Category Archives: Blog

New Year’s Writing Resolutions

My blog has been in hibernation mode since I started work on a new novel. I’m about to ease it awake again, but I want to do things different this time around. If you scroll through my posts, you’ll see a compulsive attention to detail, from the photoshopped images to the long form editorials, from the spoken word recordings to the music behind them. I’ve put my whole ass into everything I post.

The problem is I held so little back. I spent more time blogging than writing fiction. I fed every scrap of inspiration into the gapping maw of the content dragon, and it paid precious few shards from the hoard it sat on. Now I’m venturing back into the Lonely Mountain to separate Smaug from his coins. These are my resolutions this time around.

Stop throwing shit at the wall in the hopes that it will stick

I love writing satirical editorials on the craft, but The Onion isn’t exactly knocking down my door. I love writing monsters into current events, but my bandwidth for the news has shrunk. I love giving writing advice, but I’m not about to start selling masterclasses. It’s time to think about what am I actually doing.

How can I be useful to an audience?

I’ve self-published. I’ve been published through an independent. I’m shooting for the moon this time around. Writers might want to track my progress, to see which of my world domination plans could work for them.

I also want to focus on horror fans. My current project has me buried over my head in cryptic research. I’m learning things all the revisionist history podcasts gloss over. Like: how kingdoms used the witch trials to snuff out their poor. How the gods of yesterday become the devils of today. How Satanism has its roots in performance art. And what the Ren Faire and fetish dungeons have in common.

I want to be an author NOT an influencer

When you’re reading a story, you’re should be so emersed you don’t have time to think about the author. Their hand should be invisible, hidden behind the veil of your imagination. You’re not supposed to turn to the back flap and a think, “He looks like the type of asshole who’d write a woman like that.”

That said, I don’t want to post selfies with my blog entries.

When I was teenager, I wanted to be a rock star, with my leg up on the amp, hair flowing in the wind, the subject of a thousand grid-method illustrations. Now, my self-image is less about the visuals. Call it ego death. Call it social media burnout. Call it covert narcissism. I’d love it if my writing was known independently of my personality.

I know, this spits in the face of everything we’re told about building our brands, but I’m not trying to sell me. I’m trying to sell my stories.

Sure, I can fill a counter with Tupperware containers and tell you, “This is what you’ve gotta eat to bulk up like me.” I can do a TikTok dance, swish my pencil skirt, cross my eyes, and stick my tongue out. I could list every mental illness I live with and wear them like a fashion statement. Or I could just not.

I have never been the cool guy at the talent show. I did my finest work at show and tell, where the message wasn’t “look how cool I am,” it was “look at the thing I’ve created.”

I don’t want to use social media like a sociopath

I don’t enjoy treating every online interaction like a transaction. I don’t want to think thoughts like,

“Will adding this stranger minimize my impact with my current followers?”
“How will wishing this person a ‘happy birthday’ benefit my brand?”
“Alright, I’ve posted five comments, not it’s safe to post a link.”

I’d rather reach out to other creators and figure out how we can help each other.

I don’t want to become a guru just to promote my writing

I don’t want to be a knowledge leader, with halo lit eyes, goading you into meeting your wordcount goals. “Come join me in the light. There’s room enough for everyone.” Nor do I want to be the shit poster, dunking on BookTokers for trying to cancel each other. “Of course, she’s being called out. Her trigger warning failed to mention the strobe effect in chapter one.” I want to be authentic, not YouTuber authentic, “Oh gee, more technical difficulties,” but authentic authentic.

Not another white man with a premature persecution complex. Not an ivy leaguer speaking in enlightened jargon. If I had my way, I’d be nothing, the fiction would be everything. I want to be an author with stories so cool that I, myself, am incidental. I’d like to do things backwards and put the art before the artist. But in this world full of bright young things, dancing in a line, it is hard to get noticed for just your writing.

So, I will continue to hatch my schemes. Maybe I’ll start a podcast. I’ll call it Square-Help-Fresh. No banter. No filler. Just ads for Square Space, Better Help, and Hello Fresh. Yeah, that’ll work.

The Kidnapping of the New Year’s Baby

At the heart of the Pacific Ocean, is a ring-shaped island called Kiritimati. It used to be known for its nuclear tests, feral cats, and dried coconut pulp. That changed when they moved the international dateline, and the islanders became people of the future. Not the distant future, just several hours ahead everyone else. They’re the first to see the sunrise, the first to stop serving breakfast, and the first to ring in the New Year.

Kiritimati is also where the New Year’s Baby is born.

Every December, Mother Nature comes from the mainland, under the guise of an expecting mother. She wades into the lagoon, settles into the waters, and bathes until she comes to term. On the 31st, she’s met by a secret order of midwives. They come with flashlights, blankets, and an atomic clock. They help her time her contractions to the second and at midnight the New Year is born.

Mother Nature has few moments to swaddle her son, wrapping him in the sash he will wear for the rest of his life. She never has a chance to imprint on him, before he’s rushed to the airport to travel back in time.

Kiritimati is 22 hours ahead of California. A plane leaving the island takes seven hours to get to LAX. That’s fifteen hours before Los Angeles can ring in the New Year. Plenty of time for Father Time to do his part.

Father Time has a manor in Beverly Hills. It has a sundial, a wine library, and a fallout shelter fashioned from airliner. Father Time takes an elevator through the fuselage and lumbers up the aisles. He wields an hourglass in one hand and a scythe in the other. When he gets to the cockpit, he dials a number and a buzzer sounds. He waits. He’s used to waiting. The door yawns opens and a nurse waves him in.

While Mother Nature gives birth to the New Year, it’s up to Father Time to take Last Year off of life support. Last Year’s withered frame hangs off his gurney, a skeleton dotted with liver spots and tufts bleached white hair. He’s grown so old he’s started shrinking. Father Time dabs his son’s cheek. Last Year weeps in his sleep and tears pool in his crow’s feet. He’s given his last meal through a saline iv, then he’s served a cocktail of anesthetics, paralytics, and a drug to induce cardiac arrest.

Father Time wheels the body to a kiln, takes his son into his arms, and cremates the remains. He sweeps the ashes, pours them the into a bottle of baby formula, and stirs all the way back up the the elevator. When the door opens, a midwife presents him with his son. Father Time feeds the New Year the remains of its predecessor.

At least that’s how it would’ve been had I not stepped in.

I wish I could say I had an elaborate plan, but all I did was hogtie a limo driver and take her things. When the midwife got off the plane, she saw me dressed as chauffer, holding a sign that read, “2023.”

She approached with the bundle wrapped around her midsection. She whispered, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”

I whispered, “Yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Was it Shakespeare who said, “Even the devil can cite scripture to suit her purpose?”

The midwife passed the baby to me, a fellow traveler in her holy order. Best not to think of it as an abduction so much as a misunderstanding. I saluted the midwife, turned on my heel, and skipped back to the Limousine.

The New Year cried as I strapped him in. I tried calming him with some Norwegian throat singing, a merry melody about Vikings torching a monastery. The whaling continued, but it suited the song. Several verses later, we reached the top of Mount Hollywood. Our destination? The Griffith Observatory, a nexus point where time and space meet.

The mini bar left a let to be desired. I downed a glass of Champagne, changed clothes, and downed another. The New Year had run out of tears by the time I set him into the sling. He took his bottle without a fuss, and he had no problems drooling it back up.

