Monthly Archives: January 2012

Movies I Liked: Fright Night

I thought since I’ve blogged a bit about movies I can’t stand, I’d do a blog about a movie that I thought didn’t completely suck. Though I’m not a fan of the entertainment industry’s obsession with remaking and destroying the formative stories from my childhood, I do have to admit, Fright Night was a good movie. Despite the story being transparent and cheesy to the point of inciting a bout of Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque commentary, I was still caught up in the movie.

It has a retro feel to its newness that I really appreciated from the beginning. In an era where horror movies are:
1. More concerned with gore and shock value than actual acting and storytelling
2. Formulaic to the point of banality
3. All trying to recreate or outdo something that’s already been done

Fright Night is a refreshing beacon in the crap storm of badly acted blood and gore fests that pass themselves off as horror movies today. Even if it does meet most of the criteria in the above list.

Colin Farrell plays an excellent Jerry the Vampire. The scene where he is hovering at the threshold of Charley’s house trying to get the boy to let him in inspired creepy chills in me that made me think, “Tom Cruise wasn’t this good of a vampire. And neither, for that matter, was that weepy Emo kid who played Edward.” I would say that Farrell’s portrayal of a vampire would rank at the top. Underneath Gary Oldman as Dracula and just above Keifer Sutherland as David (in Lost Boys).

I thought David Tennant did a great job as Peter Vincent. As a matter of fact all the non-vampire characters (i.e. the teenage heroes and the local vampire fodder) are portrayed with just enough lightheartedness to take the edge off the horror. Which (in my opinion) is a mark of all great Horror-Comedies.

Don’t get me wrong though, this movie does come with heavy helpings of both blood and cheese. But then again, it IS a vampire movie. Since childhood it has been my understanding of popular vampire lore that blood and cheese are vampires’ two favorite things. Definitely a good movie to dig your fan fangs into.

This just in! Zombie Marilyn Monroe attacks L.A.

“The dead walk the streets!” This seems a phrase more suited for the beginning of a zombie movie or story. But that’s the case today in Hollywood California. Witnesses reported a haggard looking blonde limping down Sunset Blvd. just after sunset last Thursday. The grotesque beauty was identified as being Marilyn Monroe, the dead Hollywood actress and mistress to presidents. She was covered in dirt and wore a hole-ridden dress that did little to disguise the decay that had begun to eat away at the former beauty’s body.

“I didn’t know what was wrong with her. She just hobbled along like she was sick or something. I was going to call 911 but I figured that someone else already had,” said a one-eyed witness of the Hollywood legend’s return from the dead.

Monroe’s death is the source of much speculation and conspiracy theories swim around the blonde bombshell’s demise like hungry sharks circling a wounded surfer. Witnesses say that Ms. Monroe had come back to clarify the events surrounding her expiration once and for all.

“Well, I know that’s what she wanted, cuz that’s what she was moaning about while she was limping along,” reported Lucy L. who saw the undead actress firsthand. “She just kept moaning, ‘I know the truth; it must be told’, over and over again. It was kinda sad.”

Other witnesses disagree, “That’s not what she said at all,” claims Doris D. of North Hollywood. “She was saying, ‘I know who killed Anna Nicole.’”

At one point, Monroe was swarmed by a mob of adoring fans and look-alikes that quickly dispersed when the undead actress began eating their brains.

“It was awesome,” testifies local punk rocker, Slade, “There was blood and silicone flying all over the place!” Of course Monroe’s feasting on human flesh only bred more zombies, and Marilyn now has a small, but devoted, group of zombie disciples to aid her on her mission.

As the first stars of night began to twinkle far above the city lights, Sunset Blvd. became a scene of a macabre block party. Police were called in to deal with the mounting undead problem only to be added to their numbers when the officer’s guns failed to stop the zombie onslaught.

George Romero, whose movie “Night of the Living Dead” brought the zombie issue to the forefront of popular culture was brought in as an advisor. He was alive for exactly fifteen minutes before zombie Marilyn sucked out his brains through his nose.

Things are looking grim for the City of Angels. I don’t think I have much time left. I have to finish typing this email and send it to my editor beforeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee////.,njl

This Just In! New Scientific Evidence Finds that God Didn’t Create Universe

In a new study released this past week, scientists from the Society Under Council of Kooks and Assholes (SUCKAs) found that, contrary to popular religious belief, God didn’t create the universe.

“That’s right,” says Fred Mosely, chief scientist and media spokesman for SUCKA. “God didn’t actually create the universe. We’ve known this for a long time. A long standing question in the scientific community has been, ‘since there is absolutely no way a God could’ve created the universe, what else could’ve possibly happened’?”

When asked who or what created the universe Mosely responds, “Well, for a while, we thought it was gravity. But it turns out it’s this guy named Maurice Mapleton.”

The discovery came when SUCKA scientists happened across an image of Mapleton’s tool shed on Google Maps.

“We got excited pretty quickly,” admits Thane Shaneson, “I mean, we’ve never seen a tool shed like that before. “

So what makes Maurice’s tool shed more special than anyone else’s (including his neighbor, Lou’s)?

