NVDT Random – Happy Birthday Sam

For all you research-aholics and etymology nuts, today is Dr. Samuel Johnson’s birthday.

You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets and wonder when you are done that they do not delight in your company.

Who?

“The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”

The Godfather of the English language Dictionary.

What? You thought Oxford did that? Nope. They did print theirs in such a small font it comes with its own magnifying glass. Which is okay or it would take up a room of my house were it legible to the naked eye.

Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.

It’s not that Johnson invented the dictionary, but until his came out English was left wanting for one. To publish a dictionary was trending in 1755 and Johnson wasn’t without criticism from fellow bibliophiles, one of whom called the work an “ingenious performance”, but the style of the work “flatulent”.  Johnson got there first and took the heat and pressure like a gentleman, admitting he was frightened of the books very existence. He hoped it might “make it easier for some other adventurer to proceed further…”

The advice that is wanted is commonly not welcome and that which is not wanted, evidently an effrontery.

Thanks, Sammy! Now about higgledy-piggledy being a corruption of higgle and higglers? You should know that it is still used today by professional football coaches, T-Ball coaches, English teachers, parents, befuddled sales managers, police spokespersons and school principles when they need a synonym for “that’s all kindsa fucked up” and can’t say “that’s all kindsa fucked up” without offending the perpetrators of higgledy-piggledy.

Grandparents were excluded from that list because I know one who might say “Grant, buddy? That’s all kindsa fucked up.”

All the quotes are Johnson’s

NVDT Random – Even Mo SepSceneWrimo Redux – Talkin’ Politics

Munro scrunched up through the scrub oak, held his hands out to the fire. He lifted his club foot in the direction of the cast iron skillet resting on a piece of shopping cart frame over the fire.

“Where’d you get the skillet, Stefan?”

“Farmer woman. Up the road some.”

“You stopped for a chat?”

“Some. She was hangin’ out her woman wear on the line there in back. Said she’d be glad to hep me out.”

“An you stole her goddam skillet? Last time you stole somethin –”

“She give it to me. An we come out good on them tools we pawned outta that El Camino.”

“You kept that piece a shit El Camino, damn near got us throwed in jail.”

“How’d I know the damn thing had a geo-locater an that shiny shirt jackalope hadda stole it an them tools before we stole ‘em from him, huh?”

“You coulda asked ‘fore you stuck him.”

“Coulda. But there weren’t the time. Fella’d been a sport I wouldna had a kill him.”

“Coulda made time. Lucky the cameras were out at that Walmart an the po-leece didn’t see who parked it.” Munro sat on an upended cinder block close to the fire. “Not thinkin’ an reactin’ is how you fuck up, Stefan. Now you done killed that woman for what? A skillet?”

“I told you she give it to me. ‘Sides. Thought it might come in handy.”

“Maybe so. What’s that you’re cookin’.”

“Fryin’ biscuits. She give some Bisquick, too.”

“Fryin’ in what?”

“Bacon grease.”

“An where’d you get that?”

“Bacon, where else?”

“She give you some of that, too?”

“Bacon, Bisquick, eggs,” he pulled a block of Tillamook sharp cheddar from his jacket pocket, “this here cheese. Told her I didn’t have no way to keep yogurt or none of the green stuff. Did get half a cooked roast beef in the bag there, and some sweet corn.

“And she gave you all that. This’s got nothin’ to do with them cop cars running red an hot up 61 a while ago?”

“Coulda. Didn’t hit her all that hard. She’d a stopped carryin’ on after offrin’ to hep a man out I’d a left peaceful like.”

“At least you didn’t steal her car.”

“Mebbe that’s true and mebbe it ain’t. See, I been thinkin’. You an that foot slow us down, so mebbe the trains an hoofin’ it all over ain’t my idea a no hobo picnic.”

“You’re the one fucked up my foot, so don’t start complainin’. An look here, I’m getting’ up a letter to my congressman ‘bout how the whole world needs to get right with any kinda disability, don’t matter if it’s somethin’ wrong with one person in two hunnert million, by God we need to bend over backwards if need be to accommodate ‘em. An America needs to lead the way.”

“You sayin’ we need a block an tackle in front a every Seben Elebin to drag some handicapped lard-ass outta their subsidized, customized dump truck and inside the store there we need talkin’ Diet Coke cans an Cheeto bags so some dyslixical retard can buy shit they don’t need?”

“What I’m sayin’.”

“An who’s gonna pay for that, Munro?”

“Everbody out there that ain’t got a lick wrong with ‘em, and Seven-Eleven. An Coke and Cheetos. They all got money.” He reached for the skillet. “Them biscuits look done to me.”

