The Totally Zoned

Three people sit at a corporate dinner.  None want to be there.  Where do they go? What thoughts pervade their minds as they devour their choice of fish or steak or a pile of beans because no one understands vegetarian options still. 

As a lecturer drones on about spreadsheets and capital expenditures, a powerpoint, dry and humorless, rolls behind them.  The three heroes of this tale have entered…

The Totally Zoned.

At table one sits Bettie Jonas, accountant from the Dacono branch.  She opted for steak.  It is dryer than the powerpoint.  She is the only Dacono representative at the corporate retreat and knows no one else present.  It is a long three day weekend.  What thoughts pulse through her head at this very moment?

“Mechs v. Zombies. I would watch the crap out of that. I’m writing SyFy tomorrow morning.”

Table seven has a much more laid back feel.  There is laughter, an inside joke is slowly developing and a trip for next summer is being arranged by the sales group folks who all opted for the fish option.  Tony Wrangler, IT from Cleveland, is not participating.  When he first sat at his table he laughed that no one present had seen Airplane.  As time dragged on, his mind wandered and he totally zoned.  What thoughts currently plague his technically configured mind?

“Bambi in space? Jeepers, Tony, what does this note even mean?”

Emilia Thompson is a systems architect from the Dover branch.  She has been the systems architect at the Dover, Delware branch for twelve years and helped the lecturer build the presentation she is now expected to observe.  Emilia Thompson is totally zoned.  Her mind is racing with new forms of old things.  Her strategy to appear interested in uninteresting situations involves adapting songs to fit her mood.  Her current challenge is personalizing and regionalizing the 1978 Warren Zevon piano rock classic, Werewolves in London.

“A-oooo! Werewolves in Dover, DE. A-ooooo!”

Fret not for our three players. The evening is quickly drawing to a close and desert tray is circulating the dining area.  Aperitifs will be served and cabs called as needed.  They will all be a little late to join the closing round of applause though.

For they are in…

The Totally Zoned


Burger Time Again

I do not feel well.

I want this phrase to mean I am emotionless shell of a human just going through the motions, because that would be a hilarious mis-use of such simple words.  No, the phrase holds to physical ailment this evening.  It sucks.

Instead of fumbling through a pun about tables, as I had initially planned for the evening, I’m throwing things back to a post from last year titled “Burgers”.  I don’t remember writing it.  Perhaps I had a cold then too? That would the crrrraaaazzziest coincidence.

Anyway. Here’s the story. Be well.

Burgers: Continue reading

Making Meetings Better

The meeting was dragging on.  More than one person was visible zoned out and a few were taping the drum routine to Tom Sawyer by Rush.

“Management will have to review next quarter projections for accuracy before we take it to investors,” lead accountant Tim Sqaure informed the participants.  This phrase was uttered every quarter.

“Loraine, that’s your take away. Management roles are pretty sweet right,” Tim asked jokingly.

Loraine popped back to the meeting.  Management roles were pretty boring so far. She did have one little trick to make the title pretty fun though.

“But, I already have so much blood on my hands!” Loraine shouted, slapping a stack of papers.

The group chuckled politely.

“Ran that one into the ground already, eh?” Loraine asked.  “By your faces, yes. I’ll get those reviewed and approved by Friday.”

Gerard the Ghost Follows Procedure

“Boo and whatnot.  I’ll be on the couch,” Gerard the Ghost said, floating down the hallway on way his way to the kitchen.

Claire startled. “Jeepers, Gerard, you got me that time.  We talked about this.”

“I’m a ghost, Claire. I have to say ‘boo’ at least once during the week or I have to go training. Again.  Stephan does the re-training events. He’s a tool,” Gerard said.  He stopped in the hallway and hovered above a vase full of roses.

“You just have to say, ‘boo,’ not actually scare me. We read through the procedure together.  We agreed you’d be cool, I’d be cool, Martin would be cool. If we were all cool, you could stay and we would not call an old priest and a young priest to show you the way out.” Claire did not hide her threat very well.

“Hey, hey, I’m cool,” Gerard said putting his hands in the air defensively, “I just think the instruction was written by people who intended fright to be part of the deal.”

“Then scare Martin!” Claire shouted, nearly dropping breakfast.

“Wow. You sold him out fast.” Gerard was shocked.

“He knows what he did. Scare him until he sleeps poorly would you?”

Gerard wished he could still blink.  “My go-forward plan will be to focus scares on Martin.  In the immediate, I am going to pick up his Last of Us save.  That’ll really annoy him and I’ll hit my poltergeist requirements for the week.  Win win.”

“Take twenty minutes then I need the telly. Thanks, Gerard!”

