Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another Period.

The pitch :

A private investigator suddenly, mysteriously finds herself being thrown back in time on the first day of her menstrual cycle.

In this strange era she realizes that she's been presented with a mystery to solve. She learns that the only way to get back to her time period is to solve that mystery.   She has until the end of her cycle to do so. If not, she's stuck until her next cycle begins the following month.

Every month she's thrown further back in time. The mysteries build upon each other, toward the solution to the mystery of why this started happening in the first place.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fiddle Me this.


As part of his bet with the Monopoly Man, Donald Trump isn’t allowed to voluntarily drop out of the race for the Republican nomination, but instead, has to do enough stupid, vitriolic shit that he becomes virtually unelectable. So when last week’s Sarah Palin endorsement somehow didn’t do the trick, even after personally encouraging her to say it’s Obama’s fault her son beat a woman, Donald Trump finally realized all logic and reason is out the window and switched to literally telling his supporters that he could murder someone right in front of their stupid, white faces, and they’d still vote for him. 

NBC News reports:

“Donald Trump said Saturday that his supporters are so loyal that he would not lose backers even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of downtown Manhattan. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa as the audience laughed. “It’s, like, incredible.””

The audience laughed?

They fucking laughed! Donald Trump literally told a crowd of Republican voters -to their faces- that he could murder someone in goddamn daylight, and they’d still be too stupid to not vote for him. What does he have to do to lose at this point? Campaign on free abortions at gay weddings while Mexican Muslims burn the 2nd amendment with a gun made of government cheese on top of a Nativity scene as Black Santas flood every shopping mall in America? Because I guarantee there’d still be enough assholes out there going, “Yeah, but he says it like it is.” SAYS WHAT LIKE WHAT IS? What is he saying that’s what it’s like? “I dunno. Stuff.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Only The End Of The World Again. And Again.. And Again And Again... And Again.


“Sure.  I was closing-up anyway; no one in town’s going to be drinking tonight,” he replied as he turned out the lights and lead me to the door.

It was chilly in the street, and whirling motes of snow clung to our legs like desperate children.  From the street, I could no longer tell if Madame Ezekial was in her den there above her neon sign... or if my guests were still waiting for me in my office.  I shrugged; we put our heads down against the wind, and we walked.

“ ‘Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green, there hath he lain for ages and will lie battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep, until the latter fire shall heat the deep; then once by men and angels to be seen, in roaring he shall rise...’ “

His voice sounded strangely familiar, and I found myself finishing for him: “... and on the surface die.”

He didn’t seem to notice, as he adjusted his collar and shook the snow from his hair.  Twenty minutes walking, and we were out of Innsmouth.  The Manuxet Way shriveled into a narrow dirt path outside of town, partly covered with snow and ice, and we slipped and slid our way up it in the darkness.  The moon was not yet up, but the stars had already come out.  There were so many of them; sprinkled like diamond dust and crushed sapphires across the night sky.

At the top of the cliff, two people were waiting.  The barman left my side and walked over to them, facing me as he spoke.  “Behold, the sacrificial wolf,” he shouted into the green flames.  “Do you know why I brought you up here?”

And I knew then why his voice was familiar; it was the voice of the man who had attempted to sell me aluminum-siding.  I sniffed, “To stop the end of the world?”

He laughed at me then.

The second figure, half-obscured by that cloying smoke, was the fat man I had found asleep in my office.  He murmured in a voice deep enough to shake the snow from the trees, Well, if you’re going to get eschatological about it....  His eyes were closed; he was fast asleep.

The third figure was shrouded in dark silks, and smelled of patchouli oil.  It held a knife in one, slender hand.  It said nothing.

The barman laughed, and scrabbled up a stone; outstretched his arms to the sky.  “This night, the moon is the moon of the deep ones,” he screamed.  “This night are the stars configured in the shapes and patterns of the dark, old times.  This night, if we call them, they will come.  If our sacrifice is worthy.  If our cries are heard.”

The moon rose then, ripe and amber and heavy, on the other side of the bay.  A chorus of low croaking rose with it from the ocean far beneath us.  Moonlight on snow and ice is not daylight, but it will do... and my eyes were getting sharper with the moon.

In the cold waters, men like frogs were surfacing and submerging in a slow waterdance.  Men like frogs, and women too:  it seemed to me that I could see my landlady down there, writhing and croaking in the filthy bay with the rest of them.

It was too soon for another change -I was still exhausted from the night before- but I felt strange under that amber moon. I felt-- 

“Poor wolfman,” the cloaked figure whispered. “All his dreams have come to this:  a lowly death upon a distant cliff.”

“I will dream if I want to, and my death is my own affair,” I replied... I think I replied. 

Senses heighten in the moon’s light.  I heard the roar of the ocean still, but now, filigreed upon it, I could hear each wave rise and crash. 

The splash of the frog people rang in my ears.  I heard the drowned whispers of the dead in the bay.  I heard the creak and groan of the green wrecks far beneath the waves.

Smell improves too.  The aluminum-siding man was human, while the fat man had... other blood in him.  The figure in silks?  I had smelled her perfume when I wore a man’s shape.  Now I could smell something else, less heady, beneath it.  A smell of decay;  of putrefying meat and rotten flesh.  The silk fluttered; she was moving toward me....

“Madame Ezekial?”  My voice was roughening and coarsening; sanding my throat clean.  Soon, I would lose it all.  I didn’t understand what was happening, but the moon was rising higher and higher; losing its colour and filling my mind with its pale glow.  “Madame Ezekial?”

“You deserve to die,” she said, the silks caressing her lips.  “If only for what you did to my cards. They were very old.”

“I don’t die, “ I answered, standing firm in the shadows.  “ ‘Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night...’ Remember?”

She lunged forward, “It’s bullshit!” she shouted.  “You know what the oldest way to end the curse of the werewolf is?”  Her words hung there in the updraft from the fire like a slow  divorce.  The bonfire burned brighter now, burned with the green of the world beneath the sea; the green of algae, and of slowly drifting weed. “You simply wait until they’re in their human shape, a whole month away from another change.  Then, you take the sacrificial knife, and you gut them.”  She thumbed the knife in her hand as she finished, “That’s all.”

I turned to run, but suddenly the barman was behind me, pulling my arms; twisting my wrists up into the small of my back. 

She was on me before I could react.

I felt the tip of the blade press cold against my throat; felt the first hot splash of blood stain my chest... the blood began to gush and flow then... and then... it... slowed... stopped. 

The night bled into my eyes.  The pounding in the front of my head; the pressure in the back.  All a roiling change; a how-wow-row-now change... a red wall coming toward me from the dark.  I tasted stars dissolved in brine, fizzy and distant and salt.  My fingers prickled with pins, and my skin was lashed with tongues of flame.

My eyes were topaz.

I could taste the night.

My breath steamed and billowed in the icy air, there in the shadows of the trees.  I growled involuntarily, low in my throat.  My forepaws were lost deep in the snow.  I pulled back, tensed, and sprang at her.

There was a sense of corruption that hung in the air, like a fetid mist, surrounding me.  High in my leap, I seemed to pause... and something burst like a soap-bubble.

I was deep, deep in the darkness under the sea.  I was standing on all fours on a slimy rock floor, at the entrance of some kind of citadel, built of enormous, rough-hewn stones.  The stones glowed like the hands of a cheap watch.

A cloud of black blood trickled from my neck.  She was standing in the doorway before me.  She was now six, maybe seven feet high.  There was flesh on her skeletal bones, pitted and gnawed, but the silks....  The silks were weeds, drifting in the cold water, down there in the dreamless deeps.  They hid her face like a slow, green veil.  There were limpets growing on the upper surfaces of her arms, and on the flesh that sagged from her ribcage.

