Saturday, January 20, 2018

Silent Warrior, Chapter 3

Wandering through the high school hallways might as well have been an intercity marathon for Scott George. His legs felt as though they were tied to cinder blocks. His head hung low enough to obscure his vision. His breathing was shallow and measured. All he could muster up for dialogue was the occasional zombie groan. Exhaustion hit him like a baseball bat to the skull. Hell, any deadly blow would have been a welcome addition to this hellish day.

By the time he dragged his lifeless corpse into Tom Simpson’s history class, the teacher was already scribbling notes on the chalkboard and the rest of the students were either goofing around or filing in. As always, Scott took a seat in the back of the classroom and tucked his head low, which was a favorite tactic of his for avoiding Mr. Simpson’s attention. Scott rubbed his temples as a way of clearing up his blurry vision, but it was all for naught. Perhaps a trip to the vending machine before class for a Dr. Pepper would have woken his ass up. Too little too late. The buzzer blasted throughout the school to signify the first class of the day.

“Alright class, settle down! Take your seats! It’s time for the lesson to begin,” said Mr. Simpson in with Shakespearean authority. The students did exactly what he said, but there was still the occasional snicker from one or two of the quarterbacks. The history teacher straightened his flat black hair, moustache, and glasses before clearing his throat and officially addressing the class.

“Now then, when last we were together, we were on the topic of slavery in the United States. In 1843, the settlers…” To Scott, all of Mr. Simpson’s words started blending together and cannibalizing each other to where he was merely background noise on a TV. No different from a used car salesman. No different from a televangelist begging for cash. No different from a politician giving a boring speech on campaign finance reform (if that’s what it was called).

Scott could feel his eyelids growing with heaviness. No matter how hard he pulled them open, blurry vision would cloud his consciousness. The crescendo of exhaustion came in the form of an uncovered yawn that opened his mouth as wide as a Pink Floyd the Wall movie poster. What a familiar piece of cinema to him.

The thunderous pounding on his desk jolted Scott awake and quickened his pulse to at least a thousand beats per minute. Somehow Mr. Simpson had teleported to the back of the class and stared him down with malicious intent. “If you’re going to yawn in my class, cover your mouth first. Nobody wants to see what’s inside of that thing.” As Mr. Simpson made his way back to the chalkboard, Scott’s muscles tensed as the other students gave him mocking smiles.

“As I was asking you all,” said Mr. Simpson. “Does anybody have an example of what a slave’s living conditions were like?” The class was silent. “Anybody?” Still silent. “Oh, Mr. George, how about you?”

“I…uh…” Scott’s lips quivered as he struggled to find his words. “I didn’t raise my hand.”

“I really don’t give a damn where your hand was, Mr. George. I asked you a question and I expect an answer. Your grade depends on it,” lashed Mr. Simpson, to which the other students snickered at Scott again. The introverted student felt his cheeks warm up like a coffee pot as he struggled for more words. “Out with it, Scott!” belted the teacher.

“They slept in….shopping carts?” Scott mentally kicked himself so hard that he could have been a professional Muay Thai fighter in another life. Another possible occupation would have been comedian since the entire class burst into laughter and Mr. Simpson held his temples between his thumb and forefinger.

“No, no, no, no, no!” rambled the teacher while throwing his chalk to the ground. “The slaves did not sleep in shopping carts! When I first said at the beginning of the semester that class participation counted towards your grade, I did not mean giving foolish answers that you clearly pulled out of your posterior! Try again!”

A sea of chuckles and hateful smiles spread out across the classroom and Scott George was the captain of his own capsized boat. He drowned in embarrassment and anger rolled into one as his entire body heated up even faster. Mr. Simpson wasn’t even close to being as hideous as Aloysius Striker, but Scott kept his vengeful response measured anyways. “I guess that’ll be the last time I speak up in class.”

“So what you’re trying to tell me is that you’re willing to take a C or a D because you gave one stupid answer? Is that how you got to the senior level of this school? By giving up easily?”

“The truth is!” belted Scott, silencing the classroom gigglers. “It wouldn’t have mattered if I gave you a better answer like sleeping on mesh beds. It wouldn’t have meant a damn thing if I told you that’s where the phrase Nighty-Night, Sleep Tight came from. You know why? Because you wouldn’t have taken my answer seriously anyways. Anytime I’ve given you an answer, all you said was Okay and then left me hanging. And why aren’t you doing anything about these laughing pieces of shit?!”

