Category Archives: Zomcation

Zomcation Cover

Another cover for another book I have yet to finish writing.

“Oh hey, did you hear about BQB?  He ended up in the poorhouse, spent all his dough on book covers for books he never finished writing.  What an asshole.”

Oh well, what say you 3.5 readers?

 

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Zomcation – My Favorite Chapters So Far

Hey 3.5.

I was just going over Zomcation and there are three chapters that really tickled my funny bone.  Hope you will check them out.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to vote in my Zomcation book cover contest.

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Chapter 11 – In this book, a Republican and a Democrat have teamed up as President and Vice-President.  President Stugotz is a Trump clone while Vice-President Pierce is a Hillary wannabe.  They fight and bicker constantly.  General Merrick tries his best to remain calm as Stugotz goes to one extreme and demands that all the zombies be nuked while Pierce goes to the other extreme and demands that everyone should coddle the zombies and give them free, government subsidized brains.  In the end, they agree on one thing – they’ll deny all culpability and pin it all on Merrick.

Chapter 15 – Mister Reynaldo, an eccentric male diva/ex-off, off, off incredibly off Broadway star informs Jess that she can no longer play Princess Paulina because she turned 30.  For Jess, it’s now the Willy Wombat mascot costume or bust.

Chapter 23 – Wombat World Security Guard Doug has a classic, cop TV show fight with the Chief of Wombat World security.  It ends with the Chief relieving Doug of his wombat shaped badge and security whistle.  Doug must now decide whether to give up or go rogue and search for his partner, who really isn’t his partner, but just an old man he stood next to and annoyed regularly.

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Vote for My Zomcation Book Cover Contest

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Zomcation is the best book ever written about an ex-soldier guilted by his depressed, divorced sister, social media addicted niece and hipster nephew into taking a vacation to an amusement park dedicated to a cartoon wombat only to end up fighting hordes of zombies when a Doomsday cult infects the park’s soda supply with a zombifying virus.

I can smell the literary awards now.  Mmm.  Smells like chicken.

Please vote for your cover here.

And please, really vote.  I’m having a hard time making up my mind.

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Zomcation – Chapter 26

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Paige and her tour guides were strapped into the first car of the Infernacoaster, with a metal bar pulled down tight over their laps.

“You know Paige,” Davey said. “You’re not like the other girls.”

Paige blushed. “I’m not?”

“No,” Davey replied. “I mean, they spent so much time worrying about so much superficial stuff, you know?”

“OMG I so know,” Paige said. “I said that the other day right after I noticed that skank face Heather Haskill didn’t even have a brand name screen protector for her cell phone.”

“All the girls I meet,” Davey said as he sipped his soda. “They spend so much time picking out their outfits but you? You just look like you rooted through your hamper and picked out whatever was the least stinky.”

“Umm,” Paige said as she sniffed her armpit. “Wait, what?”

“And then they spend all day on their hair,” Davey said. “Who cares? Its just hair. Women would be much happier if they felt comfortable enough in their own skin to walk around looking like they wake up in the morning and run an eggbeater through their hair.”

Paige sighed. “I use half a can of hair spray a day. It has a mind of its own.”

“And those zits,” Davey said. “They’re adorable. It’s like you can’t even be bothered to run to the pharmacy and get a tube of acne cream. You give off this whole ‘I don’t give a shit’ vibe that is very refreshing.”

“OK Davey,” Paige said. “You can stop with the compliments now.”

An announcer’s voice interrupted Paige’s utter embarrassment.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to the Infernacoaster!”

A.J. and B.J. sat behind Paige and Davey. C.J. had the third seat in the car all to himself.

“Wooo!” A.J. shouted.

“Infernacoaster!” C.J. yelled. “Yeah!”

“The only ride that lifts up, up, up into the heavens only to plunge you down into the deepest, darkest depths of Hell!”

“I’m not so sure about this,” Paige said.

Davey reached over and took Paige’s hand.

“You got this, girl,” Davey said. “And I got your back.”

At that exact moment, Paige wanted to live stream footage of her hand tucked inside Davey’s, but alas, her tablet was stowed for safekeeping in a compartment in front of her knees.

The announcer provided a laundry list of warnings.

“If you suffer from heart disease, are pregnant, thinking about ever becoming pregnant, or if you know someone who is pregnant, have been diagnosed as being mentally unstable, schizophrenic, or are chronically constipated, have the gout, the plague, rabies, scabies, or syphilis, take erectile dysfunction medication and have suffered debilitating bouts of priapism lasting longer than four hours or if you are a dwarf who has visited the third world within the past three to five years then it is recommended that you disembark the Infernacoaster immediately.”

“I have none of those problems!” A.J. shouted.

In true celebrity fashion, the boys hucked their soda cups out of the car and began a chant.

“Infernacoaster…Infernacoaster….Infernacoaster…”

Davey gripped Paige’s hand tight, causing his new friend’s heart to thump like it was about to explode.

“Woo!” A.J. shouted.

“Paige and Davey gonna get it on!” B.J. hollered.

“Guys,” Davey said. “Come on.”

The announcer continued. “A reminder that Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios, the parent corporation of Wombat World, is in no way, shape or form responsible for any issues you might suffer as a result of voluntarily riding the Infernacoaster. Such problems have been known to include, but are not limited to: facial ticks, paralysis, blurred vision, sudden outbursts of Tourette’s Syndrome, debilitating diarrhea, hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, dismemberment, decapitation and a rare mental disorder that causes a person to believe that his or her body is possessed by the reincarnated spirit of famously flamboyant nineteen-sixties piano player Liberace.”

“Those are all chances I am willing to take,” C.J. said.

“Also,” the announcer said. “Not gonna lie. You might die.”

“Boo!” A.J. shouted.

“Start the ride already!” B.J. added.

“And now for those foolish enough to have stayed,” the announcer said. “Enjoy…the Internacoaster!”

