Rules That Should Be Gibbs Rules

One of my favorite shows is NCIS. The real one; not the LA or NO ones. Abby is adorable in a goth kind of way. There is something about a woman who can kill you with a thimble that made Ziva hot. The writer in me admires McGee and it has nothing to do with the fact that he is the Elf Lord and I am just a Goblin Duke. Tony was both cool and dorky all at the same time which is something I strive for. The dorky part I have down to an art! And then there is Leroy Jethro Gibbs. The Fonz could go to Gibbs for cool lessons. Anyone who can make you answer his questions before he even asks them, slap you on the back of the head to reboot your brain and snipe you from 1000 yards is truly a force of nature. Chuck Norris and Gibbs would make a team that could totally dominate the universe!
Gibbs has a series of rules that you must always follow if you want to be on and remain on his team. Rule #1: Never let suspects stay together. Rule #5: You don’t waste good. Rule #6: Never say you’re sorry. It’s a sign of weakness. Rule #39: There is no such thing as coincidence. Rule #45: Clean up the mess that you make. There are rules that are not on his list but I feel they should be. I have come up with Doug’s Rules.
  1. Never date a woman who quotes Meg Ryan from French Kiss. There is nothing wrong with the woman but it’s just creepy.
  2. Never drive a car that cost more than your first house unless it’s a Tesla.
  3. Always have a rubber ducky handy just in case you have to take a bath on a moment’s notice.
  4. When you wear Groucho glasses and mustache it does count as a cunning disguise no matter what your kids say between fits of laughter.
  5. Make sure you eat five pounds of poppy seeds before your drug test to hide the illegal Twinkie content in your blood.
  6. You should never eat chili dogs for breakfast unless you have cheese, onions, and a stomach pump.
  7. Dating a nurse is dangerous because they have access to drugs that can make your pee turn blue.
  8. When eating a Meatball Marinara Subway sandwich you are allowed to imagine that you are a subterranean monster that is eating a real New York subway and the meatballs are rolling through the tunnels picking up everything in their path.
  9. Never take a knife to an Uzi fight.
  10. It is better to give than to receive high blood pressure.
Those are my ten rules that will help you stay ahead of the curve. Even if they don’t help you I will still follow them just because they are fun.

The Rhythm of A.D.D. or Dr. Seuss on Ritalin

When I awoke on this very day
My mind was out racing in every way.
It ran and it ran so, so far from me
Wandering through the wide world don’t you see.
Thoughts of fun and joys all anew
And all of the shades of the color blue
Were running and racing round my drifting mind
Leaving me in a peculiar bind.
Do I write about a random thought
Of dogs with fake teeth that owners have bought?
Or the reasons behind the wind and waves
And watching the way my weird neighbor saves
The recycling trash from far deep within
The dumpster, the trashcans and every dustbin?
Or about many thoughts for stories untold
Of a leprechaun riding a pink leopard bold?
Perchance I should let my unbalanced brain
Solve problems of peace and green acid rain
That bother and keep me awake every night.
Just kidding ‘bout that, I have a nightlight
That has starry night from the great Vincent
Who I wish I had known. Is that a strange tent
Out though the window in fields where dogs play?
I hope they took care, they won’t want to lay
In a spot that was where Fido went number two.
This all makes good sense for me, not for you.
Try drinking some coffee. Eight cups would work well.
Then drink four big Red Bulls and vodka to tell
What it’s like to be me in my head when thoughts push.
Eat a few Snickers for the sugar and rush.
That may help you to feel what it’s like to me
On the days when I’m dealing with A, D and D.

The Things I Learned From My Dad

Now if you read the title of this blog, you may get the impression that that I am honoring my father who passed away a couple of years ago. Perhaps you are thinking that this is a way for me to remember my dad because I have been missing him lately. Well, I do miss my dad and I am honoring him in my own way. I’m not sure that’s how he would see it.

My dad, John Romig, had many gifts. He could take apart an engine and put it back together. He was so good, he didn’t even need to use all the parts that were in it in the first place. He was also able to design all kinds of interesting things without a blueprint or even a plan. At the moment, I can’t think of any that worked, but I’m sure some of them did. Then there were the things I learned and still laugh about them to this day.

Blogger’s note: I admit that I occasionally exaggerate occurrences in my life for the sake of humor and a much more interesting story than ever really happens to me. These stories are factual with no exaggeration needed, and I have a brother and two sisters who will back me up on this.

