Saturday, December 18, 2010

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart part one

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Five

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart

part one





(The following story is based on the secret testimony of the miserable souls who survived this mortifying ordeal.)





It was orientation day, and several dozen freshman students milled around in the grassy central courtyard of Scotia County Community College. Yours truly was there of course, enjoying my first day of college. It was a new beginning for me, the beginning of an era of independence and self determination. Save for the fact I was still living with my Mom and my Dad was paying for almost everything


I was chatting up a pair of girls, they were cute, bubbly and clever, but not too clever after all this was a community college. I figured I was in like Flynn.


Then Kevin K. Hanson and his entourage strolled into the courtyard; they were like the droogs from 'A Clockwork Orange' except instead of bowler derbies they wore baseball caps with filthy sayings on them.


When I saw them I remember thinking Please God don't let them recognize me.


Then he shouted, “Hey! It's Albert Louis Bruno III!”


The Lord and I have always had that kind of a relationship


Kevin and his two friends swaggered towards us in a classic pincer movement. There was nowhere to run. Kevin's two friends were Marvin and Corey. Marvin was kind of a biker, he had the leather wear, the tattoos and the attitude; all he lacked was the money to buy an actual motorcycle. Corey was an accomplished mechanic and all around nice guy but whenever he got around pretty girls his voice tended to go up an octave.


“Albert, are you attending classes here too?” Kevin clapped me on the back.


“For a start yeah,” I said. “I want to get my feet wet before trying my hand at an out of state school.”


“Yeah, feet wet,” Marvin chortled then turned his attention to the girls. “Speaking of getting wet, I don't believe you've introduced me to your lovely friends.”


“Come on Marv,” Corey squeaked, “be nice.”


Kevin dug his pinky deep into his ear swirled it and pulled it free with a tiny pop. He looked thoughtfully at what he had found before flicking it into the crowd, “So what are your majors? I'm here for computer science.”


One of the girls gave him a quizzical look, “I didn't think this school had a computer science division.”


“It doesn't but all the other schools bounced me so I figure I can get my grades back up here and then reapply.”


“Man you're hot,” Marvin said to the other girl. “I'd like to feed you a Snickers bar and eat the peanuts out of your shit.”


And with that both girls made their excuses and fled from us as quickly as they could. I had to admit I was amazed, that was actually a line worse than the ones I had used on Athena. I watched them disappear into the throng of students, “Thanks a lot guys.”


“Plenty more where they came from,” Marvin said.


“They were cute though.” Corey’s voice was returning to normal.


“Besides Albert this is college,” Kevin was now going to work on his other ear, “it's a buyers market. Everyone gets laid in college.”


That might be true but I was very afraid I might be the exception that proved the rule.



*



I am sure what you just read leaves you with many questions such as- “What is the deal with these guys?”


“And I thought you didn't like Kevin K. Hanson?”


“And in what mad soulless world would that Snickers line ever work?”


At the very least I can answer those first two questions for you.


Since high school I have had a love/hate relationship with Kevin K. Hanson. I mean he was a nice guy and all but he was just so goofy. I mean I'm a pretty weird guy myself but my oddness is offset by my strange sense of dignity and my irony. Kevin was just Kevin, he was like a wild Id. If he needed to scratch it he scratched it, if he wanted to say it he said it, and he didn't have a single shred of personal dignity.


Now I admit to hanging around him, in those days I thought a friend that was a pain in the neck was better than no friends at all. I didn’t find Marvin that irritating, so long as there was nothing remotely female within 20 yards of him. He used the exact same kinds of come on lines my brother used. I had already learned that vulgarity in the pursuit of intimacy only worked if you looked like Antonio Bandaras. Sadly Marvin looked like Cheech Martin.


Of course if you’ve been reading along you know that Corey and I have been friends since high school but recently he’d started to become more and more withdrawn. He’d show up to hang out with you and then spend the entire time frowning and lost in his own thoughts.


Every time I went out in public with these guys I spent most of the time cringing at their antics. Were they really the fools though? After all I was the one spending a lot of free time with guys I wouldn’t admit I knew in polite company. So why did I bother? Did I like their company more than I realized or was cringing and making smug comments easier for me than actually going out and trying to get new friends?


So as you imagine I wasn’t sure what to do next. Should I avoid them? Change schools? Kill them and harvest their organs for bizarre experiments? I didn’t know. All I was sure of was that none of us were going to break down and talk about our feelings.


