I liked art
Your stupid class,
Would let you near children anyway?
I liked art
Your stupid class,
Would let you near children anyway?
He can be taken in small doses
You saying about the guy we worked with.
I didn’t understand.
Either you like or you don’t like
I can’t be all dark
I can’t be all bright
I would die
And I want to live
But I find it hard to live
With all bright
You wake up in a tent and you can see soft puffs of your own breath floating above your sleeping bag.
Standing over you is your former boss just as you remember her, sipping on coffee and asking what you’ll be working on today.
You run out the tent because you can’t stand to be around the cunt for another fucking second, but when you get outside you step into a white void, oblivion. It’s not even curious blackness that you could wander and get lost in. You know too well the loneliness of this nothing.
You go back inside the tent because maybe being around that witch is better than dying alone, but she’s not there anymore because even she has found something else. Instead you’re joined by yet another former boss who tells you that you need to prove yourself if you want that raise you so richly deserve. That bastard, you think, he’s been here two fucking months and I’ve got five years on the job and a master’s degree. He can go to Hell, but then, then you realize he’s not their either. It’s just you and all you’ve got are some shitty memories of how hard you worked but how at the end of the day none of it mattered one iota.
This is terror.
I sat the other day and read each of my blog posts and stories and came away feeling pretty heavy. My content is dark. It’s sort of depressing. I could notice that because I’m the one that has experienced it, but I wonder if you readers also feel that way. I’m not going to compromise my content because I don’t think that’s what you want. Honest readers, the kind of readers I want, aren’t interested in compromise. However, I can see not wanting doom and gloom all the time either. Like any other form of content, it can get old.
I often get some really ridiculous thoughts and ideas, but for the sake of appearing sane and for not spending my time in a way that a normal person would judge as wasteful, I usually dismiss them. In an effort to write different and less depressing works (Only occasionally) I decided the other night while falling asleep to let some of these ideas grow legs and develop. The picture you see below is one of these ideas.
I was looking at a bunch of pillows that my wife had on the bed and the way they were lined up made them look to me sort of like a caterpillar. In a half awake daze I said to myself, “Ha ha. It’s a caterpillow!” and then passed out.
When I showered the next morning I thought of an accompanying story. There will be a father and a son who are alone in their house on a rainy day. Out of boredom they’ll stitch together a bunch of pillows and make… a caterpillow! The father and son finish making the caterpillow, but when they are off doing other business elsewhere in the house the caterpillow comes to life. Oh, and he also grows a mustache and eats cigarette butts and tampons. What a maniac!
I’ll come up with the rest of the story later, but right now I think it’s a good start. I like it at least.
Around Newark, New Jersey there is an enormous cemetery that is actually divided in half by the Garden State Parkway. It’s about two miles down the road from Seton Hall University, where I went to graduate school. I heard a DJ saying on the college radio station once that he had heard multiple reports from callers about a wild pack of dogs roaming the cemetery. This morning on my train ride into NYC I noticed that you could see the same cemetery right before you pulled into Newark Penn Station. I’ve been reading Zombie short stories, so the below is the result.
Danny hung up the phone and walked down the hall to Rafael who was hosing down one of the empty cages. “A lady just called about the dog’s in the St. Luke’s Cemetery, Esposito. She said she was there putting flowers on her grandmother’s grave and a pack of six big dogs was running around.”
Rafael Esposito shook his head and turned off the hose. “I told you man, we can’t do nothing about those dogs.”
“This is like the third person this week that’s called,” said Danny. He tapped his fingers on his animal control officer badge that he had hooked to his belt.
“Ralph, or Mr. Sciorno, the man that used to have my job before he retired?”
“He told me,” said Rafael, “don’t never mess with the dogs in the St. Luke’s Cemetery. Ralph said they’ve been there for years, been there longer than even he could remember and he said they were there for a reason.”
Danny tried hard not to roll his eyes. “What reason?”
“I never asked man,” said Rafael. “If Ralph told me something, I listened. Maybe you should try that some time.”
Danny walked back to his desk and thought about how much better it would be to work at the police department. But Danny was crazy and even in Newark that was so hard up for officers no one in their right mind would ever hire Danny as a cop. At the end of the day, after he vented to himself in the bathroom mirror about that dumbass Esposito, he figured that was alright. Fighting criminal’s dogs was close enough to fighting actual criminals.
When Danny got off of work he went home and ate meatloaf his mom left out for him. Then he went to his room in the basement and got his double-barreled shot gun. He stuffed a hunting knife into the side of his boot. When the sun fell he drove his truck to the St. Luke’s Cemetery and started walking along the headstones looking for the dogs. The street lights from all the nearby highways gave him enough light to see the pack running off in the distance.