To this day, I don’t like meatloaf thanks to one experience with Dad’s Meatloaf of Death! (death, death, death – imagine an ominous echo) Mom had to go into the hospital for a few days and Dad was to be responsible for the normal house duties including cleaning, laundry and (pause for dramatic effect) cooking. Dad had a memory of something his mom would make when he was a child called German Meatloaf. It was a simple recipe. As far as he could remember, it had a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground sausage. Dad, being a dad, didn’t look at his ingredients too carefully and made it with a pound of hamburger and two pounds of sausage. Okay, not perfect, but not a disaster…yet. Dad liked his food spicy. He was the one who would salt and pepper everything before he even tried a bite. He thought he would kick the meatloaf up a notch. To this day, we are not sure what he put in the meatloaf. Cayenne pepper seemed to be one of the first choices. We were pretty sure that there was a pound of that in there, too. There was also Tabasco sauce, extra salt, Worcestershire sauce, and wherever else he found in the cabinet. When he placed it on the table, the four kids each took a fork full of meatloaf, placed the bite in our mouths, and spit the ghastly stuff back onto out plates in a way that is usually reserved for the movements of synchronized swimmers. Dad was initially hurt by our reaction… until he tried it. Even he could only take a couple bites.

I promise I am not making this next part up. The dog would not eat it! Yeah, the dog, who licked his own butt and ate poop, would not eat the meatloaf. The cat ate a few bites of this dangerous stuff. Apparently, it caused either so much physical or emotional pain in our cat that the feline decided life was not worth it. Our cat ran out in front of a car the next day. We all blamed the meatloaf. It was carefully wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the refrigerator. Someone (not me) put a little flag on it that said: “Dad’s Meatloaf”. I thought the skull and crossbones was a nice touch. Eventually it disappeared from the frig. Rumor has it that someone decided to set it free in the back yard because we were fairly sure this was a new life form. The next day, my brother’s turtle disappeared. Coincidence?

The lesson I learned: Don’t make meatloaf. It kills pets.

On the Fourth of July, my dad and his friend were setting off fireworks for the family. There were little missiles, Roman candles, bottle rockets and fountains. One of the fountains turned out to be a dud. It was a sad moment for us because it was a really big fountain that promised to shoot sparks high into the air. My dad and his buddy were sitting there in the darkness, trying to figure out what to do. Dad took his cigarette and stuck it down the top of the fountain.

The lesson I learned: Don’t smoke. It is hard to put your pants out when they are smoking. The cigarettes aren’t so good for you, either; even when they aren’t in your mouth.

One last disaster my dear, darling Daddy dared to do. My father loved motorcycles. I enjoy them, but he had a love that bordered on obsession. To be fair, his affection was across that border by a good ten miles. He got me to race motocross on a little bike when I was young. When I was first learning to ride on the dirt track, Dad wanted to show me how to do it. Okay. No problem. He knew how to ride and how to ride on a dirt track. Did I mention that I was young? Pre-teen young? The dirt bike was a Kawasaki 80. The smallest of the racing motorcycles. Dad was 5’ 10”. You see where this is going, right? He started the bike, revved the motor, dropped it into gear, and released the clutch. For a little bike, it could really move! It moved so fast that it shot out from under my dad. That would have been funny all by itself.

When you’re water skiing and you fall, you let go of the rope. When you rev up a dirt bike and it shoots out from under you, you let go of the handlebars. Dad didn’t get that memo. A full-grown adult running behind a small dirt bike, trying to stop it without breaking anything on the bike or the man, is really funny to a kid.

The lesson I learned: Do not do something stupid on a motorcycle when you son is watching. He can crack his ribs laughing and rolling around on the ground, begging for air.

Those little incidents helped me learn what not to do. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go prepare this dish my mom used to make for us. I can’t wait for my son to try my version of her haggis. I think my addition of the chocolate chipotle sauce will make it a meal to remember.

Black Bean Cooking, or How to Clean a Colon

When I was married I prepared about 95% of the meals. Cooking is something I enjoy. There is something about the looks of satisfaction and the words of praise that appeal to the instant gratification side of my ego. And I got lots of praise. There were times when my ego would get to the point it wanted to take on Top Chef and show those clowns how to really make mac and cheese. We won’t mention the rule we had around the house that was proudly displayed over the stove: Anyone who fails to praise the meal, cooks the next three. Did I mention all the praise I got?

I’m not one of those typical single guys who makes everything in the microwave. I have a stove and know how to use it. Honest! My made from scratch chicken and dumplins has been glorified by all who have tried it. The spaghetti sauce in my kitchen does not come from Prego, Ragu or Hunts. It has real ingredients. My pancakes are made from flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and love. I still get lots of praise for my cooking. (I got the sign over the stove in the divorce.)

This leads me to the experiment. While spinning the lazy-susan in my kitchen, it jammed up. It would not spin forward or backward. For those of you who don’t know, a lazy-susan is a corner cabinet that has a couple of spinning shelves that allow you to use and actually reach the stuff in the back of that corner cabinet. When something gets underneath it, jams occur and you have to reach up and under and around – any way you can – to get it un-jammed. While performing some of the basic movements of advanced contortionism, I was able to discover the jamming culprit. It was a bag of dried back beans I had bought a few months back and totally forgotten about. The main reason I forgot about them had something to do with them being under the spinning shelf. Instead of putting them back in the lazy-susan to fall back down and jam things up, I placed them on the counter.

For a couple days, they just sat there. They were looking at me with a smug look that said, “I made it this long. You don’t have the balls to make anything with me. It’s not chili season. Muahahahahahaha!” Beans with that kind of attitude are not tolerated around my house. The moment they started acting like that, I got out the colander and rinsed those bad boys off. “Now who’s laughing?!” I declared to a bunch of beans. Yeah, I cook like that. Placing the rinsed beans in the big stock pot, I began to add water… and stopped. I seemed to remember a movie about campfire beans that had whiskey in them. As I looked in the liquor cabinet, a smile crept across my face. Even though I couldn’t remember the movie, I did remember it was bourbon. I had some! It was promptly added to the soaking mix.

Did you know that letting beans soak in water and whiskey makes going into the kitchen a buzz-worthy experience? I found myself checking on the beans frequently. My son caught me with my head all the way in the pot, sniffing the delicate bouquet of black beans and bourbon. I explained that I was checking the beans for sobriety. He just shook his head as he walked away, saying something about beans singing How Dry I Am. I listened carefully and he was right. That boy has better hearing than I do.

After twenty-four hours of vigilant soaking (I checked them every fifteen minutes), the beans were ready to cook. Draining the black bean-infused soaking solution down the drain (my tears also followed the whiskey), I began to fill the pan with more water… and paused again. When I make my praise-worthy chili (remember the sign), I use a beer or two. Porter beer is the best for chili, but almost any beer will do. I got a couple cans of light beer and added them to the beans. Also I tossed in garlic, an onion, and just about every spice I have in the spice rack. It was going to be great!

After three hours of my kitchen smelling like a brewery, the beans were tender and ready to taste. They were AMAZING! Flavorful and balanced. Delicious and nutritious. Healthy and full o

f fiber. I had two large bowls. Since I was not expecting anyone to stop by, there was no concern about the amount of methane that would be produced. There is a scene in Blazing Saddles where a bunch of cowboys are sitting around a fire, eating beans and farting. I could have been an extra on that set. But I didn’t care. The beans were so good, I had some for a snack later.

The next morning was a different story. Do you remember me mentioning that they were healthy and full of fiber? About that fiber… it works. While contemplating the pros and cons of a black bean omelet, I felt a certain fullness in my lower abdominal area. OMG! My system emptied everything that was in my large and small intestines. I feel fairly certain that I passed things my mom ate while pregnant with me forty-some years ago. Sadly, I know how my dad felt that time he ate several helping of kidney bean salad. I laughed at him for days after. It’s not near as funny when you’re on the other end and it’s your other end doing the work.

An Arino Interview – Sort Of

This morning I was sitting at my computer, uploading files to the all the right servers so they would be ready for the book launch on the 20th. There was a ring at the door that surprised me. Most of my friends don’t stop by without at least texting. Knowing my recent luck with drop-ins, I had a bad feeling as I headed to the door. I just knew it was going to be Tone and Zeke visiting at the same time to check on my work. I flung open the door…
Doug:   Guys, I’m in the middle of…
My voice suddenly decided it wanted to go somewhere else as my eyes focused on the beauty at my door. She had long, flowing, midnight-black hair, a wide smile that made me feel warm from head to toe, and eyes with traces of amber dancing around them.
Arino:   Hello, Doug. I’m Arino. May I come in?
Doug:   Uhhh…
Arino:   Can I take that as a yes?
Doug:   Uhhh…
Arino:   Let’s go sit down. You look flushed.
Doug:   Ummmm…
Arino:   For a writer, you don’t seem to know many words.
Doug:   Uh huh.
Arino:   Please sit down before you fall over. Let’s pretend I showed up at your door and you said something quite charming and witty about having a healing angel visiting, invited me in, and we sat down for coffee. Sound good?
Doug:   Okay.
Arino:   A semi-real word? Good job. Can you make a sentence for me now?
Doug:   Maybe.
Arino:   One word sentence? That’s progress. How about I talk for a while and let you remember where you left your vocabulary?
Doug:   Sure.
Arino:   Getting better. Nicely done. I really just stopped by to see how the work is going on New Fallen. I know you are under the gun to get it finished.
Doug:   Almost done.
Arino:   Two words! Yea! This was also my chance to say thank you for increasing my role in New Fallen. I had so much fun in Angelcide. This book has me in almost every chapter. That was so sweet of you. Stop blushing so brightly. That shade of red is not your color.
Doug:   You’re welcome. I liked… ummm… something.
Arino:   Awww. You almost had two sentences there. I am curious about the next book. Zeke told me you are calling it Demonize, right?
Doug:   Yes. You’re in that one a lot, too.
Arino:   Great. I love working with Zeke and Tone. So what is Demonize going to be about? I’m guessing there are demons.
Doug:   Yes. Demons trying to take over the Spiritscape.
Arino:   That seems unlikely. How are you planning on that?
Doug:   Well, there is a character that I introduce in New Fallen who will be a major player in Demonize.
Arino:   Your words are all back. That sounds like fun. Now you have me wondering who is in New Fallen that we will see in Demonize.
Doug:   It’s a secret. But the prologue of Demonize is at the end of New Fallen. It will give a hint.
Arino:   That’s a good idea. Sounds like something Zeke may have suggested.
Doug:   Both Zeke and Tone were insistent that I start work on Demonize. It wasn’t pretty what they threatened.
Arino:   I’ll keep them off your back as much as I can. Just don’t take too long.
Doug:   I’ll work on it. I promise.

Then I was in my kitchen all alone, as if I had been by myself the whole time. The kid from next door was staring in the window. He had a strange look on his face. It was like he was watching a mad man talking to himself. Kids these day. What are you going to do?

