Sunday, July 30, 2006

When Did The Music I Listen To Become Safe?

When did the music I listen to become safe? I was picking up my prescription at Walgreen's last week and they were playing The Kink's "You Really Got Me" over the intercom. Not the employees mind you, the corporation had this piped in. The other songs that they were playing were fairly safe, Beatles, Beach Boys and some more recent stuff that you could play around my Grandma, and she wouldn't flinch or notice.

But, "You Really Got Me?" Damn, I was getting into it too...then a pharmacist assistant said, "Lee, your prescription is ready" and she stepped on Dave Davies' solo at the worst possible moment. I didn't complain, they're good to me at that pharmacy. A vein in my forehead did throb, though.

Is Muzak still in business? Or are the streets of Seattle overrun with musicians on every corner, with a sign in front of them saying "will play elevator music for food?"

Then yesterday, I'm buying Procrastinator Junior pants at Mervyn's and they break out dance hits from my clubbing days. All I had to do was put on a print shirt, break out some Z Cavalli acid wash genii pants and some Giorgio Brutini shoes from Oak Tree to be back in 1988.

By the way, "brutini" means "uglies" in Italian. Yes, I wore the "uglies." They were comfortable and um, "stylish" for the times. I wasn't making Stacy Adams money in those days.

Then to completely be in the moment, I would be to ask one of the saleswomen to dance with me. I could Cabbage Patch, Freddie Krueger, tilt, Bankhead Bounce, and after the song is over? She'd say "let's be friends" and I'd say, "I don't even know your name" as she'd cover up her name tag.

Ah, yes, good times without the ten dollar cover and the watered-down drinks.

P.S. Cool it on the comments and e-mails, I'm quite aware that I'm married. It's only a time warp-related fantasy, folks.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


What is, "it's hard being a screenwriter," Alex?

For some reason, Terrence Howard's "Djay" is in my ha-yed, mah-nn. Mostly the accent.

What is, "going Annie Wilkes?"

Mind you, I wouldn't lock up some of my favorite authors and force them to write. That's just stupid (facial tic, facial tic) and wrong. If they won't become more prolific, then it's up to me to write the kinds of stories that I want to read.

Eddie Muller has to have another book in him and The Blonde doesn't come out until November. Elvis Cole is strictly on vacation.

There is a promised Harry Bosch novella at the New York Times, that is serialized. I don't think the person who came up with that idea is a working parent. Otherwise,
Echo Park isn't coming out until September 6th, where the folks across the pond get it before us. We have to wait until October 9th...WTF??? Did Tony Blair swing that deal?

What is, "put a cork in all that whistling?"

A certain product for men that has a mascot named "Smiling Bob," has an annoying theme song that is whistled. I'm not mentioning the product, only because I don't want to draw those people here when they Google for the stuff. I don't mind it when people whistle, but I'm not a fan of whistling themes, "Colonel Bogey March" from "The Bridge on The River Kwai" being the one exception.

But damn, that theme is annoying. Then Wendy's bought a whistling jingle that sounds just like a continuation of the "Smiling Bob" theme. Thank God for mute buttons or I'd go off on the jingle writers like Djay did on Skinny Black.

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"Empty" What? F.F.F. #46

I had never seen one before except on television. I’m sorry, my grandfather called it “television” all the time, I meant the “plasma-verse” or “PV” as we call it. I don’t even know why people call it a plasma-verse except for the fact that it reminds them of the old-time plasma screen in terms of picture quality.

My grandfather actually had a television, talk about primitive. It’s was Lascaux as can be. A two-dimensional cave painting if I ever saw one, though he did say that they cooked indoors back then and even had indoor plumbing.

I think he’s kidding…actually, I am. I know from historical mental projections that they had semi-modern conveniences, though no full sanitary suits or units. Can you imagine using toilet paper and showers? Ugh, sick knuckle-draggers!

I begged and begged my grandfather to show it to me, I was the only one in the family who hadn’t seen it. He kept coming up with excuses. “It runs on electricity.” “I don’t know if the stock is still intact.” “It’s illegal, you know?"

All kinds of piss-poor excuses. I know he could fashion a primitive generator to make electricity, he did it before when he showed “DVDs” to me.

After enough cajoling, he finally relented. We went into his basement and there was a generator that ran on petroleum.

“Oh my God, we really could get trouble. Petroleum, grandpa?”

“I have no choice, Melon quartz produces uncontrollable spikes with electronics that were made before the 21st Century.”

This heightened the experience, we could’ve gone to prison for five years for using a generator that ran petroleum. He took this gray, dusty object off of it that he called a “sheet.” Underneath that was an object almost five feet high. It was made of chrome, steel, and plastic. Parts of it had a mesh covering made of material not known to me. It had a small screen that reminded me of a small ‘move-ly‘ screen.”

“Is that a ‘jakebox?!”

“You mean a ‘jukebox?’ No. It’s a Scopitone.”

"Does it show move-lies?"

"You mean movies, not exactly."

“So what does it do?”

“It shows music videos.”

“Music’ what?”


“Oh, you mean like the ‘Empty Vee?”

M-T-V, you mean. No this came out almost twenty-one years before it.”

He had it running after about two minutes. The fidelity of the audio was horrible, if you could call it “fidelity.” It was so full of hisses, pops and wheezes, that it was faithful to nothing. The picture of the small screen was slightly worse than a “move-ly” I saw that was shown on an old projector.

Yet I was transfixed, there were two women, twins. Their outfits were small and shiny, their hairstyles, vertical and unnatural. Their makeup was thicker and gaudier than that worn by any woman at a retro party. The song that they were singing was some horrid German song about the sound of a tuba. It was the personification of this word that my grandmother had tried to explain to me, but I never understood, because I had absolutely no reference until now…”kitsch.”

The music? The little “video?” To contextualize it using one of my grandfather’s favorite words, it all “sucked.” But, I was in love…with the machine, the blonde twins and the smell of petroleum.

I asked my grandfather who they were and he said, “the Kessler twins.’ They did what the Kaiser and that evil man with the little mustache couldn‘t do…they conquered Europe for almost a decade.” He grinned and beamed, I imagined it was because at that moment, he believed that he passed down a legacy.

Well, my grandfather’s been gone some twenty years now and I miss him terribly. His legacy does live on, as does the Scopitone. Later, I went broke, after my job was to use an early century euphemism, “outsourced.” So I hold “Scopitone” parties for the extremely affluent.

Most of them come for the decadent aspect of using gas, but a few of them appreciate the music and an even more select portion of them, appreciate the nostalgia.
Such an admirable quality in this antiseptic world.

JJ ushers flash fiction into its golden age. Get some popcorn and have a seat at

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Personalized Trivia Generator

Did I post this thing ages ago? I can't remember. It's this simple, type in your first name into the Mechanical Contrivium, select gender, and it will generate trivia about you.

It's not as fun as Sternest Meanings because you are limited to your name, but it's fun for a couple of minutes.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Book Stores Thinking Outside Of The Book

Some innovative new ways for the independent book store to compete with chains. I buy from both, but have not been loyal enough to the indies these past few months. I do try and make it a point to go to Green Apple Books when I can. I'd mention a store closer to me, but they ran a bait and switch on my last two orders.

Happy Birthday Raymond Chandler!

If Bill Crider didn't tell me these things, I would be pulling my hair out months later when looking up related trivia on the IMDB. Happy Birthday to the true father of mystery and noir prose, and a big thanks to Bill!

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

"$8,400 Per Carat" or F.F.F. #45

She put on a tie-dyed western skirt and did the worst spin I've ever seen.

"What was that you just did? And you're not going to wear that thing, are you?"

"That was a pirouette and my impression of a whirling dervish," she said with still the slightest hint of a Columbian accent. If I didn't know she was Columbian, I would swear from her bronze skin and features, that she was from Brazil...

"Okay," I grinned. Then I mumbled, "more like a hurling side dish."

...because she reminded me of a risque poster I had when I was younger, of a Brazilian honey on a Rio beach with a thong on. Of course that was when American women were wearing granny panties and if you were extra lucky, you might see a bikini cut or something lacy...

"I'm a side dish that makes you sick now, eh? You were telling, almost screaming to me how good it was last night."

...her resemblance to the model on that poster kept her mentally a half a step ahead of me, but this was her gig, after all. She spun around again and I caught before we almost collided. I realized from the gleam awkwardness that the akwardness in her spins was quite intentional.

"Why after so many months of telling me how pretty I am, would you find my unpretty now?"

"Yeah, should lose the skirt. That tie-dye looks awful.

"The skirt belonged to my American aunt, she said it was to 'let the squares know that her freak flag was unfurled and flying.' I don't quite know what that means, other than she wanted to feel free-spritited.

"It's the only western skirt I could find on such short notice. It's not important if you like it, what's important is that he'll like it," she murmurred as she looked me at me with those beautiful green-flecked brown eyes. She curled my hair with fingers, sending a shiver right down to my toes.

He was the most important piece to the puzzle, a courier from Amsterdam carrying several dozen diamonds just under two carats apiece. At almost $8,400 per carat for each diamond, she could say and do whatever she wanted as long as she pointed him out to me. A courier who belonged to horse show jumping clubs and had a cowgirl fetish.

She used to be in a Columbian crew that hijacked diamonds, but now they're behind bars or scattered about in cemetaries in New York, California, and Brazil. Too much money involved for everyone not to double-cross each other and she came out broke, but realitvely unscathed. She still had the intelligence resources as to where and when a gem courier would appear here and there.

Not to mention, she could travel within the horsey set without them realizing that she was literally the fox in the hen house.

A wig, false eyelashes that actually took away from her beauty, a western granny blouse, and couple that with that tie-dye thing, you had a Columbian hippy that escaped "The Big Valley." Or Barbara Mandrell gone altogether wrong, but she went right for "Mr. Courier," long enough for me to hit him with over 20,000 volts from my stun gun.

God, I hate the smell of singed flesh that wafts into my nostrils after. I swear it stays in my nose for at least three days, except it's stronger this time. And, I'm not on my way to my favorite island, that coincidentally doesn't share an extradition treaty with the United States. I've got the same urine-soaked pants as Mr. Courier, who still hasn't come too.

We're almost lying in identical postions on the ground, he's four feet away and he's the luckier of us two, because he has insurance against being being double-crossed.

JJ required that we use the following words for this rendition of flash fiction: 1) A Girl 2)A Whirl 3)A Curl 4)Something that unfurls 5)A Hurl

Friday, July 21, 2006

Please Support Those Who Supported Me

Two people that have always been cool to me at their blogs, at other people's blogs and my own, are in business for themselves to help fuel their dream.

First up is one of the first screenwriter bloggers to post here, Todd, the Movie Quill

He has an eBay shop filled with classic ads that is a fun trip on the Wayback Machine, but without the fleas from Mr. Peabody and those odd leers from Sherman.

Second is the Script Weaver. He comes up with the greatest stuff for folks such as myself...

Screenwriter by day, blogger by night

All of my alien peeps, terrestrial and extra

As well as the all the Hapa Nisei, with a very nice logo, I might add. So head on over to the-


Thursday, July 20, 2006

No, I Didn't Meet A Girl Named "Maria"

I am proud of my calluses, though they used to hold more weight. I've had them since sixteen and back then, it meant you were a man if you were blue collar. Now, not so much.

At any rate, the only reason why I'm here posting tonight is "Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires" has finally done its worst to me. My video game callus (no, it's not named "Maria") on my left thumb is on the verge of turning into a blister and they'll be no video games for the next thirty-six hours or so.

So here is a quasi-post with a fun link that the Missus sent to me today

Click your mouse and it will change colors.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ink Seventeen or F.F.F. #44

“Hot in here, huh?”

“If I had a dollar-“

“-everytime someone says that in a sauna, you’d be a millionaire, right?”

“No, but I’d probably have enough to put a sauna in my own house and I wouldn’t have to listen to that question again.”

“Hey, sorry about that. I was just trying to make conversation…Nice ink.”

“Don’t be a dope, get lost. Let me schvitz in peace.”

“No, no, hold on...let me have a look.”

“Be serious.”

“I am. What’s that tattoo about?”

“Which of the eleven are you talking about?”

“Eleven? Damn, I only see, what? One, two, of them.”

“And you want to keep it that way. If you were to see the wrong one, you would hate what happens.”

"This one, the guy pushing the rock up the slope.”

“That’s ‘Sisyphus.’ He was condemned by the Greek gods to roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down just before he could get it to the top. It’s symbolic for no hope.”

“Wow, your tats don’t grope around for metaphors, do they?”

