“Some writers strive to write the perfect book.
The rest of us are busy writing.”
Here you can view examples of my work through the years, in different forms and genres from movie reviews, to novel writing, to short stories, to character development. Some are examples of different genres, and some are just my favorite pieces.
Life as an artist
Every now and again, something will move me to post about the creative community and freelancing. Here’s an example of the Good the Bad and the Ugly sides of freelance work. -MM
You Are Your Job
This is advice that I am putting out to all people who build their business from home. The internet is a wonderland of opportunity where anyone can sell anything to anyone. But it’s also bigger than you think and it never forgets you. What self-starter people need to realize is:
YOU ARE YOUR JOB.
Most people in the 9-to-6 world out there? They get to go home. They get to leave their place of work and go home and the job stays there.
You don’t get to do that.
Most jobs are manned by hundreds and thousands of people. They’re protected and shielded from being singled out because they’re just one ant in a colony. So what if they say something or do something on the internet? It’s not like anyone’s going to connect them to their place of work. And most times they’re right.
You don’t get to do that either.
Because you are your job.
So what baffles me is going online and seeing young independent businessmen and businesswomen go onto the internet and act like spoiled children. They bully, they libel, they slander, they harass and generally act out to get attention or vent frustration online. They do this under their own names, and in full view of their potential customers.
And then they wonder.
They wonder why they didn’t win a competition. They wonder why they didn’t get commission work. They wonder why they didn’t get into a convention.
And then they continue to complain, whine, and bully.
Well maybe it’s because they not only ruined their personal reputation, but because they ruined their company’s reputation too. They messed up because they never thought it would affect their business life and they’re shocked when it does. It always does.
Because you are your job.
And that’s hard! There’s been so many times when I’ve wanted to take someone down a peg, where I’ve wanted write a rant that “it isn’t fair,” where I’ve wanted to complain about a really hard customer I’ve had. I understand that. It happens to us all.
But I can’t talk about it online.
That group I’m making fun of? One might be a client, and they’re having second thoughts about recommending me to their friends.
That convention I’m whining about? Their chair is reading every word and deciding to never work with me again.
That more-famous artist I’m denouncing? They might have been planning a collaboration with me and now they’re deciding I’m not worth their time.
I am my job.
Which means when people have a problem with me, it affects my job. I don’t get to hide behind the anonymity of someone who works at J.C. Penny’s or Starbucks. I don’t get to act like a bitch to people and not have it follow me home. I work at home.
So if you’re an indie businessperson trying to get a leg up? It’s time to wise up. It’s time to be cautious, always take the upper hand, and to walk away from the keyboard when angry. It’s time to second-guess yourself, and never let your emotions get the better of you, and to never let your despair lead you to prejudice and hate. Most of all, it’s time to stop acting like a spoiled child with a grudge.
You’re in the business world now. Act like it.
Our jobs are fun, creative, and sometimes even rewarding (if we’re lucky), but with it, we lose that ability to take off the mask.
You are your job and you can never NOT be your job.
Are you ready to deal with those consequences?
If not, then maybe—just maybe—you shouldn’t post that.
What Flavor is Your Fantasy?
So the number one thing I’ve been asked about Paracelos in the Linus Saga, particularly about Runs In Good Condition is, “How come your fantasy isn’t so fantasy?” Which probably means, “why isn’t it set in the medieval/renaissance period?”
Now, I for one think that the rule with fantasy genre is “my world my rules,” which is why I have 1930’s union turmoil, pop stars, working women, and chainmail all in the same world. Despite these “anachronisms” (if that word even applies) I still wanted to give everything a unified theme so about 80% of my world is based off of Regency Period England (Late 18th cen. Early 19th cen.) a.k.a. Jane Austen’s time period.
Why? Because I wanted Elves dressed like Mr. Darcy.
I’m sure there was more to that decision, but I’m drawing a blank. I think if there was anything else, it was because I wanted something a little different from the usual Camelot crossed with a Renn faire vibe, and I was already very interested in researching the late Georgian period anyway.
I found a great site to do my research; most of it came from janeausten.co.uk . This is a site dedicated the life, times, and historical sites in Jane Austen’s life and in her novels. There’s ton(ne?)s of articles on the Regency period: what they wore, what they ate, how they entertained themselves, and how they behaved. In the articles I got a lot of inspiration for scenes and items that were featured in my books.
Not surprisingly, Linus and his family’s clothes were close adaptations of regency fashion, down to the cravat and black dance slippers.
The scene were Linus gives Deirdre a cameo necklace is based off a popular jewelry craze in the Georgian period.
And then there are just some crazy coincidences. I had already written a passage about Linus making a ton of raspberry vinegar punch. That idea came one hot day when I had gotten a free sample of raspberry vinegar punch at a Korean market. It was only later when I was looking up recipes (there are some great recipes on janeausten.co.uk!) that I found an article about how raspberry vinegar punch was all the rage in the late Georgian period!
I love doing research like this. It’s one of my most favorite things about being a writer!
For people who are interested in creating their own world, I have this advice: Be original. Don’t try to make another Middle Earth or Pern or Prydain, but for all that: pick a time and pick a place. Find out what they wore and why, what they ate and why, how they worked, how they played, how they loved. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, and feel free to mess it up and get your hands dirty, but it’s a great jumping off point for creating a fleshed out, 3-demensional world that feels real.
And have fun with it! If you’re having fun, chances are we’ll have fun reading it!
So until next post, Happy hot chocolate and syllabub, and don’t get your pink tights in a twist!
Who’s Kevin McRealguy
A while ago I had this conversation on Facebook:
It was funny enough at first, and I got something like an unprecedented 65 responses, all in the vein of silly names. It was a lot of fun, but in the end it made me very depressed. I kept thinking about what might of happened if I HAD been a male writing Fantasy instead of a woman.
First of all, this discussion popped up after a fellow writer Emma Newman had done a large initiative towards Waterstones books after they published a sort of “Dummy’s Guide to Fantasy Authors” which featured predominately white male authors. I’m usually pretty much in the dark about this kind of bias. I grew up with brothers, most of my friends growing up were guys, and so on, so I usually think of myself as “one of the guys.” I’d toyed with the idea of a pen name or doing the ‘initial thing’ early on, but decided not to because I naively thought that it wouldn’t matter. “No one is going to care, right?”
It’s only when I see the surprise on people’s face when I tell them I’m an author and the genre is NOT romance or erotica that it hits home. It hits home further when I see people stop at my table to look at my books or comics, only to see that I’m the author/artist and then put it down with a sneer (ouch).
It’s disheartening and annoying to think that people aren’t judging my books by what I wrote in them. Instead they’re judging me and something I can’t control.
I know, I know. Total pity-party time. “Cry me river. Ever think it’s because you just suck and it’s nothing to do with your gender?”
It’s possible. But thanks to the common myth that “women can’t/don’t write Fantasy,” I’m not sure I’ll ever know for sure which it is. I have no “control group.” Unless I were to engage in some rom-com worthy gender-bending disguise antic that would fool the world into thinking I’m a male writer only to have it backfire on me with hilarious results and teaching the world a lesson about gender equality. And then we all have pie and coffee.
Seriously, though, I’m half considering showing up at my next con looking like this:
A Guide to Mayhem
The Guild Guides
In 2011, my fellow Tangent Artists and I were coming home from a trip to Ohio. It was a 7 hour journey and we were late into the wee small hours. Our driver Rachael asked my brother and co-writer Dave to start telling jokes, ANY jokes, to keep her awake. We started out with Yo-Mamma jokes, which quickly turned into Dungeons and Dragons jokes, and then went on to Short Jokes for Hobbits and What-do-you-call jokes, all Dungeons and Dragons themed. An hour in, Dave had pulled out his laptop and started writing them down. When we were done we had about 50 pages of jokes and insults. We refined it, added a short-story, and published it as The Handbook for Saucy Bards. We had no idea it would become the smash hit it remains today. Since then we’ve expanded our offerings with The Cleric’s Guide to Smiting, The Thieves Book (Steal This Tome), and How Not to Die in the Woods like an Idiot.
