MUSICOLOGY: THE EPIQUAD Releases Tomorrow!

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle. This week I am taking a break from my story to introduce my novelist who will be penning the blog today. Tomorrow is the release of her final book in the Musicology series entitled, Musicology: The Epiquad. My novelist is going to talk a little bit about this book which is an epilogue presented in four parts. Here is the synopsis:

All insane things must come to an end. In the aftermath of the shocking Musicology finale Ruby takes off on tour with Robbie Sexton. Max assembles a music group with two of the contestants and another familiar face and books them a gig in Las Vegas. But unexpected events and smoldering relationships send the members lives spiraling out of control as they seek to establish life after reality competition.

I very much enjoyed this final book in the series my novelist wrote under my tutelage. Very few novels make people laugh. My novelist hopes her books are amongst those which do. I will be back next week with the next installment of What I Found in the Trunk. Until then, here is my novelist.  

Tomorrow the final novel in my Musicology series entitled Musicology: The Epiquad releases. The Musicology series is a five-book comedy/satire compilation which chronicles the course of one season of a fictional music reality television show. The story starts out with two aging former lovers, a successful diva and a bankrupt music producer who are hired by their friend, a reality television host and producer, to save his dying show. The diva and the music producer agree to work together as mentors but not judges on Musicology and after being strongarmed by their television producer friend, find themselves voyaging together to five locations across the contiguous United States to scrape up any college age/new adult singers they can find to audition for Musicology. Along the way they pick up where they left off in their bizarre life in the fast lane relationship. When they finally find a solid handful of kids they return to Burbank, California where we get to watch them narrow down the contestants until they assemble a motley crew of disparate singers. The Circle of Ten (the ten finalists) are assigned rooms to live in at Max’s mansion where the kids become friends, enemies and more. Not to mention the diva has a secret concerning one of the contestants that could not only get the show canceled but could land Musicology in serious legal liability.

I wrote the book series with the idea that despite its length it would read fast and funny as well as having moments that were sometimes poignant and sometimes devastating. Because of its raunchy and highly explicit content, the book series is not intended for readers under 18 years of age. I watched and continued to watch hundreds of hours of reality competition shows over the course of the three years it took me to write all five books. In fact, I still watch some of them. The Epiquad in many ways was the most challenging of the novels because it takes place during the year after the show has finished its season and it needed to wrap up the story in a way that gives the reader a wholly satisfying ending. After I completed writing the books it occurred to me there were two plausible ways to end the series and so before I copyrighted all the books, I wrote an alternate ending. I have released only the original ending at this time.

I wanted the series to have a cinematic and highly entertaining feel to it with a lot of dialogue so the books could be easily transferred to film. I received a writing degree and an acting degree and then went on to finish a two-year professional actor training program in New York City as well as a yearlong screenwriting program at the UW and wrote a few screenplays before turning to novels. I often think of my novels as readable and comprehensive plays or screenplays. In fact, I tend to refer to my chapters as scenes. I like my characters to pop off the page. I like to be able to tell anyone what my character is like and be able to answer just about any question about them. In other words, I probably know my characters better than I know real people. In fact, it is difficult if not painful for me to have to move on and meet new characters as I am so married to them.

But a writer cannot continue living in one world alone and I am presently finishing up another satire which I will keep you updated on. Until then, Gigi is going to return next week with another chapter of her story What I Found in the Trunk. Until then, the first two books of the Musicology series, Musicology: Volume One, Baby! and Musicology: Volume Two, Kid! will both be FREE to download to Kindle on Amazon next Monday, June 14th and Tuesday June 15th.

MY BOOKS

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. The fifth and final book of the Musicology series, Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing this Friday, June 11, 2021. 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: BAD EDUCATION (2019)-HBO Max

Earlier this week a story broke about a young thirty-year-old named Casey Garcia who is the mother of a 13-year-old middle school student. She decided to try an experiment: could she, after dying her hair, pose as her daughter and attend school. Would she get caught? And if she did how long would it take the school to realize she was an imposter? As it turns out not till the end of the day. She was able to enter the school, say hello to the principal and another faculty member and attend all seven of her classes, including eating lunch without a mask on, for the entire day. It wasn’t until the last teacher, thinking she was the woman’s daughter asked if she could speak with her at the end of class. The teacher was stunned when she found out the student was the student’s mother and responded with one word: “Why?”

I for one am on the side of Ms. Garcia and do not think she should be persecuted for her act. She proved a point and for that matter she is not the first young woman I’ve come across who has pulled something like this off. When I was going to the university there was a student a couple of grades ahead of me who went down to Pioneer Square and posed as a homeless woman for three days (do not try this at home). At that time she was taken in by the homeless community who treated her very well and provided her food and a place to stay. Nowadays they would probably just shive her and take her money. I hope I’m wrong.

I also knew a university student who was the editor of his college newspaper who came to my high school and posed as a new student to do a study on high school students. Now in this case the school knew about his experiment, but the students didn’t. He did indeed pull off his ruse and went to classes for about a week or more and fooled the entire student body. Bear in mind he was a senior in college and not a freshman, so he was about twenty-one or twenty-two years old at the time.  

The point is, as the Amazing Randy said, “No matter how smart or how well educated you are, you can be deceived.” The argument the mother is trying to make is we cannot afford to be fooled living in this now absurdly dangerous world. We need to change. The schools need to change. The public and private school system is so notoriously bureaucratic and filled to the brim with employees who can be scammed at the drop of a pin. Is this not the laughably perfect target for a dangerous person?

Which brings me to my stream of the week. An excellent little film about fraud. Fraud to the tune of eleven million dollars…stolen from the public school system…and it’s based on a true story. Dr. Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) is the superintendent of the Rosylyn Union Free school district in Long Island, New York, and Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) is the assistant superintendent. Together they can boast under their leadership the school district has risen to number four in the number of students accepted into Ivy League universities. Because of their desirable schools the property values in the area have also risen allowing for a large flow of money into the school district. Dr. Tassone is a master propagandist who can schmooze just about anyone…except student reporter and co-editor of the school newspaper Rachel Bhargava (Geraldine Viswanathan) who is working on a “puff piece” about the expensive new sky bridge the school wants to build. After Tassone’s suggestion to make sure she investigates her piece well and Gluckin’s reluctant suggestion she looks through the school financial files, Rachel’s research leads to a paper trail of school credit card purchases that appear to be strangely suspect. By the way, Rachel Bhargava’s character is based on real Roslyn high school student Rebeckah Rombom who was the first to break the story via the school newspaper and went on to graduate from Dartmouth.

What I Found In the Trunk Chapter 11

Hello. My name is Tucker, and I am a Maltese. Gigi is still recovering from her birthday party. I am a heavyweight, so I bounced back well. Maltese can party with the best of canines. Even the Great Mastiff…although there was a Borzoi once who really gave me a run for my money. Anyhoo, I am going to introduce Gigi’s blog today and make her proud of me. I will do a good job. Today is Chapter Eleven in Gigi’s story. Did you know the number eleven can symbolize chaos and disorder? I guess that explains why Gigi went so crazy on her birthday. It may also be why it is an important number in my novelist’s book. Oh, that’s right! That’s right! Our novelist wanted me to remind you that her fifth and final book in her Musicology book series called Musicology: The Epiquad is releasing next Friday, June 11th. It is called The Epiquad because it is an epilogue in four parts…

Shut up! You are not supposed to tell them that, you insulant cur! That is a secret!

It is?

Yes! Good Afternoon. I am Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce Chapter Eleven of my story…

I told them that already. Aren’t you proud of me? I introduced your story.

You did WHAT? This is my story! MY story…good heavens I think I might just have the vapors.

Let me catch you…there, there. You should go lie down. You will feel better. Okay, here is Chapter Eleven of What I Found in the Trunk.

