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And Then Things Got Weird….

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Plague Season — from BATS on Amazon. A bat from the Front ^^ö^^ & Back ^^*^^

01 Plague Season for Web

Bats: Chapter 6:

Plague Season 

Two very old granite gargoyles greeted young guitar-slinger Jonathan Tepes as he approached the drawbridge of Poenari Castle, Prince Vlad’s home.

“Vait!” said Wichtoria, the gargoyle on the right.

Opri!” said Wichtor, the gargoyle on the left.

“You should always say ‘vait,’ Wichtor,” said Wichtoria as she strained her long granite neck over the battlement to get a better view of the pale young man in the rapid strobe of the lightning. Jonathan was standing beneath the drawbridge, shielding himself from the cold rain with his guitar case.

“You, down there!” shouted Wichtoria. “Are you here to entertain us? Young vippersnapper, are you…are you the singer James Taylor?”

“What?! Noooo!” said Jonathan.

Rain pummeled the blood-soaked soil and ran in red rivulets toward the moat.

“Maybe you are Jackson Browne then?” asked Wichtoria.

“Yes! You do look very familiar,” said Wichtor. “Are you a wisitor?”

“Wisitor? You mean, visitor? Yes, I am a wisitor!” said Jonathan, looking up at the gargoyles as the rain tapered off.

“I’ve dabbled in songwriting too!” said Wichtoria. “I could sing you some of my songs. Maybe, if you like them, I vill let you record them, Mr. Taylor.”

“Sorry! I only LOOK like James Taylor…before he lost his hair,” said Jonathan. “I’m also mellower!” he shouted while shooing away clouds of gnats, flies, and all manner of pestilence.

“I can’t play guitar with my talons and stony wings,” said Wichtoria. “But I can play a mean blues harp. Maybe we can jam later?”

Wichtor turned toward her sharply. “Enough, Wici!” Then he looked back down on the shivering human. “Young man! Did you park your wehicle in the wisitor parking?”

“Wehicle? Wisitor parking? Why, no!”

Wichtoria said, “If you’re only wisiting, you should never park in the wesidential parking. Parking is wimited. If you need to unload your band equipment, you can—”

“I am a wisitor, I have no wehicle, annnnnd I DO NOT have a band!”

“I am Wichtoria. You can call me Wici. This is Wichtor. He is a ‘sir.’”

“Maybe after your show we can have a drink,” said Wici. The gargoyle winked at young Jonathan. Wichtor shook his stony head in shame.

 “This is not funny,” he said. “It’s freezing and raining!”

“Did you hear that, my little angel? I’m shocked! Did you know that our veather stinks, Wici?”

Poison arrow frogs dropped from the sky onto Jonathan’s shoulders.

“The Prince had me brought here in the taxi. Please!” said Jonathan.

“Oh! So Mr. Big Shot sent for you! Vell then, velcome!” they both said.

“Is it safe here? Everyone down in the village at Poenari seems frightened,” shouted Jonathan. “A woman dressed in black warned me about vampires.”

“Ha! She must have been an oldt vife!” said Wichtor. “Cause that is an oldt vife’s tale! There are no such things as w-w-w-w-wampires!”

“Maybe we should tell our young wisitor about the wampires,” Wichtor whispered into Wici’s ear. “Hey, you! Young man! We do have wampires!”

“What?”

“Only a few,” said Wici trying to calm him.

“No. Don’t make him worry, Wici,” said Wichtor.

“What happened to your accents? The Vs and Ws?”

“Busted! The Vs and Ws were just a setup for the wampire joke,” Wici said. “Actually, we are from Paris, monsieur.”

Something black landed on Jonathan’s collar. “Ow! What the hell just bit me?” he asked, flinging his hands around.

“That was either Cherubino or Angioletto,” said Wici.

“Damn! That was a bat!” screamed Jonathan.

“Transylvanian Mosquitos,” said Wichtor, trying not to drive away his employer’s prospective dinner. “The woods are rotten with…creepies undt crawlies.”

“Can you please lower the bridge?” yelled Jonathan.

Wichtor looked over to Wici and gestured with his talon. “Look at that, Wichtoria! The boy didn’t bring a jacket. Kids these days, I tell ya.”

“Before we can open the bridge, we are required to ask you three questions,” said Wici. “National security. Do you understand?”

“Okay! Please!” Jonathan sneezed loudly.