“If you look right here,” Shaneson says pointing to a blurry spot in the blurry satellite photo. “That’s the smokestack for a Darkmatter Oven. Once we got inside we found all kinds of tools. Chaos Hammers, Gravity Generators, Universal Star Exploders, Black Hole Vacuums. The list goes on. I’m telling you, this guy has EVERYTHING! He can not only create universes, he can destroy them. He’s pretty much my new hero.”

“We’re in the process of heavily kissing his ass,” Mosely admits sheepishly. “The uses for this kind of technology are almost limitless. We’re talking to the moon! And even further than that!”

When asked where and how he came by all of these unique items Maurice shrugs. “Just had ‘em layin around ya know? Fiddled around with ‘em here an’ there afta I retired. I didn’t ‘spect nuthin’ like this ta happen, that’s fer sure.” He finishes with a toothless smile that will melt your heart and make you confess your sins. “Afta that big boom, I thought I was in some real trouble fer sure! But it weren’t nothin’ but a bunch of new neighbors movin’ in. Used’ta be so quiet in these parts, ya know?” He shrugs again and loads an ample portion of chaw into his lip.

What does this mean for the planet’s billions of religious followers? Only time will tell. For now, Maurice still tinkers in his tool shed preparing something “special” he says is for all of humanity.
“Ya like fireworks?” he giggles and shuts the door, bolting it from the inside.

Yes, Maurice. We do like fireworks.

The Universe as I see it: Science vs. Paranormal Experiences

I’m going to say it. Mainstream Science has crossed a dangerous line. I’ve noticed this trend in the past few years and it is only getting worse. Being an amateur scholar of all things paranormal and spiritual, I study and delve into many of life’s inexplicable enigmas. My studies have shown me one very important lesson: the supernatural is a personal experience. Each person sees it and/or interacts with it in a way unique to them and their understanding. Or, they don’t interact with it at all because of preprogrammed worldviews and such. This is where Mainstream Science (and especially psychology) comes into play. More and more “studies” and “findings” are surfacing from the Mainstream Scientific community attempting to discredit or debunk paranormal experiences. I say “Mainstream Science” because that is the banner the proponents of these ideas hide behind. Whether or not these studies are sensationalist media isn’t the issue. What concerns me is that these ideas are pervading the worldviews of people everywhere and ultimately misleading them.

But why would Mainstream Science’s aggressively target paranormal and religious experiences? We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile toward religious and/or spiritual ideas and ideologies. Stephen Hawking boldly claimed in an interview with the Guardian that heaven was a belief for people afraid of the dark. Saying that death is like turning off a computer. He goes on to say that instead we should “seek the greatest value of our action”. This falls neatly in line with the thinking of Humanisim which is a secular alternative to theology or spirituality based religions. Isn’t that convenient? Just as our old spiritual traditions are being discarded, something new and fresh is waiting in the wings to replace it.

In order to replace religion you have to have tenets and beliefs. You have to have explanations for the inexplicable. You have to shape a new ideology to replace the old. So if there is no God, no heaven, no soul it stands to reason that things like ghosts, out-of-body experiences, spirits and astral travel are nonexistent as well. Now these things require new explanations stripped of spiritual significance. Psychology led the charge claiming most of the supernatural realm for itself. I believe psychology has a shaky history of the creation and diagnosis of mental disorders. It’s explanations for paranormal experiences aren’t much better in my opinion. What most of these explanations entail is nothing more than grouping loosely connected experiences together and tagging them with a new disorder effectively ostracizing anyone who claims to believe and/or had these experiences.

One of the favorite targets is sleep paralysis.

That’s right. All alien abductions, ghostly encounters, out of body experiences, lucid dreams, etc. are really nothing more than sleep paralysis. What causes sleep paralysis? What is it actually if not supernatural? Well, nobody really knows, but as long as it has a logical name and description attached to it by hack scientists, it must be real. In reality all they’ve done is group a bunch of supernatural experiences together and given it a secular name and cause. They’ve effectively stripped any of these experiences of their paranormal significance. Not only that, now anyone that claims to have experienced these things can be labeled as “abnormal” and in need of psychological treatment.

Check out what they’ve done to Near Death Experiences:

No worries. You didn’t really see Jesus and your Grandma at the end of the Tunnel of Light. No, that was just too much carbon dioxide in your brain. Don’t you feel better now knowing that when we die there is nothing but the Void for all eternity? Nothing but endless black. I don’t know about you, but that thought terrifies me. Give me an afterlife full of light, laughter and loved ones any day.

Or how about the “study into near death experiences” being done by doctors who place pictures on high shelves that can only be seen from the ceiling. The doctor behind the study says, “It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded. And if no one sees the pictures, it shows these experiences are illusions or false memories. This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study.” Imagine. Centuries of NDE accounts all thrown out the window because someone didn’t see the pictures on the shelf when they were having their out-of-body experience.

Or what about how a belief in religion, superstition, and/or conspiracy theories can be conveniently attributed to a lack of control? The basic premise behind this idea is that people turn to superstion, religion and/or conspiracy theories when they “feel like they don’t have control in their lives”.

