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…And Then Things Got Weird….

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October 2020

Johnny Passion’s Oxford University Commencement Speech (from the novel The Love Muscle)

Oxford Commencement speech

“Limerence” by F. Barnett

May 21, 201_

It’s a beautiful, warm evening.

Lord Gene Chandler, the 44th Duke of Earl and the latest Dean of the University of Oxford (Oxford, England, est. 1096 ) steps up to the podium to introduce the University’s special guest who was chosen to give the 2018 commencement address:

(Hearty applause. Chants of “Duke. Duke. Duke.”)

Lord Duke Chandler: “Calm down everyone. Please. Thank you. I beg you, please quiet down…..Students, faculty, colleagues, you’re all aware that our very special alumnus speaker this evening is the recipient of countless Grammy Awards, the American Medal of Honor, three Purple Hearts, five Medals of Freedom and eight Olympic Gold Medals. He is also an honorary member of Legion of Honor of France and had once been awarded a scholarship, here, as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. I almost forgot. Our most special guest also proudly wears The Victoria Cross of United Kingdom, and has won three Academy Awards for best original score, acting in a lead role and best screenplay for The blockbuster Louis Louie, in 1997. The title song, Louie Louie, which has been rightfully and finally attributed to him, has become the National Anthem of The United States.

Students and faculty of Oxford, may I present the great man himself. Born John Pasiune in New York, in 1950. We’ve known him for years by the name Johnny Passion! Or The Rocker Boy! Please come up, Johnny.”

Applause and standing ovation…. A pair of panties lands on stage.

* * * *

(Background noise — foot stomping, cheering, squealing…)

Johnny: “Please. Please. You’re so kind. Please, let me continue. (Aside: Whose panties are these?) Thank you, faculty and students, Your Royal Highness and Mrs. President.

It’s nice to be back here on this storied campus. Today, I am here to tell you the most incredible true story. I hope that it will inspire all of you young people in pursuit of ‘true meaning’ in your lives.

I received a message a short time ago. That is why this night is so special for me. I can confidently proclaim, that I am the luckiest man in the world. No, let me correct that. The universe. Not because of my fame in the world of show business. Not because I’ve just been awarded a third Nobel Prize. Those things alone, could be as much as any person could dream for. Bless you all, but there are higher honors beyond riches, accolades, women’s undergarments and acclaim and, I suspect, even beyond deification, though, while in Rome yesterday, over martinis, I was canonized by Pope Francis.

In all sincerity, there can be no honor, no great honor that means as much to me … as the spectacular gift bestowed upon me by my dear friend who also happened to be my first love and my first lover, an amazing woman, who rediscovered and saved my hungry soul years after I thought that I possessed all and done it all. But, still there was an emptiness. A few years ago I assumed that my life was complete and done.

Many accomplished people have had places, highways, statues cities, states, mountains, bodies of water and even countries named after them. They should be proud. I’ve had most these honors as well. But again, monuments mean little to me compared to the compliment bestowed upon me by the woman that I’ve kept in my heart, though I hadn’t seen nor heard from her in almost five decades. She found me, again, a short time ago.

What I am struggling to explain is …well, this, yes THIS, is a message, a gift for the young people everywhere, the starry-eyed young folks, those of you sitting out there who are about to graduate, full of hope, on this starlit evening, and those who are listening to my voice over the internet and the airwaves right now.

I cannot stress the importance of what I have to say.”

(Reflective pause, wipes tear from eye, sneezes, farts and drinks water).

“Before you youngsters venture out into the terrifying world and begin your adult lives, let me tell you about what I have learned about the true meaning of honor and remarkable achievements (pause). Sorry. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.”

(grumbling from the restless audience, taking out and checking their iPhones…)

“When I go home tonight and slip under my covers, I will drift into my dreams with a sigh and a grateful smile, because I know that I’ve accomplished something magical as if I had reversed climate change or better yet, invented tacos…. just because I know… one … thing, a secret that I have guarded until now. No. It is not the mere secret of life or if we are along in this universe. It is much more. It is this. Someday you will want to pass this knowledge on to your own children..…I’m so sorry for dragging this big, important revelation out for so long. I’m still having trouble dealing with this knowledge, myself (holding back tears). Okay…Here goes. Is everyone listening? Please put away your phones…”

(The audience leans forward in anticipation)

“Whew” (adjusts tight trousers).

