Category Archives: satire

From an Alternative Point of View

These are not my two sons. The picture was drawn fifteen and ninteen years before they were born. Yet they were my two sons in the cartoon story this picture was lifted from.

Am I literally able to fortell the future? Of course not. But as an overly-sensitive artistical type one could argue that there is evidence in my art and writings that my reality now was at least partially embedded in my consciousness many years ago.

Estellia the Demoness

And truthfully, looking at the truth of things based on empirical evidence is what this point-of-view post is all about. We cannot always rely on the traditional concepts of good and evil as they have been taught to us. Sometimes you have to look at how the evidence stacks up properly, and just plain intuit a new way of seeing the whole picture. Yes, this is a portrait of a fifteen-year-old former student of mine. And she was definitely evil and difficult to deal with. But she went into nursing after high school. She works in the ER where her decisive ways and ferocious insistence on having things work out in her favor because that’s the way the established rules say it must be done turn into positive qualities that are probably saving lives in a Texas hospital as we speak. It is all in how you perceive the truth of a situation and then apply it.

Comedy, of course, depends greatly on rearranging your point of view. If you are going to make a joke about something, you have to re-mix and un-match the details in ways that still make a sort of sense to the reader or the hearer of the joke. I have taught at schools like Dudwhittler’s. If you are a teacher, you recognize that that school bus carries not only that which is funny, but also that which is very true. The teacher driving the bus is a tin man who easily rusts and cries too much, thus rusting further, but you can see he has earned his heart, even if he has to drive the bus on top of teaching so he will have enough money to buy food.

But probably the most anticipated thing from a new perspective that you were expecting since reading the title is a new perspective on the Coronavirus shut-down and economic depression. That alternative take is simply this… the pandemic, though extremely hard and painful, is a good thing that happened at the right time.

I am willing to say this, even though the way the virus has been mishandled in this country is going to very likely be the death of me, because there are benefits that we simply don’t recognize without a thorough punch to the gut and another to loose teeth.

It is a good thing because it will make it harder for Herr Fuhrer Pumpkinhead to win the next election, and he will probably take a number of corrupt Republicans down to the bottom of the sea with him.

It is a good thing because it is proving to us that we can survive on less and still make our way out of the bad situation.

It is a good thing because kids get extra time off from school, and probably also the chance to spend more time with the people who really teach them things we need them to know… like parents, grandparents on Zoom, teachers who don’t fear distance-learning technology, and trolls on the internet (Yes, I know that last one is risky and mainly learning the hard way, but it is also true from before the virus hit).

It is a good thing because the air is cleaner. And we have proven that we can make radical adjustments when it is a matter of life and death. And the environmental crisis is actually a matter of life and death.

So, now I’ve had my twisted say about my pretzel-minded perspective. And so you can now trash it, or possibly learn to like pretzels.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, humor, Paffooney, satire

Crazy Old People Driving

You can probably tell that the photo Paffooney is totally staged.  I am not a good enough actor to manage the lookcrazy old driver2 of absolute blood-curdling horror that would be on my face if I were actually driving in the Dallas Metroplex.  My gray Gandalf-hair would be standing on end more, and my eyes would be more popped with horror… especially if I had really seen Suicide Sadie in her death-dealing super-WASP-rocket.  Honestly, I’m risking my life to reveal it, but one of the greatest perils of life in the suburbs in Texas is running afoul of the Texas Killer Grannies.  Yes, there is a secret, Illuminati-like organization of blue-haired old menaces driving big, expensive black battle-boats that try to kill as many other Texas drivers as they can… as well as pedestrians, cop cars, squirrels, poor-people’s children, and ceramic lawn gnomes as they can focus their myopic old granny glasses on.

To Texas Killer Grandmas, slaughtering the innocent on the roadways while your back seat is full of knitting baskets and tins of cat food is a Satanic ritual that gives them special and unnatural powers over life and death.

