One of the many seemingly random “Bits” I hope to explore in this space–my final frontier . . . is my fiction work. As if reality wasn’t suffering enough here already, hmm?

By fiction I mean both screenplays and novels, perhaps even some short pieces.

Like everything else that spews from my fingers, like Mork from Ork in reverse, my fiction also verges on weirdness . . . or hadn’t you noticed? I kinda like throwing normal present day people in normal settings into something a little unusual and watch what happens.

Kind of like what I do with you here. ~giggle~

Here’s one short example that randomly landed on me in a Creative Writing/Fiction class a few college terms ago. Don’t ask me what I was on at the time . . . I don’t want to talk about it.

It goes something like this . . .

Ms. Amoeba, P.I.

The bullet holes were gone. I felt around my chest and abdomen, but they were nowhere to be found. Maybe I’d imagined the whole thing and simply fainted, like women are always doing in old movies. Twits. But the memory of the bullets tearing into me was painfully clear. The two goons with the semi-automatics had fired at least a dozen rounds into me and left me for dead in this trash-strewn alley.

Or so I thought. Even my dress was unscathed.

I got up, shook it off, and made my way to Tony Desilio’s lounge, determined to find the answers to my first mystery. The second would have to wait, the one with the tiny saucer that had landed in the street in front of me and gone squish. I wasn’t sure I saw that either, especially the weird ooze that leaked out. I know I shouldn’t have touched it. The blur of memories that hit me at that point don’t bear thinking about, at least until I got a drink in me. The thugs dragged me into the alley while I was distracted with that.

Or so they thought.

When I arrived at Tony’s, I expected more trouble, but the goon at the door that looked like a meat locker just gave me the hairy eyeball and let me in. The weasel that shot me first was waiting in the wide foyer. I could tell they both sported big revolvers under sweaty armpits.

“Sid, the broad’s still alive,” said the bouncer .

“Shut up, Dob, and check her for a vest,” said Sid, eyeballing me. He looked less cool than he acted.

The bouncer, as chivalrous as a hockey player, bounced me against the wall—hard—to make me more cooperative, but the effect was anticlimactic. My back seemed to flatten against the cheap paneling, then bounce back.

Weird was not the word.

With his other meaty paw, Dob reached toward my blouse, a flicker of something unsavory in his eyes as his fingers hovered over my cleavage. I felt that helpless thing women hate so much, for about three seconds. This truly pissed me off.

I shifted and something went squish. The arm that was wrenched behind my back melted away–and reconstitute in front of me. I didn’t have time to freak out about it. Maybe later.

All I knew was they were trying to do to me what they already did to my family. I could feel my anger focusing into the clenching of my relatively small fist, becoming a rock-hard ball of hate, a fist-sized boulder of it. Without thinking, I swung it up, striking Dob hard enough to send him flying off his feet. Everyone in the room was shocked, including me.

Sid brought his gun up, but the big one rolled over and jumped me first, pinning me to the floor under 400 pounds of smelly flesh.

The next thing I knew I was on my feet again, slapping away Sid’s pistol, then Sid, who hit the far wall, then folded onto the floor. The bouncer hoisted himself off the floor staring at his hands.

“What the hell are you lady?” he said, “You melted. Slipped away like Jello.”

I stepped toward him and he backed away.

“Shoo!” I said and he disappeared out the front door under his own steam.

I stepped past Sid’s limp form and headed for Tony’s office, my mind reeling with what just happened. Whatever it was, it didn’t stop me from my original goal. Nothing could stop me from that. Tony was going to pay. I entered and closed the door behind me. Tony swiveled his chair toward me and smiled.

“Hey, Babe. Nice to see you. Still looking good despite reports from my guys.” he was a cool customer right to the end. “You’re really starting to annoy me.”

“I’m just getting started.”

He didn’t seem impressed. I’d left my gun back at the office, I wouldn’t have been impressed either. I was about the same shape as a cocktail waitress. A smart one.

Tony stood up from his desk and came toward me. I decide to meet him halfway.

“You killed my family,” I said through my teeth. “Burned them alive in a fireball. Got anything to say for yourself?”

“Only that my boys are getting clumsy. They were just supposed to get you. I don’t like nosy women in my business. Here, let me get the boys in here so we can tie up this loose end.”

He went to whistle and I caught his hand. He looked down, mesmerized as my hand melted and flowed over his. The look of terror came when I pulled him to me and his body became engulfed in parts of me, as well. I didn’t know what I was doing, but my body did. He dissolved quickly, thousands of horrible deeds flashing into my mind as his skull was digested into me. When it was done, there wasn’t a cell of him left and I knew his every secret.

Half disgusted, half vindicated, I dropped into his chair and stared at my hands. They looked completely normal. I had become some kind of human-amoeba thing, and I’d just digested someone alive. How do I deal with that?

I was a PI, not a late night cinema monster. What do I do with this?

The tiny UFO came to mind, squashed under the tire of that checkered cab. The answers had to be there. No sooner had a I thought the thought, than memories flooded in. Memories that weren’t mine.

Frantic fighting to get control of my ship. Strange buildings falshing past, then asphalt racing up. There was an awful crash. Then a close-up of a zigzagged Michelin putting out my lights, before I could react. All I felt then on were memories of memories–also not mine. Seems aliens’ lives flashed in front of them at death, too.

I saw the history of a world far from our own, familiar weirdness filling my human side with awe. This creature was not a monster. It had been an emissary of peace, a critter with an important mission. And as it died it came to a desperate decision. I came to my senses realizing a dead alien emissary somehow passed something of itself into a skirt-wearing P.I., who could suddenly do things to bad guys that would put her off her grain for weeks.

Lucky me.

Excerpt of Ms. Amoeba, by Miki Marshall

Not my usual cup of bananas, this anti-heroine thing. At the time I thought it might have some promise as a possible prelude to a series of stories. I’m not sure of the gruesome ending though. ~shiver~

I’m kinda wondering what you think. (No, really!) I mean, if you’re weird enough to still be reading my blog, I might as well put you to work. You my kinda people!*

[ * i.e., weird. ]

I live behind a bar.

There, I said it. Phew, what a load off my mind to finally be out about that.

Oh, wait . . . that’s not right. It was that queer thing I should be worried outing myself about. Good thing I didn’t mention that then, huh?

It’s a pretty respectable bar, as bars go: A sports pub actually, with tons of huge screens for people to drunkenly scream at for no apparent reason, as if the players can actually hear them–or each other for that matter, as loud as it gets over there. Recently renovated, pleasantly arranged, well-lit . .  it’s a friendly looking place in there, from what I can tell. If I actually drank or could fathom sports I might give you a better view of it than through its large shiny windows as I’m passing by each day. But I don’t, much, so there.

The pub is nestled on the ground floor of my comfortably appointed and friendly apartment building, with a lovely courtyard separating it from my cozy little apartment. I’m happy with the arrangement . . . for the most part . . .

Until about 1:00AM.

You’d think I’d be happy that the noise abates around this time of night. But if you know me (i.e., you pay attention to the posting times of these blog entries. No, if you could actually see the posting times of these blog entries), you’d deduce that it’s not really a fly in my bearnaise sauce. You may not deduce the bearnaise sauce bit, actually. But if you did, I’d send you a cookie and a one-way plane ticket to Siberia, because frankly you’re freaking me out.

No, what happens around the wee hours of the morning are conversations. Drunken ones. Directly under my window.

I don’t mind conversations actually. The daytime ones are quite entertaining. I’ve witnessed a plethora of phone calls, debates, arguments, diagnoses, theories, educated and uneducated guesses, prophecies and neural pathway cleaning exercises (otherwise known as self-monologues) beneath my windows that have affected me anywhere along the spectrum of Boredom level 0.2, to Rolling under my desk laughing until my head pops off level 92.8. Although not entirely sane, at least they were relatively sober.

BonNuR1CIAA2UeQ.jpg largeBut at night it gets a little scary. It’s not the slurring or the exclamations about why my building keeps moving that I find so frightening . . .  but the way in which the monumentally drunk are stripped down to their bare essence. Their true colors. Their actual selves.

Most of the participants of these verbal expectorations are male, with a few rare drunk women mixed in to amp up the frighteningness (yes, I’m glaringly guilty of adding “ness” to almost any word, without the actual benefit of feeling guilty. about it . . . because I can). Not to kill your buzz here, but if I were to get a nickel for every misogynistic comment I’ve heard under my window past a certain hour, along with all kinds of premeditated rape-like details, I’d be able to afford installing huge neon lights on the moon that spell out, “Hey guys, WTF?” (I originally had “is wrong with you!” added to the end, but I calculated I’d need another 7 cents per misogynist.

