Saturday, October 29, 2011


The coffin on the overhead luggage rack was making the other passengers nervous. It rattled at every turn and shudder of the speeding train.

“There, there, dear boy” said Igor. “He is gone, but not forgotten. He will live to see another day.”

The creature seemed unconcerned, concentrating instead on his box of Fruit Loops.

“Not like orange ones!” said the creature.

“Just skip over the orange ones then,” said Igor.
“We have a long trip ahead of us, save some for the trip back.”

“Not come back,” said the creature. “Miss Mon Mon.”

Mon Mon was the creatures name for Monsignor Montgomery who had blessed the creature on his return from the dead and who now resides in the coffin above.

After the blessing the pastor was excommunicated from the church and befriended by Igor and the creature.

“Don’t talk like that,” said Igor. “Of course you're coming back. And we’ll be taking Mon Mon with us.”

The creature raised his arms into the air, embracing the coffin through the bars of the luggage rack.

“No! Not now, dear boy,” said Igor. “We bring Mon Mon home to his family for his burial, as previously arranged. Then, in the dead of night, we will dig our friend out of the ground and into our loving arms. Once home we find Mon Mon a proper brain and viola! It’ll be like old times again. Only with a different brain.

“Mon Mon didn’t have much use for his old brain,” continued Igor. “Not after that fall from the cliff.”

“Sorry,” said the creature.

“Oh, it wasn’t entirely your fault, dear boy,” said Igor. “ His shoe laces were untied.”

Igor, the monsignor and the creature were on a walking tour of the UK when the monsignor wanted a better look at what he thought was a rare species of bird hovering below the White Cliffs of Dover.

As the creature held him by his ankles, the monsignor was heard to say, “Steady now, old friend. Steady. Just a few inches morrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre!”

The creature held the empty shoes aloft and had a long peek inside, as if the monsignor had somehow managed to fall up into his own shoes.

“Mon Mon?” said the creature into one of the shoes. “Where Mon Mon?”

When Igor returned from making his water, he inquired as to the whereabouts of their dear friend. The creature gave Igor a sheepish look and took a long peek over the cliffs.

“Mon Mon forget shoes!” the creature yelled down. “Mon Mon catch!”

“Oh, dear,” said Igor. And that was all he ever said on the subject.

As the train barreled through a long dark tunnel, Igor and the creature fell off to sleep. Happy in the knowledge that they would soon be having a glorious weekend of burying, then exhuming, their dear old friend.

“Life is good”, said a sleeping Igor.

“Good!” echoed the dozing creature.

“Bloody hell! It’s dark in here!” screamed the monsignor. “Hey! Where the hell am I? Help!”


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sgt. Grunt

I peeked under my sister's bed in search of my missing pet monkey, but found nothing but dirty clothes and empty soda bottles.

I grabbed her tennis racket and poked around at the pile of crud under her bed and hit something that didn't like being hit.

“Are you ready for the marines, runt! Then drop and give me twenty, rookie!”

It was Sgt. Grunt! My talking US Marine action figure! I thought I lost him two years ago. It was a birthday present from my folks. It was designed to keep order in a youngsters room. You'd push a button behind Sgt. Grunt's neck and he'd tell you to "Pick up your socks, puss face! Now drop and give me twenty, sissy!"

What he was doing under my sister's bed, and what else I would find under there, I didn’t want to know. So I stuck Sgt. Grunt under my arm and headed for the closet.

“This ain’t no summer camp, boy! Now drop and give me twenty, mister!”

I must have broken Sgt. Grunt’s talk button with the tennis racket, because he wouldn’t stop talking.

“You call yourself a marine, maggot! Well, I call you Little Miss Nancy Britches! Drop and give me twenty, Mary!”

I tried to explain to him that there were women in the Marines who might not like what he was saying.

“I am not your Mama, sunshine! Now make your bed like it was nobody’s business! Then drop and give me twenty, mister!”

I’d forgotten how mean and insulting the sergeant could be. It’s probably why he ended up in my sister's room. They were made for each other.

I stopped for a moment to make sure he was through yelling at me. It seemed he was, so I continued on to the closet. Opening the closet door I was overcome by a strange sense that someone was watching me. When I stepped inside, the door suddenly closed behind me and I think my heart stopped beating. I stood still for a moment and waited for my heart to start beating again. Then I heard someone say, “No crying in the closet, worm! Now drop and give me twenty, mister!”

Only it wasn’t Sgt. Grunt. This time it was my little brother, Ben. When he opened the closet door, I tried to say something, but Sgt. Grunt started talking first.

“Ok, boys! Time to move! We got us a monkey to find! Now Go! Go! Go!”

I didn’t remember Sgt. Grunt ever saying anything like that before. I remember him telling me things like, “Pick up your underwear, princess! It’s the maids day off!” or “Wash behind those ears, missy! And brush those teeth, weasel face!”

But he never said anything about finding monkeys. That’s when I knew that things were going to get stranger before they got back to normal.

“Up to the attic, troops!” said Sgt. Grunt. “Double time! Move! Move! Move!”

I guess he meant us. We didn’t stop to argue with him. No use. He wouldn’t listen anyway. We just charged up the attic steps and into the attic. The attic still had that new paint smell. Mom and Dad had it converted into a bedroom. They thought it was time for me to move out of the room I shared with Ben and Luke. But Grandma Mollie and Grandpa Charlie were due to arrive from Kansas the next morning, and they’d be staying in the attic. So I wouldn’t be moving up until they left.

“I smell monkey!” said Sgt. Grunt. “Get out your flamethrowers!”

I explained to the Sgt. that we didn’t have any flamethrowers, and that we weren't trying to hurt the monkey. But that got him madder.

“Then get out your grenades and start launching!”

