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The cool one returns

The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 92

April 30, 2017

Coolstein is making a rare public appearance. I’m sure you have all been wondering where the cool one was – lo these many rotations of the sun. His fame (due in no small part to the incredible word of mouth that you, dear readers, have created) became first a giggle, then a source of pride, then quickly turned into a weighty burden. The simple lad had to retreat. He was so advised by the ever-trustworthy and wise Brownstein. When that wizard speaks, Coolie listens.

Where has he been? Hither and Yon. Those are – for the uninitiated and geographically challenged – twin cities in the wilds of New Jersey, which is now a planetoid that occupies the once-Plutonian lane around the sun (sad, so sad about Pluto). Okay. Enough background.

Our boy is back in the known universe. He stopped in to see Sylvia and Morris, his human parental units. They were having one of their world class fights; when they get going, no crockery is safe nor are any breakable human parts such as heads or knees. Brownstein, who was running interference in a sub-visible format, tackled Coolie with a wave of one of her beautiful paws, and he was instantly surrounded by a protective energy field.

“Thanks, B,” Coolie said, giving one of his world-class grins. “That was a close one.”

Before the next thing could happen, Mr. C heard the unmistakable sound of silliness: “Eee – yowsa! The jellyfish are running and I’m hot to trot.” It was Coolie’s best friend, whathisname, whose name had slipped off one of the steep edges of Coolstein’s mind. “Is that you?” he cleverly sidestepped.

“Wait!” came the reply. “Am I ‘you’? I don’t think so. I used to be ‘me’ but you know how fast things can change, so maybe I’ve been re-named. Oh, my smart friend, double C – tell me who I am.”

…an aside: Nothing is ever simple and seldom becomes clear when Mickey Mental (that’s his name) is involved. It’s classic enmurkment, which is just hunky-dory with the two amigos.

“Let’s go to the beach – I need a sandwich (is there),” yukked Coolie.

“Yes, indeedy,” said Mickey. “You can have your sand, but my brain cells are craving those jellyfish.”

It has been famously said that “if you build it they will come.” What has not been said until now is “if you think real hard, you will apparate to the site of your hearts desire.”

And so, a little more quickly than likety-split, the boys were at the shore. It looked suspiciously like Fire Island, but it was actually a doppelganger on Yon. Interstellar travel was no big thing for Coolie, whose parents – you might recall – were Mothership, the truly awesome entity who composed Coolie out of random bits of matter, and DaddythebigDaddywhoseyourDaddy, a being who occupied so much time and space, we just can’t conceive of it with our earthly minds. The “creation” (we don’t really know what word to use, but this human concept will have to do) of the known universe was just a fun project he took on about 7 heptzillion eons ago. Everthing (in its literal sense) was his oyster and occasionally a bagel with a shmear.

The beach was rife with jellies and the Mickster ate his fill. As usual, this caused a veritable transubstantiation: His eyes shone with his newly imbibed brilliance. His powers were (at this precise moment in time) on a par with many renowned geniuses: the human Einstein; the martian Oilventinae; the pupkenik Squimendrafoop (from a small planet circling a star in a galaxy far, far away); and – never to be omitted from the list of all-time great minds – Regis Philbin, that pretender to the throne of the boring and the listless, but who is/was/can be, in reality (or what we could possibly think of as the innards of something that would one day achieve a smidgen of life as we know it), the great gadfly of Tintinitus 3 – home of the ancient ones who slapped some clay together one day and decided to make a couple of peepuls (the spelling has evolved over the eons).

“I blaze with clarity,” said Mickey. “No,” said Coolie – who was never that impressed with the grandiosity of the jellyfish-filled Mr. Mental – “I think you’re actually on fire.”

Sure enough, the energy that the jellyfish had deposited into Mickey’s formerly empty brain had crackled into flammability. His hair was burning brightly with turquoise and purple flames.

“I disavow and denounce this inflammatory state of being,” Mickey declared, more than a bit pompously. “You will cease and desist forthwith.” His powers were such and his command of the forces (both weak and strong) of the universe, that the fire dared not continue to burn.

Watching his friend consume all those jellyfish had made Coolie a bit peckish. “Can you rustle up some gefiltefish, oh pal o’mine?”

