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SHELTER EPISODES 1-5

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “Shelter “combines comedy and drama in an effort to bring us all a little closer to understanding and bringing to an end the tragedy of homelessness in America.

SHELTER EPISODE 1

The Malibu mansion, poised atop a cliff’s edge, with a one hundred and eighty degree view of the vast Pacific Ocean, truly had no equal. Inside, this particular evening, yet another lavish fund-raiser was in progress. The usual high pomp and circumstance flowed from magnificent room to still more magnificent room, all crowded with the crème of Los Angeles society—mega-players all.

JB Boldwell a handsome, distinguished gentleman of seventy, stood alone on the terrace looking through the impressive window, smoking a cigar and observing the goings on. So many people, so engaged, in he did not even remember what purpose—he felt nothing, but sadness, a sense of being lost and empty.

“Why aren’t you inside, Grandpa? It’s your party,” asked Felicity, JB’s adorable eight-year-old granddaughter, who unbeknownst to JB had been standing behind him.

JB smiled. “They don’t care if I’m in there, sweetheart. They just want a party.”

Felicity furrowed her brow. “Why don’t they want you?”

JB cleared his throat; yet spoke in a subdued tone. “I don’t think they like me very much.”

“Well, maybe you should try and be a nicer person,” suggested Felicity, truly wanting to help her grandfather.

JB did his best to conceal that the words of an eight-year-old had just cut into him like a knife. “What do you mean?”

“I just think you’d really like it if you could go to your own party,” answered Felicity.

These words exploded in JB’s head, causing a type of shock, the likes of which he had never known. “Maybe,” he muttered staring in at the people. And then looking down at Felicity, through a fog that seemed to role in faster than was possible, he spoke words that he could not hear. “Better go inside dear—it’s too cold for you out here.”

JB stared for several more minutes at the people who seemed to move further and further off into the distance—although neither he nor they had moved at all. And then they were gone because he was walking out of the gates that secluded his life from the outside world—boulevards, stoplights, cars, people, sights, sounds, and smells, all of which, he had not experienced in almost half a century, because he had been rich for a very long time.

The black and white police cruiser slowed down and the officer who was driving nodded toward the tuxedo clad, older gentleman walking down the street toward Skid Row. “What do you make of this guy?” he asked his somewhat bemused partner.

“Dressed like that, down here… Probably trying to score drugs,” answered the cynical partner.

The officer behind the wheel shook his head. “What a shame. We better intervene.”

The car came to a stop and the officers exited, but the older gentleman in the tuxedo seemed to be oblivious to their presence.

“Hey there, big guy, don’t you think you’re a little overdressed for Skid Row?” asked the cynical officer. But the man just kept walking.

“Buddy. We’re talking to you,” shouted the officer who had been driving.

“If I felt like talking gentleman, I’d still be conversing with the three hundred guests at my thirty million dollar mansion in Malibu,” offered the man they suspected of being in some kind of drug stupor.

The officers exchanged a glance of mutual agreement and then the cop that had been driving walked onto the sidewalk cutting off any possibility of forward progress. “Thirty million dollars…Right. Sir we’re going to have to ask you to come with us.”

The central station downtown could not under any circumstance be called a cheery place, but the graveyard shift presented a particularly melancholy environment—as it became a place of last chances gone by. And it was in this gloomy place that the man in the expensive tuxedo found himself sitting on a bench amidst the dregs of society.

The desk sergeant, who had seen everything, did after a busy hour or so take an interest in the strange sight of the man who seemed completely unresponsive to the hectic activity all around.

A plainclothes detective wandered up to the man and snapped his fingers in front of his face, to no avail. He turned to the desk sergeant. “What’s up with him?”

“Couple Unis picked him up earlier, think he’s some kinda catatonic big shot. Mental Health’s on their way down to check him out,” answered the desk sergeant.

The detective grinned and snapped his fingers in the man’s face again. “Probably drugs. No ID on him?”

“None, nada, zilch,” answered the sergeant.

“You know…he kinda looks like that billionaire real estate guy, JB something or other. Owns the basketball team.”

“The Rippers? Yeah, right,” said the sergeant. But before he could comment further a commotion from the street outside came through the front doors.

“I demand my rights!!!” shouted Steve Mahoney, an unkempt, overweight, fantastic disaster of a human being in his forties—as he was pushed through the doors in handcuffs. Steve, while obviously bright and well educated, had been a longtime fixture of the homeless community as he also suffered from profound delusions of grandeur.