 

What I Found in the Trunk

By

Gigi the parti poodle

“Okay, Gary, here’s your coffee,” Rusty said when he and Bennet returned to the Buick.

“How long was I out?” Gary asked from the back seat yawning and stretching.

“Two hours,” he said handing him his java.

“Two hours? What did you guys do for two hours?”

“We walked around Leavenworth while it was closed,” Bennet said. “I showed Rusty Front Street and then we walked down some of the back streets before we bought the coffee. We sat down on one of those Bavarian benches and ate our hipster toast.”

“What time is it now?”

“Almost nine.”

“Almost nine! Rune could have skipped town by now!”

“Naw,” Rusty said. “She’s still in Leavenworth.”

“You’d better be right. I’m on the lamb here. My dad’s expecting me at work and I’m not there. I need to find Rune, or Durwin and his psycho posse are going to find me first.”

“Hey, I was beaten up by these guys at the car lot and I know they mean business.”

“Look, we’re wasting time here. Let’s get out of the car and start looking for Rune.”

“I think we should split up,” Bennet said.

“We can’t split up,” Rusty said. “Gary’s the only one who knows what she looks like.”

“Dude, have we thought about what we’re going to do when we find her?”

“Kidnap her.”

“What?!” Gary yelled. “Are you crazy?!”

“We need to show her we mean business.”

“We could go to prison for that!”

“Only if we get caught.”

“We’re going to get caught! And we’re going to go to prison!”

“I have to concur with Russ here,” Bennet said.

“Seriously?!”

“They were going to kidnap you so it’s only fair.”

“Yeah,” Rusty agreed. “That’ll really stick it to Durwin and his buds.”

“No one is going to kidnap anyone!” Gary said. “We’re going to get out of this car right now and find her and talk to her and convince her to give Durwin back whatever it is she took.”

“It’s your call, man but the whole kidnapping thing sounds pretty good right now.”

After window shopping on Front Street, Rune regretted not having anything but coffee at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. She partially blamed her hunger on the apple strudel and its otherworldly fragrance. She should have eaten breakfast instead of just having coffee in the quaint little brunch room at the Orbital Inn. Now she found herself coming upon The Danish Bakery with its red sign with the golden pretzel on it. In fact, the whole establishment was decorated with pretzels. She headed inside and stood looking at the wooden and slanted glass case filled with delicacies including Danishes, strudel, turnovers, kringle, cream bollen, Bavarian waffles and of course pretzels.

“I’ll take one of your giant pretzels with salt,” she told the plump blonde woman behind the counter.

“Anything else?” the woman asked.

“One of those strawberry and cream Bavarian waffles too, please. And a large cup of coffee.”

“Not espresso?”

“No, just a large coffee with cream and sugar…for here.” The woman took the pretzel and pastries from the case and set them on a plate while her assistant took one of the paper coffee-cups with a pretzel design on it and poured her a coffee with cream and sugar.

Rune paid with cash, left a tip, thanked the women, and headed for a green topped and wood tone two-person table at the back of the establishment and sat in the chair with her back to the entrance. She did not notice the three men walk in and immediately occupy a table near the window facing the street. But they saw her. They watched her wolf down the pretzel before slowing down to sip her coffee.

“I think we should join her,” Gary said. “If we sit down at her table, we can try and quietly get the information we need.”

“She’s not going to tell you anything,” Rusty said. “We need to stick to the kidnapping plan.”

“Dudes,” Bennet said. “We can’t waste time arguing here. We need to make our move.”

“I’m going to go talk to her,” Gary said.

“But she’ll see your face.”

“She’s already seen my face. I bought her car.”

“She might not remember you. How many times have you bought something from a salesperson and remembered their face?”

“How should I know? Sometimes I remember and sometimes I don’t. I’m going in.”

Gary rose from the table and made a beeline for Rune.

Rune lifted her coffee to take another sip and saw the guy she’d sold her car to glaring down at her. Gary watched her eyes widen as she slowly set down her coffee.

“Do you remember me?” he asked her.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. The fifth and final book of the Musicology series, Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing next month on Friday, June 11, 2021. 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: TWIN PEAKS (1990)-Netflix

The landmark television show Twin Peaks has been running on Netflix for ten years. On June 30th, 2021, it will end its decade long run. The show which originally ran for only two seasons on ABC (Showtime ran the limited-edition reboot Twin Peaks: The Return set 25 years later) is set here in the pacific northwest in Washington State primarily in North Bend. David Lynch was born in Misoula, Montana and his family moved around quite a lot spending some of his childhood in Sandpoint, Idaho, Spokane, Washington (short a not long a), and Boise, Idaho as well as few other other smaller towns around the country. He has an uncanny way of perfectly placing his finger on the pulse of the great Northwest.

If you are a native Washingtonian or a native Northwesterner (Washington, Idaho, and Oregon) the story of Laura Palmer and the inhabitants of Twin Peaks are not dissimilar to Northwesterners and I for one have never found the show strange. One of the great moments in the pilot is where Benjamin Horne and Leland Palmer are talking to a group of would-be land development investors and there is a Norwegian interpreter. A lot of Scandinavian descendants live here or at least did at the time the show first aired which makes that scene quite funny. Now to be fair, the concept of Laura Palmer comes from the East Coast which is one of the elements co-creator Mark Frost (Hillstreet Blues writer) brought to the story. Laura is based on a woman named Hazel Irene Drew, an attractive blue-eyed blonde who was mysteriously bludgeoned in 1908 at the age of twenty (Laura Palmer is seventeen) and just like Laura, her body was found washed ashore. Her murder was never solved. Frost’s grandmother used to tell the story to him as a cautionary tale. Much like Laura, Hazel had many secrets and was involved with several men as well as having a cocaine habit. Cocaine is mentioned about one of the pieces of evidence in the pilot. I might also mention touching the side of the nose can mean a sign of secrecy or conspiracy if you happen to be in the red room.

Washington State is unfortunately known for its serial killers. At the time of the show there was one in one of Lynch’s hometowns called The Spokane Killer who killed from 1975 until 1997. He was later found to be Robert Lee Yates Jr. who had a predilection for picking up prostitutes, shooting them in the head and then engaging in postmortem sex. Another Spokane serial killer is Randy Woodfield (The I-5 Killer), Stanley Bernson who is thought to have killed 30 Northwest women during the late seventies and into the eighties. And The .22 Caliber Killer who is believed to be responsible for the deaths of three women the same year the show came out. His identity remains unknown. Other well-known serial killers who hunted in Washington State were Gary Ridgeway (The Green River Killer), Kenneth Bianchi (The Hillside Strangler) and Theodore Robert Bundy (Ted Bundy). Note the middle name Robert which is a name ironically often shortened to Bob.

Today is Gigi’s Birthday!

Good afternoon. Yes, it is my birthday today. I am spending it rocking out. One can never hear “Renegade” by Styx too often. I have also listened to “Refugee” by Tom Petty. There are a lot of neighborhood dogs here who may have had a bit too much of my Aquadent spiked water. At least we know they will leave the party with good teeth…

Happy Birthday, Gigi! Happy Birthday, Gigi! When do we get to have cake? I want cake! Woo hoo!

As you can see the Maltese has had a bit too much. Anyway, I do need to get back to my guests, but I just wanted to share a birthday moment with you on this auspicious day and I will see you again on Thursday…  

Ruffles just mooned the dachshund twins! This is getting out of control!

…when things calm down a bit. Au revoir!

What I Found In the Trunk Chapter 10

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to entertain you with another chapter of my story. As you may know last week, I posted a before photo of myself prior to my grooming on Friday. And this week I am posting an after photo of my beautiful self although I must say I am always gorgeous regardless of the condition of my hair. Here it is:

The Stunning Vision which is Me

My novelist asked if I would note that her final book in her Musicology series entitled Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing on Friday, June 11th. Eleven is an important number in the book series and so my novelist wants to release it on that date. I will continue to keep you updated on this event. In the meantime, relax, get cozy and enjoy the tenth chapter of my story What I Found in the Trunk. Cheers!

