Thursday, January 29, 2009



Three women in their late-twenties are gathered in a small apartment. They are eating various snacks and interacting with one another while the television plays its advertisements in the background. SALLY is sitting on the couch, but turned away from the television. SANDRA sits at the table, facing Sally to engage her in conversation. SUSAN is in the kitchen, open to the main room, preparing more snacks for consumption. All are in jovial spirits.

TV: You think I'm talking, but I'm not.

SALLY: That's the third time this break! I can't believe the trouble they're going to to advertise such a stupid product.

SANDRA: I know. As if anyone would actually pay money for a ventriloquist act.

Susan sits quietly.

SALLY: Yeah, aren't ventriloquists pretty much despised and hated by pretty much everyone?

SANDRA: Except maybe for mimes.

SALLY (laughing): Those two would make quite a pair, wouldn't they?

SANDRA (mimicking the voice from the TV ad while acting like a mime): You think I'm being annoying, but ... I actually am!

Susan clears her throat.

SALLY: Is there something wrong, Susan?

SUSAN: No, nothing at all.


Susan is cleaning up after the party. Sally and Sandra have gone home. Susan is rinsing off the dishes.

SUSAN: Some friends. Sally thinks she's so smart. Sandra with her witticisms.

Susan opens the dishwasher next to the sink and goes to place the plate she has been rinsing into the dishwasher, only to find that it is already full of clean dishes. She turns off the faucet and begins to unload the dishwasher instead of rinsing.

SUSAN: I don't think they realize for one moment the difficulty involved in ventriloquism. Nor do they even fathom the great good it can serve the world. It's rendering a service, God Damn it!

Susan angrily throws a plate against the wall. It shatters to small pieces on the floor.


SUSAN: What was that? Was that you, Mr. Plate?

Susan walks up to the pieces of plate on the ground, looking at them closely with her face about an inch away from the remnants of the plate.

SUSAN: Did you say something?

Susan clearly ventriloquates the response from the plate, as her lips move ever so slightly.

PLATE (SUSAN): Don't hurt me.

Susan gets a look of pity on her face.

SUSAN: Oh, you poor thing! I'm so sorry. I was mad at my friends Sally and Sandra. I would never be mad at you. Here, let me fix you up.

Susan pushes the broken pieces next to one another, aligning them in a plate-like fashion. What results only somewhat resembles the previous plate.

SUSAN: There, do you feel better now?

PLATE (SUSAN): Not really. I'm still broken.

Susan gets a shocked look on her face.

SUSAN: Oh, you ungrateful little plate! You're just as bad as Sandra!

Susan turns her back to the plate, calming down slightly. She looks over her shoulder and sees the plate in its same position. Susan again gets a look of pity on her face. The plate sits still.

Susan runs over to the plate again.

SUSAN: I'm sorry. You are still broken. You'll always be broken. It's all the fault of Sally and Sandra, and people like them who don't understand.

Susan falls onto the plate, exhausted, sobbing.


A commercial is being filmed. People are standing behind large cameras filming ACTOR 1 at a podium on a prop stage, made to appear as though it is in a large conference center. He is presenting a PowerPoint presentation with lots of charts and graphs. Other ACTORS take part in the commercial, filling various roles.

ACTOR 1 (confidently): So, you see, the fiscal year ending 2009 resulted in a profit margin of just over 8.2%, while last year's fiscal budget only factored in a 5% net increase in sales. I now turn to the floor for questions.

Actor 1 is performing in front of an audience of cardboard cutouts that only somewhat resemble a live audience of business professionals. ACTOR 2 stands up in the midst of these cutouts to deliver his lines.

ACTOR 2: I do have a question for the distinguished speaker. How do you talk with such eloquence and style? Don't you get frightened on stage in front of a large audience?

Actor 1 looks into the camera with surety.

ACTOR 1: You may think I'm talking, but I'm not.