“Their not all together...literal.”


“Yet, this one is.”


“The one just below Sisyphus...the rope. What does that remind you of?”

“A noose?”

“Yep, it’s a noose. The Hangman’s noose and I love it when people ask me about it because usually when it’s revealed, that means I’m about to place someone under arrest. Now turn around slowly and put your hands on the wall.”

JJ makes sure that you kids get the USDA weekly recommended amount of Flash Fiction

The requisite was that the piece had to have these five words: 1)Rope 2)Dope 3)Grope 4)Hope 5)Slope

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Turning Opponents Into Dim Sum And The City's Goin' Soft Again

Friday morning, I conquered 3rd Century China and united her under one Emperor. The end-cinematics were kind of a let down. They were very pedestrian and seemed three years ago, which is almost an eon in video game history.

Now I am playing a different scenario that is truer to life than the last scenario in that there is no overt sorcery or ultra-fantastic weaponry. The number of opponents and the population is at a more realistic level as well.

Liz Hickok has another show coming up at the Kala Art Institute. Yet, the folks that handle the Kala website only list her and the other three artists as "four artists chosen by international competition." As a matter of fact, they don't name any of the artists that they will exhibit in the future. Yeah, that's how to bring the people in.

We'll be showing somebody next week, but you have to show up to find out just who we're going to exhibit. It's a mystery to everyone except our booking agent.

The opening is this coming Thursday July 20th, 6-8pm and the address is 1060 Heinz Ave, Berkley, CA 94710

If you've never checked her out, this will give you an idea...

I've said it five times on this blog and I will say it again, she shows San Francisco as most of it is, soft like Jello.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'll Take Blogpourri For $500, Alex...

"What is 'video crack,' Alex?"

Sorry I've been away from the Internet, I was too busy conquering early 3rd century China. I've traded one addictive behaviour for another and this one requires entire too much time. I've had to build fortifications, set fire to enemy bases, ride across the fields cutting a path of destruction to rival that of Genghis Kahn, etc...

"Dynasty Warriors 5, Empires."

It's a hack n' slash/fighter/strategy/RPG with combo moves easy enough for a klutz like me to pull off. The cool part is when you vanquish an opposing general or a lieutenant, they turn into power up icons. Most of the time, they turn into "char siu bau," or "pork buns" in English.

"What is 'indifference,' Alex?"

Did you see that? The "Loot Fairy" bit was my 150th post, one-five-oh! Aren't you excited? Hmm?

Oh, wait, no, oh, excuse me. That wasn't excitement. Indian food and soda, deadly combination.

"What is 'Zidane giveth, Zidane taketh away?"

It pains me that it came down to that, but all you French fans can't be mad at the guy because he won another cup for you almost single-handedly. Everyone can say that the officiating was atrocious and they would be 100% correct.

It's simple, barring instant replay which isn't going to happen and can lead to more errors, you should have a stationary offical just to either side of the net. That way you don't have the referee in the constant trailing position and out of position to judge whether someone is off-sides and a whole lot less flops from fakers trying to draw a foul.

"What is the most beautiful thing in the world?"

La Coppia del Mondo en Roma!

"What is 'tapped out like a keg at a frat party?"

That would be me. I still have something like four territories remaining, but I have all of the south, the interior, and Bejing under my command. I have many miles to go, something like ten responses for the blog to respond to, there's sleep to be had somewhere, warlords to turn into dim sum, and I have my Elwood Brothers sunglasses on.

Not quite "a mission from God," more like a mission from odd.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Rare Occasion When I Can't Think Of A Post Title

Tribe, the ever gracious H.L. Mencken of the Internet has posted my latest short story

One Hundred and Twenty-five Grains of Pain

at the site, Flashing In the Gutters

If you've never been, you should check it out. Crime and noir-based fiction with a good mix of published and amateurs, what's not to like?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Me? I Try To Back Up My Work

I always try to make back up copies of my screenplays, but I feel for this dude...

SBC deletes screenwriter's work

Special thanks to Firestarter 5 for showing me how to hyperlink.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Put Your Manuscript Under Your Pillow...

A recent email exchange between a good friend and myself. Her first name rhymes with "Haiti" and her last name rhymes with "ports."

