Tango Time 5-16-18 F. Barnett
Tango Time 5-16-18 F. Barnett
The Secret Life of Eggs 5-15-18 F. Barnett
Čachtice, Slovakia (Formerly Hungary)
Inside his immense melon head, the bus driver heard the menacing voice of Boris Karloff: “Even your buth is dead, Kimo.” What da kine hell is a buth(? ), thought the Tour driver with the name tag: ‘Aloha, My name is Big Kimo.’ Oh, my bus(!), he suddenly realized. Please! Anywhere but here. Not in front of creepy Čachtice Castle,
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Kimo announced, “we may be here awhile, so you can exit the bus, walk around a little and stretch if you like.”
Bats and huge fanged moths — the kind that would happily eat your shorts—with you in them — were attracted to the lights within the bus and began pounding themselves against the windows. Anyone who was about to ‘go outside and stretch’ quickly gave up on the foolish idea.
“Look, driver!” Someone stood and pointed out of the right side of the bus. Big Kimo couldn’t see anything, at first.
“It’s a lady!” said a British woman in back.
“Oh, boy…and she has dogs!” said her son. Four shadows trotted from the parked Bats Mobile and took their places behind the Countess. They held baskets in their mouths.
Sure enough, a tall beautiful woman was approaching the bus from the car. She was bathed in moonlight. She wore a bouffant hairdo and a checkered blue homemakers dress straight out of the 1950s. The lovely redhead waved at Kimo through the closed door. She held up a pitcher of an ice-cold beverage and a stack of Dixie Cups. He relaxed.
“Oh goody, goody!” a child in the front seat squealed. “The nice lady brought us Kool-Aid!”
What the tourists thought was rain, started to hit the windows. The drops were the plague tears that came from forgotten angels. The sound of the wind was a sickening wheeze of a dying rainforest.
“Let her in, driver! The poor woman’s blouse is soaked,” a woman from Ireland called out. All of the men, suddenly ‘concerned,’ stood up to get an eyeful. One elderly woman said, “It must be the lady of the house. Let her in.”
I hope it isn’t the lady of the house, thought Kimo. The Bloody Countess, Elizabeth Bathory once lived here. That was centuries ago. Still, it is Čachtice!
The canines stood guard in shadows behind their mistress. Kimo opened the glass door—Oh, what the hell—with a hiss. “The dogs will have to stay outside.” The tall beauty, a very well-put-together June Cleaver—he thought, stepped up into the bus taking a wide stance in front in of the passengers. The “nice lady,” wet, was a great deal “nicer” than most had expected. She captured everyone’s complete attention despite their age, sex, race, nationality, or even in the case of Mrs. Bernstein in the back, species.
“Hello, you nice people. I’m Mrs. June Cleaver!” Elizabeth Bathory, The Bloody Countess lied.
Kimo was taken back. Cleaver? Why don’t I like that name?
Her audience was riveted on the icy pitcher of swirling sky blue liquid that she displayed.
“I brought you some refreshments while you are waiting to be rescued,” said the beguiling housewife. “I’ve got dozens of our best local Batina’s cookies and something to quench your thirst. Here! Pass them back. Thank you. If it’s all right with Big Kimo, maybe I could teach you nice folks a little bit about our local cuisine.”
The tired driver nodded, stared out the bus window into the falling tears of regret and moaning thunder, and decided that he didn’t like the size of those dogs. They were very well behaved but they all wore white kerchiefs around their thick necks. No, those are bibs! Cleaver. Cleaver. The name still made him nervous.
“We’re proud of our Fritz Haarmann cutlery,” said the perky housewife. “Mr. Haarmann was originally a meat salesman from Germany, but now he makes and tests his fine cutlery products right here in Transylvania.” She smiled at the man sitting in front of her. “Are you from Germany, sir? Then you would certainly appreciate the craftsmanship. I mean, just look at this edge.” The big bald German didn’t understand one word. While he smiled up at the outline of her ‘chilled’ nipples above, she took aim on his shiny head. “Just feel this edge!” Her arm went above her head.
Soon, Mrs. Cleaver/Elizabeth was doing the backstroke up and down the blood-filled center aisle of the bus as her good doggies dragged piles of tourist-flavored vittles into the Countess’ sob-flooded front yard.
The Countess Elizabeth’s housekeeper, Penelope, disposed of the bus with an explosion fueled by Transylvania’s largest export, Premium Bat Guano (also an ingredient used in the country’s famous Raise the Dead Pöcs (dicks) Coffee.