They all drive at least five-miles-an-hour faster than the speed at which they can actually control the vehicle.  For some of the most deadly grannies like Suicide Sadie and End-It-All Emma that is between 95 and 205 miles-per-hour, though the nearly-as-deadly Grandma McGillicuddy can be almost as guaranteed fatal at only about 35 miles an hour.  They cut in front of you without signalling, and traffic lights are interpreted far differently than normal in the presence of a Texas Killer Grandma.  Green means go.  Yellow means go faster.  And red means floor it and brace for impact.  Now, of course that is the granny interpretation of the light.  For me, green means proceed ultra-cautiously while scanning for hurtling BMW’s, Cadillacs, or Lincoln Town Cars with old ladies at the wheel and skulls painted in white on the driver’s door.  Yellow means pull over to the side of the road at a dead stop and make myself the smallest target possible.  And red means park on somebody’s lawn and wait for the intersection to become clear of all vehicles for several blocks all around.  Sidewalks are not safe either with a Texas Killer Grandma around.  You’re safer walking if you walk down the center of the road.  Of course, the more normal drivers will squish you like road-kill then, and the Texas Killer Grandma knows she was ultimately the cause of this suicidal death, so if they are close enough to see it in any sort of blurred clarity, they automatically count it as a kill.

You never see a Texas Killer Grandma charged with anything in the local media or even in court records.  They are not old ladies unconnected to persons of power.  Rich husbands, rich children, and sometimes even rich boyfriends see to it that they are never prosecuted.  They are immune to the wheels of justice.  Crazy Cat-Lady Clarice is immune to prosecution even though she doesn’t own even a nickel.  We think it is because she is so supremely skilled at vehicular homicide that even the police are afraid of her.  And how does she pay for gas in that 1965 Chevy Impala SS she drives with a blood-smeared hood and the driver’s side of the car painted completely white with skulls?

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Nutzy Nuts

Things are not what they seem. Life throws curve balls across the plate ninety percent of the time. Fastballs are rare. And fastballs you can hit are even rarer. But if Life is pitching, who is the batter? Does it change the metaphor and who you are rooting for if the batter is Death?

If you think this means that I am planning on dying because of the Coronavirus pandemic, well, you would be right. Of course, I am always planning for death with every dark thing that bounces down the hopscotch squares of the immediate future. That’s what it means to be a pessimist. No matter what bad thing we are talking about, it will not take ME by surprise. And if I think everything is going to kill me, sooner or later I have to be right… though, hopefully, much later.

I keep seeing things that aren’t there. Childlike faces keep looking at me from the top of the stairs, but when I focus my attention there, they disappear. And I know there are no children in the house anymore since my youngest is now legally an adult. And the chimpanzee that peeked at me from behind the couch in the family room was definitely not there. I swear, it looked exactly like Roddy McDowell from the Planet of the Apes movies, whom I know for a fact to be deceased. So, obviously, it has to be Roddy McDowell’s monkey-ghost. I believe I may have mentioned before that there is a ghost dog in our house. I often catch glimpses of its tail rounding the corner ahead of me when my own dog is definitely behind me. And I am sure I shared the facts before that Parkinson’s sufferers often see partial visions of people and faces (and apparently dogs) that aren’t really there, and that my father suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. So, obviously it is my father and not me that is seeing these things… He’s just using my eyeballs to do it with.

But… and this is absolutely true even if it starts with a butt… the best way to deal with scary possibilities is to laugh at them. Jokes, satire, mockery, and ludicrous hilarity expressed in big words are the proper things to use against the fearful things you cannot change. So, this essay is nothing but a can of mixed nutz. Nutzy nuts. And fortunately, peanut allergies are one incurable and possibly fatal disease I don’t have. One of the few.

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Filed under commentary, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, satire, wordplay

How Computers Actually Work

myth89

This is how computers actually work.  I swear that it is true.  I know, I know… I have on occasion stretched the truth just a bit… like down the block and around the corner where I tied it around a lamp post.  But in my defense, I write fiction.  This is not fiction.  This is a narrative of actual experiences that I managed to live through and learn from.

