A new blog series, from the Abby Normal mind of Stan Lerner!
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 1
It was a bright, sunny morning in the suburbs of Los Angeles. And from the Skinner home, a single story ranch-style, emanated rays of happiness, perhaps even more illuminating than those from the big happy face in the sky.
Eight-year-old Joshua ran down the hallway of his family’s modest two-bedroom home. “C’mon Dad were going to be late! Hurry up,” he shouted as he rounded the corner to the living room just before his foot landed on the misplaced Tonka toy.
A skid forward into a tacky twenty-dollar Torchiere lamp, Torchiere lamp tipping over into a 1970’s shag carpet cat tree, filled with a variety of cats, cat tree tipping over sending cats flying, cats attached to living room drapes like magnets to a fridge, one cat landing in fish tank.
The cat known as Pester, a feline with above average human intelligence, looked up from his unexpected good fortune to see that the curtain and its cache of cats were falling down upon him.
“Meow!” said Pester, but in human he was really saying, “Oh F**k!”
While this early morning commotion, was well into motion, Joshua’s dad Richard, a clean-cut, Wonder Bread type of man, in his early thirties, was showering in a bathroom that was quite literally a converted closet. Thinking that something may be amiss, he turned his head to the partly opened door and listened to what sounded like loud crashes and cat cries from the living room.
“Josh what’s going on out there?” yelled Richard, in the most loving and fatherly tone.
“Nothing Dad!” rang back Joshua’s voice, the voice of a precocious youth, not so cleverly disguised as an innocent angel.
In the not yet updated kitchen worked Mona, the beautiful, almost Victoria Secret model, wife and mother. Breakfast was always a challenge, so it was not so unusual that fire had erupted from all four slots of the toaster, in fact Mona hadn’t even noticed due to her several unsuccessful attempts to flip the eggs in the black greasy frying pan. Finally, she did get enough height with her egg toss, but was distracted by the toaster flames, which caused her to miss the catch.
“Oh no toaster fire!” uttered the brunette beauty, as she moved swiftly toward the pantry cupboard, desperately emptying all of its contents onto the floor. “Damn, damn, damn.”
Finally, Mona laid grasp to a box of baking soda purchased in the Brady Bunch times four, super family size. With both arms she heaved its contents towards the toaster covering it completely and extinguishing the flames. The resulting baking soda, mushroom cloud plumed to envelope Mona and the rest of the kitchen. Undeterred, Mona strained to see the eggs through the white fog and then having located them she bent over, in a manner that would have warmed even a dead man’s loins, to scrape the eggs from the floor onto the otherwise empty breakfast plates.
Plates in hand, Mona emptied the charred contents of the toaster onto the eggs sprinkling a little baking soda on top of each for good measure. Cheerfully, she brought the plates to the breakfast room table and set them down atop the red and white-checkered tablecloth.
“C’mon Guys breakfast is ready!” she shouted as she walked out of the breakfast room into the living room where Josh was having a ferocious tug of war trying to free his gold fish from the mouth of Pester the cat. Both were putting up a good fight, stretching the fish like a rubber band to at least a foot in length. The other cats all rolled around hopelessly entangled in what used to be the drapes. The sight of all this caused Mona to pause, “Josh stop playing with Pester you’re going to be late,” she said putting her hand on her hip, which she was prone to do whenever she felt the need to communicate she had had enough.
With resolve Mona continued down the hallway to the bedroom where without announcing her presence in any kind of way she forcefully opened the door to the very, very small bathroom. Unfortunately, Richard was in the process of shaving with his new straight edge razor when the door hit him from behind causing the razor to lacerate his cheek from top to bottom.
“Ahhhhhhh!” screamed Richard, at a decibel not heard since a 1970’s Led Zeppelin concert.
“Oh pumpkin, I’m so sorry. I’m such a klutz. Here put your head over the sink. I’ll apply pressure,” said a profoundly remorseful Mona.
Heading his wife’s astute advice Richard dropped to his knees and put his head sideways over the sink so Mona could apply the pressure necessary to stem the flow of blood, which was spurting everywhere.
“Oh it really hurts,” moaned Richard.
“I know pumpkin, but you’ll be okay, just a little bit of the bone is showing,” assured Mona, being as cheerful as possible under the circumstance.
“The bone is showing?”
“Just a little. I saw much worse in nursing school. Close your eyes for a minute. It will slow the bleeding.”
Then, satisfied that Richard’s eyes were closed, Mona reached into the medicine cabinet with her free hand and grabbed a bottle of Stop Bleed.
“How is closing my eyes going to slow the bleeding?” asked Mona’s unsuspecting husband.
“Trust me Pumpkin, you’ll see,” said Mona as she poured the bottle of Stop Bleed onto Richard’s profusely bleeding cut.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 2
Subsequent to the early morning mishaps in the otherwise happy Skinner household the family sat, as it always did, for a hearty morning breakfast—kind of. Mona drank her coffee, in a caffeine-induced state of rapture while her husband Richard and son Josh tried to determine what was on their plates—as it resembled nothing close to being digestible. Richard, now fully dressed with gun and shoulder holster over his shirt, sported a large gauze badge across his cheek, as he poked his fork curiously into the hash before him.
Mona rested her coffee cup on the table and looked lovingly at her boys. “You look very handsome with that big bandage on your face.”
Josh’s face tightened into an expression of absurdity. “He does not, its dorky.”
Sadness fell on Richard, the sadness of having a disapproving child.
“Don’t listen to Josh honey. Its sexy, it makes you look dangerous,” said Mona raising her eyebrow just noticeably enough for Richard to understand that there might be some guilt sex coming his way.
Richard shrugged. “I’m the only one in this house that’s not dangerous.”
Mona smiled and said, “I think Josh inherited his accident proneness from me,” then took another sip of her coffee.
“Dad you’re off today. Don’t wear your gun to the movie, it scares people.”