Friend: At present, I think I’m having a tooth issue. My molar hurts like a mother bitch. Totally freaking out about it. Sigh.

Me: That stinks, hope the tooth fairy is on the way with plenty of loot.

Friend: I think all writers should be granted a loot fairy. We need it.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Scrawnier Patriot Rot

I've posted about this before on my blog and a half dozen others, but I'm bringing it up again so that those who haven't read it before, will have a point of reference. I had a blogging engine before this one and let's just say that the other blogging engine makes Blogger look as reliable and accurate as a Swiss timepiece. Not to mention there was almost no traffic on that thing, three or four bloggers posted on it in that blog's entire history. One of them being, Canadian author Neinke Hilton.

I just clicked an old link to her blog
and she left her engine for Blogger too.

She has a link to "Sternest Meanings"
A site that will take a sentence and turn it into an anagram. For example, "Write Procrastinator" becomes "Scrawnier Patriot Rot." Yeah, that'll bring me back to that site.

At any rate, give it a try and maybe you'll come up with something less irritating.

P.S. I just got these: Xbox Three Sixty? "The sexy Trix box." Nintendo GameCube? "A big denouncement." Honda Civic Ex? "Hi! Convex acid." Bluetooth technology? "Tetchy bunghole to loo."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Who is funnier than Letterman and Leno?

The Things You Learn As You Research

As I researched for a short story on just how expensive coffee makers could get, I stumbled onto this tidbit...

courtesy of Whole Lotta Latte Love

Coffee making is a process that has been around for centuries, but the methods used have changed quite a bit throughout that time. Originally, coffee grounds were simply mixed with boiling water, producing what is commonly called Turkish coffee. The result was a burnt, muddy, and grainy drink that left a bad taste (literally and figuratively) in most coffee drinker's mouths.

Many people started pouring their coffee through linen and other fabrics to try to filter out the grit, but cloth proved to be too porous. The 19th century brought us both the French press and the vacuum pot. Both made a significant improvement in the quality and consistency of coffee, but at that time they still lacked an effective filtering method.

In 1908, a German housewife named Melitta Bentz had the bright idea to use paper in an effort to remove the loose grounds, and drip coffee was born.

My parents had one of those hourglass shaped Melita's before Mr. Coffee became the then, common household coffee maker. But as we would do a light reheat of the last cup, we always managed to crack them as the glass carafes were meant to withstand internal brewing only and not meant to be heated externally.

I know most of you kids can't remember percolators, but if there were ever a so-called "modern" convenience that could've been substituted by one of those dino-bird appliances of the Flintstones, percolators were just that. Or maybe they would've used the miniature mastodons? At any rate, percolators burned the taste right out of the coffee...pretty much no matter what you did.

Some people would add salt or sugar, but you would just have salty swill or sweet swill. In the case of the latter, you're better off just boiling the grounds which would the traditional "Turkish" or "Arabic" method where they just add cups of sugar. Not only do the grinds catch in your throat, you're wired up like a rat that has accidentally eaten its way through a case of Columbian "foot powder."

What the Melita did for coffee was nothing short of phenomenal and it was the best thing short of a machine from Italy or one the old Italian double-pot percolators that didn't kill the flavor because they didn't burn or boil your java into fireplace swill. This was the other exception...

The Bialetta Moka Express or the "#1 Italian man pot." The little Bialetti Mascot, a mustachioed man with his index finger pointed upward as a declaration of the best maker and dollar for dollar, lira per lira, it was. Someone always placed it by their kitchen window when you came over to their house and it signified that they had coffee at least.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Achtung Deutschen!

Ehi, Tedeschi, parlate piu forte!

No, non vi capito, parlate piu forte!

Forse, en quatro anni per voi...


Once again, the only two words of Italian you need to know-

Forza Azurro!


Have a Happy Fourth of July!

From The Missus, Procrastinator Jr. and Yours Fooly, er, Truly.

May it be safe, somewhat sane and free from pain.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Right Between The Sound Machine a.k.a. F.F.F. #43

She was a Victorian on Pacific Avenue, near Powell Street. She might have seen better days, though not a fresh coat of paint since the Great Abdication of Edward VIII. Marty rang the bell, four short, four long and as the door buzzed, he pushed it open. We walked up…or I should say, we scaled these near vertical stairs and about eight from the top, I got a case of vertigo. Marty grabbed me by the jacket and saved me from a tumble.

