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And Then Things Got Weird….

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Rewroted for 2020 Better, bigger & Sillier

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BATS! The Invasion of Poenari Castle

The sixth double-decker bus from Gib-Pak HoHo Tours, the Gibor tour company, pulled up to the gates behind the others. Today, the drivers started to use the courtyard for parking next to the passage leading to the secret coffin room. To top things off, the little bastards were going to begin moonlight tours! Since the moon always happened to be full above Transylvania, this would be a nightly event!

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 beneath him. He was thinking about 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.

She’s probably in the bath, he Thought. He wanted nothing more than to wrap her beneath his wings, and kiss the bloodbles sliding down her ţâţe vith all the subtle finesse of a slobbering mastiff. Oops! Vlad could see that ‘Betty’ was reading his mind tonight across hundreds of fog-shrouded miles. She was picking out her trashiest pantyhose for their next date.

Betty, the Bloody Countess, the direct daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Satan, was awakened in her bath by the another noisy busload of the plasma pouches (Gibors) outside her 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 also 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.

For four hundred years Vlad had loved her. 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 at him, through the sinister fog, drooling 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 the 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 crowd below, farting in the long hallway, taking photos, and busy stealing clippings of Vlad’s tapestries, 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 his wife was missing. She’s probably in the gift shop, he thought.Morty snapped a few hundred more shots as Lucy’s blood splatter was licked up by several happy 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 husband never thought to look up, or report his missing spouse to the big New Guinea bus driver, Xomerang, who was busy eating 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 Lupta’s Nerd Chips ©.

Once a week, beneath Transylvania’s perpetual full moon, the Countess Elizabeth and Prince Vlad would relax within his double-wide coffin and listen to the music of Elizabeth’s pet wolves mating in the surrounding mountains. Hypnotized, they would lose themselves in passion. The pack’s leader, known as “Blue Eyes” Ferenc, would offer the lovebats his sad song of a lost love from 3 a.m. until dawn. Vlad sadly remembered that if the Ferenc hadn’t eaten his own daughter, Nancy, she might still be singing duets with him.

Date night at Poenari Castle this week was to involve Vlad drinking the Countess’ bathwater (the entire blood-filled tub). This was to be followed by a thoroughly invasive cleaning of every pore of her luscious body after he transformed himself into a hot steamy Mist-o-Matic. A concert of classical wolf song’s featuring Good Doggie Bocelli and a final game of Ingropa Batwurst (Bury the Batwurst) would round out their evening.

Below, another fifty chattering Gibor tourists entered the great hall and began to pose for each other’s cameras. Their ultimate plan, with the Van Helsing’s help, must be to erect a miniature Transylvania by 3D-ing their millions of photographs, demand that the old Transylvanian royalty shrink themselves, and then place the vampires into the tiny replicas of their ancient homes. Vlad was sure there couldn’t be any other explanation for the excessive picture taking.

Thank Hell (!) for my Betty-bun’s blind volf, Bocelli. The hound would clear the castle of tasteless Gibors with his famous rendition of “Con Te Partire” (“Time to Say Goodbye”).

They hated fine music.

***

Grieves’ dried-up old heart was touched by the Prince’s love for Elizabeth. The sad old butler’s face nearly cracked into a smile though Vlad was using his desiccated finger to stir a small mix of virgin blood, and a cup of Elizabeth’s used bathwater, over a candle flame. Though Grieves appreciated the attention, Vlad thought, I’ll let the poor old fellow go to his tomb and vallow in his bottomless misery. Torturing his dried-up butler would have given Vlad no pleasure.

Cannibial Bliss (Shark Fin Soup)

While sitting in his torch-lit canoe a few hundred miles away in New Guinea, the young Hotat warrior named Monq tossed his net into the water, and watched the surface begin to squirm. As he pulled in his net for the first time, he felt a sharp pain in the thin membrane between his thumb and index finger. Oh mm-fuck! Not again! He kept pulling and saw that the net was, yes, not only full of green and brown Mbolo worms (oh yum) but deadly striped sea snakes, one of which decided to bite him. He threw the deadly squirming mass overboard.

In an angry quick motion, Monq pulled his razor-sharp machete from his canoe, and, in one furious swoop, lopped off his own hand before the lethal poison could travel throughout his body, which would ultimately result in his belly button unscrewing and his ass falling off. Damn! It’s the right hand again. It would be months before his beloved ‘wakawakawaka’hand would again be up and operational.

