Saturday, June 30, 2007

Once Upon a Time in Plainview.

This story may be the first I ever attempted to write that wasn't a school assignment. Judging from the careful yet unsteady cursive, I'd say I was about eight when I set this down. (I suppose I didn't use my Tom Thumb typewriter because that would have taken forever.) I remember that my dad was working in the attic above my closet on the morning I sat at my desk composing it on wide-ruled looseleaf. There was an open window before me that looked out on a sunny, breezy Saturday, a day any other kid would have grabbed a ball and a glove and rounded up some friends.

Why I chose a Western I really can't say. It's not a genre that had ever held my interest, and the, ahem, simplistic story doesn't appear to have been inspired by anything other than a desire to create. I even drew a cover, as you've seen, and no, that is not a tiny man between those finely-detailed cowboy boots. It's called perspective. (And judging from that perspective, these duelers are drawing at about 1500 paces.)

Despite my deeply-instilled need to rewrite everything I have ever written (which, painfully, does not exclude this five-page, nearly thirty-year-old "manuscript"), I present it exactly as I wrote it--a first draft with no revisions. My sister Jackie made minor, restrained corrections in orange marker, but I have not reflected those here. Thanks for the encouragement anyway, sis! (I will say this for my rudimentary effort: the plot and dialogue are about as good as what you'll find in a number of films riffed upon by Mystery Science Theater 3000--I'm thinking in particular of Soultaker, Future War, Hobgoblins, or anything by Ed Wood Jr. or Ray Dennis Steckler.) Enjoy.


It was early in the morning when the Black Hole Saloon opened. The usual customers came in, such as John, the barber. He was looking for trouble. He was depressed, because he had a fight with his wife.

"Evening," said Henry the bartender. "Aw, shad up!" said John, "It's morning, not evening."

John sat down at the bar. "Gimme the usual," said John, "But make it a double."

All day he ordered drinks. But finally, Henry kicked him out. John the barber was the drunkest man in the world. He stumbled all over creation. Also into the sheriff.

Tex the sheriff stumbled and fell on the Mayor of Black Hole. The Mayor was furious. "You better watch yourself!" screamed the Mayor. He was yelling at Tex. Tex heard the drunk say "Ya, you betta watch yerself."

Tex was steaming, and he flung his arms out. John ducked, making the sheriff smash his knuckles against a pole. Tex was in agonizing pain for an hour.

Soon he felt better, so he went out searching for the drunk. But the drunk found him first. "Donn' I reconize you?" asked John. "You bet you reconize me! Replied Tex. Tex said, "See this?" holding his fist out. Figuring Tex was gonna punch him, John covered his face. Tex stepped on his foot.

"Ow!" screamed John. "Ooo, that wasn't nice!" Then John said, "See this?" holding his fist out. Thinking he would do the same, Tex stood on tippy-toes. John punched him in the face. Now, size don't matter, since Tex is 6 ft. 1 and John is 5 ft. 8, because Tex went flying.

Tex got up, went over to John, and just sat there staring at him. Everything was silent for a moment. Tex pulled back his arm, and like a flash of lightining, stuck John in the face with his hardest blow.

John said "Draw at ten paces." Tex said, "To the death." John spoke again. "Tomorrow at dawn. Prepare to die."

All that night, Tex thought if what he said was wise. He thought about if he gets killed. He kept hearing in his mind, "Prepare to die" But he thought of how drunk he was, and that he would have a terrible hangover. But Tex was wrong. John happens to be a fast healer.

The next morning, Tex was shaky. He was thinking how he could just stay home, since he lived secretly in an old abandon house. But he thought of how everybody was depending on him to waste the old fool.

So he went to the saloon, and sure enough, he was there. Tex had a feeling he would regret this, but he kept on walking.

John was calm as a clam much to Tex's surprise. "Ready?" asked John. "S-S-Sure I'm r-r-ready," replied Tex.

They stood back to back, and started. 1-2-3-4...Tex was shaking like a leaf. 6-7-8-9-10! Tex and John swooped around at the same time. John fired and shot Tex three times. Tex fell to the ground, and dropped his gun. The gun fired as it hit the ground. The bullet shot John in the head. John died instantly.

Suddenly, Tex started to scream, "I didn't mean to kill him!!" Tex was taken to the nearest hosipital. He died before he got there.


