Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #71: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas (December 7, 1977)

In this special, which of course I never saw, Paul Lynde plays an 1890s family man whose house gets invaded by wacky relatives on Christmas Eve.  The special aired only once.  According to more culturally-literate friends who have seen this on YouTube, Lynde delivers the campiest version of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” ever.  My thirteen-year-old self in 1977—a wannabe straight boy who air-guitared to sexist crap on the radio—would’ve hated this version, and so would’ve my Aunt Inez, with whom my family still lived, and who hated what she called “silliness.”  Sometimes, I can see her point.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #70: Club Foote

In high school during the 2010s, Stewie Pringle played an on-line, open-world videogame called Club Foote, in which one could dance, drink, use drugs, have sex, or simply wander around aimlessly at the titular establishment. His avatar, Gadwin, resembled a tall, buff Sonic the Hedgehog. After a while, Pringle used a code he’d found in some chatroom to transform the sex scenes from ugh (nothing explicit) to hell yeah. Now as Gadwin banged an endless succession of guys hardcore-style, Pringle felt transgressive (but not transgender, no sirree, as he likes telling his fellow semi-closeted Trump Administration staffers with a laugh).

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #69: Christmas in April

Jenkins Winthrop, from Caldune Petroleum, joined other fossil-fuel company CEOs for a meeting with the president in the Oval Office. That night, over dinner at his mansion, Winthrop told his lover—the Energy Department’s social-media representative, Stewart “Stewie” Pringle—that under Trump, the coronavirus pandemic means “fuckin’ Christmas in April” for Big Oil: gigantic tax breaks, gigantic grants, suspended EPA rules, and nothing for renewables. “What a surprise, ha ha,” Winthrop said.

“Did you practice social distancing at that meeting, ha ha?” Pringle asked.

“Yeah, and I hoarded fuckin’ toilet paper too, ha ha.”

Face masks. Sanitizer. Endless days off.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

No Mo’ MoDo (I Mean It This Time)

Considering I have several Everests of unread books to tackle (someday, Christina Stead), perhaps I shouldn’t spend time hate-ish reading Maureen Dowd’s column every week.  By “hate-ish,” I mean perhaps I revere MoDo for the success she’s enjoyed despite—or more likely because of—her snarky insubstantiality.

And if you want snarky insubstantiality to the extreme, dudes and dudettes, check out her latest, Dowdier-than-usual column, “A Meme Girl Mash-Up,” in today’s New York Times.  The very first sentence, which mentions Tina Fey and Mean Girls, gives us Dowd’s trademark celebrity name-dropping and pop-cultural referencing.  Two sentences later, Dowd opines “Politics has never been filled with so many mean girls[,]” thus displaying her misogyny; she always depicts non-masculine traits as unfavorable.  However, her “bitchyyy lunch table” comprising Mitch McConnell, Rudy Guiliani, and other nasty, male and female Republicans who worship Trump the “Queen Bee” did surprise me, since she almost always disparagingly feminizes Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who behaves either unwomanly or too womanly.  Not to worry, though—Dowd soon enough designates the Democrat Mike Bloomberg as a wanna-bee.

And also not to worry, Dowd then hates on Hillary, criticizing her for, during that presidential debate, not calling out the Donald for his stalking-esque behavior (though if Hillary had called him out, do you think Dowd would have reacted favorably?).  By the time Dowd notes that “Trump…is now scratching Bloomy’s eyes out[,]” the retrograde gender attitudes will make you feel like chasing a blonde, busty secretary around a desk.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #68: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (October 29, 1976)

Margaret Hamilton (back as the Wicked Witch of the West), Betty White (pre-Golden Girls), some disco, and (ahem) the band KISS—this hour-long special sounds gay as hell.  Too bad I never watched it.  I might have, but before I could do so, Mom suddenly drove my siblings and me to her sister’s house for an overnight stay; Aunt Inez, the intellectual, didn’t own a TV.  Since the divorce, Mom had spent time by herself to (in her words) “relax.”  Okay, she deserved to “relax,” but she’d denied me my main relaxation method.  Though her behavior did piss off Inez.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #67: The New Temperatures Rising Show (1972-74)

In 1973, Paul Lynde joined the hospital sitcom Temperatures Rising, retitled you-know-what for its second and final season.  According to Wikipedia, he played a grouch named Dr. Paul Mercy.  (Get it?)

I don’t remember if I watched even a minute of this show.  But then, as a nine-year-old, I may have gotten distracted by my parents’ constant arguments about trivialities, such as that comic panel The Family Circus—Mom loved it, Dad despised it.  (I loved it, too, but in secret, those tubby, stubby children amusing me with their cute malapropisms.)  People still cared about the funnies back then, amazing.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

revised January 17, 2020

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #66: The Paul Lynde Show (1972-73)

From TV Guide, September 9, 1972, p. 53. Running across this image on my Facebook feed this morning inspired me to bring you yet another Flasher.–DVM, January 6, 2020, 11:33 AM EST

I may have watched some snippets of this lame sitcom as an eight-year-old in 1972.  As with so many other kids back then, I’d watch anything on TV—good, bad, it didn’t matter, as long as it numbed my mind.  Anyway, I remember nothing about this show except hearing the, uh, flamboyant Lynde say “Eeeeugh” after his supergenius son-in-law has once again done something idiotic, though perhaps I’ve made up this memory.  Perhaps my status back then as a closeted gay boy in a gay-unfriendly environment has compelled me toward imagining myself as precociously hip.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews 

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #65: Chaff

I know I had a three-month relationship between marriages, twenty years ago, but I can barely recall the guy in question.  He wore blue three-piece suits, and had a mole on I think his right cheek.  Otherwise, nothing.  I can’t even remember his name—Dan?  Stan?  We must have had sex at least once, at least I have the feeling we did, which makes my haziness regarding him a bit surprising, since I never forget a sexual partner, even the lame ones.  Perhaps as I’ve grown older, my brain has started sorting out the chaff; everyone wants a chaffless life.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews