Sunday, August 7, 2016
“What did you do this time?” Writer Lady asks.
“Nothing.” Monitor Man says.
“Then why am I walking through a jungle, looking for snakes, and pushing away branches?” Writer Lady asks.
“Wait.” Monitor Man says.
Writer Lady stops walking. He keeps walking, passes her, and takes the lead protecting her against snakes and renegade branches.
“I don't know what happened.” He says. “One minute Tinkletoes and I were looking for Dobby and the next...”
“Your ass is mine.” She says speeding up to fall into step next to Monitor Man. “Your ass is distracting.”
“Checking things out?” He asks with a grin.
“It's right there in front of me. It's practically talking to me.” The visual image lingers. “You were saying...” She says prompting Monitor Man to continue his story.
“One minute I was talking to Tinkletoes and the next I was here, in these clothes, getting drenched.”
“You sure pissed someone off.”
“I don't know who that might be.” Monitor Man says, pushing his soaking hair away from his eyes. He does it again and a third time.
“I can't see anything with this wet hair. How do I look?”
Writer Lady smiles. “Like a drowned rat.” She says.
He makes a face.
“We're in a jungle, standing in the pouring rain, does it matter?”
Monitor Man begins to answer, Writer Lady covers his mouth with her hand. She puts a finger to her lips indicating a need for silence. “Did you hear that?” She asks.
Monitor Man's eyes shift from left to right. “I can hear a lot of things right now. Could you be more specific?” He whispers.
“Something unusual.” She says.
“It's a jungle. Do you live in a jungle?”
Writer Lady looks at Monitor Man without saying a word.
“You do. Sort of. But not one like this.”
“It's all new to me.” Writer Lady whispers. “That doesn't matter because something is headed this way.” She stops talking and listens. “It has four feet. No six. Eight?”
“Or whatever it is, it's four footed and there are two of them.” Monitor Man suggests.
“That's not good.”
The sound of the kittens' footfalls meet with the ground in time to chase music. Because...action sequence...where have you been? The two Grittiest of Gritty Browncoat Kitties run with an energy that they have never had. New sights, sounds, and smells fill their senses. Beckoning them deeper into the unknown. Making their way into a clearing, the kittens stop where Monitor Man landed only moments before. Smudge Mal inspects the mud in front of him. “He was here." He says. Although rain is pouring, the kittens remain dry thanks to their enchanted hats, thick gloves, and heavy brown dusters. “Tracks head this way.” Smudge Mal announces with a nod.
“We're gonna get him.” Spots Wash says holding up a super capacity water gun.
“What do you think you're gonna do with that?” Smudge Mal asks.
“Force a surrender. Nobody likes getting wet.”
Smudge Mal holds both paws out, watching as water dances off of his gloves. “He's already wet.”
Spots Wash's smile fades and then returns. He raises the water gun and blasts a round into Smudge Mal's face watching as his older brother frowns.
“Did you like that?” Spots Wash asks.
“Does it look like I liked it?”
“I rest my case.”
“We are bounty hunting through a rain forest. Monitor Man is our prey. Find something a little bit more...,” Smudge Mal thinks for a minute, “...huntery, okay?”
Spots Wash nods and holsters his weapon inside his coat. He opens the coat from the opposite side revealing a crossbow with sponge darts.
Smudge Mal looks at Spots Wash. Before Smudge Mal can protest a sponge dart hits him between the eyes.
“Hurts right?” Spots asks.
“Monitor Man?” Tinkletoes calls. He uses a regular tone at first that grows louder with each unanswered call.
“My bridge has been breached!” House's scream leads the self-proclaimed mercenary back to the living room hoping that this is just one of TP's antics.
“Is that what you two are calling it?" Tinkletoes asks as he enters the living room.
Carp, Dylan, Ray, Mural Man, and TP are already in the room.
“You have that mixed up. They call that...” Ray begins only to be interrupted by a tug on his pant leg.
Dylan looks up and shakes his head, “Furnatche's here. He's too little.” Everyone looks down to see Furnatche curled up by Dylan's feet.
“She is talking about her bridge.” Mural Man corrects.
“House is a house. Houses don't have a bridge.” Tinkletoes points out.
“Castles do.” TP says.
“Yuh—huh.” Dylan agrees looking up at Tinkletoes solemnly.
“Her bridge.” TP giggles. “Silly human.”
“Something's stuck in her teeth man.” Ray says.
“Houses don't have teeth.” Carp says.
“Maybe I should explain.” Mural Man offers.
“Go ahead.” TP giggles.
“When a house and a mural love each other very much...” Carp says.
Tinkletoes glares at Carp.
“Ray can make jokes and I can't?” Carp asks.
Tinkletoes continues glaring.
“I know, I know. Shut it.” Carp says.
“House's bridge is magical. It leads to enchanted forests, magical lands, and mythical places. It is bridge between your world and ours.”
“It's an on-ramp to Fae-rie.” TP announces.
“An on-ramp to Faerie. Cool man.” Ray says. “Can we go?”
“If it's an on-ramp then there should be nothing there. Just road.” Tinkletoes says.
“Not necessarily.” Carp says brightly. “It is Faerie.”
“TP.” Tinkletoes says, looking at the faerie. “What if a guy takes a walk on that bridge? What should he expect to find?”
“Nothing. Everything. Magical lands burst at the seams. A man would find anything that lingers in between.” TP giggles.
