Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dead Letter Office

Dead Letter Office

hear your voice, convicting
in the crackling of flames
a fire that you've lit within me
doubts, of my direction
and proper place in this place
are turned to ash.

sealed in an envelope, lickety-split
and sent to me, but to the wrong
address, and a pseudonym which
I no longer attribute to my personality
yet still deeply entrenched in my psyche.

No return address because I'm not sure where
you are, though I've searched...
and postage not the going rate because this
is love from years ago, and yours was not the receiving end

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: Joe the Barbarian

“King Death! From your world did he spy mine! From sunless Hypogea his endless night extends. Restore my throne of light! The journey—arduous, companions on the way, et cetera! Traditional rules apply! Failure means an audience eternal with King Death!” –Lord Arc, Joe the Barbarian

There comes a time in life when we must give up childish things.

Really, though, who are we kidding? I’ve got a shelf of action figures, and those are the ones that aren’t yet packed away in boxes. Comic books abound in my apartment, with four longboxes full, even after culling two or more this summer.

Even more so, with a kid on the way, now’s the time to bulk up on heavy reading while I’ve got the chance.
I’ll admit, picking up Joe the Barbarian the other afternoon was an utter impulse buy, but you’d have to admit that Christmas Club money was burning a hole in my pocket. I was fortunate enough to make it through a week. It was one of those books I picked up when I was looking for something else, but quite surprised when this was really what I’d been looking for.

Like the story inside, the cover is this amalgamation of images: toys at Joe’s feet, scores of crosses from a veteran’s graveyard, Joe’s room—not to mention a floating island towards the top of the cover. Then there’s Joe, quite typically out of place through all this. It helped a heapload that the story was written by Grant Morrison, a real mainstay in comics. It also didn’t hurt that it was and Eisner award nominee for best limited series, comics’ highest achievement.

This graphic novel opens with Joe Manson on a school tour of a veteran’s graveyard for school. We soon come to find that his father has died in one of the Gulf Wars, and this field trip has special meaning for Joe. After being harassed by some high school bullies, they end up taking his candy, which has major implications for Joe throughout the story.

See, Joe’s got a mean case of diabetes. As he heads home to a room stuffed to the gills with all manner of action figures, he starts to hallucinate, heading off into another world where toys (and the threats) are real. Joe’s pet rat becomes a quite adept bodyguard, and the house itself represents this land where one wrong move could spell disaster for the world of Hypogea.

In just eight simple issues, Morrison and Murphy move characters like chess pieces not quite unlike Oz or Narnia. The level of fantasy is high, but spotting all sorts of random Transformers and other action figures from my childhood made the reading thankfully slow down a bit to take in the scope of the drawings that worked in tandem with the words.

Growth from Joe and a handful of other main characters kept the story moving from one of denial and dismissal to that of determination and daring. What begins as this motley crew of characters with differing motivations, brings them all together in the end to an appropriately fantastical ending.

This article originally appeared at Strip Tease in December 2013.

Epic Beards of Review: Superman No.172

In all her infinite grace, my fiancée was willing to allow us to have a superhero wedding.

Though she’s not nearly the level of nerdery I embrace, together we went all out and had the wedding I’d never dreamed possible. The ladies wore capes with our own super-insignia and the groomsmen all grew facial hair as “secret identities.” We had a Supa Hero IPA from Clown Shoes Beer. My wife painstakingly hand-made table toppers, whirly hearts and votive candle holders from comic book pages. Our cake had a Daily Planet topper and the Legion of Doom was our card box.

A year or so later, we’re also making a kid. Doctored some pretty nifty baby shower invites and plans to have “first photos” taken in a wrecked spaceship a la Superman. Though the wife has put the kibosh on an heroic name (Clark, Bruce or Lando) that won’t stop me from teaching my kid, boy or girl, about their heritage.

A pile of coverless comics were passed onto me when I was ten from my father. Among them was Superman No. 172, October 1964 with writing duties by Edmond Hamilton and art by Curt Swan (and a Giant Superboy that was my brother’s) were among my favorites.  They were from his childhood, specifically age ten, which was lost upon me until I re-read this issue.

I shall not wait as long with my progeny.

“The New Superman” starts off with a full page of people gawking over just that: some blond Superman streaking across the sky. Clark Kent looks skyward, dejected muttering that he’s just a reporter for the rest of his life. I’d have been more upset that the usurper was prettier.

