Tag Archives: Comedy

In my Car after IT

For those not familiar with it, there is a charity event known as Red Nose Day. It is to raise money for sick children through comedy. On that day this year, one drug store had a bin of red rubber clown noses one could buy. I laid down my dollar for sick children everywhere and stuck the red rubber nose on the edge of the passenger side visor in my HHR.

Sunday, I took my son to see IT. (Sorry Sheldon, he couldn’t wait.) After two-plus hours of jump scares, music stings, and creepy atmospherics, I got back into my car to go home.

In the dark parking lot.

Alone.

I reached up to open the sunroof and let in a little cool air. That’s when I noticed the red rubber clown nose peeping out from the space between visor and roof.

My first thought was: “Oh my, how did that get there?”

I followed up with “Surely Pennywise couldn’t squeeze himself int a space that small.”

Which is why transdimensional psychic vampire clowns don’t hunt old farts like me. Not enough excess emotional energy to let out a shriek of terror when appropriate.

 

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Various People Looking Dumb at the Worthington Farmer’s Market.

A nice older woman speaking to the owner of a obviously mixed breed dog.

“So what kind of dog is he?”

“Brown.”

#

The author walks into a coffee house/art gallery the size of a supply closet. The name is redacted out of a sense of fair play. It sits directly off of the main drag of charming Downtown Worthington, a spot the pentagenarian passes twice a week. The pleasantly vague man with the black hat and the mustache says:

“So, you’re new here!”

“No,” says the very young cafeinnista, “we’ve been open a year and a half.”

The man with the black hat is feeling more vague and less pleasant.

#

The author dissembles by examining the art work on the walls: paisleys and polkadots painted on plywood planks. Rothko has nothing to worry about here. Considering how long he has been dead, Rothko has nothing to worry about.

Hoping to redeem some of his lost coolness in the eyes of totally uncaring strangers, the author orders a coffee. Not the usual ‘Murican coffee that he drinks night and day, that comes from a can you can use to store fishing weights afterwards. No, he orders something he’s never tried before, something experimental and cool that won’t make him look like somebody’s disreputable uncle who’s wandered off before morning medication.

It sounded like “Marquisdesado”.

As the caffeinista falls to her task with the focus and energy others might mistake for hatred of all Mankind, the author pays at the iPad and looks over the snacks left to snag the attention of customers that must wait while the Ritual of the Coffee is performed with stainless steel spoons, chalices, and foam. There are cupcakes in sealed plastic containers. Each treat is covered with hand-piped polychrome flowers and leaves, all very pretty and realistic. Almost a shame to eat them.

The day-glo orange labels on the  containers read: Mom’s Vintage Treats.

“Vintage,” says the vague man in a hat. “Does that mean they’re all really old?”

“No,” says the check-out person, “they’re just… just…”

“Vintage style?” the author suggests.

“Yeah. Yeah, inspired by vintage snacks.”

“So, they’re only supposed to taste really old?”

The checkout person stops talking.

#

“Marquisdesado up!” the caffeinista calls out as if the customer is not less than two meters away. Everything in this establishment is less than two meters away.

The vague man in the hat and mustache takes up his paper to-go cup, noting that he has received doses of Nyquil in larger cups. He politely thanks one and all and leaves while he is still allowed. He suspects there is a crawlspace filled with uncool customers below his feet.

The author waits until he is down the sidewalk and out of the line of sight before he takes his first sip. He has never been a member of frou-frou coffee society, and this will probably not be his membership ticket.

Marquisdesado tastes like burnt insoles and leaves the author with the same emotional hangover as binge-watching nun porn. If it hadn’t cost nearly as much as a pound of generic coffee, he would have thrown it out.

Instead, he continues to sip the bitter draft until it is gone and can harm nobody else. His nipples feel like they are slowly turning inside out.

#

The author wrote an entire blog post referring to himself in the third person. He wound up looking pretentious and dumb.

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And there was great rejoicing.