“Good chat, Claire. See you at dinner time.”




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Deck and Amy and the Recommendations

The film’s final act came to a close.  Credits were ushered in by a loud boom that was meant to be the start of a song.  Amy woke up.

“Oh. My. Gosh! That movie gets better every viewing,” Carter said, clapping and laughing.

“That was quite a film! Action, adventure…plot.  I feel the characters really developed and learned a few things about love, but mostly about themselves.  Good stuff,” Deck said.  He had said this exact same phrase after watching The Love Guru with friends.

“I thought you’d love it!” Peggy said, joining her husband in a weird clap and laugh combo of joy.

“Totally agree,” Amy said, groggily joining the conversation, “when they finally worked it out, man. I tell you.”

“Well,” Deck said, standing up from the couch, “I hate to view and run, but it is super late and we have a thing in the morning.”

“Thank you for having us over,” Amy said.

“Thank you guys! This was fun.  We should plan for next week.  I know just the film!” Carter said.

“Sounds great!” Deck said, “we’ll see what we can do.”

Deck and Amy left the house for their car awaiting them in the driveway.

The engine roared to life, but the cab was silent for a long moment.  Amy stared out the windshield. Deck could not blink.  In unison, they both turned to face each other.

“That was absolute garbage,” Deck said.

“Just the worst. I think less of our friends now,” Amy said.

“I think less of us now,” Deck countered.

“I worry for the future of art,” Amy mumbled.

“They have a kid. They will teach another human that movie was okay,” Deck pondered.

“Let’s go home and put any literally any random movie from Netflix because it will be better than that monstrosity,” Amy suggested.

“Consider it done. We’re never coming back here.”



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They were watching Napoleon Dynamite

Tickets Optional

“This concert is going to be awesome!” Matt said.

“Concert!” The roomies echoed.  Their first major group event since moving in together was about to kick off in style.

“How are the shirts coming, Myk?” Matt asked.

Myk lifted an iron off a freshly pressed shirt. “Looking good. Should have all of them done in a moment.”

“Nice,” Maurice said.  He looked over his shirt.  “Who needs tickets when you have iron-on patches reading ‘Staff’?”

“Free concert!” The roomies shouted in unison.

“Do you guys really think this is going to work?” Matt questioned.

“Confidence!” The others chanted. “Confidence! Confidence!”

Scene from Upcoming Theatrical Production: 1997


Dinner rush.
September 24, 1997.
Olive Garden in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado.

Zoom to:

Table Seven.  A four top. All seats filled.  Family.  Dad, Uncle, two teenage children are devouring a salad topped with a mound of Parmesan cheese because the father figure thought it would be funny to not say ‘when’ at an appropriate time.  The chuckle elicited from the children did not warrant such an abuse of the cheese grater.  The waiter hated every moment of it.  Bread sticks were consumed well before the salad arrived.

All parties have ordered the ‘sampler platter’ because carbs aren’t yet vilified.

Sade plays in the background, but no one knows it.  Multiple guests think it is Bjork’s new album.  No one can look it up without first visiting a library with cheap or free internet access.  Even then, Netscape is a fickle beast.


Father: Kids. It is 1997. How do you all feel about that top 40 hit, Mmmbop by those Hanson brothers?

Child, oldest: It’s mmmm fine. I guess. Whatever. Don’t have a cow, man. Butt out. This is your brain on drugs.

Child, youngest: Other things a teenager would say.

Uncle: Where’s the beef? Badda bing! I cried at the end of Titanic.  


Waiter, inner dialogue: These guys must be walking on the sun if they think I’m bringing more bread sticks.



End Scene.



“So, Mrs. Caputo, what do you think of the opening scene of 1997?” Harvey Wince, playwright extraordinaire, asks of his editor, manager and all around connection maker Mrs. Wynonna Caputo.

Wynonna removes her reading glasses and places them gently on her desk, sitting between her iPhone and keyboard.  She is reading the scene from her iPad which she deliberately places before her.  She takes in a deep breath and feels a sense of relief as she returns to the world of 2017.

“O. M. G. Harvey. That transported back 20 years. It was like I could feel the hype machine around Good Will Hunting again.  I could smell the pogs, man. I was at once younger and wiser and terrified.  You’ll win awards for this and we’ll sell out Broadway for years to come.” Wynonna stood and extended her hand to shake Harvey’s.

“Thank you, Mrs. Caputo.   Thank you,” Harvey held back tears.

“This is culture. Art. Who needs new stuff when the old stuff is so comfortable?!” Mrs. Caputo began to cry.

“Furbies will have to appear in Act Three,” Harvey noted.

“I was hoping you’d say that.”


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