Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

The corpse lay sprawled on the floor of the supply room of the We’re It Advertising Agency, his legs splayed out between a pile of FedEx toadenvelopes and packages of toner. A limp, pale arm draped over the fax machine. His co-workers crowded in the doorway in freaked-out silence.

Lieutenant Bill Sawyer knelt beside the body and peered into the dead man’s face. Sawyer, late 30s, dark blond hair, looked like Clint Eastwood with dimples. His partner, Tony Purcell, tall and wiry, guarded the door. The dead man, Rory Corbett, was young — late 20s — and rather bland-looking, as if his features had been molded from a Ken doll from 1955, albeit one with bulging eyes and blue lips.

Sawyer bent close to get a look at Rory’s mouth. “Who found him?” he asked.

Rory’s co-workers looked at each other. A pretty Latina woman said loudly, “I did.” Everyone turned to look at her.

Suddenly a deep, throaty sound emerged from the dead man’s mouth. “Rrrriiidddiiit.”

Sawyer jumped, and his audience gasped in stereo.

“Rrrriiidddiiit.”

“What the hell? Sawyer felt for a pulse, pried open the man’s eyelids, noted the blue-tinged lips. He was definitely dead, all right. A corpse doing frog impersonations? Sawyer pulled the man’s jaw down and pressed his protruding tongue against his bottom teeth with a wooden stick.
“Rrrriiidddiiiit.” Something leaped out of the dead man’s throat and landed on the Lieutenant’s face.

“Aaaaaaaarrrggghhhhhh!” Sawyer sputtered, his hands wildly flailing at the croaking object, which flew across the room, hit the wall behind him with a “splat” and dropped onto a pile of post-its. Two of the women and three of the men huddled in the doorway shrieked.

It was a toad, all right. A tree toad, bright green and scaly, with a post-it stuck to one 4-toed foot. “Rrriiiddddiiiit.” The frog hopped around the room distractedly, apparently in shock. Sawyer tried to grab it, but it eluded him. Purcell joined him in pursuit. The Latina woman attempted to grab the creature as it leaped past her.

“No, it’s evidence! Don’t touch it without gloves!” Sawyer shouted at her. She burst into tears. “Sorry,” Sawyer said as he finally managed to capture it, though it nearly slid out of his hand. “Anyone have a paper bag?” he asked.

The woman was still sobbing. “I can’t believe he’s dead,” she sniffed. Sawyer and Purcell both turned to look at her, then at each other.

Someone produced a bag that smelled vaguely of tartar sauce, and Sawyer tossed the creature inside. “Rrriiidddiiit.”

“Where are you taking it?” the sobbing woman asked.

“To the lab to dust it for fingerprints,” Sawyer said.

“Seriously?”

“You never know,” he said.

The coroner’s office arrived and carted away the body, taped the dead man’s silhouette to the rug and slapped police tape on the door. Purcell took everyone’s basic information, and then Sawyer said, “Everyone needs to stay until we’ve talked with you all in more detail.”

He turned to Purcell and motioned to a nearby conference room.

“You can all wait in there with Detective Purcell.” Sawyer looked at a slightly-built man with graying hair. “Why don’t you come with me,” he said. He still carried the paper bag in his hand. “Who are you?”

“La Beef,” the man said in a soft voice. Purcell herded the rest of them to the conference room and shut the door.

Sawyer led the man to a nearby office and motioned him to sit. He settled behind the spacious wooden desk and tossed the toad-bag onto it. It moved slightly. “Have a seat, Mr. La Beef.”

The man sat, his back unusually straight.

“Mr. La Beef, where were you when Rory was found?”

“I was out of the building. I’d just come back from a sales meeting, and I was in the parking lot when I heard Carmelita scream.”

“Was anyone else in the parking lot?”

“I didn’t see anyone,” La Beef said.

“Any reason you know that anyone would want to kill Rory?”

“None whatsoever, Lieutenant. He was a great guy.” He cleared his throat. “Unless it was Mike.”

“Who’s Mike?”

“Mike Washington. He was just passed up for promotion; Rory got it instead.”

“Did he seem angry about that?”

“Kind of.”