I felt the waters bearing down on me; I couldn’t think anymore.

She drifted toward me.  The weeds that surrounded her head shifted. 

She had a face like the stuff you don’t want to eat at a sushi counter, all suckers and spines and drifting anemone fronds... and somewhere in all that, I knew she was smiling.

I pushed with my hind legs.

We met there, in the deep, and we struggled.  It was so cold... so dark....

I closed my jaws on her face, and felt something rend and tear.  It was almost a kiss, down there in the abysmal deep.

I landed softly in the snow, a silk scarf locked between my jaws.

The other scarves were fluttering to the ground, mourning the loss of their mistress.  Her knife glittered slyly in the snow at my feet.

I waited on all fours in the moonlight, soaking wet.  I shook myself, spraying the brine about. I heard it hiss and spit when it hit the fire.  I was dizzy and weak; gulping cold air into my burning lungs.

Down, far below in the bay, I could see the frog people bobbing on the surface of the sea like dead things.  They drifted there for a handful of seconds, moving listlessly with the tide, and then they twisted and leapt, and each by each they plop-plopped down into the bay; vanished into the depths.

There was a scream.  It was the barman... that pop-eyed aluminum-siding salesman.  He was staring up at the night sky, at the clouds that were drifting in and swallowing the stars, and he was screaming.

He dropped to his knees before me.  “You bastard,” he whimpered, falling on his hands.  “What did you do to her?”

I would have told him I didn’t do anything to her; that she was still on guard far beneath the ocean, but I couldn’t talk anymore.  He was crying, and he reeked of insanity and disappointment.  He wagged his head back and forth, and clutched at the snow, weeping cold, salty tears.

He rose slowly, with the knife in his hand.  He raised it, and lunged at me.  I moved to one side.  Some people just can’t adjust, even to tiny changes.  The barman stumbled past me... into nothing.

Armageddon is averted by small actions.

In the moonlight, blood is black, not red.  The marks he left on the cliffside as he fell and bounced were sooty smudges of black and grey.  Then, finally, he lay still on the icy rocks at the base of the cliff.  I watched raptly as an arm crept up out of the waves, and grabbed at his ankle.  It dragged him, with a slow, deliberate grace that was almost painful to watch, down under the water.

A hand scratched the back of my head.  It felt good.

What was she?  Just an avatar of the deep ones, sir.  An eidolon, a manifestation, if you will, sent up to us from the uttermost deeps to bring about the end of this world.

I whined up at the fat man.

No, it’s over... for now.  You disrupted her, sir.  And the ritual is most specific.  Three of us must stand together and call the sacred names, while innocent blood pools and pulses at our feet.

I looked up at the fat man, and growled a query.  He patted me on the back of the neck sleepily.  Of course she doesn’t love you, boy.  She hardly even exists on this plane, in any material sense.

The snow began to fall once more; the bonfire was going out.

Your change tonight, incidentally, I would opine, is a direct result of the self-same celestial configurations and lunar forces that made tonight such a perfect night to bring back my old friends from underneath....

He continued speaking in his deep voice, and perhaps he was telling me important things... I’ll never know.  The appetite was growing inside me, and his words lost all but the shadow of their meaning.  I had no further interest in the sea or the clifftop or the fat man.  There were deer running in the woods beyond the meadow; I could smell them on the chill night air, and I was, above all things, hungry.


I was naked when I came to myself again, early the next morning.  The snow was stained a fluorescent crimson where the deer’s belly had been torn out.  My face and chest were sticky and red with its blood.  My throat was scabbed and scarred, and it stung.  By the next full moon, though, it would be whole once more. 

I was cold and naked and bloody and alone.

 “Ah, well,” I thought rising carefully in the cold morning light.  “It happens to all of us….  At least it’s just once a month.”

I was painfully exhausted, but I would hold out until I found a deserted barn, or a cave, and then I was going to sleep for a couple of weeks. 

The sun was a long way away, small and yellow, but the sky was blue and cloudless, and there was no breeze.  I could hear the roar of the sea some distance away.  A hawk flew low over the snow with something dangling from its talons.  It hovered above me for a heartbeat, and then dropped a small grey squid in the snow at my feet.  The flaccid thing lay there, still and silent and tentacled in the snow.

I took it as an omen... of good or ill, I couldn’t say.

I really didn’t care anymore; I turned my back to the sea, and on the shadowy town of Innsmouth, and began to make my way toward the city.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Madonna Of The Wasps.

Madonna posted this pic to Instagram. (January 19, 2016). Just sayin'.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Just Go Home!

Look, here's the thing: you have a pet you love? And you want to keep that pet close forever? Go right to Just Go Home Design, and order one of these adorable portraits, or a super-charming Wanted poster! John  Parker and I have one of each, and we couldn't be more pleased. Or cuter. Him, I mean. He couldn't be cuter.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Only The End Of The World Again. Again... And Again.

The snow grafted itself to my face the moment I stepped out into the street.  I blinked the flakes out of my eyes; squinted up at her window as I crossed the deserted avenue.

Her door was open; the scent of patchouli oil greeted me warmly in the hall.

I inched into the cramped room.  She smiled at me as I entered; beckoned me over to her seat by the window.  She was playing a card game with a tarot deck, some version of solitaire.  As I reached her, one elegant hand swept up the cards, wrapped them in a silk scarf, and placed them gingerly in a wooden box.

The scents of the room made my head pound.  I hadn’t eaten anything today, I realized... maybe that was what was making me lightheaded.  I sat down, across the table from her, in a small pool of candlelight.  She extended her hand, and took mine firmly in hers.  She opened my palm with an insouciant insistence, and glanced sharply up at me, questioning.

“Hair?”

“Well,” I grinned, “I’m on my own a lot.”

I hoped it was a friendly grin.

She cocked her head slightly, as if listening to a strange, urgent whisper.  She nodded to herself, and said “When I look at you, this is what I see:  I see the eye of a man.  I see the eye of a wolf.  In the eye of a man, I see honesty, decency and innocence.  I see an upright man who walks on a square.”

I blinked involuntarily; hard enough to startle both of us.

“And in the eye of a wolf,” she continued, “I see a groaning and a growling; night howls and cries.  I see a monster running with blood-flecked spittle in the darkness of the borders of the town.”

 I slipped my hand from her grip, and rubbed it thoughtfully.  “How can you see a growl, or a cry?”

“It is not hard,” she replied in that strange accent.  Egyptian?  Maltese?  “In the eye of the mind, we see many things.”  Madame Ezekial closed her green eyes.  “There is a traditional way.  A way to wash off a bad shape.  You stand in running water; in clear spring water, while eating white rose petals.”

“And then?”

“The shape of darkness will be washed from you.  It will return with the next full moon.  So, once
the shape is washed from you, you open your veins in the running water.  It will sting mightily, of course, but the river will carry the blood away.”

I leaned back in the chair, hungrily awaiting her gaze.

She sighed, “Now... the tarot.”

She unwrapped her deck from the black silk scarf that held it, passed me the cards to shuffle.  I fanned them; riffed and bridged them. 

 “Slower, slower... let them get to know you.  Let them... love you... like... like a woman would love you.”

I stared down at the deck which filled my hand; gripped it’s edges tightly, until my knuckles turned white, and the veins strained against the flesh.  I passed them back to her.

She turned over the first card; it was called “The Wargwolf”.  Her green eyes shimmered with distaste, and confusion.  “This is not a card from my deck!” she gasped.  She hesitated then, her hand hovering over the deck like a slow death.  She turned her eyes to me, “What did you do to my cards?”

“Nothing, ma’am... I just held them.  That’s all.”

