Alanna the Piranha Chapter 5

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce the fifth chapter in my story Alanna the Piranha. It has been a most distressing week. That’ll teach me to allow the Maltese to introduce my blog. Firstly, the Maltese and I were left with a babysitter for the weekend while our novelist visited relatives. We spent most of our time staring out the window waiting for her to come back to us. And if that wasn’t enough, the day she returned her car was broken into. It always happens when something is out of sorts that criminals take advantage. One of the doors of the car was left unlocked and that is how they got in. They took one item: a credit card holder. However, the credit card holder (which cost an entire seven American dollars) was full of punch cards for various businesses. I genuinely hope the thief enjoyed their free coffee and teriyaki. That said without further ado her is Chapter Five of Alanna the Piranha. Bon Appetite!

Alanna the Piranha

I needed to get my hands on DNA. More specifically I wanted a woman’s DNA. Now, I suppose extracting DNA from my mother or Stacy would have worked just fine but the whole idea of taking it from one of them made my stomach turn. I needed a non-relative.

I decided it was time to pay Stacy’s dorm room a visit. I showed up in the afternoon hoping she might be in. But she wasn’t. She was late getting back from her classes. When I knocked on the door her roommate Brooke answered. I happened to know her name because Stacy mentioned it once or twice. Brooke was wearing an oversized sweatshirt with the university’s insignia on it and a pair of gym shorts. She waddled to the door with these sponge things stuck between her toes.

“Who are you?” she asked irritated and skeptical.

“I’m Stacy’s bro…cousin. I’m her cousin Flint.”

“Uh, huh.”

“I was supposed to meet Stacy here today.”

She looked at her watch. “Stacy’s running late. Have you tried texting her?”

“No,” I replied feeling stupid.

“There’s a study room just down the hall.”

“Couldn’t I wait for her here?”

“I don’t know you,” she snapped giving me a quizzical look. Then she shut the door in my face.

I stood there looking at the closed door for a moment. She was right. She didn’t know me. I could be a garden variety campus rapist sharking the halls for my next prey. Unfortunately for me that wasn’t the case. I was a decent guy who was heading down the hall to the study room to text my sister who would call me all sorts of expletives for coming to her dorm room uninvited. But on the bright side, I was on an all-female floor in a dormitory and DNA abounded. I just needed to wait for the opportunity to steal some girl’s DNA.

I texted Stacy:

            I’m @ your room.

She texted me immediately:

                        WT RU doing @ my room?!

            CNT a bro visit his sister?

                        GT out!

            Mom WNTD me 2 bring U a CR pkg.

                        GT out!

            K. I’ll keep it.

                        NT a chance! Drop it off w/ my rm mate

            She DSNT trust me.

                        I’ll txt her.

I sat in the study room for a couple of minutes waiting for Stacy to text Brooke. Then I headed back down the hall and knocked on their door.

“So,” Brooke said when she opened it. “Where’s the care package?”

“Right,” I said and unzipped my backpack and took out a tube of toothpaste and a candy bar I’d bought at Bartell Pharmacy on the Ave.

“Are you serious?” she said. “Her mother sent this?”

“Yeah.”

“This care package sucks.”

“Can I come in and wait for Stacy now?”

“Go away.”

She started to shut the door when the elevator doors opened, and Stacy stepped out and marched down the hall towards us. The minute she saw me she wanted to drag me back down to the elevator and throw me down the shaft. She stomped up to us and asked me, “Did you drop off the care package?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“It’s pretty sad,” Brooke said.

“He sure is,” Stacy said. “Get out of here, Flint.”

It was then that I had a moment of clarity. I needed a better care package.

I had to figure out what Stacys considered a great care package. Or rather I needed to figure out what a true care package really was so I did what any red blooded American Incel would do. I asked my mom.

“Mom,” I said. “What stuff do you usually put in a care package you send to Stacy?”

My mother looked at me quizzically. “Why do you ask?”

“I’d like to put one together for her.”

“Really?” My suggestion may as well have been I’d like to become a sadistic birthday clown for children’s parties.

“Yes,” I said. “I’d like to put together a care package…for my sister.”

“Fantastic! Let’s get started.”

I followed my mother out to the garage where she kept a small highly organized mountain of empty shipping boxes.

“Not all shipping boxes are the same,” she told me. “The best ones have a hinge or two on them as opposed to being one piece that they just glue together.”

My mother plucked a hinged cardboard box off the pile that looked like it could fit a shoebox with room to spare. She handed it to me. “You see how it has an attached hinged lid,” she said moving the lid up and down. “And at the edge of the lid there is a slit where the tab at the top edge of the box fits into. That way you have a solid box to ship items in.”

“Sure,” I said disinterested.

“Next you need tissue paper.”

“Why?”

“It makes the package look eye catching when she opens it. And it acts like bubble wrap protecting the items inside.”

“I had planned to deliver it in person.”

“Oh…well, it will still work. Do you remember when I used to send care packages to your dorm?”

“Sort of.”

“The key is to pack pragmatic items and add one or two goodies just for fun.”

I wracked my brain trying to remember what mom had stuck in my care packages. Socks, I think. Maybe some candy bars or crackers.

“I’m going to suggest packing the same items I used to pack for you but ones that are more Stacy’s style.”

“Like a cat suit and a whip?”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Stacy would like things like fine chocolates or French hair accessories.”

“Alright,” I said not realizing this was going to be the Martha Stewart hour.

“And you are going to have to go to the stores to pick them up.”

“Pick them up?” I said wondering where my mother had been for the last twenty years. “I’ll order them online.”

“If you are going to order them online you might as well just have them shipped directly to her. And while you’re at it why don’t you stamp them with the fist of your cold steal heart.”

“Mom,” I said. “I will hand deliver the package. But there is no way no how I am going to pick all this up at a bunch of brick-and-mortar stores. That’s just stupid not to mention a complete waste of time.”

“Fine,” my mother said irritated. “Just make sure you get her what she wants.”

Getting all this stuff for Stacy might put me back a tick. Only one more day remains until my package arrives.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: REPULSION (1965)-XUMO

In keeping with my theme of Halloween films which think outside the box, here’s a little cautionary tale for those gentlemen out there who struggle with the word no. One of the most truly chilling and disturbing films of all time with gorgeous black and white cinematography by Gilbert Taylor, Repulsion chronicles a week in the life of Carol (brilliantly portrayed by Catherine Deneuve who should have earned an Oscar nomination for this performance. She did, after all, win the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress). Carol has always been a little off. She is a beautiful young French manicurist living in London with her older sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux). Carol is blonde and virginal. Helen is brunette and experienced and having an affair with a married man, a scumbag named Michael (Ian Hendry). The women have a cousin named Colin (John Fraser) who is madly in love with Carol. He is the opposite of Michael and desperately trying to win Carol’s affection. When Helen and Michael head off to Italy for the weekend, Carol is left alone in she and Helen’s apartment with one task: pay the rent. Roman Polanski co-wrote the script with Gérard Brach and David Stone and directed this cinematic masterpiece which remains one of his best works. Look for him playing the spoons in one of the street scenes. He tied with David Lean for best director for the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 4

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. Gigi and I own a novelist. This week I went to the groomers and got the works. I look beautiful now. They even gave me a bright orange bandanna I have been wearing around my neck. I look very festive and Halloween-like. Gigi is jealous. What she doesn’t know is our novelist is going to give her a bath soon. I like it when Gigi gets baths, and I don’t. It makes me warm and happy. Today I am introducing Gigi’s fourth chapter in her new story Alanna the Piranha. I like this one. It has a bunny rabbit in it. We get a lot of bunny rabbits around here. They are small and brown and hop around and look cute. If we see bunnies hopping around it is good because we know coyotes and bobcats are not close by. Gigi usually asks you to enjoy the story at this point in some fancy foreign language. I do not know any fancy languages so I will just say enjoy Chapter the Fourth of Alanna the Piranha…is that a cookie?

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Fourth

Today I am at the pet store hoping to get a rabbit. The rabbits are in a glass and wooden pen in the center section off to the right surrounded on three sides by smaller animals. Over at the area where they have rodents there’s a chick looking to buy a rat. Now I suppose you think a loser like me would be into chicks who have pet rats. I may be desperate but I’m not that desperate. Chicks who fancy a rat for a pet are freaks. They always have these lousy tattoos on their shoulders they think make them look sexy. They wear these cut out shoulders or tank tops or whatever to show them off. I think they look like rejected circus freaks who live with their slut mother in a trailer park. And they always have some boyfriend with even more lousy tattoos who usually owns a rottweiler who’s smarter than he is.

And just as I suspected she’s got this white and black goth makeup on…and check it: a lip ring. I imagine this wraith used to look like a human girl with her hair swept back in a ribbon wearing cute little dresses her mom used to buy her. But then some spaceship from the planet Ulta crashed into her back yard, sprayed her in the face with quasi toxic makeup, took her welfare money and flew off. Man, she looks like trash. Oh, and look at that. Biff her ass kicking boyfriend just strolled up. Yeah, this guy looks like a road scholar. NOT! If she’s a former circus freak this guy is a genuine post-apocalyptic Marylyn Manson who pumps too much iron to look like Marylyn Manson. What a tool. And yet does your narrator with his biochemistry degree and an actual bank account have a girlfriend? Not a chance.

I keep staring at the rabbits trying to look all compassionate hoping that cute clerk with the ponytail and the pink fingernail polish will see me and help me pick out one of these adorable little science experiments. See, if I try to walk up to her and talk, my tongue will get all tangled and I won’t know what to say. And even if I do manage to say something suave, she’ll look at me like I’m the supreme commander of douchebags and blow me off. Not to be confused with the other more desirable blow me response.

“Can I help you?”

Oh, great. It’s Lyle. Lyle is a cool guy and all but he’s not the cute clerk with the ponytail and the pink nail polish.

“Hey, Lyle,” I say.

“Hey, Flint. You in here to buy a chewy toy or something.”

