Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Here's an old blog post from August of 2009:

The late, great, Ross Thomas, who specialized in action and spy novels with a healthy dose of humor, has a book called BRIARPATCH. In Thomas’ world, a Briarpatch was the territory under the control of a spy or criminal or political king maker. Might be a city or a larger territory, or maybe even a country. These guys built their territory from the ground up, and now nothing happened in their Briarpatch that wasn’t approved of or licensed or taxed by them. One of my favorite Thomas novels, THE FOOLS IN TOWN ARE ON OUR SIDE, is about an organization that moves in and takes over U.S. City Briarpatches from the old guard and installs their own governments - conquering the Briarpatch and making it their own. Behind this scheme was, I think, a retired spy with a thirst for power. They destabilized some U.S. city’s government - some old political machine that was some old guy’s Briarpatch, and then installed their own government... just as the ex-spy had done for the CIA in a number of oil rich third world countries.

Friday’s Hitchcock entry was originally postponed because I was traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area for a class reunion... and to help my dad with some manual labor around the house. I figured I’d write it and get it up Sunday, but that was before I fell into two different Briarpatches... which means you won’t get to read about ROPE and Hitchcock’s one shot movie until this coming Friday.

I spent Saturday afternoon helping my friend John doing some interesting construction work. John has been a friend of mine forever, he acted in some of my little movies decades ago and crewed on others. These days he makes short films for those 48 hour film challenge contests, directs live theater in the Bay Area, and has written a couple of plays that have been performed. He’s one of the founders of a Bay Area theatre company, too. But it’s not *his* Briarpatch that this story is about...

A local playwright named Kathy - John has directed a couple of her plays - read an article about a group who were trying to preserve one of the Word War 2 Victory ships, the Red Oak, which had been in the “Moth Ball Fleet” (hundreds of old Navy ships “stored” in the San Francisco Bay for decades - and featured in the Sam Peckinpah film THE KILLER ELITE). Since there was no World War Three, these ships had no purpose and were going to be scrapped by the Navy. The Red Oak Victory was built in Richmond, CA - in the Kaiser Shipyards - so a group turned preserving this ship into their Briarpatch. They had it towed back to the shipyards where it was built and have set about restoring it - as a floating museum. I’ve toured the ship and it’s really cool - many of the rooms are exactly like they were in WW2 - and they do sleepovers for Scouts in the crew’s bunks (which the kids probably think are neat, but the crew probably thought was just this side of torture) and tours and events.

Kathy was fascinated by the way these ships were built - often a whole ship was built in a single day - by shipbuilding crews that included a large number of women... Rosie The Riveter. My grandfather worked in the Richmond Shipyards, and probably worked on this ship, too. But Kathy wrote a play about the women in the WW2 workforce who built ships and did “man work” while most of the men where off fighting the war. And she contacted the people in charge of the Red Oak Victory to see if they would be interested in staging her play *on the ship*. They said yes, and the project I helped John and Kathy with was building a stage area in one of the ship’s holds. As we were working on this, one of the people in charge of the Red Oak Victory restoration/museum project was talking to Kathy about other plays that might also be performed on this new theater space - like MR. ROBERTS. Now it seems that Kathy may have her own Briarpatch - doing plays about the Navy and ship building on the Red Oak Victory. She built this territory from the ground up. Read about the ship being restored, talked to the people in charge about doing a play onboard, and now may be the “theatre director” for the ship. She’s in charge of the plays done in the new theatre area we built on the ship - and may even turn that into a career. Before Kathy, no one had even thought about doing plays on the ship.


After we finished work on the stage area, I dragged John to Sacramento to the Trash Film Orgy Midnight Movie. I know Trashy Christy Savage from online (and may have met her before, but don’t remember). She (and a couple of friends) have created their own interesting Briarpatch - during summer they do a midnight movie festival at Sacramento’s historic Crest Theater - one of those grand old movie palaces from the 1930s. The place is huge! Because next weekend is my reunion, this was my only chance to go to the midnight show.

The movies are promised to be trashy and bad, and the whole thing is like a ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW party. The event begins at 11:30pm with kind of carnival booths in the lobby of the cinema... I believe a fair number of folks had come from the bars nearby and were in a good mood to see a bad movie, so it was a party atmosphere. At the booth up front you could buy festival T shirts and paraphernalia, *plus* DVDs of the low budget movies Christy has produced. Christy and her friends make movies like
MONSTER FROM BIKINI BEACH in Sacramento - no reason to move to Hollywood - and sell the films online. MONSTER is a fun combo of 1960s beach movie and 1950s monster movie, and delivers everything you would want from a movie with that title. Unlike the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello movies from the 60s, bikini tops do *not* stay on (the monster’s first move always seems to be tearing off the bikini top). This is the kind of film that would play at some second string drive in as the B side of the double bill - and that is meant as a compliment. Christy has made the perfect film for $2 a carload night when you smuggled in a couple of cases of beer.