You see, as I was working on my writing, I underwent a plethora of computer malfunctions that made me really, really mad.  I took my rubber stress ball and threw it at the far wall.  It bounced back directly into my left temple, making me see stars, and then, apparently, summoning a genii.  He was standing there grinning at me.

“How can I be of service, master?” he said with magical sparkles in his white teeth.

“Oh, I just wish I could see inside the computer to know why it does these terrible things to me every time I press a key.”

“Your wish is my command, master.”  He poofed me in a pink and blue cloud of genii magic, and suddenly I was tiny and digital, able to walk inside my computer and take a look.”

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“What makes you the most mad, master?” the genii, whose name I learned was Computus, asked me.

“When it deletes stuff for no apparent reason…” I began.

“Ahh!  You need to see the Desert of the Deletion Dervishes.”

So he took me to a digital field of file flowers, where all the files that contained my best saved work were growing peacefully.  There were all the maniacal digital dervishes on digital horses, busy slashing the stems of my file flowers with their digital scimitars.

“Aagh!  No!” I cried.  “Why are they deleting my stuff?”

“Oh, do not worry.  They are focusing on the files you use most and deleting only those.  They are very efficient in carrying out their orders.”

“And who gives them these orders?”

“Why you do, sir.  When you give the computer orders from a drop down menu, you are rarely clicking on the order you intended to.  And “Save” is close enough to “Delete” to make our work simple.”

“And why do I keep having new windows opening up randomly where I don’t want them to?”

“Ah, the Public Pool of Pop-up Peris!  Let us go see that too!”

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So he poofed me into a pit of electrical fire filled with electrical fire beings who were busy crafting evil pop-up windows to plague me.

“So, these creatures are filling my screen with ads for hemorrhoid creams and Asian dating sites?”

“Yes, and surveys about why you love President Trump and thought Obama was terrible.”

“And why when I click on the X’s to get rid of them, do two more appear?”

“Oh that’s simple.  They purposefully make the X’s so tiny and the surrounding area so sensitive that if you don’t hit the exact center of the X precisely, then it knows you want to see two more ads chosen specifically for you by the mind-reading genii.”

“But the ads are always the opposite of what I actually want to see!”

“Well, of course they are.  Computer genii are the kind made entirely of fire.  We call them Efrits, and they are the most powerful evil jinn we have available.”

So then I awoke with a painful knot on my forehead and a new understanding of why this post was so difficult to write.   The computer treats me so evilly because that is precisely what it was designed to do.

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Monster Movies

I am fascinated by the darker alleyways in the city of human thought.  I love monster movies, those love-story tragedies where the monster is us with one or more of our basic flaws pumped up to the absolute maximum.  We are all capable of becoming a monster.  There are consequences to every hurtful thing we have ever thought or ever said to other people, especially the people we love.

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The monster movies I love most are the old black and whites from Universal Studios.  But I can also seriously enjoy the monsters of Hammer Films, and even the more recent remakes of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and their silly sequels.  I am fascinated by the Creature from the Black Lagoon because it is the story of a total outsider who is so different he can’t really communicate with the others he meets.  All he can do is grab the one that attracts him and strike out at those who cause him pain.  It occurs to me that I am him when having an argument with my wife.  Sometimes I am too intelligent and culturally different to talk to her and be understood.  She gets mad at me and lashes out at me because when I am trying to make peace she thinks I am somehow making fun of her.  How do you convince someone of anything if they always think your heartfelt apology is actually sarcasm?  How do you share what’s in your heart if they are always looking for double meaning in everything you say?

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But other people can change into monsters too.  I am not the only one.  People who are bitter about how their life seems to have turned out can strike out at others like the Mummy.  Wrapped in restrictive wrappings of what they think should have been, and denied the eternal rest of satisfaction  over the way the past treated them, they attack with intent to injure, even just with hurtful words, because their past sins have animated them with a need to change the past, though the time is long past when they should’ve let their bitterness simply die away.

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And we might all of us fall into the trap of Victor Frankenstein’s monster, who never asked to be made.  He finds life to be an unmanageable nightmare with others constantly assaulting him with the pitchforks and torches of their fear and rejection.

13076_998843660144998_6984648371609353495_n But the thing about monster movies… at least the good ones, is that you can watch it to the end and see the monster defeated.  We realize in the end that the monster never really wins.  He can defeat the monstrous qualities within himself and stop himself.  Or the antidote to what ails him is discovered (as Luke did with Darth Vader).  Or we can see him put to his justifiable end and remember that if we should see those qualities within ourselves, we should do something about it so that we do not suffer the same fate.  Or, better yet, we can learn to laugh at the monstrosity that is every-day life.  Humor is a panacea for most of life’s ills.

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A bust of Herman Munster

 

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Filed under autobiography, humor, monsters, satire, surrealism, Uncategorized

Kit Marlowe, Secret Agent

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Christopher Marlowe is often sited as the real Shakespeare, a problematic assertion given that he would’ve been forced to write a number of plays after he was dead, giving new meaning to the term “ghost writer”.  But I would like to add to the assertion that “Marlowe is NOT Shakespeare!” that I also believe he did not die as they claim that he did.  Marlowe is a fascinating character of debauchery and misbehavior, intrigue and mystery, and undeniable genius.  As a writer, he was a maverick and risk-taker, having begun the ascendance of the theatrical play as one of the heights of Elizabethan literature with his play Tamburlaine the Great, about the historical figure who rose from shepherd boy to monarch.  This play, and its sequel, Tamburlaine the Great Part II, were among the very first English plays to be written in blank verse, meaning there is a very definite connection between the style of writing established by Marlowe and the later work of Shakespeare.  It is probable that for a few years, Kit Marlowe was a member of the Gray’s Inn group along with Sir Francis Bacon and several other suspicious literary luminaries like Sir Walter Raleigh and possibly Ben Jonson.  (I have to admit at this point that if I am wrong about the Stratford guy and he did write the plays, then he was a member of this group as well, because it was not closed to commoners, only to stupid people.  The Stratford guy was in no way stupid or a villain, no matter what you may believe about the authorship question.)  But here is where the link to Shakespeare’s plays and poetry both begins and ends.  Yes, Kit Marlowe was a capable enough author to have written such sublime plays.  He has all the individual skills to make up the whole.  But if you read his masterwork, The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, you will see that the voice, the unique literary style of the work is simply not by the same author.  Although Shakespeare revisits some of the same themes that Marlowe used in his plays, his manner of development, handling of character, style of humor, and underlying conviction in the existence of God are all different and opposed to Marlowe’s.  Marlowe is NOT Shakespeare.  Shakespeare’s works have more in common with Bacon’s than Marlowe’s.  And I have already said that, “Shakespeare is NOT Bacon… or eggs either.”  And if I said it, it must be so.  (Don’t throw eggs and tomatoes at your computer screen when you read this.  Just call me stupid and vain in the comments like everybody else does.)

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And an even more compelling reason to those of you who don’t obsess over reading Shakespeare and Marlowe and Ben Jonson is that, at the time Shakespeare’s plays were probably written, Kit Marlowe was busy either being stone cold dead, or, having faked his death, was busy being a secret agent for Queen Elizabeth.

And why would a goofball like me think that Christopher Marlowe cunningly faked his own death and went into his own thrilling quest to be like James Bond more than 300 years before Ian Fleming?  Well, because I know how to read and am not generally bright enough not to believe what others have written about him and his connections to the world of spying in Elizabethan times.