Phew! What a downer of an ending! Upon reading this for the first time in god-knows-how-many years, I was delighted by the detail that the town's rather cowardly sheriff lives "secretly in an old abandon [sic] house." Now that's funny. Everything else about it sucks, including the title. Sure, technically it's a shoot-out, but jeez, four lousy shots! One of them accidental! May as well have had them sitting around munching onion rings...

I remember Jackie being impressed by the simile "calm as a clam." Curious, I found that a Google search returns 18 unique uses of that phrase, including one from an old folk song. So I guess I didn't originate that, but I'm fairly certain the sheriff-as-spineless-paranoid-recluse concept is all mine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Was I Hallucinating When I Hated "A Beautiful Mind?"

Okay, here's one more example of my old writings, just cuz, reading over it, I remembered just how much I hated this piece of crap movie. So it's not exactly timely, unless you catch it sometime on TNT. Sorry if you were hoping for a review of Evan Almighty. (Tell you what, here's a quick one for Because I Said So: The wife and I walked out after half an hour, and I would rather eat my own shit than see the rest. With freezer burn, no less.)

Anybody see A Beautiful Mind? I just did. Hoofah.

Best picture, huh? How about best TV movie of the year... on Lifetime... maybe. I read a review of a book about Nash a few years ago, and was gonna pick it up cuz it sounded like it would be fascinating. Judging from this movie, though, you would think he is the world's least interesting schizo. His hallucinations are pedestrian at best, and we know from very near the beginning that they are precisely that, hallucinations. This makes the two fucking hours we watch him talk to them tedious to say the least.

The premise of the movie, as best as I can figure, involves Nash's wish to come up with an absolutely original idea, ironic in that there is not ONE inspired moment in the movie. There isn't the vaguest indication of why he does what he does, why he finds economic theory so consuming, other than the obvious---he's ca-ca coo-coo.

You might begin to believe that, in addition to several key characters, his genius is all in his head as well, as we are never let in on what his eventual breakthrough is. I don't think this is because the filmmakers were afraid the audience would be too stupid to appreciate it so much as the screenwriter was too stupid to convey it. His major credits are, after all, Lost in Space and Batman and Robin, making him the man that killed the Batman franchise (along with, fair enough, Joel Schumacher). He, too, got an Oscar for writing this shit. Reason enough to never bother watching the Oscars again. [2016 add: He is also credited as a co-writer on Larry "Bud" Melman's "Couch Potato Workout" video. So I take it all back.]

The penultimate, allegedly heart-tugging scene involves an act meant to demonstrate Nash's belated and long-desired acceptance by his peers. He reacts by saying, "That was unexpected." In fact, it is the most predictable scene in the flick, telegraphed not twenty minutes in. Spoiler alert: the coveted pen is not even an Erasermate.

Russell Crowe is okay, with his mushy suthin' accent and twitchy mannerisms and... well, that's it. When he flops around on his electro-convulsive therapy gurney, all I could think of was an old music video of his I saw once, where he was earnestly gyrating in a hilarious, apoplectic approximation of Elvis' swagger. His acting in the ECT scene looked exactly like a horizontal version of that video, without the chinos and ducktail.

Jennifer Connelly deserved that Oscar, though--man, she sure can cry! Cry, cry, cry! Like, she can get that one tear to sit right at the edge of her lower eyelid, quivering, until it slides to her lips at just the perfect moment. She can also repeatedly punch a mirror without incurring so much as a scratch on her hand. Good actin'!

Ron Howard hasn't directed better since he popped the clutch and told the world to eat his dust! Just kidding--Eat My Dust! was a hundred times more satisfying than this pic. (Oh wait, he directed Grand Theft Auto. He only starred in EMD! Never mind.) This one looked like it was directed by committee, with the intention of carefully avoiding arousal of any complex emotion. Howard's Grinch had more depth, and that sucked mightily as well.

I swear to you I went in with the expectation of at least seeing a well-crafted movie, not looking to savage it as popular crap. But there it was, pooping up the screen before my very eyes, to what I learned upon exiting was a very receptive and moved audience. I had to wonder, is it me who's seeing unreal and totally implausible things? You guys would tell me, right, if it was just me? Right? Coo-coo! Coo-coo!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Best Songs of 1982. (Or Not.)

Here is yet another list from my old site. (Oh, and happy birthday honey!)