What I Found In the Trunk

By

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Ten

“I have to tell you, Gary,” Bennet said from the back seat. “For an old person’s car this Buick is pretty fly.”

“It’s not mine,” Gary said. “I left my car on the lot because I think Durwin and his buds put a tracker on it.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. We don’t even know if we’ll find Rune in Leavenworth. She could be staying at a relative’s or a friend’s house.”

“I’m betting she’s going to show her face,” Rusty said.

“What makes you say that?” Bennet asked.

“She took a train.”

“Doesn’t mean someone wasn’t there to meet her at the station.”

“True. But I’m betting she’s alone.”

“I hope you’re right,” Gary said. “She’ll be a lot easier to find if she’s a tourist. She’s more likely to wander around on Front Street.”

“I could totally go for a bratwurst and some spaetzle right now,” Bennet said. “I totally dig spaetzle.”

“I want a beer,” Rusty said.

“You’ve got to try something from the Icicle Brewing Company, bro. Especially the Tripple Dry Hopped IPA. That stuff rocks…”

“Let’s stay focused here,” Gary said. “We aren’t tourists. We’re going to Leavenworth to find Rune and whatever she took so I can get Durwin off my back.”

“I’m just saying, bro. There’s nothing like bratwurst and spaetzle with an Icicle brewski to wash it down.”

“Look, we’re going to be pulling into Leavenworth soon and I need to find a parking spot. And I seriously need some coffee. I haven’t slept all night.”

“Dude, just park the car and sleep in the back seat. Rusty and I will procure some morning java.”

“The Argonaut Espresso Bar doesn’t open until seven.”

“That’s not too long from now.”

“Okay, whatever.”

Because of the early hour parking was plentiful. Gary found a spot on one of the side streets and shut off the engine. Bennet opened the door and got out of the back seat as Gary got out of the driver’s seat and they traded places.

“You’ve got to try their Hipster Toast, Russ,” Bennet told Rusty. “It’s da bomb, man.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Rusty said.

“Did Gary tell you he and I were roommates in college?”

“The subject never came up.”

“We shared a dorm room in Haggett Hall, didn’t we bro?”

“I’m trying to sleep,” Gary said from the back seat.

“What did you major in?” Rusty asked.

“I double majored in Art and Math,” Bennet replied.

“Seriously?”

“Totally. I used to make Gary walk around with me and I’d show him all the artwork on campus.”

“I used to show him all the grotesques.”

“What’s a grotesque?”

“It’s like a gargoyle except it doesn’t expel water from its mouth. They’re a decorative end of a roof gutter.”

“Interesting.”

“But the two can look a lot alike.”

“You learn something new every day.”

“Yeah, they have a lot of them on the four buildings in the quad. In fact, for my final art project in the spring of my senior year I made like this wild grotesque costume and stood against Raitt Hall by the doorway. When people walked by, I’d like grunt and freak them out. It was totally cool, dude.”

“Wow.”

Rune woke up at seven in her room at the Obertal Inn. She had not slept well having had a nightmare involving a black bear she’d seen in Stehekin once when she lived there with her parents and younger brother. In the dream she was walking out to the area by the lake where church was held on the bank of Lake Chelan. The place was set up with permanent benches and a pulpit for the minister. It was a bright morning, and the sun was kissing the water leaving sparkles everywhere it touched. The benches that faced the lake were empty and inviting. Wearing her summer pajamas Rune sat down on one of the benches.

As she was sitting there looking out over the water a large black bear came lumbering by. It turned its head and looked at Rune. Black bears were common in Stehekin. But being alone in the outdoor chapel and seeing one sent a shock of terror through her. The bear got up on its hind legs and walked up to the pulpit. It was wearing a royal crown of some sort with an emerald shaped emerald in the front. It put its paws on the pulpit and looked straight at Rune.

“You’re confused,” the bear said.

Rune, surprised to hear the bear speak even though this was a dream said, “What?”

“You can’t decide if you like this place or not.”

“What makes you say that?”

“You find it both a paradise and a prison at the same time.”

“Perhaps.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“I can’t do anything about it. I’m too young. It’s my parents who decide whether we live here or not.”

“There will come a time when you must choose.”

“Choose what?”

“Choose whether to leave or come back.”

“Once I leave, I’m not coming back. I had five bee stings last month.”

“The bees are bad up here,” the bear admitted. “But they should not determine your choice.”

“Well, I choose to leave.”

“There’s a fire coming.”

“When?”

“Soon.”

“Is my family in danger.”

You are in danger.”

“Because of the fire?”

“I must go now.”

“Should I warn my family about the fire?”

“There will be a boat coming soon.”

“Should I get on it?”

“Pretzel.”

“What?”

“Pretzel.”

Rune woke up after the bear said “pretzel”. She blinked her eyes a couple of times. Dreams were weird. She threw the covers off and sat up. Then she looked at the coffee maker and decided to go downstairs and get brunch.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. The fifth and final book of the Musicology series, Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing next month on Friday, June 11, 2021. 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: BOWFINGER (1999)-HBO Max

In the continuing hunt for great summer movies to stream this one is hilarious. Written with great wit by Steve Martin who also plays the title role and directed by the wonderful Frank Oz this film makes me laugh every time I see it. Forty-nine-year-old B-movie producer and director Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) is running out of time. His film company Bowfinger International Pictures has never produced a film. He has managed to scrape together a life savings of $2,184 and after reading a script written by his buddy Afrim (Adam Alexi-Mahl) he decides it’s finally time to cash in. With the help of his renegade cinematographer Dave (Jamie Kennedy) they realize they need a big name to play the lead and decide to film movie star Kit Ramsey (Eddie Murphy) without him knowing it. Using a couple of his in-house actors Slater (Kohl Sudduth) and theatrically trained Carol (Christine Baranski) and new hire Daisy (Heather Graham) they set out using guerrilla filmmaking tactics to shoot the project. All goes well until Kit’s Scientology…er…MindHead mentor Terry Strickter (Terrance Stamp) gets wind of the operation. All the actors are great here, but Murphy is a real standout. Look for Robert Downey Jr. as Universal Pictures executive Jerry Renfro.

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 9

Good Afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to entertain you with another chapter of my story. My novelist has requested I tell you that the fifth and final book in her Musicology series Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing in June 2021. I will provide more information about that next week. Tomorrow is a dark day for I will be voyaging to the groomers. I dread it vehemently. Although I feel better afterwards the experience is nothing short of horrific. But as I have come to resemble Sam Sheepdog from the Looney Tunes cartoons, I must accept my grooming as a necessity and carry on. Here is a before photograph of my current state:

Gigi: Parti poodle, mini sheepdog

As you can see I must accept my grooming and become a more stylish dog. Until then here is Chapter Nine of What I Found in the Trunk. Disfrutar!

WHAT I FOUND IN THE TRUNK

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Nine

“Can you find out what destination Rune bought a ticket for?” Gary asked Rusty.

“What I can do is find out what amount she paid,” Rusty replied. “If we know how much her ticket cost, we can figure out which train she took from King Street Station, if she traveled coach or business class and where she went.”

“There’s got to be at least thirty Amtrack trains that leave that station every day!”

“Thirty-five to be exact, but only so many that leave at certain times. She left after she sold you the car. So, I look up the prices and we narrow it down from there.”

“You’re insane.”

“My dudes,” Bennet called from the kitchen. “We could each take ten or twelve trains and look up the prices.”

“This is going to take all night,” Gary groaned.

“We’ll do some tonight and some tomorrow morning. It’ll be totally cool, dude.”

“Now,” Rusty said, “she took a train in the late morning so all trains that left the station before ten are out. We have to look at the later ones.”

“How much did she pay?”

“Twenty-two bucks.”

