Saturday, August 30, 2014

This Time I'm Afraid It's Different

copyright Madison Woods

"Jesus Christ, Perry, don't you ever brush!"

"Sure I do, Dr. Howard.  Regularly.  Three times a day, every Thursday."

"I thought so!  And what kind of toothpaste are you using?"

"A very good one.  Crest with Chocolate Morsels."

"I thought so!  "That is not an effective decay-preventive dentifrice!"

"What are you saying, Dr. Howard?  We've got more of the old drill and fill ahead?"

"No, Perry, this time I'm afraid it's different."

"What is it?"

"Drill, fill, then run for our lives!!!


Frankly I wasn't aware there was even a prompt this week since I saw nothing online proffered by Rochelle, whom I set my Friday Fictioneers clock by --- as well as my barometer and Cuisinart --- but then I saw the Hollywood Squares Authors Block (as Russell calls it) taking shape before my quizzical eyes with a prompt originally provided by Madison Woods, whose pen name I would love to have taken for my own had she not slipped in and grabbed it first. 

So here's my hastily composed response to this week's elusive prompt made this Saturday, August 30, 2014. You can find the other far savvier and tuned in Fictioneers' offerings by clicking right here. 

Oh, one more thing.  That prompt above?  Gag me with a spoon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Can't Beat Camry Camaraderie

I drive one of these.  As do you ... and you ... and you ... and you, too ... and... 

Like many of you, I drive a Toyota Camry.   It is probably the most common car on the road today, and most of us who have them like them very much.   Most of us who have them also feel that as drivers of the most common car on the road today we are each of us about as unique and individual as a painting  by Thomas Kinkade.

Now not only do I drive a Camry, I drive what has to be one of the most popular models of Camry ever: a late model dark gray Camry LE.  Just go out riding and look for one of these and if it takes you more than three minutes to spot one you are never going to be on my team in a treasure hunt, of that you can be sure!

It occurred to me recently that perhaps someone might develop a trend or a meme in our very culture to make we Camry drivers feel a little more special. What if there were an implicit understanding that all Camry drivers would hale one another whenever encountering a brother or sister?  This would create a immediate bond, providing Camry owners with the sense of belonging  to a very special private club of middle income folks with limited style and very limited cool. 

We would be just like the freemasons, only without the secret plan to take over the world.

So I set out yesterday to begin reshaping the very culture of the United States as we know it, just after whizzing, zipping up, and heading out of the can.  I wasn't driving very long before there came from the opposite direction ... yes, indeed it was ... late model dark gray Camry LE!

I honked my horn.  I waved enthusiastically.  I waved  vigorously. I waved as if I were waving to Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies. 

And I got the driver's attention!  He rolled down his window.  What's that he was saying?

"I'm a mother ... what?"   I should eat your ....what?   I'm a piece of .... hey, I heard that!"  

Seems I may have mis-communicated. My fellow Camry driver somehow  thought I was either critiquing his driving or commenting on how his mother came to be the talk of the Eighth Fleet during the Korean War.

Well, off for Culture Change Attempt No. 2

Turning into the mall, I spotted yet another late model dark gray Camry LE with a distinguished looking gentleman at the helm.  This time I chose  a more graceful approach with a soft thumbs up and a bright smile.  And the gentlemen indeed saw me and promptly rolled down his window.

"My place is just a half a mile down the road,"  he said.  "Meet you there in ten minutes."

Gee, I wondered "wouldn't a gay guy have picked a brighter color than dark gray?  I wonder if he's since rethought that?"

Well, on to one more.

And there she was:  a very attractive young woman, but not so young as to be completely out of my age range, that is, as long as my age range is being defined as somewhere between 40 and breathing.   She pulled alongside me as I parked in the mall.   This time I tried calling out:

"Hello, Miss!  We have much in common, do we not?"

"Yes, we do, brother," she shouted,  "we have  250 years of capitalist exploitation in common!  Free everybody everywhere!"

Odd. She hadn't affixed the requisite 500 bumper stickers to the back of her Camry with everything from Don't Eat Grapes to Ask Me About My Grandchildren Who Are Socialist Revolutionaries.  I guess even she realized late model dark gray Camry LE just wouldn't support all that revolutionary fervour.