The Thieves Book: Steal this Tome
This book involved a lot of research into the history of trickery, scams, precious gems/metals and poisons. My favorite discovery is that we actually found out what the “oldest trick in the book” was. The narrator is a retired watchmen writing about how to avoid thieves. Stolen and vandalized by a young thief, it turns from a “how not to” book into a “how to” book. -MM
LIST OF CONFIDENCE TRICKS
In this section I will outline some of the tricks and skills confidence tricksters employ. Their victims are commonly referred to as “marks”, “rubes”, “pigeons,” “sheep,” or “barbarians”. The word “mark” comes from the practice of “marking” a potential victim (someone with more money than brains) with chalk powder, soot, sawdust, or any other easy-at-hand substance that rubs away and could be an “honest mistake” if caught.
Thimblerig: This is a simple scam found on any street corner. A stone or nut is hidden underneath one of three identical cups/shells/thimbles, and shuffled vigorously by the rogue. The mark is then asked to lay down a few coppers to guess which one hides the stone. The mark is allowed to “win” a few times just to give him a false sense of security. Then the rogue will try to get the mark to put down a larger wager, “to make things interesting, since you’re so good at this, guv.” This time the rogue palms the rock so the mark can’t win. Replacing the rock to show the mark where the “real” winner was.
Sometimes an accomplice is used to distract the mark if he seems too perceptive. The trickster might even toss a few coppers to the mark after losing “for being a good sport” to keep the heat off of him, and the mark in a good mood.
A playing card version of this is “Find the Lady” or “Ten Card Shimmy” and is played with marked cards and slight of hand.
Pig in the Poke: This scam has many variations but is named after quite possibly the oldest confidence trick in the books. In the original version, a rogue claims to have stolen a the pig in his sack (or “poke”) He needs to get rid of it quickly and offers a price far below market value. The rogue makes the sale and runs off before the mark can open the sack. Upon opening the sack, the mark finds not a succulent dead pig but a dead cat. Of course, the victim is forced to remain mum, since he’ll be loath to admit to buying stolen goods.
The scheme is spoiled if the bag is opened for inspection, which is the origin of the phrase, “letting the cat out of the bag.” The rogue could also claim that the dead cat was a dead rabbit, as the two animals are harder to discern when they’re both skinned (giving the rogue extra time to sneak away.)
The name has expanded to any con in which the rogue uses trickery to sell an item of little or no worth. This includes painting an old wagon to sell it as “new,” filing a horse’s teeth down to make it look younger (called “bishoping,”) and good old forgery. If the con artist is skilled at sleight of hand, it’s possible for the thief to present a genuine valuable, and then switch it out at the last minute, such as swapping a diamond ring with a cut-glass one.
THE ART OF THE LIE
As members of the Watch we are accustomed to meet those citizens that may not wish to share their life story with us, nor even tell us the truth. Shocking, I know, but those of low station tend to keep their nefarious schemes hidden from the light of day. I’ve learned the following tells over many years of investigative questioning. Keep a watch for these signs:
*Using formal stilted language to be taken more seriously/ have more gravity:
“Didn’t, ain’t, wouldn’t, y’oughtn’th’ve’d” replaced with “Did not, am not, would not, you ought not to have had,” etc.
*Distancing Language like “that,” implying that people and places and acts were done far away and by other people. “I’ve never been to that aquarium.” “I never stole that man’s octopus.” “That octopus reseller is unknown to me.”
*Repeating the Question: “What was I doing in that bear-worshiping druid brothel you say?” Liars do this to buy time to think of more excuses.
*Giving too much detail: “I was getting my pink shirt laundered at Mr. Hung-Drii’s Laundry as I do every Tuesday when I have choir rehearsal at St. Trowbridge of Ee’s Temple…” Liars will have elaborate excuses with little relevant information. To catch a true liar, ask him to repeat the events in reverse order and watch that rehearsed story collapse.