“Twenty-two bucks?! Can you even get on a train for twenty-two bucks?”

“Leavenworth,” Bennet said. “A train from Seattle to Leavenworth costs twenty dollars plus tax.”

“Leavenworth? That’s only about an hour and a half drive from here!”

“Sure is.”

“I thought she’d go a lot further than that.”

“Maybe she likes fake German towns.”

“Say didn’t they film a Christmas movie there?” Rusty asked.

Switchmas,” Bennet said.

“Oh, yeah…”

“We need to go to Leavenworth right now before she can catch another train out,” Gary said.

“I’m totally down with that but I need to dry my hair first,” Bennet said.

“Can’t you just let it air dry?”

“No, man I can’t. And we need a plan. And I want to drink my tea.”

“Don’t you have a commuter mug or something?”

“Dude, you’re not hearing me. I need to sit down, drink my tea, meditate, read my book…”

“We don’t have time for your bedtime ritual! There are four nasty college students after me! They kidnapped me, threw me in their basement and threatened to take me for a ride! Then they stuck a fistful of black widow spiders in Rune’s strongbox which nearly got me thrown in jail! Rune is on the run because she knows these guys are dangerous! We need to get to Leavenworth, find Rune, figure out what she took from these guys and get it back to them before they really put us in dire straits!”

“You seriously need to chill. Let me do my thing and then we’ll cruise to Leavenworth.”

Rune arrived at the Leavenworth Icicle Station at eight that evening. She caught the shuttle to the Obertal Inn which was one of the Bavarian themed hotels in the quaint little German themed town. It was located just around the corner from Main Street. Once she got to her room, she put her bags in the closet and collapsed on the bed. She wondered if someone at the car dealership had found the red Best Made strongbox in the trunk yet. It was a risk to think the dealership would return the box but sticking Durwin’s address inside would raise the chances. She figured placing the ring in the strongbox would be safer than handing it back to him in person. But it was the gargoyle keychain that would throw him off her path. She was certain he would think her sentimental when he saw it. He would be wrong. Sure, she could have taken the train back to Idaho. He’d expect her to go there. But Leavenworth was a place he would not consider looking. He’d never been there, a point he’d brought up in passing conversation, a piece of information she decided was timely to capitalize on.

Rune decided to pay for the train ticket and ditch the credit card before she left. She wanted to travel with cash only. She figured if she sold the car, she could cash the check immediately and get out of Seattle as fast as possible. If she took the credit card with her, she was certain Durwin would follow her paper trail. She probably should have cut it up, but she was halfway hoping Durwin would find it. So, she tossed it in that milkcrate in the basement. She would cancel it tomorrow.

Without a car it was going to be a pain to get to Stehekin, but it was her best option. It was the most remote place in the state. No phones, no computers, no television and no Durwin. The only way in and out of there was by boat or seaplane. He had no idea of her ties there. She had been smart enough not to tell him about it.

It had all happened because of the Pickins Project. Her father had worked on the three-year endeavor often for twelve hours a day trying to get it to work. But the project was doomed from the beginning. On the day it fell apart and was disbanded, her father decided it was the last straw especially since her younger brother had started suffering at school both academically and socially. A house came up on the market in Stehekin, a rare occurrence, and her dad snapped it up fast. He adored the idea that only seventy-five people lived there, and he wanted his family to be part of that population. They did a major downsizing of their belongings keeping only what they thought valuable or sentimental, sold the house and left.

It was a strange experience moving there at first. And Rune missed movies and internet, but after several months it became home, and she didn’t see herself living anywhere else…until after about two years when her mother decided she couldn’t take the seclusion anymore and threatened to leave. And so, they sold the house and moved to Bellingham, a college town near the Canadian border which had a population of over ninety thousand. But during those two years in Stehekin Rune’s family had made friends and Rune knew she could stay there for as long as she needed before deciding on where she would end up going. For the next couple of days, however, she would remain in Leavenworth.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. The fifth and final book of the Musicology series, Musicology: The Epiquad will be releasing next month, June 2021. 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: SPEED (1994)-HBO Max

Pop quiz, hotshot. You are on the hunt for the best summer movies ever made. You want something that engages you from beginning to end. Something that doesn’t care about a profound message or for that matter political correctness. Something that doesn’t lecture you. Something that delivers a heart pounding perfectly arced story that throws obstacles at the protagonist mercilessly. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?! You watch this incredible blockbuster movie about young police officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) who finds himself at the mercy of commuter Annie’s (Sandra Bullock) driving skills when ticked off former police officer Howard Payne (the delightfully evil Dennis Hopper) doesn’t get the pension money he deserves. This incredible script builds one horrific situation on another and unlike the homogenized synthetic yawn fest dribbling out of Hollywood these days this one is pure unadulterated fun. If you have never seen it, you must and if you have, see it again. Go Wildcats!

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 8

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti Poodle here once again to introduce Chapter Eight of my story. The Maltese and I are joyful because we now have a mowed lea outside, and we do not have to work our way through the tall grasses. This is marvelous and we feel a certain freedom and contentment because…

I was getting lost. Very lost. I was getting very lost in the tall grass. I am Tucker and I am a Maltese.

Yes. It was embarrassing. I hung my head in shame because of you.

I cannot help it I have short legs and my line of sight is low to the ground. Everywhere I looked was green.

Yes, well, I should also mention that there are brown bunnies out in the meadow as well. The leader’s name is Bernard and his is most antisocial. Every time I go over to introduce myself, he hops away.

That’s because you are scary.

I most certainly am not. I just wanted to introduce myself.

I think you are very scary…

Anyway, please enjoy my story. Amusez-vous!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Eight

It was midnight when Gary and Rusty pulled the Buick up in front of the cabin. It was a log structure located up on the hill overlooking Soap Lake. The interesting thing about the lake was it was so full of minerals no one ever drowned in it. Everything seemed to float to the surface.

Bennet came around the corner of the house and stood under the floodlights. He was head to toe covered in the rich black mud wearing only his swim trunks with shocking pink hibiscus flowers on them and Maui Jim sunglasses. “Hey, Gary,” he said. “Who’s this guy?”

“This is Rusty,” Gary replied. “He’s our nightwatchman at the dealership.”

“What’s he doing here?”

“We had a little run in with those guys and thought it would be better if we both came here.”

“Nice to meet you, Rusty,” Bennet said holding out a mud encrusted hand.

“Likewise,” Rusty said not shaking it. “What’s that junk you’ve got all over you?”

“Dude, that’s the mud. It’s awesome for your skin. This place used to be a tourist attraction decades ago. It has the highest diverse mineral content of any body of water in the world. People would come here from all over to heal their skin because the mud and the water are so loaded with minerals.”

“What happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“This place is a ghost town.”

“Well, we still get tourists, but it never really took hold. Probably because it gets so cold in the winter. But during the summer this paradise turns into a stone’s throw from heaven. I love it. I can come here, chillax, do this full-on spa treatment. It’s mondo dope.” 

“Rusty’s from Oregon,” Gary said. “He’s never been to Soap Lake before.”

“Bummer. Well, welcome, Rusty. Come on in and take a load off. I’ll just go over to my outdoor shower and rinse myself off.”

Bennet trudged off and Rusty turned to Gary and said, “He does know it’s the middle of the night, right?”

Rusty and Gary entered the small cabin. The place was remarkably homey. It had a fireplace with a rug, a kitchen, a bookcase filled with books and a couch, recliner and rocking chair. The two men plopped down on the couch.

“How long are we going to have to stay here?” Rusty asked Gary.

“Long enough for me to figure out what to do,” Gary said.

“Maybe we should get to work finding this Rune girl. She’s the one who got us into this predicament. I mean this is a seriously messed up situation.”

“Well, it’s bad but I think we can deal with it.”

“No. This is messed up. You need to figure out what this Rune girl stole from this Durwin guy or it’s just a matter of time before these criminals figure out where we are.”

