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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Last horror poem before the end of Halloween. :)

Nightfall brings much worse than the dark,
Creatures who crave its shadows in the park.
Pale skinned demons without saving souls,
Who see in darkness with red rimmed coals.

Woe to those who fall beneath their spell,
Blundering where these fanged fiends dwell.
Gazing into hypnotic eyes of eternal night,
Fear flows with lifeblood within this evil rite.

Wide staring orbs, which no longer see out,
Glaze over, as free will loses ability to doubt.
One with the monster who ravages her neck,
Her Tarot reads death, drawn from this deck.

Life of love flashes behind her unseeing eyes,
Left without hope, or angel, to hear her cries.
Arms fall weakly in submission to this devil,
Who pulls back now from his gorging revel.

Blood smeared lips draw back in eerie smile,
Still entrancing his victim with vampire guile.
He holds her, as he slices his bared forearm,
Willing all to be right, with no further harm.

Guiding his wound beneath her waiting teeth,
Deciding eternal night upon her to bequeath.
Salty tasting, red elixir placed within her lips,
Unknowingly from damnation's well she sips.

Doomed to the shadows for all earthly time,
Never the sun to see or church step to climb.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Return of the Falcon

After over three decades, I can pick out a tow truck passing or stopping in front of my shop with unerring accuracy. When I looked up, having heard the distinct sound, the tow truck indeed passed by, only I cursed openly, knowing he was turning around. The reason being, an unfortunately familiar 1965 Ford Falcon junker from past blog posts, followed the tow truck like a big guppy, with hook in its mouth. The tow truck driver pulled up in front and the Falcon owner hopped down, hurrying over to me.

“Bernie… hi…” the man begins, breathlessly, bending over at the waist as if he ran over to my shop behind the tow truck. “My…my car won’t go into gear.”

Thank you, Lord, I pray silently. I don’t fix transmissions.

“I guess your transmission has finally given up the ghost,” I inform him. “Secondly, it’s always a good idea to call first before you head over attached to a tow truck. I don’t rebuild transmissions, so I’ll get you the number and name of a place that does.”

“Oh no…” he exclaims in agony. “What could have caused that?”

“It’s forty-two years old. You’ve been dripping huge quantities of transmission oil all over the East Bay for the last three years I know of. Every time I’ve checked the car, it’s been down at least two quarts of transmission oil,” I list off all the items as if he hasn’t heard them from me the last dozen times I’ve told him he needed to fix the transmission.

“What’ll I do?”

“Fix the transmission, or junk the car,” I reply, having been over this ground so many times, it feels like home.

“I…I can’t junk it…” he gasps in surprise I would even mention such a thing.

“I’ll get you the number. In fact, I’ll call over there and see if he can take you right now,” I volunteer, hoping against hope.

I call, and my regular referral shop doesn’t do any in the Falcon age category, but he gives me a number for one that does. The guy at the other shop says send him over. I fill out the address and phone number, give it to the tow truck driver, and wish my Falcon customer good luck.

“I’ll call if I have any trouble,” the Falcon owner tells me. “How much do they charge?”

“I have no idea; but according to my other transmission guy, the place you’re taking it to is the only one in the area doing ones in your car’s age range. If you have any trouble with the transmission, call the guy you’re taking it to, because I can’t help you with the transmission part.”

“I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” Mr. Falcon sighs, trudging toward the tow truck passenger side.

I told Mr. Falcon what to do the first time I saw him years ago, when the Falcon needed an engine, but he didn’t listen. I will repeat what I told him, so maybe someone reading this will use it to their advantage. Never fix fifty dollar junkers, needing thousands of dollars in repairs. A fifty dollar junker is a four wheel succubus. It will not stop draining you until you’re a dried up husk.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Another horror poem. :)


I awake in pitch black, with ashes in my throat,

Eyes and lips sewn shut, my life’s song wrote.

Voodoo Houngan guiding my un-dead thought,

My body moves as my death curse has taught.

Existing only to desecrate, life eludes my grasp,

Waking wish only to hear my final coffin clasp.

Bokor’s enemies direct my fatal, nocturnal call,

Ripping away life, I rend within Mambo thrall.

Seeing sign marking innocents for unholy death,

I rip their bodies, until I hear their final breath.

Enslaved to hard labor for my lazy life’s waste,

Doomed to walk without sight, smell or taste.

Pray now to Ghede, Voodoo Lord of the Dead,

Restore tortured soul so no longer Mambo led.

Hope from un-dead misery with Loa Gods lie,

Escape victims’ screams before their final sigh.

Freed from this curse, much ground I will cover,

To make Mambo call for her death like a lover.

No penance can I make, for so many tragic ends,

I will skin Mambo’s body, and make my amends.

The Lord of the Dead will tear my soul asunder,

For slicing one of his Loa Priestesses of wonder.

To hear dread Mambo’s terrified, cackling pleas,

I would gladly brave the Ghede’s wrathful decrees.

Rest then would I, for eternity’s final blissful sleep,

Having sent that Mambo bitch to be buried deep.

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Look

“You’re not going to believe this,” the young woman informed me breathlessly, jogging inside the front entrance of my shop.

Oh lady, if you only knew the Twilight Zone of what I’m capable of believing, you probably wouldn’t be standing inside my shop. While dressed neatly enough in jeans and sweater top, I’m getting a bad vibe as to what might seem so unbelievable to this woman. She will assume the secret identity of Suzan Surprise for the remainder of this short journey into the unknown. I immediately decide to shelve my usual greeting of ‘Can I help you?’, and adopt my interested look with furrowed brow. Picture Spock on Star Trek just before he says ‘Fascinating’.

“My Buick’s right outside your shop,” Ms. Surprise said, gesturing at me to follow her.

Okay, I’m game. I follow her out and get a look at her ninety something Buick. I stand corrected. Someone had neatly removed her front and rear windshields. I don’t mean broke them out. I mean removed them as if the Buick had been in a glass shop. I felt like ‘Dexter’ when they called him to the scene last season of dismembered bloodless body parts.

“And they didn’t even steal anything,” Suzan informs me.

“Ah… yea, they did,” I dispute her summary of events quietly, while walking around the vehicle, which had been converted into a four wheel wind tunnel. I walk over to her after my examination. “You’re right, I haven’t seen this before; but I’ll get you a business card for Glass On The Move. They will actually make house-calls, but it might be better if you go to their shop so they can see this.”

Ms. Surprise follows me into the office, and I give her a business card for the glass shop.

“It’s really weird driving the car like this… and everyone looks at me when I come to a stop,” Suzan enlightens me.

I’ll bet they do.

“I’m sorry I can’t do anything for you here,” I say instead.

“Thanks for the referral. At least it’s not too far away.”

I go out and watch Suzan drive away, hair blowing in the wind. I hope whoever gets the stolen windshields never gets them sealed properly; and they leak forever… the jerk.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Wants

1. I want to walk into the shop without my usual angst.

2. I want The Magic Mechanic on call for consultation.

3. I want shop management software reading my mind (too dangerous) making up invoices on its own.

4. I want if a bolt or tool falls to the floor, it will not proceed to the exact center of the vehicle.

5. I want the Gremlins of auto repair to stop taking the tools or parts I set down, and hiding them in other parts of my shop while I’m not looking.

6. I want every job to go down just like the book says. (I may as well throw in world peace.)

7. I want the frozen bolts I’m loosening to not give way until I am clear of sharp sheet metal and elbow busting frame parts. (If I get this one, there will already be world peace.)

8. I want people to understand, yes I can fix anything on a vehicle; and I can fix theirs, but I also unfortunately have a conscience.

9. I want people to exit and stand away from their vehicles without explanation. (The explanation being it’s human nature to honk, start the vehicle, or put it in gear the moment an unwary mechanic puts his head under the hood.)

10. I want people to stop asking me if I’ll be leaving for my Villa in France after I’m through fixing their car. (Yea, the first couple hundred times it was funny)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The shop adventures are bland. Since it's close to Halloween, I'll post one of my horror poems. :)


Glowing eyes, simmering coals of sight,

Beast consumed by full moon this night.