“Son I’m a cop. Even on my day off I have to be prepared to stop crime.”
Josh turned to Mona with the pleading look of a desperate child. “Mom, tell him not to take his gun.”
“Honey just this once. Josh needs to feel like a regular kid. Besides what can happen at a Sunday matinee?”
“Are you two happy now?” Grumbled Richard as he removed his gun from its holster and laid it down on the table like a poker chip.
“Honey buns you’re the best!” said Mona tossing her napkin over the gun and throwing her arms around Richard with a bear hug like grip.
“Thanks Dad,” added a truly appreciative Josh.
So caught up in the moment was Mona, that she came to totally disregard the bandage on Richard’s cheek, seeing it more as a landing pad for a big affectionate kiss, rather than the only protection for a cut that went clean to the bone.
Richard’s eyes went wide with pain as he leapt to his feet not realizing that he had accidentally tucked the red and white-checked tablecloth into his pants. For a moment they all stared at the contents of the table, which had just crashed together in a familiar cacophony, which had signaled the end of several meals at the Skinner table.
Mona considered the good fortune of her coffee mug still being in her hand and perked right up. “Don’t worry I’ll clean up. You and Josh can go off to the movie.”
On the driveway of the Skinner household Mona clutched Josh as if he was going away for a week.
“I’m going to miss you so much,” said Mona, pursing her lips in an attempt to hold back her emotions
“It’s okay mom, I’ll be back in a couple of hours,” sighed Josh, lovingly tolerant of his mother’s sometimes excessive sentimentality.
A loud thud against the driveway gate interrupted the emotional goodbye and caused all three Skinners to look apprehensively at the gate, which Pester the cat remained calmly seated on top of. Then came an even more powerful thud, which caused the wood to buckle, just shy of the breaking point.
“Spike must want to go for a walk,” uttered Richard in a cool tone, noticeable laced with concern.
“Dad will Spike ever be able to bark?” asked Josh, in the extemporaneous fashion of an inquisitive eight-year-old.
Richard nodded in the negative and proceeded to reach into the back seat of the car as he continued, “No son, Spike, well, he’s smart, but he’s dumb.” Richard reemerged from the car with an incredibly thick chain, which he handed to Mona. “I hate to make you walk Spike sweetheart.”
“Don’t worry about it pussycat. I’ll slip a sedative into his breakfast.”
A few minutes later Mona stood on the driveway and waved goodbye to her boys—as Spike continued his effort to pound the gate into splinters.
Richard looked at his lovely wife as he backed out of his driveway thinking that the day was back on track, not noticing the car that had just parked across the street.
Mona waved frantically in an attempt to warn of the impending collision, but Richard only took this as a further gesture of her complete love and devotion. He did wonder why her smile turned to a wince, but that was soon resolved in his mind with a glance into his rearview mirror, which revealed that the recently attached trailer hitch, attached to the bumper of his car, had just crushed the side door of a parked vehicle.
“Idiot,” yelled the irate woman, who was easily recognizable as a member of the city counsel.
Calmly, as he had done so many times before, Richard rolled down his window and extended a business card. “Just call my insurance company they know me there.” Without so much as another word to the screaming woman he rolled the window back up and turned to Josh, “You see son, ten thousand dollars a year for insurance is worth a whole lotta of peace of mind.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 3
Richard Skinner’s partner, Larry Jacobs, an athletic black man in his late thirties, sat in, what could only be described as, a lavishly appointed kitchen surrounded by bills. One after the other he opened the horrible white envelope’s and shook his head in disgust.
“Damn that woman can spend money. Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Tiffany, Gucci, five hundred channels?” Larry was in the middle of saying out loud to himself, only to have his thought interrupted by the entrance of his wife, Chenoa, dressed head to toe in Gucci—revealing a body so hot that it made fire jealous!
“Ta Da! Do you like it?” asked Chenoa doing a spin. “It’s right off the runway in Paris.”
“Baby you look fine, but I think you look great in jeans and a T-shirt.”
“You want to put this body in jeans and a T-shirt?” asked Chenoa gesticulating with her hand along the length of her fine curves. “You know what baby? Maybe you just need it a little less so you appreciate it a little more.”
Larry felt his resolve melt like ice in a microwave. “Baby I appreciate it,” he pleaded pulling her to a seat on his lap. “It’s just these bills, I mean do we really need five hundred cable stations?”
“Would you rather have little Bryant home watching cable or out running the streets?” asked Chenoa with just the right mixture of sass and sex in her tone. “Besides, I’ll be able to help out soon.”
This news raised Larry’s brow. “Oh really now?”
“I will. I’m working on something.” Chenoa ran her finger down the side of her man’s face. It wasn’t so much different than the guitar she learned to play as a teenager—just pluck the right strings and it would play any tune she wanted.
“Honey, buying five hundred lottery tickets a week isn’t a plan,” quipped Larry, lowering his voice to the end of its baritone range.
“I’ve got something even better than that. I’m going into business with Mona, but I can’t say what. It’s a surprise and don’t you tell Richard.” She punctuated this warning with a sharp jab to his chest, and then quickly closed in with a deep open mouth kiss and some ear bighting for good measure.
Larry had completely forgotten about the family’s financial problems at this point and was in the process of one sweeping arm gesture needed to clear the table of its paper clutter when their eight-year-old son Bryant walked in dressed in head to toe Tommy Hilfeiger.
“Knock it off you guys, the stores open in twenty minutes.”
Chenoa jumped off of Larry’s lap and pulled him straight to his feet, still in an “almost had sex” daze. “All right baby, I got five new credit cards this week, let’s put them to work. Chenoa leaned closer and lowered her voice to a whisper. “Than we’ll come home and you can put me to work.”
Through the haze of his raging testosterone he was able to understand the important implications of his next words, which he needed to choose, oh so carefully.
“Let’s go,” he managed to say loudly and with considerable enthusiasm.
