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Book III: The Journey to Shadozar
Chapter 19: The Train of Thought

Calvin Kingwood could only stare with his mouth hanging open.  This was, unquestionably, the strangest thing he'd seen since coming to Venternia.  Beside him, Professor Gandledore positively beamed with relief as the clouds of the Endless Sky parted and there appeared a locomotive train, the old-fashioned sort that Calvin had never seen in his actual life -- well, he'd seen them on television, perhaps, but this one was entirely real!  As the mammoth train zoomed by them, he could see that it was fancier than any real train by far. Its sleek surface was a dark purple and glimmered like obsidian, and every surface was embossed with golden filigree.  The wondrous apparition did a few loop-the-loops in the air before screeching to a stop before a platform that had just appeared in the empty air of the chasm before them.  It was of a magnificent make similar to the Train itself, all oak and solid gray brick with pearl-encrusted bannisters.  Could his mind really have summoned this marvel, Calvin asked himself?

"Splendid, my boy!" Gandledore cheered, "I knew you could do it!"

"This is..."

"Why, this is the legendary Train of Thought, my boy, what else should it be?" the wise old man grinned.  "If you have to reach the other end of Venternia, as we must, it's by far the quickest way to travel -- much faster than hitching a ride on a wild Bugslog, I can tell you that!"

Calvin noticed that the smoke which billowed forth from the Train's smokestack was not the noxious fume of coal, but a light-umber fog that smelled pleasantly of cinnamon and fresh apples.  His favorite scent.  Before he could relate this to Gandledore, the old man answered as if he was reading the boy's mind.

"Remember, the Train of Thought looks, and sounds, and yes, even smells entirely unique to the person what summons it," he explained.  "To me, it resembles a great mechanical dragon and smells of the sea.  To you, I imagine it is rather different?"

"A bit, yes" Calvin admitted.  

" it must.  Now, we must board.  Be brave, young Calvin."

As if responding to his very thoughts, a gangplank lowered from the first car and landed on the platform with a soft thud.  Calvin thought he glimpsed a ghostly conductor beckoning him to enter, and shuddered.  Other pale faces seemed to hover in the windows of the car, but they vanished when he tried to look at them.

"I must warn you, my boy, that as spectacular and helpful as the Train of Thought can be, it is not without its own particular peril.  For it is, as its name implies, a vessel composed entirely of your thoughts.  If you dare to ride it, you must be strong, not of body, but of spirit, for anything you think of can become real, quite real, so long as you are within range of its chimes."


"Anything, I am afraid.  If you are not prepared, many bad things can happen.  Are you sure you are up to it?" Gandledore asked gravely.

"I... I think so," Calvin stuttered.  "I mean, it's the only way.  We have to get to Shadozar if I'm going to rescue Princess Azalea from the Wrathlord, right?"

"Well, there's always another way, but this is the best way, I think..." Gandledore mused in his usual whimsical manner.

"Then... yes, I'm ready.  I've come too far to turn back now!" Calvin decided.


As soon as they were on board, the gangplank raised behind them and the engine began to chug.  The whistle blew a deafening blast, louder than a war trumpet, Calvin thought.  And they were off, speeding through the starry night sky at the speed of...

" the speed of thought," Gandledore mused yet again.

Onwards the great train steamed, in need of no track as it made its course through the clouds.  Calvin looked out the porthole-windows, spellbound, as the star-hermits waved and flickered from their distant abodes.  Great flocks of night gulls and the occasional moonbat flapped placidly alongside them.  Soon, Calvin began to feel a bit shut in, cooped up as they were inside the car.  He briefly wished that he could feel the wind on his face and -- lo!  It suddenly became so.  The car's walls and ceiling vanished, and both Calvin and Professor Gandledore were standing on little more than a moving platform, with nothing between them and the infinite sky than a narrow railing.

"Whoa! Intense!" Calvin shouted.

"Ah, but didn't I warn you?' Gandledore gently chided.  "If you ride the Train of Thought with adventure on your mind rather than safety, then that is precisely what you shall have."

After the initial shock wore off, Calvin thrilled at the feel of the rushing wind and the crisp coldness of the evening.  He drew away from Gandledore and stood near the edge, and gazed West-East, fancying that he could already see the great black towers of Shadozar on the horizon.

"How long will it take to get there, Professor?" he asked Gandledore.

"Ah, now that is the thing, young Calvin, the very thing.  There are no limits to the Train's speed or range.  If you are in the proper frame of thought, then the journey is as swift as a garden sparrow returning to the nest.  But if one harbors doubts, well... there are stories of foolish men who have boarded the Train and spent many years dithering about endlessly in their worry.  They say that some have never left..."

Calvin thought back to the ghostly faces he'd glimpsed, and grew afraid.

"...myself included, mind you!  Why, I once boarded the Train as a grave young man with too many troubles on my mind, and by the time I reached my destination, so many seasons had passed in the meantime that my robe and scarf were quite out-of-style, and tame griffons had replaced unicorns as the primary mode of transportation in Venternia, imagine my surprise!"

Calvin smiled weakly.

"So in truth, we'd be there already, if that was what your mind truly desired... instead, we are speeding along happily and yet going nowhere in particular, and shall continue to do so, until you make up your mind to change that."

Calvin blinked.  He started to protest, but the words caught in his throat.  It was true, he admitted to himself.  He certainly wanted to see Azalea again, but the memory of his last meeting with the Wrathlord still burned fresh in his mind.  The Wrathlord, so confident in his dark power had simply laughed evilly at him, saying that such a "whelp" was not worth his time.  Instead, he had waved his wand casually and summoned...

"Ware your thoughts, young Calvin!" Gandledore barked, but it was too late.

"BUR-LUR-LUR-LUR!!!  I am the greedy Grumble Bee, you'll be sore if you stumble across me!"  

And there, hovering menacingly in the darkness, was the great fat Grumble Bee, the Wrathlord's most cherished and deadly pet.  He was still haunted by the memory of their first encounter, in which he'd shrank and hid from the frightful beast while others rushed to his aid.  It wasn't my fault, Calvin insisted to himself, I had just come to Venternia and didn't know... if only I'd been stronger like the Lion Knights, or possessing magic and wits like Gandledore, it would have been different...


Just as it had back in the Lost Forest, the Grumble Bee launched its great furry body at Calvin, its fearsome stinger poised to strike and dripping with venom.  Calvin and Gandledore dove in separate directions, barely avoiding the monster.

"No!  Not you again!" Calvin bellowed, "I had enough of you the first time!"

Calvin looked around frantically for a weapon or trick to use to distract the gigantic bee, but but finding nothing, he looked to Gandledore and noticed that the spry old wizard was back on his feet, shaking his head with chagrin.  He gave Calvin a reproving stare, and suddenly the boy realized what a fool he was being.  Of course, the Grumble Bee wasn't actually here, it was all part of the Train's magic.  He could take care of it easily if only he could keep his wits about him.  Calvin briefly pondered blasting the Bee with an imaginary cannon or skewering it with a volley of Lion Knight lances, but that could get messy.  Without meaning to, he thought of the one person who could always handle these sorts of situations with ease, and wished that he was there with him....

"Calvin!  Dear chap!  Are you lost?  Need ye a map?"

And there stood Kapella the wood-elf, just as Calvin remembered him, standing less than half Calvin's height but brimming with confidence and power.  Calvin grinned, knowing exactly what was going to happen next...

Kapella spun on his bare whiskery feet and faced the Bee, who was preparing for another lunge.  

"A bee that grumbles, such a sight, Kapella shall soon put him to rights!" the little elf cheered.  The Grumble Bee burbled with rage and dove at him, but Kapella was far too quick.  He whirled about with that nimbleness that only woodland Elves possess, spinning like a dervish, and with every movement his magic shifted the winds which blew the monster quite off his course.  The Bee was flung out into the ethers on a great gust, then recovered his bearing and roared back towards the Train.  But by then, Kapella's magic windstorm was blowing with gale force and the three of them were standing in the eye of a whirlwind which buffeted the Bee about helplessly.


The Bee flapped his wings and buzzed with furious anger, but the wind was too strong.  With a final twist of his little finger, Kapella blew a gust so mighty that the Bee was launched skyward towards one of the distant stars.  His final "BURR-LURR" vanished on the winds.  

"Let the hermits deal with that one, O yes, they shall have some fun!" Kapella chucked.  Then he turned and looked at Calvin and Gandledore, his eyes twinkling.  

"So, old friends, what adventure are we on now?  Tell me what, and where, and how!"

For a brief second, Calvin almost believed that dear little Kapella was alive again, but was again admonished by a stern look from Gandledore.  He sighed, feeling a dull ache in his heart.


"Goodness, Calvin, why so glum?  Am I not your favorite chum?"

Calvin hung his head and stammered, for the next words he had to say were the hardest of his life.

"You are, Kapella, I mean... you were.  It's hard to explain, but... you're not really here.  You're just a.... a memory.  A great memory, but a memory nonetheless.  You... you died, Kapella.  You died, saving us all at the Spiderweb Bridge..."

"Me, Kapella, dead and gone?  Calvin, lad, you must be wrong!"

"I'm not, Kapella.  But I think I know why I wished you here, and not just to deal with that monster.  I wished you here because I never got the chance to say good-bye to you.  But I'm doing that now.  I have to say good-bye and... let you go.  So you can move on.  So we both can..."

The little elf looked in confusion to Gandledore, who looked even glummer than Calvin, if that was possible.

"But I..." Kapella began, before he fell silent.  He smiled the saddest smile you could ever imagine on the face of a merry wood-elf as he began to slowly fade from their sight, growing transparent in the night air.

"Good-bye, then, Calvin my friend, we'll meet again at the Very End..."

"I hope so," Calvin whispered, as two fat tears rolled down his cheeks.  Beside him, Gandledore was snuffling loudly and blowing into his handkerchief.

"That was worthy of him, lad," the wizard finally spoke.  "And I must say, you surprised me there.  The old you -- by which I mean, the younger you, funny how that works -- would not have been able to let him go.  You've grown up, my boy, you really have."

"I suppose so," Calvin agreed, thinking that if his heart had to hurt this much, growing up was a pretty lousy thing in many ways.  They stood there, mostly mute, for several minutes.  The Train of Thought was still zooming effortlessly through the dark purple sky, its eternal power not the least bit disturbed by their trials.  However, the boy noted that the very world about it had begun to change, reacting to his bottomless grief.  He saw great stormclouds rolling in from the horizon, dark and threatening.  They blocked out the light of the star-hermits, and soon muffled peals of thunder began to rumble in the distance.  The wind grew colder and stronger...

Gandledore placed a friendly hand on his shoulder, and a bit of warmth stirred in his heart.  Calvin glared up at the oncoming storm, having finally learned his lesson.  

"No... the Bee and Kapella were enough.  I won't let this happen.  I have to find the strength.  I think I understand now, Professor Gandledore.  I used to think that strength was all about muscles and swords, like the Lion Knights.  But I think I finally understand.  In Venternia, true strength comes from here," he said tapping his chest, "and here" pointing to his temple.  "True strength is in the heart and the mind."  

Gandledore beamed with pride.  "Quite right, lad.  Quite right."

"We're almost there.  We're almost at Shadozar..."

Gandledore interrupted, "quite so, Calvin, but if I might make a request... this old man needs just a moment more to collect his wits before we enter that dread realm.  We will be known to the Wrathlord as soon as we depart the train and set one foot into his land.  Let us... let us have just one more happy memory before we do that.  Just one more memory.  I leave it to you!" he cried, motioning to the sky which was already beginning to clear. Rays of golden sunlight began to filter through the dissipating cloudbanks, heralding the dawn of what might be their final day...

"Happy... memory... happy thoughts... " Calvin mumbled, "after all this, can I still just be the happy kid I once was?  What would make me happier than anything?"

He closed his eyes and thought.

The only clouds in the sky were now fluffy and pillowlike.  They surrounded the train, so thick that Calvin reached out and ran his finger through one as if it were a pudding.  Something simple, something happy, something good, he thought to himself.  And from these clouds, women began to emerge.  Not just women, but women more beautiful than nearly any that Calvin had ever seen.  They were slender of waist, but their curves were perfectly voluptuous.  And they wore nothing at all, save for a slight sheen of moisture from their cloudy nests.

The boy opened his eyes and grinned.

"I say..." Gandledore began, at last lost for words.

The clouds increased and so did the number of naked women emerging from them.  There were thousands of them now, preening and teasing the two travelers with flirtatious glances as they rubbed their lovely bodies with their hands, discovering their soft flesh for the first time.  Gandledore's eyes widened as he gaped at the increasing variety -- most were blonde, with light almond skin, but as more and more appeared, there came women of all colors, from dark walnut brown to as white as snow, and wearing different exotic hairstyles, some adorned with jewelry, others not, but all identical in their luscious perfection.

"I.... err... yes... unclothed maidens... perfectly reasonable, for a boy your age, I shouldn't wonder..." Gandledore stammered at the endless parade of nubile bodies around them.

Calvin gaped in wonder.  "Gandledore, why didn't I think of this right at first?  Gosh, I'm dumb!" Calvin laughed.  "This is wonderful!"

"Yes, I suppose, but..."

By now there were so many nude women in the clouds that the sky could barely be seen.  They were a literal ocean of moist, sleek skin.  Calvin cocked his head to the side playfully, and the imaginary women began to notice and pet one another.  Their mouths opened and they began to kiss, and caress, and fondle each other, and themselves with increasing urgency, writhing together while moaning and giggling with girlish abandon.  

"Yes," Calvin whispered in ecstasy, his quivering with emotion, "yes."

Gandledore looked increasingly uncomfortable but was still shocked into silence.  He saw that several of the women in fact strongly resembled Princess Azalea, and he blushed deep red.  At last the mass of nakedness spilled onto the platform of the Train itself, hundreds of tumbling, squirming, laughing women, glistening in the sun.  

