Sample Chapter – Coconut Monkey Horror

The following is a sample chapter from my new book The Coconut Monkey Horror, now available at all online bookstores. If you like it, go buy a couple copies for your friends. If you hate it, buy a couple copies for your enemies.

 

A Tale of Flying Urine

 

I don’t do drugs. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t anticipate doing drugs at any point in the future. I don’t want to come across as some anti-drug zealot however. I’ve got plenty of friends who enjoy getting baked from time to time, and they’re usually nice enough to offer me a hit. They’re also nice enough to accept “no” without arguing with me. I could make the joke I usually make, “my reality is altered enough already”. I could point out that it’s illegal, and getting arrested seems like an expensive hassle. But really I’ve just never had any particular interest.

 

I have a friend, let’s call him Jim. Jim enjoys getting baked. He enjoys it enough that he’s actually been fired from 3 jobs in a row due to failing drug tests. Feeling nice and mellow just doesn’t seem worth losing my job. The only times I’ve ever been high have been while sitting in a dentist chair. Let’s be clear, I LOVE me some nitrous oxide. You could start pulling out my fingernails on that stuff and I wouldn’t care. But I’ve never even used that delightful substance outside of its intended use.

 

With all that said, you’d think that I would never worry about taking drug tests….and yet I do. Every time I’ve had to take one I worry that it’ll come up with some kind of false positive, or that maybe I ate something that metabolizes as drugs…I saw that on TV once so it must be true. The reason that concerns me is that I know that if for some reason it’s a false positive, they won’t believe me. I could spend hours trying to convince them that I’d never done drugs in my life, and they’d assume I was just like every other druggie who failed the test. I imagine trying to call in character references, people willing to say that I don’t do drugs, and I wonder how many it would take. It’s a basic principle of philosophy that you can’t prove a negative. I mean, think about it, how would you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt to someone that you’d never taken drugs? How do you offer up evidence? You’d need to have video evidence of every single moment of your life, and a way to prove that it wasn’t altered. So yeah, drug tests still make a little nervous.

 

And then there was that one time……

 

I was applying to work for Blue Bell Ice Cream, a job I held for an entire month before I found a nice photo lab willing to hire me. Part of the Blue Bell application process was that they required me to take a drug test, and they wanted me to take it RIGHT NOW. They had a place just down the road that did it for them. I was required to go straight from my interview to that building and take my test. This normally wouldn’t be a huge deal. It was near the end of the lab’s work day, but I had a full bladder, so I was completely prepared for this test.

 

Too prepared….

 

As the cup filled at an alarming rate I quickly realized I would have to come up with some kind of urine containment contingency plan. I take some pride in the fact that I am probably the only person ever to write down that previous sentence. In the hurried shuffle to make sure that all my urine ended up either in the surprisingly tiny cup, or the nearby toilet, the worst possible thing happened. I lost my grip on the cup.

 

Now I’ve got some pretty quick reflexes, unfortunately. So like a striking snake I was able to grab the cup before it hit the floor. Sadly, the cup had no lid, and was very full of liquid. Liquid follows slightly different laws of physics than solids. While I am no expert on physics I will share this much with you. When a cup full of urine comes to an abrupt and unexpected halt, the urine within will splash all over my face and clothes.

 

I stood in the bathroom in shock. I hadn’t peed on myself since I was a wee tiny child, and never in such an extravagant way. It was EVERYWHERE. As I stand there covered in my own pee, I realized I actually had to leave to this bathroom and explain to the man waiting outside what had just happened. I mean, the results were pretty easy to see, but you still feel a need to explain right?

 

They took as much pity on me as they could, but they still needed a urine test for my job, and I had 15 minutes to work one up. So I sat out in their lobby, covered in urine, chugging an absurd amount of water. As I slowly watch the clock tick down I realize this isn’t going to happen. At a certain point they probably had to suspect I was trying some elaborate trick to get out of taking this drug test on such short notice. I’d like to go on record stating that anybody who covers themselves in their own urine in order to avoid a drug test absolutely deserves to skip that test. Especially if they later put it in a book for the world to read.

 

Come closing time I was unable to perform, and so they sent me home under the condition that I would be there first thing when they reopened in the morning.

 

Something you should now be told about this job, and this drug test facility, they were an hour drive from my house. Something else you need to know, it was now 5pm, and so I was trapped in a never ending gridlocked rush hour. One last thing, remember those gallons of water I chugged in order to try and make myself pee? I remember those gallons, because ALL OF THEM WERE NOW IN MY BLADDER!

