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And Then Things Got Weird….

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From my novel BATS ^^ö^^: Jonathan’s Ride to Poenary Castle, Transylvania

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Poenari Castle’s broken silhouette passed hundreds of feet above Jonathan, framed by the rising moon and the black branches reaching out in “velcome.” The handsome laid back, mellow, and easygoing smasher-of-heads-against-breakwaters-and-pavement ex-lifeguard peered through the glass, breathless. The rain, thick as plasma, began to block his view from the taxi.

Despite the increasingly narrow passages, looming mountains and biblical weather, he texted Mina another time.

Bună ziua! (Good evening!) I am now in Romania near Poenari Castle. Up until now there has been no actual Wi-Fi. Earlier the driver, who wears a black  mask, told me about a free service called Si-Fi that has to do with antennas placed on, of all things, bats! I am well. In fact, I am even cooler than I was last month…and that’s pretty cool!

Cele mai bune urări (Best wishes),

Jonathan

The driver looked into the rear-view mirror and wondered, Is my passenger still…alive? He turned his head 360 degrees around, then another 180 degrees toward Jonathan and asked, “Are you there…sir? Let it be known, young sir, that breathing can attract a variety of…undesirables.” In the Prince’s hemorrhaging neck of the woods, breathing was regarded as overrated.

A long exhalation of foul human breath rushed from the backseat.

What the heaven has this human been eating? Plants? “Look, young sir!” said the driver. “Ve’re almost home! Ve’ll get you some real food.”

“I’m on a vegetarian diet, sir. I no longer eat anything with a face.”

Oy. Vun of those! The driver thought. “No problem young man! You can alvays rip the face off first.”

“Driver? Do you know where I can find a Mr. Karoly Tepesthe? He has some money put aside for me.”

The driver only belched.

“You didn’t eat him, did you?” Jonathan joked.

“No. I didn’t, sir. Haven’t you heard about Mr. Tepesthe’s terrible accident?”

“Oh, no. No, I haven’t.”

“Apparently Karoly was on his way home from the bank after he withdrew a million dolari in cash, tripped, and stumbled onto a very sharp twenty-foot pole—sorry, of course you couldn’t have heard. It doesn’t happen until tomorrow.”

The Collected Letters of Lord Huthbert Grieves and Lady Penelope Weeps from the novel BATS ^^o^^

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From the celebrated Novel, Bats, by Lord Frederick Barnett of Kailuashire 

I.

The Collected Letters of 

Lord Huthbert Grieves and Lady Penelope Weeps

(1779-1790)

A Letter from Lord Huthbert Grieves to Lady Penelope Weeps, Ghoolkamish 

April 30, 1779

Dearest Penelope,

The artillery has stopped momentarily. As I lie awake in my muddy foxhole beneath the night sky of Ghoolkhamish — Alas, my angel, I can only think of you. 

When I come home, my dearest, though it may be five years from this day, I promise we shall marry. Your father hates me, I know, as does your dog — a part of whose shattered jaw is still attached to my buttock. 

Despite what your husband thinks, I know that we can make this marriage work. Though I lost half my face, one-third of my manhood and a nipple in the bloody trenches of Dyfthphedif, I promise that the cottage that I have purchased will be a happy one, surrounded by the warm laughter of children, or — at the very least — very immature adults. 

How is your cough, my Angel? I was distressed to find that your last correspondence had a small bloody piece of your lung stuck to it, Sweetheart. Please hang on to God’s precious gift of life until I can limp to your side.

Your precious letters warm my heart, Darling. I smell your perfume and, with a shield between my mouth and the envelope, kiss the lipstick on the seal before I dream my happy dreams every night.

With my good arm, I long to hug you and keep you warm, even when you cough (Though, alas, I regret, there will be no deep intertwining of tongues).

