Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
So yes, Prince of Darkness is worlds apart from "conventional" means of a demonic, religious-ish horror film isn't it? How often do we find the world of religion at ends with the world of science? Perhaps if I had to name something bad about the film it would be that it doesn't make sense. Or does it? Hopefully I'm not alone in voicing my overall confusion on...well, just about everything. Satan was sending signals of world domination into the future? Or something? What? Is that even right? I don't know! I don't get any of it--but it really doesn't matter. OR I should say, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm sure one of the main reasons this film is not elevated to the highest level of awesome is because it seems kind of convoluted and well....ridiculous. But come on. Satan is in liquid form! Does it get any better than that?...
Zaprian Lozanov, a Bulgarian man who had his penis chopped off by his best friend Lyubomir while he was demonstrating his martial arts skills, is to help him get a new job - so he can pay for a new manhood...
Thursday, May 5, 2011
ORDINARY WONDERS AND BLEAK MIRACLES
A Son's Duty
Al Bruno III
All through the long drive Sidney kept thinking, This is a mistake. He thought it as he parked his car on a side street, he thought it as he made his way up the walk, he thought it as he rang the bell. Every moment of the journey he had felt like a man trapped in a dream, fighting every step but unable to turn away from the jaws of the nightmare.
The sound of footsteps moving through the house made Sidney’s mouth go dry.
Sidney thought, Too late to run now.
The door swung open and his older brother David looked at him with a combination of surprise and relief.
Sidney nodded, feeling self conscious in his worn out jeans and flannel shirt. David, as always was neat as a pin.
Was it a touch of reluctance Sidney saw in the way his brother stepped aside to let him in? The inside of the house hadn’t changed but it felt so much smaller.
“Where is he?” Sidney asked.
David nodded, “Upstairs, in his room.”
In his room. Sidney’s parents had slept in separate rooms for as long as he could remember. Whatever love they might have shared had dwindled away by the time he was old enough to notice. He had grown up in a world of icy silences and sudden outbursts. The experience had left him angry and haunted but somehow his brother had learned to survive, developing the skills he had used to become a successful local politician.
“How is he?” Sidney asked as he started up the stairs.
“He’s been asking for you,” was David’s only answer.
Sidney made his way up the steps wondering why. Why would Father want to see him now? Reconciliation wasn’t part of the old man’s repertoire.
The first room at the top of the stairs had belonged to Sidney’s mother. It had been kept locked and empty for years. There had been no funeral when she passed, Father had buried her hastily and without a trace of mourning.
The next room was the one Sidney had shared with his brother for 18 years. The door was open and Sidney had no doubt his brother had been going through old mementos, his pennants, awards and trophies. Sidney wondered if the hollowed out copy of Moby Dick he had stored his pot in was still there. He had left in such a hurry he had left it behind, he wasn’t sure but he might have left a roach behind. Probably not, but it amused Sidney to imagine it had been there for years right under the old man’s nose.
Next was Father’s room, the smell of antiseptic and shit flooded Sidney’s nostrils. He barely recognized the figure on the bed. There was an uncomfortable-looking chair at the bedside, Sidney slowly sat down.
He dreaded his next words but he knew they needed to be said, “Dad? It’s me.”
“Took your time didn’t you?” Father’s eyes snapped open, “I would have thought this was something you wanted to see.”
Sidney kept silent, wondering to himself how his old man’s body could be dying when his eyes were so very alive. He felt himself shrinking under their gaze.
“You think I’m a bastard don’t you?”
“Please don’t be like this,” Sidney said, “not now.”
“Your Momma was lucky. She was dead before she hit the ground.”
“I’m sorry,” Sidney shifted in the chair, not even sure what he was apologizing for.
“I was so proud of you, but you changed on me. You got weak.”
“Maybe...” Sidney looked away, “Maybe you're the one who changed.”
Father laughed just a little at that.
“You used to be my whole world,” Sidney said, “you were my hero but suddenly I wasn’t good enough.”
“Still whining, like an old woman. Like your Momma.”
Suddenly Sidney was on his feet, the chair clattered over. He expected his brother to shout and come running but where ever David might be he was keeping silent. “What do you want from me? Is this why you called me here?”
“Close the door,” Father said, “close the door and come closer.”
He wasn't sure if it was some last vestige of a child's blind obedience or a kind of morbid curiosity but Sidney did as he was told. He leaned in close and realized again how bad his old man smelled.
“I'm dying,” he spoke quietly, “I'm rotting away.”
“I know,” Sidney said, but a lot worse replies had come to mind.
“It hurts. You can't imagine how bad it hurts.”
“The doctors can give you-”
Father shook his head, “The doctors are assholes. They don't care.”
“What do you want me to do about it?” Sidney asked, “What do you want from me?”
“I need you to do...” the old man's hands spidered back behind his head and pulled out one of the pillows, “...what you've always wanted to do.”
