About Dr. StrangeJob

If you want to know what happens when the Peter Principle collides with Kurt Vonnegut and Stanley Kubrick then you found the right place.

The Rose – Watch it here

Forty years ago, he tried to kill himself. Today, he’s going back to change his mind.

THE ROSE tells the heartfelt story of a tormented man who, after years of drug and alcohol abuse, puts a loaded gun to his head. His only desire is to have the courage to pull the trigger… again.

If you could go back and change your life, would you?

The Rose is a cautionary tale on accountability and the future ramifications of current actions. The film was written/produced by Dan Yakimchuk and directed by Kenn Crawford.

The Rose tells the story of a man travelling back 40 years in time to meet his younger self during a pivotal moment in his life. The film has a positive message but deals with youth suicide, addiction, redemption and recovery.

Yes, that’s Dr. StrangeJob in the video.

Dr. StrangeJob

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#PrioritizeTHIS!

#PrioritizeTHIS wants you to get mad. How mad? Somewhere between the Johnny Cash finger-flipping mad and the let’s mobilize and make a stand against guns mad.

#PrioritizeTHIS is a series of one-minute videos highlighting the struggles of the disenfranchised. Each video will put a real face on a real issue while focusing on the need for governments to prioritize spending to support the marginalized. Film topics will include homelessness, family violence, mental health services, and addiction. Each film will be branded as a “PrioritizeTHIS Minute”.

#PrioritizeTHIS accepts that governments have limited funding but argues that financial allocations must be reprioritized to place people over politics, voters over votes, and citizens over corporations. Shame can be a strong motivator for change, so #PrioritizeTHIS will encourage bureaucrats to prioritize these issues.

#PrioritizeTHIS understands that different levels of governments have different mandates, but argues that all politicians (municipal, provincial, and federal) are responsible to the people. Homelessness, for example, may be a provincial responsibility, but that does not excuse municipal and federal politicians from addressing the issue.

#PrioritizeTHIS acts locally but thinks globally. Something’s wrong when only one in twelve non-profit funding requests was approved by CBRM council while simultaneously allocating millions of dollars to a second cruise ship berth with a questionable business case. #PrioritizeTHIS is not against large capital projects but believes we must prioritize. Kids with empty stomachs need food now.

Watch for our first #PrioritizeTHIS Minute coming this Spring.  A Dr StrangeJob project by Dan Yakimchuk Productions with design, edit, and post by GRYPHON media productions.

If all else fails, try non-violent civil disobedience.

Dr StrangeJob

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Alias Rose – A Pseudonym for Dr. S

I have not been myself lately, in fact, I have been a bit preoccupied with another project. Unfortunately, my trusted readers may not know what project I am referring to because I wrote it under a pseudonym. That’s right, I decided to write a serious piece and was concerned that my Dr StrangeJob followers would not understand, so I used a pseudonym. Hey, if Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, J.K. Rowling and even Benjamin Franklyn can adopt secret pseudonyms, then why can’t Dr StrangeJob? Fortunately, I had another name to fall back on, but since the whole idea of a pseudonym is to write under an anonymous name I cannot tell you what my pseudonym is because then it would no longer be a pseudonym.

It might be more apt to say that Dr StrangeJob used an alias. Although alias is a synonym for a pseudonym, there is a difference between the two. A pseudonym is most often used in the literary world when a well-known author wants to write under an assumed name. This is true in Dr StrangeJob’s case because he is known for satirical pieces and wanted to write a heartfelt story.  On the other hand, an alias is used to conceal one’s true name for legal reasons. This is also true for Dr StrangeJob because his pseudonym created the alias Dr StrangeJob as a way to remain anonymous and protect against libel.

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get a little confused about who I am right now. Who is the alias of whom, Dr StrangeJob or the other guy? Unfortunately, if I told you the pseudonym, then you would know who I am. On the other hand, if you know the alias, then you would figure out the pseudonym. Either way, this means that I cannot tell you Dr StrangeJob’s alias or pseudonym. You will just have to take my word for it when I say that one of us is who we say we are and the other one isn’t.

