Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Praise for PUPPET SHOWS!

“The stories are so far off the wall they’re in the garden somewhere…(Puppet Shows is) prose that’s as rewarding to read as it is funny.” - Gav Collins of Gav’s Book Reviews

“…a combination of Augusten Burroughs and Franz Kafka…a strong whiff of William Burroughs…as well as a hint of drug-induced madness.” – “Chris” on

A fun collection of crazy short stories.” – WiLoveBooks

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thank you for clicking.

Hello, and welcome to my Puppet Shows blog.

Interviews, reviews and purchase links are located to the right under "Links (Sausage)."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Puppet Shows Book Signing Tomorrow

I have my first of two scheduled book signings December 8 at  Mostly Books in Tucson, the whatever-that-plaza's-called at Speedway and Wilmot. So, if you happen to have checked my blog now and you're in Tucson, be there or be square, as the kids say.

Meanwhile, I've been collecting blurbs from famous people. Here is what some of the high and mighty are saying about Puppet Shows:

“This shit is crazy.” - Charles Manson 

“Puppet Shows? More like Puppet Blows.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Screw this book.” – Kermit the Frog
“Two cloven hooves up!” – Satan

So mixed reviews thus far. This has led to me creating my own blurbs, and here are my nine favorites. Nine only because the tenth one is completely frightening and shouldn't be shared with anybody:

It doubles as a fly swatter!
Practically burns itself!
Like a puppet show with Curt Schilling’s bloody sock!
Includes details of my affair with Miss Henrietta Pussycat! 
Not available in Braille or CD because screw the blind!
Does for sock puppets what O.J. did for gloves!
Charlie McCarthy was a rabid anti-Semite!
Includes 100 pages of Communist propaganda! 
The book that says “Screw you!” to the Son of Sam law!



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

From an old Beavis & Butthead-inspired poem

I was thinking of a poem I wrote in college that was heavily influenced by Beavis & Butthead. Here's the one passage I remember:

Damnit, damnit, son of a bitch,
Got a bad case of herpes and a weasel named Mitch;
Slap me in the head and kick me in the crotch,
and gimme some marshmallows, bee-otch!

I didn't say it was a great poem.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stories From Puppet Shows: The Seven Stages of Sorrow

In this edition of "Stories from Puppet Shows" we go back to the cutting room floor and take a look at the deleted beginning of the story “The Seven Stages of Sorrow.” A pseudo-interesting fact about "Triple S" is that it had at least six other titles before this one, including "The Story of Jay," "The Ballad of Jay and Colleen," "What Happened at the Fair," "Love Flies Over Massachusetts," "Jay Weeps and Weeps," and, my favorite, "The Girl in the Ultimate Warrior Jacket."

Chances are the title would have changed again at some point, but we're left with a sweet title that pays tribute to alliteration.

This is also a story that prompted the editor of one journal to reply, "It isn't our type of humor."

Indeed! Wucka wucka!

Anyway, here, as the author foolishly intended, is the original beginning of "The Seven Stages of Sorrow."

The Seven Stages of Sorrow – Deleted/Lost Portion

There were very few things Jay and I enjoyed more than a good ole town fair. It didn’t matter which town. If it was within a reasonable driving distance, we were going. During the summer we could hit at least one every weekend.

So it was on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that we attended the Ashland Fair. Jay brought his girlfriend Colleen along. Colleen was very nice, so I never felt like a third wheel when she was around. I was happy for Jay. It seemed like maybe Colleen was the one. She was only twenty, a lot younger than we were, and very pretty and athletic, a far cry from the chubby chasing Jay usually did.

More importantly, Jay listened to Colleen. I could never convince him not to smuggle his own artwork into these fairs, but Colleen could. He would bring a clay penis or pumpkin bong and drop it next to the other clay or pumpkin art local children made. Likewise, whereas I could tell Jay “Don’t hit that trashcan with your car,” or “Don’t piss on that lawn,” and he wouldn’t listen to me, Colleen he would listen to. Plus, unlike so many others, Colleen shared Jay’s sense of humor. The goofy, horrible things we laughed at, she also laughed at. But she also knew the line, whereas Jay did not.

It wasn’t long after we entered the fair that Jay was ordering food: an Italian sausage, popcorn, fried dough and lemonade. Colleen and I opted in favor of watching Jay eat excessively rather than feasting ourselves. Jay had become comfortable displaying his binge eating in front of Colleen, just as he was comfortable enough to remove the sausage from its bun, pick up some cow droppings with said bun and parade around the livestock area asking everyone if they would like to sample his “shit dog.”

Once he had eaten, Jay’s priority was his racist trinkets, the horrendous paraphernalia he collected and was forced by Colleen and me to hide underneath his bed. As we passed the pony rides, a palm reader, and the carousel, Jay pointed at each and said, “We’re doing that later.” We walked passed the many crafts tables and soon came to the one Jay wanted. It was exactly what he was looking for. This table featured everything from racist garbage to serial killer items, such as a Charles Manson snow globe. Jay purchased an ashtray of a black man holding a shoeshine rag and a cast iron paperweight of a black boy eating a watermelon.

“Thank you very much, Sir,” the man in charge of the table said. He was wearing an eye patch and a Confederate flag baseball cap. He handed Jay his card, which Jay tore up and discarded right in front of the man, as we continued toward
The Whoosher, a ride Jay desperately wanted to go on, despite his knowing my distaste for rides that throw you in every possible direction.

