Thursday, March 24, 2011

Write a story about Morry Eale and Win the Drawing on the Right

Write a story about Morry Eale and Win the Drawing on the Right
The contest closes Thursday April 7th, 2011


I will announce the winner at 
ArtHaus 411 Brannan Street  San Francisco, CA  94107

www.arthaus-sf.com
at the opening Reception Friday April 8th 2011 6PM to 8 PM



Morry Eale 20"x16" collage,
oil paint, and graphite drawing
on masonite




Morry Eale

Click on Pictures to enlarge

Buy this painting for $250

_________________________________________________________________
The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.  Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at kmencher@ohlone.edu with your info.  There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.  E-mail it to me at kmencher@ohlone.edu

Renovated Reputations is the result of an internet blogging project in which paintings and assemblages based on vintage and antique vernacular photography are the inspiration for short fiction.


The catalog and monograph are a collaborative efforts between myself, a twenty or so authors such as professor Mark Brosamer,  mystery writer Matt O'Malley, pulp author Steven D. Rogers of PulpFest fame, Dreamworks animator/cartoonist Brian Newlin, columnist Gigi De Vault and others.


The impetus for this project is based in a solo show of paintings in I am having at ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco in April 2011. 

The show is called
Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs.

Show up or else!

ArtHaus 411 Brannan Street  San Francisco, CA  94107
415-977-0223 

www.arthaus-sf.com

Opening Reception Friday April 8th 2011 6PM to 8 PM
Show runs through June 25th 2011

Download the draft of Tabloid Newspaper catalog as a PDF.
Here's a link to the free newspaper style catalog as a pdf:
http://www.kenney-mencher.com/Renovated_Reputations_Mencher.pdf

Here's a link to the book:
http://www.kenney-mencher.com/Renovated_Reputations_Mencher_Book.pdf
(This is about 5MB so if you are using firefox it may stall.  You can right click and save or use explorer.)

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants to play with and vintage costumes. Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the catalogs. _______________________________________________

This came in by e-mail:

Cast Away by Patrick Nelson



         I have never had a hangover before because I do not drink. I never drank, that is, until last night. If this is what a hangover feels like, I will never drink again. I will remove my eyeballs with an oyster knife, drop them in a beaker of hydrochloric acid and gargle with it before I do this again. My eyelids will not cooperate with the panicked message I send from my brain. Maybe said message is going to my pelvic muscles because I think I just urinated on myself a little. There we go. The lids seem to be stuck together slightly, making it harder to open them. A little more. It’s like some kind of sticky eye goo. No, that’s not the right word. I am a marine biologist damn it! Mucous, that’s the word. 

         With a pain that is somehow stinging in the back of my head and throbbing dull in the front all at the same time, I begin to focus on a sideways image of a room with white flowing curtains and a naked woman’s back. I am on my side I surmise. I am laying next to a naked woman in what I presume is her bed. I try to make no movement that is strong enough to jiggle the bed as I reach down to feel my lower body.

         I, in addition, have no clothes on.

         I am reminded in this situation of a Mission Impossible episode. Someone must have drugged me, taken me to this location, undressed me and is trying to make me believe that I have been kidnapped. Oh my God! I cannot remember my name! Wait! Morry! Morry Eale!

         My word that frightened me. Now some of last night’s events begin to bully themselves into the arena of earthly delights that is my consciousness. Oy vey. I say bully, for at this moment I want nothing inside my cranium but calm and very little pain.

         What a night. I think. I remember the gentlemen's club that I went to on the pressured invitation of the other gentlemen with whom I work at the lab. We were attending Marcus' "bachelor party". I have never attended a party such as this but after searching the internet, I was soon familiar with the custom. I dare-say Marcus' party would pass beyond the normal stereotypes of debauchery and hedonism even in the glamorized Hollywood sense. Real images and sensations, however, filled my mind as they recurred to me. The pain was already quite intense, but now the emotions: camaraderie, bliss, wanton lust, anger and yes, even rage all began to swim together in the blood red and murky brown of my skull and push against the edges of my psyche. 