“Did you hear that, Wichtor? Mr. Taylor, does your mother know that you’re dressed like that? You could catch your life of cold out here. Where’s your sweater?”

“Look! He’s catching pneumonia,” said Wichtor. “Ask him already!”

“Are you listening?” she yelled. “Question number one: Tell me which movie this quote came from: ‘Come…on! Move into the slow lane, you stupid bastard!’”

“The Day of the Driving Dead!”

“Not bad, kid,” said Wichtor, framed by a cloud of descending locusts. “Number two,” Wici continued. “‘Hisssssss…ski.’”

“The Polish Bride of Frankenstein. Too easy,” said Jonathan, teeth chattering.

Lightning struck behind him, pushing him toward the red water of the moat. A hundred pairs of green eyes lit up as the crocodiles waited for him to slip.

“The kid’s good!” Wichtor said to Wici. “For one hundred dolari! Are you listening, young man?”

“Yes, I’m listening! Brrrrrrrr……”

“Well, then you should have listened to your mother!” interrupted Wici. “If you had any brains, the Good Humerus Man would be selling them frozen on a stick. Not even a hat! What they teach you in college? Okay, smarty pants, Wichtor will ask you question number three! Hurry, Wichtor, I think he’s becoming a frozen entrée.”

“Okay! For one hundred dolari,” said Wichtor while the clock from the highest tower clicked. “Identify this famous quote: ‘The bwud is the wife, Mr. Wenfield!’”

“Elmer Fudd as Dwacuwa, 1964! So, where’s my money?”

The two gargoyles looked at each other and shrugged.

“Do you have any cash on you, Wichtor?” asked Wici.

“Do you see pockets here, Wichtoria? The sculptor carved us naked. I have nothing! Nothing! Not even a sock for my schmekel!”

The Mawth (who ate my shawts)

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A Glahsry of Toims:

Shauwah = Wayuh da wawtah comes outta.

Tiyahd = That means you awtah be snorin.’

Awfiss = Wayuh yous guys woik. 

Jahbs = As in woik, or as in Steve Jahbs.

Fedorah = Yaw hat.

Deezoit = What you get sent to yaw room widdout.

Lepidoptera = A Mawth.

Cullahs = Like ahrunge and poiple.

____________________

Our extinguished Awthuh left out soitin’ coise woids for this awdience, so the stawry is half as shawt as it would nawmally be.

So, here we go….

_____________________

Hi kids, my name is Ahthuh Moidock an’ I was bawn in freakin’ (Oops! I beddah not tawk doity to a bunch of rug rats…). Like I was sayin,’ I was bawn in New Yawk.

Which makes me a ‘what?’

A New Yawkah, of cawse! I don’t live in Joisey awe da lowsy suboibs.’ Me? 

I live in a skyscrapuh dat neahly reaches da stahs. 

Dem stahs is wayuh? 

Waaaay up in da univoise, ya liddle meatbawls!

One mawning, I had to get outtah bed, shauwah, and shave faw woik . I toined to my spouse, Nawmuh, an’ with mawning halitosis I whispid, “I’m goin’ to woik.” Nawmuh was still undah the cuvahs snawin’ an I was still tiyahd. I wuz yawnin like duh Gran Canyon. My mowt tasted like oith woims.

Den I god up, opened my undahpants draw an Oh my gahd, I saw dat awluh my shawts was devowwid! Dare wuz holes in dem everyweah. Dey looked like Swiss cheese! Den I opened the anuthah dressah draw to soich faw a fresh shoit. Awl my shoits was as holy as duh Pope!

Awl duh lawndry was poifahrated!

What kind of lousy bum eats shoits an’ shawts?

Dare must be a doity mawth hangin’ aroun’ owuh apahtment. I was soitin’.

Some stinkin’ mawth had swallahed my Fruit-of-da-Looms. an’ I needed to get to duh awfiss.

My awfiss is wheah?

In a tawl tawl towah, on toidy-toid-an-toid. 

I needed to cawl an extoiminatah, but foist I had to cawl my bawss Oyving, an tell him dat I was gonna be tahdy. “I need to go to the staw Oyving, an’ get maw clohdin,” I said wit a few cherce woids.

Den I looked up an’ guess what I saw? A giant mawth flyin’ aroun’ duh kitchen light. “Get outta my way, ya bum,” he says, zippin’ by, duh size of a seven-fawty-seven. 

Holy simoleons! He tawked. (A simoleon is a dollah.)