As we waited in line for the stupid Whoosher, Jay began emptying his pockets like Harpo Marx into Colleen's Felix the Cat bag. He was like a five-year-old with his pockets full of junk. After twenty minutes, we were finally next, and the guy operating the ride was growing impatient while Jay still emptied his pockets. There seemed no end to the contents of Jay's pants pockets.

"Dude," I finally said. "Do you perform at children's parties?"

"What?" Jay replied.

"How can you have so much stuff in your pockets?" I said. "You're like a cartoon character. I expect you to whip out posies and rye."

We were finally able to get inside the big whooshing car, which Jay then made fly into the air like the Great Space Coaster.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stories from Puppet Shows: Root Beer Float Man

It's perhaps too early to tell whether anyone actually cares or not. Then again, maybe it isn't. Nonetheless, we will focus today on the superhero of Puppet Shows: the one, the only Root Beer Float Man. The actual story of RBFM, as it appears in Puppet Shows, was praised by NewPages and appeared in Lowestoft Chronicles' 2012 anthology. Everyone loves RBFM! But very few know there are lost adventures of one Root Beer Float Man. We found three such adventures.

The first of the lost adventures was something a hobo friend of ours found called "Baseball, Junk Food and Grandpa." Judging from the John Valentin reference, it goes back aways.

It was a breezy summer evening. Grandpa and I sat on the porch watching
the Red Sox game while my parents were out for the night. I always valued
the time I had alone with my grandfather. He sat quietly, walking cane in
hand, cheering the Sox on.
“Come on, Yaz!” he yelled. “Knock one out of the park!”
“Grandpa,” I said. “Yaz isn’t playing.”
“Of course he’s playing. He’s two for two tonight.”
“Grandpa, Carl Yastrzemski retired eighteen years ago.”
“What?” he said irately. “You mean to tell me that’s not Yaz up there?”
“Yaz was a lefty. That’s John Valentin, who’s a righty.”
“You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you, with your CDs, and your MTV,
and your lemon-scented air freshener? Now where’s the hot dog guy?”
“Grandpa, we’re not at Fenway Park.”
“Don’t tell me where we are. Don’t you think I know the difference
between Fenway and one of those new-fangled, fancy-shmancy ballparks of the
“Of course, but…”
“I can’t sit here eating cracker jacks and cotton candy all night.”
“Grandpa, those are potato chips.”
“Oh, now you think I don’t know cracker jacks and cotton candy when I’m
eating them. When do the trapeze artists come on?”
“You think I’m some doddering old man. Crotchety, old Grandpa crapping
himself and flushing the toilet, going ‘There’s nothing on tonight.’ Well,
I’ll have you know that when I was your age, I was always out partying with
the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.”
“What?” I said. “Look, I don’t think Katharine Hepburn was partying with
“I was in World War II. I was the last person to shake Carole Lombard’s
hand before she crashed to her death. And why does this cotton candy taste
so funny?”
“Grandpa, Grandpa,” I said, trying to shut him up. “It just occurred to
me that this story isn’t really going anywhere.”
“What do you mean? Baseball! Let’s do ‘Field of Dreams.’ You be that
Costner guy; I’ll be Shoeless Joe.”
“No, Grandpa.”
“All right, ‘The Natural.’ I’ll be Roy Hobbs; you be Glen Close.”
“Okay, then, ‘Bull Durham.’ You’re Kevin Costner again, and I’m Susan
“Ew, Grandpa. That’s disgusting.”
“Well, what do you want to do? You wanna do a musical number? Get this.”
Grandpa proceeded to perform “Lydia, The Tattooed Lady.” It was quite
impressive, but it didn’t help our situation. And when he turned “Lydia”
into “Clamydia,” I had to stop him.
“Grandpa,” I said. “We have a serious problem here.”
“You can smell that, huh?”
“No, I mean this story.”
“This looks like a job for Root Beer Float Man!”
“Oh, no,” I said. “No. No, Grandpa, not Root Beer Float Man.”
Suddenly, here he came, crashing through the window of the porch, and
landing flat on his rear end.
“You called?” our hero said.
“Oh, Mr. Float Man,” Grandpa said. “We need your help.”
“Well, let’s get drunk and sing!”
An hour later, we were all hammered and singing “Everyone Says I Love
You.” That’s when the police came. They kicked the door down and handcuffed
all three of us. We were taken to the courthouse and charged with public
drunkenness, a charge that made absolutely no sense, and practicing idiocy
in a short story. We asked for an appeal, but were immediately sentenced to
be burned at the stake. This is why baseball, cotton candy, and music from
Marx Brothers films should never be mixed.
“See, boy,” Grandpa said. “This was a good story. It even has a moral.”
“Could you burn him first?” I pleaded.
“Why do you use the passive voice so much?”
“Shut up.”

Next, a transsexual prostitute somehow got her hands on "The Calligrapher's Code."

It was my genius idea to take a calligraphy class this semester. For some reason, the class required two books totaling forty dollars. Even with the relatively low cost for an English major’s paperbacks, as compared to the fifty-plus-dollar math and science books, this was not in my budget. So I skipped the bookstore, and my friends Rick and John accompanied me to the college library. To my chagrin, the book was out. Wonderful, now we had to go to the town library. You would think that a town filled with extras from Deliverance wouldn’t bother building a library, but, sure enough, the Jethro Bodine Memorial Library stood within walking distance from campus.