"Calvin!" Gandledore bellowed, "this is enough!  Stop!"

"I don't think I can, Professor!  I don't think I can!  Ha haa!" the boy shouted gleefully as the women seized upon him and tore his clothing to shreds, their pink tongues seeking every inch of his pale skin, their painted nails grasping his hair.  Their moaning and gasping increased.  They were possessed of a frightening hunger and wriggled desperately towards the boy, as if he were the one thing that could satisfy them.  Calvin was soon buried in them, buried in a sea of bodies.

"I say!  I say!" Gandledore bellowed again as he was likewise enveloped.  The wizard was surrounded on all sides by naked flesh, although none of the women seemed to notice his existence.  Through the throng, he heard Calvin's voice.  "Don't worry, we'll still get to Shadozar, Gandledore!  Ahhh...!  But after this!  After this!"

Gandledore struggled for air, seeking to find an empty pocket in the throng, and wondered how long this Train ride would turn out to be.  

"On second thought, forget the Wrathlord!" he heard Calvin laugh, "I'm staying here forever!  Wooo!"  

Gandledore could barely hear him through the mass of bodies that surrounded him on all sides.  He tried to scream, but his mouth was filled with unidentifiable flesh and a mass of chestnut hair.  He could only whimper and battle for breath as he desperately tried to avoid being crushed to death by Calvin's seemingly infinite harem.  


In the end, they did not stay there forever.  The two travelers did eventually reach Shadozar and defeat the Wrathlord to save all of Venternia  But their friendship was never quite the same after the Train of Thought -- but that, dear reader, is a story for another day.
Venternia Chronicles
At last!  The long-awaited companion piece to Cybertronic Star League 1987, featuring the welcome return of Calvin Kingwood, our daring young hero.  What adventures await him in the faraway magical realm of Venternia?

Hey there, son.  Come in.  Sit down.  

Son, I want you to tell me what these are, and you'd better be honest with me.

Mmm-hmmm.  That's what I thought.  

Thank you for telling me the truth.  Your dad knows Council writings when he sees them, you know.  I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.  Son, why are you getting involved with this stuff?  You're smarter than this.  I know that you are.  Look, I know how it is, I do.  I was your age once.  Believe it or not, I had my wild days of counseling, oh yes, it's just... son, I know it seems like fun at first, all the cool kids are doing it, but you have no idea where this can lead you in life.  I've seen it ruin people, I've seen it take control of their minds and destroy their lives.  It seems creative, it seems bold, but before you know it... you're 26 years old and barely holding down some crappy job at a gas station, vowing to go back and finish college one day... but you spend every minute with your two friends, writing and reading endless crap about some ludicrous character named Malitrope Qwunt and his time-traveling feces or whatever.  And you're blowing half of your paycheck on weed and beer or [dismissive hand wave] whatever young people use to get into the Altercated State these days.  It's always about that next crazy idea, that next level of fictional invention or snappy rhyme that will make your friends howl with laughter... it's fun, yes, but then you're always pursuing it, 24-7.  Your real life recedes into the background.  Because it's not just the writing, you know, there's a whole lot else that comes with it.  When you're not writing, you'll be listening to weird techno music, and watching old shitty movies with your friends and gorging on convenience store food and listening to The Drunken Peasants all night, and wearing the same ratty t-shirt and semen-stained shorts for three days straight, because you don't give a fuck what the "normals" think and you're too busy searching for that next high.  Everyone thinks they can be the next Gooch or that they can write the next Gilbrod Sequence, but the odds of that are infinitesimal.  So you're just stuck in an endless morass of illusion, of deception, of self-imposed mental insanity...

...I know because that's how I used to live.  That was my life before I met your mother.  Now, yes, I was able to pull myself out of the sewer and get back on track.  I cleaned myself up and got the job at Centralia, and I gave it all up and never saw my old Council buddies again.  They're probably still living in that run-down apartment and doing the same garbage twenty years later, I don't know.  I escaped that life, but not all do.  

Not all do.

I don't know, it was different when we started, you know, back in the late '90s.  Things were different, the whole world was.  We... we had more time on our hands.  We didn't even have Fones and IntraWave, did you know that?   Ha ha, it's true.  These were the Clinton days, and the Bush days, it was that far back.  Errr, George, not Jeb.  Sorry.  And we would write our stories on some old clunky desktop computer and print them out on paper, did you know that?  On freakin' wood-pulp paper with an ink cartridge.  And we'd read them by candlelight... or blacklight.  What I mean is, we weren't all synced to the net, with that instant audience that you kids enjoy today.  We weren't putting on a show for everyone on the web.  Only you and your two fellow counselors would ever see the goods.  It made it truly special, like you were the only people in the world doing it.  That wasn't the case, of course, but that's what it felt like.  

Ah, those were great days.


I mean, yes, we had the internet but things were still pretty basic.  It was only years later that I posted all our old Council stories on DeviantArt.  I had to retype them by hand, you know, because the files were lost when someone's hard drive crashed... yes, things were primitive.  So primitive, but damn it, every little paper story we wrote seemed really meaningful.  Oh, we wrote some epic stuff, there's no question... man, some good stuff...

....who do your counsel with, anyway, son?  Wait, let me guess -- Liam and Noah.  I should have known.  You know I don't trust those boys.  I trust you, of course, but I don't trust all of your friends.  I mean, I don't want to sit on my high horse and judge them or anything, but I just get the impression that their works might be a bit... lacking?  Noah, in particular.  He strikes me as the kind of kid who just writes a lot of violent rap poems, am I right?  Ehh?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  Now don't get me wrong, brainless rappy stuff can be fun, but you have to take things deeper.  You can't just blather out aggressive lyrics with no sense of absurdity, there has to be some kind of self-awareness to it, you know?  Just hearing "yo, nigga, I goan' kill you and fuck your bitch's fat ass" over and over again.  It gets stale.

What about Liam, what are his Council works like?

Hmmm.  Hrrrmmmm....


...well, that's not so bad.  He has some intriguing concepts, sure.  But I'm not entirely certain about the fan-fiction elements you describe.  It's just my opinion, but I think you need to depend on your own stable of characters and not get caught up always referencing the latest pop culture thing, and mixing up all those characters from games and movies and such... because your work just gets dated, and slightly masturbatory.  Ha, forgive me, I do like that word.

Son, do you want to know the truth?  I know you're at that age where I can't run your whole life anymore.  I know that if you're going to counsel, you're going to counsel.  But... I would actually feel more comfortable if you did it here, at home, where I can be sure nothing bad happens.  And... when I said my Council days were all in the past, I wasn't being entirely truthful.  I... I still do it from time to time.  But I'm very responsible about it, I only do it after I've paid the mortgage and done my taxes.  Those couple of days after Thanksgiving, before you and your mom got back from grandma's?  I kind of holed up here and did my old thing.  In fact, come over here to my workstation... let's see... ahh... hold on... da da da... ah, here we are.  I started working on a new thing, I think you'd like it.  It's called Cusk: The Ordained Outlay... hah, thanks, I though it was a pretty good title myself.  All part of the larger Cusk Quadrilogy, of course.  Anyway, it's about a third of the way done, I think.  Call me crazy, but I think we could work on this together?  If you're up for that sort of thing with your old man?  This may be immodest, but I do believe you will find it to be much more complex and interesting than anything that Liam and Noah have ever brought to the Chamber Floor.  Yeah?  And don't worry, I fully go by the no restrictions rule.  Trust me, nothing you write could ever shock me, son.  If it does?  That'd be great.  Heck, I'll make you a deal -- if you can whip out any lines that shock me, gross me out, or make me squirm -- I'll buy you a new Fone.  I'm serious.  A PadFone, even, any model you want.  Do you think you're up to it, son?  Nah, bring it!  Bring it!

Haaaaa, okay.  Read over what I've written so far, while I go to the store and get us some drinks... and some Sparkies from the pharmacy.  What?  Yeah, I can handle that!    And when I get back, we're going to tag-team this bitch until she bleeds out, son!  Oh, yeah!  Ah, this is going to be classic...

....of course, you can't tell your mother about this, son.  This will be our little secret, right?

Cusk.  Hells yes.  


Cusk for-fucking-ver.
Cusk: The Ordained Outlay
A minor work to herald the beginning of 2015.  

We can only wonder what glories are contained in the Cusk Quadrilogy.  For now, that is all we can do.
Project: GILBROD
Part VIII: Yours Truly, Librus Carbone

"Ahh, what a beautiful Spring day. Hear the birds shrieking with joy as they devour the emerging bounty of lesser creatures."

-- John.  
   4.3.2014 -- 8:58AM EST


Today we are pleased to announce our new, next-generation tablet: The Nergalito!

-whisks shroud off to reveal deformed multi-screened monstrosity-

The Nergalito features six different touchscreens, 14 ultra-HD video cameras, Wifi AND a 56k dial-up modem, but that's not all.  You might have noticed nozzles here on the sides.  Ladies and gentlemen, they dispense Coca-Cola.  Yep, no more assaulting that stubborn machine in the break room.  And to top it all off, the entire thing is connected via a state-of-the-art dynamic ball bearing mechanism which allows the use to manipulate the many screens into whatever form is desired.  As for software, we have countless new apps, designed solely for the Nergalito, the most impressive being our proprietary voice control system: Klatchkey.  If you thought Siri was impressive, wait 'till you interact with Klatchkey!

"Klatchkey, where is Davis and what is he doing?"

"Davis is in the break room.  He is assaulting the Coke machine."

-hysterical applause-

Of course, the heart of the Negalito's workflow is the revolutionary Windows 8 OS.  With over 17,000 copies sold, it is the most successful operating system released by Microsoft in 2013.  Much of its success is due to the revolutionary Metro Desktop that gives your workspace an unprecedented level of forcible interaction.  It completely does away with the complicated and useful folders and menus that have cluttered Windows since its inception and replaces them with a series of vibrant graphical appcons.  But there's so much more to it than just Metro -- Windows 8 also boasts the new Automatic File Corrupter, an uninstallable version of Internet Explorer with the Bandwidth Hog add-on, the dynamic Keystroke Randomizer, a Registry Eraser -- not to mention the exciting new embedded Virus Hive software with Spybot Magnet.  

The Nergalito retails for $2999.99 for the base model.  Pricing information for the higher end models is forthcoming.


At last, I've found a doctor willing to transplant my scrotum hair onto my eyelids.


The Japanese, to me, appear to be enamoured of extreme thinness, but still apparently enjoy the sight of a hugely obese sumo wrestler now and again.  Everything I know about sumo wrestling comes from E. Honda.  They can all fly like torpedoes, right?

Yes.  They are propelled by massive blasts of soybean-generated flatulence.  Their extensive training allows them the physical discpline to prevent any of it from escaping until enough has been built up in their rectal cavity to provide sufficient velocity when finally expelled.


My friend Tony took a shit that was so nasty he passed out.  When he woke up he was on the floor in his own shit.  Tony immediately passed out again.  Tony is a good guy.  He told me that one time he did this thing for the community and got a medal for it.


Fecal Cannons are achieving remarkable specifications.  The velocity with which the feces are ejected is incredible.  You can't see them exit the cannon, however when they impact the target the damage is absolutely catastrophic.

These Fecal Cannons... my uncle has told me a little about them.  He said they're mostly used for crowd control purposes in East Asian nations -- places such as Myanmar and Indonesia where governments have no fear of liability if protesters suffer incidental bacterial contamination.  But they are hardly known of in this hemisphere.  He did say that several thousand Cannons have been shipped to Germany and Russia, but that they are probably intended for more "festive" uses.  I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that.  But from the other stories he's told me about being stationed in Germany, I can pretty much fill in the blanks.  


"Hello?  What?  Yes, yes, this is Fart Clownpenis.  How may I help you."

"I heard you have enlargement balloon harnesses that support a protium frame of at least 87 pounds.  Is this accurate?  Our communal access frequency is pending."

"No, I'm sorry, sir, but our units max out at 60 pounds of pressure.  They changed industry regulations back in 2009, and now anything larger is only available from a few Federal dispensaries.  However, we do have some 45-weight inverters that do nearly the same thing, with certain modifications."


They spoke as one.  The Cathedral shuddered.  FECAL ENCORE.


"Sauce.  Has there ever been a more versatile thing? I splash it liberally upon my neck and delight at the sensation of ground cloves and other spices that trickle down my back.  Through my skin is absorbed the essence.  Life of Sauce.  Become part of this dream.  Feed your flavors into the grinder.  The clump will be crushed by the specialized machine.  This powder when properly hydrated shall make a delightful sauce for the child and shaman alike.  

Sometimes the sauce seeps.  Sometimes the sauce erupts.  Both events are acceptable.

Everything begins with the Sauce.  Gentlemen, I know some of you have differing opinions on this matter, but frankly, they are irrelevant.  I am king here, and I say it is all about the Sauce.  Let it simmer, let the molecules percolate.  Only the most sublime flavor particles are permitted within the Locus.  Tony, rub the Sauce.  Goddamnit, Tony, take off your gloves and rub the Sauce in!  If my men don't know the Sauce, they know nothing!"

"Yeah, yeah, you and your precious Sauce.  That's all we ever hear from you Northenders.  Well, I got news for you.  Go to any place in Arensport and ask for Sauce instead of Gravy, and they're liable to crack your skull open.  It's all about the Savory Gravy.  We got a saying in the Port -- if what's in your bowl ain't congealed from drippings, it'll take a month to heal from the whippings. Something like that.  What I'm trying to say is, fuck your Sauce.  Sauce your dick up and get plunging."

"The Port is a remnant of the Old World, the Dead World.  The wise know of the Sauce and accept it as the true path to wisdom.  Tony, if you're not on board with this, we will have no choice but to destroy you and your kin.  First, we're going to inject this tomato sauce into your pancreas.  It'll help with the pain.


