Monday, October 31, 2005

Story Time

Hello everyone. Marlene here. This is a story submitted by a nice man who works in the Marketing department of Grey's. I think it's lovely. Enjoy!
I’ve grown tired all the time and I think it has something to do with what I eat for breakfast. When I was a virile, young sprout, they told me, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Stacy. So, eat healthy now. And, I don’t just mean a bowl of ‘Fruity Sugar Malted Balls’ or ‘Blackwell’s Chocolate Chunks’. I mean eggs, home fries, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, an omelet, a crepe, some toast with some jam or jelly on it, etc. It’s all about energy. You need that energy to begin your day.” And, they were right. For 25 years, my breakfast has consisted of two eggs (any style, poached if I can have ‘em that way), four long strips of bacon, a glass of orange juice, two pieces of toast with strawberry jelly and a piece of cantaloupe. Time passed, I worked hard at my job and life became more complicated, so did my breakfast. As the years peeled away, I became larger (mainly my ass) and assumed that more food was necessary every morning to keep my energy level at its desired capacity. Gradually, I increased the amount I ate. My regime went from 2 eggs to 3 or 4, four long strips of bacon became a half dozen, a glass of orange juice, prune juice and a Vegetable Medley drink, 4 pieces of toast marinated in strawberry jelly, a piece of cantaloupe along with a side of three buttermilk pancakes or French toast powdered with sugar. Well, daily intake increased. And I now eat 6 eggs, 5 buttermilk pancakes and ½ dozen pieces of French toast, 12 strips of bacon alongside a big slab of Canadian Bacon, a crepe filled with cheese, a 2-liter of Mountain Dew (to make up for what I felt to be failing energy) and a small box of chocolate covered cherries. Yet, my energy level is still way down. I find I barely want to leave my room let alone board the bus and go to work. I long to change my breakfast diet, to make me more peppy, but I fear any subsequent loss in energy that might occur.

Of course, the tired could come from my family. I wouldn’t put it past them. My mother had died three years ago. She was a charming and gregarious woman who instantly became the life of any party she became a part of. A fun lady who enjoyed a big buffet as much as the next woman. My dad, in contrast, was a gym teacher. Yelling at kids all day takes the energy right out of ya, I guess. I never heard the man say more than five words at the same time at any time. But, after Mom died, everything changed. Dad suddenly acquired an “urge to live”, as he called it. I asked him what he’d been doing with Mom for all those years but he didn’t answer. He sold the family house as is, which was a little annoying as all our family photos and quite a few of our childhood belongings were in there. But, Dad didn’t even take notice. He took the money from the sale and rented space in the garage of the house across the street so he could have an “Eternally Nostalgic” view of the Homestead. The remainder went towards the purchasing of a ‘79 Plymouth Home-On-Six-Wheels trailer. A truly gross looking machine which had strange rusty stains all along the bottom and smelled like a small, sheltered, damp place no matter how much you disinfected the thing or aired it out. I asked him why the sudden urge and he claimed that Mom came to him in a daydream and told him to spend the rest of his life traveling around the country and then from the North to the South Pole. By time he left on his journey, one year ago yesterday, he had taken to living entirely in the trailer. The man couldn’t use a bathroom anywhere but in that trailer. “It’s cramped,’s cramped!” he’d say stumbling towards the RV’s permanently stained kitchen table, “But, it just makes me appreciate, so much more, the enormous expanse of the world when I get out.” I thought maybe it got a little too hot for him in there. But, despite my pleas, he set off across Our Great Land and then up to the North and down to the South. The last thing I heard him yell, as he drove out of sight, “I’m hoping to pick me up some hitchhikers! With short shorts so tight!” A month later, he started sending requests for money as he’d left his ATM card in the garage. He was my dad. How could I turn down his request? I also have one brother, Trevor, who ran off years ago to become a traveling troubadour throughout Europe. We haven’t heard a thing from him since. Oh, except some bi-monthly requests for what he calls “Troubadour Restitution”. It’s not much, though. 2/5 of my income went to the two of them and, with that, almost all of my love, hopes, tears and wishes. Working lots of overtime to help them out barely kept my eyes open at 8AM unless I had three big, big cups of coffee.

The job, which I’ve held for the past ten years, has just recently begun to make me tired. I don’t know if it’s the primary source of my tiredness but it certainly doesn’t help. Ten years I’ve been there...and I’m convinced that they are not looking out for my happiness. I have been bucking for this job for weeks. I worked for it, campaigned for it, shmoozed the bosses, greased palms and did every damn thing I could think of. It didn’t work. I couldn’t get it. I mean, it was there in my grasp and they gave it to Danny D! “This is Danny D! Can I get you somethin’ nice?” Jesus, that guy makes me angry! Well, he did make me angry. Now, he just makes me tired. That job in Government Reporting - Verifications should have been mine. The president of the branch said I was the best employee Government Reporting, and maybe even the Retirement Plan Division, ever had. I was the #1 man in Government Reporting - Statement Exceptions and I missed a job in Verifications (who are, by the way, closer to the windows) to that spud Danny D. My anger became rage that became tired because it had nowhere else to go. I gotta get a new job. Or a second one. But, I just don’t have the time to look.

And, whose relationship with a certain woman named Sally wears them out? I’m afraid that’s me. Sally is what I like to call a “big girl.” Not fat, mind you: Big. A bit thick. And, since I’m a bit thick, I think my women should be likewise. I met Sally a year ago out at Seneca Park during the big Employee Picnic. There had been hot dogs, enormous amounts, and I sincerely enjoy hot dogs. After about 8 or 9, my ass felt particularly lugubrious and I decided a walk round a couple of nearby trees would work wonders. So, I began walking and bumped, after a 2nd revolution, directly into the most beautiful vision I’d ever encountered: Sweet, Plump Sally. A shock to all my senses. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking and talking. Over the next six months, we were together every other night in our pre-wedlock bliss. Of course, wedding bells were in our future or so we figured. There is, however, an obstacle, a force larger than both of us that is cheesing her off to no end. My great and enormous love for my own ass. Here’s where it ties in and I can see now that the threads of my own destruction, my feelings of great lethargy, were purely my own creation. I suppose then, as much as I try to ignore it, my love for my enormous ass makes me tired.