The tale begins in earnest when The Daily Planet tasks Clark to investigate that an astronomer from the Metropolis Observatory has discovered a green comet! With his total-recall memory as young Kal-El hearing of this from his father not long before Krypton exploded. Though not heading straight for Earth, Superman must save countless other worlds from this menace.

In his super-preparedness, our hero summons two would-be champions from the Bottle City of Kandor, enlarges them with a ring borrowed from Green Lantern and sets out some tests to find which will succeed him if Superman’s task proves too daunting for the Man of Steel. It’s one thing to use your powers, but another completely to use them correctly. Of course, once you get a taste of power…

A veritable who’s who of co-workers, sidekicks, heroes and villains really make this piece a highlight of my childhood. Supes even employs new powers and a snazzy new costume! All these silly plot-lines and the callous way our new hero flaunts his power show our Superman as the hero he really is.

Even without powers, I’ve got a wife who loves me and a half-dozen longboxes of proof to show my kid how super we really are.

This originally appeared at Strip Tease in November 2013.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Prodigal: The Wooded Council

Painting done by Elizabeth of Pocket Vinyl at Avenue 209 Coffee House November 13, 2013.

Okay, so there's a twelve-seat council (going with Biblical allegory here) of woodland creatures.

I've been working on this for some time, revolving chiefly around this old bear (Karhun) and Barry, the main character in Traveling Tales.  Long story short, the prodigal son is coming home.

Here's my list so far:

1. Karhun
2. Old Turtle
3. Cardinal
4. Blue Jay
5. The Frog Prince
6. Buck
7. Fawn
12. The Prodigal Son

The Prodigal Son is the twelfth seat on the council, but has been absent for years and his homecoming has got Karhun all riled up.  (Maybe some Judas references here?)  There're reasons he's been away, all legitimate-like, but he's back nonetheless. 

Is "The Wooded Council" a decent name?  If not, what would you suggest?  What are the four other animals on the council?  I'd been using a rabbit as a courier of sorts to wake up the rest of the woodland creatures, but was hesitant to use him as a seat.

Also, think of the seating arrangement as thirteen tree stumps: one in the middle for speaking, and twelve others around it as intervals on a clock.

Does anyone read this blog?  If so, why aren't you commenting here or over at The Oracular Beard on Facebook?

Friday, November 15, 2013


The last of Winter's chill gave way as the grass bled green through melted snow.

Forest Kingdom had lived in relative peace in the years since the caretakers had taken leave.  They have been wonderful stewards of the land, their steps simple, leaving little trace. They took little and always returned more than was required.

The property, if one could call the earth such, was more a home than their house.  Living at one with such wilderness attuned them to the lay of the land and the inhabitants therein.  Plant and animal alike, they understood the delicate balance as they played among the strands of nature's web.

And so, as one of the forest creatures' reveries or much like old folks' tales, the faunic forest friends were amazed that these two cold no longer commune they way they used to--the way they ought.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: More beauty from Ugli Studios!

 Jason Lenox stalked me over Facebook.

He’d found me through some sort of sleuthing, but I’m kind of glad he did. As a local illustrator, he sent me a PDF of his Ugli Studios Presents #1 so I could review it over at The Oracular Beard. I’m not a fan of reading my books over the interwebs, but enjoyed it immensely, and sought him out at Nittany Con, an itty-bitty convention about twenty miles from my hometown.

Being a writer myself (Jason an illustrator—always looking for an in) it was great to jaw about his work and not the least of which was his convention  upkeep and how he uses Kickstarter to fun his projects. It’s always a nice feeling supporting a friend, so a hardcopy of USP #1 and The Art of Jason Lenox were easy to walk away with.

Not to mention delusions of grandeur about one day getting my work out there.

And the fun didn’t stop there.

Jason had a new Kickstarter campaign starting up (Ugli Studios Presents #2) in which he was illustrating David Paul’s The Painted Ladies of San Quentin. I eagerly signed on for the appropriate level of hardcopy goodness and hunkered down to wait.

I swear, every time a new page was finished, there was an email from Lenox’s page ready to share. Things were looking good, but nothing compared to having the final product in my hand. And oh, how it all came together.

Painted Ladies takes us back to the wild west of America 1850. What looks straight from a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Paul and Lenox ramp up the action quickly as the sheriff’s whore puts a price on Elijah Holman’s head. No use for the “Dead or Alive” shenanigans here, Jessica Belmont would rather just have him dead, damn her conscience.

