Archive for May, 2012


‘step by step spec script’ is a hard phrase to say, for a lot of reasons

(J.T., textbooks in hand, enters left to find FRANK seated at the kitchen table attempting to repair a clock radio. Next to FRANK is a glass of milk and a plate with a few cookies on it.)

FRANK: Oh hey, son. Just trying to fix this thing (hides cookies under the table); no cookies to be found. (Realizes he’s holding the screwdriver backwards and turns it around)

J.T.: Dana’s helping Mark with his history project in the living room. Mind if I do some studying in here?

FRANK: Sure, pull up a chair. (picks up the clock radio, looks at it, gives up trying to fix it). Hey J.T., I couldn’t help noticing you’ve had a lot on your mind lately. Anything you feel like talking to your old man about?

J.T.: Well, there is one thing. I’ve been putting off having this talk with you. For a couple of years, actually.

FRANK: Well, you can talk to me about anything, pal. After all, we’ve been through a lot these past couple of years.

J.T.: All right, here goes. When I was in sixth grade, I overheard my pediatrician tell you that I had a slight deformity of the penis. He said that although my penis appeared totally normal, a small fold of skin underneath my glans would need minor surgery to correct it before I became sexually active or it would be more prone to infections. Anyways, now that I’ve got my driver’s license, I kinda need to hurry up and have the surgery.

(Cody enters and opens the fridge)

CODY: Hey, Uncle Frank, hey J.T. Just grabbing a sandwich. By the way, J.T., I got that box of those things you wanted me to buy from the drugstore out in my van. Oh, and don’t worry, Dude, I’ll totally wait until Uncle Frank leaves the room to bring them in, so he doesn’t see what they are, just like you asked me.


my mama gave me very little to shake

Congratulations, young men. Your presence at this secret debriefing can be attributed to your having demonstrated considerable aptitude in one or more areas of skill, as determined by the scientists in lab coats that have been taking exhaustive notes on their clipboards while silently, creepily observing you all on the other side of the two-way glass of each of the mirrors which have been strategically placed in the corridors, classrooms and lavatories of our facility. You’re all smart boys; surely by now you have deduced the unlikelihood of our having plucked you out of your orphanages and failing inner-city high schools and invited you to matriculate on our idyllic, tree-lined campus without having some ulterior motive in mind. If you will direct your attention to slide A, you will find a picture of the experimental drug that we will begin putting into your food in varying doses at an undisclosed time. We encourage you to keep going about your everyday business as if nothing were out of the ordinary, as our observation team will be tracking any potential changes that might manifest themselves in your studies, athletic prowess, or classroom behavior. The only reason we are even divulging this information is to ask that you be very careful not to boast of your newfound ability to dunk on a 12 foot goal, or write a particularly thorough take-down of your roommate’s essay linking the rise of agrarian societies to a better treatment of those members who would not have made good hunters in generations past, not even as part of a class assignment, but just to take him down a peg or two. Furthermore, we must not upset the uneasy alliance between warring factions of elite private academies that has kept us afloat thus far until we are ready to strike at their hearts like a drug-aided cobra at regionals next spring. Your participation will be rewarded with incentives, such as early eligibility in our upcoming program that will turn even our middling and sub-achieving students into a race of supermen that will be lorded over by you. Placement in the program will be determined by your Busby rating, a number calculated by multiplying your accuracy rate of quoting the lyrics to the Doobie Brothers’ 1973 hit “China Grove” by the amount of time your pets wait after your death before chewing your face off.


which is a better nom de plume: doctor drunkenstein or doctor frankenstoned?

Very few people- Hollywood producers and directors, mostly- knew that for scenes that required a stuntman being engulfed in flames, the stuntman that delivered the highest quality work was actually a woman, and that was exactly the way she wanted it. From her maiden voyage years ago playing the Aryan gang member that got burned up by Delroy Lindo in Blood In Blood Out up until now, as she prepared for one last “fire-walk” that she had come out of retirement for as a favor to a friend, Erin Kukal had not sought out fame or even credit (there had always been someone there ready to snatch it up if she had), but found fulfillment in the simple act of a job well done. The respect of her peers had been sufficient to sustain her.
The money didn’t hurt, either. As her reputation within the stuntman community grew, so had her paychecks. At her peak, she had earned more from that one fight scene in Anchorman than on all those Jean-Claude Van Damme movies combined. She looked in the mirror, conducting a routine visual inspection of the fasteners on her flame-retardant suit, and tried to put thoughts of the risks out of her mind, as this payoff, a promised gig as an on-set consultant on this director’s future projects, stood to dwarf the rest of them. She quieted her subconscious protests by audibly reminding herself of the many successful stunts she had undertaken, with only one brush with significant danger. For that particular assignment, in which she had to run a significant distance while engulfed in flames, she had had to summon even the dregs of her strength and discipline, but the result, that one music video in 1995 that had rendered Beavis and Butt-head unable to form words, had been her finest hour. The one internal question that remained unanswered was how being out of the game for so long would affect her performance. She steeled her nerves. It had always struck her as interesting, the amount of discipline and restraint required to present an illusion of chaos.
It was a lonely life. Over the years, a long line of suitors had been found lacking the qualities she required in a partner, in no small part because she she found those qualities so difficult to define. With her list of candidates narrowed by the tendency of most men to be intimidated by her career choice, her search for companionship had taken her on a strange but heartbreaking journey, populated most notably by characters like the guitarist who drunkenly stepped into the street to take a picture of his metal band’s name on the marquee, then got hit by a car; or the sensitive, confident yoga instructor who had seemed perfect until she snooped through his spotless, sunlight-drenched high-rise apartment, surmising upon stroking the immaculately folded SimplyVera bath towels in his bathroom that to domesticate him would prove an insufficient challenge, and therefore an unsatisfactory prize.
Her trailer door opened and an impatient production assistant entered. She had seen him on set that morning barking orders to a gaggle of background actors like he knew something. This pup had been around the block long enough to have mastered the art of treating his few subordinates with contempt, but not long enough to know the importance of treating a veteran like her with the respect she had earned.
“Safety inspectors are on set, Ms. Kukal. Report to the stunt coordinator in your flame-retardant suit in five minutes.”
“Are my markers down?”
“Don’t worry about that, Ms. Kukal. It’s not your job.”
She stood and addressed him coldly.
“That’s right. If it were my job, it would be done by now. If your director wants a stuntman engulfed in flames today, your ass had better be back here in two minutes with a report on the status of my markers. And this time, knock.”