My fanny intrigues me in a way that may be considered unhealthy. I remember when it was a tiny little compliment to my body and how it’s grown, gotten a little hairy, a little flabby. Wherever the wind blows it, I let it go. Let it run wild in whatever pair of slacks I happen to have on at the time. Why not? I believe it to be an ass of epically, beautiful proportions and I am so glad it’s mine. And yes, it is for this reason that I eat so much breakfast (watching my ass increase in size increases my self-worth), this is why my family’s gone (they have no love for one who cares more for his posterior than them), this is why I lost the promotion (Danny D. has the smaller ass and can fit in any chair, regardless of size. Mine must be custom built. You know why.), this is why Sally is leaving me (a woman does not appreciate a man who prefers his own ass to hers) and this then is why I’m tired. Chasing my tail for all time.

I’ve grown tired all the time but I’ve become accustomed to it.

Fat Narcissus
By Daniel R. Budnik

Copyright 2005 by Daniel R. Budnik

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Alyssa's Journal #3

I am no longer a member of the Stan Morgan All-Comedy Improv Group.

You know us (or maybe you don't) as the "whacky" bunch of "goofs" who spends every Friday and Saturday afternoon trying to make you laugh after a long week in the Prepared Beef Plant. We play over on the small stage at Ornette's. Well, it's not a stage per se. It's a spot on the floor that's slightly higher than everything else. We call it a stage.

Stan runs a tight ship. There are 6 of us up there moving through the improv games that Stan has worked out. Some are relatively straightforward. "Give me an activity that you like doing at night with someone in the dark, preferably in a bed!" "Give me an embarrassing situation that you've been in, preferably involving eating some bad Mexican food and being stuck in a traffic jam!" "Can you Find the Detective?" He made up some great ones.

"Find The Detective" was the best. It involved one of us, alone on stage, stating that somewhere in the crowd there was a real live detective and we would ferret him out. So, one of us would be in the crowd dressed as, say, a clown, a ballerina, a construction worker or an Officer of the U.S. Department of Weights and Measures. We would approach the ballerina and say "Excuse me. Are you a detective?" "Yes. I am." "You look like a ballerina." "I'm in disguise." "Who is your favorite detective?" "Rudolf Nureyev." "He was a ballerina." "He was an amateur detective throughout the end of the 19th Century and the start of the 20th." "Are you thinking of Sherlock Holmes?" [pause] "Maybe I am a ballerina."

It went on like this until the host of the game met one of us dressed in a long trenchcoat and smoking a cigarette. (Or wearing a deerstalker cap and smoking a pipe.) "Excuse me. Are you a detective?" "I'm a surveyor. I work for the county." "You're dressed like a detective." "I'm sorry. I don't know anything about that." "I think you're a detective." "Well, you found me. Perhaps you're a detective." It would go on like this. Eventually, right when the crowd was beginning to go south, the detective would fess up and reveal that the construction worker was a detective in disguise. When the audience got a closer look at the worker's hardhat, they'd see that it read "I AM A DETECTIVE" in block letters. Great game.

During the Friday afternoon show, Stan was beginning to insist that we get a "little more serious about our comedy." We began to start each show with "News of the Day". He would ask the audience for a story that was in the news. He'd get a response. We would then do a ten minute play he prepared on the dangers of drinking milk with too many chemicals in it. No matter what the story was that was Stan's big thing so...

He called it "misdirection". I thought he was being a "fat jackass".

The other games that drove me nuts were "Wallpaper" and "Suggestions".

"Wallpaper" involved us hanging up strips of wallpaper along the back wall and discussing the Communist Political Agenda in modern day China until he said "Scene!". One afternoon, he let us go for twenty minutes. There wasn't a customer in the place by time we'd finished.

"Suggestions" is the one that really drove me crazy. It closed the show. We would take suggestions from the crowd. "Color." "TV show." "Politician." "Movie." "Actor." "Food." "Soft drink." We'd accumulate all this for around five minutes and get the crowd really riled up and excited. Then, we'd say "Good Night!" and the lights would go out and we'd leave. Stan called it "Po Mo Improv". I wasn't convinced.

Last night, we had it out. The show ended at 8:30. It had gone on for 2 1/4 hours. He had introduced a new bit called "My Drunk Uncle". We would ask the crowd for the name of any uncles they could remember who were drunk all the time and we'd construct a short play around an abusive uncle. If we went for a laugh, "Uncle Neil" would hit us. I was pretty bruised by the end of it. The crowd was pretty pissed.

I told Stan after the show that he was ruining the group. (And that he received too much joy from playing the Drunk Uncle.) We had it out. He called me a whore and a piece of filth. I told him that we needed to make the crowds laugh. That's why they came here. He threatened my life and waved a piece of broken glass at me. I told him that his tyranny was ruining what was once a beautiful artistic endeavor. He punched me in the boob. I couldn't take it and told him that I wanted the group together for a vote. He said I was no longer a part of the group. If I came back, he would, personally, make sure that I never walked again.

You can imagine that I will be speaking to Ornette the next time I see him outside of the bar. I just wanted somewhere where I could free my talents. It's tough enough doing anything remotely creative in this town. I think Stan was being unreasonable. Especially when he threatened the lives of any children I might have in perpetuity.

I'll get back to you when this is resolved.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Three for the Festival (Part 2) (?)