The latter half of 1982 was when I really began taking an interest in music. This list, still secured in a ravaged Mead Trapper Keeper, covers both sides of a piece of looseleaf paper. The title is below a crossed-out "WPGS" written in balloon letters (the last three being my initials). I think it was originally intended as a playlist for the radio station of my imagination, but then I probably decided that that was kinda gay, so it became a somewhat less gay year-end favorites list.
The nerdly Trapper Keeper, festooned with Creature Feature stickers.

Four other friends, surveying my list, recorded their agreement by putting a symbol beside the songs they liked, but only Chris I_____ had the sense to associate his name with his checkmarks, and thus I include his choices here, represented by the symbol . (The cross symbol seems appropriate, as we were probably goofing around with this list when we were supposed to be writing the Act of Contrition fifty times for whatever transgression we were currently guilty of.) The identities behind the other symbols (a circle, a star, and an X) remain a mystery, as will their preferences in Pop New Wave and flashy music video opportunists.

("in no particular order")

Da Da Da -- Trio

Peekaboo -- Devo (†)

Stray Cat Strut -- Stray Cats (†)

Runaway Boys -- Stray Cats (†)

Shock the Monkey -- Peter Gabriel

I Have the Touch -- Peter Gabriel (†)

Down Under -- Men at Work (†)

Be Good Johnny -- Men at Work (†)

Wishing -- Flock of Seagulls (†)

Telecommunication -- Flock of Seagulls (†)

Rock the Casbah -- Clash (†)

Pressure -- Billy Joel (†)

Allentown -- Billy Joel (†)

Nobody But Me -- George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Look of Love -- ABC

Some Day, Some Way -- Marshall Crenshaw (†)

Mirror Man -- Human League (†)

Love Plus One -- Haircut 100

Annie Get Your Gun -- Squeeze (†)

Town Called Malice -- Jam

Save it For Later -- English Beat

Senses Working Overtime -- XTC

Love My Way -- Psychedelic Furs (†)

Kids in America -- Kim Wilde

Chequered Love -- Kim Wilde

Really Saying Something -- Bananarama (with Fun Boy Three)

I Could be Happy -- Altered Images (†)

Desperate But Not Serious -- Adam Ant

Goody Two Shoes -- Adam Ant (†)

Talk Talk -- Talk Talk (†)

Our House -- Madness (†)

Der Comisar (?) -- Falco (†)

Once in a Lifetime -- Talking Heads (if it is a 1982 song) (†)

Romanticize (sic) -- Combo Audio (†)

She Blinded Me with Science -- Thomas Dolby (†)

Images of Heaven -- Peter Godwin (†)

Mad World -- [no artist listed, but it's Tears For Fears]

Temptation -- New Order

Let Me Go -- Heaven 17

Built For Speed (album) -- Stray Cats

Geez, not exactly "Nuggets," huh? Unless we're talking butt nuggets... Some good stuff, but yeah, quite a few steamers on there. But look at what seventh-graders listen to nowadays--also painfully impacted crap, but today's bands make Combo Audio sound like the friggin' Beatles! Their song, by the way, was actually named Romanticide, but since no one remembers it but me and maybe Louie the Looper (the WLIR late-night DJ who was always late for his shift), I guess it doesn't matter.

Having recently seen the documentary Spellbound, I would like to point out that this list is presented here precisely as written. I was a pretty good speller even then, though I'd like to think my sporadic capitalization (ahem, not reflected here) was due not to ignorance but rather a kind of irreverence. (Lazy carelessness is also a plausible explanation.)

For the record, I disavow any liking of Billy Joel or Human League. I mean, most of these songs are okay, the musical equivalent of melted Velveeta, but while typing out this list out I really chided my past self. TWO selections by Kim Wilde and Adam Ant, but only one apiece by the Clash, the Jam and Talking Heads? And NO Costello? (Well, okay, that was the year of "Almost Blue," so maybe I can let it slide.) Obviously a very video-influenced list, but I would give foremost credit to WLIR, which was itself somewhat influenced by MTV (though some of these songs I heard on 'LIR months before they hit the charts and music television).

