Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pronouns

Round 7 is entitled -
All About Alliteration!

Here's the deal: You pick a letter to alliterate the heck out of (hopefully not ending your sentences with prepositions, like I tend to do) and then find words in your handy dandy Webster's Theasaurus or at Thesaurus.com that mean the same things as The Words I've chosen. I realize there are not going to necessarily be literal synonyms for every word, so do the best you can. Don't kill yourself trying to write anything lengthy - I'm finding this one to be kind of difficult. (But maybe that's me.) If you run into trouble, check out this post by GoingLikeSixty - he seems to have nailed the alliteration thing.

The Words:

Cereal (Use a name brand if you want. Maybe that will make it easier?)

Please be sure to highlight or italicize or bold your chosen words in your story, since no one's will be the same.

Stories are due by next Monday, July 23rd at 10pm Oklahoma time.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Redneck vs. Hillbilly


It appears that the rednecks rallied around their diva this round and have made me their queen. I am humbled and honored.

The next round is going to revolve solely around alliteration and I'm trying to come up with a list of The Words that can be used regardless of what letter you choose to use repeatedly in your story. This is going to require the use of a thesaurus and possibly one or seven Bud Lights.

Words will be chosen and posted by Saturday.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Hatfields vs. McCoys

Voting in Round 6 is now open. There is no reason for there not to be tons of votes this time because there are only TWO stories to read! Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, then VOTE!

Voting will be open until 10pm, Wednesday July 11th.

Jeremiah Falls

by Redneck Diva
Genre: Soap Opera

Barbara Jean Redbone – 19 year old mother of 12, pregnant for the 11th time with a baby of unknown paternal heritage. In other words, she doesn't quite know who her baby daddy is this time.

Sally Sue, Amelia Bedelia, Eddie Ray Bobby, Nermal Wayne, Cindy Bertha, Barnaby Wallace, Rascal Jean, Stripes McGee, Jr., twin girls, Annie Fay and Fannie May and twin boys, Cecil John and Cyril Don – Children of Barbara Jean.

Darrell Darrell – Swarthy 34 year old 8th grader at Jeremiah Falls' Middle School. Probably Barbara Jean's latest baby daddy – he was the last 8 times.

Neon Leon – Quirky loner who tries to remain low-profile in Jeremiah Falls, but the fact that he glows in the dark due to a tragic accident at the nuclear farm on the edge of town keeps him from the quiet life he desires. Blamed for a lot of petty crime in town because well, he glows in the dark and they see him leaving the scene with the goods tucked under his glowing arm.

Barnaby Jones – Town doctor, Barbara Jean's father.

Jonas Barnaby – Barnaby Jones's evil twin.

"Stripes" McGee – One and only attorney in Jeremiah Falls. Kind of sleazy, smarmy and makes one want to wash their hands after prolonged contact. Father of Stripes McGee, Jr., Barbara Jean's oldest boy.

[The scene opens in Barbara Jean's scantily furnished shack on the creek bank. Barbara Jean is washing dishes. There are children running amok, engaged in ornery frivolity in the cabin – little Sally Sue is hanging upside down from the rafters, shrieking while her brother Eddie Ray Bobby tries to catch her pigtails with his pocketknife. Rascal Jean is reading a three year old copy of the popular magazine, Hedonism and Leisure Journal. Amelia Bedelia is feeding all four twins. Stripes Jr. and Barnaby Wallace are in a heated debate over the war in Iraq. Cindy Bertha and Nermal Wayne are making out on the couch.]

Barbara Jean: Cindy Bertha Redbone! Nermal Wayne Redbone! Y'all just stop that kissin' right now! Do y'all wanna end up like your cousins Sara Carol and Norman Bates? Those two had to move to Arkansas and git married! Now y'all come 'ere and help me with these dishes. My back is killin' me tonight.

[She sits down wearily in a kitchen chair as Cindy and Nermal enter the kitchen, winking at each other.]

Cindy Bertha: Oh, Momma. You don't even know howta have fun. Why, Nermal and I are just doing what you said. You always say, "Y'all kids need to git along better." So we are. Ain't we, baby?

[Nermal grins and pinches Cindy's rear]

Barbara Jean: You two are playin' with far. I'm not sure, but I think y'all have the same daddy…..

[Knock at the door. Barbara Jean stands and waddles to the front door. Opening it, she finds Darrell Darrell standing on the stoop with a bouquet of wildflowers in his hand. She tries to shut the door, but he stops it with his foot.]

Darrell: Oh, Barbara Jean. Don't be so mean. Heh. That kinda rhymed. Anyway, Barbara Jean, you know you love me and I love you. Why cain't I just take you away from all this – by the way, hi kids that are mine. Don't ferget yer daddy loves you! Barbara Jean, just run away with me. It looks like Cindy Bertha and Nermal are getting' on fine – let 'em play house for awhile and take care of the young'uns. I can shoot some extra possum and squirrel to get 'em through the winter. We'll hitchhike to Oklahoma and live the good life for awhile with our new young'un.

[This whole time, Barbara Jean is tapping her foot impatiently, hands on her hips, looking off at the wall.]

Barbara Jean: You done, Darrell Darrell? 'Cuz if you are, you can just take yer fancy flowers right back out and put 'em back in my garden. I ain't runnin' away with you. I have 'sponsibilities here and if you cain't handle that, you need to go find you some sweet thang in that fancy schmancy Jeremiah Falls Middle School you go to, and run off with her. I ain't your plaything, Darrell. Not no more.

[She chokes back a sob as she slowly shuts the door. Shoulders slumped, she pushes Cindy Bertha and Nermal apart from each other and starts washing dishes again.]

[Fade out]

[Scene opens to Jonas Barnaby pacing angrily. He has Barnaby Jones tied to the railroad track on the outskirts of town and Barnaby is doing his best to talk his evil twin into letting him go.]

Barnaby: Listen, evil twin brother, let's talk this through. It's not like I asked to be the one Momma Jones kept all those years ago. You hafta understand that it's fate, destiny's child, kissma or something. You were supposed to be the one to live in that orphanage, one of many ill, malnutritioned children, waiting daily for someone to take you home with them. You are who you are because of that orphanage.

Jonas: Don't pontificate at me, not-evil twin brother. You're Momma's chosen one.Do you know what it's like to watch child after child leave the orphanage with a new momma and daddy, knowing you have to stay and endure cold oatmeal, free government cheese and re-runs on PBS? Do you? No. You don't. You went to medical school and you have a good life, a daughter, grandkids. Lots of grandkids. What do I have? Well, aside from the clap I got last winter when I had to prostitute myself out just so I could stay warm, I don't have anything. Nothing.

[Jonas sits on the railroad track next to his bound twin brother. Jonas leans his head on Barnaby's shoulder and begins to cry.]

Barnaby: Damn, evil twin brother, you sure did have it bad. I can give you some sulfur pills for that clap, you can stay with me and Mrs. Jones and well, I know of 12 kids who would sure like to have another uncle. And just so you know….I didn't go to med school. I took a correspondence course from that place Sally Struthers went to.

Jonas: ICS?

Barnaby: You see what? Man, we better get you those sulfur pills quick. Untie me, evil twin brother. Let's go home.

[Jonas embraces Barnaby. As the camera pans around the two men, Jonas grins evilly.]

[Fade out.]

[Scene opens with Stripes McGee pacing in front of his large desk. Neon Leon is slouched down in a large wing-back chair. Stripes is muttering and stopping occasionally to peer at a legal pad on his desk.]

Stripes: So tell me, Neon Leon, do you trust me?

Leon: I don't have a choice, do I?

Stripes: I'm Stripes McGee.

Leon: I know. I'm Neon Leon. I thought we did this earlier.

Stripes: Nevermind. I will win this case, Neon Leon, or my name isn't Stripes McGee.

Leon: Riiiiight. You're Stripes McGee. I'm Neon Leon. I thought we established that already.

[Fade out.]

[Scene opens to Barbara Jean's bedroom in the shack on the creek bank. Barbara Jean is very obviously in labor on the bed. Cindy Bertha is wiping her forehead with a washcloth. Amelia Bedelia is bouncing Fanny and Annie on her hips, while pacing the room.]

Amelia: Cindy Bertha, I think it's 'bout time we called ol' Papa Jones, don'tcha think? Momma's not lookin' so good right now.

Cindy: Amelia Bedelia Redbone, you'd think you'd never seen a woman give birth before. Of course, she don't look so good. She's gonna be pushin' a baby outta her hoohah here in a bit. I jist hope I look this purty when I have Nermal Wayne's baby…

Barbara Jean: What? UNNNGGGHHH! (pants) You're havin' his baby? Your brother's baby? Cindy Bertha Redbone, that child'll be borned with two heads or sumthin'.

Cindy: Oh, Momma. We'll be fine. We're in love. Besides, I did some checkin' with Stripes Jr. and he said that if memory served him c'rectly, Nermal Wayne and I don't have the same daddy. So, see? We'll be fine. If the baby is a little slow or sumthin', we'll just put him in daddy's class at the middle school. Daddy'll help 'im. It'll be good fer the baby t'spend time with his grampa.

Eddie Ray Bobby: Okay, Amelia Bedelia, I got the truck a'runnin' and I'm ready to go get ol' Papa Jones. You think she'll wait?

Amelia: Oh golly, I sure 'nuf hope she can….

Barbara Jean: UNNGGGH!! Nooooo! I can't wait no more! Eddie Ray Bobby get m'daddy NOW. I'm havin' this baby!

[Eddie leaves the room, a truck roars out of the yard.]

[Amelia hands the twins off to Sally Sue and she and Cindy prepare for the birth of their new brother or sister. They're excited to find out whether they'll be aunts of uncles, but are concerned for their mother, who doesn't seem to be handling the labor as well as she usually does.]

[Scene cuts to Eddie Ray Bobby pulling into Barnaby's house. Barnaby and Jonas run out of the house with Eddie and hurriedly get in the truck. The truck heads back to the shack on the creek bank.]

