Lond Ho Adventures

May Long Part I

Paco Villa Lobos was on his third trip around the block and was beginning to feel a red-hot rage filling his guts when a large gap in the loading zone in front of London House Flats finally came available.  He steered the big 1982 Winnebago into the space, in tight behind a silver Honda Accord that was sitting empty with its amber hazards flashing.  The massive RV almost didn’t fit in the spot, so Paco had to pull the front wheel on to the sidewalk and leave a portion of the back end sticking out slightly into traffic.  Slightly, no more than a foot really, but enough to elicit a few angry honks from passing motorists.

“I’ll be right back!”  Paco said over his shoulder towards the girls seated in the back of the RV.  He stepped out the door and hopped down to the sidewalk, sprinting to the front doors of the building.  He skidded to a halt as a door swung open and two girls stepped out, nattering away to each other, completely oblivious of their surroundings, one of them crashed shoulder first into Paco’s huge, muscular chest.  She looked up at him in disgust as if it was somehow his fault she wasn’t looking where she was going.

“Hey!  Watch where your going pendejo!” the shorter of the two spat in Paco’s direction.

Paco stared back at her, a seething anger building behind his eyes, knuckles cracking as he flexed his fingers into fists.  He slowly exhaled.

“How very rude of you young lady.  I trust you don’t kiss your mother with such a mouth.”  He said, then turned and opened the front door to Lond Ho.  The girl stared at him for a moment stunned, then shook her head and continued on with her friend.  Paco turned to the right and stepped towards the call panel and slowly depressed the button marked “1401.”  He waited a full three seconds, then pressed it six or seven more times.

A voice crackled over the intercom, “Yeah?”

Paco moved in closer to the mic, “It’s me!  Get down here youse guys!”

Bill Williams turned from the intercom up in flat #1401, and pulled on his Canadian Forces Parka.

“Hunter!”  He called out into the apartment, “Come on and get your shit together!  We gotta go!”

There was the sound of a flush, then the bathroom sink turned on and off, the doorknob turned and Joe Cornelius Hunter emerged from the loo.

“Yeah, yeah, keep your hair on.  You do know there are no modern conveniences where we’re headed right?  So don’t blame me for taking a little extra time…”

Bill shook his head, as Hunter gathered his gear, and “got his shit together.”

“Hunter, I understand this means nothing to you because you operate on your own goddamn schedule, but Paco is already ten minutes late, that means you were nowhere near ready when he was supposed to be here picking us up!”

“Relax, pal lets get moving!”  Hunter dragged the huge, white Coleman cooler out the door of the flat, his green rucksack slipping off his shoulder by the time he stopped. 

Bill locked the door, slung his black and grey back pack over one shoulder and grabbed the other handle on the cooler.

“You’re sure this was all we were supposed to bring?  My parent’s cooler full of beer and ice?”  Hunter asked as the boys dragged the massive item down the hall, towards the elevators.

“Yup, just the beer and ice.”  Bill answered for what he thought might have been the tenth time that day.

“Just the beer, then right.”

“Well, beer and whatever else you felt like drinking.”

“Ah, so beer then, good.”

“I figure we got that covered,” Bill said as they stopped at the elevators just as the door to the building manager’s flat opened, and Doris emerged wearing a faux fur fitted jacket, and a leather mini skirt, the ever present More Menthol 120 betwixt her lips.  Hunter stabbed the call button with his middle finger.

“Oh, afternoon boys.  Going camping for the May Long?”

Bill answered quickly, “No, not really we just enjoy hauling a five-hundred tonne cooler around town with us.”

Doris gave a titter at his sarcasm, as Hunter impatiently hit the elevator call button a second time.

“I can’t even remember the last time I went camping,” she continued, probably the ‘80s!”

The lift arrived with a “ding!” and the doors slid open.  Nobody was inside.

“You need help with that boys?”  Doris asked, pointing at the cooler with her cigarette.
Of course they did, but they would never admit it, “No, no we’re fine thanks!”  Bill said, dragging the wood and rope handle, while Hunter pushed from the other side, almost losing his rucksack off his shoulder again.  Bill hit the button for the lobby, and Hunter sat on the cooler as Doris stepped in through the rapidly closing lift doors.

“Where you heading?”  Hunter asked out of sheer politeness, and nothing more.

Doris seemed happy for the conversation, “Oh, I’ve got a meeting with my lawyer and my ex, and his lawyer… he’s getting re-married to some skank, my ex I mean not his lawyer.”

Bill, who wasn’t paying attention, straightened his back and stretched.  “Jesus Hunter, you think you could have borrowed a bigger cooler?”

Hunter stood up and stretched a little himself, “Could you have bought less beer?”

Bill looked at him as if he was certifiable, “Of course not.”

“Well, there you are then.”

The lift jerked to a halt at the lobby a good two inches below the floor line, then slowly raised itself to level.  Many a time in their early days at Lond Ho had Bill and Hunter tripped getting out of the lift when it did this.  They complained a few times at the beginning, then stopped when it became clear the management company planned to do nothing about it.  Doris stepped out and lit her ciggie in the lobby before heading out the front doors.

“See ya when ya get back boys, maybe we can have that beer you promised!”

Hunter and Bill didn’t hear her as they struggled and grunted, dragging the cooler from the lift.  Bill hiked his backpack on to his shoulder, as it had slipped down his arm again, and Hunter did the same as they struggled with both their gear and the huge Coleman.  Half way across the lobby they stopped, exhausted.  Bill sat on the cooler and jammed a cigarette into his mouth.

“Times such as these Hunter my boy, when I realize it may behove us both to try and get just a bit more exercise.”

“Well there’s a fakking understadement!”  Said Paco, who had apparently entered the inner lobby when Doris had exited.  “Fak youse guys, the fakking fat kid from Stand By Me is looking better than youse two these days!”

Paco was a 6’4” dark haired Latino from Chile whom the boys had known since high school.  He was a tremendously talented artist who went to the Alberta College of Art yet still found the time to work out for three hours a day.  A fact he rarely let Bill and Hunter forget.

Hunter spoke up, “Jerry O’Connell.  He’s on Camp Wilder now.”

“I don care what his fakking name is!  Get off the fakking cooler and hold the door for me!”

Bill stood up and watched as Paco, seemingly without even the slightest effort, grabbed both handles and lifted the cooler off the floor.

“Jesus,” Hunter’s eyes were saucers, and before he could get his rucksack back over his shoulder, Paco had the giant ice chest through the doors and almost loaded into the RV.

Hunter followed Bill out the front doors and helped, even though it wasn’t needed, to give the cooler a final shove into the Winnebago once all the hard work had already been done.  Hunter looked up at Paco, and through heavy breaths said, “I don’t believe it…”

Paco looked down at his friend, “That is why you fail.  Now both of you get in the fakking camper!”

