Monday, April 15, 2024



A singles cruise turns into a nightmare when a man wakes up alone and in pain, only to discover a terrifying truth lurking beneath the ocean's surface.


A corporate executive ventures into the woods alongside an elderly man, intent on negotiating a land deal, only to uncover its hidden, forbidden secrets.


Lost in the woods, a mysterious house reveals terrifying secrets and a sinister force that stalks its victims in the night.


A scam artist's get rich scheme goes awry when he purchases a mysterious creature from the internet.


It was the final late-night rush of customers that the closing crew at Burger Clown would ever have to face.



A divorced man's ex-wife reveals a terrifying discovery that could grant them eternal life at a terrible cost.


A young primatology professor forms a bond with an experiment gone wrong and faces the consequences of her actions.


 Marcie's obsession with the unknown leads to her facing the consequences of what she always wanted.



This is Channel Ab3 Episode Twelve: Trochildae

A corporate executive ventures into the woods alongside an elderly man, intent on negotiating a land deal, only to uncover its hidden, forbidden secrets.

Troclidae was written by Al Bruno III

It was produced and read by Daniel C Johnson

Music was The Visitor by Shane Ivers

Our unpaid scientific advisor is Adam J Thaxton

The Channel Ab3 theme was written and performed by Rachel F Williams

Channel Ab3 logo was designed by Antonio G 

Are you enjoying the show?

Become a recurring subscriber.

Or make a one-time donation!

Are you in the market to sell your home, find a new home, or just explore real estate investment opportunities? Don't hesitate to get in touch with me!

This is Channel Ab3 is distributed and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Sharealike 4.0 International License


Check out this episode!




Al Bruno III

(for Valerie Jones)

The air was humid and thick with pollen. The path that led through the field was uneven and uphill. The grass that bordered it was thickly flowered with blooms the color of blood. Trees surrounded them, hemlock spruces and white cedars. Occasionally a cicada-like hum would rise up from all around and then fade away.

Joseph hurried after the old man trying to make him sell but the old man just wouldn't listen.

Creer family moved here in 1806,” the old man said. He was white haired but broad-shouldered and thickly built, “The Protestants in New York hadn’t taken too kindly to them ‘cause they kept to themselves and didn’t worship in the fine respectable churches everyone else did. They bought these acres, it wasn’t farmin’ land you see. Gully’s too deep and the ground’s no good for tillin’.”

“Mr. Fenner my company is more than willing to meet almost any price...” Joseph paused to brush a burr from his slacks, he was sure that by the time this was over his suit would be ruined. Not that he ever wore one of his really good suits when visiting these hick towns, but he still didn’t like the idea of getting grass stains or worse on what he was wearing. Something whizzed past his head, it looked like the biggest, pinkest bumblebee he had ever seen. Joseph had always hated the out of doors. Camping and long walks on the beach were not for him. He preferred the odors and sounds of the city, he’d take subway rats over bunnies and woodchucks any day.

They spied a post nearby, just a bolt of wood standing out in the middle of the tall grass. A milk bottle hung from it. The old man made his way to it and filled it from the watering can he was carrying. The fluid that trickled into the bottle was thick and syrupy. “Now the Creer family was all daughters...” he continued, “well that ain’t really true but they had no luck with the male children. Those that weren’t stillborn or simple ran away from home soon as they could.”

When the old man came back to the path there were a dozen or so ticks on his overalls. Joseph felt his skin crawl, he started brushing at his clothes self-consciously. Was there one crawling up his leg now? Was there more than one?

And why was it the old man just wouldn't listen?

The tree line was growing closer, “Now the Fenner family married into the Creers. The Fenners had made their fortunes in Mexico but they came back up north right before the Alamo fell. Soon enough all the Creer daughters married the Fenner sons. Most of ‘em settled here, they built additions onto the house and made families of their own. Some families moved in to town to make their fortunes,” the old man turned and gave Joseph a ragged grin, “but I’m the last now. Last for miles, wife and kids all gone.”