[Scene cuts back to the shack on the creek bank.]

Cindy Bertha: Just one more push now, Momma. Come on now. You can do it! PUUUUSH!

Amelia: Okay, here it comes…..I'm an uncle! [a baby's cry fills the room] Oh momma, it's the prettiest little Asian baby boy you've ever seen! Wonder who's the daddy of this one? Any ideas?

Barbara Jean: Lo Hung Dong

Cindy:[pulling back the baby's blanket] I'll say.

[Fade out.]

Davy Jones's Locker

by Hillbilly Mom
Genre: Science Fiction

It happened as predicted, on the exact day and time. The counties below them had been inundated for months now. The rising waters had crept higher and higher, at a rate of four inches per hour. When Davy went to bed, tendrils of water were licking at his front sidewalk. When he awoke the next morning, nearly four feet of water covered his yard. The basement was full, and about a foot of water swirled about the first floor. Davy’s family was well-prepared. The water would not go higher. They had switched over to the new electrical system without a hitch. Air mattresses and pool accessories dotted the living room. Mom and Dad had inflated them last night.

From the television mounted on the wall, Davy noted that his school was now running on the water route. This, too, had been planned and publicized. The kids knew what to do, as did the teachers. Davy slipped on his water shoes and slopped through the downstairs hall to the kitchen. His mother plopped two Eggos on his plate, and Davy coated them with syrup. It was pretty much like any other Wednesday. He wiped his mouth and headed out front to wait for his bus. He daydreamed a bit, as most 13-year-old boys are wont to do, about the girls at school. Davy hoped this new water world would meant the girls would dress more scantily than before. Not that some of them weren’t nearing the dividing line between ‘scantily-dressed’ and ‘undressed’ already.

Davy listened for the bus. He knew it couldn’t possibly sound the same. He knew his old school bus could not drive in the 4-5 feet of water that covered the road. Davy dangled his legs off the rock-and-mortar post of the fence. He looked to his left, and saw the bus boat. It was bright yellow, with the driver sitting up front. Davy was near the end of the line. The end nearest to school. He was one of the last students picked up, and among the first dropped off after school. The bus boat was moving at a good clip. It slowed as it neared his stop. Davy was sad to see that
the girls were dressed the same as every other day.

“Good morning, Mr. Franklin.”

“Good morning, Davy.” Mr. Franklin handed Davy a paddle and a life jacket as he clambered aboard.

Davy sat down near the front of the bus boat, right side. He began to paddle as Mr. Franklin called out, “Stroke. Stroke.” They arrived at school at the regular time. Davy followed the other kids to the gym. They were not allowed to go to their lockers before school. Just as Davy had feared, the water in the main hallway was over his head. He was a small child for 13, and had been assigned the profession of “jockey” for his Beta Club Induction Dress-up Day. Davy was prepared. He pulled a jointed elbow straw from his pocket, and popped the short end in his mouth. With the long end above the surface, he could breathe just fine. He climbed the steps to the bleachers, bringing his head above water again. Instead of basketball this morning, the duty teacher was holding a diving contest. Contestants shinnied up the basketball goal supports, and dived from the hoop. The water at gym floor level was a bit over 10 feet deep. Some kids went for the technical difficulty. Others preferred the crowd-pleasing belly flop style.

When first bell sounded, Davy readied his straw and headed down the main hall to his locker. Just his luck, he had a bottom locker. Davy took a deep breath and ducked his head under the surface. He took out his pen and slammed the door. The Social Studies books were in Mr. Thompson’s classroom upstairs. They had been stacking them there in preparation for the flood. Davy jammed the straw in his mouth and walked toward the stairs. Once the students were seated in the classroom, Mr. Thompson began to pontificate, as usual, about the ancient Greeks. The steady drip drip drip of water from the students’ clothing made Davy sleepy. He tried to picture swarthy Mr. Thompson back in Greek times; Mr. Thompson pursuing and practicing hedonism. A small smile edged its way into his mouth.

Near the end of class, two office workers came in, pushing a cart from the A/V department. It was loaded with neon green waterwings. “How many students do you have under 4 feet nine inches, Mr. Thompson? The office says they have to wear these waterwings at all times, unless they are in the basement classrooms.” Mr. Thompson looked out at the class. “I think Davy Jones is the only one. Anybody else?” No one raised a hand. Mr. Thompson tossed Davy a pair of waterwings. “Blow them up, son.” Davy did. His face burned bright red. He felt like a baby.

When the bell rang to end first hour, Davy hurried back downstairs to his Math class. Mrs. Wilson told the students to sit on the backs of their chairs, and rest their feet on the seats. That way, everyone’s head was above water. Davy hated the waterwings. It was nearly impossible to walk down the hall now. His feet didn’t touch the floor. Bigger kids grabbed him and shoved him for sport. He bobbed like a cork. On the brighter side, he didn’t need his straw to breathe. The rest of the class was laughing. Davy turned, and saw bubbles popping up around Ricky Richardson. Mrs. Wilson frowned. “Enough of this frivolity! Save your farting for your leisure time, Ricky! We have a lot of work to get done before the MAP test. Pay attention!”

Third hour sent Davy to the basement for Science. They had practiced what to do when the water arrived. Yes, they’d had drills once a week. He took a deep breath and dived underwater. Good thing Mrs. Wilson had given up one minute before the bell so he could deflate his waterwings and stuff them in his pocket. Davy swam his way down the stairwell, down the hall, and into Mrs. Beemer’s classroom. He swam like a dolphin to his desk, snagged his air line from the ceiling, and popped it into his mouth. Whew! That was pushing the limit on his breath. He’d have to take a deeper one next time. Mrs. Beemer started class. It was a lesson on density. Davy liked the hands-on lessons of Mrs. Beemer, but his stomach could only think about lunch.

During lunch, a bit of an argument broke out at the teachers’ table. Mrs. Beemer taunted Mr. Thompson for having a wreck on the way to school.

“Couldn’t you see that GIANT schoolboat in front of you, Thompson?”

“Hmpf! I SAW it, but you can’t exactly put the brakes on like you do with a car, now can you, Mrs. Beemer? Surely you know something about momentum and friction and deceleration.”

“I certainly do. And I know not to follow too closely behind a schoolboat, too. How much damage did you do?”

“I must’ve cracked the bow, somehow. When I pulled into the teachers’ marina, I was taking on water. Bailing couldn’t keep up with it. Lucky for me, I had my emergency raft.”

“Yes. I saw you send those kids out to blow it up. What century do you live in, Thompson? They have those auto-inflate rafts now. You don’t have to make 6th graders blow it up by mouth.”

“They didn’t mind. It gave them something else to do besides annoy the hell out of me!”

“Somebody got up on the wrong side of the dock this morning.”

“Get off my back, Beemer! This is harrassment!”

“I’m just teasing. You never could take a joke if it was on you.”

“Shut up, you stupid…PUCKER! That’s what you are, you basement-dwelling denizen! PUCKER!

You spend all day underwater and think you are our equal. One of these days, I’m gonna put a kink in your airhose. Then we’ll see who has the last laugh.”

“Don’t threaten me, Thompson! I’ll file a grievance!”

“Grievance, schmievance. Keep flappin’ your jaws, you damn PUCKER! You’ll get what’s coming to you. And that’s a promise.”

The lunch bell ended the spat, and all rushed back to class. For the most part, the days began to stretch into one another as everyone adapted to the new routine. Davy became adept at evading the kids who wished to make sport of him. He found that a well-placed underwater knee did wonders to discourage other students from turning him into their own personal beach ball. He didn’t even need his locker any more, what with the books being stored in the upper classrooms. Mr. Thompson let most of the kids with bottom lockers keep their paper and pens in his room, in cubbies made from boxes that used to hold copier paper.

Yes, the students and teachers adapted. In fact, they all got along swimmingly, as Mr. Thompson was wont to say. That is, until the day that Mrs. Beemer did not show up for work. The police checked her home, but found only her 13 cats, perched high upon the kitchen cabinets. Later in the morning, about the middle of third hour, the police met with Mr. Thompson in the principal’s office. After one hour and fifty-seven minutes of questioning, just in time for Mr. Thompson to have his planning period, he said matter-of-factly:
“You might want to check Davy Jones’s locker.”

The police rushed to the abandoned locker, and found one Vivian Beemer, bound with an air hose, breathing through two bendy elbow straws. The slight woman had a straw in each nostril, with the other ends poking up through the vent holes into the top locker. Extra straws had been squeezed down onto the long part, making each one about two feet long. The police freed Mrs. Beemer, and took her down to the police station, where the bailiff gave her some towels and chicken noodle soup.

Mr. Thompson was transferred to the high school across town, and padlocks were placed on all bottom lockers. Davy Jones went about his life in the wet new world much as he did before: quietly, without much fuss.

Geez, it's like y'all have a life or something

I've waited all day, hoping that someone would send another submission, but here it is 5:30 Oklahoma time and nada.

I'll wait a little bit longer and then I'll post the two submissions I do have - mine and Hillbilly Mom's.

As she said, "...may the best woman win. Or, considering that it's just us...may the least annoying woman win." She pretty much nailed that one.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Extending once again

Since it's nearly 5pm on deadline day and I haven't received a single story submission, I think it's going to be wise to extend the deadline until after the 4th of July holiday.

The deadline is now Friday, July 6th, 10pm. Voting will begin on Saturday the 7th.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Round 6 - Au lieu et place d'une vacances d'été, laissez-nous tout écrit des histoires

Don't ask me what it means. Ask Elizabeth.

Here are The Words for this round:


I'm publishing the genres this time because I don't want to sit here and email everyone individually. I'm lazy like that.

Hillbilly Mom - Science Fiction
Cap'n Neurotic - Mystery
Jusdealem - Teen romance
Cazzie - Horror
Elizabeth - Western
Redneck Diva - Soap Opera
Maverick - Historical Romance
Pigpen - Fantasy
Bubblegum Tate - Comedy
Li'l Random - Drama
Mrs. E. - Action

Some are those listed above are from the last round and didn't write, so I just listed them with what they had last time.

