Archive for October, 2012

Seattle Celebrity News!

October 30, 2012

From the Editor’s Desk of the Seattle Celebrity News!

Happy Halloween!




Photo by Carl Nelson of a professional model


From the Editor’s Post…

October 28, 2012

Editor’s Note:  I was thinking a little bit about plays…

From “Saving Harry” with Chuck Brastrup and Daniel Woods.

Getting ‘Stupid’ Right

The most important part of crafting a play is getting ‘stupid’ right.   Plays can have great dialogue, ready wit, sparkling language, lots of drama, but if they don’t get ‘stupid’ right, there’s a good chance it will not be a hit.  ‘Stupid’ is that thing below all the language which makes everything move.  Some playwrights are born getting ‘stupid’ right and some have to really work at it.  ‘Stupid’ is what young people drink to become.  ‘Stupid’ is what happens in extreme situations.  ‘Stupid’ is what the young woman who has the handsome software engineer boyfriend over for dinner says, after she’s heard about Moore’s Law for what seems the fifteenth reference, as she pours him some wine, “I think,  tonight, I’m going to have to get you a liiitttttle stupid.”

Responding to stupid is something everyday audiences are good at; cultural mandarins sadly, not so good.  Cultural mandarins (and many critics) are like alcoholics; it’s hard to get them drunk; it takes a lot, and when you do it’s often on stuff which will make you go blind.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress…

October 25, 2012

Nancy Gillis

(Episode 10)


The kids all poured out of the school van with wide eyes.  Burt followed.

“Okay.  Listen up!”  Leland shouted.  He didn’t introduce himself because they all knew who he was, and he was wearing a badge besides.  “You’re not going to get to see the body.  So I want you to just get that out of your thoughts right now.”  Leland had covered the corpse and head with a black body bag before leaving.  The girls looked relieved.  The one boy looked disappointed.

“There are a number of things which need doing, and fairly quickly.  The evidence at a crime scene can deteriorate or disappear quickly.  So we all need to be quick, but thorough.  We get no second chances,” Leland declared.  “I need someone to go over the Mercedes.  Who wants to do that?”

The boy immediately raised his hand.

“Good.  Now I need the two others to examine everywhere it appears there has been recent human activity for physical evidence – which I want you to pick away and put in these sealable baggies.  This includes blood droppings, cigarette butts, lost items, hairs, fabric, etc.  So you need to really look close.  That means get your head down around the ground!  And then you will record on this ‘grid’ we’re creating where each of these evidences were located and write it on the side of the sealed bag. “

“I’ve already taken photographic shots of the area and crime scene.  But if you see something you find remarkable, well then for goodness sakes, use some more film.”


Ruth was there too and was handing out supplies.  “We practiced lifting fingerprints on the way here,” she told Leland.  “And we went over how to walk around a crime scene; what to look for, etcetera.”

“Thanks Ruth,” Leland said.

The kids were putting on their gloves and booties, very quietly.  Leland took this time to grab Burt and walk him to where the two of them could maneuver Karen Loomis into the body bag, then pick her up and deposit her into the back of Sheriff Leland’s sports utility vehicle.  The kids all swiveled silently, following Leland and Burt’s movements as the corpse passed by.  Leland handed Ruth the keys.  “Keep it under 50, Ruth.  Tell Vern to put her in the freezer with the other corpse.”  Vern Smithers ran a mobile slaughterhouse, with a wild game dressing and wrapping  sideline out of his meat store, where, now and then, the Sheriff’s Office rented a freezer.   “Don’t use the siren.”

Ruth gave him a look.

“Please,” Leland added.

“Never any fricking fun,” Ruth grumbled, leaving.

“I’ll get a ride back with you and the kids if that’s okay,” Leland said.

Burt nodded.


“Well, that’s about it,” Leland said, hours later.  The kids had scoured the area.  Leland and Burt had made casts of the best of the boot prints.  And they followed the broken underbrush but could find no readable tire impressions at the road site.  Ruth had packed some sandwiches and Kool Aid.  They drank all the Kool Aid, but no one ate much.

They were all piling onto the bus when the last girl in asked Leland if she could “write something about this for the school paper?”   Leland looked at Burt.  Burt thought it should be permissible.

“Okay,” Leland said.

“And I would like access to a few of the photos taken, and a brief interview with you on the way back – if you would be agreeable?”  The girl insisted.

Leland wondered why he hadn’t noticed her pin point gaze and the firm set of her lips before.  Leland sighed.  He looked down.  ‘My God, it’s another Ruth,’ he thought.

“What’s your last name?”  He asked.

“You don’t even know my first,” she replied.

“Okay.  What’s both your names?”