Lyle doesn’t know it, but he just hit me in the face with a shovel. “Uh…no. I was wondering if I could get a price on your cheapest rabbit.”

“Most of them are around the same price. Were you looking for a particular breed or color?”

“No.”

“Were you looking for lop ears or erect?”

“Erect.” Duh.

“Well, we’ve got this nice American here,” Lyle says and reaches over the glass and wood wall picking up an average size soft white rabbit.

“Is it male or female?”

“This one’s a male.”

“That won’t do…er, I mean I’m partial to females.”

“Oh, that’s right. Well…a lot of the females are gone right now…” Lyle looks around the pen. “You know what? I’ve got one super small one left. She’s a little Netherland Dwarf. She’s slightly more expensive than the rest but I might be able to come down on the price.”

“How much?”

“Let me talk to the manager.”

“Could I see the rabbit first?”

“Oh, sure.”

Lyle reaches over and gently knocks on the top of a plastic dome where the rabbits like to hide when they get tired of the customers letting their kids pet them. We wait. Nothing. Lyle knocks on the dome again.

A very small puff of apricot fur with tiny erect ears reluctantly hops out. I am almost reduced to a human being at the sight of her. She is super petite, tiny enough to sit in my hand. A teacup bunny if you will.

“Do you want to hold her?” Lyle asks.

Like most things in my life, I don’t want to get emotionally involved. “No, that’s okay.”

“Come on,” he says and shoves the unbelievably adorable thing in my face.

“I’ll hold her if you can get me sixty percent off.”

“Sixty?! Are you nuts?! I’ll be lucky to get you twenty!”

“Twenty? Come on, Lyle. Do me a solid here.”

“Maybe twenty-five. But there’s no way the boss is going for sixty.”

I sigh. I’m getting railroaded and I know it. “Fine. Ask her.”

“Jill!”

Let me tell you something. Jill’s a firedrake. She’s hated me ever since she saw me enter the place to get Josie’s first supply of dog food. This aging ho took twenty grand from her mother’s bank account, flew down to Las Vegas and blew it on Chippendale’s strippers.

Jill, who has a body like Foghorn Leghorn, struts towards Lyle. The instant she sees me she rolls her eyes in disgust. “Haven’t seen you in a while,” she says to me. “How’s that little pocket rat of yours?”

“I’m here to buy a rabbit.”

“Why?”

“I like rabbits.”

“I doubt it.”

“Flint was wondering if you could give him a discount on the Netherland Dwarf,” Lyle says.

“No.”

“It’s been in here a while and nobody…”

“Netherland Dwarfs are in big demand.”

“Lyle just said you haven’t been able to move her,” I protested.

“Doesn’t mean I’ll sell her to you.”

“I can buy her if I want to. It’s a free country.”

“This is a private business. We reserve the right to refuse service.”

“No one wants to get serviced by you.”

“Wait a minute,” Lyle cuts in. “Flint wants the Netherland Dwarf. The store hasn’t been able to sell her. If you give Flint a thirty percent discount…”

“Thirty percent?!” Jill bellows.

“Then everyone is happy.”

“No way am I selling that sweet little bunny to this creep and definitely not at a thirty percent discount!”

“I’ll trade you quarterbacks on our fantasy football team.”

“Twenty off the rabbit and not a percent more.”

“Done. You need a hutch, Fisk?”

I hadn’t thought of that. “I’m going to build one,” I say.

“Cheapskate,” Jill says.

“I did bring a carrier with me. It’s out in my car.”

“You mean your mom’s car. Go get the carrier and let’s ring you up.”

I head out to the car to get Josie’s old carrier. Two more days, and my package is due to arrive. I think I might have to pay my sister a visit.   

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE GUEST (2014)-Netflix

Halloween is fast approaching, and I thought it would be fun to suggest a few films this October that think a little outside the box. This one has an unusual blend of suspense, mystery, and comedy that you don’t get from your standard Halloween bill of fare, not to mention a breakout performance by its lead actor. “David” (Dan Stevens) is a discharged soldier who out of the blue shows up on the porch of the Peterson family shortly before Halloween claiming to be a friend and former member of their deceased son’s platoon. Mom, Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelly), a gentle soul, is immediately taken by the young man’s humbleness and impeccably polite manners. Her daughter twenty-year-old Anna (Maika Monroe) is less impressed and leerier of the unusually handsome young man. But dad Spencer (Leland Orser) and bookish youngest son Luke (Brendan Meyer) though apprehensive at first swiftly warm to him. “David” quickly finds out Luke is being bullied at school and decides to give him some “self-defense lessons” in a most unconventional way. This is the first incident on a path of strange events that lead Anna closer and closer to finding out “David’s” true motives. 

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 3

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti poodle here to introduce the third chapter in my story Alanna the Piranha. It is progressively getting colder around here, and my walks are now in the glorious afternoons as earlier in the day does not suit me this time of year. The Maltese and I have taken to choosing our heat vents. Mine is upstairs and the Maltese’s is wherever I am not. One of the wonderous parts of the autumn season is most of the best movies of the year begin to make themselves known. And more and more of them are coming to streaming at the same time they hit the theatres. This affords me endless joy as I often spend my evenings shoving the Maltese out of the way and curling up with my novelist to watch a film. My novelist’s stream of the week which is one of these delights has a special twist. I’ll let her tell you about it later. In the meantime, I proudly present to you Alanna the Piranha Chapter Three. Profitez de l’histoire!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Third

The third most important thing you need to know about me is I love to dance. I know you think that’s weird but it’s true. An Incel who dances is like a Chad who can’t get a date. But I do dance. And I’ve danced on and off since I was eight years old.

It all started when my mother asked my sister Stacy if she would like to take ballet and tap lessons. Stacy, who’s room has always been awash in ballerina pink went nuts. She bounced around the house all day. But there was a catch, you see. My mother told me the dance school had a two for one deal. That meant I had to take classes with Stacy.

“Mom,” I said. “I don’t want to take dance classes I want to play baseball!”

“You can play baseball and take dance classes.”

“All the other boys will laugh at me!”

“Not when they find out how much better coordinated you are for dancing.”

“Dad!”

“What?” my dad called from his office.

“Mom wants me to take ballet and tap lessons!”

“There have been football players who take ballet lessons.”

“But dad, I want to be a baseball player.”

“At two for one you’ll be a baseball player who can dance.”

“But dad…!”

“You can’t be in little league unless you take dance lessons.” That is when I hurled myself on the carpet and threw the biggest fit of my life so far. But it was in vain. I only managed to score an insanely long timeout in my room. Two weeks later I was wearing black ballet slippers and standing at the bar in Babette Babineaux’s School of Dance. And let me tell you Babette was a tyrant. If you didn’t have your five positions down, she would scream at you in French. Stacy, of course never got yelled at.

At first, I refused to practice. I was the only boy in the class. I felt like a girl. And it was just my luck that some of the guys on my little league team had sisters in my dance classes, so everyone knew Flint Fisk was a ballerina. I got in fights. I got my ass handed to me. It was just sad, bruh. Sad. But then one day Babette came up to me and said, “Vous devez pratiquer” or in other words I need to practice. I told her what for? I didn’t want to dance. My parents made me, and I felt like a loser. She said, “Vous n’êtes qu’un perdant si vous n’essayez pas” or in other words I am only a loser if I do not try. I told her I didn’t like the type of dancing I was doing. She said “Je vous donnerai des cours de danse jazz gratuitement” which means I will give you jazz dancing lessons for free. If I didn’t want to practice after that I could quit.

So, now I was taking ballet, tap and jazz. And since little league was in the spring and summer it was my one extracurricular activity during the fall and winter. For some reason I really took to jazz. You remember that film Napoleon Dynamite? You know that solo dance he does? Yeah, that’s the kind of dancing I was doing. It was awesome. I started practicing every day. Ms. Babineaux was a little upset that I was only practicing jazz dancing so she told me if I put more effort into ballet and tap it would improve my jazz.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was never the best student in Babette Babineaux’s School of Dance. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was I kept practicing and I kept getting better. And stupidly as I got older, I thought women would like a gentleman who could hold his own on the dance floor. Wrong!

My first public dance outside of dance recitals was a talent show in seventh grade. For some reason I was idealistic about this. I signed up and auditioned. I got in easily and the panel loved me. Of course, the panel was made up of teachers and moms not my fellow classmates. We had two performances: one for the afternoon school assembly and the other for the parents at night. I was slotted second to last.

Ms. Babineaux, eager to pimp her studio got a costume for me. This wasn’t one of those cheap things you see at temporary Halloween stores or something. This was a truly cool outfit. The shirt alone cost about a hundred and fifty dollars. And I don’t even want to go into the cost of the pants. And the hat. Oh, man the hat. Anyway, I looked dope. I worked two hours a day for a month on the routine alone. Ms. Babineaux had chosen “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake as the song. 

Then came the day of the performances and I felt ready to bring down the house. Ms. Babineaux told me she would attend the evening performance. All day I was nervous. I even snuck backstage during lunch and practiced the routine. Finally, it was two o’clock in the afternoon and all thirty of us performers got backstage. We each had three minutes exactly to perform. I had my routine timed out perfectly.

I started to get wicked nervous. I watched student after student head out on stage with their act: magicians, hula dancers, guitarists, piano players. I sat listening to the muffled applause after each performance. Then I started to shiver. It was like the temperature in the room plummeted. I worried I would forget the steps or even freeze on stage. I don’t know why. I’d never had this problem at a dance recital. But then again, I’d never had a solo at a dance recital. Even a jazz dance solo.

“Hey, Fisk,” the stage manager Steve Stuckler this skinny guy who always wore these oversized glasses said. “Get your ass into the wings. You’re next.”

I stood up and could feel my legs shake. I followed him into the wings. Now, I’d warmed up before the show, but I felt I needed to warm up more. I started stretching backstage and realized how dark and ominous it felt in the wings. Ursella Lewis, who was a juggler was the act before me. She said, “You look nervous, Flint.”