In conclusion I say, “Seriously Mainstream Science? Seriously?” The causes of any of the above mentioned experiences still remain a mystery. The fact that these mysteries exist and will always exist, suggests that there are workings in the universe outside of our normal scope. There are processes we can’t understand (and probably never will) with science. Don’t get me wrong. Science is great for understand the PHYSICAL processes of the universe. But, the spiritual and physical worlds exist beside one another. And you can’t measure physically what exists spiritually.

“Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.” Albert Einstein

No scientist really knows why we suffer from Sleep paralysis, have Near Death Experiences or hold religion in our hearts and minds. They aren’t infallible or all knowing, though most would have you believe otherwise. All they have are theories and speculations just like the rest of us. Regarding the paranormal, what most of these secular prophets would have you believe is that there is nothing to believe in. It all depends on which theory or speculation you choose to ascribe to. Whichever one speaks to your heart. Hmmm…sounds a lot like religion. Have you had your Secular Saltine Supper today?

Where did the Oscars go wrong?

Wow. Just wow. Let me start out by saying that I’ve been disenchanted with the Oscars and their whole “nomination” process for years. This year I wondered what was going on with them because of the deplorable state of Hollywood’s creative energies. This is probably the worst. year. ever. Never fails to amaze/ disgust me.

“Midnight in Paris” is all over the place. Best picture, original screenplay, director, blah, blah, blah. If you’ve read my blog, you know how I feel about Woody Allen’s latest opus. Let me just say that I stand by my abhorrence of his movie. There is no way it deserves ANY of the awards it’s nominated for.

Next there is “Moneyball”. Seriously? Moneyball? Was the Academy trying to make Jonah Hill feel good about himself and his career? Or was it a Brad Pitt thing? Because the movie had one of the most boring stories I’ve seen all year. The movie ran around 2:10 and felt like 5 or 6 hours. It was “The Social Network” for baseball fans. If you want to do a movie about numbers in baseball, do a movie about Pete Rose. Hell, even let Brad Pitt play him. At least it’d be interesting.

I can’t believe “Tree of Life” made it anywhere near a nomination. I could only get through 15 minutes of that piece of work. I felt like I should’ve been watching it in some artsy theater surrounded by snooty academics in Cosby sweaters. Throw in soy lattes for the full effect. Either that, or I should’ve been watching it on massive amounts of psychedelics. At least the dreary, disjointed story and constant bombardment of weird images would’ve made sense. Who knows? I might even have dug out the meaning of life if I wasn’t desperately trying to reach the DVD player to stop the torture.

Sigh. Nothing sacred anymore. Forget the Oscars. Forget them all over the place. This year, I’m having an anti-Oscar party. And every time Woody Allen is mentioned, we all take a shot to forget the pain. Yeah, that sounds like a riot.

Frederico’s Flamenco Act: 2 Scene: Uno

So I wrote this place once called “The Erotic Incarnations of Princess Plum”. This play actually had a stage life. It was awesome. Needless to say, that play spawned other plays in the same vein. I compiled them all into a book called “A Hollow Monk’s Dreams”. (You can download the ebook version for 99 cents right now!)

This is an excerpt from one of those plays. It’s my Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired play where fairies wreak havoc on the lives of innocent mortals. In this case, the fairies are mucking up the wedding of the Princess of Swords and Generic Dan. This is causing the Princess’s mother, the Queen of Swords, no end of trouble.

Black. From onstage you hear QUEEN OF SWORDS give an “Ah ha!” of triumph and GENERIC DAN (in full Giant Albino Chicken gear) squawks in fear. Lights up. QUEEN OF SWORDS is facing GENERIC DAN ready to pounce. The QUEEN OF SWORDS is holding a knife and they are circling each other slowly. GENERIC DAN is clucking in warning and caution while the QUEEN OF SWORDS is taunting him. She stabs at him occasionally and GENERIC DAN jumps back.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: I’ve finally found you, you feathered fecal smear! Tear my daughter’s dress will you? I’ll show you what happens to those that cross me wrong!

GENERIC DAN: (insistently) Cluck! Cluck-cluck-cluck! Bawk! Bawk! (throw in a wing gesture or two)

QUEEN OF SWORDS: What was that? I’ll not be addressed by a Giant Bird in such a manner!

QUEEN OF SWORDS lunges at DAN and begins to chase him. He is clucking hysterically. He turns to face QUEEN OF SWORDS after a moment and knocks the knife from her hand. She then resorts to choking him and he returns the favor. PAN enters in the middle of this and watches for a while before he steps in to break it up.

PAN: My queen, I assure you, my chicken is gentle and deserves no choking of any kind.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: Balderdash! He shredded the Princess’s wedding dress and has ultimately caused a three day delay in the very wedding itself.

PAN: (to GENERIC DAN) Does she speak true? (GENERIC DAN shrugs helplessly.) You dreadful little imp! I turn my back for a moment and you start spreading chaos without me? Nasty! Bad chicken! (PAN turns back to QUEEN OF SWORDS) You really must forgive him. I’m sure he had his reasons. I mean, He’s a Giant Albino Chicken for Oberon’s sakes! What’d you expect?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: I expected a bit of training and restraint.

