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And Then Things Got Weird….

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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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Murder at Raging Hormones Theme Park

INTRODUCING THE BARNETTS (an excerpt from the classic children’s story & novel — Shark Fin Soup)

Frankie and T.K. were talking to Detective Koulax, who, in the hot summer morning, dripped layers of fat like a greasy cheeseburger. A policewoman and an ambulance nurse were trying to console poor Dayna who was still wailing and shaking like an old, fat Elvis during liposuction.

“Sir? Mr. Detective?”

“I’m busy, Son. I’m not a detective. I’m with Interpol.” Bernie was kneeling next to the covered corpse. Expecting a morbidly curious teenager, Bernie waived the voice away. “Scram! You kids should not be over here.” He looked up to see, instead, a dapper old couple. “Sorry, folks, I thought you were kids.”

“Sir!” said the old man leaning on a walker. “We can tell you who dropped the body over near the Yellow-Water Keg ride.”

Bernie looked up at the codgers. “What did you two see?”

Jules turned to Claire instead of answering Bernie, “Don’t you recognize him Claire? Look at those awful Bermudas. He’s a big celebrity! Bernie Benedict from the Bolsa Chico surf patrol? The poor schmo with the corpse-grinder wife! He became famous for Talking to apparitions, like Jesus on his eggs and …”

“Okay, kid. Enough. Stop, please.”

“Your friend, the totem pole guy…”

“The tiki? Oh. I see that you’ve met T.K.”

“A police dog just peed on him,” said the old woman. “The poor thing looks like a constipated sequoia,” said the old woman.

“My name is Bernie, folks. And you are?”

They had matching walkers with bicycle horns attached. “We’re Jules and Clair, young man. We’re the Barnett’s. We saw the punks who dropped the body, dragged it past the Up-Chucky Cheese’s Pizza Wheel, and then moved it over to the Virtual DUI Simulator ride.”

“Listen, young man,” Claire said to the much older Bernie, “I should tell you that earlier we saw a group of thugs circling around that poor boy when he was alone outside the Cop-a-Feel Exploratorium. Punks were stalking him.”

“The young fool was wearing Worcestershire Sauce cologne,” added Jules.

“Were the ‘stalkers’ also teenagers?” said Bernie, turning to his pal Frankie and waving him over. “Get detective Koulax over here, Frankie.”

“No. They weren’t normal kids. Just odd,” said Claire.

Odd, thought Bernie. There was something definitely odd about senior citizens hanging around Raging Hormones theme park.

#

“Wait here for the police detective, you two,” said Bernie.

Frankie pulled Bernie aside and began to tell the new agent about the new trend among American teens. “Those two ‘old bats’ really are kids, Eggs. It’s the fashion trend of last resort.” Frankie had read about it in a Newsweek article last month. “What we have here, Bernie baby, is a couple of bored, rich, teenage jokers who have started a new clique.”

“Those are kids?”

“Yeah. A bunch of spoiled teenagers got together and purchased the retirement community named Geezer World near Sea Lion Point, a few miles from your old stomping grounds at Bolsa Chico. They spend most of their time complaining about aches and pains and doctors. This ‘old’ routine is their idea of recreation. Total Kooks-ville. A few times a week they get together for miniature golf, shuffleboard, canasta and shots of Geritol. They’ve got a style all of their own, buddy boy.”

“This boy Jules dyed his hair white?” asked Bernie.

“And shaved his head to look like he’s got male pattern baldness!” said Frankie.

“Claire dyed her hair blue! She must have on a gallon of cheap perfume.”

“Today’s kids are recycling the bottom of the fashion barrel, Clyde,” said Frankie. “One of their gang, a kid named Morris, had his back surgically bent. A fifteen-year-old known as Gramps drove that white Dodge here last night. Crazy cats.”

Dr. Green chimed in, “I’ve got grandkids living at Geezer World. Everyone there uses a walker.”

The Barnett’s were only sixteen.

Jules wore an “Old Guys Rule” T-shirt and belted “old guy” slacks that were pulled up; any further and he could have used them as a body bag. Claire wore an “Old Girls Rule Old Guys” T-shirt beneath a blue housecoat, along with bath slippers, and support hose.

Some got canes they use as weapons against a gang called the YW or the Young Whippersnappers,” said Green, who was lifting the sheet to get a look at the body.

Bernie asked the Barnett’s to tell him more about the apparent killers.

“Sure. Really ugly mugs. Mouths full of nasty teeth. That’s all. But we know who they are, Eggs. I mean Agent Benedict.”

“They’re a musical group called The Claspers,” said Claire. “They’re a band from New Guinea,” said Claire. “All they sing about is eating meat. They opened for us last night.”

“They file their teeth into points—very sharp points,” said Jules.

“What did you say, Julie?” said Claire.

“Pardon her, sir. “ The boss lost most of her hearing playing rock ’n’ roll with our band, Geezer. Have you heard of our band?”

“Should I have?”

“We used to be known as ROF, or Rich Old Farts. Then we went punk and called ourselves the Irritating Bowel Syndrome. We have a number one single out called ‘The Sound of Sirens’ from our hit CD called Elevator Music. You should check out our blog on geezer.baldspot.com.”

“We’re sorry that we couldn’t get better descriptions for you,” said Jules. “We can’t see as well at night as we used to. Their band truck, with the shark fin on top, was parked next to ours. Ours is the Handi-Van over there. Their truck had a name on it. Coral something—painted on the side.

Dr. David “Soylent” Green pulled Frankie aside. “Agent Samidino, this may be the onset of rare epidemic form of a disease that we call progeria. It is normally a rare genetic condition where symptoms resembling aspects of aging manifest at an early age. In the Barnett’s’ case, the premature aging could possibly be blamed on a new recreational drug these kids use, called X-Lax-Tasy, that reportedly gives its imbiber what they describe as ‘a spiritual bowel movement of biblical proportions.’ You’re looking at our future, agent. X-Lax-Tasy.”

Bats

Artemis’ Second Visit / from the sophisticated novel Shark Fin Soup

The Following Evening…

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Bernie awoke to Artemis was sitting on his bed studying her slender right hand in the moonlight. Her fingers were electrified, buzzing with a green aura. She’d returned for the second night in a row. A healer’s’ work is never done.

