Friday, July 30, 2010

Mutant of the Week: July 30, 2010

It's Mutant Day! In case you're new to the Undead Bar Association Friday posts, we feature Quantum Duck Mutants created by Jesse Garson of EYE iN tHE hAT productions.

And now, this week's mutant, followed by a poem in the mutant's honor:

Dear Cantalope,
We can't elope
Though our love is pure and true.
And I hate to say, "No,honey...don't"
When you yearn for "Honey, do."
It breaks my heart; I look away.
How the melon pleads and begs.
But we can't elope
Dear Cantalope
because you have no legs.

Also, the minister said he won't conduct a marriage ceremony for a melon.

You can view the growing collection of mutants here.

Visit Jesse's Mutant of the Week store here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Binding Precedent - Part 8

This is Part 8 of a Serial Story.  The story began here.

It wasn't until I reached into my purse for my keys that I realized the cross was missing. I stood frozen for a moment then turned back to the bar.

"Robert," I said, "Have you seen my cross pendant?"

"Not since you took it out of your purse," he replied.

Absola stared at me.  "Cross missing?" she asked.  I nodded.  "This why cross WORN, not CARRIED," Absola said.

Dang it.  I walked back to the bar and looked around.  There was no sign of the silver cross and chain.

Robert came over, frowning.  "You and Absola were the last customers.  I bussed your plates and wiped the bar down after you were done," he said regretfully.

I could see where the conversation was headed.  "You think it could have been hidden under a napkin or something and ended up in the trash," I said.

"Well, go look in can for refuse," Absola said to me.

"I already took all the garbage out to the dumpster," Robert said.

The three of us stood for a moment in silence.  Presently Absola kicked off her shoes and reached into her purse.  She took out a hair tie and pulled her hair back in a messy bun.  "Come," she said solidly.  "We search."

When Absola talks like that there's nothing much you can do but follow her lead.  We filed out the back door of Shank's.

"Oh, ugh," I choked out.  "It smells terrible out here."

"I think it's all the warm weather," Robert said; "The smell's gotten worse in the last couple of weeks."

"Is like rotting corpse," Absola said.

I gritted my teeth.  "Would you please stop the macabre talk for five minutes? I'm about to go dumpster diving and I don't think I can do it if you're talking about rotting corpses," I said sharply.

"There aren't any bodies in the dumpster, I promise.  The garbage was collected this morning.  When I brought the bags out tonight I saw that the dumpster was empty," Robert said.  He placed the palms of his hands on the lip of the dumpster and swung up and over with an easy grace.  "I'll look," he said; "I know which bag it's likely to be in."

I shook my head and said, "It's not your problem; it's mine.  I shouldn't have been so careless with the cross in the first place.  Charlotte would be crushed if she knew about this."  I kicked off my pumps and approached the dumpster.  The stench in the alley was crushing, but there was a light beaming directly down on the dumpster.  I hoped that light would speed up the search.

"Would be easier if take off little jacket," Absola said to me.

"No, I'll keep it on." I clambered up the front of the dumpster.  "Thanks," I said to Robert as he helped me in; "Now, what are we up against?"

"I'm pretty sure it's that one," Robert said, pointing to a bag of garbage.  He grabbed the bag and ripped open the top.

I peered over his shoulder at the mass of discarded napkins and bits of food.  I sighed.  "Hand it over," I said.

Robert smiled sympathetically and said, "Hopefully you won't have to look far.  Like I said, you two were the last customers.  Your garbage should be at the top."

"But the cross could have slipped down further in the bag.  It's heavier than napkins," I said. 

Poking at the top layer of garbage uncovered a fried crust of bread.  It could have been the remains of my Monte Cristo sandwich.  "Wait a minute," I said hopefully.  I gingerly sifted the garbage around the fried bread with my fingers.  Tiny metal chain links slipped over my fingertips.  I closed my fingers around the metal and pulled my hands out of the garbage.  "I found it," I said excitedly, holding the cross high in the air.

"Wonderful.  Now put on," Absola commanded.

"No way.  Not until it's had a good cleaning," I said.

Robert laughed appreciatively.  "All's well that ends well," he said.

I smiled at him.  "Thanks for your help, Robert.  My best friend gave me this cross as a high school graduation gift.  It means a lot to me," I said.