And so, three up, three down.  I had failed to create a cultural meme. Nobody was interested in the idea of a special club for drivers of an unspecial but highly efficient and very pleasing automobile. I guess Camry drivers  are quite secure in their own middle-of-the-road middle-of the-roadness after all.  

And I guess I am too.  

But I'm still feelin' the love, brothers and sisters.  You just can't beat Camry Camaraderie!


Thursday, August 21, 2014


                                                                                  Copyright Roger Bultot

Get set, America, here comes:

It's the all new line of Chia Cars and Trucks!   You loved Chia pets, now hop into your own personal: 

Cars and Trucks

Just add water all around the vehicle, settle in behind the wheel, and watch your car or truck become a lush green garden before your very eyes!

(Note: Some of the growth may be a bit spotty and unsightly. May attract horribly disgusting insects. Vines have been known to penetrate motors and shut cars down at 70 miles an hour.  Also known to enter front seat and strangle drivers.)
So, America, time to hit the road in the newest fun product from Chia: 

Cars and Trucks

(Oh, and you will probaby lose precious coolness points too.)


Personally I've never owned me a Chia pet, but I couldn't help thinking of them when I saw the picture prompt above. I hope that doesn't mean I have latent desire to actually acquire one.  I can't afford to lose the coolness points!

I am interested, however, in finding out what the other Friday Fictioneers saw in the prompt and I'll check that by clicking here.  If  any of them also saw Chia Cars and Trucks, well then, maybe I will look into getting one.  

A Chia Pet, that is --- not the car!  So I'll burn me a few coolness points. 

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

Damn, I Sure Hope The Desk Works! (FF)

"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.

"You know my name is Tom too," said the  man. "Now lemme give it a try:  "When in the course of human peoples doing all kinds of neat stuff, it becomes cool for them to boot out the king .... damn, I sure hope the 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.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Boy, You Look Great!

I was at a social gathering of late at which I ran into a number of people I hadn't seen in years.  It was truly good to see them and also good to see how many of them were holding up well despite the onslaught of years.

"Hi, John," I bubbled,  "super to see ya!  Boy, you look great!"

"Oh, hi, Perry," returned John.  "Did you happen to see if they have any dip at the crudites table?"


Isn't it just polite to say back to me "You look great too, Perry" even if it's about as true as a pledge to walk the straight and narrow from Lindsay Lohan?

Next I bumped into Philip.

"Phillip, how are you?  Boy, you look great!"

"Oh, hi, Perry.   Do you happen to know where the head is?" 

Now this was getting ridiculous!  Whatever happened to common courtesy?  Even if I look like the onslaught of years is treating me like the onslaught of Crusaders upon a Saracen castle, hey, say something nice, dude!

Okay, here comes Debbie.  Time to put this to the test.

"Perry," she gushed, "how the hell are you?"   

This was promising.

"Debbie," I  said warmly, "boy, you look great!" 

"Thank you, Perry," responded Debbie.  "And you ... umm.... er.... are a sight for sore eyes too."

Okay, that'll do.  I'll take that any day. 

And, oh, by the way,  folks --- boy, you look great!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Location, Location, Location

Copyright Bjorn Rudberg

"Hey, Jane!" said Perry. "Just closed on my new house!" 

"That's great, Perry!" said Jane. "Can't wait to see it!"

"You'll really be impressed with me when you do,"  smirked Perry, ever so modestly.  "It's beautiful, in a great location,  and I got a terrific deal!"

"Well," cooed Jane. "How about you take little ol' me to see it right now?"

"Thought you'd never ask. Y' know, I haven't seen it myself since a week or two."

"Didn't you have a walk-through right before settlement?"

"Nah, Janie,  no need for that."


"Yeah, trust me on this!  That's about as unnecessary and worthless as that stupid insurance they tried to sell me!"


Talk about a great location! 

Five bedrooms, three and a half baths, sumptuous living room, dining room, and kitchen, and only eight of the rooms are presently located under ground in a subterranean well.  

I hope the other members of the Friday Fictioneers are making out a bit better this week.  I wonder which one of them Jane is dating these days ....