ZIP Beep #39
JOURNEY TO THE CRYPT
by Dennis Wallaker

"Women, I know many of them on a first name basis."
-- Gordon, this guy I know.

A lady who I recently became unaquainted with said to me, "Your place is like a dumpster."

I replied, "Yours could be too if you never picked anything up."

She said, "Well, I just can't stand this kind of thing."

I said, "Neither can I, you're going to have to leave."

See, I figure if you can't have a give and take discussion, why have one at all, hmmm.

My apartment, the Crypt, is not a bad place except that it's filthy and there's a whole bunch of junk in here.

My mother (in town for a visit) asked, "Dennis has it ever occurred to you that most people don't live like this?"

"Yeah Ma -- hmmm."

She's a lovely woman. Unfortunately, she's a lot shorter than I remember her to have been in the past; but I think that's due to a lot of growth on both our parts.

Since my divorce, she's hounded me about underwear, Tupperware, girlfriends ("Can't you find a steady one?"), jobs ("Can't you find a steady one?") and the Holy Lutheran Church ("Out here in California, it's not just casseroles and folding chairs, many of the ladies in our fellowship group are involved in ---").

God bless her and her stuff except that she's coming back for a visit in ten days. Besides that, the only lady I'm in love with at the time, who also had the wisdom to break up with me, called and said she wants to come over and talk about it because she really loves me.

I love my mom and I'm looking forward to seeing Mary but I don't want to have to clean the Crypt.

How am I to answer those questions that the women around here so often need to ask? Questions like, "Why do you keep your cookbooks in the refrigerator?" or "Why shouldn't I open the closet?" Luckily, my mom is old enough to remember "Fibber McGee and Molly" but with young Mary, it would be like "Last House On The Left."

As I mentioned before, I'm in the process of debugging the place and I'm sure I can do enough surface cleaning to cover my behind for at least twenty minutes, but there are a few other things I'm worried about.

First of all, clothing. A number of people have told me that I dress like old people procreate -- then I think of Picasso in his late period and just keep on walking.

Once in the closet, I usually look for stuff that isn't wrinkled, especially when it comes to socks and underwear. That's the stuff people are going to have to look at if you take your clothes off.

Then I think colors; green, red, blue even purple as long as it goes with a gray pair of plaid polyester slacks. My dad thinks polyester is a gift from God but I think he's just remembering Pat Robertson in the good ol' days.

Little Mary, seeing me wearing this collage of crap, is always so proud because it shows I don't give a damn about the way I dress. There are so many people less fortunate than I that have to spend hours and hours shopping and God knows how much bread to get that same desperate look.

Mothers are different because of their need to fidget. They figure that because of all that diaper time, they can do anything they want involving your body even if it means spitting in the palm of their hand and rubbing it on your hair.

I can remember one time when I was doing a show, about five years ago, when she came up and asked me if she could adjust my clothing a bit.

I snapped, "No! I'm an adult. I'm living my own life and no matter what happened with my marriage, I think I'll survive."

She said, "OK," zipped up my fly and went back to her seat.

It sounds like an ABC sitcom but I guess we are what those things are based on.

There are a few things they refuse to handle no ifs ands or buts.

As a bachelor, I consider it my right to keep a couple of copies of PENTHOUSE around, for medicinal purposes only, of course. Mothers and other women that love you hunt them down and then demand a real Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn confession out of you.

Every guy has his own way out of it. I just say, "Every month they feature my favorite author, Name Withheld."

Without going into the socio-sexual dynamics of it, suffice it to say, it's the same reason most women don't care for a man who's too handy in the kitchen.

Getting back to cleaning the apartment, hmmm.

Away go the plastic replicas of the Madagascar Dragon Lizards, out come the family portraits (just like TV). Don't you hate it when you go over to somebody's place to watch TV and there, on top of the set, is Danny's Bar Mitzvah picture circa 1963 staring you down.

Still there's more to this game yet.

There's room odors: Burn incense - he's been smoking drugs; spray room freshener - he probably never empties the cat box; smell Lysol - and you can bet they'll lay down newspaper before they sit. I guess there's a whole slew of things you can catch from guys that haven't been on a date for a year. As far as odor, I usually cook up a bunch of pasta with plenty of garlic and onions the night before so when they arrive the next evening, they'll hold their nose and say, "Stale cooking smells ugh, you really should spray something around here. I don't care what!"

