Friday, October 21, 2016

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #31 "A Boy Named Huge"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Val Thevictorian is still on the biography bandwagon this week. Or is she OFF the wagon? Her new fake book is the story of a guy who's bigger than life. Literally. Go get the combination for your wall safe, swing that picture away from the vault, and dig out some fake money for this week's fake book. Because Val doesn't take checks, and she doesn't accept American Express.

A Boy Named Huge:
A Young Man's Strange Erotic Journey From Bemidji to Branson

Huge is pretty sure he has a different dad than his brother Sue. For as long as he can remember, Sue has been fighting for respect, while no one ever messes with Huge. And Huge has more ladies than he can shake Ever since Sue ran into his daddy at an old saloon in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, last July, Huge has wanted to find his own flesh and blood.

Huge leaves his hometown of Bemidji, Minnesota, in search of his roots. It's not easy. Huge sometimes makes ends meet by playing Two-Hand Monte with local yokels. He can't stay at a location long. Townspeople board up their windows in an effort to keep out Huge's flatulence, and shoo him on to the next town.

Will Huge ever find out who his father is? Will he be able to earn a respectable living playing the world's largest fiddle in Branson, Missouri? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Greg Brady…"As a former Big Man on Campus, and having performed in Branson myself, I was excited to read about the life of a boy named Huge. Okay, the title is what really drew me in. I give Thevictorian two thumbs up for this fake bio."

Alice, the Brady Family's Housekeeper…I can only dream that my boyfriend Sam the Butcher had been a little more like Huge. Something tells me this guy can really deliver the meat! I already had to buy my second copy of Thevictorian's fake book, because I wore out my first one, reading it every night at bedtime.” 

Marcia Brady…”He's no Davy Jones, but Huge is kind of cute. I'm glad HE never hit me in the nose with a football! I am writing an essay on this biography, trying to win a contest. It's a pretty good book, I guess.”

Jan Brady…”I wish somebody would write a book about my boyfriend, George Glass. Maybe Val Thevictorian can do that for me. IF I can find George's phone number. Then I'll show everybody that George is real. So fake-buy this fake book, because I need Thevictorian to be a household name when George's biography comes out!” 

Cindy Brady…”'Big-man talk, big-man talk, it's a wonder you can walk!' Said nobody to Huge. Ever. I don't like to read much, but this fake book empowered me to stand up for myself. Even if I can never stand as tall as Huge."

Peter Brady…”I wonder how Huge sounded before his voice changed. I bet he never got fired from a bicycle shop. AND I bet he ate a lot of pork chops and applesause. I've only read the first chapter so far, but I recommend you get this fake book, because if my dad can buy 9 fake copies, the least you can do is fake-buy one."

Bobby Brady…”I could have sold a lot more hair tonic if I took Huge door-to-door with me! He could have played Two-Hand Monte with my customers, too. A win for both of us. Get this fake book! It shows you how to make money quick."

Carol Brady…”This was a fascinating character study. We all need a little Huge in our life. Imagine how much Wesson Oil that guy would go through in a week! I could have made a name for myself and stopped being a housewife, had I only found this guy sooner, to send Wesson stock shooting through the roof. Get this fake book! If only to dream of lost opportunities.”

Mike Brady..."I really wish I hadn't kicked the bucket before this fake book came out. I think I would have really liked getting to know Huge. He seems like he had a lot to offer."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Not Yet Dressed With Nowhere to Go

On Tuesday, I had lunch with my favorite gambling aunt. We've been out of touch for about a month, and it was good to catch up. Nothing elaborate, this lunch. Just a personal pan pizza for each of us. And she had fries. Yeah. I know. That's as bad as those people who drink milk with their steak. Anyhoo...we decided that it was about time for another casino run. We set the date for today.

