Posts Tagged ‘funny’

Sometimes, It Works Like This

Posted: April 7, 2015 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
Tags: , , ,

I thought I’d share a fun story about how one of my characters is developing. I’m not insane, but sometimes it looks that way.

"Corso Riggs" from Star Wars: The Old Republic

“Corso Riggs” from Star Wars: The Old Republic

He was originally inspired by Corso Riggs from Star Wars: The Old Republic, a gentlemanly hired gun who’s a bit of a country guy. My character won’t look or act like him, but he’ll be just as tough, good-hearted and loyal. First, I needed a new name. One Google search later, I picked the name “Kahlil,” nickname “Kal,” which means “friend.”

I was writing a “get to know you” scene where everyone on the ship is having dinner together for the first time. At first I had Kal’s boss, Raffa, cooking chili, but then I realized that Raff was making dinner, and had put on the music (blues) and was a musician himself (guitar player). He has plenty of things that make his character interesting, and I wasn’t leaving anything for Kal. Switch over to Kal doing the cooking. At first I kept the chili, but then I thought, let’s follow the ancestry of his name and make it Middle Eastern. I mean, it’s the year 3000 or who knows (not even me, yet), so he could cook anything, but I wanted to make it simple.

(My characters break the 4th wall and look out at the audience. This is simple?)

So he’s a hired gun who likes to cook. How good is he? I decided he’s very good at it. When you’re stuck in space traveling all the time, you might as well try to eat as well as you can. I even made a gag out of it, saying that the rest of the crew often does his chores for him so that he’ll cook for them.

Dinner was kebabs using meat from an animal he shot in the field, the local version of an onion, and spices that they picked up on other planets. He also improvised hummus using some alien rendition of chickpeas. So not only is Kal a gunfighter and a cook, we also know that he’s resourceful, persistent or stubborn, and takes pride in what he does.

Zohan

Don’t mess with the Zohan

My pop-culture-addled mind jumped from hummus to Adam Sandler’s Zohan. Do I want to play Kal for laughs, too? Make him listen to disco, have 1980s hair? No way. If I can work in having him and Raff play hacky sack to build up their coordination — maybe Kal’s a martial artist too — that’s fine, but no more than that.

Probably.

To get a visual of what this feels like, watch the “Script in Development” sketch from Saturday Night Live :).

"Script in Development," from Saturday Night Live

“Script in Development,” from Saturday Night Live

All images used without permission.

She Told Him Only That She Loved Him

Posted: October 13, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama, Fun Stuff
Tags: , , , , ,

cold man

Post #4 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. So what didn’t she tell him? Is she pregnant? Is there someone else? Nah… time to have fun with it.

The same green Volvo was parked outside her house today. Gabby got ready. She moaned as she took the groceries out of her trunk. “I hate these heels,” she said as she came up the front walk. She reached the front door, but couldn’t open it with her arms full of groceries. “Damn it!”

Gabby put one of the bags down and dug her keys out of her purse. She opened the door, put her keys back in the purse, then picked the groceries back up. A quick scan through the crack showed that the living room was clear. Probably inside the bathroom. No more than four.

She pushed the front door open with her foot, walked in, then closed it with her butt. “I’m late, I’m late, I’m so fucking late, Chuck is going to kill me…” She hurried through the living room. The bathroom door was half closed and the kitchen had darker shadows than it would normally have at this hour.

When she passed the bathroom someone lunged out and grabbed her hair from behind. Gabby screamed. She fought every instinct she had and grabbed for his hands. The man shoved her against the near wall. She dropped her gaze down—sneakers. He wrapped one arm around her waist, then she heard a click. A knife pressed against her cheek. “Don’t move, honey. Don’t move.”

Flat blade. Serrated at the bottom, edged at the top. A military switchblade.

She nodded. “Please… please…” She spoke faster. “Just take anything you want. I-I-I-have jewelry, money, take my car—”

“Shut up!” He turned her around.

Another blonde-haired man stood behind the fridge. He smiled at her fear. A third walked out of the bedroom. The others had swagger, but this one had an economy in the way he walked. Coldly aloof.

