Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Writer With Noisy Neighbors

Harry was having a difficult time concentrating on writing his novel with all the noise going on next door. He thought renting one side of a duplex would be more quiet than an apartment in a complex. At least he only had one neighbor to put up with. These neighbors made more noise than a firing squad.

He sipped his latte and stared off into the horizon hoping for some quiet. He thought living next door to a dentist would be quiet too, but he was wrong. This particular dentist, who owned the building, had three teenagers and they weren't the type of kids to sit in the basement playing video games. Rainbow was always practicing her cheers and fighting with her athletic brothers, Cactus and Palm. Everyone made fun of poor Palm. He liked basketball.

Harry's horror novel was coming along nicely, but he as at a crucial part of the story where he felt he needed to channel his inner Bram Stoker to continue, which was difficult with all the noise on the other side of the wall. Just when he thought a glimmer of an idea was growing close, an explosion shook the entire house, knocking Harry's framed Nosferatu poster to the floor.

Fear for his safety and anger toward his inconsiderate neighbors sent his heart racing and pounding s though it would burst out of his chest. Smelling something burning, he went to the kitchen to check on the beets he was boiling for dinner, but they were fine. The burning smell must be coming from whatever exploded next door.

Peeking out the curtains, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary at first until he looked out the front window where the smell became stronger and the sound of his neighbors hollering became clear. They were yelling about emergencies and calling 911.

Running outside, he found Rainbow, Cactus and Palm on their front steps soaking wet. When they saw Harry, Rainbow apologized for the noise.

"Where is your father?" Harry asked, guessing he either wasn't home or the explosion killed him.

"He's in Vegas with his girlfriend."

"He left you home alone?" Harry was surprised and alarmed knowing what troublemakers they were.

"We're adults," Palm said defensively.

"Really?" Harry challenged, "then what was that explosion and why are firetrucks turning onto our road?"

"What!" Palm whirled around to find that what Harry said was true and a look of alarm and panic showed on all three wet faces.

"I told you someone would call 911," Rainbow yelled at cactus.

"Was it you?" Cactus angrily accused Harry.

"Why would that anger you?" Harry asked. "Are you hiding from the law? Why didn't you call 911? That burning smell is obviously coming from your house."

"It's under control," Rainbow said. "We don't need any emergencey people here."

This made Harry very suspicious, not to mention curious. By now the police were there and approaching the house. Two fire trucks were at the curb waiting for the police to inform them of the situation.

"Someone put in a call about an explosion coming from this house," The officer spoke to harry.

"The explosion came from their side of the duplex, Officer," Harry explained. "I live on the other side."

"You kids OK?" the officer addressed them noticing their wet, nervous appearance. "Mind if I take a look inside? Nothing seems to be burning now."

"Yes, " Rainbow answered sullenly. "Come on in."

Palm and Cactus went in first while Rainbow stayed with the policeman as he inspected the living room. Harry stood on the front porch straining to see inside. He wanted to know what was going on as much as the officer did. All was quiet for a few minutes and Harry considered going back to his apartment, when he heard some commotion inside and peered in through the screen door.

The commotion became louder with a lot of thumping and the kids yelling and calling to someone or something. Harry started to move away from the door but it was too late. A new explosion shook the porch under his feet and a burst of flames raced toward him, singeing his eyebrows through the screen door. Harry screamed and ran back to his apartment and slammed the door.

Two gun shots were fired and the kids all screamed in despair. Harry, his hands shaking, peered out from behind his curtains and saw the dragon that had blown flames at him stagger out into the front yard, smoke rising from its nostrils, and die on the front lawn. The firemen rushed toward it with their hoses as the officer put in a call to animal control.

"We were just trying to give her a bath," Rainbow sobbed. "You didn't have to kill her."

"Where did you get that thing?" The policeman asked.

"My dad found her in a Scottish loch. He thought she was a salamander," Palm cried.

"But she kept on growing," wailed Cactus.

Harry realized things would be a a lot more quiet from now on.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Big Time Deals in the Big City

"I have a job for you, Draculina. It's a challenge for an average person, but we know you're way more than average." Disturbed Dan rolled his cigar over in his flabby lips. His hairy arms rested on his cluttered desk in the basement of an old skyscraper.