 

So there I am, covered in my own urine (a fact I can’t emphasis enough apparently) sitting in a car that has no hope of moving ever again, with the entire Atlantic Ocean inside my bladder screaming for release. I am desperately looking around the car for ANYTHING I could pee in.

 

This is all my father’s fault. He was always so anal about cars being clean. While my car will never be bastion of cleanliness, his tirades against my slovenly nature sunk in enough that there is rarely anything in my car I can PEE INTO!

 

Visions of my bladder bursting are now rushing through my head. I can even imagine the coroner arriving on the scene. “Well, I’ve never seen a bladder burst so badly, look at this, the poor man died covered in his own urine.” Yup, that’s how my life was going to end, not from going blind on a highway late at night, not from a heart attack caused by the first time I performed in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, not because of the venomous bone spurs of a stolen platypus. Nope, I was gonna die because my bladder exploded in rush hour, and my tombstone was going to say “DIED COVERED IN HIS OWN URINE, LIKE AN ANIMAL”.

 

Would they clean me off for the funeral or would my parents be so disgusted at my inability to master the most rudimentary control over my bodily functions (something they spent months training me to do as a child) that they would demand the funeral home leave my body covered in my own fluids as a final lesson? Will I ever write a longer and more convoluted sentence about urine? Probably not.

 

Of course I was eventually able to exit and find a gas station, where I peed for a good 2 minutes. I made my appointment the next day and passed the drug test without spilling a drop. My parents were very proud

.

But I like to think that my nervousness about taking drug tests is now fully justified. Right?

642 Things To Write About Project

It is with a heavy heart, and after much consideration, that I am bringing this little experiment of mine to a close.

I did this 1 a day challenge for more than 90 days, 3 months. And I feel like I got a lot out of it. I considered things I hadn’t thought about before, I wrote from perspectives I’d never considered, in setting I would have never used, and I barely scratched the surface of the book that was guiding me through this journey.

So why stop?

Well, there’s a lot of other projects I’m trying to work on, but the daily deadline of this project meant I kept pushing them back. I’m currently writing two screenplays, and about to start a fantasy book. I’ve got my weekly videos that I post, and those take a lot of time, AND I have a podcast I’ve been sorely neglecting (more information on that when I actually start editing the audio we’ve recorded.

This experiment was originally intended to help me get momentum to work on those projects, but instead it’s become a reason to procrastinate on them. And that’s no good.

I enjoyed this experience, and I’d like to deeply thank any of you who followed me through it. It’s something I could always come back to when I’ve got the time, but for now I really want to focus on my other projects.

While I didn’t make it a full year of writing a blog entry a day, I don’t consider this experience a failure, and I’ve still got the book, who knows when I may come back to it. Until then, thank you all for reading.

Other places you can find my work:

My 1st book, The Great Platypus Caper, full of funny short stories about my life. Completely non-fiction, whether you believe it or not. It’s currently available at any online bookstore you can imagine. https://www.amazon.com/Great-Platypus-Caper-Hilarious-Misadventures/dp/1507639597/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490906426&sr=8-1&keywords=the+great+platypus+caper

My 2nd book, The Coconut Monkey Horror, which again features funny short stories where truth is stranger than fiction, is coming out very soon, in fact by the time this entry posts, it may already be out.

My youtube channel: I post a new video every Wednesday, sometimes it’s vlogs, sometimes it’s bad movie reviews with my flagship series WTF Cinema, or it’s my friend Russ and I exploring jRPGs with Home on the RNG. No matter what it is, I try to make them entertaining.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CentaurProductions

My upcoming podcast called Parsed, where my friend Robyn and I play through, act out, and provide commentary all the Infocom games of yore, back before games had graphics, Infocom was king, and Robyn and I would like to play through those adventures with you. We’ve already recorded the first game, Leather Goddesses of Phobos in it’s entirety, so hopefully we’ll be able to start posting those on iTunes in the next couple months.

My colleague Gary and I are working on a new reboot feature film of Unnatural 20. For those not familiar with Unnatural 20, there are several short films and one feature on youtube. It’s where nerds gather around to play a table top roleplaying game in which they play college students. Hijinx ensue. We’re actually writing this at the request of my book publisher, so now that we don’t have to worry about how we can afford to make it, the sky is the limit, and we literally get to open with a bang. So keep an eye out for Unnatural 20. We don’t know who will make it, but we hope someone will.