Nothing gets Val's blood pumpin' like the thought of an excursion to the casino! Not even her precious daily elixir. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve! In fact, when I left lunch on Tuesday, I was thinking, "At this time in two days, I'll be at the casino!" I was walking on air. I even planned our meals around this big event, telling Hick at least three or four times, "Now you know that on Thursday, I'm going to the casino with Auntie. So I won't want to be standing in the kitchen making supper when I get back. I might get home around the same time as you do. I can bring some food from town." Hick decided that he wanted a Beef Taco Salad from Hardee's. I know. Like the Pizza Hut fries and the Bonanza Steakhouse milk, my man likes his taco salad to come from a hamburger chain.

All day Wednesday, I was thinking, "In 24 hours, I'll be in the casino!" That night in front of the TV, I thought, "All I have to do is go to sleep now, and when I wake up, it will be time to go to the casino!" I even had my lunch planned out. I was buying for Auntie, too. We would go to Burger Brothers. Where I would get a burger, of course, and she would probably get the Italian Sausage like last time. Because why would she get a burger at Burger Brothers...

I sent my sister the ex-mayor's wife a text inviting her to go with us, even though I knew it was short notice and she babysits Babe, her toddler granddaughter. I didn't hear back, so I figured she must be camping and out of phone reception.

I planned my exercise routine. (STOP LAUGHING!) I knew that I would do a lot of walking at the casino, so the trash dumpster could wait until Friday to be brought back down to the garage. I would take an extra ibuprofen as we left town. That should kick in while walking around the casino. I picked out what clothes I would wear, with the right depth pockets for my money and ID. It doesn't pay to take a purse to the casino. I decided that I could get by without my glasses.

Then I got an odd sensation. A sort of anxiety about the trip. What if something happened? Like how would The Pony get his monthly allowance from his 10-days-missing letter that I had enclosed it in? Would Hick know how to make a mobile deposit? Could Hick figure out which bills needed paying? Would Genius or The Pony know my passwords to update or shut down my blog? I never feel like this before a casino trip. I choked that feeling right back down and told myself this was just like Christmas Eve! Gambling tomorrow! At the casino!

I went to sleep with dreams of reels spinning in my head.

This morning, Hick woke me at 6:00 as instructed, just before he left for work. Rain poured down. Lightning flashed. "Huh. I thought that rain was supposed to be out of the area by now. It should end by the time we leave Backroads at 9:00. I'm sure."

I got up and took my medicine. Laid out my wads of gambling cash to stuff in my pockets. Got out my driver's license for ID for when I won a big jackpot. Put my two insurance cards with it, in case the big win gave me a fainting spell and I cracked my skull. Added my slot card on its stretchy blue telephone-cord-like thingy that reminds me to take it out of the machine. Set out a Walmart-brand Pepcid, an ibuprofen, an acetaminophen, an aspirin (you never know when the knees might start to protest), and three individually wrapped Lifesavers Wintergreen Mints.

I fired up my Shiba and checked out the innernets. Watched a Four Weddings rerun on TLC. By that time, and hour had passed, so I could take the rest of my medicine and have a bowl of oatmeal. And that's what I was doing, in fact, eating oatmeal, ready to get in the shower and leave for town, when my phone buzzed at 7:15. I glanced at it. Oh, a text from my sister the ex-mayor's wife. NO! It was a text from Auntie (their names are similar). "I can't make it today. Taking [a family member] to the [health facility]. I'm sorry. Let's go another time."

Well. Here was Val, all dolled up in her prom dress, watching out the living room window for her date to arrive with the corsage. Except he never came.


What could I do? I sent back a message that it was okay. Even though I hadn't had my dreams crushed this flat since the last time Auntie stood me up for a casino trip, that year she caught the flu.

Okay. I got over it. We weren't meant to go today. Who knows what catastrophe we might have avoided by staying home? Maybe there was a reason for that anxiety last night.

But I really wish I hadn't gotten up at 6:00 a.m. Them's workin'-people hours!

