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And Then Things Got Weird….

Month

May 2017

Plague Season — from BATS on Amazon. A bat from the Front ^^ö^^ & Back ^^*^^

01 Plague Season for Web

Bats: Chapter 6:

Plague Season 

Two very old granite gargoyles greeted young guitar-slinger Jonathan Tepes as he approached the drawbridge of Poenari Castle, Prince Vlad’s home.

“Vait!” said Wichtoria, the gargoyle on the right.

Opri!” said Wichtor, the gargoyle on the left.

“You should always say ‘vait,’ Wichtor,” said Wichtoria as she strained her long granite neck over the battlement to get a better view of the pale young man in the rapid strobe of the lightning. Jonathan was standing beneath the drawbridge, shielding himself from the cold rain with his guitar case.

“You, down there!” shouted Wichtoria. “Are you here to entertain us? Young vippersnapper, are you…are you the singer James Taylor?”

“What?! Noooo!” said Jonathan.

Rain pummeled the blood-soaked soil and ran in red rivulets toward the moat.

“Maybe you are Jackson Browne then?” asked Wichtoria.

“Yes! You do look very familiar,” said Wichtor. “Are you a wisitor?”

“Wisitor? You mean, visitor? Yes, I am a wisitor!” said Jonathan, looking up at the gargoyles as the rain tapered off.

“I’ve dabbled in songwriting too!” said Wichtoria. “I could sing you some of my songs. Maybe, if you like them, I vill let you record them, Mr. Taylor.”

“Sorry! I only LOOK like James Taylor…before he lost his hair,” said Jonathan. “I’m also mellower!” he shouted while shooing away clouds of gnats, flies, and all manner of pestilence.

“I can’t play guitar with my talons and stony wings,” said Wichtoria. “But I can play a mean blues harp. Maybe we can jam later?”

Wichtor turned toward her sharply. “Enough, Wici!” Then he looked back down on the shivering human. “Young man! Did you park your wehicle in the wisitor parking?”

“Wehicle? Wisitor parking? Why, no!”

Wichtoria said, “If you’re only wisiting, you should never park in the wesidential parking. Parking is wimited. If you need to unload your band equipment, you can—”

“I am a wisitor, I have no wehicle, annnnnd I DO NOT have a band!”

“I am Wichtoria. You can call me Wici. This is Wichtor. He is a ‘sir.’”

“Maybe after your show we can have a drink,” said Wici. The gargoyle winked at young Jonathan. Wichtor shook his stony head in shame.

 “This is not funny,” he said. “It’s freezing and raining!”

“Did you hear that, my little angel? I’m shocked! Did you know that our veather stinks, Wici?”

Poison arrow frogs dropped from the sky onto Jonathan’s shoulders.

“The Prince had me brought here in the taxi. Please!” said Jonathan.

“Oh! So Mr. Big Shot sent for you! Vell then, velcome!” they both said.

“Is it safe here? Everyone down in the village at Poenari seems frightened,” shouted Jonathan. “A woman dressed in black warned me about vampires.”

“Ha! She must have been an oldt vife!” said Wichtor. “Cause that is an oldt vife’s tale! There are no such things as w-w-w-w-wampires!”

“Maybe we should tell our young wisitor about the wampires,” Wichtor whispered into Wici’s ear. “Hey, you! Young man! We do have wampires!”

“What?”

“Only a few,” said Wici trying to calm him.

“No. Don’t make him worry, Wici,” said Wichtor.

“What happened to your accents? The Vs and Ws?”

“Busted! The Vs and Ws were just a setup for the wampire joke,” Wici said. “Actually, we are from Paris, monsieur.”

Something black landed on Jonathan’s collar. “Ow! What the hell just bit me?” he asked, flinging his hands around.

“That was either Cherubino or Angioletto,” said Wici.

“Damn! That was a bat!” screamed Jonathan.

“Transylvanian Mosquitos,” said Wichtor, trying not to drive away his employer’s prospective dinner. “The woods are rotten with…creepies undt crawlies.”

“Can you please lower the bridge?” yelled Jonathan.

Wichtor looked over to Wici and gestured with his talon. “Look at that, Wichtoria! The boy didn’t bring a jacket. Kids these days, I tell ya.”

“Before we can open the bridge, we are required to ask you three questions,” said Wici. “National security. Do you understand?”

“Okay! Please!” Jonathan sneezed loudly.

“Did you hear that, Wichtor? Mr. Taylor, does your mother know that you’re dressed like that? You could catch your life of cold out here. Where’s your sweater?”

“Look! He’s catching pneumonia,” said Wichtor. “Ask him already!”

“Are you listening?” she yelled. “Question number one: Tell me which movie this quote came from: ‘Come…on! Move into the slow lane, you stupid bastard!’”

“The Day of the Driving Dead!”

“Not bad, kid,” said Wichtor, framed by a cloud of descending locusts. “Number two,” Wici continued. “‘Hisssssss…ski.’”

“The Polish Bride of Frankenstein. Too easy,” said Jonathan, teeth chattering.

Lightning struck behind him, pushing him toward the red water of the moat. A hundred pairs of green eyes lit up as the crocodiles waited for him to slip.

