After a year of high adventure, its time for one young woman to return home.
A few hours before the Fabulous Felinespy got in, Alice and Jim were abed with their cats, Amy and Battling Maxo. Alice was reading a scantily edited “speculative non-fiction ” book written by a congenial local nutburger named Renfield Stoker-Belle. Although the self professed “authoress” couldn’t hold a narrative if she were Velcroed to it, Alice found Spirits of the Wow-Signal Emoji well worth every penny of the twenty-seven she had bid on it.
Prefatory Remarks by Ms. Allison’s Employer
After almost three years in the making, Leila Allison Studios has informed me that something called Renfield Awesomenicitizes the Ghost of the TomTom Ghost: A Feeble Fable has opened its pitiless eyes and is currently slouching off to anywhere but Bethlehem to get itself born. Although this… whatever it is… exists in print only, Ms. Allison insists on bringing her productions forward as though they were motion pictures, complete with a cast, crew and an expense voucher that I am hesitant to look at.
According to an urban legend whose popularity exponentially expands with that of the increasing population of congenital idiots, it takes three years for swallowed chewing gum to pass. Ms. Allison feels that the audience should view Renfield Awesomenicitizes the Ghost of the TomTom Ghost: A Feeble Fable with the soul of that urban legend in mind. For reasons unchallenged by critical thinking, Ms. Allison is certain that any audience able to identify with a wad of Juicy Fruit, grimly determined to survive a perilous journey through untold miles of intestines only to wind up someplace a little less than heaven, is probably the sort of audience who will embrace Renfield Awesomenicitizes the Ghost of the TomTom Ghost: A Feeble Fable for whatever the hell it might be.
Her (here I make like Pilate and wash my hands of the affair) little whatever it might be “stars” four members of the Union of Pen-names, Imaginary Friends and Fictional Characters, to which Writer-Producer-Director Ms. Allison reluctantly belongs. The players include Renfield Stoker-Belle typecast as Renfield Stoker-Belle; a “literary turkey” named Krook briefly essays the role of the TomTom Ghost until he’s suddenly (and inexplicably) replaced by Miss Izzy (Queen of Shoeboxes), who chews the scenery (as well as a bit of Mr. Krook) as the Ghost of the TomTom Ghost. There’s also an old car named Lucille involved. She has no lines but I’m told that she drives the action. Ms. Allison so wanted a celebrity fictional car for the role, but union rules forced her to settle for one of her own construction. My guess is that Titty-Titty Gang Bang and Herpes the Love Bug were both unavailable.
Anyway, I figure that I should step in and issue this fair warning: Something in Leila Allison Studios has opened its pitiless eyes and has slouched off, possibly, in your direction.
Your Obedient Servant,
Ms. Allison’s Employer
Rain was spattering off the windows like a lunatic’s depiction of the Niagara Falls. Occasionally, the odd drop would be eerily illuminated by a passing headlight. These privileged drops would fade into dull oblivion within seconds, joining the herd of drops that continued to assault the windows like an angry geography teacher with an AK-47.
All writers have that one bugaboo story that refuses to finish. It’s as though the damned thing has something against you, and would do anything to mess with you, even to the point of sacrificing its chance of appearing anywhere in the Universe. My bugaboo story is called Renfield and the TomTom Ghost. It has been in production for two years, yet not even a hundred words have been “shot.”
Case File: Something’s Cooking Under Where?
6:58 PM: Dames play games with my head. They drive me to extremes. Run me off to sit in parking lots where the glow of the streetlamps glaze the top of my smoke rings in honey. Some dames disappear in the middle of the night. After twenty years. All because I was born to fight crime. All because I missed a few dinners, an anniversary or two, while out mopping vermin off the streets. Then she gets remarried, moves on with her life like I’m some speck of shit on the toilet rim that never spiraled down. I can only counter with three hundred sixty five canned chili dinners and a new leather duster. And now I’m about to attend my second class in an introduction to cooking course at the community college. I never dreamed there’d be a first, but canned chili only gets you so far before you reach colostomy bag status. So I sit here and wait. Watch the tall brunette, the curvy redhead, and the tattooed blond–my classmates–walk past and wonder which of these fair maidens slipped a favor in the front pocket of my duster last week. It’s a silly little thing. Pink silk with eyelet trim and a round cutout on one end. Some kind of exotic lingerie apparatus, I imagine. All I know is my pocket was bare at the start of class and later that night I found the kinky surprise. It’s a real mystery. Now the only thought in my mind as I step out of the car is: which of these dames wants to toss my bacon in the skillet?
Melvin sat on the garden wall, deep in thought. Chip pan fires were the stuff of 1970s public information films and soap operas. He didn’t know a single person who had suffered a chip pan fire but out of the blue, it happened to him.
I woke up feeling tired, even though I thought that I had slept through the night. My wife Sally looked like she hadn’t slept much either. I expected her to complain about my snoring, but she surprised me by saying “Duke, when did you become a great singer?”
There were only four tables in the cafe, and I saw that my date was already seated at one of them. I had figured this out by the process of elimination (there was nobody else in the cafe except her and the young woman behind the counter), and the stretched possibility that my date bore a slight resemblance to the younger, fitter, and brighter-looking person in her profile gallery. A “helpful hint” on the lonely hearts’ site says that you can judge your match’s interest level by the amount of preparation she has invested in meeting you. Interestingly, the lady had gussied herself up to a point which lay between rushing to the convenience store at five in the morning for coffee filters and awakening in a dumpster. And she seemed oblivious to every atom in the universe that wasn’t displayed on her iphone.
Reuben chomped on a crispy chicken back at the kitchen table when Deputy Nancy smoldered in through the back door, coughing smoke.
“Tanning again, Nanc?”
“These are flash burns!” The deputy dented her waist with the oven door handle. “Bog fog was thick. Smashed a boulder. Patrol car’s toast.”