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.

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 20

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. This week Gigi and I were going to have to stay with a babysitter while our novelist went on a short vacation. But because the Covid numbers went up so high where she was traveling, our novelist cancelled her plans, and we have her home with us. I am looking forward to having a staycation. Staycations are fun. Our novelist went and got a Monopoly card game that looks like fun. Also, we might do a binge-watching session. Our novelist never has a lot of time for binge watching sessions but because it is her vacation, she is making an exception. I am very excited to see BoJack Horseman.

What?! I cannot allow it. Pardon me. Gigi the parti poodle here most unfortunately allowing this insipid cur to introduce my blog this week. Tucker, we discussed this. We are binge watching The Crown.

But The Crown is all arthouse-like and I never understand those stories.

What are you talking about? It’s the history of the royal family more specifically the reign of Elizabeth II and her life.

I am yawning just thinking about it.

Oh, and your choice is better? A washed up ex-comedic television star with a horse head? You call that art?

I call it fun.

I swear I am going to…never mind. We will discuss this later. Here is Chapter Twenty of What I Found in the Trunk.

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Back in the rear bedroom, Gary, Rusty and Rune crouched near the door trying to hear the indistinguishable conversation.

“What do you think they’ll do to Bennet, Rune?” Gary asked.

“I don’t know,” Rune replied.

“Alright let me rephrase the question. What’s the worst you’ve known him to do?”

“Assault and battery, counterfeiting and embezzlement.”

“That’s an impressive list,” Rusty said. 

“Are he and his molls capable of worse?” Gary asked.

“Maybe,” Rune replied.

“We’ve got to save Bennet,” Gary said making a lurch for the door.

Rusty grabbed him by the shirt. “He is kind of annoying,” he said. “We should take that into consideration.”

“Are you insane?! We can’t leave Bennet out there to risk himself for us. From what Rune has told us Durwin…”

“David,” Rune corrected.

“David could…”

Suddenly, the three of them heard the front door slam. Everyone froze. The engine of the Mercades SUV revved up, backed out and drove off. They looked at each other then slowly, carefully cracked open the door. They listened but didn’t hear anyone or anything. Just the tick of a clock.

Rusty pointed to himself and mouthed, “I’ll go check it out.”

Gary and Rune nodded and watched Rusty stealth down the hall and round the corner.

“Bennet had better be okay,” Gary warned Rune.

Rune glanced at him and said nothing as they stared in the direction Rusty had gone. After a couple of minutes, he slipped back around the corner and said, “They’re gone…and I think they took Bennet with them. But for some weird reason they made him leave his clothes behind.”

“What?” Gary said.

“It looks like they made Bennet take off all his clothes and then kidnapped him.”

“Are you kidding? Why would they make him do that? Why would they make him do that, Rune?”

“I have no idea,” Rune said. “But it’s strange. Even for David.”

Gary’s phone suddenly went off. “It’s Bennet,” he said and answered the call. “Hello?”

“Looks like we’ve got your boy, Gary,” Durwin told him.

“Put Bennet on!” Gary demanded.

“Put Rune on first.”

Gary looked at Rune. “Durwin or David or whatever wants to talk to you.”

“Not a chance,” Rune said.

“You put Bennet, Randy, and my dad in danger, and you put me in danger. If you don’t talk to this creep, I’m going to put you in danger.”

“Yeah, how?”

“I’ll tell Durwin or David or whatever his name is where you’re running to.”

Rune’s face went ashen, but she kept her cool. She grabbed the phone from Gary. “What?” she said.

“I want it back, Rune,” Durwin told her.

“I returned your grandmother’s ring to you. We’re done.”

“You could have tossed the ring down the sewer for all I care. And technically you still have it seeing as your new boyfriend took the strongbox. Tell me where it is, or Gary’s dad and this naked performance artist clown are going to be in a lot of pain.”

“Why should I care?”

“Because one of them knows where you’re going.”