Draculina ran her tongue over her sharp teeth and moved her glazed stare to Dan's face. "I'm listening," she hissed.

"I know you like a challenge. You're not one to give in to complacency, so I've got something new for you. If you succeed, you'll be rich. I'm talking buy-your-own-palace rich." Dan held his spit-soaked cigar between his fingers and waved it for emphasis as he spoke. "But, if you fail, you'll open me and yourself up for a big scandal and lots of prison time."

Draculina didn't look bothered by the threat of jail time. Jail time wasn't new to her. "So, what is this job? You ever gonna tell me or you gonna keep setting the mood. Apparently, I have a palace to shop for."

"I'm glad you're so confident, but you better be careful. You don't want to start a feud with me."

"Have I ever let you down before?" Draculina tapped her foot impatiently.

"No, and that's why I'm gonna make you this offer. I know I can count on you to get the job done." Disturbed Dan cleared his throat. "I got a request from one of my loyal customers who needs a service and is willing to pay dearly for it. You know my philosophy is to do whatever it takes to keep loyal customers happy."

"Not to mention earn huge amounts of money," Draculina added. "If I'm making enough to buy a palace, you must be making enough to buy a small country."

"He, he," Dan chuckled and his double chin jiggled. "You know me pretty well, don't you?"

"So what service does this customer need?"

"He needs a new kidney for his dying kid. The donor list is too long. The kid will die before a kidney is available for him, so he wants us to get him one."

Draculina squinted at him suspiciously, "For real?"

"I wouldn't waste my time for a joke." Dan was annoyed at being questioned. "Do you want the job or not?"

"Does it have to be kid-sized or can I grab any kidney?" Draculina stood up and reached for the door handle.

"Do I look like a doctor?" Disturbed Dan got up and picked something up off the floor. "Here, take this to put it in." He held out what looked like a small cooler.

"Fine," Draculina took the cooler. "I'll just grab a few different ones and they can use what they want."

"I don't need the details, just the goods," Dan returned to his desk.

"You gonna be here in the morning?" Draculina stood with the door open, eager to get to work.

"I'll be here around 10 tomorrow morning," Dan looked up at her, "you think you'll have the goods that fast?"

"No problem." Draculina flipped her long black hair over her shoulder. "Go crawl into bed and I'll have a good collection in the morning." As she closed the door Dan yelled, "Don't forget to put some ice in the cooler!"

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Main Character Gets Rejected

"Isabella, there's been a script rewrite." Skippy the producer eased into the conversation, gauging Isabella's reaction. He wanted to break the news gently so she wouldn't freak out and walk off the set. They had a lot of work to do today to keep production within budget.

"Well, that explains why you discreetly called me into your office and closed the door." Isabella was already getting defensive and she wasn't the most genial actress in the business in the first place. Over the years she'd felt entitled to play the main character, on and off stage. "What's the bad news? Am I getting the guy and teaching the mean girls that nice girls finish first or what?"

"Well, the mean girls still are being taught a lesson, but we're adding a surprise twist at the end." Skippy hesitated fearing how Isabella would take the news. Meanwhile, Isabella looked at him with uneasy anticipation.

"Kind of like what you're doing right now?" Isabella asked impatiently, "The movie is a comedy, so is it a funny twist?"

"We hope so," Skippy explained. "Your character will think she's getting the guy, but he rejects her for her brother."

"What! Now he's gay?" Isabella asked in anger, "What baboon thought a gay werewolf was a good idea?"

"I did, Isabella," Skippy tried to ignore being called a baboon. "I thought it would be funnier to have all these girls competing for the attention of the same guy only to find out he's a gay werewolf. Don't you think that's clever?"

"No," Isabella disagreed, "I think it's dumb and will be a big yawn and won't sell any popcorn, or tickets for that matter. No one will nominate it for an academy award. Who would vote for it? Not me." She began pacing the office and Skippy was afraid she would walk out and keep going without finishing the film.

"No, no," Skippy was desperately reaching for something to convince her to accept the change in the story. "You'll have a great opportunity to show multiple layered emotions when you find out the truth."

"That is tempting, "Isabella considered Skippy's words, "but I always play a winner. You're making the main character (played by me) a loser. I'm supposed to win the guy."

"But since he's a gay werewolf," Skippy offered, "it's not possible for you to win him; therefore, you didn't lose what you could never have."