The DIRECTOR, standing behind one of the camera operators, waves his hand to indicate 'CUT', and points to the monitor beside him, which begins to play the advertisement previously seen in Susan's apartment on the television. The advertisement logo "Ventriloquist Professionals" appears, with information about the product in smaller type below, along with contact information. A VOICEOVER pronounces the benefits of the product to the viewer. The director watches this monitor for review of the full ad.

VOICEOVER: Let Ventriloquist Professionals help you give your next speech, presentation, lecture, or seminar. Contact toll-free: 1-800-555-ventriloquist, or email Join thousands of others who have improved their speaking style with the help of ventriloquism!

The director again waves his hand and points to ACTRESS 1 sitting in a chair behind a secretary desk on the set. The cameras turn on and focus on her as she repeats her lines.

ACTRESS 1: I used to have such trouble getting up in front of my colleagues to speak. But look at me now!

The camera pans to ACTRESS 2, who is crouched below the desk. Actress 2 turns to the camera to deliver her line.

ACTRESS 2: You may think she's talking, but she's not!

DIRECTOR (waving his hand): Cut! That's a wrap. (pause) For now.

ACTORS AND CREW: You mean there may be more of these stupid commercials?

DIRECTOR: If the company keeps making them, I'll keep producing them.

Susan suddenly appears with a clipboard in hand, walking up to the director.

SUSAN: Hello, are you Artful Dodger, the director we hired?

DIRECTOR: Oh, you must be Susan, the representative from Ventriloquist Professionals. Pleased to have you on board here.

SUSAN: Oh, no, the pleasure is all mine. We're very pleased with the work you've been doing on these commercials.

DIRECTOR: Well, that's great. I'm glad to hear it. So, what can I do for you?

SUSAN: Well, that's the thing. These commercials don't seem to be getting the right message out. Focus groups, and personal experience, have shown that even after watching these commercials 20 or 30 times, the majority of respondents still feel that ventriloquism is a mock service with little or no value in the daily lives of people.

The director gets a look of misunderstanding on his face.

DIRECTOR: You mean, you actually take these commercials seriously?

SUSAN: Well, of course. It's what we do.

DIRECTOR: You ventriloquate?

SUSAN: Yes! That's my profession.

DIRECTOR: You're a professional ventriloquator?

SUSAN: Ventriloquist.

DIRECTOR: Oh my God, this is too much.

The director turns to the crew.

DIRECTOR (loudly): Did you hear that, fellows? These commercials we've been making are being taken seriously. Susan here is a professional ventriloquist!

The crew laughs heartily while pointing at Susan. Susan gets a look of indignation on her face and turns away.

VOICE: You're fired.

The director turns his head towards the voice, but sees only a large video camera looking him in the eye. He looks at it unbelievingly for a moment, then turns and sees Susan walking away purposefully.


Susan walks down the large hallway of the ventriloquist offices. She knocks on a door that says "PRESIDENT - ARTHUR MCNALLY" on it, and enters halfway into the office.

SUSAN: Excuse me, Art.

Arthur, sitting in a large chair behind the desk, rotates around to face Susan. A small ventriloquist dummy sits on his large lap. His lips move only very slightly while the dummy speaks.

DUMMY: Yes, Susan. Come right in.

Susan looks at the dummy for a moment and gets a look of realization on her face.

SUSAN: Oh, yes. Thank you, Art. I came to have a word with Arthur, actually, if that's alright with you.

DUMMY: I guess you can speak to him if you want, the big dummy!

ARTHUR: Hey now, Art. That's not very polite.

DUMMY: It's not very polite to be so fat either!

ARTHUR (laughing): Well, you have a point there! Isn't Art wonderful today?

Susan only smiles slightly.

SUSAN: I'm afraid I'm not much in the joking mood today, Arthur. I had to fire the director of our commercials.

ARTHUR: The "You think I'm talking, but I'm not!" commercials?

SUSAN: Yes. They were being treated in an incorrect and irreverent manner unbecoming of the ventriloquist profession.

ARTHUR: That's a shame. I was really hoping to turn the image of ventriloquism around. So many people think only of silly has-beens with dummies on their laps telling stupid jokes to themselves.

DUMMY: Who are you calling a dummy, you has-been?

ARTHUR: Not now, Arty.

SUSAN (not paying attention to Art's aside): I know. It's so difficult to explain the professional ramifications that our organization can have for people. When ventriloquism is put to its proper use, it becomes much more than a mere jovial past-time. It is elevated to a way of life. One that I marvel in the beauty of.

ARTHUR: You've done good work here, Susan. I think it's time to call it quits.

Susan gets a look of surprise on her face.

SUSAN: You're firing me?

ARTHUR: No, I'm firing myself. The world isn't ready for us yet. Our kind must continue to practice our craft unseen, offering our help only to those in great need. Being of service to our fellow being, for that's the only way we can survive.

SUSAN: I see what you mean.

Susan looks seriously into the eyes of the dummy.

SUSAN: It has to be this way, doesn't it, Art?

The dummy nods its head in response.


Sally and Sandra are again sitting around at Susan's house, as before. They are eating various snacks, and the television is on in the background.

SALLY: I am so glad that those stupid commercials are off the air now.

SANDRA: Yeah. Guess the dumb ventriloquists finally realized they're useless.

Susan sits back silently. There is a KNOCK on the door.

SALLY: Oh, I bet that's Billy!

SANDRA: Billy's coming?

SALLY: Yeah, I thought he might like to join us.

Sally opens the door to Susan's apartment. In the hall way she sees a TELEGRAM DELIVERY MAN in uniform.

TELEGRAM DELIVERY MAN: Telegram for Sally S. Trumet.

Sally takes the telegram and closes the door. She unfolds the old-style piece of paper and reads the note: "Can't come to party. Busy with friends. Billy." Sally walks back into the main room.

SANDRA: Who was it?

SALLY: A telegram delivery. From Billy.

SANDRA: A telegram? They still have those?

SALLY: No. No, they don't.

Sally sits in silence for a moment, then suddenly crumples up the telegram in anger.

SALLY: Oh, he makes me so mad! I wish I could tell him off, just once, without falling apart into tears.

Susan clears her throat.

SALLY: Is there something wrong, Susan?

SUSAN: Nothing at all. I think I can help you.

SALLY: You can? How?

SUSAN: Ever heard of ventriloquism?

A look passes from Susan's eyes to Sally's. She instantly understands.

SALLY: He'll think I'm talking, but I'm not.

Sally and Susan continue to look at one another in silence.

SANDRA: God, I hate those commercials.


This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick and Miriam Allred of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden, and Sven Patrick Svensson of Sadness? Euphoria?. This week's theme: 'Ventriloquism'.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eifen Deifeiffen

What Bobby didn't know was that Eifen Deifeiffen was about to occur for the third time in his life. He had never taken notice of Eifen Deifeiffen before, nor did he know what it was, but it was about to change his life in ways you will hardly be able to imagine.

This tragic case of Eifen Deifeiffen took place on the 6th of March, 1992, when Bobby was eight years old. He had been told by doctors that the scar on his left leg, and the lack of one of his kidneys, were both due to past traumatic events. They did not mention to Bobby, nor to his parents, that these were in fact symptoms of early childhood complications due to Eifen Deifeiffen. This is because no medical examination or screening could have conclusively proven Eifen Deifeiffen to be at the root of Bobby's issues. Eifen Deifeiffen was still largely undiscovered at that time, as it remains today. Instead, the doctors had to come up with elaborate scenarios in which Bobby's leg had been badly injured during his fall into a window well on his third birthday. The kidney loss was explained by complications at birth.

Although Eifen Deifeiffen is rarely noticed, it happens at least once to everyone. My Eifen Deifeiffen incident came when I was 32 years old, just starting my new job at a downtown law firm. I was excited and anxious to begin this new phase in my career; but imagine my dismay when I saw that Eifen Deifeiffen had set in. I tried to shake free of it, to battle it back, to cast it from me at all costs, but to no avail. I enlisted the help of friends, relatives, neighbors, and I even wrote a letter to the President of the United States, but no one could release me from the clutches of this unseen condition. In fact, no one seemed to care or to notice. I was forced to give in, to allow Eifen Deifeiffen to do its deed, and I awoke the next morning to find that my left eye had deteriorated, leaving only an empty socket with remnants of pus.

