The King and the Black Eye

Before Broadway, Yul Brynner was a television director.
He did dramas for CBS. And he did them well, he did them his way.
CBS executives, being executives, wanted more.
And being executives, they ordered him to direct the Whats My Line? game show on Sunday night.
Yul hated it.
So, one night, he rolled the credits 4 minutes early.
And for the last three minutes, the camera showed Yul’s director credit while the audience clapped.
The executives relented, but they didn’t fire Yul.
He continued to direct his beloved television dramas, while doing 8 shows a week as The King.

Smoke and writers

Smoking came naturally to Bill.
He’d be writing a story, and then pause… and he’d need something in his hand and his mouth.
Gum? Carrot sticks? Celery?
No, only a cigarette would do.
He was a writer, after all, and that’s what writers do.
Take out the pack, open it, knock out a cigarette, put it in his mouth, ready for the lighter, and light it.
Maybe he sits there with it in his fingers, thinking.
Maybe he’s typing so much, he smokes it down to the filter.
Stubs it out, lights another one.
And keeps writing whatever he’s writing.

Easy to

I used to have a rolling laundry hamper, but it wore out and broke.
So, I bought a beach wagon.
The kind that people use to cart beer to the beach
I put two laundry baskets in it: One for whites, one for darks.
It’s easy to separate things as I put them in the baskets.
But it’s also easy to make things hard for myself.
After a few days, I throw everything in one basket.
And I sort them out on laundry day. Badly.
Invariably, a sock ends up with the colored stuff.
I should just buy colored socks.

For all the marbles

The virus came, and hasn’t left yet.
So, we stay apart, we keep our distance.
There’s no sports going on right now, so the sports stations are showing documentaries and repeats of classic games and matches.
And, of course, panel shows and interview shows… where the panelists and interviewers are in their homes, of course.
They’re even showing marble racing.
That’s where people set up elaborate tracks and challenges, with ramps and loops and other features, and they race and collide and roll along.
You could say that in finding marble racing, the sports stations have completely lost their marbles.

His Rick

Whenever Peter Lorre would leave an actress’ dressing room, he’d make like he was zipping up his fly.
The crew and costars would see him do this and laugh.
The jolly prankster went from the heavy to the Hollywood outcast, comeback after comeback.
Off to Germany. And then radio serials and television horror comedies.
He did it all for his daughter, to leave her with something.
Sick and tired, he suffered Jerry Lewis and The Patsy.
The shame of that role, he said he wouldn’t see it when it came out.
Did he die before its release out of spite?


So, where was Camelot and The Round Table?
Well, you know how any airplane that the President is on gets the designation of Air Force One?
That’s the same with King Arthur and any building he’s in or the name of any table he’s sitting at.
He could be sitting in an outhouse taking a dump, and he’d be in Camelot.
(It’s why we call the toilet a throne, you know.)
Or he could be at a table in Olive Garden and that’s The Round Table.
Oh, did I call it Olive Garden?
Sorry, I meant to call it Camelot.


Steinbeck used to get people to tell him their stories.
He’d pay them a buck, and they’d talk to him.
That’s where he got his material.
Me, I go up to homeless people at the corner and offer them a buck.
They thank me, and tell me to get out of their way so they can collect more from the people in their cars stopped at the light.
So, I follow them home, and it’s a home, not some camp or flophouse.
A home with a basement, where I tie them up.
And ask them to tell me their story.

Go to the store

When I order something from Amazon, I pray that they deliver it themselves.
My instructions for Amazon’s deliveries tell them to leave the packages inside the back gate.
Things don’t get stolen from there.
If they leave it at the front door, people might steal it.
UPS and Fedex always leave things at the front door. And don’t always ring the doorbell.
And when it’s handed to the Post Office for the last mile, well, they steal it themselves.
Especially when the delivery is over a holiday weekend.
In the end, it’s just easier to go to a goddamned store.

The worst gift

There’s no worse gift than socks.
They’re worse than sweaters and underwear.
When I got socks as a gift, I made sock puppets.
And I would put on plays where the puppets lamented about how crappy they were as gifts.
With practice, I got really good at sock puppetry.
Even if it was all on the street corner.
Still, I earned quite a bit of money from these puppet plays.
I saved up my coins and put them in the socks to use as a sap on the asshole aunts and grandparents who gave me these socks as a gift.

Scan copy upload

The job is simple.
Scan the brain, copy the brain, and upload it in the database.
Then we dump the body down the chute.
That’s all we do. Nothing else.
It doesn’t matter who it is.
No selfies, no writing things on the body.
Nothing funny.
Scan, copy, upload, and dump.
Under no circumstances are you to lay on the table and scan yourself.
No copies, no uploads.
And, for God’s sake, don’t go down the chute.
Last year, after the Christmas Party, a guy did that.
Instead of downloading him, the company just deleted his file from the database.