…And Then Things Got Weird….

Books, Cartoons and Podcast


July 2018

The Working Dead (revision)

“After a combination of  breakthroughs in health and longevity,  mysterious rays from outer space, and the soaring popularity of high octane coffee originating from the blood soaked island of Kupaio, Fiji, the US Supreme Court has ruled that death, as it now stands, “does not negate the deceased’s obligations to paying one’s bills, taxes, college loans etc. until the responsible human’s body reaches such a state of decay that at least three out of four limbs will not stay attached.”

The Working Dead



 DEAD Neal Orestein, despite having all of his monetary responsibilities paid in full was determined to return to work. Work was his life, uh death. You know what I mean. We all know someone like this.


Two days after his death, 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? Certainly not inside our home like that.”After 60 years of marriage, Stella, holding flowers, could read his workaholic mind, even if it was becoming worm chow.

“Oh, crap,” Neal said feeling all used up. He sat up 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 coroner’s note or that young punk Cabebe, will fire me. He hates old people.”

“You mean, dead people,” she said. “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,” he said, “but unemployed and dead? Pour some coffee on me, Stella. Look at the time.”

“We don’t need money and 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! I came here to grieve your death. I feel like a fool wasting my time trying to talk sense into you.

“Please, Stella, I love brains. I mean I you. Your brains, brain. Your mind,” Neal sputtered.“Where’s my tie? What time is it?”

“It’s 8 a.m., idiot. They just opened the cemetery 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 bus,” Neal told her, spitting out a beetle. “Is this burial suit okay?”

“Except for the slit down the back, it’ll do. Just don’t walk on my carpet 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 cheap jacket. I’ll stop by Target.”

“Listen. I’ve got a hair appointment. Have a nice afterlife, fool. 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.”

“Who are you, Mrs. Spock?” asked Neal.  “I gotta go.”

“You don’t need a job,” she pleaded. “The office staff never got the memo that you’d died. I never had a chance to call them. Hey, watch where you’re tossing that dirt! I just bought this dress. The next time you talk to God, tell him to treat you to a nice manicure. Neal ——You’ve got a worm in your nostril. Ugh. Don’t kiss me. Go get some cologne.”

Neal promised to make it up to Stella the following weekend, but today, he had obligations. He got on the bus and was told by the driver to “Hey, Mack. Go sit in back with the other ‘stinkers.’” That’s what the ‘smug’ living called the dead these days. Neal had never been a victim of discrimination before. 

Neal arrived at work an hour late and was given a warning by Cabebe. The slick, young exec sniffed the air and suspected that Neal had passed on. He assigned the stinker a new desk in the basement. 

The next day, after a restless night 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’ sucker Neal a living wage.  No one else knew that rotten Neal was still working and helping to make  CEO, Milton Armstrong, rich.

By the following week, Neal had realized that Cabebe was taking him for a —nearly free ride. He began to lose the feeling of pleasure of work. 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 maybe could use some 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.’ You could see the dead, worn out executives, in every city, shuffling and mumbling “Job. I neeeeeeed job.”

Neal’s commuter train passed his final resting place at Happy Hills on his way home toward his old house. Graveyards are for slackers, he thought. A real man needs to work.

While waiting at the 5th Avenue crosswalk, he saw a hopeful sign. Just a literal 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 and Ticket Line Holder jobs! 

We’re also seeking Parking Space Blockers and Human Speed Bumps (No limbs required).

 — Downtown, Full Time. 24 hours shifts available. 

Call 090-888-0000.

Tango #2 finished 7-20-18 5 pm

10-year-old Gunnar Erikssen’s song from my next book, ‘Perdidos.’


“It takes a child to Raze a village”

Oh …

Let’s go a-pillaging

 a village-ing, a-pillaging,

with Odin a-thundering

a-pillaging we’ll go.

Our horde goes a-plundering,

 a-sundering each underling,

A torch for each porch,

and a-pillaging we’ll go! 

My Shark Fin Soup Promo


Fred Beckner, lifeguard and King of D&W

  • Fred Beckner— The Legend

6. ManSurfingFred Colby’s character in the story

Surfing Into Downtown LA

was based on the real life hero of D&W Lifeguard Fred [Coby] Beckner.

The real-life Fred was a true lifesaver. Lifeguard Fred Beckner often played a hero in Hollywood as well. He was often was cast as a cowboy or a police officer in movies, big and small, and was a close surfing buddy of Gunsmoke star James Arness. 

In 1963, the Baldwin Hills dam collapsed and burst. Oil had been sucked out from beneath the dam for years leaving its foundation in a weakened state. Floodwater destroyed many homes near Cloverdale Boulevard in Inglewood. 

Fred was among the lifeguards sent out for search and rescue mission in a Willy’s Jeep.

The Baldwin Hills Dam Disaster of 1963

In the Jeep with Lifeguard Fred (to help save lives and property in the Baldwin Hills area after the dam collapsed), were Marty Thompson, Former Lifeguard Chief Don Rohrer, and Bill Prewitt (retired lieutenant). They rode in a Willy’s jeep to respond and look for bodies and vehicles from Lincoln Boulevard and along Ballona Creek. Eddie Hoffman who was stationed at the Creek reported getting shocked in the water from downed power lines.

What really Happened to Lifeguard Fred?

As a lone mercenary, LA Lifeguard Fred secretly entered the western frontier of Russia, at Vyborg, in 1971. There he began his personal campaign single-handedly to “destroy the entire fucking-commie-bastard-empire… because they’re a bunch of fuckin’ greasy hodads.” 

Two months later the heroic lifeguard was not only able conquer the Communists but he had also learned to master time and space, through the sheer power of “being pissed off at valley punks.” 

Fred finally emerged from Russia’s eastern border near the Sakhalin Islands, with his original cigar still lit, and still wearing an official County of Los Angeles lifeguard jacket along with the signature red trunks. 

Before he left the recently named Russian seaport of St.Colbysburg, he stopped to surf a few waves in Sakhalin’s 42-degree water using the stolen, frozen body of Stalin, which had been taken in full public view, from Red Square, as a surfboard. Before entering the water, Beckner lit up a brand new commie Cuban cigar. Fred Beckner’s “obituary” mistakenly said that he had passed away in the late 1960s, during a fierce battle with Poseidon. The epic sea battle took place after the egotistical God of the Sea lost his board right in front of the D&W lifeguard tower-like a fuckin’ valley kook, and dinged Fred’s new girlfriend on the shoulder.” 

Both of the larger-than-life figures, Beckner and Stalin, have not been seen since 1973.

Many of today’s South Bay surfers will swear on a stack of hauraches that the original battered D&W lifeguard tower #5, with its shades still drawn, still stands at the storage area at back end of D&W beach, still rocks… and “smokes” on a regular basis. We believe that Fred’s successor, Mark Paulin, who has taken over the lifeguard duties at D&W with his wife Lorrell, is the reason for the smoking and rocking.

Mr. Beckner, himself, has probably taken his place within the pantheon of gods in Valhalla, where the waves are always bitchin’ and free of peroxide kooks.

Though he reminded me of a drill sergeant, the real Fred was never in the US  Armed Forces during World War 2, The Korean Conflict, or Vietnam. He fought his own war against the most “pervasive evil bastards” that he knew… “mankind’s most dangerous enemy.” 

 The Military knew Beckner, and realized that Fred would be more effective if they let him “fight the fucking greasy Hodads of the world” on his own terms.

Hodads bite!

New 7-1-18 What They Do For Fun On Pluto

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