These authors have brought out the fact that Marlowe’s frequent absences from college and later public obligations coincide with things like the mysterious tutor called “Morley” who tutored Arbella, niece of Mary Queen of Scots, and a potential successor to Queen Elizabeth, in 1589.  He was also arrested in the Netherlands for allegedly counterfeiting coins related to the activities of seditious Catholics.  He was brought back to England to be dealt with by Lord Treasurer Burghley, the closest adviser to Queen Elizabeth, and was then not so much punished as let off the hook and even rewarded monetarily.  Still think he was not a spy?  Well, his demise probably came about through his relationship with Lord Francis Walsingham and his friendship with Walsingham’s son.  You see, Walsingham was Elizabeth’s “M”, leader of her spies and intelligence units.  After Walsingham died, there was deep concern that no one was still able to protect Marlowe from possible consequences of being both a homosexual and an atheist.  (Being gay was obviously not as serious a sin as atheism for which torture and death penalties lay in wait.)  It was possible that rival spies and nefarious forces could kidnap Marlowe and get information out of him that the Queen needed to be kept secret.

So, when Lord Burghley tortured Marlowe’s friend and sometime roommate, Thomas Kyd, into naming Marlowe a heretic and sending men out with a warrant to arrest Marlowe, Kit’s other friend, Thomas Walsingham probably warned Marlowe.  The bar fight that supposedly ended Marlowe’s life was witnessed by two friends of his, Nicholas Skeres and Robert Poley, both provably con men and professional liars.  The knife that stabbed him in the forehead above his right eye was wielded by Ingram Fizer, another of Marlowe’s disreputable friends, allegedly over an unpaid debt.  Fizer, of course, though he freely admitted killing Marlowe, was acquitted of the murder.  And the coroner’s report is suspect.  Rules of investigation were not followed, and the body was never independently identified by someone other than the three friends at the scene of the crime.  And the body was hastily buried before anyone else could get a close look at it.

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I am not only telling you that I believe Christopher “Kit” Marlowe was NOT Shakespeare… or eggs either (though that joke doesn’t really work here), but I believe he didn’t die the way it has been reported to us by history.  And why do I believe these things?  Because I think the story of Christopher Marlowe is a really great story, and it exists as a story whether it is historically true or not.

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Filed under angry rant, artists I admire, conspiracy theory, goofy thoughts, humor, poetry, satire, telling lies, William Shakespeare

Really Bad Jokes

bozo

If you have the bad habit of reading this particular blog more than once, then you are probably aware that I used to be a public school teacher.  Even worse, I used to be a middle school English teacher.  Aagh!  Seventh graders!  It explains a lot about how life has warped my intelligence, personality, and world view.  It also explains somewhat where I found such a fountain-like source for some of the worst jokes you ever heard.

Now, as to the question of why I have chosen in my retirement early-onset senility to become a humor-blogger… well, that is simply not something I can answer in one post… or even a thousand.  But kids are the source of my goofball clown-brain joking around.

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Kid-humor, you see, is stunted and warped in weird ways by the time period you are talking about.  The eighties, nineties, two thousands, and the tens are all very different.  And those are the various sets of students that I attempted to learn moose bowling from by teaching them English.

Still, there are certain universal constants.

Potty humor really kills.  If you want to make a thirteen-year-old crack up with laughter, roll around on the floor, and maybe wet his or her pants, then you only need to work the “poop” word, or the “nickname for Richard” word, or the “Biblical word for donkey” word into the conversation.  Of course the actual words, even though we all know what they actually are, are magical words.  If you actually say them to kids in school as their teacher, those words can actually make you magically and permanently disappear from the front of the classroom.  All kids are big fans of George Carlin and his seven words, even though most of them have never heard of him.