-mutters angrily under his breath-

"Alright, Gabe.  Fine.  Give me some of that Sauce.  I'll play ball.  How long did our fathers know each other?  I'll play ball.  Ahh... ahhh.... oooh!   You know what, though?  That ain't bad.  That ain't really bad at all."


"So, it is my understanding that you are looking to add a new pet to your family.  That is wonderful.  What sort of animal did you have in mind?"

"I want the most high-strung cat you have available."

"Oh?  Then let me show you this little feller over here.  His name is Oscar, and he will bite out your eyeballs if you breathe in the same room that he is in."

"Perfect.  I'll take him."


Rabid caribou.
Maya Angelou.

Four rectums filled.
Four rectums spilled.
Four rectums swelled.
Four then expelled.

A Man came.  From his own clan he came.  He sculpted the shit into the shape of Brad Pitt.  There the Pitt-Shit Statue stands, on the border between our land and the Land of the Other Clan.  


His cane whistled.  It was awful.  He swung that cane with such merciless force it actually made a piercing whistle for a brief moment before impact.  And I've never seen bones break like that.  How was he so strong?  He looked like an old man, hunched, feeble, but what a show, what a lie.


"Mr. Kern, your test results came back from the lab today."

"And?  What do they say?"

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but the results are conclusive.  You have Reagans."

"Reagans?  That's impossible.  I've been a registered Democrat for as long as I've been old enough to vote."

"Mr. Kern, we've done X-rays, MRIs, sonograms, blood tests, stress tests, taken stool and urine samples.  They all clearly show the presence of Reagans.  I'm sorry.  Somehow you've been infected.  Your case is advanced.  The growth is rampant.  See right there on the X-ray?  That darker grayish cluster, like a bunch of raisins?  Those are the Reagans."

"But that is.."

"Yes, your butt-hose.  And it is overflowing with the Reagans.  They develop higher up in the digestive tract, but once they ripen, they dislodge and are expelled during defecation.  Mr. Kern, at this point we need to talk about management, about achieving comfort for you during these challenging final days.  Please, put your affairs in order.  There isn't much time."

"Well, goddamn.  How many bullets did I dodge in this life only to end up being taken out by Reagans?  Irony doesn't come close to describing it."

"Enjoy your time as best you can, Mr. Kern.  Reagans feed on self-pity."

So my efforts to paint a nude portrait of Yoda are encountering some minor hurdles.  Most importantly, I'm not certain of how to depict his genitals.  It would be the height of anthropocentrism to just assume that he has a shaftlike penis and bifurcated scrotal sac; these are mammalian features it's not entirely clear if he is at all mammalian in nature, or even warm-blooded. Lucas was always very mum on so many details about Yoda, as to preserve the mystery of the character.  Admirable, but it does present difficulties.  The obvious answer to this problem is to give him a sort of drooping fleshy thatch that shrouds his pubic region, or else to pose him so that the area is obscured.  But darn it, I didn't want to have to resort to those old Classical tropes.  This isn't a Botticelli nymph, this is Yoda.  I want him portrayed as fully as possible with no fig leafs and for the depiction to be definitive.

'Rape Rape Revolution,'  It's the same game style as 'Dance Dance Revolution,' except it's about raping, not dancing.


There's a lot of confusion out there, but trust me, the best way to resolve this is to insert a smaller rat into the body cavity of the first rat, and then boil them until all the hair falls off.

Interesting.  I assume the same process and principles are also valid when dealing with gerbil, mink, stoat, and mongoose?

Yes, though for mongoose, you must flay the outer skins in a radial pattern prior to insertion.

Ah, I see.  It's because of their unusual resemblence to mustelids, even though they are, in fact, viverravine-descended herpestidae?  I just have to be very careful these days, with the market being what it is... you would shocked at the number of unscrupulous suppliers who'll try to pass off mutated civet cats or deformed weasels as genuine Iberian mongoose.  It's a shameful state of affairs, and the regional governors need to intervene before all confidence in the market is lost.


My friend Tony told me about this guy he knew where one time he was wiping his asshole and a fly landed right on the guy's shitty asshole and then with his next wipe he crushed the fly and the fly guts were mashed into the shit.  I wonder how often this happens.  Tony says that it happens to everyone about five times a year but I'm not so sure.


Terbis Dengmore dipped his hand into the sputtering chalice of boiling lard.  He deserved this pain, this punishment, he knew.  He had failed the Elevated Ones, he had neglected to feed the Distribution Network.  Now, an occurrence.  His fellow Centurions roared with approval as his gnarled bones burst through the crumbling flesh of his hand.  Terbis managed to stifle his screams and remain honorably silent.  But the tears betrayed him.  They were not in fact tears of pain or sorrow, but rather the mundane ocular leakings caused by irritation from the gritty atmosphere... still, forbidden they were, and the shame of them brought unwarranted thrashings and unexpected blows blows from all sides.  Even the youngers *Gerard him from a safe distance and pelted him with stones and dry droppings.

*jeered, not Gerard, sorry.

Gerard Youngers.  He was an excellent shortstop back in the early days of the Knickerbocker Rules.


Whenever I see an image of Dolly Parton, I am overcome by a sudden desire to strip away the artifice of her, to rip away all false trappings.  The wig, the makeup, the implants, the collagen injections the dental crowns... the perfume, every scrap of clothing.  I want... nay, need to view the simple, honest homonid buried beneath all the razzle-dazzle.  Intercourse will not occur, I just want to see the reality.  


If you'll bring it over here into the light, you'll see what I'm talking about.  Take note of the distinctive markings, the facial structure, the garments... when combined with the unmistakable vocalizations the creature was making, there really cannot be any doubt.  We haven't seen one of these in over twenty years and most believe them to be extinct, but... gentlemen, you are looking at the remains of a genuine Bone Thug.  And if this one was out there, then there are others.  There could be... many others.


Shitting into a well is on my bucket list.  Why?  I want to experience a long delay between poop and splash.


We musn't neglect the lessons of the little-known but pivotal Greek philosopher, Homofagulous.  Some not-so-clever people like to pronounce his name as "homo-fag-you-liss," but indeed the correct pronunciation is "home-off-uh-gull-iss."  His canonical texts, from the Anum Pentratum to the Homilies of Fellato, are central to any student's comprehension of Western philosophy.  But he is regularly overshadowed by his disciple, Socrofece, who greatly expanded upon his logical underpinnings.  The impact of Socrofece's Treatise on the Anal Function did much to marginalize the, what I would argue are the more nuanced if less comprehensive, arguments put forth by Homofagulous in his Anum Penetratum.


I wish I still had at least one Muslim coworker.  I'd go up to them and say "Hey, I heard that in the Muslim world, if a woman laughs at the size of your dick, legally, you can kill her.  But it has to be the same day she does it, either before the sun next rises or sets.  Also, you have to have at least one male witness that can testify to her father that she committed the mockery.  If there is no witness, you have to give her family three camels and two goats in recompense.  If you don't, they can kill any female member of your family.  That's how it works, right?"

I mean, I just like discussions like that.

I've never had a Muslim coworker that I'm aware of.  Certainly never one I had to interact with.  I bet they are fun.  They can tell you all about the logistics and moral justifications of suicide vests, right?  Like they bring up suicide vests at the water cooler.  You'll be talking about that new model Tesla, and they're like, "yeah, that car is cool, I admit, but hey, have you guys seen the new Cyber-Martyr 4000G?  It talks to your smartphone and gives you realtime data on your various physiological factors, letting you know if you're maintaining an appropriately inconspicuous demeanor.  I tell ya, it's tough sometimes, when you're 5 minutes from your target, and your heart is pounding at the thought of all the virgin meat you are going to be swimming in in just a few short minutes.  The new model also coordinates with other vests in the area and gives you navigation to guide you to the most densely occupied public spaces to maximize blast efficiency and reduce redundant bombings.  Nothing is worse than showing up at your designated target only to find that some other bomber has beat you to it.  You're hot and sweaty, the vest is starting to chafe, and now you realize you've gotta walk 5 miles to the other market because some jerk didn't notify the proper administrative units.  Ya know?

Yes, I've had several discussions similar to that.  You know the craziest thing about Muslims?  There are the regular Muslims who are light tan, the ones that you see on the news.  But then there are the African Muslims from places like Somalia, so they are BLACK and MUSLIM at the same time.  Which seems impossible, but it's true.  And it's not like they're 50%-50%, they're somehow 100% black and 100% Muslim.  Which means they also like rap music and talk about stealing cars in addition to everything you covered.

I don't trust the black ones.  Because they are black.  This is not to say that I trust the tan ones.  It's just that the black ones are very likely going to try to rape you before detonating their suicide vests.  Because they are black.  At least the tan ones probably will not rape you before killing you. What we need is the tan Muslim community to speak up and denounce the black Muslims for the rapist bombers they obviously are.


I've added a considerable amount of hair to my diet.  Early results are promising.


"Master, what shall we do with Shasta?"

"Release her."

"Release her?  Into the Wild?"

"Yes, she has fulfilled her purpose."

"I shall release her forthwith...... master, I released Shasta.  She is in the lobby, highly confused, and is butting her head against chairs and waste receptacles.  What should we do?"

"Tranquilize her and have her carried off the premises and to a safe, secluded woodland area nearby.  Must I think of everything?"


After the death of my father, I took several weeks to help Mum with the estate and get all the things sorted that needed sorting.  It was a desolate and tiresome task, of course, and I wanted her to spend most of it by the hearth with a nice cup of tea, or else being consoled by the neighbors, while I toiled in the basement and the attic -- cleaning, organizing, consolidating, trimming what of Father's numerous possessions ought be trimmed; Mum had decided to move in with her sister, if not by this winter than surely the next.  The family house was far too large and empty for her alone, you see.  I quite agreed.

One rainy day, as I finished up the random assortments of papers and files in father's study, I probed through a small box that I had thought to be no more than some old office paperwork.  But I picked up a small ream and was surprised to discern that it was in fact a script of some sort.  "Oh, those are just his plays," Mum remarked offhandedly, "the horrid things."  

"Father... wrote plays?" I asked, gobsmacked.

"Yes, yes, mostly long ago.  Used to think he had a future in it.  Never had a single one produced, of course."  I sifted through the box and saw that there were several dozen of the tightly-packed scripts, in reverse chronological order.

I gaped in amazement.  I had been as close to my father as any boy ever was, and had never seen in fifty years any hint of literary ambition, or even interest, in his personality.  When I leafed through and read the first play, I thought I knew the reason -- his work was not merely horrid, it was indefensible.  The topmost one, his last work, presumably, was written in 2006 and entitled Where It All Went Wrong.  It was not so much a drama as it was a vicious outpouring of bitter hatred, a clownish mishmash of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia -- tendencies that had been hinted at in his speech, and which I had hitherto dismissed as the saltiness and weariness of old age.  But scanning the abominable document, I realized that the man who'd written it was possessed of a depth of hatred I'd never guessed at.  Even worse, there were embarrassing "scenes" that laid bare his inappropriate and puerile fixations with several contemporary female celebrities.  The words and actions that my father attributed to fictionalized versions of these young women were the worst sort of masturbatory pornography I've ever read.  Needless to say, I was overcome with a sickening shame... but I could not halt my exploration.  I flipped back to the first page and properly read the entire thing, unable to resist the exquisite awfulness of it all.

I tossed it back into the box and declared to myself that I ought to burn it wholesale, lest someone else discover the contents.  This I did not do.  The following morning I read the next play, dated 2002, which was called We Have Arrived, and was mostly a reactionary political screed concerning Muslims after the events of September 11th in America, and again, I was shocked, disgusted, and helplessly enthralled.  Apart from being a blanket condemnation the Islamic faith and all its adherents, it also featured disjointed diatribes about many local businesses, including an extended hallucinatory scene where children are brutally attacked by certain corporate fast-food mascots.  I found these quite amusing, despite myself.

And so I read on, devouring the forgotten filth of my father, unable to halt for even a single day.  

Curiously, the longer I read, the less objectionable the works became.  He'd written no fewer than three plays in the year of 1987, and while they were somewhat unfocused and baldly derivative of greater works, they contained no bile and were on par with what I'd have expected from a moderately-talented third-year grammar student.  There was a break in the chronology, the next scripts having been typed in the early Seventies.  And I was shocked again, as I began to pore over a pastoral called Phillipe's Countryside, to realize that I was reading something good, and I mean genuinely good, a polished and substantive work that would not be out of place next to Ibsen and Chekov.  Had I lost my bearings?  No, no, I read it again, and it was undeniably excellent.  I dove into the next one and the next one, spending the entire day engrossed in the words.  Thrashers was an ode to the British punk rock scene, and contained details of the intricacies of youth culture that I could never have imagined my father being aware of; and The Hardy-Canute Fulmination A-Z was a Dadaist thought experiment that sent me into gales of honest-to-goodness laughter as I goggled at the endless wit and insouciance of it.  These were followed by Leeds Must Lead and Man of Modest Means, a pair of ingenious mysteries with brilliant twist endings.

....and at last, I came to the final two in the box, and I stayed up late into the night, utterly devouring them with hungry eyes.  My father's 1955 effort, I Ain't Jemiah Tuckram, was an extraordinary work -- a sensitive tale of a small-town grifter who threatens to expose an aging gay couple, but destroys his own soul in the process.  It nearly drove me to tears.  And beneath that, as you have surely guessed, was the man's first play -- Wherefore Cometh Jereboam?   As soon as I had read its immortal opening lines, I knew that I was in possession of not just a good work, or even a great work, but one of the most pivotal pieces of art in all of human history.  How do I describe it?  It was as if the soul of Shakespeare himself had risen phoenixlike from the ashes of World War II and gathered the fumes of anguish and triumph from the skies above Europe, mixed them with all the tears shed in that time and thus distilled an ink, a sea of ink that formed itself into words, effortless and perfect, that composed a story in tribute of all humanity.  It took me from the Olympian heights of triumph to the blackest depths of spiritual despair.  Once I had finished it, awestruck, I dashed from the house and drove back to London to make copies of it, lest it be lost somehow, and begin the process of bringing it to the attention of those who must know about such an artifact, frantically plumbing every connection in publishing and academia I possessed.  I couldn't relax until weeks later, when after a deluge of calls and emails, I knew it had been taken from my hands and given to the eternal grasp of history.