This puts me in a real quandary because I wanted to tell you about the project that I was working on under the other name, but I can’t because that would blow my cover. Instead, I am going to tell you about a short film that I saw recently called The Rose. The film is best described by the director, Kenn Crawford, who BTW uses his real name.

“The Rose tells the heartfelt story of a tormented man who, after years of drug and alcohol abuse, puts a loaded gun to his head. His only desire is to have the courage to pull the trigger… again.

If you could go back and change your life, would you?”

Perhaps I should go back in time and reconsider the whole Dr StrangeJob alias/pseudonym thing, but in the meantime, if you are in the Glace Bay, Nova Scotia area on February 28, 2018 then you might want to catch the film. There is a discussion afterwards featuring the director and writer.

More detail on The Rose is available here. Check out the Facebook event here.

THE ROSE Miners Museum Poster (8.5 x 11)Dr StrangeJob

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Lore of the Ring – A StrangeJob Christmas Past, Present & Future

Christmas Past: It was one of those family Christmas holidays, the kind that makes you no longer care about family Christmas holidays. Traditionally, my role was to set up the artificial tree and string the lights. My mother would then organise a tree-decorating party complete with family, friends, bells, tinsel, angel hair and Christmas cheer. At the end of the holidays, my mother would remove the decorations, and I would store the tree for the next year.

It was a particularly frantic Christmas holiday: my parents were not getting along, the alcohol consumption meter was on overload, and bickering, pestering, and petty rivalries were in full swing. Each family crisis was supplanted by the next in a nightmare of unseasonable behavior. What is it about Christmas that brings out the worst in some people? 

There was no tree-decorating party that year; my mother decorated the tree by herself. I could have helped, but I was too busy living in my own little world and it hadn’t occurred to me that I was the only family available that year to help with the decorations. I was glad when the holidays were finally over, and I could fulfill my responsibilities by packing the tree away for the next year. 

It was a fitting end, I suppose, to the Christmas of little cheer when I lost my prized Tiger’s Eye ring. As a crystal, a Tiger’s Eye promotes harmony and balance while releasing anxiety and fear. So much for that theory, I thought, as I searched the house from top to bottom for my missing ring. I was glad the holidays were over. 

Things settled down by the next Christmas. There was a spirit of reconciliation in the air, and I was looking forward to that year’s celebrations. The previous year’s despair gave way to a glimmer of hope. With guarded optimism, I set about unpacking the family Christmas tree when I heard a “clunk” as something dropped to the floor – it was the Tiger’s Eye ring that I had lost the year before. The ring must have been caught on a branch when I was packing the tree. Perhaps it was a good sign of things to come. That Christmas was a good one, and as Christmas holidays go, it was certainly better than the few that preceded it.

Unfortunately, Christmas is but once a year. Alas, my parents eventually separated, siblings divorced, friendships weaned, and I managed to lose the Tiger’s Eye ring yet again.

Christmas Present and Future: I stopped decorating for the holidays many years ago. Other than a wedding band, I also stopped wearing rings, but for some reason, this year, I decided to go on a hunt for my missing Tiger’s Eye. I didn’t find it, but I did find four other misplaced rings: a birthstone, a graduation ring, a pinky-ring with a black stone of unknown origin, and a cubic zirconia diamond that belonged to my father. But no Tiger’s Eye. Perhaps my Tiger’s Eye is lost forever, or perhaps it is still waiting to be found. 

Whether it is nostalgia, a sense of loss, or just the aging process, but for some reason I find myself reflecting on my role of Christmas past, along with the memory of family and friends no longer with us. Not all memories are positive, but then again, there were some happy family times along the way. Maybe next year I will dig out the box of Christmas decorations that have been stored for many years. You never know what I might find, perhaps my Tiger’s Eye ring or possibly the lost spirit of a pleasant Christmas past.

Dr. StrangeJob

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The Rose – Post-Production

The Rose is in post-production. I am not sure what post-production means other than it has something to do with ADR, rendering, Foley, color correction, musical score, and special effects. As producer, I signed off on the director’s rough cut, knowing it was best to leave those pieces in the hands of experts who know what they’re doing. Besides, the rough-cut was so beyond my wildest expectations that I didn’t want to mess with the momentum.