Fierce fangs, foaming red grisly drool,

Blood flows from victim in growing pool.

Change comes without warning of plight,

No thought comes, reminding moral right.

Pain pierces through raging carnal heat,

Innocence suffers with slow final heartbeat.

Dancing angels of heaven’s bright light,

Hiding blessed eyes from slavering bite.

Evil mythical thing rises over red kill,

Glaring defiantly into night now still.

Stars sparkle in moonstruck tainted sky,

Changeling howls, its hellish, hideous cry.

Even Heaven rocks before this sorry song,

Voicing moonlit monstrous deed so wrong.

Dreams like life ebbs from dim dying eyes,

Lips, left only to exhale her last brief sighs.

Fading sight forming with one final breath,

Hoary fanged demon dancing over her death.

Silent prayers for heavenly aid put aside,

Released finally, along with earthly pride.

Mist descends to shroud this tragic play,

Justice awaits now, the first light of day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rejection Letters

I’ve noticed a trend amongst agents, who must be taking heat from whiny writers about their wording in rejection letters. The ‘I didn’t fall in love with this’ theme in the recent rejection letters I’ve received is a hoot. I liked the old style ‘Sorry, not interested’ or ‘Not for us’, and then a quick ‘Good Luck’ at the end if the agent feels charitable. This ‘let them down easy so we don’t get hate mail’ is getting really funny. Dear agents, on behalf of we thick skinned, cement-headed, writer wannabe’s, we realize you don’t have the time to hold our hands while you stick the knife in. We like the quick stab right in the heart. Don’t sugar coat it. You can’t please the sensitive sissies out there, believing they’re God’s gift to the written word anyway. They’d want you all to write a book of your own explaining what exactly about their masterpiece failed to garner acclaim from the writing world.

Love appears in so many rejection notes now, I nearly deleted a manuscript request because I couldn’t tell the difference. I bet the Snark doesn’t use love in her rejection letters. I think I may have queried the Snark, not knowing of course, because her identity is a secret. The rejection letter said simply, ‘Don’t ever write me again. In fact, don’t write again, period’. Now that’s a rejection letter. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back, But Not In Black

Lucretia came in yesterday right on time, dressed in jeans and a gray sweater. Although all her rings were pierced into place, she had chosen a more conservative pair for her ears. I did a quick scan of her Toyota while she waited in the office, and picked up an evaporative emissions leak code. Although knowing Toyota has problems with evaporative canister valves and solenoids leaking, I checked the obvious first: the gas cap. It was lying on its side in the little gas filler compartment. I screwed it on till it clicked, and erased the evap code. Since she had not complained of any problems with the Toyota’s performance, I figured it might be something simple. Ms. McEvil was happy, and remembered getting gas the day before yesterday. I charged my minimum fee, since I have to get something for my time and hooking up a twenty-five hundred dollar scanner.

“Do you think I’ll have any problems from leaving the gas cap off?” Lucretia asked on her way out my office door.

“I doubt it, but swing by if you notice anything,” I answered.

“I’m glad I can get to work today on time. I thought I’d have to take the bus, and I already warned my boss I’d probably be late. Thanks again. I’ll call when my next maintenance check is due.”

“No problem, I’m glad it wasn’t a big deal,” I answer with the little voice in my head shouting, ‘ask her what she does at work’.

I watch Lucretia get into her Toyota and leave. ‘Chicken’ the exasperated voice shouts in my head. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fashionable Black

I sat in the office doing the quarterly sales tax figures (thanks California) when a car drove in, and set off my trusty motion detector. I can’t do a smiley face, so I didn’t need to prepare for this potential customer. Out the office I go, do a quick glance to make sure the car isn’t of European origin. Confirming it was a Toyota, I glanced at the lady getting out of the driver’s side door. Holy Moley, folks, it’s a Goth. In my defense, I work on anyone’s car or truck if it’s of Asian or American origin. Baggy pants at mid thigh, ear and nose rings, old washed up flower child attire, none disqualify a potential customer here.

