A Post Found Only… In The Twilight Zone

Popkey

You unlock this door with the key to exaggeration. You’re about to embark on a wondrous journey—if you’re still smoking that stuff—of neither sight nor sound, and whose boundaries are that of imagination—albeit one gone stagnant. That’s the signpost up ahead, your next stop… The Twilight Zone.

Tap, tap, tap… tap, tap, tap. Click, click, click… Thump!

Meet Rufus T. Dingledosh a fictional blogger. What you’re reading above is the sound of his fingers feverishly striking keys on a keyboard in the creation of his next brilliant post.

Rufus T. Dingledosh, extraordinary blogger and fictional character who has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post, because this blog doesn’t belong to him.

Blogging Sensei

Instead, this blog post belongs to a man who has neglected to post very little on his blog of late that he might meet the demands of another humorous creative writing job—one which paid him.

I know I couldn’t believe it either.

Thus, he was off all last week. Last week? Let’s make that, THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF—just so he could make some money.

Makes you wonder what in the world was going through this guy’s head—not to mention into his bank account, doesn’t it? Well not to worry, I’ll leave that to your imaginations.

Anyway, when he finished that assignment, his desire for rest and relaxation resulted in his catching a malady known as… writer’s block.

Tap…

But in a minute all of that will change as this blogger will discover a site sure to arouse his curiosity—LIKE THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN—a site not found on any browser known to man. A site found only… in The Twilight Zone.

And now for a word from our sponsor.

BUY… buy items from any sponsor of this blog, which at the moment appears to be no one. So become the first, won’t you? After all, wouldn’t you like to be responsible for my getting paid by the click? Why of course, you would.

And now back to our post.

Tap… tap… tap. Honey, I can’t think of a single thing to write about. I’ve already written about multiple things, so that subject is totally out of the question.

Have you tried Plinky.com?

I’d try Plinky, Winky, and Nod if I thought it would help. Wait a minute! How is it you know about Plinky? I mean you don’t even own a blog much less read anything on WordPress.

Sweetie, I’ve told you before… I know everything. I’m going out to the store, you want anything?

How about a million dollars… AND A NEW POST?

I’ll see what I can do. Bye sweetheart.

(Sound of the front door closing)

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have an idea for a post right now. Guess I’m just going to have to check out Google. (Click!)

Wow, this looks interesting.

“Are you a blogger who’s run out of ideas? Wanna write about topics no one else has ever dared dream of? Have I peaked your interest yet? Still curious? Well, why not bare your soul and write like the Devil. Click on this icon and get under way right now. Discover blogging that’s out of this world! After all, what have you got to lose?”

Why not? I’ll do it! (Click!) POOF!

Back to our sponsor. Have you committed yet? Ad space is still available. “You have my word on it.”

Dailymotion

Now back to our post.

(Sound of the front door opening)

Honey, I forgot my keys. Sweetheart? Honey? HEY, WHERE IN THE HELL ARE YOU?

Old proverb: Curiosity killed the cat.

A blogger has gone missing. A search is being conducted even as we speak. Was he the victim of pushing the panic button out of curiosity, or simply of writer’s block?

Perhaps it was a little of both.

But you and I know he’s still present and accounted for, filed away in another location. Filed away and listed as missing…  in The Twilight Zone.

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A Christmas Carol—Yet Again

Schmoesknow.com

Schmoesknow.com

There had never been a more miserly man than John Q. Consumer—better known as, GOUGED. He adopted his nickname for he felt Christmas was no more than another excuse for retailers to pick a man’s pocket. “Season of giving? Bah, humbug!” he was often heard to say.

His abrasive personality and manner of being were forged out of his disdain for the holiday—and for not spending money in general.

Every year—starting around June—he found himself being bombarded with Christmas deals, on television and in print ads, offering holiday sales on everything—from cars to…well… MORE CARS!

Oh sure, advertisers still offered the cheaply made goods as well—like those that would fall apart after only three or four uses, but, GOUGED, had discovered something more devious.

Retailers would often mark goods up in price in advance of the holidays. Only to reduce prices back down to their original OVERPRICED amount in time for Christmas holiday shopping.

Naturally, GOUGED, became as bitter as the cold that accompanied the festive holiday season.

And after finding that those items failed to work when he got them home, he was further frustrated by having to go back and stand in long lines to get his money back. Many times, only to be told of the retailers no return policy.