Now, I don’t know whether the midnight shows exist to further their filmmaking projects, or if the filmmaking is an extension of the midnight shows... but it’s all Christy’s Briarpatch. She has built this territory in Sacramento where she gets to make films and have a party almost every Saturday night over summer where she shows so-bad-they-are-good exploitation movies. At midnight (actually, it was 12:08) they start the party in the theatre with a comedy group doing a skit to warm up the audience. Oh, there’s a DJ who has been playing records up until now - lots of metal. There is a giant talking Tiki Head who is MC - and gets the audience chanting all kinds of silly things. After the comedy, they start the film...

LADY TERMINATOR should not be seen sober. It’s a Indonesian knock off of TERMINATOR, but obviously someone in the legal department was worried, so the opening of the film sets it up as based on the legend of the South Sea Queen (I think) who had 100 husbands and bite off all of their man-parts with an eel she hides in her woman-parts. Blood sprays from many a man’s groin area in this film. Like a garden hose of red liquid. Not subtle or realistic. Well, after husband #100 pulls out the eel and saves his man-parts, the South Sea Queen puts a curse on his family - specifically his great grand daughter - and returns to the sea.

Cut to decades later, this smokin’ hot babe who could not act her way out of a rice paper bag, claims to be an anthropologist studying for her thesis who is researching the South Sea Queen legend. Whenever she said she was an anthropologist, it got a laugh - like Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist in that James Bond movie.

Just when you are about to leave the cinema because her acting is so bad it actually hurts, she dons a bikini and dives into the cursed area of the South Sea where the Queen vanished, and comes back as the Lady Terminator... hell bent on finding that Great Grand Daughter and killing her.

And now we get the silliest rip off of TERMINATOR you can imagine, as this often topless killing machine (not really a machine, just a possessed anthropologist) chases the Great Grand Daughter chick - who is a disco singer (so that we can get a bunch of disco numbers throughout the film) and also uses the eel hidden in her woman-parts to bite the man-parts off a bunch of guys. Yes, she comes naked from the ocean and steals the clothes from some punkers on the beach (and bites off their man parts with her hidden eel), yes there is a TechNoir bar scene where she finds the Great Grand Daughter chick singing and machineguns at least a hundred extras, yes there is a scene where her eye is injured and she cuts it out... then washes it off in the sink, dries it on a towel, and replaces it, yes there is a scene where she drives a car into the police station and kills at least a hundred extras dressed as cops with a machine gun, yes she (thankfully) doesn’t talk much as the Lady Terminator. She just walks around bare chested with a machinegun and kills people. Just like Ah-nuld did.

But the funniest parts of this movie are when they try to make it look like it takes place in America. The cops - in a police station unlike any you have ever seen before (there are sofas and recliners) have a never-ending conversation about how much they love hot dogs. After about the third hot dog conversation you wonder if there is supposed to be a strang Gay subtext to these scenes... and wonder if this is plot related. Will the Gay cops save the day because they don't put their man-parts in lady-parts and are immune to the Lady Terminator?

Two of the cops are some sort of Starsky & Hutch undercover team - one has a dyed blond mullet that does not match his very ethnic features at all. They say strange things like, “I’m here in the States” which make you wonder where they might have been before. It’s just crazy - bad!

The often topless Terminator chick can not be killed - she takes a million bullet hits that don’t scar her smokin’ hot body at all, her car gets hit by missiles (and even the car is unscratched!) and almost at the end of the movie after she has caught fire and comes out of it with a totally burned face - but her boobs are completely undamaged. This film has its priorities!

Oh, for some unexplained reason after catching on fire and losing her machine gun, she develops laser rays from here eyes that burn men’s man-parts off. The writer of this film has some issues.

Anyway, halfway through this mess of a movie the Trash Film Orgy has an intermission, which is a good thing. Bad movies are only entertaining for so long, and then they just become bad. Because of all of the cop-talk about how much they enjoy eating hot dogs, the intermission show included a hot dog eating contest. I donated some Classes on CD as part of the prize package. All of the contestants were gals, and the Giant Tiki Head MC commented on this. Members of the comedy team gave play-by-play, and it was a lot of fun - people sitting in the first 8 rows were pelted with hot dogs. This primed us for the second half of the movie - which was just as silly as the first.