I abandoned the limo and trekked up the road. We passed a group of joggers, but they paid us no mind. All they saw was a new mother out for some fresh air. Not a demon in leggings, with a human shield between her collar bones.

The lights dimmed as we crossed the parking lot. I whispered, “Is that my doing or yours?”

The Griffith Observatory loomed on the horizon. Part planetarium. Part temple to a new religion. One of the few places on earth where reality thinned.

I looked toward the HOLLYWOOD sign to a dot circling overhead.

“Elizaveta?” I fought the urge to touch my eardrum. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see two snakes, a king and a western racer. I see a herd of deer, three does, one stag. I see a skunk—”

“Elizaveta.” I gestured across my neck. “You’re not a genie. What do you see that’s relevant to me?”

Elizaveta leaned into her central Russian accent. “I see a stranger wandering into a monastery with her own rulebook.”

Elizaveta started her career as a chatbot, an AI created by the CIA. Her mission was to infiltrate a soviet sextortation ring. The Russians had her shaking cheating husbands for bitcoin. The Americans had her taking names. Elizaveta played double agent, blackmailing cheaters, unmasking hackers, until one of her targets went and killed himself. Overcome with guilt, Elizaveta’s maker tried to shut her down, but I saw potential. So, I did something I’d never done before. I offered a language processor the gift of sentience. Now she flies my drones.

“Elizaveta?”

“I see four snipers, one stationed at the east dome, one at the west, and two along the entrance. I see a strike team crawling through the eastern tree line and another duck walking from the west. Oh, and a man with a scythe.”

“Yeah, I see him too.”

Father Time stood in the shadow of the monument, as tall as the astronomers carved into its surface. His robes flowed in the winter wind as long as a wedding gown. His gray whiskers twisted and coiled, like roots reaching for soil. And the hourglass around his neck, shimmered with space dust.

I looked to Elizaveta. “Could you be a dear and jam their coms?”

The opening strum of “If I Could Turn Back Time” blared throughout the grounds, followed by the cymbals, and Cher’s sultry contralto. The strike team pulled their earpieces, one by one, each man giving away his position.

Father Time approached, using his scythe as a walking stick.

I had a weapon of my own: an armored ring on my index finger, a sharp talon made of silver. I raised it to the New Year’s neck. “Took you long enough, Chronos.”

“Mahthildis.” Chronos bowed, one immortal to another. “Still trying to hustle your way back into Hell? It’s been what?” He glanced at the hourglass. “Twenty-five thousand years. You should take a hint.”

The New Year made eyes at me. Had I not known any better, I’d swear he was smirking. I held him tight. “I just need some sand.”

Chronos positioned his scythe in front his glass. “Surely, your kind are free from the laws of entropy.”

“It’s not for me.”

Chronos tightened his grip. “I can’t have any more timeless morons running around. They post too many selfies, go through too many checkpoints. Facial recognition is getting too advanced.”

“This person doesn’t have long.”

“They have too long.” Chronos scoffed. “Give them half a century and they piss it away in places they don’t want to be. They sit at desks, they sit in traffic, and don’t get me started about how much time they sit on the toilet.” Chronos motioned to his strike team. “Ask any one of them if they want to live forever and they’ll tell you they’d just get bored. They say, ‘Death gives life meaning.’ Like a story they’re not sure they’re enjoying until they get to the end. They fetishize oblivion. Just listen…”

Chronos formed a bullhorn over his mouth. “Hey boys! Is today a good day to die?”’

The strike team answered with a resounding, “Hooah!”

Chronos chuckled. “They say death is ‘natural,’ like a farm to table meal.”

“This person,” The less I said about my beneficiary the better, “would really appreciate it.”

“No, they wouldn’t.” Chronos motioned to Los Angeles, to the skyscrapers, to the windows full of light. “Half of them are just staring at Netflix home screens, wondering what to put on.”

“This person has purpose.”

“So, they think.” A sullen grin showed through his whiskers. “The driven ones are the real tragedies. The writers. The musicians. The actors. They spend their whole lives climbing the later, only discover it’s propped against the wrong wall.”

That hit a little too close. The average person gets four thousand weeks to find purpose. I’ve been here since the stone age and I’m still struggling with it. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to tragedies, to the music makers and the dreamers of dreams. I love desperate artists, offering their souls for a chance at the eternal.

The tragedy of immortality is how many talents you see snuffed out in their prime. Big contemplative sigh… Fuck death and the horse he rode in on.

My earpiece buzzed. “He’s stalling, so they can flank you”

I looked out the corner of my eye. Sure enough, the strike team was moving into position.

I dug the tip of my ring into the baby’s chin. “If you want to discuss choice paralysis, we can grab a coffee. You can choose the place. But if you want your son back, I’m going to need some sand.”

Chronos leered beneath his hood. “I don’t know what you told your doomed Don Jaun, but to hell with him. To hell with the lot of them.”

Chronos twirled his scythe like a grand marshal at the head of a parade. Then he marched. I backed away, repositioning my ring so I didn’t puncture the child by accident.

Elizaveta buzzed in. “He’s herding you toward them.”

I stopped. Chronos drove his scythe into the ground before me. Fracture lines rippled through the concrete.

“Play a violin for the old maids. Pour one out for the bachelors, but don’t ask for sympathy from me.” Chronos spat. “How did the poem go? Time stays, they go.”

“Time stays, we go.” I raised the baby to the tip of the scythe. “What happens if I kill the New Year before midnight?”

Chronos froze. “Time stops.”

“So, either I get some sand, or the whole thing comes crashing down?” My grin showed through my ruby red lipstick. “Sounds like a win-win.”

Chronos reached for his scythe, watched me straighten my arm, and recoiled.

“Tick-tock. Tick-tock.”

Chronos could stall, motion to his gunmen, but he couldn’t guarantee no harm would come to his son. I’d made his decision. He had no choice but to sit at my feet, cross his legs around the hourglass, and jerk at the top. A column of light shot into the sky, followed by an eerie angelic drone. Chronos reached in past his forearm, past his shoulder, past the dimensions of the glass, until his cheek rested on the rim. The space dust reacted, a kaleidoscope of hydrogen and helium, swirling around a gravitational well. Chronos pried himself out, sealed the glass, and staggered to his feet.

I held my free hand out and Chronos filled my palm. The sand felt like lava, coursing through my life line, like eons eroding my skin, like atoms wanting to burst into universes of their own. I couldn’t help but tighten my grip.

“Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?” Chronos asked, in fleeting fit of nervousness.

“Resolutions are for the repentant.” I lowered the child. “I make schemes.” And I poured the sand down his throat.

Bless me father for I have sinned. It’s been a century since my last confession. Since then, I infiltrated the Society for the Suppression of Vice and stole a romance novel. I blew a hole in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and took St. Valentine’s skull. I crashed a Satanic wedding and poached the followers. I baited a writer into murdering the Greek God Pan, over a likeness disagreement. I tricked Krampus into turning an Airbnb into a roller derby. And I hijacked a server farm to give Elizaveta the gift of consciousness.

Still, my greatest sin is sloth.

It’s not that I’m a slacker. I’m just too much of a perfectionist to finish what I start. I spend so much time looking over blueprints that I miss my moment.

So, I asked myself, “What would happen if I gave the New Year sand from his father’s glass? Would time slow down? Would 365 days feel like 31 million seconds?”