Mr. Simpson wagged his finger at Scott and said, “Watch your language with me, young man. I don’t care how justified in your opinion you think you are; it doesn’t excuse such disgusting speech.”

“Disgusting speech?!” snapped Scott as he smacked his palms on the table. “Your students are fucking laughing at me and you’re calling ME disgusting? Is this how you treat all of your introverted students? By humiliating the shit out of them?!”

“Two things, Mr. George” sneered the teacher while folding his arms across his blue flannel shirt. “One, if I catch you using those words again, you’re getting thirty minutes of detention after school. And secondly, you can’t use some pop science personality test to justify not speaking up in class like you’re supposed to. All you had to do was give me a reasonable answer and instead you said shopping carts! Shopping carts! For god’s sake, Scott, get it together!”

“Yeah, Scott, get it together!” said a football jock off in the front corner, which earned a round of hideous laughter from the other students.

Every immature cackle sent a surge of lava hot adrenaline through Scott George’s body. His stomach twisted in painful knots. His head ached worse than a football concussion. His vision glowed bright red as he scanned the room for his first victim. He didn’t have to look hard to find his next form of pyromantic speech. “Shut the fuck up and stop laughing!” he screamed before shooting to his feet and throwing a garbage bin at the jock.

“Hey! Hey! Hey!” Mr. Simpson snapped, shutting the class up immediately. He pointed at the mocking football player and said, “I’ll deal with you later. As for you, Mr. George, I told you exactly what was going to happen if you swore again, so try not to be too surprised by the consequences. Thirty minutes of detention after school with me!”

“Like I’m going to show up!” said Scott as he sat back down and folded his arms.

Mr. Simpson’s face molded into weaponized anger as he marched towards Scott, placed his hands on either side of the desk, and stared directly into his introverted student’s puffy eyes. With a calm, yet sinister tone, he said, “Believe me, Mr. George, you will show up today after school. We’re going to clean up this classroom together. We’re going to spend some quality time with each other. And if you don’t show up to detention…a laughing football jock will be the least of your worries. Do you understand me, Mr. George? Do you catch my drift? Or do you need to recharge your introverted batteries and think about it some more?”

Scott spent the rest of the class trying to control his mild shivers. The rest of the class had nothing to laugh at anymore as they too stared on with trepidation. Mr. Simpson marched back to the chalkboard, scribbled some more notes (with a new piece of chalk), and glared at his students. “Since none of you feel like giving me the answers I need in a typical conversation, perhaps you’d be willing to do so on a pop quiz. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil. There are twenty questions on this assignment.”

Scott’s shivering intensified gradually as the other students glared at him with a sarcastic “Thanks a lot” stare. He couldn’t even hold his pencil and paper still as he took the pop quiz. Some of his answers looked reasonable while most looked like chicken scratch. He hurried through the questions so that he could curl back into his corner faster. He wished the buzzer would hurry up as well. Oh, what he’d give to lock himself in a bathroom stall or a janitor’s closet. What he’d give to release the tears that built up within his system. He’d give his left nut if it meant he could punch the shit out of Mr. Simpson until the end of time. Blood and tears were a tastier and more intoxicating cocktail than the finest of wines.


But before that fantasy could come to fruition one of these days, there was the ever looming timestamp in his mind of thirty long minutes. Thirty minutes of mockery. Thirty minutes of agony. Thirty minutes of hatred. The mental timestamp should have just read five minutes, because that was all Scott George needed to blow his stack and go into a rampage. Five minutes alone. What a glorious usage of time. Maybe he wouldn’t show up to detention just to spare Mr. Simpson the beating he rightfully deserved. Such a noble act of consideration from a guy whose blood boiled like a cauldron.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Silent Warrior, Chapter 2

Scott didn’t even bother trying to look presentable for his classes that morning. His chestnut Sideshow Bob hair jutted in every direction humanly possible. His gray sweatpants overflowed with bagginess, thought they managed to stay above his waist. The holes in his plain black T-shirt didn’t reveal much, but they were noticeable to anybody with at least twenty-forty vision. He didn’t even bother to grab a bite to eat before he left the house. Even a strawberry Pop Tart would have resembled worms after that screwed up dream. Plus, it would have probably tasted like stomach acid and oral shit.