“I do?” I said surprised and embarrassed.

“You looked good in rehearsal. You’ll rock this.”

“Thanks,” I said, grateful for the vote of confidence. “Your act is da bomb.”

The audience applauded the dueling violins by the Relish twins. Ursella took a deep breath and headed on stage. The final act, the one after mine was the Culpepper brothers. One was in sixth grade, one in seventh and one in eighth. They were Chads with a capitol C. They had decided to form a rock band called Eat This and always had something nasty to say to me.

“Hey, Fisk,” the oldest one said. “Where’s your tutu?”

The middle and younger brother cackled.

“Suck mine,” I said.

Big brother shoved me. “What did you say, loser?”

I did not appreciate this neanderthal getting in my head space. But the last thing I needed was to go out on stage with blood all over my shirt. “Nothing,” I replied.

“Yeah, you’re right nothing, fairy princess.”

The middle and younger brother cackled louder.

“You couldn’t get a chick if you made one.”

“Like you score,” I said.

“What?”

“You’re an eighth grader.”

“So? You think just because I’m an eighth grader I haven’t scored?”

“I think it’s highly improbable.”

That’s when he slapped my butt, and I almost fell onstage.

“Hey!”

“Hey, what, twinkle toes?”

“What are you, a criminal?”

“Our mom is. You got a problem with that?”

“What?”

“Our dad’s always going over to Purdie for conjugal visits.”

That’s when the audience applauded for Ursula.

“Get your ass on stage, Fisk,” Stuckler told me.

Grateful to get away from these hyenas, I hurried out on stage and got into position. The spotlight shone on me, and I could feel my hands trembling. Then the electronic beat kicked in and I began to move. Within seconds my fear dissipated, and I was dancing like a pro. I spun, I kicked, I grooved. I forgot the audience was even there. When the music stopped, I struck my final pose, and the audience went ballistic. I cannot tell you how exhilarating it was standing and feeling justification for the first time in my life. Afterwards girls who had never even talked to me before were coming up and telling me how much they loved my performance. They were so sweet to me I thought they liked me as a human being.

Two weeks later was the seventh-grade spring dance. I talked my mother into buying me some new clothes I thought would make me look cool. She was always buying Stacy cool clothes, so I figured I was justified. When I put them on that evening, I thought I looked like a sharp dressed man. My dad drove me to the school. Before I went inside, he said to me, “Son, you look like a lady-killer,” and told me to have a good time. Something about the intonation in his voice, however, was less than convincing.

I went inside and checked my clothes and checked everyone else’s clothes and I decided I was dressed appropriately. I looked over and saw this group of maybe six girls, a couple of them were in my classes. I told myself to go over and ask if any of them wanted to dance. As I started moving that direction, I saw the middle Culpepper brother walk up and do exactly what I was planning. The girls giggled and smiled and one of them followed him to the dance floor. See, I told myself, easy.

But as I started to approach them, I could see them look at each other before pulling out their phones.

“Um…hi,” I said. “I was wondering if one of you would like to dance?”

I stood there politely, looking from one girl to the next but they just ignored me and kept looking at their phones.

“I’m…I’m a pretty good dancer,” I said with a nervous laugh. But they just continued to look at their phones and pretend I didn’t exist.

I felt about as embarrassed I’d ever remembered being and I quietly turned and disappeared into the crowd. I went back to the wall I had been standing against and watched a couple of Culpepper’s buddies walk up to the same girls. They giggled and flirted, and two girls followed the guys out to the dance floor.

But I didn’t give up. I walked up to another group of girls, all smart, in the same classes as I was, and I asked if they wanted to dance. They at least didn’t ignore me. They just looked me up and down like I was garbage and said, “No, thanks.”

“Have a fun tonight,” I said and walked away.

Finally, I noticed one girl who was in all my classes standing alone. She was very shy and hardly ever spoke. But she seemed sweet, and I thought, maybe I could show off some of my cool moves to her. Maybe I could teach her how to dance. But when I walked up to her, she got this mortified look on her face and ran off.

I spent the rest of the dance leaning against the wall watching everyone dance but me. So even though I still like to dance, I know it’s something I’m better off doing alone. Anyway, my package gets here in three days. I can hardly wait.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE GUILTY (2018)-Hulu & THE GUILTY (2021)-Netflix

This week you are in for a special treat. The newest movie to hit Netflix and theatres is the remake of the Danish film The Guilty staring Jake Gyllenhaal. What is important to note about both the original which is playing on Hulu and the American remake on Netflix is they are what one would call contained films. You may be seeing more contained films in the future because they can be more safely shot during Covid-19. They have micro small casts and are often filmed on one set or with very few locations. These types of films rely heavily on their writing and acting. Some contained films are 127 Hours, All is Lost, Buried, Closet Land, Dead Calm, Duel, Gravity, Locke, Monsters, Moon, Oleanna, Open Water, The Blair Witch Project, Venus in Fur and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Both versions of The Guilty seemed to play better with critics than viewers. Probably because many modern day Americans in the dawn of vapid overproduced superhero movies have a hard time distinguishing quality from flash. And in fact, the American version is glossier looking with more emotional crescendos than the original. This is a film for grownups not children. And I am not referring to one’s age. That said, both films are excellent. Especially the lead actors, Jakob Cedergren in the Danish version who plays the lead role of Asger Holm with introverted naturalistic intensity and Jake Gyllenhaal who plays the lead roll Joe Baylor with more extroverted tension. Both ways work very well. All you need to know about the story going in is that it takes place over the course of one night in the life of a demoted policeman working the dispatch desk for emergency calls. And that it is based on an actual emergency call Gustav Möller, the director and co-writer of the Danish film heard on YouTube. Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano and Riley Keough all lend their voices to the American version.  

Alanna The Piranha Chapter 2

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my second chapter in Alanna the Piranha. This week my novelist and I were out on a walk when we noticed a delivery driver on the same side of the street. The driver did not have a mask on and the windows on the driver’s vehicle were down. My novelist thought it best to cross to the other side which had no sidewalk. We crossed fine without any problems but on our way up the street my novelist caught her foot on uneven concrete and fell. Her knees were both bloodied and though her hands broke her fall it did not stop her from slamming her face into the cement. She did not hit her head, but her nose took a terrible blow. Though she did not break her nose, it did have an abrasion, bruising and swelling. She spent the night putting ice on it for ten minutes every hour. Apparently Covid19 can wreak havoc in more ways than one, even if you are trying to stay safe. Anyway, here is the second chapter of my new story. Bitte genießen!

Alannah the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Second

The second most important thing you need to know about me is I was once in love. I had a genuine relationship. We never consummated it. We couldn’t. But it was a relationship just the same. Her name was Josie, and, in my eyes, she was the loveliest creature in the world. Josie, like myself, was rejected. In the eyes of most she was not a beauty. To many she was downright ugly. But to me, to me, she was always Josie.

The whole affair started three summers ago when one day my mother invited my aunt over for dinner. Josie arrived with her. She wore a sweater that was the same color as cotton candy. She had platinum blonde hair that feathered around her face and cascaded onto her shoulders. I noted the freckles on her neck and chest which only added to her charm. From the moment she looked at me with that twinkle in her eye I knew there was something special about her.

“I take her to shows all the time,” my aunt lamented. “But she never wins. Not cute enough I suppose.

“She looks butt ugly to me,” my sister Stacy said. “Not as butt ugly as my brother but pretty darned ugly just the same.”

Perhaps it was Stacy’s words which endeared me to Josie. “She’s adorable,” I blurted out unashamedly.

“You need to get your eyes checked,” Stacy scoffed.

Josie must have been touched by my words because right then and there she jumped out of my aunt’s arms and ran straight for me. I knelt beside her and caressed her soft hair. She smiled at me, her tongue hanging out akimbo, her eyes sparkling. As I stroked her platinum locks she smiled gratefully. From that moment forwards we were in love.

My mother made baked chicken that evening which I quickly realized was one of Josie’s favorites. I fed her a couple of bites under the table, but I also let her know she shouldn’t eat too much of it. Josie was persistent but she understood it was for her own good.

“Josie sure has taken to you, son,” my dad said, not looking up, engrossed in his daily sudoku game.

“That hideous thing might as well take to him,” Stacy scoffed. “No one else has.”

“That’s enough, Stacy,” my dad snapped.

“Well, it’s the truth.”

“Do you want her?” my aunt asked looking straight at me.

“What?” I said not believing what I’d just heard.

“Do you want Josie?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you think I mean, my dear? I mean do you want to keep Josie for your very own?”

“Absolutely not,” my mother said. “You know how I feel about pets!”

“Oh, come on, Mandy! You know the boy should have a dog. And besides, I have my eye on a couple of new show dogs. Flint would be doing me a favor.”

“That thing isn’t a dog,” Stacy said. “An overgrown sewer rat maybe but not a dog.”

“It’s a Chinese Crested,” my aunt said haughtily. “And she’s a wonderful dog if I do say so myself.”

“Do you want the dog, Flint?” my dad asked writing down a number in one of the squares, bored with the conversation.

“Yes, dad,” I said. “I do. I really do.”

“He wants the dog, mom,” he told my mother, filling in a second square.

“Well, I don’t!” mom snapped.

“The dog’s yours, son,” dad told me. “Tell your aunt thank you.”

“Dad!” Stacy exclaimed. “Mom never let me have a cat, why are you letting Flint have a dog?”

“Because Flint is responsible, and you are not.”

“I am too responsible! I’ve always taken care of everything I own!”

“No, you haven’t. The dog is Flint’s. Then he looked up at my aunt. “Thank you, Linda.” “You’re quite welcome,” my aunt said. “Come with me, Flint. I’ll give you instructions on how to care for her.”

As I rose from the table to follow Aunt Linda, I realized this was the first time I’d triumphed over my mother and sister. I looked down at their stern scowls and felt blissful joy. This time no woman would stand between me and my happiness. This time loser guy won.