Thankfully, Josh had spotted a couple of prime parking spaces still vacant in the parking lot closest to the movie theater.
Richard checking to see that the coast was clear flipped an illegal u-turn, hardly noticing the truck he had just cut off as he pulled to the gate at precisely the wrong angle to easily pull the ticket. After three unsuccessful swipes at the allusive piece of paper the horn from the truck began to boom. Richard made three more frantic attempts in the most-strange synchronicity to six more blasts from the truck horn.
“C’mon Dad!” urged Josh, shrinking down into his seat.
With a heavy sigh, Richard capitulated and opened the car door to the now continuous noise of the truck horn. Unfortunately, his state of extreme agitation caused him to open the car door hard into the pole, which was placed next to the ticket contraption for no apparent reason at all. Finally, ticket in hand Richard waved the troublesome piece of paper in the air for the honking truck to see. But his moment of vainglory was interrupted expeditiously as his sleeve somehow got caught on the door causing the ticket to once again be departed from his grasp.
The truck driver, having lost all patience with respect to gaining entrance to the parking lot, allowed his foot to firmly rest on the truck’s acceleration pedal—thus ramming Richard’s car through the gate.
“Hey! Hey! That’s uncalled for!” yelled Richard out of the open driver’s side window.
“Arrest him Dad!” implored Josh, wanting to see his pops swing into action.
“I think I will,” said Richard, as he stumbled out of the car and pulled his badge out of his pocket—holding it up prominently. “All right get out of the truck!”
The truck door opened slowly and with each inch an ominous foreboding seemed to fill the air. After what seemed like several minutes, emerged a four hundred pound Samoan, NFL nose tackle of a man.
“Kick his butt Dad!” whooped the man’s equally oversized young son.
The Samoan beast began a very deliberate, harm intended, walk toward Richard who without breaking eye contact reached for his gun—that was of course still buried under a heap of dishes on the kitchen table.
“I’ll need to see your license,” said Richard, already contemplating just how bad a beating he was going to get.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 4
The giant Samoan’s fist landed on Richard’s nose like a sledgehammer. FADE TO BLACK Flat on his back Richard stared up at the peaceful blue sky listening to what he thought might be birds chirping. The moment was rudely interrupted by the Samoan beast, who had decided to punctuate Richard’s butt kicking by hoisting him into the air WWF style.
“You got him now Dad!” yelled Richard’s son Josh, just before the Samoan launched Richard head first through the windshield of his car.
Satisfied that Richard had had enough, the Samoan walked past the front of Richard’s car and laughed at the sight of the lower half of Richard’s torso, which comically protruded from the windshield out over the hood.
“You kicked his butt! Good Dad,” chuckled the Samoan’s oversized son, as the Samoan wedged himself back into the cab of the truck.
“A cop without a gun, boy…” mumbled the Samoan, as they exchanged radical-surf signs.
Josh finally summoned the courage to move his hands from in front of his eyes and look at the carnage. “Are you okay, Dad?”
“I’m fine son, I don’t think he’ll be bothering us anymore. Listen, reach in the glove box and take out my cell phone.”
Josh complied with purpose. “Ok what now?”
“Just dial 911,” gasped Richard, the first wave of pain from his injuries washing over him.
Back at the Skinner home, Mona worked to clean up the kitchen, post worse than usual breakfast disaster. After putting the last of the unbroken dishes into the dishwasher she kicked the door upwards, not realizing that the tray, which held the dishes, hadn’t actually rolled all of the way back into position. The resulting crash pretty much assured that what was left of their wedding china was history—she pressed the on button anyway and walked in her usual cheerful manner to the mess of a breakfast room table. Thinking for a moment about sorting everything out, she decided against it, and just folded the sides of the red and white-checked tablecloth into one big bundle—forgetting completely about Richard’s gun still buried under the mess.
With a couple of good pushes Mona managed to shove the pile into the washing machine. For a moment she had the feeling that she was forgetting something, but before she could put her finger on it there was a massive slam against the kitchen door.
“Oops, I’m sorry Spike. I forgot all about you,” said Mona, working quickly to fill Spike’s giant bowl with a mixture of dry food and scraps. Then remembering that Spike was going to need a walk she began rifling through the cupboard, which was filled with over the counter elixirs, for every possible malady. Unfortunately, Spike’s door pounding was such a distraction that Mona, who intended to grab the bottle labeled “RELAXATIVE”, grabbed the bottle labeled “LAXATIVE” instead—then poured a generous portion into Spike’s chow.
Mona turned to Pester, who was now sitting on top of the fridge shaking his head. “This ought to make the big pooch easy to handle.” And with that she dropped the bowl out of the kitchen window causing the frantic pounding at the door to immediately stop only to be replaced by the even more disconcerting noise of Spike eating.
On Phone. (Horror Movie Style)
Mona picked up the phone hesitantly. “Hello.”
“Hi Mom it’s me,” said Josh, clearly excited about something.
“Oh sweetheart you missed me. You’re so cute, but I don’t want you to miss the movie,” said Mona, all warm and fuzzy.
“We’re not at the movie,” responded Josh, his voice conveying a mixture of annoyance and disappointment.
“Is Dad in the hospital again?” asked Mona, whose tone had taken on a sense of absurd understanding.
“What do you think?”
“I’ll be there in a few minutes. I’m just going to leash up Spike and take him with me.
“You’re bringing Spike to the hospital?” questioned Josh, with serious concern for the public’s safety.
“He needs to get out and he’ll be fine in the car.” Mona laughed, “It’s not like someone is going to steal him or anything…Okay pumpkin, I’m on the way.”
Hanging up the phone and grabbing Spike’s chain Mona headed for the door to the backyard. PAUSE: a forgetful look crossed her face. “The wash,” she said with a sense of relief as she pushed the button on the washer and continued for the door.
