haiku for the day: thanksgiving turkey style

For a bit of time, I’ve wanted to use haiku for a story. Maybe call it a story ku. So, for this Thanksgiving, I’ve gone the extra mile and created an extra special haiku Alfred Hitchcock style. Hope you enjoy the story:

The Bird all dressed up
accompanying Miss Gravy
and Cranberry Sauce

return to the scene
of the crime when, on its first
anniversary,

with his knife and fork
repeat the dastardly deed
with a joyful glee.

The ultimate turn
around I dare not repeat
but let us just say

it wasn’t happy
last Thanksgiving when Turkey
made the feast his own.

Now the three, all stuffed
to the gills, retire for some
easy repartee.

Mount Nanowrimo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerI am standing here, looking down from the summit of Mount Nanowrimo. Of course, Nanowrimo is known to one and all as an abbreviation for the National Novel Writing Month.

It has been a long hard slog but I have made it. 50,505 words of crap tilted “Don in November”. It was my fifth climb and I have to say that this one was not fun. I would like to say that I began this on a dark and stormy night. But that would be stealing from Snoopy. I can’t do that to the beagle who brought down the Red Baron.

I had the stupid idea for a joke that I would write a novel about Don writing a novel in November. Like I say, it was a real stupid idea. As I’ve guessed all along, my life isn’t all that interesting. Now I have the words to prove it. I should have stuck with my original idea of writing a spy novel. That definitely would have been a lot more fun.

At the end of the first week, I was really tired of my life. Since I was doing prompts every morning before I dug into the novel, I decided to see where one of these prompts led. By following this exercise, I ended up with two stories.

The first was a Hilly and Jess story. Hilly was a country singer who was a one hit wonder. After ten years of plugging along playing cheap dives and bad bars, she was getting extremely tired of the road life. Even waitressing would have been better than the road. Just about the time she’s ready to quit, she meets Jess.

Once upon a time, Jess had gone off to Nashville to try his hand at songwriting. ‘Bout the time he started to get the hang of things and had a copy of songs recorded, he had to go back home to help his mother take care of the farm.

These two met. There’s thunder and lightning and the stars were aligned big time. It’s love at first sight. And the rest of the story took off.

The second story was about Hissy Fitt. Hissy Fitt was the daughter of the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”. Hissy Fitt was the one who put the bad in bad witch. She took after her mother, only more so.

Down the road, I’m thinking about rewriting the Hissy Fitt story and posting it here. Maybe some time next year.

So what did I learn. Prompts help to get me through during the bad times. Have a story to work on before starting to climb Nanowrimo. And best of all, I can write 500 words a day in my sleep. The month was productive after all.

Will I do this next year? Am I a wild and crazy guy? We’ll see.

Hamlet: Claudius and the Plan

“High and mighty,
You shall know I am set naked on your kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes, when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return.
Hamlet.”  Hamlet Act 4 Scene 7.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 4 Scene 7. Claudius and Laertes in a huddle. Claudius was always a very persuasive dude. He’d lie, he’d cheat and he’d steal to get his way. And he’d even walk all over a dead body. He convinced Laertes’ friends he had nothing to do with the death of Polonius.

“See I told you I was innocent,” Claudius said. “You do believe I am innocent and your friend?” Claudius had pleading in his voice. He may have been a villain but he wanted to be liked too. Don’t we all?

“Why did you not prosecute the crime?”

“It was Hamlet,” Claudius said. “It was Hamlet. How could I? It would have killed his mother. I gotta tell you. I love that woman. And she would never have forgiven me. Plus the dude is more popular than Julius Caesar. You saw the play. You know how hard it was for Cassius to talk even Brutus into taking out the man. Hamlet is like that. If I didn’t use my wits and come up with a better, sneakier way, I would be dead meat. You’ve seen how the Danes get when they are angry. It takes them a while to get angry, but once they do. Man.”

“I’ve lost my dad and my sister has lost her dad. And now you see that once beautiful human being, you see how she is. I want my revenge.”

“Oh, you shall get it. You shall get it.”

Now we get our Kramer. (Link to writing rules.) Entered a messenger.

“There are letters from Prince Hamlet. One for you and one for the queen.” The messenger retires.

