Sunday, September 18, 2011


Over the years he had grown increasingly impatient with God’s patience. His sense of justice longed to see God’s righteous wrath smite “this world”, this wretched, wicked world.

He knew, of course, that God’s patience was righteousness and that his impatience, being out of alignment with God’s will, was sin. But he was, after all, merely a man, and couldn’t be expected to exercise the same sort of wisdom and patience that his Creator did.

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
~ Joshua 6:26

His name was Jericho, and he studied the Bible diligently, so he was aware that God had appointed an End-Time, a point at which He would intervene, cast out the devil, his minions and his ways; there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and then the God of Love, and Christ, the Lord of Love, would rule a peaceful world. Any time now, Jericho thought. But days became weeks, weeks turned into months, and months and months became years and years. And Jericho grew weary of waiting and began to envy those in his social sphere who passed away into freedom from this world.

When Jericho was young, a teenager, his mother Stevie once told him that at his birth she intuitively sensed that he was a unique soul, a very special someone who had entered the world for a specific purpose, and when he suggested that this was likely something most mothers felt about their firstborn, she insisted that what she had apprehended about him went well beyond a mother’s customary pride and joy.

As he aged, Jericho became more and more convinced that God had blessed him with talent – a capacity for creativity. Wasn’t it true that Jericho rarely encountered other writers whom he felt to be his superior in wordsmithing?

In an attempt to utilize the talent he believed God had gifted him with, he tried his hand first at one thing and then another. He believed he had something to say through the vehicle of artistic expression: painting, acting, sculpting, photography. At one point, he had garnered a few miniscule bit parts in TV shows and sensed that he was beginning to gain a little traction. Certain, now, that he was working on something big.

Then everything seemed to dry up as soon as it had begun; the acting career simply fizzled into nothingness and disappeared. He failed first at one thing and then another.

But hadn’t God blessed him? Surely the Creator had loaned him some talent. How else could he be able to so thoroughly recognize talent in others, to understand it at such a depth and to articulate it in such clear and perceptive ways?

Over time he finally came to realize that his gifts were supernaturally restricted. Perserverance was irrelevant; success was not an option. Would God bestow a gift and then block the world’s view of it? Perhaps God gave it but then permitted the devil to bind it down, the way He had allowed the devil to impact the life of Job. Maybe God-given gifts had been misused in a previous lifetime and the karmic consequence was a gift that couldn’t be recognized or appreciated by the outside world. Regardless of the reason, the outcome was the same: a desire to create, a capacity to create, but a supernatural barrier against worldly artistic success.

He had tried blogging and failed even at that. His posts, they were always too long, too angry, too complex, too serious, too silly, too something. Always too damned something. He couldn’t even give it away! At the age of 54, hope was getting hard to find.

And so he grew tired of seeing praise heaped upon others whom he believed had less talent than he and had less to say with it. Every bimbo in garish makeup with a dance track was a major hit; every Kung Fu-fighting Mastodon was a movie star; every Feminist writer was a millionaire with a fawning fan base.

Most of all, Jericho grew disgusted by the sight of God’s enemies in this world winning! Until even the success of the merely mediocre agnostics began to irritate him.

Jericho had come to feel that dreams were just dreams. He believed that he was internally honest with himself – and there’s no one as honest as those in pain.

But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:12

Jericho knew about the Khmer Rouge. He knew about Operation Northwoods, 9/11 and other American false-flag terrorist events. He knew about the injustice of Family Courts, the Federal Reserve’s illegal and immoral economic prestidigitation, and he just couldn’t live in a world with these things much longer.

He gradually came to suspect that the maxim was true: ignorance is bliss. At the very least, it left a person able to interact with others and not feeling entirely isolated and excommunicated from ordinary society. He came to almost regret all the reading he had done. And what was the point of scholarly study anyway, when every John and Jane Doe felt their opinion was as valid as yours regardless of how many tomes you had consumed on the subject while they were watching 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', 'American Idol', 'The Simpsons', and 'Lost'?

