Alanna the Piranha Chapter 23

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the twenty-third chapter of Alanna the Piranha. We have been having a bit of a cold snap in the great northwest and getting a couple dustings of snow. One occurred on the day I had to go back to the vet. A most distressing event indeed. They wanted to make sure all the cruel things they did to me were looking okay which they are. It does seem to get sunny in the afternoons however which allows me to take my novelist for walks. I am also in desperate need of a trim. My novelist made an appointment for me but could not get one sooner than early March. I am presently sporting the grown-out fluffy look which, all things considered, I look fantastic in. The Maltese, who has his appointment the day before mine cannot pull it off and looks like an absolute wreck. Anyway, here is chapter Twenty-three of Alanna the Piranha. Насолодитися!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Third

I didn’t sleep at all last night. All I could think about was how dangerous it was to have run into both Brooke and Stacy at the movie theatre. I am concerned Stacy is going to tell my parents I am secretly dating someone. And then my parents are going to want to meet Alanna. And I definitely do not want my parents to meet Alanna.

I’m starting to realize sooner or later I will have to do something about Alanna and Fabulous. They cannot keep living in this basement forever. They need a place of their own and be able to move around in the outside world. I think my hopes of originally developing a girlfriend out of a bunny have become less of a dream and more of a burden. I am fully responsible for Alanna and Fabulous and I cannot expect to explain them to anyone. Not my parents or Stacy or Aunt Linda and certainly not Brooke. And if someone found out about my experiment and that it was partially successful, Alanna and Fabulous might get confiscated and locked up somewhere like Area 51 or NORAD. They might even get carted off to a college research facility where they would prod and poke at them and Alanna would sob incessantly and Fabulous would stop talking.

“Flint,” Alanna says to me as I sulk at my desk.

“Yes?”

“I have a suggestion.”

“What?”

“A suggestion of how to make money.”

“How?”

“Actually, it was my idea,” Fabulous says who is nestled on her mini bed.

“What’s your idea?”

“I’ve been thinking about that strip mall you talk about sometimes. The one with the comic book store you like.”

“Yeah?”

“Well, Alanna and I were looking up other businesses in said strip mall and one of the places is a comedy club called Chuckle Duck.”

“You’re point?”

“What if Alanna and I put together a comedy act and auditioned for the club?”

“You’re kidding.”

“I think it might be a way Alanna and I could go out in public and be ourselves. Hide in plain sight as it were. She wouldn’t have to wear that cape with the huge hood anymore and I could talk. Everyone would think it was part of the act.”

“This is a terrible idea.”

“But we loved going out to the park and the movie theatre so much,” Alanna says bouncing on the balls of her feet. “And if we could pull this off, Flint you wouldn’t have to hide us anymore.”

“I’ve been doing some research about Chuckle Duck,” Fabulous said. “Some of the acts that warm up the audience for the main attraction have gotten bigger gigs. One of them even got their own show in Vegas.”

“This Chuckle Duck gig isn’t going to pay much.”

“It will if we get to Vegas,” Alanna said. “Oh, Flint, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live in Vegas!”

“Do you have any idea what it would cost to uproot everything and go to Vegas…no. Let’s get back to the point at hand. You are telling me you want to audition for this strip mall comedy club fully exposed without anything to hide your anomalies with?”

“Yes.”

“Good grief!”

“They do both sketch comedy and stand up,” Fabulous says. “I thought Alanna and I could do a type of sketch comedy. They have auditions tomorrow afternoon.”

“Do you have a routine figured out?”

“Yes.”

“We just need you to drive us over.”

“Can I see this routine?”

“Absolutely!” Alanna says.

“You can see it at the audition tomorrow,” Fabulous says.

“This sounds half baked. And how have you been able to practice behind my back anyway?”

“We practice every time you go out to run errands or pick up groceries…or “visit your sister”.”

“Great.”

“I want to do this so much,” Alanna says. “Please, Flint. Please, please, please…”

“Alanna! This is dangerous. I need to think about it.”

“It would be an excuse to invite Brooke on a date,” Fabulous says.

“Why would Flint want to invite Brooke on a date?” Alanna says a note of jealousy in her voice.

Fabulous glances at me then back at Alanna and says, “Because she’s Flint’s friend.”

“I thought she was Stacy’s friend.”

“She’s Stacy and Flint’s friend.”

“As long as she’s just a friend.”

“Let me think about it and I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

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 EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (2021)-HBO Max

Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield turn in riveting performances as Tammy Faye Bakker and her crooked psychopathic televangelist husband Jim Bakker in this Oscar nominated biopic. The movie chronicles the life of Tammy Faye whose mother was a pianist for the local evangelical church. Tammy was never allowed in the church because her parents had divorced, and her mother had remarried. But this does not stop Tammy and as a determined young girl she charms her way into the congregation whether her mother likes it or not. As a student at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she meets fellow classmate Jim Baker. Jim quickly sees the extroverted feeler as a useful tool in his passion to use the church to make money, and they marry (ironically on April Fool’s Day), an act which gets both kicked out of college.

The newlyweds move to South Carolina where they start a ministry together and travel around the United States. They eventually end up in Virginia Beach, Virginia where they create a puppet ministry for Pat Robertson (Gabriel Olds) who is as equally creepy and psychopathic as Jim. The couple become founders of the 700 Club and join forces with the stalwart Jerry Fallwell (Vincent D’Onofrio) and begin to build a doomed overzealous religious empire.

Jessica Chastain delivers a phenomenal Oscar nominated performance as the effervescent but often naive tool of her manipulative closet homosexual husband. One of the best moments in the film is when she has a chance to leave her bizarro life and falls prey to Jim’s psychological exploitation. The film was also nominated for its fantastic Makeup and Hairstyling by Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, and Justin Raleigh. Andrew Garfield should have also had a second Oscar nomination this year for Best Supporting actor for his wonderful performance as the charismatic monster who is out there swindling to this day. The film is based on the 2000 documentary of the same name.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 22

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again to introduce the twenty-second chapter of Alanna the Piranha. I am feeling much better this week after that awful dental ordeal. I had to go to the veterinarian’s office twice. The first time to get a thorough looking over to make sure they could give me anesthesia to brush my teeth and a rabies shot I was due for. The second time was for the actual procedure. My novelist even made the mistake of thinking my appointment was a week earlier than it was, so I had to endure the horrible stress of being taken there a time before that, only to be sent home. I am glad the whole affair is over.

You must go back in a week or so, so the doctor can make sure you are fully healed.

Cease your blathering, Tucker! Isn’t it bad enough you took my Valentine’s blog installment? Go away.

I love valentines. I had so much fun. I got to…

Go away.

I got an extra Valentine balloon. Would you like it?

Sure. Thank you. Now, go away…please.

I love Valentine’s Day. I had so much fun. I got to…

Here is the twenty-second chapter of Alanna the Piranha. J’espère que vous l’aimez!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Second

Today I park at the beach and look around. The grass glistens with dew, the water is a dull shade of blue and the sky is overcast. There isn’t anyone on the shore, so we disembark the car.

“Oh, joy, oh, joy!” Alanna sings clapping her hands against her sides as she bounces on her toes. “This is going to be so much fun!” She scoops up Fabulous and we stroll towards the park. Alanna has chosen a fluffy pair of orange indoor/outdoor slippers from Stacy’s closet and flip-flops across the asphalt. Her fuzzy camel colored coat ripples in the breeze. 

As we reach the wide empty shore, I untuck the oversized beach towel from under my arm and open it like a parachute. Alanna and I sit down on the terry cloth. Fabulous hops out of Alanna’s arms and curls up next to us.

“Thank you,” Alanna says. “I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to finally be outside and breathe fresh air!”

“We’ll see how it goes,” I say. “Maybe we can do it more frequently.”

“I’d like that.” Just then a jogger comes frap-frapping along the asphalt trail between us and the water. He turns his unnaturally thin frame towards us and catches a glimpse of Alanna’s face. I see the look of confusion in his eyes. Alanna is completely oblivious to his stare. She’s too involved in watching the lake. The jogger continues down the path. Two women dressed in overpriced activewear and chatting excessively come walking from the opposite direction. I assume they are too involved in their conversation to notice us. I’m wrong. One grabs the other and points at Alanna.

“What is that?” she says.

“I don’t…oh, my! It’s botched plastic surgery!”

“Shh! Don’t say that. You’ll upset her.”

After they pass by, I turn to Alanna and ask. “How are you doing?”

“Marvelous!” she says. “Where are we going next?”

“Next? This is it for today.”

“I want to see a movie.”

“No. We only agreed on the park.”

“I want to see a movie too,” Fabulous says.