Let the record show that Val has never been stood up for prom. That prom was canceled, both her junior and senior years, due to a lack of interest. C'mon, people! It was the SEVENTIES, for cryin' out loud.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Taste of Fall

I'm trying to sneak today's post past Even Steven and that harsh taskmistress Mother Nature. Storms are heading in, with a 90% chance for the time that I am usually burning the bedtime electricity. Don't expect anything elaborate. My power just went off and snapped back on at 4:15, so this is a rush job.

Lookie what I saw on the way to town:

Isn't that stunning? All Halloweenie and autumnish? It's on a tree trunk behind EmBee's mailbox condo down by the creek. I have blogged previously about it, but that was way back in 2013, and on my supersecret blog. So I think I can get away with a not-quite rerun without the angry mobs waving pitchforks and flaming torches. But that would be pretty, too, right around dusk.

Today was overcast, so the colors kind of pop. The old photo taken on an old phone (perhaps the future toilet phone, or perhaps the Genius hand-me-down before that one) was not as colorful. It was, however, later in the evening, and later in the year. Maybe fall came early this year. Maybe not. I think the temperature hit 90 yesterday.

This fungus supposedly tastes like CHICKEN! Doesn't everything? It's called Sulphur Shelf Fungus, or the Chicken Mushroom.

You are welcome to bring two slices of bread and make a sandwich. Or I can sell the bread to you if you take the Shackytown tour before the leaves are off the trees.

Disclaimer: Not responsible for deaths or debilitating disease that may or may not be caused from eating a sandwich made with this fungus.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Genius People Non-Problems

Here's a little bragging update on the Genius job search for next summer's internship season. As you may recall, Genius was attending his college career fair at the end of September. He had several leads, and a few days after his interviews, received a formal offer from Garmin with a $2 per hour raise over what he made working for them the first summer, and housing still included. He had a couple weeks to mull it over before giving them his decision.

In the meantime, he had an interview with a software giant. Let's just call them MacroHard. This company has never interviewed in person on Genius's campus until this year. He had a technical interview, in which he was given a problem to solve within 30 minutes, which I think had something to do with writing computer code. Genius said he solved it, no problem, and still had the majority of his interview time left. The recruiter went over it with him, agreed that he had indeed solved the problem...and then started asking Genius basic facts that were on his resume and the info he had submitted online before his interview.

"I guess he really didn't know what to talk about with so much time left, Mom. Because that stuff was right there on the screen in front of him. With about 10 minutes of time still left, he said, 'Sorry that I don't have anything else to ask you,' and we wrapped up the interview. If I get a second interview with them, they will fly me to Seattle for it. I'm not sure how their timeline will fit in with mine. But I for sure wanted to be in their database for when I graduate. I feel like the interview went really well."

Genius also heard back from Union Pacific, but they don't have a position available in what he has plans to do. Last week, he got an email kind-of offer from the CarMan Group (one of the two big car manufacturers) and responded to see what they want from him. As in keeping with the overall presentation and interviews that he had with CarMan Group earlier, they were not very clear. It's kind of like when George didn't know if he had a job, working with the Penske file. I don't think Genius will show up in Dearborn, Michigan with an empty briefcase just in case.

Right now, he's waiting to see if there is a further response from MacroHard. He only has until Friday to notify Garmin if he accepts their offer. Which he is leaning towards at this time.

What has the world come to, when a college kid must finalize his summer employment before the end of October?

Monday, October 17, 2016

He AIN'T Playin' Possum

Look away if you're squeamish! I'm putting that picture at the bottom, so you have a choice. Whether you decided to get right to it before you read this, after seeing the thumbnail pop up, perhaps, on your Blogger reading list, is no concern of mine. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be brash and impatient. [Never mind! I put in dog feet! Maybe that's what'll pop up instead of the other.]

You may recall that Puppy Jack is half dachshund. Half his DNA is predisposed to ferreting out badgers. Well, we don't have any badgers here at the homestead. That I know of... We do, however, have moles. They have never been a problem. Maybe 10 years ago we noticed some tunnels in the front yard. And every now and then a dead baby mole turned up on the porch, needing close inspection to determine whether the cats had caught a mouse or a mole. The feet and nose are the clue.

