Saturday, December 31, 2005

A New Year Greeting from Mr. Grey

Hello, Turbot residents.

From the Grey Family compound to you, we extend our warmest wishes at the start of the New Year. "2006! It'll be a great one for Grey!" We expect this year to be one of our most profitable years ever. America & the World have really taken a shine to the Prepared Beef products that we sell. So, the projected profits for this year are through the roof.

Turbot Town-folk, you are hard workers! The best kind of hard workers! People who are 100% loyal and willing to work for a little less than the average worker because they know it's about the team & the company, not them.

I admire your willingness to enter into the two story aboveground building that we own. The ten stories that stretch underground and offer all sorts of additional facilities for manufacturing are almost a bonus. The way you people work down there makes an owner realize that sunlight is not as important as people believe. Fluorescent lights work just as well. And, they stay on all the time. Don't they?

Well, I could go on for hours. Turbot truly contains the hardest working group of people I've ever encountered. A ready work force willing to chip in!

This New Year will be the greatest! Thank you, Turbot!

With love,
the Grey Family

Sunday, December 25, 2005

We found them!

Arthur here, everyone!

Tim Patrick is sitting here with me, Marlene and his mom. Alyssa is back in her trailer. They are safe and warm and well. Merry Christmas.

It is snowing again. Coming down hard. About an hour ago, much to our joy and surprise, we came upon them wandering around from the direction of the swamp. I knew that we hadn't looked through there as well as we could have but it was so cold and visibility was so low... Don't blame us.

They seem fine. Strangely enough, Tim seems more mature. I always knew him as being a kind of rapsaclliony kid but he seems a lot more, well, mature. It's odd. Alyssa's the same. She seems happier. They wouldn't tell us what had happened although, frankly, some rumors have spread. Both of them denied any sort of relationship beyond friendship. Marlene would say that I am not the best judge of people but I believe them. I think something else happened. What? Who knows?

Regardless, they are back. And, get this, Tim even brought a gift for his Mom! A lovely necklace with little faux-diamonds on it. It is Christmas. We were worried that it might not be.

Merry Christmas, everyone. They are here. They are safe. We will talk to you in a few days. We're going to have dinner and rest. We hope you are well. Talk to you soon.

Seasons Greetings and Love,

Marlene & Arthur

Merry Christmas

Marlene & Arthur wish you and yours...

Merry Christmas

May your day be merry and bright.

We have begun searching for Tim & Alyssa. The snow stopped. We got 9 inches. It's cold and tough to move about. The State is sending a snow plow but it will be a few hours. Once again, if you hear or see anything, please contact us through the blog.

I will update everyone at the end of the day. We will be to busy searching to do anything else.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The snow has stopped our search

Another update from Marlene.

The crew are back from Old Hagar's and the factory. They didn't find Tim or Alyssa.

Mrs. Patrick is with us tonight. She's going to share a little Xmas dinner so, we're hoping, that should boost her spirits. I've made turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Arthur made perogis. We always have a wonderful meal.

About six inches of snow on the ground and there's no sign of stopping. It is 10 degrees out right now. So cold. It's tough to see.

Arthur says that they went as deep as they could into the swamp but it was just too tough to see. Sorry. We're trying our hardest. First thing tomorrow, we'll start up the search again. It's Christmas so we should have better luck.

Say prayers for us tonight. And, for them.

All of us here in Turbot wish you a beautiful Christmas Eve. Keep your loved ones close. They can get lost just like that.

Search Update

Nothing yet.

The searchers are still in Old Hagar’s Swamp. But, it’s a blizzard out there now. We’re pretty sure everybody’s safe but… We’re a little worried.

Tim vanishes. Alyssa’s gone. We don’t need another predicament on Christmas Eve.

Some of the security guards at Grey’s have agreed to take some time searching the factory. A few of our folks are going over there to help them out. We’ll keep you posted.

Tim, we hope you’re somewhere warm. My thermometer’s reading 4. We’ll get 8 inches by Christmas. We should be in our trailers, peacefully celebrating. But, we’ll keep looking. Just don’t be lost. Please.

Update from Arthur on Tim! And Alyssa!

We haven't found him yet. That's the first news.

But, we have been looking. A little while after Marlene posted last night, we heard the parties pass by. They were yelling for him. So we joined them.

Most of the park spent the evening scouring the trailers, the Rural Route, the diner, the lake. We're getting ready to go into the Swamp in a little bit. It got down to 6 degrees last night. As you can imagine, you'll lose your extremities in weather like that. But, folks had cocoa and hot soup for the lookers. Marlene stayed back at our trailer and supervised a bit. We're hoping that, once we get into the swamp interior, it will warm up slightly. (We're guessing here. Wishful thinking, probably.) It started snowing at 5AM and it's getting worse. Brisk & visibility is dropping. But, we're determined to find him.

We'll put up Mrs. Patrick and Tim for the next few days and some of the other folks have volunteered their places for other nights. We're trying to wrangle Jack Turbot's trailer for a little while. It just sits there, after all.

So, stay tuned. If you hear anything, send a comment or an email. Marlene is at the computer.

Keep warm and safe. Merry Christmas.

Arthur Y

Oh, crap, crap. I'm sorry. They just told me this and I just told Marlene and it's coming in faster than we can type.

No one has seen Alyssa since last night when she left the party. She doesn't answer at her trailer. She doesn't answer her phone.

Alyssa, if you're out there, please contact us. Tell us you're safe. This is not the time of year to vanish.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Grey's Big Xmas Party

It's Martha, everybody. Well, I made the figgy pudding. People ate it. Or at least the pan emptied out by the end of the night. I guess that means folks liked it. I didn't have anyone come up to me complaining so...there you have it.

The caroling was a bit more exhaustive than we had wanted it to be because the elevator broke down. Kept breaking down is actually a more exact description. In between SUB3 and SUB4, we sat for twenty minutes gradually losing layers of Dickens-style clothing. There were no elevators in Victorians times, apparently. Or were there? I don't know and I'm not sure I care.

Mr. Grey and his family were there. Although, the first sign that something strange was happening came when Mr. Grey was not dressed as Kris Kringle. He was in a very smart business suit and, alongside his kids, he had three lawyers. Hey, we thought, lawyers like to have fun too!

It was fun. Until, the rumors started to spread. (Well, the third time the elevator stuck underground, nine stories underground, was possibly when the fun began to wear out a little. Close harmonies become tougher to do when you start to become afraid for your life.) The first rumor was that one of the lawyers was actually a pinata filled with summer sausage. That rumor didn't last long.

The second rumor involved no gifts for anyone this year. This rumor was not true because we were all given brand new shoelaces. Color of our choice. I went for maroon. Arthur got a lovely beige lace. So, Mr. Grey didn't back off of that.

Rumor three involved Guam. A company trip to Guam. Not true.

Rumor four was that something rotten was about to happen. This is the one that spread fastest and touched all corners of the room. It affected everyone, except Alyssa. She left early. No team spirit, that girl. If she was in packaging, I'd give her one heck of a talking to. The something rotten involved everyone getting fired and the factory being shut down all the way to some sort of Mad Cow-esque plague infesting all of us. We would be burned to prevent spreading. The strangest rumor involved something about Mr. Grey's youngest one, Goldman. Something about the child possibly being sick or doing something...That one I never quite sussed out. But...

Mr. Grey stood up at at quarter-past nine and made his announcement: "I am selling the Plant. There shouldn't be any layoffs but if there are you can still keep your job by moving to Guam." There was the Guam rumor made true in a disturbing way.

Well, as you might imagine, that was the end of the party. People tried to keep dancing but it didn't work. By quarter to ten, Arthur and I were home. Here I am now, writing this.

Frankly, this is not the way we wanted to spend our Christmas. Things feel odd over here at Casa Yurvis.

To top that off, we've just spoken with Mrs. Patrick. Tim is still missing. I'll get back to you when I get an update on the plant or on Tim.

We're going to sleep now.

My son, Tim Patrick, is Missing

Hello. My name is Mrs. Patrick. You may know my son, Tim, from his column. He really likes Heavy metal, a lot.

We've been without a home since the flood back in October. We've been staying at people's trailers and such. The past two nights we've been under awnings. But, it's got really cold. I feel like a terrible Mom but I had to trade almost everything we own away for food money. Tim knew this but... Santa isn't coming this year.

I don't know if he knew or I don't know what happened but this morning, when I got up for work, he was gone. I asked around but no one has seen him. Whether he ran to Ovid or is hidden in Old Hagar's Swamp, I don't know.

I just realized that I have no way of getting a message from you if you have any information on my son. I guess you can leave comments on the blog. I'll try to get to a computer. Maybe Marlene & Arthur can help me out.

Just, please, if you see him or know anything, contact me. Thank you so much for your help. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cyril P. and his Xmas Smells

If Santa kills your Mom and Dad on the way home from visiting Grandpa in the Old Loon’s Home, get a good therapist. No, get a great therapist. Having a nun yell at you and punish you all the time for being wicked and sinful doesn’t help anyone. The Mother Superior in this film is the character I would have thought “Most Likely To Get Killed” (she’s rather deserving) but she survives. I don’t mean to sound crass but where’s that comeuppance I’ve come to expect?

There aren’t enough good Santas in the world to exorcise this one real stinker. The poor boy in this, Billy (?), is just wrecked. After the extended opening, we get an extended post-opening involving him as a youngster, traumatized by Christmas! Then, we get him grown-up and he is not well. In fact, he’s nuts. So, he starts hurting people in a very serious fashion with assorted things that really hurt.

The man is crazy; the man kills. What’re you gonna do? A lot of people kill or at least that’s the opinion I’m forming. There’s always a reason and a lot of the time I wish it’d stop. It’s not very festive, this movie, what with all this killing.

What it is is Hollywood’s latest Smell. Something the family can approach, scratch and sniff really good. And, frankly, that smell is Christmas. I don’t want to say: Stay away from Santa. What I want to say is: Stay away from Santa if he has an ax. If it’s dripping with blood, that’s an even better sign. Billy tries to hold back all his rage but it doesn’t work. Xmas death flows.

Public Service Announcement from Them to Us. Although I think this is a rough message for the holiday, I do know that life is not easy. My trailer has had a strange musky, sour odor in it for a week now and I haven’t found out what the heck it is. I’ve drank all the eggnog. There’s no milk. I don’t own pets. It’s driving me crazy but I still review! I still teach you the lessons!

Merry Christmas to me! I am really great! Send any appreciation to The Turbot Tribune c/o Cyril P. Send now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alyssa's Final Journal Entry

Christmas is almost here. Today is the Solstice. I don’t know, folks. Something doesn’t feel right here. I…

Let me tell you. I’ve never owned one of those little village things. You know, the fake snow all around and little green trees and fake homes and/or business establishments named after characters from Dickens and you stack them all around so it looks like some sort of festive place you’ve never been. I always want to know what’s going on in the houses. They always have second floors and I always want to see (or be) in there. I don’t know why. Oh, whenever they have sled or ski runs with multiple levels, I always want to go down them. There was one called “Log Cabin” that was meant to be someone’s home. (I stayed at a log cabin once for three weeks. I’m sure it was very interesting.) I like the “Log Cabin” because there’s a little lake out front with a tiny boat in it. But, the scale of the boat is wrong. It’s about a 1/4 the size of the water, which would make it ridiculous to have. Several good rows and you’d be on the other side. In fact, the man is such that he could probably leap across it or at least bounce once in the middle and go from there. I love these things.

A memory that is leaving me... Being in a knicknackeria in a cold town. A wall cabinet nook...three stories of these things. It’s laid down with white cloth and flows from the first level to the very top. Shops on the bottom leading to the banquet halls and festive homes in the middle flowing to the ski lofts, sled runs and frozen ponds for skating up top. It’s breathtaking. A miniature breathtaking. I stare at it for a very long time. It’s glorious. I’d love to be there. But, I never will. This I know and understand.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want it very, very bad.

I’m restless and I feel detached. I haven’t stood on top of my trailer and taken the air for weeks.

I don’t know. I thought maybe this would help me out. Blogging on. The first few times it felt great. But, it doesn’t do a damn thing anymore. I’m going to wrap it up. See you around. Merry…

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Black Metal Column

Hey, Nut balls! It's me, Tim Patrick! Guess what? My life blows! Talk to you later. Munch!

Here’s the thing… I’m waiting on Christmas. It’s roaring our way. We’re staying at Mr. Murdoch’s trailer. It’s a little small but he says, “Ba-boom! We can stay over the Holidays!” Well, guess what, Nope! December 19. We’re sleeping under an awning of some trailer or other hoping that no one catches us.

Merry Christmas! I hate everybody. I haven’t had batteries for my CD player for three days. Black Metal? None for me thanks. In my mind, I hear the pounding and feel the reverberating bass but for real…I ain’t got shit in a sack, Jack.

And, here we go. You’ll love this. Guess who doesn’t own a single black metal CD at the moment. I don’t need to hold a quiz. Me. We traded in all my CDs so Mom could get some cash for Christmas. Mr. Murdoch made me some sort of CD-R but it doesn’t play on my stuff. So…bite it. This sucks.

