Saturday, July 30, 2016

Real Life Projects


“Real life can get in the way of even the most brilliant creative projects.” I say this all the time to people online who need to take a sabbatical from the internet. Now it applies to me. Things are changing in the Haines-Temons-Stevens-Wilson household and as the family strongman I need to take part in those changes. I woke up at seven in the morning today to help my mom and Dale put together the yard sale. I went back to bed after my work was done and didn’t wake up until two in the afternoon. I also helped my parents put the yard sale stuff away and donate some of it to a local thrift store. There will be other loads of junk we donate on different days. For now, this will do. I felt so exhausted after today’s work that I don’t feel like doing anything creative at the moment.

As many of you know, I don’t handle exhaustion well. If I’m too tired, I won’t do anything creative for fear that my product will suck or that I’ll fall asleep in the middle of it. I owe a lot of this to the fact that I’m overweight. It’s easy to tell me that all I need to do is eat less and go to the gym more often. If things were that simple, I would have been a middleweight a long time ago. Fast food is addictive and car rides to the gym are not always available. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses and allowing my barriers to get the best of me, but if that’s the case, what would you rather I do: walk all the way from Port Orchard to Gig Harbor to the YMCA and then walk all the way back? It’d be a hell of a workout, but one that I would dread until that day I die.

The CPAP machine I was assigned to use by my doctor has been hit-and-miss when it comes to helping me get my energy back. Some nights I can wear the oxygen mask comfortably and wake up the next day ready to tackle anything and everything. Other nights the mask is either tight enough to leave red marks on my face or loose enough to blow oxygen into my eyes and cheeks. On those other nights, I don’t get a good night’s sleep and the whole idea of getting in bed is meaningless. I plan on emailing or calling my CPAP providers on Monday when they’re available to see if they can help me through this dilemma. I’m confident that they can. The lady who showed me how to use and clean the machine (Leah French) was friendly and supportive during the entire demonstration. She even gently told me to “Simmer down” when I was swearing at my failed attempts to unhinge the mask from its straps. Hehe!

The exhaustion isn’t going to end with today’s yard sale and thrift shop donations. For the next few months, real life will be calling my name and I’ll be there to answer that call. There are a few things going on in August that need my attention. My parents want to replace their carpeted flooring with vinyl since it’s easier to clean, so in order for that to happen, I have to help them move their living room furniture out of the way. As someone with autism, I’m more sensitive to pain and stress than everyone else, so doing all of that heavy lifting is going to take its toll. Despite this, if we’re going to keep having pets, this floor replacement needs to be done. My parents are Baby Boomers and can’t do as much as they used to in their younger years.

Dale especially can’t do much to help us with furniture shifting because he’s going to have a second surgery on his kidney in early August. Heavy lifting afterwards might rip his stitches and put him back in the hospital. Plus, he’s going to feel exhausted himself and won’t feel like doing his normal chores around the house. He’s been an awesome stepfather to me in the eleven years he’s lived with us, so it’s only right that I take over for him when he’s at his weakest. He can enjoy basketball and crime dramas in the easy chair until he recovers from his surgery.

On a more exciting, yet still exhausting note, I have two concerts that I plan on attending in August and one that I plan on attending in November. On August 11th, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson will play at the White River Amphitheater with Of Mice and Men as their opening act. Hopefully, Corey Taylor can stay healthy while he’s entertaining all of us maggots. On August 21st, the Pain in the Grass festival returns to that same venue and will be headlined by Disturbed. Other bands include, but are not limited to Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge, Saint Asonia, and Anthrax. And then in November I’m headed to the Tacoma Dome to see Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown with Sixx AM and As Lions as their opening acts. How can something so tiring feel so good at the same time? Because I’m a diehard metal head, that’s why!

In addition to one-day vacations a.k.a. rock concerts, I’m also going to go on a week-long vacation to Hawaii on October 3rd. I’ve only been to Hawaii one other time in my life and it was in the fall of 2010. The weather was beautiful, the beaches were beautiful, and the brown women were even more beautiful. Hey, it’s not racist if I actually like their race. You can thank Jerry Seinfeld for that joke. Going to Hawaii will be all about rest and relaxation. We’ll probably do one major activity during each day and spend the rest of the time hanging around. Low-key vacations are the best, especially for hardcore introverts like me.

Before Dale, Mom, Aunt Ruth and I all go to Hawaii, Mom and Dale are taking a six-day vacation in September to Utah to see all of their national parks. I’m choosing to stay home and babysit the animals while they’re away since national parks aren’t my cup of tea. It’s a bunch of trees and rocks: so what? I even wrote a short story for American Darkness about this called “Trees, Rocks, and Murder” (it used to be called “Forest Dump” before Marie and I agreed that it wasn’t the best choice for a title). The trees and rocks part of the title apply to the national park vacation, but not murder, thank goodness.

Going back to August for a moment, my therapist Rachel is having a barbecue at her house on August 13th, which is exactly two days after the Slipknot X Marilyn Manson concert and eight days before the Disturbed concert, the latter of which Rachel and her husband will go to if it’s not raining that day (it’s an outdoor venue). She and I have lots in common when it comes to our love for badass heavy metal. She’s also been very helpful to me since 2003 when I first confessed to my family that I was hearing voices and feeling suicidal. Managing my schizophrenic attacks is much easier thanks to her, so seeing her at the barbecue will be lots of fun. Besides which, I never turn down an opportunity to eat a good barbecued meal.

I hope I didn’t leave any important details out when it comes to mapping out the next few months for me. There’s going to be a lot of work to be done and a lot of fun to be had. It’s the same kind of duality in life Gemini Syndrome preaches in their music. Speaking of which, I hope Gemini Syndrome will be at the Pain in the Grass festival, because that would be fucking awesome! Getting back on topic for a minute, having this many things to do may be so tiring that I will have to take a sabbatical from creative work and the internet in general. That means I might not compete every week at the WSS nor will I meet my deadlines for beta-reading Andy Peloquin and Marie Krepps’ manuscripts.

I’ll try to make this hectic schedule work, but I’m making no promises. Never fear, though, because no matter what happens in my life, I always make time to say hi and shoot the breeze with my friends and family, including my online ones. I may be gone for a little while, but never permanently. You guys have been so supportive of me and my author career over the years, so I’ll always miss you when I’m away. It’s not going to be like the Brave Little Toaster where I wait an entire generation to come back to my loved ones. In the same way that you all have been there for me, I will always be there for you. Thank you so much for listening to me.


JERRY: Hey, wait a minute; you have the Mark McEwen TV Guide.

WINONA: That’s Al Roker.

JERRY: Well, they’re both chubby weathermen. I get Dom Deluise and Paul Prudhoe mixed up too.


Thursday, July 28, 2016



Before I began my barbarian obsession in 2000 (which I owe to playing Diablo II), I had a mercenary obsession in the late 90’s (which I owe to playing Final Fantasy VII and VIII). In the seventh Final Fantasy game, the main character, Cloud Strife, did mercenary work to pay his bills. In the eighth Final Fantasy game, the entire Garden Academy trained mercenaries, which include Squall, Zell, and Selphie (I know how bad her name sounds in today’s world with camera phones, but this game was published in the 90’s; remember that).