"That would be Charlotte, right?  She and her brother were here tonight having dinner with R.J."

"That's right.  Charlotte Hawthorne.  Do you know her?"

"I've seen her around campus," Robert said with a shrug.  He glanced away.

Ah, yet another man who's fallen prey to Charlotte's effortless charms.  "Yes, she's hard to miss," I said with a laugh.  "I could introduce you to her."

"Don't bother," Robert said.  "There's already enough guys circling around her.  I'm no moth."  He swung out of the dumpster and dropped to the other side.  "Sit on the edge and I'll help you down," I heard him say.

I pulled myself up and swung my legs awkwardly over the edge.  "Remind me the next time we go dumpster diving to wear something more appropriate than a skin tight dress," I said glibly.

"Would be easier without jacket," Absola murmured.

I aimed my hands for Robert's shoulders and half jumped, half fell from the dumpster. Robert caught me and lowered me gently to the ground.

"How about we all just avoid dumpster diving in the future," Robert suggested.

"Agreed," I said.  I reached down and grabbed my shoes, eager to escape the alley stench.  But when I grabbed the shoes I lost my grip on the chain and cross. 

And of course the cross couldn't just land at my feet.  No, that would be too easy.  It actually flew out of hand and under a discarded pallet next to the dumpster.

Robert and Absola saw the entire thing.  "Are you kidding me," Robert said.  Absola covered her eyes with her hand.

"I saw where it went," I said quickly.  I put on my shoes and walked over to the pallet.  There was the cross, shining in the moonlight.  "Found it," I called out. 

I picked up the cross and was straightening up when something caught my eye.  It was sticking out from behind the dumpster and it looked like...a hand.  I stepped onto the pallet and knelt down for a closer look. 

It took several tries before I could speak.  When my voice returned I said, "Robert, could you get a flashlight and shine it behind the dumpster?  I think I found the source of the smell in the alley."

The flashlight's beam shone on the horrible truth.  We'd found the missing hostess, Andrea.

The Monte Cristo isn't sitting well in my stomach now.

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surrounded by screaming hordes of the undead, our valiant heroine fights...valiantly...

Unfortunately this leaves her no time for blogging.  Or varying her adjectives / adverbs.

In the meantime, please enjoy this Mutant from the Quantum Duck Archives.

T-shirts with this Mutant design available here.

Where did I put the thesaurus?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mutant of the Week: July 23, 2010

It's time for Mutant of the Week! This week's mutant, a creature born of quiet genius, comes to us from the Quantum Duck Mutants created by Jesse Garson of EYE iN tHE hAT productions.

And now, a mutant so amazing, so stunning, that the mere act of gazing upon its splendor will leave you speechless:

You can view the silently expanding army of Quantum Duck mutants here.

Tell a friend, and remember...a pitcure is worth a thousand words! Visit Jesse's Mutant of the Week store here.

Anybody else have an urge to play charades? I want the ant on my team; I just know he'll win every round.  Or we can watch a silent movie.  You choose, mute ant.  What's that?  Speak up, I didn't hear you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Binding Precedent - Part 4

This is Part 4 of a Serial Story.  The story began here.

I threw off my blazer and opened the blinds in my office, spun my desk chair around to face the sun and sank into the chair with a groan.

My phone intercom buzzed. “What is it,” I snapped.

“There is a phone call for you, Maryanne. A Dr. Absola Trotsky,” said Ms. Ibsen.

“You’re screening my calls?” I asked in disbelief.

“To help you.”

I clenched my fist at the woman’s condescending tone. In the same moment I realized that an anagram for Rottweiler is ‘rile wet rot.’ I might be damp, but I wasn’t all wet and I definitely wasn’t rot. No way I’d let Ibsen rile me. “Put the call through, please,” I said pleasantly.

Dr. Absola Trotsky…doesn't ring a bell. I picked up the receiver. “Hello,” I said.

“So, it is as you always planned. You are an attorney. Congratulations now are acceptable? Or perhaps too belated. But I am happy for your success.”

That voice…of course! “Absy! It’s been years! I can’t believe your calling me,” I said.

“When your summer in my country ended you told me I must look you up if I was ever in your part of the United States. I call old number and your mother answered. She is a very nice lady.”

