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The Tibbs Reader: The House at 2814

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Ferguson Bunts?

Bunts stood at the counter, admiring the crazy-horse leather journal– coptic-bound with a tie-closure made of the finest island silk. The initials “G.T.” were hand-pressed into the cowhide in pure gold. A strange symbol, specially designed by Bunts himself, was in-laid into the center of the cover in ivory.

“Fine work, fine work indeed Mr. Chester. Why, this is a MOST DELIGHTFUL tablet!”

The stationer looked at the initials. “Thought your name was Bunts.”

“Indeed! Indeed it is,” Bunts replied. “But this exquisite cahier is a birthday offering for my dearest schoolmate and confidant Gertrude Tork.”

“Lady friend,” the stationer said suggestively.

Bunts lowered his voice.

“Our intimacy transcends the lecherous ideas in your head, Mr. Chester.”

Chester looked at the floor.

“Not that I have failed to muse on those things carnal,” Bunts boomed loudly. “But, as the poet said, “the act of fornication is akin to a rose growing in winter!”

“What poet?”

“A 17th-century bard of the continent. You would not be familiar with his work. Tis’ only available in the most obscure libraries.”

Bunts threw several large bills on the counter while Chester wrapped the tablet in brown paper. Bunts then examined a rack of fountain pens but put each back with a sort of nauseous disdain.

He drove into town and into an older neighborhood of run-down homes. At the crest of a hill at a cross-street, bordered on one side by an unkempt graveyard and on another by a mysterious flat factory of nebulous purpose, Bunts parked the shiny new Neptune.

He turned a corner onto a short street and began passing a series of large ancient homes that had been broken into apartments and empty overgrown lots. The homes became progressively smaller as he descended the hill until he arrived at a series of duplexes.

“AHA! THE VENERABLE 2814. THERE SHE IS, THE FROWZY EDIFICE OF ABOMINATION!” Bunts boomed loudly. A nearby neighbor, senselessly hoeing a patch of dirt, looked up with confusion.

He walked around the side of 2814. It was a duplex (one half of which was boarded) and featured a strange inaccessible porch completely covered with plastic latticework. The day was sweltering– all of the windows to 2814 stood open and bereft of screens like wide-open mouths. He banged at the side door loudly and removed a pure silver cigarette case from his white suit coat.

After some time a busty blonde woman, perhaps in her forties, answered the door in a tight bodice.

“MY DEAR!” Bunts boomed. “WHAT AN ABSOLUTE, UNPARALLELED DELIGHT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!”

“Would you keep it down, fer’ Chrissakes,” said the woman, who grabbed the big man’s hand and led him up a stairwell. The walls were all stained yellow with nicotine.

Bunts closely watched her curvy posterior bouncing up the steps.

“WHAT A DELIGHT!” he remarked.

The room was large but stuffy– a dented box fan failed to provide any breeze and oscillated with a loud, slow creak. Clothes and spent food containers were strewn everywhere. A television buzzed senselessly and the large bed was unmade. A wicker papasan chair was covered with tawdry paperbacks.

Bunts pushed them aside and plopped into the chair. “I SEE, MY DEAR, THAT YOU CONTINUE TO READ TRIFLING MATTERS. WHY, HAVE YOU NOT EVEN OPENED THE GREAT WORKS OF LITERATURE THAT I BROUGHT TO YOU?”

“There ain’t nothing wrong with them terrorist attack novels,” she said. Bunts admired her bosom and lit another cigarette.

“I HAVE BROUGHT YOU ANOTHER MEMENTO TO SHOW MY DEEP, ABIDING AFFECTION FOR YOU DEAR. IT’S A TABLET, ONE OF THE FINEST YOU SHALL EVER SEE.” He handed her the gift. She tossed it on the bed.

“Alright, Daddy. What’s it going to be today? Are the teeth in or out?”

“AH. WHAT A DELIGHT! YOU, MY DEAREST LOVE, ARE AN IMMORTAL OFFERING OF FEMININITY STRAIGHT FROM THE GODS! LET US THANK THEM BY REMOVING THE TEETH– THAT WRETCHED CARTILAGE!”

WHAT AN UNMITIGATED DELIGHT THIS SHALL BE!” Bunts said after a long pause.

He rose from the papasan. The woman removed her dentures and placed them on the bed stand.

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PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: There Was This One Day When I Was Livin’ in This Ol’ Shack in the Woods

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Joe “Baby Shacks” Allen

Editor’s Note: This interview took place in a bumpkin shack.

LDN: What is your name and what do you do?

JA: John Allen.

LDN: What do you do?

JA: Puts out chairs.

LDN: For what?

JA: Wrasslin’ events, bumpkin public executions…that…

LDN: Bumpkin public executions?

JA: Well, it’s only us [bumpkins] that know about ’em. You wouldn’t ‘a heard of ’em down in Lankville.

LDN: Christ, how often do these happen?