An Interview with an Angel

Having just recovered from my impromptu meeting with Tone, I had just set down to work on my new book, Reunion, when I looked up and my heart almost stopped. There was this thing in my kitchen. It was golden and shiny, bright and sparkling, beautiful and breathtaking. It had a cup of coffee and sat down beside me. My first thought was, “Great. First Tone, now Zeke. How am I supposed to get any work done with figments of my imagination interrupting all the time?” Then I realized that they are not interruptions as much as storylines. Since my hold on reality is somewhat tenuous on any given day, I decided to go with this.
Doug: Hey, Zeke. Do you mind toning it down a bit? My sunglasses are out in the car.
Zeke:  How did you know it was me?
(He took on his human look. I really wish I had those eyes. The babes would love that.)
Zeke:  Thanks. I like to think they are my best feature.
Doug: Huh?
Zeke:  My eyes. You were just wishing your eyes looked like mine.
Doug: Uh, yeah. I didn’t say anything.
Zeke:  Uh, angel. You don’t have to. I know what you’re thinking. Plus, I am in your head anyway.
Doug: Oh yeah. I forgot. So what brings you here today?
Zeke:  Just checking on you. I know you are under a lot of stress right now and was making sure you are staying on track.
Doug: Uh huh. Right. You just want to make sure New Fallen is ready.
Zeke:  Well, I was mildly concerned about your well-being, too. If something happens to you, it could put a damper on my lifestyle.
Doug: What lifestyle? You’re an angel. You don’t even have a life!
Zeke:  Fair point. Okay, my spirit-style. I like what you are planning for Arino and me in New Fallen. It is way outside the box for the angelolgy you created.
Doug: Angelogy? The study of angels? I like to think of it as Angel-mythology. A whole new way of thinking about angels from my twisted little mind.
Zeke:  Call it what you like, it works for me. Now, let’s talk about this whole bad-boy-angel thing you have in mind for me. How much of a bad boy do I get to be?
Doug: Well, the book is done except for my final read-thru. You push the limits in New Fallenand will go even farther in Demonize.
Zeke:  Demonize? Is that the next one? Not sure I like that title.
Doug: Like it or not, that’s what I’m calling it. Don’t worry. You are not the demonizer.
Zeke:  Is that even a word?
Doug: It is now. I’m a writer. I make up words all the time. Anyway, I’ve got you playing close to the edge. You like?
Zeke:  I like. Now, what about a love scene between Arino and me?
Doug: I already have your spirits merging. What more do you want?
Zeke:  Well, there was that hot tub thing that Tone mentioned…
Doug: That was a joke.
Zeke:  Was it?
Doug: Yes. It was Tone making a joke.
(Zeke’s eyes glowed golden at this point.)
Zeke:  Was it?
Doug: I’ll see what I can do in Demonize. Is that good enough?
(His eyes returned to hazel.)
Zeke:  For now. So when are you starting on Demonize?
Doug: Not you, too! Tone has already been here harassing me about it. I’ll write a prologue today. Okay?
Zeke:  For now. I’ll be watching. Don’t take too long getting to it. I am, after all, the bad-boy of the angels.
Doug: Noted. Can I get back to work now?
Zeke:  Well, there is one more thing.
Doug: What now?
Zeke:  You really need to take better care of yourself. We had a meeting.
Doug: Who had a meeting?
Zeke:  Well, let’s see. Arino, Tone and I were there from The Spiritscape Chronicles. Then, Abby, Jonas, and Seneca were there from your Chilton/Lange series. I even met Keira from the Storytellers’ Guild.
Doug: Wait a second. I haven’t even told people about Seneca or Keira. What were they doing there? And, why wasn’t I invited? I made all of you.
Zeke:  Don’t get all high and mighty with me, Mr. I-Created-All-Of-You. We just want you to get some more exercise and take care of yourself. You do that and we will keep talking to you. If you don’t…
Doug: Then you will go on strike and not talk to me and I’ll get writer’s block. Blah, blah, blah.
Zeke:  Blah, blah, blah is all you’ll be writing if we won’t talk to you.
Doug: Okay. Okay. I’ll get more exercise. Anything else?
Zeke:  Now, about your diet?

I made a loud groan which caused my son to check on me. I told him it was something I wrote. He just shook his head, walking away. I didn’t want to scare him with the truth that an angel had just stopped by for coffee.

An Interview With Tone

I was sitting in my kitchen, editing New Fallen, when I looked up and saw Tone sitting there making faces at me. For most of you, a person from a book appearing next to you would be a little disconcerting, to say the least. For me, it’s just another day at the office. I decided to interview him since he was distracting me from getting any real work done. What was I thinking?
Doug: Hey, Tone. How are you doing today?
Tone:  Well, I’m gassy if you really need to know.
Doug: I already knew that. (gag, gasp, turning green)
Tone:  I’d say sorry, but you know better. That is a very cool shade of green you’re turning. Is that chartreuse or more of a seafoam?
Doug: No more chili dogs for you! (cough, cough)
Tone:  Like you could stop me. So am I going to be heroic in the new book? Do I get the girl? I’m going to save the day again, right? Do I get to fart a lot?
Doug: Well, there is a farting scene.
Tone:  Cha-ching! I really don’t care about all that other stuff. Farting! Farting! Farting!
Doug: Uh, yeah. So, what is the best part of being in the Spiritscape? Is it the beauty? The grandeur? The excitement?
Tone:  I get to fly butt first.
Doug: Butt first? Not the amber-hued mountains? Not the battles with demons?
Tone:  Nope. I guess that stuff is okay. But there is nothing like the Spiritscape on your butt to make you feel alive. It’s better than a really good poop!
Doug: Poop? Really, Tone?
Tone:  Hey, you made me up. Don’t blame me. Think about it. I get to say anything that crosses your messed-up mind! All those stories I get to tell about my childhood are really things that happened to…
Doug: On another topic, what is it like working with Zeke.
Tone:  Hold on. Let me get out my cue cards. Ehem. Working with Zeke is a great pleasure. He is always …psst. What’s that word?
Doug: Professional
Tone:  Yeah. He is always professional and loves a good joke… Do I really have to say this next part?
Doug: This is your interview. Say whatever you want.
Tone:  Really? Cool!
Doug: Oh crap.
Tone:  Here’s the deal. He is too cool for words and he has loosened up a lot in New Fallen. I think there is something going on between Zekey and Arino. Let me just say, I caught them making googley eyes at each other several times. It was cute in a make-me-wanna-puke kind of way.
Doug: Zeke and Arino? Really?
Tone:  Dude, you wrote it. Why are you acting surprised?
Doug: Just trying to be a good interviewer.
Tone:  Yeah. About that, stick to writing fiction. So, what do you have in mind for me in the next book? Superpowers? Turn me into an angel? Give me my own pudding-filled hot tub?
Doug: Well, the next book is going to be called Demonize. You are going to meet up with some old enemies.
Tone:  Demonize?Is that the best you can do? Okay. I guess it works. So when are you going to start on it?
Doug: Who is interviewing who here?
Tone:  I’m interviewing you, now. Answer the question before I’m forced to fill your head with images of me dressed up like a belly dancer wearing nothing but bologna in strategic spots.
Doug: NO! Not that! Please, I need the brain cells that would destroy. I’ll start on Demonizeas soon as I finish Reunion and Interpol.
Tone:  Okaaaay, that doesn’t work for me. You need to start on it tomorrow. Here is an image of me belly dancing.
Tone:  So when are you starting it?
Doug: Today! Today! Just no more!!
Tone:  Thank you. Now, about my love life…

