The worst part of all this nonsense is when you start to make sense of it.
The worst part of all this nonsense is when you start to make sense of it.
It was already twilight when they hopped into Arthur’s police cruiser, making their way up the hill to the cemetery. Mort’s Cadillac was still parked in front of the church when they pulled up. Something smelled strange upon entering the rectory. Father Mendel boiled stew in an enormous tub reserved for church potlucks.
“The ingredients demand five cloves of garlic, ash from a vampire, and holy water boiled and simmered at body temperature,” dictated Mort while reading Undead Fiends.
The priest mixed the ingredients, not noticing the sheriff or Mathew entering the room.
“What are you brewing, Vampire’s Delight?” asked Arthur.
“Oh, hello sheriff, I didn’t see you. I’m glad you found Mathew. This remedy we’re brewing is supposed to counteract petrifaction. However, it’ll be difficult to get ash from a vampire until it’s defeated.”
“Too true, but I’ve already collected some of the creature’s ashes,” said Arthur with a grin.
“How’s that possible? We sent Charlie to look for pieces of its clothing among the graves, but he hasn’t come back.”
“YOU SENT THE BOY INTO THE GRAVEYARD ALONE!” shouted Arthur angrily. “Why would you do something so careless?”
“If he’s petrified, we’ll have the remedy to bring him back to life,” replied Father Mendel arrogantly.
“That’s assuming we can defeat it,” retorted Arthur.
“Oh, I don’t think it should be too difficult. We already know how to slay the creature. You said you brought the vampire’s ashes with you?”
“Only a trivial amount,” said Arthur while pulling the matchbox from his pocket.
“That’s ok; it might be enough for one dose. How did you get it?” asked Father Mendel.
“After the vampire petrified one of the boys, I fired six shots in its direction. I must’ve hit my mark because I found stuffing and black fabric on the ground. Sunlight filtered through the trees, incinerating it within seconds.”
“Which boy was petrified?” Mort asked.
Frank Nebowitz; I need to make a phone call to Hank’s Auto Body Shop so he can bring the boy up to the church. He’s usually discrete and won’t tell the rest of the town. If word gets out that a vampire is petrifying our citizens, we could have a general panic on our hands.”
“Was there anyone else in the woods besides Mathew and Frank?” asked the priest.
“Jackie ran from the scene like grease lightning. Would you like me to pick him up?”
“He won’t be a problem. Jackie has a reputation for telling lies and making up stories. No one will believe a vampire is loose on our town.”
“It’s almost dark and Mathew is safely inside the church. Do you think Drake will strike tonight?” asked Mort.
“Contrary to popular belief, vampires will enter a church. We’ll be safe as long as the lights stay on. I’ve already spoken with the lighthouse keeper about the situation. Jeff and his wife have agreed to keep a sharp lookout for the vampire during the evenings. There’s a lookout observatory in the cathedral if you’d like to come and see.”
Everyone followed the priest up the polished ladder to a dark room with an enormous telescope pointed at the heavens. “I usually use this room for stargazing, but just occasionally it’s fun to watch the town of Washaway Bay. You’d be surprised what people do when they think no one’s watching,” chuckled Father Mendel.
The lighthouse beam burned in the distance, briefly illuminating portions of the dark peninsula before heading out to sea again.
“Mort, would you like to be the first to look through the glass?” asked Father Mendel.
“I’d be delighted.”
Looking through the telescope he saw Washaway Bay cast in shadow.
“There’s the summer camp where the Scouts practice archery. To the south, I can see the generators and the lighthouse. Martha’s Diner is easy to spot. Her light is still on. Wait a second, come quick!”
“What is it, what do you see?” asked the sheriff in a hushed voice.
“BROKEN MIRRORS!” gasped Mort.
“Oh my God, you’re right!” whispered Arthur. “What should we do; what can we do; Father?”
