Notes from the road, part 35.

This evening I pulled into the town of Bajo Roca after a very rough day of driving brought on by my worsening crises back at home. Oh yeah, my boss, oops, I meant former boss called me and told me not to come back to work. No shit, I wasn’t planning on coming back anyway.

I pulled into the gas station to fill up and grab some munchies but when I walked into the convenience store there was quite a scene going on. Some lady was arguing with the clerk and hostilities had escalated to the point where she was screaming obscenities and insults. When the clerk told her to leave, she screamed, “KISS MY BLACK ASS!” before storming out of the store. That did nothing to soothe my badly rattled nerves.

When it was my turn to pay for the items, it seemed it would become my turn to become hostile. The clerk picked up the carton of chocolate milk for scanning when he paused before telling me, “This is out of date.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“This chocolate milk, out of date.”

“THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU SELLING IT THEN!” I screamed at the clerk before I too stormed out of the store. This was not me at all. I’m usually calm, assertive, restrained. This was not me at all. I was just stressed from losing my job and my wife filing for divorce. Why did I let a pint of expired chocolate milk push me over the edge? But I did.

I got in my car and drove past the wretched convenience store while sounding my horn with my middle finger raised outside the window and aimed at the clerk. Fuck him for ruining my day by stocking a pint of spoiled chocolate milk. I felt absolutely horrible from the way I acted in there.

I felt exhausted from my long, stressful day and started looking for a cheap motel. I found a rather run-down looking place I won’t name here, but my deciding to spend the night at this place proved to be a mistake.

The room looked terrible with garbage still on the floor and the bed filthy and unmade. The air conditioner was broken, the toilet kept overflowing and the water from the sink was disgusting. How this motel was allowed to stay in business despite all the health hazards was beyond me.

I took the sheets off the bed and tried to sleep but the mattress was very uncomfortable with its rusty springs offering no support. Just as I was about to drift off to sleep I heard gunfire outside along with screeching tires. That was all I could take.

I attempted to check out of the motel but was told I would still be charged for the night. My complaints went unheard and I ended up yelling “Fuck you!” to the desk attendant. How nice of him to return the compliment with the word “Asshole”. I angrily left and returned to the road, swearing never again to return to Bajo Roca. I later found a roadside park and stopped there for the rest of the night, angry with myself for not choosing this option in the first place. I slept better in my car, way better than that shitty motel.

Moe Howard, self-help author.

One day I was walking around the bookstore looking for a good read when a book suddenly caught my eye. It was entitled Be The Best You Can Be, by Moe Howard.

Wait a minute. Moe Howard of the Three Stooges an actual self-help author? I picked up the book to examine its back cover and sure enough there was a photo of Moe himself, well-dressed in business attire, his hair brushed back and looking every bit the gentleman he was in real life. But this man an actual self-help author? When did he have time for writing while he was busy slapping his fellow Stooges around? No matter. This was definitely the book I wanted.

I wanted to read a few paragraphs from the book but it was wrapped in plastic along with a sticker reading “To be removed after purchase”. Fine. So I went to the cash register, paid for the book and drove home, eager to start reading Moe’s advice for reaching my full potential.

Once I got home, I went to the living room, sat down in my comfy chair and unwrapped the book before starting the first chapter. As soon as I opened the book, a hand suddenly flew out and poked my eyes.

In search of the Mamtaput.

My phone was ringing and I knew who it was before I picked it up.

“Hey Ralph,” I answered.

“Hey Sam,” Ralph greeted. “How are things going down there? Find the, er, what’s that thing called again?”

“Mamptaput,” I replied, “and no, I haven’t found it yet.”

“How much more time do you need? Either document it or come home. I didn’t send you to Jamaica for a free vacation, you know.”

“I am fully aware of that,” I replied. “I think I’ll be headed home soon anyway. From what I’ve gathered so far, the Mamtaput may just be a part of Jamaican legend and may not exist at all.”