“Nancy Gillis,” the girl replied.

Leland grunted.  He couldn’t place her amongst anyone of Ruth’s kin and vintage.  It seemed he remembered some Gillises lived out around Coventry Creek.

“And I intend to make a name for myself,” she added.

Leland mumbled.

Nancy Gillis followed him to the back of the bus, then back to the middle of the bus, and finally to a seat just behind where Leland sat down next to the one boy.  Not such a good ploy really, because then Nancy yelled her questions across the back of the seat, so that the whole bus was a party to it.

Photo by Tin Tin Nelson

Murders in Progress…

October 22, 2012

Merlin the Veterinarian

(Episode 9)


Leland thought he’d better give himself a while before he called Ramey.  So he called Burt Campbell, the Kimmel County High’s science teacher.  After that, he tromped around taking photos.  And after that, he phoned Ruth, told her what was up, and by that time Merlin Travers, the Veterinarian had showed.  Big animal, small animal, human; Merlin didn’t discriminate.  But Leland always put Merlin’s charge into the Sheriff’s Canine Unit accounts column, because not having a dog was easier to explain away than not having a horse.

“What’s up, Leland?”  Merlin said.  He had parked his Range Rover immediately behind the parked Mercedes.  Leland handed Merlin some latex gloves and shoe booties.  And while Merlin put them on Leland explained.

“Woman here, by the name of Nancy Loomis it appears, parks her new Mercedes by the side of the road after its headlights have been shot out.  Then she gets led off into the woods by two guys, it appears.”  He motioned.  “Try not to step on any of the footprints or to tromp on any of the evidence, of course.”  He rolled his hand.  “They have a bit of a walk, and then she’s murdered about 30 yards in.”

Merlin whistled.

“I want you to have a look at her.  Tell me what you think?”

“Okay.”  Merlin nodded.  “Where’s Pete, our Kimmel County Coroner?”

“Sister City Convention business,” Leland replied, with a shake of his head.

“Aaahhh.”  Merlin said.  “Love the government.  Work hard.  Always short-handed.”

“Shut yer yap and just think about who’s paying you,” Leland retorted.

“Yessir.”  Merlin smirked.


Merlin kept his promise.  He just whistled lowly when he saw the mess that was left.

The first thing Merlin did, after standing and studying the scene silently, was to set the rectal thermometer.  Then he began to examine the wounds.  “He broke her hand for some reason.  Maybe she had a gun?  Maybe some of this blood is theirs?”

Leland nodded.  He’d checked the Mercedes while waiting for the Vet, and sure enough, there was an empty holding clip right behind the ignition.   He silently thanked his good fortune that Pete was on that Sister Cities tour this week.  Merlin was the much better deal.

“Sideswiped her.”  Merlin pointed to the grotesquely bent knee.  “Probably in order to incapacitate her.  “Hands tied with a plastic tie.”  He probed around with his pencil.  “Coat pocket ripped, burnt pencil-sized holes.”  He laughed.  “Maybe that’s where she carried her gun?”  Leland nodded.  Then Merlin began to examine the wounds.  Finally, he stood.

“I had a schizophrenic who did his dog something like this, years ago,” Merlin rubbed his face hard, as if to rub away the vision.  “He thought the dog must have had some kind of a transmitter or walkie talkie hidden somewhere on it – because he said he could “hear the dog talking to him”.  So he went looking.  “Like this guy, he pushed his hands into the skull cavity and let the brains squeeze through his fingers as if they were clay, looking for it.”  Merlin pantomimed it.  ”Apparently the dog had been bringing up some sore points and just wouldn’t let it drop.”  Merlin glanced at Leland.  “Could piss anyone off.”

“Yeah.”  Leland scowled.

“The guy started taking his meds again, washed his hands, bought another dog, and everything was fine.”  Merlin removed the rectal thermometer.

“So you’re saying I should just hang this guy up by his balls and beat him with a stick until he promises to start taking his meds again,” Leland growled.

“No.  You need to shoot him.  There’s obviously two of them.  Which means the guy’s not off his meds.  Or there is something else going on.  Something much more long-standing, I’d say.  Because he’s able to recruit help.  And I’m guessing he pays them with a little ‘whoopee!’”  Merlin nodded at the spread knees and the shredded clothing.  “You really need to have the body examined though, and do the whole rape work up.”

Leland nodded.

“Is that it?”

“You think I have another couple murders around here for you to look into?”

Merlin’s eyebrows rose.  He took a look at thermometer, then wiped it clean and put it away.  “I figured she must have died about 12 hours ago.”  He sighed.  “Can I go, then?  There’s a dog who’s breeching, and she’s about 20 miles away.”