Slowed by pneumonia, lung issues, family issues, cowardice, and sloth, I have finally finished the third book of the Arcanum Faire Trilogy.  Two years after the release of the second book, and maybe two and a half decades after the original conception, seems like a long time. In the words of the great Ian Malcolm: “Must write faster!”

Or something like that.

Book Three has all the sex, magick, and power tools of its predecessors with additional miraculous healings, shovel-wielding, Bobcat wheeling, brightly colored pike tercios, jousters, meat puppets, a dead black chicken, and two raging queens. Of course, I will do some truly terrible things to Eleazar and his beloved Toolcat Theodora.

Naturally, neither Marc Sindri or Brenwyn come out of this unscathed.

Anyway, in spite of my concerns of it actually being too long, the manuscript has come in under four-hundred pages with room to cut out more if absolutely necessary. It is off to my beta/gamma reader and a final sweep before sending it off to my publisher, Post Mortem Press.  My working title has been “The Beltane Faire”, but that is a limp and nondescriptive title compare to “Camp Arcanum” and “Power Tools in the Sacred Grove.” I may use “The Ren Faire at the End of the World” if we can fit all of that on the cover. Any better suggestions will be appreciated and stolen.

Watch this space for further developments.

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WIP: Opening Day at Arcanum Faire

It is May Day and I am drawing close to putting the third book of the Arcanum Faire trilogy to bed. The action of all three points to one thing: Opening Day for the renaissance faire at Arcanum, Ohio. And that day is May the First, or Beltane. To celebrate and give you all a taste of what I have in store, here is a behind the scenes look at the two queens preparing for their first parade.

Enjoy, and Merry Beltane!

#

Eleazar had been pleased to find the Faerie Queen underneath two stilt-walkers in a travel trailer, but there had been considerable wear and tear on the merchandise. Titania received last moment make-up and wardrobe assistance from Amber, Crystal, and Ivy, and they were doing magic with concealer, rouge and body glitter. As she was being made presentable, her Faerie court, in wings and bits of stylized armor, formed up on the gravel track behind the jousters’ stables.

Queen Elizabeth and her own court jockeyed for position ahead of them. A dozen lords and ladies in velvets, brocades and pearls tried to look cultured and elegant in spite of the dust and rising heat.

The Teufelkindern Landsknecht unit squared up in their tercio formation to lead the parade and escort the queens. The arqubusiers looked away with guilty expressions as the battered knight from their ill-advised black-powder demonstration cantered up on his butterscotch steed. He had little time to notice them.

Queen Elizabeth waved her fan and shrieked at the horsemen:

“No, no, no, no! You— go back there!” She gestured to a position behind Faerie Court. “I am your Queen and there is no WAY that I will march behind the horses!”

“Relax, Peggy. Nothing’s going to muss up your embroidered slippers,” said Lord Pumpkinpants. Eleazar couldn’t remember the actor’s name, or his persona’s, but his globular pantaloons were certainly the largest in the Faire.

“And I was supposed to have a carriage!” she shouted to no-one in particular. “What the HELL happened to my carriage?”

Eleazar rushed over to calm the raging queen.

“Milady.” Eleazar quickly was reminded of her position by the flames in the Queen’s eyes and the flare of her nostrils. He bowed low. “Your Majesty. There was simply no way we could acquire two fitting carriages before the festivities.”

“I only need one carriage,” the Queen said regally. She had always refused to accept the unorthodox arrangement of two courts royal courts.

“Extra wide!” Titania hooted. The Fae felt no need for courtly behavior, especially when hungover.

“I will kick your bony elfin ass from here to Pennsic!” Elizabeth snapped.

“Can you lift your leg that high?”

Queen Elizabeth snapped her fan shut, rendering it a sandalwood truncheon she was known to use frequently.

“Come at me, Tinkerbell!”

Titania closed with Elizabeth, but two of her court grasped her to prevent regicide. Eleazar stepped in between the two hotheads of state, though unwillingly.

“Ladies! Ladies! My most august royal personages. You have your champions to fight for your honor upon the list fields.”

“I’d rather pull out her cheap red hair with my own hands,” The Queen of All Faerie snarled.

“Like you’re a natural blonde,” Good Queen Bess retorted.

“I need you both to behave like the magnanimous historically-inaccurate potentates that you are.” Eleazar realized there was too much naked steel and horseflesh around to allow this conflict to continue.

“She started it,” Elizabeth muttered.

Titania made a response that was all vowels and exhalations.

“Or I can summarily declare this faire to be a democracy and fire you both.”

The prospect of losing a paying position as royalty quickly enough put cold water to hot tempers.

“I can save it for the jousting field,” Elizabeth said.

“I can, too.” After a surly moment of thought, Titania added: “My Oaken King will pop open your champion like a can of Spam.”

The other Queen slapped her closed fan across her palm with an audible crack.

“Sir Pepin will squash him like a bug.”

“That’s the spirit!” Eleazar cheered. “Now, off to your neutral principalities, just like Switzerland.”

The queens glared at each other and returned to their positions in the parade.  Eleazar began creating space between , first by wedging in the merchants and artisans, which was then vetoed by Titania as a diminuation of her prestige. Finally, a second honor guard was improvised from Vikings and assorted re-enactors to escort the Faerie Queen and to act as a buffer between the courts.

As the procession ultimately made its way onto the Faire grounds proper, Eleazar wondered if there existed a Renaissance World Peace Prize he should be nominating himself for.

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Cliques

I don’t do well with people, as a rule. I don’t have social anxiety, per se, but my tolerance for pettiness and ego approaches zero pretty damn quickly, especially when there is no talent to back it up.

Cliques are the worst of it. In theater, publishing, gaming, and reenacting, cliques are the engines that drive the world. Fannish cliques are perhaps the most galling, cliques of misfits which say “We all like each other because we don’t fit in, but you don’t fit in in entirely the wrong way.”

Good thing I have my wife, my cat, my son and three and a  half jobs.

The truly annoying thing is that all the interactions follow the same blueprint and I keep going through it over and over a gain in hopes that something will change. Here’s the step by step:

1: Friendly overture towards group.

2: Snub, snipe, or incompetent behavior that has to be ascribed to malevolence because “really, how could these people actually be this dumb and run a ()?”

3: I, feeling miffed, point out they are acting in a cliquish/moronic fashion.

4: The group’s representative responds with outrage and sincere hurt that I should think so little of them and their inclusiveness.

5: I apologize for my boorish behavior and promise to make an effort to fit in and be all friendly-like in the future.

6: Second friendly overture.

7: Continued snubbing and incompetence, just to prove I wasn’t hallucinating things the first time.

8: I take up heavy drinking.

I could give you some examples of this, but even with changing names to protect the guilty, it would get back to them. That would be me returning to Step 3, and you see how far that got me on the flow chart.

 

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I haven’t had much to say lately.

SOMETIMES copySo, I’m leaving this:

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Rough Sex

It’s been a fun week with a successful Ohioana Book Festival, prepping for the Asheville Viking Festival this weekend and reuniting with my old writer’s group buddies. Beyond the accelerated writing schedule for Book 3 of Arcanum Faire and promotions, there’s been little time for proper blogging.

So, I’ll leave you this. Enjoy!

CARoughSex

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Shrimp clubbing

My wife and I were driving past the Worthington Dairy Queen this afternoon. It was a lovely spring day and many families were congregating outside the walk-up window. There was one little girl, probably four or five, holding her daddy’s hand. She was wearing a gauzy tutu dress of a deep pink color.

I pointed her out to my wife and said:

“She looks like a shrimp.”

“Yes, she does,” Kit agreed. “She’d better not go to Toledo.”