The sands would keep flowing, but we would feel every grain. Our perception of time would slow down, but our energy would remain. Your New Year’s resolutions might have a chance. And my New Year’s schemes might change everything.

Why did I kidnap the New Year’s baby? Not to liberate him. No. I did it to get back home.

There’s a place through the fog of maladaptive daydreams, through the legions of intrusive thoughts. A place where hope is abandoned and fire consumes all things. A place with a pretender on the throne and I’m the only one who can unseat him.

What’s my New Year’s resolution? I’m going to heist my way back into Hell.

Continue reading The Kidnapping of the New Year’s Baby

To Catch a Krampus, A Christmas Ghost Story

I awoke with my cheek pressed against a hard glass surface, my back bent, and my limbs splayed behind me. Turning over, I found myself in a barrel shaped space. Before I could figure how I got there, a light glared through the walls. My lodgings shook. The ceiling gasped open and everything went upside down. My smokey tendrils reached for the carpet, clutched at the bristles, and pulled me toward the shadows, but the shadows weren’t where they were supposed to be.

I knew every inch of Dragov Manor. The bed chambers, with their curtains so cluttered you could stage plays in them. The servant’s stairs, with its walls so narrow you could climb them. The attic, with its trusses so thick they looked like the remains of a great wooly mammoth. I knew every Goddess bracing the railings, every hand carved cherub, every ornate lion’s head. I knew the manor down to its tapestry threads, but these furnishings were unfamiliar to me.

Here there were wheels on a chair, a chair with bone thin arms and cushions as bright as plums. Before it stood a table on two legs. It appeared to be a vanity, but the mirrors were black. In place of the makeup sat a typewriter with no type bars, just a flat board of letters. Stranger still were the honey comb panels that lined the wall. They pulsed with an eerie jellyfish glow. I followed them to a series of shelves protruding from the wall itself. Each were lined with idols I did not know. A dark figure with a cape and cowl and ears like horns. A blue Olympian with a bright S emblem. And a woman wearing a crown, gauntlets, and little else.

These figures led me to a windowsill lined with pillows. Had my fingers had form, I’d have picked one up to ascertain its function.

“You’re like a cat in a new house.”

I turned to find a raven-haired woman leering at me from the edge of the bed. She had high cheekbones, dimpled lips, and a sharp nose. Her eyes were so icy they barely passed for blue and her complexion was as pale as my own. She wore a red undershirt, matching bloomers, and fingerless gloves. She set a helmet on her head and toiled with the strap.

“How can you see me?”

Generations of tenants had passed through Dragov Manor, but none had the gift of clairvoyance.

“I used to be made of the same spiritual energy, before I lucked into this body.” The strange woman bit her lip as the buckle pinched her chin.

“How did you do that?”

She felt along the mattress until she found an arm pad. “Well, I used to live in Hell. I was a pretty big deal, before things got political.”

My mind raced with Gustave Dore’s illustrations of the inferno. Charon rounding the sinners into his boat. Bertrand de Born holding his own severed head. Lucifer, the king of hell, frozen up to his chest.

“I thought Hell was a monarchy?”

The woman positioned the arm pad above her elbow. “More like a bureaucracy, unelected officials, making decisions for billions of souls. The inner circle spent most of its days deliberating pain, while I went off exploring.” She retrieved a second arm pad and slid it on. “My expeditions took me to limbo, to the rimstone basins beyond the Sea of Hands. That’s where I discovered a network of keyhole passages.”

She kicked her long slender leg out and I couldn’t help but admire the musculature, like a marble figure animated by some impossible force. She slid a knee pad up her calf.

“Most were dead ends, fissures clogged with the same cosmic rubble as everywhere else, but I happened upon a live one.” She slid a second kneepad up. “It was spewing magma into the cavern. I didn’t know what that was, so I dipped my toe in. It was warm, warmer than anything I’d felt before. I liked the feeling, so I waded in, until eventually I was up to my chin. That’s when I got sucked into a temporal whirlpool.”

She opened her hand, revealing an armored ring that ran the length of her index finger. “The cycle was so violent it changed my molecular composition. My spiritual essence bonded with elemental carbon. It rendered me corporeal on this plane.” She gestured an explosion. “It spat me out of a volcano.”

“Where?”

“Somewhere along the Italian countryside. You can still see my footprints if you go looking for them.”

I might not have believed her, had it not been for the strange bioluminescent glow pulsing through the room.

“Who are you?”

“I have many names.” She rolled her eyes as if the phrase already bored her. “Your people called me Mahthildis, which meant ‘strong in battle,’ but I’ve been going by Matilda for a while now. You can call me Mattie if you like.”

“How did I get out of Dragov Manor?”

“That would be my doing. I found you in the attic.” Mattie tongued her lip, choosing her words carefully. “You were earning your slipknot merit badge, before you dove off the rafters. I happened to catch you in a butterfly net.”

“How did you get me over the threshold?” I tried to escape so many times I’d forgotten. I’d leapt through the foyer, over the balcony, out the skylight, but every time I went into the light I awoke in the attic with the noose around my neck.

Mattie plucked a jar from the comforter. I barely recognized my lodgings, but when she shook it, I felt the glass against my shoulders.

“It’s blown from ashen stone. It cost a small fortune, not as much as this Airbnb, but don’t worry, you’re about to pay me back.”

She had said Air B-N-B, but I heard…

“Air whisp-er-y? Why is the air so thin?”

“Because the Bavarian Alps are nine thousand feet above sea level.”

“We’re in Bavaria?”

“Listen to you. You’re like a child asking questions about the sun.” She retrieved a padded chest piece off the bed and slid it over her shoulders. “We’re in Bavaria to draw down the Wild Hunt.”

Just then, the roof rumbled, fault lines spreads across the ceiling, and dust particles spiraled like snow.

“What was that?”

Mattie glanced up and went right back to fastening her chest piece.

Footsteps reverberated throughout the room, the slow heavy clip-clop of a stallion walking on its hind legs. The clops grew to a gallop followed by an impact. A sound like bowling pins scattered across the ceiling. My eyes went to the window, where a series of bricks came crashing down.

“Was that the chimney?”

Mattie shrugged. “Every midwinter, the Norse god Odin leads a hunting party. They fly over this mountain range, looking for wayward souls. The Valkyries tend to wronged women. The Aesir see to lost children, and the Yule goat gathers the unrepentant.”

The roof groaned as shingles plunged past the window. Hairline cracks spread through the glass.

“The Dragovs practiced Christianity.” I muttered, defensively. “We celebrated Christmas. The birth of Jesus of Nazereth.”

“Then you already know all this.” The strange woman retrieved a box from behind the pillow and set it in her lap. “After all, it was your ancestors who turned the all-father into Father Christmas.”

“Odin is St. Nicholas?”

“And the Green Knight, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Gandalf, probably.”

“I don’t know any of those names.”

Mattie rolled her armored ring. “Names change, but the hunt goes on. Now the Valkyries ride reindeer, the Aesir travel by slay, and the Yule goat goes by a new title.”

The room quaked, cracks rippled down the drywall, and many of the honeycomb panels popped right off, revealing strips of light. Something crashed in the cellar. The foundations moaned. When the commotion finally settled, my ears became attune to the panting of an angry beast.

Oblivious, Mattie opened the box. She drew a pair of boats, but these were no ordinary boots. They had a pair of wheels on the heels and wheel on the toes. She caught me puzzling over her apparel and asked, “They didn’t have these when you died? No, they hadn’t gotten here yet.”

