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Friday, December 17, 2010


"It's Christmas time in Hollywood, Santa's back up in the hood..."
........Lyrics by The Hollywood Undead

'Twas the day before the night before Christmas and all through the Werewolf's house, every critter was stirring, and as far as I know, not one of us was soused.

We were all too darned busy figuring out new and interesting ways to scare hell out of people and besides, it was going to be a short day in a short week because our boss, Frank Lupo, was throwing a big party for the staff and crew.

To locate everyone, this was Wednesday, Dec. 23, 1987, and we all had Thursday off as well as Friday, which was Christmas. In the high speed, high stakes world of weekly television, this meant that everything had to be done by the (early) close of business, because shooting would resume in Salt Lake City, Monday morning. (The day starts before the crack of dawn for actresses because of makeup and costume requirements. The guys wearing the Werewolf suits started even earlier.)

To further locate you, this was a little before Chris and I got to TWEEP Chuck Connors on the new Fox Network series, so we still had that little bit of fun ahead of us. (For details, see Chuck Kisses The Ring. For the definition of TWEEP, see The CIA dictionary.)

We were just working on our second cup of coffee, when our secretary buzzed us to say that Bob Butler was on the line. Butler was a hot, hot, hot television director who had a nice production deal with Viacom.

Chris slapped the speaker phone to "On" and said, "Ho, Fucking Ho, Robert!"

I heard Butler chortling at Chris' greeting, then he said, "And Merry Fucking Christmas to you too, Bunch."

I came in. "Gonna come over and check out our new digs? See a werewolf or two? Let us buy you a couple of drinks?"

Butler said, "Maybe later, boys. I'm just calling to give you guys an early Christmas present."

Chris said, "Hmm, let's see. I already asked Santa for a new crossbow and a speedloader for my Ak-47. Got something like that in mind?"

More laughter. Then Butler said, "Actually, I was getting ready to call your agent and re-up the option on We Take The Palace." He was referring to an hour-long comedy series Chris and I had created about a group of screwball mercenaries who end up running an equally screwball island. Sort of like "F Troop," but with an ocean view.

I said, "Same deal? Option for another year at the same price?"

"That was my thinking, " he replied.

"Far fucking out," Chris said.

"Would that be a 'Yes, thank you, Mr. Butler, sir?'" Robert said.

"Fucking A," Chris said. "And Merry Christmas back at you... Mr. Butler... sir."

We exchanged a few more pleasantries, then got off the line.

Chris said, "Now, that's gonna brighten our Christmas." He started flipping through his Rolodex. "Gotta call Kurtz Jewelers," he said. "Buy Karen something shiny."

A little over an hour later - and I swear I'm not making this up - we got a similar call, this one from Phil Fehrley, a producer, but one of our favorite people, just the same.

"Ho, Fucking Ho, Uncle Phil," Chris greeted him.

"You're such a heathen," Fehrley laughed. "Better watch out for lightning."

Chris said, "Hey, it wasn't JC who said Ho, Ho, Ho. It was Saint Nicholas and he was a fucking Turk, and last I heard the Pope yanked his sainthood stripes. So, I'm pretty sure I'm safe."

I said, "Let me guess, Phil. You're calling about the option on The Berlin Reel, right?" The Berlin Reel was yet another TV series proposal, this one a drama about an American newsreel journalist in pre-war Berlin.

Phil said, "That's the size of it, Allan. And Merry Christmas to you both."

The option for The Berlin Reel was similar to We Take The Palace, so Christmas was looking merrier by the minute. Chris called Kurtz again and I made grander plans for Kathryn as well.

Naturally, things couldn't continue in that vein, even if it was the day before the night before Christmas. The next call was a little troublesome and involved outgo, not in-go. It was from the artist/owner of a crystal-making shop in Venice.

Chris and I had conspired to create some special gifts for people on the show. We'd scored photographs - from different angles - of one of the werewolf costumes. We'd given these to the artist to make crystal statues for everyone. Lupo was to get the largest - about ten inches high. John Ashley, his right hand man, John York, star of the show, and Rick Baker, who created the costumes, would get smaller ones - about six inches high. And we'd had another two dozen or so made up for our secretary and other key people on the show. These consisted of the werewolf head, mounted on a base.

They were very, very cool, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, the order was a week overdue. The good news - the artist was calling to say they were finally done. The not so good news - he was so swamped by Christmas orders that he couldn't personally deliver the gifts to our office.

I jumped on the line, called ABC Messenger service, and arranged for a pick up. Naturally, with the holiday, ABC was pretty busy. But for an extra fee, they promised delivery before the party.

Finished what we were doing and went to see Lupo. Stuck our heads in the door. Chris said, "Want to hear how we're going to kill that son of a bitch, Chuck Connors?"

Lupo paused, hands dangling over his keyboard. "Ah, geeze, guys, it's the holidays. I never kill people during the holidays."

I gestured at his typewriter. "What's the body count on the Fade In? Two hundred? Three hundred?" He was working on the pilot for his new science fiction series, Something Is Out There, which opened with a violent break out on a prison space ship.

Frank chuckled. "Fuckin' guys," he said. Then he waved us off. "See you at the party."

When we got back to our office, Kathryn and Karen had shown up. They'd both come directly from work. Karen was the top designer at a fancy flower shop. While Kathryn owned an escrow company at Wilshire and Bundy in West LA. (Escrow Revue, decorated with antique movie posters and sporting a big, working popcorn machine just inside the front door.) Kisses and embraces were exchanged. And we shared the good news about the two timely options.

After chatting awhile, Kathryn said, "I saw the funniest thing this afternoon. It was right outside of my office. We wouldn't have noticed at all, if it wasn't for the fabulous old car."

Chris, who was making drinks, looked up at his baby sister and asked the typical guy question: "What kind of old car?"

"Oh, I don't know," Kathryn said, impatient. "The story isn't about the car, it's about what happened while we were looking at the car."

Wisely, Chris said no more, but just delivered the drinks.

"You know how I have all those big windows in my office?" Kathryn said.

We did indeed. The entire front of the long building was all window, with mirror coating. People in the office could see out, but people trying to look in only saw their reflection. Kathryn and her staff used to love to watch people pause to pose and primp, not knowing they had an audience.

"Anyway, we were all looking at the old car, when who should come out of the Bicycle Shop next door, but Arnie and Maria." The Bicycle Shop was a trendy Hollywood lunch stop. Arnie and Maria were, obviously, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver.

"It was Arnie's car," Chris guessed correctly.

