Sunday, October 30, 2016

Demon Axe, Chapter 5

“Why the fuck am I even arguing with a fucking cosplayer?” Daniel asked himself. “Fuck this shit, I need something to drink. Something strong. Something badass. Something that’s going to make my head explode.” The Lord of the Pit stomped off to his bedroom and slammed the door behind him. The sounds of various items being tossed around in search of clothing could be heard well beyond the thickness of the door.

Raven grimaced in anger and marched to Daniel’s bedroom door before pounding on it with the force of a heavyweight boxer’s punch. “What do you mean you need something to drink?!” She shouted. “Do you actually think that liquid poison is going to help you?! Why the hell would somebody want to drink something that makes them stupid?! It makes no goddamn sense!”

Daniel opened his newly cracked door now dressed in ratty blue jean shorts, a red Pantera T-shirt, a stained leather jacket, and combat boots. “Just for the record, Raven, if that is your real fucking name, I’m already fucked up in the head to where I can’t even get a good night’s sleep. It’s not like one or two beers is going to make too much of a difference. If I’m going to be a lazy piece of shit, I might as well smell like liquid heaven. Get out of my way.”

The booming sound of glass shattering echoed throughout Daniel’s home. Raven immediately drew her blade while Daniel looked around with wide paranoid eyes. “What the hell was that? I haven’t even had a drop of beer yet and already I’m hearing things.”

“You’re not drunk or stoned, Daniel,” said Raven. “We need to get the hell out of here and fast. I believe I’ve been followed.”

“Yeah, that’s right, lead the big bad guys right to my house. That’s some five-star general shit right there,” said Daniel. Raven grabbed him by the hand and despite slurring protests from the rock star, dragged him down the hall towards the garage. “What the hell is chasing us, anyways?!” Daniel whined.

The elusive twosome barged through the garage door and hurriedly got inside the Demon Axe tour van, Daniel in the driver’s seat and Raven in the passenger’s. The Lord of the Pit fumbled to get the keys out of his shorts pocket while the elf warrior screamed, “Hurry! Get this thing started and let’s get out of here!”

The bomb-like sounds of pounding on the steel garage door nearly gave Daniel a heart attack as he clutched his chest and dropped the keys down the side of his seat. Raven cursed incessantly while digging around for the fallen keys, Daniel nothing more than a scared little mouse. The pounding continued until crater-sized dents formed in the door. The Lord of the Pit’s apoplexy nearly hit its climax when the garage door was ripped off and standing there were the brainwashed wrestlers Johnny Vega and Sonia Marquez, both of them with fists at their sides, muscles tensed, and angry breathing filling the garage like dragon smoke.

Not taking into account the crowns of thorns on the minions’ heads, Daniel’s mind-blowing fear fizzled into light laughter, like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Holy shit, man!” he chuckled. “We’re being kidnapped by a couple of wrestling badasses! I love these guys! Maybe we can do a little autograph exchange or something!”

Raven smacked Daniel upside the head and brought him out of his fan-boy trance. She shoved the keys into the ignition and barked, “Drive, damn it!” As the heavy metal icon twisted the keys, the engine to the tour van was sputtering and blasting, like it hadn’t been driven in years. Johnny and Sonia slowly approached the lame duck vehicle with their muscular arms in the air and their claws extended. “Hurry, Daniel! Move it!”

“I’m trying to move, damn it!” shouted Daniel, still twisting the key as hard as he could. By this time the two brainwashed wrestlers began scratching the windshield of the fan and flicking glass shards into Raven and Daniel’s faces. Raven covered up with her arms while Daniel continued working on the ignition. After a few small cuts formed on Raven’s arms and Daniel’s face, Johnny Vega punched through the windshield and unleashed a blizzard of glass upon the driver and passenger.

Then and only then did the tour van purr to life. The two occupants were bleeding mildly from these small gashes, but Raven, being the solid warrior she was, swung her blade at the attackers and backed them off. Daniel slammed his foot on the accelerator and blazed down the street at nearly top speed. Johnny and Sonia sidestepped the vehicular onslaught, but grabbed a hold of the sides of the van and sunk their claws into the metal.

The neighborhood was empty of other drivers, so Daniel let out a heavy metal growl and swerved from side to side in an attempt to shake off his assailants. Their bodies flapped in the wind like flags of patriotism for their leader’s elven nation, but they refused to let go. Johnny, who had occupied the left side of the van, crawled and scratched his way toward Daniel’s window only to be slammed against a light post and bounced off of the street, causing the giant wrestler to roll and stumble on the sidewalk. The light post came crashing down on top of him and pinned the seven-footer on his back.

Daniel let out a victorious, “Woo-hoo!” only to have Raven’s window bashed in by Sonia’s legs, which then wrapped around the elf warrior’s neck and squeezed like a hangman’s noose. Her face turned several shades of purple and she even dropped her blade on the floor. Daniel smiled at the incident and maneuvered the van to the side where Sonia bounced head first off of a steel mail box. The MMA enthusiast let go of the chokehold and rolled down the sidewalk unconscious and defeated. Meanwhile, Raven clutched her own throat and coughed violently before sucking in sweet precious air.

“Are you alright, baby girl? I hope I didn’t rough you up too badly,” said Daniel in a celebratory tone.

After a few hard breaths of fresh oxygen, Raven said, “Don’t ever call me baby girl again.”

The van found a clear path to the highway and pulled over so that Daniel and Raven could assess their wounds. They ended up wrapping Demon Axe T-shirts (that were being sold as merchandise) around their cuts since the van wasn’t equipped with a first aid kit. Daniel and Raven sat together in the back of the van during this medical jury rigging and stared out into the rising sun. Their hunched over postures and heavy breathing suggested extreme tiredness for what they had just gone through.

“Here’s what I don’t understand about you, Raven,” said Daniel. “You’re an elf from another world, just like this Roger Zee douche-canoe is, yet you talk just like a normal human being, no different from what I’d hear on the streets.”

“It wasn’t always that way, Daniel,” said Raven as she placed a hand on his wounded shoulder. “Whenever one nation conquers another, the losing side always takes the language of their captors. Your people are freaking out over the appearance of elf terrorists, yet they do not know that the governments of the world have been in on this all along. I bet this narrative sounds familiar, especially as it relates to your native captors. You know the ones.”

“I never said I believed in all that Manifest Destiny bullshit,” said Daniel. “I don’t approve of any of this political violence no matter who it’s happening to. With that being said, I can understand why Roger Zee would be pissed off. It still doesn’t change the fact that he killed a bunch of innocent people to get his message across. Those concertgoers didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t know what was happening. They just bought tickets thinking they were going to see some kick-ass heavy metal.”

“Truth be told, none of my people can understand Roger’s zealous ways. Yes, we’re upset at the way human governments have treated us, but we would never authorize the killing of innocents. Then again, how can some of those people be innocent when they’re just as scared of us as the pundits and politicians they blindly follow?”

Daniel placed his slashed up arm around Raven and said, “Not all of us are conformist sheep. But I will admit, enough of us are. As long as there are people in power who pull the puppet strings, there will always be puppets willing to dance along with them. I tried to convey that warning to my fans by having an all-Muslim and all-LGBT band open for us at the night of the concert. Some people got it, others didn’t. Some people just don’t want to see the light.”

Raven got down from the van and turned to face Daniel with a serious expression on her face. “I understand how powerful your music is. You can evoke all kinds of emotions with the heaviest chord or the wildest scream. But as powerful as your music is, Roger’s blade is that much more dangerous.”

“I see where you’re getting at,” nodded Daniel. “Trust me, my love for music is as dead as my band mates. I can’t even picture going on without them. They were like brothers to me. It’s part of the reason why I’m so fucked in the head right now.”

“There are other ways in which you can redeem yourself and fight for a noble cause, Daniel. But in order to do so, you have to listen closely to what I have to say. A lot of bad memories are going to come flooding back, but it’s for the good of the cause. We have to return to the scene of the concert,” said Raven.

“What? Are you crazy? There’s no chance in hell I’m going back there! I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing my friends’ heads rolling around on the ground with their spinal cords still intact!”

“I know that!” snapped Raven before returning to a lulling voice. “I know. That’s why I want to accompany you. I can keep you safe from anything Roger throws at us. I know I looked pretty weak back there while we were on the road, but I swear I’ll be ready next time.”

Daniel sighed, shook his head, and leaned his face down to hold the bridge of his nose. He took some more heavy sighs before lifting his head back up and saying, “You’d better be right about this. I’ll slash my own fucking throat before I get locked up in a loony bin. I like drugs, just not those ones.”

Raven placed both hands on either one of Daniel’s shoulders and said, “Trust me, my friend: this whole journey is going to feel like you’re on psychedelic drugs. Like I said, elves take the language of their conquerors. That means we have the same technology and urban development that you guys do. It’s just that in the elven world, things are slightly different. Just different enough to make you believe that you’re on LSD.”

“I would kill for some acid right now,” said Daniel with a flat tire noise and a small grin.

Change the Channel

Pick your battles, change the channel
To inner peace, rage can’t hold a candle
So much negativity invading your space
As if you could actually change this place
Worldwide trauma is too much drama
While everybody likes to blame Obama
Don’t forget who the real owners are
Remember as you put gas in your car

Why am I watching this brutal shit?
Why am I reading this vitriolic lit?
I’m saving my anger for another day
I’m changing the channel to get away

Save your sanity, no more Hannity
The safest space is your own canopy
Filter out the hatred and brutality
Too much finality in this reality
It’s not that I don’t give a fuck
It’s just that we’re shit out of luck
Don’t rub it in my goddamn face
You can’t invade my safest place

Why am I watching this brutal shit?
Why am I reading this vitriolic lit?
I’m saving my anger for another day
I’m changing the channel to get away

Too much anger and too much scorn
We’re physically sick and mentally worn
Sometimes it’s better not to be born
To a world covered in bloodlust porn
People wonder why I run and hide
From the darkness I keep on the inside
Because it’s like a war zone outside
With too much bigotry and national pride

Why am I watching this brutal shit?
Why am I reading this vitriolic lit?
I’m saving my anger for another day
I’m changing the channel to get away
They say I need to open my mind
Yet they’re the ones who are blind
What do they think I’ll try to find?

Death and disease of a different kind?

Dead Roses

Sitting in a vase all precious and pretty
Nothing for the soul that feels so shitty
Nothing for the heart made of chiseled stone
Nothing for the man who feels all alone
Dead roses are just a pile of corpses
Taken away by the devilish forces
You’re not a lover, you’re an undertaker
Sending men to their graves to meet their maker

Dead roses on a coffee table
Dead roses, the coffin’s nails
Dead roses with vampire thorns
Dead roses never again to be born

The sweetest flower, a symbol of love
Gifted to me by an angel from above
I was never a knight in shining armor
A dancing fool with no dance partner
A fool for believing in fairy tales
When the simplest flirt ends in a fail
A prisoner of my own steel cage
A life sentence full of quiet rage

Dead roses in a padded cell
Dead roses burning in hell
Dead roses with stinger blades
Dead roses of wilting shades

A loaded trap with the easiest bait
A dying romance with a sealed fate
A garden of roses, a rotting cemetery
A collection of souls so incendiary

You’re not an angel, but a mere mortal
You’re not a hero of love, too immoral
You’re a soldier of fortune, a mercenary
Another burden that my heart must carry
All I have left are these wilted roses
Offensive to the least sensitive noses
Another plant gave its life for nothing
Another symbol for wasted loving

Dead roses in a garbage can
Dead roses to your biggest fan
Dead roses on the casket lid
Who the hell are you trying to kid?
Fights and arguments, war and peace
Only death could make it all cease
You made me fall in love with you

And slashed my heart right in two

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Common Dreams


Ever since I started using my CPAP breathing machine in the summer of this year, I’ve had a harder time remembering my dreams. That’s probably because my dreams were either about weird ass competitions I was in or scenarios that would make good novels but only in the dream and not in the real world. Those are the only two types of dreams I have difficulty remembering. While this is normal for people who use a CPAP, there have been nights where my dreams were as clear as day. I don’t talk about my dreams as often as I used to. I used to do dream posts all the time on my blog Garrison’s Library, but what those amounted to was a bunch of boo-hooing that they didn’t involve sex or having a girlfriend. Hey, I was lonely and didn’t know what to do with my life, give me a break. Thankfully, I won’t subject you guys to any of that shallow whining. Tonight’s journal entry will be about common themes in the dreams I can actually remember. I don’t know what they mean or why they keep coming up, but I can assure you that it has nothing to do with my deep rooted desire to have a romantic relationship with a female rock star. Let’s get started.

