Circumstantial

(Originally published by Terror House Magazine)

Guy opened the door to Clyde’s, surveyed his surroundings, and took a stool at the bar.  Being a Tuesday night, only a smattering of patrons were present.  It was a fairly upscale establishment that would probably be packed with the office crowd in the evenings, and socialite types on the weekends.  The bartender casually made his way over to Guy. 

“What can I get for you?”

“I’ll just start with a draft beer for now, thanks.”

The bartender returned with the beer and placed it in front of Guy.

“Would you like to start a tab? If not, it’ll be $4.50.”

Guy peeled off a ten dollar bill and slid it toward the bartender.

“Keep the change. Hey, can I ask you a question?”

“Whatcha got?”

“I was wondering if you know anything about a fella by the name of Barry Jacobson.”

He obviously knew something about Barry by the perplexing look that he gave Guy.  The bartender appeared visibly shaken by the mention of this name.  He looked down and shook his head back and forth, before putting the money in the register and returning to face Guy.

“Obviously you haven’t heard. Hell, where do I start? Yeah, Barry came in here once or twice a week on average. That is until….”

The bartender reached for a pack of smokes, pulled one out, lit it, and continued. 

“…well, until the bloodbath happened. Barry was arrested for the murder of his wife. But it wasn’t just your typical ‘husband kills wife’ murder. No, it was much more gruesome than that. It was all over the local news. I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it. That poor woman was tortured, then basically gutted and dismembered. They said it looked like a scene straight from a horror movie.”

He asked the few patrons that were spaced out across the bar if they needed anything. Then he took a drink from a glass that was under the bar, a long draw off his cigarette, and turned back toward Guy.

“I couldn’t believe it personally. I mean, I wasn’t friends with Barry or anything, but he was a very personable guy. Not one that you would think could do some horrific shit like that. But that’s just it. He vehemently claimed his innocence, but the police and detectives found no forcible entry, no evidence of anyone else at the scene, and it definitely wasn’t a suicide. The investigators only found her blood on him and throughout the house and his bloody footprints. He said that it was from him finding her like that, and that he was passed out drunk during the killing. Personally, when I saw his interview on the news, he seemed believable, but there just isn’t another logical explanation. You ready sir?”

The bartender cashed out an older gentleman, thanked him for coming in, took another long pull from his cigarette and proceeded with the story.

“I mean, it was none of my business, but I did see him in here with different women from time to time. I never saw his wife with him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he would kill her. Although, all signs do point to him. You can’t argue with evidence, circumstantial or not. I would have never guessed that he was capable of such a thing, especially seeing his interview before they arrested him. He’s got some real good acting chops, aside from his story and all.”

“Story?” Guy asked, as he slid his empty glass away from him.

“Oh, goddamn! Yes, his story. That’s the best part. If this kind of shit could have a best part. Not only did he say that he was passed out drunk, and woke to find her like that, but he claimed that a ghost had to have killed her.  Do you believe that shit? Needless to say, the detectives didn’t put an APB out on Casper for the killings.”

The bartender started laughing, but quickly regained his composure.

“I’m sorry. Hell, I shouldn’t laugh. A beautiful young woman is dead, but holy shit, you’d think he would have thought that out a little more. You know what I’m saying?”

Guy nodded in agreement and said, “I know what you mean. So is he in jail now?”

“Jail? Hell no.They locked that crazy animal up at the Bellmore Institution. That’s worse than any maximum security prison that you could think of. That’s where they put the criminally insane. The absolute dregs of society are in that place. If you end up there, you aren’t getting out. There’s no parole or anything like that at the Bellmore. Rumor has it that they still do horrendous experimental treatments there. It’s basically legal torture. However, nobody really knows. No one has ever come out of there alive to tell about it. So, did you know Barry?”

“Yeah, Barry was my business partner a few years back and we became quite good friends. We started a software company together then sold it for a fairly hefty price. We were living the dream, smoking good cigars and drinking the finest whiskeys. They left us on as consultants and things couldn’t have been any better. That is, until I found out that Barry was having an ongoing affair with my wife.”

