Far from where Yahtzee dice are tossed and Crokinole flick-fingers throb, a proud performer tradition as old as Menandor and Aristophanes was being played out on an Equity-Waiver production of Lerner & Lowe.

The Melvin Swindheim Theatre was ignominiously formed in 1983. At the very best of times… it’s closed. On the weekends however, it theoretically seats ninety-three criminally undiscerning customers. The bigger the cast, the more relatives and friends they can wheedle and cajole into the stands. Thus, My Fair Lady. The stage was crammed with as many non-paid dancers and turn-of-the-century street scamps as the fire marshal would allow.


My (Little Theatre) Fair Lady

If you haven’t heard of Melvin Swindheim, that is precisely why he created the Swindheim Theatre. His perpetually teetering career peaked in 1975 when he landed the role of a non-speaking Merryman on When Things Were Rotten – all thirteen episodes!

Unfortunately, there was nowhere to go from these dizzying heights but down. Eventually, after playing “Dead Extra No. 2” on an unaired episode of MacGruder and Loud and being accidentally locked in the prop closet overnight (with nothing to eat but his toe-tag), Melvin decided his career needed to go in a vastly different direction. So, rather than face another decade of failed auditions and self-loathing, Mr. Swindheim decided to embezzle his mother’s amputated-leg settlement and buy an old, closed crab-shell-smashing factory in Malibu. Needless to say, she was hopping mad. Nevertheless, Melvin ignored her credible threats of disinheritance and disembowelment to create his very own shrine to the arts. Now, he could star in every production the theatre dared foist upon an unsuspecting beach community. From Sky Masterson to Harold Hill to Jerry Biffle, Melvin notched up classic Broadway leading-man rolls like Dan Duryea blasting his way through an unarmed Indian village (and the resemblance didn’t end there).

Alas, we lost Mr. Swindheim in 1988 to a freak prayer-shawl fire during the wedding scene from Fiddler on the Roof. As an unintended tribute to its founder, some dark soot marks from his abrupt passing still graced the ceiling above Downstage-Center-Left.

Since 1990, all productions had been cast and mercilessly directed by the paunchy but amative, William Irongate. At the time of this epic saga, he was up to his size-60 jodhpurs in rehearsals for the theatre’s Winter Season presentation of the aforementioned My Fair Lady. But all was not gift baskets and spirit gum at 6345 Merritt Drive. It was the perception amongst some of the cast that things were not progressing as quickly as they might. ‘Enry ‘Iggins ‘ad just about ‘ad it! And that infuriated feeling of frustration had festered all the way down to the high-kickin’ chorus.


Kris and Cheryl had been best, big-breasted buds since the halcyon days of their sweater-stretching youth. They had jiggled unabashedly up and down the privileged hallways of Malibu High together. Dedicated students, the girls had fellated and cunnilingized the same lucky teachers and received the same excellent grades. Their volleyball games still hold school records for crowd size. The cars were fast, the back seats were comfy and the pot was free.

The Sixties brought husbands, babies, bennies and booze. By the time the ’80s rolled around, Quaaludes had been banned and the kids were off at college. What to do with all that spare time? Seedy affairs were getting increasingly seedier and cocaine hurt their nose jobs.

As 1992 arrived to seriously soggy their formerly crunchy croutons, both ladies were hopelessly trapped inside their early-fifties. They filled their empty days by treading the creaky boards at the Swindheim Theatre, while their husbands were off in search of much younger women to marry.

As Billy Joel was working out the choppy keyboard hook for Blonde Over Blue, the two chestily gifted actresses were leaning on either side of a badly painted door, off to the right of the stage.

Kris was bored and bummed. She’d been looking forward to going down on the sinewy assistant manager at the garden center after spin class on Thursday, but there was a rumor going around that Tina Horvath had let him doggie her over the peat moss bags. It sort of lost all its appeal after that. “So how’s the niece?” she casually inquired.

Cheryl fidgeted in her tight Victorian “market-girl” corset. She hadn’t been able to draw a full breath in almost two hours. “Still down at U.C. Irvine. She’s getting her P.H.D. in philosophy.”

“Good for her.” Hmm. Perhaps she could run the “help me, I’ve lost my bikini top” ruse at the beach, if it wasn’t too cold.

“Well, she’s always been the smart one in the family.” Cheryl checked the bejeweled watch she had stuffed between her tits and rolled her eyes.

“They say it might rain on Friday,” Kris blandly noted.

“Well, my trees could certainly use it,” Cheryl blandly replied.