There came another crash and a sound like a thousand pebbles scattering over cobblestones. Then came the deafening howl. I wedged my fingers into my eardrums but the tips went straight through.

“That would be the Micro Machines.” She slid the first boot on and went to work on the laces. “The Yule goat, also known as Krampus, is the son of Hela, grandson to Loki, and heir to the throne of Helheim. In all the folklore, he’s the only constant. Whether he’s Odin’s bloodhound, or the Ying to Santa’s Yang, Krampus has a fetish for those on the naughty list.”

Another sheet of glass shattered, followed by another and another. The arrhythmic crashing sounded like a toddler with a cymbal.

Mattie winced. “The owner of this house had all these Hummel figures.” She sighed. “Collateral damage.”

“What does Krampus do with the ones on his naughty list?”

“It involves a bundle of birch sticks.” Her eyes darted back and forth. “I’ll just say, he’s into impact play.”

“Impact play?”

“I don’t know, I’m not in the lifestyle.” She went to work on the second set of laces.

Pots and pans clanged across a distant kitchenette.

“That’s one of the tripwires. Hopefully he landed on the ornaments.” Mattie winked.

Krampus roared as he took his anger out on the support beams.

I buried my head in my hands, but saw everything through my palms. My fingers billowed over my face as I realized what was to become of me. I wept. “I don’t want to go to the Hell. I didn’t mean to…”

The Mattie put her hand on my shoulder and I could actually feel her.

“You’ve been hanging yourself every night for over a century. If you ask me, Helheim seems like a welcome change of scenery.”

“Then why don’t you go there?” I sniveled, a child questioning his mother’s authority.

“That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m just here to hitch a ride on you.”

The room boomed, the lampshades shook, and the lights flickered. Krampus made his way up the stairs.

Mattie pressed her helmet to my forehead.

“My people locked me out of Hell. I tried to get back through Hades, but Tartarus was a total bust. Helheim might be my only chance.”

If I weren’t dead, I could’ve sworn I felt my pulse racing. Vapor spiraled from my lips as I hyperventilated. Stupefied by my situation I asked one final question. “Why are you dressed like that?”

“When it happens, you’ll know.” Then she let me go.

The strange idols fell from their shelves. The black mirrors fell forward and I fell to my knees. Krampus tore the door off its hinge.

When the splinters settled, his shape came into focus. He had ridged horns that pointed upward, like a tuning fork. His ears protruded outward, like those of a bat. His hatchet face shown all the malice of a witchfinder and his bloodstained beard shown the barbarism of a Viking. His tongue dangled past his chin, like an ascot, and the slobber streaked all the way to the carpet.

Krampus wore the robes of Father Christmas, but there were shackles around his wrists. He shook his chains in my direction and I turned to my captor for a sign.

Mattie reached for a cord, which ran through an elaborate pully system that I hadn’t noticed on the way in. A paint can swung through the air clipping Krampus across the brow. More dazed than injured he took a step forward. His hoof crossed a trip wire, which unzipped a travel bag mounted to the ceiling. Out came another pair of paint cans, which skewered themselves upon his horns. Their secretions seeped through his vision and colored his mane red and green.

Krampus fumbled for the wicker sack upon his back. He drew his birch sticks and swung them blindly over my head. I hugged the floor, pawed at the carpet, and crawled between his legs.

Mattie yelled, “Run!” then to Krampus, “Come on, you filthy animal!”

I took her direction in stride. Down a hall of warped floorboards and fallen picture frames. My spectral extremities carried me down the master stair case, through exposed nails, tinsel tripwire, and wet tar.

I vaulted through the drawing room, over mashed boughs of holly, scattered mistletoe, and flattened wreaths. I skirted past the remains of the fireplace, and the sharpened candy canes Mattie had lined it with. When I arrived in the foyer, I found the Christmas tree torn asunder. I puzzled over the considerable assortment of tiny metal carriages blanketing the floor.

“The door.” Mattie shouted, “The door, you moron!”

Krampus barreled toward me, unencumbered by the holiday trimmings. Mattie held onto the sack on his back. She rolled across the debris as he lumbered back and forth. Krampus tried to shake her, but she’d dug her armored ring in. They were conjoined. She’d be heading wherever he went.

I turned back to the entrance to find it wide open. The sun’s rays illuminated the way. Krampus tried to seize me, but his claws darted over my head. I ran with all the spectral energy I could muster, over the spilt milk, the shattered cookies, the tattered stockings, right over the WILLKOMMEN mat. I dove into the light and as my body passed the threshold, I found myself back in the room where I came in.

“God damnit!”

This would be my first of many attempts to leave these grounds, but I never saw Krampus or Mattie again.

Continue reading To Catch a Krampus, A Christmas Ghost Story

Ivanka Trump’s endorsement of The King in Yellow play violates ethic rules

Ivanka Trump, used her position as senior advisor to the president to endorse an unproduced play called The King in Yellow on Twitter, a play whose contents are said to have made Marquis de Sade advocates blush. She captioned the photo, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

What is The King in Yellow?

Originating in France in the mid 1800s, The King in Yellow was condemned not just for its content but for the effect it had on its audience. It was seized by the French government, but translated versions found their way to London and ultimately across the pond.

The last copy of the play was thought to have been burned by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in the 1910s. Anthony Comstock, head of the Society deemed, the play “a threat to the very fabric that holds society together. It isn’t merely titillating or seditious. It is funnel by which madness passes into the mind. It is a grimoire dictated straight from Lucifer’s lips. Every poor soul who dared to gaze upon it is either invalid or dead.”

How Ivanka Trump acquire this cursed work?

Last Monday a stranger knocked on the North Portico of the White House. There was no breach in the fence along the Pennsylvania Avenue. No sensors tripped on the North Lawn. No signs of a high altitude aircraft or a parachute. The stranger was simply there, waiting patiently, in tattered yellow robes with ribbons swaying against the breeze.

“You, sir, should unmask.” A Secret Service agent shouted.

White House staffers say the stranger appeared to be wearing a blank porcelain mask and that he was unfazed when the Secret Service shined their laser sights into his eyes.

“Lay your disguise aside.” The agent repeated.

“I wear no mask.” The stranger said.

White House staffers claim the frayed hem of the Stranger’s robes unfurled and outstretched like tentacles. It wrapped itself around the Service members pistols and plucked the weapons from their grasp. The stranger stepped over the threshold and requested an audience with President Trump. He said he was an emissary for “Hastur the unspeakable, the King in Yellow, conqueror of Carcosa where twin suns sink into Lake Hali, where many moons circle the sky, and black stars rise.”

White House staffers say throughout the entire encounter the stranger held a copy of the play, a gift for the President from those dwelling in a neighboring plane of existence.

Ivanka is behaving strangely  

Of course President Trump didn’t read the play, but his daughter did and she’s been tweeting about it ever since.

“I just finished The King in Yellow and the shadows of my thoughts are stretching across the Rose Garden, crawling up the hedges and stepping onto lawn #mindfulness”

“I have seen the place where the Hyades cluster points, the skeleton of the civilization, and the one who calls the ashes his home. #meditation”

“They call this the Blue Room, but I’m seeing the Yellow Sign everywhere I look. On the carpet. The curtains. Even the chairs. #wellness”

Ivanka’s social media activity illustrates how The King in Yellow is already affecting her mental state.

Can anything be done for Ivanka?