  1. Air Travel. My parents take a lot of vacations and sometimes I tag along with them. Some of them involved air travel, such as New Orleans, Hawaii, California, Colorado, or New Mexico. Maybe I keep dreaming about boarding airplanes because of these experiences. It used to be that I would feel anxious while having one of these dreams because I’d forget to pack my schizophrenia medication. Not the case anymore.
  2. Cats. I’d move either way from an old house or into a new one and both times there were cats I’d have to take care of. Lots of cats. Orange cats, black cats, calicoes, marmalades, tuxedos, lots of goddamn cats. I once had a WSS member named Mark ask why he was more weirded out by me being a crazy cat man than after any reading of my violent short stories. I laugh about it every time I read that comment, because it was intended to be good natured. But now I think maybe he has a point. Hehe!
  3. Chehalis. I’ve lived in the small conservative town of Chehalis, Washington from 1996 to 2001. While I don’t look back on this time in my life favorably, the dreams I’ve had about this town were noteworthy in many ways. I’ve dreamed about buying prostitutes, having a library job, visiting my childhood friends Winn and Duncan, catching a bus ride, searching for my childhood friend Nathan, and wandering through the apocalypse. If the apocalypse was really going to happen, it would definitely happen in Chehalis. Trust me on that one.
  4. Concerts. It mattered not who was playing and it mattered even less where they were playing. In my dreamland, I’ve been to a Three Days Grace concert that took place in a college classroom. I’ve been to a Roger Waters concert at a stone-built temple. I’ve been to a Rammstein concert at both a Chinese restaurant and a roller skating rink. I’ve been to a Pantera concert at an abandoned grocery store (they played where the deli used to be). I’ve been to a concert where Skillet opened for Green Day and me and James got kicked out of the venue when Green Day played. I must really love concerts.
  5. Diaper Shopping. These dreams would involve me waking up at an ungodly hour of the day, walking through dark and dreary weather, and cruising Fred Meyer or Rite Aid looking for a package of adult diapers, which would be used for sexual purposes. The dilemma of these dreams was that I had nowhere to hide the diapers from my family. Well, in the dreams, diaper sex was a great idea, but when I woke up, I realized it wouldn’t happen in a million years.
  6. Dragon Ball Z. When I’m watching this anime in my dreams, I’m playing a desperate game of catch-up with some new series they put out, usually involving Vegeta getting humiliated or an apocalyptic scenario. Maybe these new DBZ episodes took place in Chehalis. I also play catch-up with new Gundam shows, but those are normally easier to follow than Dragon Ball Z episodes. Should I start watching anime again as a means of curing my boredom? Maybe when I get a better streaming service than my burned out Roku.
  7. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. I would either participate in these games or watch them on TV. Every time I do either, all of the players would fail miserably at both games. It’s kind of like the real world, but it’s more brutal, it’s drawn out forever, and it would take place in the past. During the toss-up rounds in Wheel of Fortune, Vanna White would actually flip the letters on that old-school board and the contestants would still get it wrong. Sometimes they’d even guess numbers and punctuation marks. Jesus Christ, man. One time during an episode of Jeopardy, Rosalind Cash (Dr. Cushing from Tales from the Hood) hosted Final Jeopardy and the category was Prostitutes. Double Jesus Christ, man.
  8. Libraries. These are some of my favorite dreams, obviously because I’m an author who eye-guzzles literature on a daily basis. I always dream about checking out a shit ton of books, buying a bunch of RPG rule books, or checking out a Robotech book since I also dream about playing catch-up with this book series. Sometimes I would dream about playing D&D or buying action figures and Legos from a library. No nightmare fuel here!
  9. Pink Floyd the Wall. When if first saw the music video for Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 in the mid 1990’s, I tried my damnedest to try and avoid looking at the faceless masks ever again. They were creepy and nightmare inducing to the point where I’d even avoid looking at them in my dreams. I eventually got over my fear when I saw Roger Waters in concert in 2000, but in my dreams, I always avoid going to the Pink Floyd section of every record and video store.
  10. School. Whether it’s middle school, high school, or college, the common themes in these dreams include failing classes, dropping out of classes, finding a seat in class that doesn’t have a bunch of graffiti on it, finding my next class while naked, taking gym classes at a community college, and reading a novel and actually being able to pass the class because of it. A less common theme would be fighting with a bully, to which I would feel angry after waking up. Why am I so obsessed with school? Is this why I write a lot of school-related stories for the WSS?
  11. VHS Tapes. I’d have dreams about visiting my biological father Michael Temons and while I was at his house I’d dig through his VHS collection. Sometimes they would be episodes of Monsters. Sometimes they would be music videos from VH1. Sometimes they would be cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s. No matter what it was, I’d want those VHS tapes in the worst way. Same thing with his audio tapes. Maybe this is my brain’s way of thanking my dad for giving me an old school state of mind. He did introduce me to The Police, The Moody Blues, and Pink Floyd, after all.
  12. Videogames. I played a lot of goddamn videogames until I officially retired in 2010 due to getting my ass kicked multiple times by a lava dragon in Final Fantasy III. Maybe these dreams are trying to pull me back in. I’ve played Super Mario games with Phantos aplenty, Final Fight games where I got my ass quickly kicked, Street Fighter games where I threw my opponent off of a high ledge, Mega Man games where I’d get frustrated as hell, Diablo II sequels that were exactly the same as the prequel but more frustrating, and Final Fantasy NES games where I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was doing. I’d also play Final Fantasy-themed RPG’s where I’d be on the verge of fighting the Calcobrena Puppets in some creepy form. I once fought a bunch of baldheaded puppets that sat in rocking chairs, pointed at my characters, and laughed evilly. When it comes to videogames, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in!
  13. World Championship Wrestling. The Monday Night Wars between the WWE and WCW were a time in wrestling history where both sides actually cared about improving and nobody had a complacent monopoly. My WCW dreams, however, tell a different story. Sometimes there would be a shitload of championship belts. Sometimes Rey Mysterio would dominate the show. Sometimes the WCW Nitro episodes would take place in a wooden hut. Sometimes Hulk Hogan would come to the ring to a Moody Blues song. Maybe WCW would actually stay in business today if these things really happened. Or it would have folded sooner than 2001, we don’t know.

I’d like to think that I could harvest some decent creative fuel from these odd dreams. I certainly thought that when I dreamed about Hulk Hogan battling a crew of squid-like aliens. But the problem with using dreams as creative fuel is that they don’t amount to solid stories unless you tweak so much of the original dream that it loses its genuineness. The author has a decision to make between a good story and staying faithful to the original inspiration. I’ll always choose to have a good story, which is why the Hulk Hogan dream never materialized into an actual piece of literature: too many loose ends and plot holes. This is not to say that dreams are meaningless and that they should be ignored. There’s a reason I keep having these themes pop up in my head at night. If only I could tap into them in a way that made sense.


There is a month-long discrepancy between chapters three and four of Demon Axe. This is unacceptable to me, especially since National Novel Writing Month is coming up after Halloween and I want to make the most of it. Let’s see what I can come up with for chapter five of this WIP novel. The chapter is going to start off by somebody smashing Daniel Mercer’s windows and breaking into his house. Raven Triscloud seems to think that she and Daniel are being followed by Roger Zee’s newly-enslaved minions Johnny Vega and Sonia Marquez. Daniel and Raven will have to put aside their disagreements if they want to make it through this night alive.


One of the things I’m trying to do with these character drawings is show them in different poses from what I feel comfortable doing. Too many of these drawings show the character folding his arms, having his hands at his sides, or waving his hands in the air. Very rarely does the character stand at an angle and when he does, it usually ends ridiculously as seen with the Shawn Henry drawing. That’s the thing about trying new ideas: sometimes you strike gold and other times you spill fertilizer. I’m hoping to strike gold with Soa, one of the two Samoan cannibals from the short story “Chunky Puffs”.


GOOGLE GUY: Come on in. Don’t worry about me. It’s Jackson Polluck’s birthday today and I’m covered in paint to celebrate his particular art style.

USER: Why do farts smell?

GOOGLE GUY: One of the most important painters of all time and you want to know why farts smell.

-If Google Was a Guy-

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Photo Safari

“Holy shit, these are some damn good pictures,” said Pierce Fritz to himself as he flipped through the bikini-clad women on his digital camera. The pudgy horseshoe-haired photographer drooled over these women’s bodies and had to wipe his mouth off with a McDonald’s napkin afterwards. He sat in the driver’s seat of his blacked out car and had his laptop in the passenger’s seat. Putting these “sexy” women’s faces to names was as easy as logging onto Face Book. “You fucking millennials are making this way too easy,” chuckled Pierce.

The sunny beaches of Paulson City was a gold mine of fapping material, but the one woman who really had Pierce’s groin in an electrical storm was a toned and fit black lady in a white thong bikini and long silky black hair with yellow and green streaks. The photographer clapped his hands giddily before snapping a picture of her and running her face through his computer. “Welcome to the machine, Trinity O’Dell,” said Pierce with a wide and malicious grin on his saggy face. He took another bite of his Egg McMuffin and smacked his lips both in appreciation of his breakfast and also in appreciation of Trinity’s “gorgeous” body.

“Uh-oh…” said Pierce as he surfed further through Miss O’Dell’s Face Book profile. It didn’t surprise him that she had a boyfriend. With legs and feet like those, why wouldn’t she? What got his eyes to nearly bulge out of his head was that this boyfriend was a human refrigerator of a black man who played football in college. “Looks like this Austin Cain fellow might be some healthy competition,” whispered Pierce. The initial shock wore off when the pervert horse-laughed his way back to happiness.

Trinity strutted towards the ice cream stand, looking around with her hand shielding her eyes for presumably her boyfriend Austin. Pierce shrugged and snapped more photos of her, aiming his lens around her ample breasts, firm buttocks, silky legs, and smooth feet. He could have been here all day every day if it wasn’t for the harsh sound of fists pounding on his hood snapping him out of an erection-induced trance.

Staring him down through the tinted windshield was the Mohawk-donning, football jersey-wearing, and gigantic-bodied Austin Cain, whose teeth were clenched tightly and whose eyes were staring bullets into Pierce Fritz. The photographer’s cheeks vibrated and his eyes widened while Austin marched to the side of the car and tried to open it. The ex-quarterback pounded on the window and shouted, “Hey! Open this goddamn door! Get out of the motherfucking car, bitch! You want to snap pictures of my girl?! Huh?! Get your motherfucking ass out of the car!”

Pierce did as he was told, but through the passenger’s door instead and in his haste dropped his camera down a storm drain. He said, “Shit!” multiple times as his thunderous legs tried to haul his big ass down the boardwalk in route to safety. No matter how much energy he put into this escape, Pierce’s lungs were burning and his legs were aching. He could have just collapsed on the ground and napped for the rest of the day.

Austin, being the more athletically gifted of the two, easily caught up to Pierce and grabbed him around the stomach with his twenty-four-inch pythons. As the fat fuck yelled for help in the most pathetic voice possible and attracted gawkers in the process, Austin heaved his clumsy body up in the air and slammed him against the stone railing. The boyfriend of Trinity O’Dell grabbed him by his sweaty polo shirt and yelled, “You think this is funny?! You think you’re just going to get away with this shit?! I’ll punch your whole chest cavity out, faggot! I’ll throw your ass screaming from a fucking helicopter!”

Austin, stop! What the hell are you doing, babe?! Let him go!” shouted Trinity from the sidelines with her fists by her side.

“This creep was taking pictures of you, baby girl! You want me to let his ass go?! I don’t think so!” shouted Austin with his fist poised in the air for a punch.

“Please! Please! Listen to your girlfriend, Austin!” said Pierce in a shaky and whiny voice. “You can’t afford to go back to jail, not with your record! This will be your third strike! Listen to reason and let me go! Don’t do this!”

“Wait a minute, how the fuck do you know all of this?!” demanded Austin. When Pierce allowed a sly smile to spread across his egg-covered lips, the football prodigy unleashed a volcanic burst of swear words and shook him so hard that the photographer almost had whiplash. Trinity screamed and pleaded with her boyfriend as she tried to pry his arms off.

Austin’s blind rage caused him to jerk his arm away and accidentally knock Trinity to the ground, leaving her sobbing hysterically while he watched in horror. “Baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do nothing like that,” said the boyfriend as he slowly knelt down to try and comfort her.

“Step aside, Mr. Cain. Put your hands in the air where I can see them,” said a nearby patrol officer with his gun drawn.

Austin slowly stepped away from Pierce and Trinity with his hands in the air while staring his third strike right in the face with shock and terror. “Officer, I can explain. This creep was taking pictures of my girl. His camera’s got to be around here somewhere. Look for yourself.”

The officer pointed the gun at Pierce, who was on his knees blubbering like a baby and saying incoherently, “Please, Officer. I just want to get home to my family. I don’t need any more of this. You saw this guy mug me. What was I supposed to do?”

“That is the biggest load of crap on the whole goddamn planet!” shouted Austin as he pointed his accusatory finger at the emotional Pierce. “You’re taking pictures of my girlfriend and now you sit there crying like a little bitch! I ought to rip your head off and shove it up your big fat ass, motherfucker!”

With Austin’s back turned and with Trinity shouting pleas, the officer tackled the football player to the ground and wrestled his arms behind his back with enough force to cause his bones to crack. The cop cinched the handcuffs on so tightly that they almost sliced Mr. Cain’s hands off. With Trinity screaming and overflowing with tears, the cop put Austin in a headlock and dragged him to the back of the squad car. After shutting the boyfriend inside, the cop pointed a finger at Trinity and yelled, “Hey! You better calm your ass down or you’re going to get tased! Do not think for one minute that I’m joking around!”

As Trinity’s heavy sobs were reduced to light whimpers, the cop got into his car and drove away with Austin screaming obscenities at him in the back seat. Miss O’Dell was on her hands and knees shaking and crying while the gawkers walked away one by one. Once the crowd went away, so did Pierce Fritz’s fake tears. Trinity looked him right in his phony face and softly said, “You’re an asshole. This is all your fault.”

“That’s not true at all, Miss O’Dell,” said Pierce as he used the stone railing to help himself back up. “Your boyfriend was the one with anger problems, not me. Do you millenials have to put everything on Face Book? I mean, everything? Then again, if you were actually able to keep secrets, we wouldn’t be in this mess, now would we?”

Trinity spit at Pierce’s croc-wearing feet and said, “Go to hell.”

The photographer smiled and said, “I’m going to let that one slide. In fact, if we’re going to have a working relationship together, there’s a lot I’m going to have to let slide.” Trinity looked up at him with a mixture of confusion and disdain. “Now that I’ve got your attention, I have a little business proposition for you. You want to bail Austin out of prison? I can give you the money, no problem. It’s probably going to be nothing more than a few hundred dollars, which is clearly more than you have right now. I will cover the cost of Austin’s bail bond on one condition: you’re going to do some modeling work for me. You’re going to be my photographic muse, so to speak. Do we have a deal?”

Trinity’s raining wet eyes widened as she asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I’m an extortionist, babe, it’s what I do. I’ve made enough money over the years that I can pay people to do whatever the hell I want. Maybe I can get one of those hunky surf guys over there to dance in a chicken suit for a few hundred bucks,” chuckled Pierce.

“You’re a monster. You’re a goddamn monster!” said Trinity through clenched teeth and a vibrating body.

“Once again, I’m going to let that one slide. Aren’t I just a charitable guy today? In any event, the offer is still on the table. You’re going to have a serious decision to make. Does your hate for me override your love for Austin? You have a week to think about it. I’ll be in touch,” said Pierce as he waddled back to his car.

Trinity stayed kneeling on the beach with disgust, horror, and anger flowing through her shaking body like hot lava. She wanted to punch Pierce so hard that he would be constipated with his own teeth. She wanted to rip his legs off and beat him to death with the bones. She wanted to snap his neck like a twig and roll his head down the boardwalk like a bowling ball. Trinity knew she didn’t have the combat skills to pull any of that off. Maybe this “modeling gig” was her only answer at buying Austin his freedom. Her final thought on the matter came in the form of dry heaving on the boardwalk.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Demon Axe, Chapter 4

After so many days of reliving nightmare after nightmare, a blank gray dream was soothing to Daniel Mercer’s brain. This was the one part of his day-to-day life where being spacey and numb was perfectly acceptable. No racing thoughts, no bloody traumas, no rapid heartbeats, just a slow, drowsy screen of gray and a relaxed body and mind. Daniel was so out of it that the mere act of lifting a body part was more taxing than trying to lift the heaviest stone. He didn’t give two shits about the piles of bills sitting on his coffee table or the general messiness of his house. The garbage-smelling laundry and filth-encrusted dishes could wait just one more night of Novocain bliss.

He could have stayed in bed all night and sank into his mattress like quicksand if it wasn’t for this painful and heavy sensation in his bladder. He opened his eyes halfway and slurred his words when he said, “Goddamn it.” The minute he left his hazy cloudland, the numbed out feeling returned to his brain. Wearing little more than a T-shirt and athletic shorts, Daniel eased his way out of bed and bumped into every wall, corner, and piece of furniture on his way to the bathroom, only giving a minimal, “Ow!” every time.

Releasing his waterfall of urine into the toilet was the only thing more pleasurable than having a dreamless sleep. With the halogen lights burning his eyeballs and forcing them open, Daniel leaned his head backwards as the last of his fluids emptied into the foamy toilet. He didn’t even bother flushing or washing his hands. He stumbled right to the sink and splashed cold water in his face, as if that would actually ease the never-ending ache in his mind.

Looking into the mirror and seeing an elf woman standing behind him sent a jolt throughout Daniel’s body and caused him to scream as he turned around. His breathing was heavy and raspy, like a shot of adrenaline had just pierced his heart Pulp Fiction-style. “This better be a fucking dream,” Daniel struggled to say. “I don’t want to have anything to do with you Dungeons & Dragons motherfuckers ever again!”