When Jack and Juno frolic in the front yard after their evening treat, they sometimes stop to dig. The yard is big. It's covered with grass. So a few dirt holes aren't a major dog-shaming issue with Hick. Jack is a born digger. He has those wide, sturdy paws that mean business.

Don't be lookin' at Val's favorite sweatpants, with the hole in the hip teasing you with a flash of foundation garment! Look at those shovels Jack has for feet!

Juno's paws are the same size, even though she's a much bigger dog, but seem more dainty with her silky hair flowing between her foot pads.

Jack will dig like a champ, in a frenzy, dirt being flung at a frantic pace. Juno will root him away, stand on three feet and dig with one, a spray of powdered soil arching like the water spray of tugboats in New York Harbor on the 4th of July. I don't know how she does that. Jack, though, goes all out. He digs and stuffs his head in the hole. He yaps and prances.

Last week there was a little dead mouse on the brick sidewalk. I didn't think much of it. Hick walked right past it and didn't see. I figured the cats had killed it.

Yesterday, when we got home from a casino trip, I saw something else on the sidewalk. In about the same place. We normally don't walk across the front of the house, unless Hick comes from the car to sit with me on the front porch when he gets home. We go in the back door, through the kitchen, which is what Hick did yesterday. I petted the dogs and cut under the carport, with a view of the dug-up, re-done brick sidewalk that Hick spent a couple of weeks making look the exactly same as before. Get ready to look away now. You can pick up the story after this photo:

That's a MOLE, baby! A pretty good size one, too. Those old paving bricks, from the alley that used to run behind my $17,000 house in town, are about 8.5 inches long. Which would make Mr. Mole about a six-incher from tail to pointy snout.

I figure Jack finally caught his prey. He's been pretty dirty lately, what with his several-times-a-day swimming interludes, then finding dirt to wallow in. Looks like his wallowing has been in a mole tunnel. There were no marks on Mr. Mole. Just the soggy belly fur where I suppose Jack (after numerous attempts at a good grip) grasped him in his extraordinarily tiny mouth and held on while shaking the living daylights out of him. Perhaps Juno got in on the shaking action. Oh, and that may or may not be a detached eyeball laying beside the head. You have to admire nature's adaptations, even though I find the human-like fingers and the rubbery nose particularly detestable.

I told Hick about the carcass, but I don't know if he did anything. Perhaps I need to go look. Something might have eaten it overnight. Or else Hick will probably fling it down one of the sinkholes. Or maybe toss it over the fence into the neighbor's field like he did with our last dead possum. Oh, he likes that neighbor well enough. Went to school with him. But Hick is not going out of his way to bury a dead critter unless it's a pet. Besides, if Jack dug this mole out of its burrow, I'm pretty sure he'd dig up a dead one from its shallow grave.

Okay. You know you looked. Couldn't resist a picture of a dead mole. Won't you agree with my own personal back-patting that I made it look kind of artsy, with that late-afternoon sunlight streaming through the decrepit picket fence that Hick put up against my wishes?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Depths to Which Val Has Sunk, at the Height of Her Addiction

Remember how I spent an afternoon with my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel on Thursday? I left her house sometime between 3:00 and 4:00. Time means nothing to me now! For remembering things like that. But time means everything to me when it comes to getting my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. If I went straight home, I'd have to go past the homestead into town for my magical elixir. That would tack extra time on my outing, time which Hick didn't have, what with almost dying of starvation while I was away. So I stopped on the way out of Mabeltown at the LOVE Station.

For those of you who don't know, a LOVE Station is a truck stop/convenience store franchise. They usually have a restaurant attached. This one in Mabeltown is always booming. It has a McDonald's on one end, then a Church's Chicken, then the LOVE Station. You can walk through all of them on the inside if you want, or go in the exterior doors.

I figured I'd grab my 44 oz Diet Coke there, so I'd have it when I got home. And also I'd pick up some chicken for Hick the crybaby who didn't want a bacon cheeseburger that had been in the car for a few hours (even though he later ate it after the chicken). I went to the soda fountain and reached up top for a 44 oz cup.


