Saturday, November 29, 2014

GoFundMe and the pawn shop blues...

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and a survivable Black Friday. I worked both days but since I am no longer in retail I don't mind much. 

December is almost here and I must admit I am really looking forward to seeing the end of 2014. It was a rough year by all accounts and measures. 

In other news we are trying to get some of our personal electronics out of the friendly neighborhood pawn shop. We had to give up one laptop and two tablets to keep food on the table and gas in the cars. 

Anything you can do to help would be appreciated.

FALSE POSITIVE has some of the coolest stuff on display...


I've been itching to share this latest installment of THE DEVIL'S PANTIES!


Andy Does Voice Over presents the creepypasta 'SPLINTERS'


Sethward is going to overthrow your childhood and establish a puppet government!


Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thanksgivng Post #4: RAGNAROK FRIDAY

Ragnarok Friday
Al Bruno III
It was morning in River City, one of the coldest on record but George Gordon was sweating his behind off. He was an asthmatic but even with his puffer handy he felt like he was suffocating. He couldn't breathe, he could barely move, his muscles ached from the simple act of steading himself. A horde of people pressed in on all sides and jostled for position. No one made eye contact, everyone just kept their attention fixated on the front doors of the Wal-Mart and the Black Friday bargains contained within.
It was almost time. George ran the shopping list through his head again-he had to find a certain toy, a particular laptop and a dozen or so other nicknacks. None of it was for him however, he had volunteered for this mission; volunteered because his supervisor Rex Alvin Peele had hinted it would be beneficial to George's career goals.
A ripple of movement went through the crowd. The front doors were opening. The Wal-Mart staff tried to control the flow of shoppers passing inside but there was no stemming this tide of consumerism. In the end they could only stand back and hope to God they didn’t loose any greeters this year.
George stayed on his feet and kept pace with the surge of humanity. He wondered briefly if his alter ego might be better suited to this kind of mayhem but he decided against it almost immediately. He wasn’t about to trust his debit card and pin number to a Viking avenger. Super hero or not.
A snarl startled George from his thoughts.
No not one snarl, dozens of them.
Up ahead the crowd was changing, growing taller, and greener. Their eyes became black and their mouths slavered. George Gordon knew what they were turning into.
Trolls! Actual trolls, not the internet kind.
George risked standing on his tip toes and saw the doorway to the Wal-Mart glowing. “Wait!” he shouted, “Turn back!”
But there was no stopping the eager shoppers and when he tried to stop himself from being pushed forward he only succeeded in getting knocked to the ground.
And now he was being trampled and tripped over. No one was stopping to help him.
There was only one thing to do. He pressed his fists to the sides of his head with the pointer fingers raised and shouted, “I summon... HROTHGAR!”
Suddenly the meek mannered DMV employee was gone, in his place was a blonde-haired burly man wearing a horned metal helmet and wielding a great sword. He was Hrothgar the Last Warrior of Valhalla!
And someone was standing on his pelvis.
With a mighty cry Hrothgar rose up to his full six feet in height sending coupon clutching potential shoppers flying in every direction. It took only moments for his steely eyed gaze to lock onto the strangely glowing doorway. He knew the sight of dark Asgardian magic when he saw it. Hrothgar's whipcord muscles tensed in anticipation.
He ran at the entrance to the store, crashing through the crowd until he was directly beneath the sickly green glow. Cursed runes had been carved into the metal of the doorframe. Any ordinary mortal passing beneath them would be transformed into a troll but Hrothgar was no ordinary mortal. The helmet he wore had been forged by the dwarven masters and would protect the Last Warrior of Valhalla from any and all enchantments.
With a single blow from his mighty blade he shattered the metal and glass of the doorway. He howled with victory only to realize that the trollish figures were not reverting back to human form. Instead they were turning to attack him, their clawed hands grasping.
Honor demanded that Hrothgar not harm the ensorceled humans so he scrambled atop one of the cash registers and leapt into the housewares department. Unlike his allies the Local Heroes he was no scientist, detective or well meaning chiropractor; he was merely a warrior but he knew only one person could be responsible for magic like this.
Hrothgar found his quarry in the pet department, a tall wolf-headed man dressed in a three piece suit. He was gloating and snacking on Snausages. “Well met old friend.”
It was Fenrir, Son of Loki. The newly made trolls were howling and making their way closer. Hrothgar’s battle-trained senses told him that as soon as they were done ransacking the ladies underwear department they would be on him.
He pointed his blade at Fenrir, “Let them go. Let all of them go or suffer my wrath.”
Fenrir laughed mockingly and drew a blade of his own, “Your wrath means nothing to me, coward of Valhalla!”
Honor demanded that Hrothgar avenge this insult. He roared and swung his blade in a wide arc. Fenrir raised his sword to parry the blow and it shattered liked so much glass.
“Er,” the wolf-headed man said, “um.”
And before Hrothgar could strike again Fenrir disappeared in a cloud of cold fire and humiliation.
With the Son of Loki, defeated the spell was broken and the shoppers were returning to normal. The experience had left them unmarked save for torn clothes and confused memories. Hrothgar spied an elderly man in a blue vest trying to stand, he strode over and offered his arm.
When the man shrunk away Hrothgar said, “Steady on old wolf. The battle is over and we are victorious.”
The greeter struggled to his feet and said, “You- you saved us all didn’t you? You’re a hero!”
“Aye, but I need no thanks. Glory is its own reward...” Hrothgar paused to read the man’s name tag, “...Phillip.”
“I still want to thank you. I know this isn’t much...” Phillip reached into his pocket and placed a smiley sticker on the Viking's helmet.
The Last Hero of Valhalla responded to this the way honor demanded. Thankfully the greeter survived his injuries but Hrothgar was never allowed into that Wal Mart again.

Thanksgiving Post#3 : A JOKE BY INGMAR BERGMAN

FLASHBAK has Post-Apocalyptic Pantsless Women!

From FLASHBAK's 'Dystopia On Tape'


It was the last day of college before the Thanksgiving Holiday and no one’s mind was really on their work but History class was as much fun as always, Algebra was the same level of confusion and Philosophy Class was always pleasantly confusing – or was it? Could my own imperfect perceptions be trusted to truly know something like that?

It was only in Drama Class that anything was really getting done. After all our production would be premiering before a live audience in three weeks. If we didn’t do well then our collective grade would suffer accordingly.

We were putting on a production of Love and How to Cure It by Thornton Wilder. I played the part of the obsessive and lovesick Arthur Warburton and I should stress that while I had nothing to do with the choosing of the play, it certainly was a part I had been researching most of my life up.

My character had a line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” A sweet sentiment but of course he says that right after confessing he was going to kill himself in front of the object of his desire to prove to her how much he loved her.

Of all the roles in all the plays in all the drama classes in the world I had to end up as Arthur Warburton.

This is why I know there’s a God- because he keeps screwing with me!

And speaking of God, the role of Arthur’s love interest Linda was being played by Ramona a tiny little waif of girl with the uncanny ability to outdrink your average lumberjack. I had asked her out during the first week of the semester but she had politely declined due to ‘religious reasons’.

By November however I had come to understand that she had been obeying the obscure commandment “Thou shalt not get busy with any man thatest cannot crush beer cans between hisith biceps.”

Still though, I wasn’t upset, after all I had Tallulah; in fact Ramona and I had become good friends over the last few months. In fact I had a lot of friends really. Somehow community college had become the high school experience I had always wanted.

Once rehearsals were done I headed home and chilled out in preparation for Turkey day; I had the night off and of course Paper Shredder was closed for the holiday but I would be pulling a 12 hour shift for Black Friday. I didn’t mind much because I would be working alongside my lady love.

The family had Thanksgiving dinner typically late in the day, we had prime rib instead of turkey but the evening was relatively violence and scorn free. After dinner I called my father and had a heartfelt conversation with his answering machine.

That done I was about to retire to my room for a little writing and relaxation when I got a phone call from Tallulah. She had the house to herself and she wanted me to come over to spend some time with her.

How could I say no?



“Over here.”

“I can't see ... why are the lights off?”

“Give me your hand Al.”

“You can have both.”

“Gently now...”



“What is that? What are you doing back there?”

“I'm not... Oh damn it the dog's in the room! Just a minute. Don’t go anywhere.”

“You're not going to get rid of me that easily.”

“There, he won't bother us again. Now let’s make you a little more comfortable.”

“Come here you.”





“Hair… you’re on my hair…”

“Sorry. Sorry.”

“Are you ready?”


“Easy... easy... that's it...”

“So good... so good...”

“Wait. Wait... what are you doing?”

“ good good.”

“That isn't- you're not -”


“BELT LOOP! You're in your belt loop!”

“What? Son of a bitch!”

And about five minutes later I lost my virginity.


For those of you still reeling from this allow me to explain.

Tallulah’s family had planned to spend the holiday at her grandmother’s house. My lady love had faked a stomach bug to stay home. She had planned the whole thing.

So yes I lost my virginity on Thanksgiving night, it was clumsy and wonderful and nothing like what television and the movies had told me it would be. When it was over we cuddled for a moment and then Tallulah lowered the boom. And no- ‘Lowering The Boom’ isn’t some kind of weird sexual maneuver you’ve never heard of like ‘The Pair of Tongs or ‘Cake Farting’.


