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