Speaking of Gary, I’m also adapting a webseries I made many years ago called Jeff and Gary Save The World into a feature film. In a world where super heroes and super villains exist, two extremely average guys decide to become “super” heroes, and not having any powers or money is not going to stop them. Well….one of them decides, the other is sort of dragged along.  The webseries we made is just a small part of the total story, and I finally get to finish it.

I wrote a screenplay called The Blank Page, concerning a writer who’s approaching the end of his most epic story, and has no idea how to actually start having a life without it. It’s currently in the hands of a production company in Chicago, but at present they don’t have the money to actually shoot it, so we’ll see what happens.

Many many years ago I wrote a comic called The Traveler, and after going through 7 different potential artists, I have about given up on finding an artist for the series….so converting it into a novel is currently on my never ending list of things to do.

Lastly, I’m currently working on a fantasy novel, light on comedy, heavy on action and drama, currently called The Guttering Flame: Book 1 of the Gilfyre Cycle. That name could change. And just to give you a tiny taste of what I’m planning: In a world where magic is all but dead, a Princess with a healing touch and her supernaturally fast bodyguard flee her conquered kingdom, a thief who can fade into the shadows is hired by a magician of dubious morals to find the source of magic, and picks up a rather annoying companion with a dark secret, dragons are walking the world in human flesh, a man dreams of building an army of clockwork soldiers, and he’s so close to realizing his dream he can almost taste it, and a magical sword that once slew a god is becoming restless in it’s slumber.

So, as you can see, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Time to get back to it.

I will continue to use this blog to update you guys on my progress on all my various projects, just don’t expect daily updates.

Thank you all again.

642 Things – 91: The next sound you hear and what caused it.

The beeping of the security badge swiper outside my work area. I sit near the secured door to our area, and every time someone wants to come in, they swipe their badge, it makes a beep, and I know to minimize anything on my computer that isn’t work related. I wouldn’t exactly get in trouble for surfing the net at work, but it just doesn’t look professional you know?

To be clear, apart from the lobby my entire building is a secured area that requires a badge to get in, and then some of those badges will get you into my area, and then inside of my area is an even more secure area where we keep all the servers and such. There’s a lot of badge beeping is the point I’m getting at. Luckily I’m not the kind of person who let’s that sort of thing drive him COMPLETELY INSANE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike my two books (“The Great Platypus Caper” and “The Coconut Monkey Horror”) I can not promise that each entry in my 642 things to write about series will be true stories drawn from my life, I’ll leave the amount of truth in each entry up to your imagination.
Want to stretch your writing muscles as well? Post your response to the writing prompt in the comments section. I’d love to see it.

642 Things – 90: What’s stored in your closet?

Oh man. Clothes, lots of clothes. A tub full of LEGOs, some old comics, some video games that I don’t have room for on my living room shelves, a bunch of stuff from when I worked for the company that did a reboot of Leisure Suit Larry (that stuff belongs in a museum), my ties, some shoes that I almost never wear, and the old Playboys my dad gave me.

I had completely forgotten about those by the way, I just saw them for the first time in years last week. I moved some shirts I never wear aside, and sitting there on a shelf was my dad’s old magazines. I smiled briefly to myself, remembered the moment of male bonding when he gave them to me, remembered a time several years before that where I got in trouble because they were found under my bed, and then put the shirts back into place.

To clarify, my dad didn’t have a lot of Playboys, it’s like 3, and they were very special issues, like the 50th anniversary issue, stuff like that.

So there you go, a glimpse into my closet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike my two books (“The Great Platypus Caper” and “The Coconut Monkey Horror”) I can not promise that each entry in my 642 things to write about series will be true stories drawn from my life, I’ll leave the amount of truth in each entry up to your imagination.
Want to stretch your writing muscles as well? Post your response to the writing prompt in the comments section. I’d love to see it.

642 Things – 89: The toy you most treasured

I actually wrote a chapter about this in my second book, The Coconut Monkey Horror. So I’m going to go ahead and just re-use that chapter here.

Perhaps it was a little cruel of me to start my first book like I did. Let’s face it, The Sock Story does not paint my mother in the best light, and the chapter about my Dad, although it came from a place of love, was not a loving testament like he received earlier in this book. And that’s really unfair, because my parents are pretty amazing people.

When I did community theater, or played sports as a child, I knew for certain my parents would be in the crowd every single time. Those poor people sat through every play I was in about a dozen times each. When I had farfetched dreams or goals, they always supported me, and never tried to get me to dream smaller. I’ve used this line many times, but I think it’s the truest representation of my parents I can provide. If tomorrow, at the young age of 32 years old, I went to my parents and announced that after much soul searching, I had decided that my true life ambition was to be an astronaut, they’d buy me a space suit for Christmas.