“You don’t have to ask me twice,” answered Mickey, while simultaneously plucking some well- formed gefiltes from the ocean. They were replete with horseradish, and Coolie wolfed them down, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he had been taught by Morris.

“Now that my belly is full, my thoughts are turning to the lovely Blue. It seems like ages since I seen her.”

The effects of the jellyfish were wearing off a bit (they were not the long lasting, extra-strength kind), so Mickey looked blank for a moment. Then, his now-slowing synapses made the necessary connections and the light of realization once again shone in his eyes. “I just saw her at the sock hop on Saturn last Saturday. She was looking stellar and stunning and stupendous.”

Now Coolie started to stutter and perspire a little: “Dddddd-did she mention me? Did she wonder where I was?” Coolie was in such a vulnerable state that only a true friend would refrain from torturing him at that moment. Mickey was such a one.

“Well, as I recall she said, ‘Hey and hiya Mick. Where’s the coolest boy in the room?’ To which I answered, ‘I dunno. But if I see him I’ll say hey for ya.’”

“Thanks, my bestie.” Now, the boys were basically talked out. Their conversation took a lot out of them and they needed a bit of recovery time. So……TBC

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on

Also available on is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference.

You can find more information about me and my books at


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 92

October 20, 2016

When we last looked in on Coolie, he was asleep. In Venezuela. And that’s really not a euphemism for anything. Coolie is in South America. You know, the land of questionable democracy. Oh – wait a minute – I might be getting that confused with North America.

Our boy is enjoying some jellyfish dreams. I kind of wish I was too. Because right about now, being awake is a more than a little disturbing. So, let’s look in on Mr. Coolstein’s dreamstate and see if we can gain a little vicarious respite from the current state of our national distress. In order to accomplish this, we must suspend a bit of belief, swing any rodent of our choice over our heads three times while walking backwards in a circle.

Okay. That’s done. (Did you do it, or are you willing to bear the true nightmare of consciousness?)

Coolie has a special facility for dreaming things into a happier place. Ready?

The day was slightly overcast, but – as Coolie’s consciousness brushed against it – the sun began to shine brightly (see I, told you.) The air had a hint of buckwheat – someone was making fancy pancakes and Coolie decided to follow his nose. He was not really walking, more like skating through the air about a foot off the ground. He waved a little grandly to the gapers who took notice of this strange and wonderful being.

Around a corner that was heavily planted with tulips – Coolie’s favorite flower and an inevitable reminder of the brightly painted wooden shoes that Mothership gave him for his eighth birthday – something that looked a lot like a Disney-ish castle appeared. I would say “loomed” but that’s too scary a word (and it calls to mind DJT’s recent looming), so I’ll say, it arose – not as evocative, but we don’t want to start a stampede. Coolie was just about overdosed with glee and elation.

This is gonna be tutti-fruiti (a phrase he picked up on in Rome…he’s such a man of the world, isn’t he?) I’d like to have some friends to share this with – ’cause it’s always more fun if you can say “LOOK AT THAT” and have someone hear it too. And lo! From his lips…the wish became reality and Mickey Mental and Barbie Blue apparated sequentially (both at once would have blown some mystical interstellar gasket – Daddyetc. monitors these things.)

And, as if it had been choreographed, they did the…one and two and off we go…of Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man in TWOO. Cartoon birds (of course) appeared and chirped their little two dimensional hearts out; a balmy breeze ruffled the hair of those who were – as Coolie understood it – able to be impacted by the physical universe (that would not be the birds).

The three amigos glided down a self-drawing path that glittered with glitter and other shiny things. (Do you want to use a little imagination here? No? Okay, I’ll describe). There were all the lost pennies that had ever dropped from little fingers; they were as bright as the day they were minted. There were chewing gum wrappers – the kind that are lined with tin foil. There were fragments of the big crystal ball that was last seen when Cinderella made her fast getaway; they were easily identifiable by the little tiny zaps of starlight that pulsed inside each one.

As the triumvirate approached the giant doorway – which looked suspiciously like it was made of frozen Milky Ways – something almost indescribable happened. Swirls of every color in the spectrum (and a few others) moved around them, circling first Coolie, then Barbie, then the Mickster. Each one in turn let out first a gasp then a whoop of pure joy. It felt like we have all imagined it would feel to be inside our favorite fantasy.