PAN: Come now! He’s under a lot of stress lately!

QUEEN OF SWORDS: Chickens can’t be stressed even if they are Giant and Albino in nature.

PAN: Well you tell him that. Go ahead, he’s right here. Go on.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: What if I give him a few hurtful pokes with my blade instead?

PAN: No, no. I’m sure that won’t do. We must give our fowl friend a fighting chance. I know! We can play a game. If you win, I’ll give you Lou, here.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: And on the off chance that you arise victorious?

PAN: Well, given your obviously unstable nature and tendency towards violence involving weapons of a prickly nature, I think you should be remanded to the Isolation Chamber.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: What are you jabbering about? Isolation Cell indeed!

PAN: It’s Isolation Chamber Chamber.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: What be it, whatever it’s called?

PAN: It’s really the most gnarly place you’ll ever visit. Imagine a world where you can view all that goes on but cannot affect it in any way. Your presence is completely undetected. That’s exactly what it’s like, only the picture is better. What think you?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: Methinks that it sounds like something that fell out of your chicken’s arse!

PAN: (bows humbly) You are most possibly absolutely correct, my vicious Queen. I am but a mad fool after all. No station or birth to speak of, not me. Just a flea really. And everyone who is three plus one kens that the gods smile on nobility and the rich first because that’s who really pays their bills.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: How very true. (beat as she thinks) So be it. After all, this is a time of fellowship being a wedding. And I could use your friend here to replace the meat for the feast that was mysteriously stolen from the butcher’s last evening…

PAN: My thoughts exactly, except on a much more humble scale than your own…

QUEEN OF SWORDS: What’s the game, tell me that first.

PAN: I’m glad you asked! (pulls out deck) I call this one “Guess the card.” See, you cut the deck any way you want then I guess the card that’s on top.


PAN: Deliriously, even.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: You are a mad fool. (Grabs deck and cuts it. She hold it out to PAN) Tell me.

PAN: (gazes at deck and names card. QUEEN OF SWORDS turns it over and cries out in surprise.) Hum. Well you know what they say, “Winners win and losers suck.”

QUEEN OF SWORDS yells and tries to attack PAN when FAIR enters.

FAIR: Halt!

PAN: Problems, my Queen?

FAIR: Aye. I don’t like this scene. As a matter of fact, stop it all. Can I get everyone up here, please? (Entire Cast to this point enters) Take a seat, will you? (All Sit) Listen, I’m not sure about you guys, but I don’t like where this is going.

DEWDROP CHILD: Where’s it going?

FAIR: That’s just it. You can tell exactly where it’s going.


FAIR: Point is, that’s very uncharacteristic of our guy.

PRINCESS OF SWORDS: I see what you mean. He does just sort of let it flow, doesn’t he? Writes as he sees and all that.

FAIR: Exactly. But this? This isn’t what happened! Not really. I mean, he started out good. But it just sort of…

GENERIC DAN: Got stale?

FAIR: Maybe not so harsh, Generic Dan. He can be a bit oversensitive when he feels vulnerable.

GENERIC DAN: What then?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: Perhaps it lost a bit of its luster?

FAIR: I like the way that sounds. Slightly positive with a wholly negative undertone. Brilliant.

DOLORIA WILD: What should we do then?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: Well, I for one don’t want to be imprisoned in the Containment Ward.

PAN: It’s Isolation Chamber!


PAN: And you most certainly will be imprisoned because you lost.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: You cheated!

PAN: I did not! What is it with you people?

FAIR: Pan, enough! She’s right. The Isolation Chamber need not be used here.

GENERIC DAN: If I may interject…

PAN: No! No you may not! Next you’ll be saying you don’t want to be Lou any longer.

GENERIC DAN: I couldn’t have concocted it better myself, milord.

PAN: This sucks. No one plays fair. (begins pouting and FAIR leans over and whispers into his ear. He smiles mischievously) Aye. Aye, that’ll do ‘em just fine.


PAN Shrugs and ignores the QUEEN OF SWORDS. Enter the PARDONER and the SUMMONER. Both are arguing about the texture of the Crown of Thorns and whether or not angels softened it into a crown of lilies. As a result, they are completely oblivious to their new surroundings. They reach center stage and stop, gazing confusedly around. They see the cast staring at them and walk over to where they are seated.

PARDONER: (To Dewdrop) I say, know you the right and proper way back to the road to Canterbury? It seems my cohort and I have lost our ways. See, we were traveling with a group of pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Thomas a’Beckett…you’ve heard of it? (All look at each other in confusion)

DOLORIA WILD: Oh! St. Thomas A’ Beckett?

PARDONER: Yes, yes! That’s the one!

DOLORIA WILD: Nope. Never heard of it.

SUMMONER: I dare say we’ve wandered into some fool’s nightmare.

FAIR: Tis more of an Idiot’s Dream, but wandered? Nay. Not even, Steven.

PARDONER: What then?

PAN: Then it’s odd, Claude.

FAIR: Pan, please. (to PARDONER) You were borrowed.