Rock and roll music blared. The car moved down the track, through an open door and into a dark tunnel. Maniacal laughter cut through the music. At the end of the tunnel, an enormous, plastic red devil face opened its mouth so that the car could travel through.

The car was outside now and headed up a steep slope. Up, up, up they went, high enough for a brief glimpse at a breathtaking sky’s eye view of the park and then…

….DOWN.

The boys laughed. Paige’s stomach churned. The car hustled its way up into the sky again, then spiraled down, around and around as special effects encircled the car with what appeared to be fire.

“Wooo!” the boys cheered.

“Bleh!” shouted Paige as she hurled over the side, sending her partially digested breakfast down on the unsuspecting head of some poor innocent bystander down below.

As the car rose up another peak, it slowed down until finally it came to a complete stop at the top of the summit.

“What?” A.J. asked. “It’s never done this before.”

“A new twist?” B.J. asked. “Maybe Wombat World’s changing things up.”

Davey was hunched over in his seat, his head tucked between his knees.

“Ugh,” Davey said as he grabbed his stomach. “I don’t feel so good.”

“Me neither,” Paige said. “Forget the Shock Rocket. This is the ride that puts your stomach in your butt.”

Davey went quiet.

“Davey?” Paige asked as she tapped her new love interest in the shoulder. “Are you ok?”

The boy band member raised his head, then turned it toward Paige. His eyes were totally blank. His retinas had disappeared and only whiteness remained.

Paige recoiled. “O…M…G.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 25

The Wombat World control room featured row after row of computer units, stacked neatly on steel shelves, all connected to a bank of monitors hanging on a wall in the back of the room.

Craig, a white man with blonde dreadlocks and a grungy beard, toked on a fat spliff as he put his feet up on his workstation and closed his eyes.

“Clock that grip bitch,” Craig sang. “Oh, you gotta clock that grip bitch. You down with Stank Daddy, Ron?”

Ron, Craig’s straight laced colleague, was all business. His head was shaved bald and he wore a pressed white shirt with a red power tie as he watched the monitors intently.

“I wish you’d be down with your job,” Ron replied.

“Please,” Craig said. “This whole operation practically runs itself.”

Ron flashed Craig a look of utter disgust. “Millions of dollars worth of complex machinery and thousands of lives are in our hands. How you can be so blasé about that I’ll never know.”

“You do those people no good when you’re stressed out of your gourd, Ron,” Craig said as he offered his coworker a hit of his ganja.

“No thanks,” Ron said. “Something tells me that Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios wouldn’t take kindly to their ride technicians being baked.”

Craig sat up and started flipping through the camera feeds. “Look. Berserkasphere? Running. Dinosaur Puncher? One hundred percent. Infernacoaster? Fabulous. Shock Rocket? Awesome. Happy Little International Children Experience? Great. I don’t know why the hell anyone rides that shit ride anyway but its firing on all four cylinders. Will you unclench your butt cheeks and hit this shit already?”

Ron rolled his eyes and took the joint. “Oh why the hell not?”

Just as Ron lifted that sweet refer to his lips and was about to take a drag, a fist rapped on the metal security door that led into the room.

Craig put the door’s camera feed up on screen. Though the person at the door appeared to be an average, run of the mill Wombat World Security Guard, it was, in fact, Brother Klaus in Earl’s uniform.

“Shit,” Ron said as he stubbed out Craig’s joint into his trash can.

“Aw come on, man!” Craig protested. “That was my best Bolivian Brain Crush!”

Ron pressed a button on his board, turning on the intercom. “Can I help you?”
“Inspection,” Brother Klaus said in an American accent.

Ron and Craig looked at each other. “Did you know anything about an inspection?” Ron asked.

“Do you think I’d be dumb enough to be sparking up a doob if I knew there was an inspection?” Craig answered.

“I do,” Ron said. “You definitely look that dumb.”

Ron pressed the intercom button once more. “No one told us anything about an inspection.”

Brother Klaus coughed in order to clear his throat. In his mind, he weighed the various phony responses he could give to Ron until he finally settled on, “It wouldn’t be a surprise inspection if anyone had told you about it, now would it?”

“Shit,” Craig said. “He’s got you there.”

“Damn it,” Ron said. “Just be cool and let me do the talking.”

Ron hit another button. The door buzzed as Brother Klaus stepped in.

“Hello,” Ron said.

Brother Klaus looked around the room, ignoring the two technicians.

“Are you new?” Ron asked. “Don’t believe we’ve met before.”

The faux security guard sniffed the air. “Strange odor in the air.”

“What’s that now?” Ron asked.

“An odor,” Brother Klaus said as he sniffed. “A peculiar, pungent smell.”

Ron trembled. “I don’t smell anything. Craig, do you smell anything?”

“I don’t smell anything at all,” Craig replied. “I think your nostrils are lying to you, man.”

Brother Klaus sniffed the air again. “No. I definitely detect the distinct scent of marijuana in this room. I’m sure of it.”

“Shit,” Craig said. “Since when do you guys do detective work? I thought you all just stood around drinking coffee and handing out wombat stickers all day.”

“Aww,” Brother Klaus said. “So you admit it?”

Ron gulped. “Look. It was just one joint. We’ve both been loyal employees for years.”

“I didn’t even smoke it!” Craig said. “It was Ron! It was all Ron!”

“Craig, you weapons grade asshole,” Ron said before turning his attention back to the fake guard. “It was all him. He smoked it. All I did was put it out.”

“You were going to puff it,” Craig said. “You know it.”

“Boys, boys, boys,” Brother Klaus said as he stepped behind a bank of computers. “This is a very serious offense.”

“Son of a bitch,” Ron said. “We’re going to lose our jobs. Thanks Craig. Thanks a lot.”

“Man,” Craig said. “Do you really need to report this?”

“Yeah,” Ron said. “Surely we could reach an agreement? Perhaps a certain amount of cash falls out of our pockets by accident and then very coincidentally, you forget all about this at the same exact time you pick it up?”