“Wait, you’re in town? That’s fantastic! We should meet for dinner and catch up.”

“Excellent. I have recommendation of restaurant from man at front desk of hotel. Restaurant is called Shank’s.”

The restaurant owned by the older brother of Matt’s boss? “I don’t know, Absola. It’s a great restaurant, but the man who owns it may associate me with pain and suffering brought down on his family. It wouldn’t make for great dinner atmosphere.”

“Do I speak to Maryanne? The woman who confronted a corrupt mayor in his own dining hall, ripping the turkey leg from his hand and demanding the missing corpses be returned to their families?”

“I remember you taking away the turkey leg, not me.”

“Ah, so it is Maryanne after all! Then you will not allow the opinion of others to affect your dinner plans. Maryanne keeps the opinion of others filed away, nice and neat. She does not allow such things to direct the course of her life.”

I laughed. “Absola, you are a breath of fresh air. What time do you want to meet?”

“I will meet you at the bar at 7.”

“First topics of conversation should be the ‘Dr.’ and the 'Trotsky' in Dr. Absola Trotsky,” I said.

“You are not the only one who enjoys academic success. As for the Trotsky...what is life without love?  Until tonight, my friend!”

Abolsa…just hearing her voice took me back…

I wanted two things while I was in college. One, to be the youngest person ever to graduate from the university. Two, to spend a summer in a really cool study abroad program. The first goal I knew could be achieved, but I doubted my chances of the second. How could I convince my parents that I was mature enough to go abroad for an entire summer?

I was thorough. I carefully researched all my options and put together a thoughtful and eloquent presentation. And it worked! My parents agreed to let me do a summer study abroad as long as they chose the location.

That’s how I ended up spending a summer in Romania. And Romania was where I met Absola.

Fair skinned with black hair and dark eyes, Absola’s physical appearance made her the perfect tour guide for the Transylvania region of Romania. She also knew more European history and folklore than most of the professors in charge of the study abroad program. But I learned all that later. The first time I saw her she was mocking a tourist trap, or so I thought.

The official tour guide for the study abroad program – Rick – had taken a group of us on a tour of the historic Citadel part of Sighisoara. Sighisoara is the reputed birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Dracula. The Citadel portion of the city is about as medieval as you can get. The shops are built close together, with sharply sloping roofs. The streets are made of ancient cobblestones and wind their way up the hillside. From the top of the historic clock tower you can stare out across the town and see the roof tops of the town peeking up through the trees, blue mountains calling you in the distance.

The town celebrates being the birthplace of Dracula with a kind of quiet pride. There's a statue of him near town hall, and the house where he was born is marked with a plaque. And someone decided to capitalize on the whole 'vampire' bit by opening a stake shop. One stop shoping for all your vampire slaying needs.

About the same time my tour group entered the stake shop Absola walked past leading a tour group of her own. Her eyes met mine briefly as she passed. I saw a flash of derision in her eyes and it made me smile.

I really thought it was silly to take people to a shop where a man hand carved stakes for killing vampires. Vampires, I thought, aren’t real. A stake shop? Really? Talk about a tourist trap! So I understood if a tour guide like Absola thought it was silly.

Rick openly mocked the place, or at least the members of our group who bought souvenir stakes. But he avoided the stake carver while we were in the shop and seemed a little scared of the man.

Turned out that I was wrong about a lot of things. Vampires are real. The stake carver was a bonafide vampire hunter. Absola was his niece and she was taking her tour groups past his shop as part of a carefully planned stake out.

Absola and her uncle were working together to track down a rogue vampire who was threatening the population of Sighisoara, Mures County, and pretty much all of Central Romania. The vamp was freakishly charismatic. She was recruiting living people to act as her servants in the daylight hours. And she was targeting hunters like the stake carver.

Rick was a servant of the vampire. He took our group into the stake carver’s shop to get the lay of the land. The instant Absola saw Rick she knew that he was plotting the death of her uncle…and she knew he would fail. The look of derision I saw was directed at Rick, not the shop.

I learned a lot that summer. I learned that a strong man like the stake carver can survive a fall from the top of a three story building. I learned, watching Absola, that if you’re going to stake a vampire it has to be through the heart…if you miss with the stake, be ready to cut off the head. And I learned from hitting Rick in the face that using a closed fist to punch somebody really hurts…me.

