Wednesday, December 8, 2021

THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: The best part of waking up is weiner in your cup.



 

THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: When she says she likes to play with toys in bed.



THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: Quack!

 


THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: Me-YOW

 


THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: Paper or plastic?

 


THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: Great moments in history.

 


How about some pulp covers?

 





















THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: It's beginning to look a lot like... like... WHAT THE HELL?

 


SUPER TEAM FAMILY PRESENTS - Machine Man and The Creeper

 From SUPER TEAM FAMILY



Tuesday, December 7, 2021

How about some comic covers?

 












THE INSANE SCRAPBOOK OF AB3: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

 


MY FICTION: The Eyestalk Kid

 

The Eyestalk Kid
by
Al Bruno III


It began a year ago, on the third day of the Altamont Fair. It’s funny, we’d go to the fair all the time when we were kids but you know how it is when you grow up; you trade the merry go rounds and ferris wheels for productivity meetings and marketing reports. Timothy and I had no children. We had a hard enough time keeping our marriage and careers on an even keel, a rug rat would have been a disaster.

Considering everything that's happened I’m glad we made that decision.

Like I said, we went to the fair-, Timothy and I and our best friends Chris and Danielle.  We were all in our middle thirties, our stomachs were too weak for the really exciting rides and our minds were too cynical for the games of chance. There was still plenty to do and see though. There were crafts, classic cars and livestock displays and if we stayed till midnight there would be fireworks. And of course there was the food, cotton candy, caramel apples, deep fried Snickers and gyros.

Actually only the boys got the gyros, Danielle and I stayed behind rolling our eyes. They’d just got done saying how full they were but the sight of the girl working the gyro stand fired up their ‘appetites’. She was barely legal and barely dressed. We let them have their fun, the girl wouldn’t dress like that if she didn’t want to be ogled right? Besides the look on their faces when they actually tried to eat those half burnt things was worth it.

We might have called it a night right there if one of us hadn’t spotted the black tent.

It was squat and wide with an ugly hand-painted banner that read 'Dr. Tarr and Mr. Fether's Cavalcade of Oddities' and beneath that in all capital letters was ‘FEATURING AUDIENCES WITH THE EYESTALK KID FOUR TIMES A DAY!’. Beneath that was this ugly image of a snail with a little boy’s face.

“What’s an Eyestalk Kid?” I asked.

“We could find out.” Chris said, “I’ve never seen a real freak show.”

“Me either,” my husband replied.

It was ten bucks a head to get in. The babushka-wearing woman working the ticket booth frowned when we asked her to break a hundred and asked if we had something smaller. We didn’t so she transformed the act of making change into a minor tantrum. “Does your boss know you treat your customers like this?” Danielle said.

“Ah am Docta Tahh,” she shot back, “Ah am the boss smahtass!”

We should have turned back right then, told her to take her cavalcade of human oddities and shove it but I think we all thought her performance was a put on, a part of the show. All our stories of visiting the freak tent would begin with the part about the crazy lady working out front.

The inside of the tent was lit by clusters of Christmas lights. Canvas partitions divided one part of the tent from the other. Each of those cramped fabric-walled rooms held it’s own display or performer. The first section of the tent was just displays, pictures of other sideshow displays from years gone by, taxidermied two-headed calves and misshapen fetuses preserved in jars of formaldehyde. Everything was streaked with grime.

From there we moved to an equally grimy waxworks display called ‘AMERICAN MONSTERS’. I was always a fan of true crime stories but if not for the signs beside each figure I wouldn’t have been able to tell their Lizzie Borden from their Ted Bundy. By the time we had shuffled past nine serial killers and one sitting President we were thoroughly bored.

In the next part of the tent there a banner that proclaimed ‘BEHOLD THE UNICORN- creature of legend’.  The unicorn however was nothing but a deformed goat with a single horn jutting from its head. It bleated at us and glared from a single misshapen eye. None of us, or any of the other people that paid ten bucks to get in, were impressed.

The line moved forward again bringing us into the presence of ‘HUMAN ODDITIES - Howard Huge! Nora the Tattooed Lady! The Amazing Reginald!’ 