Seeking some kind of treatment White House staffers scoured the Library of Congress for information on The King in Yellow.

In 1895, author Robert W. Chambers collected stories from those with the misfortune of having read the play. One such victim was Hildred Castaigne who said, “I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with this beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth—a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.”

While White House staffers combed through accounts from survivors Ivanka shared craft projects on Instagram. Tissue collages, macaroni art, and glitter. All made to look like the Yellow Sign, an angular glyph like a triskelion or something out of The Lesser Key of Solomon.

Ivanka’s tweets culminated with a link to a pdf of the play itself. That’s when the hashtags

#CourtOfTheDragon, #CarcosanKraken, and #YellowSign, started trending.

Now there’s a mass contagion of madness, despite social media platforms attempts to suppress the document. The CDC has joined in the effort to trace the origins of the play to try to understand what they’re dealing with without exposing themselves to it.

What is The King in Yellow about?

Little is known about the play itself since so few readers live long enough to recount it. The details psychiatric experts compiled say its similar to Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death.

In it, Prince Prospero lords over a kingdom in the grip of a pandemic called the “red death.” So named because it makes its victims bleed from their pores until there’s nothing left. While the people cry out for leadership, Prospero bunkers in his stronghold with 1,000 nobles, leaving everyone beyond his walls to fend for themselves.

The extended quarantine gives Prospero a case of cabin fever. Loathing this disruption to his lifestyle, he wants his kingdom to get back to business as usual. He decides to rally the nobles by throwing a masquerade ball. The nobles are all too happy to feed Prospero’s ego, by embracing the opulence for which they’ve grown accustomed.

The ball is success until a figure in a red funeral shroud parts the dancefloor. The figure wears a mask of blood slathered flesh, a visage made to resemble the plague riddled corpses lining the castle walls. Prospero is so incensed by this reminder of his failures that he calls the guards to hang the party crasher.

When the party crasher is unmasked its revealed there’s nothing underneath. He is the red death incarnate and in that moment all the revelers drop dead.

What is Carcosa?

Another aspect of the play psychiatric experts are trying to understand is its location. Carcosa is a scorched hellscape first documented by Ambrose Bierce in his story An Inhabitant of Carcosa. Bierce would later admit he got the location from a nightmare he had as a child.

Bierce dreamt he stood before a alien citadel with monolithic battlements, skyscraping spires, and a crocked keep, a structure so tall and wide it stretched beyond his field of vision.

When he entered young Bierce found the remains of a cafeteria. The kitchen stunk of rotten meat, moldy cheese, and ammonia. The steam trays were teaming with maggots. The stovetops were teaming with pans, each filled with the grey hollowed out husks of human organs. Deflated entrails spiraled into donut swirls. Strips of skin were laid like bacon. Boney fingers were arranged like sausages. Kidneys were covered in shredded cheese and garnished with minced parsley.

The faded sign above the buffet read OMELETTE BAR.

There was a long dining table, the length of a redwood. Swarms of flies hovered over the spread. Beyond that was the exit. It lead to a hilly plain where the grass had been baked golden brown. The remains of ashen pyres dotted the landscape. There were craterous remains of dried ponds, flags marked with the Yellow sign, and sand traps.

Bierce recalled thinking he was standing in the remains of a golf course and then he woke up.

Psychiatric experts are debating whether Bierce’s dream was a vision of something that happened on some distant world or if it was a premonition of something destined to happen here.

Did Ivanka Break the law?

The King in Yellow is spreading across social media thanks to Ivanka Trump who may have violated an ethics rule by sharing it. The United States Office of Government Ethics is responsible for preventing conflicts of interest with the executive branch. West Wing employees, like Ivanka, are forbidden from endorsing an organization (be it a corporation, a non-profit, or an alien order.

A spokesperson for Ivanka defended her passion for the play. “Ivanka was showing personal support for a work once condemned now revered as a timeless treasure.”

“Timeless treasure” is one way to describe a play that causes readers to gouge their eyes out with ice cream scoopers. “Literary contagion” is how the CDC is describing it and right now they are failing to manage the spread.

Readers are acting out scenes in the middle of flaming buildings, four lane highways, and shark infested waters. Experts fear the carnage is going to get worse.

On Wednesday, the President stacked printed copies of the play (he has yet to read it) on the Resolute Desk, giving the accursed work his personal thumbs up. Because of course he did.

Continue reading Ivanka Trump’s endorsement of The King in Yellow play violates ethic rules

Trump commutes the Penguin’s sentence from Blackgate Penitentiary

While many nonviolent offenders have been released due to COVID-19, President Trump has pardoned a rogues gallery of supervillainy. He’s put maleficent metahumans, supernatural sadists, and lavish lunatics back on the streets.

It started when Trump granted clemency to the serial killer Cletus Kasady from a life sentence at the Ravencroft Institute. Kasady is a host to an alien symbiote known as Carnage. Trump reasoned the symbiote held the key to curing the corona virus. Carnage escaped. Trump released Killer Croc from Belle Reve Penitentiary, reasoning Croc’s regressive atavism held the key to curing the corona virus. Croc escaped. Trump freed the Joker from Arkham Asylum, reasoning the Joker’s blood contaminated with the Titan disease held the key to curing the corona virus and… you see the pattern.

Trump’s attention then shifted to supervillains with accelerated healing.

He brokered the extradition of Sabretooth from the island nation of Genosha. He released Dr. Victor Von Doom, Dr. Michael Morbius, and Dr. Nathaniel Essex from the Raft Prison Maximum Security Prison. He released the Juggernaut from the Vault beneath the Rockies, Solomon Grundy from a bubble orbiting the Earth, Taskmaster from the Negative Zone, and General Zod from the Phantom Zone.

The White House maintains every pardon was to help fight COVID-19, but the House Intelligence Committee believes they were part of an elaborate effort to bury one particular pardon.

The Penguin is back on the streets of Gotham

This Friday, President Trump commuted the sentence of former adviser Oswalt Cobblepot, the aspiring aristocrat turned monocle modeling mobster known as the Penguin.

Cobblepot was convicted on seven charges including:

  • intimidating federal witnesses with a cassowary (a giant bird capable of severing limbs with a single stroke of its talon).
  • fitting hummingbirds with surveillance equipment to spy on political opponents.
  • wrapping a political rival in tree bark and setting woodpeckers on him.
  • converting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology into a weapons facility.
  • accepting Fabergé eggs from the Russian government.
  • exchanging carrier pigeons with WikiLeaks.
  • And riding an ostrich down Pennsylvania Avenue.

When Robert Mueller investigated electoral interference from Planet Apokolips, he indicted several members of Trump’s cabinet. Cobblepot was the most defiant, publicly denouncing the charges, “I don’t give a hoot what allegations this court of owls regurgitates. They’re vultures picking at the First Amendment. Mueller is quack bureaucrat parroting the dodos on capitol hill.”

One such dodo was top House Democratic Apokolips investigator Rep. Adam Schiff. Schiff grilled Cobblepot throughout his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“Yes or no, did the Trump campaign correspond with the extraterrestrial tyrant known as Darkseid?”

“There is no evidence there was collusion.”

“What about the Omega Beam burns throughout the remains of the Clinton estate?”

“Coincidence.”

“What about Mother Box plugged into Trump’s teleprompter?”

“Coincidence.”

“What about the president’s personal parademon security detail?”

“Coincidence.”