“He's rhym-ing.” Carp sings.
“Which means he's hiding something or expecting to see quite a show.” Tinkletoes says.
“Which one do you think it is?” The self-proclaimed mercenary asks.
“Expecting to see quite a show.” Carp says.
“I think he's hiding something.”
Dylan reaches up and pulls on Tinkletoes' pant leg. Tinkletoes squats down.
“Both.” Dylan says.
Tinkletoes looks at TP, studies the faerie closely, looks at Dylan and says. “You know what kid? I think you're right. We have two missing kittens, Dobby is gone too, and Monitor Man disappeared right before my eyes. House says that her bridge has been breached. TP thinks everything is real funny right now. I think that someone needs to go out on that bridge and take a look around.”
Sunday, July 24, 2016
“Look at all the dust...whoa.” Ray says looking up.
Tinkletoes, Monitor Man, and Carp all look up.
Tinkletoes looks at Carp, “Would you take care of that?” Tinkletoes and Monitor Man head for the bonus room leaving Carp in the living room with Ray.
Carp nods and looks at Ray. “How many cats do you find hanging off of ceiling fans?” Carp asks.
“None, so far.” Ray answers. “Those kittens are really active. They had a beach party at the litter box last week.”
“We need to find the cats!” Tinkletoes calls out.
Carp looks at Ray less than pleased with the situation. “No more ceiling fan.”
“No more ceiling fan. Don't worry. I've got this man. I'm on it because I'm stealth. Like a cat. I think...like a cat.”
Carp turns, heading for High Command and yet to be discovered kitten hidey holes.
Getting down on all fours Ray starts sniffing at the carpet. He looks at everything he encounters closely. He finds a ball. Reaching out, Ray gives the ball a quick tap making it roll a short distance, then he gives it another tap making it roll further. Ray turns as he watches the ball roll, he studies every move, wiggles his butt and chases it only to be stopped when the door of the refrigerator meets with his head.
“Oh my god...where is it?” House's voice can be heard echoing throughout the living room.
“There it is! Dust on my fan blades! Hairy dust, faerie dust and odd dragon scales. Eeeuuu!”
“It's okay sweetie.” Mural Man says, soothing her. “It's just a little dust.”
“Just a little dust?” House exclaims. “There is no such thing as a little dust!” Her voice vibrates everything in the room making chunks of dust fall from the fan blade and onto the floor. “Eeeeuu!”
Furnatche's head butts up against Ray's as he peers under the refrigerator. The “super smeller,” an extension of the baby dragon's nose has been triggered, its tendrils twirling clockwise and counterclockwise sniffing for toy balls and lost kittens.
“Duuude.” Ray says looking at Furnatche, the baby dragon in turn raises his head to look at Ray. “Your nose is too close. It tickles man.” Furnatche's tendrils retract, retreating into the dragon's nasal cavity. The baby dragon reaches out with his great tongue and licks Ray from jaw to brow line. “Thanks man, I love you too.” Ray says removing the glittery slobber that glows with enchantment from his face. He wipes it onto his pant leg leaving smear marks which pulsate with a glittering light.
Dobby hears Writer's Lady's calls from the open window. He stands by it, watching rain drip off of palm fronds, snakes slither along thick branches and monkeys pass through the rain forest in front of him. The ginger tabby is wearing fatigues including a belt equipped with knives, smoke bombs, grenades, and heavy boots. “So you think you have what it takes to protect the President.” He says, alternately flexing his front paws, nails extending and retracting.
Spots Wash looks around the hut, then at the activity outside. He tenses briefly at the sound of an elephant trumpeting in the distance.
Smudge Mal stands to his full height, looks squarely at Dobby and says, “We've got what it takes. We may be kittens. We are smaller, I'll give you that. We're young, we move fast, and our claws are like razors.” Returning to all fours he makes his way over to a Shoji screen in a far corner of the hut. He stands up and slices through the paper screen with little effort.
“A claw can't stop a bullet.” Dobby says.
“Not much can.” Smudge Mal counters.
“I can.” Dobby says.
“You know a faerie.”
“I can because I have what it takes. If Tinkletoes is right about you...you can too.”
Spots Wash comes closer, “What do you mean?” He asks.
Smudge Mal says, “Magic. He means getting on the good side of the faerie.”
Spots Wash shakes his head, “Faeries are mean. Diomedes says so.”
“He said that faeries are tricksters with a mean sense of humor.” Smudge Mal corrects. “It's something we don't need.”
“To stop bullets.” Dobby reminds Smudge Mal.
“We're Browncoats. Tinkletoes is a Browncoat. Browncoats look out for other Browncoats. We will protect the President.” Smudge Mal says.
“We're smart.” Spots Wash says. “And we've got...we've got...” Spots Wash looks at his brother and whispers, “What's that other thing we've got?”
“Grit.” Smudge Mal answers.
“Grit.” Spots Wash says. “We are the grittiest of the Gritty Browncoat Kitties. Tell that to your faerie.”
Dobby grins. “Let's get this party started then...Browncoats. Welcome to Makinuaman.” Dobby gestures to the rain forest outside. “This is middle ground. An on-ramp between Earth and Faerie. And your training ground.”
Tinkletoes and Monitor Man make a second pass through the bonus room looking in every crevice, tiny opening, and darkened corner to no avail. The kittens have disappeared along with Dobby.
