Monday, June 28, 2010

Harter Union: Part Five; Chapter 3

Wendy and I had been drinking and were helping each other up the stairs to her apartment. We kept missing every other step and falling down but found it all incredibly hilarious. “We should…we should probably be a little quieter,” I said.

“Or maybe we shouldn’t have had that twelfth glass of wine,” Wendy noted.

“Or maybe we shouldn’t have had glasses five through twelve but whatever,” I laughed. I helped guide Wendy’s door key into the slot and helped her open the door. We both collapsed on top of each other on the couch and laughed. “What should we do now?”

“How about what we’ve been joking about since the date began?”

“We were just joking…I didn’t think you were being serious,” I looked hard into Wendy’s dark brown eyes.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this and I want you to be my first.”

“No offense, but you are putting a lot of pressure on me,” I chuckled softly.

“If you don’t want to do it, I understand…”

“No…I want to. More than anything, it’s just…are you sure?” I asked wanting to make sure the alcohol wasn’t taking over.

“Come into the bedroom…” Wendy got up and led me to the bedroom. We stood in front of each other in the doorway and looked at each other. I held her cheek and kneeled down to kiss her. We our lips met, she inhaled deeply through her nose, raised her arms and wrapped them around my neck.

I pulled away and looked at her. “Are you sure?”

“Certain.”

We continued making out and Wendy worked my shirt off while I took her shirt off and undid her pants. She undid my pants and slid them down. She sat on her bed and then laid down, pulling me on top of her. We continued kissing and I began taking her bra off as she pulled off my boxers. Suddenly, her phone in the front room rang. I stopped fondling Wendy and rested my forehead on hers. “You should probably get that,” I said.

“It’s probably not important,” she answered.

“It’s nearly three in the morning. Answer it,” I pulled up my shorts and got off of Wendy. She got up and grabbed a robe from her closet. “Somehow I don’t think we’ll finish what we started,” I said, starting to put my clothes back on. Wendy went into the front room and answered the phone. Not even half a minute later she hung up and returned to the bedroom.

“It was Heather. Apparently Melissa is really depressed and wants to talk to you,” Wendy relayed.

“Is Melissa at her apartment?”

“I assume so.”

I finished putting on my clothes and prepared to leave. “I’m sorry we couldn’t finish this.”

“Don’t worry about it. Go. Get to Melissa. She may need help.”

I wanted to kiss Wendy so bad but opted not to and left her apartment.




When I arrived at Melissa’s apartment I listened at the door. It was completely quiet inside. I knocked on the door softly and when there was no answer, I knocked louder. I was a little worried so I tried the doorknob. It was unlocked. I slowly stepped inside and saw that liquor bottles and beer cans littered the floor. I heard music playing in her bedroom so I walked over to her door. I went in and saw that she was lying in her bed in her underwear. I walked around the bed and saw that her right arm was hanging off the side with blood dripping from her wrist into a trash can. “Oh, God!” I grabbed the phone from the nightstand and dialed 9-1-1. “I need an ambulance at 1234 Orchard Lane, apartment 312.”

Next:
Chrissy tells Jason she found someone else and Jeff takes Melissa home from the hospital.

Friday, June 25, 2010

#214: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?


I stopped reading comic books in 2002 partly due to the cost but partly due to one certain character completely veering off in a new direction. I've kept tabs on Superman because he's the hero I enjoy the most, he's the hero I identify most with and he's the one that I have fond memories of from days long ago. I didn't like what was happening though. Too many crossovers, too many characters to keep track of and too much of redoing Superman into his Pre-Crisis form. Luthor began showing up in his purple and green flight suit, Superman even seemed to be become even more powerful. I understand why this is: no matter what, Superman is too powerful for his own good. How can you write a decent hero vs. villain story when the hero barely has to leave the couch to defeat the villain?

So of course writers have to resort to the human part of Superman and stories where he can't just zap criminals with his heat vision. Over the last several years, all DC comics have focused on yet another "Crisis"--in no particular order: Final Crisis, Countdown to Final Crisis, 52, among others up to and including Batman R.I.P., Blackest Night, New Krypton and War of the Supermen. I feel that having to read the actual crossover titles along with the dozens of other books that tie-in with the crossover is just overkill. Yes, I know you don't have to read the tie-in books but then you may miss what happens with Kyle Rayner or Booster Gold. Something else that turns me off on the whole crossover thing? The cost. Your average comic now costs $3.99 and that's if it's not a bigger issue where it could be $4.99 or more. I began reading comics when they were $1.25 and stopped when they were $2.99. I know comics are competing with the Internet and people posting everything that goes on in the comics world for free but I am all for supporting DC, Marvel and other comic book companies and Marvel, from what I hear, has a pretty decent selection of comics online that you can "subscribe" to and read on your computer. DC does not...yet.

But this is supposed to be about Superman and after a year of Superman abandoning his life to be on New Krypton, he's back in Metropolis and ready to reunite with his wife, Lois Lane. Superman #700 begins with Lois being chased by the Parasite, who has teamed up with the Prankster. Lois is saved from the Parasite by Superman who says "there's too much here in Metropolis for me to leave it forever" referring to his wife and friends and family who he abandoned last year to live on New Krypton. Lois and Clark are still in love--she understands what he has to do since he is Superman and while hovering above the city of Metropolis, Clark declares his love for Lois.

The next story (by my favorite Dan Jurgens) focuses on a team-up between Superman and Dick Grayson (who is Robin because this is from the early years of Superman). While a good story, it makes me wonder what it's doing here. But the next story by J. Michael Straczynski is why I bought the issue, will continue buying Superman comics for the foreseeable future. Superman is holding a press conference explaining that what happened over the last year will not again when a woman comes up and slaps Superman. Superman lets her speak and she explains that her husband died of a brain tumor that Superman could've easily destroyed with his heat vision but he wasn't here. Superman then begins thinking he's losing touch with the humans he has sworn time and time again to protect. So what does he do? He decides to walk across America getting back in touch.

