In the 2016 San Mateo County Fair Literary Contest, I won both honorable mention (print version) and first prize (my audio reading) for the Puppy Brothers (Tucker and Wrigley) in “The Malevolent Mystery Meat!”
You can buy the print version (formatted as a radio play) in the book Carry The Light 2016, which you can now buy at Amazon. It has plenty of great stories, essays, and poetry from local writers. I highly recommend “Character Flaws” by Sumiko Saulson. A short story that lets non-writers feel how characters run around in a writer’s head. It’s educational, a little scary, and a lot of fun.
Here is the story, in the format of a radio script, as it is printed in the book. (I will post a link to the reading when I get that, or maybe I will post my own.)
My SOUND EFFECTS were spoken. The MUSIC is three sections of the William Tell Overture, a royalty free version on YouTube. I edited that into the nature section at the start, the storm, and the Lone Ranger theme for the ending chase.
Announcer: (pompous) The Puppy Brothers, in The Malevolent Mystery Meat! Seaside City, California. The Super Grade School Cafeteria. Late September. A Friday. 11:35 A.M.
Music: William Tell Overture, nature.
Wrigley: (naughty second grader) You ate boogers! You ate boogers! [Narrator: Wrigley sing-song howled at the girl’s lunch table.] Booger girl, booger girl, you ate boogers!
Kittygirl: (nice girl) I did NOT! [Narrator: yelled Katsuko “Kittygirl” Kimura.] I just tasted it.
Narrator: (can be Tucker’s voice) She bared her fangs at her mystery meat.
Kittygirl: HISS! It’s HORRIBLE!
Narrator: Third grade girls pushed plates away.
Third Grade Girls: Ew! Bleh! Ish poo yuckers!
Narrator: Tucker groaned. He was in fourth grade, and he knew that with doggie superpowers, there shouldn’t come kittygirl teasing! Unlike his younger brother.
Tucker: (more mature forth grader) Wrigley, take one bite or you won’t see Super Holly!
Narrator: Wrigley growled at his plate.
Wrigley: No! It’s GRRRRROSS!
Narrator: Tucker sniff-sniff-sniffed the brownish-grey lump on his plate. He was hungry, but his nose slammed shut.
Tucker: ROWF, you’re RIGHT! I wouldn’t feed this to a dog!
Narrator: Wrigley’s smile was a toothy bomb with the fuse lit. He grabbed mystery meat and wound up like a baseball pitcher. Uh oh.
Wrigley: Still hungry, Kittygirl? CATCH!”
Narrator: He threw! Kittygirl extended super-claws and slashed super-FAST!
Sound Effects: (mystery meat impact) SPLAT!
Narrator: Yuck! Grease on Tucker’s shirt! And Wrigley’s. And a bunch of other guys. But Tucker couldn’t get mad. Kittygirl’s shoulders slumped. Her long black hair dulled.
Kittygirl: I’m sorry, guys.
Narrator: Bad boys smiled and scooped up globs of mystery meat.
Bad Boys: FOOD FIGHT!
Narrator: The air filled with fatty meteors. Tucker grabbed Wrigley.
Tucker: See what you did?
Narrator: Wrigley yapped,
Wrigley: Yeah! It’s FUN!
Narrator: Girls squealed, dodged, grabbed icky ammunition, and returned fire. Boys tumbled and laughed and tossed:
Bad Boys: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!
Narrator: Flying kids dropped meaty bombs.
Sound effects: (meaty bomb impacts) BLPP! PPLP! PWWT!
Narrator: Super-speed running kids flicked bullet blobs.
Sound effects: (bullet blob impacts) SPTT SPTT SPTT SPTT!
Narrator: Two hairnetted lunch ladies frowned behind the serving counter.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: (gravelly, nasty) You ungrateful brats, [Narrator: snarled the big fat one, bulldog jowls jiggling.] Starving children in India would love this nutritious food!
Narrator: Devouring Debbie said,
Devouring Debbie: I’d rather eat my chair!
Narrator: And she did!
Sound Effects: (chair being eaten fast, followed by Debbie’s gulp and burp) CRUNCH KRUNKL KRRRNK GULP! BURP!
Narrator: Bug Boy hung upside-down from the ceiling and threw.
Sound Effects: (mystery meat impact) SPLAT!
Narrator: Direct hit on a lunch lady’s white apron!
Bug Boy: I’m from India and your food STINKS!
Narrator: The short skinny lunch lady with beady evil eyes wiped off goop. Her screech made Tucker want to howl:
Short Skinny Lunch Lady: (higher, screechier) Fine, we QUIT!