All my love,

Yours forever — Huthbert Grieves

 April 30, 1779

_____________________

II

The further love letters of Lord Huthbert Grieves and Penelope M. Weeps 

England 1769 -1784

(Sent from Port Apotty, Africa, May 31, 1784)

My Dearest Darling Angel Penelope,

Alas! This will be my last correspondence, my sweet, as I make my way home across the sea to your warm bosom after so many years in the muddy battlefields of Hominahomina. Please have a coffin and a plot prepared for me if I do not make it home alive. Our cavalry surgeon, Doctor Osândă, has informed me that the insect known as Arden’s creeper or the acid roach, has taken up residence in my ear, while I was stationed in the steaming tropical jungle of Haffarredrash. The creature has traveled to the part of my brain called the dorsal hypothalamic, which controls the heartbreaking spread of psoriasis especially in the remaining two-thirds of what the natives call my huk-huk.

Oh, blessed heavens above! Before we left port, I had received a correspondence from my servant, Mr. Upton. He says that you are now a free woman. Joy of joys! Could that be true, my angel of angels?

Upton had written that your childhood sweetheart and spouse of twenty years had passed on after receiving a dreadful blow to the skull. My tears are flowing for you, my love, like the mighty Incontinence Falls of the great Amazon.

Mournfulness overtook me when I had found out your tiny cherubs had been called to heaven on that calamitous evening as well. Your poor spouse and children—all dead—all on the same day! Oh, Providence! Forsooth! I had no idea that you ‘were with children.’ Eight? Well, fuck meself.

I had instructed Upton, my man Friday, to insure the safety of your children, but alas, it was too late. Upton reported that the fire had spread too quickly through the mansion. By the time the frightening oaf had arose from his drunkenness in the barn, the mansion had become a mound of ashes. Thank the Lord that Upton was able to rescue and deliver you to the safety of the barn before the fire spread.

About the pregnancy. For my part, I do pardon you your irresistible charm. Upton can be unruly and some days I question my hiring the brute from the Calcutta Circus. Be assured that he is my “responsibility.” Upton comes from fine stock and I will personally claim the cherub, Uptonette, as a Ward of Court. When he approaches his fourth year, the child will be assured a fine position in a reputable shop.

I am a gentleman, my love. I will support you both until I can find the guttersnipe bastard a suitable place of employment where the sun and lice shall not harm his fair skin.

 The hour of my arrival draweth fast on. Lastly, I vow that mine remaining eye desireth thou above most.

All my love,

Yours forever and ever,

Huthbert Grieves

___________________________

III

(Sent from Bristol, England, May 14, 1784)

My Dearest Darling Huthbert, 

Every day I look for your letters. Today, I feel that cupid is in the air.

A terrible thing happened at the Hollis’ grand mansion next door to my home this week. A terrible man attempted to kill neighbor’s entire family, except for the young wife, Hippolia, a woman who might be mistaken as my twin.

After clubbing the husband, Rhynos Hollis, to death, and presuming that the children were all asleep in bed, the villain set the house on fire. Thank the Lord above that all eight Hollis children were spending the week in London’s Marshalsea Children’s Prison because of a misunderstanding over the property rights of a beaten elder, or they all would have perished in that fire.

 During the blaze, the wife, Hippolia, was dragged outside only to be violated repeatedly until the rapist dragged her blindfolded down to Cornwall, where she was spotted, by drunkards no less, laughing at the Duck n’ Fishes pub. The rough beast continued his assault upon Mrs. Hollis the entire weekend, attracting numerous noise complaints at the inn. Mrs. Hollis had managed to escape from the brute and seems to be handling her weekend of terror quite well. She did tell me that the impetuous monster has threatened to return again, here to Bristol! The cheeky devil warned Hippolia that he will hunt her down like a fox, and imprison her royal suite at the notorious Saint Germaine Hotel in Paris and prod her day and night until her wicked spell upon him is broken. The poor woman. How dreadful!

There is some good news—for you, my hero.

My husband, Owen, has left me, knowing that my heart belongs only to you—and his own heart belongs to his ballet coach, Fabricio. My two children are both fourteen-years-old and have moved away with their own large families. I sit, all alone, waiting ONLY for you, my love. I pray that I may be worthy of such a pure soul.

More good news! My consumption has disappeared entirely since I refashioned my diet to only simple sweets. You will find that there is much more of your dear Penelope to love when you return.

I hope you are well. Please tell me when your ship, The Obbrobrio (The Disgrace), comes into my port, my heart of hearts.

If the recipient of this letter is not my beloved Huthbert, please disregard, I prefer chocolates.

My love, you are forever in my thoughts and dreams.

Penelope

_________________

IV

(Sent from London, June 1, 1784)

Penelope,

Oops!

Yours,

Huthbert

One last abysmal Letter from Lady Penelope Weeps 

Sent from: Kent on Birminghanfordkingshire

To: Lord Thaddeus Huthbert Grieves— by way of Lord Ward Toady, Wraithamwichshire, February 21, 1790

_______________

V

 My poor dear Lord Huthbert!  I am in distress!

Since you wrote Oops! as the only and last word in your final letter, I’ve had troubling cogitations, my dearest. For aught I know that you may soon be with the angels, and after losing half of your face, one-third of your manhood, one nipple, and discovering that an acid roach that had entered your brain at Hominahomina, has affected the remaining two-thirds of your huk-huk. 

Three days ago, I found out that you were alive, my darling. Joy of Joys! While I was relaxing at the Drivel Pub in East Piffle I overheard the sailors, talking about how their frigate, the Countess of Cachtice, rescued a man who called himself “Huthbert” within the hold of an abandoned Chinese junk (?). One of the sailors at the Pub, who’d been given the epithet Jack-the-Gaff by his shipmates (Curiously, it was neither of Jack’s rough hands that were shaped like a hook), said that you were found nearly dead aboard a ghost ship adrift among the treacherous whirlpools of Vodu, West Africa. 

Oh dear, what were you doing in China? 

The Daily Advertiser directed me to Charity Hospital in Piffle. Alas, I was barred from visiting your room by the Empiric Doctor Phineus Osândă who instructed me to come back later in the week, as your medical situation was “extremely distasteful.” What could that mean? I thought.

 While resting at the Piffle Inn, I came across this story on the front page of the Journal. A similar story regarding your recent condition also appeared in Lloyd’s Post. 

“One unfortunate passenger, identified as London’s Lord Thaddeus ‘Huthbert’ Grieves was found below decks, soaked in his own blood. Specialists from Shire Bedlam Hospital reported the Lord Huthbert’s colon was “severely damaged by an Asian swamp eel” (Monopterus albus). The grotesque fish had chewed through the poor fellow’s colon!”

Huthbert my love, how on Earth did that abhorrent creature end up inside your lower intestine? What were you doing in China, my heart of hearts? Who were these “opium men” who were “playing a trick” on you, as per the article?

I fear that this may be the last chance to tell you that you have always been the Love of my Life, my greatest thrill, equal to my recent swim in a vat of chocolate, with the two equally pale Cadbury Brothers at their new desert parlor in London. The brothers playfully nicknamed me “Bonbon.”

I ended up marrying the elder of the brothers, Sir Richard Cadbury. I never saw his very wealthy brother, Sir Simon, alive after our dip. The police had come over one afternoon asking questions about a public argument that the two brothers had had in the Lamb’s Lair Pub. It is as though the thick London fog had swallowed Simon. He was a nice lad.

My new husband, Sir Richard, it seems, has had a number of wives but only keeps a picture of his first, Hermia, upon the piano. The sorrowful man had lost Hermia along with his only two children when the three sailed into a maelstrom, though, this time, near the island of Bermuda. Richard often talks of her beauty and her long red hair and warned me that his deceased and beloved Hermia, managed to ruin his following six marriages and mysteriously drove all the ensuing wives away! Richard fears that I will also disappear because of an apparition. You, of all people realize that I am made of sterner stuff.

Oh goodness! As I look from the front window into the moonlight, I can see a woman with long red hair, with two barely clothed moppets in tow. Poor things, so pale and hungry. I will not wake our butler, Grieves, who has already turned in for the night. 

