Archive for Comedy

TURN THE STRANGE – An Excerpt

Posted in Blog, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I wanted to show you a few pages of a script I finished recently. It’s about Emily, a woman guitarist who’s trying to start a Heavy Metal band with a handicap she won’t allow to get in her way. I had a lot of fun writing it, she’s a lot of fun, and I hope you have a lot of fun reading her.

FADE IN:
INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MORNING
An old alarm clock goes off, glass absent from its face,
ringing its bells like a caffeinated woodpecker. The woman
it’s trying its best to win the attention of currently has
her head buried under a pillow. A feeble attempt to stop the
day. She eventually gives up and tosses the pillow at the
clamor. Or rather, tries to. She overestimates how far the
clock is by a few feet. She then lets out a defeated sigh
and sits up.
EMILY VERDA’S hair sticks up at all sorts of angles,
compliments of sleep. She sits on the edge of her bed, hands
on thighs, wearing a simple spaghetti-string top and pajama
pants. After slapping her legs rhythmically, she almost
immediately switches from being exhausted to being wide
awake, then turns off the alarm.

EMILY
You’re gonna get them today.

INT. EMILY’S BATHROOM – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY brushes her teeth while humming the same four notes
over and over. Faster, slower, higher, lower. The fingers on
her free hand, black nail polish chipped, rap upon the
mirror at the same tempo changes. Her eyes in the mirror are
unfocused, yet there’s still thought behind them.
She locks onto a particular tempo, repeating it twice, then
smirks before she spits into the sink.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

A proper view of the BEDROOM shows amazing organization
skills. Apart from the pillow slumped in the corner and the
messy bed, everything is exceptionally neat and tidy. Three
other stand-out features are the lack of closet doors, of an
entrance door, and of any mirror. Just outside the doorway
is an astroturf rug.

At the closet and in a terrycloth robe, EMILY chooses
something to wear for the day. Her hair is now combed flat,
and her lips are painted black. She quickly flicks through
hung shirts, pants, t-shirts, skirts, and dresses, giving
some a stroke or two before passing them up.

She goes to a window and opens it. She then licks a palm and
sticks into the world…

EMILY
Pants and a button-up.

…then gets what she needs while wiping her hand on her
robe.

INT. EMILY’S KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY sits on the counter, twixt the sink and toaster, as
she tosses the last bit of one waffle in her mouth. A laptop
sits on the table. She then snatches another waffle from the
toaster. She tears off pieces and eats them, avoiding her
lipstick. While this is going on, she hums the melody she
came up with in the BATHROOM while tapping her bootheels on
the cabinet.

Until she almost chokes on a waffle bit.

She tosses what’s left of the breakfast pastry in the
garbage, in a fit of betrayal, then briskly washes her hands
in the sink. Her boots make the plastic mat on the floor
click and pop.

INT. EMILY’S LIVING ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Sliding on her armor, a well-loved frock coat, EMILY
prepares to leave her apartment. Next, she tucks a pocket
recorder and a flipphone inside the coat. By the door is a
beaten-up guitar case ready to be slung over her shoulder
like a sword. On a short bookcase is her helmet by way of a
top hat and sunglasses. Both are vertically-striped black
and white, with the hat having a bit more business. The
black stripes are felt, the white are like silk, and a ring
dangles from the brim. A finger can easily fit through it,
which she does as she positions the hat so that the ring
hangs over her left ear.

Ready to face the day, she grabs one last thing: her folding
cane.

EXT. STREETS – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY walks with a little pep in her step as her cane goes
TAK-TAK-TAK-TAK, making sure that she doesn’t bump into
anyone (while not really caring if she does).

She points a twirling finger in the camera’s general
direction as she taks and trots along.

EMILY
‘Ello, dear viewer. Emily’s my name
and I was put on this planet for
two reasons: shredding guitars and
bumping into furniture. If the cane
didn’t give the game away, I’m a
bit blind. Don’t feel sorry for me,
though. You’re the ones who have to
see the state the world’s in.

She takes her finger away and continues walking to…

INT. QUEST CAFE – MOMENTS LATER

The bell over the door DINGS as EMILY enters. After folding
her cane, she approaches the register while getting her credit card.
At the counter, a clerk waits with a mug full
of the hot stuff.

CLERK
Ms. Verda! We ran out of white
chocolate last night, but we have a
nice–

EMILY stops in her tracks, flicks straight her cane, and
doffs her hat.

EMILY
I bid thee good day.

CLERK
Just kidding, just kidding!

EMILY
Don’t toy with my heart today.

EMILY folds her cane and continues her morning routine
towards her white chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream
and coconut sprinkles.

CLERK
I’m a wage slave, I have to get as
much harmless fun as I can to pass
the 9-5.

EMILY
And normally, I’d understand. Nay,
I’d encourage. But I need all my
strength for later.

EMILY swipes her card and enters her PIN as the CLERK
extends the mug.

CLERK
Oh? Why? Oh yeah, you’re still
doing those auditions. How long
have you been holding them?

EMILY
Doesn’t matter.

EMILY takes the mug and her receipt.

EMILY
(cont’d)
I’m gonna get them today.

CLERK
How many are you meeting?

EMILY
Two, but two’s all I need. Thanks
for letting me post my ad here.
That’s how they found me.

CLERK
Ah, no problem.

EMILY
Kayley and Leslie. Gonna have a
chick band.

CLERK
You just be sure to play your
second gig here.

EMILY
“Second”?

CLERK
Who’s ever great their first time
out?

EMILY
Har har har. I was gonna leave a
tip, but now…

CLERK
You can’t tip plastic. Besides, you
already swiped your card.

EMILY
Maybe I was gonna get a few
macaroons.

CLERK
Were you?

EMILY starts to step away as she sips her coffee, then turns
back to the CLERK.

EMILY
Do you know Kayley and Leslie? All
I have are texts that my phone
reads aloud.

CLERK
I only know you because you’re a
creature of habit and this place is
lucky enough to be within sniffing
distance of your apartment.

EMILY
Heh, too true, too true.

EMILY continues to an empty booth, but not before…

CLERK
Good luck today, Emily. Really.

She gestures a salute with her mug, then sits. She then
takes a big gulp, points a circling finger towards the
camera, and sets her mug down with a big whipped cream
moustache on her face.

EMILY
I know what you’re thinking, but
chick bands rock. No, you’re
thinking that other thing and, yes,
I know it’s there. No, no, you’re
thinking that OTHER other thing,
and we’ll never know if Neo
would’ve knocked over that vase.
It’s best to just let it go, I’ve
lost far too much hair over that.
Roy Orbison and José Feliciano.
Drawing blanks? I’m drawing
circles. They’re two of the best
guitarists to have ever lived. They
also found that blindness didn’t
take away frets and chords. Herman
Li is a beast with a guitar THAT HE
PLAYS WITH THE WRONG HAND, just
like Hendrix! So my heritage has
that covered because we all come
from the same womb. Joan Jett,
Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Nancy
Wilson.