He felt preyed upon by the mercantile for his hard earned… MINIMUM WAGE.

During the holiday season the “Ladies and gentleman of charity” could be found standing by their little red kettles in front of many retailers places of business.

They would ask him to contribute to those in need of common necessities. Hoping, that he might be willing to give to the less fortunate, and thus offering provisions for the poor and destitute—of which he was one.

Being part of what was formerly known as, The Middle Class, his answer was always the same. “Bah, humbug.”

No one ever had the slightest clue what that meant. But, they figured as long as the old fool cracked loose with some cold hard cash—preferably tens and twenties—let the old geezer babble and speak all the gibberish he wants.

For the record; Bah, humbug actually translated into, “Hey, when are you dummies going to start contributing to my needs?”

So this Christmas Eve, GOUGED, decided things would be different. He launched into a tirade, and asked his detractors why there weren’t more unionized workhouses in operation paying a living wage to their workers?

And, why bankers never considered lowering interest rates? Or, why unemployment offices never honestly tried to provide for those in debtors prison—better known as credit card holders?

“Right.” they would reply, “Well, you see sir, there are many unscrupulous employers operating, along with banking institutions and corporations, and each is corrupt as all get out. They’re always wanting to pay less while raking in more. Bankers raise interest rates constantly to remain highly profitable. And all this comes at the expense of the suckers… uh… laborer’s and shopper’s.”

TheDailyBeast.com

TheDailyBeast.com

“And why do they do this?” GOUGED asked. “I’ll tell you why. They want to ‘decrease the surplus population’ that’s why! Then you’ll only have the wealthy to fill your little red kettles at this time of the year.”

And they were all to aware of how the tightfisted wealthy seldom did that.

His rant had caught them off guard. GOUGED sounded inexplicably like he was from the United Kingdom, but they knew him to be American?

Realizing his slip of the tongue as he had recently become an Anglophile—no doubt because he had seen far too many remakes of A Christmas Carol—he decided to pause for effect.

Then—now in broken American English—he continued his rant.

“Employers don’t like having to pay health benefits for what is left of their overworked, underpaid employees. So, in order to increase their hefty profit margin—and still reluctantly pay the health care cost—they slash the wages of the laborer’s who helped make them that tidy profit.”

Oh, it should be noted, that many a laborer hadn’t seen a cost of living increase, in about fifteen years.

And, GOUGED, further knew that those who lost their jobs would likely find themselves navigating a never ending call tree over the phone with the unemployment office.

Those few who did manage to get through, would likely be dismissed as unwilling to work. And this was because they were going to be paid far less than what an illegal alien (immigrant, or is that emigrant) could possibly scrape by on.

The “Ladies and gentleman of charity” warned, GOUGED, that the merchants might be angry if they ever heard his views on the state of the economy. Perhaps they might hire some peasant to go about plastering his car windshield (LITERALLY), with thousands of flyers in an attempt to promote one of their sales.

“Bah, humbug!” he shouted at them, and off he went into the bitterly cold winter night. Seeking out his car in a poorly lit parking lot, only to uncover its windshield—WITH A CHISEL AND A SCRAPER!

GOUGED, finally arrived home close to midnight. He was sitting down to a cup of Campbell’s Beef and Barley soup, when someone came crashing through his front door. It was one, Jacob Marley, his former used car salesman. Who only recently had lost his job at the local Carfax dealership.

Hubpages.com

Hubpages.com

Hardly a ghost, but a shell of a human-being all the same. However, GOUGED, didn’t feel this excused, Marley’s, driving through his front door—WHILE INTOXICATED!

It made for a very uncomfortable encounter; “Take heed, GOUGED” Marley began, “for I have it on good authority—I think it was a guy down in front of Macy’s ringing some sleigh bells—that you have forged in life a chain of debt, far less than that of my own!”

GOUGED, cowered over his checkbook—surrogate to his empty bank account.

“Beware GOUGED” Marley intoned, “beware, for you will soon be visited by The 3 Spirits of Madison Avenue over the course of the next 72 to 96 hours. “Beware!” he warbled.

Then he faded from view—while handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car, as he was taken off to jail for a DUI.

GOUGED, thinking, Marley, was a man given to drink and likely suffering from the DT’s, decided to ignore the whole incident.