I like that. For far too long I've been thinking that Superman is becoming way too alien and was losing his humanity. I'm hoping after "Grounded" is over in #712, Superman retains his humanity. However, when the woman mentions a brain tumor, I am reminded of Superman #64 from back in 1991 where a little boy writes to Superman to save his father's life. His father also has a brain tumor. Superman arrives at the hospital too late and has to explain that he's not a doctor and he's not Superman but Superman. Since when is Superman able to perform invasive surgery that even the best doctors in the world can't perform? And if you do something like that for one person, you'll need to do it for everyone. There's a thin line in Superman's world between hero and god and I'm hoping that Superman stays on this side of the line.

Here's hoping the Man of Steel is back. Action Comics is about to hit number 900 and I'll get a review of that up as well when it gets here in ten months but until then, I remain...
~Brian

Brutus Takes Center Stage

Born Loser 06-23-10
Why order a bacon, mushroom and Swiss burger when you could technically just order a bacon cheeseburger with Swiss cheese? It probably costs less.

Born Loser 06-24-10
Honestly, a lemonade stand set up along a sidewalk would probably be more profitable than a company that exclusively produces tea cozies.

Born Loser 06-25-10
And you know your job is not doing very good when the people in charge threaten you against saying anything remotely negative about what you do. Been there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Annyong

Born Loser 06-22-10
Hmm, apparently Brutus is known in the canine community as someone who eats dogs. Strange, considering Brutus doesn't look Korean.

Also, Gladys has apparently stroked out and is unable to move or change the expression on her face. So sad.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Harter Union: Part Five; Chapter 1 & 2

“So, Jeff…” began Alyson, twirling the spaghetti around her fork. “We’ve been out on, what, four dates? So why haven’t you tried to kiss me?” she asked.

“Well, I don’t know about you but to me, a kiss means a lot. And as much as I want to, I feel it’s too soon after Nathan for you. Typically, a first kiss is a surprise and very sweet. When I tried to kiss Melissa for the first time I missed and kissed her eye,” I took a bite of a meatball. “It was all very sweet.”

“You’re a sweet guy. Cooking dinner, the lights turned low, candlelit dinner, and some soft music. Very romantic,” Alyson said.

“Well, Heather was going to be out with Wanda so I decided to go all out with this and take a chance.”

“It’s a lovely gesture, Jeff and you have made this a wonderful night.”

“Thank you.” I picked up a napkin and wiped my mouth. I smiled at Alyson who was standing up. She walked over to me and kissed me. She sat down on my lap and ran her fingers through my hair and I rubbed mine up and down her back.




Aaron’s bedroom was only lit by the glow of the computer and a desk lamp nearby. He was instant messaging a girl named Rachell Rexford. Rachell was a true country girl who lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her family was a major name in breeding and showing horses. Her and Aaron met while he was up there visiting family a couple months ago. The two hit it off and started dating over the Internet. She was a beautiful girl who always wore plaid shirts, dark blue denim jeans and a white cowgirl hat. They were determined to make their long-distance relationship work and for the last couple of months, it actually was working but both Rachell and Aaron were getting tired of talking over email, chat rooms, and message boards.
Both Rachell and Aaron typed quick good-byes to each other and Aaron logged off the computer and turned it off. He took a last look at Rachell’s picture on his desk before turning off the desk lamp and climbing into bed.




Jesse rested him on top of Chrissy and worked to release the last bit of himself inside her. “God, you’re sexy,” Jesse said hoarsely into her ear. Jesse slowly pulled himself out which made Chrissy exhale sharply. “I’m gonna get something to drink, want anything?”

“Some water, if you have some, would be great.”

Jesse left the bedroom and Chrissy sat up on the bed and ran her hand through her hair. She got up and meandered through the room looking at the objects scattered throughout. She picked up and looked at a football trophy for the college he went to and looked at his medals for track and wrestling, along with family photos and pictures of other girls. “You look so damn beautiful,” Jesse said, walking in and shutting the door behind him.

“Thank you. Hey, who are these girls?” she asked holding up one picture but pointing to another.

“Old girlfriends that I was able to remain friends with,” Jesse handed Chrissy a bottle of water and sat down on the bed. “Don’t worry, there is nothing romantic between us anymore,” Jesse smiled.

“I’ve been lying to you,” Chrissy said and sat next to Jesse. “I have a boyfriend.”

“You do? Then why are you here with me?”

“We agreed to have kind of an open relationship but…”

“Are you having second thoughts about us sleeping together?” Jesse took a drink of water.

“No. When I’m with you—inside me—I feel wonderful. Better than I’ve felt in a long time but also when I’m with you, I think back to what made Jason and me fall apart,” Chrissy sniffled a little and ran her fingers under her nose.

“Listen,” Jesse took Chrissy in his arms. “if you are truly unhappy in that relationship, then you deserve even a fleeting moment of happiness. You are one of the most beautiful and wonderful girls I have ever met and for the past two weeks, you have been the center of my universe.”

“You are so wonderful but still, all this just makes me wonder what would’ve happened if Jason and I hadn’t…” Chrissy sobbed loudly.

“Hadn’t what?” Jesse pulled Chrissy tighter.

“Had an abortion…” Chrissy began bawling and rested her head against Jesse’s chest.




Emily and Melissa were listening to heavy metal music in Melissa’s apartment. Emily turned it down a little to speak. “Hey, Mel, what are you and Mike doing tomorrow night?”

“Probably nothing. Why?”

