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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.




 

In Enemy Territory – BATS ^^Ö^^ — Chapter 1

In Enemy Territory

Čachtice, Slovakia (Formerly Hungary)

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BATS ^^Ö^^ — OPENING CHAPTER — In Enemy Territory

Čachtice, Slovakia (Formerly Hungary)

Inside his melon-sized head, the tour bus driver could hear the voice of Boris Karloff:

“Even your bus is dead, Kimo.”

Please! Anywhere but here. Not in front of creepy Čachtice Castle, thought the ‘Type-A-Tours’ the driver with the name tag: ‘Aloha, My name is Kimo.’

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he announced. “We may be here awhile, so you can get out of the bus, walk around a little and stretch if you like.”

Bats and huge fanged moths — the kind that would happily eat your shorts—with you in them — were attracted to the lights within the bus and began pounding themselves against the windows. Anyone who was about to ‘go outside and stretch’ quickly gave up on the foolish idea.

“Look, driver!” Someone stood and pointed out of the right side of the bus. Kimo couldn’t see anything, at first.

“It’s a lady!” said a British woman in back.

Oh, boy…and she has dogs!” said her son. Four shadows trotted from the parked Bats Mobile and took their places behind the Countess. They held baskets in their mouths.

Sure enough, a tall beautiful woman was approaching the bus from the car. She was bathed in moonlight. She wore a bouffant hairdo and a checkered blue homemakers dress straight out of the 1950s. The lovely redhead waved at the unnerved Kimo through the closed door. She held up a pitcher of an ice-cold beverage and a stack of Dixie Cups. He relaxed.

“Oh goody, goody!” a child in the front seat squealed. “The nice lady brought us Kool-Aid!”

What the tourists thought was rain, started to hit the windows. The drops were plague tears. The sound of the wind was a sickening wheeze.

“Let her in, driver! Her clothes are getting soaked” a man from Ireland called out. Soaked? All of the men were suddenly interested. “It must be the lady of the house.”

I hope it isn’t the lady of the house, thought Kimo. The Bloody Countess, Elizabeth Bathory once lived here. That was centuries ago. Still, it is Čachtice!

The canines stood guard in shadows behind their mistress. Kimo opened the glass door—Oh, what the hell—with a hiss. “The dogs will have to stay outside.” The tall beauty, a very well-put-together June Cleaverhe thought, stepped up into the bus taking a wide stance in front in of the passengers. The “nice lady,” wet, was a great deal “nicer” than most had expected. She captured everyone’s complete attention despite their age, sex, race, nationality, or even in the case of Mrs. Bernstein in the back, species.

“Hi, everyone! I’m June Cleaver!” Elizabeth Bathory, The Bloody Countess lied.

Kimo was taken back. June Cleaver?  Cleaver….

Her audience was riveted on the icy pitcher of sky blue liquid that she displayed.

“I brought you some refreshments while you are waiting to be rescued,” said the beguiling housewife. “I’ve got dozens of our best local Batina’s cookies and something to quench your thirst. Here! Pass them back. Thank you. If it’s all right with Mr. Kimo, maybe I could teach you nice folks a little bit about our local cuisine.”

The tired driver nodded, stared out the bus window into the tears and moaning thunder, and decided that he didn’t like the size of those dogs. They were very well behaved and they were all wearing white kerchiefs. No, those are bibs! June Cleaver…June Cleaver. The name was making him nervous.

“We’re proud of our Fritz Haarmann cutlery,” said June. “Mr. Haarmann was originally a meat salesman, but he now manufactures his fine cutlery products in Transylvania.” She smiled at the man sitting in front of her. “Are you from Germany? Then you would certainly appreciate the craftsmanship on these knives. I mean, just look at this beautiful cleeeeeeeeaver!” The big bald German didn’t understand one word. He smiled up at her chilled boobs. She stared at the reflection of the blade on his shiny head as she raised her arm. “Just feel this edge!”

Soon, Mrs. Cleaver/Elizabeth was doing the backstroke up and down the blood-filled center aisle of the bus as her good doggies dragged piles of tourist parts into the Countess’ tear-flooded front yard. Elizabeth’s housekeeper, Penelope, disposed of the bus with an explosion fueled by bat guano.

Elizabeth’s family, leaning against her shiny Bats Mobile, applauded. All of this took five minutes.

*****

After clean-up, the Countess Elizabeth Bathory emerged from Čachtice’ main gate and walked toward her loving family, ready for action.

“How’s it hangin’ troops?” she asked.

“From the rafters, baby!” said Elizabeth’s slobbering main squeeze, Vlad, who was busy aurally undressing her with a combination of suggestive squeaks and smutty echolocational chirps.

“Get a tomb, you two!” said her embarrassed daughter, the willowy Mina.

“It takes a child to Raze a village”

Ten-year-old orphaned Viking Gunnar Eriksson

“It takes a child to Raze a village”

Oh …
Let’s go a-pillaging
a village-ing, a-pillaging,
with Odin a-thundering
our horde goes a-plundering,
a-sundering each underling,
A-pillaging we’ll go!

Shark Stories Review

Shark Stories — a bloody good read!

  • By Ray Pace, Honolulu Fine Arts Examiner

Author Fred Barnett

SHARK STORIES is not the typical book one encounters at the school book fair, say next to the ones about dinosaurs and the solar system. For that matter, neither is the book’s author Fred Barnett the sort who might monotone on about dorsal fins and the like at the same function.

No, Virginia, this is not your typical National Geographic offering on sharks and Fred Barnett just might be channeling both cartoonist Gary Larson and gonzo-journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

His publisher describes him thusly:

“Fred Barnett has been a professional underwater videographer, joke writer, performer and musician, wood carver (hellotiki.net), music and marine science instructor, and a cartoonist for the Garden Island Newspaper in Hawaii. Mr. Barnett’s previous works include two videos, Hawaiian Reef Fish Madness and Hanauma: A Day at the Bay, two music albums and one CD, Souvenirs, with Wiki Waki Woo, and two books, The Complete Humu and Silly Songs of the South Seas. His first full-length novel, Shark Fin Soup–A Tale of Shark Gods, Cannibals, Mad Cows, and Endless Love, he promises, will be completed and released at some point in the 21st century. Mr. Barnett claims his “real life’s purpose,” as revealed through recurrent dreams, is to feed his two cats. He was born in New York and raised in the sunny state of California. He currently resides in Kailua, Hawaii, with his wife, Jan-Joy Sax, and their two cats, Maui and Felicity.”

The publisher’s description of the book is perhaps a bit more modest:
“A rollicking adventure through time and the seven seas! Hundreds of fascinating TRUE facts and TRUE stories about our most famous denizens of the deep. “Fisherman arrested: Used wife as Shark Bait!” “Aussie Loses Same Leg Twice!” “Mako Attacks Fisherman On Beach!’ “Mom Eaten in Front Of Husband, Son and Six-Year-Old Quadruplets!” “Killer Arrested After “Monster” Spits out Murder Victims Arm.”

Imagine all of that for 10 bucks, plus a Bud Spindt cover illustration!

Who says we’re in a recession?

Arts & Entertainment |

Ray Pace's photo

Honolulu Fine Arts Examiner

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