“I want to know what it’s like to watch television on the big screen,” Alanna says.

I consider their proposal. If we were to go at nighttime we would be in the dark and no one would be able to see us. We could find a place in the back against the wall away from the doors. “What kind of movie did you want to see?”

“A love story,” Alanna says dreamily. “I’d love to see a love story.”

“I want to see that new arthouse film,” Fabulous says. “You know, that one about the farmer who makes everyone think he’s a famous artist…”

Alanna stands up and stamps her foot, “No! I want to see a love story.”

“Alanna,” I say. “Sit down. You don’t want to draw attention.”

“But there’s no one around here except for that jogger and those two women!”

“Alanna, please sit down and we’ll discuss this rationally.”

“Fine,” she says and plops back down on the beach towel.

“Flint,” Fabulous says, “The one about the farmer who’s a sculptor is a love story. He saves all his money to buy his sister a new stable for her horse.”

“That’s not a romance,” Alanna insists. “I want a love story that’s a romance! I want something that warms my heart and breaks it at the same time like An Affair to Remember.”

“Honestly, Alanna,” I say. “There are almost no movies like An Affair to Remember playing at movie theatres and in fact almost none like it made in my lifetime.”

“Don’t people want love stories?”

“I think people just want superheroes and inane violence,” Fabulous says.

“Let me look at Fandango,” I say and scour my phone. “How about we split the difference and see a mystery.”

“A mystery? That sounds interesting. What do you think, Alanna?”

“Well,” she says disappointedly. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a mystery.”

“They are like a puzzle,” I tell her. “You try to figure out how they end.”

“That could be intriguing.”

“Alright then, I’ll buy a ticket for you and I. You can bring a large purse or something Fabulous can hide in. They won’t charge her for a ticket, but they might not let her in the theatre.”

“I see no reason why I wouldn’t be allowed into a theatre,” Fabulous huffs.

“It’s just that you’re a bunny.”

“Alanna’s a half piranha/half girl. I don’t see how that’s different.”

“Because I can disguise Alanna enough to make her look human. Just let me buy the tickets and we’ll figure it out.”

Alanna wears a cape with a hood to the movie theatre. It was an article of clothing left over from my RPG Cosplay phase. She looks good in it. Not exactly “blend in with the crowd” attire but smart just the same. Because I purchased the tickets ahead of time, we can walk in and just show them to the usher who doesn’t give us a second glance. “Theatre three to your right,” he says.

Fabulous is in Alanna’s large but not too large handbag. She stays hidden inside as we walk towards the theatre

“This is so exciting!” Alanna says.

“I think you’re really going to…”

“Flint?”

I whip my head around to see Brooke following us.

“Keep walking,” I tell Alanna.

“Who is she?” Alanna asks.

“Stacy’s roommate…oh, great. She’s with Stacy.”

“Flint!” Brooke calls again stepping up just in time for Alanna to pull her hood down enough to hide her face.

“Hey, Brooke,” I say. “Stacy.”

“Flint,” Stacy says unenthusiastically.

“Who’s this?” Brooke asks nodding at Alanna.

“This is Alanna,” I tell her. “Alanna, this is Brooke.”

Alanna’s hood continues to cover her face as she extends her hand towards Brooke. “Pleased to meet you,” Alanna says.

“And this is Stacy.”

“Pleased to meet you, Stacy.”

“I have a pair of heels just like those,” Stacy tells her.

That’s because they are Stacy’s shoes.

“I didn’t know you were dating, Flint,” Brooke says.

It’s probably just my imagination but I detect a faint note of disappointment in her voice. “We’re good friends,” I say.

“That’s not true,” Alanna says. “We’re much more than that.”

I laugh uncomfortably. Brooke looks perplexed. Stacy glares.

“What movie are you going to see, cousin?” I ask my sister.

“That new romantic comedy with that guy you’ll never be.”

“How long has this been going on?” Brooke says.

“How long has what been going on?” I ask.

“She means our relationship, Flint,” Alanna says.

“My bro…cousin doesn’t have a relationship,” Stacy says skeptically.

“Stacy’s right,” I say. “We don’t have that kind of relationship.”

“We do so have a relationship,” Alanna insists.

“But not that kind of relationship.”

“Is this one of those…friends with benefits things?” Brooke asks.

Stacy laughs embarrassingly loud.

“Our relationship has all sorts of benefits,” Alanna says.

“I’m tutoring Alanna,” I say, hoping that will explain the situation.

“Oh,” Brooke says as if all the puzzle pieces suddenly came together.

“We’re going to miss our movie.”

“Who said that?” Brooke says.

“I think it was her tote bag,” Stacy says pointing to Alanna’s bag.

“It’s probably Alanna’s phone,” I say. She keeps it in her tote bag.” Fabulous is going to get it when we get back to the basement.

“I have a soundbite of a sobbing man that goes off when I get notifications,” Stacy says. “I downloaded it from completelyworthlessdude.com.”

I glare at Stacy. “Well, we’d better get going. We’re going to miss the movie. Hope you guys like your film.” I grab Alanna by her wrist and start hauling us towards Theatre 3.  

“Flint,” Alanna says. “You’re walking too fast!”

“Not fast enough.”

“I can’t keep up with you! I’m going to break a heel!”

“You should have thought about that before you stole my sister’s four-inch pumps.”

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: TICK, TICK, BOOM! (2021)-Netflix

In continuing with Oscar nominated films available on streaming, this week’s pick is absolutely exhilarating. Based on the play by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Jonathan Larson (Rent) the play won the Outer Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical and an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actor for Raúl Esparza.

The story is a mini autobiography about Jonathan Larson (brilliantly played by Oscar Nominee Andrew Garfield) getting his first full length play Superbia performed at a workshop in New York City on the eve of his thirtieth birthday. Unfortunately, Jonathan’s world is imploding. He keeps hearing a ticking sound that follows him around. He is having trouble with his girlfriend, a dancer named Susan (Alexandra Shipp) who has been offered a job teaching dance at Jackob’s Pillow in Becket, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. She wants Jonathan to leave the New York theatre scene and move there with her. Jonathan loves Susan but he does not want to leave New York, especially on the eve of his big break. His former roommate and longtime best friend Michael (Robin de Jesús) has quit acting and taken a job at an uptown advertising agency. He encourages Jonathan to stop following his dream of being a Broadway playwright and take a job as a member of a focus group at his place of business. Jonathan is also surrounded by theatre friends who are dying of AIDS, one being his coworker Freddy (Ben Levi Ross) who waits tables with Jonathan at the Moonlight Diner. Jonathan does get encouragement from his friend Karessa Johnson (Vanessa Hudgens) a performer in his play, and at times his agent Rosa (Judith Light), and Stephen Sondheim (Bradley Whitford) who sees promise in Jonathan’s work.

The film is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (Hamilton) film directing debut and was produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. This is easily one of the best films of the year and Andrew Garfield is more than deserving of his nomination for Best Actor for his outstanding Oscar caliber performance.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter Twenty-One

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. I am introducing Gigi’s story today because she is on drugs. She had her teeth professionally cleaned this week and had to have a fractured tooth removed. I am happy I get to do the intro because Monday is Valentine’s Day. I like Valentine’s Day very, very, very much. I like to go out on dates and get treated like a prince. There is a cute little Shiatzu in the neighborhood, and I have a crush on her. She is fluffy and has black and white fur like Gigi. But she is not mean like Gigi.

Oscar season is here, and my novelist is going to talk about some of the films nominated as the big day draws near. I have watched most of them with her. I like them although I do not think any movie is as good as Isle of Dogs. Anyway, here is Gigi’s…let me see if I can remember…oh, right. Here is Gigi’s Twenty plus one chapter of Alanna the Piranha. I hope you luv it. I hope I get white chocolate for Valentines. I luv white chocolate because dogs cannot eat milk chocolate or dark chocolate. I hope I get white chocolate for Valentines. I luv white chocolate.

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-First

Alanna has been restless. She is tired of watching television and playing cards. I think she wants to see what the outside world looks like. But in all fairness, I must get her perspective about the situation. Perhaps she is happier just hanging out in the house. So, today I am sitting her down and having a talk with her about it.

“Outside,” Alanna tells me. “Definitely outside.”

“But you know there’s a good chance you won’t be accepted.”

“Why not?”

“Because to the best of my knowledge there aren’t many fish girls walking around out there.”

“I won’t be liked because there aren’t many human piranhas?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“I want to go outside anyway. And I want you to go with me.”

“It goes without saying I would go with you.”

“And Fabulous. We have to take Fabulous along.”

“Okay.”

“Do you think Fabulous will get a lot of attention too?”

“Yes, but not the kind of attention you will.”

