Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Skip'Z RantZ - WTF??? An April First Post

(I have grown to admire David M. Lynch's writings, and have decided to be just LIKE him! That's easier said than done. It's not easy to imitate his greatness. It takes more than just waking up in the morning in a pissy mood, then deciding you're going to definitely share it with the world! Or to write long posts requiring you not only to bring a lunch, but supper and the next morning's breakfast! Or to begin multi-part stories that leave the reader on a cliffhanger, and never bother posting the next part! No, my gentle readers! It takes a special talent, (what the Germans would call "gleichgültig") to duplicate his unique style! I can only make a feeble attempt to walk in this man's black shoes! Wish me luck, as I pay tribute to this wonderful guy... a great humanitarian... and a friend to all that have no friends...)

April Fools Day, Not Politically Correct? -- WTF?!?

According to an article in the latest edition of 101 Ideas For Angry Blog Rants, April Fools Day is going to be outlawed by the Federal Government as being "politically incorrect."
The article cited statements by a certain Norman Balcomb, who heads a government organization known as "Americans for Sanctimonious Sensitivity."

Balcomb started off by parroting the words of former President George H.W. Bush (who originally recommended Balcomb to his lifetime $450,000 a year job), saying, "For the record, we want to be a kinder, gentler nation. 'Fool' is a derogatory term. We would prefer alternatives, such as 'cerebrally challenged,' 'scholarly dysfunctional,' or even 'factually unencumbered.'

Balcomb didn't stop there.

"Also, the idea of people playing jokes on each other, while sounding fun and innocent, can actually cause a lifetime of trauma! For example, I remember one year, when someone in my office had unscrewed the bottom part of my phone, and removed the little round microphone thingie. Then they kept calling me, and I kept shouting 'Hello? Hello?' into the phone like an idiot... I mean 'intellectually challenged'... while the rest of the staff, who were in on the joke, stood outside my office and had a big laugh at my expense."

According to the article, Balcomb then shook his head, adding "I don't know if I'll ever get over it, and my therapist agrees."

The article ends by stating, "Indeed, A.S.S. has already lobbied for new legislation making April Fools Day illegal. States that would not go along would be denied federal funds. Playing pranks would become a federal crime investigated by the F.B.I., and carrying a fine of up to $500,000 and five years in prison."

Fellow babies! What the hell is wrong with this picture?!?

I don't care what your political affiliation is! I don't even care what MY political affiliation is! This time I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore! And as for what I'm going to actually do about it... umm... I'll get back to you on that one, okay?

* * * * *

Still Even MORE Of My Relatives - A Dark Reddish Brown Wednesday Post

The above photo was taken in the early part of November of 1933. In it, you can see my Uncle Eddie "Sparky" Simpson, and his girlfriend, the fun-loving Stella "Poochie Lips" Kowalski.

Not ever having an original thought of their own in their sad and miserable lives, they decided to emulate the notorious bank robbers "Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow." Uncle Eddie quit his day job at "White Castle Hamburgers" and proceeded to form a gang, which he referred to as, "The Gang."

The gang was made up of Percival Whitehall Smythe (a transplanted Englishman who was a disgruntled cheesemaker), W.D. Phorty (a frustrated inventor who was searching for a new lubricant in a spray can), and Herbert Herbert (the only gang member that is known to have survived, and who ultimately escaped to West Virginia.)

They attempted their first robbery in Worcester, Massachusetts in late November of 1933. Uncle Eddie and his gang brazenly strode into the bank, and he passed a note which read, " This iz a stikup. Gif me al yor monee."

Unfortunately, the entire gang (except for the elusive Herbert Herbert), were gunned down by an 83-year old security guard named Philo T. Farnsworth, who Uncle Eddie had stupidly passed the note to.

This effectively ended their rather short-lived career.

I wish I could write more... but let's face it. These guys were idiots.


That Homeless Man on Chandler Street - Conclusion

(As a special treat to my fellow babies, the long-awaited conclusion of a story begun in 2004, or thereabouts.)

Russell turned to Mac Kinnonhugh with a sly smile. "I thought you'd never say that." Mac smiled that "knowing smile" that indicated he always knew when his smiling friend was full of smiling sh*t.

"It shouldn't come as a big surprise," Mac smiled. "I remember when we watched that M*A*S*H episode..." His voiced trailed off, thinking about the night that all three of them -- Russell, Mac, and Suzie Creamcheese -- sat on the cheap sofa in Russell's apartment, watching every episode from the second season, with smiles on their smiling faces.

Mac thought back on Suzie, shook his head, and muttered a low "D*mn."

"Suzie Creamcheese" wasn't her actual name of course. It was Susan Kraft. The two young men had met the pimply-faced, frizzy haired young woman with a rather large nose, late one night as they waited to pick up their respective pizza orders at "Taki's Greek Pizza."

Taki Portapotkis (whose real name was Peter), was a Greek immigrant who had come to America with dreams of fame and fortune. He finally realized his dream when he opened a pizza joint. The fortune was soon to follow. Russell and Mac had discovered the little place late one night, after their favorite watering hole, "John's Bar" had closed.

"John's Bar" was owned by John Val Jean, a burly man in his late 50's who could always be found there. He was always quick with a joke, or to light up a smoke, but it was always suspected among the customers, that there was somewhere that he'd rather be.

Possibly with his girlfriend of the last ten years, Roxanne Himalayas.

A hot-blooded Latina from South America, she occasionally worked at the bar alongside John. She would be very helpful to him and encourage him to save electricity whenever he could. Finally her constant preachings of conservation paid off, as John told her early one evening, "I think I've decided to save some money. Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light."

Roxanne had just smiled.

When Susan Kraft had told them her full name, Russell's warped sense of humor had caused him to blurt out, "Oh. Suzie Creamcheese, huh?" and the name had stuck.