We were men of the 1980’s after all.







Click Here To Continue

Friday, December 17, 2010

Horrifying Costume Test Footage From Tim Burton's Superman Film That Never Was

Thanks to io9 for the heads up... and for this wonderful quote

Did Tim Burton actually tell these guys they were working on a Superman movie? Has Tim Burton actually seen Superman before? Are we sure? 

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty Two

Rescuing the starlet was just like Amazing Ed imagined, except that instead of “My hero!” She cried “Ew! This nerd is touching me!”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty One

After losing his treasure in the Valley of the Wolf Men Abner Deggent was barking mad.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty

Bob started carrying a change of underwear in his valise, upgrading it to a brief case.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Nine

Just because her store sold used shrimp he didn't think of it as a some kind of a Prawn Shop.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Eight

Now everyone knew who was naughty or nice. Santa shook his mittened fist in the air, “Damn you Wikileaks! DAMN YOUUUU!”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Seven

When her vampire lover watched her sleep she found it romantic. When he spied on her using the toilet? Not so much.

The Adventures Of Superhero Girl Brings The FOOM!

And now the trailer for PAUL!

(Recommended Reads) "Musketeers" by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith

Jonno’s leaving do was declared a resounding success. Lots of tequila, a £50 fruit machine win which bought more tequila, a minor scuffle with some townies, and even a slap from a stripper – administered to Jonno himself no less, which was the icing on the cake. The rest of the lads piled into taxis and Jonno, Richard and I set off for my flat. I had some cans of beer stashed away there which would help take us down gently from the tequila buzz. After all, Jonno had to be at his folks’ in a couple of hours for his farewell breakfast, so we had to sober him up a bit...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "The Two Worlds of Franky Benítez" by Julio Ricardo Varela

Imagine Franky Benítez hiding on a subway platform in Boston and humming the song his father improvised twenty years ago outside a cinema in Santurce.

We love you, Franky.
Oh yes we do.
We love you, Franky.
We love you true.
When you’re not with me,
We’re blue.
Oh, Franky, we love you.

And as he hums, Franky Benítez enters a green trolley that cradles him back to his days of final comfort: August, 1976, the rear of a station wagon, sucking on a bottle of chocolate milk.

His abuelo drives. His mother smokes. A week had passed since the judge formally decreed his parents’ divorce, and now here was Franky Benítez, his mother and his baby sister, three passengers checking into Eastern Airlines Flight 17 nonstop to El Bronx, Nueva York...

click here to read the rest

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Six

No one suspected Namor's affair with one of the girls from the Scooby gang until their discovery of their daughter Aqua-Velma.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Five

When you worship the messiah of the blood gods it is almost inevitable that you will take your Lord's name in vein.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Four

Far worse than being captured and anal probed by aliens was being captured by aliens and forced to clean their used anal probes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CORPSE WARS: Attack Of The Crones episode seven

Corpse Wars by Jorge Prieto



CORPSE WARS

Attack of the Crones

episode seven

by

Al Bruno III



...bullets rattled against the Hummer. Harry gunned the engine, the vehicle leapt forward. Old ladies and soldiers alike scrambled for safety. The Hummer screeched out of the motor pool, tore through the spaces between the buildings and careened around corners. They crashed through the gallows, splintering wood and sending at least three penitent workers flying over the wall. Gunfire erupted from all sides. Alec, Ken and Mark tried to duck down but Tony was curled into a ball across their laps.


Mark yelled, “Just use the rocket! Get us out of here!”


“Ah-ah-ah.” Pete shook his head and kept his head down.


“What are you talking about?”


“I’m all out of hope!” Ken shouted, “One more bad dream could bring a fall!”


Harry shouted, “Firing a LAW rocket is not like playing Nintendo boy! If he misses we’ve lost our one try, and if he fires it while we’re driving it might send the shot wide or knock the back blast right into us!”


The Humvee sped around another turn; they were heading back towards the ruined gallows. Tony looked up, “We just went in a circle! Do you know what you’re doing? Was this trip really necessary?”


“Somebody shut him up.” Harry made another turn and now they were heading back towards the motor pool. The soldiers were helping Miss Blackwood and the other blue hairs back up. They had to dive for cover again but one of the crones was too slow and she bounced over the hood of the vehicle with a sickening crunch.


Mark winced. A pair of yellowed false teeth flew through the shattered passenger side window and landed on Tony. Everyone in the back of the Humvee screamed at once.