#

One night, drunk on kava, one-handed Monq paraded through his village wearing a big red sea star on his bare chest and making shoot-’em-up sounds like a six-year-old. Monq thought that wearing some red sea star “bling” might attract the ladies who could wakawakawaka his baq for him. (It would only end up attracting his often-angry-(for-a-good-reason), castration-happy wife.)

Red sea stars were sacred on Hullapalu’u. They were the ‘bling’ of authority figures. Monq didn’t think anybody was paying attention. However, behind a clump of bushes, another young cannibal, named Bing, who lusted after Monq’s wife, Mmbabybaby, took a cell phone video of his rival. Bing was insane and in the final stages of kuru (mad cow) after dining on the brain scientist Hans Delbruck at the Cerebrum Fest in Papua. All of the Hotats in Hullapalu’u, including Monq and his precious Mmbabybaby were afflicted. Completely stoked about his video evidence, Bing giggled, shaking like a leaf on a fuzzy tree. Later that night, he would send the video clip of Monq’s sea star walk to Chief Mmrall (pronounced Dave).

“Chief Mmrall will not be amused,” Monq’s wife, Mmbabybaby, said. “He’ll bite your head off, stupid! And heads don’t grow back!

Monq would probably lose his meager income as well.

Because of worry, Monq had bitten his own fingernails literally down to the knuckles on three fingers of his right hand. It would be weeks before he could properly wipe his own behind.

ChiefMmrall 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).

“Who’s there?”

“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.”

“Lady fingers?”

“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 mutha…”

“Shut your mouf!”

“Sorry, Your Highness.”

“Just fuckin’ with you, Monq.”

Yaaaaaarrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh

The Man from Nantucket (The true story) can be found here for FREE!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/459533

Barnacle Balls

“Born on the Island of Nantucket, in 1906, Sam Swathorn was the only surviving grandson of the celebrated William “Barnacle” Balls (the sailor). In the early 20th century kids matured early and that is when young Sam sprung forth, like a boner, to take his place in the world as The Man From Nantucket.
One sunny afternoon, grandfather Balls, drunk and broke, trolled through the seaside town of Nantucket with his “chick bait” infant grandson showing him off to the town’s teenage girls. After many unsuccessful hours and an impending case of the trots seaman Balls decided to drag his grandson into Nantucket’s oldest whorehouse, Madam Tillie’s. William was always welcome there. Tillie, the most battle scarred hussy on the Eastern seaboard was in love with the free-spirited Mr. Balls. She loved to listen to “My Balls,” as she called him, sing sea shanties to her about his adventures in foreign ports.”
Excerpt From: Fred Barnett. “Word-  Nantucket 10-9-19.” Apple Books.

 

Drama(mine) and Defiance on the Deck of the Vinnie Maru (from Shark Fin Soup)

Bleeech!

The shark goddess’s words were the last thing that Bernie heard that afternoon as she continued on — with an obscenity-laced discourse on the benefits of public mastication.

By mid-morning, the crappy sky, the murky sea, the filthy crew, and the ugly metal boat had all been cast in the same ill-tempered gray.

T.K. stood a steady watch over the Jesus tarp while Bernie was leaning over the port side of the trawler ‘feeding the fish,’ beginning with his “bachelor’s breakfast” of leftovers from Señor Wence’s So-Right Cafe, including the large sangria. That meal was immediately followed by the previous night’s dinner from Los Gringos Estúpidos, working its way backwards, beginning with the after dinner mint, followed by the flan dessert, the margarita, tacos and lastly—what was firstly—two orders of chips and salsa. Bernie was too sick at the moment to investigate the mysterious Jesus-on-a-tarp in the box, only yards away from the forward deck beneath the scowl of Interpol’s half wooden giant and special agent in charge of Exotica, T.K. Betelnut.

#

Thirty miles out at sea, the pelagic trawling nets had been spread out in a wide circle. The black clouds rolled in.

The nets were ready to be hauled aboard. Each year’s catch was becoming smaller than the last.

An hour passed as the storm raged on.

As Bernie’s empty stomach began to improve, the native crew appeared more agitated. It seems that his statuesque co-worker, T.K., who never blinked, was beginning to spook the heebie-jeebies out of the savage New Guinea crew. No small accomplishment.

The towering tiki, T.K., wasn’t feeling swell either. He’d come aboard the boat with a nitrogen sickness, after ingesting a near lethal dose of Miracle-Gro, with his sap-sucking sweetie, Marilyn Monstera, the night before. Add to that his ever-present grimace, the result of chronic indigestion of biblical proportions. However he held steadfast, protecting his fellow Interpol agents.

#

Bernie considered the box holding the infamous tarp and decided that it was time to get the plastic sheet out of the weather and around to the covered stern of the trawler. He dragged the box to the back of the boat while being pelted by wind and rain. The crew watched him struggle. They were primitive, he thought. Their black eyes must have witnessed the dawn of creation — when gas sold for thirty-nine cents a gallon. Bernie pulled the box, trying to ignore their fearsome faces.

Behind their scowls and scars something long forgotten was being slowly winched up through their kuru-infected, spongy, alcohol-saturated brains. An ancient boogeyman was struggling to escape from their primitive brain folds. The New Guinea Hotat crew began to spontaneously beat on the deck with their knife handles and chant the words: “Boom Macelaca-laka, Boom Macelaca-laka!”—the name of their ancient shark god.

“You rang?” Believing himself to be the representative and future son-in-law of the New Guinea shark god, MacHeath, the crew’s leader, magically appeared on deck.

“We’re scared, boss.”

In Viking garb, Edwin MacHeath stepped forward. “Men, are you going to let this tiny tinkle from the old Christian god’s infirm bladder get you down?”

“Depends,” one answered, and the crew shared a pleasant chuckle.

“Be defiant!” ordered the Viking. “Look! I’m giving the Christian God the finger!”

Jesus, within the folded tarp, had heard the remark and began to stir. WTF??? Give WHO the finger? “Quis podex (Asshole),”

“Gedoverhere an gehd twork! Hur-yup! Tie down the boxes!” cried drunken Captain Debas from the other side of the ship. “Pull in the gear, chowder heads!” The deafening wind replaced his “authority” with chaotic howling. He continued roaring unintelligible orders as if he were in charge of the messy situation.

Jesus on a Tarp Only Likes Me as a Friend

Bernie had begun to unfold the tarp at the stern on the boat, not expecting to see anything too unusual. In the wind, he thought he heard the sound of a…choir?

He continued to unwrap, while saying, “Good morning, little baby Jesus! How are we doin’ today? I heard…that uh… Holy fuck!”

The apparition, Jesus-on-a-tarp, was actually Jesus-on-a-tarp-holding-a-.44-Magnum-pistol. God’s kid had been studying up on modern culture by watching TV.

“Helter Skelter,” announced the Savior. “I’m back!”

Certifiably Charlie Manson crazy, thought Bernie. “Now, hold on man,” He tried to say in calm tones against the howling wind. “You really don’t want to do this!”

“Oh, realllly?” 3-D Jesus put the gun to Bernie’s temple. “Get ready to meet your maker. The Big Cheeeeeesus!”

“Wait! Wait!” Bernie tried to calm the savior. “Hey! What’s got your cod piece all in a bunch this morning, huh, buddy?”

The routinely despairing Christ doubled over in rare laughter.“I’m just messin’ with you, Eggs. Is it acceptable if I call you Eggs? Listen, Benedict, today is yoooour lucky day! I have time to answer one, and only one, big question for you, so make it a good one, Bernie. While you’re paining your brain, I have a question for you too.”

“Shoot…No! I mean don’t shoot!”

“In what dark corner of Hell did you find those Bermuda shorts?”

“Hey! My mom bought me them for my birthday, you little…uh…messiah.”

“Name calling? I guess everyone must be calling you Eggs, now, because of me. Sorry about that.”

“Yeah, thanks. Why did you pick my sunny-side eggs to appear on? I didn’t need the nickname or the attention. Can you please put that gun away?”

Jesus twirled the gun. “Eeeeeeeeehah! Okay. Now ask me that big, big question. C’mon. You’re running out of time. I’ve got a full schedule today, like my best buds do, Saint Nick and the Chocolate Easter Bunny.”

“All right, then…a good question…uh…” Bernie couldn’t think under this kind of pressure. The savior was still holding a very large gun, pointed at his nuts.

Bernie was thinking hard. “Okay, sir,” he said, “whatuh, what did Billie Joe McAllister throw off of the Tallahatchie Bridge?”

“Bread.”

“What?!”

“Bread, Bernie!” the Savior yelled. “He and his sweetie were feeding ducks. Ducks… Don’t you just love ’em? Bless their waddling butts. Look at a duck, Benedict, and then tell me that my old man doesn’t, at least, have a sense of humor. By the way, Eggs, a word to the wise.” Jesus, with a maniacal laugh, twirled the gun again. “Listen pardner, next time you hear the voices of a heavenly choir, that’s me, telling you it’s time to git the durned fornication out of Dodge.”

“Huh?”

Jesus whipped his cellphone out. “Hold on, Bernie. This is important. My agent, Mitzi. Comeback event.” Jesus looked up at Bernie, held his thumb and pinky out around his ear and mouthed, “I’ll call you.”

“Please! Stop this goddamned storm!”

“Watch your tongue, mortal. Do I look like goddamned Penn and Teller? I have no time for parlor tricks. Morning, Cupcake.” He twirled his gun. “Eeeeeeeeehah!”

BATS (The Movie) it’s almost Halloween

Updated (Shark Fin Soup) Bernie Meets Dauna

img_0303-1

He dresses like an idiot”

The first time Bernie Benedict, the chief of police from Bolsa Chico, California met the shark goddess and queen of Kupaio was when he walked onto the beach in search of his wife, Sylvia. There, he came face to face with the ‘café au lait beauty’ named Dauna. Dauna was a boni fide Fijian shark goddess who was over three-thousand years old. She’d been born with the Fijian name Daucina which means ‘the light giver.’

In the 1960s, Daucina shortened her name to Dauna after deciding the long version of her name was too tiring to write when signing checks.

 

#

Dauna would not have taken a second look at the colorblind tourist, if not alerted by his ‘screaming’ Bermuda shorts and mismatched aloha shirt upon which hung a tag announcing, “Bula! My name is…Bernie.” 

Afraid that she might be blinded by Mr. Benedict’s clothing, Dauna took her sunglasses from the belt of her parreo and put them on. She stared at the schlub in disbelief until he became uncomfortable, dizzy and confused. Wait, he thought trying to focus himself, I’m at the dock waiting for, uh, what’s-her name… Wife? Yeah. Sally or something. Bernie tried to focus his mind by trying to determine whether her delectable tan could be described as toffee, butterscotch or caramel in color. Dauna laughed when he drooled on his name tag.

While Bernie was calculating the curves of possible tan lines beneath her parreo, the village sage, a tiny, ancient crone named Lupta, approached Dauna and whispered into Her Majesty’s ear, “The white meat’s name is Bernie Benedict, Your Heinie. You briefly met his great—great —-grandfather, *Samuel “Beans” Benedict, the sailor who brought coffee beans to our island many years ago. When you turned two-thousand and seventeen years old, Chief Paua Moa’s magical coffee grounds predicted that his decendant, another Benedict would carry your family jewels and save your empire.”

“SHUT THE באַרען up, לאָך WAFFLE!” screamed Dauna, causing a group of  ‘shocked’ Christian tourists to spill their cups of Outtamywayasshole Coffee while they ran back toward the Nyah-Wassup Dock, . “Oh, sorry, all. That was my Tourette’s speaking,” she told them. “What I meant to say was ‘Shut the באַרען up, לאָך waffle!’”

“All offense taken, my queen,” said the crone.

Amid the gutter language, the remaining ‘heathen’ tourists were focused on Bernie’s ugly shorts, staring, as if he were a nudist-filled car wreck inside of a Walmart.

“That…schlub,” said Lupta, employing an old Fijian term, “will someday bear your fruit, Dearie, I meanYour Heinieness.”

“P’leeeeease. Fruit? You know that I pass out at the sight of juice. That slob? Really? Dauna’s curiosity was being aroused — as was the schlub who was staring at her pectorals. My ampullae of Lorenzini (sharkie sensing organs) have never felt like this. Oooh, It’s warming up down south, she thought as her tail end began its hypnotic sway. 

Bernie, in return, could not take his eyes off the luscious, shifting form beneath her lucky parreo. Lucky? Lucky? Why did I think the parreo was lucky, as if it were somehow alive? He watched ‘Her Heinie’ draw down an entire cigarette in a single slow breath. The temptress was making Bernie uncomfortable as she took serious ‘inventory’ of his Bermudas. Her big eyes, behind the sunglasses, seemed to go ‘click click click. The goddess had been born with a pornographic memory. 

