06 October 2015

We Need a 500 HP Drawing Board!

"Just think. if the inventor of the drawing board hadn't succeeded at his first try, he would not have had anything to go back to..." -Michael Knox, 2015-10-01 Facebook post/TD>

Narrator:"Today the US Supreme Court ruled in a rare nine to zero vote that there's no law that says you can't go back to a broken, dysfunctional, or even horribly misnamed drawing board."
Voice 1:"That's not a drawring board."
Voice 2:"Of course it is."
Voice 1:"No, it's not!"
Voice 2:"Yes, it is!"
Voice 1:"Tisn't!"
Voice 2:"Tis!"
Voice 1:"Tain't!"
Voice 2:"Then what is it?"
Voice 1:"It's a supercharged 1970 Chrysler 426 hemi engine."
Voice 2:"That's crazy. It's a drawing board."
Voice 1:"Drawring boards don't burn gasoline or need Hooker Headers!"
Voice 2:"Maybe yours don't. Now, back to the drawing board." (Revs motor, shoves critic into supercharger intake.)
Voice 1:"Aiieeee!!!"
Voice 2:(Slaps "I <3 my Hooker" sticker on forehead and resumes work.)
Engine freaks will of course spot the size discrepancy...

Copyright 2015, Nine Realms Press, Round Rock, TX. All rights reserved.

21 September 2015

Vignettes: Banks, Bombs, and Bonks

Captain America 2: The Winter Clock Soldier

As Ahmed Mohammed's Oval Office meeting ends, President Obama leans in close and whispers in Ahmed's ear. "Hail Hydra."
Ahmed, a look of alarm on his face, leaps back. "I knew it! That's why I brought a REAL clock bomb today, to save America!"
The President freezes. "I was just kidding!"
Ahmed grins. "So was I. It's just a clock."
As the two share laughs and high fives, the Secret Service goes to change its pants.

He's a Mess

Michael wanders into the company library and stares morosely out the window.
Alli, the librarian, watches him a bit before asking, "Are you OK?"
He sighs. "Sometimes I just need to stare into the distance. Remember my other wives. The ones I never told anyone about. The one who committed suicide. And now the authorities know. They're coming, you know. You might want to leave; it's going to get ugly."
Alli hardly knows how to respond. "What? Are you serious?"
"But most days I just like messing with people's heads." He turns around and smirks.
A second later a Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary smacks him in the face. She replies, "And this is how I mess with people's heads who mess with mine too much."

When Brands Collide

"I'd like to open an account."
"How much would you like to deposit?"
"2,000 gallons."
"This is the IBC Bank, right? I have lots of root beer."


Copyright 2015, Nine Realms Publishing, Round Rock, TX. All rights reserved.

26 April 2015

Dancing by the Numbers

Eddie felt like nobody really loved him except for what he could do. Eddie could make the numbers dance.

Not just the taxes, or the books, or the warehouses, or the boxes, or the contents in the boxes, or the routes, or the credits, or the debits, or the interest, or the payroll, or the benefits, or the payoffs, or the kickbacks. The numbers!

He could make them perform ballet. He could make them waltz, cha cha, foxtrot, tango, two step, or break dance. He could make them dance slowly, quickly, blindingly fast, or a constantly changing rhythm. You could pick any dance, any speed, any set of numbers, and Eddie made them dance.

Eddie felt like no one understood.


They found Eddie face down in the river, a small bullet hole at the base of his skull.

Rumors said it was the mob. Or the feds. Or the union. Or one of several foreign governments. Or one of any number of corporations. But Eddie was dead. The numbers danced no more.

Perhaps someone understood too well.


To Eddie's surprise and delight, he found himself in a better world.

He felt loved. And he could see everything dance- quarks, protons, atoms, molecules, the grass and flowers, animals he'd never believed in, people, angels, creatures he'd never heard of or imagined, the very light around him, and a loving Father. Even the numbers danced. They'd dance for Eddie if he told them to, but he enjoyed just watching them dance on their own. Sometimes he danced with them.

At last he knew someone understood.


