31 December 2008

Me Elsewhere

This damn Archeopteryx Flu is still dragging me down, but I think I've got my head just barely above the surface. Enough to get a little oxygen in between the fits of coughing at least. Activity here on the mothership has gone down a bit, but I'm still busy elsewhere:

  • Over on DreamLoom, there are reviews aplenty, and sometime later today will be our Year End Worst-of list.
  • Friday Night Sketch War has been moved to its own Home on the Web. Come on over and keep an eye on the goings on. I promise we'll get more competitors this year.
  • Don't think I've forgotten about Charlie Jade, either. Over at Charlie Jade Verse, the first of our podcasts of that great, lamented show is up. We'll be doing a handful more, analyzing the show in such great detail you'll all suspect I'm on the spectrum.
  • And of course I continue to tell dick jokes at 140 characters each on Twitter.
I realize as the broadcast networks diminish in power and reach, a vacuum is created, which vacuum can be filled by personal brands, so I'm going to be working on building that over the next year.1 Be sure to keep an eye out here - and everywhere in my burgeoning entertainment empire - for all the excitement. And next year, maybe I'll put together a video with your favorite stars telling you how much you'll love me.

There's video above, FeedReader.

1 Please note I don't mean like some SEO/Internet Marketing dickwad. I mean like a person with actual skills and talents.

17 December 2008

Pelham and the Silver Shirt, Part 1

No sooner did my eyes pop than Pelham glided into my bedroom with the morning coffee and tuck. “Your breakfast, sir.”

“I’ve sent your latest paramour on her way with toast and cab fare. I believe I was successful in giving the impression you would be abroad for the foreseeable future,” he icily intoned.

The mood had been decidedly chill about the abode since Monday. Pelham was a good man, but he sometimes overstepped. We’d butted heads a time or two before and I’d made the mistake of giving ground. Not this time.

I found a dashing new shirt that I was raring to wear out on the town, but he took exception, going so far as to say I’d be pressing it myself! As much as we Lauries avoid confrontation – I’ve a great uncle who emigrated to Canada in peacetime “just in case” – a line must be drawn.

I straightened up and eyed the man squarely. “I’ll be wanting the new shirt pressed for the evening, Pelham.”

Giving me a bit of fish-eye back, he said, “the silver abomination? No sir. You won’t be wanting that.”

16 December 2008

Pelham Presents

God’s honest, I don’t know how the great unwashed do it. Getting through prep’s easy: grease a scholarship boy’s palm and you’ll need never iron a shirt or polish a shoe. If you’re like my best bud Biff who was a three-sport star, you don’t even need the scratch, but I was a “meritorious legacy” – which is a nice way of saying I wasn’t up to snuff but pops was an alum – so I ponied up.

After prep and a few years giving college a go, I realized I’d grown accustomed to having a caretaker. I tried dating, but that led to drama and severely inhibited the bachelor’s life I so love. Then it hit me. I was a young man of means. Why not?

I’ll be honest; your pal Trip broke not a few eggs in making that omelet. Over eight months, five valets – a rogue’s gallery of thieves and miscreants – came through Casa Laurie until I found Pelham. He’s the consummate gentleman’s gentleman, but not some stuffy old fart. There isn’t much call for valets in this day, so it was a miracle we found each other. I’d be lost without him.

15 December 2008

Christmas in Maui

Julie Gray ran another short scene comp. Joshua James won with a beautiful, quiet scene that tugged hard on the heartstrings. He totally kicked my scene's ass, but I wrote it, so y'all should see it.


Whirling snow, howling wind. Over the wind we hear...


Clara, Clara honey? Can you hear me? I’m grounded in Maine. Freak blizzard, came out of nowhere.


We were lucky to find a clearing. Even with Rudolf’s high beams on, I can’t see past my nose.


I’m plenty warm, don’t you worry. Get some rest and don’t let the elves eat all my Christmas cookies! We’ll be home tomorrow.

The camera pulls back to reveal a swirling snow globe in SANTA’s hand. Chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf in red shorts and dark glasses, he pockets his iPhone and leaves the blaring air conditioner for Maui sunshine.


