immortality. Mr. PCP, for example, could shapeshift.

"Why me, Mr. PCP? I'm already psychotic enough. I'd be a waste of effort for you."

"I think you want to tell the world about me. I want to stop you."

"Awfully long-term plan for a demon."

Mr. PCP's cheeks grew red. Redder. "Well, it's mine," he huffed.

"Look, I don't... care... about you."

"I saw you at the saloon all those many pages ago."

Jens' cheeks grew slightly less white. "Yeahhhhh... I thought you were stalking me. So I wanted to know my enemy."

"Look, I didn't care about you. And you knew it! You're lying!"

"Am not."

"Are too!"

"Am not."

"Are too, and I'm going to stop you from harming me forever, and make you permanently psychotic! It'll be glorious!" he cackled. "For I shall fold you so that you are doubled-over and stuff you into the trunk of my 1986 Škoda 130 while you are unable to resist due to your weakened physical condition, then drive you hundreds of kilometers away into the Black Forest, where I will lock you in an impenetrably secure room deep in a hillside where you will remain, lost in psychosis, until the END OF TIME!"

"But wouldn't it be more convenient to just build a room right here in the Alps, since I'm already here, and have been here a while, and have been here in the past, and we're deep in the mountains where it'll be a real pain for my allies to find me?"

Mr. PCP sighed. "I know, I know. But it's SO hard to find contractors who will ride out here to Bumfuckville Austria for the work. And anywhere, I'd have to spend more time communicating with them. Disgusting humans." He spat.

At this, Mr. PCP folded Jens so that he was doubled-over and... well, you get the idea. Jens' weakened physical condition kept him helpless to escape the Škodá's musty trunk all the way up to Rudach, on to Dornbirn, to Bregenz, and on around Lake Constance. Mr. PCP played an aging tape of The Best of the Carpenters in one boom-box on the front passenger seat and an aging tape of Switched-on Bach in a second boom-box on the front passenger seat the entire time.

By the time he was free from his bonds, he figured he might as well wait to confront his opponent until they reached their destination.

While he was tanking up in Todtnau, Mr. PCP declared really loudly, to make sure that Jens could hear him in the trunk, "Since you are powerless to resist me, I will reveal your final resting place. We shall be quite close to Feldberg, yet far enough from all ski resorts that you shall have no hope of being discovered and rescued by a lost skier! HAHAHA!" The gas station attendant glared at him, but calmed down after Mr. PCP handed him a 100 EUR note and told him to keep the change.

This was quite welcome news for Jens, for his hours of contemplation in the trunk had led him to a forehead-smacking realization: he had forgotten all about his suicide-by-wormhole plan! "And the secret wormhole," he gloated quietly, "is right here in the Black Forest."

N'est-ce pas?

Intermezzo: But Not Really

Once upon a time there was a boy named Joe the horny
He had miles and miles of files
He listened to Miles Smiles while trimming his piles and visiting the Rials
until one day, he died.
Poor Georgina, his widow...
...was a whale.
In that, she was blubbbery.
Not as in a disparaging denotation for an obese person
No, she really was a whale.
She had large quantities of blubber and was quite proud of it
Joe the Horny liked folds of skin
so it was okay with him.

He could spend all day molding Georgina in his hands, and it was soothing for her.
Suddenly John Scot burst in with a fishing rifle!
Which, is code, of course, for...
THis is better though
"Haven't heard this in ages" thought Georgina as the song blasted from loudspeaker s on the shore
Let them eat cake, but give me buttered toast!
Declared Carolyn the Pig, John's former mistress, as she waddled onto the shore.
Carolyn the Pig wasn't actually a pig, that was just her title.
She took off her wet pink cat hair sweater and let her hard goose bumpy skin shimmer in the sun. Then she snorted and ate some cupcakes mixed with truffles.
it may seem odd for a Chinese Crested to wear a cat hair shirt, but that was just how Carolyn rolled.
It took a long time to remove.
For Joe, that is. Carolyn couldnt remove I at all.

Carolyn wanted to get wet, so she rolled over the edge of the pool into the water and vomited marshmallow mixed with cupcake/truffle mixture all over Joe the Horny, who of course got kinky wit it
As Joe's last name was Kurtz, the pool attendant watched and turned to the hot dog stand cashier to ask: "Mr. Kurtz? Isn't he dead?" 

"The Horror." out of the steamy dark jungle the voice came
"The Horror."
Joe smirked.
"Yeah, he's dead"
said Joe, "but he'll keep for a few days. Anyway, the whale likes it."

"But he's - but you're -" stammered the pool attendant, and her brain promptly short-circuited.