In quick succession he fired two shots and fell two dogs. “Fuck Esposito and that dumb old fart.” The remaining four dogs came closer. They were like no other breed he’d ever seen. “Damn chupacabra,” he said. He shot two more. Then another. The last dog leaped.
Danny dropped the shotgun when the dog sunk its teeth into his arm. He could feel the teeth cut his jacket and then dig into his muscle. He swung his arm and carried the whole dog’s body with it. He bent down and pulled the hunting knife from his boot. “Stupid fucking dog,” he yelled. Then he stuck the long knife hard into the dog’s ear.
The next morning he wore a long sleeve shirt to work so no one would see the bandage. He turned on the TV in the office when Rafael went to gas up one of the trucks. It was tuned to a local news channel and there was a news lady standing in front of the St. Lukes Cemetery. He got real nervous until he realized they weren’t talking about the dead dogs. When he realized what they were talking about he damn near shit himself.
“Empty graves,” said the news lady. “That’s all there is left in the St. Lukes Cemetery. As you can see, in front of every headstone is a gaping hole.”
The camera did a pan of the graveyard to show dirt strewn about and countless gaping wounds in the green earth. Danny’s hands got sweaty holding the remote.
The news lady kept talking. “Local residents say that last night the dead came from their graves to walk the streets.”
Danny thought he was going to pass out. He thought maybe he was getting sick from his mother’s meatloaf but then he thought no, it wasn’t the meatloaf.
“The question remains,” said the news lady. “Why now? What kept the dead in their graves for so long?”
Danny rubbed the wound on his arm. He knew the answer. He ran down the hallway to the bathroom and then threw up in the toilet.
A confession: I go to church. I go every Sunday. I’m on the church council too, heck, I’m president of the Church Council. I say this with a little reluctance because as an aspiring horror writer I think there’s an assumption that you have to be a Satanist or an Atheist at least. What can I say; I’m a man of many apparent contradictions.
I see nothing wrong with this seeming conflict because I was fortunate enough to grow up in a church that encourages thinking and even…doubt. And doubts I have, trust me.
My church isn’t the church of sin and apocalypse, it’s the church of hope, reconciliation, and love. Believe it or not, I get some ideas for my stories or the themes within them from church sermons and liturgy.
I’ve wrestled over the years with many of the ideas I hear about in church. Hope was a big one for a long time because I just couldn’t find all that much to be hopeful about. That’s changed over the last year in part because of my writing, but now there is something else I’m wrestling with. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole fear thing.
I’m quibbling with progressive Christianity’s take on fear, that because we live in God’s world we have nothing to be afraid of. I’m sorry, but I’m still afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of going into ridiculous debt. I’m afraid of never paying off my student loans. I’m afraid of messing up as a parent. I’m afraid of dying alone.
All the things I’ve mentioned could be disastrous, I think. There are real things to be afraid of and shit, I haven’t even mentioned cancer. Regardless of how much God loves us there will be no divine intervention to save me. Religion, real religion, isn’t magic, and no one is going to save our asses from the scary things we can encounter in life.
Here’s what I think our interpretation of fear should be. It’s part of life. It can even be helpful. It’s helped us stick around as a species and evolve. But fear shouldn’t control us. We need to push on even though there are big scary things lurking around the corner.
With the new Godzilla film coming out and all the amazing clips I’ve seen thus far, I’ve been thinking lately about monsters. Why do we like monsters? There are the surface level characteristics that we like: the bizarre physical features; the city smashing physical abilities; the inevitable battles they get involved in. But there is something emotional there too.
For myself at least, I can identify with monsters. I’m on prednisone right now for this nasty case of poison ivy, and, as the doctor told me would happen, as I wean off the prednisone I become incredibly irritable. I’m not sure if I could destroy Tokyo, but I’m pretty sure I could do some damage in Edison, New Jersey.
This isn’t really unique for me either. For as long as I can remember I’ve had trouble with anger management. My mother actually recalls frequently how as a small child I would lose my shit in my play pen and fling toys across the room. Growing up was hard. I embarrassed myself with my anger and I alienated people.
I’ve gotten better with age (yeah, I’m like cheese), but it’s still there. I scream at neighbors for driving too fast in front of my house, I get in confrontations with rude people on the train, and I go batshit insane when I lose things. Sorry guys.
The first time I saw the original Godzilla movie, I cried at the end. I didn’t understand all this at the age of five or six, but I think to some degree I understood where Godzilla was coming from. He was pissed off. Maybe, he was scared. Maybe, as recent commercials have suggested, he was just hungry. Whatever it was, I think he and I are kindred spirits. We’re not hateful, just grumpy.