December 6, 2022. The Writer’s Room.
I sat down at the table of the Writer’s Room, with a mild case of Grinchiness. I had been asking these guys for their parts for weeks, and gotten nowhere! They were all seated around the table, waiting for me to speak. There was Harrison to my immediate right, and he was twitching with eagerness to start work on his Lego artwork. Next to him was John, drinking a bottle of Gene Simmons’ “Moneybag” soda, a premium offering from the Kiss demon. To my left were Aaron, and Michael, the 80sMetalMan. They seemed to be confused as to the urgency of this meeting.
They just didn’t get it. Pressure, deadlines! I tried to act like a frustrated coach of a sporting team.
“OK guys, listen up!” I began, taking a sip of my coffee. “Christmas is only a few weeks away. I know everyone at this table is aware of the backlog in Lego art. Harrison is sitting there with nothing to do while he waits for us to get our acts in gear!”
John Snow raised his hand. With his southern gentleman demeanour, he asked, “I’m a little confused here, what is the problem exactly? And why are you acting like such a Scrooge?”
“No questions until the end!” I barked. Snow put down his Simmons ginger ale, taken aback by my tone.
“Now pay attention because I’m only going to say this once! Right now, Santa’s cracking the whip on his elves, to make sure he gets all the toys in all the stockings by December 24! Can you imagine the disappointment if Santa didn’t deliver? There’d be so many heartbroken children all over the world, that White Lion’s ‘When the Children Cry’ would become a Top Ten charting single again! But we know Santa won’t let that happen! He’s going to work those elves until they’ve built all the Nintendos and Playstations or whatever the hell kids are asking for these days! When I was a kid we’d be lucky to get a Luke Skywalker and two Jawas!”
I paused to take a breath as I noticed the other guys were quite shocked at my aggressiveness today. Aaron rubbed his eyes as a headache induced by the volume of my voice set in. Michael just looked patiently. As the newest member of the Writer’s Room, he didn’t want to rock the boat. Harrison appeared concerned while Snow seemed engulfed in his next bottle of Simmons soda.
“We cannot let our readers down, guys. They expect a great Tee Bone Man adventure every month! They want to see top-notch Lego art from the Australian Wunderkind over here. They want music references, they want inside jokes, and they want Scotch on the rocks! And what have I got back from you guys?? Nothing!!”
All four guys’ eyes went wide as they stared at me in shock. John’s jaw may have dropped slightly, or it could have been the cola he was now drinking.
“But Mike, as you know, I got my part to you first, a long time ago in fact,” said Aaron gently. “You even told me you got it.”
I owed him an apology. “Yes, I’m sorry, you are right about that. I’m excluding you from this lecture Aaron.” I then turned to the rest of the table. “Why can’t you guys be more like Aaron? Sure, his portion was little more than a bunch of ‘Wahoos!’ but at least he did the work. Don’t you guys understand what we’re trying to do here?”
I walked around the table. “We are trying to write a Tee Bone Man episode for Christmas, a special one like none we’ve attempted before! We are determined to do a seasonal story, in time for the holidays! Not late! With each one of us contributing our own section of the story, with our own characters! A unique gift for Tee Bone and Deke, a single story written by all five of us! Each injecting our own styles, characters, and gifts for our heroic duo! Don’t you guys understand the concept? We can’t finish until we get every single section in so Harrison can do the art! And time is running out!”
Harrison coughed and asked to speak. “Can I add a few words here?” said the Australian.
“Yes, please do, tell these guys how strapped we are for time!” I invited him.
“Umm, I was actually going to ask you to check your email. I submitted my part of the story several weeks ago. Perhaps you should look in your spam folder?”
With a gruff smirk on my face, I reached for my phone in my shirt pocket. I opened up my email and looked in spam.
“Well, unless you sent it to me with the title ‘Viagara on sale’ then no, it’s not in spam Harrison,” I said with self satisfaction.
“What about your general inbox? Maybe it’s in your unread items. You usually have several thousand of those in your inbox,” he said.
I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. I then put my phone back in my pocket, took another drink of my coffee, and looked at the group.
“OK so none of this applies to Aaron and Harrison.” I glared at Snow, now drinking a root beer, and Michael sitting there quietly.
There was an ominous, very unseasonable quiet around the table.
“Well, don’t you have anything to say you two?” I demanded.
John raised his hand again. “I do. Is it time for questions now?”
“Yes it’s time for questions now!” I exclaimed in exasperation.
John gently asked, “When you were looking for Harrison’s chapter in your inbox, did you happen to see mine in there too? Remember, I told you to make any changes you needed to fit it into the story.”
Did he? “I thought that you were talking about your new space story that you’re working on John?”
“I sent you both, remember?” John waited for my response.
I didn’t bother checking my phone this time.
“Alright, so it seems I definitely owe three of you an apology. My mistake. I’m sorry guys, I stand corrected. Your chapters are submitted. But Michael, Harrison will need you to finish yours in order to do the Lego art!”
Michael the 80sMetalMan was about to open his mouth, when Harrison interrupted. “Actually,” he raised his hand, “Since we’ve already discussed the ending, and all the major events of the story, I can do the Lego art without much issue,” he corrected me.
I looked down at the table. Was I wrong about everything at this meeting today? Did I berate this fine group of writers for nothing?
“So what are you saying…that we’re actually in good shape to get the story done ahead of schedule?” I asked.
Michael smiled. “It sounds to me like we’re in excellent shape and all on the same page. Except for you that is!”
“Well I certainly wish I could take back 90% of what I said back there!” I said, a little ashamed at myself.
“Only 90%?” asked Aaron. “What would you have still said?”
“Well, I notice John Snow is on his fourth bottle of Gene Simmons soda and hasn’t offered any of us a bottle. And he even knows I love Kiss and soda pop. So I’d probably still berate John at the beginning there.”
Everyone laughed but John, who reached under the table and lifted up a huge box.
“Merry Christmas, Mike,” he said with a huge grim.
“Is this what I think it is?” I asked feeling even more ashamed of myself. I ripped open the paper. “Gene Simmons Moneybag soda!! Enough for everyone to share. It’s even cold!”
“It sure is, I kept it outside last night!” explained Snow. “I can’t believe how cold it is in Canada!”
With that, the Christmas spirit had finally arrived. The five men grabbed fresh bottles of soda and raised a cheer. Each one of them looked forward to the Tee Bone Man Christmas special, a first-time event: a special story co-written by all five writers. Each one lending his own unique style and characters to the story, in celebration of our heroes Tee Bone and Superdekes.
Look for the Tee Bone Man Christmas episode in time for your holiday egg nog, and to all a good night!
THE ADVENTURES OF TEE BONE MAN
Chapter One: A Friend in Need (by LeBrain)
Chapter Three: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be (by LeBrain)
Chapter Six: Tee Bone Man Goes to Camp (by LeBrain)
Chapter Seven: The Revenge of Common Knowledge (by LeBrain)
Chapter Nine: Castle Communications (by Harrison Kopp)
Chapter Ten: The Case of the Lost Iron Maiden Socks (by LeBrain)
COMING SOON! Chapter Eleven: A Tee Bone Man Christmas (by all five of us)
THE EXTENDED LEBRAINIVERSE