Friday, February 27, 2009

Offsite Al...

Now this blog and my trusty webpage are of course your main places to go if you want to experience me and all my varied talents.

But there are other things I have created or helped to create out there so I thought I would note them for you.

Role Playing Public Radio
These are the mad geniuses that do skit comedy about role playing games, they have turned a few of my tales of gaming woe into full fledged audio productions. They have made me laugh out loud at my own material and found comic beats within the text that I never saw myself.

The Role Playing Public Radio Website
The Role Playing Radio MySpace Page

Eden Studios
I wrote several stories to help promote some of their rpgs. In case you missed any they are as follows...

Rough Patches
The House That Dripped Clich├ęs
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Under The Milky Way Tonight
Part One
Part Two

The Website of S.J. Gaither
S.J. and I have been corresponding on and off for almost a decade now. Once while batting ideas around we ended up co writing a story.

Meeting Mr. Hunter

The Al Bruno Facebook Fansite
Once again my rampaging ego could not be kept in check and I created a fan page for myself and then joined it. Sadly this fan page offers no decoder rings, exclusive content or images of me frolicking on the beach wearing crocheted speedos.
Despite this disappointing news you may wish to join anyway so the link is below.

Al Bruno III

Well that's everything for now, hope you enjoy what you read and keep circulating the blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Suburban Wormholes and Plainer Things

Suburban Wormholes and Plainer Things
Al Bruno

"How can all the butter knives be gone?"

Is it marriage? Parenthood? Ageing? Now don't get me wrong, I lost stuff back in the old days too, but it was never so bad and so irritating. Nowadays things just seem to disappear. I sometimes think wormholes are the only rational expiation, somehow tiny pinholes open up in the fabric of reality and snatch away things from us and deliver them to some other place. This is not an original thought, this is from Douglas Adams but at times I think he may have been right.

"Where is my shoe? I can only find one shoe."

Now lets just confirm here that this is not one of my many rants about my loss of hair (But why God WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?) this is about those magazines your sure you left on the table, or those darn nail clippers that you know should be in the junk drawer. Where do these things go? How can we be so certain they're in one place when they're really in another? Of course this can cut both ways. For example, somewhere in my house there is a digital stopwatch but I don't know where it is. I only know that at around 4 AM it bleeps for 60 seconds. I have been awoken by this sound many times, usually with a panicked cry of "Fries are up!"

Regardless of what I may or may not scream I frequently stumble out of bed and go crashing around the darkened kitchen trying to find the source of the noise. I look in the junk drawers, behind the washing machine, under the fridge, even under the sink. I don't know where it is, I only pray that when we move again we leave it behind instead of somehow inadvertently packing it and taking it with us again.

"Well where did you leave the library book? It’s overdue."

The umbrella, the remote control, that envelope with the directions to the barbecue- all gone. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. At least if it was valuables and shiny things we could suspect it was thieves, at least if we found chewed up stuff under the bed we could blame the dogs and if it was dollar bills then my wife would know I was going to that strip club again.

But no, it’s always accessories, it’s always things you can set down and turn your back on. No one ever loses televisions, boxes of cat litter or spare tires. Trust me, I’ve been trying to lose my spare tire for years.

“Your car keys? How could you lose your car keys?”

And the more important it is to your well being the harder it is to find again. Dear reader, I am a man on a quest, an eternal quest to see where he left his glasses this time. I think I understand why Elton John wore such audacious eyewear- so he could find the fucking things.

Medicines are pretty easily lost too, sometimes my Prozac is in the medicine cabinet, sometimes I leave the bottle in my desk drawer or the kitchen counter near the fishbowl. The only exception was during my month of kidney stones, I don’t care how woozy I was I knew right where those sweet sweet vicodin pills were every moment of the day. I think once I got into a fight with the cat because he was standing too close to them.

Of course the cat won- but I was crazy and stoned, what did you expect?

“Ok just stop and try to think about where you had it last. Don’t give me that look…”

I might suspect that this happens because my wife, daughter and I all move stuff when we’re cleaning up after each other but I would be lying to myself if I did. My daughter and I never do any housework, it’s sad really.

Once my friend Greg once gave me a Stone Temple Pilots CD, I thanked him by juicing up his D&D character’s stats before the game started. That night I opened the cd case and saw it was empty. Now a few hours and orcs ago I had looked right at the thing but somehow it had vanished. I searched for hours but it was gone. I keep the empty case in the closet and check it every once in a while to see if the CD has come back but just like the Stone Temple Pilots record sales, it most likely never will. See what I mean about those darn wormholes?

Speaking of role playing games, I lost one of those without a trace as well. It was Over the Edge by Robin D. Laws. I was sure it was in this one box in my closet but when I went looking for the game all I found was some old party supplies. If you know anything about Over the Edge you’ll probably find that hauntingly appropriate.

“I just bought soap. Don’t tell me we’re out, we can’t be out.”

Moving was the worst, the sheer amount of stuff that was somehow lost simply staggers the mind. We lost some clothes, some pots and pans, stuff like that. I suppose it is a natural consequence of trying to pack your entire house into a single rented truck on a Sunday afternoon with a few drunken friends.

What hurt was losing some of my favorite Clive Barker hardcovers- Imagica, Weaveworld, Cabal and The Great and Secret Show. Those aren’t just books folks, those are entire worlds trapped between two dust jacketed cardstock covers. I could hold those books in my hands and remember the places I was when I was reading them, the things I was feeling, the girls I was striking out with…

“Will someone call me? I don’t know where my cell phone is. Yes I know it’s in my briefcase but I don’t know where it is either.”