Tucker: Oh, what the heck!
Narrator: Tucker tossed food and laughed and dodged with doggie speed—
Sound Effects: (a gooey impact) BBBSHLUPPP!
Narrator: Kittygirl smiled smugly at the goo on Tucker’s chest.
Kittygirl: Gotcha. You’d run faster on all fours.
Tucker: Oh, it’s on!
Narrator: Tucker threw a fistful of gravy.
Tucker: How fast are you?
Narrator: But at the same time:
Sound Effects: (wind) WHOOSH!
Narrator: A blast of wind opened the front door.
Sound Effects: (Super Holly lands) THUMP!
Narrator: A blonde lady in a blue supersuit and red cape flew in and landed near Kittygirl.
Sound effects: (mystery meat impact) SPLAT!
Narrator: And Super Holly Hansson, the mightiest superhero on Earth, pouted down at the grey splotch on her yellow up-arrow chest logo. Kittygirl’s green eyes got big.
Kittygirl: He didn’t mean it, Holly.
Narrator: Holly set a box on the table next to Kittygirl.
Super Holly: (heroic 25-year-old superheroine) Here’s the comic books for this afternoon’s rally.
Narrator: She frowned at Tucker, her fierce eagle beak nose aiming like an arrow.
Super Holly: As for YOU, young man…
Narrator: Tucker gulped. Holly was so TALL! And her big blue eyes, long sunshiny hair, and strawberry scent were so pretty. Holly sniffed. She ran a finger on the goo on her chest and tasted. Her lips puckered.
Super Holly: EW! Worse than lutefisk!
Narrator: Wrigley jabbed his finger at the lunch ladies.
Wrigley: They served BOOGERS! Snot funny!
Narrator: The skinny lunch lady wheeled a silvery barrel with a thick hose toward the main door. On the other end of the hose, in the hands of the fat lunch lady, was a fat barreled ray-gun with a glowing tip.
Sound Effects: (electricity) BZZZZZZZZZZT!
Narrator: The lunch lady sprayed lightening at everyone like a lawn sprinkler!
Big Fat Lunch Lady: YAH HA HAAAA!!! Taste superpower sucker, you BRATS!
Narrator: Electricity clawed kids!
Kids: Ow! Ooo! It stings!
Narrator: They whimpered and wobbled like it was way past bedtime. Tucker and Wrigley cringed. Holly’s super body blocked the scary storm from them. Her eyebrows knotted, her teeth gritted, and WOW! Steam blasted out her nose!
Sound Effects: (electricity) ZZZZP!
Narrator: Lightening glommed onto Kittygirl. She meowed,
Narrator: and fainted.
Super Holly: Sweetie!
Music: William Tell Overture, storm
Narrator: Holly stood up straight. She turned around. Like a Frankenstein monster, she stomped into fire-hosing lightening. Her hands reached out to mush lunch ladies into pudding.
Tucker: RUFF, that would taste rotten!
Super Holly: You won’t… get AWAY… WITH THIS!
Big Fat Lunch Lady: Super Holly!
Narrator: Gasped the fat lunch lady! She turned a dial on the gun. The lightening got brighter and louder!
Sound effects: (electricity louder) BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZP!!!
Super Holly: GONNA MASH YOU…”
Narrator: Holly punched lightening with glowing blue fists.
Super Holly: LIKE A POTAT…
Narrator: She staggered forward.
Super Holly: POT…
Narrator: Her shaky hands were inches from the gun.
Super Holly: Puhhhhh…
Narrator: Oh, no! Like a tree chopped down, Holly fell. Plopped onto the floor. And was so still. The lunch lady sprayed Holly with lightening like she was putting out a fire. She turned off the gun.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: I th-th-think I g-g-g-got her.
Narrator: The cafeteria was so quiet that Tucker heard Wrigley’s heartbeat. Kids lay limp on chairs, tables, and floor. Evil nap time. Wrigley growled.
Tucker: Bad dog! [Narrator: Tucker said,] Shhh!
Narrator: Too late! The fat lady fired!
Sound Effects: (electricity) ZZZZP!
Narrator: Huh? The lightening didn’t hurt! Tucker and Wrigley charged.
Tucker and Wrigley: BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK!
Narrator: The skinny lunch lady fired another gun:
Short Skinny Lunch Lady: Heel, Fido!
Narrator: OOF! Tucker was wrapped up with Wrigley in—SNIFF SNIFF!—a spaghetti net! The floor smacked Tucker’s nose: OW! He squirmed.