Stefan wrapped his coat sleeve around his hand, grabbed the skillet’s handle, threw the biscuits and grease in Munro’s face. Munro screamed, Stefan slammed the skillet into the back of Munro’s head, sent him face-first into the fire where he stayed. Stefan kicked the dead man’s club foot, tossed the skillet on top of him.

“Told ya it’d come in handy.”

Ever wonder about unsolved homicides? Talk politics.

 

NVDT Random – Mo SepSceneWrimo Redux – With a Writerly Concern

-Vermillion’s dead, he said, taking a worn wooden stool at the sidebar, pushed aside a fake fishing net and starfish that had come un-thumbtacked from the wall.

-Vermillion? He’s the one could fart a hurricane?

-That’s him. You drinkin’?

– Sure.  He held up two fingers to the bartender. -I remember he ate burnt toast.

-He ever give a reason?

-Digestion. What he claimed, anyway. He took a long pull from the fresh mug that landed in front of him, wiped his white and black beard.

-There’s digestive crackers for that. Baking soda. And Charcoal, Beeno. Simethicone. That’s what they gave me after that woman rebuilt my asshole, simethicone. Said it was to keep me from blowing out their handiwork. Gave me a damn prescription for it. I took it in, handed it off and the Indian woman behind the counter, she got all pissy, took me out to where the Rolaids and Tums were at, folded her arms all ‘got it, dumbass?’

-Did it help?

-Some. You have to take that stuff in anticipation that you’re gonna fart to knock it back. You got a jalapeno sausage bloat workin’ you’re already gonna fart, it’s just gonna help you keep it moving and not cramp up.

-Vermillion would say, bein’ tighter’n a squirrel on a nut, everyone who spent money on antacids and all that ought to burn some toast. Fresh charcoal, best as there was for a fartin’ man.

-He would know.

-Yep. Burnt toast. He liked his eggs runny, too. Hell to eat breakfast with.

– To burnt toast and runny eggs. He lifted his mug. -Vermillion!

-Vermillion!

-That is like so totally mega gross. She’d silently appeared at the bar, taller than both of them, even if they’d been standing. White leotard, black velvet vest, white tights, a stiff tulle spinner skirt. -Runny eggs? Massive Ewwww factor. Did your mom ever make you eat poached eggs? The ones on a stand like an overgrown golf tee and you have to hit the baby chicken on the head with a spoon to open it and it’s all runny and completely I’m-calling-technicolor-yawn gross? Mine tried. No way, Jose.

-Well, Vermillion…

-I heard. Burnt toast and runny eggs. Did he eat them off the golf tee? Mom said maybe dad should try them for golf, the little runny egg stands? Cause he sure cussed like a sailor, oh, sorr-eee, but he did. I know ‘cause I went with him sometimes until, well, they wouldn’t rent him one of those little cars if I was there. Talk about borrrrrr-ing. Ohmahgawd. I wanted to go with mom, but he said she and her friends played liquid golf and I’d be in the way. So…after too many beers, I like forget how many, no way dad could have hit that ball even like off the big yukky egg tee. I mean, he was like totally digging holes with that club thing and cussing me and the ball and God and… Would either of you, um, gentlemen, be pirates?

-Um…no. Miss, we’re –

-Alcoholics?

-No. No, I don’t think –

Dammit. She drummed her fingers on the bar. -Ohmawgawd, sorr-eeee. Next door, we’re like rehearsing in that warehouse? And, well, like the director and the choreographer are like going at it you know like divorce court on crack only they’re not married or anything, and, well because we were like standing around for-ever while they argued I said to everybody like screw this. We’re by the ocean, so somebody should know, right? So, they said like fine, Logan. Go next door to that ratty assed sailor bar, um, sorreee, but like it is, kinda, and find a goddam pirate and like ask him. But then they said all I’d find was alcoholics, but maybe that would be okay, too, just like come back with an answer. But…well, foo… She looked around the mostly empty bar. -I can’t like find a pirate or an alcoholic. I mean there’s the mega cheesy pirates at Disneyland. I know. I worked there for like, um…

-P’rhaps me auld matey mis spoke, lass. Aw doanae wan it oot among ‘em as wud ‘av me in gool, but if it’s a pirate yer seekin’ Awl be ‘im as yer lookin’ fer.

-Really? Ohmahgawd. You even like sound like a pirate!

-At yer service, lass. An whut wud ya ‘ave us give answer tae oon awl?

-Okay. Like, the dance, well the music… well, um, all of it, it’s like totally not what I’m used to. It’s like a pirate song. I think. With sound effects and a ship on the stage that rocks, you know, back and forth like when your gramma has taken her night-night pills and is still in the rocking chair? They’re like whipping each other, the ship dancer people, and I’m dancing a solo and there’s this like totally ginormous whoooooosh and that… And like I, well I’m a classical dancer and these people are like modern, which is okay, you know, I’m not like, um, prejudiced or anything, but in ballet we, well, my teachers always said like Logan, dear, you have to know what the fuck you’re doing next or someone will get hurt. So, um, like I have always been, you know, curious about next. And these people… Well, my friend that’s like doing the effects? He says it gets to that part and they don’t know whether to shit or wind their watch and, like, he’s totally right! So…

-Thur wasnae question in awl that oonless Aw missed ‘er.