"Right," Kathryn confirmed. "And that's where they headed when they came out of the restaurant. They were in the middle of a knock-down fight. Maria was furious about something, and Arnie was stupid enough to argue back. Can you imagine? Making a Kennedy mad?"

Chris and I laughed, guessing what the fight was about. A friend of ours was a Below The Line craftsman on one of Arnie's recent shoots. He said Arnie had been after one cutie something awful, demonstrating in spades, what he would later call in his run for Governator of California, "My playfulness." The girl finally came around to his way of thinking, but the director spotted them in mid-act, and a couple of minutes later, Arnie begged: "Don't tell Maria. Don't tell Maria. It was jus' a ploh jhob, jus' a ploh jhob. It doesn't count."

Kathryn continued, "They stood right in front of our windows yelling at each other. Except Maria was doing most of the yelling. Arnie took off for the car, but Maria got in front of him, and she kept on yelling. And she was shaking her finger at him - she's so teeny, and he's so big, but he wilted like a scared you know what. Oh, it was so funny to see. Finally, they both got in the car and took off, but you could see her still yelling at him."

We had a good laugh at that. Chris looked at his watch. Frowning. "Where the hell's that messenger with the werewolves?" he wondered.

I started worrying. The party would start any minute and our presents hadn't shown up. Then our secretary buzzed us. I answered and she said, "Allan, there's something weird going on."

I asked what could be weirder than working on a show about a Werewolf, and she said, "What's weird about a Werewolf?" When I couldn't answer, she said, "There's some loony guy running all over the building asking for Brunch and Cola. He's going from office to office and floor to floor. Somebody thought it was a practical joke, or something. You know, Brunch and Cola? So they sent him to the restaurant. The receptionist finally figured it out and called me."

Right away I knew it was our missing gifts. I said, "Tell the receptionist to send the guy up."

She said it was too late, he'd already left. Chris and I bounded up and headed for the elevators. We searched for the guy floor by floor. Finally, we ended up in the basement in the Security office and there we found our missing presents in the keep of an hysterical guy with the looks and thick accent of somebody whose native land was South by Southeast of Somewhere The Hell Else. Obviously the messenger service was short-handed during the holidays and he was a temp. We showed Security our IDs and they released him into our custody.

There were several boxes and he wanted to help, but he was so screwy we were afraid he'd drop them and next thing we'd know there'd be this horrible crash and crunch of all those crystal figurines. We tipped him, snagged a nice rent-a-cop to help, and elevated the boxes upstairs to our office.

Christmas music blared over all the hallway speakers and it was time for the party. We carried the boxes into the main meeting room, which had been turned into a Hollywood Christmas Wonderland. Our set decorators had really gone overboard and we had glitter and lights and glorious Yuletide props everywhere.

A copy of the scarred Skorzeney Werewolf's head was set up as a centerpiece of the table, with lights and candy canes dripping from his ears and muzzle. Spread around the head, we had plenty of drink to drink and goodies to eat. In one corner, there was a huge stack of presents piled under a spectacular tree blazing with lights.

The room filled up quickly and everybody got something to eat and drink and the fun began. Frank came in and he and Ashley handed out presents to everyone. Chris and I got new Sony stereo systems with all the gadget trimmings, including dynamite speakers.

Everybody oohed and ahhed over their loot, then Chris and I started handing out the boxes of crystal werewolves. When Lupo opened the box meant for him and drew out the large Werewolf figurine - an exact crystal copy of Rick Baker's original - he was speechless.

"Fuckin', guys!" he said, choking up.

Then everybody else got their crystal mementos, including Ashley, York and Baker. And the reactions were equally appreciative.

The party moved on and we had a nice chat with Rick Baker, a superb costume artist. He told us some of the tricks of the trade, such as the hydraulic puppetry he'd developed to bring the werewolves to life.

A short, but muscular stuntman was inside each costume for the main movement. But the really cool scary things - like the opening of slavering jaws, sharp claws reaching out, the head turning to show those blood red eyes - were performed by a team of technicians with control boxes hooked up to hydraulic lines that were connected to the werewolf. Wherever the werewolf went, the team followed, all dressed in black, and keeping carefully out of camera range.

Then we got to talk to our star, John York, who was a little shy and unassuming - a lot like the character he played. York joked about the werewolf transformations. All his clothes would be ripped off, of course, and later there'd be a scene where the human York - quite naked - had to score new clothing. Stealing them from clotheslines, or whatever. It was a challenge to come up with something different for each transformation.

"You guys are always making me flash my butt," he said.

Chris said, "Hey, we're past masters of flashing actors' butts, John." He clapped York on the back. "Just ask Bill Bixby. Two, maybe three Hulkouts per episode. Losing all his clothes every damned time... And poor Lou Ferrigno... There was the Hulk, always stuck in ripped up shorts with his balls hanging out."

"Happened so often," I lied, "they had to spray paint 'em green to match the rest of him."

York had to agree that he wasn't as bad off.

Rick added, "At least the guys in the werewolf suits don't have to worry," he said. "I made them smooth between the legs, like Barbie's boyfriend."

The party wound down and finally, Chris and I and our ladies made our separate ways home.


Thursday. The day before Christmas. Kathryn and I slept in, recovering from the party and a hard (albeit) short work week. The doorbell bing bonged and I grumbled and got up. It was chilly for California and the polished wooden floors weren't so charming in bare feet.

We were in our new house on Amoroso Place, in Venice. It was a two-story 1918 Arts & Crafts home, with leaded glass windows looking out on a wide front porch. I could see a young man in a suit and tie waiting there, with a big box beside him.

Even though there are few things in Venice Beach more worrisome than a short-haired guy in a suit and tie, I answered the door. He was too young and the suit was too nice for him to be some breed of cop. Also, even though I was a Venice denizen, I didn't have any current reason to feel guilty. That I knew of, anyway.

"Merry Christmas, Mr. Cole," the kid said, beaming like one of Santa's elves. He told me his name, then added, "I'm from 20th Century Fox, Mr. Cole. The studio sent this little gift to thank you for the fabulous job you're doing on the show."

And he lugged the huge box into my house, shook my hand, refused coffee, and rushed out into the chill beach air, probably on his way to Chris' place in Manhattan Beach.

My sleepy-eyed wife wandered into the living room, tying her robe about her. "Who was that?" she asked.

I indicated the big box. "It's from the studio," I said.

Sleepiness was replaced by bright interest. "Ooh, let's open it," she said.