Oh, this might be useful! she thought, looking at her humming hand — a  recent development.

Bernie was staring—in wonder, and beginning to salivate. Oh, that might be useful!

Suddenly she spoke: “Your little rental is a pigsty.”

“Gee, thanks. I only sleep here and…”

“That bathroom is atrocious. At least get yourself some decent towels. I can help you fix this place up, so it’s fit for human habitation. I’m afraid to see what you keep in your fridge. Are you listening?”

“Sorry, Artie, but I have to try this.” Bernie, held the goddesses face in the palms of his hands, pulled her close, and planted a tender smooch on her astonished red lips. He waited. No home run slap — yet. She didn’t kill me. Okay, that’s a good thing. However, after unlocking lips, he found his eyes seriously crossed and seeing double. Dizzy, he closed them, still anticipating a well-deserved ass whooping.

Artemis, feeling strange, changed the subject. “Hey, Bernie! How about them Mets!”

Baseball?

The towering goddess suddenly grand slammed Bernie across the face—hard. “That’s for calling me Artie and…and…insolently kissing me. How dare you, mortal! If it weren’t for your godly friends, I’d Babe Ruth your empty head out of the park and into orbit like space junk!”

There was a pause.

“Ah, *⦻⟐⧲⧻* it! Is this what you want your cherry-lipped Dauna to do to you?” Artemis grabbed the frightened Human by the ears and planted her lips, squarely, on his. 

#

The deep kiss burned out star system (# HJ456), which was located over five hundred light years from our Milky Way. HJ456 had existed for seven billion years. All the life on its sixteen thriving planets had been fried! Immolated(!), as Bernie’s pain, on a scale of 10, hit 16.

#

“That ought to teach you.” the goddess sat up straight and tall, all business — again. ‘All business’ only made her look sexier. Artemis swallowed and held her eyes closed to regain her composure. “I’ll let you live,” poker-faced, she finally said. “Enough foolishness. Bomba and I have to go. One day soon I’m going to take you shopping, buy you some better clothes, and fix this place up. Except for the old can of cat food, your refrigerator is empty. We’ll have to get some healthy food into you, Braden.”

“It’s Bernie.”

  “Whatever. Do you like ribs? I need to take you to Adam’s Ribs on Sawtelle. All that you can eat on Tuesdays. ”

“Ribs? Wait. Last night you told me that you were an animal lover.”

She smiled. “Yum.” Artemis closed Bernie’s speechless lips with two fingers vibrating in sync with Bomba’s powerful purr. “Now, quiet. Get some rest.” The long perfect fingers lingered like a kiss. “Whew!” She slapped herself. “Sun’s up. We gotta go, hot shot.”

Go ahead, Bomba, Bernie thought. Abandon me for this…this…wow. Go with her, you big dumb animal. Bernie, after watching his cat and his punching-bag-of-a-heart follow the six-foot-six braided dreamsicle out the door, he gave up, calmed down and tried really, really hard to fall asleep. Ow!

Bomba’s new-bestest-long-leggiest-goddess friend had left the half asleep human a souvenir. One of her signature golden arrows stuck out from Bernie’s pillow. The arrow was vibrating and still sticky with chili. The beautiful Artemis.

Half dreaming, Bernie heard the voices of his blue caped cat and the goddess, outside, laughing hysterically as they walked toward Artemis’ fine set of wheels. “Did you see the look on chew toy’s face?” the two said in chorus.

Bomba, looked down at a phantom of Bernie’s broken heart laying on the car’s front seat between them, and let out a sigh of surrender. Bernie’s cat’s new-bestest-long-leggiest-goddess friend EVER seemed to be amused by the imploded human they left behind. He’ll heal, she thought to herself.

The daunting goddess and the mighty Bomba took a sip from their root beer floats and sped off toward the setting moon.

“Calling you a big, dumb animal. The big sap.” She patted the growing kitty on his head and smiled. “He should talk.” Bomba spat a hairball the size of a baseball into the endless void (Within two days, Bomba’s projectile, traveling at a rate of 17,500 mph, would cause extensive and expensive damage to the Soyuz Space Station).

Perhaps, thought Artemis, my job is done. Tag and release. He’ll heal. “Why am I tingling, Bomba?”

“Meow?”