         A hellish klaxon suddenly burst through my caustic reverie and I thought I was immediately being whisked before the creator to answer for my blatant disregard for the life he had given me. It turns out it was just an alarm clock on the table next to this woman on the bed. I believe I may have whimpered something to the effect of "please God, father of us all, make it stop" but I could be mistaken. It continued for a few more seconds but in my condition it seemed like the clock itself had become another living thing which chose to pull and stretch all the tendons and muscles away from my neck and head and was now drawing a sinister bow across the taught membranes to create this dreadful symphony. I was a mere second away from clawing my way across this nubile beauty next to me to end the very existence of the torture device harping there.        She beat me to it. She stirred and hit the button. I never loved someone so unconditionally in my entire life. It seems my brain had earned back some of amount of trust from my eyes. With ever widening slits, I took in a little more of the scene: the crisp, white sheet cascaded over the woman's lithe legs and rear end, revealing the cleavage of her buttocks and toned, tan back and shoulders. No tan lines anywhere. She had an impressive mane of luxuriant auburn hair that had undulating curls that reminded me of the waves that trailed a spoon in a bowl of chocolate mousse. I was an amateur chef as well. The sun slicing through the window silhouetted some circles of her hair and glistened through. My eyes traveled down from her head and settled on the small of her back. She had a richly detailed series of small fish scales tattooed in a fanning pattern. They started in a small vee at the fourth vertebrae and spread outward and upward. The color range was amazing: rich blues, frosty greens even blending into bright oranges and reds. Japanese in its stylism, it appeared to be a work in progress, but on her it was stunning and mesmerizing almost as if she where one of the fabled race of merpeople here to lure me to my death on the rocks.

         I already felt like I was dead. Despite my discomfort and agony, I noticed I had an impressive erection. She shifted and leaned back against me. "Whoa. Somebody’s awake" she said. The voice was at once light and sleepy, and yet it had deep edges where I could almost say that a world of disappointment and pain had lived. Maybe I was projecting my subconscious there. She rolled all the way over and tossed her curls out of her face.

         Now the last big piece of the puzzle snapped into place: Gillian. From the club. She had it all: a gorgeous, slightly rounded face, her nose a bit wide and upturned on the end, small and round pouty lips that extended out on each side to an upturned curl and eyes a hazel seen only in an artists palette. These features would have been peculiar on any woman individually, but on her, together, they made the most seductive temptress even more irresistible. If at all possible, my head spun more and my mouth became even drier.

         “Boy, stranger. You sure can’t handle your liquor” she commented. I was hypnotized. “Um” was all I could muster. Somehow in my dominance of the conversation, she found a place to interject “Not a big talker, huh? You sure couldn’t shut up last night. I mean, until y’all passed out. What a handful you are.” 

         Oh no, my secret weakness: a southern drawl. I was really defenseless. She laid there facing me with her arm across her breasts and I had the uncontrollable urge to touch her but I still wasn’t sure where we stood, er, laid. My Ph.D. nudged the back of my brain and asked “Um, did we...are we...where you and I...” Shakespeare and Valentino would have vomited in their mouths if they where to hear. Maybe that was just me again.

         “No, no and no. Let’s start with what you do remember, ok?” she said and I nodded. “Good, that will make it much easier ‘cause I don’t think y’all recall shit sugar.” She pulled the sheet up from her hips to cover her breasts also. I caught a glimpse of her breasts and looked away. “Aw’ ain’t you the cutest think.” She purred. “You remember the club, right? Good. You remember my show? The mermaid routine?” She paused and I searched my memory and had found the fuzzy edges of what she spoke. I had quite a few of the different cocktails and was just then buying a couple of rounds for my friends and the dancers. I remember saying how this was the best time I had ever had. I saw her come on the stage and walk up to the pole.

         I now remember this clearly. It was if she walked in slow motion to the center of the stage. Her breasts bounced slightly as she walked out and her hair bobbed and flowed in a gossamer trail behind her. She had on a bikini top of teal and a sea foam green see through dress or skirt shaped like the body of a cichlid with extended dorsal and anal fins. I can’t remember if it was a dress or skirt because suddenly I was completely transfixed on her face, believe it or not. She began to dance around the brass beam like a gypsy from long ago: she spun in circles faster and faster till I myself began to dizzy. She embraced the pole and just then a crass individual tried to touch her waistband on her costume and I...oh my.

         “Yeah, sweetcheeks! You climbed right over about twenty people to drop that guy like a sack of wet flour. Whomp!” she could tell by my dropped jaw that it was coming back to me. “Don’t you know about tipping the dancers?” She lifted my jaw with the first two fingers of her right hand. It managed to stay shut. “Yeah, they tip me and I keep it and pay for the things I need like rent and food and...” She spoke to me like I was a small child. I was again trapped in the reverie of her gaze. Medusa only not as mean. More events unfolded with her help: How I climbed on the stage to protect her and how the bouncers finally dragged me off the stage. Next an up-close image of the pavement outside the club as I was tossed out. Then how I was saying some things that I would not normally say to any other people especially the large gentlemen who had heaved my drunken carcass in the night. "Thats right , loverboy! I managed to talk old Frederico from breaking you into small, bite sized pieces. He did have to give you a souvenir of your chivalry" she said as she touched my forehead above my right eye.

