Daily Archives: May 22, 2015

BQB and The Meaning of Life – Part 8 – Troublesome Characters


PARTS 1-5 – BQB dies after passing lightning from his posterior, visits God’s Waiting Room where Shakespeare tells him to seek the meaning of life.

PART 6 – BQB wakes up in the hospital.  His doctor, who bet against him, is out 100 bucks.

PART 7 – Tessa and Jean Paul apologize for the fracas that led to BQB’s unfortunate injury.  They freeze up when Aunt Gertie enters the room because BQB’s bookshelf characters trust no one but BQB.


One by one, over a hundred tiny lassos made out of dental floss were tossed up onto my bed, hooking onto various places – my pajama buttons, my fingers, the bed posts, and so on. And one by one, over a hundred tiny book characters climbed up on my bed, and then onto me, to check on my condition.

The Incorrigible Monroe, protagonist of a 1920’s novel of the same name, was decked out in his finest white linen suit.  With a martini in his hand and a cigar in the other, he looked me over.

“I say Young Duffer,” the diminutive Monroe said with an air of upper crust sophistication. “I’d hate to see the other fellow you exchanged fisticuffs with.”

“It was a toilet,” I said. “I died on a toilet.”

“And like I said, Young Duffer,” Monroe said between cigar puffs, “I’d hate to see it.”

I always felt a special bond with Monroe.  His novel was a heartbreaking tale of a man who spent his life as a notorious poser, accumulating wealth and spending lavishly on parties in the hopes that he’d win the heart of Jenny, a woman who had zero interest in him no matter how hard he tried.

I knew a thing or two about that.

The Three Musketeers plus D’Artagnan withdrew their swords, which at

D'artagnan should complain.

D’artagnan should complain.

their size, were about as lethal as toothpicks.

“Enough of the petty squabbling among the inhabitants of your bookshelf, Mr. Bookshelf!” D’Artagnan said in a thick French accent. “Just say the word and we shall proclaim your shelf in the name of the King of France!”

“Why would I want my bookshelf to be claimed in the name of the King of France?” I asked.

“Because the cardinal sucks big time!” D’Artagnan replied. “You do not want your shelf ending up in the hands of the Cardinal!”

“I’m pretty sure it’s safe from the cardinal,” I said.

“If it’s all the same, we’re going to find some of the Cardinal’s men and kick their asses anyway,” D’Artagnan said.

“Knock yourselves out,”  I said.  “By the way, learn how to count.  There’s four of you.”

I really need to get that book of my shelf.

I really need to get that book off my shelf.

Out of nowhere, a tiny zombie jumped up onto my nose and was about to sink its teeth into my schnoz when its head exploded. Behind him was Tiny Dirk Lane, holding a smoking pistol.

Dirk was the main character of The Shuffling Living.  Set in a post-apocalyptic world with zombies run amuck, it was one of my favorite shows.  I made the mistake of putting a book tied in to the show on my shelf and had been fending off puny one-inch tall zombies ever since.

“Thanks Dirk,” I said. “But if you’re out hunting zombies on the bookshelf tonight, can you keep it down?”

“What?” Dirk asked. “I’m supposed to just let the tiny zombies eat my friends?”

“No,”  I said.  “But you could grab a pencil off my desk and just slap them around with it instead.”

“I can do that,”  Dirk said.

Good old Dirk.  Always the voice of reason.  I must have had a book based on the first season.

A buzzing sound filled the air. It sounded like the wings of a fly, but in actuality, the sound came from majestically small pegasus.

A minuscule fantasy queen was astride the flying horse. She landed her ride on my chest and addressed me in a royal manner.

Queen Anara

Queen Anara “Annie” Mistwake, Keeper of the Legacy, Shimbala of the…blah blah blah.  Wow she has a lot of friggin’ titles.  This photo taken, of course, before her horse transformed into a damn pegasus.

“Akeeza doo walla walla chazza cho…”

“Please Annie,”  I said.  “Speak in the common tongue.”

“Very well,”  Annie said as she dismounted her pegasus.  “I am Anara Mistwake of the Family Zoovarin, Keeper of the Legacy, Shimbala of the Lowlands, Destroyer of Demons…”

“Oh my God,”  Tessa said.  “Not this spiel again.”

“Aunt of the Pegasus,”  Jean Paul muttered mockingly under his breath.

“Aunt of the Pegasus,”  Annie continued, oblivious to the peanut gallery.  “Queen of the Kingdom of Wentzlendale, the Mountain Clifftops, and the Impenetrable Isles, Protector of the Enchanted Gems….

“Owner of a hundred green cloaks,” D’Artagnan added.

“Seriously,”  Tessa said.  “She needs to go shopping.  I’ve never seen her out of that green cloak.”

“Like you never wear anything that isn’t black,”  Jean Paul said.

“And the Oligarch of the Forbidden Fields,” Annie concluded.

“I’d add ‘Future Mrs. Monroe’ to her list of titles,” Monroe said. “But Jenny’s going to come around any day now.”

Tessa rested a hand on Monroe’s shoulder.

“Face it buddy,” Tessa said. “Jenny’s just not that into you.”

“Hello Annie,” I said.  “You know you really don’t have to announce all of your titles every time you see me but go on.  What’s up?”

“I come to propose a solution that will restore order to your bookshelf and prevent the various characters who dwell within your collection of volumes from stepping out and fighting one another while you slumber,” the fantasy queen said.

“Let’s hear it,”  I replied.

“You simply transfer control of your shelf to my creator,”  Annie said.

“Your creator?”  I asked.

“Yes,”  Dany replied.  “The old man with beard and funny hat.”

Annie, of course, hailed from my favorite fantasy series of books, A Dirge of Murder and Betrayal.  Her creator was none other than my hero, prolific writer and legendary uber nerd Joel LL Torrow.

He was known throughout the literary world for having no issue with wacking main characters left and right, often in unexpected ways.  In fact, I had a theory that he was going to end the series by having Annie defeat all her enemies and be named Supreme Super Queen only to die from a bad staff infection after stubbing her toe.


Good Ole Joel “Wack a Dozen Characters Before Lunch” Torrow, BQB’s hero.

I looked out at the sea of tiny book characters standing all over me.

Every one of them appeared positively petrified at the idea.

“Well,”  I said.  “I suppose your creator does know how to get rid of troublesome characters.”

“No!”  Tessa yelled.

“We’ll be good!”  Jean Paul said.

“Promise?”  I asked.

“We promise,”  Tessa said.

“Yes,”  Jean Paul said as he handed a stick of bubble gum to Tessa.  “In fact, Tessa, please accept this piece of gum as a token of our truce.”

“Is it any good?”  Tessa asked.

“It better be,”  Jean Paul replied.  “I double crossed the aardvark and sold out my siblings for it!”

Does BQB ever recover from his injury?  Stay tuned!

Copyright (C) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved

(Though of course, The Three Musketeers belong to the ages)

Zombie, old man, fantasy woman and Three Musketeers images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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shutterstock_279180302ANNOUNCER:  Life.  It sure can get you down.  There are so many things to worry about and that’s just in your own personal life without even turning on the news to learn about the latest attempts by various wack jobs, fruit loops, psychopaths and yetis who are hellbent on tearing the world asunder.

WOMAN:  Great.  Thanks for reminding me.

ANNOUNCER:  Luckily, there’s a new drug that can help.

WOMAN:  I’m listening…

ANNOUNCER:  Bookshelfitol!

WOMAN:  Bookshelfitol?


WOMAN:  What’s that?

ANNOUNCER:  Why, Bookshelfitol is a miracle elixir formulated from a concentrated form of the Bookshelf Battle Blog.  We took all of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s ramblings and squeezed them into a bottle for you to enjoy.

WOMAN:  I don’t think that’s scientifically possible.

ANNOUNCER:  Will you?  Please?  Huh?  OK?

WOMAN:  Sorry.

ANNOUNCER:  Bookshelfitol is the cure for what ails you.  Problems at work?  One sip and your mind will be distracted by Bookshelf Q. Battler’s stories about his time as a member of a boy band, or his magical bookshelf that makes literary characters come alive in small versions of themselves, or his medically prescribed butt pillow.

