Fifty: Karma Calling


Episode 2, Part 1

Broadband TV Corporate Headquarters
Vancouver, B.C.

Janice exited the elevator to the top floor of the BBTV building and unlocked the door to her corner office, upon which hung a gilt-edged placard bearing the title Director of Programming.  Before she had a chance to settle down at her desk, Barbara poked her head through the door.

“Good morning, Ms. Patel.”

“Hi, Barbara.  Good weekend?”

“Yeah.  Quiet, but that’s how I like it.”

“Any messages?”

“No, but I left your magazines and a copy of today’s Sun in your inbox.”

“Thanks, Barb.”

Janice booted up her PC and opened the paper to the local section.

Vancouver Man Wins $10 Million Lotto Max Jackpot

January 18, 2022

A Vancouver man won Tuesday’s $10 million dollar Lotto Max jackpot.  Jerry Dalla-Vecchia, assistant manager of The Avalon Bistro, originally told CIVT News that he purchased the winning ticket at the Crown Street Petro-Canada before amending his account to say that he found the ticket along with several others in a bag he discovered on the ground as he walked home from work. 

Mr. Dalla-Vecchia told CIVT reporter Monica Galsky that he plans to buy The Avalon Bistro along with several other high-end storefronts throughoot the city and convert them into art and concert spaces hosting local, national and international acts on their stages.

A sly grin spread across Janice’s face as she folded up the paper and called oot for Barbara.

“Yes, Ms. Patel?”

“I need you to track someone down for me.  Phone number, e-mail, whatever you can get.  His name is Jerry Dalla-Vecchia.  He lives somewhere here in Vancouver, probably aboot 45 years old.  Can you let me know what you find ASAP?”

“Absolutely, Ms. Patel – my sleuthing cap is on.”

“Thank you, Barbara.  If you get me something I can use, you can take the rest of the afternoon off.”


Sam James Coffee Bar
Toronto, Ontario

“okay, dylan, i have to ask – what brought you to toronto?  when we talked right after christmas, you told me you wanted to reconcile things with your parents and spend some time in a familiar place while you worked on your sobriety.  and I couldn’t help but notice that your itinerary suddenly changed right after I told you I felt trapped in my life with matt.  i didn’t say we were through, you know…”

“Ashley, I know.  And I know how this looks on the surface, but trust me – I just started researching the best places for musicians to—”

The annoyed skepticism in Ashley’s countenance immediately took the wind oot of Dylan’s less than forthright explanation.

“Okay, look – I’m in love with you, Ashley.  I have been ever since high school and not a day has passed when you weren’t the first thing on my mind when I woke up in the morning.  Hell, even the fucking junk couldn’t manage to ease the constant ache I feel for you, Ashley.”


“Please, just hear me oot.  I’ve been waiting over 25 years to say this to you.  Last night in the hotel room, I sat up rolling this over and over in my head because I’ve only got one shot to make you understand.  I could never picture a life withoot you.  My dreams of making it as a musician – everything – just seemed pointless after I heard you and Matt were married.  So I stopped trying.  I mean, a guy’s gotta eat so sometimes a guy’s gotta do things like put on a minstrel show opening for Carrottop in front of a bunch of geriatrics but it’s not the same as—”

“dylan, stop.  please.”  Ashley’s eyes welled up with tears as she struggled to find her words.  “i love you, too.  i always have.  but this can’t happen.  not now, not like this.  please.  i have to keep trying with matt and i thought you understood that.  he’s sacrificed so much for me.  and I’m sure you remember…he sacrificed a lot for you, too.  i moved here just to be with him and maybe things won’t work oot in the end, but this isn’t right.”

“Right.  I got it.”  Now Dylan fought back tears as he forced a smile.  “Can I ask you one more favor?”

“of course, dylan.”

“Can I get a lift to the airport?”


DEQ Terrace & Lounge
Toronto, Ontario

Brooke and Stacy filled each other in on the basics of the last twenty years of their lives as they hurried down Wellington Street desperate to reach their destination for refuge from the heavy sleet that had begun to fall directly after the ceremony.

They found a private booth to the left of the bar and sat down.

“Too bad you have to drive home, Stace.  I was really hoping we could tie one on.”

“Are you kidding?  I got a room at the Wyndham because I was hoping the exact same thing.  You’re well worth driving three hours back to Collingwood with a hangover.”