“I and Jake, along with Holly and John are having a double date and you and Mike are more than welcome to come.”

“Well, let me check. I’ll call him,” Melissa picked up the phone, dialed and waited for someone to answer.

“Hello?” answered a woman.

“Hello, you must be Mike’s sister. This is his girlfriend, Melissa, I’m sure he’s mentioned me,” Melissa said.

“No, he hasn’t but there’s probably a lot my husband hasn’t told me…”

“What? Your husband? He didn’t say he was married, I just thought…” Melissa covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m so sorry…”

“It’s not your fault. You didn’t know.”

The other line went dead and Melissa slowly hung up the phone. “Mike was…is married. He’s been lying to me and to his wife…Can you leave? I kind of want to be alone.”

“Sure. I’ll see you at work,” Emily headed to the door and opened it. “I’m sorry, Mel.”

“Not your fault…” Melissa said, almost copying Mike’s wife’s exact words.

Emily left and closed the door. Melissa lowered herself to her knees and looked at a black-and-white photo of her and Mike hugging. Melissa reached over, picked up the phone and dialed another number.

The phone rang six times then an answering machine kicked in. “’You’ve reached Jeff Franklin, please leave…’ ‘They’ve reached Heather Wilmot too you inconsiderate bastard!’ ‘Whatever just leave a message.’” The machine beeped and Melissa hung the phone back up. She laid down on the floor and started crying.




Chapter Two
I was in the bathroom shaving when I heard Heather walk through the front door. “You’re home late. Or is it early?” I hollered.

“I really owe you something for persuading me to go out with Wanda last night. We went to a couple of bars and met a couple of guys. Wow, I did not know a tongue could move like that!”

“Ow!” I shouted after cutting myself with the razor.

“Are you okay?” Heather came into the bathroom and saw the blood oozing down my chin and neck.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Guys always cut themselves on the jaw line.”

“Uh, but I don’t think they normally bleed that much,” Heather took a towel from the closet and started blotting the blood.

“Thank you…” I took the towel from her and held it to the cut. “So you had a good night?”

“The best,” she began, taking the razor from me and rinsing it off, “since you anyway.”

I snorted a laugh. “Thanks. So what made you decide to end your post-me celibacy?”

“I realized that I am not going to punish myself waiting for you. Wanda was able to open me up and I finally did something I was going to do when I first moved out of my parent’s house.”

“I understand. You deserve a good time and I’m glad you got it,” I said.

“And how did your date with Alyson go?”

“It was all I expected and more…” I removed the towel and resumed shaving. “Alyson and I finally kissed.”

The smile on Heather’s face grew from ear to ear. She grabbed my arm and nearly started to jump up and down. “Oh my God! You been waiting three dates for a kiss from her. Are you two going out again?”

“Calm down, you’re more excited about this than I am. I don’t want to rush into this because it’s only been three weeks since she and Nathan decided to spend some time apart and I need to respect that,” I said.

“I can’t believe you were actually right about Alyson and Nathan but at least she chose a good rebound guy,” Heather chuckled.

“Thank you for trivializing me. If things do become serious with Alyson, I am going to talk to Nathan about it. See what he thinks about it.”

“Why?”

“Because Nathan is my friend and I want to make sure he’s all right with this before she and I enter into something serious,” I explained.

“Well that’s nice of you.”

“Do you believe in soul mates?” I asked out of the blue.

“Soul mates? What do you mean?” Heather sat down on the toilet with the lid down and looked up at me.

“Soul mates. That one person who you can talk to about anything. They can be a best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, cousin, wife, anything as long as you can trust them with every little detail of your life.”

“Well, put that way then I do believe in soul mates. Why?” she asked curiously.

“You’re my soul mate, Heather. I have never met anyone that I trust more than you. Not Randy, not Melissa, no one else and for that I love you,” I said.

“Thank you, Jefferson. After hearing that I believe that you are my soul mate too. I love you too,” Heather replied, stood up and kissed me quickly on the cheek. She crossed the hallway and went into her bedroom.

“Hey, come back and tell me about what that tongue could do,” I said.




I walked in through the back door carrying a white rose and a yellow rose. “How lucky can one guy be?” I sang. “I kissed her and she kissed me. Like a fella once said, ‘ain’t that a kick in the head?’” I went into my office and laid the two roses on my desk and headed to the dining area. “Nathan! Perfect, I wanted to talk to you,” I shouted.

Nathan grabbed me just past the Line with a huge smile lighting up his usually pale face. “Jeff, guess what?”

Seeing Nathan this ecstatic also made me smile a little bit more. “What?”

“I finally did it! I proposed to Alyson and she said ‘yes’.”

The smile left my face. “I thought you two were broken up.”

“We were but I heard about you and her going out and it made me realize how much I missed her and it just felt right so I got a ring and came in this morning and proposed,” Nathan was so happy.

“Want to see the ring?” Alyson casually walked over to us and nonchalantly extended her left hand with a diamond ring on it.

“Wow, beautiful. Well, congratulations to the both of you. I’m sure you will be very happy,” I grabbed a cup from the rack and filled it with chocolate mike and went back to my office and shut the door. I sat the cup down and collapsed into my chair. “God damn it!” I screamed and slammed my hand into the desk. I picked up the roses and looked at them angrily, crushed the flowers in my hand and dropped the petals into the trash.

Alyson opened the door and walked in. “I see you’re angry,” she said noting the crushed flowers and look on my face.

I said nothing.

“I didn’t think you’d react like this…”

“So what did our dates mean? What about what happened last night?” I asked.

“You asked me out and it was just something to do. I felt kind of sorry for you. And as for last night, it was the clincher to get Nathan back. I didn’t know he was going to propose but I’m glad he did because I love him.”