So while it did not strike the desk sergeant as strange to have an irate Steve Mahoney brought through the doors—the two sheriff’s deputies that followed him, also in handcuffs and escorted by two LAPD officers—certainly did, very strange indeed.

“You guys are making a big mistake,” said the first sheriff deputy to come through the doors to the two LAPD officers.

“You have no idea, sunshine,” chimed in Steve. “I know the mayor, we do pilates together. This time tomorrow all four of you will be giving out parking tickets in South Central.”

The desk sergeant rolled his eyes as he turned his attention towards the detective. “Better tell Mental Health to step on it, it looks like it’s going to be one of those nights.” And then the sergeant turned to face the whole bunch as they approached making a considerable racket. “Alright, quiet down. Whatta we got?”

The LAPD officer who stood at the front of the pack pointed at the two sheriffs. “We caught these guys trying to dump their little vagrant problem onto our jurisdiction.”

“I resent the term ‘vagrant,’” interjected Steve. “In the contemporary vernacular it’s come to carry deeply derogatory connotations. I prefer ‘Itinerant-American.’”

“Whatever,” responded the cop, clearly fed up.

The detective didn’t want to get involved, but realized that he had no choice. “Thought you could just dump him off on Skid Row and be done with it?” he asked the sheriffs.

“He told us he lived there,” protested the sheriff’s deputy, who thus far hadn’t uttered a word.

Steve forced a loud laugh from his throat. “An outright fabrication! I said no such thing.” Continue reading

IN DEVELOPMENT THE BOOK

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “In Development” is a hilarious account of a day in the life of Stan Peters—Hollywood’s most powerful and scummiest producer. AND YES, “IN DEVELOPMENT” THE BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE IBOOKSTORE FOR YOUR IPAD!!!

PROLOGUE

Breakfast at the Peninsula

The Peninsula Hotel ranked among Beverly Hills’ finest establishments. A modest four stories, its cream-colored exterior walls exuded European elegance. The motor court was paved with Tuscan cobblestone and it curved in a half circle around a spectacular yet understated fountain. Stan Peters arrived for breakfast like clockwork Monday thru Friday at 8:00 in either his black Rolls Royce Phantom or his diamond silver Mercedes Benz SL 500.

This particular morning, he was looking more impeccable than usual. The Ermenegildo Zegna boutique on Rodeo Drive had just taken delivery of its handmade suit collection for the fall season the day before. As always, Stan, the store’s best customer and Hollywood’s most powerful movie producer, had been there to pick up each of his 31 new suits. He would repeat this routine at several of the city’s high-end boutiques; rarely did Stan need or bother to wear the same custom-made suit twice.

The hotel’s bell captain, Rick Johnson, was a handsome young man of twenty-five—an aspiring actor. As always, he stepped forward to open Stan’s car door himself, rather than delegate such an important task to a valet. Opening the great producer’s door was not as optimal as being in one of his movies but it was a step in the right direction. Hollywood’s most powerful producer had come to know him by his first name.

The door of the Mercedes opened, as it always did, not requiring any of Stan’s own personal exertion. He never took this for granted. He appreciated not being bothered with such trivialities. It was certainly worth a twenty-dollar tip to not have to think about opening and closing the door of his automobile.

The air was just right. Not too warm, not too cold. Not too humid, nor too dry. Just right. Stan had no control over the weather of course, but he had chosen to remain in Los Angeles for exactly this reason—perfect year-round weather.

He stretched his six-foot-one frame as he rose from the 65-way adjustable, heated, and programmable leather car seat. The sound of the fountain filled his ears. Stan smiled the bright white smile of a man whose company was about to go public. A smile that said he was a man on top of the world. That he was talented. That he cared and wanted to encourage others to aspire to his greatness. Yet, he was confident that no man could really be his equal.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Rick amiably.

“Good morning, Rick. It looks like we’re in for some nice weather today. You have to love living in California!” Stan responded, already thinking about the healthy, delectable food he would soon be putting into his perfectly muscled body. A body that at forty was in even better shape than it had been in high school.

“It certainly looks like it’s going to be a great day, Mr. Peters. Enjoy your breakfast…Oh, would you like me to have the car washed while you’re eating this morning?”