Writing and acting in The Rose has been a real insight into the world of no-budget/low-budget film making. The role of the director is obviously key to the process, and Kenn Crawford’s initial involvement is best described in his aptly titled, A Glace Bay Filmmaker and a Sydney Satirist walk into a restaurant. I must confess, however, that from the moment I sent him the script, the plan was always to have him direct.

The production phase of The Rose was not without problems, but, ironically, the worst day of production turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to the film. The worst day was the first official day of filming. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong: scheduling issues, technical glitches, makeup malfunctions, and curious bystanders repeatedly walking into frame. In fact, if not for bad luck, we would have had no luck at all.

Then we ran out of time. We were filming a crucial outdoor scene at a local park. We had arrived on set later than planned, it was colder than forecast, and the wind turned into a gale. The high winds blew props around and muddled the audio. Midway through the scene a key player announced they had to leave within an hour. Not that it mattered at that point because we were running out of daylight anyway. It turns out, the first day of shooting was also the first day of daylight savings time. The day seemed a write-off.

This was where the rubber hit the road. We had two options: 1) use the remaining time to get as many shots as possible and hope we had enough film or 2) call it a day and reschedule. We knew we had lost the day’s audio and would require another session with the actors to record the dialogue. It was also mid-November, so we could not count on the weather cooperating for a rescheduled outdoor shoot. The director suggested that even if we continued, we might not have enough footage to complete the story or, even worse, we wouldn’t have a final product of which we would be proud.

This was the pivotal moment in the development of the final version of The Rose. As the producer, I may have had the final call on what option to take, but it was the director’s answer that informed the decision. We decided to reschedule the shoot and move the action indoors. As a result, we had to rework the script for an inside shoot. This required an extra scene for context and a retooling of the opening scene, both of which added additional breadth and depth to the main characters. The end result is something I am already proud of, and that is before all the fancy post-production.

Stay tuned for exciting news on the Cape Breton premiere of The Rose in January 2018.

Read pre-production notes here.

Dr. StrangeJob

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One Gaffe at a Time – Step 6

Step 6: Were entirely ready to remove all defective characters in our way.

Incompetence Anonymous (IA) Step 6 is often misquoted at traditional recovery meetings as a Freudian slip by nervous newcomers. AA’s Step 6, Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, is sandwiched between admitting the exact nature of our wrongs and asking our higher power to remove our shortcomings. In IA, however, Step 6 is preceded by criticisms from a condescending boss and foreshadows an office reorganisation without you in it.

As discussed in brown-nose nose-diving effect, incompetent bureaucrats and sociopathic bosses tend to hire less competent underlings or employees they can fully control. Unfortunately, if you do not fit their mold of minion, then you need to be dispatched. For them, an intervention is nothing more than removing a name from an organisation chart. If you have ever found yourself on the wrong side of a burnt bridge after an office restructuring, then you know exactly what I mean.

Speaking of constructive dismissal, let’s not confuse an incompetent supervisor with someone who is just being an arsehole. It is no secret that many incompetent bureaucrats suffer from the dual affliction of incompetence and arseholism. Arseholism, as you may be aware, is an extreme personality disorder associated with many incompetent bureaucrats. Anecdotal evidence suggests a correlation between incompetence and arseholism, but further study is required to determine the exact link. Suffice it to say, that where there is one, then the other is likely to surface.

If an incompetent arsehole suddenly becomes competent, then they may no longer be incompetent, but they are still an arsehole. Not to worry, IA saw that one coming. IA’s holistic approach to recovery developed a range of IA support groups, and Incompetents Arsehole Anonymous (IAA) was developed for this particular situation. IAA is proving popular with existing members working in the political arena and is expected to become the flagship program for IA.

