Daily Archives: July 16, 2016

Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 9

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Mike’s fist pounded its way into Pat Farley’s cheek, cracking the bone, turning the flesh purple and bloody. Farley wasn’t exactly in a position to defend himself. He was sitting in a chair with his hands tied behind his back, his feet were tied together as well.

Another punch. Farley’s head turned sideways to absorb the blow. He sprayed a red mixture of spit, blood, and teeth into the air.

“This bores me,” Al said, sitting comfortably behind his desk. “Give him a break, Mike.”

Mike backed off.

A wooden box sat on the edge of Al’s desk. He opened it and pulled out a nice, thick cigar. He searched through his drawer until he found a metal cigar cutter and, just as if it were a tiny little guillotine, inserted the cigar into it and snipped off the tip.

Al struck a match, lit the stogie, then puffed on it.

“Oh,” Al said as he pushed the box toward Farley. “Pardon my manners. You want to join me in a smoke?”

Farley, unsure if Al was serious or kidding, quietly shook his head no.

“Good idea,” Al said. “Your mouth will be sore for awhile. You probably won’t want to use it for anything other than sucking dick or telling lies, your usual standard faire.”

The hostage was in his mid-forties. Flecks of gray in his hair. His nose had been crooked long before Mike started working on it.

“Al I swear,” Farley said. “I’m not lying. I don’t know what happened to your shit.”

Al laughed. He stood up and stared out his window at the passersby.

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” Al said. “And unto God the thing’s that are God’s.”

The barkeep turned away from the window and took a seat on the edge of the desk, just a foot or two away from Farley.

“You get my drift?”

Farley thought about it. “Which one are you again?”

Al sucked on his cigar, turning the ash on the end nice and red. He kept the cigar cutter in his hand and click clacked it open and shut, open and shut.

“I’m every-fucking-one, shit for brains!” Al shouted. “I’m your God, I’m your Caesar, I’m your motherfucking highly displeased business partner. Open your Goddamn mouth and start talking, shitbird. Who in the fucking hell has my opium?”

Farley suffered the indignity of being a grown man who was crying.

“I don’t know,” Farley said.

“An insufficient answer,” Al replied. “Farley, from hereon, I forbid you to utter the words, ‘I don’t know.’ Understood?”

Farley nodded.

“Good,” Al said. “Then who has it?”

Farley opened his mouth. “I…”

Al’s eyes filled with rage. His nostrils flared. Farley caught himself.

“Look,” Farley said. “The last person who was in the room before it went missing was Andy Clement. That’s all I know. I didn’t want to say anything because I don’t know for sure it was him.”

Al stood up. He stared Farley down for awhile, then smiled and patted him on the shoulder.

“Was that so hard?” Al asked with a smile.

Farley replied with a tentative grin. “No.”

“We’re not fucking animals here, Farley,” Al said. “Information’s all I’m after. Of course I’m going to do my own investigation into Andy’s alleged transgressions. I’m not going to just chop off his dick and beat him over the head with it on your say so.”

Farley exhaled. “Good. Because I don’t think he would have done it.”

Al clicked the cigar cutter open, then clacked it closed. “We’ll see about that. By the way, where’s my money?”

Farley looked up with confusion. “Money?”

Al blew smoke into Farley’s face. “My green stuff, imbecile.”

Farley stammered. “But…”

“We had an accord, you shifty looking prick,” Al said. “I gave you a certain amount of shit. You agreed that you would either return said shit to me, or that you’d sell it, keep your share of the profit, then return to me cash equal to the value of the shit, or a combination of cash and shit. I kept my side of the bargain and yet here I am holding my dick in my hand with nary a wet hole to stick it in. Why are you making me go through the trouble of making me explain shit to you that you already know?”

Farley was crying again. Weeping and sobbing.

“Please, Al…”

“It’s not my problem that you lost the shit, mongoloid,” Al said. “So I’ll ask you again. Where the fuck is my money?”

Farley was a mess. Hyperventilating. Tears. Blood. Mucous. “I…I…don’t know!”

Al rolled his eyes and stood up. It dawned on Farley what he had just done.

“No! No Al! Please! I didn’t mean to…”

The barkeep drew the tip of his cigar closer and closer to Farley’s eye. The hostage winced, closed his eyes, and turned away. Mike gripped his hand underneath Farley’s chin and turned it towards Al, holding his face still.

