Category Archives: Story

SECRETS DARK AND OLD

by John Jonelis

“I still say da guy deserves what he got. He ran down dat poor animal on purpose! Hates squirrels.  Says so in da papers.”  So proclaims Loop Lonagan regarding Alderman Brookins of Chicago’s 21st Ward.

“Is not true! Right here in Chicago Tribune, it read—how you say—kamikaze squirrel.” Donatis Ludditis thumps a stout digit on a newspaper headline and continues in his broken English. “Creature attack alderman. Throw itself into wheel of bicycle in suicide attack! Here is proof, see?” He points to a photograph—a photograph that Brookins took himself.  It shows the murdered animal lodged in the spokes of his ruined bicycle. “Newspapers in whole country print story.” says Ludditis.  “Not one say alderman cruel to animals! Not one time!” Continue reading

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Filed under Characters, Conflict, Death, Influence, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, Mystery, Story

THE JOB INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM SHAKES

by Mark T Wayne

We’re here to interview some reprobate named William Shakes for the job of special correspondent. I do not know why I’m a part of this.  No sir!  Perhaps it’s the strange nature of the recruit.  Perhaps it’s because Jonelis recommended this particular…person,  and does not entirely trust the judgement of Jim Kren, his assistant editor.  (Shakes bears an uncanny resemblance and must be related in some way—maybe) Perhaps it’s because that execrable Lonagan creature is the only other help Kren could muster.  But we need more writers, so here I am, eager and helpful as always, ready to lend any assistance within my power.

Mark T Wayne

Kren consults a wrinkled scrap of paper. I believe he’s reading questions from a list.  “So, uh…your name is William Shakes. Is that right? Tell me about yourself.”

What kind of softball question is Kren pitching? There sits Shakes in frilly regalia, looking like something out of an Elizabethan play.  He probably came here straight from an all-night costume party, roaring drunk, and Kren asks a fool question like that.  Wait, I believe the man is transparent enough to respond to such utter inanity.

  • “What’s in a name?” he says with dignity. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. We are such stuff as dreams are made on. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.” Spoken fluently and with aplomb! And in a well-modulated voice!
  • Loop Lonagan looks at the man slack jawed. After a moment I hear him whispering to Kren. “What didee say?” Kren fiddles with his paper and mutters to Lonagan, “Idiot! I was gonna ask you that!”
  • My value to the proceedings is now clear. Not to mention that I recognize the true and somewhat illustrious identity of this candidate. “Gentlemen, Mr. Shakes expresses the sentiment that his name and his fame do not matter; that he brings to the table a strong imagination and boundless creativity. He’s proud of his accomplishments and liable to brawl with anyone that displays the audacity to criticize his work. (Also, gentlemen, notice that the man carries a sword.)”

“Why,” Kren asks testily, “didn’t he just come out and say what he meant?”

I express the opinion that’s precisely what he did.

Lonagan shrugs and grins at his boss. “Ain’t got no problem with it.”

William Shakes

Kren reads the next question:

  • “What is your greatest accomplishment?”
  • Shakes sits there in that hot scratchy outfit, seeming at ease. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” He says. “The play’s the thing. Thirty Seven there be, wherein I catch the conscience of the king and posterity.” The man runs off these lines without breaking sweat.
  • More muttering and both Kren and Lonagan turn to me. I clear my throat. “He’s considered the supreme writer in the English language and highly respected throughout the known world. Among other things, he produced 37 highly prized major works of written material that have captured the attention of world leaders.” (Privately, I take violent exception to the widely-held belief regarding his supremacy as a writer.  Such accolade is more aptly applied to myself. But I refuse to squabble.  Honour is at stake. Yes sir! I will do nothing to lampoon this interview!)

A brief dumbfounded silence. Then the barely vocalized sounds of approval indicate that these two examples of lower life are suitably impressed by the response.  I warm to the task!  Kren scans his page of questions.

  • “What major problem have you had to deal with recently?”
  • Shakes: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
  • I immediately translate: “He says he’s learning not to underrate himself. As a result, he never shirks a task, even if he feels inadequate. Because of that, he’s consistently surprised by hidden talents.”

Lonagan finally gets up the nerve to ask a question himself:

  • “Are you one o’ deeze team players?”
  • Shakes: “Prithee, it be thus. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
  • Me: “Ditto that.”

Loop’s dog Clamps.  No known photograph of Lonagan exists, but they look a lot alike.