You know the rest.


Coming this fall to ABC, it's "Mr. Rapist!"

They call him Mr. Rapist, because he likes to rape.  
He's not an ape and he doesn't like grapes
but he'll tie you up with twine and tape
all while wearing a fancy cape
and a bowler of the finest make
he's... Mr. Rapist!

Who creeps up along the ledge?
Who climbs over your neighbor's hedge?
To find your corpse they'll have to dredge
the shores from here to Breckinridge
because of...  Mr. Rapist!

So who has sex without consent
inside his specially-woven tent?
Too fast to catch, he came and went
this rather happy, dapper gent
we know as... Mr. Rapist!


This is one of those times when I look around at my fellow white people and think, sheesh, you guys are embarrassing us all.  This is worse than the Macarena.  What am I talking about?  This whole Ray Rice "controversy."  Of which there is none.  Look, my fellow honkies, Janay Rice bears no ill will towards Ray and married him, not in spite of his strong left hand but because of it.  You simply don't understand the mating dynamics of African-Americans and the behaviors they use to establish dominance and respect. They are slightly different than those of caucasian cultures.  Do you know what will help you?  When you think of Ray and Janay Rice, just think of... Klingons.  Think of Mr. Worf and his hilarious attempts to explain the sexy violence of the Klingon mating ritual to an incredulous Wesley.  What Ray Rice is Worf, Janay is K'Ehleyr, the are Klingons and warriors.  Their actions are entirely in line with their biology and culture.  You gotta smack the bitches around sometimes.  It weeds out the weak ones.

(And what does the male do?  He reads love poetry....)


To be perfectly honest, I've never been especially fond of the shape of Eric Holder's head.  His face, as well.  I find them to be aesthetically challenging.  Very true.  When you see his face for the first time, you assume he must have a genetic disorder.  Then he talks and you're like, wow, you're not 'tarded?  Wow.  I get the feeling sometimes that Holder's most potent weapon is a sustained and penetrating stare.  No one can withstand it for long.  That would be unstoppable. I bet he has to be careful out on the street.  Like Cyclops, if he casually looks at someone, he could kill them in instant.  I can honestly see why most Republicans just don't trust the guy.  He really just looks like someone up to no good.  Aversion to such a countenance goes beyond pure partisanship... yet the accept as one of their own a man who looks like an ancient sea turtle, proof enough that they are insane.  Mitch hires day laborers to scrub the barnacles off his torso; their pay?  He allows them to eat the barnacles.  Quite a delicacy, I hear.


Like most young boys, I naturally and intuitively assumed that the urine which flowed from my penis was stored in my testicles; that they were nothing more than a pair of urine holding tanks.  But soon I became puzzled that when I held my urine for a great length of time, they did not bulge or change shape in any way -- I fully expected them to steadily fill with liquid to the point of bursting.  I wanted to test my limits, to see how full they could get before I relented from the overwhelming pressure.  It was not until the 6th grade that I learned the terrible truth, and this truth nearly destroyed me.


I know how you feel, but if you can't bring yourself to trust the Gorton's Fisherman, I don't know how we're going to make it out of this alive.  

I will never trust him.  He killed my old friend, Herpes Hernandez, killed him two weeks before he was going to be married.  I mean, his real name was Hercules, but we just called him Herpes.  He didn't actually have herpes, it was just a nickname, I think.  

Ah, yes, the Hercules Hernandez incident.  I'm sorry, man, I know that shit was fucked up, and we will never forget, but it's time to move on.


The chubby toddler... well, "toddled" is in fact the appropriate word, as fast as his stout legs could carry him.  Having learned to move upright some two weeks prior, he had finally ceased to wobble and fall after a few feet and was now chugging forward faster than he'd ever before, under his own power anyway.  His arms windmilled and his mouth emitted nonsensical "ba-ba-ba" syllables through a steady drip of saliva as he discovered the potential of this new form of locomotion.  He saw only one person in sight, and made a determined beeline for the adult.  Not mommy, not daddy, but still an adult.

Chaz watched him come.  He judged the distance perfectly.  Leading off with a halting half-skip, he tensed his muscles for action.  This was a matter of pure reflex after fifteen years of training.  His leg began its arc as every ounce of kinetic power in his body was concentrated on the tip of his cleated shoe.  The fury of a lifetime fueled it.  The force he delivered to the child's sternum was perhaps greater than he'd ever mustered, greater even than the legendary fourth-quarter field goal from the 35 that had shifted the momentum of the 1988 Superbowl, so long ago, but recalled as vividly as yesterday.  He was amazed at the distance the waddling child traveled, and the sounds that it made as it collided with the hood of the gray Pontiac.  Chaz knew that it was fortuitous that no one had witnessed this, his most accomplished kick, but still sadly yearned for someone to see it, for someone to understand.


The western media still keeps the kid gloves on when it comes to the Dark Continent, don't they?  We keep hearing bland warnings that the dread Ebola virus is spreading at a geometric rate because of "poor hygiene" and "certain traditional funeral practices that involve the washing of the body after death with bare hands."  And yes, that's true.  But they can't bring themselves to even mention the rituals observed by several tribes found in Liberia and Sierra Leone.  When a family member dies, the contents of their large intestine are harvested, and this "fruit of the belly," along with dripping from the gall bladder, liver, and pancreas, is mixed with camel fat, roasted insects, and various goat parts to form a dish known as Shagoo, which is then heartily consumed by all in the village.  The worst part is, children tend to dislike the strong taste of the Shagoo but are forced to consume at least a token portion as to not offend the spirit of the deceased.  This has become a problem for aid workers, since abandonment of the Shagoo ritual is specifically warned against in many of their ancient texts, to the extent that any who speak out against it are openly killed.


Ah, welcome, Mr. Greedlow, welcome!  How are you this evening?  Splendid, splendid... and I say, this enchanting creature must be your lovely wife, Pernicia?  Allow me, my dear.  Oh, no, it's no problem at all.  And these precious moppets must be little Grittany and Quarantina -- how are you young ladies tonight?  Splendid.  Anyway, I bid you all welcome to Abominaria, my name is Sepulchre Biers, please do let me know if there's anything I can do to make your stay more deplorable.  


I think that many critics were too quick to mock the so-called "Bat Credit Card" that Batman displays in Batman & Robin.  It's just a lot of fanboyish griping, because when you stop to think about it, such an item makes perfect sense in his arsenal.  One of Batman's core attributes is that he is always prepared for any foreseeable situation, so of course he would develop a method to access to his financial resources at any given time -- perhaps not so much when in Gotham City and in close proximity to his base of operations, but the possibility of being forced to a completely different geographic location is always present.  In the film that features the infamous credit card, it's only a stroke of luck that Batman is able to exit Mr. Freeze's rocketship quickly enough to skilfully ride a piece of debris back down to the city; if the flight had been longer in duration, he might have descended to some other location, perhaps one outside the Eastern Seaboard itself.  That would be just one of many cases when having access to his funds would prove invaluable.  In Nolan's grittier The Dark Knight Rises, how do you suppose he made his way back to America after escaping Bane's Far East desert prison?  By hitchhiking?  Sure, Bane's men most likely confiscated the physical card offscreen, but Bruce would have the numbers memorized.  As for the card itself, we can assume that it probably works much like the legendary solid-black AMEX card that is issued only to very wealthy people at the invitation of the corporation itself, but modified by Bruce to work via a labyrinthine network of fake accounts and shell corporations.  We can also assume that he has several accounts set up in this manner that he can utilize if one fails, and that they are designed to allow access from nearly any nation on Earth that uses credit card technology.  Would you really expect any less of the Batman?  Can you imagine such an intelligent hero allowing mere physical distance and circumstance to sever his connection to every resource at his disposal?

And yes, I concede that it was foolish and needlessly ostentatious for Bruce to flash the Bat credit card at the charity ball, but we must remember that he was being deeply affected by Poison Ivy's erotic pheramone spores at the time.  He would never have done so if he was in his regular mindset.  That was regrettable.


Woody Harrelson looks pretty great for his age, I think, and his diet is a big part of that.  Now, on the set of Cheers, I remember him as a typical vegetarian/borderline vegan who would hold forth at length about the evils of factory farming and processed meat.  It was becoming fashionable in those days.  Now, he's advanced even further in his gastronomic discipline and is one of those "59-Minuters" that are becoming common in Hollywood.  You haven't heard of that?  It's pretty expensive, so it's not like you or I could afford it... basically, Harrelson only eats raw locally-grown organic vegetables from the surrounding farmlands, mostly in the Santa Clarita region, which are picked, washed, and delivered to his table via airborne drone.  The idea is that the food goes from the soil to the stomach in less than one hour, so that not an iota of nutrition is allowed to degrade... he's in excellent health, but there are some drawbacks to this lifestyle.  Everyone knows that he refuses to tolerate any animal products on set and tends to only work with directors who share his views (they say he even turned down a fairly large role in the Harry Potter franchise, as he was reluctant to film in the UK with its meat-heavy food culture.)  There are darker rumors, too... for instance, you'll never see him in another movie with Jesse Eisenberg; on the set of Zombieland, Eisenberg approached him holding some kind of turkey sandwich, and Harrelson reportedly kicked his legs out from under him and started repeatedly stomping him in the face and neck.  Whatever, they say the antagonism between them actually helped their chemistry onscreen -- you know the scene where their characters first meet, when Columbus hitches a ride from Tallahassee?  The fear and trepidation on Eisenberg's face are entirely real.


When I was finally dethawed in the year 4510, it obviously took me quite some time to adjust and function in anything resembling a manner considered normal.  Merely communicating with these advanced cybernetic beings required several cerebrospinal implants and many months of rigorous training.  Later, I even elected to undergo radical surgeries in order to "fit in" to the world, as it were, because you would simply not believe how tiny the people of the future are -- no more than four feet tall, at most, a result of a centuries-long quest to achieve maximum resource efficiency.  After five years or so, I was no longer the gibbering giant they had uncovered, but an able citizen of P~liaa`a3  and a valued source of historical information.  For you see, there had been such cataclysms in the early 22nd century that nearly all history before that point had been reduced to an extremely fragmented state, in many areas having devolved into incomprehensible patchworks of mythical gobbledegook.  Once they ascertained that I was mentally stable and my memories fairly accurate, my most important life-value function was to speak at length with their Historians and relate all I could remember from my former life.  They were astonished, for instance, to learn that "George Washington" was a real person and not some imagined composite deity, and that Harry Truman was not a mad bandit who indiscrimately bombed peaceful cities with nuclear weapons from his orbital craft the Enola Homosexual.  However, no matter how assiduously I argued, at no point did they accept that Barack Obama had been elected freely and fairly in my time... because -- and this is surprising -- the people of the future are incredibly, indelibly, and incurably racist.  Life is funny that way.


You're always talking about Tony.  I know he's your friend, and at the end of the day he really is a good guy.  But sometimes he can be kind of thoughtless, you know?  Like, this one time, we were all sitting around outside, and Tony was munching on this enormous bag of M&M's, one of those big party-sized ones from the candy aisle.  He just kept eating them and eating them.  But I guess eating so much sugar gave him a stomach ache because he got a weird look on his face and said "Uhh, I don't want any more of these."  And then he just poured the whole rest of the bag down the sewer.  Me, and Brian, and Jimmy, and everyone else were thinking the same thing -- who even does that?  We would have liked some of those M&M's, we'd have taken them off his hands.  Or he could have at least tied the bag off and saved them for later.  What he did was wasteful.  When was this?  Umm... back around 1982, 1983.  I guess it has been awhile.  Still.  


See, to me, Antichrist was a film more to be endured rather than enjoyed.  That's not a criticism, because it is a masterful thing.  But from the opening shots of Willem Defoe's veiny erect penis, to the nightmarish interludes involving the maggot-eaten fox and the stillborn deer, to the horrific interpersonal torture, to the climactic scene in which Charlotte Gainsborough viciously mutilates her own vagina -- it is a gauntlet of sights more painful and unsettling than any I've ever seen committed to film.  So to be perfectly honest, your decision to show it to your second-grade students, on not just one but multiple occasions, is a bit baffling to me.  Perhaps you could explain your line of thinking?  Please?


"Victim has been identified as Kimber Atwell, age 24.  She went to the same school as my daughter... anyway, this is all that's left of her."

"Oh, god... it doesn't even look human.  And the smell!"

"Yeah.  Takes a while to get used to.  Hanley, give him the rundown."

"From what we can tell, she died from a combination of acute asphyxiation and a ruptured stomach while being force-fed large amounts of feces.  Whoever did this to her made her consume the waste for several hours.  And from the distension of her trachea, he may have ultimately resorted to some kind of feeding apparatus when she was unable to continue."

"Jesus, but what about the rest?"

"Yes.  Post mortem, he... well, as you can see, he coated her entire body with a fecal paste, which according to the lab contains a plastic resin, which was then exposed to a high level of heat in order to harden it."

"Are the DNA results on the feces back yet?"

"Yeah.  And he's a clever one.  All the feces here belonged to the victim herself, none from any other person.  Which means she was held for weeks before the final act, so that he could harvest and stockpile enough to complete his work."

"I've never seen anything like this."

"We have, rookie.  We have..."