Silence.

“One of us will suck your dick,” Craig said.

“What?” Ron asked.

“Ron will totally suck your dick,” Craig said. “He just volunteered.”

“I did not,” Ron said as he looked at the computer bank the fake guard was standing behind. “Hey, honestly, this isn’t that big a deal right? I mean, what could the punishment for smoking a joint on the job be anyway?”

Brother Klaus stepped out with his silenced pistol drawn. He fired two bullets into Craig’s cranium, killing the hipster pothead instantly. He then pointed his weapon at the last technician standing.

“Whoa,” Ron said as he put his hands up. “OK, you made your point. Wombat World Security isn’t screwing around anymore. But come on…”

Thunk. Thunk.

Brother Klaus stepped over Ron’s body, took a seat at the dead man’s workstation, and punched away at the keyboard. The security door locked.

Soon, the Heretic’s hooded face appeared on one of the monitors on the wall.

“Herr Heretic,” Brother Klaus said, now in his default German accent. “We are now in control.”

“Excellent,” the Heretic replied.

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Zomcation – Chapter 24

 

The Happy Little International Children Experience began as a slow, leisurely boat ride through a long, dark tunnel adorned with bright, twinkling, multi-colored lights. The boats weren’t so much floating as they were being pulled via an elaborate underwater conveyor system, but the effect was just the same.

Abby sat and sipped on her convenience store soda, her mind conjuring up images from her youth, a happier time when her parents and her brother rode the ride with her, but not because they particularly enjoyed it.

Hell, no one but Abby ever has or ever likely will enjoy the Happy Little International Children Experience. It has been routinely voted most annoying ride for thirty straight years by the readers of Theme Park Enthusiast Digest.

But Abby’s mother, father and brother rode it because they knew she loved it and it was that love that she was missing so much as she looked around the illuminated tunnel.

An old woman in a gray sweater sat to Abby’s left, clutching a set of rosary beads in her hand. Abby hadn’t noticed it before but as she looked back, the whole boat she was in was filled with kids ranging between ten and sixteen years old. The unkempt urchins wore tattered clothes and chatted amongst themselves.

“Ma’am,” Abby said.

“Yes, dear?” the old woman replied in an Irish brogue.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Abby said. “But are you a nun?”

“That I am, child,” the old woman said. “Sister Eugenia of the Order of Our Lady of the Immaculate Cast Iron Undergarments.”

Abby appeared in doubt. “Seriously?”

“Oh,” Sister Eugenia said with a chuckle. “Its been years since they’ve made us wear anything like that.”

Abby pointed her thumb toward the back of the boat. “Are they all with you?”

“Yes,” Sister Eugenia said. “For the past decade I’ve been assigned to the order’s home for wayward orphans right here in Florida.”

Abby watched the kids. “You mean none of these kids have parents?”

“Sadly no,” Sister Eugenia said. “All of their parents have died under the most horrific circumstances, lost to the drink or the drugs, car accidents, heroin overdoses, so many folks out there just love to chase that dragon, don’t you know?”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Abby said.

“And then there are the mothers who sell their bodies on the street corner only catch an exotic venereal disease or to end up sliced and diced by depraved maniacs,” Sister Eugenia said. “Or the fathers who join street gangs and end up riddled with so many bullet holes that they end up looking like Swiss cheese.”

“I see,” Abby said.

“Don’t even get me started on the parents who sniff magic markers,” Sister Eugenia said.

“I won’t,” Abby said.

“So many lovely children end up orphaned because their parents were uncontrollable magic marker fume addicts, completely incapable of stopping themselves from shoving magic markers up their nostrils in order to sniff the devil’s aroma.”

“That’s terrible,” Abby said.

“Then I suppose once in awhile there’s a father with a strange sexual addiction…”

“I get the picture,” Abby said.

“They can’t get their rocks off unless they’re being strangled,” Sister Eugenia said. “Or if they’re wearing a leather gimp mask. Or if they’re having dangerously bizarre foreign objects shoved up their rectums and its all fun and games until somehow it all goes tragically wrong and…”

“Sister,” Abby said. “I get it. These kids have been through bad times.”

“They surely have, dear,” Sister Eugenia said.

“They seem well-behaved,” Abby said.

“Oh that’s just because this is our yearly excursion outside the orphanage’s walls and I’ve warned them that if I hear a peep out of any of them we’ll all go straight home,” Sister Eugenia said. “Harsh, I know, but you must never show weakness around children, dear.”

“I’m starting to realize that,” Abby said. “I have two of my own.”

“Where are they?” Sister Eugenia asked.

“Doing their own thing,” Abby said. “They want nothing to do with me these days.”

“Ahh,” Sister Eugenia said. “Don’t feel bad. It happens to every parent sooner or later.”

“All they do is complain, complain, complain,” Abby said. “It’s always, ‘me, me, me’ with those two.”

“Well, what do you expect, dear?” Sister Eugenia asked. “Weren’t you like that when you were their age?”

Abby sighed. “I suppose.”

“Every child deserves a parent’s unconditional love,” the sister said. “Once they’re old enough to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them they’ll return it to you in spades, don’t you worry.”

“I’d just settle for being appreciated,” Abby said.

“Wouldn’t we all, dear?” Sister Eugenia asked. “Wouldn’t we all?”

Sister Eugenia balled up her fist and expelled a burp into it.

“Pardon me, dear.”

“It happens,” Abby said.

“The order was kind enough to give me a budget large enough to take the children to lunch at the wombat food court and I’m afraid Funky Cola does not sit well with me at all.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 23

shutterstock_225100087The Chief was shaped like a walrus, with the mustache to boot. He turned down the volume on his daytime television, then swiveled around in his chair in order to give Doug a vigorous dressing down.

“You’ve been a real thorn in my side ever since you joined the force, Crocker.”

Doug, who was seated on the opposite side of his boss’s desk, flipped up his clip-on shades. “You call this ‘the force?’”