“Fine. As soon as you’re packed, see if you can catch the next flight to Fort Myers in Florida. There’s a nearby town called Palmetto Bay that’s got something promising. Have you heard about the legend of the Palm Tree Ape?”

“That’s just another folk tale,” I countered.

“Think so? Some residents there cleared some ground near the woods where they think it lives. The next day they found some size 13 footprints. I think you’ve got a better chance with this one.”

After a moment of pondering I made my decision. “Okay, I’ll go ahead and close the Mamtaput case and start heading to Florida.”

“Good,” Ralph agreed, “Give me a call when you get to Palmetto Bay and we’ll touch base then. I have a list of people who’ll work with you to get the Palm Tree Ape documented.”

“Sounds good,” I smiled. “I’ll talk to you later.”

After I hung up I turned around to see Henry, my host and my sole contact to confirm the existence of the Mamtaput. He had on a face of great concern.

“Are you leaving already?” he gasped.

“I’m afraid so,” I replied. “As far as my research goes, I believe the Mamtaput is only a Jamaican folk legend and does not exist.”

“I’m afraid you’re wrong. The Mamtaput is not an actual creature per se but a mischievous spirit that roams the island at night in search of nonbelievers like you. It will cast you under its spell and take control of your body without it ever being seen.”

“That’s what I read,” I confirmed, “but unfortunately there isn’t any evidence to prove that this is true.”

“Then why are you touching the ceiling?”

After a confused pause, I then realized that I was in fact touching the ceiling without my knowing it. Something, some unseen force, was controlling my arm.

“The Mamtaput,” I whispered.

Henry smiled and pointed at the window where a glowing mist illuminated the dark patio outside. Right away I knew that my trip to Florida would have to wait.

In defence of Space Chase.

I am appalled and disappointed by the response to my web cartoon series Space Chase. I have been accused of plagiarism and attempting to cash in on a certain well-known science fiction franchise on which Space Chase is based.

Yes, the hero is Duke Starswimmer, a young man similar to Luke Skywalker. Yes, his mentor is Elder Wan, inspired by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, the wise teacher is Soga, which bears great resemblance to Yoda. Like Star Wars, Space Chase is an epic story of a battle between rebels and the empire, but under no circumstances am I even trying to rip off the entire Star Wars franchise here.

There are differences in the Space Chase story that sets it far apart from Star Wars. Instead of the Force, the characters practice the Strength that not only moves heavy objects with ease, but it also boosts one’s extrasensory abilities to make them keenly aware of any hidden dangers not normally perceived by normal senses alone.

Also different from Star Wars are the characters. Duke’s parents are both alive throughout the story as is Elder Wan. The sole fatality is Soga, who is apparently killed by an Empirical officer, although he may have executed a last-second maneuver to transport himself to safety. I left that up to the Internet community to decide what really happened to Soga. Instead I get accused of ripping off the Star Wars storyline and its characters.

Never mind that as the story progresses, Duke and his rebels destroy not one but two more battle stations before proceeding to the final battle at Triangle City, the very heart of the Empire. I think it is here that Space Chase truly takes on a life of its own, yet the hate mail I have received seems to indicate otherwise. Yes, Star Wars was an inspiration for Space Chase, but under no circumstances am I even trying to rewrite it. Why go after me as if I’m trying to deface the face of Star Wars?

Why not go after Mel Brooks for daring to make “Spaceballs”? While you’re at it, how about Clint Eastwood for making “Space Bullets”? Or Rob Zombie’s “Space Bowels”? The list goes on and on, yet I’m the worst of them all. Shame on me for cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon when others can do the same thing and get away with it.

In any case, I have voluntarily removed all 136 episodes of Space Chase from this site and am closing my online store, but not without putting everything on clearance, so if you want a Space Chase T-shirt or some action figures, now’s your chance to get them at insane prices. They’ll be collector’s items some day and maybe then I’ll have the last laugh.

Dark days ahead.

