Tag Archives: popular culture

Top Ten Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Damn Reality TV Star

shutterstock_267550688 And now from BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Reality Television Star!

10.  Cameras follow her around wherever she goes, despite the fact that she never does anything relevant or newsworthy whatsoever.

9.  Meanwhile, producers follow you around wherever you go, demanding that you engage your girlfriend in obviously contrived dramatic interactions.  Tell her you have a disease that you don’t really have.  Tell her that her sister is dying when she doesn’t even have a sister.  Tell her a mutual friend that doesn’t exist was just hit by a bus. Just tell her something that sounds totally awful to keep the viewers from changing the channel.

8. That teeny weeny dog living in her purse gets more kisses from her than you do.

7.  When she does kiss you she leaves so much glitter on you that you end up looking like Tinkerbell took a dump on your face.

6.  You’ve grown accustomed to words like “lurve,” “totes” and “bae.”  At least when you’re down, you can always count on a “I totes lurve u 4-eva bae” text.  (If she isn’t busy at da club.)

5.  She drinks enough to drop a Clydesdale, yet somehow manages to looks good in the morning…er, well…in the afternoon…after twenty-five assistants fix and readjust everything.

4.  She has her own fragrance, vodka, fashion line and music album.  Yet somehow, her head will explode if you ask her to read The Cat in the Hat.

3.  You broke the news to her that your doctor thinks you need a colonoscopy.  She wants to know if she can live tweet the whole experience and put the camera feed on periscope.

2.  People are constantly searching the inter webs for nude photos of her.  Stop selling nude photos of her, you pervert.

  1. She argues with you using hashtags:

YOU:  Hi babe.  Sorry I’m late.

HER: #tookyoulongenough!

YOU:  I couldn’t help it.  Traffic was a nightmare.

HER: #tellsomeonewhocares

YOU:  Aww.  Don’t be like that.

HER: #worstboyfriendever!

HONORABLE MENTION:

We would have also accepted:

  • Owns more leopard printed clothing than Tarzan.
  • Ironically, wears less of said clothing, or any clothing really, than Tarzan.
  • Owns enough shoes to outfit a gaggle of centipedes.
  • Selfies.  So many selfies.
  • Tries to look hot with a duck faced selfie.  Ends up looking like Daisy Duck suffering through a yeast infection.
  • She gets a manicure.  It’s a show.  She gets a pedicure.  It’s a show.  She goes shopping. It’s a show.  She stands on one foot and bounces up and down?  It’s a two hour special.
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Popculturemysteries.com

Dear 3.5 Readers,shutterstock_207933922

If you enjoy being one of my 3.5 readers, will you consider becoming one of the 3.5 readers of “Pop Culture Mysteries” conveniently located for your perusal at www.popculturemysteries.com?

This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor and become one of my 3.5 readers on a new site before competition for these coveted 3.5 slots kicks in.

The Pop Culture Mysteries site is currently under construction. I’ve set a deadline to get it up and running on April 1, but I’ll be making some posts and adding information to it in the months ahead.

This is kind of like renting a new apartment and inviting your friends over to see it before the truck arrives with your furniture.

In other words, I have no place for you to sit, but I’d love for you to take a peak and tell me what you think.

Plus, you can read on as I answer the question, “What is a Pop Culture Mystery?”

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Mystery Writer Interviews

By: Jake Dashing, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private
Investigator

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You’re a writer, a scribe, a wordsmith, but you’re not just any ordinary
Mickey Spillane type either.  Oh no.  Like an bona fide seamstress, you thread your words ever so delicately through the eye of the needle that is your book only to attach it to your readers’ hearts just so you can yank them to and fro, turning them into your own personal puppets.

You sling your work like hash fresh off the grill, serving them straight into the gaping maws of your fans and like a bunch of trained seals, they always slap their fins together and beg for me.

You barely have time as it is but you need to make some, because time flies when you’re having fun but it should always stand still for a man in need.  And as I’ve been instructed to say by a beautiful blonde attorney, that man in none other than one Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Battler’s setting up a new website, see?  “Pop Culture Mysteries” is the name and answering entertainment questions is the game, or rather, it’s my game, as that pencil neck dweeb has concocted a scheme to drive me indefinitely into a life of involuntarily servitude.

But troubles are a dime a dozen, a plug nickel on Sunday, and the last thing you need is to have a bum like me bend your ear with mine.  What you need to know is what Battler wants from you.

He’s got the pop culture part covered.  What he needs now is more mystery and like a door with a bright big red X painted on it, that’s where you come in.

You see, Battler fancies himself a writer only no one has the nerve to tell him that they’ve seen bird cage liners with more flare than the schlock this palooka churns out.

He wants to learn some tips to improve his writing skills (I know, you’re good but you’re no miracle worker) and he wants to catch the twinkling eyes of mystery fans the world over and bring them to his site, so to cut a longwinded gab session in half, he wants me to interview you.

And I’ll do it in my typical hardboiled noir style.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, SPECIFICALLY?

I’ll write the questions.  You write your answers.  I’ll turn it into Battler and he’ll slap it up on the Interwhatever, see?

IS THERE ANY COMPENSATION?

Are you kidding?  Someone check my leg because I think it’s being pulled.