The library didn’t seem to devote itself to having sections. My first random glance at the shelves found Don’t Shoot, It’s Just Me by Bob Hope, How To Catch Clams By The Bushel, and Kabuki Theatre of Japan all catalogued next to each other. We set about our task to find the elusive calligraphy books.

“What are these books called?” Rick asked me.
The Calligrapher’s Code,” I replied.
“What’s it about, Caligula?”
“No,” John interrupted. “It’s like a lie-detector test.”
“When is your first assignment due?” was Rick’s next question.
“In three weeks.”
“Oh, please. You’ve got plenty of time.”
“I’m not into procrastinating.”
“Oh, come on,” John said. “Everyone does it.”

I said PRO-CRAST-in-ating, you nitwit.”

“Hey,” Rick said. “I should probably look for a book for my Vietnamese sign language class.”
“Look, here it is.” As soon as Rick left, I found it. I knew he was bad luck. “The Calligrapher’s Code.”

“I know what that is now,” John said. “That’s when you have more than one wife.”
“Idiot,” I said. “It’s like writings and shit. You’ve got Roman, Gothic, Celtic, Arabic, Islamic. You can use it for diplomas and wedding invitations.”

“You ain’t graduating, and who would marry you? And who would you invite? Dennis Johnson?”

“Celtic!” I said. “With a K sound. Not like the Celtics. Hey, it says ‘Oriental brush lettering and Roman stone carving are equally a part of what we call calligraphy today’.”

“Yeah, great,” John said. “Do you think they have The Rock’s book here?”
“I somehow doubt it.”
“Hey, remember card catalogs?”
“Vaguely. Those were the days. Where’s Rick? Let’s get out of here.” We caught up with Rick and stood in line patiently, discussing those who are screwed now that Vince McMahon owns WCW, when it happened. A large, hideous creature entered, and not too politely.
“Holy shit!” John said.
“Dude, what the hell is that?” Rick followed.
“Oh, dear,” I said. “Is that…”
“I am Hrothgar!” the beast interrupted me.
“I was gonna say that,” I protested.
“Who the hell is Hrothgar?” Rick asked.
“I killed Beowulf, John F. Kennedy, and Jimmy Hoff-…I, um, I killed Beowulf.”

“Did he kill Beowulf?” I asked.
“I didn’t read the book,” John said.
“What’s the Bay of Wolf?” Rick said.
“And now,” Hrothgar exclaimed, “I will kill you all!”
“Excuse me,” John said as he fled from the scene.
“You pus…” I tried to yell at him, but Hrothgar stopped me.
“Watch the potty mouth in front of Hrothgar,” the beast was apparently offended. We stood in the middle of the library, fearing for our lives. Rick produced a set of rosary beads from his pocket.
“Dude,” I said, “I didn’t know you were Catholic.”
“I’m not,” then he threw the beads at Hrothgar futily.
“Rick,” I said sternly, “He’s not a vampire, and this isn’t Mardi Gras. We’re dead." Suddenly, someone fell down the stares and landed right at Hrothgar’s feet.
“Is it a bird?” I asked. “A decrepit, old, very sick bird?”
“Is it a plane?” Rick said. “Probably the exact plane the Wright Brothers crashed before the successful flight?”
No, it was Root Beer Float Man, here to either save or die along with us.
“Never fear,” our hero said. He then punched Hrothgar in the testicles and we ran like hell. We got halfway to our dorm when Rick and I turned around and Root Beer Float Man was gone. Seconds later, John showed up.
“John, where the hell were you?” I asked him.
“I had to get a book,” he said. “Mein Kampf.”
“Mm-him,” I said. “And who wrote Mein Kampf?”
“Uh-huh, and where is this book?”
“Hrothgar’s dog Gmork ate it. What do you want from me? Can we just go?”
“Okay, Atreju,” I said. “Let’s get the hell out of here. I think Gmork was a wolf, by the way. Not a dog.”
“Bite me.”
We never spoke of the incident again.

Lastly, a rather odd edition of the Adventures of Root Beer Float Man, a transcript from an episode of WWE's Monday Night Raw, again, probably from years ago. Here is RBFM's first wrestling appearance.


Jim Ross: Jim Ross back here with you, ladies and gentlemen, with

our guest commentator, Jerry Seinfeld.

Jerry Seinfeld: It’s good to be here. Why do they call it a wrestling

ring? I mean, it’s shaped like a square.

JR: Well, Jerry, they call it “the squared circle.”

JS: How can it be a square AND a circle? Why not call it the triangular


JR: Good point, Jerry. Folks, our main event tonight is just moments

away. You saw the contract signing last week on RAW. Vince McMahon
oversaw the signing between super crime-fighter Root Beer Float Man
and Academy-Award winning actress Audrey Hepburn. Once the contract
was signed, RBFM sucker-punched Ms. Hepburn, and then all hell broke
loose, with Steve Austin, Triple H, and The Rock all getting

JS: What kind of name is The Rock? I mean, when he was born, did his

mother say “What should we name him? I know. How about ‘The’?” And
what about Steve Austin? I think Lee Majors has a legitimate
lawsuit against this guy. I mean, hey. What is that all about? And
Triple H? What was his father’s name? Quadruple Q?