Rune hesitated then said, “They don’t know a thing.”

“I’ll get my answer. You’re a smart girl, Rune but you’re not smart enough to outsmart me.”

Rune narrowed her eyes. She looked at Gary then Rusty then back to Gary. “Fine. Meet us at the center of the quad at five A.M. If you bring Gary’s dad and Bennet with you safe and sound, I’ll take you to where it is.”

“Put Gary back on the phone and let the adults talk.”

Fuming but outwardly calm Rune handed Gary’s phone back to him.

“Here’s the deal,” Durwin told Gary. “You and Rune meet me and my boys at the quad at five AM. In exchange for your dad and naked boy Rune’s going to take me to what’s rightfully mine. If you bring anyone else besides Rune with you this deal is null and void. You got me?”

“I got you,” Gary said.

“If you and Rune are late the deal is null and void. You be there at five AM sharp. You got me?”

“I got you.”

“You call the cops, and this deal is null and void. You got me?”

“I got you.”

Durwin hung up the phone.

“He’s going to meet you and me at the UW Quad at five A.M.”

“What about me?” Rusty asked.

“Durwin…”

“David,” Rune corrected.

“…was clear no one else was to be there but Rune and I.”

“So, he’s got you outmanned two to four. Is that it?”

“Looks like it.”

Rune was still fuming from talking to David. “Let me borrow your phone,” she told Rusty.

“Why?” Rusty said.

“I need to call someone.”

“Who?”

“Just give me the phone.”

“Give her the phone, Rusty.”

“Fine,” Rusty grumbled putting in his passcode before handing it to Rune.

“Thanks,” Rune said and dialed the number.

“Who’s she calling?” Rusty asked Gary.

Gary shrugged.

“Hello,” Rune said into the phone. “It’s Rune…yes. It’s David he’s…I know, I know. I won’t ask you again…if you could just meet me…the UW. Yes. Five A.M. Yes, I know it’s early just…please. Thank you. Okay. Okay. Thank you…bye.”

“Who was that?” Rusty and Gary asked simultaneously.

“We need to go,” she said.

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: BOUND (1996)-Hulu

It would have been near impossible to beat Fargo for best original screenplay in 1996 or any year for that matter. But it would have been easy to drop Jerry Maguire or Shine to make room for this complex and brilliantly written script by the Wachowskis. I have never wrapped my head around why The Matrix is considered their best work outside of the groundbreaking special effects. Some rabid fanboy filmgoers and whack-job would-be scientists (more philosophers than scientists) seem to embrace the idea that the world is merely a simulation, and we are all puppets of artificial intelligence. I would be far more likely to believe the story of The Terminator before I would believe this simulation hypothesis malarky. I’ve watched The Matrix three times and for me it becomes more lackluster and insipid with each viewing. But Bound just gets better and better in every way from the gorgeous cinematography, the superb direction and the spot on performances of this brilliantly cast film. Corky (Gina Gershon) spent five years in prison for robbery. She has gotten a job working as a handyman in an apartment building that happens to house members of the mob. One of them is Ceasar (brilliantly played by Joe Pantoliano) and his very sexy girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly). Corky and Violet discover they have a connection and after Ceasar and his associates brutally murder Shelly (Barry Kivel) who has skimmed over two million dollars from them Violet enlists Corky to help her steal the two million and escape the dangerous life she is trapped in.  

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 19

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the party poodle and I am under the weather today. I partook of a couple bites of a pork rib yesterday evening and it did me in. I had a rough night and a rough morning, so I am going to simply tell you to please enjoy Chapter Nineteen of my story today. And just as a reminder by summer’s end I will be delighting you with a new tale which is very different from the one I have been penning. Until I am recovered, I am begrudgingly handing the blog over to that insipid Maltese.