When we got to the top of those stairs, I thought I went mad. “Opulent” was not strong enough of a word to describe what we saw. There was a mixture of Art Deco and Art Nouveau and it was all authentic and original (I should know, it was the specialty of father’s antique business). Real Tiffany lamps gave the halls a warm glow, and Afghani and Persian carpets covered the lacquered floors.

A woman wearing nothing but a thong and a smile, scooted between Marty and me. She was talking on a cordless phone with one of the most melodic voices I’ve ever heard about someone named Wong and how she didn’t want to leave. I wanted to go back outside and see if this was truly the entrance into Heaven, but I didn’t want to climb those stairs again unless it was absolutely necessary.

“Did you bring what Mr. Wong asked for?”

Marty and I turned around to a woman wearing even less than the first, not a stitch or a smile. I was trying to be polite and maintain eye contact, but Marty wasn’t going to bother any such pretense.

“Did you bring what Mr. Wong asked for?”

I elbowed Marty and he opened the bag. She glanced it over and motioned for us to go up another flight of steep stairs. This time I kept my head low and I walked up slow and deliberately, yet I was still dizzy when I got to the top. The top flight was as ugly as the exterior of the building, it looked like J. Edgar Hoover’s nightmare from 1971.

There were black light posters that I’d only heard about in all their garish glory. The twelve Zodiac positions, Wiley Coyote finally capturing the Road Runner and the caption, “beep, beep, yer ass!” Semi-nude and nude women standing next to or striding jungle cats or mythological animals.

There were cushions from the Johnson administration that probably came brand new with that grunge and funk.

“Like my launch pad?”

Marty and I turned around to see an old Chinese hippie. He was bald on top, but he had a ponytail that looked Repunzle had a queue that had gone wrong. I was glad that unlike the rest of the house, he had clothes on. Tie-dye and Khaki, patchouli and The Gap.

“Mr. Wong?” I asked.

“Call me Wayne, only the chicks call me Mr. Wong, if you know what I mean.”

I could not reconcile the fact that his voice and patois were like Garrison Keillor. His eyes were on Marty, who was about to bang this ornate gong, when Wayne threw a hunk of granola bar and plunked Marty in the back of the head.

“You don’t touch a man’s gong, son! You might as well be touching his woman!”

Marty had a look of surprise and shame that made me regret that I didn’t bring a camera.

“Hi, Wayne, I’m Tom. Give him the book, Marty.”

We shook hands and Marty took the book out of the bag and handed it to Wayne. Wayne took the protective plastic off and gently looked it over.

“There you go, Wayne. A first edition of ‘On The Road,” just as we agreed.”

Wayne put it back in the protective plastic and held it as gently as a newborn.

“Finally! He promised me this, you know? He never made good on it either.”

Marty whispered “are you crazy?”

I hissed back, “shut up, this is a once in a lifetime experience. A dozen people have swore to me up and down that it will be worth it.”

Wayne put the book in an already opened safe, then he brought out a scrapbook and closed the safe. He opened the scrapbook and I was stupefied for between the covers were scores of famous people. Each of them were laid out on a carpet in a state of bliss.

Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Novak. Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassiday. Eric Burdon, John Kay, Jimi, Janis, Robert Plant, Steve McQueen, Jimmy Carter, and too many to mention.

“Do you know where the concept of the ‘magic carpet’ came from?” giggled Wayne as he put the dirtiest hookah in existence on the very same carpet that all the people in the scrapbook laid upon. I mean this thing looked filthy I wouldn’t have touched it with arm length rubber gloves and a pair of steelworker tongs.

Wayne must’ve seen the look of disgust in my face and he grumbled, “that’s the residue that will make it easier to get over Coit Tower.”

“What?” Marty laughed.

Wayne ignored him and focused on me, “the idea of the ‘magic carpet’ was in existence even before “The Arabian Nights” in the 14th Century. It was said that they had so much hashish, that they believed that the carpets they zoning on, could levitate.”

Wayne put a bong before us and tamped the bowl. I picked it up and he lit it. The smoke wasn’t smoke at all, it was smooth and more like pure oxygen, if anything. Marty did the same, then me, then Marty, until we had eleven hits between us.