"Hmmm," Isabella considered this angle. "I suppose I see the humor in it when you put it that way."

Skippy smiled hopefully, "I knew you'd understand."

"But, Skippy, dear," Skippy knew a demand or at least a counter offer was about to fly out of Isabella's arrogant mouth when she called him 'Skippy, dear.' "You know what rhymes with gay?"

"Stay?" Skippy asked hoping that Isabella would indeed stay and not ruin his day by walking away.

"That too," Isabella smiled smuggly knowing that Skippy needed her to go along with the rewrite, "but I was thinking more along the lines of 'pay.'"

Skippy moaned in defeat, "How do you mean, Isabella. Your contract already has a set amount of money and it's a huge sum."

"If you insist on treating my character like a loser hag, I'll need some compensation and I need it now."

"OK," Skippy asked, "just what kind of compensation?"

"I want you to get someone to shampoo the wine stains out of the carpet in my trailer today. It looks like someone was murdered in there."

"Is that all?" Skippy seemed skeptical that she would let him off the hook that easily. He would have done that for her under normal cirumstances and she knew it.

"While the carpet is being cleaned, I'll need you to set me up in a luxury suite with a stocked wine cooler and a really cute limo driver to drive me to the set."

Skippy sighed as his budget flew out the window like a bat on the wind, "Consider it done."

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Talented Musician Struggles to Make It Big

The Sunday travelers jostled toward the exit of the ferry as it drifted toward the dock and dropped anchor. The day was so bright and hot that light shimmered off the surface of the bog making the muddy brown water almost pretty.

Sammy St. Bachrock was so nervous about playing his first big professional show that he barely noticed the heat or the water. There were supposed to be a lot of music industry executives at this party and he wanted to make a good impression and get a break in the business.

In an attempt to calm his nerves, Sammy leaned over the side of the small ferry boat and dragged his hand in the cool water. Without warning a crocodile leapt up out of the water like a dolphin and snapped at Sammy with his mighty jaws.  Luckily, Sammy only lost a fingernail, but didn't lose any of his anxiety. Even when he realized the crocodile's real target wasn't Sammy's arm but a large trout that happened to be passing by right near Sammy's hand, he wasn't any calmer, but he was relieved to still have all of his fingers. He sure couldn't play his calliope without fingers!

Once on the dock, Sammy St. Bachrock headed toward the large federal-style mansion where the party would be held and his calliope was already set up and waiting for him. He hurriedly put on his tuxedo in the make-shift dressing room that the building manager provided for him and took his place in the dining room at his instrument.

The privileged people at the party were so busy with the abundant food selection including lobster, steak and lasagna and the seemingly bottomless champagne bottles that they barely noticed him standing ready to play.

The manager took the stage and commanded everyone's attention, then directed their attention to Sammy who started his set with his favorite rock anthem, Love Hurts by Nazareth. He played the rock anthem on his calliope from his heart and soul, yet some people were visibly repelled by the music.

Others, though, were charmed and intrigued and kept Sammy busy answering their questions between songs. One woman dressed in black lace and diamonds insisted all calliopes are haunted and that Sammy should be careful that he didn't attract any demons with his soulful playing. It turned out after a long conversation on demon hunting that she was married to the most powerful record executive at the party and she promised to talk to her husband about getting Sammy a record contract or at least a private meeting. Sammy was finally on his way up!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Selling a Childhood Home

Phantom peeked out past the black velvet drapes to see if the realtor had arrived yet.

"Why don't you just fasten the curtain back so you don't have to keep peeking?" Wraith suggested.

"I hate when people can see inside." Phantom replied, "I want to see out. I don't want anyone seeing in."

"OK, weirdo," Wraith plopped into one of the few chairs still in the house. The house had been on the market for a year and the sisters were hoping the realtor would convince today's customer to buy it. This would be this potential buyer's second visit.

"We should have made the yard look better," Phantom said, "that old shrub is all overgrown and looks

"Don't worry about it," the buyer will want to change everything anyway. They always want to erase everything the previous owners did and mark their territory."

"Yeah, I guess," Phantom smiled, "unless they like mortuary-meets-American pioneer."

"Dad was so gloomy," Wraith laughed, "remember when he read us Dante's Inferno on News Years Eve?"