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
~ Psalm 127:1

Jericho worked as a night watchman, and night after night, he would look up at God and say he was lonely. Jericho couldn’t relate to "the world today", and he’d often think, This ain't no job for a man like me; I got potential, and my life's worth more than the minimum wage.

Ironically, when he was but a toddler, Jericho’s mother, Stevie, had written an untitled sketch for a short story about a night watchman in a jewelry store. It began with the sentence, “He was a lonely man.” Divorced and dejected, the unnamed main character in Stevie’s story eventually encountered a burglar breaking into the jewelry store, and pulling his gun, he deliberately put the burglar in a position to shoot him. The night watchman died, and “his dying thoughts - not of his past life, his sins and wasted years - only that tomorrow he would be news: his name in the papers at last.”

“He thought differently in his working hours: gave no thought to what might have been, only of how to die. He conjured 100 ways to die...”
~ Stevie Meade; ‘Untitled’

And occasionally Jericho too would fantasize about sacrificing his life in defense of the employees he watched over at night. He simply wanted out. He knew that was a weakness in him, that it was indicative of a weak individual, but he had finally come to accept that about himself: he was an artist who couldn’t prosper, and he was a weak man. ...OK.

Then one June night he peered into a sky where he lost and found himself. It was a sky cluttered with furious clouds; huge, cursing, grey and black clouds that looked like they could begin spitting at a moment’s notice. And between the clouds he saw a shade of blue he’d never viewed before but which he knew; a penetrating blue, one that could be felt. A deep, rich blue that corresponded with the color of his world-weary soul. Jericho had been born with a melancholy mind, but life had caused that blue of mind to darken and then to seep into his soul until it had been unalterably dyed that same hue. Nobody really knew this because he put on quite a front, but at his center – the i of  him – was an unfathomable, aching, electroluminescent blue encased in the pale blue exterior that he allowed the world around him to see.

Everybody’s waiting on something that hasn’t come yet.
~ Tom Petty; ‘You Can Still Change Your Mind’

And when Jericho experienced those palpable blue patches in the night sky and recognized them in himself, he knew he was finished. Finished waiting for God, finished waiting for the revealing of his purpose, finished waiting for Godot, or for Brigitte Bardot. Jericho was done waiting for . . . anything. He had no wife and no children, no one really needed him. And so Jericho made up his mind to break the Sixth Commandment and hope for Divine forgiveness.

He held off until Sunday – the “Lord’s Day” – and then he drove to a grocery store, bought red lipstick and a bottle of red wine; collected the other things he would need, loaded them into his car and then started for Las Vegas. He was working on something big.

Stevie and Jericho’s father, Kenneth, were married at one of those little white chapels on Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of ‘The Strip’. Stevie once told Jericho that she was convinced he had been conceived on the wedding night, at the El Cortez Hotel. She couldn’t prove it, of course, but she said that somehow she just sensed that something was different within her body the following morning.

The idea of concluding everything at the place where it began appealed to Jericho; he thought that was a unique concept. So he drove directly to downtown Las Vegas – it was one hundred and three degrees when he arrived – and checked into the El Cortez Hotel. He told the desk clerk that he was a talent scout for Speedball Records and he was there to see a local band called Tom Trivial And The Dead Ringers. He requested a corner room and paid for a single night’s stay.

The minute he got to the room, Jericho placed the sign around the outside doorknob reading, MAID, Please Have This Room Made Up Soon As Possible. Then he turned on the air-conditioning unit – no reason to die uncomfortably – and went to the bathroom where he wrote on the mirror with the red lipstick, Just couldn't wait around until the last dog was hung. Goodbye, cruel wrold!

Jericho scrawled those two sentences across the mirror, making a conscious effort to overcome his natural tendency to print neatly in block letters. He wanted it to look like it always did in the movies. And he deliberately transposed the letters r and o in the word “world”. It appealed to his unusual sense of humor to know that later, someone somewhere would think: What an idiot! He couldn't even write cliches correctly.

Then Jericho took the lipstick and used it to make a large red dot on the end of his nose, and lines from either end of his mouth, arching upward into an outrageously false smile. Now he looked like a demented circus clown.