To be honest, I must admit that I have worked for many competent bosses, and most of them did not suffer from arseholisn. I have been fortunate in that way. That said, the few arseholic bosses that I have worked for were also stellar candidates for IA. I guess it’s a chicken verses the egg scenario. I have met many accountants, for example, and most of them are a tad anal. Does becoming an accountant make one anal or do anal personalities gravitate towards careers in accounting?  Same thing about incompetence and arseholism.

My theory is that any incompetent hired under the brown-nose nose-diving effect is an arseholic in the making. That may be a moot point if you are sitting one rung below an incompetent arseholic on the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, the only way to survive this situation is to duck and cover. If you do not follow your supervisors every directive, then you may find yourself out of a job. There may be no “I” in team, but from their perspective, unless you do their exact bidding there is no “U” in team either. In corporate environments, they call that downsizing, in IA we call it brownsizing. Believe me; I have been there.

Dr. StrangeJob

Future columns will discuss my continued journey through the IA recovery process. Until then, feel free to view the inaugural IA meeting, learn about Incompetents Anonymous, read the Audacity Prayer and 12+1 Steps, or become familiar with IA’s additional support groups.

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The Rose – Pre-Production

Sometime between The Dearth of Dr. StrangeJob and Dr. StrangeJob: Borin’ Again!, the good Doctor managed to write a short-film screenplay entitled The Rose. Currently, in pre-production, the film is a sci-fi/drama about a senior (Elder) traveling 40 years back in time to meet his younger self (Junior) during a pivotal moment in their life. The film will be directed by Kenn Crawford and produced by yours truly.

I wrote the screenplay with an eye to direct and did not have myself in mind for the role of Elder, but the character began to speak through me as he was being developed on the page. Truth be told, the character of Junior also hit pretty close to home. Growing up in an alcoholic home prone to violence can drive a young man to extremes. Life can be daunting for an adolescent that is alone, lost, bullied, and experimenting with things they should not be experimenting with.

Elder and Junior are one in the same, but the struggles of Junior are similar to what many Cape Breton adolescents deal with on a daily basis. The Rose is both a “message” film and a cautionary tale on accountability for future consequences of current actions.

After completing the script, I became less concerned with directing and more interested in playing the role of Elder. I did not want to act and first-time direct, so I sent the script to Kenn Crawford for advice. I had worked with Kenn on a few of his projects and knew that he only directed his own stories, so I felt comfortable asking him for advice. As the old saying goes, he had no skin in the game.

The initial story was structured more as a play than as a script for film. However, it takes a filmmaker’s eye to translate what is on paper to what can be accurately portrayed on celluloid. After a few lengthy discussions, some suggested script changes, and a sincere offer to help, I asked Kenn to direct. Well, maybe I should say coerced, but I think we both realised that The Rose was a story worth telling and worth telling well. As a result, The Rose will be the first film directed by Kenn Crawford that he has not written.

To date, the most challenging pre-production exercise was finding a realistic prop revolver. Sadly, it appears easier to obtain a real gun with real ammunition than it is to find an authentic looking prop. That in itself, is a cautionary tale of the world we currently live.

Filming is planned for November.

More to come …

Dr. StrangeJob

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Dr. StrangeJob: Borin’ Again!

Ok, I admit it, it was a poorly executed gag. My last post, The Dearth of Dr. StrangeJob, was the prelude for a joke with the punchline “Dr. StrangeJob: Borin’Again!”. Initially, I had no setup for the joke, all I had was the tagline. I just thought the phrase “Dr. StrangeJob: Borin’ Again!” would be a funny blog title. But a punchline requires an effective setup. That’s when I decided to write a faux obituary. If I was going to be borin’ again, an obvious pun on born again, then I needed something to be born again from.

I posted the fake obituary and purposely went dark for two weeks. The silence was meant to be part of the joke. Some readers assumed the obituary was my way of saying that Dr. StrangeJob was to be no more. I received emails and posts of condolences over the demise of Dr. StrangeJob, but not a single FREE T-shirt in the lot. As for my two-week self-mourning period, I don’t think anyone actually noticed that I had gone.

I did, however, get scolded for misspelling death as dearth and angels as angles. I guess I was too obscure again. The irony of my worst joke ever debacle is that I had also overlooked the need for content to include with this punchline blog. Oops!

