Sunday, August 17, 2014

If Albert Camus Wrote Colonial Penn Life Insurance Commercials

Mother died today.  Or maybe yesterday, I can't be sure. 

The Home for Aged Persons is at Marengo, some fifty miles from Algiers. It seemed to me absurd that in this empty God-less universe without any meaning or purpose it was necessary to shell out 15 dollars (30 bucks round trip!) just to ride a smelly and bumpy auto-bus to attend one's mother's funeral when I could just as well have stayed home and watched Django Unchained if I wanted to hang with dead people. 

Upon my arrival at the asylum I met with the director of the facility.

"I know how hard this must be for you," said Monsieur le Directeur. "Now I suppose you'd like to see your mother?"  

"Nah," I replied, "what ya got to eat here? You got cable?  Last season for True Blood, you know!"

The director seemed a bit surprised by my response, but not at all judgmental.

"Holy crap, Monsieur Meursault!  Mr. Touchy-Feely you ain't!  But there's something more I wish to tell you.  About your Mother's final expenses."

"I knew it. Mahjong losses! I should have known better than to put her in a Jewish retirement home."  

"No, that's not it at all, Monsieur Meursault!   You see, your mother had life insurance through the Colonial Penn Insurance Group. All her final expenses were paid."

"“How could Mother have secured life insurance?” I asked the director. “The way she huffed and puffed Gauloises, she had long ago been designated a Superfund Site by the EPA.”

"With Colonial Penn," explained the director, "your acceptance is guaranteed." 
"There is nothing guaranteed in this cold soulless universe, Monsieur le Directeur, except death and rejection by cheerleaders."

"Not so, Monsieur Meursault.  With Colonial Penn, you cannot be turned down for any reason."

"What if you're on death row after having murdered an Arab?"

"I ... uh .... suppose that's okay.  And there's no health questions."

"Like are you a syphilitic pimp or a drug addict who'll turn tricks for a bottle of NyQuil?"

"Boy, you’re tough!  Who picked you for this commercial, the same guy who green lighted Gigli?"

"You see, Monsieur le Directeur," I explained, "we live in an absurd universe and our only option short of suicide is to seek to create within ourselves our own subjective and individual meaning, truth, and purpose. I've got the Cliff's Notes if you want to know more."

Suddenly I heard a voice.  It was familiar and reassuring.

"Hello, I'm Alex Trebek, compensated spokesperson for Colonial Penn Life Insurance. You know what that means: I'm Colonial Penn's bitch.

If you're between the ages of 50 and my age, now you can get life insurance for less than 35 cents a day. That's less than the cost of a newspaper, if anyone ever read one anymore.  And your rate will never go up and your paltry misleading benefit will never go down."  

Gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, I opened myself up for the first time to a universe throbbing with meaning and purpose.  I realized at last that the answer to the mystery of existence was life insurance from Colonial Penn Insurance Group. Who could ever doubt the venerable host of Jeopardy? Who could doubt the man who's been bringing us Potent Potables for over thirty years? 

"Y'know, Monsieur le Directeur," I said,  "I'm going to call Colonial Penn today!"  

"You'll be glad you did."

 "Or maybe tomorrow, I can't be sure."


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boy, I Hope That Desk Works!

"I really like that desk," said the customer to Tom, who worked the Fifth Street shop on Thursdays.

"Yes, it's one of our finest antiques, sir," Tom replied.

"Y'know, I feel like just sitting at the desk would help me to write better."

"Now, sir" laughed Tom, "the desk comes with no guarantee that you'll write better."

"Well, who knows?  I'll take it."

"As you wish, sir," said Tom,  quite pleased to have made the sale and earned a small commission.

"Now lemme see," said the  man.  "When in the course of human peoples doing all kinds of neat stuff, it becomes cool for them to boot out the king ..... boy, I hope that desk works!"


Apparently the desk worked. 

Of course, the other Friday Fictioneers need no such desk other than as the subject of their stories, which are available by clicking here.

Let's just re-title this story "A Tale of Two Toms."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mrs. Doubtful

And now, my humble tribute to Robin Williams via a brief presentation based on one of his best films ever ...
Mrs. Doubtful
starring Perry Block

There is a knock at the door of the home of Mrs. Fiona Hotley.