Nora the Tattooed Lady looked to be in her middle seventies and had to walk across the stage with the help of a cane. Howard Huge looked no heavier than the subject of your average reality show and he never looked up once from his smart phone. The Amazing Reginald scowled contemptuously at the audience as he bloodlessly shoved needles through his arms and face.

By the time the Amazing Reginald’s performance had reached the glass eating part of the show we were all feeling like fools. We’d been parted with our hard earned  by the cash at the promise of seeing something grotesque up close and in person. We were rubes.

Timothy turned to say something to me, an apology I’m sure, when a frail looking man in a Hawaiian shirt stepped out from behind a hidden fold in the tent. “Ladies. And. Gentlemen.” He coughed wetly for a few moments before continuing, “I am Mr. Fether. I hope you have enjoyed our little production. I hope we have brought a little wonder to your otherwise humdrum lives.”

Danielle exchanged a glance at that, a thousand sarcastic comments on our lips.

There was another long fit of coughing before Mr. Fether could speak again,  “But now you stand on the precipice of a true revelation. At this moment, in a specially prepared aerobionic chamber, the Eyestalk Kid and his hermaphrodite harem await.”

No one knew what he was talking about. ‘Aerobionic chamber’? ‘hermaphrodite harem’? It was getting warm in the tent and there was a aquarium odor filtering in to the chamber. Mr. Fether drew the curtain back revealing an empty pegboard wall. There were voices chanting behind that wall, wet whispers of “…allelujah…” repeating over and over again.

After some more coughing then Mr. Fether spoke again, “For a mere fifty dollars you may gaze upon the Eyestalk Kid, you may hear one of his famous sermons and risk his blessing!”

“Fifty dollars?” Timothy said, “You want more money?”

“The Eyestalk Kid and his disciples have specific needs that require specific payments,” Mr. Fether explained, as the ‘allelujahs’ grew louder and louder, “but you will find him worth every penny.”

“Let’s get out of here.” I said.

Danielle agreed, “We’ve been suckered enough for one night.”

“Actually,” Timothy said, “I want to see this.”

“Me too,” Chris nodded.

“Oh my God!” I shouted, “Don ’t be a fool.”

Timothy blushed again, “Honey you’re making a scene.”

And everyone was watching, the Human Oddities, Mr. Fether and all the rest of the people that had been suckered into the tent. Feeling self conscious I said, “Do what you want - I’ll be waiting in the car.”

Frowning but undaunted Timothy and Chris reached for their wallets, and, after giving me a guilty shrug, Danielle joined them.

I left them to it. 

Half an hour went by, then an hour. I’d expected them to come slinking back to the car by then but I was still waiting and alone as the fireworks began and the parking lot began to clear out. Eventually, despite my annoyance and despite the fact I was sitting up straight in the drivers seat of my car I fell asleep.

The sound of Timothy scrambling into the seat beside me was what woke me up. He was shouting, “Go!” He said “Get us home!”

“Where were you?” I asked as Chris and Danielle got into the back, “What took you so long?”

“We have to go home,” he said again.

Without the rows and rows of other cars and local carnies in orange vests it was hard to navigate dark, empty field that the Altamont fair used for a parking lot. Chris and Danielle were turned around in their seats the entire way to Route 146.  When speeding towards Albany, Danielle made eye contact with me in the rear-view mirror. It was too dark to be sure I she looked like she’d been crying, “We should have listened to you.”

I felt sick to my stomach,“What happened?” I asked, “Tell me what happened.”

“We can’t tell you what happened. It’s still happening.” Timothy had his face buried in his hands, when he spoke his voice was muffled, “I’m sorry.”

Chris started laughing, the sound was almost a scream, “Tim! I’m wearing your shirt!”

Timothy barely spoke to me the next day. He said he wasn’t feeling well so I let it pass. When I got home from the office I found him lying under the bed covers and mumbling. He wasn’t running a temperature but his skin was clammy to the touch. 

Since I had no sick time left I decided to sleep on the recliner. The next morning I found him cocooned in the blankets and sheets, everything was soaked with sweat that had a swampy odor to it. Timothy wouldn’t speak more than two words to me but those words were, “Love you.”