And so we did. The first thing we found was a large, wooly lap rug. It was red and black and white, and in the center was a big 20th Century Fox logo - like you've seen at the beginning of every Fox movie since 1935 when the legendary Mr. William Fox merged his company with the equally legendary Mr. Darryl F. Zanuck.

Beneath that were all kinds of goodies. Bottles of champagne and cider with two glass flutes. Cakes and cookies. Fine cheeses and sausages and crackers. Two 20th Century Fox mugs with packets of gourmet hot chocolate to go in them. And lots, and lots of other things, too many to remember.

While Kathryn made some hot chocolate and unpacked the cake and cookies, I finished setting up the new stereo Frank had given us.

Kathryn put on a record, then curled up with me under the 20th Century Fox lap rug, sipping at mugs of chocolate. Kathryn clicked the remote, a record fell into place, there was the hiss of a needle in the grooves and the music purred out of the speakers.

And this is the very first Christmas song she played.

...I'll be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays, gentle readers. But, never fear, these Misadventures will return in the New Year, with more exciting Tales Of Yesteryear, starting with:



The MisAdventures began humbly enough - with about 2,000 readers. When it rose to over 50,000 I started listening to those of you who urged me to collect the stories into a book. Starting at the beginning, I went back and rewrote the essays, adding new detail and events as they came to mind. This book is the result of that effort.  However, I'm mindful of the fact, Gentle Reader, that you also enjoy having these little offerings posted every Friday to put a smile on your face for the weekend. So I'll continue running them until it reaches the final Fade Out.  Meanwhile, it would please the heart of this ink-stained wretch - as well as tickle whatever that hard black thing is in my banker's chest - if you bought the book. It will make a great gift, don't you think. And if you'd like a personally autographed copy you can get it directly through my (ahem) Merchant's Link at Click here. Buy the book and I will sign it and ship it to you. Break a leg!


Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.    

Friday, December 10, 2010


"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." (Robert Blake in Baretta - 1975-1978.)

Chris braked hard to avoid T-Boning a produce truck that had jumped the light. "Fuckin' Robert Blake," he growled.

You couldn't blame Chris for his mood. It was one of those hot LA days, where smog and road grime seem to reach right through the car's AC vents to claw at your eyes and throat. Even so, I was puzzled.

"I don't get it," I said. "Was Blake driving that truck, or something?"

"Might as fucking well be," Chris said. "It's his fucking fault we're stuck somewhere in the middle of East LA on the hottest fucking day of the year."

I had to admit he had a point. Our agent had originally set up a pitch meeting with Blake at a perfectly reasonable time, at a perfectly reasonable place, but Blake's assistant had called back at the last minute to reschedule.

"Blake thought it would make better use of his time if you met him on location," the agent told us. "You can make the pitch in his trailer when he's taking a break."

What could we say? The meeting was to pitch a two hour episode for the new PI series, "Joe Dancer," starring the above mentioned Robert Blake - or, "that little fucking Mickey Gubitosi," as he was known and loathed by more than a few.

Big bucks were at stake, and so it was that we found ourselves a few days later edging Chris' prized BMW through the traffic in a rough, gang infested area of East LA. The signs were all in Spanish, which is okay if you've lived in LA any sort of time, because you soon develop a kind of Spanglish understanding of the language. On a positive note, mixed in the cavalcade of vehicles, were a few really cool-looking low riders and one absolutely dynamite vintage truck painted a lacquer white with huge red fighting cocks decorating the sides.

Chris cheered up a little when he saw the rooster illustrations. "What the fuck," he said. "How bad can it be?"

We got to the location with nary a scratch on Chris' pride and joy. A narrow street lined with a few small businesses and the alley that serviced them had been barricaded for the shoot. Gang members with jail tattoos manned the barriers. In bad neighborhoods, it's common practice for location managers to grease the palms of local thugs to act as "security."

The film permit would have included an LAPD officer, or two, but to guarantee peace the location guys paid off warring gangs not to war, plus promised them bit parts. Even the nastiest felon is turned into a purring pussycat when he hears the siren call of, "Wanna be in the picture, kid?"

A guy with a couple of blue teardrops tattooed under one eye grunted at us when we told him we were the writers here to see Mr. Blake. He pulled the barrier aside and waved Chris into a makeshift lot, where Teamster drivers hung about the vehicles in their charge, smoking cigarettes, swatting flies, and cursing the smoggy heat.

Got out, locked the car, then headed to a group of people who were milling about a battered shop with a "Mercado" sign overhead. There were lights, and sound booms and camera equipment, so we figured that's where the action was. We asked where we might Blake, or the director, but all we got was shrugs. Finally we came upon an art director fussing over prop fruit and vegetables stands. Pointing at the mouth of an alley, he said Blake was in his trailer.

As we started away, he said, "Are you the writers?" We said were. He gave us a sympathetic look. "Well, be careful dears, She's in a terrible state."

"What's wrong?" I asked.

The art director gave a snort of exasperation. "Everything is wrong, according to Little Miss Greta Grumpy. The location is wrong. The sets are wrong. The props are wrong." Another snort. "The only thing that's really wrong is that She didn't learn Her lines."

As we walked away, Chris said, "Is Blake gay?"

"If you mean his sexual orientation," I said, "Beats the hell out of me. If you mean his mood, apparently it is anything but gay."

"Shit!" Chris said.


We had one thing going for us, though - NBC. As a series of two-hour movies, they were taking a huge financial risk with Dancer. Not trusting Blake's story sense, they'd given him a short list of "approved" writers, such as our old buddy from Quincy, Robert Crais, a name many of you will recognize as the author of the hard-boiled Elvis Cole/ Joe Pike novels.

Also on that list were the names of our personal favorite writing team - Bunch & Cole. In other words, if he passed on our pitch, he'd have some explaining to do to the Guys With The Big Telephones at the Network.

We got to the trailer - actually a large RV - and knocked. Somebody shouted "Come in," so we opened the door. The blast of cold AC air that greeted us was not welcome. It bore the odor of a men's locker room so thick and gamy our stomachs clenched. A producer friend had warned us that Blake's sanitary habits were right out of the Middle Ages. But as a producer we knew him to be typically prone to exaggeration, so we were still unprepared.

"I can take it if you can," Chris muttered.

We entered.

It was a gloomy atmosphere. The curtains had been drawn over the windows, and besides an overhead reading light above a small dining alcove, the only other source of illumination was a small, flickering TV squatting on the table, sound off. Blake sat beside it, turned out to face the aisle. There were some implements on the table, whose purpose was not immediately apparent. He was wearing jeans and a dirty muscle shirt, with an adequate display, but certainly no threat to Sly or Arnie.