All of this took five minutes.
The flapping bats applauded.
Elizabeth, curtsied, leapt into her muscle car, and floored the gas pedal five-hundred miles to Poenari.
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.
Shark Fin Soup
A tale of sharks, gods, cannibals, mad cows and endless love.
Since bygone days, two ancient Pacific cannibal tribes have fought over which of their respective shark gods 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 watching the body count stack up along US waterfronts.
(And Jesus still wants a date.)
Soon, our hero finds himself in dangerous waters as he becomes the ‘prize’ in an over-heated mating game between two powerful deities — the luscious, lustful, Fijian shark goddess, Dauna, and her friend, Artemis, the majestic,‘virgin’ goddess of the hunt and moon.
Join the merriment as our hero, Bernie, through divine whoopie, is transformed into Cupcaecius, a deified dead ringer for the debonair screen legend Cary Grant.
“Tell me you’re proud of me, darling. You’re looking at the first new god on Olympus in over five-thousand years!”
Five human babies had gone missing over the span of three months from the Santa Monica apartment building next door to where Bernie and his monstrous cat, Bomba, had made their temporary home. The disappearances didn’t get much press. Bernie’s noisy neighbors simply replaced each missing “bundle of joy” with a brand new screeching banshee from the deepest sewers of hell.
In the previous two cities that Bernie and Bomba had passed through, there were two missing male infants and four missing full-sized adults: two males and two females. A few days later, it was discovered that the two male adults, both eighteen, had eloped and were honeymooning in exotic El Segundo.
Regarding the five missing babies, there was never a phone call or a ransom demand. No evidence of foul play or human remains were ever found. Hopefully, thought Bernie, Bomba, his cat, was not careless enough to leave his prey on the doorstep.
The story’s villain, Edwin MacHeath, four cannibalistic, were-shark minions patiently watched Bernie Benedict’s rented cottage while guzzling salt water and smoking. They were waiting for the god-whispering Interpol agent to show his face. They were beginning to wonder if ‘Dauna’s cupcake,’ Bernie, ever slept at all.
Bernie lay in bed, wide awake and unaware of the danger outside. Why did Dauna insist on telling him, “I’ll be spending the night at home, alone, feeling the cool evening breeze ruffle my tail feathers?” Is she trying to make sure that I never sleep, again?
Most mornings Bomba got up an hour earlier than Bernie and could be found slowly sucking the life’s breath out of him (just like Grandma used to say). Cats didn’t get much of anything worthwhile when it came to soul sucking humans. They just did it for kicks.
At night, neighborhood cats would get together on back fences and laugh at the sorry souls that they would cough up along with hairballs. In the morning, the cats would sun themselves, after they’d sent their soul-less humans out into the morning traffic. The musical memories of the humans became fuel for cat dances on new leather furniture. Soul was no substitute for Seafood Buffet.
Bomba the cat had returned home at 4 a.m. as the super moon descended. He crawled into bed next to Bernie and waited for his human to stir. Bernie, already awake, felt the cat crawl softly onto his chest. Bombs seemed to be growing and smelled like… (Huh?)…a dazzling blend of homemade chili, tangy American cheese, fruity floral onions, crisp kosher pickles and magnificent beef accords, and wouldn’t budge. Bomba might soon awaken his “can opener,” Bernie, with a swipe of a lethal claw across his snorting schnoz. The human was not sleeping, however.
As much as Bernie loved Bomba, he worried, because Doctor David ‘Soylent’ Greene said there was still “someone or something ‘out there’ that had caused four ‘ear-piercing diaper dumpers’ to evaporate into Santa Monica’s thin air.
The big cat’s subtle purr began to transmit a few basic thoughts to Bernie.
“Ahem. Let’s get one thing straight, cupcake. I eat first. You don’t do anything else—first—except get your fat ass up and feed me. You don’t eat. You don’t poop. You don’t even breathe. So. You like it when she calls you ‘cupcake?’ Go ahead dream about her sleeping in her old t-shirt. You’ve got ten more minutes.”
Shakespeare couldn’t have said it better.
In our previous chapter, The Bloody Countess, Elizabeth Bathory had just escaped the captivity of her own castle’s tower (where she was rendered powerless) by the Two Van Helsing twins.
Elizabeth had been forced, as a last resort, to escape her captors by using the classic ‘Pull My Finger’ joke as suggested by her auntie, the witch, Lupta Axe.