She turned over the next card; her eyes never left my face.  We looked down at the upturned card together.  It was called “The Deep Ones”.  It showed something green and faintly octopoid.  The thing’s mouths --if they were mouths, and not tentacles-- began to writhe and twitch as I watched.

She covered it quickly with another card... and then another... and another....

They were all blank.

She croaked, “Did you do that?”

“No ma’am.”

She seemed on the verge of tears.  “Go.  Now.”

“But--“

“Go!”

She looked down at the cards, spread out on the table like dated communion wafers; dismissed me... erased me.  I stood up in that room of incense and candle-wax, and noticed, across the street, a brief flash of light in my office window.  Two men with flashlights were inside.  They were opening the empty filing cabinet, and peering around in the shadows.  I watched them take up their positions then:  one in the armchair, the other behind the door... waiting for me to return.

I smiled to myself.  It was cold and inhospitable in my office.  With any luck, they would wait there for hours before they finally decided I wasn’t coming back.

I left Madame Ezekial turning over her cards, one by one, staring at them as if that would make the pictures return.

The snow greeted me outside; the wind guided me back to--

“The bar’s closing, mister.”

“Yeah, well I just thought--“

“Hey, wait... Jack Daniels, right?”

“Sounds good,” I said, climbing back on the barstool, and pushing the bartender’s book aside.

He poured the drink for me.  I recognized the thumbprint from the last time I had the glass.

“Where are the chess friends?” I asked, knocking the drink back.

“It’s a big night for them tonight.  They’ll be down at the bay.”

I nodded, and opened his book.  “Good book,” I said, closing the worn cover again.

He took the book from me, and read: “ ‘Below the thunders of the upper deep; far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, his ancient dreamless, uninvaded sleep... the Kraken sleepeth...’ “

“So... what’s your point?” I asked, fingering the tumbler.

He smiled.  “Come over here,” he said, opening the blinds on a dirty window.  “See out there?”  He pointed toward the west of the town; toward the cliffs.  As I stared, a bonfire was kindled on the cliff-tops; it flared, and crackled with a copper-green flame.  “They’re going to wake the deep ones,” he whispered reverently into the stained blinds that bit his lips.

He closed the blinds, and turned to me; raised his hands in the air as he explained that “The stars and the planets and the moon are all in the right place.  It’s time.  The dry lands will sink, and the seas shall rise... ‘For the world shall be cleansed with ice and floods....’ ”

“... and I’ll thank you to keep to your own shelf in the refrigerator,” I finished hotly.

He lowered his hands, confused.

I gestured toward the window.  “What’s the quickest way to get up those cliffs?”

“Back up Marsh Street.  Hang a left at the Church of Dagon.  Go ‘till you reach Manuxet Way, and then just keep on going-- actually, why don’t I walk you up there?  I’d hate to miss any of the fun.”   

“You sure?”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Best Thing I Said Today.

"The lunatics are ruining this asylum."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Ashes To Ashes.



David Bowie often wore a wristwatch on stage. It was both a sign of kinship, and a distancing gesture. He was us... but he was apart. And really, so, so much better. I mean, what did you do when you were 22? David Bowie? He  wrote "Space Oddity."

He was quiet and loud, made of motion and brilliance. He was truly one of a kind, and while he'll be mourned, he can't be missed... thanks to the musical legacy he left behind.


"Didn't know what time it was and the lights were low
I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was layin' down some rock 'n' roll 'lotta soul, he said
Then the loud sound did seem to fade
Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase
That weren't no D.J. that was hazy cosmic jive

"There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

"I had to phone someone so I picked on you
Hey, that's far out so you heard him too!
Switch on the TV we may pick him up on channel two
Look out your window I can see his light
If we can sparkle he may land tonight
Don't tell your poppa or he'll get us locked up in fright

"There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

"There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

"La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la...."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Penn Is Mightier!