Stan looked at the fine German automobile for a moment. It had just been detailed the day before but he thought it could certainly have gathered some dust not visible to the naked eye but was there nonetheless. “Yeah, better give it a rinse.” And with that he turned and walked toward the large double door entrance to the five star hotel.

To sample or purchase “In Development” the book please visit:

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Again with no effort of his own, the door opened. “Good morning, Mr. Peters.”

“Good morning,” Stan replied. Other than Rick, he did not know the names of the ten or twenty people that managed his morning breakfast routine. If need be, he could always read their nametags.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the gentleman next to the doorman.

“Good morning, good morning.” And with just a few silent steps, he was at the entry to the Belvedere Room.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the lovely hostess. “That suit is beautiful.” Her dark hair was pulled back and her young eyes shone brilliantly with a nebula of possibilities. “It fits you perfectly. You always look so handsome, but that suit is even more perfect than usual.”

“Well thank you…Mary,” he said, quickly glancing at her nametag. “The Fall season just came in yesterday. I still have a lot of things to pick up.”

“Well, I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of it. The usual table or would you like to try the patio today?”

“The usual table would be superlative.”

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Janet, the hostess’ supervisor. “It’s so nice to see you. I just noticed that the trades are not at your table. I’ll bring them right over.”

“Thank you, Janet,” Stan said, taking the final steps to his table.

He sat down on the soft green cushion and slid over just slightly. The silver was all set correctly and the white tablecloth was blinding, which was what he expected. The hotel knew that he expected this, so only new tablecloths were used at his table. Stan’s demeanor was always pleasant but there was no doubt that he would ask for his table to be redressed and set again if he detected even the slightest flaw in its appearance.

The room, which had the feel of a fine garden, blossomed with both Hollywood and business elite. Stan caught many of their gazes as he walked into the room and still more as he sat. When unavoidable, he would flash back a warm smile and give just the slightest nod of his head. He peered for a moment out the glass wall to the patio thinking that the star of his last movie was there having breakfast with her new husband. He had slept with her a few times and was strangely satisfied to see that she was now married.

“Your skinny latte Mr. Peters,” said the middle-aged-Pilipino server as he set the large white cup and saucer on the tablecloth directly in front of Stan. Then, with a great deal of concern and concentration, the Pilipino latte server moved the silver sweetener container just to the upper right of Stan’s cup and saucer so that he would not have to reach for it at the end of the table.

“And the trades,” said Janet, handing Stan both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

“Thank you, Janet.” Stan ripped the small yellow package of sweetener, which he preferred to the blue or the pink packages of sweeteners, and mixed it into his latte and raised the cup for his first caffeinated drink of the day.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters. Will you be having the usual today?” asked the intelligent looking waiter in his late twenties, an aspiring writer of some type.

He had mentioned something about writing one day while in the course of telling Stan that he was a great fan of his. Stan recalled his own empty offer to read some of the young man’s work. An empty offer not because Stan was being disingenuous but empty because Stan had observed that most people with aspirations were afraid to succeed. Meaning, no one really wanted their work to be judged by someone who could do something for them.

“Omelet, jack and cheddar…”

“Avocado, fire roasted salsa, Tabasco, and fruit on the side,” the waiter said, finishing Stan’s sentence. He pushed his round wire-rim glasses a little further up on his nose and smiled.

“No potatoes or bread,” Stan added, although he didn’t have to because everybody knew that he liked potatoes and bread but didn’t eat them to keep his simple carbohydrate intake to a minimum.

All this ass kissing is really something. They do it because you’re a powerful man in Hollywood. If they only knew what a lying, thieving, scumbag you really are. Maybe they do know and they don’t care. Could that be?

He took a sip of his latte. It tasted better than most because it was made from a coffee bean that was eaten by a small rodent, which then excreted it out in its feces.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. To be a successful motion picture producer you have to have talent. And you put in years of hard work developing that talent. Not that it mattered to anyone—fuckers. Be honest with yourself. You got to where you are because you have the most important ingredient—an inexplicable character flaw. Not the, I’m gay and my family won’t accept me or I’ll show everyone who should have been voted most likely to succeed. No, it’s way beyond that.

An old timer with an attractive young companion waved to him from across the room. Stan smiled and gave a nod.