Okay, now you know The Words and your genre. You have until Friday, June 29th at 10pm to submit your stories.

Voulez vous couchet avec moi ce soir?

(Yeah, I'm pretty sure I just propositioned y'all, but hey, I'm trying to keep the theme going here.)

The round that shall remain nameless

...until she sends me a title, that is.

Elizabeth has sent me her list of The Words and as soon as she titles the round, we'll get started.

So far, these are the entrants that have for sure told me they'll be participating in this round:

Hillbilly Mom
Cap'n Neurotic

If you were given a genre last round and didn't write, you can keep that genre if you want. If you want a new one, you need to let me know today. The Accounting Firm of Paul didn't get to draw new genres yesterday because my internet decided to be a big poopyhead and wouldn't connect. Sooo.....you've got until this evening to let me know.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

And the shoes have it

Elizabeth, aka The Shoe Diva, put on her walkin' shoes and walked all over the other submissions in Round 5, Cazzmania!!!, this week.

Congratulations to you, Elizabeth!

She'll be sending me her list of words ASAP.

In the meantime, y'all need to let me know if you're in for the next round - genres will be assigned this round, too - although, we are letting pop culture rest this week. I know I for one would run screaming if I had to try that again, lol.

(I do have some really fun ideas for the round after this one - don't worry, it has nothing to do with Tickle Me Elmo, American Idol or KISS.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Voting Ends Tonight

I considered leaving the poll open until tomorrow night, but the numbers have remained the same since last night, so I think we've pretty much got all the votes we're going to get. I will close voting around 10 tonight (providing the weather cooperates and I can get online) and the winner will be emailed immediately thereafter.

The new Words will be posted hopefully by Monday. If you want to participate in this round, email me so we can draw genres again. We're going to leave out the pop culture references this time because my brain hurts from this round, but I think the genres at least give everyone some direction. I have some ideas for future rounds, but let's take it easy this time.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Memories at the Monkey-Hog Saloon

by Cap'n Neurotic

Genre: Western
Pop Culture: Tickle Me Elmo, MTV, Rosie O'Donnell


“Well tickle me Elmo and call me Spanky!” slurred the drunk who had just collapsed at Ford’s feet. The gunslinger did a double-take, shaken by the sot’s turn of phrase.

“You okay, pardner?” the dealer asked, and Ford waved the concern away.

“Just need to stretch my legs for a minute,” he said, pushing away from the card table. He knew the other players in the saloon would assume he was answering the call of nature again, but that was fine; better they think he had the bladder of an octogenarian spinster than they realize that the ramblings of the town drunkard could put him into such a state. He quickly strode out of the Monkey-Hog Saloon, so named for the rare creature rumored to live in the badlands surrounding the town of Chadwyck, although Ford suspected that its name came less from the fact that the creature was fabled to resemble some weird hybrid of a chimp and a sow than the fact that the whole idea was monkeyshines and hogwash. Still, the usual cynical thoughts which would flash through his mind at shenanigans like the obviously fake stuffed monkey-hog topping the saloon’s entrance were nowhere to be found, drowned out by the tumult conjured by his encounter with the drunk Pacing down the dusty street, he struggled to purge his mind of the images from that night 15 years previous when his youthful quest for enlightenment had led instead to nightmares.

As a young boy, Ford had always felt that he had a special destiny awaiting him, and after the massacre which had robbed him of his family he had set off to discover what that destiny could be. He eventually followed tales of a nomadic Indian tribe whose true name was unknown to all and whose shaman possessed the power to pierce the veils of time. It had taken him months to find the tribe, and then over a year of living with them to prove himself worthy to consult the shaman for guidance. The ceremony itself was cloaked in the fog of memory, with brief snatches surfacing from time to time: he remembered the sweat lodge; remembered the strange incense whose smoke flooded his lungs; remembered the rhythmic chanting which lulled him into a trance; and then, more than anything else, he remembered the visions that followed, terrible visions of another place and time: a shivering, red-haired monstrosity with its deafening high-pitched giggles; a box filled with images of young girls decked out in skimpy clothes and performing lewd gyrations that would have made Ms. Posey, the local madam, blush; a loud-mouthed harridan assailing a handsome mustachioed man about his right to bear arms; these sights and sounds filled his mind, and did many more, some more horrible than others.

When he had regained consciousness, he had found himself alone, abandoned in the middle of the now-deserted field where the tribe had last encamped. Even with the considerable tracking skills he had learned in his year with them, Ford was unable to find a trace that they had ever been there; indeed, in the many years since then the mysterious tribe had remained as elusive as their ineffable name. His only souvenirs were the frequent nightmares fueled by the strange visions, and the odd stares from many a companion over the years who, after having to listen to a night of his restless mumblings, would ask him questions such as “What is this ‘emteevee’ and why do you want it so bad?” or “I hope I never meet this Rosie O’Donnell of yours, boy, it sounds like she hurt you but good.”

After a few minutes, Ford was able to shake the uneasy feelings the drunkard had inadvertently caused, and he returned to the Monkey-Hog Saloon to reclaim his place at the card table and, he hoped, reclaim some of his money as well.

“Feeling better, friend?” asked Blonde John, the dandified card sharp to Ford’s left, whose faux geniality failed to conceal the condescension which dripped from every syllable that dropped from his mouth. From the instant Ford had met Blonde John, he had detested him; the slick-haired so-called gentleman’s clothes reeked of too much privilege, his vocabulary reeked of too much education, and his tendency to use both to intimidate others reeked of too little class. Having to play against him had set Ford’s teeth on edge earlier; now that his concentration was shaken, he was afraid he was going to need to swipe a horse tranquilizer off of the doc just to keep from losing his cool.

“So, what is it you do?” Blonde John asked, absentmindedly fingering his daffodil cufflinks as the next hand was dealt.

Ford had witnessed the cocky player weasel his way into the heads of the other players over the course of the evening, and decided he wasn’t going to provide the forked-tongued devil any ammo to shake Ford’s game. “Me? I’m just a student of the human condition,” Ford said with an air of distraction.

Blonde John snorted. “Oh, yes, I see, I haven’t just stumbled into any old saloon,” he snarked. “Why, it’s really just a psychiatric experiment in disguise, and you’re part of its Byzantine ruse.” The snobbish dandy grew more agitated as Ford studiously ignored his ribbing. “So, let’s see-- you’re a ‘student of the human condition,’ disguised as a pugnacious scofflaw, with no one the wiser. I’m sure our dealer here is a trained alienist, using our betting habits to write his thesis. And Ms. Posey over there, well, obviously she is secretly an erudite sexologist, and not just a common tram--”

His comment was cut short as Ford’s fist shot out, knocking the loudmouth backwards onto the ground; dazed, Blonde John reached for his gun, only to stop when he realized that the barrel of Ford’s revolver was inches away from his forehead.

“You really need to watch your mouth,” Ford said in a toneless voice.

“Ah, yes, in retrospect, I suppose I should,” Blonde John said carefully, obviously reassessing his position and not wanting to exacerbate the situation. “I suppose when I reminisce about this with my grandchildren one day, I shall describe it as the day a student of the human condition taught me something, eh?” Ford recognized the battered man’s feeble attempt to save face, and slowly put his gun back in its holster; there was a small corner of his mind that still hated resorting to such behavior, but over the years as his quest for a greater purpose in life had brought him nothing but pain and misery, he had come to accept that such actions were the only way to get along in this world.

“Hahaha, that tickles!” The voice of one of Posey’s girls flirting with a flush prospector sent chills down Ford’s spine as he was once again plagued by the high-pitched echoing cries of a strange creature from another time and place.

Vibrator Hotel, No Batteries Included.

by Cazzie!!!

Genre: Soap Opera
Pop Culture: E.T., Brangelina, Princess Diana


SCENE 1: Brad enters hotel foyer, dressed in a pin striped suit, complete with top hat and spats shoes. He has a rolled up newspaper under his left arm. Peering around the foyer, Brad steps up to the front counter.
Brad says in a whisper "Why, hello there. I have a reservation to see the Sexologist Miss Selina at 1400hours".

Desk attendant: "Why yes sir, right this way" She rings a small bell, the consierge comes out of a small room to the side of the desk. He hurriedly walks Brad to an elevator. The door opens, and a person steps out. Brad and the consierge enter the lift, second floor is selected as destination.

Stepping out of the lift they make a right hand turn down a small hall and knock on the large pink door. Consierge nods and leaves Brad alone.

Miss Selina: "Enter!" Is the command.
Brad, "Why hello Miss Selina"
Miss S: "Where is Angelina today? Is she not coming, it is not like you to go anywhere alone...Brangelina "
Brad: Well even love birds have to have time apart"
Miss S, "So, you are both having a hard time again? Tell me more"

Brad takes a seat on the sofa, Miss S sits to his right.
Brad: "Do you believe in destiny Miss S?
What if Brangelina was never meant to be?
Look at Princess Diana, her and Dodi, they never had a chance.
What if we don't stay together, will we ever know what we may miss out on?"
Miss S: "Only time can tell the tale. Unless you want to stop time itself, as if having been given a tranquiliser of some sort....time, standing still..." Miss S, starts to unbutton Brad's shirt. He does not resist. Miss S moves to Brad left and pulls him up off the sofa by his forearms.

They stare into each other's eyes....SCENE PAUSED HERE...

SCENE TWO: in the hotel kitchen, the head chef, wearing his white tall hat and chef checkered pants with white buttoned top is busy preparing for a banquet in the restaurant.

Head Chef: "Look, all my assistants have called in sick..what am I to do? How am I to cater for all these people in this short space of time before the restaurant opens? We may have to just go to Subway and order rolls for everyone to eat tonight!!"

Hotel Manager: "I have got some agency assistant chef's coming in. One of them used to work in the kitchens of some of the biggest chains of restaurant in the World..he is reportedly very accomplished"

Head Chef: "What..he worked for McDonald's or something? Gimme a break!"