I’ve always loved and respected my parents. They’ve always loved and supported me. Far beyond what was called for. My parents would have been well within their rights to cut me off completely at 18. They’re job was done, legally I was an adult. But they helped me with college, and car insurance, and little things here and there. They let me move back in with them when I was pursuing my film career. They even sat me down and encouraged me to write my first book.

All pretty impressive stuff, especially when you consider that I was adopted. That’s probably the reason why I’ve never in my life wanted to say “you’re not my real parents!” in a fit of anger. Because they are my real parents. My mother couldn’t have kids, but clearly she and my father had so much love to give that they went out HUNTING for recipients of that love. And I’m glad they did.

I grew up assuming everybody loved their parents as much as I did. That’s human nature isn’t it? We all grow up assuming our lives are normal. But as an adult I find that most of my friends have an indifferent relationship with their parents, at best. Some of them flat out dislike their folks. One friend, we’re gonna call her Monica, recently told me that her father was coming in from out of state to visit her. She made this announcement the same way you’d announce that you just found out you had terminal cancer. Even my closest friend, The Princess, famously said to me “That’s right, I keep forgetting you actually LIKE your parents.”

To attempt to balance the scales of the hard time my parents received in the first book, I’m going to share an embarrassing tale from my childhood. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. My parents had adopted me at the age of 2. I was their first child….and this is what they were stuck with. I share these details because I really want you to see my parents NOT from the eyes of the little child in the forthcoming story, but through your own. As a child what they did felt perfectly normal to me, as an adult I can see it as another testament to what great parents they really are.

At the time our story begins, I have a favourite toy. It’s a large stuffed Fievel, from An American Tail. He’s about the size of a really large teddy bear, and perfectly soft. He was ideal for snuggling, which I liked to do when I was sleepy. I can’t even recall where he came from. He was either a gift from my parents, or from my grandmother. Either way, he was loved.

One thing I’ve never been good at is getting rid of things. I’m a bit of a hoarder. I don’t mean I keep stacks of old newspaper and garbage, but I just can’t seem to get rid of anything I ever had an emotional attachment to, even if that attachment is ancient history. My mother on the other hand, LOVES giving stuff to charity, old clothes, old toys, what have you.

This was my very first encounter with this whole charity giving thing (tragically not my last, but still the only one really worthy of a chapter). My mother explained to me that she wanted me to give up some of my old toys for little boys and girls who didn’t have any toys. So moved was I by the plight of these children, who didn’t have all the wonderful toys that I had, that I did something very very stupid. I decided not to simply give them my old toys, these poor children deserved something better than that. They deserved the best. They deserved…my favourite toy.

Sigh.

In my memory it feels like only hours later, but was probably in fact a day or two, when I realized what a horrible thing I’d done. I’d just given away my most beloved toy. That meant, shockingly, that I didn’t have it anymore.

I went ballistic.

There was crying, wailing, and a gnashing of teeth. The only thing I wanted IN THE WORLD, the only thing that could sooth my soul, was my Fievel back. I could not be reasoned with, not one little bit.

This is where my parents donned their capes and swooped into action. My mother actually called up the charity in question and tried to get my toy back. I repeat, my mother tried to get a toy back from poor children who had no toys. Other children be damned, her son wanted his toy back. Sadly the toy had already been taken (those kids knew quality when they saw it.) Now it was Dad’s turn.

My father scoured several stores trying to track down a new Fievel toy, but they simply didn’t have it anymore. Finally, at the last store, he thought he had found his salvation. Fievel had a new movie out, and so had a new toy out. Hoping it would suffice, he bought it for me.

It wasn’t what I wanted. The new Fievel was much smaller, and he wasn’t soft at all. You couldn’t cuddle with him, and I thought his new western clothing looked stupid. Still, even as a kid I realized this particular cause was lost. My toy was gone forever.

My parent’s valiant efforts were sufficient to pierce my childish cloud of self-absorption that I think all kids have. This wasn’t the toy I wanted, but I know that they tried so hard. And let’s be honest, I’d given that toy away of my own free will. They had nothing to do with it. My mother may have even asked me if I was sure I wanted to do it.

I took away three important lessons that day.

1) You can’t always change your mind later, some choices are for keeps.

2) My parents loved me very very much.