And violent humor is popular with kids from all decades.  The most common punch line in the boys’ bathroom is, “… and then he kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!” followed closely in second place by, “… and then she kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!”  I am told (for I don’t actually go in such scary places myself) that in the girls’ bathroom the most popular punch line is, “…so I kicked him right in the soccer balls, and he deserved it!”   Why girls are apparently obsessed with soccer, I don’t know… or particularly care.sweet-thing

So my education in humor began with bad-word jokes, slapstick humor, put-downs, and rude noises coming from unfortunate places.  Humor in the classroom is actually a metaphorical mine field laced with tiger traps, dead-falls that end with an anvil hitting you on the head, or being challenged to a life-or-death game of moose bowling.  (Don’t know what moose bowling is?  Moose bowling is a very difficult game that, in order to knock down all the pins and win, you have to learn to roll a moose down the alley.)  Sounds like I spend too much time watching cartoons and playing video games, doesn’t it?  Well, there’s more.  And it gets worse from here.  But I will spare you that until the next time I am foolish enough to try making excuses for my really bad jokes.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, irony, kids, satire, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching, word games, wordplay, writing humor

Mr. Grumpy Holds Forth

(This is an idea that comes from Bruce the Bottle Imp, so, don’t blame me if this humor blog-post isn’t really very funny.)

The thing I am grumpy about today, besides the dog chewing up last night’s pizza box and spreading the shreds all over the kitchen before I had a chance to take it to the trash barrel, is the fact that it seems like the world is ending.

I know, the “How can you say that?” crowd are going to argue with me if I say it’s because we let Adam Sandler get away with making too damn many movies. But in spite of the existence of Jack and Jill, I actually kinda like the cartoons where he plays Dracula and Selena Gomez plays his daughter. So, Sandler doesn’t give me the feelings of existential dread his movies used to provide.

No, I think the reason is because when I went out to walk the dog this morning on a sunshiny and blue-skyed dawn, and took a deep breath of fresh air, I nearly coughed up a lung thanks to that yellow-gray patina delicately painting the horizon.

We are running out of time.

President Grandpa Joe, the mildly confused one, is proposing a huge infrastructure bill that is even larger than the one he rammed through congress without a single Republican vote in order to keep the poor and the middle class from starving and becoming homeless… and potential fuel for the zombie apocalypse. The infrastructure bill will provide a starting point for building green-energy projects, providing thousands of green-energy jobs to an ailing economy, bullet trains and healthcare improvements, and life-changing transformations to rival FDR’s New Deal, which Republicans will also vote against. And he might actually do it if Senator Turtle McConnell doesn’t convince Senator Grumbly-Grampa Joe Manchin to vote against his own party in dismantling the foofy filibuster and then voting down the infrastructure bill both to fully insure the extinction of the human race.

For some reason, probably involving dark money, Republicans want so badly to see all middle class and poor people die a horrible death that they are willing to sacrifice the lives of their own grandchildren and great grandchildren. After all, they will mostly all be undead and undying critters by that time, and they won’t want pesky younger generations to support using money from their treasure hordes that they are planning to swim in like Scrooge McDuck for eternity.

I am also deeply grumpified by the whole Congressman Eddy Munster… er, I mean… Matt Gaetz thing (seen pictured in the Vampyr Paffooney above.) That happy-go-lucky blood-sucker is facing child sex-trafficking charges involving a 17-year-old girl, and the investigation was started under Attorney General Bill Barr, Trump’s Fred-Flintstone-impersonating, Yabba-dabba-doo collusion-denier. Senator Al Franken(berry) of Minnesota, a leading Democrat, had to resign from the Senate over a picture where he wasn’t actually touching the sleeping Republican-lady’s boobs, just making a crude joke-photo the way former Saturday Night Live comedians will often do… er, well… doo doo. But Eddy Matt Gaetz doesn’t have to resign, or even give up his assignment to the Judiciary Committee. And that’s because we’re okay with unindicted criminals running our country, just not Democrats.

I hate to say it, but, now that we have gotten rid of the Orange Prexydent at long last, if we still can’t prevent human extinction, we deserve what’s coming to us. We have work to do…. and things to grumble about… and Republicans have acts of vampire-evil to commit.

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The Necromancer’s Apprentice… Canto 7

Where Only Harpies Had Been Before

I hated having to lead the girl, Derfentwinkle I think her name was, on a leash like a fairy-dog or a June beetle.  It was cruel.  But I also wanted her to live even though we were supposed to kill her.

But the girl was quiet and never once tried to resist being led.  We took her to the magic lab where the Harpy cage was kept.  

Harpies are foul creatures, among the worst of the gobbulun hordes in the Unseely Court.  The one we held as prisoner for a week, Queen Duurt was her name, spread bad smells all around the cage. She kept trying to get hold of Mickey every single time he was tasked with feeding her.  I’m sure if he hadn’t been quick enough at dropping the food into the cage, she’d have caught him by a wererat paw and pulled him close enough to bite his head.  I was glad when they executed her and put her in the cookpots.  She didn’t even make good meat to feed to the fairy creatures we kept as pets. 

“Eeuw!  This place smells horrible,” the girl said as Master Eli prodded her to go into the cage.

“You probably won’t be in there very long,” Master Eli said.  “If you are no smarter than I think you are and don’t know anything about the necromancer’s lair, then we’ll have you cut up and boiling in the cookpots before you have time to get used to the smell.”

She looked at him with a hard stare that gave me neck prickles like a good ghost story told by a creepy bard.

“Master?  Are we allowed to take her out of the cage sometimes?” Mickey asked.

“Learning magical sex positions?” I asked Mickey.

“She’s a dark one’s plaything, Mickey.  You let her out, she’ll probably eat you rather than make love to you.”

“So, does that mean I have permission?”

“Knock yourself out, kid.”

Of course, Master Eli didn’t really mean that.  He just had that kind of sense of humor.  He would expect me to stop Mickey from doing detestable things.

“And, Bob, since you will be the one cleaning the mess up when something goes wrong… Be sure they are both dead before you turn them into beetle chow.”

“Yes, sir.”  That part he probably did mean.

Master Eli left the room before I had secured the lock on the cage.  Mickey was looking at me with that pathetic beg-eye of his.

“No, Mickey.  You can not take her out and do bad things to her.”

“Why not, Bob?  We don’t get many chances to learn about sex.”

“Because she’s a Sylph just like us. And she has to be treated with the respect due to a young lady.  Not used as your dirty plaything.”

“Bob, I’m sorry you’re not very smart.  I know we have to make allowances for you not being old enough to understand about physical love.”

“Mickey, we can’t because…”

“Really?” she said through the bars.  “If the mouse-man wants to kiss me, I’m okay with that.”

“Oh, wow!” cried Mickey as he lunged for the cage, puckered lips leading the way.

I quickly grabbed the Mickey-stick that Master Eli left in the lab for just this very reason, and I hit him as hard as I could in the back of the head, laying him out cold on the floor… out of reach from the cage by mere inches.

“What did you do that for, quiet boy.”

“For his own good.  You were going to grab him and possibly kill him trying to get out of the cage.”

“Why do you let them tell you that you’re not smart?  You are too smart for me.  Take your clothes off and come over to the bars, and I will happily give you what the mouse wanted.  No tricks, either.  I need some of that before you all kill me.”

“I only do what the master tells me to do.  He’s a powerful sorcerer, and he knows how to handle tricky prisoners like you.”

She looked down at the floor of the cage, and I thought I saw tears forming in the corners of her dark eyes.

“You know the Master won’t kill you if you tell him what he wants to know about the necromancer.”

“Oh, I intend to tell him everything and then some.  I do not love the Lord who sent me here to die.  But I have no confidence that you won’t kill me anyway.”’

“No, he wouldn’t do that.  The master does not deal with others in any openly cruel manner.  He wants you for some reason more than just what you can tell him about your evil master.”

“What happened to the last prisoner that was in this cage?”

I didn’t really want to tell her about Duurt.  That was a five-inch-tall monster with no redeemable qualities.

“We cut her up and boiled her to make pet food.  She was an evil Harpy, and she killed many fairies before we captured her.”