“The Wombat World Security Team is the finest organization of officers in the entire amusement park industry,” the Chief said. “We make those suck bags keeping an eye on Kippy’s Kangatropolis look like a bunch of pukes and I will not have you sullying our good name.”

“I don’t have to listen to this,” Doug said.

Wam! The Chief banged his fist down on his desk, causing bundles of papers and empty coffee cups to scatter everywhere. “Goddamn it, Crocker! You’re a loose cannon!”

Doug stood up and leaned over the desk. “What would you know about it?! I’m out there every day, day in, day out, putting my ass on the line while you’re in here, polishing your brass and waxing your chair with your ass, pretending like all the busy work you do means something just to justify your miserable bureaucratic existence!”

The Chief leaned over and glared angrily at his subordinate.  The two men leered and snarled at one another. There was less than an inch between their faces.

“Your one and only job here is to observe and report, shit for brains!” the Chief shouted. “You think you got a real big swinging dick whenever you do all this cowboy shit Crocker but I swear to God one of these days you’re going to get someone killed and then its going to be all our asses on the line!”

“Aww,” Doug said as he flipped his clip-on shades down. “If you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen baby because this chef is cooking with gas.”

The Chief opened up a heavy, paper stuffed folder with Doug’s name printed on the side. “Hassling old ladies…hassling children…hassling park guests of every kind…”

“Rule breakers, Chief,” Doug said. “The whole lot of ‘em. Get your head out of your ass and get my back, man. Don’t you realize we’re the last line of defense between order and chaos in this park?”

“Did you stop a little girl this morning?” the Chief asked.

“Her pie hole was filled with a giant wad of Bubblelicious,” Doug said. “She sticks it on one of the antique Willy Wombat statues or leaves it on somebody’s seat and bam, pow! The whole park gets flushed down the shitter.”
“Her mother ripped my head off over that,” the Chief said as he flipped through the pages in the folder. “You have truly been a giant, festering, puss filled boil on my ass for as long as I’ve known you, Crocker, but I’ve finally got you know. You’ve finally written a check so large that your ass can’t cash it.”

“Bullshit!” Doug said. “I’m a duly designated officer of cartoon based theme park law!”

The Chief foamed at the mouth. “Did you get a gift shop trashed?”

Doug looked away from his boss. “I don’t know anything about it.”

The Chief pounded his fist down on his desk, then pointed at Doug. “Damn it! Don’t you lie to me! I am the Almighty God of Hellfire and I can rain down more furious vengeance upon you than you could possibly imagine! Did you get a gift shop trashed?”

Doug shook his head. “Step off my jock, Jack. Its longer than you can handle and you’re going to trip over if if you aren’t careful.”

The Chief’s nostril’s flared. “Did you get a gift shop trashed?”

Doug folded his arms. “You won’t get nothing out of me.”

The Chief inhaled a deep breath, exhaled, then roared, “Did you get a gift shop trashed?”

Doug caved. “You’re goddamn right I got a gift shop trashed!”

“I knew it,” the Chief said. “Thousands of dollars worth of damage. Hundreds of toys missing. Countless employees traumatized.  ”

“You have the audacity to charge me with keeping this park safe and then question the way I do it?” Doug said. “Oh look at you, you hypocritical son of a bitch. You sit in here all high and mighty in your fancy office with your female talk shows and your exotic coffees and you like to think you’re better than I am, but deep down we both know that you want a man like me out there in the shit, you need a man like me out there in the shit, this park could not operate for a single second without me out there in the shit.”

“You’re on thin ice, Crocker,” the Chief said. “And you’re talking like a man wearing a pair of razor sharp ice skates. You know its wrong to get company property destroyed, just admit it.”

“I admit nothing,” Doug said. “ Jessica Flynn was stuffed into a Willy Wombat costume without a single second of training and thrown to those tiny wolves. She was one more kick from a toddler’s shoe away from being done. Over. Finished. Kaput. She’d of been a goner if I hadn’t done something but instead of thanking me and putting a nice letter in my file you want to mount my ass on your wall just to make your corporate overlords happy.”

“I’ve had enough of that insubordinate lip, Crocker,” the Chief said as he held out his hand. “Turn over your whistle.”

Doug’s face turned white. “What?”

“You’re suspended,” the Chief said. “Two weeks without pay.”

“Aw come on,” Doug said.

“You want to try for three?”

Doug took the whistle that was hanging around his neck off and slapped it down in the Chief’s hand.

“And your badge,” the Chief said.

A tear trickled out of Doug’s eye as he looked down at the shiny silver wombat shaped badge pinned to his chest. “Come on, Chief.”

“You’re a disgrace to this poorly paid private security organization,” the Chief said. “I won’t have you wearing our revered symbol a on your worthless chest a second longer.”

The Chief reached over the desk and ripped the badge right off of Doug’s shirt, leaving a hole in the fabric behind.

Doug’s face shriveled up. It was as if a piece of his soul was ripped away with that wombat shaped badge.

“Go straight to your car,” the Chief said. “Go home and think long and hard about what you have done.”

“Chief,” Doug said. “My partner’s out there.”

“He’s not your partner,” the Chief said.

“Earl is the best and also only officer I’ve ever worked with that didn’t request a transfer to get away from me,” Doug said. “And he’s not answering his radio.”

“I’m sure he’s fine, Crocker,” the Chief said. “Besides, its not your problem anymore. Get the hell outta here or I’ll call the actual cops and have them throw you out.”

Doug got up and walked away while muttering, “We’ll see about that.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 22

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Mack and Dylan stood on a moving walkway amidst a group of twenty people, a mix of adults and children. The belt stopped and the pre-recorded voice of an announcer explained the display that the tourists were viewing through a pane of thick glass.

“Welcome to Shock Rocket,” the announcer said. “Built over fifty years ago, this attraction provides you with a firsthand look into what people from the 1960s thought the future would be like.”