JR: Folks, as the combatants stand in the ring, you know that this is

going to be a slobberknocker. Oh! And Root Beer Float Man again
attacks, from behind, Ms. Hepburn, who was absolutely brilliant
in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

JS: Why would you have breakfast at Tiffany’s? I mean, excuse me, but I

think I’ll go to the I-Hop.”

JR: And it looks like this match is over before it started. The referee

has disqualified RBFM, who is using that keg of root beer as a
weapon on Audrey.

JS: Who is Root Beer Float Man’s sidekick? The Cream Soda Kid?

JR: Man, we need to get some help out here. He’s supposed to be a crime

fighter, but he’s public enemy number one in my book.

JS: What book is that? The book of fat guys from Oklahoma who wear

stupid cowboy hats and announce men in tights pretending to hit
each other and third-rate football games?

JR: Well, thank you, Jerry. Wait a minute! It’s Mad Dog Moran! Mad Dog

Moran has returned! He’s got a steel chair and RBFM doesn’t see him!
He turns around and Oh! To the skull with the steel chair! Mad Dog
Moran strikes again! He was out three weeks, courtesy of RBFM and
his finishing maneuver, The Mug Shot. Revenge is sweet. You’ve
heard of Beauregard’s revenge. This was Mad Dog Moran’s revenge.
Folks, what will this mean for the pay-per-view this Sunday?

JS: Why do they call it a pay-per-view?

JR: Because you pay for each viewing.

JS: Oh.

JR: Folks, officials are helping Ms. Hepburn. The Mad Dog strikes

again. We’re out of time. See you Thursday on Smackdown!

 Thus ends the lost adventures of Root Beer Float Man. For more, look to Puppet Shows, from Writers AMuse Me Publishing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

HEAR stories from PUPPET SHOWS!

Some six and a half years ago at a remote location in New Hampshire, early portions of some of the stories in Puppet Shows were recorded. These pieces later found themselves on SoundCloud. Now, for your listening pleasure, here are those pieces. Enjoy my lovely voice!

"Dinner with Reginald"

The short opening piece of Puppet Shows, featuring two men just having dinner and paying homage to Charlie Chaplin and Chico Marx.


A very early version of "Heckle," which amounts to about 3/4 of Part 1 now. We meet Heckle, his drunken father, and his loving grandmother. No, this author is not a Star Trek fan.

"Grandpa & Me"

An early and very brief version of this story in which Grandpa never returns! We assume.

Listen, and if you enjoy, purchase Puppet Shows!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Win a copy of PUPPET SHOWS!!!

Okay, you don't necessarily have to BUY Puppet Shows to enjoy it. You SHOULD, but you don't have to. If you live in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K. (That's right, we'll ship to the U.K. I'm big there!) you can go onto Goodreads. com and enter to win a copy of Puppet Shows that I just might sign myself in my slovenly handwriting. The link, if you missed it the first time, is right here. So go! Enter to win! You can win if you don't play!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Excerpt of "Grandpa & Me" from Puppet Shows

On this day of my humorous short story collection being available, here is an excerpt from a story called "Grandpa & Me," which found itself in a U.K. journal a few years ago. I'm just huge in the U.K. This is also the story that prompted one editor to write back, "
--> “Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately I can't use it. My submission guidelines clearly state that we prefer nor (sic) profanity, and yours is laced with it.”  

In my defense, I don't think it's got much profanity in it. I ain't no prude. So, then, here are, I don't know, Parts I and II of "Grandpa & Me." For more, buy the book, you silly goose.

Grandpa & Me

A pair of fragile arms lifted me into bed.

“Tell me a story, Grandpa," I said.

“Who am I? Mark Twain?" he replied. "Now go to sleep or I'll get the chloroform."

“Tell me a story."

“I think I hear Mr. Boogey Man."


“I hear the Wolf Man and Dick Cheney coming too."


“All right, all right," he caved. "Once there was a boy, an ugly little boy, a bit spoiled. Nobody liked him. Every night he wanted a story. 'Tell me a story. Tell me a story' Like his Grandpa was an old radio serial announcer. Then one night the boy was eaten by tigers, and his Grandpa kidnapped by Nazis. The end. For a written transcript send four dollars. Now, sleep!"

He pulled his watch out again and moved it back and forth until I fell asleep. When I awoke there was a note stapled to my pajamas:

Dear Boy,

I have eloped with Mr. Boogey Man. Don't look for me or Frankenstein will find you and kill you. And, for Pete's sake, you’re seventeen. Make up your own damn stories.


This saddened me greatly. With the rest of my grandparents having passed on, and my parents having died in a horrible unicycling accident when I was little, I was now on my own. I fended for myself around the house until graduation. Then I got a summer job, hoping to maybe attend college in the fall.

One August day my friend Shane and I were sunbathing in the front yard when Grandpa showed up.

“What are you kids lounging around for?” he demanded. “This lawn needs mowin’ somethin’ fierce!”

“Grandpa?” I said. I couldn’t believe it. “Where have you been?”

“It’s my birthday today,” he said. “I’m here for my party.”

We hadn’t planned a birthday party for Grandpa, but we decided we’d have an impromptu one. I was excited, but try as I did to find out where he was for six months, Grandpa would not tell me. He was mum except for shouting, “Mind your beeswax!” whenever I asked. Grandpa just wanted to talk politics and sports. None of this, “How ya been doing?” business.