“Tonight, I know, yes I am certain that a woman, not just any woman… Since my #1 best-seller biography, Sailing the Estrogen Sea, the entire world has known her as Rebel Girl. Rebel is alive and well, and has been pleasuring herself with a personal vibrator that —- through its many incarnations — has always been named after me. You heard me correctly. Rebel named it Johnny – after me! Yes, me, Rocker Boy! Her most recent pocket rocket carrying my esteemed name is a blue Buzz Lightyear model. I was flattered when she told me about the new ‘Johnny’ and was, at first, a bit jealous knowing that ‘he’ was having all the fun, as my love and I are still thousands of miles apart tonight.

I know deep in my heart that I, along with my pulsating namesake, will always be welcome inside the true Gates of Heaven … that is, unless the batteries die.

The love of my life …and of lives before and beyond has taken me into her heart and deep, deep into her …Oh, my god… Pardon my tears (*requests a tissue*) I’m sorry. I…I am most humble and grateful.

I hope that all the graduates of this esteemed university will someday receive such a personal and pleasurable honor as I have. May you all live so long. It certainly beats the poop out of another danged parade or another billion dollar endorsement from another boring multi-national conglomerate.

Listen to me, my bright, shining young faces of the future. I have come to the realization that most everything else in life, outside of having a vibrator named after you, is bullshit. Bullshit…(Inaudible. Sobbing).

“This is what God must feel like. I repeat,

This is what God must feel like. I…I can’t go on…please, excuse me…”

(It was at this point that the great Johnny’s bodyguards led the tired, shaken old rocker off the Oxford University stage. Humbled and crying, he was led through the dark toward his forlorn limousine.)

“Home, Jeevette,” Johnny said to his chauffeur standing outside the idling limo. When Jeevette opened the rear door Johnny’s senses perked.

From deep within the dark car, came a greeting, “Nice speech, Rocker Boy,” and the magical lure of pachouli.

* * *

BATS (The novel. Soon to be named BATSHIT) Sample: Cailfornia Screamin.’

Chapter 3: California Screamin’

It was a hot July morning in California. Jonathan had just begun his new day job as a temporary lifeguard at Santa Monica Beach. After opening up the No. 4 lifeguard station’s window panels, he walked down the tower’s wooden gangplank to check out the large south swell rolling over the breakwater near the old pier.

The currents were strong. There would be little time for playing his guitar and posing, regardless of how bitchin’ he looked. It was going to be a busy day, thought the young lifeguard and literature student who had been finishing up his research project — “Huthbert and Penelope: The World’s Most Tragic Love Story—Up Until Freida Kahlo’s Ill-Fated Eyebrows Met in Mexico City in 1915.” Another dream was to be like James Taylor and find the perfect chick-magnetizing chord.

Imagine, dear readers, that it was a perfect summer’s morn in Santa Monica, when Lupta Axe, the world’s best witch, studied young Jonathan Tepes as he readied the lifeguard station in the bright mid-day sun. The crone strolled down the beach, shielding herself with a black umbrella and a tattered black shawl. She approached the lifeguard tower and tapped her crooked cane on the ramp. Jonathan, seeing her, moved inside of the tower and began to sign and shuffle blank papers as if he were actually doing something. The witch realized the he was avoiding her gaze by faking work and decided, Ah, fute it!, she’d return later. She continued to curse everyone and everything (“Muthafotensfiudecățeanemernici!”) as she hobbled along the hot sand toward the Ferris wheel at the top of Santa Monica Pier. For Lupta, cursing was akin to singing.

Thank goodness she’s gone, Jonathan thought. Creepy old bat, like something right out of a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Near noon, the Crone walked back to Jonathan’s lifeguard tower, wearing a black one-piece bathing suit with the black shawl covering her head. By this time the beach was overflowing with people. On the beach, The Crone was not at all daunting, as she must have weighed less than sixty pounds—soaking wet.

An angry blonde teen pressing the unfastened top of her bikini against her perky breasts followed the black shadowy figure across the hot sand. She, in turn, was being followed by every set of male eyes on the beach.