She brushes the dairy facial hair off with her finger, then
eats it with a grin.

d392731dd2155ff83e83dab74d5b77d3.jpg

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Daily Dialogue: Rage, By Any Other Name, is Titan

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Shelby
Why are you listening to Careless Whisper?

April
The music player on my laptop’s on random.

Shelby
Yeah, but I’ve been hearing it for the last hour and a half.

April
It’s a good song?

Shelby
What happened this time?

April
What do you mean?

Shelby
You only listen to songs with saxophones when you’re sad.

April
No, I don’t.

Shelby
What about the time you were listening to Baker Street all afternoon, only to find out that you lost your job?

April
It’s a good so–

Shelby
There was the time when you tried throwing me off with Mr. Saxobeat because it was a dance song, but I figured out that your car broke down.

April
I just put in a catalytic converter, too…

Shelby
So. What’s wrong now?

April
I can’t talk about it. I mean, I wanna talk about it. But I can’t.

Shelby
Why can’t you?

April
Abstinence.

Shelby
You can’t give up fucking if you haven’t gotten any in months.

April
Ha. Ha. Fuck you. And that’s not what I’m abstaining from.

Shelby
What is it, then?

April
Part of abstaining from something, Shelby, is that one can’t talk about it.

Shelby
I didn’t realize that moratoriums were part of the recovery process.

April
Tis.

Shelby
Well, I’m tired of listening to George Michael, so we gotta get through this.

April
I told you–

Shelby
I remember. Water. Mizu. Aqua.

April
Huh?

Shelby
Those three words mean the same thing, just in different languages.

April
What’s your point?

Shelby
That you can talk about something without speaking its name by calling it something else.

April
Substitution? Could work.

Shelby
Let’s get to the bottom of your Cthulhu.

April
Leave your geekery out of my problems, please.

Shelby
Damnit. Fine, what do you suggest we call your problem?

April
My Titans.

Shelby
On, so I can’t make a Lovecraft reference but YOU can make an ultraviolent anime one?

April
I said YOUR geekery.

Shelby
Fine. Jerk. What about your Titans?

April
It’s come to my attention recently that my care for my Titans has negative effects on my professional life.

Shelby
In what way? Or ways?

April
You know how I feel about opinions, right?

Shelby
Everyone in America is entitled to one and the consequences of such.

April
And you know how I feel about giving mine.

Shelby
Yeah, you’re a Wobbuffet.

April
A what?

Shelby
There’s a Pokémon that only counterattacks. You remind me a lot of it because you only have something important or bileful to say if you’re attacked first.

April
On. I guess I am a Wobbuffet.

Shelby
What’s your spirit animal have to do with anything?

April
I’m terrible with acting, and great with reacting.

Shelby
I know, that’s why I called you a Wobbuffet.

April
Well, my Titan reared its ugly, giant head in a professional situation recently and things went very bad.

Shelby
How bad?

April
I’m banned from working in three counties.

Shelby
Oh. That’s not as bad as three countries.

April
Might as well be.

Shelby
How’s you get banned in three counties?

April
My opinion.

Shelby
You can’t be fired for your opinion. First Amendment Rights and whatnot.

April
I can if they lead to bringing about a “destructive environment.”

Shelby
What’s that mean?

April
I caused a riot.

Shelby
THAT WAS YOU?!

April
Yeah…

Shelby
They still haven’t put out those fucking fires!

April
I know…

Shelby
You got off light by getting banned.

April
Their lawyers didn’t want them to cause a PR disaster by throwing a transgendered into the clink.

Shelby
Yeah, we don’t need another Orange is the New Black. What was the riot about? Did someone call you a tranny?

April
No, everyone at the job was cool with working with me. I mean, some of the gals were jealous because I never have to deal with periods, but life goes on.

Shelby
Yeah… bitch. What caused the riot?

April
My Titan.

Shelby
You might have to be a little more detailed for me.

April
My… inability to… accept… certain things about the country. Yeah, that’s about all I can say without wanting to cause Kristallnacht 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Shelby
Fair enough. You gotta put that rage into something productive, girl.

April
Like what?

Shelby
Why not take up the saxophone?

April
It’s heavy.

Shelby
What, you’re saying that women can’t lift heavy things? Sounds like setback talk to me…

April
Don’t you DARE call me a fucking setback.

Shelby
What’re you gonna do, Wobbuffet? Huh?

April
Start learning the sax parts of Careless Whisper.

Daily Dialogue: Dirty Talk

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

For 40 minutes a day, two women ride the rollercoaster of imagination and I write their screams.

Babs
Is it true what the say about men?

Kiki
What, that they’re so helpless that they don’t know when to ask for help?

Babs
That’d be the one.

Kiki
In his case, he’s a plumber. I imagine his helplessness comes with the diploma. Plumbers get diplomas, right?

Babs
Like I’ve ever been in a plumber’s house to find out.

Kiki
You can ask him after you pay him.

Babs
Pay him?

Kiki
Yeah. That’s how capitalism works. Someone does a service for you and you pay them.

Babs
I thought it was one of those free services you get when you move in. Like when they take away your garbage.

Kiki
You pay for that, too.

Babs
The hell you say.

Kiki
It’s snuck into that bill you pay yearly so you’re forced to.

Babs
Well, I don’t wanna pay for stinky services that SHOULD be free, so I’m taking a stand. Starting with that plumber.

Kiki
Maybe not with that plumber. Whatever he’s taken out, he can put back in.

Babs
If he’s like most men I’ve been with, he’ll miss the hole a few times. I’ll be fine.

Kiki
Yeah, but with the load he’s packing, it wouldn’t matter if he missed.

Babs
Damnation.

Kiki
So no stiffing the plumber on his bill.

Babs
Ok… But the next time he comes, he better not expect any satisfaction.

Kiki
It’s a shit job, Babs. No one expects satisfaction.

Babs
Oh, they’re out there.

Kiki
Well, you don’t want them in your house.

Babs
I don’t want them on my planet.

Kiki
Hey, different strokes for different folks. I’m sure your kinks would be weird to some people.

Babs
Yeah. Because they’re weird people.

Kiki
Oh, come on, don’t be so judgmental.

Babs
You’re right. I’m just miffed that I have to pay for garbage.

Kiki
Actually, it’s the lack of garbage you’re paying for.

Babs
Same diff.

Kiki
Not really. You don’t wanna be the only person on the block whose lawn looks like Paris during that garbage strike in the 60s.

Babs
Who’d do that to beautiful Paris?

Kiki
Garbage men. Since they pick up garbage.

Babs
How cruel.