Compared to the elf terrorist at the concert, this woman was a breath of fresh air, though still an elf and still worthy of xenophobia, in Daniel’s mind. Her long black hair, pale green skin, and plump cherry lips gave her the appearance of a sex goddess. Her studded leather armor fit around her like a one-piece bathing suit. Her furry brown boots kept the longest knife tucked away in the most obvious spot, keeping away anybody thinking of screwing with her.

Her arms were folded against her chest and her quarter-smile accented her sarcasm as she shook her head at the pathetic-looking Daniel Mercer. “You share the stage with people from all walks of life and you still have enough hatred in your heart to disparage an entire race of people. That’s okay, though. I understand people of your world aren’t quite used to seeing my race just yet. Up until Roger Zee invaded your concert, we’ve done a fairly good job of keeping quiet among the masses.”

Daniel wheezed and laughed as he held the edges of the sink to keep from falling over. “His name is Roger Zee? Wow. Holy shit! If he wasn’t so good with a machete, nobody would be afraid of this fucking clown. It’s like my man George Carlin once said: there would have never been a World War II if Hitler’s first name was Floyd. They would have beaten the shit out of him in Munich in 1931.”

“Mockery aside, that’s exactly what I came here talk to you about: Roger Zee. I didn’t want to knock on your door, because my race is still trying to keep quiet about its existence. But I hear the whispers. I see the television screens. The racism and xenophobia of your pundits is astounding,” said the elf woman.

“Welcome to America, babe,” said Daniel in a disturbingly nonchalant way. “I don’t like the bigotry either, but it doesn’t really matter what I think anymore. I’m just one guy. I used to have three other guys with me, but they’re all fucking dead and my vote didn’t matter anyways because the system sucks. I’m forty years old and I can safely say that after what happened at the concert, nothing shocks me anymore.”

The elf woman placed her soft hands on Daniel’s shoulders and said in a low voice, “I can see you’ve gone through a lot over the past few days. We all have. But instead of coming together and living as one, all I see from your people is hatred and division. They don’t know what to do about Roger and his rampage. But I do. I know exactly what it takes to bring him down. But I can’t do it without your help.”

Daniel gave the elf woman a raised eyebrow of confusion before pushing her hands off of his shoulders. “You know the dark fantasy shit is just a gimmick, right? We didn’t actually do any weird ass rituals backstage during a Demon Axe show. It’s a motivational tactic. I’m not a warrior by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve been in a few barroom brawls, but nothing beyond that. Fighting a bunch of drunken losers isn’t going to prepare me for a madman with a goddamn machete. Sorry, lady, but you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

The former Lord of the Pit tried to walk away, but felt his hand being tugged on by the elf warrior’s silky grip. This would have been lovely to him if he wasn’t trying to get a good night’s sleep and forget all of this “happy horseshit”. The elf said, “If you don’t want to fight alongside me, then at least agree to get out of this place for your own safety. Roger isn’t done with you. You played what he calls ‘sinful music’ on holy grounds. As a zealot, he’s not going to forgive you that easily.”

Daniel sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose before saying, “You know what, lady? If this Roger Ball Z guy wants to slash me open, I’m not entirely against it. I’ve been having traumatic nightmares left and right and getting my head cut off might be the best thing for me right now. I’m done with life. If I can’t play badass fucking music with my friends, then I don’t want to live anymore. Fuck it, I’m done.”

The rock star jerked his hand away from the woman’s grip and trudged slowly on his way back to his bedroom. “So that’s it, huh?” the elf said. “You’re just going to let Roger win that easily?” Daniel stopped and listened. “I thought your race didn’t negotiate with terrorists. I thought you were all about truth, justice, and the American way. I thought you people shot off pyrotechnics every year to celebrate your patriotism. Are you telling me that you’re all out of firepower?”

Daniel shot the elf woman an insidious glare before marching back to her with fists clenched and feet pounding. “You know what?” he shouted while pointing his index finger at her. “You’re absolutely right! You’re one hundred percent on the dot! I should be like those assholes out there who like to play army and form my own fucking militia! I should go to a gun show and buy every bazooka, every AK-47, every Sherman Tank that they’ve got and blast that motherfucking elf right out of the ground! And then I’ll stand on top of his corpse with an American flag in one hand and a greasy ass cheeseburger in the other! And then we’ll all gather in a circle and chant ‘USA! USA! USA! USA!’.”

The moment of rage turned so awkwardly quiet that the heavy breathing between Daniel and the elf could be heard from a mile away. The former Lord of the Pit continued his tirade with, “That shit may be acceptable in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, but in the real world, this shit hurts so badly that we feel it forever. The good guys sometimes lose. The police are not always on your side. The politicians don’t give a shit about anybody but themselves. As long as this country is occupied by selfish ignorant people, nobody can do a goddamn thing about Roger fucking Zee!”

The elf woman’s expression changed from brave cheerleading to vulgar disgust. She shook her head and said, “You’re right. Demon Axe is just a gimmick. You’re no different from any other musician who sings about being tough and mighty in the face of danger. What was I thinking coming here? That battleaxe microphone you used is nothing more than a toy. I’m sorry your band mates were led to believe that the whole gimmick was just a lie. It was a little white lie that cost them their lives. And now you don’t want to put in any work to avenge their souls. Good day to you, Lord of the Pit!”

She stomped her way to the front door when Daniel stopped her by shouting, “Who in the hell do you think you are talking to me like that?! You don’t know me! You’re just a fan girl who probably downloaded my band’s albums for free! Hell, you’re worse than that! You’re a groupie!” The elf woman stopped at that insult and turned around to stare daggers into her assailant. “That’s right! You’re a groupie who rides every dick to the top of the mountain! Oh, did I touch a nerve? Is that not who you are? Well, then answer my fucking question, you crazy bitch! Who in the hell do you think you are?!”

The woman marched up to Daniel and slapped him across the face with a shot so stiff that it knocked him on his back. The rock star clutched his stinging, burning cheek with both calloused hands while the elf pointed at him and said in a menacing voice, “I’ll tell you who I am. My name is Raven Triscloud. I am the daughter of King Arthur Triscloud and the only reason my people will know any kind of salvation. If you won’t help me take down a nationalistic zealot like Roger Zee, then I’ll be more than happy to take him on myself. I just thought maybe you’d like some closure. But instead, all you want is sweet, sweet death. If I didn’t have any fucking principles, I’d kill you myself. But for now, I have a terrorist to catch. Enjoy your sleep, you cowardly human!”

Distractions From Eating


I have my creative work to thank for a lot of things in my life whether it’s easing schizophrenic symptoms, getting my voice out there, or just having some good old fashioned imaginative fun. Now I have another thing I can thank my art for: distracting me from overeating. As many of you know, I’ve struggled with my weight for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve tried the Atkins Diet and was successful with it, but only temporarily. My main problem was that I was always bored and overeating was my favorite source of fun. It didn’t matter if it was McDonald’s, candy bars, soda, or pizza; if I was bored and junk food was available to me, I would wolf it down and feel like shit afterwards.

Say whatever you will about my skill level with drawing pictures or my frequency of cat pictures, but alongside my writing, reading, and editing, they’ve been welcome distractions from overeating. And whenever I posted a piece of art to my social media accounts, I would scroll through my pictures and admire my handiwork, not because I’m an arrogant jerk, but because I don’t have to think about eating. Even when I’m watching What Culture’s WWE videos or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episodes on You Tube, I’m doing something other than stuffing my face. Living in a boring place like Port Orchard, it’s easy to give into your food-related vices since there are restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores pretty much everywhere you go.