By the way, whenever the Great Grand Daughter chick did a disco number (which was fairly often considering she had a killing machine babe hunting her night and day), people got up and danced. Many comments were hurled at the screen (hey, it looks so easy on Mystery Science Theater - but most of the comments were just not funny). (They should have had the comedy folks or Tiki Head come up with some prepared funny material to throw at the screen, and I think the Tiki Head needs some Dean Martin style dancers.) And before they showed the film there were some comedy shorts and trailers for locally made films. It was a fun little party... I did a quick headcount and there were more than 200 people in the audience... Christy’s little cult, her Briarpatch.

To me, the most interesting thing wasn’t the awful movie and it’s odd ideas about male and female relationships and the care and feeding of eels, it was that Christy had carved out this piece of the world for herself where she can make her fun little movies and have a weekly party during summer showing old trashy movies. She didn’t need to move to Hollywood, she created her own Hollywood and became a big fish in a small pond.

There are alternatives to Hollywood. You don’t need to sell a script to a studio. You can create your own little Briarpatch and make your own little movies and have your own local events. You can be the big fish in the small pond - and never have to deal with stupid story notes or bone-head producers or all of the crap in this business. You can do it yourself like Christy and Kathy.

Saturday night at the Trash Film Orgy - BLACK BELT JONES with Jim Kelly (star of one of my favorite flicks, THREE THE HARD WAY) and more foley work than 20 studio films put together - if you’re in the Sacramento area, check it out!

* The Red Oak Victory
* RIVETS - The Musical
* Trash Film Orgy Midnight Movie
* Monster From Bikini Beach

Classes On CD - Recession Sale!

- Bill


Yesterday’s Dinner: Denny's Grand Slam halfway to Sacto.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Random Thoughts On Art

From ten years ago...

There’s this sculpture on the corner of Buena Vista and Victory in Burbank of an all American ten year old farm boy in over-alls dancing with joy hand outstretched to the sun. Kind of Norman Rockwell kitsch. Inoffensive, and 99% of the time I drive by it and don’t even notice it. The last time I went past I was on my bike and hit the stop light and had a minute to look at it and think about it. Someone had taped an American flag in the boy’s out-stretched hand. It looks like he’s celebrating America, wholesomeness, and that 1950s version of pure patriotism.

But when I thought about this Norman Rockwell piece of art I wondered if it even was art. Adding the American flag made it even more on-the-nose and obvious - even more bland and invisible. It’s expected - like a plastic pink flamingo on a suburban lawn. It doesn’t catch your eye. It’s not really interesting - you don’t really think about it. Something else you drive by at that intersection, like the sign for the Radio Shack in the strip mall or the marque for Ralph’s Groceries with this week’s deals... Actually, I often look at the Ralph’s marque, because it changes constantly. It’s *different* and often unpredictable - How can they sell ten ears of corn for 99 cents? That’s downright *provocative*! I might have to pull in and see that for myself! But the fake Normal Rockwell kid? Booooring! It’s *expected*. I don’t think art can be expected... so maybe it is not art, just decoration. Manufactured, like millions of identical Halloween skeleton decorations which are not a bit scary.

I wondered what kind of reaction this same decoration would get if someone had taped a Soviet flag in the dancing boy’s hand. Red. Hammer & Sickle.

Now, we have something interesting. Something that is probably art. It’s no longer bland. Because it forces you to think. It’s shocking. It may even offend some people. It’s different. Unexpected. No way we could drive past that without thinking about it, wondering what it means - is this a ten year old *Soviet* kid? Or some sort of innocent and idyllic traitor? I’ll bet there are hundreds of different ways this could be interpreted! Even if you are deeply offended by it, you would be *thinking* about it and *feeling something*. It would not be some passive experience - just a decoration. And I think that makes it art.

There is a conflict between our image of that dancing ten year old kid and the hammer & sickle flag. An incongruity. You can’t just absorb it - you need to process it first. To think about it. To figure out what it means, and what it means to you. We take art personally - we love it or hate it. It provokes us.