WOMAN:  I’d rather the problems at work.

ANNOUNCER:  Can we get someone else?

WOMAN:  I mean I’d love to hear about a nerd’s butt pillow!

ANNOUNCER:  Ask your doctor if Bookshelfitol is right for you.


  • Creeping crotch rot
  • Burning sensations
  • Blurred vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • No vision
  • Visions of Bea Arthur eating a pickle while you’re trying to sleep
  • Delusions
  • Delusions of Grandeur
  • Delusions of Ganders (Literally, one test subject thought about nothing but ducks for the rest of his life)
  • Cauliflower ear
  • Carrot nose
  • Rutabaga ears
  • Gout
  • Toe fungus
  • Your hand will totally fall off and then run around the room on its fingers.  Moreover, it will develop its own personality and become part of the family like “Thing” on the Addams Family.
  • Cravings for waffles, cereal, bacon, and breakfast foods covered in guacamole and sauerkraut.

WOMAN:  That sure sounds like a lot of side effects.


  • Partial butt paralysis (You won’t get to decide which part.  It’s a surprise!)
  • Expanded Eye Crusty Syndrome
  • Hair loss
  • Hair discovery
  • Hair return
  • Bone density reduction
  • Hallucinations
  • You’ll become convinced that you once shared a taxi cab with Phyllis Diller and the Harlem Globetrotters and no one will be able to convince you otherwise
  • You’re going to become a frigging Hulk Monster
  • Halitosis
  • Gingivitis
  • Scabies and/or possibly rabies
  • Intensified Flatulence
  • Acne
  • Horseface
  • Webbed feet
  • Tonsilitis

WOMAN:  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to take this…


  • The plague
  • Leprosy
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrea
  • (All of the last three at the same time, usually when you’re on a date)
  • Your mind will convince you that your sofa has the voice of Morgan Freeman and it’s perfectly acceptable for a piece of furniture to narrate your life in a nostalgic yet authoritative manner
  • In some studies, test subjects became werewolves.  We’re not saying you’re going to become a werewolf but you might want to lock yourself up during the next full moon.

WOMAN:  Someone call my agent.  I want out of this commercial.


  • Rabbits who drank it develop the ability to sing like Taylor Swift, with the exception of one who crooned like Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Squirrels who sampled the concoction recited every line from the “Always Be Closing” scene in Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • A test chicken became super intelligent and was elected to the presidency of Paraguay.  Paraguayans claim the country has never been run better.
  • Three chimps had a taste and fought over the rest of the bottle.  A fourth chimp produced a film based on the fight entitled Mad Monkey:  Beyond Bananadome.

ANNOUNCER:  Bookshelfitol!  Now in cherry, coconut and lemon meringue flavors!  Ask your doctor if Bookshelfitol is right for you!

WOMAN:  This is the last time I do a commercial for a blog with 3.5 readers.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 7 – The Butt Pillow


PARTS 1-5 – In which BQB dies on the toilet, wakes up in God’s Waiting Room, and is told he must seek out the meaning of life in order to find one brief moment of contentment.

PART 6 – Dr. Goetleib loses one hundred bucks after betting his patient wouldn’t make it.  He explains that crapping lightning is a more common medical problem than one might think.

Tiny Tessa, no taller than a few inches, stood on my chest, sulking and pouting.

I was back home, resting in my own bed, recovering from my recent attempt to pass concentrated lightning out of a place that was definitely not designed to be a conduit for electricity.

“I’m sorry,” Tessa mumbled, refusing to make eye contact.

“For?” I asked.

The heroine of the Arrowblast book series looked straight at me.

“Fine!” Tessa said. “I am sorry for violating the cease fire agreement you negotiated between the Arrowblast books and Tales of the Lost French Children books on your bookshelf. You decreed that all characters from these books must stop fighting. I ignored your order. You got hurt.”

“And how did I get hurt?” I asked.

“I really have to say?” Tessa asked, kicking one of the buttons on my pajama shirt with her black boot.

“It’s the only way you’ll learn,” I said.

Like a teenage daughter caught taking the family car out for an unapproved joyride, Tessa folded her arms and expelled an exaggerated sigh.

“When I fired explosive arrows at your copy of The Journey of the Tedious Plotline, I woke you up at 3 a.m.,” Tessa said. “Had I not interrupted your sleepy time, you would have not gone to the kitchen, and your toaster pastry would not have been struck by lightning.”

“And?”  I asked.

“What?”  Tessa asked.  “You’re the one who actually ate a lightning infused toaster pastry!  That’s on you, pal!”

“Good point,”  I said.

Jean Paul Crossantier, the second son of the family who gets chronically lost in Tales of the Lost French Children, had been standing quietly next to Tessa the entire time.  Finally, he chimed in.

“Oui oui I’m also sorry for the role my siblings and I played in this mess, Mr. Bookshelf,”  Jean Paul said with a French accent.  “I told my sister Emmy not to hang that ‘Tessa Stinks!’ banner off the side of your bookshelf, but she refused to listen to reason.”

“Mistakes happen,”  I said.  “I just wish you all could get along.  I love you all and there’s enough room in my heart and on my shelf for all of you.  There’s no need to fight.”

Little tears welled up in the eyes of Tiny Tessa and Tiny Jean Paul.

“I’ll admit sometimes we do take your role as the caretaker of the bookshelf for granted,”  Tessa said.

“Yes,”  Jean Paul added.  “By the way, Mr. Bookshelf, how is it possible that all of the characters in the books on your cramped bookshelf come to life in miniature versions of themselves and then proceed to attack one another over the limited space on your shelf?”

“I don’t know, Jean Paul,” I said. “How does your family climb down a hatch underneath a laundry hamper and end up in a magical land that is being fought over by a hideous crone and a saintly aardvark?  Stuff just happens.  Stop asking dumb questions.”

“Yeah, Jean Paul!”  Tessa said.  “You’re totally the Benedict Arnold of your story anyway!”

Aunt Gertie, wearing an apron and a pair of yellow dish washing gloves, walked into my room. Tessa and Jean Paul seized up and remained completely still.

“BQB,” Aunt Gertie said. “I took out your trash, did your laundry, washed your dishes, baked you some cookies, and made you a big pot of soup.”

“Thanks Aunt Gertie,” I said. “You’re the best.”

“Do you need anything else before I shuffle off to the nursing home you dumped me in because you could care less about the Aunt who raised you?”

Good Ole’ Guilt Trip Gertie.

“That place is a palace!” I said. “They’ve got a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, make your own sundae bar…Jeeze Gertie, I wish I lived at that nursing home!”

“Oh big fancy sundae bar!” Aunt Gertie said. “Patooie! They don’t even have rum raisin.”

“Yeah,” I said. “That really stinks, Gert. So uhhh…I guess you’d best mosey along now. You don’t want to miss the four p.m. dinner special…”

“Will you look at this?” Gertie said as she grabbed the still and silent Tessa. She lifted the tiny person up to her face and squinted at her.

Gertie's Husband/BQB's Uncle, the late and notoriously grumpy Hardass G. Scrambler.

Gertie’s Husband/BQB’s Uncle, the late and notoriously grumpy Hardass J. Scrambler. “Abandon all your dreams and take any job you can!” he once told BQB at his third birthday party, and literally every day after that until the day he died (and also he mentioned it from beyond the grave in his will).  Sometimes BQB is fairly certain he can hear Uncle Hardass’ ghost roaming the compound’s halls, but it could just be the wind.

“A grown man playing with dolls!” Aunt Gertie said. “Your Uncle Hardass would roll over in his grave if he could see this!”

“It’s not a doll!” I said. “She’s a…a…”

“What?” Aunt Gertie asked.

“A limited edition collector’s item!” I said. “Can I have that back? It’ll go down in value if you get finger prints on it.”

Aunt Gertie set Tessa down in my hand.

“Where’s your donut?” Aunt Gertie asked.

“My what?”

“Your donut!” Aunt Gertie said. “Your inflatable butt pillow! Dr. Goetleib specifically prescribed that to you to ease the pain your cheeks are in!”

