Wednesday, January 28, 2015


illustrations by penmarq studios

is this a joke, joey?
does kenny know about this?
he is not going to like it when he does
it is always my fault isn't it?

nobody ever gave me anything
the organization is obsolete
the punks have taken over
and the so-called big hots just quietly walked away

but i remember the day
call me a sentimental fool
come on, let's go over to harry's and get a turkey dinner
then go for a walk uptown

kenny is what you call a psychic vampire
wait a minute, wait a minute
i don't like explanations
you know things just are what they are

there is nothing more to say
all the same -
these are bad times for sure
enough to make you choke

don't get me started
everything is over
face it
get over it

how did it all go wrong?
i just don't understand
willie's joking around started it all
i guess you just never know

Saturday, January 24, 2015


illustrations by penmarq studios

everything changed in an instant
jerry almost knocked his can of orange fanta over when he saw julie through the window of the greyhound station
he should have known
love is a poison that never dies

his mama told him to stay way from girls like julie
now he would have to pay
of course there was always the old-fashioned way
powerful forces him urged him to take it

he couldn't quiet the demons roaring in his brain
remembering where he was
smack dab in the middle of a greyhound station the night before thanksgiving
terror gripped him anew

peeking out from under his colorado rockies cap
julie was still visible -
walking up and down like a panther in the snow
except something was missing

youth wants to know
nothing more, but a lot less
all right - decision time
before jerry could go any further with his desperate thoughts

his can of orange fanta was knocked out of his hand
he looked up and saw danny davis!
the ectoplasmic puddle of orange fanta spread over the tiled floor of the station
a few of the waiting passengers snickered

jerry got the message - he was almost grateful
there was no hope
he began to laugh insanely
just as the bus to jefferson city pulled in

Friday, January 23, 2015


illustrations by palomine studios

i need a hug
infinite darkness surrounds me
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are nice
but the kindness inherent in a hug can not be duplicated

look out the window
marigolds are blooming
i never heard you use that word before
obviously you don't know a marigold from a hollyhock

please keep your voice down
it won't do to be quite so excited
and reserve a table for three
express my deepest sympathies

i had a pet turtle long ago
there is no urgency but get it done
vellum - there is another word commonly misused
i wonder how many people know what vellum is

expertise is a self-locking mechanism
after years in the wilderness
under the mocking azure skies of despair
he was writing a poem about king arthur

in an appropriately bucolic setting
as the crowd cheered half-heartedly
under the mocking azure skies of despair, indeed
every one i spoke to expressed the same opinion

the minister's fall from grace was overdue
he was grateful for the hug and the kind words
and hummed a pleasantly familiar tune
and they turned into the reserved parking space

Thursday, January 22, 2015


illustrations by palomine studios

i wanted a gerbil for christmas
i got a hamster instead
it is important to realize that a hamster is not a gerbil
just because a hamster looks like a gerbil does not make it one

knowledge can be useful sometimes
chef boyardee lasagna is the best
many strange things happen in this world
no one is exactly sure why

orangutans can be inscrutable
parrots often treat humans with disdain
quite apart from the expense involved
certain types of rugs can be difficult to clean

so many people came to pay their respects
too many to be thanked individually
but uncle david did his best
because there is no substitute for victory

where are all the smarty-pantses now?
i expect they ran home to their mommas
the youth of today are quite hopeless
zeal and pride are foreign to them

all the authorities are in agreement
the best is far behind us
consider the recent electoral campaign
doubtless the most depraved on record

enervation is now the style
but fashions change all too quickly
the guests will be arriving soon enough
let us show them some old-fashioned hospitality

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


illustrations by palomine studios

everybody used to like fruitcake
my grandma made fruitcake
she was one hell of an old girl
i was real proud of her

jump on my back, boys
because i'm the king of all media
and the lord of all time and space
maybe you've heard of me

no one ever comes to see me any more
it is getting dark outside
i have said all my prayers and then some
now it's quiet time

and i remember the fruitcake
sliding down my throat
turning the corner of a dark street
down by uncle bud's

very soon there will be a knock on the door
the landlord will want his money
i have tried to explain
i am not as young as used to be

i used to go to the zoo at night
after the war
but before everything was locked up
and the circus left town forever

the deal went down
everybody got a cut
old friends went their separate ways
grandma left grandpa and started making fruitcake

Thursday, January 15, 2015

maisie and the clowns with polished shoes

maisie awoke in a strange city. it looked like a circus but she felt that it was not.