JA: Pretty regular. I got some picture postcards somewhere.

LDN: Why do they call you Baby Shacks?

JA: There was this one day when I was living in this ol’ shack in the woods and one of the men said, “lookit’ ‘at ol’ baby shack!”

LDN: “this one day”?

JA: Well, it was ‘fer more days. ‘Fer more days.

LDN: What’s the cat’s name?

JA: Mitchell. He named afta’ my Pappy. But he passed.

LDN: How would you describe your rather distinctive appearance?

JA: My Pappy, he was…he come over. He come over.

LDN: OK. We’ll be going.

JA: Alright, well, I did’n even ast you, so…

President Pondicherry on the State of Lankville

June 14, 2017 Leave a comment

President Pondicherry

My fellow Lankvillians,

I love each of you. It is a deep, complex love but it is love, there can be no question of this.

In the Manido system we have eagles, geese, and the chthonian snakes. Sometimes birds are invoked in my breed of sexual totemism. The woodpecker and the superb warbler become symbols of how my sex and my liquids of life relate to the plant kingdom. I’m also a gay bozo. I don’t mind saying so.

I shall now consume a carafe of viscous coffee and a plate of steamed little pizzas, to symbolize my love for each of you. Because in the sexual totemist
world, the sorcerer (who is me) exhibits a tamed animal as proof of his power. The animal then lends its services to the sorcerer, by becoming a spy and finding out which of the upstarts has the most exuberant member. If a masculine totem becomes injured in this manner, for example if a tent collapses, then the entire sexual group feels insulted and a dispute will ensue.

But this will not happen. Because Lankville is blessed by the diety. There can be no question of this.

We must dismiss the meatless bagatelles and streamless micturations issuing forth from the mouths of our critics. They are many but they will be defeated. We are a great nation and we will prevail.

God bless you and God bless Lankville,

President Pondicherry

The Tibbs Reader: Officer Gentry

June 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Officer Gil Gentry

Officer Gentry was interviewed in 2014.

Listen, let me first tell you that Gil Gentry is no bullshitter. So, I’ll tell you exactly how it happened, best I can remember.

Steve and I were on patrol and we was parked behind a laundromat and on the second floor of the laundromat was this apartment and in that apartment was a girl named Agnes. Now, Agnes worked at The Holiday House which was a meat and potatoes kind of place but upscale. Nice, you know? Kind of place you’d take your mother out or somethin’, provided you didn’t want to blow a lot of scratch. Anyway, everybody in town liked Agnes. Not only did she have a good personality but she had, and let me tell you, two of the best god damn melons you could ever hope for. And I ain’t talking about god damn produce. I’m talking just the most perfect god damn gazongas. I mean, these things were so god damn perfect that you’d think that somebody said to God, “Hey God, how about making the best bazooms ever imagined” and God said, “Yeah, sure, I’m out for that challenge” and BOOM, he come up with Agnes.

The interview asked Officer Gentry to get to the point.

OK, look, anyways Steve and I– I’ll admit it– we was watching Agnes undress. I know…I know…we shouldn’t a’ been doing that but there you go.

Anyway, a call comes over the radio. Shots fired out at Lake Rancho Berries.

Steve says, “Anybody hurt?”

“No. Nobody hurt. A couple of people pretty scared though.”

“Shit,” Steve said once the call was over. “Might as well take our time on this one, Gil. Look, Agnes is taking her panties off.”

Well, anyway, I ain’t proud of it. But anyway, after about two hours of watching Agnes undress repeatedly for some reason, we finally get out there to the Lake. Connie Ryan from over Almond County was already there.

“What the hell took you rubes so long to get here?” he barked.

“Pressing matter,” Steve said. “What do we have here?”

It was at that point, I observed two kids wrapped in towels and sitting on the curb.

“This here is Mike Ferron and Leslie Porchtops. These two was making out…”

“We were NOT making out,” the girl named Leslie called out.

Connie leaned in close. “I like to think they were making out. Spices things up, you know.”

“Absolutely,” Steve said. “Roll with that.”

Ferguson Bunts?

“OK, anyway these two were making out (Leslie started shaking her head indignantly) and I believe that Mike here had her bra half off with her perky breasts partially exposed and the next thing you know, shots are hitting the water all in front of them. Well, Leslie, who by now was completely nude (Leslie barked out again), well, she an’ Mike jumped in the water.”

“He didn’t fire again?” I asked.

“No sir,” Connie answered. “Just packed up his gun, actually told them to have a good day, and drove off.”

Connie reached into his pocket. “Recovered a couple of casings– looking like he unloaded with an AR-15, my guess.”

“Sounds like he didn’t intend to hit you, then?” Steve asked.

The boy spoke first. “Every shot hit the water.”

“Get a good look at him?” Steve asked.

“Yeah, absolutely…he…”

“I DID NOT HAVE MY BRA OR PANTIES OFF!” Leslie suddenly called out.

