Holiday Mashup (Sweet Stuffing)

Holiday Mashup – Thanksgiving + Halloween. I am into subject mashups these days. I am not sure why. Perhaps its a lazy way of being creative. You take two good ideas and combine them and they become one great supercalifragilistic idea. It’s like peanut and chocolate or for my money chocolate and raspberry. Well that is the goal anyway.

We as americans are too eager to move on to the next big thing and when it comes to holidays we are no different. Well before the halloween candy has been consumed and little Johnny is being checked for diabetes, we are taking down the plastic pumpkins and replacing them with little Johnnies hand turkey he made at school.

I suggest we combine Halloween and Thanksgiving. The average amount of break time between those two holiday innings has to be less than a week and at the rate things are going they will be merging soon anyway.

Rather than giving out tasty but unhealthy treats for Halloween we can use it as an opportunity to give away our leftover turkey and cranberries. I’m sure the kids won’t be thrilled but hey it’s time for little johnny to drop some of that junk in the trunk anyway.

If you’re concerned about falling asleep after thanksgiving dinner then use candy corn for your stuffing. The sugar will keep you awake a little while longer and you’ll get rid of candy that your grandmother bought in 1953.

Combining your holidays will allow you to combine your decorations and cut down on the amount of time decorating. My brother in law has a stuffed wild turkey that he puts out on his lawn for Thanksgiving every year. I think putting it out for Halloween can be just as scary as a pumpkin. I ran into that thing one night and thought I was in the middle of a Wes Craven movie. Ruined a perfectly good pair of shorts.*

Combining the two could also be quite educational for the children. They could dress up as colonists of the era complete with buckled shoes. “What is so scary about that?”. Two words; colonial dentistry. Which brings up another strong point to this idea. Smaller Dentist bills.

By combining Halloween and Thanksgiving, time and money could be saved and we all know what that means ….more time and money for Christmas shopping.

*This is hyperbole folks, really.
Feel free to leave me a comment with a suggestion as to what the combined holiday should be called.

Dawn of the Living Character Mash-up (Target Audience Characterpalooza)

I had just completed developing a new character for a series of books I was planning. I was quite proud of Zach and his bright shiny characteristics would appeal to a huge audience.

It was late and the braincells that had not been weeded out by reading, writing and drinking were telling me it was time to hit the sack. I knew enough not to argue, besides arguing with said brain cells would qualify me for a new room with really soft walls and some funky pajamas.

The following morning announced itself brightly and forced me to achieve consciousness. I have got to hang some blinds in that window, I thought. A hot shower and a cup of joe later I headed up to my writers nook anxious to let my character roam freely across the blank pages of my mind; no comment from the gallery please.

I took a seat in my writer’s chair*, powered up my laptop and opened up the notes file for Zach and stared at a blank ‘page’. I waited a few moments for the page to render itself but still nothing. No words, no stray commas, nothing. I double checked the laptop but it was fine. Unfortunately I had not bothered to back up my notes, Zach had disappeared.

It was as if the notes came together to create Zach and he walked off the page (or is it out of the file?). At that moment I heard screams off in the distance. Strange, I guess that’s what happened, I thought.

Well, he is relatively harmless. What could happen? The first rays of light that found him would kill him. That’s what happens to all vampires. Oops, not this one. He has an annoying habit of just sparkling in the sun. It was a surefire way to attract an audience of teenage girls. Vampires can be very romantic until the sun hits them. The whole ‘mass of putrid flesh’ thing is too grody for teenage girls to handle. Sparkling is much more fashionable.

That’s fine, I thought it’s not like he doesn’t have other limitations. As a vampire-zombie he will start decaying soon and no teenage girl will stick around long enough to be in danger. It’s a good thing I took that whole 50 shades of gray thing literally. He should be fairly easy to kill. An axe to the head and a stake to the heart should do the trick.

I gave the problem a bit more thought and found an additional flaw with that scenario. As a vampire-zombie-wizard he may be able to use magic to re-attach his head, as long he still has a wand and one of his hands. That can be overcome, I thought. He can still be killed, if in addition to removing the head and staking the heart his hands are also removed. That can’t be too difficult can it? No, definitely not a deal-breaker. The bigger problem is if he finds a broom and takes to the air. If that happens all bets are off.

This last thought put a damper on the whole ‘stop the character and save the local populace’ notion. I had run out of ideas and enthusiasm. It would be easier to
create a new character from scratch. This time I will have to rethink the whole vampire-zombie-wizard concept. Perhaps I went a little overboard trying to maximize the target audience. Now if I can just ignore the screams until Zach moves on to the next neighborhood. I hope he finds a broom.

*No , it’s nothing fancy, just a regular chair but since I would be writing it became my writers chair. It was parked in front of a desk. A writer’s desk. You can see where this is going.