“Hey, lifeguard! This old bitch…”

“Witch!” snapped Lupta Axe.

“This old bitch threw ice cubes…”

“Spat,” said the Crone.

“This old bitch threw…”

“Spat!”

“…ice on my back just so everyone on the beach would see my …”

“Really?” Jonathan tried to avert his gaze. “Now, why would this little old woman throw ice water on you?” Pervert.

“IIIIIIII spat on her, rahat-pentru-creier (shit-for-brains)!” said Lupta.

“Spat on her? Was she bothering you?”

“She was going to,” said the crow-like figure in black.

“No I wasn’t! Can’t you arrest her or shoot her or something?” the perfect beach bunny asked while pointing to the Crone.

“I’m sure she’s just a harmless …,” Jonathan said.

“Hey! You look like what’s-his-name!” said the bunny.

Jonathan nodded and said, “I know. James Taylor. When he had hair.”

“I was going to say Vlad the Impaler. I’m reading this graphic novel about him. Tragic Lust. Prince Vlad was a hero. See?” The girl showed Jonathan the cover. “Isn’t Vlad dreamy? My friends at school think that he’s phat. Except for that dumb mustache.”

“I look like him? I look fat? Look at this ten pack!”

The Crone turned to the young girl. “Oh! Tragic Lust? Such a fine historical novel. It’s all true, you know, nubile nymph. My name is Lupta Axe, dearie. I was just pranking you because I’m the fairest!” Lupta put her leathery arm around the girl’s shoulder. “Can I interest you in a nice red juicy apple, my child?”

The teen pulled away. “Eeeeuwww…no way. Did I do something to offend you?” she asked.

“You just finked on me!”

“Finked? What’s finked?”

“Tattled. Ratted on me like a low-down stool pigeon. You sung like a canary. Squeeeeealed. You, my pretty, are an informer!”

“But you dropped the ice on my back, first!” cried the girl.

“Spat! Call it a preemptive strike. Early revenge. That’s how we always do things where I come from, sugar nibs.”

The stunned girl walked away thinking, Hmmmm…finked. I’m gonna text that word to my homies. Lupta, who’s magic had always been based on childish pranks, hacked up a thick loogie on a sheet of paper and while the teen texted her friends, snuck up behind her, and stuck a “Kick Me!” sign to the girl’s back.

The Crone added to the cacophony with a voice of a crow as she cawed at the girl walking back to her towel. “IIIIII’ll get you! I’ll turn that sweet ass into gingerbread! By the time you get home, butter buns, that perky pair of shortcakes will be pointing down to perdition! Heeheeheeheeheeheehee!” She cackled manically.

Jonathan was thinking hard about the “butter buns,” “gingerbread ass,” and “perky shortcakes” as the Guatemalan woman holding up two fingers three hundred feet beyond the waves went beneath the sparkling water the second time unnoticed. His attention was riveted toward the evil-eye gaze of the Crone.

“Where do you come from, woman?” asked Jonathan.

“I come from Transylvania. My name is Lupta. Lupta Axe. And YOU are Jonathan! Arăți la fel ca el! (You DOOOO look just like him!)” she said in Romanian.

Training Your Humu Humu Part 2 with misspelled ‘congratulations.’

Traing Part 2 & misspelling ‘congratulations.’

Training Your Humu Humu Part 1

Training your Humu Humu and spelling ‘congratulations’ wrong.

Elizabeth comes a-courtin.’ Or, Date Night at Poenari Castle. (Updated BATSHIT (Bats)

Vlad, the evil Master-bat-or, was hanging forty feet above the tour group, hidden and hurting like a drug addict. The hunger pangs were not in Vlad’s stomach. He wasn’t thinking of the camera-toting blood bags milling about on the castle floor beneath him. His soul was starving for Elizabeth Bathory the Bloody Countess, (or Betty as he called her). They rarely got to see each other as she had her own castle to attend to.

Elizabeth Comes a-Courtin’

For four hundred years The Bloody Countess had danced her wanton bodily-fluid-boogaloo upon Vlad’s pike. Tonight was their ‘Date Night.’