Speaking of WLIR, the only thing I still have on tape of that station is a live hour with Bob and Doug MacKenzie at some Long Island club, which happened around the time of this list, I suppose. It's not very funny, but it becomes amusing after reading about it in Dave Thomas' book "SCTV." He said the whole thing was a nightmare, a gig the radio station and record company tricked him and Rick Moranis into doing. They were tired and annoyed about having to do an impromptu performance, but did their best to entertain a huge crowd of drunken imbeciles. They sometimes sound like they're babysitting that Twilight Zone kid who wishes things into the cornfield, realizing that if they make one wrong move, things could get ugly. Ah, that's how I remember the Island... charming in a brutish way, and always a hint of a barely-hidden seething, the rising buzz of white noise, the threat of sudden violence... or maybe that was just me. [August 2017 add: Holy crap, I finally uploaded the tape to YouTube! Go to my blog post about it!]

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I've decided that I'm gonna get rid of my creaky old website so that I may at last discontinue my MSNtv service (currently draining me of two bucks a month). I've only been keeping it because I have so many pieces of writing there. So I figure I'll just start reposting them here so, you know, I'll have them. Of course I can't just cut-and-paste the damn things; I have to rewrite them as I go, because nothing I write is ever fucking finished. There's a word for that, but I'm afraid to think about it too long.

I'm starting with a list of the crushes I had growing up, mainly because it was sort of buried on the old site. It was originally subtitled "A Timeline in Time," for no reason other than I used to get high a lot. I've added some pictures, but, unsurprisingly, many of the ones I really wanted on here turned out to be somewhat obscure. Anyway, on with the crushing!

Any of your various Rankin and Bass characters: Clarice, Rudolph's girlfriend (those eyelashes, that polka-dot bow--yowsa!) Santa Claus' wife Jessica when she was a young piece-of-ass redhead; Francesca, the chick from Mad Monster Party.

Penelope Pitstop. Do you have to ask?

Kristy MacNichol. This was dragged outta me one mid-seventies day as Maria Pa-pee-ya and I discussed the merits of different TV shows while sitting on the back of my family's toad-green Buick Skylark. Maria disparaged Kristy's looks, and I had no choice but to stand up for her.

Carole, I think, from The Magic Garden. Or was it Paula? Anyway, you know which one I mean.

Lisa Whelchel, pre-Facts of Life. She was on a syndicated revival of The Mickey Mouse Club that aired after school on WNEW Metromedia 5. This would be around '77. I know I was an early admirer, so presuming the show debuted in the fall, I must have been 8 when smitten. I remember reading an article about the show in some kiddie magazine and forlornly calculating the disparity in our ages. Nowadays she's pushing homeschooling merch for folks who don't like their kids learning of the evils of evolution.

Mackenzie Phillips. Later came to my senses and switched allegiance to Valerie Bertinelli.

Cheryl Tiegs. Looking back, this one strikes me as odd, yet I can't deny that I kept a poster of her on my wall at a surprisingly young age. I recall it as showing Cheryl sopping wet under a waterfall or something. Searching the internets, however, indicates this poster exists only in my imagination. Anyway, I have no idea where the poster came from. (This was also, of course, the era of Fawcett and Somers. I remember some patronizing adult bending over to ask me who I wanted to marry when I grew up. Clearly a victim of media brainwashing, I answered simply, "A blonde.")

One of the girls from a later season of Zoom, whom I have since learned was named Tishy, if you can believe that. I couldn't find a pic, but I think she was one of those gals who initially struck me as odd-looking, then grew on me. She had a Boston accent, which I thought was cute. I've heard that during one of the show's rap sessions, she opined that different races and ethnicities shouldn't mix. (They left that in?) I'm sure there were other Zoomers I dug, but I only specifically recall her.

Wendy Schaal, Vicki on It's a Living (or Making a Living if you prefer). What a cutie she was, in that little waitress uniform. She was later in Innerspace. Turns out she's the daughter of comic actor Richard Schaal (if you saw him you'd know him), which made her Rhoda's step-daughter, go figure.

Of course, the girls of St. Pius X. There was Regina A____ (who kinda looked like Wendy Schaal, come to think of it), but come on, who didn't have a crush on her? I believed in God for one day---the day she noticed me enough to call me "weird." I did a report on the eye in front of the class once, and, as I had practiced so many times in my head, I pronounced "retina" to rhyme with her name. Mrs. Butler corrected me, and, bizarrely, I was sure I had just somehow made my crush known. I was always a blusher, and right then you could have overcooked a Denver omelet on my face. I'm surprised they didn't call an ambulance.