Kiki
So to keep you from being Paris, the city or the Hilton, pay your garbage bill that you don’t have a choice to.

Babs
Ugh, fine. How long does it take to fix a toilet?

Kiki
I dunno, what was wrong with it?

Babs
I dunno.

Kiki
Well, there you go.

Babs
I can’t go, that’s why the plumber’s here.

Kiki
Ha, ha, punny, ha.

Babs
I do what I can.

Kiki
Except number one or two.

Babs
Ok, enough of the potty humor.

Kiki
Yeah, you’re right. You’re clogged enough as is.

Babs
The thorns are really out all of a sudden.

Kiki
Yeah… Crap, that means I forgot to take my medicine.

Babs
What a country we live in, right? We have a pill for everything, even snark.

Kiki
Yeah, it’s called Fuckital. Try not to overdose, though. You’ll lose your ambition.

Babs
What a country. And yet, I still have to pay for dirty stuff.

Kiki
I thought we moved on from this…

Babs
We did. And now we’re back.

Kiki
And now we’re moving. What’re your NON-garbage plans for today?

Babs
I was thinking of mowing my lawn.

Kiki
It’s the dead of winter.

Babs
The one in my secret garden.

Kiki
Oh. Oh!

Babs
The weeds are outta control.

Kiki
Why’d you let them?

Babs
Laziness.

Kiki
Doesn’t the earth itch if you don’t mow often?

Babs
Like you wouldn’t believe!

Kiki
Still couldn’t work up the urge to whip out the ol’ electric.

Babs
It’s way over there! Or there! Or there? Ok, so I forgot where I put it. But it cost too much for me to give up on it.

Kiki
Why not use a wet… lawnmower?

Babs
Because my earth is very sensitive and I break out something fierce. I’d kill to have the new-lawn itch over scorched earth.

Kiki
Thinking about it makes me cry a little. So you found your electric mower since you’ll be tending to your lawn later? Or did you buy a new one?

Babs
Do I look stupid? I borrowed one.

Kiki
Um… I don’t think you should use another gal’s lawn equipment.

Babs
Why? She said it was ok.

Kiki
Because you don’t want a faerie circle suddenly appearing.

Babs
Ew. Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do? The grass is beyond the fence and I’ve had enough.

Kiki
I’d help you look for your lawnmower, but I’m afraid of what other electric devices I might find.

Babs
Like what?

Kiki
Your jackhammer.

Babs
Oh, I use a stake. I’m too afraid that a jackhammer will find a hot spring and short out. Then that’ll be the story of me.

Kiki
I’m sure they’re waterproof.

Babs
Eh… Too risky for my neurosis.

Kiki
Where do you keep your, uh, stake?

Babs
The bathroom.

Daily Dialogue: Meteors and Milkshakes

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

For forty minutes, two women figure out what to tell me to write. No horror for a while, though. I wanna keep it fresh, which means taking a break once in a while.

Meg
I think this is… No, I know this is the best milkshake ever.

Leigh
Why, does it come with a new car?

Meg
Uh, no. Because it’s awesome?

Leigh
Awesome means that it comes with a new car.

Meg
I know you just lost your car, but stop trying to bring down my milkshake high.

Leigh
I didn’t lose it. A meteor came fucking crashing down on it.

Meg
It’s kinda the same thing. Your car’s not around, right?

Leigh
No! Because an alien threw up on it!

Meg
Aliens don’t throw up meteors. They can’t because they don’t exist.

Leigh
I think milkshake highs make you stupid. C’mon, I’m crying out for emotional support over here!

Meg
You’re right, you’re right. Will your insurance take care of it?

Leigh
Apparently, meteors don’t count as acts of god even though it came from the heavens, so I’m screwed in that regard.

Meg
Will NASA pay for it?

Leigh
They don’t know I exist! They got their space turd and took off!

Meg
I guess you can’t sue the universe for damages, so a lawsuit is out.

Leigh
I even had to pay for my car to be towed! The city couldn’t even give me THAT fucking bit of decency!

Meg
Huh. They really know how to twist the blade, don’t they?

Leigh
So excuse me for thinking a lot about a new car.

Meg
You’re excused. I guess.

Leigh
Gee, thanks.

Meg
You need some milkshake.

Leigh
I don’t need some milkshake.

Meg
You need some milkshake.

Leigh
I don’t need some milkshake.

Meg
TAKE THE CUP AND SUCK.

Leigh
…I do this out of protest.

Meg
You do this because I crack the whip.

Leigh
I say, I say, that is some good dairy.

Meg
Told you.

Leigh
Where’d you get it?

Meg
I made it! With love. And malt. Mostly love. And malt.

Leigh
What’s the flavor? It’s all over the place, but not in a bad way.

Meg
It’s Meg’s special secret recipe. Or rather, I forgot.

Leigh
Almost as tragic as my car. How much is left?

Meg
What’s in the cup and what’s in the blender.

Leigh
Do you have any marshmallow fluff?

Meg
I like the way you think.

Leigh
Still won’t get me a car.

Meg
Ugh, back to this again?

Leigh
It’s my car! I’m an American! Do you know what it’s like to be an American without a car?!

Meg
Ew. No.

Leigh
See?

Meg
Do you have anywhere to go that’s important?

Leigh
Just work in a few days. This was supposed to be my vacation. I was supposed to drive to sleazy places and turn down copious amounts of men before going home revved up for a night of Bangkok with my man!

Meg
You have a strange sense of foreplay.

Leigh
What?

Meg
Most people just watch porn, not risk pulling a Jodi Foster in that one movie.

Leigh
“Silence of the Lambs?”

Meg
No, the other one… “The Accused.”

Leigh
What happened in that one?

Meg
She was raped. She won an Oscar.

Leigh
Oh, well at least something worked out for her. “Silence of the Lambs” had that guy who threw his… stuff in her hair, though. Nothing good came from that.

Meg
She got promoted, and got to spend some time with that Hannibal Lecter.

Leigh
Wait. How did we get on this subject?

Meg
We were talking about how you were a weird horndog and definitely not about your car.

Leigh
My car!

Meg
Damnit…

Leigh
I loved that car!

Meg
I know, Leigh. I know.

Leigh
It wasn’t my first or second or third, but I loved it anyway. Or forth.

Meg
I get it, you’ve had lots of cars. Gimme my cup back.

Leigh
I think you not getting your milkshake turns you into a bitch.

Meg
It’s awesome!

Leigh
That is true. Ha, you’re probably gonna get the DTs when it’s gone.

Meg
DTs?

Leigh
Delirium tremens. The shakes that addicts get when they don’t get their fix in a long time.  Some die.

Meg
I don’t think I’ll get them. You might if you don’t get a car.

Leigh
My car!

Meg
Damnit…

Leigh
What am I gonna do?

Meg
You could buy another one.