I don’t know that this story is new (I know it isn’t) but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again. In high school I had to learn every amendment to the U.S. Constitution. All but one or two have left my memory even though they were pounded into my head again and again. This story, Charlie told me this, keeps popping up like a song. I’ll try to tell it as Charlie did because, well, he told it right. I don’t want to fudge it around with my whatever:

“Yeah. It’s weird, ya know, I’ve lived here all my life but I never met Ruben. I guess, what they tell me is that he was a grade ahead. But, when I first saw him at the festival, I didn’t know him from Zorro. He was...Hmmm, ya know, this happened a couple years ago but I still...

"OK. I’ll tell the story. Then, I gotta get back to work...Alice and I had met, fell in love, married and been like that for 3 years. No kids, but we were planning on it. We both worked here...This beef, you know. But, ...just...we were in love. And, every year, we went to the festival. I had proposed to her on top of and or on the way down the slide. So, can imagine anyway...We had had some fried dough, played some skeeball, had a good time. We’d watched the brawl. You know, you’ve been, all the stuff...we saw and did it.
The night was gettin’ on. About 10:30 and we went up the slide. I don’t now...We did this every year and I guess I sort of really didn’t pay much attention to it. It was something she really loved and I did it. I can’t...What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t until later that any of this meant anything so I didn’

"So, we’re on the slide. Happy as can be. Deep in our wedded bliss. It was probably a little cloudy and I imagine the moon was pretty high and bright. I’m sure I could check a good almanac or something but...You just want to hear what happens and here...

"So, we’re on the slide. Holding hands, I’m sure we smiled at each other and I’m sure we kissed, put on our sacks and slid. Oh, one thing, I do remember. But, only vaguely, sort of after the fact, but...As we put on the sack pants, I thought I heard a voice yell 'Alice!’ twice. But, there’s so much sound and neither of us wanted to ruin the moment. I hid the ring in a specially planted pair of sack pants, you know. Well, I thought I heard it. I...I knew I heard it. But, I didn’t pay attention. Didn’t matter anyway.

"We went down the slide. I remember they had new sack pants that year. And, the moment we stopped, Ruben entered our life. Well, mine. I kind of ignore him and tried to go round but I noticed that Alice was a bit...agog. A look I don’t know I’d ever seen. At first, I thought maybe he had pulled a knife but he was just smiling at her. He was a good-looking guy...

"We were introduced. She said that her and Ruben used to be very good friends. I saw him smile, slyly. And, I...I didn’t think anything about it...I’m not a real jealous guy, you know. Alice is a real pretty woman. I never thought about it. Never noticed it. But, we talked for a while. He seemed like a nice guy. At one point, though, I forgot what I said, but he gave me a look. Damn, I wish I could remember. I think I made a comment about prepared beef. And, he gave me this look. I let it pass but...It was a real sort of patronizing, condescending, unfriendly look is what it was. But, I just let it go. One of the things that has always bugged me is the thought that whatever it was he did to her that moment could have helped his cause. Ya know, 'Why are you with him when he says stupid stuff like...' whatever. I don’t know.

"The chat ended. He went his way, said 'see ya' and was gone. I said that he seemed nice and she nodded. For the rest of the night, she was [he waved his fingers in front of his face here]. When I asked her about it, she just said she was tired, a little lightheaded. So, we went home, fell asleep. It was a nice night.

"It was two months later. We were eating dinner and she told me she had some news. I thought she was pregnant. She wasn’t. She spoke very sternly. Very ‘laying down the law’. She said she was sorry but she was in love with someone else and would be moving out of the trailer in the morning. It was at this point that my IBS began. It’s only gotten worse since then.

"I didn’t know what to say and, in the end, there was nothing I could. She was going. I tried pleading with her but that got pretty pathetic. I asked her why, who, what, how all that crap. But, she said that if I loved her, I would just let her go. “If you love something, set it free” and all that. So, I did.

"It’s not...I didn’t feel...The real pain sunk in the next night. I felt very alone. I felt...No idea what had just happened. And, my stomach was shooting everything I ate right out. Thought that was food poisoning. Cried and...

"Let me...A month later, Shauna at work, she told me what happened. She knew that Alice left. Moved out of town, I haven’t heard a word from her since. But...this is what she told me.

"Alice left with Ruben. He had to be described to me because I didn’t remember the name. And, suddenly, the festival came back. Very quickly. And, I felt my stomach shake. But, I didn’t know if I’d get a chance to hear the story again so I let her go...Of course, four people have tried to tell me the story since. But...

"Ruben and Alice had been deeply in love about ten years before she met me. They had, apparently, been inseparable. One guy called them insufferable. They were never apart. Always in love.

"Well, Ruben, so they tell me, is very ambitious. Wanted to get rich quick. So, against her wishes and some of his own, he left Turbot for the coast to make a $1,000,000 or so they said. Well, I guess Alice, until she met me, was very, very sad. But, I, according to her friends, brought her back to life. I remember them saying that to me when we started dating. I smiled or laughed but I didn’t know what they were talking about. Well,...she hadn’t heard from him in years. And then, he showed up at the festival. And, they started meeting in secret. Shauna saw them at Ornette’s once during the Taco Lunch Special they have there, you know it. They tell me Ruben had a great car. One of those big sports things. Brand new, wholesale, and one guy told me that Ruben owned a jewelry company on the coast. Estimated worth, he told me, a tremendous amount. Well...what could I say? That’s more than I’m worth.

"Her friends said she never spoke of Ruben or her plan but they could tell something was up. They didn’t know it was this...The rest is pretty obvious. Still in love. He asked her to leave. She left. I correspond with her lawyer. We were legally divorced a year ago. I hope she’s doing well. I wouldn’t mind punching Ruben in the jaw.

"That’s childish, I know. I get real angry sometimes. But, I try not to. The doctor told me it just makes me sicker. I...I have trouble eating some days. Some days, I’m fine. But, I get a bad week and I can’t eat. It’s... There are drugs I could take but that’s not really my thing. Thank God, I’m not a marinater.