Linda R______ and I went the full eight years together, but I only dug her the last few months of eighth grade, roughly the same time I discovered (and painstakingly perfected) the sin of self-abuse. I considered asking her to a dance, but before I could make my move it was cancelled because our class was a bunch of uncontrollable ne'er-do-wells. That was pretty much that. I bet she would've said yes--she had given me a Christmas card in the fifth grade right before holiday break. It said, 'Don't tell anyone, but I really like you." I maliciously yelled to her across the room, "Don't worry, I won't!" She just laughed. Later at home I tore the card into tiny pieces and stuffed them way down into the bathroom trash can. I can't deny feeling an immediate twinge of guilt over that. I'm sure there were plenty of other plaid-skirted Catholic cuties that aroused my interest over the years...

Somewhere between The Magic Garden and Lisa Welchel you could place what I can only describe as possible homo crushes: Tom Seaver, pitcher for the Mets, whose baseball card I kept tacked to my wall despite having negligible interest in the sport; and the Keane Brothers, two musical teens who had their own summer replacement series on CBS in 1977. Actually, I think I mostly liked them in an envious way, as they played instruments and were on TV. I even had them on my wall, on a cover torn from the Newsday TV guide. For the record, I also had an 8 x 10 of Lee Majors as Steve Austin on the wall beside my bunk-bed (I was a bottom, eh-heh-HEE!), but this was from the fan club package. I recall no faggy fixation, just fan admiration.

And here they are, the Keane Brothers themselves.

Found this pic on a site even more improbable than mine. When I found this, I hadn't seen the boys in well over twenty years. I am relieved to report no libidinous stirrings at the sight of the frankly rather homely brothers. (And although there is an uncanny resemblance, they're no Lisa Whelchel, that's for sure!) Man, check out those Frampton-at-the-renaissance-faire shirts! No wonder I launched a pre-pube bomb-pop, huh?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wanted Posters.

I just had a yard sale where I sold off a ton of my movie posters. (I have the leftovers posted for sale on craigslist.) I won't miss them, exactly, but I'll miss having them, if you know what I mean. It was cool to own them, but what the hell was I gonna do with them? Sure, all that blood in the Maniac poster would match the color scheme in the downstairs bathroom, but guests may have found it, ah, intimidating.

I started off my collecting in the early eighties, with posters bought or cadged from Plainview video stores. Some of the ones I have listed now were from that era, and were displayed on my bedroom walls: My Favorite Year, Eating Raoul, Heaven Help Us. Then, in one fell swoop, my collection grew enormously. One might even say criminally. Cuz, you know, I stole them.

This story--the way I tell it anyway--takes a circuitous route, which, you'll see, is only appropriate. Bear with me.

In 1986, the Old Country Twin movie theater in my home town closed down. It was a sad event, especially as it was the last of four theaters to shut down in just a few years. It was preceded in death by the Plainview Theater, the RKO Century Twin, and Morton Village. The Morton Village theater was my favorite because it was less than a ten-minute walk from my house, with the Old Country Twin a bit more of a hike (past the Plainview-Old Bethpage library, IHOP, and the Plainview Diner). But I was almost always up for a hike anyway.

As a teen, I had a penchant for roaming the streets of Plainview late at night. While my newly-licensed contemporaries were keen on driving everywhere they could, I put off getting my permit because I really just didn't care for driving. I still don't. If I could walk there, why wouldn't I? And if I couldn't, why would I go at all?

Walking around Plainview past midnight was almost a hobby. I loved that I could just walk out of my house and stroll down the middle of the street with no one else around. I'd see a blue glow flickering in some windows, darkness in most. Once, I stood for way too long below the second-floor windowshade silhouette of a woman (the top half of her anyway) moving strenuously to and fro, throwing back her head as if in ecstasy. I was transfixed and aroused and, although certain that I would be accosted at any moment as the adolescent pervert I was, not about to give up my prime viewing spot. Then I realized she was riding an exercise bike. I laughed to myself and moved along, perhaps untucking my shirt in an effort of concealment.

After my residential ramblings, I'd make my way to the Morton Village shopping center, a long strip mall on Old Country Road, and browse along the windows of the stores, some ever-changing, some the same as when I was small (and until even today). Nothing was open, of course, until I reached Dunkin' Donuts. Then I might get a chocolate chip muffin and head home.

