Pete’s night at the pub with his old school friends had brought the usual mix of nostalgia, laughter and awkwardness. Now living in the city, it was great to return – occasionally – to his home village in the countryside to catch up with everyone. Sure, most of them were the same. Same jokes, same haircuts, same lies. But the familiarity was comforting. The devil you knew didn’t tend to disappoint you as much as the devil you didn’t.Continue reading “The Sack by Richard Huw Williams”
A Learned Introduction
Spirits can’t lie. Still, as it goes in both life and the afterlife, honesty does not mean accuracy. That’s the trouble with telling the truth. In the living world, a great deal of truth telling is dedicated to giving air to erroneous beliefs, mindlessly echoing hidden agendas and giving credence to hallucinations in general. The same holds true at the Otherside. For instance, if you tell a Spirit that the Earth is flat, she might believe otherwise and will tell you so. In this regard, a Spirit is even more stubborn than a mortal when it comes to shedding ignorance. The dumb shit they believe in stays believed in, no matter how much compelling evidence you may present to the contrary.
Versatur Circa Quid!
Once again my four generations removed granddaughter, Miss Leila Allison, has thoughtfully left open a file for me to brilliantly emend. Before I get to today’s subject, however, I believe that I should once again introduce myself to the readership due to what I observe to be a great diminishment in the overall intelligence of the modern day public. It is I, the splendiferous Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender. I died in 1912, but shortly thereafter I returned as a Quillemender Spirit. I am housed in a ceremonial gold gilt gavel presented to me upon my retirement from the bench. I’m allowed to travel ten paces from the gavel, which is plenty close enough to where my ancestor (and current holder of my heirloom gavel), Leila, keeps her Chromebook. Succinctly, we Quillemenders alter text written by the living. In a way my noble kind are the precursor of that mindless autocorrect function that gets so many of you in trouble.
“Yesterday, upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!”
–William Hughes Mearns, “Antigonish”
Last night I dreamt of the happy-clappy pixie-land extolled by the counterculture of yore. That hippie Eden where daisies shot from rifles because everyone there was so high on lysergic acid that they no longer experienced reality. It was a place populated by paisley-eyed toad kissers who honestly believed that they were the first generation of paisley-eyed toad kissers who knew that the world sucked and that they alone could kiss toads into The Gurus of Change. Viva Revolucion! Alas, psychedelic drugs and fairy tale-belief systems are the stuff of idealistic chimeras. It all eventually wears off and leaves you cold and cynical. By and by you come to the hideous conclusions that the Good Guys never stay good after they win the Revolution, and that every toad you kiss has a way of changing into Richard Nixon.
But First Another Erudite Introduction by That Noted Supernaturalist Miss Stoker-Belle
Ha! I’ve at last wrested control of the bold font header from Ms. Allison. In the past she has used the header as a platform to throw shade my way, which I’ve been forced to refute in the first hundred words or so in previous displays of my genius. In yet another stroke of brilliance on my part, I recently introduced both the disinfecting and misremembering properties of anise del toro to Ms. Allison. She’s been gazing out her office window for a number of hours now. The Great Authoress is temporarily beyond the grasp of reality, and incapable of doing more than creating mist on the small mirror I occasionally place under her nose, let alone able to sling further shade on the intricacies of my personality. Rest assured, she’s fine. “Comfortably numb,” as the song goes. Really. Thus I have never been better.
But First, More Prefatory Gibberish by Miss Stoker-Belle
As any intelligent person can see, I do not control what is said about me in the bold-face heading. In a rare moment of forgetfulness, I had overlooked demanding approval of the heading’s content upon graciously consenting to present the Feeble Fable introductions. This tiny oversight forces me to spend the first paragraph or two of my introductions refuting the bold-faced insults laid on me by my employer, the semi-sentient, Ms. Allison.
A witness mark is a groove, a dent, left by people gone before. Sometimes they’re deep, gouged, gone over so many times by people, living and reliving moments on moments. Sometimes they’re just a scratch, easily sanded away.
It was Catia’s first time waking up in a coffin. It would not be her last.
Kathy’s Dad passed away in his own house, his last rattling breaths aided by the morphine his daughter poured down his ancient mouth. He lived alone in the old place for decades. Germs terrified him. He secured the windows with plastic. The air inside turned stale and rancid. He roamed the neighborhood at night, searching for cans and bottles. He filled the house with old lawnmowers, pieces of scrap metal, newspapers piled to the ceiling. Kathy inherited this rotting, junk filled dwelling. Over the next year, she and her husband Neil renovated. All the plumbing and electric wiring renewed, a new shingle roof, restored walls and floors. The father’s piles of tools and newspapers, old tiles and bottles all recycled, usurped by Kathy’s stuffed toys and hangers full of vintage and antique clothing, her hundreds of art books and coffee table volumes about Hollywood stars, her garbage bags and boxes packed with blankets.
Spread the word!
Nick Carroway is no longer so great and Ishamel is sunk. Forget the guys who claim to tell a truthful tale yet never mention that they do not exist anywhere but in books. For I, Renfield Stoker-Belle, am a made up person who knows she is a Fictional Character (FC)–and I wouldn’t have it any other way.