A publisher that I’d met at a party once asked me,
“Would you like my honest opinion on your work?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“It’s worthless,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. “Please, tell me anyways.”
So that you never send us another manuscript, let me offer you a free list of reasons why we’ve rejected your so-called book, ‘Buried Alive.’
Let us begin with the book’s cover:
Your title is an apt title, prophetic even, as it will surely come to pass. Unfortunately, ‘Buried Alive’ has been used over 20,000 times. Try something more original like ‘Some jerk Cut Down a Tree for This?’
Regarding the cover art: I’d rather look at dirt being shoveled on my face from the bottom of a lonely, cold, dank grave.
Your author photo: Our office staff sincerely hopes that the image on the sleeve wasn’t your face. But, thanks for the laughs. I’d hate to see what the bus that hit you looks like.
Regarding your intro: It should have been the outro.
Your plot (?): was weighed down by inane ramblings. I was surprised the book had a spine strong enough to hold all Four-hundred and fifty pages.
Only the table of contents made sense. No, it didn’t.
The phrase ‘The End,’ though unoriginal, was a welcome touch.
Your story: I’m amazed that the package didn’t set off ‘the Stupid Alarm’ at the Post Office, and through quarantine? Next time, mail your novel in a self-addressed, stamped, travel and motion sickness bag.
Somehow, your manuscript ended up in the litter box. Miss Kitty ‘went’ in my shoes instead. I’m curious about one thing, when you were a kid and your dog ate your homework, did it die afterward?
Your main character’s coma-inducing story arc flat-lined seven chapters before his demise, I assume, from boredom. I wanted to scream, “Get a death!”
Your characters: Non-dimensional — perhaps as shallow as your gene pool.
The appendix: should be removed — without anesthesia — using a plastic Taco Bell spork.
About you, the Author: I’ve met more interesting manikins at Macy’s when I was drunk.
Overall quality: One step above Ipecac syrup. My puke just puked.
Name withheld by request
Final Chance Publishing
Chief Mmrall was due back from his Alaskan cruise, and Monq was sure that the chief would serve him as a main course on the Royal Sunday Brunch Buffet table. Monq saw himself, filleted on a plate, right next to the scrambled, rare purple porpoise eggs.
Yes, porpoise eggs.
The jolly 400-pound chief had come back to the village and nothing was said about Monq’s transgression. Without any notice, one Sunday morning, two of the village’s largest warriors, Mmrush and Mmrove (Bob and Ed), knocked upon the door of the Monq family hut. Whish. Whish. (They were knocking on a grass door).
“It’s Mmus, Monq. Bob and Ed. The chief wants to see you for breakfast! Now!”
Monq, put on his best Sunday-go-to-eatin’ loincloth, kissed his wife a tearful goodbye and went to the chief’s hut accompanied by the two warriors.
“Monq!” said the jovial chief, Mmrall. “Have you had your morning kava yet?”
“Mmmmm. No, Your Highness.”
“Do you take fruit bat milk in it?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“No, thank you, Your Highness. Can I ask why you sent for me?”
“Have you heard of the mad Viking Edwin MacHeath??”
“MacHeath? Sure. He’s one baaaaaad…”
“Shut your mouf!”
“Sorry, Your Highness.”
“Just fuckin’ with you, Monq.”
“Our leader, MacHeath, needs a bunch of young, stupid, crazy bastards, just like you. There is going to be a battle. Go. Get your canoe ready. You leave at high tide. When you return, call me. We’ll have dinner.” The chief showed his ragged-toothed smile again. “Don’t worry. You’ll love our buffet. We’ll order pizza…with everyone on it.”
“Hah! I’m just busting your bolas, kid.”
(They may lay dormant, sometimes for years. Then BOOM!)
Three gazillion times upon a time…..