That was when I passed out.

No Refunds or Exchanges

A few days ago I posted a blog about stupid warnings. After reading that, a friend of mine stopped by to show me an interesting list. She had been shopping and received a long list entitled: We Do Not Offer Refunds or Exchanges For. You may be thinking, “What an insensitive business! We all have the right to return our purchases, regardless of the reason. Walmart taught me that!” Before you get upset and start picketing this fine establishment, please read on. Did I mention she was shopping at the animal shelter? Yes, they needed to make a list of reasons that is inappropriate to bring your pet back. Sad, isn’t it?

I have listed a few of my favorite reasons you are not allowed to bring your pet back to the animal shelter. These are real reasons on a real piece of paper from the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. I am not making these up, but I really did LOL while reading some of them. 

  • Dogs that bark.  Yes, they really had to make this a policy. Makes you wonder how many people brought back the dog saying, “Yep, this here mutt barks. Didn’t know a dog would do that.”
  • Cats that scratch. I am not a cat person due to allergies, but even I know that cats will scratch. They don’t like to be baptized either. I still have the scars from when I was 5 and tried that. The dog didn’t mind as much.
  • Children taunt or tease the animal.  How is this the animal’s fault? What you need to do is take the shock collar off the dog and put it on the brat who is pestering the pooch. Then make them run back and forth over the shock line in the lawn. Once they wake up, the shock treatment should have cured them of their antisocial ways.
  • You receive/buy/adopt/breed another animal and you return this one. Even my twisted

    mind is going, “WHAT THE (fill in the blank with your favorite word here)”. Do people really get a cat and decided they want to trade up, so they take the old one back? I write about serial killers and even I wouldn’t think of doing that with my worst villain. 

  • Divorce.  Yes, there is sometimes a custody battle over the pets. When my parents got divorced, there was more debate over who got the dog than the kids. In my divorce, I got the dog and the kids half the time. Sounds like there are times when no one wants the cat. I can hear it now, “Your honor, I will take Captain Fuffywillycomes if that cheating (again, please fill in the blank) will pay me $1,200 a month pet support for the Yorkie. Kind of makes you wonder who gets the pet python.
  • Animal ran away and you can’t find it. Wouldn’t it be really embarrassing if you went back to the animal shelter to get your refund, and the dog was already at the door, trying to claw its way back in? I don’t know about you, but it would be really damaging to my self esteem.
There are other reasons the animal shelter won’t take animals back like too big, too small, too old, too young, and too Pekingese. Okay, I made that last one up, but they should really consider adding that. I once heard about a boy who wanted to teach the family Pekingese how to catch a Frisbee. Apparently, you can knock out a dog and squash the nose of a Pekingese even farther with that little flying disc. The trick is waking the dog up before your parents get home. Not that I have ever done that no matter what my sister says.