Battler’s such a lousy cheap skate that you wouldn’t be able to open up his wallet with a crowbar and a plumber’s helperzx . If you did, a squadron of moths would fly out and dance the hula mid air as a joyous victory celebration of their newfound freedom.

You’d sooner get a rummy to part with his bottle than you’d get Battler to part with a penny and…ok…you get the point.

Battler can send his 3.5 readers your way though.  I put on my green eyeshade, crunched the numbers and realized that means a total of seven new eyeballs on your work.  Maybe one of them wears an eyepatch or something, I don’t know.

CAN BATTLER BE TRUSTED?

Your asking the wrong fella, Jack.  I trust Battler about as far as I can throw him and since he’s insulated himself behind his blonde bombshell of an attorney, I’m not able to toss that lug very far at all.

But that’s between Battler and I.  What I do know is this cat treats writers who help him out like royalty, so take that into consideration.

#31ZombieAuthors – I don’t believe in the supernatural and I think Battler is full of three day old horse manure when it comes to the tall tales on his site, bookshelfbattle.com.  But he did interview #31ZombieAuthors in October 2015, 1 a day for 31 days and it was a rousing success.

Ask the Alien – I don’t think Battler’s telling the truth about being friends with an alien from outer space.  After all, a little green man in search of intelligent life would be bored out of his mind with Battler as a buddy.  Aside from that though, this column has promoted the works of around 20 authors.  Add that to #31ZombieAuthors and we’re talking over 50 satisfied writers.

THE GUARANTEE

As a writer, you make your living on your reputation, so it makes sense that you’d be skeptical about throwing your hat into a ring run by a weirdo who claims to be friends with aliens.

That’s why Battler offers everyone a guarantee.  You don’t like the post of your interview? Let Battler know and it comes down.  No muss.  No fuss. No problem.

50 author promos later and not one has asked for this, but if you do, BQB will yank that interview like he’s starting a boat motor.  Like all of my hopes and dreams, your interview will be gone and that will be that.  No hard feelings, as if there are any other kind.

If you’re interested, let Battler know.  If you’re not, I don’t blame you.  Between you, me and the four walls, that guy is a big loser with about as much charisma as a wet blanket in a tepid pool of water.

So thanks for listening, ya big lug ya and if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, well, I’d say drinks are on me but since i’m broke, they’ll be on you.

Get me something good.  Nothing fruity but otherwise it doesn’t matter as long as it helps me to pass out and stop all the bad memories I have from playing over and over again like a bad gag reel.

It’s been a real gas, kid.

Jake Dashing

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POP CULTURE MYSTERIES – CASE FILE #TBA – KILL ‘EM AGAIN (PART 2)

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 – 7:30 pm.shutterstock_225997423

Various costumed weirdos meandered into the restaurant as Ms. Tsang’s employees served h’orderves.

“So let me get this straight,” I said. “When I needed Battler’s help, he sent you to make me sign a legally binding contract obligating me to jump through a bunch of hoops like a jackass, but now that he needs something from me I’m supposed to bend over backwards like a world class limbo champion?”

“That’s the general idea,” Ms. Donnelly said. “It’s entirely up to you, Mr. Hatcher.  I can’t force your hand, though I find it necessary to point out that if General Morganstern succeeds in blowing up Mr. Battler into smithereens, the secret of how you can return to 1955 will perish with him.”

“Good,”  I said.  “Good riddance to that lousy nerd.  You could just tell me the skinny then.”

Ms. Donnelly clutched her pearls.

“I wouldn’t dream of it!” she said.  “Go against a client’s wishes?  Mr. Hatcher, I’m an officer of the court and as an attorney I have a reputation to uphold.”

“Fine,” I said. “I’ll fill up a notebook with the scoop on how I punched Adolf Hitler in the face if you think it’ll be useful as a bargaining chip to save Battler’s hide.  But know I’m not doing it for that geek, Ms. Donnelly.  I’m doing it for you.  If that weasel buys the farm you’ll stop visiting me and I’d miss you like a castrated dog misses his phantom testicles.”

“As usual, I don’t know whether or not to be charmed or alarmed, Mr. Hatcher.”

“A little from Column A and a little from Column B,” I replied.

The music began.  Every yahoo in the joint started jitterbugging.

“Isn’t it a tad early for Halloween festivities?” Delilah asked.

“Ahh, this is some shindig Ms. Tsang and the local merchants put together every year,”  I answered.  “Every business holds a party.  The kids come by to trick or treat.  The adults get tipsy.  It’s fun, you know, for people who aren’t like us…people who have the luxury of being able to have fun.”

“People who don’t suffer the burdens we do?”  Delilah asked.

“Precisely,” I replied.

Some ignoramus in a lion costume walked up to the table.

“Put ’em up, put ’em up,” the jerk said.

Instinctively, I reached into my trench coat, under which I kept Betsy, my old World War II service revolver, strapped to me tight.

“Hi folks,” the lion said.  “Abe Marlowe of Marlowe’s Dry Cleaning!”

A lady wearing a blue jumper over a white shirt came over.  She carried a wicker basket with a stuffed black dog.

“My wife, Sally” the lion said.

