Saturday, November 7, 2015

A McCloud & McCloud Case File - 37 Shades of Puce

Some stories of Race and Cookie McCloud really have no place in an all-ages adventure comedy book for sale on Amazon-dot-com, and yet deserve to find a home elsewhere.
Welcome home.”
He scoured he halls of the palatial seaside manse, room after room after room... empty. The guy isn't here, he thought to himself. He just isn't here.
Climbing up yet another embankment of long, winding stairs, Race found himself standing before a pair of grand white double doors. He reached out and turned both knobs at once, swinging the doors outward, and stepped into a master bedroom suite. The walls were white, and the furnishing was pale blue. The enormous bed was ultra modern, made of rough, grey wood, like driftwood, four posts, but no canopy. On the wall above it was a stunning portrait of the sea.
In the middle of the floor, moaning and rocking back and forth with pain, lay their quarry. Standing above the broken man was the source of his pain, Race's partner and fifteen-year-old niece, Cookie McCloud. Cookie was holding a garden shovel, the big metal type one would use to move heavy rocks or large piles of dirt. She had the shovel gripped firmly in both hands and was using the flat of it to whack the man on the floor over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Hard. Very, very hard.
(Narrator's Note: “Seeing as Cookie McCloud finds herself in possession of any number of impressive super powers, her 'very, very hard' is much harder than your 'very, very hard.' Worth noting.”)
“Cook, what the hell are you doing?!” Race rushed across the room to snatch the shovel from Cookie's grip. He knew full well she could snatch it right back and break it over his face if she wanted, but she didn't seem angered by his actions. She seemed surprised.
“What's the matter?” she asked, a quizzical expression on her face.
“What's the matter?” Race echoed, pointing at the beaten, bloody mess quivering in front of him. “We were hired to find the guy, not to beat him with a shovel!”
Cookie frowned. “Well, yeah, sure, but I figured under the circumstances --”
“Under the circumstances?!” Race cried. “Under the circumstances?! How are we going to explain this?”
Cookie give him that look, the same one his old high school history teacher would give him when she was in the midst of figuring out Race hadn't done a lick of homework. “You didn't read the whole e-mail, did you? The one from the client.”
“Sure I did! I mean, I browsed it. A once-over, you know? Most of it. The first paragraph, anyway. Maybe just the subject line.” She raised an eyebrow. He sighed. “All right. I didn't even know we HAD an e-mail account.”
Cookie pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and handed it to him. “Here. Read.” Race tapped the e-mail icon and the text of the client's e-mail popped up. He began to scroll through it. “That's a list,” Cookie explained as he read, “of some of the stuff this guy has done to the women he dates.”
Race's eyes got wider and wider the further he got down the list. “Uggh. Wow. Really?”
“Yeah. Really.”
“And the girls AGREE to this stuff?”
Cookie shrugged. “I'd argue they aren't in their right minds, but... yeah. Healthy, right?”
Race tossed the phone back to Cookie, shaking his head. “It amazes me the stuff that people let go on in their lives in the name of love... or whatever the hell it is this clown shoes deals in.” He frowned. “But is hitting him with the shovel over and over and over again the best idea? Stuff like that can follow you around, give you a reputation.”
Cookie grinned. “That's the best part. This is out of canon. It doesn't count. It's a one-shot one-off. Never really happened.”
“Oh!” Race looked back at the guys. “So... what? No consequences?”
Race nodded. “Well, all right then. In that case... got another shovel?”
Cookie pointed to the bed where, sure enough, lay another shovel. Race grabbed hold of it, tested the grip once or twice, and looked back at his niece. “Good to go.”
The two of them spent the rest of the night pounding that dude over and over and over and over and over and over and over again with their shovels.

The world is a better place for it, honestly.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Well, if you consider theories spoilers, which I don't, but some do. Because apparently now not only do some fans want to avoid all news about a big movie, but they want to avoid all thought about it, as well. Never in history has "avoiding thought" led to anything good.


So this is a quickie. It's a hunch, really; a feeling through the Force, if you will, and it involves the film's villain, Kylo Ren. You know, this guy:

So my theory, and it's just a theory garnered from nothing but years and years of knowledge as to how the STAR WARS universe works, but my theory is this.

Kylo Ren is... Luke Skywalker's fallen Padawan learner.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Girl Who Loves to Read (A Minute with Race & Cookie)

“A girl who loves to read,” said Race.

“That’s it?” Cookie asked. “No particular hair color, body type… ?”



“For realz.”

She frowned. “Don’t say ‘for realz’. I’m fifteen and I wouldn’t say that. You’re fifty.”

“I’m twenty-six!” her uncle protested.

“Close enough.” She took a sip of her milkshake. “You see him yet?”

Race cast a casual glance around the diner. “No,” he said. She had to hand it to him; he was no longer super-obvious on stakeouts. Just kinda-obvious.

“So does it matter WHAT she reads?” Cookie asked. “Would you be into her if she liked vampire-based fan-fiction?”

“There’s nothing wrong with fan fiction!” Race replied, a little too defensively.

Cookie grinned. “Oh my God. You’ve written fan fiction!”

“So what if I have?”

“What kind? Sci-fi? Superheroes?” She gasped. “Tell me you’ve never written Green Suit Jacket Man fan fiction.” Race’s blush went from rose to crimson. “You have! That’s so weird! Did you know he was related to us before you did that?”

“No, because that would have been weird.” Race nodded towards the front door. “There’s our guy.”