Leigh
I can’t afford a good one, though.

Meg
With the way you’ve been acting, that won’t matter.

Leigh
Thanks for being supportive.

Meg
I just don’t want you to foam at the mouth on my carpet. That’d be a waste of good milkshake.

Leigh
Where do I find a not-good car?

Meg
Where do you find good cars?

Leigh
Dealerships.

Meg
Well, there you go.

Leigh
But…

Meg
You’ll just have to go to one without a mini bar.

Leigh
You know, I always thought that was a little irresponsible.

Meg
Didn’t stop you from drinking the tiny bottles.

Leigh
No, it did not. I guess that’s something to look forward to, not having to worry about failing a breathalyzer test right out the lot.

Meg
You should find an insurance company with meteor coverage, though.

“I’d Make a Horrible Addict”

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

This post is brought to you by the soundtrack for the “Les Miserables” film.

Here we are: the final lap ’til the turn. Chapters 16 and 17 will be lengthy. Chapters 18 and 19 will be sentences. Why four chapters? The first portion of the story will be “wrapped up” in the first two, but I feel that I need something declarative and abstract. And I wanna write something short before I dive into the chaos that’ll be The Turn.

Chapter 16 had a big change since last night. It’ll reveal the reason why Quinevere became pregnant. I wasn’t intending there to be another reason but as I was plotting, two thing happened. One thing is that I realized that I needed to justify the chapter being there. I had a lot of great ideas for it, and there was some great lead-up to it, but it could’ve easily been taken out because it served no dramatic purpose. Melissa Merte, someone Quinevere likes but Idette doesn’t, with two of her friends, Riane and Dana, show up. Them causing a hiccup by simply being there wasn’t enough. The other thing that happened is that the subject of rape came up. I’ve been trying to fit it in the story for chapters and chapters, but it always stood out. Why rape? I wanted to fit RAINN in there because people should know about it. [just realized that I should change Riane’s name since it’s so close to RAINN… Phillipa] I had an interesting take on rape but felt that it had its place in chapter 15. Then I felt that Quinevere should’ve been raped instead of accidentally getting pregnant because I have to justify the rest of my novel. But I didn’t want to simply say “I was raped”, and I didn’t want to make it into melodrama. Quinevere’s too strong for that now. Then I realized that I could still do what I planned a chapter ago.

I like that the goils aren’t stationary. They evolve over the course of “Lie”, except Veronique but that’s a choice because I wanted to save that for the second half. What I like about Veronique, and Idette shares occasionally shares this, is her practicality with her sexuality. She shaves, does kegels, and danced in a burlesque troupe for very practical reasons. Idette sleeps nude for a very practical reason, but, thinking about it, I don’t consider that being sexual. Nudity isn’t sexual, but intent is. Unless you have a sleeping fetish, I don’t know how a nude sleeper could be sexualized. I like that Fantine isn’t abrasive with her love of films. She never forces it upon people. And when she had everyone watch films for a day, she never stuck her nose in the air. Quinevere is the same with her geekery. I mean, she wears the odd shirt but she never beats someone over the head with her belly full of baby and geek stuff. And I love their inability to be anyone but themselves. Even Fantine. She’s shy because she’s shy, not because she’s ashamed.

Why would I make a horrible addict? Last night, I cut myself off from “Doctor Who” fandom after being deep in it for a while. I’m still a HUGE fan, but I don’t feel the need to associate with fans anymore. Like with Batman, The Matrix films, and Middle-earth, I’m fine with being alone with my fandom. Now, if I find someone who wants to talk about Agent Smith or Romana II, great. But me hunting them down is done. The fans of “Doctor Who” want too much attention. “Lookit my TARDIS cake!” “Lookit my TARDIS wedding ring!” “Lookit my drawing!” “Lookit my bow tie!” “Lookit lookit lookit lookit!” And it’s always the same things. Over and over and over and over again. I’m comparing them to Stanley Kubrick fans. They’re fans I can get behind. Their adoration for Kubrick’s films is strong, yet restrained. And they don’t feel the need for attention. Which brings me to lessons learned for my eventual fandom. I know that you can’t control who your fans are and how they perceive/express your work, but I’ll definitely try pointing them in the right direction. And after being deep in Gallifreyan ranks, I’m a firmer believer in quality over quantity when it comes to fans. Gimme ten restrained fans over a hundred screaming ones any day. Plus, it’ll mean more if the restrained fans scream.

Chapter Three of “Lie”: “Two Tribes”

Posted in Fiction, Sample Chapter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

For only $1.99, you can pick up “Lie” wherever eBooks are sold. For a few minutes of your time, here are chapters one, two, and four. Thanks for reading.

The goils finish their Earl Grey, Fantine doing her best to hide her sour face. She hates the smell of it but doesn’t want to make a fuss. From the group sitting at the corner of the counter, Idette is the only one who notices. Being Quinevere’s hetero life-mate, she’s learned to see through the mirages of the meek. She helps the younger Karoly with the dishes and whispers in her ear, “…I know your secret.”

“Do you mind my smoking in here?” Quinevere yawns and replies, “No, but my father might and I wouldn’t want to upset him.”
“Shit. Outward I go, then.” Veronique gets up and slides her stool in place with her hips. “Oh, and don’t worry about what I leave behind. I don’t use filters and I’ve seen leftovers carried away by rain, wind, and mice.” Idette laughs at the idea of a mouse having a nicotine fit, constantly thumping its head into a wall and wailing. She doesn’t share her mental image, so the others think she’s mental while she washes cups. Veronique walks a bit quicker to the front.

“Idette?”
“Quinnie?”
“What do you think we should get?” Idette shakes her hands dry, then playfully wipes them on Fantine’s shirt. Its owner, not knowing what to do, frantically dries the china. “Hmm…” Idette bursts out of the kitchen through the velvet rope. Quinevere helps a perplexed Fantine put the cups back into their places.
A minute or so passes, then they hear a loud thud and a faint “FUCK!!” come from the main room.
Quinevere sighs, takes out a frozen pizza, and hands it to the limping Idette entering from the curtain. Placing it on her thigh, she says, “Meat’s ok. Unless.” She glares at Fantine.
“I… I like chicken.”

The interior goils join the exterior one as she sits on one of the steps under the late-afternoon sky. “I was wondering who died,” Veronique says to the frozen pizza. “I thought Mrs. Soffe’s class was supposed to make you better on your feet.”
“It was th— We made a list.”
Veronique hops up, with an embarrassed skid. “Not a word, Idette.” The ginger raises a hand peacefully… but imagines things with stifled laughter. She then takes an arrogant stance and says, “What a genious. I mean, genius. Genius!” But it’s too late. Something you don’t do when you’re smug is make a mistake because you’re not allowed to live it down. Ever.
Quinevere starts walking to the Mini Coop. Its owner is about to join her, but looks at her goosebumped arms. “Fantine, be kind and get my gray jumper I came in with, please.”
Her niece complies. “Thank you, dear.”