I ducked. “Hey watch it! There’s a poysin heah. What do I look like? Chopped livuh?

“Move it, bub,” he says. “I’m flyin’ heah.” 

“Eat dis ya bug” I said, as I trew an umbrellah at his ugly mug. 

“No tanks,” he says. “I don’t eat no freak…uh…sorry…I don’t eat polyestah.”
“Chew on dis den!” Not fo’ nuttin, I trew my deah depahted muddah’s ahmie boots an’ hit duh wiseguy on his toochus. He hit duh wawl behine duh reclinah lowng an’ hit duh flaw. I coulda’ knocked him all duh way to lawng Islan’ if there wasn’t a wawl in duh way. Instead, he got up, brushed himself awf  an’ stahted eatin’ Nawmuh’s boxa chawklit toitles on toppah duh cawfee table. Den he went aftah owuh pet boid Flip’s boid seed (Flip da Boid is a filthy pigeon who lives outside our apahtment). An’ den duh mawth went aftuh a piece of old cheeseboigah dat was hangin’ outta duh gahbidge

The mawth, (whose name was Mawtee accawding to his name tag. Yeah. Shuah. Right), pruhseeded to eat my fedorah an’ my goil Nawmah’s wool skoit. He chawmped on duh chayah, the cowch, duh lampshade, and duh rug, an’ he musta been paht toimite caws he stahted eatin’ duh flaw bawds which is made of boich.
He ate a glass pitcha. The juvenile delinquent was tearin’ up da apahtment. 

“So wayuhs my deezoit, ya bum?” he assed roodly. “Ya got maw clawth?”

“Bum? Does yaw mothah know you tawk like dat? I ought wash yaw doity mout out wit soap!”

“So cawl da marines, an’ bahbahcue me a steak aw somethin’ while we’re waitin’,” he says as he stahted noshin’ on duh caud that was plugged into duh wawl. There was spahks everywhere! 

“Listen!” I says back, as he stahted nibblin’ on my chia pet’s hayah. “Get awfuh my lawn, you lepidoptera you! Get lawst!”

It had been a lawng scawching summah. Even duh neighbawhood dawgs were too wawn out an’ too ty-ud to bahk. (Lass Toisday mawning, I thawt I was on fiah.) “I need to take a shauwah,” I said. “Some people have jahbs. I can’t stay here an’ play witcha. “When I get out of duh  John you bettah be hisstry. Bettah yet, go somewayah else, ya bum, an’ be geography.”  

Foist, I need to find something to wayuh.

Out in duh big city mawths was awl ovah, eaten poysin’s gahments. Awl duh apahtments in awl duh five burroughs had been invaded by a stawm of deez apawlin’ flyin’ tings.

When I looked inside of Nawmuh’s undahwayuh draw, I saw her tings ain’t been bahthid. Her “unmentionables” was unhoit. Undistoibed.

What’s unmentionables, kids?

Why awl dem silky frilly tings dat look like doilies. Awl sawft an…sh…stuff. The mawths left them awl alone cawse…Goils is smaht.

Why is goils smaht? 

Day is smaht becaws day bahthuh to tro in dem mawthbawls into duh drawahs.

An’ mawths hate the smell of whut?
Camfuh!— which is what mawthbawls is made of, ya lugs. Ya monkeys.

So, it toins out dat awl deh guys had to wawk to woik wearin’ dare goil’s frilly shawts — in pastel cullahs even. 

An’ dats awl we waw… ‘cause we didn’ have no trausahs aw nuttin’. No one on duh boulevahd, even dah hoity-toities, caws duh mawths had roond awl ah  clohdin.

So what happened?

We awl had ended up havin’ a big laugh aroun’ duh wawtuh coolah

caws all the palookahs at duh awfiss looked like crawsdressahs.

Wit duh help of duh feminine poysons wit dare wimmin’s intuwishins, we outsmahted duh scoige of da mawths. 

An’ dats why dem mawths is a buncha stinkin’ bugs, and us joiks ain’t. 

Tank youz.

(Next week on Speak Like a New Yawkah:

The extoiminatuhs (might bahthuh to show up if day feel like it.) 

an’ 

Flip, da Boid, will show us how to add duh “f” word and d-bag to a conversation.