If I was in the mood for a long jaunt, however, I could make my way down Plainview Road to Waldbaums, the only 24 hour supermarket in the area at the time. More often, I'd continue down Washington Avenue, toward my old school, St. Pius X, but I'd stop before reaching it and instead stray into the woods at Plainview Park. It was risky--who knew what manner of drug-addled Kennedy High School ne'er-do-wells might be toking up in the seclusion of the water tower area? Might be the next Ricky Kasso! But in fact it was usually just me up there, staggering soberly through unpathed suburban forestry with only my thoughts, the moon and sometimes a light, unexpected rain rattling the leaves above me.

There was one major reason I loved late-night wandering so much: a recurring dream of my childhood. I was always intrigued by the world of adults which mysteriously continued without me as I was shuttled off to bed. I often ventured downstairs at what felt to me like the wee hours, probably closer to eleven o'clock, to see just what the heck was going on. Usually it was just TV watching, but sometimes there were people I didn't know visiting, and those programs on the television seemed like they were not meant to be viewed by us little people. Hmmm.

In this dream I walked the streets so familiar to me, but in the dead of night. But the night was not dead; it was quite animated, or more accurately, populated. The stores were all open, with friends and neighbors walking the streets with me, and not a car was in sight. Perhaps it was a premonition of sorts, a foreshadowing of our world today, where business hours have become less typical, and many people are not constrained (comfortably or otherwise) by nine-to-five conventions.

Soon enough I learned that our burgeoning 24/7 world was not exactly what I had dreamed about, and that the mysteries of the adult world, once unravelled, tended to be disappointingly mundane. As I've said before, I always liked learning more than I liked what I learned.

But anyway, in 1986, when my quiet a.m. meanderings still thrilled and inspired, I made my way to that recently-shuttered Old Country Twin and circled it, looking out back by the dumpsters for mementos. Finding none, I went to a back service door--the kind without handles--and, digging my fingertips between the door and jamb, I was amazed to find that I could pry the door open. I stepped inside, and soon was wandering through the aisles I had excitedly clambered down in near-blindness so many times. I crept behind the popcorn counter and then found the pitch-black way upstairs to the projectionist's booth. Spooked, I instead doubled back to the way I came in, carefully closed the door (making certain that I could still open it) and went home.

I don't remember if I came back that night or another, but return I did, with a hammer, screwdriver and flashlight. It was around one in the morning, and I prayed that no cruising cops would find me suspicious on this night of all nights, on the prowl with the tools and intention of B & E. I again pried my way into the theater and headed straight for the upstairs.

It was better than I ever would have imagined it. The first thing I pulled from storage was an enormous box containing... holy crap, hundreds of movie posters! I sorted through them for at least an hour with utter delight, sneezing and wheezing from the thick layer of dust on everything. I can't even remember if I took all of them, or if I picked and chose; I think I pretty much swiped the lot. So now I had a giant box of posters to tote a good mile or so home in the middle of the night. Fortunately, they were folded for easier carrying (although, aesthetically, I'd have preferred them rolled).

I began looking through the rest of the booth, and discovered there were reels of film still laying around. I wanted those too, but there was no way I'd be able to carry all that stuff, so I left them. I did look at the first few frames of one reel, and I wish I hadn't. To this day I regret the decision to leave it behind. It was the trailer for Star Wars. (I mean, yeah, what the hell was I gonna do with it, but still!)

So there I am, lugging a giant cardboard box of purloined posters down the main drag of Plainview at three a.m. As my arms cramped and my back ached, I formulated a story to offer any curious cops: This? Oh, it's a generous gift from a friend, uh, somewhere nearby. (Nah, no cop could be that dumb.) Uh, these were out in the trash behind the theater--I swear I never went inside or anything! (Yeah, that'll work.) Uhright, the imaginary officer then mused in his inevitable Long Islandese, but den whattuh tha screwdrivuh an' flashlight faw?

I stopped midway home and ditched my incriminating tools into the bushes out front of Dunkin' Donuts, which, miraculously, hadn't a single police car in the parking lot. But as one may have been arriving at any second, I continued on, hustling shadily down side streets and finally arriving home, sweaty with triumph and my ill-gotten gains.

After sneaking upstairs past slumbering family to my bedroom, I looked over my plunder with pride. I had things to do that morning, but I was too excited with illicit joy to sleep. So instead I carefully rolled, labelled and cataloged the entire lot of posters, again and again stifling vigorous sneezes. Then, well after unwelcome daylight had intruded into my bedroom, I at last slept the satisfying sleep of one who had gotten away with it. And this, at very long last, is my confession, worthless in its lack of remorse and the limitation of statute.

I really liked having those posters, but I like having this story better.