Without saying goodbye to his single mother, Scott popped his ear buds in and scrolled through his MP3 player looking for a good song. He kept his chin tucked the whole time and bumped into a few fellow students along the way to the bus stop. No apologies were necessary, because the hostile cursing from the other kids made reconciliation futile. By the time the bus arrived and Scott took a seat devoid of human contact, he finally found the song he was looking for: “Say Goodnight” by Gemini Syndrome.

“It's time to say goodnight to the nightmare as it gently falls asleep. / Another restless night, another show plays in my head. / It seems to never end. / Another hopeless plight, another cold and empty bed, / And the solitude again. / How can I live this lie again?”

It was always amazing to Scott how a voice normally used for screaming heavy metal lyrics was capable of taking the edge off every now and then. Despite knowing what the subconscious theater had in store for him, Scott allowed Aaron Nordstrom’s golden voice lull him into such a relaxed state that he rested his head against the seat in front of him. This was the major difference between being exhausted and being at peace. His eyelids grew heavier even as the mildly intense guitars hummed in his ears.

Scott could have fallen asleep on this bus and stayed here for all eternity. Let the truant officers drag his ass out kicking and screaming. Let the police handcuff his wrist to the desk. One man’s truancy was another man’s peaceful resistance. It was peaceful enough for Scott to snore rather loudly on the bus and attract the attention of the other students. If they did giggle at him, he couldn’t tell because of Aaron Nordstrom and his godlike passion for music.

Just like the puppet strings in his latest nightmare, Scott was jerked awake by the sudden impact of thick fists slamming down on the backrest in front of him. His heart thumped like a war drum and his bloodshot eyes nearly popped out of his skull at the sight of Alan Young, a kid he knew since middle school, emphasis on kid. With a stocky frame, the world’s meanest eyes, a drill instructor haircut, and fists covered in scars, he could easily be Scott’s worst nightmare, Aloysius Striker aside.

“Wakey-wakey, little bitch!” Alan mocked. “You look just like a little bitty baby with a thumb in your mouth! Does the big baby want his bottle? Does he need to be burped? Or maybe you need to have your big smelly diaper changed! It must be all that shitty music you listen to! I bet you’ve got some Justin Bieber on there, you little fairy!” That last line got a few chuckles from the other students.

In no mood to take crap from anyone, Scott fired back with, “You know what I’m listening to right now? A thirty minute track of your mother having an orgasm. Guess who gave it to her.” The kids on the bus gave their obligatory “ooos” to the response.

Alan also gave off an “ooo”, but only out of sarcasm. He even wiggled his fingers at Scott to show how “scared” he was. “Look at you, Scotty-Potty! The big baby’s using big boy words! You’d better be careful with that mouth of yours or else I might have to spank you!” Another chorus of laughter echoed throughout the bus.

“Look, if you want to grab my ass that badly, you should probably take me out on a movie date first,” said Scott. After another string of “ooos”, he punctuated his insult with, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it!”

Alan’s joyful bully expression morphed into humiliated anger, his jowls drooping like a Bassett Hound. He grabbed Scott’s cheeks and squeezed them together tightly. “Seriously, you little cunt, you’d better shut that big mouth of yours. Don’t forget who the real bitch in this relationship is. Maybe instead of giving you a spanking, I’ll give you a free colonoscopy.”

Scott grabbed Alan’s thick wrist and clamped down so hard that the bully was forced to let go. Mr. Young’s jowls wiggled in pain, but he wouldn’t allow a scream to exit his mouth so easily. Scott’s face also trembled, but only because he scalded with rage. “You put your hands on me one more time and I’ll rip your fucking head off. You aren’t using it anyways, so it won’t be a big loss.”

Alan jerked his hand out of Scott’s anaconda grip and attempted to throw a punch. The victim ducked down far enough to avoid having his face turned into Floydian sausage. Scott responded by grabbing the back of Alan’s pug-like skull and forcing his throat over the backrest, cutting off his oxygen to the point of having purple jowls. The more the other students chanted “Fight! Fight! Fight!” the harder Scott squeezed, until the bus driver slammed on the brakes and everyone fell on their asses. The chokehold was released and Alan gasped and coughed for fresh morning air.

The door flung open and the middle-aged female bus driver shouted, “That’s it! I’ve had enough of this crap! Get off my bus! Move it!”

As soon as he could talk clearly without wheezing and hacking, Alan pointed his sausage finger at Scott and said, “You heard the lady. Off the bus! Beat it, kid!”

“Not him, you creep! You!” belted the bus driver. Alan’s eyes bugged out with confusion and horror. “You were the one who was picking on him this whole time! I saw you throw that punch! You’re the one who’s getting off the goddamn bus! Get out! Don’t make me call the damn police!”