#

Dauna Robinson’s Office / Interpol “Here, let me.” Agent Dauna smiled and wiped Bernie’s mouth with a handkerchief drawn from her bra. “You’re drooling, like the first time I saw you, Pavlov.” Though the shark goddess loved to toy with her prey, she knew that she had to play nice with Interpol’s new star, Bernie “Eggs” Benedict, the ‘god whisperer.’ The details of Dauna Robinson’s office slowly emerged. It was more or less a cocktail lounge with sultry saxophone tunes playing on an old Philco console. There were no books or even a computer in the dispatcher’s office. Chief Lyman said that she had a porno…uh…photographic mind. Ms. Robinson’s desk was simply a small round table with an old coffee-stained manila folder on top, two uncomfortable office chairs with blood-red stains and an overstuffed couch. Bernie didn’t see booze on the mini bar. Instead there were a few dozen bottles of water. She only drinks water? It wasn’t just any old water. It was Bernie’s own Instant Hawaiian Ocean Splash — my own creation, my brand! Bernie had originally designed the ‘Splash’ as a gag gift, for splashing, not drinking, when he was a young surfer in Bolsa Chico. It had remained a great success. Has she been dousing herself in my ‘Splash,’ or is it really that steamy in here? What does she know about me? Dauna opened up the window shade, turned her head and studied Bernie from beneath a thick mane of wet, gray-streaked, shoulder length hair. In the rays of sunlight, her complexion was the color a rich coffee latte beneath a cream-colored blouse — which was soaked throughout. Her “girls” appeared to wink at Bernie from beneath the wet cloth. She reached behind her and took a cigarette from a pack on her desk while gauging Bernie’s reaction. “Something wrong, sailor? Oh, yeah, sorry, but this blouse sticks.” Dauna’s 45-22-24 figure was further highlighted by the pencil skirt that clung to her like a second skin. He noticed Dauna’s pair of black pumps tossed into the corner. They’d been chewed on. Chewed on? Bernie began to feel uneasy. “I’m sure that I know you from somewhere, Agent Robinson.” “Really, Einstein?” “But I can’t put my finger on it.” “You will, sweetie.” “I-I-I-I…?” “Aye aye aye aye? Ah, mi chorizo!” She pinched Bernie’s cheek. “Do you like magic? Señor, would you like to see a little trick that I picked up in a classy Tijuana bar? ¿Sí?” Dauna spun toward her cocktail bar, then leaned back against it on one elbow. “Obsérvame.” She zeroed in on Bernie and then drew down an entire cigarette in one continuous breath. He’d seen her as the Queen of Kupaio do something that. However, this was a better. From beneath the hem of her skirt, a trail of smoke descended like a slo-mo waterfall into a pool about her delicate feet. “Did you like that? Do you talk?” Dauna’s soft eyes were drinking in her new human chew-toy from head to toe. “Oh, I see you did like that.” Bernie watched her rub her cigarette butt into her masochistic ashtray. ‘Masochistic?’ Why would an ashtray be masochistic? What’s wrong with me? Locked and loaded, rocking her curves, she closed in. The rhythm! She is the shark that I saw while diving! THIS might be a good time to panic. The shark! The Queen! The waitress! Bernie covering his shrinking embarrassment, cautiously backed toward the door as she came in for the kill, mercilessly dipping and swirling her thick hair beneath his nose, filling his useless head with a dose of Home Wrecker Perfume. Dauna the Fijian Shark Goddess relished watching the silly mortal turn into easy-to-digest mush. Bernie fell into an angry chair. The chair didn’t go for hairy man butts. Dauna Robinson spun again, this time into her office bathroom, she said, “Make yourself comfortable while I adjust my goodies.” Goodies. Bernie took a deep breath and tried to relax. Relax. Fat chance. “How do you like working with the COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division, hun?” she asked from the behind the door. “T.K. and Frankie are a hoot. Oh, and, uh FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” “Agent Robinson, is something wrong?” Dauna poked her head around the corner. “Just having my morning Tourette’s, sweetie.” She stared. “Can I ask, where the Hell you dug up your wardrobe? Bad Will?” Bernie had been asked by T.K. to study up on the subject of Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”) before moving to Hawaii. He didn’t know why — until now. Bernie had a feeling that everything in Dauna Robinson’s office was alive. The newly adjusted goddess who had entered the room wearing a fresh white top and a matching tight skirt, set her soft bottom upon the thrilled sill. Bernie’s heart paused in deep silent reverence for the old painted wooden board. Dauna paused to light another happy cigarette and admire another bit of Hawaiian ‘scenery,’ derelicts sleeping in pee on the sidewalks of Chinatown. “SNAP OUT OF IT, BERNIE!” demanded a second woman’s voice from the ‘the Bernie file’ on Dauna’s desk. Bernie jumped up, staring at the folder. “Dammit! Who the hell?” “What is it, hun?” asked Dauna. Both of them saw the image of the Virgin Mary spreading like a coffee stain across the manila folder. Uh, oh shit…sorry, ma’am, Bernie apologized to the folder. Mother Mary had appeared on his browser a couple of times, but the two never spoke. Mary scared all of her lonely son’s friends away with her icy condescending looks. “I said snap out of it, Mr. Cupcake!” said Mother Mary, “or it’s your funeral!” “Funeral? Please! Not now!” “Who are you talking to, hun?” asked Dauna. “Is there someone on the folder? It isn’t your new pal, Lion Chow, again, is it?” “Lion chow? Jesus? No. It’s his mom. Ms. Robinson, did you just call Mary’s son, Jesus, lion chow?” Flat Mary rolled her eyes toward heaven and said in Latin, “Odio hoc canis (I hate this bitch).” The mother of God shook her haloed head in disgust and disappeared from the folder. “P-leeeeeease, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou,” said Dauna. It seemed that Jesus’ mom had left the building. Dauna looked at Bernie, “Agent Benedict, let me tell you the truth about Mrs. Goody Two Sandals.” “Who?” “Mrs. Sno-fucking-White thinks that I’m trying to corrupt her precious little boy, Jesus. Do you know what I think? I think that your melancholy, haloed hippie pal wants to lay his blessings on my pink tang.’ The kid should be dating. Did you know that his dad, or mom, or their family cat cursed me with Tourette’s after I used the old man’s name in vain? So, I, Ms. Potty Mouth, have a free ticket to call Merkin Man whatever I want.” “Merkin Man?” Merkin Man sounds like a commercial. “What? Should I ask Mr. Love-In to forgive me? He knows that I’d just start cussing again.” She smiled at Bernie. “Do you know what? I think that it turns him on.” Dauna turned away and lit yet another overjoyed, happy-to-die cigarette. The small smooth scars on Dauna’s neck caught Bernie’s attention. The marks reminded him of a Youtube video that showed sharks mating — brutally. Dauna knew what the new agent was thinking, even as she faced the window. “On my island, we call these scars ‘shark hickeys.’” Shark Hickeys? What is she? Bernie was fascinated — dumbfounded. “Give your peepers a rest, chew toy. Because if you were looking for panty lines, you’re shit outta luck. I need you to listen. Interpol, and I, both need your special powers. You can see beings that I can’t, and I can see plenty,” she said, sizing up the new agent. “Yeah, plenty.” She inhaled her very-Lucky Strike. “Here, let me.” Agent Dauna smiled and wiped Bernie’s mouth with a handkerchief drawn from her bra. “You’re drooling, like the first time I saw you, Pavlov.” Though the shark goddess loved to toy with her prey, she knew that she had to play nice with Interpol’s new star, Bernie “Eggs” Benedict, the ‘god whisperer.’ The details of Dauna Robinson’s office slowly emerged. It was more or less a cocktail lounge with sultry saxophone tunes playing on an old Philco console. There were no books or even a computer in the dispatcher’s office. Chief Lyman said that she had a porno…uh…photographic mind. Ms. Robinson’s desk was simply a small round table with an old coffee-stained manila folder on top, two uncomfortable office chairs with blood-red stains and an overstuffed couch. Bernie didn’t see booze on the mini bar. Instead there were a few dozen bottles of water. She only drinks water? It wasn’t just any old water. It was Bernie’s own Instant Hawaiian Ocean Splash — my own creation, my brand! Bernie had originally designed the ‘Splash’ as a gag gift, for splashing, not drinking, when he was a young surfer in Bolsa Chico. It had remained a great success. Has she been dousing herself in my ‘Splash,’ or is it really that steamy in here? What does she know about me? Dauna opened up the window shade, turned her head and studied Bernie from beneath a thick mane of wet, gray-streaked, shoulder length hair. In the rays of sunlight, her complexion was the color a rich coffee latte beneath a cream-colored blouse — which was soaked throughout. Her “girls” appeared to wink at Bernie from beneath the wet cloth. She reached behind her and took a cigarette from a pack on her desk while gauging Bernie’s reaction. “Something wrong, sailor? Oh, yeah, sorry, but this blouse sticks.” Dauna’s 45-22-24 figure was further highlighted by the pencil skirt that clung to her like a second skin. He noticed Dauna’s pair of black pumps tossed into the corner. They’d been chewed on. Chewed on? Bernie began to feel uneasy. “I’m sure that I know you from somewhere, Agent Robinson.” “Really, Einstein?” “But I can’t put my finger on it.” “You will, sweetie.” “I-I-I-I…?” “Aye aye aye aye? Ah, mi chorizo!” She pinched Bernie’s cheek. “Do you like magic? Señor, would you like to see a little trick that I picked up in a classy Tijuana bar? ¿Sí?” Dauna spun toward her cocktail bar, then leaned back against it on one elbow. “Obsérvame.” She zeroed in on Bernie and then drew down an entire cigarette in one continuous breath. He’d seen her as the Queen of Kupaio do something that. However, this was a better. From beneath the hem of her skirt, a trail of smoke descended like a slo-mo waterfall into a pool about her delicate feet. “Did you like that? Do you talk?” Dauna’s soft eyes were drinking in her new human chew-toy from head to toe. “Oh, I see you did like that.” Bernie watched her rub her cigarette butt into her masochistic ashtray. ‘Masochistic?’ Why would an ashtray be masochistic? What’s wrong with me? Locked and loaded, rocking her curves, she closed in. The rhythm! She is the shark that I saw while diving! THIS might be a good time to panic. The shark! The Queen! The waitress! Bernie covering his shrinking embarrassment, cautiously backed toward the door as she came in for the kill, mercilessly dipping and swirling her thick hair beneath his nose, filling his useless head with a dose of Home Wrecker Perfume. Dauna the Fijian Shark Goddess relished watching the silly mortal turn into easy-to-digest mush. Bernie fell into an angry chair. The chair didn’t go for hairy man butts. Dauna Robinson spun again, this time into her office bathroom, she said, “Make yourself comfortable while I adjust my goodies.” Goodies. Bernie took a deep breath and tried to relax. Relax. Fat chance. “How do you like working with the COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division, hun?” she asked from the behind the door. “T.K. and Frankie are a hoot. Oh, and, uh FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” “Agent Robinson, is something wrong?” Dauna poked her head around the corner. “Just having my morning Tourette’s, sweetie.” She stared. “Can I ask, where the Hell you dug up your wardrobe? Bad Will?” Bernie had been asked by T.K. to study up on the subject of Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”) before moving to Hawaii. He didn’t know why — until now. Bernie had a feeling that everything in Dauna Robinson’s office was alive. The newly adjusted goddess who had entered the room wearing a fresh white top and a matching tight skirt, set her soft bottom upon the thrilled sill. Bernie’s heart paused in deep silent reverence for the old painted wooden board. Dauna paused to light another happy cigarette and admire another bit of Hawaiian ‘scenery,’ derelicts sleeping in pee on the sidewalks of Chinatown. “SNAP OUT OF IT, BERNIE!” demanded a second woman’s voice from the ‘the Bernie file’ on Dauna’s desk. Bernie jumped up, staring at the folder. “Dammit! Who the hell?” “What is it, hun?” asked Dauna. Both of them saw the image of the Virgin Mary spreading like a coffee stain across the manila folder. Uh, oh shit…sorry, ma’am, Bernie apologized to the folder. Mother Mary had appeared on his browser a couple of times, but the two never spoke. Mary scared all of her lonely son’s friends away with her icy condescending looks. “I said snap out of it, Mr. Cupcake!” said Mother Mary, “or it’s your funeral!” “Funeral? Please! Not now!” “Who are you talking to, hun?” asked Dauna. “Is there someone on the folder? It isn’t your new pal, Lion Chow, again, is it?” “Lion chow? Jesus? No. It’s his mom. Ms. Robinson, did you just call Mary’s son, Jesus, lion chow?” Flat Mary rolled her eyes toward heaven and said in Latin, “Odio hoc canis (I hate this bitch).” The mother of God shook her haloed head in disgust and disappeared from the folder. “P-leeeeeease, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou,” said Dauna. It seemed that Jesus’ mom had left the building. Dauna looked at Bernie, “Agent Benedict, let me tell you the truth about Mrs. Goody Two Sandals.” “Who?” “Mrs. Sno-fucking-White thinks that I’m trying to corrupt her precious little boy, Jesus. Do you know what I think? I think that your melancholy, haloed hippie pal wants to lay his blessings on my pink tang.’ The kid should be dating. Did you know that his dad, or mom, or their family cat cursed me with Tourette’s after I used the old man’s name in vain? So, I, Ms. Potty Mouth, have a free ticket to call Merkin Man whatever I want.” “Merkin Man?” Merkin Man sounds like a commercial. “What? Should I ask Mr. Love-In to forgive me? He knows that I’d just start cussing again.” She smiled at Bernie. “Do you know what? I think that it turns him on.” Dauna turned away and lit yet another overjoyed, happy-to-die cigarette. The small smooth scars on Dauna’s neck caught Bernie’s attention. The marks reminded him of a Youtube video that showed sharks mating — brutally. Dauna knew what the new agent was thinking, even as she faced the window. “On my island, we call these scars ‘shark hickeys.’” Shark Hickeys? What is she? Bernie was fascinated — dumbfounded. “Give your peepers a rest, chew toy. Because if you were looking for panty lines, you’re shit outta luck. I need you to listen. Interpol, and I, both need your special powers. You can see beings that I can’t, and I can see plenty,” she said, sizing up the new agent. “Yeah, plenty.” She inhaled her very-Lucky Strike. “Here, let me.” Agent Dauna smiled and wiped Bernie’s mouth with a handkerchief drawn from her bra. “You’re drooling, like the first time I saw you, Pavlov.” Though the shark goddess loved to toy with her prey, she knew that she had to play nice with Interpol’s new star, Bernie “Eggs” Benedict, the ‘god whisperer.’ The details of Dauna Robinson’s office slowly emerged. It was more or less a cocktail lounge with sultry saxophone tunes playing on an old Philco console. There were no books or even a computer in the dispatcher’s office. Chief Lyman said that she had a porno…uh…photographic mind. Ms. Robinson’s desk was simply a small round table with an old coffee-stained manila folder on top, two uncomfortable office chairs with blood-red stains and an overstuffed couch. Bernie didn’t see booze on the mini bar. Instead there were a few dozen bottles of water. She only drinks water? It wasn’t just any old water. It was Bernie’s own Instant Hawaiian Ocean Splash — my own creation, my brand! Bernie had originally designed the ‘Splash’ as a gag gift, for splashing, not drinking, when he was a young surfer in Bolsa Chico. It had remained a great success. Has she been dousing herself in my ‘Splash,’ or is it really that steamy in here? What does she know about me? Dauna opened up the window shade, turned her head and studied Bernie from beneath a thick mane of wet, gray-streaked, shoulder length hair. In the rays of sunlight, her complexion was the color a rich coffee latte beneath a cream-colored blouse — which was soaked throughout. Her “girls” appeared to wink at Bernie from beneath the wet cloth. She reached behind her and took a cigarette from a pack on her desk while gauging Bernie’s reaction. “Something wrong, sailor? Oh, yeah, sorry, but this blouse sticks.” Dauna’s 45-22-24 figure was further highlighted by the pencil skirt that clung to her like a second skin. He noticed Dauna’s pair of black pumps tossed into the corner. They’d been chewed on. Chewed on? Bernie began to feel uneasy. “I’m sure that I know you from somewhere, Agent Robinson.” “Really, Einstein?” “But I can’t put my finger on it.” “You will, sweetie.” “I-I-I-I…?” “Aye aye aye aye? Ah, mi chorizo!” She pinched Bernie’s cheek. “Do you like magic? Señor, would you like to see a little trick that I picked up in a classy Tijuana bar? ¿Sí?” Dauna spun toward her cocktail bar, then leaned back against it on one elbow. “Obsérvame.” She zeroed in on Bernie and then drew down an entire cigarette in one continuous breath. He’d seen her as the Queen of Kupaio do something that. However, this was a better. From beneath the hem of her skirt, a trail of smoke descended like a slo-mo waterfall into a pool about her delicate feet. “Did you like that? Do you talk?” Dauna’s soft eyes were drinking in her new human chew-toy from head to toe. “Oh, I see you did like that.” Bernie watched her rub her cigarette butt into her masochistic ashtray. ‘Masochistic?’ Why would an ashtray be masochistic? What’s wrong with me? Locked and loaded, rocking her curves, she closed in. The rhythm! She is the shark that I saw while diving! THIS might be a good time to panic. The shark! The Queen! The waitress! Bernie covering his shrinking embarrassment, cautiously backed toward the door as she came in for the kill, mercilessly dipping and swirling her thick hair beneath his nose, filling his useless head with a dose of Home Wrecker Perfume. Dauna the Fijian Shark Goddess relished watching the silly mortal turn into easy-to-digest mush. Bernie fell into an angry chair. The chair didn’t go for hairy man butts. Dauna Robinson spun again, this time into her office bathroom, she said, “Make yourself comfortable while I adjust my goodies.” Goodies. Bernie took a deep breath and tried to relax. Relax. Fat chance. “How do you like working with the COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division, hun?” she asked from the behind the door. “T.K. and Frankie are a hoot. Oh, and, uh FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” “Agent Robinson, is something wrong?” Dauna poked her head around the corner. “Just having my morning Tourette’s, sweetie.” She stared. “Can I ask, where the Hell you dug up your wardrobe? Bad Will?” Bernie had been asked by T.K. to study up on the subject of Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”) before moving to Hawaii. He didn’t know why — until now. Bernie had a feeling that everything in Dauna Robinson’s office was alive. The newly adjusted goddess who had entered the room wearing a fresh white top and a matching tight skirt, set her soft bottom upon the thrilled sill. Bernie’s heart paused in deep silent reverence for the old painted wooden board. Dauna paused to light another happy cigarette and admire another bit of Hawaiian ‘scenery,’ derelicts sleeping in pee on the sidewalks of Chinatown. “SNAP OUT OF IT, BERNIE!” demanded a second woman’s voice from the ‘the Bernie file’ on Dauna’s desk. Bernie jumped up, staring at the folder. “Dammit! Who the hell?” “What is it, hun?” asked Dauna. Both of them saw the image of the Virgin Mary spreading like a coffee stain across the manila folder. Uh, oh shit…sorry, ma’am, Bernie apologized to the folder. Mother Mary had appeared on his browser a couple of times, but the two never spoke. Mary scared all of her lonely son’s friends away with her icy condescending looks. “I said snap out of it, Mr. Cupcake!” said Mother Mary, “or it’s your funeral!” “Funeral? Please! Not now!” “Who are you talking to, hun?” asked Dauna. “Is there someone on the folder? It isn’t your new pal, Lion Chow, again, is it?” “Lion chow? Jesus? No. It’s his mom. Ms. Robinson, did you just call Mary’s son, Jesus, lion chow?” Flat Mary rolled her eyes toward heaven and said in Latin, “Odio hoc canis (I hate this bitch).” The mother of God shook her haloed head in disgust and disappeared from the folder. “P-leeeeeease, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou,” said Dauna. It seemed that Jesus’ mom had left the building. Dauna looked at Bernie, “Agent Benedict, let me tell you the truth about Mrs. Goody Two Sandals.” “Who?” “Mrs. Sno-fucking-White thinks that I’m trying to corrupt her precious little boy, Jesus. Do you know what I think? I think that your melancholy, haloed hippie pal wants to lay his blessings on my pink tang.’ The kid should be dating. Did you know that his dad, or mom, or their family cat cursed me with Tourette’s after I used the old man’s name in vain? So, I, Ms. Potty Mouth, have a free ticket to call Merkin Man whatever I want.” “Merkin Man?” Merkin Man sounds like a commercial. “What? Should I ask Mr. Love-In to forgive me? He knows that I’d just start cussing again.” She smiled at Bernie. “Do you know what? I think that it turns him on.” Dauna turned away and lit yet another overjoyed, happy-to-die cigarette. The small smooth scars on Dauna’s neck caught Bernie’s attention. The marks reminded him of a Youtube video that showed sharks mating — brutally. Dauna knew what the new agent was thinking, even as she faced the window. “On my island, we call these scars ‘shark hickeys.’” Shark Hickeys? What is she? Bernie was fascinated — dumbfounded. “Give your peepers a rest, chew toy. Because if you were looking for panty lines, you’re shit outta luck. I need you to listen. Interpol, and I, both need your special powers. You can see beings that I can’t, and I can see plenty,” she said, sizing up the new agent. “Yeah, plenty.” She inhaled her very-Lucky Strike.