Blake waved us over, saying, "Bunch and Cole?"

I said, "Guilty."

Blake sighed as if we were presenting an additional burden to an already weary day and motioned for us to sit in the little foldout bench opposite him. He called out to somebody and pretty soon a dogsbody of indeterminate gender scurried out and placed a white plastic tub of steamy water on the floor in front of Blake.

"Got some stories for me?" he said.

"We do," Chris said.

He waved, "Well, get to them then."

Apparently there wasn't going to be any foreplay, much less a hello, or heard all about you. We got out our steno pads and leafed through our notes. But both of us stopped as we observed Blake doing the strangest thing. He kicked off his shoes and peeled - and I mean PEELED - his socks off of a pair of really dirty feet.

It was a good thing we were sitting, because the smell would have knocked us down. He stuck his feet in the tub, swirled them about a bit, slopping soapy water on the carpet. Then he put a towel on his lap, lifted one foot out and placed it on a knee. He reached into the array of implements pulled out a set of nail clippers, and started clipping his toe nails.

He looked up at us, impatient. "Go ahead," he said.

Chris and I looked at each other. He flipped his notebook closed. I did the same. Blake stopped clipping long enough to scratch his head, puzzled.

"What's the problem?"

Chris and I eyed his feet. He looked down. Then up again.

"What, this bother you or something?"

"Or, something," Chris said.

Blake glared at him.

Chris glared back. There are few people who could give glare as well as Chris Bunch.

Bobby folded. "Touchy," he said.

He got up and padded into the back and disappeared into a room. A minute later the dogsbody reappeared, stuck the shoes and offensive socks under an arm, grabbed the tub and scurried out.

Beat, Beat, and Bobby returned.

Stopped in front of us. Motioned to his feet. He was wearing a pair of old black ballet-type slippers, a toe sticking out of one of them.

"Better?" he said.

"It'll do," Chris said.

Blake nodded and sat. And we began our pitch.

An hour later we were pushing our way back through the East LA traffic, a sale under our belts. Chris said, "Old Freddy told us that if Blake tried to get a leg over, to tell him to fuck off."

I said, "Well, you certainly did that, partner mine."

Freddy's cure (see Bad Boy Bobby Blake #1) worked a treat. We wrote that episode, then sold and wrote another without further unpleasantness. Even so, we watched Blake make other people's lives miserable, thus undermining his own success. Pretty soon the show was cancelled, but we were already off to nicer people and better things.


Kathryn and I had just come home late from dinner at Madam Wu's(See The Ugliest Dog In Hawaii) when the phone rang. It was the producer buddy mentioned in the previous episode of these journals.

He said, "Quick, turn on Johnny Carson."

I said, "Jesus, man, it's almost midnight."

He said, "Johnny Carson wouldn't be on if it wasn't. Now, go turn it on." He hung up.

I went to the TV and turned it on. And who should I see sitting in the guest seat next to Carson, but none other than Robert (I got that Old Son Of A Bitch Feeling Coming On) Blake.

He was doing his old act, whining and moaning about how he had been an abused child actor (Our Gang Comedy, Red Rider), who had been ripped off by his parents and had fallen into drink and drugs and through no fault of his own had become an intolerable human being. Now, he had seen the light, found solace in dance therapy and green tea enemas, or whatever, and was ready to take up his career anew with kindness and charity in his heart for one and all.

"Hot damn," I told Kathryn, "I think we might be in for another job."

She laughed. "From that little rat?" she said, pointing at the tube.

"It's Blake's MO," I said. "It's like Country Western stars. C&W guys make a public confession on Grand Old Opry and find Jesus. In Hollywood, you go on The Tonight Show and find Green Tea enemas."

Sure enough, a couple of days later Chris and I were busy working on Sten #4 - Fleet Of The Damned - when our agent called. I don't remember who it was, probably The Weasel. (See We Save Flipper From A Tuna Can) In fact, I'm sure it was The Weasel because I distinctly remember Chris cringing as the guy's squeaky voice came across the speaker phone.

He said, "Listen, fellas, I've got a job lined up for you. I've been working real hard on it, and I didn't want to say anything too soon, but it finally all came together and I'm not bragging if I tell you-"

I broke in before Chris reached through the phone and strangled the little shit. He couldn't stand the guy.

I said, "Let me guess, it's Robert Blake, right?"

A long pause, then. "Well, yeah, Allan. As it happens it was Bobby's office that called, but I've been trying to-"

Again I broke in. This time to prevent Me from murderilizing him. The Weasel was one of those agents who claimed credit whether it was due, or not. If you've been in the business more than six months, you know the breed. We had brought the Blake contact to The Weasel, not the other way around.

I said, "What's the show?"

Another pause of surprise, then he said, "It's called Hell Town and Bobby plays a priest, and it's really a very unique premise and - "

Chris could stand no more. He cut in. "It can't be VERY unique, God Damnit! Unique is as fucking unique as unique can get."

"Whaaat?" came the squeaky voice of confusion.

"Never mind," I told the agent. "Just set up the meet and we'll be there."

"Tell them no fucking meetings on location," Chris growled. "And no washing of stinking feet!"

Another confused cry of, "Whaaat?"

I said never mind and give us a call about the meeting. After hanging up, I looked up the number of the producer buddy to find out what this Hell Town series was about. While I was calling, Chris got out the glasses and ice for Scotch and water, easy on the water, because we were about to once again enter the weird, grubby world of little Mickey Gubitosi, King Of The SOB's.

Long story short, we met with him and his story exec - a guy named E. Nick Alexander, who couldn't put two words together without making three, because he had to put a "fuck" or a "fucking" or some other version of the "F" word in between. I won't repeat the conversation, because it offends even me.

Blake's office was in a newish building in an industrial area near MGM. It was two stories, with an underground parking area, one side partitioned off for a garage. Blake had the suites on the ground floor, and a new action-adventure series called "240 Robert" had the top floor. They shared the parking area and the garage, where Teamster mechanics worked on vehicles used by both shows. (Tip: When producers land a new gig, they immediately get the mechanics to totally overhaul their cars, up to and including new engines, upholstery, tires, paint, etc., then bill it to the show. Any under the table money to doubly grease the mechanics' palms goes onto the Location Scout's cash budget.)

