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Eric Ralph
972 followers -
I write strange, funny things. And funny, strange things.
I write strange, funny things. And funny, strange things.

972 followers
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Help a kid reach his goal of raising $250 for the American Heart Association and donate today. http://jumphoops2015gra.kintera.org/josephralph
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I found this way more hilarious than it probably is. Maybe. 
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Enjoy a (very short) chapter five from And God Said... in which God falls in love during an episode of Wheel of Fortune. Find the first four chapters by using #saturdayscenes  

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C334PIA

God hung up the phone in disgust. After several calls, texts, and an in-person visit, God still couldn’t locate Pat Sajak. He left a message with Pat’s secretary, but he couldn’t think of anything to say so he just told her to have Pat call his plumber as soon as possible. God figured, a plumber could always use extra work, so no harm was done.

God turned back to the TV, where Sally still smiled, frozen in time. He pushed ‘Play’ and watched the rest of the show. He absorbed every smile, every laugh, every twinkle in Sally’s eyes. He toyed with his remote, fast-forwarding past the other contestants, replaying certain moments, and trying to pause at exactly the right instant. God went back and forth until he got it just right. His favorite moment was nothing exciting to the average viewer. The camera had lingered a moment on Sally before moving to the next contestant when her turn was over. In that brief moment, something inside Sally had changed. She had relaxed and in that moment, her true self had shown through. God thought it was beautiful.

God pressed ‘Play’ again and let the show finish. Sally made it to the bonus round and Pat introduced the puzzle category: Before and After. Sally scrutinized the puzzle closely as time ticked away. She bit the inside of her lip, concentrating on the glowing letters. God stared at the screen intently, urging her on as she hesitated. Her eyes brightened as she turned to Pat for a final guess.

“Is it: Jesus is love you long time?”

Pat paused dramatically, then broke into a broad smile.

“That’s correct!”

God clapped his hands and let out an involuntary yell. Sally’s knees buckled, but she recovered quickly, eager to see what prize she had won. Pat held up the envelope she had selected before the bonus round. He focused intently as he opened it and removed the slip of paper within. He glanced at Sally as a sly grin crept across his face. Sally searched his face for any clue as to what the prize might be. She held her breath in anticipation.

“Congratulations, Sally. You have won a two-week, all-expenses paid, luxury vacation to Jamaica!”

Sally howled in excitement, not even hearing the announcer describe the trip she had won. She covered her face with her hands, sobbing with joy. The credits began to roll and God found that he had jumped out of his seat, pumping his fist with Sally’s victory.

God composed himself and realized that he knew what he had to do. He had to pack. He was going to Jamaica. 
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For #saturdayscenes  this week I'm offering Chapter Four of And God Said... Sorry for the many weeks betwixt chapters three and four. In the immortal words of Dan Akroyd, whaddya want for nothin'? There's also a link to the whole book if this struck a funny bone. 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C334PIA

Frank checked his watch and tapped his foot. It was almost noon. He could hardly wait for the bar to open and begin serving the free wine shots they had every Sunday. Ever since he had lost his job as bookkeeper for a world-renowned mad scientist, Frank had only his Sunday afternoon drinks to look forward to. There was something special about the wine; he couldn’t help but take advantage whenever he could.

The bar opened and Frank got in line, with his secret flask hidden in his pocket. He had learned from bitter experience that the bartender hated it when people got in line more than once, so he planned to make the most of his one chance. He edged up to the server, took the vessel and faked a sneeze, turning away just long enough to empty it into his flask. He handed the vessel back, gave the bartender a thumbs-up, and made his way back to his seat.

Frank smiled. He had a good seat today - the first row. Last week he had gotten caught in the second row, behind some guy with the biggest hat Frank had ever seen. This week, the guy was sitting next to him and kept giving Frank a weird look.

Frank ignored him. The singers were starting up and Frank jumped up to dance. He ran around like a maniac, looking for someone to mosh with, but the only other person in the pit was a funny-looking guy dressed in all black except for a white collar. Frank shrugged and slammed into him. The man in black signaled weakly as he fell to the ground and several men started converging on Frank.

‘Uh oh,’ Frank thought. ‘Bouncers.’

The men grabbed Frank and threw him out the front door. The guy in the big hat came up and kicked Frank in the stomach while he was down. Frank lay on the ground, too tired to get up. The wine had hit him hard. Truth be told, Frank wasn’t much of a drinker. To him, a V8 constituted a good stiff drink. Frank hated V8. He could feel rocks poking him as he lay on the ground, but couldn’t bring himself to move.
Frank opened his eyes, hearing footsteps approaching. He saw eight legs in front of him, four male, four female. It took him a second to realize that they belonged to two different people. Frank was a little drunk. He grabbed hold of the man’s legs and rested his head on the man’s feet. The man jerked his foot away and Frank’s head fell to the ground with a thud.

“What?” Frank heard the man say to the woman. “He was drooling on me.”

The couple opened the door and went inside. Frank lay still on the ground like a slug. It was his only defense. Defense against what, Frank wasn’t sure. I’m sure, but hey, I’m the omniscient narrator, so I know it all, but can’t say anything. That would be telling. Besides, isn’t it more fun to be kept in the dark for awhile? 

Frank decided to crawl out of the way of the door. He really didn’t want his head to be slammed into the pavement again. He crawled on all fours over to the wall and used it to get up. Frank took a labored breath and rubbed his forehead, concentrating on remaining upright. He was still leaning on the wall, but at least he was on two feet again. Frank decided to get out of there before the bar let out. 

Frank went home and sat alone in a darkened room, the only light from the TV. The sound was turned low; he could barely even hear it. It didn’t matter. He didn’t care. Nothing mattered anymore. He had lost contact with all his former friends and family, even God seemed to have left him. Frank reached for the remote, struggling to move. His depression made even that simple motion difficult. Then the unexpected happened.

The doorbell rang.

Frank forced himself out of this seat and shuffled to the door. He opened the door to find a small dog looking at him with big blue eyes shining against his yellow-gray coat. The dog scampered through the door and jumped onto Frank’s couch. Frank ambled after him, half-heartedly protesting.

“Hey,” said Frank. “Get down from there. No dogs on the couch.”

The dog looked at him, with its head cocked to one side, and said, “That’s not a very enlightened attitude. Is this how you treat all your guests?”

It was then that Frank realized he was not talking with a talking dog, but with God. Frank always knew it was no coincidence that dog was god spelled backwards. This only confirmed his hypothesis.

“Hello, God,” Frank said. “How have you been?”

“I could be better,” God said, pawing at his nose. “I really wish Alex Trebek would wipe that smug smile off his face. Thinks he knows everything. I’d like to see him without those damn little cards with the answers on them and see how smart he is then.”

Frank considered this for a moment. “Why are you here?”

“Aren’t you expecting me?”

“No.”

“Aren’t you Pat Sajak?”

“No.”

“Isn’t this Tuesday?”

“No.”

“Oh,” God frowned. If you’ve never seen a dog frown, it’s really kind of weird. “Terribly sorry to trouble you. And sorry about the mess.”

And God left.

As Frank scrubbed the couch cushion, he tried to pinpoint exactly where his life had gone wrong. He thought about all the bad decisions he had made in his life. His decision to major in accounting. His decision to work as bookkeeper for a mad scientist bent on world domination. And finally, his decision to open the door for a small dog. Frank decided he was going to change his life. He was going to take control. He was going straight to the top. He was going to find God.
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This week for #saturdayscenes  I'm sharing Chapter Three of And God Said...An Absurd Tale of Love, Power, and Paperwork, in which God watches television. I've shared chapters one and two previously. If you want all the chapters handily kept together in a form I like to call a 'book' you can get one from Amazon via the link.

Chapter Three: God is a Wheel Watcher

God went through his daily routine in a daze. He hadn’t yet gotten back into the swing of things upon his return from vacation. Usually it took him about a week to get back in a groove, but it was already the end of week two, with no groove in sight. Whenever his mind wandered, it always went back to the airport, watching the plane depart. That shy wave as she boarded. 

He did everything that he was supposed to do: Hearing prayers, inspiring athletes, and the like. He just didn’t have any particular enthusiasm for it. 

God answered some prayers half-heartedly, skimming them over before taking the necessary action. As a result of his inattention, he occasionally mixed up the prayers, with whimsical results. An Iowa middle-school teacher ended up scoring a game-winning touchdown while an NFL running back was graced with the sublime level of patience required to teach 8th-grade Spanish.

God decided to call it a day and make dinner. He gazed into the fridge, but nothing was really appealing. He went with a ham and cheese sandwich, mostly because anything else would have required more effort. 

Still in a bad mood, God turned on the TV while he ate. Alex Trebek’s self-satisfied expression filled the screen. God couldn’t stand Jeopardy! Not only did God consider Alex insufferably smug, but he also couldn’t stand the idiotic ‘the-question-is-the-answer’ conceit of the show. 