“Hello,”  Sally said.  “Wow, cool costumes!  Let me guess…”

Sally pointed a finger to me and said, “…you’re Bogie” and then to Delilah, “…and you’re Bacall.”

“Something like that,” I replied as I took a sip from my scotch glass.  “Who the hell are you two supposed to be, escaped mental patients?”

Abe laughed.

“No,” he said.  “Haven’t you ever seen The Wizard of Oz?”

“Oh right,” I said. “Girl drops a house on a green broad minding her own business but beats the rap on a technicality, thus avoiding the chair.  A heartless robot man, a mongoloid scarecrow and a giant gutless cat march her to a magic man who they think can solve all their problems with one wave of a magic want because it never dawns on them to roll up their sleeves and do any hard work of their own.  Communist propaganda if you ask me, at least that’s what I told my girl Peaches when we saw it in the theater when it first came out.”

The couple looked at me like I was The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Delilah smoothed things over with her silver tongue, one of her many fine assets.

“Mr. Hatcher’s donned the garb of a hardboiled film noir style private detective,”  the lady lawyer said. “And one might say he’s a bit too wrapped up in the role.”

The couple breathed a sigh of relief.  Grown adults dressed up like characters in a kids’ movie but somehow I’m the oddball. Go figure.

“Nice meeting you,”  Abe said as he shook my hand.  “Stop by anytime and I’ll dry clean that coat for you, buddy.  On the house.”

Abe and Sally took off.

“Dry clean my coat?” I asked Delilah.  “What’s he mean by that?”

“Well, I’m not one to point out the foibles of others, Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah said as she clacked open her briefcase and pulled out a manilla envelope, “But you haven’t washed that coat in over sixty years so perhaps Mr. Marlowe was taking pity on you, or at least the olfactory glands of those around you.”

Delilah forked over the envelope.

“Get outta here,” I said.  “Battler wants me to write down the details of Operation Fuhrerpunschen AND solve another Pop Culture Mystery?”

“Indeed,” Delilah said. “He expects it to be part of his ‘Thirty One Zombie Authors’ promotion on the Bookshelf Battle Blog, a push to grab the attention of additional readers.”

“How’s that worked out for him so far?” I asked.

“Very well,”  Delilah said.  “Last I checked with Mr. Battler a fellow in Dubuque was giving strong consideration to clicking Mr. Battler’s follow button.”

“I just hope the fame doesn’t go to his head,” I said.

The DJ dimmed the lights and played a slow number.

“Alright alright,” the DJ said. “Boys grab your ghouls and head out on the dance floor…”

“Shall we wiggle our bodies to and fro in a passionate manner, Ms. Donnelly?” I asked.

“Thank you but no, Mr. Hatcher,” Delilah said as she stood up.  “I’m afraid I have other pressing matters to attend to and I simply have no time to dance with you this evening.”

“Who said anything about dancing?” I asked.

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A Guide to the Bookshelf Battleverse – Part 7 – Pop Culture Mysteries

Just as Cheers begat Frasier and Friends begat Joey, so too did the Bookshelf Battle Blog begat Pop Culture Mysteries.

You wish your blog had a spinoff.

DELILAH K. DONNELLY

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Attorney Delilah K. Donnelly of the Los Angeles based law firm of Donnelly and Associates is considered one of the finest lawyers in Hollywood, known for her ability to make impossible deals happen and free even the most guilty looking suspects.  Needless to say, her services cost a pretty penny.

Thus, it’s a mystery as to why she voluntarily serves as Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle Blog, holding BQB’s hand in all murky matters and acting as the rock he needs to lean on when times get tough.

A woman of perfect poise and posture, elegance, class, and refinement, she carries herself in an old fashioned manner, though she gets along just fine in modern times, eating most men who cross her for breakfast with a cunning quip.

Intensely guarded when it comes to her personal life, BQB is fully aware of how lucky he is to have such high caliber representation for a website with only 3.5 readers.

JAKE DASHING

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One of the most infamous lawmen of the twentieth century, Jacob R. Dashing left his hometown of Bayonne, NJ at age 18 with his then girlfriend, Hettie May Blodgett.  The young couple made their way to Tinseltown with stars in their eyes and dreams of fame in their hearts.

Dashing wanted to be an actor, Hettie a singer.  Since Dashing became a drunk and Hettie went on to become legendary Jazz singer Peaches LeMay, the deal worked out a bit better for his better half.

A budding career as a boxer was cut short when Mugsy McGillicuddy’s gang forced him to take a dive lest Peaches sleep with the fishes.

The Jersey Jabber” sought redemption and found it during World War II, when he was recruited for a top secret mission to punch Adolf Hitler in the face.

Through Attorney Donnelly, BQB and Dashing are currently in negotiations regarding the production of a novel based on Operation Fuhrerpunschen.

Such a move may be risky, as there are forces who would prefer to see the details of this mission stay buried.

Following WWII, Jake found employment with the LAPD, rising to the level of detective, and later became a private investigator.

His three ex-wives include:

  • Trixie, who slept with Jake’s partner, Mickey, but insisted she was fooled.  Since she wasn’t the brightest bulb, her claim wasn’t that far fetched.
  • Muffy, who shot Jake six times, but loved him enough to miss every vital organ.
  • Connie, who was the most loyal woman Jake ever knew, but alas he drove her away with his booze addiction.

POP CULTURE MYSTERIES

In 1954, Jake fell asleep at his desk.  When he woke up, it was 2014.  The Tsang family, who considered him an honorary member, took care of him for close to sixty years while he was dozing.

Cell phones.  Computers.  Color TV.  Women wearing pants and acting like they own the joint.  2014 was not a world that Jake recognized, and he began searching for answers.  Why did he sleep for nearly sixty years and was it possible to return to his own time?

A year later, in the summer of 2015, Delilah K. Donnelly walked into Jake’s office, offering answers…for a price.

Her client, Bookshelf Q. Battler, claimed to have the answers Jake was looking for, and would reveal him in exchange for Jake’s agreement to solve one hundred pop culture mysteries.

The notorious lawman felt a bit silly taking on questions as foolish as “What happened to the original Brady Bunch spouses?” but decided it was worth it if it would get him back to the 1950s.

Like most hardboiled noir style private detectives, Jake is prone to speaking in long, exaggerated monologues.

To date, BQB and Jake have never met.  Attorney Donnelly delivers BQB’s pop culture questions to Jake out of an entirely astute fear that Jake will just strangle the shit out of him until he makes with the answers.

Remember, 3.5 readers.  Many bloggers claim to be great, but only Bookshelf Q. Battler has pissed off a trained Nazi killer/boxer/detective for your personal amusement.

Keep that shit in mind when you’re doling out the leibsters, nerds.

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How to Share Quotes from Your Wattpad Stories on Social Media

Hello 3.5 Readers.

I’m noted bloggery expert, Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Check this out:

pcm

Yes, that’s a quote from “Pop Culture Mysteries:  Informant Zero.”

Jake crossed paths with a fiendish dominatrix.  She asked him to become her slave, but Jake wasn’t interested, having experienced three previous Mrs. Hatchers already.

Through wattpad, I’m able to share a quote like that on Twitter, Facebook, or a variety of social media websites designed specifically for the purposes of making the populace slow, fat, lazy, dumb, oh and also so that we share all our information so the government can spy on us and read our minds.

I’m not saying you should be worried that the government is reading your mind, but hey, a little tin foil on your head couldn’t hurt either.

3.5 Readers:  But BQB, how do I make one of those fancy quote graphics?

Thank you 3.5.  I’m glad you ask.  You want to make a graphic like this one?

dame

I feel ya,’ Jake.  Video Game Rack Fighter’s always after me about something.  Dames.  I tell you.

Or this one?

Pop Culture Mysteries Quote

Oh Professor Fremont, you slay me with your wit!

It’s simple, here’s how:

  1.  Log into Wattpad on your mobile device.
  2. Pick a word in your story and press your little finger down on it.  It might take a second or so.
  3. The word or words will be highlighted.  At each side of the highlighting, you’ll see a blue dot.  Drag the left blue dot all the way to the beginning of the quote.  Drag the right blue dot to the end of the quote.
  4. When you’re done, you’ll see a little box that says “comment.”  You can select that to comment on the quote if you want.
  5. But we want to actually share that quote, so click on the little quotation mark.  It looks like ”  I hope I didn’t actually have to tell you that.  I worry about your chances in the writing game if I had to.
  6. A photo with the background you provided for the story with the quote superimposed over it will appear.
  7. You’ll then have the opportunity to share it on your favorite time wasting social media surface.
  8. Congratulations!  You’ve managed to cram one more piece of media down America’s already bloated entertainment hole!

This has been your noble blog host, Bookshelf Q. Battler, a poindexter of world renown.

Join us next week when we’ll discuss how to glue your quotes onto rowdy chinchillas and release them into the world to spread news of your brilliance.

Attorney Donnelly just reminded me to point out that was just a joke.  Please do not glue your quotes onto chinchillas or any other animals.  They cannot be trusted.

Don’t forget, you can follow me, BQB on Wattpad or on Twitter with the same handle – @bookshelfbattle

CNITQ2VWEAAbaF2

Oh Jake, you are a cut up!  You’ll have 30.5 million readers in no time!

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Case File #005 – Smeller vs. Denier – (Part 12)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“Signor Hatcher,”  Bellavenuti said.  “I must protest the way you are treating us like criminals.  Your concern over your check is unfounded, no?”

“How do you figure, Signora?”

“Because all you need do is call the casino first thing in the morning and request they cancel the missing check and issue you a new one!”

“I could do that,”  I said.  “But suppose the crook beats me to the punch, cashes it, and runs away never shutterstock_239019796to be found again?  What then?  I fight some cockamamie international legal battle from my home in the states for the rest of my life?  Not a chance…especially…”

“Especially, what?”  Signora Bellavenuti said through her luscious lips.

“…when YOU DID IT!”

“BASTARDO!”  Signora Bellavenuti shouted as she stood up and slapped me across the face.

“Admit it!”  I said.  “Long before you started your own designer label, ‘Haus of Bellavenuti,’ you were a gorgeous fashion model who walked the runway with poise, precision, and grace.  Why, I bet you could put a book on your head and walk from here to Romania without it falling off once!”

“What are your implying?”

