Friday, November 25, 2011

No Explosions This Year

Uncle Parsons and Aunt Gertrude came for Thanksgiving dinner again this year even after what happened last year.  As you know if you've read my life story, FLAT LIKE FRED, last Thanksgiving I invented Pop-o-Fred, a cornbread stuffing made with popcorn meal, and my parents are still making payments on the new stove.  (My Great Grandma Floodle claims she heard the explosion in Cincinnati, and she's hard of hearing.) So my father said NO THANKSGIVING INVENTIONS THIS YEAR!

There went my plans for the Maniac-o-Matic that buys, washes, slices, chops, and eats the celery for the stuffing.  (I'm not too fond of celery.)  And the Bog-o-Fred, the cranberry picker-cooker that makes cranberry sauce right in the bog.  And the opera-singing turkey baster, which would have really pleased my Aunt Millennia, who always thought she could have been a world-famous opera star except for her one tiny problem:  she can't sing.  (Not even in the shower.  Last time she tried, her high C cracked six tiles on the bathroom wall and badly damaged the light fixture.)

Right now Aunt Millennia's napping in the chair beside the computer, holding in her lap her cat, Rover.  (Uncle Beaumeister wanted a dog.)  Aunt Millennia never says she's napping;  she always says she's "resting her eyes."  But if she slumps forward in her chair another inch, she's going to be in trouble with the SPCA for suffocating Rover.  Maybe I should invent a cat-shaped, snore-activated, shock-generating protective shield, the Snooze-o-Puss.

First, though, I need to make a few refinements to the Tweet-o-Chomp, the flying lunchbox that I invented for my best friend, Claude Hinkey.  He forgets his lunch about four times a week, and then he eats half of mine.  One time he tried duct-taping his lunchbox to his wrist so he wouldn't forget it, but halfway to school his nose itched and when he scratched it, he almost knocked out two front teeth.  So far I've made several versions of the Tweet-o-Chomp, but it still has a few kinks.

More about that next time.  I have to go now.  Aunt Millennia's started to sing in her sleep.  Rover's already scratching at the door to leave.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Reviews Are In!

Here, at last, are the first reviews for Flat Like Fred. I believe they speak for themselves:

"The best book ever written about my son, Fred Floodle."
----Emma K. Floodle, unbiased reviewer

"A definite 6-woof book."
----Barf Floodle, dog

"A very moooving story."
----LaBelle Thistlenip, cow

"Silly cows, backfiring inventions, over-the-top puns, a principal whose toupee is launched into outer space!  What more could a reader want?  I adored it!"
----Prefers to remain anonymous since after all he has a certain reputation to maintain

"A ridiculous book with absolutely no redeeming social importance and a total disregard for proper literary conventions."
----Wadsworth G. Stuffington

That last review, I believe, suggests that 99% of the reading public might like this book.  (I also believe the reviewer stole his description from this blog.)

Other reader comments are very welcome.  If you'd prefer to read the book before commenting on it, you can find it by clicking on this link: Flat Like Fred.

And now I must sneak away before my author comes in here to read her email.  She said she wants nothing whatsoever to do with my blog because her tongue tends to hurt when she keeps it in her cheek too long.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Have Lift-Off

Here's the cover for FLAT LIKE FRED (illustration copyright Benjamin Pannell).

I am so excited to tell you that my very first ebook, the ebook about my life story, (or at least that part of it that has to do with alien tadpoles, the Loch Ness monster, my accidental discovery of the Planet Bovine, and Bill Yards' time machine) is now available at Amazon.

This post will be short because I'm sneaking it in while my author is petting the cat.  She's not at all sure she likes the idea of my having a blog.  (If you think mothers are bad, you ought to have an author.  She tries to control everything I do.)  For a long time she kept this book hidden in a closet for fear that it might tarnish her literary reputation.  (Well, really.  What was she thinking?)            

As the hero of this story, I'd like to believe that at last she came to her senses.  But actually I suspect it finally occurred to her that she doesn't have a literary reputation.  So what the hay?  Why not set loose the cows?  Whatever the case, Moovine Baley, LaBelle Thistlenip, Zilla the High Cow Chairman, and all the other cows can now gallop right into your very own Kindle.  I'm signing off now to send this wonderful news to all my friends on the planet Bovine.  And to work on some new invention, so I'll have something wonderful, well, exciting, well, probably catastrophic to blog about.

P.S.  Don't forget that you can read the first chapter of FLAT LIKE FRED in the first post below.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why I Am Here

The reason I'm here is because the cows on the planet Bovine (where the cow who jumped over the moon landed) helped me to escape from alien tadpoles and return to earth safely.  Well, not entirely safely if I think about the Loch Ness monster...but that's a long story.  And the reason I'm here here - on this blog - is because that long story will very soon be available in ebook form.

I imagine you're familiar with the famous expression "Flat Like Fred."  And probably you've heard about the terrible mouse elephant rampages on Bovine and the invasion of alien tadpoles in Wampler, Wisconsin.  But do you know what three mistakes Fred Floodle (that's me) made on that fateful Wednesday when it all began?

