Alanna the Piranha Chapter 27

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my twenty-seventh chapter of Alanna the Piranha. As you know this Sunday, March 27th is the Oscars. Now as you may know my novelist has not mentioned all the watch worthy nominated films so she will be continuing to list the best ones in her Stream of the Week past the ceremony. Some are just coming to streaming and others are only available in the theatres. She and I enjoy being able to mention a great film we find on streaming every week and to be able to pull it from different streaming sources.

I am Tucker and I am a Maltese.

Get out of here!

I wanted to let you know our novelist…

My novelist!

Is going to be mentioning films from some services we have not mentioned before. One of them has lots of doggie shows.

She is not going to mentions shows just because they have doggies in them!

I like doggie shows.

You are an imbecilic muppet. Anyway, here is Chapter Twenty-Seven of Alanna the Piranha. And may the Oscar go to you someday.  

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Seventh

At two o’clock in the afternoon my phone rings. I check it and it’s The Zipper. Alanna and Fabulous crowd around me. I put him on speaker phone.

“Kid, kid,” he says. “I gotta tell ya, I gotta tell ya, that was quite a show, quite a show. I want to sign you up for a full-time gig. I’ll have you and Gams perform Wednesday thru Saturday. Four days a week kid. I’ll pay you two hundred a night. What do ya say, what do ya say?”

“We’re better than two hundred a night,” Fabulous whispers to me.

“That seems a little low,” I say into the phone.

“That’s top dollar, kid. Top dollar.”

“But we got a standing ovation.”

“Oh, kid, come on! Everyone gets standing ovations these days.”

“We were the only act at your club that got a standing ovation.”

“That’s only one standing ovation, kid. You’d need at least three for me to pay over two bills a performance.”

“Tell him fine,” Fabulous whispers. “If we get two more standing ovations this week, we get two hundred and fifty a performance.”

“If we get two more standing ovations this week,” I tell The Zipper, “We get two hundred and fifty dollars per performance.”

“Done-o,” The Zipper says.  “But you’d better get those two ovations.”

“We will.”

“Say, I was wondering…Gams. Is she single?”

“Why?”

“I was wondering if she’d like to get a drink sometime…out of costume of course.”

Alanna who is listening to the conversation gives me a look of pure horror and shakes her head vehemently.

“I don’t think Alanna’s dating right now,” I say.

“You two an item, huh?”

I look at Alanna who nods her head.”

“We are strictly business,” I say. “She’s just not dating right now.”

Alanna lowers her eyes and I feel like a douche.

“You tell her if she changes her mind, I’d like to take her out for a drink.”

“I’ll do that.”

“Alright, kid. I’ll see you tonight. Same funny time, same funny channel.”

I hang up and find Alanna has huge tears rolling down her piranha face. I reach out my hand to comfort her. “Alanna…”

“Don’t touch me!” she says and runs over and hurls herself on my bed.

“Alanna, it was just something I said to The Zipper, so he’d quit harassing you.

“You could have just told him you and Alanna are an item,” Fabulous says.

“I know. I just didn’t want to lie.”

“I feel so abandoned!” Alanna wails.

“No one’s abandoning you, Alanna,” I tell her.

“You spend more time with Fabulous and me than anyone else in your life. That should account for something.”

“I spend a lot of time with you because we’re friends.”

“Oh, Flint!” she cries writhing on the mattress. “We’re so much more than friends.”

“But we are not dating.”

“Fine,” she sniffles. “You go tell The Zipper I will go out with him on that date.”

“No, Alanna,” Fabulous says. “He’s too old for you. Not to mention he’s scum.”

“At least he sees me as attractive.”

“You deserve better.”

Right this minute I am so glad the bunny can talk.

“You’re right,” Alanna says. “I deserve Flint.”

“I used to dance,” I say changing the subject.

“Seriously?” Fabulous says.

“In middle school and high school. I kind of quit once I got to college.”

“Why?”

“It never got me any girlfriends.”

“I’m throwing myself at you!” Alanna moans.

“Who cares if you had any girlfriends?” Fabulous says.