God stormed back into the kitchen to get himself a good stiff drink. Unfortunately, Dionysus had dropped by the previous night and drank all the alcohol. The stiffest drink God had available was a V8 someone had brought for a party ages ago with vague intent of making Bloody Marys, but then Mary actually showed up and the whole idea became uncomfortable. His frustration building, God let out a scream and slammed the refrigerator door, causing small tremors in northern California.

“People think it’s easy being God,” he muttered to himself angrily. “They don’t realize all the aggravations that go along with being the Almighty.”

God paced up and down the kitchen floor, his steps resounding through the trailer, causing thunderstorms across the Midwest. He clenched his fist, then brought it swiftly down on the kitchen table, letting loose another yell. All across Michigan, people scurried inside, checking the weather alerts on their phones, and taking cover in their basements as storms thundered across the region.

God cleared his to-do list. He couldn’t concentrate on the minor inconveniences of people’s lives. They would have to fend for themselves for awhile. “Please God, help me, let me win the Lotto, please God, I’ve come down with male pattern baldness and the clap.” How come no one calls just to say hi? God was sick of it.

He went into the living room to clean up his plate when he heard a familiar refrain. A crowd of people chanting in unison: “Wheel! Of! Fortune!” God liked Wheel of Fortune. It comforted him. The warm glow of the letters, the pleasant clicking of the wheel. He did miss the old shopping segment, where the contestants used to spend their winnings, but still he loved the show just the same. He forgot his worries for a moment and sat down to watch.

A familiar face was pondering her next selection. Her sable hair, no longer in a ponytail, fell over her petite, athletic frame. She tucked her hair behind her ear as she decided on a course of action.

“I’d like to buy an ‘E’” said Sally.

“I’m sorry, but there aren’t any ‘E’s,” Pat said.

“What? That’s not right. It’s almost not an option to form a string of words without using a minimum count of that symbol,” Sally said flatly.

“You seem to have just managed it,” Pat said with a smug, Alex-Trebekian smile on his face.

“Oh, piss off!” the lady said.

The board behind Pat lit up with Sally’s words.

“Congratulations,” Pat said. “You’ve solved the puzzle!”

God paused the TV, with Sally filling the screen, captured in the moment of her victory. Her pearly-white teeth gleamed against her dark lips and her brown eyes twinkled with a light that perhaps none other than God would have seen. His features softened and his previous aggravation was forgotten. God was no longer bothered by the prayers, the ham sandwich, or even Alex Trebek. All of those things faded away, replaced by only - her.

God knew immediately what he needed to do. He had to find her. He wasn’t going to wait around. He wasn’t going to waste any time. He was going right to the top. God was going to call Pat Sajak.
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But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

Kodos, from The Simpsons
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Here is a very important message for writers. I found this very amusing, though not sure why. Very odd.
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Today for #saturdayscenes I'm sharing chapter two of my work in progress, Frank and Thor Save the World. It is a same-world-story (not a direct sequel) to And God Said

Chapter two: Nothing good happens on Friday afternoon

Frank twirled his pen. It flew off his fingers and landed on his notebook. He picked it back up, twirled it again, dropped it again. He put down his pen and rapped his fingers on the conference room table. Friday meetings were bad enough, but Friday meetings at 4:30 were the worst. Nothing good ever happened at 4:30 on a Friday. At 4:38, Johanna walked in and sat down.

“Thanks for applying for the open manager role,” she said. “We’ve given it to Jeff.”

Johanna paused.

“You didn’t want the role anyway. Don’t worry, you won’t have to report to Jeff. I know that can be awkward. Please keep this confidential until we make the formal announcement.”

Johanna left the conference room.

Frank checked the time on his phone. It was 4:39. He closed his eyes for a minute, then gathered his notebook and went back to his desk. Thor turned to speak, but Frank put up a hand to silence him.

“Are you ready to go?” said Frank. “I’ve got to get out of here.”

Thor looked at the clock then back at Frank.

“Sure,” said Thor. “It’s a little early, but why not?”

Thor shut down his computer. He and Frank drove home in silence. 
Once they got home, Frank pulled a beer from the fridge. He chugged it, then opened another. Thor made himself a drink as well and the two of them sat on the small patio off the back of their apartment.

“What happened?” said Thor.

“Didn’t get the job.”

“Sorry. Want me to send the Valkyries after Johanna?”

Frank laughed.

“No. That wouldn’t be fair to the Valkyries.”

Thor laughed and raised his glass. Frank clicked his bottle against it and took another deep drink. Thor took another sip and set his glass down. 

“What are we doing tomorrow?”

“Nothing, I guess,” said Frank.

“How about Hurricane Harbor?”

Frank narrowed his eyes and shook his head.

“It could be fun,” said Thor.