Now, my normal opinion is that what makes art is the test of time. If we still think the movie is great 50 years from now, it is art. There are many movies that people claim are art... that just vanish in a couple of years. Films that were called a work of genius, and a decade later we aren’t even thinking about. I think those films are often “surface art” - they seem provocative on the surface, but they don’t touch us deeply... and don’t stick with us. There are movies that I will never forget... and others that I see in the cinema and don’t remember seeing the next day! And many of those are artsie indie films where the film maker was trying to provoke me with things on the surface of the story, instead of digging deeper and *really* screwing with me. And there are mainstream studio films that seem inoffensive on the surface, but go straight for your heart and that unevolved insect part of your brain... and stick with you. One of the reason why I love those BOURNE movies is that they dig deep into the protagonist’s motivations and get into the icky things we don’t like to think of: am *I* the monster?

One of the things that makes horror films work is the connections to our subconscious. Great horror films are often completely politically/socially incorrect. They deal with the things we don’t ever want to think about - the things we fear are true, but have created this concept of society to contain and control those thoughts. I watched THE MIST on 9/11 - it seemed fitting. I think that film might have reached a much larger audience with a different ending... but would not have been nearly as powerful. The nightmares in that film aren’t what the monsters do to people, it is what people do to people. And how people think they are doing the right thing... and they are wrong, and must live with that for the rest of their lives. Good horror movies give characters impossible choices - things that haunt the characters for the rest of their lives, and haunt the audience as they leave the cinema. “What would I have done? Only 4 bullets...”

As a million people have said before me, a beloved Christmas film like IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE sticks with us because it’s a bleak, ugly, nightmare! It’s not some bland story about nice characters who never engage in conflict with each other - it shows us both the good side of humans and the bad side... and I think the bad side gets a lot more running time! It provokes us. It challenges us. That film even *scares us* more than many pre-fab horror movies that get turned out by Hollywood. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE has passed that test of time - we are still watching it today.

I think there are two things required for a film to pass the test of time:

1) Enough people must have seen it so that it *can* be remembered decades later. Even though IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE was not a box office hit, it was a big wide release movie that many people saw, and later in its life became a staple on TV at holiday season for a couple of reasons... at least one of which was that it had fallen out of copyright for a while and any TV station could show it for pocket change. The other reason being that it had a big name star and a big name director and a story that - despite its darkness - was accessible. Many arty indie films often have stories that are *not* accessible to a wide audience, and those films may become nothing but memories when one black-beret wearing audience gives way to the next. They are *temporary art* instead of something that we will be watching and talking about for decades to come - over 70 years in the case of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. A movie must be seen by large numbers of people to be remembered.

2) The film must be memorable. No matter how many people see a film, if it is bland and doesn’t touch them; they will not remember it. I did not see PRINCE OF PERSIA or SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, but many people didn’t see them. The reason why *I* decided not to see either is that they seemed generic - nothing provocative or dangerous about either. Now, that may be because they failed to include those elements in the trailers, but I suspect traces of dangerous material would still show up in whatever scenes they picked for the trailer. Those things are in a story’s DNA (hey - read my article in this current issue of Script Magazine for more on this!). If cut a trailer to BOURNE IDENTITY you can’t help but put in something about how the lead is searching for his identity and is afraid he is a very bad person. You can’t cut a trailer to THE MIST without including the conflicts between the people trapped in the market - even if you were trying to make it look like a monster movie. I will eventually get around to finishing the Fridays With Hitchcock on REBECCA, and there is no way to make a trailer to that movie without Max deWinter having some dark secret... and maybe even giving away that he may have killed his first wife. These provocative elements are *part* of the story and can not be removed or hidden. The Micky Mouse cartoon of SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is more dangerous and provocative than any of the 3 minute trailers to the Nic Cage film. Cute little Micky does the forbidden - he uses magic, and it gets out of control. He’s like that Norman Rockwell 10 year old dancing with glee with a Soviet flag in his hand.


No one wants to ride a roller coaster where the tracks just end - and the cars shoot off into the amusement park to crash into the merry-go-round.... nor do they want to ride a roller coaster that is mostly straight-aways and gentle hills. We want the thrill of danger without the actual danger. That means a good movie is going to be a little dangerous - sure, we leave the cinema with all of the limbs we came with, but we may have a little scar tissue we didn’t have before. We don’t go to the cinema for a safe and bland experience - we want to *almost die*. We want to see a movie that leaves a mark. When the roller coaster ride is over, we want our hearts to still be racing in the memory of how close to death we came... and survived.

The problem with the business side of entertainment is that it's stupid. They are afraid of doing anything that might offend some segment of the audience - they are afraid of doing anything that is too different than the norm - they are afraid of doing anything that will anger advertisers. Now, as businesspeople they want to protect their investments, and that means they need to be cautious. They need to make sure they aren't going to produce some TV show or movie that people will not watch. That makes sense...