This personal assault on my character caused me to begin my quest to remove the villainous Eifen Deifeiffen from this planet once and for all. I began to follow Eifen, learning from past sufferers the motivation for the rapid and seemingly unpredictable onset of the disease. I traced Eifen from Stockholm, to Paris, to Rome, and even to Senegal, just missing him each time. I continued to learn about him, to become one with his thoughts and actions. I began to see the signs and marks of his imminent coming at every corner and in every face. I knew that I would have to find him and remove him as soon as possible, or else I risked losing my mind, or worse, another eye.

Just as I began to become dismayed, thinking I would never find the answer to this madness, I caught Bobby out of the corner of my eye. Little Bobby. He was only three years old at the time. His parents were on their way out of the emergency room, where they had taken him after discovering the odd scar on his leg that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. I knew immediately that I had just missed Eifen's most recent attack. I could sense him in the proximity, I could feel his influence, and his joy. I also knew that he would seek Bobby out again, for he had not completed his job with this one. He had attacked too soon, and Bobby had managed to escape his grasp, at least partially.

I only learned later, after studying Bobby closely for the next five years, that he had had an earlier run in with Eifen. The kidney incident was not spoken of often in the home, nor did Bobby have any knowledge of it, but Eifen let me know about it in his own way. Eifen was beginning to make more sense to me, and he was often giving me clues that allowed me to form a full picture of his work amongst humanity. I continued to wait, knowing that Bobby was soon to experience his third Eifen Deifeiffen incident in his lifetime, and one he would not forget any time soon.

I began to become rather excited, anticipating one of Eifen's greatest accomplishments in all of history. I was looking forward to this. Wanting this. Needing this.

March had begun just five days before, and I was beginning to get anxious. I knew from the signs and marks that Eifen was leaving around Bobby's house that the event was just a few days away. However, the marks began to fade. The signs disappeared as if they never existed, and I was left to wonder if I had been mistaken. Perhaps Eifen had decided not to subject this boy to a third wave of assault. Perhaps I was doomed to forever live in a world where Eifen remained a mystery, an inexplicable phenomenon that went unnoticed and unseen by the rest of the world. I made a pact with myself, with Eifen Deifeiffen and all that he stood for, that on this day, the 6th of March, 1992, I would see to it that Eifen's plans were carried out. That Bobby would receive his third and final visitation from Eifen, one that would end his life for the good of all mankind. One that would simultaneously fulfill both my goals and Eifen's.

I leapt out from hiding, and showed myself for the first time to Bobby. He couldn't fathom what I had in store for him, as I covered his head with a dark cloth and led him into his empty household. There, I waited. I waited for Eifen, knowing that he would come, that today was the day, that he would finish what he had started with this boy and I would be able to remove him from the Earth. I got what I wanted.

Eifen's arrival was a sight that I will never forget. The horrible anguish that was caused to Bobby, the glory that this gave to Eifen, and the excitement that coursed through my veins, all combined to create an atmosphere of euphoria and death. I knew that time was short, that I'd have to act quickly. As Eifen was doing his deed, wretching poor Bobby's heart from left to right, pounding and releasing, forcing and tugging, I made a precise calculation, one that I had practiced many times in anticipation for this event, and thrust a sharp dagger into Bobby's chest, drawing blood and stabbing Eifen in the process. Through the metal end of the blade I felt Eifen squirm up into my flesh. He had left Bobby behind, writhing on the floor in a semi-unconscious stupor, while I continued the battle with Eifen below my skin. His power, even after being wounded, was without comparison to any worldly force, and I quickly found myself brought down to the lowest brink of agony and despair. I fought, and struggled, and pulled, keeping Eifen out of my bloodstream, away from my vital organs. He continued to produce pain and misery in every portion of my body that he could touch. I realized that I was going to lose this fight.

These incomparable hours of battle lasted long enough to allow Bobby to regain complete consciousness. He looked up into my eye, and I returned his gaze. I realized that he could see, that he understood. Eifen was his battle now. I had failed.

I used the last of my remaining strength in one final push of power, thrusting Eifen from my body. Eifen left the room, injured, hurt, but not overcome. His effects remained in me, and I knew I would never recover. I saw the blood pouring from Bobby's wound. It was clean. He would get better. His parents would be home any minute now, and he'd be able to get the help required. The doctors would chalk this one up to bad luck again, an attack by a one-eyed villain, but they would not suspect the real cause, the true suspect of this attempted murder: Eifen Deifeiffen.

My time comes to an end now. I have been able to record what I know about Eifen. I may have been mistaken on some, I may have underestimated his power, but I've observed his destructive force and I know it must be reckoned with. I trust Bobby to do this for me, to continue the work I've begun. Judging by the signs, he's due to receive a fourth visitation, and I'm confident that he'll overcome in a way that I could not. By the time the doctors find out about Eifen Deifeiffen, the cause of so much pain and anguish, the bringer of misery and misfortune, the most powerful destructive force to humankind, its threat will have already been extinguished. I am as sure about this as I am in my imminent death. I mark Eifen's passing with an equal amount of awe and sadness. He was a part of life that is not easily noticed, but definitely not soon forgotten.

This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, and William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden. This week's theme: 'Eifen Deifeiffen'.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sour Mayonnaisse

Huh, all this time, I never noticed the fact that a typo had reared its ugly head in the title of my blog. It's sort of like when you have something stuck in your teeth and no one tells you. Well, it's been fixed. Enjoy the sour mayonnaise.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"Hey Jim, what's going on?"

"Oh, nothing much, just the usual shit, you know. That sort of thing."

Sam had gotten used to Jim's lack of response to personal questions. In fact, he had come to expect it, and never deviated from his response, even if he didn't have a hell of an idea what Sam was trying to explain. "Yeah, I follow you. Same ol' shit, as the proverb goes."

"Well, there is something else that I've been meaning to talk to you about," Jim said, with hesitation in his voice. He could tell by the look in Sam's eyes that he had passed the point where he could easily step back from his announcement, shake his head and say, "naw, nevermind, it's nothing." Sam, on the other hand, expected Jim to say something along the lines of "naw, nevermind, it's nothing," and therefore prepared his response, "no problem, don't worry about it," well in advance. Due to Jim's faulty appraisal of the situation, Sam would not get to use these words in this situation, but would instead need to carry on through prompt improvisation.

"You know the Disney film 'Dumbo'?" Jim blurted out, suddenly. Sam actually did know the film very well, as he had watched it as a child numerous times a week as he would fall asleep. However, he hadn't seen it in well over ten years now, and responded, "That's the one with the elephant and circus, right?"

Jim expressed his excitement, "Yes, exactly, and a little mouse too. Dumbo has big ears and learns how to fly." It all came back to Sam vividly, not just the big top from the film, with the circus director and the animals, but also the entirety of his childhood memories, fond recollections of his younger sister, his various toys in a large yellow chest in the corner of his room, his adoration for his teacher, Mrs. Penchmond.

"That's a good flick," Sam responded. "I used to watch it a lot. My sister never got into it. She always preferred the newer animated films still coming out nowadays." Sam surprised himself with how open he had become as a result of these childhood memories. He hadn't spoken of his sister with any of his acquaintances, not even his closest friends, and certainly not with Jim. Just mentioning her existence seemed to lift a great burden from Sam's soul.

"Well, then you'll know where I'm coming from, perhaps," Jim continued. "I have a sort of a problem. A vice, really. Something I just can't shake."