To really be fucked up enough to succeed at this level you had to have been born a nice guy with a good heart. Twenty years of being screwed over, lied to, used, and unappreciated. And one day you were lucky enough to wake up and be you. It didn’t happen gradually. It just happened.

Janet returned with an apologetic look. Stan knew without her saying a word what the cause of her guilt happened to be. He handed her the green cloth napkin that had been stretched across his lap and then watched, quite pleased, as she laid the new black napkin in its place. “I’m so sorry about that,” she said, the corners of her mouth turned just slightly downwards.

“Not a problem. Thank you, Janet.” Stan watched her walk away. The well-fitted navy blue suit she was wearing left no doubt that her body, in spite of her being well into her thirties, was still in excellent shape. She had certainly been a dancer of some type in her youth, Stan imagined.

Sounds like a terrible existence the way you describe it. It’s not. Your life is a dream life and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish someone could just love me for me. Too late. You got the fancy cars, great food, the world-class pussy, the incredible houses in ten different countries, an amount of money in the bank that even you can’t spend. So many women, so little time…Wall Street loves you.

“Your omelet, sir.”

“Thank you. It looks wonderful.”

“Can I bring you anything else?”

Stan looked lustfully across the room at the attractive blonde with the old goat who had been pleasant enough to wave. “No, this will be fine for now.”

“Well then, enjoy your breakfast, sir.”

Stan’s fork cut through the well-whipped, triple grade A, cage free, grain fed, organic, brown egg with ease. The egg, cheese, avocado, fire roasted salsa, and Tabasco delighted his taste buds. And just as he swallowed it happened—a sickening moment of self-doubt.

The only thing that can fuck up the Peters Entertainment IPO is a bad project. In highly advanced industry terminology, ‘A piece of shit movie’. Not to be confused with a shitty movie the manipulative scumbags in marketing can save with some kind of bullshit MacDonald’s cross promotion. No—the kind of movie that gets fucked up by some tight ass, wanna-be- cool, college graduate, studio executive, a producer’s worst nightmare, maybe even a career killer. What a terrible thought. It’ll never happen to you. You’re Stan Peters for fuck sake. You don’t make piece of shit movies.

Stan decided it was a waste of time to let his mind continue to ponder the meaning of life. He reached for the Hollywood Reporter and began to read the horrifying news on the front page. Continue reading

CROOKED COPS EPISODE 11

A new blog series, from the Abby Normal Mind of Stan Lerner!

The middle-aged, Maytag repairman stood behind Mona and watched intently as she tried to coax Pester the cat out of the washing machine awaiting his repair expertise.

“Pester you come out of there right now,” demanded Mona, reaching in to try and get a grip on his collar only to be greeted by a swipe of Pester’s claw and a loud hiss. “Oh, that cat when he gets into a bad mood he’s just a terror,” Mona pronounced, with a sense of futility as she withdrew her imperiled hand from harm’s way.

“Ring! Ring!” sounded the phone, which caused Mona to yield her position in front of the washing machine to the repairman.

“I’ll try to get him out,” he offered, obviously unaware of all that could go wrong in the Skinner household.

“Hi Chenoa!” said Mona, cheerfully into the phone—thoughts of trouble with Pester and the washing machine already vacated from her mind.

Richard pulled the squad car to the front of his well manicured, but simply landscaped home. He couldn’t help but to give the Maytag repair van in the driveway a curious look as Larry and he exited their official police vehicle for a not so official on-duty beer at the house. “Mona keeps talking about the washing machine,” he muttered aloud.

“I thought Maytag’s never break down,” Larry questioned, causing Richard and he to share a suspicious glance at each other.

The partners entered the Skinner family home quietly and made their way toward the kitchen, where from which they heard voices, one familiar, one not.

“Oh that’s great!” They heard Mona exclaim.

In the kitchen, Mona now stood in back of the repairman. “Oh my God!” she shouted with genuine excitement.

In the hallway Richard’s face was tense and red as he gave the quiet sign to Larry, so they could continue their assessment of the developing situation.

“Fantastic! Oh that’s fantastic!” They heard Mona shout with glee.

Simultaneously they pulled out their batons and tapped them anxiously against their palms.

“I can’t get enough!” shouted Mona. Continue reading

CROOKED COPS EPISODES 1–10

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. Continue reading

CROOKED COPS EPISODE 5

A new blog series, from the Abby Normal mind of Stan Lerner.

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. Continue reading