The use of sepia tone really gets the feel for the old West and the flashbacks in black and white are a nice touch. The paneling is fun and quite like something you’d expect from a Tarantino flick. Plenty of action and memorable characters make the opening twenty-two pages legit.

The next six pages are a gem written and illustrated by Brian Allen. The Courier delivers you right into the action with some guy keeping this box away from some nasty-looking insectoid aliens. Nice one-and-done story tucked away tight.

Thirteen is another six-page creep-fest with a dark, twisted feel written and illustrated by Joseph Freistuhler. Has that Vertigo bend to it that you’d find tucked away in an anthology. Could see this taking off into something larger, along the lines of Fringe or The X-Files. You can just imagine this oozing with history.

Great sophomore effort from the Ugli Studios team.  Buy yourself some of his work here, or donate to his Kickstarter for the new black-and-white (un)Painted Ladies!

This article was originally published at Strip Tease.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: Batman '66 #1 & Batman Beyond Universe #1

Holy time-travel, Batman!  This review originally published graciously at Striptease The Magazine!

Batman ‘66 #1
Jeff Parker (w) Jonathan Case (a)

DC Comics $3.99

I’ve not read a Batman comic since the first three issues of DC’s New 52. Not that I read much before, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around continuity issues of the entire line. I’d never been much of a fan of Damien Wayne, either. But with my own super-baby on the way, money’s going to be tight and I’m going to be picky.

I’ve still a box of my uncle’s from the 80s that I’ve still not read, as well as a great big honkin’ gift of Superman titles that I got for my birthday. I’ve even got three or four longboxes of stuff that I’ve been meaning to pore over again, maybe with said super-baby.

I’ve also not yet gotten into the cheaper digital comics, but my deficient computer handling skills coupled with the fact that I already spend so much time on the internet just sounds like bad news. How ironic, then, that I should pick up the two first issues of comics that were A) Batman and B) originally distributed as digital issues? I just now picked up on the fact that these were both television shows, too.

In our first review, Jeff Parker (Bone) and Jonathan Case (Dear Creature) bring a rowdy and raucous take from the small screen to your fingertips in Batman ’66. The feel of the original television program is here, almost as if it never left us. The announcer introduces us to the perfectly mundane Gotham City before some spectacularly dazzling crime takes place—this time in the throes of that Pasha of Puzzles: The Riddler. We’re thrown into the action and it isn’t long before Bruce and Dick are missing, the day saved by Batman and Robin.

There are some Bat-tastic nods here including Robin pounding his fist in frustration and Bruce/Bats telling him to “’Take heard, old chum.’” And how can you not mention a super-surprise guest-star appearing out the window as the Dynamic Duo climb up the side of a building?

There’s a cacophony of camp an color here, but the color concerns me: the shading and dot texture giving a feel of the sixties make for some hard-to-digest scenes, as if were almost meant for 3-D. Maybe something to do with the comic originally intended for the digital market.

Despite that little bump, $3.99 for thirty pages is a steal which the Caped Crusaders will be more than happy to let you get away with.

Batman Beyond Universe #1
Rewired Kyle Higgins (w) Thony Silas (a)
Power Struggle Christos N. Gage (w) Iban Coello (a)
DC Comics $3.99

In going with this time travel theme, how will we read comics in the future, especially now that we’ve gone a bit digital. Not sure why I’ve never picked up Batman Beyond because I’m a huge fan of appropriating old characters for new situations. Originally billed as Batman Beyond 2.0 and Justice League Beyond 2.0, Batman Beyond Universe has somehow helped me buy into DC Comics for at least a little while.

Gotham of the future goes back to its roots with the Arkham Institute, working very hard to “rehabilitate” the city’s biggest and baddest. In short order, the mayor is killed by an unforeseen murderer which we later find out is bioelectric in nature. There is no one the boys can put their finger on, so it seems there’s a new player in town. As usual, Terry is left completely unprepared for what lay ahead.

Next up is Justice League Beyond and Superman is experiencing issues with his powers having vaulted into overdrive. The League is there to help out when Supes’ powers go haywire, but the only way they can prevent further damage is Kryptonian nanotech which blocks his power to absorb solar energy.

There’s a neat twist here with a flashback aside remembering Lois which ties in nicely with Kal’s (Clark’s new alter-ego) fitting into normal society as a firefighter. Lots of flirting with a lady firefighter who seems to be asking him out, and not taking no for an answer.