*Being too helpful: “Maybe it was the Bully Boys what done it. I think I might have overheard them planning it…” Liars will be friendly and “willing to help” often naming possible subjects and coming up with alternate theories for what happened.
*Altered speech: Most people in a genuine panic will have higher voices, but a liar trying to appear honest will lower their tone to sound more trustworthy. They will also be louder and speak faster.
How Not to Die in the Woods Like an Idiot: A Ranger’s Instructional
These are selected excerpts from “How Not to Die in the Woods Like an Idiot: a Ranger’s Instructional,” a parody on a Fantasy role-playing guidebook. The narrator is the main character of my novel “Must Love Dragons” and my comic, “CRIT!” the irascible Linus Weedwhacker. His salty narration and general distrust of the reader makes this offering a “Scout handbook from hell” as he describes all of the ways Nature will kill you and laugh at your corpse. I had fun researching wilderness survival, trail cooking, and herbology along the way. Published 2016 by Tangent Artists. -MM
Nature can kill you.
I was asked to assemble this series of instructional tips for woodland survival at the behest of the Rangers Union in an attempt to combat the drastic spike in casualties amongst the new recruits. This is because all the young kids signing up to be rangers today are star-gazing, tree-hugging, guitar-playing, flower children, laboring under these stupid delusions:
1) Fuzzy creatures are their friends.
2) Any conflict can be solved with talking or a song.
3) If it’s ‘natural,’ then it must be good for you.
This has led to some unwanted attention directed at the Union due to media coverage of a slew of deaths from rabies, tetanus, dismemberment, poisoning, badgers, and other completely preventable causes.
It’s time to wake up. Rangers who think Nature is all ladybugs and daisies and singing ‘tra-la-lally’ are doomed to short careers. Only the best rangers realize that Nature is a spider-slinging, poison-dripping, man-slaughtering bitch-goddess and they don’t trust her one bit.
Therefore, (my editors have informed me that I use “so” too often—nosy parkers!) enjoy this treatise on the many ways that Nature can tear you a new one and maybe you’ll be a little more prepared when entering into a world more dangerous than any battlefield. Maybe you’ll even make the smarter decision and decide that being a ranger is not for you and maybe you should just stick to growing your window-box herbs and trying to speak to your cat, (See Future Wolf Press Publication, “Druids: Doing it with Animals.”)
Either way, I implore you to read this book so that you can learn that rangering is more than “just a walk in the woods.”
~Linus Weedwhacker, Ranger
You will need to pack food on your trip. Never assume you’ll be able to find everything you want in the woods. The woods are not a grocery store that stocks its shelves regularly and sometimes, for one reason or another, you can go days without catching any meat or finding edible plants. You never want to find yourself in that situation so always be prepared and stock up. Also, know how long your food will stay good and plan accordingly.
Your food should have two qualities: 1) It should keep, preferably in a few different environments. 2) it should be chock full of at least one of the three essential things: protein, sugars, and/or fats.
PROTEIN: It keeps your muscles going for long periods of time and helps your body repair itself after injuries. EX: smoked/dried meat, nuts, beans and dried mushrooms.
SUGARS: Starchy or sweet stuff that gives you quick bursts of energy until the protein takes over for the long haul. EX: dried fruit, dried berries, flours, potatoes and other tubers/roots, honey, and (of course) sugar and hard candy.
FATS: Helps you absorb the good stuff from the sugars and protein, provides vitamins and keeps you warm. This can be found in many meats already, but also can be found in nuts, seeds, oils, and butter. The latter two is ill advised since they go rancid quickly. I always keep a good supply of salted pork belly to act as fat for cooking.
I would also like to add “FIBER” as the fourth overlooked step-child of this family, because you never appreciate something until you can’t get any. Fiber is good. Helps you poo. Laugh now; you won’t be laughing later because it’ll tear something.
Seeds, nuts, cereals, and leafy plants (soil food) are good sources of fiber if you’ve been on salt pork and pancakes for too long.
Most people additionally have a good supply of the following with them.
SALT: VITAL TO SURVIVAL. Keeps water in you, regulates blood pressure, makes bad food edible, drives off evil spirits.