“Holy shit. That had to be a blow to you,” 

“You can say that again. I went absolutely crazy. I felt like my whole world crumbled, and I couldn’t trust anyone anymore.”

“Damn man. I’m sorry to hear that. I guess the news about Barry fooling around doesn’t come as a complete shock to you then. But hey, you’re doing a hell of a lot better than him now. You have that going for you.”

“Yeah, everything worked out the way it should’ve,” Guy said, with a slight grin.

“So did you divorce your wife after you found out?”

“No. I killed myself.”

Guy got up from his stool, walked out of the bar, and disappeared into the street.

Forebodings

(Originally published by Horror Sleaze Trash)

Kenny opened his eyes slowly, but the miniscule amount of sunlight coming in from the inch of open curtains was enough to make him squeeze them back shut.  His head ached and his stomach was twisted with pain.  The thirst that he felt was immeasurable.  Kenny pulled himself from the comfort of the plush hotel bed and staggered toward the sink for handfuls of tap water.  As he sucked down copious amounts of liquid, he attempted to put the pieces of the previous night together.  

Kenny was the singer of an up-and-coming band known as Winter’s Dread. He remembered opening the show for the well known, regional act, Gloomy Forebodings, then drinking, doing blow with the headlining act, and meeting some girls after the show. Kenny’s band played music on the extremely heavy side, so the majority of attendees were usually young and sweaty guys looking to fight. It shocked him that a fair amount of attractive girls were at the show.

He found a towel on the tile floor and picked it up to wipe his mouth and face.  The room was mostly dark, but obvious that it was littered with empty beer and liquor bottles.  Kenny made his way back toward the bed.  He just needed a few more hours of sleep before the band or their road manager would be knocking on his door.  As he went to lay back down, he was able to make out a figure on the opposite side of the bed.

Kenny then had a memory of a sexy blonde in a cut-off black t-shirt and short jean shorts, that came on to him pretty hard the previous night. She was with the group of girls backstage, and this one had taken a liking to him. A faint recollection of the two of them snorting heroin off a guitar case entered his brain. He then recalled getting head from her while others were in the room. He wished he could put more of the night together, but it all melded into a fuzzy blur.

Kenny crawled into the bed to snuggle up to the mystery girl.  He wanted to make some memories that couldn’t be forgotten.  As soon as his naked skin touched hers, he felt the cold, clamminess of death.  Kenny instantly released the tit of the corpse, retreated back, and sat up on the bed.  He switched on the side lamp and slowly turned to investigate. The once living, breathing, sexy blonde, was now wide-eyed, stiff, and lifeless, with dried vomit down the side of her face.  

Kenny frantically began to switch on every light in the room.  He knocked over bottles in his haste, which heightened his anxiety further.  The room had to be cleared of any illegal activity before he could do anything else.  He flushed every baggie that he found, empty or otherwise, and continued his search.  

Kenny found the purse of the dead girl and looked inside.  He removed her wallet to search for an I.D.  A driver’s license was visible through a clear portion of the wallet.  Jessica Stevens was her name, and she was only…16 years old!  Kenny’s heart dropped, his breath quickened, and a feeling of despair overtook him.

Kenny thought, not only is this girl dead, but she’s underage, and she died from drugs that I gave her.  He fell to his knees and broke down.  Kenny knew that there was no way out of this.  Thoughts of gloom, sadness, and regret overwhelmed his being.  

The eyes of the cadaver seemed to follow Kenny everywhere in the room he went.  He covered her head with the sheet, sat on the bed, and put his face in his hands.  Kenny knew that he had to call the police and give this girl the respect that she deserved.  He was terrified, but knew of no other option than to face the dismal consequences.  

Kenny picked up the phone with trembling hands, but before he could dial, there was a loud pounding on the door. 

“Police. Open the door,” a gruff voice shouted from the other side. 