Study abroad programs can be very educational.

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Previous     Next

Monday, July 19, 2010

Binding Precedent - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a Serial Story.  The story began here.

I took a long drink of my soda. It quenched my thirst but failed to cool my temper. I guess there’s just so much that Dr. Pepper can do. “I was about to thank the jerk for helping me up, but before I could he tells me that I better not try to sue the funeral home for my fall or else…whatever that means,” I said. I leaned back in the tall booth and flicked the moisture beads on the red soda glass with my index finger.

Belinda watched my fingers nervously. “Maybe he’s just tense about the lawsuit against his employer,” she said. She looked around the restaurant for the dozenth time and fidgeted in her seat.

“No, he’s just being his usual jerky self. I hoped that he had matured a little, and that being a jerk was something he had grown out of. Won’t make that mistake again,” I said.

The server arrived with our food and Belinda nearly jumped out of her seat. “What is wrong with you?” I asked her.

“I’m a little tense,” Belinda admitted, patting her frizzy blond hair with a shaky hand.

“You are the tensest person I have ever met,” I said. “How you managed to finish law school and pass the bar exam is beyond me.” I jammed a fork into a piece of steak from the fajita platter and dropped it onto a tortilla.

Belinda used a spoon to smear a dollop of sour cream across the top of her enchilada. “I wasn’t always like this,” she said pathetically. “But working at the law firm makes me nervous.” She looked up at me, her blue eyes wide and intent. “Have you talked to Mr. Drake about the changes planned for the firm?”

“Not yet. I’m supposed to meet with him this afternoon. What’s it all about?”

Belinda looked around yet again then leaned across the table. “They going to change the firm by changing the associates,” she whispered.

“They’re firing us?”

“No! They’re going to change us to be like them.”

“Pale and anti-social? Huh. They can try,” I said wryly. I took a bite of fajita. The steak was perfect today, tender and juicy. Glad I didn’t order the chicken.

Belinda shook her head. She looked close to tears. “You don’t understand. But you will,” she said sadly.

“Look, Belinda, if you’re not happy then quit and go to another firm.”

“I don’t think they’ll let me quit. I know too much.”

I laughed out loud; I couldn’t help it. “Do you hear yourself? Belinda, we’re sitting in a nice new Mexican restaurant with layered stone walls and tile tables, lots of natural light, and floor to ceiling fountains in the entry-way. We are not sitting in a smoky bar nursing glasses of cheap gin while secret agents next to us pass microfiche to each other in folder newspapers. We’re associate attorneys in a successful law firm, not secret agents. Whatever is going on at the firm its not the crisis you’re making it out to be.”

“Uh, Maryanne-“

“If you don’t learn to relax you’re going to give yourself stomach ulcers.”


“What?” I asked. Belinda pointed behind me. I turned around and was hit in the face by a wave of ice cold water.

I wiped my face with my napkin and opened my eyes. Charlotte Hawthorne stood with an empty ice pitcher in her hands and a furious expression on her face.

“How can you do this to my brother,” she demanded.

“Are you kidding me? Charlotte, I’m soaked. And so are the tortillas,” I said, looking at my food. “Thanks a lot.”

“How can you talk about tortillas when you’re ruining my brother’s life?”

“What’s going on?” Belinda asked.

“Belinda, Charlotte. Charlotte, Belinda. Belinda is another associate attorney at Dietrick, Egbert & Drake. Charlotte is the younger sister of Matt, the guy who acted like a jerk this morning. When she’s not throwing water in my face she’s a drama student at the university,” I said. “Excuse me,” I called out to a nearby waiter, “Can I please have some extra napkins?”

“Nice to meet you,” Charlotte said to Belinda. “This is the meanest, lowest thing imaginable,” she said to me. “Matt loves his job, and you’re taking it away from him. How can you be so cruel?”

“Excuse me,” Belinda said timidly. “Maryanne isn’t involved with the case. Mr. Egbert is the lead attorney in the case, and Olivia is the associate helping him.”

“There, you see? I have nothing to do with it,” I said. “Wait a minute, Olivia’s assisting Egbert? She was just sworn in. She’s barely a lawyer at all!”