(Asteroids getting their rocks off…)
Ten billion years ago two asteroids from opposite ends of the newly expanded universe crashed head-on into each other. (Okay, you want an explanation? Zeus and Leto, husband and wife, throwing shit at each other during dinner. “You want another meat ball, asshole? Here’s your goddamned meat ball?”) There was a great explosion and together the pieces, caught in a gravitational pull, ended up plunging into the near-boiling oceans of an emerging planet, Earth.
Both asteroids carried the basic building blocks of life.
The future lovers, Chloe and Brady simmered slowly together until they mixed with other ingredients producing their first billion one-celled offspring (eukaryotes), all named either Cassie or Cassius — depending on their random choice of eukaryote underwear — who, bored sh*tless, after another two billion years — discovered hot sex.
Before becoming human, the eternal lovers, Chloe and Brady had also ‘experimented’ as insects.)
Insect sex rarely worked out well for Chloe, who was often assaulted by swarms of horny males on mating day, or for Brady, who often ended up headless or cannibalized.
But…at least to Brady (I cannot speak for his ‘hottie.’) …. well, Brady was ecstatic that he got laid, while his surviving mate, Chloe, usually got stuck taking care of hundreds of thousands screaming, pooping larva.
Eat me, Baby! — The Cannibalistic Lives of Black Widows — by I.M. Glootenfree
Mr. Praying Mantis — Losing his Head (and not giving it a second thought!) by I. Gumby
Mayflies: Stupid, Smiling Males Going Down in Flames by Ari Havinfunyet
The Mile High Club of Honey Bees by Stamen and Pistil
This is a little chocolaty taste from my upcoming big-assed novel, Shark Fin Soup….
In this scene, Dauna the Fijian shark goddess, owner and only waitress of Donette’s Cafe on the Bolsa Chico pier, and owner of her own coffee empire is trying to cheer up Bolsa Chico’s Surf Patrol chief who has just been scandalized by his wife across international news….Dauna suffers from Tourette Syndrome, cursed because she used Gods name, in vain, one two many times in her 3000 years on Earth….
“C’mon, Chief snap out of it. One day you’ll fall in love again. Hey, look! I allllllsooooo…” Dauna bent toward Bernie, and reached behind herself “Oh, there it is!” …to reveal… “Ooh! I think that this may be a magic happy birthday hat for you, chief! It is!” She pulled the shiny hat from below her skirt. “I’ve been warming this up for you, hun.” It was a foil hat and the crinkles in the metal made it look happy. She sat down, and presented him with the consecrated flat hat. She opened it up and put it on his sorry head. “It’s magic! You never know, right? It might be. Wow! And It’s so toasty warm. Feel!”
“Muy caliente, eh?” Dauna, stood up and announced to all, “WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT AFTER SPENDING AN HOUR NESTLED BETWEEN THE HOTTEST ASS CHEEKS in…uh…Oops. Sorry, folks! Not really.” Monsieur Tourette was speaking through Dauna today as if she were a tawdry ventriloquist’s dummy.
She turned and whispered to Bernie, “Did I say something dirty again, hun? Hopeless! I better just go and fetch your…… FUCKIN’ EGGS!” She sashayed to the kitchen and returned a few moments later. “Here they are! Hot, soft and oooey-gooey. Like…me.”
“Huh?” She tossed the plate on Bernie’s table and left him to wallow in his misery. He absentmindedly picked up his fork, and that’s when he heard a choir begin to sing. A choir at the end of the Balsa Chico Pier? Bernie looked up and out the restaurant window and saw only Sol, the restaurant’s mascot seagull who was known for his huge loose bladder and perfect aim on people’s heads. Sol was eating from a drunk’s bait bucket. Bernie heard a chirp and looked up to see another Donette’s ‘regular,’ Dwayne the lizard, scurrying across the ceiling.
My damned life couldn’t get more fucked up.
“God Over Easy.”
The sound of the heavenly Choir resumed. Bernie looked up. Nothing there. He turned back to his breakfast.
What Bernie saw next was a face staring at him from his sunny-side eggs. Maybe it was the pepper making the design, or the way that Reynaldo the cook had routinely over cooked them.