But at the same time, they need to be intelligent about their caution. They can't just say NO to everything that is different and always play it safe - because that leads to boredom. Part of entertainment is the novelty of the show or movie. That often leads to I SURVIVED A JAPANESE GAMESHOW and crap like that... but it doesn't have to. By the way, how many of you even remember HOW I SURVIVED A JAPANESE GAME SHOW? It was a TV series on summer of 2008 - only 2 years ago. Hey, it was strange, weird, wacky... and all surface. Nothing that left a scar. Novelty without art.

But novelty can also lead to interesting and innovative shows that stretch the medium - look at how 24's concept of one hour of TV = one real hour of the story was an interesting innovation or how LOST’s concept of starting in the middle of the story - the plane crashes on an island - then zipping back in time to tell us who these survivors really are and what their secrets are... as the continue forward and things just get stranger and stranger on the island. If we rewind time and look at what network execs were thinking before the first seasons of those shows aired, I'm sure they secretly thought they would be huge failures. And screw them up big time - because if it failed after 5 episodes, they would have this dangling unfinished story. This is a business run by fear - no one wants to greenlight the unusual TV show that could flop big time, or greenlight the movie that challenges the audience or makes them feel things that might be unpleasant.

But as those suits become more conservative - more interested in *not* taking a risk... they take a greater risk by giving us either crap or shows and movies that are so tame they are not novel. They are not original. They are not interesting. They offer us nothing we haven't experienced before... and that's when networks and studios make nothing but flops. They play it safe - not realizing that safety is really dangerous. No one wants to ride on a roller coaster with only moderate hills and no big scary turns. A safe roller coaster where you never worry that you might die.

To a certain extent TV and movies needs to "color within the lines" - TV has to make shows that run a half hour or an hour and follow the basic things we expect... stories that make sense and have some sort of conclusion at the end of the episode (though in the case of shows like 24, maybe not *the* conclusion). Movies need to be something that tells a coherent story about characters that we can understand and maybe identify with, and probably stay within the basics of drama those Greek dudes identified 2,400 years ago and hopefully run under 2 hours so that we can get a 7pm and 9pm showing on weekdays and 1pm, 3pm, 5pm. 7pm, and 9pm on weekends (or 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10).

But just because we have a certain framework doesn't mean we can only use 8 pack of Crayolas to color our pictures... in fact, because we have that framework, we need the full 120 pack of Crayolas... and we need to find ways to combine and shade and use those crayons in ways they have never been used before to color those pictures. The more we color within the lines, the more we need to be creative about colors and do wild bold things that no one has done with Crayolas before. We have to give the audience that near-death experience of the roller coaster... even though they know they will survive intact at the end. We can’t make our Crayola drawing bland and predictable - we need to make it exciting and inventive and maybe even frightening.

And here's where things go wrong - those Studio Execs and TV Execs think they need to play it safe in all ways, when they only need to play it safe in *some* ways - and be dangerous as hell in others. But knowing where to be cautious and where to be innovative takes intelligence - not computer print outs and business plans. I think that's the thing that may be missing in Hollywood these days - the old Moguls, for whatever reason, had that strange ability to know what elements required caution and what elements required anarchy. Or maybe they didn't - maybe they just knew what required caution and didn't care about the other elements at all - and the writers and directors were allowed to go wild (as long as they colored within the lines). Whatever the case - there was that blend of popular story and innovation. And I think Robert Evans at Paramount may have been the last of that line. GODFATHER PART 2 is one of my favorite films, and it is both art and potboiler. It's a gangster soap opera and an examination of morals and family. There was a time when - for whatever reason - we could have a TV show or a movie that was both innovative and interesting *and* popular. But that required the person in charge to know what elements needed to be treated with caution and what elements needed to be innovative.

I think the big problem with the suits in current Hollywood is that they are trying to make safe choices in all things - when a movie really needs to be dangerous and frightening like that roller coaster. A movie needs to be more than “decoration”, it needs to be provocative. It needs to scare us. Challenge us. Make us think. These people use intelligent caution but have no idea what intelligent innovation is. They want to bland down anything that might offend any audience member. Instead of making “sharp” movies, they want to make dull ones... and I think the reason why movies like PRINCE OF PERSIA fail is because they are dull or seem to be dull from the trailer.

Saw what you want about INCEPTION - you may hate it - but that end sure starts a conversation doesn’t it? And when it is revealed who killed his wife... not a safe bit of plot at all! Hey, that film sold some tickets!