For she was but a robot, as all other beings were around Joe. He was trapped in the Piers Anthony book Race Against Time.
But nobody had read it, so all the robots died.
Mainly the pool attendant robot.
The drugs took effect, and Carolyn rolled up out of the pool like a film in reverse. Joe blinked, and his blink started skipppppppint
He finally stopped blinking, and blinked.
"It must be the Negativeland," he said, "i'll turn it up."
Now let's turn it on and see if the record changer is working there.
"There, that oughtta fix it."
Georgina had a music request.
Carolyn did too.

screamed Georgina
who had a crush on the whale from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
and still thought Fugazi were the punkest thing ever
"Speaking of HGTTG," interrupted Bob,
"I'm going to write another chapter of JOE wherein the number 43 is discussed with Lemmy and Cat"
Then he grinned like a character in a David Lynch experimental film
Which is to say, a tad scary and very unnervingly.
Your turn

Candace wandered past the pool admission counter, neglecting to pay. "I demand my Bechdel Rights!" she shouted - but good-naturedly.
She stretched lazily, like a character fresh out of the freezer.
A nearby scuba diving mask named Jeremy turned violet and hollered.
Joe looked askance at it and continued with his task at hand.
Candance was from another story, but not.
Candace sauntered up to the pool attendant, who was not sitting in a pool chair to recover from the ongoing onslaught of surrealism. And who hopefully still existed. "You got a name?" asked Candy.
was sitting*
The pool attendant, being a short-circuited robot, did not reply, but Mama Brain did, through a combination of elemental sorcery and Radio Shack electronics,
and the help of Jose, who had finally stopped playing Trans Pac when he had to shit.

"My name is Coco," spoke Mama through the robot pool attendant. She wasn't quite willing to reveal her true name yet to a random stranger that she was just messing with.
"I come from Acapoco," she continued,
Candy stopped. She'd heard this before.
John Scot was waking up, having passed out when he snagged his fishing rifle on his bootlace and shot his pinky toe off.
"Good day, sirs and madams," he began. Candy shot a nasty glance at him and turned back to the robot.
"You like to waterski, Coco?" asked Candy.
"Not really, I get really nervous. I'm not very waterproof," answered Mama-Coco.
"No way! You're a gyndroid? That's SO AWESSOME!!"
"Y--yyeah. I don't like to talk about it much though."
"Well it just so happens that I'm a roboticist, and you're about to get the waterproofing of your life!"
"Yes Rocks!" said Mama-Coco, "Make with the proofifying!"

Candy didn't have any tools or materials on hand, so she had to raid the pool's maintenance supplies and water filtration systems. "Sorry," she muttered in the general direction of the remaining pool staff, who were unable to respond because nobody would write about them.

Plus they were mainly robots and the recent short circuit had knocked out most of their mother boards. Joe was humping the humpback and not paying any attention.
"Hey, wanna put on some tunes?" said Mama-Coco. Mama was getting a pretty good hang of Coco's actual personality, which was relieving for her, because she HATED being fake.
"Sure, yeah!" said Candy distractedly.
Mama-Coco had been looking for Candace for a few weeks. After she was rescued from Pennybagswise and his ballooney corpse floated down and was dragged off and shoved in a dumpster, there was much partying and celebrating and frankly, the night became a bit of a blur.
The next thing she knew, it was the next day, and Mama Brain had woken up in bed next to a Mexican biker with a bad tattoo of a parrot on his chest.
She really needed to unwind and have some girl time.
And this was it.
But now here she was, talking to her beloved Candy through a dead robot.

"For she had just remembered that Candy was not a complete stranger, but beloved," said Anal Man, doffing his "John Scot" disguise.
It was quite a hangover.

"I'm not keeping up with all these videos!" raged a discarded pack of Camels next to the trash can.

"And man, that ain't no joke," said the piece of lichen, "You could disappear in smoke."
"The first thing I want to point out to you is the need to connect to your customers in a new way," chatted Candy as she and Coco prepared to strap on their waterskis.
"Oh, sorry, that was just an ad. I'm sponsored nowadays."
"Try to separate yourself from the pack, make YOUR brand stick out by cross market-- oops sorry there I go again..."
The boat took off. Holographically, of course.
"Are you sure YOU'RE not a robot?" said Mama-Coco quizzically.
Candy first rejected the idea out of hand, then grew unsure. Stupid newfound friend overturning her unspoken certainties!
They got accustomed to the bouncy clips of the waves and their legs grew used to the stress, and wallah they were waterskiing!
Candy blushed. "Uh... no homo... but they did a REALLY good job on... you know."
Mama-Coco blushed too. "Uhh... thanks."
It was a gorgeous day and their eyes soon turned to the skies and the spray. Rainbows formed among the splashes of slightly vomit-polluted water.
It smelled faintly of marshmallow and Arthur Fonzarelli brand cologne.
It may have been a dream, thought Candy.
A Cessna flew by to skywrite a big-ass "LOL".
Jose, thought Mama-Coco.
"Candy," she said.
"I actually... know you."
"What do you mean? I've never seen you before."
"Yeah, I'm actually not in control of me... I just robot died a while back. Sorry for fooling you."