“Well, I can’t stay in this room for ever. I think we should get out as soon as possible.”

“We need to get a plan together first.”

“What’s to plan? We just get dressed in the proper attire and go.”

“But we can’t just leave the house anytime we want without a plan.”

“But Flint, you often leave the house without a plan.”

“That’s different. I’m not an anomaly. I can blend in with the crowd.”

“So what? Maybe I don’t want to blend in with the crowd. Maybe I want to stand out.”

“It’s not what you want that worries me, Alanna. It’s how you will be reacted to.”

Tears fill Alanna’s piranha eyes. “Are you ashamed of me?”

“No, I am not ashamed of you.”

“You are ashamed of your own creation!”

“Alanna…”

“You should let her out.”

Alanna and I look at each other confused. “Who said that?” I ask.

“Well, it wasn’t me,” Alanna says.

“You should take us both for an outing and see what happens.”

Alanna and I turn to look at the bunny who is nestled in her bed watching us. I say, “You talk?”

“Well, you’ve been shooting me up with CRISPR Cas9 for weeks. What did you expect?”

“How long have you been able to talk?”

“Since right around the time Alanna could.”

“But you’ve never said a word until now,” Alanna says.

“How did you learn to talk?” I ask.

“The same way Alanna learned to talk,” Fabulous says. “I watch television and the internet with you when you aren’t looking. Take Alanna and me out for a stroll somewhere. If we get any flack for it, we know we tried.”

“Do you know your name?” Alanna asks the bunny.

“Fabulous.”

“Isn’t she the cutest thing?!” Alanna says to me clapping her hands together and bouncing on the balls of her feet.

I roll my eyes. “Good grief! Okay, I’ll figure out a place for us to go. This is insane.”

“Okay,” I tell Alanna and Fabulous. “Here’s the plan. I think we should start with the park. What’s good about the park is it’s by the lake and has a beach. If we’re going somewhere, it should be compatible for both of you. There’s trees and grass for Fabulous and water and beach for Alanna.”

“What should I wear?” Alanna asks.

“If it were warmer weather, I’d say a swimming suit.”

“That sounds marvelous! Does Stacy have one that would fit me?”

“I have no idea. But it’s cold weather so you shouldn’t wear one. Pick something that will keep you warm.”

“What about a dress and a shawl?”

I know nothing about clothing. “Maybe…”

“Does Stacy have a dress and a shawl?”

“I doubt she owns a shawl. My mom might.”

“Are they pretty?”

“Do you want to be warm, or do you want to be pretty?” Fabulous snaps.

“Both of course,” Alanna says.

“Well, I don’t need any clothes. I’m already furry and cute.”

“Yes, you are, muffin,” Alanna coos.

“Oh, stop it!”

“Alright, let’s plan out when we’re going. My strategy is to leave on a Sunday morning. I think we’ll get the least amount of people then.”

“But I thought the idea was to see how people react to us,” Alanna says.

“Yes, but we don’t want to cause a big stir. We shouldn’t go headfirst into a large crowd. We should ease into society slowly. I’ll go look upstairs to see if my mom has a shawl. I think there might have been a couple of dresses Stacy wanted to get rid of and then we’ll give this a try tomorrow.”

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 POWER OF THE DOG (2021)-Netflix

The movie nominated for the most Oscars this year (twelve nods) is The Power of the Dog, a gorgeous looking and unusual story that does not take a predictable course. This is the first full length feature film from Jane Campion in twelve years! She spent 2013-2017 working on the revered television series Top of The Lake. It is wonderful to have her back making movies. Campion’s direction in this film is visceral and vibrant and she is clearly a frontrunner for the win. It would be wild if she were to take the trophy because it is the second time both she and Steven Spielberg have been nominated for Best Director in the same year. Spielberg won best director for Schindler’s List in 1993 the same year Campion was also nominated for best director for her magnum opus The Piano. She did, however, deservedly take home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. She is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay this time with cowriter Thomas Savage (who also penned the novel of the same name).

In addition to Campion’s outstanding work, all four main actors were nominated for their stellar performances. Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirsten Dunst, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Set in 1925 Montanna, ranchers and brothers Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons) run a successful ranch. They are quite different in temperament. George is younger, likeable and of above average intelligence. Phil, on the other hand, is bold, masculine and whip smart. It is suggested that Phil, though excellent at his job, probably doesn’t belong in this kind of work. As a graduate of an ivy league school, he should be a professor at a major university or perhaps a successful professional or businessman. But he is peculiarly loyal to George and with the help of a deceased man named Bronco Henry the two have become wealthy. They head to an inn one evening with their ranch hands to have dinner. The inn is owned by widowed Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst) whose husband committed suicide. Rose is or has become a fragile woman and her near adult son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) assists her in running the establishment. Phil hates them instantly and makes his feelings clear. George, however, takes pity on Rose and the two become close much to Phil’s horror.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 20

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the twentieth chapter of my story. I have been incarcerated a lot this week. My novelist is not pleased with the way I fight with the Maltese and so I have been assigned time outs. She puts me in the bedroom to think about my actions. I must say after careful consideration I think my actions are justified. The Maltese upsets me. His presence alone agitates me. I see no reason not to let him know about my distress. One cannot be forced to have harmonious chemistry with another. One is either capable of making friends with someone or not. I am not capable of being civil to that furry little wingnut. Perhaps my recent outbursts stem from the absurd amount of book banning crusades that have been going on. I did not even realize young people read these days. I thought they all played on their phones and took risqué pictures of themselves and accidentally sent them to the wrong recipients. Anyway, here is chapter twenty of Alanna the Piranha. Jouir!

ALANNA THE PIRANHA

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twentieth

Alanna went to work making a profit off my Aunt Linda’s $5000. She did as I asked and only put $3000 in the stock market. She’s right about me playing it safe. I should have let her invest $4000 instead. But I’m concerned about a bear market. Alana said that’s the best time to get deals on stocks. So, I let her take the role of my financial adviser.

There were a few snags, however. She disobeyed me concerning Stacy’s belongings. It all started yesterday afternoon when Stacy dropped by unexpectedly.

“I’m thinking about selling some of my stuff on Poshmark,” Stacy said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I want money. I hate always having to check my bank account to make sure I have enough money.”

“Enough money for what?”

“Don’t be stupid, Flint. You know what I’m talking about. You went to college.”

“You mean like room and board? Books?”

“No, stupid. Dates. I need money to look good for my dates. Mom never gives me enough money for makeup. You know that.”

“No, I did not know that.”

“Well, you should.”

“I don’t wear makeup.”

“You must have liked it when a girl put on make up to go out on a date with you in college.”

“You know I never once went out on a date in college.”

“Yes, but I like how it stings when I remind you.”

“Thanks,” I say with a scowl.

“Anyway, I’ve got a few shoes I’d like to sell. You know, the ones I’ve never worn.”

“Can’t you take your new shoes back to the store and get your money back?”

“Some of them, yes. But a couple of others, no.”

“How many shoes do you have you’ve never worn?”

“A few…it doesn’t matter. I just need you to help me gather them up and take pictures of them so I can put them up for sale on Poshmark. I’ve even staged a place in my room to make the pictures pop.”

I sigh. “Alright, I’ll help you.”

“I also need you to take pictures of some jewelry I’ve never worn. And a scarf. And a couple of tops and a pair of jeans.”

“Where are you getting the cash to buy all these extra clothes?”

“Cash? Oh, you mean credit cards.”

“You know, you really should get a job to help pay for this shopping habit of yours.”

“A job?! I don’t have time for a job! I’m studying to get into the business school, I’m on the dance team for college basketball and unlike you I go on dates and attend parties. If anyone needs a job, Flint, it’s you. You need to make money so you can go to graduate school and become a chemistry professor.”

“I studied biophysics not chemistry.”

“Whatever. One science is just the same as another. Now, help me take pictures of my super dope stuff. It’s super important I look good for my next date.”

I took the pictures of my sister’s stuff and shared them with her in the cloud. And I wouldn’t have thought anymore about it except for one thing: everything we took pictures of was put into an old steamer trunk my dad inherited. I had to get it down from the attic and drag it into my sister’s room. Except I couldn’t drag it exactly. I had to wheel it in on a dolly because I didn’t want to mark up the floor. Had everything gone back into the closet where Stacy had gotten it from things would have been different. But that’s not what happened. What happened was a couple of the pictures were blurry. And I knew Stacy would through a fit if the pictures were blurry. So, I resigned myself to retake them.

When I went upstairs to Stacy’s room to retrieve the items, I opened the trunk and noticed a couple shoeboxes were missing. I turned and marched back downstairs to have a word with Alanna. When I got to my room, I caught the piranha girl red handed leaning over a shoebox with a pair of pumps in it.