“We don’t have any of those, either”, I said.

“What about brains, boy? Did you bring any brains?”

I couldn’t seem to get my mouth to work. Ben either.

“Well, that answers that!” he said. “Dang you new recruits! Never send a boy to fight a man’s fight!”

Then he was quiet for a moment. It gave us a moment to look around. Dad had cleaned out the attic, so it was bare, except for the replica Egyptian-like coffin he bought at an auction. The one he was going to use for a future Egyptian exhibit at the amusement park. He had it standing up against the far wall near the attic fan. I didn’t like the idea of sleeping with a coffin in my room. I’d have to ask Dad if I could move it.

“No place to hide except for that coffin!” said the sergeant. “Let’s get ‘er open!”

The last thing I wanted to do was open a coffin, but when you have someone like the sergeant on your back (or under your arm), you do what you’re told.

Ben and I tried to pry open the coffin, but it was locked pretty solid. I didn’t see any keyhole, or any sort of latch to play with. It must have been glued shut.

“This thing is locked tight,” I said. “”If there’s a monkey in there, he can stay in there.”

“Monkey’s not here!” Sgt. Grunt said.

“I thought you said you smelt monkey?”

“I was mistaken, toad! It must have been your armpit! You need a bath, boy!”

I took Sgt. Grunt out from under my arm and handed him to Ben.

“Here, you keep him!” I said.

“I don’t want him, either,” said Ben.

“What sissy pants mamma’s boys!” said the sergeant. “Well, I don’t want you either! Put me back in my barracks, larva butts! The boys are probably wondering where I am!”

“What boys?” I said.

“Them fellas with the big heads what look like potatoes!”

This was all getting too strange for me. We decided to go back downstairs and put Sgt. Grunt back under the bed and pretend none of this ever happened. Though I’m sure it did.

“Goodbye, you sorry sacks of marshmallow!” said the Sergeant. “I’ve seen better soldiering in a pack of spineless wart hogs!”

We waited, but he didn’t say anything more. Though, I had a feeling it wasn’t the last time we’d hear from Sgt. Grunt.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'd been looking for this poster for some time. It was the first concert I'd ever attended. It was around Easter 1967. I was thirteen years old and had a crush on Margie, my older sister's girlfriend. She was fourteen, but might as well have been forty; I certainly wasn't going to get anywhere with her. She had much higher aspirations.

My sister and Margie spent the entire show being pissed off and ignoring me. I was only there because I had a thing for Margie and I begged my mother to have them take me. So there I was.

The show took place at an old RKO movie theater in NYC. Some memories I have of the show are Simon and Garfunkle seeming out of place in matching suits; the Who trashing their equiptment, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels getting down and dirty. The girls went nuts over him. Mitch was the main reason everyone came to the show. He had a big hit that year with Devil with the Blue Dress On. I recall the crowd going wild when Mitch Ryder went into a James Brown dropping-to-his-knees frenzy that had everoyone screaming and on their feet. It was something else. I only wish I could remember more. But it's enough for now. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Posted by Picasa

Me and Mrs. Chronicles
The Tappan Zee bridge spanning the beautiful Hudson river.
Tarrytown, NY

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One Big Bumpy Day

Did you ever have a bumpy day?
A day when things get in your way
Like tables, chairs and swinging doors
And baby brothers on the floor

Bumped my head
And counted to ten
My eyes saw stars
And a cross-eyed hen

Stubbed my toe
On my dog Tiny
It hurt so much
It made me whiney

Caught my finger
In a kitchen drawer
Cried so loud
My throat got sore

Slipped and fell
On our front lawn
Sank so low
I saw two frogs yawn

Bruised my nose
On a garden hose
It turned so red
I went straight to bed

Did you ever have a bumpy day like that?
A day when things got in your way
Like tables, chairs and swinging doors
And baby brothers on the floor

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This Chair

One red chair
Made not too loose
Made to withstand me
And my muse

This chair is a comfort
This chair treats me right
When I sneak up on it
And sing in the night

This chair is inanimate
But moves in my room
This chair is a comfort
When I’m in my gloom

I sit and strum Dylan
Or Guthrie and Waits
I sit and strum loudly
Till the dogs I awake

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

1. One book that changed your life?
It would would have to be The Pickwick Papers by Dickens. I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever read. I was in my late teens at the time. Comedy always moved me more than drama. It's when I read this that I knew I wanted to write humor.

2. One book you have read more than once?
I've read The adventures of Huckleberry Finn about four times. Again for the humor and it's eye opening take on racism in America, but set in a country closer to my heart.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. He painted an American landscape like no other. The American west at its best and worst. It's also very funny. (I've already got Huck Finn so etched in my psyche that it wouldn't have to be my desert island book.)

4. One book that made you cry?
I cried at parts of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. So well written about a horrible subject matter: the rape and murder of a child. I'm almost sorry I read it.

5. One book that made you laugh?
My favorite 'funny' book is Naked by David Sedaris. Especially the tale about working as one of Santa's elves at Macy's department store. A worn out phrase: but it's laugh out loud funny.

6. One book you wish had been written?
Mr. Spaceman by Robert Olen Butler. It's a great satire on science fiction novels. One of the most original books I've read.

7. One book you wish had never been written?
The Bible. There I've said it. I've read it, and I still read it on occasion. I love the life of Christ. But I've just had it up to here with the old testement and religion in general. I'm a good and loving person and if there's a heaven that's where I'm going. And no priest, rabbi or televangelist is going to tell me otherwise. So there, lol. (Maybe it's Charlton Heston I'm having the problem with.)

8. One book you are currently reading?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I find it helps me cope after I've read the bible. lol.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Dante's Inferno (I still plan on going to heaven, though.)

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