The volcanic release of gas destroyed the tower of Cactice, Elizabeth’s clothes and most of her dignity. She was in no mood for fart jokes when she slipped behind the wheel of her Challenger that had been waiting below in the courtyard, with her family, and pets.
“That’s it!” Elizabeth pulled the Challenger over to the side of the road. “One more fart joke and I’m gonna get out of the car, break your old harpy head, dig a fuckin’ hole, and…and…then I’ll…I’ll…”
“I know! I know! You’ll telemarket me at dinnertime and ask me if I can complete a five-minute survey?” yelled Lupta.
“Devious idea, I must admit. Is that what you’d really like me to do, Aunty?”
“No,” said Lupta, sheepishly. “I’m so vewy sowwy.”
“Then watch it, buster!” snapped the Countess.
“Lighten up, Elizabeth,” said Vlad. “Ve’re just breakin’ your balls. It vas a visecrack. Let it go.”
“No, please don’t,” said Jonathan, trying to suppress a giggle.
Countess Elizabeth, emotionally overwrought, buried her face in her hands and began to bawl. Vlad turned his head toward the backseat. “Do you see vhat you kids have done to my Betty?”
“Betty?” asked Lupta. “Who the futen heaven is Betty?”
“This the heaven is Betty! My Elizabeth!” screamed the exhausted vampire. “Do you see vhat you’ve all done to my little love-in liver?”
Elizabeth shot Vlad a venomous glance. “Little, huh? I could kick yourrrrrr leathery ass.”
“Listen, dearie,” Lupta said to Elizabeth. “How about a snack? Some leftover caliente casserole?”
Elizabeth steered the car back onto the pavement.
Vlad announced, “Lupta, let’s change the subject. Hey! Let’s sing some folk songs!”
Jonathan, who had begun napping, suddenly looked back toward Mina. “Pass over the guitar, Mina.”
Lupta shouted out, “Jonny, do you know ‘Blowin’ in the Wind?’”
The car jerked to a halt. “Motherfucker! That’s it! I’m gonna destroy that desiccated stick of jerky!” screamed Elizabeth.
“What’s ‘desiccated?’” asked Lupta.
“You! You wi-atch!” Two bolts of lightning shot from the Countess’ black pupils, bounced off the rearview mirror, and set Lupta’s dry haystack of hair on fire.
“Jonathan?” asked Vlad, “My son, vhen you perform music, do you ever take requests?”
“Of course I take requests, sir.”
“Then shut the FUTE up!” said Vlad.
“Whoa!” shouted Vlad, pointing ahead.
“Watch out!” shouted Jonathan.
While the Countess raged, her car narrowly sideswiped a mummy enjoying a foot-dragging stroll near Astray Trail.
Kharis, the mummy, loved his midnight shuffles, which usually culminated in vengeance upon British scientists and his one good hand squeezing the throat of the reincarnated Princess Ananka, who dared to reject him.
“Jackals! Mummy fuckers! Osiris damn you!” screamed the enraged Kharis. Startled, he had dropped his challis of tanna leaf tea. “Delincvenților minori! (Young punks!)” he cursed and pointed his amulet ring at the car as it passed. “Taco wagon!” Disgusted, the mummy tried to resume the slow, easy pace of his evening shuffle.
Dino the wolf howled toward the moon above. (“We saw a mummy, and we have had five hundred miles of open window!”)
Lupta leaned forward. “Countess! That walking first-aid kit back there just called your ride a taco wagon!”
Elizabeth pulled a screeching donut in the middle of the highway at ninety miles per hour until she spotted the sluggish mummy crossing the highway. “Taco wagon, huh!” said Elizabeth as she slammed into old gauze-face and watched him unravel for over a quarter-mile along the double yellow line.
At 1 a.m. Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” began to play on the car radio—to the Countess’ obvious displeasure. “Change the station! Now!”
Elizabeth had had enough guano for one night. Her rage was suddenly broken, when above the loud music, a loud knocking came from the rear of the car.
“What in blessed heaven?” cursed the dozing Jonathan.
“Flat tire?” asked Lupta.
“Oh, no. Not now!” said Mina.
“It’s your housekeeper,” said Vlad. “She might be lonely, stuffed back there. Maybe she’s hungry. You better pull over. Zombies are God’s monkey wrenches to be thrown into the machinery vhen things seem to be running smoothly. Full of surprises.”
Lupta blurted out, “Like a whoopie cushion?” Vlad shot her a glance and shook his head. “Ixnay on the artfay.”
Frankie Lane’s “They Called the Wind Mariah” blasted from the radio. Luckily, Elizabeth didn’t hear Lupta’s comment as she steered onto the shoulder and stopped. “Open the trunk, Jonny boy!”
She threw Jonathan the keys. He jumped out, and stood back as he flipped open the trunk. Elizabeth reached for her pistol from beneath the front seat and got out. The rest followed. The light from the trunk shone on Mina as she stood guard with a hammer, a machete, a wooden stake, and a small round hand mirror in case there was any funny business with the zombie.
“Son of a bitch!” said Jonathan. “Elizabeth! A gun? I thought the miserable woman was dead.”
“She is, kiddo,” said Elizabeth, firing three shots into Penelope’s wormy cadaver.
“Well, you just killed her again!” said Lupta.
Elizabeth took a breath, relaxed her shoulders, and lifted the pistol. “Like Vlad said, ‘It’s only murder if they stay dead!’ Right? Remember when we had to do this to Billie Bats?”
Jonathan grabbed her wrist. “Wait! Don’t shoot the face! She’s got a big date with Huthbert.”
“Let her rest in peace. She’s dead enough,” said Vlad. “Do you feel better now? Ve need to get back before sunup.”
Willowy Mina gently removed the gun from Elizabeth’s hand and took out a hand mirror. The radio was playing “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack.
“Mina darling, can you still see your reflection?” asked Elizabeth who was trying to catch whatever she called breath.
“No. But I can see Penelope behind me.” Mina faced away from the trunk and held up the small mirror, took aim at Penelope, and continued to empty two more rounds into the dismal rotting thing.
“Nice shot, Mina!” said Jonathan. “You finally hit something that you were aiming at!”
“You should talk, Mr. I-Don’t-Need-To-Put-The-Seat-Up.” Mina handed the gun back to the Countess. “Zombies are like inflatable punching clowns. Let’s go kill something alive. I’m ready for fast moving targets. I need more points.”
Vlad sympathetically placed his filthy razor-sharp claws on Elizabeth’s shoulder as she walked around to the driver’s side. “Vould you like me to…drive?”
Without answering, the Countess pocketed the gun, climbed back into the driver’s seat and paused to take another breath before turning the ignition key. “I’ll be okay! Besides, none of you ‘fiiiiiiine nobility’ know how to f’n drive!” Elizabeth said with a snark. “Just shut your fly traps. All of you.” She pulled the Challenger back onto the pavement. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Well, then,” said Lupta. “You’d better step on the—”
“Don’t say it!” Now, hurtling down Route 13, Elizabeth took the gun out of her pocket and pointed it back toward Lupta. “Not one word, muthafutensfiudecățeanemerniciard! I should never have plucked her from that Salem barbecue in 1692.” The little witch held her crooked hands up in mock defense.
This time, Vlad turned his head around 180 degrees, turned crimson, and roared within a torrent of bile. “You do not vant Elizabeth to stop the car…again, and have me come back there! I promise that all of you vill not be able to sit for a veek…Vhat the fute is that noise?”
Out of the trunk they heard a tortured moan.
“Oh, no,” said Mina.
“Moses fucking H. Christ! What does that dust magnet want NOW?!” hissed the exasperated Countess.
Another loud bang and “Wwharrrrrrrruuuuumnk!” came out of the trunk. (Zombish translation: “Are we almost there? I have to go pottyyyyy.”)
“I dunno. Zombies are kinda cool,” Jonathan said. “They just don’t give a dusty fart about anything. Oops, sorry, ma’am.”
Elizabeth gave him a look that could kill.
“Too late!” he winked back at her noticing that he could no longer see himself in the rear view mirror.
Elizabeth, dressed in her sweats, was flying casual laps around the turrets of Poenari. She thought back upon her brilliant plan from hours before.
There was that motorcycle gang that had passed my castle at Čachtice a few days ago. Gang? “Those fat old farts!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The only exercise that those porkers ever get is twisting a throttle and lifting a can of beer!!! What the fute was I thinking?!
A week ago Dr. Osândă had told her, “You must calm down, Countess. In times of stress, take a deep breath and focus only on the good.” The eminent psychiatrist had said this ten seconds before Elizabeth eviscerated him, while searching for the suspected broom handle lodged up his rectului.
