Friday, July 31, 2015

Write It Down! (FF)

 © G.L. MacMillan

"Henry!  Henry Jekyll!  I'm coming down the hall to see you!"

"Just a minute, Charles," called Hyde. "I'm ... uh ... dressing."

"OMG!" thought Hyde in desperation. "It's such a complicated formula. Why didn't I write it down?!"

"Let's see … yes, half a beaker of the blue bottle, third from the left, bottom shelf. Then 25 milligrams from the yellow bottle, top shelf.... no, no, that's middle shelf!"

"Henry, got to come in now!"

"Why didn't I write it down?!! Okay, a swig of this green bottle, hope for the best!"

"Hello, Henry.  Just wanted to return this Robert Louis Stevenson book I borrowed."

"Thank you, Charles."

"Oh, and Henry?"

"Yes, Charles?"

"I'd humbly suggest you either get your hair cut eight feet shorter or learn to WRITE IT DOWN!" 

Let's hope you're a bit better at extricating yourself from hairy situations than our friend Hyde. In any event, here's a lesson we all should learn: Always write it down! Especially when there's going to be a quiz later that goes on your permanent record.  

To check out the permanent records of the other Friday Fictioneers when it comes to the picture prompt above, please remember to click here. It would be a strange case indeed if you're not fully entertained.

Oh, and one more important thing to remember --- 
I'd humbly suggest you WRITE IT DOWN!

Thursday, July 30, 2015


RoboCop?  No, it's RoboBlock!

The scene is a dystopian society in the very near future. We're in the headquarters of Omni Consumer Products (OCP) where two young corporate executives (Konig and Gaal) are discussing OCP's latest technological breakthrough. 

Gaal:  I have to tell you, Konig, that when we first brought this guy in he was one of the most dilapidated specimens I've ever seen.

Konig: I'll say. He looked like he'd been trampled by the entire field of Republican Presidential candidates back in 2015. 

Gaal: What on Earth happened to him?  Was he attacked by a vicious gang of thugs? Caught up in a tornado?  Held down and forced to listen to ABBA?

Konig: No, none of that. 

Gaal:  What then?

Konig He's a Baby Boomer.

Gaal: Oh. Right.  

Konig:  And, as you know, OCP selected him to be programmed as our first ever RoboBoomer.

Gaal: What is this pathetic wretch's name anyway?

Konig: Perry Block.  But from now on he will be known as: 


RoboBlock enters.

Hello, I am RoboBlock, the first of the RoboBoomer Series. Peace, Love, and Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad!

Gaal Incredible! Seven feet tall of burnished gleaming steel, fully armored and weaponized, and he even
smells nice too!

Konig:  Yes, Gaal, every inch of his wrinkly, peeling, 'non-tattooed because he's a Boomer' skin has been replaced by high tensile strength steel.  Look at how powerful he is: it's as if the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz just came home from spending the weekend with Lance Armstrong!

Gaal:  But there's one thing I don't understand, Konig. What do the RoboBoomers accomplish for OCP?

Konig: Baby Boomers are dying out, Gaal.  Look on the telescreen; there's one breathing his last right now.

Dying Boomer: Crosby! ... Stills! .... Nash! .... Younnggg!!!

George:  Poor devil.  That's a tie-dyed coffin they're lowering him into, isn't it?

Konig: Yes, a Baby Boomer Special.  But with RoboBoomer technology soon we'll be extending the lifespan of Boomers almost as long as the running time of Woodstock. 

Gaal: But how does that help OCP?

Konig: With the Boomers living on, we can continue to market Boomer-oriented products to them right up until they rust out from excessive water aerobics at their 155 Plus communities.

Gaal: What are Boomer-oriented products?

Konig: The Greatest Hits of Peter, Paul, and Mary, lava lamp bongs, Freddie and the Dreamers memorabilia, and a crapload of pretentious books by Herman Hesse.

Gaal:  Ah-hah! So we artificially keep the Boomers alive to exploit them until they gradually fade into oblivion? 

Konig: Exactly!  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! 

Gaal:  You always did have a great evil laugh, Konig.  

Konig: Wait a minute! RoboBlock, what's wrong? What are you doing?!

RoboBlock:  I heard every word, you two!   I must stop your nefarious ageist plan and strike a blow for Baby Boomers everywhere!

Gaal:  Umm, Konig? Not that it's important or anything, but maybe we ought to shore up the OCP Programming Department a tad bit? 

