Customer Service

December 5th, 2011

By Tiber

My sister Vanessa’s limousine business has seen an even greater drop-off in rentals lately, so she’s converting even more of her limousines into hearses.

People’s income may go up and down but dying remains pretty much the same.

Her crew was just starting to convert a limousine today when a new widow saw them and came in.

Vanessa assured her that her hearses were as good as new ones.

“And we’re changing the configuration of the back, obviously, to take out things like the champagne bar.”

The widow nodded but then quickly passed Vanessa a 100 dollar bill.

“I’ll be back later, But just make enough room for the casket and by all means, leave the champagne bar in!”

Vanessa learned a long time ago in her business that if you’re going to ask questions, just make them the right ones.

“Brut or Extra Dry?”

We all give thanks

November 28th, 2011

By Tiber

I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was okay.

Dad said he was going to save money by not buying turkeys. We were all terrified that it was going to be Spam in the shape of turkeys again but fortunately, it was just chicken.

Even on regular nights, Dad has always insisted that all of the family members who are at home eat together at the dining room table, which, actually, I sort of like.  But Dad also insists that everyone leave their phones in the butler’s pantry until the meal is over and for a meal as long as Thanksgiving, you start seeing a lot of itchy fingers.

We all talked about what we were grateful for this year and we all enjoyed the food but pretty much the second that was done, somebody leaped up and yelled,

“Now we should play hide and seek! For the kids!”

Before Dad could even get out the words that the kids were too old for hide and seek, he looked around and everybody had grabbed their phones and was gone. I don’t think there was much seeking either.

I’m sure Dad was ticked off for a second or two but then I’m just as sure that he realized we’d left a lot of the pie. I saw him heading off to his study with that and he had all of the dogs and cats following along so I think the rest of his Thanksgiving was just fine.

He got carded

November 21st, 2011

By Tiber 

As you know, this house is so big and with so many people working here, even the staff members have become family.

 So the security guys are still with us, even though Dad can’t afford to pay anybody what they were getting before. Glad as I am to have them, the security guys can still be sort of intimidating. Which I guess is the point.

Anyway, Ben is the head man and I think we all know his Achilles’ heel now.

As a former member of Mossad, Ben could probably kill you differently every day of the week. But recently it was his birthday. And the only card my mother could find in the house was a grossly sentimental one.

So she went ahead and presented it to him.

So overcome was Ben by my mother’s kindness and that “sweet leetle bunny” on the card, that he burst into tears and fled to the bathroom.

So you see, I know now that even I could bring Mr. Tough Guy down if I wanted.

I figure one of those big-eyed plushy toys wrapped in Hello Kitty paper would do it.

Yeah. I’ve still got it.

The magic beans

November 14th, 2011

By Tiber

I threw up. Yeah, yeah, we all have. But this may be related to an allergy. It’s not a pollen, ragweed kind of normal allergy. No, no. This could be…I can barely even get this out. I may have become allergic…to coffee!

But, but, I LOVE coffee! Love it, love it, love it! I want to fill the pool with it and swim in it! I want it come out of my bathroom taps! I want to buy it cute clothes and tell it it’s hot! Because it is!!!

Nobody loves ragweed. It’s not normal to anybody’s system so of course you could react adversely to that.

But coffee? Come on!

Coffee, and it’s happy, little dancing beans never hurt anybody!

Coffee just exists to put a song in your heart, a spring in your step and now you’re telling me an up in my throw?!?

It’s never been a problem before and I should know!!! My morning coffees from the shop have long ago graduated to “I’ll have two Gargantuas, please!“ (They let me come up with my own categories and God bless them, they even find containers to honor them.)

At home, I’ve started drinking coffee straight from the pot. Hey, that was an ecological choice! You save water when you have no mugs to wash.

Later, of course, I enjoy my pre-dining joe happy hour followed by my post-dining java calm-down. So how can something that you need and love and can’t live without, and would dress up like a hamster in a bikini,  just TURN on you like…


More sand than the Sahara

November 8th, 2011

By Tiber 

You know that my brother, Kru, has his own cat sand delivery business and though most of his customers are women, not all of them are.

This week, he got a new client who ordered a 100 lb. bag of cat sand and when Kru toted the bag up to the house, a guy about three times his size answered the door.

If aliens had landed their disc right then in the front yard, they would have looked at the man and pointed to Kru, saying, “He is your pet, is he not?”