“Here, let me.” Agent Dauna smiled and wiped Bernie’s mouth with a handkerchief drawn from her bra. “You’re drooling, like the first time I saw you, Pavlov.” Though the shark goddess loved to toy with her prey, she knew that she had to play nice with Interpol’s new star, Agent Bernie “Eggs” Benedict, the ‘god whisperer.’

The details of Dauna Robinson’s office slowly emerged. It was more or less a cocktail lounge with sultry saxophone tunes playing on an old Philco console. There were no books or even a computer in the dispatcher’s office. Chief Lyman said that she had a porno…uh…photographic mind. Ms. Robinson’s desk was simply a small round table with an old coffee-stained manila folder on top, two uncomfortable office chairs with blood-red stains and an overstuffed couch. Bernie didn’t see booze on the mini bar. Instead there were a few dozen bottles of water. She only drinks water?

It wasn’t just any old water. It was Bernie’s own Instant Hawaiian Ocean Splash — my own creation, my brand! Bernie had originally designed the ‘Splash’ as a gag gift, for splashing, not drinking, when he was a young surfer in Bolsa Chico. It had remained a great success. Has she been dousing herself in my ‘Splash,’ or is it really that steamy in here? What does she know about me?

Dauna opened up the window shade, turned her head and studied Bernie from beneath a thick mane of wet, gray-streaked, shoulder length hair. In the rays of sunlight, her complexion was the color a rich coffee latte beneath a cream-colored blouse — which was soaked throughout. Her “girls” appeared to wink at Bernie from beneath the wet cloth. She reached behind her and took a cigarette from a pack on her desk while gauging Bernie’s reaction. “Something wrong, sailor? Oh, yeah, sorry, but this blouse sticks.” Dauna’s 45-22-24 figure was further highlighted by the pencil skirt that clung to her like a second skin. He noticed Dauna’s pair of black pumps tossed into the corner. They’d been chewed on. Chewed on? Bernie began to feel uneasy.

“I’m sure that I know you from somewhere, Agent Robinson.”

“Really, Einstein?”

“But I can’t put my finger on it.”

“You will, sweetie.”

“I-I-I-I…?”

“Aye aye aye aye? Ah, mi chorizo!” She pinched Bernie’s cheek. “Do you like magic? Señor, would you like to see a little trick that I picked up in a classy Tijuana bar? ¿Sí?”

Dauna spun toward her cocktail bar, then leaned back against it on one elbow. “Obsérvame.” She zeroed in on Bernie and then drew down an entire cigarette in one continuous breath. He’d seen her as the Queen of Kupaio do something that. However, this was a better. From beneath the hem of her skirt, a trail of smoke descended like a slo-mo waterfall into a pool about her delicate feet.

“Did you like that? Do you talk?” Dauna’s soft eyes were drinking in her new human chew-toy from head to toe. “Oh, I see you did like that.”

Bernie watched her rub her cigarette butt into her masochistic ashtray. ‘Masochistic?Why would an ashtray be masochistic? What’s wrong with me? Locked and loaded, rocking her curves, she closed in.

The rhythm! She is the shark that I saw while diving! THIS might be a good time to panic. The shark! The Queen! The waitress!

Bernie covering his shrinking embarrassment, cautiously backed toward the door as she came in for the kill, mercilessly dipping and swirling her thick hair beneath his nose, filling his useless head with a dose of Home Wrecker Perfume.

Dauna the Fijian Shark Goddess relished watching the silly mortal turn into easy-to-digest mush. Bernie fell into an angry chair. The chair didn’t go for hairy man butts.

Dauna Robinson spun again, this time into her office bathroom, she said, “Make yourself comfortable while I adjust my goodies.”

Goodies. Bernie took a deep breath and tried to relax. Relax. Fat chance.

“How do you like working with the COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division, hun?” she asked from the behind the door. “T.K. and Frankie are a hoot. Oh, and, uh FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”

“Agent Robinson, is something wrong?”

Dauna poked her head around the corner. “Just having my morning Tourette’s, sweetie.” She stared. “Can I ask, where the Hell you dug up your wardrobe? Bad Will?”