"Yeah. I don’t...I’m still by myself. Haven’t really dated. Scared, ya know. Six years gone over a guy named Ruben in a flashy sports car. But...if she really loved him...who am I to...? It doesn’t matter even if I do moan and... I’m not really sure where she is now. I hope she’s happy. I’m sure she is.

"I do...I wonder if she thinks about me. She must. She took all the pictures. I have one of us...Here. See...Took that at the big theme park next state over. Well, we didn’t take it. It’s on the big White Water Maniac Ride. The big hill at the end, you know it. They take pictures of everyone. Cost us $7 but...I’m glad we got it. I always kept it in my wallet as a laugh. I mean, it’s so blurry because of the way we were moving around. I guess if I didn’t have it she would have taken that too. See how pretty she was. No, that’s me. It’s kind of tough. She’s got her hair up and...Yeah. that’s her. Ha...Yeah...

"Well, that’s it. That’s the story. It’s really not so great. I...I don’t go to the Festival anymore...I...really wanna punch Ruben. Just once. goes on. Everything has a purpose and a meaning. At least that’s what they tell me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He Was Turbot

At one time, this town was named Mulletville (mull-AY-ville). That was when we had the Marshmallow factory. But, that closed down.

Then, times got strange. People left. The ones that stayed behind don't remember everything so clearly. Many of them say that Mulletville became the most Fun town on Earth. Others aren't so sure.

All I know is that the Fun vanished overnight leaving ruined buildings and a community abandoning their homes in droves. Whatever we were called, it was no longer a desirable place to be. Of course, some of the older folks stayed. This was their home. They weren't going anywhere. But, most folks took off. Left the houses to decay. The wilderness to take over.

It is said that one day a decent sized trailer appeared in the large field near Old Hagar's. A trailer that seemed rather rusty and damaged on the outside but, through some miracle of decorating (smoke and mirrors?), was much more spacious inside than you would ever imagine. This was Jack Turbot's trailer.

Most falls called him Jack. A few people called him Frank. One gentleman told me his real name was Joseph. There are no sort of records in his trailer so we don't know. I'll call him Jack.

He parked his trailer in the field and started to live. He put up the yellow and white striped awning. He set out a propane grill. He set out a deck chair. He ate and drank and endlessly scribbled things into a series of notebooks. He seemed to have no worries.

One day, Mrs. Endicott parked her trailer near his. Her husband had passed three months previous. She was traveling. She became Jack's friend. Together they lived in the field.

Over the next five years, more and more trailers set themselves down in the field. At first, scattershot-random. Only Jack and Mrs. Endicott's trailer remained still. Families came. Everyone shared with everyone else. They worked on writing, drawing, sculpting, singing... All sorts of endeavors.

They were not a town. They were not anything. Just a place where these people could go to do what they needed to do.

With families came the questions of money. People searched for jobs. But, the factory had been closed for several years. Jack Turbot had no jobs for people. In fact, they say that several of the current Grey's employees became rather angry with him. They had believed that this was some sort of planned community where they could raise children. Jack Turbot never advertised himself.

He became disillusioned. He insisted that everyone would be fine. But, people wanted their security. He insisted that it was not an issue. But, it became one. That's when Mr. Grey arrived.

Grey renovated a house and lived there for a time. Grey stepped forward with the jobs everyone needed. Beef! Help him prepare it! Some inhabitants resisted. Jack told Grey that he should go elsewhere.

It was Grey who named the town Turbot to appease Jack. The appeasement stopped when Grey saw how desperate the people had become. There was no need to appease this strange man with the ugly trailer. Grey had a house and money. And, he reopened that factory. Gave everyone jobs.

When the election came for the Town's first First Selectman, Mrs. Endicott nominated Jack Turbot. Grey won by a landslide. Within a month of the election, the rows were created, people's homes were assigned spots and the field became a Trailer Park.

People still worked on their projects. But, they were now hobbies. Other things became more important.

A few people still believed in Jack. But, his heart had gone out of it.

One night

He told Mrs. Endicott to watch over his trailer. He asked her to keep it where it was and to let no one else go inside. He put on an old flannel, old jeans and a pair of white shoes. With a deep breath, he crossed the Rural Route and headed throughout the woods to Sodus Bay.

They say the last anyone ever saw of him was as he walked into the bay. He vanished into the water. Never to be seen again.

Mrs. Endicott keeps control of the trailer. It is the Turbot Memorial Trailer. Everyone knows whose trailer it is but no one can agree on his first name. Or even what he looked like.

No one in town says it...

Five old men at the circular diner will though.

There is a legend that when things get so bad that people won't know why they get out of bed. Why they want to live. Why they want to work five stories underground making beef jerky. Why anything matters. When things get that bad, Jack Turbot will rise from the waters and save us all. With one wave of his arm, he will make everything all right.

Every night I watch the waves.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Vote for Me, Ron Kelly!

Hello, Ronald Thomas Kelly here. I'm running for First Selectman of Turbot in the November election. Maybe you've heard of me.

Most of you may know me as the Town Swell. I'm always over at Ornette's with a smile and a beer in my hand. I worked 28 years over at Grey's Beef Plant. I was a Marinater and eventually moved on to Marketing and then management. Mr. Grey and I used to enjoy each other's company on the golf course every other month.

My wife, Hildy, passed two years ago. I have not remarried because her memory is too strong. Sadly, we never had children. But, we collected pictures of children. Hundreds of them line the walls of our trailer. And, each one has a name. Maybe you know them...Steven, James, Wallace, Thom, Jenny, Maitland, Rene, Trix, Bern, Tomlin, Horace, Winchester 7, Odie, Gunnar, Lars, Champlaign, Thurs, Rudge, Sam, Kenny, Morris and many more. All with names. It's not that tough to acquire hundreds of pictures of children. Just give me a call at the Town Hall and ask how Hildy and I accomplished it.

