Shorty & Morty
An Extraordinary Homeless Couple
“That little dummy is not going to get famous before I do! Who does he think he is? This is my town!” EMF
Hollywood Boulevard – day…
Young Peter lunged up the grungy stairwell leading to Jared’s door while clutching his delectable blow-up girlfriend, Babes. Peter was still humming music he had heard blast from blind Zippy’s mini-boombox as they passed each other on Hollywood Boulevard. Peter repeatedly knocked with excitement until Jared swung his door open with great agitation. “What is it Peter? Meeting time is tomorrow!” he barked. “You know the puppet meeting isn’t today.” Jared’s imposing stare and quick grin didn’t scare Peter – it made him feel important. Peter jumped up and down excitedly as Babes inflated chest followed – rhythmically, “Jared, I saw the midget! Shorty & Morty!”
This got Jared’s immediate attention but he didn’t want to seem too anxious. “Really? You saw them – the little guy who made his girl’s legs? You’re sure it was them?” Jared knew Peter wasn’t all there but he didn’t care – he wanted to be sure the information was correct. Peter nodded with an innocent pierced smile - much like a proud puppy awaiting his bone from his master. His piercing wasn’t any more real than his girlfriend – except to Peter - as he shoved the ring back into place.
Jared excused himself for a moment and closed the door. Inside he kneeled before an alter cut from an old telephone pole that stood three feet high amid clutter in his dingy apartment living room space. He lit two candles that rested on each side of his savior’s statue and knelt down while holding feathered leathered beadings. The carved statue was of a gleeful puppeteer maniacally holding a marionette. Peter peeked through the door’s mail-slot and spied Jared in prayer. He was in awe of Jared and everything Jared stood for – although he wasn’t sure he knew exactly what that was. Jared was one of the few in their shared homeless population that didn’t do drugs or drink or have a lot of “ghetto bling” as Jared liked to refer to material things.
Peter wanted to be Jared one day – if he survived the streets long enough to become his hero. The stringy-haired ex-musician had been a high end crackerjack in his day – his coke habit had far surpassed any tales in books or articles written about famous musicians’ habits. He remained deliriously anonymous and wanted nothing more - than to change that. Robert Downey, Jr. had nothing on Jared’s past. The meeting Jared created was for puppet addicts – aka - PA. He even made up his own literature: Understanding Puppet Addicts… And Other Doll Addictions - Cutting The Strings or his personal favorite – Losing Your 22 Puppet. When a member of his group reached that status – Jared had them hand over their addiction/doll/puppet - to him.
All proceeds from the meeting went to Jared – discussion was about Jared and Jared informed the other puppet addicts who attended - that his meeting was not to be tampered with because “Puppet addiction is the most dangerous addiction in the world - on the planet or perhaps even the entire universe!”
ILLUSTRATIONS BY DYLAN BOCANEGRA
He considered himself a maverick leader – not the bully most perceived - who viewed the homeless as lesser people. It was the only way Jared could anoint his own existence. Jared had snipped a few strings in his time and kept a room filled with puppets and dolls he had cured other addicts of to remind himself that he was truly in charge – plus - he liked the company. The mangled toys were his family.
Jared had not been in his right mind for several decades but he had plans to go back on tour when his drummer buddy got out of celebrity rehab. It didn’t matter that they had destroyed their first lives – this was Hollywood – land of dreams, schemes and best of all? Repackaging or as Jared liked to say, “We’re going to be all brand new. F^^K Bieber!”
Jared barreled down the steps out onto the boulevard and moved through the crowds - of regulars, tourists and the costumed characters - with Peter and his rubberized Babes not far behind. Jared stopped and asked 23 Peter where the music was coming from? Peter explained a composer – Steven Huber – had heard of Shorty & Morty and was both selling and gifting a theme song he had done for them. Jared was livid: “That little dummy is not going to get famous before I do! Who does he think he is? This is my town and he tried to destroy my meeting!”
He pulled at his once expensive hair piece then straightened it before storming off and bumping into Krazy Kate. Kate was the happiest crazy person Jared had ever met. He tried to pass her but when Kate had something to say she just couldn’t help herself. “The social worker wants to talk to you! The social worker said you’ll get cancer if you don’t go now… I got my tickets!” She giggled with pride.
Mr. Weldon’s office…
Jared – upset with the intrusion when he wanted to find Morty – the dwarf – begrudgingly sat in Mr. Weldon’s office. It was his turn to answer the Hollywood Census Bureau quetionairre – which he did with disdain.
Back at the County ER…
Meanwhile – back at the hospital – two officers continued to stand by and watch the scuffle as the 4’6” Morty leg-scissored the Physician Assistant’s neck until Pikey Pram Pusher stepped forward. The homeless black man with herculean effort shoved past the orderlies and the officers while pushing Celine’s gurney down the hall and out into the emergency room entry driveway. Celine squealed with delight – she loved fast rides and was still high from the demerol the Physician Assistant had injected her with. The officers had drawn their guns as Morty whipped his body around and bit one of them on the ankles – hard.
The homeless in the ER had moved dangerously closer as an officer threatened Morty with, “Take your legs off that doc’s neck or I’ll shoot!” The cheering homeless crowd edged closer making the officers nervous. Morty released the Physician’s Assistant – now gasping – and turned before he making a quick exit between the crowds’ legs: “That’s what you get for touching my girl and trying to steal my legs. I made them for her - not you!”
Morty pointed his middle finger in the air with a smile and quipped,"Shoot that!" - and then - he was gone.
To be continued...
I love these characters, their Krazytown nieghorhoods they reside in with the other misfits, tourists and has been or wannabe - "bluebloods." This journeys beyond the films or the in-character interviews. I hope they will bring you as much pleasure as I had creating them!