“Sheriff, we’d better take your police cruiser to Martha’s and see if she’s alright. Mort, I want you stand watch with the boys. Lock the trapdoor behind us when we leave. If the vampire knocks, pull out the crucifix so it can’t approach.” Father Mendel handed Mort the silver cross and followed the sheriff to his cruiser in the parking lot.
“What can we do to help?” asked Charlie.
“You heard the priest. We’re to stay here to keep a lookout.”
“Screw that idea!” challenged Mathew. “How are they going to slay the vampire when they find it or it finds them?”
“There’s no reason to get belligerent.” said Mort.
“Like HELL there isn’t. Charlie, are you with me?”
“What do you plan to do?”
“Remember what we read in Undead Fiends? The book suggested the only way to slay a vampire is to lure it into the sunlight or jam a wooden stake through its heart. I had an idea when Mort observed the town through the telescope. We should enlist the Boy Scouts at the archery range. A couple dozen arrows are bound to find their mark.”
“I like your plan. Mort, what do you think?”
But the antique dealer wasn’t listening as he gazed through the telescope. The police cruiser arrived near Martha’s Pancake House. “Boy’s, they’re about to go inside.”
Suddenly, the lights in Washaway Bay went out. The generators near the lighthouse buzzed and crackled. Blue sparks flew from the wires connecting energy to the town.
“Drake has disabled our power, leaving Father Mendel and Arthur like sitting ducks. Hold on, the lighthouse is flashing. I think its Morse code. The message reads, ‘Vampire Spotted’ STOP, ‘Power generators destroyed,’ STOP, ‘Need assistance at once.’”
“Mort, do you have your car keys on you?” asked Mathew.
“No, they’re in the hearse. Why?”
“Because we need them right NOW!”
Mathew went down the trap door, intending to do something rash.
“I think we’d better follow,” suggested Charlie.
“Oh…ok, but I’m driving!” yelled Mort. The old man really moved when he wanted to. They almost beat Mathew to the car, jumping into the 1959 Cadillac.
“Let’s go recruiting and kill this thing!” shouted Mort. He couldn’t believe he was thrown into another life or death adventure, feeling alive for the first time since he purchased his antique shop. Driving the hearse down the hill at break-neck speed, they passed Martha’s Pancake House in half a second. Nearing the lighthouse, Mort noticed Jeff, the light keeper, petrified in the doorway. “I hope the vampire left the scouts alone,” he whispered.
Parking near the campsite, they moved cautiously toward one of the long barracks near the bay. Mathew held the crucifix in his right hand, ready for the vampire to attack.
A light was on inside. He knocked, opening the door. Most of the scouts were awake; some were playing cards, others were reading Boys Life, and a few were tying knots.
“I need you all to drop what you’re doing and follow me. It may be difficult to believe, but there is a vampire loose in Washaway Bay! Grab your bows and arrows. I need your best marksmanship to drive a stake though the vampire’s heart!” yelled Mort
Every scout snapped to attention. It didn’t matter if the vampire was real or fiction. This was definitely more fun than trying to tie a Bowline Knot. Eight scouts, fully armed, crammed into the back of the old Cadillac. Mort drove to Martha’s Diner as fast as he could. Everyone piled out of the hearse, stringing their bows, waiting for any sign of movement.
A full moon rose above them, illuminating the pancakes speared to the diner’s roof. Mort pulled a flashlight from his pocket, deciding to investigate the dim restaurant. Entering, he shined the light on four statues. Martha and Ted Mulberry were behind the counter. Arthur and Father Mendel had their arms out like they were trying to strangle something.
Mort reassured them, “We’ll brew some holy water once we’ve slain the vampire. Walking out, he was confronted by eight bows and arrows ready to fire. “Any sign of the vampire yet?” he asked.
“Not yet,” whispered Charlie. “We thought you were it for a second.”
Then, from further down the street, a figure approached. It’s long black cloak draped on the asphalt, moving purposely toward the crowd. Drake was not intimidated by the living. Lacking a soul, he was unencumbered by fear.
“READY…AIM…FIRE!” shouted Charlie. Eight arrows pierced the darkness, five finding their mark. “AGAIN, READY…AIM…FIRE!” This time, all eight arrows hit their mark, knocking the vampire onto its back.