“Get out of my office,” I ordered, pointing to the door.

“I’ve been talking about our dates to the other girls and Nathan has been overhearing them. But I knew he wouldn’t do anything unless there was a possibility of us becoming serious so that’s why I kissed you. I hope you understand.”

“Of course I understand. Now get out of my office,” I yelled. Alyson left the office and I just sat there, getting angrier by the moment.




For the first time since I had been at Baker, the staff was segregated. Aaron, Wendy, Kepler, Jason and I at one table and Nathan, Alyson, Heather, Wanda and Katie at another. I was regaling my table with some ghost-hunting stories which I had never told anyone mainly because no one seemed interested. “Randy, on the first two or three trips to Stull, would bring these two body-sized duffel bags filled with pretty much useless crap. Like a BB gun. What is a BB gun going to do against a paranormal specter?”

“Not the sharpest knife, huh, Bosco?” Kepler replied.

“Well, he tended to either over think or under think the situation which made it annoying as hell but after he passed, him bringing all that stuff suddenly became funny.”

“How did he die?” asked Jason.

“He was hit by a car after he tripped on his trench coat,” I stifled a laugh. It felt good to talk about this to people I trust and cared about.

“How did you get into ghost-hunting?” asked Wendy.

“I can’t really remember. I think at first it was just something to do but after a while it became a passion. I learned a lot about Kansas history which was fascinating and I kind of have a kindred spirit with cemeteries,” I explained.

“What do you mean?” she wondered.

“Cemeteries are the only things that really make sense in this world. After a life of peace or cruelty, riches and fame, or poverty and illness, we all end up six feet under awaiting an uncertain fate.”

“Wow Bosco. Deep,” Kepler said.

“Yeah, I got sent to the university psychiatrist for writing a thesis on cemeteries and including that in it,” I softly chuckled and bit into a carrot. “In ninth grade, I wrote a short story in math class about this boy who shoots up his math class.”

“Why were you writing stories in math class?” asked Wendy.

“I didn’t want to actually do homework so I wrote stories. I wrote forty-four stories in that class which is sad considering that in English class I wrote none.”

“How many stories total did you write?” Wendy asked.

“The forty-four plus a 13-part series, ten chapters of a sci-fi novel, six television pilots, nine screenplays, three theses and one stage play which totals 112 separate stories,” I estimated.

“I would love to read something you’ve written sometime,” Wendy offered. “If you don’t mind?”

“I would love you to but you can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I destroyed them all. Set them on fire, I did,” I said with a cockney accent.

“Why did you do that?” Wendy shouted.

“Oh, God, if I have to explain why I do one little thing, we’d be here all night,” I groaned.

“Melissa?” asked Aaron.

I nodded. “It was a horrible time for me. I had received rejection letters for a lot of material I sent in to be published and Melissa had just left me and I was just days away from leaving Kansas. The only reason I didn’t commit suicide was because I wanted to know what happened on Dawson’s Creek.”

Kepler and Jason chuckled.

I got up and grabbed my plate and Wendy’s. “We got to get to work, people.” Aaron, Kepler, and Jason walked past me as I slowly walked with Wendy to the belt.

“Jeff, would you like to go out tonight?”

“Is this a pity date?”

“Of course not. I like talking to you and I would like some of that conversation in a romantic setting,” Wendy smiled.

“Like at the Old Castle Dance?” I blocked Wendy and looked down at her.

“Yes or no?” Wendy asked.

“I’ll pick you up tonight after work,” I smiled and rushed to place the dishes on the belt.

Next:
Wendy and Jeff get closer as Jeff receives a phone call.

Does Veronica Have Flowers In Her Yard?

Born Loser 06-21-10
Years ago, my mom was taking a nap and called me into her room. I asked what she wanted and she asked, sleepy and dazed, "does Veronica have flowers in her yard?". Confused, I shrugged and said "I don't know. She has a pretty big yard and plenty of money". The only Veronica I knew was Veronica Lodge from Archie comics. After my mom woke up, I asked her what the hell she was talking about but she said she didn't know. To this day I don't know what she was talking about.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Word About Spam and Hattie Makes a New Friend

First things first, there will be some changes to the comments from now on as I am getting too much spam and even though I moderate all comments that come through, reading pointless spam messages every other day gets kind of annoying. They aren't even spamming me with stuff I actually use or talk about. They spam me about how to write textbooks and say that my website is great and informative. How is it informative? The three posts I used to talk about ghost towns in my area? My site isn't Wikipedia no matter how much I want it to be.

Born Loser 06-16-10
Eight-year-olds shouldn't have cell phones. They also shouldn't (and it's against policy) have a Facebook and/or MySpace page. There's a lot of things eight-year-olds shouldn't have because eight-year-olds don't have to keep up with the Joneses. Hell, eight-year-olds think the Joneses are kind of creepy because they put plastic over their couch.

Born Loser 06-17-10
Hattie has a new friend to "make movies" with. I don't know his name but he looks like a winner. In all honesty, if this kid had a crew cut he'd look exactly like Puglsey Addams.

Born Loser 06-18-10
Fine, bitch. Do it your damn self.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Death of Farley


The death of Farley, while not quite as important in comic history as the death of Superman (which really isn't as important as one might think), still had readers reacting in ways you shouldn't react to a comic strip character. The storyline began on April 5, 1995 and concluded on April 24, 1995 and featured Farley saving young April (who I absolutely despised during the mid to late 1990s), from a river that had been flooded after all the snow had melted. While April would survive to live on until For Better or For Worse came to an end in August of 2008, Farley would not. Farley would be seen from time to time as a ghost in a small handful of strips but sadly we would never get the storyline featuring The Reign of the Farleys (with the Last Dog of Krypton, the Dog of Steel, Teenaged Farley and the cyborg) that Lynn Johnston promised us.




















Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brutus the Smithers

Born Loser 06-15-10
But it does appear that Brutus is better at making cereal than Homer.

Ignore the God-awful music: this is the only decent clip I could find of this.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harter Union: Part Four; Chapter 7

Heather had fallen asleep in just her underwear and awoke to the smell of eggs wafting from the kitchen. She bolted up and bounded in and saw me cooking bacon, eggs and toast. “Jefferson?” she gasped.

I looked at her half-asleep eyes, down to her naked chest, a little lower and then back up to her face. “You shouldn’t come barging in here like that because you never know who it could be.”

“Where the hell have you been? You had me and Melissa worried sick!”

“Okay, mom, I’m a grown boy and don’t need to check in every couple of hours. Besides, I am not worth any amount of caring you may have for me.”

“What are you talking about? We are your friends,” Heather said.

“Yep,” I said scraping the eggs off the pan. “Always the friend, never the boyfriend…” I plopped the eggs onto a plate along with some bacon and a piece of toast.

“Is this what this is about? The fact you don’t have a girlfriend?” Heather asked.

I sat down at the dinner table and began eating. “It’s not really that but it’s kind of associated with that,” I said, chewing some eggs. “You can have some bacon if you want, I doubt I’ll eat all of it but you have to put a shirt on first.”

“Where have you been for the last 36 hours?” Heather asked, walking into her room and grabbing a shirt.

“What does it matter? I’m home now so everyone can quit worrying, not like you should’ve been anyway,” I said, biting a piece of bacon.

“I know you caught Melissa and Mike together but…”

“Mike. So that’s his name,” I said. “I figured it was Bob. He seemed like a Bob to me. ‘Hello, Bob! How you doing, Bob? How’s the sex with my ex-fiancĂ© Bob?’” I finished my breakfast and took the plate to the sink and washed the egg goop off. “Well, I’m off to work.”

“No one is going anywhere until we work through this,” Heather grabbed my arm and turned me around. “Something is obviously wrong and as your friend, I want to help.”

I looked down at Heather and smiled. I ran my hand through my hair and then held the back of her head. “You’re cute,” I said, then bent down, kissed the end of her nose and headed out of the apartment.




“Now, before we get to work, I want to explain what happened over the past 48 hours or so,” I began, making eye contact with all the employees present: Aaron, Melissa, Wendy, Wanda, Nathan, Alyson, Jason, Heather, Kepler, and Katie. “Of course, I’m doing this under protest at the urging of Heather so; it all began when I went to Melissa’s apartment to ask her out.”

“Great, now I’m going to look like the bad guy,” Melissa said.

“Not necessarily. Hear me out. When Melissa answered her door, I noticed—learned, really—that her boyfriend was over. Boy was my face red!” I laughed.

“Does this story have a point, Bosco?” asked Kepler.

I looked arrogantly at Kepler and then back at the group. “After leaving Melissa’s with my heart, again, in shards, I went for a drive and somehow, after driving around this county for hours upon hours, I still ended up at a place where everything still made sense.”

“Cemetery,” Melissa whispered at Heather.

“I sat there, it seemed like forever and I had an epiphany.”

“Can you do that without a girl in the room?” asked Katie, jokingly.

“Ha, ha. Anyway, I have decided to swear off any and all girls,” I revealed.

The group looked at each other until Nathan spoke, “Well, it’s not like you’re exactly beating them off with a stick,” he chuckled.

“So what does this mean, Jefferson?” asked Heather.

“No women plus no sex equals no problems. None. Zippo. I’m done.”

“Until…?” Alyson initiated.

“Oh, for the love of… Until there’s the possibility of true love, okay? I haven’t hammered out the details and you all should be supporting me instead of causing me flack!” I said.

“Sorry, Jefferson, we’re going to be supportive of your…decision and will respect it,” Heather said.

“All right, now let’s get to work. We have unappreciative college students to feed,” I said.

Next:
Part five begins. Chrissy is seeing a new guy, Melissa learns a secret about Mike and Jeff has a shot with Alyson which quickly comes to an end.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

No. 12: Catch!

The kickball game was set up at the end of the cul-de-sac. The pitcher stood where the street widened and the kicker stood in the center of the cul-de-sac. Cal was placed in the outfield position behind the pitcher. Moe, a stocky horse of a kid was first up to kick.

“Try not to kick it as far,” one of the girls said from the mailbox that was second base.

“Haw! You’re just jealous that you can’t ever catch any of my balls,” Moe said. Aaron pitched the ball to Moe whose foot connected with it, sending it sailing over Aaron and Cal’s heads. “Haw! Home run!” Moe bellowed and began running the bases.

Cal shrugged and took off down the street to get the ball. The left the cul-de-sac and bounced across the main road then rolled into the sewer. Cal sighed, looked around to make sure no one was watching and then went in after it. Standing on the concrete slab in the sewer, Cal looked for the ball but didn’t see a sign of it.

“Looking for this?” someone said. Cal turned around and saw an old man coming out of the shadows holding the kickball.

“Yeah. A friend kicked it and it rolled down here,” Cal chuckled.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for you,” the old man said.

Cal made a face and backed away. “Uh-huh. Well, I’ll take that ball off your hands if you’re done with it.”

“’Wait for the boy with the crimson orb’ is what the calliopes told me and wait I did,” the old man stepped closer to Cal. “I’m Manford Aladin. And you are?”

“Cal. Cal Ferguson. Calliopes?” Cal questioned.

“Small furry creatures. They live about three miles under the soil,” Manford said.

“Uh-huh,” Cal said again. “Well, I just came down here for that ‘crimson orb’ so if you’ll just toss it here, I’ll be going.”