Well, that’s the argument, see? The whips and the whoosh…What does blow the man down mean? I mean not in like a naughty way, like guys would think, but like for real.

-Aye. Thur’s tha one as thinks it’s sails oon ships oon another ‘as a mind tae whips?

-Wow… that is like so totally psychic! Yes! Like the big whoosh and the song is saying blow the man down and then there’s like all these dancer people on the ship only like in silhouette? With whips? And other dancer people are falling down…and, well like the whoosh… She bent her left knee, right leg out, toe down. -I’m in Battemont Fondu, right? She held it before bending at the waist, arms sweeping wide. -Then there’s like the whoosh. She bent backward, head almost touching the floor, her arms waved fluidly from wrist to wrist. She popped back up, elbow on the bar. -Someone is supposed to catch me there, being all like blown over and everything? But he was like too busy being whipped, you know, and the choreographer is like picking me up yelling at the director fuck the whips, Daphne, where’s fucking Bruce? And like my butt’s bruised and —

-Bloo the man doon?

-Yes!

-As daft wee pups we ‘erd oot as a whippin’ men took as thee wen tae sea. Didnae noo till later it was hoo a ship rigged oop wit awl ‘er sails oopen took a fookin’ goost a wind whut blowed ‘er o’er. Man-o-war blowed o’er, lass, as ‘at’s yer whoosh.

-Man-o-war?

-Aye. Warship, lass. Cannons she’d ‘ave ‘ad a plenny. O’er on ‘er side oon she wouldnae float noo moor. Bloo tha man doon they’d say uv it.

Like Captain Blood!?

-A wiser lass, I couldnae dream uh. Captain Blood. Aye. Didnae noo no bitter pirate as eever sailed. An oon again tae yer oon troubles, lass. It’s as both’em, yur answer. A wind blown foul –

And the whips? Both? Oh. Mah. Gawwwwwwd! That is like so mega fantastically awesome. Everyone is happy! Like, um the beard, no way, and well… She blew the pirate a kiss… -Thank you!!!

They watched the tutu retreat.

-A pirate, huh?

-Aye, the other’s face wrinkled with silent laughter.

-And that happened when?

-I read an Irvine Welsh book once. All the pirate I’ll ever need.

-Are you sure Scotts is acceptable for pirate?

-Yoda want you, it is? Inside backwards out and? Think you not willing am I such to stoop.

-So, your pirates are always Scotts?

-Unless they’re not. Errol Flynn didn’t have an accent in Captain Blood.

-Proving what?

-Accents are one of those quacks-like-a-duck things. Her imagination didn’t have to work in the movie. Without visuals, it needed a little help. And that’s all we need to give them. A gentle shove in the right direction.

 

NVDT Totally Random – Blogger Award Recommendation

Hetty Eliot at Who The Hell Knows nominated me for a blogging award. The digital equivalent of a chain letter. Further, I have no idea who the award giver is (Vincent Ehindiro) and upon perusing Hetty’s list of nominees I find myself in some rather suspect company. However, one should acknowledge a kindness and/or invitation with a courteous response. To that end, I thank her for the recognition and offer these answers to her questions.

  1. Were you a dork growing up? We were all dorks growing up. That’s part of the process. To answer, in some ways, yes, in others no. I got to call my own plays (successfully) as a quarterback from junior league at 9 through highschool. I was a serious social dork in junior high. By my freshman year in high school contextually (ie being cool but also a know-it-all-high-schooler) my dork vanished. More on (moron?) that is here – https://philh52.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/catharsis-or-15-ways-to-know-you-werent-a-dork/
  2. Which literary villain most resonates with you? Purple Pie Man. “I’m sorry, we don’t have a rrrreservation for a Strawberry Shortcake.” There are thousands of anti-heroes out there. Backstabbers, manipulators. I think the enemy you can’t see is the vilest, evilest, and most resonant. From disorders (vanity, hate, greed, jealousy et al) to social institutions (The Country Club, slavery, prison, gangs and cartels, governments, funny farms, schools).
  3. What is your perspective on existence?  “We be, therefoe we is.”
  4. What is your favorite video game? I don’t. Unless you consider zapping musical clams in a MIDI data stream a sort of game. Like searching for Klingons.
  5. Who is the worst boss you’ve ever had? I got fired after half a day as a picture framer once time. Not their fault. Most of my bosses, if it didn’t work out it was me and my middle finger that got in the way. That doesn’t make them bad bosses, it makes me intolerant of the brain dead “company man” mindset, particularly when wrapped in incompetence with a side order of bible belt or dimestore motivational bullshit. My best, and most demanding bosses, were women. Going way back to the 80s. https://philh52.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/way-more-than-midi/
  6. Do you have a “tic” when you think of something embarrassing you’ve done? (eg, I shake my head really hard) I flush. Body flush. I might even sweat a little. But only over the really stupid stuff. The rest were (mostly) honest mistakes.