So, here’s another confession. Although born of bureaucratic frustration, Dr. StrangeJob: Or How I Learned to Stop Raging and Embrace the Bull, was conceived as a social media training vehicle for another project. Dr. StrangeJob was a short-term learning exercise in branding that I would apply to a consulting business that I had been developing.

But something interesting happened in the theatre of life. Kurt Vonnegut once quipped that we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. I now understand what he meant by that statement. Recently, I wrote a short screenplay that I will be discussing in a future blog. The film centers around a senior man who travels 40 years back in time to meet his younger self during a pivotal moment in his life. The scene is not autobiographical, but writing it required that I put myself back into my mindset at the age of 20. It was an enlightening experience.

Upon reflection, I realized that I was in the midst of a transformational experience. Perhaps it was the ageing process, the catharsis of writing, or the act of removing myself from a potentially toxic work environment, but I believe I am gradually returning to a truer self. An earlier self that had been diverted in the theatre of life while pretending to be a systems analyst, educator, and manager.

Maybe I have been born again. On the other hand, perhaps I’m just being boin’ again.

Dr. StrangeJob

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The Dearth of Dr. StrangeJob (2015-2017)

After a long and courageous battle with incompetents, Dr. StrangeJob succumbed to the view that nepotism, cronyism, treachery, and incompetence will always overcome decency, humility, honesty, and competence. He has been passed over and is now living with the angles.

Dr. StrangeJob forced himself on the world on February 27, 2015 with the following simple but pathetic prophetic tweet: This is what happens when the Peter Principle collides with Kurt Vonnegut and Stanley Kubrick. Since that humble beginning, he unleashed a wrath of blogs, tweets, and Facebook comments the likes of which the world has never seen. In fact, at last count, very few have seen. To be honest, without the prudent use of the “refresh” key, even fewer have actually seen.

In search of a home with transparency, he found little solace in a city of opacity. In life, he sought to bring light to the dearth of competence in local politics. In passing, he hopes to safeguard his legacy in the annals of the literary world, rather than becoming a mere footnote in the anals of satirical literature.

In recovery, he fought against incompetence but had to do it stunned.

As a recovering incompetent, he lived his life one gaffe at a time, cherishing the comfort and support received from fellow travesties in Incompetents Anonymous, the world’s first 12+1 self-help group. Throughout life, he sought through pen and mediation to thwart those that ruled through fear and intimidation. In passing, he hopes the heroes he leaves behind will continue to shed light on inequality by continuing to fight the good fight.

In typical Incompetents Anonymous fashion, no arrangements were made for his passing. As in life, in passing he raised just enough stink to force authorities to address the issue. In life, he often found himself on the wrong side of a burnt bridge, and so, in passing, he has also been burnt. A special thank you goes to the kind folks at “Garbage Haul and Burn” for their expeditated service.

He leaves behind friends in the IA Fellowship, enemies in local politics, and survivors in spirit in CBLA-InComps. A celebration of his strife may take place for those touched by his satirical pen, but he expects no societies of social justice to be created in his name.

Like his social media sites, there will be no visitations. In lieu of donations, feel free to send free t-shirts here, Facebook likes here, or Twitter followers here. Online condolences may be made at www.drstrangejob.ca.

Dr. StrangeJob

In the name of the blog, of the Twitterverse, and of the worldly web. – Blessing of Dr. StrangeJob

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THEY vs THEM – InComps Episode 6

Featured

Dr StrangeJob worries about his little brother Psycho Sam. Sam has not been heard from since he begrudgingly agreed to a date with Ms Lied-Toomey two weeks ago. To make matters worse, Ms Lied-Toomey does not answer the Doctor’s text messages and all attempts to contact her at work receive “Out of Office” replies. Apparently, Ms Lied-Toomey called in sick the morning after her date with Sam, and nobody has heard from her since either.

A tired and troubled Dr StrangeJob attempts to relax on his front porch listening to Matt Minglewood and falls asleep, dreaming of superheroes…

What if InComps became a superhero group charged with thwarting evil wrongdoers of Cape Breton? Who would they be?

