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The Non-Fiction Theater of the Totally Mundane proudly presents:

Flu Shot

by Rick Brown

Scene: a large auditorium lobby on a major college campus. Tables with blank medical forms waiting to be filled out. Dozens of people (most in short sleeves) in a relatively straight line filling out forms waiting to see one of three nurses at the line's end.

Main character Rick waits in line until he is called back to the farthest nurse's table.

Nurse: Please sign this form. Have you ever had a flu shot before?

Rick: Yes. A few years ago. They ran out last year.

Nurse: Yes we did. Which arm do you want it in today?

Rick: My left arm already hurts. Let's do the left.

Nurse: So your left arm can be totally miserable?

Rick: It's not going to hurt that much is it?

Nurse (grinning and shaking her head from side to side): Oh no, no, no, no!!! Just a little stick. Now relax your left arm. That’s wonderful!! You relaxed so easily!!!

The nurse stabs the upper part of Rick's left arm. Rick grimaces slightly. She puts the syringe down and begins preparing a small band-aid for Rick’s arm. The nurse drops the small, round band-aid.

Nurse: Ooooo!!...these tiny band-aids are such a pain in the HOO HOO!!!

She picks up another bandage and begins peeling the backing off. She looks directly into Rick's face and smiles devilishly.

Nurse: You know...the HOO HOO? You know…the HOO…HOO…riiiight?

Rick (earnestly deadpanned): Yeah...sure...I know the HOO HOO


Rick - Himself
Nurse - Herself
Crowd - Themselves
HOO HOO - Hooself

wild irish rose

by Jessy Kendall

one hundred washing boards
of interest scrubbing amazing bucket-loads
of new ideas.
blue plastic buckets of purring kittens of amazement.
the ginger ale and apple
of my staff meeting sit silently,
sipped, bitten.

it's raining.
someone wants to go out shopping.
it's dangerous out.
but i have plans
to paint in the sun the spot above the day shelter doors
where the bricks spread out like a star.

put salad next to sandwiches,
dump out the wild irish rose i find in the doorway at work.
confront the doorbell 20 seconds later,
the two guys ask for their bottle back,
my first pull with policy.
stepping step
ping stepping stepping.

Sir Elton John
Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio
November 18, 2005
* * * * 1/2

by Rick Brown

Sir Elton strode onstage at 8:10 p.m. in lieu of an opening act and stayed there until almost 11 p.m. much to the delight of a near capacity crowd. Anticipation seemed to run high since the concert had been rescheduled from an earlier March date. People were ready Freddie and it struck me just how many loud loyal fans this piano man has held for over three decades. But first came the tease.

Mr. John…backed by an eight member choir…made it clear the first part of the concert would showcase tunes from his most recent release Peachtree Road, a fine recording of country tinged numbers reminiscent of Tumbleweed Connection. Elton was true to his word playing Peachtree almost in its entirety. Dressed in baggy trousers and a long coat adorned with a giant flower, John was…as usual…surrounded by crack musicians including drummer Nigel Olson (who has been with John since day one) and guitarist Davey Johnstone (not quite day one). Although songs like “Porch Swing in Tupelo” “Freaks in Love” and “My Elusive Drug” (concerning his partner of 12 years) were quite fine, the standout for this first set…thanks to the fine choir…was the gospel inspired “Answer in the Sky”. Like most audiences who come to hear the hits…people were fidgeting…some chomping at the bit…to hear “the hits”. Instead Sir Elton and company scorched through another Peachtree tune, this time a rocker called “They Call Her the Cat”. Proving that not only was the bitch back…but the bitch could still boogie!!

John Bennett
Blank Sight
by John Bennett

Christmas at 2Co’s 2005
2Co’s Cabaret
The Short North
Columbus, Ohio
* * * * *

by Rick Brown

I was going to merely write a review of this year’s version of Christmas at 2Co’s without mentioning that…well…I feel as though I’m losing a good friend. Days before attending I received a press release from 2Co’s parent troupe Shadowbox Cabaret. As of February 25, 2006 2Co’s will close its doors. And like most things in life…it’s all about the money…or the lack thereof. The company has been skating by for a few years now waiting for Mr. Bush’s economy to recover.

