Monday, April 15, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 16th

I want to send my condolences and sympathies to all the persons afflicted, hurt, and in some cases killed, in the terrorist bombings yesterday at the Boston Marathon.  I'm so sad to see such a good event destroyed by a gutless coward.  My thoughts are with everyone who was there in Boston yesterday.  I hope everyone can cope and overcome these tragic moments, eventually.

Sometimes you see such a traumatic event and want to put the rest of your life on hold.  That's not the right way.  With respect to all those still in pain, the adage is that if we are scared into stopping our way of living, the terrorists win.  I hope that the blog entry coming up can help assuage the sorrow for our reading audience.

Be well, Boston.   All the love...  onward.


Now this little line I put here is called a "jump break."   I hope it works!  It's just a little division to indicate where the normal events of the Daveblog begin for today's entry.  I'm planning to use another one later on, more on that later!

When I was a kid, I saw commercials for hokey action movies with "Jean Claude Van Damme."  I used to think that was two guys.

Today is my first Dodgers game in person!  I've been waiting for this night for weeks.  I can't *wait* to see all the new improvements and especially the two new scoreboards.   I'm excited!

It could get *very* interesting today down there.   Even without Quentin in the lineup, the Dodgers may attempt to throw some "message pitches" at the Padres.   Stay tuned.

I wrote a mock sitcom about a decade ago, for my own personal enjoyment.  In the "sitcom" I had all sorts of weird ideas.  The premise was a group of middle-class young friends trying to get by amidst a very upscale population in Santa Barbara.  It's not terribly original, other than the Santa Barbara setting, but I made up for it by writing a lot of colorful characters and having them interact with each other.  So, while I was about to go through college, I wrote a lot of the episodes during idle time and the summer.  Over a few years, I got in 19 episodes.  I intended to do about 100 of them but I never could find the time nor the inspiration.

It was very strange to set a sitcom in Santa Barbara with very little prior experience (at the time) in the city.  Nonetheless, I had fun with it!   Eventually, I moved to Santa Barbara and had my own little sitcom in real life!  THAT would have been a great show of it's own.

There was the time Coach, Rosales, Big B, another friend and I were at Madison's, the sports bar in middle State Street during a Giants/Rockies game.  I saw Matt Cain at the plate.  Then I yelled "I'M GOING TO GIVE EACH ONE OF YOU 100 DOLLARS IF CAIN HITS A HOME RUN HERE!"  Next freaking *pitch!*  Cain SLUGS a ball deep to the left center field wall... it was a foot from going out and the whole time my heart stopped.  All my friends, meanwhile were going BANANAS!!  Then, when the guy finally caught it, we all were laughing our asses off.  *That* was a scene my friends!

Then there was the time our friends from SM came up to Santa Barbara.   We did our usual thing, go out at night, but then Big B suddenly got them into a really wild scene.  Really wild!   I have no idea how wild for real because I left the whole group to go get pizza.  Then I tried to find everyone but they went MIA, so I went home.  The next morning I get a call from Coach... everyone, a group of four, needed a ride back to my apartment where they parked their cars.  HAHA

You know what happened?  One of the SM friends got busy with a 50 year old lady... a *fifty* year old and all my buddies were along for the ride.  She was staying with some other older lady at an apartment in nearby Goleta, and all of those jokers went to the same place.  Apparently Big B started cooking breakfast there in the wee hours and they all crashed, with the SM friend hooking up with someone on borderline menopause.

It was nuts.  I drove over there to meet them all and they explained the whole thing.

Yesterday I was writing about how much I missed Santa Barbara... but did I really miss the *location* or did I miss my friends and the carefree days of my younger years?

You ever see those giant cookies at the grocery store, the ones that are the size of a pizza?   I said to myself, way back when, "one day I'm going to get this cookie."   It happened in those Santa Barbara years, but with a different group of friends: the bball guy, Mr. Needle, and some other folks by UCSB.   I was invited to watch the NBA All Star Game one weekend with a day off the following Monday so I went for it and got that giant cookie.  It was a hit!  There was also a Costco Pizza in effect.  That was a good night.

Don't lie!  When you were hitting puberty and you saw Katherine Heigl in "My Father the Hero" you were getting a little filler in the pants am I right?  That would have been entirely inappropriate, though, if one was older than 16.   Right place, right time my friends.

Katherine Heigl has gone on to some really great things in acting.  That totally surprised me!  I thought she'd be another child star one-hit-wonder, but no!  She has Grey's Anatomy, then a whole bunch of pretty good movies including Knocked Up.  She has had a really great career.

I'd argue that from 1994 up to now she's had way more success than Gerard Depardieu.

Good lord, what has gotten into me with all the French Actor references?  Let's roll with it.

Oddly, I never saw "Blossom" when I was young, but I saw quite a lot of this wanna-be Blossom show called "Phenom."  Ever hear of it?  It's about some girl who aspires to be a tennis sensation.  It only lasted a year on ABC.

What on Earth happened to Melissa Joan Hart?  And where did that East Coast accent come from?

Clarissa only thinks she can explain it all... there's no way she's explaining her latest acting/twitter/whatever project.  It's like a Kickstarter campaign for an adult movie.  Very weird.

Kickboxer to Kickstarter...  I think that's a good place to end.  Farewell for now... as a special treat to those of you who were intrigued by the sitcom scripts I wrote ten years ago, here's an episode I wrote from back then, one of nineteen.  Notice the reference to a "Wednesday Night Lacrosse game on ESPN."   I was *shocked* to learn that this became an actual program!  It's on ESPNU:

Can you believe it?!  Now, here's the episode for you, "The Lost Society" Episode 10...  (after the jump):

We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming... (#010)

            The Lost Society was filmed before a dead studio audience...