That little exchange makes sense if you go back thirty years and one marriage ago. I was working as a balloon delivery guy and my highly gullible co-worker asked what my first wife and I had done that weekend.  I told her that we had attended the Midwest Shrimp Clubbing Jamboree.

“You see,” I started, “I have this friend in Toledo. He really loves seafood and he has a lot of money. So, he paved about a half-acre of his property in concrete, put a foot tall wall around it and filled it with salt water.

“Then, he stocked the pond with about a million shrimp. Right next to that he set up big  cauldrons of boiling water and picnic tables stocked with all the condiments. He also got in a whole bunch of long sticks from the lumberyard.

He invited everyone he knew, gave them clubs, and let them eat all that they could stun.”

I must have been highly convincing, because, when we picked up my first wife from her job, she asked:

“Did you enjoy going shrimp-clubbing.”

The terse but cruel response explains why that job, or that marriage, didn’t last much longer.

 

 

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Run-ins with Rodents

Over the last few months, I have been having problems with wild rodents. My neighbor’s cat, generally a feline defective, caught a mouse. The cat had no idea what to do with a live mouse and ended up releasing it into the walls. We realized it had worked its way over to our side of the building when it started leaving little presents in the pantry that definitely were not capers.

My wife, being as adverse to vermin as she is, immediately pulled all the food and utensils out of the cabinets, scrubbed all surfaces with antiseptics, and then sealing anything edible in plastic. I was given the task of the interloper’s capture and execution.

I have never been fond of the old -style mouse traps since my teenage years. After a long evening of watching horrible horror movies, I was awakened in the early morning by a metallic crash in the kitchen.  A quick search showed nothing out of place and no rational cause for the noise. When I went to my parents’ room, to voice what I thought were normal concerns, my father taunted me with remarks about “The Curse of the Devil’s Kitchen” Mwha-ha-ha-ha!

I didn’t get any apologies later when I opened one of the cabinets and was bombarded by a stack of  Revere Ware. It seemed a mouse had gone after the cheese in a trap and  received its Eternal Reward instead. The torsion of the trap catapulted both wooden base and cooling cadaver into a stack of pots and pans which fell against cabinet door.

So, no spring traps to avoid re-living past family trauma.

I picked a few of the new “spin traps.” Little plastic death chambers the size of a hockey puck, they were reputed to quickly and humanely snap a mouse’s neck. Either that, or overwhelm it with vertigo, forcing it to run outside and throw up its cotton candy just like at King’s Island.

Several days passed without dead bodies or pink mouse vomit, so I moved on to the classic glue trap. We caught him in less two days, a single hind foot adhered to the bottom of his cardboard abattoir. I normally would have put him out my misery, but Kit was feeling compassionate. I put the whole trap into the trash and assured her that the rodent would be able pull itself free and have an enjoyable ride to the city dump where it would be able to start a new and loving family.

*

Shortly after that, a squirrel went sky-diving behind our garage. My son found it splayed out like the letter “X” flat on the pavement. Having seen me take in all sorts orphans and wounded critters, he tried to make it comfortable in a towel-lined shoe box with food and water close by. I came home a few hours later to find it a rigid ex-squirrel. I tucked him into his box. My son wanted to bury it in the garden once the weather cleared.

When I checked the box the next day, there was a rather large hole chewed in the top of the box. There was no squirrel inside.

I know that I made no mistake about it’s being dead; I could have driven nails with its little head.

My Arcanum Faire books are hip-deep in undead rodents, roadkill and sacrifices possessed by ancient demons bent on bringing about the end of the world. As amused as I am about tiny quadraped zombies, I refused to believe it was happening in my garage.

I checked the box more carefully, then. The tooth marks were on the outside, and  from the needle-like canines of a cat. My neighbor’s cat had gotten into the garage and made its own disposal arrangements.

God, I hate that cat more than the rodents.

 

 

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Naked Pagans

I have been having trouble getting up to speed after the Halloween season, but I’d thought I’d post this little morsel to entertain you until I had something more substantial. Bon Appetit!

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