So why stay here?” They reached another post with another bottle, the old man filled it. Joseph turned to look back and grimaced at how far they had come. There was a weathered stone wheel lying near the path, there had been writing on it once but it had been reduced to mottled shapes. “All your neighbors have sold to us already. We want to break ground by the fall.”

The old man got back on the path and started walking again, “But ain’t there enough stores in the world already? Besides, if I sell and you plow all this under where will the Trochildae go?”

Tr- what?”

“Trochildae, least that’s what we Fenners call them. Ain’t got no proper names really but they’re like hummingbirds.”

Joseph groaned inwardly, he had thought the old man was a just a crazy old coot but it was worse than that, he was a tree hugger. “Mr. Fenner there is no record of any endangered species...”

“Well of course not,” the old man replied, “but they're here, been livin' here since before the Creers and the Fenners, since before any man lived at all. Some say the Old Ones brought them down from the stars.”

They followed the path into the woods, Joseph breathed a sigh of relief at the cool shade. He watched the old man fill another bottle. He began “Mr. Fenner I think we have gotten off the subject...” then his words trailed off.

They had reached a clearing in the woods, a rough circle where no plant grew and slabs of stone protruded from the ground. There were figures tied to the stones, men, women and children all bound and gagged with strips of leather. Their flesh was pockmarked and torn. To Joseph's widening eyes they looked like mummies.

But some of those mummies were writhing in place.

A sharp sting of pain made him cry out. Joseph snatched at his cheek and found his fingers warm with blood. There was something flitting around his head, moving fast and filling his ears with a heavy droning buzz.

The thing- the Trochildae- moved too quickly to be seen clearly but Joseph could see it was only bird-like in the vaguest sense of the word. The body was frail-looking and devoid of feathers, dark veins ran through its flesh and its wings moved so quickly that it was impossible to judge how many of them there were. Joseph screamed and swatted at it, backing away and in to the old man's waiting arms. The old man was strong, impossibly strong.

The forest came alive with the sound of the Trochildae as Joseph was expertly bound to a stone. Dozens of the creatures flew this way and that in anticipation.

Over and over again Joseph begged for mercy, but the old man just wouldn't listen.

Monday, April 8, 2024






"I was fifteen years old and about to begin the first day of my second time through the ninth grade. That's right, I failed the ninth grade..."




On this rainy day, I found myself at Guido's place. He was running another game of Dungeons & Dragons....




It was not a physical decay that had rotted Mountainview Mall away from the inside but an economic one.



The problem is that the local shopping mall has no bookstores and no place that sells horror movies on DVD...

I am still at work and about to fall asleep at my desk...



Monday, April 1, 2024

This is Channel Ab3 Episode Eleven: Escape From Pickman's Grove

When an elderly woman's friend is captured by shadows emerging from the darkness, salvation arrives in the form of a mysterious stranger driving a customized Monte Carlo.

Escape From Pickman’s Grove was written by Al Bruno III

It was produced and read by Auravoice

Our unpaid scientific advisor is Adam J Thaxton

The Channel Ab3 theme was written and performed by Rachel F Williams

Episode Artwork was by Moza

Channel Ab3 logo was designed by Antonio G 

Are you enjoying the show?

Become a recurring subscriber.

Or make a one-time donation!

This is Channel Ab3 is distributed and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Sharealike 4.0 International License


Check out this episode!

HIGH ADVENTURE AND LOW HUMOR: Escape From Pickman's Grove


Al Bruno III

Most of the streetlights on Pickman's Grove were broken, and the windows were boarded up. The manhole covers had been pried away from the sidewalks, and the stink that wafted up from them hung in the hot summer air.

Anna walked as quickly as her seventy-year-old legs could carry her, but the sounds were growing closer.

All her friends had warned her to stay away from the town of River City. "It's just not safe for a woman your age," they said, "there are such terrible stories."

