Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hijinks Ensue




Jinks met her in the lineup at Midtown North.
He slouched, trying not to look like the straw-haired juggler who'd stalled the mark while Benny the Dip snagged his fat money clip. But Jinks was that guy. Skinny, soft, girlish. Which explained why the dishwater blonde with the knit cap pulled over her ears stood next to him in front of the measurements on the wall.
"Look straight ahead," said Moretti, the beefy red-faced Special Fraud dick.
The rest of the lineup consisted of two skinny cops and a homeless dude whose farts smelled like Chinese takeout.
Her eyes were the color of cornflower. Like in the 64 pack of Crayolas with the pencil sharpener in back, Jinks thought. She kneaded her hands and breathed through her mouth, fluttered her eyelids like two sparrows in a birdbath.
"Hey," he whispered.
She stared straight ahead.
"Hey. " Louder. She turned a half inch. He grinned. "What's your name?"
"Shut up over there!"
"We're gonna get in trouble!" she hissed.
"No we won't. Tell me yer name. Ow!"
The elbow came from the cop on his left, who had a mole on his schnoz.
Jinks saw it and gaped. "Holy moly. That's some mole. Does it have its own badge?"
"It has its own gun. Keep talkin', smart-ass."
"Shaddap, Jinks!" Moretti marched over. He had a fuzzy black mustache, with a life of its own, the angrier he got. "You see that big mirror? Look at it. The broad's pretty face is in it." He yanked Jinks up straight. "And quit slouching."
Moretti marched back to the mirror. "Number one, step forward and say,"-- he looked at the sheet of paper in his hand--"Whoa, you stepped on my balls... Broseph."
The cop at the far end did so, in a bored monotone.
"Number two. Step forward and repeat."
Two was the old homeless dude. He squinted at the mirror, like a captain reading the sea.
"That dude mooned the cops in Bethesda fountain," Jinks whispered.
"No way," she said.
"Step forward and say the lines!"
"Yup. People took photos. Kids started mooning back. It was an apostrophe."
"I think you mean catastrophe."
"There was plenty of ass, but no cats." he said.
"Don't make me come up there!" Moretti hollered. "Say the lines!"
The homeless dude cleared a bucket of phlegm from his throat. "Quit busting my balls... Joseph!"
"It's Whoa, you stepped on my balls, Broseph," Moretti said.
"I'm a thespian, I'll have you know," the old man said. "I've played Mamlet."
"Hamlet," Moley muttered.
"No," the old man said. "Mam-let."
"Pretty sure it's Hamlet, duder," Jinks said. "Or omelet. If you're hungry."
"Shaddap!" Moretti hollered. His mustache wriggled like a caterpillar navigating a twig.
"No," he repeated. "it was Mamlet. The melancholy Dane as interpreted by David Mamet. Shall I give you lines?"
"That sounds awesome, dude."
Moley nose the Cop smacked Jinks on the back of the head.
"Ow! Not cool, man! The mirror people know you're the fuzz, now."
"See? Trouble!" the girl said.
The old man raised his hand and shouted, "Neither a borrower... or a lender be! Always be... closing!"
"Who says fuzz anymore?" Moley smirked.
"I meant it ironically."
"I'll iron your friggin' head," Moley said. "My kid juggles at the Rennaissance Faire. With the wenches and the turkey legs. You disrespect the art."
"Cameloooot!!!" the old man sang, switching to Robert Goulet. He turned around and waved the seat of his patched baggy pants at the mirror.
"You can juggle?" the girl said. "Maybe you can juggle soap in the shower. The way this is going."
"Settle down up there! Let's get this over with." Moretti crumpled the paper in his hands, banged on the mirror. "Just point the kid out already!"
"Can I just say my lines and get processed?" she sighed, slouching. She wore striped leggings with tiny holes in the knees. Fingerless gloves.
"Go for coffee with me," Jinks said.
"In Rikers or the Tombs?" she said. "Maybe you can juggle your nuts."
"Two balls is easy. I can juggle eight."
"Find three friends," she said.
"Shut it! You're polluting the lineup," Moley nose cop said.
"He's polluting the lineup," Jinks said, pointing to the old man's bare ass. The other cop tried to tug the bum's pants up without touching his incredibly hairy butt cheeks. Moley went to assist.
Moretti's caterpillar mustache looked like it was being chased by hungry grackles. "Get a uniform in here with a Taser!"
"Ew. It looks like he's hiding a squirrel in there," Sue said.
"He hardly needs pants," said Jinks.
An pear-shaped beat cop marched in, halted. Hypnotized by the behind of the singing bum, who had segued to Sinatra.
"Sarge?"
"What is a man, what has he got," the homeless fellow sang. He was quite the tenor. "If not himself, then he has naught!"
Moretti waved him over. "Do you see that man's ass?"
"Yes, Sarge."
"Well... restrain it!"
"I'm gonna call you sunflower, is that okay?" Jinks told her.
"The record shows, I took the blows!"
"That's the ugliest flower I can think of," she said. "Good move."
"You're tall and uh, yellow hair, brown eyes," he said. "And your shell's hard to crack."
She chuckled and shook her head.
"Shut up!" Moretti said.
"And did it myy---"
The pear shaped cop shot the homeless guy in the ass with his Taser. One barb hit him in the jewels, judging by the sudden rise in pitch. "WAYYY!!!!" He let loose a tremendous basso fart and ran headfirst into the wall.
"Aw," Moley said, waving his hand in the air. "Aw. That's vile."
"You tased him, bro!"
"Shaddap!"
"I meant that ironically."
Two more uniforms marched in, and took Jinks and the Sunflower girl by the arm, leading them to holding.
"I don't think you know what that means," Sue said.
"Shut up," her cop said.
"Yeah?" Jinks said. "Maybe I was being sarcastic."
"Shut up," his cop said.
"I don't think you know what that means, either."
"You're probably right. You wanna tell me the diff over a mochachino?"
"Maybe," she said. "What's your name?"
"Shut the hell up," both cops said.
"Jinks," he said.
She laughed. "You guys owe him a Coke."
The hall came to a tee and they were lead in different directions.
"No, Jinks is my name!"
She laughed. "You are a jinx, Jinks! My name's Sue."
"Was your Dad a lawyer?"
"Shut it," the cop said, leading him to holding.
"Sue me," Jinks laughed. He hoped Benny bailed him out before she hit the street.