“The kid’s good!” Wichtor said to Wici. “For one hundred dolari! Are you listening, young man?”

“Yes, I’m listening! Brrrrrrrr……”

“Well, then you should have listened to your mother!” interrupted Wici. “If you had any brains, the Good Humerus Man would be selling them frozen on a stick. Not even a hat! What they teach you in college? Okay, smarty pants, Wichtor will ask you question number three! Hurry, Wichtor, I think he’s becoming a frozen entrée.”

“Okay! For one hundred dolari,” said Wichtor while the clock from the highest tower clicked. “Identify this famous quote: ‘The bwud is the wife, Mr. Wenfield!’”

“Elmer Fudd as Dwacuwa, 1964! So, where’s my money?”

The two gargoyles looked at each other and shrugged.

“Do you have any cash on you, Wichtor?” asked Wici.

“Do you see pockets here, Wichtoria? The sculptor carved us naked. I have nothing! Nothing! Not even a sock for my schmekel!”

The Mawth (who ate my shawts)

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A Glahsry of Toims:

Shauwah = Wayuh da wawtah comes outta.

Tiyahd = That means you awtah be snorin.’

Awfiss = Wayuh yous guys woik. 

Jahbs = As in woik, or as in Steve Jahbs.

Fedorah = Yaw hat.

Deezoit = What you get sent to yaw room widdout.

Lepidoptera = A Mawth.

Cullahs = Like ahrunge and poiple.

____________________

Our extinguished Awthuh left out soitin’ coise woids for this awdience, so the stawry is half as shawt as it would nawmally be.

So, here we go….

_____________________

Hi kids, my name is Ahthuh Moidock an’ I was bawn in freakin’ (Oops! I beddah not tawk doity to a bunch of rug rats…). Like I was sayin,’ I was bawn in New Yawk.

Which makes me a ‘what?’

A New Yawkah, of cawse! I don’t live in Joisey awe da lowsy suboibs.’ Me? 

I live in a skyscrapuh dat neahly reaches da stahs. 

Dem stahs is wayuh? 

Waaaay up in da univoise, ya liddle meatbawls!

One mawning, I had to get outtah bed, shauwah, and shave faw woik . I toined to my spouse, Nawmuh, an’ with mawning halitosis I whispid, “I’m goin’ to woik.” Nawmuh was still undah the cuvahs snawin’ an I was still tiyahd. I wuz yawnin like duh Gran Canyon. My mowt tasted like oith woims.

Den I god up, opened my undahpants draw an Oh my gahd, I saw dat awluh my shawts was devowwid! Dare wuz holes in dem everyweah. Dey looked like Swiss cheese! Den I opened the anuthah dressah draw to soich faw a fresh shoit. Awl my shoits was as holy as duh Pope!

Awl duh lawndry was poifahrated!

What kind of lousy bum eats shoits an’ shawts?

Dare must be a doity mawth hangin’ aroun’ owuh apahtment. I was soitin’.

Some stinkin’ mawth had swallahed my Fruit-of-da-Looms. an’ I needed to get to duh awfiss.

My awfiss is wheah?

In a tawl tawl towah, on toidy-toid-an-toid. 

I needed to cawl an extoiminatah, but foist I had to cawl my bawss Oyving, an tell him dat I was gonna be tahdy. “I need to go to the staw Oyving, an’ get maw clohdin,” I said wit a few cherce woids.

Den I looked up an’ guess what I saw? A giant mawth flyin’ aroun’ duh kitchen light. “Get outta my way, ya bum,” he says, zippin’ by, duh size of a seven-fawty-seven. 

Holy simoleons! He tawked. (A simoleon is a dollah.)

I ducked. “Hey watch it! There’s a poysin heah. What do I look like? Chopped livuh?

“Move it, bub,” he says. “I’m flyin’ heah.” 

“Eat dis ya bug” I said, as I trew an umbrellah at his ugly mug. 

“No tanks,” he says. “I don’t eat no freak…uh…sorry…I don’t eat polyestah.”
“Chew on dis den!” Not fo’ nuttin, I trew my deah depahted muddah’s ahmie boots an’ hit duh wiseguy on his toochus. He hit duh wawl behine duh reclinah lowng an’ hit duh flaw. I coulda’ knocked him all duh way to lawng Islan’ if there wasn’t a wawl in duh way. Instead, he got up, brushed himself awf  an’ stahted eatin’ Nawmuh’s boxa chawklit toitles on toppah duh cawfee table. Den he went aftah owuh pet boid Flip’s boid seed (Flip da Boid is a filthy pigeon who lives outside our apahtment). An’ den duh mawth went aftuh a piece of old cheeseboigah dat was hangin’ outta duh gahbidge

The mawth, (whose name was Mawtee accawding to his name tag. Yeah. Shuah. Right), pruhseeded to eat my fedorah an’ my goil Nawmah’s wool skoit. He chawmped on duh chayah, the cowch, duh lampshade, and duh rug, an’ he musta been paht toimite caws he stahted eatin’ duh flaw bawds which is made of boich.
He ate a glass pitcha. The juvenile delinquent was tearin’ up da apahtment. 