“It's strange isn't it.” Monitor Man says. “How the sounds the cats make becomes a part of the heartbeat of a home. Like the refrigerator running or water moving around in the dishwasher does. Something is wrong if the sound is no longer there.”
“It's damn near deafening.” Tinkletoes agrees without looking at Monitor Man.
“Maybe we should...”
“Should what?” Tinkletoes asks. He looks around. No Monitor Man.
“I think I see a ball.” Ray says looking under the refrigerator. “Would you like to play with the ball?”
Furnatche does not respond. Ray hears a strange noise coming from his left side. Furnatche has wandered into the doorway and is facing the bonus room. Crying.
“Furnatche? Lil' dude? What's wrong?”
“Noooo!” House screams.
“Sweetie really...it's just a little dust.” Mural Man says.
“My bridge has been breached!”
“look in High Com...mand?” Monitor Man finishes his sentence in a clearing on the edge of what looks like a jungle. He wipes rain from his face hoping it has disappeared when he looks at his surroundings again. It hasn't. “Okay. What just happened?”
He hears a voice calling to him.
Monitor Man's eyes search for the source of that voice. Writer Lady is standing under a tree several feet away. She says something. He can't hear. The rain, calls of various animals and birds are drowning her out. She's gesturing to her chest with her hand. Monitor Man looks down to see a target on his shirt.
“Come on!!” She calls. He runs towards Writer Lady, into the jungle, and hopefully, some answers.
“What did you do this time?” She asks.
“You have a target on your chest and your butt says...” She turns Monitor Man around to read the back of his pants a second time,“your butt says 'Your Ass Is Mine.' What did you do?”
A lion's roar can be heard, then drums.
“Someone knows that we're out here.” Writer Lady says.
“We should keep moving.” Monitor Man responds.
They start walking. Fast.
“While we're walking, you need to think and try to remember what you did.”
Saturday, July 9, 2016
“You said it man.” Ray agrees.
Ray and Dylan high five.
“Try again.” Dylan says looking at Carp.
“I was not complete until you arrived?”
“They were fighting off ninja zombies and she's thinking that? No way man.” Ray comments.
“I think she said 'Duck'. A lot.” Dylan says.
“You weren't there. Her thoughts were racing, her heart aflutter.”
Ray makes a face. Dylan raises both hands, their tops next to each shoulder. He faces them outward and wiggles his fingers, mimicking a fluttering of wings.
“She was at risk of losing her feminine poise, at risk of going completely wild with abandon.”
Ray fans himself and Dylan pretends to faint.
“All she wanted was to keep Monitor Man safe until that fateful moment when they could be alone.”
Carp closes his eyes and puckers up. TP appears and placing a tiny hand on each of Carp's cheeks, the faerie gives the would be assassin a loud smooch on the lips leaving a tiny imprint of bright pink lipstick on Carp's mouth. The assassin looks like he has been sucking lemons. Tiny lemons. TP disappears just before Carp opens his eyes.
“Who just kissed me?” Carp asks.
“I don't know,” Ray says, “but you've got lipstick on your mouth.”
“Look for someone who's wearing lipstick.” Dylan says.
Carp looks around the room, studying everyone closely. “Ah-a! TP is wearing lipstick. That wasn't funny faerie.”
“Duude...keep looking.” Ray says.
Carp's eyes continue to pan the room. He notices that Peter is wearing lipstick, so is Paige, Aunt Purdy is too. Furnatche, Dobby, Spots and Smudge all have the bright pink goo on their mouths. Diomedes is entirely pink including his lips. When the dragon opens his great mouth, Bugsy his stomach bug is wearing pink lipstick too. Carp quietly turns around returning to his seat, taking out a handkerchief he wipes the lipstick from his mouth, a man on a mission. “As I was saying...she opened Monitor Man's letter and as she read it her cold and desolate heart warmed, fluttering to life. From the moment she saw Monitor Man she realized that none of her time on this planet had meaning until he arrived. She knew that from that moment on she existed only to take care of him. When Monitor Man was kidnapped, she immediately found him because her heart was the receiver and his gave off the GPS signal.”
“Dude..hearts with GPS?”
“Yes. I call it, 'The GPS Love Signal.' Nothing could keep Writer Lady from Monitor Man. When she discovered what happened she tracked down her man. A woman in love, merciless in her pursuit.”
“Didn't Monitor Man leave her clues? Like pie or something?” Ray asks.
“It was the scent of pie and a carefully coded message that only her heart could understand.”
“I understand pie.” Ray says.
“My stomach gets pie.” Dylan adds.
“Is this my recollection or yours?” Carp asks, sounding annoyed.
“Writer Lady scaled walls, pushed past obstacles, tearing down everything in her path.”
A crowd gathers around listening closely because...hey, this is getting exciting.
“When she busted the door down, she found Monitor Man tied up, unconscious. Barely clinging to life.”
“That's not what I heard.” Dylan says.
“Yeah. Wasn't he like...napping?”“Barely clinging to life.” Carp repeats. “She brought him back to consciousness, pulling him out of his fiery grave. As he grew stronger they gathered their resources, trained, made their plans and went into battle saving us all from death by Ninja Zombie. As they fought side by side, man and woman, heart and soul she discovered that Monitor Man was with another. He had already offered his heart to someone else. When the war was over they parted ways.