PARDONER: Borrowed?

FAIR: Aye.

SUMMONER: By whom?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: By our guy.

SUMMONER: Does our guy know?

FAIR: I don’t see how it’s important. Your guy’s dead.


PAN: Dead as Disco. For many hundreds of years and countless other here’s.

PARDONER: Be there a reason we were borrowed?

QUEEN OF SWORDS: As a matter of fact, there is. We need a priest. Ours seems to have come down with the chicken flu or some such bug, shortly after breakfast.

SONATA UNUSUAL: How painstakingly convenient! Can one of ye be a priest?

PARDONER: I do pardon people’s sins allowing them entrance into heaven.

SUMMONER: And I summon people to receive God’s justice for their wrongs.

SONATA UNUSUAL: That is beautifully paradoxical.

QUEEN OF SWORDS: That’ll work. Maybe in the gods’ eyes the two of you together will make one real priest.

Fade Lights.

Rage Against the Juice: Pappy’s Infernal Contract

Read Part 1. The Mighty Morass demands it.

The plan was simple.

1. Seek vengeance on Pappy in a horrible manner befitting the reputation of the Mighty Morass. Said vengeance would then send a ripple of terror throughout the Nord Juice community, eventually striking at the very core of the operation resulting in a fear-induced implosion of Nord Juice and all associated with it.

2. Stop at café for tea and cakes.

Easy as a Venuvian prostitute, right? Wrong. Of all the days to unleash his wrath, Morass picked Two Bit Tirsday. Every last sweaty bum with a litter of critters had packed themselves into the bazaar like desperate sardines. Worse, the whole place smelled like fish and body odor, or fishy body odor. Morass despised the bazaar for these reasons. That’s why he opened his shop in a back alley next to the alehouse district. There the air stank of beer and unprotected sex. It was the lesser of two evils.

“That’s Pappy’s stall there,” Mak pointed with a meaty finger to a stall surrounded by gruff over-muscled individuals. “He’s pretty busy. We may have to wait a while.”

“Wait? The Mighty Morass doesn’t wait! People wait for him!” He tugged the leash of his dead shop boy turned zombie, Ricardo. “C’mon Ricky. Let’s see how they fare against a flesh-starved zombie minion.” He shoved his way through the crowd of bargain shoppers, thankful for Ricky’s safety muzzle. The last thing a Necromancer wants is an unmitigated zombie outbreak. They go feral that way. Nothing worse than a feral zombie. Well, that’s not true. The bazaar was worse. And the fact that Mak followed behind chanting , “Bazaaargh!” like it was a pirate’s mantra did nothing to improve Morass’s experience.

He broke through the throng covered in other people’s sweat and missing his coin purse and stood before Pappy’s stall, waiting to be recognized. When business continued oblivious to the necromancer’s presence he loudly cleared his throat. When this failed to garner attention he took his staff and whacked the nearest Juicer across the back.

The man yelped and spun around, fists ready to fly. “What’d you do that for?”

“I need to speak to Pappy.” Morass stared hard at the man’s good eye.

“We all need to speak to Pappy, you old goat. Wait your turn like the rest of us.” He turned back to his business leaving Morass stewing.

“Do not trifle with me!” warned the wizard. “I command the undead!”

Still he was ignored by the ignorant.

“Need any help?” offered Mak.

“You dare suggest the Mighty Morass needs ‘help’? Hah! Watch and be amazed at my prowess!” The wizard removed Ricky’s muzzle. “Get ‘em boy!”

Ricky pounced on the nearest Juicer moaning, “Braaaaaaiiiinnsss”, in glorious undead rapture.

The oaf screamed like a barmaid and yelled, “Zombie!” just as Ricky dug out his first eyeball. By the time Ricky had torn out his throat, the other churlish individuals around Pappy’s stall had joined the fight. They dismembered the boyish zombie with extreme prejudice. Once they dispatched of Ricky they turned that callous prejudice on the Mighty Morass.

“Don’t take a single step!” demanded Morass. “I am the Mighty Morass! Necromancer and wielder of the Dark Powers! I will devour each and every one of your souls!”

“The Mighty Morass?” said one brute jokingly. “More like the Might Bore-ass!”

Laughter broke out among the group of ruffians.

“More like the Mighty Sore-Ass!” laughed another.

More heehawing from the goon squad.

Fury, mixed with heavy helpings of humiliation and indignation, bubbled in Morass’s gut. This emotional alchemy stewed and festered in his stomach, blending into a deadly power that he hadn’t felt in years. “I’m warning you!”

“Aww look,” another surly Juicer whined, “Looks like Princess Pretty-Ass is gonna cry.”

That was the last straw. Morass puked a column of flame from the very pits of his bowels. The first two Juicers in the inferno’s path dodged neatly. But the third was busy brokering a Nord Juice deal with Pappy. He turned around just in time to get blasted in his face. He instantly disintegrated into cinders.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” hooted Morass and burped a tendril of smoke.

The gang of thugs stared at the heap of ashes and then slowly turned their gazes to the necromancer.

“There’s more where that came from!” yelled the wizard threateningly.