Careful to disturb the bedding as little as possible, he eased the pillows out from underneath the sheets and comforter and he stacked them atop each other near the headboard. Pouring himself a glass of wine, Jericho said a prayer to God, thanking Him for the wine and for the sleeping pills and asking His forgiveness for the sin he was about to commit. Then Jericho opened his bottle of 15 milligram Temazepam - prescribed to him by his doctor for sleep-related problems - and he swallowed all 30 capsules with three gulps of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Yeah, Jericho wouldn’t be here when the Trumpet blasted and God finally returned to kick the doors in on His creation, but he hoped that God would give hell to every son-of-a-bitch!

Jericho plugged in his portable compact disc player, put a CD into it, brought up track number four and pressed the “Play” and “Repeat” buttons. The song would play over and over and over until someone in authority finally turned the compact disc player off.

Then he leaned back, resting his head upon that stack of pillows, and closing his eyes, he listened to the introduction of the song – a shimmering, metallic, electric guitar sound.

Then Jericho entertained the thought . . .

Perhaps it wasn't a karmic consequence or a supernatural restriction after all; maybe my ambition far exceeded my talent. ...And then again... maybe I should have tried my hand at music. ...Oh well.

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.
~ Isaiah 13:21

It was 9:12 AM, Monday, when the day maid put her master key into the lock and opened his door. She stepped inside before hearing the music playing. Then she called out, “Hello? Señor? Señorita? Housekeeping!” She walked slowly, cautiously, into the room and then saw the sleeping man, his head on the stacked-up pillows of the still-made bed. What are those strange red markings on his face? “You want I clean the room?” she asked, nervously inching her way forward.

And the song that emanated from the speakers of the portable compact disc player was this:

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement


mousiemarc said...

That was a good short. Didn't listen to the petty song. I'll call ya.

Six said...

This is not my favorite, Stephen. Please... no more like this one.

Sixboy said...

And this from a Didi Hirsch SAS contributor? Email me... I am back from my trip.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks, my man! But whaddaya mean you didn't listen to the Petty song?!


The whole story culminates with the Petty song! That Petty song was the ACTUAL, OFFICIAL ENDING of the story and without it a couple of facets of the story don't make any sense!

That Petty song IS the story!

50 lashes with a wet noodle for you. (If you weren't a good buddy of mine, I would have declared 50 lashes with a wet drumstick!)

Sorry I missed yer call. I did hear it, but for some odd reason the phone only rang twice and by the time I got it out of the holder it had stopped. And, as you know, my phone doesn't tell me who was calling. All the message says is: "1 Missed Call". (Yeah, thanks a lot, that's real helpful.)

Did you let it ring for only a very short period before hanging up? Otherwise perhaps my phone is on the fritz a bit.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

50 lashes with a wet noodle for you, too!

What do you mean, "No more like this one"?!

First of all, as a major fan of Tom Petty's music, you should have noticed the numerous references to (or should I say, "song lyrics stolen from") Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers songs. I don't even know how many there are, but it's a goodly number. All of them probably parts of the story's better sentences.

Secondly, as a man who once made his living in the publishing business, you should have immediately been impressed by the fine writing.

Uh... Ha! ...OK, maybe not that, BUT!... seriously, I would have thought you'd have noted the "novel" idea of this short story. (See what I did there?)

Have you ever encountered another short story that ended on a note of... on a note of... well, ON A NOTE? I mean, a real music note?

Perhaps this has been done before (probably has) but I sure have not seen or heard of it. As far as I am aware, this is the first time a written story for adults has included a piece of actual, audible music as not only a crucial aspect of the story, but even serves as the story's denouement.

Maybe I didn't pull it off very well, but heck, gimme a break, man, seeing as how we are in uncharted waters here (I think maybe).

OK, since you are the second of my friends to read this story and freak out over it, below I am going to do what I probably ought not to do: I'm going to explain the background of this story a little bit, so y'all can then just relax about it and read it for what it's worth (or not worth) rather than reading it as "some kind of an ominous warning".

See comment block below . . .

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Part 1 Of 3:

"Something Big" is probably my second favorite song on what is likely my very favorite Tom Petty album, "Hard Promises". I bought that LP in 1981, the very year it was released.

Some years ago I got the idea that it might be interesting to write a story about a character who arranges his own death by copying as many of the details as possible from the song "Something Big".

"Something Big" is a bit vague about the cause of "Speedball's" death, but it's probably safe to assume it was an accidental drug overdose. Well, if my character is going to deliberately include the details of that song in his own death, then obviously this can't be an accidental death but must be a suicide.

So, I need a character very disillusioned by life. Well, hell, I'm probably the most disillusioned-by-life person I know, and to paint a great nude you have to start with a great model! Therefore, I incorporated a couple of aspects analogous to my own life into this story, hence the reason for some friends freaking out when they read it. But the fact that my name isn't Jericho, I have never done any sculpting, and I am NOWHERE NEAR fifty-f###ing-four years old(!) should have been clues that this story was not about me, and obviously NOT a disguised suicide note.

Immediately I came up with the (original?) idea of putting the "Something Big" song into the story - LITERALLY! And not only using it, but using it to fill in a couple of the details that otherwise wouldn't make a lot of sense to the reader - such as, the stacking up of the pillows while leaving the bed unruffled, and Jericho's painting of his face with lipstick to resemble a circus clown. [The last stanza of the song explains those two things.]

Now, with the Internet, we can take a story and turn it into a mixed-medium interactive project, utilizing not only written words, but sounds, music, and changing images. Cool! So, this was my first (and probably last) attempt to try something like this.

I wasn't sure I could pull this thing off well enough to justify its posting, but after coming up with the opening sentence, I was DETERMINED to make it work because I thought the first sentence was a winner. It turned out to be easier than I had imagined, because from seed idea to posting it required only two or two and a half days. I don’t know if it’s any good but it sure scared the crap out of a couple of friends, so either way, it was worth it! ;o)

As I started writing the story I decided to mix in a number of other Tom Petty references in the form of song lyric snippets. But I didn’t want this thing to be a “Petty Potpourri” – a nod to his greatest hits or most well known songs – so I decided to restrict my lyric borrowing to the “Hard Promises” album solely.

And then, of course, like anyone who writes fiction, I just used my imagination to flesh it out a little.

When posted, this piece included the word “Insider”, but I became unhappy with its use since it is not just a piece of lyric but also the very title of the album’s 8th track, and I didn’t want it TOO obvious what I was doing. Also, the term “Insider” has multiple connotations, and I feared the reader might not fully understand the way I was applying it, so I have since removed that reference.

Cotinued Below...

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Part 2 Of 3

As for the other lyric references, I’ll leave that to you real big Tom Petty fans to find. There is no small number of borrowed lyrics in this piece but one would need to be quite familiar with the “Hard Promises” album to locate them all.

In seeking a YouTube video to attach at the end and to serve, in a way, as the story’s “final paragraph”, I was hoping to find a video that simply showed the cover of the “Hard Promises” album while the song played. Unfortunately, however, there was no video like that. I found only two useable videos. One was of a young man playing drums to the song, and one which showed images from a 2001 Johnny Depp movie titled “Blow”.

I felt that seeing the hands drumming to the song was too distracting for my purposes and would have drawn attention away from the song’s lyric content. I have never seen the movie “Blow” and so I did a little research into it.

I know that Johnny Depp is a major fan of Tom Petty’s music and even a personal friend to Tom, so that was a plus. And I liked the fact that the video images were all colored blue, which fit in with the segment about the blue patches in the sky that became the catalyst for Jericho’s decision to kill himself. And although it’s not something I would have done deliberately, I have to admit that the image in the video of the dude (is THAT Johnny Depp??!!) flipping the viewer “the bird” certainly was in sync with Jericho’s mind-set, his attitude toward “this world”. So even that over-the-top image somewhat worked.

At an Internet site I learned what happens in the movie “Blow” and I looked up some of the more memorable lines of dialogue from it, one of which was this:

“Throughout my lifetime, I've left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there's almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent.”

Once I made the decision to use the “Blow” video from YouTube, I also decided to work part of that dialogue into the story because it fit right in with the Jericho character, and it was also useful as a link, tying together my character, “Something Big” and “Blow”.