“How do you know I am not evil like that?  Or maybe I killed lots of people too.”

“You are not.  I can tell just by looking.”

She looked at me with those dark eyes.  It made my neck hairs prickle again, ever so slightly.

“You are cute, quiet boy.  I’d be willing to tell you anything you want to know.”

“Really?  Why did you attack Cair Tellos, then?”

“No choice.  Kronomarke forced me to.”

“Even though you knew it was a suicide mission?”

“There are others whose lives mean more to me than my own, and he has power over them.”

“And he won’t hurt them after you are dead?”

At that moment Mickey groaned and sat up, rubbing his sore head.  “Why’d you do that, Bob?”

“I was hoping to convince you to help me save them.  But that was before I knew that everyone was a court jester in Cair Tellos,” she said to me, ignoring Mickey.

Before I could reply to either of them, Master Eli came back into the lab with a plastic bottle, one that was a stolen piece from the doll house of the old lady who lived on the eastern edge of the Slow Ones’ town.  The bottle was filled with smoke.  And two reddish eyes peered at us through the smoke in the bottle.

Master Eli gave the bottle directly to the girl.

“What’s this?”

“That’s Kackenfurchtbar, turned into a bottle imp by alchemy.  Did you know his name translates to “Horrible Poop?”

“Hmm, well, he is a demon.  It would have to mean something pretty icky.”

“Why did you give that demon back to her?”  I asked.

“Because I control it by his demon’s name now.  And it is technically transformed into a lie-detector for the time being.  As long as it is in the cage with her, she cannot tell us a lie without it telling us the truth of it.”

“Oh, crumbs!”  she said softly, while still being emphatic enough to deserve an exclamation point when I wrote about it in my journal later.

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Filed under fairies, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, satire

How to Totally Waste Your Free Time

Yes, editing a book is like giving scissors to a monkey. Things are going to be cut. The cuts will be totally random. And then you need to paste if all back together yourself and try to make sense of it all again while cussing the damned monkey under your breath so that the monkey doesn’t hear it… unless on this project you are your own monkey.

I have now spent about five years taking my first published novel, the crappiest thing I ever wrote, published by the worst piratical publisher ever to board the sailing ship of my writer’s imagination, and expand it by rewriting and adding story elements that I never reached in the original.

It has been a terrible, blood-boiling effort to turn nonsense, corny jokes, numerous real science fiction ideas, and an overly-excited imagination into a coherent story that is intentionally a cross between Frank Herbert’s Dune and Douglas Adama’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

One of the main flaws of the book is the typical imitation-Dune problem of way too many characters to keep track of. Not just characters… too many planets, alien creatures, robots, alien cultures, star-born weirdnesses, and plot curlicues. My solution to this; add in lots of illustrations (I had originally sold the idea to the publishing pirates with illustrations included… which they cut down to five… and then eliminated completely,) and create an extensive set of appendixes that allow confused readers to look up the weird names and nouns that confronted them on every page.

The plot is overly complex and Dune-like specifically because of how it came to be. I was playing a space-based role-playing game called Traveller with three to eight middle school and high school students who were mostly former students of mine in the 1980’s. They created the player characters who become the lead characters in the book. Both the Aero Brothers, Trav Dalgoda, Tron Blastarrr, and many others were created by the boys. They then went on adventures that began in my imagination, but then took their many twists and turns through where the players wanted to go, what they wanted to build, buy, or steal, and what they chose to do about their many life-and-death encounters.

Book 4 is the manuscript, now finished, that I am editing and will soon publish.

I have reached the fun part of the story where critical things begin to happen that make life-and-death changes to the lives of the most important characters.

The end of the original story will occur in the next book of the series. Book 5 has about fifty percent of its content already written. I will have to write and paste in the extended content for the other fifty percent.

It will end up being not the worst novel I have ever written. It will be the worst five novels. Unless the monkey with the scissors works a miracle or two.

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