"Suzie" began stopping by Russell's apartment a lot, and would join them for marathon M*A*S*H sessions, smoking a few joints in the process. One night, while Russell was at work and Mac was watching episode 103, Suzie had let herself in with the key that was always cleverly hidden under the welcome mat. She had sat next to Mac for a long time, occasionally helping herself to the Miller High Life that he kept well-stocked in the refrigerator. Five beers later, she turned to him. Her beady little eyes rolling around in her head, behind her thick glasses.

"Mac. May I ask you something?"

"Shoot," Mac had answered, his eyes glued to the screen, his lips mouthing the dialogue that he had memorized from countless viewings of the same episode.

"Are you gay?"

Mac hit the pause button on the remote. He looked directly into Suzie's face. Finally, he chuckled nervously. "F**k No! Of course not! What would make you ask a question like that? Heh heh."

Suzie looked down at her oversized feet demurely. "Because... you've never tried to kiss me, fondle me... or touch me in any way. You've never even tried to stick your tongue in my mouth. Is it my big fu**ing nose?"

Mac's flashback suddenly ended when he heard Russell say, "Yeah. That was episode 47."

Mac angrily glanced at Russell. "No. It was 46."

"Are you sure?"

Mac sighed. "Look, big fu**ing nose... I've got the entire boxed set. I've memorized the dialogue for every single episode!"

* * * * *

Oh, crap, fellow babies! I know I promised to post this today, but there's a knock on my door, and it's... Well, never mind who it is, but she's insisting I shut down my computer, so I'm going to have to make my next post the conclusion of "That Homeless Man on Chandler Street," okay?

Thanks for your-- Gotta go!


(Heh heh. That oughta get "The Silver Fox" good! I doubt he has the creativity, and the foresight to come up with anything against "little old me" in his April first post! Vootie!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

"You've Missed a Few Things..."

Scene One: The front yard of Simpson/Lynch Studios in Pleasantview on a Saturday morning.

Due to a not-so-surprising miscommunication by Carla, the SnL receptionist, no one was at Montgomery Regional Airport to greet the Skipster and Gretchen when they arrived. The Skipster called Luke, who explained the mix-up. The Skipster decided to rent a car rather than make Luke drive all the way to get them.

The Skipster and Gretchen have just arrived from the airport. They are in the driveway. The Skipster calls out in greeting to Luke as they exit the rental car.

Skipster: Kato! Good to see you!

Gretchen walks to Luke and gives him a warm hug, but remains silent during the following exchange.

Luke: Actually, Mr. Skipster, I would prefer it if you call me "Luke" from now on.

Skipster: Umm... Okayyy... May I ask why?

Luke: Simply put, I have returned to using my real name, Luke Tian. "Kato Kato" is no more, shall we say.

Skipster: Really! Well, okay, whatever you want, of course... So, is the Foxster home? I'm surprised he's not out here to greet us, too...

Luke: Oh, that's right, you don't know.
(brief pause)
Mr. Foxster moved into his own home.

Skipster: What?!? Don't tell me he moved back to Massachusetts!

Luke: Oh, no, Mr. Skipster. Nothing like that. He bought a house right here in Pleasantview.

Skipster: Wow, that was pretty sudden...

Luke: Well, the doctor thought it would be best for him, after his heart attack.

Skipster: Doctor? What doct- Whoa! Did you say, heart attack?!?

Luke: Yes. (brief pause) Don't worry, he's much better now.

Skipster: Damn! So, with Vickie and Carla off for the weekend, we'll be walking into an empty house... except for you!

Luke (wincing): Umm... Not quite. (brief pause) Mr. Barry Cabana arrived at Kewl Beanz! a few days ago, and depending on whose story you believe, he either was dissatisfied with the Pleasantview Country Club and Spa... or he was thrown out of there. He's been staying in Mr. Foxster's old room here at the studio for the last few days. (pause) You two have missed a few things while you were gone.

Skipster (after a long pause): You have a remarkable talent for understatement... Luke. (pause) So, good old Barry's waiting to greet us? Well, that's good for something! It's been quite a while since the Foxster and I last saw him! (to Gretchen) Gretchen, honey, why don't you go inside and introduce yourself to our guest, while
I help Kato... I mean, Luke... with the luggage and all the souvenirs we bought

Gretchen: All right. (Gretchen starts to walk towards the front door.)

Luke: Um... Mr. Skipster... You should wait... I don't...

Skipster: Nonsense! She'll be all right.

Luke: But... I... but...

Skipster (kiddingly dramatic): I'll hear no more words of protestation from you, my good man. Now, let's get busy with the matters at hand here, shall we?

Gretchen enters the house. Luke's eyes start to water; the Skipster notices.

Skipster: Hey, now! Don't get all emotional on me! We missed you guys, too!

Luke wails. The Skipster starts carrying luggage toward the house and is met at the top of the front steps by an ashen-faced Gretchen.

Gretchen: Skip? Which one is Cabana Man?

Skipster: Which one? What do you mean, which one?

Gretchen: There are two men lying in room. It looks like room... exploded. I think men are dead!

The Skipster drops the suitcases and starts to make his way inside. Gretchen grabs his arm.

Gretchen: Wait! There is more! There is also sleeping dog... plus live chicken that chase me back out of room!

The Skipster gently pulls away from Gretchen's grasp and enters the house.

* * * * *

Scene Two: The Skipster enters the Foxster's old room on the first floor, only to see...

To Be Continued...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Home Is Where The Heartburn Is

Scene One: The Foxster and Tara are in the back of the Simpson/Lynch Studios Limo. Luke is driving.

Tara: I can't believe how quickly that closing went.

Foxster: Neither can I. It really helped that most of the paperwork was handled by you and Vickie...

Tara (interjecting softly): Mostly by me...

Foxster (nodding and continuing): ...while I was in the hospital. And, you did check out the place personally.

Tara: Yep. It's "you." (giggling) I've never seen anyone whip out a checkbook and write a check for $470,000 so calmly... considering this is the first piece of property you've ever owned.

Foxster (playing with his new house keys): Yeah... (pause) Four acres of peace and quiet at One Lakeside Drive. (looking at Tara) Now it's just you and me, kiddo. (The Foxster kisses Tara warmly.)