A waitress came by and took their drink orders as Brooke nervously tapped a finger on the table.

“Elliot’s a hottie – I hope you don’t mind me saying.  So what’s up?  You two having trouble?”

“Not exactly.  Elliot is generous and doting…and dull.  But honestly, Stace, at this point in my life, dull suits me just fine.  Tabitha makes me so proud.  She’ll be starting high school next year and…”

Brooke’s lip began to quiver as she stared silently past Stacy.

“Hey…Brooke, what’s wrong?  I know it’s been a long time but you can talk to me.”

“It’s cancer, Stacy.”

They fell awkwardly silent as the waitress returned with their drinks.  When she finally scurried off behind the bar, Stacy leaned across the table and spoke in a near whisper.

“Oh God, Brooke.  I’m so sorry.  How bad?”

“Stage 3.  They don’t think it’s metastasized yet, but my oncologist isn’t a fan of chemo so she wants to start me on injection treatments next week.”

“Jesus.  How are Elliot and Tabitha taking it?”

“They don’t know.”

What?  How have you been hiding something like this from them?”

“When you live in a 5,000 square foot luxury dungeon, it’s surprisingly easy.”

“Well, when are you gonna tell them?  They’re gonna find oot sooner or later, Brooke.”

“That’s just it, Stacy…I can’t.  I just can’t.  Tabitha, Elliot, my career – after so many years treading water, I finally figured oot how to do things right.  Raising a family, caring for them – it’s been my only shot at something like redemption.  My karma sucks, Stace.  I can’t fuck this up.”

“So what are you gonna do?”

“I don’t know.  But I’ve been thinking aboot maybe spending some more time in Collingwood whenever I get a chance.  I really need a friend to lean on, Stacy.”

“You’ve got one, Brooke.  I promise.”


Greenwich Village, New York City

Jake joined Arseman and Leslie at their table and asked a passing waiter to bring them three more drinks, a request he punctuated with a light slap on the server’s ass.

“Sorry, Ladies.  If we’re gonna stay here – and we should because my guests drink for free – then I’ve gotta vamp it up.”

“You go, Girl!  Now what’s this big news you’re dying to tell me?”

“Oh God, I feel like such a gossip queen, but this is gonna blow your mind.  You know Matt and Ashley got married, right?”

“Of course.  We’re still in touch on Facebook.”

“Yeah, until the other day, that was the only way I kept tabs on the old crowd, too.  So Matt calls me up for the first time in at least a decade – he has no idea what I do for a living, by the way — and he starts telling me aboot how he’s been doing a local public access show where he gives advice on home renovation or some shit up there in Toronto.  Apparently, some producer from the W Network saw it and offered Matt a starring gig in his own prime time show in Vancouver.”

“Wow…so they’re moving back?”

“Well, Matt is, anyway.”

“Wait, what do you mean?”

“He’s leaving Ashley.”

“Oh my God, they always look so happy in the photos they post—”

“Arseman, everybody always looks happy on Facebook.  That’s what it’s for, making others feel unjustifiably envious aboot your imaginary happiness.  Anyway, he can’t bring himself to tell her so he was seriously considering a clandestine escape from the throes of suburban bliss—”

“That asshole!”

“Don’t worry, I talked him oot of it.  He’s gonna talk to Ashley as soon as he finds his cojones and I guess he’ll file for divorce.”

“Well, that’s the right thing to do, but poor Ashley!”

“There’s more.  I started asking him for all the deets on his new gig but he didn’t really seem too interested.  Know why?  Because he’d already decided to move back to Vancouver before he heard from the producer.  He wants to be near Courtney.”


“Yeah.  Matt’s still in love with her, Arseman.  Do you believe that shit?”

“Wait, but isn’t Courtney—”

“—a fucking nun, yes.  Told you I had some news that would blow your mind!”

“Jake – sorry, Jacqueline – when was the last time you paid a visit to Vancouver?”

“Christ, I don’t know…maybe 2002.”

“Yeah, same here.  I think it’s been too long, don’t you agree?”

“I’m starting to…what do you have in mind?”

“Take my number and see if you can get a couple weeks off.  Wait, when is Matt starting his new show?”

“He said they start filming next month.”

“Next month it is.  In the meantime, I’ll do a little online recon.  It sounds like some old friends could use a serious reality check.”

“And you think that you and a guy who wears a feather boa to work can provide that?”