---Fin


This was for the Flash Fiction Friday cue "Happy" and is about as happy a story as you'll get from me. I went over, it's about 1100 words, and the characters Jinks and Sue are two I'm developing for a lighthearted caper sometime in the future, titled ... Hijinx Ensue. Like the play on words there? I won't go for so much of an O.Henry vibe in the novel, I don't think. I just like the idea of two stupid street thieves in New York getting into trouble.


© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frank Sinatra in a Blender


A title like this can be a bait & switch, like Canadian wacko poet Crad Kilodney's "Lightning Struck My Dick," which never mentions the calamity of its name. McBride delivers the goods. See, Frank Sinatra is Nick Valentine's little Yorkie. Nick's a professional drunkard and part time P.I. assisting the St. Louis PD. A "Bad Lieutenant" with a moral compass driving him to true north, even if it means plowing a garbage truck through a brewery.

A bank job goes wrong, his father's friend the Chief of Police asks him to put his ear to the street, and of course, he gets tangled up with some very unsavory local thugs. Some of whom are the closest he's got to best friends. McBride paints his colorful characters, even an ex-Amish detective, in moral shades of gray. Their motives are unquestionable, purely driven by character and human nature. It is a brutal story. Brutally violent in places, and brutally funny in others. English Sid and No-Nuts are two of the greatest villains I've read in a long while, and Nick's only superpower is his mighty tolerance for alcohol, and his proclivity for inserting violence in the uncomfortable pauses where normal people are thinking about the consequences.

I used to love P.I. novels, and I still read the best, like Lawrence Block. But McBride, like Josh Stallings, has breathed new life into the genre for me with believable street people like Nick, a likeable anti-hero straight out of Bukowski, with a shotgun and a chainsaw in his trunk, a la Army of Darkness. But back to the title. The pure brilliance of it. As soon as we know the cantankerous little Yorkie's name, we know what's coming. Will he chop, puree or liquefy?

You'll have to read it to find out. This is no nihilist noir tract. It has heart.
And Nick will be your Valentine, for ten scotch, ten bourbon, and ten beers.




© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tommy Salami vs. New Jersey Subs

The article from the Star-Ledger. Click images for bigger.





© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Run Silent, Run Deep- Hunting Subs in New Jersey

Two weeks ago I rode with Peter Genovese in the New Jersey Star-Ledger's Munchmobile, with four other munchers to decide the best sub sandwiches in the state. The Munchmobile article is online here.

The Munchmobile van. Seeing this parked in front of your establishment is akin to Fat Elvis dropping by. Your kitchen had better be ready to serve mammoth portions, and you will bask in the glory of its visit for ages to come.
Pete Genovese (left) should write The Munchmobile Diet next. The guy eats for part of his living, and he looks like a rail. A Jersey historian and food elegist, he's written several books on the state's peculiarities and food finds, as well as all-American road trips like his journey down US1 from Maine to Key West. Joan (middle) is a schoolteacher and food lover, Frank (right) is a dentist with a tooth for good eats. They were all great company on this eight hour trek.
Our second visit was to Benanti's in Bayonne, open for 36 years. You walk in, grab a roll from a wicker basket and tell the fellas with the long knives what you want on it. Imported prosciutto, sopressatta, mortadella, hot capicola- GABBAGOOL!- are the meats of choice, but they even do American turkey, tuna and roast beef well. Their homemade mozzarella tasted like cream; so fresh it was warm in the center. The roasted peppers sweet with a little tang. Top any sandwich with those and you have heaven on a roll. Their bread was second best of the day. From an undisclosed location beneath the Earth's crust. Ciro "Charlie" Benanti also plied us with veal meatballs and home cured olives, and tales of his nearly four decades behind the slicer. This was my top pick for the day. Tommy Salami liking the Italian joint? Go figure.
This is the remnants of our first and best sub, the home cooked roast beef at Just Sandwiches in Glen Ridge. Right down the block. I went there again last week and it was just as good. Tender, tasty, rare and flavorful without being bloody, dry or mealy like some RB can get. The best bread of the trip, from Nicolo's Bakery in Montclair. Good tuna salad, a decent Italian combo and rich tender turkey. They don't do anything fancy but they do everything right, they do it fast, and they do it tasty. I went back to make sure the beef wasn't a fluke; nope, it's always that good. I also had a salami, turkey and cheese with the works. I ordered a half and while it filled me, it tasted so good I wished I'd gotten a whole. The ladies here make a great sandwich.
Mr. Sub in Union gets the Jersey Girl seal of approval- she digs the Chestnut. We loved the fact that the numbers for the sandwiches start at zero and there's a 16 1/2 and a 14C. My fave? The Delinquent, with turkey, salami, roast beef, pepperoni and provolone. We ate a few "kitchen sink" subs like these, but this was the only one where I tasted every filling. Good solid chewy rolls, a little less toothsome than Nicolo's but good stuff. The 16 1/2 is a tuna and mozzarella, and was quite good as well. They have their own sodas like a tart ginger ale and a raspberry lime rickey. They were in my top 3 picks, and the Delinquent would be my overall number one sub. The subs at Benanti's are excellent, but somebody* ordered mayo on a prosciutto and soppressatta sub that would have otherwise been top pick!
That's a Deliquent and 16 1/2, both subs I'd recommend. The place feels like an old sub shop, and it's been around 40 years, so I guess it should.
This is Frank, Israel and Tamecia chowing down at the Oldwick General Store. This place has a cozy and quaint exterior but is huge inside, with plenty of tables. They had excellent Virginia Ham, and I enjoyed a ham & swiss. Their tuna was the best of the trip, moist, flavorful and fresh. The rolls were a bit bland compared to the others; on the soft side, if you prefer that. A good Italian combo, good roast beef and tender turkey. They work fast and make a good sandwich.
Perry's Sub Shack in Hackettstown is a tiny place but they make some huge subs. Like The Disaster, a half of which weighs two and a half pounds! The sandwich that packs in the flavor is their homemade chicken salad. A touch of sweetness, and chunky consistency made it a stand out. Sadly the Disaster wasn't memorable. The layer the slices flat instead of scrunching them. Old trick I learned working the ITT cafeteria carving station- don't put the meat in flat slices. It becomes a tasteless slab. Fold it, scrunch it, roll it. Makes it better in the bite and you taste more. Their roast beef was good but fell short of others, the tuna was okay. They are good,  and if you're out that way they won't serve you a bad sub. But I wouldn't make a long trip to visit.

