“ReVUUUUUUuuuueeee . . .”
My landlord is selling my apartment out from under me without any forewarning. This is the second time this has happened to me in Nashville in the last two years. I have decided to move before the new owners maybe/maybe not throw my tail out on the street on New Years Day. Time to abandon ship, like the rat I am.
“ReVUUUUUUuuuueeee . . .”
In addition to boxes everywhere, packed with all the worldly possessions I finally just finished unpacking, I also have a herd of zombie seals in tutus swim-waddling through my living room.
What an odd lot. They may be tireless undead eating machines, but they also have a fanatical love of indie genre fiction. They understand how important readers’ reviews are to the professional lives of authors, so they want to do their part to support the culture they are passionate about.
I mean, it makes sense.
“The Accidental Dectectiiiiiiiive-grrrrrrgahBLLEEEGplk!”
“Oh, I see,” I say, “You found my copy of Nikki Nelson-Hicks’ supernatural sleuthing series, which takes place in jazz age New Orleans.”
“The hero is Jake Istenhegyi. Pronounced Vrrraeeeoiuuuasdfgghhrrrpurrbatthpptshm.”
“Huh,” I say. “So that’s how you say that.”
“MMmkh, rhymes with ‘edgy.’ JaaaaAAAAaaKe is a P.I. He gets his assignments from a ghost bear. In this outfit, the bear is the BrrrrrraaAAAAAAAAAinssssss.”
“Hmm,” I say, “I think Bear Gunn is the ghost of a human detective, not a real bear. After zombie chickens eat him, he comes back from the dead to help Jake with the private dick business.”
The zombie seal is bouncing a bloody human skull on his adorable whiskered nose and not paying the tiniest attention.
“Jake’s clients are byuuuuuUUUeatiful wooomans,” says another seal. “Smart and deadly as an orca. If you do not see her while eating rockfish, she will make you nomnomnomnom.”
“Not smart at all!” protests another. “One orca woman keeps a juicy fish man in the back seat of her land boat. But she loves him and does NOT EAT HIM, or even juggle him on her nose! StooooOOOOOOOOoographfak, Orca!”
“I don’t think she was really an orca,” I tell the seals. “Just a lady. What’s called a femme fatale. And maybe a witch.”
“ORCAAAAAAAaaaas. They make Jake immortal FOR ALL TIME, at least for now, by giving him the SEA SALT OF LIIIIIiiiiiiFFFFFee-ffffghrsplabmt.”
I recall how the alchemical breakthrough made by an Italian researcher from the Middle Ages has dramatically extended Jake’s expected lifespan—but the seals misremember the artifact’s name. They must have sea water on the brain.
I wag my finger. “No one is going to read your reviews if you make dumb jokes like that.”
The zombie seals in my living room are undeterred. And totally tutu-ed.
“Now lady orcas make Jake solve mysteries of evil heart-eating golems FOR ALL TIME. And also to do laundry.”
“I’m not sure anybody does the laundry,” I say. “Although I do feel like there are lots of dirty sheets in these stories.”
The zombie seals start barking with hilarity.
“Dirty with blood,” I say, “not with . . . God, I’m making it worse.”
“Hanky-panky with the orCAAaas! RvRRRbvmaaaAAArrrraghktp!”
Suddenly the seals all stand up and clap their fins together. The sound is deafening. The tutus waggle back and forth like the hips of hula dancers.
“Hanky-SPANKY! The orcas give Jake a sound spanking! Right on his round little tuchus!”
“They spank and spank until the pinchy little bottom is PASTE. But the SALT OF SEA LIFE heals the Jake flesh. Now the orcas can administer ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SPANKINGS!”
I’m a little confused where this is coming from. But not confused enough. The femme fatales in this series . . . Well, they like to be in control. Especially where Jake is concerned.
“Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Spanking!”
“How do spankings keep happening? I do not know!” The seal falls over and rolls on the ground, crinkling its tutu.
“Must be accidents!”
“Arf arf arf! Help me, Jake. I am a tall blond orca in stilettos. I am rich and beautiful and in very much danger, but I can only pay in spankings.”
“Arf, arf, arf! Hi. I, Jake, take the jobs. I take all jobs! Not enough work for my dimpled cheeks in old-timey New Orleans!”
The zombie seals are now spanking each other and pretending to fall over. Rotten flesh splatters everywhere. It’s so cute!
“When case is solved, I wave a rolled up newspaper for Ghost Bear to come here. Twenty five percent take, for the bear!”
A smaller seal at the edge of the group flops around with excitement. “His take is spankings!” it barks.
Another seal bites that one’s ear off.
(Do seals even have ears? No, right?)
“Are mindless flesh eaters, us, but not stupid. Got joke already.”
Someone hits that seal in the face with a big colorful ball, and it is ON.
I’m not going to describe the unholy—but somehow adorable—orgy of horror and whiskers that breaks out next, but suffice it to say, the “review” has concluded.
Hey, for zombies, I think they did pretty good! Herring brains for everyone!
(I bet you can do better. Start here.)
When it is all over, I am left with a sense of gratitude. Nearly all of my stuff is now destroyed, so I can just throw it out instead of hiring a truck to move it.
More than that, I’ve been reminded of the supernatural sleuthing adventures I’ve shared with Jake Istenhegyi—all the voodoo queens, the fedora-ed G men, the boo daddies and boo diddies, the six hundred year old Milanese countesses with hearts of gold (or stone).
But the seals have got me thinking: what if Jake Istenhegyi is secretly about a sexy little Hungarian boytoy getting repeatedly spanked by even sexier older women, who may or may not be embodiments of wise ancient orca spirits?
If that’s not fun, I don’t want to know what is.