I started to worry he might have gotten food poisoning from that gyro slut. He could barely lift his head off the pillow so I had to call him in sick to work. His boss was really pissy about it but there was no way Timothy could even drive himself in, never mind about actually do any work.

Four times. I tried to call him four times during the course of that day but he never answered, every call went to voicemail. I tried texting his cell phone but that was no better. Right before I headed out to my last meeting of the I gave Danielle a quick call to to see how she and Chris were doing. I barely recognized the voice that answered and the only reply to my questions was a garbled, “Go away.”

That night came home to find the refrigerator door wide open and a month’s worth of groceries either half eaten or left to spoil. Timothy was laid out in the couch, stains radiating out from him. The TV was turned to a channel that used to show nature documentaries but was now nothing but wall to wall reality shows about rednecks. I knew for a fact Timothy hated both.

He smiled thickly at me, “M’sorry. M’sorry.”
“What’s wrong?” I knelt beside him and stroked his forehead. This flesh felt like the skin of  pudding, “What happened to you?”

“Had to be there… m’sorry.”

The phone started ringing. A premonition made me want to ignore it but I didn’t believe in premonitions then. 

“Hello? I said.

A watery voice said back,“Tim?”

No one called my husband Tim except for me, and even then only when we were making love. He’d always been a Timothy, ever since childhood. “Who is this?” I asked.

“M’sorry Alice. M’sorry. Chris died. Didn’t want to… Face wouldn’t forgive the mirror. Shotgun. M’sorry. Tim? Almost time to go. Go home.”

“Danielle?” I couldn’t recognize the voice. I’m still not sure it really was her but who else could have been?

The voice whispered, “The Eyestalk Kid…”

Timothy gurgled a reply from his spot on the couch, “Allelujah!” Then he turned onto his side and vomited, with each heave of his stomach he called “Allelujah!”

I wanted to call 911 but my fingers wouldn’t move, not when I knew the worst hadn’t happened yet. 

Another premonition.

His stomach emptied my husband rolled himself off the couch landing on his stomach with a grunt of relief. His back was swollen and bowed outwards.

“Allelujah!” the voice from the phone said.

Then he put his face down in the puddle of his own sick and started slurping. With every slurp the lump on his back quivered.

“Stop it!” I screamed at him, “For God’s sake stop it!”

And he did, turning towards me to show a face that had become a mask of bile and eyes that were even more askew than before. “M’sorry.” he said again.

Then his eyes changed. The eyes I had looked into with love and anger and indifference so many times over the last seven years began to shift, slipping out of his skull on stems of writhing, pink muscle.

The last thing saw, before I fainted, was his gaping eyelids, brimming with tears. “Love you.” he said.

When I woke up hours later Timothy was gone. He’d left everything behind, his wallet, his clothes, his wedding ring. I called the police and found out they were already coming to see me. Chris was dead. They weren’t sure if it was suicide or foul play and Danielle was nowhere to be found.

They police didn’t want to hear about Dr. Tarr and Mr. Fether and the Eyestalk Kid. They’d already decided for themselves what had happened. It was an affair, my husband and my best friend. Chris had found out and it had driven him to suicide. I’d found out too and my broken heart had sent me into a delusional state.

Now it’s a year later and the Altamont Fair is back in full swing and this letter was supposed to reveal everything. It was supposed to tell you why the black tent might have been harder to find this year even though it has almost doubled in size. I was going to tell you what I saw when I paid my hundred dollars to see the Eyestalk Kid in his Aerobionic chamber. I wanted to write down word for word what he said and reveal to you the rites my body performed as my mind screamed for it to stop.

But now I know I can’t, it was hard enough for me just to write all this. I have to hit the keyboard of my laptop with bruising force just to make the letters appear. My fingers won’t hold their shape and my eyes can’t focus on what is right in front of me.


M’sorry.

I don't know much about art...

 


MY FICTION: Forever ‘Till The End Of Time

 Forever ‘Till The End Of Time

by

Al Bruno III

I must be quick because I am not sure how much time I have left.