         Holy Camoley, that hurt! She pulled off the bandage that, due to the pain I already suffered from, I hadn't noticed. "Well, the stitches held and it stopped bleeding, but y'all are gonna need to be cleaned up" my favorite nurse, ever, said. "Where was I? Oh yeah. So all your friends where out in the lot trying to help you and keep Frederico from beating you any more. They all begged and pleaded and offered money. Freddie said he admired the way they stuck up for you, but he couldn't let a man do what you did in his club without making an example of you. You got off lucky though.”

         “Well, after all your friends where done vouching for you and telling us what a good guy you where, didn't ever drink and all that, well I have to admit y'all kinda struck a nerve with me. I mean, you didn't even know me and here you where jumping up and trying to protect me. It was, I don't know, sweet. Nobody's ever done anything like that for me."

         She was a talker and I loved every word. I imagined myself sitting here in her bed naked with her every morning listening to her ramble and falling in love with her more with every word. All this without a hangover of course. I came back to her still talking: "so I brought you back here to take care of you. I mean none of your friends were in any kind of shape to do it. So I got us a cab and called my friend Amos, he's a male nurse who lives in an apartment upstairs, and he stitched you up.  I just want you to know that I have never done that before, y'know? Brought a customer from the club back here like that. Hell, since I broke up with Beau a year ago there hasn't even been a man in my apartment."       I didn't stop her to tell her the closest thing I ever had to even a date in the last ten years was a girl from my building with whom I had arranged a play date with my Yorkie and her Schnauzer. My dog peed in her purse at the dog park and that pretty much washed away my chances. Her name was Goldie, the dog not the woman. I can't remember the woman's name. I don't think I'll need to remember any woman's name again.

         Gillian went on: "You where still pretty drunk and when I set up the sofa for you to sleep on you sort of got, goofy, I guess." She blushed a little which I could not read, so I waited. She continued "you said you wanted to dance with me and talk and get to know me, but I could tell a lot of it was the alcohol."

         "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..." I said but she interrupted.

         "No. Don't be. You were real sweet you know? I get to see the real side of people a lot what with all the alcohol and me getting naked in front of them. They lose a lot of their inhibitions and such. Well, usually all there inhibitions. You really get to know a person then. If they’re an asshole, well that’s when you find out. You weren't like that. I thought you were a complete gentleman. When I told you I was bushed, and wanted to go to bed you didn’t say anything. You just sort of sat there looking dejected. I went to bed and after a while I came out there and brought you into my bed” she said as she took her fingers and lightly traced a line around the edge of my bruised and stitched forehead. She wasn’t actually touching the bruise, just the part near it. It gave me goosebumps.

         “You know what happened next?” she asked. I hesitated. I could lie and tell her it was wonderful and I will never forget that night for as long as I live, or I could tell the truth. My grandfather always said ‘telling the truth is always harder because it is the right thing. Nothing easy is ever worth the doing because it will not last.’ Grandpa was kind of a jerk, but in this case he was right.

         “No, I don’t remember a thing after you came and got me” I swallowed hard as I said it and imagined that I had just pissed in her purse.

         “ I reckon you wouldn’t...” She put a touch of mischievous seduction on the tail of that and finished: “well, first off we both got naked and curled up together in the bed. We kissed and fooled around a little. Then you told me this was only your second time with a woman and you passed out.”

         It took a while for that to sink in. How could I be so lucky and yet have it stop right there? I guess that would be pushing my luck. Gillian just grinned and got out of bed. She looked me in the eye as she grabbed a pair of panties and slid into them. Sick as I felt I knew I had to get it together. Somehow we were still flirting. After all the stupid things I did and said, she was still interested in me. This did not fall into the normal mating ritual description and yet there I was on the verge of breaking into some genetically programmed dance.

         “You know what we all need? The only bona fide hangover cure I ever came across in my whole entire life...” she left me hanging while she put on a bra and snapped the button on her very tight jeans. “In-n-Out burger, large fry and a diet Coke.” She was absolutely beaming as she slipped into a Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt that must have belonged to a small child previously for it clung to her like crepe paper.