Gabby imagined horrors, evil monsters in the room, to make her eyes widen even more. She trembled. She breathed shallow, chilly breaths. It made her a little dizzy but it put on a good show.

“I won’t hurt you if I don’t have to, young lady, but we don’t have time. Where is your friend Charles?”

On his way to their dinner reservations, with two gigs of classified data in his phone that he didn’t know he had.

“Wh… what… what are you going to do to him?”

The cold man didn’t waste any time. He walked over slapped her with a hand in a rubber glove. Gabby cried out. As her hair covered her face, she bit down on her tongue to make some tears.

She gasped. Gabby curled her lips down into a mask of terror. He had fast hands. Good to know. Was he a sadist, or were the gloves there for theater?

“That depends on you.”

“Will he still love you if I cut the skin off your face?” the man holding her asked.

“No… no… please don’t hurt me.” If he made a mark she would cut parts of him off for sure. She needed this cover.

“Where is he?”

“He could be at the office. Or at the gym. He works late, odd hours, I never know until I hear from him.”

“Cut her,” the cold man said.

“I can call him! Let me call him!” She forced a horrible smile, with her chin quivering. “I can sound sweet for him. Just like this. See? Just… you won’t hurt him?”

The cold man nodded to the blonde. The blonde took the phone off the cradle. “It’s—”

“We know.”

The blonde man hit the memory dial for Charles’ cell phone. He held the phone awkwardly toward her face. He stepped forward with his left foot. Leftie. The thug moved the knife away. The blonde man pressed the send button.

Gabby stomped on the thug’s foot with one of her work heels, shattering his second and third metatarsals. She punched the blonde in the throat with her left, then dropped as the cold man lunged. He was the real threat. His eyes widened as he overextended with Gabby underneath him. He stabbed the thug in the ribs – Gabby heard the tearing meat. Gabby punched the cold man in the groin, then heaved him over and dropped him to the ground.

Gabby bell-clapped the thug. He fell, still holding the knife in his belly.

Gabby picked up the phone. She stood on the cold man’s neck, deliberately positioning her heel over his jugular vein, then put her finger over his lips to be quiet. Charles finally picked up. “Hello?”

“Hey Chuck! We still on for dinner tonight?”

“Absolutely. Am I picking you up at your place?”

“No, it’s a mess. I have to call the cleaners.” She winked at the cold man. “Why don’t I meet you there?”

“Perfect. See you soon.”

“All right. Love you.”

“Love you!”

Gabby hung up. She smiled sweetly at the cold man. “I love him. You don’t need to know anything else.”

Photo credit: “Kyk noir” by Kyknoord at Flickr
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Hand-Me-Downs

Posted: September 11, 2014 by writingsprint in Slice of Life
Tags: , , , ,

zebra station wagon

My favorite hand-me-down was my older brother’s car. I bought it from him in 1991, after I came home from college. At the time I could barely stomach handing him the money: his car was a 1986 Chevy Cavalier wagon, a car that would guarantee that I wouldn’t be getting laid anywhere near it. I think that was why my mom and dad encouraged him to sell it to me.

I’ll tell you what, though: that car had personality. I’ll never forget the first time I drove it. I was on my way to the beer distributor to get a case of MGD. Someone pulled up alongside me in a Camaro wearing sunglasses with slicked-back hair. He revved his engine twice. I just waved at him. He stared me down, hit the gas when the light turned green, then something in his engine blew out and he rolled to a stop in the middle of the intersection. I made to the other side before he did. I pet my dashboard and said, “Attaboy.”

I swear, it liked me after that. Every time a car crept into my blind spot, I knew it was there before I looked. It was like the car was telling me. Rental cars didn’t give me the same luck. Even though it was a lightweight, the only skidding I ever did on ice was in an empty parking lot.