I did that sound because it's a truck stop, see? Instead of the phonograph needle sound. So it's like putting on the brakes. WHOA! The 44 oz cup dispenser was empty! So I looked at the row built into the wall on the left side, and that top 44 oz cup dispenser was ALSO empty! But at the bottom on the left, there was ANOTHER 44 oz cup dispenser. EMPTY! Yeah. Every single 44 oz cup was missing! That's no way to run a business! I looked around, you know, because surely somebody had seen that I was perplexed, not having a 44 oz cup. The most expensive cup.

Can you believe nobody cared? Can you? That place is always frantic. People here, people there. Truckers acting like they own the place (!) grabbing coffee and oil and sundry products from the shelves that kind of look like Auto Zone. I don't know where all these people come from, and where they're all going. It's like they're competing in a road rally, or Amazing Race. The line is always backed up at the counter, despite two cashiers. So I couldn't go butt in that line and ask if somebody could get me a 44 oz cup.

Don't even think I would go to the McDonald's for my soda. No siree, Bob! I do not like McDonald's Diet Coke, even though my mom favored it. It's weak sauce. Forget Church's Chicken. For all I know, they serve Pepsi there like the Oklahoma casinos. Nope. I HAD to get my 44 oz Diet Coke from the LOVE Station. So I did what any normal person with a daily 44 oz Diet Coke habit would do, and pulled a 32 oz cup, and then a 20 oz cup. Don't even suggest two 20s. That's NOT 44 oz! Besides, why pay more for two 20s and get less, when I could get a 32 and a 20 and pay less. Oh, come on! I didn't drink 52 oz of Diet Coke! There was ICE involved!

I paid for my two sodas and left. I might have stopped by the scratch-off machine as long as I was right there by it on my way to Church's Chicken. Do you know how hard it is to carry scratch-off tickets, two sodas, a box with three pieces of chicken, and have your T-Hoe clicker ready? Pretty ding-dang-dong hard!

Once inside T-Hoe, I set to apportioning my 44 oz of Diet Coke. I had brought two foam cups, you see. Because one time I got a soda at a strange store, and they only had those thin plastic cups. Not insulated. So I brought my own cup-within-a-cup just in case. I poured in the 32 oz cup, and then some from the 20 oz cup (with ice) to top it off. And put on a lid that I had brought. The remainder, I left topless (heh, heh) to sip from on the ride home, on straight stretches that didn't matter if I tilted my head back momentarily.

I was not pleased, once home, that Hick took the food bag and left me to juggle the mail, my purse, those two foam cup-within-a-cup filled with 44 oz of magical elixir, the 32 oz empty cup, the 20 oz cup with a bit of soda remaining, and my giant yellow bubba cup with ice water. I was expecting more help from Hick, especially since my karma points were in the plus column, having held the door open at the LOVE Station for a woman exiting with two bowls of fruit. Uh huh. In a giant barrel of ice right inside the door, they had plastic tubs of mixed fruit. None for Val, thanks.

I may buy gas station chicken, but I draw the line at truck stop fruit.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Truck Stop Chicken is the New Gas Station Chicken

I'm sure you'll find this hard to believe, but Hick took the day off on Thursday and Friday. Uh huh. That's after I made the mistake of telling him that I was having lunch with my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel on Thursday. Hick has a habit of horning-in. Even though he says his take-off was purely coincidence, because he needs to use up his days before he retires in December.

Hick knows that I meet up with Mabel a couple of times a year. While I was working, it was on days that I was off for an appointment of some type, so we had plenty of time to catch up. HICK KNOWS THIS. Keep that in mind.

Thursday morning, I told Hick that I was leaving at 10:15, that we were meeting at the restaurant at 11:00, then going to see Mabel's house, and that I would bring him something back if he wanted. I had mentioned bringing him some food a few days earlier, emphasizing that I would not want to cook a meal when I got home. But because Hick gets his nose out of joint more frequently than Michael Jackson even dreamed of, I offered again.