“So wayuhs my deezoit, ya bum?” he assed roodly. “Ya got maw clawth?”

“Bum? Does yaw mothah know you tawk like dat? I ought wash yaw doity mout out wit soap!”

“So cawl da marines, an’ bahbahcue me a steak aw somethin’ while we’re waitin’,” he says as he stahted noshin’ on duh caud that was plugged into duh wawl. There was spahks everywhere! 

“Listen!” I says back, as he stahted nibblin’ on my chia pet’s hayah. “Get awfuh my lawn, you lepidoptera you! Get lawst!”

It had been a lawng scawching summah. Even duh neighbawhood dawgs were too wawn out an’ too ty-ud to bahk. (Lass Toisday mawning, I thawt I was on fiah.) “I need to take a shauwah,” I said. “Some people have jahbs. I can’t stay here an’ play witcha. “When I get out of duh  John you bettah be hisstry. Bettah yet, go somewayah else, ya bum, an’ be geography.”  

Foist, I need to find something to wayuh.

Out in duh big city mawths was awl ovah, eaten poysin’s gahments. Awl duh apahtments in awl duh five burroughs had been invaded by a stawm of deez apawlin’ flyin’ tings.

When I looked inside of Nawmuh’s undahwayuh draw, I saw her tings ain’t been bahthid. Her “unmentionables” was unhoit. Undistoibed.

What’s unmentionables, kids?

Why awl dem silky frilly tings dat look like doilies. Awl sawft an…sh…stuff. The mawths left them awl alone cawse…Goils is smaht.

Why is goils smaht? 

Day is smaht becaws day bahthuh to tro in dem mawthbawls into duh drawahs.

An’ mawths hate the smell of whut?
Camfuh!— which is what mawthbawls is made of, ya lugs. Ya monkeys.

So, it toins out dat awl deh guys had to wawk to woik wearin’ dare goil’s frilly shawts — in pastel cullahs even. 

An’ dats awl we waw… ‘cause we didn’ have no trausahs aw nuttin’. No one on duh boulevahd, even dah hoity-toities, caws duh mawths had roond awl ah  clohdin.

So what happened?

We awl had ended up havin’ a big laugh aroun’ duh wawtuh coolah

caws all the palookahs at duh awfiss looked like crawsdressahs.

Wit duh help of duh feminine poysons wit dare wimmin’s intuwishins, we outsmahted duh scoige of da mawths. 

An’ dats why dem mawths is a buncha stinkin’ bugs, and us joiks ain’t. 

Tank youz.

(Next week on Speak Like a New Yawkah:

The extoiminatuhs (might bahthuh to show up if day feel like it.) 

an’ 

Flip, da Boid, will show us how to add duh “f” word and d-bag to a conversation.

Love is a Many Splendored Plant

03 Telepathica Pacifica 02 b 06 flat

The TPN (Telepathica Pacifica Network) provides the most reliable communications network, for tikis and all plant life, on the planet. The telepathic network has always been very busy, as tiki gods and goddesses chat incessantly like teenage mall rats. There are also the days when the houseplants, who share the TPN, also get busy on the horn. Sundays are especially hectic, when offshoots call their parent plants to assure themselves that they will remain in the will.

#

Salad Days

T.K. Betelnut is a Tiki, half wood and half human, which allows him to be mobile. He is on a stake out, working for Interpol on an ocean view hillside overlooking Lanikai Beach in Hawaii. He spots something….

Waiting. Waiting.

Oh! What is this?

T.K. was scoping in on a fine little gynoecium growing on the hillside among the lowlife weeds and kudzu. She stood proudly above the shoreline.

It was a Monstera deliciosa. Not your average dime-a-dozen split-leaf philodendron. She was beautiful. T.K. was hypnotized. He’d never seen such lush foliage. Her big leaves swayed gracefully in the breeze, exposing a good portion of her divine stems. Movie star material.

T.K. soon realized: OMFTikiG, it is her! From television! I’ve got to alert the network! Marilyn Monstera! Someone had discarded Marilyn Monstera on the hillside! Dumped her like a slutty areca palm. And though she faced a scenic vista that any silly human would be glad to pay $500 a night plus airfare for—just the idea that she had been treated like common pond scum or athlete’s foot fungus—discarded like a boring fern, was an insult to her eminence.

Some ROF (rich old fart) had simply left her there, no doubt, when they were redesigning their fancy ROF home on the gated ROF section of Lanikai’s hillside.

The very patient, constipated, angry stick became angrier.

Marilyn Monstera (Lot#6532uhgy12) was the daughter of Hollywood royalty. A result of Plant Parenthood, her parents were famous as well. Marilyn’s mother, ZhuZhu appeared in nearly every scene in the Thin Man movies of the 1940s. Her father, Moe, acted throughout the 1960s in the Anette and Frankie Beach Party films. Both parents still live in the executive offices of Warner Bros. and had been featured on over two hundred and fifty movie sets. They also were fixtures on Hollywood’s best buffet tables where they sometimes rubbed stems with Bogart, Bacall, Cooper, et al.

Marilyn’s first TV appearance was with her father, Leif, on the Surf City Sinners series (1961–1965), which is still considered a classic of the “swingin’ sixties.”