“Get him!” roared somebody and the Juicers descended on Morass, pummeling him with fists, kicks, or Ricky’s limbs.

During the skirmish nobody noticed Mak walk quietly to Pappy’s table, pay for three Nord Juices (with Morass’s coin purse) and finish them all in quick succession, smashing the empty bottles against his head. Nobody noticed him grab the nearest Juicer by the neck and squeeze until the man’s head popped like a pimple. Only a few brutes noticed Mak’s eyes, so bloodshot they blazed fire, and his veins throbbing against his skin. But that was all they saw before the raging barbarian smashed them to gooey pulp. The remaining doomed bastards tried to mount a counter offensive, but they might as well have been throwing sand bags at a tsunami. Mak didn’t feel remorse, guilt or pain. He was consumed within the red-tinged world of the Rage. And since he’d tripled the recommended dose, he was teetering dangerously close to the edge of psychosis. He tore a swath of violence and blood through the remaining Juicers and then pounced on the prone Morass.

“What are you doing?” shrieked the mage. “Don’t you know who I am? You crazy oaf! Get off of me!”

Mak didn’t hear him or (more likely) didn’t care. He raised his fists to smash the necromancer’s skull when he suddenly froze. His eyes went wide and he toppled over, stiff as a plank and staring blankly at the sky.

Morass thanked the Nether Void for sparing him Its eternal embrace for one more day and opened his eyes.

Pappy leaned over him, smiling a toothless smile. “Lemme help you up there.” He hauled Morass to his feet and dusted him off.

Morass pushed him away. “I’m fine, thank you.”

“Quite a mess here,” said Pappy pleasantly.

Morass scanned the now-empty bazaar, impressed with Mak’s knack for total havoc. “The guard will be by shortly to clean it up, I’m sure.”

Pappy laughed. “You kidding? That was the guard.” He poked Mak with his cane. “This your barbarian?”

“I suppose.”

“Nice. Firm. Good muscle. You could get two bits on the pound for ‘em at the Meat Market. I know a guy.”

“Two bits?” Morass scoffed. “I was thinking more like four.”

“Yeah right. Might get you two and a half. Cain’t get anything for ‘em all Stuck like that, though.”

“Is that what’s wrong with him? He’s Stuck?”

“Yup. Sometimes, these Juicers, they get a little Juice happy, ya ken? Then they over-Juice and stroke out. The lucky ones die. The rest of ‘em poor bastards end up Stuck.”

“Well how do you unstick them? He’s really a key part of my whole vengeance plan.”

Pappy shrugged. “Nobody really kens. ‘Cept maybe Raphael Esperanza.”

“Oh that’s a pretty name.”

“Ain’t it?”

“Flows smoothly off the tongue. Not like those Scandic names. With all their “J’s” and free floating periods and such. Raphael Esperanza. Who is he?”

“He’s the man behind Nord Juice, that’s who.”

“Where can I find him?”

“Ya cain’t. Now, what brings you to my stall today?”

“Revenge. See, I recently lost my familiar Sir Trollop to a Nord Juice attack.”

“Tragic. What’d you want me to do about it?”

“I’m glad you asked. Hold this,” Morass handed Pappy his staff and dug around in his voluminous robes. He hooted in triumph and presented a scroll to Pappy and snatched his staff back. “Read this. Out loud, if you will.”

“Well alright.” Pappy pulled out his spectacles and peered at the document. “Let’s see here…I, the forenamed reader do hereby grant the Mighty Morass permission to transmute my physical form into that of a swamplands warted bull-toad for the purposes of familiar-ship. Signed with my immortal soul. As I speak, it shall be so.” The Juice peddler looked up at Morass. “Pretty crappy poem if you ask me.”

“Not a poem,” cackled Morass evilly, “An Infernal Contract. I own you now, Pappy. Mind, Soul and warty body. Now you will suffer the wrath of the Mighty Morass! ”

Devilish tendrils of energy rose from the earth and surrounded Pappy, encasing him in a cocoon of devious magic. His terrified screams turned into frantic ribbits and the demonic tendrils retreated into the earth leaving the new Pappy croaking in a pool of his own toad piss.

Morass scooped him up and deposited him into his robe. He’d pump the toad for information later. His quest for vengeance wasn’t over. He was closer to the heart of Nord Juice than he’d ever been. Revenge was nigh. Raphael Esperanza (that sure was a pretty name, *sigh*) would Unstick his barbarian before he met his death at the Mighty Morass’s hands. And then, the total collapse of the Nord Juice industry. All in a day’s work for an all-powerful necromancer. Now it was time for tea and cakes, but first he had a mess to clean up.

To Whom It May Concern

To Whom It May Concern:

This is why you can’t forget. This is the reason that you can’t disconnect. This is the reason there are silent phone calls from lonely hands desperately clinging to the receiver, determined not to miss a single uttered syllable.

This is the reason there are those cliché chance meetings of old memories in cute places like mall parking lots.