Great art by Silas on Batman Beyond with plenty of panels to shake a stick at. Coello hits home with his depictions of Superman in Justice League Beyond, both in and out of the suit.

Even though neither story is wrapped up in this compendium, weighing in at FORTY PAGES for $3.99, you’ll be more than happy to pick up the next installment.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fall of Babylon

I can remember where
we were, but only
because the picture
tells me so.

Not the exact moment—
but memory serves me,
over easy
cold breakfast conversations.
Playing games 
on the back of a cereal box,
waiting for you 
every day,
offering up mere Fruity Os
however well
you can see through them,
the bag, 
and my veiled intentions.

Dainty, child-like fingers
small enough
to ring me a winner.
Choosing your suitor
based on the flavor of the day.
Struck with this, not
once, but twice,
breaking our engagement
as you stand,
cutting me open and
spilling my remains along the ground.
People pass us by, and
will forever walk all over me,
crushing me beneath their heels,
to sugary powder—
the kind that tastes so
sickeningly sweet
in the milk at the end of the bowl.

Couldn’t always hang onto
you, your gaze
forever, could I?
Forever unsure of the right words
to use and
where to place them,
with the perfect caption
next to the snapshot
of our “lives.”
These ideas expressed
I’ve longed to write,
these scribbling which will
somehow find their way
into a slushpile of works-in-progress,
and anthology, perhaps,
a future I always meant to 
write, until I was written off.

WARNING: The following material may not be suitable for some viewers.

The television shows
flicker and flash,
a continual burn and crash,
of images immolated
into the screens
of our collective unconsciousness,
Beyond our wildest
imaginations, playing with us,
over and over, again and again,
we want to see,
can’t help but look.

People pressing in, 
unable to breathe, 
constricting movement
to any other place
than here.

Up, up, up those steps
longing for
the answer at the top.
Wouldn’t be climbing them
without the promise
of the stairway
that leads to cleaner breathing air.

So much for comfort,
this empty space between the beds,
hard and unyielding, 
like your heart, 
open for suggestion.

Even as towers fell,
I was erecting my own.
Wish I could say mine
withstood terroristic tests of time.
Pedestal’s placement,
the mortar mixed,

Nothing like
tragedy to tear
things apart.

My mind was on this morning.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Going Solo

driving through the nite
in time to see the dawn
last saw you this afternoon
but it's been far too long
cause I miss you
I miss you

sorry there ain't too much room
just me and my bucket seats
with you by my side
babe you're all I need
cause I miss you
I miss you

some times I remember
how things were
then I stop and think
and see how much I've learned
the price I've paid
living a life for which I should be ashamed
but I've got you
and that's more than I deserve

woah woah woahs

gonna put the visor down
'cause the morning light's arrived
pretty soon I'll be in your arms
you're what keeps me alive
cause I've found you
I've found you

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: Versus.

This was originally published at Strip Tease.

Not that I’ll ever deny it, but there are times a-plenty when I get barbs thrown my way for being a nerd—but then, I’m thirty-five. Of course, the main protagonist of Versus. may have been around that age when cartoons like G.I.Joe and Transformers were actually on the air, it’s no wonder his co-workers are giving Engel a hard time.

There’s something to be said for Buddy Beaudoin and Andrew Meigel (Meibuddy Comics) and their approach to this inaugural issue: their fascination of the 80s not only encompasses Saturday morning madness, but also sizzles with a Labyrinth poster on a bedroom wall and a panel-by-panel Simple Minds tribute. Versus. is destined for greatness, but throwing in Patrick Swayze was a nice touch.

Our hero Engel is a cop with the Metro County Police and is soon embroiled in some pretty heavy (“There’s that word again.” –Dr. Emmett Brown) shenanigans by some super-shady thugs. We’re as yet unclear as to what’s happening, but I’m betting Superpara Industries where “Science is the New Religion” may have something to do with said malarchy.

Meigel has some pretty fantastic art reminiscent of Ted McKeever and fills the panels up with some crazy eighties fare. Panels and pacing are pretty perky and breaks things up nicely with full-page and smaller story elements. Colors and shading make it hard to remember this is an indie title. Versus. has got a trippy, heady cover with a glimpse into something melding James Bond with The Matrix.

They’ve chosen wisely with publisher KA-BLAM, and though this is my first experience with their product, I’d highly recommend them upon seeing the outcome.