Tryptophan has nothing on post coital drowsiness but I made every effort to shall we say stay up. Then I realized that Tallulah was getting dressed.

“Hey,” my voice was a lazy yawn. “What’s wrong? Just give me a few more minutes and I should be ready to go again. Trust me I’ve been practicing.”

She buttoned her blouse, “I need you to go now.”

“Oh, your parents must be coming home. Ok.” I started to retrieve my clothes; it took me a few moments to realize the damn dog had stolen my underpants.

“It’s more than that,” She unrumpled her hair and then started making her bed. “This was goodbye.”

“What?” my heart sank. “What’s wrong? I couldn’t have been that bad at it. Could I?”

“The tour’s done,” she kissed me. “My boyfriend is coming back home. This was sweet, I don’t regret any of it- except for some of those horror movies you rented- but this has to end.”

“Oh,” I tried to think of something else to say, something noble or witty but my mind was a blank.

I never get the last word. I think that’s why I became a writer, unlimited do-overs.


Somewhere between gleeful foreplay and crushing disappointment it had begun to snow. I drove home with my loins tingling and my heart aching. Over the last few weeks I had convinced myself that her roadie boyfriend didn’t really exist; after all, my peer group fabricated significant others all the time. I wondered to myself what he looked like, I imagined him long haired and tough looking with a small mouth and murderous eyes. I wondered what guys like him had on me, it couldn’t all be about upper body strength and a good credit rating could it?

Black Friday at Paper Shedder was so busy that I barely had a chance say a word to Tallulah was so busy herself that she never seemed to notice.

Or at least that was what I told myself anyway.

Still I wasn’t a virgin anymore. That counted for something didn’t it? Didn’t it mean I was truly a man?

Thing was I didn’t feel different. Still though I made it a point to find some way to mention to this sudden change to all the people that doubted my masculinity and heterosexuality- even if it meant confusing the Hell out of my old High School guidance councilor.

The problem was it didn’t change they way they looked at me in any way There was still a noticeable lack of respect in their eyes. I could almost hear them draw breath in preparation for laughing at me behind my back.

It looked like nothing had changed for me.

Then again…


We lingered backstage going over our scripts. Whenever I said the line “I think just loving isn’t wasted.” It was like a stab in the gut, but the show had to go on and damn if I wasn’t giving the performance of my life.

“How was your Thanksgiving break?” Ramona asked me once we wrapped up for the day.

I shrugged, “A little screwy.”

“Same here,” she said. “My mom came in to town and we made spaghetti. She couldn’t wait to tell me about her new boyfriend. I think he’s my age Al.”

I laughed, “I know that one. My Dad seems to prefer younger girls too.”

“It’s almost creepy in a way. Why don’t they find someone their own age to fool around with?”

“I bet it’s because people our age don’t know any better,” I held a door open for her.

There was still a light dusting of snow on the campus but the passage of hundreds of feet had left it stained and mushy. The air was brisk and I paused for a moment to luxuriate in it.

“Or maybe,” I thought aloud, “The Bruno charm can be a force to be reckoned with.”

“You know something Al?” She was jingling her car keys in her hand, “You seem different today.”

“Really?” I said, “I don’t feel different.”

“Do you… do you want to go grab a bite to eat? I’ve got lots of leftover spaghetti.”

I suddenly felt my heartbeat rising up into my face but I stayed calm, “I’d love it. You wanna drive?”

Ramona led me to her car. I stayed a step or two behind her so she couldn’t see me thanking the heavens.

Jon Bois' (@jon_bois) eulogy for Radio Shack is a thing of epic beauty!