So the three of us walked to the liquor store so Grandpa could get some whiskey and we could buy him a birthday present. He was turning eighty. So we wanted to get him something nice. We didn’t know what though. Shane asked me what grandparents like, as if I’d know. I said, “I don’t know. Pills? Metamucil? Dentucreme?”

We knew we didn’t have much time. Grandpa had some brand of whiskey he really liked and was very impatient. So he would be pushing for us to hurry up in about twenty seconds. Sure enough, when I turned around he was already standing at the register bickering with the cashier.

“You’re cardin’ me?” Grandpa said. “Don’t be thinkin’ I’m flattered, you son of a bitch.”

“Sorry,” the cashier said. “We had one of those Progeria kids in here last week tryin’ to buy some Mike’s Hard Berrys.”

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s an alcoholic beverage with…”

“Not the Mike’s shit,” Grandpa said. “What the hell is a Progeria kid?”

“It’s a little tyke who ages really quickly. This one was seven, but he looked…about your age. What are you, eighty?”

“Shut up!”

“Anyway, there’s like forty of them in the world. He may be dead by now.”

“Goddamn freak show,” Grandpa said. “Kids! Hurry up, for Chrissakes!”

I ended up buying him a couple of smut magazines. When I presented them to him he grabbed them from me and smiled.

“Do you like ‘em, Grandpa?” I said.

“Of course I like ‘em. It’s porn, isn’t it?” As we walked out of the store, Grandpa continued eyeing his magazines. “Women should always be naked,” he said. “You can’t let women rule your life, Boy. Understand? You think Ike Turner let women rule his life? Or Jackson Browne? Or Lobster Boy? No!”

“Grandpa, I would never hit a woman.”

“Goddamned Lobster Boy, son!” he said. “Beat the shit out of his wife and kids with his lobster claws! Roy Campanella beat his first wife while confined to a wheelchair! That Def Leppard drummer showed his wife who was boss with one arm!”

“Grandpa, what the fuck,” I said. He then produced a bar of Fells Naptha soap, shoved it in my mouth then proceeded to tell me two of the most horrid domestic abuse jokes I ever heard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Praise for Puppet Shows from author Bradley Sands!

Puppet Shows is absurdism at its best.” 

– Bradley Sands, author of Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy

Monday, November 12, 2012

Suggest Puppet Shows at your local library!

Hello, friends and lovers!

If you have a library card and five minutes of free time, you can be a tremendous help to me by simply going to the Web site of your local library, finding their "Suggest a Title for Purchase" page, and suggesting my new book Puppet Shows. It will literally take less than five minutes and will help me get my lil' book out there to the masses. The relevant info that most libraries ask for is below.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Michael Frissore

Title: Puppet Shows
Author: Michael Frissore
Publisher: Writers AMuse Me Publishing
Publication Date: 11/22/2012
ISBN: 9781927044520

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Old New Fiction

Every so often a web site just dies. They don't leave a suicide note or nothing. You just walk into a room one day and there they are, hanging from a pipe like David Foster Wallace. And some of these sites were literary journals with MY fiction on it! Oh, the nerve!

Ooh, while I'm on the subject, R.I.P., an "electronic literary magazine," or whatever the hell it was supposed to stand for, that published some perplexing stuff that I used to parody on a regular basis. They will cease publication in the next week or so. So good night, funny man! In your honor I will be giving away PDFs of my mini-book The Elly May Parodies to those who buy Puppet Shows after November 22.

Now what the hell was I writing about? Oh, my stories that disappeared. These are two flash fiction pieces called "The Texas Prison Museum" and "The Banana." Enjoy, one person.


The Prison Museum

Leslie sat in the car outside, squeamish and dizzy, waiting for her husband Jack, who was staring at Old Sparky, the decommissioned electric chair that executed nearly 400 prisoners in the Texas Prison System over 40 years. If the two were driving to Houston for Leslie’s friends’ wedding, Jack demanded, they were stopping at the Texas Prison Museum. The place gave Leslie the creeps, but Jack was not going to let this opportunity pass. He admired Old Sparky like he was pricing it for auction.

 “Hey, can I sit in this?” Jack asked the lone staff member inside.

 “No, you can’t sit in it,” the staffer said. “It’s an exhibit. Would you ask to sit on the Mona Lisa?”

 “Mona Lisa’s not a chair.”

 “You can’t sit in it.”

Jack had already been inside longer than Leslie was willing to allow, but he wasn’t ready to leave. He had to look at everything – the contraband exhibit, the inmate art, the Bonnie and Clyde paraphernalia.

“Can I hold the pistol?” he said, referring to the nickel plated pistol police found in the criminal duo’s death car.

“What is wrong with you? No. These are exhibits. Look but don’t touch.”

Jack went outside to get Leslie, who was in the passenger seat of the couple’s Buick Le Sabre, air conditioner running, thumbing through a wedding magazine. It was nearly 100 degrees and she wanted to get going. Jack tapped on the window and she rolled it down.

“Can you take a picture of me in the jail cell?” Jack said.

“Why can’t you ask someone inside?”

 “Because you’re my sweetie?”

“I’m not going in there.”

“It’s just a museum, like Tussauds or the potato chip factory we went to.”

“You have five minutes then I’m driving away without you.”

Jack ran back inside like a child hearing ice cream truck music.

“Hey, can you take my picture?” he said to the staff member before he could welcome Jack back.