It all began the same week that my divorce from Deborah became final. She called me and begged that I come to the house we had shared for over a decade. Just a visit, that was all she wanted. I patiently told her again that there was no hope of a reconciliation.

Reconciliation, however, was the furthest thing from her mind. She told me she had uncovered an original draft of The Zanthu Tablets: A Conjectural Translation. I admit this news surprised and intrigued me. My former wife and I were both academics, experts in the fields of archeology and history; but while I made my living from teaching, Deborah had turned her attention to pure research.

Perhaps that was why she had collected accolades while I had collected dalliances with graduate students.

“Who else but you,” she had said, “who else but you could appreciate this?”

Curiosity won out over common sense and the next night I took the hour long drive to Arkham. As each mile passed my excitement faded and my dread grew. My parting with Deborah had been angry and tearful. I knew that even now, despite everything, she still loved me. Every relationship is like that in the end, with one party caring for the other more; the worshipper and the worshipped.

I found that both my former home and former wife had suffered a swift decline. The lawn was overgrown, the mail and newspapers unclaimed. Deborah herself looked tired and light-starved. She had gained weight, yet her face had become gaunt.

She had barely shut the door behind me before she began talking franticly, stumbling over her words in an effort to tell me everything at once. I had seen her in such frenzies before, discoveries like this caused her to succumb to a kind of madness. Regardless of such considerations I will admit I was impressed. Her researches into the connections between Sumerian and Polynesian mythology had led her to a new understanding of the disturbing legends of Ythogtha and his offspring Ubb the father of worms. Her work would force the academic world to reconsider everything it knew about the Xothic legend cycle.

Each room of the house was a chaos of old books and hastily scrawled notes. There were maps of the ancient and modern worlds tacked on the walls, patterns had been drawn along and through the oceans and continents.

Instead of leading me to her study she asked me to follow her down to the basement.

A foul odor assaulted me as I descended the stairs. Deborah had somehow managed to tear up the concrete floor of the basement. The soil she had revealed was black and uneven, it reeked of sewage and rot. Before I could question her about this I saw an object sitting alone on a long metal table in the center of the room.

It was the kind of idol that we had both read descriptions of over the years. The kind of idols that missionaries had taken care to destroy. Nothing like this was supposed to have survived into the modern age. I should have been excited but instead I felt a cold dread settle around me. The effigy was no more than a foot tall and made from a yellowish stone that gleamed like it might be exuding some kind of sickly inner moisture. This Plathelminthe-like image could only be that of Ubb, the father of worms.

“Ubb is immortal among his kind,” Deborah explained, “raised up by Ythogtha to live and crawl and know. So if he is immortal why were kings and shamans sacrificed to him?”

I backed away from her, afraid of the way her eyes had lit up when she said the word sacrificed. How irrational had she become?

She drew closer to me, reaching out. Her fingertips were darkly stained. “Can’t you see? Ubb ingests but does not digest. He is merciful.”

Was it my legs quaking beneath me or something more? Even now I cannot say.

“How could you love someone else when I can give you forever?”

My revulsion turned to violence and I pushed her away. She fell backwards into the damp dirt and in doing so revealed what had been carelessly buried there.

I have no memory of fleeing what had once been my home or of screaming in the streets until I fainted dead away.

The rest of my story is public knowledge. The authorities were alerted and a search of the house revealed nearly a dozen bodies. Deborah and the statue were never found, considering her final words to me I am not at all surprised.

In the weeks since I have kept to myself, answering whatever questions the authorities might have and refusing all visitors- reporters and old friends alike. Each night I drink myself to sleep hoping to quell the dreams which now haunt me. Those dreams of a great flatworm-like thing burrowing purposefully through the Earth’s mantle and waiting for the stars to be right.

In that dream I am bodiless and weightless, I float close enough to see every detail of its churning body. It glows with an internal bioluminescence. It is blind yet it sees. It is called the father of worms yet it leaves a trail of young in its wake.

The middle of the thing’s body is swollen and translucent. I can see the shapes that crowd there, half-mummified and unmistakably human, generations of lords and wise men.