“Anything else you can tell me, Mr. La Beef?”

“Don’t think so,” La Beef said.

“All right. You can go for now. And please send in Mr. Washington, if you would.”

A sturdily-built man in his early forties appeared.

“Mr. Washington, come in. Have a seat,” Sawyer said.

Washington sat. He appeared ill-at-ease.

“Nervous, Mr. Washington?” Sawyer said serenely.

Washington wiped his sweaty hands on the arms of the chair. “No, why do you say that?”

Sawyer looked at Washington’s hands, then back up at his face.

“Rrriiidddiiit.”

Washington jumped in the chair. He looked away for a moment, then back at Sawyer. “Look man, I know you’ll probably think I had a reason to be pissed off at him because he got the promotion I was up for, so let me just say right now that I didn’t kill him. I mean, do I think I should have gotten that promotion? Yeah, I do. Especially when he was banging Carmelita in the supply room on company time. But I wouldn’t kill someone for that.”

“What was that about Carmelita?”

“It’s common knowledge,” Washington said.

Sawyer narrowed his eyes at him. “Of course, you’ll probably get the promotion, now that he’s dead,” he mused.

“Damn, I didn’t even think of that,” Washington said.

“Really?”

“Really. Anyway, it’s not the best way to get promoted, is it?”

“I wouldn’t say so,” Sawyer said.

“Can I go now?”

“Not yet. Where were you when he was found?”

“I was in the men’s room.”

“Was anyone in there with you?” Sawyer asked.

“I’m not in the habit of pissing in a pack,” Washington said.

“So you were alone in there?”

“Yep.”

“All right,” Sawyer said.

Washington stood up and turned to leave.

“Mr. Washington.”

Washington sighed. “I know, don’t leave town,” he said.

“I was going to ask you if you can think of anyone who might have wanted Rory dead.”

“Not offhand, no.” He moved toward the door, then stopped. “Unless it was La Beef.”

“Why La Beef?”

“He was doing a presentation to a client a couple of weeks ago, and he screwed it up when Rory made some kind of noise or something. He didn’t do it on purpose, but La Beef lost the client. He seemed pretty pissed off. He’s been really nice to Rory since then, though, and he’s generally a pretty easygoing guy.”

“Well, stick around, I may want to talk with you again. In the meantime, send in Carmelita, if you would.”

“Sure thing.”

A few minutes later, Carmelita appeared.

“Hello, Carmelita,” Sawyer said. “Have a seat.”

She sat.

“So, how well did you know Mr. Corbett?”

“Rrrriiidddiiit.” The bag leaped into the air and hopped around on the desk.

Carmelita burst into tears again. “I’m sorry,” she said. She calmed herself somewhat. “We were screwing. I mean, it was mostly sex, but I’m still sorry he’s dead.” She pulled some Kleenex out of her handbag. “It was really good sex,” she sniffed.

“Okay,” Sawyer said. “Uh, what were you doing before you found him?”

“I was eating,” she replied. Sawyer raised an eyebrow. “Lunch,” she said.

“Why were you going to the supply room?” he asked.

“I needed some paper clips,” she said. He looked at her silently. Carmelita turned and gazed out the window. “All right,” she said. “We sometimes did it in there. I was going to meet him.”

“Rrrriiiidddiiit.” The bag continued to hop around on the desk.

Sawyer ignored it. “Did anyone see you going in there?” he asked.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “We did our best to be discreet.”

“Yeah, not sure you did too well with that,” he said. “What about it, Carmelita? Did you stuff the frog down his throat? Was it a sex-asphyxiation thing?”

Carmelita’s eyes widened. “What??? No!!” she shouted. “No, no, no!”

“You know what I’m talking about, though, don’t you? Have you done something like that with him before? Maybe, trying to make things more exciting, go to the edge?”

“We did it in the supply room in the middle of the workday, when anyone could have come in to refill their tape dispenser. That was on the edge enough, don’t you think?”

“For some people,” he said.

“I didn’t kill Rory, Lieutenant,” she said decisively. “Maybe it was Mike Washington. He was just passed up for the promotion Rory got last week.”

“Rrriiidddiiit.” The bag leaped in front of her face. She blinked.

Sawyer sat and tried to stare her down. She stared back unflinchingly. Finally, he sighed.

“All right, you can go now,” he said. “But we may want to talk with you again, so don’t go anywhere.”

She rose and left the room, slamming the door behind her.

Sawyer talked with the rest of Rory’s co-workers, but no one had anything else particularly revealing to say. He walked down to the conference room and motioned to Purcell. They walked into the office and closed the door. Sawyer briefed him on the interviews.

“So, it could easily be one of those three,” Purcell said. “Unless it was someone else and we missed something. Or someone who came in off the street and did it, but that’s unlikely, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, the building’s pretty secure, and someone would have noticed a stranger in the office,” Sawyer said.

“So, Carmelita. She could have been pissed at him for something. Maybe he was cheating on her, or maybe like you said, it was a sex thing.”

“But a frog?”

Purcell shrugged. “People do some pretty weird shit, man,” he said.

“What about La Beef? He was pissed off at Rory for causing him to mess up, at least at the time. Made some kind of noise, was it? He said he wasn’t mad, but who knows.”

“I’m leaning toward Washington myself,” Purcell said. “Pretty clear motive, if you ask me. Passed up for promotion, then his competitor dies, he maybe gets his job. What do you think?”

Sawyer stared at him. “Oh my God,” he said.

“What?”

“Made some kind of noise. Rory. Messed up La Beef’s presentation because he made some kind of noise. What kind of noise? Cleared his throat, maybe? Coughed? Why do you clear your throat?”

“Phlegm?”

“And what is another way of saying that?”

Purcell stared at him. The light dawned. “He had a frog in his throat,” they said in unison.

“I’m so smart I can’t stand myself sometimes,” Sawyer said.

“Me neither.”

The bag bounced over their heads. “Rrrriiiidddiiit.”

Awhile ago, I had a strange experience when leaving my apartment one morning. The night before, I had had one of those pseudo-heart-attack incidents. You know, when you wake up at three in the morning feeling like an orangutan is sitting on your chest and wonder if you’re actually having a heart attack, or if you should just take a Zantac and go back to bed.

I went over my checklist. Can I get up and move around? Can I take deep yoga breaths? If I’m capable of going through a checklist, does that mean I’m probably not having a heart attack? I did, in fact, end up taking the Zantac and going to sleep.

When I left my apartment the next day, I saw my neighbor unlocking her door. I said hi to her. No response. I saihorrified expressiond hello again, somewhat louder. Still nothing. I passed a woman on the bike path and smiled at her. She didn’t seem to notice me. Then it hit me. Maybe I’m dead. Like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, no one seemed to be able to see or hear me. Maybe it was a heart attack, and I only thought I went back to sleep and woke up the next day. I did, however, remember peeing that morning. Do dead people pee? Wouldn’t Bruce Willis’s character have noticed that he never had to go to the bathroom, and suspected something was amiss? Of course, maybe if I were actually dead, I only imagined peeing, to maintain the illusion. If I were going to imagine stuff, maybe I could imagine having sex with George Clooney. At least that would make it worthwhile.

Needless to say, I was eventually both seen and heard by living people, so I figured I wasn’t dead after all. Unless, of course, we’re all in denial …

My breasts are on borrowed time.menopause

I seem to have so far diverted menopause
(will I develop a penchant for power tools?)
she’ll find me eventually
like an eccentric and often irritating relative
coming to stay for the rest of your life –
unwelcome, perhaps, but inevitable.

But back to my breasts.
Though exercising may delay the droop
I fear I may someday have to buy bigger socks to contain them
swinging at my ankles
boob pendulums (tick tock)

Looking on the bright side
I wouldn’t need my phone or a watch
to keep time

Today has been declared Hire a Slob Day. Employers have agreed to give slobhiring preference to unwashed applicants with stains on their clothes, bedhead and hanging shirttails. The time it will take to get a job offer is inversely proportional to the time that has elapsed since you last took a shower.

The decision to implement this initiative to hire the slovenly has been reached after much debate and a near government shutdown.

Just kidding. Happy April Fool’s Day!