RoboBlock rises up, tosses Konig and Gaal aide, and breaks out of the room.

Konig:  Let's follow him, Gaal!

Scene shifts to an employment office where RoboBlock is being interviewed.

RoboBlock:  Yes, Ms. Johnson, I have a lot of work experience. I'm also made out of steel, I never sleep, and I type 78 thousand words a minute.

Ms. Johnson:  You're hired, RoboBlock! 

Gaal:  Why, RoboBlock is getting hired at jobs meant for Gen Xers and millennials!

Scene shifts to a singles bar.

RoboBlock: Hello, young lady!  Would you like to come home with me for purposes of sexual conquest?

Gaal: Now RoboBlock's going after millennial women!

RoboBlock: You should know I'm made of highest tensile strength steel. 

Young Woman:  Does that include every part of your body?

RoboBlock:  You got it.

Konig:  Incredible!  He's taking our jobs and our women!

Scene shifts to executive offices of a movie studio in Hollywood

RoboBlock:  And I tell you, Mr. Verhoeven, I'm available to star in the next Robocop movie right away.

Paul Verhoeven:  Terrific!  I was never that sold on Channing Tatum anyway.

Konig: Now he's landing film roles meant for actors in their twenties! Who does he think he is - Harrison Ford? 

Gaal: RoboBlock's ruining the entire Hollywood youth culture!

Konig: Okay, enough! What is it that you want, RoboBlock?

RoboBlock:  What do I want?  I want all Boomers to be treated with respect and not viewed as over-the-hill fossils.  We have a lot left to contribute. If we can't be 30 again, we still want to be treated like we're 30.  Oh, all right; treat us like we're 35. Okay, okay, maybe 55.

Gaal: Sure, RoboBlock, sure.  Anything else?

RoboBlock:  Yes, one more thing.

Konig: What?

RoboBlock: I want to meet Freddie of Freddie and the Dreamers.


The  producers of RoboBlock would like to thank our special guest stars Kate Konigisor and Eve Gaal for their outstanding villainy and for joining the Nouveau Old Formerly Cute blog. We'll put in a good word for each of you with Harrison Ford.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sylvan Three Times Over (FF)

© Dee Lovering

Farnum wasn't much of a writer but he loved to write stories about a young man named Sylvan and the Christmases Sylvan enjoyed from years gone by.

Farnum himself was a rather minor character in a book written by a novelist named Giorgio.  Giorgio for his sake had been created by Cinnamon Klein, a New York City pulp fiction writer and amateur detective.

"And so ends another Cinnamon Klein Mystery,” I typed, closing
the laptop.

The phone rang.  "Yes, who is it?"

"Merry Christmas, Perry!  This is Sylvan."

“Sylvan?  But you're fictional!  You're fictional three times over!" 

"Well, I guess Farnum is a lot better writer than you, Cinnamon, or Giorgio ever gave him credit for, isn't he?” 


To be honest, I really can't figure out this goofy post came out of a Christmas prompt. I think the circular nature of the building got me thinking about layers of stories and how many "levels" away from the author a character in a story within a story might be.

To review:  Farnum created Sylvan, Giorgio created Farnum, Cinnamon Klein created Giorgio, I created Cinnamon Klein, and Russell created me.  There you have it.  And if you click here, you'll also have the takes of the other Friday Fictioneers on the picture prompt above, created just for you.

And should any of you happen to see Cinnamon Klein, please tell I created her, it's not fair she won't return my calls!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Attack (FF)

"It's been a wonderful time here exploring this strange but beautiful land," said Sporka, sipping the last vestiges of a cup of tea as he sat in the courtyard cafe.

"I've loved it too," replied Manus. "But our mission is now over, and soon the Attack will begin."

"Is there no way to stop it, Manus?  I don't want an Attack!" 

"I’ve tried to find a way, Sporka, but it is as if decreed. The Attack will happen!"

"And as always," muttered Sporka, "there will be untold pain and suffering.” 

Manus paid the café bill and Sporka and Manus beamed up to their hotel room, Sporka beaming right into the bathroom.

"OOOHHH!” he moaned.  “Always whenever I travel to Earth!" 

“The Attack has begun," sighed Manus.


This one is so cheap and exploitative even I feel like hiding in the bathroom. Nevertheless this is my crude and tasteless response to this week's lovely picture prompt above from ace Friday Fictioneer Sandra Crook.