In the display, the robotic joints of a little animatronic boy moved about as his animatronic father sat in a chair and read a newspaper. Their voices were also pre-recorded.

“Papa?” the boy asked. “What will the world be like in nineteen-ninety-five?”

The father’s joints creaked as he lowered his paper. “Gosh, Timmy. What a question. Why by the year nineteen ninety five, resources will be plentiful so there will be no more suffering or economic strife. Politicians will be of excellent moral character and music, movies and culture of all kinds will be of superb quality.  No sir, you’ll never leave a picture show thinking you just wasted two hours of your life. Moreover, all the negroes will be shipped off to Jupiter, so they’ll be happy over there and we’ll be happy here, separate but equal as they say.”

“Wow,” Mack said.

“This really needs to be updated,” Dylan said.

“Humans will live in the lap of luxury as robots cater to their every need,” the father continued. “And since our new metal friends will do all the cooking, cleaning and various and sundry house chores, there will no longer be a need for me to take off my belt and give your mother the old coupe de grace across the backside for fetching my dinner late.”

Timmy’s tiny hand patted a stuffed dog on the head. “I hope they’ll have dogs in the future.”

“Oh don’t worry, Timmy,” Papa said. “Women will always treat men like dogs. Sure, they’re happy to spend all your money on geegaws, knick knacks and useless folderol. You try your best to be nice but they won’t stop giving the milkman the old ‘come hither’ look. And while men are slaving away at the salt mines, women are stuffing their pie holes with bonbons, watching soap operas and doing anything but ironing your shirt. Doesn’t a hard working man deserve a crisp, starched shirt, Timmy? Is that too much to ask? For Christ’s sake, these hairy arm pitted, bra burning women’s libbers will be the death of us all.”
The conveyor belt moved, taking the crowd further down the hallway.

“Mack?” Dylan asked.

“Yeah?”

“Is my father like that?”

Mack sighed.

“I don’t know what to tell you here, buddy.”

“It’s cool dawg,” Dylan said. “As Stank Daddy would say, ‘On these mean streets, the only thing a hustler’s got is his tech-nine and the truth.”

“God I wish you’d read a book or something,” Mack said.

“Well?” Dylan asked.

“No,” Mack said. “He’s not beating your mother up with a belt over a later dinner or anything but…”

“What?” Dylan asked.

“There are rules to this, kid,” Mack said. “The adults aren’t supposed to bad mouth each other in front of the kids.”

“There’s nothing you can’t tell me that I haven’t seen on the Internet since I was just a lil’ shawty,” Dylan said.

“Damn Internet,” Mack said. “OK, fine. Your Dad ran off but instead of divorcing your mother, he keeps stringing her along, telling her he’ll come back any minute as soon as he quote unquote ‘finds himself’ but he’s not really doing any deep, meaningful soul searching at all. He’s just bilking her for as much money as he can until she calls it quits.”

“Whoa,” Dylan said. “Sorry I asked.”

“Me too,” Mack said. “Stop rushing to become an adult. Believe me, by the time you become one, you’ll wish you hadn’t.”

“I ought to bust a cap in my pop’s ass,” Dylan said. “Bla-ka-ka-kat.”

“Do you know you’re a white kid from the suburbs?” Mack asked.

“Yeah, if you want to saddle me with the label that the man slaps on my ass just so I can fit the preconceived notions inside his cracker ass mind,” Dylan said. “But I self-identify as an OG. My ass is down with the gangsta set.”

“Whatever,” Mack said. “I’m not sure what to say about your father other than I’m sure he loves you in his own way. Some people just spend their lives looking for some kind of high from life without realizing what they have right in front of them.”

The conveyor belt stopped.

“We’re cool, though, right?” Dylan said.

Mack held out his fist. Dylan bumped it.

“Maybe,” Mack said. “Just try to self-identify as a kid that does his homework and gets good grades.”

“What?” Dylan asked. “A street hustler can’t also get good grades?”

“I didn’t say that,” Mack said. “I’m saying that you specifically don’t get good grades.”

“Check your privilege, bro,” Dylan replied.

“I didn’t mean anything bad by it,” Mack said.

“It’s cool,” Dylan said. “Just slap a trigger warning on unsafe speech like that next time.”

Mack sighed. “I need to remind myself to stop having conversations with people born before nineteen-ninety.”

A pair of double-doors opened and the crowd made its way into a room made up to look like a space craft.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” came the announcer’s voice. “The year is nineteen-ninety-five.…”

“Oh thank God,” Mack muttered.

“…as envisioned by people from nineteen sixty-five.”

“Damn it,” Mack said.

“Yes, thirty whole years into the future,” the announcer continued. “Please find your seats and buckle in, as your ride on the Shock Rocket is about to begin.”

Mack and Dylan strapped in to their seats. The other tourists buckled up. Down the row, a mother and father were struggling with their rambunctious seven-year old.

“Cody,” the father said. “Calm down. No! Get in your seat!”

“Why did you give him that soda?” the mother asked. “He’s going to be bouncing off the walls now.”

“I didn’t give it to him,” the father said. “He helped himself.”

“Well maybe you should set a better example and don’t drink sugary drinks in front of him,” the mother opined.

“Jesus Karen,” the father said. “I need it just to stay awake through all this bullshit. I can’t believe we wasted so much money on a park dedicated to a cartoon wombat where all the rides are from the sixties and they charge you four bucks for a lousy Funky Cola that probably, at best, has ten cents worth of soda syrup and water in it.”

“Fine,” Karen said. “Just bitch and moan your way through the whole vacation then, Norm.”

“Maybe I will,” Norm said. “Maybe we should have gone to Maui like I wanted to.”

“Like there’s anything for Cody to do in Maui,” Karen said.

“Oh please,” Norm replied. “This kid’s got a squirrel brain. You think he gets any of this? Put him on a beach with a bucket to make sand castles with and he’d be just as happy and you and I could be sunning ourselves and drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas in them.”