When the younger Karoly comes back to the front door, the three are standing by the speck. Her aunt waves her over and quickly goes back to rubbing her arms. “Now, it’s important that you get everything on that list, Quinnie. Fantine and I spent some time on it.” Veronique’s ears perk up as she puts on her sweater, “Oh? Well, we’ll have to scour the village if it comes to that.” She kisses her niece’s forehead, “Don’t fret, Quinevere, I’ll pay for our things,” and pops the locks of her car.
Quinevere slides the list into a pocket of her still-buttoned coat. She’s about to slide into the car, when she catches a whiff of her mess. “Um, Idette. Could you, while we’re gone?” Her eyes dart to that special spot on the ground.
“Yeah, yeah. Where’s a bucket?”
“Under the sink.” She gets in the car and closes the door, then reverses. “Thanks.” And reverses again. Veronique playfully hangs over her car door and tells Fantine, “We shouldn’t be gone for more than two hours.”
To Idette, “No Alafamly, please.”
The ginger salutes her and the elder Karoly waves goodbye with her pinky. The two drive off and Idette grins mischievously at her new, young accomplice.

Fantine stands in the kitchen with an empty tin bucket while Idette ponders. “If we spill water anywhere inside, the Ainsworths will, at the very least, fuckin’ behead us. Why didn’t the ol’ guv build a back door… Ok. It shouldn’t take much water to clean up Quinnie’s sick. But that floor’s slick.”
If Idette sounds different it’s because she tries to speak more properly when she’s around her friend or Veronique. In any case, she changes pizzas.
“Bloody slick.” Fantine starts to say something but stops. “No, go ahead.”
“What if we used water from the river?”

Bunkerton Bridge is in full view. A kissed album from Quinevere’s collection, Jesca Hoop’s “Hunting My Dress”, drifts in the interior. A faint beep was heard at the beginning of their journey. It’s still there, but they’ve since gotten used to it. However, if they searched out the sound, they would’ve found that it’s from Quinevere’s cell phone in the glove compartment. Melissa left a voicemail, you see. “—’re kidding,” Veronique states. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“No, when she was a little girl, she used to put on her father’s clothes and pretend she was a robot.” Veronique laughs, but gathers herself before it’s time to cross the bridge. “How did she get that into her head?”
“I haven’t a clue. She grew out of it. Eventually.”
“How eventually?”
“…when she was 14.” Horror overrides comedy. “Does her father ever bring it up?”
“Idette never told you?”
“No, she doesn’t say much of her parents. She mentioned something about her mum, Baibin, once but I don’t remember anything of it.”
“Oh. Mr. Rodelle’s dead. He was assaulted by a careless driver.”
“Fuck… What was his name?”
“Tabbart. The car kept on so they weren’t ever caught.”
“How old was she?”
“14.”
“Oh… What of her mum?”
“She wasn’t involved but as hard as Idette took it, her mum took it far worse. She doesn’t do much save for mourn and sleep. Tabbart had a respectful job and everyone loved him there so, coupled with his insurance, the Rudelles wanted for nothing.”
“At least… at least they have that.”
“Yeah. Turn left once we’re off Bunkerton.”

Back in Dragonspire, Fantine helps Idette unpack in her room. Well, it’s Harold and Janice’s room but they’re obviously not using it now. It’s closest to the bathroom and Idette likes the idea of not having to climb over Quinnie to take a bath. The younger Karoly stands by the door taking things out of Idette’s knapsack. The ginger’s bed-bound and sorting through what’s handed to her, stealing the odd snapshot. Yes, the pizza’s still on her leg. “—ospital?” Fantine replies, “She needs her appendix taken out.”
“Oh, that’s no biggie. What’s she look like, then?”
“Hmm?”
“Your mum.”
Fantine describes Marietta, who’s essentially a raven-haired Heather Graham. “You must look a lot like her, then.”
“Yeah…” Fantine hands Idette the last bundle of clothes, but something falls onto the floor. She picks it up, then quickly drops it. Idette thinks there’s a nicotine-addled mouse around and asks, “What?!”
“It’s… it’s a…” Preparing herself, she leans over and sees… her black and pink thong. She slowly brings her brown eyes to the Karoly blue. “Blimey, you’ve worn a pair before.” The thing by the door turns a bright red. “…I’m gonna pop your thong cherry. I’m gonna— I’m gonna pop your thong cherry! We’re the same body type, so your bum won’t stretch it out.”
Fantine’s too frozen with fear to move. She manages to squeak out, “They look so… look so uncomfort…” She starts tearing up and continues, “No! I’m not wearing that!” Idette is bemused and a little annoyed with her childish reaction, then sees that she’ll have to try a different tactic with her. “Let’s play a game. If I can read your mind—” she picks up her thong with a bare foot “—you have to wear this. I don’t have to see you in it, but you have to wear it for at least… ten seconds. Then you can give it back to me.”
“You can’t read minds…”
“Then you’ve got fuck-all to worry about, right?” Fantine untenses.
Barely.
Idette proceeds to do a logic puzzle. One Quinevere always gets her with. She manages to “read” the younger Karoly’s mind with math and elephants. Victoriously, she kicks the prize onto Fantine’s shoulder and points with her foot to the bathroom door. The bashful gal trudges to her linoleum and porcelain tomb, closing the door behind her. Idette waits to hear the distant sound of dropped trou, then continues sorting.
A minute or so passes until Fantine finally opens the door and quietly helps arrange things. Noticing that the younger Karoly tugs at the seat of her pants occasionally, Idette pats herself on the back.

Veronique and Quinevere rummage around Rumpled Bags. Their cart is reasonably full, with half the list taken care of. Including a box of tea that isn’t Earl Grey. “—ode with our friend, Toni, because she was the only one with a vehicle and knew where the club was.” Veronique picks up a box of crackers and asks, “They have clubs for teenagers now? Where were they 25 years ago…”
“I don’t think Absolute Zero could be considered a genuine club. Even at 16, I thought it was rather bland. But it was a club and we were there.” She checks the list. “We need to find preserves.”
They round the corner to find the right, fruit-scented aisle. “So. Absolute Zero.”
“Oh. Well, there isn’t much to say about it. It was the first club Idette and I went to and she fared better than I on the dance floor. I was coping with wallflowerisms and potentially overdosing on energy drinks.”
“Unlike at… what was that other club you mentioned?”
“Dresden.”
“Right. You know, you’re more verbal than Idette gave you credit for.”
“It’s a bit hard being reserved around someone who’s seen you regurgitate. Ah. There they are.”