From that day forwards Josie and I were inseparable. I walked her around the neighborhood daily, enjoying the astonished if not disgusted faces of our neighbors. At night Josie always curled up beside me both in my computer chair and in bed. Her warmth was glorious. And the best part was my dad worked at home. I could trust him to look after Josie and protect her from my mother and Stacy. And even though Josie spent more time with him than with me as I was still in college at the time and had to quit living in the dorms, so my parents had money to put Stacy through college, she was always and forever mine.

Then came the day when my father’s work gave him an office and he had to stop working at home. I begged him to take Josie with him. He told me he would if he could. But too many people at his job had complained about their coworkers having pets in their offices and then they complained some might start wanting pets at their cubicles too.

This left my mother to look after Josie during the day. At first, I didn’t trust her. But little by little she surprised me. She fed Josie and refilled her water, took her outside when she needed to go and even brushed her occasionally.

I will always remember it happened on a Monday. It was a normal day, an overcast day which was common around here in the fall. I’d finished my last class at the university and had just spent the last couple of hours studying in the library. I came home, whipped myself up a triple Nutella mocha latte (I save coin making my own) and headed up to my room.

It was the silence that caught my ear first. No familiar jingle. No greeting. “Josie!” I called out. Nothing.  

“Mom!” I yelled. “Where’s Josie?”

No answer.

“Mom!”

I looked out my window and saw my mother was gathering up gourds from her garden. I headed down the stairs and outside.

“Mom,” I said running up to her. “Where’s Josie?”

“Isn’t she in your room?” my mom said.

“No.”

My mother looked perplexed. “I was sure she was inside your room.”

“She’s not there.” My mother got up and headed into the house with me. We searched every room: the office, the kitchen, Stacy’s room, my parent’s room, the laundry room and even the bathrooms. No Josie.

We hurried into the garage calling her name, but she was nowhere to be found. I panicked researching all the rooms, the garage, the back yard, the front yard. No Josie anywhere.

When my dad came home, Josie was still missing. He and I got in his car, and we drove all over the neighborhood looking for her. We scrutinized every yard, every inch of sidewalk, asked anyone we saw if they’d seen a Chinese Crested with an akimbo tongue and gorgeous platinum blonde hair. Nobody had seen her. We couldn’t find her anywhere.

The next day our neighbors returned home from vacation. As they were unpacking, they looked out the window into their hot tub. That’s when we got the knock on the door. Josie’s body was floating inside. They had sworn they’d covered the hot tub before they left. But they didn’t. Somehow, Josie had fallen in.

I still remember them dipping that long metal pole with the green net on the end into the water and lifting her out. I ran to the net, picked her up and held her in my arms. “Josie,” I sobbed. “Josie, my love, my life. Josie.”

No one could convince me to let her go. I must have sat on that wet deck for an hour just holding her close, hoping for her to come to life. Hoping to hear the melody of her whimper. But Josie was gone. She was gone. And I was alone again. Heartbroken and alone. That was a year ago…today.

Anyway, I checked on my package this morning. It should be arriving in a few more days. I can’t wait till it gets here.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: ALLEN VS. FARROW (2021)-HBO Max

I must admit I have never been a fan of Woody Allen. Is he a capable writer and director? Yes. But for me there was always something off about his movies. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something underwhelming, something askew lurked in his storylines. I couldn’t figure out why Annie Hall won the Oscar for best picture (although Dianne Keeton is excellent in it). I mean the thing beat Star Wars and Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl both of which I think are better films. His movies also have a smug quality to them, if not a sinister tone especially Bullets Over Broadway and Crimes and Misdemeanors which emanate an ominous distaste he has towards his female characters. This four-part documentary explains why. Recalling the highly publicized and ugly court case where Mia Farrow reported Allen to the authorities for sexually molesting her seven-year-old adopted daughter Dylan, this documentary meticulously looks back at the incident which brought one of Hollywood’s darling’s dark side into the light. Especially when Allen suied Farrow for sole custody of Dylan, Moses and Satchel. The incident helped to propel Dylan’s brother Ronan (Farrow and Allen’s only biological child together) to write a Pulitzer Prize winning article about the sexual allegations of Harvey Weinstein. Because Ronan was willing to listen and believe Dylan’s claims about their father, he was also willing to listen to the allegations women told him about Weinstein and teaching us all that listening can be a powerful tool. It also shows how difficult it is for some folks to come to terms with the reality that their heroes are villains.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 1

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce you to my new story. But first I must share with you that this week was most monstrous. The Maltese and I were taken in for our yearly exam and shots. It was terrifying. I was panting and barking and being touched by strangers. This sort of thing might go over well in a hedonistic music video, but it was absolute torture for me. I even let the Maltese have a piece of my mind which resulted in a most embarrassing scolding from my novelist. I had to be weighed and given a heart worm test and then of course the horrifying shots. I fought them as best I could but, in the end, I got what was best for me and I did not care for it one bit. I am, however, healthy, and spry as I should be. The Maltese, however zonked out and slept for the remainder of the day on his oh so precious pillow. Serves him right for not fighting back and getting his shots peaceably. I on the other hand am required to express my dominance over humans. Just because I’m only a tad over six pounds does not mean I cannot at least try to take charge.   

Now, for the business at hand: my new chef-d’œuvre. My novelist prefers to write in third person. However, I felt this story should be told through the voice of the lead character and so it shall be in first person instead. This story is quite a divergence from my last but hopefully you will find it entertaining. Without further ado I present to you chapter one of Alanna the Piranha.

ALANNA THE PIRANHA

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the First

The most important thing you need to know about me is I’m not just an introvert, I genuinely dislike people. Especially women. All my problems are because of women. I say women because that’s your word. We call the pretty ones Stacy or Stacys for plural. You know who you are. You preening, giggling, mean spirited little minxes who either ignore me, belittle me, or think I’m gay. Let’s get something straight. I don’t simp for Chads. That’s our word for buff guys women find desirable. Yeah, well I don’t simp for them. I simp for women. But women sure don’t simp for me. You know why? Because I’m genetically compromised.

See, in my world there are white pills, blue pills, red pills and black pills. This comes from The Matrix movies which if you ask me are scientifically stupid. But the pills make sense to us. The white pill is optimism like Elle, that Stacy in Legally Blonde. The blue pill is about denial of reality like Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. The red pill is about accepting harsh reality like Peter in Office Space. But the black pill, well, that’s Man, they guy who’s dealing with the apocalypse in The Road. You’re at the end of nowhere. Your ugly, no one likes you and you will never, ever get a date. I swallowed the black pill. That’s right, baby. The black pill because I’m so horse ass ugly no chick would ever do me. And if she did do me, she’d be scrolling on her phone while we did it. Seriously. I’m that boring.

Don’t think I don’t know what you’re going to tell me next. You’re going to tell me to hit the gym, get ripped, buy some fly looking clothes from Aeropostale, or Fair Harbor, or American Eagle or whatever douche bag rip off money grubbing assclown store that popped into your head you think can dress me in a way that will magically make me able to pull chicks. And then, this is the best part, then you’re going to tell me to be myself. I ask you, how am I doing so far? You want to go get coffee with me? Huh? Not a chance. Be myself. Ha! You can’t stand guys like me. If you even notice I’m breathing in the first place.

I’ll tell you a secret. I’ll tell you why this is day the first. Are you ready for it? I quit completelyworthlessdude.com. That’s right. I quit. I got fed up. Every time I went there, I’d get more and more depressed. Hundreds of thousands of guys just like me there and not one with a date. How pathetic is that? Pretty flipping pathetic, bruh. I was there for three years. Three years of my life listening to every sad ass story in the book. How about the guy who was always friends with this girl he was in love with who one day called him gay in front of all her Stacy friends? Or how about the guy who at the age of twenty-six stacked up three million dollars and sits in his penthouse without a chick in sight? Or how about the straight guy whose dad cried when he sat down and talked about how it was okay to be gay for two hours. No more. I’m out of there. I’m pathetic but I’m not as pathetic as the guy who stays on that website for four years. Three years was enough.

So, now what? Here I am twenty-three years old with a degree in biochemistry living in my parents’ basement, jobless, bored, and lonely. How many times can I watch Star Wars IX and talk about how Abram’s screwed it up. Don’t get me wrong. VII and VIII were good but IX? Are you kidding me? IX sucked!

Anyway, now what? I’ll tell you what. I found this scientist out on the dark web. He’s selling…okay let me put this into normie terms. And no, it’s not porn or guns. Not all of us are into porn and guns. Or anime…or anime porn. A lot of us are just lonely. Anyway, I found this scientist who sells this technology that can help us reshape mankind. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m going to build an android. AI if you will. Did I say I was an engineer? No, I said I was a biochemist. So, get that Ex Machina vibe out of your head. No, I’m buying a piece of the human future. And guess what? It’s cheap.

While I’m waiting, I’ve decided to take an inventory of my situation. Being on completelyworthlessdude.com. helped me develop agoraphobia. I had a seriously hard time getting out of the house on a day-to-day level. The site wasn’t the only thing that caused it, but it was part of the problem. I’ll talk about the other part of the problem later. Anyway, if I wasn’t on that site, I was in some chat with other worthless dudes like myself. About a month ago I had an epiphany. I realized I wasn’t just talking to guys like me. I was staring into a mirror. And I thought, there must be more to life than this. Of course, I didn’t want to tell the other guys. I’d have gotten my ass handed to me. Once you leave, that’s it. You’re a traitor. So now I’m an alien without any website to claim me.

Also, I’ve decided to stop eating junk food. My skin has cleared up a lot these past thirty or so days. Today I looked in the mirror and I almost didn’t recognize myself. Except that I’m still a completely worthless dude. I’m just a completely worthless dude with clear skin.

I’m thinking of getting a haircut too. My hair is down past my shoulders. I think it’s been a year and a half since I’ve gotten a haircut. I’m thinking of getting a trim at this place where the stylists all wear bikinis. I must have been living under a rock not knowing it existed. So, yeah. That’s happening.   