3) I should never EVER give away ANYTHING.

Every now and again, I go to ebay and consider buying myself another Fievel, just for that little child inside of me who gave away his favourite toy. They have them, they only cost around $20, I could easily buy back a sad moment of my childhood. But I never have, because some choices are for keeps.

The takeaway here isn’t that I gave away my toy though. It’s the amount of effort my new parents went through to try and make me happy again. I mean honestly. It’s easy to picture loving parents sitting me down and explaining how it was gone, and how I should be more careful in the future, and then buy me ice cream. It’s also easy to picture parents shouting “stop you’re crying, it’s just a toy, get over it!”

My parents instead did everything they could to help me get it back. Now, you may want to say that meant I was a spoiled brat, but if you look back just a couple of paragraphs, I clearly learned a lot from this scenario.

This is just one of countless tales of my parents going above and beyond the call of duty, because that’s just how they’ve always been. When I actually became an adult, and realized how extraordinary my parents had always been, I dedicated myself to the idea that I should try and be at least as good a son. I don’t think I always succeed, but I damned well try.

One last thought. I know for a fact, if I asked them to, even this many years later, they’d happily buy me that Fievel toy on ebay. They probably wouldn’t even roll their eyes when they did it. They’d go ahead and purchase a stuffed toy for their 32 year old son. That’s just the kind of parents they are. The ridiculous kind.

642 Things – 88: Three objects in your childhood bedroom.

1. Red bricks – ok, not actual red bricks. It was a set of small rectangular cardboard boxes painted to look like bricks, and you could build structures out of them. About as simple as a toy could be, but I recall hours of fun with them as a child, not the least of which was building small structures and training our dog to leap over them.

2. A Marble Run – I don’t know how many of you guys had these as kids. It’s basically a large collection of weird plastic shapes that can all fit together in dozens of different ways, and then you can watch marbles travel from the top to the bottom of your creation. Again, endless fun.

3. A Transformer – In case you haven’t noticed, I had a happy childhood, and because of that I occasionally get it into my head to track down things from my childhood. I’ve occasionally re-read books from middle school, or hunted down a movie I had seen once, and I still hold Earthbound up as the gold standard of video games. I tell you all of this so that you understand what I’m talking about when I say that I have never been able to find this Transformer since. I don’t even know what his name was. He was a red Transformer, and he turned into…sort of like an SUV. He looked vaugely like the SUV that we had at the time. I know it wasn’t Optimus Prime, because he turned into an 18 Wheeler, this was nowhere near that impressive. His fists we detachable, and he had some kind of walking mechanism, which was mainly him rocking back and forth.

Having learned from the Fievel Fiasco, which you’ll read about tomorrow, my parents made it a habit of quietly sneaking out my toys when they thought I wouldn’t notice. Toys that they thought I’d never touch again, and they wouldn’t tell me they were doing it, because even then if I did notice a missing toy, the could claim that I must have lost it somewhere. I know this because I caught them TWICE trying to get rid of this Transformer…but the third time they succeeded, because here I am a full grown man and I have no idea where my Transformer is. I’d still be really curious as to his name though, I’ve never seen one like it since, even Google Image Search lets me down.

So there you go, three things that stick in my memory from my childhood bedroom….and since all 3 are toys, let’s do a bonus 4th.

4 – Along the walls of my bedroom was a starscape. It was just a banner that ran the entire length all the walls in the room, maybe 3 or 4 inches tall, of various planets and stars. Yeah, I remember that.
 

 

 

 

 

Unlike my two books (“The Great Platypus Caper” and “The Coconut Monkey Horror”) I can not promise that each entry in my 642 things to write about series will be true stories drawn from my life, I’ll leave the amount of truth in each entry up to your imagination.
Want to stretch your writing muscles as well? Post your response to the writing prompt in the comments section. I’d love to see it.

642 Things – 87: A powerful Hollywood agent’s personal to-do list

Try to get studio to greenlight needless sequel.
Arrange for a pretend relationship between my C list celebrity and my fellow agents’ A list celebrity
Get the D-listers to wash my car again.
Try and find an indie film I can cram my oldest star into, bring back his career
Get out of bed (this one is optional)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike my two books (“The Great Platypus Caper” and “The Coconut Monkey Horror”) I can not promise that each entry in my 642 things to write about series will be true stories drawn from my life, I’ll leave the amount of truth in each entry up to your imagination.
Want to stretch your writing muscles as well? Post your response to the writing prompt in the comments section. I’d love to see it.