When the warm pillow was pressed into his hands Sidney almost dropped it. It wasn't a soft, his father had never been a man for soft anything.
Was this really what I always wanted? Sidney thought but he already knew the answer. He pressed the pillow down over his old man's face.
Sidney had expected more of a struggle, but Father stayed still until the very end, until some involuntary response set his arms flailing. A ragged yellow fingernail cut Sidney right below the eye.
Is he having second thoughts?
If he was it didn't matter, Sidney was determined to be strong enough for the both of them.
Just this once he was going to make his father proud.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police say an Alum Creek man high on bath salts killed his neighbor's pygmy goat and that neighbors found him in his bedroom, dressed in a bra and panties, next to the dead animal, said Lt. Bryan Stover of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department...
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
IN THIS TWILIGHT
By AL BRUNO III
The hours tumbled by, sometimes Thelma was awake, other times she dozed fitfully. Sometimes she felt like she was falling, as though the whole world had been pulled out from beneath her and she might tumble forever through oblivion. Just when she thought the sensation would drive her mad it stopped and her nostrils were filled with the odor of roses and fresh rain. She didn’t know what it meant but anything was better then the stink of her own sweat and soiled clothes, she luxuriated in it until the whispering began.
It was a rasping hiss of a voice, each syllable echoing inside of her head.
“Again and again you are shown your place in the world, again and again you refuse.”
Who’s there? Thelma didn’t speak the words. How could she?
“My Principals find you wanting and of limited use because you believe that destiny is a river whose course can be changed. Your desires mean nothing to the future.”
Where are you? Opening her eyes she found her gaze drawn to the window, to the night sky that was slowly brightening with the dawn. Thelma looked away, dreading the miseries that sunrise might bring; at least in the dark of the night you could lie to yourself.
“You talk of oblivion but only in the future tense. You have glimpsed the Ruins of Creation but refuse to understand.”
Are you talking about Chad? She stared straight up at the ceiling remembering something Samantha used to say- that sooner or later every girl ends up staring at the ceiling and all she could hope for was that she’s doing something interesting at the time.
“An Oracle to the last.”
I don’t want this. There was a shape on the ceiling. It nestled in the topmost corner like a spider with its arms and legs pressed against the walls. Despite the dark, despite vision that blurred and juddered she could see clearly that the fingers on each hand were long and elegant. A dark mustard-colored cloak hung down around the shape obscuring its body but Thelma was sure she caught glimpses of pale gray and gleaming black.
“Blasphemer. Still you balk at a will greater than your own. Heretic! Who are you to question? Who were you to make demands? Ingrate!”
Are you the Hierophant? Dusky eyes shone down at her. A pale snout-like mask covered the rest of the shape’s face.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” The shape stared down at her. The solidity of its shape went from translucent to opaque in time with her breathing. Hadn’t Chad told her the Hierophant waited in the place between death and dreaming?
What’s going to happen to me?
The door clicked and swung wide open, the light from the hallway blinded her. In the moments between the flare fading from her eyes and the Squonks lifting her up, Thelma looked back to the place on the ceiling, certain the shape would be gone.
The masked figure was still crouched there, no one saw it but her. The realization filled her with a strange kind of satisfaction.
“There are such terrible wonders before us.”
This time there was no ceremony, no baptism, no kisses. The Squonks unbound her hands and feet but only so they could hold her still on the mattress, they pulled the gag from her mouth but only so Chad could squeeze a few more drops of Eagoryl down her throat. She was too thirsty to even taste the foulness of it, she even begged for more.
“As soon as we’re finished here,” Chad promised, “you can have all the water you want.”
“Please…” She croaked.
The Eagoryl took effect quickly. Everything seemed to flatten, losing all depth. Was it really Chad bending over her or just a living breathing sketch of a man? Were the Squonks really pressing her limbs down on the grimy mattress or had her limbs always been a part of the fabric? Was she just another ghost? A remnant of a soul that had long ago passed? With each breath her surroundings faded until the vision had hold of her.
“Masks.” She said
Chad looked up from his notepad, “What’s that?”
“…a wall of masks. It fills one side of the room… Of the apartment. The man that lives there… I think I know him…”
“What kind of masks?”
“All kinds… plastic Halloween masks of Dracula and Spider-Man, iron masks that should be in a museum…” her expression was full of childlike, “…some have feathers all over them, some are made of bone or wood. There are so many, they go from the floor to the ceiling.”
The other Oracles were peering through the doorway, Chad waved them away, “You said you knew the man that lived there. Who is he?”
“He’s so fat,” Thelma blinked, “he can barely walk… He can barely stand… But he’s kneeling before the masks. They fill up the whole wall.”
“Where are you?”