Just when Farley thought he would surely be blinded, his ears filled with Al’s laughter. He opened his eyes to see Al standing there with the cigar in his mouth.

Al laughed. Mike laughed. Soon enough, Farley was laughing.

“Oh,” Farley said. “You got me good, Al.”

“Yeah,” Al said. The barkeep looked toward Mike. “Hold him down.”

Mike grabbed Farley, yanked him forward and held his right arm down on the desk. Al clicked open his cigar cutter and fitted it just over Farley’s pinky finger.

“What else aren’t you telling me?” Al asked.

“Nothing!” Farley cried. “There’s nothing else!”

“Bullshit!”

“I swear, Al!”

“You believe him, Mike?” Al asked.

“Nope,” Mike replied.

“You hear that?” Al asked. “Mike just called you a liar.”

“I’m not!” Farley shouted.

Al pressed the cigar cutter blade down just enough so that it grazed the flesh of Farley’s pinky finger.

“You know,” Al said. “Marie Antoinette, that French cunt, she used to sit around all day eating cake. Yum, yum, yum. Yummy delicious cake. And then the peasants came knocking on her door one day and they said, ‘Hey cunt, we’re all out of bread and we’re fucking starving!’”

Farley closed his eyes.

“So Marie’s servants relayed the message to her and do you know what that oblivious slut said?”

Silence.

“Hey,” Al said. “Numbnuts, I asked you a question.”

“No,” Farley replied.

“She said, ‘let them eat cake,’” Al said. “Can you believe that? Those fucking miserable peasants couldn’t even get their hands on some lousy scraps of moldy bread and this bitch had the nerve, the audacity, the utter gall to tell them to eat cake. Not just any cake, mind you. The kind of fucking expensive cake with all kinds of frostings and decorations and and cremes and berries and what have you that none of those peasants could have ever fucking dreamed of. She basically told them to go fuck themselves so they carted her off and lopped her stupid head off with a contraption just like this one only larger.”

“Al…I’m begging you.”

“Is that what you’re doing?” Al asked. “Are you telling me to eat cake?”

“No,” Farley said.

“When I’ve got a serious outfit to run and all kinds of people on my payroll depending on me, you’re telling me to eat cake like I’m some kind of stuck up French broad?”

“No,” Farley repeated. “Never!”

“I blame myself,” Al said. “I thought better of you, Farley. I guess I’m just not the good judge of character I thought I was. Oh well…”

Al pressed down on the cigar cutter. Farley screamed as it tore through his flesh. The cutter struggled against the bone, but Al mustered up his strength and kept pressing until the finger popped off and dropped to the floor. Blood spurted out of the open wound.

Farley shouted loud enough to be heard outside of the room. Outside, a few barflies and prostitutes turned their heads but then realized it was just Al being Al and returned to their business.

Al sauntered around his desk and returned to his chair. “You should be ashamed of yourself for making me do that. Now, let’s try this again. What piece of this perplexing puzzle are you not sharing with me?”

Farley screamed as loud as his lungs would allow. “There’s nothing else!”

“Fine,” Al said. “But know this…”

Blam! Farley’s head fell down with a gaping hole in the back of his skull. Mike chewed on a toothpick as he lowered his smoking revolver.

Al’s face was left covered with flecks of Farley’s blood.

“What the fuck was that?!” Al shouted.

“What?” Mike asked.

“That!” Al repeated.

“You were done, weren’t you?” Mike asked.

“Did I say I was done?” Al asked.

Mike holstered his steel. “Sorry. I thought you were done.”

“Oh Sweet Mary, Mother of God, I’m surrounded by fucking thinkers,” Al said. “I’ve got more thinkers in this place than Congress. Let me do all the thinking, Mike. I’ll think and you do.”

“Sorry boss,” Mike said.

“But don’t do until I fucking tell you to do the fucking doing,” Al said.

“I got it boss.”

Al pulled a handkerchief out of his desk and wiped his face.

“Do you have any idea how stupid that was?”

“He was just some asshole,” Mike replied.

“No,” Al said. “I’m not talking about the stature of the man you shot. I’m talking about the act of shooting him while he was sitting in front of me.”

“What about it?” Mike asked.

“What….what about it?” Al picked up a bottle of whiskey that was sitting on his desk, uncorked it, then took a swig. “Are you honestly asking me what about it?”

“Yes.”

“Oh you kids just get fucking dumber and dumber,” Al said. “Look, I’m not a mathematician or a scientist so I can’t explain angles and trajectories and whatever the fuck to you but suffice to say if you shoot a dumb fuck there’s a significant chance that the bullet will exit the first dumb fuck’s brain and then keep going, destined to strike something else, whether it be a wall or the head of some other dumb fuck, namely, yours truly.”

“Jesus Al,” Mike said. “I didn’t know.”

“Yeah,” Al said. “‘I didn’t know.’ Famous last fucking words. What did Custer’s guide tell Custer when he pointed out that they were in fucking Injun territory? ‘I didn’t know.’ Start knowing shit. Wooden nickels and bad excuses are two things I don’t accept.”

“O.K.,” Mike said.

Al leaned back in his chair and wiped some sweat off his brow with the hanky. “Oh God. I can’t do shit like I used to.”

“You all right?” Mike asked.

“I’m fine. Clean this shit up.”

“Will do,” Mike said.

“And find Andy Clement,” Al said. “I’d like a word.”

“Right now?” Mike asked.

“No,” Al said as he closed his eyes. “Get him in here tomorrow. I need a nap.”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 8

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The Gem Theater. It was the largest, most popular brothel in Deadwood. Naturally, it was also the rowdiest.

Prostitutes milled about in various states of undress. Some weren’t that bad looking in the right light. Others looked better in the dark or after a few beers.

Filthy roughneck miners were the establishment’s main clientele. They stank from long days spent out in search of gold. And what little treasure they found, they were happy to fritter it away on cheap booze and cheaper women.

Long before Al Capone or John Gotti, there was Al Swearengen, the man who ran his criminal enterprise with an iron fist, all the while posing as a humble businessman.

Al’s hair and mustache were greasy due to the black shoe polish he rubbed into it daily to keep the gray at bay. At a casual glance, he looked like any good barkeep. He wore an apron to keep the liquor from staining his clothes. He took orders from customers and poured brews promptly.

He even responded to employee grievances. Lorelai, a working girl in her late twenties who looked as though she might have been a beauty before she lost a tooth and drank one too many, sloshed up to the bar.

“Al,” Lorelai said. “Phil’s back and he’s smellier and uglier than ever. I think he shit his pants.”

Al’s last name was apt. He didn’t just swear. He was an artist who used obscenity as the paint that he applied to the canvas of life. There was a certain Shakespearean way to which he told people off.

“Sweetheart,” Al said. “When the the world turns upside down and all that makes sense ceases to be, thus generating a sequence of events that leads to a fucking knight in shining armor barging his way into the joint and demanding to see my finest toothless whore posthaste, I guarantee you that I’ll point him in your direction without delay.”

Lorelai frowned.

“But until that momentous occasion comes,” Al said. “Go fuck Phil.”

“Ughh!” Lorelai stomped her foot in protest then walked away.

Al looked across the sea of drunk barflies before him.

“Whores. Am I right?”

The barflies nodded and offered various expressions of agreement.

A young man in his early twenties stepped out of Al’s back office and closed the door. He tied his long hair back in a pony tail and had a scraggily beard. He approached the bar.

“Al,” the young man said. “That situation you wanted to tend to…it uh…needs tending to.”

“As we speak?” Al asked.

“Huh?”

Al wasn’t one to suffer fools lightly. He sighed.

“Jesus Christ, Mike. Is this an issue that must be acted upon without delay?”

“Yessir.”

Al removed his apron, folded it neatly and stowed it underneath the bar. He did the same with the towel he had over his shoulder.

“Mitsy!” Al yelled.

Mitsy was a particularly corpulent wench sitting in the corner who, at the moment, was working her feminine whiles on a sleepy octogenarian in the back corner.

She stood, adjusted her plentiful bosom, then walked over.

“Al,” Mitsy said. “I think Ralph is about to bite.”

Al took a look at Ralph, whose face was firmly planted down against the table, drooling away.

“Dear, I wouldn’t wager that wrinkly old fuck has bitten anything since George Washington was in diapers,” Al said. “Your services are needed here. Listen up, boys!”

