Category Archives: Shorter Works

Radio Play Snippet

Sometimes you start writing and then you stop. Sometimes that’s a good thing. This radio play snippet probably could be fixed and expanded. I count one, maybe two, chuckles.

(Intro. music)

(SFX-Newspaper being opened, looked through.)

MEL: Hmmm… hmm. Apartments for rent? (pause-more rustling) Here we go… . Eastside. (to himself) “Easy commuting distance to Downtown. Near Youngstown.” Nope, don’t think so. … “One bedroom in large house. One hundred and fifty per month. ” Good rent. Probably doesn’t include utilities. All right. (picks up phone-dials as he reads the number) 555-6666. That’s easy to remember.

(Phone rings on the other end and answering machine picks up.)

OTHER END: (Deep voice.) Greetings.

MEL: Hello, I’m interested in… .

OTHER END: You have reached 666-1313. (Mel groans to himself.) We’re unavailable right now, but we usually are. We’d love to call you back, though. We usually do. Please leave your name and phone number like a good soul. Thank you.

MEL: Yes, I’m…

OTHER END: Please wait for the beep. (Pause) Beep.

MEL: Yes! I’m looking for… I mean I’m interested in the apartment advertised in the paper. My name’s Mel. I can be reached at 555-4753. I suppose I can answer any questions when you call.

OTHER END: Or you answer them now.

MEL: I could, but this is only an answering machine and… . (Pause) Wait a second!


MEL: This isn’t an answering machine.

OTHER END: That would seem to be obvious.

MEL: But it said it was.

OTHER END: I lied, apparently. It’s been known to happen.

MEL: Oh. (Pause) I was calling about the apartment…

OTHER END: I remember.

MEL: Ummm… . Is it still available?

OTHER END: When can you move in?

MEL: I asked…

OTHER END: When can you move in?

MEL: I suppose next Saturday.

OTHER END: Saturday’s bad. How about Friday?

MEL: I could do that.

OTHER END: Fine, then it’s settled.

MEL: No, I want to see it first. I can’t just commit myself.

OTHER END: Why not? You’ll see it when you move in. You can rely on my judgement until then. It’s a very unique opportunity to leave in a very unique environment.

MEL: I don’t know if that’s what I’m looking for.

OTHER END: Of course it is. The address is in the paper. We’re just off East Thirteenth. (Hangs up)

MEL: But what about the utilities?

(Music up and out)

(SFX-Mel pulling up in the driveway of the house.)

MEL: Sure is big enough. Awfully black, but it doesn’t look too bad in the sunlight. Probably disappears completely at night.

(SFX-Mel gets out of his car and walks up the steps to the front door of the house. He rings the doorbell which plays a bit from the “Volga Boatman.” Heavy footsteps are heard and the large wooden door creaks open.)

BUTLER: (Little voice) Good afternoon. May I help you.

MEL: I think so. I’m here to move into the apartment.

BUTLER: You must be Mel. We’ve been expecting you. Please come in.

(Door swings wide.)

ALL: Greetings, Mel!

(Mel screams and faints.)

BUTLER: Oooo. He fainted.

VLAD: (Voice from the OTHER END. Sound of him walking forward-long train dragging behind.) Quickly- get some water and smelling salts. (Scurrying feet with things dragging.)

JASMINE: Here, Vlad, honey.


The Paradox of Zeno and Adolescence

Around 2004, I sat down to write some thoughts about my high school years. This is as far as I got at the time.

Adolescence, like a pothole, looks best in the rear-view mirror.

By stopping there, I probably proved the falsity of that statement. I don’t know if it ever looks better or worse than it was. But it is over and done.

Six years later, I cleverly started a teen-age zombie novel, in order to cash in on the waning interest on such a thing. I rather like the words, but this has been abandoned… perhaps abandoned like the corpse of a friend in a zombie flick… seen in the rear-view mirror…

The Paradox of Zeno

 Tap.  Pitter.  Tap-tap.  Tat-tap. TAP!

Karen opened one eye.  Her alarm would go off any minute.



Talking to myself and feeling old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around, nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Karen stared at her iHome alarm clock.  Everything was better with Karen C. in the room.  She didn’t need to set it on the weekend, but she hated getting out of her routine.  Repetition proved that she could rely on herself.  Even so, that didn’t mean that she had to be a slave to the alarm.  On weekends, she woke to the Carpenters, which was on her list of facts about herself that could never be discussed.

Things that Karen never discusses

  • She liked the Carpenters.
  • Her mother was all right.
  • She wanted to go to college more than she wanted to be around boys.
  • Zombies really suck.

The first three were too private and the last one seemed like a generally agreed upon thing that nobody ever said.

Something was tapping on the window in the other room.  It was very annoying.

