Welcome to my blog! With several new releases on the near horizon, I figured it’s high time I establish a space to unify everything I have going on across the Internet. This way, dear reader, you have access to it all, plus some exciting content exclusive to this blog. Here you will find publication updates, get the scoop on new projects, be the first to know about contests, perhaps read a rant or two, and much more. I’m glad you stopped by, and will do my best to make a subscription worthwhile.
The inauguration of this blog coincides with my first published collection, Esoteric Sausage and Other Malformations, scheduled to pop up sometime this month from NihilismRevised. Posted below is the cover art, designed exclusively by yours truly. That’s one thing you may not know about me: I’m not exclusively a writer. I’m an artist, editor, and musician as well. Who knows? You might even catch a new song here.
To celebrate this beginning, below is an excerpt from the first story in Esoteric Sausage, “The Emergency SpaghettiOs Recall.” I hope you enjoy. Limited mobi and pdf review copies of the book are available. Email me if you are interested in obtaining one. Stay tuned for more goodies, including an upcoming book giveaway contest!
From The Emergency SphagettiOs Recall
For those of you who think about things like this, there’s something worse than opening your door one morning and being hit with the realization that your hometown has been decimated by some irreversible, apocalyptic, extinction-level event, likely to render the entire planet a burned, smoldering wasteland of interstellar trash. Maybe you picture the destruction of the planet in vaguely remote, cinematic terms. You may imagine it’s one of those things that invariably happen to “other people,” but never you. I want to point out that the above-mentioned end of the world, as it actually plays out, includes your local Wal Mart, your friends, your Starbucks, as well as your massive, laboriously acquired Pez dispenser collection. It doesn’t even exclude your favorite waitress at El Patio’s down the street, even if she seriously winks at you every time you order something, a waitress you’d really, really like to ask out, if only you could decide whether asking someone out at their job puts them in an awkward situation which obliges them to be nice, even though inwardly they might be resistant to the whole thing, making for a weird and uncomfortable vibe that forever hangs over the place you genuinely like to eat at for purposes not related to staffing. The end of the world includes all this. It’s not like cancer or car accidents, which really do tend to happen to “other people.” The end of the world happens to everyone.
The one thing worse than realizing that everything you love (or at least everything you are familiar with) is doomed to immediate and total annihilation, is realizing that it’s your fault.
After unsuspectingly stepping out of my apartment complex this morning, after the Dollar General across the street erupted into a giant fireball, slinging a veritable onslaught of bathroom products through the air, I immediately ran in the direction of El Patio’s. Immediately, that is, as in immediately after I recovered from the blast and stood there, stupidly staring at the sheer fucking madness unfolding across the city.
The waitress, June, is honestly the first person it occurred to me to save, which sort of surprised me. I mean, there was my dad, six blocks away in his little townhouse, undoubtedly fucking with the car or threatening some clueless, call center employee with violence as the poor bastard tries to explain the delicate process of accessing the cable remote’s “guide” option. There were my friends over on 45th, Kevin and Shane, undoubtedly recovering from a long night of extensive, high-grade, hydroponic marijuana consumption (“I mean, like, Afghani shit,” as Shane never tires of reiterating). There were also my co-workers at the meat packing plant right outside of town. Even though most of them were manifestly unfriendly, they were all still family, in a weird, familiar way. But June, the waitress who I don’t even really know, practically a complete and total stranger, is the only person whose life I could conjure up some measure of enthusiasm for saving. Maybe it’s because she’s the only person who seems to possess some level of innocence. I mean, my dad can fend for himself. In the first place, he hordes guns and stays so perpetually drunk that he probably doesn’t know what’s going on. Besides, fuck him; he’s an asshole. I wouldn’t even be opposed to writing his inevitably agonizing death off as revenge for all the poor souls in every call center he’s ever harassed. As for my friends, they’re assholes too. Coworkers? Big, irritable, bitter, sweaty and generally borderline sociopathic assholes who certainly aren’t bothering themselves with the slightest concern for me at the moment. But June? Definitely not an asshole. Out of all the people I know, she’s probably the only one who doesn’t deserve this.