 

 

NVDT Random – Even Mo SepSceneWrimo

“You aren’t much of a pirate…”

“You aren’t much of a cop…”

“DEA. I’m a DEA.”

“Not much a one a those, either.”

They stood, awash in the low noises of the lakeside, stared off the end of the dock at an RC Cigarette Boat and a Coast Guard cutter fifteen yards away. Both dead in the placid water of the cove.

“I thought we plugged these in last night.”

“We did.” He lowered his controller box with a whole-body shrug. “Shit.”

“So whatta we do now?”

“Dunno.”

“Well, it can’t be too deep. Maybe we could wade it. Or swim.” She started to step off, he caught her arm.

“Dad says after all the rain it’s gotta be full of snakes. Dad’s an asshole sometimes, but still.”

“Jesus doesn’t like that word, Austin.”

“Mom?” He whirled around. “But he is, you know?”

“He can be. But when it comes to nature your father is simply scared of his own shadow. Good morning, Britny.”

“Morning Miz Carburger…” She eyed Austin’s mom dressed in a frumpy sweatshirt and baggy shorts. The laundry basket she carried loaded with melamine dishes and two cast iron skillets didn’t add to the picture. “What’s with the, um…”

“Somebody has to rinse the dishes, Britny. I thought I’d make it easy by wading out with this basket and dunk the whole darn thing at once. If I can get to your boats, I’ll bring them back.”

“Mom? Dad, and the snakes and –”

“Yeah, ‘Mom’. Dad and the snakes.” Britny’s mother, already decked out in not much of a bikini and a sheer cover-up, lit a cigarette. “You wouldn’t want to get bitten.” She stood, the elbow of her cigarette hand on the wrist of the arm across her midriff.

Austin wondered how Britny’s mom always looked so good, even in the skimpy nightgown and curlers she wore to collect the paper from her porch every morning. How his dad had said, after the morning snake admonishment, the only snake Britny’s mom needed to look out for was the one-eyed trouser kind.

“I should think, Louella,” his mom huffed, “that I’m far more aware of the natural world than the man I married. With all the rain, it’s been too cool for snakes.”

“You go, nature girl,” Britny’s mom motioned to the smooth-as-a-granite-countertop water. “Bring ‘em back clean.”

His mom didn’t say “Uhhh”, but she might as well have. Like bad words, his mom didn’t think Jesus thought much of Britny’s mom, either. Ten feet out and about mid-thigh deep, his mom dunked the basket, screamed. She screamed again, the water roiling around her. She sunk to her knees screaming and fell to the side. Her screams turned to gurgles and stopped.

“Margot? MARGOT!!” Britny’s dad flew past his wife and the kids, arced off the dock into the water like an Olympic swimmer. He almost made it to Margot before he started to spin. He gasped and gurgled on every rotation before he stopped, face down. The churning water around him subsided.

“Can’t say I didn’t warn them.” Austin’s dad appeared next to Britny’s mom. “Well… We can’t go in after them, so we’d better go call lake patrol.”

“Yes…” she flicked her cigarette into the lake, turned, and followed him back toward the camper. She hooked her arm in his, slipped her hand in the pocket of his baggy cargos, pulled out a wall-wart charger with the cable cut.

“Sneaky bastard. We’re still stuck with the kids.”

“That’s what I get for teaching him to listen.”

NVDT Random – Mo SepSceneWrimo

Twelve minutes east of the last lights of Nacogdoches the two-lane thinned out to no shoulder and a faded center stripe. It was the end of dusk, Harper had no idea where he was going, and the lights from the dually pickup behind him were too close. He reached up, tilted the mirror toward the dash.

“I’m thinking you and today weren’t the best decisions I’ve made lately.” Jackie looked over her shoulder, squinted at the lights. “This was supposed to be about Willie, right?” She caught the grin coupled to a slight shake of his head even with his eyes glued to the Reverend D’s taillights.

“Willie Nelson, Jackie. I knew you hadn’t grown up.”

“And now we’re going to die in the middle of nowhere because an old preacher can’t get the Debbel out of his church?”

“I said I’d show you a mostly G rated good time. This is the prelude.”

“Like the fifty cents worth of nonsense you front-load your stories with?”