            ...Most of them were walking up a local Santa Barbara street on a Thursday, right in broad daylight.  Among those denizens were a few more people who lived there (in town, not on the street).  Finally, we witnessed Tomlin and his trite little Press reporter’s hat, complete with his patented little piece of paper that supposedly makes him look important.
            He was just minding his own business, trying to rip off other people for his own personal gain, of course, when he waltzed up haplessly and bumped into big Anderson, himself just trying to have a nice day.  Bad idea.  Accidentally or not, Anderson and Tomlin clashed together and nearly fell to the ground.  Then they just leapt off the ground and threw punches at each other, and suddenly a hockey game broke out.  Wildly they flung their arms at each other, the other confrontations before just mere verbal sparring, but now facing a true physical war.  The other men and women around them huddled around the spectacle to get a good view.  The public was clearly enthralled by all this, and more came from around the corner, rushing as fast as they could to view the remarkable, unexpected fist fight in the middle of the sidewalk.  Lowly citizens everywhere cried “Fight! Fight!” as two bitter rivals finally let it all out, punching each other until they got tired.
            It was only a few minutes later that Jenkins was rolling down the freeway with Thomson in his car.  It happened to be the same strip of asphalt that only a week or so earlier was run on by the fabulous Hewitt and his bandit piece of crap car, running away from the cops.  Anyway, Jenkins noted a radio station’s news report of that very fight out on the nice part of town.
            “Oh my goodness,” Jenkins remarked, “You don’t suppose that’s ANDERSON and TOMLIN, now?!”
            “Hey, yo, we’d better go find out!” Thomson declared.
            Thomson drove his car off the freeway and swept it around a street corner.  However, his car sucked so much that the skidding halted the car momentarily, and it sounded like something fell out the back of it.
            Jenkins replied, “Forget about it.  Let’s go home.”
            Thomson shrugged and said, “Stupid car.”
            Miraculously, Thomson managed to get his car to move, albeit slowly, and rolled the vehicle back into the lane, headed towards Jenkins’ house.
            -and in another part of town...
            Martinez couldn’t get enough of hanging around Hewitt’s apartment, so he decided that he might as well go visit again.  Martinez jogged into the apartment building and up the steps.  He sauntered down the hall, arriving at Hewitt door, only to find a sign hanging on the door knob that read “FOR SALE.”
            “Give me a break, Hewitt!!” Martinez cried, wrestling the door knob with his two hands.  “You’re not gonna get caught by the cops!! Let me in!!”
            Martinez waited there, but there was still no response.  Still, he didn’t buy the “House for Sale” trick for a minute.
            “Open the door up, or else I’m gonna eat this door and get in anyway!” Martinez said.
            This got Hewitt’s attention.  Hewitt cracked the door open just a bit, only his eyes making it through the opening.
            “You sure no one’s gonna get me?” Hewitt coaxed.
            “Dammit, It’s just me, Hewitt!!” Martinez retorted, “The F.B.I. ain’t gonna give a crap about the speeding thing!!”
            Martinez opened his eyes and narrowed his face.  “Don’t you think the Feds have more IMPORTANT things to worry about right now?!”
            “Uh...” Hewitt pondered, “Uh..”
            “Uh what?” asked Martinez.
            “Do you think Mexico is gonna crack down on it’s border protection?”
            “What?!” Martinez snapped, rolling his eyes.
            Hewitt slammed the door shut.
            “Good God...” Martinez sighed, frustratingly, as he was leaving.
            Outside the apartment building, Thomson rolled by the main entrance and stopped his car.  He got out and tried to get into the building, but Martinez came out and stopped him.
            “Don’t even bother,” Martinez said, holding his hand out to stop him.  “We got ourselves a nutzo.”
            “Let’s roll,” said Thomson, shrugging and going back in his car.
            Martinez followed him, climbing into the passenger seat.
            “Vamos,” uttered Martinez, pointing forward with his arm stretched out.
            So the car started and went on forward.
            Jenkins was, of course, back at his humble home, hunched over a quaint wooden table in the living room.  He had a jar of dimes, nickels, and pennies tipped over so that most of the change spread out all over the table.  Jenkins was almost done counting all the coins.
            “Yes!” he exclaimed, “I WILL have enough money to go to the Toronto Film Festival.”
            He also added, “Let me go get the airline tickets.”
            Jenkins picked up his wallet and went out the door.
            Once outside, Jenkins walked down from his lawn to the sidewalk.  Then he saw Thomson’s car skidding back in front of his house.
            “What is this?” Jenkins asked.
            “C’mon, J-man, let’s ride,” Thomson said.
            “What?!  Didn’t you just drop me here!?” asked Jenkins.
            “Oh, come now, we can get back out, get jiggy with it!”
            “-but don’t you guys even know where you’re going [Hi Martinez]?”
            “Oh, we’ll figure that out later,” Thomson, “Hurry up, dude!”
            “[‘sup Jenkins?]” said Martinez.
            “All right, all right,” Jenkins conceded.
            Jenkins tumbled into the back seat of Thomson’s car.
            And with that, Thomson’s car left, and with it the dreams of attending the Toronto Film festival, for now...
            “We do everything in cars,” Martinez said.
            “Damn right!” Thomson agreed, “If you don’t have a car, you suck!”
            “Sometimes you can suck even with a car,” Jenkins observed.
            “Hey, where’re we going?” Thomson asked.
            “I thought YOU were supposed to figure that out, T-Dawg!!” Jenkins snapped.
            “Okay, hol, hol, hold,” Thomson coaxed, holding his hands out and gesturing for serenity.  “I’ll get something figured out.”
            “I only have 12 hours.” Jenkins said.
            “All right, all right!  You’re feisty today, ‘bro,” Thomson said.
“Dude,” Martinez added, looking at Thomson, “Aren’t you supposed to drive the car?”
            Thomson looked down at his hands, which were completely off the steering wheel.  Thomson saw the cows coming at him with the car pulled totally off the road.
            “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHH!!!” cried Thomson.
            “AGGGHHH!!” Martinez and Jenkins followed.
            Thomson’s car careened wildly out of order, swinging around within the herd of cows.  The rig bumped around and hit some cows on its side, with the side of car, fortunately limiting the damage to the body, and easily keeping the car operational.
            Thomson managed to escape the pasture relatively unharmed.
            “This is just not happening, guys,” said Jenkins, “Let’s go over to ‘Fresh Choice’.”
            “Not that place again!!” moaned Martinez, “All they sell is salads.”
            “But they have goooooooood salads!” Jenkins reiterated.
            “Forget the salads, fellas,” said Thomson, “We are gonna party tonight!”
            A pause.
            “Dude, Thomson,” said Martinez, “It’s 3:00 in the afternoon.”
            “Well, see, now, wait, hold, now, see, see, check, uh, see, -NOW, I KNEW THAT!!” Thomson replied, “I was just testing you.”
            Thomson turned his car around from the boonies and pulled his rig back on the path towards downtown.  The car whizzed off into the horizon as the threesome bickered with each other.
            “C’mon, let’s go check on the buddies,” Jenkins said.
            “No wait!” Martinez interjected, “Get some CHICKS first.”
            “Give me a break, Martinez.” Thomson quipped, “You getting chicks?!”
            “I did it at the dance club!” Martinez said.
            “Those girls were loaded, fool,” Thomson replied...
            “You couldn’t get chicks if you sat your butt down on chicken eggs,” cried Jenkins.
            “At least I wouldn’t crack them eggs like you with that bony ASS!” countered Martinez.
            “OOOOOOOOHHH... Jenkins got moded!” shouted Thomson.


            So it was with due cause that we check in with other areas of the Santa Barbara complex.  Mallory, for one, was a woman getting overlooked in all of this hubub.
            Well, as it turns out, Mallory was saddled in her cozy home, but Mal had a problem.  She was all alone at home with an invitation to the annual Central Coast Quilt Convention and she had nobody to babysit her baby.
            “What are we going to do Tyler?” Mallory asked in her typical cutsey voice (like most mothers).  She held the baby up in the air and rubbed her nose against his, making the little one giggle.
            Ding dong.
            “Hiyeeee!!” bounced Christine at the door.  The door flew open and her effervescence flooded the hallway.
            She donned a funky outfit today: a furry pink jacket with a puffy collar and puffy cuffs at her fists.  Let’s face it; she looked like a big poodle.
            “Ahh, it’s too bright,” Mallory cried, covering her eyes.
            “Let’s go to the quilt convention girl.  I’ve got wheels now, yay!!” she squeaked.
            “Why, sure, let’s just leave the baby in the basement,” Mallory quipped.
            “Oh noooooooooo,” Christine realized, “I sorry...”
            “Yeah, yeah, this is something,” Mallory said, “Who am I going to find at 4 o’clock in the afternoon?!”
            “I know...” Christine said, “Wowwww....”
            Mallory left to attend to the baby.
            “C’mon girls!” said Cassie.
            Christine looked back, delighted to see her knitting companion.
            “Oh yeahhh!” said Christine
            “Are you ready to roll?!” shouted Cassie.
            “Uh HUH!” Christine responded.
            “Hey, where’s Mal?” asked Cassie, wearing a light outfit (light on the scales, anyway)
            “Mal’s taking care of that baby again...” Christine said, “Wow, what a trooper.  I can’t imagine having a baby.”
            “I can’t imagine you having anything, with that tummy,” said Cassie.
            “Hey!  Lookit this gut,” Christine snapped, pulling up her shirt, “A quarter inch today, all fat! Yucky...”
            “Did you get full on your two crumbs for breakfast?!” Cassie retorted.
            “Hey!!” said Christine, “Stop making fun of me.”
            “Well you start something, like eating...” Cassie said.
            “Ooookay!” Mallory interjected, rushing in to prevent another brawl.
            “Didn’t you see that fight between Tomlin and Anderson?”
            “What?!” Cassie jumped in, “No way THOSE losers...”
            “They did it was all over the news on tv,” Mallory said.
            “Glory, I gotta see this!” Cassie cried, running over to the TV with Mallory following her.
            “We don’t get very much news here,” said Christine as an aside.
            Meanwhile, Thomson’s car clunked down Mallory’s street right on the verge of collapse.  Inside the car, Thomson, Martinez, and Jenkins could see all the lovely houses from outside their broken windows.
            “Hey, there’s Mallory’s house!” said Jenkins.  “Stop the car, Thomson.”
            “Oh c’mon, not Mallory’s!” Thomson said.
            “Stop the car!! Stop the car!!!” Jenkins cried. “Updates on the :28 and :58!!”
            “What?  Already?!” Martinez cried, looking at his watch.
            “You’re crazy, scud,” Thomson said.
            “Aggghh!! Stop the car, I have business to attend to!!” Jenkins said.
            No problem.  Thomson’s car made the decision for him.  It clunked right in front of Mallory’s and all of the pieces fell on the street (well, each one fell as the car dragged towards the house, leaving a trail of useless car junk).
            “Awwwooh, no... FOOL!!” Thomson said.  “This is your fault, Jenkins!”
            Thomson reached over to strangle Jenkins.
            “It’s not MY fault your car sucks!” Jenkins cried in agony.
            The car rocked back in forth until everybody just fell out onto the street (the seating area was the only part left standing anyway).
            “Well, we might as well go to Mallory’s house,” Martinez agreed.
            “Yeah, yeah,” Thomson grumbled.
            So they each walked up Mallory’s front lawn toward her door, some more reluctantly than others.
            “I think you’re right about sucking without a car...” Jenkins observed.
            “Shut up,” bickered Thomson.
            “Hey, who’s that?” said Mallory, hearing their footsteps while inside the house.
            Christine and Cassie were still sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the news report of Anderson and Tomlin fighting.
            “This is good stuff,” Cassie said, stuffing her mouth with a fist full of popcorn.
            “Wow,” said Christine, taking one microscopic nibble out of an M&M she had in her hand.
            “Girls?” Mallory said.  Then she just resigned and went over to the front door.
            “’Sup Mallory?” Thomson greeted, with Martinez right next to him.
            ...then Jenkins split between them and whizzed down Mallory’s hallway.
            “Much better,” Mallory said, “You guys are heroes.”
            “What?!  For jacking up the car?” Martinez asked, in a monotonous, skeptical tone.
            “No!” Mallory insisted, “I, uh, really, REALLY need a babysitter tonight.”
            “Oh, uh, we were just leaving...” said Thomson, sauntering out the door, literally grabbing Martinez just behind him.
            “HOLD IT,” Mallory intoned.  “C’mon just once, pleeease?  He’s a very good boy, hardly ever cries, and the diapers?  Hey, he won’t need the change until tomorrow.”
            “Would you pay me?” asked Thomson.
            Meanwhile, over in the living room Jenkins stood in front, hogging the remote and changing the channels.
            “C’mon, put it back, Jenkins!  We were watching,” moaned Christine.
            “Don’t make me go over there and sock you,” warned Cassie.
            “Just hold your horses for a minute, huh?” Jenkins replied, “All I want to do is go over to ESPN and check the scores.”
            “Argh..” said Cassie, “What are we doing here anyway?  Let’s go to the convention.”
            Cassie and Christine left, but not before Christine stuck her tongue out at Jenkins.
            The two girls sauntered down the hallway to where Mallory, Thomson, and Martinez were.
            “So I only have to go for three hours,” Thomson asked.
            “Yeah, until Stuart gets back.” Mallory replied.
            “Cool, I can live with that,” Thomson said.
            “Heyyyyeeeee, what is the deeeelio?” Christine asked.
            “Girls, I have just secured the babysitter,” Mallory replied.
            “Yessss!!” cried Cassie, jumping out the front door.
            “Yay!!!” shrieked Christine, jumping up for joy and waving her arms about.
            “Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” Mallory said.  With that, they all snatched their little purses, and ran out to their car.
            Screeeeeeeech.  Out went the car.
            “Lemme get a look at that baby...” Thomson said.
            Little Tyler toddled out into the hallway and ran up to Thomson who was still closing the front door.  He stood next to him, looked up and smiled.
            “Da,” he said.
            “Who, me??” asked Thomson, incredulous.
            Tyler just giggled.
            “Hey, brother, you got a lot to learn...” Thomson said, picking him up and carrying him down the hallway.
            Jenkins and Martinez were already settled... at the couch in the living room watching television.
            “There, there,” Martinez coaxed, patting Jenkins on the back as he sobbed in front of the T.V.
            “Whyyyy???  Why are the Red Sox so baaad?” bawled Jenkins as he took a tissue and mopped his face with it.
            “Dude, that’s a big waste of 5,000 bucks,” Martinez said, “Do you know how many hamburgers you could get with that?”
            Enter Thomson, toting the little baby.
            “Did the BoSox tank again?”
            “Yup, big time,” Martinez responded.
            “Aw, man, who cares Jenkins?  It’s just baseball,”  Thomson said.
            “No, no, no, it’s not just baseball,” Jenkins said.
            “Okay, so what is it?” asked Martinez.
            “It is...” Jenkins pondered, trying to put together all of his thoughts.
            “....It is a high risk.
                 It’s not just the wins and losses, the runs and errors.
                 It’s my future, my ambitions, because after all
                 I put all that money on the line, didn’t I?”
            “Fool, what is your POINT?” Thomson asked.
            “My point,” blunted Jenkins, and with that he continued.
            “Is that for years they called me a square.”
            “-that’s because you ARE one...” Martinez interjected.
            “Hey, let me finish,” Jenkins said.
            “...they called me a square, and they didn’t think I could do anything
                 that would stand out.  It was almost if I was labeled this way:
                as a man who’d only go through the motions.
                I didn’t have too many girlfriends, I don’t imagine myself having a lot of sex.
                Maybe a little bit, I hope, but my chances at nirvana are not high.
                In my lot in life, I don’t hold a lot of power.
                I do what other people tell me, and I am mostly stuck around this neck of the
               I’m just an average guy.
                So this bet, made in Las Vegas on the 17th day of June,
                was my one opportunity to... stand out from the crowd, be unique, and
                hopefully, be vindicated.
                -and now my big hopes are going down in flames.”
            Everyone stopped to ponder for a moment.
            “How many games are they out? Sixteen?” Martinez asked.
            “Yeah, they’re running out of time too,” said Jenkins.
            “Three or four months?”   Martinez asked, “Settle down, man.”
            “Yeah, I guess so, uh, anybody want to eat?”
            “Dude I’m huuuuungry,” Martinez said.
            “Boy, you’re always hungry,” shouted Thomson, who was now over in the other room.
            So, with Tyler about ready to sleep in his crib, and with the television turned off in the living room, Martinez, Thomson, and Jenkins met in the kitchen for, the moment they’d all be waiting for, dinnertime.
            A big chicken sat on the table, mostly butchered from previous eatings.  Around it lay a few crackers, some salad (in a big bowl), salami, ham, tuna, and bologna.  Cheese, breadsticks, some noodles, and breaded chicken patties rounded the table, and anything else you could think of as well, just name it.
            So the table was cluttered with food, and clearly all three guys were going to try to eat it.
            “Uh, Thomson,” said Jenkins, with food in his mouth.  “Lord, this tastes good... Oh, yeah, uh, Thomson this was actually a great idea.”
            “Mmf, yeah,” Thomson replied, stuffing some chicken in his mouth, “but I gotta give the mad props to you, J-Dude.  You’re the one that wanted to come so bad.”
            “Erg, yeah, huh?” said Jenkins with a grin, “Okay, I give me all the credit.”
            “Yum,” said Martinez and nothing more.  He just kept eating and eating and eating...
            “Arr, Hewitt’s gotta be here, what the heck could he be up to?” asked Jenkins, while consuming a roll of crackers.