“I was thinking we could find a way to make an agreement with Durwin and his buddies.”

“I don’t see Durwin as the make an agreement kind of guy.”

“Maybe I can figure out a sum of money to buy him off.”

“It doesn’t matter what you offer that guy. Whatever Rune took from him is worth more.”

“It’s kind of odd he didn’t care about either the house key or the ring.”

“Maybe he doesn’t even know what they are. Maybe Rune just threw them in the box when she took off.”

“Maybe. But why?”

“My dudes!” Bennet announced strolling in wearing a pewter colored robe and shaggy wet hair. “So, can I get you guys some tea?”

“I’m a coffee guy,” Rusty said.

“Oh, okay. I can make you an espresso.”

“Triple mocha.”

“Fresh out of chocolate syrup. I have to get some from the store in the A.M.”

“Fine. A triple latte.”

“One third base for Rusty. You up for tea, Gary?”

“Sure.”

“Awesome! Your barista to the rescue.”

Bennet went over to the kitchen and filled a teapot with water and put it on the stove.

“What kind of coffee you got?” Rusty called out to him.

“Dude, its these totally sweet beans from Guatemala. They are so awesome; they must be flown out in a private helicopter. Word is some of these whirlybirds get shot down. That’s how awesome the coffee is. They don’t want the beans leaving the country. They’re like a national treasure or something. I mean this brew is going to totally rock your world!”

Rusty turned to Gary. “How’d you meet this guy?”

“We’ve known each other since grade school.”

“Wow.”

Bennet ground the Guatemalan beans in his burr grinder. “I hope you like whole milk, Rusty. It’s packed with enzymes. I totally dig enzymes. They are super great for the digestive track and brain tissues.”

“I can’t eat enzymes,” Rusty said.

“Seriously?”

“No. Just make the coffee, Bennet.”

Rusty took out his cell phone. “How’s the reception here? Do you get any?”

“We absolutely get reception here, dude.”

“Hand me Rune’s credit card, would you, Gary?” Gary pulled the small strong box out of his blazer and handed it to Rusty. Rusty took the card and began surfing on his phone. “I can find out where the last purchase on this card was made.”

“It could have been weeks ago,” Gary said. “Maybe longer.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.”

“You guys want some cookies or something?”

“Yes,” Gary said. “I’m starving.”

“You should have said something. I’ll make you a nut butter sandwich.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“It’s no problem, man.”

“Got it!” Rusty said.

“Really?” Gary asked.

“The last purchase on that card was yesterday early morning right before she sold you the car.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep. An Amtrack ticket.”

“To where?”

“I guess we’re going to have to find out.”

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! 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 ASSISTANT (2019)-Hulu

Firstly, I must explain something about this film. On Rotten Tomatoes the 229 critics who reviewed it gave the movie 92%. The audience gave it 25%. The critics are correct. What is disturbing is the great divide. Are audiences becoming more and more incapable of intelligent film viewing? Are they too incompetent to recognize a villain which they cannot see? This is a quiet and highly disturbing film reminiscent of The Conversation where we feel the presence of the villain who is always looming but never on screen. He hangs in the air like a disease corrupting everyone around him yet is never vilified…except by the one person who recognizes him for what he is. Jane (Julia Garner in yet another stunning performance) is a graduate from Northwestern. Highly intelligent, hardworking, and introverted she has taken a job at a successful New York production company in hopes of becoming a producer herself. But the company is run by a psychopathic rapist tyrant who nobody stands up to or for that matter wants to. Jane is his assistant but, and this is important, he bullies her but never sexually assaults her. Here’s why: A study was done in Nigeria once to look at who joins fraternities, and the results were eye-opening. Fraternities are made up of psychopaths, suckers, and grudgers. Psychopaths essentially run the fraternity, suckers enable them, and grudgers resist the psychopaths. Grudgers are the smallest group in population and outnumbered. Psychopaths are drawn to suckers seeing them as targets (both female and male) and see grudgers as obstacles as opposed to marks. Grudgers are intuitive and pick up quickly on the evil in charge whereas suckers become victims and/or minions. Jane sees her boss for what he is but must face a conglomerate of suckers who either fall prey to him or work to keep him in charge. Jane is called smart both by her boss and HR and told at one point she is “not his type” or in other words she’s not enough of a sucker to end up on his gruesome casting couch. A great touch is Jane must constantly clean up the room with said couch. Jane is constantly in conflict with her drive to succeed and her ability to recognize the company is totalitarian. The question is what if anything can she do about it?   

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 7

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle returning this week with Chapter Seven of my story. This week I received a bath. It was dreadful. The Maltese received one too which makes me feel better. Just the same I hate baths. They are the bane of my existence. I am also due for a spa day as alas my hair is overgrown in front of my eyes. I look like a steel wool scrubbing pad. I look fantastic post grooming as you know. Luckily for me my novelist could not get me an appointment for two weeks for which I will gloriously enjoy frolicking in the newly cut grass in my shaggy unkempt bohemian style. But as for my penning I shall keep you waiting no longer. Here is my seventh chapter of What I Found in the Trunk. Godere!

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Seven

It was nine o’clock P.M. by the time Gary got to the dealership. He parked his car in his usual spot and hurried for the front door carrying the strongbox in his Hopper Shopper bag. Rusty the young slightly overweight security guard with the curly red hair was there patrolling the place when his boss came rushing up. “Hey there, Gary,” he said.

“Hey, Russ,” Gary replied eager to get inside.

“Whatcha doing here so late?”

“I just needed to check on one of the cars.”

“Oh, yeah? Which one?”

“A beige one.”

“Oh…”

“Well, I’d better go get the key from the office.”

“Say, Gary there were these four college guys that came around looking for you right as I went on shift.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Said they had a friend who’d sold you a car this morning.”

“Yeah?”

“Wanted to know if you’d sold it yet.”

“Huh…yeah, well…they say anything else?”

“I don’t know. I had to get to work. I think they might have talked to your dad.”

Great, Gary thought. Now they know who my dad is. “Okay, well…thanks.”

“Sure. Say, I just wanted to mention the candy machine is broken.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s out of Snickers Bars.”

“Yeah. Well, the guy comes on Wednesday. He’ll stock it then.”

“Cool.”

“Well…I’d better go check on that car.”

“Okay.”

Gary hurried inside the office to look for a non-descript beige car. The fatigue of the day’s unexpected stress hit him. He set the Hopper Shopper bag on the desk, moved over to the espresso maker, made a latte, and sat with his java at the computer. A lot of cars dad had at the dealership were too conspicuous. Too many Cadillacs, Jaguars, and BMWs. “Don’t we have anything dull?” he asked out loud as he continued to search.

But after looking at cars for another fifteen minutes, he finally located a Buick LaCrosse in a Pepperdust Metallic. “That’ll do,” he said. “That’ll do just fine.”

He hurried over to the locked keys, retrieved the one for the Buick, grabbed the Hopper Shopper Bag and left the office.

“Found the one you needed?” Rusty asked when Gary got outside.  

“Yup,” Gary replied jingling the key in his hand.

“Well, you have a good night, Gary.”

“You too, Rusty.”

Gary hurried towards the car lot. The Buick should be in the far back. No surprise it would be parked there. It wasn’t as expensive or glamourous as the other luxury cars his dad sold, and it had been sitting on the lot for at least six months and still no one had bought it. He unlocked the door and tossed the Hopper Shopper bag in the passenger’s seat.

He was about to start the engine when he heard voices yelling. He glanced into the rearview mirror and saw Rusty and three or four figures arguing. His heart started to pound. Was it Durwin and his posse?  One of the men shove Rusty who stumbled back. Rusty charged straight at the guy and right away three men were on him. They knocked him to the ground and started punching him. What should he do? He could call the police, but he was already picked up for the black widow incident. With his heart pounding, Gary turned on the car, his hands sweating on the steering wheel and started backing out. Then he turned the car around, threw on his high beams and hit the gas.

