…And Then Things Got Weird….

Books, Cartoons and Podcast


March 2018

Forget Passover. We’re having leftovers.

01 Plague Season for Web

From the novel BATS ^^ö^^

Chapter 6: Plague Season:

Young Jonathan Tepes visit’s his great-great-great-great-great grandfather Vlad Tepes Dracula. After being questioned by the two gargoyles on top of the drawbridge during Plague Season, in full swing, outside, Jonathan finally meets old Vlad.

“Speaking of bats,” asked Jonathan, “what kind of bats were those outside?””

“Ve don’t have…bats. Those vere mosquitos. Big vuns! Velcome home, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson! Those bats that ve don’t have, do you find them…scary?”

“No. Not scary, sir.” Tired of scrunching his eyelids together, Jonathan took his phone out of his pocket and turned on the candle app called Fliqer that simply displayed a video of a burning candle.

(Eleven-year-old Myron Frickleberg designed Fliqer for rock fans to wave around in the air, like a lighter, during rock ‘n’ roll anthems. Fliqer became a standard for informal candlelit dinners and Myron quickly became a millionaire.)

By the eerie glow of his Fliqer app, Jonathan saw his nefarious ancestor Vlad the Impaler for the first time.

Wow! he thought. The old sucker could be my twin if it weren’t for that silly porn mustache—and he’s evil and much older and not as cool as I am.

Behind the Prince, propped against the wall, Jonathan saw the form of a corpse dressed in a butler’s uniform.

“Follow me into my dining room. There is better light for…reading. The Prince lit his phone’s candle app named Happy Birthday. He opened a hidden section of wall that revealed a long staircase that led into a basement. He spoke as they descended hundreds of feet below the earth. “I vas told by my aunty, who is a vorld-renowned vriter, that you vere seeking out great letters of love and loss. Years ago, a beaten man came to my door. He had been attacked by a rabid badger vhile valking near my castle. Before he collapsed at my feet, he vhispered the name Penelope. I found these letters in his pocket and recognized their significance immediately. The whole vorld had been following the correspondence between Lord Huthbert and Lady Penelope for two centuries. I have…in my possession, the original copy of the final letter sent to Lady Penelope, vherever she is now, dated May 31, 1784.”

“No way!”


Jonathan gulped. “Thank you, sir. I can finish my work.”

“No, young Jonathan. As Karen Carpenter, that cute little skeleton, alvays sang, ‘Ve’ve only just begunnnnnnn.’”

Apparently, Vlad was as tone-deaf as his kin Jonathan.

“I hear that you vere looking for my banker Karoly. He got a little hung up, but your own father told me to make sure that I gave you…your inheritance.” 

“From his last will?”

“His most recent vill, anyvays. Catch.”

The Prince flung a roll of moldy cash that landed in Jonathan’s hand.



Wind. Fred Barnett. 3-21-18

(Painting) DAFUQUE, IOWA – Fred Barnett

Dafuque, Iowa 3-21-18 Fred Barnett

An Elegant in the Room (Updated 3-12-18)

There’s an Elegant in the Room

01 Artemis C27 copy

5:25 a.m. The Interpol Lounge, First floor

Artemis “happened” in the halls of the LAs Interpol offices on a pre-dawn Monday morning.

Sam, the Interpol bartender, was busy washing glasses when he saw the maritime compass on the wall leap into a wild spin. Magnetic storm, he thought, and dismissed the idea, thinking, Hell, this is California. The Interpol bar’s dim lights blinked and failed. Now what?

The bar’s patrons, the agents of Interpol, turned their attention toward the fading moonlight that filled the wide doorway. The moon goddess/goddess of the hunt, Artemis, strutted by the doorway, then backed up to check out the agent with the ‘gift,’ the one that Interpol called ‘the god whisperer.’ She wanted to see what the big deal was about Bernie Benedict, before she headed upstairs to meet with her new friend, the Fijian shark goddess, Dauna.

Artemis’ short white tunic barely covered her six-foot-six athletic body. Her midnight blue braid swung around her bare white shoulder as she turned her head in search of her prey. 

Wounded and calloused, Bernie Benedict, the agency’s newest ‘star’ and investigator of divine apparitions had started drinking with the pre-dawn crowd. He looked up when he saw his co-workers, of all sexes, wheel their heads toward the door. His eyes followed their slack-jawed rapture. Artemis’ dark eyes beamed only at Bernie.

There was silence. A question had popped into everyone’s mind: Why Bernie? In their minds, another word followed: Bastard!

Artemis took in a second look, and giggled as she turned to leave. Bernie didn’t know why he was thinking, Uh-oh. I’m fucked. Shooting stars spun from Sam’s compass on the wall behind the bar and followed the goddess’ mighty stride toward the elevator. Eyeballs collided in the hallway trying to give her twice and thrice-overs.

There was a collective sigh and exhale from the lounge. All the agents had seen her—though they weren’t sure exactly what it was that they saw. There were gasps and tears, as a trail of broken hearts, dreams and longing had lain down in surrender, more than willing, hoping, to die in her wake.

And it was still only 5:30 a.m.

Bernie’s partner, agent Frankie Samidino, had stopped in mid-drink to fill his baby blues. Wow-wee-wow-wow. He’d forgotten all about the two twin Interpol code-breakers, both named Sheila at his side. The Sheila’s were all that, but nowhere near the divine “all” or “that” as the Olympian goddess in the moonbeams. Artemis never had to work at it. She just was.

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