That’s easy. Capers always end their grumblings by asking for the same group of heroes to come to their aid. Eavesdrop in any Cape Breton tavern or coffee shop and you will hear the same response to any problem:

Unemployment – they need to do something about it.

Health care – they need to fix it.

Poverty – they need to help.

Crooked politicians – they need to deal with them.

Any other problem – they need to address it.

So, it’s obvious that the superhero group are THEY (The Heroes Everyone Yearns), but who exactly are THEY? They are an elite subgroup of InComps members who use their special powers to thwart evil. Their special powers, however, are not unearthly superpowers, but powers based on individual characteristics.

Zippy, for example, becomes Flash, with his ability to temporarily blind villains using his high-intensity camera flash. Miss Mackie is The Eye, with power to freeze politicians in mid-lie, forcing them to tell the truth with The Look she developed over a 50-year teaching career. Grant, a newer InComps member, is a blacksmith and iron worker who serves as the group’s Ironman. Sir Joe Spam-Alot is the Real TweetHeart and continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less, continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less, continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less …

Doctor Spinolee, Riddler, annihilates bureaucratic policy through logical inquisition. Andre, The Green Thumb, beats swords into plowshares for green spaces. In other cases, the hero’s name is self-explanatory: Madi (Shit Disturber) and Dan (Bullshitter) are collectively known as the InComp-poops. Wayne, another new member, is the Libel-Libertarian, he has survived death and is willing to follow suit in support of the cause.

All superheroes oppose a supervillain group. Again, listening to tidbits of Timbit-fueled Caper conversation we glean the name of the true villains of Cape Breton:

It was them.

It’s them damn politicians.

Oh, them again.

Them dirty little buggers.

Them’s to blame.

So, it’s clear that our villains are THEM (The Hateful Elite Mongers), but who exactly are THEM? Well, we all know who they are, don’t we?

We are THEY, THEY have seen the enemy, and the enemy is THEM.

Screeeeeeeech!!!

This episode has gone more off kilter than Mr. Robot’s Season 2 Episode 6 sitcom parody or that insane musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean, come on, a superhero group! Has Dr StrangeJob run out of story ideas or has InComps lost their way?

Besides, Cape Breton already has a set of superheroes fighting for truth, equality, and transparency: Mary Campbell and  The Cape Breton Spectator fight for transparency; Madonna Doucette makes us proud; and the Three Wise Women of Council keep a watchful eye on the CBRM Mayor and Administration. These are only a few examples of the many workers, volunteers, neighbours, and dedicated grassroot organizers standing up for Cape Breton justice.

Stand up. Stand up for justice and break the tyrant’s hand…” sings Ken C., breaking into song at the mere mention of the Mayor, forcing StrangeJob to relive the events of KaleFest 2017 and Psycho Sam: A Flash in the Cam.

“No, No, not the kilt, not the kilt,” mutters Dr StrangeJob, startled from his dream state as Officer Richard (Dick) Less pulls into the driveway.

“Not you again,” says StrangeJob. “What are you going to arrest me for this time?”

“I am not here for you,” says Officer Dick Less. “Ms Lied-Toomey asked me to drop by with Sam’s laundry and pick up his mail.”

“What!” exclaims StrangeJob. “We have been worried sick about him, and you show up to collect his mail. Where is he?”

“I am not at liberty to say,” says Dick Less, handing a laundry sack to StrangeJob. “But he was smiling the last time I saw him, which reminds me, where can I pick up his asthma medications?” 

Dr StrangeJob accepts the laundry, opens the front door and shouts, “Hey Ma, that psycho son of yours has fallen in love again, and Dick Less wants his mail.”

“Stop picking on your little brother,” replies Miss Mackie. “It’s not his fault that the girls you fancy fall for him instead.”

Meanwhile, Alan “Fritz” Smithee, reviewing footage from the hidden camera attached to Psycho Sam’s kilt, contemplates his next film project.

… end of InComps Volume 1

InCompsLOGO

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

 

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