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Freddy Barnett's

And Then Things Got Weird….

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October 2016

^^ö^^ The Working Dead ^^ö^^

The Working Dead

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In 2018, after major science breakthrough, the US Supreme Court ruled that death, as it now stands, “does not terminate the deceased’s obligations to ignore paying one’s bills and taxes until the human body reaches such a state of decay that at least three out of four limbs will not stay attached.”

But dead Neal Orestein was determined to go to work. Work was his life, uh death. You know what I mean. We all know someone like this.

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After scraping through the mound of loose dirt over his grave, Neal was able to see daylight and the exasperated face of his long-suffering wife, Stella.

“Just look at those fingernails,” she scolded. “The dirt! Just where the hell you think you’re going, Neil?” After 60 years of marriage, Stella, holding flowers, could read his mind, even if it was becoming worm chow.

“Oh, crap,” Neal said feeling all used up. He raised himself onto his elbows and spat out soil. “Stella, what are you doing here so soon? I thought that I was the one who was to supposed to haunt YOU! I’m off to work. I got to get a doctor’s note or that  that punk Cabebe, will fire me. He hates old people.”

“You mean, dead people,” she said. “You aren’t going to work. Now, lay down and relax. I’ll call your boss and tell him you’re not coming in, ‘CAUSE YOU’RE DEAD!”

“Dead I can handle,” Neal said, “but unemployed and dead? Pour some coffee down my empty gullet . Look at the time.”

“Happy Hills Cemetery doesn’t have a Starbucks. Go back to endless sleep, old man. There is no more job and there’s no more you! Don’t you feel like a fool. You should rest, Neal. I came here to grieve, so tell me what I’m doing here. I feel like a brainless idiot.”

“No, Stella, I love brains. I mean I your love your brains, brain, your mind,” Neal sputtered.

“Where’s my tie? What time is it?”

“It’s 8 a.m. They just opened the gate.”

“Give me your hand. Help me get up. I’m already late.” Stella reluctantly pulled her husband to his feet. She was shaking her head, accepting he’d never change. “I gotta catch the Long Island Express,” Neal told her, spitting out a beetle. “Is this burial suit okay?”

“Except for the slit down the back, it’ll have to do. So … You think that you can just climb out of your grave and leave me standing here, for a crappy job? I can’t change you, silly man. Just don’t come home until you get cleaned up.”

Neal stood and wobbled unsteadily, brushing himself off. “Stella, after my first heart attack, Cabebe, said that myocardial infarction is not a good enough excuse to skip work. I’m gonna need duct tape to patch this jacket. I’ll stop by Target.”

“I’ve got a nail appointment. Have a nice afterlife, Neil. You never needed me.”

“Oh, thanks. I’m barely cold and you start in with the guilt. So, you’re saying I no longer have a job?”

“That would seem logical, Neil.”

“Logical? Well, Mrs. Spock, then I’d better hit the pavement. By law, I’m supposed to have a job until my last limb.”

“Maybe the office staff never got the memo that you’d died,”She said. “It was so sudden. I never had a chance to call them. Hey, watch where you’re tossing that dirt! I just bought this dress. Look at your dirty nails. Talk to God, Mr. Big-shot. Get yourself a manicure.”

Neal promised to make it up to Stella the following weekend, but today, he had obligations. He arrived at  work a few minutes late, was given a warning by Cabebe, and was back at his old desk by 9:10 a.m.

The next day, after a restless night drinking coffee and shambling around town in pursuit of an ambiguous protein snack, Neal was able to make it to work —  right on time.

Young Cabebe, was happy, because he no longer had to pay ‘old, faithful’ Neal a living wage.  The slick, young exec sniffed the air and suspected that Neal had passed on. No one else knew that Neal was still working and rotting in his corner office making the CEO, Milton Armstrong, rich.

On Tuesday, when Neal realized that Cabebe was taking him for a —nearly free — ride he began to lose the feeling of pleasure he felt working. He left the office while the blinding sun was still high and the season was moving toward Daylight Savings. Neal stumbled toward the station thinking about how his grandkids needed college money. Tomorrow, he would hit the pavement, seeking the American dream like the other millions of recently deceased workers. Over 20 million of the dead  wandered the boulevards. The smug living were called them ‘suckers.’ You could see them, the worn out executives, in every city, shuffling and mumbling “Jobs. I neeeeeeed a job.”

My commuter train passed by Happy Hills Cemetery as it approached Neal’s old neighborhood. Graveyards are for slackers, he thought. A real man needs to work.

While waiting at the 5th Avenue crosswalk, he saw a hopeful sign. A literal sign — on a telephone pole, illuminated by the ghostly moonlight.