A few heads turned. “Mitsy can pour beers and shots. If you need some kind of special mixed drink, I recommend that you go and fuck yourself, because this isn’t France.”

Al and Mike walked to Al’s office.

Once they were out of earshot of the barflies, Al asked, “Is he alive?”

“Barely.”

“Good.”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 7

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Out in the road, the town fathers were engaged in an intense deviation from parliamentary procedure.

“You ignorant jackanape!” the Mayor bellowed as he removed his hat and slapped Merrick with it over and over again. “Do you realize what you’ve done?”

“Stop it, E.B.!” Merrick cried as he put his arms up to block the onslaught of blows. “This is abuse of the press!”

The Reverend had already excused himself to return to his street ministry. “Repent sinners! Repent!”

“I told you not to offer him that job!” the Mayor said.

“You’re not the boss of me,” Merrick said.

“That’s right,” the Mayor said. “None of us are the boss of anything. Did it ever occur to you that Al might have something to say about this?”

Merrick removed his eyeshade and scratched his head. “Shoot.”

“Yeah,” the Mayor said. “Shoot. Shoot all of us most likely. God damn it, Al’s going to shit a ten carat solid gold brick when he hears about what you’ve done.”

Merrick stood up straight and in a display of bravado, poked his chin high in the air. “Then let him. As a town council member I must appoint the best man for every job and no one in town is more qualified to be the sheriff than Bullock.”

The Mayor raised his hat up in the air. Merrick put his arms up over his face to block again. Upon seeing Merrick in such a pitiful state, the Mayor relented and put his hat back on his head.

“If there’s any wrath to be suffered on this, it’s all on you,” the Mayor said. “Don’t expect me to stand up for you.”

“Since when have you stood up for anything?” Merrick asked.

The Mayor’s face turned red. He gritted his teeth then forced himself to walk away rather than start slapping the newsman around again.

As usual, Doctor McGillicuddy was minding his own business.

“Doctor,” Merrick said. “Surely, you know I’m right.”

The doctor leaned on his cane. “All I know is that you have killed that man.”

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Movie Review – Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters with vaginas. What will they think of next?

Who you gonna call?

SPOILER BUSTERS.

Because…spoilers.

BQB here with a review of the revamped Ghostbusters.

I can’t think of another movie that inspired so much hype, controversy, nerd rage and socio-politcal debate.

So rather than an all out review, I’ll anticipate and answer the questions of my 3.5 readers.

WAS IT GOOD?

Yes.  It was your pretty standard summer movie.

WAS IT BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL?

No, because that was too perfect.  “Alexander wept because he had no more worlds to conquer.”

As a movie-goer, I weep because there’s very little Hollywood can do to wow me. All the special effects tricks have been discovered, CGI has been around forever, every line has been crossed, every boundary has been pushed.

The original film mixed special effects, action and comedy into something no one had ever seen before. I was wowed when I saw it as a little kid. Thirty some odd years later, I’ve seen it all now when it comes to movies.  I suppose there won’t be a new boundary to push until they create some kind of immersive virtual reality movie or something.

Millennials, you’ll never experience the awe I did as a boy sitting in a theater with a crowd of people who had never seen life like ghosts on screen for the first time.  But don’t feel too bad because all that really means in the grand scheme of things is I’ve got less time before I become a ghost than you do.

DID HAVING AN ALL FEMALE CAST RUIN THE MOVIE?

No. Anyone who takes up the Ghostbusters gauntlet has taken on a massive challenge.  “Oh yes. Let me remake the movie that every adult remembers fondly from their childhood.”

No. No pressure at all.

But they did about as good as anyone could under that pressure.

They were funny. They played their characters well.  In my opinion, Kate McKinnon as wacky inventor Holtzmann and Leslie Jones as “keeping it real” Patty stole the show.

I’M A WOMAN AND I FEEL THAT I AM DISCRIMINATED AGAINST DUE TO MY OWNERSHIP OF A VAGINA. WILL THIS FILM STOP THAT?

Probably not.  McKinnon and Jones, as well as Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig were all believable as three scientists and a New York history buff turned paranormal investigators and eliminators.