“Maybe…” The near black pine trees and scrubby woods canopy was as creepy as a swamp. Harper’s headlights popped roadside ghosts out of shadows at the edge of their beams.

“There was a reason he offered you the shotgun, Harp.”

“No, there was the possibility of a reason. Dana is a Jesus man himself, but not a raging snake handler or some of the other shit people get up to out here in the name of religion… Whoa.” Harper followed the old Volvo wagon’s left turn signal down a one lane road that turned from asphalt to rarely maintained gravel.

“Okay, Harper, this just got shitty. I’m serious.” She leaned around into the back seat and picked up the shotgun, clamped the butt between her thighs.

“I hit a bump and that goes off we get a redneck sunroof. You think it was cold getting here, you’ll love the drive home.”

“Jesus Harper, are you too crazy to be scared?”

“I was scared before we got out of the parking lot. Here we are.” Harper pulled up next to the Volvo in a gravel clearing about thirty yards across, right in front of an old clapboard church with a fresh coat of white paint and antique stained-glass windows. Except for a sheet of painted plywood where one of those antique windows no longer resided. “You can put the gun down.”

“You’re getting out?”

“This is East Texas knocking on Louisiana. Maybe Deliverance, not Jurassic Park. I doubt if the reverends are interested in making either of us squeal like a pig.” He opened his door, stepped out. “Can’t whip the Debbel’s ass sittin’ in the car, can we?”

“Goddammit Harper, I swear. Never. Again.”

***

The church was quiet. Tomb-like quiet. It smelled of old wood and Pine-sol and somewhere in the background something musty.

Reverend D switched on the lights, walked to the front of the church, stepped up on the Chancel littered with a Hammond M-100 organ as old as Harper, a three-piece mismatched drum set, and an ancient Peavey bass amp with a faded “Twitty” stenciled on the side. He waded through the band gear, unlocked a small closet, and started handing bags of canned goods to a surprised Harper and Jackie who set them around wherever they found space.

“No proper food pantry ‘round, an all God’s chidrin needs to eat.” That was all the explanation they got. Reverend D handed off the last of the bags, turned to give the cabinet his full attention. “Here, now Mister Harper, you listen. Da Debbel be a waitin’.” He flipped a switch inside the closet that turned on the sound system. Nothing but background hiss. “Doan be fooled. Dere he is!”

The sound of disembodied voices crackled inside the church. Parts of words, bits of sentences broken by screechy static, all ethereal, buried in the Reverend’s love for reverb in his sound system. It could easily have been the Devil and lost souls screaming in a deep, hellish cave.

Harper had to scoot the mesmerized Rev out of the way to get in the closet. Jackie, on tip toe, looked over his shoulder. He found a wire, thumped it with his finger. The thump made it in behind the voices of hell. He looked at the old mixer. “Howdy do, Debbel.”

“It gets all de worse wit de wahrless.” The Rev opened a drawer, pulled out an ancient Radio Shack wireless lavalier mic and flicked it on. The hell voices rejoiced and doubled in volume, plus feedback.

Harper snatched it away from him, switched it off. “Sorry, but the Devil doesn’t seem to need much to do his work in here. Let’s keep that off, cut down his options.” Harper went down on his knees, traced the inbound wire from the wireless receiver, thumped it and got the sound back behind the voices again. He yanked that wire and the first one he’d thumped, and the Devil lost his voice.

“Harper?” Jackie bent down. “Hey. What’re you doing down there?”  He pulled her all the way down to her knees with him. “What the –”

“Shhh…” He whispered. “I’m praying.”

She dropped her voice to match his. “Bullshit. You’re cutting that –”

Shhh!” He raised his voice. “Pray with me.” He took her right hand with his left, breathed out “count to forty.”

The church went back to tomb like silence save for the whispering hiss of the sound system.

“Law-dy Lawd. Glow-ree be.” The Reverend D hit his knees, took Jackie’s other hand, raised it. “Gracious Lawd, you have heard de call of your servants in de wilderness! You have found us worthy and banished de Debbel from your house with these bless-ed kind strangers. God be praised.”

Jackie squeezed Harper’s hand so hard he thought she was trying to crush it.

The big preacher who’d ridden Harper’s ass all the way to this nowhere in his dually pickup just to be sure Harper wasn’t a bullshit artist with his hand out had stayed in the back of the church, as if being in one other than his own might corrupt him somehow, stepped up and joined Reverend D in his praises. The torque on Harper’s hand got tighter. The praise went on.

***

Harper showed the cables he’d cut and the ancient wireless to Reverend D. “I’m taking all this, so you don’t have to deal with the Devil sneaking back in. I’ll leave it all with Dana, he’ll rip the Devil out of it, burn it, get you what you need. With proper Devil filtering and all.”

“Ain’t dat gonna come some costly?”