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. Goody, goody, goody! I am introducing Gigi’s blog today because she cannot hold her pork. I am a more mellow breed, so it did not bother me. I enjoyed the pork. I could eat it in front of Gigi and upset her. Ha, ha. Of course, she has an awful terrible temper and would not let me enjoy myself. She does not like it when I am happy. But I like being happy. I like to be a happy dog.

Just introduce the blog, will you?!

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I am introducing Gigi’s blog. Today is Gigi’s nineteenth chapter. Please enjoy her nineteenth chapter. I know I am going to enjoy her nineteenth chapter. Have a happy nineteenth chapter.

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Nineteen

“Go fish,” Rusty said to Gary as the four of them sat around the coffee table in Bennet’s cabin.

Gary reached over and drew a card off the pile. An eight of diamonds of which he had no match.

Rune turned to Gary and asked, “Do you have any queens?”

“I didn’t have any last time and I don’t have any now,” he replied. “Go fish.”

“Dude,” Bennet said as Rune drew a card. “I can feel the sexual tension all the way over here.”

“You should get your head checked out,” Rune snapped. “I think you’ve got a wrench jammed in there or something.”

“All y’all shut up,” Rusty said. “I’m about to win this game.”

“You’ve got the least number of pairs in front of you, bro,” Bennet pointed out.

“Shut up! I do not!”

“Let him live in delusion,” Rune said.

“Watch it, missy…”

“If you call me missy one more time, I’m going to palm heel you in the nose.”

“Yeah? Make my day.

“Check out these desserts man,” Bennet said. “I ordered like three different types!”

“What did you get?” Gary asked.

“Their signature triple chocolate brownie, tiramisu and profiteroles.”

“I’ll take the tiramisu.”

“You should seriously try the profiteroles, Rune. It’s totally your style.”

“Are we out of pizza?” Rusty asked.

“Completely.”

“Man, it was stellar! You should have ordered another pie.”

“Yeah, I undershot that one.”

“You ate two of them by yourself,” Gary said.

“I’m under stress.”

“We’re all under stress! It doesn’t mean you need to make a pig out of yourself!”

“Well, excuse me for building up an appetite helping you keep your ass from getting whooped!”

“My ass? Last I remembered I was picking your face off the pavement in the dealership parking lot and hauling you out here!”

“You wouldn’t have even gotten off the lot if I hadn’t fended them off!”

“That’s enough!” Rune shouted. “I don’t like this situation we’re any more than you do! But we need to keep our heads here!”

“Rune’s completely spot on about this, bros,” Bennet said. “We all need to chill and seriously partake of these outstanding desserts.”

“Hand me a brownie,” Rusty said.

“One brownie coming up.”

As Bennet was handing out the desserts the four of them were too distracted to notice the sound of the Mercades SUV pulling up nearby.

“Looks like the kids are home,” Durwin said to the first guy who was driving the vehicle.

“What do we do now?” the second guy asked.

“We wait.”

“You were totally right, Ben,” Rusty said after they’d finished eating. “Those desserts were outstanding.”

“Was I right or was I right?” Bennet said.

“The tiramisu was excellent,” Gary said. “I’m picky about my tiramisu and that was some seriously wicked tiramisu.”

“What did you think, Rune?” Bennet asked her.

“The profiteroles were exquisite,” she replied.

“Awesome! Who’s next?”

Just then the doorbell rang. Everyone froze.

“Were you expecting someone?” Gary whispered.

“No,” Bennet whispered back.

“We need to turn off the lights,” Rusty said heading for the switch.

“It’s too late,” Rune said stopping him. “They already know we’re here.”

“No,” Bennet said. “They know I’m here.”

The doorbell rang again.

“Okay, you guys. You need to get into the spare bedroom and stay quiet. I’ll handle it.”

“It’s too late for you to handle it,” Gary hissed.

“Let’s just do what Bennet said and hide,” Rune said. “It’s better than arguing.”

“Go to the guest bedroom,” Bennet said.

The doorbell rang a third time.

“Go!”