"Yes, who is it?"

"Hello, I'm Mrs. Doubtful.  I've come about the Nanny position."

"Welcome, Mrs. Doubtful!  I ... Gee, you wear a lot of makeup.

"Oh, yes, Flo from the Progressive Commercials does all my makeup."

"How did you find out about the job?"

"I looked in Craigs List under 'Positions Wanted Where It's Unlikely Someone Will Kill You.'  I saw your ad and it sure didn't hurt that you included a picture, Mrs. Hotley!"

"Do you have any references,  Mrs. Doubtful?"

"Oh, yes, I do.  Unfortunately the last couple I worked for has moved."

"Where did they move to ?"

"Borneo. Deep in the Jungle. To become pig farmers."

"Well, I'm sure they could fax the references."

"Oh, no, no!  No faxing.  Mail goes by yak."

"Well, I do need a nanny right away.   You're hired, Mrs. Doubtful!"  

"Good!  Now could you show me to your bedroom?  I ... mean my bedroom!"

Later that night, Mrs. Doubtful is on the cell phone in her room.

"I can't believe it, Perry.  You go to all the trouble to disguise yourself as a nanny just to meet a hot divorcee with two children?"

"Yeah,  Paul.  You try being a kinda bald 63 year old with highly limited prospects who last had sex during the Bush Administration (and I mean the first one).  Let's see if you'd be reduced to wearing a dress."

"If I were that badly off,  I'd be wearing an evening gown!"

The next morning as Mrs. Doubtful enters Mrs. Hotley's bedroom ... 

"Good morning,  Mrs.  Hotley!  Thought I'd bring you breakfast in bed."

"That's very nice,  Mrs. Doubtful, but may I ask a question?


"Isn't it customary when one person brings another person breakfast in bed for there to be only one person in the bed?"

"Oh, sorry, just thought I'd warm your bed covers."

"Thank you, but that's not necessary, Mrs. Doubtful. Could see that the children get off to school okay?

A moment later in the kitchen.

"Here you go, Kimmie, here's your lunch - Peanut Butter and Tuna"

"Shouldn't that be peanut butter and jelly?"

"You know,  you're right, Kimmie!  Now, get outta here, enjoy third  grade."

"I'm in college, Mrs. Doubtful."

"And you, Billy, here's your lunch --- a lettuce sandwich."

"Shouldn't there be meat or something else in here, Mrs. Doubtful?" 

"Now don't be a spoiled brat, Billy!  Hope I didn't put too much lettuce in."

Mrs. Hotley enters the kitchen.

"Mrs. Doubtful, I need you."

(aside) "Ha-ha, that didn't take long!"

"Yes-s-s-s, Mrs. Hotley!  Did you say you ... ahem ... need me?"

"Yes, Mrs. Doubtful.  I need you to do the laundry, vacuum the entire house,  clean all the bathrooms, and build an extension and deck on the back."

"OMG!  Anything else,  Mrs. Hotley?"

"Yes,  Mrs. Doubtful.  Do you ... do you any chance do massage?"

"Now, we're talking!  Do I do massage?  These  hands are certified and licensed by the American Massage Association!"

"Sounds good to me.  Please go ahead, Mrs. Doubtful."

"What kind of massage would you like,  Mrs. Hotley?  May I recommend our special for the day, which we call our Happy Ending?"

"Happy Ending?!!  Why you're not a woman at all!  You're a man!"

"Yes, but I have very many feminine traits."

"Get out,  Mrs. Doubtful!   Get out!!! Oh, and one thing more."

"Yes, Mrs. Hotley?"

"See if Flo is interested in the job."


Well, that's  Mrs. Doubtful, folks!  It isn't exactly Robin Williams, but then what ever will be Robin Williams again? Thanks for everything, Robin!   And....


Monday, August 11, 2014

Will The Real Dark Knight Please Rise?

Bane: Greetings and welcome, my fiends!

I'd like to call to order the monthly Board of Directors meeting of the League of Arch Villains Who Think Batman Sucks.  I'm your chairperson, Bane.  

With us today are five longstanding Board members:  the Joker, Two-Face,  Ra's al Ghul, the Riddler, and the Penguin.  A no-show again for the fourth month is Selena Kyle.  I sure hope she hasn't turned on us because I have a DVD of Les Miz at home and that chick always make me cry.

