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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Nails’ Mail

(First today, an update for any interested parties on the pooch. Our Frankenpup is home this weekend, with various bits of metal shoved down her jugulars into her heart, apparently. Because who wouldn’t want that?

But she’s resting comfortably and — hopefully — slowly recovering back to resume being the sweet little persnickety pain-in-the-ass we know and love and often want to beat with a large stick.

Many thanks to the well-wishers and pooch fans out there. Also to anyone who offered to send a large stick. For later, of course. I’ll have more news — hopefully good — later in the week.)

Meanwhile, sketch writing class over at ImprovBoston rolls on.

This week was a ‘free skate’, where we could choose pretty much any topic we wanted.

Oh, we did a couple of brainstorming exercises in class, and were encouraged to use the results of those, if we liked.

But one of those exercises was ‘Make up fake action movie taglines.” And how the hell I’m supposed to write a four-minute vignette covering:

Two cops. Four eyes. EIGHT WAYS TO DIE.

I have no idea. So I punted. It’s what I do.

Anyway, I had this idea kicking around for a few weeks, so I plopped it down and called it homework. Maybe if I’d thought of a tagline fitting this skit up front, I could have done things the right way, for once. But no. I went off on a tangent.

I think that mutt might finally be rubbing off on me. Woof.


[Drill Sergeant NAILS stands, facing offstage. Privates WILLIAMS, BATES, JOHNSON and COOPER march in to face him, following his cadence.]

NAILS: Lef! Ruh! Yo’ lef, ruh, lef! Comp’nay, HUH!!

[The recruits stop marching and stand at attention.]

NAILS: Awright, maggots, it’s mail call! Seein’ as how our beloved Uncle Sam owns your butts and your correspondence, I have been tasked with the duty of reading your mail and relaying the salient points to you. Comp’nay, ready… HARCH!

[The recruits resume marching, now in place. Nails pulls out an envelope and letter, and scans the envelope.]

NAILS: Maggot Williams!

WILLIAMS: Yes, Sarge!

[Nails reads the letter intermittently during the exchange.]

NAILS: Letter signed ‘Kimmy’. That your girl, Private?

WILLIAMS: Yes sir, Sarge, sir!

NAILS: All right, then.


I don’t know, but it’s been said!

RECRUITS: I don’t know, but it’s been said!

NAILS: Kimmy’s tired of the empty bed!

[Williams cuts off in the middle of the chant, looking confused and distraught.]

RECRUITS: Kimmy’s tired of the empty bed!

NAILS: Since you’re not there to have the sex!

RECRUITS: Since you’re not there to have the sex!

NAILS: She’s having it now with your brother Tex!

RECRUITS: She’s having it now with your brother Tex!

NAILS: It’s a ‘Dear John’!

RECRUITS: Dear John!

NAILS: She gone?

RECRUITS: Real gone!

NAILS: How gone?

RECRUITS: Way gone!

NAILS: What now?

RECRUITS: Move on!

[Nails pulls out another envelope and reads.]

NAILS: Give my regards to your brother, Williams. Family’s important. Next letter. Maggot Bates!

BATES: Yes sir, Sergeant Nails, sir!

NAILS: Let’s dance.


This is mah rifle, this is mah gun!

RECRUITS: This is mah rifle, this is mah gun!

NAILS: Publisher’s Clearing House says you won!

[Bates stops in the middle of the chant and gapes, excited.]

RECRUITS: Publisher’s Clearing House says you won!

NAILS: They’ll send you a check real soon!

[Bates is ecstatic, jumping for joy.]

RECRUITS: They’ll send you a check real soon!

NAILS: And I’ll take it for the platoon!

[Bates is now beaten and defeated.]

RECRUITS: And he’ll take it for the platoon!

NAILS: That’s my cash!

RECRUITS: His cash!

NAILS: Your cash!

RECRUITS: Our cash!

NAILS: Sam’s cash!

RECRUITS: Sam’s cash!

NAILS: Corps cash!

RECRUITS: Corps cash!

[Nails pulls out another letter.]

NAILS: On behalf of the You-nited States Armed Forces, Maggot Bates, we thank you for your generous and timely donation. Maggot Johnson!

JOHNSON: Here, Sergeant!

[Johnson looks nervous already.]

NAILS: Letter from home. Listen up!


I don’t know, but I hear tell!

RECRUITS: I don’t know, but I hear tell!

NAILS: Your momma, she don’t feel too well!

RECRUITS: Your momma, she don’t feel too well!

NAILS: Got pneumonia and the doctors tried!

RECRUITS: Got pneumonia and the doctors tried!

[Nails turns the letter over and reads.]

NAILS: To save her… uh, but she up and died!

[Johnson slumps, head in his hands.]


(without skipping a beat)

To save her, but she up and died!

“PAT, two, tree, fuh, PAT, two, tree, fuh, look sad.”

NAILS: That’s a real shame!

RECRUITS: Big shame!

NAILS: Too bad!

RECRUITS: Real bad!

NAILS: So sad!

RECRUITS: Way sad!

NAILS: And comp’nay… condolences on my mark… HYEAH!!

[The other recruits surround Johnson, and pat him on the back to Nails’ cadence.]

NAILS: PAT, two, tree, fuh, PAT, two, tree, fuh, look sad. All right, back in formation. Maggot Cooper!


(practically sweating bullets)

Y-yes, Sarge?

NAILS: Maggot Cooper, you have no correspondence. This is because you are an unloved lonely maggot, and not yet a useful killing machine. Do you understand, Private Cooper?

COOPER: Sir, yes, sir!

[Cooper clasps his hands to the sky and mouths a grateful ‘thank you!’]

NAILS: Awright, pukes, enough play time. You maggots are overdue for a twenty-mile march and a synchronized swimming lesson. Comp’nay, HUH!!


They tell me there’s no rhyme for orange!

RECRUITS: They tell me there’s no rhyme for orange!

[The recruits and Nails march offstage.]

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