Mona sat in the front seat of the aging subcompact, she had been driving since high school, with Spike, a two hundred and fifty pound bull mastiff of a family pet, filling ninety percent of the backseat. It was as she put the car in reverse that the first of several gunshots rang out causing her and Spike to look at each other face to face.
“Might be time for a new washer, Spike,” said Mona, her mind at ease, that she had in fact been forgetting something.
Water poured from bullet holes in the Skinner’s washing machine—it was indeed time for a new appliance, for the third time in a year.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 5
GUCCI CLOTHING STORE
Larry followed his wife Chenoa and son Bryant into the very, upscale Gucci Store, already weighed down by several bags from at least five other Rodeo Drive clothing purveyors.
“Don’t you think we’ve bought enough for today?” he asked, thinking that his well conditioned arms might be cramping from the weight of the newly acquired luxury apparel items.
“Just one more outfit,” said Chenoa waving her right index finger in the air. “I’ve been waiting for this one to come in for months.”
Knowing that there was no turning back and that he would definitely be getting some loving later, Larry followed Chenoa and Bryant into the salon area and took a much needed seat—as it turned out next to Stanley O’Neal the former head of Merrill Lynch.
“Mrs. Jacobs, it’s so nice to see you it’s been days!” the snobby sales girl practically shouted, as she ran to the salon to greet the store’s best customer.
“Tell me about it. Time just flies. It feels so good to be back,” responded Chenoa, genuinely excited.
“You look fabulous,” chimed the sales girl, lowering her voice to sound as sincere as possible.
“I’ll look even better if you got my dress in.” Chenoa raised her right eyebrow to signal that she had room on her new card and a husband craving sex.
The sales girl almost jumped out of her pumps. “It’s here, it’s here!” And then for the first time she noticed Larry and Bryant sitting next to the disgraced Wall Street crook, whose money even she felt bad taking. “Can I help you two?”
Chenoa gestured elegantly toward her out of place immediate family. “Oh, I forgot this is my son Bryant and my husband Larry.
The sales girl came to life at hearing this. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Jacobs, I don’t know what you do, but you get my best husband in the world vote.” Her words became still more effusive. “The way you let Mrs. Jacobs shop, if you don’t mind me saying so is an inspiration. All those credit cards, I mean what a freakin turn on!”
Larry smiled uncomfortably. “I just became five times more of a turn on this week, didn’t I honey?”
“You two behave yourselves, while I try on my dress,” warned Chenoa, before leaning over and giving Larry a kiss on the lips. “I’ll take care of you in a little bit,” she whispered before once again straightening her posture.
Larry realizing that a little drool had escaped the corner of his mouth brushed his fingers across his lips then rubbed his hands together in anticipation.
“If this dress fits, Mom’s going to rock your world,” commented Bryant, who had been unusually quiet to this point.
“Don’t talk like that son…But if I were a betting man I wouldn’t put my money against it.” They did a fist bump and Larry was about to give his son the birds and the bees’ talk when Stanley O’Neale interjected himself into their wholesome family outing.
“Hi, I’m Stan, it’s nice to meet you,” he said extending his hand.
Larry left Stan’s hand extended and unshaken. “I know who you are.”
“You really know how to handle a woman,” said Stan trying to warm Larry up. “Are you in real estate, stocks, entertainment?”
“Are you asking if I have a scam going like the one you pulled off?” asked Larry.
Stan the Wall Street scumbag smiled. “Well I’m always looking for deals.”
“You made off with a couple hundred million dollars and you want more?”
“Hey brother, don’t let the Harvard annunciation fool you, I’m always looking to get over on The Man.”
Larry shook his head in disbelief. “The Man put you through school and made you the head of one of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street. The President’s black! The Man? You’re The Man, Stan. My partner, who I trust with my life, is white. Let me tell you if I ever decide to get over on The Man, it’s you I’m coming for—you give a bad name to brothers! Now get the F**k out of here before I give you the ass kicking you deserve.”
“But my girlfriend…”
Larry began to rise from his seat, but Stan was already headed for the door. “I’ll tell your girl you had to run,” Larry shouted after the Wall Street bamboozler.
Bryant looked at his father with a curious expression. “Did he really steal hundreds of millions of dollars, Dad? I mean that’s a lot of money…”
“Bryant, don’t you be getting any ideas now. But let me tell you something, if someone is going to rip someone off it should be that guy and his friends—they’re worse than any of the criminals I’ve put in jail.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 6
“Hey Suzie. Are the boys here?” asked Mona walking with a bounce in her step toward the hospital information desk.
“Mona! My God it’s been weeks,” responded the girl, seemingly too young and attractive to be a nurse.
“I know can you believe it?”
“The boys should be right out. Just one last MRI.”
“Any breaks?” Mona asked, with a slightly more serious tone.
“No, but he’s bruised from head to toe.”
Mona sighed. “My poor pumpkin. I’m going to go back and surprise him.”
Mona walked down the hall, as she had done so many times before, hitting the door open button to the emergency room, as casually as one might ring a doorbell. Of course, there was no way for her to have known that there was a gurney on the other side of that door, which was launched like a missile down the hallway to a door of a very different type—an elevator door, a strange place for a gurney displaying a sign that read EMERGENCY SURGERY.
Mona proceeded to open a series of curtains, bothering each and every near death patient, so as to inquire if they new the whereabouts of the MRI facility—each gave her a different floor, which she found nowhere near as puzzling as the gurney being slammed relentlessly by the elevator door in its own vain attempt at closure. At this, she could only shake her head, as she stared at the middle-aged-man strapped down trying to say something through a full oxygen mask.
“Oh you poor thing. They must not have realized they didn’t get you all the way in. Those orderlies.”
Mona pushed the gurney the rest of the way through the doors, while the patient tried to speak desperately through the mask, however his words, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die,” were muffled and barely audible.
Mona did her best to make sense of the sick man’s pleading. “What a coincidence. I’m going to the MRI too. But I’m not sure which one, don’t worry I’ll take you with me. Mona pressed the elevator buttons. “I’ll just try them all.” And for some reason, which she couldn’t understand the sick man began to contort desperately against his restraints—and then, he just passed out.
Mona gave him a gentle pat on the chest. “Poor thing. You must really be tired.”
Thankfully, after stopping on thirty floors, Mona found the MRI facility. “Hi guys,” she said, to Josh and the technicians as she walked in, gurney still in tow.
Josh ran into his mom’s open arms. “Mom, Mom!”
“Hi sweetie, have you and your dad been having a good time?”
“It was kind of cool, how he flew through the windshield.”
“Your dad what a clown!” Mona turned to the technicians. “Hey you guys. I brought you another patient. He’s a quiet one. Well he wasn’t in the beginning, but he has been the last few minutes.
The younger of the two technicians stood up from his chair and walked over to the gurney to take a closer look at their surprise patient. “Mona how long has this patient been sleeping?” he questioned gently.
“Well this last time for only about five minutes,” she answered, naively and clueless.
Without hesitation, the technician turned to the older, and much more experienced, radiologist. “Doctor we have a code blue.”
The doctor took a quick look at, the always innocent looking, Mona and realized she’d probably done it again. In one continuous motion he brought his hand down on the code blue button while rising to he feet to aid his x-ray tech that had already begun to administer CPR.
Mona scooped up Josh into her arms and sat down heavily on the control panel, not realizing that her rock-hard butt, had pushed a few buttons and moved some levers forward.
“Wow Josh, you get to watch a real code blue! It’s a lucky thing I brought him up here or he might have been a goner.”
In the MRI room Richard himself was strapped down, wondering why he had begun his decent into the x-ray tube without any warning.
“Hello! Hello! I told you guys I’m claustrophobic. Talk me through this would you. You are not afraid of small spaces, you are not afraid of small spaces,” he repeated to himself, with less and less effect.
Mona and Josh watched with excitement as the emergency team defibrillated the poor, middle-aged, emergency room patient that had been unknowingly hijacked by a well- meaning Mona. With every good jolt Mona and Josh let out a cheer—in hope of providing some added encouragement. What Mona didn’t realize, is that with every cheer, her butt continued to move the MRI power levers forward—to maximum, the level only used for checking the structural integrity of airplane parts. And at this level, an ominous green glow emanated from the room, through the viewing glass, that they all had their backs to, too busy to notice.
For the drive home, Mona thought it best to have Josh sit next to her in the front seat and let Richard relax in the back, which was not as spacious as she would have liked given that Spike, the two hundred and fifty pound bull mastiff, took up most of the sittable space. Although this didn’t seem to faze Richard, who just stared blankly ahead. Spike being a loyal pet, licked at Richard’s face in an attempt to wake him from his catatonic state, but even with several gallons of slobber layered on to his completely black and blue skin Richard just stared.
“Dad it’s really cool the way your hair is sticking straight up in the air without gel.” Nothing. “Dad you should of seen it. Mom saved this guy’s life. They must have shocked him fifty times. It was awesome!” And still there was no response, but it might have been for the best.
Mona and Josh both caught the scent at the same moment—something really bad was in the air. They each gave a few sniffs and looked at each other. Without a word Josh turned around and looked at Spike, who looked back with considerable guilt.
“Mom, I think Spike had an accident,” alerted Josh, a sense of real panic creeping into his voice.
Spike let another loud one go removing any doubts.
“Oh, that’s bad,” said Mona wincing from the stench, which had just wafted into the front seat. “Is your father okay?”
“I can’t look back,” said Josh, sticking his head out of the window.
Then like a dam bursting, Spike could hold back the relaxitive no longer and let the rest go! Still, Richard stared blankly ahead, unfazed by the presence of Spike’s last three meals now a soggy, steamy pile on his lap.
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 7
Larry waited anxiously in the opulent, king size bed Chenoa had bought, for no reason, a few months earlier. Leave Your Hat On, the song from 9 ½ weeks, played on the stereo—the anticipation was almost too much. But then came the confusion, which could only be brought to a man, by a woman promising, yet not delivering sex in a timely manner.
“What the hell is that?” exclaimed Larry, staring at Chenoa who had sauntered to the front of the bed in an Armani business suit. “You look like your ready to go to a meeting.”
“I’ll get to it. I want to try everything on for you.”
“C’mon baby, I have to get up in five hours,” pleaded Larry, like a 4-year-old.
“You know I can’t rush, just sit back and enjoy.”
Larry let his head fall back against the stack of pillows and looked at the clock on the nightstand, which read 12:00 a.m.
Chenoa proceeded to appear in outfit after outfit. Each time Larry looked at the clock through still more tired eyes. But finally the clock ticked—Victoria Secret time. However, the bedroom wasn’t filled with the sound of bells from the tower of love, but rather the snores of one very tired husband.
Chenoa looked at Larry in disbelief. “I can’t believe he fell asleep on me again.”
In the Skinner bedroom, the clock had just ticked 2:00 a.m. and Mona lay on her side staring at her badly damaged husband. “I’m really sorry I made you leave your gun.”
“It’s okay,” said Richard, through the pain, not wanting his wife to feel worse than she already did.
“And the MRI?” Mona continued.
“Don’t worry about it,” Richard assured Mona, still a little fuzzy about what happened in the tube of horror.
“I feel terrible about Spike doing his business on your lap. Those were your favorite pants.”
“I’ll get them cleaned, babe.”
“I don’t know what to say about the washing machine.”
This caused Richard to sit up, which caused pain in places he didn’t even know it was possible to feel pain in. “What’s wrong with the washing machine?”
After a sound night’s slumber, all things considered, Mona and Richard were awakened by the cheery sound of breaking class—the newspaper boy had an exceptional arm.
“Papers here,” said Mona, stretching her arms and letting out a yawn.
