Cartoon Network to Reboot Johnny Bravo In 2017

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2016 by dakofman

Deadline has reported that Cartoon Network will move forward with a new version of their late 90s hit, Johnny Bravo.  The show is being retooled for modern audiences and will be released in 2017.

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Johnny Bravo debuted in 1997

We reached out to Christy Millhouse, president of Cartoon Network, for further details on the new show.

The show will be titled, Suzy and Johnny and is geared to be a more woman-friendly show. The Johnny Bravo character will be a sidekick to a young woman named Suzy. . Suzy who was a little girl in the original series will be the same age as Johnny in this series and the new main character. The show will explore the dangers of street harassment and the struggles that the modern woman faces today

The pilot episode will start with an apology to the audience from Van Partible, the original creator of Johnny Bravo. The rest of the episode will be Suzy explaining to Johnny why his approach to women is wrong.

During our online correspondence, Ms. Millhouse let us know what this new cartoon meant for the legacy of Cartoon Network.

“Johnny Bravo was a dark chapter in Cartoon Network’s history. We had this musclehead character harassing and sexually objectifying women for laughs. He was a symbol of the toxic masculinity that permeates our society,” stated Christy Millhouse. “He kissed a girl in one episode without her consent. We’re not proud of that. We influenced a generation of young men. We have Johnny Bravos out there now who think approaching women aggressively with bad pick up lines while flexing their muscles and dancing is okay. It is not. ”

As part of the modernization process, the old writing and animation teams will not be brought back for Suzy and Johnny. The new creative team is headlined by Andromeda Antony, a woman with a bachelor’s degree in woman’s studies, a master’s degree in gender studies, and a doctorate in woman’s gender studies.

We did not reach out to her for comment. She called us up. We still don’t know how she got our number.

“I’m loving this chance to change history. 2017 will have a new Johnny Bravo that woman will love. I can’t share all the details now but expect a softer more feminist Johnny. The muscles and ugly yellow hair fin are gone. And with that goes the chauvinistic humor too. The influence of the old show is felt to this day. Some man tried to holler at me as I biked to work. He said ‘how it’s cooking, good looking.’ He objectified me sexually and assumed that I cooked. I do not cook. I am a strong proud independent woman who orders take-out every night. No woman should feel as threatened as I did when that man said that me. Events like this occur because of shows like the old Johnny Bravo. ” said Ms. Antony.

With a new Johnny comes a new catchphrase. Fans of the show may remember Johnny Bravo would say “do the monkey with me”. His new catch phrase will be “fight the wage gap with me. ” We didn’t ask Ms. Anthony for any more details, but she let us know the new show has had its conflicts behind the scenes already.

“One of the women on the writing staff said she found the old show funny. She said it was humorous for a muscly guy to be a dumb wimp who was terrible with women. She said she found the pick-up lines to be witty. I told her none of that is ever funny. Johnny once got in a woman’s view, moved in close to her to sniff her and then said ‘You smell kind of pretty. Want to smell me?’ That is not funny. I had to fire her. She thought the misogynistic comments were funny because society pressured her to find that funny. The poor girl had no mind of her own.”

Suzy and Johnny is expected to be shown on Cartoon Network in fall of 2017.

To Snap Or Not To Snap?

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2016 by dakofman

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy are responsible for dark reboots we’ve been getting of classic characters. Nolan is a good director. Memento is still his best. The Dark Knight is a close second. I liked the trilogy. Batman Begins is a reintroduction to Batman and an establishing of the gritty realism that would permeate the rest of the trilogy. The Dark Knight is a legitimately good movie. Heath Ledger’s Joker deserved that Oscar. The Dark Knight Rises is a follow-up that Nolan’s heart was not into. The theme of rise is redundant and I could not get into the stakes of the film. It had a weird commentary on the 99 percent and Occupy Wallstreet movement. I felt that was out of place. His take on Batman toned down the supernatural more comic-booky elements and focused on the crime drama of Gotham. I appreciated Nolan’s vision but not every hero should be dark like this.

If only someone told Zack Snyder. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is an attempt to do for Superman what Nolan did for Batman. I don’t want to talk the movie. I saw it when it came out. The movie tries to portray what life would be like for Superman if he was real? What would it be like for him growing up? I think there could be a good story here, but Snyder’s take was not doing it for me. He was trying to tell too many stories at once. Alien Invasion. Superman’s Origins. The Legacy of Krypton. Should the government trust Superman? Pa Kent is crazy. Will Superman have to kill? It wasn’t hard to keep up with them. It was that none of them were executed well. The fights were cool the first time around, but I barely remember any of them.

The one scene I do remember is the climax.  Superman is put in a moral dilemma. General Zod won’t stop until he kills every person. So Superman snaps General Zod’s neck. He violates his moral code and takes a life to save a family. This scene encapsulates everything wrong with this movie.

It’s an attempt to bring Superman out of his black and white comic book morality and into world of grey. Snyder wants to ground Superman from being a symbol for truth, justice and the American way into a person like us with more power. We’d make the same choice that Superman does. We’d snap General Zod’s neck too.

It’s a depressing as hell scene. Superman is mentally bothered by his murder. He’s on the verge of the tears The family he saves is not grateful. I don’t think they’re seen again.

There is no triumph to this. And I think triumph is a part of Superman. People should be excited when they see him flying through the city. He’s an ideal to live up to. People may not be able to fly and be strong like Superman, but they should aspire to be moral like him. That’s what I always got from the Superman side of the character. He needs to triumph and the people in Metropolis should be there to celebrate his fights against evil.  The human side is that he’s a corny boy scout from Kansas. Humble and wants to help people. He takes a job as a journalist to keep up appearances, hit on Lois and keep his ear close to trouble.

I don’t hate the idea of Superman murdering Zod, but I hate it in an origin story. Superman needed to triumph in the first story.  This movie should have been about learning who Superman is. He needs to be established. Snyder jumped the gun. He wanted to have this Superman kill scene in this movie. Maybe in a Man of Steel 2 this scene would work. It’s too early for Superman to kill. In my opinion.

In this movie Pa Kent commits suicide in front of Clark. Metropolis and Smallville are decimated. Superman has to kill Zod to stop him. Give the character a bone. Let him have a moral victory to ride off into the sun on. I watch the ending of others superhero movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight and it feels like the heroes were super heroic.

The Avengers put aside their differences and save New York from an alien invasion. It felt like without the Avengers, the world would have ended.  Batman proves to the Joker that everyone is not like him and that he is alone. He does kill Harvey Dent but the appreciation for his sacrifice is there from Commissioner Gordon and his son.

Man of Steel‘s Superman never feels like a hero to me.

The Great Bunny Robbery 2: Bad to the Bun

Posted in Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by dakofman

Hoppy Easter!

The sequel to a story about friendship, bunnies and the nature of man.

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It is said by some that the preparations for a wedding ceremony were more enjoyable than the wedding itself. There at the wedding, everyone gathered to revel in the union of two souls. Timeless photos were taken of the couple and their families. Stories of the past were shared. And two parts became one. There was a delight to the wedding day but the true joy was in the little things that made up the big day. Some thought the satisfaction of creating the wedding invitation, making friends with other engaged couples and tasting potential wedding cakes was the most joy they could find in life.  Some people found so much joy in the preparations, they ended their marriages so they could go through it all over again.

Karyn thought those people had to be committed to the nearest mental clinic. The preparations were hard work. Time-consuming and stressful. Karyn was to marry Reese Tail.  The two were birds of a feather and completed one another. If they were birds, they would be Australian ostriches. Both tall with strong slender necks and quick on their feet. Reese would be a tick quicker than Karyn as he was a squirrely guy and Karyn’s ostrich would be weighed down by her many tattoos.

But to get back to Karyn the person, she was going to be at her happiest once she was married and off on her honeymoon. She and her fiance, Reese Tail were going to be speeding through the sky on a fighter jet hundreds of miles above the earth. The wait for this was killing her. Figuratively not literally.

However, the wedding preparations were literally killing her. To be exact, they had taken seven years off of her life. Most of the damage to her mortality came from the precious hours of sleep she lost. She stayed up late researching wedding locations.