“Shotgun!”  Hunter called and opened the passenger door.  He climbed up and collapsed into the beige leather captain’s chair and clicked his seatbelt into place.  Bill stepped into the side door behind the cooler and settled in the “booth” style seat beside Sara, who was swigging from a two litre bottle of Rockaberry Cooler from the seat by the window. 

Paco got in and slammed his door, “Lets hit the fakking road!”  He said in his best Frank Booth voice which, even he would admit was pretty poor, but considering English was Paco’s fourth language behind Spanish, Portuguese, and French, everyone was willing to let it go.  He threw the great monster RV into gear, signalled and pulled out without checking his mirrors.  Behind them was the screeching of tires and the honking of horns.  Bill was nearly thrown from his seat, but managed to steady himself in time.

“So that’s the kind of trip it’s going to be…”  He turned his attention to Sara, another old friend of his from high school.  Sara Bukowski was five feet ten inches with sharp, but not unattractive features, and long, straight, absurdly thick chestnut hair that she often dyed black.  At the moment she was showing some brown roots, not that Bill cared. 

“Hey Billy!”  Sara reached over and gave Bill a hug around his neck.  She was always a “hug hello” girl for as long as Bill had known her, and even though Bill hated being touched most of the time, he didn’t seem to mind when it was Sara.  “So?  Howiztbeen?  I haven’t seen you for like a month or something?  Whenever that last time at the Warehouse was?”

“Yeah, no same old, and how might you be young lady?”

“Oh totally awesome!  Yeah, I got a new job, and it’s been great, yeah?”   She said taking another drink from the big bottle.  “Oh, sorry!  You wanna drink?”  She held the bottle out to Bill.

“Sure, yeah, lets get this party started.  Uh, where is Kate by they way?”  If he was honest with himself, Bill was hoping that Kate couldn’t make it, as it would have been all the better for Hunter not to have to deal with the stress of seeing her again. 

“Oh, yeah, she’s just in the back bedroom changing, she brought like more clothes than Paco and me combined I think?  So what are you doing now, I heard you got promoted?”

Bill swore under his breath then took a sip of the cloyingly sweet wine cooler beverage as Sara pushed a black crescent comb into her hair to keep it out of her eyes.

“Yeah, I’m now a manager at the Buy-Way store up in the north.”

“Oh, that one up by the Turbo?”

“Yeah, same one as before.”


“Magical really is the only word for it.”

The ruffled plastic curtain that separated the main area from the back bedroom of the RV slid aside with a wheezing, and groaning scrape that ended in a clatter, and Catelyn “Kate” Tottenham stepped out.

“Oh wow!”  Sara exclaimed, “You look great!”

Kate was wearing a pair of tight, olive cargo pants with a military style webbing belt with several leather utility pouches attached around her waist.  On top she was wearing a short cropped, tailored sheepskin jacket complete with woolly collar and cuffs.  Her twirly, curly, strawberry blond hair seemed to bounce about her head as she walked up the aisle towards the cockpit.  Bill thought she looked almost ridiculous for a weekend camping trip, but she was British after all, and to each their own he supposed.

“Billy,” she said as way of greeting as she passed Bill and Sara in the booth.

Up front, Paco and Hunter were having a conversation of their own, “…so every episode he cuts of a new baddie’s head?”

Hunter shook his head, “Well, not every show to be sure, sometimes he gets in other, non-immortal related adventures too, but-“

Two hands, smelling faintly of perfumed moisturizer closed over Hunter’s eyeglasses, and a voice breathed into his left ear.

“Hello, sweetie…”

A camping trip!  An old girlfriend!  Booze!  Endless wood chopping!  What could go wrong?  Tune in next month to find out in Lond Ho Adventures: May Long part 2!


Steve Britton's Writer Challenge

This micro tale that takes place at the height of the Last Great Format War in early 2008, is in reply to Steve Britton’s Writer’s Challenge posted on Twitter ( @scbritton ) on 04/12/2012.  Steve provided the opening line…

Back to the Wars

The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747, as Dave Armie twisted the small metal key, peeling back the lid of the greasy tinned snack.  Hunter shuddered as the smell of the canned fish packed in oil hit him full on in his olfactory sensors, making him twitch uncomfortably.

As the offending effluvium dispersed from an area of high concentration to low, the others sitting around the cheap, folding, card table set up in the corner of meeting room “B” expressed their own displeasure.  This of course only succeeded in encouraging Armie to reach out and wave the nasty snack tin under everyone’s noses and laugh like a lunatic at the same time.

Hunter shook his head, “I’m out.”  Even over the pleasing aroma of cigars and lager, the stink from the sardines was too much for him.  He threw his cards face down on the table, much to the annoyance of Tyler Pernell, who seemed to think so-called “table etiquette” was just so damn important, even at a friendly, after hours employee poker game.

“Hey!  Come ahn man!  Ya don’t jest throw yer cards onna table! Eh!?”

Hunter gave a dismissive wave of his hand and walked away from the table leaving Tyler, Sally, Akbar, Daphne and Dave to finish out the hand.  He picked up his bottle of Molson Canadian, and took a puff from his Macanudo Maduro Toro cigar and stepped into the hall. 

As he walked back towards his office, he could hear Armie telling the rest of the gathering that they were a “bunch of pussies” and they should really give the sardines a try as they “put hair on yer chest!”  Daphne, the service office assistant, told him she didn’t need or want any hair on her chest, and there was some laughter.  The door to the meeting room clicked shut behind him and the voices and noises of the poker game deadened as Hunter finished the last, warmish swig of lager.  He grabbed a fresh bottle from the employee beer fridge, then a quick left at the end of the hall and he was in his tiny, cramped office. 

He pulled the door closed and took a seat in the creaky, uncomfortable chair behind his cheap flat-pack desk that he assembled himself, popped the top on the Canadian, and took a pull, swallowed, then enjoyed another puff of his Maduro cigar.  As Hunter leaned back and blew the smoke towards the ceiling he realized he had nowhere to ash.  Quickly looking around his desk, he espied a small tea plate with the remains of a peanut butter sando on it left from lunch.  Hunter dumped the bread crusts into his circular file and used the dish to ash his cigar.  There was a muffled roar from meeting room “B,” where the poker match was continuing in earnest.  Hunter took a long puff from his stogie, detecting notes of spice and coco that he hadn’t noticed in the first third of the cigar, possibly due to the distractions of the card game.  Technically there was No Smoking of any kind allowed in the building, but it was 19:30 on a Friday and he was beyond caring about such things.

He opened up Internet Explorer on his slow-ass PC and searched for some info on the so-called “Last Great Format War.”  Hunter found he was leaning toward HD-DVD, not because he thought it was the superior format, which clearly it wasn’t with a mere 35gigs maximum data storage and the tendency towards lossy audio, but because in his experience the unwashed masses always tended towards the cheaper, inferior product.  Folks chose VHS over Betamax, then VHS again over LaserDiscs, and it seemed to Hunter the superior format always lost out in the end.  He would have been delighted if blu-ray pulled out a win in this latest home entertainment format war, if only because after the failure of Beta, and mini-discs Hunter thought Sony was due to win one.