"WHo are you, then?" incredulously inquired Candace. She imagined some 44 year old perv just wanting to go skiing with--
using a robot to-- the thought disgusted her.
'Luke, she's your sister?" screamed the boat.
A pair of gadgety arm extended from the boat and it donned a top hat and burst into song.
"I am a rowboat and I'll sing this song
I, rowboat, will sing, and you'll sing along!
I'm your doctor" -
"OW! Stop hitting me!" the boat cried, as every character in the vicinity began attacking it to make it stop singing.
"Anyway, yeahhhh, this is Sis."
"But you really-- Where are you really!? I woke up all the way over in Hoboken with a gandydancer and a midget guitar luthier.
And you were gone!"
They went over a little waterskiing ramp and over a couple sharks in the water and landed on another little ramp and back down into the water. The boat muttered to itself, its feelings hurt.
Bob yawned in the Co-Creator realm, sorry that he had to go to bed soon.

Erik, sitting bare-chested and cross-legged on his bead, swabbed sweat from his right armpit, then sniffed it. "Why the fuck do I always do that?" he wondered for the millionth time.
Mike Myers stuck his head in as the Austin Powers character and said in a bad British accent "But we all love our own brand, don't we?" and farted.
Mama Brain went into the tale of the rest of the night that she could remember and got to the most important detail, where she was currently.

"When did Mama and Candy last see each other?" whistled the pool filter.
The piece of lichen twitched.
"I think in the department store, they were reunited after they beat Pennybagswise, then they all went out partying" improvised the lichen,
"But I thought we were a billion years in the past, in 2013?" mumbled a homeless man who had wandered in now that nobody was staffing the pool entrance.
I mean, the original 2013?
"Wait, WHAT year is it again?" mumbled the lichen. "I'm so high."
"Wanna get high? Again?" asked a nearby towel hopefully.
"Oh you betcha!" chimed in the pool filter.
"She was talking to ME!" snapped the lichen.

"Oh, we can all get high," chirped the towel. He and the lichen plopped down next to the pool filter since it was, yknow, immobile.

A variety of herb was dumped out of trash bags, on the tiles next to the pool. Some got wet. They set about cutting it all up with scissors.
The wet weed smelled pretty dank.

Then the pool boy, one of the only robots still functioning brought out a set of giant Cheech and Chong brand papers the size of a double bed sheet. "I hate sheets, cuz they make me mad!" screamed the lichen.
The four of them broke into a barbershop quartet, singing "I Hate Sheets" by BobbenAirick.
"Available on cassette and 8-track!" shouted Candy.
Joe showed up, covered in Whale spoo.
"IT'S SO GREAT TO BE UNDEAD!" he whispered.
"What year is it?" asked the pool filter.
"Are you high?" taunted the lichen. "Anyway, it's 2013, except there's robots and shit."
It paused, lost in thought, for two minutes.
"Uh... Wanna get high?"
"Yeah, we gettin' high," said the towel. It was almost done with the blunt.
"Me first first!" shouted the lichen, and lit up. It burned up immediately, because it was a piece of lichen.
Bob fell asleep, and then his computers battery died.
He couldn't find the plug.
"Hey, we should plug this into the blog!" said a piece of ash that used to be lichen.
"Good work, team!" said the boat.

A paper moon and paper stars on strings fell down from the sky and bounced in mid-air.

G'night! 🌙

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seclusionary Tactische

     Jens sat on the frozen ground, body limp, surveying a herd of lazy goats that were chewing what little cud they could scrounge up on the side of this godforsaken rock in the middle of the Carpathian peaks. The sky was a sullen grey and a vicious wind blew hard and fast.  A goat glanced at Jens as it walked close to him, but Jens didn't move a muscle to catch it, to feed upon it, to nourish his starving body.  He was trying to die, a feeble attempt to thwart this curse. 
     He had been on his way back to the cave where he had made a home for so long, before Glenn had come and took him for that whirlwind of a world tour with the band.  Jens had found a bit of enjoyment in the spectacle, and his role as a roadie afforded him sex and drugs whenever he liked, which turned out to be more seldom than not.  After the first few hundred thousand blowjobs it became boring, and after the first few thousand would-be-overdose-sized servings of pure grade heroin, drugs were just as boring.  Not even a bloodfeast (the Misfits song of that name started running thru his brain) was exciting to him any longer.
    Jens thought of Wolf Mozza and his lucky run in with that falling piano.  How he wished something or someone would come along and put him out of his misery.

   "Wish? Did someone say wish?" asked a voice somewhere above and behind him.  Jens was only slightly startled.  He had intended to return to his seclusion, but had been struck down by the worst depressive episode ever. Only a hundred meters to his hidden cave home, and he'd just dropped his pack, sat down and gave up.  He had slowed his breathing and removed heavy fur coat and other outer wear in the vain hope that he would freeze to death.  No such luck. 
He craned his neck behind him to see the approaching figure.  It looked like Merle Haggard.  This did not make sense, and he gawked again. It still looked like Merle.  Little did Merle know that Jens could tell that it was a disguise, that Merle was actually MR. PcP!
    "You wanna talk about it, hoss?" the demon said, and laughed maniacally, spittle flying and horror echoing through the surrounding hills.
     "How d-did you esc-c-cape?" managed Jens feebly through icy lips.

Intermezzo: Health Class

"Hopefully Mr. Smitty won't see us... knock on formica..." Erik whispered nervously. A fly buzzed by on the hot May day. Bob swatted it. Everyone sweated. Mr. Smitty droned boredly on about the human endocrine system.

"Mm," Bob answered, and scrawled a new sentence in red pen on the half-crumpled piece of paper that held the latest page of the latest Joe story. Erik had been carrying it in his bookbag, which was disorganized as always, so it was a miracle it was only crumpled.

Bob passed the paper back to Erik... who saw red. What do you mean, "Cheryl chewed on a doughtnut?!" HOW DARE BOB NOT EXPLORE MY AWESOME NEW IDEA! (Also, what the word-I'm-not-allowd-to-think-of is a "doughtnut?") He angrily scribbled his follow-up sentence: "BUT NO! JOE DIDN'T DO THAT AT ALL!" Which was, of course, two sentences. Fortunately, this was one of the few things the two of them were never completely anal about in Joe stories.

Bemused, Bob continued the Epic of Joe thusly: "Suddenly the universe filled with rage!"

Little did he know that, in a story to be written decades later, that was actually the secret code phrase that Mr. PCP was waiting for to go into action.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Revelations 9:6

Merle picked up the revolver, turning it over and over in his hands, and thought of Hemingway.

     "A Smith and Wesson snub nosed .32 revolver.  A simple yet effective classic," he chimed, "but in chrome.  Hmph.  I woulda taken you for a black finish type.  Get it?"  Merle tossed it back onto the bed and reached into his breast pocket and pulled out his smokes.  Camels.

     "Everybody thinks I gave these damn things up five years ago.  You want one?" He held out the pack to Cash, who shook his head, staring at the floor.
Merle shrugged and lit one up.
     "You want to talk about it, hoss?" he asked.

Johnny Cash sat for a moment and then looked at his friend.

     "They thought it was Parkinson's.  Turns out it's some shit called Shy-Drager syndrome.  The doc gave me 18 months.  Eighteen MONTHS!!!" Johnny screamed this last part and, in a brief nod to his wilder days in the late 1950's, overturned the bedside table.  The lamp shattered, the drawer flew open, sending the Gideon's bible to land open on the beige shag carpet.  Merle was unfazed as he walked over to pick it up.  He looked at the passage and chuckled.

     "Well, John, I think you have your answer right here," and he began to read.
"Revelations 9:6-- And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."  He smirked and closed the book and gingerly sat it on the other bedside table.
     "John, we both lived way longer than we ever thought we would, back in our youth.  You in particular should have died several times over in 1958, 1959, 1960 and a few other times.  Remember how close to hell you used to come, and try to be thankful that you made it this far.  I know this isn't easy to hear, but you have to be strong right now.  How is it going to look if the Man in Black offs himself?  Weak, that's how.  You have a responsibility to your fans, to your family, but most of all, to yourself, John.  You still have work to do...hey, you got an ashtray anywhere?  Damn non-smoking hotels."

Johnny Cash smiled for the first time all day.
     "Nah, I already checked earlier when I was going to toke up.  Just ash in that empty cup on the table over there. In response to what you said," Johnny turned around to face Merle, "God doesn't--"

Merle was gone.

     "Merle?"  He walked into the bathroom, the only other place Merle could be.

But Merle was no longer in 1997.

Kangaroo Pocket Calculator

Cathy and Lemmy went up to her second-story room in the Cat House so she could make love to him in return for a payment of one million air molecules, but they ended up talking for hours instead. The sky-day become a sky-evening. They calmed and grew drowsy, but still were in no hurry.

Lemmy stood up and gazed out the dimly lit window - out of Brothel Cloud #79 - towards the bar cloud he'd just abandoned, wondering idly. He had all the time in the universe. It was relaxing, being dead. He could get used to this.

"I hate to disturb your peace," said Cathy, standing behind him. She sounded strange. Lemmy turned around.

"Oh. You're a kangaroo."

"Yeahhh," answered Cathy. She didn't sound too alarmed. Lemmy immediately figured this was just something that happened to her sometimes. "Look, can you call the operator on my pocket calculator? She'll know what to do."

Lemmy was a bit miffed. "Can't you call your own damn operator?"

"Can't. Hands," answered Cathy, looking down.

Lemmy conceded. "And your pocket calculator... is?"

If a kangaroo can glare superciliously, then that is what Cathy did.

"Right. In your pocket." Lemmy reached into Cathy's pocket, turned his back, and, having no better idea of what to do, pressed the calculator's most special-looking key. It played a little melody, and then the operator answered. She sounded like a human trying to sound like a computer.


Lemmy coughed. "'Scuse me?" Annoyed, he began mashing the 2 key rhythmically, producing a piano's middle-octave D# each time. It was squishy, like a Moog stuck in a whoopie cushion.


"You know, Mrs. Operator, I once knew some folks from an infowar unit what was really into the number eleven. But I don't know anything about forty-seven. Also, my ex is a kangaroo. And she's right here. And she's still hot. And I'm not a zoophile."

Lemmy thought he heard an "ahem" from behind.


"Right. So what do I need to do, to make her not a kangaroo?"