Decor is very important. The last time my mom came to visit, I had spent a frantic 48 hours trying to make the place look as Greenwich Village hip as possible only to have her say, "This place could be cute if it wasn't so bohemian." If I was her I'd worry if my over 30 son kept a really "cute" place. This is the same woman who said a couple of years ago, "When you said you lived in the warehouse district, I didn't think that you meant that you actually lived in a warehouse!" Huh?!

I can understand the woman's touch thing but if you don't have one around the house, you feel a little ridiculous putting pot holders on the wall or color coordinating your soup bowls. Besides, there is a man's touch, and I don't mean moose heads or chain saws, but more like keeping salt and pepper shaker sets down to a minimum, keeping unecessary articles out of the bathroom (southern belle toilet paper covers or knit toilet seat covers, all that stuff) and following recipes exactly.

But still, it will be nice to have someone around who doesn't happen to be me. I usually get bored with most people after five minutes, but those first five are always great. Before I was married I was a real "Wild Child," then I got married and became what I considered to be a progressive domesticate. After the divorce I became the thing I am today -- so anything coming at me is probably something I deserve. But for the first time, I feel complete.

The other day on my way back to the Crypt, a bunch of hoods were hanging out on the steps. One of 'em said, "It is he. The one for whom we have all been waiting." I said, "You guys are confusing me with Jesus Christ." He replied, "I don't think so -- no┘ unles█ Jesu█ Chris┘ ha█ Ě keś fo┌ th┬ fron┘ doo┌ too.ó Hmmm. It will go round in circles.

ZIP Beep #39
ALTERNATE UNIVERSE RIDERS
reported by Chuck Strinz

(Editor's Note--Continual readers of ZIP Beep may have wondered what happened to our reports of news and entertainment from the Alternate Universe. New readers, on the other hand, probably wonder what the heck we're talking about. By way of short explanation, our satellite dish is set up next to a rather large aluminum building. When the weather and astronomical conditions are just right, and for reasons we cannot explain, we receive audio signals from a place we have come to know as the Alternate Universe. This happens very rarely. But on these few occasions, we like to share transcripts of the broadcasts with the readers of ZIP Beep. --ED.)

MALE VOICE:
--in the panhandle, so it certainly will be a good night to go out and see that big gas cloud up close. Back to you, Bob.

BOB:
Thank you, Frank. Sounds like a good night for the Badger game, too. Well, tonight's Look In The Capitol report examines the recent federal funding bill, and the riders that are attached to it. Charlotte Hylips is here with that report. Charlotte?

CHARLOTTE:
Well, Bob, it's time to roll out the pork barrel again in the Big Town. As the new federal funding bill moves through the Capitol Building, it's picking up the typical array of riders, all designed to help Congressional speechwriters when their bosses return to their home districts to rub shoulders with their constituents. As such, these riders often reflect rather obscure issues known only to the members of Congress who proposed them.

Never mind the fact that many of these riders will be stripped off before the bill becomes law. Or that most are reaffirmations of widely-held beliefs with little provision for enforcement. They're brought forth to be voted upon, and voted upon they will be. Here's a summary of the best of the bunch this year:

It is resolved that Congress recognizes the rights of all people to be free.

It is resolved that all persons traveling under 65 miles per hour on highways marked 55 miles per hour shall be considered to be driving in the spirit of 55 miles per hour.

It is resolved that Congress as a body shall not object if Wayne Newton shows are staged in states other than Nevada, but that a provision shall be made to inform the public that his voice and style are irritating, and that anyone with such a weeney mustasche is probably not to be trusted beyond the distance he can be propelled through sheer brute strength.

It is resolved that a Venetian blind industry catering to automobiles shall be encouraged in an effort to fight the spread of those windshield sunblockers that are made of cardboard and are increasingly displaying cute slogans much like those seen in the little caution signs still found stuck in the back windows of far too many cars.

It is resolved that Congress shall encourage that a proposal be sought for forcing professional football promoters to pool their efforts and bring the excitement of NFL games to Arena Football, the player/owner relationship of the USFL to the NFL, or some satisfying combination thereof.

It is resolved that Congress recognize that it is the duty of every decent citizen to do what he or she can to see to it that Leave It To Beaver spinoffs settle on a single name, and that funding be sought to cover the expense of tutoring Jerry Mathers in the techniques of voice projection and acting.

It is resolved that undeclared Presidential candidates should be discouraged from declaring until the public has had a chance to sort out the names and agendas of those already running.