But, not before he called his State Farm Insurance agent about the damage to his front door. His agent was wearing Khaki’s at the time and sitting at his desk at 1:00 AM in the morning, just waiting for a business call. Not that any of that is important to the story.

Nevertheless, a few hours later, the first spirit of Madison Avenue arrived.

“GOUGED!” it bellowed from the glimmering light of the television screen. “Who is that?” asked GOUGED, grabbing his 12 gauge shotgun.

“I am the ghost of Black Friday past.” replied the voice from the TV. The spirit floated through the disrupted cable signal (which GOUGED paid through the nose for on a monthly basis) and into his living room.

Fearsome indeed was she. Battered of face with clothing torn asunder, the ghost was the full embodiment of a Black Friday shopper. A real Walking Dead zombie! She implored, GOUGED, screaming at the top of her lungs…

“Remember… anything for the deal, anything for the deal!”

The thirty second, million dollar spot—paid for by advertisers—was over. The spirit had vanished, but, not before GOUGED had emptied his 12 gauge into the screen in a blind panic.

“Now I’m going to need a new Samsung 110 inch TV for Christmas.” he frustratingly thought to himself—a sad price to pay for being a gun-toting ARA member.

Now, left with only being able to watch YouTube on his desktop, he gradually nodded off to sleep again.

24 hours had passed, when suddenly a voice echoed from the monitor in front of him. “GOUGED” the voice asked searchingly, “are you there?” He sought refuge under his pegged together, IKEA desk.

“I am the ghost of Small Business Saturday.” it continued. GOUGED,  recognized the voice.

“Bob, Bob Cratchet? Is that you?” GOUGED asked.

Bob was the owner of The Rug Emporium down the street. He was always going out of business for one reason or another, only to reopen a month or so later, but usually with a relative taking over as new owner.

However, old Mr. Fizziwig recently bought him out, or so Bob claimed.

“You have never seen the likes of me, have you GOUGED? For you’ve never shopped locally on Small Business Saturday, have you? In fact, you never shop at all, do you, GOUGED?” asked, Bob.

GOUGED replied “True, and I can’t see you now either, but I recently WINDOW SHOPPED your former store. Which I believe is now under new management by old man Fizziwig, is it not?”

“Window shopping doesn’t count, GOUGED. Ignorance and want, that’s what counts these days. But, I tell you what, my son, Tiny Tim (who stood 25 stone), has bought the store back from old man Fizziwig, and he’ll make you a right fine deal on some new Persian rugs. Whad’ya say?”

GOUGED, thought for a moment and replied…

“Okay… I promise to buy some rugs—NOT! Look, I’m going to need a new computer monitor more than those stupid rugs. See, this monitor appears to be shot!” (and a bang rang out)

And with that, GOUGED, was out of ammo.

Another 24 hours went by. Soon, GOUGED (who practically overdosed on sleeping pills), heard a buzz on his cell phone. He picked it up and clicked on the smart phone only to be met with a reminder, that the third spirit had finally arrived.

It was the ghost of Cyber Monday.

“Am I in the presence of the ghost of Cyber Monday yet to come?” asked, GOUGED, reluctantly. His smart phone beeped in the affirmative. “Oh spirit” GOUGED continued, “I fear you most of all. For I am technologically challenged and do not have a PayPal account. Should I Google how to get one?”

The phone beeped and an image appeared. It was the photo of an H&R Block. Followed by the words “Spend…or else!”

GOUGED thought for a moment, and then asked, “Or else…what?” Another beep, and a picture of Tiny Tim’s Rug Emporium appeared with the words “Closing, everything must go. Going out of business.”

Columbiaclosings.com

Columbiaclosings.com

Gouged asked, “Spirit, are these the shadowy signs of what might be, or what has actually happened? Because, Cratchet is always claiming he’s going to be going out of business.”

The phone beeped once again and the screen on his phone read…

“GOUGED, I fear if you do not start spending money—LOT’S AND LOT’S OF MONEY, AND SOON—Tiny Tim’s Rug Emporium will be no more. And, I suspect a visit from the IRS might be in order.”

“No not an audit!” cried GOUGED.

“Please spirit, I promise I’ll exhaust my savings (all two cents worth), I’ll even spend money I don’t have, max out my credit cards, get a lone from a bank—well at least exhaust my savings, spend money I don’t have, and max out all my credit cards.”