            It was a good thing he asked, because Hewitt was still over at his apartment.  In fact, he was nestled in his workchair over at his lab room.
            All of the T.V.s were off.  No radio broadcasts tonight either.  His lights were still on, but other than that, any electric devices were disabled.  Hewitt sat there in his chair, shuddering, looking around him, and sweating profusely from his forehead.
            “Mmmmm.... ugghhh...” muttered Hewitt.
            “They’re out to get me....”
            A little marble fell to the floor, the marble hitting the hard wood and making a loud clack.
            “AAAAAAGHH!!” yelled Hewittt, jittering around, jumping out of his chair, and slamming his head against the hanging lamp over on his low ceiling.
            “Oww!” he yelled.  Then he sat down again, pausing for another few seconds.
            “Maybe it’s safe now...” Hewitt said.  He looked out his small window.
            “Yeah, it’s safe... I’ll... go, now...”
            Hewitt slowly protected himself by the door.  He twisted the little doorknob carefully, making sure not to make too much noise.  Then he slowly opened the door with his body to the door’s side.  He peeped out into the hallway, looking for kidnappers were there were none.  At long last, he tiptoed out onto the living room... and sat down on his easy chair.
            “Whew!” he said, trembling, smiling (nervously), as he wiped his brow. “That was a close one!”
            And then Hewitt cowered in his easy chair for the next umpteen hours...
            Thomson sat at the table, back at Mallory’s kitchen, rubbing his stomach and resting back on his chair.  Jenkins was trying to fit more salami, chicken, and tuna into his two slices of bread.  Martinez was through; he ate so much that he didn’t know what to do, so he jammed a few more crackers into his mouth.
            “You’re real subdued tonight, Thomson,” said Martinez, if anyone could hear him through the munching of his crackers.
            “Think so?” Thomson replied, “Got to be the baby.  I’m a real softy for the little ones...”
            “You really like kids, huh?” Jenkins concluded. “Yeah, because you’ve been taking care of Tyler a lot.”
            “Oh yeeeahh,” Thomson agreed, “Kids are great, fun little dudes.  You know, when I was growing up, I never had any little brothers and sisters.  Most of them were already going off to college.”
            “Geez, I remember having peanut siblings,” Martinez replied, “They were mostly annoying to me.  Do you find little kids irritating sorta?”
            “Sure, brother,” Thomson said, “but it’s not too bad.  I can live with it usually.”
            “Wow... That’s all right, Thomson,” said Martinez.
            “A little baby is just great,” Thomson continued.  “To see his little arms and legs, and you know he don’t know the half of what goes on in the news....  It’s beautiful.”
            “Mmm,” Jenkins concurred.
            “...when I have a child, I know that whoever it is, a boy or girl, it’s gonna be real special.”
            “Do you think you’ll get to have one?” asked Jenkins.
            “I don’t know,” said Thomson, musing, “but it’s like they always say: ‘That’s why they play the game.’”