Manager:"I will do my best. But, in retrospect, I can safely say the agency I called have such good repute, they will surely come through to help us out in our time of need here".

A clumsy waitress drops a whole tray of whole fish, it slops on the floor at the feet of the head chef and the hotel manager. She bends over to pick up the mess, as she bends, everyone can see she has a pattern of ET The Extra Terrestrial on her undergarment...it causes everyone to laugh, lightening the mood in the kitchen.

SCENE 3: Out at the pool there is a small gathering of elderly citizens. They are playing a game of cards, sipping pina coladas and smoking Havana Cigars.

Bob: "Say, Harry, get a load of the young birds coming out of the hotel for a swim over there"

Harry:"Oh, come on Bob, look the other way, you know they are out of our league. I mean, look at us."

Bob:"Speak for yourself old timer, I am going to get me some whoopee before the end of this vacation, and I am not talking about sitting on a cushion that just makes fart sounds..get my drift"(winking and waving his havanna around in the air"

Harry, "Well, it might be nice for you to reminisce about our younger playboy days Bob, but I got other things I want to do in the next few days"

Bob: "That's a full hand I got there..you are out mate" Bob slaps the cards down on the table, looks at the young girls in the pool, gets up and does a bomb into the pool. The young girls yell at him for wetting their hair, and they get out of the pool and go back into the hotel.

Harry laughs so hard he collapses.... an ambulance is called via a poolside phone.....

SCENE 4: Inside the recreation room there is a gathering of ladies, they are dressed in after 5 clothing, having their make up applied for a photo shoot for Little Ladies Magazine.

Florence: "I just love the feel of this silk dress, it makes me feel so fem-i-nine and all"

Stella: "Well, it would never compare to the feel of this velvet chemise Flo...so warm and soft".

Tilly: "You ladies know that Brangelina are staying here in our midst at the Vibrator Hotel don't you?"

Gasps heard all round.

Florence:"Well, I know where Brad is, but I do not know where Angelina is...I saw him enter the room of the sexologist Miss Selina"

Gasps all around again.

The waitress with the ET undergarments appears, she smells of the fish from the kitchen, this causes the ladies to vacate the room.

SCENE 5: The ballroom of the Hotel is where the next scene takes place.

Opening scene, Shot of the Enlightnment Ballroom sign on the double breasted door.

A waiter walks through the double doors, cameras take shot of the expanse of the room.

The ball gets underway.

Bob and Harry share a table with the ladies from the magazine shoot.

Brad and Angelina sit with Miss Selina.... Miss Selina stands up and profess out loud to everyone in the ballroom that she is in love with Brad and is having his baby. Angelina faints to the ground. Brad storms out of the room and Miss Selina is left looking silly at the camera until next Friday's episode...

Life Lived in Turmoil After Childhood

by Maverick

Genre: Drama
Pop Culture: The Brady Bunch, Smurfs, Play-doh


Hi, my name is Jan. Well, that was my name on the famed TV show The Brady Bunch, and I’m her to tell you a little about my life story. From early childhood I thought it was my destiny to be in show biz. I loved acting and it was fun for a while. Being the middle sibling on the show gave me a huge complex; being behind Marcia made me feel less of a person week after week, but as I reminisce about the shortcomings of my childhood, it helped me grow up quicker. When the show went off the air I had trouble finding other work besides some infomercials and bit parts that underused my talents. I began to believe that there wasn’t anything left out there for me. I had a bit of a breakdown in the middle of Saks Fifth Avenue on Rodeo Drive. Someone called for an ambulance and when they arrived one of them gave me a tranquilizer and admitted me into the mental wing of the local hospital. Yeah, I was in there for a while. The hospital assigned me a doctor who, in turn, sent me to the in-house therapist who got down to the root of the problem. The therapist put me through a lot of tests and told me that the lack of a relationship with a man led to my breakdown, so I went to a sexologist who explained it to me through using something I thought was weird – playing with Play-Doh. She told me to mold it into a male and female figure and, because the Play-Doh was blue, all I could think about was those blue creatures The Smurfs – you know, like Smurfette and Brawny Smurf, so, I molded it into them. Then she told me to act out some very personal scenes with my figurines until she told me it was the lack of dating and male contact that had put me in the downward spiral through my adulthood. She recommended a few things I could do to fix my problems. I took her advice and within months my life was back on track. After all that enlightenment from my doctors I felt like a new person and, in retrospect, I think my childhood would have been better if I wasn’t so hard on myself for being the middle child on a sitcom that lasted forever and made me lots of money and residuals throughout the years.

A Timeless Tale

by Hillbilly Mom

Genre: Historical Romance
Pop Culture: M. Night Shyamalan, KISS, The Beatles


(We got a two-fer here, people! She's making up for her self-disqualification last time!)

The great hall was hung with tapestries of rich reds and greens and blues, with gold and silver accents. One was a magnificent unicorn, contained in a small pen. Others showed battle scenes, and the Lord and Lady, while yet another depicted a brightly-colored bird. I made note to ask Edward what kind of fowl sported such bright plumage, for I had never seen one such as this. I walked across a layer of straw, in which dogs wrestled about over bones from the most recent meal. The fire was banked in the huge stone fireplace. People bustled here and there, putting away salt cellars and cups and spoons. It smelled as if chicken and stew had been served, and perhaps mutton. A richer diet than my family was accustomed to, by far. Most of our meals consisted of beans and vegetables, from our own fields. The fields we worked for the Lord.

This was my first time in the castle. Edward had asked if I wanted to come. As a carpenter’s apprentice, Edward often worked inside. His father, Gilbert, agreed to the arrangement, so I put my hair under a hat, and walked along behind them, carrying the toolbox. I did not know the names of all the tools, though I recognized a plane and a chisel. Edward said his father valued the plane above all his other tools. It was covered with fine ornamentation. Edward and Gilbert handled the wood, which I believed to be walnut. We were to build a chest in the Lord’s sleeping area, in a secret compartment, to store his jewelry. With the Lord and Lady away to visit the Lord‘s family, this was the perfect time for the work to be done. The constable had no idea I was along for the job. Even if he had, it would have meant little to him if a farmer’s daughter visited the castle with the carpenters. I could do no harm to his Lord’s property. No one would be the wiser.

It was good of Edward to include me. As the son of a craftsman, he enjoyed more opportunities than I. Edward was fearless. Just last evening, he came by to fetch me to the river for some fishing. My father was still in the fields, and when I heard Edward whistle, I told my mother I was going to look for some truffles. She did not care. I was a big help to her during the day, and when my father was not home, she often let me go off by myself. As I entered the wood, Edward jumped from behind a tree. With a shock, I saw that he had painted his face with clay and soot, so that it nearly glowed white in the dusk, with jagged black outlines of soot about his eyes. Edward stuck out his tongue, so long that it nearly passed his chin. "KISS?” he asked. I blushed. He could be so much fun, so daring. I shook my head. Edward took my hand and pulled me down onto the damp, mossy bank. We sat for a moment in silence, only the babble of the water over the rocks to be heard.

Edward began to hum, then to sing a little tune. “Love, love me. Do.” He treated me as if I was special, not just a plain farmer’s daughter. As though I was nearly his equal, as if he cared about my opinions. He was my destiny. My reason for living. We both knew we were meant to be together. I put my hand on his arm. “Shhh. What was that?” It would not do to be caught alone together on the riverbank, especially by my father. “It is nothing. Just the Beatles chirping in the tree bark,” said Edward. “No one is coming.”

“And what are you, pray tell? Some kind of…m…night shyamalan?” I asked. Edward laughed. “You need some enlightenment, my dear. Methinks the word you are looking for is ‘shaman’.” He pushed the hair from my face and smiled, his countenance eerily white in the half-light. I shall never forget his gentle touch, ere I reminisce into my dotage. “We will be together,” Edward promised. “Nothing can keep me from you. You shall be my wife. It is only a matter of time.” His voice was as soothing as mandrake. Edward said mandrake was a tranquilizer the Lady took for a pain in her tooth. The Lord had sent out a page in the night to find a merchant with the mandrake, which was from a land far away. Edward’s mother was friends with the ale wife, and learned of goings on in the castle from her. It seemed as if Edward knew everything of the world, while I knew nothing. Already, Edward was in the carpenter’s guild, and would never have to want for anything, even when he grew old and could no longer work. My father respected Edward. He would allow me to marry Edward, I was sure, when I was old enough.

In retrospect, Edward had an other-worldly quality about him. He knew where the largest fish lurked under the roots that hung over the riverbank. He could seek out the sweetest honey in the hollow trees of the wood. He sensed which thicket the rabbit would dart into during the chase. He whispered things in my ear the likes of which I had never heard. Words like ‘sexologist’, of which I did not know the meaning, but did not want to ask. Edward was a man ahead of his time. He had traveled out of the village with his father to work on jobs for the Lord. He knew more of the world than most young men his age. Or old men, for that matter.

Something rose from the river and grabbed my foot! Edward put his arms around my shoulders and hugged me tightly. The thing that had my foot would not let go. It squeezed and shook my foot, pulling me toward the river…


“Hey! I said wake up, Colleen! Yer out cold! Whadya do , take a freakin’ tranquilizer? Them pals o’ yers is on the way over. Ya sure know how ta find ‘em, gal. That long-hair with the KISS t-shirt is about the pick o’ the litter. Try ta get ‘im to shut his infernal yap, wouldja? And I don’t mean set him to singin’ those Beatles songs. He thinks that’s gonna make me like him more, but I’d as soon hear him screechin’ that ‘Rock ’n’ Roll All Night’ crap as mutilatin’ Eleanor Rigby.

“Sit up there, gal! You’re in a daze. Ya dropped yer book. What’s this? Ivanhoe? Jeez! We had ta read that same junk when I was in school. The sisters oughta change it up every century or so. Somebody tell ‘em it’s the Age of Enlightenment already. What’s yous kids need ta know that fairy tale crap for, anyways? Nowadays yer all sneakin’ the TV on at night, watchin’ some freakin’ sexologist or psychic friend. More Phil Donahue--that‘s what we need. It’s tough raisin’ kids these days.

“You watch out for that Shyamalan kid. What’s he go by? M. Night? What the hell kinda name is THAT? Last week, he stopped at the bottom of the stairs and said ‘Good evening, Mrs. O’Mara’ to your dear departed mother, God rest her soul. And her been gone 5 years now. What’s in that kid’s noggin, I’ll never know. Be careful ‘round him. I wouldn’t wanna have somethin’ happen, and in retrospect wish I’d a kicked that little sicko to the gutter.

“Well, I’d love to reminisce with yas all night, kiddo, but it’s my destiny ta crack open a cold one and watch the Cubbies. Ya holler if yas need anything. And keep this door open!”


by Eric

Genre: Fantasy
Pop Culture: Google, the TV show Wife Swap, Frank Sinatra


“This doesn’t look good.“

“In retrospect it may have been a bad idea.”

“Oh really? ….May have been a bad idea? Ya think?”

Her retort was not as sarcastic as it sounded, but nonetheless hurt Mark deeply. It had been his idea to go through the portal they had created in Sara’s garage. “It’s not all my fault, you made the portal.”

“Let’s not reminisce about who did what and whose fault it is, the fact remains that we need to find a way back.” Sara had started the argument, and as per her usual need, she had finished the argument. It was true that she had drawn the circle in the floor using her niece’s chalk, but she had no idea that it would open a portal to another dimension. And although Mark had suggested jumping in, the lure of the lush forest and golden sunshine in it had more of an appeal than the eight straight days of rain they had been living through . “So you got any more bright ideas Einstein?”

As if on cue her palm pilot lit up and played one of those Avril songs she had on there simply to annoy her husband. “You’re getting service out here?” “No, it was just a reminder that we were supposed to go see the sexologist today.”

This caused Mark to laugh. It had been her idea because she thought there marriage needed a little spicing up. Sara had seen a clip about the sexologist while watching an episode of Wife-Swap. That had also made him laugh. Wife-swap, sexologist…he still couldn’t believe he was going to go see her. I mean Sara had just picked the first doctor off a Google search and made an appointment.

“You know, I don’t really think she would have helped us anyways.”

“Yeah, like you got all the answers.”

“I know one thing you don’t know.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

She had turned her head to look at her husband and fell face forward into the ground. The last thing she remembered was a large object blocking out the sun. Had she been awake, she would have seen four men standing above her and her husband. Two of the men were carrying crudely made long pipes. They had hit them with some primitive form of tranquilizers. Had Mark and Sara been awake to see, they would have seen these men dressed in black and white medieval tunics and chain link armor. A fifth man appeared, leading a horse that pulled a small cart. The five of them loaded the couple in with what appeared to be 3 kegs of liquor.

They awoke later that night in what appeared to be a medieval dungeon. Both of them noticed immediately that their shoes had been removed and Sara was missing her wedding ring. There was a little light coming up from underneath a large black door. Mark started knocking on it in several places before pronouncing it solid. Sara had just sat down on hand-woven grass mat when a small piece of wood slid from the middle of the door and a bellowing voice told them to stand back from the door. They both moved to the back of the cell and the opening closed again. The door swung open very slowly and a hunched back little man appeared in the doorway.

“The King wants to meet you oddly clad strangers. Now we can do this the easy way or we can do this the real easy way,” he said as he produced a shackle and threw it down on the floor. “One for each of your wrists” he said as he licked his lips and stared at Sara. Mark picked up the shackle and clasped his wrist with one and handed the other to Sara. She hesitated for a second and the hunchback made a move for them.

“I got it, I got it!” she yelled hoping to keep his slimy hands from touching her. She clasped the shackle around her right wrist and kind of shook it showing that it was on tightly.

“Very well then. Off to see the King.” He motioned for them to follow and they clumsily exited the cell. Standing behind them were two very large guards holding very large axes. They were led down a long hallway, up a flight of stairs and into a huge dining hall.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”

“We are definitely not in Kansas anymore….” Mark was staring at the room with his mouth agape. He had assumed they were in medieval times, but this dining hall was reminiscent of a night club from the 1950s. Instead of little dining tables dotting the room, there were 3 long tables packed with exquisitely dressed lords and ladies. At the end of the hall was a huge stage with an elaborately jeweled throne. To one side was …unbelievably, what can only be described as a big band box. There were about two dozen black and white clad musicians all holding horns. To the left of the big throne sat four smaller less ornate thrones. As the guests rose to their feet, the big band started playing a song Mark eerily recognized.

“That’s Come Fly with Me.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah my father loved to listen to….”

Mark’s words were drowned out by a huge applause. Both turned their heads to the main stage and saw the king arriving. Sara closed her eyes and shook her head thinking she had to be dreaming. She had expected something weird in a nightclub throne room in a medieval castle…but this was outrageous. After the applause died down and the king took his seat , the hunchbacked jailor strode up and kneeled before the stage. After paying his allegiance to the king he ascended the stage and began to whisper to the king. The king burst from his throne and caused quite a stir amongst the dinner guests making the room fall silent.

“Bring them forward,” he bellowed . The two guards pushed Mark and Sara forward and they moved toward the stage at a brisk pace. As they neared the stage one of the guards tripped Sara , sending both of them to their knees. “You will bow to the king,” one of them said in a muffled voice. Mark looked up and saw the most unbelievable thing in this fantasy world. Standing before him on the stage was a man wearing a tuxedo with a red and gold crown, a lavish cape, and holding a gem encrusted scepter. Mark closed his eyes and squinted, hoping that he was dreaming. The man before him walked forward and offered his hand to Sara.

“You’ll have to forgive these cats, baby. They got no manners for beautiful women.” The king helped her to her feet as Mark rose at the same time. “Are you really Frank Sinatra?”

“It doesn’t get any more real than me , baby.” Frank waved the guards to back up and left the 3 alone at the foot of the stage. ”But…but you’re dead. I saw the funeral on CNN.”

“It was crazy man. There I was on my deathbed at the hospital. I think I was hallucinating or something. Then I see this white light and I think to myself that heaven’s calling me. I remember trying to say that I was losing my grip on the world, but the light flashed and I woke up in this forest. I wasn’t my old self, I was my old self. Well you know what I’m saying , baby. I was as I am now. I look 30 but I got 90 years of experience behind it.”

Mark had a wide smile on his face. He had loved Sinatra as a kid because his grandfather only played Sinatra. It had made Mark a huge fan of his. He began to wonder if he had created this world with Sinatra as the king as a dreamland. “Frank, I gotta ask ya. How did you go from chairman of the board to king of the castle?”

“That’s a great question. Do you believe in destiny?” Mark responded with a simple nod of his head. “Well so do I. If I tell you how to become king here, you’ll have all my power and riches. My transformation here has brought me a certain enlightenment. And I’ll be damned if I let some punks from the future take that away from me!” He made a motion to the guards and two logs were brought in front of them. Mark and Sara were pushed down onto the blocks of wood and had their hands secured to the bottom. “Sorry kiddos, but there’s only room for one king here.” Frank raised a goblet from his throne and made a motion for everyone to raise their cups.
“Let’s drink to tonight’s entertainment. May God grant them the mercy of a swift death.” The crowd raised their cups , drank and then cheered raucously . Frank started singing a farewell song for them. The last thing Mark heard as the guard’s axe fell was the unmistakable lyrics ….

I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way.

Denny Crane and the Case of the Heiress

by Elizabeth

Genre: Mystery
Pop Culture: Paris Hilton, Harry Potter, Denny Crane (from Boston Legal)


“The law is crystal clear Mr. Crane. You are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows and no less than 43 Blythe citizens saw your client this very morning, as she walked about in what can only be described as cowboy boots. Hell, TMZ already posted photos of the indiscretion! Now, unless you can produce proof positive that Miss. Hilton does in fact have in her possession two separate bovine, I’m afraid I simply can not dismiss these charges.”

Denny Crane stared dumbfounded at the judge, then sank into the incredibly uncomfortable wooden chair beside his client. Bovine? Blythe? He’d really pissed off the communist regime this time, and now he was paying penance. Plenty of people carry loaded weapons into the courtroom; it’s just makes good sense. He looked again at the judge, whose plaid flannel collar peeked ominously above his robes, then at prosecuting attorney who hadn’t bothered to change from his jeans and Marlboro tee-shirt, and realized drastic measures were needed.

“Your honor I’d like to move for a change in venue. My client is a very busy and very successful celebrity of some importance to the state of California.” Denny rose from his seat and faced the judge with a winning smile, “She’s actually scheduled to make a personal appearance tomorrow at the 8th Annual Erotica Show in Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Famed sexologist Ava Cadell is this year’s ambassador?”

Judge Shermer glared at Denny from the bench before quickly ruling against the change in venue. “Your client can perform in whatever sex show she likes once she faces these charges.” With a ceremonial swing his gavel crashed onto the bench twice as he declared, “The defendant is remanded into custody pending trial. No bail!”

“Your honor! My client will never get a fair trial …your honor???” But the judge had disappeared to his chambers which were no doubt chock full of antlers, kegerators and safety orange. Denny turned to the defendant and celebutante, Paris Hilton, who looked questioningly at him as the bailiff placed handcuffs on her anorexic wrists.

“Don’t worry,” his words were lost in the shuffle of feet as Paris was led through double wooden doors, “Denny Crane never loses a case.”

By morning Paris’ mood was as foul as the body odor, which preceded her into the meeting room. Denny slid a brown paper bag across the table and waited while Paris took advantage of the breath mints, then smiled as she squirted a liberal dose of Binaca into each arm pit. “Ingenious, darling.”

“Tell me you spent the night pouring through little legal journals and have found the perfect loop-hole to spring me from this hell hole!” Her voice rose with each syllable and she looked suspiciously at the guard just inside the door and shivered involuntarily.