The stories were terrible, that much was true: the disappearances and the reports of strange sounds and shadows that stalked the unwary at night. But Anna went just the same. The lure of rare antiques was too much for her to resist. Besides, she'd brought her best friend with her, and Tabitha still had her driver's license and was a master of Tai Chi. What could possibly go wrong?

The answer, of course, was everything. Everything and then some.

She could make out the sounds now, a chorus of snorts and meeps that were growing closer by the second. She risked a look back and saw six shapes loping after her. Their clothes were filthy and torn, their flesh was pale and rubbery.

Her granddaughter Michelle had given her one of those smartphones and an app she could use to get a ride to and from the grocery store anytime. It had worked perfectly in her neighborhood, but what about here? Anna fumbled with it, fighting past the half dozen apps she had left open to get to the one she needed.

More shapes were starting to creep out of every alley and doorway. They began to surround Anna. She grew weak at the knees, tears welled up in her eyes.

This is it. She thought, I am going to die, and no one will ever know what happened.

A jet-black Monte Carlo squealed to a halt in front of her. There were Uber stickers on every window. The passenger door sprung open. "Get in!" a deep voice shouted, "Hurry!"

Anna hurried.

Once she was safely inside, the car door shut all on its own. Anna glanced back and saw dozens of the things, but they stayed back, snarling and meeping with frustration.

"What's your name?"

Startled, she looked to the front of the car and saw the driver was wearing a blue cowl, cape, and red spandex. She tried to answer him, but all that came from her mouth was a stammering noise.

"That's ok," he smiled reassuringly, "you'll feel better once we're out of here."

One of the pallid creatures threw a brick. It bounced off the glass of the rear windshield.

"And speaking of getting out of here..." The Monte Carlo sped away with a squeal of its tires.

A superhero driving a Monte Carlo? Anna thought with disbelief. She knew about superheroes; her home city of Woldercan was

teeming with them, but those heroes flew, ran, or swung from skyscraper to skyscraper. She had never heard of one driving a souped-up Monte Carlo for Uber.

It was ridiculous!

"Who are you?" she asked.

The driver chuckled good-naturedly, "I asked you first."

"Anna," she answered, "Anna Bauer."

"Pleased to meet you, Anna Bauer." he glanced at her in the rearview mirror, "I'm Captain Hero. Maybe you've heard of me?"

"No. Never."

"Oh," the Monte Carlo paused at a red light. "I'm a Local Hero. I keep the population safe from the forces of chaos. It's a bigger job than you might think."

Anna had no idea how to respond to that.

"So," a smartphone was mounted to the dashboard; the masked man poked at the screen purposefully, "Where are you headed?"

"Home," she said.
Captain Hero chuckled again, "And home is?"

Anna gave him the address, and he nodded, "I'll have you there in a jiffy."

Four headlights began to bear down on them. Captain Hero looked in his side-view mirror; his voice was calm with curiosity. "Now, what is this?"

The light still hadn't changed. Anna looked back again and screamed, "It's them! They're coming!"

"Trucks?" the masked man turned in his seat, "Since when do they drive?"

The lights turned green. The Monte Carlo revved its engine and barreled through the intersection with two pickup trucks in hot pursuit. A handful of the monsters had crowded into the rear cab of each. They threw bricks and stones as their vehicles drew closer.

The Monte Carlo took a hard left. "What are they?" Anna asked as she held on for dear life.

"Sewer ghouls," Captain Hero said, "bit of a local problem."

Anna was struggling to get her seatbelt on. She breathed a sigh of relief when it clicked into place. The trucks were getting closer. One mounted the sidewalk and crashed headlong through a pile of abandoned boxes.

"So," he asked, "what were you doing in Pickman's Grove anyway?"

The question stunned her, "Antiquing."

"I see," he nodded, "you can find some great little shops there, great bargains too."

"My friend drove us. Her car was stolen. Then something grabbed her from out of the shadows."

"The poor dear."

One of the trucks was close enough to bump the Monte Carlo. Captain Hero pressed a button on the dashboard, and a stream of liquid squirted out of the back bumper. The truck fishtailed and crashed.