This is Ubb and he sees me. I have been marked. Despite knowing this I do not have the courage to take my own life, to choose oblivion over the fate I know awaits me.

Someday soon the father of worms will reach out and drag me down through miles of Earth to join Deborah and together we will live forever in the belly of the beast.

Someday soon.

MY FICTION: The Night Blogger - The Trevi Collection

The Night Blogger

by 
 Al Bruno III 
 
May 2nd …there are things no one ever expects to hear, and I don't care who you are or where you live, the term 'Brony Death Cult' has to be in your top ten.

But that's what the Albany PD’s Chief of Detectives believed caused the death of Chad Trevi. He even announced it in an impromptu press conference without the slightest trace of self awareness.

One of the first things wrong with their cockamamie theory was that Chad Trevi wasn’t into My Little Ponies, he was all about My Happy Horses. Now for those of you with lives and families please allow me to explain that My Happy Horses are the Go-Bots of the plastic equine world. In other words they were a cheaply made cash-in product created to flood the dollar stores for the holidays.

Of course as soon as Hasbro found out about My Happy Horses they rained hellfire and lawyers down upon the creatively challenged Tomlande Toys Inc and the My Happy Horses line was shut down before it had barely gotten off the ground. Hundreds of the toys were pulled from the shelves and sent away to be destroyed.

That meant the ones that had actually been sold or slipped through the cracks were very rare and very collectable. A complete set of the twelve different horses were very hard to find but Chad had them all, and then some.

Other toy collectors say he had gone to unethical lengths to get them but then again I have no idea what the ethics of toy collecting are.

It all began when Chad was entertaining Les Spencer, a much wealthier My Happy Horses obsessive. We don’t know what was said but friends knew Chad was eager to show off what he was sure would make his collection the envy of his peers.

The showing must not have gone over well. Neighbors reported shouts and a slammed door. A Denny’s waitress positively identified Les as the man drowning his sorrows in an epic stack of pancakes. Les told the police that he went home right after that but the police believe that he then doubled back on foot, somehow got back into Chad Trevi’s apartment and killed him with a blunt object they had yet to find.

The real story is far, far stranger than that…

 

 *


…another day, another intrusion into a crime scene. It was two days after Chad Trevi met his untimely and unlikely end. It's funny how inured I've become to police tape, I give it about as much passing thought as you give a clicking on a terms of service agreement.

These days however I am a little smarter in my trespasses. I own a jumpsuit just like the ones the guys at Remediation Crime Scene Clean Up use, so now if someone spots me creeping around the site of a violent death they can dismiss me as some working stiff burning the midnight oil. 

How should I describe Chad Trevi's apartment? There was a crappy couch, a filthy TV, a sink brimming with dishes and a bag of rank-smelling laundry near the door. Ordinarily fingerprint powder and chalk outlines would stand out like a grim reminder of our ultimate mortality but here they kind of tied the room together. 

I spent a few minutes examining the chalk outline. The boards from the section of floor where Chad’s head had been were pulled up. My sources told me that his skull had been stuck with such force that it had driven fragments of bone into the wood.

I’d seen pictures of the police’s main suspect and let me tell you Les Spencer does not look like the kind of guy that could break anything larger than a potato chip, and according to Les’s brother Tom the guy was so squeamish he’d faint at the sight of a rare steak.

That’s how I got involved in all this. Tom Spencer is a member of the FEAROFTRUTH forum. He posts under the name ‘CaptainTrekker’ and he asked me to try and prove his adopted brother was innocent. I warned Tom that any mysteries I stuck my nose into usually ended up having a body count roughly equal to the final act of Hamlet but ‘CaptainTrekker’ was most insistent.

I turned my attention to the second bedroom of Chad’s apartment, where he kept his collection. Now I have to admit my inner child thrilled a little at the sight of so many GI Joes, Micro Machines and Teenage Mutant Ninja figures displayed on glass paneled white oak shelves but it was obvious the true gem of his collection was the My Happy Horses.

The display was a four-tiered pyramid-shaped shelving structure with the plastic toys arranged in ascending order from the most common, relatively speaking, to the rarest. The space at the top of the pyramid was reserved for his pride and joy - Lil’ Blucifer.