“Actually, no. I did spend the night pouring through ‘little legal journals’ and unfortunately you’ve been charged with what we refer to as a blue law.” The blank look on her face prompted further explanation. “Blue laws are obscure, mostly irrelevant laws which are rarely, if ever, enforced. They’re generally not considered worth the time or expense necessary to remove them. In fact, most people outside the legal community aren’t generally aware of them. Which leads to the obvious question…”

“What question?” Paris was hanging onto the conversation, but just barely.

“Someone set you up. These laws are usually so obscure the general populace wouldn’t be aware of them. So, I’m assuming someone who knew you’d be here, and knew about the law, set this situation up. The question is, who? Who knew you’d be filming here yesterday?”

“Only a million people. The shooting schedule for the show is set months in advance so the entire production staff would be aware of it. The media gets a press kit with a detailed schedule, and the production crew has to coordinate with the locals. We practically need permits to cross the street and all that.” Paris popped another much needed breath mint into her mouth and waited patiently for Denny to continue.

“Ok, let’s try something easier. Who, amongst those who knew you’d be here, would want to screw you over?”

“Um, only a million people. Ex-boyfriends, their ex-girlfriends, former employees, attorneys, publicists, managers, directors…” She trailed off and played with a stray strand of over-processed platinum blonde hair.

Denny stared at his client and realized there was quite possibly a million people who would want to see her behind bars. “I’m going to need a list of the crew...anyone with access to the set this week.”

“They faxed all of that over for you this morning. What I wanna know is, when is the arrangement and when am I getting out of here?”

Denny spoke to the guard quickly about picking up the faxes then turned to Paris. “The ‘arraignment’ was yesterday. You were there, remember? And I’m afraid until we figure out who’s behind the wayward cowboy boots, you’re stuck in the clink.”

The cast and crew of “The Simple Life” had been filming an episode just north of Blythe. The episode entitled Enlightenment, was another attempt to showcase the sad and awkward difference between the stars of the show and ordinary folk. Denny perused the faxed lists and determined no less than 79 crew members were present and accounted for the day Paris was arrested. Another 35 were back in Los Angeles. In retrospect, he realized the list of people who didn’t have access to the show and specifically, who didn’t want Paris in jail, would have been much shorter.

Feeling stymied and disgruntled, Denny slammed the faxes onto the rickety dinner table in his less than immaculate hotel room, and turned the television set on. He flipped channels briefly before landing on an entertainment news network. Ah! His new high profile client would warrant a mention on the entertainment networks and by default, he would warrant a mention. Maybe even a photo or live shot from a past case. He allowed himself to reminisce about the good old days when he and his father wrangled the law in and out of court. Things were better then, simpler. Now, the democrats ruled with their taxes and elevators.

“We’re naturally devastated by her arrest, but production won’t stop. In fact, we’re filming revised scenes tomorrow without Paris.” Denny glanced at the television screen and was met by the beaming face of Nicole Richie. “I mean it sucks that she can’t be with us, but I know she’d want me to go on…. in her place.” Denny snatched the fax from the wobbling table and flipped through to the sheet listing cast members. “Nicole Richie…. supporting actress.”

Most of the cast and crew were staying in the equally disastrous hotel four blocks over. Denny knew from his earlier excursions he’d never find anything even resembling a taxi, so he set off on foot. The concierge stared at him with a familiar blank look when he asked for Miss. Richie’s room number and Denny realized she was probably using a pseudonym. He fished the cast sheets from his briefcase and offered them to the clerk, but was quickly informed the man only spoke English. He couldn’t read it.

“I have photos…see?” He handed the clerk the sheet again and the man smiled with recognition.
“Yes, ci. Is Mrs. Potter.” The clerk beamed at Denny and handed him the fax.


“Yes, ci. Mrs. Harry Potter. She at park, with Mr. Potter.”

Denny shouted a quick ‘adios’ to the clerk and headed towards the park. He heard Nicole and her mysterious Mr. Potter before he actually saw them. Nicole was wearing her trademark voluminous blouse and micro shorts and was laughing hysterically as she straddling a red and green seesaw. At the other end, doing his best impersonation of a Greek God, was Stavros Niarchos.

“Miss. Richie, might I have a word with you?” Denny approached Nicole from behind and caught her by surprise. She recovered quickly and smiled smugly as she dismounted the seesaw.

“Mr. Crane I’ve been expecting you, but I don’t know how I can help poor Paris.” Nicole sidled up to Stavros and flung her arm around him possessively.

Denny laughed facetiously and shot Nicole a piercing look. “I agree Miss. Richie. I don’t think there’s anything you could…or would do to help Paris out of this mess. I am curious about one thing though…who was your accomplice?”

Nicole glared at Denny Crane. She whispered to Stavros and he reluctantly wandered over to a nearby bench and sat. Nicole watched until he was out of earshot before she turned to Denny with a murderous look on her face. “Do you know anything about destiny Mr. Crane? Do you have any idea who my family is? My father was the lead singer for the most successful band of the 70’s and my mother was a model. I was meant to be a star. My destiny…is to be a star!”

Denny pondered this a moment and said, “I thought you were adopted?”

“That’s not important! I grew up in Hollywood knowing I’d be a star someday. No one ever sat me down as a child and said I’d grow up to be a great sidekick, second best co-star to some used up wanna-be celebrity. Her family isn’t even in entertainment! They’re in the hotel business!” Nicole slumped back onto the seesaw and crossed her arms over her chest like a petulant child.

“So you torpedoed her career thinking you’d step in as the star attraction? And you obviously had help. Why don’t you tell me how you arranged this?’

“Fine. It’s not like you can prove any of this anyway. We get the schedule weeks in advance so I knew we’d be in Blythe. It’s as small town as you can get. Kourtney…. Kardashian was telling me about these crazy blue laws one day. Like, in Alabama it’s illegal for a 200-pound woman to ride a horse in shorts. Crazy, huh? So I looked up the blue laws for Blythe. Turns out they’re just as wacky. I found one about cowboy boots and had a little chat with the wardrobe chick. It’s not like it was hard. Paris is fanatical about what shoes she wears. She’s got these boat-sized feet! Anyway, I called the sheriff the morning we were going to film and tipped him.” Nicole laughed. “I actually had to explain the law to him. Then I had to explain how the arrest would make national news and get all kinds of recognition for Blythe. And let’s face it, they can sure use some publicity…it’s like a ghost town around here.” She gestured around the deserted park and streets to emphasize her point.

Denny just stared at her. Despite everything, he liked the kid. She wasn’t nearly as stupid as he’d thought and she had spunk. She was a bit crazy, but then so was he. Unfortunately, she was right about one important fact. He couldn’t prove she’d done anything...and that wouldn’t help Paris.

For the next two days Denny sat next to Paris while the prosecution paraded a stunning array of witnesses through the courtroom. Apparently half of Blythe had turned out to watch the filming of the Simple Life. After each and every witness swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…they all testified to seeing Paris sashaying about city streets in the offensive cowboy boots. Denny seemed to be paying rapt attention and would occasionally scribble furiously on his official looking legal pad. Paris grew more anxious with each passing witness. From her seat next to Denny she was able to see the legal pad clearly and couldn’t help but worry at the growing number of caricatures of Judge Shermer and the prosecuting attorney in various compromising positions. On day two, Denny gave up his doodles and began making slash marks in count with the number of times ‘ya’ll was uttered by the witnesses.

The third morning of the trial the prosecution finally rested. Paris was near tears by this point by Denny seemed jubilant. He leaped from his seat and approached the judge.

“Your honor, I’d like to draw the court’s attention to exhibit 1-A.” Denny held up a small book. “The Department of Podiatry: A History of Boots written by Cameron Kippen, professor at Cullen University of Technology in Perth Washington.” Denny flipped to a page marked by a yellow post-it.

“Standard cavalry issue during the American Civil War was the Wellington Boot. The modern Wellington had a low cut heel, which was calf high and not thigh high. Low heeled, high-topped boots made in hard, black leather called kip were often made by German immigrants. The most popular was the Coffeyville Boot from Coffeyville, Kansas. It combined the various US Cavalry styles and the original British leather, Wellington boot. By the 1880's the cowboy boot was beginning to emerge as a distinctive style. Starting life as a dress Wellington or full Wellington, the fashion merged with the hardwearing lace up boot (or packer), worn by drovers.” Denny looked up to be sure he had the court’s undivided attention before he read more.

“ Later the three-piece military boot was incorporated and worn by Hollywood's Cowboys. At first, films were made in the Eastern States and the costumes were based on exaggerated clothing illustrated in cheap novels and comics. By the time the industry moved to California in 1914 and employed real cowboys, their clothes were dull compared to the illusion. Instead actors wore highly decorated boots outside their trousers. It is therefore somewhat surprising to think; today’s cowboy boots are really fantasy footwear fabricated by Hollywood and have little to do with the Wild West.” Denny closed the book before he faced the small jury and continued.

“Today’s cowboy boots are ironically enough, an invention of Hollywood...the very place from which the defendant hails. More importantly, it should be noted the term ‘cowboy boot’ is a slang expression adopted by movie producers in relation to the western themed movies produced in the mid 1920’s, in which these boots were used. Cowboy boots are actually an adaptation of the English Wellington boots. So, I ask the court, if cowboy boots don’t actually exist how can my client be guilty of wearing them?

Denny placed the book gently on the judge’s bench before declaring, “I move all charges against my client be dismissed.”

Denny wandered over to the local drinking hole after the trial hoping for a cigar and some libation. Within minutes of the dismissal his cell phone had begun to ring. Now, hours later his head was throbbing from the cheap beer and smokey interior. When the waitress approached he inquired about something for his headache. “A percocet, vicodin, a tranquilizer!” The waitress promised to look behind the bar and replaced his empty bottle with a full one. Denny exhaled slowly and picked up his phone. He’d been forced to turn the ringer off after the twentieth call, but looked at the brightly lit screen to see who was calling this time. Paris? He clicked the ‘talk’ button and tentatively said ‘hello’?