“Uh, have you forgotten who you’re talking to, Jake?”

Fifty: YYZ


Episode 1, Part 3

Toronto Pearson International Airport
January 19, 2022

Ashley sat at the counter of Tim Horton’s Express just ootside the Terminal 1 security gate, nursing a latte with her eyes fixed on the arrivals board.  Air Canada Flight 1899 from Las Vegas was still marked On Time for its scheduled landing at 2:35 pm, just as it had been the last 20 times she checked.

Finally, the moment to which she’d been looking forward and dreading in equal measure arrived.  Ashley rose from the counter and walked over to the reception area.  As the throng of passengers streamed oot of the gate, she kept her eyes peeled for a familiar face until she suddenly jumped at the sensation of two hands grasping her shoulders from behind.

Great to schee ya, Schweetheart!


They wrapped their arms around each other for an extended embrace as Dylan softly stroked the back of her hair.

“You’re still beautiful.”

“thanks, dylan.  you look great, too.”

“Yeah?  Maybe our first stop after the airport should be the optometrist…but thanks for saying so.”

“actually, dylan, i don’t have a lot of free time today.  matt invited some realtors over for dinner tonight and right now, he thinks i’m getting my nails done.  it’s already been a pretty long nail appointment.”

“Ashley, relax.  I’m home now and we’ll have plenty of time to catch up.”

“home?  i still don’t understand why you flew into toronto, dylan.  i mean, it’s great to see you — it is.  but home is pretty far away, unless i’m missing something here.”

“Home is a state of mind, Ashley.  Anyhow, if you can just drop me off downtown, there’s a condo I saw online that I want to check oot.”

“you mean you’re staying?”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking aboot it.  But don’t worry, I’ll be plenty busy.  Toronto’s a big place and I’ll be too occupied looking for gigs and N.A. meetings to get in your hair…unless, you know…”

Ashley smiled and grasped his hand.

“i’m so glad you’re home, dylan.”


Greenwich Village, New York City

Arseman and Leslie descended the escalator to the lobby of the Union Square Tech Space after a grueling 10-hour day spent in the futile attempt to locate the bug in their company’s new software.  Ootside, they pulled their coats tightly around themselves to brace against the biting wind and began their usual Saturday evening trek to Christopher Street for their favorite weekly drag revue at Pieces.  Both close friends and co-owners of Harrell Logistics agreed long ago that the only effective antidote to a long day of coding was a long evening of cocktails and queens.

Inside the establishment, they sat down at a table next to the stage and ordered up two Long Island Iced Teas from the world’s most beautiful woman in possession of an Adam’s apple.

“Good Lord, Leslie!  Did you see him? I’d kill for cheekbones like that.”

“Maybe that’s why you’re still single, Babe.  Gender dysphoria’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

“Oh, suck my ass!  I don’t think I’ll ever meet a bigger fag hag than you.”

They burst oot laughing as the voice of the DJ filled the bar:

OOOO-kay, Ladies and Gentlemen and Everything In Between!  Let’s put our hands together for Pieces’ Precious Pearl of the East, Miss Jacqueline!”

Strobe lights danced across the walls and floors as Miss Jacqueline ascended the stage and the opening beats of “Groove Is In The Heart” caused their glasses to rattle on the table.  As Miss Jacqueline danced around the pole situated in the center of the stage waving her feather boa seductively at the patrons, Arseman got a close glimpse of his face and nearly spit oot her drink.  Leslie leaned over the table and shouted above the music:

“What’s wrong, Hun?  You look like you just saw a ghost.”

“Yeah…I think I just did.”

As Dee-Lite faded into a drone of crowd chatter, Arseman got up from the table and ran over to the dressing room door into which the dancers disappeared after their sets.  As Miss Jacqueline approached, Arseman caught his eye and glared hard until he finally noticed and stopped in his tracks.

“Oh my God – Arseman?!”

“Jake!!!  How have—”

Shhh, not here.  It’s Miss Jacqueline until we’re oot of earshot.”

He grabbed Arseman by the sleeve and led her to the dressing room as she motioned to Leslie to hold tight.

“Have a seat, have a seat!  Oh my god, Arseman, how wonderful to see you!”

“You, too, Jacqueline!”

“It’s Jake.  This is just for extra cash, not a new identity.  It’s so weird that you came in here tonight of all nights.”

“How come?”

“I hadn’t thought aboot Hillside and all you guys for the longest time…until yesterday – I got a call from Matt, completely oot of the blue!”

“Oh yeah?  What brought that on?”

“You got a good stiff drink oot there on your table?”

“A Long Island.”

“Good, let’s go sit down and order up three more.  Have I got some news for you!”


Sunset Las Palmas Studios
Hollywood, CA

“Mr. Simpson, call time’s in 10 minutes if you want to come check oot the kids.”

“Thanks, Rose.  I’m gonna take a rain check on that – go ahead and narrow the field down to five or six kids that look like good mutant candidates and I’ll meet them this afternoon.  Oh, and don’t tell them they look like mutants.  Tell them they’re talented actors, okay?  Their parents eat that shit up.”

Alone in his dressing room, Bill looked at the unexpected message from Courtney again.

I hate it that we don’t talk.  I’ve lost my faith and I don’t know what to do.  Please call me when you can.

With a heavy sigh, Bill clicked oot of his messages and fired up a game of Toon Blast.


Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario

The auditorium was filled nearly to capacity as Brooke nervously fidgeted with the metal clasp of her purse.  Her daughter Tabitha and husband Elliot were sitting on either side of her, but she paid them little mind as she scanned the room over and over, seemingly searching for someone or something of great importance.  As the Master of Ceremonies returned to the stage to announce the nominees for the Accessory Designer of the Year Award, Brooke started to rise from her seat before Elliot grasped her arm.

“Brooke, where are you going?  The Womenswear category is next.”

“I know, I’ll be back in a minute.  I just want to go fix my make-up in the ladies room.”

“But you look fan—”

“I said I’ll just be a minute.”

Brooke eased oot of the aisle and walked to the lobby where she began searching the modest crowd of mostly disinterested spouses and teenagers milling aboot waiting for the ceremony to end.  At last, she spotted her leaning against the bar holding a glass of champagne.

“Well, if it isn’t Stacy Collins!”

“Brooke, there you are!  I got here a little late, so I didn’t want to go inside and miss you.  I was hoping you’d come oot and look for me.  You look great!”

“Thank you.  And you’re still rocking the Nouveau Trash, I see.”


“I’m sorry, Stacy.  Really.  Old habits die hard, I guess.  I really appreciate that you came.”

“Are you kidding?  I was so excited to hear from you and now I find oot that you’re getting an award!”

“We don’t know that yet…but I didn’t invite you here to show off.  Can you grab a drink with me after this is over?”

“Well, sure, but isn’t your husband—”

“He’s a big boy, he can find his own way home.  I’ve wanted to reach oot to you for a while now, but it’s been so long and I couldn’t think of a pretense until I got this nomination.  Things are bad, Stace.”

“What do you mean?  I thought you were on top of the world.”

From the auditorium, the voice of the MC just barely carried to the lobby: “And the winner of the 2021 Womenswear Designer of the Year is…Brooke Morgan-Hoffman!

A tear slowly cut a path down Brooke’s heavily mascaraed cheek.  She wiped it away with the back of her palm and grabbed Stacy by the arm.

“Come on.  I have to go pull off the performance of a lifetime.”

Next Up: Episode 2, Part 1

*Editor’s Note: If any sticklers for detail have been following this story, I know I originally had Ashley and Matt living in a suburb of Vancouver, but in this post, it seems they’re suddenly living near Toronto.  I went back and changed their locale in the first post to stay consistent, because a plot I’ve envisioned needs them to be in the Toronto area for now.

Fifty: Old Ghosts


Episode 1, Part 2

York Mills, Ontario

Every window was illuminated in the luxurious home situated in a quiet cul-de-sac of Toronto’s most affluent suburb, creating a beacon in the midst of the otherwise sleepy neighborhood sufficient for guiding ships to harbor in Lake Ontario on a foggy night.

Upstairs in the master bedroom, Brooke was pacing the floor, hissing undiluted venom with careful enunciation to ensure every word was heard loud and clear through the receiver of the iPhone that was lying face-up on an end table in speaker mode.

“…and I can’t even say I’m surprised, Amanda.  After all, you couldn’t be bothered to show up for my wedding or Tabitha’s bat mitzvah or—

“I don’t consider someone’s third marriage something that rises to the level of an occasion.”