Sooooo, one day Sean Penn trekked deep into a Mexican jungle to secretly meet with El Chapo on top of a mountain for an interview with Rolling Stone. That happened. Later, the infamous drug lord was given final edit because journalism. And now for the fun part! The interview was published Saturday morning to the widespread amusement of the Internet, and then later that day this happened:

BREAKING: Mexican official says drug lord Guzman's interview with actor Sean Penn led Mexican forces to his whereabouts.

Below you’ll find a link to Sean Penn’s 10,000 word interview with El Chapo that I didn’t read because it’s 10,000 words written by Sean Penn. Case in point:

“I take no pride in keeping secrets that may be perceived as protecting criminals, nor do I have any gloating arrogance at posing for selfies with unknowing security men. But I’m in my rhythm. Everything I say to everyone must be true. As true as it is compartmentalized.”

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Too Kurt?

Just a friendly reminder: she had Kurt killed. Now get back to work!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Only The End Of The World Again. Again.


I’d been in Innsmouth two weeks, and I disliked it.  It smelled fishy.  It was a claustrophobic little town:  marshland to the east, cliffs to the west, and in the centre, a harbour that held a few rotting boats, and wasn’t even scenic at sunset.  The yuppies had come to Innsmouth in the Eighties anyway, bought their picturesque fisherman’s cottages overlooking the harbour. They had been gone for some years now, and the cottages by the bay were crumbling, abandoned. The inhabitants of Innsmouth lived here and there in and around the town, and in the trailer parks that ringed it, filled with dank mobile homes that were never going anywhere.

A cold, salty wind came up off the bay.  The gulls were screaming miserably.  I felt shitty.  My office would be freezing, too. 

I really needed a drink.  Work could wait.

The bar was cramped, and dark.  At a small table in the corner, two old men stared blankly down at a dusty chessboard.  The bartender leaned heavily on the bar, book in hand.  I took a seat at the bar.  

“Hey, how about a Jack Daniels, straight up?”

“Sure thing... you’re new in town?”

“Does it show?”

He smiled, passed me the drink.  The glass was filthy, with a greasy thumbprint on the side. I shrugged and knocked back the drink anyway.  I could barely taste it.

“Hair of the dog?” he asked, smiling coolly.

“In a manner of speaking.”

“There is a belief,” he said, stroking his beard, “that the Lykanthropoi can be returned to their natural forms by thanking them, while they’re in wolf form, or by calling them by their given names.”

“Yeah?  Well, thanks.”

He poured another shot for me, unasked.  He looked a little like Peter Lorre, but then, most of the folk in Innsmouth look a little like Peter Lorre, including my landlady.

I could hear the roar of the sea.

I sank the Jack Daniels, this time felt it burning down into my stomach, the way it should.

“It’s what they say,” he offered.  “I never said I believed it.”

“What do you believe?”

“Burn the girdle.”

“Pardon?”

He leaned closer to me.  “The lykanthropoi have girdles of human skin given to them at their first transformation by their masters in Hell.  Burn the girdle.”

A chess player wheezed from the corner: “If you drink rainwater out of a wargwolf’s pawprint, that’ll make a wolf of you when the moon is full.  The only cure is to hunt down the wolf that made the print in the first place, and cut off its head with a knife forged of virgin silver.”

His chess partner, bald and wrinkled, shook his head and croaked a single, sad sound.  Then he slid his queen across the board, and croaked again.

I paid for the drinks and left a dollar tip on the bar.  The barman was reading his book once more, and ignored it.

Outside the bar, big wet kissy flakes of snow had begun to fall, setting in my hair and eyelashes.  I hate snow, I hate New England, I hate Innsmouth... it’s no place to be alone....  Still, business has kept me on the move for more moons than I like to think about. 

Business... and other things.