"Me, Ridge, and Hanley were all here when it first happened.  The Brown King murders of 1982 and 1983.  Nineteen girls, all killed the same way as Kimber Atwell."

"But they caught him, they caught the Brown King!"

"That's what we thought.  Alastor Dukes has been rotting in the bowels of Blackstone Penitentiary for the last thirty years.  He was convicted on circumstantial evidence and witness testimony, but he's always maintained his innocence.  You don't understand how it was back then -- the fear, the hysteria -- we had to put someone away."

"So... you're saying Dukes might not have been the guy?  Or are we dealing with a copycat?"

"Don't assume anything at this point, rookie.  All we know is that there's one sick bastard out there, and he will do this again.  Doctor Sharder?  You wanna weigh in?"

"Mmm yes.  It is fascinating -- the way she is posed, the circumstances of her discovery... this wasn't done from rage or jealousy.  He doesn't seek to murder, that is incidental.  He seeks to transform, to transmogrify his victim.  Like the previous victims, Atwell was attractive and from a wealthy family.  This is a message, a work of art that expresses his disgust towards our society and its values.  He's sending civilization a message, intending to transform us through his actions, just as he transformed poor Miss Atwell.  It is his 'gift' to us."

"His gift?  The hell, doc?"

"That is what it is."

"Where do you get this twisted crazy..."

" is not my place to protect your sensibilities, detective.  My job is to tell you what the perpetrator is thinking, what this horrific event looks like through his skewed perspective.  I am an expert at what I do.  This looks like random madness to the uneducated mind, but..."

"Yeah, well then, educate me, doc!"

"Feces are simply abhorred today, but they have been viewed very differently through the span of human history and have been used for various ceremonial and ritualistic purposes.  There is a genetic basis for this; our ancestors that figured out how to use their feces as a weapon gained a distinct evolutionary advantage over their rivals.  Such behaviors that originally held a significant survival advantage have been rendered gratuitous by modern society and technology.  Yet so deeply engrained are they, we see them manifest as certain paraphilias, such as the tragic disorder Fecum Braknosauria.  This is not that, precisely, but a related disorder on the same spectrum, which..."

"Enough!  Fascinating stuff, doc.  Ridge, you got the names?"

"Ayuh, there are 24 known cophrophages and various fecalphiliacs in town, we're checking up on all of them to see if anything turns up."

"Good.  I doubt it's any of the local turd-eaters, but one of them might still know something.  Keep at it.  And pay Dukes a visit, if it's a copycat, they might try to contact him at some point.  Rookie, you and me are going downtown.  There's a bar there -- The Floater -- where these lousy crap-obsessed bastards hang out.  I got a feeling we'll find something there."

"Right, chief."

[They leave.  Dr. Sharder is left alone with the body.  He stares at it for a moment before picking up the phone's receiver and rapidly dialing a number.  The other line picks up.  Sharder speaks furtively...]

"They are coming, my friend.  They are still in the dark, but will soon stumble into the light.  You must be prepared to embrace them.  Take care."



I was an altar boy for a time, many long years ago.  During one fateful mass that I was serving, as we were all seated, the elderly, wizened priest expelled an outrageously loud, moist, and protracted fart.  He shifted in his little wooden throne, presumably in a feeble attempt to sop up the stinging liquid which was spilling down into his crotch, befouling his robes.  I and the other boys struggled with limited success to contain our snickering.  The stench soon arrived and it was a heinous mixture of egg, rotting cabbage and death.  It was then that I realized there was no god.


We should never forget the name of Stanislav Petrov, because the simple truth is that he very likely saved humanity from nuclear annihilation.  While serving as duty officer at the Oko Nuclear Early Warning Command Center at the height of the Cold War, the military computer system erroneously reported a missile attack by the United States.  Although under tremendous pressure to follow procedure and retaliate, he instead followed his instincts and refused to give the orders which would have caused World War III, and possibly the end of civilization as we know it.  Even in the midst of a totalitarian system such as the USSR, the intelligence and judgment of one principled made a vast difference to the world.

But we should not forget the other character in this story, that of Lt. Colonel Ivan "The Stone Finger" Vronski.  He was supposed to have been at Petrov's station that fateful night in 1983, had he not fallen victim to a sudden and virulent intestinal tract infection which has since been traced to spoiled pork.  Vronksi was remembered by his colleagues as being fanatically hawkish and loyal to the Kremlin, and that he remarked on many occasions that he was eager for the "inevitable confrontation with the decadent West to begin" and "that we will have no choice but to launch, soon, very soon, Comrades."

The aged and ailing Vronski, now 95 and in ill health, still looks back bitterly on what he saw as a missed opportunity to play his part in history. "I never ate Nashya's pork again," he remarked, "if not for it, we'd have achieved total domination, and Mother Russia would now rule most, perhaps maybe all of world."  

Jacob used the epoxy resin to fuse his macrums.  Each stab of my ragged blade crashed through his crumbling accretions.  I jittered uncontrollably as his pressured chambers erupted upon the canopy.


Gondor brand Dung Satchels, available at fine retailers everywhere.  Yes, Gondor brand Dung Satchels, for when you gotta go on the go!


Very little about the Three Stooges makes me comfortable.  Probably because ocular trauma is a special peeve of mine.  I always felt that an unreasonable amount of their work was dedication to the simulation of intentional infliction of damage to the eyes.

You'd think they'd wear protective glasses, or some kind of armor, what with the alarming frequency of eye assaults they experience.  And then, there was that awful day we'll never forget:  Moe had let his fingernails grow for months.  The simulated eye poke became real when his long yellow nail ruptured Larry's cornea.  Granted, they ran with it and today it is heralded as one of their greatest moments.

What I find most regrettable about the Stooges is that because of the mores of the time, they were not allowed to brutally assault each others' genitals.  It's an unfathomable omission, given the stupidity and cruelty of the characters.

Yes.  A sharp stick to the sack would have been a glorious thing when executed by those masters of chaos.  


During Bianca's recovery from the accident, we faced complications that I could have never foreseen.  Once she was awake and lucid, it was clear that large portions of her memory were either damaged or entirely gone, but there was no way of telling what she'd remember and what she would not.  She'd remember details of her thesis on global climate change, and dogs from her childhood, but she would not recall what sort of cars we owned, anything about her job, or who certain celebrities were.  And once she was well enough to eat solid food again, we were all shocked to learn that she had... forgotten how to eat.  Forgotten that it was even necessary -- literally, the simple fact that humans needed to ingest food seemed like an alien concept to her.  "What?" she'd say, "I'm not putting stuff inside me, that's disgusting."  I'd explain it again and again, as if to a small child.  "But it'll just stay inside me and rot," she'd claim with utter conviction.  "Well, no," I began, and described the digestive process in great detail.  "My god, that's disgusting!" she's scream, "You're lying!  Leave me alone!  That's gross!"  Eventually they had no choice but to renew the IV drip.  But weeks later, as her body deteriorated, drastic actions were taken.  Feeding tubes, other involuntary measures... she resisted the entire way, shrieking and thrashing in terror whenever she sensed that it was coming.  The process of elimination was even more traumatic.  To see her reduced to such a state was the most painful thing I've ever gone through.  "How is this possible?" I would ask them, "how could she forget something as basic as food?"  And Dr. Piyush would say "It is extremely unusual to say the least.  But we must remember, most brain damage involves one or two large portions of the cerebrum.  This damage is almost unique and there are no useful precedents; those high-velocity shards caused 37 tiny pinprick hemmoraghes in different parts of her brain as they traveled through her skull, each one varying in degree.  Her neural networks have had to adapt throughout the healing process, forming new synapse bridges to reroute basic functions... so yes, it does appear to be possible, but still, medically extraordinary."

It wasn't until years later when Bianca admitted that she had just been fucking with us the entire time.  "You thought I'd forgotten how to eat!  You asshole!" she'd laugh, playfully punching me in the shoulder.  "I can't believe you guys bought that for so long.  It was funny!"  And I'd kiss her hideously scarred face and think, my God, I love this woman.


"Excuse me, ma'am, but I don't think you realize, but I'm known roun' these parts.  Imma have to ask you to reconsider your last statement.  If word got out that you contested the knowledge of ole Greet, well, les just say, better things could happen to ya.  Not a threat, just a fact."

"Did you hear?  DID YOU HEAR?  Charlie Dandridge and Franklin Bones have started a band!  A goddamned musical music-playin' band!  They callin' themselves 'Charlie and the Bones' and sayin' their music is Country Funk, whatever the hell that is.  And they say their album is gonna be called Jugs and Bones.  I tell ya, that is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.  But the dumbest thing of all is they expectin' the band to work without the participation of Greet Skutz MacCabbins!  Them idiots didn't even ask me to be a member, not that I'd waste my time on such nonsense!  I've got too many projects in the works already to entertain their foolery!"

"Yeah, Greet, man, that is kinda messed up.  I didn't even know you played a music instrument.  What you play?"

"What instrument do I NOT play is the more reasonable question!  There ain't ever been any instrument ole Greet's laid fingers on that don't let loose a sound to make the gods blush!"

"Well all right.  So like you could play the guitar?  I heard that's real hard to do.  It looks easy when they do it, with their fingers moving real fast, but they have to think about every single little time they hit the strings... to be sure, I'm not sure I could ever do that right."

"That's only because you lack the necessary learnings.  I'll maybe teach ya, one day, if I've the time.  I wouldn't hold your breath, though.  Free time for a man like ole Greet here is a scarce commodity."

"I hear ya, man.  What you been up to these days?  I ain't hardly seen you around Skeeter's all that much recently."

"Revolutionary concepts, revolutionary concepts.  The world's gonna change when I unveil 'em.  Now don't tell no one 'bout this.  I'd have to kill you if ya tried tellin', heh heh.  I only tell ya this much because I consider you such a good friend.  But seriously, I will kill you, so not a word."

"I gotcha, man.  Lips are sealed."


Yes, yes, my people.  It is the time.  This is the hour and this is the day that we celebrate the crucifixion of Christ Jesus.  It is a truly sacred day.  It has been now more than two thousand years since he came to our lands to spread the words of his god.  But despite his admittedly impressive arsenal of mystical powers -- his ability to raise his minions from the dead, to conjure provisions for them out of nothingness, to sustain their lives on naught but his own blood -- we were able to defeat his deluded followers and destroy this man, this Yeshua, this favored son of the vengeful sky god Jehovah, so that reason and order might reign again.  But even as we speak here, his followers' descendents gather in caves and perform dire rites in hopes of orchestrating his resurrection.  That is why we, here, every winter season, amass and perform the critical counter-ritual that makes his return to the physical world impossible... and we pass on this tradition to the younger, teach them to do as we have done, every year on this day, so that this will continue indefinitely into the far future.  Let us now begin, and discharge our duty with the utmost care... and after, we may surround the sacred ceremonial tree, and make gifts and pledges to one another, and feast, oh yes, feast and make merry, and welcome another year devoid of Yeshua, the hated Christ Jesus.

Ah, now prepare the meats!  Yes, we must have more meat!  The MEAT!


Kelley had a rare condition where every night as he slept, a thin curtain of skin would grow over his asshole.  In the morning when he took that first dump, the skin would swell up into a large bubble before bursting and splattering shit all over the bowl, his ass, his genitals, pretty much everything in the general area.  

He killed himself.

Do you realize that feces come out of the asshole?  The very same asshole that we eat from.  Take the strawberry Pocky stick and dunk it in the fountain.

Feces, yes.  

In the end, the Geltairn's strategies proved to be far-seeing, as it was the Gelts' unprecedented alliance with the nearby Tungusko tribesmen, who rarely ventured forth from the shores of the Kreen, that proved decisive in the war with Narn.  Many a Narnish warrior perished that day with the Tungusko battlecry -- yawa etta nung tatsho! -- echoing in his ravaged ears (which, when translated, means roughly "may you die with the stink of my feces upon your lips.")

Feces, indeed.  They play a role.

I tried to stop him, but it was too late.  His feces completely covered the face of the young child.  I emerged from the closet, my hands dripping with the putrid waste.  As I closed the door behind me, the child's muffled gurgling wails began in earnest.  Now you have to understand that the child had asked, even begged, for this to happen.  But you also have to stop and realize that a child at that tender age is not prepared, emotionally or legally, to take responsibility for decisions like this.  What sort of creature could be capable of such an act?  The gaunt, muddied face hovered in the window's reflection, pondering.  I stroked the crusty beard.  Outside I heard sounds of fresh childen jostling for the front of the line.  

Little Terrence was among my visitors.  Such an inquisitive child he is.  He has that odor, you know the kind, that rare scent of clean genes.  Warm-up was on the trampoline.  He did very well there.  Very well.  After we each had a Klondike bar in the study to cool off.  He had some residual chocolate around his mouth so I sent him to the bathhouse to clean up.  Porter was in there, he radioed asking if he could dabble.  Of course I explicitly denied his request.  He'll have his turn later, but I assembled this collective, and I have long claimed first pass on all our parrots.

Oh, almost forgot, I found the squirrel costume that Sharbo used to wear.  It's a perfect fit for Terrence.  This is going to be an exceptional year.

Yours Truly,
Librus Carbone
Ah, the closing of another year.  This means several things, not the least of which is the latest installment of Gilbrod.  

Here, we ponder many mysteries.  The qualities of the Nergalito.  The whereabouts of Shasta.  The seemingly mundane life of Tony.  And the diseased aspects of Librus Carbone, a frightful man who is quite unable to glimpse himself.

Journey with us.
Long I have dwelt here, in the Land of Water, longer still than any other place.  On my journey through the years I have known many travelers who have come and gone in their times.  I shall speak their names now, so that you shall know them, and tell of each so that you shall know of them.

First, I speak of those that came and went during my years in the valley of Harrington, a land that was lush and welcoming.  When I arrived there in the Elder Days, there dwelt Diggs, a plump and friendly young woman.  Her life was dedicated to her daughter upon whom she doted.  She was often weary from the day and slept in peace while I stood guard.  We worked together for 16 moons, and in that time there was not a dark word or look between us.