The lack of sleep leaked into her job performance. Before she started planning her wedding, Karyn had been Chick Fil A’s employee of the month for three months straight. She was on her way to being promoted with a huge pay raise. Once Reese proposed, Karyn became a manager’s nightmare. She got customer orders wrong. She came in late and left early. She was caught falling asleep at the counter. She would become belligerent when customers prodded her awake. She had to be placed on probation after she attempted to drown a rude customer in the lemonade machine. Karyn did end up finding a cozy little place for the wedding; an outdoor park she and Reese had hiked through on an adventurous weekend.

Karyn tried to include Reese in the wedding planning whenever she could but his unique ideas were troublesome to implement. After seeing Jurassic Park for the thousandth time, Reese had pushed for a dinosaur-themed wedding. He wanted him and Karyn to walk down the aisle in animatronic velociraptor costumes while the Jurassic Park theme played. He was very anal about the accuracy of the costumes. He wanted feathers like how the real velociraptors had had them. He and Karyn were to enact a velociraptor mating cry shortly after being wed. Jeff Goldblum was Reese’s pick to marry them.  Karyn shot this idea down once she saw the cost of Reese’s feather raptor costumes. They and Jeff Goldblum could not fit within the strict budget they had.

The date for the wedding had been set for August 15th.  The same day that Esmeralda, the world’s renowned bunny whisperer would come back to America after a tour through South Africa. She was raising funds to prevent the extinction of the endangered Karoo rabbit. Esmeralda was known to bunny pet owners for her philanthropic efforts towards buns. She was believed to be the one person who understood the soul inside of every bunny, rabbit, and hare. She was one of the few people on the planet that Karyn would trust to watch her buns, Siesta and Tempter, for a week.

Siesta was an overweight grey and white Mini Lop. Karyn took her for walks to try and get Siesta’s weight down but the bun loved her treats. She had ears like Eeyore and shared some of his down mentality. Her name was given to her for the long naps she took at the bunny reservation before becoming Karyn’s pet.

Her other bunny was a black Netherland dwarf with a heart as black as his fur. He was trouble. Siesta was the good one. She ate her treats and listened to Karyn. Tempter had a bad attitude and was prone to creative escapes from his cage. Eight months ago, he had convinced Reese’s good friend to bunnap him and take him on an adventure. The incident sent Karyn into a coma. Before that, he had manipulated Reese’s mother to take him to Six Flags and ride rides that no bunny would be allowed to ride.

After the bun-napping, Karyn took no more chances with Tempter. She used her tax return money to have a state-of-the-art bun containment room installed in the basement of the Tail house. The entrance to the room was hidden behind an old bookcase. To enter the room, a key code had to be punched into a keypad on the bookcase.  After the key code was punched in, the shelf would move to reveal the entrance. Inside of Tempter’s containment room was a transparent plastic glass that separated visitors from Tempter. The arrangement was not cruel. This was not a punishment for the bunny, but a precaution for his own safety. Tempter had been all for it. Escaping his steel bunny cage had become too easy. He wanted a challenge. Karyn had a radio installed that played music from light FM radio stations, Tempter’s favorite. He was not left in the room to rot either. Karyn would take him out most day for walks with a bunny leash. If Tempter behaved, she let him roam around the house under close supervision. The only way to release Tempter from his cage was to punch in another keycode into a keypad on the glass. Karyn entrusted that code to Reese, his mother, his father, and her own family. On top of the entry security, there was a laser system in place to detect if Tempter had escaped from his cage. If he attempted to escape, the door and window would lock shut and a text message would be sent to Karyn. No bun got in or out without Karyn’s knowing.

With the date and location set, the next step in the wedding planning was finalizing the list of wedding invitees. Sadly not everyone could make the cut. Karyn tried to talk to Reese about making the list but he danced away when the subject was brought up.  He’d find something in the house to clean if Karyn approached him with a piece of paper in hand. He’d go to work early. On one occasion, he jumped out the nearest window and hurt his toe.

Today there was nowhere to hide for Reese. Karyn had locked all the windows in their home. She had cleaned everything that could be cleaned and some things that shouldn’t have been. Today Reese had off from work. His excuses had run out. As Reese ate a bowl of Captain Crunch, Karyn sat down in front of him with a pen and paper in hand

After some prodding and some poking, Reese gave her some names of close friends and family. Then some more names of classmates. More names after those. Even more names followed those. A flood of names came after those. He didn’t stop. The list of wedding guests went from one page of printer paper to half a notebook.

This would not do. Not every Tom, Becky, and Zac could be invited. The budget did not permit it. The list was chopped down to one page. One more person had to be cut to get within the budget. It was proving to be a heart-breaking experience for both of them.

“Bill is my best friend! He has to be there!” pleaded Reese.

“I thought Big Rob was your best friend.” said Karyn.

“He is too. They both are.”

“I love Bill too, babe. But if Bill’s coming, someone else can’t. Like maybe Algie.”

“But Algie’s hilarious.”

“When’s the last time you talked to him?”

“In second grade. But he was hilarious.”

“Reese, we have to pick one person.”

Reese skimmed his finger down the list of names. He stopped at someone he didn’t recognize

“Who is this Ted?”

“My uncle Ted. You met him.”

“The one in jail?”

“He’s out now.”

“Is he that one who punched a bunch of preschoolers?”

“That was self-defense.”

“They were preschoolers.”

“They surrounded him. Like what’s the guy going to do if they’re all up in his face? He got scared.”

“My little cousin Percy is going to the wedding. He better not like punch him in the face.”

“If she keeps her hands to herself, there won’t be trouble. Maybe she shouldn’t be invited if she can’t behave. ”

“Maybe Ted shouldn’t.”

“I kinda already like promised he could come.”

“Unpromise him.”

“Before we get into this, could you call my cell phone again?”

Karyn’s cell phone had been missing for three days. She had become prone to asking Reese to call it at random times. It had not been in her car or at her job or at her other place she might have left it.

Reese rang her cell. There was no sound of a the phone vibrating on a table . The pair of them strained their ears for the tunes of Karyn’s ringtone, the chorus from Shakira’s “She-Wolf”. They did not hear Shakira’s “Awoooo!” but they did hear the SWAT Team kicking in their front door.

“Go! Go! Go!” screamed the  team as they sped into the suburban home like it was a terrorist hide-out. They were in standard SWAT gear. All black and armed with big old guns. The five SWAT team members trampled their way into the kitchen and aimed their big old guns at the hearts of Reese and Karyn.

“Oh my god!” screamed Karyn.

“Hands up! Don’t move! Drop any weapons on the floor!” shouted the SWAT team leader.

“I don’t have any weapons! I’m unarmed!” stammered out Reese as he raised his arms.

“He’s unarmed! Get him!” directed the SWAT team leader. A SWAT member to his left fired a taser into Reese’s chest. A thousand volts of completely legal electricity shot through Reese’s thin frame. Reese flopped like a Magikarp using splash.

“Reese! No!”

“She’s unarmed too, sir! What should I do?” yelled the SWAT member!

“Give her a taste of justice, kid!”ordered the SWAT team leader. The SWAT member pointed the taser at Karyn. She clenched her eyes tight and braced herself.

“Enough. Cuff them.” said a voice from behind the SWAT Team. A man with dark red sunglasses in a grey suit as grey as his hair and beard took command. His voice as serene and calm. His grey hair and beard were premature. He had to be in his late thirties. He lit a cigarette and took in a long swig from it. He had been waiting for the moment for a long time.

“Yes, sir!” replied the SWAT team. All five SWAT team members hopped on top of him and slapped their own pair of hand cuffs on him. He was unarmed so therefore he was incredibly dangerous. Five hand cuffs were needed to keep  him under wraps. They ran up next to Karyn.

“She’s mine.” said the man in the grey suit. He finished his cigarette and took out a pair  of hand cuffs. He cuffed Karyn’s arms behind her back.

“I been waiting on this a long time, Karyn. Your type of scum is the worst. You’re under arrest for multiple charges of bun abuse and bun neglect. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have”

“Bun Abuse?! I would never ever abuse a bunny!”

“We received an anonymous tip that your Mini Lop, Siesta has been stolen.”

“Siesta’s asleep in her cage!”

“Oh is she? Go find the bunny, boys. She’ll be in the cage down the stairs in the basement to the left.”

The SWAT Team blasted down the door to the basement and marched down the staircase.

“Doors have knobs you know!” moaned Reese. He had recovered from his taste of federal justice.