Smoldering and delicious, Bernie thought. Like roasting  s’mores over a dying campfire.

Bernie aimed his Nikon to snap a memory of the Queen of Kupaio. The camera flared, fell and melted in the sand. Being a shark goddess, she began to circle the white meat. Bernie had a premonition: Either he was going to be eaten by, or married to, the alluring ‘creature.’

Same damned thing. His plaid-clad boner didn’t care.

Dauna’s spell was broken when the captain of the dive boat called the tourists back on board. Bernie’s heart was racing as ‘Little Bernie’ turned him around for one last look. She was gone. He would never forget her.

Nor would she forget the funny looking human who would, someday, determine her future.

Every so often, in the silence of the tropic night, a mysterious breeze carrying the name “Bernie” would gently jingle the chimes of Dauna’s fun foyer. “Berrrrrnie. Berrrrrrrrnie. Bula! My name is Bernie”

(Sad violin music.) But forsooth, dear readers, for after Bernie had left the island, Dauna was to be married.

An arranged marriage…

…to another shark god. A gold-plated schmuck-on-fins named Bunji.

Dauna, upset, drove off in her golf cart, running into some stuff along the way. Human stuff.

When he finally boarded the boat to Suva, Bernie found his wife, Sylvia asleep inside the boat’s cabin. She’d been drinking, again,. He wouldn’t ask questions. Bernie knew that he had already lost his marriage. Before their trip, Sylvia, a teacher, would often stumble through the front door at 8 p.m, drunk, with a ‘musty’ scent —  and on her breath, a curious trace of Geritol.

Updated novel BATS / Nina (based on Gwyneth Paltrow) Jonathan , Brutehilda & Chester

Vlad and Elizabeth had consumed their entire human armies. They never once considered their “nom-nom-nom’s” or victimelor (victim’s) advice about creating armies of the undead that had, for decades, been utilized successfully at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Prince and Countess had “lost” their household staffs years ago. They’d also slaughtered their so-called “friends” and loyal subjects who did no more than plead for their puny lives. Elizabeth asked Lupta if she could “dig up a few distant relatives” after both herself and Vlad had had children long ago, all who eventually “flew the belfry.”

“I’ll see what I can do. I’ve got a line on two of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandkids who so far are, well, not that great. There are some shadows in their lives. Hmmm, they might have potential. They look like smelly hippies.”

After extensive research, Lupta pinpointed the two youngsters—both living far away, like in, fer sure, sunny Southern California. This looks promising! Both their addresses were listed exactly where the crystal iBall had indicated. And both could be found on the dating site Blacksheepshame.com, “Where the lowest common denominator of psychopaths meet!”

Vlad had a great-grandson, eight times removed, named Jonathan Tepes, a part-time junior college literature teacher, Santa Monica lifeguard, and tone-deaf folk singer. The young man looked very much like Vlad—without the mustache—who also had a striking resemblance to the singer James Taylor—before Mr. Taylor had lost all-his-fuckin’ hair. Blacksheepshame.com also showed that Jonathan had a “history,” a string of assaults on his police record.

Mina Bathory (the Bloody Countess’ great-granddaughter, eight times removed) was a lithesome blonde, age thirty-two, who owned a small cosmetics company. Young Mina also had a passion for guns and was once arrested for “ghoulish behavior” and the illegal trafficking of human organs…(?!) If she were dark haired, Lupta the witch thought, she would look like a thinner Elizabeth. That cute ass nails it. On a dating app description she’d listed herself as “all willowy an’ shit.”

Transylvania needed new blood—now. Lupta would make both of these children offers that they couldn’t refuse. The two young people had never met, until Lupta put her spells in motion one day…

***

I feel so “willowy” today, Mina thought. I’m young, blonde, thin, and springtime fresh! (She wasn’t that young.)

(Imagine, young reader: Can you picture her long fine hair blowing in the late afternoon breeze as she walks along Palisades Park above the sparkling Pacific? Can you see her as she kneels to pick flowers on her way toward her “favoritest” bench overlooking the Santa Monica pier? Oh look! There sits a handsome minstrel!)

Graceful Mina, holding a fistful of traumatized wildflowers viciously torn from their roots, approached the young man in slow motion. The smooth, shirtless, and easygoing young fellow was butchering James Taylor’s hit song, “Laid Back and Cool,” on his guitar beneath an oak tree.