“I’m just bringing up the subject because I could help you and Alanna improve your routine.”

“Teach me how to dance.”

“I can tweak your routine, but I don’t know if I can do that.”

“If you don’t teach us how to dance better,” Alanna says. “I’m going to take everything I want out of Stacy’s room.”

“You wouldn’t do that,” I say.

“Watch me.”

Alanna jumps off the bed and bolts for the stairs.

“Alanna!”

She opens the door at the top and walks out.

“You’ve done it now,” Fabulous says.

I run up the stairs two steps at a time. Luckily, my mom has gone into town to get her hair done and my dad is at work. I sprint down the hall to Stacy’s room where Alanna is pulling dresses off Stacy’s hangers.

“Stop this, Alanna!”

“You don’t want me, and you won’t teach me how to dance better!”

“Put Stacy’s things back and I’ll show you a couple of steps.”

“Not good enough!”

Alanna grabs more clothes, marches over to Stacy’s dresser, and picks up Stacy’s jewelry box that matches her jewelry armoire.

“Put that down!”

Alanna stamps her foot. “Teach me how to dance better!”

“Fine. Just put down the jewelry box and give me the clothes.”

“And teach Fabulous how to dance too.”

“All she can do is hop around.”

“Well, Mr. Fancy Biochemist, why don’t you tweak your stupid CRISPR Cas9 shots and grow her a pair of legs!”

“Fine! I’ll teach you both how to really dance!”

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: RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (2021)-Disney+

A lot of Oscar voters are probably in love with last week’s pick, Encanto which stands a solid chance of winning Best Animated Film this year at the Oscars. But pound for pound of the four out of five animated films nominated this year that I’ve seen my favorite by far is Raya and the Last Dragon. Where The Mitchells vs The Machines has funny moments but annoyingly silly plot contrivances and Encanto has a riveting plot, but a boing and vapid ending, Raya and the Last Dragon remains solidly written throughout. The story begins with the backstory of how a plague once ravaged the world 500 years ago turning everything in its wake into stone. But one family of dragons pulled together their collective talents into one large gem. The gem worked as a deterrent to the plague and mankind was saved. But only one dragon survived the devastation and is rumored to have ended up somewhere at the end of one of many, many rivers.

Unfortunately, because people are basically evil, the world divided into five tribes with only one holding the gem and the other four fighting to possess it. Raya’s father leads the tribe that holds the stone and has long trained his daughter Raya to protect it. But when one of the other tribes causes a catastrophic event, it is up to Raya and her trusty pet/vehicle Tuk Tuk to find Sisu, the last remaining dragon, repair the damage and reunite the tribes as Kumandra. Kelly Marie Tran is excellent as Raya and Awkwafina is perfectly cast as Sisu.  

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 26

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day. My novelist is donned all in green and looks like a misplaced leprechaun. She even partook in a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast, a perennial St. Patrick’s Day meal. This evening we will be dining on corn beef and cabbage and my novelist’s favorite soda bread. They really should sell that stuff in the grocery stores year-round. Some places may just not around here. I have been taking it easy and have been enjoying the rain. My novelist and I have an agreement that I do not take walks in heavy rain. Yes, yes, I know other dogs do it, but I most certainly do not.

I am pleased to say that the Maltese acquired a couple of ticks. My novelist had to pull out her tick removal tweezers and I was overjoyed by his misery. We were then both given a dose of Frontline and the fun was taken away. Which brings me to Alanna the Piranha chapter 26. Насолодитися!

ALANNA THE PIRANHA

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Sixth

The Chuckle Duck looks very different in the dark. There are a lot of people in here for a Wednesday night. A few cocktail waitresses dressed in short black skirts and silky mallard green button up blouses serve drinks. The wide candle holders on tables are all lit giving the place some definite ambiance. Believe it or not there is a dress code here. All the men are in sport coats and the women wear dresses, skirts, or slacks. No jeans or t-shirts or flip-flops allowed. You’d think as a basement dwelling Incel I’d hate that but honestly it gives the place a touch of class.

I am a nervous wreck and am situated at a single table in one of the far back corners of the room. I am wearing my dad’s sports coat which just happens to have a green finish on it. It’s a size or two too big but I kind of like it anyway. I almost put on a tie but I’m glad I didn’t because I would be choking from the stress right now.

The lights flicker a couple of times, and some upbeat late night talk show type music starts to play. A spotlight hits the back of the room and I see The Zipper in a wild suit that could have rivaled anything in Don Cherry’s wardrobe: a bold silk green with huge yellow flowers splashed all over it. He wipes his brow with a green silk pocket square before bounding through the tables and up on stage like a badger on crack.

“How’re you doing? How’s everybody doing?”

Someone in the audience calls out, “Quack, quack!” and The Zipper says in a cheery voice, “Oh! Someone’s been here before, someone’s been here before!”

I think I want to leave right this minute.

“Okay, okay,” The Zipper continues, “This is how we always start the show, I say “quack, quack” and then you say “quack, quack”. Is everybody ready?!”

“Yes!” the audience yells resoundingly.

“Quack, quack!” The Zipper says.

“Quack, quack!” the audience responds.

“Quack, quack!” the audience responds.

“Quack, quack!”

“Quack, quack!

“Quack…

“Boo!” some guy in the audience yells. Boo!”

“Oh,” The Zipper says. “We’ve got a live one here tonight.”

“Boo!” the guy yells again. “Boo!”

The Zipper laughs a little too frenetically. “Yep, yep. We’ve got a live one.”

I lean over to get a good look at the guy, and I can see its Frenchy, The Zipper’s gangly right-hand man.

“The Zipper sucks!” Frenchy yells.

I am confused as to why Frenchy would boo his boss. Unless of course it’s part of the act.

The Zipper chuckles again and says into his microphone, “Blocko! Oh, Blocko! We’ve got a live one here!”

A tall, ripped body building woman in a green sequin bikini who looks like she could beat up half the Women’s WWE members stands boldly in the spotlight to my left. She growls and flexes her muscles before striding over to Frenchy. She grabs the would-be heckler, picks him up and holds him over her head.

Audience members laugh and scream, knock back their alcohol, knock over their alcohol and become thoroughly engaged in the show. Frenchy protests Blocko getting physical as she begins to turn him around in circles. This is harrowing as it is close quarters in the club and I’m terrified Blocko is going to clock someone in the head with Frenchy.

“Stop! Frenchy screams. “Stop!”

Blocko stops and with Frenchy still over her head demands, “Cry Chuckle!”

“No!” Frenchy protests. “I will not cry Chuckle!”

Blocko spins him around again causing more screams and laughs. None of this is helping me because I just want the show to start so Alanna and Fabulous can perform their act and get it over with.  

“Chuckle!” Frenchy cries out. “Chuckle!”

Blocko drops Frenchy on the floor and flexes her muscles. The audience cheers and claps as she picks him up and passes by me before exiting the back of the room. As the audience settles down, I see Frenchy sneak into the booth and take his suit off to reveal a smiley face t-shirt and cutoff jeans. He runs his fingers through his wild hair and plops down behind the control board.

cutoff jeans. He runs his fingers through his wild hair and plops down behind the control board.

“First up,” The Zipper announces, “we have a debut act. A local duo that’s going to knock your socks off. Give it up for Alanna and Fabulous!”

The audience claps as Alanna enters from stage left. She’s wearing my hooded cape and her face is covered. In her upstage hand she carries a wooden stool and in her downstage hand she carries Fabulous. She set the stool downstage right and placed Fabulous on it. Fabulous is wearing a miniature pair of sunglasses. I could hear patrons saying “Awe!” and “Isn’t that cute!”

Alanna adjusted Fabolous’s microphone which drew a little laughter from the crowd. Then Alanna glided over to stage left and struck a dramatic pose. I sunk low in my chair and prepared for the worst.

The audience waited for the music to come on, but nothing happened. There was an uncomfortable silence followed by a buzz of murmurs. I watched Alanna and Fabulous onstage who appeared calm and unruffled by the delay. I glanced up in the booth to my left and saw Frenchy studying two different disks as if he couldn’t figure out which one to put into the sound system. He shook his head, made a choice, and stuck one disk in. I felt a small sense of relief.