Our last stop was Tastee's in Edison, where President Obama went for a sub. They're a flat slice place like Perry's. Not bad, but more typical Jersey and less special, I thought. Pete loves the place. I think that has a lot to do with history. Their bread is good and their pepperoni & cheese sub was a knockout. I don't think anyone steered Obama wrong by bringing him there for a quintessential Jersey sub, but stuff like their Italian combo were less memorable than others. The tuna was very good. I've had a lot of watery, bland tuna from sub shops but every stop we went to made it fresh, chunky and tasty. Tastee's had a slicer malfunction while we were there and swapped out the machine in about a minute. They know what they're doing. Their peppery capicola, while not as authentic as Benanti's, still tasted damn good.

Pete was kind enough to leave out the fact that the Avenue Deli in New Providence closed 15 minutes early and missed their chance at Munchmobile glory. Any place that closes early on a Saturday can't be doing a lot of business; every other place was jammed; Tastee's had a dinner crowd. So, sour grapes it may be, but that's what you get for closing early when the hungry dog comes sniffing around.

Salami's picks are:

Favorite 3 sandwiches:
The Delinquent at Mr. Sub in Union
Roast Beef sub at Just Sandwiches in Glen Ridge
Anything with mozzarella and peppers on it at Benanti's in Bayonne

My favorite stop? I've been to Just Sandwiches twice since, because I live close by. They also make a killer #3, turkey, salami and provolone, and a good tuna melt. The roast beef is still great. However, the place we all ate too much at and the one I wish was next door is...
1) Benanti's Delicatessen, 16 West 22nd Street, Bayonne.
2) Just Sandwiches, 855 Bloomfield Ave. Glen Ridge.
3) Mr. Sub, 641 Chestnut St. Union.
4) Tastee's Sub Shop, 267 Plainfield Ave. Edison.
5) Oldwick General Store, 57 Main St. Oldwick.
6) Perry's Sub Shack & Deli, 312 Main St. Hackettstown.


© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bad Moon Rising...


My story "There's a Bad Moon Rising" which I wrote for Ron Earl Phillips' misheard lyrics flash challenge cue over at Friday Fiction, is up at Flashes in the Dark, a horror flash fiction blog. If you missed it first time around, check out the predicament of Timmy Tinybladder as he tries to get it on at a sleazy honky tonk bar, where lycanthropes have been known to go for a boilermaker or two...

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another nervous shakedown... AC/DC turns to crime



Always liked this song off their album "Flick of the Switch," their most underrated disc. It's their most hard hitting album, in my opinion. With songs like "Brain Shake," "Landslide," "Bedlam in Belgium" it's also got a few more crime tale oriented tracks like "Guns for Hire" and the western or Mad Max inspired "Badlands."
Worth a listen and a great soundtrack for writing... at least for me.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Less Bollywood coverage than the Chutney Reader...