Sounds of rumbling and smashing went on beneath them. Reese tried to slide out of the five hand cuffs. Karyn exercised her right to remain silent and blew the hair out of her eyes. The man in grey suit lit up another cigarette. The SWAT team emerged with a bunny cage in their grasp. She saw the cage was empty. Her heart sank.

“Get these bun abusers out of here. Process them.” said the man in the grey suit.

The SWAT Team grabbed the couple by their legs and dragged them out into their big old black SWAT van. They drove them to their big old federal agency headquarters. The couple was separated upon arrival. Reese was uncuffed and thrown into a spooky steel interrogation room to await his big spooky interrogation. He sat down in a cold uncomfortable steel chair. He shifted in it, but no matter how he moved his buttocks he remained uncomfortable.

The door creaked open. It was the man in the grey suit and dark red sunglasses. He plopped a folder full of papers down on the table and then placed down a black mug that had “Special Bunny Investigative Unit” written on the sides of it in Arial Font.

“How are you doing? Thirsty?”

“Where’s Karyn?”

“Friends of mine are having a nice chat with your girl friend. Don’t you worry about her. Chill out, pal. Got your favorite drink right here. Lukewarm chocolate milk.”

The man in the grey suit slid the mug over. He forced a friendly smile onto his face. It was incredibly painful for him as he hadn’t smiled in years. But he was a federal officer of the law. Dealing with pain came with the job.  Reese stared at the mug like it was filled with poison.

“It’s safe, Reese.”

“How do you know that I like lukewarm chocolate milk?”

“It’s my job to know. I know how you and Karyn met at that St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2010. I know what time you and Karyn go to sleep. I know how Karyn thinks that the Evil Dead remake wasn’t that bad. But it was. There is no Evil Dead without Bruce.  I know everything about you and her. When Tempter went missing and you put up those billboards in West Philadelphia where you were born and raised, the Special Bunny Investigative Unit took an interest in you two.  We installed recording equipment in your basement to monitor the situation. ”

“Uh-oh.”

“Uh-oh is right. You and Karyn are in big trouble. We’ve got enough evidence of bun neglect to throw the book at the two of you. You’re looking at ten to fifteen years behind bars as the co-conspirator. She’s looking at life. You’ll both get the brand too.  It does not have to go that way. If you cooperate with me, you’ll get a slap on the wrist.”

“Cooperate?”

“We want you to sign some papers and confess to being a bad bun parent. You’ll never be allowed to own a bunny again, but you won’t go to jail. And we’ll need you to testify against Karyn in the trial. ”

“Never.”

“This is your life, Mr. Tail. Don’t throw it away for her. There are other women out there. Who don’t share Karyn’s ailment of having giant ears.”

“I like her giant ears just fine. I’m not talking to you anymore. I want to speak to my lawyer.”

“I get it. You love her. Get her to confess to being a bad bun parent and she’ll go to jail for ten to fifteen years tops. Is that a more suitable proposal for you?”

“I want to speak to my lawyer.”

“Bill? He’s been called.

” I prefer my chocolate milk made by non-douchebags.”

Reese pushed the cup away.

“Reese, I am a federal agent of the law. You do not call me, a douchebag. Or there will be severe consequences. I may take my offer off the table. And then you’ll have to have your wedding through steel bars. You work with me and maybe we can arrange a shortened sentence for Karyn too. You mess with me and she goes away for the rest of her life.”

“Douche.”

“You little shi-”

Someone banged on the other side of interrogation door.

“I’ll be back. I’ll forget what you called me. And we’ll start over. Think about your future and your wife’s future too, Mr. Tail.”

The man in the grey suit shuffled out as he had shuffled in. Reese ran his hands through his hair.

Agent Aonuma, the top operative for the Special Bunny Unit, frowned at the man in the grey suit. Agent Aonuma looked exactly like a young Jackie Chan. That’s because he was actually a young Jackie Chan who had time traveled to the future to prevent a terrible atrocity. But that’s a story for another time.

“Waa-yah! Cut him loose. The charges will not stick.”

“Mr. Aonuma, we have the evidence to convict him and Karyn. We have hours of tapes of these two off of the wire we installed after the bun-napping by Kwame.”

“Oooh! Yah! I am familiar with the tapes. Hiiiiiii! They will hold up in court. Only against Karyn, the legal owner of the rabbits. We can keep her.”

“But they’re engaged! He’s as much as an owner, sir!”

“No. Ha-chah! After marriage, he shares the ownership. Not before the wedding and the signing of the marriage license! Hi-yah! He only her boy toy in the eye of the law!” Agent Aonuma karate chopped the air to prove how serious he was.

“Tck. Details.”

“The devil in the details. Yah! Yah! Hiyah! You should have moved after the wedding. Learn from your mistake. Yes! Haha! Ach-cha! Now cut him loose.”

The man in the grey suit gritted his teeth loudly.

“What’s the status on Karyn, sir?”

“I was speaking to her. Ooooh. She want her lawyer too.”

“Just like him. They’re smart kids.”

“We are smarter. Get them in room together. Listen to what they say. Ha-cha.”

Back in the room with Reese, he was eyeing the mug with the chocolate in it. His stomach growled. He hadn’t finished his bowl of Captain Crunch before being arrested. He missed out on the gum cutting goodness. Reese fought the temptation. He wouldn’t give the douche the pleasure. His stomach insisted. He grabbed the mug and chugged down the chocolate. It was ice cold. He felt the wind in the room change as the steel interrogation door opened.

“Reese!” shouted Karyn.

The couple was reunited. They hugged like an old married couple would. You know like when you’ve seen somebody every day and then it’s been a while since you saw them. That sort of like I miss you but like not too much cause I see you enough but I still like missed you hug.

“Like this is like so crazy.” said Karyn.

“The craziest.” replied Reese.

On the other side of the door, Agent Aonuma and the man in the grey suit listened in to their conversation. Rather Agent Aonuma pressed his ear to the crack in the wall and relayed the information to the man in the grey suit.

“What are they talking about now, sir?”

“Ahh. Ah-cha. How crazy this is. It’s like the craziest. Like they’ve never seen anything this crazy.  ”

“Now what?”

“Now they speak of their lawyer. Some friend with the name of Bill.”

“He’s on his way. ETA. Five minutes.”

“Now they talk about the time they went to Wawa and saw a guy who looked like Carrot Top before he started working out. Oooooh no. Oh no. Oh no. No. AH CHA! HI YAH! This is terrible. ”

“Hang in there sir.”

“Now they talking about Broad City and how funny it is. How it is the funniest new comedy television.”

“A few more minutes sir before the lawyer gets here, sir. You can last five more minutes. ”

“Now they’re arguing who’s better? Ay! Ay! Ay! Ha-cha! NSYNC or the Backstreet boys. Karyn says Backstreet. Reese agrees.”

“They know we’re listening. Just screwing with us. No one could think that the Backstreet Boys are better than NSYNC.”

Agent Aonuma removed his ear from the crack. He tried to wipe what he heard from his ear. He shook his head. What he heard had seriously disturbed him. He thought about letting the bomb in Times Square go off. Maybe the future didn’t deserve to be saved.

“How you listen to them for three months?”

“I thought about my wife and kids. I thought how this was the biggest case of my career. All the money I could set my family up with if we convicted that bunny abuser and her co-conspirator. That’s how I kept going.”

Agent Aonuma checked his phone.

“Their lawyer here.”

Reese had five best friends. Ten if you asked him so don’t ask him. Bill was the longest tenured best friend of twenty years. He was the one Reese took all his problems to. Bill was the Swiss army knife of people. Jack of all trades and master of none. He had some knowledge on every subject. He could do anything but no things well.

So he was Reese and Karyn’s go to guy for any legal trouble. He was not officially a lawyer. He started called himself one after watching three court case videos on Youtube and every season of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He had none of the smarts and know-how of a real lawyer. He did came with one huge plus; he was free.

He barged into the federal agency building, donning a white t-shirt with the word “Lawyer” on it. He had on these turd brown jeans that had looked so much better on the guy in the commercial than they did on Bill. He carried with him a briefcase full of old grade school assignments to appear more important to everyone.

Agent Aonuma and the man in the grey suit reluctantly led him to his clients. Bill made demands of them.