Upon returning home she fell ill. Her heart became diseased with loneliness, grief, and despair. He was her only purpose and he threw her over some tart of the month. Writer Lady was strong even at her weakest. She worked hard pulling herself from the darkest depths of her grief to heal and try to recover what was left of her heart hoping that some day Monitor Man would feel the same. After he dumped that stupid tart off the closest pier.”
“Someone has feelings of resentment.” House says.
“It is their destiny. Besides, it takes one to know one.” Carp says.
Tinkletoes and Monitor Man cross the room. They stand behind Carp and listen.
“The Ninja Zombie War was the most amazing experience of her life. Tell Monitor Man that she's spent every hour of every day since then dreaming of the moment he would return to her.”
Ray glares at Carp for a brief interval.
“And...she would gladly give him his every desire if he would always keep her with him.”
“Really?” Monitor Man says. He looks at Tinkletoes and asks, “Does that sound like Writer Lady to you?”
“Not the one that I know.” Tinkletoes responds.
“Don't buy it man.” Ray says looking at Monitor Man. “Our Writer Lady doesn't talk like that.”
“A woman in love...” Carp sings.
“A Writer Lady with a crush maybe.” Tinkletoes suggests making a face, uncertain of his words.
“Not a Writer Lady in love.” Ray finishes.
“Maybe this isn't a good time for this project.” Monitor Man says. He looks at Tinkletoes and points to Carp shaking his head, “We are running for office.”
“No you should do this.” Tinkletoes says. “We'll figure out a way to do both.”
A door can be heard opening and closing. Writer Lady enters the room carrying a stack of printed pages. She hands them to Monitor Man. “I haven't been able to sleep. Carp isn't going to give you accurate information. This is a fictionalized version of what took place that day. A rough draft anyway. This might help you write the script you were hoping for. Read it. Call me if you need anything. I will answer all of your questions.”
Monitor Man looks at the pages, the title reads, Monitor Man, A Writer Lady, and the Ninja Zombie War.
She continues. “I have no idea what you've heard from Carp but I wanted to let you know that...I did not know what you would be like in real life. When the war started and things got rough you were there with me and we got through it. You are not what I expected. Once a person is able to reconcile the reality with their preconceptions...” Writer Lady sighs. “In other words, I'm glad that I met you. You're a nice man. My life is richer for the time that we have spent together. Thank you for starting a war and thank you for coming back.”
“Thank you.” Monitor Man says, admiring his gift. “I may need you to consult.”
“I would be happy to help.” She says, smiling briefly. Writer Lady turns to go hoping to find some peace and a little sleep. Turning back around she says, “I'm sorry that I um...you know...in the dark.”
Monitor Man smiles remembering their private moment in the kitchen. “It's okay.” He says.
Writer Lady smiles and starts to leave the room. She stops and asks, “Has anyone seen the boys?”
“I did. A few minutes ago.” Carp says.
“We all did. Why?” Mural Man asks.
“Things have gotten really quiet. Too quiet.”
Dylan looks at Ray, “How can it be too quiet with all of these people here?” He asks.
“She doesn't mean, quiet quiet.” Tinkletoes says.
“She means kitten quiet.” Monitor Man says, finishing the definition.
Writer Lady nods, “No crumpled paper being mauled, no headboard banging against the bedroom wall...”
“No thumping of padded feet.” Monitor Man says.
Tinkletoes looks around, “Dobby's AWOL too.”
“They're doing stuff.” Dylan announces. He looks at Ray and says, “I get really quiet when I'm doing stuff I'm not supposed to.”
Writer Lady looks at Tinkletoes.
“You have a long list of stuff that they aren't supposed to do.” Tinkletoes says.
“We'd better start looking.” She says.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
“O-kay…” Writer Lady says.
“I couldn't stop thinking about what happened. The Ninja Zombie War. It's a good story. I would like to produce it. I wrote down everything that I can remember about that day and have been trying to complete a script but something is missing. What I have isn't enough.”
Tinkletoes looks at Monitor Man.
Monitor Man continues, “Last week I realized there are blanks that I can’t fill in. A key element seems to be missing...You.” He says looking at Writer Lady. “I was writing this like it was my story. I have since realized that it wasn’t just my story. It was our story.” Finishing he smiles at Writer Lady.
The room grows silent. Writer Lady contemplates what she is hearing as she looks into the distance. Diomedes coughs, nudging her. “What?” Writer Lady asks looking at the dragon and then at Monitor Man.
“I said that I realized that the problem with my story was that you were missing from it. It needs more of your narrative. The Ninja Zombie War was an adventure that could not have taken place without you. It was our adventure and to tell the story accurately I need to hear it from your point of view.”
“My version isn’t all that different than yours.”
“I think it is.”
“No, you’re wrong.” Tinkletoes says looking at Writer Lady. “He’s right.” The self-proclaimed mercenary continues, looking at Monitor Man. “You were the middle of the story.”
“Great. That's what I need to hear about.” Monitor Man says. “The before and the after.”
“No.” Writer Lady says. She looks at Tinkletoes. “I can't believe that you're siding with him. You're supposed to be enemies.”
“Yeah, well...we're running mates and running mates stick together. 'Sides, he's the Halo guy.” Tinkletoes answers.
Writer Lady rolls her eyes.
Monitor Man studies her expression. “I’ve seen this before.” He says. “Were there feelings?” He asks.
“Yes.” Carp volunteers.
“No!” Writer Lady exclaims.