GARLIC: I sing this bulb’s praises. Makes food edible, makes good food fantastic. But did you know, it can kill bacteria inside and out, get rid of stomach worms, stave off chest-complaints colds and flus, prevent gout and scurvy, and just generally keeps things ticking. Bonus: it keeps away vampires… and other people.
MUSTARD SEED: Another spice that makes food tasty and can act as a medicine when used as a chest poultice.
TEA/COFFEE: You’re either one or the other or you’re both, but gods know you need it and it’s something to get you going or to calm you down. Either way, if you need it, bring it. It sure beats leaving it home. Not a substitute for water!
MINT: Another useful flavoring, this one also keeps mice away from your pack and insects away from your skin. Add fresh leaves to water if you’re not absorbing enough.
WATER: Love it or hate it, you need it. Get used to it. Water owns you. Always keep two flasks or skins on you and refill them as often as you can. Get really paranoid about it. High protein diets need a lot of water to keep them running. Boil all water that doesn’t come from a reputable source, or better yet, have a wizard or cleric that can draw purified water from the air or stream. If you’re going to be saddled with a bookish twit, make him useful. Also see chapter on water safety.
The last thing to add is have a treat or two in your bag (one that will keep well, of course). It’s good for morale and it’s something to keep you going when you’re feeling down. At the most you can always tell yourself, “at least I have that barley sugar candy to look forward to.”
Are you scared yet?
Carpe Scream: An Experiment in Terror.
After writing a horror comic for Tangent Artist for 9 years, I was acutely aware of something: I was terrified of horror movies. How then was I supposed to accurately portray the nuances of the genre in my comic? A friend challenged me just before October 2014 to watch a horror movie every day in October and write up a quick report, and Carpe Scream was born. I didn’t always manage every day, and these days I can’t watch horror with the kids at home, but it gave me my love of horror films and of analyzing them.
Today’s another kids’ movie night so I’m reviewing “Monster House.” (2006, Sony Pictures)
First off, I have to confess that, kids’ movie or not, there were elements of this that were pretty dang scary, not least of which is that the movie’s story, execution, and even film and color palette are very reminiscent of old 80’s slasher movies. The movie is obviously set in the early 80’s and with a touch of Spielberg and Zemeckis (co-producers) over the whole, this has a very Halloween meets Goonies meets E.T. feel to it.
There’s a visceral grittiness to the characters and dialogue that feels unscripted and anxious, making it scarier and more grimdark than your usual fluffy kiddy fare, very much on purpose. It’s solely for the purpose of making the viewers of ALL ages feel like the kid protagonists. We are transported back in time to when our parents wouldn’t believe us, when our hormones were turned against us, when we were slowly becoming aware that real evil existed in the world, not just in our books and movies. It’s a very helpless feeling, and this movie cashes in on making the viewer feel vulnerable and alone.
No punches are pulled either. The evil’s origin story is as dark as you can get for a kids’ movie. This is not a movie for the real young’uns. This one is for the kids who think, “maybe I’m too old to dress up this year.”
At last! At last! Pumpkin-head was on streaming this year! It’s so rare that I get to see the first movie in a series listed. This guy was on Amazon Prime Streaming, so I dove in while the getting was good.
Pumpkinhead is the directorial Debut of Special Effects wizard Stan Winston (the guy behind Edward Scissorhands, Batman 1&2, Predator, and Terminator2). I was already a huge fan, having followed the Stan Winston School on Facebook and drooling at all the courses I wish I could take. And, I mean, you can tell. Just check that monster out: GORGEOUS.
This movie deals with a theme, which is very much a REAL fear of mine: the loss of a child. That’s one that always punches me in the gut as a parent, and is ten times more terrifying than zombies or werewolves. Pet Sematary is on my list for that reason too. (shudder).
So the whole thing kicks off when Big Daddy Ed loses his little guy, only reminder of his wife, etc. Who’s to blame? GEN-X’ERS. So death to them. He seeks out the help of a witch named Haggis. I’M NOT KIDDING.