“My guess is you can pass the hat on Sunday, tell the congregation they need to come up with a buck-and-a-quarter to help you keep the Devil out of here for good and all.”

The Reverend’s brows furrowed in confusion.

The big preacher rocked on the heels of his boots. “That’s a hundred and twenty-five dollars, Reverend D.”

“Dat’s all? Dem boys down Lufkin way tole me a thousan’, mebbe even two. A hunnert an twenny fi’ I can find. But how much for you, youngster? You done come out on a cold night an run out de Debblel single-handed.”

“No charge.” Harper shook out his left hand, tried to get some feeling back in it.

Jackie smiled, shook Reverend D’s hand, winked. “Devil busting is what he does.”

***

Harper reached across the Jeep, pulled a roll of masking tape out of the glovebox. “You have a pen, knuckle buster?”

“Somewhere, prayer man.” Jackie stuck a hand in her purse, dug around, produced a capped BIC stick. She offered it, hung on. “What’s it for?”

“Notes. I need to tag this shit before I forget.”

“Okay,” she let go of the pen. “But you have to tell me what happened in there, you praying and all that.”

“You can’t open a closet and see something like that and say, ‘What fucking moron did this shit?’ when the man is convinced it’s the Devil that’s disrupting his message, not his gear. And because the moron might be related. And they really don’t want you to say ‘Oh, it’s this and that tech bullshit and your great nephew should stick to car stereo installations’ and explain all about how it’s not the Devil, makin’ them out to be stupid. Sayin’ those kinds of things is how you come to need the shotgun. So, I pulled the Devil’s pathway, and we prayed.”

“That shit went on way past forty.” He could see her reflection in the window, her face a light mask of bewilderment. “What about de Debbel?”

“De Debbel was trucker CB hash from 59. And there’s a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing plant out here somewhere.”

“I heard ‘chicken’ in that mess in there. Didn’t know what de Debbel was talking about.” She pointed out past the windshield at the dually pickup. “At least he’s in front of us this time.”

“I don’t know how good I feel about that. Last one is always the one gets snagged. Velociraptors, vampires, aliens. Even the cheetahs on the Discovery Channel work that trick.”

“It’s always something with you.” She looked over her shoulder into the black forest folding in behind them. “I’m not sure I needed the one about cheetahs…”

“‘Chee-ick-ick-ick-en?’” mimicking the distorted radio Debbel.

“Shut up.” She pulled a bag of Cheetos out of the road munchie bag and immediately returned them, came up with a Snickers that she unwrapped in a very tidy, ladylike manner, took a small bite. “Tell me there’s real food somewhere at the end of this?”

“Besides us?”

“Harper? Swear to God,” she leaned over her seat into the back. “Where’s that damn shotgun?”

NVDT Random – SepSceneWrimo 1

What the heck, I’ll play. With all-new material.

A hand reached out from the pressing throng in the Marriott lobby, caught Harper’s jacket. He isolated the hand to a familiar face.

“Andy?”

“You gotta help me, man.”

“Man, I’m…”

“Goddam, Harper. Please?” The hand pulled Harper to where Andy was standing in front of a black leather bench up against a window where, behind Andy, rain reminiscent of a drive-through car wash sheeted down. “I can’t get rid of ‘em.”

“Rid of who?”

Andy barely tilted his head back. Harper rose on the balls of his feet, saw two females seated on the bench. They sat, turned facing each other. A tricolor blonde and a brunette, hair tied with a black and white bandana. Both tan, yammering, chewing gum while brunette dug in her purse, tri-color, all animated hands, skywriting with cigarette smoke.

“Where’d you find them?”

“They found me. I was doing a quick line on the third-floor window sill. By the elevators? Nobody was around–”

“You thought.”

“You gonna help me or not?”

“Man, I’d love to, but I need to find J a keyboard and take it to a ballroom downstairs. He’s down there lookin’ to jam with a few of the other rained-out tent-show cancels.”

“Perfect.”

“Perfect?”

“Give them something to do, walk around, get star fucker eyes, maybe shut the fuck up and leave me alone.”

“Glue effect’s on you, man. Talk and hang is what those chicks do, you give ‘em a bump.”

“It wasn’t like I had a choice. Besides, it’s smooth. J and I are in the same band, remember?”

“Yeah, but he’s gone all vitamin health-nut sober, and you’re trollin’ with two coke groupies and a pocket full of blow.”

“Not on me. That’s one of the problems. Follow me up to the room, keep them outside.”

“I gotta go find J a–”

“Covered. The Oberkurz-thing dude, lit like fucking Christmas. He stopped by, left one in the room. You care it’s not one of yours?”

“Fuck no. I’m procurement for a jam from hell and my boss thinks I shit miracles on demand.”