4:30 a.m. We show up an hour and a half before the store opens, as demanded by the district office.  We stand around and do nothing.
6:00 a.m. We all line up in expectation of hordes of customers. Six on one side of the store, six on the other side, pallbearers of an invisible casket. The manager opens the doors. No one is waiting on the other end.
7:00 a.m. Nobody has walked into the store. Nobody has been seen even walking past the store. This infuriates the manager, who at this juncture elects to fire one employee, right there on the spot, because her sweater is a shade of red that is inconsistent with the dress code.
8:00 a.m. Someone almost walks in. She kind of turns toward the store, sees 11 of us just standing and staring at her, and turns a 180. Don't blame you, ma'am.
9:00 a.m. First customer! Someone just walked in and bought a cordless phone battery. One of us would have made approximately 23 cents on the sale (18 cents after taxes), except you don't start making any sales commission until you surpass a monthly sales figure that is usually unreachable and arbitrarily set. (I worked at RadioShack for 43 months, and barely hit this mark once.)
12:00 p.m. We've sold maybe $90 worth of stuff. Two more employees walk out and don't come back.
2:00 p.m. A couple comes in to return a pair of cell phones I sold them a couple weeks back. I received about $40 for the sale on my last paycheck, and now they will take $40 out of my next paycheck. Voiding a cell phone contract is a process that takes an hour or so of waiting on the phone and talking to three or four different gatekeepers. This time, it's even longer, because someone errantly slapped them with a $200 cancellation fee. My manager gets wind of this and starts screaming at me: "JON, WHAT DID YOU DO? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?" She then tries to initiate a shouting match with my customers, who don't bite.
3:00 p.m. Two more employees quit, one because the manager has refused to give her a lunch break over a 10.5-hour shift.
9:00 p.m. Mercifully, and with sales numbers that are beyond abysmal, the district office tells us to close the store and not to remain open until midnight, as planned. Someone else came in to return a phone, so my sales are now about $60 in the hole. I make $5.45 an hour, and have worked a 16.5-hour shift, so that's about $90. Minus the $60 I've lost, that's $30. So today, I have made about $1.80 per hour, for a shift of nearly 17 hours. Before taxes.
9:45 p.m. Ha ha ha ha I am still at the store, counting the money and helping clean up and such, but not getting paid for it. This is RadioShack's thing: if you're working while the store's closed, they might decide to pay you and they might not. I worked countless hours they never paid me for; this is one. We finally close up. On the way to the parking lot, I ask my manager whether I can take Christmas Eve off; this would allow me barely enough time to make the seven-hour drive home to Kentucky to see my family, then head back. She doesn't say no. She yells no, and tells me I'm not special...

Click here to read the rest

Thanksgiving Post #1: An excerpt from PRICE PREAKS AND HEARTACHES VOLUME ONE

The holidays came quickly, it seemed that as soon as I put the Halloween candy out on the shelves it was stale leftovers sitting in a cart with a ‘Half Off’ sign on it. November was a particularly busy month with people coming in to make preparations for their Thanksgiving holiday. On November first a red sign went up on the front doors explaining that we closed at 4 PM on the fourth Thursday of the month so Nice Shopper’s employees could enjoy the holiday too. Apparently the sign wasn’t nearly big enough;

At 4 o’clock on the dot Mr. Streicher locked the doors to the main entrance and began overseeing the shutting down of a store that was ordinarily open 24 hours a day. Each cash register was running and there were four other bagboys aside from me. The store was like a well oiled machine and we were all confident we would be out of there by 4:30, 4:45 at the latest.

I was the first to notice customers streaming in through the exit. They got their carts and started shopping at a leisurely pace.
“Bruno!” Mr. Streicher called, “Go stand in the doorway and tell people we’re closed.”

The question whether our customers would take the word of a doughy teenager when they were ignoring a fancy laminated sign from the corporate office never occurred to me. It should have, it really should have.

I took my place at the exit ready to turn any new shoppers away.
Unfortunately I was standing too close to the door and the first eager customer knocked me reeling. By the time by vision had cleared three other customers had gotten in behind her. I think Mr. Streicher was howling my name in outrage but it might have been the voices of my long dead relatives cursing that the noble Bruno bloodline, once the spawning ground of uncountable three-nippled strippers, politicians and circus midgets, could have come to this.

Groggily I resumed my place a safe distance from the exit and got back to my duties.

“Hey,” one of the customers said. “Your front door is broken or something.”

I was more than glad to explain, “Allow me to explain, Nice Shopper closes at 4 PM on Thanksgiving.”

“What?” the customer’s expression began to darken, “The sign says you’re open 24 hours a day!”

“Yes but the sign below that says we close so we can enjoy the holiday too.”

She pointed her finger at me, “You suck! You fucking suck.”

I was too stunned that my first grade teacher hadn’t recognized me to really take offense. The next customer was already trying to get in.

“I’m sorry sir,” I tried again, “but Nice Shopper closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday at 4 o’clock.”

He tried to push past me, “It isn’t 4 o’clock.”

I pointed to the clock, “Yes it is sir, it’s actually 4:12 now.”

“Not by my watch.”

“I don’t know what I can say about that, it is 4:12. Actually now it’s 4:13.”

The customer responded by waving his wrist in front of my face, “I don’t care what that damn clock says. This is a two hundred dollar watch!”

“It says Casio.”

He took a moment to tell me, “You suck! You friggin’ suck.” before he stormed off.

The next customer moved in to take his place, “I need cranberry sauce!”

“I…” I paused to blink back tears. “I’m sorry but Nice Shopper is closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.”

“You’re gonna let me in that store you little pissant or I’ll spit on you again.”

“…but this is a time of love and togetherness…”