Before I go, I want to dispel some rumors that have been "making the rounds" down here. I do have claw marks all down my back. Surgery has reduced the swelling and the unsightliness. I don't deny any of that. Two years ago, I was attacked by some sort of animal in Old Hagar's Swamp. But, I got away. I watched it leap onto a branch to try to get at me. I saw the branch snap. I saw the brown shape sink into the bog, howling. All that happened. I'm just here to say that I am fine. There is no truth to the rumors that the attack affected me in any way. Yes, I don't sleep on my back and sometimes I can't sleep at all. But, I've had insomnia for years. It is a pre-existing condition in no way relating to the events of that night. The attack has not, in any way, deterred me from living a happy life. In her last days, Hildy took great care of me. Until the day she went missing, I was her prime concern. Our love is still strong.

Turbot needs a strong First Selectman. Someone who will take no bull from those hotshots in Washington. I'm your man. I survived dropsy as a child, hair loss as a teen and a brutal attack by a strange animal in middle age. I should be your first, your only, choice!

Ron Kelly, First Selectman! It's the right thing to do! Isn't it?

Paid for by The Committee to Elect Ron Kelly

Friday, October 21, 2005

Arthur Yurvis, what have you done now?

Well, we had thought (Arthur thought) that we finally figured out how to put our picture up. It was a great one too. Taken at the Grey's Beef Harvest Festival in 2003. The two of us are standing in front of the "3 Legged Race" banner with our legs tied together. My hair's a mess. I had it up in a bun but bits are sticking out all over. Arthur had used a little too much dye and looked like he was imitating Elvis. We were a little bit out of breath and sweaty from the race. But, and we can't stress this enough: We Looked Good! That's us. We're charming. From over 473 pictures of us as a couple, I chose that one.

Thursday, October 19. That was when Arthur posted the picture. (We'd seen other people post pictures so we knew it was possible.) And, as it was posting and the little thing was spinning saying "Here you go. It's posting.", the whole thing burped and went down. That's where we we've been for the last 24...just gone. Lost somewhere on the internet. Arthur spent all of Thursday night attempting to bring us back. I told him "If we've lost a single post, I will give you such a pinch!"

4:30 AM. Today. "I've got it, Marlene." (And, I did. -A.) The whole blog reappeared. We're pretty sure. I had a look through and all the posts and comments and photos seem to be here. Except one. The Wednesday post. Part 2 of Three For the Festival had gone missing. Would whoever sent us that post please re-send it? I'm not sure if anyone got to read it. Sorry.

Oh, should I mention that the post with our photo is gone too. Is that obvious enough? Arthur, I love you but still no photo. So, what we've decided to do is this: Send a stamped SASE to

Arthur & Marlene Yurvis
P.O. Box 14
RR 72
Turbot, U.S.A.

Don't worry about the zip. It's not going anywhere else. You will receive a color copy of our photo for your wall or mantel. It's a fantastic photo. (We may even include a little note saying "Hello" from Turbot.)

We hope to hear from you soon. Everything should be back in order now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rod Berman is a Crack!

I don't want to get you down, Fat Backs! But, Rod Berman not only does not listen to Tool but he is a Tool! So says Tim Patrick, the Black Metal Listening God!!!!

All you Hellspawn know where I'm tearing it from here...It rained like Satan's Thursday all last week!

Our trailer got washed into the freakin' SwampAss Swamp! Can you believe it? Satan, why have you pulled this crap with me!!!!

So, I get them out and I head over (with Mom and Nana Sue) to the Berman's trailer. It's bigger and, yeah, maybe it smells better. But ours stinks of Hellfire and Brimstone and Hemlock and Satan, so we've got our reasons!

We get there and I've got my Phat Rack of Black Metal CD's. Oh yes! Rock with me! Duh...duh...duh...d-duh...duh...duh...Lepers! All right. I throw on the latest Enslaved (Isa!!!) and start jumping around Rod's nook. Well, his maaaaaaaa (maaaaa!) tells me to "Turn that down!" His dad laughs at it. He thinks it's goofy. I tell him "Since when have Vikings been goofy singing heavy metal, old man!" After I was done sitting in the corner, I put on some Graveland. (YEAHHH!) Well, what does the 'Boneman' family do?

You got it, Tank. "What is this?" Blah blah blah. "Polish Black Metal!" I yelled. (I let out a "Yeahhh!" here.) So, Mr. 'Boneman' tells the one about the Polack with one arm waving to his relatives from a tree and the one about the Polack at the optometrist. They're funny but, WTC?! I can't spend five minutes listening to Fascist Black Metal without getting one from the back.

Come on! Rod is laughing the whole time! He gets out his CD's and we're listening to The Eagles! Oh My Lord! How Evil do I have to be here!? I pretended like I was throwing up by putting my finger in my mouth and making barf noises.

Well, a minute later, I really threw up my Vienna Sausages all over their stereo and a sweater that Mrs. Berman was knitting for Rod. This time I was sent outside until I cooled down.

Next time this happens, I'm running away! Yeah, you heard me! I'm taking my CD's and my Awesome Attitude and I'm going to Ovid or somewhere were they're gonna appreciate me!

'Bonemans!' I hate you! Rod, what happened man? Did your Mom throw out your good music?

Oh Dark One, Grant All My Wishes! Let Me Rock In Hell!!!!!!!!

(That's a picture of the Bermans, by the way. No. I'm kidding. It is Gorgoroth. Do they rock? You can bet your cheeks they do!)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tag Sale on Saturday

The Thrift Shop above the bank is having a Tag Sale next Saturday. Feel free to come by this week and drop off anything you might want to sell. Ask for Gladys. You'll be speaking with Wilma. Frida's in charge.