            Tomlin was running, just running.  He was floundering around someplace downtown, where maybe he’d hide in obscurity.  He was looking for safe harbor, for he had no friends right now.  He hung onto his precious press hat, because that was about all he had going for him.
            Tomlin knew that in his mind, he was not the starter of the fight, merely the recipient.  In fact, it was Anderson who refused to let be what needs let be, and therefore had to throw a punch at him.  There, that’s right, it was Anderson all along.  Damn fool, what did he know.
            Was there ANYONE out to help Tomlin out tonight?  A scumbag of 31 years (though he’d say it was only 27), Tomlin was now getting his worth.  Alone, all alone, with only a few bucks (in his wallet) a brain (in his head, so we think), and ambitions.  Of course, everyone had ambitions.  The only difference was that he didn’t care much for respecting others and their wishes.  So it was by his corrupted design that he make his rise to the top.  So far, he’s made it to field reporter for the Santa Barbara gazette.
            ...and now he was running, just running.
            At this point it was roughly 6:24 p.m., but still quite bright outside.  Now what?
            “I’ve got to find someone who’d help me out...”
            -but of course, no one could realistically tell who really started the melee.  Tomlin, being the hyperactive, neurotic being that he was, wasn’t going to take any chances.
            Meanwhile, Kelvin was standing by a street corner on one of the busiest parts of town.  Kelvin sure seemed to hang out there a lot, as Hewitt, Jenkins, Mallory, and others might note from previous observations.
            He was standing there this time with his good companion, Chestnut.   Yet again, they were up to another one of their dumb ideas.  They had a huge crate that was filled with all sorts of odd rubber parts.  Where they obtained them from, the world will never know, but there were all kinds of odd, ridiculous, and even nasty rubber toys.
            “Can I interest you in a huge rubber nipple?” asked Kelvin as the passers-by grossed out over these over-the-top items.
            “Only 1.99! One ninety-nine-ninety-nine-ninety-nine.  That’s one niney-niney-niney-niney-ninerrrrrrr!  Get ‘em while they’re hot!” Chestnut shouted to the crowd.
            Kelvin felt the rubber... things, a little bit.
            “Yeah, these are pretty hot, aren’t they?”  Kelvin said.
            Tomlin rode in, basically on his own two feet, plus his many fears.
            “Good lord,” Tomlin lamented, upon seeing the many rubber parts.
            “Tomlin, well what a pleasant surprise,” said Kelvin, again, his eyes lighting up; his eyebrows raised up to the roof.
            “It blows to admit this, but... I’m happy to see you, Kel,” said Tomlin, a bit disgusted.
            “There’s no need to admit the joy of seeing me, the Kelvin,” Kelvin said.
            The Kelvin?”
            “Why of course.  Dude, you’re talking about the 213th most fun loving guy in America,” he teased, “Now, can I interest you a huge rubber ‘sausage’?  It’s only HALF-OFF!
            “Which half?” asked Tomlin, soon shaking himself vigorously after realizing how dumb he was to fall for Kelvin’s pitch.  “Now wait a minute, I’m supposed to be asking for help here!”
            “You need help Tomlin?” asked Chestnut.
            “Yes, and I’ll be brief,” said Tomlin.  “I want you guys to help me out, if you can.  Just get me a place to hide and I’ll be happy forever and I won’t bother you anymore.”
            “Why don’t be shady, man,” Chestnut replied.
            “Yeah, dude, you don’t bother us,” Kelvin said.  “Just get some of our rubber cock-a-doos...  No problem, at just-whoop!- Ninety Nine cents.”
            “Holy crap!  Are you out of your mind?!” asked Chestnut.
            “Why no!  We have some of that too...” said Kelvin, digging out a pile of fake rubber poop from the big box.
            “Okay, I’ve seen enough,” said Tomlin.
            “Oh wait, bra!” shouted Kelvin, “I have a solution.”
            “Shoot,” Tomlin agreed.
            “Well, all right...” Kelvin said, taking out a gun.
            “No no no!!!  Not me, doofus!” Tomlin said, cowering in fear.
            “No, listen, man,” Kelvin said in his typical laid-back slacker tones.  “I have a place down the road, that I go to.”
            “A place where he goes to..” repeated Chestunt.
            “Where people hide...”
            “...YES!!  Where they HIDE!!” Chestnut shouted.
            “It’s a coffee shop, down in the bricks...”
            “Oh those BRICKS!  Down in them NASTY bricks!!!” cried Chestnut.
            “So no one will find you there, dude.”
            “Oh, so NO, one will FIND, you, OH NO, NO one...” intoned Chestnut.
            “Shhh!!!  I’m trying to tell him something,” said Kelvin.
            “So it’s like right around the corner and down a few blocks, and then down a few other blocks that way...” Kelvin said, pointing in the appropriate directions.
            “Oooh, wonderful.  Great!  Thanks a million!  I’m outa here.” Tomlin said, running as fast as he could.
            Chestnut looked over at Kelvin.
            “Why did he have to go hiding?” Chestnut asked.
            “Er... maybe he has to go play ‘Hide and Go Seek,’” Kelvin answered.
            Chestnut raised his arm out and yelled “WESTSIDE!!!”