One of the college thugs looked up and saw him coming. He jumped back and ran out of the way of the oncoming vehicle. The other three turned and saw the fast-approaching headlights and took off leaving the fallen Rusty.

Gary hit the brakes, stopped right beside his fallen nightwatchman, and threw open the passenger door. “Get in!” he yelled.

Rusty turned his head and saw the open door. He struggled to his feet.

Gary could hear the pounding tennis shoes of the four guys coming back towards the car.

“Hurry!”

Rusty limped over and dropped into the seat just as one of the guys lifted a tire iron to strike his legs. Gary hit the gas with Rusty both in and out of the car and pealed out just as the tire iron struck the door.

“Who were those guys?” Rusty asked as they sped off down the freeway.

“I don’t know. I just met them today,” Gary said.

“What did you do to get them so ticked off?”

“They think I stole something from them.”

“What did you steal?”

“I didn’t steal anything. But I think Rune did.”

“Who’s Rune?”

“She’s their friend who sold me her car today and I found a strongbox in the trunk with three things in it: a housekey on a gargoyle keychain, a velvet box with what I think is a diamond engagement ring in it and a house address which is where these guys live. I found that out the hard way.”

“So, are you going to call the police?”

“I already did. Or rather I was hauled into the police station for letting a bunch of black widow spiders loose at a Kid Valley.”

Rusty’s eyes widened. “Why did you let a bunch of black widow spiders loose at a Kid Valley?”

“I didn’t know these guys stuck them in the strongbox.”

“Strange.”

“Anyway, I’m driving us over to my friend Bennet’s cabin in Soap Lake. We can lay low there till I figure out how to get us out of this mess.”

“So, what was it this Rune girl stole from these guys?”

“See that’s the problem. I have no idea what they’re looking for.”

“Did you try calling her?”

“Her phone has a disconnected number.”

“What about surveillance video?”

Gary shook his head. “I didn’t even think of that.”

“Well…I could call into the system, try and pinpoint a good shot of her.”

“Can you do that?”

“Sure.” Rusty reached into his pocket and retrieved his phone. “What time do you think she came by?”

“Early. Like before nine.”

“Okay…was she the first customer of the day?”

“Yeah, she was.”

“Okay…hang on.”

“So, when you find the picture, if you find a good one…”

“Say, she’s pretty…”

“…wait till we get to the rest stop so we can take a good look at her.”

“She sold you her car today…did she upgrade it to one on the lot?”

“No. She drove the car to the dealership then caught a bus.”

“Did you see which bus?”

Gary thought about this for a moment. “I think it might have been one heading to Bellevue. But I can’t be sure.”

“So, you have no idea what was supposed to be in that box besides the address, the key and the ring?”

“None at all. But there’s one more weird thing.”

“What’s that?”

“I found this in those guys’ basement.”

“What were you doing in their basement?”

“They put me there. Anyway, I found this.” Gary reached into his coat pocket and retrieved the small aluminum strong box. “It has Rune’s credit card in it.”

“Well, that’s going to help us a lot more than a picture.”

“How?”

“Let’s just say I know things.”

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! 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: BETTER DAYSHulu

For twenty-seven years Hong Kong has not had a movie nominated for an Oscar for Best International Film…until now. And WOW what a film! The last Hong Kong film nominated was Fairwell My Concubine in 1993. There have only been three films from Hong Kong in history to ever receive an Oscar nomination in this category (the first of the three was Raise the Red Lantern in 1991). And Better Days should have also been nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actress as well. It was banned by Chinese sensors for a nearly one year and was kept from being shown at the Berlin Film Festival. Despite that the film went on to earn 230 million dollars worldwide and was the highest grossing film upon its first weekend release. The screenplay is based on the young adult novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty (2016). It is not based on a true story just so there is no confusion when you watch the movie. The film begins with a tragedy and one might say a changing of the guard…but not in a good way. This horrific event centers around the Chinese gaokao which is an intense two-day college entrance exam that determines the fate of many students and their families. One of the fallouts of the exam is bullying. When a highly intelligent studious girl named Chen Nian (Zhou Dongyu) shows compassion for another girl who was bullied she becomes the new target of Wei Lei (Zhou Ye) a popular and wealthy female psychopath who manipulates her female gang to carry out violent and disturbing terror against those she deems unworthy or threatening to her power. After several harrowing incidents Chen stumbles across a street fight involving boys her own age who put her in a compromising position which she serendipitously uses her pluck to get out of. In the process she inadvertently rescues Xiao Bei (Jackson Yee), a would-be street thug who turns out to be more than meets the eye. The two form a pact which puts them on the path to their unexpected destiny.  

Oscars Reviewed

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the Parti Poodle here to introduce my novelist. It was the Oscars this past weekend and therefore I am taking a break from my story this week to allow my novelist to discuss the event. I believe I may have drunk too much sparkling berry cider during the show and still feel a little out of sorts. I remember growling at the Maltese and possibly nipping at him a few times. Not that he did not deserve it but because I may have been too excessive in my attack.  I fear it may be time for a bath soon and possible a trip to the spa which is always unsettling for me. I’m going to go take another nap now and will be back next week with Chapter Seven of What I Found in the Trunk. Till then, here is my novelist.

This week Gigi is taking a break from her story so I can talk a bit about the Oscars. This was of course an unusual ceremony and not as high in the ratings as years past due to Covid-19. Just the same there were some standouts amongst both the winners and the other nominees. I will touch on a couple of them.

One of the films I had as my Stream of the Week was Sound of Metal. I saw it before the nominations came out and thought about how amazing the sound was in the picture. My thought was this is not a traditional film to be nominated for sound, but it really should be as the sound is a character itself and integral to the story. This for me was one of the best and most accurate wins of the night and a hope that going forwards sound is not just a category exclusively for action pictures but considers and encourages sound to play a more important and essential element to naturalistic stories as well. The film also surprised everyone winning Best Editing, a category that looked like it would go to either Nomadland or The Trial of the Chicago 7. Especially since the American Cinema Editor’s Award the Eddie went to The Trial of the Chicago 7 for Best Drama. That said Sound of Metal did win the BAFTA for editing and the BAFTAs in general were probably the most accurate awards show as far as picking the Oscars this year.

Nomadland, which was my Stream of the Week last week was the big winner taking home Best Picture, Best Director, and the big surprise (albeit accurate choice) Best Actress for Frances McDormand making this her third Oscar win for Best Actress (she like Anthony Hopkins also won the BAFTA). Her performance is wonderfully understated, believable, and powerful and when I saw it, I could not deny this was the best of what I’d seen from the actresses although I have a soft spot for Carey Mulligan’s fantastic work in Promising Young Woman. I must add this is not the first time Chloe’ Zao has turned in masterwork in direction. I strongly suggest watching her movie called The Rider about a young rodeo rider who must come to terms with his physical limitations. I thought Joshua James Richards would win Best Cinematography as well for his breathtakingly beautiful work. But I cannot deny the quality work Eric Messerschmidt did in the black and white film Mank who took home the gold.

The most heartbreaking speech of the night goes to Thomas Vinterberg whose wonderful comedy/drama Another Round (titled Druk in Danish) received the award for Best Foreign Film. As he was making his acceptance speech, he talked about how his daughter Ida was going to play a part in the film. However, at the beginning of shooting Ida and her mother were in a car accident where they had stopped behind a truck and a car with a driver who was texting while driving smashed into them from the behind severely injuring the mother and killing Ida. Bear in mind Vinterberg had to go forward and shoot this movie at the school Ida attended.