In spite of his customer’s obvious physical advantage and immediate offer to help, Kru was determined not to wuss out and to carry that bag himself to its proper place, which of course, turned out to be the far back porch of the house.

He finally made it, dropped the bag and as he stood there wobbling for a moment, his RV-sized client brought in his tennis ball-sized kitten and cooed,

“Say hello to Astrid.”

Kru did.

“That’s a lot of cat sand for such a little kitten.”

Clearly super-doting on his cat, the man retorted indignantly, “I change it for her every few hours, whether she’s used it or not.”


Kru’s just glad for the business.

You win! Can we go now?!?

November 2nd, 2011

By Tiber

Mom, the triplets’ grandmother, took the three to some Halloween party across town and only then did she realize that she’d left their spooky costumes at home.

So she dropped the kids off anyway and came back home to retrieve their outfits.

By the time Mom returned to the party and went up to the house to ask for help in bringing the costumes inside, the other kids had already awarded the street-clothes-dressed triplets the prize for “The Scariest Children at The Party!”

Anyone who knows the triplets will hear this with a complete lack of surprise.

Mom, of course, was horrified and yet Mom, as you know, is the most polite person on the planet. So she left the costumes in the car, smiled warmly at her grandchildren and went on and on about how clever they were. “Wow! Well done! Winning a contest using only your imagination!”

Actually, I think it was a lot more the other kids’ imaginations that had given the prize to the triplets. That and reality.

Maybe at least it’s a Jimmy Caravaggio

October 27th, 2011

By Tiber 

Dad’s financial woes have come to this. He decided to sell our Caravaggio. (I didn’t show it here).

We’ve had this miraculous original painting since my great-great grandfather bought it in Italy when he took the Grand Tour back in the late 1800’s.

It has always been one of my father’s favorite things – and with good reason. It’s worth a fortune. By the late 1800’s, Caravaggio was almost completely forgotten. Still, my great-great-grandfather knew about him, saw this work and managed to buy it for very little.

Over the years, I’ve sometimes found my father just sitting on a bench, staring at his painting.

It has always given him great pride to have an actual Caravaggio right in his own house. But the need for cash and the value of the artwork could no longer be denied.

So an appraiser was called up. He came by. He looked.

And it’s not a Caravaggio.

What a disaster, not only because the price just plummeted but because it’s not a masterpiece at all. It’s just a picture by some unknown guy.

First, Dad got mad at the appraiser.

Eventually, Dad was just furious with his ancestor.

“Nobody wanted real Caravaggios in the 1800s! They were probably using them as placemats! And our family member has to come home with this?!?”

So Dad didn’t sell it. He was humiliated that it was really worth so little. He was going to throw it out for all I knew.

But late last night, I went downstairs, and there was Dad back in his old spot on the bench, staring at the painting that was back in its place of honor. The room was completely dark, except for the little picture light.

My generation prizes name-brands above everything but my father, correctly, does not. The painting is still a wondrous work.

Yes, the artist was an unknown man, then and forever, but one who labored long hours in daylight and by candlelight to create an extraordinary thing still appreciated today by a man who, rightly, just values beauty.

To Hell and back

October 22nd, 2011

By Tiber 

As you know, I’m working over at Larry’s Discount Occult this Halloween season. But I may not survive there until Halloween.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

Larry put a number of items on sale and the response has been a solid wall of shoppers. My sister, Iris Nell, is working there full time and I told her how insane it was for Larry to discount items right now and she said, “Yes, but look! There are more people in here than ever!”  Then I realized that from a retail point of view, that probably was good. From my point of view, it was more of an, “Oh, dear God, no!!! There are more people in here than ever!!!”

And of course, since it’s Larry’s Discount Occult, you have to deal with freaks and fetishists and what are, clearly, demonic forces.

Unsurprisingly, though, the most frightening customers are the high school girls. Those Heathers will beat a real witch into the ground if she so much as looks at the last pointy hat.

And the girls’ contempt for the demons was so condescending, so withering, you could actually see the evil fiends suddenly revisiting their own miserable days at Hell High in their minds.

And soon, they were scuttling out the door as fast as possible, with floods of tears almost shorting out their glowing little purple eyes.

Wonderful. You just know that later, those demons are going to think this over, be ashamed that they fled and they’re going to return every item they bought.

Those black candles will obviously have been used. But I’m going to take them back anyway and Larry’s going to have a fit. But better Larry than the demons.

I don’t want to challenge them. I’m only human, after all. That’s right. I am a human. I am, not, in fact, a high school girl.