“Alanna!”

She jumped when she heard me call her name.

“We just had this conversation yesterday. You cannot take Stacy’s things.”

“But they are pretty and very shiny. They have red soles on them.”

“Where are the others?”

“Here,” she moved, and I saw the missing boxes sitting on my bed.

I stepped closer and took a careful look at the shoes. I don’t remember taking a picture of this pair. They seem like they are too expensive to be in my sister’s closet, even for a fashionista like her. “I don’t think these are a good idea. I mean even if they were yours could you even balance in those things?”

“What is a sister anyway?”

“A sister is someone related to you by way of your parents.”

“I don’t understand,”

“Well, I don’t understand it either, but that’s the way it is. These belong to my sister. Not to mention they are completely impractical for walking around in a basement.”

Alanna wriggles her fingers as if she were trying to move fins. “So, you are telling me I cannot keep these.”

“No. You can only have the tennis shoes I gave you.”

She plops down on my bed and pouts. “Okay. I will not try on the pretty shiny shoes. Would you please help me put the tennis shoes back on? It’s hard for me to reach my feet to tie them.”

“Of course. Allow me.” I walked over to where she left them before getting in her sleeping bag last night and bring them back to the bed. She raised her foot, and I took a moment to admire her lovely ankle. I tugged at the laces and carefully slipped the shoe on over her toes and up over her heel. “Watch.” I grabbed both laces and secured them Then I tied them in a bow.

“Stand up and tell me what you think.”

“They feel good.”

“Great. Now let me put the left shoe on and you can walk around.”

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-OPERATION VARSITY BLUES: THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL (2021)-NETFLIX

This excellent docudrama by Chris Smith with scenes using dialogue lifted from actual FBI phone tapes is a look at how even those in the highest places can be manipulated. William Rick Singer (played by Mathew Modine) appeared to be a con artist to few (often educators) but a helpful and knowledgeable man about the college admission process to many. Almost anyone who watched the original Gossip Girl and listened to Chuck Bass’s dialogue knows there is a back door into higher education usually bought by erecting libraries or setting up large scholarships in the family name. But Singer developed and touted what he called the side door or in other words the bargain basement variant of buying your child’s entrance into exclusive universities. Singer, who had all the typical signs of a psychopath (transient lifestyle, raging temper, lack of sleep, previous sleezy cons, heavy prominent eyebrows, dull eyes, CEO) was a former college athlete and high school and college basketball coach who because of his temper (see psychopath list) was fired. Singer merely used what he learned about sports to spin it into a business designed to help wealthy parents get their kids into highly competitive schools they may or may not have been worthy of admittance to. Singer had the parents donate a fraction of the back door sum to the university’s athletic department and then take pictures of their kids doing some type of sport such as water polo or rowing. Singer would then superimpose the kid’s face onto the body of an athlete and send it to the admissions board. The student who was usually not in any way shape or form athletic would be put on the university team’s recruit lists but never show up to practice. Singer (who always wore a track suit) would also coach kids for the SAT and have them fly to a different state to take the exam. The kid and Singer’s test minion were usually the only ones in the room. After the kid finished the test, the minion would adjust their scores, so they were high enough to satisfy the university but low enough not to draw attention. The film, much like Waiting for Superman points out huge and glaring flaws plaguing America’s education system. 

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 19

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the nineteenth chapter of Alanna the Piranha. This has been a week most full. I will begin with the sorrow we feel over the passing of one of my novelist’s and my favorite rock and roll legends, Meat Loaf. My novelist who has been a fan of his for many years, owns several of his albums, attended The Rocky Horror Picture Show and was fortunate enough to have seen him in concert in Las Vegas. She thought he was an exciting and fully committed singer and entertainer and felt blessed to have been able to see him perform in person. Apparently, he is NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But then again, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is notorious for making a jackass of itself.

On the home front here in the great northwest, we had a prison break from a juvenile detention center called Ecco Glen Children’s Center. Five male inmates took off in a government owned blue Ford Fusion, always a favorite amongst Nascar drivers. One of them was a murderer who killed a man because, “I just felt like doing it”. On further research about the facility, it has had had three other prison breaks. In September 2012 six boys ages 14-15 years old knocked a female security guard unconscious with a frozen water bottle, locked her up, stole her keys and radio and escaped. The escape appeared to have been premeditated (a fact which apparently took a genius to figure out). In September of 2016 a fifteen-year-old boy slipped away while inmates were being moved between buildings. Evidently, there was only one staff member on duty when there was supposed to be two and hiring and keeping staff has been an ongoing issue. In fact, the union representing guards sent a letter to Cheryl Strange, the secretary of Washington State Corrections begging for more staffing. The union’s thoughts on the matter would be simpatico with what the successful Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center would say who have a 90% success rate treating the most dangerous juvenile inmates in Wisconsin. Staffing is of great importance there. But apparently not in Washington. In December 2018 a fourteen-year-old male serving time for murder and a sixteen-year-old boy serving time for robbery escaped through an unfenced area.

After doing a little research my novelist and I found that the center uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Aggression Replacement Training (ART) in their attempts to rehabilitate its inmates. However, we question this one size fits all therapy and wonder if it may not be working effectively on a subgroup of the offenders there who may be treatment refractory. Said offenders due to their psychopathic traits may also be able to manipulate other inmates successfully into assisting them with their premeditated plans. Also, the place is not fenced despite being not only a medium security facility but also a maximum-security facility. The center was originally designed in 1967 for children who committed lesser crimes and has been unfenced ever since. In 2021 the gate was broken by a visitor who was “high on drugs and smashed into it”. The gate has never been repaired. I should also add there is a camp that grade school kids attend throughout the year twelve miles away.

Perhaps dividing the medium-security facility from the maximum-security facility would be more successful. Also adjusting the maximum-security facility to be far more secure than the medium facility as well as having it be focused on a mental health philosophy and treating a lower population using a larger staff may be a better fit for some inmates. For instance, it may not be a good idea for a psychopathic child scoring 35 or higher on the PCL-R and showing substantial decreased gray matter in the prefrontal lobe and paralimbic system seen via a FMRI and SPECT scan to be engaged in therapy involving future service animals as they tend to kill them. As a poodle I shudder at the thought.

On a completely different topic, my novelist and I would like to assure our readers that as far as internment camps go here in the northwest, we do not presently have any. We do, however, have daily book burnings at Snohomish County Washington public schools. We can’t just let Tennessee have all the fun, can we?

And without further ado, here is chapter nineteen of Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Day the Nineteenth

I should have guessed Alanna would like money. I told her my Aunt Linda gave me five thousand dollars to work with to be returned to her in one year and for me to keep the profits. Alanna went to work thinking of ways to make the money grow. She spent the entire day watching CNBC and began to devise a strategy.

“You need to buy stock.”

“Stock?”

“Well,” Alanna says picking up the Newfoundland Dwarf. “As your financial adviser I think you should purchase one thousand dollars’ worth of each of these five stocks I’ve been looking at.”

“Isn’t that a little ambitious?”

“No,” she says picking up a bottle of nail polish.

“Where did you get that?”

“Your sister’s room.”

“What? Don’t go in my sister’s room!”

Alanna sits on my bed, sets the bunny beside her, and starts painting her fingernails purple. “You need to stop surfing the internet all day and do some financial research.”

“I don’t sit and surf the internet all day.”

“You don’t do much else either. Your mother washes your clothes and cooks your meals while your dad goes to work and pays your bills. You’re not a child, Flint. You need to get off your duff and do something with your life.”

“Need I remind you that I am the one who genetically engineered you. Without me there would be no you.”

“Without me you aren’t going to make any money with those five thousand dollars. And when your aunt reclaims her loan where will you be? You can’t stay in your parents’ basement forever. Invest in the five stocks I’ve researched.”

“I’ll tell you what. I can’t afford all five stocks. And I’d feel a lot more comfortable if a chunk of the money was put into a bank account.”

“You’re young. You don’t need to play it safe. Besides, money makes terrible interest in bank accounts.”

“Just trust me on this.”

“Fine,” Alanna relents. She keeps her wet nails back as she pets the Newfoundland Dwarf. It twitches its nose and perks its ears. “You can put a thousand dollars in a bank account of my choosing. But four thousand needs to go into stocks.”

“Two thousand.”

“Three thousand.

I sigh. “Done. By the way, have you decided on a name for the bunny?”

“Oh, yes!” she says, a twinkle sparkling in her piranha eye. “I’ve been meaning to tell you. I’ve named her Fabulous.”

“Fabulous the bunny?”

“Isn’t it just the cutest name? I think Alanna and Fabulous sound wonderfully musical together!”