“Only when you’re sitting,” I said. “I’m lying down.”

“I don’t think it makes a difference,” Aunt Gertie said. “Use your butt pillow!”

This episode of BQB and the Meaning of Life brought to you by the good folks of Acme Butt Pillows, Inc.  - Acme, we'll provide the donut, you provide the glaze!

This episode of BQB and the Meaning of Life brought to you by the good folks of Acme Butt Pillows, Inc. – Acme, we’ll provide the donut, you provide the glaze!

“There’s no pressure on my butt,” I said. “I’m not in a sitting position and therefore the weight of my body is not resting on my butt. I don’t need a butt pillow at the moment Gert, that’s just science!  You can’t argue with science!!!”

Aunt Gertie turned and walked away. I heard her voice trail off as she walked down the hallway.

“I’m going to call your doctor as soon as I get home and I’m going to get to the bottom of this…and another thing, why do you…blah blah blah….”

Tessa  and Jean Paul, who had been holding their breath the entire time, gasped for air. They choked and sputtered as they began moving around again.

“Your Aunt needs a breathe mint!” Tessa complained.

Here’s a fun fact about book characters who come to life in miniature form thanks to a magic bookshelf. They watch a lot of television. They are particularly interested in science-fiction.

What is one of the oldest sci-fi tropes? Hide the alien because if the government gets its hands on him, they’ll dissect him and study him in a lab. Assuming that practice would extend to tiny representations of literary characters, the beings from my bookshelf only trusted me.

I never told anyone about them, not even Aunt Gertie. Whenever another human was around, they stopped in their tracks and remained still. In fact, one might say that to the untrained eye, they just looked like a bunch of silly action figures.

Jean Paul laughed hysterically.

“What?” I asked.

“Butt…you…you have a butt pillow!”

Copyright (C) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Angry old man photo courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Using the Force in Everyday Life (Or When I Know I’m Done)

The Force is strong with me.shutterstock_191013230

I’ve used it for as long as I can remember…in a very limited capacity.

I can make the doors of most stores open.

Also, I can walk into a building, step into a metal box and move it up or down.

That’s the full extent of my Jedi training.

For as long as I can remember, whenever I walk into a store, I give my wrist the slightest flick, pretending that I opened the automatic door, not the sensor mechanism.

It was all me.  I did it.

I don’t make a big show of it.  I don’t want to embarrass myself.  And why make a big show of it?  All a Jedi needs is one subtle hand motion.

Elevators are a different story.  If I’m alone, I’ll hold out both arms and lift them upward as if the box is my vessel that I can make do my bidding.

If I’m with someone else, I’ll just do a minor hand flick up and down.  (Occasionally, when an X-Men movie has been released, I’ll pretend I’m Magneto using a metal box to fly instead of a Jedi.  I like to diversify).

No one ever notices.  You 3.5 readers are actually the first people I’ve ever told.  Luckily, with only 3.5 readers, my secret is safe.

I did it when I was a kid.  I do it today.  If it’s one door that opens outward, the hand flick will be forward.

If it’s the standard two doors that separate left and right, sometimes I’ll hold my thumb against my forefinger and open my hand as if the doors were two stormtroopers and my thumb is sending one of them to the left and my fingers are tossing the other one to the right.

Most of the time I’ll just flick my wrist left or right as if the door is a mere nuisance I want out of my way.

Keep in mind – this is involuntary.

I can’t not do it.  It’s a reflex.

I don’t really want to stop doing it either.

Life.  It’s so lifelike.  So regular.  So hum drum.  We spent our youth dreaming of doing so many things and then as adults we can barely get past bill paying and other monotonous chores.

I need to pretend to be a Jedi with the power to open a store door or lift an elevator (or occasionally Magneto with the ability to use his magnet powers to fly inside a metal container).

Perhaps this is too dark a subject, but have you ever considered how you’ll know when the jig is up?

For me, it will be when I stop opening store doors with the Force.

Is this just usual BQB nonsense?  No.  It’s something he actually does. If you spot a nerd somewhere trying to use the force to open the doors of a Costco, you may be witnessing our noble blog host in action.

Light saber image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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