[Narrator: Wrigley said,] Wrigley: Will you stop touching me?!?!
Narrator: The fat lunch lady sneered like a mean troll.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: Guess you two didn’t eat the mystery meat. But Holly had a taste!
Narrator: The big fat supervillain in apron and hairnet looked at a small screen on the silvery barrel, threw back her head, and laughed.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: YAH HA HAAAA! We’ve hit the superpower jackpot!
Narrator: Wrigley chewed the net.
Narrator: Good idea! Tucker joined in.
Narrator: The fat lunch lady took the hose from the ray-gun and strapped it to Holly’s arm.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: That’ll keep Holly konked out, and our container FULL! Let’s grab and go!
Narrator: Holly flopped like a big blue water balloon as the lunch ladies lifted and complained.
Short Skinny and Big Fat Lunch Ladies, alternating: “Oof!” “Ugh!” “How come I got the heavy end?” “Hey, I’m lifting her middle!” “I’m lifting her FRONT!”
Sound Effects: (a big body plop) PLOP!
Narrator: Holly lay on top of the barrel. The lunch ladies rolled them out the front door. They sang,
Lunch Ladies: (tune of School’s Out Forever) No more cooking, no more lunch! No more bratty noontime crunch!
Narrator: BITE BITE BITE! CHEW CHEW CHEW!
Sound Effects: (net tears) RRRRRIP!
Narrator: Tucker and Wrigley jumped FREE! They dashed out of the cafeteria. Tucker sniff-sniff-sniffed! Car exhaust! Dog pee! Grass! Boogery mystery meat, YUCK! And strawberry scent from a white van barreling down Main Street! Tucker looked at Wrigley.
Tucker: Sic ’em!
Narrator: Tucker’s feet scrabbled on the road. Wrigley ran on all fours, passing cars. Tucker did too, Kittygirl was right!
Music: William Tell Overture, chase (The Lone Ranger theme!)
Narrator: The skinny lunch lady squinted from the van’s driver side mirror like a rat from its hole. Tucker ran faster and yelled,
Tucker: You’re BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD!
Narrator: Wrigley’s head bobbed left and right as he called to dogs on sidewalks and in cars:
Wrigley: ROOO! BARK BARK BARK! ROOO!
Sound Effects: BEEP BEEP, HONK HONK! [Narrator: went cars!]
Tucker and Wrigley: GRRR!
Narrator: went Tucker and Wrigley as they dodged. Tucker glued his eyes to the van and galloped harder… NO! The van zoomed through an intersection just as the light turned red!
Tucker and Wrigley: ROWF ROWF!
Narrator: Tucker and Wrigley leaped over the intersection in a double doggie single bound! They slid on a bus hood, landed on the other side, and chase-chase-CHASED!
Wrigley: BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK!!!
Narrator: barked Wrigley at dogs in a park! They stood up like soldiers and charged!
Dogs in the park: WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!
Sound Effects: (police siren) WEE WOO, WEE WOO!
Narrator: Cars pulled over and a cop car pulled up. Its passenger window rolled down. A cop yelled,
Cop: Boys, get off the street!
Narrator: Tucker ran-ran-RAN!
Tucker: Super Holly is, PANT PANT, being kidnapped, PANT PANT PANT, in that white van! HELP!
Cop: Off the street NOW!
Narrator: The cop didn’t hear! That stupid car bump-bump-BUMPED Tucker toward the sidewalk! A German Shepherd stuck his face out the window and asked,
German Shepherd: RUFF?
Narrator: Tucker answered,
Tucker: BARK BARK RUFF!
Narrator: The police dog gasped. He turned to the cop.
German Shepherd: BARK BARK RUFF!
Narrator: The cop asked,
Cop: Timmy fell down a well?
Narrator: The police dog pointed his nose at the white van and growled,
German Shepherd: (throaty dog growl) Hhhholl, eeeeh. Hhhholl, eeeeh!
Narrator: Point point point!
German Shepherd: HHHHOLL, EEEEH!
Narrator: The cop gasped!
Cop: Gotcha, partner!
Narrator: He pressed a button on the dashboard.
Cop: Calling all cars! Super Holly Hansson is being kidnapped! White van on Main Street, passing Sixth! I’m in pursuit with two doggie boys and… [Narrator: he looked in his rear view mirror,] a hundred dogs!
Narrator: Tucker ran ran RAN—ow, tummy cramp—and glanced behind. Labs and beagles and poodles, oh my!
Dogs: RUFF RUFF RUFF! Give Holly back!