In the first Surf City Sinners episode, “A Ding in My Heart,” Marilyn’s father is observed “flipping the stamen.” This gesture took Leif Monstera over four hours to complete during forty different takes bungled by two so-called teen idols, Hanky and Panky. Many of the Monstera’s friends and relatives saw the episode from their Southern California living rooms and let out a laugh that was only heard by other plant life over the TPN. A “plant laugh” can register among the botanicals for over a month.

After the stake-out, maybe he’d ask ‘sugar roots’ to take a spin with him in his new photosynthetic Chia. 

Since he first saw Marilyn on TV in1961, T.K. Betelnut, like all other healthy male saplings his age, wanted to toss her salad with a fine vinaigrette.

Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”)

Scene: Dauna Robinson ‘The Dispatcher’s ofiice.

Cast: Dauna Robinson : The Fijian Shark Goddess

Bernie Benedict: ‘God Whisperer’ and Interpol agent.

Mary: Mother of Jesus — who hates Dauna

#

New Shark Fin Titled

Bernie had been asked his Interpol associate, T.K., to study up on the subject of  Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”) before moving to Hawaii. He didn’t know why — until now. Bernie had a feeling that everything in Dauna Robinson’s office was alive. Dauna returned to the office and set her soft bottom upon the thrilled sill. Bernie’s heart paused in deep silent reverence for the wooden board. Dauna paused to light another happy cigarette and admire another bit of Hawaiian ‘scenery,’ derelicts  sleeping in their pee on the sidewalks of Chinatown.

“SNAP OUT OF IT, BERNIE!” demanded a second woman’s voice from the ‘the Bernie file’ on Dauna’s desk.

Bernie jumped up, staring at the folder. “Dammit! Who the hell?” 

“What is it, hun?” asked Dauna.

Both of them saw the image of the Virgin Mary spreading like a coffee stain across the manila folder. Uh, oh shit…sorry, ma’am, Bernie apologized to the folder. Mother Mary had appeared on his browser a couple of times, but the two never spoke. Mary scared all of her lonely son’s friends away with her icy condescending looks. 

“I said snap out of it, cupcake! Or it’s your funeral!” said Mary.

“Funeral? Please! Not now!”

“Who are you talking to, hun?” asked Dauna. “Is there someone on the folder? It isn’t your new pal, lion chow, again, is it?”

“Lion chow? No. It’s his mom. Ms. Robinson, did you just call Mary’s son lion chow?”

Flat Mary rolled her eyes toward heaven and said in Latin, “Odio hoc canis (I hate this bitch).” The mother of God shook her haloed head in disgust and disappeared from the folder.

“P-leeeeeease, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou,” said Dauna. It seemed that Jesus’ mom had left the building. Dauna looked at Bernie, “Agent Benedict, let me tell you the truth about Mrs. Goody Two Sandals.”

“Who?”

“The Snow White of the desk set thinks that I’m trying to corrupt her precious little boy. Do you know what I think? I think that your melancholy hippie pal wants ‘a taste.’ The kid should be dating. Did you know that his dad, or mom, or their family cat cursed me with Tourette’s after I used the old man’s name in vain? So, I, Ms. Potty Mouth, have a free ticket to call Merkin Man whatever I want.”

“Merkin Man?” Merkin Man sounds like a commercial.

“What? Should I ask Mr. Love-In to forgive me? He knows that I’d just start cussing again.” She smiled at Bernie. “Do you know what? I think that it turns him on.” Dauna turned away and lit yet another overjoyed, happy-to-die cigarette. The small smooth scars on Dauna’s neck caught Bernie’s attention. 

Dauna knew what the new agent was thinking, even as she faced the window. “On my island, we call these scars ‘shark hickeys.’”

Love Blooms in The Bacchus Bar

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10 p.m. — The Bacchus Bar — Cincinnati, Ohio 

“Now, give me your other hand,” demanded the goddess.

“What?”

“Give me your paw, impudent varlet.” Her bracelets began to orbit. Artemis began the Olympian Twiddling of Thumbs, an ancient mating rite on the mythical  hill. Bernie babbled something and, by accident, gulped down half cup of forbidden ambrosia.

Bomba, the new God of Kittehs, broke the stalemate as he roared and rolled over below the restaurant’s faux fireplace. He began licking his paws and rumbling. Bernie could see that his ex-kitty’s teeth had become chromed daggers.

Good vibrations, Artemis thought as she sipped. Her drunken twiddling became more of a twaddle. How do I tell the poor sap Bernie that I have to kill him tonight? the goddess wondered.

Go ahead,” Bomba’s yellow eyes said to Bernie. “Pounce on her, can opener!”

Bernie broadcast back in anger: “If I pounced, you big allergen, your mistress would pound me into jelly!”

  Disappointed, Bomba shook his lion-sized head. “Wuss flavored jelly. She’s going to kill you anyways, so you might as well take the leap.” The cat felt embarrassed for the weakling. Sad.

“She wouldn’t kill me. She’s supposed to protect me. I should kick your mangey ass!” shouted Bernie’s eyes back at his ex-cat.

  “You and what army, asshat?” Bomba stared back.