Before Kenny could do anything, the door exploded open, and large monkey-like beasts rushed toward him.  The largest creature opened its mouth and revealed large jutting fangs.  Just before they entered Kenny’s skull, he woke in a panic. 

Kenny shot up in the bed, switched on the side lamp, and looked around.  He was in the same hotel room, but there weren’t bottles everywhere, and best of all, there wasn’t a dead girl beside him.  In fact, there was no one there but him. 

Kenny sighed deeply and let out a slight chuckle.  It was just a dream, he thought, as he laid back on the comfy, down pillows. 

However, the relief that Kenny felt didn’t last long.  The entire hotel began shaking violently.  He had been in a few earthquakes in the past, but never over twenty stories in the air.  Kenny was about to leave his room and find the stairwell, when the shaking intensified.  Rumblings, deafening crashes, and sounds of devastation flooded his ears.  Screams of terrified and dying people could be heard all around.  The hotel started to crumble and break apart.  Massive chunks of falling debri rained down on him, and the floor began to give way from under his feet. 

Kenny was awakened by his bunk shaking. It was lights out, and his cellmate, Big Chocolate, was ready for another piece of ass.

Line at the club

it was a night like many 

years ago 

out at the club

two or three pills down

out of my goddamn mind

at one point I was talking to

some friends I came with but 

realized they were all just 

strangers staring at me 

like I was insane

sweaty and disoriented

living and loving life

awaiting the next adventure that 

lay ahead amongst the fake smoke

moving neon lights and

pounding beats

then it was seen

I must be hallucinating, I thought

a beautiful blonde in a summer dress

sitting on a stool against the wall

getting fucked by a menagerie of men

her tanned legs up

accepting a multitude of strange cock

her man beside her

a bulky brawn bald type

taking it all in

as she took them all in

petting her head like a cat

as one after another deep-dicked 

her for all patrons to see

at one point the straps

fell from her shoulders

exposing exquisite breasts

someone eventually 

pulled them back up

god forbid tits are out while

a public gangbang is in session

the bald guy had obviously seen enough

he got in on the action himself

pumping his drugged zombie 

mercilessly against the club wall

moments before he came

he pulled out

started jerking vigorously

shoved her head down

as she ingested his viscous offering

when they were leaving

he shook hands and gave

a handful of cash to a bouncer

as they exited

the club lights illuminated

streaks of cum and juices 

running down each of her legs

numerous people obviously 

had a good time that night

but she had more than a blast

Cancer Alley

I recently watched a bike tour on YouTube

where the hosts traveled along the Mississippi River

from New Orleans to the Kenner area

once in Kenner

they spoke on an area referred to as ‘cancer alley’

a stretch of land along the Mississippi River

where multiple petrochemical plants operate

it encompasses portions of three different parishes

St. Charles, St. James, and St. John the Baptist

the residents of this area are 

predominantly poor and black

since the 1970’s numerous diagnoses 

of cancer and sickness have been reported

hence the moniker ‘cancer alley’

residents in the affected areas have a

16% greater risk at developing cancer

than the surrounding whiter and higher-income

one area in St. John the Baptist Parish

has been recognized by the EPA as having 

the likelihood of getting cancer from 

air pollution over 700 times the national average

it has been labeled a ‘sacrifice zone’

a term taken from the cold-war era

it is disgusting the blatant environmental racism 

occurring in plain site without any repercussion

the earth has thrived for

approximately 4.5 billion years

then enter the Industrial Revolution 

reprehensible damage with no reversal in site

burning of fossil fuels

carbon emissions from car exhausts

methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture 

deforestation and urbanization

also the sickening lack of

compassion for our own people

all point to the actual problem at hand

we as humans 

are the terminal cancer of earth

Eructatious Anomalies

I was talking with my wife one night

while preparing food in the kitchen

my Grandpa that died of cancer

in 1988 came up in conversation

he had a tracheotomy 

but didn’t get one of those 

creepy robotic throat devices 

I recounted to my wife 

that the doctors told him to

drink beer and burp his words to talk

this brought up a memory that my mom

relayed to me years later

a few days before he died

he burped the words ‘good night’

before going to bed

I then proceeded to practice myself

swallowing air and burping words

I burped the phrase ‘I love you’ perfectly

realizing my new found gift

I then said to my wife

“if I ever have to get a tracheotomy,

I could still talk to you fairly well”

she said, “I hope that doesn’t happen”