The legend of Lil’ Blucifer is an obscure one, and considering the legend is attached to an obscure toy line, I had to go all the way to the second page of my Google search to learn about it. Lil’ Blucifer was designed to be an antagonist for the Happy Horses, an equine antagonist if you will. The design of the toy had been based on the 32 foot tall, garish Blue Mustang statue that marks the entrance to the Denver International Airport. Before being completed the statue fell on his sculptor and killed him. From there things went downhill, it was linked to deaths, madness and the Blue Kachina Prophecy of the Hopi Indians.

A strange idea for a cheap knockoff toy manufacturer. I guess someone was trying to be clever. 

Trust me, clever people and hipsters will be the death of this world.

My theory was that somehow, the curse of Big Blucifer passed on to his plastic effigies. Somehow that cheap, hard to find toy had called up a supernatural force that pulverized Chad Trevi with a single strike of its hooves. It was the kind of supernatural force that could only be stopped by clever application of that most blasphemous and blessed sigil, the Sign of Ninazu.

A great theory, but the problem was that the toy wasn’t where it belonged, the top of the display was empty. My sources told me the police hadn’t taken any of Chad’s collection into evidence yet. Had some sticky-fingered cop stolen it? It made no sense to me, suddenly none of this made any sense.

I decided a top to bottom search of the apartment was in order. First I checked beneath the couch, I found a remote control, several empty bags of potato chips and one sock of disturbing stiffness. The bedroom and kitchen were no less disgusting and toy free. All I found in the hall closet was a pair of coats, an umbrella, and an indigo-colored stallion of clydesdale-esque proportions. Blazing red eyes glared down at me as I slowly and carefully closed the closet door.

I got clear of the door just as it exploded into splinters. The daemon horse strode out of the closet, the closet that was too small to hold a bicycle much less a horse from Hell, or Denver.

The world seemed to slow down in it’s proximity, the ticking of the clock, the pace of my terrified breathing, the sound of the traffic outside. The whole world had slowed down except for Blucifer.

Did I mention the damn thing was between me in the exit?

It reared up on it’s hind legs, bloodied hooves cut the air. It’s head passed through the ceiling, the solid plaster rippled like the surface of a pond.

With nowhere else to go I ran into the bathroom and in a gesture of hopeless optimism locked the door behind me. I dropped to my knees and dug the charcoal pen from my pocket.

My hand sketched out the lines, crosses and curves of that most blasphemous and blessed sigil with practiced ease. Jasper was the one that had made me practice it again and again. I silently thanked him as I drew and silently cursed him for leaving on a fools errand to Syria without so much as a goodbye argument.

There. I thought as I finished, Fastest Ninazu in the Northeast.

It brought the bathroom door crashing down with a single blow from its hooves. One foot came down on the toilet, shattering the porcelain like it was fine china.

The other foot came down dead center in the sign of Ninanzu…


*


…what else is there to say? If you’ve seen one satanic horse go down like the Wicked Witch of the West you’ve seen them all. The real kicker is what the shattered toilet revealed to me.

A lump of melted plastic that was a very bright shade of blue.

All the pieces fell into place then. 

You see Les did go home after he’d had a bite to eat, he’d gone home to his own Lil’ Blucifer. He’d always assumed his was the only remaining one.

You might wonder why, unlike Chad, he didn’t brag about his amazing acquisition. It’s because he understood what the thing really was, and what it could do.

Les Spencer wasn’t the kind of man to make enemies, but over the last two years some people he didn’t like had died unexpectedly.

An ex-girlfriend, a co-worker and now a rival toy collector all dead from one kind of blunt trauma or another.

Yes, I tried to tell the police.

No, they didn’t believe any of it.

Hell, you probably don’t believe me.

Not that it matters, the Spencer family’s high priced lawyer got all charges dropped this morning. Tom and his parents are going to be bringing him home this afternoon. No one’s told Les yet that some lunatic broke into his apartment and left five heat lamps there all going full blast. His beloved toys have been reduced to goop.

Every single one.

I plan to be there when he finds out. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.