So you go on a mad search for these missing things, these AWOL items. You pretty much tear the house apart; lifting couches, throwing cushions and sometimes going through the garbage. You get crazier, you start to accuse your spouse and children of moving things, of plotting against you. The clouds of dust you disturb sting your eyes and soon enough you doubt your own sanity. How could you lose something like that? Why can’t you just put leave your rings on the nightstand or your nose hair trimmer in the medicine cabinet?

“Oh there it is… what the Hell is it doing there?”

Sometimes you never find what you’re looking for again but most times you find the remote under the ottoman, the keys under the car seat and your glasses on the lazy Susan. Nothing dramatic, nothing strange, you’re just another person with more stuff than sense.

I have seen the wormholes and they are us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter one

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter One


Al Bruno III

Thursday November 7th 1996

Sane women, Isobel thought, don't behave like this.

She scrunched down in the driver's seat of her Honda Civic and rolled cautiously through the night-shrouded suburb.

This is real trust here, She mused. The foundation of a truly stable relationship.

At the intersection she turned right onto Marriner Boulevard. The dashboard clock read One-Fifteen AM. She slowed to a crawl and switched off the Civic's headlights. The Bitch's house was half a block away. Darkness sprawled in the gulf between the streetlights.

Don't let him be there. She prayed over and over again. Please don't let him be there. Please let me be wrong.

She slowed to a stop in front of the Bitch’s house. Isobel groaned and banged her head lightly against the steering wheel.

There was Nick’s black Camaro parked in the driveway.

The two-timing bastard loved that car, he’d restored every inch of it. Isobel had a tire iron in the Civic’s trunk. It would be so easy to just retrieve it and go to town- and if Nick and the Bitch came running out to stop her?

Her only question would be who to brain first.

For a moment Isobel actually had the car door open, but in the end she just shifted into first and drove away. When she was sure she was far enough away she switched the headlights back on.

The radio cheerfully informed her that the National Weather Service was promising another week of Indian Summer for all of Albany and it’s surrounding counties. A single sob escaped from Isobel's lips, the road blurred and slipped back into focus as she fought back tears. The thought occurred to her that she could just drive away; leave this whole stinking mess of a life behind her. Just drive until her Civic or her ATM card gave out. There had to be something more out there than this.

She passed a sign but didn't bother to read the words. It didn't matter, she knew it was just telling her that the entrance ramp to the Northway was coming up.

Again and again the question surfaced- why did Nick keep going back to that bitch?

Was she smarter? Dumber? Was she wild in bed? Was she a screamer? Did she do it with the lights on?

Isobel swerved on to the entrance ramp. The Northway was more empty and dark than she'd ever remembered it. The tears finally overcame her, they rolled down her cheeks and over her lips. Isobel scowled at the taste, so much like blood. Over the last few years she’d seen her dreams fall away one by one. What would replace them? Would anything?

A figure ran out into the road in front of her, his arms flailing wildly.


Isobel slammed both feet onto the brakes and swerved for the middle lane. There was a flash of images and sounds; tires squealing, the song on the radio, her own breathless cry, the sickening feeling of her Honda Civic going up on two wheels and then settling back down again.

Fear soured the taste of her spit, she forced herself to relax her grip on the wheel and put the car in park. Another moment passed before Isobel realized she'd been holding her breath. She let the bad air out in a long nasal sigh only to have it catch in her throat again.

He staggered up to her car, the headlights underlit his features. At first all she could focus on was the whites of his eyes. “Please help me!” he looked crazed, his clothes were caked with mud and sweat.

What do I do now? With a flick of a switch she locked the car's automatic doors- just in case. Then Isobel put on her hazard lights, for her safety and his. She cursed herself for leaving her cell phone at home. Hadn’t she gotten it for emergencies? Wasn't this an emergency?

What do I do now?

Stay in your car. Drive away. That's what you do.

"Please!" He was hammering on her window now, each blow leaving dark handprints that she prayed were just mud.


Actually, I was never all that promising.

She scanned the blackness behind her for any signs of oncoming traffic. It was all clear, unnervingly so in fact.

What am I going to do?

Isobel looked back to him, really looking at him. This was no escaped lunatic, or fugitive in prison orange. He was her height with ruddy features and ragged looking red hair. He didn't look the least bit threatening, only desperate and afraid.

"Where is your car?" she asked. "Are you hurt?"

"I need to get out of here. Please! I'm in trouble."

"What kind of trouble?"

"There's no time! We have to go now before they find us."


The voice of reason started howling as she unlocked the passenger side door. He got in, locked the door and shuddered with relief. "Thank you."

"Where are you going?"

"Anywhere. Just anywhere."

Shrugging Isobel put the car in drive and glanced into the rearview mirror.

Two pale figures stared back at her. One of them smashed a hand through the back windshield with impossible ease.

The stranger was screaming in her ear "Go! Go now!"

The speedometer flew up to seventy. The Honda Civic sped away with a squeal of its tires.

Oh what the Hell...

I'm gonna post the first part of the serial novel now...

From the desk(top) of Al Bruno III

So it looks like we all survived the Granny Panties stories with our sanities intact.


But seriously folks a lot of you have read and enjoyed that story as well as the other ones here or on my main website or possibly on the other social networking sites and forums that I haunt and I am grateful for it.

Writing stories is enjoyable enough, knowing that someone read and liked one of your stories is even better.

In other news you folks are gonna want to strap yourselves in because my serial novel starts tomorrow. I plan to post weekly chapters until it finishes or until I paint myself in a corner and have to throw myself on your tender mercies.

As always keep circulating the blog… tell your friends, relatives and pets about me!