No need to place a price on them. We'll be doing that this year. There was a little too much confusion over how much was paid for whatever last year so we'll take care of it.

There will be a cakewalk at 4PM so dress warm.

We are hoping to raise $450 this year for the charity of our choice.

Come early. Come hungry. And, bring cash. (No personal checks.)

Saturday 8:30 AM-6PM. Social afterwards.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Madelynn & Dan - Turbot's Happy Couple!!

This is Madelynn & Dan. They're getting married today.

We've actually used a large concrete anchor to secure the Chapel In The Trailer to the ground so it has not slid into the Swamp. Although the rain is scheduled to stop soon, it hasn't stopped yet.

The whole of Turbot will be there. If you're in the area, come by Ornette's around 1PM. We'll all be a little tipsy...and full of Prepared Beef. If you know what I mean. (Pray for non-nihilist improv.)

Eternal love and luck to the beautiful couple. Forever and always.

- Marlene & Arthur

P.S. Arthur's pulled muscle should be healed for dancing. He kicks some prime booty on "We Are Family". Tell your friends.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hold Up My End

Sorry. We fell behind.

The accident, all the rain and there's a wedding this weekend for two very nice kids here in town. They both work in Marketing over at Grey's. It's going to be a big to-do. Mr. Grey might show up! Exciting!

It's been raining here since our accident. (We're still all right.) But, there is a fear that the Chapel On The Trailer might float away. It's just upwind of Old Hagar's Swamp and things are smelling murky, if you know what I mean.

If you happen to be in the area, it's tomorrow at 11:30. The reception is at Ornette's. The Stern All-Comedy Improv Group will be doing a show for us. (I hope they keep it light this time. At a wedding last year, we all got a little bummed.)

The wedding was going to be outside but things don't look so hot now. Well, live and learn.

I still have to keep Arthur's groin on ice and then hot depending upon his needs. (He pulled a muscle there. Remember.)

I'll update you all soon. Pray for our Trailer Chapel.

- Marlene

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Three for the Festival (Part 1)

Everyone arrived. Wrapped in shawls and coats standing bravely in the chill-blowing wind that cut them deep and made their lung’s most hidden gifts visible to all. Bravely before the turning Ferris Wheel that showed too much of its internal mechanism and had carts, which were laced in scribble, old and wobbly. Wobblier than a major theme park would allow. But, well within the safety standards for Aunt Lil’s Funtime Themetime Festival! Which is what occupied a field just sou-southwest of Turbot on the long weekend of the 3rd to the 6th.

Setting up had begun early on the 30th: Waking up most of the residents at 4:30 AM as the trucks pulled in and emptied out carts, cars, skeeball, bottled, darts, fried dough, tiny hot ticket booths, the plasticy animals for the merry go round and the top and bottom, like two bundt cake pans on top of each other, of the GraviBend. Probably the most feared and loved of the rides.

A large grey UFO-ish contraption where you stepped in, leaned against a side wall and held on to nothing. It would spin so fast that you’d stick to the wall. Then, the floor would drop and you’d still be sticking to that darn wall. Bending Gravity, as Aunt Lil claimed. Many a lunch was lost in that strange carnival nether world between the dropped floor and the feet of the Benders of Gravity.

Every year when this went up: Oh boy...many a bet, a wager, a fight went on in here. Guys would challenge each other to fist-fights here. Slow motion, face bending fights but, if you could raise your arm well for a punch and get in a “gravity bend”, “BAM!”, your opponent would get about 50g’s right in his pressed puss. There wasn’t a lot of gang activity in Turbot. But, what there was met every year in the Bend for a rumble you would not beleive. 30 guys and 20 women in various gang colors, exotic bandanas and/ or powdered wigs spinning, turning, swinging upside down, all in the slowest possible arcs of the body with maximum teeth gritting and brow furrowing. When the floor dropped out, everything became harsher. Many’s a time the floor couldn’t be raised because people’s bodies were jammed into the darkness. You’d hear loud “Ow!” 's and “Hey!” 's as the floor raised and then gravity would right itself and everyone would drop. Each year the festival visited the same brawlers brawled and each year the same people tried to stop it. (Aunt Lil could have cared less. The ride had been won in a bet 20 years ago and any dollar put into it was profit.) After 12 years of carnival, the 30-something brawlers weren’t as tough as they once were and the campaign to halt it all was obligatory. The height of protest was Year Six when the Turbot March wound around the Trailer Park with 111 people. The brawlers snuck in at 3 on Monday Morning before dismantling and went at it. Now, a random mother would send an angry letter to the carnival. Lil kept them all in a drawer that was marked “STUFF I DON’T CARE ABOUT.” And, that was it. Every year there was a brawl. Although, after so many years, they didn’t really have as much to fight about as they all worked together and some were married. The brawls were more of a theatrical event and the times were well-known and the people came out to watch them.

And, I’ve spent a lot of space talking about the GraviBend when it was really an insider thing for the folks in Turbot.

I suppose we should talk about the skeeball court, kitty corner to the fried dough hovel. That’s where a portion of the story tales place. An important portion.

If one had all the money in the world and one wanted to spend it on trying to win the 24-year-old boombox ("Now with Cassette!") which went for 175 tickets at the skeeball court, you’d never win it. The boombox worked, sure enough. It played all through the Festival. (In fact, it was Gimpy’s radio. And, he would keep it.) A great little box. But, you’d never win it. Because the game was fixed. There was a a certain button under Guimpy’s prize counter that he would hit when someone was getting close. The white circular hoops, painted with point desigations, would shift ever so slightly. So, all the strategy the “Big Gainer” was using flew right down the Grumper. And, no grumper pumper could pull them out because Gimpy’s grump-causer had 3 settings: regular, shifted and the one that made a small piece of elastic cover the inside, unseen, of the white hoop. You could not get what you wanted if what you wanted was the boombox. If what you wanted was the fun plastic hand-sized pinball game whose pull plunger thing always broke and whose cardboard back fell off often, then that you could have. You had to alter a lot of what you expected from the world at Aunt Lil’s Festival.