Holiday Hoopla XIV
Shadowbox Cabaret
Easton Towne Center
Columbus, Ohio
* * * 1/2

by Rick Brown

In light of the pending closing of sister cabaret 2Co’s I’ll begin my review of Shadowbox’s fourteenth incarnation of Holiday Hoopla with some good news: their menu has been expanded! Besides adding items such as a pesto pizza and new salads…great for those of us leaning towards vegetarianism…there’s also a much larger wine selection. And while I’m sure “Ménage a Trois” was chosen as much for sexual innuendo as taste…it is a pretty decent Italian red blend. It goes just fine with nachos and jalapenos!! Also…I attended this year’s holiday show on a Sunday evening. I highly recommend this night to anyone wishing to escape the insanity that is Easton Towne Center…although as Christmas draws ever nearer the crowds may grow.

Virginia Roadside
by Harry Campbel

Click Here

Teo the Racehorse: A Fable
by Ted Kane

Teo was a racehorse
Among the fastest in the land
The male with a gaudy coat
claimed his rivals
Were fillies in disguise;
some suggested that Teo
Was ashamed he was a gelding

Teo had a proud owner
& he sent him an expert trainer
& he, in turn, found him a fine jockey
A well respected rider considered to be
Among the finest in California

Teo didn't win every race
After all, what horse ever has or could?
But Teo won his share, and when he lost
It was just by a nose or,
at most, a length
He always finished in the money


Five Albums You Should Own,
But Probably Don’t
by Cory Tressler

1. Robert Palmer – Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley

Released in 1974 “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” is the late Robert Palmer’s debut, and by far his best, album. Palmer’s vocals are as soulful and funky as a white man can get. Rock and roll power jammers Little Feat and the New Orleans funksters The Meters act as Palmer’s backing band, and their contributions alone are worth the price of admission. The opening three tracks flow smoothly into one another creating a 10 minute long funk explosion that rivals any recordings ever put out by 70’s legends Parliament Funkadelic, The Meters, Bootsy Collins, or James Brown and the JBs. Although the album is only eight tracks long, every single second of this album is pure gold with not one wasted note. It’s impossible to pick highlights from this record because every single song is praiseworthy. From
the super sexy “Blackmail”, which is about getting caught in an adulterous situation, to the joyous 12 minute finale “Through It All There’s You” this album just doesn’t let up and like every great work of art it gets better over repeated listens. Fortunately, this is not a hard CD to get, some record stores may have it on their shelves and if not it can be ordered at any major music retailer’s website.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Munising, MI - October 2005
by Patrick O'Malley

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A Naked Sunfish Holiday Tradition

Holiday Cheer from Aunt Edith

by Rick Brown

My late Uncle Wes lived with my Aunt Edith for most of his adult life...although I’m sure it seemed like an eternity to him. He worked for the Bethlehem Steel Company in Baltimore for thirty years until he retired. He worked the night shift getting off around 7 a.m. when he would come home for dinner. In the summer when it was warm...and Baltimore can get very, very humid...he would go to a movie matinee in an air conditioned theater and sleep. If you knew my Aunt Edith you would assume what I did...even as a child...and that was that Uncle Wes worked nights and went to matinees to get away from his wife. He never said much. He was a slight, wiry man of few words. And the few words he almost always uttered were, “For Chrissakes Edith! SHUDD UPP!!”

The man was almost incidental by nature. One time...after he retired and he and Aunt Edith moved back to the Cleveland area...my brothers and I were helping him put a refrigerator in a backyard shed because there was no room for it in the trailer they were moving into. After much jostling my brothers and I closed the shed door and thought we were finished. From her perch (as supervisor of course) Aunt Edith looked at the three of us with bewilderment and asked, “Where the HELL is Wes?” And after exchanging confused glances we heard muffled sounds coming from behind the fridge in the shed. “MMMPPPHH!!! Hey!! HHMMPPHHFFF!!!” We quickly opened the shed door, moved aside the refrigerator and liberated Uncle Wes. My brothers and I were all embarrassed and each, in turn, apologized profusely for our insensitive behavior. Aunt Edith broke into the humility with a shriek of, “What the HELL were you doing in there?” Which prompted Uncle Wes to...once again...chant his mantra. “For Chrissakes Edith!! SHUDD UPP!!” They were quite the loving couple. Their last name was Crabtree. I am not making this up.