This is the reason that desire is ensnared by trembling lips (oh how it wishes to be set free, to become substantial. It waits impatiently to express itself as a timid confession, or an illusionary caress trapped between fantasy and reality. [You want it to be real so bad you can taste it. We all can.] )

This is the reason you tremble. Your body’s soft tremors explode upon you as the titillating crescendo of hellish pleasure confiscates your starving nerve endings and makes them its own.

This is what intrigues you to the point of insanity. You want to know so bad—to be a part of it—to become a part of it. This is your channel to the chaos of life, of existence outside the American Dream. This is the spirit of Lord Byron, of Jack Kerouac, of Shakespeare.

These are emotions we can’t control. These are the tsunamis of Fortune crashing over us while we atone ourselves with a constant flow of sacrificial tears.

This is a fact: “They say that if your pupils are dilated when you are talking to somebody it means you are attracted to them.” See what happens when angels whisper the secrets of God into the ears of sleeping men? Now we spend all of our time gazing into the eyes of the potential authors of our epic love story (searching for a great cavern of endless black hope).

This is a timid confession: When you look into my eyes, it feels like you are trying to break through the shallow surface and journey farther down the rarely-trodden paths that lead to those places where the most tender perceptions lie . Sometimes I wonder if you are trying to explore the barriers of my soul in hopes of discovering that tiny infraction, that one open spot that will allow you to enter triumphantly. What then? Would you explore all that you saw? Gracious God forgive us, we have sinned. This is just an issue, an unexpected pleasure brought to us by Fate (sweet blessings upon her, whoever she is).

These are the scenes from the life of a screaming god. I would wake up but this has become all that is real to me. What am I going to do? Am I Cursed? Sometimes it feels like a hopeless burden ( or an exquisite torture). Yes I cry. But who doesn’t cry because beauty always lies? Change your mind. Do it. If it were that easy it wouldn’t be worth it. So I remain unrated, hopelessly fated, never jaded, and elegantly understated. I don’t know what to do. For when I dream now, there are things like sitting on fallen trees in sunlit woods and laughing about the notion of it and smiles that cover faces like murals of joy.

That is what this is. If it were a color it would be all of them at once. If it were a hologram of Shakespeare it would flirt with your muse. If it were the Penguin King it would commit suicide (sadly, some cannot cope with universal shifting. The burden of Chaos becomes too much for them). If it were Buddha it would be going home. And if it were jack shit, more people would know it.

Day Trippin: Los Lunas Mystery Rock

New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment. It’s where I was born and raised. As a kid and a young adult, I explored much of the beauty of New Mexico. Carlsbad Caverns, Bottomless Lakes, Lincoln, The Sandia Mountains, Jemez Mountains are just a few of the places I’ve adventured. But New Mexico offers so much more. There really is a kind of magic here. An enchantment, if you will, that surrounds and permeates the land and the people that populate it. In an effort to see more of New Mexico’s mysterious and magical places, some friends and I have decided to do one adventure a month to all the magical places we’ve never been. Hence, the trek to the Los Lunas Mystery Rock.

The rock has a wiki site, if you’d like to read the longer history. For those of you in love with brevity, the mystery rock is an 80 ton rock with the 10 commandments carved into it. As if that isn’t a metaphorical feat in itself, in addition the commandments were written in a Semitic language that dates to 1000 B.C.! The enigma has been there for a while and has a history of confusing the native Americans which named the rock and the mountain it rests near, “Mystery Mountain”.

Despite being located near the Los Lunas Landfill, Mystery Mountain is an impressive site. We had to hop two fences (with barbed wire) and trek through an arroyo to get to the mountain, but it wasn’t a bad hike. It only took us about 30 minutes to reach the rock itself. My first impression was that the rock was awe-inspiring and certainly mysterious. It was carved in a remote spot with diligence and expertise. The letters weren’t scratched into the rock like the rest of the graffiti around the place, but were actually chiseled into the stone. There was a lot of graffiti around the stone, places were people have left their own mark. I wondered what it is about places like this that compel people to add to them? I’ve seen several petroglyph sites and all of them have their fair share of recent(ish) graffiti. “J hearts M”, MG was Here, “Sore Foot Gulch 1957” were only a few of the desecrations I saw around the Rock. It occurred to me then that people that stumbled on places of power were always compelled to mark it for its own sake. People mark these places or build structures to commemorate them because of the power that area exudes.

Something compelled not only the Mystery Rock artisans to work here, but native American populations as well. Once we hiked to the top of Mystery Mountain we uncovered many Native American petroglyphs as well as what appeared to be the remains of several structures.

People lived here. I kept getting the impression that this was where old spirits dwelt.

The hike to the top of Mystery Mountain was rough. Loose rock, mud and ice tested our endurance with every step.

The wind was awful, literally trying to blow us off the mountain. We stopped for a rest in an old wind-break.

But even with an angry wind making us suffer for our trespass, the views from atop Mystery Mountain could not be spoiled.

All in all, it was a great adventure. While the mystery of Mystery Rock remains unsolved, the area itself still holds an enchanting power and beckons all adventurers come who wish to uncover her secrets!

Rage Against the Juice

A fun fantasy fiction piece inspired by a writing prompt from obiwannabe.