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“Call Me. It’s Mel” — from Shark Fin Soup

Art by Vitaliy Hagen

03 Telepathica Pacifica 02 b 06 flat

“And God Spoke to Moses” — Exodus 33:11

“Are you listening Moe? Stop looking at your tablets. Focus on the flame. Tell your people, I the almighty, will watch over them as long as they keep me entertained. ”

T.K. Betel nut is a living, seven-foot-tall tiki. A curio. A half human stick. On a normal day’s stakeout Agent Betelnut will spend hours standing statue-still while tuned into the latest (mostly) fair and no longer completely ad free, news broadcast by the world’s oldest Wi-Fi: the Telepathica Pacifica Network (TPN).

Thousands of years ago, the TPN was set up as a web of psychic protection for plant life around the globe.

The TPN does not accept monetary donations from even plant-loving humans. Throughout the history of plant systematics, the TPN’s green members have all witnessed friends, relatives, seedlings and saplings chopped or mowed down, and mashed into paper currency for humans.

Today,T.K. was listening to the plant-based network while on a stakeout for his carnivorous friends at Interpol. His assignment was related to the protection of front yards everywhere. Specifically, he was there to protect the prestige of the original Don Featherstone lawn flamingos produced by Union Plastics.

Interpol believed North Korea intended to flood the free world with cut-rate birds. If left unchecked, the commies could ruin lawns everywhere with cheap knock-offs.Until now, the free world’s front yards—the ones blessed by genuine Featherstones—had been worth defending against marauding juvenile delinquents — the ones whose parents never lifted a hand to smack some goddamned manners into the noisy “little bastids.” Yeah, the same “little bastids” who made life a living hell for the half human half log, T.K., by tipping him over in public, just because they thought it was “funny.” Brats.

Waiting. Waiting.

Beneath the hot afternoon sun on a quiet Tuesday, T.K. tilted himself a few more degrees to the east, to help improve the reception on the grassy slope.

******** El Día de los Muertos ********

 

Día de los Muertos is the day that Mexico celebrates its dead. In the United States, this special day is observed by getting drunk and wearing baseball caps backwards — pretty much like every other day.

aside

This scene takes place next to the cloak room — at the Los Angeles offices of Interpol — on that festive day….mexican shark attacks107

The contessa lifted his chin with her two elegant bebés and spoke. “I know that you are new in town, Bernardo,” she said. “If you get lonely, you can visit me at Adobe Gillis”

“Your generosity is most inviting, señora…”

“It’s señorita — now that you are here, mi Bernardo.”

“Sí, señorita.Bernie hung his head, knowing that he would never be more than a common peón. “As you see by my ragged clothes, I am just a poor simple muchacho, too estúpido to find my own lowly locker.”

“Your fine manners reveal a true caballero, a gentleman of fervent breeding. ¡Let’s fiesta mi amigo!” Señorita Robinson grabbed, what she thought was a bottle of tequila from her locker. Instead, she’d grabbed the bottle of Pulque ‘the drink of the Aztec gods,’ that she’d gotten for a wedding present. She took a swig and handed it to Bernie. “¡Salud, Bernardo!” With her thick hair she fanned the droplets of perspiration about her neck, then yelped, “MÁS COCKAMOLE! Lo siento (sorry) Tourettes.”

“Bernardo tried to ignore that and took his first sip of the forbidden Pulque, — never intended for mortals. One sip would change his destiny.

Daunita smiled hungrily at Bernardo with the same grin that had tried to masticate his mast on the deck of Vinnie Maru. He shuddered.

Do not worry, there is no Big Man José.”

¿Quien? (Who?)

“Drink up Bernardo. If my husband, Gran José, existed, he wouldn’t be  released from jail for another fifteen minutes. Let’s have some fun before he comes to kill you. This is our momento especial. Vamos a bailar—dance with me, vaquero or I will go to confession instead.”

             Jay and the Americans’ “Come a Little Bit Closer” began to play over the intercom.

Bernardo wrapped his arm about Daunita’s delicate waist. Her soft body radiated the warmth of the golden Aztec sun. The effects of the forbidden Pulque were  beginning to impact him.

______________

while innocent youngsters were being killed, at the nearby Raging Hormones Theme Park. 

That part of the plot will resume, shortly. Maybe. Don’t hold your breath.

_________________

Bernardo’s heart soared like the great bird Quetzalcoatl. He felt invincible. He challenged her imagined boyfriend. I will snap the península off the her Big Man José’s postal code! In Bernardo’s mind he was a bronzed warrior bounding up the stone steps of Templo Mayor toward heaven, aware that once he reached the golden crown of the pyramid, he’d draw a deep breath of her scent, a gift for the god Huitzilopochtli. Then, with eyes wide open, he would prove his fearless love to the bronze goddess, Daunita.