This lady walked around the car, and I immediately switched on my Mr. Robotico face of enthused interest. It helps to have such a face in my repertoire, to cover my initial facial urge of gape-mouthed rube. Imagine Wednesday Addams, completely clothed in black, aging into her late thirties, and adding black fingernails, black lipstick, black eye shadow, nose and eyebrow rings, and black dangling ear pieces. My first thought was there goes the blog drought. She smiled at me, waiting for the reaction she probably has come to expect. I didn’t give an inch.

“Hi, can I help you?” I asked in full on concerned, Mr. Robotico mode.

“Yes, I was recommended by a customer of yours,” and she rattles off a name of another new customer I acquired in the last year. “My name’s Lucretia McEvil (name changed for my own amusement). The check engine light is on in my Toyota, and I’d like you to have a look at it.”

“Sure,” I agree, leading the way into my office, and taking a seat at the desk for a look at the calendar. “You can drop it off tomorrow morning.”

“Do you charge for looking at it?”

“No, looking is free, but I charge for the diagnostic check,” Mr. Sarcastico sneaks in over Robotico for a moment, but I smile disarmingly.

Lucretia chuckles appreciatively and nods. “I live in Berkeley…”

Of course you do.

“…and I won’t be able to drop it off until nine. Is that okay?”

“Sure,” I reply, and take down her address and phone number for the calendar and invoice.

As Lucretia walked out of my office, I wondered what Ms. McEvil dresses as for Halloween. I am not Gothaphobic, so please, no e-mails. I just hadn’t seen one styled so elaborately. Maybe Lucretia makes a few minor changes, and hits the Halloween party circuit as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Castle Keep

The stories in the Naked City are thankfully mundane for the time being. A little fantasy seemed in order since the rains arrived today. :)

Walls, with sweat drenched stones, of the dank castle keep,

Veiled figure in misty darkness, bowing her head to weep,

Long held captive within crumbling barriers, cold and gray,

Months forever lost, since winged serpent swept her away.

Ripped far from her village in talons dripping bloody gore,

Screaming uselessly, as gusty winds struck to her very core.

Alone now with only vague memories of past life’s dreams,

Escape plots dying anew, with failed, ill-conceived schemes.

Creature returned, wresting her back within bastion bleak,

Murdering hope, while trumpeting from razor sharp beak.

Dawn breaks, to light dreary forests beneath demon’s nest,

Glinting upon something bobbing at far off vision’s crest.

Grasping with eager abandon, anything the boredom to kill,

With only berries and bits of wheat, with rainwater to swill.

Her hungry eyes devouring each glimpse of sparkling light,

She followed its journey, through the still forest until night.

When rattling cry heralded the nightly return of the beast,

Gliding quietly to rest, its rasping winged wetness ceased.

Still she stood upon the keep, enthralled by dancing glitter,

In fog clouded moonscape, the lost sighting made her bitter.

She sighed deeply with loss, her small dalliance now gone,

Huddling within some filthy straw, awaiting light of dawn.

Clasping hands together, she drifted into cold uneasy sleep,

Awakening to the demon’s screeching high above the keep.

Peering up cautiously at her captor, circling warily in flight,

Booming laughter echoed upwards through now waning night.

To castle keep’s wet outer wall she ran with terrifying need.

Sitting easily upon huge armor encased black shining steed,

Her heart leapt into her throat at the sight of helmeted giant.

No soft villager here, or virgin sacrifice, roped and suppliant,

The massive barbarian waved impatiently the serpent down,

Calling out for revenge, he swore upon his Father’s crown.

Dipping arrows within a smoking bag, meant only to maim,

He feathered the bleating monster with deadly accurate aim.

As the thing fluttered weakly to the ground, its captive sung.

Barbarian now heard her, as down from his steed he swung.

Shield strapped on bulging arm, and battle ax held tightly,

He stalked the flapping, snapping devil till it bled brightly.

Cursing it for his family’s death, he hacked it quickly apart.

In the soft morning rain, she called before he could depart.

Smiling gently, with blood washing down his beckoning arm,

The grim barbarian promised she would come to no harm.

She bound his wounds, using cloth from her tattered dress,

Finally in tears she shook, quieted only by calloused caress.