I study the Newfoundland Dwarf for a moment. Alanna’s right. Fabulous is a dope name. “Yeah, alright. I can roll with that.”

“You know, I’ve been thinking. I’ve visited Stacy’s room a couple of times now and…”

“A couple of times?!”

“…she has a lot of things she doesn’t use. We could take them and sell them on eBay and Poshmark.”

“Look, I’m not going to fight you on investing in the stock market. But this is a very bad idea. Stacy is quite fond of her stuff and whether she uses it or not it’s still hers.”

“But it just sits there.”

“Alanna,” I say more firmly. “Do not take anything that belongs to my sister.”

Alanna lowers her eyes and pouts. “I was just trying to help.”

“Stealing is not a way to help. My aunt gave me that five-thousand dollars to grow and keep what I make. We don’t need Stacy’s things to make that happen.”

“Okay,” she says. “It’s just you don’t appear to own anything that anyone would want to buy.”

This remark kind of hurts. “Well, I did have a comic book collection, but I sold it to make enough money to pay for you and Fabulous. You wouldn’t be a half girl/half piranha if I hadn’t made sacrifices.”

I think I might see an actual tear forming in the corner of Alanna’s eye. “Oh, Flint,” she says, her voice trembling. “I had no idea.”

“That’s okay. But you may have a good point about starting some sort of business.”

“Yes. I think that’s a wonderful idea. I’ll try putting together a business plan portfolio.”

“I wasn’t thinking of that big of a thing. Maybe a side hustle.”

“It’s better to think big. Otherwise, you’re selling yourself short.”

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: FIGHT CLUB (1999)-IMDB TV & TNT

This week we wanted to highlight one of Meat Loaf’s acting roles. One of his best films is Fight Club based on the book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, who was born in Pasco, Washington. Meat Loaf plays supporting character Bob Paulson, a man who is dying of cancer who meets the Narrator (Edward Norton). The Narrator is a healthy young man who joins different support groups he has no business belonging in to find meaning in his mundane life. A “tourist” if you will. While flying on an airplane the Narrator meets a soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who helps the Narrator form a “fight club” in which men like Bob join to reject consumerism and corporate America while rediscovering their manhood by beating each other to a pulp. The film was directed by the fantastic David Fincher and co-stars Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer, another “tourist” the Narrator meets on his voyage through support groups.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 18

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti poodle here to present the eighteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. Last week my novelist and I visited grandma and grandpa. It was a wonderful outing. All participants were fully vaccinated and boosted, and we all stayed in one location. We thoroughly enjoyed rewatching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and the film my novelist deems her favorite feel-good movie, Falling Down. We were finally able to celebrate Christmas as we were too snowed in to make the journey in December.

I had a lot of fun. A lot of fun.

Ugh! The Maltese.

I liked the pretty paper and the pretty bags and the pretty boxes and…

Yes, yes. No one cares about what you like.

And the dinner. I loved, loved, loved the dinner. It was nummy, nummy, nummy!

Yes, I liked it too now…

And the sparkly tree. I liked the sparkly tree.

Fantastic.

What did you like?

I liked…

Next month is Valentines! I like the fancy cards and the heart shaped boxes and…

Here is chapter eighteen of Alanna the Piranha. Genießen!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Eighteenth

I spent most of the night perusing my mother’s 20,000 Names for Baby book trying to come up with a moniker for the piranha. Everything from Allissa to Zoe. The piranha slumbered in her sleeping bag. I watched the neon from the fish tank reflect on her, hoping for inspiration. But alas, I could not decide on a name.

At some point I nodded off and when I woke up, she was still sleeping. So, I went upstairs to procure some breakfast and make myself an espresso. When I returned, the piranha was sitting on my bed reading a fashion magazine Stacy must have left down here somewhere.

“Well,” she demanded. “What’s my name?”

“I don’t know yet,” I tell her.

“You’ve got to know soon. I can’t go on not having a word to call myself.”

“I know, I know. It’s hard but we’ll figure it out soon.”

“Not “we”. You. You promised me a name.”

“Here,” I say handing her my breakfast. Eat something and I’ll keep looking through the book.”

Alanna looks at the plate and pouts. “You didn’t bring me strawberries.”

“You need strawberries?”

“Of course, I need strawberries. And a croissant. I’ve been craving croissants.”

“I don’t have any strawberries or croissants. I’ll pick some up for you later today.”

“You mean the croissants will be day old?”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“I want fresh croissants!”

“I’m not going out at seven in the morning to pick you up fresh croissants. I’ll get you some today and you can have them tomorrow.”

“You’re cruel!”

“I’m not cruel. I’m pragmatic. The croissants I buy today will be just as good tomorrow.”

“No, they won’t.”

“Would you please let me find a name for you already!”

“Fine,” she huffs.

I return to flipping through the name book and let her sulk. Man, she’s a lot of work! Maybe I should call her something that means pain in the neck.

The doorbell rings upstairs. I hear my mom’s footsteps move across the ceiling. Then she calls downstairs to alert me I have a package.

“Alanna,” I say. “I need you to stay quiet while I go upstairs and take care of something.”

“Can’t I come with you?”

“No, I need you to stay here.”

“Why can’t I come with you?”

“Because you are…precious.”

“You think I’m precious?”

“Yes.”

“Maybe that should be my name. Precious.”

“Precious the piranha. That sounds odd. Let me see if I can find a name that means precious instead.”

“Okay,” she says with a lilt in her voice.

I have figured out what to name the piranha. It was easy naming Josie. It was hard naming the piranha.

“Well?” she says sitting patiently on my bed as I pace in front of her. The bunny is curled up in her lap. It’s amazing how quickly the Newfoundland Dwarf has become her pet instead of mine. I find it sad a bunny would choose a piranha girl over a human guy.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” I tell her. “A lot of thought and I think I’ve chosen a name that fits you well.”

“What is it?”

“Jezebel.”

The piranha shoots me a shocked look. “Jezebel?!”

“Yes. I’ve always liked the way Jezebel sounds.”

“That’s a cruel name!”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean the name is savage! Jezebel was one of the vilest women who ever lived! Why would you call me that?!”

“Piranhas are naturally vicious creatures. And it’s a sexy name.”

“It’s not sexy at all! Where’s that book of names you’ve been rifling through? If you can’t pick a name for me, I’ll pick one myself!”

“Fine!” I say shoving the book at her. “And don’t ruin it. It belongs to my mother.”

The piranha snatches the book from me, sets it on my desk and begins flipping through it with her fin hand. “Julie.”

“Julie?”

“Julie means “youthful” which I am.”

“It doesn’t suit you.”

“Fine. What about Pearl? That’s aquatic.”

“It’s better but it’s still not you.”

The piranha flips the pages back. “Coral.”

“Here, give me the book. I’ll look again. I take the book from her and start at the beginning scanning down the page trying to find something appropriate. She walks behind me and peers over my shoulder.

“What about that one?” she asks pointing.

“It means noble and harmony.”

“Pronounce it.”

“Alanna.”

“Alanna,” she says repeating it. “That rhymes with piranha.”

Suddenly, the Newfoundland Dwarf looks up and twitches her nose at me.

“Alanna, Piranha,” I say. “Hmm…that has a nice ring to it.”

“That’s it!” the piranha says. “My name is Alanna. Alanna the Piranha.”   

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: BEING THE RICARDOS (2021)-Amazon Prime

This week’s movie is a smart little biopic that examines the relationship between superstar television performers Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz. The film jumps around in time a bit but is never confusing. Mainly it focuses on taping a 1953 episode where Fred and Ethel Mertz refuse to talk to each other and Lucy plans a dinner to help them reconcile. During the show’s preparation, a couple of paramount incidents occur. Firstly, the Arnaz’s tell the executives Lucy is pregnant and they want to weave it into the storyline over the course of the season. They argue this would be better than hiding her behind scenery and props which was common resolution at that time. Secondly, a story has surfaced that Lucille Ball is a communist. All the while, Lucille struggles with trying to find out if Desi is cheating on her.