My humor piece "Punk Dad Manifesto" - link available in the sidebar over yonder on the right - was picked up by the Utne Reader for their July/August issue of the best of the independent press. So bravo to The Morning News, where it first appeared. It's also in print, at your local magazinery, and they got a nifty illustration of Punk Dad and his punked out art car riding mower:





© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bury the Hatchet


I'm going to buckle down and begin the brutal revision of my first draft- essentially a rewrite- this weekend. I've been writing stories to put it off, tossing ideas in my mind. The structure of past and present is giving me trouble, but I know both stories are ready, so I will do them as I go, and re-order things later to make them line up. One storyline deals with kids in the '80s dealing with a violent bully. The present deals with the kid who went to jail for his murder getting out, and going after the people who coerced him into taking the fall.
I took advice from my friend Josh Stallings and put together a soundtrack to listen to. These songs are all pretty generic. Not the deep tracks I used to put on my cooler of mix tapes that sat in the back of the Mustang. But they evoke the era and the feeling I want to convey, of a man who's been in prison since he was fourteen years old getting out. He's not a caveman puzzled by technology, but he has a soul that died 25 years ago, and the soundtrack in his heart ain't gonna be Death Cab for Cutie... when he decides to settle a twenty five year old grudge and bury the hatchet.

"Back in Black" - AC/DC
"Electric Avenue" - Eddy Grant
"Don't Change" - INXS
"Sharp Dressed Man" - ZZ Top
"Centerfold" - J.Geils Band
"Born on the Bayou" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" - Rolling Stones
"Queen of Hearts" - Juice Newton
"Excitable Boy" - Warren Zevon
"Through Being Cool" - Devo
"Behind Blue Eyes" - The Who
"Jump" - Van Halen
"Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Devil Inside" - INXS
"Rebel Yell" - Billy Idol
"Hair of the Dog" - Nazareth
"In Between Days" - The Cure
"Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns 'N Roses
"Wishing (I Had a Photograph of You)" - A Flock of Seagulls
"You May Be Right" - Billy Joel
"The Midnight Special" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Our Lips Are Sealed" - The Go-Gos
"Movin' Out" - Billy Joel
"Blitzkrieg Bop" - Ramones
"Ramble On" - Led Zeppelin ... this one is put to The Hobbit animated film, pretty amusing.
"State Trooper" - Bruce Springsteen
"Big Shot" - Billy Joel
"Problem Child" - AC/DC
"Breaking the Law" - Judas Priest
"The Indifference of Heaven" - Warren Zevon
"Livin' on a Prayer" - Bon Jovi (I fucking hate Bon Jovi, but there is a scene at a reunion where a song of theirs would be played, and this is the only one I can tolerate)
"Fortunate Son" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
"(What's So Funny About) Peace Love & Understanding" - Elvis Costello because I am an ironic plucker.
"Dreaming" - Blondie
"Ace of Spades" - Motorhead (great video set to Bullitt chase)

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Plucked

My story "Fucked" appears in the latest issue of the great new PULP METAL Magazine by Jason Michel among many other great yarns. I hope you drive with more courtesy after reading it... you never know who you're flipping the bird.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Cary" Me Home

"Would you mind if she took your empty seat?" The stewardess said. "She has a phobia."
"Oh." Archie's dimpled chin fell, then a smile broke above it. "Not at all."
The little thing curled up beside him, clutching a slender case.
"Oh my. You're--"
"Yes, I am. And you are, miss?"
"Maria Zetowsky. With the Philharmonic. On loan to London."
"That's your flute? Funny word, isn't it? Flute."
"I guess so."
He held her hand. "Relax, and soon we'll have flew to England."
Sometimes Archie wished Cary Grant could hold his hand on long flights.




I wrote this for Lily Child's Friday Prediction 100 word challenge. The three words to use were flute, arch, and phobia.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tripadvisor reviews of the Overlook Hotel


My humor piece "Tripadvisor reviews of the Overlook Hotel" is today's feature on McSweeney's Internet Tendency. That's the hotel from The Shining, in case you were wondering. If you need a little funny this morning, go have a look. I'm proud of this one. Thanks to Erin Z. for the encouragement with the idea to write this.



© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Forty Plucking Years

I turned forty years old today. This Plucker was born in 1971. About a year before the last of the great '70s muscle cars rolled out of Detroit to hunt the highways.

Stuff I did last year.

  1. I convinced my firecracker, the sassy, sharp and beautiful Sarah Bennett, to marry me and take my name. I think the name part took some major diplomatic maneuvering. But little pluckers will carry this cursed surname into the eons. We had a wonderful wedding with many of our close friends and family in attendance, at the LSU faculty club in Baton Rouge, in roaring distance of Mike the Tiger.
  2. I asked President Obama a sort of bitchy question on NPR
  3. I fired off a tommy gun with my groomsmen.
  4. Got my first paid publication since 2003, with "Punk Dad Manifesto" in The Morning News. It's since been picked up by The Utne Reader and will appear in print in their July/August issue.
  5. I finished the Vertigo Challenge at Elevation Burger:
  6. Got my first fiction published since 2003, at Shotgun Honey, with "The Last Sacrament." Also had my friend David Barber show me the ropes of proper submission form, and he published my story "Van Candy" over at the excellent Flash Fiction Offensive website. I have a few upcoming pubs in the excellent Beat to a Pulp on July 10th, Crimefactory Magazine, and hopefully Crimespree Magazine- waiting on a rewrite request. Also made a lot of online friends in the writing community.
  7. I deadlifted 535 pounds.
  8. Interviewed myself at Nigel Bird's blog Sea Minor for his Dancing With Myself feature.
  9. Got accepted to ride on the Star-Ledger's Munchmobile. I'm going on the sub sandwich tour this upcoming weekend. It will appear in the paper on June 24th, and I'll definitely share a link here.
  10. I completed a (horrid) first draft of a novel. A learning experience, for National Novel Writing Month. I'm currently rewriting it, sort of; using the characters I created as a springboard for the story that rose from the ashes. I'm hoping to have it done by November in time for the Mystery Writer's of America first novel contest. We shall see.
Probably a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting. Right now my wife and my writing are top in my mind, so apologies. But knocking on wood, it's been a great year and I see it getting better. This weekend I ride the Munchmobile with the state newspaper, looking for the best sandwiches in New Jersey. Tall order. I've made a lot of new friends, met some of them like Lynn and Raquel.

After listening to Henry Rollins talk about how he springboarded from Black Flag to Hollywood, my friend Suzanne said she believes 99% of success is showing up. I'm inclined to agree. Well, here I am. Rock you like a hurricane.
Opportunity knocks, you better answer.



© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Morning Joe

Boog sat on his stool at the Starbucks, eating a banana and sipping a drink with too much caffeine in it and too many syllables in its name.
Leather biker jacket patched with band names, stained with blood. 16 eyelet oxblood Doc's. Armless t-shirt proclaiming "Kill Your Gods." Spiked blue hair and horseshoed barbell piercings in his ears, he looked like an aged barista, not a customer. Someone who'd be chugging cough syrup, not a cappuccino soy pumpkin latte with triple espresso shots.
The thing about being sober, Boog thought, was it gave you too much time to think. If he'd gotten stoned to the bejeezus belt after the show last night, he'd be dead to the world, sprawled in his tighty whities on a mattress at Melly's dump of an apartment. Recalling a sweet evening of her slender tattooed body pistoning atop him.
At least until her pet iguana tried to eat his balls.
The scaly green bastard was an alarm clock that way.
"He craves body heat. His nose is cold," she'd said, cradling the beast.
"Teach him to warm it in the toaster, not my ass crack."
He didn't see Melinda any more. He was sure she was chasing the dragon up in her loft, dodging iguana turds. He loved her, but she loved heroin. Life's a bitch.
And a cold bitch it was, staying away from drugs while bouncing for a punk club. Rather like being half a eunuch in a harem. One secret testicle the king didn't know about. Ronnie, the club's owner, had a strict policy about drugs. Let 'em fuck in the bathroom stalls, he'd said, but no snorting, shooting, or pills. That was fine with Boog, he didn't wanna be dragging any ODing punks into the parking lot, or fighting off cranked up skinheads. The drunk ones were rough enough.
Smoking was banned in bars, so weed was out.
Boog never had trouble with beer. Liked the taste. His sponsor was a Nazi, and would have nothing of it. So Boog quit NA. Kept the keychain, rubbed it in his pocket like a charm. He knew his triggers. Melly was one of them. Beer wasn't.
Narcotics Anonymous, like it's daddy AA, loved the caffeine. It was the good drug. He thought how Starbuck sounded like a pimp's name. Slapping you with his venti brown cock to wake you up in the morning.
Talk about your Higher Powers.
He had the last bit of banana in his mouth when the skins barged in, raged to the eyeballs, veined like a trio of walking penises. Suspenders, stormtrooper Doc's, carpenter jeans with the cuffs rolled up. No X's on their fists. Not straight edge. The last guys you'd expect to see in a yuppie whore hole like this place.
Kind of like Boog.