“Listen, clam up would you?” Steve said.

“He was a big guy, I’d say maybe 250 pounds. He had a beard and he wore a three-piece white suit.”

We all stared at each other. It was a long time before Steve spoke.

“Well, listen, kids– nobody was hurt. What do you say we just call it square, huh?”

“CALL IT SQUARE?” Leslie hollered. “He shot at us!”

“YEAH!” Mike followed.

“Listen, you,” Connie said, pointing to the girl,”one more outburst and I’m hauling your lovely, fully-blossomed, doubtlessly firm and supple ass downtown.”

“But, aren’t you even going to fill out a report?” Mike asked.

“Let’s just call it square,” Steve said again– a little more firm this time around.

So, anyway, we saw the kids off in their fancy pants car and Steve and I– we went back to the parking lot behind the laundromat where, for reasons unclear, Agnes was still dressing and undressing. I think maybe later we got milkshakes. But that really was the last we heard of the whole thing.

Origins of a Lurker

June 9, 2017 Leave a comment

By Otis Nixon

I should like to take a moment to describe my father.

The lot of a Lankvillian lurker of his days frequently meant ‘moving on.’ And so father transferred the family to the Mid-Outlands, and finally retired on a small government pension there. But this was not to mean a rest from lurking for the old man. The son of a poor cottage person, even in his childhood he had not been able to stay at home and lurk. Not yet thirteen years old, the little boy then bundled up his things and ran away from his homeland, the Deep Central Forest Area. Despite the dissuasion of ‘experienced’ inhabitants of the village he had gone to the capital to learn a trade there (and also to be free to lurk without molestation).

A bitter resolve it must have been to take to the road, into the unknown, with only three dollars (Lankville) for traveling money. But by the time the thirteen-year-old lad was seventeen, he had passed his tire shredder apprentice’s examination, but he had not yet found lurking satisfaction. It was rather the opposite. The long time of hardship through which he then passed, of endless poverty and misery, strengthened his resolve to give up the tire shredding trade after all in order to become something ‘better.’ If once the village tire shredder had seemed to the little boy the incarnation of all obtainable human success, now, in the big city which had so widened his perspective, the rank of the high lurker became the ideal. With all the tenacity of one who had grown old through want and sorrow while still half a child, the seventeen-year-old youth clung to his decision . . . and became a high lurker. The goal was reached, I believe, after nearly twenty-three years. Now there had been realized the premise of the vow that the poor boy once had sworn, not to return to his dear native village before he had become something.

Now the goal was reached, but nobody in the village remembered the little boy of long ago, and the village had become a stranger to him.

When he retired at the age of fifty-six, he was unable to spend a single day in ‘not lurking.’ He bought a farm near the Border Area which he worked himself (and also lurked about the fields, both fertile and fallow, and thus returning, after a long and active life, to the origin of his ancestors.

Lurkers.

The Tibbs Reader: Rex Poffo, Neighbor

June 6, 2017 Leave a comment

By Rex Poffo

It was about 1998 that Debbie and I bought the house in Almond Beach. It was our first house and it needed some work but it was all ours.

I had a job as a night watchman at the Twin Pines Double-Tiered Strip Mall and Debbie worked nights as an orderly at the Eastern Lankville Memorial Cheaper Hospital. On the weekends, we mostly worked on the garden and I did some painting and Debbie put fresh sheets on the bed and then she watched teevee for the rest of the day. It was nice.

Mr. Bunts lived across the street. He was the first one to come over and say hello. He was a big guy with a beard and he always wore a white three-piece suit.

“You going to church, Mr. Bunts?” I asked. It was Saturday but there were some of those people that go to Church on Saturday.

He looked confused. “OF COURSE NOT MR. POFFO! OF COURSE NOT! I HAVE NO SUCH ILLUSIONS OF A FROWNING DIVINE POWER WHO SWATS US WHEN WE ARRIVE INTO THE DARKNESS, AS THE POET SAID,” he noted in his booming voice.

He presented me with a cake in a box wrapped in a gold bow.

After that he began to bring us cakes pretty regular. One time, my car broke down in the next village and when I looked up, the next thing you know, Mr. Bunts is sitting right there in a big giant orange Neptune.

“WHY, MR. POFFO! IT APPEARS YOU COULD USE SOME ASSISTANCE!”

I was happy to see him but confused by his surprising appearance.

“OH, I’M EVERYWHERE MR. POFFO! EVERYWHERE.”

He removed a delicate looking porcelain box from the backseat. It appeared to have real diamonds all around the handle. Imagine my shock when he opened it to reveal a gold wrench.

“RELEASE THE HOOD MECHANISM, MR. POFFO,” he said.

I did and Mr. Bunts leaned in, made a few abrupt adjustments and then, the next thing I knew, the car fired right up on the first try.

“WHAT A DELIGHT!”