I didn’t feel a thing, but Marty’s eyes were glazed over. I had another hit, but Marty refused to have any more, against Wayne’s protests. “You will not clear Coit Tower, Marty.”

Marty waved him off and collapsed on the carpet like a balloon with its air let out. I laid down and still didn’t feel anything, until the floor felt like water. The floor shifted left, then right, then we started to float. At this point I realized that it wasn’t the floor but the carpet itself. Wayne waved his hand and the ceiling opened!

The bright sunlight stung my eyes as we were over Broadway and Stockton St. in an instant. The smell of Vietnamese noodles wafted into my nose as we entered North Beach and that smell gave way to the garlic and tomato of Italian food. We were over Washington Square Park and on our way up Telegraph Hill where Coit Tower stood at the top.

Marty woke up and smacked his lips, then his side of the carpet sagged. I barely got a hold of his arm when that side of the carpet gave way. The askew carpet snapped at me like a whip and flew right out from under us, homeward. We both plummeted toward the tower parking lot like lead balloons and the sunlight blinded us…

…We landed on our feet in front of Wayne’s house, with our backs to the door and it felt like we had fell inches instead of hundreds of feet. Marty and I looked at each other, disoriented. Like the Three Stooges with a ghost behind them, neither one of us wanted to look back at the house and we slowly walked away.

I heard a window open and Wayne’s voice cackle, “hey Icarus, don’t fly so close to the sun next time and maybe your wings won’t melt.” He laughed heartily as he shut the window.

Use the link, Luke
JJ is your father!

Timing Is Everything, The Sequel

As I'm trying to crank a story out, the Missus is compiling a Costco shopping list and asking me what will we need.

Me: You know what? You're driving me insane.

The Missus: (long beat) It's a little late for that.

Listen To Your Pooks

Pooks is right about many things
and when she says "oh, and don’t read Toni’s entry with anything in your mouth. I’m just saying." You should listen... I don't want to give it away with a ubiquitous ad catchphrase, just read for yourself.

A Pair Of Tongs

A Post Scriptum or in this case, an "Ante" Scriptum. This does not meet the criteria laid down by JJ as it has only one of the five sets of words. Thanks to Calli for pointing it out and it's back to the drawing board.

“…a pair of Tongs.”

“What?” Jeremy asked incredulously.

Eddie spat and grabbed Jeremy‘s Gameboy. “Pay attention, Jer. I said that Neville's uncles are Tongs.”

“What, they work in a barbecue pit?”


“They work at a salad bar?

“No, they‘re like the Chinese version of the Mafia and just like the Mafia, they started out as a protective society and branched over into crime. So he‘s connected through his uncles.”

“You mean his uncles are a pair of kitchen utensils?”

“I should’ve left your ass in Concord, you never know how to behave in the City.”

“Eddie, how the hell are you going to leave me at home when it’s my car?”

“I’m with Eddie, he should’ve left you at home,” said the quiet voice belonging to Neville. Jeremy looked down on Neville, literally. Jeremy was a former offensive guard on his high school team that played simply because of his size and not because of his ability. He received a few too many concussions from being out of position in games and thus, was now merely big and offensive.

Neville was small for an “ABC” or, “American born Chinese.” His clothes and glasses were more in tune with Hong Kong than San Francisco, all the better to do business with.

Eddie was Romanian and was adopted by a San Franciscan family right after the fall of Ceauşescu. He knew Neville from junior high, and both he and Jeremy sported gangsta wear. Jeremy looked behind Neville’s hair and found a top knot, he pulled on it and not too gently.

“What is this, are you some kind of samurai Urkel?”

Neville slowly and deliberately reached for Jeremy’s wrist and pinched an acupressure point. Jeremy’s eyes bulged and he let go. “Hey, hey, ease up there, Kawasaki Ninja.”

Neville kept his eyes on Jeremy, but pointed at Eddie. “I don’t have time for this nonsense, this is my busiest time of the year."

“I’m sorry about this Neville, my car’s in the shop-”

“Yah, ve-lee saw-lee, Ne-lill,” Jeremy chimed as he pulled his eyes up in an inappropriate gesture.

“Well, goodbye, Eddie, see you same time next year and give my best to your parents,” grumbled Neville as he warmly shook hands with Eddie and started to walk away.