Ever since I’ve been occupying my mind in even the smallest ways, I’ve been eating less frequently and looking better in the mirror as a result. If I ever did get bored enough to eat, I’d usually drink a bottle of distilled water instead and piss away the pounds. I drank a lot of water and ate minimally while I was in Hawaii and have already noticed changes in my body. When I first flew from Seattle to Kauai, I would need a seatbelt extender. When I returned home to Sea-Tac, the airplane seatbelts fit perfectly fine. I’ve also noticed that I’m getting full off of less food and I’m not huffing and puffing when I return home from my walks.

Obviously, I’m still a heavy guy and there are times where I occasionally grab a bag of Mickey D’s or a Pizza Hut pizza. I am by no means a weight loss guru or a super athlete. However, I’m not the only one who says that overeating can be triggered by moments of extreme boredom. Scientific studies, gym teachers, food documentaries, I’ve heard them all echo these sentiments. While I understand that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the other, I can say with confidence that little distractions are helping me lose weight. It may be a slow process and I may have miles to go, but the thing about losing weight is that you feel the effects right away. Your mood improves, you have more energy, and you look at yourself in the mirror with less judgment.

But of course, there are days when I don’t feel like working on creative endeavors. Today was one of those days. My guess is that I’m still in recovery mode from these past few days of housework and remodeling and that’s why my brain doesn’t want to cooperate with me. Hell, I had to go to the chiropractor yesterday after lifting a whole bunch of heavy furniture. I had a shelf break because it carried a shit ton of CD’s. Dale wasn’t happy about that since he’s in no way a musical person. He doesn’t understand the beauty of David Draiman’s golden voice or Dimebag Darrell Abbot’s shredding guitars. All that aside, I was definitely in need of some recuperation. I’m a fragile introvert after all.

Even with all of this mental exhaustion working against me, I managed to only eat two meals and I got full after both of them. They weren’t even big meals, at least not compared to what I ate before. My afternoon snack consisted of three plums. My first official meal was at 5:00 at night and it was a baked potato with no toppings, a portion of spam, and a banana. At 8:45, I ordered a sandwich and breadsticks from Domino’s Pizza, both of which aren’t even close to being as fattening as a full pizza. I have no plans to end the night with more food.

I may have to spend some more time in recovery mode tomorrow and the next few days because that’s when my family and I are going to paint my bedroom walls light blue. We might do one or two walls one day and do the rest of it over the course of Monday and Tuesday. I won’t have to do a whole lot to disconnected my electronics since they’re all hooked up to a power strip. We’re not going to move out my furniture for the painting process; we’re just going to scoot it over a few feet. God, I love my wooden floors! I would have never been able to scoot things over on a dust-collecting carpet.

I hope all of my readers are doing okay considering what a wild and crazy October it has been. Halloween is coming up soon and for any metal heads who live near the Tacoma Dome, Five Finger Death Punch and Shinedown are going to perform there on November 5th with Sixx AM and As Lions opening for them. November is also National Novel Writing Month. Last year I completed the first drafts of my Poison Tongue Tales stories. This year I’m going to storm through all 17 remaining chapters of Demon Axe. I’m also going to use some of those days to compete in the WSS contests like I normally do.

We’ve got ears, say cheers!


One of the best things about being in recovery mode is that I still have enough mental energy to pump out a drawing or two. Although to be honest, I’ve gotten a little bit rusty with my latest effort, a picture of Detective Shawn Henry from Demon Axe. I’ll do better next time when the time comes to draw Edge Spider, the drug dealing gangster from the Poison Tongue Tales 2 cyberpunk story The Audiomancer. One of the pieces of advice I constantly receive from Angie at the WSS is to write about villains who are sane-minded since they’re scarier than the wild and crazy ones. I hope I achieved that with Edge Spider.


MIKE HAGGAR: Hello? Mayor Haggar here.

DAMNED: Hehehe! Mr. Haggar, I’m so pleased to make your acquaintance. I believe you know who I am. Don’t hang up! We have an important business proposition for you: your daughter for your cooperation. Plus, we’ll throw in a monthly bonus to your salary.

MIKE HAGGAR: What?! What’s happened to Jessica?! Who is this?!

DAMNED: Not so fast, Mike. Turn on your TV.

MIKE HAGGAR: You son of a…what have you done with her?!

DAMNED: Nothing yet, but we’d enjoy the opportunity. Listen to reason, man. Why make your job difficult? Just let us do as we please like the mayor before you did! Agh-hahahahaha!!

-Final Fight-

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Having a Cold One

Whoever built a funeral home at the end of this abandoned highway was creepy, low, and rotten…and an imaginative guy. Casey Carter had a phantasmal grin on his face as he drove through here in his hearse with a dead body in the back. Some of his teeth resembled wolf fangs, others were golden or diamond-encrusted. His gray puffy horseshoe hair looked like a tumbleweed ready to blow down the highway as Casey drove with the windows rolled down. The smell of death was in the air that night, and that was just the mortician’s bloody lab coat and latex gloves. Heart-racing organ music played on his stereo and that gave Casey an even bigger grin, reminiscent of a wild animal ready to devour an injured rabbit.

It seemed as though it would take some serious plastic surgery to remove Casey’s grin, but all it took was a hard bump over a pothole and the deflation of his front passenger’s tire. “Son of a bitch!” he yelled demonically as he pulled over to the side of the empty highway. Once the hearse was stopped, he pounded on the steering wheel like he was in a championship boxing match. With hands as meaty and calloused as his, it seemed like an apt description. The undertaker let out a monstrous growl before throwing open the door and stomping towards the back to get the spare tire.

Corpulent Casey Carter fumbled with his keys so much that it looked like he was playing pocket pool. Maybe he was. He unlocked the back door and instead of reaching for the jack and the spare tire, his hideous smile returned as he gazed lovingly at the casket he was supposed to deliver. “Oh dear Beatrice, you are so radiant and beautiful even in death. You’re just like a ray of golden sunshine!” he whispered.

Speaking of radiant lights, a bright one shone from behind Casey while a gruff voice yelled, “You there! Put your hands up! Turn around slowly! That cutie girl is mine!” The undertaker did as he was told, but not without losing his jack-o-lantern smile, which complimented his bushy black and white eyebrows perfectly. His eyes widened with delight as he recognized the man who was holding him up.

With little more than a candle-lit pumpkin-themed lantern to reveal his features, the gray prison jumpsuit, slashed up face, and greasy brown hair gave away the profile of escaped convict Jay David, who licked his lips as if he just ate a bucket of fried chicken, all while gazing lovingly at the casket. With a prison guard’s pistol trained on Casey, Jay said, “Step aside, sweetie pie. That bitch is mine for the taking. I’m having a cold one tonight, motherfucker!”

Casey laughed like a demonic hyena and said, “Enjoy my sloppy seconds, Mr. David!” The prisoner’s demented slasher face turned into one of disgust. “Well, what are you waiting for? You clearly came here look for some fun. How many years have you been locked up? It must be so lonely in solitary confinement. Yes, you’re a popular guy on the evening news, but not so popular with the ladies. Well, the live ones, anyways.”

Jay laughed right back at him and said, “You’re a sick son of a bitch, I’ll give you that. If you weren’t taunting me right now, I’d probably have a beer with you. I’d probably crack the bottle of your head and throw you under the bus, but I’d still have a nice cold beer with you.”

“Now why would you do that to your best friend, Mr. David? Prisoners don’t like being around snitches like you. If you wanted to ‘have a cold one’ so badly, why don’t you just go back to jail?” chuckled Casey.

Jay squeezed the trigger and blew off a chunk of Casey’s hair, causing the mortician to drop to his knees and let out a few sarcastically frightened coos while holding his cheeks. Those coos turned to laughter and “Woo-hoo’s” as he slowly returned to his feet. He looked his adversary in his confused eyes and said, “Let me guess: you don’t miss twice?”

The convict rushed up to Casey and pressed the gun up to the old man’s scraggly chin. He said with clenched teeth and an itchy trigger finger, “Don’t you fuck with me, you goddamn nut job! You want to live to see another day? Huh?! Step aside, shut your mouth, and let me have the bitch in the box!”

Even at the threat of getting his head blown off, Casey chuckled, slowly stepped back, and said, “Okay, sweetheart, you win. The bitch in the box is all yours. But you have to promise you’ll let me watch. I love to watch!” The oratory ended with Casey blowing a wet kiss at his captor.

Jay squeezed off another shot and this time hit Casey in the arm, causing the old fart to double over and emit a blood-curdling scream as he kept his coat sleeve over his wound to stop the bleeding. The scream continued in the form of babyish crying, even going so far as to suck his thumb and call for his mommy.

“Yeah, and I’m the one with mental problems. Give me a break,” said Jay while shaking his head. He cast a hypnotic gaze at the coffin and crawled inside the hearse like he was possessed. “Alright, baby girl,” he said in a raspy whisper. “It’s just you and me versus the world. I’ve been waiting for this moment a long, long time. Jerking off just isn’t the same. Then again, neither is getting corn-holed in the showers. But you know that already. Of course you do, because you put me in that hellhole. Well, now that you’re dead, Miss Beatrice, you and I will be together until the end of the world. I love you, sweet princess. I love you so much!”

Jay set down his pistol and lantern and ripped the coffin lid off with hulking strength. Instead of a “bitch in a box”, he got a face full of green poisonous gas, which has him hacking up blood right away. The fumes got so bad that he tumbled out of the hearse and landed on his back. He violently coughed some more and even rested in a puddle of his own vomit, which tasted like rotten prison chow. Once he was done barfing and coughing, he was so lightheaded that he was ready to pass out in his own filth.

The convicted necrophiliac had his hands firmly held behind his back while cuffs were tightly bound to his wrists. “On your feet, you sick prick!” shouted a much less creepy version of Casey Carter. With one Herculean jerk, Jay David was pulled to his feet, but still had a head full of clouds.

“Bet you didn’t see this coming, did you?” whispered Casey, whose arm wound turned out to be a ketchup stain. “Bulletproof lab coats: what else will they come up with? Of course, you can’t get that kind of equipment unless you’re part of a special group, like I’d say, the Paulson City Police Department.”

“You’re…you’re a cop?!” said Jay as he breathed heavily with a sore throat and nose.

“For a guy who spent most of his life tricking the police, you sure are slow to catch on. You’re damn right I’m a cop. This whole thing was a setup. Like a moth to a flame, motherfucker. Like a moth to a flame!” Casey punctuated that last line with his in-character laugh before chucking Jay in the back of the now-clear hearse and locking the doors.

Accompanying Jay’s winded breathing were a girlish sob and kicking legs. “It’s not fair! It’s not fucking fair!” he shouted as Casey got in the driver’s seat and pulled away. “Why can’t women say yes to me? Just three little letters! Y-E-S! It’s not that hard! I didn’t want to kill them, but they gave me no choice!”

Detective Carter slammed on the brakes and caused Jay to lurch forward headfirst into the “casket”, causing even more dizziness and heavy breathing than before, not to mention a small drip of blood. The cop said, “You know what? You’re probably just going to keep escaping from prison anyways. You’ve done it half a dozen times already. I don’t know why the prison guards keep doing the same thing over and over again. So you know what? I’m going to do them and the whole world a favor and deal with you myself. You and I are going for a ride. Not just any ride, but a nickel ride! Buckle up, sweet cheeks! It’s going to be bumpy!”

Jay shouted an extended, “No!” before Casey slammed on the accelerator and drove over the bumpy road, all with a flat tire, making this ride even more bouncy and miserable. Jay was hurled into the casket edges and hearse walls with such force that his bones shattered and deep gashes were forming on his body. Sparks from the flat tire grinding against the pavement shot inside the hearse and burned Jay like a branding iron on his fresh wounds.

By the time Casey reached his new destination, Jay Nathaniel David, a thirty-one-year-old rapist and murderer, looked less like an intimidating criminal and more like a pile of human wreckage. Blood and bone powder flooded the back of the hearse. Organs splashed against the walls. Teeth rolled around like dice in the most violent game of craps.

How did Detective Carter react to this? With a million dollar smile and a finger to his lips as he shushed the dead body and softly said, “Don’t tell a soul. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to my bonus pay!”

Friday, October 14, 2016

"The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts" by Lilian Jackson Braun

BOOK TITLE: The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts
AUTHOR: Lilian Jackson Braun
YEAR: 1990
GENRE: Fiction
SUBGENRE: Cozy Mystery

After a series of mysterious events cause a museum owner named Iris Cobb to have a heart attack, Jim “Qwill” Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats Koko and Yum-Yum move into the office to try to solve her indirect murder. As the mystery progresses, Qwill uncovers a conspiracy almost a century in the making that involves a lynching of a mine tycoon that could be interpreted as either suicide or murder depending on who’s talking. The two deaths don’t seem connected at first, but Qwill begins to wonder as he digs deeper. In between tracking clues and interviewing suspects and witnesses, Qwill likes to unwind by having dinner at fancy restaurants with his friends and snuggling up to his Siamese kitties. Downtime is the detective’s best friend.

I’ve been a fan of Lilian Jackson Braun for a long time. Having said that, I’ve never noticed until after reading this book how much she tends to tell instead of show. All this time, I’ve modeled my own writing style off of someone with an almost minimalist approach to descriptive writing. However, what’s stopping me from giving this book a mixed grade instead of a passing one is the fact that the writing style was by design. These “Cat Who” books are considered light reading and easy on the eyes with a smooth pace. Sometimes descriptive language has to be sacrificed to achieve such mellow reading. I can accept that. Therefore, this paragraph isn’t really a criticism, because I enjoy a relaxing book every now and then.

The mystery in this book is one that is well constructed, probably the best one I’ve read in the “Cat Who” series so far. Though this is mostly a G-rated mystery, the deaths and violence that do take place will leave a lasting impression and will give a greater urgency for the crimes to be solved. This isn’t about fingerprint taking and crime lab work. This is about researching a conspiracy that goes back to the early 1900’s and how it connects with the mystery of the present time. Without the extensive interviews and reading, this case probably would have gotten cold. While I won’t give away the results of the mystery, I will tell you that you can expect some serious homework to be done on the part of Qwill.

And of course, what would a “Cat Who” mystery be without, you guessed it, kitties? Koko is such an inquisitive little feline who always plays a pivotal role in solving even the coldest of crimes. Yum Yum is a cutie pie who loves to roll around and play with everyone. Qwill’s girlfriend, Polly Duncan, even has a tiny little ball of fur named Bootsie, who has more energy in one leap than athletic runners have in a whole sprint. There’s even a scene where Bootsie digs his claws so deep into Qwill’s back that he needs help prying the little guy off. But at the end of the day, all three kitties are worthy of eating a well-cooked meatloaf, turkey sandwich, ribeye steak, or whatever Qwill happens to bring home from his favorite restaurants.

Another Lilian Jackson Braun mystery is in the books, pun definitely intended. We’ve got a smooth, gentle pace, smooth, gentle kitties, and a main character with a smooth, gentle disposition (even during moments of grumpiness). If you want something light to read that won’t put too much strain on your eyeballs, I suggest grabbing a copy of “The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts”. Relax in your favorite easy chair, grab a kitty, and start reading!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Burning Dragon

“Halt! Who goes there?!” shouted the poleax-wielding guard at the entrance of the Doom Hammer Temple. His brown leather armor, painted up face, and military stance gave off a “don’t fuck with me” aura that had many men shaken to their core. The guard’s blade was only inches away from the intruder’s throat and ready to slash it open at a moment’s notice.