Nichole Kidman is superb in the lead roll and earned a well-deserved Golden Globe for her performance. Javier Bardem is also outstanding as both star and would-be philandering husband. And Aaron Sorkin’s writing is sharp and well- crafted as he deftly moves between past, present and future.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 17

Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the seventeenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. This past weekend was a bittersweet one for my novelist and I and possibly even for the Maltese. It is tradition for us to sit down and enjoy the Golden Globes together but alas, that experience was not to be had this year. However, we were most pleased with many of the wins. Highlights for us included HBO’s Succession winning for Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Jeremy Strong, and Best Supporting Actress for Sarah Snook. We were also pleased to see Jean Smart take the win for Best Actress Comedy in HBO’s Hacks as well as Kate Winslet take the win for her outstanding work in the brilliant Mare of Easttown.On the movie front we were happy to see The Power of the Dog take the award for Best Picture Dramaand the amazing Jane Campion take a much-deserved win for Best Director. Also, Nicole Kidman was honored for her turn as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. Our favorite winner overall was Michael Keaton for Dopesick who is amazing as a doctor in a mining town who becomes part of the downward spiral of the opioid addiction crisis. Whew! All that said, here is Day the Seventeenth in my story Alanna the Piranha. Enjoy!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Seventeenth

Today I awoke to realize I had not dreamed it. I had indeed manufactured a half-piranha/half-girl. She was sitting beside my computer with the bunny nestled in her lap. The sleeping bag I had unrolled for her to slumber in was rolled up and sitting nice and tidy over in the corner.

“What are you going to name me?” the piranha asks. “You haven’t given me a name yet.”

“I know,” I say sighing.

“Have you even thought about what you’ll name me?”

“I think it should be something very special.”

“That doesn’t answer my question. I want to know if you are going to sit down and take the time to give me a name.”

Honestly, I haven’t thought at all about what to call her. I had not planned on bringing a piranha-girl into the world. But she was right. I needed to name her.

“And the bunny,” she insisted. “You need to name the bunny too.”

“How about this,” I say. “I will pick out a name for you and you can pick out a name for the bunny.”

“How?”

“How?”

“How do I go about figuring out a name for the bunny?”

“Well…I think there are baby name sites on the internet.”

“How do I find them?”

“You just…”

“Wouldn’t a book be better? Isn’t there a book full of baby names?”

I mull this over. I seem to remember some sort of name book my mother had in the bookshelf in the office. “Let me check upstairs.”

“I’m hungry. Can you get me something to eat? Maybe one of those pretty round frosted cookies?”

I bought a box of round frosted cookies from the grocery store bakery and she saw me eating one today. “Sure,” I say and head upstairs. When I reach the kitchen, my mom is there but the box of cookies is missing.

“Mom?” I ask.

“Yes, dear,” she says.

“What happened to those frosted sugar cookies I picked up at the grocery store the other day?”

“I moved them to the pantry.”

“Thanks.”

I head over to the pantry and grab the box of cookies. I set one on a small plate and take it with me into my dad’s old office. The office is always well organized. My mother is fond of both alphabetizing and the Dewey Decimal System. I figure the book is categorized by the latter which means it’s going to take me some time to locate it. As I search for 20,000 Names for Baby my dad comes home from work. I hear him open the door, take off his jacket and, of course, head straight for the office.

“Flint,” he says surprised to see me in there. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for a book,” I say.

“Oh…well let me help you. Your mother’s got this whole thing arranged so well; I can never find anything in it.”

“That’s okay, dad. I think I can handle it. You’re busy.”

“I’m never too busy for my son.”

Great. This is going to go badly.

“So, what book are you looking for?”

“You know,” I say, “on second thought I can just look it up online.”

“Nonsense! Not everything you need to know has to be looked up on a computer.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“What’s the book, Flint?”

I am not a liar. I am a lot of things, but a liar isn’t one of them. I look my dad straight in the eye and with all the courage I can muster say, “I’m looking for mom’s book of baby names.”

My dad furrows his brow and gives me a look as if he heard me wrong. “What?”

“Mom’s book of baby names.”

“Why?”

“Someone bought a pet, and they don’t know what to name it.”

“Oh…let’s see…ah, here it is.”

He hands me the book with the bright yellow cover. “Thanks, dad,” I say. “This helps a lot.”

I snatch the plate with the frosted sugar cookie and head back downstairs.

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: BO BURNHAM: INSIDE (2021)-Netflix

While many folks may have binge watched shows and played video games during 2020, Bo Burnham went to work. And wow, did he ever! His take on quarantine during the first year of Covid19 is one of the most unexpectedly brilliant films of the year. This audacious spot on serio-comic musical which he wrote, directed, starred in, edited, shot, and ran the sound and lighting on is perhaps one of the best and most ambitious standup comedy pieces ever filmed. At times laugh out loud funny, at others poignantly moving, and always personal and brave, it works like a theatrical time capsule to be shown to future generations so they will know what it was like to experience a worldwide pandemic. For those of us who continued to work on our art during this time of being inside (I published all five books of Musicology from August 2020-June 2021) we can look at this example of what comes out of finding opportunity in challenging situations. An absolute must see.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 16

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce my sixteenth chapter in Alanna the Piranha. On a sad note, one of the great American film directors, Peter Bogdanovich has died at the age of 82. My novelist and I were fans of his and adore such films as Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show, and the much-underrated Targets which was unfortunately an accurate look into the future now come to fruition. We are saddened by his passing and Hollywood is a little less dazzling because of it.

On a happier note, a new character is being introduced in today’s installment. I am always excited when I introduce new characters into stories. They bring flavor to the tale. Also, it is now January and the time for New Year’s resolutions. My resolution this year is to examine my portfolio and amass more money. I have extravagant tastes, yet I am extremely tight with my money which is why the Maltese now lives on cat food. I have forgone the desire to wear crystal collars and have settled for the plainer non-encrusted styles. A sacrifice I know, but one must do what one must do. And with that thought, here is chapter sixteen of Alanna the Piranha. Ућивај!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Sixteenth

Today something happened. Just now. I was sitting here at my science table preparing more CRISPR Cas9 when I heard a voice. There it is again. I turn and look at my Newfoundland Dwarf. She’s staring back at me. She’s twitching her nose and looking at me. “Did you say something?” I ask her.

“I most certainly did.”

It’s a female voice. Did I hear it in my head because the bunny isn’t moving its mouth? It’s just sitting there, twitching its nose at me. I look the little thing in the eye. “What did you say?”

“I said, hello.”

Apparently the CRISPR worked better than expected because the bunny can talk to me telepathically. I am totally elated because I have not only put the mind of a human female into the body of a bunny, but I have also allowed it to talk in a language manner far above any mere mortal!

“Why are you staring at the bunny when you clearly should be talking to me?”

So, the bunny is not the one I am having the conversation with. I’m turning my head…and now I’m screaming! Standing before me with long gorgeous human legs is the Piranha. She is about four feet tall. Her entire upper half is fish, and her entire underside is human legs. She reminds me of a child size version of the Ivar’s Clams that used to run around in those commercials. There are hands where her fins should be which would explain why I saw them separating and thought she was defective.

“Well,” the piranha girl says to me. “I think we need to talk.”

She does not tell me this telepathically. She opens her mouth which contains weird looking human-like teeth and a tongue and speaks with perfect diction. “What about?”

“You need to give me a name.”

I see her reasoning. “A name. Yes, I suppose you do deserve a name. I need some time to think about it.”

“And a pair of shoes. I don’t feel comfortable walking around in this filthy basement without shoes.”

“What size?” I ask still trying to take in the whole revelation.

“How would I know that?”

“Right. I guess we need to measure your feet. Normally we’d go to a shoe store and have a salesperson help us. But under the circumstances I think it would be best if I found a way to order a foot measurer and buy your shoes online.”

“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?”

“Are you uncomfortable not having your fins and gills moist with water?”

“I haven’t had an issue so far. Do you think I should?”

“Most piranhas do.”

“But I am not most piranhas. I’m also a human girl.”

“You figured that out on your own?”

“Well, I assumed it. May I sit down?”

“Yes, of course. Let me find a chair.” I look around for something to sit on.

“What about there?” She points to my bed.

“No!” I exclaim as all sorts of terrifying thoughts race through my head. I see an old wooden chair in the corner. I rush over and grab it. “Here.”

The piranha looks at the chair with disgust. “Aren’t you going to wipe all that dust off?”

Apparently, she’s picky. “Sure.” I retrieve a t-shirt from my hamper and start cleaning the chair.

“That seems rather repulsive,” she complains.

“I don’t have anything else.”

“You need a better system.”

“Well, excuse me. I wasn’t expecting company.”

“Don’t you have any shoes in the house I could try on?”

I look at her feet. It’s possible they could be my mother’s size…or my sister’s. “Maybe.”

“Let’s go look.”

“No,” I say. “I will go look. You stay here.”

I head upstairs. I look out the kitchen window and see my mom working in the garden. I scurry into my parent’s bedroom and into their walk-in closet. I grab a pair of my mom’s sneakers and hurry down the hall into Stacy’s room. I rush into her walk-in closet, scour her shelf, and snatch a pair of white leather tennis shoes. I rush past the kitchen window to make sure my mom is still outside before I head back downstairs. The piranha girl is now sitting on my bed.