“Implying?  I’m saying!  You’re no klutz, Signora, and when you spilled that wine all over the best jacket I own, you did it so you could slip your nimble fingers into my pocket and grab my loot!”

“Best jacket?!  Patooie!  I spit on your best jacket!  If that is your best jacket then you are no better than the beggar who pleads for the scraps that I throw away!”

With that, the Signora removed her stole, unzipped the back of her dress, and allowed it to fall to the ground.

There she stood in a black bra and panties.

“Oggle all you wish, pervert!  I do not need your money, you fool! I can buy and sell a horde of you!”

I gave her voluptuous form the old once over with my peepers.  I didn’t want to but I had no choice.  I was a detective.  I had to do what I had to do.

“My apologies, Signora,”  I said.  “I can now rule you out as well.”

“I should rule out your face!”

Professor Fremont’s head was pointed at me, but his lazy eye was aimed at the Signora’s form.  The ex-model wacked him upside the head.

“Stop gawking at me you deviant!”

“I can’t help it!”

“Can’t you, Professor?”  I asked.

“I really can’t,”  Professor said.  “My eye is permanently stuck toward the right.”

“And yet, you made sure you positioned yourself in a seat that allowed that eye to point at the Signora all evening.  You’re attracted to her aren’t you?”

“She’s quite fetching.”

“You’re madly in love with her!  You’ve been following her around all night, trying to impress her with superficial philosophical observations completely devoid of any real meaning.”

“He has!”  the Signora said.

“What we do and why we do it are two separate agendas,”  the Professor said.  “When it comes to a man’s motivations, the Id, Ego, and Superego all come into play.”

“Did you stink her out?”

“Excuse me?”

“The Signora!”  I said.  “She spurned your advances one too many times so you got your revenge by letting one rip in her general vicinity, didn’t you?  DIDN’T YOU?”

“I most certainly did not,”  the Professor said.  “Detective Hatcher, while tales of your investigatory prowess precede you, you have embarrassed yourself with this line of questioning.”

“How so?”

“Did you forget the part where I passed out?”

He got me.

“I’m afraid I did.”

“It’s an incontrovertible scientific fact that a man cannot be offended by his own expungements,”  the Professor said as if I were one of his students.

“That’s true,”  Yakubovich said.  “Some men even sit around and sniff their own stink as a reminder of their personal machismo.”

Everyone glared at Yakubovich.  He sunk down in his chair.

“So I have heard.”

“My body found the air to be so foul that it shut my entire system down to prevent me from breathing it in any further, thus saving my life,”  Fremont argued.

“Maybe you were faking,”  I said.

The Countess intervened on the Professor’s behalf.

“He wasn’t,”  my host said.  “I held the smelling salts under the Professor’s nose for quite some time.  I checked his pulse and it grew so slight I feared I would have to call for the undertaker.”

“You see?”  the Professor said.  “You can no sooner accuse me of being the olfactory offender than you could purport that Sir Isaac Newton caused his infamous apple to fall on his own head.”

I extended my hand.  The Professor shook it.

“You’re off the hook, nerd.”

“Of course I am,”  Fremont said.  “And while I have the floor, I must object to your investigatory methods.   You’ve engaged in plenty of speculation and conjecture, but only a scientific approach can draw the delinquent out into the open.”

“You’re right,”  I said.  “I’ve been in remiss.”

“Hatcher,”  the Count said.  “Perhaps you should analyze the diplomats’ motivations?”

“He who sniffed it, biffed it!”  Sir Rupert said.

“He who thwarted it, borted it!”

“Borted it?”  Rupert said.  “Bort isn’t even a word!”

“Oh, and biff is?”

“I could do that, Fabes,”  I said.  “But each man would simply accuse the other of cutting one as a precursor to global annihilation.  I’d get nowhere.  No, Professor Fremont is absolutely right.  If this case is to be put to bed, I must conduct a more thorough, rational inquiry.”

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.

All Rights Reserved.

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Informant Zero (Part 5)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“A question for you, my guests,”  Informant Zero said.  “What is the greediest animal in the world?”

I wasn’t amused.

“I’m not one for riddles, Jack.”

“Are you, Ms. Donnelly?”shutterstock_243113842

“I’d wager it’s man.”

More smoke blew out of the shadowy orifice.

“And you’d be correct.  As the Native Americans have said, man has a hole in his heart, a deep hunger that can never be filled.”

I checked my pocket watch.  This guy was going to go on and on.

“Los Angeles has the single largest collection of celebrities in the world,”  Informant Zero said.  “We have men and women who are magnificent to look at, in peak physical condition, and they get paid obscene amounts of money to play make believe.  I’ll admit that acting takes skill and training.  However, let’s be honest.  They’re not digging ditches, or breaking a sweat, or worried about bills like the average citizen is.”

“Tell us something we don’t know,”  I said.

“One would think that an individual who is blessed enough to sniff the rarified air of fame and fortune would be content, but as you witnessed on your way to me, that is not the case.  No matter how much man obtains, he always, without fail, wants more.  Though the general assumption is that celebrities must be happy because they live lifestyles that are far above the norm, the truth is that most famous people are woefully unhappy.”

“I’ve seen more than a few folks get to the top of the world only to fall off it,”  I said.  “I’m one of them.”

“Yes, Jersey Jabber,” Informant Zero said, a mocking note to my failed boxing career, which came to an end when I took a dive.

This guy knew everything about me.  Makes sense, since as he mentioned, he was one of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers.

“Sometimes the hunger that drives man can be good, such as when Mozart composes a symphony or Picasso paints a canvas.  Both men made their art in search of society’s approval, but they also gave the world the gift of their talent as well.”

I sat back in my chair, locked my fingers behind my head and yawned.

“More often, the hunger causes man to implode, such as when you turn on the news to learn about the latest actor or musician to become wrapped up in a scandal.  That hunger is why being a famous actress wasn’t enough for Lindsey Lohan.  It’s why she experienced her infamous battles with drugs and alcohol.  Even Bill Clinton, the former president, engaged in transgressions with an intern.  Even the highest office in the free world couldn’t satiate him.”

“Get outta’ town,”  I said.  “There was a president who got some action on the side?  Why don’t you tell me these things, Ms. Donnelly?”

“It was two presidents ago, Mr. Hatcher.  I’ll tell you about it later.”

Informant Zero switched gears.

“What is the most valuable form of currency?”

Delilah and I looked at each other.  We had nothing.

“Information,”  Informant Zero said.  “In today’s world, information is traded, bought and sold like commodities on the open market at a breakneck pace.  Our celebrities unsatisfiable hunger to fill their bottomless hearts causes them to engage in all manner of transgressions.”

“Like that fella in the cowboy hat who has short people cover him in cottage cheese?”

“Like him.  And that is where I come in.  My vast network of spies feed me a never ending flow of information of what’s happening in this town at all times.  More often than not, I know something is going to happen even before it happens.”

“Gotta say then, Jack, its odd that the group of famous perverts upstairs would allow you to set up shop here.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Hatcher.  It is I who allow them to set up shop here.  This is my establishment.”

“You’ve lost me.”

“The actions you saw upstairs are tame compared to what truly goes on behind closed doors in the City of Angels.  Mere foolishness and nothing at all I’m concerned about,”  Informant Zero said.  “There are actions that certain famous individuals who shall remain nameless are engaged in that, if you were to hear about them, you’d never watch a movie or listen to a song ever again.”

“Worse than the cottage cheese thing?”  I asked.

“A million times worse,”  Informant Zero said.  “And that’s where I come in.  For a price, I can bury a brewing scandal and keep it away from the public.  I can bury a celebrity’s bad information by trading on information I’ve stockpiled about the misdeeds of various politicians, government officials, journalists, and business executives.”

“Blackmail for a clean sweep?”  I asked.

“Indeed.”

I started to get up.

“Ms. Donnelly I don’t think we want to be involved with this sort of character.”

“Before you make up your mind,” Informant Zero said.  “Know that I have accomplished more good than anyone else could have with such an endeavor.  “I have never used my powers to cover up illegal activity, only actions that would provide great embarrassment and humiliation for the perpetrator.”

“I repeat, ‘worse than the cottage cheese thing?'”

Name redacted’s fondness of cottage cheese thing has been widely reported in the trades and gossip rags, Mr. Hatcher.  The public doesn’t care one iota.  His quote per film is higher than ever.  The world has a higher level of tolerance for depravity than it did in your day.  The actions engaged in upstairs, though questionable, would barely register a blip on the public’s radar compared with the inappropriateness I’ve helped the powerful hide.”

“So you run a one stop shop for entitled assbags,”  I said.  “They come here, they lather themselves up in dairy products, get their jollies off, and if they need to, come ask you to take the heat off of them for something they did that’s even WORSE than the freakshow going on upstairs?”

“That’s it in a nutshell,”  Informant Zero said.  “However, I also use the information I obtain for good.  I have provided law enforcement agencies with information that has cracked troublesome cases and put bad people away.  I have worked with the press to expose charlatans, frauds, and others who prey on the weakest among us.  But alas, I cannot obtain and trade information that will help the world without the profits from helping celebrity transgressions disappear.”

“Mr. Zero,”  Delilah said.  “The question yet to be addressed is how can you be of service to Mr. Battler?”

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Informant Zero

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eyeshutterstock_225997396-2

I pulled my snazzy new set of wheels up to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of the city.

The joint was falling apart.  Broken windows, crumbling side panels, and I’m pretty sure I saw some bullet holes.

“Are you sure this is the place, Ms. Donnelly?”

“Of course, Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah said as she stepped out of my passenger seat.

Together, we strolled to a steel plated door, upon which my colleague rapped three times.

She paused.  Rapped twice more.  Another pause, then four more knocks.

A booming baritone voice, not unlike that James Earl Jones fella, came through over the intercom.

“What is the password?”

Delilah retrieved a piece of paper from her clutch, unfolded it, and started to read.

“Hooray for big…”

She stopped and handed me the paper.

“Mr. Hatcher, will you be a gem and read this please?”

I took the note and read it to myself.

“Wowza.”

I looked at Delilah, my eyes begging the question, “Is this for real?”

Her nod told me it was.

Typical Delilah.  She was the kind of dame who wouldn’t say “shit” if she had a mouth full of it, which was ironic because the look on her puss suggested she was always in the process of sniffing it.