"FORTY-NINE AND NINETY-FOUR. NINETY-FOUR AND FORTY-NINE. IT'S... MAGIC." Somebody who must have been standing in the room behind the operator mumbled audibly: "Forty-seven."

Desperate for an answer, Lemmy listened to this bullcrap for several minutes. People continuously wandered up behind the operator during her spiel to say "Forty-seven" in English or foreign languages. Just when Lemmy had just about enough, it stopped. He turned around to chew Cathy out for having made him put up with this crap.

Now she was 49 again, but with the voice of a 94-year-old woman.
She stammered sheepishly and blushed. "Thanks! It always turns me back when the Operator does that. Isn't it a coincidence?"

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Limbo Lounge with Merle" Illustration #3333

"Remember eating oranges?  Betcha wish you'd savored those lil' guys a bit more at the time, eh?"

Friday, April 29, 2016

Kraftpark (Micro Trip Edit)

Back at the hotel, with the cheers of the crowd long gone and all papers signed and business performed, by 1 a.m. Kraftpark's three members finally felt really ready to relax and party.

Frontman John "Ralf" Smith ruffled in his backpack, smiling youthfully. "Wanna get high, guys?" He was as young as he looked, fresh and optimistic, scruffy but dressed in a suit in reference and reverence to the classic costume of Kraftwerk. He'd dropped the fake German accent - it was tiring and annoying to keep up nonstop.

The other two members, Jack "Florian" Wray and Dave "Klaus" Klaus nodded - Florian more energetically. Klaus was only around 35, but you could see the depression and... lostness on his face. A good reader of faces might see that Florian had been through the same in the past, but he was in a different, better place in life now... he was more silver than gray.

Only when it was too late did Florian remark "Hey, this doesn't look like-"... and then they were all on their way into the clouds for their ten minute micro trip.

"-grass at all," he finished, as Merle Haggard took another sip next to him.

"Aren't you Merle Haggard?!" he asked Merle Haggard.

"Yes. Aren't you still alive?"

"I hope so?"

"Good. Too many suicides today."

"Now you have me worried." He passed the cigarette to Merle, who had a toke. "I don't see why I'd be dead -"

"-Unless it's ego death," Ralf butted in. "This isn't grass at all."

"Ohhhhhhh," exclaimed Florian and Klaus exasperatedly. "You didn't."

"I did."

"What do you think of this crap, Merle?!" he demanded, but Merle was gone.

"Ego life," muttered Klaus. "...What's the point." There was no question mark at the end.

"Ralf," Florian shouted, grabbing Ralf by his tie, "I am so sick of this one-man revolution klanging around in your ananas! I mean you could *tell* us, maybe we'd say yes!"


Florian sighed, resigned. "How much longer will we be gone?"

"Hardly at all!" Ralf chirped, in his best "I'm helping!" voice. "Five, ten minutes at the most. But..."


"...That's real time. I don't know how long that will mean over here."

Klaus took stock of the situation, like the good little author insert that he was. The three of them were nearly alone. The bartender was nothing but a prop, Merle didn't seem to have any other company at the moment, and the piano player looked like he doubled as a bouncer... poor conversation, probably. Gray.

Klaus's mind was gray, so everything he saw was gray, even when he wasn't sitting in a bar made of a cloud, which he was. Klaus felt colors in only two places: synthesizers and video games. He was an addict and a disaster. Once, he had been like Ralf. One day, he would be like Florian. But he could hardly see backwards, let alone forwards. He was always one failure from being kicked out of the band, but because he loved synthesizers so deeply, he was irreplaceable for the sounds he could squeeze from them, and so he had as many second chances ahead as he had behind, even if he couldn't believe it.

Meanwhile in another time, it was the original year 1997 (not to be confused with the year 1997 after everyone suddenly died and humanity re-evolved), and Merle Haggard had just materialized next to Johnny Cash, who was sitting in his hotel room, pointing a gun to his head. "Hey, this doesn't look like grass!" Merle blurted.

Johnny dropped his gun, which plopped softly and cuddled safely onto the bed. He gawked at Merle, startled.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pre-After Life Party with Co-Creator Bob! (SUPER PSYCHO switcheroo HYPER EDIT)

Bob, a frustrated Co-Creator at JoeCo, sat at his typewriter, frowning.  He'd really better get back to work, not stay here, typing away at some silly nonsense.  But he was "inspired" so he stayed.  He wrote.  He wrote about nothing in particular.  His unease and anxiety lay revealed before him on the paper, covered with the thin gauze of prose and not very subtle symbolism.

     In the story, it was a party of sorts...

" ...with Merle Haggard and some piano player, and Bob.  Was it after life?  He didn't think so, but maybe.  All he knew for sure was that you can't trust anything anyone posts on the internet social media sites without extensive fact checking.   Oh, and that Merle could drink him under the table.  Luckily Bob was on the wagon, and the liquor he and Merle were tossing back by the bucket-full was merely purgatory, or perhaps pre-purgatory blend.  As in--it did nothing to you, as a spirit is not a physiological being and therefore not subject to laws of biology and chemistry, i.e.-other spirits, if you know what I mean.