Suddenly, classical music started to play. I don’t know much about classical music, but the tune sounded like something I’d heard in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I looked back at the booth and Frenchy removed the disk and threw it against the wall. He snatched the second disk, shoved it into the machine as a confused audience mumbled and grumbled.

My heart went out to my two genetically altered friends onstage. Even though I thought they would be trembling they remained as cool as the periodic chart. Suddenly, the 2019 remastered version of “Legs” by ZZ Top kicked. Alanna started bending her knees bouncing to the beat. Fabulous bounced her head. The audience watched transfixed knowing something unusual was about to happen.  

Alanna does a rond de jambe kick, spins, and lunges. Fabulous breaks out into song with her gravelly voice. The audience starts clapping along with the beat. Alanna spins around again, throws back the hood, and exposes her piranha face. The claps cease. Gasps fill the air. Then laughs. Alanna continues to boogie as Fabulous continues to sing. The audience thinks Alanna as part piranha is part of the act and commences clapping to the beat. Alanna does a triple pirouette and Fabulous ends the song. The audience jumps to its feet giving them a standing ovation and I can’t help but feel a surge of pride.

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: ENCANTO (2021)-Disney+

Encanto is a colorful imaginative tale from Disney pictures nominated for Best Animated Film. It is the story of a Columbian teenager named Mirabel who lives in a magical house. Everyone in her family has a magical power bestowed upon them by the house at a young age…except Mirabel. This leaves her always living life on the outside, and always marginalized by her relatives. As the family prepares for the house to bestow youngest member Antonio’s magical gift on him Mirabel starts to see signs the house may be in danger.

The film is gorgeous looking and full of fun and interesting characters. I do wish the third act and the ending were as engaging as the rest of the film but that said this is a great movie for both adults and kids alike.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 25

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to present chapter twenty-five of Alanna the Piranha. I must say when it rains it pours. My novelist carted me off to the groomers this week after all that kafuffle with my dental cleaning. Although I do look much more like my magnificent self and am ready for warmer weather it is not yet spring, and the air is still rather chilly. The Maltese was also groomed but to a less spectacular effect. And he shivers every time he goes outside now which adds a bit of amusement to my day. I shiver too but his agony is much more delightful. My quivering is merely stylish. And with that thought here is chapter twenty-five of Alanna the Piranha. Насолодитися!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Fifth

“Where is it?!”

I can hear Stacy yelling upstairs and running around. When she loses something, she can be rather narrow focused.

“Where is my bracelet?!”

“What bracelet, dear?” I hear my mom ask.

“My Classic Pear Tennis Bracelet!”

“Well, you know I never touch your jewelry…”

“It should be right here! Right here in my jewelry armoire!”

“Are you talking about the one with the rhino?”

“The one with the sapphire cubic zirconia! I love that bracelet!”

“Well, dear, you love all your jewelry…”

“But I especially love the Classic Pear Tennis Bracelet with the sapphire CZs! It’s my favorite! My absolute most favorite!”

Stacy let out a primal scream. It is terrifying when Stacy lets out a primal scream. She throws something because I hear a loud thud against the wall.

“I’m going to lose it!” Stacy yells as if she hasn’t lost it already.

“Do you remember when you had it last?”

“In my jewelry armoire!”

Alanna tiptoes across the floor and I catch something twinkling on her wrist.

“Alanna,” I say. “Are you wearing Stacy’s Classic Pear Tennis Bracelet with the sapphire CZs?”

Alanna fidgets nervously. “That would be wrong,” she says.

“Yes, it would.”

A big tear forms in her piranha eye. “It was just so pretty,” she says. “I was looking for something to wear for Fabulous and my first performance and…it was so pretty.”

“Alanna, you have got to stop hunting for bling in Stacy’s bedroom.”

“But it’s not fair!” she says and stomps her foot. “I’m a girl too! I like pretty things!”