“Don't listen to her.” Carp says looking at Monitor man. “I know that there were because I encouraged them. You can thank me later.”
Monitor Man looks at Writer Lady.
“There might have been a feeling or two.” She admits. “There was a war. War is hell.”
Monitor Man smiles.
Writer Lady looks at him suspiciously.
“Now I know.” He says.
“Now you know. Now you know why I'm not sharing my point of view with you. You have my permission to tell any story you want to. Take your project and go, have fun, and leave me out of it.” Writer Lady says. Unceremoniously sitting her favorite mug on the floor. She stands up.
“Where are you going?” Tinkletoes demands.
“Back to bed.”
“This meeting isn’t over soldier.” He says sternly.
Writer Lady turns and glares at the self-proclaimed mercenary, daring him to say another word.
“Okay. I’ve got it from here.” He says. “Dismissed.”
“You're damn right I'm dismissed.” Writer Lady mutters as she leaves the room.
Minutes later, Writer Lady is doing the “Why Can't I Find A Comfortable Position?” roll in bed. She lays on one side, rolls onto her back then tries the other side to no avail, she's wide awake. There's a gentle knock on the bedroom door. “I have nothing more to say about it Halo man.” She calls out.
“That's not why I'm here.” Monitor Man whispers as he enters the room.
“You came to my room for something else?” Writer Lady asks.
“Something else.” He responds.
“Since you're already in my room I guess it doesn't hurt to hear what you have to say.”
“Good.” Monitor Man says as he sits down on the edge of her bed. “About the whole Ninja Zombie War thing...”
“You lied?” Writer Lady asks.
Monitor Man holds up two fingers slightly spread apart indicating “a little bit.” “I just wanted to tell you that I found someone else to give me their interpretation of the events that took place during the Ninja Zombie War.”
Writer Lady waits for the punch line.
“Carp? You're using Carp as a source of information?”
“He was inside your head for part of the war.” Monitor Man points out.
“Not because I wanted him there.”
“He was there.”
“So were Dobby and Tinkletoes. They weren't in my head. They saw action. How about Bob? Have you thought of asking Bob?” Writer Lady asks.
“Bob is dead.” Monitor Man reminds her. “Our worst fatality. Remember? The Ninja Zombies started eating his brains before he lost consciousness?”
“That was Bob? Well crap.”
“Carp is my second best option. Unless, you would care to...share?”
“I would not care to share.”
“Then Carp it is.”
“Scrapped this project is.” Writer Lady says. “You are not going to get anything useful out of Carp except some epic poetry about your glistening pecs and stunning hair. Oh and heavy breathing. You might get some heavy breathing.”
Monitor Man leans in and kisses her. “Sometimes heavy breathing is good.”
Writer Lady looks at him suspiciously.
“You're not sharing is not a problem.” He says. “I have Carp and a good interpreter. Everything is going work out just fine. You get some sleep and I'll see you tomorrow.”
“There's more to this.” Writer Lady says, looking at Monitor Man and studying him. “Who's your interpreter?”
“It doesn't matter. He's going to cut through all of Carp's pectoral adulations and give me the information I'm looking for.”
“He must be a really smart guy.”
“He...” Monitor Man coughs. “is very good at getting to the truth.”
“No way man.” Ray says looking at Carp. “I'm not saying that to another dude.”
“It's important to the story.” Carp says.
Dylan looks at Carp and then looks at Ray and shakes his head.
“Even the lil' guy doesn't think it's right.” Ray counters, pausing to eat a cheese puff.
“I was inside her head. I know what she was thinking.”
Ray looks at Dylan offering him a cheese puff. Dylan shakes his head,sticks his hand into the bag, retrieves a handful of cheese puffs, and shoves them into his mouth.
Carp says, “I may have added a little color to her language but the thoughts were still hers.”
Ray looks at Carp suspiciously.
“You like Writer Lady don't you?” Carp asks.
“Yeah. She's nice. She doesn't complain about my cheese puffs and makes some mean cupcakes too.”
“You want her to be happy, don't you?”
“Ye-ah.” Ray agrees.
“Then you have to say it.”
“I'm not saying that to another dude.” Ray looks at Dylan. “Carp wants me to tell Monitor Man that he has pretty hair.”
Dylan shakes his head.
“How about telling Monitor Man that the sight of his strong pectoral muscles flexing as he worked to free himself of his restraints made her weak with...” Carp stops when he realizes that he's talking to a child, “...made her feel woozy.”
Dylan shakes his head. The tow headed boy looks at Ray and says, “I hope you have another bag of cheese puffs. This is gonna take a while.”
Saturday, June 11, 2016
“I want you to stalk me.” He said.
“You want what?” I ask.
“I want you to stalk me.” Chris announces with that devastatingly sexy voice of his.
I sat there, staring, eyes wide, mouth agape, hair on the verge of standing on end. This is a test. I tell myself. Don't fall for it. You're cured, remember?
“Melody...Mellie, I want you to stalk me. Please?”
I close my eyes, letting my head fall forward and wonder about the feasibility of taking a nap on the floor until everyone else goes away. What is wrong with these people? Has everyone gone nuts? I look up, manage a brief smile, and say, “I have never heard of anything like this ever happening before.” I speak slowly to keep myself from getting too emotional, “I'm flattered that you miss me but as I told the police and your um...security guards earlier I'm clean. I have not stalked you for years. I have done my time, paid my court fees, emptied my life of your pictures and memorabilia. I don't have a smart phone or Internet access of my own. I spend as little time as humanly possible in your neighborhood. I am out of that crap.
