Ghosts

Ode to Toast

Just shy of a month since we rolled into Rochester, our poor, packed Prius carried everything she could across the continent, leaving everything else (everyone else) behind. What have I missed most? Good question.

My toaster.

Excuse me, toaster oven.

I’ve really missed my toaster oven. You see, I’ve never been a fan of microwaves. Some people say the radiation is dangerous and that’s cool. To me, it just makes everything taste rubbery and cheap. Microwaves are convenient; I get that, but convenient at what price? Rubbery everything?

Plus, it seems obvious microwaves are constructed and mass-produced for the weak. You would never see, for instance, a ninja using a microwave.

A plain toaster is fine for bread, bagels, and english muffins, but there’s no other options. What if I want to reheat my pizza? What if I want to create my own delicious cheesy bread with pasta?

Sure. I could use the oven. This is where you chime in: “Kevin,  you don’t care for microwaves, yet you’re too impatient for ovens.”

First of all, you are rude.

Second of all, you are correct.

The toaster oven isn’t just a convenience, it’s the greatest achievement of the twentieth century. My proof? Let’s talk toast.

A toaster oven let’s you see the bread toasting! You can flip the bread if one side is too dark and the other not so much. You can toast your bread with a chunk of butter on top (and watch it deliciously melt in to every crevice of grain and gluten). Best yet, the stressful action of grabbing a butter-knife to free a trapped piece of bread has become obsolete. I mean, you COULD stick a knife in a toaster-oven if you wanted to. Your call.

Estate of Mind

It’s been a month since I’ve had toast, you understand? I’ve been quite terrible. Megan and I are short on cash (and not as heavy on credit as we used to be) so every purchase requires frugality and great purpose.

I ask you this: what greater purpose is there than toast?

Don’t worry. The issue has been solved. Estate sales, my old friend, has relieved the suffering.

We’ve been hitting estate sales like they’re dropping dead. My first stop—every time I enter a specter’s house—is the kitchen. There’s rules though, like in Zombieland, to buying a toaster oven from a dead person’s house. You can’t just buy the first one you see.

1. Never pay more than $5 for a used dead-person’s toaster oven. You can find new ones for $20.

2. There’s a difference between dirty and decrepit. It’s not CAN you clean it, but rather, do you WANT to even touch it?

3. Test it on the spot!

4. If the house shakes as you start to walk away with the toaster oven, pay quickly and run out.

The toaster oven I found passed all four purchasing rules, so I’m golden. This morning I thoroughly cleaned it, cleaned it one more time, and then prayed for God to remove any lingering entities.

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Love

It’s amazing what we take for granted. I love you toast; I’ll never leave you again.

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Short Story: Reality Ace

A prologue to a short story I’m writing. Happy Short Story Saturday!!! (I just made that up). Warning: Rough language.

Prologue: Reality Ace

There’s no such thing as reality. Reality TV, that is. Viewers assume—we want them to; if not, we’d be on welfare—cameramen show up and start following strangers, like assholes.

No, no, honey. There’s contracts and lighting, and scripts. Have you ever seen a producer without a script? Me neither. When a producer’s involved you can bet there’s going to be a script. It’s going to be fake; that’s what you pay for—entertainment. It’s an industry, baby, and we don’t leave shit to chance.

A jungle, a deserted island, a cooking contest, it doesn’t matter. Reality TV is no better, no different than professional wrestling (sometimes, wrestlers wear more clothes); we know the winner (you know we do), and we know the outcome (you’ve got to know).

That’s what I do. Ace Jordan. I produce outcomes.

CBS, I started there. Every two years some new hotshot out of UCLA film studies guns for your job. So I ended up at NBC, but what did they know? Nothing, it turns out. A year later I moved on to basic cable with two offers: “Heels on the Hills,” (for lovers of rich, white suburban wife drama), and “Ghost Walk,” a run of the mill ghost hunters program.

I chose “Heels” for the paycheck, but it cancelled after three episodes. Pulling some strings, I found myself on the set of “Ghost Walk” as a location scout.

The show’s main producer, Jerry, told me the first season was filmed entirely in a studio. By season two the network asked him to branch out. 

“A real circus act,” says Jerry and it’s true. We’ve filmed in abandoned state hospitals and creaky old cabins—the locations, I find them all. It’s a shit job, but it’s mine, and I take it seriously. That’s the only way to get ahead: take your shit-job seriously.

Our indomitable hosts, Michael, Brad, and Aisla, are as good as any I’ve seen. On TV they’re touched, thrown down, and spoken to by entities. People ask me if I ever get scared while filming on location. I tell them that, often, we retake cuts due to crew laughter. Everything’s staged.

And honestly? Brad deserves an Oscar.

Tomorrow we head to Upstate New York, a little town outside of Rochester. (The worst part of canceling “Heels” and gaining “Walk” was the move from Los Angeles to New York. I’ve got a mouse-hole for an apartment, costing me what a three bedroom in the Valley did). There’s this old abandoned house in Pittsford I found—empty for nearly thirty years, the city is tearing it down—it’s perfect. We’re claiming it as the site of a 1942 family murder in Pennsylvania (that never happened) and interviewing fake neighbors for hire.

Ghosts are as fake as a Food Network cooking contest and I know the winner, the outcome. All I need is a paycheck and a way out, a way back to the Emmys.

Just give me a way out.