Freddy Barnett's

And Then Things Got Weird….

My Shark Fin Soup Promo


Artemis’ Night of ‘Discovery’ — from the ‘international bestseller’ Shark Fin Soup.


The entire zodiac, creatures from all of 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. 


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, California.

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 (the novel’s villain)? We never even saw the wedding 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!” She whacked his twanger. “And keep that filthy thing away from me!”

* * * *

Fred Beckner, lifeguard and King of D&W

  • Fred Beckner— The Legend

6. ManSurfingFred Colby’s character in the story

Surfing Into Downtown LA

was based on the real life hero of D&W Lifeguard Fred [Coby] Beckner.

The real-life Fred was a true lifesaver. Lifeguard Fred Beckner often played a hero in Hollywood as well. He was often was cast as a cowboy or a police officer in movies, big and small, and was a close surfing buddy of Gunsmoke star James Arness. 

In 1963, the Baldwin Hills dam collapsed and burst. Oil had been sucked out from beneath the dam for years leaving its foundation in a weakened state. Floodwater destroyed many homes near Cloverdale Boulevard in Inglewood. 

Fred was among the lifeguards sent out for search and rescue mission in a Willy’s Jeep.

The Baldwin Hills Dam Disaster of 1963

In the Jeep with Lifeguard Fred (to help save lives and property in the Baldwin Hills area after the dam collapsed), were Marty Thompson, Former Lifeguard Chief Don Rohrer, and Bill Prewitt (retired lieutenant). They rode in a Willy’s jeep to respond and look for bodies and vehicles from Lincoln Boulevard and along Ballona Creek. Eddie Hoffman who was stationed at the Creek reported getting shocked in the water from downed power lines.

What really Happened to Lifeguard Fred?

As a lone mercenary, LA Lifeguard Fred secretly entered the western frontier of Russia, at Vyborg, in 1971. There he began his personal campaign single-handedly to “destroy the entire fucking-commie-bastard-empire… because they’re a bunch of fuckin’ greasy hodads.” 

Two months later the heroic lifeguard was not only able conquer the Communists but he had also learned to master time and space, through the sheer power of “being pissed off at valley punks.” 

Fred finally emerged from Russia’s eastern border near the Sakhalin Islands, with his original cigar still lit, and still wearing an official County of Los Angeles lifeguard jacket along with the signature red trunks. 

Before he left the recently named Russian seaport of St.Colbysburg, he stopped to surf a few waves in Sakhalin’s 42-degree water using the stolen, frozen body of Stalin, which had been taken in full public view, from Red Square, as a surfboard. Before entering the water, Beckner lit up a brand new commie Cuban cigar. Fred Beckner’s “obituary” mistakenly said that he had passed away in the late 1960s, during a fierce battle with Poseidon. The epic sea battle took place after the egotistical God of the Sea lost his board right in front of the D&W lifeguard tower-like a fuckin’ valley kook, and dinged Fred’s new girlfriend on the shoulder.” 

Both of the larger-than-life figures, Beckner and Stalin, have not been seen since 1973.

Many of today’s South Bay surfers will swear on a stack of hauraches that the original battered D&W lifeguard tower #5, with its shades still drawn, still stands at the storage area at back end of D&W beach, still rocks… and “smokes” on a regular basis. We believe that Fred’s successor, Mark Paulin, who has taken over the lifeguard duties at D&W with his wife Lorrell, is the reason for the smoking and rocking.

Mr. Beckner, himself, has probably taken his place within the pantheon of gods in Valhalla, where the waves are always bitchin’ and free of peroxide kooks.

Though he reminded me of a drill sergeant, the real Fred was never in the US  Armed Forces during World War 2, The Korean Conflict, or Vietnam. He fought his own war against the most “pervasive evil bastards” that he knew… “mankind’s most dangerous enemy.” 

 The Military knew Beckner, and realized that Fred would be more effective if they let him “fight the fucking greasy Hodads of the world” on his own terms.

Hodads bite!

New 7-1-18 What They Do For Fun On Pluto

The Kingdom of the Cats: Ed McMahon

anitas-working-deadThe limo sat idling for nearly twenty minutes. Black exhaust caused the evening stars on a rare, clear Hollywood night to disappear.

 Denny Joyce, a rock drummer for a band called The Love Muscle, watched as the old car gave forth its last rattling breath and after a long pause, the chauffeur, Grieves, struggled with the it’s heavy door. He unfolded his long frame and very slowly stepped out into the street. Grieves wore an old-fashioned chauffeur’s outfit and cap. He adjusted the brim to avoid the light and keep his face hidden in shadow.  