So here we are, one year into the terrifying presidency of Al Bleetworm, 90 years old and the oldest man ever elected. Come to think of it, the only reason he even won the election was because his opponent was many, many times worse. Dan Vilan was constantly accused of fraud and corruption yet constantly played it down despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Sure enough, Vilan’s life of crime finally caught up with him as he now rots away in prison.

President Bleetworm has yet to reveal his so-called “Vision for America” that was to restore our country back to the prosperity everyone is so hungry for. Apparently it involves severing ties with our allies and ensuring our isolation. Some vision. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I ask, does Bleetworm even have eyes?

Just look at him. Constantly squinting with his oversized eyelids and barely looking awake at his press conferences. When standing at the podium in silence, it looks like he’s sleeping. Or dead.

Even more terrifying is Vice President Pal Hefford. He has absolutely no experience in politics yet was chosen as Bleetworm’s running mate when he was spotted working the garbage cans on the street during his garbage truck’s morning run. That’s right, our Vice President is a garbage man. He may not understand the Constitution but he sure knows the location of the nearest garbage dump.

So now we have to turn to the wives for signs of assurance. First Lady Madge Bleetworm may appear cheerful and hospitable but stories have emerged that she spends hours in the kitchen baking pies and cookies for herself and no one else. She even keeps a cleaver nearby to discourage anyone from stealing. That’s not exactly assuring.

Oh, and Second Lady Flowerpot Hefford looks like someone still living in the 1960’s. She is completely out of tune and out of touch. Come to think of it, she acts like we’re still living in the 1960’s while speaking nonstop of flower power and having a nice day. Sure enough, it was her idea to have the walls of the White House lined with smiley face wallpaper and proclaiming Mondays to be “Have a Nice Day Day”. How is that reassuring?

Our country desperately needs competent leadership and assurance that there are brighter days ahead. We have none of that right now. Our so-called President seems intent on making our dark days even darker. We must continue to remain vigilant and strong for the next three years so we can unseat Al Bleetworm and send him back to the nursing home where he belongs.

All in a day’s work.

At my job I work as an order puller and spend most of the day filling online orders. One day I was filling an order for a bucket and some light sensors. There were plenty of buckets in stock but the store was out of light sensors, so the next step was to call the customer to let them know before processing the refund.

When I called the customer I reached their voicemail, and I left a message that went something like this:

I am calling about your online order. We don’t have any light sensors stock, so I can give you a refund. However, your bucket is ready.

I found it very difficult to leave the rest of the message without laughing.

The Case of the Framed Clown, Part 15.

Skipping the first 14 parts and ahead to the good stuff…

Eth and Bub rushed back to the circus camp where the police were already in attendance and taking statements regarding the murder. To make matters worse, the Strong Man was giving his statement in a final attempt to pin the crime on the Clown.

“Yes sir, last night I saw the Clown enter the Trapeze Lady’s mobile home and moments later I heard screaming and the sound of bludgeoning. Moments later I saw him leave, bloodied and out of breath, desperate to return to his home unnoticed.”

“Interesting,” Bub spoke up. “You saw all that in the dark, moonless night without any lights?”

The Strong Man quickly became defensive. “Just what are you kids insinuating?”

“We may be kids,” Eth said, “but this case is literally child’s play. When we came to your mobile home looking for clues this morning, we saw the weights on the floor but no rod. Yet you said you spent the morning bench pressing and lifting weights. Interesting you can do that with no rod.”

“Instead of spending the morning lifting weights as you claimed,” Bub added, “you were outside roaming in the field looking for something, specifically the rod you used to murder the Trapeze Lady last night. You attempted to dispose of the evidence by flinging it into the field, but we found it this morning.”

The Strong Man was stunned into silence and quietly sat down. Staring at the ground, he heaved one final sigh before admitting to the crime. “You got me there,” he muttered. “I may be the world’s strongest man but I’m also the world’s dumbest criminal. Yeah, I did it. I heard the Trapeze Lady was next in line to inherit a fortune from her late uncle’s estate and thought I could get that fortune for myself. But I would have gotten away with it had it not been for you meddling kids.”