There was something about beating people’s asses for a living that made sense to me as a pre-teen. Sure, there are other occupations in which one could do that such as boxing, wrestling, MMA, and the military. The thing about mercenaries, though, is that they could fulfill contracts on their own terms instead of having a boss breathe down their necks. Even before I started accusing my classmates, teachers, and family of trying to conform me in my sophomore year of high school, being independently-minded was fascinating to me. Then again, individuality and creativity cannot exist without each other. Granted, most of my creative projects as a kid were rudimentary at best, I still held onto those ideas even after facing ridicule. Back in those days, it made sense to combine a spear, an axe, and a claw into one weapon and call it a Spax Claw.

Enjoying the mercenary aura as a child was easy back then because I didn’t start to get political until I was 19 years old and John Kerry lost the presidency to George W. Bush. Even with rough edges, being politically minded changes everything. Bush’s presidency will always be marked by the second Iraq War, the introduction of torture as an interrogation technique, Islamophobia, but sticking with the theme of this journal, mercenaries. Independent contractors like Blackwater were hired to go overseas and complete their own missions. Mercenaries, unlike governmental soldiers, don’t have to follow the same rules as their country-bound brethren. With no oversight, mercenaries could kill and torture whoever they wanted whenever they wanted. Then again, with Bush in charge, there were already CIA agents doing that shit all the time. Suddenly the thrill of being a mercenary didn’t seem right anymore.

Realistically, if you’re writing a story and your main hero is a mercenary, making that character into a sympathetic role model is harder than you think. Fellow independent author Andy Peloquin pulls it off beautifully with his series of books involving The Hunter. Then again, The Hunter isn’t exactly a role model to anyone, but the reader still cheers for him. When good morals aren’t enough to win an audience over, the author has to rely on quirks, nuances, intelligence, and charisma to garner interest in his character. Even though he’s not a mercenary, Alex De Large from “A Clockwork Orange” is a huge example of a sympathetic character devoid of morals. Some readers choose to disagree with the antihero, though, and thus a heated debate ensues.

So while my interest in mercenaries has declined over the years, I never forget my childhood and teenaged roots. Those are the times of a human being’s life when creative growth is most important. It’s also a time in which a human being is most vulnerable to coercion and conformity. It’s easy to tell a child to “man up” and “get tough”, but it takes emotional complexity and maturity to guide that kid through the rough waters of conformity. Some people use negative opinions as motivation to do better, others succumb to the pressure and become brainwashed.

Because I care so much about my creative past, there could be a time in the future where I’m writing a novel, short story, or D&D campaign in which a mercenary is a necessary part of the narrative. The easy way would be to make that mercenary into a natural born villain. Or I could challenge myself and try to make a strong hero out of someone who lusts for money. I have a synopsis in my short story idea collection for a tale about a crime scene cleaner named Owen Edge who has a change of heart after seeing a teenaged girl being used for sex slavery. Maybe it’s a case of “Even Evil Has Standards”, but if I really want to get Owen over, I have to make his change of alignment believable. It’s a challenge I bravely welcome.

Now that I think about it, the term “mercenary” doesn’t have to always apply to fighters. It could also apply to anybody who cares more about money than he or she does about basic human decency. There are bankers and CEO’s on Wall Street who fill that role every day of their goddamn lives. We hear about it all the time in the news and in trailers for Mr. Robot. Remember George Weaver from the short story “The Balrog”? He’s a corporate mercenary in the worst sense of the word, which is why it takes a Mexican demon to drive him completely insane and render him unable to continue his work.

The concept of mercenary work proves over and over again how influential money is not just in novels and short stories, but also in the real world. Pink Floyd published a song on their Dark Side of the Moon CD called “Money” that talks about this very powerful form of currency. Then they published a song on their Momentary Lapse of Reason CD called “Dogs of War”, which more accurately describes what a mercenary truly is. The creative fuel is on the table, fellow authors. Don’t let this opportunity slip!


Coming up next in this series of drawings is Elizabeth Wilson, the aeromancer from the short story called…well…“The Aeromancer”! Those who have a fascination with either the Greek language or fantasy media already know that aeromancers are wizards who control the power of wind. No, that’s not a fart joke and those who think it is need to grow the fuck up. The only aeromancer in this world who’s capable of summoning chaotic magic with flatulence is me. It’s amazing my family doesn’t keep gas masks around the house for this very occasion. As for Elizabeth Wilson, if you piss her off, she’ll summon tornados and typhoons just to bring your ass down. As a side note, she has zero respect for authority.


The only reason Fifty Shades of Grey is romantic is because Christian Grey is rich. If he was poor and lived in a trailer, it would be an episode of Criminal Minds.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rob Zombie X Korn Concert


Tomorrow night, I’m going to the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA to see Rob Zombie and Korn in concert with In This Moment as the opening act. After all of the “crazy days” I’ve had lately, this heavy metal showdown is a welcome distraction. Lots of headbanging, lots of badassery, lots of motherfucking heavy metal! I won’t be in the mosh pit this time around, though, and that’s by design. I need a place to sit down after a long day of jumping up and down to kick-ass music. The spirit will still be the same, though.

Anybody who follows me on Face Book knows that I like to include concerts I go to under “Life Events”. I did it for the Nightwish concert in Seattle earlier this year and I’ll do it for every concert I attend this year as well. Going to a concert for me is like a one day vacation to another land. Yes, I could just as easily watch the bands on You Tube, but it’s not the same experience. Going to venues like the White River Amphitheater, the Showbox, and the Tacoma Dome are like pilgrimages to me. These heavy metal bands have a huge influence on my life and it’s only right that I get to see them up close and personal.

I’ll be rocking out for each and every one of you out there. Let’s tear shit up! And then after tomorrow night, I’ve got Slipknot, Disturbed, and Five Finger Death Punch to look forward to (on separate shows, of course).


The theme for this week’s contest is “Muscle Memory” and what better way to celebrate that prompt than with a story called “Dark Fantasy Rock Goddess”? I can’t think of one. Here’s how it goes:


Bloodshark, Human Sorcerer
Autumn Smith, Elf Bard

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Playing the acoustic guitar requires muscle memory.

SYNOPSIS: Autumn travels to the medieval town of Fairhaven to play a concert in front of a drunken crowd. To save money on security detail, she hires Bloodshark as her sole protector. During the concert, the drunken fans get too touchy-feely for Autumn’s taste, so Bloodshark unleashes his deadly magic upon them in the form of fireballs, glacial spikes, and lightning bolts. When her mercenary becomes too violent, she must play him a gentle bard tune to sooth his anger before he does too much damage.


With Tetra Engel and Jax Nightshade in the books, that means there’s only one character left from “Medicine Man” that needs to be drawn. That character is the spear-wielding gangster named Anya Kolobalos. She was originally supposed to be a part of a Final Fantasy videogame idea back in 2007, but that idea never materialized past a few chapters. So now she’s been recycled as a heartless thug who wants Jax’s maggot therapy for drug peddling purposes. With a spear that big, who is anybody to say no to her?


If Jacoby Shaddix is playing Monopoly and builds a third hotel on one of his properties, is it his “last resort”?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fight to the Death: Mitch McLeod vs. The Hunter

I, Garrison Kelly, challenge you, Andy Peloquin, to a duel to the death! But it is not we who will fight, but our characters…

In the black corner, weighing in at 180 pounds, standing a cool 6 feet tall, the Hunter of Voramis!

Tale of the Tape:
  1. ·         Superhuman reflexes, strength, speed--think Captain America, but stronger
  2. ·         Thousands of years of weapons training
  3. ·         Body has accelerated healing factor--can survive a sword to the heart (can be killed by drowning, iron weapons, beheading, and suffocation)
  4. ·         Cannot be killed by anything but iron
  5. ·         Accursed dagger that heals him when he kills
  6. ·         No magical abilities whatsoever
  7. ·         No hesitation to kill if he perceives opponent as a threat/obstacle to his desires--classic anti-hero

In the red corner, from Los Angeles, California, standing 6’4” and weighing in at 268 lbs., “The Hardcore Hero” Mitch McLeod!