And, let’s not even ask the question: What exactly is the fried dough made of? Didn’t taste like dough that anyone else knew of. Some say it was made of the Devil’s Meat and others giggled when they heard this. I was one.

The dough was formed and fried by Norm and sold by his common-law wife, Duchess. They operated as a a spearate entity at the Festival. Paying a portion to Miss Lil every stop but keeping most of their profits, which they invested in microbreweries around the world. They didn’t drink; it was their retirement fund. No one ever saw dough enter the small hovel. It sat like a ticket booth in the center of a bare patch. You could walk all the way around it if need be. Regardless, you could not figure how the dough came in. Some kids kept on watch one year for a 24-hour period and saw nothing. And, then it hit them: Underground! Somehow they were getting their dough from a secret underground bunker. Or, somehow, Norm pulled the dough from the very crust of the earth itself. So, after the festival left, the kids scavenged around in the ground that was lorded over by the Dough Hovel. And, they found it!

A large hole lined with ripped tinfoil and sparkled with dirt, worms and bits of random earth debris. And, the final ingridient: small, caked bits of white sticky globs along the tinfoil. Some had dead worms mixed in. It let off a smell that was not so much fetid as...corrosive.

These kids vowed never to tell anyone what they’d found. And, never to eat the fried dough again.

But, the pizza was good. So, were the hot dogs except when you got one with that strange skin over it. But, if you had the knack, that would peel right off.

The festival was, is, a glorious place. So loud. But, a syncopated loud that made everybody smile. Bright lights, turning wheels, spinning cars and the giant slide that would whip your drawers and your ass off if you weren’t wearing the special sack pants they gave you on the way up.

A festival always makes people smile and the Turbot Festival did that in joyous spades. But...not everyone can be happy and mirthful. This isn’t a sitcom.

This is our story.

The story of a couple (Alice and Charlie) and Alice’s “Special Naked Friend” Ruben. And, the time they all met up at the festival and Charlie found out the truth. Nothing will dash a carnival to the ground quicker than this.

But, I’ve slipped up.

This story will require another part. Carry the festival with me into it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Alyssa's Journal #2

I think Mr. Lucassen might be peeping up at me in the middle of the night. I happened to look down and I saw a shape move behind a curtain. Somehow it wouldn't feel right if I'm trying to stand out here taking the air and feeling the world when that old perv is looking up at me. Of course, I've never seen him looking out before. He could have just looked out for the first time. I faced the other way after that. Facing deeper into the trailers. There's a much larger chance of someone seeing me this way. That's all I need, one of those nosy-ass ladies in Packaging to start talking. "What is Alyssa doing up there?" "She's so lonely." "She needs a man." That's not the sort of town publicity I need.

One of the Marinaters flirted with me for about half and hour. Some old nut smelling of beef and spices. (I don't even eat the stuff. You get sick of it real fast. They have Prepared Beef Pie for Lord's sake! The best thing you can do with it is nail it to the door of your trailer to keep the Polacks away.) This guy needed to get a new strap for his harness. That's all he needed to ask for, all he needed to say. But, he kept going on.

"So, you're working in Supply? I'm one of the Marinaters. So, I mean, I'm pretty important around here. Not everyone can Marinate. (Just guys.) It takes a certain breed. (That's gender, dope. Guys.) We go out there and put our areas on the line and make that meat our own. You become so close with the meat after you've swum with it for an hour or two. It's very spiritual. Very intense. (He paused for a couple of seconds.) A friend of mine's balls are getting jerked."

"Oh yeah."

"Yeah. Occupational hazard. But, you play hard, you fall hard. Do you dig my ditch?"

"I'm sorry."

"Do you catch my drift?"

"Oh, Sure. Sure. What were you talking about again?"

"My muskers are in fine shape. You wanna come over some night and butter them?"

In any other job, this would be sexual harassment of the highest order. Here, that's some sort of slightly advanced form of flirting. Nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, buttering balls is something all the Marinaters have to do. It keeps them fresh. But, Good God, I don't want to do it.

"Maybe you oughta do that yourself. Or hire someone. Aren't there women off of the Rural Route who will do that?"

"I don't want to butter my own tonight, beautiful. And, I don't want to pay."

"Did you need some sort of supplies or what?"

"A new strap for my harness."

I ran back, grabbed one and returned in a moment. "Here you go. Have a good one."

He winked at me. "I'll be back next time a strap breaks. It'll give us something to talk about."

Sometimes I wish more people needed supplies around here. I'm dreading the next snap on that man's harness. That smell. I can't even imagine what it's like on the floor itself. Oh my. Pungent is too calm of a word. It's like someone's strapped a ferret to your face.

Now, I just have to avoid him at the end of shifts. He'll pose from behind the search curtain given half a chance. Oh the dread.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Marlene & Arthur are OK!

I know you've read the paper and seen the news. Well, we're OK. Just a few aches and pains.

We were driving up the Rural Route to Ovid. I needed new walk shorts so we were going to the Discount District. Arthur was driving the old sedan. We were taking that particularly dangerous turn near the Old White House when this swanky red BMW shoots around the corner swerving onto our side of the road.

We both yelled "What's this guy doing?" Arthur beeped and turned fast but it was too late. Pow! He slammed into our driver's side. Air bags went off and Thank God for seat belts. Arthur pulled a muscle in his groin. I hurt my neck a little. But, it could have been much worse.

The BMW stuttered on for a few feet. The driver's side was totaled. When the guy stepped out, he was clearly wasted. He came over, asked how we were and vanished into the woods. We had no idea who he was.

Glass everywhere. I was shaking. Arthur was moving his leg to check how much he hurt. We called 911. (It was close to the old hamburger diner. Those five old men in there just stared at me.) A very nice man stopped to be a witness. But, no driver of the other car. He'd vanished.

A very nice cop went into the woods. But, nothing. Our car is totaled. We've got aches and pains. They're still tracking down the jerk who did this. We'll get back to you as soon as we can with more details. (I never got my walk shorts.) Updates should continue as usual. We're just a bit shaken. If anyone knows who this man was, please contact us through this blog.

Thanks. Have a good one. Be careful.

- Marlene

Monday, October 03, 2005

Marinater's Dilemma

[OK. Well, A. Anthony is a friend of ours who works as a Marinater at the Prepared Beef Plant. He was supposed to give us a column on what exactly they do down there. A. Anthony hasn’t done that. He wants to be more “creative”. He’s decided to give us a story. It’s “based on a legend from the Tenth Floor Underground.” We’re a little… Never mind. Here’s the first installment. I’ve edited some of it where I thought the wording got a little crude. A. Anthony says he’ll have more to us in the “near future.” Enjoy.]

A Marinater’s Dilemma
Chapter 1:Good Enough To Eat?

-What’s wrong with your Johnnie’s, man?
-What? There’s nothing wrong with...what...what’re you doing paying so much attention to my Happy Steves?
-Lift the left one.
-Get out of here. Wash yourself and don’t look at me anymore.

Chet shrugged and had to make do with checking out Horrie’s scrot*m surreptitiously. There was something wrong.

Of course, it could have just been his eyes. It was steaming in here with 30 other men. One normally had to draw one’s attention away from the red and pine blood arcing along tile and flowing into the drain. But, today, Horrie’s area was...disquieting.

None of the other men seemed to notice it. Chet just considered himself a little more observant than your average Prepared Beef Marinater. Then, his brain slid into place and all the feeling he had about Horrie’s Baloncestos clicked: Prepared B*lls! That’s what it was.

-Stop peeking at me, Chet!
-Maybe you should see the doctor, Horrie.

The older man just grabbed his towel and left the stall. Other marinaters showered and soaked around him. Making the most of some industrial soap and some very hot water.

Prepared B*lls! Chet left the shower and went up to the Infirmary. He flipped through some texts on Common Ailments for the Marinater of Prepared Beefs and Beef By-Products. After several moments, of scan-around, there it was.

A picture of an old man with his pants around his ankles and Danglin’ Grampas that you could eat. Prepared Beef was good; everyone knows that. The people who work at the plant from Sub up knew that. It’s better than jerky. And, at Grey’s Prepared Beef Inc., the center of Turbot, it’s made the absolute right way.

The plant had a very rigorous hierarchy:
[This is what gets up my skirt. If A. Anthony had actually looked at the site he would have seen…yes, there it is. The layout of Grey’s Prepared Beef Plant in my posting from several weeks ago. I’ve omitted his writing with one exception.]

SUB10: The Marinaters home. Where Chet and Horrie worked. In large vats. And, here lay the secret of the Special Prepared Beef.

The Marinate has two Special Ingredients: The Dip and the Men’s Swinging Bubblers. The Vats are filled with Dip and suspended beef is lowered into it. Then, the nude men are brought in. Freshly showered and seasoned, they swim around in the vat and help prepare the meat. “It’s the musk from grown men’s la-las that make Grey’s Prepared Beef taste so good” was a slogan rejected early in the company’s career. But was, nevertheless, very, very, very true.

Horrie was a marinater. Chet was a marinater. And, they knew the risks. Too much time in the vats can prepare your biscuits like the beef around you. “Make your toddlers good enough to eat. Tender and juicy. Swimming in special sauce and blood all day’ll do that to a man.” Doc Sickler told them all one day.

Oh, one word of extra mention, the Beef has a very sour, red smell. That’s because, in the final half hour of the Marinate, the Blood of the Children is washed through to give it a little “extra, extra something.”

Prepared B*lls meant the end of your marinating career. A man with Jerky B*lls, well, you can’t marinate a chicken with another chicken. Substitute jerky b*lls for poultry.

If Horrie truly had Prepared B*lls, the man was out of a job. No Workers Comp for that. Only if you lose your trollers in the Dip, not if they become good enough to eat. You could sue. Dan Thurman tried that 36 years ago. But, you can imagine the embarrassing front-page photo.

Chet was scared. Scared for his buddy and his buddy’s b*lls. He had to talk to him.

Dashing past the local children getting ready to help the Dip to the elevator, he zipped up to the ground and stormed into the Check Point.

Tom, Tim, Jorge and Waldron would scan the men and women of the plant for Prepared Beef on their persons. The boys from SUB10 would have to drop ‘em behind a curtain for Waldron’s inspection.

Chet ran up as Horrie stepped from the screen, zipping his breakaway trousers up high.

-Hey Chet! Goin’ to Ornette’s tonight?
-Ummm...Horrie? Are you...?

Waldron, a lumpy man with a thing for collecting pig’s tails, barked at Chet if he was gonna get checked now or later.

-Yeah. Yeah, Waldron. In a sec.

The guard nodded and scratched his nose with a latex gloved thumb.

-Horrie, are you...?
-C’mon, Chet! It’s the end of the day! Let’s forget about each other’s schnuts ‘til morning. See you at the bar!

The older man pulled his friend’s arm and left.

As Chet dropped ‘em and was getting a quick probe around, he couldn’t help but wonder: if Horrie’s area was all right, what did he see in the shower that looked good enough to eat? The next logical thought confused him more. How did Horrie get by the guard with a ration of beef stuck to his body? And, why was Horrie stealing when he could get beef from the company for wholesale plus 7%?

These questions would buffet his brain. He could not let them go.