We knew the Show Runner on 240 Robert, so after we made the Hell Town sale, we wandered upstairs, shot the bull, then sold a script there as well. With two deals to our credit, Chris and I were happy writer-guys as we drove the short distance home to Venice Beach.

Later, when they were shooting that episode of Hell Town, we were called out to the location to make on-the-spot script changes. I forget what they were, but it's usually because necessary time cuts will affect dialogue, plot, or both - jobs, only a writer is authorized to handle.

Whatever the reason, it's always fun. We expected no different with Hell Town. The location was the Standing Set they'd built on the ass end of LA. Two old buildings had been converted into a small church exterior, with an attached orphanage.

Blake played the Catholic priest who oversaw both. He was supposed to be a rough and ready type priest, up from the streets. In the tag of every episode he'd be sitting out on the steps of the church at night, drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette, talking to "the man upstairs." If that image makes you all hypoglycemic, blame Blake, not me.

Anyway, the set was pretty impressive. While we were waiting for Blake - in his trailer grooming his feet, no doubt - the production boss showed us around. The dorms in the little orphanage were perfect, but he was particularly proud of the communal kitchen.

A smiling set man greeted us when we entered. And it was something right out of a Norman Rockwell image of an American Big Family Kitchen. Long wooden table with benches for the kids and the nuns to sit around. Battered pots and pans hanging from the walls. A fabulous old butcher's block. And a huge, old-fashioned cooking range, with a cast iron grill.

"Wait'll you see this," the set man said, pulling us over to the range. "There hasn't been gas service in this place for years," he continued. "But, see, this thing even works." He turned dials and flames leaped up from the burners. "We got a kitchen scene coming up later today and we can actually cook on this thing when they shoot it."

He showed us how he and his team had constructed a pantry where propane tanks were cunningly hidden. Just to prove his point, he slapped a frying pan on one of the burners, got some bacon out of the prop fridge (there was an ice chest inside), and soon had it sizzling.

But apparently there was more. Much more. "That's nothing," he said. "Easy shit for my guys."

He took us through doors that led into a by-god kitchen garden. Bean vines twined up poles. Tomatoes heavy with fruit were staked in the corners. And the rest of the garden was taken up by row after row of towering corn plants, with ripe ears hanging from stalks. As we exited, one member of his team was busy wiring ears of corn to the plants.

The set man explained, "Mr. Blake wanted everything as real as possible." He indicated the beans and the tomatoes. "Of course, you can't just grow this shit overnight. But, it was easy to get the plants from a hot house and set them up here."

He turned to the corn. "Now, that was the really hard part. It's the middle of winter, so where the hell are you gonna get corn growing on stalks? And Mr. Blake was just dead set on making it not just look real, but feel real. He says it makes it better for him to find his... whatchacallit - motivation."

The production boss rolled his eyes. "Whatever," he said.

The set man was too proud to notice. He said, "So, I stayed up two nights making those stalks. Then I went out before dawn to the Central Market and bought fresh corn. Now we just have to wire them on, and there you go."

It really was impressive and we said so. The guy looked like a little kid, he was so proud. This is one of those key elements that can make or break a project. I don't mean just the craftsmanship, but the attitude of the film crew. If they feel this is just as much their movie, or TV episode, as the actors and the directors and the writers, then something magic can happen.

Came a familiar voice: "What's this shit?"

The set man jumped. It was Blake. He came storming on the scene, dressed in his priest get up, including the collar. He was flanked by two big stuntmen, one in a Gold's Gym muscle shirt, the other - a little older, just as big, but with graying sideburns - wore a red T-shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. It was touting some stunt driving school - maybe Stuntman Mike's, but maybe not.

I'm not sure, but one of them might have been the boyo who testified years later that Blake tried to involve a couple of stuntmen in his wife's murder. Eventually the testimony was recanted and Blake was acquitted of the murder. However, like O.J. Simpson, a jury in a civil suit, believed otherwise. They awarded the children of the dead wife $30 million, later reduced by a judge to $15 million.

Anyway, here was Blake, with two big stunt men hovering at his side, spitting fury at the poor set guy. He batted at one of the corn stalks, knocking it down.

"I cannot believe this shit?" he shouted. "I wanted real fucking corn! On real fucking corn plants! This is fucking wired!"

The set man shrank under Blake's abuse and the threatening glares of the stuntmen, who moved in to loom on him. "But, Bobby," he said. "It's winter."

"I know it's fucking winter," Blake shouted. "I got a calendar. I watch the news. So what? Send somebody down to Mexico, or something. Use your fucking imagination. Or, is that too much to ask'

"No, Bobby, right away, Bobby," the guy babbled.

Then Blake and the stuntmen trooped into the orphanage kitchen, the set man and production boss in tow. Chris and I idled along, taking mental notes. You never know when might need a good scene about an asshole.

Now, Blake was screaming at the guy about the kitchen range. He'd flicked it on and he was shaking his finger at the flame. "This is shit!" he said. "It doesn't look real! There's hardly any fucking fire!"

"But, Bobby," the set man protested, "we just tried it out. We even cooked some bacon on it, see?" He indicated the frying pan holding several rashers of nicely browned bacon.

Blake swept the pan off the range onto the floor, spattering pork products and grease everywhere. "Don't fucking tell me about bacon," he said. He thumped his chest. "I know all about goddamned bacon."

What this meant I haven't the foggiest, but it maybe it meant something to the set man, because he bobbed his head, babbling, "Sure, Bobby. Sure. We'll fix it. Don't worry."

"I'm not fucking worried," Blake said, jabbing his finger at the guy. "You're the one who should be worrying!"

He looked around the room, sneering at what he saw. Then he must have realized that Chris and I were standing there, because he finally turned to greet us. But, now he had a completely different look on his face. Like Jekyll and Hyde, he transformed from a raging Robert Blake to a sort of friendly Bobby Blake.

"Hey, guys," he said, shaking our hands in turn. "Thanks for coming by." We said sure, no problem. He started away, motioning for us to follow. "I got notes for the changes in my trailer."

He shot Chris an amused look. "Not to worry," he joked."Already cut my toe nails."

Okay, so we got our notes - no trouble, no outbursts. Everything gentleman like. We made the changes on the spot, using a typewriter in Blake's trailer. We went home.

A week or so later Blake called us in to do a "special" two-hour episode of Hell Town. "I want it to be a movie," he said. "We need something to goose the ratings."

Did that job. Then bingo, he wanted yet a third script. A regular one-hour episode, but with a touch of comedy. I think it was called, "Willie The Goat," or some such.