“That did him!” shouted Mathew. But the vampire got to its feet, drawing nearer. Drake was covered in quills, looking like a porcupine.
“I don’t understand; there are at least five arrows lodged in its heart,” cried Charlie in bewilderment. “Hey Colman, what are those arrows made of?”
“Graphite, I think.” shouted the Boy Scout.
Charlie wondered if they were really going to die because of his trivial oversight.
Suddenly many scouts were petrified. “I thought I said not to look into its eyes,” yelled Mathew.
“I think we forgot to tell them,” replied Charlie. “Quick, give me a leg up. I have an idea. Mathew cupped his hands so Charlie could climb onto the roof. He ran over to the stack of pancakes impaled on a wooden stake. Pulling on it, the sign wouldn’t move. Kicking it, the sign broke off, falling on the ground.
Drake was nearly in reach of Mathew. The boy held the crucifix in front of him with his eyes closed.
Reaching for the silver cross, the vampire touched his hand. Drake felt as cold as ice, opening its mouth, revealing enormous fangs.
Mort fumbled on the ground for the wooden stake, his nimble fingers finding it and flinging the weapon at the vampire.
The javelin struck, temporarily stunning Drake. Mathew grabbed it, shoving the stake into the vampire’s chest.
A whirlwind wrapped around the creature as it disintegrated from the inside. Skin flaked off the contorting body, becoming ashes in the wind.
“Quick, salvage the skin. We’ll need the ashes to revive those who’ve been petrified!” warned Mort.
Adrenalin pumped through Mathew’s veins. It took him a couple seconds to comprehend the antique dealer. He grabbed a handful of Drake’s ashes, stuffing them into his pockets. Mort and Charlie did the same.
Another life calls to us
when we are getting things done
There is locomotion in the limbs
but the breaks are on
Send the engine off the tracks
Move forward in reverse
Somedays our brains are foggy
and sometimes we can’t get out of bed
There is nothing out there in the world
regardless of what anyone else has said
I know that I am supposed to put my life in order
and achieve great things
but the best days are when I am lying in bed
not doing anything
I know that time doesn’t stop
but it feels like it does
I’m not bored and I’m not busy
That is the greatest feeling
There is nothing more redeeming than when you redeem your own time. How many of us can say that we enjoyed our day and got something done? If I were to give any advice, it would be to do the thing that allows you to be lazy and successful at the same time. Now, most people will deny that this exists, but most valuable philosophies are those that only apply to a few. Beat the System. This is my philosophy and what it represents is my own magic. When I get closer to my magic I have incredible power. A philosophy must be put into action and it must work for you. It is the guiding force that will take care of you in tough times. It is even more than that. It will give you a reason to exist. It is an intoxicating way to view the world because you don’t know what will happen next.
I know why poets lose their minds
and singers sing to themselves
I know why leaders take the lead
impossible to count
Every man has his time
before the sun sets
He must do what is best
and ignore the rest
The dust calls to us
I wonder if we are all lights in the darkness that inevitably go out. Their former brilliance does not matter, the smoke, and nothing else. I have been criticized for my creativity, but I tell myself it is always better to be the madman with his box of crayons. I love the rich imagination; genius or no genius in the eyes of the world. I am my own king, the purveyor of wisdom, crafting my cathedral in the stars. -Intellectual Shaman
Buffin the Bear dragged his feet, sighing deeply; his wife asked him to search for winter food to stock their den. He had good intentions, but his stomach frequently made decisions for him. As he traipsed across a row of blackberry bushes, he realized he was no longer walking in wild woodlands, but through a thoroughfare, jutting close to civilization. It was well into the late afternoon when he heard voices beyond the trees lining a narrow country lane.
A large portly looking chap dressed in long midnight robes with a red sash around his waist was in high chatter with a slim mountain man who was nowhere near as fashionably dressed in décor. This man wore buckskins. He carried a powder horn slung over one shoulder and a small cannon strapped to his side. They were arguing about a price and the gypsy appeared to be winning.
“Look here, my rustic friend. You will not find quality anywhere like this horse I’m willing to sell you. It raced and won the Rover Track Competition last year and I would put money on it winning again this year. I will accept no less than 50 Dari for his sale.”
The mountaineer looked at the horse dealer with calm suspicion. “If this horse is undervalued, why are you trying to get rid of him?”
The gypsy cocked his head and motioned for the stranger to come nearer. “He wasn’t born an ordinary horse, but one that became ordinary. He’s a unicorn.”
“Now I’ve heard every sales trick,” yelled the mountain man. You’re telling me that you captured a unicorn. Then why did it change into a regular horse?”
“Haven’t you heard the unicorn legend?” asked the hustler.
“You don’t mean the children’s story where a unicorn is caught by a wizened magician and transformed into a regular horse because of its enslavement?”
“That’s the one,” whispered the gypsy. He’d been dealing all day and couldn’t wait to make a sale. “Look, you’ll either buy the horse or you won’t!”
It’s a rare occasion when a gypsy is outmatched in business by a woodsman. The mountaineer walked away from the scathing horse dealer without a care in the world. He suddenly stopped.
Buffin wondered what caught the mountaineer’s attention.
The man looked directly at the bear. “Hello there, friend. Don’t be afraid. Why don’t you walk down here and introduce yourself.”
The bear was a shape shifter and spent the last twenty minutes as a tree stump hunched on the ground. He couldn’t remember the day he became magical, but his wife noticed something different about him last season. He unintentionally swallowed unicorn hair while grazing in a field of sweet grass. His black eyes changed to electric blue and his body frequently transformed into stationary objects because of his slothful personality. Magic has a tendency to compliment the nature of its host. Whenever Buffin’s wife gave him a chore to do, he unconsciously transformed into an immobile object.
“Come closer. Let me take a good look at you,” enquired the mountain man.
Buffin grumbled about needing to look for berries, but the man in buckskins wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Ordinarily, the bear would never have trusted human kind; they always tried to trap and own things that didn’t belonged to them. As Buffin stepped out of the shadows of his disguise, the mountaineer smiled.
This wasn’t an ordinary man, but someone who looked like a friend before you knew him. “How long have you been collecting berries for winter?” he asked.
Buffin shifted his weight from one blackberry stained paw to the other.
The mountain man introduced himself, “My name’s Barney Fuggle. What’s yours?”
The bear grinned at the man showing its teeth dyed purple, blue, and magenta. Buffin stuck out his paw to shake hands with Barney.
“Would you like to walk with me to the carnival?” asked the mountain man.
“What for?” questioned the bear. “I thought we could make some money from the gypsy thieves encamped in the area. We could buy you a stove that burns with everlasting fire for your hibernating months and I’m just dying to get my hands on a decent horse.” The two agreed to go to the fair and hash out their plans.
King to C4
The cards come crashing down
like a roller-coaster
fill my brain
As I break free
from the suicide king
waiting for me
but the jack is too clever
its evil eye
And I sidestep the queen
waiting for marriage or murder
Death is inevitable
Who wins the game?
from one square
to the next
And a torrent of cards
billboards of terror
telling us the numbers:
club the fellow
stop his heart
steal his diamonds
and dig a hole
with a spade
When I was young
I would sit on the toilet
and tell myself stories
When I needed to go
sometimes it took 30 minutes
not because of constipation
but for prolonged
and the need to discover
a story’s end
My sister made fun of me
“What are you going to say next?”
through the door
Then she would cackle
a loud obnoxious laugh
that stunted my story
and tightened my bowels
I told so many stories then
Needing every word
I had this red guitar
And composed my own little song
Racing to the bathroom
right before bed
was always first
Sitting on the stairs
A new word
came to me
or being last
allows us to do something else
when we stop competing
we start creating
And new words
flood our consciousness
like specs of gold
only we can hold
And the world does not understand
where our treasure