The first bumper sticker said “what if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?” followed by “kill your television” and “do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.” I took it on road trips to the Jersey shore and the Poconos. The cargo space was big enough for skis, a surfboard, or one bike if you wrestled with it for a few minutes. I drove it all the way to California when I moved to LA. There’s a picture of me leaning on the hood with the world’s largest ball of twine in the background. After that trip, I might add, I finally did get laid in that car.

It took me ten years before I needed a major repair. The catalytic converter went. For about a week it sounded like I had popcorn popping in my muffler.

I finally gave it up for auction in 2002, when it became old enough to drive. By then the upholstery was held up with enough thumbtacks to look like the night sky over Lake Winnipesaukee. To my knowledge my old buddy is still rolling somewhere in Tijuana. Vaya con Dios, my friend.

I really did own a Chevy Cavalier station wagon for my first car. Most of the rest is a tall tale, inspired by the daily prompt “hand-me-downs.”

Photo credit: “Zebra Chevrolet Cavalier station wagon” by dave_7 at Flickr
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Unlock the 007 in You

Posted: August 30, 2014 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
Tags: , , , ,

I just finished reading By Royal Command, a book in the “Young James Bond” teen book series by Charlie Higson. It made me think of this video that came out as a promotion for Skyfall.

The Mighty Yardstick of Saint Bludgeon

Posted: August 11, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , ,

Saint BludgeonPatty tried to remember every rallying speech from every movie she ever saw. Nothing came to her. Some parts of her brain still hadn’t woken up from the deep freeze. Patty winged it.

“We’ve fought long and hard for this day. Now our enemy has come to our door. It’s time to stand up. Today, we’re going to look them in the eye, kick them in the balls, knock them on their ass, and send those zombie sons of bitches back to Hell where they belong!”

The crowd cheered. Wise-ass Gus asked, “Why would we look them in the eye or kick them in the balls? Half of them don’t have either one.”

Patty slapped him. “Don’t interrupt. And thanks for volunteering to lead the charge with me!” Patty handed him an axe and a hammer. Two sisters from the Order of Saint Bludgeon started putting armor on him.

Patty hefted her own weapon: a sword notched to look like a yardstick, a weapon she’d wielded to many students’ dismay in her past life. She gestured at Gus with it. “Some of you don’t like me…”

“You’ve got that right,” a heckler called. Two more sisters started suiting him up for Patty’s Brigade.

“Well, I’ll be honest. I haven’t been around such a sorry bunch of complainers since the twenty years that I taught the sixth grade. But like them, you’re a bunch of survivors. I used to tell them, ‘If you can make it past me, you can make it past anything!'” She looked over the multitude. “I see doctors. Nurses. Cops. Business people. To all you people who hate my guts, I’ll say this: tomorrow, you’ll still hate my guts and you’ll have a chance to tell me all about it! I’m going to stand up here and let every last one of you speak your mind and I won’t say a word. Is that something worth living for?”

The crowd cheered louder.

“Is that something worth fighting for?”

Crowbars, axes and chain saws waved in the air.

“Is that something worth kicking zombie ass for?”

The crowd surged. Patty would have crowd-surfed on them if the blades wouldn’t have sliced her into shredded steak.

“For God! For glory! For football!” she roared. Patty’s eyes bugged out. Where the hell did that come from? She was afraid she’d lose the crowd, but instead they went berserk.

She ran for the gates. The crowd charged right behind her. Patty’s habit flapped in the wind like a blue cape of doom.

Because, some days, that’s just the kind of post I write.

Rhymes with Grime

Posted: August 1, 2014 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
Tags: , , ,

I laughed out loud at this post by Mads. I’m imagining Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger as Lord Pottinger and Lady Lobelia.

The Deadly Doughnut

Posted: July 30, 2014 by writingsprint in Science fiction
Tags: , , , ,
Voodoo doughnut

The “Old Dirty Bastard” by Voodoo Doughnut

Kevin jumped from a sound like a popping paper bag. He was about to ask nobody in particular what the hell happened when he heard himself say, “Don’t eat that doughnut!”

It was just two inches from his mouth. Sweet dreams of marble-frosted sugar and cake swam in his head. Kevin looked up and saw himself, looking completely pissed. It was the ugliest thing he’d ever seen.