At the apex of the temple with arms extended, the enchanted Bernardo would leap into the wind and glide like an eagle above the pink clouds, toward the hot Mexican sun, into the cauldron of the voracious volcano Popocatépetl below.

Bernardo stood, eyes closed, and prepared to plunge. If he must, he was prepared to plunge again and again. 

Daunita closed her eyes, feeling the dream of her brave warrior again and again.

Zeus, Leto, Artemis, Dauna & Dumb Ol’ Bernie

Bernie ‘The God Whisperer’ is taking a stroll, minding his own f*cking business, on an unusually warm December night in Cleveland, when this bullsh*t happens >>>>>

10. & 14 WomanWinking

There were bicycle lights approaching him from the corner. An attractive silvery haired couple, dressed in spiffy casual wear, wheeled up to the curb, smiled with perfect teeth and stopped.

“Where in Hades have you been?” the beautiful silver-haired woman said to Bernie as she swiped at him with her freshly manicured nails, tearing the collar of his cheap Hawaiian shirt.

“Hey, What the?”

“Art thou Cupcaecius?” asked her handsome executive-type companion with the obligatory sweater tied around his neck. They both looked as though they’d just ridden off the cover of every other issue of Molten Silver magazine.

“No!” Bernie backed into a rubbish can and fell. Who were these two new gods with a healthy active lifestyle?

Leto pulled her bike onto the pavement and bent down toward a display in the hotel’s gift shop window. “Look, Zeus! It’s a darling car charm. It looks just like Artie’s little car! That’s cute.” Leto looked down at the pathetic human cowering on the sidewalk. “Is that real sapphire?” she asked.

“Are you asking me, m-m-m-ma’am?” Bernie looked up at the the woman wide-eyed. Leto winked at him and whispered. “You can call me Λητώ, or Λατώ.”

“Our daughter—she doesn’t need thou or thou cheap gifts, mortal. You need her!” spoketh Zeus from the bike above.

“Zeus and Leto?” He bowed his head in respect. “Artie, I mean Artemis told me that you’d banished her from Olympus.”

“Human!” Without warning, Leto grabbed Bernie by his nose. “Listen to thy  husband, Waffle of Dung!”

I’ve managed to piss off Zeus and Leto.

Zeus pointed a finger and zapped Bernie’s trap with a tiny lightning bolt. Bernie doubled over onto the pavement then smiled when he’d realized that yet another strand on the human-proof trap had snapped. Only the gods have the power to remove this thing.

Thus spoke Zeus: “Buying my daughter cheap trinkets will not make her more beautiful. It is because of her that ‘things’ become beautiful. That is the generous nature of a goddess.”

“Owwwww,” croaked Bernie as he pulled himself to his feet by grabbing the bricks on the wall. They act like they’ve been smokin’ incense.

Zeus spoketh again: “You’ve seen Artemis improve the luster of a diamond, the scent of a gardenia and the spirit of the untamed sea. How much proof of the divine doth thou needest, Bernie?”

“Your daughter ith, I mean is amazing.”

“Artemis must remain pure,” said Leto. “Junk food! Television! A girl her age should be hunting across the heavens instead of twiddling…thumbs…with you.”

“Twiddling? We haven’t twiddled any thumbs. How old is Artie?” asked Bernie.

“Artie! So, it’s Artie, is it?” Zeus pointed his index and middle fingers at Bernie’s eyes. “Why, I oughta…” 

Leto stopped his cruel hand. “Stop. What my husband should explain to you, you bug, is that the twiddling of thumbs is the way we profess our love on Olympus. If Artemis twiddled with you, we are obliged to spare your miserable life. However, if we find out that you two have twaddled, we will kill you a thousand times in a thousand ways. And to answer your question, our virrrrrgin daughter is five thousand, give or take a hundred years,” said Zeus.

Five thousand years. And no boinky-woinky? Bernie thought.

“What my husband is trying to say is—what did I just hear you think, young man? ‘Boinky-woinky?’”

“Five thousand years?” Bernie asked again.

“Maybe this upstart needs me to sling a bolt of lightning up his κώλος,” said Zeus. 

“No, Zuzu,” said Leto.

“Psssst! Don’t call me that,”  Zeus snapped back. 