I’ll try to write again, soon. The children are crying just outside my door. They seem to be asking for pudding, of all things. Poor dears. Their cries are weak.  I’ll offer them a warm fireplace and something to eat. 

My heart-root, I have addressed this letter to your very close friend, Ward Toady, at Wraitham, as I cannot seem to locate you, my love, my life. 

Yours in Eternity,

Lady Penelope Cadbury

P.S. Richard said that he would post this for me on the morrow. It is time to greet the poor family outside. More crying. I must go and answer the door.

________________________________

VI

This last express post was sent on August 6, 1790

From: Lord Ward Toady / Wraitham Hospital, Southeast Londonshireham

To: Lady Penelope Cadbury, London

This letter was never read by the recipient, Lady Penelope Cadbury *Lady P. never had a chance to read her last mortal link to her beloved Lord Huthbert. The letter was found unopened at the Cadbury home a week after her disappearance.

_______________

My Lady Penelope Weeps Cadbury,

My god woman, did you not hear? It is with great sadness that I must inform you that your love, my oldest and dearest friend, Lord Huthbert Grieves, had been brutally murdered in the early hours of February 18. I pray that you will not take umbrage. I was certain that you, yourself, had been murdered back in February. The Lord’s assailant was a maniacal woman with long red tresses followed by two young children. 

The trio were seen by my own hospital staff, hovering near the stone path leading into to the hospital grounds at two in the morning.

No one knows how the fiends had gained access to Lord Huthbert’s private room, as several members of my hospital staff were awake and on duty! 

My primary nurse, Mrs. Walinkova, was first alerted when she heard the voice of a woman screaming your name from the garden. “Penelope! Penelope’s gray matter will be my …pudding!” The woman’s screeching was followed by the wailing of children (“Pudding! Pudding!”) which was heard by the entire hospital staff. 

 The cacophony outside was followed by the agonizing scream of our dear  Lord Huthbert. His private room was on the second story. The staff and I ran to Lord Huthbert’s door. It took four people, ten minutes to force the door open as it was being held shut by a ghostly gale of wind. When my four servants were able to gain access the wind came to a sudden halt. They found Lord Huthbert in the closet, hanging by the neck. My scullery maid, Fifi LaDerrier, reported that the poor man’s skull had been gnawed through as if by a giant rodent. 

After the staff and I had taken Lord Huthbert’s body from the closet and lay him on the bed, Fifi, whispered in my ear — with hot breath — in French, that poor tortured Lord Huthbert was finally at peace. As we drew a sheet over Lord Huthbert’s face, we both caught a glimpse of the Arden’s Creeper (the acid roach from the jungles of Hominahomina) crawling behind the headboard. I could no longer blame Lord Huthbert’s insanity on my souple pâtisserie Fifi! Indeed, It was the roach, boring into the afflicted man’s brain that drove him mad enough to harbor eels in his bottom!  

As the Lord’s body lie covered, a quartet of my servants, who were embracing and adjusting one another’s bed clothes at the chamber window, were frozen by a spine-chilling scene in the garden below. They had become transfixed by three pale figures beneath the cold moon, screeching like Irish banshees and dressed in thin white shrouds — It was the red haired demon and what must have been her two children. As if gliding on wheels, the phantoms left a trail of fresh sea algae along the cobblestones before vanishing into the woods. Wraitham is a two day’s journey to the nearest coast.

Dearest Penelope, I am so sorry to be the one to impart this terrible news.

May our Huthbert rest in peace,

In friendship, 

Lord Ward Toady

P.S. Mrs. Walinkova says that she was familiar with you from the circus days at the Drury Lane theatre. She asked me to relay this message: 

“Cheers, Penny! I am well, and though I no longer soar above the crowds at Drury, Toady says that I still defy gravity. The silly man! Please stop by for draught someday.”

_____________________

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.

Black Friday ^^ö^^ from Bats

“Who is it?” said the new commander König Buckel (King Hump). “Is it the Van Helsing boys?”