“That’s what you do, man, and here you are. Come on.” He turned, got the chicks’ attention, led them off through the crowd to the fire stairs. “Third floor, no biggie.” He thumbed toward the jammed elevator vestibule, almost put the short chick’s eye out. “Fuck that.”

“Hey, nobody said nothing about fucking nothing. Right now, anyway.” The taller, tricolor blonde giggled, poked Harper on the shoulder. “Who’re you, cutie? You the one with the blow?”

“Harper’s gonna watch you two while I take care of some business.” The fire stair door swung open, a pair of spandex-clad hair farmers with two clones of the girls stuck to Andy on their arms stumbled out, laughing, the girls making eye contact with Andy’s two saying “Ohmagawd, stairs… These guys… Seriously?”

“Yeah,” from the tricolor blonde Harper finally noticed had on a black skirt that hit where her butt cheek met her thigh. “Seriously?”

Seriously. Ladies?” Harper shouldered Andy into the girls, kept at it until the door slammed behind them.

The short brunette in micro cutoffs, tights and three different oversize but cropped and shredded off-the-shoulder t-shirts said over a bare shoulder, “Your friend may be cute, but he’s not very friendly.”

“He’s working, so we need to hurry. I do what I do upstairs, that’ll ma ke us all happy. Then he’s gonna get so friendly he’s takin’ y’all to a private concert with J and Ron. And Smitty… Smitty is down there?”

“He sure as hell ain’t out there playin’ in the rain.” Harper reached around Andy, grabbed a handful of parked cutoffs back pocket, pushed. “Go.” Lower, into Andy’s ear, “This better be fuckin’ worth it.”

NVDT Random – Say What?

It’s not just the news, but they are the meaningless soundbite kings. I’m going to shy away from “Now more than ever”, whatever the hell that means. I’m going straight to assumptive sloganeering.

I see this on almost service truck for any company with more than one employee.

Background checked and drug tested.

“Wull, he said he’d been in stir fur a piece. Turned out he carjacked a kindergarten teacher with a deadly weapon. Not him, her. She shot him twice in the leg with it. But he still went down for 2 to 5 for gross stupidity. So that checked out. An hell, we give him a four-way hit uh windowpane, sent him out to work on the hospital AC. Now, it took him three days, but they dint bitch about nothin‘ after, so he’s a keeper.”

Certified Pre Owned Vehicle

Certified for what? Not being new? Who decides? Sherlock Holmes?

How stupid do they think we are? And what, exactly, does it mean? Even I can tell it’s used car.

Better Products Via Marketing

There’s a big name speaker company out there that would have us believe their countertop radio sounds like a concert hall. They push it hard, find all sorts of were-they-ever-famous types with engineer or producer tacked onto their names. We bought one. Put in good environments, recording studios, real concert halls, auditoriums, and kitchen counters. I said. “You know this thing sounds like muddy shit. Everywhere.” The product manager for speakers said “Better sound through marketing.”

And that’s it. Don’t think. Don’t ask. Believe what they tell you. Because now more than ever.

Like the kid at the mattress store. I finally had to say, “Do I look like I need a 40 fucking year warranty?” Somebody told him that was the kicker pitch, 40 years. No way I’m looking to return that thing when I’m a hundred and something Instead, tell me is it pee proof if my bladder gives it up?

 

 

NVDT Random – Crossroads – What the Hell Did You Expect?

That MEME has so much depth and humor I’m using it again

Is this it? The crossroads of experience and time? Where race riots are in their umpteenth sequel? Where I hear my father at the dinner table saying, “Nixon and Kennedy? That’s the best we can do?” Forget politics for a minute. Let’s delve down into predictable daily human stupidity nature.

I have the Neighborhood App. It’s suggested by Ring, my video doorbell people. It’s not much more than a thinly veiled advertising outlet for roofers, plumbers, handymen and women who seem to think their drawer, closet and garage junque is considerably more valuable than it really is, and that someone might need to buy it.

The posts run the gamut from lost pets, I hate (all) the cable companies, why can’t the person at the corner of X and Y mow their damn yard and park their car elsewhere to all the ‘where are my roller skates’ and ‘I just got a Mexican dinner for 6 delivered to my porch that’s not for me’ package delivery fuckups perpetrated by USPS, Uber, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon.

And burglaries. Loose property and/or from automobiles.

That’s the crossroads. My first professional gig, unless you count cover bands in beer barns and topless bars, the occasional commercial and one-man Tangerine Dream in fern bars, was at a video studio in Houston. The first time I went in and ‘auditioned’ there was a sign the seasoned crew had hung in the control room. “Don’t Make Yourself a Victim”. It was from one of their productions, and they claimed it was there to keep them from erasing the wrong tapes, splicing the wrong voice-over, forgetting to hit record.