Tale of the Tape:

  1. Preferred style of fighting is professional wrestling
  2. Described by commentators as a "technical brawler", meaning he is proficient in suplexes, throws, and submission holds
  3. Can also slug it out for as long as he wants.
  4. Being a professional wrestler requires mental and physical toughness, which he has in spades.
  5.  It took an entire roster of monsters and demons just to send him to the ICU and he still delivered his story's final blow.

Two enter the ring, only one can leave alive!

How would Mitch McLeod kill the Hunter? Since professional wrestling requires toughness and endurance, Mitch will absorb two strikes from The Hunter's sword just to deliver one massive superman punch. Once the Hunter is wounded, Mitch can pass through his defenses and perform bone-crunching wrestling moves like the piledriver, the body slam, the belly-to-belly suplex, and even a Texas Cloverleaf submission hold.

To kill Mitch McLeod: The Hunter would try to overwhelm him with his inhuman speed, strength, and skill. All he has to do is pierce him skin with Soulhunger, and the dagger will consume his soul. Not even someone with considerable magical abilities can survive Soulhunger's bite--it was created to kill demons. 

Who would win?

Because he can last longer than any opponent The Hunter has ever faced. Mitch could shake the ropes Ultimate Warrior-style and find his second wind, his third wind, and every wind after that until he finally delivers a spine-jarring power-bomb and paralyzes The Hunter like he did to a seven footer named Jack Finnegan.

But not even the mighty fists of the technical brawler can put the Hunter down for long. No matter how many times McLeod takes him to the ground, the Hunter will get back up. With every taste of McLeod's blood, Soulhunger floods the Hunter with strength and healing and weakens the wrestler. Mitch McLeod may be the greatest warrior to enter the ring, but the Hunter has defeated demons.

Winner: The Hunter. In the end, Soulhunger claims all souls.

Want to find out more about this cold-blooded killer who would dare challenge the former KDW World Heavyweight Champion to the death? Click here  to read about The Hunter.

Who do YOU think would win? Did we get the match-up right? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Toy Trauma

Every careful step downstairs to the kitchen sent a thunderstorm of pain across Marty Hunt’s head. He held his temples and whined “Ouch!” the entire way down. It was a slow and laborious process, but reach the bottom floor he did. Wearing only plaid pajama pants and white socks, the pain-wracked father dragged himself over to the kitchen table and sat down with a quickness.

He leaned his head all the way back and breathed a sigh of relief. No more ouches, just a nice self-head massage with sinewy fingers. The coffee pot could wait a few more minutes. Marty wanted to milk this small moment of relaxation for all it was worth. He might have even fallen asleep at the table with his head in his arms if he wanted to.

“Morning, Dad!” yelled little five-year-old Kevin. The high pitch jolted Marty awake and the thunder and lightning in his brain was going batshit crazy. The single father rubbed his temples even harder while Kevin ran around the kitchen with his favorite action figure, the beefcake barbarian Deus Shadowheart.

“I’m going to eat your soul like a bowl of cereal!” yelled Kevin in his version of a manly barbarian growl. “I shall chew your flesh like bubblegum! And I shall drink your insides like Coca-Cola!” The little son shook the Deus Shadowheart action figure in front of his father’s face and roared some more.

“Please don’t do that to me this early in the morning, Kevin. It’s been a shitty couple of months with this divorce hearing. Cut Daddy some slack today,” said Marty as he continued to massage his temples.

“I shall enslave your people and force them to make bowls of Quaker Oatmeal for the rest of their lives!” said Kevin in his warrior growl.

“Is that what this is about? You want Quaker Oatmeal? Alright, I’ll get you a bowl…”

“Silence, peasant! You shall bring me a bowl of oatmeal and put extra brown sugar in it! Raaaaaaaaaaargh!” Kevin shook the action figure in his father’s face some more, causing him to clench his eyelids as tightly as he could. No matter how many times Marty rubbed his own temples, his head would always feel like it was under Deus’ mighty fur boots. The thought of his own brain popping out sent a shiver through his body.

“What’s the matter?! Do you not like that I am king of this wasteland? Too bad! I rule with an iron fist and a big bloody battleaxe!” yelled Kevin a la Deus. In between words, Marty kept pleading with him to shut up, but the overly energetic child said, “Bow to me and my big bloody battleaxe! You cannot win, mere mortal!”

“That’s it! I’ve had it with this shit! Give me that goddamn thing!” screamed Marty as he stood up and knocked his chair over. He and his son played tug of war over the mighty toy with the little guy screaming, “No!” repeatedly at the top of his lungs. The screeching voice to Marty was like having Deus’ meat cleaver go through his skull. He felt like his brain was a hand grenade ready to go off. His heart was pumping and thumping like a barbaric war drum.

In one harsh pull, Marty yanked the toy out of his son’s hands and yelled, “I don’t like this thing! And here’s what I’m going to do with this piece of shit!” Despite Kevin’s foot stomping and repeated “No!” screams, Marty ripped Deus Shadowheart’s arms and legs off before throwing the dismantled mess across the kitchen floor.

Kevin knelt down beside his toy and cried a tearful storm over the broken remains. Marty watched on with a sorrowful guilt over what he’d done, but remained strong in the face of having to discipline his son for his ballistic behavior. The father’s defenses were knocked down a few pegs when Kevin turned his tear and snot-covered face to him and said, “I want to go live with mommy! I hate you, Dad! I hate you!”

Headache and heartache were one in the same for Marty Hunt. Every pump of blood throughout his body made him groggy with depression, yet his face maintained its angry expression as a sign of strength against such powerful words. “You can’t go back to your mother, Kevin! We had a divorce and it’s been finalized! She cheated on me with another man! She cheated on us! She’s the one who’s tearing this family apart, not me!”

Kevin stood up and rushed over to his father to pound his tiny fists into his hairy stomach. “Stop it, Kevin, you’re hurting me! Knock it off, kid!” yelled Marty. The little spitfire wouldn’t listen. He pounded harder and harder until his father’s breath was completely drained from his system.

The old man collapsed to the ground and clutched his chest in pain. His breathing was raspy and shallow as he said, “Call 9-1-1, Kevin! Hurry!” When Kevin folded his arms and refused to move, Marty let down his authoritative guard in an act of desperation. “I’m sorry!” He wheezed. “I’ll buy you a new toy! You can have any one you want!”

As Marty’s vision was fading to black, he could hear his son’s voice shout “Daddy!” as well as little footsteps scurrying across the linoleum kitchen floor. Hopefully, those footsteps were on their way to the house phone to call an ambulance. Marty didn’t even know if Kevin was physically capable of making such a call. He lost hope as his breaths grew shorter and the peace he wanted at breakfast was finally obtained. Nothing but a dull gray screen clouded his vision. No tears, no angry words, no sorrowful thoughts, just the kind of grayness one could expect from an Emergency Alert System screen.

And then the father could feel his heart beating again. Little by little, the thumping and pumping was dominating his overly sensitive ears. His heart raced a little faster with each passing second. The gray screen before him became a field of blurry shapes and lights. He had a strange plastic mask over his face and the air pressure felt overwhelming to him. Soon the blurs and lights concentrated themselves into a clear picture. He was riding in the back of an ambulance with EMT’s by his side. Even more important to him was little Kevin staring down at him with a worried look on his chubby-cheeked face.