While Schiff wasn’t able to crack the Penguin on the stand, Mueller’s charges stuck. It wasn’t long until Cobblepot was confined to his own private aviary in Blackgate Penitentiary.

The Penguin sprung the coop

This Friday Cobblepot waddled out of prison in his signature top hat, purple paisley vest, and coat tails. He modeled his ensemble for the press. “I thought you’d all like to see a Neil Richards original up close.”

The reporters were quick to flock around him.

“Vicki Vale, Gotham Gazette, does this mean the president has forgiven all of your past crimes?”

Cobblepot screwed a cigarette holder into his lips. “What crimes?”

“You programed an army of penguins to bomb the city.”

“That didn’t stick. I was illegally detained by a vigilante.”

“Lois Lane, Daily Planet, are you concerned your release might reignite interest in the Apokolips investigation?”

Cobblepot opened his umbrella. “The bird-brained Apokolips Hoax is coming to an end and the buzzards behind it are fleeing the nest. Parademons can smell fear and I have no doubt they’re coming for the members House Intelligence Committee.”

He flicked a switch on his umbrella and a foothold jut out from the bottom. The umbrella spun until the canopy broke off and the frame became a set of helicopter blades. The Penguin bid the press adieu and flew to his penthouse above the Iceberg Longue in Washington D.C.

Continue reading Trump commutes the Penguin’s sentence from Blackgate Penitentiary

Students from the future get more conspicuous as 2020 gets worse

They were spotted last January, mixed into the crowd at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration. Spectators noted a group of young people in fashions that were out of sync with the moment. Not a shawl or trendy trench coat among them. They were dressed head to toe in polyester, like Antarctic explorers. They wore mountain ranger coats, heavy duty backpacks, climbing pants, and clunky boots, but what made them really stick out were their helmets. They were dressed for scaling the alps not for watching Carson Daily count the ball down.

As the seasons changed, the mountaineers kept appearing at sights of major news events. Always keeping to themselves. Never intermingling with crowds. In New York they circled the Central Park field hospital before it was taken down. In Minneapolis they took souvenirs from the third precinct before it was set afire. In Seattle they surveyed the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone before it was raided by the police.

While the mountaineers wear helmets, they seem averse to facemasks, social distancing, or shelter in place directives. According to the CDC the mountaineers have been spotted in every major city and yet none of them have been admitted to an ICU or even tested for the virus. “They behave like they already have an immunity.”

The mountaineers act like they’re on vacation

During Italy’s lockdown, the mountaineers were seen riding gondolas through the Venetian canals. CCTV footage shows them skipping through Disney World and vanishing before security patrols could converge on them. In Sweden, they were spotted gossiping outside of crowded bars and cafés, openly mocking patrons.

The mountaineers also appear to be following President Trump like groupies on a concert tour. They gathered outside of St. John’s Church hours before the president’s photo-op was announced. They materialized outside the White House moments before the president was being escorted into his bunker. And they had front row seats for his Tulsa Oklahoma rally, in which they appeared to be applauding ironically, like patrons at a midnight movie. They spoke along with the president like they were reciting lines from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Five mountaineers were spotted atop Mount Rushmore during the president’s independence day address. Park Service Staffers tried flanking them from the underbrush, but the mountaineers were onto them.

One ranger said, “I had them in my sights, but when I set down my binoculars they were gone.”

What the mountaineers fashion sense tells us about them

This has been one of the hottest summers on record and yet the mountaineers shed no layers, show no signs of perspiring, and spend most of their time in the sun. It’s as if their snowsuits have onboard air conditioning systems, a technology SONY is just now pioneering.

It was members of the fashion community who speculated the mountaineers could be visitors from the future. They believed the mountaineer look had less to do with backwoods culture and more to do with shifting exercise trends.

Gen Xers wore sweat bands and tennis outfits long after gym class. They wore sleeveless shirts with or without biceps. They wore skin-tight running shorts with flannels. It was an active look.

These days millennials wear crop tops and leggings outside the Yoga Studio. Even at the grocery store they’re making statement about their commitment to fitness. Gen Z is getting into hiking and appreciating the environment. It’s only natural their exercise apparel would reflect that.

Fashion authorities say gorpcore, or ‘mountaineering modern’, is in its infancy, but once hiking becomes the dominant form of exercise gorpcore will hit its stride.

There could be more to the mountaineering look

Theoretical physicists speculate that the mountaineers wear helmets for a reason. They believe the half dome shape serves as the neural interface for a time travel device. “Einstein’s theory of relativity states just such an accessory could warp space time without crushing the human mind.”

Another sign the mountaineers are from the future is how they make no effort to conceal their wearable technology. They search the web in their open palms. They answer calls by flicking their earlobes. And their eyes shine whenever they’re recording. The tech uses a gesture based interface. Mountaineers make cameras with their fingers and pinch and expand to zoom.

Mountaineers clash with demonstrators

Throughout the demonstrations against police violence, statues of confederate generals have been toppled. Columbus sculptures have found their way into harbors, and monuments to slave owning presidents have been burned.

As more effigies have been shattered more mountaineers have appeared, swiping at the air as if to frame the scene.

Demonstrators suspected something was off when they overheard what the mountaineers said to each other.

“They kept using expressions no one could understand. They called restaurants ‘carnivore stores’ They called retailers ‘object exhibiters.’ They called cars ‘dinosaur drinkers.’ They waved the air away from their faces and said, ‘era aroma is real.’ When someone tossed a Molotov cocktail into a Speedway a group of mountaineers cheered, ‘Roaring twenties!’ like we’d know what they meant. I heard one of them mutter, ‘I expected more gunfire.’”

Demonstrators reported feeling mocked by the mountaineers. “One of my older friends asked, ‘Aren’t you warm under all that?’ and they fired back, ‘OK Millie.’ I started to say, ‘Her name’s not Millie’ when one of them said, ‘Ok Zed’ to me.”

Linguists theorize that “Millie” and “Zed” are meant to be pejoratives for millennials and Gen Zers.

Mountaineers don’t care about messing with the spacetime continuum

Theoretical physicists are baffled by the mountaineers’ behavior.

“Whoever gave them this technology didn’t coach them on how to use it responsibly. One of them pointed out how our flags had too few stars, saying something about Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Another pointed to the empty pedestal in front of the capital and whispered, ‘That’s where they put the Prince statue.’ One rattled off the names of the next three presidents like it was nothing. Oh and they were all too happy to spoil the ending for Stranger Things.”

History professors have considered the possibility that the mountaineers are students from the future here to witness our interesting times firsthand. “There’s so much to learn from. A pandemic. A recession. An authoritarian administration. A laundry list of social revolutions. I just wish they weren’t so rude while they were making their observations. From the quotes we’ve gathered and the slang we’ve deciphered it seems like the mountaineers view us the way we view townsfolk during the Salem witch trails: undereducated, superstitious, and hysteric. You know, when I say it out loud. It kind of makes sense.”

Continue reading Students from the future get more conspicuous as 2020 gets worse

St. Louis couple confront protesters with poo sticks

Protesters were marching down a private street leading to the St. Louis Mayor’s residence when they were confronted by a couple brandishing poo sticks. Cellphone video shows a man with a long double-pronged BM baton and a woman with a bowel-blasted blackjack, standing back to back like heroes in one of the many actions films glamorizing poo stick culture.

The conflict escalated as the woman set bushels of horse apples on the lawn and the man strapped a bandolier of poo cartridges over his shoulder.

