Saturday, January 1, 2011

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart part three

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Five

Paper Hearts And A Red Haired Tart

part three

The sign read 'The Paper Shredder Shreds Prices Every Day!'. Beneath it was a cartoon of a dollar sign going into a paper shredder. Paper Shredder was a new chain of stores that was expanding out from its original location in Albany's Westside plaza. These stores were a mixed bag selling office supplies, books and party supplies; none of the selections was ever large enough to hold more than the basics but the stores were in good locations and did brisk business.

I had been hired to work at a brand new location and thankfully the sheer number of jobs I had just up and quit was not held against me. There were three managers, six full time employees and another six part timers. I was technically one of the part timers but between weekends and evenings I was putting in around 35 hours.

We were all dressed in our causal street clothes and sat in folding chairs helping ourselves to the bagels and doughnuts that had been bought on the company dime. The manager Mr. Palmer was explaining to us what was expected in the next few weeks, his voice echoed off the empty shelves and bare walls but I had a hard time looking at him as he spoke; the man had the largest gums I had ever seen. They were positively horse-like.

“First of all I want to welcome you to the Paper Shredder family, you might be interested to learn that we are owned by the Nice Shopper Corporation so you will have access to some surprisingly good benefits.”

“What?” I said.

“I'm sorry?” Mr. Palmer said. “You have a question?”

“What company owns Paper Shredder?”

“The Nice Shopper Corporation. Now moving on, it will be your job to get the store ready for our grand opening on September 30th. Of course we plan to open a little early to get the bugs out and make sure we are all on the same page.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

Mr. Palmer paused in mid-speech again and smiled at me, his gums glistened, “Sure of what?”

“That Nice Shopper owns this chain,” I said. “I mean are you sure it isn't some kind of a typo or something?”

“I don't understand why this-”

“Dude,” the guy that suddenly yelled at me was barrel chested with thick arms and scrawny legs. He looked like he should be moving furniture, not selling graph paper, Precious Moments greeting cards and Sci Fi Novels. “What is wrong with you? You have barely shut up once since we got in here?”

Sadly the neckless wonder was right, when confronted with a crowd of strangers I either keep to myself or start playing the fool. Since I had just downed 4 jelly doughnuts and a caffeinated beverage the choice was not my own.

Sometimes it made me the life of the party; most times it made me insufferable. I had been clowning around and making puns for almost an hour. The older staff members had been entertained but the three other people my age rolled their eyes more than an epileptic at a strobe light convention.

I raised my hands in surrender and let Mr. Palmer continue, I couldn't believe I was working for the Nice Shopper Company again. Talk about being stuck in a rut!

There were plastic bins called totes stacked everywhere and cardboard boxes filled with books. Mr. Palmer let the assistant managers Mr. Horne and Ms. Cooper hand out assignments. The two retirees that had been hired for the morning shift were sent to go put away greeting cards. The two guys my age- the neckless wonder and his pal, the kid with 18th century sideburns, were sent to the back to set up school supplies. I was sent to the side of the store where there was an entire wall of bookshelves waiting to be filled.

Tallulah was sent to work with me.

As I've said before redheads have always been a particular weakness of mine, my high school sweetheart was a strawberry blonde and my wife has lovely auburn hair that started going gray on our Honeymoon. didn't have that shade of hair. Actually my first real almost girlfriend way, way back in the sixth grade had been a redhead. She had been adorable and I had been quite the mac-daddy for a kid wearing Tuffskins. We had never really gotten past the hand holding stage mostly because I had no idea what to do past the hand holding stage.

Tallulah had hazel eyes, skin that was dappled with freckles and a smile that was equal parts sadness and mischief. Unfortunately she had no smiles for me. All the while we worked I could see her stealing glances at the neckless wonder.

“Your name is Tallulah right?” I asked.

“Yep,” she began arranging the books on the appropriate shelves, alphabetization would come later.

“I see you're wearing a Salnei University sweatshirt,” I said. “Are you taking classes there?”


“You’re the prettiest person here? Do you know that?”

Other men might have taken their time to build up to a statement like that but there hasn’t been a car built yet that can go for zero to sixty as fast as me.


“I know we just met,” I said in my most charming tone, “and it might be inappropriate but I have to ask- Are you going to say anything more than one syllable words to me for the next eight hours?”


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

If HP Lovecraft Ran A Puppy Farm...


(an excerpt for In The Shadow Of His Nemesis) En Garde

The following is a condensed chapter from my serial novel but it is enjoyable as a stand alone piece.


En Garde

(an excerpt for In The Shadow Of His Nemesis)


Al Bruno III

Shirtless in spite of the cold morning they stood on Laurel House’s front lawn. The stared at each other, fencing foils at their sides. At an unspoken signal they saluted and stepped forward; Zeth was muscular but beginning to soften with middle age, his skin was so dark it was almost purple He had his graying dreadlocks pulled back and tied with a ribbon. They sized each other up and tensed. Jack smiled, his hair hanging lose and wild. Zeth thrust with his foil.

Jack swiped the blow aside and retreated from a second attack.

Zeth's breath hissed out from between his clenched teeth as his opponent became more aggressive. He parried a trio of blows. Their foils rasped and clinked as they dueled beneath purple sunrise. Jack tried to strike low but Zeth evaded the glinting metal with a leap and followed with a counter-thrust.

Looking down at the red-tipped foil poking his chest Jack laughed "Oh. Very good.”


“Hell yes.” They stepped back and saluted.

They returned to their starting positions, "Engarde!"

Jack drove Zeth back a dozen steps with as many blows. The attacks blocked more by blind instinct than skill. "Two can play at that." Zeth grunted and launched a wild attack of his own, realizing only too late that he'd fallen into a trap. Jack's foil tapped his forehead, "We're one for one."