Santa won’t be visiting because where the hell will he visit? No presents, no nothing. I hate that rain so much. Mom doesn’t know where we’ll go next. The only fun I’ve had all week was writing this. And, who knows if Marlene And Arthur will be able to read my writing because it’s so dark here.


If we get somewhere warm and lit-up by Christmas, I’ll give a yell. If not, F**k it. Right in the ear.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Interview with the Slicer

This is tiresome. But, if you hold it straight, it might work...Thank you. Yeah. It’s very tiresome. The slices of beef are all done right now. Smell ‘em...Nice, huh? Yeah. And, it’s my job to slice it. What?...Oh. Marinate, slice, then packaging, It’s just us 4. Well as I said, it is tiresome. We work pretty hard. 5-10 hr. shifts a week. Slicing and slicing . Yeah...No Ha! We get asked that lot...There are no fingers in the beef...Yeah. Of course you can. This hand is just missing the 1. This one has two gone but I can still grasp. See?...Those 3 are stitched back on. You sort of favor the other fingers at that point...Why only 4 slicers? This ain’t so glamorous. It doesn’t have the mystery that the marinaters hold. It doesn’t have the camaraderie of packaging. It’s just slicing beef...Oh sure, I like everyone here fine. But, our hands are our trade. So, there isn’t a lot of rogue chatter down here, ya know. We’re always watching our hands...Oh yes. The company helps out. A bit. Well, they request us,, to watch our hands. They request that fairly regularly. Any and all accidents are frowned upon...When we can’t use one of our hands, we are terminated. Oh sure, we have a pension...But, when we lose the right amount of digits, we’re done. We retire. The pension is however much we have accumulated. The Safety features on the slicer are pretty hi-tech. This guard is a strong plastic. Hit this red switch and everything shuts off...Yeah. It can be tough to remember to hit the red button when you’re in the middle of losing a finger. Hey, you panic too, dont’cha? See?...What don’t we get?...Here...Write this down...Ready?...One of the rules of the job is that we must have two working hands, as I said. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 year, 5, 20 or 30. I’ve been here 20 and I’m doing all right...As long as we get to the hospital in around half an hour we’re fine...Sure, you have to drive fast. Nearest hospital’s 45 minutes away. And, if someone hasn’t called ahead...They retired Burlap Miller last year. He got there and the hospital was just swamped down. They could not get to him. Poor soul. Watched his job and hand die right there...He was 28. Really good, too...He does OK. I haven’t heard from him but he gets a decent wage...Oh. Really? I didn’t know. Is there...When was the funeral?...Yeah. That’s why. I was working...Poor guy. How did he do it? Oh...Well, I don’t imagine that’s so painful. Yeah...Yes. They do cover medical and disability for everyone else. But, the hand and finger problem isn’t a disability under “Prepared Beef Rules”. It just means early retirement....How does that strike me? Now look Mr., I’m a Slicer, that’s what I do. This is my calling. I am excellent at what I do. Are we gonna have accidents? Sure. Try doing this 50 hours a week. You get sloppy. It would be great if we had more people to do it but it’s just too dangerous and too rewardless, if that’s a word. The carolers don’t even stop by here on Christmas. We have to go to them...Is it thrilling? Slicing beef? No. It’s a job. It’s what I’m good at...Look OK, OK. I’ve had enough questions, all right...Ya know what, we work here because when this started we got all sorts of benefits. But, as we got bigger, they went one by one. Medical and disability? 20 years ago, we had that. They took it away. If I stay another 20, I get full pension. But, I don’t know if I’ll make it. And, it’s too late for me to transfer. You need more than the Frankenstein Monster’s hands to do other things in this plant. We can’t even marinate. Closed shop. They won’t let us in. Hey, slicing’ll take anyone. But, they have to trick ‘em. Or, get someone like Burlap who doesn’t-didn’t care and thinks the world is his and he can’t get hurt. But, someone like that is usually pretty careless and they’re gone quick. This job...Here I am. I can’t go. I think I can’t...I don’t know. This isn’t something I like to think about...I...I’m going to go back to slicing. Mind the beef on the floor.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Trees - 4th Installment

In the last installment, Dave and Mr. Thomson completely failed to sell a tree to a man named Ruben.

KEITH is asleep on a chair. DAVE walks in. KEITH jumps up.

Aaaahhh! Wooaahhh! Hey!

He looks around slowly, catching his bearings.

Oh no. I’m still in this trailer.

We lost another one.


I don’t know. I think it was Mr. Thomson

Has he sold one tree for the Troop?