Alan’s breathing intensified for more reasons than just regaining lost oxygen. “This is bullshit!” he yelled while punching every backrest on every seat on his way off the bus. He made sure to snap, “Fuck you!” at the bus driver as he marched down the stairs and into the lonely streets. The doors slammed shut and the bus was in gear once again.

“Are you alright, Mr. George?” asked the driver.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine, I guess,” huffed Scott. He too took the deepest breaths he could muster as he fidgeted his buds back in his ears. Even without music at first, his world was quiet due to the other kids settling down, obviously not wanting to join Alan Young in the cold and desolate streets.

With the peace that Scott once had gone forever, he cycled through his MP3 player looking for something a little angrier and a little heavier than before. “World Scum” by Soulfly always did the trick with its machinegun-like double bass drums, thumping bass guitar, roaring guitars, and leonine screaming of Max Cavalera.

With gritted teeth, tight lips, and a bobbing head, Scott got into the groove of his newfound soundtrack. Any anger he had before this bus ride would be bottled up so tightly that it could blow like an atomic bomb. His first class of the day was with the dreaded history teacher Tom Simpson. Aloysius Striker and Alan Young would have made a lovely power couple in another life, but Scott’s igneous temper would be reserved for the one man who could potentially set him off.

Tucking his head down so nobody would see him, tears poured out of Scott George’s eyes, splashing on his sweatpants to where somebody could mistake those stains for misaimed piss. He didn’t make any sobbing noises, because that would attract more attention than he wanted at this point. His lips quivered, his heart thumped like crazy, he couldn’t hold his fingers still as he slid them across the MP3 player, but he still remained invisible to the other classmates, who were off in their own world after witnessing Alan Young getting strangled nearly to death.

The bus had finally arrived at Perkins High School. The door flung open, the bus driver yelped, “Everybody out!” and true to form, the students filed out of the door one by one, not necessarily in the most civilized fashion. Scott peeled off his ear buds and shut down his music, his fingers still trembling as he placed his MP3 player in his backpack. Even after the final kid got off the bus, he still remained. Getting off this god forsaken vehicle would have been more tiring than Navy SEAL hell week training. Every day was hell week for Scott George.

“Hey!” the bus driver belted. “It’s time to get off the bus!” Scott sighed and unhinged himself from the seat before trudging down the aisle with a hung head and wiped away tears. The driver asked, “Are you sure you’re going to be okay? Do you need to see Principal Williams?”


“Not today. Maybe someday, but not today.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Changing My Mind

***CHANGING MY MIND***

After reading a blog entry I wrote about Backwoods Barbarian being my next project, you’re probably wondering why there’s a chapter of something called Silent Warrior on my social media accounts. Before I get into that, let me just state that changing my mind about creative endeavors is something I do quite frequently according to circumstances. Why? Because I can, that’s why. I admit that inconsistency and broken promises aren’t helping my brand a whole lot, but sometimes things can change without advance notice. If you want to know just how frequently things can change, then I shall give you a rundown of all my creative projects.

Let’s start with Backwoods Barbarian and Silent Warrior. Backwoods Barbarian was scheduled to be my next long-term project, but then my angelic beta reader Marie gave me some divine intervention in the form of a suggestion. She likes the idea of Silent Warrior because it’s something that I can identify with on a personal level: being a mentally ill introvert navigating high school. Just as a side note, I graduated in 2003. While I do incorporate personal creative fuel into my novellas often, Silent Warrior will do it in a way that’s even more personal to me. When I expressed my doubts as to whether I could flesh out the pre-write into twenty chapters, Marie cheered me on with pom-poms in hand and I finally pumped out my first chapter. She’s my own personal Jesus Christ.

That’s not to say that Backwoods Barbarian will be tossed aside so easily. I’ve contemplated working on it simultaneously with Silent Warrior, but there are pros and cons to having a two-novel schedule. The biggest pro is that I’ll have something to work on when I get writer’s block. The biggest con is that I could lose focus on one particular project, which could arguably aggravate my writer’s block instead of heal it. Nothing is set in stone just yet (in case you haven’t figured that out from how frequently I change my mind).