“No stalking?” He asks.
“No driving by my house?”
“No sending cases of condoms to my house C.O.D.?”
“Who does that?” I ask.
“That wasn't you?” Chris asks.
I look at him without saying a word.
“No tipping off the paparazzi?”
“Yes. I quit that years ago.”
“I knew that was you.” He says smiling.
Why is he smiling? “Yeah, well, those court fees weren't going to pay themselves.”
“So if I have someone look into where you go and what you do I won't find anything that points back to me?”
“Because Max has been doing some investigating of his own...”
Max hands Chris a file. Chris opens it. A file with a single sheet of paper. From what I can see it only lists the basics: name, address, phone number, and email address.
“That's everything for the last three years.” Max confirms.
“Okay.” Chris continues. “Let's say that you are out of that crap. A little birdie told me that you lost your job last night. This is a job and it pays.”
I shake my head.
“I need a stalker. I need one that knows me, the details of my life, my behavior patterns.”
“You're a popular guy. I would be happy to email your office with a list of potential employees.” I offer.
“This is a delicate situation and a dangerous one. I want the best. I want you.”
I close my eyes at those final words. How many nights did I dream of hearing those very words? That was then and this is now.
Chris leans in close and whispers. “You could be the woman who saves my life. Do you really want to pass this opportunity up?”
My heart does a somersault. He's so close. Why does he have to lean in so close? This is a test! Don't fall for it. Say “no”, walk out, and don't look back. “I'm sorry but as I said a few moments ago, I am done. I haven't had anything to do with that crap for years. I don't even follow you on Twitter.
“You're not a follower? You were the one person that I always counted on to be there. I'm hurt.”
“Once again.” I answer. “I'm sorry to disappoint you. I am on my way to group after this. I'll ask around and see who else might be interested.”
“But I like you.” Chris says. “I feel safe with you.”
“You feel safe with me? I was your stal-ker.” I look at Hire-A-Cop. “Is he in therapy? Because if he isn't, you might want think about making a call.”
“Don't look at Max for help.” He says leaning in again. “He agrees with me.”
I close my eyes and search for that willfulness my teachers always complained about when I was in grade school, I find something that feels like it and opening my eyes I ask, “Are you filing a complaint against me?” I look around the room, stopping at the police officer who has since returned from his twenty-five minute bathroom break. “Are you pressing charges?” I ask.
“For what?” The officer responds. “I just helped this guy because he promised to call my wife on her birthday if I did.”
“So I'm free to go.” I say.
“Of course.” The officer confirms.
Chris turns and looks at the officer.
“What? I can't afford to lose my job over this.”
“Have you considered private security?” Chris asks.
“Like that guy?” The officer asks gesturing to Hire-A-Cop, sorry, Max.
Max nods, “I used to be a cop. Private security was the best move I ever made.”
The officer turns back to me. “Stay. Listen to the guy for a bit. You don't want us to have to put out a warrant, do you?”
“Too late. You already said that I was free to go. Free.” I repeat looking at Max. “To go.” I say to Chris, standing up I turn to walk out the door.
“You still need a job. You were a rotten cat burglar.”
I turn back around. “What did you just say?”
“You were a rotten cat burglar.”
“And your point?”
“You don't have a job. Most of your skills aren't marketable. You need me and you need this job.”
“Which skills would this job of yours help me to acquire?”
“Detection, monitoring criminals, some profiling basics...” Max answers.
“In other words—stalking.” I say.
“This is legal. You would learn to be a protection officer.” Max corrects.
“They won't let me do that professionally. I have a criminal record.”
“Not at the moment.” Chris says. “The criminal record restriction can be changed. In the meantime, if you work for a private party and they decide not to run a criminal background check that's up to them, isn't it?”
I look at him and don't say a word.
“I really need your help. Just think about it.” He says handing me a note with his private number written on it before he leaves the room.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
“The line has been discontinued, if the mug gets broken it can't be replaced.” Writer Lady argues.
TP disappears, reappearing next to Writer Lady. “It's a four dollar mug. It's not the Holy Grail.” The faerie says giggling.
“You should hear what she says to it when she thinks she's alone in the kitchen.” Tinkletoes says.
“It's a cup.” The faerie says.
“It's precious to her.” Dylan says, “My cup. My cup!” The tow headed boy coughs.
“We need to get back to what's important.” Tinkletoes says. “Making War and Presidential me making it.”
“Presidents don't go to war, Silly Human.” TP says.
“Yes, they do.” Tinkletoes argues.
“Historically,” Paige counters, rising from her spot next to her brothers, “they don't.”
“They do now.” Tinkletoes says grinning. “I have guns, knives, ammo, semi-automatics, crates full of grenades. When I'm President of the United States I am going to make all the war I want.”
Paige shakes her head. “It's against the rules.” She says.
“I'll change the stupid rules. That's what being President is all about, changing the country around to suit you.”
Paige continues shaking her head. “If you want to be President then you can't keep playing with grenades.” She says.
“No grenades?” The color slowly drains from Tinkletoes' face. “At all?”
She shakes her head.
“Not even on holidays or special occasions?”
More head shaking.
“What about when nobody's lookin'?” He asks.
More head shaking.
“What about President's Day?”