I cleared my throat.

“Ahem.  Hooray for big knockers!”

“All passwords must have a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.”

I tried again.

“Hooray for big knockers asterisk…”

I pointed to an “&” symbol on the paper.

“Ms. Donnelly, what is that?”

“It’s an ampersand.”

“Is that what it’s called?  I always just called it the ‘and’ sign.”

“That’s the layman’s term for it,”  Delilah said, “But the accurate word for it is ‘ampersand.'”

“OK,”  I said.  “Let’s try this again.  Hooray for big knockers asterisk, ampersand, dollar sign, seven, seven.”

Nothing.

“Maybe you’ve been hustled.”

“I don’t understand,”  Delilah said.  “My contact assured me this password would gain us entry.”

BZZZZTTTT!

The man on the other side of the intercom was back.

“You…may…enter,”  he said, ever so ominously.

I grabbed the door handle and opened it.

We found ourselves in a small waiting room, staffed by a hunchbacked old butler in a tuxedo.  The top of his head was completely bald, but he’d grown out the white hair on the sides down to his shoulders.

I could tell by his voice he was the same cat from the intercom.

“Good evening.  I am Armand, at your service.”

He turned to me.

“Might I take your hat, sir?”

“No one touches the fedora, Jack.”

“Very well.  Walk this way.”

shutterstock_51368320Armand pushed open a set of heavy double doors and we followed him inside.

Let me tell you, 3.5 readers, the interior decor did not match the exterior at all.

We found ourselves in a large, luxurious indoor court.  Lilly white marble floors and columns.  A waterfall in the center.  It was straight out of Roman times.

And speaking of Rome, there was an orgy afoot so depraved that it would have made Caligula blush.

“Avert your eyes, Ms. Donnelly.”

“I’m a big girl, Mr. Hatcher.”

All sorts of degenerate perverts were going at it every which way you looked, and that wasn’t the half of it.

A man dressed up in a clown outfit walked up to me, grabbed me by my shoulders, and stared intently into my eyes.

White makeup, curly green wig, floppy shoes, red nose, over-sized polka dot die, he went all out.

“Do you know why the tungsten mermaid swims on a bed of roses across the night shade amber of the pickle farmer’s garden?!”

His voice was all screechy, more disturbing than an owl’s screams piercing through darkness.

“Um…no?”

He laughed.  His laughs started quietly, then became successively louder.

“Ha.  Ha ha.  Ha ha HA HA HA HA MUAH HA HA HA HA!!! NOBODY KNOWS!!  NOBODY EVER KNOWS!!!!”

“A little help here, Armand?”

“Do as you think best, sir.”

I improvised.  I kneed the clown in the groin, gave him an uppercut to his dopey chin and sent him ass over teakettle, dropping the psycho to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Literally no one in the room noticed or cared.

“I’m sorry you had to see that, Ms. Donnelly.”

“Quite all right, Mr. Hatcher.”

We continued on a bit.  The room was enormous.

There were multiple tables set up.  Each one had men participating in various dangerous sports.

There were two men playing that game where you stab the table between your fingers with a sharp knife, timing how many stabs were possible in a minute.  There was a pool of blood on the floor, suggesting an earlier participant had missed and how.

At another table, two men were playing Russian roulette.  Delilah and I watched in horror as one blindfolded participant with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth pressed a revolver up against his temple.

Beads of sweat dripped from the man’s brow and he trembled as he pulled the trigger.

CLICK!

An instant sigh of relief all around.

“The guns never have an actual bullet put into them,”  Armand informed us.  “The game master just keeps spinning the empty chamber, fooling thrill seekers into believing their lives are at stake.”

“And what are those fellas up to?”  I asked.

I pointed to another table where two men were talking rather calmly.  Given the other events, it was a little disappointing.

“I’m thinking of a number between one and ten,”  the first man said.

“Five,”  the second man guessed.

“Nope.”

Enraged, the second man flipped the table over and socked the first man right in the kisser, sending his victim’s teeth and blood spewing everywhere.

“Lying sack of shit!  You know it’s five!!!”

Disgusted, Delilah turned away and buried her head in my shoulder.

Suddenly, this place didn’t seem so bad.

Armand finally answered my question.

“High stakes pick a number.”

We kept walking.

A tall, statuesque Amazonian broad wearing skimpy leather lingerie that left little to the imagination was walking a grown man with an orange ball gag in his mouth.

“Heel, worm!!!”  she commanded as she pulled on a leash attached to a spiked collar around the man’s neck.

Ever so eerily, the woman cocked her head to one side as she looked me over, then poked me in the chest with a riding crop.

“Do you wish to be my slave, maggot?  I will bark orders at you morning, noon and night and you will lick my boots, do my bidding, and cater to my every whim!!!”

I rolled my eyes.

“No thank you, ma’am.  I’ve been married three times already.”

Not sure what to make of me, the dominatrix yanked on her dog man’s chain and walked him away.

Delilah pressed her hand over her mouth to stifle a chuckle.  Delilah laughter was rare, but not entirely unheard of.  I enjoyed it when it came.

“That was quite humorous, Mr. Hatcher.”