In addition to penning potentially two first drafts, I’m also working with my guardian angel Marie in editing the shit out of my next self-published poetry book, Lunatic Justice. Ever since we joined together in this project, I’ve had to cut a lot of poems and songs out of this collection due to the fact that they went over like a fart in church. It almost makes me wish I consulted her before publishing Necrograph since that has a lot of questionable poetry as well. Ever wonder why my parody about Texas isn’t on my social media accounts? Let’s just say that instead of going over like a fart in church, it went over like a diarrhea splatter in a graveyard. It’s never too late to cut it from Necrograph, but a small part of me still feels it could have at least SOME comedic value.

In the same way that she’s helping me put together Lunatic Justice, I’m fixing to help her edit the shit out of her upcoming novella, The Portal: Tales of Mentara. She describes it as a middle grade fantasy adventure, so that’ll be something to look forward to. Though she hasn’t picked an exact date yet, she tells me that she plans on publishing it sometime this February. But just like me, she has the right to change her mind whenever she damn well feels like it. There’ll be more news as it’s made available. Until then, I’ll have this to say: enjoy my smart-assed critiques, Marie! Some of your spice has rubbed off on me! Hehe!

Last but not least, I’ve been shopping around on Amazon for a webcam, but I haven’t made any purchases yet. I could just as easily use my digital camera, but I’m not totally trustworthy of my camera’s battery life, especially when it comes to shooting You Tube videos. Yes, you heard me right: I’m considering shooting You Tube videos as a way to expand my author platform. I’ve spent the last few minutes sorting my video play lists and sprucing up my channel page. I even have a play list in my favorites called “Critique Therapy”, which basically consists of angry videos used to psych myself up for receiving reviews and critiques. Yes, I know I’m safe in the arms of my beloved Marie, but even to this day, I get that knot in the pit of my stomach, because I’m a writer and it’s in my blood. You could have the world’s thickest skin and you’d still be terrified from time to time. Don’t kick yourself for it, because it’s as natural as breathing in and out.

So what will these You Tube videos consist of? Book reviews? Writing advice? Schizophrenia stories? Poetry readings? Short story readings? Maybe a mixture of all of those things. But before I do any of that, I have to learn how to be confident in front of the camera. People say that the best gimmick to have for You Tube videos is just to be yourself. In my private life, I have a colorful personality that involves whining in a French-Irish accent, screaming like a barbarian, talking in a cutesy ogre voice to my animals, and wearing a Snoopy T-shirt that says, “Please don’t make me do stuff.” In my public life, I’m shy and awkward as hell. I don’t intentionally make conversation with strangers and when I do I keep a lot of my colorful personality on the inside. Shooting You Tube videos is basically like having that same conversation with a faceless audience. Something has to change drastically.

I’m going to stop right here, because I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head. Wait a second, there is one more thing. Marie made me the most awesome book cover for Lunatic Justice! I’m not going to show it off on my social media accounts just yet, because it’s only a prototype and I’d rather you guys see the finished product. As of now, the cover has a Guy Fawkes mask on it with an American flag, flames, and shadows superimposed over it. The title and author font are in the style of a military stencil. Seeing that level of awesomeness makes me excited to publish this book of poetry. I can’t thank Marie enough!

We’ve got ears, say cheers! You know, I should probably use a different sign-off phrase from now on. I’ve been using that one for years and it’s from a kid’s show. While I may be a kid at heart, it doesn’t translate well into the world of professional writing. I’ll think of something.


***MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY***

“Willy, this has been a longtime coming. Every year you’re worse. Every year less reliable. More booze. More bullshit. More butt-fucking.”


-Marcus from “Bad Santa”-

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Silent Warrior, Chapter 1

With the third grade classroom dimly lit in shades of purple, puppet children on strings danced and twirled their way through the door. The girls wore pretty red dresses and had their blond hair in pigtails. The boys wore elegant blue tuxedos and were shaven completely bald. This waltz of perfect conformity was accompanied by the PA system’s glorious soundtrack of the Moonlight Sonata. The rhythm carried the puppet children to their desks one row at a time so as not to cause unnecessary disorder. Once they had taken their seats, the puppets slouched over with their pale white faces and rosy cheeks touching their desks.

Their strings jerked them to the upright position while another puppet descended at the chalkboard in a heap. With another tug of the strings, the clown lady with rainbow hair, a distorted face, and a frilly white dress reassembled and proceeded to write her name on the chalkboard. As she wrote, she sang a “happy birthday” style rendition of her class greeting in a condescending, Shakespearean voice. “Good morning to you. Good morning to you. Good morning dear children…”

She signaled for her students to speak up with a wave of her hand. And true to form, they completed the song in perfect unison with, “Good morning to you!”

“Very good, dear children!” said the teacher while curtseying, still using her hammy stage voice. “My name is Aloysius Striker, but you may all call me Mrs. Striker. And my, don’t you all look lovely today! All smiles, tight strings, and not a single misstep in the morning song. No disorder among you all. Do you know why? Because we are all part of something much greater than ourselves. We have the same dreams. The same desires. We are all part of…a community!”

Mrs. Striker quickly erased her name from the board and wrote in its place the word of the day, community. “Now class, would any of you like to tell me what a community is? Don’t be too shy to speak up. Your grade depends on it!” The last sentence was punctuated with a mock whip strike with her piece of chalk.

All at once, the puppets rotated their heads three hundred sixty degrees and said, “A community is a gathering of people who have something in common!”

“Excellent, children! You’ve made me very proud already! But what are some examples of communities? Oh, do please speak up. We’re all part of a community, after all!” sang Mrs. Striker.

“Churches!” said the puppets, to which Mrs. Striker gave a celebratory, “Yes!” and quickly chalked it on the board. Other examples the children gave were shopping centers, police departments, congress, and yes, even school. That last answer sent an orgasmic chill throughout Mrs. Striker’s puppet body. She even gave a sing-songy laugh.

And then the teacher’s demonic smile turned to a saggy frown when she saw one student in the back corner of the class with his head tucked firmly in his hands. No puppet strings, no puppet face, no handsome tuxedo, just a shadow silhouette and glowing green eyes. Mrs. Striker tiptoed towards this lonely student like a ballerina and towered over him with a vengeful sneer.

“Look who decided to join us today, class. Mr. Scott George, the so-called introvert! The so-called shy guy! The little boy who hasn’t crackled a smile since the day he was born! Let me show you how it’s done, Mr. George!” The children’s heads turned one hundred eighty degrees and their puppet strings morphed their faces into insane grins with monstrous teeth and worms in the backs of their throats. “See? It’s not so hard, little Scotty! But in all seriousness, why haven’t you spoke up with the rest of the class? Don’t you want to be part of a community?”

Surveying the ghastly smiles around him, Scott brushed his teacher off with his hand and said, “Not really.”

Mrs. Striker’s elongated nose touched with Scott’s forehead before she chirped, “Well, that’s tough cookies, Mr. George! Your grade depends on your participation! Your ability to get a job depends on your sociability! You are indeed part of this society whether you want to be or not!”

The teacher clutched Scott’s wrist with a death grip as she dragged the shadowy student kicking and screaming towards the chalkboard, all while the puppet students pointed and laughed at him. By the time Scott made it to the chalkboard, Mrs. Striker grabbed him by the scruff of his neck to pull him up and placed the piece of chalk in his hand. “Now then! This is your next assignment, Mr. George, and you shall not screw this up for your fellow students, but most of all, for me! I want you to write on this blackboard another example of a community! Post-haste! Chop-chop!”

Scott George shivered and cowered, barely able to keep the chalk in his hands while the students giggled at him through their noses and closed mouths. Sweat poured off of him like rain while the purple lighting turned to a single bright halogen spotlight on him. He swallowed hard and stared at the chalkboard like a monkey doing a math problem. All of these examples of a community and he couldn’t come up with one…until he piggybacked off of the shopping center answer.

With slow precision and squeakiness that made the puppet children squint and hold their ears, Scott wrote something on the chalkboard without actually seeing what it was. It seemed as though hours went by and a whole tidal wave of sweat poured off of his body. But then he finished writing what he was going to write and breathed an anxiety-crushing sigh of relief. The pregnancy-sized knot reformed in his stomach when Scott saw the children laughing their asses off as well as Mrs. Striker staring at the blackboard in wide-eyed horror. “Shopping carts?!” she cried in disbelief. “Shopping carts?!”

As the laughter got louder and Mrs. Striker’s dramatic sighs grew more obvious, Scott’s crippling anxiety morphed into white hot rage. His boiling blood gave third degree burns on his tender flesh. His neon green eyes bulged out of their sockets. Every vein in his arms and forehead looked like a stick of dynamite ready to blow. His fists were clenched tightly enough to turn even the strongest metals into powder.

In one volcanic scream, he belted, “Shut up!” before picking up a text book off of a student’s desk and smashing him over the head with it. The teacher and students alike gasped in horror as the unfortunate student’s head exploded into a pile of worms and maggots, his body limp and lifeless. The puppet strings had no choice but to pull him into the heavens while Scott watched in horror at his own sins. Students cried maggots out of their eyeballs while Mrs. Striker sobbed blood.

“Oh, Scott! How could you do such a thing to your own community?!” asked the teacher. “Now the whole system is going to crash down upon us! Why, oh, why! WHY?!” With his head hung and his voice sheepishly low, Scott muttered a nearly incoherent apology before Mrs. Striker burst into flames and clutched his wrist with purpling tightness yet again. “Oh, I’m afraid an apology’s not going to be enough, Mr. George! You’ve been causing grief to my class for far too long! Your refusal to obey even the simplest commands makes me sick to my stomach! I’m afraid there’s only one thing left to do!”

The puppet strings yanked every child back into the heavens while the classroom burst into a fiery hell all around Mrs. Striker and the convulsing Scott George. The teacher smashed every desk into splinters with one punch and in their place ascended a torture chair with leather straps and a ball gag.

“No, Mrs. Striker! Have mercy on me! I’ll be a good boy! I promise!” pleaded Scott, who was bound and gagged to the chair with constricting tightness. He tried to thrash around and break free, but with a ball gag cutting off his air supply, he quickly became exhausted. It became even harder to breathe when Mrs. Striker shoved a funnel up one of his nostrils and held it in place with duct tape.

“You’re going to conform, Mr. George, whether you want to or not!” warned Mrs. Striker in a deep, devilish voice. She tore open the flesh on her own wrist and pulled out a handful of worms with razor sharp fangs and hooks. Scott tried once again to squirm and thrash in his bindings, but they only cut deeper into his skin. With a sick smile and Scott’s gagged pleas, Mrs. Striker shoved the razorblade worms into the funnel and watched them fest up his nose and into his brain. The children descended back down into the hellfire scene and repeatedly chanted along with the teacher, “One of us!”

After an eternity of having his skull feasted on, the present day eighteen-year-old Scott George awoke from his nightmare with a deep gasp of air and pulsating nausea. As soon as he caught his breath, the teenager looked around the room for his digital clock, which read five-thirty in the morning. Relieved that this was a dream and that he still had hours before he had to get up for school, Scott plopped backwards into his bed and burped his nausea away.

“Why does this keep happening?” Scott whispered to himself. “I hate falling asleep.” Tears formed in his eyes when he realized that the only thing fake about his nightmare was the psychedelic backdrop in which it took place. He never dropped acid or smoked marijuana a day in his life. Why was he being punished for it? And most of all, why did he have to take a United States history class with a teacher who was basically Mrs. Striker with a penis?


Knowing that class was his first period of the day caused Scott to skyrocket out of his bed and dry heave in his garbage bucket. No matter how hard he puked, all that came out of his mouth was tiny streams of snot and orange stuff he couldn’t identify. Once he had finished, he sat next to his desk and breathed heavily while fighting the urge to go back to sleep. “Goddamn you, Mr. Simpson,” whispered Scott. “Why doesn’t somebody go Columbine on his ass already?”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jesse

She was so far away, yet she was so close to me
Smell her perfume through the computer screen
Touch her silky skin through the keyboard
A plane ticket was something I couldn’t afford

We were young, in love, and without a dollar
Somehow I found a way to long distance call her
Every email laced with sugary vocabulary
Her golden heart was my only sanctuary

She was the first to be worthy of my love
I called her my angel from the heavens above
But with those wings, she flew away from me
Jesse never came back, not even in my dreams

We never had the chance to say goodbye
I never had the chance to ask her why
I never had the chance to chase her around
I felt stupid for falling for her like a clown

You could call it dopamine or testosterone
But she was the reason I never felt alone
You could call it heartbreak or depression

But this will be her one and only mention

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Backwoods Barbarian

***BACKWOODS BARBARIAN***

With American Darkness 3 suspended and Poison Tongue Tales 3 not even a possibility, I need something to work on to keep me busy and to keep my creative juices flowing. I originally wanted to do a modern day drama about fat-shaming called “Hulk Logan”, but I couldn’t pre-write it past the fifth chapter. I was hesitant to do the story I’m going to talk about in this blog entry, but then I realized something along the way. Though it could be categorized as fantasy, it’s actually a deconstruction of the violent messes Poison Tongue Tales, Demon Axe, and Occupy Wrestling have been. Yes, this new story will have plenty of fight scenes, but they’re not a means to an end.

I’m talking of course about Backwoods Barbarian, an environmental fantasy I’ve developed all the way to chapter twenty. Yeah, I know, everything has to be about barbarians. All barbarians 24/7. It’s all I ever think about, yada, yada, yada. What good is a barbarian’s rage if he keeps losing his fights and getting himself into trouble? This barbarian can’t win with brute force alone, because there are other fighters out there who are more powerful than him, particularly a dwarf monk named Sabin Rex and a werewolf assassin named Gray Miller (both characters I’ve used in past stories).

Who is this barbarian? Well, he’s not Deus Shadowheart. He’s not Brutus Warcry, either. In fact, if I reveal his name, it might be a tad upsetting to the originator of this character given how the barbarian was once used as a killing machine D&D character. His name is Agrusk Xis and he’s an orc who makes his solitary home in the woods.

He was once owned by an online friend named Timothy. He was also a former character in an attempted dark fantasy novel of mine in 2014 called Fireball Nightmare. I asked Tim if it was okay to use Agrusk in that manner and he said yes. Given Agrusk’s new role as a bumbling brute, Tim could possibly want to think twice about letting me use his character. If he wants me to withdraw Agrusk from Backwoods Barbarian, I’ll gladly do so and swap him out with another character.

If Tim should happen to say yes once again, then Agrusk will be a part of something greater than himself whether he uses brute force or not. As I’ve already established, Agrusk is an orc barbarian who lives in the woods hunting meat and picking fruit. His forest home is about to be chopped down for urban development thanks to the political strategy of Flora City Mayor Annette Cote. Agrusk just wants peace and quiet in his forest home, so he tries to muscle his way into keeping his solitary residence. Needless to say, he’s overpowered and outmanned.

Agrusk meets two environmental protesters along the way: an Amazonian Viking “singer” named Johnna Larson and a bagpipe-playing bard named Julie Piper. Throughout the novel, they teach him that using debate tactics and peaceful protest is more powerful at affecting change than anything he could do with an axe. The whole novel is one big internal battle between Agrusk and his conscience. Can he keep his temper under control or this hothead screw everything up with one moment of impatient rage?

I’ve tooled with the idea of an environmental fantasy before where the plot centered around the government cutting down somebody’s forest home for urban development. I wrote a 2010 D&D-style movie script called Tree Party Nation, where the forest was an eco-terrorist group’s base of operations. As I’ve mentioned earlier, in 2014 I wrote Fireball Nightmare, where the often-recycled Gary-Stu barbarian Deus Shadowheart protected the forest under the command of a living volcano. It’s 2018 and the third time will be the charm. Backwoods Barbarian will be the one that gets this concept right. Watching a “Terrible Writing Advice” You Tube video on environmentalism helped me figure things out.

So that’s it for now. Backwoods Barbarian is officially my next long-term project. It’ll be a departure from what I usually do (barbarism aside), especially considering that I’m shooting for 2,000 words per chapter instead of 1.500 like I normally do. At twenty chapters, that’s an even 40,000 words, which is the generally accepted minimum for a full-length novel. Wish me luck, guys. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


***TELEVISION DIALOGUE OF THE DAY***

JERRY: Hey George, ask that guy what street we’re on.

GEORGE: Excuse me, where are we?

STRANGER: Earth.

JERRY: Hey, we’re on the phone with the police!


-Seinfeld-

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Coasting

A bowl of corn flakes on my lap
Elderly parents taking their naps
Kitties and puppies everywhere
Gray rain petrichor in the air

This is my haven and sanctuary
Until the day of my obituary
Day after day of feeling happy
The universe’s energy I’m trapping

But in this zone, nothing grows
Nothing to gain, nothing to show
Taking risks is the rational answer
Reason sounds like mindless banter

Too many times I’ve crashed and burned
Laying low the only lesson learned
A head full of voices is all I’ve earned
Broken memories are all that returned

If someone wants to show me the way
We could get it done as soon as today
Those who laugh call this handholding
Those with loud voices resort to scolding

But here’s the truth you can have for free
It doesn’t just apply to someone like me
We all need a push in the right direction
Even if it’s only the smallest correction

Don’t give me speeches about boots in the ass
Use some vocabulary that actually has class
Cheer me on instead of throwing insults
Show me my path without leading the cult

I’ll take it from here, this is my journey
These are the horizons for which I’m yearning
I’ll never forget where I came from

As I claim my place in this kingdom