Elizabeth tried to calm herself down as she sailed through the cool night. Yes, she needed to think positively. She took a deep breath and thought about utilizing the biker gang again. Gang?
“Those fat old farts!” she repeated. Elizabeth was proud of herself. That was much better. Calm, she thought, and with a dozen fewer exclamation marks than the first time .
In the final hour of sleep Vlad had moved to the rafters, where he hung upside down to restore blood flow, from his nether regions, back to his head, which may have ruptured after the fireplace romp with the Countess. In a dream, he flew beside the Poenari walls, counting the impaled bodies of his ancient enemies.
Elizabeth had returned from her night flight wide awake and sizzling . Excitement always made her smell like bacon. She put on her fireproof negligee and walked back down to the cool waters of the River Styx. “Hmmm. What the…?” The bats were crawling upon the yeti-skin rug where she and Vlad had made love earlier. “Hey, what are you kids up to?” she asked the colony.
“Occipital lobes,” they squeaked. “Nommy, nommy, nom, nom.”
She noticed that they were feasting upon small bits of gray matter that had leaked out of both vampires’ pointy ears and were scattered about the snow-white fur. “Unholy guano!” Elizabeth needed to wake Vlad. It was time to break out the good stuff. After six hundred years, the couple had just reached a milestone in their love life: We megbaszed our kibaszott brains out!
The Countess howled up through the tunnels and up toward the battlements to wake her lover. She yearned to tell him about her big plan to save their home, the bats, and oh, what a lovely mess they’d made. It would take something nuclear to really clean that yeti rug.
The disgusted Grim Reaper (I am not your blessed maid!”) had already threatened to resign last night.
*** Adorned in matching…
Barnett, Fred. Bats (Kindle Locations 1906-1930). . Kindle Edition.
From the novel BATS ^^ö^^
Chapter 6: Plague Season:
Young Jonathan Tepes visit’s his great-great-great-great-great grandfather Vlad Tepes Dracula. After being questioned by the two gargoyles on top of the drawbridge during Plague Season, in full swing, outside, Jonathan finally meets old Vlad.
“Speaking of bats,” asked Jonathan, “what kind of bats were those outside?””
“Ve don’t have…bats. Those vere mosquitos. Big vuns! Velcome home, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson! Those bats that ve don’t have, do you find them…scary?”
“No. Not scary, sir.” Tired of scrunching his eyelids together, Jonathan took his phone out of his pocket and turned on the candle app called Fliqer that simply displayed a video of a burning candle.
(Eleven-year-old Myron Frickleberg designed Fliqer for rock fans to wave around in the air, like a lighter, during rock ‘n’ roll anthems. Fliqer became a standard for informal candlelit dinners and Myron quickly became a millionaire.)
By the eerie glow of his Fliqer app, Jonathan saw his nefarious ancestor Vlad the Impaler for the first time.
Wow! he thought. The old sucker could be my twin if it weren’t for that silly porn mustache—and he’s evil and much older and not as cool as I am.
Behind the Prince, propped against the wall, Jonathan saw the form of a corpse dressed in a butler’s uniform.
“Follow me into my dining room. There is better light for…reading. The Prince lit his phone’s candle app named Happy Birthday. He opened a hidden section of wall that revealed a long staircase that led into a basement. He spoke as they descended hundreds of feet below the earth. “I vas told by my aunty, who is a vorld-renowned vriter, that you vere seeking out great letters of love and loss. Years ago, a beaten man came to my door. He had been attacked by a rabid badger vhile valking near my castle. Before he collapsed at my feet, he vhispered the name Penelope. I found these letters in his pocket and recognized their significance immediately. The whole vorld had been following the correspondence between Lord Huthbert and Lady Penelope for two centuries. I have…in my possession, the original copy of the final letter sent to Lady Penelope, vherever she is now, dated May 31, 1784.”
Jonathan gulped. “Thank you, sir. I can finish my work.”
“No, young Jonathan. As Karen Carpenter, that cute little skeleton, alvays sang, ‘Ve’ve only just begunnnnnnn.’”
Apparently, Vlad was as tone-deaf as his kin Jonathan.
“I hear that you vere looking for my banker Karoly. He got a little hung up, but your own father told me to make sure that I gave you…your inheritance.”
“From his last will?”
“His most recent vill, anyvays. Catch.”
The Prince flung a roll of moldy cash that landed in Jonathan’s hand.