Chris said he does all the time.

I’ve never seen it.

Chris said he used to sell cars.


Who knows? I guess he used to sell ‘em downtown.

Why do we never see him selling then?

DAVE shrugs. He takes a sip of his cocoa and makes a “Cold! Yuck!” face. He pours the cocoa out of their shattered window. Refills himself with another. Pause.

I gotta piss. Who has the key?



MR T is holding a key on a rather hefty chain.

Do not let anyone have this! Do not place this down anywhere! Don’t let this out of your sight
for a moment! Do not let anyone else in! Do not lose this key! You got me!

DAVE really wants to go pee. But, he lets out a heavy nod that MR T smiles at.

Hurry back!

DAVE rushes out.

As previously mentioned, they are on one side of the school in an almost cul-de-sac sort of area. There is an entrance in the corner nook. DAVE tries the door.

MR T (distant yell)
It better not be open!

It’s not.

DAVE puts the key in the door and steps inside.


Not a modern school. Straight out of the 50’s.

The steps are very large and gray. There is an entrance to the basement visible. (A Fallout Shelter.) There are two large double doors that lead out into a hallway.

A rather hefty sized staircase winds up to the second floor. DAVE steps through into the hallway. A long dark hallway.

Numerous doors lead into classrooms. He passes a cafeteria and a large kitchen area.

In the center, there is a large gymnasium. DAVE rounds a corner and heads towards some doors and a water fountain.

He goes into a bathroom. We see, in a moment, that it’s the “GIRL’S” room.

The building is empty.

Long dark hallways all of which loom around rather ominously. Maybe in the distance someone is heard. But, it’s nowhere near DAVE.

A loud toilet flushes.

DAVE comes out a moment later, rubbing his hands on his jeans. He begins to go back the way he came. Suddenly, he turns and runs the other way.


DAVE is just spazzing and rushing along making all sorts of whooshing noises. He passes the windows to the gym, which has a large stage in it. He rounds another corner. He is now in the front hallway.

Passes by the “PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE” and the main entrance to the building. He rounds a corner, taking a bit of a slip and spill.

He keeps running. Then, he zips to the end and the door he started at. He looks thrilled.

He is panting slightly. After a moment, he opens the door and begins to step out. Before he does, he checks his pocket. There’s the key! He steps into


LOUIS and SVEL are loading a tree onto the family’s car. There are a few other people floating around the trees.

DAVE strolls towards the tree field as the snow begins to fall a little harder.



Nearing the end of their shift.

In the parking lot, several cars are visible. Something is going on inside the school.

KEITH, LOUIS and DAVE are lobbing all sorts of snowballs at each other.

LOUIS is taking the brunt. SVEL is sitting on the step down from the trailer. Some folks are browsing through the trees and MR T is spending a bit of time trying to sell.

The snow is picking up.

I think it’s really going to come down.

Yeah. It…

DAVE gets pummeled with a ball in the face.

Oh man. My nose.

He wipes the snow away.

The radio said that we’ll get six inches before the day is out.

DAVE picks two huge armfuls of snow and flips them at KEITH.

KEITH lets out a yell and gets a big face full.

DAVE rushes up and knocks him over whooping off into the distance.

LOUIS laughs and laughs before getting hit.

Keep an eye out, Louis!

MR T (yell)
Hey, one of you goofs help me out here!

None of the goofs go.

Dave, you get this one!

DAVE runs by, whooping towards MR T. When he’s very close, he yells and leaps into the air. OOMF! He hits the snow. Laughing and laughing.

MR T is standing with a family who are buying a medium sized tree. DAVE gets up.


MR T is sorting through cash. He points at a tree.

That one, Davy.

Gotcha, Mr T.

DAVE lifts the tree, which is just a little heavier than he can handle. He falls over.

Quit the goofin’ and help them out.


The family begins moving towards their car.

DAVE struggles behind them.

As this happens, the next shift begins arriving. A lot of portly boys! One can only imagine how the trailer is going to handle this one.

DAVE falls down a lot but the tree gets there in the end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How do you make Figgy Pudding?

I mean, what is it?

Marlene here, loyal readers! Happy Christmas to you!

We’re having our Annual Christmas (Holiday) Prepared Beef Party at Grey’s on the 23rd right after work. It starts on our floor at 5. We are the Carolers this year so I’m going to dress in one of those Victorian England outfits like the Victorian English people do.

We try to make the carols as beefy as possible. “The First Jerked Beef” “O Come All Ye Spices” “Silent Beef” “God Rest Ye Merry Marinaters” Things like that. I’ve been rewriting lyrics so they should be great! The only problem is the Freezer floor. None of the guys there speak a lick of English so I’ve written a beef related carol about Père Noel and we’ve been learning some basic French. The carol’s great but the basics aren’t going as well. We thought we’d try speaking some Spanish instead.

After the caroling (and visiting every floor takes some time, trust me), we convene on the ground floor for a big hoohah. Mr. Grey & Mrs. Grey and all the little Greys will be there wishing us well. Mr. Grey will be dressed as Santa and handing out bonuses. Last year, it was prepared beef. We’re all excited about what this year’s bonus will be.

I’m in charge of the figgy pudding and some sort of myrrh related non-alcoholic drink. Hopefully, I’ll be able to whip something together. Arthur and I have such a busy schedule. We go to his family in Ovid on the Eve. On the day, we have my family in from Horseheads. I’ll tell you all about that next week. Right now…the party…

There will be tacos, perogis and kashki. Every year we have such a great time I wish I could invite all of you. I’ll give a run-down for you afterwards. Oh, I almost forgot! This year, Mr. Grey says he has a big announcement for us so we’re all on edge. Good! Bad! Who cares? It’s Christmas. We have a great…I said that already.

There will be dancing and streamers and eggnog with brandy and little sweaty wieners on sticks from the Marinater Floor. If Arthur can figure it out, there will be pictures.

“On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me beef in a giant beef tree.”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Alyssa's Journal #4

Well, it’s been a while. Why is that? It sure isn’t because things have gotten real exciting down in the Supplies Floor over at Grey’s Prepared Beef. I’ve been trying to write something more substantial for the site. A story, a poem, a something. But, I’m not pulling it off. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired or I’ve got some kind of block or if I’m just not a writer. I sure thought I might be. But now…who knows?

And, oh yes, it’s Christmas. Oh boy. My Mom will not be coming by this year because she’s going to some sort of All-Holiday Bingo Fest down in Florida somewhere. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a stray cat to spend the holiday with. Or maybe one of the creepy Marinaters will spend Christmas Ever with me. God, I shudder just thinking about it.

I’ve bought a tree and some lights. I’ve got a jug of that eggnog with the brandy already mixed in and a dream for a better tomorrow. But, I don’t know if Santa and friends can pull anything off for me. “Santa helps those who help themselves.” Oh, cram it.

I don’t mean to sound crass because I don’t feel crass. Not really. When it comes to the holidays (especially Christmas), no other time of year excites me more. Christmas, especially, works on my senses like no other time. I mean, my gosh, go to a good candle store and buy a dozen or more Christmas related candles (from specific ones like Cinnamon or Egg Nog to more vague “conceptual” candles like “Christmas Morning” and “Holly Wreath”). The memories those smells will bring to you can be pretty astounding. Some are specific (many of the fir related ones) but some are...they do a strange thing. There is one called “Christmas Eve” and when I smell it, it’s odd...What does Christmas Eve smell like? This candle’s odor conjures up memories beyond sensory. I think it’s something to do with the name, honestly, maybe. The smell of the candle coupled with the name stir and draw up the memories of that time. (This is true because my memory is always vague before I found out the candle’s name. The fragrance can be enjoyed outright but due to, I guess, the limited amount of smells you can jam in candles, it works best when you also know the name. Your nose smells something but a push doesn’t hurt.) It’s strange. To smell each candle as it burns...Christmas. The day is not just one word; it is 100 different things vying for your mind’s attention.

Tip… Buy cinnamon sticks. Warm up your eggnog. Remove it from the stove right before boiling. Stir the cinnamon stick around a bit. Be good. These are the holidays and, frankly, you don’t want to be a snicker doodle! Take the stick out and drink. Drink hearty. Life doesn’t begin when you’re dead. It starts when you’re very much alive.

I just took a deep breath. See how I ramble when the feeling of the holidays hit me. I can blather like that forever. Maybe that’s what I need to write. A great Christmas column or story. Give me some time. Let me dwell on it. This could be the start of something.

By the way, have you read that Trees thing? I like it. Maybe I could take over for an installment or two. Is anyone listening?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holiday Drink Recipes

The Stankwell Falls Fizz

2 parts vermouth
2 parts apple jack
a jigger of maple syrup
a prune

Mix well. Drink fast.

AKA Monte Carlo Punch

Enjoy! Drink wisely.

Arthur's New Favorite Movie Is...