It is resolved that the use of pure plastic twist ties should be encouraged in the breadwrapping industry in an effort to protect American citizens from the unnerving and possibly hazardous effects of accidentally placing the wire-type twist ties in their microwave ovens.

It is resolved that the spirit of Congress shall encourage the public to show no adverse sentiment toward the Executive branch of the government when it, the Executive branch, repeatedly shoots itself in the foot, and that the Executive branch of the government shall be considered to have an unlimited supply of feet.

It is resolved that Congress recognizes that dogs are forced to appear on human interest stories broadcast (STATIC) and many local television stations (STATIC) and ratings period (STATIC, TRANSMISSION LOST).

ZIP Beep #39
FRUIT BASKET UPSET
by Susan Aubey

It was bound to happen.

In a society where the media everyday brings us stories of copycat crimes, copycat politicians and copycat products, we should have known that it was just a matter of time until the next copycat craze surfaced: Copycat Protests.

Protests are nothing new in this country, in fact they are as American as can be. But in an age where we see protesters protesting other protesters protesting, you have to admit it seems like everyone is just waiting for the "right" cause to come along.

Judging from the nature of these new protests, those causes may have arrived.

It started when the president of the International Banana Association, Inc. protested the use of a banana in a demonstration of the use of a condom during a PBS special to be broadcast in November.

"The Banana is an important product and deserves to be treated with respect and consideration...the industry intends to hold PBS strictly responsible for any and all damages sustained through the arbitrary, capricious and totally unnecessary display of bananas in the form intended," wrote Robert Moore, president of the association, in a letter to PBS.

I guess the banana folks are concerned that we won't respect them in the morning if their product is used in a prophylactic demonstration on PBS.

The other fruit associations were quick to jump on the protest bandwagon. Association after association called press conferences to air their grievances and state their demands.

Fashion editors must henceforth use other descriptive terms for bottom heavy women than "pear shaped."

Call a baby or an older person "wrinkled as a prune" and you just might find yourself on the receiving end of a law suit brought by the prune producers.

Writers have to stop referring to buzzing one's lips as "giving them the raspberry."

Used car dealers can no longer be prosecuted under state "lemon laws." In fact, call anything that isn't the citrus fruit in question a "lemon" and you'll be facing the wrath of L.A.W. (Lemons Aren't Wrong) and its legal staff.

Then there is the peach.

Things can no longer be called "peachy," women can't have "complexions like a peach," and probably most startling, the peach folks want politicians to abolish the use of the term "impeach." They feel this term, especially as it has been used so often recently, results in the public drawing an unsavory association between their product and crooked politicians.

This sort of thing can set a dangerous precedent.

Boxers won't have "cauliflower ears" any more. They'll still have horribly deformed ears, but we'll just have to call them something else.

Insects will unite and the phrases "quit bugging me," "bug-off" and "bug out" will disappear from our language.

Crazy people will no longer be "nuts."

And last, but not least, we'll lose a term writers have come to depend on "couch potatos."

ZIP Beep #39
INTERSTELLAR FOLLIES
by Don Fitzwater


 In our last episode (ZIP Beep #38) the crew of the Mariner found

themselves trapped in a cosmic game of chess, with their ship as 

a playing piece in danger of being sacraficed!  Can mere humans 

hope to defeat a pair of intergalactic chess grand masters?  What 

can possibly happen next?  Find out in the fourth installment of --

 

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 I N T E R S T E L L A R  F O L L I E S

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 .           Episode Four             .

 .       "The Edge Of Knight"         .

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

 

 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 ------------------

 

 THE CAPTAIN - That's all we ever call him and I guess that's his

only name.  He's in charge of the Lightship Mariner on its historic

first mission to exceed the speed of light.  

 

 TOOLS, THE CHIEF ENGINEER - Tools is a whiz with machinery and has

several other unexpected talents which will be revealed as the story

goes along.  He is developing an interest in the ship's doctor.

 

 DR. "BUNS" ALLURE - Ship's physician, shrink and beautiful female 

member of the crew.  She seems to be developing an interest in SONNY,

an alien space biker the Mariner has picked up along the way.

 

 SONNY, THE SPACE BIKER - Sonny was the crew of the Mariner's first

extraterrestrial contact.   He attempted to chain-whip the Mariner.