Merle was clearly getting annoyed.  He started his query again.

"So you aren't even dead yet?  What are you even doing here, wut wuzzit, uh... Bob?" 

Bob slammed his shot glass down, and looked at Merle Haggard with red eyes.

"I think this is a dream, that, or I am making it all up in a Joe story."

Merle blinked. "A what story? Are you another suicide?  You aren't making a whole lot of sense."

Bob smiled.  He stroked his hair that wasn't there, trembling hands smoothing over bald shiny pate.

"I am not suicidal.  Just happy and energized.  I've been taking stock of my life as of late, and have discovered that I am a made man.  Not only in a financial sense, but my creative life is a surprisingly rich garden of masterpieces, my family life is a precious gift, my wife works her butt off all the time and is totally awesome to me, my kid is amazingly beautiful, and my spirit is aloft and feeling triumphant.  I'm lucky.  I must be dreaming this because I wish I were dead.  But I can't afford to die.  I'm too happy."

This time Merle smiled.

"Oh, I don't think it is as good as all that.  But perhaps you should stop spending what little spare money you ever get on LP records and crap.  Try paying down that student loan debt a bit?  Try being responsible with your money instead of acting like an ID with no super-ego.  Since they have you with your back to the wall to begin with, best not to let them grift you of your last dime.  That's why I quit drinking the first time."

Bob laughed cynically, having not heard the last half of Merle's little speech.

"Not buy vinyl. Yeah, right!  Collecting LP's is one of my only pleasures.   As to my student loan debt-- If I want to get out of default I have to let them keep garnishing my paychecks AND pay them $250 a month extra.  It is simply not possible!! I don't make that much income.  I cannot pay them what I already spent on rent and utilities.  I am 43 years old and have two kids already, what am I supposed to do, move back in with my parents?  I couldn't even if I wanted to.  My only choice is to get a CDL so I can be a truck driver, then MAYBE I can dig out of debt someday.  Even though I do NOT want to drive a truck."

"Ah, quitcher bitchin'," snapped Merle, "...have you ever been in prison? There was a fellow in here just now who suffers from extreme chronic pain ALL THE TIME.  Are you dying of cancer?  Do you have all of your extremities?  So your lifes' ambitions fell through and your dreams are shattered, you don't think this kind of thing happens to all artists nowadays? People don't buy art or music anymore, they steal it.  Nobody cares about your music, Bob.  Nobody ever will care, not enough to fulfill your very unrealistic vision of yourself as a famous touring singer.  You will never be Jim Morrison or Johnny Cash.  Never.  But you will be those boys' Daddy forever.  It's about time you get over yourself and deal with the real reality.  Which is that you are a father first, a husband second, a person who is in debt third, and an artist LAST."

Merle sighed.

Bob asked for another round from the bartender, who, though he/it was never visible, always kept the glasses full.

"I always thought I would be further along than I am by now.  Own my own home and stuff..."

Merle couldn't stand it anymore. "For Christ sake!  You babies and your depression.  In my day we didn't have depression.  We just DEALT."

The piano player started playing "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles as Bob woke up.  It had been a dream.     "

Bob rolled the page out of the typewriter, inspecting it.  Ah, editing he said, putting the cap back on an enormous bottle of Liquid Paper.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cloud Chips

"I suppose you could talk to me," replied Umbrage Shavier. "Answer me!"

Umbrage had changed his name to match his nature. Umbrage was an angry man. His anger was cold. The cold froze the clouds. The clouds turned to chips. The chips circled in the air, dangerously. On the other hand, what were the chips going to do, kill somebody? It was too late for that.

"Well, all right. Maybe it will help," answered Merle. "But what is your question, actually?"

"Why was my life full of pain?"

"Well, how was your life full of pain?"

Umbrage told Merle of his years growing up as the son of a very conservative pastor. In moments of great relived anger, cloud chips sliced through all three of them men present... but ghosts don't bleed.

"Sounds like you have really been through the wringer in life," said Merle when Umbrage stopped to breathe. "You're a tough one for holding out as long as you did."

"Yeah, I guess so. Even my father said that he couldn't believe that with all I'd gone through I was still alive. Nice of him, eh?"

"That's a bit of a dramatic way to put it!"

"Considering he was a huge part in those problems, yeah."

Merle sighed. "What is it about preacher fathers?" He sipped his drink like a prop. "I had a friend who wasn't too happy with his preacher father for years as well, Umbrage.
They seem to get along better now though."

"It was our generation for dissent. You see, for some reason parents seemed for that generation to have children which were more intelligent than their parents - which seems to be a continuing trend in our children, a good thing in my opinion." (Umbrage smiled here.) "And in Christianity the deal is to be better than everyone else. As happened with my father, and probably your friend's also - though I can't speak for him - there was jealousy in how intelligent were were. Anything they said or did, we had a better way to say or do it. Virtually any punishment they handed out - besides physical - we could find a way around it. I actually found a way to blackmail him into doing what I wanted, so I payed attention to his secrets.

Not just that, but we questioned our religion, a HUGE no-no. Another thing is that with many preachers God comes first and their families a distant second. My father was never really around. He may have been around sometimes when he wasn't worrying about his church or his hunting, but he was never really 'there' if ya know what I mean. He actually spent $300 on a deer stand, and we had to go without much food for a month. My mom had to get two jobs to try to support us.

My mom only stayed with him until we kids were out of the house and then she divorced him, something I would have been happy with her doing a long time before. He used to smack me around a bit, but my mom threatened to leave him once if he ever did it again so he stopped until I was 15 then he challenged me to a fight and I beat his ass all over the yard."

"But now you're here."

"I died."

"Well, yes. It's the same thing."

"Lots of pain."


"Living. A rare and horrible condition."

"Living's a rare and horrible condition?"

"No... what I had."

"What did you have?"

"Pain. Every day incredible pain."

"You mean emotional, right?"

"No, it really was a medical condition."

Merle sighed again. "I think I can guess where this is going. And... two like you in a row... I think Someone is trying to tell me something. You killed yourself, right?

"You're judging."

"No, I'm just weary. It's hard talking to a suicide. It's harder talking to two. Had another one just a minute ago. I need a break, but I can take it with you. Let's just... talk. Just like you talked before the pain."

Umbrage took no umbrage, and the cloud chips' razor-sharp dance died down. The two soon passed on to idle chit-chat.

How Low Can You GO? (Limbo dance Segment)

Benny the Bouncer sat back down at the piano and started playing an old reggae song. Just then, who should walk in but Michael Keaton, all dressed up like his iconic character Beetlejuice. 

"How low can you go, Keith?" 

Everyone started dancing as a pole lowered from midair and stopped in front of Keith and Merle's cocktail table.

"Daaaaaay-O!   Dayy-O!  Daylight come and me wanna go home!"  sang Beetlejuice.

Merle did the limbo first, since he was oldest, and then they looked at Keith. 

"I really don't feel like this will help," he muttered but waited for the pole to lower again, and did the limbo. 

A split second after Keith passed underneath the pole, Michael Keaton/Beetlejuice began laughing maniacally and morphing into a giant earthworm, which then started furiously digging into the cloud ceiling. 

"Come along boys, let's get lost and see if we can't find us a little bit of heaven!"  the worm screamed, disappearing into a hole in the sky. 

They all looked at each other.

Merle shook his head. 

"All my friends are downstairs.  I have no reason to ascend,"

Merle looked at Keith Emerson, "So how about you, Tarkus, ol' boy?" 

"Well,"  he said, mind still hazy from this new after life reality, "I guess I'll try it out."

Merle gave him a boost up into the hole.

He was whooshed away like into a vacuum hose. 

 Merle sat back down on his stool and sipped his drink lazily.

"Wonder what I'm supposed to do to get down there," he muttered.  "I really want to talk to Johnny and Hank."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Cat House

Cat House

“So… am I in heaven?” Keith asked queruously.

“Suicide is a mortal sin, Keith,” said Merle—not unkindly.

“So am I in Hell?”

“We don’t know. I don’t know. I guess we’re in our thoughts.”

“A dying hallucination?”

“Maybe. But I don’t think so. It’s so long and calm and feels so shared. But maybe. But I don’t even know how long I’ve been here.”


“I like to call it Friends Revival Unlimited Checkpoint Five. Just a playful phrase I made up. But we… meet. We share. We’re sharing. You’re with us right now and not somebody else for a reason. Maybe you’ll be with someone else later.

What do we got in common? What’s in the mental worlds of all three of us?”

Just then the mists rolled back to reveal a player piano, which began regurgitating badly-memorized tones.

“Benny the Bouncer!” Keith cried.

“Ah yes, the Wild West… our three Wild Wests,” Merle smiled.

“Benny the Bouncer!!” Keith repeated, unhearing in his bliss, happy for the first time in his forever.

“At cher service,” replied Benny the Bouncer, who had just walked into the cloud-top saloon—“Oh,” Merle thought, “it’s about time” - looking eagerly around for someone to bounce.

Lemmy had had one cocktail too many, just about enough of Keith, just about enough of this bouncer—who did he think he was, anyway?!

“Well you can service me, mate!” he shouted, wobbling up.

“It’ll be my pleasure! Chopped or fried?”

“Excuse me?”

“Or would you prefer to just leave?”

“I don’t want anything to do with your bloody sort anyway!”

“Very well mate! Where shall I throw ya then?”

“Might as well throw me into a bordello!”

“Very well mate!”

Benny hoisted Lemmy up effortlessly, brimming with violent glee. Lemmy, no slouch, was still no match—just a sack of potatoes to Benny. Lemmy’s limp body sailed off the shared Wild West cloud, onto the Cloud of the Cat House.

Tragily tacky, the Cat House was shared on and off by a variety of deceased former prostitutes. A cat-themed bordello. Tacky.

“Meow can I help you?” purred one of Lemmy’s most fondly remembered exes.

“Cathy! You said you never—!”

“I lied,” Cathy responded warmly.

The cloud poured grey sheets.