In addition to twenty-five great pages, there’re a few with some sketches for future issues. There’s even a nice map of the Metro County Public Transit with some nice nods to comic greatness past and present. Whether or not this is a story akin to the likes of Fringe or Lost (or something much deeper) it’s still too early to tell, but I’m anxious to see where Versus. is headed.

As one prone to reading comics over and over again, I’ll have to order another myself considering there’s a fingerprint marring the front cover.

Versus. is available at Aquilonia Comics in Troy, NY, Fuzz Recordshop in Albany, NY, or directly plus shipping at  Versus. #2 will be available Fall/Winter 2013.

versus cover

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Epic Beards of Review: Seven Forges

I'm not sure what's just happened to me.

It's as if I"m just a lonely reviewer on Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Writer's Edition, and I've been quietly stabbed in the back by a would-be assassin.  I'm coughing up blood and my hands are slippery with the warm stuff as they struggle behind me, futilely grasping for the weapon.  Of all the back-handed, double-cross things to've done to a guy.

If I make it out of this alive, I'll gladly offer to be slapped around with the fiction of James A. Moore again.
Seven Forges isn't due out until September 24, but I'm already champing at the bit for the sequel.

What starts out as a seemingly routine trek across the wilderness wasteland of the north turns bleak right quick. What had been plodding for months through the ice and dust of a blasted cataclysmic landscape leads to an attack from mutated hyenas and a save from a barbarian as big as a house.

Oh, and there's a wizard behind all this madness.

Seven Forges is high fantasy like I've never seen--nary and elf, dwarf or dragon to be seen--but makes up for it with that pesky wizard and his harem, a mysterious race and a city hidden in the mountains.  After one character loses the use of his hands one of this mysterious race says something akin to 'Here, put your stumps in this magic box and "presto-change-o" you've got metal hands!'

Weird, yes.  But there's something about the function of this plot point that sings with the essence of the believable.  Moore gives us magic, swordplay and a fine mix of diplomacy that's perfectly well-rounded and doesn't bog the story down.

Seven Forges by James A. Moore is due out in paperback September 24 from Angry Robot Books.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monkey Business

Ah!  Hello there! 

Something a little crazy for your Maniacal Monday brings you my attempt at playwriting back in LHU. Got some good feedback from my classmates, but was panned overall because they weren't sure how a monkey was going to be as an actor.

I mean, really?  Part of the fact is that it's a monkey.  It's supposed to act up. That's what makes it art.

I guess I could probably use a smaller stage and puppets, too.


Organ Grinder
Ah!  Hello there, very nice to see you    
again!  What? This old thing that I carry
under my arm day after day, peddling my
craft?  Yes, well, for just fifty cents I
shall play you a tune the likes of which
you have never heard.   But the monkey—
he dances like no other in all the city of
New York.

[music starts, monkey dances, climbs up onto organ grinder’s shoulder]

Organ Grinder
We two are glad you like.  Yes, you may   
feed him a peanut, but please, no candy.

[organ grinder reaching out hand, taking peanut, feeding it to monkey]

Organ Grinder
You remember us from when you were a child?    
That may be, you have grown so much.  My
little friend here loved dancing for the
children at the zoo, teasing the zookeeper by
taking his hat.  What laughter!  Oh, how he
and the children laughed.

He has always been such a good little monkey,
just like the one in the stories I used to read
him.  And we have worked together for such a
long time, oh how he’s grown.  And I have grown
up, too.  Now you there, in your respectable suit
and shoes, that is how the professionals dress! 
Not in these shabby clothes of a gypsy.  My father
always said I had gotten that from my mother’s

[sitting down on park bench]

Yes, I was always shiftless, always traveling. 
Unlike my brothers, the two of them plumbers.  My
father was always partial to them.  He loved the
hard work.  And me?  Like he always said—gypsy
blood.  Now my little monkey friend here?  He’s
always been a hard worker, right from the start.

[feeding another peanut]

Well, mostly, right my friend!  Ha!  I have
raised him from a baby and taught him all that
I know.  Ah, but…well, he also has some of the
gypsy in him! 

[music begins to play again, but different, darker maybe]

He is a monkey, though, we cannot fault him for
that.  I try to read when I can, and find those
scientists might have it right.  I’m not sure
which one it is, nature, nurture, whatever.  But
those stories we read when he was young.  Well,
no wonder he wants to be something more!