Highly Motivated Executive Services Wants You! YOU need $$$ and WE need BODIES to fill our Diamond Lane passenger jobs! 

We’re also seeking Parking Space Holders — Downtown, Full Time. 24 hours shifts available. 

Call 090-888-0000.

Preview: Shark Fin Soup — The 1st Illustration by Vitaliy

This is T.K. Betelnut,  Interpol agent in charge of the TPN

Telepathica Pacifica Network. He’s about to fall in love with a potted plant.

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Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.

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“Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.”

Because of Laszlo’s large skeletal bald head, which appeared on the back cover of all his novels, Laszlo Toth was easily recognized by his legions of fans. Though Laszlo became famous by writing about the supernatural, he based his novels on fact and prided himself on being a rational man.

Laszlo did believe in science and while studying genetics for his new novel became involved with the a group called blameyourancestors.com. Within two weeks after sending their headquarters a DNA sample he discovered he was 87% Hungarian and, apparently, 13 % cheese, citing a few stray genetic threads to Luxembourg, Switzerland and four other cheesy countries.

Thanks to blameyourancestors.com, Laszlo was also able to narrow his search back to his Hungarian family, the Tóths. After a little bit of digging, he discovered a recent family portrait. The Tóths all looked ‘polished,’ like Laszlo. Cueballs. Melon heads. The men, women and children all suffered from a severe form of early male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).

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Laszlo sent more money to expand his DNA search and soon received the results that he’d been hoping for. The ‘bald problem’ that plagued his life was traced back to a —  singular —  human —  monster, Count Oszkár Tóth.

During the 16th century, Oszkár ruled Walachia and was known for his long-flowing locks that made him look like a golden hero on the cover of a bodice-ripping romance novel. The vain Oszkár combed his proud mane day and night. One evening he summoned his magic golden comb only to find out that it had been stolen!

Oszkár’s spouse, the beautiful countess Cynthia, told her husband that she had seen a well known local magician, Madik, running away from the castle and into the Nagyon (Very)  Sotet (Dark) Forest carrying a shiny yellow object in his hand.

After apprehending Madik, Laszlo ordered the Magician to be burned at the stake. At the Barbecue, Laszlo, himself, was cursed by the magician’s wife, the powerful witch, Eegahd.

The next morning, while Oszkár combed and combed, his glorious mane began to shed. The hair that made the count ‘such a wench magnet’ alllll fell to the ground.

As a result of Eegahd’s curse, all of Count Oszkár’s children, male and female, became bald as well; that is until in October 31, 1712, when the entire clan were tortured, murdered, dismembered, and turned into a savory paprika goulash by a nomadic Gibor hoard.

Only one Tóth escaped the massacre, the youngest noble in line, Boldizsár, who continued to selfishly spread the Tóth family curse throughout the western world.

“Fiend!” cried Laszlo. Tendrils of revenge worked their way into the author’s rational mind. Online, he hired a Hungarian scholar, János Harker, to help him track down Boldizsár’s resting place. That is when Laszlo made the first irrational decision since his seventh marriage, to visit his cursed ancestor’s crypt and ‘kick his bony ass to Hell.’

The following October, before the frost set in, Laszlo made his trip, alone, to Walachia.

Unfazed by local superstition, Laszlo arrived ten minutes before midnight at Tóth Citadel in rural  Ploiești. He quietly drove his rent-a-car around the back to the cemetery, parked, opened the trunk, and removed his new Road Rager Crowbar.

Laszlo found the rusty cemetery gate open, and by the light of the full moon, jimmied his way into the Tóth Mausoleum. Once inside, he lit his lantern, shooed away the vermin to begin his unholy undertaking. Laszlo located Boldizsár’s resting place and slid the heavy lid off the ancient stone coffin.

Jubilant, he dragged the Count’s loosely connected skeleton outside among the gravestones.

MIDNIGHT

 Laszlo kicked Boldizsár’s bony ass all over the churchyard until he could kick no more. After a short rest and a drink from his flask, Laszlo dragged the broken Boldizsár parts back inside the mausoleum, dumped them back inside the coffin and took a selfies, one   in front of the inscription on the wall above the sarcophagus:

‘Lehet, hogy meghalt, de még mindig halott.’ 

Laszlo, satisfied with the bony ass kicking, didn’t review the inscription on the photo until he arrived back home in the states. Something had changed. In red letters, his name had been added to the wording :

‘Lehet, hogy meghalt, Laszlo, de még mindig halott.’

Translation:

(Mua hahahahahahaha)

“I may be dead, Laszlo, but you’re still bald.”

anitas-ghost

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