I don’t really want to talk about it, but it looks like I did anyway. I mean someone has to. These guys’ male friends who DO have scruples might want to step up here. Just saying.

I’m kind of hoping this phenomenon is rarer than it seems, though I will clearly not be holding my breath on this point anytime soon. Perhaps it takes a mentality that thinks getting this drunk is actually fun, for that person to also be unclear on the whole human empathy thing. I don’t really know.

Until I find a cure for stupid, I’m thinking the best thing I can probably do is either: A) Learn to sleep like a “normal” person (Side-splitting laugh level 85.3), or B) find another apartment that exhibits a complete lack of bar-ness*.

Anyone know of a modest apartment I can rent in NW Portland?

[ * Yes, I did it again. If Lock Ness or Eliot Ness can do it, so can I. So there. ]

Four out of five narcissists agree: the human race is an imperfect lot. Even our DNA earns its keep by making errors . . . what we call “evolution”. Like most humans, I carry with me a plethora of dysfunction wherever I go. A few are physical—most are not. They don’t eat much, but they help make me who I am, for better or worse, so I proudly call them my own.

This is their story …

Asparagus, Broccoli & Shellfish—Oh My!

Okay, I admit it. I eat like a five-year-old.

My texture issues followed me like hungry kittens into adulthood: where foods like kiwi or mushrooms or cooked squash are too slimy to be beheld; where my bitterness sensitivity make bell peppers (only the green ones), capers and grape leaves inedible; and where a strange genetic mutation transforms guacamole and sour cream into an inert, tasteless nothingness on my tongue.

But these maladjustments barely scratch the surface of my culinary weirdness …

Shellfish, no matter how gourmet in preparation, smells to me like decomposing garbage. To think of ingesting it as a food is to risk projectile vomiting. I had to type the previous sentence very carefully.

Asparagus, on the other hand, has nothing more than a bitter aroma to me, but my throat closes up just to be in the same room where it’s cooking. Attempting to eat any of it would be improbable at best. And asparagus has a unique way of taking over the sweat glands of its victims, so if you’ve eaten some of it in the last few days, please don’t be insulted when I move far away from you.

I don’t want to talk about broccoli, other than to warn you: Do not under any circumstances allow me to eat this in your presence . . . unless you wish to be among the crowd running for the hills soon after. If anyone has seen the movie Godzilla and the Smog Monster, you know what I mean. Failing to heed this advice may be construed in some countries as a terrorist act.

You have been warned.

“Foibles” was a creative writing class exercise that went awry. It was meant to brainstorm prompts for future writing projects, but I think my instructor stepped back in fright when she saw how long my list was getting. There’s enough foibles here to fuel a year long blog, but I think I’ll scale it back to a foible or two a week (welcome to Foibles Monday).

I don’t want to take you away from the normal things I usually write about here. ~giggle~

IMG_0226So I’m walking down the street to the coffee shop where I do all my serious writing (well, I think it’s serious), minding my own business, when I pass this sign outside of one of the restaurants there. I stop. I take two steps back and look again. Yup, that’s what it says.

Anyone who has actually read my “about” page knows I occasionally identify as a dork, so of course my first thought is:

What side would they serve with me?

Other questions soon follow (keep in mind I’m still standing out on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, probably staring all buggly-eyed, thinking these things, while the patrons inside are looking out wondering if I’ve popped a fuse):

  • How do they serve dorks? Do we come with a sauce?
  • Where do they harvest their dorks?
    • Should I run? Like, now?!
  • Should I be insulted I’m only worth $13.50, and with a side?
  • Would I be less upset about this turn of events if I was served with macaroni and cheese, or covered with a dark chocolate sauce?
  • What wine do you serve with a dork (I’m thinking something non-alcoholic).

After I reset my fuse and toddled along to the coffee shop to be prescribed my usual dose of caffeine, I began to wonder if they were in fact serving actual dorks or a dork substitute. Or perhaps they had an unfair opinion of dorks and charged them $13.50 extra (plus a side) if they ate there.

It wasn’t until I started writing this and my girlfriend walked past and saw the picture above that the truth was revealed–and it’s admittedly weirder than even I thought possible. But then this is Portland. So of course I turned to the Urban Dictionary, the fount of all knowledge and wisdom.