Deeper voice dog: WOOF WOOF WOOF! I’ll bite your—
Narrator: Ooo, pit bulls used bad words. The van rear window opened. A gun barrel stuck out.
Sound Effects: (big blobby impact) BLOOORRTCH!
Narrator: The cop car slowed, covered in gravy. The police dog leaped out and joined the chase.
German Shepherd: BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK! Stop in the name of the law!
Sound Effects: (meatball gun) BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP!
Narrator: went meatball bullets! Tucker and Wrigley dodged!
Dogs: YIPE YIPE YIPE!
Narrator: A few dogs were hit! Tucker’s limbs pump-pump-PUMPED, his heart THUMP-THUMP-THUMPED! The van swerved onto a highway entrance ramp. Tucker and Wrigley and dog army hounded after it!
Tucker and Wrigley: BARK BARK BARK BARK!
Sound Effects: (police sirens) WEE WOO, WEE WOO!
Narrator: Yay, more cop cars joined the chase! Tucker was tired and hungry, but he was closing in… OH NO! Two wings with jet engines stuck out of the sides of the van! Flame roared out!
Sound Effects: (jet engine) RRRRRRROOOOAR!
Narrator: The van sped up! A cop car pulled up, window down. A blue arm thrust out holding—SNIFF! YUM!—beef jerky! A cop yelled,
Cop: KIBBLE TIME!
Narrator: Tucker and Wrigley gobbled. Super doggie digestion turned fuel to energy. They galloped fast-fast-FASTER! The van’s tires left the road. Tucker chomped into the rear bumper. He dragged his feet, his super-canine neck muscles strained as he PULLLLLLED!
Narrator: So did Wrigley!
Narrator: A hundred dogs chomped onto tires and wings and bumper and Tucker’s pants and PULLLLLLLLED!
A Hundred Dogs: RRRRRRRRR!!!
Narrator: Cop cars bashed into the van’s wings. Jets sputtered and died. The van hit the road, slowed, slooowwwed… and stopped. Tucker let go.
Tucker: Ick, PAH TOO!
Narrator: Grease and grime, yuck! Wrigley’s tongue hung out.
Wrigley: RRROWF! Biggest doggie tug-of-war EVER!
Narrator: Tucker bit the door handle and yanked off the door:
Sound Effects: (van door ripped off) KA-RUNCH!
Narrator: Near the barrel, Holly was still passed out. And still pretty. The fat lunch lady’s bulldog face looked ready to bite. She aimed a big gun at Tucker.
Big Fat Lunch Lady: Back off or drown in gravy!
Narrator: A hundred dogs bared their fangs.
A Hundred Dogs: GGGRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
Narrator: The lady’s face went white as milk. The gun clonked on the van floor. Cops handcuffed the lunch ladies. One cop said,
Cop: (sarcastic) You have the right to bread and water. If you waive that right, your next meal will be mystery meat.
Narrator: Tucker bounded into the van and chomped that evil hose off Holly’s wrist. Wrigley hopped onto Holly’s tummy.
Wrigley: Wake UP UP UP! BARK BARK BARK!
Narrator: Dogs sniff-sniff-sniffed Holly’s face. Long snakey tongues lick-lick-lick-lick-licked it. Holly sputtered. She pushed dogs from her face and stood up.
Super Holly: Down, boys!
Narrator: She blinked at Tucker.
Super Holly: Are you two okay?
Narrator: Wrigley wriggled and hopped.
Wrigley: Yeah! We caught the van! It was fun!
Narrator: Holly’s big golden bracelet buzzed. A little hologram of Kittygirl jumped out of it, just like in those cool Star Warrior movies. Kittygirl pleaded,
Kittygirl: Holly, the kids are all right! Please be okay too!
Narrator: Holly smiled. She had nice white teeth.
Super Holly: I’m okay. Thanks to the Puppy Brothers.
Narrator: She reached out to Tucker and Wrigley. Big transparent blue hands extended from Holly’s hands—[Tucker: wow, her telekinetic power looked cool!]—and hugged Tucker and Wrigley close.
Super Holly: Boys, when you save the girls, you better get used to this.
Narrator: The strongest woman in the world kissed Tucker.
Sound Effects: (superheroine kiss) MMM-WAH!
Narrator: Then Wrigley.
Sound Effects: (superheroine kiss) MMM-WAH!
Narrator: Kittygirl giggled.
Kittygirl: Guys, I think Holly likes you.
Narrator: Wrigley wiped his mouth.
Narrator: Tucker licked his lips. Strawberries. Yum. His heart thumped faster. He could get used to that.