Category Archives: Paffooney

Stardusters… Canto 68

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Canto Sixty-Eight  – Return to the Moon Gundahl

The golden wings that could be retrieved touched down on the moon base where Biznap and Xiar had established a new colony for the Telleron people.   Material synthesizers were busy churning out components for a new Telleri-swamp enclosure.  The ruined Galtorrian fortress was swiftly becoming the kind of homey organic mess of a construct that the Tellerons had left behind and lost track of at Barnard’s Star.

The entry doors of Harmony Castille’s mission wing popped open with a snap-hiss worthy of a cobra celebrating victory over a mongoose.  Many mongooses in fact.  Harmony and Shalar both led the way down the ramp, rushing into the arms of their beloveds, Biznap and Xiar respectively.

“Bizzy, we have conquered a planet for you at last,” Harmony said happily.

“The evil Senator and his minions are defeated?”  Biznap asked.

“Defeated and eaten and dead,” said Shalar.  “Those the man-eating Lester-flowers didn’t eat were turned into food by material synthesizer and fed to starving Galtorrian survivors.”

“How about the little ones?” Xiar asked.  “The missing children from our ship and the little wounded lizard girl?”

“We found all the tadpoles alive and well, except for Tanith and Davalon, who got a little bit crunched under a falling space ship. And they are recovering in the same hospital room with Sizzahl, the little lizard scientist.  That one will be invaluable to us if we are going to help the natives rebuild a society here.”

“Tanith and Davalon?  Is that the one who saved our behinds on Earth and his nestmate, the pretty one?” asked Xiar.

“Xiar!  You don’t know your own offspring even yet?” said Harmony.

“Well, I, uh… hey, I remembered them correctly, didn’t I?”

“You did,” said Shalar.  She practiced the human thing about kissing him on the cheek affectionately.

“And they stayed on the planet?” asked Biznap.

“Yes.  Alden and Gracie Morrell are looking after all the tadpoles, along with their new children, the half-human, half-lizard fusions.”  Harmony’s eyes twinkled as she talked about it.  “They will be great parents, even though they are perpetually child-sized themselves.  They even have me thinking about adopting some children myself.”

“We have plenty of Galtorrian orphans right here,” said Biznap.  “Teenage lizard boys and teenage lizard girls.  Still think you can handle teenagers?  Even the toothy ones?”

Harmony laughed a Sunday-school-teacher laugh.  No mere child would ever get the best of her and her beloved Bible.  She’d have those heathens tamed in no time.

“And just think,” said Xiar with a grin, “none of this could’ve happened if your Earther primate wife hadn’t corrected your math.”

Biznap grimaced.  “Yeah, working on math and star-charts is going to be a thing for the next few years.”

“You’re not looking forward to living here?” Harmony asked.

“I guess I’d better get used to the idea.  We are not going anywhere else until the coordinates to everything in the universe have been fixed.  We don’t know where Earth or Barnard’s Star, or even Telleri were misplaced at now.  Their correct positions have to be fixed.”

“Fixed in your charts, you mean,” Harmony said.  “I think they are still right where God originally put them.”

“Yes, I guess they are,” Biznap finally admitted.

So now, dear reader, after having posted a chapter every Tuesday for over a year, I have managed to post an entire novel, three years in the writing, for free on WordPress.  Now that I have accomplished such a stupid feat, I am going to try to publish this thing, along with many other things I have finished writing.  Fair warning.  I am certainly not done inflicting Mickian fiction on the world.  This world… not Galtorr Prime.  Sorry if I misled you there.  I know lots of Galtorrian lizard folk are looking forward to reading this story.  But they will have to be extremely patient.

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Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Better Daze

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I finished the picture of Dunderella and the Wolf Girl.  I suppose it isn’t much of a picture, but it has inspired a story.  Dunderella is the clumsiest Storybook in the fairy kingdom of Tellosia.  The Wolf Girl is supposedly her friend whom she talks to when nobody else is around, but it is very possible that they are the same fairy, just two different personalities, one of which is only encountered by others during the full moon.

Finishing something in the midst of a miasma of misfortune, unfinished projects, and illness counts as a turn for the better.  Doesn’t it?

And the football Cardinals, whom I have loved since they were in St. Louis when I was a kid and fledgling football fan, won yesterday.  Sure, they had a 38 to 20 lead that turned into 38 to 33 by the end of the fourth quarter, but they won instead of losing like they have three times in the previous five games.  And it was partly because they now have future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Petersen on their team.  He scored two touchdowns in his Cardinal debut.