“No way.”

“For Christ’s sake. Say something else, will you?”

“What, we’ve met before?”

“Six times. Don’t eat the doughnut.”

It was calling him. A block of fattening heaven. Kevin didn’t mind paying the price. His curiosity at Future Kevin overcame his hunger. “So what gives? You don’t look more than six months into my future,” he said.

“Eleven.”

“How are you time traveling?”

“A little hustle and a lot of blackmail. I’ll break down for you. You eat the doughnut, get a cavity, see the dentist, lose your tooth, miss an audition, and the schlub who got the role is working on a new role in Hollywood.”

“Shit! You’re kidding.”

Future Kevin lifted his left lip high up on his cheek. Halfway along his jaw, he had a gap where one of his molars used to be.

Kevin asked, “Why didn’t you get a replacement?”

“Long story. Don’t eat the damned doughnut already!”

Kevin’s stomach grumbled. He’d been looking forward to this all morning. This was the one treat he allowed himself on his diet. It wasn’t fair. “I promise you, I will brush my teeth as soon as I finish this.”

“Kevin, so help me God…”

He took a mouthful of the doughnut. It was the best-tasting doughnut he’d ever had.

Future Kevin threw up his arms. “You stupid son of a…”

The air rushed in around Future Kevin. For a second he looked like a sand painting of himself that someone had sneezed next to, then the air popped again. Kevin jumped again.

He finished his doughnut. Future Kevin should have known he wouldn’t listen. He didn’t believe in fate. Besides, timelines changed all the time. What made him think that—

The air popped again. Kevin looked up.

Future Kevin—about five years older—grabbed the rest of the doughnut and threw it over his shoulder into a time warp. He handed Kevin a paste-smeared toothbrush and a cup of water. “Start brushing, wise guy, or I’ll bust that tooth out myself.”

Today’s post is inspired by the Daily Prompt, “190 Days Later.” This year is turning out better than I expected, which says a lot. Last year, I started a new job which I love, I had a niece’s graduation and a fantastic vacation to look forward to, and I made a commitment to self-publish my first novel. The job gets better every day, I feel truly inspired and blessed to know my niece, the vacation was awesome, and I feel more pride about the novel than even I expected. I’m a lucky man.

Things are not turning out the way Kevin expected, though. Hence the time travel.

Photo credit: “Voodoo Doughnut – Old Dirty Bastard” by camknows at Flickr
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Shared under Creative Commons license

Modeling for Martians

Posted: July 24, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

photoBeverly laughed when she saw the mission parameters. “Two people stuck in a capsule the size of my dad’s Plymouth Valiant for a year. No bathing, dry wash only. No exercise, so muscle tone is maintained with electrical pulses. Freeze-dried food. Physical waste is recycled to supplement food and water. And we would be the first people to orbit Mars.” Beverly imagined her name written in history books. Her face would be on the cover of Wheaties boxes, wearing a red, white and blue space suit and gesturing with a big thumbs-up.

Beverly took out an ebony fountain pen with an engraved silver tip that she’d had made for the occasion. She smiled at Dr. Julius, the program director. “Where do I sign?”

The door burst open as the pen descended toward the page. A young man as thin as a strip of licorice and dressed in a silk suit of the same color strode into the room, waving his own sheaf of paper. “Mademoiselle, a moment!” he shouted. His voice, a mellifluous tenor, pierced the hush in the room with an ironic sharpness.

“Who is this?” Julius asked.

“Francois, what the hell are you doing?” Beverly asked.

Francois began to flourish his paper, but Beverly snatched it out of his hand. “An injunction, mademoiselle,” he said. Francois cradled his fingers as if she’d slashed them. She hadn’t, but her manicure did have a vicious edge to it. “This mission to Mars as you call it requires that you do not bathe for a year.”

Flashbulbs were going off. So much for a dignified memory. Beverly made sure to put her good side toward the cameras. At least she would look good on tabloids. She replied, “I’m going into space. Of course I won’t be bathing. I also won’t be exfoliating, moisturizing, or wearing your makeup line.”