Tara smiles and looks toward the front of the limo. Suddenly she taps Luke on the shoulder.

Tara: Luke! You just missed the turn! (Luke screeches the limo to a halt and turns around.) My gods, an expensive car like this and you don't have a GPS installed?

Luke (from the driver's seat, laughing): Why should we have an artificial female voice telling me I missed a turn, when we have you?

The car comes to a slow stop in the driveway of One Lakeside Drive, known to the citizens of Pleasantview as "the Old Fenneman Estate."

* * * * *

Scene Two: The Foxster's new property, a/k/a "the Old Fenneman Estate." The Foxster, Tara, and Luke get out and stare at the large house.

Foxster: Ohhh, yeah. It's gorgeous...

Luke (shaking the Foxster's hand): Congratulations, Mr. Foxster! (pause) I just have one question.

Foxster: Hm? What's that, Luke?

Luke (pointing): Who is that man in the yellow suit, sitting on the front steps?

All three look at the sitting figure of none other than "Mister Broadway" himself... Barry Cabana! Next to Barry are two rather large suitcases.

Barry: (shouting and waving): Davey-boy!!! My ol' pal!!!

Tara (to Foxster, wide-eyed): "Davey?"

Foxster: He's nickname-prone... to say the very least. Just ignore it.

Tara (smirking): Whatever you say... Davey. (The Foxster glares at Tara, only half-kiddingly, but says nothing.)

Barry gets up, somewhat unsteadily, and rushes to the Foxster and the others, extending his hand, which the Foxster shakes.

Barry: Good t' see ya, ol' buddy! Been a long time. (ogling Tara) Who's the babe?

Foxster (forcing a smile): She's my girlfriend, Tara. (brief pause) You can stop drooling any time now, Barry.

Barry (to Tara): Ahhh! A truly significant other! (Foxster winces at the expression "significant other.")

Barry reaches toward Tara, who cautiously takes one step back.

Barry: Don't worry, sweet-cheeks, I don't bite! (Barry reaches for Tara's hand, upon which he plants a sloppy wet kiss.) I jus' nibble a bit. (winks)

Tara: Yes, I know. Bella told me.

Barry: Bella? Oh, yeah, that spicy li'l jalapeño at th' bar! (brief pause) Or would that be, "jalapeña?" (Barry laughs at his own meager joke.)

Foxster: How'd you get here, Barry? Tara and I haven't even moved in yet!

Tara discreetly sniffs the now-moist back of her hand, which smells like Seagram's Crown Royal.

Barry: Oh, I got a ride from one o' th' local bar-flies... Miles, or Milo... somethin' like that.

Foxster: Milo Fenderbanger?

Tara: Fenderbender.

Foxster (to Tara): Whatever. I'm starting to hear that name a lot lately. How the hell did he know where we live?

Tara: Oh, really, hon, everybody in Pleasantview is familiar with the Old Fenneman Estate.

Foxster (to Barry): So, why the personal visit?

Barry: Well... It was really sweet o' you guys to put me up at th' Pleasantview Country Club and Dry-Cleaners, or whatever they call that joint...

Luke: That would be the Pleasantview Country Club and Spa.

Barry (to Luke): Jus' a li'l joke, kid. And what's your name?

Luke: Luke. Luke Tian.

Barry (shaking Luke's hand): Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars? (Luke smiles and nods.) Neat! Nice t' meetcha, kid. (to Foxster) Anyway, the country club is nice an' all, but us creative types need t' be 'round our own kind, y'know? (pause) So I was sorta hopin' I could stay here with you folks while I'm playin' the gig at Kewl Beanz!

The Foxster and Tara exchange panicked looks.

Foxster: Hey, Barry... uhhh... not that I wouldn't love that under ordinary circumstances, but... (looking at Tara) Honey, is all of our personal stuff moved out of SnL Studios?

Tara (nodding): Yep. Everything. Books, CDs, LPs, 45s, all paperwork, even our computers... (smiling) And even more books! It's already loaded into a rented truck and ready for a call from us to deliver it. (pause) We still have to go shopping for some furniture so we won't be sleeping on the floor tonight...

Foxster: Then there's an empty room, with a bed, at the studio. (to Luke) Think you could set Barry up in my old room, and just kinda look after him for the next few days? (Tara silently mouths an enthusiastic "I love you!" at the Foxster.)

Luke: No problem, Mr. Foxster. Besides, Mr. Skipster and Gretchen will finally be coming back in a few days. What could possibly go wrong in the meantime? (All four laugh.)

Luke carries Barry's suitcases to the limo. After saying their goodbyes, Luke and Barry leave.

Tara: You are a freaking genius! I really couldn't see our first night in our new home being shared with that drunken letch.

Foxster (gently): Neither could I, but don't be so quick to judge Barry. The last few years haven't been very kind to him. (The Foxster hands Tara the house key and removes his cell phone from his pocket.) Tell you what, hon. You let yourself in, and I'll follow as soon as I make a couple of quick phone calls.

The Foxster starts looking through his pockets again, frowning.

Tara: What are you looking for?

Foxster: My cigarettes. (brief pause) Oh. Yeah. (brief pause) Force of habit.

Tara: Sure you don't want to come in with me? (pause) Maybe... carry me across the threshold?

Foxster (smiling): Heh. Some... other time... perhaps?

Tara winks at the Foxster and enters the house. The Foxster calls the moving company and arranges to have his and Tara's belongings delivered. Then he calls his executive assistant, Vickie Wickie.

Vickie's voice: Hello?

Foxster: Hi, Vickie, Foxster here. Quick question for you: Do you know a Milo Fenderbender?

Vickie (taken aback): Uhh... I... umm... No! Why... why do you ask?

Foxster: I know he shows up at Kewl Beanz! a lot, and since you're always running in and out of there on SnL business...

Vickie's voice (recovering): Oh, well, sure I've met him, but I don't know him, really. Why?