A tiny bearded face was smiling at Bernie Benedict.
“Waitress!” Bernie screamed. “ Hurry!”
“Hold onto your baguette! GODDAMMIT! I’m covered in chocolate!” Dauna sashayed toward the chief’s table. “What do you need?”
He could only point at the table.
“You didn’t do a Linda Lovelace on the Polish sausage, did you? I don’t do Heimlich.” She looked down at Bernie’s plate of sunny-side eggs, and did indeed see the smiling face of Jesus, in all of his shining glory. Bernie was nearly choking. Unable to grasp the conversation between the waitress and the eggs. “You didn’t RSVP!” Dauna told the eggs. “Are you coming to my wedding in a few weeks?”
Bernie felt paralyzed.
“I’m working on my comeback TV special, shark goddess” said the runny Messiah. “How about I show up at your honeymoon, instead?”
“Hardy har har, smart ass. Stick to preaching.”
“Why are you flirting with Bernie?” asked Jesus. “Poor guy.”
“Lupta, the sage of Kupaio, told me that I must protect him. I don’t know why. Look at this busted up schmo, J.C. He’s feeling really down. Right now, he’s the saddest man in the world. I’m just trying to cheer up the dumb lug. Can I get you some coffee or something, chicken fruit?” she said to the sunny-side son of God.
“Chicken fruit? Have you been behaving yourself? Why are you here, God Junior?”
“I’m honing my rusty social skills. Ahem! Commandment number eight: Thou shalt not steal. Are you listening to me, Dauna? Do not steal Bernie Benedict’s heart. He’s in pain.”
“Excuse me everyone,” Dauna put her hands over her face. “Ah…aH…AH… FUCK!”
“Are you catching a cold?” asked Jesus.
“No. I’m just allergic to bullshit.”
I was born in 1950, in Neponsit, New York, barely a hurricane’s breath from the beach. At age ten, my parents loaded up the station wagon and moved our family west to sunshiny Los Angeles.
In my teens, I began to write comedy and music (ASCAP writer and performer) in addition to other adolescent criminal enterprises — i.e. skateboarding with my delinquent friends, hosting belching contests among the same miscreants and playing irritating rock n’ roll, while unkempt, in large LA arenas.
At age 27, weary of my jet-set Hollywood lifestyle, I married and drifted toward the Sandwich Isles, in search of quiet beaches and loud Hawaiian shirts.
Blessed with a perfect tan, I now get to live and write in beautiful Kailua.
Fred Barnett — Author
— and big-pain-in-the-tochus
“Who’s the dirty rat?” — Tommy Udo, Professional psychotic gangster.
“Mrs. Deutsch? Can I talk to you?”
“Of course, Mr. Al. What is this about?” Freddy’s mom asked.
“Well, we’ve had a complaint from one of our long time residents. Your son’s pet alligator bit the ankle of an elderly woman yesterday, just outside the lobby, so we really can’t let him walk his pet through the lobby, near the guests. We really don’t even allow pets in the hotel, so Freddy will have to keep his little friend in the room or give him away. I’m so sorry, Freddy. You know that I like your Little Al, too.”
“All right,” Freddy’s imaginary childhood friend,Tommy Udo, said from somewhere above (perhaps on the second floor landing), “Who’s the canary that made it so my pal here can’t take his baby croc for a walk through the lobby anymore?”
“It’s a caiman!” whispered Freddy, at the ceiling. His mother looked at him strangely.
“Who’s the lousy rat?” continued Udo. “Me and my friend, Mr. Colt wanna talk with the stool pigeon. We’re pals ain’t we, Freddy?”
Freddy repeated, “Who’s the lousy rat?”
“Rat?” Al the clerk asked. “Does Freddy watch many James Cagney movies, Mrs. Deutsch? Where did you learn to speak like that, Freddy? Listen, son, I’m not allowed to tell you who it was that made the complaint. Your ‘Little One….'”
