Been A Bit of a Lost Week

Writing-wise, that is. The lovely Mrs. Miller was called away an unexpected business trip so your faithful leader had to shoulder the full bulk of child and dog care. The Almighty arranges these absences from time to time so that whomever is left at home can be reminded of how difficult it would be raise the kids solo. In our family we welcome each other home with a hearty, “This is why you can’t die!”

But after touring the continent for a week, the Lady is back in the castle and the Lord will finally have the bandwidth to hunt the white hart again. Or something.

Read My Shoddy Work: ‘The Night Shift’ Part 7

Hey there party people, been a wild week of family stuff so I’m a little bit behind, but I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd for all y’alls.

Anyhow here’s a  hunk of words that I’ve been working on. IIf you haven’t been following along, you can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4 , Part 5 and Part 6.

They left the darkened hallway and entered the blinding light of the stairwell. Zoltan had explained that using the elevator would attract too much attention.

“He vill likely hear our approach anyway, but vant to get as close as possible.” he whispered. “He vill try to complete da girl’s transformation tonight. Dat is why he drank so much of the blood bank. He means to leave with his new bride and as much food as his body can handle.” They climbed the rest of the stairs in silence.

When they slipped through the crack in the doorway to the main hall of the flloor, Maria knew something was wrong. Usually the lights were dimmed during the night shift in the hallways to let patients sleep better, but all the lights were off. The hair stood up on Maria’s neck and she gripped her silver dagger tighter. Zoltan placed a finger to his lips and they moved forward.

Where is everybody? Maria thought. There should be at least ten hospital staff wandering the halls. Then they started finding bodies.

First, they found a nurse and a medical intern leaning up against each other in front of a doorway. Then they came upon an orderly (do theystill clal them that) lying in a pool of his own blood.  Every one of them had their throats torn out. So much carnage in so little time. Maria wished briefly that she had stayed in the janitor’s closet below. Then she looked down the hall to see the shabby little nurses’ station and beyond it room 1213. She supressed the urge to run and followed Zoltan.

They had checked the pulse of the first couple of bodies, but gave up eventually. The vampire did his work too well. Finally they reached the nurses’ station and Zoltan motioned for Maria to stay put. He wrapped his rosary in his hand, unsheathed his sword and crept toward room 1213.

It was only twenty feet past the nurses’ station, but it felt like forever. Without meaning to, Maria found herself walking slowly behind Zoltan as he moved. She kept her distance, not wanting to distract the Hungarian. And then, Zoltan opened the door.

The scene inside room 1213 stopped Maria in her tracks. Sophie lay on the bed in slow burning ecstasy. Her pallid face smiled gently. Next to her, Constantin had his back to the door. Maria could see the cuffs of his white coatsleeves were drenched in blood. As he turned to greet Zoltan, there was something in his hand. Maria recognized the IV tube and saw a small trickle of blood working its way down the corner of his mouth. That bastard’s been drinking her blood through the IV all this time! She thought.

“Hello Mr. Zoltan, I was wondering if the Order would send someone. I have clearly worn out my welcome at this hospital. I should have moved on after that idiot Brown started installing the cameras. But,” he sighed and looked at Sophie’s semi-conscious form. “When one is in love …”

Zoltan spat. “You call dis love? I call it corruption! Abomination!”

Constantin smiled, “Can’t you see she wants this? She can’t wait to join her bridegroom.”

Sophie hummed a tune softly, Maria was too far away to identify the song.

“It matters little. I’ve come to stop your putrid heart, and dat is what I’ll do.” Zoltan dropped into a peculiar stance and leveled his sword at the vampire. He placed his free hand at his back and made a fist.

The vampire smiled and smashed his foot into Zoltan’s solar plexus  with blinding speed. The shorter man flew back and spilled out into the hallway. His eyes met Maria’s.

“Get back!” Zoltan wheezed. He pulled something from his belt and re-entered room 1213.

Dr. Constantin was waiting for him. His hands had become like talons, and Zoltan was barely able to avoid his wild slashes. Maria had never seen something that could move this fast.

Until next time.

A Case of the Spicy Bottom

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This past Saturday, I went to my favorite Chinese eatery and decided to mix things up a little.

“Give me the mini hot pot” I said. “Extra spicy”

“Ok, how spicy from one to ten?” our waitress asked.

“How bout nine?” I suggested.

Her jaw dropped “Nine??”

“Yeah, I can take it.”

Her brows furrowed in concern. I assume she’s concerned for me and my white taste buds. I reject her concern. How dare she assume I’m not man enough to handle whatever witch’s brew she’s about to serve up? But she persists.

“Nine is really hot. Almost as hot as ten!” she said.

“Ok, how about eight.”

Satisfied that she’s bargained me down to a level of spiciness that is more appropriate for my skin tone,  she takes the rest of our orders and leaves.

The food, when it arrives, is excellent. I agree when the waitress asks that yes, in fact nine would have been too spicy for me. She nods happily and refills my water (I’m drinking more of it than usual).

As I leave with my leftovers, I think to myself. That was so good, but maybe next time I’ll get level seven. Eight was a little spicy even for us, Jeeves.

Indeed, sir.

Ever eat something so spicy it creates a ring of fire in your … er … bathroom area? I love really spicy food so I normally don’t have this issue. You might say I’ve built up a tolerance, and my body can handle most of the heat I slide down my gullet. But every once in a while, I push my body too far and my “downstairs mouth” pays the price.

Who’s ready for leftovers?

Netflix Review: Barbarella 

 

*Ed. I sent this to Sarah Hoyt but I think it might have gotten lost in her shuffle so I’m posting it here*

Hi, hi, hi my little According to Hoyt-ers. I thought you might enjoy a short review I’ve penned on the 1968 cult classic, Barbarella. Buckle up people, it’s a scantily clad acid dream.