“Unacceptable!” he cried. It sounded like a song in the acoustics of the room, which were actually very good. “You have a contract!”

Julius looked at her. She explained, “It’s a modeling contract. I’m the second-most photographed woman in the world. How else do you think I could help fund the project?”

Francois continued. “And her skin is required to be in a constant state of superlative care—”

Beverly stabbed the injunction with her pen, ripped it into pieces, and threw it up into the air. The flashbulbs lit the room like solar flares buffeting their orbiter two years from now.

“This is outrageous. I will sue!” Francois cried.

“Look at the clause at the bottom of page seven, Francois. Unilateral exclusion for a matter of international need.”

Francois flushed the scarlet color of his silk tie. “That was for those ridiculous mercy missions to famine victims of yours.”

“It still applies. If you want to fund the dry wash part of the mission, we can always put the agency’s name on the booster rockets.”

Okay, so the part about her being the world’s tallest woman didn’t make it into the story. I took liberties with “gold mine” — her modeling brings in more money than her work as an astronaut.

Twelve Pounds of Soggy Fury

Posted: July 5, 2014 by writingsprint in Fun Stuff
Tags: , , ,

Deborah held Cuddles at arm’s length as she paid the cab driver. Cuddles the Persian cat was twelve pounds of soggy fury, each leg splayed out as far as he could reach trying to claw Deborah to death. Water dripped on the sidewalk. The cat yowled and spun but Deborah ignored him. She’d been clawed by cats that made Cuddles look like he was sedated on Valium.

She wrote down a twenty for a tip on the receipt. “You earned it, Charlie.”

“Damned right I did.”

“Pick me up in an hour.”

Charlie looked at a back seat that was covered with cat hair. “No promises.”

Deborah waved goodbye to him, twisting her arm gymnastically to keep Cuddles away from her. Two men in black suits wearing black sunglasses approached her. Deborah’s sweet smile turned to an expression that looked more like the one on Cuddles’ face. Before they could talk, she said, “Take me to see the Godfather.”

“Ma’am, there isn’t a—”

Deborah held Cuddles towards him. Both men stepped back. The speaker started to reach inside his suit coat. “Do you know who this darling kitty belongs to?”

Cuddles hissed at him. His fangs shone like a cobra’s. He had two more people he could unleash his rage upon.

The man nodded. He tapped the other guard. “Make the call. Keep that ball of hell away from me.”

The second guard spoke into an earpiece. He said to Deborah, “I’ll take you up. Isn’t there a cat carrier?”

“Mr. Scarzetti doesn’t believe in them,” Deborah said.

The guards turned green. They looked around for police officers. Apparently they weren’t allowed to use their boss’s real name.

They got strange looks from a family from Iowa as they crossed the hotel lobby. The staff knew not to interfere. The second guard cowered in a corner of the finely-appointed express elevator as it rocketed to the top floor of the building.

The cat knew where he was as soon as the elevator doors opened. Deborah let him down. The cat ran across the foyer into his owner’s arms. Mr. Antonio Scarzetti owned the building, and a third of the city. His room was the entire top floor of the hotel. He had hair the color of gun metal and marble-black eyes. He also loved his cat.

Scarzetti swore. “What is this? What did you do to Cuddles?” The guard gaped. He didn’t know what to say. He pointed at Deborah. He shrugged, his eyes begging for mercy. “Get the hell out of here! I wasn’t talking to you,” Scarzetti said. To someone else in the penthouse, he yelled, “Get a towel for Cuddles!”

The guard was happy to leave. Cuddles purred. He rubbed up against Scarzetti’s legs, getting soggy cat hair all over a ten thousand dollar suit. Deborah said, “Godfather, I need to ask you a favor.”

Scarzetti laughed. “It isn’t my daughter’s wedding day. You’ve got a lot of nerve!”

“I’m the only one in this city who can handle that furball and you know it.”