“Isn’t he sweet?” Artemis said, breaking the tension between her two boys.

“Was I just talking to my gluttonous ex-cat?” asked Bernie.

“Is something wrong?” She held up her long slim index finger. “And, yes, I would pound you into jelly.” Artemis stood and turned. “Check out my new blouse.” Her jacket spread wide, revealing a silk ivory halter that flowed like cream over her breasts. “Is this girly enough?”

“Tally-ho!” She was the fox, but Bernie felt as if he were the hunted. Bernie felt, no, he knew that he was tonight’s big game. Uh oh, I’m fucked. Maybe dead, too. He poured from an unmarked green bottle on the table.

Yes, Bernie. Tonight’s your lucky night, wuss jelly, Bomba winked back while chewing on something leathery.

“That’s my old purse,” said Artemis. Now keep twiddling, baby. Yeah, that’s it. So good. Ooooh, right there.”

Maybe it was the god hooch taking over, but Bernie wanted to meet Artemis’ challenge head on. He was feeling great, and was no longer in the mood to play subordinate prey to the Olympian huntress. But before he could finish that foolish  thought, Artemis stood over Bernie to show him what a mistake a challenge would be. Instead, he was checking out her legs. She realized that the stupid human was too lust struck to give a shit.

I going to conquer me a piece of that, he was thinking. So, woozy fucktard that he was, Bernie stood up tall, with intent to commit serious fuckage upon her divine κάτω περιοχές. Artemis, sensing danger, stretched herself taller, noticing that the ambrosia that Bernie drank had had a strange effect on her man toy. He was four inches taller than when he’d walked into the Bacchus Bar. For the first time Bernie was now able to look directly into deep dark her eyes with his own. Artemis heart skipped a beat as she stepped backward. Bernie followed her every step toward the darkest corner of the room as if they were dancing a tango.

Even my mother Leto would agree that this man looks elegant despite his horrid sport jacket. Bernie with an arm beneath her waist leaned her back and brushed his lips along her graceful neck. Artemis “put the brakes” on Bernie by poking at his new dimple. “The dimple. When did you get the dimple??” she asked, catching her breath.

“Dimple?” he asked, touching it himself.  He sat down. “Can I borrow your hand mirror, darling? Well, god bless the queen. Look at that, will you. Wellllll, what do you know?” He straightened his collar and said, “Nice haircut, too. Did I always have jet-black hair?” Bernie lifted a full glass of ambrosia and toasted his beautiful friend. “‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the moon never looked on aught so grand.’ I believe that was a quote from one of your old admirers, dear. Anteater, or antipasta… Antipater, or some bloody nonsense.”

“Antipater. I killed him. He tried to steal my undies from the Laundromat dryer when we were in college together. I killed him with this.” Artemis put her hand upon her new purse whose handle was a diamond mini-crossbow. “My new purse. Do you like it? Bergdorfs.”

“Right. Smashing, dear. What happened to your cute hunting tunic? I hardly recognized you when I walked in.”

“Don’t worry. This outfit is designed for bagging big game. The element of surprise. My prey will never know what hit him. Now, where were we, dear.”

“Twiddling.” Delicious. Beautiful. he thought. 

Delicious? Beautiful? Hmmmmm, she thought back. She’d never considered the mortal’s compliments before and she’d never been called “delicious.” Pizza is delicious, ribs are…

“Listen, angel,” said Bernie.

“Shut up.”  Artemis pulled him up from his chair by the lapels. “Dance with me.”

As they swayed, Bomba looked at Bernie. “Hey, Bernie, Did you like the little Christmas gift I left you?”

“Oh, the headless dead five-foot tall, nearly-extinct humanoid from Eastern Europe?  Awwwww….Thank you, Bomba. Good kitty. That poor creature—that gift, that you left in the alley for me was an endangered Gibor! One of the last.”

The cat yawned and thought, “Bite me.”

Bernie sent his thoughts toward his cat: “Am I boring you, flea bag?” 

“Bomba’s yawn is his way of saying happy birthday, cupcake.” She toasted Bernie.

“I’m sorry, your lordship,” Bernie said with his emerging Cary Grantish pan-atlantic accent. “Today, my darlings, is not my birthday.”

“Are you going to argue with us? It’s too hot to argue.” A tiny space shuttle circled with the rotating rings on Artemis’ hat along with a few new items of space junk. “From now on,” said Artemis, “this day, December 27, will be your new birthday.”

 

 

The Goddesses of Walmart

01 Artemis Scene Composition II_01

The statuesque goddess was enraged after seeing Bambi’s mother, a sacred deer, being slaughtered by the human hunter. The killer in the cartoon reminded her of the evil monster MacHeath.

Earlier, Artemis was feeling down because she could barely squeeze into her five-thousand-year-old tunic and had to find her new clothes in the big and tall women’s aisle of Walmart. Those shopping trips would be Artemis’ fatal fashion mistake. One muumuu that she tried on, in full view of the security camera that afternoon could have easily tented the Barnum & Bailey Circus including the freak show, concessions, games, the petting zoo and a calliope.

Zeus and Leto often watched Goddesses of Walmart for entertainment. That night they were horrified when they saw their daughter dressed in the giant  muumuu while trolling the aisles for deals on chips and soda.