It all started a few years ago.  Times were
tough—they always are towards the end of summer—
and the animals at the zoo begin to make their way
in for the winter.  The work was getting to us—the
daily grind you might say—and even I was thinking
of a career change.  Papa always said I would run
away with the circus.  But what can a gypsy organ
grinder do for a living?  Look at this old body!

[organ grinder stands, music starting normal again]

I cannot dance like the monkey!

[music back to creepy]

Working for peanuts isn’t all it’s cracked up to
be.  Even my monkey friend over there, he wanted
to get out.  Feeling caged in, maybe?  Well, that
one day we didn’t make much.  I wanted to go this
way, towards our home, and monkey, he wanted to go
the other.  I didn’t want to turn it into a fight,
but that is what he make it into sometimes.  Just
like a woman.

[organ grinder begins walking, monkey making a scene behind him.  Monkey races us his back, shrieking, knocking the hat from his head.  Monkey shrieks and yells, scampers back down to sidewalk, takes off own hat and vest, jumping on them.  Monkey takes off in direction of home.]

I know not what to think.  The monkey, he never
acted like this before.  But he is my friend, the
least I can do is follow him home.

[organ grinder walks to apartment building, all the while showing monkey jumping around room, throwing clothes, obviously making quite a mess.  As organ grinder walks up the steps, the monkey bursts out of front door, bowling over organ grinder.  He is dressed differently now:  a black beret, black turtleneck, sunglasses and goatee]

I know not what to think!  My friend, this is not
the friend that I know.  And the clothes?  He
looks like one of those sissy poets that sip their
fancy drinks!
And that’s what hurt the most.  Here it was, my
only friend: a sissy!  Yes, well, that and the
fact that I cannot work quite well without the

[monkey exits stage, man and organ dropping to sitting position on steps]
It was some time before I heard from him.  And
even then, nothing from him directly, just a
flyer posted to the door: open microphone night
at some coffeehouse in Greenwich.  I had not seen
him in weeks, and though I was hurt and tired, I
needed to see my friend, make sure that he was
okay.  So I put on my best vest and hat and went
to the place, hoping to see my friend, tell him
that I missed him, that he didn’t need to do this.


[organ grinder makes his way down the street, enters a coffeehouse.  He sits down at a table with a very beautiful woman, her making little eye contact, the organ grinder nervous.  On stage is a microphone, a tall stool.  You hear him before you see him, getting his coffee behind the counter, bounding his way up onto the stage.]

One look and I cannot believe my eyes!  He is very
different from what I remembered.  He looks sick,
and…smoking a cigarette?  I do not understand. 
But I watch, and the people, they love him! But I
am betting they cannot understand a word.

[sound effect of clapping, and Organ Grinder gets up to congratulate friend, when mistress steps in the way, pushing Organ Grinder aside]

          And it happened.  I do not know how, but I look
          just like me, and, well, she looks like that and
          I cannot compete with that.  He is upon her
Shoulders, hopping around and smelling her
cigarette smoke and perfume.  I…I am being
I had to leave.  There was nothing there for me
any longer.  My friend, no longer a friend to

[Organ grinder begins to shamble down the street.  Music is playing, slow, melancholic-like.  He sits down on steps of apartment building, light playing through upstairs window, and shadows playing on the window]

          Ah, but even though I do not approve, I am not
          the one to judge.  I sense he is up to no good. 
          What we call “a little monkey business.”   I
          don’t have to imagine what he’s going through
          up there.  You can take the monkey out of the
          wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the

[seeing shadows on the wall, some now a little more suggestive than before, clothes being taken off and the like.  Monkey jumping around, screeching.]

          But that does not last long. 

[Furious pounding away on typewriter, monkey bouncing up and down on it, screeching.]

There is an advance from a publisher for a
book that Mr. Monkey longs to write, but he
and the woman, they drink it up quick enough. 
And then she gets him hooked on horse! 

[Organ grinder, stands, paces, music slows.]

          Things…they go from bad to worse.  There are
          times when I haven’t heard from my little
          friend.  He…seems to have grown up, maybe a
          little too fast.  I hear there are some angry
          words spoken, shouting, the throwing of
          feces.  He is a monkey.  Can you blame him?

[seeing silhouette of bedroom, bottles and cans lined up on countertop, monkey falling into them, knocking them down, making quite a big noise.  See him coming out onto front stoop, snow falling, passing out with bottle in hand.  Organ Grinder stopping by and lifting him gently, taking him back to room in brownstone.  Can see silhouette of him putting him up in bed, reading to him from Curious George.]