“I can’t believe I have to work a double shift today,” grumbled Richard.
“Do you have to, can’t you get someone to cover for you?” asked Mona.
Richard sighed. “No, I need the overtime. Between the hospital bills, insurance, and mortgage, it’s just too tight.”
“I’m going to be able to help you out soon,” Mona offered, hoping to provide a ray of hope.
“You’re not supposed to know it’s a surprise.”
“I mean about Chenoa and me going into business. That’s the surprise your not supposed to know about.”
“I have another surprise for you.”
“Yeah, I’m going to make you breakfast in bed.”
“Go take a hot bath, it’ll make you feel better and then I’ll come get you when your surprise breakfast is done.”
It had been a long time since Richard had enjoyed a nice bubble bath and as he blew some bubbles off of the palm of his hand he resolved that he would fill up the tub more often. A nice bubble bath and his favorite radio show—Monday was off to a good start!
“Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck?” asked the voice from the radio.
“You better believe it,” answered Richard.
“Tired of risking your life for a couple of bucks?” questioned the voice further.
“Don’t you know it,” said Richard, still louder.
“Are you ready to listen to some good advice you clumsy, unmotivated, dumb, pathetic, bastard?”
“Damn right I am!”
“We’ll be right back after a word from our sponsor, who’s making a hell of a lot more money than you, without having to deal with the dregs of society on a daily basis you senseless, broke, knucklehead.”
“Surprise Pumpkin!” said Mona, walking in with a perfectly cooked breakfast on a bed-tray.
“Honey, I don’t know what to say, you caught me completely off guard this time,” exclaimed Richard, feigning surprise.
“Really? You’re not just trying to make me feel good?”
“Honest you got me.”
“I didn’t even break anything. Well except…”
“A few eggs.”
Richard laughed. “Oh you got me again.”
“C’mon, get out of the tub and get it while it’s hot.”
Then spinning around, Mona managed to hit the radio with the tray sending it flying toward the bathtub, where Richard fielded it so adeptly—Mona didn’t even notice his peril.
Radio in hand; Richard struggled to get to his feet without dropping it into the tub. Nervously he slipped and slid his way until gaining his balance.
“Are you ready now!?” blared the voice, from the dangerous electrical device, which caused Richard to slip and fall back into the water…
“Wake up sleepy head,” cheered Mona, as she walked into Josh’s room.
Josh rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked curiously at the blinking light above his bed. “Hi Mom.”
“What’s that?” questioned Josh.
Mona shrugged. “Your dad must really be enjoying his breakfast.”
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 8
Larry and Richard sat in their usual seats, somewhat disinterestedly, in the back of the room filled with rows of their brother police officers. As usual, their commanding sergeant, a stout pit-bull of a man, was irate!
“Two robbers on ten consecutive Wednesdays dressed as cops,” shouted the sergeant his round face a beet shade of red. “Now it may be okay to be idiots, but it’s not okay for the public to know you’re idiots. So I want these two and I want them right away.”
Larry raised his hand like a high school student, but began speaking before being called on. “Sarge, these guys are good. They seem to know our every move before we do.”
The sergeant contemplated Larry’s words for a very brief moment, and then slowing his speech pattern so as to speak as condescendingly as possible, he went on. “Jacobs how could someone know what you and Skinner are doing before you know what you’re doing, when you two don’t know what you’re doing before you’re doing it?”
Larry, not understanding that he was the only one in the room that took he and his partner seriously, decided to continue the dialogue. “That’s what we can’t figure out. If we don’t know what we’re doing, how can they know what we’re doing before we know what we’re doing? And if they do know, how come we don’t know what they’re doing before they’re doing it? Unless they don’t know what they’re doing and that’s how they know what we’re doing.”
Richard decided that it was a good time to back up his partner and best friend. “Sarge, I’d like to add that our not knowing what we’re doing, could be an advantage if Jacobs is right about them knowing what we’re doing by not knowing what they’re doing unless…”
“Shut up Skinner! Shut up!” yelled the sergeant; even more irate than he had been a few moments before. “Listen you cretins, I want results and if I don’t get them you guys will be lucky to get jobs as meter maids. Now get out there and find these guys.”
It was Richard’s day to drive the squad car and he did so completely engrossed in a serious conversation with Larry. In fact, they were so engaged in their conversation that, neither noticed the four masked men that ran from the bank and jumped into the car illegally parked in front of a fire hydrant. Nor did the house engulfed in flames catch their attention. Richard thought he might have seen something that looked like a monster truck, flying a confederate flag, dragging a black man tied to a rope behind it, but ignored it thinking that the sun must have just caught him in the eyes and played a trick on him.
“She’s spending me to death, Richard. I mean I love her, but I need some cash.”
Richard nodded. “Tell me about it, it’s always something. The drapes catch on fire, the cat gets locked in the fridge…”
“Did you see that?” asked Richard, pointing at the car filled with masked men and a bag of money that flew from their car’s trunk to land on the squad car’s hood.
“Damn right I did! Get um partner, I’ll hit the lights.”
BANK ROBBER’S CAR
The sound of a siren is every bank robber’s worst nightmare, when trying to make a clean getaway, and it was no different for the four heavily armed criminals now being pursued by officers Skinner and Jacobs.
“We’ve got heat!” said the ski mask wearing bank robber in the back seat.
“It’s the car, they must have run the plates and found out it’s stolen,” lamented the bank robber sitting next to him.
“I don’t think I can out run them,” said the driver, in a panic stricken tone.
“I’ve got a good lawyer,” said the bandit in the front passenger’s seat—the only calm one amongst the group. “Play it cool and he’ll have us out in five to ten.”
“Okay, I’m going to pull over—sorry boys.”
A few moments later Richard and Larry approached the car from opposite sides.
“I knew it, I knew this would happen,” agonized the bank robber in the back seat—the one who had first noticed that they had heat.