2 Fast 2 Furious!!

This movie was incredible!

Car chases! Beautiful women! Good-looking guys! Slick stuff!

The first one was all right but this one will send you crazy! I can’t say enough good things about it. Go out right now and buy the DVD. Special Edition and all.

I, Arthur, recommend this film to you, the reader. Enjoy

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Trees - 3rd Installment

In our last installment, Mr. Thomson had just called Dave out of the trailer. The first customer of the day had arrived in the Christmas Tree lot.


There is a guy, in deep dark flannels, looking at the trees. He prods them, pushes them, and goes at them as if he were testing melons at the supermarket or something.

This is RUBEN, repeat shopper. DAVE approaches. Mr T lurks amongst the trees. Why? It’s certainly too creepy to be some sort of support. But, I think that’s what he thinks it is.

DAVE is not a salesman. It’s not something he likes, no matter how many times Mr T tells him otherwise.

DAVE approaches RUBEN.

How you doing, sir? Can I help you with anything?

No thanks, young man. I’m just browsing.

OK. Well, one of us’ll be around if you need anything.


RUBEN touches the trunk of one of the trees. He put his finger in his mouth. DAVE walks away. MR T pounces out when the customer is out of earshot.

Stay with him.

He said he’ll come out when he’s ready.

You gotta get in there and make the sale.

If he wants to buy, he’ll buy.

Get back there.

Mr. Thomson, come on.

Let me show you how a real salesman does it.

DAVE closes his eyes for a moment.

WE SEE the searing hot cup of cocoa.

The steam is replaced by MR T’s breath flying into DAVE’s face.

C’mon! C’mon!

DAVE follows MR T to RUBEN, who is still smacking trees.

Good morning, sir. How are you?

Doin’ allright.

Can I help you out?

Just browsing around. I’m trying to find a real good one.

MR T motions to the one they’re looking at.

That’s a great one.

It’s nice.

You can’t get better than a Douglas Fir.

That’s what they say.

How about it? We’ll give you a good price.

How much?


RUBEN looks unthrilled by the price.

That’s a little under the going rate.


We’ll wrap it up and put it in your car for you.

I could pick this up and throw it over the fence.
Why would I make a kid struggle to my car?

That’s part of the service.

Ahhh, I don’t need it.

He looks around and frowns. DAVE tags behind.

My family doesn’t come around much at the holiday.
Generally, I’m alone. I want a real good one. One
that feels right ‘cause it’s just the cat and me.

RUBEN is looking at things the whole time he talks.

Sweet cat. I call him Ruben. That’s my name too.
Ruben. We’re the Two Rubens. He’ll try and eat
the tree given half a chance.

Snow begins to lightly fall.

In the distance, another car pulls up. A family slowly gets out.

When you’re by yourself, you either don’t care
or it’s got to be perfect.

I know.

You do?

I’m in… (whispering) I’m a divorced gentleman right now.

There you go. I’m buying Xmas gifts for myself this year.
I’m wrapping ‘em up and putting them under the tree
with my name on them. “FROM: SANTA.” I don’t know
whether that’s pathetic or not. I can’t tell.

There is a pause. MR T seems to be on the very edge of saying something. But, he doesn’t… Instead.

MR T (pointing at tree)
This one would look really great with some gifts under it.

RUBEN nods.

Yeah. Well, thank you. I may come back later.

MR T points at the first tree.

$5 off that one.

No thanks.
(to DAVE) Have a merry Christmas, kid.

DAVEYou too.

RUBEN smiles and leaves.

LOUIS and SVEL are with the other family.

MR T watches RUBEN go. He looks down at DAVE.

Guy’s a tough nut to crack.

DAVED’you think he’ll come back?

I don’t know.

DAVE nods and heads back to the trailer.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Greetings of the Season from Turbot!

Hello, everyone! Marlene & Arthur here! Christmas is rolling upon us so we thought we’d send you this little article. It appeared in the Weekend Edition of the Turbot Tribune. We hope it helps you and yours have a safe 25th! Talk to you soon. (We have to go shopping!)

M & A

A Safe Xmas

Everybody enjoys Christmas. It’s the one time of the year when you can really be yourself (or somebody else). You can really just have just a great, great time. Wow! This is a time for everyone, stinky and non-stinky alike.

Certain features of the holiday, however, can be quite lovely but dangerous. Let me give you a list.

-The time to buy gifts is before December 24. Do not rush out on the 24th willy-nilly trying to buy. Especially if you’re drunk.