“It’s me, Kapitän Flitzer (Streaker)!”

“Hurry! Come in,” said König Buckel.

“Ja, boss! I think that an army is coming through the forest.”

“Are you sure? Take a ladder, look over the parapet, and…”

“Is my hair okay?”

“Oh, for god’s sake, Flitzer, you are not all that. Put on some pants. The gold ones are nice.”

When Kapitän Flitzer carefully looked over the top of the castle wall. In the moonlit forest and across the moat below, he saw a sea of ten thousand women. Lupta Axe’s new army of fans had surrounded the castle. The Black Friday shoppers had built a bridge; a human bridge fashioned from the bodies of sacrificed shoppers to reach across the moat to the drawbridge. The women who had the free samples of Outa-My-Way-Asshole! brand coffee were already tearing at the drawbridge with sharpened fingernails. Others beat at the twenty-foot wooden barrier with heavy handbags and stiletto heels.

“Commander!” Flitzer called down. “You have to see this!”

A woman’s voice called up to the frightened soldier, “Open up, Flitzer. It’s me. Your Aunt Stella! Open up! It’s midnight!”

“That is correct, ma’am,” said König Buckel, who had joined Flitzer at the top of the wall. “I am the commandant and it is midnight. So what? You should be home with your husband!”

There was a sudden calming in the fields below Poenari’s high walls. The moonlit crowd parted like the Red Sea. A woman built like a tractor approached the drawbridge swinging a purse loaded with a dozen heavy, greasy beignets. She stared up at König and ground her strong jaw.

“Go away, whoever you are!” said König Buckel. “The park is closed until tomorrow at 10 a.m.!”

“I am Pauline! Open the drawbridge or I’ll soon be using your skinny neck for butt floss.”

There was more banging. More determined women’s voices.

“Open up!”

“Sale!” another screamed.

Flitzer watched their torches in their left hands pierce the darkness as they chanted, “Sale! Sale! Sale! Sale!” Purses in their right hands swung like spiked medieval flails. Pauline stood at the head of the crowd and spat acidic venom that began to burn a hole in the wooden barrier.

“What are you people? Go home!”

“We are here to spend money! It is Black Friday. We are here for shoes, clothes, and free stuff. You are the worms who will die if you get in our way!”

“Quick, Flurry Schamhaar (Flurry Pubes),” said König, “I want all of the Meine Runt-Pferde suitcases brought out here into the courtyard. All of them. I want them unpacked and the clothes folded neatly on the tables. Now!” König Buckel called out to the women at the moat, “Give us another minute!”

“All of our clothes, sir?” asked Flurry Schamhaar.

“Yes!” said König. “We all overpacked for this trip. Hurry!”

The women outside began to chant “Now! Now! Now!” Inside the courtyard the heavy wooden beams of the drawbridge began to splinter.

König Buckel climbed back below.

“Sir!” said Flatternscheuen (Poser). “Things are about to get ugly! And 50% off!” He handed his commander König Buckel a flyer he’d picked up off the ground.

“Damn! Black Friday Sale!” said the commander.

Flatternscheuen turned the flyer over and read the back, “‘For the first two thousand of my loyal fans who storm Poenari Castle at midnight, all clothes modeled by the Meine Runt-Pferde will be 50% off!”

“Wait,” König said to Flatternscheuen. “That witch is talking about giving away our clothes, sweetie.” Flatternscheuen continued reading aloud, “Stick around for a free Chanel gift certificate, and there will also be dozens of available men.”

Oh, really? thought König Buckel.

“…and lots of designer shoes. PLUS, I will send a copy of my new book—FREE!—to everyone who mails me back their flyer. Signed Infinity Upton-Downes.”