Hunter shut down the computer after only a few minutes and took another long, satisfying pull on the Macanudo.  He shut his eyes for a second, and ran a hand over his stubbly, balding head and remembered back to the nineties when he had a big, thick, head of wavy blond hair.  Back then if asked, he would have said he expected to be published by the time he was in his mid thirties, but here at almost thirty-eight, and twenty-two rejections later he was beginning to wonder…

It was time to go.  He had already spent too much time at work on a Zero Tolerance Friday, and it was time he called it a day and hit the road.  He left the half-finished bottle on the desk and was pulling his black coat from the back of his chair when there came a knock on his door.  It opened without waiting for his reply and the head of marketing, Sally Nishimura stepped into the doorway, in her hand, an unlit Captain Black Cherry flavoured cigar.

“Hey, you coming back to the game?”

Hunter placed the last nub of his stogie on the tea plate to burn itself out, then pulled his coat on, “Nope.  I’m the hell outta here for tonight.”

“Oh, uh well Akbar gave me five bucks to tell you something-“

“And he couldn’t tell me himself for free?”  Hunter was intrigued.

“No, he couldn’t.  And it had to be me.  He said you would know what it meant.”  She smiled, and Hunter couldn’t tell if it was mischievous or slightly embarrassed, or maybe a little of both.

“Okay, shoot.”

Sally stood up straight, put one had on her hip and pointed at Hunter with the other, then wagging a finger she said in what Hunter assumed to be her best Japanese Anime girl “accent” 

“No Smoking on the bridge sir!”  She smiled and gave a nervous chuckle.

“Did I get it right?  Does that make sense?”  She wanted to know.

“Yeah, that was both awesome and amusing.  I hope you got the money up front!”

“Oh yeah, don’t worry he paid up.  You Otaku are a wacky bunch.”

“Absolutely.  Have a good weekend, Sally-chan!”

“You too Hunter-san, back to the wars on Monday!”  She turned back towards the meeting room and Hunter headed for the side door, the smell of sardines still lingering in his nostrils.



The Road To Hell Is Paved With…

Calgary City Council decided to turn the screws on smokers a little more this week by making their already insane anti-smoker by-laws even more draconian.  Ward 10 Alderman Andre Chabot is pushing to ban all tobacco products near parks, sports fields, and pretty much everywhere that “youth may congregate.”  This is some delightfully vague wording that could literally mean anywhere.  I’ve personally seen youth congregating in all sorts of places including public sidewalks, parking lots, dog parks, in front of the local convenience store, pretty much everywhere.  Even if this is not the intent of Alderman Chabot’s amendment, anyone with half a brain can see what road this is heading down.  The anti-smoker lobby has apparently been pushing the city to intensify its war on smokers for some time now and this is only the next step towards total prohibition of tobacco and tobacco products in Calgary.

It’s certainly curious that when things are going okay, i.e.: when there are no real problems to worry about, these neo-abolitionist organizations seem to come out of the woodwork, and intensify their “anti-sin” agendas.  Or maybe it’s not curious at all.  I suppose these people have nothing better to do when times are good than to stick their noses into the private, completely legal, business of private citizens.  It reminds me of a quote attributed to German Pastor Martin Niemoller from the 1930’s.

“First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Now before everyone gets his or her knickers in a twist, it’s an analogy!  Clearly I’m not saying the extremely well funded anti-smoker lobby, and their friends the Mayor and Calgary City Council are National Socialists who are marching smokers to their deaths!  Clearly this is NOT the case, but it doesn’t make the analogy any less valid.

What people don’t remember is where this all started.  Back in 2002 the City of Calgary rammed through a by-law making it illegal to smoke on the outdoor patio of a restaurant or bar, thus pushing their own left wing, anti-freedom of choice, anti-smoker agenda on private business for the first time, and starting a dangerous precedent.  I thought this absurd at the time.  Why stop people from smoking outside?  Some of the mealy-mouthed excuses for banning smoking on pub patios had to do with the idea that “children” walking by might see someone on the patio smoking and suddenly be unable to control their urges to walk into a 7-11 and buy a pack of smokes.  Even though it has been illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy tobacco products for years.  Then a year later, after all the smokers had been driven inside by the anti-smoker by-law, the city made it illegal to smoke inside a restaurant or bar, this time citing workplace employee health as the reason.  Very crafty of them actually because who can argue that the health of servers and bartenders isn’t important?  

People who know me know that although I am not a cigarette smoker, I do on occasion enjoy a fine cigar in the relative privacy of my own back garden.  I say “relative” because I live in a small, semi-detached townhouse/condo with a four-foot fence, that’s less than fifteen meters from a City of Calgary off-leash park.  One of many, many, many places “youth might congregate.”  If this new proposal is added to the already brutal anti-smoker by-laws, and is allowed to get an “easy ride through council” as Alderman Chabot says it will I might very well lose my right to enjoy an occasional fine cigar on my own private property.

What’s next I wonder?  I suppose the anti-drinker lobby could make a similar argument to the one the anti-smoker lobby made and have the Council ban the legal consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons over the age of 18 on a restaurant or pub patio, because of the off chance that a child might witness the activity!  Said child would of course be scared for life, then not be able to control his, or herself head straight to the closest liquor store only to be kicked out immediately for being under age.  But I guess these neo-abolitionists never think of things like "legal age restrictions," instead thinking that any four year old can just walk into a bar, light up a fag and order a shot of Jack Daniels.  Will somebody please think about the poor, defenceless children!  If "the kids" are the only reason nonsense like this gets pushed through Council, then why not just enforce laws already on the books, such as carding anyone who looks under 18?  I guess the Calgary City Council doesn’t think private business operators are smart enough to do that, which I suppose is why all tobacconists have to have the windows to their private businesses blacked out like a down-town row-house during the London Blitz. 

I understand that some of you out there may not be smokers, but I cannot stress enough that the FREEDOM to take pleasure in a LEGAL PRODUCT like a cigar, cigarette, pipe, or chewing tobacco is in PERIL.  It can’t be put any simpler than that, and if we don’t speak out against this further attack on smokers, who then will be left to speak up when the Calgary City Council gets around to taking away something you really do care about?


Lond Ho Adventures

One Shot: The Big Chair

Joe Cornelius Hunter kept his flat keys on a four-foot leather cord like a pendant around his neck.  He began this practice almost three months back when over the course of one week he mislaid his keys not once, not three times, but five times.  It was driving him bonkers to the point that he decided to keep his keys on his person at all times.  Of course he might not have gone to this somewhat extreme measure had he known that his roommate at flat 1401 of London House, Bill Williams, had been deliberately hiding his keys just to fuck with him.