“Sure.  Get lost,” Leland said.

“Will do.”  Merlin waved and walked off through the undergrowth.

Leland stayed to gaze around the scene and think some more.  Then he trudged back out to the roadway to welcome the ‘kids’.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch…

October 20, 2012

Monolithic Local Theater Continued…


If you’ve ever had a job, you can understand how water runs uphill.  The boss points it out, and the workers all nod and marvel.

This is a bit how I felt after reading in this past week’s Puget Sound Business Journal:  “The Seattle area has a long history of supporting new theatrical works, often with great success on Broadway and elsewhere.  Now the drive that built that legacy is gaining momentum with new programs and investment in cultivating art at its earliest stages.”  (I shake my head and marvel.)

“It’s part of a strategy that brings money back to local theaters that own the rights to the new works,” continues Valerie Bauman, staff writer.  “For example, 5th Avenue’s “Hairspray” has generated more than $1 million in royalties since it was picked up on Broadway.”  (I shake my head this time, with greater understanding…)

I have to say that it’s all part of a strategy that’s beginning to take on a form, here in Seattle, as the local News continues to fluff it up.

In my first piece here in The Editor’s Perch on “Our Monolithic Theater”, I pointed out that regional theaters here and elsewhere have no record of ever producing a mailed play script – unless that playwright first had a relationship with the theater.  It was also shown that our local theaters refused to pick up local shows which were clear hits, responding that they had never found one which was right for their theater.

Now, it’s becoming plainer what makes a play ‘right for their theater’.  It’s pretty simple, really: THEY own the rights.  (And they get the million dollars.)

In return, as was covered in our last piece, the playwright gets to talk to other playwrights, access to their copy machine, and also a reading… if monies can be found, and patience is acquired.  All these things, I repeat, which could be accomplished (and probably has been accomplished) by the playwright him/herself within a few days around here – even if they were living out of a box on the street.

The New Works Program at the 5th Avenue Theater, however,  is promising a little more: “The program also provides an opportunity for artists to get feedback and exposure at the earliest phase of creating a script, a song or a performance.  Along the way, they’re paid for their work.  (This is a pleasant sounding way of saying, along the way you are selling your rights to the work for peanuts, so that we get the royalty money and write the plays destiny.)”


This is the Brave New World to be of our Regional Theater.  And it gripes me.

I try to get my son to eat more naturally made bread, but he likes white bread.  I point out to him that bread with all sorts of whole wheat and grains still has much of the natural nutrition you should seek in a meal.  But he points out to me the laundry list of nutritional additions, almost as long as his forearm, listed on the side of the white bread plastic sack – while my list is ever so small.

Institutions are like my son.  They prefer white bread.  It’s soft; it goes down easy; it hits that golden mean and it’s got all of its benefits listed right there on the side for all to see.  It has ‘proof’ that’s it’s nutritional sound and will build your body in “12 different ways.”  All ‘natural’  bread has is that it’s natural.  Its list of ingredients is very short.

Not long ago I saw a matinee production of the “Pullman Porter Blues” by Cheryl L. West produced by the Seattle Rep.  The set was good; the acting was good; the direction was good; and the writing was good.  But the story was boiler plate liberal.  The regional theaters have been refining this formula for as long as I have been alive.  The play was 4 years in development.  And I imagine in 4 years a regional theater could really leach out all the natural nutrition a fresh script provides and replace it with politically pure proven supplements.  You may have experienced the audience this sort of racial testimony play attracts: a lot of White people who nod and say, “aaahhh!”, as they notice each of the ingredients the playwright has posted on the side of the package.  And then there is a smattering of well-dressed somber Black people.  And God knows what they are thinking.

Playwright Thomas Bradshaw / Photo by Sara Krulwich NY Times

Contrast this with the plays of another Black playwright, Tyler Perry, whose plays went from small church productions to major venues which attracted Black people by the droves.  His plays weren’t right for the regional theaters.  Or more recently contrast this with the plays of Black playwright Thomas Bradshaw, whose “Job” now runs at the Flea Theater –  a private theater run by the husband of the actress Sigourney Weaver – through November 3rd in New York City.  His material “is best described as life with all the ghastly extremes – incest, rape, racially motivated murder – added back in and depicted in a deadpan style that has prompted both big laughs and angry walkouts,” says the New York Times.  I’m doubting this play had 4 years of development.  It sounds like it was popped right out of the oven… or rather it grew beyond all bounds in the writing and shoved its way out on its own.