For those of us for whom Hallmark sentiments don’t quite ring true, here is my contribution to Mother’s Day, re-posted from several years back.

1. Have sex with younger men.industrial underwear

2. Have sex.

3. Never buy a plastic rain bonnet.

4. Don’t wear underwear that could be used as an Ace bandage.

5. Occasionally venture outside a 2-mile radius of my house.

6. Refrain from wearing clothing that covers every part of my body that looks imperfect.

7. Don’t buy generic ice cream.

8. Never use the phrase, “in my day … ”

9. Don’t buy a cabinet and keep figurines of cute animals in it.

10. Never say to a friend in a restaurant, “I can’t eat anything on the menu, but it’s okay — I’ll eat when I get home.”

 

Explode, a comedy thriller. Spontaneous human combustion, or murder? 

With the Oscars coming up, I’ve been going to see as many Best Picture nominees as I can squeeze into my weekends.   film director

Here’s some haiku for a few of them. If you’re not familiar with haiku, it’s a form of poetry consisting of 3 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 syllables in the second.

Les Mis — lovesick girl
The guy’s into someone else
Get a clue — move on

Silver Lining plot:
Bradley Cooper runs amok
Finds girl, settles down

Lincoln — such a mensch
Wish I could go back in time
And, well — you can guess

Zero Dark Thirty
It’s hard to have a sex life
While waterboarding

Argo — fake movie
Got those people the hell out
Ben with a beard — nice!

With the help of WordPress templates, I’ve restructured, reorganized, rebranded and regurgitated (figuratively speaking) the Laurie’s Job Search Tidbits site. May it rest in peace.

The site is now known as Laurie Holman: Funny Writer, the better to promote my soon-to-be-available-as-an-ebook comedy thriller/mystery, Explode. And also to put more focus on my copywriting and marketing self, as well as my comedy self.

There’s still a plethora (don’t you love that word?) of job search info here (under Topics on the left sidebar). And if you’re a mystery and/or humor fan, I’ll be adding some fun new stuff to the site, so keep an eye out (but please put it back in before you drive. Unless you live in Boston, in which case driving with one eye would probably be to your advantage).

or,

How Many Verizon Employees Does it Take to Connect
a Wire?

Congratulations, Verizon. I know you’re honored to receive this award. In case you don’t know how you happened to be chosen, allow me to tell you my story.

I finally made it into the millennium and got a smartphone, which is infinitely smarter than your customer service people seem to be. I canceled my landline service, with corresponding re-routing of the internet service on my laptop to “dry loop” (does that mean the wires on a phone connected to the internet are “wet loop?” Sounds kinda risky to me). This re-routing process, as the customer service rep who took the information (and at least five subsequent tech support reps) informed me, is supposed to happen automatically with no interruption in internet service. Which it did, if “no interruption” can be defined as “bit the dust for eight days with thirteen (literally; I counted) hour-long phone calls to Verizon in vain attempts to fix the problem, with the complete impossibility of speaking with the same person twice.”

Every day on the phone (often after more than twenty minutes to even find my account in the system), it was like the calls before never happened, and I had to start from scratch every time, like in “Groundhog Day.” “Put on your booties, ‘cuz it’s cold outside —it’s Verizon Clusterf*ck Day!”

The highlight was the day when, after ten calls and twenty minutes of waiting for the twit on the other end of the phone to find me in the system, he finally came back on the line and said, “So what’s the problem again?”

“Okay,” I said. “I think I need to hang up now, because I’m going to lose it.” I put the phone down and hollered into the sink.

When I finally spoke with a supervisor who at last seemed to figure out what the problem was (my internet service was apparently still connected with the landline phone number that no longer existed, and a missing wire also seemed to be involved), he promised that my service would be back up the next day. It wasn’t. Since he actually told me his last name and location, I tried to contact him to see what happened, figuring I might have better luck with someone who at least seemed to have decent critical thinking skills and already knew my situation.

Alas, my efforts to locate this person were in vain. The office he was in, in Andover, Massachusetts, I naively thought would be easy enough to find via Google or Smartpages. But as I soon discovered, Verizon, any actual offices of yours seem to be in an alternate dimension on the time-space continuum, like the island on “Lost.” I know it must be there, but I can’t ever get to it. Perhaps it’s stuck in 1974 before the internet existed.