Foxster: His name keeps cropping up, and I'm just getting a bad feeling...

Vickie's voice: Oh, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about, Mr. Foxster. (pause) He's very popular with the other customers. (pause) And I know Tara just loves him.

Foxster (after a long pause): I see. (brief pause) Thanks, Vickie, and... Keep this conversation between the two of us, okay?

Vickie's voice: Of course, Mr. Foxster. Anything to help.

Foxster disconnects.

* * * * *

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fruit Cup

Scene One: The home of Milo Fenderbender. One day ago. Milo is speaking with Vickie Wickie on the telephone.

Milo: Hi, Vickie. What's up?

Vickie's voice: Any more news yet about the Skipster, Luke, or Tara?

Milo: Give it time, Vickie!

Vickie's voice: We haven't got time! The Foxster is being released from the hospital tomorrow, and according to that idiot Carla, the Skipster called and said he and Gretchen will be coming home in a few days!

Milo: When?

Vickie's voice: Who knows? You don't expect Carla to deliver two coherent messages in a row, do you?

Milo: But why the rush? Just because your two bosses will be back in action doesn't mean...

Vickie's voice (interrupting): I'm tired of waiting around, sitting on my hands!

Milo: You could always sit on my hands...

Vickie disconnects.

* * * * *

Scene Two: Outside the main lobby of Pleasantview Community Hospital on the Foxster's release day, one day later. Tara wheels the Foxster out toward the limo, where Luke is waiting.

Suddenly Dr. Jane Kildeer, Nurse Betty, and Frank the EMT appear in front of them. They all have sly smiles on their faces.

Betty: Did you really think we were gonna let our "ornery patient of the year" out the door without a little something?

Tara (feigning surprise): David, ornery? No!

Betty hands him a card. It reads, "Glad you're well..." The Foxster opens the card. "You cantankerous old bastard!" Nurse Betty, Dr. Kildeer, and Frank have all signed it with "To David. We DON'T want to see you back!" They all laugh.

Tara (laughing, while reading over the Foxster's shoulder): I can't believe they make greeting cards like that!

Foxster (getting up from his wheelchair): I can. I wrote some of them myself, back in the early days... (brief pause) I'm sorry if I was a big pain in the ass...

Dr. Kildeer: That's okay, David. You can't help who you are. (Dr. Kildeer winks.) And congratulations on buying the Old Fenneman Estate. It'll do you a world of good.

The Foxster smiles and all five form a group hug.

Foxster: Thank you. You guys are really great.

Dr. Kildeer takes the Foxster's confiscated pack of cigarettes from the pocket of her white coat.

Dr. Kildeer: I believe these are yours.

Foxster: Keep them. (smiling) I can live without 'em.

Frank: Uhh... Mr. Foxster?

Foxster: Please, call me David. But go on, Frank.

Frank: Umm... David... Do you think I could be a movie star someday?

Foxster (chuckling): I'll see what I can do.

The staff goes inside. Foxster and Tara walk the short distance to the limo, arm-in-arm.

Foxster: Ya know, hon... this is a pretty nice hospital. But their ER could use some new things...

Tara: They could certainly use some newer magazines...

Foxster: Maybe I'll make a personal donation. What do you think?

Tara: Maybe it can be from the both of us.

Foxster: Well, a "personal donation" means it comes out of my private bank account.

Tara (looking slightly hurt): Oh. I can't be part of this?

Foxster: Oh, I didn't mean it that way. If you want to contribute, I'll help you out...

Tara (smiling): That may not be necessary.

The Foxster looks at Tara quizzically, but says nothing. They have arrived at the limo. Luke smiles and opens the rear passenger side door for them.

Luke: Nice to see that you're "free" again, Mr. Foxster.

Foxster: Thanks, Luke.

Tara (entering the limo): You're all heart, David.

Foxster (doing a perfect Stan Laurel impression, after a pause): I certainly hope so. (in his normal voice) Well... Let's go close on the new house, shall we? (
As the Foxster enters the limo, he starts humming "Three Stars Will Shine Tonight.")

* * * * *

End Titles

A load of thanks goes out to "Dreamhaven" of the Tangled Webs blog for her invaluable assistance in this storyline.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Digging for Dirt

Scene One: We see both Vickie Wickie and Milo Fenderbender as they talk on their telephones, each in their respective homes in Pleasantview. It is mid-afternoon.

Vickie: Milo! You'd better be calling with good news!

Milo: Good news and bad news, as the old saying goes. After spending hours on the internet, and making several phone calls...

Vickie: Milo, I only want to hear what you've dug up. I could care less about how you got it.

Milo: That's "I couldn't care less," Vickie...

Vickie: Oh, shut up! You sound like that college professor wannabe, the Foxster!

Milo: Whatever. First of all, your little Tara...

Vickie: Save the best for last! Unless you found out she's as lily white as Gretchen probably is!

Milo: Okay... Let's start with Mr. "Foxster." He's from Massachusetts...

Vickie: I know that already...

Milo (firmly): Look, I'm just reading from my notes! This time, Vickie dear, you shut up!

Vickie, unaccustomed to this sort of outburst from Milo, remains quiet.

Milo: That's better. Personal stuff, zilch. Nothing juicy. And the worst thing on his rap sheet is a handful of speeding tickets in a '62 Corvette, and later, that Bugatti of his.

Vickie: Borgatti.

Milo: Huh?

Vickie: I don't know anything about cars, but since he brags about it so much... It isn't a Bugatti, it's a Borgatti! It's supposedly a very rare vehicle from a short-lived manufacturer. He says it's "almost as rare as a Tucker," whatever the hell that means.

Milo: The Tucker was...

Vickie (interrupting): Milo, I really don't care.

Milo: Fine. (pause) Straight out of high school, he tried to find work as an investigative journalist. Didn't get very far. Wound up in New York, on the writing staff of a freaking soap opera! Then he headed toward California, with a few months in Vegas working for singer Barry Cabana.

Vickie: Barry Cabana? (brief pause) Oh, yeah, he's the guy who'll be appearing at Kewl Beanz! at the end of this month!

Milo: I know. They have a poster in the downstairs bar announcing it. (pause) And I'd thought he was dead.

Vickie: Okay, get to the good stuff.

Milo: There is no "good stuff." He wound up in Hollywood, mainly doing re-writes and "script doctor" work for various studios. Made lots of contacts, and ended up homesick for Massachusetts. Thanks to the 'net, he could still work for the Hollywood execs from there. He got additional work at a TV station, which is apparently where he met the Skipster.

Vickie: And what about dear old Skipster?

Milo: It's... interesting. Another Massachusetts native. And... (chuckling) I got quite a laugh when I learned his real first name! No wonder he prefers "Skip!"

Vickie: Well, we can't all have nice, normal names like "Fenderbender."

Milo: And what, "Vickie Wickie" is better? Oh, wait, I forgot. That name is as phony as your...

Vickie (interrupting): Watch it, Milo!

Milo (chuckling): Anyway, after college, he enlisted in the army, went through OCS, became an officer... Military records are sealed as far as specific assignments go. (pause) Here's where it gets interesting. After his honorable discharge, he disappeared.

Vickie: What?

Milo: So far I've drawn a total blank for about five years afterwards! It's like he was on freaking Mars or someplace, until he showed up at that TV station, too.

Vickie: Ooh, there's got to be something good there! Keep digging!

Milo: I'm on it.

Vickie: How about the blonde bimbo?

Milo: Gretchen? Zip. Open book, here and in Germany. Not a damned thing you couldn't read in Peeps, if you haven't ripped every available copy to shreds yet. (pause) Now... Luke is another matter.

Vickie: Luke? (brief pause) Oh, yeah, the former "Kato."

Milo: His timing in reclaiming his real name was a godsend for us! As "Kato Kato," there are minor arrests in Massachusetts and...

Vickie: Massachusetts again?

Milo: Yeah. (pause) Okay, as I said, there are minor legal blips in New England and in Florida. Now, as Luke Tian, things get better! His father, Alan Tian, is a self-made millionaire. Owns a big import/export company, Tian Global.

Vickie: So it looks like little Luke is in line for a big inheritance!

Milo: Uhhh... not necessarily. (pause) Listings for Alan Tian show a wife, a daughter, and a son... and the son is not named Luke.

Vickie: Make up your mind. Is Luke the son of this Alan Tian, or not?

Milo: Early records show three Tian kids. Then, a few years ago, it's like his father disowned him and now denies his existence! Which ties in neatly with "Kato's" police record, timewise!

Vickie: Okay, fine. Stay on that one, too.

Milo: Of course.

Vickie: And finally, Tara? Whatcha got on that little maggot?

Milo: So far, nothing.

Vickie: What?!?

Milo: Absolutely nothing. According to everything I've checked, "Tara King" didn't exist until the very day she and "Kato" showed up with their bus tickets for Pleasantview.

Vickie: Wait a second. Those two came to Pleasantview together?

Milo: Yep.

Vickie: What about her stint at the University Of Florida in Gainesville?

Milo: No record of her whatsoever by that name. But she was in Gainesville -- both of them were -- on the day they hopped on that Greyhound.

Vickie (after a long pause): So, all that work, and you've got nothing? Thanks for the bad news. Where the hell's the good news?

Milo: It's coming, I'm sure of it!

Vickie: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Milo: Vickie, think a minute. I've only been on this for a few days. Out of five background checks, I got two large "gaps," and one solid brick wall.

Vickie: So?

Milo: So... To screw up an old saying, "Where there's no smoke, there must be fire!"

Vickie: I'm still disappointed...

Milo: Don't be. I'm going to intensify my efforts with Tara, and I still have plenty of favors owed to me by the ever-so-useful scum of the earth! Heh. One way or another, I'll have some dirt soon that you can use however you want to use it.

Vickie: Okay, I'll try to be patient. But it's not one of my good points. (long pause) And Milo? Whatever you're thinking of saying right now... don't. (pause) Just bring me some really good news soon. Don't forget: When you make me happy, I make you happy.

Milo: You mean, another crack at the old Fenderbender Treatm--

Vickie disconnects.

* * * * *

Scene Two: The main bar and lounge area of Kewl Beanz!, where the new assistant manager, Isabella "Bella" Vergara, is tending bar. Afternoons at Kewl Beanz! are generally slow, and this afternoon is no exception. The last three customers have just left, and Bella is cleaning their table, with her back to the door.

A Man enters, unseen by Bella. As Bella bends over the table she's cleaning, he boldly walks up to her and pats her on the behind in an overly-familiar way. Bella bolts upright and turns to face him, noticing that he looks oddly familiar. Her eyes flash with anger, but her voice -- heavy with a Colombian accent -- is restrained and polite.

Bella: Is there something I can do for you... sir?

Man (reacting to her accent): Ooh! Aren't you the hot little tamale! (brief pause) Yeah, there is something you can do for me, sweet-cheeks! You can find me the manager of this little bistro. I need to talk with him.

Bella: The manager is a "she," not a "he," but she's not here right now. I'm the assistant manager, so you may talk with me. And you are...?

As soon as the question has escaped her lips, Bella realizes where she has seen the Man before.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Only a Heartbeat Away...

Scene One: A third-floor hallway in Pleasantview Community Hospital. Tara is approaching Room 313. From the Foxster's room, Vickie Wickie enters the hallway, carrying a large folder filled with paperwork. Vickie sees Tara and forces a smile.

Vickie (cheerfully): Oh, hi, Tara. The Foxster just gave me a ton of work to do! Isn't that great?

Tara (forcing a smile): Sure is! Nothing slows him down!

Vickie: See you later!

Vickie walks by Tara, and heads toward a double door which leads to a nearby elevator.

Tara (under her breath): And don't let the doors hit your ass on your way out... (Tara opens the door to the Foxster's room and calls out to him in an overly-cheerful manner.) Hi, hon! Here I am! (Tara exits the hallway and enters the Foxster's room.)