Being a writer, all I really want is to have my say, and I’ve had it.   I can’t say I’ve attracted either the audience or critical approval to fill a larger venue, even if one of our regional theaters were to approach me.   I’ll practice my craft elsewhere, thank you.  As long as people love to perform there will be live theater.  So look around, I may be there.  All we need is “two boards and a trestle.”

Murders in Progress

October 15, 2012

Setting of the Crime

The Only Law Within 50 Miles

(Episode 8)

Leland was heading out the door when Ruth caught him.  He had a list of known sex offenders he intended to question first, and then the farmers who lived round the area where the decapitated corpse was found.  The body and physical evidence found at the scene had been sent off to the county lab, and he was still awaiting the results on that, which he wasn’t too optimistic about.  The county corner was an elected position.  And theirs was also Mayor, Postman, Building and Roads Inspector, and was promoting his wife for State Representative to boot; an over-achieving quadruple dipper.  So that if Leland got back an autopsy with a finding with more than cause of death as, “corpse is missing head”, he would be greatly surprised.  If anybody was going to stop the dead bodies from popping up around here, it was not going to be their coroner.

“Ramey, the Dentist, called again,” Ruth said.

“You mean our “only one within fifty miles as the crow flies”?”  Leland stopped in the doorway to stand for a moment with his eyelids shut.

“That would be the one.  And he sounds pretty broken up, this time Leland.  All blubbery and crying, I think, from what it sounded like over the phone.   He’s a mess, it sounds like.”


“Yeah.  You might want to have a talk with him.”

“I would, but he’s called at an awkward time,” Leland nodded.  “Tell him that I’m tied up at the moment with someone out there who is not extracting teeth…  he’s extracting whole heads.  And as the “only the practicing dentist within fifty miles as the crow flies”, he should appreciate the severity of that.  So tell Ramey that the only law within fifty miles as the crow flies is out trying to nail this asshole – and will talk to Ramey when he gets back!  Maybe!”

Leland let the door slam as he left.

“Gotcha,” Ruth answered.

Leland had already questioned two former sex offenders by mid-morning, and he was on his way to the third when he passed the fancy Mercedes left parked on the highway side.  It was a nice day and there were lots of flowers roadside, so Leland hadn’t thought much of it until he’d trolled past moving slowly and noticed that both front headlights were broken.

Instead, he had been mulling over the two interviews he’d just given.  He’d ask all the appropriate questions and written down their alibis and answers, which they had signed off on.  But what he’d really been looking for was evidence that they had a buddy or access to a pickup truck, and neither had.  In fact, both appeared to be broke, jobless, all alone, and depressed, not even having enough energy to argue.  In fact, it had been all Leland could do to get the second one to speak at all.  And then, once he’d started, the unshaven guy had just gushed and tried to bribe him with some ”right-out-of-the-oven brownies” not to leave, chasing him right down the steps and back into his patrol car with a hot pad and a pan.

Physical evidence can sometimes come as a relief; especially the kind with that soft leather interior you can smell, Leland noted.  So, it was with some relief that Leland turned the car around and headed back to question the Mercedes.

‘Well, usually,’ he amended that thought, when he saw the crows hovering above the trees somewhere off in the woods.  He walked over to the Mercedes and immediately got a bad feeling.  “Oh shit,” he mouthed silently to himself and undid the snap to his holster.

The headlights were not just broken.  They had been shot out.  Drawing his pistol he followed an obvious trail through the undergrowth and trees for about thirty yards until he came upon the scene of what was obviously another crime.  Dried blood was everywhere.  And Leland put away his pistol.  All that was left were the pickings…

He taped off the scene, called his friend the local Vet, and made it back to the car, but found it locked.  He scanned the car’s interior.  Nothing seemed amiss.   It look Leland another ten or fifteen minutes to pop the locks and have a look inside.  Nothing still seemed amiss.  He checked the trunk.   Nothing was strewn all over.  The dash box and other storage slots were all shut.  Neat as a pin.  Leland soon found the registration and had a look at it:  ‘Nancy Loomis’.  The name gave Leland a chill; then a raging anger which tore right up through him.

“Ruth!”  Leland growled on the phone.  “When was it that Ramey left me that first message?”

“I don’t know exactly.  I can look it up.  But it was a couple days ago.”

“Do that.  And call Ramey.  Tell him I’d love to see him to have a chat, and soon!  Ask him to drop by the office, if he would?”

“Gotcha Chief.”  Ruth always called Leland,  Chief or Boss! when he was in that mood.  And today, as much as she was able, she even tried to enunciate the capital letters.

“You know what?  Wait on that,” Sheriff Leland said, feeling another surge of anger.  “I’ll call him.”

“Sure, Boss.  Sure,” Ruth said, clicking off and removing her headset as if it were a hot potato.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch…

October 15, 2012

“Hope we get there by curtain time!”