Grieves was weak, barely able to keep his balance.

Denny’s watched the rail-thin man and thought of his eighty-pound crackhead buddy Jeff, who looked more alive than this loser. Denny was more than upset with Jeff who, the night before, had sold Denny a baggy full of catnip that was supposed to be marijuana. The only effect the catnip had on Denny was a disturbing dream about how man’s purpose on Earth was to feed and shelter cats. It was  a vivid dream that left Denny afraid to go back to bed.  

Grieves stepped slowly around the vehicle and opened the back door of the bus-sized limo that faced the hotel. Two large muddy brown shoes appeared out of the darkness of the open door. A tall, rotund, white-haired gentleman dressed in a dusty, ragged tuxedo stepped out onto the sidewalk with great difficulty.

Behind the big guy, but remaining in the limo, Denny glimpsed, a ghostly platinum-haired woman illuminated beneath the street light. She wore sunglasses and a white stole over her shoulders. 

The portly old man swayed weakly on the sidewalk and shielded his dark eyes from the faint glare of the flickering street light above his head.

Perhaps, the weak lamp post still burned brightly in another dimension. 

The Grieves held the bigger gent’s elbow and with some effort, steadied them both. Humming a slow dirge, he escorted the larger man up the walkway. Grieves let go of his large, lumbering passenger who continued on his own.

The big man’s gloved hands carried a long posterboard. Leaving his chauffeur behind as he shambled toward the curious Denny who stood in the doorway of Room #21.

Denny did not look at the man’s face at first, but at the cardboard poster that he held in his filthy white gloved hands: a two-foot by five-foot-long humungous check made out to Mr. Denny Joyce. Dated two weeks ago and signed by Charles “scribble scribble” from the Publisher’s Clearing House. The amount written on the check was for “One Million Dollars.” 

The thing at the door coughed out a mouthful of dust and uttered a rasping “HEY HO!” 

Denny looked up at the maggot-filled mouth that omitted the unearthly sound. The face was slack and it looked slightly decomposed with its teeth drawn back and bits of skull showing beneath the thick white hair and cracked glasses. 

The corpse spoke to Denny through creaking jaws, with a voice and breath that could only have risen from the rotting bowels of …well, almost anywhere east of Lincoln Boulevard.

“Denny Joyce! You’ve just won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes! You’re now a millllllllllionnnnnnnnaire!”

After his initial shock of both seeing the walking corpse of the twenty-years-extinct Ed McMahon and hearing that he had suddenly became a millionaire, all propelled by a blast of fetid (you-call-that) breath?… all Denny Joyce could say was, “Aren’t you… Ed McM… Mc—”

“Hey Ho!” said the corpse. “Dennyyyyyyyyy it’s yourrrrrrrr luckkkkky dayyyyyy.”

Denny felt his bladder threaten to “let go” and he began to feel dizzy.

Something deep down in his fried brain, perhaps a little angel, warned him: 

“Don’t ever invite them in.”

“My family’s sick, man… sorry,” Denny explained through the screen door. “This is crazy! Is… is that check for real?” He threw up a digested stomach full of Cheetos upon his own shirt and all over the battered screen. The yellowed screen was the only thing that separated the living from the dead. 

Pausing, then wiping his mouth with his t-shirt, Denny looked up and asked, “Is… is there anything that I have to do?” Cough, cough. “And just curious pal… are you, like, dead?”

“Yes, Denny. Hey Hooooooohhhh! The last time I looked, yeah! I was very dehhhhhd. The check is reeeeeeeeeal. You are a millionaire! Can I come in? Can we talk?”

Don’t let them in. Never let them in Denny, said the imaginary little angel, now on his right shoulder.

Denny wiped his eyes in disbelief. All of them zeros…. “Uh no, not yet.” As he knew from a previous druggy dream, this was part of “God’s plan.”

“There, of course, is one little catch Mr. Joyce,” said dead Ed. “I need to eat someone’s brains and I need them now! By the way you’re a mess, son, you’ve ruined your shirt.”

“Oh sorry man, er Mr., uh, Mr. McMahon. You gave me quite a start. I’m a smart guy. I knew that there would be some sort of ‘a catch.’ How about my wife Ruby, pal? She has some brains.”

(Ruby used to have a good brain, before she married a crack pipe.) 