Dylan leaned over to whisper to his uncle. “Maybe its better for parents to get divorced than to end up like that?”

“Eh,” Mack said. “Put any two people together long enough and they’re bound to gripe at each other. The key is whether or not they keep coming back. I sense behind all that bickering, there’s a lot of love between those two.”

“Oh God,” Karen yelled. “My mother was right. I should have married Bob Kovach.”

“Oh here we go with the Bob Kovach routine,” Norm said.

“Bob Kovach owns a successful dry cleaning business,” Karen said. “Bob Kovach volunteers to read to at risk youth. Bob Kovach never has a snippy attitude.”

Norm sighed. “I only have a snippy attitude when you talk about Bob Kovach who, by the way, has one eye that’s way bigger than the other.”

“Its hardly noticeable,” Karen said.

“Hardly noticeable?” Norm asked. “The man looks like a walking science experiment.”

Mack looked at his nephew. “Then again, I suppose if all a couple ever does is fight then there’s not much of a point to keep it going.”

“For a dude who isn’t married, you sure know a lot about relationships,” Dylan said.

Mack scoffed. “Nah. Honestly, I’m just pulling this all out of my ass. I’m the last one to talk to about love.”

Dylan slapped his hands and rubbed them together as though he’d just caught a great big secret. “I knew it! You got a fly ass honey stashed somewhere.”

“Had,” Mack said.

“Oh,” Dylan said. “She take a walk?”

“That’s classified,” Mack said.

The young couple’s argument grew louder.

“Cody,” Karen shouted. “Give Mommy that soda so she can throw it out.”

“You’re going to throw away four bucks like I’m made of money?” Norm asked.

“When this thing starts up it will go everywhere,” Karen said.

“So what?” Norm said.

“So its common courtesy,” Karen said.

“Common my ass,” Norm replied. “For a hundred and sixty eight bucks a ticket, they can afford to clean up a spill.”

Karen looked exasperated. “Bob Kovach would back me up on this.”

“Aww Bob Kovach my ass,” Norm said.

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Zomcation – Chapter 21

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At the Wombat World Zoo, Paige stood in front of the hyena enclosure and live streamed away on her tablet.

Soon, A.J. slowly rose up into the frame and sang, “Heather Haskill sucks….”

B.J. poked his head into the shot. “…Heather Haskill sucks…

Next came C.J. “…Heather Haskill sucks…”

Davey put his arm around Paige. “…Heather Haskill sucks!”

Then the boys wrapped up their tune with, “And Tommy doesn’t know what the hell-uh-ell he’s missing!”

Paige stopped the live stream. “OMG guys. Hashtag best song ever. Thank you.”

“No problem,” A.J. said.

“So Paige,” B.J. added. “Now that we’ve checked out the zoo and humiliated your ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend, what do you want to do next?”

“OMG,” Paige said. “So many options.”

“We could take you to lunch if you want,” C.J. said. “Only we’re not allowed to do anything but watch you eat.”

“You’re not allowed to eat?” Paige asked.

“Afraid not,” Davey said as he patted his flat stomach. “Diet soda and biweekly almonds only according to our contract. I almost got fired for eating candy this morning.”

“That’s terrible,” Paige said. “I had no idea you guys suffered so much.”

“Gotta do it for the fans,” A.J. said.

“No one’s going to scream and clap for a fatty,” B.J. noted.

Paige frowned. “Guys, I feel bad about something.”

“The video we just recorded to humiliate your enemies?” C.J. asked.

“No,” Paige said. “Wait…no. They both suck. No, at the concert this girl I just met gave me a seat and blah, blah, blah I’ll spare you the details but she was saving the seat in honor of her sister who died from cancer and now I feel bad for not letting her spend the day at Wombat World with you.”

The boys went quiet. They looked at each other, then at their new friend.

“Wow, Paige.” Davey said.

“That’s pretty low,” A.J. said.

“Despicable,” B.J said.

“Underhanded,” C.J. said.

Davey waited a few seconds then put his hand up in the air.

“What?” Paige asked.

“High five!” Davey said.

Paige slapped Davey’s hand.

“I don’t get it,” Paige said.

“Paigester,” Davey said. “How do you think we got where we are?”

“I don’t know,” Paige said. “Hard work, talent, and charisma?”

The boys doubled over with laughter.

“Oh…oh my God,” A.J. said.

“She’s serious!” B.J. said.

“Then how?” Paige asked.

“We slipped Boysplosion and Boyapalooza the old laxative special when they made it to the final round of America’s Hottest New Boy Band,” C.J. said.

“We won the gold,” Davey said.

“And they won the brown,” B.J. said.

“OMG,” Paige said.

“Mums the word, of course,” C.J. said.

“Oh right,” Paige said. “Of course. I won’t tell anyone. Hashtag totally mum. I just don’t know what to think of this.”

“The world only has so much room for so many winners, Paige,” Davey said. “And victory rarely comes wrapped in a neat, pretty bow.”

“Sometimes its messy,” A.J. said.

“Like two rival boy bands blasting ass all over a public restroom messy,” B.J. said.

“Still,” Paige said. “I feel awful.”

“What’s this girl’s name?” C.J. asked.

“Laura.”

“Call her up,” Davey said. “Invite her to join us.”

“Oh,” Paige said. “I’d love to but I didn’t get her number. I only talked to her for a few minutes. I didn’t even get her last name.”

A.J. took Paige’s tablet. “Funny thing about social media. It has a way of making a big world a whole lot smaller.”

The boys lined up behind Paige and looked at the tablet in A.J.’s hand.

“What are you guys doing?” Paige asked.

“If Laura’s on Lifebox,” B.J. said. “This will make its way to her.”

A.J. hit the record button and started a live stream. The boys snapped their fingers as if they had morphed into a 1950s doo-wop group.

They sang together.

“Whoa Laura, whoa Laura…Paige…she done you bad.”