The moment they were back in the motor pool Harry hit the brakes but left the vehicle’s engine running.


Harry and Pete dove out of the Hummer and slammed the motor pool’s garage door and other entrances closed before any of their dazed pursuers could react. The two men started trying to barricade the room with anything they could find. “You guys better get out here and help!” Harry shouted.


They all scrambled out, grabbing hold of desks, cabinets and heavy machinery. Tony brought over a wooden stool and an auto parts manual. Alec gave him a glare but Tony just shrugged, “I said I have a bad back.”


“Lord love a duck.” Alec said.


Mark asked, “What about the back door?”


Pete gave him a confused glance, “Hm?”


“There is no back door.” Harry said, they could already hear, pounding, gunshots and angry voices. “Just steel and concrete.”


The garage door began to shudder with the impact of their attackers’ fists and impromptu battering rams. “What happens when they get in here?” Mark asked.


Alec shook his head, “I’d rather not think about that if it is all the same thank you very much.”


“Sheesh.” Pete said.


“Well…” Harry said, “…there is always the option of not being taken alive.”


“We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks!” Ken turned his attention back to the Humvee.


Mark shook his head with disbelief, “Are you saying we should kill ourselves?”


Harry shrugged, “It’s an option.”


“This is our escape plan?” Tony dropped the roll of paper towels he was carrying to barricade the door, “Drive around in circles and then shoot ourselves?”


“Well, that would be an escape wouldn’t it?” Alec said, “In a permanent sense of the word.”


Harry shouted, “What the Hell do you want me to say? It’s not my fault!”


“We’re doomed!” Tony was stumbling in circles like he might faint, no one made a move to catch him, “Doomed!”


There was a deafening explosion. Shards of brick and steel pelted them. Smoke filled the air. Blinking and coughing Mark looked up expecting to see his executioners standing before him, but the barricades were still holding. Groggily he turned to see Ken holding the smoldering LAW rocket and the back wall of the motor pool blasted open. Through the haze he could see the abandoned streets and zombies, some blown to pieces and others just staring emptily at them.


Pete nodded approvingly, “Ha!”


“Genius!” Harry laughed, “Pure genius.”


“Yes I am the warrior!” Ken dropped the spent LAW and pumped his fist, “Victory is mine.”


The surviving zombies were already starting to close in. “Back inside!” Alec clambered into the passenger seat, the rest crammed into the back. Harry got behind the wheel and hit the gas.


As the Humvee sped out into the night Mark glanced back at the zombies wandering in through the hole in the wall. He didn’t want to think about what would happen when Miss Blackwood’s enraged followers forced their way into the motor pool. Would they be able to contain the invasion or would they be overrun?


The thought he was abandoning his parents made him feel a little sick. Without them he wouldn’t have ever been born, he wouldn’t have clothes on his back and he would never have seen his first Star Wars movie.


They might have seen the movies, Mark thought as he hugged his duffel bag close, but they never learned from them did they?


They had never learned that fear led to anger and anger led to hate and hate led to suffering. He could only hope that what he and his friends were doing now would lead to something better, that they might make a heroic stand against a world gone mad.


Or at the very least that they might find another codpiece for his stormtrooper outfit.




The End


(Insane News) Possibly the greatest advertisement this week.

 

KARACHI, Pakistan, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A Pakistani advertising campaign for the Butterfly brand of sanitary pads is drawing attention with its topical humor slogan: "WikiLeaks. Butterfly doesn't."...

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Link va FARK

The Tale Of The Hitman And The Grocery Store

Back in NY there was a hit man named Arthur that lived in an apartment above a grocery store. One time he strangled 3 mobsters he really hated for only a buck. It was such a big deal they put a sign in the grocery store window- ARTIE CHOKES THREE FOR A DOLLAR....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

i09 Brings us 4 clips from THE DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!!

Yes I am in my forties and yes I am Squeeeing...

 

Thanks to i09

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter ninety four

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis


Chapter Ninety Four


By AL BRUNO III




Saturday, December 4th 1996





My brother is dead. The thought tolled through her mind like the clang of a broken bell. My brother is dead.


Isobel was standing outside the Great House staring into the open doorway. The sound of the helicopter and the thick growl of Sig’s voice almost drowned out the sound of chanting coming from inside.


My brother is dead.