Bernie had been asked by T.K. to study up on the subject of Panpsychism (“All things have a soul”) before moving to Hawaii. He didn’t know why — until now. Bernie had a feeling that everything in Dauna Robinson’s office was alive. The newly adjusted goddess who had entered the room wearing a fresh white top and a matching tight skirt, set her soft bottom upon the thrilled sill. Bernie’s heart paused in deep silent reverence for the old painted wooden board. Dauna paused to light another happy cigarette and admire another bit of Hawaiian ‘scenery,’ derelicts sleeping in pee on the sidewalks of Chinatown.

“SNAP OUT OF IT, BERNIE!” demanded a second woman’s voice from the ‘the Bernie file’ on Dauna’s desk.

Bernie jumped up, staring at the folder. “Dammit! Who the hell?”

“What is it, hun?” asked Dauna.

Both of them saw the image of the Virgin Mary spreading like a coffee stain across the manila folder. Uh, oh shit…sorry, ma’am, Bernie apologized to the folder. Mother Mary had appeared on his browser a couple of times, but the two never spoke. Mary scared all of her lonely son’s friends away with her icy condescending looks.

“I said snap out of it, Mr. Cupcake!” said Mother Mary, “or it’s your funeral!”

“Funeral? Please! Not now!”

“Who are you talking to, hun?” asked Dauna. “Is there someone on the folder? It isn’t your new pal, Lion Chow, again, is it?”

“Lion chow? Jesus? No. It’s his mom. Ms. Robinson, did you just call Mary’s son, Jesus, lion chow?”

Flat Mary rolled her eyes toward heaven and said in Latin, “Odio hoc canis (I hate this bitch).” The mother of God shook her haloed head in disgust and disappeared from the folder.

“P-leeeeeease, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou,” said Dauna. It seemed that Jesus’ mom had left the building. Dauna looked at Bernie, “Agent Benedict, let me tell you the truth about Mrs. Goody Two Sandals.”

“Who?”

“Mrs. Sno-fucking-White thinks that I’m trying to corrupt her precious little boy, Jesus. Do you know what I think? I think that your melancholy, haloed hippie pal wants to lay his blessings on my pink tang.’ The kid should be dating. Did you know that his dad, or mom, or their family cat cursed me with Tourette’s after I used the old man’s name in vain? So, I, Ms. Potty Mouth, have a free ticket to call Merkin Man whatever I want.”

“Merkin Man?” Merkin Man sounds like a commercial.

“What? Should I ask Mr. Love-In to forgive me? He knows that I’d just start cussing again.” She smiled at Bernie. “Do you know what? I think that it turns him on.” Dauna turned away and lit yet another overjoyed, happy-to-die cigarette. The small smooth scars on Dauna’s neck caught Bernie’s attention. The marks reminded him of a Youtube video that showed sharks mating — brutally.

Dauna knew what the new agent was thinking, even as she faced the window. “On my island, we call these scars ‘shark hickeys.’”

Shark Hickeys? What is she? Bernie was fascinated — dumbfounded.

“Give your peepers a rest, chew toy. Because if you were looking for panty lines, you’re shit outta luck. I need you to listen. Interpol, and I, both need your special powers. You can see beings that I can’t, and I can see plenty,” she said, sizing up the new agent. “Yeah, plenty.” She inhaled her very-Lucky Strike.

Introducing The Love Muscle! The Tommy’s Music Festival 1967

Their rock star dreams, once blazing, were snuffed out.

Jimi Hendrix was the real thing. The music that flowed through this man’s feet was unearthly. “The Goddess sang that riff to me in a dream last night,” Jimi said to the young band members sharing his trailer. “She told me to play my guitar with my feet — despite my acute bromodosis.”

* * * *

You would think that Johnny’s band would have been inspired by Jimi’s talent.

Instead, when the boys left the trailer on their way toward the stage, they walked slowly as if they were going to their own funeral. They simply wanted to go home. The Nuclear Threat did not feel like a threat any longer.

“Since we no longer give a fuck,” Johnny stated, “I’m going to change the name of the band when we get on that stage. I like Walt’s suggestion. Let’s go up there and announce ourselves as The Love Muscle.”

Johnny’s band members nodded and, almost laughing at Walt’s suggestive name, headed toward the stage with their guitars in hand. Still, they were feeling unworthy to ever pick up their instruments again. They might as well have been climbing a gallows instead of the honored stairway that led to the stage of the most important rock festival in Los Angeles’ history. Heads down, ignoring the crowd of thousands at their feet, facing their amps, they plugged in.

* * * *

“You’re on, kids!”

The rain began to fall when Johnny quietly introduced his band under their new we-don’t-give-a-fuck name, The Love Muscle. The audience waited to see what this ‘new’ band with its naughty name was all about. Plugged in, the members of The Love Muscle (snicker, snicker) secretly prayed to ‘load jeebus’ for a lethal electrical explosion. There was none.

Still alive, they would have to perform.

After a disastrous opening number entitled “Who Wants to Go for Tacos?” they were already, embarrassingly, out of tune. During their second song, “Double-Chili-Cheeseburger,” one by one, the amps started to sputter and blow speakers. The limp ‘Muscle’ then played a brief, distorted, instrumental number apparently titled “Annoying Feedback with Group Tourette’s Syndrome,” which nearly ended their set, until Steve Miller and his band quickly set them up with new amplifiers, thus extending their nightmare.

The Love Muscle’s set was almost over.

Johnny started to sing Walt’s original song “My Dirty Hairy Smelly Hippie Chick.” Walt dedicated the new tune to his girlfriend Susie, who sat in front of the stage a few yards from Johnny’s girl, Rebel. After the first performance of Walt’s song, the band was greeted by such an air of doom that even the swarms of flies around the swarms of hippies stopped buzzing.

A stunned silence.

Johnny and his group felt devastated, embarrassed in front of the crowd which now numbered over fifteen thousand. Convinced that they should have burned their guitars after hearing Jimi warm up in the trailer, they turned their backs to the audience. Ready to end their pain, they began to unplug their “crappy guitars,” and the “shitty Farfisa organ.”

If they hurried home, there was still time to enlist before the Vietnam War ended.

More silence.

A fly buzzed.

Other flies joined in. The buzzing got louder.