Anna asked, "What did you do?"

"Oil slick," he replied, "but don't worry. I use canola oil. It's better for the environment."

The second truck came roaring up beside them. The sewer ghouls in the back started bashing the car with their homemade weapons. Anna squealed with terror.

Captain Hero said, "Don't worry. I had this Monte Carlo specially augmented. It has weapons, a nitrous oxide injection system, and the sound system will knock your socks off. Let me show you."

Smooth Jazz began to fill the car.

"That's the college station. Professor Hinkley has a show every day from ten to midnight," Captain Hero jerked the wheel, clipping the driver's side tire of the second truck, "after that, this talk radio woman comes on. She calls herself 'Morning Wood'. A bit too edgy for my tastes."

One of the sewer ghouls lept out and landed on the hood of the Monte Carlo just before the truck spun out and crashed sideways into a lamppost.

"By the way, would you like a complimentary energy drink? There's a cooler to your left. Mind the clearly labeled specimen jars. They're for a case I'm working on."

"No, thank you," she said.

The ghoul on the hood clawed at the windshield and spat. With a push of a button, Captain Hero sent windshield washer fluid spraying into its eyes. It howled and tumbled from the car.

Anna cleared her throat, "I've never heard of a... person with your lifestyle doing this for a living."

"Well, being a caped crusader doesn't pay the bills like it used to," Captain Hero explained. "So, this way, I get to make a living, set my own hours, and defend truth, justice, and the American Way."

A new vehicle careened out of a nearby garage. The wide, bulky, almost-tractor-like shape had a feral-looking man in a tuxedo behind the wheel. Captain Hero stared at his rearview mirror in wide-eyed shock. "Is that a Zamboni?"

The Zamboni fired a rocket, the blast missing the back of the Monte Carlo by inches. The nearby explosion was enough to momentarily launch the Monte Carlo into the air. It soared along for two seconds, then touched down onto two wheels. It rolled like that for a few yards, then dropped back onto its four tires.

Captain Hero shook his head ruefully, "Where are they getting this stuff?"

Anna was starting to feel carsick and airsick all at once, "They don't have any more rockets do they?"

"Sadly, in my experience, these things come in pairs." A blinding flash filled the rearview mirror, "Speak of the devil."

He hit the brakes and twisted the steering wheel, the car spun in a semi-circle. The rocket sailed past the Monte Carlo to impact the side of a long abandoned Burger Clown restaurant. The structure crumpled and began to burn.

"For years I've wanted to chase these creeps out of the tunnels, but they got a lawyer and set up all kinds of restraining orders," Captain Hero explained, "something about squatters' rights."

Now, they were facing the speeding Zamboni. Captain Hero slammed his foot on the accelerator and charged straight at the vehicle. Anna's stomach clenched, the Zamboni's headlights flared, and the music of John Coltrain gently caressed their ears.

At the last second, the Zamboni driver turned away, his vehicle hitting the curb and toppling over onto its side. The tuxedoed ghoul shook its fist at them as they sped away.

The rest of the drive to Woldercan was uneventful. Anna spent most of the time trying to figure out what she was going to say to Tabitha's bridge partner.

The car finally slowed to a stop in front of Anna's house. Captain Hero checked his phone and said, "That will be $28.50."

"What?" Anna said, more confused than upset.

"Sorry ma'am it's surge rates right now."

Anna pressed the button on her app to pay for the trip. "I'm on a fixed income. I hope a fifteen percent tip is ok."

"Every little bit helps," He got out of the car, slid across the hood, and opened the passenger door. He gently took her hand as she got out, "Although truth be told, keeping nice people like you from being subjected to unspeakable rituals and then being eaten alive is its own reward."

"Is that what was going to happen to me?" Anna looked at her phone, wondering how to increase the gratuity to twenty percent.

His dashboard-mounted cell phone chimed, and he glanced at it. "Hmmm looks like a couple of joggers have been cornered by an angry night-gaunt. Talk about a ticklish situation."