Then the following celestial evening, after 50,300 hits on YouTube the voguish goddess Leto was forced to watch (in shock and horror) a video of her daughter shopping while dressed in a hideous floral nightgown and tennis shoes.

The hotel phone rang.

Bernie picked it up and handed it to Artemis who was eating bon-bons on the couch. “It’s your dad.”

Artemis grabbed the phone. “Daddy?”

The voice on the phone was powerful enough for Bernie to hear every word. The voice was angry enough to generate lightning from the earpiece.

“Artie. Dear Artie. Your mom and I decided that you can’t come home until you lose weight and come to your fashion senses,” daddy Zeus had said. “And tell your hobo friend to hijack himself a new suit with real pants if he’s gonna paint the town with my baby. Bernie’s friend Frankie should have already told him that life’s too short to dress like a bum. And what the hell is that thing you’re drivin’?”

“Uh…” Munch, munch, munch. “Bernie rented a Chia.”

“Everyone up here thinks that you’ve gotten weak and out of control. We can’t afford to have the other deities think that the Olympians are pushovers.” Zeus shouted into the phone. “For gods and goddesses sakes, Art-Art, you used to knock ’em dead.”

“Art-Art?” Bernie heard that and giggled.

The goddess shot lethal optikos (eye) arrows at Bernie. “Shut up, sandal licker! No, not you, daddy. There is going to be an epic battle with MacHeath’s army, so I promised to help out Bernie and his trollop friend.”

“You mean Miss Soapy Puppies?”

“Yeah, Dauna.”

“Princess,” the voice said. “Don’t come home until you’ve cleaned up your circle of friends.” Zeus hung up.

“But, daddyyyyyyyy?” The heroic figure wept a flood of diamond tears.

A text appeared.

Final judgment came to Artemis swiftly in a furious “bolt of rejection.” The bolt was hurled in the form of an angry text, with an angry minotaur emoji attached.

Artemis had just been officially banished from her home and family.

“What family, pop?” she texted back. “Do we even have a family name?”

“Good point, pumpkin. Let me ask your mom,” he wrote.

Back on Olympus, Zeus asked Leto, “Dear? What’s our last name?”

He texted Artemis, “You still there? Okay. Your mom says that our last name is ‘On High.’ We don’t need a last name, pumpkin, unlike the Kardashians. We’re bigger than Lady Gaga. We only use first names. Oh, your mom wants to know…what the hell kind of shoes were you wearing on the Walmart show?”

Zeus’ mighty presence was suddenly gone, and Artemis was hurt, and that meant that she needed tacos.

Artemis had become “an embarrassment” to the fashion-conscious Olympian gods, who were tolerant to a point, often turning their backs on lesser Olympian crimes, such as torture, mass murder, incest, rape, infanticide and eating one’s own children.




 

From my novel BATS ^^ö^^: Jonathan’s Ride to Poenary Castle, Transylvania

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Poenari Castle’s broken silhouette passed hundreds of feet above Jonathan, framed by the rising moon and the black branches reaching out in “velcome.” The handsome laid back, mellow, and easygoing smasher-of-heads-against-breakwaters-and-pavement ex-lifeguard peered through the glass, breathless. The rain, thick as plasma, began to block his view from the taxi.

Despite the increasingly narrow passages, looming mountains and biblical weather, he texted Mina another time.

Bună ziua! (Good evening!) I am now in Romania near Poenari Castle. Up until now there has been no actual Wi-Fi. Earlier the driver, who wears a black  mask, told me about a free service called Si-Fi that has to do with antennas placed on, of all things, bats! I am well. In fact, I am even cooler than I was last month…and that’s pretty cool!

Cele mai bune urări (Best wishes),

Jonathan

The driver looked into the rear-view mirror and wondered, Is my passenger still…alive? He turned his head 360 degrees around, then another 180 degrees toward Jonathan and asked, “Are you there…sir? Let it be known, young sir, that breathing can attract a variety of…undesirables.” In the Prince’s hemorrhaging neck of the woods, breathing was regarded as overrated.

A long exhalation of foul human breath rushed from the backseat.

What the heaven has this human been eating? Plants? “Look, young sir!” said the driver. “Ve’re almost home! Ve’ll get you some real food.”

“I’m on a vegetarian diet, sir. I no longer eat anything with a face.”

Oy. Vun of those! The driver thought. “No problem young man! You can alvays rip the face off first.”

“Driver? Do you know where I can find a Mr. Karoly Tepesthe? He has some money put aside for me.”

The driver only belched.

“You didn’t eat him, did you?” Jonathan joked.

“No. I didn’t, sir. Haven’t you heard about Mr. Tepesthe’s terrible accident?”

“Oh, no. No, I haven’t.”

“Apparently Karoly was on his way home from the bank after he withdrew a million dolari in cash, tripped, and stumbled onto a very sharp twenty-foot pole—sorry, of course you couldn’t have heard. It doesn’t happen until tomorrow.”

Feeling All Willowy an’ Sh*t (BATS ^^ö^^)

When two psychopaths fall in love…..