 

One morning, early, Mr. Bunts appeared on our stoop. He had a pearl-handled suitcase in his hand. I looked past him and saw another Neptune, this one a red perfectly-restored antique model, idling by the side of the road.

“MR. POFFO!” he boomed. “I WANTED TO APPRISE YOU AND YOUR MOST FETCHING BRIDE THAT I SHALL BE AWAY FOR TWO WEEKS TIME. I HAVE BUSINESS.”

I didn’t know what business he might have. I mostly just saw him driving around or hammering stakes into his yard or bringing back shopping bags full of inflatable balls. It was all he seemed to buy.

“COULD I IMPOSE UPON YOUR KINDNESS MR. POFFO TO, UPON OCCASION, GLANCE AT MY HOMESTEAD TO SEE THAT NO ONE HAS MOLESTED ANYTHING?”

“Sure,” I agreed.

His voice lowered suddenly.

Ferguson Bunts?

“While I don’t expect there to be any such pother, I would advise you that if you should observe anything untoward, please shoot to kill.”

“WHAT A DELIGHT!”

He turned on his heel with the pearl-handled suitcase and plopped into the driver’s seat. He laughed loudly the entire time. Then he sped off.

 

It seemed that he was gone for nearly a month. And then, one day, I noticed a brand new sports car in his driveway.

I walked over, took a look around (hesitatingly) and then knocked on the door.

Bunts appeared almost instantly as though he were waiting right there.

“MR. POFFO!  I AM MOST APOLOGETIC THAT I DID NOT BID YOU GREETINGS UPON MY RETURN. SADLY, I HAVE BEEN ILL.”

I noticed a large mass of something that seemed to jut out from his chest beneath the suit vest.

“That’s alright, Mr. Bunts. I just wanted to see if that was you and not somebody that might be…molesting your house.”

“OH, NO!  IT IS ME, MR. POFFO!  IT IS MOST DEFINITELY ME.”

He laughed loudly but I noticed he was holding his chest the entire time as though in pain.

 

That night, I brought the trash out. Bunts had already placed his at the curb.

It was then that I noticed something odd about the contents. I creeped up to the bag while keeping an eye on the house. It was eerily dark and silent.

There was a white suit visible inside. It was spattered with blood around the chest.

 

I didn’t tell Debbie. She was watching The Love Canoe on teevee anyway and wouldn’t have responded.

I went down to the basement to think.

 

The Tibbs Reader will continue in future issues.

PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: The Ferry Crashed Into Another Ferry and That Was the End of That

June 5, 2017 Leave a comment

Bob Sheds

LDN: What is your name and what do you do?

BS: By name is Bob Sheds.

LDN: …and what do you do?

BS: I’m unemployed.

LDN: What did you do?

BS: Ferry boat captain on the Great Southern Puddly River. One of my passengers had some interesting laser discs. He said, “hey, you want to watch these laser discs?” and I said, “sure, I’d like to watch those laser discs” and he said, “well, do you have a laser disc player” and I said, “I sure do have a laser disc player, it’s below deck.” Well, the next thing you know, we’re below deck and we’re watching the laser discs, we end up with our pants off and the ferry crashed into another ferry and that was the end of that.

LDN:  Did anyone die?

BS:  Oh yeah. Oh yeah, they died.

LDN: Are you married?

BS: In my early twenties I was married to a girl named Tammy. It was kind of just for show. Her family and my family- we grew up on the same street and I think everybody had this fantasy about us being childhood sweethearts or some shit. Anyway, she ended up going with some other guy. I think he sells tires or something. I ain’t had much interest since.

LDN: What’s a typical day in Lankville like for Bob Sheds?

BS: Who?

LDN: For Bob Sheds.

BS: You confused me. No idea why you had to say it like that. You coulda’ just said, “what’s a typical day in Lankville like for you.”  What, you need to sound fancy for the paper or something?

LDN: What’s a typical day like for you?

BS: I don’t know– wake up about 10. After that, it’s wide open.

LDN: Finally, tell us your thoughts on a particular issue.

BS: Well, I do think something needs to be done about these postcards I keep getting from this guy Brock Belvedere, Jr. I mean, sure, I used to know him. But he sends me blank postcards, sometimes three or four a day. When I called him up, I said, “why you sending me all these god damn postcards, Brock?” and he said, “Because I can Bob.” That was that.

LDN: We’ll look into it.

BS: OK.
The interview was ended.

Samways and Fick: Identity Theft

June 1, 2017 1 comment

Dr. Samways

According to the Restrained Lankville Trade Probing Unit, identity theft was the number one fraud complaint during calendar year 2016. And limiting the use of personal computers and robots may not help much: a study banged out by Samways and Fick over lunch at a buffet (it was terrible) reported that in 2015 most identity thefts were taking place offline, not online. One other troubling finding: the study found that 97 percent of all identity thefts are committed by someone the victim knows such as friends, casual lovers, pharmacists and that guy that sells flowers by the side of the road.