But mostly I’m sick of being a burden on my mom and dad. Especially my dad. My mom’s a douche. Like I said all my problems are because of women. My sister isn’t much better. She’s younger than I am, and where I lost the gene pool she won. Chads are always chasing her. Even her name is Stacy. Isn’t that ironic? Life is kinder to women than it is to men. She’s on the dance team at the university. Does all these routines at the basketball games. You’d think she’d throw me a bone and introduce me to one of her fellow squad members. You know what she does instead? She tells them she’s an only child. Can you believe that? An only child.

Anyway, today, day the first is the first day of the end of me being a completely worthless dude. Or at least I hope it is. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when that package arrives.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: OSLO (2021)-HBO Max

This week’s movie is an HBO original and was nominated for Outstanding Television Movie. It lost to Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square showing that this year the feelers beat the thinkers in this category. Based on the Tony award-winning play by J. T. Rogers, Oslo is based on events which happened in 1993. Mona Juul, a diplomat of the Norwegian Ministry and her husband, Terje Rød-Larsen, director of the Fafo Foundation, after seeing firsthand the war torn horrors between Israel and Palestine, work together to create a neutral, private location in Oslo for a small group of Israeli and Palestinian officials and representatives to draw up a document for peace between their countries. This has been an impossible feat for decades as both sides have demanded things to be done immediately. But Terje and Mona believe that if both sides agree to do this in a slower, more carefully thought-out manner and meet each other’s enemies face to face they just might be able to accomplish the task. Especially since all other countries worldwide have abandoned helping them out. This is a wonderful, gorgeous looking film that appeals more to the mind than the heart and it may come across as too intellectual for some audience members. That said it is a riveting fact-based story that more sophisticated film aficionados may enjoy.

And the Emmy Goes To…

Good afternoon. My name is Karen, and I am a novelist. Gigi is taking a break this week because she will be starting her new story next Thursday. She and I agreed it was important to put a warning on this next tale. Although the last story she penned tried to stay light and fun this one, though still comedic, has a polarizing main character. Although she and I may not be averse to such characters some readers might and we just wanted to give you a heads-up as it were.  

Gigi also asked me to talk a little bit about the difference between her writing style and mine. I write novels and as those of you out there who do the same know, there is a lot of rewriting and polishing that goes on before the entire story is complete. Sometimes a chapter is shifted around or perhaps taken out or expanded on. Sometimes characters evolve or change completely. Gigi’s projects are different. Hers are a more experimental type of writing where she pens one chapter for the week, does some rewriting, and then posts it. Once it’s posted she cannot go back and change the story except to clean up small things like a misspelled word, incorrect grammar or perhaps a character’s name. But she in general writes each chapter one week at a time and hopes all the pieces fit together. Or rather she hopes to make her chapter for the week copacetic with the chapter she posted the week before.

That said, this week I thought I would focus exclusively on the Emmy nominations so I will not be doing a Stream of the Week but hope that you will watch some of the nominees I found to be outstanding.

One of the true delights of the Best Comedy Series category is Cobra Kai. I did an entire blog post on the show before, and I will mention it again. This is one of the freshest, funniest most uplifting shows on Netflix and Season Three did not go politically correct as some feared. This season it also brought back more wonderful characters from the original movies. Its only downside is because of its much-deserved success it encourages other shows or films that should not be exhumed to rise from the celluloid tombs and pollute the airwaves. That said this is a standout winner and I love seeing it in the big fight finale.

In the Best Dramatic Series category one of the standouts is The Crown. Emma Corin’s portrayal of Princes Diana (INFP) is so spot on its eerie. You really do believe she is Lady Diana. She is well paired with Josh O’Connor’s portrayal of Prince Charles (ISFJ) who quietly becomes more jealous, delusional, and evil with each episode as a husband whose wife is loved by everyone in the world except him. Gillian Anderson turns in a fantastic performance as the diverging Margaret Thatcher (ENTJ). Her transformation into Brittan’s first female prime minister is stunning. Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter as Princes Margaret all continue to shine as well. The writing is fantastic, so good in fact it almost disappears making us more and more engaged with the characters and their niche world.

Another highly impressive drama, which almost everyone has heard of unless you live under a rock, is The Mandalorian (ISTP). Yes, Grogu (still a young child and hard to type) is as cute as a button. But the real star here is the show’s creator and writer, the fabulous Jon Favreau. Just when you thought you were sick and tired of the Star Wars franchise along comes this fresh, fierce mindblower. Wow does this one keep you entertained. Not to mention how gorgeous it looks. And I love the code of the terrifying title character, a bounty hunter who is sworn never to show his face…and wears his heart in his pouch…and sometimes a floating bassinet. He’s a wonderful metaphor for fatherhood in a dangerous world and Pedro Pascal is outstanding in the title role.

But the best category of them all is surprisingly the battle for the Limited Series awards. If you have not yet seen Mare of Easttown you really, really should. Kate Winslet is phenomenal as the title character Mare (an ISTP) who has been brutally battered by life. Her father committed suicide. Her adult son committed suicide. Her husband left her for another woman. The mother of her only grandchild is a heroin addict. Her whip smart daughter won’t listen to her and go to Berkley University. And on top of all that she’s a detective who’s been working on a missing person’s case for a year with no breaks. Then one night a teenage mother from her neighborhood is murdered and at that point everything really begins to unravel. This is one of those shows you can’t take your eyes off and for good reason. The writing is sharp and clever, and you have absolutely no idea how it’s going to end.

In the other corner we have what might be one of Netflix true masterpieces, The Queen’s Gambit. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Walter Tevis who penned it for his daughter Julia Ann. The novel was in response to Bobby Fisher’s comment that women “The women aren’t really that good of players. I guess I could give every one of them a knight and still win easily”. Tevis, who also wrote the novels The Hustler (as well as worked on the screenplay for the landmark film) and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Tevis always gave his characters thoughtful names such as Fast Eddy Felson (Fast Eddy Fallen Son). Beth Harmon (Beth Harm Men) is no exception. Ironically Beth, like Bobby Fischer is also an INTJ personality type. INTJs are found in about two percent of the men in the world. Female INTJs, however, take up only 0.8 to one percent of the women.

Some cinephiles I’ve come across find Beth cold and hard to identify with. Personally, I find all the other characters except Beth cold and hard to identify with. Sometimes warm people are evil and smother you with their vicious narcissistic backhanded sweetness. Tevis himself was a chess player and fascinated with scientific studies. In addition to The Man Who Fell to Earth he wrote the science fiction novels Mockingbird, The Steps of the Sun, and The Big Bounce. He also had a rheumatic heart condition and at age eleven his parents shipped him off to the Stanford Children’s Convalescent Home in California. It was there he became addicted to phenobarbital, which is represented by the green pills called xanzolam Beth becomes addicted to in the film.

The story begins with Beth as an eight-year-old child (well played by Isla Johnston) whose mother decides to kill them both by getting in a car accident. The accident does indeed kill Beth’s mother, but Beth survives. Unwanted by her father who has married a wealthy woman and started a new family, she is shipped off to an orphanage where being an INTJ she is trapped in an evil bureaucratic SJ underworld. She however finds her fairy godmother in the grumpy janitor who plays chess in the basement. After much insistence from Beth who is enamored with his chess set, he promises to teach her the game. At first, he thinks she will give up. But not long after he makes that incredibly stupid mistake, she starts beating him consistently. And he begins to help her forge an escape from the hands of the ordinary and despicable Nurse Rachets of the world into the male dominated realm of chess tournaments. The lead part of teenage and adult Beth is played by Anya Taylor-Joy. And honestly, her performance is so good, so very good it’s iconic. One of the best young actresses working today.

Obviously, I have not watched all the shows nominated. For instance, I do not have Apple TV+ and cannot see Ted Lasso which I have heard very positive things about. And there are some shows I honestly don’t think are up to snuff like WandaVision (although I really like Elizabeth Olson as an actress) and Bridgerton. But I do hope you will take the time this week before the Emmys on Sunday to watch at least one of the possible winners.

Also, I am in the midst of finishing Oslo which is up for Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Music Composition For A Limited Or Anthology Series, Movie Or Special (Original Dramatic Score) which is based on the play of the same name. The film has been great so far and I will discuss more in depth next week.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

What I Found In the Trunk Final Chapter

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce my blog. This past week found me once again at the groomers. This is always a most horrific experience. But presently I look fantastic and feel great, especially since today I am presenting to you the final chapter of What I Found in the Trunk. And I must say it is a most riveting conclusion. Next week my novelist will be taking over the blog to discuss the upcoming Emmy Awards. After that I will be bringing you a new story which is much different from my last. I must warn you the lead is a rather polarizing individual which you may come to adore or despise depending on your point of view. So, without further ado here is the grand finale to What I Found in the Trunk. Enjoy!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Chapter Twenty-Four

Durwin squirmed his way out of David’s headlock and slammed his foot into the back of his brother’s knees causing David to collapse like a folding chair.

Rune grabbed the rope and hung on with one hand as she lifted the item off the neck of the grotesque and looped the attached lariat over her head. She tied the rope around her waist and tugged it signaling Rusty. Rusty secured the rope and started pulling her up. He was the first to hear Gary banging on the door and shouting.

“Open the door, Gary!” Rusty yelled.

“I can’t!” Gary yelled back. “It’s locked!” David’s molls grabbed Gary and started pulling him back down the stairs. “Help!”

“Rune, hurry!” Rusty called down to her. “They’ve got Gary!”

Rune struggled to pull herself up the rope as Rusty hoisted her. She reached the balcony and tumbled over the ledge breathing heavy and rubbing her arms.

“A little help here!” Durwin called to Rusty as he struggled to keep David pinned.

“Get the door!” Rusty told Rune as he ran over and helped hold David down.

Rune struggled to her feet and stumbled over to the door. She unlocked it, pulled it open and saw David’s guys dragging Gary down the stairs. “Gary!” she yelled reaching out and grabbing his arms.