Haggis helps him summon the demon of vengeance named “Pumpkinhead” to kill everyone who was within spitting distance of his son when ONE GUY ran him over on a dirt bike. Yeah, I’d be that mad too. Anyway, things go about as you’d expect. Overall it was a lovely bit of dark fantasy, with a familiar ring of the old fairytales of dark magic and evil servants whose help comes with a price. I was blown away by Winston’s special effects and makeup. Nothing like a Monster they actually SHOW in glorious detail so you can marvel at the sculpt every time he’s on screen. Just wow.
wake up and make the money
Oftentimes I’m asked to promote myself to conventions and other blogs to plug my books and comics and lectures.
CRIT! A Tangent Artists Webcomic
CRIT! follows the hilarious fantasy adventures of Linus Weedwhacker (cynical ranger, chain-smoker and all-around smartass) and his younger optimistic teammates, “The Pointy Party.” Screwball antics ensue as Linus discovers that far more terrifying than the kobolds and dragons are the n00bs and the side-quest-dispensing loonies. Cram-jammed with laughs, this comic is for the hardened fantasy fan or those who’ve just picked up their first D20.
The Thieves Book: Steal This Tome
Tangent Artists is pleased to present this third offering in the Guild Guide series, “The Thieves’ Book: Steal This Tome.” This book is presented as a policeman’s instructional, vandalized by a young thief and republished as his own work. Bart, infamous elven rogue, shares many of the tricks of the dark trade, such as confidence scams, disguises, alibis, lockpicking, common poisons, hideouts, and a surplus of additional topics. It also includes the hilarious short story “Lipstick and Rogue” by Monica Marier (featuring characters from the web comic CRIT!). If you loved the Handbook for Saucy Bards and the Cleric’s Guide to Smiting, you’ll enjoy the same snappy writing, irreverent humor, and (of course) a gripping short story featuring the cast of CRIT!
We’ll be hosting a book-launch tea-party at Ravencon with snacks, prizes, tea, and a reading with silly voices.
Must Love Dragons
(this is the trailer for the upcoming Kickstarter for my novel Must Love Dragons.)
In a world of dragons, wizards, and magic, lived a simple ranger who just wanted to get paid. Linus Weedwacker is out of retirement and ready to slay some monsters. If only he wasn’t stuck with a party of…
Will they becomes legends? Or will they become lunch? Kobolds and dragons can be fought with the sword but what weapon is powerful against a corrupt union?
From novelist Monica Marier, Author of “CRIT!” “Skeleton Crew” and the “Handbook for Saucy Bards,” comes a new comedic fantasy novel where the mentor is the hero…Whether he likes it or not.
Tangent Artists Presents MUST LOVE DRAGONS
He said she said…
Over my 15+ years at Tangent Artists I’ve written many scripts for Tangent Artists comics. These excerpts are examples of my script work. The notes are a bit sparse but I’m also the one doing the artwork, so any notes are reminders for things I want to remember later.
“Never Mind the Ballocks”
This script is for Issue 7 of CRIT! My Swords & Sorcery comic about a grumpy Ranger coming out of retirement and getting stuck with a party of young pups. In this scene, the party is looking for a temple that can bless Linus’s cursed dagger.
[Street Sign: TEMPLE ROW. Wide Shot of garish buildings on a bustling street.]
Morf: That’s a lot of temples.
Kiyana: Which deity do you pray to?
Linus: To be honest, I’m not that religious. I have no idea where my wife drags our family every holy day.
Morf: Don’t they mention it during the service?
Linus: I can’t hear the hierophant, I spend most of the time yelling at my kids.
[we see a flashback of Linus dressed in a green coat and cravat, he gets more red-faced and frustrated with every comment. Children are off-camera]
Flashback Linus: Stop playing with the kneelers. Leave the hymnal alone. Get your baby sister’s clothes on and get her out of that font! STOP PLAYING WITH THE DAMN KNEELERS!!
[Morf points to an information kiosk full of brochures and leaflets]
Morf: Well, let’s see what temples are here.
Kiyana: [grabs an armfull of brochures] Yay! Research!!!