“Just shut up and be cool,” the driver yelled back at him, just before Richard appeared in his window.
“Well, well, well, you guys probably think you’re real smart don’t you?” asked Richard, in the most mocking of tones.
“No, it was a big mistake,” admitted the bank robber driver.
Richard let his hand rest on the gun still holstered on his hip. “You bet it was.” Then without warning he tossed the bag of money, which had landed on the hood of the squad car, through the window. “That’s a lot of money to be littering the road with.”
Larry’s deep voice caused their attention to turn to the passenger’s side window. “Do you realize the traffic jam you could have caused? And let me also suggest not taking so much cash on your next hunting trip. Most places will take credit cards. Now get your butts out of here before I give you a five hundred dollar ticket for littering—this is a law and order state boys!”
Larry slid back into the squad car and held up five one hundred dollar bills. “Five hundred dollars just like that.”
Richard smiled. “That was nice of those guys to tip us. At least someone appreciates our hard work.”
Larry handed Richard two of the bills and a fifty from his wallet. “Maybe we should encourage more people to show their appreciation?”
“Not a bad idea,” exclaimed Richard, liking the way the cash felt in his hand.
Larry noticed that they had just passed their favorite greasy spoon. “Hey let’s eat at Harry’s. I’ll buy.”
“Good idea,” said Richard, flipping an illegal u-turn, which immediately caused a three-car pileup, before the car pulled to the curb clipping a fire hydrant.
“Go in and order the usual,” quipped Larry, rubbing his stomach in anticipation of a hearty breakfast. “I’ll radio the Department of Water & Power.”
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 9
HARRY’S COFFEE SHOP
“The usual Harry,” shouted out Richard, to the thin, gray haired, hard workingman behind the counter.
Harry grunted something inaudible back, but it didn’t matter because Richard had already walked around the corner of the counter to the seating area, where he stood frozen and wide eyed. As irony would have it, Richard had paused to decide which of the booths would do for lunch—all were empty with the exception of the last booth in the very back. At this booth sat the large Samoan, grazing several plates of food, while at the same time giving Richard the middle finger salute.
“All right big fella, we’ll see how tough you are when we get you downtown and club you like a baby seal.”
The big Samoan got up without saying a word and moved menacingly forward.
“Well, we can do this the easy way or the hard way,” said Richard with a slight tremble in his voice, which he eased by resting his hand on his revolver—this time not back on the kitchen table.
“What’s with the Howlie?” asked the first, of four more huge Samoans to emerge from the bathroom.
“Dick head Howlie wants to arrest me,” answered back the Samoan, who had the previous day sent Richard to the hospital.
The Samoan from the bathroom waved Richard forward. “Come get him Howlie.”
Richard gave a shrug, that could have been interpreted as resignation, then drew his gun, just as Larry walked in the door, and shot all five of the Samoans in their respective legs.
Larry observed the scene for a moment, made a few mental notes, then asked, “Rich you want to sit at the counter or at a booth.”
Richard looked down at the five Samoans rolling around, all in terrible pain. He tilted his head slightly and smiled—satisfied with his work. “Let’s sit at a booth.
Richard and Larry sat and enjoyed their meal while the paramedics struggled to load up the Samoans. So heavy were they, the paramedics actually dropped each one of them at least a couple of times—this fazed neither Richard nor Larry at all.
“Rich, we’ve been partners a long time you can tell me if something is bothering you.”
“Why do you think something is bothering me?”
Larry glanced toward the Samoans. “I don’t know you just seem a little moody?”
“Well it might be the money thing,” Richard sighed, “but well you know things have been a little slow in the bedroom. I really don’t know what Mona does all day, but at night she’s tired out like she’s been working construction.”
“She can work my jack hammer any time,” suggested the Samoan that had kicked Richard’s butt the day before as he was wheeled by on a gurney.
Without hesitation Richard picked the saltshaker up off the table, removed the top, and emptied it into the Samoan’s gunshot wound.
“Mona’s not the cheating type,” said Larry, completely oblivious to the screaming Samoan. “Hell I’ve been having the same slow down with Chenoa.”
“Maybe we should stop letting them play so much together?”
“They can play with me anytime,” said another, Samoan being wheeled by.
“That’s hilarious,” said Larry, who then plunged his fork into the thigh of the Samoan’s ungunshot leg.
“Better get this guy out of here, he’s in a lot of pain.” Larry watched for a moment as the paramedics rolled out the mammoth of a man, now with a fork protruding out of his leg. The sight struck a funny chord, but he had no idea how he was going to explain the need for the eating utensil in his report. Larry turned his attention back to his partner. “Hey Rich, lend me your fork would ya?”
Richard was in the process of handing Larry his extra fork when Harry walked up. “You guys mind if I sit for a minute?”
“No sit down, Harry,” they answered simultaneously.
It dawned on Richard he had some apologizing to do. “Listen Harry. I’m sorry about shooting up the place. The department will pay for any damage.”
Harry winked. “C’mon, you guys can stop pretending.”
Larry swallowed the food he had been chewing. “No Harry, he’s serious. The department always pays. They don’t mind, they get the money from taxpayers like yourself. So you see it doesn’t really make a difference at all. Except for making hardworking guys like you feel better.”
Harry gestured his hand in a half circle around the room. “I’m not talking about the damage. All this time I thought you guys were clueless idiots, but you knew these guys were shaking me down, didn’t you?”
“What you were doing with them in the privacy of your own place is none of our business,” responded Richard, thinking that Harry was referring to some type of gay sex game.
“Man you’re smart. Listen, I appreciate what you guys did, these punks were into me for a grand a month, bring it down to five hundred, I can live with that.”
“And all the food we can eat?” Larry tossed into the ring.
“Deal!” answered Harry, glad to have cut his protection cost in half. “And don’t worry about the check.”
CROOKED COPS EPISODE 10
The cash from Harry’s payoff felt magical in Larry’s hands as he counted it out.
“Damn! Another five hundred bucks.” He turned to Richard. “You just keep shooting and I’ll keep collecting. By the way, why did you shoot those guys?”
“Car 69 there is a YJ24 at Executive Tower,” crackled the voice over the radio interrupting Larry’s line of questioning.
Larry took the radio transmitter into his non-money-clutching hand. “10-4 we copy,” he confirmed.
“What’s a YJ 24?” asked Richard.
Larry already had the crossword workbook he had been issued at the academy in hand. It was meant solely for educational purposes, but given neither he nor his partner had memorized the various codes—it came in handy.
“I don’t know I didn’t finish that one. What would you call an upwardly mobile thirty- year-old?
“An astronaut?” answered Richard, focusing in on the concept of upwardly mobile in the most literal sense.
“No I’ve already got UPPY,” said Larry, shaking his head.
“What’s the hint for J?” asked Richard.
“Rhymes with bumper?” answered Larry.
“We have a puppy jumper on the 24th floor,” concluded Richard, having no idea what a yuppy might be, given his own financial status.
Larry nodded his agreement. “Poor little guy probably got lost and just decided to end it all.”
Richard and Larry were first on the scene. But rather than wait for those better trained for such situations, they charged valiantly into the luxurious office tower and 24 floors later came bursting through the office doors, where the staff was waiting anxiously for help.
“Where’s the dog?” shouted Richard at the secretary.
“He’s not a dog!” she screamed, completely offended by Richard’s lack of sensitivity.
Richard turned to Larry. “She’s hysterical!”
Larry, knowing just what to do, pulled the attractive young woman to her feet and began slapping her across the face repeatedly. “Calm down.” (slap) “Just calm down.” (slap) “Maybe you shouldn’t shop so much.” (slap) “Maybe you don’t need five hundred cable stations.” (slap)
“My God man she’s had enough!” implored a male assistant putting his hand on Larry’s shoulder.
Larry ceased his barrage of backhands. “Where’s that animal?”
“Down the hall first door on the left,” responded the assistant, satisfied that he might have saved more than one coworker’s life, but confused as to how two strange cops seemed to know so much about his boss’s character.
Without hesitation Richard and Larry sprinted down the hallway, hoping to get there “in time.”
LEDGE OF EXECUTIVE TOWER
With some degree of consternation, Richard and Larry looked out the window at the yuppie, who although it didn’t register on the dynamic duo, was getting ready to jump.
“Where’s the puppy?” asked Richard, striking a desperate note. “Can you see him?”
“What are you talking about?” responded the despondent man.
Richard glanced down the ledge in the other direction. “We got a call that there’s a dog out on the ledge.”
Larry poked his head out next to Richard’s. “You can come in now we’ll take it from here. We’re trained for this kind of thing.”
“Hey I’ve got my own problems, I’m into Big Tony for major bucks and I’m not giving it back. So why give him the pleasure of throwing me out a window when I can do it myself?”
Richard decided that he needed to be the voice of reason. “Listen you may think this is a good idea now, but somewhere out here there is an easily influenced puppy who might just see you jump and do the same.”
“Look, I’m not trying to hurt anybody else,” pleaded the yuppie crook that had apparently stolen some stolen money.
Larry nodded his head. “Well how are you going to feel in those last moments knowing that you may have caused the poor, furry little bastard to splat himself?”
Simultaneously, Larry and Rich held out their hands, offering safe reentry into the building.
“Come back in and be a good example to the cuddly mutt,” Larry encouraged further.
The soon to be rescued citizen moved toward the open window, but when Larry and Richard grabbed his hands, they inadvertently caused his feet to slip off of the ledge, where he then dangled precariously 24-stories above the hard pavement below.
“Don’t worry, we got you!” assured Richard, not noticing that the man’s assistant had now entered the office and was quietly witnessing the horrifying spectacle.
“We got you now!” repeated Larry.
And then as fate would have it, it was at this very, most crucial of moments that the large flat screen television began to air a Mighty Dog Commercial. Larry and Richard, not realizing that the barks were coming from the television, whirled around—quite accidentally letting go of the yuppie they had been trying to save. For a long, uncomfortable moment they both looked at the television and then at the Rolex, which had come loose in Larry’s hand. And then up at the assistant.
The assistant, having witnessed the assault on the secretary and his boss being dropped from a 24-story ledge, felt he had no choice, but to do the right thing and say exactly what he had on his mind. “I didn’t see anything, you guys.”
Larry stuffed the watch into his pocket. Well, we’ll write the report, if we have any questions we’ll call you.”
Richard drove as Larry examined the watch.
“Damn what a day!” said Larry shaking his head in disbelief with respect to their good fortune. “This watch is worth some serious money.” He tapped on the face of the Rolex. “How do you like that, it stopped. Must have broke in the commotion.”
Richard smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ve got a guy who will fix it for free.”
Larry’s right eyebrow lifted slightly. “Yeah?”
Richard nodded. “Yeah, he’s a fence. I use him as a snitch sometimes, he owes me.”
“Good we can pay some bills with this beauty,” said Larry, marveling still more at the object in his hand, which was literally as good as gold.
“Hey, do you mind if I swing by the house and see what Mona’s making for dinner?” asked Richard, thinking a drink or two might be in order.
Larry laughed. “Not if you got a beer in the fridge for me.”
“Hey you’re on duty,” chided Richard, in his most sarcastic tone.
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NINETY- NINE POSTS
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stan Lerner is an award winning-author whose diverse credits include the novels “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, “Blast”, “In Development,” and the children’s book “Stanley The Elephant.” Stan Lerner is also the creator of the Las Vegas music spectacle “Night Tribe” and the writer, director, producer of the hit motion picture “Meet The Family.” Mr. Lerner was born in Montebello CA and has lived in downtown Los Angeles for the last fifteen years.
For more information about Stan Lerner please visit his author profile at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stan