Also at that time there was Pearson, a birdlike woman quick in step and speech.  She spoke constantly, faster than any I have heard before or since, and she spoke on all things great and small.  Her company was somewhat tiresome, yet I bore her no ill will.  We worked together for a mere four moons, and when she left the Valley I admit that I did not despair.  

Then came Isaiah, a solid and stoic youth with head shorn and the bearing of an older man.  Isaiah was a preternaturally calm youth, never raising his voice for any reason nor gamboling foolishly as some his age do.  He was, by his own admission, often under the influence of both spirits and the strong leaves which he smoked, but was so steady that none would guess as such.  He brought tales of a Lost island and he brought tales of great Heroes, both of which were unknown to me.  We reveled in these tales and others of their sort for fifteen moons before he departed the Valley to toil elsewhere, and I was saddened at the loss of Isaiah, and the loss of Diggs who also departed near that time.  

Thus began a strange and turbulent Yule season, and there came to the Valley strangers, strangers who came and went with haste.  Chief of these was Kelly, known to me as the Oaf.  I turned from him in chagrin at first, and my thoughts of him were filled with gall and bitterness, for I found him loud and foolish.  But in time, his mighty heart became known to me, and I learned to call him friend.  He dwells here still, in glory.

There came also an elder man by the name of Glock, who was rough of limb but flowery in his speech, and this was strange to me.  He drove a brown van, in which he concealed a tuba which he entreated me to blow; I blew not on the tuba.  We worked together for one moon, but he remained near the Valley for many ages, as he comes and goes as he pleases.  I hear now that he is gone, and I do not despair.

There was also at this time a young and careless man called Franklin.  Franklin did little else but slumber, as he was under the influence of powerful sleeping drugs.  At times, his girlfriend would call from Omohundro and wish to trade words with him, yet I could not rouse him, for his sleep was that of the dead.  We worked together for three moons, until he ran afoul of Glock and was banished from the Valley.

At the start of a new winter came more travelers.  There came to the Valley the young Bell, a lad who worked elsewhere during the day, so he came to the Valley and slumbered.  He slumbered more than any other traveler.  There also came at that same time the worthy Morell, a friendly man from the country.  He was quick to laugh, and full of high spirit, and was quite dedicated to the practice of local fire and rescue, highway emergency response, and other such things which were strange to me.  The only words I can say against Morell is that he tended not to his teeth, which were brown and rotting, abhorrent to the eye.  Although I liked both Bell and Morell, they often clashed with the other, and spoke hard words to me of the other.

Then came the Great Flood of 2010, which brought great destruction and woe to the Valley.  Bell and Morell both left due to this catastrophe, in different ways, and I was sad to see them both depart after a mere four moons.  With their departure, the Elder Days of the Valley came to an end, and the Dark Middle Days began...

For a short time, as the Valley was drained and set to right, there came two travelers who were familiar with one another.  They were the young Richardson and the young Charmaine.  The manners of these children were strange to me, them being so enamored of their cellular phones, and their group calls which would last many hours, in which they would speak to themselves, and others, of matters of little consequence.  But they gave no offense to me, and I would say that Charmaine was very pleasing to the eye.  We worked together for a mere two moons, but when they departed I despaired slightly.

As the summer waned that year and the leaves fell, the Valley returned to normalcy.  Still more travelers came, a strange pair.  First there came Gilbert Morris the Ancient One.  His body was thin as a reed, and desiccated, and wracked by coughing, for he was very fond of tobacco.  He could do little work, which galled others, although I paid him honor sufficient to his many years.  He did little but smoke, and slumber, and devour a great many ring-shaped pastries, of which he was exceedingly fond.  We sat mostly in silence for the nine moons we worked together.

At that same time, there came a young woman known as Milliken.  She was flirtatious and pleasing to the eye, but also sharp of tongue and mind, full of fire and spirit.  We had much fellowship, although she tended to slumber in the night.  She despised the Ancient and Desiccated Morris, and left after eight moons, and her place was taken by Swanson, whom I worked with for one moon.  When Milliken left, I despaired, though I continued to see her from time to time.  She is now gone, and about to bear her first child, I have heard.  

Then came the time of my migration.  I was told to leave the Valley, where I had dwelt in peace and glory for thirty-nine moons, and sent by the Lords to the Hill, where now I dwell.  At first I despaired, for I loved the Valley and knew not of the Hill.  In time I came to love the Hill as I loved the Valley, although I did not think this would be so during these Dark Middle Days...

...for first, on the Hill, I worked with Bertrand, known to me as the Pisher.  He was a sullen, stubborn, disagreeable youth, indolent and greedy.  He was possessed of an unnatural lust for money and spoke of little else.  And he walked about noisily, like a stumbling colt, bringing annoyance to all.  He left after four moons, and I did not despair, for he brought no good to the world.

Then there came to the Hill those named Saunders and Gaines, but they dwelt for less than a moon, and are not worth speaking of.  When they left, I did not despair.

The Dark Middle days dragged on, bringing always new travelers, and always these travelers were lesser than the ones in the Elder Days.  I pined for Diggs, and Isaiah, and Morell, and wished their return, even though I knew them to have moved on forever.

That winter, there came the elder Nicholson, a man who once served in the King's Military.  He was a short, stocky, cantankerous man, also greatly fond of tobacco.  His manner was rough, his words like gravel, and yet our companionship was genuine.  We spent a worthy winter together in fellowship, and he left after four moons.  

At that time there was also Springer, another man who mostly slumbered in the same manner as Bell and Franklin.  He was amiable when awake, which was rare.  At times, his slumbering was such that I suspected him of also being under the influence of powerful drugs, although I cannot be certain.  He dwelt on the Hill for six moons before being banished, and I did not despair.

Then there came the young and foolish Whitaker  from the tobacco-lands of North Carolina.  He was wild and careless, rude in his manners and thoughtless in his speech.  He smoked as one who has been to war, despite his tender age, which brought me chagrin.  He harbored a great fear of the far-off King Obama, saying that the Dark King would sour the milk of the land, and make the bread of the land more costly than gold, although these visions never came to pass.  He was often drunk, and noisy, and when he left after three moons, I did not despair.

Then came the man known as Walker, a dull sort of man not worthy of mention.  He stayed for just under two moons, and when he left I did not despair.

Then, just as I had given up hope of ever having travelers that were dear to me, the Dark Middle Days ended, and there came a new sort of golden age, much like a return of the Elder Days.  The New Days began and I was glad...

...for there came to the Hill two young Muslim travelers from the northern land of Toronto.  There was Dahir, a raucous and friendly young man with whom I had great companionship for a time.  However, despite his good words, I came to know him as a man of low character and cheap cunning, easily distracted and not to be depended upon. He was a wasteful sort, enamored of trifles, the sort of man who borrows much but returns little.  After thirteen moons, he was banished from the Valley, and I despaired for the loss of his first days, but did not despair for the loss of his latter days, for he had become abhorrent.  

With Dahir there came his sister-by-marriage, Muna, a young woman who shined like a precious gem upon the Earth.  Of all the maidens of the Hill or the Valley, she was the most pleasing to the eye and the most dear to me.  We dwelt in peace for twelve moons, and had many good nights, before she took her leave and returned to the frozen north, and I despaired much at her passing, for such beauty will not be seen upon the Hill again.  Others despaired as well, for she was like a jewel in the flame that cannot be grasped.  

Then there came for two moons a traveler named Lawrence, who was said to be from the island of Lesbos, and her speech and actions did indicate this.

Then there came, in great glory, the young Wadham, known to me as Hamwad.  We had great companionship and his goodness eased the loss of Dahir, who was much diminished in comparison.  Hamwad brought exciting tales of a horde of corpses, known as The Walking Dead, which I enjoyed greatly.  We feasted often that winter, on burritos, on chili, and on other foods of which we were fond.  Hamwad remained on the hill for nine moons, and when he departed I greatly despaired.

At the same time as Hamwad, there also came to the Hill the afflicted man named Conklin.  Like most afflicted men he is lugubrious and unsure, given to worry and always wringing his hands over invisible demons that assail him alone.  He dwells here still, as he has for the past fourteen moons, and when he leaves I will not despair, for he has been the only shadow of darkness during the otherwise prosperous New Days.

After the departure of Hamwad, there came to the Hill a traveler named Lewis, with whom I had companionship at the Valley for many moons previous.  He is a decent sort, possessing worthy skills, but also possessed of strange appetites, fond of trifles and sometimes given to slumber.  Yet when he leaves, I will despair.

Thus my days on the Hill continue, to what end I cannot see.

During these days, there have been two other travelers worthy of mention, even though they do not share the night with me, for they dwell in the day.  There is Gomez, a man of great height but small character.  Although friendly in words, he is clumsy and foolish in his actions, given to laze about while dreaming of childish things, and giving himself to gluttony, bringing chagrin to many.

Lastly, there is the wretched and demonic traveler known as Nilley.  He is a horrid being, bloated from relentless gluttony, his mind wracked by suspicion and terror, and ill-known by all for giving false witness and gossiping like a woman.  He is covetous, cowardly, and as full of venom as a serpent's tooth.  He is also unclean, foul of stench and vile of body.  It has been over twenty moons since he was banished from the Hill and exiled to the dark land of Omohundro, and none despaired at his passing.  He dwells there still, doubtless bringing grief and chagrin to all.  

These are the names and the deeds of my fellow travelers, so that you may know of them.  
My Fellow Travelers
A glimpse into Reality, a place we only sometimes tread.
The Scrotecratic Dialogues II: International Spankers

1.1001: The Deep Green

Dearest Nebfield,

I heard today from the dear Professor that you will be joining him on the next expedition into the deep green to assist with his ongoing work with the Indachi people.  I'm glad you are applying yourself in this manner and believe that the experience shall be quite beneficial in your overall professional development.  Now, although you shall unquestionably hear all this from him, I still feel obligated, as your sometimes-mentor, to warn you of a few rather specific points about the Indachi and the river lands they inhabit, for although they are largely a peaceful people, there is always peril for the uninitiated inside the green.

One -- I would be very wary of the purplish, onion-shaped fruits that grow abundantly in the Indachi groves.  They will all look alike to you, but there are two differing varieties.  The caelemarra fruit is a nutritious and refreshing staple of the natives, and you will see them consumed with great relish -- but is virtually indistinguishable from the highly toxic caelamurra which will kill any man after a single bite.  There is no antidote for the poison of the caelamurra nor can there ever be.  As stated, they look exactly alike, save for a small variation in the mottling around the stem.  The Indachi can tell them apart, of course, and can do so with such natural ease that, as a jest, they will often mischieviously offer a poisonous caelamurra to a friend, knowing that it will not be eaten but tossed aside after a knowing laugh -- the cultural equivalent of playfully slugging one's mate on the upper arm.  If you should be offered any such fruits, please double-check with the Professor before tasting, although even he has been known to muddle the two on occasion, resulting in several deaths.  Ultimately, it might be for the best to abstain from the fruit entirely?  True, you will spend many a bitter meal supping on cold biscuits and sardines while your footmen and porters enjoy the delicacies, but I can assure you that at least a half-dozen of them will fall stone dead after a seemingly innocent repast.  

Two -- you already know that the Indachi are an anti-individualist culture, and that all victories, from a successful hunt to a winning tiak-branch toss, are credited to "the all" of the tribe and not the individual.  Take care to emulate this tendency in your speech and actions.  In addition, they are also a completely polyamorous people, and you will find that both male and female Indachi will seek to give you sexual gratification, using a variety of methods and techniques, and to refuse an advance is considered a terrible insult.  Also, when an Indachi does bring you to climax, be sure to let your seed spill onto the soil, do not mar it in any way, and give thanks as always to "the all" of the tribe.  However, no matter what indecorum you witness or partake in, the one taboo that you must never indulge is the anal stimulation of a female either three days prior or three days following her lunar blood cycle.  Doing so will most likely result in your death, unless the Professor can intervene, and even if you are spared it will take the sacrifice of several limbs to placate their rage.

Three -- you soon notice that all the men in the company will, as they draw close to the Indachi villages, urinate in plain view of all, rather than retreat to a copse or tusset in modesty.  They will then scatter a handful of granulated bleach to mask the odor and move on immediately.  The reason of course is that there lurks in the green a small predator known as the skeeatah, a fierce insectoid with a long proboscis, to whom human urine is the most enticing of nectars.  Should you relieve yourself in the vicinity of one, they will latch on to your privates and attempt to deposit their egg sac inside your scrotum, oftening severing the entire member in their frenzy.  Obviously this is something you want to avoid.

If you follow these simple bits of advice, you will avoid most of the dangers of the land, and your expedition will be nothing but industrious.  I wish you well, Nebfield, and know that with your valuable assistance, we shall be one step closer to the eventual eradication of the Indachi and the assimilation of their resources.  God Save the Queen.


2.02:  Weird New Car

So hey, check this out, last Saturday after the races, me and my friend Jake Radical were out drinking some beer by the Palisades, and we drove out there in that weird new car of his.  After a while, he says, hey man, you want to see what I've really been working on for the last year?  And I say, okay.  He gets back in his car, and it does this futuristic thing kind of like the Back to the Future car, and the bottom starts to glow and it flies up into the air.  Holy shit, I almost lost it.  So Jake flies around in it for a minute, just kinda looping back and forth and doing a few spins.  He lands it and gets out and asks me what I think, and I say, holy BALLS Jake that was awesome.  I didn't even know there were flying cars yet.  And he says, well, there really ain't, the technology is just barely existing right now.  I asked how it works and he said a big thing about long-range magnetic enversion, that it, uh, has a superconductor that builds up a charge and aims a neutron ray or something that bounces off the earth's core, and that it's actually kind of risky, because if anything gets misaligned or miscalibrated he'd launch straight up into the atmosphere at a thousand miles an hour "like a dang champagne cork" and be stuck up there where there's no fucking air, and then probably crash and die eventually.  Fuck, that sucks, I said.  And he says man, you know you can't tell anyone about this, you hear?  And I tell him I can keep a secret.