Moments later the Strong Man was handcuffed and escorted to one of the police cars, leaving the Clown overcome with relief. “You guys did it,” he smiled at Eth and Bub, “I should have never doubted you in the first place. What can I do to repay you?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Eth smiled back. “As they always say, the show must go on.”

With that, the two boys returned to the trail to resume their walk through the woods as they had originally planned.

The End

The Aisles of the Forbidden.

Don’t go to aisle 47, sir, don’t go to aisle 47

The customer ventured to aisle 47
Then the lights went out and the silence quick to deaden
Now the customer’s gone but he didn’t go to heaven

Don’t go to aisle 48, sir, don’t go to aisle 48

The customer proceeded to aisle 48
I really tried to stop him, but it was much too late
He wound up as the main course on a giant dinner plate

Don’t go to aisle 49, sir, don’t go to aisle 49

The customer insisted on aisle 49
The next thing that unfolded was anything but fine
He was digitized and then transferred one byte at a time

Don’t go to aisle 50, sir, don’t go to aisle 50

I didn’t even watch as he entered aisle 50
The details were too sketchy and the demise rather iffy
That was when I quit my job and ran out in a jiffy

The legend of Locust Lane.

Recently I went for a long bike ride that took me through the nearby town of Lake Park. Along the way I passed a vacant lot with a very antiquated sign standing along the road. Locust Lane was its name and I sensed it contained quite a bit of history, if only I knew what it was.

The sign marking the entrance to Locust Lane.

After I returned home, I uploaded the above picture to a Facebook group devoted to memories of places long since gone from the Palm Beaches. It got plenty of likes along with this reply:

Why is that horrible place still there? It’s been condemned for years, yet the County won’t touch it. I don’t blame them, though. You want to know how Locust Lane got its name? Well, I’ll tell you.

During the 1940’s a team of surveyors arrived at that very spot to start the measurements. One of the surveyors, a William Macz, stepped on a mound of dirt that triggered a flood of locusts as large as rats that ate him alive. So swift was the attack that moments later, Macz’s skeleton was seen standing upright with its jaw still gaping in terror. The other two surveyors fled the scene and never returned. They later christened the lot Locust Lane but the legend had already circulated around town to the point of the lot remaining forever vacant.

As for the giant locusts, they have never been seen again, but some suspect that they are still sleeping in their underground nest, waiting for their next unsuspecting victim to devour into giant locust shit.

GrinLeaper

Donald Trump just nailed it

For five minutes the meeting was unable to proceed due to the room filled with uproarious laughter.

“Oh man, that’s a good one!” gasped online publisher Pill Balmer.

But staff writer Hobert Rarrington remained adamant. “Think of the traffic that headline will bring to Balmer Report. I think it’s going to be the most clicked link on the entire site. Our revenue from the ads will fly through the roof!”

“But here’s the problem, though,” Balmer leaned forward. “I want our site to focus on factual reporting. It’s the one thing that separates us from the other political news sites. I don’t mind using that headline but we need facts to back it up.”

“That’s going to be tough,” Journalist Khirley Sennedy spoke up. “Trump’s been pretty much out of the public eye since he left office. He hasn’t made any public appearances anywhere, much less gave any interviews. And with him banned from the major social media sites, he can’t reach out to anyone anymore. Bummer, there’s really nothing to back up that headline.”

“Unless,” fellow journalist Sames Jullivan spoke up, “we look at ‘nailed it’ in a literal sense, as in actually using a hammer and nail to say, hang some pictures.”

“Hanging pictures? That’s news?” Balmer balked.

“At least we’ll get to use that headline.”

Donald Trump just nailed it

Nowadays former President Donald Trump stays busy by hanging pictures in the hallway of his South Florida home using none other than a hammer and some nails…