it was something darker, more mysterious.

it was disturbing. she did not use the term lightly.

she had been planning the wedding of her dreams before disaster struck.

she came to a bridge. a twisting staircase on one side of the bridge led down to a river. and another one on the other side led to a street with a dimly lit cafe.

she remembered riding on a bus. but where was the bus station?

she felt like a little white button, lost on a big red sweater.

the dark fascinations that she had kept hidden for so long had returned, she knew, to overwhelm her.

out of the secret openings in her brain the wurgs had returned - with murder in their hearts.

on the other side of the river she saw a little wooded park. would she be safe there?

suddenly a small, squat figure appeared at the other end of the bridge. a wurg!

one of the white buttons on her sailor suit began to vibrate and emitted a low, beeping sound. she pressed it and the beeping stopped.

a voice emerged from the button.

"listen closely," the voice commanded.

"who are you?' maisie gasped. "what do you want?"

"i am your darkest desire. you must do as i say."

maisie stood transfixed. the wurg at the other end of the bridge also remained still.

"we have been watching you," the voice from the white button continued. "we are your only true friends, your only hope. you must do as we say."

"we? there are more than one of you?"

"yes - your dark desires are many. very many."

"but i was planning the wedding of my dreams."

"you must forget all that - forever."

"no! i can never forget jeffrey."

"jeffrey was a figment of your imagination, as you, my dear, are but a figment of ours."

"no, no! i loved jeffrey!"

"did it never occur to you that he was a little - too good to be true?" the voice chuckled malevolently.

maisie heard footsteps behind her and whirled around.

a couple of clowns were approaching, arm in arm.

they looked like clowns the whole world over - big red noses, baggy polka dot pants, battered black hats askew on their round heads.

but they were wearing black shoes - highly polished black shoes!

were they wurgs disguised as clowns? were they going to kill her?

the clown on the left raised his hat and bowed.

"we meet again, miss maisie."

"again? i am sorry, sir, but i do not believe i have had the pleasure."

"oh, but you have." the clown smiled with his big green grease-painted mouth. "we met in general parker's bunker - after the second nuclear war."

"i - i don't remember you. i don't remember any clowns in general parker's bunker. you must have looked different then."

"indeed i did, miss maisie. i looked very different on that long ago occasion."

"then you were - "

"i was general parker."

"oh my god! i don't believe it."

"but it is true."

"then you must know what happened to jeffrey!"

"jeffrey, my dear child, is the least of both our worries." the erstwhile general parker laughed with a deep booming general's laugh. and his fellow clown laughed also, and tooted a few blasts with a little red ribber horn attacked to its belt.

"are you telling me to forget the wedding? but it was all planned, down to the tiniest detail," maisie wailed.

"you must stop this foolishness at once," the second clown barked suddenly in a shrill voice. "and i do not use the term foolishness lightly. you must stop being a silly little lovestruck noodle and get your act together or we all up a deep, dark creek."

"please tell me what is happening," maisie pleaded. is this some kind of crazy circus, an amusement of the evil gods returned forever? is there no hope? and who, by the way, might you be?" maisie gazed sternly at the second clown.

"you mean, who was i? since you ask, i was jane forthright, the war correspondent who followed general parker to a thousand hells and back in his crusade to save the universe. surely you remember me?"

"of course i remember you, miss forthright." maisie flushed. "and not always kindly, if i may say so."

"that is all very well," the clown replied. "but this is not the way to brown our bread. and this is no time to let bygones be bygones either. those wurgs are starting to stir, and we have to mosey on out of here pronto!"

like a terrified prisoner facing a firing squad, maisie divined that miss forthright spoke true - the head of a wurg appeared at the top of the staircase leading down to the dim lit cafe.

miss forthright pointed her little red rubber horn at the burg and blasted him to wurg heaven with a death ray.

"let's go!" the clown who had identified himself as general parker cried, grabbing maisie by the arm. "move out!"

the two clowns hustled maisie over the body of the now headless burg and down the staircase to the street and cafe below.

maisie heard footsteps racing on the bridge above - the unmistakable slurping footsteps of wurgs!

i'm a little white button now, she thought, and i may never find my red sweater again...

she gritted her teeth. i made it through one nuclear war, she told herself, i guess i will just have to make it through another...

they were in front of the cafe. a curiously white doorknob gleamed on the green glass door.

general parker tried to turn it. it was locked.