“Isobel?” Sig had given up trying to tell his story to her. His hunched bestial form moved into her field of vision, “You don’t want to look. You don’t have to see what’s coming.”


“What’s she doing in there?” Isobel shivered but not from the cold. She had forgotten about the cold long ago.


The vlodek explained, his voice had an edge of uncertainty to it, “Calling up one of the Dread Lords. I know the ceremony, by reputation. They need flesh to occupy. Without it they’re too frail.”


My brother is dead. She thought again. My brother is dead because of me. He suffered because of me.


But he had never held her responsible, even though it was her affair that had ruined her life and ended his. Somehow in the midst of all this they had become closer than they had ever been in childhood, when she had been so very bossy and disdainful and he had grown fatter and sadder by the year.


“I cannot be part of what’s coming,” Sig said, “the Monarchs know me. I’m marked.”


The voice echoing from the doorway of the Great House had begun to sing in a language that sounded Oriental to Isobel’s straining ears. It took a few seconds for her to realize what he had said, “Marked?”


“I sinned against their Chosen One. Crippled him. Perhaps forever. They would sense me if I got too close.”


The song had become a caterwauling nonsense, the voice singing it was no longer recognizable to Isobel, it was no human sound. For some reason it made her think of the smokey wave that had torn them from the Spaces Between. Why had it singled her out? Was it marking her as Sig had been marked?


Did it even matter?


My brother is dead. Hasn’t that already marked me? Haven’t I sinned against him?


“I can take you away from here,” Sig said, “you don’t have to be a part of this. Not if you don’t want to. If you make yourself a part of Hao’s revenge or Magwier’s war it will destroy you.”


The thought of running was tempting but she couldn’t. Galen had saved her from Sauno and Ginmett and even if she hadn’t loved him, even if he was a traitor to his own kind and even if he was a creature far removed from humanity she would have felt bound to return the favor.


“I’m...” the words caught in her throat as she saw a shape walking through the doorway, a shape familiar yet utterly alien to her.


A single gunshot and a screeching mechanical crash filled the air but no one at the Great House noticed.


I’m already destroyed. Was what she had been about to say. Because my brother is dead.



Click Here To Continue


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Three

Lester lived in a future where organ transplants were earned via a variant of WHEEL OF FORTUNE. He said, “I'd like to buy a bowel.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty Two

Jan was proud to have become a policewoman but then her older sister outdid her. She cried out, “Marshall! Marshall! Marshall!”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty One

She missed dial up modems and BBSes, she preferred getting into a pointless arguments with people from her area code.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twenty

The church team agreed to play the Gay Mens Soccer League just as long as no balls were touched.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Nineteen

She had a thing for garbage men. Maybe it was their hats, maybe it was their uniforms, or maybe it was just their flies.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Eighteen

The only reason the maestro of the River City orchestra survived the Electric Assassin's attack was that he was a poor conductor.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Seventeen

Amazing Ed tried to open a can of whoopass but somehow locked himself in the pantry.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixteen

Most evil-doers found the Electric Assassin's rates exorbitant but sometimes there was no charge.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifteen

Lola was an exotic dancer that wore nothing but gleaming latex, so she got used to people calling in search of a paint stripper.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fourteen

Love of small birds and beer led to him being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Pabst, Christmas Pheasants and Christmas Fuchsia.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirteen

The intervention for his sex addiction never really got started because he wouldn't get the damn hooker off his face.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Twelve

The cultists had summoned a burning, tentacled, lamprey- mouthed space god and worst of all it had brought its home movies.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Eleven

She kept trying to find a way to travel to the moon for free but there is no free launch.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Ten

“I awoke to find my apartment filled with ceramic figurines,” Jason Magwier said. “It wasn't one of my more precious moments.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Nine

Captain Hero took Amazing Ed aside, “Tight budget or not the pink fuzzy handcuffs in your utility belt have got to go.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Eight

She was a video game nymphomaniac and couldn't wait to link his Wii up with her Xbox.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Seven

Abner Deggent wasn't the kind of man to bring a knife to a gunfight but once he had brought a chainsaw to a quilting bee.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Roadside Velvet part eighteen

Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Chapter Four
Roadside Velvet
part eighteen



They advanced on me, their features resolving out of the shadows; muscular Lonnie, stooped Max and spindly Conrad. All my racing mind could think was that it looked like I was about to get the shit kicked out of me by an evolution chart.

