The Death of Lou Grant

25 12 2011

Nominated for an EPPIE Award. And its free. Laughs, chuckles, rape, and murder.

The Death of Lou Grant

A man is dying in his backyard of a heart attack. He begins to recall his life. Except that it is not his life. It is the life of a fictional character from a popular television situation comedy. And he can’t…

Death of Lou Grant

10 10 2011

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The Death of Lou Grant

20 05 2011

A man is dying in his backyard of a heart attack. He begins to recall his life. Except that it is not his life. It is the life of a fictional character from a popular television situation comedy. And he can’t…

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Ted Slipped A Cassette Into the Recorder (Chapter 24, Lou Grant)

3 09 2009


Ted Slipped a Cassette Into the Recorder

Ted Baxter slipped a cassette into the recorder, the back of his hand casually rubbing against the side of Mary Richard’s leg. Mary moved her leg closer to Ted’s hand. Sue Ann Nivens sat in the back seat, chattering away. Neither Ted nor Mary paid much attention to her. Sinatra’s voice seeped out of the speakers. Ted’s free hand caressed Mary’s dress. Mary swallowed, glancing down at Ted’s hand.

“I love Sinatra,” Sue Ann sighed. “Mother used to tell me about what a big star he was. Scrawny little fellow. The bobby-sockers would swoon over him. What a reputation he had with the ladies? Maybe that was part of his attraction. I saw him on television a couple of weeks ago. Still in good voice though he doesn’t walk so well. Didn’t exactly take it easy in his time. Supposed to have been involved with gangsters. I can’t imagine why. What would they have to talk about?”

Ted looked in the rear view mirror.

“What do you see?” Mary asked.

“A yellow cab,” Ted responded. “I could swear it’s been following us.”

“Oh, how exciting!” Sue Ann squealed remembering her late husband Frank and his BMW. The two of them flying along the expressway. And her mother sitting at home, biting her nails. And her sister stewing in their bedroom, blaming Sue Ann for the new curfew inflicted on both sisters because Sue Ann was still out carousing when she should have been home. And her and Frank parking in lover’s lane. And Sue Ann laughing and her hair thrown back, her arms and legs wrapped around Frank as she wrote poems in her head about how fast love seems to pass through us.

“I hope someone is following us. Mystery is life’s greatest spice.”

MURRAY: What’s going on between Mary and Ted?

LOU GRANT: What do you mean?

MURRAY: You know what I mean, Lou.

LOU GRANT: Okay. I don’t have as much control over this thing as I should.

MURRAY: Ted put you up to that, didn’t he?

LOU GRANT: Don’t be ridiculous. It just popped into my head. It’s the scotch.

MURRAY: What ever he gave you, Lou, I’ll double it.


Follow That Car (Chapter 23, Lou Grant)

3 09 2009


Follow That Car

It had rained out. Streetlights splattered on the sweating asphalt. It looked like one of those tacky paintings of a Paris street. I stood in my overcoat underneath the awning outside the bar. Waiting. For what, I had no idea.

It was still raining. A streetcar rang its bell. And thundered by. Newspapers that had been blowing about on the street now, wet, wallpapered the sidewalks. Teenage girls in football jackets over their heads, giggled as they raced down the avenue. I wish I owned a gun.

Mary Richards and her friends came out of the Blue Lagoon. Huddled under two umbrellas. Laughing. Sue Ann screeched as the group made a mad dash across Church Street to the parking lot next to Gatsby’s Steak House.

I pulled my collar up. Rain dripped off my hair, and the tip of my nose and chin. From the bar, you could hear music playing. Billy Joel’s Piano Man. A white van raced up the street. I lost sight of the WTM crowd. The van passed. They were piling two cars. Doors slammed. Mary had climbed into the silver Mercedes with Sue Ann and Ted. Lou and Rhoda continued on through the lot until they reached Rhoda’s red Rabbit. The Mercedes moved slowly across the lot, beeped its horn once and then stopped in front of the attendant’s booth. Windshield wipers kept slapping. The muted siren from a window lowering. Voices. A ticket receipt.

I stepped out to the curb and haled a cab. I don’t know why. Maybe I was bored. I haled a cab. One passed me. A second. The Mercedes had already moved up the street. Stopped at a traffic light. A cab pulled over to the curb.

“Follow that Mercedes,” I said to the driver.

MURRAY:  Wait a minute, Lou.

LOU GRANT: I was on a roll here, Murray.

MURRAY: There were two Lou Grants in the bar.


MURRAY: Isn’t there some kind of rule about that? Some kind of temporal disruption. That changes everything in the future.

LOU GRANT: Like hair loss?


MURRAY: Okay. So there’s a big storm. Lightning and thunder. Why would you do that in your own dream? Why not have a warm pleasant evening. Shirt sleeve weather.

LOU GRANT: You might be right about that. I didn’t have an umbrella. Could have caught a cold.

MURRAY: You can catch a cold in a dream?

LOU GRANT: Maybe.  Do you know how you catch a cold?

Mary Richards (Chapter 20, Lou Grant)

25 08 2009


Mary Richards

Mary Richards leaned back in her chair, sipping on a daiquiri. Everyone gets lost in her eyes. God, they’re like paradise. But mostly I stare at her throat. So soft. The skin. And Mary has a such a delicate and small neck. You could put your hands right around it.  Vulnerability is so… attractive.