Leliani! You’ve been very naughty.

LEILANI skips up and pecks the old elf. Her grass skirt and floral top rustle in the ocean breeze.


Santa, you made it. We were wondering whether to start the luau without you. And what do you mean, I’ve been naughty?

An elbow: and his belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly.


Don’t think I don't know what you've been up to. But I've still got something for my favorite island girl.

He reaches into his magic bag and pulls out a box wrapped in silver foil. Leilani takes and shakes it.


Oooh! I can’t wait to open it. But first a drink. Egg nog?


Of course. And don’t forget to put in one of those little umbrellas!


Older and Bolder

Janine wanted to scream. Two and a half hours she’d been sitting in the waiting room; two and a half hours she’d been twisted and restricted and constricted in her dress. She wanted to yank it off and breathe freely, but instead sat quietly, pretending to read a six-month-old Newsweek while taking shallow breaths.

Janine heard the girl behind the desk stop typing – her enameled nails pausing their click-clack on the keys – and looked up. The frosted glass window slid open and the girl squeaked, “Janine Forester? The doctor will see you now.”

Steeling herself, Janine stood and strode to the open door where he stood.

It had been almost 15 years, but he looked the same. Better, really. His jawline was even more square than she remembered and his hair was a richer auburn. If she was afraid of him in high school, what was she now? He was still too perfect. He held out his hand and smiled – that smile – and Janine feigned boldness and shook it firmly.

“Hi, Eric. I don’t know if you’ll remember me. Janine?”

12 December 2008


"Turn me on, dead man."

I spun on my heel, tried to anyway, are my joints always going to feel like this? but lost my balance and stumbled. Bent at the waist, hands on the ground, I felt like a marionette gone slack. I straightened back up and looked in the direction of the giggling, but all I could see was a silhouette surrounded by a corona.

"I've always wanted to say that."

Marta. Witch.

Janet and I had a rough patch back in April and took a breather. I met Marta one night after a soccer match. I figured she was with one of the Dominicans on the team, but as the night wore on and the beer kept coming, they trickled out until there was just me and Marta.

She was acne-scarred and the sweats she wore didn't hide her body as much as she thought, but her eyes shimmered. Rich chocolate suffused with a deep violet glow. I couldn't break my gaze. Which was how we ended up back at her place, naked before the door latched.

The next morning I realized what I'd done and ducked out without a sound. I begged Janet to take me back that night and quit the soccer team. I didn't want to see the witch again. But I did.

"I've been looking for you, papi."

Previously in "I, Zombie"

40 Inspirational Speeces in 2 minutes

There's AWESOME video above FeedReader, HT Rich Sommer.

I've watched it through a couple of times and it's pretty damn inspirational, also pretty damn funny. For whatever reason, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale are the funniest to me, probably because they're representing such unexpected movies.

New Home for Sketches

Don't forget Sketch War has been moved over to its own blog. My sketch for the week is up already right here, but be sure to check back during the day for the other writers.

11 December 2008

Body Spray for Dead Men

The girl at the register was too rapt in her phone, tapping messages to distant friends, to notice me duck out the door with my supplies. I put on my sunglasses and headed down the street.

As I walked, I took stock of the people around. Men and women striding with purpose, children sprinting, a few strollers. All shared one trait: none noticed the zombie in their midst. I was there, but not there. Across the street, I saw another dead man. We nodded in passing.

Taking the stolen body spray from the pocket where I’d stashed it, I misted heavily. I doubted the advertiser’s promises of beautiful women throwing themselves at me, but I needed to keep the flies at bay.

Summer of sophomore year I worked as a lifeguard at an all-inclusive resort in Cozumel. One of the cabana boys, Cisco I think his name was, broke our dance instructor’s heart. She was a voodoo priestess. It didn’t take long in the Yucatan summer for everyone to smell what she’d done.

Until I could get some formaldehyde, the Axe would have to do.

Previously in "I,Zombie".

10 December 2008

A Day in the Death

That explained the burning in my throat at least. And Orangina wasn’t going to help it.