Claudius read his letter to himself. “Oh, you have to hear this,” He reads the letter to Laertes. Then said, “He’s coming back to Elsinore and going to tell his story. And in the nude too. Can you believe the gall of that guy? In the nude. And he called me ‘High and Mighty’. Does he know that I am his Magnanimousness. The nerve of that boy.”

“Naked or not,” Laertes said, I will stare at him teeth to teeth. And get my revenge.”

“You sure you’re up to it? You wouldn’t chicken out, would you?”

“How dare you even think a thing. He killed my dad.”

“Then I have a plan.” Claudius always had a plan. Even when he didn’t have a plan, he had a plan. “I have heard that you are an excellent fencer. Even the French say so. Why I ran into this guy from Normandy. He could do nothing but brag about your fencing skill.”

“Was it Lamond?”

“Yes, it was Lamond.”

“I knew it. What a fine fellow he is.”

“When Hamlet heard Lamond’s brag about your fencing skill, you can’t believe how angry he got. ‘I’m a prince. Why don’t people brag about my fencing skills?’ He was so jealous.”

“Jealous, eh?” Laertes said. I know. Laertes was not Canadian. But he could end his sentences with “eh” if he wanted to. “So, what’s your point?”

“You’re going to have a fencing match. And your sword will be untipped. Hamlet won’t notice. He’ll just be glad he’s back in the game and accepted at court and still has you for a friend.”

“I’ll friend that fiend. I’ll tip my sword with some very potent poison. A scratch will do the trick.”

As I said earlier, Claudius always have a backup. “Just in case your poison doesn’t work, or he doesn’t get scratched by your sword. I will give him a cup of wine with poison too. When he takes a break, he will drink it.”

Laertes agreed.

Claudius said, “Just remember that no one else is to know.

Laertes agreed some more.

Then Claudius said, “What’s that sound?”

“Sounds like wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Hamlet: Laertes Returns

His means of death, his obscure funeral—
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o’er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation—
Cry to be heard as ’twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call ’t in question.
Hamlet Act 4 Scene 5.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 4 Scene 5 (continued). Noise came from the courtyard.

“Alack,” Gertrude said. “What noise was that?”

“Alack?” Claudius asked. “Where did you learn to talk like that?”

“Doofus,” Gertrude gave him that look. You know the one. The one you’re wife gives you when you’ve done a faux pas. And, in case you don’t know what faux pas means, it means faux pas. So there. “I am in a play by Mr. Wonderful. You know, Shakespeare. It’s Elizabethan England and we’re in Denmark. I am supposed to say things like alack.”

The actress playing Gertrude can’t believe she’s in a play with this idiot. She’s supposed to kiss him every so often like they are in love. How did she get cast with this guy? Truman Capote was right when he said, “The better the actor the more stupid he is.” This guy must be really good. My God, she was in Shakespeare and she hated it. The cast was driving her nuts. How she longed to go back to soap operas. At least, she got to kiss men—and women—with good breath.

“Okay,” Mr. Doofus said. “Alack is good.” Then he said his line, “Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.” Now hold on. What is Claudius doing with Swiss Guards? He isn’t the pope. Oh, well. Just get on with it. Finish the play and accept that offer from Spielberg. He wants to put you in there with Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks. Can you imagine me with Tom Hanks?

As you can see, actors do act. They can be thinking of stuff a million miles away and we will never know it. It’s a way to pull up an emotion they can’t fake. Sometimes it’s a way to get through a project they really hate. Evidently our Gertrude and our Claudius here hated this production.

Into the room bursts Laertes. Polonius’s son. He left a boy and returned a man. He is like Robert Goulet walking out on stage in “Camelot” for the first time.Gertrude swoons from his handsomeness and faints.

All Claudius can say, “God, he glows in the dark. He must be running for something. Could it be? No, he doesn’t want to be king? Or does he?” That was a lot to say for a guy who was trembling in his booties.

Laertes had a name to live up to. Laertes was a Greek hero. He was one of those Argonaut guys who went off hunting for the Calydonian Boar. Also he was Odysseus’ dad. On that particular day, Laertes was giving the hero business his best shot.

“Oh, you vile king,” Laertes said.

Claudius was stunned. “Who? Me? What did I do?”

Gertrude unswooned and got off the floor.

“You made a bastard out of me and my mother a whore.”