And, borrowing from yet another fantasy, the door spoke in a bass rumble and said, “Eat me.” So, being cooperative folks, they each picked up one of the golden scoops that had helpfully appeared by their feet, and scooped up as much of the candy door as they could. Cheeks smeared with chocolate and caramel, their eyes danced and they grinned mega-tooth grins as they stepped across the threshold.

TBC to be sure…

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on

Also available on is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference.

You can find more information about me and my books at

the lost Coolstein posts…

Cousin Koolya

originally posted Sept. 6, 2015

The festivities ended slowly but, by the next day, there were just a few stragglers still following the Coolstein entourage. And, as expected, Mothership and Daddyetc needed to return to their patrol of the universe. It was fun, said Mother, and I mean that in the most cosmic sense. You’re okay, my cool offspring, you know how to throw a helluva party, said Daddyetc.

Brownstein and Mickey watched with their friend as his two real parents achieved some kind of weird lift off (it was just for show) and did a little crowd pleasing zoom zoom before popping out of this plane of existence like a couple of soap bubbles.

And now, for something completely different…

Feeling a little guilty about ignoring Sylvie and Morris, Coolie made the always un-fun decision to pay a visit. And who do you think they saw walking into The Building? No. You actually have to guess….

It’s a lot less fun for me if you don’t play along. Alright, point well taken. How the hell should you know? Yeah, I guess that’s true.

Anyway, it was Koolya Coolstein, Coolie’s cousin from Eastern Europe. That’s quite nonspecific, I realize, but Koolya was a bit paranoid and only reported general information. As a matter of fact, no one (except maybe Morris, and his ability to hold facts in his mind was challenged – to say the least) knew how old Koolya was. Somewhere between 20 and 40, was all he would say for public consumption. He sported the darkest pair of sunglasses anyone had ever seen, a slouchy Indiana Jones-ish hat, and clothing so loose it was impossible to guess at his actual physique.

No matter, Coolie was delighted.

The last time Koolya had been in town, they had done a coffee-bar crawl that left our hero in a caffeine daze for months. It’s surprising, but if you drink enough coffee, you will see dead people.

That’s the kind of fun guy Koolya was, so Brownstein offered a preemptive suggestion. “Let’s throw the fake parental units a bone and have a family meal. And yes, that does mean eating Sylvie’s concoctions; but let’s drop a little time warp tea in the soup and hopefully, it will bump the whole experience up a notch or three.
“As usual, you have the best ideas,” said Coolie. “Da!
said Koolya.

Morris greeted the quartet at the door. It was immediately apparent that he was only slightly hinged. “WELCOME to the Jungle,” he bellowed, and immediately began to play air guitar, prancing around like Axl Rose (if he were completely without any pharmaceutical support).

Koolya gave the profusely sweating Morris a hearty clap on the back which set his eyes to spinning in their sockets. Sylvie, hearing the commotion, took one look at her husband and made that face. You know, pursed lips, a deep blink, flared nostrils. She was on her last nerve – which is a place she occupied so often, there was actually a Sylvie shaped-depression that was ready to receive her.

“Dinner will be ready in a couple minutes. Brownie, do you want a bone? Mickey, are you still only eating white things.” She liked to skutch Coolie’s friends; she was, indeed, a little bit of a sadist.

Brownstein was polite and assured her he would eat whatever she had prepared. Mickey, not so much the diplomat, said, “What the hey, don’t you remember – that was three years ago. I’ve evolved since then. You don’t happen to have any jellyfish, do you? Any color.”

Sylvie literally gagged at that and just scurried off to do what passed for cooking in the Stein home. Coolie walked into the kitchen with her and, when she turned her head, dropped a double batch of time warp tea into the big pot on the stove.

Dinner would be, shall we say, different…



originally posted Sept. 3, 2015

Now that our cool best friend has located his real interstellar parents, it’s only fair that they visit his earthbound reality. Turnabout and all that. But how exactly do you get Mothership and that humungous entity that is his father, to take a stroll in the East Village?

Oh, ye, of little faith. Know that I can make it up any way I want to. The parents were able to assume various shapes. No surprise there, right? So, in order to visit Coolie, then donned the appearance of an extremely large hamster (that would be Mom) and a Bugs Bunny-ish cartoon-like rabbit. Crazy, you say? Are you not yet expecting crazy?