Alright, here’s the final thing I want to say about this story . . .

A good friend of mine (the first to read “Pain Management” and freak out) later wrote these things about it:

“Probing the disappointed heart of a man through interior monologue as he prepares to take his own life is harrowing, but memorable.”

I’m glad this person picked up on that because it was something I determined to do from the beginning. I deliberately avoided using any dialogue whatsoever until Jericho was dead. I used quotation marks only a few times, once when borrowing a term from the Bible, once to indicate what someone had said to Jericho long ago about him being a creative genius, something else that he had once said to himself (which, incidentally, is also a direct quote from a Tom Petty song lyric), and finally when quoting from the short story his mother had written.

Continued Below...

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Part 3 Of 3

But I avoided writing ANY dialogue between Jericho and anyone else because I wanted everything to seem bottled-up and claustrophobic and all within his mind. I was concerned that this approach might make the story read in an amateurish fashion (and maybe it does, I don’t know) and it also forced me to work without what I feel is the most valuable tool in my writer’s belt: dialogue. I have always believed that authentic-sounding dialogue is my strong suit when it comes to writing, but in this story I had to leave it almost entirely unutilized.

My friend also wrote this:

“Despite it being rather grim, it provided a gallows humorous touch that I have never seen before.”

I appreciate that this came across to someone because it was certainly something I included by design. There was no way I could have written something this depressing without adding a touch or two of humor. And, in fact, I thought probably the very best part of the story (other than the idea of using a “real” song as the last paragraph to explain a couple details) was that series of thoughts Jericho has just before he dies, which also, not surprisingly, included the “gallows humor”:

Perhaps it wasn't a karmic consequence or a supernatural restriction after all; maybe my ambition far exceeded my talent. ...And then again... maybe I should have tried my hand at music. ...Oh well.

Just before he dies, Jericho has one moment of clarity where it finally occurs to him that perhaps his lack of success was not due to any outside force negatively impacting his life, but simply a matter of having insufficient talent - plain and simple. But immediately upon having that thought, his ego’s sense of denial kicks back in again to save him from facing an unwelcome truth: ...And then again... maybe I should have tried my hand at music.

In other words, maybe he simply hadn’t gone into the RIGHT form of creative expression. The answer was to be found in the ONE AND ONLY creative medium he had not attempted to work in. Damn-it! Of all the luck!

And then in the next second, he symbolically shrugs his shoulders in resignation: Oh well.

So, in his last few dying moments, Jericho mentally travels from clarity, to denial, to… whatever. [The end.]

Anyone who doesn’t see any humor in that evidently doesn’t share my love of Black Comedy.

So that’s the whole story of “Pain Management” and everyone can stop freaking out now. If you didn’t like this story, all I can tell you is – [in those immortal words of Ed Wood as played by Johnny Depp] – “my next one will be better!”

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

Sheboyganboy VI said...

I have only two words for you: ____ ___!

(No... "Shut up!")

Actually, the writing was FANTASTIC. It was what I read into it that freaked me out. If you had not loaded it with obvious references to your own past and childhood, or if you had simply said "this is just an excellent story I've written", it would have been fine. However you NEVER (and since I do such a poor job of keeping up with your musings, I should never say "never") just post a story with no preamble. Even your Christmas Casa Verde story had much of an introduction.

I DID notice the numerous references to TP in the piece. I just thought you were flamboyantly using your love of Petty to go out in style. Hell, I even spent time searching the Vegas online newspapers for clues, and I emailed your McBrother Discconnected to see if you were OK.

You got me, F****R!

You said: "So, in his last few dying moments, Jericho mentally travels from clarity, to denial, to… whatever. [The end.]
"Anyone who doesn’t see any humor in that evidently doesn’t share my love of Black Comedy."

Really, I didn't see this as funny at all. I saw it as a very insightful portrayal of how the mind works to justify itself. Very like Nabokov.

So... if your next story is better it will be damned good! Just make it clear it IS a story if you don't want this gullible do-gooder, this Pollyanna Paulboy to freak out.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Many thanks, Brotherman!