            Thomson heard a car screeching in the distance.
            “That’s Richardson!  Clean this mother up!!” Thomson announced, rushing to throw his paper dishes into the trash can.
            “Smokes, let’s go,” Jenkins sniped, running to the fridge to stuff all of the leftovers in it.
            The trio worked quickly.  They cleared the chicken and the pizza off of the table, swiped the used napkins and threw them away, and drank all of the drinks that were left.
            Martinez looked there and saw the other two doing most of the work.  He did put a few things away, but it looked like there was nothing left.
            “Uh, I’ll go to the couch!” Martinez shouted.  He jumped over to the living room and landed on the couch.
            Jenkins and Thomson threw the last remains into the cabinets and then rushed out towards the couch themselves.
            Richardson, last name first, jammed his keys into the door and opened it up.  He walked in, put away his jacket, and took off his shoes.  Richardson didn’t really need a jacket, but he just wore so he looked good.  Anyway, he went down that fabled hallway into the living room; something was suspicious.
            “Are YOU the guys who left that big wreck on the sidewalk?” he asked the threesome down at the couch.
            “Richardson!!” they shouted, so happy and everything.
            “Great to see you, buddy!” Martinez cried, giving him a hug.  “It’s been so long, like what, 78 hours?”
            “All right, that’s enough,” Richardson said, shrugging Martinez away, “I do have a first name, people.”
            “You don’t deserve the first name, mon,” Thomson said.
            “I don’t, huh?” he asked, “What the heck is the deal with calling everybody by their surnames?”
            “Listen, Richardson,” Jenkins explained, “We’re men, well, most of us...”
            “Except you, right?” quipped Thomson.
            “Thomson, not now, huh?” Jenkins sniped back, “Anyway, we can’t call each other by the first name basis thing, because in the big picture, we’re just scrubs.  It’s just not tradition...”
            “-but what about women?”
            “See, women are worthy of the first name treatment, man,” Martinez added, “That’s different.”
            “Exceptions??  Provisos???”
            “Of course, Richardson,” Jenkins said, putting his arm around him.  “It’s just like everything else.”
            “Okay, I got it,” Richardson understood, “So what the hell are you doing in my house.”
            “Baby,” said Martinez
            “Baby,” said Thomson.
            “Yeah... baby,” said Jenkins pointing over to the nearby bedroom.
            “Oh, the baby,” said Richardson, “You took care of him for Mallory?”
            “What else would we do with him?” Jenkins asked.
            “Mmm.  Swell.  Thank you, guys,” Richardson.
            “You need anything else, bro?” Thomson asked.
            “Nope, nothing, nope.  You guys can vamoose...”
            “Oh, good, I’m outa here,” Martinez cut in, lumbering his ass out of the living room.
            “Yeah, me too.  Thanks for nothing, because, well, you didn’t do anything.” Jenkins said, walking out the door.
            Thomson followed.
            “Oh, yeah, thanks a lot for helping my wife out.  I do appreciate it.” Richardson said.
            Each of the others turned around and pointed at Richardson.
            “Don’t mention it,” they said, cool and calmly.