“You sound just like James Taylor!” said the willowy one who, luckily for Jonathan, was also tone-deaf.

“I assume that you mean the young James Taylor, the carefree James with long, thick hair. Alas! Fair maiden! You look just like Gwyneth Paltrow. All willowy an’ shit,” said His Mellowness.

“My name is Wilhelmina Blythe. You, my handsome thirty-something-year-old irresponsible type, can call me Mina,” said the thirty-something-year-old faux Paltrow. “Someday I will be a princess!”

“Aye, my princess, my name is Jonny, short for Jonathan. The life of an irresponsible musician is in my blood. My father, Jonathan Tepes, was also a musician. He too was a talentless irresponsible leech…‘cept he’s bald and old. Observe, dear maiden, I’m lanky and young and cool without a care in the world. I don’t carry a wallet or wear a shirt. You, my dear, look extra willowy to me.” He attempted a few major sixth and seventh chords from a song by Bread. He knew that those soft romantic chords were willowy chick magnetizers.

“I am willowy,” Mina said. “You could blow me away with a fart.”

Jonathan tooted. A breeze ruffled through the green grass. She grabbed onto a nearby tree for safety.

Jonathan smiled. “A fart straight from my heart, dear maiden. I haven’t bathed in a week or washed my underwear in a month. I pray that it doesn’t offend thee. I’ve been living off of the land, our Mother Earth, since this morning.”

The willowy one was holding her breath, deep in thought, recalling a favorite quote. “Das Vaterland,” she finally exhaled to the flowers that she had picked on her way toward the top of the hill. She looked up toward the handsome singer. “‘Once again the songs of the fatherland roared to the heavens along the endless marching columns.’”

“Who said that?” asked Jonny.

“Hitler.”

“I’ve heard that Adolf was a vegetarian. Are you a vegetarian?”

“Mostly. I don’t eat much. If I farted I might…”

“…blow yourself away. I mean, do you eat any meat at all, fair one?”

“I once bathed in the blood of a friend’s placenta after I’d helped her give birth. My guru, Clem Choudhury, suggested it.

“Clam chowder? I love…”

“No, silly. Clem Choudhury, from India. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He was so beautiful. He told me that placenta is good for the complexion. That changed my life forever. Today I have my own business manufacturing my own brand of skincare products.”

Placentae.”

“What?”

“Sorry, the Latin plural for placenta is placentae. During the school year I study language and sometimes teach Elizabethan literature. This summer I’m just a cool, handsome lifeguard in Santa Monica. Can I be your prince, fair maiden? Where would you like to rule, my lady?”

“Hungary. My parents came here from a part of Hungary that is now part of Slovakia. I’ll be going over there soon for business. Someone is very interested in my products. I may look up some of my original family.”

“I may also travel to Europe soon. I’m researching a book and have applied, long ago, for grants. I’m a fan of eighteenth-century Romanticism.”

Shortly after the two young people exchanged emails, Facebook pages, phone numbers, Twitter and Linkedin accounts, and just about anything short of bodily fluids, the afternoon’s peace was shattered.

Two weekend bikers broke the silence of the Sunday afternoon as they approached the hill on a thundering Harley. They both wore blue jean outfits. The woman’s tattoo-covered flab was spilling out of her short-sleeved vest and shorts.

“Oh, look! Grizzly slobs,” Jonathan said to Mina. The motorcycle stopped.

“You talking to us?” asked the not-so-tough-looking male driver.”

“Your biker mama looks like a Salvador Dali painting,” said the make-believe James Taylor to the weekend-biker mama, a sixty-year-old monstrosity with sagging tattoos, named Brutehilda.

“Huh? Did you hear what this motherfucker said to me, Chester?”

“You skinny prick. If I weren’t just a huge, doughy, outa-fuckin’-shape desk jockey with a bad ticker, I’d stomp your sorry ass, punk,” said the lard-ass-on-wheels named Chester. “Nobody talks to my fuckin’ bitch like that!”

“Hey! I was just admiring the old heap’s artwork, man.”

“Fuckin’ punk.”

“He’s gonna be a prince and I’m gonna be his princess someday,” said the willowy Mina.

“Oh reeeeally? You two look the part now. Take my advice, ya better do it while you’re still a stick figure, flower child. That goes for you too, granola breath.”

Mina, always the cosmetics saleswoman, reached into her purse and produced a small jar of cream. “I can perk up that skin for you, ma’am. My name is Mina.”