* * * * *

Scene Two: Room 313 of Pleasantview Community Hospital, late afternoon, several hours after Tara has left. From his hospital bed, the Foxster is talking with his attending physician, Dr. Jane Kildeer, who is standing next to him.

Dr. Kildeer: Have you been able to reach the Skipster yet?

Foxster: No. He's still in Hawaii with his fiancée...

Dr. Kildeer: Gretchen.

Foxster: Right. (brief pause) I've been meaning to ask. How do you know about her?

Dr. Kildeer: Are you kidding? Most of your staff have become our local celebrities! But I'd really like to meet Gretchen in particular, sometime. I have something I'd like to discuss with her. (Dr. Kildeer notices a page torn out of a magazine in the Foxster's hand.) What are you reading?

Foxster: Hmm? Oh, this! Nurse Betty dropped it by earlier. It's got real estate listings for Pleasantview, just in case I ever decide to get my own place. (pause) I've been thinking about what you said. Maybe living and working under the same roof with Skip and the others 24/7 is kinda wearing me down. It's like... if I wanted to get up in the middle of the night and have some pistachio ice cream, I'm afraid I'd trip an alarm that Luke put on the fridge!

Dr. Kildeer (laughing): So... have you found anything interesting yet?

The Foxster shows her a picture of a house for sale.

Dr. Kildeer: Oh, I know this place! It's the old Fenneman Estate.
It's very beautiful. And it's the only Cape Cod-style house in Pleasantview, Alabama.

Foxster: Why does that not surprise me?

Dr. Kildeer (after a long pause): Do you smoke?

Foxster: Well, uh... yeah.

Dr. Kildeer: Well, uh... quit! (The Foxster gives her a dirty look.) I really do enjoy our pleasant discussions together, David, but I really don't think they should all be while you're lying in bed at Pleasantview Community. (She starts looking around the room.)

Foxster: As the old saying goes, "Jane, get me off this crazy thing!" and we can all have our next discussion at Kewl Beanz! I'm inviting you, and all the staff, and the treat's on me. (pause) Just promise not to eat too much.

Dr. Kildeer: Stop trying to bribe me. You're staying here until I feel you're ready to be released. (Dr. Kildeer starts going through the Foxster's closet. The Foxster swears under his breath.) Ah-ha! (She produces a nearly-full pack of cigarettes and a lighter, with a sly smile.)

Foxster: No! You're not going to take them! (pause) Please tell me you're not going to take them? (pause) I know better to smoke them while I'm in here...

Dr. Kildeer: Nice try. There are three missing out of this pack that I assume Tara smuggled in yesterday. I'm sure you don't smoke in this room, but you probably wait until we go off duty, then sneak outside.

Foxster (weakly): Please don't take them...

Dr. Kildeer: Let's just say I'm temporarily removing this evil temptation from your life. (Dr. Kildeer drops the cigarette pack in the pocket of her white coat.) They'll stay safe and sound, all locked up until you're released. Maybe by then you won't feel you need them so much. (She jots down some notes on her clipboard.) And I'm going to call Tara and ask her nicely not to bring you any more while you're in here! Your heart and lungs will write me a thank-you note...

Foxster: You know something, Doctor Killjoy? You really have a lousy bedside manner.

Dr. Kildeer: Wait until I have the nurse put your bedpan in the freezer for a few hours. (She gives the Foxster an evil laugh and exits. The Foxster sighs.)

Foxster (muttering to himself): Great! Stuck in this damned hospital. No cigarettes. No Tara. And my doctor thinks she's Hawkeye Pierce! (pause) Meanwhile... Skip's off living it up, vacationing with Gretchen. They're probably sailing in beautiful tropical waters. (pause) I can see those two now...

Foxster (lying back): Damn! I want some pistachio ice cream. (The Foxster sighs.)

* * * * *

Scene Three: The downstairs main bar of Kewl Beanz!, a
few minutes later.
Frank the EMT is off duty, and wearing his "civvies." He enters through the archway and waves a cheerful hello to Tara, who is working the bar. The lounge is relatively empty. Frank takes a seat next to Milo Fenderbender. Frank glances at Milo, and does a double take. Milo notices Frank, and suddenly looks uncomfortable.

Frank (nodding): Hi.

Milo (looking away): Yeah. Hi.

Frank: You look familiar. Do I know you from someplace?

Milo: I don't think so. (Milo starts acting strangely, and quickly finishes his drink.)

Frank (offering his hand): I'm Frank. I'm kinda new in town.

Milo (getting up and ignoring Frank's hand): That's nice. (to Tara) Well... I've gotta get going. Be seeing you, Tara. (Tara waves as Milo exits.)

Tara leans across the bar.

Tara: Gee, Frank! Running off my best customer?

Frank: Sorry, Tara. It's just... I know I've seen him somewhere before... (Frank shakes his head.) Umm... I'll just have a Bud draft. (Tara brings him a large frosted mug and places it on a little round coaster in front of him.) Thanks.

Tara: You wanna start a tab?

Frank: Yeah, might as well... (Frank looks around at the near-empty bar, as Tara fills out a guest check.) Are you always this busy?

Tara (walking over and leaning across the bar): Very funny. You should have been here an hour ago. The place was mobbed! I had to call in Bella, the new gal, to help out. (pause) So, what's been going on in your world?

Frank: Nothin' much. Been doin' a lot of thinking...

Tara: Oooh, careful. That might be dangerous.

Frank takes a sip of his beer, and looks in Tara's eyes.

Frank: Tara... There's something I'd like to discuss with you. (long pause) I'm finding myself getting deeply attracted...

Tara quickly pushes away from the bar and cuts Frank off in mid-sentence.

Tara: Umm, Frank... first of all... I want you to know I'm quite flattered! I mean, you're a very nice guy, and a really handsome one at that. But you know that I'm very devoted to David, and I'll always be a one-man woman.

Frank sits there absolutely confused. Finally he smiles.