After what seemed like decades, one person began to clap. Then the clapping grew into thunder. The band turned around to see the audience rising to its feet stomping and demanding an encore. Though it was still morning, cigarette lighters swayed. Underwear began to land at the band’s feet. Bloomers! Boxers! And briefs, Oh my! Johnny’s childhood dream!

There were “no bras allowed” at this hippie love-in in 1967.

As a rainbow of panties flooded the stage, Johnny’s eyes became misty. Memories of childhood in his parents’ lingerie store came rushing back to him.

Johnny looked out to the crowd and spotted Rebel and her long legs a few yards away, smiling and winking.

Walt, the singer, resumed singing and playing his tune, ‘Dirty, Hairy, Smelly, Hippie Chick.’ Even though Susie was kinda insulted, she was kinda flattered and screamed and applauded with the rest of the crowd. Of course, that didn’t stop her from running off with an even dirtier, hairier, smellier hippie dude, named Sasquatch, when the set was over.

Go ahead. Go with that bum, Susie. Take everyone home with you, Walt was thinking.

As Susie walked away with Sasquatch, Walt stepped up to the mic and calmly announced, “ Hey,Susie! You &$%@# B!#8%!!! You’ve got enough crab lice for the entire city, you — ——F%^$*ing ——— o#@%£§~!!!!

Shark Fin Soup — Artemis Beneath the Constellations

The entire zodiac, from the heaven’s hemispheres, were intertwining to the primitive beats of the Frank Samidino Swing Band from the wedding party below.

“Stop!” demanded Artemis, looking to the skies, “Show some decency!”

Artemis abruptly grasped onto a nearby palm tree. She felt helpless. Satan’s playground, Earth, was beginning to show its corrupt effects on her virtuous mind and wholesome body. Artemis dropped her bow and quiver full of golden arrows onto the soft sand.

Quiver.

The ‘uncontrollable factor’ scared her. Am I sweating? Her immortal “cool” had left the building. Is this how my friend Tempestus Stormius feels when she unleashes a hurricane? Five thousand years of sexual tension slowly began to well up, then exploded. The more she dug into the tree’s trunk, the more she shook. Coconuts tumbled from the treetops, barely missing her head. Newborn volcanoes began to explode along the black edge of Kupaio’s barrier reef like festive party poppers.

Artemis dropped onto the beach. Weak and humbled, after a few moments of tranquility, she’d realized that she should return to the wedding. She grabbed a palm frond and pulled herself to her feet. Then, Oh no! A second tsunami of thrillisquious energy rushed through her fabulisquious body forcing her to her crumbling knees. Her ‘Look-no-hands-ma!’ orgasm fanned out across the night sand causing thousands of perturbed ghost crabs to leap from their tunnels.

Artemis felt a slight tinge of “mortal” (i.e., in need of a cuddle and a cigarette.)

What she really felt was “γαμημένος great!” as though she could melt right into the γαμημένος earth. Her contented dulang-dulang-dulang purred like her a fluffy kitten with a big red bow and a tummy full of warm cream on Christmas morning.

Don’t get too comfortable yet, baby…

Mr. Greencheese —the moon— moved across the heavens to shield the overheated goddess from the eyes of her parents above.

  The goddess lie still waiting for her breath to return.

Instead, there was a weaker third orgasm, though still powerful enough to set off car alarms as far away as the Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant on 3rd Street in Santa Monica.

A final wave of warm energy washed through her.

She turned her head seaward and exhaled. “Ιερά χάλια! (Holy crap!) Whoa. That’s better. Whew. Γαμώτο! (Damn it!) What happened? What…was…that?” She turned her head back toward the sky. “Can anyone tell me what just the γαμώ happened?” Then Artemis began to itch. “God γαμώτο! My κόλπος is full of γαμημένος sand!”

The remaining stars winked and nudged each other silently, knowingly.

“Ευχαριστώ, μαλάκες! (Thanks, assholes!)” She sighed. Spent, Artemis quickly fell asleep on the red powdery sand of Kupaio as her disorientated, moon friend, Mr. Greencheese, set in the east.

Most of her gang on Olympus missed it.

Many of them were still sick in bed or on their jewel encrusted crappers with the Nosoi Flu (aka the atomic trots).

“I think that she was faking it,” said the blissful Mmbopalula from behind a thicket of succulents to her beaming Hotat spy hubby, Monq. Her own well-beamed sweet dulang-dulang-dulang was also purring — like a fluffy kitten etc. etc.

“What will you report to MacHeath? We never even saw the ceremony,” she asked. “What will you tell him?”

“He’s got to see the legs on the new goddess in town.”

“What???? You son of a bitch bastard! Keep that filthy thing away from me!”

Shark Fin Soup (A tale of sharks, gods, cannibals, mad cows and endless love. )

During a storm, Jesus appeared on a blue tarp upon the deck of The Vinnie Maru, demanding that agent Bernie Benedict find him a date.

For thousands of years two ancient Pacific cannibal tribes have fought over which of their respective shark gods (Macelaca and Dakawaka) should rule the Seven Seas. Today, the 3000-year-old Melanesian war has reached the shores of the US.

‘Word on the street’ has it that the shark gods and their peckish followers are gearing up for a final, pay-per-view televised battle which will take place in Jamaica Bay, NY, on New Year’s Eve.

Leading up to the match, Interpol agent Bernie ‘The God Whisperer’ Benedict and his paranormal crew are following the body count along US waterfronts.

And Jesus still wants a date.

Soon, our hero finds himself in dangerous waters as the ‘prize’ in an over-heated mating game between two beautiful deities, the majestic virgin moon goddess, Artemis, and her luscious friend, the potty-mouthed Fijian goddess, Dauna. Join the merriment as Agent Bernie, whose talents used to only be only the ability to talk to apparitions, has now become ‘THE’ dating service for gods of all types.

After his ‘forbidden relations’ with both Artemis and Dauna, he, himself, is becoming a deity.

Soon, ‘regular guy’ Bernie Benedict, will be transformed into the sophisticated and handsome Cupcaecius, a dead ringer for Cary Grant and the first new god on Mount Olympus in over five millenia.

Fred Barnett

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