Adrian Phoenix Guest Post
Thanks so much for having me here, Athenna and Stephanie! This month at Paranormal Haven has been a blast! I’ve heard rumors that Von and Lucien will be dropping by for interviews soon. I’m sure they will keep you both very busy. Very, very busy. Ahem.
I thought I do something a little different for this blog. No vampires (sigh), no fallen angels, or hoodoo rootworkers. Just a little chat about . . . humor!
I love humorous stories. Adore dry wit and droll manners. Admire quick quips and snappy comebacks. How many times have I come up with the perfect, the most hysterical comeback . . .only mere hours after it was needed? And delivered it with smoking, devastating style to chirping crickets?
Okay – once in a while I pop one off without even thinking about it, but for the most part, I just stare slack-jawed with admiration as others do the zinging and I madly take notes. (I sometimes accidently bump up against them hoping it’ll rub off on me—oh, excuse me, did you just lose a bit of funny? My bad.)
I think the love of comedy, of regular people dealing in a witty fashion with absurd realities, was learned from my father. He loved to write funny stories for me and my sister, stories that usually had us laughing so hard as we took turns reading them aloud to each other that we could barely choke the words out.
One such story was a parody of Jaws called “Beak” and was about a rogue killer twenty-thousand pound Cornish game hen. And sketched bird beaks formed each letter of the title. Written on yellow legal paper in felt tip pen. I took that story to school and read it to everyone and delighted in their laughter.
One of the things I loved about the TV show Supernatural—aside from the great storyline, the character relationships, and the yummy actors portraying those characters—was the dialogue. Chockful of quips and comebacks and snarky banter. There are way too many great quotes to list, but here’s a few from different episodes as a taste.
Sam: When I told Dad I was afraid of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45.
Lucifer: Sorry if it’s a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Dean: Well, I’ll alert the media.
Sam: Huh, when you sacrifice to Holnacar, guess what he gives you in return?
Dean: Lap dances, hopefully.
At a workshop I took a couple of years ago on different genres and their structure, we were assigned random genres and told to mix them and write a short synopsis for a story. I ended up with “Literary” and “Zombie.” Literary is a genre I’ve never dabbled in before, so the idea of a literary zombie story had me wriggling like a happy, albeit demented, puppy. Below is the result.
Bill stares at his reflection in the slot machine wondering when his nose fell off and what it means. Every machine Bill touches wins and the mini-skirted waitress keeps bringing him drinks. She frowns amid ringing bells and saxophone wail. What does it mean? She follows Bill from table to table.
The waitress brings a pair of guys in mortuary blacks up to the table. They carry a big net. And speak very softly. Bill runs. Betrayed by Beauty one last time. When had he lost his jaw? What does it mean? Every person Bill touches becomes a winner. Mortuary guys and Beauty pursue.
Bill leaves a little piece of himself everywhere he goes. No one notices. Ain’t that the way? Beauty heads him off, a shotgun in her hands. Mortuary guys block him in on the other side. Beauty fires with a cool, graceful gesture.
And hits mortuary dude #1 in the chest with a round of rock salt. Ringing bells. Flashing lights. No one notices. Bill and Beauty run, but he leaves a trail of flesh pieces behind. Invisible man. No one cares. Bill plays a final round of poker with his left foot. And wins. No one cares.
Mortuary dude #2 catches up with Bill and drops the net over him as he tasers the betraying and bewitching Beauty.
Bill falls apart and his eye rolls long the floor until it finally stops. He wonders when he first started to come apart and how. Endless night approaches.
Thank you, thank you. I keep expecting a phone call from The New Yorker demanding the right to buy and publish it. Annnnny day now. *crickets*
Here’s a brief excerpt from my story, “The Horror in the Living Room” from the Daw anthology, The Trouble with Heroes, a tale about H.P. Lovecraft, his housekeeper, and an unexpected and tentacled guest.
Augusta strode down the portrait-lined hall, her steps muffled by the thick Persian carpet. The stench from the living room grew worse with each stride. Augusta’s eyes stung and watered. She pulled her handkerchief from her apron pocket, but before she could blot up the tears, she halted at the living room’s mouth and stared. The handkerchief fell from her fingers.
A sigil or Elder sign or some other damned thing that would require lots of elbow grease and scrubbing to clean had been etched into the carpet with what she suspected was the last of her flour. Candles positioned along the sigil’s edges dribbled wax onto the flour, adding the scent of beeswax to the sulfur stench curling through the room like a ghastly yellow fog.
Lovecraft sat in his over-stuffed easy chair, a notebook in his lap, a pen in his gloved hand. A leather raincoat protected his shirt and trousers from ichor, goggles his eyes. But nothing protected the room. The walls, ceiling, plush velvet sofa, and carpet were spattered with a greenish-black spray of gore. And so, of course, was the easy chair.
“Dear God,” Augusta whispered.
Ichor trickled down Lovecraft’s thin cheeks, dripped from his chin. He pushed the goggles to the top of his head and smiled. “I am fine, Mrs. Howard,” he said. “I managed to transcribe the creature’s story before consigning it to oblivion.”
“I just cleaned in here!”
Lovecraft pushed up from the easy chair and stripped off his gloves. Dropped them onto the carpet. “Is supper nearly ready? I’ve worked up quite an appetite.”
Augusta could only nod.
“Then I shall wash up,” Lovecraft said, combing his fingers through his hair. “I would appreciate it if you could tidy things a bit before the Thing Beyond Description arrives.” His warm smile was so genuine and boyish, Augusta could only nod once again. “Mrs. Howard, you’re a gem!” He peeled off his raincoat and then bounded away towards the bathroom.
Bending, Augusta picked up her handkerchief, then blew out the candles. She straightened and regarded the mess. She had asked Mr. Lovecraft several times to confine his work to a room dedicated to that purpose. He’d nodded, then swept a hand through the air.
“I have,” he said. “My work encompasses my life, so everything in my life is a part of my work.”
Since then, Augusta had decided that Lovecraft’s wife had fled to a sanitarium in order to keep her sanity, not because she had lost it. Sweeping up spare tentacles and the odd eyelid tended to make one’s sanity a tad loose.
Lovecraft’s work was necessary, yes; he was quietly saving mankind from tentacled doom. But, really, how hard was it to pick up after oneself?
Of course, hilarity and madness and (more) tentacles ensue.
I have a humorous story in the works about a female serial killer, a handsome mad scientist and an infatuated pigeon. I’m still expecting a call from The New Yorker any day now eager to nab early rights. *damned crickets*
Thanks for joining me here at Paranormal Haven (home of the droolicious eye candy!) I’d love to hear your fav snappy comebacks, quips, or snarky banter.