“Come here, Honey,” Called Denny. “There’s someone I want you to meet. Ed McMahon. Remember Ed McMahon?”

“Whah da fuck?” his wife slurred from the bed. “Who’s there?” She crawled over to the door.

“Holy shid!” she said looking at him through the Cheeto gauze on the screen, and from three different angles in the dim light. “Hey! You used to be the fat guy from the Tonight Show!”

“Hey Hoooooooo! You are correct, sir! I mean Mrs. Joyce! I am Ed McMahhhhhhhon, and you, my lovely woman, and the man that you are married to, are now millionaires!”

Ed bent his creaky frame over toward Denny and then whispered through the screen toward Denny’s ear. “I bet that she did have a good brain ’til she met you and Mr. Dope, huh, Denny?'” said Ed with another putrid blast of his breath that sent Denny hurling away from the door. 

“Johnny! Mia! Come here, kids!” Ruby said. The two munchkins crawled off of the bed and shambled over toward the door while moaning. They had just started watching the Walking Dead on the Food Channel and were mimicking the zombies on TV

Only Mia was brave enough to come up to the door. Johnny stood back.

“Oh crap Dad! Mom!” said Mia. “This fucker’s a real zombie!”

“I’m only here to helllllp you sweeeeeetnesssss,” said dead Ed.

“Yeah, Mia, uh, we got us a real zombie,” said Denny.

“This is Mr. McMahon, kids,” Ruby said. “Mr. McMahon used to be on television, before he … went bankrupt… died … and rotted… and beetles started living in his ears.”

“Okay, Dad,” said Johnny who now stood behind his sister. “Tell him to go away. He smells like balls!”

“Johnny! Use your manners! Sorry, Mr. McMahon. Kids, huh? Mr. McMahon has got a pile of money for us, children. Be polite, you little shits.”

“If we eat stupid brains,” said Ed, “we just get stupider. No thannnnnnkssss. Can we seeeeeal the deeeeeal? Can I come in and—seeeeeeal the deal?”

Wow! That sounded too much like seal-a-meal to Denny. 

“Wait! N… no, not yet,” said Denny. “How about you just sliding the check under the door?”

“That’s not how we do things here in Hollywood, Denny, sir! We need to shake your hand and capture this wonderful event on video.” 

There was another walking corpse behind Ed, holding a moldy broken video camera. It was hard to see the cameraman, as the camera was supporting a blinding spotlight. The cameraman wore Ray-Ban sunglasses. The mysterious camera-guy also sported sideburns and emitted a truly horrible spoiled bacon smell from his a mold-covered black leather jacket.

“I always liked you Mr. McMahon. I don’t want to do this,” said the shaken Denny.

“Whaaaaat Dennyyyyy?”

“If I let you in… well… Okay, then. Let me think this over”

“Six zeros Denny!” said the little fire-engine-red devil on his left shoulder. 

“You can have that one,” said Denny. “Come here, Johnny! Meet Mr. Ed McMahon! Mr. McMahon! HERE’sssssssss JOHNNY!”

Ed hissed like a snake. “Hahhhhhh, hahhhhh, hilariousssssss. You’re a real charmer, Denny.” Looking at little Johnny with worm-filled eyes, Ed said, “Your old man’s a comedian, son. Did you know that you can’t say that, Denny?” 

“Say what?”

“You can’t say, ‘Here’ssssss Johnny!’ I’ve still got a trademark copyright on that phrase.”

“No way!”

“Waaaaaaay…. Oh, and that word ‘way’ belongs to Mike Meyers. US patent and trademark office, Denny. I can use ‘way’ because I’m a shambling undead fiend.”

“Gee, I wouldn’t have thought!” said little Johnny.

Ignoring the warning from the little fuck-head angel on his right shoulder, Denny said to the dead Ed, “Just to make it clear. Are you listening, Ed! ARE WE CLEAR ON THIS? I am NOT inviting you in! This is NOT an invitation. Right?”  

With that, Denny wrenched open the door, and grabbed onto the lapels of Ed’s threadbare tux. He then pulled the big smelly fat-ass zombie into the motel room. Denny’s wife and kids, all back upon the king-sized bed, just slid over to accommodate the big stiff, and continued to ignore the real horror show next to them.

Ed struggled and gurgled as Denny dragged him into the room. 

Ed McMahon, though over six-feet-tall, was nearly weightless: an empty shell, except for a few shreds of some poor souls whose brains he had feasted on within the last couple of weeks. 

A few feeble minds were the only things that had kept old Ed McMahon barely moving along with a very nice shamble these days.

Ed had only been feasting on the brains of the weak and greedy. At this moment, Ed who was very weak and very greedy for a “noggin nosh.” His scam was not working on the  hardened punk drummer, who moved quickly and gracefully. 

Denny threw the big lug onto the bed.

Hell! That was easy! thought Denny. Maybe I’ll be going out to look for the ex-Elvis and ex-Marilyn later.

“Thanks for the check, Ed,” said Denny. “Money is a good thing and I certainly thank you. You still have one very important thing that you’re going to give me tonight Mr. McMahon! You see, Mr. McMahon, it’s time to feed the kitty!”

* * * *

Denny whistled for Angel Puff (another name for Dave), while Ed McMahon snapped, squealed and squirmed beneath Denny’s weight, 

Denny told him, THIS is God’s plan. Don’t you know that Mr. McMahon? Angel Puff! Come here, Puff Ball!” (another name for Angel Puff).

Angel Puff had always hated his name, though it served him many fine souls. He licked his paws, got off of his furry butt and slowly walked over to the bed.

With his green eyes, orange fur and sparkly gold collar, the cat leapt upon the bed and sat himself squarely upon the trapped zombie’s chest. 

Angel Puff tossed back his handsome mane, focused his slitted emerald eyes upon his prey, and began to inhale his psychic meal. “Meowwwwww.” I’ll start with a little soul food—better than tuna. 

Ed, being a brainatarian, was a soul buffet! 


 The last thing Zombie Ed saw was Denny leaning close and whispering, “The world is full of hungry, fluffy, lovable kitties, Ed. We ONLY exist to feed our cats. Don’t you know that Mr. McMahon?”

Halloween is right around the corner, holding a knife. My YA (young adult) stories illustrated by Anita Benson.


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 parts back inside the mausoleum, dumped them back inside the coffin and took a few  cellphone photos —  one of an inscription on the wall above:

“Lehet, hogy rúgta a csontos seggem, kemény fickó. De még mindig kopasz vagy.”  

The author, satisfied with the bony ass kicking, didn’t review the inscription until he arrived back home in the states

No Noose is Good Noose

No Noose is Good Noose

21. RetroKidsInWagon

The Everyday Adventures of Ether Gray and his sister, Anesthesia

Part III

The trio soon entered the Fairgrounds.

* * * *

Marcus, the 16-year-old carny, had never met the two deathly boring children Ether and Anesthesia Gray. However, he did know that they were too young to ride the Ferris wheel without an adult present. Then, there was their drunk(?) dog (‘Woofth, man!’) in the wagon.

22. HappyPuppy

“Sorry, kids. You’re too young,” said the bloated teen (whose greasy long hair and face might have been a promising new site for Shell Oil exploration).

Anesthesia’s turn this time. “Age is relative, Your Unctuousness,” she said. “My brother and I are quite mature for our age. We have both been favored with IQs well beyond the genius range.”

Marcus looked perplexed. “Smart asses” he thought. Impatience lit up the bloodshot eyes beneath his filthy baseball cap: “Screw I.Q. I prefer D.Q.!”

“D.Q.?” said the two Browns, who themselves, were perplexed.

“D.Q. — you know — Dairy Queen! ARE YOU KIDS MORONS?!” barked the carny, hard enough to release a pint of crude oil from his fat neck.

“I beg to differ!” said Ether. “My sister and I will soon be entering Harvard Medical School, following our graduation from Yale Law School, next year. My sister Anesthesia already merits a top ten nonfiction book on the New York Times bestseller list. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, Mr. Trailer Trash? The book is titled ‘Gray’s Quantum Barbie.’ It is based on the theories set forth by Einstein’s granddaughter, in which she states, ‘If there were a universe completely devoid of genitalia …’ Sir? Hello-o?”

The young carny had fallen asleep and tumbled into the motor assembly of the Ferris wheel. It spat him out — as a green and red paste. 

Oh, Him Again — A ghost story (Boo!)

Oh, Him Again.


17. BigLaugh


Victor Michter was lucky. He’d died before, at ages 55, 67, 69, 72, and 79. 

His family was hoping that after his latest death at age 88, that he would “f’ing stay that way.”

This latest death was the most promising yet. On Tuesday evening, three of his own daughters filled the old bastard with martinis, stuck a cigar in his mouth, and as he “warmed-up” next to his fireplace … Poof! 

Spontaneous combustion. 

There was hardly anything left of Victor’s midsection. The pyrotechnics erupting from the inside of his stomach left a vast hole where his booze used to live.  favorite

An hour later, Victor’s spouse, Beatrice, discovered his blackened body in the smoke-filled living room, crackling amid the easy chair’s embers. 

Before calling the ambulance, Beatrice offered her last respects, “Oh. Dead again.” Then she fetched a package of half-eaten Rolaids from the bathroom, and tossed the unraveling package into the sooty hole where Victor’s martinis used to rub elbows. 

Victor was a tough old bird with an amazing medical history.


After being pronounced “clinically dead” a number of times, he had made it back from the so-called “light at the end of the tunnel” to the amazement of his doctors, three of whom he’d outlived.

 His amazing “comebacks” were featured on CNN. He never cared for the publicity, but the television exposure helped advertise his business. 

Victor was also the richest man in Dungston County, a celebrity in his little town. He employed the entire town of over 4,000 people living in Michterville. Everyone for miles around worked at Michter Motors. They made the electric motors that went inside of machines as big as motor scooters and as small as personal vibrators, the most famous being The Jupiter and Beyond Probe.

If you’ve ever had an airplane flight delayed at takeoff because of a “suspicious buzzing” in the baggage hold, more than likely you can thank the faulty switches made by Michter Motors.

When twenty percent of the country was unemployed, the good citizens of Michterville could still slog to their depressing part-time jobs to earn a miserable wage with zero benefits.

* * * *


Death number one was caused by Vic’s first wife’s numbskull “boy toy,” Tad (or was it Todd?), whom she had paid to run her husband and his car off of the road. As the old guy was driving home from his Monday night Neo-Nazi meeting, Tad forced Victor’s originally-built-for-Hitler “Swabian Colossus” Mercedes over a steep embankment. Though the car was heavily armored, Victor’s chest was crushed and he “died” at the scene. He recovered, in the ambulance, on the way to his own Michter General Hospital’s morgue.


Death number two was Vic’s own stupid fault, as he fell directly onto his head, and “died” while fixing a video unit that he’d attached outside the guest bedroom window of his house. The camera needed to be adjusted so that it could record his 2nd wife’s best friend, Hotsie. After a twenty-minutes of rigorous rigor mortis under an ambulance blanket on his front lawn, Victor sat up, dusted himself off, and walked down the street to his tavern, Vic’s Place.


Death number three happened at his sixty-ninth birthday party while he drunkenly beat his son-in-law with a lamp. The frayed electrical cord met the wet spot on Victor’s slacks where he’d either peed himself or spilled his twelfth drink. Victor was electrocuted until smoke came out of his ears. He “died” and miraculously recovered a third time, while still in the ambulance.


Number four was heart failure during an operation to remove a brass oil lamp from Victor’s butt. The ancient lamp had been jettisoned there by one of Vic’s business associates, while he was in Morocco. A Moroccan nurse swore that she saw a genie pop its head out of Michter’s navel before she herself passed out. Victor simply woke up and walked back to his hotel.


Number five: His family hired a killer. They set up a murder scenario that was supposed to look like a street mugging gone bad. 

It went bad. Sorta.

Victor came back to life at Michter Memorial Hospital while his body was being zipped into a black bag. 


During Vic’s sixth sojourn into the great hereafter, the ungrateful Dr. Ching, who kept Michter’s twin daughters Victoria and Vichyssoise as mistresses, told the medics, “If he’s toasted, then don’t waste my time with that prick. Michter Shmictor! Dead Shmed! I’m sick of our town’s Mister-Big-Shot celebrity dying and never paying me because he owns the hospital and thinks that he owns me.” This time, Vic had been shot by a jealous husband. “If they ask,” said doctor Ching, “tell his rotten family that I’m playing golf at Michter Hills.” By the time the doctor had returned, so had Victor’s vital signs.


Death number seven, was caused by “accidental” drowning in his backyard pool. Victor found himself inside of a cold steel drawer at the Michter Morgue only a few hours after delivery. Old Vic told the complacent morgue employees. “Yeah, I know. Me again. I’m feeling f__king great! Get me the f__k out of here!”


This eighth time, when he’d combusted, Victor’s most recent spouse, Beatrice, along with seven of his greedy daughters, ordered him cremated. 



It would guarantee the end of Victor.