Karen dragged herself across her bedroom and plopped before her computer, jostling the screensaver away.  Facebook came up on the screen.  She scanned it quickly.  Nobody’s status had changed overnight.  She stared at one icon for a little longer—still no update from Stacy.  It had been two weeks.

Karen scratched her belly.  She grabbed the BB gun from beside her bed.  She could come back for the shotgun if she needed it.  The tapping came from her parents’ bedroom.  She nudged the door open, thinking how they only closed it when they were groping one another.  There they were, sound asleep.  Her father snored like a sick cat.

The curtains were drawn, but the tapping continued on their window.  Padding softly across the room, Karen nudged the curtain open.  It took her a minute to see through the chicken wire on the other side of the glass.  She flinched when there was another tap, but it only confirmed her suspicions.  There was another one up in the tree outside.

She went through the hall to the bathroom where she could open the window and it was not so close to the old oak tree in the yard.  Her dad had modified the window so that there was a small, hinged area that a gun could fit through.  That was months ago.  Karen opened the portal.  She could see the zombie perched on the branch.  It was tossing stones and acorns at the house.  A couple others wandered through the Bensons’ old home up the street, but that was all the activity outside.

Karen pumped the BB gun and aimed carefully.  It was loaded with metal ball bearings.  She fired twice.  The zombie groaned and tumbled from the tree.  After a few moments, it struggled to its feet and staggered away.  Its head and right arm had twisted out of symmetry.

Karen latched the window and leaned the gun against the toilet.  Staring into the mirror, she said, “You have got to get some sun.”

Hesitating at the head of the stairs, Karen threw the light switch for the first floor.  She listened carefully for any sounds—nothing.  She headed down to the kitchen.  The gloom of the first floor enveloped her.  Her parents had never gotten around to completely evacuating the lower floors.  Her parents had reinforced the walls and boarded over the windows.  The neighbors had caused a stink about linking up with Karen’s house, but that ended once the Bensons’ stopped having a vote.  Besides, that had been a year ago when they had the only Hummer on the block.

She pulled a box of Captain Crunch from the shelf.  She had been way into Cheerios when she was on the swim team, but that had fallen by the wayside, along with the swim team.  Also, she preferred Captain Crunch dry, what with milk being a rarity—just another thing to be grateful for.

How It Happened

Glad you asked.  Old news, but here goes– Haiti had an earthquake.  The President made a very public speech about how bad it was and how bad he felt and how we needed to do something.  What he meant was that people should give all their spare change to the Red Cross and he would send the Vice-President down there to shake hands and hug some babies.  Everybody knew that the Vice-President wasn’t going to run for President, so it wasn’t like sending the heir apparent, but the President was busy with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the Haitians should be happy with what they could get.

Well, maybe they weren’t.

Next thing you know, the Vice President disappeared.  It seems that Haiti post-earthquake defied the ability of the U.S. Secret Service to maintain a decent caravan.  Or maybe they realized that it was only the Veep and they had an off day.  So, the “Prince of the Senate” disappears for two days without a word.  The whole nation starts wringing its hands.  Then, video starts cropping up on YouTube and other places showing some crazy guy who looks like the Veep.  The only problem is that he seems to be a zombie, only nobody is saying that he’s a zombie because nobody believes in zombies.  So, the Secret Service sends in the cavalry to rescue the wayward charge.  Who knows how many agents were lost, but they got him back on Air Force Two and on the way home.

More videos from the hospital show a very disgusting site.  More and more medical staff go into quarantine.  Various politicians follow them, though not before infecting their fellow Congressmen, Senators,… and President.  It turns out that country takes a week or two to notice that it’s being run by zombies.

A Selection of Actual Radio Station Call Letters That Are Actually Words

KISS-FM 99.5, San Antonio, Texas
“99.5 Kiss”  Format: Rock

WEST-AM 1400, Easton, Pennsylvania
“Music and Memories AM1400″ Format: Nostalgia

WHEN-AM 620, Syracuse, New York
“Sportsradio Sportsmonster” Format: Sports

WHAT-AM 1340, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“The Voice of the African American Community” Format: Talk

WUSS-AM 1490, Pleasantville, New Jersey
“SuperHits of the 60’s & 70’s” Format: Oldies

KELP-AM 1590, El Paso, Texas
“El Paso’s Christian Station” Format: Religious

KEEP-FM 103.1, Bandera, Texas
“Texas Rebel Radio the Fan” Format: Adult Album Alternative

KILT-FM 100.3, Houston, Texas
“Houston’s #1Country Station” Format: Country

WALK-FM 97.5, Patchogue, New York
“Long Island’s Best Variety” Format: Adult Contemporary

WHO-AM 1040, Des Moines, Iowa
“News Radio 1040 (Who)” Format: News