“Olivia was willing to change,” Belinda said significantly.

“You could stop it if you wanted to,” Charlotte insisted.

“No, Charlotte, I can’t. It doesn’t work that way.”

“Your brother’s boss did mess up,” Belinda said gently to Charlotte. “Good funeral directors don’t lose bodies.”

“Wait, what?” I asked.

“Mr. Shanks said there was something unusual about the cause of death and he wanted someone else to examine the body. It’s not his fault of the body got lost in transport,” Charlotte said.

The server walked over and handed me more napkins. “Will you be joining them for lunch,” he asked, looking at Charlotte. Only he didn’t just look at her, he checked her out. Men always check Charlotte out. She causes a scene in a restaurant in the middle of the lunch rush and guys come over to check her out.

“I wouldn’t eat lunch with her if she was the last person on earth,” Charlotte said, handing the server the empty pitcher. She glared at me and said with perfect enunciation, “I’m not speaking to you.” She stalked out of the restaurant.

And Charlotte’s my roommate for the summer! Life in the silo apartment just got awkward.

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mutant of the Week: July 16, 2010

It's Mutant Day! Time to see what new creature has grown in the fertile soil of Jesse's mind. In case you're new to the Undead Bar Association Friday posts, we feature Quantum Duck Mutants created by Jesse Garson of EYE iN tHE hAT productions.

And now, plucked from the garden of vivid imagination, we present this week's mutant:

You can view the growing collection of mutants here.

Keep those flowers fresh forever on a shirt! Visit Jesse's Mutant of the Week store here.

Mutant of the Week...always germinated. Whoops! I mean germane.  Dang puns, they're sprouting up everywhere!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When Life Happens...

Post a bonus Mutant.

I don't have Part 2 of Binding Precedent ready to post.  Stuff has gotten in the way.  I will do my best to post Part 2 later tonight.

In the meantime, please enjoy this Mutant from the Quantum Duck Archives.

T-shirts with this Mutant design available here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Binding Precedent - Part 1

This is Part 1 of a Serial Story.

I could have made a snarky comment like, “I didn’t go to law school for three years and take the bar exam just so I could run errands for the firm. That’s what runners are for.” But I didn’t, for three reasons. First, I was alone in my car and I don’t believe in being snarky without an audience. Second, the atmosphere in the law firm had recently switched from bemusingly odd to downright weird and I was glad to get out for a while. Third, for the first time in years I was going to see Charlotte’s older brother Matt. Charlotte had been my best friend since childhood, and as long as she had been my friend her brother had been my nemesis.

His first name was Matthew, like his Dad, but he went by his middle name when we were kids - Dwayne. According to Charlotte her brother started going by Matt when he got out of the Army. Now he was apprenticed at a local funeral home, training to be a mortician.

I hadn’t seen Dwayne the Pain – whoops, I mean “Matt” – since high school. Even though he was older than me, Matt and I had been in a lot of the same classes. I’d been skipped ahead a lot. The other kids in school called me ‘Whiz Kid’ with nasty sneers. Matt had shortened the nickname to ‘Whiz,’ and he’d shown a bunch of our classmates a photograph of me as a toddler covered in artificial-cheese-from-a-can. I remembered too well the way everybody at school laughed when they saw that picture. And it was all Matt’s fault. He might be Matt to everyone else now, but he was still the Pain to me.

Well, the ‘Whiz’ became a successful attorney. Let’s see the Pain tease me now.

I pulled into the parking lot at Cherry Hill Funeral Home and climbed out of the car. I managed to open and shut all the necessary doors without dropping the box I needed to deliver. Not the sort of thing I’d normally brag about, but I was carrying my purse and a briefcase while wearing my tallest high heels and a tailored sheath dress. It was like successfully juggling three balls while wearing a strait jacket and balancing on stilts.

It was cool inside the funeral home and it smelled funny, like too many lilies. I paused for a moment and let my eyes adjust to the dim light.

“Hello,” said a masculine voice. “Can I help you?”

I turned around. Tall, broad shouldered, looking very sharp in a suit…could that be the Pain? Impossible. But he did have the same brown hair and eyes as Charlotte. If it was Matt, then Matt had grown up to be surprisingly good looking. Might even be great looking, if he didn’t have the facial expression of a deer caught in the headlights.