"Yeah," Phantom chuckled, "he gave us a choice of that or the Book of Genesis."

"Man, I didn't want to sit through that torture again!"

"Even if we don't get a lot of money for this place, we have a gold mine of memories here."

"Remember when Mom had us build a dreamscape in the back yard?"

"How could I forget? It was because Dad wouldn't pay for a playscape so she had us dream one up instead."

"How pathetic was that?" Wraith sighed.

"She was trying to lift our spirits and get our minds off the disappointment," Phantom peeked past the drape again.

"Would you come over here and have a seat," Wraith scolded Phantom, "your hiding behind that curtain and peeking out is annoying me. We'll hear them ring the bell. Then you can jump up and answer the door."

"I'm not sitting in that chair and you know why." Phantom glanced darkly at the wooden chair in the corner.

"So, Dad jumped off of it last year when he hung himself." Wraith admitted, "it's not like it's haunted."

"You don't get it at all!" Phantom exclaimed, then her eyes grew wide when she glanced out the window, "they're here! I'll greet them outside. Come on!"

The black velvet drapes rippled in the breeze as the girls raced past them toward the door.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tumultuous Soulmates on Opposing Sides of a Conflict

"Cover that tattoo!" Linda threw a long sleeved shirt at her boyfriend, Steve, "I hate it! You know I hate mermaids ever since you dated that mermaid stripper!"

"Listen, babe," Steve tried to stay calm and reasonable, "it has nothing to do with her. How many times do I have to tell you? I like the way she wiggles her tail when I flex my bicep."

"I bet you do!" Linda scrounged through her purse until she found a match to light her cigarette, "you don't care about me at all or you would have realized that tattoo would be a bad idea."

"Now you're gonna start smoking again?" Steve watched her take a long drag of her cigarette, "you were doing so good."

"Oh," she blew smoke toward the ceiling, "well, you can blame yourself for my failure, too. I need something to take the edge off."

"Well, why don't you call the apothecary and get yourself a magic mushroom then?" Steve was losing his patience, "it'd be healthier than smoking. Probably cheaper too."

"Oh," Linda guffawed, "now you care about my health?"

"Sure, I do," Steve said, "don't I always take care of you?"

"Yeah, you drove me to the clinic when you gave my syphilis that time. You probably got that from the mermaid stripper."

"I didn't just drive you," Steve said, "I paid the bill too. You're being unreasonable. It's just a tattoo!"

"Just a tattoo!" Linda stubbed out her cigarette in the kitchen sink, "those things are permanent."

"I could have it removed if I wanted to, but I don't." He moved his arm toward Linda and started flexing his bicep, making the mermaid move her tail. "Isn't it funny?" Steve chuckled.

"No!" Linda screamed, "don't you listen to me at all?"

"It's just a joke!" Steve yelled, "stop going into a frenzy. It's not ladylike at all!"

"Ladylike!" Linda yelled back, "is wagging my tail like a mermaid on a stripper pole ladylike? Maybe I should do that instead?" Linda did an exaggerated hip shake to demonstrate.

"I oughta' oust your ass right out the door!" Steve threatened, "I'm tired of you always giving me a hard time."

"Oh, yeah, go ahead," Linda challenged, "you'll beg me to come back like every other time."

Steve opened his mouth to yell something, but realized she was right and changed his mind as he lowered himself onto the couch in defeat, "You're right," he admitted, "I only want you, not that mermaid chick."

Linda wiped a tear from her eye.

"I won't make you look at my arm," Steve relented, "I'll even wear the long sleeves when you're around."

"Aw," Linda smiled and sat on his lap, "even in the summer?"

"Don't push it," Steve chuckled, "I don't want to feel like I'm a prisoner in this relationship. You wouldn't want that would you?"

"No, babe," Linda put her head on his chest, "not like that time I made you wear that bowtie when we had sex."

"That was weird," he chuckled, "I almost couldn't get the old sprocket to rise with that thing on."

"Well, silly," Linda laughed, "you were supposed to tie it around your neck!"

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Creepy Baby Doll Head's Witch Costume

I made her dress and hat from scraps I found in the attic. Her "body" is an empty wine bottle. I made the ghost and bats on the tree as well. The tree is from Michael's. I think she really likes the costume!