They each wore shorts and a tee shirt; after all, nudity might have been just a little too much for the mostly stoned denizens, who were Coolie’s neighbors, to assimilate. Oh, did I mention they (the parents not the neighbors) were, respectively, bright orange and pale lavender. Nice.

We catch up with them as they are walking along St. Marks Place on either side of their still somewhat cool son. Jonesy stepped out of his store and yipped. No words, just a really spontaneous vocalization. And, in truth, what can one say?

Shazamia wept with joy. He/she – oh, what the hell – it, was no longer the strangest entity in the neighborhood. Rantie and Rolfie actually went silent – for the first time in anyone’s memory. The sight of Coolie and the parents was one that would be seared into many a retina.

Being fully conscious of how fascinating a sight they were, the trio decided to incorporate an unrehearsed but perfectly coordinated hip thrusting strut. People, hearing the commotion in the street, came out of their apartments (some for the first time in fifteen years). Slowly, but with ever-increasing velocity, a procession began to attach itself to the rear guard of the Coolstein marching band. And, as they all moseyed, things began to transition: would you expect anything less?

Now Mothership sported a more appropriately nautical look; she appeared as a dolphin with tiny feet and pointy shoes, and a matador’s cape. Father, that showboating entity, would not be outdone. He reconfigured as the USS Constellation (a bit of a play on his heavenly home).

Sailing and swinging, within a remarkably short amount of time, the entire population of Manhattan had come out of their homes and offices, and were celebrating in the street. The day would be forever known as the Day the City Cooled Down. Don’t you wish you were there?

Coolie’s gone dark

 The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 91

He’s gone to Venezuela for the winter (their summer, I think).

Our boy just doesn’t like the cold. He calls it the “chilblains” – something he heard on what he likes to think of as “safari.” That was when he actually walked into the woods behind Uncle Greg’s house upstate and got lost for four days. It was either a parrot with an exceptional vocabulary, or it was Mothership throwing her voice (she is a ventriloquist of unmatched talent).

So, here in Caracas, Coolie hooked up with a childhood friend of Roger Rarebit (I know. You haven’t heard his name before. Roger is Coolie’s Imago: an unconscious, idealized mental image of someone, especially a parent, that influences a person’s behavior. Thank you, Mr. Google.)

Coolie said, “Karen. I need to take a pause from all this exposure – not that there’s anything wrong with it. I just feel like I need a little me time, or you could say – hiding time. Don’t be mad. I’ll be back…”

“Okay. I’m back.”

That was really fast, Coolie.

“You may think so, but in Venezuela, one New York moment lasts pretty close to a lifetime. So, if you return, it’s like coming back from space. Life has moved rapidly here on Earth…so to speak.”

That was really lucid, Coolie. Have you been hitting the jellyfish? Have you?

“Well, in full truthiness, there is a special type of jellyfish here that isn’t a jellyfish at all. It’s more like taffy. As a matter of fact, in V (that’s what we call it – saying those five syllables can get really taxing) we call them ‘taffyfish.’ And, because they’re stretchy, they last almost forever. You can start eating one on Thursday and before you know it its three weeks from Tisha B’av.”

Wait a sec, Coolstein, let’s not forget about the Roger Rarebit connection. Tell me more about him.

“Wow, Karen, are you therapizing me? Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but – you know – it scares the whatsis outta me.”

And why does it scare you Cool?

“Now, Karen. There you go again. Can we just call can audible here? (I don’t know what that means, but I like to say it.)”

Sure, sure, my cool young friend. Whatever you say. The last thing I want to do is to freak you out.

“Well, since you mention it (freaking out, that is), that’s kind of what it’s all about in V. Freaking out in the streets, on the roof, in the hallways, during happy hour, during sad hour. Just pretty much all the time.”

How does anyone get anything done with all that freaking out?

“Well, freaking out is what everyone is getting done. D’ya see what I mean? People get paid according to how well they freak out. Not to brag, but I made a bundle.”

I’m trying to incorporate the strangeness, Coolie, but I am happy that you came away from it with a lot of money.