BATS

I feel so “willowy” today, Mina thought. I’m young, blonde, thin, and springtime fresh! (She wasn’t that young.)

(Imagine, young reader: Can you picture her long fine hair blowing in the late afternoon breeze as she walks along Palisades Park above the sparkling Pacific? Can you see her as she kneels to pick flowers on her way toward her “favoritest” bench overlooking the Santa Monica pier? Oh look! There sits a handsome minstrel!)

Graceful Mina, holding a fistful of traumatized wildflowers viciously torn from their roots, approached the young man in slow motion. The smooth, shirtless, and easygoing young fellow was butchering James Taylor’s song, “Laid Back and Cool,” on his guitar beneath an oak tree.

“You sound just like James Taylor!” said the willowy one who, luckily for Jonathan, was also tone-deaf.

“I assume that you mean the young James Taylor, the carefree James with long, thick hair. Alas! Fair maiden! You look just like Gwyneth Paltrow. All willowy an’ shit,” said His Mellowness.

“My name is Wilhelmina Blythe. You, my handsome thirty-something-year-old irresponsible type, can call me Mina,” said the thirty-something-year-old faux Paltrow. “Someday I will be a princess!”

“Aye, my princess, my name is Jonny, short for Jonathan. The life of an irresponsible musician is in my blood. My father, Jonathan Tepes, was also a musician. He too was a talentless irresponsible leech…‘cept he’s bald and old. Observe, dear maiden, I’m lanky and young and cool without a care in the world. I don’t carry a wallet or wear a shirt. You, my dear, look extra willowy to me.” He attempted a few major sixth and seventh chords from a song by Bread. He knew that those soft romantic chords were chick magnetizers.

“I am willowy,” Mina said. “You could blow me away with a fart.”

He tooted. A breeze ruffled through the green grass. She grabbed onto a nearby tree for safety.

Jonathan smiled. “A fart straight from my heart, dear maiden. I haven’t bathed in a week or washed my underwear in a month. I pray that it doesn’t offend thee. I’ve been living off of the land, our Mother Earth, since this morning.”

The willowy one was holding her breath, deep in thought, recalling a favorite quote. “Das Vaterland,” she finally exhaled to the flowers that she had picked on her way toward the top of the hill. She looked up toward the handsome singer. “‘Once again the songs of the fatherland roared to the heavens along the endless marching columns.’”

“Who said that?” asked Jonny.

“Hitler.”

“I’ve heard that Adolf was a vegetarian. Are you a vegetarian?”

“Mostly. I don’t eat much. If I farted I might…”

“…blow yourself away. I mean, do you eat any meat at all, fair one?”

“I once bathed in the blood of a friend’s placenta after I’d helped her give birth. My guru, Clem Choudhury, suggested it. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He was so beautiful. He told me that placenta is good for the complexion. That changed my life forever. Today I have my own business manufacturing my own brand of skincare products.”

Placentae.”

“What?”

“Sorry, the Latin plural for placenta is placentae. During the school year I study language and sometimes teach Elizabethan literature. This summer I’m just a cool, handsome lifeguard in Santa Monica. Can I be your prince, fair maiden? Where would you like to rule, my lady?”

“Hungary. My parents came here from a part of Hungary that is now part of Slovakia. I’ll be going over there soon for business. Someone is very interested in my products. I may look up some of my original family.”

PART 2

05 Brunehilda Flattened Web-2

“I may also travel to Europe soon. I’m researching a book and have applied, long ago, for grants. I’m a fan of eighteenth-century Romanticism.”

Shortly after the two young people exchanged emails, Facebook pages, phone numbers, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, and just about anything short of bodily fluids, the afternoon’s peace was shattered.

Two weekend bikers broke the silence of the Sunday afternoon as they approached the hill on a thundering Harley. They both wore blue jean outfits. The woman’s tattoo-covered flab was spilling out of her short-sleeved vest and shorts.

“Oh, look! Grizzly slobs,” Jonathan said to Mina. “You look like a Salvador Dali painting,” said the make-believe James Taylor to the weekend-biker mama, a sixty-year-old monstrosity with sagging tattoos, named Brutehilda.

 

“Huh? Did you hear what this motherfucker said to me, Chester?”

“You skinny prick. If I weren’t just a huge, doughy, outa-fuckin’-shape desk jockey with a bad ticker, I’d stomp your sorry ass, punk,” said the lard-ass-on-wheels named Chester. “Nobody talks to my fuckin’ bitch like that!”

“Hey! I was just admiring the old heap’s artwork, man.”

“Fuckin’ punk.”

“He’s gonna be a prince and I’m gonna be his princess someday,” said the willowy Mina.

“Oh reeeeally? You two look the part now. Take my advice, ya better do it while you’re still a stick figure, flower child. That goes for you too, granola breath.”

Mina, always the cosmetics saleswoman, turned to the woman on the bike. “I can perk up that skin for you, ma’am. My name is Mina.”

“I’m Brutehilda and everyone calls this laugh-a-minute turd Chester the Jester!”

“I sell an anti-gravity skin cream that is far more than a simple moisturizer,” said Mina. “It will firm you up. Just rub some there and there…”

The change was magical. The sinking ship tattoo on Brutehilda’s arm became buoyant. The weeping willow tree on her thigh instantly became a proud oak, pointing toward her ‘hoo hah.’