Finding Theater  on a Small Island in the South Pacific

The great thing about live theater is that it can be created anywhere!  with very little… and still work just fine.  Here’s an account of happening on some on a tiny island  in the far away South Pacific:

Murders in Progress

October 8, 2012

The Road Ahead…  continued

(Soundtrack at:  )

Warning!!  X-Rated due to Poor Sex and Extreme Violence!

(Episode 7)

(Editor:  We last left Stan and Bob dragging Nancy away into the darkened woods.)

“This Benny Green ain’t going to be any use to you now, lady,” the thicker fellow said.  “Cause we’re criminals.  This a Crime!”  He bounced with some glee into the woods ahead, clearing a trail.  They walked and stumbled for a while.  “Which means we do what we want, nevertheless.”  He hitched up his britches in the darkness as he turned about to speak.  It looked like they had come to a clearing.   Nancy was just having a hard time registering what he was saying.  “Cops, Benny, the Law… We just don’t…  give them much truck, if you know what I mean.  Cause we is des-per-ate men.  Wouldn’t you say, Stan?”

Stan gave a vicious kick to the side of her leg.  Nancy gave a shrill shriek of agony as she collapsed there in the clearing.  He right leg was bent at the knee to a 90 degree angle.

“If you’re going to rape her, now would be a good time.”  The thinner man shoved her further into the ground with a boot sole on her backside, so that she was clawing the dirt and sticks like a bug.  Stan tapped a smoke out of the pack of cigarettes he carried in his shirt pocket, lit up, and stared at Bob.  “I’m going for a smoke and will get to work when I get back.”

“Right now?”  Bob said.

“I don’t see a line.”

“Okay.  I’ll just get to it, then.”

“Are you waiting for some soft music?”

“Oh, no.  No.”  Bob turned away and started undressing.   First he hunted for some place to sit, and then took off his boots.  Then he stood, turned around hunting nervously for his buttons, and undid his shirt, which he hung neatly on a bush.

As  Bob’s pink stomach flopped from his jersey,  “What the f%^k are you doing?”  Stan asked.

“Am gettin’ ready to plow the field.”  Bob grinned.

“Fuck!”  ‘My knee is ruined!’ Nancy was pissed.

“You know, by the time you get yourself all ready, and perfumed and all dolled up…”

Stan’s speech was interrupted by the pop! pop! pop! of Nancy’s small Glock firing in all directions.  She was shooting for Stan, but the guy was quick as a snake, and three times as deadly.  And Nancy couldn’t get a good bead on anything what with the darkness, her tied hands, and the gun being caught in the cloth lining of her pocket.  “Goddamned expensive coat!’  Nancy cursed silently through ragged breaths.  And fired off another: pop!

“Shit!  Shit!  Shit!”  Stan stamped on her gun hand repeatedly, like it was a striking snake.

“Really?”  Bob was confused.

“You asshole!”  Nancy swore up at Bob.  Trying to hit the big f#cker again with two shots:   pop!  pop!

Stan kicked her hard in the stomach.  Nancy threw up some blood.  Stan removed the Glock from her broken hand and tossed it to Bob.

“Really.”  Stan exhaled and pointed his cigarette at Nancy’s butt.  “Now get your pecker out and get to it.  Because…”  Stan waved with his cigarette, then turned and strode off back towards the Mercedes.  ‘It wasn’t good to get mad at your troops.  But Lord, sometimes…’    ‘Command was lonely,’ Stan finally decided,  by the time he got to the car.  He closed all the windows, turned off the lights and locked it tight.  ‘No reason to leave it for thieves,’ he thought.  Then he heard that damn bitch yelling.  So he had to tramp back through the dark woods and sticker bushes to see what Bob was up to.  And when he got there he couldn’t believe it.  The woman was yelling her head off, calling Bob every name in the book and Bob was just standing there naked and flushed pink with embarrassment at his wilted little pecker.  And the woman was still fully dressed, with her hair was full of dirt and sticks.

“What the hell?”

“I can’t do it,” Bob whined.

“Fuck!  What do you mean, you can’t do it?  It’s the most natural act in the world!  Everything does it.  Chipmunks do it.  Worms do it.  Ducks do it.  Everything in fucking Creation does it, for fuck’s sake.  Now man up, and fuck that bitch!”

“The moron’s impotent!” Nancy shouted.  “He’s f#$cking impotent, and he’s trying to be a rapist.”  She started laughing uncontrollably, and pointing.  Till Stan gave her another hard kick in the stomach.

“No Stan.  It’s true.  It’s true! I am impotent,” Bob nodded, miserably.