An even meaner-looking guard arrived with a towel. He handed it to Scarzetti without getting too close. Scarzetti snatched it from him. He waved the guard away. “I’ve got a dozen bodyguards and they’re all scared of cute little Cuddles,” he cooed. The cat let him dry him off.

“I had a friend named Kyle Mooney. He was my business partner. He would supply me with all the soap, shampoo, and tools I needed to clean and take care the animals at the grooming salon.” She indicated the former feline fury. “He took all the money in our account, blew town and left me with a garage full of counterfeit supplies. Worthless.”

Scarzetti kissed Cuddles. The cat hissed at Deborah as she walked closer. “It sounds to me like your problem, not mine.”

“If I go under, I move back to Tennessee and you don’t have a groomer. The counterfeits were filled with a solution of water and dish soap. It could have blinded Cuddles. That’s why I brought him over like this.”

Scarzetti became completely still. He pet Cuddles slowly. “Tell me where I can find this man.”

Today’s post was inspired by this prompt from The Amazing Story Generator: Enraged by a conflict with a former friend / a licensed cat-hair stylist / joins the mob.

You’re Never Too Old

Posted: July 1, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , ,

koi tattooToday’s Daily Prompt, “Back of the Queue,” asks what we’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet, and why. I guess mine has to be “get a tattoo.” I never could imagine an image that I felt passionate enough about to put it in ink on my body. I’ve solved that one. There are some very cool websites that have a broad selection of tattoo artwork, like Bullseye Tattoos.

I’m also skinny, so I was afraid it would look like crap. Finally, I’m on the north side of 40, and I don’t want to feel like I’m getting it to satisfy a midlife crisis.

That said, I still have the money set aside in my budget. Maybe. Just maybe.

On a related note: in 2013, Winifred Turner became the oldest woman in Britain to get a tattoo.

Frank’s face twisted inwards, double whirlpools centered on his eyes, as the tattoo needle worked its way under his skin. A drop of sweat ran down his forehead. His buddy Gus dabbed it away with a handkerchief. “How does it look?” Frank asked.

“Like a fish,” Gus said. He winced. A fish surrounded by a red halo.”

“Halo?” Frank asked.

“Your skin’s red around the artwork. It’s normal,” Beatrice, his artist, told him.

Gus said, “Frank, quit while you’re ahead. It’s only going to look so good. She’s painting artwork on a wrinkled old canvas.”

Frank shook his head. “A goal’s a goal. I put it on the bucket list. I’m crossing it off.”

“You can always rethink those goals,” Gus said.

“I want it. I’m getting it.” He moaned.

“How are you doing there?” Beatrice asked.

“Fine. Keep it going.” Frank chuckled. “Anna said she’d divorce me if I came home with a tattoo.”

“Oh, I’ll do you one better,” they heard from the front of the shop.

Frank sat up, jumping straight into the tattoo gun. He fell forward again. “OW!!!”

“Careful!” Beatrice said. She shook her head. “You just put a mustache on your fish.”

“Anna, is that you?” Frank called.

“Yes, and I’m getting one too,” she said.

“Honey, don’t be silly. You shouldn’t just get one because I am.”

“Who says I am? I always wanted one. I’m getting a little hummingbird on my shoulder.”

Frank turned beet red. He called her his little hummingbird. “I… well… that’s… nice.”

“She’s got good taste, too,” one of the artists called. “She picked the best one in the book.”

Gus nudged Frank. “Do you need to go have a talk with your lady love?”

Frank nudged him back. Jerk. “You stay out of this.”

“Do you want to finish, or what?” Beatrice asked.

Frank lay back down on the couch. Beatrice started up again. Frank let out a long, cooling breath. “Honey, just so you know, it hurts but it’s not too bad.”

Anna came walking into the back room, preceded by Rocky, the owner of the parlor. She smiled and waved at Frank. He winked at her. She said, “Don’t worry about me. I bore our three kids. I can handle this.”

Frank smiled. “I’ve still got motorcycle riding and skydiving on the bucket list. Want to go too?”

“Only if you go surfing with me,” Anna said.

Photo credit: “koi fish” by art dejavu at Flickr
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