We were just finishing the Goat Script when The Weasel called. This time, he kept it short. "Hey, guys," he said, "just got your check in from Blake. You know, for the two hour movie?"

"Yeah?" I said, suddenly wary. "What about it?"

"It's five thousand dollars short, is what about it," he said. "I called his business manager to alert him to the error, but he said it wasn't an error. He said that Bobby had decided to split the movie into two, one hour episodes. You know, show the first part one week, then put "To be continued" at the end, and then put the final part on the air the following week."

I said, "So, you're saying he's paying us for two one hour episodes, instead of a fucking two-hour movie, which is what he ordered and what we wrote?"

A long pause. Then, "That's about the size of it Allan." Another pause. "What do you want to do? Send the check back? Then you could call the Writer's Guild and complain?"

I looked at Chris, who had been listening in. I shook my head. He agreed.

It wasn't like we had a signed contract to back our act. Television moves so fast that the show is written and shot and you are on to other projects before the contract ever catches up to you many weeks later. This pretty much works - until you run into an SOB like Robert Blake.

"That'll take two small forevers," I told The Weasel. "And the most that can happen is that the Guild eventually makes him pay, then maybe fines him one percent for being tardy. Big deal. We'll have gray beards down to our ankles by then."

"My inclination would be to cash the check," The Weasel said, quite sensibly. "And argue about the shortfall later."

"I have a better idea," I said. I looked at Chris, who nodded. He knew how my mind worked. "Cash the check, yeah. But then call Blake's people and tell them we are sitting on another script that Bobby specifically asked for. And that if they want the script, they'd better messenger a check for five thousand dollars to my house or they can go fuck themselves."

Chris broke in. "One other thing," he told the speaker phone. "I don't trust the son of a bitch. We want the five grand, plus the full price for the pages we're holding. Then, and only fucking then, does he get the script."

The Weasel said, "Jesus, guys. You sure?"

We said we were, hung up, got a couple of pops of Scotch, then wrote Fade Out on the Willie The Goat script.

A day passed. We were working with a guy on another project when the phone rang. It was Bobby Blake. I figured we'd get the Robert Blake raging inferno guy, but instead he was all little Mickey Gubitosi, whining on the phone and sounding a lot like the character he played on the Little Rascals.

"Gee whiz, fellas," he said, "I really need that script. I told the Network the story. And they just loved it."

I said, "We know. They called us about it. And we told them we've got the script right here, ready to go."

"They called you?" Blake said, sounding alarmed.

It was true, so I didn't have to lie when I said, "Yeah, Bobby. They called."

A pause, then he said, "So, shall I send somebody to pick it up?'

"Fine with us," I said. "But make sure they bring along payment in full for this script, plus the five grand you owe us for the movie."

"It wasn't a movie," Blake whined. "It was two one-hour episodes. Sure, it started out as a two-hour movie, but things changed, you know."

"I'm not going to argue with you, Bobby," I said. "You owe us five thousand bucks. Period. Plus twenty for the script we're holding. Cash, or check, makes no never mind to us."

"This is blackmail," Blake said, heated.

Chris broke in. "No, it's fucking extortion," he said. "Send a guy around with the dough, and we'll give him the script."

"How do I know it's any good?" Blake tried.

"You know," Chris said.

Finally, Bobby said he'd send somebody over and hung up. We got back to work with our friend, who was laughing about the whole conversation.

About an hour later, just as we were wrapping up, the doorbell rang. This was the house in Venice with the glass window in the door that I mentioned in the episode about the FBI. (See The FBI Only Rings Once.)

Large as that window was, it was completely filled by a red T-shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. I opened the door to find the stuntman we'd seen with Blake, plus his buddy, he of the Gold's Gym muscle shirt.

They rippled their musculature and glowered at me. "Mr. Blake sent us for the script," Red Shirt said.

"Sure," I said. "Come on in."

I led them into living room where Chris and our friend sat. The stuntmen glared at them, but to little effect.

Red Shirt addressed me. "Where's the script?"

I said, "Where's the check?"

He said, "First, the script."

I said, "No, first the check."

The two men loomed on me. And a very impressive job of looming they did. Chris and our friend laughed, which pissed the stuntmen off.

Red Shirt shifted his glare to our friend. "Who are you?" he demanded.

Chris came in before the guy could answer. He told them the guy's name, which I won't repeat because he might not appreciate it. Then he added, "He's the former president of the LA Chapter of the Hell's Angels."

Our HA friend raised an admonitory hand. It was covered with tats of all sorts of wicked things. "Not former president," he corrected Chris. "Retired. There's a difference."

Chris said, "You guys will get a kick out of this. We're doing a pilot for a comedy series about a motorcycle gang family."

Our HA friend further explained, "It's sort of like the Munsters, but with bikers instead of Frankenstein types. Instead of bolts through the neck, we've got tats on the neck."

All of this was true and the stuntmen looked like they either believed it, or weren't so rude as to question the word of the recently retired president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Hell's Angels. And every scarred and tattooed inch of him looked the part. Sure, they were big. But you need more than big going for you if you piss off the Angeles.

Red Shirt said, "Yeah, I saw that Harley chopper outside. Nice tank. Peanut, huh?"

Our friend said that his Hog did, indeed, sport a peanut gas tank.

Red Shirt turned back to me. "Maybe I'd better talk to Mr. Blake," he said.

"Maybe you'd better," Chris said.

He lifted the speaker phone's receiver, punched a memory button, and there were dialing sounds. Somebody answered, and that somebody passed the call on to somebody else, until finally we heard Blake speak. "Yeah?"

Red Shirt addressed the speaker phone, "Little problem, here, boss," he said. "On that script pickup? They want me to give them the check first, or they won't hand over the script."

Blake said, "That's fucking ridiculous."

Chris came in, saying, "That's how it is, Bobby. No checkee, no scriptee."

"Fuck," Blake said. Then, to Red Shirt, "Give it to them. But make fucking sure you get the script." And he hung up.

Chris passed me the script and I turned and offered it to Red Shirt, sticking out my other hand for the check. He got it out of his pocket and showed it to me, but didn't hand it over. I looked. It was for the correct amount, including the five thousand dollars.

Then he pushed the check forward and got a hand on the script. So we were both standing there, me holding one end of the check, him holding the other end of the script. He tugged at the script. I held firm and tugged on the check. A couple of tugs went back and forth. It was actually pretty funny.

Finally, he said, "Aw, shit." And let go of the check. Only then did I loosen my grip on the script.