Davey belted out an “Ooo…uh…ooo!”

“But Laura, whoa Laura, now Paige is so sad-uh-ad.”

A.J. launched into a solo. “Will you please join us before the day is over? As soon as you get this message, write to Paige and she’ll tell you where to come over.”

Davey was up. “A budding new friendship is too important to tear apart.”

“Hey guys,” C.J. sang as he looked at the hyena enclosure. “I think one of those hyenas just made a stinky fart.”

A.J. hit the stop button. “Dude! Stinky fart?!”

“What?” C.J. said. “You had a better word that rhymes with apart?”

“Cart, smart, art,” Davey said.

“Boys, boys,” Paige said. “Come on. Hashtag heartwarming. I hope she sees it.”

“In the meantime, Paigester,” Davey said. “No visit to Wombat World is complete without a ride on the Infernacoaster.”

“Infernacoaster?” Paige asked.

Davey put his arm around Paige again.

“Five hundred feet of steel, flaming hoops, and death metal,” Davey said.

“There’s a rumor that three kids have died on it over the years,” A.J. said.

“You have to sign a waiver absolving Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios of all responsibility in case you drop dead from fright,” B.J. said.

“OMG,” Paige said. “I don’t know.”

“That’s just a formality,” C.J. said. “They do that just to cover their butts.

“We’ve been on it dozens of times,” Davey said. “It’s awesome.”

“Well,” Paige said as she looked around at each of the boys. “OK.”

A.J. burst into song. “Awesome…totally awesome. Paige is going on the Infern-oh-uh-oh Coaster.”

B.J. spotted a concession stand shaped like a giant wombat. He walked towards it. “Guys, I am parched. Wanna get a caffeine fix?”

“Sounds good to me,” C.J. said. “Paige, you want anything?”

“Oh,” Paige said. “No. This is embarrassing but my mom usually pays for everything.”

Everyone in line at the stand stepped aside as the boys approached.

“Stick with us, Paige,” Davey said as he bellied up to the counter. “And you’ll never wait in line or pay for anything.”

The sunburnt young man working the counter was surprised. “Wow! Boyz Aplenty.”

“Sup?” Davey said.

“I’ve heard all of your songs,” the worker said. “But only because my sister loves you guys and not because I’m gay or anything.”

“Not necessary to say, dude,” A.J. said.

“Our beats transcend all sexual predilections,” B.J. said.

“Four of your best diet colas, my good man,” C.J. said.

“And for the lady?” the worker asked.

Paige smiled. “I’ll just have a water.”

“Coming right up.”

The worker popped into the back of the stand, where he found a young female worker napping.

“Kelly!” the male worker said.

“Huh?” Kelly said as she perked up.

“Boyz Aplenty!”

“What about them, Eric?” Kelly asked.

“They’re here!” Eric said.

“So?” Kelly said. “They’re so overrated. Boytastic has a superior sound.”

“Whatever,” Eric said. “You were supposed to install a new syrup bag yesteday. We can’t serve the boys skunk fizz.”

“Alright, alright,” Kelly said as she opened up a cardboard box sitting on the counter. “Sheesh, if you love them so much why don’t you marry them?”

“Like I told them its not a gay love,” Eric said. “Its a love of their angelic voices combined with the way their carefully selected words speak to my soul….but I mean, when I overhear my sister playing them on her phone because I’d never listen to that shit myself.”

“Carruthers Brothers Amalgamated Studios owns like five hundred boy bands,” Kelly said as she unhooked an old, empty bag from the machine.

“They’re not worthy to rinse out Boyz Aplenty’s socks,” Eric said. “Again, so my sister tells me.”

“I don’t have time to psychoanalyze your boy band love,” Kelly said as she hoisted a bag full of brown, sticky soda syrup and attached it to the machine.

“Is that fresh?” Eric asked.

“Sure is,” Kelly said. “Delivered this morning.”

“Thank God,” Eric replied. “Those boys deserve the best.”

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Zomcation – Chapter 20

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Abby stood, all by her incredibly sad self, in a long line as she waited for her turn to enjoy the Happy Little International Children Experience.

The Floridian sun was hot and the rays beat down on her head. Everyone in front and behind her was sweaty. A pungent aroma of body odor invaded her nose.

She sipped on her non-Wombat World vended soda as her phone buzzed.

The caller ID read, “Assface.”

She clicked a button to ignore the call the, then turned her attention to one of the many monitors that hanged from the ceiling. Every few feet, there was another monitor. Thus, no matter where one was in line, one could always keep watching.

A pasty faced old man appeared on the screen. “Oh, hello. I’m Benny Walters. If you’re a fan of Carruthers Brothers films, then you’ll remember me from my roles as Billy the boy genius in Mister Dondlelinger’s Wacky Contraption and as Fred the boy detective in Kid Detective Squad: Operation Justice. Yes, I was such a spry, young whippersnapper in the 1960s. Now my face looks like a goddamn newspaper that was left on a bus seat only to get all crinkly after ten people sat and cut the cheese all over it. And I have to take a pill every three hours just to keep my heart beating. Son of a bitch, where did the time go?”

Benny looked off to the camera. “What? I can’t say, ‘bitch?’ Because it might offend the precious little ones’ delicate ears? Yeah, well, at least they didn’t get thrown off the studio lot with ten bucks and a bus ticket once they grew pubes…oh alright! I’ll play nice.”

The old timer returned his gaze to the camera and put his yellow teeth on display with a phony smile. “Journey back in time with me, will you?”

Abby’s phone buzzed again. She ignored it once more.

A video clip ran. It featured a tiny, googly eyed cartoon wombat in black and white, at the helm of a locomotive.

“The year was 1925. On a lark, Milton and Rutherford Carruthers scraped their last pennies together to create an animated short entitled, The Wombat on the Train. Reviews were mixed. Many people marveled at the sight of a cartoon marsupial. Others were convinced that the Carruthers Brothers were warlocks who had sold their souls to the devil in exchange for the power to bring their drawings to life.”