I got the job as audio editor, background music composer, and video shoot grunt. We made hard hat (safety) movies and promotional/in house education for Texaco, Exxon, Shell, OSHA, Neiman Marcus, Playboy, Weingartens, Safeway/TomThumb/Randalls, the heart hospital at Harris Methodist on and on…The theme of most of them was that “Victim” sign. “Don’t do dumb shit and you won’t get hurt/ripped off/fired/fooled/killed. Pay attention. Follow the rules. And if you’ve forgotten them, here they are.”

I keep my insurance licenses active, though I seldom use them. Those licenses require Continuing Ed. For years I’ve sat through online and in-person presentations by underwriters ‘splaining how you better fix this downspout or your claim will be denied, why your dog is a liability, why they hate indoor water claims and the people who file them. The biggie is always why most companies give you one theft claim every so many years, home or vehicle, or you’re out. Gone. Adios. If you have a couple of theft claims you’re not invited to renew plus no one else wants to write you. Because 99% of the time theft from automobiles is the insured’s fault, it was probably preventable, or it’s fraud. As far as insurance companies are concerned you’re a dumbass and potential liability.

To the present and the Neighborhood App. Almost every theft, because we don’t have many break-ins around here, is down to –

“Godammit, I just left my windows cracked (and the truck unlocked) and now my phone and other valuable stuff is missing”.

The girl in the apartment complex who left (and lost) her brand new MacBook sitting, visible, on the back seat of her unlocked car in the middle of the day, in an apartment parking lot.

Two employees of a local Electrician House Call biz had their phones, wallets, expensive tools, and other stuff stolen from their rolling billboard truck. Seriously, it was unlocked in major metro suburb six houses from a street that will take you all the way back to Kansas? I don’t need y’all working on my air conditioner.

In my area, we have alleys to the garages. We also have ‘bulky item pick up day’. If you don’t want something that won’t fit in the trash you can you stick it out on the driveway or up against the fence and the metal vultures or the city will haul it off. A woman put some metal plant stands at the end of her driveway, spray painted them, went inside. A few hours later she came back, they’re gone! Probably in the same pickup truck with the dead lawnmowers, lawn furniture, toilets and faded PlaySkool yard gear. Don’t leave stuff you want to keep in the “please take me” zone.

My favorite – “Never leave your child alone in the car” Amber Alert! Child in car stolen from C Store!

Talk about ‘it’s only for other people, it’s okay if I do dumb shit’. I just ran in for a minute.  I mean that Victim sign should pop up out of the dash like the BANG flag from a toy gun every time you kill the ignition. Or the Alexa voice saying “Don’t do dumb shit Ms. Jones. Lock your car, take your valuables. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday!”

The unfortunate truth is crooks of opportunity are everywhere and they work 24/7. One guy used to ride his bike up and down 8 lanes wide Preston Road in North Dallas, checking out the cars parked closest to the street. He wasn’t afraid to pop the glass thirty yards from a Walgreens, grab a purse, and pedal away. Why was the purse on the front seat again? Didn’t wanna drag it around a store no bigger than a Walgreen’s?

Recap – I know this is all like saying ‘don’t text and drive’ because I know you don’t but the three people surrounding you at an intersection do so I’ll repeat it.

Don’t Make Yourself a Victim by doing dumb shit. When I hear the OMG my shit’s been stolen stories I want to qoute aloud from an old Point Blanks song what the cops and insurance people are thinking – What the hell did you expect?

Don’t Make Yourself a Victim.

We shoulda had that sign for our drummer who got the clap every time we played the Red Dog. Like it should have at least been on the coasters. And the dancers.

 

 

 

NVDT Random – 1853 and Territoriality

In 1853 Illinois passed a law where if a black person showed up and stayed more than 10 days they got a hefty fine. I thought, you know, drop the racial requirement and what a great idea! Why? Shortly after I read that bit of history I read a post from galby68 wherein he wondered why so many Arizona plates in Portland. I drive around Dallas and often wonder where all the Texans are. Judging by license plates from everywhere, including Hawaii (last I looked there was no bridge), Texans are few and far between. Particularly on weekends when they’re all in Oklahoma or Colorado buying weed or gambling and dumping money into more progressive state’s coffers.

Granted, if I lived in Detroit I’d haul ass outta there ASAP, but otherwise why Texas? Missouri and Mississippi and the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico…Those places are livable. What the hell y’all doin’ here? Besides playin’ with your phones at stoplights and causing everyone behind you to sit through another cycle, or driving the speed limit on the Autobahns or consulting your GPS at 4 MPH and then crossing four lanes of traffic instead of turning around a block further on to get to Chick Fil A?

More than 10 days, no Texas plates? Adios. Except Winter Texans. How can we send the entire senior population of Minnesota back en masse when we can’t even evacuate all the Katrina leftovers from Galveston when a new hurricane threatens?