“No, Karen. No money. I made a bundle. Mostly cloth, a little leather and some transparent plastic. I think there are some silk laces too, but I fell asleep before I could be sure.”

“Coolie. Tell me the truth. Are you asleep now?”

The truth? Okay. Yeah, I kind of am. Do you need me to wake up?

“No, my dear Mr. Coolstein. I wish you sweet dreams.


My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. Here’s the link:

Look for my new non-fiction book, which should be up on soon: FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings.

You can find more information about me and my books at


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 90

It’s been a month and not a hey or a hiya or even a snort. Where has that boy been? Should I worry? Should you? Wait a minute, I hear something. Can it be…?

Hey Karen, what’s shakin’, anything bakin’? That makes me think I would LOVE some bacon. Got any bacon, oh Creator?

 Just hold the phone for a sec, Coolie J. Coolstein. You have had us all worried. Well…maybe not worried, just wondering whether we should worry. And that counts too. Where have you been, my bright-eyed boy. And…may I say…your eyes do look especially bright. If memory serves (and you know it doesn’t always), last time I saw you, you were all about Robocop; you had an encounter with Shtew. But that’s all I know.

 Oh, Karen, the stories I could tell…

So, tell!

 Oh, okay. Here goes…but, first, could I just have a few pieces of bacon?

Sure, sure. Eat up and then tell us what’s been doing down, or up, or on, or….we’re all ears.

Uh oh! Is that my fault? Did I fail to protect my Creator and friends from the Ear Monster? Should I go on an immediate quest to find the antidote?

Whoa! Slow down. Figure of speech. We have not become ears on the hoof, we’re all okay. Just dying of curiousity.

 Oh no! Not dying. Help! Someone help! Don’t let them die!

Coolie. You have to calm down. No one is dying. It’s just another turn of phrase. (I really must remember how literal the boy can be. I don’t want to keep dislodging him and sending him into panic). We are all very interested in hearing the tale of “What Happened to Coolie in August;” I am sure we will all be fascinated, so please share.

 Sure thing, KK and company:

There I was hanging with Robee (that’s the way he likes to spell it). He’s not much of a talker, but somehow I always knew what he wanted to convey. With a certain clinkety-clink of his metallic hands, he invited me to his special world. Yes, Roboworld. It’s not just a myth – it’s real!

On the highest mountain in the eighth continent (you thought there were six or seven, right – nuh-uh), one whose peak is actually only a quarter mile from the moon, there is a land of robots. They are not the well-behaved artificials that we might expect. No. They are a most unruly bunch and require much policing. Ergo: Robocops. (Doncha just love the “ergo?” I am getting smarter every day!) By the way, in case you are wondering (NOT dying to know, please!) – that continent is called “Maurice.” Some call it the gangster of love. Some speak of the pompatus of love. Let’s just stick with Maurice. It’s so much easier to remember. And besides, it looks like a “Maurice,” if you know what I mean.

Ummm. Coolie. I don’t actually know what you mean. But that’s really okay – so, please continue.

(The cool one paused, unsure about whether he needed to explain. He shrugged the big “whatever” shrug, and continued.)

The Robots were – at first – pretty much in awe of me. They kinda thought I was a god. I didn’t like that much. I’m not big on having to rule or issue edicts or be the font of wisdom. I like to keep things low key, doncha know. So I gave them a few, “I don’t knows,” followed by my most quizzical look (another great word, right?). Before long, they started to treat me just like a regular person. Which is to say, they ignored me. Well, I didn’t like that so much. It reminded me too much of Sylvie and Morris.

What I did next led to a very unexpected but seriously cool thing. I took out the pack of gum (it’s Black Jack) that I always carry – cause I just love licorice, and the flavor lasts a really long time. All the Robee’s and Robeetta’s (yes, there are two genders. I explain later – if I remember) stopped, frozen mid-clink. They watched. Their titanium jaws dropped (which made quite a din – I had to stick some gum in my ears). Their beaming, far-visioned robot eyes shone with fascination. Fortunately, I had my sunglasses with me – cause the light was blinding. I removed the wrapper and began to chew.