More Tales from Vegas ( read ‘Tales from Vegas’ for the first installment)


After a few drinks with my friend we plan to meet for breakfast and we head back to our respective hotels. We  were doing this on the cheap, although his hotel was more respectable than mine the quality of his room made up for it . Mine had no inkling of respectability and it didn’t seem to apologize for it.

When I  had checked into my room earlier I noticed the clientele seemed to be a little more grittier than  the last time I was in Vegas. That was a different hotel and evidently had higher standards.

This hotel claimed it was owned by Bugsy back in the day. I though , well it had something going for it , back in the day.  How do I know it’s the same Bugsy that started this whole thing. How did they know it was the same Bugsy.

I walk to my hotel, enter the room and get ready for bed. I notice the marbled tile in the bathroom contained a pattern of brownish red swirls . Perfect for hiding blood stains across the ages. Convenient for covering up the past transgressions of a guy named  Bugsy, I thought.

I take one last glimpse of Vegas from my room before hitting the sack. Gazing out my window I noticed a check cashing business across the street.  It was not immediately recognizable as such. It took me a few moments to make out the business sign. It had been installed upside down.  I wonder what the story behind that is, I thought.

I go to bed excited for tomorrow. Dawn does not come until all of my thoughts have escaped my brain and have been reinterpreted into dreams.

I awake outside my window and interestingly enough I am able to read the check cashing sign with no difficulty.  I am clueless however as to what the signs on the surrounding businesses spell out. The need for me to grab my glasses before they fall off my face is a big clue as to my predicament.

Two men of New York persuasion wearing fedoras are holding on to my ankles as I dangle outside my hotel room. They are either performing an experiment with gravity or they need something from me. I am concluding the latter. They don’t seem to be the scientist type.

“Bugsy, we know yous got the dough. Your joint seems to be quite, um, what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Prosperous, “ I offer. Definitely not scientists.

“Yea , that’s it prosperous.”

“Dough, what dough? “I managed to croak out as the blood rushes to my head.

“Don’t kid us. The dough you borrowed from Mr Lansky.  He is starting to believe that perhaps your not paying your entire tribute towards your debt.”

Mr. Lansky? Tribute? what in the name of J Edgar Hoover were they talking about?

“Listen, um,  Gentlemen. I have no idea what you are talking about?  Are you sure you have the right guy?

“Is you Bugsy and do you own a casino?”

“Well yea but the whole Bugsy thing is fairly new. I thought it would be a swell nickname . You know something the dames would like.”

“Cute story but Mr Lansky wants his money.  You seem to share two important ,um , qualities, yea thats it, with the man who owes it to him.  Your name is Bugsy and you own a Casino. That’s good enough for us.”

“Yea , I can see where you’re going with this. How much does this Bugsy character owe?,” I ask with the hope it is not too much cash to scrounge up in a minutes notice.

“A cool twenty grand would get you on the right side of Mr. Lansky for a while.”

Twenty grand, what a coincidence, I thought. I had a cheque for just that amount  that was destined for the bank . It covered the receipts for the week.

“ I don’t suppose you would take a cheque for that amount would you?”

The fit of laughter the two mooks had just about caused them to drop me. I made a mental note not to bring it up again.

With the blood pooling in my head it was really tough to see let alone concentrate but I managed to remember the check cashing joint across the street. The one with the sign easy to read by persons in my particular predicament. Convenient, I thought.

I convince the mooks I have the dough but need to cash a cheque across the street. The location gives them a warm and fuzzy, however fuzzy a mook can get, that I won’t be able to get away with anything.

At the cheque cashing joint I give the dough to the mooks. One of them smacks me on the back , smiles, and apologizes for interrupting my sleep. They both exit to the street and  leave me at the counter to collect my wits and allow my blood to resume it’s normal route.

“I gather those gentlemen just collected on debt you owe?” asked the proprietor.

“Yes I say, I guess the color of my blood filled face gave me away.”

“Yea, that and I have seen a lot of that kind of thing running this place. “

“Yes, well I owe my life to your flawed sign hanging skills”

“Flawed? I did that on purpose. That sign can be read my many a man  in the same situation you found yourself in.  It has directed a lot of business my way. I am glad  I could help but I can’t say that I will miss it. “

“Miss it?”

“Yes I am retiring”.

I woke up in a cold sweat in fear of mooks from New York. It took me a few moments to calm down and realize it was just a dream.  Before meeting my friend for breakfast my curiosity caused a detour in my route and I stopped by the cheque cashing  business.

An old man at the counter greeted me and introduced himself as Lawrence, “but you can call me Larry.” I asked him about a guy name Bugsy that used to own the casino across the street.

“Well I have heard things,” he replied with a twinkle in his eyes.  “I heard that he almost met a tragic ending due to a nickname mix up. He gave up the business and the nickname .”

“You don’t say,” I replied. “What was the man’s real name?”

“I believe it was Lawrence,” he replied.

I smiled, “You don’t say.”