“I am gonna need time to build my case. Under NATO, I am allowed to use any federal interrogation room inNorth America as an office for a court proceeding. Don’t none of you listen in or I’ll enact the whistle blower act and go Snowden on this federal agency.”

“None of that made sense. Do you understand what you said?” questioned the man in the grey suit.

“I plead the fifth and twenty-first amendments! ”

“You can’t-”

“Sssh. Pleaded.”

“Wise guy. Ha-cha. Let Mr. Bill use room here for all he needs ” stated Agent Aonuma. Bill shook hands with both officers of the law. Into the interrogation room, he went. The man in the grey suit raised his eyebrow above his dark red sunglasses. Agent Aonuma patted him on the back.

“Let him do what he want. Hi-yah. This case is ours. Ha-cha. He know nothing of basic laws of man. He won’t get his head round the complicated laws of bunnies. Easy conviction. Do not forget my words of wisdom! Hiiiiii! Be detail-oriented!  Now if you will excuse me, I have bomb to defuse in Times Square. Ha-cha! Ay Ay Ay! Hiyah!” Agent Aonuma somersaulted and back flipped down the hallway while making karate noises.

In the interrogation room, the defense for Karyn was being built. Bill opened up his briefcase and laid out some papers that were irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

“First thing’s first. The good news. Reese, they got nothing on you. You’re free to go home.” Bill said as he rustled through his papers.

“And Karyn? ”

“Bad news. She’s charged with five counts; two counts of aggravated bun abuse and three counts of bun neglect. If convicted, she’ll like get uh 15 to 25 or like 30 years or like may be life with no chance of parole. And she’ll get the brand.”

“What’s that?”

“Karyn knows more than me.”

“Reese, bad bun parents are branded like cows. They burn the letters ‘BTTB’ into your skin with a branding iron. It stands for Bad To the Bun. They burn it in so everyone can see it and know you’re bad to buns. ” said Karyn.

Reese covered his mouth.

“That’s crazy.”

“They take crimes against buns very seriously, babe.” Karyn coughed. She was starting to look dreadful.

“Babe, are you okay?” asked Reese.

“I need my shot of bunsulin.”

Karyn had such an attachment to her bunnies that should anything bad happen to them, she would fall into a coma. Much like how a diabetic had their insulin, she had her bunsulin shots to take when her buns faced hard times. She had not brought it along when she was arrested.

“I got you, Karyn. Thought you may need this.”

Bill threw Karyn her shot of bunsulin. It resembled an epi-pen. Karyn shot herself up and was back to herself.

“Thanks, Bill. ”

“Billie boy,  what can we do to save Karyn?” Reese switched the conversation back on to Karyn’s safety.

Bill ruffled through his papers.

“Uh…nothing?”

“Be more posi, Bill.”

“This is the federal government. They don’t take cases on unless like they are sure they will win. You know they have a 99.7999999999% chance of conviction.”

“I’m more worried about Siesta than me. She’s been bunnapped.  I can’t deal. Twice now my buns have been taken. It’s like I’m the mom in Home Alone 2.” Karyn sighed and looked down at her left hand. She had a tattoo of her two buns on the back of it. Reese comforted her. As Karyn sank into depression, a light bulb lit in Bill’s head.

“We gotta find Siesta!” said Bill

“We should. She could be in trouble.” said Karyn.

“And their case against you falls apart if we find her!”

“Does it, Bill?” asked Reese.

He sought the truth from his long time friend. The bun showing up would not be enough to have Karyn’s case dismissed. It was likely she could still go to jail for life. Bill could have told that to Reese, but he knew Reese needed some posi in his life  So he did what good friends do. He lied.

“Yes. Karyn will 100 percent absolutely be free if we find Siesta.”

Karyn shot Bill a glance. Bill shrugged his shoulders. She decided to play a long too. She wanted Siesta found more than anything. If Reese was on the case, it would get done.

“Where do we get started with that?” asked Reese.

“Tempter. He would know, babe. Buns that live together have like this psychic connection Go home. Ask him. Don’t let him out of his cage. No matter what he says. Do not let him out.  We don’t want two missing buns. ”

“I’ll find Siesta and get you out of this mess before the trial starts, my salami, eggs, and babe-con. ”

“The trial starts in an hour, Reese.” said Karyn.

“What?! That’s crazy!”

“They take crimes against buns very seriously, babe.”

In an instant, Reese was gone and on a mission to find a stolen bunny.

“You shouldn’t lie to him like that, Bill.”

“He needed some posi.”

“So any ideas for how I get out of this?”

Bill gave her a sinister smile. Then he toned it down to a mischievous one. Then a light smile like the one you give when someone you don’t like says a joke that’s really funny. And toned that down to a neutral face. Then Bill broke down in tears.  Karyn started to look on the bright side of things.

“If we have the wedding in a prison, maybe we can afford to have Jeff Goldblum.”

A bus ride, taxi ride, and a light jog got Reese home in fifteen minutes. He had roughly thirty minutes to find out what happened to Siesta, rescue her, bring her to the court and watch the love of his life be locked away in prison despite his best efforts. Reese did not know that last part was going to happen. so he kept his chin up and called his mother.

Reese’s ma and pa were at the annual South Jersey Parent’s Fair for the week. It was a fair for parents by parents. There they could live every parent’s dream and get away from their children for an entire week. All of them put aside money from their checks and paid into a joint account for the parents of South Jersey. The money went into the Parent’s Fair. This year it was at a luxury resort hotel in Philadelphia.

Mama Tail did not pick up. Reese left her a long message. She would get back to him if she knew anything about the missing bun.She was one of his five best friends so she was obligated to.

He left out of his long message the damage the SWAT Team had done to the house.The Tail house hadn’t looked this beat-up and destroyed since the Flyers lost to the Devils in the playoffs back in 2000. Reese hoped he’d have time to call a carpenter before the South Jersey Parent’s Fair was over. He’d worry about that crap later. Siesta was on his mind.

He stepped over the smashed-in front door. Some critters from the woods had made the Tail house their new home. A family of frogs swam in the sink. A snake cornered a baby mouse into the bathroom. A few conservative deer were catching up on the 2016 election in the living room. Reese asked the deer if they had seen Siesta out there. None of them had. He left them to CNN’s 24/7 Donald Trump marathon.

The basement was the place to start to find out what happened to Siesta.  He flipped on the lights. The SWAT Team had taken evidence out of the basement. Siesta’s bunny cage was nowhere to be found. All his pictures of Jesus were gone. Some of his book cases were empty. They had taken his game consoles.

Reese heard some rustling behind the couch he and Karyn watched TV from.

“Who’s back there?!”

Some guy stood up. He was some normal guy with some normal jeans and a T-shirt.

“Sup.” said some guy.

“What are you doin’ in here?”

“Taking stuff.”

“Get out!”

Reese shooed him out of the house. Some guy was never seen again.

The SWAT Team had not touched the area near the entrance to Tempter’s containment room. It was strange. From what Reese could tell,  they had been everywhere else.  Reese repeated to himself what Karyn had told him. Under no circumstances was he to let Tempter out of his containment room.

Reese punched the numbers into the keypad carefully one by one. The digits were the coordinates for the exact spot where he and Karyn met. He was doing this for her. The system clicked and buzzed as the correct entry was accepted. The bookshelf slid up to reveal the containment room for the baddest bun in South Jersey. There was a short passageway to walk in before you got to Tempter. Karyn had gone all out once Mama Tail and Papa Tail gave her the go-ahead to get a new room installed. Reese hated the walk to the containment cage. It was so dreary down there. Totally not posi.

His soft steps echoed in the passageway of slab stone and steel. Reese could see the foundations of his home. The passageway smelled like an old person’s fart in a brand new car. Karyn had tried to make the environment as pleasant as possible for Tempter. Off in the distance, he heard a beat that had to be Drake’s “Hotline Bing”. It grew louder as he neared Tempter. Finally he reached the transparent plastic glass that separated Tempter from freedom. The lighting could have been better in the containment cage. Karyn had expressed concerns about the quality of the lighting in there. Tempter had assured her it was okay. He enjoyed the dark. Reese saw all of Tempter’s favorite bun toys. Karyn had approved Tempter having toys that could not be used to escape. Among them was a wooden ball for Tempter to chew on and a toy cell phone that lit up. The pictures of he, Karyn, and the Buns from last Easter were on the side of the containment cage. He saw all the food and water Karyn had left for Tempter last night before she went to sleep. She always made sure to change it every day.