Sure enough she was right:

(n)a whale penis
“The blue whale has the biggest dork on earth.”
by Anonymous February 14, 2003

(Source: The Urban Dictionary, accessed 3/1/2015, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dork)

Well then . . . okay. It makes perfect sense now that this appears on the menu at a place called Dick’s Kitchen.

I’m thinking I don’t want to talk about it. What more could I possibly add to this .. other than:

Bon Appetit!

It has been brought to my attention that I introduced the idea of writing memoir in my blog . . .  without actually writing any. Uhm . . . Busted!!

Geez, you guys. Make me write, whydon’tcha! ~sigh~

Okay, here goes  . . .

I was born in the mythical kingdom of Koozbeen, the only child of a badly rescued princess and a recently kissed frog, both on their second marriage. Life was good until the Bugblatter Beast of Traal arrived and ate the townsfolk . . .

No, that’s not right. Ugh. You all don’t really want to hear the whole genealogical regurgitation, do you? Yeah, neither do I. We’ll get to that later, when I can think of a way to put a better spin on it. Believe me, it’s not what you think. Unfortunately no townsfolk get eaten in that version–I’m sorry to get your hopes up on that part.

Instead, let’s be all random and start out with a piece I wrote about <sarcasm>my most favorite thing, sports, . . . during my most favorite part of life: high school.</sarcasm>

This was written for a creative writing class and actually read on stage in front of people. I don’t want to talk about it. It goes something like this . . .

Poor Sport

I have a confession to make: I’m a poor sport. It’s not that I lack sportsmanship—winning or losing isn’t a big deal for me.

I just don’t get it. Grown people running back and forth, killing themselves over a round orange or white ball, or a misshapen brown ball, or placing themselves in the path of a hard threaded Frankenstein ball someone just whacked with a big stick. All this excitement and injury over who gets the ball. It’s just silly. And people pay big bucks to watch them do this. It seems to me if they just gave everyone their own ball—whichever color or shape that works for them—they’d all be happy and stop running around jumping on each other.

Of course, my confusion about playing sports may stem from how badly I suck at it—that’s what I meant about being a “poor sport.” It’s not that I didn’t try. Each time I was conscripted to play one of these competitive games in Phys. Ed. class, I’d give it my best. But—except for running—I’m just not built for that sort of thing. Thanks to several bullies I’ve had the enormous pleasure to meet in my life, I can usually outrun most anything. But make me kick or catch a ball along the way and I’m liable to make a dramatic face-plant on the turf, or knock over my fellow players like bowling pins.

20070812-02-01There is one sport I suck at in a particularly awesome way though:

Dodgeball…

Yet another silly game with balls, which I find ironic; but this one involves the biggest, strongest kids throwing stinging hard rubber projectiles at each other, but especially the easily-bruised geeky ones—like me. Someone was feeling particularly sadistic when they came up with this game.

I’m usually the last one picked for any team; but in this game, once I’m out on the polished gym floor, they get a surprise: If there’s one thing about me and pain, I’m good at getting out of its way. I can move! With a dozen of these hard rubber horrors whipping around at once, I can duck, jump, run or simply turn sideways and disappear.

Yes, sometimes that joke is true—at least back in my pre-college days.

Unfortunately, that’s where my talents end. If my team was winning, it was not due to any help from me. My throwing ability then was despicable, and catching a ball to get someone out was not an option.

If my team was losing, my evasive talents simply drew out their imminent death. At this point, the teacher would become impatient, watching my macabre survival dance, and dissolve the “do-not-cross” line between the teams. My assailants would then amass and move in for the kill. All my hard work would lead to circular bruises all over my body, rather than the expected one. You would think I’d figure this out and sacrifice myself early on … but apparently, I don’t have a mind for sports either; and survival is a hard habit to break.

In the end, with all such sports, my performance would amount to a spastic effort to avail, but end in a letdown to beat the lowest of expectations. Looking back now, it seems to make more sense to me, that if the team captains don’t really want to pick the geeky kid—the one trying to make herself invisible behind the climbing rope—and the invisible one doesn’t want to be picked—why not just let them sit out all the silliness and read a book, or play with their new calculator.

If exercise truly is mandatory, then they could be made to run laps around the field. This would’ve worked for me. I could say I ran circles around them all.