“New York,” she paused, trying to understand how she could be so sure, “Upstate… The apartment is full of boxes …Every room is full of boxes except for this one. Where does he sleep? He comes to this room to pray for what he wants but he still hasn’t learned…”
“Who is he?” Chad asked, “Can you see his face?”
“Deliverance… He’s praying for deliverance,” she said with a touch of irritation. The vision was slipping away from her already. Didn’t he know that talking to her broke the connection?
“Why are you here?”
“The mask… the vizard... it’s here but it isn’t... what he wants won’t come cheaply... fat man chanting... too many voices for one mouth... Too many faces for one head. He isn’t just a disciple… this isn’t some homemade altar. This future Chad... It’s close.”
“All right.” Chad nodded, “I think I understand.”
“No you don’t,” Thelma said, “you won’t listen-”
Flesh and matter lose all meaning; reality peels away and becomes translucent. The Spaces Between loom, they are the eternities that span the silence between each tick of the clock and the yawning void that sprawls in the distance between one molecule and the next.
It is here that the very Ruins of Creation become visible, those impossible engines choked into stillness by the weight of eternity. Their once gleaming surfaces are now pitted and stained with time; the swollen hydrozoa-like shapes of the dead drift across their worn surfaces…
Screams drove the visions from her skull. Thelma recognized her own voice but not the fevered rapture that shook it.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Price Breaks and Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Foreplay On The Edge Of Forever
I bought a pair of gaudy low hanging earrings and had them in the glove compartment of my car, ready for the next time I got Ramona alone. For most of the week however semester finals kept us busy and I hadn't had the chance to make my move yet.
Kevin K. Hanson was spending every available moment in the college library pouring over textbooks and waging a losing battle against academic disaster. Marv, on the other hand, had already stopped attending classes after scoring ridiculously well on the Postal exams.
The History final went great, Algebra not so great and everything else fell somewhere in the middle. Between the finals I went to the cafeteria and divided my attention between class notes and copies of Doctor Who Monthly. One day I found myself approached by three of my friends, Ginger, Will and Pricilla.
“Hello Albert.” The first to speak was Ginger; she was one of the many returning students I had befriended. It seemed to me that only the older students were able to understand that just because I liked clowning around didn’t mean I shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Oh and also when I say ‘older students’ I mean she was in her forties- of course I’m in my forties now and I suddenly find myself thinking that isn’t so old after all.
“Ginger!” I hastily hid my magazine beneath a textbook. “How are finals treating you?”
Her eyes shone with excitement “Only one more semester and I’ll be ready for law school.”
Back then I thought that by your forties it was a little too late to go changing careers. Now at forty three, I just wish I had something that remotely resembled a career.
“That’s great.” I said.
Will was my age, like me he lived at home and had intermittent success with the ladies. He was all about karaoke; he even carried a karaoke machine with him in his station wagon so he could perform his favorite Elvis tunes if the opportunity ever came up or worse yet he would do it if the opportunity hadn’t come up at all. Will also fancied himself as something of a writer. He saw me as something of a mentor and with judgment that good I was sure it would only be a matter of time before he was riding my coattails to the paperback mid list. He asked me, “Did you know the school had a literary magazine?”
“Can’t say I have.” I said, “But then again after the yearbook disaster I doubt the school would want to print anything ever again.”
Ah, the Scotia County Community College yearbook, a project of intermittent degrees of success even at the best of times. However this year had been one of the worst of times. A pretty young second year student had taken it upon herself to resurrect the yearbook, she had gotten pictures and prepayments and begun to set up the layout.
Then she quit school, leaving chaos and ruin in her wake. Since the deposits were non-refundable from the printers the faculty and student volunteers had struggled to complete the project but it was a lost cause.
No one knows why she suddenly dropped out but I am absolutely sure it had nothing to do with me asking her for a date.
So apparently the school had a long-neglected literary magazine and Ginger had latched onto the idea of reviving it. She already had Will and Pricilla helping her; of course I was next on her hit list.
Oh, and who is Pricilla you might ask? Well, she’s just one of the other girls that I knew in college; the weird thing was that back in high school I dated her sister for a time.
No, she wasn’t my first love’s sister, Pricilla was the younger sibling of one of the other girls I had dallied with briefly. Those lucky three or four girls that didn’t have me perseverating on them for the better part of a decade.
And before you wonder, I wasn’t interested in Pricilla, dating her sister had been traumatic enough.
Will however was crazy about the girl he talked incessantly about her warm curves and raven hair.
Pricilla asked, “We have to make a presentation to the student council to try and get funding. We figured you would be just the man to write up a professional and passionate proposal.”
Ginger nodded in agreement, “Of course I’ll have Will edit it for archaic language and cursing.”
“No offense buddy,” Will added.
“Offense?” I said, “Where do you get the idea that my mind might birth such a churlish notion?”
“So,” Ginger asked, “are you with us?”
I smiled, “Of course I am.”