One of the most anticipated wins of the night was Emerald Fennell winning Best Original Screenplay for penning (and directing) Promising Young Woman (Fennell won the Screenwriter’s Guild Award as well). This is an original and unique film well worth the win. And again, Carey Mulligan’s performance is an absolute standout. However, do not take this film as an accurate depiction of rapists. The men in the film are badly cast and the concept that rapists could be just your average guy is scientifically inaccurate. Rapists who are recidivists  have been shown to have white matter abnormalities and around fifty percent of them are psychopathic (Psychopathy: Manipulation, Deception, and Evil | Officer  & Hare Psychopathy Checklist | Psychology Wiki | Fandom (wikia.org)) which means they have a decrease in gray matter by twenty one percent in the prefrontal lobe and five to ten percent in the paralimbic system or in other words they have a smaller than normal amygdala (see The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience by Kent Kiehl ). Plainly put if you were to put say a “regular college guy” beside a “regular college guy rapist” the rapist is often going to have subtle qualities that make him stand out if you know what to look for although for some reason College Disciplinary Boards cannot tell the difference which is beyond all comprehension (see The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr). Rapists whether they be hardened criminals or college students are manipulative predators and if you were to read or listen to interviews with them (not just the “Frank” video by David Lisak which is an actor saying lines that were not from one rapist but taken from interviews with multiple rapists) you would quickly come to find a lot of them are strategic or tactical in nature, often preplan their attacks and are more than a little precise in choosing their victims. Also, in real life as in contrast to the movie a surgeon would have a much higher likelihood of being a rapist than an anesthesiologist (see The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton). Emerald Fennell said her idea basically came from conversations she had about consent while attending a dinner party which isn’t a terrible thing and made for an entertaining revenge film just not a properly cast nor well-researched one.  

There was one film amongst the nominees which not only should win and did win but I believe had to win. And that was the film which took home the gold for Best Animated Short. A little film which I listed as one of my Stream of the Week choices that is only twelve minutes long. This gem has become a TikTok challenge where you must film yourself watching the film for the first time from beginning to end and post your video. The challenge is to see if you can make it through the film without breaking into tears. I made it through the film twice without waterworks, but I can see why many cannot. And this is a good thing because that means it has an impact on its viewers. The film is called If Anything Happens, I Love You and the filmmakers interviewed parents of children who had fallen victim to gun violence to create the film and the poignancy with which they tell the story is heartbreaking. It may not be the most visually stunning animated short out there, but it is certainly one of the most profound. Science has been studying mass shooters’ brains using SPECT scans which is a way of looking at how blood flows through arteries and veins in the brain and finding that shooters have lower blood flow to the prefrontal cortex and that some have more active brains than normal, and some have more inactive brains than normal. Also, chromosome mutations linked to genetics may play a role in violent behavior as in being born with an extra Y or X chromosome. In addition to better gun laws hopefully science may at some point soon be able to determine (or more precisely be allowed to determine) the genetic and physical mental makeup of a dangerous individual at an accurate rate and be able to act proactively before more films like this one about unnecessary tragedy need to be made.  

Gigi will return next week with Chapter 7 of What I Found in the Trunk.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! 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: COLLECTIVE (COLECTIV in Romanian) – Hulu

This week’s movie is not for the faint of heart. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary this is a riveting if not disturbing look into the workings of the Romanian health system. The film starts out with a fire in a club called Colectiv. The fire killed twenty-six people at the club…and then the real nightmare started. For some reason, the thirty-eight injured patients who were sent to the hospital, many of whom should have survived their injuries start dropping off like flies and a group of journalists wants to know why. With every fact they uncover the reasons for the deaths keep expanding to a nightmarish reality. And even with a new competent Minister of Health put in charge to solve the situation the far-reaching corruption in the national Romanian health system proves to be a mountain of unadulterated evil.

What I Found in the Trunk: Chapter Six

Good morning. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again to post another chapter in my ongoing story. It’s that time of the year when my novelist gets all perfervid about the Oscars. There is no stopping her. She went to the store yesterday and procured appetizers. Last week she acquired plates, napkins, and sparkling cider. She also made sure we had fine chocolates on hand. Although she is eccentric when it comes to cinema, I have thoroughly enjoyed the films we have been watching as of late. I am especially fond of a great documentary that opened my mind to…

Hello! I am Tucker and I am a Maltese and I like watching movies with our novelist. I am especially fond of psychologically challenging stories. They make me sleepy. I can just shut my eyes and let the television turn into white noise.

My what a cinephile you are. Anyway, I think my novelist is calling me to fill out my ballot for our little competition. Without further ado here is chapter six.

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the parti poodle

Chapter Six

Gary turned back to the table to find black widow spiders crawling everywhere. The girl who wasn’t screaming grabbed her food tray and began slamming it down on the table trying to kill as many of the wretched arachnids as she could. Gary slipped his loafer off his foot and proceeded to help her kill the nasty things. 

The other girl kept screaming, “Help! Help! Help!” which prompted the restaurant manager to come running out.

“I’m calling the police!” the restaurant manager yelled upon seeing the situation.

“Please don’t!” Gary begged still slamming his shoe like a hammer on the poisonous spiders. “It’s under control!”

“It definitely is not!” she yelled back and dialed 911. Within three minutes the police arrived.

“So, let me see if I understand this,” the detective said as he sat across from Gary in the stark claustrophobic interrogation room. “You say this college student…”

“Rune,” Gary said.

“Right. Rune. This Rune sold you her car at your father’s dealership this morning and happened to have left a strongbox in the trunk.”

“Yes.”

“And in the strongbox was a key on a gargoyle keyring…”

“A house key. Yes.”

“A house key. And a diamond engagement ring in a velvet box and an address on a blank card.”

“Correct.”

“And you tried calling the number Rune left with the dealership, but it was disconnected.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Then around five this evening you drove to said address in Sandpoint to return the strongbox and its contents thinking this might be where Rune lives.”

“Correct.”

“And when you got there, you were kidnapped by four male college students who claimed there was something missing from the box, but they wouldn’t tell you what that something was.”

“Exactly.”

“And when you told them you had no idea what they were talking about they dragged you downstairs to their basement and threatened to take you for a ride. Then you escaped out this doggie door…boy, that must have been some dog if you could escape out a doggie door.”

“I was thinking possibly a Great Dane.”

“Right. And then you came face to face with the neighbor’s dog who attacked you.”

“Yes.”

“And the neighbor, an older female, got the male perpetrators to let you go at which point you demanded the strongbox back, drove to Kid Valley Burgers where you opened said strongbox for the first time since leaving…

“Escaping…”

“…the residence. And when you opened it black widow spiders came crawling out every which way.”

“Yes.”

“And you assume those spiders were put there by one of the four college students with intent to harm you.”

“Absolutely.”

“Okay. We’ll send a couple of our officers over to the residence in Sandpoint to check out your story. The two women and the restaurant have chosen not to press charges and you haven’t technically done anything illegal so you’re free to go. We’ll let you know what we find out about the house.”

The police officers dropped Gary off at Kid Valley Burgers where he hopped back in his car with the steel box which still had the velvet box with the diamond engagement ring and the gargoyle keychain with the house key inside. He reached into the pocket of his blazer and took out the small aluminum pocket box he’d found in the milk crate in the basement. He opened it and found a credit card. Upon closer inspection he saw the card had Rune’s name on it.

Gary turned the card over in his hand a couple of times and ruminated on how to proceed. He put the card back in the small strong box, closed it and stuck it back into the inside pocket of his jacket. He took out his cell phone and called his buddy Bennet.

“Sup?” Bennet asked when he answered Gary’s call.

“Hey, buddy,” Gary said. “I need a favor.”

“Shoot.”

“Look…I was wondering if I could come up there for the weekend and chill.”

“Yeah,” Bennet said with a mouthful of something. “I’m at the cabin in Soap Lake though.”

“Soap Lake? What are you doing in Soap Lake?”

“Man, I love it here. It’s quiet, I can hear myself think, I can go slap mud on myself like at a spa getaway…”

“Okay, fine! I’ll drive over to your cabin in Soap Lake!”