Suddenly, Bennet, near naked and barefoot plodded up the steps and grabbed ahold of one of the moll’s legs. All five of them struggled on the steps when the door flew open, and a bedraggled David stood above them in the doorway.

“Left your rope behind there, baby!” he jeered. “So, I decided to make use of it!”

David clutched Rune’s ankles and broke her hold on Gary. He dragged her kicking and screaming backwards through the door and onto the balcony.

Thinking fast Bennet tied both of David’s guys shoelaces together. “Gary, run!” he shouted.

Gary dove for the door and burst out onto the roof as the guys rose to chase him and tripped over their laces. Gary saw David struggling to rip the lanyard off Rune’s neck.

“Give it to me!” David snarled as Rune struggled to break his hold.

Gary rushed over and wedged between them pushing Rune away. She stumbled backwards in the opposite direction of the ledge.

Durwin, meanwhile, was tied up with the turquoise rope Rusty had used to rescue Rune. He tried to loosen it, but he and David had been boy scouts and his twin had secured the knots well.

“That’s how you want to play it?!” David roared before he landed a karate chop on the bridge of Gary’s nose.

Pain seared Gary’s face as he fought to land a punch and caught David on the chin. David kicked Gary’s legs out from under him. Gary landed on his hip. He knew he couldn’t get up fast enough and flipped on his side and slammed the sole of his shoe into David’s shin. It wasn’t enough to put David on the ground, but it gave Gary enough time to hop back on his feet. He grabbed David by his right ear and smashed his foot into David’s right knee. David buckled and dropped.

Rune realized she didn’t see Rusty. She darted to the ledge and looked over. He was hanging onto the grotesque of the man wearing glasses and hugging books. “Rusty!” she called down.

“Help!” Durwin called out to her as he struggled with the rope.

“Hang on, Rusty!”

Rune rushed over to help Durwin untie himself. “Good grief!” she said when she tried to loosen the knots.

“There’s a switchblade in my back pocket but I can’t reach it,” he told her. 

Durwin leaned forwards and Rune slipped her hand into the back pocket of his jeans. She grabbed the knife, opened it, and attempted to cut the rope. “We need to help Rusty!” 

The balcony door broke open, and David’s two guys burst through. One of them was limping and dragging the quasi-nude Bennet on his leg.

“Hurry!” Durwin barked at Rune as she fought to cut through the twine. David’s molls advanced on Gary just as the rope gave way. Durwin jumped to his feet and charged at them as Rune grabbed the largest piece of the rope. She scrambled to the ledge and threw one of the ends down to Rusty.

“Let go of him!” Durwin told Bennet who released his grip on the guy’s leg and got to his feet. Durwin tackled one guy and Bennet tackled the other.

Gary fought to keep David pinned down. But David leveraged his foot and flipped Gary over. Gary tried to trip him, but David was wilier and in moments had his opponent pinned down.

Rune did not have the strength to pull Rusty back to the balcony. But she was able to sit down and keep the rope anchored allowing Rusty to shimmy up. As he reached the top, he hoisted himself over the ledge and hugged Rune.

“Gary,” she said.

With Bennet and Durwin having pinned David’s guys down, Rusty gathered his nerves and charged towards David and Gary knocking David to the ground. Gary hopped to his feet and helped Rusty secure David.

The door burst open again and the third guy came in hauling Larry. Everyone watched as he dragged Larry over to the ledge.

“Give us what we came for or I’ll shove the old guy over!” he warned.

“Let my dad go!” Gary said.

“Let David up!”

Rusty looked at Gary. Gary nodded and they reluctantly released their hold on David. David sneered and faked a punch at Gary who stepped back. David sauntered up to Rune. “Hand it over,” he told her.

“Not till you let Gary’s dad go,” she said.

“Not till you hand it over.”

Rune scowled at him and removed the lanyard from around her neck. She looked at it and gave it to David. “Now let his dad go.”

“Do you know how valuable this is?” he said holding up the pen drive on the end of the lanyard. “With this I could print thousands if not millions of dollars in counterfeit money. This, baby, is the blueprint to financial freedom.”

“You got what you wanted. Now let Larry go.”

“You know what, Rune? I’m in the mood to teach you a lesson.” Then he turned to his buddy and said, “Throw the old man over the side.”

“Old man?!” Larry exclaimed.

“Toss him!”

“No!” Gary yelled rushing towards his father.

Suddenly, Bennet ripped off his last strip of dignity and ran around screaming “I’m naked! I’m naked!”

This allowed for enough distraction for Larry to break loose from his captor, run over and shove David over the side of the balcony.

David screamed an unearthly sound as everyone ran to the ledge.

“My legs!” David yelled from the ground below. “My legs are broken!”

“That’s how my generation rolls, bitch!” Larry yelled down. “Old man, my ass!”

The campus police hauled David’s three guys off in handcuffs as David was put on a stretcher and read his rights. Bennet sat on the grass with a blanket wrapped around him trying to get warm as the officers were taking Durwin’s statement.

“I’m giving you a raise,” Larry told Rusty.

“Thank you, sir,” Rusty said puffing his chest.

“And I’m hiring another security guard to help you out.”

Rusty looked crestfallen. “Don’t you trust me to keep guarding your dealership by myself?”

“No. But you’ll have seniority.”

“Looks like you might be able to catch that evening train back to Leavenworth,” Gary said to Rune.

“I really should apologize for involving you,” Rune said. “I was desperate for money and short on time.”

“It made for an interesting week…do you need a ride to King Street Station?”

Rune looked over where David lay prone on the gurney. “You know,” she said. “I think I might change my travel plans and stick around Seattle for a while. Maybe find a new apartment. By the way, I heard you might know a place where I could get a good deal on a car.”

The End

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

HOW INDEPENDENT FILMS SHOULD BE

STREAM OF THE WEEK: DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (2002)-HBO Max

This film is not for the faint of heart. Steven Knight received a much-deserved Oscar nod for his riveting highly original screenplay about illegal immigrants in London. The film should have also received Oscar Nods for best lead actor, best supporting actress and best supporting actor. Okwe (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is from Nigeria. He drives a cab by day and works as a hotel clerk at night. He shares an apartment with the young innocent Seney (Audrey Tautou) who is from Turkey and works as a maid at the same hotel. Though not romantically involved the two roommates care for and protect each other from forces that would deport them. One day the frequenting prostitute Juliette (Sophie Okonedo) alerts Okwe of a clogged toilet in the hotel room where she has just turned her last trick in. Okwe goes up to fix the plumbing and finds a human heart clogging up the pipe. Okwe, as it turns out, is no ordinary immigrant. He is a trained surgeon who clearly recognizes the heart is healthy and begins to put the pieces together about what really goes on in the hotel rooms and how they connect to his boss Sergi Juan (villainously played by Sergi López) as his friendship with Seney grows more and more strained.

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 23

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here with one of the final chapters of my story. As you know I will be introducing a new story at the start of the autumnal equinox. Something new to entertain you with. This week marks the start of the school year for many of the students here in the northwest. I am a fan of education and intellectualism. Obviously, the Maltese is not.

That is not true. I am Tucker the Maltese and I like school too.

You’ve never shown an interest in anything of the sort that requires the use of your brain, what little there is of it.

That is not true. I love solitaire.

Solitaire? Of all the extraordinary disciplines in the world, you embrace solitaire. Are you serious?

You would not play blackjack with me, so I play solitaire.

I prefer baccarat. It’s more civilized. And with that thought here is my twenty-third chapter of What I Found in the Trunk. Disfrutar!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Chapter Twenty-Three

Gary’s heart rushed into his throat as he saw Rune lose her grip. He watched in terror as she slid, her hands clawing the air like a cat. He lurched forwards but was barricaded once again by Durwin’s molls. Then like a jolt her right hand caught the top of the grotesque’s helmet. Her left swung up to meet it and she dangled there like a Christmas ornament.

Bennet, Gary, and Larry watched helplessly as Rune fought to keep her grip, trying to swing her legs up and climb to safety.

“Hang on, Rune!” Bennet yelled.

“Pull her up!” Gary told Durwin.

“What?” Durwin yelled back putting his hand to his ear.

“Help her up!”

“Naw,” he said smirking. “I think I’ll let her hang there awhile. Let her think about what she did. Shouldn’t have stolen my stuff, Rune,” he called down to her. “Then you wouldn’t be dangling off a gargoyle.”

“It’s a grotesque,” Rune screamed. “There’s no waterspout!”

“Yeah, well, whatever. I’m willing to bet if you fell from this height, you probably wouldn’t die. That is if you didn’t hit your head on those pathways below. You would at the very least break both legs. That’s a shame. You have such nice legs too.”

Durwin’s yammering wasn’t helping Rune keep her grip on the sculpture of the guy in the gas mask with the oversized head. Her arms were straining and no matter how much she fought she couldn’t seem to get her feet up on a surface and take the pressure off her upper body.

“For crying out loud, Durwin!” Gary yelled again. “Pull her up!”

Durwin looked at Rune and then down at the guys below. “Who’s in charge here?” he asked.,

“What?”

“It’s a simple question, Gary. Who’s in charge?”

Gary wished he could get Durwin in a room and break something across his face. “You are,” he griped.

Just then Bennet noticed a figure moving up behind Durwin on the balcony.

“LOOK,” Bennet mouthed to Gary and pointed.

Gary squinted his eyes and noticed someone behind Durwin. A figure without a face. Gary watched the figure draw closer. It took another step towards Durwin who was focused on Rune as she fought to keep from plummeting.

“Hey, Dave!” Durwin’s first guy called up to him. “Your brother!”

Durwin whipped around to see his likeness looking back at him. “What are you doing here?!” he said.

Rune felt her arms starting to cramp and her fingers losing grip. “Help!” she yelled. “Help me!”

The real Durwin pushed his brother David aside and hurried over to rescue Rune.