"I know you said you didn't want anything. And there are hot dogs in there for lunch, with buns I bought on Monday."

"I'm fine. I like hot dogs."

"I won't be making supper. I'll just grab something quick for myself. I'll probably stop at the LOVE Station for my soda, so I don't have to go into town when I get home. Are you SURE you don't want anything?"

"Maybe a burger. I could eat a burger. Or...they have chicken at the LOVE Station." Said the man who turns up his nose when I bring home gas station chicken.

"Just a burger? They have pork chops. And meat loaf. With sides. I don't remember what else was on the menu, and I just turned off my laptop, so I can't look it up."

"Well...I guess you could bring me something. I don't need any pork chops or meat loaf. Just a burger. Some kind of bacon cheeseburger."

"Okay. I'll bring you something." I went at 10:15. For my lunch at 11:00. Then to Mabel's house, where we could chat without getting the stinkeye from the waitress. At 2:41, I got a call from Hick. Not a text, mind you. A call. Let the record show that I had told Hick that if I was driving, I would not be able to look at his text, and perhaps not answer a call. That road is twisty-turny two-lane blacktop. The trip takes 30 minutes.


"I just called to see if you're okay. Where are you?"

"Sitting here in Mabel's house, talking."

"Oh. I was getting worried about you."

"It's only 2:30. I don't know why you're worried. I got you a bacon cheeseburger. It's out in the car."


"Don't you want it?"

"Not it it's been in the car for two hours." Said the man who came back in the house this morning for a long-sleeved shirt, saying it was too cold outside.

"It's fine. It's been in the shade the whole time. It's 58 degrees." Criminy! It's not like that cheeseburger was in a clay pot in the sun on the beach for 30 days, fermenting like kimchi.

"That's okay. I'll have something."

"So you don't WANT the cheeseburger?"

"We'll see." Said the man who has been known to eat hot dogs several months after their expiration date, now squeamish about a cheeseburger a few hours after cooking.

I was not about to cut my trip short because of Hick the prima donna who was not getting attention lavished on him on a day he took off work when he knew I had plans. But when I started home at 3:15, I grabbed a breast and two legs at the LOVE Station. From the Church's Chicken franchise, of course. It looked like it had been in the warmer since mid-morning. Didn't bother me. I wasn't going to eat it.

At home, Hick came to the garage as I was gathering up my stuff. He took the bag that held his bacon cheeseburger in a foam container, and the box with Church's Chicken that I had set down on top of the burger. AND WENT INSIDE! That left me to carry my purse, the mail, and five cups (more on this another time).

The minute I managed to pry open the kitchen door and go inside, Hick was on his way out the front. "If you want that burger, you can have it. I'll have the chicken." Of course I WANTED the bacon cheeseburger. But I had already partaken of restaurant food that day, and was holding myself to a TV dinner and a bowl of steamed veggies.

When I went outside for my daily walk, I saw Hick sitting in his Gator parked over in Shackytown, eating truck stop chicken out of the box. He better not have thrown the bones to Puppy Jack.

Friday morning (and by morning, I mean noon), as I started to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke, I called Hick over in Shackytown working on his new project. "I'm going to town for my soda. Can I bring something back for HOS?" HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) was helping him build his newest shack.

"No. HOS has to go pick up his boy in a few minutes. But I'd take a burger."

"Oh. So you're going to throw that one away that I brought you yesterday?"

"No. I ate it last night."

So...are you following? Hick ate the truck stop chicken at 4:45 when I got home, and then after it got dark, he ate the bacon cheeseburger. I can only surmise that Hick was wasting away at 2:41, waiting for me to bring him LUNCH on Thursday, and then ate that "lunch" at 4:45, and the burger for supper around 6:30. I'm pretty sure his call to see if I was okay was actually a call that meant, "Where in the NOT-HEAVEN is my lunch?"

I'm surprised he has managed to survive this long. And I'm not referring to the junk food that I feed him.