She’s probably in the bath, thought Vlad. He wanted nothing more than to wrap her in his wings, and kiss the bloodbles sliding down her ţâţe vith all the subtle finesse of a slobbering mastiff.

There! I can see her in my mind’s eye! Hubbah hubba! Vlad could see that ‘Betty’ was reading his mind across hundreds of fog-shrouded miles, while she picked out her trashiest pantyhose for their date.

Betty, the Bloody Countess, the direct daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Satan, was awakened earlier that day in her bath by the another noisy busload of Gibor plasma pouches outside her own castle walls.

When Betty was upset, the blood in her tub would begin to boil.

Over the ages, the countess’s supply of fresh female virgin blood had dwindled. The disappearance of the innocent maidens of yore had attracted the attention of authorities, which meant the countess was now forced to bathe in the unwholesome blood of Gibors — who no one, even their own families, ever missed. Most of Elizabeth’s higher quality bathwater only came from the fresh blood of virgin males who lived in their basements of their parent’s homes. These pallid geeks, hardly seen were seldom missed. Guys with names like Irving, Seymour, Poindexter, and Marvin. Bathing in Le Nectar des Dorks had its plus side. Real virgin sap made her already impressive mellükön larger and decidedly perkier. Extracto empollón (nerd extract) was also good for firming up her yumalicious fenék. It also served as a coolant when the Countess’ overheated bod would threaten to spontaneously combust.

Back at Poenari Vlad was thinking: Should I ask her to move in, despite the three humorless old bats already living…uh, undying in my cellar? He could feel Betty looking back at him, drooling over him, from over five hundred miles away—as if he were a rack of Famous Dave’s spareribs.

Vlad’s deep thoughts were interrupted “Blattttttt” by the sounds of twenty Gibors having a farting contest below in the main hall and laughing at their own echoes. Even on the sacred Sundays, Jack Lord’s day of rest. How could such a tiny country produce so many noisy, dirty, ill-mannered, annoying little…ewwwww, just the thought gave Vlad shivers.

He twirled his aerodynamic mustache, When fate gives you lemmings, make lemming-ade! swooped down, eyes ablaze, and within his devilish trick of the five-second time shift, he was able to lift a Gibor woman up onto the rafters, chomp down on her fat neck, and extract all of her blood before anyone in the crowd could blink. The Gibor slobs were far below, farting in the long hallway, taking photos, and busy stealing clippings of Vlad’s tapestries. But, the imbeciles were moving in a slower parallel world as he enveloped his prey. The woman’s husband, Morty, only witnessed her dripping blood and gore running down a column. He was busily snapping photos when he noticed (“Hey, Lucy! Look at this ancient W(V)ibrator!”) that had actually fallen out of Lucy’s purse. She’s probably in the gift shop, he thought.Morty snapped a few hundred more shots as his louse-spouse’s splatter was licked up by several wampyre bats that had escaped from the confines of Vlad’s faster parallel world.

“Vinged varmints! Get back up here!” Vlad demanded in a high-frequency whisper.

Morty the Gibor husband never thought to look up, or report his missing spouse to the big New Guinea tour bus driver, Xomerang, who was busy eating the jerky-like pieces of his own grandfather’s buttocks as a snack.

Vlad had to get the crowds out of here — now(!) Betty is bringing her entire volf pack vith her this evening. Tonight is date night! Which reminded him…

Within another half-minute, Vlad snagged another half-dozen Gibors for his Gibor-matic chopper. He was going to make salsa to go with his Lupta’s Nerd Chips ©.

An hour later….

Vlad was so happy to see Betty that he could barely contain himself. So, he didn’t.

“Betty!” He flashed her his phosphorescent flunker-wagger schnitzer from the battlement.

Elizabeth laughed as her bats draped a naughty nighty upon her nudity. Nonetheless, Vlad would negate the negligible negligee down in the “vhine cellar” (his torture chamber for wretched kvetches).

Pokey old Grieves would soon ring the dinner bell. Tonight, Grieves had added a real ghoul to the Gulyas.

The State Fish of Hawaii in Art

The State Fish of Hawaii in Art

The State Fish of Hawaii in Art

I’m working on new cover art for my novel BATS (soon to be retitled “Batshit).”

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