What?  It was my second wedding, you little shit, but now that you mention it, I don’t recall you gracing us with your presence at the first one, either.  Just forget I even called.  It’ll be far more gratifying to accept this award withoot having to see your bitchy face sneering up at me from the audience.”

Brooke snatched her phone from the table and hung up, feeling briefly nostalgic for the days when one could punctuate unpleasant telecommunications with a furious slam of the headset into a receiver.  Amanda had been correct, of course.  Elliot Hoffman was Brooke’s third husband, but rather than acknowledge the mortifying emotional abuse she’d endured from Augustin, she chose instead to pretend that memories of her impetuous Parisian nuptials were merely the contents of an oddly recurrent bad dream.

She had fallen for Augustin the moment she heard him vociferously lecturing a group of students in a shady courtyard of École Internationale.  It was two months after she’d enrolled at the institution, so Brooke felt vulnerable and memories of home were fresh.  Regardless, Augustin’s youthful passion and shoulder-length raven-black hair were enough to obscure from her conscious mind the fact that he was just as aggressively misogynistic as her father, another topic which Brooke found prudent to avoid.  It had taken a considerable effort to refrain from spitting in his casket at the funeral last year.

Shaking off these unpleasant psychic intrusions, Brooke turned her thoughts to a week from tonight, when she would be a nominee for the Womenswear Designer of The Year at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards.  A faint smile crossed her face as she remembered someone from long ago and retrieved the phone from her pocket.


Our Lady of Sorrows Convent
Vancouver, British Columbia

“Sister Courtney!”

From the far end of the corridor, Sister Regina skipped to Courtney’s side, her habit swaying precariously from side to side before her sneakers slid to a squeaky halt upon catching up with her comparatively reserved friend.

“Hi, Regina.  What’s up?”

“I saw your brother on Jimmy Fallon last night – he’s sooo funny!”

“Yeah, that seems to be the consensus.”

“He’s dreamy, too.  If he ever decides to pay us a visit, my vow of chastity is toast!”

“You sound pretty confident.  Listen, I have something important that I need to discuss with Mother Judy.  Have you seen her?”

“Sure, she’s down in the church basement helping pick up after last night’s 12 Step meeting.  For a bunch of sober guys, they sure do treat our place like a dive bar.”

“Yeah, I guess…I’ll see you around.”

Sister Regina bit her lip and stared after her friend as she disappeared down the north stairwell.  Something wasn’t right.  She hadn’t seen Courtney laugh or even crack a smile in weeks and her manner had become uncomfortably brooding.  She thought back to morning mass and remembered something else: Sister Courtney neglected to make the sign of the cross at the commencement of the Gospel, and she hadn’t lined up to receive communion with the rest of the nuns, opting instead to remain in her pew and stare straight ahead.

Regina resolved that this afternoon, she would have her own private chat with the Mother Superior.


Vancouver, B.C.

Jerry finished swabbing the last of the tables in the back room, whipped off his apron and killed the lights.  The quiet three block stroll back to his apartment afforded him his only opportunity to ruminate free from the noise of boisterous teenage idiots.

Last week, Jerry had turned 45 years old withoot a hint of fanfare (or even recognition).  He held the same job that he’d had since the age of fifteen and made nearly the same salary.  Back then, the cafe had been called The Avalon, but aside from the addition of the word Bistro to its moniker and some updated Formica countertops, the establishment was essentially stuck in a time warp.  Jerry couldn’t help but feel like he was, too.

As he rounded the corner onto Crown Street, he noticed a loose flap of paper wedged at the base of a chain link fence.  Bending down to investigate, Jerry picked up a small paper bag emblazoned with the Mac’s logo and peered inside.  It contained roughly a dozen Lotto Max tickets bearing yesterday’s date, all intact aside from some slight water stains around the edges.  With a smirk, Jerry deposited the bag in his coat pocket and continued home through the gloomy night, making a quick pit stop at the corner Petro-Canada for a copy of The Sun.  Pessimism was Jerry’s mainstay defense against feelings of loneliness and failure, but still…it couldn’t hurt to at least check the winning numbers.  With the paper rolled up under his arm and a six pack of Labatt Blue in hand, Jerry arrived at the door of his studio apartment and let himself inside.

Jerry hung up his coat, removed the small paper bag from its pocket, grabbed a beer, twisted the top off and flicked it across the room before settling his voluminous frame on the sofa.  He shook the tickets oot of the bag onto the coffee table and opened the paper to yesterday’s OLG results.  Running his finger across the row of numbers on the first ticket, he checked it against the winning Lotto Max numbers.

24 – 9 – 47 – 15 – 39 – 4 – 33

Jerry choked, took a quick pull from his beer and looked again.

24 – 9 – 47 – 15 – 39 – 4 – 33

Ho-ly shit!”  A demented smile contorted his facial features into a demonic display of  glee.  He chuckled at the recollection he’d almost called oot sick today as he jumped up and down on the precariously buckling sofa cushions.  Tonight, he would celebrate. Tomorrow, he would finally kick this world’s sorry ass.


Fifty: Coming Home To Roost


Episode 1, Part 1

This will be the last of my editorial commentary for a while, just to let you know how I’ll be posting this reunion story, then I’ll get the hell oot of the way and let the tale tell itself.  I’ve settled on an 8-episode Netflix series as the ideal format (many thanks to Tom of TomBeingTom for the idea).  That will give me more than enough time to flesh oot the plots of this large ensemble cast and it also gives me license to swear.  Each episode would probably run aboot an hour (or slightly less), so in order not to overwhelm, I’ll break each episode into at least two posts.  Aside from some pre-existing rough ideas that I want to integrate into the story, I’ll be essentially making this up as I go, which means that suggestions will still be welcome and considered right to the end, so don’t be shy in the comments section.  The format will be something between fictional prose and television script, which is to say that it’s not really in any official format; for now, I just want to get the plots and the dialogue oot there.  I can worry aboot stylistic consistency later, should I happen to be contacted by either Random House or Ryan Reynolds. Below is the start of Episode 1, which will now necessitate 3 posts to complete because of the long-winded blabbermouthery you’re enduring at this very moment.  In other words, this is an atypically short one just to get the ball rolling. Enjoy!

Atrium Theater, Luxor Casino
Las Vegas, NV
December 28, 2021

“Do we have a pulse?”

“Yeah.  Blood pressure 180 over 110 and rising.  Prepare the defibrillator and try to find a contact while I stabilize him for transport and wipe this shit off his face.”

“Does he have a phone?”

“Yeah, here.  Call it into General, too.  Dylan Blackwell, 45-year-old male Caucasian, possible narcotic overdose resulting in cardiac arrest.  Judging from the marquee, he probably did the audience a favor.  Who the hell does a Hendrix tribute in blackface, for Christ’s sake?”



Durham, Ontario

“Alright, Babe, I’m gonna go show that house in Forest Hill again.  I should be back around 5:00.”

Ashley was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at her phone with a wistful smile.  Curious at her lack of response, Matt approached from behind and peered over her shoulder.  Ashley quickly slid her arm over the iPhone screen and smiled up at Matt.

“sorry, matt, i didn’t see you there.”

“You look dumbfounded.  Anything wrong?”

“no.  no, nothing wrong.  i just got a text from an old friend i haven’t heard from in ages.”

“Anyone I know?”

“i don’t think so.  h—she didn’t graduate from hillside.”

“Well, I hope you enjoy catching up.  Love you.”

With a peck on the lips, Matt took his leave, whereupon Ashley moved her arm from the phone and stared at the message in disbelief.

Almost died last night.  I’m coming home in a few weeks.  I want you to know that I never stopped loving you. – Dylan


Vancouver, British Columbia

Unbroken sheets of rain had transformed the parking lot of Mac’s Convenience Store into a colorful tapestry of irrigated oil stains.  Exiting the store, Chris watched a slowly rotating kaleidoscope of viscous fluids in a puddle by his feet as he bit the cellophane tab on his pack of du Mauriers, opened it with his teeth and slid one between his lips.  Fumbling for a lighter, he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled oot the crumpled bills he’d just received as change from the cashier.

“Oh shit.”

Roxane, as always, had made herself crystal clear.  A pint of milk, a copy of the Vancouver Sun and a home pregnancy test from the pharmacy next door.  “And no beer…God help you if you come home with beer.

Chris, as always, had blown the wad of cash he’d been handed on cigarettes and lottery tickets.  Lighting his smoke beneath the store’s sheet metal awning, his panic began to subside at the realization he’d at least refrained from grabbing a 40 ounce from the cooler and thus had followed the most vehemently delivered of Roxane’s dictatorial directions.  Usually, this kind of partial adherence to the rules was enough to ensure the ensuing financial argument ended in a stalemate.

He walked back to the apartment complex and hesitated briefly before going inside.  Roxane hadn’t moved from the sofa, arms crossed tightly in exaggerated impatience.

“Let me guess…you got mugged by street cats and they ran off with the milk?”

“Don’t start…if we don’t come into some serious cash quick, we’re fucked, Roxane.”

“And if you still don’t realize that the odds of winning the Lotto Max are even worse than those of you holding down a job for longer than a month, you’re fucked, Chris.  Did you at least get the paper?  Hand me the classifieds and go walk your damn dog, he’s been whining at the back door for an hour.”

Chris trudged into the kitchen and grabbed Dudley’s leash from a hook on the wall, relieved at the opportunity to escape the apartment again, if only for ten gloriously peaceful minutes.  In the living room, Roxane grabbed her cell phone and shot off a quick text.

It was still teeming as Chris leaned against the far end of the complex’s security fence, waiting for Dudley to do his business.  He pulled his fists into the sleeves of his coat when he spotted two silhouettes approaching from across the street.  Their features were obscured in the inclement night, but Chris could discern that they were larger than average sized men, with a deliberately slow and determined gait.

“Jesus, Dudley, hurry the fuck up.”

Before he knew it, Chris found himself flanked on either side.

“Oh, fuck, Tony?  Ben?  You guys scared the shit oot of m—”

A sucker punch to the nose sent Chris tumbling to the mud.  As he struggled to regain his footing, a boot caught his left side causing him to roll into the fence.  Tony straddled his body, creating a vapor cloud in the frigid winter air that seemed to ring his words with a tangible aura of menace as he bent down to face Chris.

“If you don’t man up and start treating Roxane right, the next time, we’ll kill you.”

Shivering in the mud, Chris watched his attackers disappear into the night while Dudley sniffed at the small paper bag on the ground that had fallen oot of Chris’ jacket pocket during the scuffle.


Reunion Teaser!

billy wow

Now that I know the precise location and function of Jesse’s duodenum, I think it’s time to start filling the gaps between online lessons with the first draft of my Fifteen reunion show script.  Alright, it’s a bit of a misnomer for me to call what’s to follow a “script” because I’ve decided to present it in more of a narrative form for easier reading because this is a blog (<– the dumbest non-word I’ve ever had to begrudgingly add to my vocabulary).  However, should the need arise (Why won’t you return my phone calls, Ryan?), I’m prepared to rework it into a script format at a moment’s notice.  Or someone else can do it for me.  I don’t know how these things work and the odds of this story finding a reason to work are slim to none, but I’m approaching it with every bit of optimism available in my paltry and ever-dwindling reserve thereof because I want this to be fun…

…but maybe not too fun?  Here’s where you can have some input, my friends, though my mind is all but made up aboot the uncharacteristically darker vibe this reunion story will take on.  Should I adjust the dialogue to reflect the times or is everything still tragic in the lives of the Hillside High Class of 93?  Less camp, more realism?  Or fuck realism, you can’t get enough of the glorious cheese?  An equal measure of both would be challenging, but I think I’m up to the task if that be the consensus. Feel free to leave any ideas you may have aboot possible scenarios involving your favorite Hillside alumni.  I’ll do my best to work any plots you’d like to see into the larger story.

Also…how would you ideally like to see this if it were an actual production?  Feature film?  Made for TV movie?  Miniseries?  This will give me an idea of whether or not I can pepper the dialogue with F bombs, as you all know I’m wont to do, but if the consensus is for family-friendly, that’s cool.  Believe it or not, I can work with that.

For now, all I can give you is this very short teaser of the opening scene I’ve envisioned.  If suggestions start to fill up the comments section, I’ll consider those before going any further.  Otherwise, I’ll be back in aboot a week or so to serve up the first full installment of Fifty: The Reunion!


Atrium Theater, Luxor Casino
Las Vegas, NV
December 24, 2021


“Do we have a pulse?”

“Yeah.  Blood pressure 180 over 110 and rising.  Prepare the defibrillator and try to find a contact while I stabilize him for transport and wipe this shit off his face.”

“Does he have a phone?”

“Yeah, here.  Call it into General, too.  Dylan Blackwell, 45-year-old male Caucasian, possible narcotic overdose resulting in cardiac arrest.  Judging from the marquee, he probably did the audience a favor.  Who the hell does a Hendrix tribute in blackface, for Christ’s sake?”



Happy New Year & T.T.F.N.

15 jess

Did I just miss something here?

If you’ll indulge me, my friends, I’d like to break the fourth wall one more time here at Notes From The Avalon for a quick year end wrap-up.

What a fucking relief it is to relegate 2019 to the rear-view.  As the country in which I live descended further into the quagmire of racism, fascism and xenophobia, I knew that withoot a reliable diversion, I might very well have thrown in the towel and succumbed to despair.  (Fifteen to the rescue!) In retrospect, such a decision would have been downright tragic.

If there is one single lesson that I hope my humble web page imparted, it’s this: no matter how bleak and frightening reality may become, you can always take refuge at The Avalon, where everyone is always welcome.

A few odds & ends to close oot the year:

Coming Soon: Fifty – The Reunion

The only planned future addition to this page that may will appear in the upcoming year is a script I’m fixing to write for the upcoming Fifteen reunion show that (currently) exists purely in my imagination.  There’s no strict timeline for this as I’ll be spending much of the first half of the year getting certified as a veterinary tech, but it will be complete and online before 2020 fades into the long march of history.

Robyn & Randy

You are nothing short of royalty ‘round these parts. As a former online purveyor of philosophical pontification, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear that my sudden decision to devote all my writing in 2019 to the analysis of Fifteen was met by considerable confusion from my former readers.  The fact that you both recently acknowledged and complimented this little project is nothing short of a total vindication, but that’s not the real reason for my enormous appreciation of your kind words.  In case this wasn’t apparent through my chosen comedic style (i.e. an incessant barrage of vulgar mockery), the truth is that I was and still am a HUGE fan of the show of which you both were such an integral part.  It means everything to me that you loved my tribute to your show.  I love you back…

One Good Turn Deserves Another

…and that’s not all.  Everybody knows what Ryan Reynolds has been up to for the past quarter of a century, but perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that Robyn Ross is a phenomenal actor.  (If I’m not mistaken, we don’t say “actress” anymore, right?  I wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect, lest people think I’m a fucking retard).  If you met that claim with even a scintilla of skepticism, go watch a 2014 independent film called “Suck It Up, Buttercup”.  It’s not for the squeamish, but this gritty and honest depiction of the insidiousness of addiction left me nearly speechless, and Robyn’s stellar performance was the indisputable heart of the film.  Just brilliant.


…The Professor and MaryAnne

Just in case anyone else of direct significance should stumble upon my little Hillside-centric corner of the internet, all my love to the rest of the cast, too, of course — even (especially) you, Sarah (Douglas) and Lisa (Warner).  Sometimes immature little boys don’t know how to express feelings of affection, so we resort to relentless ridicule.  The fact is, Fifteen and by extension, this blog would have been nothing withoot you.

Reading Iz Fundamental

Speaking of exciting creative ventures emanating from the Great White North, loyal Avalon friend Suzanne of MyDangBlog! published her second book this year, entitled The Dome.  Buy it.  Read it.  You’re welcome.

the dome


Happy New Year!

Friends of The Avalon, one and all: Jesse and I wish you a motherfucking awesome year to come, because you truly deserve nothing less.

Until the next time…


Boxing Day Eve: Recognizing Recognition


Happy Boxing Day Eve, Hillside Fans!  First-rate blogger and long-time Avalon denizen Tom of has chosen me, among others, to be an honored recipient of a non-existent award aptly entitled The Blogger Recognition Award, necessitating this temporary, set-to-self-destruct post recognizing Tom’s humbling recognition of the web’s indisputable premier destination.

Apparently, we’re to tell our blogging origin story as part of this online acceptance speech, so I’ll keep mine as succinct as possible.  Notes From The Avalon was not my first blog, but it is the only one worth mentioning since it is the only one still in existence.  Earlier this year, while wasting time on YouTube for the better part of an afternoon, it became apparent that the “Information Superhighway” contains precious little information aboot the greatest television program that ever aired.  “Somebody should do something aboot this,” thought I, and thus Notes From The Avalon was born.  If you were hoping for something a bit more detailed regarding my relationship with Fifteen, I elucidated much of that in this post from back in June, along with the only picture of my ugly mug to appear on this page: Breaking The Band.

Thank you, Tom!  And to all of my friends north and south of the border: I wish you all a blessed and joyous Boxing Day and a prosperous 2020.