The commander glanced at the witch’s flyer. “Infinity Upton-Downes! I love her books!” König Buckel dropped his weapon belt, grabbed his Chanel bag and turned to his weary soldiers. “Men! I’ve only heard of them in legend. These women of Black Friday, if they are who I think they are, are unstoppable. So it’s goodbye, my comrades. Auf Wiedersehen! So long my little Frechen Säugen (Perky Suckle), my brave Mond Mich (Moon Me), my handsome-but-straight Brust Gucker (Breast Gazer), and the rest of you sweeties! It was an honor to serve with—”

CRACK!!! The drawbridge shattered. The women stormed the courtyard with fire in their eyes trampling over each other to get to the tables first. Others attacked the König Buckel’s troops. “Flunker-wagger! Flunker-wagger!” the women were chanting.

“EEEEEEEyahhhhhhh!”

Pauline, who led the charge dressed in a badass polka dot dress and matching hat, met the commander eye to eye at the bottom of the staircase. She pushed him against the stone wall then swatted the commander with her wide brimmed hat. “Give me your boots,” she said to König Buckel, who was shaking in his pair of Nudie Saddle Ups.

“I-I-I…these were a special gift. No! Besides, you look like you wear a size eleven and these are nines.” Pauline started to twirl her beignet purse slowly. “No! They’re from Nordstoms, you beast,” he said. As König Buckel slowly backed up the spiral stone staircase, she matched his every move. He lashed out with his handbag and missed.

“What do you want for those boots?” she asked as she swung at his head. König ducked, saving his skull from being cracked like an egg.

“They were a birthday present from Heinrich Van Helsing! I’ll never find these again. Nudie stopped producing this line in 1995.”

“Heinrich Van Helsing? Are we talking about the same football player Van Helsing?”

“Please!” König screamed. “Heinrich! Heinrich!” Oh Lord! Where is my Heiny???

Books on Amazon by Fred Barnett (Bats and Shark Fin Soup coming soon!)

 #1,2,&3 are available in ebook and paperback on Amazon! Bats should be out in October 2014, Shark Fin Soup in 2015!

 Nantucket is a wee bit of smut available on Smashwords for 49 cents!

 Cover Bloody Good 2013 Cover : Second Chances Cover Rock Invasion Cover Shark Fin   Cover- Man From NantucketBATS

Yay! Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow

Yay! Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow
(an Excerpt from Fred Barnett’s ‘Bats’)

Riding in the 1970 Dodge Challenger are Vlad and Elizabeth (bloodsuckers), young Jonathan and Mina (up & coming bloodsuckers) and everyone’s favorite aunty, Lupta Axe, the Witch.

Elizabeth paid the fee and they parked. The crew of five piled out of her Barracuda and walked toward the VSD picnic area. Vlad knelt down on the newly dead grass. “This is the very spot where I found that stone that Elizabeth is wearing now.”
Mina looked at Elizabeth’s black diamond pendant wide-eyed. “Right here? Do you have any idea what that stone is worth? We could buy back the entire …” Mina stopped and stared.
A tall black robed figure approached them from the woods. Vlad thought Ah, yes, just what the world needs another freakin’ gothy black-robed figure. It was ‘the one and only Shadow,’ as in ‘The Shadow of the Valley of Death.’
The group froze before the Shadow’s frightening specter.
The Shadow turned slowly and spoke to Elizabeth. “What’s up, bitch?”
“Bitch? I was telling my family here just what a miserable little…” The Countess paused. “Listen flushabye, we came here to tell you that a group of the Van Helsing’s mercenaries are on their way to cut down all of your precious trees.”
“No way. Why would you warn me? After you called me, like, a ‘bit of a dick.”
“I’m shocked!” said Mina. “You called Shadow of Death a dick? No way!”
“Whatever! And my last name is O’Death.” said Shadow. “You can like, eat my shorts, skank!”
“Ewww. Not Even,” said Mina.
“I see that you are familiar with the language of the Valley, lithesome one?” asked the robed dick.
“Stop that.Everyone!” demanded Elizabeth. “The Van Helsing’s soldiers will be here in a few minutes. We need to surprise them.”
Vlad stepped forward. “We will hide, but in plain sight. Mr. O’Death would you be so kind to fetch some black robes, and, maybe some cups and plates. Let’s make it look like a family picnic.”
“All right, I’ll go check out my extensive wardrobe.” said Shadow. “It will cost you!”
“He is a dick, isn’t he? ” said Jonathan. He turned to Shadow who was gliding back toward his cabin in the trees “We’re here to save your valley, you ungrateful dead pric…!” Jonathan stopped speaking when he saw that the ground was completely covered in huge black gleaming diamonds. “Unholy fute! Wow!”
Shadow soon glided back toward the picnic area with a pile of neatly folded and monogrammed robes. “These belong to my family. The ‘M’ is for Marchand O’Death. He is my brother. We call him the Merchant, Angel, my sister and my parents, Void O’Death and my mom, Abyss or Abbie. I keep clean robes here for when they visit. Put them on, and sit at the table. I also brought along a bottle of O- plasma.” Shadow set a picnic basket down on the bench. “Have a drink.”
(Two minutes later …)
“Here come the mercenaries.” said Lupta. “Just keep talking. Anti-Christ! What in the heaven are they wearing?”
The Mercenaries, were dressed in pastel colored jumpsuits, heavily armed and equipped with chainsaws. They approached the picnic bench.
Vlad’s group carried on as if the mercenaries were not even there.
As if.
“Dude,” Shadow said to Jonathan.“Your babe is totally hot.”
 “Tre. As if! As if you’ll ever get to score any, looooooser.” said Jonathan, pretending to answer his cell phone.
 “Whoa! Who’s being a pulă (dick) now?” said Shadow, pretending to dial his.
The apparent leader of the mercenaries, dressed in avocado green, rapped his knuckles on the table. “I am Arsch Hut (Ass Hat)!” he said. “We are Die Kleinen Pferde (The Little Horsies) and we are taking control of this valley. Let me introduce a few of my colleagues. This is Tasse Kuchen (Cup Cake), and Numnum Knödel (Numnum Dumpling) among a few of my other favorites.
The colorfully dressed Horsies loomed over the picnic table, above the black figures who continued chatting, drinking plasma from Dixie Cups and ignoring them.
“Who isssss in charge here?” demanded Arsch Hut (Ass Hat).
“I’m the big Kahuna around here,” said Shadow. “I like the outfits. Cute. Festive!”
“You really like them?” asked Silber Tanga (Silver Thong). “We did the rhinestones ourselves,”
“We’re also part of a men’s chorus called the Van Hell Singers,” added the multi-colored Regenbogen Zuhälter (Rainbow Pimp).
Pastie Funkeln (Pastie Sparkle) curtsied then pulled the rope on his blue chainsaw (the one that matched his eyes and outfit). He stomped on the ground when he was unable to start it.
“Gnarly Chainsaws.” said Shadow. “What are you guys planning to do?”
“Cut down all of your trees.”
“For skateboards?”
“No silly,” said Numnum Knödel. “Parking spots for the new amusement park.”
Jonathan began talking to Mina. “Janis says that she is dating Steve!” He stuck his index finger into his throat making believe he was going to, like, hurl.
“Like oh my god. For real? That’s sick!” said Elizabeth “I’d better let Ashley hear this.” She dialed her phone.
“Steve? The poser?” said Vlad, opening his phone. “He deals ecstacy.”
“Not even!.” said Lupta.