“Can’t do much about the bank loan thing though…banks don’t loan money anymore. But, I swear on my former used car salesman’s liver, I’ll do the rest!”

The phone beeps stopped. GOUGED, figured he’d better sell out to the spirit of Cyber Monday—but FAST!

“Hey… I don’t mind being gouged for the money, honest I don’t!” he screamed, “I promise, I’ll do all the other stuff just like I said. Just please… don’t send the IRS to my door to conduct an audit. I can’t afford a law firm!”

GOUGED, dropped to his hands and knees—and reached under his bed for an an old shoe box full of receipts—just in case. Then he rushed outside and practically drove over a jaywalker carrying a small turkey to get to the closest ATM and withdraw his savings.

GOUGED, proved to be better than his word, though. He gave all his cash until the little red kettles swelled with money. And he bought those Persian rugs, just like he promised he would from, Tiny Tim’s Carpet Emporium.

Of course… he eventually was arrested and put in prison for the embezzling of funds, writing bad checks, and for committing grand larceny.

But, he did keep Tiny Tim’s Rug Emporium from going out of business. Plus, he kept Tim out of debt, all while still keeping Tiny Tim’s Rug Emporium flush with cash.

And after all, isn’t that what the true spirit of Christmas is all about? The spirit of giving—until it hurts?

(Soon to be a Major Motion Picture from some big name studio starring Tom Hanks—then I woke up.)

 

 

 

 

The Writers Cloak Of Invisibility

cloak

You love writing, you do it every chance you get. Bathroom stall graffiti… no problem. Scribbles on the blank wall of a public building? You bet, maybe even in color. Autographing someones yearbook… uh… without their knowing it? Sure!

Writing, it’s what you love, it’s what you do. Then along comes someone who says, “You’ll never be a writer.”

Naturally, you’re devastated. But, then who wouldn’t be, right?

Well you for one, because you realize just how stupid that individual was. And so to make sure this person doesn’t make that mistake again… you spray paint what a great writer you’re going to be, all over their forehead.

Still they’re not impressed. But writing consumes your life and a writer you will be.

You think back to how it all started. Your mom and dad bought you crayons to draw pictures and write the alphabet with. The bedroom wall became your stationary. You thought; “Why waste paper?” Soon you branched out to living rooms, kitchens, and ultimately… the bathrooms.

Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Dr. Seuss were your mentors. You tried to let them know this by writing in the margins of their books. Okay, so the librarians weren’t impressed, but that didn’t matter, because you’re a writer.

Soon you graduated to writing love letters—to every bill collector who ever requested money from you. The collection agency’s became enamored with your masterful use of profanity. You know this, because they kept sending you more statements of their affection.

You reasoned that they must have thought, “What a magnificent four letter vocabulary you have.”

Publishers couldn’t wait to get their hands on your manuscripts—they just didn’t know how. This might explain why none of your manuscripts ever get rejected.

Your skill at writing also extended to writing on other peoples hands; particularly girls you wanted to date. “For a good time, call me.” That’s when you discovered girls didn’t know how to use the phone. What other possible reason could there be for your phone not ringing?

Then you started a personal journal.

Although, your sister never fully appreciated you reading her diary, you were comfortable in the knowledge that she loved the funny remarks you left behind! Why else would she scream (literally) about it to mom and dad?

Finally, your writing was getting noticed.

How could you not be a good writer, especially when all your teacher’s used to say “I want you to write, on the board ‘I will not write (with permanent marker) on my fellow classmates new clothes’ 100 times each.”

Then came the internet. Google! The world was about to become your oyster.

This thought seemed pretty funny to you at the time (but to no one else) since it had absolutely nothing to do with your writing—but you couldn’t resist putting it into this post anyway.

The magical day was at hand. The one when you discovered, you could start a blog—and it was absolutely free! You were impressed… even if WordPress wasn’t.

Now you could spread all your pearls of wisdom (yeah right) before swine—although, why you would ever want to spread your writings before a bunch of non-reading pigs is still a question, not to mention other ne’er-do-wells—instead of reaching out to the more intelligent readers out there…

Like those who watch foreign movies for the subtitles.

Yes, you’ve finally become what you were always meant to be; a virtually invisible, disrespected, unpaid grammatical menace to readership around the world. And even more inexplicably; better writers, seemed to have fallen under your spell!

Which is why you now wear the cloak of invisibility.  You also get to wear it with pride—because you’re the only one who has one!