The Good:

  • The film delivers what it promised, i.e., Jane Fonda in her birthday suit. Nuff said, as they say.
  • The visual language is genuinely compelling. The scene with the Feral Children is legitimately creepy.
  • The dialogue is entertaining and silly:

Barbarella: That’s screaming! A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.

And:

Barbarella: De-crucify the angel!

Great Tyrant: What?

Barbarella:De-crucify him or I’ll melt your face!

The Bad:

  • The Music. More than the cast, clothes, or the themes, what really dates this movie is the sterile attempt at groovy music. It doesn’t exactly scream “hello I’m the 41st century” you know? To give you a little perspective, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in the same year. If there’s a film that’s aged better than 2001, I haven’t seen it.
  • The plot. It. Is. Incomprehensible! Non-existent! The scenes feel like a series of fever dreams stitched together.  You’re gonna feel like you’ve fallen asleep and missed the twenty minutes that satisfactorily explain why Jane Fonda is hanging out with an angel now. In fact, the early scenes are nothing more than a series of hamfisted excuses to get the title character to bed any male with whom she shares the screen. It makes the treatment of love and sex in the worst James Bond movie (which is probably View to a Kill) look like Romeo and Juliet. Thankfully, Barbarella was written before most porno tropes were well-established otherwise we would be forced to suffer through her asking a pizza guy if there’s any other way she could pay him for the meatlovers.
  • Casual leftist assumptions about human nature abound. The film is full to bursting of silly anthropological and sociological concepts that were in vogue at the time including (but not limited to):
    • Human perfection is within reach: Humans have advanced beyond the “primitive state of neurotic irresponsibilitythat is the cause of war and violence.
    • The worship of and obsession with sex. In the universe of Barbarella, sex is a cure for angelic depression (yes, really), a very generous way of thanking Good Samaritans, and ultimately a means of defeating the evil Dr. Durand-Durand. C’mon everyone, world peace and self-actualization are just a good lay away.

Kid Friendly?

That would be a ‘no’ because of the aforementioned birthday suit and the fact that most of the early scenes begin post-coitus and end pre-coitus. There’s also the Excessive Machine scene (please use headphones if you decided to pull this up on yo’ Google machine).

Should I watch it?

Yes, but primarily as an ironic watch. There is some truly enjoyable camp to had. Think of it as Adam West’s Batman with a hard ‘R’ rating and no plot.  Invite a few friends over for a laugh.

 

Read My Shoddy Work: ‘The Night Shift’ Part 6

Been a bit of a chaotic week here in the Miller household. Not chaos in a brother-killing-brother, babies-having-babies, dogs and cats living together out of wedlock kind of way (hold on I think I just described North Korea, except for the dogs and cats part, the Norks ate all those creatures decades ago).

But I have just finished the first (aka worst) draft of the latest Zoltan story. I’ve already got some big changes in mind but this came a lot easier than the first story I shared on this blog.

If you haven’t been following along, you can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5 here.

Maria followed Zoltan through the darkened halls of the hospital and into the janitor’s closet. They were a floor below Dr. Constantin and Sophie Canclosi, but Maria could not help but look over her shoulder. The pitch black closet stank of ammonia and garlic. Zoltan closed the door and flipped the light switch to illuminate his armory.

The walls were lined with sharpened wooden stakes. Ropes of garlic were stung about the room. At the far end of the room, there was a small statue of the Virgin Mary. On the interior of the door, hung a small wooden crucifix. The tiny shelf that had once held cleaning supplies was lined with bottles of holy water. Maria recognized the glass bottles from girlhood when an elderly priest had blessed their new apartment.

Zoltan removed a belt from the wall and began stuffing it with articles from his arsenal. He spoke quietly as he worked.

“Based on his heightened color, ve can assume the doctor has fed recently. He probably gorged himself on as much of the blood bank as he can stomach. When you spoke, he vas probably full to the point of bursting. This is to our advantage, he will be a little slower.”

“Should I be doing anything?” Maria asked.

“Take dis and dis and stay out of da vay!” Into her hands, Zoltan thrust a bottle of holy water and a small silver dagger.

“If da doctor come after you, try to get some of da water on him and slash him wit da silver. You won’t kill him, but you vill cause him acute pain. It may be enough to hold him off long enough for me to recover. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather stay here?”

Maria thought of Sophie, her pale face and sunken eyes. “No. I’m coming.”

“As long as you stay back. I won’t stop you.” Zoltan nodded. “Excuse me, please.”

Zoltan used a little footstool to reach above Maria and take an object that hung on the wall above the Virgin Mary. As the square block of a man descended, Maria saw he was holding a curved sword in a battered leather scabbard.

“What is that?”

The hilt and guard belied the humble scabbard. The guard was gold and the hilt had a fat red ruby set in it.

Zoltan snorted, “A saber. Made for a mighty lord’s son to play at cavalry officer with. No use against steel” He pulled the blade halfway out of its sheath and let it shine in the dingy light of the cleaning closet. “But it is inlaid with silver. Which makes it essential for the nights work.”

He slid it back into the scabbard and attached it to his belt. Finally, he grabbed a weathered leather jacket from a hook on the wall and slung it around his shoulders. He opened the door again and held it open for Maria.

“Ready?”

Maria stared for a moment at her companion. His navy blue scrubs and white tennis shoes clashed horribly with the knee-length leather, military-style jacket. And the utility belt looked just looked bizarre. What have you gotten yourself into? she thought.

Maria took a deep breath and let it out. She grabbed one of the empty spray bottles and walked out the door.

“Ready.” she said.