He entered the building on the second level via the above ground tunnel entrance and proceeded to the elevator lobby.  The first lift to arrive was full, prompting Hunter to wait for the next one.  He stood and waited stewing about his miserable day spent working for the Cosmodemonic Security Company at BVS Towers.  Besides having to deal with the constant, petty, officious, and oft times callus bullshit that Thor “The Hutt” Jugg heaped upon him for most of the day.  Twenty minutes before the end of shift that lasted three hours longer than it should have, Hunter was sent down to the P3 level of the parkade to take a statement from an irate, and possibly drunken tenant about a minor vehicle break in.

The next lift arrived, devoid of human life, and as Hunter rode up towards his floor, he seethed.  The Cosmodemonic Security Company didn’t pay him anywhere close to the kind of money he should be getting to take the veritable heap of drunken abuse he was subjected to at the end of his shift.  He closed his eyes for a moment and it all flooded back to him.

“I was just down there two minutes ago!”  Hunter growled into his Motorola two-way.

“Well,” the crackly voice came back, “now I need you to go back and take the tennant’s report about the break in.”

He shook his head, “Ten-Four.”  His mind raced.  He had only just come from the parkade, which meant he was patrolling the third level maybe five or six minutes ago at best!  Was it even possible that a break-in could have occurred within seconds of him entering the stairwell and heading upstairs, then only moments later, having the tenant suddenly “discover” the break-in, call it in to the main switchboard, who then called Hunter on the radio?  It seemed unlikely to him, a bit dodgy really… He ran up the last few steps of the escalator, then sprinted to the elevator, taking the lift back down to the P3 parkade level, all in under two minutes.

Ten feet away from the two complainants, Hunter could smell the booze wafting off of them, so he steeled himself for what he knew would be an unpleasant encounter.  The one who owned the car, was visibly swaying, and had trouble focusing.  He pointed an accusitory finger in Hunter’s direction as he approached.

“About fuckin time you showed up!  I called yer office a half hour ago!”

Hunter very nearly rolled his eyes, Half-hour my ass!  More like ten minutes, if that! 

“What seems to be the trouble sir?”

The drunk executive looked confused for a moment, as if he had forgotten why he was there, “Trouble?  What the fuck you think the trouble is?  Look at this!”  He pointed drunkenly, this time at the 1989 BMW 323 with a shattered driver’s side window.

Hunter took a closer look and almost instantly noticed that almost all of the glass was on the concrete floor beside the vehicle with very little on the inside, almost as if it had been broken from the inside out.

“Whilst you security homos were playing grab-ass all night, some junky fuck smashed the window in my 90 thousand dollar car!”

The price sounded a little high to Hunter as he pulled out his notebook and a pen, in fact he thought he remembered an ad in the paper the other week for a brand new BMW 323 for considerably less than 90gr!  “Could I please have your name and the company you work at for my report please sir?”

“The name is Royer.  Daniel Royer and I work up at KPMG!  Now what the fuck are you guys gonna do about thish?  It’s a hunred thousand dollar car you know!”

Hunter scribbled down the name, “Did you see anybody suspicious when you arrived at the scene sir?”

“What the fuck?  How do I know?  I said what the fuck are you gonna do about thish?”

Royer’s buddy was standing in the background quietly, possibly trying not to be noticed.

Hunter stared at the silent man for a second, then turned back to Royer, “All I can do at this point Mr. Royer is take the report, and file it with the city police.  Now did you notice anything missing from the vehicle?”

Royer snarled, “No there’s nothing fuckin missing!  So all yer gonna do is prance around here acting tough and write a fuckin report eh?  I’m calling your boss and having you fired you little shit!  You have any idea who I am?”

A drunken douche-bag?  Hunter thought, as he whipped his report book closed.  “Thank you sir, were done here.”  Normally he would have tried to get more information from him, but this Royer character was being such a drunken ass that Hunter had enough.  He turned and headed back towards the elevator bank.  He was only a few steps from the door when a car squealed past him, about 20kph too fast for the parkade.

“Fuck you, you prancin’ faggot!”  Royer called out as they sped away in the second guy’s car, blasting up the ramp in a cloud of exhaust.

Both of the suit wearing ass-clowns were thoroughly soused.  It would have been easy just to call the cops, give them the plate number and a description of the car, and tell them the driver was impaired and let the chips fall where they might.  That would have taught those ignorant jerks a lesson.  But as it was, all Hunter did was take their abuse, write a very detailed report about it and head for home.  Oh, and seethe… oh yes there would be plenty of seething…

The elevator doors opened on the (technically) 13th floor of London House, Hunter turned and headed towards flat 1401 when he remembered the three beers left in the fridge.  He breathed a sigh of relief.  If there was ever a day when Hunter needed a beer after work, than this was it.

Hunter slid the key into the deadbolt and turned it.  The tumbler flipped too easily suggesting the door was unlocked.  He twisted the knob and pushed his way into the flat expecting to see Bill stretched out on the chesterfield crushing Hawkin’s Cheesies and watching CNN.  Instead he found himself staring at Jeri Tamara Ryan, a girl he had met six months ago at the Warehouse.  Jeri was tall, blonde and leggy, an attribute she excentuated by wearing the shortest of short shorts and skirts, even in the dead of winter.  She went to school at the Alberta College of Art, and over the last few months she had sort of attached herself to Bill, Hunter, and their group including fellow art student Paco.  This pleased Hunter, as he had always thought their group needed at least one chick in it to prevent every get together from becoming a complete and utterly depressing sausage party.

“Hey Hunter!”

He was confused, “Hey kid, uh, how’d you get in here?”

She swung her legs off the arm of the leather chair and planted them on the carpet, sitting up straight.  She folded over the page in the book she had been reading and took a sip of beer.  Hunter noticed it was his copy of White Noise, by Don DeLillo.

“Oh, I borrowed Paco’s key.  I have to go back to the school in a bit for some studio work, and I didn’t want to go all the way back to Okotoks, you know what I mean.”

Hunter shook his head, “Wait, this is May, aren’t you guys finished for the year yet?”

She took another sip of lager, “I have one last ‘end of the year’ project to finish, and one last exam (art history – yeesh) but other than that I’m done for the year.”

Hunter shrugged out of his long, black coat and hung it up in the closet next to Bill’s Canadian Forces parka.  He left his boots on and returned to the main room.

“Okay, I’ll forgive you because you’re new but just so you know, the chair you’re sitting in is My Chair®

“My chair eh?  So what’s that mean when it’s at home?”

“Well,” Hunter smirked, “the rule is that the person that sits in the chair in error has to sleep with the person that sat in it last,” he shrugged, “I don’t make the rules, but you know…”

Jeri raised an eyebrow, “Really-meats?  Because it sounds to me like you made that rule up… possibly just NOW!”

Hunter shook his head, “No no, it’s actually been a house rule since I dragged that five hundred pound thing here from BVS Towers two weeks after we moved into Lond Ho.  Did I ever tell you the tale?”

“Five hundred pounds eh?  Clearly you’ve lost all sense of hyperbole, but no you have never imparted to me the tale of the chair.  Should I prepare myself to be amazed?”