Wow, Marcie. There are many words that could be used to describe your theory that our parents might be swingers- “horrifying” comes most readily to mind- but after the case you’ve laid before us, I think I speak for the rest of our siblings when I say that “baseless” is no longer among them. Before we go any further, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for the many, many times we all beat you senseless for making this claim repeatedly over the years. Let’s take a quick inventory of the items introduced in your exhaustively researched and sourced presentation.
I don’t know how Marcie was able to procure the duffle bag that Mom always carried out to the car before returning to tell us to be good while they were “playing hearts at the McAllisters,” followed by a knowing nod and giggle exchanged between her and Dad, but this is quite a find. Chad, would you please put down the Ziploc bag containing all those prepaid cell phones and listen? This is important. As Francis rummages through the contents of the bag, careful to use the utmost discretion in the presence of our youngest siblings, it strikes me that “Durex” would have a been a great name for any number of consumer products; seems a little surprising that it still would have been available by the time a condom manufacturer could have snatched it up. Yes, Greg, you’re right, I should really get back on task here; I apologize. Lastly, and perhaps most disturbingly, here is an envelope containing one RSVP for an event hosted by a Madame Spouseshtupper addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Tom Braider”, and a second invitation addressed to “Don Keykong and Guest,” which casts the recent interest shown by our folks in Jamie’s video games in a most unfortunate light.
Children have a deep need to view their parents as completely non-sexual beings, so I appreciate everyone’s courage and maturity in this matter even as each of us begins to eye every piece of furniture in the house with fresh suspicion, wondering what could have happened in the den, the kitchen, or atop the piano while we were all at camp. We need to stick together, remembering the familial ties that bind us even as we begin to ask the difficult paternity questions that will inevitably be raised by this discovery. And while this dossier lacks a smoking gun like, say, grainy video footage in which Dad says “girl, I am high on tiger penis right now” to a woman that is clearly not Mom while Mom shouts directions from behind the camera in that voice she uses when Dad leaves his slacks draped over the chair instead of putting them in the hamper, I think we can all agree that there’s certainly enough here to act on. Yes, Barry, I realize that was awfully specific, but I can assure you that it was pure speculation and not a repressed memory surfacing. Look, it’s been a long night, guys; let’s adjourn this family meeting. Andrew and I will start shopping around for a less lecherous retirement community in the morning.

Big thanks to R.M. Fraijo. She plants em, I waters em.


we was built for this shit

Good afternoon, neighbor! Heard you working over here in the garage, so I thought I’d return the drill you loaned me over the weekend. Golly, Ed, is that thing powerful! Made some nice holes in the boards I’m cutting- if everything else goes as smoothly, this batch of tie racks will be my best yet! You know, if I had set that drill up on the tripod that came with it, I’ll bet I could have darn near cut through the wall of a safe. Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, what are you working on over there? You’re gonna hurt yourself cutting that big thing on that little table saw, pal. Why don’t you bring it across the street to my garage, and you can borrow my big table saw. It’s got a safety guard, a miter gauge, and a brand-new, super shiny blade. Plus, I’ll bet I could scare up some clamps so we get a clean, accurate cut on that, hmm, looks like a piece of 3/8″ Sheetrock, correct? Gosh, you don’t see that every day, seeing as how our local building code doesn’t call for a drywall thickness greater than 1/4″ in residential dwellings, huh, chieftain? Wow, this is a first-class setup you’ve got in here, buddy. I’ve been trying for years to get Sandra to let me buy a Kegerator, and this display case for all your expensive Russian-made handguns is just super. Got am all polished and glinting in the light, plus it looks like you just need one more to complete your collection! Oh hey, Ed? Say, I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve got a pretty grisly murder scene back there, partner. Tell you what, Edski, I’ll come back in five minutes with a couple bags of lime to help you get this cleaned up, then we can kick back with a couple Old Milwaukees and watch the ballgame, whaddya say?

May 2012