Arguing With My Characters

If you have read my book, Shrink, then you have met Abby Chilton. She is the emotionally damaged FBI profiler who has an attitude about… well… everything. Sitting here, working on Reunion, Abby is talking to me. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like what I’m writing about her. She can be such a pain in the buttocks. Abby and I have gone back forth about Jonas, her love interest in the first book. She is mad that Jonas is off doing his Interpol stuff, leaving her all alone. I tried to explain to her that he is in his own book that I’m writing. Our conversation went something like this:
Doug: Abby, it’s ok. Jonas has a job to do and he’s in Europe.
Abby: Why does he have to go there? Can’t he be working in America for a while?
Doug: It’s not in his character to stay in one place for long. He’s in demand all over the world. I’m even giving him his own book.
Abby: Are there women in his book?
Doug: Of course there are. He’s in Europe tracking blue diamond smugglers. Who do you think likes the blue diamonds? Guys don’t care about diamonds, unless they are giving them to women.
Abby: I see.
Doug: Why does that make me nervous?
Abby: Because you know that I will run away if you put too many women out there to temp him.
Doug: You can’t run away. You’re in my head.
Abby: Ever heard of writer’s block?
Doug: You wouldn’t dare. Would you?
Doug: Abby?
Doug: Abby? I’ll make him be as good as he can.
Abby: That could be taken many ways. Do not play games with a profiler. I can see right through your little word play, buster. Don’t make me hurt you. I’m in your head. I know where the blood vessels are.
Doug: You are scary.
Abby: No, that would be you. I’m just a figment of your imagination. But I’m watching how you write about Jonas. He’d better behave for the most part.
Doug: How about I bring him back in Reunion for a chapter or two?
Abby: You would do that for me? How sweet of you.
Doug: Anything to keep my brains intact and my characters happy.

I may need some therapy.

Smart Answers to Dumb Questions

While watching TV, I heard an announcer ask a victim of a tornado what it was like. Really? What was it like?! “Well, there was wind going around and around and then suddenly my ding-dang house was gone. I think the roof was headed to Canada. I even saw a woman riding a bike turn into a witch on a broom. I’m pretty sure that was my mother-in-law.” The truthful answer would be, “I was so scared I wet my pants.” Just once I want to see someone answer a reporter like that and point to their damp crotch.
In the interests of doing my best to make fun of myself and others, I have made a list of dumb questions that I have been asked, heard asked of others, or made up from my fertile imagination. Some of them may be questions I have asked, but I won’t tell you which ones.

Q: Do you suffer from depression?
A: Well I don’t enjoy it, but it’s better than being an idiot who asks about it.
Q: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A: Just as many moose as a mini mouse could move if a mini mouse could move moose.
Q: Do these pants make me look fat?
A: Yes, the pants are an evil entity that has expanded to make your butt look bigger than it really is. Bad pants. Bad pants. Come here and I’ll spank them. (This one kind of got away from me. Sorry about that.)
Q: What are you thinking?
A: I was just pondering a way to make a stable cold fusion reactor out of paperclips and duct tape while contemplating the best way to create a wormhole to link us with countless other moss-based life forms in civilizations throughout the cosmos. I was also thinking about pudding.
Q: You don’t get out much, do you?
A: My mind is free to wander as far as it wants. My body can’t go anywhere until it get back. Please tell it to come home. The butt promises to fart less so it won’t be as tormented by noxious fumes.
Q: Are you ready for summer/winter/spring/fall?
A: No, and I would appreciate it if you would hold it off until I have had time prepare.
Q: Do you believe in love at first sight?
A: No, I’m love blind.
Q: How old do you think I am?
A: Woman: Twenty-four. (It is a safe guess. Anyone under 24 will be flattered that you think that look that mature. Anyone older will be flattered you think they look that young. My grandma said I was “a creative person whose canvas involved using fecal matter of a male bovine” when I said that to her.)
A: Male: Does it matter? She is still too young for you since you’re not George Cloony.
Q: Don’t you have anything better to do than write a blog about stupid questions?
A: Yes, but this is called creative writing that allows me to delude myself into thinking I am doing something worthwhile, when in reality I’m just procrastinating editing my new book.

I hope these help you as you face the mindless many who madden you. Just remember: Only you can be sarcastic when someone asks you a question.