Hunter sat on one of the wide, poofy arms of the massive, room-filling chesterfield and began unlacing his fourteen-hole Doc Martens.  “It began on a cold October evening…”

*     *     *

“So-izzat! Ohboyohboyohboyohboy!”  Thor “The Hutt” Jugg burbled away, shifting in his creaking office chair, as it strained and protested against his massive girth.

Hunter looked up at the clock with bored annoyance, attempting to will it closer to 15:45, shift changeover time.  The tiny office was filled with the unpleasant smells of burned coffee, stale cigarettes and greasy B.O. so the sooner Hunter could get his ass out the better. 

Earlier in the day, the management company decided to auction their old furniture off to make room for the brand new ultra-modern chairs and tables that were to be delivered the next day.  Hunter was surprised that they actually let the contract security people like himself bid on items because normally only “true” employees of Hammer and Son were invited to take part.  This had sent Thor into a red faced rage, as it was his belief that contract employees were less than nothing, and should be treated as such.  They shouldn’t even be allowed to use the employee locker room, much less be invited to partake in Hammer and Son corporate events such as the furniture auction.  His anger at Hunter hit an all-time high when he had out bit Thor on one of the old, tan leather lobby chairs.  It was Thor’s own fault really, had he not been such a cheapskate he could have had the chair for just a dollar more, as Hunter only had a fiver to his name.

The door to the security office clicked and opened.  Hunter was relieved and stood up from his seat, only to be disappointed; it was David the afternoon supervisor, and not his relief man after all.  He was beginning to sit back down when Thor The Hutt began shooting off his blubbery mouth.

“Meester Unter!  Youse are not yet reliefed!  So take an zeat!”

Hunter decided to keep standing.

“Hidey ho there Ace!”  David smiled at Hunter.  “How you doing this fine day?”

“Gee Dave, I’m just swell!  And you?”  Hunter answered, David was a good guy, a Born Again Christian, but Hunter never held that against him.

“Another beautiful day courtesy of the Lord!  And I couldn’t be better thanks for asking.  Hey if you want to take off that’s okay, I can hold the fort.”

Thor struggled out of his chair and slammed his radio into the charging station.  “Daveed! I must half speaks wit jou!”

Hunter rolled his eyes.  Did The Hutt really think he couldn’t hear him?  In the microscopic confines of the security office the maximum distance one could be from another person was six and a half feet, and David and Thor were less than three feet from Hunter. 

“Jou cannot tell ze Dumfeld peoples ven they can und cannot leaf.  I are thy daytime superwisor zo eet ees mine yob to do dat.  Okay? So izzat!”

“Uh, alright then Thor, whatever you say.”  David said, shrugging.

“Ah so izzat then!  Ohboyohboyohboy!  I am off then und shall see youse tomorrow!”  He was very pleased with himself, it wasn’t everyday he got to pull rank and bully two people at the same time, and with a mighty slam of the door, Thor The Hutt was gone.

Hunter slumped down in his chair.  It was ten to four and still no sign of his replacement.

“Sorry about that misunderstanding Hunter, but you know Thor…”

“Yeah, no it’s not your fault he’s a total fucking asshole of a thieving Dutchman.”

David winced.  He didn’t like, or condone swearing of any kind, but had just about gotten used to Hunter’s almost constant use of them.  The only time he had put his foot down was when anyone took the Lord’s name in vain.  A ‘goddamn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ thrown out in his presence and he would just about lose his nut.  Once he had gotten so angry, Hunter thought he was going to take a swing at him.  The memory of it brought a smirk to Hunter’s lips… some people were just too thin skinned!

The door rattled and opened and finally Hunter’s replacement “Cockney” James English had arrived.  He slid his keys and radio belt across the Formica table and stepped towards the door.

“See ya in hell boys!”  He said as way of a goodbye as he stepped out the door.  He stopped.  Something was wrong.  The chair that was sitting in the hall only ten minutes ago was gone.  Hunter reached back and caught the door before it could close.

“David,” he said calmly, “you see a big-ass leather chair in the hall when you got here?”

“Huh?  Oh well yes I did indeed!  Was it yours?”

“Yeah, I won it in the auction today.”

James spoke up, “Yeah, mate it was gone like when I got here yeah!?”

Revelation hit Hunter in the face like a slice of lemon wrapped arounf a large gold brick.

“Thor!  That enormous prick!  Thanks Jim, Dave, later!”

Hunter sprinted down the hallway, the anger building with every step.  How dare that greasy Dutch National Socialist bastard steal my freaking chair!  He skidded to a halt at the elevator bank and hit the call button five or six times.  Only a few seconds passed before the lift arrived.  With the ding of the bell the doors parted and Hunter jumped in and pressed P3.  The locker room was on P3, and it was also the only level security personnel, both regular employees and contract were allowed to park.  Excepting of course during the day shift when only Hammer and Son employees were given the privilege of a parking spot.

The door was only half open when Hunter squeezed through into the parkade lobby, then into the parkade proper.  He was running at full tilt when he came around the corner and spotted Thor The Hutt laboriously pushing Hunter’s oversized chair towards the back doors of his grey panel early eighties vintage Chevy van.


Thor looked back over his shoulder and cursed under his breath, knowing he was caught.  He stopped pushing the chair and stood as straight as he was able, huffing and puffing like a steam locomotive.

Hunter stopped running and walked slowly, deliberately up to the fat bastard, taking the time to catch his breath before speaking.

“So what’s all this then?”  He asked the panting Thor, who was holding a hand up in surrender.

“So izzzat, ohboyohboyohboy, jou caughted me meester Unter!”  He crashed his mighty girth down on to the bumper of his van, causing the suspension to creak in protest.

“What the hell man, I mean I know you fucking hate me, but stealing my five-dollar chair?  Even for a thieving Dutchman like yourself that shit is cold!”

“Jes, jes, vhateffer jou say meester Unter.”  Thor said, sorry only because he got caught.

“Yeah, whatever.  And by the way it’s ‘Hunter!’  With a fucking ‘H’ not ‘Unter’ with a fucking ‘U’!”

With that Hunter left The Hutt where he sat, on the bumper of his van, defeated and panting almost to the point of throwing up.

Hunter shoved the across the tarmac to the locker room where he changed, Superman quick on the off chance that The Hutt attempted further shenanigans.  The elevators were only a short distance from the locker room, and Hunter had a little trouble getting the chair into the lift, as it’s feet caught on the gap between the floor and the elevator car.  The doors closed on the chair, then sprang open again, and again, and again before Hunter realized pushing from the outside wasn’t doing any good.  He hopped over the chair and into the lift car, reached over the chair and grabbed the thick, heavy arm closest to the lobby and pulled, flipping the chair on to its side and into the elevator.  The doors slid shut and Hunter stabbed the ‘2’ (+15) button sending the elevator up and on its way.  When the doors opened he flipped the chair over the other way sending side over side and into the lobby.  Hunter flipped it onto its polished wooden feet and sat down for a moment on the chair’s thick seat cushion. 