“Mr. Crane, remember those blue laws? Well, apparently there’s some in Nevada too. Something about riding a camel down a highway. Could you come to Vegas?”

In the Woods

by Redneck Diva

Genre: Horror
Pop Culture: Al Gore inventing the internet, Wal*Mart, American Idol


“Come on, Les! Let’s go! Vamanos!”

Through an open window, they heard,“Alright there, Dora the Explorer, I’m coming.”

The group was ready to go and Les was taking his time, as usual. Dawn adjusted her ball cap and sighed dramatically. She looked at her best friend and their apartment complex’s resident amateur sexologist, Anne, and Anne’s boyfriend, Taco, on the ATV next to her. Anne shrugged and giggled. Taco yawned. Dawn got angrier by the second.

Les finally emerged from the house, doing a half trot, half stagger while tucking in his shirt and zipping his shorts.

“Damn zipper’s stuck,” he grumbled.

“Well, if you didn’t buy your clothes off of the clearance rack at Wal*Mart, maybe they wouldn’t wear out so quick, ya doofus. Y’ain’t savin’ money if you have to buy clothes twice as often as the rest of us!” his roommate Peter said. As Les finally jerked the zipper into submission, Peter, let loose with a guffaw that made the girls in the group grimace.

“Peter, baby? Honestly, you sound like a mule that’s being murdered when you laugh. I love you so much, but you gotta stop. I think Anne’s ears are bleeding.”

The tall blonde with enormous breasts, Daena, a relative newcomer to the group so far, hadn’t worked her way completely “in” the group. Dawn and Anne spent many a night imitating her baby-talking ways toward Peter. Granted, she was getting better, but at first she nearly drove them all bananas.

“Petey-weety? Schnoogum boogum makey me so horny-worny,” Anne would mock and Dawn would fall back on the bed, legs in the air, dramatically making out with a pillow.

“Daena, my darling, I’ve laughed this way since I was born. I ain’t changin’ now. Regulators! Mount up!” he said loudly, firing the engine on his four-wheeler. Les climbed on his ATV, swung his leg over and nearly kicked Dawn in the face.

“Dipshit,” she muttered. Wrapping her arms around him as he started the engine, she bit her lip. It was dusk and she didn’t like riding at night.

“Are you sure we can’t just stay here instead of riding? I’ve got some American Idol on the DVR and I uh, I could make popcorn...” she trailed off when the other two ATVs left them in the dust.
"Alrighty. We’ll just ride then. I guess.”

“Relax, babycakes,” assured Les as he reached back to pat her leg. “American Idol can wait. We’re gonna riiiiiide!” He peeled out in the yard, causing Dawn to squeal. She liked his recklessness, but she still didn’t like riding at night.

“You keep driving like that and I’m gonna need a tranquilizer!!” she hollered.

They caught up with the other two ATVs after watching them swerve at each other for half a mile of gravel road. She could hear the girls screaming and squealing and she was fairly certain that she saw Daena smack at Peter’s shoulder once. She liked to cut up and have fun with them, but sometimes they went too far. She made Les not take as many chances when she was riding on the back of his four-wheeler - she didn’t think her destiny involved body casts and life support. She wanted to have fun while they were young so that years from now they wouldn’t sit back and reminisce about the good ol’ days that weren’t all that memorable. She wanted their good ol’ days to truly be something good. But she also didn't want to die.

They saw Peter’s four-wheeler dart off down a vertical path and Taco followed. Dawn tapped Les on the shoulder and said, “I really don’t want to go down that vertical!” but the words were barely out of her mouth before Les, too, veered off the road. She grumbled, “You are about as dim-witted as Al Gore.”

“The dude that invented the internet?” Les hollered over his shoulder.

“Whatever. Asshat.” Dawn replied.

The further they rode into the darkening woods, the more they realized they had to keep moving at a relatively quick pace. If they slowed down the mosquitoes swarmed. Pete stopped just past a curve in the trail so they could decide if they wanted to ride further or go back to the apartment. The guys weren’t daunted by the mosquitoes, but the girls were tired of slapping at the irritating bugs. Realizing their boyfriends weren’t going to relent and take them back, Daena got off the bike of the four-wheeler and pulled a can of Off from the cargo box. The other two girls sighed in stereo when they saw the orange can in her hand.

“In retrospect, ladies, that would’ve been smart before you were covered in itchy welts,” stated Peter, but after three piercing glares aimed in his direction, he finished with, “I mean, it was just a thought…” After they were covered with enough Off to cover small army, the girls got back on the ATV’s and Taco and Anne took the lead.

Once the bugs weren’t swarming so badly, Dawn was less irritated with Les, but still wanted to go home. She really didn’t like the dark, sticky, noisy-but-quiet woods. Then she had a moment of pure enlightenment – she knew how to get what she wanted. She slid her hands around his waist again and began pulling at his shirt until she released the hem from his shorts. Her fingernails raking softly on his stomach got the reaction she wanted – he grinned and shifted on the seat. She thought she might even try the trick Anne had told her about a few weeks ago. She bit his earlobe and in one quick move, unbuttoned and unzipped his shorts. “Mmm…I didn’t have any trouble with that zipper just now….” He chuckled, then nodded when she whispered in his ear to slow down so they could have some privacy. She was hoping she’d tease him just enough that he’d want to go home and get down to the business she had in her hand. He down-shifted the four-wheeler to nearly a crawl.

The sound of the other two engines faded then stopped altogether. She noticed the absence of engine whine, but figured the other couples were fooling around, too. She figured she'd just get Les good and excited, then suggest - or even insist if she had to - that they go back and get serious, but the plot to get him to take her home was forgotten when he softly growled in her ear that fooling around in the woods turned him on even more. It didn’t take long for her to climb around on the seat so she was facing him. Their kissing became more intense and Les was nibbling and kissing all over her arms and neck. He teasingly bit at her collar bone and caused her to groan. A mosquito buzzed by her ear, but she barely heard it because Les was growling and starting to talk dirty. He reached around and unsnapped her bra as he nibbled up the length of her neck. When he had completed his freeing task, he leaned her back, resting her back against the control panel. His kisses wandered lower down her neck and as he lifted her shirt to expose more, she leaned her head back all the way. With her eyes closed and head back, enjoying the sensations Les was providing and didn’t even see the knife that slit her exposed throat.

The dark figures in the brush moved out into the moonlight and as she gurgled, her hands frantically clawing at her bleeding throat, Les got off of the ATV. She saw him standing beside her, wiping her mouth on his shirt and spitting. "Dude, I’m glad you showed up when you did. I was getting sick of the taste of bug spray.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

I am SO apologizing

Readers and writers, I SWEAR to you that I am still alive. Last week was one of the worst weeks I've experienced in a long time what with no air conditioning in the house, blog drama, the threat of flood and just general crankiness. THEN the weekend was filled with my oldest child breaking out in a freak rash, the air conditioning going out in my van, a few storms scattered here and there and other mundane b.s.

I am in the process of packing the rashy child off to church camp (let someone else watch her scratch for a week, lol) and, weather permitting, the stories will be posted tonight.

I apologize for the delay. I keep meaning to talk to the Cap'n and make him my partner in crime so he can help out during these times when my life gets in the way, but well, my life keeps getting in the way and I forget to add him.

Just hang on a few more hours. Please.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cazzmania ensues!

The drawing has been conducted by the independent accounting firm of Paul and the results have been confirmed. The entrants's missions have been sent.

The rules are:
*All six of The Words put forth by Cazzie!!! must be used in their listed form (there will be no disqualifications this round, dangit)
*The story must be written in the entrant's drawn genre
*The story must contain all three pop culture references, not necessarily in the form they were given, but they must be referenced

The Words are:







All stories are due by Wednesday, June 13th at 10pm. Voting will begin Friday, June 15th.

(If you would like to try your hand at our little game, you must email me so I can give you a mission of your very own.)

Good luck, Cazzmaniacs!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Chamber produces a landslide **ATTENTION - important info for next round enclosed**

Because you, Constant Reader, demanded it,

Cazzie!!! is the winner of
Round 4: 36 Chambers of Tate!!

Give her a hand - she pulled off an amazing victory from all the way across the ocean!

As soon as she turns in her list of The Words and the title for the next round, we'll begin.


Regarding the next round - rather than trying to figure out a way to conjure up a virtual hat to throw the writing styles and pop culture items in, I am going to use a real-live hat and let the still dependent accounting firm of Abby, Sam & Kady, LLC take care of the official drawing of things from a hat.

If you have a problem with this, speak now or forever hold your peace. I assure you, they are fair. They better be or their momma will spank 'em.

Also, if you intend on writing, you MUST submit an email of intent to me ASAP so I can commence the drawing of the things from the hat. I need to know your intentions (and there had better be a bunch of you) by Tuesday of this week (the 5th).

Friday, June 1, 2007

It pains me to do this

As per repeated requests by Hillbilly Mom, I am disqualifying her from 36 Chambers of Tate.

I personally was going to give her grace since it's her first offense, but she's obviously got guilt issues. I fear if I don't disqualify her soon, she will come out of the Blogger Protection Program, detour to Oklahoma on her way to Branson to take over Lorraine the Laptop and disqualify herself forcibly.

So....there ya go. She's out.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

It will be fun. Truuuuuust me.

There are obviously two front runners in this round, so the two of you need to start thinking of your words, should you manage to make it without falling on your ass like Miss U.S.A.

But be ye advised, ladies....

There be changes coming to WitToI.

Next round, all those wishing to participate will draw a writing style from a virtual hat and will then draw a short list of pop culture references that have to be worked into the story from another virtual hat. Along with The Words.

Sound fun??

Stop! Don't run screaming!! It'll be fun! Really! We're going to be challenged as writers - just like on the show So You Think You Can Dance, where the contestants have to draw each week for a different dance style so they're challenged as dancers. Except we're budding writers, not dancers. (The only dancing I can do with any proficiency is clogging and that talent has yet to help me writing whatsoever.)