Or maybe the whole subtraction of the awkward workplace situation is what pulls me to her. People bond during tragic, terrifying situations. And I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that traumatic events are natural aphrodisiacs. I mean, that’s the gist of Stockholm Syndrome, I think. Showing up as the knight in shining armor in the middle of an apocalyptic, Dollar General-incinerating type of situation certainly couldn’t hurt my chances. But then again, I’m almost positive my motives were more altruistic than that.
Mentally weighing some abbreviated combination of the above considerations, and fueled by an acute state of terror, I ran, as I mentioned already, down the street in the general direction of El Patio’s. Cars were jammed onto the curb; alarms blared in a madhouse orchestra mingled with wails of general lament from scurrying pedestrians. I nearly tripped on the decapitated torso of a police officer splayed next to a parking meter, his ticket book still secure in his severed hand a few feet away. The city skyline wasn’t one I recognized. An orange glow tinged the black outline of what was left of the high-rise apartments and bank buildings downtown.
And then, out of nowhere, without warning or explanation at all, it was there.
The worm was exactly as I remembered it, except much, much bigger. It crunched a Quick Fix Tire Station to my left. Literally crunched it, the way a bowling ball might crunch a cheese puff sitting in the middle of a lane. It reared its hideous head far above the remaining storefronts. An old woman in front of me made an agonizingly slow about-face in her walker and started shuffling back the other way, towards me, her features animated with a mixture of fear and confusion. The worm’s body, just as I remembered it, was flat like a tapeworm’s. Its head-like thing was circular (not spherical) and rimmed with curved horns, like a circular saw blade. In the middle of the circle, a gaping maw like an enormous butthole rimmed with teeth rhythmically contracted and expanded. And somehow, the worms made fire. Everything they touched seemed to burst into flames.
I fucking unleashed these things.
The worm rose to full height in the middle of the street, blocking my route to El Patio’s. The toothed butthole seemed to stare at me as it made a loud, wet, sucking sound.
The old woman apparently suffered a stroke. She slumped over, cracking her frail skull against a fire hydrant as her walker clattered across the sidewalk, tripping a FedEx man, who dropped his packages everywhere. As he frantically gathered them up, glancing at each packing label and organizing them quickly (according, I presume, to nearest location), the worm pounced, snatching the Fedex guy into the sky. The butthole teeth gyrated as, head first, the FedEx guy descended into the cavity. His white legs, protruding from the above-knee length, khaki shorts, kicked frantically as a shower of blood mingled with ribbons of flesh plopped down on the hood of an abandoned taxi cab.
I dove into Rick’s Novelty Store directly to my right.
Rick’s place was super small but had one major strategic advantage: the bulletproof display case. Not that Rick had anything in his nasty, little pervert haven worth protecting. No one would even suspect that the display case was anything other than your typical, finger stained, germ-factory affair, if he didn’t compulsively point out to practically everyone who walked through the door that it was, indeed, bulletproof.
Rick’s body was slumped against the back of his swivel-chair behind the cash register. A .45 caliber revolver dangled from his right hand. His hideous, acne-infested face was missing, replaced by a wad of gummed up hair and what looked like cheap, super-bloody hamburger meat. Poor fucker. The cash register was open. I grabbed a couple of twenties and dove behind the counter as someone shrieked outside. I glanced at the looming profile of the worm slithering by the storefront window before stuffing myself into the display case.
I fucking hate cramped spaces, even when I’m not sharing them with an odd assortment of dildos, fake rubber vaginas, double zero plugs with little pentagrams, pot plants, and skulls printed on them, as well as a freakishly long strand of butt beads that, I’m not even kidding, definitely smell like they’re used. You would think that a bulletproof glass coffin would kind of mitigate the whole claustrophobic element of coffins in general. It doesn’t.
So here I am, waiting for some glimmer of hope in a clearly hopeless situation, crammed inside a glass coffin filled with smelly sex toys.