“And…”  The woman nodded, on her side.  “His little dick is about the size of a worm!”  She clutched her stomach and groaned.

“No you’re not!”  Stan slapped Bob hard twice.  “Now man up!!”

“Man up!…”  the woman was laughing her ass off, trying to point, and coughing and groaning.

‘Like most, this woman just didn’t have any good sense’, Stan thought.   “I like it when you make it worse for yourself,” Stan said.

“I’m a CEO and I deserve a better fucking than that!”  The woman kept shouting and glaring with such disrespect that Bob looked even more miserable than Stan thought a person could.

“How am I supposed to get it up, when she talks like that?!”  Bob whined, looking all the world like the aggrieved party, that Stan had to agree with him.  Though with the woman shouting,  “I’m a CEO and I deserve a better fucking than that!”  And Bob whining, that Stan thought for moment that he was going to lose it.

“Well, why didn’t you say so?!!!”  Stan said, smashing the woman’s jaw so hard to shut her up  – again and again – that all the teeth flew out and the rest of her face was so fractured is oozed blood like a sponge.

Nancy felt like she must have fallen into a nasty, inbred, rabid little nest of McCoys,  or was it Clampits?  That was the only thing in her addled mind which seemed could explain it.  But to tell herself the truth, her mental functions weren’t razor sharp; and she could barely count.  She knew, because she tried it… doing a real slow review of systems: “onnnntoootreeeeeeefffffoohhhhhhhhhrrrrRRR…..”

“How’s that?” Stan asked Bob, ignoring whatever it was ‘the bitch’ was trying to say.

“A little better!”  Bob said, feeling a little tingle in his member.

“Here!  Let me break a leg.”  Stan tromped on Nancy’s left thigh resting on a branch.  It broke with a snap.  Nancy let out a broken jawed shriek.

Bob smiled.   “I’m gettin’ … …a woodie,” he exclaimed.  “Here it come!”

“Well there you go,” Stan encouraged him with a pat on his shoulder.  And it was true.  He was.  They both stood there watching is grow in the moonlight as the woman moaned.  Bob gave the woman a little kick himself, and it grew all the more.

Stan couldn’t say it was much of an erection as those things go himself, but Bob was definitely excited, and quite proud of it.  “Ya just got to know how to handle ‘bitches’,”  Bob said, with another little kick.  “But she’s still dressed,” Bob noted to Stan, afraid to move or do anything for fear of losing his ‘woodie’.

“So undress her!”

Bob sighed, and knelt down, neatly unbuttoning her blouse.

Stan cursed, pushing Bob away, slicing the woman’s garments off from stem to stern with his K Bar knife, and then tearing the shreds away finally in a fit of pique, tossing bits of her undergarments this way and that.   “Oh for fuck’s sake.”

“Oh yeah, oh yeah,” Bob said, eyes all alight with glee.  “Am I ready now!  Yessum, Bob.  Ah am ready now!”  Bob gazed down at the woman’s private parts, pale in the moonlight, with wide eyes.

Stan stood back an’ shook another cig from his pocket pack.  “If you’re going to start trying to improve upon a woman, you’ve gotta rape ‘em first, or last…  But you got to rape ‘em,” Stan mused.  “Otherwise, people’ll start thinkin’ you’re just another nut.  They can’t comprehend the finer aesthetic.”  Stan lit the cigarette and walked off.   He was disgusted by all of Bob’s grunting and didn’t care to watch.

When Stan returned he found Bob flat on his back, covered in cum and blood, and with his arm around the woman while smoking a cigarette, gazing off into the stars and talkin’ real chummy like.  “The first woman I ever made it with… Well, she wasn’t much of a …woman, actually, I’d guess you’d say.”  Nancy groaned some agonizing blend of gurgling vowels beside him.  “But we got along… we got ‘er done.”  Bob smiled and offered his smoke to the woman.  But she wasn’t really all there by then, Stan figured.  “I miss her, I guess.”  Bob studied the tip of his cigarette.   “She run off with a Mexican.  Not that I hold it against her.”  Bob nodded to Nancy.  “ She was real young…”

“WHAT the F#$K!  ARE YOU DOING?!!!”  Stan shouted.

“’Am relaxin’!  …in the …afterglow.” Bob look bewildered.  He’d dropped his smoke and it rolled underneath of him.  “Shit!  Ouch!  That burns!”  Bob gasped, rolling about and kneeling his heft up while swatting at his back.

“Well put your damn clothes on and get prepared to help me.”

“Okay.  Alright!”  Bob looked annoyed.  But he rose and got himself dressed, turning his back to them both.  Nancy’s body gurgled and seized.

“Okay.  Now hold onto the shoulder there real tight.”