[the party starts holding up brochures from various temples]
Morf: How about Chuggett, Dwarven God of Beer
LINUS: I’m on the wagon, remember?
Kiyana: Pretensia, Eleven Goddess of Good Manners.
Linus: $#@ That.
Bart: Aida MacMuffin, Halfling Goddess of Breakfast.
Linus: I think they stop service after 11 am.
Kiyana: Paradoxiquotl, God of Atheism.
All : . . .
Morf: They have a temple?
Kiyana: I think it doesn’t exist.
Linus: That just makes my head hurt.
Kiyana: Oooh, they have my favorite, Saloneth! Goddess of wisdom!
[Kiyana’s brochure a big greek looking affair covered in owls, and friezes and fountains. People in White tunics and robes. Lion statues. The brochure is, like, 40 pages. ]
KIYANA: And they have a bookstore in the narthax!
LINUS: Nothing where I need to read the manual first, thanks.
QUINCE: I see a druid of my order!
KIYANA: Mamau the Earth Goddess?
QUINCE: Uh-huh, look!
[points to a bag lady in a gazebo feeding winged raccoons.]
LINUS: [exasperated] Quince, that’s a homeless person not a priestess.
BAGLADY: I can be both!
BART: Can you bless an evil dagger?
BAGLADY: I’ll bless anything if’n you got a corndog!
LINUS: (offscreen) HARD. PASS.
My Big Fat Greek Oracle
This light-hearted script is from Issue 10 of my supernatural comedy, Skeleton Crew where the gang goes to investigate the site of the Delphic Oracle in their quest for restoration. Premise: Amonanda (a reanimated Egyptian mummy) attends Maria’s (Human) presentation on The Axis Mundi a mysterious link between worlds. Zomboy (a zombie), BoneJack (a skeleton), Shelly (a frankensteinian construct), and Weston ( a vampire) also hope along with Amonanda that the Axis Mundi holds the secret to restoring their lives. The Skeleton Crew format is all caps with the names in bold.
[MARIA AND DUNSTAN GOING OVER NOTES IN HIS ROOM. DUNSTAN IS SEATED IN BED AND BARE-CHESTED WITH BLOODY GAUZE TAPED OVER HIS BULLET WOUNDS. HIS ARM IS IN A SLING. MARIA’S HOLDING UP A BOTTLE OF ENSURE WITH A DRINKING STRAW.]
[AMONANDA BURSTS IN THROUGH THE DOOR.]
AMONANDA: OKAY, THE PARTY IS OVER.
DUNSTAN: (WHEEZES) YEAH, LOOK AT ME HAVING A PARTY OVER HERE.
AMONANDA: YOU PROMISED ME THAT YOU KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT THE AXIS MUNDI AND ITS LOCATION. THAT WAS OVER A WEEK AGO AND WE HAVE DONE NOTHING! I’M TIRED OF VISITING THIS ROACH MOTEL TO FIND YOU GROOVY GHOULIES JUST SITTING THERE WATCHING CARTOONS! YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR ASSES AND GO FIND THE AXIS MUNDI SO WE CAN ALL RETURN TO OUR NORMAL AIR-BREATHING SELVES!
MARIA: WELL, WE WERE JUST ABOUT TO HAVE A MEETING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW.
ZOMBOY: [SETTING UP WHITEBOARD ON DUSNTAN’S DRESSER] DIDN’T YOU GET THE MEMO?
AMONANDA: WHAT MEMO? I DON’T LIVE HERE, TURKEY!
ZOMBOY: I PUT IT ON THE FRIDGE. I FIGURED EVERYONE WOULD SEE IT THERE.
AMONANDA: I DON’T EAT FOOD! MY STOMACH IS IN A JAR IN A MUSEUM!
MARIA: SO… SINCE YOU’RE HERE, (SIGH) YOU CAN TAKE A SEAT, AND JOIN US…
AMONANDA: [DEFLATED] OH… WELL… FINE! I’LL JUST DO THAT.
[AMONANDA SITS IN A FOLDING CHAIR]
[BONEJACK BRINGS IN THE TELEVISION SET]
MARIA: BONEJACK! YOU BROUGHT THE TV UP FOR DUNSTAN? THAT’S SO NICE OF YOU, LIKE… UNPRECEDENTED!
BJ: DUNSTAN? NO, I’M BRINGING THIS UP HERE FOR ME. IF I GOT LISTEN TO YOU FOR 20 MINUTES I’M GOING TO NEED SOME DISTRACTION.
[MARIA DECIDES TO IGNORE HIM]
MARIA: SO, I MADE A BASIC RUN-DOWN…
MARIA: [DEFEATED GRIN] AND ZOMBOY’S GOING TO MAKE PICTURES.
ZOMBOY: [EXCITED] I GOT FIVE COLORS OF MARKERS!!
MARIA: SO, I’VE SPENT THE LAST FEW WEEKS DECIPHERING MY DAD’S NOTES, AND I THINK I’VE FINALLY FIGURED THEM OUT. I DON’T HAVE MANY NOTES FROM BEFORE YOU NEWER GUYS CAME ON BOARD [POINTS TO Z & W]. IT SEEMS LIKE MY DAD AND HIS OLD COLLEGE BUDDIES JUST WENT AROUND THE WORLD, BLINDLY RUSHING AT EVERY CREEPY THING THEY COULD FIND. NO OFFENSE, DUNSTAN.
DUNSTAN: NO, THAT’S PRETTY ACCURATE.
MARIA: HOWEVER, AROUND ’96 HE STARTED RESEARCHING ONE SPECIFIC THING; THE AXIS MUNDI. DID HE EVER MENTION IT TO ANY OF YOU?
OTHERS: [VARIATIONS ON “NO, NOT REALLY.”]
MARIA: ACCORDING TO THE GREEK MYTH, THE TROJAN PRINCESS CASSANDRA RECEIVED A VISION OF TWO BIRDS TRAVELLING FROM OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE EARTH. THE GODS PLACED A STONE WHERE THE TWO BIRDS MET TO MARK THE GATEWAY BETWEEN WORLDS. THIS IS THE AXIS MUNDI, OR THE OMPHALOS- LITERALLY, THE “WORLD NAVEL.”
ZOMBOY: IF WE’RE LOOKING FOR THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, DO WE KNOW IF IT’S AN INNIE OR AN OUTIE?
[ZOMBOY AWAITS LAUGHTER BUT IS GREETED BTY DEAD SILENCE]
SHELLY: IF THERE’S A STONE, I GUESS IT’S AN OUTIE…
ZOMBOY: YOU SEE IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE…
MARIA: [TRYING TO IGNORE ZOMBOY] SEE, MY DAD–
BONEJACK: [INTERRUPTING] ZOMBOY, BIRDS DON’T HAVE TEETH.
[WE SEE THE WHITEBOARD WHERE ZOMBOY HAS DRAWN A BIZARRE LOOKING AND DECIDEDLY TOOTHY BIRD.]
ZOMBOY: [PAUSES] CREATIVE LICENSE. HANG ON, I’LL FIX IT. [STARTS TO ERASE IT]
SHELLY: THAT’S ONE CREEPY BIRD.
ZOMBOY: [FRANTICALLY REDRAWING] OOPS, I THINK I MADE IT WORSE.
WESTON: IS THAT A BIRD OR A CHUPACABRA BARFING SNAKES?
BONEJACK: WELL, THAT’S GOING TO HAUNT MY DREAMS.
SHELLY: ONE OF THE BIRDS HAS TEETH, AND THE OTHER DOESN’T. I DON’T MIND IT BEING WRONG AS LONG AS YOU’RE CONSISTENT.
MARIA: [FRUSTRATED] CAN WE FORGET ABOUT THE STINKING SNAKE-BIRD? ZOMBOY, CAN WE JUST ERASE IT AND KEEP GOING? IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT.
ZOMBOY: *SIGH* [ERASES THE WHITEBOARD]
Think I’d be right for your project? Send me a message at beppo_the_monkey (at) yahoo.com
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