“You’re supposed to be in the chair.”

“I like this better.”

“I’d rather you sat on the chair.”

“No…thank you.”

“Fine,” I say not liking the situation but not in the mood to argue. “Try these on.”

I hand her the shoes and she sets them on the bed beside her and sighs. “I do not think I can reach my feet.”

“Oh,” I say, suddenly realizing it might be difficult for a piranha girl to bend over. “Allow me.”

I get down on my knees. “Lift your foot,” I say pointing to her right one. She lifts her leg and I help her elevate it which reminds me of that opening scene from Lolita where the title character is having her toenails painted. I take a moment to admire how lovely her ankle is before I work my mom’s tennis shoe over her petite foot and tie the laces. “Stand up and see how you like them.”

She stands, looks down, and turns her foot left then right studying the white leather sneakers. “They are too big.”

I agree. They look a size too large. “Sit back down.”

The piranha sits and lifts her heel. I remove the shoe, set it aside and pick up one of Stacy’s sneakers. I put the sneaker on the piranha girl and tie the laces. She stands.

“These are comfortable,” she says. “And they fit.”

“Sit down and I’ll put the other one on you.” The piranha sits and I put the other shoe on her left foot. “Stand up again and try walking around.”

The piranha rises and walks about. “Wow! It feels like I’m walking on,” she points out the window, “clouds!”

“Good. You can wear those for now. They belong to my sister Stacy. I don’t think she’ll miss them for a few weeks until I can get you a pair of your own.”

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: DON’T LOOK UP (2021)-Netflix

Adam McKay and David Sorata’s new dark comedy is not one to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it will make you laugh out loud and cringe painfully. The film is an attempt to create their version of Dr. Strangelove with a wink and a nudge to the Covid19 virus and all the media around it. And even though it is nowhere near as good as the Kubrick classic it is still very much worth the watch.

PHD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is working on her dissertation in Astronomy when while studying the night sky through the university’s telescope she notices a comet barreling towards earth. Excited by her find she alerts her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio). But when Dr. Mindy does the calculations, he finds the comet is big. Very big in fact. Big enough to destroy the planet. With the help of Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan) from NASA, Dibiasky and Mindy get an audience with the President of the United States (Meryl Streep) and her obnoxious advisor and son (Jonah Hill) who find the gigantic comet hurdling towards earth to be an inconvenience to their schedule and plans.

But after Mindy and Dibiasky go on a national talk show hosted by the vain and shallow cohosts Jack Bremmer (Tyler Perry) and Brie Evenee (Cate Blanchet) they manage to get enough publicity to make the president change her mind. But billionaire would-be genius Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) has other plans.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 15

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here and I am snowbound. All the world is a winter wonderland and I find myself staring out the window and barking at the occasional brave but foolish pedestrian or in some cases snowmobile that happens to zip past my window. Worst of all I have no escape from that dratted Maltese who parks himself on top of a heat vent and treats the whole experience as if he were attending a Swedish spa. It’s most disconcerting. What is truly dreadful is if one goes outside under the roof are these horrifically long and sharp icicles that could melt down enough to do some nasty damage if one were to walk under them at the wrong time. I would not even wish such an occurrence on the Maltese. That said I am keeping myself warm and forgoing my walks for the time being and engaging in such exercise as trotting about from room to room and cornering the Maltese and forcing him to engage in a bout of celebrity death match. Otherwise, I am diligently writing away and now present to you the fifteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha. Njuta! And Happy New Year!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Day the Fifteenth

After the whole fiasco in the library yesterday, I ended up leaving the medical facility rather quickly. It was raining and I decided to catch a bus instead of walking back. I made the mistake of sitting in the middle where this woman across the aisle kept staring at me. I thought she was going to get up and do something crazy. I noticed there her purse had something moving in it. After a moment the furry head of a guinea pig peeked out. It yawned bearing its tiny front teeth. She noticed me looking at her rodent and put her finger to her lips and winked. Then she started laughing bizarrely. I got up and moved to the vacant seat behind the driver and stayed there till I got off at the library, hopped in my car and drove home.

When I returned to my room, I took the bunny out of the lunchbox, put her back on her dog bed, and checked on the piranha. The piranha was not visible in the tank despite the water’s crystal-clear clarity. I looked all over for her, but I could not spot her. I’m getting tired of her little hiding trick. It’s annoying. I figure I’ll check on her later.

Suddenly, it dawns on me I must be creepier looking than I first suspected. If those Chads noticed me watching the Stacys, albeit not with malicious intent, I must stand out. A heavy cloud of depression looms over me. I’m just that repulsive. If I was more of a Chad or even a quasi-Chad no one would even think my watching those girls was nefarious. If you’re attractive your actions are accepted. And if you’re not attractive your actions are discouraged. Hardly seems fair, doesn’t it? But the world sees things from the outside far more frequently than the inside.

I head upstairs and make myself a mocha. I even spray some whip cream on it and rip open a bag of mini chocolate chips my mom has up in the cupboard and sprinkle them on top. I head back downstairs to my room. After the first sip I realize how much I needed the caffeine. A temptation to go on completelyworthlessdude.com washes over me as I stare at my computer screen. But I resist and instead, I head back upstairs to Stacy’s room. My mom and dad went out to lunch and won’t be back for another hour. I probably shouldn’t be in my sister’s room, but I like sitting on her bed sometimes, closing my eyes and imagining it’s my pretend girlfriend’s apartment or something.

As I sip my coffee, I hear a sound. My eyes open and I listen. It sounds like it’s coming from Stacy’s walk-in closet. I set down the coffee on Stacy’s cherrywood dresser and investigate. When I reach the closet door I say, “Stacy?”

The sound stops. For some strange reason I can detect the faintest smell of fish. I turn the knob, open the door, and look inside not daring to enter. I peek around the corner. “Stacy?” I say again. No reply. I take a step inside. Yes, I’m sure of it. It smells like fish. “What the heck is she doing with fish in her closet?” I step in further taking in the meticulousness with which she stores her belongings. All the clothes are color coordinated like a perfect rainbow across the bar and all her handbags are lined up in the same colorful pattern on the shelf above. Shoes are done in the same array on the racks below.

Something brushes my leg. I turn and look at the full-length mirror on the back of the door. A flash of something and then a scampering across the hardwood floors. I whip around and attempt to follow…whatever it is. If there was a rat in Stacy’s closet, she’s going to freak out big time.

I hurry out into the hall and rush down the stairs. I hear small feet moving towards the kitchen. I swing around the dining room on route to the refrigerator. “I’m screwed,” I say as I continue to follow the odd sound as it scurries into the living room. I round the corner, heading left past the stove and out to the sofa and chairs. The scampering sound abruptly stops.

I search around the entertainment center desperate to find the little pest. I bravely lift the flaps under the recliner and tip back the couch seats and search underneath. Nothing but a See’s candy bar wrapper and a lost Kinder Egg toy are to be found. I wish my parents had listened to me and set up a surveillance system around the house so I can locate the little newb. I run back into the kitchen and crawl around on my hands and knees continuing my quest. I even search the drawers and inside the dishwasher. I knock over the garbage can and rummage through it. Nothing. Nill. Zilch.

Aggravated, I clean up the mess and tromp down the stairs to my room. The bunny is still snuggled up in its tiny dog bed. I look in the piranha tank. That scaley little kumquat is still hiding in its castle out of sight. I’m removing that thing from the tank tomorrow. In the meantime, I sprinkle more food across the water.

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: ONE HOUR PHOTO (2002)-HBO Max

Many fans of Robin Williams consider him to be a comic genius. I think he is an even better dramatic actor. In one of his finest performances, he plays Sy aka Sy the Photo Guy or more aptly Seymore Parrish, a very cleverly chosen name by the talented writer director Mark Romanek. Romanek’s work here is wonderfully Kubrickian with its cool blues and whites and painfully warm tans. He has crafted a meticulous multi-layered film that requires repeat viewings.

Sy is likely a genius and highly intuitive. He can catch the slightest thing out of place whether its three tones of blue wrongly calibrated on the developing machine or a random face that seems strangely familiar. But Sy is trapped in a world that does not appreciate genius. It appreciates the mediocre and mundane and in fact punishes anyone who dares to pull back the curtain and reveal the ugly reality beneath. Sy has no friends or close relatives and has become over the years enamored of what he thinks is the perfect family. The mother, Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielson) has come in for several years with her insightful son Jacob (Dylan Smith) dropping off pictures at the photo center in the SavMart store. Sy’s whole world lights up every time they drop off pictures. He even goes against store policy printing them more expensive print packages and even giving Jacob a free camera for his birthday. But Sy’s boss Bill Owens (the fantastic Gary Cole who deserves a juicy lead role of his own) is on to him. Then one day a customer drops off some pictures that Sy finds sinister, and he sets out on a mission to set things right.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 14

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again to introduce the fourteenth chapter of my story Alanna the Piranha and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! Oh, what fun it is to ride in a rocket full of hay-a…!

Tucker, those are not the lyrics. It’s not a rocket full of hay. It’s a one-horse open sleigh.

I want to ride in a rocket full of hay. Branson, Bezos, Musk and Shatner all did.

There was no hay on those rockets and its one-horse open sleigh.

They did not fly in a one-horse open sleigh.

No one says they did! The lyrics to the song are a one-horse open sleigh.

Why did they take horses on the rocket?

They didn’t! They all rode in rockets and there were no horses on them! This has nothing to do with Jingle Bells!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a rock band in a pear tree!

No, that was a television show not a song! You’re unbelievable!

Here is Gigi’s fourteenth chapter of Alanna the Piranha.

I’m supposed to say that you rotten mongrel! And Joyeux Noël!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Fourteenth

I measured the piranha with my mother’s measuring tape again today. Yesterday she had increased in size by one and a half inches. Today she has increased in both length and width by three inches. I can’t deny the CRISPR Cas9 shots are affecting her. I am trying to decide if I should continue to administer her shots at this point. I might try every forty-eight hours instead of every twenty-four.

The bunny, however, has not changed or grown at all. She remains the same fluffy ball of fur as when I first took her home. Patience, I tell myself. It’s going to require patience.

A lot of guys on completelyworthlessdude.com have issues with agoraphobia. I have managed to avoid that affliction by making myself go out even after my darkest moments, like when I lost Josie. I am the self-appointed designated grocery shopper in my family. I am constantly going out to gather food, so I don’t stay in my room and stare at the walls.

Sometimes I even stop and buy a latte at a café and sit at the table way in the back so I can people watch. I don’t talk to anyone except the barista and the cashier but at least I’m amongst people even if I’m not interacting with them.

This evening I decided to head out to the library again and take the Newfoundland Dwarf with me. I am certain this is a bad idea. But I do it anyway. I slip her into a nylon lunch box and keep the corner unzipped so the bunny can breathe. I look innocuous going through the turnstiles so getting her inside is not a problem. I take a seat on the second floor at an unoccupied table and wait. A group of girls walk in. They take up a larger table near mine. After they’re settled down, I unzip the lunch box a little more and coax the bunny out and hold her in my arms.

After a few minutes the girls notice the Newfoundland Dwarf. They whisper and giggle as they steal glances my way.

“What the hell is that?”

I turn and see four Chads with Greek letters on their shirts looming over me. “It’s a Newfoundland Dwarf,” I tell them.

“Looks like one of those muffs you pick up at a sex store,” one scoffs, and the others grunt and snicker in unison.

“It’s a rabbit,” I say slowly and distinctly so they can understand me.

“Looks like you’re trying to use your sex toy to pick up those chicks over there. Do you know who those chicks are?”

“No.”

“Those chicks over there,” he says pointing to the table of girls near me, “are from our sister house.”

“I see.”

“Let me hold her,” a third guy says reaching for the bunny.

“I can’t,” I tell him holding the bunny close, my anxiety rising.

“Why not?” he demands.

“She’s still a baby and she’s skittish.”

“You better hand her over.”

“No.”

“Then I’ll just deck you and take her,” he says making a fist and leaning in close.

“You can’t do that.”

“Yeah, watch me.”

The guy lurches for the bunny, and I panic, terrified he’ll crush her. “You’ll kill her,” I say standing and backing up as he advances on me.

“What do I care?”

“Your sisters over there will see you do it.”

All four Chads turn and look at the table of girls. All the women have terror in their eyes. They look at each other and then at me.

“Maybe we should go outside and talk this over,” the first Chad says to me.

“I’m fine right here,” I reply.

“We’ve been watching you. You come in here and sit at a table near girls from our sister house and stalk them. We don’t appreciate you creeping them out.”

“With all due respect they don’t look creeped out to me.”

One of the other Chads shoves me and I shift to protect the Newfoundland Dwarf. “Don’t talk smack, freak,” he says. “Be a man and step outside.”

“I don’t think one guy and a bunny not stepping outside with you four constitutes as not being a man.”

“Get up!”

“Let me put the rabbit in its carrier so it doesn’t get hurt.”

“We couldn’t care less if your muff gets hurt,” the third Chad says.

“Your issue is with me not the bunny.”

“Hey, Katelyn!” the fourth Chad calls over to their sister house’s table. Everyone on the floor turns their head his way.

“Idiot!” the first Chad says to him. “This is a library. Go ask her quietly.”

“Ask her what?” I inquire.

The third Chad shoves me as the fourth strolls over to the girls’ table where the supposed Katelyn sits, leans in to one of the girls with long silky black hair. Katelyn, who is clearly a Stacy, looks my way and giggles. She rises and follows Chad number four over to my table. She looks at me with pathos then turns to the bunny and flips her hair.

“This is Katelyn, freak,” the fourth Chad says. “She’s going to watch your muff while we go outside.”

“Do you know anything about Newfoundland Dwarfs?” I ask Katelyn.

“What a cute little bunny!” she exclaims. “I totally love it!”

She pries the rabbit from my arms, an act which is not entirely unpleasant, and I am left to face the Chads. I had better think fast or I’ll get my ass kicked and I don’t want my ass kicked. “Just know,” I tell Katelyn, “I’ve just given that bunny her meds and she might do something strange.”

Katelyn shoots me a perplexed look. “Strange?”

“Like she might expand on you.”

“Expand?”

“Or change shape.”

“What kind of weird bunny is this?”

“The kind that could do those things.”

“I’d like to see it expand,” the second Chad says. “That would be cool.”

“Cut the chatter and let’s get this freak outside,” the first Chad says.

If I stand, they’ll drag me outside and clean my clock. I either need to stay inside or be able to run once I get outside. But if I run, Katelyn keeps the Newfoundland Dwarf and I do not want Katelyn to keep the Newfoundland Dwarf no matter how much of a Stacy she is.

I don’t know why I remembered this, but I had this friend once in grade school, I think his name was Oron. Anyway, Oron had this birthday party at this restaurant and Oron didn’t want to have his birthday at this restaurant. He wanted to have it at a pizza parlor instead. So, while his mother was taking his cake out of the bakery box, he suddenly threw himself on the floor and pretended to have a seizure.

This is obviously an act in poor taste. But after watching all the library dwellers react to the one Chad yelling “Katelyn”, I’m left with no choice. I lean over and fall onto the floor and start flopping around.

“Oh, my gosh!” Katelyn screams. “He’s having a seizure! He’s having a seizure!”

“He’s faking it,” the first Chad says and kicks my foot. “Get up!”

But I don’t get up. I continue convulsing and flopping as best as I can remember Oron do. I hear a stampede of Uggs run my way and one of the girls from the sister house yells, “Don’t kick him! You’re not supposed to kick someone who’s having a seizure!”

“He’s faking it,” the second Chad echoes the first Chad and shoves my shoulder with one of his New Balance tennis shoes.

“The poor guy,” I hear one of the sorority sisters say which may be the first time I’ve ever heard a girl say those words about me.

“I’m calling 911,” Katelyn insists, and I hear her dial. This scares me a little, but I figure exiting this place in an ambulance is better than getting beaten up outside. I continue to flop around as I wait for the paramedics.

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 MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (2017)-Hulu

It’s always fun to find a heartwarming and thoughtful tale to watch at Christmas time and this delightful little Irish/Canadian film is a great one for adults and children alike.

The story is based on the book of the same name, The Man Who Invented Christmas by Lee Standiford, and is about how Charles Dickens went about writing his very popular and timeless novella, A Christmas Carol. The movie depicts Dickens (jubilantly played by the fantastic Dan Stevens) experiencing a lot of success and celebrity with novels such as Oliver Twist, but after returning from his tour of America he experiences three literary failures. He has just purchased a lavish new home in London and has set up an estate and an allowance for his mother and father and debt is looming. He has embarrassedly gone to his publishers and asked for an advance without consulting his friend and agent John Forester (Justin Edwards).

Foster assists him in going back to the publishers to ask for an advance to write a new book which Dickens tells them is a Christmas story. The publishers cannot see how something like a Christmas story can sell in the sociological climate they are in where Christmas is ironically considered a social gathering for the rich only and turn him down. Certain that his book will succeed, Dickens sets out to prove them wrong and publish the book himself with the assistance of a skilled illustrator. Although Dickens starts out strong, he finds himself in dire straits when a crippling case of writer’s block befalls him.