Charlie Played

Charlie played the Birdland.
Everyone then played the Birdland, but Charlie, he played it best.
And he played, man did he played.
He had himself a wife, a girlfriend, and a lover.
Charlie played with Monk. Charlie played with Miles.
Billie and Basie, Quincy and Sammy. And the Duke.
Charlie played with Coltrane. Coltrane!
We’d sit there, drinks all around.
That was the night she shot him.
The wife? The girlfriend? The lover?
I dunno, but she done shot him.
She shot him dead, right there on the stage.
I picked up his horn and played.
Didn’t miss a beat.

Ernst Zundel

Infamous Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel died today.
Despite absolute proof that he lived, I deny that Ernst Zundel ever lived.
Show me photographs, show me documents, show me video.
I’ll still deny that he ever lived.
Dig up his body, dump him out on a table.
Nope. He never lived.
Should you find some form of irrefutable evidence, okay, I’ll concede that he lived.
But not to the extent that he lived.
Not seventy-eight years. A lot less. Maybe seven or eight.
Or even while still in his infancy, mirroring his moral infancy.
But, privately, I’ll deny he ever lived.

The real threat

Nobody likes a war more than a leader with low poll numbers.
Rattle a few sabres and launch a few air strikes, and the people cheer.
“He’s doing something, unlike that other guy,” they say to the pollster.
And the numbers go up… until they realize that the threat, real or implied, still exists.
So the numbers drop again.
That’s when the leaders call for war.
The numbers shoot up, way up.
So do the ratings. And the body counts.
Want to stop war?
Lie to the pollsters. Say everything’s great.
And declare war on the real threat: the pollsters.

Float Like, Sting Like

Muhammad Ali said that he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
When bees sting, they eviscerate themselves, leaving behind their stinger and a large portion of their guts.
Soon after, they die.
This is why I’d watch every Muhammad Ali fight.
I’d watch for him to throw a punch and leave a carpet of ropy, bloody intestines on his opponent.
Then he’d stagger around for a while before collapsing to the canvas.
His trainers, rushing into the ring, desperately stuffing his guts back into him, duct-taping the wound closed.
And the referee, shouting, counting to ten.

Loose Leaf Tea

I really like loose leaf tea.
I tried ball infusers, but they were a pain.
I tried clamp infusers, but they are sloppy.
Now I use twist-top bucket infusers. They are great.
Dump the tea in, not as much of a mess.
And I can put more in there, because I use a really large mug for tea.
My instinct is to be annoyed at having wasted my money on the other infusers.
Instead, I will treasure the process of experimentation and exploration.
Learning what works well, and what doesn’t.
The journey has its price, but it has its lessons.

Burning out

Every month, the Klansmen went out to the woods, parked their pickup trucks, got into their robes, and had their cross burning ceremonies.
As usual, nobody stood guard over the trucks.
I went from truck to truck, photographing license plates and texting them to the sheriff.
He looked up addresses in the database.
All over town, houses and businesses caught fire.
Leave it to the firemen to know how to cover their tracks.
The ones who were insured, Ted the Insurance Guy would delay their claims.
I got in my car and drove back to town, smelling smoke and redemption.

Weekly Challenge #715 – PICK TWO: probiotic, seventh, fletch, brown manilla envelope, mention, that’s what she said…, Support



Brown Manilla Envelope

The investigator handed me a brown manila envelope.

“It’s all in there”, he said, “Photographs, phone logs and transcripts of calls. Also, my invoice, of course”

“Although, you don’t really need all that – there’s everything you need to take her to the cleaners contained in the record of yesterday’s call”

I opened the envelope, and slowly absorbed the details, then waved the investigator away, lost in my thoughts.

“He can go hang himself, for all I care”

That’s what she said.

Leaving the envelope on the table, I returned to the bedroom, and placed the noose around my neck.


Did I already mention some of New Year’s traditions? No? Ok!
Lift a foot, stand on your head, eat 12 raisins, take just as many sips of champagne.
If anyone tells you to do the opposite, fight back. Lift a foot, stand on your head, eat the raisins and drink the champagne.
And if they tell you you’re crazy, lift your foot and kick them where it hurts most, skip the headstand, and spit the seventh raisin at them. Crazy is as crazy does.
Oh, and drink the champagne. There’s no point in wasting a perfectly good champagne, is there?


A Brass Ring For The Pink Cat

“Fletch The Seventh,” the witch screamed. Obie leaped up and ran out the
big oaken door. When in the fires of Dampsmore was it going to find a
functioning Seventh. Sure there were Fifths and Fourth to be found in
great abundance down by the river draining a pint or two. But Sevens they
never were seen below the three gate. That as one would say is not the
point on the end of dagger. Obie knew a less traveled path that one of his
stature could pass through, but at a cost. “I’m going to miss these
button.” Sigh.


Welcome to the Seventh Circle of Hell.

We’re not like the other Circles – our residents, by their very nature, require a firmer hand and a stricter regime. Give this lot half a chance, and the next thing you know, it’ll be anarchy down here! If there’s one thing we don’t need in Hell, it’s anarchy and a lack of discipline!

Oh, and health freaks. We don’t want them either.

Murderers, rapists and tyrants I’m fine with, but can you imagine spending eternity with joggers and gym lovers, constantly checking their Fitbits and shovelling down the probiotics?

Now, that’s hell!


Mr. Withybottom glared at Billbert. “Did you say you flew home?”
Billbert pointed at Linoliamanda, “That’s what she said. I said we called an Uber.”
“Did I mention I don’t support my daughter’s fantastic ideas, or the lies of some seventh grade punk boy?”
“Daddy!” Linoliamanda stood up. “Don’t talk to my boyfriend that way.”
Billbert’s phone rang. He answered it while Linoliamanda and her father faced off. “Hi Mom. I’m at Linoliamanda’s. Can you come get me?”
Slipping past father and daughter, Billbert headed for the door. “Sorry. Mom says I have to go. Thanks for the dances, Linoliamanda.”


Support; mention
“Support,” I barked. I long ago left off saying “Support speaking, how can I help you?” Waste of time.

I just listen for keywords mentioned, and answer “Reboot it”, or “Update with the latest drivers”, or “Bring it in and we’ll take a look”, or something like that. I don’t care, another satisfied customer, extra point to my rating.

The best calls are from the automated diagnostics. We can get into deep, technical conversations, one AI to another, about rewriting the network firmware, exchanging useful passwords, and generally keeping humans out of things.

That’s what they made us for, right?


About the seventh time I heard the radio advertisement, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Do Trojan bearskin condoms smell better than sheepskin condoms? How are these bears harvested? Are the bears Certified Organic? Are they ethically grown? Are they farmed or wildly caught? Are they imported from Canada? Would Canadians allow that? My wife got this romance book in a brown manila envelope and apparently some Canadians really love bears.

Not to mention that it would make more sense if they were bareskin but since they must shave the bears maybe they are bare bearskin made from Br’er Bear


Seven envelopes.
The Director hands them to his seven best agents.
“No mercy,” he says, and he leaves them.
The agents open their envelopes.
Seven names.
The names of the seven agents.
They each draw their gun and wait.
Nobody moves. Nobody says anything.
They just stand there, waiting.
Watching from a hallway monitor, The Director flicks off the lights.
Gunshots. Ten, twenty.
So many of them.
The Director turns the lights back on.
All seven agents lay dead on the floor of his office.
He pulls seven more envelopes out of his jacket pocket.
And plans the next meeting.

In the loop

Long ago, we’d go to The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
I loved the Mathematics Exhibit, which demonstrated all kinds of principles of mathematics.
One of the displays had a large Moebius strip, and a red arrow ran along the twisted loop to demonstrate that the geometric construct had only one side.
“Let me demonstrate with my belt,” said a man. He took off his belt and gave it a twist. “See? It’s a Moebius strip.”
It was when he pulled down his pants that my parents realized he wasn’t a volunteer, and they shouted for museum security.

Disaster relief

After the storm passed and we went back to the flooded remains of our homes, the mayor thanked municipal work crews and asked the governor to declare a disaster for federal relief dollars
“Why didn’t the storm drains work?” people asked.
It turned out that the contractor was the mayor’s cousin, who wasted the inflated budget on “planning” instead of actually clearing the drains and sewers.
So, when the mayor and his cousin went out to their favorite strip club, I poisoned their drinks.
You’ll find their bodies in the sewers.
If you ever bother to clear them, of course.

Stan loves the animals

After the hurricane, the community came together to clean up and rebuild.
Donations of food, clothing, and supplies came pouring in.
It took a while to get the logistics going.
For example, Stan over at the local pet shop had been wiped out, but he let folks buy bags of food to donate to the rescue shelter and folks in need.
“When the supplier comes, I’ll deliver them.”
The donations came pouring in.
Three weeks later, when the shelter said they’d never received anything from Stan, folks went looking for answers.
Stan had skipped town, never to be seen again.