"What, like a big problem? Something you need help with?" Sam offered, seeing that this was difficult for Jim. "I'm not sure how much help I can be, but I'm glad to try my best." Even though Sam would never have expected Jim to come to him for advice on anything, this was a position he had been in often enough. Things seemed to come natural to him, and his life, from the outside, evoked a sense of perfection. He had never struggled to get a good job, he had all the merits to allow for complete satisfaction with his position, and, furthermore, he seemed to be able to get any woman he wanted without any effort at all on his part. In this position, dispensing advice to others was a usual task, and one that Sam was well-familiar with.

Jim hesitated again, thinking over how his other confidantes often mocked and derided him for many of his lesser problems. Will Sam be able to understand? Will he be able to help me overcome this? he thought to himself. As he pondered this internally, Sam made a move to look at his watch; clearly there would be little time to sort things out. Perhaps I should wait for another day, another time he thought. But something within him urged him to get this vice off his chest, once and for all. If Sam couldn't help, no one could. "I like to dress up in a pink elephant costume and dance around my apartment to the soundtrack of Dumbo," Jim suddenly blurted out.

This unexpectedly brought back another rush of memories to Sam's mind. He could see his sister, vividly now, as if she were standing right in front of him, dressed in pink and dancing around the room. Marks on her skin that he had forgotten existed were brightly illuminated in his imagination, and an overall sense of helplessness and loss filled his entire body.

"I don't know what to do," Sam finally responded. "But Jim, you called your actions a vice. That's no vice. I've seen vices in this life, vices I myself used to be subject to, and your actions don't constitute any such thing. Keep on dancing, Jim. No one will give a shit."

Jim was comforted by this. He had never heard such utter sincerity spoken by his friend. He was glad for having taken the risk to open himself up, to probe his own depths and release it into the atmosphere for all to absorb. "Thanks Sam, I needed that."

"I did too, Jim. I did too."

About a month later, Jim asked Sam in passing how his sister was doing. Sam responded his usual "not bad" that was expected in such situations. He managed to stifle his snobs until later that evening, when he cried for the first time in over a decade.

This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, and William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden. This week's theme: 'Vice'.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Young Exodus was always striving to become the sort of person that his parents and peers expected him to be. However, this was very difficult to achieve, because of the high standard that they held him up to.

"Exodus," his father once said to him, "I want you to be as big and strong as your Uncle Patty and as small and gentle as your Great Aunt Clara." This apparent contradiction in no way confused young Exodus, but it did make him wonder how he could ever achieve such a conundrum. For Exodus, such tasks were often his focus.

When young Exodus was even younger, he asked his father why he was given a name that seemed so strange to other people. His father replied that they had named him after a multitude of people that had escaped oppression thanks to the help of God. Younger than young Exodus didn't understand this explanation, nor did he like the look of righteous indignation in his father's eyes when he said it; Exodus would never ask this question again for the rest of his short life.

But, Exodus's life didn't end all that soon. He made his way slowly from the cradle, to the stroller, and even up until his first car at the age of 16. "You've finally arrived at manhood," his father stated plainly, "Now you can go out on your own, and escape any tyranny that oppresses you." Exodus drove down to the grocery store and bought some milk and eggs. His father thanked him for his thoughtfulness, but Exodus could tell that he had disappointed him.

Exodus's life ended abruptly when he fell into a small stream not far from his house. He was trying to cross it on his way to his friend Steve's home, which was located a small distance away on the other side. Exodus always felt very calm and peaceful at Steve's house. His parents were the only ones who didn't give a weird look when he introduced himself. Steve always prepared great meals of ham and eggs (but never eggs and ham). The food was exquisite, the friendship strong, and the home comfortable. Steve burnt the toast and set off the fire alarm a moment before Exodus took his last breath in the water of the small stream; the sound of the alarm drowned out his final cry for help. His body wasn't noticed until the next day.

Upon finding the body, his father looked on with approval. "You found your escape, son. Now let's hope I can find mine."

This post is an installment in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with posts from Enoch Allred of Chiltingham, John Allred of clol Town, Jon Fairbanks of Funkadelic Freestylings of Another Sort, Eli Z. McCormick of Modern Revelation!, John D. Moore of Whatnot Studios, and William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden. This week's theme: 'Exodus'.