Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Reincarnation Of Ward Johnson

This is a very short story I just wrote as part of a flash fiction challenge on my friend Carl Sinclair's site. I enjoyed writing this one.


His dreams of being stabbed were happening more frequently. He used to get them a few times a year, but now he was getting them almost every night. The dreams were always the same. He’d walk into a darkly lit bedroom and suddenly get tackled from behind. He struggled on the floor with his attacker, but he never saw the man’s face. The only thing he saw clearly was the knife in the man’s hand – right before it entered his stomach. Then everything went pitch black for a few seconds before he woke up in a panic.

Other than those horrible dreams, he led a pretty happy life. He was young and healthy and did just about everything he wanted to do. Plus, he had a fantastic roommate named Carl, who despite being an old man and different from him in just about every way, was undoubtedly his best friend. They got along great.

Until the day he remembered everything.

He had walked into Carl’s bedroom and saw him lying asleep in his bed. When he looked at Carl’s face, his mind suddenly filled with visions from the dream he’d been having over and over again. Only this time, when he saw the knife in the man’s hand, he looked up and saw his face. It was Carl.

Then it all came back to him. He and Carl had been best friends and business partners for many years until one day when he discovered that Carl had been embezzling money from their company. He told Carl he’d be going to the police the next day to turn him in. It was that night when Carl showed up at his home and attacked and murdered him.

In that previous life, his name had been Ward Johnson. As Ward, he’d never believed in reincarnation. He would have thought someone was crazy if they told him he’d die and one day be reincarnated. He’d think they were even crazier if they said he’d be reincarnated as a pit bull terrier.

But there he was. Reincarnated as the pet dog of the man who had killed him.

He jumped up on the bed and then looked down on Carl’s neck. His revenge would taste very sweet. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I'm Disturbed By The Pina Colada Song

Something has been troubling me lately about "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes. First, though, I'd like to state that yes, I know the "n" in "Pina" is supposed to have one of those little squiggly things above it, but I don't know how to do that. Sorry. the song, the singer complains about how things are bad with him and his lady and they've fallen into the same old, dull routines. This inspires him to look in the personal ads of a newspaper for someone else. He sees an ad from a woman who's looking for a guy who's into pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, etc.

He writes a reply saying, "Yes, I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain" and they decide to meet at a bar. When he gets there, he sees the woman and discovers that it's his wife. She says, "Oh, it's you," in a tone that sounds like, "Aw, shucks, what do you know? You're not a stranger. You're my little Pooh Bear!"

Then they both laugh about the whole thing.

So, seriously....they just laugh about the situation? I mean, c'mon! She finds out that her husband responded to a personal ad and was going to cheat on her and it doesn't upset her? And then he's not mad that his wife placed a personal ad and was going to cheat on him with some total stranger who could be a raging, alcoholic madman who likes to stand in the rain?

Yeah, they were probably both laughing because each of them knew they were busted and they were just trying to play if off, but I can't believe they weren't at least a little pissed off at each other!

Despite the fun tone of the song, maybe the two characters in it are horrible sinners who will one day be drinking pina coladas with Satan in the burning pit fires of Hell.

Then again, maybe since they didn't technically cheat on each other, they won't go to Hell. Plus, God would probably cut Rupert Holmes some slack since his parents named him "Rupert." You've got to feel sorry for someone with that name.

Also, there's a tiny, minuscule chance that I've over-thought this whole thing.

Anyway...end of rant. Here's the song. It's a great one. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Burglar's Rough Night

The burglar squatted down in front of the door and felt something sharp dig into his right thigh. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a No. 2 pencil he now regretted sharpening earlier. The burglar wondered if he might get lead poisoning from what just happened. Then he remembered once reading on Wikipedia that you could only get lead poisoning from odd-numbered pencils, so he stopped worrying.

He tossed the pencil aside and got to work. It was an old lock, so a paperclip would do the job. At least he hoped so, since he didn’t have any of his normal burglary tools with him. He took a paperclip from his pocket, twisted it around, and into the keyhole it went.

He’d broken into dozens of homes this way, so this should have been easy. It wasn’t. The lock wouldn’t budge. He wondered if he was losing his touch or if something else was wrong. Maybe he did have lead poisoning and it was already screwing with his system. There was a slim chance that Wikipedia had been wrong.

The hell with it, he thought. There had to be another way in. He walked through the front yard and looked at the windows on the second floor and saw that one of them was partially open. Perfect.

The burglar looked around for something to use to get him up to the window. There was nothing, so he went to the yard of the house next door. He found a small ladder there and carried it back.

He put it in place and climbed up. Just as he got to the top, he heard footsteps from the sidewalk in front of the house.

“Hey, look up there!” A boy’s voice said. The burglar looked down and saw a teenage boy and a middle-aged woman looking up at him.

“Bill Kucharski,” the woman said. “Did you lock yourself out of your house again?”

The burglar looked down at them. “Yeah, I lost my keys. Sorry for taking your ladder without asking, Beth. Was afraid you’d be asleep. I’ll bring it back first thing in the morning.”

They said goodbye and he climbed into his house and got into bed. As he laid his head on his pillow, he wondered how he could easily break into other homes but suck so badly at breaking into his own. 


The above story was written in response to a flash fiction writing challenge from writer Wade Finnegan on his website yesterday. Wade's parameters for the challenge were: Somewhere in the story you must use the words pencil, paperclip, and pillow. Also, a character must say, “Look up there.” You have a maximum of 400 words to work with. 

I had a fun time with it. To check out Wade Finnegan's cool site and his story for this challenge, go here. You'll also find another cool story there by writer Carl Sinclair. 

Check them out! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why MAN OF STEEL Is A Good Movie And Why I Hated It A Lot


So, here's the "why it's a good movie" part. No cursing from me here. Children and the easily-offended can read this with no fears.

First of all, MAN OF STEEL is a good movie. Even though I hated it, I can't in any way say that it was a bad movie. The director did a great job visually. The scenery (especially the stuff on Krypton) and the special effects are pretty awesome.

As far as the cast goes, I've got nothing to complain about there either. I especially liked Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as the Kents. Michael Shannon, even though he was playing a MUCH different General Zod than the one I know and love from SUPERMAN 2, was very good in his role.

Amy Adams was fine as Lois Lane, though Lois was a little boring compared to earlier versions I've seen of her. I blame that more on the writers (I'll get back to those clowns soon) than on Amy Adams.

As for Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman...he was pretty great. He did a fine acting job and he definitely looks the part. Also, I admit to feeling sort of a kinship with him. In the scenes when he wasn't wearing a shirt, I felt as if I was looking at an exact body double of myself. It was somewhat eerie how similarly he and I are built.

So, yeah...beautifully filmed and a great cast. Good movie.

So, why did I hate it?


I'll tell you why I hated it. Because the the writers, producers, and director didn't seem to give one single, solitary shit about the history of Superman. They changed so many things around that there were a couple times that I almost walked out of the theater. I sat there getting madder and madder. The only reason that I stayed was because I bought a big tub of popcorn and wanted to finish eating it.

I'll focus on just a few (of the many) changes that I hated. First of all, it was ridiculous that Lois Lane knew almost from the beginning about Clark's super powers. Excuse me, but when the hell has that ever happened before? A huge, huge (did I mention huge?) part of the appeal of the Lois and Clark story has always been the mystery of her not knowing who he really is. Yes, I know that in some stories they've eventually gotten married and she knew his identity then, but it always happened long after they met. Here, she knows who he is and what he can do before he even puts on his costume for the first time.

So, Strike One there for me.

Now, let's talk about Jonathan Kent, Clark's adoptive father on Earth. First of all, let me make it very clear that Kevin Costner was awesome in the part. My beef here is in how the movie makers killed off his character. Jonathan Kent has always died of a heart attack in all the earlier versions of the Superman story. He never died from a tornado before.

Yes, I know what the story makers were trying to do with his character and with the story. Jonathan had told Clark earlier that he may sometimes need to sacrifice lives in order to protect his secret so he could use his powers later for the good of the world. So, when the tornado came and there were a bunch of people around watching the whole thing, Jonathan doesn't want Clark to save him, so Clark doesn't and he lets him die.

Yeah, fuck that. If you have a chance to save Kevin Costner from a tornado, then you fucking save Kevin Costner from a tornado!

Strike Two there.

Now, my biggest beef with the movie: when Superman kills General Zod. Yeah, that's right, KILLS. Superman doesn't kill. That's it. Bottom line. Superman NEVER kills anyone!!!

Strike three there for me, boys and girls!

I'm sitting here thinking of even more things about it that I didn't like but I've got other things to do right now. I'm sure you do, too. Hopefully among your things you're doing is anything but seeing this movie. It's a good movie, but the filmmakers crapped all over the history of the character. They showed almost no respect for the writers of earlier versions of Superman at all.

I'll never watch it again, that's for sure.