Cookie pulled out the compact she had bought special for this job and pretended to check her non-existent make-up, really using the mirror to locate the reflection of the corpulent man in the ostrich costume. “Okay. Let’s do this. And,” she added as they stood, “this conversation isn’t over.”

Race sighed. “Just shut up and go punch the fat jewel thief wearing the bird suit.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Cooking Pot

“The cooking pot, after his web show, made sure to pack a raincoat when he went out; after all, he didn’t know where that tomato had been.”
Sage looked up from her paper, grinning. Wally could feel a headache coming on. “Okay,” he said, “the assignment was…”
“… to write a short story that features a cooking pot, a raincoat, and a tomato,” said Sage.
“And you, of course…”
 “… looked those up on to find alternate meanings for each.”
Wally nodded. “Of course. A raincoat, obviously, is a condom.”
“A tomato… is that some sort of 1920’s slang for a loose woman?”
Sage shook her head. “No. It’s a guy who’s gay who doesn’t think or say he’s gay.”
Wally frowned. “I don’t get it.”
“A tomato looks like a vegetable, but it’s actually a fruit?”
“I wish that didn’t make sense. Now. A ‘cooking pot’…”
“’Pot’ just means marijuana,” said Sage. “But ‘cooking’ is a dance on a webcam done from the waist-up. Stretch your imagination. The sentence is about a dancing anthropomorphic clay pot.”
Wally nodded. “Fine. Repeat.”
Sage read: “The COOKING POT, after his web show, made sure to pack a RAINCOAT when he went out; after all, he didn’t know where that TOMATO had been.”
She looked up from her paper, the same grin across her face as before. “Get it?”
Wally stared at her for a few moments, and then said, “You are the worst person I know.”

Sage nodded. “I know.”

Once, Now

Once I was young. Now I am grown.
Once I took life frivolously, looked at things lightly, turned everything into a joke, always found the punchline. Now… uh… ditto.
Once I played too many video games, obsessed with the form, the colors, the action, the lights, the sounds, the visceral thrill. Now, video games are even so much better than they were then, seriously.
Once I rooted hard for sports teams, invested piles of passion in the follies of millionaires, cheered tell I cried, bled ‘til blue. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to get to Game 1 at Dodgers Stadium while in L.A. for a friend’s wedding.
Once I read comic books and thrilled in the adventures of superheroes. Now I try to find a producer for my play about the thrilling adventures of a superhero.
Once I hated green vegetables. Now… fuck kale.
Once, my life revolved around St. Joseph’s College, where I would stay all day, working, studying, socializing. Now, they pay me for some of that.
Once I collected action figures of my favorite characters and toys from my favorite franchises. Now, my daughter does, wink wink.
Once, I spent hours preparing to perform plays in the realms of academia. Now, I’d like you all to come see A RAISIN IN THE SUN this November, presented by the St. Joseph’s College Chapel Players.
Once I wrote essays of silly nonsense and empty morsels that went on for far too long and caused my teachers and professors to shake their heads with plaintive sighs. Now, I stick to the word count.
Once I had no interest in the news, or politics, or the economy. Now I miss Jon Stewart.

Once, I was really good at being young. Now, I have no idea how to be grown.

Lights in the Morgue

My dad was a Navy corpsman during the Korean War. He walked into a Naval recruitment station fresh out of high school; not that he had any great desire enlist, but his mother told him, “Your brother’s the one who gets to go to college, so you can either get a job or go to war.” He picked war.
He didn’t see much action. To hear him tell it, he spent much of his Korean military career playing baseball against local teams. He was a hell of a shortstop, he assures us.
There was, though, that one time…
The frigate he was stationed on was moored off coast from a building the military had converted into a morgue. One night my dad was on overnight watch, and he noticed that every light in the morgue was ablaze. He reported it to the lieutenant on duty, and he and my father got into a dinghy and were motored to shore.
Not to be cliché, but not a soul was in sight. My father pushed open the front door to the morgue (it was unlocked) and he and his lieutenant stepped through to find the main foyer as quiet as a… you know. The sergeant on duty was gone, his post abandoned and desk barren. Nerves on edge, my father and his lieutenant searched the first floor, found nobody, and then with some reluctance began down the steps to where the bodies were kept.
It was cold, and it was bright; all the lights on the lower level were on as well. Past the abandoned front desk and back through where the slabs were kept, a voice carried, agitated and angry. My father and his lieutenant shared a bewildered glance and (to their credit with only a moment’s hesitation) they headed on through.
There, amidst the drawers that hid the deceased, they found the desk sergeant. He had set up a table with four chairs; he was seated in one with playing cards in his hands. At the other seats, each with a hand of cards laid out in front of them, the sergeant had propped up three cadavers with whom he was playing poker.
My father and the lieutenant came up behind the man. “Sergeant,” the lieutenant asked, “what in the world are you doing?”
The sergeant barely glanced at him. “What is it look like I’m doing? I’m getting my ass handed to me in poker!”
My father and the lieutenant looked again at each other in disbelief. “You know,” the lieutenant said, gesturing to the other three players, “you’re playing against corpses.”
The sergeant slammed his cards down on his table in disgust. “That ain’t even the half of it.” He jumped to his feet and leveled an accusatory finger at the dead body across the table from him. “This sonuvabitch has been cheating all night!”
Needless to say, the following evening there was a different sergeant minding the front desk of the morgue. War is hell.