Gary, Rune and Rusty all looked at each other, then crept towards the back room.

Bennet glanced over at the pile of food boxes on the table. “Coming!” he called as he looked around for a solution. He started ripping off his shirt, shorts, and underwear. When he was buck naked, he grabbed one of the pizza boxes and held it in front of his shortcomings and moved over to the door.

Durwin and his three henchmen all stared at the nude guy with the pizza box strategically placed. Durwin tilted his head and said, “Is this your cabin?”

“Totally,” Bennet said.

“Where are your clothes?”

“Over there,” Bennet said pointing to the couch.

“Why aren’t they on you?”

“I’m like working.”

An amused look formed on Durwin’s face. “Really?”

“I’m a performance artist.”

“I’ll bet.”

“I’m working on this project called Naked Lunch.”

“You can’t call it Naked Lunch,” the first guy said. “That’s a William S. Burroughs novel.”

“Really?” Bennet said. “I thought it was totally original. You guys selling something?”

“In a matter of speaking,” Durwin said.

“I for one think the project sounds cool,” the third guy said.

“Thanks, bro,” Bennet said.

“We heard from a little birdie we might have some mutual acquaintances,” Durwin said.

“Really? You guys into the northwest art scene…?”

“And they might have stopped by to pay you a visit.”

“No artists have stopped by here…”

“Is that tiramisu?”

“Why, yes.”

Durwin walked over and picked up the tiramisu in his had and took a huge bite. “This is some tasty tiramisu I tell you what,” he said. “I mean this is unbelievably good.”

“Totally.”

“Sorry. I didn’t catch your name, bro.”

“I didn’t catch yours either.”

“Durwin.”

“Hi, Durwin,” Bennet said holding the pizza box with one hand while extending his other hand to shake Durwin’s.

Durwin glanced at Bennet’s hand but did not shake it. “And you are?”

“Uh…Bennet.”

“Bennet. Interesting name. So, where are they, Bennet?”

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: SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE (1989)-Showtime

It would be impossible to make a list of how independent films should be without mentioning the masterpiece which ushered in the great independent movie era of the 1990’s. A 26-year-old unknown writer director named Steven Soderbergh with the help of Robert Newmyer and John Hardy, and executive producers Nancy Tenenbaum, Nick Wechsler and 34-year-old Morgan Mason (actor James Mason’s son) changed the course of film history. Important to note the film is dedicated to Ann Dollard who was Soderbergh’s agent at the time who tragically died at the tender age of thirty-two before she could see the movie come to life. She and Wechsler presented the script to Mason who had his wife, the talented Belinda Carlisle read the script. Mason was a child actor and played Elizabeth Taylor’s nine-year old son Danny in The Sandpiper. He quit acting at a young age but later starred with his wife in two of her music videos, “Mad About You” and “Heaven is a Place on Earth”. I will briefly note the song “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle is highlighted in Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie.

The film went on to extraordinary success winning the Palme de’Or and best actor for the tour de force performance by James Spader at Cannes and the Audience Award at Sundance. Soderbergh won the Writer’s Guild Award and was given an Oscar nomination for his brilliant original script. It cost 1.2 million to make and grossed $24,741,667 domestically and $36.74 million worldwide. Every performance in this film is outstanding and all four of the leads went on to have solid if not spectacular careers which they all clearly deserved.

The story is deceptively simple. Set in Baton Rouge young lawyer John Mullany (Peter Gallagher) is cheating on his likable homemaker wife Anne Bishop Mullany (Andie MacDowell) with her sexy bohemian sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). Into town comes John’s old friend Graham (James Spader) who used to be more of a fraternity boy like John but has clearly gone through a transformation. Graham has become a drifter but gives the impression he’d like to plant roots back in Baton Rouge. But Graham’s metamorphosis is not conventional, and his peculiar new self gives sometimes funny sometimes disturbing meaning to the words sex, lies and videotape.     