“Awesome! I could use the company.”

“Great. Thanks…I’ll take off in about an hour or so.”

“Say, you sound kind of, I don’t know, man…unhinged.”

“Yeah…well, I’ll tell you about it when I get there.”

“Alrighty. See you in a few!”

A few hours, Gary muttered to himself.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! 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: NOMADLAND (2020)-Hulu

Clearly one of the best films of the year this is an absolute must-see Oscar contender. Gorgeously directed and edited by Chloé Zhao Nomadland is a character study on a large scale. Fern (Frances McDormand in a stellar Oscar nominated performance) is an ISTP female who has never been satisfied to remain in one place. After becoming widowed she makes a valiant attempt to stay in the town she and her husband resided. But during the Great Recession with only seasonal work at Amazon, she cleans out the home she can no longer afford, packs everything she holds dear and heads out in her van looking for work wherever she can find it. Along the way she becomes involved with an organized group of other nomads as they weave in and out of each other’s lives searching for their place in the great American landscape.    

What I Found in the Trunk Chapter 5

Good evening. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce the fifth chapter of my story. Late one night this week the Maltese had a rather horrific nightmare. He woke up screaming in a way I have never heard him emote. My novelist in her usual helicopter dog owner way pampered the inane creature and has been giving him far more lap time than he deserves. Just because I don’t wake her up in the middle of the night making unearthly sounds doesn’t mean I don’t deserve attention. Perhaps I should purchase a megaphone and express my insecurities in the middle of the night, and I would get treated with more respect. But enough about that. Here is my chapter.

What I Found in the Trunk

by

Gigi the Parti Poodle

Chapter Five

Gary’s foot kicked something. He bent down to find a milk crate. He reached into the crate, felt around, and found a small metal box, much smaller than the red strong box he found in the trunk. Small enough to fit in his pocket. He slipped it inside his blazer and started moving and feeling around his space again.

His hand touched a cold rough surface. He knew it was cement. Slowly he edged along the wall, sliding his foot out in front of him so as not to trip on anything.

Suddenly, light flooded in from above and four faces stared down at him. “We got to thinking, Gary,” the kid said. “We should all go for a ride.”

Gary glanced around the room and that’s when he saw the doggie door. It was big enough to let a large dog in. The door it was fashioned to was sealed off, but the canine entrance remained intact. Whoever had it installed must have had a Great Dane who liked to roam at night. Gary lunged for the escape, got on his stomach, and began crawling through. The boys pounded down the stairs as Gary kicked and pulled until he was outside. Unfortunately, so was Draco. Still attached to his chain the beast lunged at Gary snapping and snarling. Gary figured if he made a large enough arc, he could avoid the creature altogether. Gary was wrong.

Draco had been pulling on that chain a long time. And today was his lucky day. The spike to which his chain was attached lost its grounding and flew out of the dirt breaking the dog free from his incarceration. Pounding towards Gary like a bat out of hell Draco chomped down on the back of Gary’s leg.

Gary screamed in horror. With his other foot he tried to punch the dog in the snout. But he couldn’t get a good enough angle and the searing pain in his calf made it difficult to aim correctly.

By this time, the college boys had burst out the front door and were rounding around the side of the house towards the kafuffle when a small elderly woman with her hair swept up in a bun came shuffling out of the neighbor’s house towards the dog.

“Draco!” she shouted with great disappointment and smacked the mongrel on the nose. Draco not expecting this unforeseen discipline released his death grip from Gary’s leg. She gave him another swat on the snout. “Bad boy!” Draco whimpered and hung his head in unfathomable shame. “Are you alright, dear?” she asked Gary.

“No…but my leg is still attached.”

“I bought Draco as a guard dog. Can never be too sure. But you look like a nice young fellow.”

Just then the kid and his boys came running up.

“Durwin,” the woman said to the kid. “Is this man your guest?”

Durwin thought quickly and said, “Yes, ma’am.”

“You’re awfully lucky I was here. Draco might have taken this poor young man’s leg off! I thought we had an understanding about guests and not letting them come near my backyard.”

“Yes, ma’am. He was just leaving.”

“That’s right,” Gary said. “If you’ll just bring me my red strongbox with the key and ring in it, I’ll be on my way.”

The three boys looked at each other, then the one in the gold shirt with the purple “W” on it hurried back to the house. A few minutes later he returned carrying the red strong box. He gave Gary a nasty look before shoving it at him.

The three boys looked at each other, then the one in the gold shirt with the purple “W” on it hurried back to the house. A few minutes later he returned carrying the red strong box. He gave Gary a nasty look before shoving it at him.

“Thanks,” Garry said. “I’ll be on my way.”

“We’ll be seeing you real soon, bro,” Durwin said menacingly.

Gary watched the four boys as he backed up and headed for his car. As soon as he hopped inside, he locked the doors, turned on the engine and hit the gas. He drove back through the University District and headed out to Green Lake until he got to Kid Valley Burgers. He pulled over and killed the engine near the yellow, black, and white sign.

Gary realized his heart was still pounding. Now what did he do? He didn’t want to drive back to the dealership. He didn’t want to go home. If Durwin and his buddies said they’d see him again that’s exactly what they’d do. What was this Rune girl into anyway? Were Durwin and his gang even college students or was this all a façade?

Garry checked his watch. It was almost seven. He could drive up to Bellingham, but he should switch cars. They probably already knew everything about this one. That would mean waiting it out, heading to the dealership and picking out some inconspicuous wheels and heading north.

Suddenly, it occurred to him he hadn’t looked in the strongbox since he’d gotten back in his car. He reached over to flip the latch. Then he realized the latch was facing him. What if they had put something inside?

Gary turned the box around, so it was facing the other way. No. That wasn’t good enough. He unlocked the car, snatched the box, and climbed out. He carried it over to an unoccupied outdoor table. A couple of young women sitting at another table watched him. They looked at each other and giggled. Gary knew that giggle. It wasn’t the kind of giggle girls made when they thought he was cute it was the kind of giggle girls made when they thought he was strange. Screw it. It there was something in the box that might be off he wasn’t going to get killed trying to look cute. Gary turned the box, so it was neither facing the women nor himself. He reached around and slowly flipped the latch and opened the lid. He jumped back causing the women to laugh more.

“My buddies like to play jokes on me,” he told them realizing how stupid engaging in conversation with them was.

Suddenly, one of the girls started screaming. Gary not knowing what he’d said to upset her said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

Then the other woman grabbed her tray and ran over to Gary.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first four installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!Musicology: Volume Three, Twist! and Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! 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 FULL MONTY (1997) Amazon Prime

Finally, after many months one of the best comedies of the nineties is now available for streaming. Thank you, Amazon! It is near impossible not to adore this fantastic tale about six unemployed steal workers from the town of Sheffield in North England who decide to change careers and become strippers after a Chippendales show comes to town to perform a sold-out show. This excellent Oscar nominated script written by Simon Beaufoy tells the tale of Gaz (Robert Carlyle), his twelve-year-old son Nathan (Wim Snape) and his plump friend Dave who spend their time stealing and selling scrap metal from the old steel mill Gaz and Dave worked at. Gaz’s wife Mandy (Emily Woof) has left him for another man and downplays his fathering skills. Dave thinks his wife might be cheating on him with her coworker and is insecure about his weight. After the three of them sneak into the Chippendales show Gaz gets an idea. With the reluctant help of their former boss Gerald (Tom Wilkinson) who has ballroom dance training but has not told his wife he’s been unemployed for six months they decide to book their gig at the same club. They hold auditions at the steel mill with the help of Lomper (Steve Huison) a guard and trumpet player who agrees to join their dance troupe. They hire Horse (Paul Barber) and Guy (Hugo Speer) and set out to prove not only can they dance, but they can also go the full Monty.