And it didn’t hurt that Carson Palmer, the Cardinal Quarterback, threw three touchdowns, something he hasn’t done in a while.

So things are looking better in Mickey land.  I still have a great deal of back pain.  I still can’t seem to get signed up properly to be an Uber driver.  I still haven’t seen progress on my novel with Page Publishing.  But yesterday proved good things can still happen too.

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Filed under cardinals, happiness, humor, Paffooney

You Are Not Alone

Mary Murphy's Children

Losing the pool this summer was a humbling experience.  I had repaired it before and got it working properly again, so I knew in my heart I was capable of salvaging it.  But everyone was against me.  The city was convinced that I was a deadbeat letting it slide and simply lying about it taking a long time because illness and financial reversals were slowing me down.  My family was against me because they no longer had any confidence that I could still do it, and they feared me killing myself in the attempt.  And then Bank of America won their lawsuit and prevented me from paying for the effort, thoroughly punishing me for the mistaken notion that I had any right to get myself out of medical debt even with the help of a lawyer.  And the electrical problems, which I could not correct myself, put the pool restoration out of reach.  I failed to do what I knew in my heart I was capable of.  I failed.  I was the only one who believed I could do it, and I only managed to prove everybody else right.

But Michael Jackson’s somewhat creepy nudie video with the weird Maxfield Parrish parody in it is actually a theme song for what I learned about myself.  I was alone in the pool-restoration struggle.  But I am not alone in life.  I will never be alone, even if somehow I ended up the last person alive on the planet.  Because we are all connected.  We are all a part of one thing.  We are not alone, even when we are.

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I think I learned that best from my Grandmother, Mary A. Beyer.  She was a rock-solid believer in Jesus through the pragmatic Midwestern arm of the Methodist Church.  She also gradually became an isolated, lonely individual, living by herself in Mason City, Iowa.  Grandpa Beyer died in his fifties, when I was about ten.  Great Grandpa Raymond, who lived with them for as long as I can remember, passed away a few years later.  But she was never really alone.  Jesus Christ was a real person to her.  She read her Bible and her weekly copies of the Methodist publication, The Upper Room, constantly.  And she was always a central part of our lives.  Christmases at Grandma Beyer’s place are deeply woven into the fabric of my memory.  The bubble lights on the Christmas tree, the carefully saved and re-used wrapping paper from the 1940’s, the hot cocoa, and Christmas specials on her RCA color TV…  I still draw strength and love from those things, and from her faith, even after almost twenty years pretending Christmas was evil as a Jehovah’s Witness.  Simple truth and faith shared are some of those essential things that bind us together even though they are invisible to the eye.   My Grandma Beyer is still with me even when I am fighting off the pool harpies all by myself because the things she taught me and the love she had for me still live in me, still affect who I am and how I act and what I truly believe in.

I am not alone.

And you aren’t either.  I am here for you.  I value you as human being.  God tells me I should, even though God is probably not real, and I believe Him, even though I am a fool who probably really doesn’t know anything  And it is true even if I do not know you and never met you.  Heck, you may be reading this after I am long dead.  And it is still true.  Because we have shared life on this planet together.  We are both humans.  We both think and feel and read and believe stuff.  And I love you.  Because my Grandma taught me that I should, just as someone, somewhere in your life taught you.

You are not alone.

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Filed under insight, inspiration, Paffooney

The Encounter

Life, like a good Dungeons and Dragons game, is basically controlled by rolling the dice of random encounters.  Even if there is a great over-arching plan for this reality in the brain of the Great Dungeon Master in the Sky, it is constantly altered by the roll of celestial dice and ultimate random chance.

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Thusly, I managed a D & D encounter in the middle of the night last night.

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I generally have a sleeping skill of only +1.  That means, that if sleeping is a simple skill, I can add my +1 to the roll and only have to get a 6 or higher on a twenty-sided dice.  At 3:10 a.m. I rolled a 3.  I had to get up and wander bleary-eyed to the bathroom, a -2 for terrain effects to successfully to make it to the bathroom and pee through a prostate that is swollen to the size of a grapefruit, most often a difficult task, requiring a 15 on a twenty-sided dice.  I got lucky.  I rolled a 19.  Then, on the way back to bed, the dog rolled a natural 20 on her get-the-master’s-attention roll and let me know she had to go to the bathroom too.

I have to tell you at this point, that since I am trying to be more of a nudist, I seriously considered taking her out naked (by which I mean me, not her).  Dressing up in the middle of the night can be daunting.  And no one was going to see in the dark of the park at 3:15 a.m.  But I thought it probably wasn’t a good idea to go adventuring without armor in the darkness, so I at least put on shoes and a magic +4 bathrobe.