The next clip showed Willy behind the controls of a World War II era bomber. Benny continued his narration.

“Over the years, Willy grew in popularity, so much so that the government enlisted the little fellow as a public relations ambassador.”

Willy looked at the camera and squeaked, “Buy war bonds to help our boys purchase the bombs they need to drop on the dirty, stinking Japs!”

“This really needs to be updated,” Abby mumbled.

Princess Paulina popped up on screen, surrounded by her furry animal friends.

“But the Carruthers Brothers cemented their celebrity status with their nineteen-thirty-one classic, The Princess and the Witch,” Benny said in a voice over. “Many critics argued that the Carruthers’ Brothers’ animation was just a cheap parlor trick and that no one would pay good money to watch an entire animated film. Boy howdy, did they end up with egg on their faces.”

Abby sweated away in line and watched the monitor as the cartoon animals chatted with the princess.

“Oh goodness,” Princess Paulina said. “Prince Handsome just ran off to look for more princesses to rescue and accidentally locked me in here on his way out the door.”

“Tough luck, kiddo,” Willy said as he waved his magic wand. “You only get one wish so you’re on your own.”

Poof! The wombat was gone.

“Well, that’s it,” Chester said. “You’re totally screwed up the wazoo now, doll face.”

“Oh, but little friend,” Princess Paulina said. “Don’t you know that I have a dream?”

“What is it?” Chester inquired.

“Why,” Princess Paulina said. “I dream that one day I’ll be able to leave this dark, dank, nasty old tower and go somewhere far, far away from that nasty old witch.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Ferdinand said. “You’ll croak in here for sure.”

“Yeah,” Chester said. “Just give up all hope now.”

“Don’t you see, friends?” Princess Paulina asked. “As long as you have a dream, you still have hope.”

Chester and Ferdinand looked at each other in confusion.

“Here,” the princess said. “Let me explain.”

Soothing orchestra music played in the background as the princess exercised her vocal chords and sang ever so sweetly.

“A dream is a thing to think about…in order to avoid killing yourself…”

A little bird landed on Princess Paulina’s finger.

“…as you shuffle pointlessly through your soul crushing existence…in truth your life is the sum of your circumstances, but isn’t it better to delude yourself into think you have a chance?”

Chester and Ferdinand broke out their instruments, once again, from nowhere, and played along with the song.

“Whatever you yearn for you’ll never achieve it, but do not cry and do not grieve it, just trick yourself into believing that what you want is just around the corner…”

“Around the corner?” Chester and Ferdinand asked.

“Around the corner,” Princess Paulina sang. “Give it a little more time and your heart’s desire will be yours. It’ll never happen, for sure, but why cry over so many closed doors? For when those dreams they aren’t a-danglin’, yourself you will be a-stranglin’ with your own belt as a makeshift noose that you wrap around your neck as you close your eyes and give in to the fact that death is the only respite from a lifetime of inevitable disappointment…”

“Huh,” Abby said as she watched the monitor. “Still true after all these years.”

Abby’s phone buzzed again.

“What, Scott?” she snapped as she answered.

“Hey Abs,” Scott said. “Listen, I’m about to get arrested and I have like a minute before the cops take my phone away from me…”

“What?” Abby said. “Arrested?”

“Yeah,” Scott replied. “Turns out taking a whizz in a hotel fountain while fifty people are watching is frowned upon in Vegas.”

“What?” Abby asked. “Why?”

“I don’t know why,” Scott said. “If I can go to an all you can eat buffet for a buck ninety nine and watch a show where a transexual Elvis impersonator spanks a donkey wearing lipstick then surely one would think that no one would have any qualms about public urination but apparently, one would be wrong.”

“No,” Abby said. “I mean why are you in Vegas?”

“Oh,” Scott said. “A few of the boys and I were feeling restless so we decided to hop on a plane and try our hand at a little dice, a little black jack, maybe scope out a naked booby or two.”

Abby fumed. “You chose to go to Vegas instead of a trip to Wombat World with your wife and children?”

“Abs,” Scott said. “Do they have strippers in Wombat World that can pick up a dollar bill with their coochies? I think not. Best value I’ve ever gotten out of a George Washington portrait.”

Scott took a moment to burp and wheeze.

“Are you drunk?” Abby said.

“Of course I’m drunk,” Scott said. “You think I’d whip out Mister Winky in front of everyone if I were sober?”

Pause.

“Don’t answer that…”

A gruff sounding cop’s voice could be heard in the background. “Time to hang up, sir. You’re coming downtown.”

“Abby,” Scott said. “I need you to bail me out!”

“How much is that going to cost?” Abby said.

“I don’t know,” Scott said. “A grand, maybe? Come on, Abs, I’m very delicate. I can’t spend any time in the lockup. It might be a day or two before the judge hears my case and I could end up anally violated the entire time. Is that what you want? For me to be anally violated for one, possibly two days straight?”

Abby thought about it. “You know what, Scott? I’m tired of being your personal ATM machine. If you don’t want me in your life, then figure it out.”

“Wait, no, Abs!!!!”

For Abby, that call ending swipe to the right on her phone felt like a relief. She returned her attention to the monitor. Benny was back on.

“Ahh yes,” Benny said. “‘A dream is a thing to think about in order to avoid killing yourself.’ Such a lovely classic song, isn’t it? I know whenever I feel down in the dumps, convinced that I’m little more than a sentient meat puppet and that there’s no god listening to my prayers and I’m so depressed that all I want to do is lock the garage door, attach a hose to my exhaust pipe and run the other end through my window, then just sprawl out in the back seat, close my eyes, and wait for the eternal nap, I play this song and tell myself, ‘Eh, who knows? Maybe some good shit will happen tomorrow.’ It never does, but what have you got to lose by waiting to see just in case, right?”

“Right,” Abby said to herself.

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