Thinking inside the box

Down at the Michter-Fallow Cemetery, Undertaker Sam Borthwick-Fallow, sixty-four years old and addicted to crack, had opened the wrong drawer for his assistant and mistakenly ordered the incineration of 84-year-old Ben Rose, a victim of secondhand smoke. Sam needed a hit of crack, and left his assistant, Greigor, to handle the rest. It was now up to Greigor to fill the family sized Chinese take-out box of “cremains” and send them over to the Michter mansion.

Victor’s temporary ghost was hovering above as ghosts often do. ”Fuckin’ smaht asses,” he said, as he looked down upon the mortician’s assistant Greigor, who had helped to cook Mr. Rose. The kid was about to pour the ashes into a carton, the same that had held a huge order of “Stir-fry shrimp and vegetable [Item #134] in a black bean sauce.” 

Before the carton was sealed, Greigor “just had to hock a loogey” and dump his own cigarette butt into the box that would hold the remaining two pounds of Mr. Rose. 

Afterward, while looking for his bottle, Greigor soon discovered the real Victor in the next drawer over. Realizing his gross mistake, Greigor moved Victor Michtor’s body into the drawer labeled “Rose.” 

Victor’s body felt unusually warm to the morgue assistant. 

“Alas! Well, a day,” said the assistant as he stood upon a chair. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as rotten in Denmark.”

Greigor shed a tear, drank a swig, and promptly passed out on a steel lab table.

* * * *

At 3 a.m., the next morning, Victor naturally ended up back inside of his own crispy skin. Being a restless individual, he wasted little time in grabbing another corpse’s clothes and walking out of the morgue at 3:15. 

Charred, and oozing. A pie-sized blackened tunnel had replaced his stomach. 

* * * *

The next day, only twenty percent of Victor’s vast wealth was distributed to his family by lawyers. Eighty percent of the money remained hidden, just in case he needed to buy a new suit … or the city of Paris some day. 

* * * *

Victor’s son Hector found the infamous brass Moroccan oil lamp in the family library among the old man’s curio collection. The rest of the Michter clan agreed that the old lamp would be a dandy receptacle for old Vic’s remains. 

Cold embers belonging to Mr. Rose, the cigarette butt, the green loogey, and a few Chinese leftovers were dumped into the old lamp that the mourners, friends, and family would be observing on top of the fireplace at “Vic’s farewell party.” 

Yes, it was the same lamp that Victor had been assaulted with when he visited Morocco in the 1990s. 

The old brass bottle sat quietly on the mantle of the living room fireplace.

* * * *

The Gathering

 Naturally, there was a good portion of the town in attendance at the Michter estate for the free eats and to celebrate Victor’s death. The choice of food for the gathering was excellent, thanks to the “party sense” of Victor’s fourth wife, Beatrice. 

Victor’s mistress, Mennah, who had been brought to America on a work visa, kept the guests entertained in the living room. She just couldn’t seem to keep her hands off of everyone else’s “things,” one being the lamp.

 Beatrice walked into the room carrying a tray of small, doughy, fried snacks from VikCo. When she spotted Mistress Mennah with her hand on the ancient lamp, Beatrice screamed, spat, and threw a handful of doughy things at the Moroccan beauty. Mennah called Beatrice a “withered old mango” in Moroccan. 

The two women traded insults as the Moroccan model absent-mindedly played with the spout of the old brass lamp. 

Beatrice slammed the tray of doughy, fried ‘things’ on a table and stomped off toward the dining room.

As Mennah toyed with the lamp, she saw its ancient inscription. 

“Be careful of what you wish for!” it said. In the center of a small yellow paper diamond sticker, it also said, in Quranic Arabic, “Genie on board!”

If Mennah had been able to read the note, she would have learned that the lamp might be the home of an actual genie. A genie who was getting all worked up because of Mennah’s smooth hand action.

Still inside of the bottle, the newly awakened genie named Mel (short for Ishmael) suddenly exclaimed, “Whoa! Ce que la ….? (What the—?)”

Mel the genie sneezed and found himself covered in ashes. Ashes of an alien human had been dumped into his home! The ashes swirled around him. 

“Qui déversés ces restes ici? (Who dumped these remains in here?) I’ll f—kin’ kill them! Cough! Cough!” Mel the Genie announced in over forty dialects.

“I was supposed to be buried in the Rose family crypt at Bayside,” said the ghost of Ben Rose, who was trying to hide himself in a dark place beneath the lamp’s handle. 