Stan returned him an unblinking stare.

So Bob held her shoulders down as well as he could, while Nancy’s eyes grew even more saucer-sized, if that were possible, as Stan began sawing away on the crown of her head, gently removing the cap of her skull.  He looked in there for a while, poking this and that, nodding for Bob to look.  Then his attention returned to the neck, gently dissecting out certain ligaments and blood vessels for reasons Bob had no idea of, thought he nodded in the affirmative, as if he agreed.

Nancy, all the while, had a real feeling she wasn’t going to get out of this night alive.  But she wasn’t at any sane place where she could have put that into words.

It was a couple hours  before,  working away as hard as they could, and getting all bloody besides, they had finally removed the head.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

October 3, 2012

The Road Ahead

(Episode 6)

Nancy Loomis was tired… bone tired.  Some evening  she was going to fall asleep navigating these narrow little country roads and end up as a quadriplegic running her company with a soda straw on an iPad.  She squeezed her eyelids shut, hard, then opened them again.  For a bit, she was focused, and kept the sleek new Mercedes on the road.  Part of the problem was, ‘the damn thing was far too comfortable’.  She pushed the window levers lowering them one by one as the fresh air roared in.  ‘I should probably try sitting on a tack,’ she thought, staring ahead at a straight stretch of road.  ‘A box of tacks,’ she amended, finding herself enthralls to yet another urge to sleep … picturing a dreamy box of tacks.  ‘They weren’t really all that sharp at all!’, she found, amazingly, as her mind made itself all comfy among them as if on a downy bed.

Just then the headlights failed with a “pop! pop!”   Nancy blinked, as she slowed the car while steering a steady course towards where she remembered the road as being.  “It’s incredible how fast a person can become wide awake, when you’re scared shitless!”  She murmured.  The car slowed as she brought it slowly over to where there was the crunch of gravel.  She sighed, put it in Park and crunched the Emergency Brake.  ‘Great!’  She had her cell half out of her pocket when she heard voices.  “Shit!”  she  growled, immediately waking.  ‘Those were shots!’.

She quickly folded the cell back into her jacket pocket and reached for the Glock under the dash, just back of the ignition key.  She’d thought she and Benny had reached an understanding, but apparently that wasn’t the case.   As soon as she had met the man, she had sized him up as an idiot!  And had thought to herself at the time, ‘I should be running away, fast.’

Nancy ran what she called “The Muffin Business”, but actually was a fairly substantial, five million annual gross revenues food accessories supply business – which had suffered an acute cash flow shortage in the downturn of 2008, forcing her to seek out a quick loan from Benny Green.  ‘You go into business with a bunch of losers and you don’t bring them up to your level.  They bring you down to theirs,’ she grumbled silently for the umpteenth time.  “And it’s just problems, problems, problems!”  ‘The f#$ker couldn’t work a computer; couldn’t even understand a spread sheet.  And now with this whole thing, it was running about on level with the Keystone Kops.  They had to be complete morons, out there.  Who else would work for that idiot?’

“Alright, alright!” Nancy shouted into the darkness, opening her door with her hands free.  Her eyes had not yet adjusted to the dark.  But she had the small Glock in her pocket and figured in close quarters in a scuffle she was ahead against a rifle – if it came to that.  “You’ve made your point.  You can fire a rifle out of the darkened woods at a hundred and twenty pound woman who’s half asleep and wake her up!   And wreck her car!  Tell Benny that’s coming off my bill, by the way.  AND, go to the police if you don’t like it.”  Nancy Loomis peered forward.  “Or sue me!”  Her eyes had started to adjust and she could see what appeared to be the shapes of two fairly mid-sized men.  And least they smelled of it.  They were closer than she’d imagined.  She put her hands on her hips, the one near her right pocket, and waited.  The first person to speak in any negotiation was the less powerful.

“What do we do now?”  the thicker set one asked as if he were truly bewildered.

Nancy guffawed.

“Shut up,” the thinner said.  And he moved so quickly that what with the darkness he was a blurrrrrr…   And the next thing Nancy knew, her knees buckled and she was on the ground with her hands out, and starting to get really scared.  Her hose were ruined.  Her knees were scraped.  One shoe had come off.  And she screamed, loud!  Loud as she possibly could.

‘On the whole she didn’t like women who screamed’, she thought.  ‘But, on the whole, she didn’t like the spot she was in.’  The Glock was in her pocket away from where her hands were being tied behind her back.  So, her ‘big mouth’, was about all she had left.  She stomped with the spiked heel of her right foot searching for the thinner fellow’s instep, hard! as he pulled her up.  But all she accomplished was the breaking of a heel.  “Tell Benny that this is about the stupidest thing he has done to date.  It’s just plain idiocy!”  She shouted while trying to catch the thinner fellow in the balls with her legs, backwards.  “I’ve been making my payments.  It’s a good account!”

“Who’s Benny?”  The thinner fellow murmured, as he marched her off deeper into the woods.   So quietly that she’d had to stop kicking and squirming to hear him.

“You’re not with Benny?”  Nancy queried.  All of a sudden she was confused.  Really confused.

“I don’t know any Benny,” the thicker fellow queried the thinner.

“No shit Sherlock.”

“Just trying to get to the heart of it, that’s all Stan,” says the thicker fellow.

“You’re not with Benny Green?”  Nancy couldn’t believe it.  If it weren’t Benny, then what in the world?

Photo by Carl Nelson


From the Editor’s Perch

October 1, 2012

Does Christianity Help Us to Think Better?

(It’s what the evidence may say.)


It seemed to be a tradition of the Great Poets such as Blake and Yeats to fashion a personal cosmos of irrational actors and energies to describe underfuries of the real world; that is, the cosmological subtext.  And Poets various as Donne, Dickinson, Milton, Hopkins, and Elliot have used the testimony of religion to inspire and vivify their writing. And whereas we all expect of Poets a little irrationality, it’s little noted that the Great Sir Isaac Newton was a practicing Alchemist nearly all his life.  Or that Kepler, Voltaire, Paine, Washington, Franklin, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Edison, Gandhi and Duchamp held beliefs quite at odds with the modernist society they helped to create.

Einstein is famously quoted to have said, “God does not play dice with the Universe.”  All these personages held a belief in the irrational which is scorned in our scientific and atheistically oriented age.  But I wonder if such belief does not help us to realize on a grander scale and to orient our thinking towards what might be most successful?

Neurologists have found something contrary to what is nominally believed, which is that rational thought gives us our best decisions.  In fact, on the contrary, when the affective portion of our brains is severed from our rational thinking processes, the brain can reach no conclusions at all.  The person’s thinking is greatly impaired.  Apparently we need our emotions to orient and to direct us.  So, it would seem to follow, that some experience navigating irrational thoughts would be of benefit to the mind in its entirety.  So that rather than being just a useful tool to balance the checkbook, the mind can achieve its grander purpose, which is genius.

A lot of modern thinkers are repelled by the chaos of irrational thought and by the infinitely ambiguous quality of myth, as if it were contemptible to contemplate whatever is fanciful with a process less than ‘scientific’ and more than ambiguous.  But if we want our thinking to take us somewhere, doesn’t it make more sense to anchor our ‘vessel’ to a current, no matter how deceptive and inexplicable, than a fixed buoy?  How can we to travel to somewhere new, if we insist so upon knowing exactly where we are at each instant?

A Religion’s great benefit (aside from possibly being True J) is allowing the Believer to know where they are, even when their rational mind cannot identify any landmarks.  Religion lowers the anxiety threshold.  A strong faith helps us to endure when we find ourselves in strange terrain.  A great Religion is like a great river explorers follow, because they figure correctly that the river best knows the landscape.

It’s often said that all religions are the same, and so should be equally respected.  This is most often said, in my experience, by people who have very little respect for religion at all.  In truth, there are great differences between various religions; and some are better than others.  And how do we know which is which?  It is the age-old problem of locating the false prophets.  “By their fruits ye shall know them.”  What could be more practical – or even ‘scientifically minded’ for that matter – that to measure things by their results?

By this gage, Islam right now is looking like a few desiccated, blackened figs which smell of cordite.  Buddhism is still hunkered around its rice bowl in many poorer areas of the world, while pretending its mind is elsewhere.  And Christianity is looking for all intents and purposes to be in the lead.

Of course all of history is not yet written.  But if you want to use your mind to its best advantage, to gain the best life possible, it currently looks like Christianity is the best river from which to chart the landscape.  Why?

Don’t know for sure.  But it’s what the evidence may say.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Addendum:  After mulling the responses, I’m thinking…  Hey, conflict is fun.  But mostly, this tiny essay’s urge is just to toss this thought (which had occurred to me) out there:  That all of experience and happening is like rain falling on the landscape of our brains.  And the channels these experiences exploit and the rivers of thought they create say something about how the brain has found best to handle this overwhelming onslaught of experiential data which rains down upon it every day and night since time immemorial.  And the great religions might be thought of as the great rivers which move and channel this experience through our brains towards some productive end.  And if these religions mark the best way to drain these watersheds of experience; perhaps they also give us an insight into how best to follow a current of thought to its most successful conclusion… any thought.

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