Edwina played with her food as usual. She looked distant and troubled. She was just five, but like her deceased father she was brilliant and precocious. Edward spoke.

"Edwina, you look perturbed, Is something wrong?"

"Papa, we went to Daddy's grave today," she said. "His marker said 'He made the numbers dance'."

"And you want to know what that means?"

"No, Papa. I want to make the numbers dance, too."

Edward looked at her plate, at the carefully sculpted four sided rice pyramid, the perfect cubes of meat, the four squares of green peas three on a side with a solitary pea exactly in the middle of those squares. As she prodded the peas with her fork, the squares rotated and revolved slowly around the pea in the middle.

"How many peas do you have, Edwina?"

Her eyes flicked to the peas for an instant. "Thirty seven, Papa. That's easy."

Edward smiled. "You will make the numbers dance, baby."

She didn't understand yet.

But she would.

16 January 2015

Begone, Foul Dwimmerlaik of the Foot!

Some times my feet hurt- especially when I first get up. I'm not sure what that's about, but at least I know it's not this problem.

Palantir facialitis: an excruciating condition in which Sauron's face appears on the bottom of one's foot immediately after waking. Left untreated it may become systemic, eventually leading to burning eyes. Severe cases may lead to betraying loved ones or a desire to birth in mud to exceedingly ugly and unruly children.

Transmission vectors are not clearly understood but there is data indicating a strong correlation between wearing rings provided by untrustworthy companions, strangers, or politicians and more virulent disease symptoms.

The only known cures involve exceptionally hot dragon fire and hurling one's foot into a raging volcano.

15 January 2015

Accidental Kiss

McKenna and I were discussing whether there is such a thing as an accidental kiss. She opined that it didn't have to be mouth to mouth. That seemed to me like cheating but I wandered in the forest of my thoughts a bit and this story jumped out from behind a tree to surprise me as thoroughly as what happens below.

Jeremy was late for class. "Mrs. Gillie is going to kill me," he thought. "Or worse yet flunk me. I'll lose my scholarship!" Without the scholarship he'd have to drop out of college, blowing his parents' dream of finally have a Macintyre with a degree after his name.

Running across the quad he veered around the big oak to avoid a couple kissing. "Why do people insist on making out in public?" he raged inwardly. Ducking to avoid a low limb big enough to give him a serious concussion, he noticed another couple engaged in passionate kisses at his feet... as he tripped over them.

Jeremy flew and stumbled for several yards. He was almost under control when he slipped on a mossy rock and fell right on top of Miri from his biology class, the shyest girl he'd ever known. She was smart, witty, and cute. He'd fallen for her right away but getting her to talk one on one was nearly impossible. He'd given up after a week.

But just as he'd once fallen for her, now he was falling on her. Time slowed. She looked up, half surprised, half amused, not yet showing alarm. Her arms came up as his went out. He fell into her arms which then fell onto him as if in a lover's embrace. The irony was not lost on Jeremy. He managed to break his fall with his own arms so that his head stopped gently just as it met hers.

He tried to pull back. She tried to push him away. What was happening? Why were they still eyeball to eyeball, nose to nose, and... lip to lip?

"Mmh mhh mhhhmhh!" he apologized.

"Mmh mhh mh!" she demanded.

"Mmh mmh't," he argued.

Braces. Their braces were locked.

"MMMh mhh mhh!"

"Mhh mmmhhh mhh?"



"Mmmm hmmm..."



After an hour their braces accidentally unlocked. Each of them later told friends it was one of the saddest moments of their lives.

Mrs. Gillie was out sick so class had been canceled.

Jeremy aced biology.

The young lovers graduated with honors on a Friday morning and got married that afternoon on the quad.

They eventually lost their braces (a month apart to the hour) but every year on the anniversary of that fateful day when Jeremy was late for class they re-enacted that first kiss. They did this right up until they were 65. That year they added an accidental chipped tooth, an accidental split lip, and an accidental bloody nose to the re-enacted accidental kiss. Laughing and holding handkerchiefs to their faces, they wandered over to the student infirmary as much to befuddle the nurses and doctor as anything else.

From that year on they celebrated by painting braces on their teeth and laying gently down under the giant oak to kiss for an hour. Rain or shine.

Jeremy died a week before their 60th accidental kissiversary.

A week later at the appropriate time Miri wandered dreamily across the quad. As she ducked under the huge branch, she realized there was a couple kissing at her feet.

She skirted them successfully but slipped on the same rock Jeremy had slipped on sixty years previously. As she stretched out her arms she realized with some bemusement she was falling toward a very good looking young man. He caught her. Their faces a few inches apart, she gazed into his eyes a second and smiled.

He laughed. "Do you realize how lucky you are? I caught you just in time!"

She laughed as well. "You have no idea how lucky you are! Oh, wait. I suppose your braces are real. Mine aren't."

His left eyebrow raised as he helped her to her feet. "I don't follow you."

"It's just as well. Thank you for catching me, young man. What's you name?"


He stood scratching his head as the old lady ran off laughing like a schoolgirl- right after she kissed him smack on the lips.

His cell phone chimed. Time for biology. If only he could get that shy Chinese girl to talk to him...


Copyright 2015 Triple R Publishing, Round Rock, TX. All rights reserved.

25 December 2014

Christmas Stories You Won't Hear on the News: Coal

We always hear about Santa and presents. Seldom do we hear about Santa and coal, other than as a threat. But what is the reality?

Once upon a time there was a boy in Tumbleweed, New Mexico who was so bad that Santa filled his house with coal. But that wasn't enough. Santa called in an air strike and millions of tons of coal were delivered to this tiny town in the desert.

Shortly after Santa left sparks from the fireplace set it on fire and the house burned down. Winds fanned the flames, and the mountains of coal covering thousands of acres burned as well. (Thankfully the rest of the town was out of town.) Due to some unknown element in this type of coal (which doesn't add to the carbon footprint) the ash was white as snow. The area is now known as White Sands National Monument. If you visit, just remember that mixed in with all the coal ash are the ashes of a house and a particularly naughty little boy.


Meanwhile, half way round the top half of the planet and much farther north, there's a very poor, very, very cold town. It's so poor and so cold that hundreds of years ago desperate townspeople, tired of burning their Christmas presents to stay warm, started plotting to be naughty just to get coal. When Santa's elves told him, Santa made a special deal with the people of this forlorn Siberian outpost. If they behave they get coal. If they misbehave they get toys that won't burn. They go through as much coal in a year as Tumbleweed went through in one night, but they're not a tourist attraction, and they're still here- asleep in warm beds.

21 December 2014

We Three Strings: A Christmas Story in the Wild West

Three strings ride into town from the desert- hot, tired, and thirsty. They hitch their rides and mosey to the saloon doors. They stop, confronted by a sign: NO STRINGS.

The string named Slim growls. "I'm gettin' a drink!" He pushes past the doors, but a few seconds later comes flying out to land in the dusty street. An angry barkeep appears in the doorway. "Can't ya read? We don't serve yer type here!" He stomps back inside.

Another string, a twisted old man, shoves his Stetson back. "We'll see about that!" He saunters inside. A few seconds later a fight starts; tables bust, men and women yell, a chair hits the wall, glass breaks. The second string flies over the swinging doors to land, disheveled, in the street by his bruised, dazed friend. The barkeep appears in the doorway again, yells, "NO STRINGS!" points at the sign, glares at the third string and stomps back inside. A few feet in he stops and hollers over his shoulder. "We don't serve your kind! Go away."

The third string, a strong string, practically a small horsehair rope, glances at the sign, at his friends baking under the Arizona sun in the dirt, and into the saloon at the bar. He ponders a second, removes his hat, loops around himself a few times, and messes up his top end so threads stick out everywhere. He hangs his hat on a nearby nail and moseys inside.

A furious shriek from the bar greets him. "Hey! Don't your type ever learn? We don't want no strings here!"

"I'll have a beer."

Apoplectic, the barkeep throws a glass on the floor. "We! Don't! Serve! Strings!"

"Ain't a string. Now where's my beer?"

The barkeep just stares. "Not a string?!?!?"

"Nope. I'm a frayed knot."