“You don’t believe me about the calliopes,” Manford said.

“Does seem slightly out there.”

“Follow me,” Manford pushed by Cal still carrying the kickball.

“I just want my ball back…” Cal sighed and reluctantly followed Manford.

Manford stopped at the wall and knocked on the concrete. Cal felt like just leaving when the wall began moving. A bright light emanated from the area behind the wall. “I brought the crimson orb,” Manford said.

Suddenly, a small creature peered out of the wall. It looked like a cross between a cat and a raccoon. “Okay,” it said. “Both of you come on in.”




Chapter 2
The calliope who opened the wall led Cal and Manford down a spiral staircase. “There are only three entrances on Earth to our land. This, one in India and the other in the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, we don’t use that one very often,” the calliope said.

“So how long have you all been down here and why did Manford need that ‘crimson orb’ to get in?” Cal asked.

“We’ve been here for millions of years—ever since our ship crashed here on Earth. Interesting side note, our ship crashing resulted in the death of the dinosaurs.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s something to be proud of,” Cal said under his breath. They continued down the spiral concrete staircase that led all the way to the city below. “So can I take my ball back now? My friends are waiting on me.”

“Don’t worry about your friends. To them you’ll only be gone a couple of minutes. Right now that ball, as you call it, is important.”

Cal sighed and rolled his eyes. “Why is it important? I got it for three dollars at the dollar store.”

“When we get down to the city, I’ll tell you.”

Cal glanced at the hundreds of steps they had yet to walk down. “How long will it take?”

“An hour or so,” the calliope said.

Cal turned and looked at where he came in and sighed.




The City was a beautiful metallic gold image of spires, onion domes and minarets. Cal marveled at the architecture and wondered how this civilization could be so advanced by just living in the center of the Earth.

The calliope led Cal and Manford through the streets and to the Grand Hall. It was here that the calliope began speaking again. “Our society has been greatly advanced. For millions of years we worked on trying to get off of Earth and back to our own planet. Unfortunately, we were never able to copy the ship that was destroyed in the crash and the longer we were here, the more calliopes reproduced and now, if we were to build a ship, it would have to be roughly the size of the city to support us all,” the calliope explained.

“Why do you want to leave? You seem to have a pretty good setup here,” Manford said.

“We’ve all left families and our old lives on our old planet. We calliopes can live eons. Besides, our planet will live forever while yours will eventually die—either naturally or through human stupidity. No offense.”

“Say, do you have a name?” Manford asked.

“My name is nearly unpronounceable,” the calliope chuckled. “But you can call me ‘Jack’.”

Jack pushed open two huge doors which led into a huge room. Another calliope, garbed in a fancy velvet robe, turned and began walking to them. “Jack!” he spouted. “I trust you brought the orb?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Jack held out the kickball. “These two humans were kind enough to loan it to us.”

“Oh, huzzah! And who shall I thank for this?”

“I’m Manford Aladin.”

“I’m Cal Ferguson.”

“Manford and Cal. I am King Saskiad, the leader of this tribe of calliopes. Now, I bet you are wondering why we need this simple human toy, aren’t you?”

“It had crossed my mind since now everyone has just taken my kickball with any regard to me…” Cal said crossly.

“Well, our Grand Vizier, Mauraton, has developed a way for us to get back to our own planet. Instead of building a ship, we will build a teleporter to send everyone home!”

“We’ve been working on it for nearly a century and all we need now is a rubber ball to absorb the electricity. We predicted that it would be a crimson ball, like this one, that we would use so we enlisted Manford here to watch for it,” Jack explained.

Cal turned to Manford. “And it didn’t occur to you to just buy one from the store?”

“Jack said one would appear,” Manford defended. “So I thought it would be something special,” he shrugged.

“Come,” King Saskiad said, “let us bring this ball to the Vizier!”

The Vizier’s place was huge and littered with broken gadgets and half-finished inventions. “Mauraton! Look, we have the rubber orb you asked for!” King Saskiad rejoiced again.

“Excellent! I can put it in and begin warming up the machine…What are they doing here!?” Mauraton shrieked.

“They loaned us the ball,” the King began.

“I loaned you the ball,” Cal corrected.

“…So they shall be rewarded at a grand feast tomorrow!”

“Very well,” the Grand Vizier said and took the ball. “Thank you, humans.”

“Come,” King Saskiad began again, “I will show you where you will be staying for the night.”

The King, Jack, Cal and Manford walked out of the Vizier’s room. Mauraton placed the ball in it’s holder atop the teleporter. “Those humans are of no importance to me,” he said gruffly. “When this warms up, we will be living above ground, I will be king and all humans will be extinct!”




Chapter 3
The Banquet Hall was filled with high ranking calliopes when Jack brought Cal and Manford down from their sleeping quarters the next day.

“Isn’t this exciting, Cal?” Manford asked with glee.

“I just want my kickball back,” Cal sighed.

King Saskiad was talking to Mauraton about the teleporter. “And when will it be operational?” the King asked.

“Within the day,” Mauraton said. “We need to make sure there’s enough power to transport everyone back to our planet.”

“Good! Good!” King Saskiad beamed. “Oh and here are our guests of honor! Cal and Manford, how did you sleep?”

“Pretty good. Although my friends and family are probably worried to death about me,” Cal said.

“Oh, nonsense. Only about five minutes have passed above ground,” King Saskiad ignored. “Now come, let us feast!”

The feast started out with breakfast items. The whole thing consisted of eating, drinking and conversing. Manford got more into it than Cal. After the breakfast portion was finished, Mauraton got up from the table.

“Manford, could you join me in the kitchen, please?” he asked.