“Alanna, Stacy’s things aren’t yours. Don’t go into her room again. Let me help you find what you need for your costume. Stacy has things she wants to get rid of and…”

“Stacy has things, and I should have things. You need to take me shopping and let me try on pretty things.”

“I can’t take you shopping, Alanna.”

“Why not? You’ve taken me other places.”

“Look…I could order you something online…

“It won’t get here on time! I need it by tomorrow!”

“What’s all that racket down there?” my mom demands.

“Just working, mom,” I call back.

“Be quiet!” Stacy yells. “My bracelet is missing!”

I give Alanna a warning look. “If I can find your bracelet,” I call up to Stacy, “Will you give me something for it?”

“Did you steal it?!”

“I didn’t steal your bracelet, Stacy. If I can find it, can we make a trade?”

“A trade for what?”

“Shoes,” Alanna whispers.

“How about a pair of shoes?” I call up to Stacy.

“What kind of shoes?” Stacy asks.

“High heeled pumps,” Alanna whispers.

“Uh…high heeled pumps!”

“I’m not going to support your weird shoe fetish, pervert,” Stacy yells. “That’s halfway to incest!”

“They’re for my…friend!”

“You mean that weird renaissance fair cloak girl?”

“Yes!”

“A girl?” I can hear my mother ask Stacy.

“She needs them for a show,” I explain.

“I’ll bet,” Stacy says sarcastically.

“I’ll be right up!” Then I turn to Alanna and say, “Give me the bracelet and I’ll get you the shoes.”

“But I won’t have anything shiny to wear,” she says as another tear forms in her piranha eye.

I can’t stand to see her cry. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Could you get me some lip balm too? The heat has been on in the house because its cold outside and it’s making my lips chap.”

“Sure. Stacy’s a virtuoso when it comes to lip balms. I can probably talk her out of a couple.”

“Thank you, Flint.”

I head up the stairs to my mother and sister.

“Well, it’s about time,” Stacy says when I reach the top of the stairs.

“Let’s find your bracelet,” I say.

“I think that girl you’re tutoring is stringing you along so she can mooch off you by talking you into talking me into a pair of my shoes.”

“Guess what? I’m going to mooch off you too. I need a couple of lip balms.”

“Are you serious?”

“Chapped lips.”

“You always look like you have chapped lips.”

“Stacy, be civil to your brother,” my mom says. “Flint, do you want to look in Stacy’s room and she and I will check the living room.”

“I didn’t leave my bracelet in the living room, mom,” Stacy says.

“Let’s look there anyway. A fresh set of eyes on your room may help it turn up.”

My mother and sister descend the stairs to the living room which gives me a chance to head into Stacy’s room and slip the bracelet into her oversized jewelry box or armoire or whatever she calls it.

“I found it!” I call to them after a couple of minutes.

I hear the scuffle of anxious feet as my mother and Stacy run back into her room.

“Where?” Stacy demands.

“In your jewelry box.”

“It’s an armoire,” she corrects me. Stacy pushes me aside and pulls open the drawer. “But I looked here,” she says agitated. “I looked in here and it wasn’t there and now it is.”

“Problem solved.”

Stacy gives me the hairy eyeball. “Something’s fishy,” she says.

“Like I said,” my mom says. “A fresh set of eyes.”

“Yeah, right.”

“So, how’s about those shoes and that lip balm?” I ask.

Stacy stares me down. “You’re up to something, Flint.” She turns and opens the drawer of her mirrored dresser and hands me two lip balms before marching to her closet where she retrieves a pair of glossy red pumps and shoves them into my chest. “Have fun. And know that I’m on to you.”

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: FLEE (2021)Hulu

This week’s pick is an Oscar contender for both Best Animated Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature. It is the harrowing true story of Amin, an Afghanistan refugee who at the age of thirty-six is finally comfortable enough to tell his best friend and interviewer how he got to Denmark as a young teenager without a family or a friend. What we know about Amin at the top of the film is he is an Academic and an orphan. But as his story unfolds, we begin to find out about the harrowing journey and sacrifices he and his family endured which started in his early in his childhood, through his adolescence in Russia and up to and beyond his arrival in the Netherlands.