You won't be moaning and groaning like Sporka if you check out the work of the other Fictioneers by clicking here; in fact, you'll be oohing and aahing!

And now, if you'll pardon me, I'm off to signal my masters on Pluto to begin the Attack.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Help! I'm Being Stalked By Joseph R. Blank

Online Advertising?  I wonder what that's all about.
Hey, nice suit!

It was plain as the nose on my face, which by all accounts is way more than exceedingly plain. My navy blue sport coat which I'd owned for many years had developed a moth hole in the left shoulder of such magnitude it seemed as if the moth had seized upon the sport coat first thing following sundown on Yom Kippur.

Yep, my sports jacket needed replacement, and so I looked online to the site of a well-known and respected men's clothing store in my area known as Joseph R. Blank.  And indeed, Joseph R. Blank was having a sale on sport coats, with selected jackets as low as $50 as long as you also bought a matching pair of suspenders with special design resembling emojis having sex. 

I went to Joseph R. Blank that very day and did secure a nice blue sport coat which fit me well and even complimented the nose on my face. Mission one and done.  I thought.

Later that day I went on Facebook, and there in the right hand column was an ad for Joseph R. Blank.  "What a coincidence,” I thought.  

"NECKTIE SALE AT JOSEPH R. BLANK!  Three neckties for $10 provided one is striped, one has a stain, and the third frankly doesn't suit you!" 

Amazing!  Oh, well, I wanted to check something on Wikipedia, and so I clicked out of Facebook and over to the America's favorite free encyclopedia.

"And so, Hitler marched into the Sudetenland and there he found ...."

"70% OFF SALE AT JOSEPH R. BLANK!   Suits, Sport Coats, Pants, Shirts, Any Other Article of Clothing that Might Yet be Invented!"  

What the ....?!! 

I clicked over to a site called "Who Unfollowed Me On Twitter," which shows you what crass & unfeeling tweeps have cut you loose lately.  There I discovered that, unlike the twitterers listed on the site, apparently following me for life was .... 

"JOSEPH R. BLANK! SALE ON SUITS!  Buy one men's suit for regular price, get another for only one pint of blood!"  

In the days and weeks that followed, Joseph R. Blank followed me like Mary's Little Lamb.  It was no coincidence:  I was being targeted, stalked. Who was this Joseph R. Blank?  What did he really know about me?

"Dear Overage Balding Boomer," the email began." While there's only so much that clothing can do for the likes of you, THERE'S A SALE ON SOCKS AT JOSEPH R. BLANK!" 

Now the Joseph R. Blank ads appeared anywhere and everywhere.  On YouTube, on my desktop, on my screensaver, in pornography, in the sky above, in my breakfast cereal, on the faces of people on the street, in my fitful tortured dreams!

“WAKE UP, PERRY! JOSEPH R. BLANK is having a sale on polo shirts! Buy three polo shirts and get a free polo pony!

The internet has majorly changed marketing as we know it. It used to be we could turn off television commercials and/or decline to read the ads in newspapers and magazines, but now advertising tracks us down like Colombo. The only hope is that this strategy will ultimately backfire, advertisers will get the message, and finally we'll get some relief.

I hope you're listening, Joseph R. Blank! 

Or better yet I'll tell you in person at your store this afternoon.  Those sexy emoji suspender ads are really starting to appeal to me!


(The name of the actual establishment referenced in the piece above has been slightly changed to protect the guilty.) 

And I'd like to welcome four new followers to the blog: Eve Gaal @EveGaal, Kate Konigisor @KateKonigisor, Deb Stewart @DeborahStewart, and Ilil Arbell @ILILARBELThank You, Guys! The usual riches and emoluments to follow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

By The Skinner of Their Teeth (FF)

copyright Stephen Baum

"Hey, Fluffster, what are you doing?"

"Just running down the corridor of this box we're in, Whiskers, looking for ..." 

"I know what you’re looking for.  Cheese."

"Well, I ..."

"Don't you get it?  It's an experiment Dr. Skinner is conducting.  He puts cheese at the end of a corridor for a few days, then yanks it away. He wants to see how long it takes you to realize it's not there anymore."

"Yeah, but ..."

"Don't you realize he's playing you for a sap?!"

"But, Whiskers ..."

"There, look!  No cheese!"

"Which is great, just the way I want it."