Identity theft is reported every day (and sometimes in the evening). Concerned citizens worry that an identity thief will run up charges on their credit card or purloin™ their bank account while their back is turned. But with the Samways and Fick Gravitational Blockade™ there is no longer any reason to worry. Once you know the facts about SFGB and some preventive measures you can take, your business can win the fight against identity theft!

Identity thieves commit their crime in several ways:

They steal credit card payments and other outgoing mail from mailboxes.
They dig through garbage cans, dumpsters or trash holes in search of cancelled checks, credit card and bank statements and posters.
They hack into robots that contain personal records and steal the data.
They file a change of address form, divorce papers, or sex offender registrations in the victim’s name to divert mail and gather personal and financial data.

But with the Samways and Fick Gravitational Blockade™, these tricks are no longer possible.

Construction of a Samways and Fick Gravitational Blockade (take note of the shovel).

Here’s how it works:

Samways and Fick will arrive at your business or home (in a van) and construct trenches around the perimeter of your building and your trash receptacles (if you use a trash hole, trenches cannot be constructed so we recommend ceasing this hayseed practice). These trenches are then outfitted with virtual gravitational pull quasars which, when penetrated by a thief, pull him (or her) into the powerful Samways and Fick Gravitational Field™ from which nothing, not even the most savvy of thieves, can escape. Your business now possesses key information about the thief (and sometimes their condensed bodies) allowing you to notify local law enforcement.

But that’s not all! The Samways and Fick Gravitational Field also deters would-be thieves. That’s because we construct large signs around your home or business (in block letters) that read VORTEX.  A thief would have to be a fool to challenge such a sign. You are now fully protected.

So, talk to Samways and Fick now about installing a Gravitational Blockade to protect your valuable data. Our friendly lower-class contractors are prompt, courteous and often bring a pizza (thick crust). Find out today if you qualify.

Samways and Fick: Helping You Get to the Area Near the Top of Your Mountain.

The Tibbs Reader: 1851

June 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Elijah Pangborn and a woman.

Fort Conifer, 27th September, 1851.

SIR,— Having in my report, dated at the Pendleton River on the 10th June, and addressed to Sir A. von Klacik J. Grant, communicated the details and result of my spring journey over the ice, snow, and slippery little frosts along the Lankville Boreal Shores, I have now the honour to acquaint you that the boats expedition under my command, which visited the Great Polar Ocean this summer, arrived here yesterday in safety, but I regret to say without having gained any information of Sir J. Tibbs and party.

The morning of the 4th August being lusciously fine and clear, land was seen in one or two directions in which it had not been previously noticed, and bearings were taken of it. The islands were bereft of all flora and fauna although we did then discover a small satchel of groceries upon the shore of the nearer which did contain therein curious canisters of beans and many empty bottles of diverse spirits. The young ice did not thaw until after the tenth hour after which, by great perseverance, we made very tolerable progress. Working all night, and sometimes aided by the sails and the burner, at 7h. 15m. a.m., on the 5th, we landed on the Western shore of Heinish Bay, and after staying 3 hours again probed on; but the ice being thinner, and consequently more closely packed on the shore, we had great difficulty in making headway, and were at last obliged to wait the rise of the tide at a point in Krimpett Bay.

We remained here 3 hours, and had an interview with a party of Region Natives. Our interpreter, a Region Native named Whapcornuck had intercourse (verbal) with this tribe who did report the presence some time ago of a large white man holding a sphere to the heavens on many an occasion.  We then again commenced creeping along the shore, and had proceeded but a short distance when we did discover a rounded sphere of pine-wood which excited feverish interest and seemed to corroborate the account of these savages. In appearance it was remarkable– nigh so perfectly spherical as to appear other-worldly. It had a curious mark, resembling the letters “t” and “d” and apparently stamped upon one side, and at a few feet distant from the globe there was a bit of white line in the form of a loop nailed into a crude cross with two copper tacks. Both the line and the tacks bore the Ninth Republic Government mark, the broad arrow being stamped on the latter, and the former having a red worsted thread running through it.

We had not advanced a 1/2 mile when another sphere was discovered lying in the water, but touching the beach. This was a piece of oak, perhaps 9.0-9.5 inches in diameter and uniformly round. The sphere had the appearance of having been pushed into or through a clasp or band of iron, as there was a mark of 3 inches broad across it and small pocks and dents which circumnavigated the mysterious orb. And it was also discovered, quite nearby, the remaining part of a stanchion (as I suppose it to have been) which had been formed in a turning-lathe, and was 3 inches in diameter.

As there may be some difference of opinion regarding the direction from which these globes of wood came, it may not be out of place to express here my own opinion on the subject.