I should have been frightened. Mrs. Suarez was old, but had a steady hand. Just last week she’d put down the Ramirez girl when some Dominican voodoo priestess raised her to pick up a pack of Parliaments and a copy of Us Weekly. Maybe she felt sorry for me; maybe she remembered the time I shoveled snow off her stoop. All I know is she nodded once more at the door and gave me a chance to leave.

Back outside, I realized I had nowhere to go. Home was out of the question and Janet’s place was even worse. She’d let me crash, but I’d have to hear about how zombies were tools of the patriarchy and voodoo priestesses belonged in school, not a serpent god’s harem. Hell, she’d probably make me defrost her freezer.

Better to sleep in the park.

I needed supplies. I patted for my wallet, but it was gone like my internal organs. I shambled to the drug store and slipped in. First things first: I grabbed a pair of sunglasses.

Previously in "I, Zombie".

09 December 2008

New home for Sketch War

We've decided it's time to put all our sketches in one place, so going forward, check out the new Sketch War blog on Fridays. Or you can subscribe to the RSS feed right here.

Don't forget to come back this Friday when the topic will be first dates.


I’d never been so thirsty before. I must have stood at the fountain in Balboa Park for five minutes sucking up the cool, cool water, but it didn’t help. As soon as I’d lift my mouth from the stream the burning would overtake me again. Water wasn’t the answer.

I stumbled in the midday glare, where did I leave my sunglasses? to the bodega for an Orangina. Water might not quench this fire in my throat but something had to.


Maybe something to eat as well. Anything to make the burning, gnawing pain in my – throat? stomach? everywhere, I guess – end. I couldn’t tell where the thirst ended and the hunger started now.

I pushed open the door and heard the familiar clink of the bells. Mrs. Suarez was behind the counter reading her bible. Dogeared and filled with bookmarks, I wondered what passage she’d quote me today.


She put down her bible and reached below the counter, coming up with a shotgun pointed it at my head. She nodded toward the door and calmly read the sign:

“No Zombies.”

Ficlets Going Away

A while back, when I had more free time for short-form fiction, I logged on to Ficlets and wrote a few pieces. The length constraints make every short piece of prose feel a bit like blank verse. The social aspects - sequels and prequels can be written for any piece by anyone - lead to interesting new experiments. So of course, Ficlets is going away.

I only wrote a few pieces there. Some of you have been subjected to them before, and they're currently linked in the sidebar. But I figure this is as good a time as any to migrate them back here to archive them for posterity. Or something. Expect to see them over the next few days or so.

06 December 2008

Friday Night Sketch War: Learning Something New About History Edition

Another tough topic, though not nearly as painful, or likely to make a grown man cry and jump on a couch, as Oprah. Again, we had three warriors enter the fray. They acquitted themselves well.

Three solid sketches on a beyatch of a topic. Next week's topic: first dates.

If you want to play along, write a sketch and send a link to it to sketchwar at dreamloom.com. And be sure to come back next Friday when we're hoping to have a few new competitors.

05 December 2008

FSW: The Truth About Harry

Quick point of order: Peter is a bastard for coming up with this week's theme, Learning something new about history. May a thousand beetles crawl into his closet and take up residence in his favorite sneaker. The left one, not the right one.

Come back on Saturday for the recap, where I give you links to the (hopefully) better sketches on the theme.

The Truth About Harry


A dark, quiet hideaway where men go to get drunk. MICHAEL early 40s and reedy, with the wild eyes of a hunted man, and Peter, late 20s and not crazy, sit nursing scotches. A BARTENDER wipes glasses at the other end of the bar.


Truman was a Freemason.




Haberdasher is a code word for Freemason.


No, haberdasher is a code word for "guy who sells belts and socks."


C'mon! All the evidence is right in front of you and you just won't see it.


Enlighten me, oh wise one.


Yeah, the Illuminati got their start in the Enlightenment, but we don't have to go that far back. (Beat) So what do you think Truman was doing at Yalta while Roosevelt was negotiating with Stalin?


What do I think Truman was doing at Yalta?




I think Truman was asking himself how the hell he ended up in Yalta when he never went to Yalta.