“Kevin…Kevin, dear god. I’m so sorry about this morning. I meant what I said about the toy. Come on, little guy, just give me another chance,” said Marty, his voice weak through the plastic mask.

Little Kevin Hunt held his father’s index finger in his tiny hands and said, “I don’t care about the toy. I just want my daddy back.”

Marty’s eyes began to well up with tears and his heart rate sped up. He cursed himself mentally for being “stupid” enough to not realize it was never about toys. He made enough money at work that he could buy the entire Hasbro catalogue if he wanted to, maybe even a few collector’s items. It was love that he failed to show at breakfast time, not finances. The whole divorce proceedings with his wife were all about who loved Kevin more and in the end, Marty ended up pounding the sides of his gurney in frustration that he became the world’s biggest hypocrite.

The EMT’s tried to pin Marty’s tight arms down in an attempt to slow his skyrocketing heart rate. It was Kevin’s voice yelling, “Daddy, don’t!” that finally subdued the hypocritical father. He collapsed into the gurney bed sobbing hysterically while his son hugged him around the waist. Hugging around the chest would have been ill-advised due to Marty’s heart condition.

“Hey, Kev…” said Marty with a little more conviction. “Have I told you lately that I loved you and that you’re the best son a father could ever have?”

“Do you mean it?” asked Kevin with dewy puppy dog eyes.

“Absolutely, little guy,” said Marty. “Me? I’m just a monster…” He took a while to catch his breath before he said, “I’m the monster who’s going to have the biggest battle with Deus Shadowheart this universe has ever seen!” His throat got more hoarse and villain-like, much to Kevin’s beaming delight. “I shall unleash hordes of minions upon the barbaric wasteland and I will burn everything to ashes! Nobody is safe, not even the big badass Deus Shadowheart!”

Father and son laughed together while hugging around the waist. In all of this legal mumbo-jumbo, the one thing all three members of the Hunt family forgot to do was laugh. How such a simple gesture could change a man’s heart rate and give his burning headaches a heavenly cure. Isn’t laughing and playing what action figures and families were all about? 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gray Days


If you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, you would have noticed the overwhelming number of gray days during the summer season. Hell, it might be happening in other parts of the country or even the world, but Pacific Northwest weather is notorious for catering to gray days. It could be sunny one minute and pouring down rain to the point of flood conditions the next.

Anybody who knows the old me knows I would have constantly complained about gray rainy weather. It’s not the best to go walking in, especially if I’m thirsty for a bubbly beverage and the convenience store is around the corner. Now that I’m 31 years old and have a more mature outlook on life, I’ve learned to love the gray days, even during the summer season. If I was that thirsty all the time, I could just make a pitcher of ice cold iced tea. Yum-yum-yum! If I was so bored that I needed to go for a walk to clear my head, there’s nothing stopping me from bumming a ride from my family to the YMCA. They have a jogging track upstairs and a shallow swimming pool on the bottom floor; how hard could that be to comprehend?

I didn’t realize until recently how wonderful gray days can be for getting creative work done. Or if I just want to be lazy that day, I could just take a nap while there’s new age music playing in the background. Smokey seems to agree with the latter ten times out of ten. The low barometric pressure during gray days can make anyone sleepy enough to want a nap because of the lack of oxygen, which is a major source of energy for the human body. If you feel sleepy, give into it. The creative work will always be there for you when you’re ready for it. If you’re in school, however, it’s probably a good idea to turn your work in on time and in tiptop condition.

And then there are people who enjoy running around in rainy weather. The cold rain definitely feels good on the skin after a long day of exercise. I remember going to a Linkin Park concert with my brother James at the Tacoma Dome in 2003. After we jumped up and down for a lot of their songs, the rain felt so good to us that we didn’t bother putting our jackets back on. That’s part of the reason why I’m not worried about rainy weather happening on the same day as my July and August concerts, which take place in an outdoor amphitheater. If Korn, Rob Zombie, and In This Moment get my cardio going for god knows how many hours, I’m going to love that sweet cold rain.

It’s true, folks: I have nothing better to write a journal about than gray days. I don’t know what else I could say about them, so I’m just going to sign off and give you all updates on my creative projects.


The new contest got started this past Tuesday and the prompt for the week is “Piece By Piece”. For the second week in a row, my short story is a modern day drama and will therefore be shelved under “American Darkness 2: Black State”. It’s called “Toy Trauma” and it goes like this:


Kevin Hunt, Toy-Loving Child
Marty Hunt, Kevin’s Father

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Marty dismantles the action figure piece by piece.

SYNOPSIS: Ever since gaining custody of Kevin in a nasty divorce, Marty has been stressed out to where even the smallest incidents send him into a screaming rage. One morning during breakfast, Kevin brings his favorite action figure to the table with him and plays with it a little too loudly for his father’s tastes. After several unanswered warnings to his son, Marty grabs the action figure and snaps its arms and legs off. The toy abuse leaves Kevin in a fit of tears and even causes him to say that he hates his father. Is this enough for Marty to realize how far off the deep end he’s gone or will he always be a sourpuss?


I’m sure you all noticed the recent uploads of Rook Maxwell and Edward Glass and hopefully you’ve enjoyed them. Coming up next is a character from the villain department. He’s Jax Nightshade and he’s a dark paladin from “Medicine Man”, a short story I submitted to one of the WSS’s monthly contests. For some reason they aren’t doing monthly contests anymore. I don’t know if the admins forgot or if they’re legitimately discontinuing them due to a lack of activity. Either way, the Medicine Man himself is going to be immortalized. Be on the lookout for a dark paladin badass!


As of today, I have three different authors to (beta) read from: Andy Peloquin (Lament of the Fallen), Marie Krepps (What Money Can’t Buy), and Zero Urrea (Rake). I have no problem with the workload, because when I have the energy, I can get anything done in record time. The past few days haven’t been kind to me in terms of energy. Sleep apnea had really been kicking my ass and making me too sluggish to get anything done. To those who rely on my help, I’m sorry. But I can safely say that I’m doing something about my lack of energy. I requested an appointment with my sleep study doctor and he’s going to teach me how to use a CPAP machine, which will give me oxygen while I’m sleeping and my windpipe is flat. I’m also going to start going to the gym more often with James. My workout will start off with thirty minutes of walking around the track and end with weightlifting. So far, it seems to be paying off. Let’s keep that shit going!


“Enzo Amore is so skinny he could hang glide with a Dorito. He already looks like a bird.”

-Jerry “The King” Lawler-

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Crazy Days


The past few days have been crazy for me and my family. They may have had an impact on my creative life, they may not have. Either way, if I don’t write this journal entry, I feel like it’ll be a wasted opportunity. Make of these three stories what you will.


This past Friday, my step-dad Dale was taken to the emergency room for flank pain. The hospital did all sorts of tests on him to find out why and it turns out he has a massive kidney stone. They’ve tried to flush it out of him, but the stone is too big to pass through, so earlier today, they had it surgically removed. As of now, I haven’t had an update as to how the surgery went, but I imagine Dale will just want to relax and take it easy when he’s finally discharged from the hospital. He can watch all the basketball and detective shows he wants with Sitka sprawled across his lap. I’m positive about his ability to recover from this since he’s had worse and survived that. I just hope he’ll be in a laughing mood when I do impressions of him and his funny dialogue during car trips.