Without further ado, the stuntmen lumbered for the door and then let themselves out. Shoulders hunched as our laughter followed them into the night.

After the laughter died, our HA friend said, "Guess that asshole Blake won't be calling you again anytime soon."

I said, "In Hollywood, you never say never."

And proof of that came, when:


Chris and I are hard at work. Phone rings. Chris picks up. Soon as he hears the secretary say who's calling, he slaps on the speaker phone.

I hear a familiar voice. It's chirpy.

"Hey, fellas, it's me, Bobby. Bobby Blake. How ya doin'?"

Chris says we're doing just fine.

Bobby says, "Look, I got this notion I need a writer for. And I thought of you two right away."

Chris says, "Bobby?'

Blake says, "What?"

Chris says, "Fuck off."

And hangs up.



The MisAdventures began humbly enough - with about 2,000 readers. When it rose to over 50,000 I started listening to those of you who urged me to collect the stories into a book. Starting at the beginning, I went back and rewrote the essays, adding new detail and events as they came to mind. This book is the result of that effort.  However, I'm mindful of the fact, Gentle Reader, that you also enjoy having these little offerings posted every Friday to put a smile on your face for the weekend. So I'll continue running them until it reaches the final Fade Out.  Meanwhile, it would please the heart of this ink-stained wretch - as well as tickle whatever that hard black thing is in my banker's chest - if you bought the book. It will make a great gift, don't you think. And if you'd like a personally autographed copy you can get it directly through my (ahem) Merchant's Link at Click here. Buy the book and I will sign it and ship it to you. Break a leg!


Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.    

Friday, December 3, 2010


HOLLYWOOD JOKE CURRENTLY MAKING THE ROUNDS: The producer of a low budget film is wooing a hot young director by touting the big names they've landed for the project.

"First of all," he tells him, "We've got Pitt in the lead."

The director is surprised, "You got Brad Pitt?"

"Well, no," the Producer responds, "we got Jeremy Pitt, he's a distant cousin who lives in Queens, but he's very up and coming. And besides, we've also got DiCaprio."

"You got Leonardo DiCaprio?" the director asks.

"No, we got Vinnie DiCaprio, but he's very talented and has lots of acting experience from years of dinner theater. But," he says enthusiastically, "we've got Carey and in a singing role."

"Mariah Carey?" he asks.

"No, Betty Carey." The Producer responds. "But she's sexy and has a great voice. AND we've got Blake."

"You got Robert Blake?" the director asks.

"Yeah," the producer replies glumly, "we got Robert Blake."

OUR PRODUCER BUDDY SAID, "So, you're gonna meet with Bobby Blake." He shook his head. "You poor schmucks."

"Hey," Chris said, "we're not looking to marry the asshole, we're just looking for a paycheck."

"You've worked with him a lot," I said. "We were hoping you could give us a couple of tips."

"Sure, sure, anything to help my boys," the producer said. "It's for that new Joe Dancer deal, right? Big Fucking Bucks, right?"

We said he was right on both counts.

Joe Dancer was a PI series starring Robert Blake. This was in the days when Blake's public image was more like the character you see on Baretta reruns, not the creepy accused wife-murderer dude you see featured in "Whatever Happened To XYZ" segments of Entertainment Tonight. NBC/Universal Studios had commissioned six two-hour TV movies so we were, indeed, talking "Big Fucking Bucks."

Our producer buddy - who shall remain unnamed for reasons that will soon become obvious - told us to "hang loose, a sec." We were standing in an auto detailing lot just off Victory in Burbank, where our friend was dropping off his car.

He waved a kid over, peeled a hundred off a thick wad, and stuffed it into the kid's shirt pocket, saying, "Take good care of my girl, okay?" The girl in question was a red XJ-S Convertible (Jaguar, if you have to ask) He returned the wad to his pocket and motioned for us to follow.

This was an area of Victory where narrow residential-type streets intersected the boulevard. The streets were lined with old Day Of The Locust era cottages, set around small, gardened court yards. But if you thought anyone actually lived in those cottages, you'd be mistaken. Most were production offices - some leased by Independents, both legit and porno - others owned or leased by the Studios to handle production overflows.

Our producer pal was heading for a corner cottage, with red bougainvillea vines crawling over the arched entranceway, and twining around the security bars guarding the front windows. It was really quite quaint. The door was painted white with a leaded glass sunburst window cut into it. Beneath, there was a brass knocker and a small brass plate inscribed with the moniker of someone I'll just call Freddy.

The producer worked the brass knocker, saying, "Freddy was best damned hair man in the business before he retired. Now he just takes care of a few friends so he can stretch the pension, know what I mean?" We were too young to give a damn about pensions, but we nodded wise agreement. "I drop by every Saturday before lunch," our friend added. "Get the Jag and my head detailed at the same time."

The door opened to reveal a spry little old man, wearing a barber's smock over pinstripe suit pants. He was so deeply wrinkled his face looked like one of those dried apple doll heads they sell in Ozark tourist shops. Even with the thick patch of black hair and bushy black eyebrows, I guessed he was pushing 80.

He flashed a gleaming set of dentures to show our friend how glad he was to see him, meanwhile shooting us a suspicious look.

The producer reassured him. "They're good boys, Freddy. Brought them along so they could pick your brains about a deal they're trying to land."

Freddy, relented, and favored us with the white denture treatment. Then he said, "Writer fellas, am I right?"

The producer laughed at our expressions of surprise, explaining, "Freddy's been in the business since before God got his DGA card, so watch your asses."

He escorted us into a little room just off the entryway. There were two stairs leading down into a space that had rich, old wooden paneling, like something out of a Gentleman's Club. The walls were decorated with antique movie posters from the days of Cagney and Bette Davis. There was a single barber chair, very old, but with polished chrome and well-cared-for leather. A small, marble-topped cabinet behind the chair held the tools of his trade, plus a couple of bottles of some nice single-malt and some glasses.

Our friend took up residence in the barber's chair, and Freddy tucked a barber's sheet around him. Then he poured a couple of glugs of Single Malt into a glass and handed it to the producer. He motioned for us to help ourselves, which we did.

After our friend had imbibed, and got himself settled, he told Freddy, "The boys are supposed to meet with Bobby Blake. You knew him, right?

Freddy stopped clipping long enough to make with something that was somewhere between a chuckle and a tubercular cough.

"Little Mickey Gubitosi?" He croaked. "Sure, I knew him."

"That's what Blake was called in the old Our Gang Comedies?" I guessed.