Frank took a deep breath.

“I don’t want to hear about it.”

“Why not?”

“Ua means trouble.”

“So what?” said Thor. “We’ve got free tickets. For two days. You can tell Ua to go make out with a Frost Giant for all I care. Hurricane Harbor is fun.”

“Fine, we’ll go.”

Thor grabbed his drink and lifted it in triumph. Frank clinked again, and both of them downed their drinks in a gulp. Frank emitted a loud, sustained belch. Thor nodded in approval.

The next morning Frank and Thor left early for the water park. Frank wore baggy black board shorts and Thor sported the shorter-than-average swim trunks popular in Frankie Avalon movies. Frank swathed himself in sunblock, but Thor passed, saying gods did not get skin cancer.

The sun was bright and the park was packed. Thor drew plenty of attention, even without Mjollnir on his hip. Women of all ages and types ogled Thor openly. He strutted past them with the confidence that allowed him to know he was being ogled without having to acknowledge it in any way. Frank followed in Thor’s wake, the attention of the women fading quickly once Frank strode into view.
Frank headed for the water slides. Thor sunned himself near the wave pool. By the time lunch rolled around, Thor had gotten himself enough sun to make Sol jealous. Frank dripped from his bangs as he stood over Thor.

“You’re in my light.”

“Aren’t you going to do anything but lie around? You could do that at home.”

Thor squinted as he shaded his eyes. He shrugged and sat up.

“Maybe after lunch.”

The pair grabbed some food from the concession stand and sat at a table in the shade to eat. Thor had ordered the grilled chicken sandwich and a bottle of water and Frank had a footlong chili dog, cherry slush, and a deep-fried Oreo. Thor shook his head as Frank bit into the hot dog.

“I can’t believe you eat that stuff,” said Thor. “You know what they put in that stuff?”

“Whatever it is,” said Frank through a mouthful of hot dog and chili sauce, “it tastes great.”

Thor looked away as he ate his sandwich. The sound of Frank scarfing down his food was bad enough without the visual. Once the slurping, gulping, and munching sounds subsided, Thor turned back to Frank. Chili sauce clung to Frank’s chin. His lips were red from the slush, and crumbs from the cookie had found a new home on his t-shirt. Thor grimaced.

“What now?” said Frank. “Back to your lounge chair? Or are you up for a water slide?”

“Eh,” said Thor. “I’ll meet you halfway. Let’s hit the lazy river. They have floating beer stands.”

The two of them made their way to Taak It Eez Ee Creek. Each grabbed an inner tube and a beer and relaxed as the water whisked them down the manmade river. Frank leaned back and closed his eyes as he floated. He sighed, and dipped his head back in the water. His ears submerged, he could hear the OM that water always seemed to sound. He smiled, enjoying the sensation of the water lapping against his temples.

Frank opened his eyes as another raft bumped into his.

“Hey buddy,” he said. “What do you think this is, the bumper boats?”

“Assuredly not,” a man’s voice replied. “The bumper boats on the other side of the park.”

Something about the voice seemed familiar. Frank twisted around to get a look at the man. His eyes hadn’t yet adjusted again to the sunlight. He put a hand over his eyes and peered over the raft. A familiar face, partially obscured by a zinc-covered nose, appeared underneath a white fisherman’s cap.

“Ua,” said Frank.

Frank turned to Thor.

“Did you know he’d be here?”

Thor shrugged.

“I figured he was nice enough to give us the tickets that we should at least here him out. Hi Joshua.”

“Hello, Thor,” said Ua. “I prefer Josh.”

“Right,” said Frank. “What do you want, Josh?”

“I want to make you-”

Josh flailed wildly trying to right himself, as the lazy river turned to rapids and sped the rafts through a waterfall.

“An offer.”

Frank rubbed his left eye as the rafts meandered through another slow patch in the river. 

“What kind of offer?”

“The HGA wants to hire you.”

“I don’t want to work for HGTV. I already have a job,” said Frank.

“Hold on a second,” said Thor.

Frank and Josh looked on as Thor dog-paddled his way to a nearby floating bar and refreshed his beer. Thor paddled back over and nodded.

“Continue,” he said.

“Not HGTV. HGA.”

“Either way,” said Frank. “I already have a job.”

Ua grabbed onto Frank and Thor’s rafts so they could not float away. HIs face grew dark, as serious as he could manage while floating down the lazy river with a nearby six-year-old splashing him in the face. Josh wiped the water from his cheek.

“Your country needs you. Both of you. Our very way of life is at stake.”

“It’s great that you’ve memorized the Big Book of CIA Recruitment Cliches, but I’m still not biting.”