Joker: Me too.  Don't get me started!

Bane:  Now, gentlemen,  we decided  that today would be a brain-storming session on the subject of Batman's secret identity.  The topic was suggested by Two-Face, who has some very interesting thoughts to share with us.  Two?

Two-Face:  Thanks, Bane.  It occurred to me the other day that Batman in his everyday life probably makes a pretty good buck.  Well above the minimum wage.

Ra's al Ghul:  How do you figure?

Two-Face: Where d0 all those gadgets come from?  The car,  the hover craft, the motorcycles, that totally unnecessary flare with the Bat logo in the last movie?  You can't get 'em at Goodwill! 

Penguin: True. Bet he has a decent benefits package too. Wonder where he works.

Two-Face:  No, Penguin, I don't think Batman works anywhere!  Let's say the Dark Knight has a job selling lingerie at Target,  and one day one of us decides to destroy Gotham City. Can't you just hear him:

 "I know the Bat Signal's been shining for half an hour, Commissioner Gordon, but I don't get off work until 10:00!  And my supervisor's been riding my ass hard all day!"

Riddler: Maybe he works for Sam's Club?

Two-Face:  No, he doesn't work for Sam's Club, you moron!  He's a multi-millionaire

All:  Ohhh!  Never thought of that.

Two-Face: So who has some suggestions as to who he might be?

Ra's al Ghul:  Well,  how about Warren Buffett?  I've always admired him.

Bane:  Me too!  

Two-Face:   Hello: Earth to Ra's al Ghuand Bane  ....  Earth to Ra's al Ghuand Bane!

Ra's al Ghuand Bane:  Yes, Two?

Two-Face:  Warren Buffett  is 83 years old!

Ra's al GhulOh.  Well how about Bill Gates?

Riddler:  Nah, too nerdy.

Joker:  I was thinking maybe the Koch Brothers.  One of them could be out there as Batman while the other lobbies the hard-core Republicans, then they could switch off.  Very efficient!

Bane:   Are you kidding?

Joker:  What do you mean?

Bane: Those two guys are way more evil than we are!  The Koch Brothers are about as likely to be Batman as they are to be lunching this week with Dr. Cornel West. 

Two-Face:   Guys, I'm leaning toward Mark Zuckerberg.  He's young,  he's brash, and he's done wonders for the popularity of kittens. 

Ra's al Ghul:   I think I just heard the sound of ten thousand Jewish grandmothers kvelling!  But could Batman really be Jewish?

Riddler: He looks to me like the kind of Jewish guy who can't stand the sight of blood.  So, no.

Joker:  How about Donald Trump?

Bane:   Joker!   Much as we all hate the Dark Knight,  Batman cannot be the world's biggest asshole!  

Penguin: Say, what about Bruce Wayne? 

Joker:  Bruce Wayne? He's an idiot!  He burned down the family mansion and didn't even notice when his girlfriend morphed from looking like Katie Holmes to Maggie Gyllenhaal! 

Penguin: Too bad, because he's the only multi-millionaire living in Gotham, his parents' murder could have sparked a life-long battle against injustice, and he spent years in the Himalayas studying the deadliest and most secretive form of martial arts in existence.

JokerSure.  Now moving right along ....

Ra's al Ghul:  I've got it!

All:  Who?

Ra's al Ghul:  OPRAH!

All:    OPRAH!  Of Course! 

Ra's al Ghul:  We all know Oprah can do anything.  No doubt she can save Gotham from any one of us, look absolutely stunning in the doing, and still be home in time for dinner with Stedman.  

Bane:  Oprah it is!  Now who's up next to destroy Gotham City?

Two-Face:  That's me.  I'm scheduled for October 8, 9, and 10.

Bane: Great!  I'm marking it in my book.  Penguin, you are assigned to approach Oprah and tell her we will expose her secret if she dare oppose us.

Penguin: What secret?  That she and Gale ....

Bane: Not that secret!

Penguin:  I'll do it!  I'll do it on behalf of Arch Villains Who Think Batman Sucks everywhere!

Bane: Terrific.  And Penguin?

Penguin: Yes, Bane.

Bane: Get me an autograph.