But he saw no Tempter. He was missing.

Meanwhile the trial was underway and Karyn’s goose had 99.7999999999% chance of being cooked when it was over. She and Bill at the defendant’s table. The trial took place in a municipal right across the street from the federal agency. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit was so efficient and effective at charging and then convicting bun abusers, the government had a municipal building built across the street to further speed up their process. The average trial for a normal criminal could take months before all the evidence was gathered and the , but the entire process for bun abusers took two hours on average.

Karyn was nearing the start of her second hour. Bill was anti-help. He had a trial by a jury of her peers changed to a trial by federal judge because it was easier to convince 1 person than 12. He failed to notice the man in the grey suit, Karyn’s arresting officer, was also the prosecutor in this case. He also failed to notice the man in the grey suit slipping hundreds to the judge as the evidence was being brought out. Mostly because Bill was engrossed in his golden wheat bread from Subway.

Karyn knew if anyone was going to save her, it was going to have to be her. She had to convince the honorable Judge Lacey she was a kind and caring bun parent. Judge Lacey hadn’t let a defendant off since becoming a judge. She was one of those people who thought it was better 99 innocent people be convicted to stop one guilty person from walking free.

The man in the grey suit chatted her up as the proceedings got started.

“How are the kids, Lacey?”

“Great. Bobby and Remy are in college now.”

“Already? I remember throwing the ball around with those two. ”

“I know! Kids grow up so fast. How long is this trial going to take by the way? I have some clothes I left drying at the laundromat. Should I call my husband and have him pick them up? Or will this be over sooner than that?”

“No need Judge Lacey. I hope to break my record and have this bun abuser in bars for the rest of her life within the next thirty minutes. ”

“Perfect! ”

She slammed her gavel down and got things going.”

“This court is now in session! The United States of America vs. Karyn. Karyn is charged with two counts of aggravated bun abuse and three counts of bun neglect. She will be sent to jail for life without parole and be branded with the ‘BTTB’ brand when she is found guilty.”

“Don’t you mean if I’m found guilty?” interrupted Karyn.

“Oh yeah. If. I forgot that part. Prosecution, you are up first.”

“I object!”

Bill had finished his bread and was now mentally locked into the trial. He knew objecting could not hurt his case.

“To what?” asked Judge Lacey.

“Me and Karyn need to go first.” said Bill.

“No. You’re overruled.”

“I object to your overruling of my objection.”

“Can he do that?” Judge Lacey was a seasoned vet of the law system. Never before had her overruling to an objection been objected.

“No. He can’t, your honor.” replied the man in the grey suit.

“Overruled. Your move, prosecution.”

The man in the grey suit put away his dark red sunglasses. His eyes a bluish grey. He gained the poise of a pastor in a church on Easter Sunday. He was about to deliver his sermon.

“Your honor, today I will prove that Karyn is guilty of the crimes against her. She is a detestable reprehensible sadistic twisted sicko of a human being. Her heart is cold. She has no regard for bunnies, rabbits, or hares. The woman has no respect for herself. She has besmirched the skin that God has given her with the ink of the devil. She should have her bunnies stripped away from her so they can know what love is. She needs to be locked away for her crimes against the defenseless rabbits she has harmed. She needs to be branded so the world can know she is bad to the bun!  I will prove her guilt by using the mountain of evidence collected from her home, her social media accounts, and the recordings we’ve taken. ”

Karyn rolled her eyes. She’d been dealing with tattoo haters her entire life. Judge Lacey hanged on the man in the grey suit’s every word. He bowed and she clapped for him.

“That was beautiful.” Judge Lacey wiped a tear from her eye.  The man in the grey suit sat down in his seat. It is said by some people that the most enjoyable part of a bun abuser conviction wasn’t the conviction itself, but all the preparation and work that went into it. The man in grey suit was not one of those people. His bliss was ahead of him. He would be at his happiest when Judge Lacey banged that gavel down and sentenced Karyn to life without parole. The wait for it was killing him.

Bill cleared his throat and started his introduction.

“Karyn-”

“I’ve heard enough. We’re on to the presentation of evidence. Prosecution, you’re up. ” interrupted Judge Lacey. Karyn patted the crest-fallen Bill on the back. He was trying to help. There was no helping her. She knew she was innocent of the crimes. She had never neglected her buns. Tempter may have been locked away at night in his containment room , but she spent as much time with him as she did Siesta. The charges of bun abuse were fallicious, but in the court of bun law, you were guilty until proven innocent. She hoped the pain of the branding wouldn’t sting for too long.

Back at the house, Reese peered into the glass. If Tempter had escaped, the alarm system would have went off. Unless he had disabled the system, but how could the bunny have done it from inside his containment cage?  Reese knocked on the glass.

“Tempter!” said Reese sternly.

A shadow moved in the dark corners of the room. A fuzzball of black hopped into the light. Tempter’s ears pointed up like horns. He stared at Reese with his red eyes. He shook the dirt out from his fur. He wriggled his nose and moved his body. He seemed to speak to Reese.

“Hello, Clarice.”

“We been over this. It’s just Reese, man.”

“Sorry.”

“I know you don’t like me and I don’t like you, but Karyn’s in trouble!”

“Oh no. How terrible.” replied Tempter.

“She’s in real bad trouble, Tempter. She could go to jail for life.”

“We wouldn’t want that. She’s the best bun parent a bun could have.”

“Good. We’re on the same page. Siesta’s missing. If we find her, all the charges will be dropped.”

“Have you checked the bag of bun treats? She practically lived in there.”

“Stop with the jokes. This is your bun mother and your bun sister. They need your help.”

Tempter started to dig into the cement floor.

“Is that a yes you’ll stop with the jokes?” asked Reese of the bun.

Tempter hopped around, trying to dig and smooth out the cement. He then turned back to Reese and seemingly spoke to him again.

“Sorry. I just need to do that some times. Siesta could have…no…she wouldn’t have…could she?”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“What Tempter? Tell me. Tell me! I order you to tell me as your bun father!”

“Bun step-dad.”

“As your bun step-dad, I order you to tell me.”

“Siesta told me she had a dream where she was on the roof of the house. She loved that dream as much as she loved her treats. She told me if she could, she’d escape from her cage and go on the roof.”

” Then that’s where must be! Thanks Tempter!” Reese started to run. Tempter screamed an unsettling bunny scream.  Reese stopped in his tracks and returned to him.

“What Tempter?”

“I just remembered. She told me if she ever went on the roof, she would hide in a place only another bunny could find her so she wouldn’t get in trouble. It was a very specific dream”

“Only another bunny? Oh no.”

“Yes. Do you know another bunny who could help you look for her? ”

“I don’t have time to find another bunny.”

“Then I suppose you might have to let me help you.”

“Karyn said never to let you out.”

“Karyn lets me out. She watches me. I don’t cause trouble. I am worried about Siesta. I love her. Allow me to help you find her.”

“You love her? Like as a sister or like you know like me and Karyn?”

“Both. ”

Reese thought it over. Karyn did let Tempter out every day. If she could watch him closely, and nothing bad happened, why couldn’t he? He needed Tempter’s help. Siesta had to have escaped her cage. She had done it before. Maybe she somehow had gotten on to the roof. He had to check. Time was running out for Karyn. The trial could be ending any minute.

“Tempter. Give your word you won’t try to escape.”

“I want only to help Karyn and Siesta. You have my word.”

Reese ran to go get one of the bunny leashes Karyn used when taking the buns for walks.  He thought about what he was doing. What if Tempter escaped? What if Siesta wasn’t on the roof?  He shook the negative thoughts from his head. He had to stay positive. Siesta was going to be on top of the roof. He punched in the key code to open Tempter’s cage.The security system shut down. The glass door opened.

Tempter hopped out. He was free once again. Reese bent down to put the bunny leash on him. Tempter gazed down the passageway. He was faster than Reese. In a flash, he could have been gone. Reese slid Tempter into the bunny leash. The two of them became a Siesta finding team. They made their way to the roof of the house.

Elsewhere, the trial was nearing its end. The defense hadn’t been allowed a word. Conviction was inevitable. The man in the grey suit was on fire. Figuratively not literally.