Well, if you'd like to know, you can read the first chapter of the book below, in the very first post on this blog.  And if you are someone who likes that sort of  silliness, with no adherence to proper literary values and no  redeeming social importance whatsoever, you're my kind of person.  (And also the kind of person who might want to read the rest of the story, which you can find on, under the title FLAT LIKE FRED.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tadpoles Are Falling on My Head

Here it is, the first chapter of Flat Like Fred:
   It was a school day.  The alarm clock Fred Floodle had invented, which he called the Fred-o-Matic, woke him in the usual way that morning.  First a long metal arm with a needle attached poked Fred sharply in the stomach.  When he screamed, another long metal arm reached out and stuffed a marshmallow into his mouth.

   Fred opened his eyes, which were blue and bulgy.  He rubbed his stomach, which was pink and bulgy.  Then he ran one hand through his hair, which was blond and looked like it had been cut with a lawnmower.  Chewing the marshmallow, he heaved himself out of bed.

   That was Fred's first mistake.  He took two steps, tripped over his dog (who was sleeping in the middle of the floor, with her paws sprawled in four different directions), and fell on his face.  "Oh, Barf!" he said.

   Barf was the dog's name.  Her fur was black with a few small reddish-brown patches that looked like squashed tomatoes.  Next to Barf, the hound of the Baskervilles would have looked like a midget.  Whenever anyone bothered Fred, he simply said, "Eat that person's head, Barf."  No one ever hung around to see what would happen next (which was lucky since what happened was that Barf wagged her tail and drooled).

   She did that now and then began to lick Fred's bare feet.

   "Cut that out!" Fred said, yanking his toes out of reach.  He'd coated them the night before with Protect-o-Fred, the new anti-licking wax he'd invented.  But it still wasn't working right.  Fred kept trying to make it taste like something Barf hated, only she didn't hate anything.  Judging by the remains on the floor, she'd recently eaten half a sweat sock.

   Reaching behind him, Fred turned on a piece of machinery that was sticking out of a half-open bureau drawer.  Carefully he spoke into a long tube which would probably give Fred's mother a heart attack when she found out that it was no longer attached to her vacuum cleaner.  After six seconds of buzzing, the machine barked: Growf woof-wff-wff snorp!  Fred hoped that meant, "Get your soggy tongue off my foot, you flea-bitten nitwit!"

   This machine, the Fred-o-Bark, would translate Dog into English too, but Fred couldn't persuade Barf to bark into the speaking tube.  So far she'd bitten it in half three times.  Fred had patched it together with duct tape, but his mother was going to have a hard time vacuuming into corners.

   The only time Fred and Barf had truly communicated was on the day they'd met.  Fred had been visiting his Grandmother Frickle, who baked the worst rhubarb pies in the northern hemisphere.  That day she'd set a batch of them on her kitchen windowsill to cool.  Fred was sitting at the kitchen table, wishing he had time to invent a pie-destroying machine before supper, when he heard a strange noise outside.  Something halfway between a slurp and a woof.

   Suddenly a huge black head appeared at the window.  Its ears flapped in the wind.  Its enormous mouth opened.  Sloop!  Wurf!  Its jaws closed on one of the pies.  Clang!  The head looked surprised.  "Ptui!" it said and spat out the pie pan, slightly bent but licked clean.

   "Good dog!" Fred said (having decided the animal was not a buffalo).  He got up.  By the time he reached the kitchen window, the dog was spitting out the last pie tin.

   "You ate three of Grandma Frickle's rhubarb and vinegar pies?!" Fred said.  "Who are you?  What's your name?"

   The dog wagged a tail the size of a tree branch and licked the edge of the windowsill.  "Barf!" she said.

   "I believe it!" Fred said.

   At first Fred's parents didn't want him to keep Barf.  But when they found out it was Barf's fault that Grandma Frickle didn't have rhubarb and vinegar pie for supper, they had to admit the dog deserved a good home.

   Since that day, Barf had devoted her life to licking Fred's feet.  "Stop it!" Fred shouted now.  Muttering under his breath some words it isn't nice to mutter, he put on a sweat sock and a half and looked out his bedroom window.

   It was raining.  "Oh, no, it's Monday!" he said.  It always rained on Mondays in Wampler, Wisconsin.

   And that was Fred's second mistake.  In fact, it was Wednesday, and Wednesday was Fred's bad day.  Usually on Wednesdays, Fred woke with a peculiar tingle in the back of his neck, which warned him to be careful.  But that particular morning his tingler wasn't working.  And so when he saw the rain, he said, "Mondays are so boring.  I wish something unusual would happen today."

   Always a dangerous wish, but especially on Wednesdays.

   Slowly Fred got dressed.  This was the worst Monday he could remember.  He was as tired as if he'd put in several days of school already.  And the rain this morning was the ugliest rain he'd ever seen.  The raindrops were short, squat, and greenish-gray like tadpoles.

   Sadly Fred left the room.  He didn't even remember to put on his sneakers.  Barf followed.

   In the next room, Fred's father was snoring.  It sounded like the section of the 1812 Overture where someone shoots off a cannon.  "I'm going outside," Fred whispered to Barf, "and take a closer look at that weird rain."

   And that was his third mistake.  The moment he stepped outside the back door, with Barf at his heels, Fred realized why the raindrops looked like tadpoles.  They were tadpoles.