She calls her husband, the ruler of Olympus, Zuzu? Thought Bernie, trying not to laugh out loud.

“Lightning! That’s my husband’s solution for everything. So, Bernie, do you know the damage you have done to our daughter with the bad food and her clothes?”

“What did I do to her clothes? I have no control over the goddess. She loves to shop and eat.”

“Our little Artemis is up there, twenty pounds overweight!” she said, pointing. “In your room—right now—not wearing her short tunic.”

“What!”

“She is wearing, thanks to your flea-bag cat, a handful of white downy feathers, placed in three strategic locations, upon splashes of perfumed garlic infused olive oil given to her by your cat, Bomba!”

“For your plebeian amusement, I imagine,” added Zeus.

Her curves oiled and writhing, succulent and wearing a handful of feathers. And no boinky for five thousand years. The two Olympian gods could hear every dirty thought.

“Writhing! You worm! I shall slay you!” said Leto.

Zeus blocked his wife’s right arm from smiting. “I am only going to spare you because Artemis swore to protect you. Our daughter, is pure, Mr. Cake. Purity is what she does.”

“Purity,” added Leto. “Like June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson, Shirley Partridge…”

“This relationship wasn’t my idea,” said Bernie. “I think that you should talk to her pal, Dauna,”

“Who?” asked Leto.

“Dauna, the shark goddess from Kupaio,” said Bernie. “She asked your daughter to watch over me. Have you two met Soapy Puppies, I mean Her Sauciness? She is what you might call a bad influence. Peligro—ow!”

“What dost thou think, Zuzu!” said Leto.

           Bernie switched gears, from suppressing pain to suppressing a major guffaw.

Leto ignored Bernie’s thought and turned to her stylish spouse. “Zuzu, dost thou know of this Dauna?”

“Remember the wedding that we couldn’t go to in Fiji, dearest? The one we sent Artemis to?” 

Leto turned to Bernie. “I wish we could have gone to the pre-wedding party with the mbolo worm buffet. I love worms. We had the nosoi flu at the time, Bernie. You must have heard of Dauna. What do you know about her all-knowing-all-seeing-all-fucking, Zuzie.”

Is Zeus sweating? thought Bernie. Zuzie! Don’t laugh. 

“Oh, yes. You mean Daucina. That Dauna!” said Zeus, “is just your average goddess, dear. A nobody.”

“Oh, I remember,” said Leto. “The oracles spoke of her. ‘The steamy one with a mouth like a pigsty gutter who spoketh offenses from the pools of the god Cess, and a great set of cans.’”

“The poor thing suffers from Tourette Syndrome,” explained Zeus. “She may come on like a gluttonous eater of slack serpents, but she’s harmless. I checked.”

“Thou hast checked thine trollop, Zuzu?” asked the angry Leto.

Bernie was forced to jump in. “Dauna is not a trollop, great goddess! She’s just …uh, friendly. Yeah, that’s it. Friendly.”

Leto added to Bernie’s pain when she flicked her middle finger on Bernie’s forehead. “I don’t likest thou, Sir Smart Ass.”

“Ow! What the…” Bernie felt a lump growing on his temple. “Am I bleeding?”

“No. I’ve just downloaded some information into thine lust filled head,” said Leto. “It’s all that thou needest to know except for—good fashion sense! Your frock! Thou dresseth like a Walmart model. I thought Artemis picked up a suit for you. My heavens, what adolescent California crap aaaaaare you wearing, Bernie? C’mon, Zuzu. Let’s go. We have to meet the Buddhas at seven.”

And they rode off into the night. Zeus calling back, “Remember I want her home by the twenty-second century!”

“And one more thing,” said Leto. “Keep her laughing if thou want to remain healthy. She doth needeth to laugheth.”

“Laughing?” Oh yes, I‘ll keep her fancy tickled. He envisioned Artie’s strong body jerking beneath him in fits of laughter. Ow! Dammit!

“Don’t even think about it, pig!” Leto wheeled back to the curb and smacked him again.

Ow! Dammit, again. Bernie touched the new bump on his head.

^^ö^^ The Working Dead ^^ö^^

The Working Dead

anitas-working-dead

In 2018, after major science breakthrough, the US Supreme Court ruled that death, as it now stands, “does not terminate the deceased’s obligations to ignore paying one’s bills and taxes until the human body reaches such a state of decay that at least three out of four limbs will not stay attached.”