Manford scooted away from the table. “Sure.” They walked to the kitchen and Mauraton began making a drink in a fancy, gold plated cup. “What’d you need?” Manford asked.

“You seemed to take great interest in our food, I thought you’d like to see what our kitchens look like.”

“Well, it is very nice. I loved the egg-type things we had. Where’d the eggs come from?” Manford asked.

“They are genetically engineered eggs from our females. They are delicious aren’t they?” Mauraton chuckled.

“Uh, yeah…” said Manford, uneasily.

“Here,” Mauraton handed Manford the cup. “Take this back to the King. I will be back momentarily.”

“Okay,” Manford left the kitchen and walked back to the table. “Here you go, Your Majesty.”

“Ah, my favorite! Thank you, Manford!” the King was joyous and took a big drink. “Wonderful.”

An hour and a half later, the lunch portion of the feast began but was quickly interrupted by King Saskiad gasped for air. Calliopes tried to help but within a few minutes, the King was dead.

“What has happened?” Mauraton exclaimed. “The King was healthy as a divix!”

“He was poisoned,” said the City’s top medic. “Look at his throat. It’s swelled shut. Someone must have put aimsmeade flakes in his food.”

“But the food was all served at the same time from the same dish,” Mauraton said, “and no one else is reacting.”

“Hmm. The drinks were also from the same dish.”

“Wait! The King did have a drink specially made for him in his own glass,” said someone else. “It was delivered by the human!” the calliope pointed to Manford.

“Now wait a minute. I just delivered the drink, Mauraton made it. Besides, how and where would I get the poison anyway?”

“You slept in the library room last night so you could’ve read about it then you could’ve snuck into the Vizier’s lab before dawn and stole the flakes,” said the medic.

“Guards!” Mauraton shouted. “Seize the human and lock him up. He shall pay for the murder of our beloved King.”

Cal and Jack looked on helpless as Manford was tackled, handcuffed and dragged away.




Chapter 4
Cal and Jack sat in the library room. “I should get you back above ground. Don’t want anyone to start accusing you of something,” Jack said.

“But Manford is innocent. Besides, doesn’t anyone else find it odd that Mauraton took control of the City immediately after Saskiad died?” Cal asked.

“It is unorthodox but Saskiad had been our king since the beginning. If someone hadn’t taken control, there may have been panic,” Jack said.

“How is the king normally chosen?” asked Cal.

“We have a vote from the High Council. That’s actually the only thing the High Council does,” Jack said. “You think it’s suspicious?”

“I think Mauraton is up to something and that it needs to be investigated,” Cal suggested.

“Come on. Let’s go see Mauraton,” Jack said, standing up.

The Vizier’s room and lab were completely silent. The only sound was the hum of the teleporter. “I wonder if this teleporter even really works,” Jack asked. Jack went over to it and attempted to shut it down. The hum died away and the light around the kickball faded away.

Cal leapt up and grabbed it. “I’m sorry but I’m taking this.”

“Go ahead. Going home is just a distant dream now,” Jack said. “Mauraton is coming back. I can hear him.”

Cal and Jack ducked behind a machine and watched and listened. Mauraton came in, mumbling. He then noticed something wrong. “Who turned off the teleporter?” he asked himself. He walked over and saw the ball was missing. “Where’s the orb? How am I supposed to take over the Earth without the orb? It could take years to obtain another…”

Suddenly the kickball flew through the air and smashed Mauraton in the face. Mauraton fell down and both Cal and Jack towered over him.

“You murderer! You did poison Saskiad!” Jack said. “All so you could take over Earth? Why?”

“I saw an opportunity and I took it. I did build a teleporter but I built it large enough to teleport the City above ground, destroy one of Earth’s major metropolis’,” Mauraton explained.

Cal picked up the ball. “Come on, let’s get Mauraton to confess and get Manford out of jail.”




Cal walked down the street to the cul-de-sac where his friends were all waiting for him. “Jeez, Cal,” said one. “What took you so long?”

“What are you talking about? It’s only been fifteen minutes. Besides, the ball went a really long way…” Cal winked.

“Who are you winking at?”

“Is something wrong with your eye?”

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm Worried About How This Teacher Teaches

Born Loser 06-11-10
Hmm, Hurricane Hattie is drunk again.

And, yes, I don't know who Joey Pinski is but his brother is a stupe. Why use someone else's name? Why didn't Chip just use Wilberforce's name? At least people know who the hell Wilberforce is.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mole!

This is one of my favorite stories from the early years of Mad magazine. Mad, in case you didn't know, began as a comic book but when the Comics Code Authority was established then EC did something drastic--they turned Mad into a magazine. A magazine that still runs today and is published by comic book powerhouse DC Comics.

"Mole!" from Mad #2 (Dec.-Jan. 1952-1953)
Written by Harvey Kurtzman
Art by Bill Elder
Story and characters are copyright E.C. Publications.








Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brutus Is Dying and All He Cares About Is the Cost

Born Loser 06-07-10
It's ironic because Brutus really is being drawn into an argument. If Gladys' mouth was open a bit more then I'm pretty sure a second mouth would come out like that alien from Alien.

Born Loser 06-08-10
I assume Brutus has health insurance from the Veeblefester Corporation. It's probably really crappy health insurance I guess which is why Brutus is haggling with the doctor over the cost of whatever procedure Brutus is having done.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Harter Union: Part Four; Chapter 6

Nathan awoke in Alyson’s bed and saw her at the desk in front of the computer. She was wearing lacey blue underwear but nothing else. “What are you doing up so early?” Nathan asked.

“I couldn’t get back to sleep. I thought I’d get online and do some chatting. I made a couple of guy friends on the Internet and we get to talking. We’re both from the same town so we have a little bit in common,” Alyson said.