The hard part was over.  Getting back to Lond Ho would be a piece of cake using the +15 system.  He thought.  The inner city was laid out in a grid pattern with many of its buildings featuring an interconnected series of second floor, enclosed pedestrian bridges known as +15s.  Hunter jumped up, spun the chair around and began pushing.  The chair slid quite easily and quickly along the low friction carpeted surfaces, and the tile flooring of the bridges.  He got some funny looks from the few people he passed and only on one occasion did he have to ask for help from a passer by to hold one side of a set of double doors open when the single door was just a couple of inches smaller than all the others.

Finally he was within sight of flat 1401!  The end was at hand!  It had taken just under twenty minutes to push the chair home and now victory was to be his!  Hunter fished out the keys from around his neck and unlocked the door, shoving it open.  He gave the chair a final shove.  It wouldn’t fit.  He tried flipping it on to its side, on its back, but it was a no-go.

“You have got to be kidding me!”  He said aloud.

“What the hell are you doing Hunter?”

Hunter looked up to see Bill standing on the other side of the door.

Hunter gave the hard won chair a kick, “Fucking thing won’t fit in the door!”

Bill stood back and took a sip of Drummond Dry, looked down at the chair and swallowed.

“Take the feet off numb-nuts”

Hunter looked at the chair, then back at Bill who was smirking “Don’t you give me that look.”

“What look?  I’m giving no look.”

“I think there was a look…”

Hunter and Bill quickly unscrewed the polished wooden feet and moved the chair into the flat, put the feet back on and shoved it against the wall by the bathroom door.  Hunter sat down.  This was the perfect spot.  He could see the TV without having to crane his neck, and it was equidistant to the kitchen and the bathroom, in other words: The Perfect Spot.

“Lemmie have a go Hunter.”  Bill said, motioning to the chair.

“Yeah, no this is now My Chair® in fact I might have to come up with a house rule so nobody sits in it but me… something ridiculous like a “sex clause” or something…”

Bill nodded, “It’s a good way to me not to sit in it that much is certain.”


*     *     *

“and that tootz, is the story of the chair.”

Jeri downed the last swallow from the tinnie of Drummond Strong, let out what Hunter thought was an impressive belch for a girl, then tossed the empty can in the direction of the recycle bin, missing it completely.  She made no move to pick it up.

“Well that was quite the tale,” she said pushing herself out of the chair and on to her feet, “I gotta get back to school.”

“Hey, come on we had a contract in principle!  By continuing to sit in the chair, ipso facto you agreed to the terms that accompanied said sitting.”

Jeri stepped into her Canadian Forces surplus parade boots, “I don’t disagree.”

“Well then?”

“You didn’t say when it had to happen.”  And with that she pulled on her heavy, paint stained sweater and took her leave.

The heavy door swung shut, and Hunter stood silently for a moment, walked over and snapped the deadbolt to the locked position.

“That’s not a ‘no’!”  He said aloud to no one.

Hunter exhaled and walked up to the recycle bin on his way to the fridge, pausing to pick up Jeri’s empty as he did.  He stopped.  There were more empties in the plastic bin than there should have been.  He had a bad feeling about this…

He dropped the can into the bin, wrenched open the fridge door.  He sighed, staring at the space where once there had been the remains of a six-pack of Drummond Strong awaiting his arrival home from a days graft.  He stood for a moment, feeling a flush of annoyance, then another thought hit him, a desperate thought for certain, but… He flipped open the butter shelf door and there it was; a single tinnie of Drummond Dry

Smiling, Hunter reached in to claim his prize.




Directed by Ridley Scott

A prequel (YES it is! Stop arguing!) to the groundbreaking 1979 Sci-Fi Horror flick ALIEN?  Directed by the man himself, Ridley Scott?  Oh, I am SO in!

A lone white skinned, buff, mostly human looking alien “engineer” drinks some black alien goo and sacrifices himself, and in so doing seeds prehistoric earth with the DNA that turns out to be the building blocks of all life on earth.  Fast forward to our not so distant future of the late 2080’s where anthropologists Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), and her partner Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover pre-historic cave paintings that show what they believe to be an Ancient Astronaut pointing towards a distant star system in what they believe to be an invitation.  But who are thee Ancient Astronauts, and why did they leave these invitations?  Well if you’re looking for answers, you’ll have to look somewhere else because Prometheus provides none.  Well, that’s not entirely true, but don’t blame me if the answers the flick gives you are nothing but a colossal disappointment.

The spaceship Prometheus
The Good.  The flick is shot with Red Epic Digital HD cameras and looks stunningly beautiful.  Of course it does, it’s a Ridley Scott flick ferchissakes and the 1080p AVC encoded transfer on the blu-ray is just about as close to flawless as makes no difference.  The DTS-MA 7.1 Surround is also reference quality and without a doubt one of the best sounding blus I’ve heard this year.  All in all the technical presentation of Prometheus is freaking excellent.  The 4-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray contains heaps of special features including a selection of deleted scenes, 2 audio commentaries, a nearly 4 hour documentary on the making of Prometheus which honestly is better than the actual film if truth be told, and the Weyland Corp Archives that includes production galleries, featurettes and more.

The Bad.  I can’t find fault with either Charlize Theron, or Michael Fassbender’s performances, the rest of the cast however really don’t hold up their end, which is mostly the fault of the writers.  The film’s first act is actually not so bad either, it shows great promise actually, which makes it almost difficult to believe what the mediocre second act, and the profoundly disappointing third act brings us.  We have characters who previously acted with calm, logical, scientific detachment, and intelligence when dealing with the unknown situations before them, suddenly acting stupid, and irrationally, (Talking baby talk to and reaching out to pet a dangerous alien life form? Hunkering down to rest in the very room you FLED earlier because the situation seemed dangerous?  Really?) and seemingly trying very hard to get themselves killed, one even getting killed for no reason other than just so in the end we can have Noomi’s character basically repeat Sigourney Weaver’s line from the original ALIEN as the last survivor of the Prometheus!

How many years were filmgoers waiting for Ridley Scott to finally come back and direct another ALIEN film?  Oh yeah that’s right it was 33 fracking years, and what do we get for our patience?  A film that is only marginally (if that) better than the crappiest and most maligned flick in the franchise: ALIEN RESURRECTION, and a film nowhere near as good as the original ALIEN, a classic in its own right.  Was this Scott’s fault, maybe partially, but I place the blame for the most part on the writers John Spaihts, and Damon Lindelof, especially Lindelof who clearly didn’t want to make a Sci-Fi Horror flick, rather a pretentious pop-philosophical flick with a bunch of ham handed overtones of science vs. faith.  I can see what the writers were trying to do, which is just a nice way of saying the failed epically. 
This is JUST a SPACE SUIT? Say not so!