“Come on, Frank, let’s hear him out.”

Frank sighed and closed his eyes for a second. He flipped his hand dismissively.

“Fine. What is it?”

Ua wiggled in his raft in a vain attempt to sit up and grant the moment some gravitas. 

“One of our agents has disappeared while investigating a company we suspected as a terrorist front. We need you to take over where Robert Wagner left off.”

“Robert Wagner?”

“Yes.”

Frank took a deep breath and shielded his face as the three of them floated underneath a waterfall. Once he emerged on the other side, Frank exhaled and wiped his face with his hand.

“Robert Wagner was investigating a terrorist front?” Frank said.

“Yes.”

“You must be joking.”

“I’m afraid not,” said Ua. “As you know, I do not joke.”

“Still?”

“Well, I have been working on it,” said Ua. “But it doesn’t come naturally. If I were joking, I’d ask if you knew how to make holy water.”
Frank thought for a second.

“No, how?”

“You boil the hell out of it.”

Thor laughed while Frank shook his head and rubbed his forehead. A couple of kids splashed their way by them. Frank welcomed the momentary distraction. 

“Is that it?” said Frank. “You want us to pick up Wagner’s investigation?”

“Yes. If you could locate Wagner, that would be nice, but not necessary.”

Frank let himself float while he thought.

“Why are you telling us this here?”

“It’s the perfect place, when you think about it,” said Ua. “No one would expect it. Electronic recording devices wouldn’t work in the water, and would be obvious through swimsuits in any case. I’ve been keeping an eye on anyone that seems to float nearby for too long. Besides, my brother-in-law owns the place. He gives me free passes whenever I want.”

Frank flinched as a little kids fired a water cannon directly in Frank’s face. He gasped for air, stood up, and slogged his way through the water to the exit. Thor paused, then stood up, and slogged after Frank. He was nearly to the park entrance by the time Thor caught up to him.

“Hey, wait for me,” said Thor.

Frank whipped around and glared at Thor.

“I knew this was a mistake. You knew Ua would be at the lazy river. It’s the only thing that got you off your butt all day.”

“Look, you’re right,” said Thor. “But I only did it because I knew otherwise you wouldn’t come.”

“I wouldn’t have come because I don’t care what two-bit celebrity Ua wants us to rescue. I’m an accountant.”

Frank poked a finger into Thor’s chest.

“So are you.”

Frank stormed out of the water park while Thor watched him leave. Thor would have to walk home, but he didn’t mind. He figured it would give Frank time to calm down, think about it, and see reason. Thor went back to his lounge chair and stretched out in the sun. 
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Four hours left to get an invite to God's wedding (and rock concert) for less than a buck. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C334PIA
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Still time to write a bit. Interesting challenge this week.
Originally shared by ****
Weekly Writing Exercise: Modern Art Edition, June 2-8
You're either going to love me or hate me for this one, but I hope it will be fun. This is a Jackson Pollock painting called "Key." Your stories will really depend on what you see here, so we'll pretend it's a modern art Rorschach test, okay? I can't wait to read the entries this week!

Please read the following rules before you post. Submissions or comments that don't follow the rules will be removed, no matter how awesome. Sorry.

1) All submissions must be added as a COMMENT to this post, not as new posts in this section (or anywhere else). 

2) All submissions must be less than 600 words. In the case of a questionable word count, I will use Google Drive to verify count.

3) Only include the title and text of your submission in your comment. Please don't add any questions, links, commentary, requests for feedback, etc. Stories only! If you have questions, tag me in a private message or find me on another conversation.

4) Your submission must be inspired by the attached photo. How you do that is up to you. Feel free to be creative with it.

5) ANYONE CAN VOTE, whether you write a story or not. Not only that, anyone can +1 as many entries as they like! You don't have to pick just one. You don't have to vote when you submit your story. Come back when the contest is ending and vote for your favorite then if you'd like.

6) Anyone can add their submission at any time in the contest period. However, the voting will be counted and a winner chosen on Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 2pm US Pacific Time. (But feel free to keep plussing anyway!)

7) Winners are chosen by +1 count. Just that simple. (Ties will be broken by sudden death cage match, or by a call for votes, whichever costs less money at the time.)

8) If you +1 your own submission, please also +1 at least one other submission.

What you win:
-Admiration and envy from your fellow writers
-A chance to practice, practice, practice
-Your submission re-posted at the conclusion of the contest and added to Featured Posts.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly by tagging me into a private post. 

tl;dr: 600 words or less, story or poetry, related to the image, no commentary allowed, VOTE.

Have fun! Be creative!
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