Upon great black steed, he carried her by his armored side,

There forever, in danger, or darkest journey, did she abide.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thirteen Things Not To Say To Your Mechanic

Because more than half of these items were said at the shop in the last week, I decided to get together my own off the wall 'Thirteen'. :)

Thirteen Things Not To Say To Your Mechanic

1. Just patch it up, I’m going to sell it. (Yea, we’ve never heard this one before.)

2. Your estimate’s for more than my car’s worth. (Meaning we should do the thousand dollar repair for fifty bucks? I think not.)

3. Can I pay you in installments? (Sure, as soon as I can pay my suppliers in installments.)

4. Will you install my parts I bought at Walmart? (Sure, as soon as the restaurants allow you to bring in your own eggs for them to fry up.)

5. This is a classic. (Not to me.)

6. Are you honest? (If I said yes, and I’m a crook, you won’t know until it’s too late anyway.)

7. Can I borrow a tool? (No!)

8. Do you give estimates for free? (Nnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooo!)

9. Can you come over to my house and see what’s wrong with my car? (Sure, just let me hitch up my tool box, and diagnostic equipment on my back and I’ll be right over.)

10. The shop downtown will do it cheaper. (Oh, well let me get into a bidding war for your business.)

11. Do you fix cars here? (No, I break them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this. I average about five a month.)

12. I’m a mechanic. (Darn, I guess I can’t rip you off. Imagine trying this one on your doctor.)

13. My boyfriend is going to check your work. (Why not cut out the middleman, and have him do it? Then, I can check his work.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Who Let The Dogs Out

A middle nineties Chevy pulled into the shop, and as I looked up from the job I was doing, the Chevy owner beeped her horn. Now, I haven’t worked in a gas station since I worked down in Baton Rouge, La in 1973. I don’t take well to being beeped at. It reminds me of how far back Baton Rouge was in my life. I get a little nostalgic, and in the end, a little on the slow side reacting to a horn summons. When I reach the car, two huge dog faces lunge at me through the window, snarling: one from beside the woman owner, and the other from the backseat. Oh boy, this is going to be fun. Meanwhile, Beep Beep is sitting with her arms folded across her chest in a state of obvious chagrin.

“Can I help you?” I ask, trying to make eye contact without giving the dogs a reachable target.

“I have an idiot light lit on my dash, and I want you to find out what’s causing it,” Ms. Beep orders. “I’m sure it’s just the fluid level.”

“Can you show me which one it is, please?” I ask, surprised Beep Beep could even see the dash with all the dog hair and grit spread over everything.

Ms. Beep gave me an irritated sigh, and started the engine. With front seat dog still across her lap, Ms. Beep pointed over the dog. Front seat dog grinned, daring me to get a closer look. I hunched around, with rear seat dog snarling hello in my ear, and saw it was the low coolant light. GM cars are notorious for bad coolant level sensors indicating low coolant level even when there’s plenty of coolant.

“Please release your hood,” I request. She pulls the hood release, and begins opening the driver’s door. “Stay inside the car, Ma’am.”

“Why do I have to stay in the car?” Ms. Beep asks, quite perturbed at my tone of voice, which left no room for debate, or so I thought.

“Because I don’t want your dogs out in my shop,” I answer, going quickly around to the front, opening the hood, insuring the coolant bottle was full, and closing the hood again.

“What did you do?” Beep Beep barks out from the driver’s seat, starting to get out again. “I won’t let the dogs out.” Woof woof, I add mentally.

“Stay in the car, Ma’am. I didn’t do anything. The coolant level is good. The coolant level sensor is probably bad,” I answer, eyeballing front seat dog with my ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf’ look. “The level sensors go bad in these all the time.”

“I wouldn’t have let my dogs out,” Ms. Beep states, starting the car.

“There’s no way I could know that, Ma’am,” I reason.

“I told you I wouldn’t have,” she retorts.

“Yea, you did; but I told you not to get out of your car, and you didn’t,” I reply with a shrug, as Beep Beep glares at me. “I didn’t get bit, and your dogs are still in one piece. It’s a win-win.”

Ms. Beep backs out without another word, as the two dogs look at me longingly.

Woof woof. :)