Gertrude stepped in front of Claudius to protect him. Claudius pushed her aside.

“It’s okay. Nothing will happen to me. I am the king. God protects the king. Traitors can’t hurt him.” Had Claudius forgotten what happened to the last king? Had he forgotten what happened to Richard II and Richard III?

“Where’s my dad?” Laertes had fire in his voice. It seemed he already knew the situation. Had a ghost appeared before Laertes and requested revenge? If not, why not? Shakespeare had made up this rule that a ghost appeared before his son and asked for revenge. If it was good enough for Hamlet, why not for Laertes? Also it makes you wonder if Hamlet Senior’s ghost ran into Polonius’ ghost. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall in that conversation?

Hamlet Senior: “You’re going to hell.”

Polonius: “At least, I won’t have to put up with you.”

Anyway back to Elsinore. Now here’s where the conversation got really interesting.

Gertrude said, “But the king didn’t kill your dad.” Was Gertrude ready to give up her own son to save the king? Some mother, huh?

Laertes demands, “How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with. To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! I’ll be revenged.”

Pretty scary talk. Only Claudius wasn’t scared. Nothing scared Claudius. He’d killed a king to get where he was. He’d sent that king’s heir off to be murdered. He was feeling pretty cocky. “You want to hurt your dad’s friends as well as his enemies?”

“Only his enemies.”

“I was his friend. Your dad was my best friend. I would not be king if your dad had not stuck up for me when I most needed it. Why would I kill your father?”

Well, you can imagine the big huh that appeared on Laertes’ face.

“I am guiltless of your father’s death and I will prove it to you.”

Just as things are about to get settled, something dramatically interesting happened. Shakespeare pulled a Kramer out of the bag. What’s a Kramer? you ask. In Seinfeld, there was a moment in a scene when things were starting to lull. In walks Kramer to change the direction of the scene. That’s exactly what Shakespeare did. He pulled an Ophelia.

Ophelia entered the room. Again she sang her nonsense, taking Laertes’ breath away with grief. She then leaves.

“Do you see this, oh God?” Laertes cried out to heaven.

Claudius was moved by Ophelia and Laertes. Tears were in his eyes. He wiped away the tears, then got back to the business at hand. Saving his butt.

“Listen, Laertes. Gather your wisest friends and bring them to me. Let them listen to us both and decide who was the guilty party. If they judge me guilty, everything I have, including my life, will be yours. If they judge me innocent, then be patient. I will help you with your revenge. This I promise.”

All I have to say is, “Laertes, you’d better run for cover. The last two he made promises to, Hamlet Senior and Polonius, are now dead.”

Hamlet: My crown, my own ambition, and my queen

Why, let the stricken deer go weep,
The hart ungallèd play.
For some must watch while some must sleep.
So runs the world away.
Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 3 Scene 3. Two men. Mortal enemies. They have scouted each other out. They now know what each plans and plots. First Hamlet. He set a trap for the king. The king fell into it.

Then Claudius. A-prayin’. There Claudius is down on his knees. There Claudius is praying. But the Lord ain’t list’nin’ to no Claudius. No sirree, Jesus done turned His face away from Claudius. ‘Cause Claudius, he is a sinner. Yes sirree. He a sinning man. The $64,000 question is why does Claudius stop to pray. He ain’t a repentin’ man, that is for sure.

Claudius is not a religious man. Never has been.

Maybe Claudius just needs a folk to talk to. It’s like the serial killer. He calls up the cops and dares them to catch him. It’s that ego talking. He just wants somebody to know how smart he is. Maybe that’s Claudius. He just wants somebody to know. Since God already knows, why not have a heart-to-heart with Him.

No theologian this Claudius. He only sees prayer as having two benefits. Prayer’s there to forestall us from sinning and to pardon us once we have. Well, he has already committed the crime. And he’s not asking pardon. That would mean he has to turn himself in. He likes his job too well.

Hamlet stops. He sees Claudius praying. He draws his sword, a sword that is itching for revenge. It’s an eye for an eye kind of thing. In other words, you kill Daddy, I kill you. But there are rules to this sort of thing. I don’t kill you while you’re praying. That would get you off the hook and send you straight to heaven. Hamlet cannot have that. Hamlet cannot have that.

So it’s on to Mom’s.