After his space hog was disabled by the Mariner's counterattack, 

they took him aboard in compliance with the "Lightship Code," which

requires the crew to aid anybody they meet who's in trouble.  All the

CAPTAIN wants is Sonny's hog fixed and Sonny off of the ship.

 

 BRAIN, THE SHIP'S BRAIN - Brain is the Brain of the Lightship Mariner.

Brainships are the melding of a living human brain with the ship's

cybernetic systems.  Brain functions as advisor to the crew as well as

watching over the crew and ship systems.

   



 KA-VOOM! KA-POW!

 

 The overhead light panels flickered as the Mariner was jolted by 

a tremendous force.

 

 "Captain!  One of the ionic bodies has been removed and replaced 

by another."

 

 "What do you mean by 'removed'?"

 

 "Destroyed, Captain," interjected Tools, "In chess 

terminology, taken.  I recommend that we try to avoid the same 

fate."

 

 "The last time I played chess I was mated in 5 moves!"

 

 "Ah Captain?  With your permission --"

 

 "By all means, Tools, take over!" 

 

 Tools leapt to the console, "Brain, have you been recording all 

pertinent data?"

 

 "I've got it right here --ah let me see now, cheasapeake, 

chesire, cheese, chess, chess --"

 

 "BRAIN!!!" 

 

 "I'm looking -- just a sec, okay?"

  

 Brain, for those of you you don't (or won't) remember, is the 

product of state of the art cybernetic engineering, which couples 

computers with a living human brain.  His autonomic nervous 

system actually handles the everyday tasks of ship's life support 

and maintenance.  His so-called higher functions are free to 

assist the crew as they seek out brave new worlds, new 

civilizations, to boldly go where no man has -- ooops, wrong 

story.  [Thought that sounded too familiar, didn't you?]

 

 "Brain, can you give me an analysis of the opponent's opening 

development of its Queen?"  Tools had a sinking feeling he 

already knew the answer.

 

 "Sacrifice of Knight, for the purpose of risky development of 

opponent's Queen."

 

 "I was afraid of that." Tools turned to the Captain. "Captain, 

we'll be moved to King's Knight five, threatening a fork of the 

King and the Queen on the next move.  In short, the Queen must 

retaliate or be taken herself!"

 

 The Captain was beginning to wish he had taken that offer of a 

cushy job on that spaceliner.  "How much time do we have?"

 

 The Doctor looked up from her wrist chronometer. "Thirty seconds 

-- they appear to be playing quick chess."

 

 KA-VOOM!  KA-BOOM!

 


 The ship shuddered from the blasts as the control room hatch 

powered open and a rather dishevelled Sonny stumbled in.

 

 "YEOW!  What the hell is going on here?  I just about snuffed it 

down in the pleasure room!"

 

 "That could be just about the best thing that could ever happen 

to you!"  The Captain still hadn't lost any of his strong 

feelings towards Sonny.  He loathed him.

 

 "Captain," the Doctor interrupted, "we'd better come up with a 

move and quick!"

 

 "Alright.  Now Tools, any fool knows a Knight is no match for a 

Queen."

 

 "Unless," Tools thought out loud.

 

 "Yes, yes?" 

 

 "Unless the Knight is protected by a Pawn!"

 

 KA-POW! 

 

 "Another piece has been destroyed!" Panic was edging into the 

Doctor's voice.

 

 "I'm afraid we're next, Captain."

 

 "Tools, what's your plan?"

 

 "Aw maybe I'm crazy --"

 

 "It's our only hope." [Ever notice how the characters in these 

things can only come up with one solution to their problem?  But 

on the other hand, notice how it always works?] 

 

 "Yeah, you're right.  After we move to King's Knight five, if we 

jettison a metallic substance representing a Pawn to protect us, 

we just might be able to disuade the Queen from attacking."

 

 "Might?"  The Captain didn't like the sound of the word "might" 

very much.

 

 "Well one can never be too sure, these intelligences are playing 

some pretty erratic chess."

 

 "We'll risk it, Tools."

 

 "Just one more thing, Captain, it's not exactly within the rules 

of the game."

 

 The Captain's ego, long suppressed by his total inability to 

come to grips with this crisis, chose this moment to surface in 

all of its forcefulness.

 

 "Don't worry about that Tools, I'll accept full responsibility.  

I'm taking over now -- ah, ah, just tell me what to do, Tools."

 

 "Right, Captain.  We've got to find something with the same 

compositional analysis as our ship to jettison as a Pawn."

 

 "What've we got, Doc?"

 

 "Twenty seconds --"

 

 "No!  No!  What have we got that we can jettison in place of a 

Pawn?"

 

 "Er, ah, Sonny's space hog!"

 

 "Right.  Sonny's space hog!  We'll jettison it and --"

 

 "Forget it!  Not my space hog!!  Without my space hog I'm 

trapped on this ship!"  Sonny was near tears.

 

 "We've got no choice."

 

 "You've got a choice -- my fist and your face!"  Sonny had the 

Captain dangling a foot or more off of the deck in the grip of 

his enormous hands.

 

 "Sonny, don't be a fool!  It's our only -- urk!"  Sonny's grip 

tightened.

 

 "Urk, smarfle org gurk urk ack ack argh," the Captain was still 

trying to reason with Sonny, even though he was apparently at a 

loss for words (and breath).

 

 KA-WHAM!  The Mariner lurched violently as it was repositioned 

on the board.  

 

 "Alright alright!"  Sonny panicked, "Jettison it, jettison it!"

 

 Tools leapt to the console and hit the emergency docking bay 

jettison switch.  Sonny's space hog (and his entire collection of 

PLAYBEING magazines) went tumbling into the void.  There was a 

moment of extreme silence, broken only by the strangled breathing 

of the Captain as he attempted to reopen his throat, and by Sonny's 

muffled sobs.

 

 The Doctor spoke first. "How long before the Queen has to make a 

move?"

 

 "By their past play I'd say fifteen seconds," Tools managed to 

reply.

 

 "Any movement yet?"  The Captain had regained his voice, if not 

his feet.

 

 "None." The Doctor stared at her chronometer.

 

 "That pansy ain't got no balls," offered Sonny between sobs.

 

 "Shh!"

 

 One of the objects disappeared off of the tactical display.

 

 "Captain," the Doc sounded puzzled, "Captain, the opponent's 

King appears to have been erased!"

 

 "Erased," whispered the Captain.

 

 "Resigned," explained Tools, "looks like we won the game."

 

 "Power restored, Captain," chimed in Brain.

 

 "OK, full power!  Let's get the hell out of here!"

 

 The Mariner accelerated away from the site of their brush with 

extinction.  Everybody had brightened considerably, including 

Sonny.

 

 "Hey, I guess that'll teach 'em to mess with a biker, eh?  Ah 

Tools, we can go back and get my hog now."

 

 Silence.

 

 "I said Tools, we can go back and get my space hog now!"

 

 "Ah Sonny," Tools was trying to break it to him gently, "I'm 

sorry.  The board's been cleared."

 

 "My hog's gone?"  Sonny's upper lip was trembling violently now.  

"MY HOG'S GONE?  ARRRGGHH!!!"  Sobs wracked the humungous biker's

body.

 

 The Doctor tried to comfort the bereaved biker, "Sonny, you're a 

hero.  You saved all of our lives."

 

 "Aw my hog's gone --"

 

 "It's true," interjected the Captain, "and Sonny, as hard as it 

is for me to say this, with your ship gone -- you're a member 

of the crew now."

 

 "Yeah but my hog is, er ah, but I'm a, er ah, ya mean I'm a 

hero?"

 

 "That's right, Sonny," the other three chimed in.

 

 "Ah I ain't never played chess before."

 

 "Well, you got off to a brilliant start," remarked the Captain.

 

 "Yeah, I guess I did, didn't I?  We ought to celibrate my winning 

or something, eh?" 

 

 "Yeah, that's not a bad idea.  I think I'll punch up a martini." 

 

 "I'll have a champagne." 

 

 "Great Doc.  What about you, Tools?"

 

 "Nothing for me, Captain, I think I'll pass on that for now.  

You know, I just wouldn't feel right after cheating at the 

gentleman's game of chess."

 
WHAT FURTHER ADVENTURES AWAIT THESE BRAVE EXPLORERS OF THE UNKNOWN?

CAN SONNY CONTINUE TO FUNCTION WITH OUT HIS HOG?

WILL PLAYBEING MAGAZINE BE BANNED FROM INTERSTELLAR CONVIENCE STORES?

HOW DO I GET A SUBSCRIPTION?

JUST WHAT ARE THOSE APPENDAGES ON MISS ALPHA CENTAURI?

We may learn the answers. Then again, maybe we won't. In any case, be sure to watch the coming issues of ZIP Beep for the continuing adventures of the crew of the Lightship Mariner in -

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