The 12th call finally yielded an allegedly scheduled visit from tech support the next day, in one of those 4-hour blocks (this is done so that the tech people can catch up on daytime TV in between appointments, without having to stick to an actual schedule). Yes, I said “allegedly scheduled visit.” This is because they didn’t show up. And when I called around 11:15 (call number 13), I found out that, after the 45-minute call the night before, the person I talked to figured out that something needed to be connected in the office (a few brain circuits, perhaps?), so they didn’t need to come out. Of course, no one called to tell me that.

Finally, the supervisor I talked with checked into the Grand Clusterf*ck and, miracle of miracles, got my service back on (thank you, Karen — you were a beacon of light in the depths of the abyss).

Thank you, Verizon, for giving me a few more gray hairs in my eyebrows to pluck. Keep up the good work. If you play your cards right, you’ll torture enough customers to put the company out of business. One can only hope …

Jimmy Stewart meltdown

This is actually re-posted from last year, with additions (I thought of 5 more reasons).

1.   Employers ARE hiring, despite the common misconception that everyone’s in Bermuda.

2.   There’s less competition since a lot of job seekers think everyone’s in Bermuda.

3.   It’ll keep your momentum going, and make it less likely you’ll hop into a bathtub full of water and plug in your electric toothbrush.

4.   All those holiday parties are great opportunities to network. And scarf down free food.

5.   You’ll soon get sick of staring at the TV and watching Jimmy Stewart have a meltdown.

6.   A lot of companies start their fiscal year in January,  so they want to get the newbies in there as soon as all the holiday crap is over.

7.   There’s always the chance a manager could be inspired to hire you while snockered on spiked eggnog.

8.   How many times can you listen to songs about homicidal reindeer?

9.   The hiring manager is more likely to bring you on-board out of holiday spirit despite the embezzlement charges.

10.   Job search can generally be more fun during the holidays, since a lot of people are jollier than usual. Not me, but a lot of people.

 

Check out Explode, a comedy thriller/mystery novel. Spontaneous human combustion, or murder?

Seems like all we hear these days is branding this, branding that. We must brand ourselves, professionally speaking, if we want to be taken seriously. If you’re looking for a job, that goes double for you.

But what happens when we have more than one interest that we’re trying to pursue; different images — sometimes conflicting — that we want to project and promote? Are we splitting ourselves in two? And if so, which self will win??

Yes folks, I myself am suffering from Multiple Branding Disorder. I currently have 3 online selves, sort of: one as Employment Counselor, one as MarCom Writer, and my third alter-ego, Comedy Writer. Since I have a lot of years of experience as a career counselor, I’ve mostly branded myself blogwise as the Employment Counselor/Comedy Writer Combo Pack, with an occasional MarCom Writer snippet thrown in.

But now I’m focusing on a comedy thriller I’m working on (“Explode”), and want to brand myself as both my Comedy Writer self and my MarCom Writer self, since that’s my day-job-career path. I have to re-brand myself and hang out with my comedy-and-mystery-writer Twitter-peeps, rather than my job counselor ones. Plus, some of my comedy stuff is edgier than some job hunters looking for job search advice might think of as, uh, appropriate. Which means I’ll likely lose the folks that are mostly interested in job search advice and don’t give a crap about the comedy. But that’s the way the branding iron sizzles.

Nevertheless, here comes some branding advice for job seekers:

  • The self you most want to focus on at this point is how you should brand yourself.
  • If you have more than one self you want to project, it’s okay if there’s some overlap, unless you’re simultaneously trying to brand yourself as conservative religious Republican and porn star. In which case, good luck to you.
  • If some would-be employers are less than enthusiastic about the you that you’re projecting, then guess what? Those aren’t the right employers for you at this point in your life anyway.
  • Here’s my shameless self-plug: though I’ll mostly be concentrating on my novel, this blog has a plethora of posts already on various job search topics, so feel free to peruse.

 

Check out Explode, a comedy thriller/mystery novel. Spontaneous human combustion, or murder?