"Keeping score are we?”

Again they returned to their starting positions. “By the way, are you having fun?"

Zeth smiled, "Yes, I am. You know when you invited me I almost turned you down."


“Lots of reasons.” Their blades clashed once more, this time each man was cautious and cagey, their blades glancing.

"Is he coming today?"

"God willing." Zeth replied his eyes darkening, "This place is a bit to… sedate for my tastes.”

“I thought as much.” Jack thrust and blocked, "I think that’s why I was surprised to find a man like you on our doorstep.”

“Magwier asked me to keep an eye on Galen.”

“Do you always do what Jason Magwier says?”

Zeth's guard dropped at that, letting Jack land another blow. "Oh, I’m sorry. That wasn't fair, we'll start over."

"I believe in what he’s doing. The Cause is more than what the name implies. We can save the world.”

“I think that the world can take care of itself.” Jack said, “It always has.”

Zeth smiled, “An optimist.”

“What about Isobel and her brother?” Jack asked.

“What about them?” Zeth said.

Sig stepped out the front door. He was wearing a light jacket, jeans, boots and a flannel shirt. He had a knapsack over one shoulder and a cane in the other.

“Heading into town?” Jack asked.

Sig nodded, “Angie needs more pills. Do either of you want anything?”


Zeth said, “A few newspapers and a TIME magazine.”

“Of course.” Sig turned to go.

“I have to ask you something.” Zeth said.

Sig stopped but didn’t turn, “Yes?”

“Aren’t you afraid to go into town? You haven’t been forgotten you know.”

“Let them come.” Sig’s laugh was almost a growl.

Both men watched him disappear into the tree line; then they returned to their stances.

“Engarde!” Jack said.

They danced back and forth, steel flashing, their faces livid with exertion. “Those trips of his are dangerous.” Zeth said.

“He knows what he’s doing.” Jack delivered a savage riposte, “Besides Angie needs that medication.”

Zeth’s foil caught his opponent in the stomach, “All that means to me is that you’ve got two liabilities.”

They stepped back and saluted, the duel continued.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixty Three

Abner Deggent was captured by a band of pirates that only wore soft fabrics but he vowed to escape the Cotton Swabs.

5 second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixty Two

With its vibrating controller and interactive storyline the video game 'Action Masseuse' kept people playing for the happy ending.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixty One

On a dare she ate a DVD of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, 8 hours later she became the first person to die from 'Going Commando'.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Sixty

Chuck had never been to dinner party hosted by a porn actress before. He had to admit she had quite a spread.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifty Nine

John tripped, stumbled and fell the dalmatian he was walking. He always was Johnny on the spot.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifty Eight

The worst blow to his self esteem was when he was spied skinny dipping and people left him extra clothes.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifty Seven

“Some people think creating an Anti-Flatulence Defamation League was a great idea, others think it stinks.”

The trailer for INBRED proves it is not a documentary about my family!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The teaser for DOCTOR WHO SEASON 6

Is that a naked River Song I see? RAWR!



I am sad to say I haven't see the Christmas Special yet. Life has gotten in the way. BUT I CAN'T WAIT!

LABYRINTH with sock puppets and Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman

Let me quote TOPLESS ROBOT on this one...

Singer/songwriter/Neil Gaiman fiancee Amanda Palmer made a short version of the movie Labyrinth, starring Gaiman as Jareth the Goblin King. The reason the couple did this is unknown, but given what I've heard about both of them, my money is on "foreplay."..


In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter ninety six

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis

Chapter Ninety Six


Saturday, December 4th 1996

The crash was followed by more gunfire, it sounded as though the entire forest had become a battle zone. Which Isobel supposed was all too true.

The figure moving out of the doorway of the Great House looked like her brother, it wore his face but the muscles were slack and empty like those of an embalmed corpse. Hao had called the creature she was summoning the Dread Lord Chayot. A being born of sacrifice and vengeance.

Isobel’s brother’s clothes hung in tatters that had almost become shroud-like in their ruination. The wounds his body had suffered, both before and after death, were still visible but had become filled in with a kind of watery solidity that refracted and churned.

No matter how much she stared Isobel couldn’t place the color of the substance occupying the body It reminded her of something chemical- like liquid mercury.

“Warren?” Isobel said. She knew it wasn’t him but she couldn’t help herself.

Dread Lord Chayot stopped in front of Isobel and regarded her indifferently; regarded her with eyes thick with veins the color of tarnished silver.

“This is Isobel,” Hao explained as she joined them, “you must protect her.”

“I am not a protector,” Chayot said.

Hao shook a finger, “Her survival is part of my revenge. You will rescue the Monarchs’ prisoners and then you will kill the one called Piers Sauno. The one born of persuasion.”

Chayot nodded with understanding.

More gunfire, growing closer. A thin buzzing had filled the air, a sound that reminded Isobel of a summer afternoon thick with the songs of cicadas. Hao turned her gaze to the old Vlodek, her one eye was familiar, the other the color of moonlight.

Everyone’s eyes have changed. Isobel thought, Everyone but mine. Unless being bloodshot counts.

“And you Sig,” Hao said, “you know what you have to do.”

At that the wounded Vlodek turned and bounded away.

“Just us now,” Hao said.

The buzzing sound was growing closer. Isobel felt her gut twist, the automatic pistol felt heavy and cold in her hand.

The Dread Lord Chayot stepped in front of the women, tendrils of the strange tarnished silver substance began to drip from its hands.

Isobel asked, “What is that?”

“It’s me,” the Dread Lord answered plainly.

“Let’s get moving,” Hao started walking. Chayot followed.

For a crazy moment Isobel was sure she wouldn’t be able to move, that all she would be able to do was fall to her knees.

But then she thought, Galen needs me, and that was enough..

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