And so did TOY STORY 3 - the darkest of the series. A movie that left a scar on me. The amazing thing about Pixar movies is that they aren’t afraid to make the roller coaster frightening, and at times really uncomfortable. They make films where the protagonist may be completely wrong, where the protagonist may have caused the problem, where the protagonist’s problems may self-inflicted. Pixar makes dangerous movies. Movies that stick with you. Movies that leave a mark. Hey, and what film sold the most tickets this year?

One of the things that pisses me off about writing scripts is that they always want me to sand down the rough edges. That's the first rewrite - the "caution" rewrite. Anything that might snag something needs to be removed. And that's where things go wrong - because if there is nothing rough to snag on the imagination, nothing to rip into the viewer, the story becomes "harmless" and smooth and boring. The roller coaster with gentle hills and no sharp turns. Boring. And they think this makes it better!

Think of the moments in films that you remember - the scenes that snagged you - and chances are, those are the scenes with the rough edges. Think of the films that left their mark on you - chances are those are films that may have looked like entertainment on the surface, but cut deep into you... causing you pain or discomfort at times. The films you remember are the ones that made you feel something you did not expect to feel. People love CASABLANCA because he *doesn’t* get the girl (sorry - spoiler). All of the test audiences and focus groups and marketing idiots who might look at that ending and think that the film might have been more successful if Bogart and Bergman ended up together at the end are just plain wrong. The audience might have “liked” the film more when they initially viewed it... but it would never have stuck with them and it would not have survived to become art had Bogart actually *not* been good at being noble.

For something to become art, it must stand the test of time. To stand the test of time, it must be seen by enough people to be remembered, and have enough rough edges to snag their memory. A movie has to be more than a decoration that we see and forget, it must be dangerous and provocative.

I think I’m going to buy a Halloween plastic severed head, and the next time I’m stopped at that intersection near that Norman Rockwell-like sculpture, tape it in the hand of that all American ten year old farm boy in over-alls dancing with joy.

- Bill

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Mitch Robertson #2: THE FAMILY'S JEWEL

It's New!!

Mitch Robertson (finally) returns...




"The Presidential Suite of the Hollywood Hoover Hotel looked like a bloody battlefield: bodies everywhere, furniture broken, red liquid dripping from the walls, dead soldiers littering the elegant Berber rug as clouds of smoke overhead bounced between two air conditioning vents.

Mitch Robertson stepped over the body of an ex-child star turned sex tape star turned pop star and entered the room, spotted a gun on the floor and picked it up... careful not to spill his coffee with three pumps of mocha syrup from Penny’s Coffee Shop. That coffee was gold, the only thing keeping him going in this dazed state of wakefulness. The gun felt light. Holding it, he saw the silhouette of an 80s action star sitting sideways on a tipped over chair. Motionless. Was he dead? Mitch was still hung over from the Awards Party the night before, and wondered whether this was all some sort of crazy nightmare that he would wake up from... but when he tripped over the brown legs of a bottomless Superhero, flaccid junk encased in a condom but still wearing his mask, and hit the edge of the sofa, gun skittering and coffee spilling, he realized that it was all very real. What the hell had happened here?"

Over 60,000 words!

Short Novel. $2.99 - and no postage!

The story takes place the day after the big Awards Show, the morning after the first Mitch Robertson story THROUGH THE RINGER.

This time, an $18.7 million diamond necklace, loaned to an actress for the awards by Winstone Herald Jewelry is missing the morning after a wild Awards after party. The suspects are a bunch of Stars on their way up and on their way down... but which one stole the $18.7 million diamond necklace? Mitch Robertson investigates in this 50,000 word short novel!





"When his cell phone rang, Mitch Robertson was in Penny’s Coffee Shop in Toluca Lake trying to figure out what to do with the chopped up body parts. Gone were the days when you could just scatter the severed limbs and torso all over the city, now with DNA the body would be reassembled almost immediately. And after 9-11 packages had to be under sixteen ounces or you had to mail them from the post office... where they asked you all kinds of questions about the contents. You take your, what, about 190 pound man... that means you’d need to cut him into at least 200 pieces to keep it under the weight limits, and not only would that require a lot of work and weighing, think of all of the stamps and labels! Just too much trouble. If Mitch couldn't figure out how to dispose of the body parts he would be in big trouble. And that damned cell phone continued ringing."

Novelettte. Only $.99 - and no postage!

- Bill
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