“Guys? Why are you meeting guys on the Internet?” Nathan got out of bed and walked over to Alyson and looked at the screen. Alyson placed her hand across the screen.

“Nathan. This is private,” she giggled.

“Private? We’re dating! We’ve done stuff that you only talk about to these guys. Right?” Nathan waited for an answer but Alyson didn’t make any reply. “You did lose your virginity to me, right?” Nathan asked.

“Yes, Nathan. I only had one other boyfriend before you and all I did with him was give him oral sex,” she revealed.

“What? You sucked another guy’s dick?” Nathan shrieked as he pulled on his underwear and jeans.

“It was years ago, sweetie. How’s Jason holding up with Chrissy’s pregnancy?” Alyson asked.

“He’s fine but tell me more about your liaison,” Nathan pulled his shirt on and sat down on the bed.

“What would you do if I was pregnant?”

“This better be a hypothetical question,” Nathan warned.

“It is. What would you do? We are obviously not ready to bring a child into this world. What would we choose?” Alyson asked, not leaving the computer screen.

“Well, if we’re fighting or something then we would probably get an abortion.”

“So you’ve already made that decision for us? It’s my body Nathan so it’s my choice what happens,” Alyson said.

“Then why did you ask me if I don’t get a say in what happens with something that is half mine?” Nathan argued.

“When it’s inside me, it’s all mine. I think abortion is horrible but I understand it. But how can anyone kill a living being that’s inside your body? I understand the good reasons for abortion but sometimes I just don’t understand it. And considering the baby would be inside of me for nine months before you even get to touch him, I would think I have a little more say in what to do with it.”

“Uh-huh, well I’m glad we had this little conversation. I’m going to work so try not to suck any dick while I’m gone,” Nathan left the bedroom and slammed the door. Alyson got up and a got a T-shirt from the dresser.

Wendy knocked on the door and came in. “What’s wrong with Nathan?” she asked. Alyson sat back down at the desk. “He stormed out of the apartment and slammed the door.”

“He’s fine, we just disagreed with something. He’ll forget all about it when I let him do me doggy style tonight.”




Heather slid the pan of macaroni and cheese into the space on the Line and looked up at the clock. She sighed and tore the plastic wrap off the pan. Melissa came in and Heather grabbed her arm. “Is Jefferson with you?” Heather asked.

“Why would he be with me?” Melissa queried. “My boyfriend was over all night.”

“Crap, I forgot all about that! I knew I forgot to tell him something. Did you see his Jimmy in his parking spot outside?”

“No.”

“Crap! He didn’t come home last night and he’s three hours late for work,” Heather revealed.

“He’s never late for work. I hope he’s okay,” Melissa lamented.

“What if he’s lying dead in a ditch?”

“There goes half your rent source,” Stephanie said.

“You have a boyfriend now, Melissa?” Alyson asked.

“Yeah, we met each other years and years ago and saw each other a couple weeks ago and we’ve been together since,” Melissa said, sitting down at the table. “Jeff seemed all right when he left. He even heard Mike in my apartment.”

“Jefferson puts up a good front,” Heather sighed.

“If you want, I’ll help you find him after work,” Melissa offered.

“Thanks, I appreciate that,” Heather smiled.

“I have a question,” Kepler started, “why is everybody being so dramatic about this? He’s a grown man and can take care of himself!”

“Oh, little Kepler, someday you’ll know,” said Heather, depressed.

“So why haven’t you told us about this boyfriend?” asked Alyson.

“Because of Jeff. I told Heather, Emily and Jason and Chrissy but I made them swear to secrecy. I didn’t want to upset Jeff,” Melissa said.

“So he then walks in on you. Nice,” Stephanie chuckled.

“You think I hadn’t thought of that? I didn’t want to hurt him but…”

“Now he’s collateral damage,” Nathan said. And that quieted everyone down.




Jason and Chrissy sat apart on opposite sides of the backseat of her father’s car. As the car headed south out of Lawrence, it crossed the Wakarusa River, up Shank Hill and past Wells Overlook Road. The car passed Pleasant Grove and the dilapidated schoolhouse that now stands neglected by the highway. Surrounded by fields and houses, the lone car on the highway turned left onto County Road 460 and followed it east. The road made two sharp turns; at the second turn, just a half-mile south on a gravel road was the town site of Brooklyn which, like Lawrence, was destroyed by William Quantrill, but unlike Lawrence, was never rebuilt. Now it’s a field.

County Road 460 exited onto 1055 and the car headed south again past the Rice Nature Preserve and up Baldwin Hill. Coming over the top, Baldwin could be seen in all its small town glory. The bell tower on Parmenter Hall was clearly visible on this overcast day.

Chrissy’s father pulled into the Yates’s driveway and Jason’s dad and Jason got out of the car. Jason poked his head back in and said, “I love you, Chrissy.”

Chrissy continued looking out the window as the car backed out of the drive.




Nearly midnight and completely exhausted, Heather and Melissa entered the apartment and turned on the light. “We couldn’t find any sign of him…” Heather sighed.

“I’m sure he’s okay. I don’t know any of his new hang outs but he always went to the same places: cemeteries,” Melissa said.

“Cemeteries?” Heather asked, confused.

“Yeah. He could never explain it but he said he always felt at home in a cemetery. He said it was the only place on Earth that made sense,” Melissa remembered. “That and being with me.”

Heather and Melissa stood in silence.

“If you see him before me…when he comes home, tell him that I am so sorry,” Melissa teared up.

Heather nodded and Melissa left the apartment.

Next:
Jefferson decides to swear off girls.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

At Least He's Not Wearing Ugly Golf Pants

Born Loser 06-06-10
Not really knowing thing one about golf, Brutus lost me after the word "slice" when I realized he wasn't talking about pie, cake or pizza.