“No photos,” he said.

“No photos?” Jack said. “Is the Bonnie and Clyde case still open? I just want a picture of me inside the cell or standing in front of Old Sparky.”

“Absolutely no photography. It’s the rules.”

“Fine,” Jack said.

He ran to the back of the museum towards the famous electric chair. The staffer followed, but, by the time he reached Old Sparky, Jack was sitting in it, smiling like an old woman in a comfortable recliner.

“Get out of the chair, sir,” the staffer said.

Jack looked up at the lever to his left and said, “Hey, does this work?”

He pulled the lever down and 2,000 volts went through him, killing him in a matter of seconds.


The Banana

Moseph and I stood against the wall by the little carousel horse outside the supermarket, smoking Lucky Strikes and punching each other on the shoulder. Moseph’s real name is Maureen, but I started calling her Mo, which led to Moseph. She said she liked it, so it stuck. I also called her Molicious, Mo Vaughn, and Mo’ Better Blues, but she said she liked Moseph more than any of those.

While we were standing there a woman walked by carrying a bag of groceries with a bunch of bananas sticking out of the top, kind of like how you always see a loaf of French bread sticking out of grocery bags in movies. Movie characters love French bread. Only the bananas weren’t sticking out that tall. They were normal size bananas, just probably lying on top of something else in the bag

So Moseph grabbed one of the bananas. She did this by walking towards the woman and forcefully holding down the rest of the bunch and pulling the banana she wanted from the bag. The woman was busy talking on her cell phone so she just looked back at us in disgust and kept walking rather than get into an argument with us.

We spent the next ten minutes brandishing our free banana and talking on it like it was a phone. We handed it to each other whenever people walked by and said, “You’re too young to have the baby. You need to get an abortion. Here, you talk some sense into her.” Then we walked up to people and handed them the banana, saying, “Phone for you. It’s Steve. He’s pissed.” One guy took the banana and said, “Hello? He hung up.”

When we got bored with the telephone routine, Moseph and I started talking about how we had never seen anyone slip on a banana peel in real life. So we ate the banana and tossed the peel on the ground in front of the supermarket. For twenty minutes no one slipped on it until a two-year-old walking with her father did. We started laughing, but felt badly about it when the father heard us. So we just ran away after that.

When we stopped running Moseph and I talked about how wonderful it was seeing something live that had only happened before in cartoons. I wondered what else we might see that day, like a bunch of bees forming an arrow or a hammer, or maybe we could paint a tunnel onto a rock and run through it like it was a real tunnel. The world was our cartoon oyster after what we saw. In fact, maybe that’s what we’d see: a giant oyster that would clamp down and trap us if we walked inside its mouth to steal the pearl.

But we got scared thinking about the oyster and the bees. So we just got some Chinese food and vowed never to speak about real-life cartoon situations again.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

PUPPET SHOWS is seeking Book Reviews

So the purpose of this blog is to tell all who enjoy reading and having a good chuckle that I have a humorous (or AN humorous, depending on who you speak to) short story collection called PUPPET SHOWS arriving on Thanksgiving Day, 11.22.2012. It's a collection of thirteen comedies inspired by the likes of British legends Monty Python and the team of Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, as well as American comics of yesteryear, such as the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. What kind of book does this combination create? Brilliant questions, my good Sir or Madam! This is why we must get the word out there.

In researching book review blogs, I've found quite a few who specialize in something called "YA" literature. And there are all sorts of those who enjoy any type of "sci-fi/fantasy" and "romance." Write one of those books and everyone and his mother will want to review it.  What people don't seem to go for are a.) short story collections, and b.) HUMOR/COMEDY. This is crazy, because in my day a nice, short, funny tale was a beautiful thing.

So I'm looking for reviewers for my delightful lil' book, nearly guaranteed to be a quick, fun read and make you laugh silly. Book reviewers, take note: I'm in possession of both a PDF and an ePub of PUPPET SHOWS for your very perusal! The link to the publisher's site has been casually placed all over this post. Let's make love! Sorry, I went too far.

I've been Michael Frissore. My email address is Thank you for your time, and good night!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Honey Boudreaux - Fool Me Once

I don’t normally read YA books, mainly because I’m not ‘Y’ or much of an ‘A’ unless it stands for something else. Case in point, I tried to read Twilight once, and my eyes fell so far back into my head I spent six days in a hospital.

Thus, it was with great trepidation that I began reading Honey Boudreaux’s Fool Me Once. How does one read and review a book within a genre I have a slight bias against? This is why I’m not a regular Amazon reviewer. My tastes are too specific. I could never review a country album. Instant one star! A YA novel? You don’t want me reviewing that if you know what’s good for you.

Yet I started reading Fool Me Once. Challenge your predetermined ideas, I told myself. Listen to that country song! Start a conversation with a Swedish person! Confront your prejudices!

And then do you know what happened? You’d better not, or I’ll report you for spying on me and my family!

I thoroughly enjoyed it! This novel by a first time YA writer is a damn page turner. I don’t even have time to read these days, but I was looking for time and excuses to slip back into this story.

Sixteen-year-olds Tristan and Shelby dream about the future, but not of happy things like robots or flying cars. They dream about people dying and, hopefully, in real life, with the right amount of planning, they can then prevent these deaths from occurring. After saving a couple of lives and effectively cheating said death, the real guy, Death himself, comes after them. They then fight Death together after realizing that the person they’ve been seeing in their dreams for years is each other.

What Fool Me Once is is an amazing thrill ride because Death, the ultimate villain, won’t leave the kids alone: at school, at the bus stop, at the pizza place. Death is always there, and he’s pissed because the teens have already beaten, or fooled, him once. If they can fool him again, Death takes a permanent holiday as far as Tristan and Shelby are concerned. But if he succeeds this time, it’s curtains for these Dreamers, who, by the way, just might be falling for each other.

And you root for the kiddos all the way because, as George W. Bush once said, "Fool me once, shame can't get fooled again." 

So go read Honey Boudreaux's Fool Me Once, for there are sure to be more great things coming from her.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gay Marriage Essay from the Externalist

This is an essay about gay marriage that I had published on the Externalist web site a few years ago. It’s not there anymore, and I like the essay. Thus, I wanted to post it here.

I’m married to a lovely woman. Her name in Amy and she’s beautiful and I love her. We have a son named Alex and we are very happy.

Right now you’re probably screaming at me, “Who cares? Shut up about your dumb married life!”

And you’re right, dear angry, vocal reader. What a stupid way to begin an essay. But if I replaced all the feminine words in that first paragraph with masculine ones - maybe named my wife “Bob” - the majority of you would care. And care very strongly if polls and voting results have been accurate.

For some reason it matters to us who it is who’s getting hitched at weddings we’re not even invited to. As a nation we’ve always thought negatively about homosexuals. Now we’ve successfully disguised our intolerance with the phony claim of protecting and defending marriage, and by conjuring up an imaginary slippery slope in which we’ve convinced ourselves that same-sex marriage will eventually lead to a man marrying God only knows what kind of creature.

States across the U.S. have actually voted to ban same-sex marriage and to come up with a definition of the word. The best defense against gay marriage is apparently to make our laws dictionaries. Soon we’ll have laws defining a bevy of other English words and voting will become one big vocabulary test. Eventually, “I before E except after C” will be a law.

Never has everyone been so worried about the definition of a word. Not since the infamous and tragic “A fork is a fork and a spoon is a spoon! Down with the spork!” riots of 1912 has a word been so cradled to the death. Nothing gets people into a tizzy like a same-sex couple at the alter, not even the idea that we’ll all be eating dirt in a few months.

But here’s the thing about words. They can have several meanings. For example, to me decaffeinated coffee isn’t even coffee. It’s nonsense, like non-alcoholic beer. Still many people drink decaf. There are even those who slurp something called “iced coffee.”

Tell a waitress you want a cup of coffee and she’ll ask, “Regular or decaf?” There’s no reason you couldn’t request a marriage from a Justice of the Peace and have him ask, “Regular or same sex?”

Or think of a hot new item called Baconaise. In the definition of mayonnaise, bacon has never entered into the equation. Why aren’t people protesting this silly product? Condiments mean a hell of a lot more to me than a stranger’s marriage. Someone needs to defend mayonnaise from pork products.

If we successfully changed the definitions of the words “gay,” “queer,” and “faggot,” from the old days of “happy,” “weird,” and “a bunch of sticks,” we came do the same for a word like marriage.

Defining marriage is allegedly all in the name of defending it. Marriage only seems to need defending when the gays want a piece of the action. I won’t go into the hack bit about the divorce rate and the “Welcome to my world!” things we Who-gives-a-shit married hetero men spout, but think about it: We’re voting on people’s lives. Imagine you’re up for your dream job, but before you can be hired, your entire state gets to vote on whether you get the gig.

Don‘t get me wrong. The idea of voting for or against whether people can marry is a fantastic one. I think every engagement, hetero or homosexual, should be voted on. It would be a blast voting no on 500 different proposals. Take your dress and your princess dreams and hit the bricks, sister! This is a democracy! I’m voting for you to be sad for at least another year!

Wouldn't you dig that? You go to the ballot questions and there’s a whole list of engagements to vote on:

"No, I hate this guy. Won't vote for him...God, she's ugly. No on them...Oh, look, it's me and Susan. I'll vote no. She'll never find out..."

Hell, imagine the ads! Every couple would produce one:

"Bill and Susan are good, God-fearing people who eat healthy and pay their taxes..."

Or, your enemies could produce attack ads:

"Bill and Susan live together in sin, and it could be in your neighborhood. Bill and Susan slaughter neighborhood pets and keep a crawl space in their house where they molest and torture girl scouts and paperboys. Vote no on Bill and Susan."

I would vote no for everyone. Tear down the entire wedding racket and their hiking the prices of everything up threefold.

Voting no on gay marriage, in addition to bravely defending the hetero kind like a superhero, saves us from the mythical “slippery slope,” where such a notion could lead to incest, bestiality, and all the other things people associate with homosexuality. This says a lot about what people think of homosexuals that they equate that lifestyle with nailing a dog or your sister.

This will never happen! In what country, on what planet, has this ever happened? Maybe it’s happened once or twice as a goof, but not in the numbers that homosexuals would like to be married. No slope is that slippery. Bestiality is illegal. When they make gay sex illegal, then you’ll have an argument.

The crafty homosexual, who presumably lives to lure our children into a world of sin and degradation, might indeed be so deliciously evil that he or she could actually get an animal to sign a marriage license and say "I do." And, who knows? Maybe that will eventually lead to leprechauns and unicorns wanting to marry your children. But I, for one, merely see allowing two consenting adult human beings to marry leading to more work for bad wedding singers and male strippers. And that’s just good for the economy.

You want what’s good for the economy, don’t you?

Do you hate America?

And why does the slope not slip the other way? If we tell certain members of society they can’t be married, then where does it end? Do we then say a hetero goth couple can’t be married because they’re too gloomy and a child shouldn’t be brought up in that household? Do we ban poor people from marrying? Fat people? Little people? We could ban all sorts of groups from walking down the aisle just in the name of protecting the children.

When people argue over lowering the drinking age back to 18, no one ever says, “If we do that, soon infants and puppy dogs will be drinking too.” Before Roe v. Wade did anyone ask whether legal abortions would lead to the legalization of murdering the living?

The grand compromise to the gay marriage debate is civil unions, the old “separate but equal” strategy that has worked so well in the past. The civil union idea sounds like the fake, condescending compromise your parents would make with you when you were five. You want a pony, but your parents can’t afford one. So they take you to the slow-moving mechanical horsey in front of Kmart and say, “How’s that pony?”

Then you cry and scream, “It’s not a pony! I want a pony like all the hetero kids at school have!”

Civil unions are the “Marriage Lite” that we’ll throw at the silly homosexuals in hopes that it will appease them and make them all go away to Provincetown or San Francisco and watch drag queen productions of The Golden Girls, and just leave us straight folks and our kids alone.

Why not just hand every same-sex couple a giant pink document with little rainbows and caricatures of Liberace and Paul Lynde on it that says, in big girlie letters, “MARRIED,” with the quotation marks in case normal people might think it’s a serious certificate?

When the slippery slope argument is exhausted, many turn to the idea that marriage is for procreation. But when did intent on procreating become a prerequisite for marriage? Do you have to prove that you intend to have kids in order to get married now? When you go to get your marriage license are you forced to impregnate your future wife right there in front of everyone? What about elderly and infertile couples? By that I mean can they be married, not should they have sexual intercourse in front of large groups of people. Either way, I say YES!

Some homosexual couples want to adopt. Others just want to be fabulous and sing karaoke versions of “It‘s Raining Men.” What’s the difference? Someone will have to raise all those unwanted babies when Roe v. Wade is overturned, and it won’t be me. I’m busy making my own children out of papier-mâché and Maruchan instant noodles.

Then we get to the Biblical arguments. I don’t want to attack the Bible’s stance against homosexual anything, like so many cleverer-than-thou lefties do with their examples of eating shrimp and growing crops and Jesus riding a dinosaur. It’s very en vogue to make fun of the Bible these days. So I don’t want to leap on any bandwagon and go on a stupid Richard Dawkins-like rant. But sure, the Bible says homosexuals should be put to death.

To stay with the marriage motif, so (according to the Bible) should any woman who cannot prove she’s a virgin when she is married. Yikes! That would make for some interesting ceremonies. I mean, would she have to prove it just to the priest or JOP, or would everyone from the best man to the limo driver have to be in on it?

And, once she’s proven to be the sullied gal that she is, I’m picturing a Kill Bill style death. One in which the entire wedding party pays for the blushing bride’s fornication. Or, I’m thinking, at the very least, non-virgins should be denied access to marriage, or re-marriage. One and done, slut. Have a nice life. No second marriage for you, and you can’t have the special at Red Lobster.

Can we stop defending marriage, as if when gays are allowed into the mix our own marriages will suddenly disappear like Marty McFly’s siblings from the photo in Back to the Future? The gay police will not come to your home and force you into your own same-sex marriage. Although I think that would be hilarious. I’d take on a gay lover for the team just to see it happen to the rest of you uppity heteros.

The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 made as much sense as the Defense of Water Fountains Act of 1963. I don’t want to be one of those hemorrhaging hearts who compares gay marriage with slavery and the Civil Rights movement, but there are degrees of comparisons. Seinfeld and Saved by the Bell were both television sitcoms. Just vastly different ones. The Beatles were a band. So was Men Without Hats.

There. Seinfeld and the Beatles were like slavery. Saved by the Bell and Men Without Hats were like gay marriage. By this I don’t mean slavery was fantastic or pure genius or anything like that. Nor do I mean gay marriage sucks like Screech and “The Safety Dance” do. I just mean slavery and gay marriage are on vastly different levels of civil rights issues.

Anyway, the Defense of Marriage Act was Clinton’s baby. So it’s not just Republicans being the jerks here. There are more Democrats in favor of abortion than there are for letting two men say some vows. Kill all the unwanted fetuses you’d like. They’ll probably grow up to be homosexuals and want to get married.

The point is that things change. Everything in your life, whether it directly affects you or has extremely little to do with you, changes. Vinyl records led to CDS which led to iPods. Your dog used to be able to defecate anywhere he pleased. Now you have to pick it up. You used to be able to smoke anywhere you wanted. All of these will affect you way more than the sexual make-up of two unknowns professing their love for each other.

So maybe someday homosexuals will be greeted into the wonderfully successful world of marriage, and not just in the tiny, blue Northeastern states, or the one corn fed, hayseed state.

Maybe, after all the rice is thrown and the sound of empty cans clanging against the pavement fills the air, we will all watch as the car those cans are tied to drives off. And on the back of the car it’ll say “Just Married.”

That’s all. Just married.