Alanna the Piranha Chapter 24

Good afternoon. Gigi the parti poodle here once again on to present you Chapter Twenty-Four of my story Alanna the Piranha. I cannot believe I’ve been writing this and presenting it every Thursday for twenty-four weeks! I must find a way to wrap it up soon mustn’t I. My novelist is trying to do the same thing with her latest novel. She is on the final draft which is both a relief and a horror. She goes on and on about how the ending is always the most important part of a story. And not just the ending but the final act entire. Beginnings are relatively easy; the middle isn’t too bad. But if you do not leave the audience with a solid ten on the dismount, well now, you have a disastrous mess indeed.

March has arrived, and the best part is Saint Patrick’s Day will be here soon. I am fond of deceiving the Maltese into not wearing green. That way I can pinch him with my teeth. A glorious form of exercise indeed. And with that thought, here is Alanna the Piranha. Насолодитися!

Alanna the Piranha

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Day the Twenty-Fourth

“Alright, Alright,” a short squatty man wearing a yellow and brown checked suit says as he enters the small comedy club.

It’s the middle of the afternoon and Alanna, Fabulous and I are seated at a small round wooden table with a red tablecloth and a wide glass candle holder.

“How are you doing? How are you doing?” the man says rubbing his hands together. “Welcome to The Chuckle Duck. Everyone calls me The Zipper. What do they call you, kid?”

“Flint,” I tell him.

“Is that your stage name or what?”

“I’m not the act. I’m just the chauffeur.”

“What’s the act, kid?” he says picking up a random drink off another table and taking a sip of what I guess to be bourbon.

We are the act,” Fabulous says.

The Zipper looks at the Newfoundland dwarf nestled in Alanna’s arm and back at me. “A ventriloquist, are you, kid?”

“I’m not a ventriloquist,” I tell him.

The Zipper laughs and runs his bejeweled hand through his slick hair. “You kid’s and your phones. Is that how you do it kid?” He looks at Alanna who is wearing my Cosplay cape. “Who’s this gal with the great gams?”

“Alanna,” Alanna says.

“Well, aren’t you mysterious, sweetheart! Alright, alright. Now that we’re acquainted let’s get this show on the road. Show me what you got, kid. Show me what you got.”

Alanna scooped up Fabulous, stood and moved towards the stage. She ascended the steps in a pair of bright blue high heels Stacy had me take a picture of to sell on Poshmark. The Zipper turned to me and said, “Sexy. I like that.”

“Uh, huh,” I say moving my head away from his liquor laced breath.

Alanna sets Fabulous on the wooden stool behind the microphone stand and faces forwards posing like a model on a catwalk. “Did you give Mr. Zipper the CD?” she asks me.

“Oh, right,” I say and hand The Zipper the jewel case.

“Frenchy!” The Zipper calls. “Hey, Frenchy! I need you to play this so the kid can show me her thing.”

A tall skinny guy with wild auburn curls lumbers in and retrieves the disk from The Zipper as if nothing could bore him more and heads to the booth at the back of the theatre. I can tell you right now I’m scared out of my mind. I’ve never seen Alanna and Fabulous’s routine and I don’t want to get arrested.

“I need the microphone lowered,” Fabulous says onstage.

“Is that part of the act?” The Zipper leans in and asks me.

“I just think Fabulous needs the microphone lowered,” I say.

“Fabulous? The rabbit’s got a name? I like it. I like it.” Then he turns towards the booth and yells, “Frenchy! Go up onstage and fix the microphone for the rabbit!”

Frenchy slogs out of the booth and troops onstage. He adjusts the microphone, so it is low enough for Fabulous. As he heads back to the booth, The Zipper yells to him again.

“Frenchy! Move the microphone so we can see the rabbit’s mug.

Frenchy plods back onstage and adjusts the microphone.

“That’s good.”

Frenchy jumps off the stage and heads to the booth.

“Okay, hot stuff,” The Zipper says. “Do your thing, do your thing.”