         I must have been feeling better for I immediately began to extrapolate the chemical and physical properties of the breakfast: caffeine in the cola would stimulate the system, the protein and starches in the meat and the potatoes would...It all spun away from me as she crawled across the bed and kissed me. When the world started moving again, she backed away and said; “Y’all ever noticed how they put in all those biblical references on the wrappers and stuff? I wish they wouldn’t do that but I still can’t turn down a double-double.”

         It didn’t matter to me for I was now a believer.  

This came in by e-mail:
By Dan Combs

        Morry Eale never knew his father. They shared a house and most of a life, but Morry never quite knew where good old Dad was coming from.
        As a boy, the younger Eale thought his father was a genius of sorts. The old man would sit at the dinner table - after the dishes from a perfectly adequate, middle-class supper had been cleared away - and
scrutinize papers from the family business. At that age, Morry didn’t
have a clue what those papers contained. Perhaps messages from the
companies his father supplied with paper clips. Maybe they were
designs for a new and improved method of holding important documents together, something that would catapult Eale Products into the same league as Intelligent Business Machines or even the mega-gigantic National Stapler. Morry would never know as his father seemed to have no interest in sharing this part of his life with his son. There must have been a reason. Morry concluded that it had something to do with industrial espionage: this information was in the “need to know” category, no one but those at the highest levels of the EP staff were privy to such sensitive topics. It was probably all in code anyway.
        When the Eale lad grew to the size of a teenage boy, he got the
impression that his father was an idiot. The old man rose at a
ridiculous hour of the morning to don a dark blue suit and matching
tie, with brilliantly polished black leather shoes that struck the
linoleum tile of the kitchen so loudly young Morry could barely sleep.
He kept dreaming of his father with a hunting rifle, shooting fish in
the backyard pond. He would often wake in a cold sweat and bolt
upright as his dad’s four door sedan pulled out of the driveway. “Who
cares about paper clips, anyway?” he would think to himself, secure in
the knowledge that he would never allow himself to become snared by
the stupid life his father chose to lead. Morry would play the
electric guitar and have girls swoon in his presence. That was a life
worth living.
        College days brought Morry to a point where he could almost see where his father got all his strange ideas about hard work, diligence, and sacrifice. As the younger Eale began to carve out a path toward his
own goal of working as a public defense lawyer, he became aware of a
time before both he and his dad were born. History had a lot to say
about a certain kind of ethics, a genuine way of behaving as if one’s
purpose in life was to follow those who had laid down the rules, as
closely as possible, so as not to upset the balance of things. There
also seemed to have been a school of thought based entirely on life as
experienced during some Great Conflict, a war or famine or some such
catastrophe, that left the populace fearful of stepping out of line.
Morry seemed more intent on avoiding the line altogether by wearing
his hair long and his trousers flared.
        Morry grew older still. He married and bore two daughters, both of them as lovely as their mother, one of Morry’s first clients. The
elder Eale held fast to his ideals, running the family business with a
firm hand. Until his heart muscles betrayed him and he had to step
aside. There was nobody in the family to take his place. Certainly
Earle didn’t want any part of Eale Products. Even though he had cut
his hair and put on a suit and tie, his world was based on helping
others, not amassing wealth. His father soon died. The company was
sold. And a legal representative came to present Morry with a box of
his father’s belongings. Specific things his dad left him in his last
will and testament.
        There hadn’t been any bedside chat as his father lay ill, no words of wisdom, no family secrets. Now all Morry had of this recent ancestor  were a few odds and ends: some photographs, a few paperweights, several plaques and framed awards for Salesman of the Year, Executive of the Decade, CEO of the Century. And a pair of black leather shoes. Morry removed them from the box, turning them this way and that, catching the light from an open window and watching its reflection  bounce around the room. He put them on. They fit perfectly.
        What was the old man thinking?

______________________________________________________________________ 


This came in by e-mail:

Higher Seas
By Royce A Ratterman


“Finally!” exclaimed Morry as he read the letter from the High Seas Fishing Company to his parents, “Due to your numerous summers as a youth volunteer with the Fish & Game department and . . . therefore, we have accepted your application for a summer internship aboard our prestigious sailing vessel, The Reluctant Mermaid, and hereby extend an invitation of employment to you, Mr. Eale. On behalf of . . .”

“That’s great news, son,” commented a proud father, looking up briefly from his newspaper.

“One step closer to becoming an oceanographer,” asserted his always supportive mother.