"What is a-"

The man in red spandex leaped into the Monte Carlo with a flourish of his blue cape. The tires squealed as he sped away. Anna put her hands to the sides of her head; this had been the strangest night of her life.

The Monte Carlo's tires shrieked in protest as the vehicle sped back to her in reverse. The masked avenger poked his head out the driver's side window and said, "Oh, and if you liked your service I'd appreciate a five-star review. It really helps."

Anna nodded, "I'll get my granddaughter to help me."

And then, with a thumbs up, a cloud of dust, and a hearty "Captain Hero AWAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!" he was gone.



Monday, March 25, 2024


















Friday, March 15, 2024

This is Channel Ab3 Episode Ten: Everything Must Go

The last remnants of a time-lost love are uncovered when I revisit a once-thriving mall to shop its final liquidation sale...

'Everything Must Go' was written by Al Bruno III

It was produced and read by Kenneth Cooper

Our unpaid scientific advisor is Adam J Thaxton

The Channel Ab3 theme was written and performed by Rachel F Williams

Channel Ab3 logo was designed by Antonio G 

Are you enjoying the show?

Become a recurring subscriber.

Or make a one-time donation!

This is Channel Ab3 is distributed and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Sharealike 4.0 International License

Check out this episode!


Al Bruno

Fall 2000

It was not a physical decay that had rotted Mountainview Mall away from the inside but an economic one. The stores had bled away bit by bit. Some had been small businesses that never stood a chance, like a store that sold nothing but products made in Switzerland. Others had been casualties of changing tastes and fashions.

Losses like that could be dealt with, but when the mall's McDonald's closed down, it was the beginning of the end. I was there for a liquidation sale for a big box electronics store that had been placed there in hopes of reviving customer traffic. The plan had failed, and now this store was the only business left. Everything else was just empty windows and boarded-up doorways. I wasn't there to buy anything but would bring something away with me nonetheless.

Bargain hunters like me entered the mostly defunct electronics store through the front door, but there was another door to be found. It was at the back, near the nearly empty video department. All left there now was a handful of Playboy features and cheaply produced Disney direct-to-video movies. I doubt anyone would have the nerve to bring either video cassette to the sour-looking woman at the register. That second door was kept open to cool down the store, better than paying for air conditioning.

It was easy enough for me to slip through those doors and wander into The mall's darkened interior. I could see the empty spaces that had been a Woolworth's, a restaurant, and Spencer's gifts. When I was a teenager, I had frittered so many hours and dollars away in this place.

The mall's fountain had dried up long ago, the water turned off, the pennies and nickels snatched away. There was dirt and dust everywhere, as well as scraps of old paper and rat droppings, some dried and some fresh. The newspapers said that as soon as the electronics store was emptied, this mall would be knocked down, and a much more eye-pleasing shopping plaza would rise up from the ruins. There were even hushed and reverent whispers that a Target or Wal-Mart would be there.

I wondered when that would be. I was thirty-six, and so many of my life's landmarks had disappeared or changed into something unrecognizable. I asked how much longer it would be before the wrecking ball came for this place. I didn't know, but I knew this would be my last chance to get what I had left behind.

Despite the shadows and the grime, I found the spot easily. It was just an ordinary bench; I remember it faced a women's clothing store. The bench was chipped and lopsided. It creaked threateningly as I sat down. When I closed my eyes, I could remember the girl sitting beside me. The strawberry blonde, my first love.

The sounds came first, the murmur of voices, the empty din of the piped-in music. I saw myself at sixteen years old, so awkward and forever feeling like I would never measure up to the world's expectations of me.

I could tell you that my first love was as cute as a button, but that would be a lie because there wasn't a button made that could have held a candle to her. I remembered the white winter jacket she wore and the scent of her perfume. It was soft, gentle, and unique like her, and I never smelled it like it again. That day, we had been sitting side by side, joking and talking. That first kiss, my first kiss, happened so fast, and after that, nothing was ever the same again.