The younger Karoly is more comfortable with her floss as she continues to scan Mrs. Ainsworth’s collection. She stands somewhere in the L-section. Idette enters from the kitchen with the can of ginger ale she asked for. She hands it over and plops on the “couch”, feet in the air, and puts a cold can on her bruise. They decided to bake the pizza so she needed to find a new compress. Although Fantine is physically settled into her negligee, her mind is very much focused on it and has the synapses to prove it. Her brain’s like the middle of Chinese New Year. The only time she’s said something since being upstairs has been for the soda she’s drinking. Carefully, lest we forget Idette’s bucket issue. It seems she’ll be this way for a while.
“—ally get to Courtenay Wood. I passed it a lot throughout life and I thought it had an ace trail. When I got there, it crossed my mind that I lost him since I don’t look behind me when I drive. But he parked next to me and everything was brilliant. It was his birthday and the forest was my idea, but we were also aware that my period wasn’t for another week. And there weren’t any other vehicles nearby.” Idette waits for a reaction. It’s a game she’s been “playing” with Fantine. Seeing nothing, she continues, “We walked a ways down the trail. There weren’t anything but trees, and a lone bench a bit of steps before us.
“Anyway, he’d been walking behind me for a while and I could sense he was fed up with looking at my arse. Tight denim does that to strapping young lads, Fantine. If he held on for one more meter, we could’ve at least sat down. But he didn’t and we started snogging standing up. He undid the front of my pants, slid his hand down— I think I was wearing a pink and black thong…”
Fantine, somewhere in the m’s, tenses and lets out a high-pitched “What?!”
Idette laughs outrageously. “About bloody time! Oh, magnificent! Don’t worry, love, I didn’t buy them until yesterday and this happened a few years ago. His hands knew their way around a fanny… Ha! You’re ‘Fanny’ now.”
Fanny— No, that feels odd. Fantine turns around, flustered.
Idette says, “No use fighting it: no one has any say over their nickname.”
Fantine turns back around and focuses harder on DVDs.
“Anywho, he was always a fine tease so, naturally, he stopped when things started feeling fantastic. He zipped me up and we kept walking. Then we come to a beautiful clearing with a gazebo overlooking a pond.” Idette holds her hands up and takes an imaginary photograph. “I don’t need to tell you what we did—” she drops her hands onto her chest, smirking “—but I do need to say what stopped us. Apparently, it was a field trip day and we heard a group of wee ones coming down the way as I was about to cu— Long story short: we straighten up, we break up, and my feet are up.”
She swings her feet around as the youthful Karoly moves to the n’s.

The riders travel around Edithshire looking to accomplish the rest of the list. A detail only a true friend would know about Quinevere is something Idette is currently taking advantage of. If you were to give Ms. Ainsworth a list, she would read it one item at a time instead of all at once. If she was a consummate reader, she would notice that the list gets increasingly absurd. One item, for instance, is a demand for all the world’s right socks. Her eyes haven’t gotten that far. In fact, they’re a bit stuck. She’s having a problem with Idette’s k’s.
She hands the list to Veronique at a red light. A Veronique who does not have a problem with reading everything at once. She sighingly hands the list back and, as the light turns green, heads promptly back to Dragonspire. Quinevere thinks she’s being rude until she sees the demand for a crate full of bukkake (NSFW).

Idette and Fantine sit near the garden with their almost-gone meat-lovers pizza, the latter squirming slightly. The ginger, at last, found a talking point with the clipped one and they’ve been talking about it twixt bites: faeries. Idette’s not nearly as big a fan of them as the other one is, but she’s a much bigger fan than Quinevere, who isn’t at all. So she keeps her love to herself.
The younger Karoly gushes about her collection of Amy Brown art, about her walls in her room covered with pieces, about the wax sculptures she makes in class, about how she still looks out her window at night at a flower patch she planted when she was a child and hopes she’ll see a faerie wave “hello”… when the elder Karoly’s speck is heard approaching.
Idette says something about being found out as they get up and throw pizza remains into the Melody.
The riders exit the car, and Quinevere laughs at the ground again.
Idette gets the bucket and hopes she doesn’t gather any crusts.

SAMPLE CHAPTER!! (fanfare): Chapter One, “Happy Hours”

Posted in Fiction, Sample Chapter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

On an Autumn Monday night in Lansing, IL, two head shrinks sit in a bar and unwind. An atypical bar, but they’re atypical doctors. At the corner of Glenwood/Lansing Rd. and Burnham Ave., landmarked by a helicopter monument and an empty hangar, sits Shannon’s. Well, sort of. It’s actually on the second floor of what looks like an armory. The back of the second floor. The only thing that could an armor-sized bar greater would be a giant slide at the back door. Monday nights are quiet nights at Shannon’s so the parking lot is sparse. Monday nights are quiet nights in Lansing, so Garbage’s “Cherry Lips” can be heard faintly from a second floor.

The inside of Shannon’s looks like a couple of squares connected by a rectangle. The main square is split in two, one half slightly elevated than the other and is boxed in with wall-length windows, and the other half with a wall-mounted jukebox near the door and a “fireplace” on the opposite wall. The south-facing windows show off a dimly-lit runway that spreads into the horizon and a cloudy night sky. The lesser square is in the back. Everything’s level, and you get a dartboard. The rectangle is where the his-and-hers bathrooms are. The majority of a wall connecting the rectangle to the main square is The Bar. It’s the kind of wooden thing you come to expect in a bar. Behind it are the barmaids of the night, of which there’re always two: Julie and Peggy. Julie is a middle-aged wonder and Peggy is a jittery, curly thing. The two doctors sit at a table by the digital jukebox. One, Naimee Tudor, stares at the other, Clark Marcella, in shock from under the biggest, floppiest red hat that only she could get away with. He gets the jukebox during bar nights, you see, and he’s the last person you’d expect to pick “Cherry Lips”.

“I heard you listening to it once, put away that face.”

Julie goes over to their table with an empty tray. “Another one, Clark?” She looks at Naimee, still agape, and looks worriedly at Clark. He replies with a thumb to the jukebox and to himself. Julie joins the wide-eyed club and he waves them off. Naimee snaps back to reality and tugs Julie’s apron, neon-red bangles jangling on her wrist.

In her best (worst?) Swedish accent, Naimee says, “Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby.” Clark says, “Guess I’ve been nursing Jack and Cokes enough tonight. A blue motherfucker.” Naimee chuckles, “A TARDIS? Ooo, can I call it a TARDIS from now on?” Julie and Clark share the same thought, The fuck is a TARDIS?, and the former jots something on her pad, walking away. Ladytron’s “Ladybird” comes on and Naimee nods “approvingly”. The two make it a weekly habit to come to Shannon’s on its deadest night because they like bars but hate the flies. They used to come randomly, but Naimee nixed that one night. Someone had the nerve to play Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and she went into a blind rage. “BITCH, YOU DON’T HAVE AN ASS! QUIT IT BEFORE I THROW YOU INTO THAT FUCKIN’ AIRSTRIP, YA FUCKIN’ PLANK,” said she. Or something along those lines. Music is very important to her, you see… and you’ll see why when Peggy asks about it. But now, the two doctors finish up their talks about the day’s efforts.