Frank: Tara, I was about to say that I'm getting deeply attracted to someone I work with. At the hospital!

The realization of what Frank's just said finally hits Tara, and blushing slightly, she leans across the bar again, with both hands under her chin.

Tara: Oooh! A love story? By all means, tell me more! So... Who is it?

Frank: Promise me you won't say anything to anyone about this!

Tara (nodding): Bartender's code of honor.

Frank leans closer to Tara, and begins speaking in a quiet voice.

* * * * *

Scene Four: A few minutes later. Milo is standing in Vickie Wickie's doorway.

Vickie: Oh, finally! Do you have some information for... (Vickie suddenly notices that Milo is looking at her with wild eyes.) What's the hell's wrong with you? You look like you've just seen a ghost!

Milo: Baby... I think I just did!

* * * * *

To Be Continued...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Patient from Hell

Scene One: The parking lot of Pleasantview Community Hospital, late afternoon. Luke Tian has driven Tara King there, in the limousine owned by Simpson/Lynch Studios. Tara sits in the front seat with Luke, who has told her the deeply personal story of his arguments with his father and grandfather, years earlier... arguments which prompted him to defiantly rename himself as "Kato Kato"... arguments he recently attempted to atone for, with evidently limited success.

While Luke finds a parking spot, Tara begins going through the voluminous pile of Snl Studios mail which Luke had handed her hours earlier, noticing one letter in particular which she hadn't noticed before.

Tara: Ohmigods! Here's a letter from Gretchen and the Skipster!

Luke: Great! Maybe that will give us a way to contact them about Mr. Foxster's heart attack.

Even as she tears the envelope open, Tara studies the envelope itself.

Tara: No return address, but I know Gretchen's handwriting.

Tara examines the contents of the envelope.

Tara: A couple of photos -- one obviously taken soon after their arrival, and one taken well after they'd "gone tourist" -- and an incredibly brief note from Gretchen herself. (pause) Just a variation on the old "having a wonderful time, wish you were here" stuff. No contact info. Crap!

Luke: Did you open that big envelope yet, the one addressed to you?

Tara: No. I'm afraid to.

Luke: You, afraid? (brief pause) What's it all about? (pause) Hey, after everything I just told you...

Tara: Later, 'gator! Let's go see David.

* * * * *

Scene Two: The Foxster's room in Pleasantview Community Hospital. He's been moved to Room 313, a room close to, but not part of, the ICU. Nurse Betty is giving the Foxster a mild lecture. In return, the Foxster is giving Nurse Betty what may politely be called "grief." We join the conversation, in progress.

Nurse Betty: This is not your private office, Mr. Foxster! And I will find that cell phone! You're supposed to be relaxing and recuperating!

Foxster: Ahhh, you're just ticked off because you didn't get to be part of my conversation with Tim Burton!

Nurse Betty: How would you like a Louisiana Hot Sauce enema?!?

Foxster (laughing): Ooooh, that's cold!

Nurse Betty (smiling): That's what you think!

Foxster (smiling): You know what I meant. (brief pause) This hospital's too damned warm as it is.

Nurse Betty: Oh, good grief! Stop complaining... And stop terrorizing my staff! (Tara and Luke enter. Nurse Betty smiles at them.) Yay! My excuse to leave!

The Foxster yells at Nurse Betty as she exits.

Foxster: And have somebody bring me some dark glasses!

Tara: Hey, grouch! (Tara approaches the bed and briefly kisses the Foxster.) Feeling better, I see...

Foxster: Hi, babe... Did you bring my cigarettes? (Tara nods, and reaches into her purse.) Gimme gimme gimme! (Tara hands the Foxster a pack of cigarettes, which he hides underneath the small of his back.) Thanks! I knew I loved you for some reason. (Tara gives him "the finger.") These people think I want my sunglasses just so I can have that "Hollywood Look!" The lights in here are killing me, although Dr. Kildeer did have them adjusted somewhat.

Tara: Poor little vampire. (pause) I'm surprised you haven't gotten them to give you a black blanket, and a black turtleneck johnny.

Foxster: Don't think I haven't asked! (The Foxster notices Luke.) Kato! You're back!

Luke approaches the bed and shakes the Foxster's hand.

Luke (seriously): Actually, Mr. Foxster, I have to discuss something with you.

Foxster: I don't think I like the sound of that... You're not quitting or anything, I hope.

Luke: No, but... You may fire me when I tell you what I need to tell you.

Foxster: Which is?

Luke: My real name is not "Kato Kato."

Foxster (nonchalantly): And? (pause) I mean, come on, Kato...

Luke: Please, call me Luke. My real name is Xu-Ning Tian, and "Luke" is what friends and family used to call me.

Foxster: "Luke," as in "Skywalker?" (Luke grins in spite of himself.) Anyway, it was pretty obvious that a Japanese name for a Chinese guy was an alias of some kind. The Skipster and I always knew -- we're no dummies -- but it didn't matter.

Luke: But, I wrote "Kato Kato" on my job application when the Skipster hired me. And applications always have that note about how falsifying any information may be cause for dismissal...

Foxster: Yeah. Key word, "may." You're not getting away from us that easily, buddy! Besides, not to downplay any reasons you may have had for using that alias in the first place, but SnL is full of people with phony names and nicknames! There's "Skipster" and "Foxster," and I'm sure Vickie's real last name isn't "Wickie!" (whispers) And Tara's real name is "Lisa Lipschitz!" (All laugh.)

Tara: Is not, Foxy!

Foxster: So, as far as I'm concerned, you can smear yourself with green cheese and call yourself The Man in the Moon, and you're still a valued employee. (pause) And if you wanna stay that way, can you sneak in some real food to me, ASAP?

Dr. Jane Kildeer enters, unseen by the others.

Luke (smiling): I'll see what I can do!

Foxster: A "Hangtown Fry" omelette for breakfast tomorrow would be great...

Dr. Kildeer: I'll hang you if you start getting that spicy junk you love so much smuggled in here!

