Silent but Violent


The sun oozed through the blinds like hot fudge. It did a dirty waltz with the dust that was hanging in the air because all the available real estate was taken by assorted other greases and grimes. The cleaning “lady” had gone out to buy a mop one day some many years ago and never came back. Good help is hard to find. Especially if you pay what I do. Woe is me. I took a thick sip of hair of the dog and leaned back in my broken chair. A pile of mail on my desk full of nothing but past due lay on my desk, taunting me. I refused to bite. Besides the hangover banging away like a hopped up jazz cat on the drums in my head was monopolizing my attention. In a way I was kinda glad of it, because I knew only too well that out there in the stink of the city, crime was having a gay old time, and it damnit if it didn’t have a real nasty habit of turning over the rock I lived under and poking me with a stick. Of course the ad I ran in the Gleaner didn’t help. Sue me, I had bills to pay and bottles to buy.
There was a knock on the door. I knew hot knuckles when I heard them. I put the gin in a drawer and a mint in my mouth and tried to straighten a tie I wasn’t wearing.
“Come in,” I said.
She did. All five feet four inches of bad news. She was wearing so much eau de trouble my eyes watered. She sat her perfectly contoured haute couture’d form down in the cracked leather chair in front of my desk. She stared at me with blue eyes that would make ice feel like burnt toast.
“So,” I said.
“You’re a detective,” she said.
“When I feel like making a living.”
“And when you don’t?”
“I shave tigers for the circus,” I said.
“You’re funny,” she said and lit a cigarette. The drag she took would of killed a G.I. on Omaha Beach, “But I don’t need a shave.”
She didn’t. “You don’t,” I said, “So detective me it is.”
She dropped her cigarette on the floor. Didn’t stub it out. Closed her Arctic eyes and took a deep breath.
“It’s my husband.”
“Someone wants to kill him.”
I nodded. This wasn’t the first time I’d been approached by a tall drink of water married to some shlub with a case of the fatals.
“And you believe they’re going to succeed?”
“No,” she said, “I’m afraid they’re going to fail.”
I tried to gulp. But farted instead.

To be continued…


The (not-so) Chortling Monk

nemesis-of-nudist-high-priestBrother Giggles Guffawaw Wazoo was feeling a little low. And understandably so, I mean, the dude had taken a vow of hilarity and was currently suffering from what can only be described as a seriously decent case of the heavy blues. He hadn’t been able to muster so much as titter these last sombre days since the funk took hold of him, and needless to say, it was affecting his practice. Sure there had been times since he had joined the Brothers of the Holy Order of Uproarious Cachinnations when he had not felt the funny so enthusiastically as St. Hee-Haw (bless his goofy grinning soul) would have ordained so drolly from on ha-ha-high, but he still had managed to chuckle his way through it. And dang dong darnit if he hadn’t always come out stronger for the jocular struggle. But these days, Brother Giggles was feeling pretty  dang dong low. The other members of his comedic sodality had noticed, and to their credit were doing their merry best to lift him out of his lugubriosity. Rogue banana peels, whoopee cushions, and knock-knock jokes to beat the band were just some of the myriad attempts at getting their Cimmerian chum back on the knee slap, but so far it had been to no avail. And please, make no mistake, he appreciated them for it, a heckuva lot, but it was just, well, tough to find the funny. Somewhere, deep down in his emotional bag, where he had for so long kept so much boffola, sadness had seeped on in and up. Maybe it was the children in Africa, so hungry and cancer ridden. Or the many wars where the children found themselves scared and hungry and riddled with cancer. Or the children in the crumbling inner city schools with no lunch and no money to pay for their pencils or cancer medicine. It was too dang dong much.

So he prayed hard and long and fast to heaven and Hee-Haw above to send the buffoonery back into his life. To take away the black. The sour. The doom. And deliver him to Humdingerton.

He knelt, tears streaming down his face, beseeching with all his
Dear God, you great and wise old obstreperous side-splitter, please help me. Give me the strength to bust a gut. To just let me ha-ha-ha again. Bring the funny. Amen.
What he wanted was laughter. What he got was a miracle. Of the hilarious kind…

The Rise of the In-Ear Communicator

You see this all the time in movies now. Folks, no matter where they are in the world, able to chat with each other just by putting their hand up close to the side of their head, signalling that they’re getting it all back and forth through that little bug-like dynamo stuck in their ear. If only they’d had it back in the day…


the Mystery of the Sacred Sauce

10670087_393997820750524_1951562346334323616_n“This where they keep it?” Wakanabe asked, shifting the pouch of Bandit to the other side of his mouth, letting that smooth wintergreen tobacco taste freshen his head.

“This is where they KEPT it,” the raisin of a man said, staring from the safe to Wakanabe to the safe and back again like it was supposed to mean something.

“I understand tenses,” said Wakanabe, “and I understand your concern. What I don’t understand was the what.”

“What what?” Raisin man said.

“What was in the safe? You know, what was capered.”

“Are you for–the sauce! The sacred sauce!” the raisin man took a turn for the worse, went prune.

Wakanabe bent his wide load down and peered into the gun metal maw of the safe, “You keep sauce in here? Don’t it spoil? I mean, it’d be better off in a fridge, I’d reckon.”

“No no no, not the sauce proper, it’s the–it’s the recipe. The sacred recipe for the sacred sauce!”

“And which sacred sauce is that?” Wakanabe coughed his Bandit into his hand, pocketed it in his London Fog, resisted sucking another. It was early yet, not even brunch time.

“The secret sacred sauce! You know, for the Moses Burger.”

“Uh huh. That the one that leads your hunger out of Egypt?”

“Yes, that one. The sauce is very important to the whole creation. Essential. Ten very specific ingredients as handed down to our chef from the hamburger God himself, Crispy Dan Natkins!” The prune went south, looking more like pickled gristle.