Wes soon was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thirty years in the steel mills and 2 packs a day of Chesterfield non-filters caught up with him. The last time I saw him he was lying on the couch in their trailer smoking the aforementioned brand of cigarettes, quite literally coughing his lungs out...or what was left of them. “I TOLD him to quit those goddamned things years ago. “ Aunt Edith offered for my contemplation. To which Uncle Wes replied sarcastically (yep, you guessed it) “Cough cough...For Chrissakes HACK! HACK! Edith!!! SHUDD UPPP!!!” These were the final words I heard my uncle ever say and we all joked at the funeral that these very words were more than likely chiseled into his headstone.

A few years after Wes passed, my brother and his new wife were having their very first Christmas and invited everyone over...including Aunt Edith. My parents were there along with my siblings and their families. This included my brother Jim’s 9 year old adopted son Matt. Matt the Brat was what my father called him. I thought this surprisingly subtle for my Dad. If I knew where Matt is today...and thank God I do not...I would have to guess some one killed him or he’s in jail convicted of several murders. I honestly don’t care so long as he’s nowhere near me. So Matt the Brat is playing with one of the toys some one so graciously gave him and he broke it. This kid could break anything he got his hands on. But in a moment of diplomacy my father (affectionately known as Snook) said, “They don’t make anything any good any more!!” To which...in the spirit of the season Aunt Edith quipped, “You’re right Snook!! Everything IS SHIT!!!” Well...happy holidays to you too Aunt Edith. Inside my head I distinctly heard a voice from my past reply, “For Chrissakes Edith!! SHUDD UPPP!”

You know...there are lots of reasons to go through life believing that “everything is shit.” There are days when it certainly seems true to me. I have my days when Sartre’s “Hell is other people” could easily be the thought of the day. But...unlike Aunt Edith...I don’t want to spend a big chunk of my life living alone in a trailer. And when I think of this particular Christmas it strikes me how most of them blur into each other...with the exception of a few. And this is one of them I distinctly remember. As much as family...and sometimes even friends...can annoy a person...especially at this time of year...I have come to realize that even some one like Aunt Edith helped make me who I have become. I mean that in a positive way. Imagine...Aunt Edith’s negativity was so over the top it MADE me consider the positive. I have no idea how she became so bitter. My father did shortly before he died also. Yet they both, particularly Snook, had a positive influence. They were there. Unlike today when some people are not.

This holiday season...regardless of which one you celebrate...take the time to savor those around you...even if they drive you nuts. They may not...for whatever reason...be there next year. And in some strange way, which will surprise you, their absence will make you miss them. I guarantee it. (a possible exception to this uplifting message might be Matt the Brat) And you might consider that next year YOU might not be here. So I suppose my holiday message may seem bittersweet to most...but that’s how I see it. And if anyone feels the need to take issue with my views then I encourage you to speak up LOUDLY...’cause I’ve got one thing and one thing only to say to you.



Editor’s note: Aunt Edith died a little over a year ago. She was 90 years old. Her neighbor called my Uncle Bruce and told him she had passed out in her trailer. He went and got her up…asked if she was alright and she said she was. He suggested she go to the hospital to make sure everything was okay. She told him to go to hell and get out of her house. He did just that…returning an hour later and she was gone. Sad…surely. But she lived her last day the way she lived every previous one. And despite her surliness I will miss my Aunt Edith this Christmas. And I will remember the one long ago when she informed us “Everything is shit!” Rest in peace Aunt Edith. I can picture Jesus turning to her and proclaiming, “Truly, truly I say unto you…For Wes’s sake Edith…SHUDD UPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Our Top 5 Picksby Ted Kaneby John Bennettby Cory Tressler by Patrick O'Malley by David HochmanTravel SectionRecipes and MoreBack Issues

© 2001-2005 NakedSunfish, All Rights Reserved

Issue 1 - January 2002