"no time to stand on formalities!" cried miss forthright, and kicked the door in.

the two clowns dragged maisie through.

she shook them off once they got inside. "no need to drag me any more. i'm ready to fight!"

"good girl!" the two clowns exclaimed in unison.

"where are we?" maisie asked.

without a word general parker pointed to the back wall of the cafe.

maisie saw two more twisting staircases - one on the left going up, the other on the right going dowm...

"which way?" miss forthright asked. but maisie already knew the answer.

wurgs were underground creatures.

upward and and onward!

they raced for the left staircase...

suddenly a pair of feet appeared on the top visible step.

feet encased in heavy, highly polished black boots!

was it one of the watchers?

but there was no turning back now...

it was time to call on the demonic forces within herself

all the demonic elephants and snake gods and knife throwers and chameleonic clowns

forget fair play and all that… it was time for murder

the polished shoes came a little further down the stairs

revealing a watcher in evening clothes

with fear and hatred spreading like a cosmic white lilypad on his monocled face

it was her old enemy doctor flanders!

recovering his customary bonhomie and savior faire to some extent, he looked down on maisie with undisguised loathing.

"we meet again, doctor," maisie flung her words at him with biting contempt. "i am sorry to see that the last disaster you imposed upon an unsuspecting world did not include you in a tally of the casualties."

"and i am sorry to see that up survived as well, my dear. do not think that i have forgotten what you did to my most valuable disciple - how you broke his heart and flung him aside - a young man i loved like a son."

"ha ha!"

suddenly a cry sprang from the grease-painted lips of general parker and miss forthright-

"maisie, look behind you!"

maisie whirled. what she saw defied her wildest nightmares in a mad race to the ultimate apocalypse...

she doubled down on the savage demons within her...

but it was to no avail...

with flashing claws and blazing teeth she advanced on the streaming horde of wurgs who were pouring through the door of the cafe...

the two clowns grabbed her arms and tried to hold her back.

were they trying to save her, or were they in league with the watchers and the wurgs?

who could she trust...?

a white haze of pulsing rays and spinning electrons enveloped her...

jeffrey... jeffrey... where are you?

this was to be our wedding day...


sources: the invention of wings, by sue monk kidd
gray mountain, by john grisham
all the light we cannot see, by anthony doerr
personal, by lee child
big little lies, by liane moriarty
the target, by david baldacci
the fixed trilogy, by laurelin paige
the blood of olympus, by rick riordan
top secret twenty-one, by janet evanovich
killing patton, by bill o'reilly
unlucky 13, by james patterson and maxine paetro
edge of eternity, by ken follett
shadow spell, by nora roberts

these were listed as the 13 most popular books of 2014 by amazon (u s)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

points, or a day at the beach

"do we really want to go on with this?" frother asked wearily.

"yes, i believe in starting what we finished. i mean, finishing what we started," petherington replied with his trademark silly giggle.

"very well, then." frother took a bite of his jelly doughnut. "i must say, though, that this automatic spell check is driving me quite mad."

"then let's just get it over with before gertrude returns."

the handsome young man who had caught amanda's eye stretched lazily on the beach, reminding her of what it meant to be really alive.

but her brain could not hold the thought, and quickly bifurcated. ( + 10 points)

"good god, i thought we had done with all that! "(- 5 points)

the two humans ran in opposite directions, chased by the big dogs.

it was perhaps the cruelest laughter davison had ever heard, even from the open window of the summer house.

doctor matthews sighed as he opened his black bag.

"there is no necessary adumbration here. none whatsoever." ( +5 points)

"all these fellows are charlatans. thee is no need to discuss it further."

"spare us the so-called juicy details," beatrice replied impatiently.

the embolism stirred uneasily. (+ 20 points)

when amanda looked up, the handsome young man was gone.

but doctor hiero was gazing down at her with his sad but evil brown eyes. (-10 points)

"you do not wish to go into the water this morning, my dear?"

how absolutely disgusting his hairy stomach looked.

doctor hiero for his part considered amanda an insolent puppy.

he laughed silently and wondered if that was proper terminology for a thirty-four year old woman.

davison was to remain supremely ungratified throughout the whole affair.

the sun went down on another dreary day, on another low tide.

"satisfied?" frother asked, as he eyed the last doughnut. it was chocolate frosted, not his favorite at all.

"quite. i think we have done a good day's work here."

"let us hope it was what the director had in mind."