Clark says, “I think Milo Day went ok this time.” Milo Day being the day he and Naimee bring cats from a shelter to TeRoMa for their patients as a sort of therapy. What’s “TeRoMa”? Peggy’s gonna wonder the same thing. “Uh-huh. Everything but 8,000 getting into a fight with Olivia over a cat. I’m glad nothing happened to the poor thing, poor thing. Everything’s set for Rywah tomorrow, right?” “Yeah, I just gotta go over the ‘lesson plans’ in the morning.” Julie sneaks their drinks to them, then slinks away. Clark unconsciously stirs his with the straw, then takes it out. He hates straws with his spirits but learned to use them after a bad incident with gin.

Naimee grabs her two glasses, nails painted black with orange French tips, and stares at them. “Why did I do this? How do I do this?” “Usually, you drink ‘em, Red.” “At the same time?” “You have two mouths?” She giggles, “Uh-huh, but one’s not for drinking.” “You gotta chase one with the other. I thought you were a clubhead.” “You think I had both hands free those nights? Which do I chase?” Clark grins, “…the ale with the whiskey.”

As she chases the whiskey with the ale and he curses her for being clever, three strangers step into Shannon’s. She looks over her shoulder at them and thinks they looks a little like Suicide Girls as they sit in the elevated area. Clark’s slightly afraid of heights, so he never sits there. He’s been getting over that, though, since TeRoMa is on a second floor. Realizing that he hasn’t touched his drink yet, he chugs about a fourth of it.

Naimee taps her black tapdancing shoes on the tan, linoleum floor as her cheeks feel whiskey-warm. Why is she wearing them? You’ll find out when she gets lazy. Almost as if on cue, one song ends and another begins: David Bowie’s “I’m Deranged”. A lull in the convo bubbles, the two doctors staring at nothing in particular as one nurses his bl— his TARDIS. Suddenly, “Oh!”, she reaches in the pocket of her black bellbottoms. Or rather, tries to. She unzips what she thought was a pocket but was really a zipper that held her pants together. Coyly, she zips it back and hopes the booth behind her didn’t glimpse any Secrets. She tucks the zipper under the leather belt she’s never seen without, then finds the zippered pocket. She takes out her highly customized pink Razr (zebra stripes and glow stick charm). “I got a new ringtone!” “They’re just song clips, Red.” “Ah, quit being a young geezer. Call me.” He pulls out his stock, black Razr and her charm flashes as the chorus of Nice & Wild’s “Diamond Girl” comes on.

A voice from the bar: “I love that song!”

“See? What d’you still have—”, she presses a button, “—that same ol’—” His phone lights up and the first few bars of Joanie Madden’s ““Mná na hÉireann”” (also known as “Women of Ireland”) starts up. He puts his still-ringing phone in the pocket of his black slacks. She notices it’s gone to his voicemail and whispers “…you suck” before closing her phone and dropping it on the table. “What made you waste the change on that thing?” “Why have you wasted MORE change on that thing? But it’s because I couldn’t get it out of my head.” He finishes his TARDIS and a burp sneaks out as he replies, “You ran a club, don’t you <blorch> have that song on tape or record or 8-track or whatever?” “Uh-huh to most… but now it’s on my phone! The chorus is on my phone, Clark!” He feels her wanting to go to the jukebox and slams a hand with asymmetrical silver rings on the table. “You dominate TeRoMa with your dance music, I ask for a night.” She shouts a familiar statement about his aroma and a small group of dude-bros walks in. She glares at them and threatens Clark to “…put a 20 in the jukebox before the popped-collar brigade ruins my night. And try to liven things up.”

The piano-plinking of Tool’s “Eulogy” builds in the bar— “Goddamnit, Clark.” —and the DJ of the night rolls up the sleeves of his black turtleneck. Naimee prepares to pout until she hears a “What the fuck is playing, bro?” from the Aero crowd in the back. She smirks as Julie comes back with her bad and tray. “Another TARDIS for you?” He manages a distracted thumbs-up and taps away at the screen. Julie asks Naimee, “What’s a TARDIS?” Naimee tugs at the sides of her hat giddily and says, “It’s from an English show that got canceled back in ‘89. Came on PBS, ‘Doctor Who’?” Julie slowly shakes her head. “Oh. Well, it was on PBS so I won’t hold it against you if you missed it. I used to watch it all the time and I hope it comes back someday. The TARDIS is the Doctor’s spaceship.” Naimee swoons a little and says, “His big, blue box.”

Julie smiles, “Aww. What’re you gonna have, hun? Oh, I meant to say earlier that I like your top! Is that all in one?” “Nuh-uh. It’s a sleeveless, leather shrug I found in Chicago over a spaghetti string top.” She lifts part of the shrug and shows her shoulder. “That’s cute. Another whiskey?” “No, I’m gonna have—”, she raps her nails on the table, “—a dirty mo-HEE-to.” Julie quips, “Someone’s having fun.” Naimee smiles puckishly. “Not yet…” She makes annoyed eyes at one of the overhead speakers and Julie pats her shoulder.

Naimee tugs at her hat again and leans back. “Quit being depressing.” “No.” “Damnit. You were s’posed to be an easy patient.” “I’m almost done, Red.” She sits up as he sits down and stares at her then says, “You’re welcome.” She looks at him confusedly, “Why… am I thanking…” A woodwind starts up from above her and she squints for something familiar. Julie comes back with their drinks and looks at Naimee’s odd face. “She caught a whiff the the tab.” A steel-tipped shoe aims for his shin and hits the nearby wall instead. Julie takes the empty soldiers away and leaves the two to their devices. The saxophone of Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” screeches and Naimee practically explodes. “Oh my FUCK! Oh my fuck, thank you! This song’s been bugging me for days!”