A small noise from within the badly constructed enclosure caused our soon-to-be-single artistes to jump to attention. Kris removed a smallish baseball bat from her Christian Louboutin purse and handed it across to her more athletic friend. A few seconds later, the deplorable door opened and Irongate’s stomach, followed by the rest of him, ambled into the backstage area. Cheryl immediately and without hesitation “swung for the fences” and turned his pud into pudding. The crunchy-squishy thud of ash-wood on nards filled the acoustically optimized building. William reacted quickly and decisively. He went down like a de-nutted sack of shit and then proceeded to make seal-barking noises, while writhing around in rat feces and makeup dust.

A pert and alluring young woman, in turn-of-the-century peasant apparel, appeared in the suddenly vacated doorway. Her street urchin attire had the disheveled, telltale signs of being hastily re-buttoned, and certain portions of her costume were damper than comfort would dictate.

There was no mystery as to how Patti Chapkinski, despite her thespiatic shortcomings, had landed the plum female lead in the present production. Her lack of prowess onstage was more than made up for by her astounding performances in front of a far more intimate audience. In short, she could suck a mackerel through a pelican. When Patti wasn’t pleasing an audience-of-one in the director’s office, she wasn’t pleasing anyone as a waitress at the stupidly expensive, but nauseatingly haughty, Grunions By the Sea. Of course, making people wait eons for a second cup of overpriced coffee and bread-rolls was only what she did to pay the bills. Her real ambition in life was to become a massive star so she could shit and shit and shit on those people who’d put up with her abhorrent behavior when she was a complete bitchy nobody. Patricia had yet to reach those lofty people-shitting heights.

Patti peered down, nonplussed, at the groinally stricken bat-victim, clutching his utterly obliterated boy-bag and praying for death. She could feel a little of his chubby seed dribbling down the inside of her leg, so compassion was not a tie worn before five.

Cheryl hollered down at the screaming vestige of manhood before her. “Now, maybe we can start rehearsals on time, while that thing heals up.”

“HCHHHLEETTCHCH!” he replied, before gnawing on a floorboard to deal with the pain.

“Come on Kris,” Cheryl called to her pal as she headed back to the set.

Kris turned a murderous middle-aged eye towards the uppity cockney-tease. “See you on stage, Ms. Doolittle.” After giving Patti a stiff and spirited middle finger, she turned her ire floorwards. “And you! You put the Pig in Pygmalion!” Kris gave him a good kick in the ribs (though, once you’ve been Louisville Sluggered in the yarbles – any other type of physical assault is merely ceremonial) and followed her friend back to 19th Century London.

William continued his piteous writhing, unabated. The rest of the cast continued to not give a fuck.


David was in heaven. Actually, he was in his overwhelmingly dowdy bedroom – but the fact that this was to be his last night in dowdy residence made it feel like he was licking sun-warmed honey out of Meg Ryan’s When Harry Met Sally ass-crack.

Posters of David Bowie, Queen and U2 listlessly hung from the dingy walls like executed members of The James Gang. The dingy, dolorous drapes on swayback rods were patiently awaiting their chance to smash the glass and escape into the night.

His po-faced parents looked on disapprovingly from a distance as David euphorically heaved his humble habiliments into a Goodwill-purchased factory-second American Tourister.

“It’s a trick,” posited his pessimistic Pater.

“Probably end up getting murdered and ass-raped,” his mother nodded in agreement.

The youngest and least psychologically damaged Sobanski continued to furiously pack as he mounted his robust riposte. “It’s not a trick. We’ve communicated. I talked to him on the phone. A phone that’s in California!”

Mama continued to be unimpressed. “If you want to risk your life, join the army. At least then you’d get paid.”

“I told ya. I’m gettin’ paid. American dollars an’ everything! Plus, he’s going to reimburse me for all my travel expenses, promptly upon arrival.”

His mother gazed over at the Les Paul-shaped, less-dirty section of the wall and turned sourly to her husband. “Did he tell ya he sold his guitar?”

”You told me you hated it.”

She shrugged. ”But at least it would have been something to remember you by.”

“We have that picture of him at the cottage,” Dad helpfully interjected.

Mom shook her head dismissively. “Nah, he looks like a total fag in that shot.”


The entire book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J3XNJSW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538935214&sr=8-1&keywords=darrell+vickers for a pittance.

Darrell Vickers, ‘Bu House, novel, vol. one, Here Comes the Sun, Amazon,

Please scroll down to leave Your Comments, Kudos, and Complaints

DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: