Friday, May 27, 2005

Bay Rum? Don't you drink that stuff?

As I write this, it closing in on 5:00 in the afternoon. I left around 1:30 for a simple mission; to get some medication for my dog (I'll get to that in a minute) and to visit the liquor store for something to kick off the weekend. Three and a half hours for this.
Now... let me elaborate.
My dog has become ill with something. Vets tells us that it could be cancerous. Or not. It could be a tumor. Or... not. Basically they have no idea what's going on, however, they have offered to run more tests for roughly the same amount of money that a carpenter in Paraguay earns for an entire year. What will these tests reveal? Well... maybe something. Maybe nothing. So, instead of that, they are currently putting her on antibiotics in an effort to curb things and get her back on track.
So the specialist Vet, which is 45 minutes away, (definition of "specialist" is "we-charge-more-than-your-normal-vet") ordered up these antibiotics and tried to place the order at a pharmacist in our area because the medications are also used for people. So, she tried putting the order in at Rite Aid.
Rite-Aid did not carry it.
She tried putting the order in at Eckard Drugs.
Eckard Drugs did not carry it.
SURELY CVS must carry it?
She tried to put the order in at CVS.
CV-fucking-S doesn't carry it.
So, the Vet asks me for the number of a smaller non-chainstore type of pharmacy and I randomly pick one out of the phone book.
And she calls me back ten minutes later. The mom-and-pop drug store carries them. ALL of them.

So, I get myself together and head out an hour and a half after hearing this news and go to the drugstore.
I get there and inquire on the order placed by the veterinarian, gaining some odd looks from the two other customers, both well past retirement age, waiting for their drugs. I am told that I'll need to fill out some paperwork and it'll be "a while."
So, like most writers, while I'm waiting, I cannot help but look around and observe.

This place is an old people's drugstore, but that three-word description doesn't do it justice.

Over the hour's wait that I was there, I was able to take quite an inventory of the place.
They carry (I'm not kidding) 97 varieties of creams that help all varieties of itchy skin, red skin, rashy skin, and otherwise skin that bothers you.
They carried something called "tar" shampoos that were medicated for psoriasis. There were 29 1/2 kinds of the icy-hot ointments. How did I get the 1/2? Because there was something called Absorbine Ointment by Veterinarians. I don't know. Don't ask me.
Adult "briefs", not diapers.
There were 3 kinds of condoms and 5 kinds of women's sanitary napkins.
All of the boxes had dust on them.

Foam pillows. Foam bandages. Foam neckbraces and gel inserts and wrist, knee, shoulder and ankle braces.
And, I shit you not, a wheelchair AISLE. Not just a few wheelchairs. An entire AISLE dedicated to wheelchairs. They were lined up in order of quality like a 70's Gremlin to a new model Vette.

90% of the candy in the store was sugar-free. And the 10% that wasn't were stored in two wooden barrels by the counter. Hore's Hound and Rootbeer sold in tiny linen bags.

And a whole rack of after shave. Old Spice. Vitalis and Bay Rum. I smelled the Bay Rum and considered ditching the idea of going to the liquor store, because I'm pretty sure if I had downed the Bay Rum, I'd have had problems driving. But then I'd also may have had to use the adult briefs.

So I get my dog medicine and leave.

On the way home, I'm on a major highway. I pass several cop cars that have people pulled over. A 1/2 mile later I come to a stop light and get in the left lane. And I see that the entire light is without power.
Large semi-trucks and hairy men in funny hats are driving trucks with construction equipment on flatbeds behind them.
And I have to turn left. Right in their path.
This is not good.
As pandemonium ensures, I try calling 911 to alert them that someone may indeed die soon on this highway and the cops I passed earlier may better serve our tax dollars by stopping vehicular homicide, preferably mine, by getting here to direct traffic.
I punch the gas and get the hell out of the way, pulling into a shopping center where a liquor store is.
As I'm walking to the storefront, I see several men standing outside, both have hands in their pockets and look sheepish. I try the door and it dawns on me that the place is dark inside. They have locked the doors are are only allowing two customers inside at a time.
The sheepish men then tell me that the entire plaza is without power.
I sigh. Say "fuck" as many times as I can as I walk back to my truck. And leave.
It seems that power is knocked out all over the place and chaos is starting. People are driving like maniacs.
I grit my teeth and drive through it all on my way to yet another liquor store.
This one has power.
This one has liquor.
This one has no long line of people outside looking sheepish.
I look at the shelves and see something that looks strangely close to the Bay Rum package at the pharmacy, and decide to steer clear of it. I bought a pre-mixed bottle of something that looked tasty and strong and would easily erase part of this afternoon.

I have to admit though, the Vitalis kinda smelled nice.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Devil's Wine and other notes...

Many months ago I bought Cemetery Dance's hardback of Tom Piccirilli's "The Devil's Wine." For anyone who is not familiar with it, it's a collection of poetry from Pic himself, and including Bradbury, King, Straub Ketchum, and on and on... all incredibly talented writers.

I've kept it close to my desk, and while the printer is printing or I'm making pdfs or uploading files into the ether of the net, I'll read a page or two.

Aside from Pic's extraordinary talent, Jack Ketchum's poems are just truly amazing. Keep in mind that although there are some dark poems in here, they definitely aren't all horror. There are some lines from Ketchum's poems that just stick in your cranium like a chickenbone.

I'd post a few of them... but most of the writers can come up with very interesting ways to dismember me for violating copyright issues, so I think I'll just tell you to go buy the book.

After chewing on plot issues that I thought I'd corrected in my script, Lower Levels, I've decided to put it aside and let my subconscious stew on it for a while. The problems have taught me a valuable lesson however... at least at this stage of writing scripts, it is essential for me to outline them otherwise I'll wander off into a swampy area and discover I'm in a pit of quicksand. I haven't given up on it yet... hell it's over 2/3's of the way done and I'm sure I can figure it out.

While those knots are being untied, I've made great headway on another script however. It's not a complex story. Instead, just a good ol' fashioned twisted redneck tale.

Maybe it's just my family tree, but I'm finding this one ridiculously easy to put down on paper.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Steady Pimpin

In a few weeks, author Brian Keene is going on his summer book tour to promoting his two new novels, Terminal and City of the Dead. There's a boatload of marketing files at: to download and distribute in an effort to promote them. Feel free to share the link and distribute as you see fit. Let's keep them flying off the shelves.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005