The Ugly.  The original ALIEN featured some of the most fantastic, original, and mind-blowing designs ever put on film courtesy of Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger.  One of these designs, besides the title creature itself, which sticks in my mind to this day, is the Space Jockey.  For those that don’t know, this was the giant, dead alien the crew of the Nostromo find in the pilot’s chair of the derelict spacecraft on LV-426.  I love this design even to this day.  I wanted to know where he came from, and what his story was.  My colossal disappointment comes at 00:46:35 Dr. Shaw says “It’s not an exoskeleton, it looks like a helmet.”  Sigh… the awesome, wicked-cool alien “Space Jockey” turns out to be just a suit, and a hat for a giant human… another epic fail if there ever was one.  I mean come on!  What a freaking let down.

Final Thoughts.  I really wanted to like this film, I really did.  Some of I liked a lot; the overall design aesthetic was solid, the way the flick is shot is gorgeous, but like I seem to say a helluva lot these days about films, design and effects a brilliant picture do not make, you need a solid story and believable characters and Prometheus has neither.

The Flick: 2 out of 5
Audio and Video Presentation: 5 out of 5
Extras: 5 out of 5


Lond Ho Adventures

 Lager Quest Part VI

If they could be certain of one thing, it was that they were surrounded.  The five Chinese gangsters encircled Bill and Hunter like sharks, gliding around them, taunting them in their over the top fake sounding Hong Kong accents, and occasionally glancing back towards the car where their leader stood as if awaiting the signal to attack.

Bill was enraged, not just at the concept of being beaten possibly to death by a swarm of Asian gang-bangers, but mostly because they were so close to their destination.  The beer store was only two blocks away, and the thought of the cool, golden elixir not touching his lips after all they had been through so far was too much for him.  He tensed up, balled up his huge mitts into meaty fists and got himself ready for what very well could be the final battle.  

“There’s six of us man, so suck on my dick!”

Hunter’s vision narrowed as he coolly stared at what he assumed to be the Gang Leader for what seemed like an hour, but was in reality only about fifteen seconds.  The Gang Leader seemed different from the others somehow, and not just because of the manner in which he dressed.  While the five guys that were closing the circle on Bill and Hunter were dressed over the top, almost to the point of stereotypical absurdity in their leather pants patched out, brightly coloured leather jackets and rainbow hair, the Leader was dressed sharply in a suit and long coat by Armani, with brightly polished Italian loafers on his feet and his eyes covered in mirrored aviator specs.  His hair was cut conservatively, but stylishly, and he was slowly, deliberately chewing on a toothpick.  To Hunter not only did the Leader look for all the world like Chow Yun Fat in A Better Tomorrow, but there was something else very familiar about him, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on just yet…

The five gangsters circled ever closer, Bill and Hunter glanced at each other and nodded; It’s go time!

Everything happed at once, the five gangsters closed the circle, charging in, Hunter cocked back a fist and Bill had already bloodied the nose of Spiky Red Streaks.  Hunter swung a clumsy fist that the Blond guy in the purple leather easily avoided.

“Ha!  Round-eye gotta be faster than that!”  He taunted in an accent so bad Hunter was sure it was fake.

Suddenly two guys had Hunter by the arms, he jerked his head around only to see Bill similarly vanquished, as Spiky Red Streaks menaced him with a butterfly knife.

“Wake up!  Time to die!”

Really? Hunter thought, Now he’s quoting Blade Runner?


Instantly the gang-bangers stepped back, almost at attention.  The knife disappeared and the two holding Hunter let him go and took a step back as the Leader stepped forward.  He walked straight up to Hunter, took off his aviators and stared him in the face, squinting slightly.  The revelation hit both men at the same time.

“Mike?  Mike Lee?!”

“Joe Hunter?!”

Suddenly all the intensity, and madness of the situation evaporated as Mike and Hunter man-braced one another.

“Holy shit Mike, I haven’t seen you in years!  How longs it been?”

“Gotta be at least five years,” Mike said “right before you left for school.”

Bill could feel his adrenalin melting away as Spiky Red Streaks, who Bill assumed to be the second in command, stepped forward and spoke to the Leader, who Hunter seemed to be on a first name basis with.

“What up Boss?  We gonna roll these Round-eyes or what?”

“Boss” Lee seemed to have forgotten anyone else was there.  He turned, looking at his man as if for the first time.

“What?  No, Dave of course not!  And you don’t have to keep speaking in that stupid accent, these guys aren’t tourists.”

“Okay, whatever you say Boss, thank you.”  Dave said in regular, clean, Western Canadian, inflectionless tones that suggested to Bill that all of these so-called “Asian Gangsters” had lived in Canada their whole lives.

Hunter and Mike stepped away from the main group while the five other guys politely introduced themselves to Bill.

Dave wiped the blood from his nose with a tissue, and reached a hand towards Bill, “No hard feelings eh?  I’m Dave by the way.”

“Bill,” he took Dave’s outstretched hand and shook it firmly, “and uh, no… no hard feelings at all, sorry bout the nose…”

“S’okay.  So, yeah these are the Boys,” Dave motioned to the young man with the bleached out hair and purple leathers and said, “This is Jonny,” he motioned to the next one, a tall, skinny guy with blue tinted shades and shoulder length blue hair, “this is Max, uh the little guy with the Mohawk over here is Rick, and the big guy in yellow with the flaming orange hair is Ben.”

“Uh, hey… gentlemen.”  Was all Bill could manage.

Over by the metallic blue ’92 Civic, Mike and Hunter had their heads under the carbon fibre hood and were in the middle of an intense conversation.

“So I’ve got Tokico RAK coilovers on all four corners, a Mugen turbo kit, as well as Mugen intake and exhaust.  Along with all the other tweaks, it puts about 420hp to the pavement.”  Mike said.

Hunter seemed to be looking for something, “You running laughing gas?”

Mike shook his head, “No not yet.  That’s the next project.”

Hunter was impressed.  For all the work he had put in to his Little Red Mazda, none of it came anywhere close to what Mike had done with his Honda.  “Wow, man that rocks all kinds of roll.  So what you been up to these last few years?”

Mike put the hood down and said, “Keeping busy, I graduated with an economics degree from U of C, then basically started working for my uncle.”

Hunter nodded, “Your uncle eh?  Is that what this is all about?”  He motioned to the five guys chatting with Bill.

Mike looked at his shoes, “I can’t really talk specifics, but yeah.”

“Ah, say no more.”

Mike stepped closer and put an hand on Hunter’s shoulder, “Ya know it is really good to see you again.  We’ve been friends a long time and I don’t want to lose touch, so here,” He reached into his pocket and handed Hunter a business card, “Good friends are a rarity in this life, so if you ever need anything, and I mean anything at all, call me.  We totally need to catch up soon so gimmie a call and we’ll hook up again-“

“Oh yes, very nice, isn’t this lovely.  All caught up are we?”  Bill was standing beside them, completely annoyed.

Hunter and Mike turned to Bill.

“Maybe you’ve forgotten, but we are in a bit of a time crunch here!”  He tapped his watch-face, irritated.

“Oh, shit you’re right!”  Hunter turned to Mike.  “Sorry man, we gotta go!”