They didn’t really do anything to overtly point out that “hey we’re lady Ghostbusters.” Instead, they went through the same difficulties the original Ghostbusters went through i.e. trying to figure out the science of ghost busting without blowing themselves up while the fate of the world is on the line.

That’s a lot of pressure for anyone, whether they have a penis or a vagina.

There was a running gag where they post their ghost footage to YouTube and have to deal with crackpot social media comments, an obvious dig at the online backlash the film went through.

WAS IT RACIST TO HAVE MADE LESLIE JONES’ CHARACTER THE ONLY NON-SCIENTIST?

Hmm.  Well, I doubt that was the intent. Her character is a subway worker who in her spare time studies New York City history, thus her knowledge of what lies underneath the city and its history becomes essential to the team.

In other words, she wasn’t a scientist but she wasn’t dumb either.

WAS IT FUNNY?

There were times that I laughed. There were jokes that fell flat. Funniest moments came from Holtzmann, Patty, and the gang’s super dumb man-secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth.)

For me personally, there were not any of the gut-busting, uncontrollable “I can’t stop laughing” laughs which is what you’d like to see in a Ghostbusters movie.

WAS IT JUST A REHASH OF THE ORIGINAL?

Yes and no.  There were many repeats and homages to the fans’ favorite jokes and/or scenes.  I’ll let you watch and pick them out on your own.

Plot wise, there is a lot of similarity.  Scientists create inventions to catch ghosts. Because they are breaking new ground, they make mistakes along the way. The public can’t comprehend the existence of ghosts so they think the Ghostbusters are charlatans. They butt heads with the Mayor and the government. Oh, and Slimer.

The ghosts look great with modern CGI/special effects but again, something about seeing all that in 1984 when it was new made it more awesome.

But – there was a lot of effort to redevelop the plot.  Without getting too spoilery, the villain, Rowan, is a big nerd who wants to get back at the world for all the bullying he went through by unleashing ghosts upon the world.

Most of the original cast members have fun cameos.  Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts stop by, not as their original characters but as random folks the new Ghostbusters meet along the way.

Sadly, Rick Moranis didn’t stop by though that would have been cool.  Even sadder, Harold Ramis is no longer able to stop by but there was a touching nod to him.

AM I A HORRIBLE ANTI-FEMALE PIECE OF SHIT IF I DIDN’T LIKE THE MOVIE?

I don’t think so.  You may have not liked it for any number of non-female hating reasons. Maybe you think Hollywood is filled with hacks who can’t come up with original ideas anymore. Maybe you loved the original so much you think it was blasphemous to create a new one (newsflash – the original one is still available and you can watch it anytime!)

You might even argue that as fans, we have long waited for the Ghostbusters to do something new. Yes, this is new but I mean new as in, don’t save New York again but perhaps delve into the myriad of possible threats that a team of ghost investigators might face.

In fact, given that three out of the four original Ghostbusters are alive and in relatively good condition given their age, one wonders if, in the right hands, a movie where we see what the old Ghostbusters have been up to for the past thirty years before they pass the baton to a new team might have been possible. Then again, I have to remind myself that would have only been interesting to anyone under 35 years old.  Sorry over 35 crowd, but Hollywood just considers you a waste of space.

I liked it.  I didn’t LOVE it. It isn’t something I’ll want to rewatch over and over.  But as summer movies go, it did satisfy the prerequisites – i.e. I got to escape my problems for two hours and I had a good time.

BUT IF I DIDN’T LIKE THE MOVIE, IS IT DUMB TO SAY THINGS LIKE “OH MY GOD THIS RUINED MY LIFE” OR WHATEVER?

Yes. It’s just a movie.

WAS THERE SOMETHING AS AN ASPIRING SELF-PUBLISHER THAT YOU’D LIKE TO POINT OUT?

Yes. Abby (McCarthy) and Erin (Wiig) begin the film as estranged friends who once co-wrote a book about the existence of ghosts.

Years later after going their separate ways (Abby wanted to keep chasing ghosts while Erin wanted to pursue a career as a serious professor), Erin’s efforts to secure a tenured physics professor position become threatened when Abby puts their ghost book up for sale on Amazon, so she seeks out Abby to demand that she take the book down.

Self-publishing made it into a Ghostbusters movie!

WHAT STATUS DO YOU GIVE IT?

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  And due to the CGI ghosts, worth seeing on the big screen.

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