Conrad was the first to speak, “I can’t believe you.”

“I thought you were our friend,” Lonnie’s voice was heavy with disappointment.

“Athena is a lady!” Max said. “Where do you get off talking to her like that?”

I put my hands up in a gesture of surrender, “I’m sorry. I was a complete idiot. This is something I’m going to be ashamed of well into my golden years.”

Lonnie’s face wrinkled with disgust, “Golden years? He’s talking his pervert shit to us now!”

“No. It was a… never mind.”

“I thought you were a gentle, misunderstood soul,” Conrad said. “Like me.”

“Misunderstood maybe,” I shrugged, “could we go someplace else and talk about this? Maybe someplace near a hospital?”

“Look punk,” Max was the first to make contact, he shoved me backwards. “I asked you a question. Where do you get off talking to our sister like that?”

Beatings had been a staple of my life since kindergarten and over the years I had developed a foolproof battle strategy for dealing with single or multiple attackers. After the first punch landed I would start sobbing and groveling. After that most attackers were too disgusted to take the beating any further. It wasn’t the most dignified way to go but it had saved my parents a lot of money on dental work and corrective surgeries. I didn’t think a strategy like that would serve me well here and truthfully I didn’t want to back down.

“Hey Max,” I said, “I seem to remember you telling me that I was supposed to treat a whore like a princess and a princess like a whore.”

He actually recoiled a little, “That’s not-”

“Is that what went wrong pal? Was I treating her like a whore when I should have treated her like a princess?”

That did it. They closed in and I was glad. I was sick of the way my life was going and I wanted something to change, even if it was just going to be my ability to eat solid foods for the next few months.

The few karate lessons I had ever shown up for resurfaced and I took what I hoped would be a defensive stance. “Hold on,” Conrad made a show of throwing off his jacket. “He’s mine!”

“What?” I almost lowered my guard at that but then got back into combat mode. I was mentally going through every Batman comic book I had ever read hoping that somehow those hours of studying the caped crusader’s adventures might have given me fighting skills by osmosis. I cursed myself for never having the foresight or finances to develop a utility belt.

Conrad pushed his brothers back, “I said he’s mine.”

“You have got to be kidding me,” I laughed a little.

“They’d go too easy on you. I want you to suffer.”

“I shared a motel room with you, isn’t that suffering enough?”

Conrad launched himself at me with a bloodcurdling scream; I threw the first punch. I thought of how people might laugh decades from now when I tell them the story of my first real brawl.


*


And I’m sure you will laugh when I tell you that trying to fight that wiry little bastard was like trying to field neuter a rabid ferret. I was scratched, slapped and had my hair pulled until I begged for mercy.


In case you’re wondering I never did see Athena again but I know her future must have been as bright and as beautiful as she was that summer. As I write this I wonder to myself if she even remembers me and if she does remember me, is it as ‘Al’ or ‘that jerk’?

A princess like a whore and a whore like a princess, I heard that so many times back then and so many worse things…

The only difference between a fox and a pig is a six pack.

It’s not the face you fuck it’s the fuck you face.

When girls say ‘no’ they really mean ‘yes’.

The problem was that none of these t-shirt worthy little slogans had taught me anything. I didn’t know what women wanted or how I was supposed to act around them. Who was I supposed to be? Mr. Rogers or Conan the Barbarian?

Paul had told me to be myself. Which myself was I supposed to be? The depressed and lonely Al? The creative and clever Al? The Al that everyone laughed at instead of with?

There were no answers for me that night, just the awful realization that once again I had blown it spectacularly.


*


I drove home slowly from my well-deserved beatdown, stewing in my own misery. When I got home that night I found that there were about three or four extra cars parked in the driveway of my house so I had to park on the front lawn. I headed inside and found that my stepfather, my brother and a half dozen or so of their closest friends were gathered around the TV watching Wrestlemania on Pay Per View. I had to pass the parlor to get to my room and even though I walked as fast as I could, my stepfather saw me.

“Albert?” he said. “Get back here.”

I didn’t even think to argue I just turned around and came back. The room fell silent as everyone looked at me; my clothes were dirty and torn, my hair was disheveled, there were bright red welts on my face and long ragged red scratches on each arm.

“Hey,” my brother stood up, his face filling with concern, “what the Hell happened to you?”

“Tonight...” a sob caught in my throat. I took a moment to collect myself before I spoke again, “...tonight I am a man.”

And the crowd went wild.