The mage was sad. Sir Trollop, his favorite toad, had been his familiar since he was in diapers. So much love…affection…gone! Wiped out by that brutish oaf swinging a broadsword like a drum major’s baton. Fury swelled with the destructive magic inside him. First his store, now his toad. This had to stop.

“Hey!” he screamed at the barbarian.

The brute paid him no heed. He continued relishing in the chaos and destruction he was visiting on M&M Magical Mystery Museum and Gift Shop.

“I said HEY!” This time he screamed it with fury and that emotion transferred, as all magic does, into energy.

The wizened mage’s emotional manifestation splattered against the barbarian’s wide back like a raw egg. It slithered around slicker than snot and attached itself to the invader’s face.

This got the barbarian’s attention. He clawed his face and the invading magical emotion, howling like a werewolf in heat. Unfortunately, instead of halting the berserk frenzy of that oversized man-beast, the battle with the mage’s fury caused him to thrash around even more, sending over the remaining shelves and skewering the mage’s shop boy with his ultra-rare Wand of Many Miracles and Snake Oil Juicer (which was shattered in the process). That was it. Total ruination. The last bastion of the great and terrible mage, The Mighty Morass, had been obliterated by an over-muscled simpleton in a Nord Rage.

The mage spat in disgust, unable to believe that his power had come to this. It was only 253 years ago that the Mighty Morass first rose to the pinnacles of Infamy when he singlehandedly (well, he had help if you count his hordes of mindless zombies) conquered the city-state of Moist Gardens. No small feat right? Conquering a city-state and converting it into an undead factory must demand some kind of respect, right? Wrong. Mighty Morass was plagued by adventurers and would-be heroes for the next two centuries. Same story every time. They’d crash his gates, burn and pillage his city, murder scores of innocent zombies and high-tail it out with a chunk of his treasure or one of his magical trinkets. It was nonstop to the point of banality. These “adventurers” were really nothing more than bandits with a cause. They chiseled away at his resources and patience just like thieves until the mighty necromancer was forced to give. He barely escaped with his life on that day and he couldn’t help but cry as his city burned behind him. He’d been in retirement/ hiding ever since. Now all he had left was trashed by this imbecile caught in the throes of society’s newest demon: Nord Juice. Rage like a Viking!!! All the posters said. Rage indeed. They hadn’t seen rage like the Mighty Morass could rage. He’d find these Nord Juicers and rage them all night long. Starting with the offending oaf in his shop.

The barbarian had expended the very last of his wrath and now lay panting on the floor, the mage’s fury still dutifully clutched to his face like a little suckerfish. Morass leaned down and brushed the fury away.

“Are you awake? Can you hear me? You’ve destroyed everything! Everything! I’m going to disintegrate you!”

The barbarian looked frantically around, confusing leaking from his pores. “Where the hell am I? What the hell just happened? Who the hell are you old man?”

“Old man? Old man! I am the Mighty Morass! Great and Almighty Necromancer of Moist Gardens! And you, insolent barbarian, have obliterated all that I have left in the world.”

“Get out of here. You’re the Mighty Morass?”

“The one and only.”

“No way! This is great! I can’t believe I’m talking to the Mighty Morass. I loved all the bard’s stories about you as a kid.”

Morass inflated with pride. “Well, there are a few good ones,” he admitted.

“More than a few. Hey listen, can I get your autograph?”

“Well, I suppose I could manage a little something for such a dedicated fan. What shall I sign?”

The brute scrounged around the rubble until he found his broadsword. “Can you sign it, To my best friend, Mak the Knife. Always and forever, the Mighty Morass?”

“It’d be my pleasure. Now where is that runic chisel…”

“Real bummer what happened to your shop,” Mac said as he watched Morass carve the inscription into his blade. “If you want, I could help you find the guys that did this to you.”

Morass stopped his work and gazed hard at Mak. He couldn’t believe the stupidity of most people. But was it really stupidity? Or was it something else? Nord Juice could be the root of all of this. It wouldn’t be the first time society produced something self-destructive and then set it free on the masses. But somebody had to pay. Not only for the destruction of his shop, but for the deaths of Sir Trollop and his shop boy. True enough, torturing the idiot barbarian for his part in this would offer some small comfort, but there was a greater injustice here. If he had to blame someone, he might as well blame the demon. No telling how many other elderly wizards have been victims of Nord Rage. He’d be doing the world a favor. For once, he’d be the adventurer righting the wrongs and he liked the idea of that. “What do you know of Nord Juice?”

“I love that shit! Guzzle it like horse piss! Wait…are you saying that Nord Juice did this to you?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“Damn that’s hard.”

“Do you ever make sense?”


“Nevermind. Listen, I need to know where you got the Nord Juice from.”

“I get it from Pappy. Down in the bazaar. Don’t you think that’s a bizarre word? Bazaar. Say it like a pirate. Bazaarrgh!”

“Shut up,” snapped Morass. “I’m thinking.” Deviousness rose with the destructive magic inside him. Pappy. That hapless peddler would be the first to feel the vengeance of the Mighty Morass in over half a century. And to be honest, vengeance never felt so good. But first, he had to clean his shop.

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