Did we look ridiculous sitting there, making out in full view of the world? Probably, and I suppose more than a few people didn't approve, but no one tried to separate or shame us.

Which is good because you couldn't have pried her from my embrace with a crowbar. I didn't want those kisses to end. I wanted them to go on forever.

Impossible, I know, but when you're sixteen, time moves so slowly that forever seems easy.

But there was no forever. There was just that moment, which had ended as surely as Mountainview  Mall had become a faux-deco tomb. I opened my eyes, and I was thirty-six- definitely older but only maybe a little wiser. I have a wife, daughter, and an appalling number of pets waiting for me back home, and for all my mooning over the past and smartass remarks, I couldn't wait to see them.

I savored that memory, hiding it away in my mind and my heart as I brought it with me. I was sure no one would mind one less ghost haunting a place like this.



Friday, March 1, 2024















MY SUITCASE OF MEMORIES: A Little Something For Daddy


A Little Something For Daddy
Al Bruno III

The problem is that the local shopping mall has no bookstores and no place that sells horror movies on DVD so when the Bruno family and I head out there I find myself bored beyond reason or worse. Both my wife and daughter get stuff on these trips but I never do, I mean I'm not greedy but it would be nice to get a little something.

The first thing you notice as you walk into the mall is one of those crane games, you know the kind where you try to free one of the twenty or so stuffed animals crammed into the thing using a metal claw with the grip strength of a geriatric on Quaaludes. My daughter is fascinated by these machines and left to her own devices I think she would sacrifice her entire college fund trying to win a misshapen replica of SpongeBob Squarepants stuffed with shredded magazines and used Chinese diapers.

This time we managed to get away with simply sacrificing one or two dollars but my daughter always voices some disappointment that I can never win one of those things for her. Truth be told I never even try. It's one of her uncles that has a real talent for those things, he can usually empty one in the course of an hour but let's be honest here it's his only marketable skill.

That obstacle bypassed we stopped for a bite to eat, the food court is clean, well lit and surprisingly rat free. Laugh all you want but over a decade ago when I worked at one of Albany's larger malls the food court had a real problem with rodents; and these being New York rats they frequently carried switchblades.

A quick sodium filled meal later we made our first stop a ladieswear store. I am not uncomfortable in such places because I spent a summer working in women's clothing... but I never really learned how to walk in high heels.

Nyuck Nyuck.

Most women's clothing stories have chairs near the changing room for the men to sit in and contemplate their lives of quiet desperation but I didn't get the chance to in one of them because I was busy chasing after my daughter as she rummaged through the spin racks full of beads and baubles near the main register. She likes to try on everything- at once. My choice is not an easy one; do I let my daughter have a good time or get a jump start on this afternoon's tantrum? Eventually I give in to the withering gaze of the clerk manning the register but not before my daughter looks like an explosion at Cyndi Lauper's house.

My wife called me over and asked for an opinion on a blouse.

"Why don't you pick whatever one you like best?" I said.

"Come on," the Missus chided me. "Your opinion matters. Do you prefer the blue or the yellow?"

I paused for a moment considering, "The blue. Yes, the blue works best I think."

The Missus held each blouse up, nodding, "No. I don't think the blue goes with any of my outfits. Yellow is more my color anyway."

"I'm just glad I was able to help." I turned back to see my daughter trying to climb onto one of the shelving units.

One blouse, two pairs of slacks and an apology later we headed for another store but this time it was so the Missus could find a new handbag. It had been over three weeks since she'd changed purses and you could tell that the strain of it was beginning to wear on her sanity. My daughter started fussing that she wanted to go to look at toys so I had her stand near the front of the store as a kind of impromptu time out. As my daughter glared sullenly at the world the Missus remarked to me that she couldn't find any purses that really caught her eye. I suggested that she just use one of the older ones she had piled up in the hall closet.

Once I was out of time out we took my daughter to the toy store so she could 'Ooh' and 'Ah' over the bits of molded plastic. These days Hanna Montana was her drug of choice but she was also starting to get into all those other tweener bands. I couldn't stand the stuff. I mean what happened to kids' music? When I was growing up we had real bands that spoke for an entire generation like The Banana Splits, Jose and the Pussycats and The Brady Kids.

Laugh if you want but do you think the Jonas Brothers could survive being lost in outer space? I think not!

The Missus and I decided to let my daughter get a new doll, after all she hadn't tried to disassemble the apartment's electrical system in almost a week. Yeah she is kinda spoiled but I want to have these moments to remember when she's a teenager and she hates my guts.

The last stop on this little excursion was the beauty salon. The girls wanted to get their hair done and that was fine, except that I knew I would find myself sitting there trying pass the time reading by Cosmo and Modern Bride. The articles were kind of OK but all the perfume ads made me want to sneeze.

The hairdressers were all young and gossipy, the salon was dead so my wife and daughter got immediate service. About halfway through her rinse the Missus suggested, "You know there's no other customer's why don't you get a haircut? You need one."

She was right that I did need a haircut, the sides and back were a ragged mess but as always the top of my head looked like a satellite photograph of the deforested areas of Brazil. Long ago all hopes of a comb-over had been lost so I had taken to shaving my head on a semi-regular basis. There is an old saying that when a balding man shaves his head its like saying "You can't fire me I quit!" So be it.

In the interests of saving money I sheared my head using the clippers we had bought for doing maintenance on our Persian cat's fluffy black fur. This was before we learned that trying to shave down a cat was about as advisable as opening a Fredrick's of Hollywood in Amish country.

"Come on." The Missus said again, "This way I won't be cleaning hair out of the bathroom sink for days."

"Sure." I said, "Why not?"

"Hi I'm Kara." A red haired Chinese girl led me to one of the chairs and asked, "You want me to trim the sides and the back?"

"No." I explained, "Just shave it all off."

"What?" She draped the vinyl cape over me and around my neck.

"Just take a pair of clippers and shear my head down until its like a GI JOE doll."

She looked at me like I was crazy, "You want your hair like an action figure?"

There was a brief moment where I sobbed with the realization of how old I was but then I gathered myself up again and explained, "Just take a pair of clippers and take it all off maybe leave half and inch or so."

"Oh OK."

"You have done this kind of thing before right?" I asked.

"Well your only my third or fourth customer since I got out of beauty school." She explained.

The clippers buzzed to life, I took one last mournful look at the curves of my ears and she got to work.

Thankfully my beautician's hands were steady and the blades of the clippers were clean and sharp.Soon enough my head looked like a farm fresh egg with a light coating of brown mold. "There you go." She ran her fingers along my scalp, "It feels nice."

"Thanks." I said uncertainly, "You do good work."

"Hey Kristy! Kitty!" She called over to one of the other girls, "Come here and feel this!"

My wife and daughter were freshly coiffured and waiting at the register while three college aged hotties took turns rubbing the top of my head telling me how much I looked like that Private Pyle guy from that old movie. However it didn't take long for their amusement to wear off and they all headed off for a collective cigarette break. Kara pulled the cutting cape from around me and announced, "Ok you can get up now."

"No," I said, "No I can't."

A little something indeed.

MY SUITCASE OF MEMORIES: Fully Employed But Half Awake

Fully Employed But Half Awake


Al Bruno III



This is not simply a blog entry, oh no.

This is part of today's struggle a delaying tactic if you will.

I am still at work and about to fall asleep at my desk.

mmmmmmm... sleep....

It wasn't that I stayed up to late, I am nothing if not responsible. It's just that I was awoken by the sensation of my face being furiously licked and sadly the culprit was not Jessica Alba or Judge Marilyn Milian but my big eyed dog Jake. I patted Jake on the head and ushered him away. Then I tried to get back to sleep but it was no use, I had been awoken. I checked the clock radio, it was three AM. I groaned audibly and pounded my fist against the mattress. The minor commotion disturbed my wife and half-awake she grumbled "You're supposed to do that in your office."


So now here I am, struggling to stay conscious as the workday ticks by slowly... numbingly... soothingly... so soothingly...

just a few minutes... I'll just close my eyes for a few minutes...

But no! I can't do that. That's the trap, I know that if I close my eyes for what I promise yourself will just be a moment the next thing I know I'll find myself waking up from lying face first on my keyboard, my face slicked with my own drool. I drool a lot when I sleep, I drool like Paris Hilton at a rich douchebag convention. Besides I know the minute I nod off my boss or any number of corporate underlings will come wandering into my cubicle for one reason or another.

So I sit here typing away, pausing only for the occasional blackou-

mustn't... black... out...

...or steal dialogue from Frank Miller comic books.

I'm no stranger to falling asleep at work, it doesn't matter what the job I had I feel asleep there at least once. I once fell asleep while manning a cash register in the middle of an afternoon rush. All I know is that I started to get drowsy at 1:30 and the next thing I knew it was 2:45- I still have no idea what happened during that missing hour and fifteen minutes but oddly enough my cash drawer was perfectly even that day. I rare occurrence for me.

When I worked in an office supply store I would frequently drowse off in an office furniture display while 'straightening it'- I guess it was kind of practice for now eh kids?

and my dreams, brief and disturbing... am at home dreaming of my job or at my job dreaming of home?

And I really do dream of work an awful lot really, maybe that's why I'm so comfortable sleeping here. Maybe its just getting even, maybe its just a sign of old but where I once dreamed I was a character in a particularly Freudian episode of Doctor Who or the X-Files I now dream that I'm on a quest to figure out where the latest productivity meeting is. Where I once dreamed of banging away on Cindy Crawford or Angela Lansbury I now find my dream self trying to bang a toner cartridge into a dirty photocopier- a dirty dirty photocopier. Where I once dreamed I was a long haired Adonis I now dream that I am a long haired Adonis with a clip on tie.

why is it the more tired I get the more offensive and surreal my material gets, like a tiny Nazi riding on a mule wearing a spangled turban...

It is an amazing and cruel thing to be perfectly awake at 3 AM watching infomercials and dead to the world at 3PM when you are supposed to be enhancing shareholder value. I try to give my energy a boost by having sugary snack, there are no shortage of sugary snacks around my workplace. I believe it is an insidious plan by my corporate masters to make us too bloated to leave our cubicles. I can almost see my future self so bloated that he cannot move from his ergonomic chair, kept alive and working via a company that pays us in insulin. Of course we will passing the savings on to our customers.

barely awake now... dreaming of Nutty Buddy bars...

I promise myself that when I get home I'll go straight to bed but that's a lie; dogs need to be walked, then re-walked, my daughter needs to be made to do her homework - reason is rarely effective , the threat of waterboarding has been a rousing success, my wife will most likely yell at me for gently mocking her on the Internet. And really I shouldn't mock her because of all the women I have made love to she is the only one that never shouted "What the HELL are you doing?"

Oh yeah. She's a keeper.

My daughter's homework is a major stumbling block as well, I don't remember my homework being quite so intricate when I was nine years old. Then again I did have to take my classes in the boiler room with the other 'creative' students. Now once my daughter gets focused she does great but getting her to that point seems to take a long exhausting time. Before I know it it's 8:30 and time to take out the garbage and maybe clean the catbox, sure it might make more sense to do those chores in reverse but that's just not how I roll.

Before I can go to bed however I first spend some time with the missus then try to add a write a few pages. It could be anything, my blog, my writing, my ever growing enemies list.

You bastards know who you are.

Then I go to bed but I know I won't make it through the night, something will wake me up at 3 AM even if it is the sound of my own snoring.

waking up now ...I can think again...

Well I managed to stay awake, the brain activity involved in working on this little project is just what I needed.

Of course now that you're read this there is a good chance I've put YOU to sleep.