"You flaming fuckstick!" the big one yelled, leading with his finger. The pantsuit and khaki citizens cringed and made way.
Boog didn't care why they were angry. Came with the territory. He was a bouncer. Someone got tossed out who didn't like it. Problem was all the baldies looked the same. He didn't bother figuring what the hell he did to piss them off.
He splashed his steaming cup of multisyllabic coffee into the big asshole's face.
Screams all around. Panic among the bootboys. They knew how to fight. Just not how to fight dirty. Boog grabbed his hightop chair by the back and hurled it curveball style at the other two. Caught them off guard. One's nose exploded. The other grunted, and the chair clattered to the tile floor. Their scalded brother ran for the shitter.
The one with the busted honker touched his face, gave his bloody hand a glum frown.
"What you big bald queers want? A threesome?"
They charged.
Boog had wrestled in high school. Until someone got the herp and he quit. But the single leg takedown still worked like a charm. He took the as yet unharmed fellow to the floor, dropped a few elbows on his head, bouncing it off the tile.
The bloody one got to kicking him. Three boots to the ribs, then he grabbed the leg and drove him back. The skin hopped backward like a kangaroo on a pogostick, all the way out the Starbuck's plate glass window. He got bloodier.
His brother hit Boog square in the back and they rolled in the shards. Boog never loved his sweaty old jacket more. The skin screamed and rolled. He held up his bloody forearms, now ridged with pink tinted glass spines.
"Oi. You look like my old lady's iguana," Boog said, spitting chunks of banana to the sidewalk.
Her place wasn't far from here. She'd let him use the shower. Maybe she'd join him. He hoped she wouldn't. Melinda was a fine drink, but the chaser was a killer.

This story was written for the Friday Flash challenge, cycle 34, "Wacky is as wacky does" ... we had to use the words banana, iguana, elbow and pogostick.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten Patty Pluck

My favorite burger chain is Elevation Burger. They have all the pro's of fast fresh burger chains like Five Guys and Smashburger, plus they use free range, organic beef, natural cheddar cheese, and fries cooked in olive oil. And they don't cost any more than 5 Guys. And I think they taste better.

They also have what they call the Vertigo Burger, with up to ten patties. Eat it and you get a free t-shirt. My cousin Pete and I decided to tackle this challenge one evening after we both made personal records weightlifting the deadlift. Mine was 6x 470lbs. I think his was 400lbs, and he only weighs like 155, so that's something. I'm around 250 so I'm not quite at his level compared to bodyweight, though I have lifted 535lbs once.

Anyway enough about beefcake and back to the beef. A ten patty cheeseburger costs $24 and has 30oz of free range beef and 10 slices of cheese. I ditched the cheese. Next time I'd get a few slices. Pete had 10 slices and it looked like a cheese volcano. Was it worth it? I must say I was sated. I doubt I'll tackle it again. A double is pretty damn good, five in a row is a bit much. But I like the t-shirt. And before you ask, my total cholesterol is 130, blood pressure 117/71 last time I checked.




© 2011 Thomas Pluck

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Plucker in C Minor


The great and magnanimous Nigel Bird invited me to interview myself for his series Dancing With Myself, where fiction writers interrogate themselves. I follow the one and only Lawrence Block, so let's hope I don't get booed off the stage! Check out his blog, there are some fine interviews. And buy his short story collection "Dirty Old Town," for some emotionally stunning fiction. Truly powerful stuff. For a buck? I haven't gotten a thrill like that for a buck since I leaned against the washing machine at the laundry and read Penthouse Forum.




© 2011 Thomas Pluck

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