            Tomlin ran down a nearby empty street, a shadowy flight down a vacant corridor was all it was.  In his head was nothing but thoughts of a venegeful Anderson, his fat face smiling with pure evil (in his mind) as he bowled to his delight.  Meanwhile, Tomlin himself was the ultimate roving reporter fearing for his life.
            Whatever Tomlin’s motivations were, he found his place of refuge.  Rounding a corner, Tomlin spotted a facade, and somewhere in that facade lay the entrance to a robust little joint with a sign that said THE ESCAPE CLUB.
            Tomlin kept on running, this time he went into THE ESCAPE CLUB.  Kelvin was right, the joint was indeed a small coffee shop, with not much more than a counter and a few run down booths and tables.
            Tomlin went over to a woman manning the counter.
            “Why the hell do you name a coffee shop the Escape CLUB??” he asked.
            “I don’t know, sir.  You tell me.  That’s just how they named it.”
            “Well, that’s okay, but... why didn’t they just name it the Escape CAFE?” asked Tomlin.
            “Look, baby, let ME ask the questions, and YOU go sit down,” she retorted.
            “Sheesh, tough customer service,” Tomlin shrugged as he retreated.
            Tomlin settled for a booth next to a window and sunk into it’s big plush seat.  He took out a few cards from his jacket and threw them out onto the table to shuffle them around.  Tomlin didn’t have any other options but to stay in hiding... for now.  He just moved on and said to himself, “It’s a living.”

            -And then a big fist grabbed Tomlin’s collar and yanked him up out of the booth and left him hanging over the floor.
            “It’s gonna be a dying in just a minute!” the man said holding him up to a choking halt.
            Gasping for breath, Tomlin feared for his life.  Of course it was Anderson yanking Tomlin out like a worn weed.  Does any one else care enough to do anything like that?
            Tomlin went on gagging on his own breath.
            “You liberal puss [gag]!” Tomlin cried, still choking, “How did you FIND me??”
            “You see a place obviously named the ESCAPE club and you’re sure that a moron like you will stupidly waltz into it.”  Anderson responded.  “You taking that cheap shot on ME.  Who’s the real puss now, tightwad?!”
            “Kelvin told you!!!” Tomlin grunted.
            “That Kelvin guy told me nothing... except a 2 for 1 deal on rubber things,” said Anderson.
            “He still has that going?” Tomlin asked, curiously.
            “Yeah, 2 for 1, and he’ll throw the dildo in for free,” Anderson said, matter of factly, loosening his grip on Tomlin.
            “That’d be perfect for my wife.  If I had one...” Tomlin said, still in captivity.  “Come now, let’s have a drink.”
            “You want a DRINK now jackass?!” Anderson asked, throwing Tomlin to the wall.
            “Oh no! I thought you forgot!!” Tomlin whimpered, close to tears.
            “And now, it is time for YOU to get the perverbial... how do I say it?... ASS KICKING!”
            So Anderson threw Tomlin across the room, flailing like a defenseless rag doll, flipping on top of several tables and crashing into the OTHER wall, across the way.
            “No!! Lord have mercy!!” Tomlin cried, desperately.           
            “Ah, but alas,” said Anderson, hovering over Tomlin’s face.  “There is no Lord.  Just my fist...”

            POW!!  BANG!! BOFF!! WHACK!!  Those were the spectacular fireworks seen and heard inside and out of the Escape Club, with Anderson doing most of the work and Tomlin getting most of the punishment.