"I hate the smell of cheese.  Anywhere it isn't is where I want to be."


And I agree with Fluffster, by the way; I hate cheese.  I feel so strongly about it I wrote a piece on it in the early days of this blog. Any other fromage-a-phobes out there?

I thought not.  Well, the other mostly cheese-eating Friday Fictioneers have taken a break from their brie to offer their takes on the picture prompt above, and you can access them by clicking here.  

I've been somewhat unable to keep up with comments lately on other Fictioneers' work.  Feel free to ignore me while this lasts or better yet, write a 100% honest comment, warts and all! (I don't actually have warts.)

Just don't leave me a cheese basket.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern & Block are Dead

To Be or Not To Be.  
I should only get a question like that on the final!

Hamlet: To be, or not ....

Perry:  Sorry, sorry!  Sorry I'm late!  I was up late last night watching Shameless.

Hamlet: Perry?  Perry Block?   Art thou thou?

Perry: Yes, Hamlet, I art art.

Hamlet:  No, I mean what are thou doing in this play altogether? Last time I checked thou wast a third rate humor writer in Philadelphia.  I wouldst have said fourth rate but I believe the scale tops out at three.

Perry:  Aye, Hamlet, at three.  This play is like Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Hamlet, in which relatively minor characters in Hamlet are given enhanced roles. 

Hamlet:  Well, thou certainly art a minor character!  Ready to commence, Perry?

Perry: Despite thy cheap shot, aye, Hamlet, I'm ready.

Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question. 

Perry: And you've got a 50% chance of getting it right too!

Hamlet:Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, 
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing end them? 

Perry:  Slings and arrows? Take arms? Are we talking a gladiator flick here? You got Netflix in the castle? 

Hamlet: To die: to sleep 
No more; and by a sleep to say we end 
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks  
That flesh is heir to.

Perry:  A thousand natural shocks to the flesh?  That's how you get to sleep? Why don't you try Lunesta?

HamletTo sleep, perchance to dream!

Perry: To stay up, perchance to snack!

Hamlet:  Ay, there's the rub!

Perry: Well, doesn't it kind of depend who's doing the rubbing?

Hamlet: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come 
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 

Perry: Now wait a minute!  I'll shuffle off to Buffalo, but shuffling off this mortal coil is a bit more shuffling than I've got in mind!

Hamlet:  Perry, you're not helping! 

Perry:  It's not my fault!  My part's poorly written.

Hamlet: What's your function in this play anyway?

Perry:  I'm here to help you make up your mind whether to kill your uncle or take your inheritance and go off to found Ft. Lauderdale. 

Hamlet:  OMG, you teaching decisiveness is like Donald Trump giving a seminar in humility!

Perry:  Another cheap shot, Sweet Prince!  Although highly accurate. Okay, let's go to Act I, Scene II. 

Hamlet: Oh that this too solid flesh would melt.
              Thaw and resolve itself into a dew.

Perry:  Melting flesh?  Like in Raiders of the Lost Ark when that Nazi's face melts in the final scene?  Awesome!

Hamlet: No, no, no!  My mother married my uncle one month after my father was killed. And my father was so excellent a king, compared to my uncle he was like Hyperion to a satyr.

Perry: A Seder?  Hey, are you guys Jewish in Denmark?

Hamlet: And yet, within a month!

Perry: Actually it wasn't just any month.  It was February to boot.

Hamlet:  Let me not think on't.  Frailty, thy name is woman!

Perry: Hamlet, watch the sexism!  And take down that confederate flag!

Hamlet:  O, God!  A beast that wants discourse of reason
              Would have mourn'd longer!

Perry:   Oh, l  wouldn't call your mom a beast, Hamlet.  She's at least a 7. Okay, maybe a 5.

Hamlet: Married with my uncle,
              My father's brother, but no more like my father
              Than I to Hercules!

Perry:  Actually he was probably a good bit more like your father than you are to Hercules, it being you couldn't bench press Jared Leto!

Hamlet: She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
             With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!

Perry:  Incestuous sheets?  Really?   You ... uh ... wouldn't happen to have any videos, would you?

Hamlet:  Perry!  You're still not helping!

Perry: Okay, Hamlet, here's an idea.  Stage a play and throw in a few scenes that show what your uncle did to your dad. See if that upsets the usurper.

Hamlet:  I like that idea! "Upsets the usurper" --- cool!  

Perry:  No charge man.

Hamlet:  The play's the thing in which I'll catch the conscience of the king! We'll probably open off-Broadway. 

Perry:  What play you going to put on, Hamlet?

Hamlet:  I'm thinking Book of Mormon.

Perry: Hamlet?

Hamlet:  Yes?

Perry: Try some Shakespeare.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

PC CalamityTimesThree

I finally got around to replacing my old laptop, and it was certainly more than time.

Manufactured during the Truman Administration, it came with a screen saver featuring Lassie and Timmy, kept flashing the error message "what is this internet anyway?" and froze up more frequently than my last girlfriend. Finally it gave out once and for all, emitting a horrid stench as if a skunk had curled up and died inside of it, which is I think pretty much what actually happened.

So the next day I went to my local computer store and purchased me a gleaming new HP Corei5.  It was sleek and powerful, the ultimate technological tool to render my humor so witty and razor sharp as to induce riotous laughter even in individuals as totally devoid of a sense of humor as the writers of HBO's The Brink.  

But I had not reckoned on PC Calamity Times Three. 

As anyone on the Internet knows, coffee is the beloved patron saint of all writers. Coffee heightens alertness, unleashes the creative spirit, and propels you to the most wonderful time you can ever hope to have in the bathroom without anyone else being present. 

So with my 16 ounce cup of Wawa java by my side, I was fast and furiously knocking out my latest comedic gem when an errant hand gesture smacked the coffee cup and sent its steaming contents sailing through the air onto the keyboard of my brand new computer.  When the tirade of epithets was over, I began to type once more but some of the letters stubbornly refused to appear. 

I struggled to type out a sentence that materialized as if it were a puzzle from Wheel of Fortune several turns away from being solved. Unless I could figure out how to write every document from now to the end of my existence on the planet without use the letters "t, w, d, v, and b," professional intervention would be in order.   


About a week after I plunked down $200 for a new keyboard, I found myself trying to access a website that simply would not download. I googled a possible fix for it and fortunately quickly found a site called "Handy Fixes for Sites that Don't Download for Naive Morons."

"Great," I said aloud, "I've solved this problem like a champ!"

Totally bypassing the curious nature of the site's frequent use of the expression "alot," I downloaded the proffered software and found myself with a strange new toolbar across the top of the screen, notable in its frequent use of the expression "alot." 

Among other things, the malware I'd downloaded kept urging to me to buy a shipment of iguanas from New Guinea.


The malware removed to the tune of $200, I was in a hurry one day to get to a crucial meeting about "nothing important at all" when my foot caught on a cracked and raised section of sidewalk.

Like the contents of a steaming hot cup of java smacked by an errant hand, I went sailing through the air onto my rear end and onto a nearby plot of grass graced by a nearby pile of dog doo-doo. 

I was unhurt, but my PC screen now appeared half a dozen shades darker than it was supposed to be, creating an ominous forbidding atmosphere as if any minute a tornado was about to begin swirling across my latest blog post about Dracula done as a modern epistolary novel, which no one would read anyway.


All right, I caught a break here.  A new screen only cost $125.

And that's my little tale about my PC Calamity Times Three.  Yes, I need to learn how to be more careful with such sensitive and important equipment as my new HP Corei5, but I can take comfort in the knowledge that bad things come in threes. So, as we all know, nothing more can possibly.....

OMG, what's that horrid stench!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Highway to Heck! (FF)

© Jean L. Hays

"And so the Road Warrior drove the tanker out of the compound at breakneck speed, chased furiously by the vicious marauders that had held the people in the compound captive."

"Wow!  And this enabled the people in the compound to escape with the necessary oil to rebuild civilization?”

"Right! And the Road Warrior was able to deftly maneuver many of the marauders' vehicles into fiery collisions so that the landscape was ultimately strewn with their devastated wreckage!"

"I see. And these are some of those destroyed vehicles!"

"Of course not. I'm just telling you about a movie. It didn't happen.”

"So what are these cars?"

"Oh, parallel parking practice for Perry Block.”


Just a little basic self-deprecation for this week's Friday Fictioneers and I'm off. 

It's true I'm lousy at parallel parking. Once I parked so far from the curb I needed a GPS to get to the meter.  You'll need no GPS to get to the stories by the other Friday Fictioneers, however, as you can read their takes on the above picture prompt simply by clicking here.

Okay, I'm off on my Highway to Heck.  Have a good holiday!