Foxster: Oops. Didn't see you there, Dr. Frankenstein.

Dr. Kildeer: Obviously not.

Tara: Well, from the look on the doctor's face, she needs to talk with you. Sorry for such a brief visit, hon, but I have to get back to Kewl Beanz! before the rush! Bella's too new to be left alone.

Foxster: Bella? Who's Bella?

Tara: Ohmigods! That's right, I haven't told you yet! (pause) I hired an assistant manager, Isabella Vergara. She's Colombian.

Foxster: You hired...?

Tara: Don't I have the right?

Foxster: Of course you do. I just... didn't know.

Tara and Luke (simultaneously, while laughing): You never asked!

Foxster: Nope, anyone from kitchen workers and servers, up to assistant managers... It's your show.

Tara: That's what Milo said.

Foxster: Milo?

Tara: Milo Fenderbender.

Foxster: Fenderbender? You're kidding, right? (to Luke) See? Another obvious alias.

Tara: It's his real name, he says! One of those Ellis Island things.

Foxster: Anyway... Who's Milo? New head waiter?

Tara: No. A very good customer. You met him, sort of, at the Kewl Beanz! Grand Opening. Don't you remember?

Foxster (shaking his head): Sorry, hon, I met a lot of people that night!

Tara: Milo's middle-aged, bearded, very charming, wears glasses and dark clothing, and is always coming out with pop-cultural references... (smiling) You know the type.

Foxster (smiling slightly): So, this Milo character looks like me?

Luke: Only with a lot less hair!

Tara (laughing): Luke! That's not very nice!

Luke: Sorry...

Tara (to Foxster): Anyway, you'll love Bella! She's absolutely gorgeous.

Foxster: Oooh. Got any photos? (Tara gives Foxster "the finger.")

Tara (kissing Foxster): Okay, gotta split! Love you. (to Dr. Kildeer) See ya, doc! (Dr. Kildeer smiles and nods as Tara and Luke exit.)

Foxster (muttering): Great. I'm stuck in here, and she's schmoozing with a Foxster clone. (to Dr. Kildeer) What's up, Doc?

Dr. Kildeer (groaning): Like I've never heard that before. (pause) First things first: Where's that blasted cell phone?

Foxster (coyly): I'll never tell. (pause) So, Nurse Betty ratted me out?

Dr. Kildeer (nodding): Nurse Betty, and three or four other nurses... (Dr. Kildeer impulsively yanks the sheet off of the Foxster. There is apparently nothing on the bed but the Foxster himself.)

Foxster: Hey! You're lucky I didn't decide to beat the sweltering heat in here by removing my johnny!

Dr. Kildeer: I'm a doctor, remember? Nothing I wouldn't have seen before.

Foxster: Maybe not, but I'll bet you've never seen so much of it.

Dr. Kildeer: Oh? I thought you were Irish. They're not necessarily known for... (Dr. Kildeer stops, catching herself.)

Foxster: Whoa! Almost allowed your human side to come out there, Janie-Poo!

Dr. Kildeer (smiling and blushing): That's Doctor Janie-Poo to you, Mr. Lynch!

Foxster: And that reminds me: Would you please tell your staff that my name is Mr. Lynch, and not Mr. Foxster?

Dr. Kildeer: Whose fault is that? Everybody calls you the Foxster! How'd you get that name, anyway? Is it because you think you're so foxy-looking, or because you think you're as sly as a fox?

Foxster: Actually, it's based on an even older nickname, "The Silver Fox."

Dr. Kildeer: Silver Fox? (pause) Do you dye your hair?

Foxster: Huh?

Dr. Kildeer: Are you prematurely grey?

Foxster: No. (pause) The "Silver Fox" thing is a long, boring story...

Dr. Kildeer: So you say. (pause) Have you heard from your partner yet?

Foxster: Nope. Tara can't get in touch with him. Why?

Dr. Kildeer (after a long pause): You and Tara, and the Skipster and Gretchen, all live in the same house, right?

Foxster (teasingly): What are you implying, Dr. Frankenstein?

Dr. Kildeer: I'm being serious. Answer the question.

Foxster: Yes, sir! Yeah, we do. Why?

Dr. Kildeer: Why don't you -- or you and Tara -- get your own place?

Foxster: Never really thought about it. I impulsively moved down here from Massachusetts when Skip and I renewed our partnership, full force, and it was convenient for me to move in there.

Dr. Kildeer: Doesn't that get on your nerves at all?

Foxster: Of course not.

Dr. Kildeer: Are you sure?

Foxster: Sure, I'm sure. What's your point?

Dr. Kildeer: Just wondering if maybe it's the cause of any stress. (pause) Just some food for thought. (long pause) Well, I have to leave you now. Believe it or not, you're not the only patient I have to see today... although the person who coined the term "patient" never had to put up with you. And that reminds me: Stop hitting on my nurses!

Foxster: Not "hitting on." "Flirting with." There's a big difference, otherwise my little Tara would have put me in your ER a long time ago! (Dr. Kildeer smiles and walks toward the door.) See you later, Dr. Frankenstein.

Dr. Kildeer: That's "FRONK-en-steen."

Foxster: You're a Mel Brooks fan? I think I'm in love!

Dr. Kildeer: And I think I'll send a nurse in with a sedative. You obviously need one.

Foxster: What I need is a vodka IV! (Dr. Kildeer shakes her head and exits.) Wow. And Tara calls me a grouch.

* * * * *

Scene Three: The room at Simpson/Lynch Studios which Tara shares with the Foxster. She has finally opened the large envelope she received earlier in the day. The return address bears the name of a publishing house in New York.

Tara (talking to herself while reading the letter enclosed with two other objects): Ohmigods, they're actually gonna publish it! (Tara looks at the enclosed dust jacket for a novel, and impulsively walks to a bookcase and wraps it around an antique hardcover collection of Charles Dickens short stories which the Foxster owns. Then she looks at the check sent by her editor, and whistles.) That's my advance? I didn't know they made that many zeros!

To Be Continued...