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 18

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle. This week I am most distressed. I requested a hold at the library for Who Wants to Be a Poodle I Don’t by Lauren Child, and it showed up in my queue as being on the shelf and then it wasn’t there. What kind of horrific nightmare is that? I had till August third to send my novelist over there to pick it up for me. Did that rotten bulldog Ruffles steal it and check it out? I’ll bet he did. That insipid slobbery hound is always out to devastate me. Never trust a dog that walks like a covered wagon and drools like a drainpipe. The way those things sit is almost obscene. And now this beast has my book. I’ll bet he’s reading it right now laughing at me and eating greasy uncouth potato chips. I’ll bet he’s getting paw stains all over my precious book. And to top it all off I got a bath this past weekend. I’m miserably clean and fresh and that monster is putting greasy potato chip stains on my book. Pardon me. I do not mean to get in such a frenzy. But I do take my library books seriously. I should let you know by the end of the summer I will be wrapping up What I Found in the Trunk and will keep you updated as to the premiere of my new story which is something completely different entirely. Without further ado, here is Chapter eighteen of What I Found in the Trunk.  

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter 18

The room phone rang. Bennet hopped on the bed and checked the caller. “It’s the front desk,” he said.

“Answer it,” Gary told him.

Bennet picked up the handset. “Hey there,” he said. “Uh, huh…really? Fantastic! When…great! We’ll do that. Thanks!”

“What was that about?” Rusty asked.

“The fires are under control now. We can skedaddle, dudes!”

“Alright,” Gary said. “I’m going to drive us back to Soap Lake. The three of you are going to sit in the back seat together with Rune in the middle.”

“One of you can sit in the front,” Rune said. “I’m not going to jump out the door.”

“Like you didn’t bolt out of the bakery. Like you didn’t sell me your Chevy Baretta and skip town. Right. You’re sitting in the back between Rusty and Bennet.”

“I think it would be okay if she just sat in the back with me and Rusty rode shotgun,” Bennet said. “Rune and I have a connection.”

“You wouldn’t have a connection with an iron wall if you were covered in industrial strength magnets.”

“Seriously, we are mondo sympatico. Aren’t we, Rune?”

“Sure,” Rune said.

“See? She and I can sit in the back together and Rusty can ride up front.”

“If she escapes the car, I’m going to clobber you.”

“Awesome! Okay, Rune. You’re riding in the back with me.”

“Great,” Rune muttered rolling her eyes.

“Alright,” Gary said, “Let’s go.”

The motley crew left the Bavarian themed hotel and headed for the Buick. Gary and Rusty climbed in the front and Bennet opened the door for Rune who scooted over behind Gary. Then he got in and sat behind Rusty. Although the fires were over the smoke still hung in the air and the burning smell wafted through the atmosphere.

As Gary drove towards the highway entrance, he looked out into the great beyond and felt gripping fear. Being trapped in Leavenworth had been comforting. No one got in and no one got out. Now the terrible feeling of being hunted returned. He mulled over his last phone call to his dad. Something wasn’t right. Had Durwin been there? Was he looking over his dad’s shoulder? Did he know where they were or where they were going?”

“You okay, man?” Rusty asked.

“I’m fine,” Gary said not wanting to tip anyone off about his concern. “Call my dad, would you?”

“Why?”

“I just want to check in with him,” he said and picked up his phone, unlocked it and handed it to Rusty. 

“Alright.” Rusty took the phone and dialed Larry.

Gary’s heart raced as he listened to the dial tone. It rang several times.

“He’s not picking up,” Rusty said.

“Hang up and dial again.”

Rusty did. Still no answer.

“Something wrong?” Bennet asked from the backseat.

“I’m trying to call Larry, but he won’t pick up,” Rusty told him.

“Weird. He always answers his phone.”

“Call him again,” Gary snapped.

“Maybe he’s with a customer,” Rusty said.

“Maybe.”

Rusty dialed the number again. Gary listened to the steady ring. Still no answer.

“Let’s call him again in an hour,” Rusty suggested.

“Yeah, alright,” Gary said.

It was three o’clock in the afternoon when Gary pulled the Buick up in front of the cabin. Various people were on the lake getting a tan, splashing around in the water, and rubbing the mineral enriched sand on themselves.

Bennet hopped out of the back while Rusty climbed in beside Rune. Bennet looked around the perimeter of the house to make certain nothing was out of place. Gary hopped out and looked inside the windows. He peeked in through the corners hoping no one would be able to detect him if they were inside.

“Is Gary being paranoid or not?” Rusty asked Rune as they sat watching them.

“About what?” she asked.

“About not being able to get ahold of his father. About Durwin…”

“David.”

“…and his posse following us here. About us being in danger. What’s the answer, missy?”

Rune turned and glared at him. “Let me tell you something, Rus,” she growled. “I don’t know if David kidnapped Gary’s dad. I don’t know if David’s lurking around here somewhere, and I don’t know what David’s planning. I don’t even know the full extent of what he’s capable of.”

“Great. Thanks. You’re loads of help.”

“Seems clear, dudes,” Bennet said returning to the car. “Everything looks to be in place. Let’s head inside.”

Rune and Rusty disembarked the Buick and followed Bennet up the steps to the front door. Gary was still standing at the window surveying the inside. Leery but relatively satisfied the place was empty he came around the corner and joined the others.

Bennet unlocked the door and cracked it slightly. They all listened for something or someone and looked to see if a figure’s outline might be revealed by the light. But the cabin appeared quiet and vacant, and they all headed inside. 

“Alright, Rune,” Rusty said. “Assume the position.”

“Suck mine, pervert,” Rune snapped.

“You don’t need to put cuffs on her, Rusty,” Bennet said. “She’s not going to run off.”

“Yeah, right,” Rusty scoffed. “I’m cuffing her.”

Gary ignored the three of them and continued searching the house. He was on edge and certain something was amiss.

“Call my dad again, Rusty,” he said.

Rusty, who still had Gary’s phone tried calling Larry once again.

“Put it on speaker.”

Rusty did and they all listened to the phone ring. Still no answer.

“Is anybody hungry?” Bennet said trying to break the tension.

“I am,” Rune said.

“I’ll order a couple pizzas and go pick them up. Maybe we could play some cards afterwards. What do you say, Gary? We’ll order pizza, play cards, and figure out our next move. What do you say?”

“Give me the phone, would you Rusty?” Gary said marching up to him. Rusty handed him the phone and Gary typed in a text and sent it. “Maybe he’ll answer that.”

But Gary knew he wouldn’t.

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

From now till the end of the summer I’m going to recommend an independent film each week that stands out from the pack. In fact, the two previous films I recommended, The Limey and Ulee’s Gold are excellent examples of outstanding independant film making.

STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE LOOKOUT (2007)-Showtime

Whoever has the money has the power. This week’s fantastic thriller starts out innocently enough. Well to do high school student Chris Pratt (wonderfully played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has it all. He’s a star hockey player, has a beautiful girlfriend, popular friends, wealth, and brains…until one night when he makes a fatal mistake. Four years later he finds himself working as a janitor for a bank. Every day he writes down his list of events. He gets up, takes a shower with soap, takes his meds, watches a mysterious girl in a white coat head for her job in an office building. He no longer lives in his mansion with his wealthy father and mother. Instead, he lives in a grungy apartment with a wisecracking blindman named Lewis (one of Jeff Daniel’s best performances) who sells flowers for FTD. Then one night at a bar Gary Spargo (Mathew Goode) an old acquaintance comes back into Chris’s life, introduces him to an attractive young woman named Luvlee (Isla Fisher) and offers him a chance to put his life back on track if he does just one thing: be the lookout. This film leaves Showtime on 8/1.