“Give the kid a f…n break with that ‘Little One’ name. He’s only six!” said Udo, from the second story.
“Button up, Udo!” Freddy shouted up at the ceiling. “There’s already enough heat down here.”
“Huh?” they all said.
“Little Al is getting to be a big gator, and you two almost gave one of our 85-residents a heart attack. Did you know that little Al took a piece of her ankle off? So no more ‘dinosaur walks’ Freddy,” the desk clerk said with a pointed finger. “Listen, I’ve got to get back out front. Sorry to bother all of you. Good day.”
* * * *
When Freddy slept that night, he was visited by his imaginary personal raven-haired pagan goddess friend. Bettie Page wore the same leopard-skin bikini that she wore on Uncle Louie’s ‘holy shrine’ pinup calendar.
“Wow! We alligators sure have fun in Florida!” said the lucky, smiling reptile who was about to turn Bettie’s tanned c tush into its favorite chew toy.
In the vivid airbrushed dream, the alligator was still poised to bite, as Bettie talked to Freddy in breathy Goddessese.
“Freddy, you must learn how to express yourself through the fine art of letters. Ask your brother Bob to teach you.”
Freddy could swear that he smelled his goddess’s delicious peanut butter and jelly perfume.
Bettie spoke to him almost every day.
“Freddy… your big brother … knows… dirrrrrrrty … words.”
“Dirty words? Like soil? Mud?” Freddy said out loud in his sleep. “What do you mean Bettie?”
When Freddy awoke that morning, he followed the advice of his goddess, and asked his brother Bob to teach him how to write a letter.
“Bettie told me that I should learn how to write. She told me that last night, after she dropped her bath towel….again.”
“Who? She what?”
Mom turned from the stove and said to Bob, “Bettie Page, is the girl on the calendar wearing the leopard-skin bikini — with the alligator biting her tush. Freddy also thinks that she’s his imaginary friend.” Damn that Uncle Louie.
Bob said, “Huh?”
Freddy whispered in his ear, “Bob! I need to learn how to read and write.”
In the Goddess Bettie’s exact words, Freddy wanted to say, “Big brother! Bwana Devil! I must learn how to express lofty platitudes and reveal my deepest feelings and my most secret desires and inner thoughts to the world.”
Instead, he whispered, “I can barely scribble ‘See Spot run’ using my broken Crayolas.”
“Huh?” said Bob.
Next, Freddy needed to find out who had complained to Big Al about Little Al.
Freddy could hear the voice of his other friend, the murderous Tommy Udo, above, on the second floor, “Tell dat lousy stool pidgin in no unsoitin toims exakly—”
“Zip it Tommy! I’m warning you!”
“Bob,” whispered Freddy, “is mom listening? Good. Listen. I need to write a dirty letter to the fink.”
Freddy heard Tommy Udo say, “… Then we’ll push the old bat’s wheel chair off of the landing on the second floor and snap her old turkey neck. Heeheeeeheeeeeeheeeeeheeeeeeheeeeeheeeeee. Ain’t I your best pal, Freddy?”
Freddy turned to Bob and said, “Tommy said that I want to make certain that the stool pigeon who ratted, uh, fibbed on me, knows that I’m really, really mad and… sniff… made me cry! Then we’ll push the old bats’s wheelchair off of the landing up on the second floor and snap her old turkey neck. Heeeeheeeeheeeeheeeee….”
“What’s a stool pigeon? My pal, Tommy, said that ‘the old fossil sung like a canary and may know a few other tunes.’ What does he mean?”
“Do I know this Tommy?” brother Bob asked. “Is he your friend?”
“Tommy also said that I should ‘leave notes, as a warning, just to make sure that all the other geezers know that I mean business.’”
The message was clear. Bob knew what his little brother was asking for and offered to teach him to “write his ‘favoritest’ word.”
* * * *
“It is a very powerful word,” said Bob. “I guess. Almost as powerful as doo-doo. Certainly more powerful than pee-pee. The older kids say it all the time. They usually say it when they are mad.”
“What does it mean?”
“I dunno, but it’s also called a ‘dirty word.'”
“What’s a ‘dirty word’?”
“I dunno, but Mom scolds me whenever I say it, so it must be a bad word.”
“Oh, I get it. A bad word like poopy. It’s worser than poopy?”
“Worse than horse poopy!”
“Worser than Frankenstein poopy or elephant poopy?”
“Yeah, even worse than tyrannosaurus poopy!”
“Worser than brontosaurus poopy?”
“Yeah even worse than house-sized Godzilla poopy!”
“It’s easy to write. Gimme your crayon. Here’s how you write it… F-U… “
(In the words of Freddy’s third bestest imaginary friend, Boris Karloff)
Within in one hour little Freddy had become a mathter (master) of Crayola calligraphy, writing thith magical and powerful word with the thkill, color, and beauty befitting an illuminator of medieval texths.”
Sylvia Benedict was discovered crying inside of the Sea Lion Beach Geezer World Van by local lifeguard, Brad Stokely, as he was headed home. “I found the woman sitting inside the van, crying over Mr. Noway Sr. The motor was still running. The van’s motor, not the old fart’s. Noway had suffered a heart attack.”
Sylvia , the spouse of beloved Bolsa Chico Surf Patrol Chief, Bernie Benedict, confessed to the ambulance staff concerning the death of her eighty-eight-year-old lover:
“We’d just had a friendly dinner, celebrating Wayne’s new Thriller Driller Penile Implant. He suggested that we to go out and replace all of the steel fasteners on the Long Beach bridge with his new… Oh, poopsieeeeeeeee!” (Crying.) “Wayne seemed fine! He really did. Then, after his little nap time, he wouldn’t respond.”
“That’s quite enough, Mrs. Benedict,” said the nauseous ambulance driver.
The truth was el vomitosio. Somehow, the video of her story ended up on the local news.
Wayne Noway III’s (the grandkid) surfer buddies said that the sixteen-year-old surfer had been “blowing major chunkage,” “praying to the porcelain” and “hurling with a mighty chunder” after reading about what his grandpa and his ex-teacher had been doing. Los barfos, mesdames e messieurs.
My Sylvia! Bernie thought. And…and Wayne’s grandpa?! Noooooooooo!
He had to get out and get some fresh air, now.
After the broadcast, it seemed that the entire town of Bolsa Chico wanted to line the pier and join local hero Bernie, in his major heave fest. It was if they’d all been hit with the dreaded Nosoi flu.
For days afterward, Bernie felt as though he were wearing a big red ‘D’—for Dumbass — on his forehead. Time had come for him to leave his longtime friends, his beloved job and his hometown of Balsa Chico.
Donette’s Cafe, formerly Rosie’s, was built upon the end of the Bolsa Chico Pier, in Orange County, California, in 1956. Recently, it had been purchased by a dark, sultry, dirty-talking shark goddess, Dauna Robinson, who bought the cafe to promote her native Fijian coffee products: the high-octane Getthefuckouttamyway and Outtamywayasshole coffees, grown on her private island of Kupaio. Dauna was the one and only waitress at Donette’s.
Bernie rarely drank the coffee, but loved the food. It was the following Sunday, Bernie’s birthday, when he ordered his final breakfast at Donette’s.
The TV was on and…
“Oh, Fuck! No! Not……. on…….. my………goddamned birthday!” Bernie said. The other customers were wondering if the patrolman had caught Tourette’s from Dauna.
Nope. The news was on CNN — and Bernie was pissed. His tragic ‘train wreck’ had gone both bacterial and viral. Millions, perhaps gazillions, were following Bernie’s sad story.
One 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.
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’s 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, her human, 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 soon, so I promised to help Bernie and his trollop friend.”
“You mean Miss Soapy Puppies?”
“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 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 he asked his wife, “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.