“He’s that grill guy that disappeared into the desert, weren’t he?” Wakanabe grunted, starting to notice just how close to brunch time it was.

“His exodus was as mysterious as his knowledge of barbeque, but that’s not important. What’s important is the retrieval of the recipe for the sacred sauce! If it isn’t found we’re done as a burger joint! Do you understand?! DONE!!” The pickled brine flopped down onto the floor like a puddle of gravy that had been left in the sun for forty years too many.

“Don’t fret yourself, buddy, I’ll find your sauce.And the owl that filched it. Or my name isn’t Ding-Dong Wakanabe!” He stared off, feeling his detective spirit soar, seeing his future self in the future time. This would be the case that put him back on the map. And out of his parents basement.

The puddle of gravy gandered up, staring at the fat, gallant form of the gabardined shamus standing there, looking off into the distance. And for a second, nay maybe less than that, he thought he heard a voice. A whisper on the wind like a moustache in the night.

S’okay guy, this guy. This guy’s the guy. A real guy’s guy, guy. 

And inside he knew it would be alright.

Because that voice was Crispy Dan.

The Voyage of the USS Velvet Tomato


“And the voices of the children, joined the worries of the elders–“


“For those who’d risk their lives, to journey to the stars–“


“And their hearts beat faster, and their eyes filled with tears–“


He turned his chiselled face as much as the harness would allow, “whuh?”

The equally chiselled but more boyish face beside had maneuvered as much as it could in its seat to stare at him, “we’re deep into go time here, I don’t think the singing is appropriate.”

“Aww, c’mon, lieutenant, you know you love it. This is exciting. We’re blazin’ a trail here. And the clouds, they all parted, and the sun was a shinin’, and the stars were a callinn-nn-ng–“

“Control, can you please remind Commander Davids that his sopranic croonings are not part of the program,” the lieutenant said into his headset.

“Roger that,” the speaker squawked, “Commander, please be advised that high-pitched vocals are not one of the mission parameters.”

“Copy that, control” Commander Davids said, “but I just want it noted for the record that you’re all art blind.”

“Copy that, commander,” control said, “you copy, lieutenant?”

“Copy that, art blind, check,” said the lieutenant.

“Control, just a final thought from all us here in the cosmo-craft Velvet Tomato, that thanks for all your hard work and that we are all looking forward to one helluva ride,” Davids said.

“Roger that, VT-one, a hell of a ride it is going to be. And now, VT-one, we are a go for launch,” control said, “final countdown, commencing, ignition in ten, nine–”

Across the ocean, athwart the fields–“

“–eight, seven–”

“Up, up the hillside, and through the trees–“

“–six, five–”

“Over the mountains!”

“–four, three–”

“Onto the launch pad!”

“–two, one. Ignition.”


The united neighs of a billion flaming horses rumbled up through twenty-five stories of alloy and engineering and two entire generations worth of man hours into the tiny cage of heroism that sat atop it like a cherry on the most dangerous sundae in the universe and then slowly lifted itself into the sky, seeking the stratosphere, reaching for outer space, to take to the limit, and beyond–THE MEN WHO SHALL PUNCH THE SUN!



Bathed in the glory of the beauty of whatchamacallit

ba4fd7cb8bd5397c35c2a07a7ddddb69The tears blazed of out God’s eyes like beautiful meteors, raining down onto the Earth like tiny intercontinental ballistic miracles. They touched down, they detonated, and everywhere in the sprinkle zone people was a splishin’ and splashin’ in the fantasmacism of golden salty nectarness. A child of three sprouted the moustache of an Apache that kicked a moonbooted disco maniac into dancing a light-loafered fandango that blew the doors off a barn that housed a party-rock pick-up truck that with a toot-toot-honky-honk rampaged off through a sweet bog that was chock-a-block with muck and frogs and awesome bad gas, spraying it all burping and hissing up and on and all over a dizzle dazzle of a company picnic that was ragin’ in the meadow by Snake’s Lake and the freaking CEO and his wife did the smooth banana so hard that the company’s shares jumped three point four two points and a stock broker could not believe it so much and so deep and so hard he gave himself such a case of the bone-burglars that his skull and skin doctor fell down and broke so much breeze that the air authority declared a state of liquid wind.

Needless to say, it was quite the nooner.

The Girl with the Tungsten Tongue

American Manhood - 1953 02 Feb - cover by Peter Poulton-8x6

She hit the electro-stim and stood feeling the surge, staring out at the city, all grey and black and hazed and piece-meal through the smog and anger that it was like it was streaming live via dial-up. At 24.4 kbps. As if it would take forever to be fully realized. If at all.

The surge did its thing and her heart raced and her mind sliced through the sludge and she turned her back on the city and strode back inside. She knew the town would be there when she got back. It always was. And she hated it for it.

The club was dark and purple and joy-boys were throbbing in the shadows whispering their sweet freaking nothings and jacking juice like it was all-you-could-pray Sunday at the Church of the Wicked Whistler. She cut through the violet black, her thrumming brain smoothing between the sounds of the sleek uber-jazz that made sweet love with the dirty lust and broken dreams that stunk up the joint.

She crossed through, hit the bar, and with less than a smile and more than a nod, she had a tall, thin glass of translucent green poison up to her lips and across her tongue and down her throat. Mixed with the galvanic analeptic doing its thing inside her, the liquor felt and tasted like picking a scab but she downed it anyway. She needed it. The night was young. But it would get old soon enough.

And this was one thing that didn’t get finer with age.

It got deadlier.

She ordered another. Put it inside her, adding it on top of all the other troubles stewing in her gastric juices.

And realized she’d forgotten her gun.