The metal armor-wearing, blue scaled man-dragon Brock Soulburn gave a sadistic grin with his razor-sharp mouth and bladed tongue. “You’re shitting me, right? You fuckers have something I want, something that will give me a big ass payday and all the roasted chicken and red wine I can handle. Mmm-mmm-mmm! I want that Night Terror mask. I want it now!” With one vicious chomp, Brock took a bite out of the poleax’s blade and chewed it like a tender steak before swallowing it with a deep gulp.

The guard’s wide-eyed stare and shaky body took away his aura of intimidation in a big fucking hurry. “Holy shit!” he whispered fearfully before Brock breathed fire on him and had him dancing around in pain. The guard rolled down the stony temple stairs and bashed his body against every corner of almost every step. He was left a broken and fiery heap on the ground with nothing left to do but die like a bitch.

Brock gave a hearty belly laugh as he moseyed inside the stone-built Doom Hammer Temple. A small army of guards swarmed in on him with poleaxes ready to slash him to pieces. They threw their wildest and most savage strikes only to have their weapons gnawed on with Brock’s bear trap mouth.

With a mouthful of blades and wooden splinters, the man-dragon spit them out and rained down violence and fire upon the squadron of guards. The warriors dropped to the ground with shattered bones, spraying blood, and burning bodies. Those who weren’t caught in the crossfire continued to swarm in on Brock only to have their faces punched in with an anvil of a fist and their ribs shattered with a battering ram of a kick.

The entire guardianship of the temple resembled an ocean of fire, blood, and powdery bone meal. Brock was kind enough to breathe a harsh breeze upon the flames and douse them out completely. They were tall enough to obstruct his view of what lied ahead of him. At the bone-built altar was the placeholder for Night Terror, an evilly-smiling mask with dagger horns, bladed fangs, and bright neon red eyes.

Brock’s clear path to victory was weakly halted by an elderly shaman in a red robe and pig mask on his knees praying and crying at the same time. Even with the beastly mercenary approaching him, he never stopped praying and chanting. Whatever god he was pleading to couldn’t save him from getting a smack across the back of the head, which opened his skull and splashed his brains around the already messy floor.

“Damn, that was too easy!” boasted Brock Soulburn. His own delightful laughter rivaled the creepiness of the mask he came to collect. He even strutted towards the bone altar without even a modicum of effort to claim his prize. “Alright, you scary son of a bitch, your ass is coming home with me, baby!”

Night Terror convulsed with laughter as the mask came to life and planted a cartoonish kiss on Brock’s mouth. As the sickened dragon was wiping the flavor off of his mouth with his beefy arm, the mask gave off a series of high-pitched “Hoo-hoo!” chants as it floated around freely and crazily.

“You sick bastard! Get your ass back here!” shouted Brock before breathing fire in Night Terror’s direction. The swift mask flew out of the way as a stream of flames followed him around the ceiling of the temple. Night Terror’s path lead him back to Brock, where this time he licked the man-dragon’s pointy ears with a sloppy dog tongue. The “Hoo-hoo!” chants and spinning around continued.

After Brock wiped the slime out of his ear with his meaty finger, he clenched his teeth, growled throatily, and tightened his muscles in anger. With one monstrous claw, he ripped a chunk of stone out of the ground and chucked it like a baseball at Night Terror. Unsurprisingly, the mask dodged with deftness. Brock continued to rip chunks out of the stone floor and fling them at his target, but all he hit were pieces of the temple wall and a few sacred artifacts.

Night Terror mocked his attacker some more by sticking his dog tongue out and wagging it like a cartoon character. With his blood boiling, his teeth tight, and his veins ready to burst like blood bombs, Brock ripped up one more chunk of the floor and threw it with an even faster velocity. This time the projectile found its mark. The stone slab nicked the mask in the forehead and caused it to whirl around like a leaf before it landed on the ground, presumably down for the count.

“And stay down, you sick piece of shit!” shouted Brock before he stomped his way over to the mask to claim what was rightfully his. He picked up the fallen mask by both sides of its face and shook it violently while screaming, “You hear me! Stay dead, you stupid bastard! Stay! Dead!”

Night Terror came back to life and shoved his wet tongue up Brock’s nose, causing the dragon to spin around and hack up a huge wad of spit. The mask floated high in the air once again and laughed at his opponent while the man-dragon pounded the floor with both fists and shouted, “That’s it! I quit! I’ve had it with this crap!”

Before he had the chance to storm out of the temple, Night Terror made a silly sad face and said, “Quit? You can’t quit now, my friend. You’ve come this far and made so much progress. How can you quit when things are going so well for you? Did you already forget how delicious and wonderful that roasted chicken and red wine will taste? Surely, you can’t get it for free.”

“Oh, shut up, you disgusting prick!” shouted Brock with his arms folded like an annoyed child. “Everybody knows that nothing in this world is for free! That’s why I became a mercenary! It’s called work! You may want to try it sometime instead of irritating the piss out of everyone who comes here!”

“You want money?!” screamed Night Terror, which snapped Brock out of his angry trance. “There are easier ways to make money than by blindly doing what you’re told and going on suicide missions like this one. For example…”

Nightfall had cast its winter shadow over the Steel Wolf Barbaric Tribe. Everyone should have been tucked away in their straw huts for the evening, but the orcish warriors were standing around with their weapons drawn and anxious poses about them. Some of them tapped their feet, some of them banged their spears on the ground, but the seven-foot tall chief sat in his throne of bone with a chest full of gold at his side, his beefy fist underneath his chin, and a vicious look on his face. Their mask should have been retrieved by now in what should have been a simple mission for a simple-minded mercenary.

The orc barbarians got into military stances as the silhouette of a muscle-bound dragon warrior appeared at the wooden gate of their village. The chieftain stood up from his throne, grabbed his chest full of money with one hand, and hauled the heavy equipment toward the shadowy figure, thinking the job was done.

“Brock Soulburn!” shouted the chieftain in his authoritative voice. “We have the money we negotiated for earlier. This chest contains our finest and most ancient gold that we have harvested from our sacred grounds. You can live comfortably for the rest of your life with this kind of gold. All we ask for in return is the Night Terror mask, a treasure more valuable to us than any form of mainland money. Do you have the mask with you?”

The shadowy figure of Brock Soulburn slowly walked into the torch light of the orc village. The other warriors came closer with their spears drawn in case he tried something funny. Their intimidating figures turned to shaky cowardice when they saw Night Terror grafted on the face of the dragon warrior, who said in a newly demonic voice, “Get your own damn mask!”

The possessed dragon warrior breathed fire upon the entire cast of villagers, including the chieftain. This wasn’t ordinary fire. The flames were a bright blood red with a poisonous green center. The flames had also created a much larger blast zone. As they were burning into a pile of ashes, the barbarians’ souls were flowing out of their mouths and into Night Terror’s own sadistic grin. Even the mighty seven-foot tall chieftain dropped to the ground with a thud as his ancient soul was consumed by this savage fire. The more souls Night Terror / Brock Soulburn consumed, the bigger the man-dragon’s belly got. He even let out a loud burp that was so powerful that the flames were put out.

All that remained of this now dead village was that big juicy chest full of gold, to which Night Terror swirled his tongue around his face in anticipation. The mask carried the possessed body of Brock Soulburn over to the chest, who kicked the lock open with deadly force and opened it up to an orgasmic response. So much gold. So much treasure. So much delicious roasted chicken. So much heavenly red wine. In his demonic tone, the possessed Brock said, “Mmmmmmm, yummy food!” before hanging his sloppy tongue off the side and drooling heavily.