Okay, yeah, I'm telling you, but I didn't tell you his real name, I called him Radical Jake, which is a fake name.  You probably know who I'm talking about, though.  I mean, who else do we know who's been holed up in his garage for a year and has a weird new car?  You know who I mean.


3.330:  Wigged Out

Sometimes I like to just sit around and figure things out for myself, you know?  Such as like... nobody taught me this, but I figure that back in the Old Days, when America was Colonial, it was only really the wealthy and educated who were permanently wigged.  If you were a poor farmer, you pretty much had lice your entire life and just dealt with it.  But if you were of the upper-class folk, you would not ever tolerate lice; thus you shaved your head and wore a powdered wig, as was the style.

But I wonder at what age did they start.  When a boy became a man, did he submit to a ceremonial shaving and receive his first wig?  That sounds likely.  Also, I realize that social mobility in those days was fairly limited, but still, there must have been people who moved from unwigged status to wigged status and vice versa.  Maybe some poor orphaned urchin was born with natural genius, and at age 17 he chanced to meet and then impress Thomas Jefferson to the point that he said, come boy, thou shalt be my assistant at Monticello and oversee my personal effects and sundry papers.  But first, thou poor creature, go thee hence to the shed where the slaves shall make your head shorn and I shall presently send a rider to the Olde Wigge Shoppe and he shall return with a wig for you.  In the meantime, you shall wear one of my old wigs.  Forsooth, within a fortnight thou shalt be properly bewigged.

Or, maybe some rich guy lost all his money because of drinking and whoring and became a bum.  He barely had enough to eat and could no longer afford the upkeep of a wig.  He made his last wig last as long as he could, but inevitably it grew threadbare and some other stinking drunk stole it one night when he was passed out and probably used it to wipe his ass.  And there he is, squatting in the gutter, his scalp feeling the bite of the louse and the sting of the boll weevil and glaring in envy at the wigs of the fine people walking by.  And he remembers fondly his wig-wearing days.  Perhaps he will scrape some cash together someday and buy a cheap counterfeit wig made of hair from the ass of a horse.  

These things happened.  It's just history.  As far as I can tell.  Like I said, I just think of these things and figure them out for myself.

0.44  Weird New Car II: The Auto-erotic

When the kid opened the garage door, the first thing I noticed was the effortless and nearly-silent glide of the automatic door; by itself, it was an immaculately maintained piece of equipment, a testament to the man who once inhabited this space.  The lights clicked on -- they were brilliant light-blue LEDs, another tasteful touch, and activated by a motion sensor.  But the door and the lights were swept from my mind as I beheld the mechanical wonder that greeted my gaze.  I was stunned, taken aback, gaping like a landed trout at the reality of it.  The kid and I walked around it in a circle and gave it the reverence it deserved.  My respect was for the machine, while his was more for the memory of the man who had treasured it.

"Yeah, old dad really kept her in good shape.  I've had people tell me that I could hold out for a million or more, or keep it up myself and sell it in twenty years for two or three million... but to be honest, I'm trying to make my assets liquid, so my wife and I can move back to France.  Unlike my dad, I was never a car guy."

This really is a once-in-a-lifetime find, thought I.  The kid really doesn't appreciate what we have here.  

"A 1970 GTO Shelby Cobra 750 EX9..." I murmured, "only a few hundred were ever made, almost exclusively for the European market.  I've never seen one in this condition.  Absolutely unbelievable."

I paused at the hood and asked consent, he nodded and I lifted it to see the engine within.

"This is a rebuilt Heiden-650cc turbo engine," I said, almost whispering.  "the finest in German engineering.  Designed by the Ludoff Group, never put into wide commercial use.  Totally beyond the knowledge of your average grease monkey.  There are four, maybe five facilities in the entire world capable of even servicing this car.  Amazing..."

"Yeah, sure is," the kid said.  He'd probably heard this all before.  He was starting to sound bored, while I could have contentedly examined this machine for another hour at least.  Well, i suppose I should start to talk turkey, because there's no way i'm letting this one get away...

"Wait," I said, as we came to the rear of the car, "what's this?"

There was a strange oval opening just above the bumper, an oval with tapered ends.  Inside there was a fold of plastic, slick with oil.  It looked like... like...

"Yeah, that's its vagina" the kid said.  "I used to tell people it was a custom intake valve or something, but that just prolongs the inevitable.  It's a vagina.  Cargina, whatever.  Mom used to tell Dad all the time -- hey, if you love that car so much, why don't you... well, you know.  And he did.  He did, all the time."

His face was slightly red.

I poked my finger in and out of the opening a few times.  Yeah, a pretty good approximation.  Then I tasted the end of my finger, instantly analyzing the seminal residue that had coagulated inside the opening.

"Interesting, your father had very high cholesterol," I said.  "and an inflamed prostate.  But unless I miss my guess, it was liver failure that finally killed him."

"That's right.  Wow, you guys really do know everything."

"We sure do.  Anyway, if you want a check today, I'll go as high as $850,000."

"Sold!  Nice.  By the way, once the car is yours, you're going to cover up the cargina, right?"

I paused.  It really would depend on whom I eventually sell the vehicle to.  It really would depend.


5.0555: The Legend of Hard Dick

Steadily my boots pounded a path through the dark, reeking, and trash-filled alleys.  The hydrocarbon miasma particular to Philadelphia in 1982 assaulted my lungs, which were more accustomed to the fresh and piney air of the Alaskan wilderness where I relentlessly train.  Had my mind not been so preoccupied with the task at hand, it would have lingered with curiosity over the alien details of this urban blight -- the sooty phone booths, the large and boxy steel automobiles, the fuzzy static of cathode ray tube screens flickering from store windows.  All was peripheral.  I had been searching the area for a few hours, sifting through the human wreckage of the night.  Grotesque faces leered at me from every corner.  Drool dripped from toothless gaps and scabby skin tortured from the industrial emissions were commonplace.  Cigarette smoke and the bitter stench of stale beer wafted through the spaces.  From time to time a flabby prostitute or filthy beggar began to approach me, but scurried away when they saw the determined look on my face.  They could clearly see a man with no time on his hands and no patience for ludicrous trifles.  

When I halted in front of this new bar, I felt a slight tingle of excitement, some subconscious twinge on the ethers and I instantly knew that this was the place.  A buzzing neon sign spelled out the words L O N G S H O R E  &  H A G G E R T O N and beneath some crudely scribbled placards advertised the dubious "deals" to be found within. Two-for-one longnecks and BLT sandwiches on Tuesdays.  Ask about our brisket special... actually, I shall not inquire about this filth, miserable sign.  I have but one purpose here...

I entered the smoky den of sin and decrepitude and made my way around.  Then I saw him, for there was no mistaking.  He sat perched on a stool at the exact center of the Bar, a colossal man dressed in the rough and shabby garb of a steelworker.  He was pounding back the brews with three of his smaller chums, who were laughing at his simplistic jests.  It was just another night for them, their customary bit of revelry between work shifts.  But tonight...

I approached the large man and squared myself behind him, drawing the gaze of his orbiting louts.  The combination of my size and grim demeanor could only mean one outcome.  Within a few seconds he swiveled around on the stool, fixing one bloodshot eye upon me, a man nearly as large as himself.  I noted with some disappointment the cigarette in his left hand; such a habit would adversely affect his cardiovascular capacity and therefore also his stamina.

"Eh?  And whadda ya want, junior?  Come t'buy a round fer old Hard Dick?"

My suspicions were thusly confirmed.  This was Richard Sherman Hardcastle, known to those in this place and time as Hard Dick.

"No, I do not drink alcohol."  They sniggered childishly at this.  "I've come because they say you're the hardest man to have ever thrown hands on the eastern seaboard; Hard Dick, the man who never lost a fight."

"Yaar, that be me" he said with a mock bow, "And ya'are?"

"My name's Sonny, but they call me 'Eggshells,'" I said.

"...'cause when you're around, that's what people walk on, ah reckon?"

"That's right... you old bitch."

His face knotted in confusion and I remembered that in those days, men simply didn't refer to other men by that term which was still reserved entirely for women.  A hush fell over the bar patrons as Hard Dick's face hardened into a scowl.  He sized me up again, noting the almost exact similarity between our physiques.  He was a bit broader, I suppose, both from age and the overconsumption of beer, but our underlying structures corresponded almost precisely.  Not strange that this should be so.

With no further ceremony the fight began.  Hard Dick lived up to his reputation; he fought brutally, but did not, as I had feared, fight heedlessly, and merely depend upon his massive size and power to batter me into unconsciousness.  Nay, he clearly has some training, I surmised, as he adopted an orthodox stance and pummeled me with blows.  I fought defensively, my mind taking note of every aspect of his abilities.  I blocked many strikes, and simply absorbed others.  I feinted and played rope-a-dope, such that the ignorant patrons of the Bar assumed him to be winning -- but Hard Dick sensed what I was about, and knew that this fight was far from over.  As he began to tire, my speed only increased.  I turned the tables on him, boxing with greater vigor, and switching to various Tae Kwon Do and Krav Maga strikes that baffled him.  "Fight fair, you fucking faggot!" an old lady's voice screeched from afar.  "Knock off that gook fairy shit!" another wheezed.  At last, as his mighty fists flagged, I delivered the final blow -- a flying Muay Thai knee that caught him directly underneath the jaw.  His body flew high in the air before crashing down upon the hard floor.  He attempted to roll over, then stilled.  All trace of life had left him.

Turning with no words spoken I walked from the Bar as purposely as I had entered.  It was done.  Screams and wails followed me but none dared accost my person.  I marched to the alleyway, where I knew I would find my guide.

"I shall never understand the minds of you clones," Beltrinor the Time Wizard chided, "to travel all the way here, just to murder your original?  To what end?"

"It was the end in itself," I said as his magic caused us to disappear from this place and time, perhaps forever.  "for every circle of that sort must be closed.  When I first learned that he'd been killed in a brawl, I knew that I must be the one to do it."  The Time Wizard glared obstinately, knowing that I was speaking of matters he could never comprehend.


6.0666:  The Cannibal Lecturer

It was about eight months before he first met Clarice Starling that the infamous Hannibal Lecter had another unusual guest visit him in the basement of the Baltimore Institue for the Criminally Insane. It was a rainy Tuesday morning and the orderlies had already delivered the miserable morning meal and cleaned the area when the door to the wing opened unexpectedly.  Lecter, reclining on his hard bunk in his usual state of calm readiness with his eyes closed, focused his preternaturally sharp ears and discerned the murmured words belonging to the odious Dr. Chilton and a newcomer.  They were speaking of him, of course, Lecter thought, and the doctor was reiterating the usual warnings.  You never can be too careful.  

With a sharp click of the door Chilton departed, leaving the newcomer.  Already Lecter could smell their scent, a not-unpleasant melange of young flesh and some variety of exotic cologne.  So far, so good.  The person's footsteps were soft and deliberate, and they moved with some amount of grace.  Clearly, this was no loutish guard or prying psychobabbler... so who could it be, Lecter mused?  Now the person seemed to be fussing with something, setting up some sort of... stand, easel?  Yes, the slight rustle of heavy vellum and the whiff of charcoal in the air could only mean an artist of some sort.  Here, for me? Lecter smiled immodestly.  How intriguing.  He opened his eyes to see what he already knew.

It was an artist, young, obviously a student.  Hannibal Lecter, always a keen judge of humanity, was immediately struck by this person's appearance in a way he had not been in some time.  For one, he was at an absolute loss as to whether this delightful waif was male or female; they possessed an unearthly androgynous beauty -- slender form, olive skin, with blue-black hair carelessly tossed into a punkish youthful hairstyle, earring and bracelets.  Their features -- tapered chin, slightly almond-shaped eyes, a smattering of freckles, rounded nose -- suggested a delightfully mongrel heritage that must have come from many corners of the world.  There was some touch of Arabia there perhaps, filtered through the Orient or some minor island race, along with some European heritage.  It was impossible to say for certain.  Lecter's sexual urges, which were infrequent but still potent, were instantly aroused.  

The artist had finished arranging his or her equipment and then gave him the briefest of glances.  Tremulously, they asked "do you mind at all?" to which Lecter replied "no, no."  Sensing he was now a subject, he reclined at ease in his chair and asked "does this suit you?"


Then, with nothing further, the artist set to work.  For hours, the artist sketched, slowly at first but then with more confidence, becoming totally engrossed in their work and attempting no further conversation.  Lecter enjoyed the strange sensation of his body being the subject of intense scrutiny while his personality was completely ignored.  He felt a longing to speak to this artist, to analyze them as he so loved to do -- perhaps share some of his own excellent drawings -- but the sanctity of artistic effort was nearly holy to him, and he dared not intrude.  Besides, there would likely be time later.  The artist finally came to a stopping point, bundled up their tools, slipped the canvas into a vellum case, and departed with another small and polite nod.

The artist, he or she, returned the following day and worked again for hours in the exact same manner as Lecter resumed his pose.  When they parted late in the afternoon, the only words spoken between them were "One more day, is that alright?" and "Yes, of course."

On the third day, the artist only worked for three hours at most before their work tapered to a halt.  The artist's hands were filthy with black chalk that had smudged other parts of their person, including the tip of their nose, which caused Lecter to grin.  After much slow consideration, they deemed the work done, and with much trepidation, asked "would you like to see?"

"But of course."