“Maryanne? Is that you?” he asked.

“Hi, Matt. My firm sent me over with some documents,” I said. What the heck was wrong with my voice? I cleared my throat.

“Wait, you’re a lawyer with that firm? Geez, Maryanne, it’s bad enough you sold your soul to get a law license. Do you have to work for the devil?”

Oh no he didn’t. “Just what is that supposed to mean?” I demanded. “I didn’t sell my soul.”

Matt pointed at the box I was holding and asked sharply, “What’s that?”

“I don’t know. I’m just the messenger.”

“You really expect me to believe that? Come on, Whiz, I know how ambitious you are. This is just the sort of case you’d jump on, hoping to make a name for yourself.”

I set the box down on a table and planted my hands on my hips. “Look here, Pain. I have nothing to do with any case connected to this place. I don’t know what the suit’s about. And I don’t care.” I pulled the receipt out of my briefcase and stuck it in Matt’s face. “Sign here saying you got the box,” I said.

Matt took the receipt from me and tossed it on top of the box. “Do you have any idea what your firm is doing to Shanks?” he asked.

“The guy who owns the restaurant in midtown?”

“No, Herbert Shanks, the funeral home director. He’s R. J. Shanks’ younger brother. Herbert had a nervous breakdown because of this lawsuit.”

“I’m sorry, but what do you want me to do about it?”

Matt glared at me. He took a pen out of his jacket pocket, signed the receipt, and shoved it back at me. “Here’s your receipt. Go collect your thirty pieces of silver,” he said.

“I’m not betraying anyone,” I replied, exasperated. I turned on my heel and strode out of the building. “Noxious twit,” I muttered under my breath.

Maybe if I’d muttered less and looked more I would have seen the huge clump of flowering bindweed growing out onto the sidewalk. One of my heels caught in the tangled vine and I fell.

“Dang it,” I said.

“Are you all right?”

I looked up to see Matt standing behind me.

“I’m fine,” I said, trying not to wince. Matt offered me his hand. I would have ignored it, but with those heels I needed some help.

I stood up, dusted off my dress and said, “Thanks.”

“It’s not like you to fall,” Matt said.

I pointed at the vine and said, “There’s the culprit.” Wait a minute. How had I avoided the vine on the way into the funeral home?

“Those weeds weren’t there this morning, I swear. Anyway, you should have looked where you were going,” Matt said. He glared at me like the fall was my fault.

Enough strange things have happened in my life that I pay attention. I don’t let little details trip me up. When Matt said the vine hadn’t been there that morning I believed him.  Why is it here now? 

Eh.  It's not important.

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Amarillo Zombie Examiner

I've been hired as the Amarillo Zombie Examiner! The Examiner is an on-line information source with columns written by subject matter experts. And yours truly is an expert on the paranormal and undead. Thank you very much, strangeness that is my life.

You can read the first article here

The next article will continue the same theme, examining the risk of zombie attacks in Amarillo. After that I'll be starting a series of articles that together will form the Zombie Hunter's Guidebook to Amarillo, Texas.

I've sent away for a zombie assistant to help me with some of the interviews for the column. Hopefully he'll arrive soon.  When he does, I'll post a photo and give you his bio.

- Maryanne M. Wells

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mutant of the Week: July 9, 2010

Mutants! Mutants! Mutants!

No, no. Just one mutant. They're too amazing to view all at once. We want to go slow and appreciate the unique qualities of each mutant.  That's why we only post one Quantum Duck Mutant each week...we want to create an environment that lens itself to quiet contemplation.

Stay focused! Jesse Garson of EYE iN tHE hAT productions has released this one perfect mutant for our Friday viewing pleasure.  Fortunate are we, pupils of his artistic vision, that we can gaze upon...

If you think you call handle seeing a plethora of mutants...if you just can't can view them all here.

I think it's eye time we all get ourselves Jelly glasses.  I'm not trying to back you into a cornea; I'm simply suggesting you visit Jesse's Mutant of the Week store here.

Will there be another Mutant next week?  Let's take a vote.  [counts votes].  The eyes have it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Happening: Story Arcs and Schedule

As I write this the first story, Until Death, is speeding to its inevitable conclusion. Inevitable from my perspective anyway, but then I'm the one writing the crazy thing.