What do you mean?


I mean, Roosevelt went to Yalta, not Truman.


Are you sure? I read somewhere that Truman and Churchill ganged up on Stalin at the conference.


A, that was Potsdam, after the war. And B, if you thought that, why would you imply he was off doing God-knows-what instead of negotiating the peace?


Exactly. See, if Truman was at Potsdam, it's not too far to conclude that he was working in the shadows at Yalta, right? Behind the scenes, pulling the strings.


(To the bartender)

Excuse me, can I get whatever he's drinking?


I'm serious.


You think the Vice President of the United States spent a month out of the country, in the middle of a war, and no one knew it?


See how impossible that sounds? Only the Freemasons could have pulled something like that off.

Peter stares for a second. He opens his mouth to talk...then shakes his head.


But he wasn't there for a month, just a few days. The Freemasons smuggled Truman over in their secret submarine--




Their submarine. The Nautilus.


Like from the book?


Which book is that?


Um...20,000 Leagues Under the Ocean? Sea. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The Verne.


I knew you weren't completely ignorant. Right. Jules Verne. He was too proud to let his work go unnoticed.


You're saying Jules Verne built the Nautilus. A real submarine. And then he wrote about it.


Yeah, and it got him kicked out.


(Playing along, now)

I didn't know. So, the Masons kicked him out.


The Illuminati. It was their sub. They just leased it to the Freemasons. Anyway, they got Truman to Yalta two days ahead of Roosevelt and he and Churchill divvied up Germany. Roosevelt thought he was so tough with his big stick...

Peter winces at this latest bit of stupidity from Michael...


...but it was Truman who really talked softly.


You know that was Teddy not...oh, nevermind.


Then Howard Hughes flew him back home in the Spruce Goose right before Roosevelt showed up. The rest of the conference was just for show. Same with Potsdam. And once Truman gave Einstein the plans for the A-bomb--




Scary, isn't it? The New World Order is coming, man, and you can't stop it.

The bartender comes toward our boys.


Closing time, gents.


Okay, I've had my fill for the night, anyway. Michael. Seriously. You need help.


I know. That's why I keep writing on my blog and mailing out the newsletter. I can't stop them alone.


(Sad for his friend)

Yeah. That's what I meant. Um, I've gotta go. I'll see you around, okay?


Sure man. Next time drinks are on me.

Peter exits quickly. Michael downs the rest of his drink and gets up to go.


Mr. Howard, I'm afraid we can't let you leave.

A hidden door behind the bar slides open and reveals a huge Masonic crest. Two men in monk's habits step out behind two serious looking pistols.


You know too much.


04 December 2008

Stuff What Be Elsewhere

Whole lotta stuff over at DreamLoom. We've been actually, you know, writing more over there this week. There are reviews, interviews, and other things what might be fun to read. And soon, soon...more writers. As soon as I bake some delicious Bribery Brownies.

If you like what you see, be sure to subscribe by hitting the big ol' button over there that looks like this:

Or, you can subscribe to receive updates by email.

I should clarify...the big ol' button on THIS blog will subscribe you to THIS blog. (Which you should do.) The big ol' button on DreamLoom will subscribe you to DreamLoom.

03 December 2008

Prop 8: The Musical

There's video above, FeedReader

Mmm. Shrimp cocktail!

02 December 2008

Leverage premiering Sunday

My preview of TNT's Leverage is up at DreamLoom:
If you’re a certain age, you might have grown up as I did, watching shows like It Takes a Thief and The Saint. You might even have rooted for David Niven in The Pink Panther. The thief with a heart of gold is the oldest and most revered anti-hero in the storyteller’s pantheon and used to be common on our televisions, but he’s been MIA for a long time. The networks have made a few attempts at reviving the genre with little success; however, the recent growth of original drama on basic cable makes this the perfect time and place to bring back the thief.

So on December 7th, TNT expands its repertoire of original dramas by adding the stylish, charming, and amusing Leverage to its lineup

Made for Each Other

There's video above, FeedReader

My love for Patrick Warburton knows no bounds. That's all I'm sayin'.