Lemmy didn’t weep. He didn’t really know quite what to do.

The Cloud

High above the crowds and the smoke and the lasers, Lemmy sat on a dark cloud.  Torrential rain poured from its gunmetal guts.  Lemmy was an opaque shadow, seated at a cocktail table with another gentleman who could barely be made out in the darkness. Just then, a third man appeared and sat with them.  The cloud pulsated and throbbed in the sky as a Pennywise themed balloon farted past limply, expending its last bits of hate filled air, and slowly began to plummet.

"Why did you do it, man!  You remember when we saw Sun Ra, right at the end, when they wheeled him out on stage in a fuckin' wheelchair, man.  As it happens, this Kilmister didn't have a say in the matter, my fuckin' body just gave it up."

The other gentleman barely distinguishable in the darkness sighed.  It was Keith Emerson.

"Lemmy, it just hurts when you don't have it anymore, you know?  You start to wonder, am I a joke?  A has been?  I couldn't bear going on stage giving lackluster performances after rising to the heights I got to.  It wasn't fair to the fans, and it--"

"FUCK the bloody FANS, Keith, you had SO much LIFE left.  You just don't fuckin' kill yourself when so many are getting taken so early for no reason, by cancer, fuckin' liver damage, overdoses, car crashes, heart attacks.  You couldn't go on? What the fuck, man."

Lemmy ashed his smoke into the little aluminum ashtray on the cocktail table, and looked at Keith sadly.  The ashtray was just like the ones they used to have at McDonalds, he thought, back when you could still bloody smoke in one.

The third man spoke up.  He had on a black cowboy hat and a black Nudie suit, and he had a black owl on his right shoulder.

"Leave him alone."

"Aw, who fuckin' asked you, Merle?" snapped Lemmy, immediately regretting it.
"This ain't about you, partner," he continued, more gently.  Lemmy was upset, but he didn't mean any disrespect to Mr. Haggard.

Keith put his head down on the table.

Down below, the band had fallen silent.  The crowd was roaring and chanting.

"Can't you see it's not helping?" asked Merle.  He pulled out a flask and took a swig and handed it to Keith.  Keith took it and looked at it absently, then handed it back.

The cloud poured grey sheets.

Lemmy wept.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Phonobaloon Song

It was Pennybags. MUSIC MAKES ME GROW! he cackled disturbingly between laughs. MUSIC MAKES ME GROW! And he was large. It seemed to be true.

The lead singer of Kraftpark saw him, but unafraid, he said drolly in the badly faked German accent that was a part of his act, "Isn't your plan a bit stoo-pid?"

I AM NOT THAT SIMPLE, P-bags cackled and chuckled again.

"Yah, vee'll see. Zee Phonobaloon Song, guyss!"

Pennybags, fortunately, had not had time to think his plan through. He was unused to his newfound size and undextrous within it, was too clumsy to be all that destructive, though not for lack of trying. He lumbered towards the stage. Menacingly at first, but -

The marshmallow-cuckoo-clock tones of the Phonobaloon Song rapidly worsened his weakness. It inflated him much more rapidly than Milk Rock had. He swelled and ballooned. He floated into the air. The concert hall transformed into a stadium, and nobody felt it was strange. Pennybags floated higher and higher. Everyone present accepted that reality was malleable that day, and would have looked at you funny if you called it funny.

Pennybags floated higher still. He finally remembered to shoot lasers from his eyes, but it was too late. They danced colorfully across the stadium, and the crowd roared in psychedelic delight.

"Bye, George... I think I've got it..." Pennybags sighed as he floated off south over the Canadian-US border. Pilots that evening reported that the giant floating man seemed resigned, and defeated, but healthy. (Most of those pilots were then promptly fired for suspected mental illness or drug use.)

Not much later, Glenn Danzig sighed in relief and addressed our other protagonists in his best "you know I'm a protagonist too, right?" voice, cutting straight to the point:

"Uhh... where's Lemmy?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pennybags Gets Mad Now

At Mama Brain's Arcade, there had been a dark haired biker looking dude with his back turned playing a game of Galaga II through the entire conversation.  As the number by The Organization drew to an end, he stopped playing, and turned and looked what must have been almost seventy five yards, at Lemmy, who gazed at him from the audience at the front of the stage.  Lemmy walked towards the arcade, weaving in a trance, meandering between drunken and stoned concert goers, ("Hey, buddy, you wanna hit?" a long haired kid shoves a joint in his face), "Nah!!" Lemmy pushes it away, instead feeling in his back left pocket, and pulling out his half pint bottle of Jack.  He keeps walking towards them but he never gets any closer.  He is lost in a crowd of ecstatic revelers who'd just had their minds blown.
The arcade seems to stretch away further than before from the stage, like the door in a hallway in that one horror movie, when the poor protagonist can never get to the end of the hall to safety and get away from what was coming behind--

Something ripped in space time and the dark haired biker turned toward Mama Brain and Lemtata.

It was Glenn Danzig.   He looked truly frightened.

"He's coming." He said, looking further away from the stage and behind the ladies.
"I think he's mad now."

Then they heard the laughing.