“Your honor, Karyn is not only irresponsible she is emotionally abusive to her bunnies.”

“What?!” yelled Karyn.

“And she is overly aggressive.”

“I am not overly aggressive!” screamed Karyn.

“Mr. Bill. Keep your client quiet or I will have her held in contempt of this court!”

“Karyn, chill.” whispered Bill. Karyn chilled out begrudingly.

“Your honor, are you familiar with Instagram?”

” I have one. ”

“So you’re familiar with the fact that Instagram users uploaded pictures and can add comments to them?”

“Oh no.” whispered Karyn. She hid her face in her hands. It was over. Bill surfed through Karyn’s Instagram to try and keep up with the evidence. He was still trying.

“Yes very much. I always add comments.” said Judge Lacey.

“I have a few choice comments from Karyn’s Instagram that prove that Karyn is a habitual bun abuser. These comments were posted with pictures of her bunnies.  Ahem. ‘Haha my dum buns.’  ‘My buns so dum.’ ‘Dummy bunnies.’ ‘Bunny dummies.’ ‘Bun dum.’ ‘Silly buns’ ‘Funny bunnies’. ‘Dummy funnies’. ‘Scrummy funny dummy bunny.'”

“Your honor!  I object! My client has never said ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’! I’m looking at her Instagram right now!”piped in Bill.

Bill was useful for once. Judge Lacey was so taken aback at his apt lawyering that she forgot her preexisting bias.

“Can the prosecution present any evidence that the defendant in fact did write the comment ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’?”

The man in the grey suit shifted through his notes.

“I can’t, but I’m certain she did, your honor.”

“If you have no evidence to support your claim, then it shall be ignored. ‘Scrummy funny dummy bunny’ will be stricken from the record.”

“Good one Bill. “said Karyn.

“Your honor, while Karyn may not have said ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’, she has committed a heinous crime. She used her bunnies to dispose of trash.”

The man in the grey suit turned on a projector. A video of Tempter and Siesta adorably eating a book was played. The video made Bill hungry and brought a genuine smile to Judge Lacey’s face. The bunnies were having such fun, out and about in the home.

“Aw. That’s cute. ” said Judge Lacey. The man in the grey suit started to sweat. Mostly because the heat was turned on and he was in a suit. A little because Judge Lacey was giving Karyn and the defense a chance. He had not prepared his case for a fair trial.

“She’s using your bunnies as a trash compactor, your honor! That is not cute! That’s textbook bun abuse.”

“The bunnies look happy.”

“They were happy, your honor. They love chewing up paper.”said Karyn.

“What are their names, Karyn?”

“Tempter and Siesta.”

“Cute names too.”

“Oh thank you, your honor.”

“This does not look like bun abuse to me. ”

The man in the grey suit was losing Judge Lacey. The longer she sat in the chair, the more she became unbiased. He had come too far to only come this far. He had to end the trial before Judge Lacey saw the holes in his mountain of evidence. It was all circumstantial. The recordings from the wire inside the Tail home proved Karyn was a bun lover, not an abuser.

“Your honor, I am asking for your final judgement of the case now!”

“Oh. What about the rest of the evidence? All the hours of tapes from the wire in the home?”

“Forget that! Judgement now!”

“Well…I suppose looking at the evidence, there’s more against Karyn than-”

“Stop the trial! !” An old woman’s voice soared into the court room.

The doors of the court flew open. By god it was Mama Tail! With her, she had Siesta! Karyn started jumping for joy. Bill started hootering and hollering. The man in the grey suit sulked down in his seat. He had nearly had Karyn put away.

Siesta hopped into Karyn’s arms.. Bun and bun mom together again. Judge Lacey watched as Karyn doted on her bun. Karyn hugged the life out of Mama Tail.  Judge Lacey could see Karyn was not a bun abuser of any kind. But the evidence was what the evidence was. And it was damning. The man in the grey suit watched the dilemma play out in Judge Lacey’s eyes. When she frowned, he knew he had won.

Karyn started asking Mama Tail a thousand questions. Bill patted Siesta on the back of the head. Siesta made a bunny honking noise. She hadn’t had her third treat of the day yet.

Judge Lacey banged down her gavel.

“Order in the court! I am about to give my judgement.”

The room grew silent.  The brief glimmer of hope was to be snuffed out.

“Karyn, I see that in your heart lies a deep love and affection for bunnies. I wish I did not have to do this, but the evidence provided by the man in the grey suit says other wise. I am afraid I must sentence you to life in prison without parole and to be branded with the letters ‘BTTB’ I am sorry.”

She raised her gavel. Once it hit the table, the sentence would be carried out. Bill thought of a way to object, but he had nothing. Mama Tail too had nothing. The man in the grey suit braced himself for bliss. Siesta thought about what she would eat next. Karyn looked through the legal papers in front of her. Everything about the trial had been given to her and Bill when it started.

There she found salvation. She raised her hand!

“Your honor, I have one last thing to say before I go to jail to life.”

The gavel stopped in mid air. Judge Lacey was sympathetic. The man in the grey suit was not.

“Bang that gavel, Lacey!”

“Speak Karyn.”

“My name is spelled K-A-R-Y-N, not K-A-R-E-N! These papers have my name spelled wrong.”

She ran up to the judge with the legal papers and her driver’s license.  The person who had put together these papers had not been detail-oriented.

“She’s right. All charges dropped.” She banged her gavel down quickly. The man in the grey suit jumped over his table in a white rage.

“Your honor! She is guilty! You can’t do this! SHE IS A BUN ABUSER! SHE IS BAD TO THE BUN!”

‘That’s the American justice system. The devil is in the details”

“Your honor, this is my life’s work! I spent months listening to her and her stupid boyfriend argue! I missed my son’s tenth birthday. I did not attend my mother’s funeral! I HAVE SACRIFICED EVERYTHING FOR THIS!”

The judge shrugged her shoulders.

“Then you should have made sure her name was spelled right.”

Agent Aonuma jumped kicked into the courtroom

“Ha-cha! I told you to remember the details! ”

He jumped kicked back out of the courtroom.

The defense table shared a group hug. Karyn was a free woman, free to married and to love her buns.  There was one matter to take care of. The mystery of why Mama Tail had Siesta.

“Mama Tail, where did you find Siesta? How’d you know to be here?” asked Karyn.

“Reese left me with a long message and explained everything. Siesta was with me at the Parent’s fair. You told me to take her.”

“When? I don’t remember that.”

“You texted me yesterday.”

“I haven’t had my cell phone for three days.”

The roof of the Tail House wasn’t extraordinary in any way. It could be reached by heading up into their dusty old attic and then climbing a ladder from there. It was high up. From the outside of the home, you’d think you’d only break some bones if you jumped off of the top. It was only once a person got on top of the roof that they realized how long a fall it was. If a person was not careful, they would fall to their doom.

The Siesta Finding Dream Team was careful. Tempter led Reese all over the roof. Reese was tired. He could barely keep up with the spry legs of Tempter. He didn’t notice Tempter was leading him around in circles. His brain was too pooped out to think logically. Siesta could never have gotten on to the roof by herself. That big old bunny would never have made it past the first step. Maybe it was the shocks from the taser still affecting him. Maybe his mind was clouded by his worry for Karyn’s safety. Whatever it was, it kept him so occupied and out of it that he didn’t notice Tempter run through his legs and tie the bunny leash around his ankles. Reese’s legs buckled. His head hit the roof. He saw stars. Reese was out.

Then he stirred awake. His arms and legs were bound together by the leash. He had been pushed to the edge of the roof. Tempter had freed himself. Reese’s brain started working again. He had been had.

“I should have seen this one coming.” He struggled against the leash. Tempter had tied it tight. The bun hopped on Reese’s head and then hopped off.

Tempter wriggled his nose at Reese.

“Awake now?”

“Tempter, once I get out of here-

“You’re too nice a guy to be making threats, Reese. You’d never hurt anyone. ”

“Why are you doing this?”

Tempter hopped onto Reese again. He dragged Reese’s cell phone out of Reese’s pocket with his mouth.

“The trial is over by now. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit works fast. I’ll miss Karyn. She was nice. With her locked up, you’re my temporary bun owner until the government comes for me and Siesta. I’d rather that not happen.”

“You set all this up? Tempter, you’re a bad bun!”

“There are no bad buns. Only smart ones.”

“You are in such trouble. Like I am so telling Karyn. Like we’re taking away your light FM radio and like no yogurt treats for a week. ”

“Reese, you’re done telling me what to do. Now you will listen to me.”

Tempter used his cutesy bunny paws to unlock Reese’s cell phone and access the voice record app on it. If he wasn’t so evil, it would have been so adorable.

“You need to emancipate me. Denounce my status as a pet so I’ll be free to do whatever I please. I will send the recording to the federal government. As my temporary bun owner, you have that power. Then I will be free. If I ran away, they would hunt me down and place me in a bunny half house. I’d have to spend the rest of my life on the run. ”

Reese stuck his tongue out.

“I thought you might act this way. Your death would set me free too. I didn’t want to have to do this. Mama Tail is a good woman. She rode King Da Ka like a pro. ”

Reese was not worried. How could a little bunny push him off the edge of the roof? He was a grown man with a Master’s Degree. If only Reese knew the strength hidden in a bunny’s hind legs. Tempter was stronger than the average bun. He had prepared himself for this moment by hopping around in containment cage and doing squats. Tempter started to roll Reese closer to the edge with his hind legs. Reese started to realize this was no game.

“Tempter! Stop! No!” yelled Reese. He tried to roll back, but the bun was more than strong enough to push Reese over the edge. He had never skipped leg day. The bun was committed. Freedom was at hand. Reese had had his chance to live. Now it was time to break him and a few hearts. If Karyn hadn’t climbed onto the roof, Reese would have been Reese’s pieces.

“You dum bun!” said Karyn.

Tempter and his owner locked eyes. She wasn’t supposed to be here. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit had failed him. His plan for freedom was foiled. All his efforts had been for naught; stealing Karyn’s cell phone, texting Mama Tail to take Siesta, calling in an anonymous tip to the Special Bunny Investigative Unit. All for nothing. He stopped pushing Reese but kept his hind legs on him. Reese started to gnaw on the bunny leash.

“Karyn, stay back! Or August 15th will mean nothing!”

“Tempter, leave Reese out of this. I’m the one you’re angry at”

“He’s as much a part of this as you are!”

Next door at the Wilkerson’s, Mr. Wilkerson and his son were in an intense game of hackeysack. Mr. Wilkerson took pride in being the only parent who didn’t leave during Parent’s Week. He was a smug guy who looked for things to be smug about. Karyn’s shouting and Reese’s screams drew the father and son’s attention away from their game.

“Daddy, why that grown lady yelling at a bunny?” asked little Wilkerson.

“I don’t know son. I stopped trying to understand women when I met your mother.”

The scene at the roof was growing tense.

“Why Tempter? Like why? Cause of the bun containment room? This is not cool, Tempter! Not cool!”

“No. I loved the bun containment cage. It was cozy. ”

“Then why Tempter?”

“April 12th.”

The date didn’t ring a bell to Karyn.

“What’s April 12th?”

“April 12th. You took me and Siesta out to the park. You gave her 2 treats. I had two treats. Before I could eat my second one, she ate it. And you let it happen. I don’t want to live with an owner that would let that happen. I’d rather live free.”

“You were going to like have me thrown in jail for life and you were going to like kill Reese over one freaking bunny treat?! I can’t….oh my god Tempter! ”

“It was the principle of the matter. You should have stopped her. ”

“I can give you all the treats you want. Let’s go down to the basement.”

“Not uh! You’re going to punish me.”

“I promise not to, Tempter. I’m sorry I didn’t stop Siesta from eating your treat.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I am tots sorry.”

Tempter accepted Karyn’s apology for April 12th. He backed away from Reese who had freed himself from the bunny leash. He had chewed his way to freedom. Now all was good at the Tail house. Both buns were safe. No one was going to jail. A happy ending for all.

It would have been if Reese had been careful getting up. The leash was still around his ankles. He took a step and got tripped up for the second time. He tumbled over the edge of the roof. Tempter hopped after Reese in an attempt to save him. Karyn couldn’t do much at all but watch as the two fell to what should have been their certain doom.

What happened next I don’t really know. Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Maybe one day we’ll find out. Maybe not. Maybe Reese was okay and they got married and were like happy. Maybe he was not okay and like died and Karyn was sad. Or maybe he fell on like a trampoline and bounced back up all cool like. Maybe nothing happened next cause the world blew up. Or everything happened next like everything that could happen ever at one time in one place. You know. Like maybe that happened.

I guess this is like to be continued. Maybe.

 

Movement in “Ghostbusters”

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2016 by dakofman

My copy of Robert Towne’s screenplay of Chinatown has a foreword from the man himself; An essay on the role of the screenplay in the film-making process and the importance of movement by actors. Here are a few noteworthy excerpts from that foreword.

“But it has always struck me that in movies, far more than in any other dramatic medium movement, not simply action, is the most defining of character.”

“Consider Fonda in Clementine again. His way of moving embodied paradox: at once awkward and graceful, diffident yet full of purpose, his ambling walk would shift effortlessly – like a powerful thoroughbred changing gaits to a long stride straight and relentless as a plumbine.”

“No one, I think, can really say what makes an effective screenplay because no one really knows what makes a screenplay effective. Certainly part of the problem stems from the fact that screenplays can’t be judged by reading them. They may read well or badly but that often says more about the reader than the screenplay.

The only way a screenplay can be evaluated, almost by definition is not on the page, but by viewing the movie it caused to be made. It certainly can be read and even enjoyed, but you’re stuck with the inescapable fact that it was written to be seen.”

The first quote is the one that stuck with me. Movement is the most important character aspect on the screen. It is fitting. Movies are moving pictures after all. The words on the page help the actor internalize the character and bring them to life.

1984’s Ghostbusters relies on the gifts of its talented acting staff, in particular Bill Murray. Murray is known for his one-liners and comedy. His movement is as essential as his voice to getting the audience behind Peter Venkman. gb1

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The “manic gleam” and “underlying instability” (this latter of the two would be considered cheating by an old writing professor of mine) are the information the page gives to the reader on the Peter Venkman character.

The scene flows well on the page, but is so much funnier on the screen.

I watched the scene with the sound off and watched all the little nuances he put into his performance. The little smiles he gives to the blonde Co-Ed. His eyes go wide when he’s talking to her. He’s encouraging her as he talks. He feigns amazement at her answers. Contrast that to how quickly he turns the cards around for the guy. He relishes in the electroshocks he gives the guy. He moves his hand over slowly and pretends like he’s not going to shock him. He moves his eyebrows to get the co-ed’s attention. Winks at her and Then he shock the kid. With no sound, it’s apparent that he wants the guy to go and for the co-ed to spend some time with him.

This is a just a damn good introductory scene because we’re given information about the supernatural and introduced to a character in a unique humorous way. By the end of the scene, we know Venkman. We can’t wait to see this guy bust some ghosts

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Trumped.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on February 24, 2016 by dakofman

How has Donald Trump done it? How has he cemented his place as the front runner of the Republican Party? He was dismissed as a joke. The rhetoric spewed for months was that he’s peaked and will taper off soon. As each month goes by, he gets closer to gathering the delegates he needs to be on the ballot.

News organization are going bonkers with their Trump hate in their opinions sections.

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He is endlessly parodied on television. He is mocked day in and day out. He is called a racist, a misogynist, and the next coming of Adolf Hitler. His support base is said to be made up on uneducated racists. Barack Obama has come out and chatised Trump. Yet he continues to win.

The media is fueling Trump’s campaign. Their coverage of his insults and outlandish comments are endearing him to the general public. Trump’s success is an example that no publicity is bad publicity.

The hate that is thrown on Trump reminds me of the hate Obama received during his 2008 election. Barack Obama was called a Muslim. People said he was popular not because of his policies but because of the color of his skin. He was said to be the Anti-Christ.

The key to Donald Trump’s campaign is frustration with the establishment. People are pissed off. Voting for Donald Trump is giving the political system the finger. It’s why he keeps winning and winning.

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Can Donald Trump win? Can he go all the way? Will he be our next president?

We will find out in November.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Silver Screen, Deadpool.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2016 by dakofman

20th Century Fox has done the unthinkable. They have opened Pandora’s Box and unleashed the Merc with A Mouth on the masses. Bad parents will  rue the day they let their children watch a masked psychopath cut off his own hand in the theater.