From the circumstance of the flood-tide coming from the northward, along the Eastern shore of Upper Craughing Land, there can be no doubt but there is a water-channel dividing Upper Craughing Land from The Northern Cloister, and through this channel I believe these globes have been carried along with the immense quantities of ice that a long continuance of northerly and north-easterly winds, aided by the flood-tide, had driven southward. I shall here opine that this same flood-tide carried forth the satchel of groceries. The ebb-tide not having power enough to carry these items back again against the wind, the large bay immediately S. of Medium Craughing Strait became perfectly filled with ice, even up to the S. shore of Northern Cloiser Land. Both orbs of wood appear to have come to shore about the same time, and they must have been carried in by the flood-tide that was at the time flowing on during the previous ebb ; for the simple reason, that although they were touching the beach they did not rest upon it.

The spot where they were found was in lat. 61′ 49′ N. ; long. 98° 17′ W.

I have the honour to remain,

Sir, your most obedient servant,

Elijah Pangborn

PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: There’s a First Time for Everything

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Brock Belvedere

LDN: What is your name and what do you do?

BB: My name is Brock Belvedere, Jr. and I was a journalist.

LDN: So, I guess I’ll get right to the point, Brock. People really want to know if you’re dead or not.

BB: I am.

LDN: Seems impossible.

BB: There’s a first time for everything.

LDN: What’s dead being like?

BB: It’s alright. It’s really hard to get anything good to eat though. The only options are fast food subs and candy. And there’s no water. Just sodas.

LDN: Have you had any luck trying to convince girls to go out with you? I know you’ve gone as high as offering to pay 75% of all expenses.

BB: It’s tough. I have an unusual face. Takes some getting used to. But sometimes they come around. I did recently get a haircut.

LDN: It looks the same as in your photograph.

BB:  Yes. Your point?

LDN: Anything else you’d like to add?

BB:  My sudden death has been difficult on my dear mother. And, unfortunately, the backwards thinking wretches at the Pizza A’Round are no longer allowing her to spend eight hours in the dining room while I run errands. The blatant ageism is quite shocking in our supposedly advanced society.

LDN: Alright.

The interview collapsed.

The Tibbs Reader: Skipper Tibbs

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Photo believed to be Skipper Tibbs as a young man.

Tibbs sat in the dark hotel room and watched the lights of the nearby ballpark flick off slowly. There was a light mist on the window.

He opened the leather-bound hymnal and removed the browning newspaper clipping. For the thousandth time, he read it.

Mrs. Mary E. Tibbs, wife of Skipper Tibbs, died June 30, aged 29 years. Mrs. Tibbs escaped from the State Hospital for the Insane at La Hardy on the night of June 29 and on the morning of June 30, was found in the park, the arteries in her left wrist severed and nearly dead from the loss of blood. She died the afternoon of the same day. Deceased had been a terrible sufferer for many months from blood poisoning and melancholia and the best of medical attendance found no remedy to relieve the diseases that slowly but surely sapped her life and mental faculties away. She leaves a husband and two small children to mourn her early death, to whom the sympathy of the entire community is sincerely and lusciously tendered.

Tibbs returned the clipping to the hymnal and placed it in the side drawer of the end table.

He went down to the lobby. Rolly, the young reliever, was sitting in a chair looking at travel brochures.

“Engaging in the corruption of reason, I see,” Tibbs said.

Rolly stared at him blankly.

“Skip, I…I was thinking of getting myself a little place in the desert. See, they got these little trailers there. I could use my signing bonus.”

Tibbs reflected on this.

“To live alone, one must be either a maniac or a God,” he finally proffered.

Rolly stared at him blankly.

 

Young Tibbs was in the locker room polishing the bats. The players began to enter one by one.

“HELLO!” the child boomed to each. “WHAT A DELIGHTFUL DAY FOR A BALL GAME!”

The players stared at him. Castleman, the second baseman, picked up his bat.

“Christ, the damn thing will be too slick to swing. What the hell are you using?”  He stared down at the yellow metal container by young Tibbs’ side.

“I AM PREENING THE WOOD. THESE BATS ARE THE HAMMERS OF THE IDOLS!”

“There’s something wrong with that kid,” Schmitz whispered.

 

Skipper Tibbs knew very little about his father. The man had been a drunk. He had once driven his farm tractor into the barn, knocking away a supporting beam. The tractor held up the barn for many years afterwards and nothing had been planted. “Things just got completely out of hand,” he explained. “I prefer not to know many things.”  He then disappeared into the attic.

His mother died of a disease of the kidneys and he had been sent away from the Snowy Lake District to La Hardy at age 8. His brother Harry was 14. They had taken a local short line to a desolate wooden shack of a station and waited there eight hours in the snow. They had seen nobody until nearly night when a railroad man dressed in faded overalls had emerged from the woods and urinated into the snow. As he urinated, he gyrated strangely. Then he went back into the woods.

Skipper walked over. The man had written his name in pee. “Wendell.”

 

The team lost 5-0. It had misted the whole game.