The night goes on and on. More folk come in, more dude-bros get pissed because of Clark’s music choices, Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” being the last straw. The barmaids don’t really care when the visor brigade leaves. The two doctors’ table sees more than one TARDIS, but they start winding down before it’s too late since they have work in the morn. However, with most of the bar cleared-out, they don’t feel sober enough to drive home. Water and pretzels. Soon, an inquisitive Peggy walks to their table and gives them a way to burn off excess libations…

“Julie said you two were doctahs. What kinda doctahs are ya?” Mars Volta’s “Drunkship of Lanterns” wafts through the air and Clark gets up to take a pee break. “He and I are psychologists. Or psychiatrists.” He chimes in before turning the corner: “Poecilonyms.” “I’m too drunk to care right— BRAIN doctors. We make sure your brain’s fit. Heh. Asylums are brain gyms. Flex!” Peggy’s eyes get big as she says, “You two own one of those things? Wow.” Naimee taps her shoes, “Ah, don’t pay attention to me. Doctors don’t use that word anymore. Someone claimed it for the PC police. I don’t know what they’re called these days—”, Clark sits down with dry hands and Naimee stares at them, “—we call ours ‘TeRoMa’.” “Does that stand for anything? It sounds like it does. That or that one song… you know, the one about that girl Shalomay.” Naimee leans in concernedly, “…’My Sharona’?” “Yeah!” Clark returns to the bathroom and Naimee says, “Well… TeRoMa does stand for something, but if I told ya—”, she pokes Peggy’s tummy and Peggy giggles, “—I’d have to kill ya.” Clark comes back with moist hands that smell of soap and sits at the table. “Try another question, kid.” Naimee scoffs, “Oh, Clark, you’re not as old as you sound.” “It’s not how long the road is, Red: it’s the bumps along the way.”

Peggy looks to Julie for approval as she points to a nearby chair. Julie looks at the nigh-empty bar and holds up five fingers. Peggy pulls up a chair and takes a few bite-sized candy bars out of her apron, offering them to the two doctors. Then she asks, “So, how’d you two meet? Doctah mall?” The two look at each other and Clark offers the floor to Naimee. She flips the front of her hat up triumphantly and assumes a cocky stance. “After I got my degrees, I decided to take a well-earned break and visit my old friend, the club scene. I’ve been going to clubs since before I could get in them and missed them. One time, I saw a drag queen come in and pulled flashing string lights from her butt. Never could figure out where she put the batteries.” If Clark had a drink, he’d drop it, so he’ll have to settle for his jaw. “Anywho, I ended up getting really distracted and opened my own club in Downtown Chicago: Total Assault Cantina. Even DJ’d there a few times as Henri VII.

“I didn’t do that a lot because whenever I was on the ones and twos, I kept seeing myself on the dancefloor. I mean, I fuckin’ LOVED being a DJ but I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor, damnit. Then I started seeing club owners collapse their empires because they tried running and dancing at the same time. I love dancing SO much more than running, so I became a silent partner. Then I felt the need to make people feel the same happy way my patrons did and remembered that I had a doctorate.” Peggy smiles and nods, “Ah… why are you wearin’ tap shoes? That some sorta doctah thing?” Clark sighs, “No, that’s because she’s lazy. Did you notice how it was always me with my normal shoes who got drinks when the place got busy? Well, that’s because she threatened me with tap routines everytime she had to get drinks. Slag.” Naimee sticks her pierced-and-blue tongue out at him.

As Dulce Pontes’ “As Sete Mulheres Do Minho” proclaims its existence, all eyes turn to Clark. He strokes his bristled head and looks at Naimee. She winks and taps his hand. “I opened up my own office in St. Charles after I graduated. Some of us dive into responsibility.” Naimee waves him away, then takes one of Peggy’s candies. “I… ah, why bullshit? I got involved with and taken advantage of by my first patient. Robyn Lawson. Drugs were involved and my chemical period hit every statistic. Except death. So far. Eventually, I found Dr. Tudor over there and we opened TeRoMa in this town. That modern-looking two-story on Torrence by that pizza place and the graveyard.”

Peggy pops a candy in her mouth and asks, “What’s TeRoMa?” Naimee jumps in her seat a little, “Ooo, ooo! My turn! It’s an asylum for lovefools. It’s funded by us because it’s experimental and we got mad bank, yo. We can get away with certain things. Within reason. Like being free for our live-in patients. We don’t accept everyone, only the most heartwrecked. And we don’t accept new patients until the last patient in the group is either cured or leaves willingly. Then the next revolution starts. I think we’re on our fourth one now?” Clark nods and she continues, “Six patients this time ‘round. Or seven, if you believe in schizophrenia.”

“Are you one of those doctahs who cure with pills?” “I used to, during my chemical period, but we decided to not go through all that nonsense.” “Uh-huh. And I don’t have anything against drugs—”, Clark clears his throat, “…you know what I mean. I don’t think they’re for me and mind. As for some of the more herbal stuff, I don’t trust anything that wears smelling like literal shit as a badge. That’s not to say that I never tried anything.” A Dulce Pontes twofer moves along with “Achegate A Mim Maruxa”. “Clubs and Ecstasy, for better or worse, go hand-in-and. I took either Triangle or Sunrise but all it made me wanna do is move a couch. Took a go or two but I did it.”

“You two seem close, are ya married or somethin’?” Clark blurts out a laugh, then cuts himself off and says, “No, we’re just good at putting up with each other. I’ve learned my work-and-love lesson.” Naimee giggles, “Ah, Patricia.” “I told you, I’m working on her.” “Oh, she wants you to work on her. Doggy style and turnstiles.” Peggy raises her hand and asks, “Who’s Patricia?” Naimee says, “One of our patients, but we can’t talk about them.” “Ah, c’mon.” “Nuh-uh, doctor law.”

Peggy sits for a moment and looks at them both then says, “Throw out some doctor-speak.” Clark cracks his neck and obliges, “Well, there’s libido and mortido.” “Hey, I know libdeedo!” “Libido’s more than lust, kid.” Naimee pulls her hat down as far as she can and says, “’Kid’? C’mon, she probably saw ‘Saturday Night Fever’ while you were in bed with a fever one Saturday night.” Peggy grins, “Aw, I don’t mind.” “Libido is basically a need for life, and mortido is—” “A need for death?” “You catch on quick, kid.” Peggy smiles. “Ever wonder why killers tend to murder those closest to them first, or why people say things like they wanna eat someone they’re close to?” Naimee interjects with, “Out?” Clark hands her a glass of water and says, “Extreme affection is often linked with total destruction.” Peggy’s eyes get big. “There’s a selfish part of your mind called ‘id’. It used to be ‘it’, but too many foreign doctors complained. Your id sees love and hate as the same thing. Your conscience, or ‘ego’, forces cause and effect on things. When someone’s very much in love and their ego fucks off, you can expect to hear about a murder soon.”

“Uh-huh, and there’s another funny thing about love. If you love something, you have to hate something else. Like… if you love Summer, you have to hate Winter. If you love conversation, you have to hate being ignored. If you love to fuck,” she smiles, “…you have to hate children.”

Julie rings the last-call bell and Peggy belatedly goes back to work. The two doctors feel sober enough to drive to their respective homes, one in a slightly modded, brand new 2004 Mazda RX-8 with a pearlescent red paint job… and the other in a stock, white 2003 Honda Civic. “Stay classy,” the woman says to the man. “If I were any classier, Red, I’d be college.”