Normally each part of an Undead Bar Association story is 800 - 1000 words, but today is an exception. I tried breaking today's piece up, but it killed the pacing when I did. So Part 20 is a double-length entry. Like a bonus. Why not.
But that doesn't mean you'll see the end of the story today. Nope. That would be too easy. We'll end today with a cliffhanger. And because Friday is reserved for Mutant of the Week, you'll have to wait until after the weekend for the conclusion of Until Death. I know, I'm a horrible person. But we'll jump right into the second story as soon as the first one is ends.

Here's the schedule for the rest of this week and next week:

Today:         Until Death - Part 20 (double day)
Friday:         Mutant of the Week
Saturday:     Maybe a Tasty Tidbit. I'm still checking sources.
Sunday:        [sound of chirping crickets]
Monday:      Until Death - Part 21
Tuesday:      Until Death - Wrapup
Wednesday: Binding Precedent - Part 1
Thursday:     Binding Precedent - Part 2
Friday:         Mutant of the Week

Each UBA story can stand alone, but the stories also build on each other. Until Death contains some ominous clues about the future. Did you catch them? No? Yes? Maybe? Stay tuned! All can be revealed...

Yes, I know the usual expression is all will be revealed.  But I haven't decided how much I will reveal in the immediate future.  A well developed world supports these stories, and I've got cases to last us for months.  So let's just see how it plays out.

- Maryanne M. Wells

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Until Death - Part 19

This is Part 19 of a Serial Story. The Story began here.

The ‘Love on the Run’ mobile chapel sat in the middle of a large clearing. It had been freshly painted and glowed white in the sun. The chapel was so glaringly white that staring at it made my eyes water. Even the modified truck cab at the front of the chapel glowed with fresh paint, and the chrome trim sparkled in the sun.

I heard singing as I approached the cab of the chapel, but I didn’t see Irwin Goodfellow. I circled around until I was staring into the chapel entrance. A dim figure moved far back in the chapel.

“Pastor Goodfellow,” I said tentatively.

The singing stopped. The figure walked down the short aisle of the chapel and peered out into the sun.

Irwin Goodfellow had the narrow face and bulging eyes of a fish. His salt and pepper hair was plastered into a wave, fixed like a wide fin along his head. His all white clothing magnified the unhealthy yellow cast of his skin. I stared up at him and kept very still, so caught up in the fish analogy that I was certain any sudden movement would cause the preacher to dart away.

“Greetings, faithful child. Is it council that you seek? Or do you wish to be wed? But no, you come alone,” Irwin said.

“I come seeking…knowledge,” I said.

“Ah, a seeker of truth.” Irwin climbed down the chapel steps and walked towards me, smiling. His smile faded and he stared at my feet. “Oh, no. No. You bring unclean soil onto holy ground. This clearing is sacred,” he said.

“Oh. Okay. What do I do about it?”

Irwin closed his eyes and gestured to a nearby creek. “You must remove your soiled footwear and wash your feet in the sacred waters,” he intoned.

I glanced over at the creek. “Any snakes or other potentially venomous things around there?” I asked.

“Serpents avoid sacred waters, lest their flesh be burned.”

I interpreted that to mean the creek was snake free, and washed my feet. When I was done I walked barefoot into the clearing. Irwin had disappeared. “Pastor?” I called.

“I am here, seeker of truth,” he said from inside the chapel.

I climbed up into the chapel. “Pastor, I need to ask you about a marriage you recently officiated.” The inside of the chapel was really nice. Red plush cushions on the little pews…miniature alter, hand carved…stained glass windows. “Impressive attention to detail,” I said, looking around.

“Thank you. Please, take a seat,” Irwin said, waving me to a pew.

I sat down and said, “The name of the bride was Dora. She’s originally from this state, but you married her one state over. The guy is domineering, controlling…possibly violent.”

“Love will find a way,” Irwin said.

“Yes…well. Speaking of love, Dora’s family loves her and they’re worried about her. They want to get in touch with her, make sure that she’s happy,” I said. Irwin appeared nonplussed…clearly my argument wasn’t strong enough. Time for a quick save. “I mean, they can’t celebrate this new chapter in Dora’s life if they can’t see her.”

“Surely the hearts of her family and friends feel her joy even across the miles.”

“Yes, but…uh…love is such a remarkable gift that we should celebrate together when we can. I mean, look at what you do. You don’t stay in one place to marry people. You travel all over, celebrating new love.”

Irwin’s eyes lit up. “That’s true. I go where I am called.” He stared off into the distance and said in a deep, sonorous voice, “In the city across the line where the neon shines bright, old is new. Peace has returned.”

“Was that an answer?”

He smiled at me knowingly. “Ponder the words, and the answer will be found. You are a seeker of truth, are you not?”

“Sure,” I said, my voice sounding hollow to even my ears. But Irwin Goodfellow didn’t seem to notice. It was like the world around him was a paint-by-numbers kit, and he couldn’t see or hear anything contrary to the little labeled paints and coded pictures.

“Thanks for your help,” I said, standing to leave. I offered him my hand. He shook it, looking me over.

“My prayers are with you, seeker,” he said.

I paused at the edge of the clearing just long enough to put my socks and sneakers back on my damp feet. A shadow came over the clearing and I looked up. Dark clouds were seeping over the sky, blocking out the sun. There hadn’t been rain in the forecast, but that didn’t mean much out on the plains. Storms came when they came.

Joleen Goodfellow was looking for me. I finished walking back up the hill and spotted her near the old garage, peering around with a frantic expression.

“Looking for me?” I asked.

She whirled around and glared at me. “Just what do you think you’re doing,” she snapped.

“Talking to your not-so-dead brother, Irwin. Stop it,” I said, raising a hand and glaring as Joleen opened her mouth to speak. “Don’t say a word. I’m tired of the lies and suspicion. I asked him my question, he gave me a riddle for an answer, told me to mull over the solution, and that was it. I’m outta here.” With that I brushed past her and walked over to Roger’s old truck.

“He’s not a bad person,” Joleen said, running after me.

I opened the driver’s side door and stepped onto the running board. “You know something, Joleen? I don’t care,” I said.

“He needs help,” she said. She looked at me pleadingly.

“I’m not a therapist. Don’t look at me like that.”

“If my brother gave you a riddle then he must think you are a seeker of truth. He respects you, trusts you instinctively. I’ve tried to convince him to get help, but he won’t listen to me. But maybe if we both talk to him, he’ll agree to see a doctor.”

I stared at her, a frown on my lips and a twisted grin in my head. “You lied to me, and now you’re asking for my help,” I said coolly. So tired of liars.

“He’s not a bad person.”

“You’ve said that already. And like I said already, I don’t care.”

The clouds rumbled with thunder, a throaty growl. We both glanced up and measured the storm. It was then we heard Irwin Goodfellow scream.

That can’t be good.

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mutant of the Week: July 2, 2010

It's time for Quantum Duck's Mutant of the Week! As always, the mutants spring forth fully formed from the mind of Jesse Garson of EYE iN tHE hAT productions.

Thank you, Jesse!

You can see all past Mutants here.

See it on a t-shirt! Check out the Mutant of the Week store here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zombie Walk in Crystal Lake, Illinois

Spotted on Facebook:

Zombie Walk- First Annual Crystal Lake Zombie Walk!!

Date:   Saturday, July 3, 2010

Time:   2:00pm - 3:30pm

Location:   Meet at Little Demise- walk parade route to Depot Park in Downtown.

Street:   68 N. Williams Street

City/Town:   Crystal Lake, IL

Description:  Come meet at Little Demise at 2:00pm on July 3rd dressed in your best Zombie costume! We will follow a zombie parade route through Downtown, ending at Depot Park near the train station. Prize will be awarded for Best Zombie Costume. Commemorative Zombie Stickers for all costumed participants, while supplies last. Come shop at Little Demise on Zombie Day- anyone in costume gets 10% off!!

Go here for more info:

The Undead Bar Association is in no way associated with this event or Little Demise.  If we happen to know anyone planning to attend this event we urge them to stay hydrated.  That goes for everyone this holiday weekend - drink lots of water!! And if you're worried about it hurting your undead street cred, slap a piece of duct tape on your water bottle and write "Brain Slurry" on it.