Ever since the start of this year, it’s been the Haines-Temons-Stevens-Wilson family going to war with wild rats, who have invaded our home and came out of the woodwork whenever they damn well wanted. We’ve had rats in our kitchens and bathrooms mostly and over the last few months we’ve made progress with curtailing their population. And then a few nights ago as I was trying to sleep, I saw a giant rat running around in my room looking for hiding places. It ran behind my mini-fridge, behind my computer desk, underneath my TV stand, and across my bookcase. Naturally, I was so scared that I lost sleep over it. We tried to trap it last night, but the little fucker didn’t take the bait. I know what you’re thinking: how can an animal lover like me condone trapping wild rats? You should probably ask the same question to anybody living in medieval England during the black plague. Except you can’t, because they’re fucking dead!


Earlier today, there was an incident in which someone in a blue truck with an extended canopy drove around our neighborhood looking for little kids. A police report has already been filed, but the only information we’re missing is the driver’s license plate. I have a twelve-year-old niece named Reina who likes to walk to the convenience store and the school playground every once and a while and I’ll be damned if she becomes the next Jaycee Dugard. The truck shouldn’t be too hard to find, so I hope the police catch this asshole before he actually succeeds in kidnapping a little girl.


The thing to remember during these “crazy days” is that if you believe you can get through them, you definitely will. While these three stories are still in the process of resolving themselves, I’m confident that things will be back to normal in no time. I’ve got a creative task list a mile long and I’d love nothing more than to knock the items off that list like a wild motherfucker. We can do this, people. We can do this!


“Excuse me, sir, can I see your driver’s license? No, sir, I don’t need a beer and I don’t think you do either. Mr. Foxworthy, do you know why I pulled you over today? It concerns the vehicle you’re towing behind you. No, sir, it’s not against the law to tow a boat, but we do require you put it on a trailer. Can you ask your friends to get out of the boat please? I don’t give a damn if the fish are biting, I said ask your friends to get out of the boat. Hell, you dropped a skier about a mile back there.”

-Jeff Foxworthy doing an impression of a patrol cop pulling his dad over-


One of the ways you can get through a hard time in your life is by enjoying comedic moments whether they’re from Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, George Carlin, or any other source of giggles and chuckles. I hope that Jeff Foxworthy bit was to your guys’ liking. Keeping with the theme of positivity, I saw Ghostbusters last night at the Regal Cinemas and it was fucking awesome!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cold and Scared

One month was all it took. One month of missed paychecks, lost sleep, hyper-vigilance, and moodiness was all Officer Casey Rasmussen needed to find what she needed to find…at least she was sure she did. This forest had to be the place. If not, then the baggy eyelids, messy hair, and hunched over tiredness would continue for another month. The trail might have been colder than the nighttime air by the time Casey checked out this lead.

The officer pulled her puffy coat over herself even tighter while shining a flashlight on the dirt trail. The foot prints were deep and fresh, which meant someone had been here recently. Another good sign was the distinct print pattern of someone wearing size thirteen sneakers. A tiny smile formed on Casey’s face as her teeth chattered and her breath became steamy. If these footprints went on forever, she would walk forever. This was too good of a lead to throw away those sleepless nights.

Just a powerful yawn and a few more steps later and Officer Rasmussen’s flashlight shone brightly in the face of a shivering twenty-something sitting against the tree with little to protect him from the cold other than tattered blue jeans and a ripped hooded sweatshirt. Size thirteen sneakers as well; it was definitely him. But what the hell was this young man doing with a dream-catcher in his shaking hands?

“Eric Bradley? My name is Officer Casey Rasmussen. I’m here to bring you back home to your mother. You’ve been gone for a whole month. She’s worried sick about you. Come on, let’s get you warmed up in the car.”

But as Casey approached the shaky and erratic manchild, he crawled backwards while holding the dream-catcher in her face like a priest with a crucifix. “Stay back! I don’t want to go back home! She’s evil! She poisons my food! She wants to make me into one of her zombies!”

The cop laid her weapons belt on the ground, a belt which contained a pistol, pepper spray, and a stun gun. While holding her hands up in surrender, she kicked the belt off to the side, but not too far out of sight. “I’m not here to hurt you, Eric. Your mother doesn’t want to hurt you either. You don’t mean those things. How long has it been since you’ve taken your schizophrenia medication?”

“Not long enough!” shouted Eric. A tense silence hung in the frigid night air, making chatters and shivers even more audible between the nervous cop and civilian. Even in pants-wetting fear, Eric held that dream-catcher like it was his own version of a pistol, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

Casey tiptoed over to Eric, who crawled backwards just as slowly until the cop caught up with him and sat next to him against one of the trees. Mr. Bradley’s hostility soothed into calmness as he threw his dream-catcher to the side and gently rested his hooded head against the rough bark.

“That dream-catcher is special to you, isn’t it, Eric? Your mother told me that it’s your favorite thing to play with,” said Casey with a warm smile.

“Play with? Shit, this thing was supposed to do something for those goddamn voices. It’s supposed to heal me. Turns out it’s just a bunch of urban voodoo bullshit,” said Eric. He banged his head against the tree and breathed deeply and rapidly during his rant. “I just want them to shut up. Is it too much to ask? Why won’t they let me live in peace? High school is over. They’re all gone! Those stupid jocks are never coming back! Why do they keep talking to me?! Why do they keep calling me every fucking insult in the book?! Why are they laughing at me?!” Eric began pounding the dirt ground like a child having a fit.

The only reason he stopped was because Casey grabbing his hands snapped him out of that nightmarish trance. She looked sternly into his eyes and said, “Listen to me, Eric. That dream-catcher is not going to heal you, you’re right. Then again, neither will forgetting to take your pills or skipping your therapy sessions. You were doing great after you got out of high school. And then somewhere along the way, you…”

With tears in his eyes and snot in his nose, Eric interrupted, “I what? I blew it? Is that what you’re going to tell me? That I fucking blew it?!” He stood up and towered over the seated Casey, who had her hands raised defensively. He pointed harshly at her and ranted, “What do you know about me and what I’ve been through?! Are you some kind of shrink now?! Do you want to pick my brain?! Nobody’s picking my brain tonight! Keep your poisonous food and pills, because I see the world for what it really is: a shit-hole! A putrid…vile…evil…shit-hole! It’s fucking dystopia all over again!”

Casey decided this conversation was going nowhere fast and performed a double-leg takedown on Eric, who thrashed his arms and wailed like a baby. The cop advanced her position to his chest and held his arms straight in a bear hug. No matter how many times Eric yelled, “Let me go!” Casey continued to restrain her target with a firm grasp. Eric’s yells got more frantic and less intelligible, but he eventually gave up and broke down crying.

“It’s too late for me, Officer!” he sobbed. “I’ll never be the same again! I’ll never write poetry like I used to! I’ll never make money on my own! No woman will want to be with me after this! I’m useless! Damn it, I’m useless!” Casey shushed him a few times and the rabid crying defused to a gentle weep.

“You need help, Eric. This is not the way people are supposed to live. You can’t live out here in this forest on your own. How long has it been since you’ve eaten anything other than berries and nuts?” asked Officer Rasmussen in a gentle whisper.

“It’s better than choking down that poison my mom cooks,” said Eric.

Casey got off her target’s chest and sat on her knees in front of him. “You’re right about one thing: I don’t know what you’ve been through. I only know what your mother told me about you. I keep trying to talk to you, but you’re going off on different tangents and not making any sense. This needs to stop, Eric. Please, come with me. Not just for your mother’s sake, but for yours. Is this really how you want to live?”

A monstrous growl echoed across the scene and glowing animal eyes lingered in the background. Casey and Eric watched on in horror as the creature’s fangs came into the light. A thick coat of brown fur encased this savage forest warrior as the drooling wolf descended upon its victims. Casey and Eric slowly made it to their feet and tiptoed backwards to avoid aggravating the beast any further.

The wolf lunged at the pair with the intent to rip flesh and shatter bones. Casey pushed Eric out of the way and felt the wrath of this beast’s teeth sinking into her leg. She bled profusely as she stumbled over in an attempt to reach her weapons belt. The more she struggled, the tighter the wolf’s fangs latched onto her leg. But struggle she did. She clawed into the dirt and dragged her tired body across the ground. She was fingertips away from her belt, but the massive bleeding in her leg caused her to feel lightheaded. The weapons she needed were a blur to her and everything was fading to black.

And then the razor-sharp teeth in her leg released their grip as Eric let out a primal scream and palm struck the wolf in the nose, the most sensitive part of a dog’s body. The wolf ran away whining and moaning, but the bleeding in Casey’s leg created a flood around her body. Eric was pacing back and forth nervously biting his fingernails wondering what to do next. When the answers didn’t come to him, he dropped to his knees and let out yet another primal scream while pounding his forehead with his fists.

Despite the brutal wound, Casey found enough strength to sit up on her butt and contain Eric with another bear hug. With one arm wrapped around her target, she pressed the buttons on her walky-talky and said, “I need an ambulance to come down to Redwood Forest stat! Officer down and suspect Eric Bradley is having a breakdown! Over!”

The cop and the suspect breathed sighs of relief and plopped on their backs when there was a “Roger that!” on the other end of that transmission.

Eric sobbed softly and asked, “What’s going to happen to me now, Officer? Am I going to be locked up in a nut house? Wherever I’m going, I don’t want to be out here anymore. I hate this place! I hate it!”

Casey held Eric’s hand and said, “I’m not going to lie to you, Eric. You’ve endangered a lot of people with your behavior prior to coming to the forest. That’s why your mom called us. But after you saved my ass tonight, I’m going to make sure you get the best treatment you can possibly get. With any luck, you’ll go straight to the psychiatric hospital and you won’t have to do jail time.” She chuckled in a petrified manner and said, “Shit, man, I should have known punching the wolf in the nose would have gotten him off me. That’s the oldest trick in the book.”

Eric turned to Casey, smiled, and said, “Now who’s fucked up in the head?”

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"A Pedigree To Die For" by Laurien Berenson

BOOK TITLE: A Pedigree To Die For: A Melanie Travis Mystery
AUTHOR: Laurien Berenson
YEAR: 1995
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Cozy Mystery

Melanie Travis is a single mother who tries to balance getting her life back in order with solving the murder of her uncle Max Turnbull. The Turnbulls made their living by breeding poodles and showing them off at dog competitions. Their most prized stud, Beau, is missing from his kennel after Max’s aggravated heart attack. With her firebrand Aunt Peg coaching her along the way, Melanie shows up at the dog contests looking for evidence as to who might be in possession of the kidnapped Beau. She starts off with a bunch of hopeless dead ends, but as the mystery progresses, blackmail, corruption, and murder become much stronger themes in analyzing the clues.

When I first started reading this, I had my doubts as to whether this would be a realistic mystery due to all of the dead ends Melanie hits along the way. And then I realized that trial and error have always been a part of the mystery genre. Narrowing the suspects down to one is hard and tiring work, especially with as many enthusiastic dog show competitors as there are. Sometimes the pieces don’t click together right away. Sometimes Aunt Peg seems more like a pain in the butt than a true detective. However, if you continue reading, the plot will thicken near the middle of the book. The further you delve into this mystery, the more you want to know until the search hits its climax. That is the true nature of mystery stories and my doubts have been blasted out of the water by Laurien Berenson’s masterful storytelling techniques.

Another thing I love about this book is how realistic Melanie’s parenting skills are and how they make her into a sympathetic and likeable character right away. She’s recently divorced from her husband Bob and is left to take care of four-year-old Davey. The little guy is a bundle of energy that can keep on going like the dynamo he is. Even though Melanie is driven nuts by his ballistic behavior, she handles it like a champ and shows infinite patience for her special little guy. She knows when to tell him no and knows when to let him play and discover. She also takes him to McDonald’s every once and a while for yummy food. The fact that she can balance raising Davey by herself while solving her uncle’s murder will make any reader believe in girl power all over again.

Where would I be without mentioning the cuteness of the puppy-duppies being displayed in the pages of this wonderfully-written novel? They’re just as energetic as little Davey and show undying loyalty and love to whoever is around them. They sit on laps, they stick their wet noses into people, they smile like they’re actually capable of saying cheese, and they play around like innocent little cherubs. I wouldn’t mind scooping up some of these puppy-dups and bringing them home with me. One thing I would like to clarify is that you’ll hear the words “stud” and “bitch” quite liberally in this book. They’re not meant to refer to sexually active men and nasty women respectively, but rather to the gender of the dogs and whether or not they’ll be used for breeding. Try not to laugh when you hear about a “stud servicing many bitches.” It doesn’t mean what you think it means. You can laugh a little bit, but do try to contain yourself. It’s a cozy mystery, after all, not an erotic romance.

The pacing of this book is smooth and steady. As a reader, you can get inside Melanie Travis’ head, process the clues she picks up, and sense the body language of others while maintaining a reasonable speed. No purple prose here, which is probably the wisest option if you’re going to write a mystery novel. It also helps that the clues are easy to put together and that the explanations don’t take too many lines of text. Many avid readers could probably blow through this book in twenty-four hours. Even with its slick reading pace, it doesn’t feel over too soon and it’s a complete story with no stone left unturned. That’s the best kind of mystery you could ask for from an author like Laurien Berenson.

Maybe this isn’t the most life-changing book you’ll ever read, but it’s definitely a fun-filled, well-thought-out story that will keep you entertained from cover to cover. If you like dogs, strong female characters, or murder mysteries, I’m sure this book will have something to your liking. I happen to like all three of those qualities, so I enjoyed the book very much. A passing grade goes to an author I’ll definitely want to read another book from. Congratulations on a successful debut of Melanie Travis!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Andy Peloquin


It’s midsummer in the world today and that means my wonderful indie author friend Andy Peloquin has released another novel. It’s the sequel to “The Blade of the Destroyer” and it’s called “Lament of the Fallen”. While I haven’t started reading it yet, Andy told me in advance that this next story is more character-driven than violence-driven. He asked me to read and review it for him and I agreed to do so. As an added bonus, he’s going to read and review American Darkness. From that business exchange, we talked about badass heavy metal music and how he was jealous of all the concerts I would be attending this year. I’d bring him along if I could. Andy’s a tall guy, so he’d do well in a mosh pit. Hehe!

Let this business transaction be a reminder to authors everywhere that cooperation is the key to success. Other authors are not your enemies; they’re the best friends you’ll ever have. The words “Competitive Market” are complete bullshit when it comes to independent authors giving each other a hand. In a way, we’re like one big happy family. In that case, Andy would be my big brother and Marie-Pie would be my big sister, which sounds weird after all this time of calling her “Babe-a-Licious Mondo”. I’m sure Luke Skywalker never called Princess Leia that despite the fact that they shared an onscreen kiss. Oh dear.

As eager as I am to get started on reading Andy’s novel, it’s going to have to wait just a short, short while for me to finish reading “A Pedigree To Die For” by Laurien Berenson, which I plan on giving a four-star review once it’s over. I can’t emphasize the shortness of the wait enough since I only have seventy-plus pages left and the pacing is smooth and steady. You could have the collective patience of the entire instant gratification generation and still get through this book in a heartbeat. The only reason why I haven’t is because my eyes get tired easily and it’s a long time between reading sessions. I’m not sure if a white screen Kindle would remedy this problem. Probably not.

If you’re in need of a good book to read or you just want to help out a great friend with getting honest reviews, you should probably ask Andy for a copy of “Lament of the Fallen”, or if it’s on the market, you could put some money in his pocket. I swear by this man’s writing abilities. He earned every bit of praise I gave “Blade of the Destroyer”. If you receive a copy of any of his books, you are guaranteed to have a fun reading experience. Help him out. He deserves your support. I’m Garrison Kelly and I approved this message. Let’s make Andy Peloquin great again! Actually, he’s already great, but you get the idea. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


Last week’s vampire-and-cannibal-themed story was over the top and funny as hell according to the people who read it. This week’s story, which is Dream Catcher-themed, will be no laughing matter. It deals with schizophrenia, a topic I divulge minimal information about when talking about myself. I dedicate this story to Jake Lloyd, a schizophrenic actor who’s currently at a psychiatric facility trying to get his life in order. Star Wars fans will remember him as young Anikan Skywalker from The Phantom Menace. Jake gave up acting after that movie since he was being bullied at school for it. The story this week is called “Cold and Scared” and it goes like this:


Eric Bradley, Schizophrenic
Casey Rasmussen, Cop

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Eric keeps a dream-catcher with him at all times in hopes that it’ll ease his schizophrenic nightmares.

SYNOPSIS: Casey has been searching for Eric ever since he was reported as missing by his mother, who warns the cop that her son forgot to take his meds. After a month long search that turned up dead ends, Casey finds Eric alone in the forest cowering in fear. She tries to convince him to come home to his worried mother, but Eric is convinced that she’s been poisoning his food and trying to change him into something he’s not. The cop doesn’t know whether Eric’s story is legit or a schizophrenic delusion. The more she talks to him, the less she knows. The conversation comes down to the wire when they get company in the form of wild wolves.


Continuing with the theme of darkness, the next character to be drawn will be Rook Maxwell, the dark paladin from “Wasteland”. She used to be part of a 2007 movie script called World of Darkness, but has since been recycled into a short story from “Poison Tongue Tales”, which I’m still not done editing. I literally only have three stories remaining before I send the whole collection back to Marie for one last inspection. After that, Poison Tongue Tales will be my fifth on-the-market book and the second one to be published in the year 2016. You’ll see Rook Maxwell in it for sure.


“Edge may be the Rated-R Superstar, but Lita is rated E for Everyone.”

-Jerry “The King” Lawler-

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chunky Puffs

That Crescent Moon Party was some badass shit. Lots of drinking, lots of dancing, lots of fucking, and not one werewolf in sight. And then Nick Savage wondered why the hell he was tied to a barbecue rack out on the beaches with a spitfire underneath him. He wondered why the hell he had a golden delicious apple in his mouth like a ball gag. The biggest question of all was why were two chubby cannibals with afro hair and grass skirts looking on at him with the most romantic eyes. They made Nick shiver like a naked Eskimo when they licked their fat lips.

In the end, none of those questions mattered to Nick. All he had to do was get the hell out of this contraption before daybreak. With his vampire fangs, he chewed through the apple and swallowed it whole, giving off an obnoxious burp after enjoying his snack. He looked at the confused cannibals with a crazy smile and said, “Well, you know what they say: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. So as soon as the two of you are done checking each other’s prostates, I’d like it if you’d untie me.”

The cannibal on the left started screaming in a tribal language while his friend was holding him back. During their petty argument, Nick could hear them call each other Soa and Tufu. He laughed like an evil clown while the one called Soa angrily asked, “What’s so funny, you pathetic little creature?!”

“Nothing, nothing at all,” said Nick. “I just didn’t think my night was end with me getting eaten alive by two idiots named Soda and Tofu. I suppose that can’t be worse than Gwyneth Paltrow naming her daughter Apple, but hey, who am I to judge?”

Soa was even more aggressive with his thrashing and tribal screaming, but Tufu was there to hold him back. As soon as Soa calmed down, his cohort pulled him aside and the two of them talked in their native language out of ear shot of Nick.

“Hey, retards!” Nick shouted. “If you’re going to try and eat me, do it already! I have a nice juicy ass that you could nibble on. Or if you’d like an even bigger slice of meat, flip me over and I’ll be happy to help.”

Soa and Tufu came back with a gigantic pot of brown gravy with a ladle inside. While Soa was rubbing his hands together and smiling deviously, his friend drizzled the brown sauce all over Nick’s bare chest.

“Wow, that looks appetizing,” said Nick. “You know, if you feed me some Taco Bell, I could do the same thing to the two of you in about half an hour.”

Tufu slammed the pot of gravy down on the sand and pinched Nick’s cheeks together with his massive thumb and fingers. “You want to be a smart ass, little man?” said Tufu. “Keep talking. We’re still going to devour every square inch of your pathetic little body!”

“Every square inch?” asked Nick sarcastically. “Including…you know…those places? This wasn’t exactly how I envisioned getting laid tonight, but if you two want to lose your virginities that bad, I guess there’s nothing I can do.”

Tufu raised his meaty fist in the air and brought it down upon Nick’s mouth. The vampire spit out a fountain of blood in his captor’s face. The two cannibals grinned evilly at their prey while Soa said, “I think our meat needs to be tenderized. We’ll see how tough he really is. Punch him again! Knock those disgusting fangs out of his smart little mouth!”

The second time Tufu went for a punch to the mouth, Nick chewed through the cannibal’s hand and started drinking his blood. While Tufu screamed, Soa tried to pry the vampire’s fangs off of his cohort’s hand. Instead of releasing his alligator grip, Nick took one last bite at his captor’s wrist and swallowed the hand whole. Tufu fell backwards and rolled around in pain while blood squirted from his stump like a volcano.

While Soa knelt beside his friend to try and stop the rapid bleeding, Nick thrashed and struggled in his bonds. He could feel the ropes coming slowly apart with every jerk and twist. Tufu shouted at his partner, “Never mind me! The little bastard is trying to escape!”

Soa looked into Nick’s eyes with fire, fury, and tightly clenched teeth. As the vampire wriggled around, the cannibal picked an axe off the ground and slowly marched toward his victim. Soa drooled so much that he was aggravating the fire underneath his victim. Nick hollered as the rising flames scorched his bare back and burned holes in his blue jeans. The tribal warrior raised his axe and roared like a lion as he brought it down for one death blow to the gut.

While the rising flames turned Nick’s back crispy, they also weakened his bindings. As the axe came down, the vampire hastily brought his now liberated knee into Soa’s hand and caused him to drop the blade into the fire. While Nick’s back was completely blistered and red, the last few ropes were weak enough to break easily. He jumped off the barbecue rack and got in a rapid fist fight with Soa.

The two warriors smashed each other in the face so many times that they bled and bruised instantly. Fists turned to elbows. Elbows turned to knees. All eight limbs were being used to smash the shit out of each other and the resulting bursts of blood built up the fire even more.

The tickle of fire caused Nick to jump into Soa’s arms. Though slightly dizzy, the cannibal looked bloodily and romantically into his victim’s eyes. Nick looked at his tormentor the same way. When both men leaned in to take a bite, it was the vampire who clutched a hold of the cannibal’s jugular vein and drank blood like he was doing a keg challenge at a frat party. Soa’s body became as limp as a noodle, thus signifying his death.