Annnnnnyhoo....I fully expect all of you who have been writing here regularly to particpate. No begging out. You're not THAT busy. Tate, the baby is no excuse, either.

(Any pop culture references that you might want to throw in the hat, send to me in an email. i.e. Paris Hilton, American Idol, TB outbreak on a plane, etc.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Enter the Chamber of Voting

Voting is now open in 36 Chambers of Tate, otherwise known as Round 4.

Check out all the submissions, vote once, tell your friends and stay tuned for the results!

Voting will be open until 10pm, June 2nd.

Sad, Sad Sadie

by Jusdealem

Sadie couldn't find her keys, she was running late again. As she rummaged through her beige Coach bag, for the third time in ten minutes, she softly cursed, gave up and headed for the liquor cabinet. Pouring herself a Stoli rocks, she caught her image in the mirror above the wet bar. Her $800 highlights framed her pretty, slightly botoxed face and she declared Marco, her metrosexual stylist, a genius. She was rather enamored of Marco, having once even gone so far as to invite him home with her for the afternoon. "Only if I can bring along a friend." he'd teased.
She'd been so lonely the past year. Ever since her husband had been murdered in their upscale suburban driveway, Sadie had been simply lost. The local police had thought Dan's death to be a random gang initiation or a botched robbery attempt. There weren't any clues and not a suspect, nor murder weapon had ever been found. Sadie knew, though. She knew why her husband of fifteen years was dead and more importantly, she knew who was responsible for the single bullet that had pierced his heart, his lifeless body crumpled beside her beloved Daffodil.

In their early years, Dan and Sadie had been inseperatable. Two energetic, highly motivated success seekers. Both had come from dirt poor families and they were determined to break the chain, so to speak, by emassing an empire. Their intricate business plan was two years in the making, but was instantly and hugely successful. With their dreams realized, Sadie looked forward to her husband being able to relax and spend more time with her. That was not to be the case, however. The success seemed to distance Dan even more and he began drinking excessively, which made him increasingly pugnacious. She didn't give up on their marriage, though, instead she tried even harder to gain her husband's attention. It worked occasionally, enough to keep her challenged, if not exactly in love.

It was right after their fifth anniversary that Dan decided to take up politics, as well as a new assistant, who Sadie swore was a stripper. Over the years, he'd become quite erudite in the workings of the local political scene and this knowledge set in motion a series of byzantine plots and plans that he hoped would eventually see him elected as mayor of this small, but growing community.

Of course, the new assistant soon became a nightly argument between them. Sadie demanded Dan fire her and insisted that she, more than anyone else, should be his assistant. He grew so irritated with his wife's arguments that instead of coming home late as he usually did, he began not coming home at all. This only served to exacerbate Sadie's anger and she found herself contemplating killing the man. Unable to find enough hatred to do so, she decided to try another approach; she would confront the assistant.

The assistant, Tammy, agreed to meet Sadie downtown at a coffee shop called The Brew Guru. As Tammy walked through the door, Sadie felt an overwhelming desire to rid this woman from her husband's life, the pain was simply ineffable. Tammy would not be swayed, though, even openly admitting her love for Dan. Upon leaving their meeting, she remembered a distant cousin of hers who would know exactly how to handle this situation.

Jimmy was a small time con artist and all-around scofflaw with connections in the criminal world. He'd served a few years in a federal prison for money laundering, as well as other shady shenanigans, but he had been able to beat the murder rap that he was facing. They met in the park on a breezy Sunday afternoon, by Thursday, Tammy had disappeared. She was never seen again.

Afterwards, Dan seemed almost relieved and their relationship returned to the normalcy of the pre-Tammy days and stayed that way for the next few years. Inevitably, though, Dan returned to his old ways and more affairs arose. Finally, Sadie could take it no longer; last year, she made one last call to her cousin Jimmy.

As she sat there, sipping her Stoli, she noticed her keys were on the bar, next to a picture of her and Dan at Cape Cod. "To Hell with this blind date", she said to her dead husband, "I'm not going." Then she drained the last of her drink and took the picture in the silver frame with her to bed.

The Famous Botanist

by Cazzie!!!

Tomas Ohalleran was a great studious man. He was an erudite botanist, most famous at least in the Western World. At the ripe age of 27, this fine man had been to Oxford, Cambridge, travelled the seas to Australia and studied at Melbourne University. He went on to become a lecturer to many a student.

In his later years, he became known as a scofflaw creating his own set of rules, against traditional classes of other lecturers. One time, a rucous was coming from Tomas' lecture room.. The next few classes in the University block that Tomas was teaching in came to see what was going on.... Tomas had every student there dressed as their favourite plant. One student, aptly named Fern, was dressed as a Daffodil. In fits of laughter Tomas began his teachings of the day, himself dressed as an Orchid. One other student was dressed as a Fungi.... he had a label on the front of him saying, "Ï am a fun guy", well Pete was ever the larrikan.!

The director of the University, a most pugnacious man, came to Tomas' lecture room after having heard word of some shenanigans going on. He ended up sitting in on the class just to make sure the students did not get out of hand. Indeed, his presence only served to exacerbate any laughter.

A field trip for the class was undertaken in first term. The students took a train to the Emerald Forest. There, they alighted, and Fern looked around her and pointed to a tree of such ineffable beauty, even her best friend Sotcha was speachless with what lay before them. The only student who could not give a rats ass about the excursion was Scott Pervis, he who could only ever be seen to be listening to his Ipod, Byzantine playing at 1000 decibels, enough to make him deaf by the time he was 25 years for sure. Oh well, who said botanists needed hearing to be able to retain any knowledge hey?

In his late years, Tomas returned to England from whence he came, living out the rest of his life in The Secret Garden of Smallville. Who knows the reasons why he called it that, it was, afterall, common knowledge of the location of the place. Ever the illusionist was he.


by Hilbilly Mom

Once upon a time, there lived a troll under a rickety wooden bridge just outside the village. He was not considered attractive, as trolls go, with his lime-green flesh, tall tuft of lemon-yellow hair, and a shape like the Tasmanian devil of future cartoon fame. The similarity ended with the shape. This troll did not whirl like a tornado. He was bothered by an inner-ear disturbance, and tried not to spin or make sudden head movements. Though he had not been formally christened, the troll adopted the name of Peep.

Peep trolled his days away picking daffodils, arranging them in attractive floral displays under the bridge where he had established residence. Nobody ever came to visit, but Peep liked nice things. What he didn’t like was people. People pissed Peep off. They thumped willy-nilly over his bridge at all hours of the day, causing dirt and sand to sift down in a rain of grit into Peep’s home. To exacerbate the matter, children often stopped on the bridge and taunted Peep. They didn’t know if he truly existed, or was just a legend their parents had made up to keep them off the bridge. They jumped and stomped and hooted and hollered, bringing down grain upon grain of despair into Peep’s peaceful existence.

Peep did not retaliate against the children. He regarded them as merely ignorant, and would not seek revenge for their childish shenanigans . Peep was not of a pugnacious nature. All he wanted was to sit peacefully in his underbridge lair, and gaze upon the beauty of his daffodils. And while the people pissed Peep off, Peep preferred to internalize his anger. It wouldn’t do to lose one’s temper, charge out from under the bridge, and eat someone. The local scofflaws would take matters into their own hands, and Peep would pick daffodils no more.

So each day, Peep arose with the sun, and gathered his beloved daffodils. He licked the fresh dew from their stems, and wove them into the most Byzantine patterns no one had ever seen. He made walls of woven daffodil mats, and rugs, and blankets, and rich tapestries. Peep’s ineffable attention to detail created exquisite treasures the likes of which the townspeople would never encounter.

One sunny day, amidst the shuffle of the shouting children, a tiny tot was bumped over the edge of the bridge, and was saved from a nasty head-knock by one of Peep’s hanging daffodil curtains. The other children saw one of their own disappear under the bridge, and took off for the village. They were too afraid to tell the true tale of what had happened, having been forbidden to play on the bridge. They feigned surprise when one of their number was noted missing, and joined the crowd in beating the bushes for their fallen comrade until sunset. None of them slept well that night. They dreamed of the wee one being mauled and devoured by that ugly old troll under the bridge.

Peep had been much surprised by the chortling child who tumbled down his daffodil drape. At first, he stared as the child blinked in wonder at Peep’s colorful countenance. Then the tot crawled to him and clambered into Peep’s lap. Peep dandled the toddler on his knee all afternoon, and played pat-a-cake, and got-your-nose, and this-is-the-church-this-is-the-steeple. When night fell solidly, Peep picked up the sleeping child, and climbed out from under the bridge.

He plodded down the road toward the village, the slumbering tot in his arms, the moon at his back. Peep did not know where the child belonged, but deemed he would find the proper home before first light. The erudite daffodil-weaver knew he would never see his home sweet-daffodil home again if he was discovered with the young one in his arms.

Peep traipsed from house to house, peeping in each window. His eyes, long accustomed to dark nights under the bridge, had no trouble discerning beds full of sleeping children. Unfortunately, they turned into beds full of screaming children each time Peep looked in. Some sixth sense of child-preservation, or perhaps the nightmare of breaking the bridge rules, caused each child to awaken, and scream, “It’s PEEP! It’s PEEP! There! In the window! He’s going to eat me! EEEEEEE!”

Each time this happened, Peep quickly ducked and headed for the next house, sticking to the shadows. At the last house, he spied an empty cradle. The mother lay on the bed beside it, dangling her hand over the side of the crib. Peep took a deep breath, and slipped silently through the door. He laid the gently-snoring babe into the cradle, a lone daffodil clutched tightly in its chubby fist, and backed out as quietly as he had come.

Still in the shadows, Peep tiptoed through the village toward his daffodil-dappled lair. At each house he passed, he heard the stern voices of parents scolding their screaming offspring: “That’s enough of this foolishness! Trolls are not real. Now get back to sleep. I mean it. I don’t want to hear another peep out of you!”