But dead Neal Orestein was determined to go to work. Work was his life, uh death. You know what I mean. We all know someone like this.

#

After scraping through the mound of loose dirt over his grave, Neal was able to see daylight and the exasperated face of his long-suffering wife, Stella.

“Just look at those fingernails,” she scolded. “The dirt! Just where the hell you think you’re going, Neil?” After 60 years of marriage, Stella, holding flowers, could read his mind, even if it was becoming worm chow.

“Oh, crap,” Neal said feeling all used up. He raised himself onto his elbows and spat out soil. “Stella, what are you doing here so soon? I thought that I was the one who was to supposed to haunt YOU! I’m off to work. I got to get a doctor’s note or that  that punk Cabebe, will fire me. He hates old people.”

“You mean, dead people,” she said. “You aren’t going to work. Now, lay down and relax. I’ll call your boss and tell him you’re not coming in, ‘CAUSE YOU’RE DEAD!”

“Dead I can handle,” Neal said, “but unemployed and dead? Pour some coffee down my empty gullet . Look at the time.”

“Happy Hills Cemetery doesn’t have a Starbucks. Go back to endless sleep, old man. There is no more job and there’s no more you! Don’t you feel like a fool. You should rest, Neal. I came here to grieve, so tell me what I’m doing here. I feel like a brainless idiot.”

“No, Stella, I love brains. I mean I your love your brains, brain, your mind,” Neal sputtered.

“Where’s my tie? What time is it?”

“It’s 8 a.m. They just opened the gate.”

“Give me your hand. Help me get up. I’m already late.” Stella reluctantly pulled her husband to his feet. She was shaking her head, accepting he’d never change. “I gotta catch the Long Island Express,” Neal told her, spitting out a beetle. “Is this burial suit okay?”

“Except for the slit down the back, it’ll have to do. So … You think that you can just climb out of your grave and leave me standing here, for a crappy job? I can’t change you, silly man. Just don’t come home until you get cleaned up.”

Neal stood and wobbled unsteadily, brushing himself off. “Stella, after my first heart attack, Cabebe, said that myocardial infarction is not a good enough excuse to skip work. I’m gonna need duct tape to patch this jacket. I’ll stop by Target.”

“I’ve got a nail appointment. Have a nice afterlife, Neil. You never needed me.”

“Oh, thanks. I’m barely cold and you start in with the guilt. So, you’re saying I no longer have a job?”

“That would seem logical, Neil.”

“Logical? Well, Mrs. Spock, then I’d better hit the pavement. By law, I’m supposed to have a job until my last limb.”

“Maybe the office staff never got the memo that you’d died,”She said. “It was so sudden. I never had a chance to call them. Hey, watch where you’re tossing that dirt! I just bought this dress. Look at your dirty nails. Talk to God, Mr. Big-shot. Get yourself a manicure.”

Neal promised to make it up to Stella the following weekend, but today, he had obligations. He arrived at  work a few minutes late, was given a warning by Cabebe, and was back at his old desk by 9:10 a.m.

The next day, after a restless night drinking coffee and shambling around town in pursuit of an ambiguous protein snack, Neal was able to make it to work —  right on time.

Young Cabebe, was happy, because he no longer had to pay ‘old, faithful’ Neal a living wage.  The slick, young exec sniffed the air and suspected that Neal had passed on. No one else knew that Neal was still working and rotting in his corner office making the CEO, Milton Armstrong, rich.

On Tuesday, when Neal realized that Cabebe was taking him for a —nearly free — ride he began to lose the feeling of pleasure he felt working. He left the office while the blinding sun was still high and the season was moving toward Daylight Savings. Neal stumbled toward the station thinking about how his grandkids needed college money. Tomorrow, he would hit the pavement, seeking the American dream like the other millions of recently deceased workers. Over 20 million of the dead  wandered the boulevards. The smug living were called them ‘suckers.’ You could see them, the worn out executives, in every city, shuffling and mumbling “Jobs. I neeeeeeed a job.”

My commuter train passed by Happy Hills Cemetery as it approached Neal’s old neighborhood. Graveyards are for slackers, he thought. A real man needs to work.

While waiting at the 5th Avenue crosswalk, he saw a hopeful sign. A literal sign — on a telephone pole, illuminated by the ghostly moonlight.

Highly Motivated Executive Services Wants You! YOU need $$$ and WE need BODIES to fill our Diamond Lane passenger jobs! 