“If we look backward,” Tibbs commented, “we will begin to believe backwards.”

“Got to have some way of measuring time,” Douglass commented.

“I’m glad you are engaging with a formula for happiness, Douglass,” Tibbs noted. “There may be hope for your record after all.”

 

Young Tibbs had hollered the entire game keeping up the loud, booming chatter throughout. The men began to inch away from his perch at the far dugout wall.

Dressen, the umpire, finally walked over.

“Keep that kid’s trap shut, Tibbs,” he called.

Skipper Tibbs laughed.

“Need I explain, Dressen, how the boy fascinates his audience? He will be a physician, a savior and you will see that tomorrow in the blinding daylight.”

Dressen stared blankly.

 

The Tibbs Reader stories will continue in future issues.

PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: Things Have Been Hard

May 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Mr. Egg during better times.

LDN: What is your name and what do you do?

ME: My name is Mr. Egg.

LDN: …and what do you do?

ME: Well, things have been hard.

LDN: Tell us about it.

ME: Well, I recently became a cripple.

LDN: Not sure if that word is the proper…

ME: …listen, if you want to start up with your political politeness, then find another god damn giant egg to interview.

LDN: You’re the only one we know of.

ME: Exactly. So, shut your mouth or I’ll shut it for you.

LDN: Go on.

ME: As I was saying before you cut in like a horny teenager at a school dance, I recently became a cripple. Me and a couple of other guys went out one night and we tied a few on. We’re walking around afterwards, singing some loud folk songs, pissing on a few trees, you know, the usual, and the next thing we know some guy pops out of a bush and attacks us.

LDN: And he crippled you?

ME: Hey, listen. You want me to finish the story or do you want to keep on with your god damn prattle?

LDN: Go on.

ME: Anyway, he about cut Ken’s head off. Well, I went running onto this darkened street and the next thing I know, I get hit by a car. Guy driving was drunk. I think a couple of minutes later, he drove into somebody’s house. Put a pretty good size dent in the damn thing, if I remember correctly.

LDN: Do you get Lankville Invalidity payments?

ME: Yeah, but that’s a drop of piss in a bucket of piss, if you know what I’m saying. Bucket of piss and shit.

LDN: Never heard that expression.

ME: They say it all the time down in the Southern Basin Area.

LDN: Were your parents eggs?

ME: Shut the fuck up.

LDN: Is it hard being an egg?

ME: You can put a top hat on perfectly. Fifty mile-per-hour wind won’t even blow the fucker off.

LDN: Anything else?

ME: Nah. What else would there be. Now, fuck off.

PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: He Gave Me a Rubber Raincoat

May 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Bryant Shrope

LDN: What is your name and where do you work?

BS: My name is Bryant Shrope and I work at the Quick ‘N Tasty Seafood Stall in Almond Beach.

LDN: What do you do there?

BS: We sell popcorn shrimp!

LDN: Do you make the popcorn shrimp?

BS: No. Craig does.

LDN: Who’s Craig?

BS: He’s my favorite friend in the whole world!

LDN: OK, I guess. Let’s move on. What do you do for fun?

BS: I like to play arcade games. They have this one on the boardwalk that’s really fun. It’s called “Alligators” and you’re in this swamp and you have to avoid alligators.

LDN: And then what?

BS: OH! Well, after you avoid the alligators, then there’s some parts of a communication device that you have to find in the swamps. And when you put all the pieces together, then you can make a call to your home base and they come and rescue you! But it’s really hard to find all the parts. I’ve never found all the parts. And Mr. Bollinger, who owns the arcade, he hates me. I don’t know why but he eventually kicks me out and says a lot of cuss words. He told Craig one time that he was in a bamboo cage for a long time during the Depths War and that he’s really bitter because of it and hates young people. One time, he mailed me a really nice candy assortment and it came in a beautiful box with a floral pattern and it looked very fancy but when you opened the box it was just a steaming pile of excrement. My Mom opened it.

LDN: He sounds unpleasant.

BS: OH– he is! One time, I was playing “Alligators” and he took out a knife and said he was going to cut me to ribbons! But then he didn’t and THANK GOD for that!

LDN: Now is it true you got to meet President Pondicherry?

BS: YES, IT IS! He came to the Quick ‘N Tasty! But he didn’t end up ordering anything because he “didn’t like the look of the place”. But he was very nice. He gave me a rubber raincoat.

LDN: Why?

BS: He said it rains a lot and he said I should be prepared.

LDN: OK. Well, thanks for your time.

BS: OH, ABSOLUTELY! This has been a lot of fun, it really has. But I did want to tell you about my pets…right now, I have…

The interviewer suddenly walked off.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

May 17, 2017 1 comment

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

I woke up on a sweat-stained cot in a shed.

There was a little dust-encrusted window. The light coming through made it look like early evening.

I heard a sound outside the door– it was like a balloon slowly being deflated. Who knew what the hell to make of it.