I said, “I know, I hope I never have to

get a tracheotomy either”

she said, “no…talk”

Corked

it was christmas morning

I was happy

probably eight to ten

I got a new bike

and a cork gun you cock

and shoot a small cork ball

all of about fifteen feet

I felt like a badass

marching into the front yard

with my weaponry held high

oh I see the neighbor kids

got some realistic cork guns too

I raised my gun

letting them know that 

I was ready for battle

when an object

with a base of metal

propelling at a high velocity

made contact with my chubby

little boy belly

leaving a stinging red spot

what kind of cork guns do they have?

they mean business now

I thought 

well so do I

I held up my bag of ammo

as I hid behind a large tire

the bag I held was filled with

roughly thirty shots of cork balls

the enemy across the street probably

thought I was holding a bag of dog shit

they didn’t hesitate hitting my wrist 

with their super corks

my wrist and my belly 

now both on fire

I ran inside crying

my mom had a talk with the boy’s mom

the boys said that I walked out

provoked them into battle by

showing off my new gun and bags of ammo

all while shouting 

I’ll shoot y’all

later in life

after moving to another school district

I befriended one of those boys

he was a few years older than us

able to drive the orange duster

blaring metal

trying to hit anything bold enough 

to make its way in front of him

big redhead Steve in the back 

egging us both on

while I hung halfway outside the 

passenger window 

screaming improv haiku poetry

it was kind of my thing

D.O.G.

I may have delusions of 

grandeur about my writing

possibly leaving a legacy of sorts

this is true

but in my defense

I’ve always had that attitude

wanting more

something creative to define me 

anything other than the truth

be it….

a student

pizza maker turned

pizza taker

milkman in a grocery store

student again

office worker

unemployed 

warehouse worker 

warehouse manager

bartender

cable man

warehouse worker

warehouse manager

office manager

general manager

unemployed

self-employed

student again

sandwich maker

roofer

self-employed 

and now back in a warehouse 

(in that order, somewhat)

but that’s just me

always wanting something greater

with more meaning

be it…

a poet

member in a metal band

member in a punk band

member in a nu metal band

a rapper

a D.J.

a podcaster

a comedian

a writer

and whatever else I decide

to do in the future

(in that order, somewhat)

Just a thought

a satiating desire for happiness

leads me to believe that it is all a mirage 

a fraudulence proclaimed by millions

only a facade of the subconscious 

apprehensive tendencies muffled

into a catawampus catastrophe

blue is my mood

red are my thoughts

heart

a blackish hue

pantomime my emotions

show me how elementary they are

pour upon me what I give off

a sulfur of hate

dripping anxiety

burning nostrils

bleeding entrails

rancid bile

complete unadulterated shit

Sole Food

“Please reconsider. This is kind of a big deal,” pleaded Ryan.

I sighed, and said, “I have all these leftovers.”

“Fuck the leftovers. This is a world-renowned chef cooking for about a dozen people, and I have two tickets. You are going.”

Ryan insisted, basically commanded my attendance with him to the restaurant, featuring the new, underground culinary hotshot. I reluctantly pulled myself from the couch and began to get ready. I poured another drink, sipped the brown fluid, and looked for a shirt.

Once on the road, Ryan blared guitar rock and gleamed with joy. He yelled over the music at me.

“I’m glad you are coming. I didn’t want to have to take Phil.”

“How long have you two been roommates now?” I asked, just as loud.

Ryan’s smile melted and he immediately turned off the music. 

“It just sort of happened. I can’t really explain it. Once turned to twice and twice to us banging it out almost every night. But lately, we haven’t been connecting. That’s why I didn’t want him to go. Plus, he doesn’t like soul food.”

“Wait, what?” I asked, confused at what I just heard.

“You asked how long I’ve been romantic with Phil, right?”

“No. I asked how long you two have roomed together.”

“Look, I think we’re getting close now,” Ryan said, as the guitar rock blared once again, louder than ever.

We arrived at a small boutique restaurant on the outskirts of town. It was seemingly closed, with very little light visible from the outside. I observed about 15 or so people in line as we parked. 

As we walked to get in line, I turned and addressed Ryan.

“Man, about what you told me earlier.  You know I don’t pass judgment on anyone, usually.  But, I just can’t gloss over this one thing”

I paused slightly, huffed out a breath, and looked at the ground before continuing.

“I mean…who doesn’t like soul food? Come the fuck on.”

We waited in line with neither of us speaking much. Finally, approximately 15 minutes later, the door opened, and we were ushered into the main hall.  It was very colorful, yet extremely elegant. As soon as we were seated, our first course arrived almost instantly. The service was outstanding and a true testament to that industry. 

Each course they brought, and each bite I took, had flavors I never knew existed until that moment.  Everything they sat in front of us was devoured without hesitation. Between courses, we each took turns trying to describe the flavor orgasms that took place in our mouths.

I think that it was between the 3rd and the 4th course, when someone at the table yelled out.

“That’s her in the takeout window!”

Everyone leaned or twisted their necks to see her. I thought I got a glimpse of the back of her head, but couldn’t be sure that it was actually her.

I forget what course it was, but when we had the oyster and oxtail bisque, there was a piece of oyster shell in mine. I wrapped it in a napkin and put it in my pocket as a memento. 

Dessert was like nothing I’d ever experienced. A cornucopia of flavors, textures, and temperatures entered my mouth and left me in a state of heightened blood sugar bliss, with many unanswered questions. All in all, the entire presentation made a typically benign eating experience a truly unforgettable happening. 

When people got up and began to leave, the chef herself made a brief appearance. She came through the kitchen saloon doors on a pair of crutches with her foot in a cast or something. That didn’t stop her from bowing, as we all clapped and cheered at the extreme rare sighting of her.

This left the entire room in a frenzied state long after her departure. Everyone stood and participated in their new found comradery, as we slowly filed out into the street. 

As Ryan and I walked to the car, I thanked him for offering to take me. I couldn’t have imagined not going at that point. Another group of people could be heard, with one on the phone telling details of the night.

“You should have come, bro! It was fucking fantastic! She puts her foot in everything she cooks!”

I froze in my tracks. Of course, I’ve heard the figure of speech, meaning someone did a tremendous job cooking. However, that made red flags and whistles go off in my brain. All I could see in my head was her with that bandaged foot, condescendingly bowing to people who had just consumed pieces of her. 

I laughed at myself out loud, realizing that those thoughts were completely absurd. I told myself that it must have been all of the wine that I drank, or perhaps, just my imagination running wild. 

Ryan dropped me off and headed back out. All I wanted to do was lay my head on my pillow and sleep. My belly was full of great food and fine wine. At that moment, I finally allowed myself the ability to feel happiness without judgement. It felt good not to worry about outcomes before events take place. A sense of freedom took hold of me and allowed me to shed my superficial concepts of society, if only for a brief moment.

As I finished getting undressed, I remembered the oyster shell. I had a perfect place in mind to display it. I found my pants and retrieved the napkin. I unwrapped it to discover that it wasn’t an oyster shell after all. It was a goddamned toenail. 

Fuck! She really did put her foot in it.

Months later, she was arrested for serving herself as a commodity. I’m not exactly sure of the charge, but you get the gist. She was indeed putting pieces of herself into the food. When she was arrested, her entire leg and a few fingers were missing. 

Who knows how far she would have gone if she wasn’t caught? Would there be a new figure of speech eventually?

“She put her twat in that dish!”