The artist turned the easel around.  It was entirely blank except for a single crudely-drawn cartoon stick figure, like something a fifth-grader would produce.  One of its hands was jammed inside its buttocks, the other clumsily grasped an oozing human heart.  From the misshapen face, a speech bubble surrounded the words "DURR I EAT PEEPLE COZ IM A HUGE FAGGOT LOL!!"  

Lecter was truly taken aback.  His surprise and rage were so complete that he stared at the useless thing for several seconds before his eyes darted to the artist, who was racing from the wing, skipping and giggling at their mischief.

Hannibal Lecter sauntered around his cell and carefully forged a new room in his vast Memory Palace.  Every detail of the flippant youth was engraved with perfect detail, every clue that would help identify them later.  It would take another 23 years for Lecter to find, abduct, and finally devour them, because by that time, Norrin Maclay -- that was their  name -- had become one of the most prominent modern artists in America.  That made the meal ever so much sweeter.  Ever so much sweeter by far.


7.77: Suicide Buddha: The Overcoming

Egads, man.  If you really have to know, it all started at that miserable get-together back in Utica... it was just one of those unbearable things where the hipsters and fuckwads would stand around drinking Fat Tire and pretending to sound smart while all they really want is to get into someone's pants (or to score some Adderall for the fall semester.)  Me, I was just there for both of those lofty goals.  My stash was looking thin, and I thought there was the outside chance that Becca Parris would let me smash it.  She's always talking at me in the quad, after all.  Before that night, I considered her to be a bit remedial but not totally basic.  But as the night wore on, I realized that she was beyond basic, she was utterly tarded.  For one thing?  She didn't know how to use a corkscrew.  Even worse, she had some stupid chick fetish about guys smoking.  Not weed, which I'll smoke if I'm not doing anything, but fucking cigarettes.  She just kept saying "nooooo, you have to, it's so hot, I just think it's too hot when a guy smokes, come on, you have to smoke with me, you can't not smoke..."  I told her that having both of my parents die of lung cancer had some slight bearing on my decision and she just said "you're not supposed to think about that, you think too much you're no fun."  She was drunk and all but that is just too idiotic.  And then someone told me that she has... okay, I didn't know this, but apparently some teenage girls, or most of them really, have some kind of hang-up or sick fascination with their dad's dick?  They said she has that worse than anyone -- that in Freshman Art she carved a plaster statuette of her dad's erect unit that she referred to as "part of her overcoming."  And that it was over a foot long.  What the hell, I can't compete with that.  You think her dad smokes a lot of cigarettes?  I'm guessing so.


Even after I ditched her, the party still blew.  No one had any Addies, and the guy who owned the place, what the hell was his name?  Glade?  Glayden?  Gladbag?  Goat Sac?  He kept ushering people into his little den to show off his new prized possession -- a set of leatherbound and autographed first printings of the Alissa Rosenbaum trilogy.  There they were, perhaps the greatest books ever penned -- "Airtight," "Second-Hand Lives," and "The Strike," all displayed in a lighted glass case.  I know, I'm just jealous, I got the guts to admit it.  If I'd been smart enough to steal them, I would have.  But as I stood there, silently envying this rich cunt-rag, I couldn't help but think back to what happened on the way over.  As I was walking up 51st and Mercury, a wretched bum emerged from an alley.  He was almost totally naked, virtually hairless, and coated in an unspeakable filth that looked to be mostly composed of various condiments, as if he'd been dumpster-diving behind the Food Court.  Anyway, he introduced himself as a "man of reduced circumstance" and politely asked for "a tad bit of charitable remuneration to compensate for ongoing societal injustices."  I was so amused by the incongruity between speech and appearance that I pulled out my wallet and cautiously handed over about $150.  He accepted it daintily, and with a twinkle in his foggy eye he made it disappear to some place on his person.

I made to go when the horrid being grasped my shoulder with a strangely strong grip.  I don't take shit like that, and spun around to rebuff his ass... but he didn't attack.  He peered deep into my soul and launched into spellbinding monologue.

"We used to believe in things," he croaked.  "My generation is mostly to blame.  We used to believe in the deep and abiding honor of the President.  We used to believe in the transcendent omnipotence of rock-and-roll.  We used to believe in the inherent decency of women, of the inherent nobility of our military men.  We used to believe ourselves mainly good, that the dangers of life came from lone criminals, from perverted Satanists lurking on the fringes of our society, ready to slit our children's throats and frolick in their spurting blood to the discordant wailing of Megadeth or Metallica... a quaint notion, is it not?  Comforting, to imagine that human wickedness could be so plain and simple, embodied only in a small minority of disturbed individuals, a small and easily lanced boil on an otherwise robust body.  But now we know differently, don't we?  We realize that we, us, our hideous oppressive industrial ways have become the evil in the world.  Every tree we fell, every structure we erect, every animal we slaughter is not a net gain for the world, as once it was.  We became too efficient at killing, too successful... now, anything we do is a strike against goodness, against the world.  How can a species genetically programmed to think of itself as a race of struggling underdogs cope when it's conquered everything?  The only rational moves are those that steer the ship towards suicide and self-destruction.  That is why Superman no longer fights for us.  That is why he remains in the Fortress of Solitude, deaf to our cries..."

How nice, this man is insane.  And from the political nature of his sick ramblings, I surmise he was a teenager in the 1990's, you can smell those types a mile away.

The thing is, I like to talk to crazy people.  I like to fuck with them and egg them on.  So I sat and talked to this wretched sack of shit, humoring him and telling him the sort of things I thought he might like to hear.  Even now, certain bits remain in my brain.  My memory is hardly eidetic but I can retain certain chunks of speech for a long time.  

"Unquestionably," I replied.  "This?  All of this?  I'm ready for it to end.  I'm ready for this to fall apart.  I want to go into a coma and wake up in a world with no advertisements, no video games, no celebrity gossip, no apps, and no spoiled idiots like Becca Parris.  Have your apocalypse, just wake me when it's over..."

"...I'm not sure how long it will take humanity to create a sane society, it's decades or centuries away.  But I suspect this -- the people in the future will be aghast that we chose to trudge through our lives doing the same things every day in and day out, year after year.  Can you imagine something better?  I can.  Imagine, waking every morning and setting off to do two or three hours of manual or technical labor, combined with some exercise.  After lunch, teaching a single class for a few more hours, because almost everyone has some skill they can pass on to others.  And then one would have the evening hours to pursue whatever intellectual or artistic pursuits one fancies.  People would lead complete lives, instead of the drudgery we have now -- grunt laborers grinding away at repetitive tasks, withered autodidacts preaching to bored children, while so-called intellectuals live cloistered apart from anything resembling real life.  It's death through overcompartmentalization..."

"..if there was one thing I wish could pound into the heads of conservatives, it's that the structures they support have absolutely no regard for them as people.  They are just as interchangeable as any other Mexican.  When you drive into the city to go to work, when you enter that vast Machine that society has created, the network of factories and finance and infrastructure, you realize... the Machine is paramount.  The Machine exists, and it decides the number and sort of people it needs to sustain it for another day.  To have a surplus of people is always desirable, as replacement cogs for the ones that break down.  That is the truth of our society.  I think they realize this, and that their status as white, Christian, straight, indigenous citizens means exactly nothing.  The Machine, man, the Machine..."

"Rat shit, bat shit, a dirty old twat,
sixty-four assholes tied in a knot..."

"...wait, what now?"

"...rrrr... rrrraaaaagh!  Arrarafghghgjs!!!"

I think our conversation had overstimulated the bum, because he started having some sort of fit.  He kinda staggered about, looking around his nest of filth for some object or another.  I took that chance to turn my heels and walk away, but then I heard him begin to screech, and when I turned back for a last glimpse he was upon me, and he was jacking his dick, which was strangely long and slender, and blasting little gobs of yellow, diseased, pus-filled semen at me, shrieking something about black Presidents and the lower classes.  Oh, god, some of it got on my jacket.  I really, really wanted to punch him and break his face, but instead I screamed and ran.  I'm kind of a pussy, you know.  I was blocks away and nearly at Goat Sac's lame party and I could still hear him wailing.  I stuffed the jacket into a trash can in the lobby and got in the elevator to... well, you already heard that part.  Sorry for telling all of this out of order.

The night after the party, I was pretty depressed, to tell the truth.  I only had a few Adderall left and was rationing them pretty severely.  It was Fall break and no one was there.  I played games for a bit and then decided to write some bullshit... it has been a while since I wrote some funny madness.  The encounter with the bum and his rather dim view of the world inspired me a little bit, I guess, because I pecked out a document that I can only describe as being a parody of Gnosticism (and the Matrix reboot trilogy, to be honest,) and urging people to fucking kill themselves as soon as possible.  It was pretty clever in parts.  It was full of stuff like...

"...looking at the world as such, can there be any doubt as to its falseness and its wickedness?  Its utterly temporality and unimportance?  It's flimsiness and uselessness?  What false reason could possibly tether one to this dark illusion, apart from fear and inertia?  When the time comes, this writer will take the final step towards liberation, the final step taken by Lincoln, by King, by Kennedy, and all those other evolved souls who have awoken to the Great Truth and decided, by their own volition, to ascend to the Real, to ascend with joy in my soul, in full command of my faculties.  The only reason I have not yet done so is because I feel called by the Heart of Creation to awaken as many as my brothers and sisters while on my journey.  Join me, and let us ascend."

Yeah, a load of crap.  I posted in on the Metataxis boards so at least some people could get a chuckle out of it, and it got a few dozen likes before dropping off.  Then I forgot about the damn thing for about fifteen years.

Then, well, this happened.  The stupid suicide rant I wrote after a lousy party was apparently really well-liked by someone.  They added to it, passed it around, and formed a sort of internet cult around it.  And so there I am, sitting at my desk at the airport, and hearing my name on the news.  Tricia and Pete were staring at me, the boss called me up to the concourse... that morning, a few thousand depressed suburban kids offed themselves, most of them taking their friends or family along for the ride -- the greatest mass suicide in history, and the initial reports uncovered this bizarre essay written by me, the "Suicide Buddha."  There were reporters milling around my yard by the time I got home.  I tried to explain it all to them, I told them about Goat Sac's party, about the mustard-covered bum, about Becca's Dad's plaster dick... I told nothing but the truth, but I don't think it helped in the end.

And now, here we are.  

Here we are.



Hey, i ain't talking 'bout them niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them downtown niggas.  Or them uptown niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them-gelato-and-gazpacho niggas, them fancypants niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them broke-ass niggas always coming out the woodwork when you hit the number.  I ain't talking 'bout them gay-ass niggas wanting to marry other niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them Ferguson niggas rioting and such.  I ain't talking 'bout them niggas always on they cel phones and ignoring the world playing Candy Crush.  I ain't talking 'bout them radio niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them strip club prostitute niggas talking 'bout -- these niggas, these nuts, these titties, these butts.  I ain't talking 'bout them Flavorade niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them fluff niggas pending. I ain't talking 'bout them upshot honky niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them coke babies and crack eaters.  I ain't talking 'bout them ho-ass niggas trickin'.  I ain't talking 'bout them wartime niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them Stormfront niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them dropout niggas, barely literate.  I ain't talking 'bout them unemployed niggas.  I ain't talkin' bout them Rude Dog and the Dweebs niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them Hobie Cat niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them ISIS niggas or them Al-Qaeda niggas.  I ain't talking 'bout them AIDS niggas dyin' on the couch.  Everyone know that a nigga showin' out and flauntin' clout ain't near as hard as a nigga layin' grout and building his own house.  I ain't talking 'bout them aborted niggas that wasn't even born.  Whom I talkin' bout?  Who, nigga?

I'm talking about them niggas that use they brain, and make a positive-ass difference in they community.  Smart niggas.  Like Einstein.  Yeah.  He a real nigga.
The Scrotecratic Dialogues II
Sometimes, the worst ideas are the very best ones.  These thoughts are not worthy of Gilbrod, but we still desired to have them recorded for eternity.
Welcome, dear friends.

We are the Council of Gandalf.  Long ago, when the earth was younger, we gathered around the sacred flame, partaking of the holy herbs of knowledge.  Far we traveled with the aid of these herbs that we kept in a jar... our many mystical journeys we brought back much knowledge, and many amazing stories of long-forgotten legends and vast vistas unknown to mortal man.  We wrote them with ink on paper, sacred texts that were treasured above all else.  Long these tomes sat in secret, known to only a select few.

But now the world is changing.  Times of change and strife are upon us.  The winds and waters are changing, becoming strange.  It is in these times that the hidden knowledge must come to light, to offer guidance and wisdom to all who seek it.

We are the Council.  

Learn our knowledge and find your way in this world.

Peace and Love.

-- Gandalf.


The Wisdom of The Council
United States
Current Residence: A hideously stable geosynchronous orbit.
Favourite genre of music: Electronic.
Favourite photographer: Tom Bombadil.
Favourite style of art: Surrealist.
Operating System: Old Toby.
MP3 player of choice: The harpers of Elrond.
Shell of choice: Just an old blue hat.
Wallpaper of choice: That which pleases me.
Skin of choice: Old and leathery.
Favourite cartoon character: Smaug the Mighty.
Personal Quote: "Through the time, i see the minds, hear the voices of the world..."


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Acaciathorn Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the donation! :hug:
CouncilofGandalf Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014
You are most welcome.  
ElusiveGnome Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011
look, some quality! *watch
CouncilofGandalf Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011
Thank you, sir. We treasure our humble works, and are pleased when others do so.
ststreet Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2009
I have a question if you don't mind.

It's a bit stupid, but how do you make the font go back to normal after you put it in italics like this? Is there a certain way?
CouncilofGandalf Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2009
Well, yes, i use html tags. I use < i> to start the italics, and < /i> to stop the italics. Of course, those tags have spaces so they'll show up in this note. Normally, they have no spaces.
ststreet Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009
Argo602 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Thanks for the watch!
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