-A tree is a great addition to any house but do not light real candles on it. They can flame up and kill everyone. Death is a tough sin to wash off the hands.

-Enjoy eggnog in limited quantities. That’s a lot of egg, that’s a lot of nog. And, you’ll throw up all over yourself if you have too much.

-Lights are nice. They blink, they don’t, and they’re very festive. But, do not wrap them around a cat. Cats are unpredictable creatures with a penchant for running away. Lights are electrical objects with a penchant for electrocuting living beings.

-Presents are wonderful. But, don’t give gay. Nothing ruins a holiday more than getting a gift that clearly was not thought out beforehand. Consider whom you’re buying for before you buy.

-Fruitcake is a caring and traditional gift but no one eats it.

-If you’ve eaten too much at dinner, take five...and then eat some more.

-Do not drink the tree water.

And, last but not least,

-Santa’s boo-boo’s are for thankin’, not for yankin’.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Turbot Residents are #1 in Giving Themselves Awards!

-Hey, you’re horribly ugly!
-Oh, don’t you start.
-Start what? I just noticed it now.
-Dear, oh dear. And, you know what, Mitchell? You ain’t so great yourself.
-No...I know that but, boy oh man, you got something...there’s something...yeah...Why didn’t I notice it before?
-I cast a magic spell over you.
-No. I think you’re just stupid.
-Oh, hey!
-Keep it quiet! Why are you always so loud?
-I’m not “always” so loud.
-Spare me. You’ve been this loud as long as...
-You’ve been that ugly?
-I’ve got a fist and it’s about to hit your fat little mouth.
-Try it...Au!
-Yeah. Go back to sleep, Mitchell.

Mitchell and Noreen Winton had been arguing like this eternally. And, yes, Mitchell was always loud and Noreen was really ugly. But, that was just Mitchell’s way and Noreen had an excellent knack for make-up.

But, there’s was a love. The first couple married in Turbot. One year after its naming. They’d been married for over 20 years now and had, sincerely, run out of things to say. There life had been based around their jobs and their status in the small town. And, unfortunately, it was really about being Turbot’s first couple. (Although, they never liked to admit it.)

And, the magic and celebrity of that wore off faster than it takes you to read this. (Don’t pretend like you read it really slow) The milky after glow turned into a sour fluorescent shine, with all the headaches that go with that...

This couple had been in love. But...

I guess it’s time for another Turbot History Lesson.

Turbot History #8:
Until Stan Turbot left for good, the people in the town took it into their great and mighty heads that everything in their town could be commemorated as a first: 1st head cold, 1st holiday, 1st exchange of gift, 1st bounced check, 1st baby born, 1st kitten found, 1st broken bone, 1st case of chronic anal clog, 1st fire, 1st flood, 1st fist fight, 1st neighbor complaint, 1st loud party, 1st big time wasted and, yes, 1st couple married.

They were a bit of a gambling duo, the townsfolk used to say, always willing to bet something on something trying to get something. That’s the way it went down and they missed 1st baby born by one month. Mitchell never forgave Noreen that month when her cycle was just a little off and her period came early and it threw off their plan and she conceived a week later and, hells bells, it didn’t work so great.

A second honor, so they believed, would have sealed it up for them as the 1st Couple of Turbot. Damn and blast!

-Damn your ovaries, Noreen!
-I’m pregnant! Leave me alone!
-The Coopers are gonna beat us out.
-She’s 2 months already. You’re 3 1/2 weeks.’s have been born before the 9 months were up.
-I’m not saying anything. But, it’s our kid. Certainly he or she could be coaxed out a little earlier.
-That’s a plan.

So, the second title the Winton’s took was 1st Stillborn 1 1/2 month Premature Baby.

Not all honors are remembered. Nor should they be.

Once So Proud and So Everything to the people of Turbot. Now...just like all the others. And, their slow decent into this eternally circular bedtime argument began.

And, it got worse when they won the title of 1st Retired Couple. Because, by that time, Stan was gone and nobody cared about the title: They cared about making prepared beef and drinking. The Winton reign was over and all they had to look forward to was looking at each other for forever.

(If Turbot’s 1st couple ended up like this, it doesn’t take Copernicus to imagine the rest of the couples.)

-Oh boy.
-I’m gonna throw you out of bed.
-I’ll throw myself out...Ow!
-Someone kill me! Please!
-Stop being so loud!
-Does this really go on forever?
-Wait! I think...Damn.
-I thought my heart stopped.
-One day.
-You wish.