Boss Mike Lee waved a dismissive hand, “Yeah, yeah, have fun!  Go do what you gotta do.”
Bill was marching toward the corner, pushing Hunter in front of him.  Hunter turned, “Hey Mike!  How about the Warehouse next week?”

Mike looked thoughtful for a moment, then nodded, “Yeah, sure.  It’ll be just like old times!  They’ll never stop us!”  Mike put his mirrored aviators back on and snapped his fingers.  His men piled back into the Honda and they sped away, the rumbling engine fading quickly into the liquid night.

With two blocks to go, Hunter and Bill crossed the road, their destination looming before them, almost close enough to touch, perchance to drink.

“You know Hunter, that’s a good idea.”

“What is?”

“Hitting the Warehouse next week.  Check out the ladies, try my luck.  Been on a bit of a dry spell of late and need to get back in the saddle so to speak.”

Hunter screwed up his face in disbelief, “Come on, you’ve got girls all over you all the time!”

Bill chuckled, “Yeah right.  Name one.”

“Well there was that chick from the Warehouse the other night, the one you brought back to the flat.  Then there was the dark haired chick you met on the Night of the Magic Toque, the –“

“The puncher, yeah…”

“-and of course there’s that girl you work with that lives with Kelli; Rachel.  She’s totally into you.  I reckon you could easily tear yourself off a slice.”

Bill shook his head, lighting up a smoke, “Yeah, no I couldn’t, I wouldn’t feel right about it.”

“What the hell are you talking about?  ‘You wouldn’t feel right?’”

“Come on, it should be obvious even to you that she’s an M.R.F.”

“An M.R.F?  What does that even mean?  Is it some sort of sex reference I’m not getting?”

Bill looked at Hunter out of the corner of his eyes, “Do I really have to spell it out for you?”

Hunter nodded, “Uh, yeah!”

“M.R.F means Mentally Retarded Female.”

“Retarded????  I mean she always seemed a little ditzy, but I thought that was because of all the weed she smoked!”

“She’s more than ‘a little ditzy’ she’s about two I.Q. points over the number they use to determine mental retardation.  Did you think a girl that was a 'little ditzy' would wash her face with Mr. Clean?”

“She said she wanted a really deep cleanse…”

“Or that CFCs were fattening?”

“I thought she was taking the Mickey!”

“Or not being able to button up her coat outside just because she didn’t do it inside?”

“I thought she was superstitious!”

“Yeah no, she’s retarded, and that my friend is why I will not sleep with her.  It would be taking advantage, and contrary to popular belief, I do have some scruples.”

Hunter wasn’t buying it, “Come on, how could you know what her I.Q. is?”

Bill dropped his cigarette butt and crushed it out under the heel of his boot.  “She works with me.  I snuck a peak at her employee records.  Apparently the government gives certain incentives to companies who hire mentally disabled people by paying a portion of their wages, subsidizing their housing and such.”

“Wait, you mean that great apartment Kelli and Rachel live in with the pool, and the covered parking space is subsidized?”

“Partially, yes.”

“You’re not kidding me are you.”

“Not a word of a lie.”

Hunter blanched, “Oh crap…”



“Ah, man don’t tell me!”

Hunter said nothing and walked on ahead, entering the beer store parking lot.

Bill called out, “You fucked her didn’t you!”

“Well, uh…”

“Oh yeah!  That says it all!  You totally fucked a retarded chick!  I mean you’ve done some stupid things before, but this… this takes the proverbial cake!”  Bill was laughing his tittery-bemused laugh.

“How the hell was I supposed to know!  I told you I just thought she was a little bit dumb!”

“You are such an idiot Hunter!  I always said you were the smartest guy I knew, but now I’m not so sure!  Maybe we should do an I.Q. test on you!”  Bill giggled some more.

“Fuck off.”

The brightly lit sign shone like a beacon in the darkness; a lighthouse guiding a sailor and his ship safely home.  The excitement between the boys was palpable as Bill reached a shaking hand towards the handle on the glass front door.  He gave it a light tug.  The door rattled, but didn’t open.  Bill’s left eye gave an involuntary twitch.

Hunter looked up at him and chuckled nervously, trying the door himself, pulling hard.  The door was locked tight.  “Oh COME ON!!!!”  He growled.

Bill was muttering like a madman, “This is not right… this is NOT RIGHT!  Why must this be so difficult?  All we wanted was some beer!”  Bill’s eyes were wide as saucers, and Hunter thought he looked totally demented.  “Why gods why must you delight in the suffering of men?  He whirled on Hunter and grabbed him round the shoulders.  "This is a simple exercise, or at least it would be if we lived in the States!  Anywhere really, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Arizona!  If we lived in Arizona we could just walk to the 7-11 or Safeway, or to a freaking gas station and walk out with beer 24 freaking hours a day!  AND we could do it for PENNIES on the DOLLAR compared to what we pay here, but no!  We have to live in the most backward, over taxed, third-world, nanny-state run arm pit of a country where you can’t even buy a can of beer after dark-“

Hunter was trying to get his attention.  “IT’S OPEN!”

“What?”  Bill didn’t understand.

Hunter’s arms were still being held tight in Bill’s iron, Burt Reynolds-like grip, so he motioned with his head, “The beer store.  It’s open.  Turn around.”

Bill’s grip relaxed and he turned around to see the night clerk standing, holding the door open.

“Sorry guys, I had to lock up for a minute to take a leak.”

“You mean,” said Bill, still in a state of shock and disbelief, “You’re open?”

“Of course we are!   We’re open till twelve buddy, come on in it’s getting chilly eh!”

Bill looked over at Hunter, and something almost resembling a smile cracked his face.  They stepped over the threshold into the overly bright fluorescent-lit store and headed straight to the bargain beer section of the row of coolers; their quest was nearly at an end.  The anger, strife, and seemingly insurmountable roadblocks thrown in front of them during their journey forgotten now as they stood before the wall of fully stocked coolers jammed with every top-selling Canadian and American lager and ale one could imagine.  This was not the place to come if you were looking for something unusual or unique, but if an ordinary Big Brewery lager or pilsner was what you wanted, (and the boys did) then this was the place for it.

“Okay now,” Bill clapped his hands together and rubbed them in anticipation, “what do you want?”

“I dunno, what do you reckon?”  Making decisions, simple or complex had never been Hunter’s particular strong point.  He once spent almost two hours in Video and Sound trying to decide on what laserdisc to rent, before leaving the store with nothing…

“Fine then,” said Bill with only a slight edge of irritation to his voice, “I’ll decide.”  He pulled open the cooler door with his left hand, his eyes moving across and down the shelves until he spotted something he thought they would both enjoy.  Something cheap and with a higher alcohol/volume content, maximum bang for the buck as it were.  He reached in the cooler with his right hand, and made his pick.

Next month on an ALL NEW Lond Ho Adventures!  The long forgotten origin of the Big Ass Leather Chair is finally revealed in a special Lond Ho One Shot!                       

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