After treating his victim’s blood like an open bar, Nick stumbled around clutching his chest while saying, “I don’t feel so good. I think I’m going to…I think…Jesus Christ…” He coughed violently before dropping to his knees and eventually plopping down on the sand chest first. The coughing became softer until he could no longer move.

Tufu, who had scrambled off to the side with a pile of leaves covering his stump, had finally gotten his bleeding under control to where he was no longer screaming in pain. He looked down at the lifeless Nick Savage with heavy breathing and clenched teeth. Little by little, he trudged over to the corpse while on his knees and started ranting under his breath.

“What’s wrong, little man?” said the last remaining cannibal. “Did you drink too much? Did you have a heart attack? That sucks for you. Too bad there’s nobody out here to give you CPR. I’d give it to you, but your mouth smells like shit and I don’t want to taste it. If you want a kiss so badly, give it to one of your gothic vampire boyfriends!”

Nick began to stir ever so slowly as he reached his hand for his chest once again. “Please…take me to the hospital. I’m having a heart attack. I’m dying!”

“Oh, you’re going to die alright. There may be a crescent moon out tonight, but that doesn’t mean I’m going home hungry. Crescent Moon Party? How insulting is that? We would have hunted your kind down no matter what the skies forecasted!”

The vampire breathed weakly and looked at Tufu with a confused expression. “You’re…you’re a werewolf?”

“Surprise, surprise, little man!” said Tufu with a hearty chuckle. “Just because I don’t walk around with fur everywhere, doesn’t mean I can’t chow down on your disgusting body anytime I want. I’m sick of waiting around for a full moon! If Mother Nature doesn’t give me what I want, I’ll just take it from her filthy, rotting hands!”

A tired smile formed across Nick’s face as he said, “Thank you, Tofu. Thank you…for giving me Soda as a delicious meal…and for showing everybody here what idiots you werewolves really are. Crescent Moon Party? Give me a fucking break. We’re not scared of you. On the contrary…” The suddenly healthy vampire floated in the air and aligned his feet with the sand to stand upright. “You should be scared of us!”

Tufu looked around in the fiery light and saw that Nick’s vampire friends were surrounding him in a circle. The trench-coat donning creatures of the night licked their lips and bore their fangs. Some of them started touching their own bodies in a sexual manner to signify how hungry for blood they really were. A fat-ass like Tufu would feed them well.

“No…no, no, no! This is ridiculous! I’ve been set up!” shouted the fearful werewolf.

“You’ve been set up alright, Chunky Puff. Let me ask you a question: who’s the real cannibal around here? Creatures of the night, dinner is served!”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day


Just like Valentine’s Day, July 4th is a holiday I don’t get too emotionally invested in. Yes, the fireworks are nice to watch. Yes, the barbecued food tastes delicious. But truth be told, I’ve never really considered myself to be overly patriotic when it comes to America. I don’t have a giant American flag hanging from every corner of my house. I don’t sing “The Star Spangled Banner” every chance I get. I don’t have red white and blue clothing of any kind. I don’t understand national pride, that’s all.

There are some parts about America that I like and some that I don’t. I like vacationing on California and visiting their theme parks. I like taking trips to Seattle, Tacoma, and Auburn to see my favorite bands perform. I like going to Seaside, Oregon and strolling around on the beaches (even during an overcast day). I like all of the dog-friendly towns I’ve visited over the years. What I can do without, however, is national conformity, ignorance, and selfishness. I’m also mature enough to realize that not all Americans are like that. I’ve made lots of American friends over the years and I’d hug them all if I could.

Of course, the standard reaction to a lack of enthusiasm for America is, “If you don’t like it, then get out!” Even though people say it a lot, it’s not a realistic thing to say. In order to gain citizenship to another country, you have to go through a lot of bureaucratic hoops, the process of which could take days, weeks, or even years. Getting a work visa can be just as frustrating. While all of the paperwork is going through, where is this unenthusiastic American supposed to go? The ocean? Mars? The Dark Side of the Moon? The Fifth Dimension? Parts Unknown?

And then you have another typical response in the form of, “You’re disrespecting our soldiers!” No, I’m not. In fact, this conversation wasn’t even about soldiers until that point. Even though I disagree with war, I know being a soldier is one of the hardest jobs in the world today. When they come back to the States, a lot of horrible things can happen from homelessness to PTSD. Paying for their health costs, both mental and physical, would be a wiser use for our tax dollars than sending them to war in the first place.

So just because I don’t wave an American flag everywhere I go, doesn’t mean that I’m leaving this country anytime soon. I’m currently at peace with my life in a little town in Washington State called Port Orchard. I used to think of Port Orchard as a paragon of boredom until I realized that most of my boredom was my own doing. Sure, there aren’t any video arcades or comic book shops that I can readily go to, but I still have all of these books on my shelves to read, all of these shows to watch, and all of these short stories that need to be written.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to…do something…fun…I don’t know what yet, but it’ll happen. We’ve got ears, say cheers!


I took a one-week vacation from the WSS and now I feel refreshed enough to take part in their contests again. The theme this week is “Crescent Moon” and my story will be called “Chunky Puffs” (any Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy fans in the house?). It goes like this:


Nick Savage, Gothic Vampire
Soa, Cannibal
Tufu, Cannibal

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The party Nick went to was being held under a crescent moon, which means there’s no danger of werewolves since they require the full moon to transform.

SYNOPSIS: Nick wakes up after passing out at a gothic party and finds himself tied to a giant barbecue rack with Soa and Tufu eager to eat him. Nick is actually the hungriest person in this group, but he reconsiders drinking his attackers’ blood since due to their questionable diets. The vampire and the cannibals exchange food jokes back and forth to each other until Nick breaks free from his bondage and engages in a bloody battle with his captors.


Up next on deck is Derrick O’Brien, the werewolf fugitive from the short story “Chaos”, a title I’m considering changing. He used to be part of a story called “Vampire On Fire” until I realized that “Chaos” would be a better fit for him. Unlike Jacob Black, Derrick is not a pretty boy who likes gentle sex. He’s a monstrous thug who likes it rough and bloody. I pity any motherfucker who stands in his way.


“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

-Mark Twain-

White Boy

Black lives matter; they always did
You’re saying otherwise? Who’re you trying to kid?
You keep your racism under the tightest lid
And sell powerful positions for the highest bid
You’re a bunch of slave owners with a license to kill
Leaving the taxpayers to clean the mess and pay the bill
A trail of bodies as long as the Nile
Hundreds more ready to walk the Green Mile

I’m not ashamed of the things I’ve said
I’m talking to you, white boy, with your neck all red
You point your pistol and you open fire
But when you take the stand, you turn into a liar
You buy the judge with your unlimited funds
Intimidate the jury until their urine runs
Walk away a free man with the blood on your hands
Go back to the station to tune up the band

You talk about freedom like it’s a cultural buzz word
Yet when minorities have it, you get all butt hurt
“Reverse racism” is your phrase of choice
Boom and bang are your preference of noise
Get out of your seat; put your hand on your heart
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of Wal-Mart
And to the EBT stamps for which they accept
One nation under fraud, time to break some necks”

If you say “All Lives Matter”, you’d better mean it
That includes all races, you’d better believe it
Not just the cops, the Christians, or the whites
Every one of us should have the same rights
You go back on your claim when the flag is in flames
You point your rifle like a finger at somebody to blame
It’s all about you and the power you wield

And how “reverse racism” has become a shield