But hey, I gotta say:

"You got me, too, F****R!"

My "Christmas Casa Verde" story? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? I never heard of it. Maybe it's one of those many stories Nabokov wrote that are forever being mistakenly attributed to me.

>>...Really, I didn't see this as funny at all. I saw it as a very insightful portrayal of how the mind works to justify itself.

Damn it, man! You force me to come clean about this: Yes, I did include, on purpose, a couple of instances of (what I thought to be) "gallows humor". But to be entirely honest about it, when I wrote that section - his dying thoughts - I was indeed trying to "think" like this "character", and probably like many human beings would.

So, you have hit it right on the nose. It was indeed meant, initially, as a "portrayal of how the mind works to justify itself". That was my true intent in writing those dying thoughts.

BUT... very quickly, after reading back to myself what I had written there, the humor of it - the Black Comedy inherent in the way the mind DOES work like that - burst upon me, and I pretty much right then and there came to the conclusion that it was probably the best moment of the story.

Yeah, I think it's psychologically authentic, but I also think it's funny as... I dunno... a "circus clown"? (I was going to go with "hell", but chose one of its synonyms instead.)

But that's a good example of why I sometimes enjoy writing. Just to see "what happens", because so often the best "stuffs" seems to appear from, like, nowhere. It just sort of happens without much if any premeditation, and at those times I feel like I'm more reader than writer.

~ Speedball McDogg

Arlee Bird said...

This was beautifully written. It was intense and frightening. I was starting to freak a little as I read this--yes even get a bit concerned and afraid.

Thank goodness for the thread of comments to clarify everything for me. And I see I'm not the only gullible guy here. This story was way too close to the real thing and I wasn't sure what to think as I read it.

It took me a while to get around to reading the whole thing. I kept coming to it and reading a bit with furrowed brow and thinking, I've got to come back to this when I'm ready. And then I did and like I said, if the comments hadn't have been there I don't know what I would have been doing but I guess I would have thought of something.

So there you are--the eternal joker, the boy who cries wolf, the knight who says nyeh! You get the last laugh as we sigh in relief and half-heartedly laugh with you.

Yeah, great story, but if you do another like this can you put a "just-kidding" disclaimer at the end of it?

Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Glad you liked it (sort of) in a relieved kind of way. Thanks for the compliment, McFriend!

My brother Nappy asked me about it, questioning why I included a number of nonfiction references to my real life in it. And as I told him, I didn't think any one person (other than perhaps Nappy) would know more than a couple of them, and so it wouldn't be enough to make anybody associate it with me so strongly.

Guess I don't know my own ...stench.

I didn't believe anyone would fret over it so (or the loss of me). It's kinda nice, really - I feel a bit like Tom & Huck, attending their own funeral. Cool! Thanks, y'all, for caring!

>>...the knight who says nyeh!

Ha! Man, anyone who makes a reference to MP&THG at anytime, anywhere, automatically scores 50 Bonus Points from me!

>>...but if you do another like this can you put a "just-kidding" disclaimer at the end of it?

Well, I'll essentially repeat what I wrote to Mr. Sheboyganboy Six in an Email:

Any sewercide note from me that does not include oodles and oodles of A-List profanity is NOT genuine! Don't believe it!

~ Speedball McDogg
[Say, I think I like that pseudonym!]

mousiemarc said...

As good as this story was I'm ready to leave it now. Stephen wrote a good one, and the proof is in all those who were concerned (me included). But for the sake of sanity I look forward to the next blog. But if anyone else comments here maybe you should, "mock them a second time." :)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

50 Bonus Points for BR'ER MARC!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy VI said...

"I unclog my nose at you, you empty-headed animal food trough wipe-air!"


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Uh... I'm not sure... 'cause I dersn't recog-o-nize that line. DOH!

Couldn't you have said something easy like "It's only a flesh wound. Alright, we'll call it a draw" or "She turned me into a newt! ...I got better"? (which, for my money, is actually the funniest line in the whole hilarious movie).

OK, Bro, I'll give you the 50 Bonus Points, but you better not be pullin' my leg or... or... or I'll do something unpleasant in your general direction!"

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Eve said...