“Who are you? Why are you in my lamp, you son of a camel?… Wait a second… ooooh,” said Mel.”Oooooooooh yeahhhhhh. There are magic fingers ‘summoning’ me, Ben, so we’ll have to talk about this later…. It is Ben right? I’ll be right back.”

From the mantel of the fireplace, a huge plume of blue smoke had been pumped out into the Michter’s living room.

“Goddammit! Who’s gonna clean this up!” said Beatrice, who had just caught the action as the blue cloud plumed.

“Woohoooo! That was fun! I could certainly use a cigarette!” said the released and relieved Mel, who magically appeared.

The gabby guests had become speechless, except for Victor’s twin girls, Victoria and Vichyssoise, who never shut up. They were arguing over their inheritance.

Vicky: “How come you got twenty-five million and I only got twenty-six million?”

Vichyssoise: “Well, if Daddy were here, he would tell you that he loved me the most! You pig!”

Vicky: “If he comes back, I’ll kick Daddy’s ass, but only after I kick your flat ass, of course!”

“Here then! Take your asshole father back!” said Mel the Genie. “Your wish has been granted!” He raised his arms to the heavens and said, “Hoopah hoopah blah blah blah yak yak….”

“Hey! Hold on Mr. Baggy Pants!” interrupted Mennah. She pointed to the twins. “I was the one who set you free! Those two bimbo biotchies had nuttin’ to do wit’ it!”

“Well, bonjour mon cherie!” said Mel the Genie. Then he greeted his audience with a formal bow, and said, “Call me Ishma…. Fuggedaboudit, just call me Mel.”

“Sir! An’ speakin’ of dat will, dat creep didn’t leave me a penny!” said Mennah.

“I guess that’s how much my husband thought that you were worth,” said the creep’s real spouse, Beatrice.

“Shut up you greedy biotech!”

“The word is biotch you… you …. Make me, you ….” 

Mennah turned to the genie. “I wish that Vic had had a chance to write a will! I wish that he….”

“Hoopah hoopah maka waka waka blah blah blah… Oh fuck it! Your wish is granted! You! You can come out of the lamp now!”

Complete with ash glasses, the cold embers flew from the spout and formed a full-sized silhouette which was only the approximate size and shape of Mr. Rose. Empty air filled in the voids as the ash swirled like a mini-tornado. There wasn’t enough left of the Ben Rose ash pile to fill a complete human form. 

“Get that f—king thing offa my new white rug! I told you not to track dirt in here!” screamed Beatrice.

“Who is this woman?” the confused genie asked the confused Mr. Rose.

“Hell if I know! I’ve never seen her before in my death,” said dead ol’ dusty Mr. Rose, staring at Mrs. Michter, while dragging soot all over the Michter’s expensive white rug.

“Well, Mr. Smarty-Pants Genie, THAT is NOT my husband!” said Beatrice Michter.

“Merde, Merde and double Merde! You don’t understand, ma’am. I can’t put Ben back! Damn! Hmmmmm …Well, Mr. Rose, I guess that you are free to leave.”

“Oh great! What am I supposed to do now?”

“Go home to your wife, Mr. Rose, and give her a big kiss.”

“But… she killed me with second-hand smoke. Kissing her is like kissing an ash tray.”

“Then you’ll be a perfect match—pardon the pun. Here’s a bag of gold. Goodbye, Mr. Rose. Go!”

The dearly departing Ben Rose had just opened the front door, when the real Victor appeared on the front steps of the mansion ready to ring the doorbell.

 Ignoring Vic, Mr. Rose blew down the front walk and onto the sidewalk, where the wind carried him down the sunny tree-lined street toward his own modest home and his non-waiting spouse.

* * * *

“Oh. Him again,” said Victor’s wife, who was not at all surprised to see her ex at the doorway, alive. 

“Victor. Look what that ash-hole Mr. Rose did to my new rug!”

 “Who’s rug? Whooooo’s rug? Who the hell is Mr. Rose? Well, it’s a treat to see you too!” said the Cajun blackened version of the vindictive Victor’s visage.

Victor’s entire body was as charred, scarred and oozing. Something thick and green dripped onto the rug from the huge hole in Victor’s stomach cavity.

Mel the Genie had meanwhile turned his attention toward Mennah, the first woman he’d “had” in over thirteen centuries. 

It was love.

Beatrice, looking at the bodily fluids on the rug, yelled at Vic, “Oh! Great! WELL DONE Vic!” 

“Yes, I suppose that I am!” said Victor, to his horrified and sickened guests. “Hello, friends and family! Where can I find a drink? I feel parched! Ha!”