Paige confirms that he cannot do those things even on President's Day.
“When it's President's Day and I'm President?” Tinkletoes counters. “What fun is there in being President if I can't go make war with my grenades?”
“Sir?” Peter says. “Dylan and I have been learning about some of the things that the President of the United States can do because we want to help when you're elected.”
Tinkletoes nods at Peter and looks at Dylan. Paige sits back down as Peter urges his little brother to stand up. Once Dylan has stood up the room grows quiet and stays quiet.
“What's so great about being President if I can't use my grenades?” Tinkletoes asks.
“You can pardon people.” He says.
Tinkletoes makes a face. “Show me.” He says.
Ray and TP demonstrate. Ray begins walking across the room and TP flies into him.
“Pardon me.” TP says giggling.
“Pardon me.” Ray says.
“It was my fault Mr. President. Pardon me.” TP says.
“It's okay. You're free to go man.” Ray says.
“Thank you.” TP says.
TP and Ray return to their seats.
Tinkletoes shakes his head. “That's not better than grenades. What else can the President do?”
“He makes appointments.” Dylan says.
“That's what mothers are for. Next.”
“It's not that kind of appointment.” Monitor Man says.
“The President has the power to fill key positions within the Federal government including his Cabinet.” Paige explains.
“Huh?” Tinkletoes asks.
“You get to decide who works where.”
“That sounds more like it. Let's fire Congress first.” He says.
“You can't. They are elected the same as you are.” Monitor Man explains.
“I'll pick out their supervisor. TP you can be a real hard ass.”
“I can.” The faerie responds.
“He can.” Dylan pipes in.
“Our last Halo tournament was brutal.” Tinkletoes says looking at Monitor Man.
Writer Lady shakes her head and quietly sips her coffee.
“It was.” Carp adds. “Limited rations, water was the only beverage, scheduled bathroom breaks.”
“I had the stomach flu.” Ray says.
“You toughed it out.” Dylan says. “Cause 'War is Hell'.”
“War is Hell.” Ray says. “Duuuude.” He reaches over Peter's head to high five Dylan.
“I was a character in one of the Halo games.” Monitor Man says.
Everyone looks at Monitor Man, studying him.
“I remember you!” Dylan says. “I love being you!”
Monitor Man smiles.
Tinkletoes looks at Monitor Man, then at Dylan, then back at Monitor Man. “You're that guy.” He says. “Good Soldier. Good Man.”
“I remember that contest.” Diomedes says looking at Writer Lady. “Most riveting. Bugsy and I are now learning how to participate. The ways that you humans fight is completely different than the ways of magical beings...”
Tinkletoes clears his throat.
“Most riveting.” Diomedes says finishing his thought.
“I still don't know if being President is going to be more fun than my grenades.”
“You'll be in charge of the armed forces.” House's voice sings.
“All of 'em?” Tinkletoes asks.
“All of them.” She responds.
“You could play with their grenades instead of yours.” Dylan says.
Tinkletoes stands in front of the group not speaking, the wheels in his head turning, a twinkle appearing in his eyes. He looks at Monitor Man and says. “We could play a game of Halo. A real one.” Tinkletoes looks at Monitor Man, “Not a real, real one. Not all of the technology exists yet. It will when I get done.”
“How is this important?” Writer Lady asks.
“I can prove to the American people that I can keep them safe and kill all the aliens.” Tinkletoes announces proudly.
“Context...remember what we talked about.” Monitor Man whispers.
Tinkletoes clears his throat. “I can prove to the American people that I can keep them safe and kill all the Space Aliens.”
TP snaps his fingers, the television disappears, and a large dry-erase board appears behind Tinkletoes.
“Space Aliens are at the top of my list of concerns when it comes to the current state of this country.” Ray says looking at Dylan.
The little boy nods in agreement.
“That and the pending re-collapse of our economy. It's totally coming.”
Tinkletoes overhears and looks at Ray. “Ray. Destruction of all space aliens.” He says.
“You're right. We should stay with the important stuff.” He agrees.
A couple of coughs are heard coming from the direction of the couch.
“Speaking of important subjects...” Writer Lady says. “...Monitor Man has something to say.”
“I did bribe you with coffee so you would get up didn't I?” He says smiling.
“You kind of did.” Writer Lady smiles back.
Tinkletoes looks around the room, fidgeting, and waiting his turn. He pulls the cap off of the marker, puts it back on, pulls it off the of the marker...
“Grown-ups...” Dylan says.
“...can be so boring.” Ray says, finishing the sentence
“I did come all of this way to talk to you about a war. The Ninja Zombie War.”
Saturday, May 14, 2016
“The eyeball made this disgusting sound. It might have slid up and down my heel as I walked.”
“Feelings? We were talking about feelings?” Monitor Man prompts.
'That eyeball squished every time I took a step. Did you know that?” She asks looking back at him.
“Go ahead...” He says huskily. “...talk about your feelings.”
Writer Lady looks at Monitor Man. “Remember that you wanted me to do this. You asked me to talk about my feelings.”
Monitor Man nods in agreement.