Well, this – apparently – was the coolest thing they ever saw; they broke into the Robot Happy Dance – which is known to cause earthquakes, but is the funnest dance I every saw. They are able to jump up, turn their bodies perpendicular to the ground and clink their heels, then round the circle and land (with a heck of a crash) right back in the spot they started. The girl robots – who are distinguished by their two different colored eyes – one lavender, one pale orange, as compared to the boys who have two yellow eyes – did an extra flip when they landed – backwards, with their feet crossed. Very pretty.

This went on for – well I think it was two weeks. After the first 15 minutes, I was transported to yet one more alternate state of being. And that’s a good thing. Cause it was there that the best stuff happened.

What happened, Coolie? We really want to know.

 Let me think. Give me a minute. I’m gonna take a power nap and then we’ll talk some more.

 You know…there’s not much anyone can do. When Coolie needs a nap, a nap he shall have.


My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


 The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 89

Has Coolie entered the rarified realm of philosophy? Is he thinking about Jean-Paul Sartre? Is he reading???

Not exactly. It was day two of his Mission to find Robocop and – as we noted – his search was “sponsored” by his two real (non-human) parents: Mothership and DaddythebigDaddywhoseyourDaddy. They kvelled a little to see their boy on such a serious quest. They were huge Robocop fans and supporters. Little known fact: it was Mothership who whispered in the ears of Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner: write a story about a cyborg law enforcer; engage the themes of authoritarianism, greed, identity and corruption. You’ll make a bundle. As we have seen before, she has often been a prime mover (if you were to ask her, she’d be sooo modest and say it was all Daddy’s doing).

So, there was Coolie encountering The Land of Non-Reality, and coming face to face with something like the void (but far less impressive.) He stopped, wondering what to do next. Stepping into Non-Reality seemed pretty daunting and Coolie was daunting-avoidant by nature.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – or more precisely, back at the beach – Shtew was watching. (Don’t ask. You wouldn’t understand. Trust me, Shtew is always watching.) He really liked young Coolstein and wanted to ease his dismay and confusion. So he did something very rare (for him). He left the beach, stopping only briefly to wash the sand from his feet, and apparated by Coolie’s side – at the edge of the Cliff of Consciousness (don’t we like the alliteration?)

Hey, Shtewie Shtewstein! You’re here. (Coolie, as we know, is a master of the obvious. Don’t knock it. It’s not as common a skillset as you might think.)

I’m here without a beer and about to stand on my ear, said Shtew. This added just that one extra level of confusion to Coolie’s already overloaded brain. It succeeded – as intended – in blowing that not-altogether-intact-in-the-first-place mind.

Coolie eyes goggled (always a significant indicator). He immediately jumped up, spun around, did not pick a bale of cotton, and landed on his butt, legs splayed and jaw hanging onto his chest.

Whuuuuu? He managed to say. (It’s not so easy with your jaw on your chest. Try it.)

Whilst standing (if you can call it that) on his ear, Shtewie was hard pressed to understand Coolie. Not that it mattered much. He responded out of an abundance of mania and in reaction to having been goosed by universal love (that would be Mothership, again): You are that you are, when you are (and are not), if you are what you are. Ya feel me?

Uhhhhh, I don’t know… Coolie managed to utter.

That’s exactly right. You got it! Shtew always saw the bigger picture.

Trusting Shtew’s veracitude, Coolie felt all anxiety leave his body. He was, once again, cool. And who could ever ask for more than that?

Well, yes. One could ask for just one more thing…

And there, beyond the non-void and over Shtew’s left shoulder – at about twenty paces – was the unmistakable presence. Robocop loomed and quickly began to cover the distance. Coolie, with the grace he was born to, fainted dead away.

After several hours (or was it years), Coolie came to. And there, bending awkwardly over him with one metallic hand on Coolie’s arm, was Robocop himself.

Coolie’s grin was heard far and wide.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at

COOLIE LIKES ROBOCOP (this should be inscribed in a heart with an arrow going through it)

The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 88

Coolie was lolling around the other day, just trying to become one with the weather. He was desultorily watching TV – flipping channels (as one does, when one is being desultory). He happened upon one of the stations that plays old syndicated series. His flipping hand froze and he became mesmerized (which is actually a second cousin to desultory).

He was fixated on Robocop (the 1987 version), the futuristic adventures of Alex Murphy, a Detroit police officer, mortally wounded in the line of duty, who is converted into a formidable cyborg at the behest of a powerful mega-corporation, Omni Consumer Products. Murphy as Robocop battles both violent crime in a severely decayed city and the blatantly corrupt machinations within OCP.