“Keep a sample,” said Mina. “Let me know how it works. My email is on the jar. In a few days I’m off to Slovakia. I got a letter from a woman named Lupta Axe who represents a rich countess. This countess claims that she has found an all-natural ingredient that can rejuvenate not only the skin, but the entire body. It’s supposed to be the real deal.”

“I’ve heard that nonsense before,” said Chester.

“This jar is on me. I’m bringing my ingredients to Slovakia. The Countess says that she’ll purchase everything that I can make.”

“Me and the wife here are taking some business associates and some Nordic friends on a bike trip through there and along the Danube in a couple of weeks,” said Chester.

“If this stuff works, I’ll buy everything else you’ve got,” said Brutehilda. “Maybe we’ll see you over there.”

“Unless the skinny bitch turns sideways,” said her old man Chester.

“Ha. Ha. Don’t listen to the old fool, string bean.” Brutehida’s stood up to stretch her six-foot-nine, no, six-foot-ten-inch frame.

Jonathan stepped forward assuming Mina would need protection against the imposing beast.

“Don’t worry, kid,” said Chester. “Brutie’s as gentle as a bear. She won’t crush your little friend. Besides, there ain’t enough meat on her bones.”

Mina stepped back to look up at her imposing new friend. “Yeah. Maybe we’ll see you around.”

“…and around and around,” said Jonathan. “Around Bruthilda. That would be quite a hike.” He tried to suppress a laugh.

“Orrrrrrrr…unless your dainty T. rex stands in front of the sun and causes a total eclipse,” said Mina with an elbow to Jonathan’s ribs. She couldn’t stop giggling. Neither could Jonathan. “We’re really sorry,” said Mina.

“Hey!” said Chester. “Noooooobody talks to my fuckin’ bitch like that!”

Jonathan sobered instantly and grabbed the neck of his guitar ready for a fight.

Chester broke into a big laugh. “Chill out, boy. I’m only joshin’!”

Jonathan and Mina looked at Brutehilda for a reaction, knowing that she could have pounded either of them into the ground like a fence post for the way that they were talking about her.

They other three joined Chester the Jester in a hearty laugh. (Hardy fuckin’ har har.) There was nothing particularly funny said that afternoon in Santa Monica, it’s just that the biker couple had been tooting nitrous oxide (laughing gas or N2O/O2) continuously. Chester and Brutehilda, who had a dentist brother, always inhaled a tankful on Sundays, before they cruised the Pacific Coast Highway.

Buy BATS on Amazon!

Tales of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and Moon.

Artemis, the Greek Goddess unloads a rant on Interpol agent Bernie ‘Eggs’ Benedict, the human that she’s in charge of protecting.

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Cynthia

“I can’t take this! Please!”

“Calm down. I’ll protect you. I am Artemis. I am Diana, I am Cynthia, the moon goddess the virgin goddess of the hunt.”

“Wait. Back up. Did you say virgin?”

“Yes, I did.” Artemis sat up straight and tall. “I’m proud of my job. And it is my duty to defend my sister virgins. Being a goddess is what I do. Sometimes I have to smack filthy men down like mosquitos. Do you think that it’s an easy job? I had to go through all kinds of hell to finally get certified.”

“Certified? You’re kidding,”

Artemis’ tale unfolded. On her first day at Olympus High, she met God, The Big Cheese, who on that day, appeared to her as a popular redheaded cheerleader named Shelly. Shelly helped the tall gawky Artemis get adjusted to campus life. Artemis became the track and field champion at MOWSC, the Mount Olympus West Side College campus. Artemis then ranted on about her life after school. Her “shit jobs” with “shit bosses” and how she dabbled in real estate and interior design in ancient Helena. There was a second time that she ran into, and worked side by side with The Big Cheese in a Naple’s restaurant in 1889. This time he called himself Raffaele Esposito. “It sounded better that plain old God.” When Raffaele invented pizza, he declared that he’d “done enough” for mankind, said, “Fuck it,” and went back to his apartment. 

“Why are you looking at me like that, Bernie?” Artemis covered herself with the sheet.

You were there when God created pizza?”

“Thin crust was my idea. You should try my ricotta gnocchi with sausage and fennel sauce.”

“Marry me!”

“Marry? There are rules. If we are going to marry or mate, I’d have to kill you first. You being a mortal. Alas, it is my sad destiny to run through the heavens, alone, unfulfilled, and nearly naked…” 

“Stop!”

“…for all time. As Artemis continued her sad tale of struggle—hands over her breasts, to the weak-willed Bernie, he, through all-American know-how and due diligence, had managed to sneak his right hand beneath a lifetime supply of generous ass cheek. “You’re kidding about the pizza, right?”

“Kidding? I never kid. Do you dare to challenge the huntress? And move your hands away from my κώλος before I…Bernie? Do you think I’m getting too…uh, soft? Am I becoming a pillow princess? I heard someone called that on TV.” Artemis started to tie her tunic over her shoulder.

“No. You’re the most perfect being I’ve ever seen. Please. Don’t put all of that cool stuff away…”

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