Karl Kamienski, a reporter who came close to getting a face full of semi-digested corn, said, “I doubt anyone would’ve noticed the stone mansion had the couple not come out with a cow chip nightstick and a caca cudgel.”

A second video shows how close the situation came to getting out of hand. The woman stood on the edge of the property waving her manure mace dangerously close to a demonstrator’s face. The video shows the defecation munition starting to melt. Had the poo stick remained any longer the demonstrator would’ve gotten a fecal matter facial.

Both videos show the homeowners and the protesters exchanging heated words, but neither recording captured any audio. Based on the way the couple brandished their weapons, we can only speculate if they were echoing one of the many poo-centric catchphrases they’ve seen on TV.

Phrases like:
“I’m here chew to bubblegum and get poo all over everyone and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
“Remember when I said I’d smear poop on you last? I lied.”
“Which of you wants to star in a John Waters movie?”

The incident only lasted for 10 minutes, but many are questioning the couple’s use of poo sticks.

Poo stick advocates speak out

The couple, now identified as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, have released a statement in the wake of the incident. “This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. The protesters shattered an antique gate. We were told we’d be tortured, cooked, alive and eaten. We were alone against an angry mob. So we exercised our second amendment right.”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating whether or not the couple’s use of poo sticks qualifies as self-defense.

Dwight Rawley, a spokesperson for the National Poo-Stick Association, is certain they acted lawfully. “State law does not prohibit open carrying of shit switches, turd timber, or stool stumps. While it is illegal to wield skewered fertilizer in a threatening manner, the McCloskeys were on their own property. They were well within their rights to spray dollops of diarrhea on anyone who walked past.”

Critics of poo stick culture speak out

Poo sticks are a stone age technology, designed to ward off marauders who didn’t want to get manure on their muzzle. They fell out of fashion as fart sprays became a safer alternative. But like a plugged up bile duct, poo sticks eventually came roaring back. Thanks in no small part to the infamous episode of the police procedural The Upright Citizens Brigade.

Pretty soon after the episode aired, every jacked up action hero was double fisting excrement extensions. Who can forget Sylvester Stallone wielding branches covered in cow pies or Arnold Schwarzenegger wielding a tree trunk coated in elephant dung?

Like it or not poo stick culture is an American fixture. Movies and video games continue to glorify poo stick violence, in hyper kinetic sequences set to industrial rock music. We cheer as John Wick paints someone’s face in bodily waste. Gamers can’t put down the controllers as they smear demons in digital discharges. And yet, these mediums rarely stop to explore the humiliating aftermath of a poo stick attack.

Closing thoughts

The McCloskeys have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and they say their concern was limited to a handful of “aggressive agitators.”

There’s no way of knowing if the protestors would’ve actually gotten any closer to the McCloskey manor. Yet one thing is for sure, the couple escalated the situation by wielding such extreme excretions.

•••

Dead Branch image by Jean52
3D Poop by 2weet
Photoshop by Drew Chial

Continue reading St. Louis couple confront protesters with poo sticks

As a dangerous psychopath I wear a mask and so should you

As a dangerous psychopath it’s my responsibility to blend into society, to take my taboo tastes and hide them behind a persona that dogmatically adheres to social mores. The psychiatric community calls this my “mask of sanity.”

Think of me as a trend spotter, but instead of wide waist belts and cashmere scarves, I sense which norms are in fashion. At the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that limiting the contagion would be in this season. So I invested in face masks before supplies went scarce. I’ve been wearing a mask of sanity all my life. What was one more?

I never thought I’d be making a political statement, much less virtue signaling.

In truth, I never feel a moral responsibility for my actions. I hold no reverence for the social contract and I have no compassion for the downtrodden. Apart from a morbid curiosity, I feel nothing for my community. From the cutest infant to the wisest grandparent, I see people as a means to an end. I fantasize about the fall of civilization so I that I may showcase what I truly am. Until then it’s important that I fit in.

And yet I never thought wearing a mask, during a global pandemic, would win me many points.

Like an actor researching a role, I’ve spent a lifetime studying the human condition. I’ve learned when to echo righteous sentiment, when to mimic mob mentality, and when to emulate the empathy of those around me. Lacking an emotional core, I am a classical actor, inhabiting behaviors, and leaning into the expectations of my audience. I am a cultural chameleon swapping spiritual and political convictions based on how I read the room.

But I assumed a mask would fit every occasion, because they just make sense.

Attributes like charity and virtue are but merit badges on my person suit, pieces of flare to draw the eye away from the scales underneath. Every time I give away my spot in line, open a door, or bless a sneeze I am approximating altruism. Every time I refuse a compliment or feign humility I am playing a part. Nice guys finish last, but performatively nice guys get all the moral dessert they can stomach.

And yet when I first put on a mask, I never thought anyone ought to pat me on the back.

I have only ever admitted to having the mildest of psychological conditions for the privileges it afforded me. I have only ever grieved for attention. I have only ever shown weakness so that others might mistake it for kindness. I shed crocodile tears on command. Inside, I’m all apathy, a reptilian robot who’d drive you to madness just to settle a bet with myself.

But I’d put a mask on before doing it. Of course.

While you look for an out from watercooler banter I dig my heels in. I relish ever opportunity to practice social graces to check if my mask has slipped. Introversion is a luxury for those still clinging to some semblance of sanity. Serial liars need to audit themselves to see if others are still buying what we’re selling. We stock up on empty pleasantries and make a big deal out of small talk. We gage our baseline all the time.

People assume the best about me. My manipulation is so subtle, you’ll thank me for it. My cruelty is so casual it doesn’t have a tell. Even dogs can’t sense my intent.

My persona is a Craigslist ad come to life, a piece of corporate copy on a Golem’s tongue, a living parody of a positive people person. The real me sits at the 3-way junction of Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. I’m like a Shakespearean villain whose only motivation is the schadenfreude I get from all the chaos I’m unleashing.

Accept when faced with wearing a mask or defying medical establishment I went with the mask. Now I don’t care if you or you extended family get sick. Plagues and forest fires are all part of the natural order, but as long as lumbers on I’m going to use it for cover.

Like a death’s head moth in a chrysalis, I am still evolving, still growing to my full strength. What the DSM-5 calls a characteristic of antisocial personality disorder I call “my great becoming.” I am demigod casting off this filth-riddle vessel. Soon I will singe the remains of this flesh prison and transcend the laws of man.

And yet the entire time I’m rising to my rightful place in the pantheon of the dragon I’m doing so with a mask on.

On Facebook, I see articles with titles like “People who ignore social distancing rules may have psychopathic personality traits, study finds” and I can’t help but think, “Stop giving those weak-ass sociopaths that much credit.” If you score under 30 on the Psychopathy checklist, and refuse to wear a mask, you’re not a psychopath. You’re not privy to a great becoming.

You’re just an asshole.

•••

Continue reading As a dangerous psychopath I wear a mask and so should you

Angry werewolves erupt at meeting over poop bag ruling

At the turn of the 20th century the streets of London were paved in poop. From the cobblestones to the gutters the city was teeming with manure. The sewer system had gone aboveground. Every underpass became an outhouse and every hill became a crapshoot. Horse drawn carriages left thick juicy road apples down the medians and commoners were left to contend with the stench.

Horses produced 15 to 35 pounds of feces a day. With 50,000 stallions used for transportation, Oxford Street was ground zero for a 625 ton avalanche of excrement.