“I’m Brutehilda and everyone calls this laugh-a-minute turd Chester the Jester!”

“I sell an anti-gravity skin cream that is far more than a simple moisturizer,” said Mina. “It will firm you up. Just rub some there and there…”

The change was magical. Visibly, the sinking ship tattoo on Brutehilda’s arm became buoyant. Beneath the biker mama’s jeans, the weeping willow tattoo on her thigh became a proud oak, reaching toward the sunny warmth of her ‘hoo hah.’

“Keep a sample,” said Mina. “Let me know how it works. My email is on the jar. In a few days I’m off to Slovakia. I got a letter from a woman named Lupta Axe who represents a rich countess. This countess claims that she has found an all-natural ingredient that can rejuvenate not only the skin, but the entire body. It’s supposed to be the real deal.”

“I’ve heard that nonsense before,” said Chester.

“I’m bringing my ingredients to Slovakia. The Countess says that she’ll purchase everything that I can make.”

“Me and the wife here are taking some business associates and some Nordic friends on a bike trip through there and along the Danube in a couple of weeks,” said Chester.

“If this stuff works, I’ll buy everything you’ve got,” said Brutehilda. “Maybe we’ll see you in Europe .”

“Unless the skinny bitch turns sideways,” said her old man Chester.

“Ha. Ha. Don’t listen to the old fool, string bean.” Brutehida’s stood up to stretch her six-foot-nine, no, six-foot-ten-inch frame.

Jonathan stepped forward assuming Mina would need protection against the imposing beast.

“Don’t worry, kid,” said Chester. “Brutie’s as gentle as a bear. She won’t crush your little friend. Besides, there ain’t enough meat on her bones.”

Mina stepped back to look up at her imposing new friend. “Yeah. Maybe we’ll see you around.”

“…and around and around,” said Jonathan. “Around Bruthilda. That would be quite a hike.” He tried to suppress a laugh.

“Orrrrrrrr…unless your dainty T. rex stands in front of the sun and causes a total eclipse,” said Mina with an elbow to Jonathan’s ribs. She couldn’t stop giggling. Neither could Jonathan. “We’re really sorry,” said Mina.

“Hey!” said Chester. “Noooooobody talks to my fuckin’ bitch like that!”

Jonathan sobered instantly and grabbed the neck of his guitar ready for a fight.

Chester broke into a big laugh. “Chill out, boy. I’m only joshin’!”

Jonathan and Mina looked at the mighty Brutehilda for a reaction, knowing that she could have pounded either of them into the ground like a fence post for the way that they were talking about her.

Then they all joined Chester the Jester in a hearty laugh. (Hardy fuckin’ har har.) There was nothing particularly funny said that afternoon in Santa Monica, it’s just that the biker couple had been tooting nitrous oxide (laughing gas or N2O/O2) continuously. Chester and Brutehilda, who had a dentist brother, always inhaled a tankful on Sundays, before they cruised the Pacific Coast Highway.

***

Mina had to rush home to make cream that afternoon. When she re-entered her Venice beachfront studio, she found a large puddle in front of her refrigerator. The electrical plug had been pulled out of the wall. On the floor, next to the plug was an empty package of Witchy Snack’s Wasabi Newt Eye. A witch snack? thought Mina. Meanwhile, Mina’s new skin cream “ingredients” (a drunk who’d been sleeping in the planter outside of her ground-floor apartment window) were rotting and leaking out onto the tile floor.

An old six-shooter, $5000 in bloodstained cash, and a handwritten note from Lupta Axe sat on her white Formica kitchenette table. Who the fute is Lupta Axe? And why did I just say “fute?”

The note read:

I’m so sorry about the mess, deeeeeeearie, but you have to leave Los Angeles. Now. Opportunity awaits you overseas. This gun used to belong to the outlaw Belle Starr in the 1880s. It’s a Colt Single Action Army pistol, custom made for Belle. It always protected her. No bushwhackers ever whacked Belle’s bush as long as she had it on her. Don’t let TSA find it, dearie. There are also three boxes of silver-tipped bullets in the bag. All of the documents that you need have been taken care of by order of the Countess. There will be a taxi waiting for you in Budapest. The Countess’ personal chauffeur will take you to Čachtice Castle in Slovakia. Happy travels! FYI: Fute means “fuck” in Romanian.

Jugglers

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