“I have my moments, Ms. Donnelly.”

“ROAR!”

Our moment was ruined by, get this, a goddamned real life bengal tiger.  A butt naked woman who’d shaved her head bald was riding the oversized cat like he was a pony.  The woman’s body was covered with an elaborate tattoo of two pandas slapping each other with bamboo sticks.

You think I’m making this up.  I’m not.

I reached under my trench coat for my shoulder holster, where I kept Betsy safe and snug.

“It’s housebroken, sir.  You needn’t worry.”

Sex.  Alcohol.  Gambling.  Assorted debauchery.  We saw it all until Armand led us to a bar.

The bartender wore a full length woman’s dress, red with shiny sparkles, but other than that, wasn’t attempting to not appear as a man.  He had a buzzcut, a mustache, and spoke in a tone that reminded me of my Army drill sergeant.

Oddly, he also wore a spaceman helmet.  He lifted up the visor so he could get a better look at us.

“What can I get you?”  the barkeep asked as he set out a tray full of pharmaceuticals and narcotics.

“Uppers, downers, poppers, floppers, choppers, grinders, whirling dervishes…”

As he rattled of the names, he pointed to a different crystal goblet holding the illicit substances.

“…Crank, yank, and spank.  Meth.  Coke.  Horse.  Oxycontin.  Flintstone’s chewable vitamins.”

“We’re good, Jack,”  I said.

“You sure?”  the barkeep asked.  “I make a good airplane glue bath salt sorbet.”

My reaction was a resounding, “What the?”

I leaned in to Ms. Donnelly’s ear and whispered.

“I don’t get it.  He wants to take a bath with me and build a toy model?”

“No,”  Delilah said.  “I believe people use these products to, as they say, ‘get high.'”

“Great Caesar’s ghost.”

“Perhaps a beverage?”  the barkeep pressed on.  “We have absinthe, ambrosia milk, devil’s delight, and Diet Shasta Orange.”

“It is a trifle stifling in here,”  Delilah said.  “I’ll have a water if it’s no bother.”

“Not at all,” the barkeep said.

He poured the lady lawyer a glass and set it on the bar.  Immediately, I put my hand over it and pushed it aside.

“Perhaps we shouldn’t accept drinks offered to us in a room full of perverts, Ms. Donnelly?”

I was in my element.  I’d spent a lifetime dealing with scum, knew exactly how to act around lowlives, and I could tell Ms. Donnelly was grateful.

“Armand, what the hell is this place?”

“Anything goes, sir.”

“I can see that,”  I said.  “But what’s the name?”

“That is the name.  You are in the ‘Anything Goes Club.'”

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.

All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Fan Dime Drops – For the 3.5 (Part 3)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1    Part 2

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“Perhaps I was in the wrong to complain about this situation,”  I said.  “After all, being cooped up with the most beautiful woman in the world isn’t so bad.”

That would have worked on my first wife, Trixie, who was all looks and no brains.  Delilah, on the other hand, was the whole package and that meant nothing but disappointment for yours truly.

“Do gain control of your loins and prepare for the next question.”

DELILAH:  Mr. Hatcher, a Ms. Barb Knowles reported this dilemma:

“I have a question for Jake. Can he PLEASE find out how Robert Ludlum has published more books since his demise than he did when he was alive??”

Read Barb’s blog at saneteachers.com 

“Who’s this gal?”

“A teacher,”  Ms. Donnelly explained.  “She writes about ‘the things they never taught her in teacher school.'”

“I don’t envy anyone who has to educate kids in this day in age,”  I said.  “Hell, even my kid brother Roscoe and I were known to drive the occasional chaulk jockey bananas back in our day.  What tricks are kids pulling now?  Whoopie cushions?  Joybuzzers?  Rubber snakes in the peanut brittle can?  Tack on the teacher’s chair?”

“I suppose those are all things that teachers of today have to deal with now and then,”  shutterstock_207933922Ms. Donnelly said.  “When they aren’t busy worrying about drugs and weapons coming into the schools.”

I coughed from surprise.  One of many reasons why I no longer recognized the world I lived in.

“Sorry I asked,”  I said.

I rubbed my thumb and fingers together, making the international sign for money.

“It’s all about the cash-ola,”  I said.  “The green stuff.  The bread.  The lettuce.  The cabbage.”

“Yes, I understand, Mr. Hatcher.”

“An author’s readers are a form of currency,”  I said.  “They’re an asset and like a piece of land, or a house, or a watch, they can be transferred and utilized after the author’s demise.  An author’s name is something his heirs can cash in on and before you’re quick to judge them, you should realize that you probably wouldn’t run in the opposite direction if some extra scratch was coming your way.”

I needed another puff.

“In Ludlum’s case, I bet there are some readers who aren’t even aware he’s gone.  Folks just see ‘Ludlum’ and grab the book like one of Ma Hatcher’s prize winning flapjacks at the county fair.  Other readers are aware but are happy to see stories set in a world they enjoy continue.  And if you’re a writer, and a new writer continues spinning yarns off of a spool you built, don’t you still deserve some credit in the form of your name being slapped on the cover, albeit posthumously?”

“An astute deduction, Mr. Hatcher.”

“Who’s next, sweetheart?”

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