Beside the door to my building someone had painted in an angry, red rash of letters: “JUST DIE”.  Like it’s easy.  The door swung easily shut behind me as I mounted the stairs to my office.  On the landing, I stared at the placard on my door -“Lawrence Talbot, Adjuster”- as I fished in my coat pocket for my keys.  I unlocked the door to my office, and went in.

I inspected my office, while adjectives like “seedy” and “rancid” chased “squalid” and “rank” through my head.  It was fairly unprepossessing:  a desk, an office chair, a lumpy armchair in the corner, an empty filing cabinet... a window.  Across the street, there was a liquor store, and a palmist was operating on the second floor.  From where I stood before the window, the smell of old cooking grease permeated from the boarded-up fried chicken joint below.  I imagined a multitude of black cockroaches swarming over every surface in the darkness beneath me.

That’s the shape of the world that you’re thinking of there.

It was spoken with a deep, dark voice that I felt roil in the pit of my stomach.

We look about in puzzlement at our world, with a sense of unease and disquiet.  We think of ourselves as scholars in arcane liturgies, single men trapped in worlds beyond our devising.  The truth is far simpler:  there are things in the darkness beneath us that wish us harm.

The fat man in the armchair took a slow, deep breath that rattled in the back of his throat.

“You read my mind?”

Perhaps.  The end of the world is a strange concept.  The world is always ending, and the end is always being averted, by love or foolishness or just plain old dumb luck.  Ah, well.  It’s too late now:  the Gods have chosen their vessels.  When the moon rises--

A thin trickle of drool came from one corner of his mouth; trickled down in a thread of silver to his stained collar.  Something scuttled down into the shadows of his coat.

“Yeah?  What happens when the moon rises?”

The man in the armchair stirred, opened two little eyes, red and swollen, and blinked them in waking.  I dreamed I had many mouths.  Every   mouth   was   opening   and   closing   independently.   Some   mouths   were        talking,   some        whispering,   some        eating.   Some   waiting   in                 silence.

He looked around; wiped the spittle from the corner of his mouth and sat back in the chair, blinking uncertainly.  Who are you?

“I’m the guy that rents this office.”

His voice was oddly small for such a huge man.  He looked me up and down blearily.  Silver bullets.  Old-fashioned remedy.

“Yeah, that’s so obvious... must be why I didn’t think of it.  Gee, I could just kick myself.  I really could.”

You’re making fun of an old man.

“No, not really.  I’m sorry.  Now, out of here.  Some of us have work to do.”

The man shambled out, into the corridor.

I sat down in the swivel chair at the desk by the window and discovered, after some minutes, through trial and error, that if I swiveled the chair to the left, it fell off its base. 

So I sat very still, and waited for the dusty black telephone on my desk to ring, while the light slowly leaked away from the winter sky.

The first ring woke me.  A man’s voice:  Had I ever thought about aluminum-siding?

I slammed the receiver back into its cracked cradle, and glanced toward the vacant chair nestled in the shadowy corner of the room.  There was no heating in the office.  I wondered how long the fat man had been asleep in the armchair.

Moments later, the phone woke me from another fitful doze.  A crying woman implored me to help her find her five-year old daughter, missing since last night, stolen from her bed.  The family dog had vanished too.  “I don’t do missing children,” I barked.  “Too many bad memories.”

I put down the  telephone, feeling sick again.  It was getting dark now, and for the first time since I had been in Innsmouth, the neon sign across the street flicked on.  Madame Ezekial, palmist to the stars, was open for business.

Armageddon is averted by small actions. That’s the way it was.  That’s the way it always has to be.
I was pushing myself away from my desk when the phone rang and shook at my fingertips.  It was the aluminum-siding man again.  “You know, transformation from man to animal and back being, by definition, impossible, we need to look for other solutions.  Depersonalization, obviously, and likewise some form of projection.  Brain damage?  Perhaps.  Pseudo-neurotic schizophrenia?  Laughably so.  Some cases have been treated with intravenous Thioridazine Hydrochloride--“

“Successfully?”

“That’s what I like, a man with a sense of humor.  I’m sure we can do business.”

“I told you already.  I don’t need any aluminum-siding!”

“Oh, our business is more remarkable than that, and of far greater importance.  You’re new in town, Mister Talbot.  It would be a pity if we found ourselves at, shall we say, ‘loggerheads’?”

“You can say whatever you like, pal.  In my book, you’re just another adjustment waiting to be made.”

“We’re ending the world, Mister Talbot.  The Deep Ones shall rise out of their ocean graves and eat the moon like a ripe plum.”

“Well, then I won’t have to worry about full moons anymore, will I?”

“Don’t try and cross us--“ The phone went dead in my hand then; I waited for the dial tone, and growled softly as I put the receiver down.

Outside my window, the snow was still falling.  I glanced across the street at Madame Ezekial’s spastically-buzzing neon sign; grunted as I shoved my chair back and rose to my feet.  I checked my watch, and nodded to myself:  that was enough for one day. 


I didn’t bother to lock my office door.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Only The End Of The World Again.

It was a bad day. 

I woke up naked in the bed, with a cramp in my stomach.

Something about the quality of the light, stretched and metallic, like the colour of a migraine, told me it was afternoon. The room was freezing;  there was a thin crust of ice on the inside of the windows. The sheets were ripped and clawed, and there was animal hair in the bed. It itched.

I was thinking about staying in bed for the next week --I’m always tired after a change-- but a wave of nausea forced me to disentangle myself from the bedding.  My head felt swimmy.  The cramps hit me again as I got to the bathroom door.  I crumpled to the floor, and before I could manage to raise my head enough to find the toilet bowl I began to spew.

I vomited a foul-smelling, thin yellow liquid; in it was a doggy’s paw --my guess was a Doberman’s, but I’m not really a dog person-- a tomato peel; some diced carrots and sweet corn, some lumps of half-chewed meat, raw... and some fingers.  They were fairly small, pale fingers; obviously a child’s.

“Shit.”

When I felt a little better, I picked the paw and the fingers from the viscous pool and threw them into the toilet bowl; flushed them away.  Then I turned on the shower and stood in the bathtub like a movie-house zombie as the hot water sluiced over me.  I soaped myself down, body and hair.  The meagre lather turned grey; I must have been filthy.  My hair was  matted with something that felt like dried blood, and I worked at it with the bar of soap until it was gone.  Then I stood under the shower until the water turned icy.

Toweling off; padding across the living room floor, I noticed a note slipped under my door, from my landlady.  It said that I owed her for two weeks’ rent.  It said that all the answers were in the Book of Revelations.  It said that I made a lot of noise coming home in the early hours of the morning, and she’d thank me to be quieter in the future.  It said that when the Elder Gods rose up from the ocean, all the scum of the earth, all the non-believers, all the human garbage and the wastrels and deadbeats would be swept away, and the world would be cleansed by ice and deep waters.  It said that she felt she ought to remind me that she had assigned me a shelf in the refrigerator when I arrived, and she’d thank me if, in the future, I’d keep to it.

I dropped the neatly-lettered pages to the floor; it was time to go to work. I noticed later, descending the stairs, that my landlady was nowhere to be seen.  She was a short, pop-eyed woman who spoke little, although she left notes for me pinned to doors and placed where I might see them.  She kept the house filled with the smell of boiling seafood; huge pots were always simmering on the kitchen stove, filled with things with too many legs... and other things... with no legs at all. 

I passed quickly through the kitchen; there were other rooms in the house, but no one else rented them.  No one in their right mind would come to Innsmouth in winter.  I stepped out, onto the stoop. 

Outside the house, it didn’t smell much better....

Friday, January 01, 2016

Raw Resolutions.

1. Be better.
2. Be loving.
3. Be worthy.
4. Be appreciative.
5. Be someone he'd be proud of.