There was a little portable fridge and it was stocked with nothing but cans of FUN BEER and little plastic containers of soup. I drank two of the beers down and felt a little better.

I pushed the door open. It didn’t come easy. The twilight desert landscape unfolded before me. Off about a hundred feet, there was Tibbs, deflating a beach ball and holding it up to the heavens. It was all hell ridiculous.

MR. OATES! GOOD EVENING, MR. OATES! WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE AN OFFERING?

“Think I’ll skip it, Tibbs.”

OH, THAT’S FINE, THAT’S FINE. EACH OF US WILL RECEIVE QUITTANCE UPON DEATH, AFTER ALL! I AM MERELY TRYING TO ACCELERATE THE…WELL, EACH OF US WILL FLOURISH LIKE THE PALM TREE, DON’T YOU THINK?

Tibbs suddenly drew a circle in the sand with a stick. My head was pounding.

“What happened last night, Tibbs? What kind of jackpot are we in here?”

He laughed– the loud, weird booming laugh that petered out into hysteria.

MR. OAKES. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE STORAX ROD.

I threw up suddenly against the shed. Tibbs darted forward and held me by the ears, shaking my head from side to side. I pushed him away.

I crawled back into the shed and opened another FUN BEER. I noticed again the open case in the corner– the machine gun and a pile of spent casings. And the thought hit me– maybe not the best idea to hitch your wagon to this guy, Oakes.

After awhile, I went back outside. It was dark now. I saw nothing but could still hear the sound of the beach ball being deflated and Tibbs’ desperate wheezing.

“Tibbs? I…I need to talk.”

OWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLSSSSSSS

“Tibbs?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO, THE TREASURE OF VIRGINITY, SKY GOD!

Get the hell out of here, get the hell out of here, now I can’t see anything I don’t know where I am I don’t have anything 

THE FIERY PIVOTS ARE TURNING IN MY EARS. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Yes

I took off running towards nothing.

Must have been four hours. Spent and exhausted, I arrived in a sleepy desert town– one main street in darkness with some senseless back roads that went off into oblivion.

Near the end of the town was a two-lane highway that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. And there was a motel with a pool.

I scanned my wallet. $37.

The guy at the counter had a bingo drum and he was spinning it way too fast and calling out the numbers to nobody. There weren’t no sense to any of it.

“Can I get a room for $37?”

He thought about that. It took him awhile.

“Well, on account of us being slow, I guess’n I can accommodate ya.”

“I need…I need to stay for a few days. How about giving me a few chores, little custodial work or something?”

He took his time thinking about that one too. “I guess’n I got some gutters that need cleanin’. Plus, I got this bingo here. Got to keep it spinning but my arms is starting to hurt.”

That wasn’t no good. I had to stay out of sight.

“What about something inside?” I fished.

“Well…I got Mary-Betty for that. She comes five hours a week. Sometimes ten if’n I need help with the bingo wheel.”

“Painting? Interior?”

“Yeah, I guess I could use some painting. Couple of the rooms have mold all over the walls. Tell me, how the hell do you get mold all over the walls in the god damn desert?”

I couldn’t answer that one.

But I slept like a baby that night.

PEOPLE OF LANKVILLE: I Moisten Them in the Morning

May 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Brent McGregor IV

LDN: What is your name and where do you work?

BM: My name is Brent McGregory IV and I manage the Sno-Balls stand on Lankville-Craughing Boulevard.

LDN: What does that entail?

BM: I make Sno-Balls. We have over 50 flavors. When business is slow, I try to get people to stop by hurling myself in front of cars on the Boulevard.

LDN: Have you ever been hurt?

BM: No. Why do you ask?

The Sno-Balls stand on Lankville-Craughing Boulevard.

LDN: Tell me about the nice lot you have where people can enjoy their Sno-Balls.

BM: Sure. It’s a paved lot and we have some picnic tables that I built myself. It borders a very nice gas station and a very nice professional building. Behind the lot is a very nice series of weedy hills and then beyond that is some sort of top-secret government testing facility. I don’t know what they test but I do know this– they DO NOT buy Sno-Balls.

LDN: You built the tables yourself?

BM: Yes. My father built picnic tables for a living. But he died. He was killed in a challenge. I mean, that’s what they told us. Feel like I see him around an awful lot though.

LDN: What about the moistened paper towels? Do you have anything to do with that?

BM: Yes. I moisten them in the morning with the hose pump and then place them in the containers. It helps the kids get the sticky Sno-Balls flavoring off their hands and faces. The parents appreciate it.

LDN: I understand that you met your girlfriend here.

BM: Yes! Her name is Nora. She is a wonderful woman– full of life, so optimistic. Especially for someone who has a wasting sickness that has not been identified. She manages a Sno-Balls stand a few miles away. It’s a very tight-knit community.

LDN: Anything else?

BM: Well, have you heard the Good News?

The interview suddenly ended.