Morry’s father promptly added, “I told you wearin’ a suit and tie to an interview displays professionalism, son. If you look sharp, you feel sharp and if you feel sharp, son, you are sharp. As long as all your schoolin’ is in order, that is. And, if you don’t mind me sayin’, it probably didn’t hurt that your great-great-grandfather was a seafaring man.”

“I can’t believe it,” responded Morry, “An internship on a real high seas sailing vessel. Just like the old days. Wow!”

The Reluctant Mermaid’s construction celebrated in conceptualization the Herring Buss, the 15th to 19th century Dutch sea-going fishing vessels. However, this modern sailing ship excelled the former maritime craft in length and displacement tonnage - 26 meters and 115 tons, respectively. Decked out with all its sea-worthy trimmings, including long drift nets, the Mermaid’s upcoming summer voyages would never stand in want.

The weeks passed quickly. Morry studied everything he found at the local library on sailing vessels, fishing techniques and standard fish nomenclature. He visited local fisherman with his net full of questions about everything from fins to the cove’s mysterious tales and folklore. He desired to be as prepared as was humanly possible before actually experiencing what one never finds in books, school, or an instructor’s lectures - the reality of the daily job.

“Ahoy, matey!” greeted the captain. “Welcome aboard, mister Eale.”  The captain, Aaron Dale, had the reputation of the fictional Captain Ahab. His pursuit of the catch echoed the legendary character’s monomaniacal obsession with the elusive whale - Moby Dick. Often ignoring the voice of human reason, his voyages were not for the weak of spirit or the faint of heart.

Morry watched the wild grasses blow gently in the ocean breeze as the ship passed the lone island’s lighthouse. As he held fast to the ropes perched atop the foremast, he reflected upon the serenity and solemnity of a seafarer’s life. A lifetime adventure that can be as labor intensive as it can be lonesome.

An older-than-the-sun shipmate informed the young Eale that, “At night there ain’t nothin’ out here but God and the stars above and Davy Jones’s Locker below, with us smack dab in the middle.”

Feeling the solitude of the man’s words, Morry replied to the man who bore on his weathered face the scars of his trade and the sun’s wrinkling handiwork, “Yep, that’s a fact, sir. That’s a fact.” Though Morry was not exactly sure as to the man’s intended meaning, he felt a response was of necessity.

Returning home between voyages made Morry feel restless. There was something about the sea that grew on him like barnacles on a ship’s hull. He longed to get back out there on the rolling waves, catching fish, dragging nets with all his might, climbing to the top of the ship’s masts and handling the rigging - sails, cordage and spars.

For the seventh voyage that summer, Morry’s mother knitted him a scarf. It was a copy of one shown in an old daguerreotype portraiture of his great-great-grandfather taken in front of the historic ‘Rusty Sailor’ pub down by the docks, a long departed local watering hole for thirsty tempest-worn seafarers from the days of old.

"Me grandfather's great-uncle, a fine sailin' man he was, God rest his soul, was on board the Phantom Princess the night she went down," told the salty old shipmate to the young Morry as they untangled some of the ship's cordage, “Their ship, a fine sailin’ vessel she was, lad, musta been mistaken for a whale, as is the usual case in matters of the sea like this. The creature from the dark murky depths took the ship and all the crew, save two,” he paused shortly to pack his pipe with tobacco before continuing, “. . . me grandfather's great-uncle and a young cabin boy.”

Morry was not sure whether the ancient seaman wished to scare him with another tale from the unwritten pages of oceanic folklore, or was just making sea-worthy conversation.

The man continued, “When pieces of the ship, God rest her soul, washed ashore days later, they found giant suction marks on the planking the size of the captain’s dinner plate.”

The man lit his pipe before chilling the bones of the young Eale lad with more details than the wide-eyed youth desired to hear, “A Kraken it was, a Kraken for sure. I’d bet my left leg on it.”

Morry remembered reading about a twenty-seven foot long cephalopod's arm being found in a sperm whale during the eighteenth century, but this old salt’s tale from the ocean’s depths was much closer to home than the black and white pages written on the subject by Alfred Tennyson or the related facts penned in a Cryptozoologist’s Ph.D. dissertation.

“We’z be better gettin back to work, lad. So much for relaxin’. Ain’t much time for that kind a luxury out here. Looks like a storm brewin’ to the east,” said the old sailor, pointing to the lightning-laced darkness enveloping the distant horizon.

The storm’s costly right of passage fee that eve was but one solitary soul. Morry Eale now swims gracefully in the dark depths of Davy Jones’s realm. On many a stormy summer eve salty old sailors tell tales of hearing a faint whispering scream that rides upon the ocean’s coldest winds.