            Meanwhile in another part of town...
            Hewitt was still on the inside, crouched, shivering, as he stared at the icy television in front of him.
            “See?  TV is not so bad.” he rationalized, all the while covered up in a blanket, with one hand out pointing at the screen.  “The TV won’t turn me in.”
            Now all of his hi-tech junk was largely shut down.  His little security cameras were turned off.  The control-panel of television monitors in his lab sat idle, and even his prized gumball machine lay on the lab table, unfinished.
            Most of the lights were off in his place, and so were his sensors, automatic door openers, and everything else.  The only thing left that was on was Hewitt’s television, which he still managed to watch, even in his time of paranoia.
            “Ha, ha, ha, ha!  Funny!!” Hewitt remarked.  He was lying.  There couldn’t be anything worse on television than this:
            “Catch the all-new Prime Time Television EVENT!  Bean Counting!!  Witness the drama of the beans getting separated one by one...”
            The picture showed a man seated at a table, counting the beans, and then screwing up his count, somewhere around the 200th bean.
            “Two hundred and.... DOOOHH!! My life is ruined!!”
            “Can anyone survive counting all of them?!!” the announcer continued,  “You have to see it to believe it!  NBC Tuesday...”
- Zap! -
            “The battle for grass ball supremacy continues!” said the announcer, “Watch the Picaccta Boilermakers face the Terra Haute Pizza Deliverers on Wednesday Night Lacrsosse.... again!!  Live 8pm Eastern on ESPN.”
- Zap! –
            “It was a brutal fight that erupted at about 2 p.m. this afternoon.  Two men spontaneously went after each other and triggered a melee that spread for four blocks!”  said the News Reporter.
            “I guess they don’t fight like fags after all,” Hewitt quipped, noting the televised footage of Tomlin and Anderson’s fight from earlier that day.
            Outside the apartment building, Thomson, Jenkins, and Martinez, cruised down the sidewalk, walking, headed for Hewitt’s apartment.
            “I think the dude’s ready for us now,” Thomson said, looking at the others for approval.
            Jenkins and Martinez followed Thomson as he ran into Hewitt’s apartment building and up the stairs.
            Then they ran down to Hewitt’s door, and quickly rushed over to bang on it repeatedly.
            “Nooo!! Noooooooo!!!  What do you want people?!!  I didn’t do it!!!” Hewitt cried, as he sank into his blanket, all while still in his lazy chair.
            “It’s US!!” all three guys shouted from the outside.
            “Screw you all!!” yelped Hewitt.  “I hope all of you and Dubya go to hell!!”
            “No, Hewitt, get a hold of yourself, dude!” cried Thomson, “It’s Tommy Boy, now, open up!”
            “Yeah, and it’s Jenkins, too!  Open Sesame!!” Jenkins cried.
            “Uh, yeah, I’m uh... The Grim Reaper,” said Martinez from the door’s crack.
            “Shut up, Martinez.” quipped Hewitt.  “All right, dopes, I’ll let you in.”
            Hewitt cracked a smile on his face, the first one all day.  He lumbered over to the door and opened it up.
            “Guys.... How I missed you knuckleheads...” Hewitt said, with open arms.
            “Aww, guys, let’s give him a big hug!” Thomson said in his sarcastic cutsey voice.
            All four guys opened their arms for embrace, but what they did was just reach their arms around each other’s back and lightly patted their hands on each other’s back.  It was sort of a “halfsie hug.”
            “Are you doing okay, now, Hewitt?” Jenkins asked politely.
            “Eh, I’m fine, now,” Hewitt said, “Sort of.  I still think I’m getting watched by the government.”
            “Watched?  For what, dawg?” asked Thomson.
            “No, see, whenever you go out, they have the cameras on you, and the IDs you scan and the credit cards, they all have your information, baby.”
            “So?” asked Martinez.
            “So?!  Don’t you get it?  It’s the Republican security police!!”
            “Oh, don’t blame this on the Republicans again...” cried Jenkins, rolling his eyes.
            “No, I’m gonna blame them.  See all those cameras and IDs and things...   It’s like ‘Every breath you take... every step you make... they’ll be watching you.’”
            “Oh, and I suppose you know what they are saying....” Thomson said, surprised.
            “Yeah, they’re saying, ‘Oh can’t you see??  You belong... to me!’” Hewitt sang, reprising a verse from The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
            “Whatever, man,” said Martinez, “We’re just glad you’re back ‘open to the media.’”
            “I guess I’ll be safe now,” Hewitt said, “but now I need to get a car.”
            “Oh dude!! That’s right,” said Martinez, “What the hell happened to your car?”
            “The hoodlum ran off with it,” quipped Hewitt, “He’s done.  The cops must’ve clobbered that fool.”
            “Hoodlum?!” asked Thomson.
            “Uh oh...” Hewitt surmised, “This is gonna be a loooooooong story...”
            With that, the other guys sat down around tables, counters, wherever one could find a seat.  Martinez, Thomson, Jenkins, and Hewitt (in his easy chair now) shared stories from that point on, up until the end of the night.
            It was a calmer, more peaceful place now, justice having prevailed at the Escape Club, Hewitt back in his groove again, and with the Mallory’s baby under careful watch from his father.  Santa Barbara’s streetlights lighted up.  People basked in the warmth and the glow of Downtown’s busy avenues.  Houses and apartments rested peacefully.  That was the end of that story, for the time being.

*The End*

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