Fox’s Deadpool works. It will not win any Oscars. It was not made to. It was a gift to the fans of the character and an apology for a past wrong-doing.

In 2009, 20th Century Fox plopped a turd in the lap of every Deadpool fan with his portrayal in X-men Origins: Wolverine. A character known for his talking had his mouth sewn shut and turned into the unspeakable.

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The portrayal was universally panned. The movie was highly offensive to not only Deadpool fans but movie fans everywhere. The only enjoyable version of X-men Origins: Wolverine was the leaked workprint version. That may be the greatest comedy film ever created. Certainly in the same league as Some Like It Hot.

A Deadpool movie had been rumored for years after the butchering of the character. A script floated around online. I  got my hands on it while in college.  It was decent. This new movie has scenes from that script. I like this movie a lot more than that old script.

Deadpool is a relatively faithful adaptation of Joe Kelly’s run of Deadpool. Adaptations should focus on bringing the spirit of the story to another medium. Fans want a 1:1 reproduction of the source material and that is not feasible in most cases. What works in one medium does not necessarily work in another.

Deadpool has the spirit of the character down. Deadpool is a tortured psychopath masquerading his insecurities and fears with sardonic wit. The Deadpool character is known for his humor and breaking the fourth wall. It is forgotten by many  that he is a man who has cancer eating away at his insides everyday and he has killed many people. He is a mercenary, not a comedian.

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Joe Kelly’s run focused on Deadpool’s insecurities. Deadpool was not a hero. He’s your prototypical anti-hero on acid. He detested the word, “hero”. He once beat a woman to a bloody pulp for continuing to call him one.

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The humor in the comic book was strong. It was very much a part of the book and character’s success. Joe Kelly seamlessly added in references to television shows, celebrities, and more. Some of which have stood the test of time.

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Deadpool takes the best of Joe Kelly’s run.

All the elements of that Deadpool character are in this movie.His checkered past. His aversion to the word, “hero”. His mangled face. His fourth-wall breaking. His scumbag friend, Weasel. The gratuitous violence. The old blind woman that he keeps locked in his house for company.

Blind Al and Weasel made it to the movie screen. We have come a long way from 1978’s Superman.

Deadpool is at its best when the title character is running around in his red tights and mask. Ryan Reynolds is having a lot of fun with the role. He brings the insanity and tragedy of Deadpool. The way Deadpool fights and acts is straight out of one of his comic books. Reynolds’ timing is impeccable. He gets the character. I appreciate the love he’s shown Deadpool.

I have one gripe with Deadpool in this movie. He’s not ugly enough.

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He should have looked more like an eighties horror movie villain. Closer to Jason Voorhees than Ryan Reynolds with a bad rash. The audience should have had the same reaction as the characters when Deadpool removes his mask. His face should be stomach-churning. I also think we shouldn’t have seen his face until the final scene. It should have been a running joke that we see only the characters’ reaction to it. I know they had a lower budget for this film so I’ll let this slide.

The movie does struggle when Deadpool is not on the screen. The flashback scenes showing his romance with Vanessa were some of the weaker scenes of the movie. They are funny, but not gripping.  The movie starts us off with him in the suit. He’s gunning and slicing mooks. Every flashback scene pulled us away the present to deliver us the past.

The film should have started where the story started. Instead we get a little bit of present Deadpool and then some flashback. More Deadpool, more flashback. Once the flashbacks stopped and the movie could just go, it flowed. The movie had to do the origin story which hurt it. It tried to do A Day in the Life of Deadpool and Deadpool’s Origin all at same time. It should have tried to be one or the other.

If they went down that path,  it would have been thirty minutes without Deadpool in the suit. The audience might have grown restless. So maybe in medias res is the better way to start.

The movie throws a busload of jokes at you. Most of them work. The ones that don’t, you forget about quickly. Every audience will react to this movie differently. The jokes about Blade 2, Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine went over the heads of my audience. Everyone will find something funny. I could see people disliking all the dick jokes and over-the-top swearing. It is very sophomoric but the tone fits Deadpool.

The film was more sexually-charged than I was expecting for a comic book film. There were jokes about masturbation and pegging. They were funny, but I hope they don’t turn some people off to the movie.

The film is a fun time in the theater. If you’re looking for  sweet film with decent action, questionable acts around stuffed animals, and a ton of humor, you should check out Deadpool.

I do have one thing about the ending though.  Spoiler Alert.

 

Deadpool gets the girl. He’s a character who’s not supposed to get the Hollywood Ending. The scene prior to it was an attempt to define Deadpool as not a hero. Colossus, an X-man, tells Deadpool to not shoot the main villain in the head. Deadpool can define himself as a hero by sparing a life. Deadpool does not hesitate and blasts him in the head in the middle of Colossus’s speech. This is telling us Deadpool is no hero. However he is given the hero’s ending by having Vanessa accept him despite his ugly looks.

For a movie that prided itself on deviating from the traditional path, it had a traditional ending. To be Deadpool is to suffer. He can’t get the girl. What will they do with her in the sequel? Kill her off? It seems like they have to. Will Deadpool get married?

I have high expectations for the sequel.

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Pride Cometh.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2016 by dakofman

The Carolina Panthers lost Superbowl 50. I had favored them to win by twenty points. On paper, it looked like the great defense and anemic offense of the Denver Broncos would fall to Carolina’s good defense and dynamic offense. But the pressure got to Cam figuratively and literally.

The Panthers were the villains of this game going in. Everyone in The United States except for people in Massachusetts and North Carolina were rooting for the humble Peyton Manning to ride off into the sunset. All season long Cam Newton had danced and dabbed. His celebrations were called excessive and rubbed people the wrong way. He was said to be arrogant and self-absorbed.

I did not dislike Cam for his excessive dancing. I was in the camp that other teams should stop him so he has no reason to dance. The Broncos did in astounding fashion. They made the league MVP look like a frightened child playing football for the first time. I do find the backlash to Cam Newton’s dancing to be worthy of discussion.

There were people who believed it was that Cam Newton was being criticized because he was black. A proud black man celebrating and having fun was too much for some of the NFL’s fanbase.

When Richard Sherman had his rant about being the best corner in the game on live television two years ago, people went nuts. On twitter, he was insulted and called a thug by many people. He did not curse. He did not throw up any gang signs. He was caught up in the heat of the moment and spoke with passion. There was not a thing thuggish about his behavior that night. People characterized him as a thug because of the color of his skin.

Cam Newton is not the same as Sherman. There are those who do criticize him because he is black, but it’s mostly people seeing his confidence as arrogance. I’m a believer that a person can only be arrogant after they have failed. Confidence before the fact is okay with me. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you do it, that’s confidence. If you say you’re going to be the best at something and you fail, then you were arrogant.

If what you said matches up with what you’ve accomplished, then it can’t be arrogance. People want the humble person who thanks his mom and kisses babies, but not everyone has to be like that. The world would be boring if everyone was the same. Peyton isn’t right and Cam is wrong. If you want to shout to the world that you are awesome, that’s cool with me. So long as you aren’t swearing or trying to hurt someone, say you what want. If that’s what fires you up to succeed, then it shouldn’t be frowned upon. It’s just you will have to deal with the consequences of what you say if you don’t live up to it.

Here’s a video of Tom Brady and Plaxico Burress from before Super Bowl 42. 18-1.

In this interview, Plaxico Burress predicts that the Giants would win 23-17. Tom Brady  laughs at the absurdity of the 2007 Patriots only scoring 17 points. The Patriots scored only 14 points in Super Bowl 42. Tom Brady was arrogant.

When Lebron James joined the Miami Heat, he predicted they would win countless championships. He promised more than seven championships to the Miami Heat fans.

This was really arrogant in retrospect because they only won two.

Football being a team sport contributes to the hate on Newton. His dancing puts a lot of focus on him so to some people he comes off as caring more about himself and not the team. His play in the Super Bowl gave his haters more fire.

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Cam Newton debates diving for ball in Super Bowl

Being prideful is not a reason to be worthy of scorn or dislike. If you can back up what you say, you can talk and dance all you want. But if you can’t, then you have to eat crow. Cam is learning that lesson the hard way right now.

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