 “Even!” said Mina, who was also making believe that she was talking to her best friend Courtney.
“Not even!” said Jonathan, said Jonathan into his phone.
 “Even!”said Shadow, who was texting.
“Achtung! Excuse me!” said, Arsch Hut, the Horsie’s commander. He was becoming very angry.
Vlad was sexting Elizabeth a picture of his looooong tongue, while speaking to Mina . “I would like totally hang up on the dude. He’s no Baldwin,”
They all heard a far away rumbling was heard. Lupta Axe perked her ears up. No! It can’t be! After months away, her twenty-foot-tall wayward husband, Saturn, was stomping his way home through the forest, whistling while he whittled a load of sharpened branches, most of which he carried on his huge shoulder.
The group needed to keep talking and killing time. Vlad, the big-shot warrior, was trying to think of a plan when Elizabeth had just sexted him back a nude portrait she had posed for in the 17th century.
“Well, I’m seeing Susan Anderson now,” bragged Shadow.
“Ewwwwww. Total slutbag.” said Jonathan.
“No way.”said Shadow.
Arsch banged on the table. Elizabeth looked up calmly. “Have a seat. Take a chill pill.”
“Fick you, and your ugly Challenger,” replied the very rude and impatient Horsie commander.
“Elizabeth! Dudette!” said Lupta while looking toward the edge of the park. “These douches totally egged your wheels in the parking lot!”
Elizabeth was seething. “Noooooo fucking wayyyy!” She couldn’t attack until Vlad had a plan. She texted Vlad: “Plan, Darling??? Hurry d fk up!” He sexted her back a shot of his middle finger between his legs under his robe.
“Excuse me!” said, Arsch Hut. “What are all of these black rocks? Valuable?”
“Black diamonds, guacamole dude.” said Shadow. “Take ‘em. Just leave the trees alone. Careful, they’ll cut right through your … the assholes are wearing disco boots?
“Really? First, we have orders to cut down all…Oh, mein Gott! The ground is covered with them?!” said the wide-eyed Arsch.
“They are not man-made cheapos. They are made of Human bones stressed for a minimum of three centuries.”
“Three centuries?” asked Luftigen Brötchen (Breezy Buns). “How are they pressurized so quickly?”
“Extreme stress,” said Shadow.
“You mean pressure?” asked Arsch Hut.
“No, Stress,” said Shadow. “These diamonds come from the bones of people who’d done nothing in life. Their souls remain within the bones until they are reincarnated into something useful, like a family pet, a dildo or a pizza. The first thing that we do, every day, is wake the bones with a loud alarm clock. Then we turn on the guilt. “Dead is no excuse.” I tell them. “I’m dead, but you don’t see me laying around. Look at your dead brother. He was a millionaire doctor! Get your feet off of the couch!”
Next, we give them irrational things to worry about by playing the TV news sixteen hours a day.
When “rest period” comes, we wake them every fifteen minutes with a combination of heavy bass disco, incessant barking dogs, power tools and crying babies. Oh, and sulphuric fart gas that they cannot escape from.
Then we threaten them all day with divorce, symptoms of illness, loss of work, hair, sexual dysfunction, and finances, lawsuits, teenage acne, unwanted hair, public embarrassment …well, you get the idea.
Before you know it, their bones have become huge black diamonds.”
“Fer shur.” said Elizabeth. “You’re okay, Shadow.”
Arsch Hut and his men bent down at the waist to gather the stones, failing to look behind them.
Several sharpened tree limbs shot from the woods, impaling all of the Horsies right up their big wazoozies as they were bent over in a line. A booming voice followed. “Hi honey, I’m home!”
“Saturn!” Lupta screamed.
“Uncle Saturn!” said Elizabeth. “Let’s decorate! I also feel festive!”
Saturn got to work stabbing the skewered bodies into the soil along the path toward the trees. “They look like popsicles. Can I eat one?” he said, proud of his display.
A frog fell from the sky as a flurry of roaches ran through the woods, heralding the new Plague Season,
“Plague season, again?” asked Jonathan.
“Three times a year, Jonny. Isn’t it just lovely?” said the very happy Lupta.
“Toooh-tally tubular!” said Mina.
“Radical!” said Shadow.
Four-and-a- half-foot-tall Lupta and twenty-foot-tall Saturn walked back toward the lot hand-in-hand beside Shadow. “You’re okay, Shadow.” she said. “You’re not such a tool after all. As a reward, in my next novel, I’ll let you bone Elmira.”
“Elmira, the evil queen?”
“No. The entire town of Elmira, California, stud.”
“Awesome! I want to marry your books. Seriously!”

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 |

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Honolulu Fine Arts Examiner

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