“Can’t let you do that,” David said. He grabbed his twin’s shoulder, whipped him around and coldcocked him in the face.

A stunned Durwin put his hand up to his nose and saw blood. “You son of a bitch!” he yelled as he staggered back.

David angled his fist ready to land another, but Durwin moved in, and roundhouse punched his brother on the ear.

“We need to do something,” Larry hissed at Bennet and Gary.

Bennet mouthed, “HOW?”

Larry pointed to David’s buddies and whispered, “When I yell, you run at them.” Then he turned to Gary and whispered, “And you run to Miller.” Then he shouted to David’s accomplices, “Look!”

The three henchmen turned around to see where Larry was pointing. When they did, Bennet, still wearing only his borrowed briefs, ran at Durwin’s guys yelling his best war cry and threw himself at them like he was performing a bellyflop off a diving board.

Gary sprinted straight for Miller Hall.

“He’s getting away!” David’s first guy yelled as he was knocked to the ground.

Gary raced as fast as his legs would go towards the entrance of Miller Hall with one hope in mind: Rune had left the door unlocked. He could hear David’s guys catching up. Huffing and puffing, Gary kept his focus zeroed on the entrance.

Meanwhile up on the balcony a second figure slipped out of the shadows. The figure was gripping something oblong in its hand. While the two brothers continued to smack each other around the figure slipped around them and headed for Rune.

Rune looked up to see the familiar face looking down at her from the balcony and then a turquoise rope with fuchsia dots on it fell on top of the stone soldier’s helmet. She reached over to grab it, her arm aching, fingers fumbling for the rescue just out of reach. She strained again, this time her fingers tapped the rope and it swung.

Gary rushed up to the door of Miller, grabbed the handle and pulled. It swung open and he rushed in. He sprinted up the first flight of stairs just as David’s molls burst inside. Gary could hear the pounding of their feet as he huffed and puffed his way up the steps without time to wonder if it was too late. He rounded the corner and hurried up the second flight. He knew he was not as coordinated as his chasers, but he did not care. He had to reach the top.

“She sent you, didn’t she?!” David roared in Durwin’s face as he held him in a chokehold while they wrestled on the balcony. He was just about to land another punch on his twin’s face when he realized the presence of Rusty the rope procurer. He dragged his trapped brother over towards Gary’s security guard and smashed Rusty in the knee with the sole of his shoe.

“Augh!” Rusty cried as he buckled. This caused the rope to lower enough for Rune to grab ahold of it.

Rusty held tight to the rope as he dodged another kick from David. Durwin squirmed and twisted trying to get loose of David’s hold. Rusty threw a misguided punch at David just as he felt Rune’s weight tug the rope. He grabbed onto the rope with both hands just as David landed another kick to his knee. Rusty crumpled to the ground like a crushed can but still gripped the rope.

Gary rounded the last flight of stairs and sprinted towards the doors to the balcony. He could hear the slapping sounds of the guys’ shoes rush up behind him. He reached for the handle of the door…it was locked. He pounded on the door. “Hey!” he yelled “Hey!”

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

How Independant Films Should Be

STREAM OF THE WEEK: CLERKS (1994)-HBO Max

If Less Then Zero is the novel that defined Generation X, Clerks is the movie that defined Generation X. Engagingly written by the fantastic Kevin Smith the story could be considered an exercise in existentialism. A true work of art made on the absurdly low budget of $27, 580 and grossing $3,200,000 (by the way Kevin Smith sold most of his beloved comic book collection to help fund the movie then later was able to buy the majority of it back) we follow an unusual day in the life of college dropout Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) who is awoken at five something in the morning to go in to work at on his day off. Dante, like many gen xers works a low-end job at a convenience store during the recession of the early 1990’s. He is an intelligent guy who really should be in college. His girlfriend Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) agrees. Like Rosemary from Orwell’s brilliant novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Veronica is smart, organized, and focused. She has switched colleges so she can be closer to Dante and encourage him to better himself. Dante, however, has what one of my best acting teachers would call extended adolescence (a subject which requires and deserves an entire post) and yearns for the dream of one day reuniting with his high school sweetheart the heartless Caitlin (Lisa Spoonauer) who cheated on Dante at least eight times. Dante’s best friend is Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) who mans the video store next door. Randal, like Veronica sees that Dante is wasting away his youth in a dead-end job, albeit from a less ambitious standpoint.

Clerks has a surprising alternate ending which I would advise not watching until you have seen the entire film. Either ending has its merits in different ways.  

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 22

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce another chapter of my story. As you know this tale is winding down to an end and I will be introducing a new piece by no later than one day after the autumnal equinox which this year is Wednesday, September 22. This week the Maltese and I took a ride with our novelist heading towards Mount Rainier. We did not make it to the summit as the road became quite harrowing. I was hanging onto the dashboard with my nails which by the way are in desperate need of a manicure, whilst the Maltese passed out in the back seat from sheer terror.

I did not pass out from fear in the back seat. I was taking a nap. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I got sleepy because we’d had lunch and sandwiches make me sleepy.

You were as terrified as I was! Don’t play that game with me, you inane mongrel!

Sandwiches make me sleepy. They are tasty and make me sleepy.

Good grief! Anyway, I was horrifically frightened by the event but felt much better when we were back on wider and flatter terra firma. I can now present you the twenty-second chapter of What I Found in the Trunk. Profitez-en!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Twenty-Two

Rune turned and pointed to Miller Hall. “Up there,” she said.

All the men looked up at the odd big-headed creatures protruding from the building.

“That’s a long way up, dude,” Bennet said.

“How did you even get up to that terrace area?” Gary asked.

“I went inside Miller Hall and took the stairs up to the top where the balcony is,” Rune said. “I used a robot claw to lower it down and then I draped it over one of the grotesques.”

“Someone would have seen you, wouldn’t they?”

“Not in the early evening when most classes were done for the day.”

“She’s nuts,” Larry said. “You’re a certified nut job, kid.”

“What’s a “robot claw”?” the first guy asked.

“It’s a long plastic toy with a claw or a hand on the end of it,” Bennet said. “The handle has a long grip in it and when you squeeze it you can manipulate opening and closing the claw or hand.”

“That sounds cool. Does it work?”

“Heck, yeah! I was able to pick up marbles with it that had rolled behind my couch. Pretty darned nifty device if you ask me.”

“I need to get me one of those,” the second guy said. “Say, what do they cost?”

“I got mine for about ten bucks.”

“Awesome…”

“Enough with the chitchat,” Durwin growled. “Rune, you and I are going up.”

“How? It’s six in the morning. The buildings are closed.”

“Which makes me think you got in with a key.”

Rune grimaced at him.

“How did you get a key that unlocks the building?” Gary asked.

“She had a job here once, didn’t you, Rune? And you stuck that key on the end of that freaky little keychain of yours.”

“I might have,” Rune said.

Durwin jammed the gargoyle keychain into her hand. “So, go open the door and let’s get my stuff.”

“I don’t have the robot claw with me now.”

“That’s your problem. Now, let’s get up there.”

Durwin grabbed Rune by the arm and started hauling her over to the entrance of Miller Hall.

“I can’t even see where the thing is hanging from,” Gary said.

Bennet surveyed the area where Rune had pointed to just below the balcony where there were two big headed grotesques. He could just make out a chain on a string hanging over one of them and possibly something small dangling from the chain. “I think there might be something hanging off the one with the gas mask.”

Gary squinted and tried to get a good look. “Wow that’s hard to see! Can you guys see that?”

Durwin’s three henchmen walked a little closer to Miller and looked up. The second guy pointed. “Right there,” he said. The other two guys stepped up beside him.

Gary’s dad motioned to Bennet and his son. He nodded his head as if to say, “let’s make a run for it”. Gary was tempted by the offer, but he didn’t want to leave Rune behind. He shook his head. His father glowered at him as if his son was a serious idiot. But Gary wouldn’t budge.

“There they are,” the first guy said pointing to the balcony.

As they all stood watching Durwin and Rune, Larry turned to his son and asked. “What if they can’t reach it?”

“I don’t know,” Gary said.

“Then they’ll fall trying,” Bennet said.

“What happens to us?” Larry asked.

The first guy turned around, looked at them and grinned before turning back to Miller Hall.

Larry snatched Gary’s arm trying to get his son to run. Gary pulled away and stumbled. All three of Durwin’s guys whipped around.

“What’s going on?” the first guy snapped.

“I tripped,” Gary said.

“How?”

“He was trying to get a better look,” Larry said.

“Shut up, Larry,” the first guy said. “Your kid can speak for himself.”

“My dad’s right,” Gary said. “I tried to move closer and tripped. This pathway needs to be refinished or something.”

“Yeah, well don’t trip again.”

“I won’t.”

All six guys looked back up at Miller in time to see Rune get as close to the right-hand corner of the balcony as she could. She reached down but her reach was too short. Durwin came towards her. He gave her a shove and pointed down at the grotesque.

“What I want to know,” Bennet said, “is why she’d hide anything up there?”

“She probably wasn’t planning on anyone retrieving it,” Larry said.

Durwin gave Rune another shove. She turned around and shoved him back. Durwin did not care for that. He gave her a much harder shove and she toppled forwards.

“Rune!” Gary yelled watching helplessly as she hung out over the balcony.

Durwin grabbed her by the waist and yanked her back. Then he whirled her around and pointed down towards the gas mask grotesque and yelled something at her they couldn’t quite decipher. Rune looked back at him appearing visibly shaken.

“He’s going to push her over the side!” Gary whispered frantically to Bennet and his dad.

“Stay cool, bro,” Bennet said.

Rune turned and started climbing over the balcony.

“Is he crazy?!” Gary yelled. “He’s going to get her killed!”

Bennet and Larry held their breath as they watched her reach her hand out towards the head of the gas mask grotesque. She was still too far away. She leaned over further and tapped the chain causing it to swing but still could not retrieve it. She adjusted her feet, checked her balance, and inched closer. Her foot slipped and kicked the air frantically reaching for surface. Gary rushed forwards but Durwin’s boys blocked him.