"Yeah, yeah, that was him," the barber rasped. "First it was Mickey Guitosi. Then it was Mickey Blake. And I don't know when the hell he got to be Bobby."

"What was he like?" Chris asked.

Another strangled chuckle. "Whiny little shit then, and a whiny little shit now." He shook his head as he worked his scissors. "He was always boo-hooing about this or that. Except when the director wanted him to boo-hoo for the picture. Then he couldn't turn on the waterworks for shit. Had to stick an onion under his schnoz for each take."

"Besides the Our Gang stuff, wasn't he in Treasure Of The Sierra Madre?" I asked.

Freddy thought a minute, Then nodded. "Yeah, he was the Mex kid that sold Bogie the winning lottery ticket. I dated the girl who had to make him look Mexican." Another fit of coughing, then, "She said he was an obnoxious little prick. Drove everybody nuts. Houston almost smacked him a couple of times. Only reason he held off is because Bogie got some real Mexican kids who used to hang out at the set to kick his ass."

He paused in his work, sighing deeply. "Bogie always said that the problem with a lot of people is that they never got their ass whipped. So, he probably thought he was doing the kid a favor. In Bobby's case, I guess it didn't take."

He stepped back from our buddy, looking the job over, then started snipping again. "You say you boys are going to meet with the little creep?"

We confirmed this fact.

"Okay, well, my best advice is to hook a chain to your wallets," he said. "He's a cheap son of a bitch and is always looking for a way to get something by you. Big bucks, or, nickel and dime shit, it's all the same to little Mickey Gubitosi.

"Thinks the world owes him because his folks fucked him out of his Our Gang money. And, I mean, I'd feel sorry for the little fucker... just like I feel sorry for most of the child stars. But, he was such a shit, you know?"

He snorted in distaste. "And dirty, my God, sometimes I think he didn't take a bath for days on end." He shrugged. "But, he's grown up, so he's probably got over that by now."

Our producer friend came in. "Not by a long shot," he said. "He's still a pig. Last time I worked with him, he had this jeans jacket he took a liking to. One morning he gets egg on the jacket from his breakfast." To demonstrate, he tapped the place where the breast pocket would be. "Right here, you know? And son of a gun, every day I see him he's still got that jacket on, with the yellow egg yolk sticking to it.

"I finally said, 'Jesus, Bobby, I know you've given up bathing for Lent, but do you have to wear clothes with garbage on it? Makes me sick just looking at it.'

"Well, he gets all pissed off at me and stomps around the trailer. Then, all of a sudden he tells me to go fuck myself and storms into the bathroom. Minute later, I hear the shower going. And it goes and goes and goes. Finally, it stops and Bobby comes stomping out, still in his clothes, which are dripping wet, cause he showered with them on. And he says, 'I hope you're fucking satisfied.'"

Our friend laughed at the memory. Then added, "At least the egg yolk was gone... And he didn't smell as bad for a couple of days."

Chris said, "If he's such an asshole, how come he's managed so many come backs?"

Our producer friend shrugged. "Bobby finally learned how to cry on cue."

We must have looked puzzled, because he added, "I'm sure you've seen him on Johnny Carson and all the other talk shows crying about how he was fucked over by his parents, right?"

Chris, who didn't watch TV, just shrugged. "So was every other Tom, Dick and Jackie Cooper. Who cares?"

Freddy paused as the producer leaned forward. "You forget, Bobby is an actor. And not that bad a one when he's behaving. And boy, does he milk it with the audience. Tells them how he was screwed over. Tells them that he was so traumatized that he turned to dope and booze, which really destroyed him.

"But, now he's seen the fucking light. Turned the god damned page. And he's ready, The Good God Willing, to face life like a man. " (For more on the art of the comeback see The Silver Bullet Sanction.)

The producer settled back so Freddy could resume his work. "Next thing you know, you see in the trades that Bobby's got a new project on offer. Movie, TV series, whatever."

"Which is where Joe Dancer came from," I said.

The producer nodded. "Me and Bobby and a couple of other guys were at Morton's when that deal came down." (Morton's Steak House was a favorite Hollywood lunch stop in the days when the populace of La-La Land still admitted they were carnivores.)

"Bobby was in his full fucking glory," the producer continued, "giving us all the business about how he knew what a bastard he'd been in the past. That he regretted all the misery he caused 'The Little People' who came to the set every day to make him look good, but had to put up with all of his shit. Said he was sorry, so sorry.

"'I can be a son of bitch, I admit it,' he told us. 'But, no more. I'm a changed man, boys. A changed man.... You'll see... God willing... and if I ever get a shot again.'"

Our buddy laughed in memory. "About then," he said, "the waiter comes over and says that Mr. Blake has an important telephone call. So, Bobby excuses himself, gets up and goes with the waiter to wherever the phone was.

"While he was gone, the other guys started saying, Wow, maybe he really has changed... Shit like that. Then Bobby comes back. Huge smile on his face. Rubbing his hands together. He tells us that was his agent on the phone. They'd just done the deal for Joe Dancer. And Bobby was working again.

"Then he sits down, big as you please, looks us all over with a huge shit-eating grin on his puss. And he announces - "'Boys, I've got that old Son Of A Bitch feeling comin' on.'"

Well, we just roared laughter. Sputtered the line again, and again - "Boys, I got that old Son Of A Bitch feelin' comin' on." But then, as the laughter died, we started realizing what we might be coming up against in the near future.

Freddy, bless him, caught our shift in mood.

He said, "Fellas, besides the money, the main thing you've gotta watch out for is to never let Bobby get his leg over you. He says 'Jump,' you don't say, 'How high?' You say, fuck off."

Chris grinned and said, "We can do that."



The MisAdventures began humbly enough - with about 2,000 readers. When it rose to over 50,000 I started listening to those of you who urged me to collect the stories into a book. Starting at the beginning, I went back and rewrote the essays, adding new detail and events as they came to mind. This book is the result of that effort.  However, I'm mindful of the fact, Gentle Reader, that you also enjoy having these little offerings posted every Friday to put a smile on your face for the weekend. So I'll continue running them until it reaches the final Fade Out.  Meanwhile, it would please the heart of this ink-stained wretch - as well as tickle whatever that hard black thing is in my banker's chest - if you bought the book. It will make a great gift, don't you think. And if you'd like a personally autographed copy you can get it directly through my (ahem) Merchant's Link at Click here. Buy the book and I will sign it and ship it to you. Break a leg!


Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.