We’re also seeking Parking Space Holders — Downtown, Full Time. 24 hours shifts available. 

Call 090-888-0000.

Preview: Shark Fin Soup — The 1st Illustration by Vitaliy

This is T.K. Betelnut,  Interpol agent in charge of the TPN

Telepathica Pacifica Network. He’s about to fall in love with a potted plant.

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Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.

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“Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.”

Because of Laszlo’s large skeletal bald head, which appeared on the back cover of all his novels, Laszlo Toth was easily recognized by his legions of fans. Though Laszlo became famous by writing about the supernatural, he based his novels on fact and prided himself on being a rational man.

Laszlo did believe in science and while studying genetics for his new novel became involved with the a group called blameyourancestors.com. Within two weeks after sending their headquarters a DNA sample he discovered he was 87% Hungarian and, apparently, 13 % cheese, citing a few stray genetic threads to Luxembourg, Switzerland and four other cheesy countries.

Thanks to blameyourancestors.com, Laszlo was also able to narrow his search back to his Hungarian family, the Tóths. After a little bit of digging, he discovered a recent family portrait. The Tóths all looked ‘polished,’ like Laszlo. Cueballs. Melon heads. The men, women and children all suffered from a severe form of early male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).

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Laszlo sent more money to expand his DNA search and soon received the results that he’d been hoping for. The ‘bald problem’ that plagued his life was traced back to a —  singular —  human —  monster, Count Oszkár Tóth.

During the 16th century, Oszkár ruled Walachia and was known for his long-flowing locks that made him look like a golden hero on the cover of a bodice-ripping romance novel. The vain Oszkár combed his proud mane day and night. One evening he summoned his magic golden comb only to find out that it had been stolen!

Oszkár’s spouse, the beautiful countess Cynthia, told her husband that she had seen a well known local magician, Madik, running away from the castle and into the Nagyon (Very)  Sotet (Dark) Forest carrying a shiny yellow object in his hand.

After apprehending Madik, Laszlo ordered the Magician to be burned at the stake. At the Barbecue, Laszlo, himself, was cursed by the magician’s wife, the powerful witch, Eegahd.

The next morning, while Oszkár combed and combed, his glorious mane began to shed. The hair that made the count ‘such a wench magnet’ alllll fell to the ground.

As a result of Eegahd’s curse, all of Count Oszkár’s children, male and female, became bald as well; that is until in October 31, 1712, when the entire clan were tortured, murdered, dismembered, and turned into a savory paprika goulash by a nomadic Gibor hoard.

Only one Tóth escaped the massacre, the youngest noble in line, Boldizsár, who continued to selfishly spread the Tóth family curse throughout the western world.

“Fiend!” cried Laszlo. Tendrils of revenge worked their way into the author’s rational mind. Online, he hired a Hungarian scholar, János Harker, to help him track down Boldizsár’s resting place. That is when Laszlo made the first irrational decision since his seventh marriage, to visit his cursed ancestor’s crypt and ‘kick his bony ass to Hell.’

The following October, before the frost set in, Laszlo made his trip, alone, to Walachia.

Unfazed by local superstition, Laszlo arrived ten minutes before midnight at Tóth Citadel in rural  Ploiești. He quietly drove his rent-a-car around the back to the cemetery, parked, opened the trunk, and removed his new Road Rager Crowbar.

Laszlo found the rusty cemetery gate open, and by the light of the full moon, jimmied his way into the Tóth Mausoleum. Once inside, he lit his lantern, shooed away the vermin to begin his unholy undertaking. Laszlo located Boldizsár’s resting place and slid the heavy lid off the ancient stone coffin.

Jubilant, he dragged the Count’s loosely connected skeleton outside among the gravestones.

MIDNIGHT

 Laszlo kicked Boldizsár’s bony ass all over the churchyard until he could kick no more. After a short rest and a drink from his flask, Laszlo dragged the broken Boldizsár parts back inside the mausoleum, dumped them back inside the coffin and took a selfies, one   in front of the inscription on the wall above the sarcophagus:

‘Lehet, hogy meghalt, de még mindig halott.’ 

Laszlo, satisfied with the bony ass kicking, didn’t review the inscription on the photo until he arrived back home in the states. Something had changed. In red letters, his name had been added to the wording :

‘Lehet, hogy meghalt, Laszlo, de még mindig halott.’

Translation:

(Mua hahahahahahaha)

“I may be dead, Laszlo, but you’re still bald.”

anitas-ghost

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