I read this comment thread before reading the story, which I'm going to do right now! My god...Tom Petty, Nabokov, Monty Python AND Johnny Depp?! It's bound to be a masterpiece!
What about, "There are those who call me.......Tim." Do I get the bonus points too?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

It's bound to disappoint. The reference to Nabokov was an inside joke (I should live so long to write so well!)

>>...What about, "There are those who call me.......Tim." Do I get the bonus points too?

Ha! Another great scene - "The Gateway To The Killer Rabbit".

Sure, you get Bonus Points. But you get 75 Bonus Points rather than the customary 50.

Because "familiarity breeds contempt", and I know I can get away with underpaying my old friends. But someone "new" needs to be impressed, and so I give you the authentic going rate of 65, plus an extra 10 just to fool you into believing I am a nice and generous person - a "big wheel".

[Stick around a few years and you too will find yourself taken advantage of and underpaid at the 50 Bonus Point rate.]

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I like the story. Very nicely written. I wouldn't have thought anyone would read beyond the story--raising concerns about you. Nah!

I found quite interesting the Ecclesiastes 12:12... for writers :-))

P.S. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here for you. LOL

Lady Doris

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


I think it is no coincidence that the Bible's chronology of creation shows that God created the coffee bean before He created Adam. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that Adam was going to need a little help in waking up.

Thanks for your kind offer to lend an ear, but I'm quite alright. Whenever I need a sounding board, I just mutter into my coffee cup. Java is my friend, and a good listener, too!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

farawayeyes said...

Either complete genius or utter madness. Of course, maybe they're one and the same.

You sent me here and I'm thinking 'I shaved my legs for this?' Never mind, grateful I didn't read this until six months after the fact and with the complete comment thread. Sheesh!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


>>..."Either complete genius or utter madness. Of course, maybe they're one and the same."

I can live comfortably with that assessment.

Sorry 'bout wasting your time on the legs... hopefully you didn't bother with the underarms.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

farawayeyes said...

Ah Filbert, you actually hurt my feelings on that final blog bit. All the out pouring of love and we'll miss youse (that's A Chicago term) and you're so kind and reassuring to everyone.

I show my love by saying how much I'm hating this and I get UNDER APPRECIATED. 'under appreciated'? When did I ever under appreciate you? I'm 99.99% sure I never under appreciated you or youse.

I think you owe me a...screenplay. Not what you're thinking. Let's talk. Unless, of course, I'm under appreciated.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, NITRO?!

Of course I don't undervalyou you.

But your comment was only two sentences long, and one of those you stole from Warren! (I didn't learn that you'd shed a tear until later, in a private Email.)

But, really, not too much should be made of this anyway, because it ain't like I'm dyin' - I just ain't bloggin'.

But there's still Email and I'm still "Following" YOUR blog. It ain't like Ol' Stephen is drivin' to Las Vegas with lipstick and 'HARD PROMISES'.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Dixie@dcrelief said...

WHOA! Not to offend - right - but I'm glad I don't know you. That was a damn good story!
Phuck points - where's chapter two?

Ecclesiastes 12:12 - that one always gets me. I'm kinda hooked on phonics.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

The main character died so... there ain't no chapter two.

But I'm glad you liked it. Back when I posted it the thing scared a couple folks who took it too seriously, thinking it was a creative suicide note.

I liked the way I tied the song into the story and actually used the song as sort of the final paragraph.

I think there's some real potential for this trick - a kind of multi-media storytelling method. I'll bet I could think up several storylines that could LITERALLY incorporate music into the plot, as I did here.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Dixie@dcrelief said...

There is always a chapter 2... because life ripples outward. It is not self contained. We affect people. Like the detective who arrives on the scene and realizes this suicide is more than a bunch of "petty" clues(smile). He knows every damn lyric to every song bite. What was the problem? Why did the dude do himself in?

Lipstick on the mirror told a tale on you! ;>)

Oh well - have it your way, 'McKing'.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Well, so far, it sounds like your proposed Chapter 2 wouldn't be telling the reader anything they don't already know about the main character.

So... I think this story is done. Short and sweet and neat.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'