Frank has just finished serving their drinks. He stood behind Mary. Transfixed, or so it seemed. He looked like the Scare Crow from the Wizard of Oz. Hung up there on his cross. Waiting for the Romans to take him down. I had to laugh. Not just the expression on Frank’s face. But the whole table. They think that Frank has been mesmerized by Mary’s beauty. I knew better. He was waiting for his tip.

Sue Ann Nivens, a middle aged dyed blonde. Make-up applied with a trowel. If she sat still long enough, someone would put her in a park. Sue Ann noticed Frank’s behavior and nudged Lou Grant in the ribs. That was me. I’m at the bar having a drink. But that was me alright.

“Gosh,” Lou gargled with embarrassment and handed the waiter a tip. Lou recognized the expression on Frank’s face. He’d been in enough bars.

Frank nodded in appreciation and returned to the bar.

“Fuck me, if I’d let them get away without tipping me.” Frank was pissed. And it took something to get Frank pissed. (I don’t know why I know that.) Frank placed his tray on the bar.

“Intellectuals! You can tell every time.” Frank had been unaware that he was talking out loud. A businessman sitting down the bar looked on with a puzzled expression on his face. Frank turned to him.

“What are you looking at?”

Frank turned back to me.

“Cheap bastards!”

“They can hear you,” I said. The table wasn’t far from the bar. I glanced back at the table.

“Did you see that?” Sue Ann whispered to the others as if they were sharing some state secret. “They just can’t keep their eyes off Mary!”

Lou (the Lou at the table) looked at Sue Ann with a puzzled expression.

I turned to Frank.

“You noticed anything odd about anyone at that table?”

Frank thought for a moment.

“Doesn’t the bald headed fat guy look like someone you know?” I asked.

Frank looked at me and then back at the table. And then back at me.


“Were you going to say something, Lou?” Sue Ann asked.

I turned. We had met somewhere before. Me and Sue Ann. I started to thumb nail through her thoughts, I couldn’t find one thought that fit reality. Was there ever a moment in her life when she saw the world as it is? Never depressed. Except for the cold shoulder she received every day from Lou. She’d been sleeping with Bozo. The clown on the kid’s show. And she’s been testing the dating sights. She likes long walks on the beach. During mid-afternoon. With the entire Sable Beach male volleyball team. She likes the warm feeling of fresh liver in her hands. She’s as comfortable in an expensive evening gown as cut-offs. She dreams about confetti in her hair. And wearing the pajamas of a man with a barrel chest. Her mind is like a purse that no one but her as ever bothered to steal from.

I shook my head. What did I say about smell?

“What?” Frank asked.

“Something I ate,” I responded.

Lou turned to Mary. “When you pay for a round, Mary, you’re supposed to tip as well.”

Mary smiled quixotically. “Really? Are you sure, Mr. Grant?”


“Make a note of it, Mary.” Lou pointed at Mary, then conscious of his stubby finger withdrew it. “You never know when you’ll need a waiter. I remember a time when I was doing a piece for San Diego Tribune… but, that’s not important.” Lou snorted with delight as he proceeded into his next thought. “It was so thoughtful of you, Mary, to invite us all to this…” Lou cleared his throat as he gestured to the room. “… establishment. The last time I was in a place like this I had more hair, less belly, and the appreciated charms of two professional… mature young women.”


Back at the bar Frank spoke.

“You’ve been eating a lot of those pickled eggs.”

My attention had been focused on the table. It took me a moment to sort out what Frank had said.

“I missed lunch.”

“All that vinegar can’t be good for you.” Frank picked up a glass and began to wipe it. The glass hadn’t been used.

“I’ll have clean bowels,” I responded.

“That’s a thought we can do without.” Frank looked at me and smirked.


The Blue Lagoon (Chapter 19, Lou Grant)

23 08 2009


The Blue Lagoon

Smell is the key to reality. Stale beer, cigarette smoke, urine, popcorn, vagina farts. I turned from the bar and spotted Mary (my Mary) sitting with the crew at a table.  I could smell the roses in her hair.

“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked.

I looked up.

“Is your name, Bud?” I asked. Frank smiled like every bartender I’ve ever known, not impatiently or angrily but with resignation. Like the grim reaper. He knows it’s a one-way street. And he ain’t going nowhere.

“Strange question, Mike.”

“Mike. How do you know my name is Mike?” I asked.

Frank sighed.

“Going to be one of those nights, eh? What’ll you have? The usual?”

I nodded. So I’m Mike. Who the hell is Mike?

“You’re in a strange mood, Mike,” Frank said. Frank talked like he knew me. Like he’d known me for some time. Like I was a regular. And yet I couldn’t remember being in the Blue Lagoon before. Couldn’t tell you where it was situated.

Frank continued. “Sitting there now for hours, your thoughts a million miles away. Soaking up the beer. You seem to have taken quite an interest in the people at the table over there. Staff of WJM. Look out of place in a joint like this, don’t you think? Slumming. You meet all kinds. Lousy tippers. Wish Bud was in tonight. Took a few days off; left me holding the fort. Running my ass off. Better take their drinks over. Talk to you later.”

Frank picked up a tray of drinks and made his way over to her table. I saw Mary smile at him. She glanced my way. And looked at me strangely. Like she should know me. But didn’t.