Coolie was unprepared for the cyberpunk hero; he had never fallen so fast for anyone (except maybe Barbie Blue), and his cool heart beat with intensity and heat. Two words coursed through his mind and brought a flame of longing throughout his body: MY HERO. How can we understand the level of instant infatuation our boy was in the thrall of? What was it about this virtually emotionless cyborg being that took hold of Coolie? It was, perhaps, his first truly religious awakening. Robocop was his Christ – it seems. And his was the promise of everlasting life in the service of mankind (sort of).

Let me be clear: Coolie had none of these analytical thoughts. He was just madly in love.

Knowing full well that Robocop existed in the realm of fantasy, Coolie nevertheless set out to find him – in some corner of some ersatz reality. No matter – the cool one was on a mission (either from God or to God).

It seems as if our boy is destined for heartbreak and failure. But who can be sure what fantasy-come-to-life lurks around the next corner of a reality that is (let us not forget) overseen by Mothership and DaddythebigDaddywhoseyourDaddy.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


Coolie is pining for Uncle Greg

It’s not something Coolie likes to talk about much. He has a beloved Uncle Greg who went far, far away two years ago. That’s a really long time. Coolie’s been sad (even when he’s happy) ’cause he misses his favorite uncle a lot.

Uncle Greg is in Californ-i-a – which, as Coolie’s chief advisor, Mickey Mental, tells it – might just as well be another planet. Or (Coolie is a little confused) maybe Californ-i-a is another planet – one that took the place of Pluto when it was declared a non-planet. Pluto has never gotten over the disgrace, the shaming, the loss.

Cali (that’s what Barbie Blue calls it – it’s just cuter) has a different species of humanoid: the laidbackfolksteins – who are actually distant relatives of the Coolstein family tree. They went too far down the cool path (if you can imagine that), and now they can no longer feel very much. They are universally too cool for school, so they are an uneducated bunch – operating solely by instinct and opinion poll. Thought is frowned upon (if frowning were acceptable – which it’s not. It might cause wrinkles – a horror to be avoided at all costs).

Word came down from the powers that be (and that would be The Oracle), that Uncle Greg was returning to civilization (aka the East Coast). The joy that our cool young man felt cannot be described. Okay, I’ll try: He leapt 18 ½ feet into the air, did a back flip, a half twist, and a forward two and half in pike position, landing in a split. But the grin! It was truly the most amazing thing (the crowd that had gathered all agreed). His eyes sparkled and he let out the most resounding whoop, which was so infectious that the entire audience (now composed of hundreds of random strangers who had been drawn to this display of joy) began to whoop for a full thirteen minutes.

“When, O Oracle, when is Uncle Greg coming home?”

“When the chickens come home to roost,” said the great wise one.

Coolie was nonplussed, not knowing of any chickens nor any roost. Fortunately, Brownstein – that wise and wonderful wizard of a pooch – was monitoring this exchange.

“Worry not, Coolie, my pal. There will be chickens in September. I can assure you that they will be coming home as will Uncle Greg.”

Hope was now transformed into expectation. And waiting would be (as it often is) the hardest part.

FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 86

It was just a passing comment, uttered by Barbie Blue (of all people). “Must all things come to an end?” She was just repeating something she had heard, and she wanted to sound like she was in the know. You know. Coolie, never one to passively accept even the most oft repeated homily (unless he does, of course), stopped in his tracks. (Don’t you just love that image? I mean what kind of tracks do you imagine Coolie makes? Deep ones, shallow ones, steady or erratic ones? But I digress…)

“All things? Does that mean everything? Everyone? Can there be exceptions? Come on, please say yes.”

“Well… I don’t really know, oh Coolstein my Coolstein. Maybe we should ask someone else. Someone wiser.”

“Who? Shtew? Mickey? Are they wise?”

“I think so. At least they both say they are.”

“That works for me,” Coolie said with anticipatory relief.

And so the question was posed to the two wise men (ahem).

Here’s what they said:

Shtew, always wishing to present an all-knowing image, spent about two minutes just nodding sagely. He crossed his hands over his belly (something he had seen in an old production of Fiddler on the Roof); he sighed as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders; and then he did his famous two-step and ended with a crowd-pleasing click of his heels. Coolie was duly impressed.

“It is said,” said Shtew, “that there are non-ending energies or entities. The name we use is infinity – or eternity: really two forms of the same thing, dontchaknow.” This really exhausted Shtew’s store of wisdom and he had to sit down on the beach and eat a nectarine.

Coolie was not quite satisfied, so he checked in with Mickey Mental.

Mickey put on quite a show: he made some astounding googly-eyes, stretched his mouth first into the widest grin ever and then into a purportedly pensive frown. He jumped up and down and sideways for 85 seconds. He flapped his arms so fast that he lifted about an inch off the ground.

Coolie was impressed as all heck. He was ready for the pearls of wisdom.

Mickey, after he caught his breath, said, “What was the question? Were you asking about dinner?”

By now, Coolie wasn’t exactly sure what he had said, so – being a good go-along kind of guy (and extremely cool) – said, “Yeah, dinner. What are you in the mood for?”

In a flash (and I do mean that literally – there were streaks of gold and silver light and a bone-shaking sonic boom) Mickey recalled the original query. “I feel like Chinese. And everything comes to an end unless it doesn’t.”

Oh, thought Coolie, that Zen stuff again. I think I’ll ask DaddythebigDaddywhoseyourDaddy. He’ll know. Or…he’ll think he knows. Either way, that’s good enough for me.

And so, Coolie consulted with his real non-human father. Daddy was – as always – nothing if not certain.

“If you follow closely in my footsteps, you will never end. But if you step off the path, then…lights out.”

This was quite anxiety-producing for Coolie, so he decided to forget Daddy’s words and concentrate on finding a good Chinese restaurant – which was hard enough.

FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


The Adventures of Coolie Coolstein: Episode 85

Mov says: Coolie’s favorite season is summer. Why is Mov proclaiming this moderately interesting news? Because Coolie has gone to the beach. Most of us like to go to the beach in summer, but Coolie LOVES the beach. He arrives when the first hint of warmth hits the sand (way before Memorial Day – that’s for amateurs), and he stays and stays, turning a strange but desirable mahogany color, until he needs a sweatshirt – not just at 4pm – but in the morning too.

Coolie very quickly becomes, for all the seagulls – both feathered and human – a reliable, seasonal anchor. If Coolie’s at the beach, it’s definitely a beach day.

Now, Mov is in residence too – but he tends to walk the shore, where Coolie spreads out an old sheet, and only moves to turn from back to front like a hamburger patty on the grill. Mov is of the ocean. He literally arose from the sea one day and appeared in Karen Krett’s mind. Like Venus rising from the depths. He was, at first, insubstantial – merely a concept, with very little that crossed over into the physical realm. After Karen received him and came to know Mov, his physicality advanced. He’s now solid, a child of gravity, what we call real. (Mov is snickering right now at our notion of what is real, our reliance on only three dimensions. He knows of at least fourteen others.)

Back on the beach. It’s the place where many of us practice doing nothing…which, you will not be surprised to discover, is Mov’s favorite thing to do (or not do, depending on your point of view.)

When your life is centered at the beach, significance becomes attached to the immediate: the tide, the size of the waves, the temperature of the water, the cleanliness of the sand; cloudy or clear? windy or calm? The occasional find of dog poop can dislodge one’s calm for several hours; a random condom washed ashore is an outrage and cause for heated (if desultory) discussion. A really nice shell is enough to cast a web of joy on all who see it. And driftwood…it’s the Holy Grail: a find to be celebrated and almost worshiped.

There is something about the sun and the sand and the sea that sets Coolie and Mov (and the rest of the crew, too – I dare not forget Blue or Mickey) free. Free of the constraints of clothing, free of the confinement of brick and mortar, free of the relentlessness of time, free to be or to lox it up.

What’s that Coolie? You’re saying, When are you coming to the beach, Karen?

I’ll be there soon, Coolie. Very soon. I hear the ocean calling. And its call is irresistible. We’ll all be together in Fire Island, my FPOE (favorite place on Earth) one week from tomorrow. Love you, Mov. We’ll walk in the morning and look for shells. Promise.

FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at