Lonagan again:

  • “What’s yer biggest weakness?”
  • Shakes: “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
  • They both sit there stunned, so I venture another paraphrase: “He says he’s only human, subject to the same vices of body and character as you two.”

Kren throws up his hands, then with an obvious effort, composes himself, and manages to appear grave and somewhat skeptical. Then he plods on.

  • “How do you think you can add value to our magazine?”
  • Shakes: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our venture.”
  • Lonagan: “What didee say dat time?”
  • I happily translate: “He says the magazine could go on the rocks due to poor staff and lousy management. But we’re at a critical stage right now and must take full advantage of it while the opportunity is ripe.”

That last answer emits a bit of grumbling between the two louts. Those fellows have no idea who they’re dealing with.  Lonagan asks what I can only assume expresses the issue that bears most tenderly on his feeble mind:

  • “How much money d’ya want fer dis gig?”
  • Shakes: “While I am a beggar, I will rail and say there is no sin but to be rich; and being rich, my virtue then shall be to say there is no vice but beggary. If money go before, all ways do lie open, but the comfort is, you shall fear no more tavern-bills.”
  • I immediately insinuate myself: “He says he doesn’t come cheap, but he never pads the expense account.”

Kren utters a deep sigh and hits him with what I am sure is his final payoff question:

  • “Why should I hire you?”
  • “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
  • I try not to bust out laughing. “He says, don’t be a ninny.”

Kren and Lonagan stare at each other. Face it—they botched the interview.  There is nothing remaining to discuss.  No sir!  Jonelis wanted this relic on staff.  These goons found no reason to reject the man.

Kren shrugs. “Show up tomorrow for work. Eight o’clock sharp.”

Shakes gives a bow and a flourish. “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

As William Shakes nobly marches out, I can barely contain my mirth.  But tomorrow, the man will stand on the sidewalk for hours.  Our office rents space in the back room of a fine establishment and Ludditis doesn’t open the bar till the potato pancake connoisseurs crowd in for lunch.  Kren’s revenge.

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Read the first in the series [TO BE OR NOT TO BE HACKED]

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Image Credits – John Jonelis, Public Domain
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Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. Please perform your own due diligence. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
.Copyright © 2017 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved
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Filed under angel, angel investor, Business, Conflict, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, High Tech, Influence, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, mark t wayne, Story, Writing style

BEST GIFT

20160619-20160619-_jaj5955

by Mark T Wayne

“Whaddaya think is da best Christmas gift o’ dem all?” Loop Lonagan puts this puerile question in a peculiar verbal form he calls the American language just as Donatis Ludditis and I innocently raise a Christmas toast at that notable Chicago landmark, Ludditis Shots & Beer.  The place offers several distinct advantages.  Our host never presents a bill for our proclivities and the back room houses our magazine offices.

“I got best gift! Is this!”  Ludditis states his case in his Lithuanian accent, and passes fancy boxes across the table.  “This one for you, Mr. Wayne. Is Christmas!” Continue reading

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Filed under Characters, Conflict, Faith, Giving, loop lonagan, mark t wayne, Relationships, Story

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

20161201-_jaj0288tby Mark T Wayne

Howard Brookins Jr, the alderman for Chicago’s 21st ward, was biking along Cal-Sag Trail on Nov. 13, when a squirrel darted into his path. The squirrel wrapped itself in the spokes of the alderman’s bicycle. [The Washington Post.]  According to the alderman, “I can think of no other reason for this squirrel’s actions than that it was like a suicide bomber, getting revenge.” [The Chicago Tribune.]

If this is revenge, there is good reason for it. Yes sir!  As the Post also reports: “Brookins denounced the eastern gray squirrel in a Chicago City Council meeting and has publicly spoken out about a toothy menace.” He complains of “aggressive squirrels that undermine efforts to overhaul the city’s trash carts.” [Chicago Sun Times]  He claims that squirrels are gnawing through garbage cart lids at a cost to the city of $300,000! Continue reading

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Filed under Characters, Conflict, Death, Jim Kren, mark t wayne, Politics, Story

TRUMPED

donald-trump-tby John Jonelis

Political outsider elected president! Nationwide shock!  Emotions run wild!  Markets in turmoil!  Worst riots since Orson Wells’ WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast!

Loop Lonagan watches the mayhem on television. People on the streets shout lewd obscenities—carry hate signs—crawl over cars—destroy businesses—throw bricks at police. “Da theater o’ dee absurd,”  Lonagan mutters, “Did deeze folks even vote?” Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Characters, Education, Influence, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, Politics, Relationships, Story, The Economy

NO GOAT

no-goat-tby John Jonelis

This thing still replays in my mind. And the news is everywhere!

“The last real American sports story—the story of the team that couldn’t and seemingly never would—is gone for good…  [Rick Morrissey – Sun Times]   Now I watch in shocked delight as the Cub’s sleeping bats come alive! A leadoff home run…

“…ending more than a century of flops, futility and frustration.”  [Ronald Blum – Associated Press]  …now more runs—a lot more runs, but way too many innings left to go… Continue reading

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ALIEN ABDUCTS FISH, THROWS FISHERMAN BACK

20161004-_jajdscn0159tby Jim Kren

Avid fisherman John Jonelis was enjoying some late night fly-fishing on the Pere Marquette River in Michigan when he had a close encounter with something not swimming upstream.

“I’m casting a fly called a Crystal Bullet with a number 4 hook on a sink tip,” said Jonelis. “This beautiful Chinook Salmon practically bends my number 10 Recon in half but after about an hour, I land it. Al snaps a picture, then all this happens.  Me and my salmon get lifted by a glowing ray into some giant saucer-like ship that smells of fish inside.” Continue reading

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Filed under Biography, Characters, Education, Games, Low Tech, Mystery, Story

HOW BAD IS IT

bobs-bad-poetry-swtby Loop Lonagan

Lotsa people keep tellin’ me good things about Bob’s Bad Poetry so I’m checkin’ it out. Yeah, yeah, I know what yer thinkin’.  But there’s no law against an angel investor goin’ in fer high culture.  That’s right, I like literature ‘n’ modern art too—’specially the abstract stuff.  You got some problem with that, bud?  Hey, me fodder and me mudder’s both Irish ‘n’ both poets, so’s I got it in da genes.  Maybe you already figured that out from da way I talk. Continue reading

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Filed under angel, angel investor, Business, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, High Tech, loop lonagan, mobile internet, Startup Companies, Startups, Story, vc, venture capital, wireless, wireless internet, Writing style

THROW THE BUM OUT

Mark T Wayne 1cTby John Jonelis

Mark T Wayne hurls his cigar to the barroom floor and grinds it under his heel. “Lonagan, you’re a consummate ass!”

“Shuttup ‘n’ have anudder whiskey.”

“You sir are heavily inebriated.” Wayne’s voice resonates above the noise of the crowded bar. “I know better than to get tight oftener than once in three months.” He lifts his chin and peers down his nose at Loop Lonagan. “It sets a man back in the esteem of people whose opinions are worth having.” Continue reading

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KILLER SHILLER

John Jonelis


Robert Shiller TAt Loop Lonagan’s urging, I’m walking his 85 pound bull terrier Clamps down the hard Chicago winter pavement. I don’t mind because it’s an opportunity to road test my two knee replacements. That’s right; I’m the happy product of the wonders of modern orthopedic carpentry! And I enjoy the best physical therapy known to man because I own the company!

Old Donatas Ludditis flanks my other side to make sure I don’t slip on a stray patch of ice. Despite my upbeat attitude, I hold Clamp’s heavy leather leash with some trepidation. In my condition, I seriously doubt my ability to control such a large and volatile animal. Continue reading

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THE PRICE OF THEIR TOYS

Oshkosh-1371 Tby John Jonelis

The radio crackles, “Cherokee Six, rock yer wings and rock ‘em good.” Jim Kren ignores the command. We’re no Cherokee Six.  Is the controller looking at another airplane?

The sky is lousy with traffic converging on one tiny airport Too many planes for back-and-forth radio chatter. Special rules apply. The controller spots incoming with binoculars and radios his instructions—the pilots respond in a kind of airborne sign language. Keying your mike is tantamount to declaring an emergency.

Jim can comply. He can bide his time. Either is dangerous if he’s wrong. Aviation is full of moments like that. The entire air transport system won’t function unless responsible people break the law in just the right way.

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Filed under Business, Characters, Death, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, High Tech, Jim Kren, loop lonagan, Startup Companies, Startups, Story

CROSSTOWN CLASSIC

Baseball from MS Word T2by John Jonelis

Here in Chicago, we’re blessed with two professional baseball teams.  I root for them both—yes, for me it’s Chicago against the world.  But how many fans do that?  Almost nobody, right?  Whenever I betray my crosstown allegiance, people look at me cross-eyed. Continue reading

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