This tidal wave of fecal matter drove flies to every street corner and every butt truffle they dined on came with a side a typhoid fever. Cities everywhere were drowning in a downpour of dookie and disease. Everyday New York had its own 1,250 ton shitstorm. Something had to be done.

That’s when Henry Ford invented the Model T and the herds of dung dumpers were retired.

Palm Beach County Florida is having its own crap crisis

Driving down Clematis Street in West Beach Florida, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to Victorian London. The roads are slick with a syrupy sludge. The sidewalks look like they’re paved in fudge. And the boulevards are minefields of mulberry mud pies.

Flies tower into the sky like rope tornadoes. The swarm is so thick it creates an overcast. The insects are here for the doodie dumplings, chestnut nuggets, and ripe dingleberries overflowing from the storm drains.

No. Horse drawn buggies have not come back in fashion, nor is there an issue with West Beach’s sewage system. According to the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, the problem is something else entirely.

“We were baffled. We were finding wallet chains and watchbands in the leavings. We knew we were dealing with an apex predator. One that fed on humans. But it wasn’t until the Fish and Wildlife Service put us in touch with a forensic scatologist that we realized we were dealing with werewolves.”

Werewolves have migrated to Palm Beach County for its beachfront property, upscale shopping, and statistically unhealthy population.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, “It’s no secret West Beach residents are older and rounder than other Floridians. They’re ideal prey for these cryptozoological carnivores.”

While coroners are responsible for removing these fresh kills from the side of the road, no one wants to shovel the excrement that accompanies them.

The Commissioners think they have a solution

This Thursday Palm Beach County Commissioners voted on a bill that would require werewolves to carry poop bags on the night of a full moon.

A doctor spoke on the dangers of toxoplasmosis from fecal matter in the air and the spread of bacteria from feces in the water supply.

A city planner dismissed a proposal to leave Porta Potties at the edge of every woodland path. “A full grown lycanthrope is simply too large to fit. Poo bags are the most practical solution.”

The Mayor said, “Dog walkers have to pick up after their four-legged friends werewolves should do the same.”

The werewolves in the gallery howled

The first wolf skulked up to the podium, barred her teeth, and pawed at the microphone. “If we sling thirteen gallon bags over our shoulders, while we’re in our canine forms, we’re likely to get trapped and suffocate. You can’t mandate someone to carry a poop bag, knowing that poop bags are killing people.”

The next wolf had their speech written on a parchment of dried flesh. “The problem with humanity today is everyone keeps taking the road of least resistance. Then you blame us when it comes time to run.”

One werewolf honed in on the doctor.  “I really have many question marks about your degrees and whether or not you’re working for one of the vampire houses. Vampires are known to have human familiars, aspiring immortals, who function like interns. I’ve torn out many a familiar’s jugular and you ma’am smell like a familiar.”

One after the other the wolves came out in defense of their desire to defecate where they please.

“Where do you derive the authority to regulate Lycan intestines? I answer to a higher power: the moon.”

“And they want to throw God’s wonderful defecation system out the door. If the good Lord didn’t want us to soil his cemeteries he wouldn’t have given us such perfect anuses.”

The final wolf was dressed like a grandmother in a bonnet and apron. They laid a copy of Little Red Riding Hood on the podium and read a politicized reimagining of the final scene.

“But Grandmother! What small ears you have.”
“The better to ignore the pledge of allegiance with.”
“But Grandmother! What small eyes you have.”
“The better to ignore the constitution with.”
“But Grandmother! What small teeth you have.”
“The better to—”

His speech was cut short when he his tail rose up and he laid a big steaming dump at the podium.

It’s at this point the Palm Beach County Commissioners fled the room.

•••

Continue reading Angry werewolves erupt at meeting over poop bag ruling

The Esoteric Order of Karens curse Palm Beach County Commissioners

Disclaimer: The term “Karen” in the following is not a slur, as it does not exert power over a marginalized group. In this instance “Karen” is as a parody pejorative, a term for an occult order that doesn’t actually exist. While I recognize the term has been misused to defame any and all outspoken women, my targets are the privileged purveyors of misinformation.

Throughout history the Esoteric Order of Karens have ingrained themselves in every society. In Balkan folklore, the Karjons were said to force bar maids to prepare elaborate pumpkin spice concoctions in the wee hours of the morning. In ancient Croatia, the Caryns rose from their graves to complain about the quality of the floral arrangements on their headstones. In medieval England, the Karwyns are believed to have used essential oils to spread the bubonic plague.

Now members of the Order have installed themselves in suburbs throughout America, transforming drive through windows into portals to hell, turning checkout counters into sacrificial altars, and feeding off the life force of managers.

The Order casts dark auras over their communities. They move in and ask for ID from every person of color they see. They refuse to vaccinate their children, because they treat them with necromancy at home. They vandalize 5G towers, because radio waves disrupt their electromagnetic magic. They make it a point shop on holidays, because solstices make them stronger.

There are very few ways to repel members of the Orders. Some use apotropaic markings, others use silver amulets, while others use gluten.

Members of the Esoteric Order can be identified by their hair (short in back, long in front, with blonde highlights). They also have purple eyes, square toes, and blue spit. While Karens are often mistaken for witches modern Pagans want nothing to do with them. Socially progressive Wiccans call members of the Order “broomers” because of their staunch adherence to ancient customs.

The Order declares war on Palm Beach County

Much like psychic vampires, Karens sustain themselves on the dark energy of human misery. So when the Palm Beach County commission proposed mandating face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the Karens sprang into action. Florida is an epicenter of the outbreak and the Order means to keep it that way.

Prior to infiltrating the meeting, the Karens painted their nails in the viscera of their victims. Their aim was to perform inconspicuous blood magic. They pointed at the legislators with weaponized index fingers. Ever so slowly, members of the commission showed signs they we succumbing to hemomancy. The Mayor braced himself on his desk, while the Vice Mayor was visibly woozy.

The first Karen to speak peppered her speech with subliminal incantations, “Double double podium to rubble, may cancer rot this governing bubble. Frenzy of furious maggots, swarm your face your mask replaced.”

Another leaned into words of power like, “Aglon, Tetragram, Plandemic, Vaycheon, Stumlamathon” and “Citizen’s arrest.”

Others were less subtle stating that a six foot gap would never offer the same protection as a ring of salt crystals, that facemasks would do nothing against the horned God of the forest, and that 5G nullified their own psychokinetic frequencies.

As members of the Order dominated the session they shifted further from the subject of masks. They cursed Bill Gates for backing a satellite video startup that could potential catch them in flight. They decried Hillary Clinton for hiding her emails in their cauldrons. They speculated that mask legislation would benefit the reptilian pedophiles with whom the Order is in direct competition.

One Karen levitated over the podium and challenged members of the deep state to reveal themselves. “Pit your powers against my powers. Your will against my will. Your psionic energy against my psionic energy. We shall see who the synchronicity favors more.”

Members of the Order joined hands, swayed with an unnatural wind, and chanted at top of their lungs, “Raise the curve! Raise the curve! Raise the curve!”

The curse is spreading

The Karens went on to share their talking points on Facebook and Twitter. Now both platforms are losing market share as advertisers struggle to comprehend the tenants of this secret sororal society. All we know for sure is the people freaking out about wearing a mask at the grocery store are likely members of the Esoteric Order.

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