Rune’s foot found the top of the grotesque’s helmet. She stabilized herself and reached down with her hand. The tips of her fingers grazed the chain again, but she still couldn’t grasp it.

Gary’s heart pounded as he watched her scoot a little closer…a little closer…her fingers reached further…further…

Rune’s hand rose with the chain in her grasp. She lifted the whisp of a thing over the gas masked grotesque and began to rise. Suddenly, her foot slipped, and she screamed.  

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

HOW INDEPENDANT FILMS SHOULD BE

STREAM OF THE WEEK:

WITHNAIL & I (1987)-HBO Max

This week’s film is an anomaly even amongst the most bizarre independent films. An oddball story where every character is insane, it’s just a matter of what degree. All the actors turn in some of the very best comedic performances ever caught on film especially Richard E. Grant who just might be the most underrated actor on the planet. This black comedy is loosely based on writer/director Bruce Robinson’s life which he wrote about in his unpublished novel set in late 60’s London. Occasionally the film will have small segments of voice over which read like a book and work exceptionally well. The film (thankfully) breaks a lot of screenplay conventions which are better left to the badly penned high grossing filth that Hollywood shills out. Withnail is based on the actor Vivian MacKerrell who was indeed Robinson’s roommate. They shared a house with musician David Dundas and actor Michael Feast. The movie is so incredibly funny at times it’s almost unearthly.

The film introduces us to I (Paul McGann) a down and out actor living with his witty and sardonic down and out actor roommate Withnail (Richard E. Grant). They tend to drink a lot and occasionally procure illegal substances from their “friend” Danny (Ralph Brown) a philosophical dealer who seems to have an insight on everything. There is some hope I might get a small part as a soldier which Withnail scoffs at. Wanting to escape from their hovel and go on holiday, Withnail manages to finagle an invitation for the two of them to stay at the cabin of his Uncle Monte (Richard Griffiths) a wealthy but completely insane predator who thinks vegetables are more beautiful than posies and would like nothing more than to strike up a relationship with the very frightened I.  

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 21

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce another chapter in my story. As you know this story is wrapping up soon and I will be starting a new one that is quite a bit different. But more on that later. This week our novelist took the Maltese and me to the seaside. It was a quiet weekday and I for one went for a dip in the waters. The Maltese however, being purely lapdog was merely walked through the water in the arms of my precious novelist. What a little prima donna. His breed can swim but once they get a little way out, they forget what they are doing, cease to swim and sink. It’s most disturbing.

I’m Tucker and I’m a Maltese and I like the sand. I sat on the sand a lot. It was warm there until Gigi attacked me.

I did not attack you! You needed corrective discipline. That is all.

It is not nice to do that to someone. And then you did it again at lunch.

You were hogging the fresh water.

I was not.

Were too.

Was not.

Were…oh, forget it! Here is this week’s installment of What I Found in the Trunk. Desfrutar!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Twenty-One

Rune and Gary stood in the middle of the UW Quad at 4:58 AM. The sun was rising in the morning sky and the cherry blossom trees were lush and green.

“This had better work,” Gary told her.

“It’ll work,” she assured him. We just have to wait for David to get here.”

“All I want is my dad and Bennet back.”

“I hope you get them back.”

“Thanks. That gives me confidence.”

Over near the Art Building which was at the top of the stairs above the quad to the left-hand side they saw four figures begin to descend. One of them was escorting Draco on a leash. The nimble beast trotted down the steps swiftly as if he were a gladiator entering the Colosseum.

“Why’s he got the dog?” Gary asked Rune.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“That thing attacked me.”

“Draco’s attacked a lot of people.”

“Great.”

David, Draco, and the posse all stopped a couple of yards in front of Gary and Rune. David smirked. “You’re punctual, Gary,” he said. “I like that about you.”

“Where are Bennet and my dad?” Gary demanded.

“Where’s what belongs to me?”

“I need to know my dad and Bennet are safe.”

“You have my word they’re safe.”

“Your word doesn’t mean anything.”

“Neither does yours.” David took a step towards Rune. “You’re looking good…considering,” he said.

If Rune was still irritated with him, she didn’t show it. She merely took an envelope out of her jacket pocket and held it up in front of his face. “This is all you need,” she said and tossed the envelope over to him.

David grinned and opened it. Inside was the gargoyle keychain with the housekey attached. “What’s this trash?” he asked.

“Look up.”

“Look up? What do you mean “look up”? Is it dropping from a drone or what?”

“No. It’s on one of the buildings.”

“What do you mean it’s on one of the buildings?”

“It’s on whichever building has the gargoyle watching over it.”

“There’s a ton of gargoyles on these buildings!”

“A ton seem like an excessive number.”

David scowled at her and grabbed Darry’s arm. Draco who still hated Gary started barking and snarling at him. The first guy and the second guy grabbed ahold of Gary and pulled him away from Rune while the third guy manned Draco.

“We’re climbing up there together,” David snarled at Rune.

“I gave you want you wanted, David…”

“Hardly! Until I’m holding it in my sweet little palm here, we’re not done. You’re climbing up there with me. Now, that ought to narrow down the options fast!”

“Before I go up there Gary and I need to know his father and Bennet are still okay.”

“Two of you get them!” David growled at his henchmen.

The first guy rolled his eyes and grabbed the second guy’s sleeve. The two of them headed back towards the steps that led into the quad.

“From where I sit,” David continued, “we’ve got four buildings. We can either climb up all four of them or we can go straight to the correct building and save us all a lot of aggravation.”

Rune looked at Gary then back at David. “Fine,” she said. “I’ll go up there with you after you show us Gary’s dad and Bennet.”

“I can’t believe you did this to me, Rune.”

“You can’t believe I did this to you?”

“Making me come here at this time of the morning. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.”

“Wow.”

“I mean I give you my grandmother’s ring. My grandmother’s ring.”

“You said you didn’t care if I though it down the sewer.”

“It’s the principal of the thing.”

“I thought you said she wasn’t your girlfriend,” Gary said.

“She’s not.”

The first and second guy started hauling Bennet and Gary’s dad Larry down the stairs into the quad. Larry was still wearing the suit he had on when Durwin had the girl go to his dealership and drug and kidnap him. Bennet was still mostly naked but somewhere along the way the thugs had provided him with a pair of white cotton briefs. As the four approached Durwin, Gary, Rune and the third guy, Gary’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe how bad his dad looked: a black eye, disheveled clothes and sweat rolling down his brow. Bennet in contrast was shivering in the early morning.

“Gary,” he said. “I’m cold, dude.”

Gary ignored him and said, “Dad, are you alright? You look awful!”

“Of course, I look awful,” his dad snapped. “How did you get involved with these crooks? Are you trying to ruin my business?”

“No, dad.”

“These morons sent some tart over to wag her tail in my face. Says she wants to buy a car and the next thing I know I wake up in a rundown rented college house getting slapped around like a cheap stripper in a back room!”

“Wow, dad. I didn’t think you’d put it like that.”

“How would you have me put it?”

“But you’re okay, right? That’s the main thing.”

“I’m alive, if that’s what you mean.”

“It’s cold,” Bennet said again. “Everything is shriveling up and going into hibernation, dude.”

“Why are you nearly naked?” Gary asked him.

“I’m not. One of the guys loaned me their cotton briefs.”

“Were they clean?”

“I don’t think so, dude.”

“Alright, enough of the chatter,” Durwin growled. “Which of these buildings is it, Rune? And you better not be wasting time or I’m going to take your little exhibitionist here,” he said giving Bennet a jab, “haul him up to the top of that art building over there and push him off.”

“This is ridiculous,” Rune said. “All this for that tiny little thing?”

“Yes. Now which gargoyle is it?”

“Actually, dude,” Bennet said. “They’re called grotesques. Gargoyles have drainpipes in them. Grotesques are just designed to scare off evil spirits. Gargoyles in contrast are functional as well as frightening.”

“Well,” Durwin said. “That’s a profound piece of information that I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about. Now, which one is it Rune?”

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!

How Independent Films Should Be

STREAM OF THE WEEK: FROZEN RIVER (2008)-Amazon Prime

This week’s film is an excellent harrowing thriller that received the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and was nominated for two Academy Awards: best screenplay for writer director Courtney Hunt and best actress for Melissa Leo’s outstanding performance. Leo also won the SAG award for Best Actress. Late on payments and stuck in a run down single wide, Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) a desperate mother who’s gambling addict husband has stolen the money for her and their children’s new double wide mobile home heads out to find him hoping he hasn’t gambled away all the money to buy their new house. She finds his car parked outside a casino on Mohawk territory. After going inside to look for him to no avail, she sees a young native American woman named Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham) steel his car. Hopping into her own run-down automobile she chases Lila down to Lila’s small trailer hoping to also retrieve her husband but reaching yet another dead end. After a confrontation Ray tries to tie her husband’s car to hers and haul it out but the rope snaps. Seeing an opportunity, Lila forces Ray to help her with one of her jobs: smuggling a couple of people in the trunk of Ray’s car over the Canadian border. Since they are traveling over reservation territory on frozen waters the law cannot stop them. Ray finds the job to be lucrative and signs on for more work, with each run becoming more dangerous than the last.

Sadly, Misty Upham who was outstanding as Lila Littlewolf died of blunt force trauma to her head and torso in her home state of Washington in 2014 at the tender age of thirty-two. Misty suffered from mental illness most likely linked to a gang rape when she was a child and later when she was allegedly raped in a bathroom at the 2013 Golden Globes in Hollywood by an executive of the Weinstein Company while reportedly other men not only witnessed the rape but guzzled beer and cheered him on. Her body was found at the bottom of a cliff by a small search party formed by her family and members of the Muckleshoot tribe. According to the Auburn Police, it is unclear if her injuries were caused by accident, suicide, or foul play as it was nighttime when she fell. Her death to this day remains unsolved.