“No, please, don’t listen to this idiot. Hey, hey! At least ignore him for old times sake!”

Neville stopped and reluctantly returned. “How much, Eddie?”

“Yah, how mulch, Ed-ly?”

Neville bit his lip and glared at Jeremy, “look All Pro Athletic Supporter, I’m Chinese. The Chinese and Japanese are two different races and get your stereotypes right, dickhead. We Chinese can pronounce our “R’s.”

“Chinese, Japanese, same damn difference.”

“Eddie, what’s Jeremy’s last name, “jockstrap?”

“No, it’s “Connard.”

Neville looks Jeremy in the face and says calmly, “okay, 'Connard' is French. As with the French, English and Italians, there is some lingual overlap, but you all definitely have a genetic overlap. Yet, there is no way that you would say that you all come from the same damn country. So why you say that Chinese and Japanese are the same?”

Jeremy angrily shrugged, he wanted to hit him with a comeback, but his concussion-addled brain was suffering from satellite delay.

“So like I said, how much Eddie?”

Eddie handed Neville an envelope from a photo lab. Inside was money instead of pictures, Neville thumbed through it. “Okay, let’s say a case of barrel bombs, a case of M-80s and a case of M-100s. All right?”

Eddie nodded vigorously.

Neville dialed his cell phone and whispered, “one bb, one eight and one ten.” Neville flipped it closed and nodded to Eddie, “where’s the car?”

Eddie pointed at Jeremy’s beaten up Pontiac and Neville yelped and cackled at the rust bucket. Jeremy’s face turned red all the way to the tips of his ears. He was about to throw a tantrum, when a wave of nausea crept over him.

“What, is that smell?!”

A bum with a collapsible granny wire cart slipped in behind the Pontiac. The bum slapped the trunk with gloved hands.

“Well, open it Athletic Supporter,” Neville barked.

Jeremy reluctantly opened the trunk. As the bum put the three cases in, Neville took the money out of the envelope. The bum angrily bounced his cart on the curb and wheeled away.

“God, he stinks” Jeremy sneered.

“Perfect cover, no fingerprints because of the gloves and he stinks so much that there isn’t a cop that wants get within a block of him. Speaking of which, you better close the trunk, Athletic Supporter.”

“I’m getting tired of you calling me names, gook!”

“Close the damn trunk, Jer!” Eddie hissed.

“No you close the fuc-”

“What’s going on here?”

Jeremy turned around all too quickly and the policeman reflexively reached for his nightstick, anticipating trouble. The policeman looked at the three and asked again, “what’s going on.”

There was panic in the eyes of the other two, but Neville’s demeanor changed and he seemed to take on the naivety of a child.

Jeremy glared at Neville and spat out, “this gook was selling us fireworks, but we didn’t want any!”

The policeman looked at the still open trunk, then at the three.

Neville said in affected pidgin, “my English, not good. I visit.”

The cop asked slowly, “do you have I.D?”

Neville shook his head like he didn't understand and the cop put his nightstick away. The policeman pulled out his own license so that Neville could get an idea. Neville pulled out a Hong Kong passport.

“He's messing with you, he’s American all the way! He‘s as American as I am! Check the envelope, he has my friend‘s money!”

The policeman snatched the photo envelope from Neville, it was empty.

Eddie calmly shook his head and said flatly, “I barely know this guy from high school, he offered me a ride into the city and then he went crazy.”

“Check his pockets! If I’m lyin’, I’m dying!”

The policeman turned his own right front pocket inside out, then motioned for Neville to do the same. Neville did so and it was empty. The cop motioned for Neville to flip all his pockets and they were all empty.

“You’re not ‘dying,’ but you are going in. Turn around slowly and place your hands on the top of the car.”

“No, you don’t understand!”

The policeman put his hand on his holster and Jeremy finally complied. He patted down Jeremy and cuffed him.

“You two are free to go, don’t let me see you around here again.” Eddie shuffled off and Neville feigned ignorance. The policeman shoed Neville away and he did as motioned.

Halfway back to the subway home, a bum approached Eddie with a note. It read:

I’ll still credit you for the ‘works, but I can’t give you back the money.
Bring a car tomorrow that’s asshole free and I'll call you where to meet.

If not, have a Happy Fourth of July!


Use the link, Luke
JJ is your father!