“Do you remember when you were a kid? Imagine that you're a kid and your brother tells you that you're going to get a new bike for Christmas. He tells you over and over that he has seen signs that it's going to happen. Your Christmas dream is going to come true. You know that you haven't been the best behaved lately. You have been doing your chores carelessly and slacking on the quality of your homework. You tell yourself, 'No way. It's never going to happen. I'm not getting a new bike for Christmas.' Your brother persists. He heard Mom and Dad talking about what Santa is bringing. You want to believe that he is talking about it so much because there is something to it. You want to believe that he's right. You hear it so much that eventually you start to believe that you're getting that new bike for Christmas too. You can't wait for Christmas morning, you're so excited. Christmas morning comes. You jump out of bed and run downstairs you look everywhere...no bike. That's how I felt."
Things are quiet for a moment.
“I'm as exciting as a new bike?” Monitor Man asks.
Writer Lady continues, “It's just one of those things, you tell yourself not to believe it. You close yourself off to the idea completely or you think that you are being unrealistic and then it doesn't happen. Even though you insisted to yourself that it wasn't going to happen a part of you is still disappointed. A little bit sad.
“So those were your feelings?” Monitor Man asks.
Writer Lady nods. “Disappointed and a little bit sad. Irritated with myself.”
Monitor Man looks at Writer Lady.
She continues without looking at him. “That I'm not one of those women...one that would have jumped on the opportunity and kissed you anyway whether you had a girlfriend or not.” She finishes, studying the blanket, folding it and unfolding a section of the blanket's edge between her fingers.
Monitor Man reaches out gently guiding her face to look at him. “I'm glad that you aren't one of those women and it's nice to be someone's new bike.”
Writer Lady starts to smile and covers her mouth with her hand. Uncovering her mouth she says, “It wasn't the best analogy.”
“I'm proud to be a new bike.”
Writer Lady starts looking around. “Are we done here?”
“Feelings are something that you don't like to talk about.” He teases.
“Feelings are something that you don't like to talk about.” He teases.
“Feeling words can be powerful. They can have a lot of weight. Since we're sharing,” Writer Lady says changing the subject, “why did you come here? You have been gone all of this time. What compelled you to choose to come here now?”
“To see you.” Monitor Man says, a smile crosses his lips. “About a war.”
“Did someone say 'war'?” Tinkletoes asks. The self-proclaimed mercenary's head is peeking through the door.
“How do you know what Monitor Man said? Didn't you go home?” Writer Lady asks.
“Yeah. I put a microphone in here. That way I know when things are getting interesting and it's a good time to come over.”
“A microphone?” Writer Lady asks. She starts looking around the room.
“Get up. Come into the living room and let's talk about war. Ray's making coffee.” Tinkletoes says.
Monitor Man looks at Writer Lady.
“Ray is making coffee? Do you think that's a good idea?” Writer Lady asks Tinkletoes.
“TP's helping him.”
Writer Lady looks at Monitor Man.
“What? I said that there was gonna be coffee.” Tinkletoes says. “Come on...war is the fun part.” Tinkletoes' head disappears and the door closes again.
Writer Lady groans, she leans on Monitor Man's shoulder, and closes her eyes.
“I do have a great idea.” Monitor Man says. “Let's go get some coffee and I'll tell you all about it.” He whispers.
Writer Lady doesn't respond.
Monitor Man gently nudges her with his shoulder. “Come on.” He says.
“If you get up and go into the living room I'll bring you coffee.”
“With sugar? And half and half?”
“Yes.” He says smiling.
Monitor Man smiles and gets out of bed.
Writer Lady grudgingly stands up too. “I want to borrow that shoulder again before you go.” She says.
He grins without answering and leaves the room.
“I'm not kidding!” Writer Lady calls after him.
Tinkletoes stands at the front of the room waiting...battle is coming and he is firing on all cylinders. The consummate fighter. Focused, alert, ready for action. Tinkletoes isn't only great, he sets the standard for soldiers everywhere both on the planet and throughout the universe.
“TP would you stop it with the narrative already.” Writer Lady says from her spot on the couch, Diomedes is flanking her on one side and Furnatche is curled up at her feet. The room is full. Tinkletoes made sure he woke up everyone.
Tinkletoes looks at TP and nods. The faerie comes in close for a high five. The self-proclaimed mercenary's thumb and TP's hand meet.
“You're using that for the commercial aren't you?” Writer Lady asks.
“It's for the commercial.” He confirms.
“Do you have a slogan?” Diomedes asks.
“Vote Tinkletoes. He Won't Spend All Of Your Money On Clothes.” TP says giggling.
Everyone in the room looks at each other. They give it a “thumbs down.”
“How about something shorter.” Dylan suggests.
“Vote Tinkletoes. He Won't Tickle Your Nose.”
“It should be something that you want people to remember about you or your campaign.” Paige calls.
“Vote Tinkletoes. I Never Pick My Nose.”
“It's true and it rhymes.” Peter says in an effort to be supportive.
“He never picks.” Dylan agrees, shaking his head.
Tinkletoes looks at the crowd, smiles for a moment and says, “I'll Kill All The Aliens.”
“I thought that we agreed that statement left too much open to interpretation.” Monitor Man says as he steps around people, over Dobby and avoids a frontal assault from the kittens to his bare feet to deliver a cup of coffee to Writer Lady.
“Yeah.” Tinkletoes agrees, losing his smile.
Writer Lady smiles at Monitor Man and accepts the mug. “Thank you. This is my favorite mug too. How did you know?” She asks.
“When I reached for it Ray screamed like he'd been stabbed with a hot poker.”
“Post Traumatic Stress.” Tinkletoes says. “She really loves that mug.”