I hold my breath and close my eyes. The music fires up and the guitar strains to “Legs” by ZZ Top plays. I opened one eye. Onstage Alanna bobs her head to the beat. With her heels together she bends and straightens with every pulse. Fabulous bobs her head in unison. She scootches towards the microphone and sings her first lyric with a surprisingly raspy voice. Alanna pulls back the hood of her cape…

“Whoa!” The Zipper exclaims. “That’s a fine makeup job she’s got there!”

“I did that,” I say stunned I am speaking the words.

Fabulous continues to sing as Alanna twirls around the stage. She throws a roundhouse kick and lands in a dramatic lunge. She relevés and twirls the cape about dancing like a ballerina/pole dancer. She holds the cape high over her head and descends the steps like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. She glides up to our table, sides up to The Zipper and wraps the cape around his shoulders before strutting back onstage in those profane blue heels. I glance at The Zipper who is tapping his foot to the infectious beat as Alanna commences with her dance. For the grand finale she performs high Rockette kicks ending with a triple pirouette as the music fades out.

There is an uncomfortable silence before The Zipper springs to his feet and applauds.

“What a show, what a show!” he says. “Yeah, yeah. That’s the kind of schtick I’m looking for to get the audience warmed up for the main attraction. It’s quirky, it’s fresh and…it’s weird. Let’s have you come in Wednesday night and do your thing. We’ll call it a whatchamacallit, a trial run. We’ll see if the audience digs this avant-garde kind of humor.”

“Mr. Zipper, thank you!” Alanna says bouncing up and down on her toes. “Thank you!” She scoops Fabulous off the stool and dances offstage and up to our table.

“I got to tell you,” The Zipper says. “In the twenty years I’ve been doing comedy that is the most effective makeup job I have ever seen. Is that latex or silicon or how to you get that to work? I mean I get the whole ventriloquist thing with throwing the bunny’s voice and all, but that makeup is a mindblower.”

“It’s a trade secret,” I tell him realizing I’m starting to become part of the whole disaster.

“Enough with the small talk,” Fabulous says. “Let’s talk money. What are you paying us for the gig?”

“I got to tell you, kid,” The Zipper says to me, “That’s some fine ventriloquists work you’ve got going on there. The bunny’s mouth moves and everything.”

“How much are you paying us for the gig?” Fabulous repeats.

“Let me think about it, let me think about it…I’ll give you a hundred for the night.”

“Apiece?”

“For the whole act.”

“That stinks! We’re worth at least a hundred a piece!”

“Three hundred for the night on a new and untested act? Not a chance, not a chance.”

“How about two hundred,” I say. “A hundred for Alanna and a hundred for the bunny.”

The Zipper strokes his chin with his bejeweled hand. “Yeah, yeah, I could do two hundred. Frenchy!”

Frenchy slogs out of the booth.

“Go get me a contract for the office. We’re taking this hot mama for a test drive.”

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: WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (2015)-Netflix

Next week I will continue with this year’s Oscar nominated films for streaming. But this week I thought I would take a moment and recommend this 2015 Oscar nominated feature film documentary. When I first saw it in 2016 before the Oscars were presented my thought was this should be the winner. It lost out to Amy an extraordinarily well edited film about the life of Amy Winehouse. But as good as that editing was, it was nowhere near as risky and as life threatening to make as this one. You must keep reminding yourself that the film you are seeing is real. You are watching people dying in front of you and the film crew is right amid these occurrences. It stars out in 2013 with jubilation. Thousands of Ukrainian college students celebrating in Maiden on the eve of Ukraine being accepted into the EU. But then the treaty is forsaken by the Ukraine president and the crookedness of the Ukraine government (puppets for Russia), and the Ukraine police are sent to break up the peaceful group. And they don’t do it peacefully. The police rush at the crowds and beat them with batons, smashing people’s heads and faces. After that, the adults take to the streets in protest of how their children were treated and the police come back with rubber bullets. Then they release prisoners to fight the citizens. And then real bullets. I don’t think the Academy was fully aware of how important this footage would come to be. A must-see film.


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.