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So, we went out to let the dog poop in the park, a thing she can do profusely on a roll of 3 or higher.  We got it accomplished with little fuss.  Oh, there was some complaining and growling, but the dog manage to ignore me when I did it.  Then we had to find our way safely back to the house, and bed…. but we had a random encounter roll that didn’t go in our favor.  I am always on the lookout in the dark for aliens or black-eyed children or even the onset of the zombie apocalypse.  But what I got was the monster from under the bridge.

One of the denizens of the city suburbs that most enjoys the nightlife in the city and thrives even though it isn’t human is the horrorific creature known as a raccoon.  She’s a sow that I have seen a number of times before at night.  She lives under the bridge in the park and often has three or four cubs trailing behind her in the spring.  And she has nothing but contempt for humans with dogs.  She immediately launched into her fear-based hiss attack.  And coming from a possibly seven-foot tall monster sitting atop the pool fence and hissing in the night, it seized the initiative with a very effective attack.  She rolled an 18.  The attack succeeded.

I tried the ever-popular pee-your-pants defense, but failed, rolling a 2.  The reservoir was previously emptied, and I wasn’t wearing pants.  The dog bolted for the kitchen door and dragged me with her.  Her magic bark attack wasn’t even tried.  We were in the house before my heart skipped its third beat.

Surviving the encounter in this way is probably good for the heart.  It beat really hard for a bit and got thoroughly exercised.  But I went back to bed and reflected on the fact that random encounters like that are entirely dependent on the roll of the dice.

 

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, horror movie, monsters, Paffooney, photo paffoonies

The Creature I Have Become

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I identify as a humorist, writer, cartoonist, and certified fool (Yes, I have a certificate from the Children’s Writer Institute that proves I once foolishly believed I could learn how to make money as a writer).  But my current novel project is a horror novel, The Baby Werewolf, which I twice before tried to turn into a completed rough draft novel. This time I mean to follow through to the bitter end.

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Torrie Brownfield, hypertrichosis sufferer and possible werewolf.

In order to reign in the goofiness enough to deal with the issues in this novel I have been doing a lot of horror reading. I have also undertaken the reading of a very good author examination of the life of Edgar Allen Poe.

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Poe’s life was highly instructive.  You may not have realized this, but most of the giants of American Literature prior to and contemporary with Poe did not make most of their money as writers.  Emerson was a clergyman.  Nathaniel Hawthorne worked as a customs clerk. Poe, the first to try to make a living solely on work as a writer, editor, critic, and poet, was subjected to the horrors of poverty, illness, and want.  His wife was chronically tubercular and ill.  He never made the money he was obviously worth as a creator of popular horror fiction, poetry, critical essays about other authors, and as an editor for profitable magazines of the day.  Other people made loads of money from his work.  Poe, not so much.

It is instructive to a writer like me who can’t seem to land any sort of income from my own creations.  There is no demand because there is no recognition of my work.  I have come close, having my work praised by editors and fellow authors, and being a finalist in novel writing contests twice.  The goal is good writing.  I will probably never see a return on my investment in my lifetime.  My children may not acquire anything by it unless one of them really devotes a lot of effort to it.  Like Poe with his drinking problem, chronic depression, and ill wife, I face physical limitations and poor health, grinding financial issues, and family factors that make it near impossible to put marketing effort into my literary career.

And this novel is a hard journey for me.  I was sexually assaulted by an older boy when I was ten.  A lot of the fears outlined and elucidated in this particular story leap right out of that iron cage in my psyche where they have been contained for fifty years.  Fear of nakedness.  Fear of sex.  Fear of being attacked.  Fear of the secret motivations in others.  Fear of the dark.  And, most of all, fear of what fear can make me become.  Fear of being a monster.

But I have not become any of the dark and terrible things that fear can make me into.  Instead I became a school teacher, mentor to many.  I became a family man, father of three children.  I became a nudist, hopefully not a dark and terrible thing in itself.  I became Mickey.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, horror writing, humor, monsters, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing

Mickey at Sixty, Part Two

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As often happens with doddering old doofuses, you can easily reach 500 words and have to stop for the day even though you are still not through with saying all the stupid stuff you have on your doddering old doofus mind.  So that’s when you get a part two the next day.

Things have happened to me in the middle of the year following the sixtieth anniversary of the blizzard I was born during in 1956 that I still haven’t talked about during this Mickey at Sixty topic.