“Welcome back Mr. Michter! Where’d ya get that crappy suit?” asked Victor’s greasy, wobbly plant manager, Mr. Ryan McMurdock. “By the way sir, you’re oozing,”.

“I’d better get cleaned up. I’ll be right back. C’mon Mel! Hey, you damned genie! Let’s go!” 

Mel the Magic Genie, who hadn’t seen daylight more than three times in over two thousand years (one of those times being the night he was forced to leave the lamp during Victor’s Moroccan ass-ault), wiped the guests’ memories clean of his grand appearance and replied to Victor, “Yes, Master,” and quickly slipped back into Victor’s vintage vessel.

Magically, everyone, except for Victor and Mennah, had forgotten that they’d just met a real Genie named Mel. 

“Hold my drink and save me some cake,” said Victor to one of his company “yes men,” as the leaking octogenarian grabbed his bottled genie off the mantel and went bounding up the curved staircase.

“Our deal is off, Victor,” said Mel the genie from the top of the staircase.

“What the hell?”

“Our deal is off.”

Victor looked up and there stood the escaped genie above him at the top of the landing. Victor took a double-take at the lamp, then back to the genie. “How did you get up…? How did you do that?”

“I’ve found a new master, Mr. Michter. That also means that your wish of eternal life is over, kaput, fini, fenire, pau, terminar, sluttede, termino’, kumalizika.”

“You’re my genie Mel! Mine!” Victor ascended the staircase. “You can’t just pick a new master!”

“Sorry Vic, but I’m now under Mennah’s spell. So, I guess that I’ve taken your mistress as well. I… I… I love her Victor. This is real. She’s ‘the one.’ Love conquers all. This is goodbye, Vic!” Mel backed up his last statement with a mighty kick that sent Victor Michter plummeting backwards down the staircase. 

 19. Factory

* * * *

The Michter Messenger’s entertainment columnist wrote of the incident: 

Mr. Victor Michter performed a stupendous somersault at the close of his own memorial party Tuesday. It all ended spectacularly when Vic hit the bottom of his spacious home’s banister, audibly snapping his skinny old neck. 

It was a breathtaking finale, a perfect culmination to many long and colorful lives. 


The disposal of the body will be supervised today, by the Michter family and their attorneys. The cremation will likely be “carried out” in the big oven at Victorio Michterino’s Red Brick Pizza. Smoking is not allowed.

There will be no memorial service held for Mr. Michter.

He’s had enough of those.

Furthermore, I think we’ve all had enough of him.

“Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.” …from Bug House (YA ghost stories)


Boldizsár, I Came to Kick Your Bony Ass.” 

mexican shark attacks107Because of Laszlo’s large skeletal bald head, which appeared on the covers 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 Within two weeks after sending their headquarters a DNA sample he discovered he was 87% Hungarian and, apparently, 13 percent cheese, citing a few stray genetic threads to Luxembourg, Switzerland and four other cheesy countries. 

Thanks to BlameYourAncestors he was also able to narrow his search back his Hungarian family, the Tóths. 

With 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).

Laszlo sent more money to expand the DNA search and finally 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 ruled 16th century Walachia and was buried at the Tóth Citadel churchyard in Ploiești. 

The Count once possessed 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 — Yeah, right, Give me a break — only to find out that the comb had been stolen.

 Oszkár’s mother, Cynthia, told her son that she had seen a well known local magician, Madik, running away from the castle and into the Nagyon Sotet (Very 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 Barbeque, Laszlo, himself, was cursed by the magician’s wife, a powerful witch named Eegahd. 

The next morning, as Oszkár combed, his glorious mane shed. The hair that made him such a ‘wench magnet’ fell to the ground.  

As a result of the 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 Gibors. 

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. 

“The Bastard!” Thoughts of revenge pushed their tendrils in into Laszlo’s rational mind. Online, he  hired úr Harker, a Hungarian scholar, 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 Ploiești., in the woods outside of Ploiești. He quietly drove his rent-a-car around the back to the cemetery, parked and opened the trunk and removed a 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 and began to go to work. He located the Count and slid the heavy lid off Boldizsár’s stone coffin.  

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


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 parts back inside the mausoleum, dumped them back inside the coffin and took a cellphone photos —  one of the inscription on the wall above:

Lehet, hogy meghalt, de még mindig halott.’  

The author, satisfied with the bony ass kicking, didn’t review the inscription until he arrived back home in the states:

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


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

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