I am, after all, a survivor, about to pass birthday number 61, the year beyond which Robin Williams never made it.  I have always said that if the old saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” is actually true, then I must be Superman by now.  I am now in my third year of not being able to afford the medicine the doctor thinks I should be taking daily.  I have had arthritis for 42 years.  I have been a diabetic for 17 years.  I have been a cancer survivor since 1983.  By all rights, I should be long dead by now.  How God ever made that mistake, I will never know.  Surely it was an oversight on His part.  “What? Mickey is still alive on planet Earth?  How could I let that happen?  Oh, well, maybe we give him one more year to see how that turns out,” God says, and all the angels agree with him because angels never think for themselves, at least, not after Lucifer, that nutty angel in the red pajamas that always carries around a pitchfork.

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And what am I actually doing with my year of life that I probably wasn’t supposed to have?  Constructive things like becoming a nudist and giving up on wearing clothes.  (Probably not a great idea for someone whose corpus strangioso is so intolerably unsightly to normal people.)  I went to the nudist park in Alvord, Texas one time.  And I liked it.  And I have thought about going back on another weekend, but something always seems to come up and prevent me from following through with the plan.  But it has been remarkably good for my blog.  Apparently having my post Becoming a Nudist appear on clothesfreelife.com refers loads of readers to my WordPress blog.  Who knew that nudists were such avid readers of humor blogs by goofy Mickeys?  They have helped make my blog post Why Do You Think That? Part Four one of my most popular blogs of the year.

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This is also the year of my life in which I was forced to give up on the idea of restoring the swimming pool to life and having it removed, thanks to the bully-boy encouragements of the city pool inspector and the rest of the Nazis down at the City Environmental Services Office.

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Dreams die hard… and expensively… by stages.  It took most of the summer to get it done, but now my swimming pool is no more.

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So now Mickey is a sadder-but-no-wiser Mickey with no more swimming pool.

But Mickey is still Mickey, even at sixty.  He will break out the paper and colored pencils and still do the doings that old doofus Mickey will do, writing a bunch of nonsense, and coloring…20171008_211247 stuff, and doing some of it naked.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, medical issues, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Mickey at Sixty

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It is true that I am now only a month away from being 61.  But this reflection is based on what happened to me while undergoing the year past.  My fictional character, Valerie Clarke, took the selfie above of the two of us.  She doesn’t have her own smartphone, after all, she’s a fictional character, so she used mine.  It shows in the picture what she looked like at eleven and what I looked like at sixty years and eleven months, in other words, this morning.

So, what exactly does the picture reveal about us?

Well, for her, it is fairly obvious that she’s only an imaginary person.  She was eleven in 1984, the year of the fictional snowstorm in Snow Babies.  She’s a bright and vibrant young girl with hopes and dreams ahead of her.  She’s also known tragedy, especially after her father’s suicide.  But the fact that she’s fictional and based on more than one real person from my past does a lot to explain why this reflection is not about her.

For me, however, you get a look at a grumpy old man with a straw farmer’s hat, an author’s beard, and silvery Gandalf hair.  More of my drawings are glimpsable on the wall behind me.  I look like the kind of seedy old curmudgeon who yells at neighbor kids who walk on his lawn.

But I’m really not what I look like.

I am a writer.  So I am full of experiences, ideas, and feelings.  And I am also full of people.  Valerie is only one of those.  I create fictional people from the people I knew or knew about in my little Iowa town, Rowan, where I grew up.  Kids that went to school with me.  Their parents.  Shopkeepers and business people and creepy old people that I sometimes encountered.  Hot tempered people.  Wise people.  And stupid people who were often laughed at for good reason.

I can also draw on (and draw pictures of) all the people I knew as an educator.  More than two thousand kids who passed through my classes in four different schools, some of whom I knew as well as I knew my own children, were available to pull details from to mix and match and make fictional characters from.  Fellow teachers, some gifted with a natural way with students, some hopelessly lost in the wrong profession with the wrong sort of personality were also available to make characters from.  Fools and idealists.  Bullies and shrinking violets.  Heroes that possible readers could look up to and love.

I am the kaleidoscope, the thing that you can look through to see the world and have it refracted and patterned to make it beautiful, even in its ugliness.

But all of this reflection is only that, the view in the mirror, the outward look of the man who is me.  Mickey at sixty is many things, not all of them pretty, not all of them wise.  But some of them are.  And some even better than I think they are.

 

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Filed under autobiography, characters, commentary, humor, Mickey, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life