EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a chapter from the Fungasm Press title, LONG-FORM RELIGIOUS PORN. Reprinted here as part of the Indiegogo campaign, now coming up on its final 24 hours!]


Chapter 1:

A Sick Friend

“—and that is why it must be George Clooney.”

Madeline Hunter is talking to be overheard, mouth full of guacamole. Her mother often told her talking with her mouth full was rude, but Madeline Hunter never shut up long enough to hear it. She swallows and drains her margarita, her eyes toward the door.

She continues talking in a litany that involves the following themes:

And why wouldn’t he be in? The movie is POLITICAL. The movie is SEXUAL. The movie has MYSTERY and blood and gore. And it is extremely well written. And it isn’t just Madeline that thinks so. The person who did coverage on it at ICM, he thought so, too; in fact, ICM (that’s one of the twin towers of representation in Hollywood, folks) said they would come on and represent the script—but not with Madeline as a director. They would want to attach a name director.

Madeline practically spits the last sentence, and then waves a hand through her black bob and strikes a pose like she is all Louise Brooks in the “Pandora’s Box.”

Fuck them! It is so fucking hard for women directors in this town. This town is filled with misogynists. That’s what drove someone like Dominique Colt to commit bloody murder the way she did. Don’t any of them get that? Right?”

Dieter Künstwerk, her companion across the booth, is not his usual responsive self. Normally, he’d already have fired back twelve witty rejoinders and a partridge in a pear tree. But he barely manages a head nod, after a pause so pregnant she is about to induce it with another “right?!” She notices for the first time that Dieter is not his usual dapper self, either. He looks like shit, frankly.

They are meeting at Casa Vega, where George Clooney is rumored to show up from time to time, which is as dark as a tomb even in the daytime.

Dieter has his sunglasses on. And he is not eating anything, meaning Madeline is eating the guacamole, the chips and salsa, and was the only one who ordered a margarita and a veggie burrito. She certainly doesn’t need to eat all this food by herself, even if she is only behind the camera.

Hey, you feeling okay, Deets?”

Dieter shakes his head. He had some eye surgery thing done—that’s why the sunglasses—and he has been having other medical issues lately.

Madeline gets a twinge of worry. Here she has been prattling on about George Clooney and Dieter might be dying. Fuck. What kind of friend is she, anyway? A shitty one, she knows it, but Dieter’s the best friend she’s got. She hopes to fuck he’s okay. Who else will listen to her bullshit?

So what’s the diagnosis? What do you got? Is it some weird illness or something?”

Dieter shakes his head. “No, it’s not an illness per se,” he says with a bit of a theatrical flip of his wrist. “It’s a condition.”

Well, what kind of condition?”

It’s a sensitivity to sunlight.”

Jesus, you are in the wrong town for that,” Madeline says. “All we got is sunlight.”

Dieter manages a weak smile. He has started to notice that.

She asks if doctors are making progress. How does this condition improve? Dieter says it is a chronic condition. In fact it is only going to get worse.

Shit! No more beach days?” Madeline says.

And Dieter starts to cry.

Madeline is appalled at her own insensitivity. Why, George Clooney could walk in at any moment and see her with this friend who clearly looks like he has something fatal and she is making him cry and she would look even worse when she left her sick crying friend and approached Clooney to hand him a script. But Dieter would understand. He is as shallow and opportunist as anyone. He would leave her drunk and puking at a bar to go home with a random hot bear in leather any day of the week… and had.

Madeline moves over to sit next to Dieter. Who cares if now she no longer has a view of the door. Fuck George Clooney. In one hundred years they would all be dead and who would care anyway whether she made this movie or if she ever met George Clooney or directed his next big thing. She is smart enough to be philosophical about everything, when it comes right down to it. Her heart: Ice cold.

Speaking of which, that is Dieter to the touch. She puts her arm around him and is even more alarmed. He is really thin and pasty and cold. She holds his little shoulders as they rock.

Hey, hey!” she says. “It’ll be all right. I think. Won’t it?”

Dieter shakes his head.

So he is dying then, that is it. Shit! She should write a movie about this. This would be a totally guerilla style indie. Fuck Hollywood. She doesn’t need their shit. She’ll just get a camera and chronicle the death of Dieter.

The Death of Dieter: It would be so moving— so sad— the story of a twenty-eight year old destined to die of some strange disease…. and, of course, the story of their eight year friendship, begun as sophomores at University of Southern California (USC), when she convinced him to skip class and go watch the Dominique Colt court case instead—

I wanna stop, Mads.”

Now that is interesting. Stop? She adjusts her thinking. Okay, so he’s lied to her. He is on drugs. Shit! Another stupid friend on drugs. She has no time in her life for stupid fucking addicts. Goddamn it Dieter, what a shit-head!

How can I help?” Madeline asks, in her most helpful voice, realizing immediately how much she has no desire to help.

Dieter takes off his sunglasses.

Madeline almost screams and jumps out of the booth. His eyes are fucking RED. Not red like he’s been crying. Red like his pupils are totally Amityville Horror Pig “GET OUT” fucking Red.

Can you keep a secret?” he asks.

She could not, never had, but she nods.



[EDITOR’S NOTE — This insane short story is taken from the Fungasm Press collection I AM GENGHIS CUM by Violet LeVoit. Reprinted here as part of the Indiegogo campaign, now in the last days of its triumphant run!]

Mosquito Stories

(with apologies to William Vollmann)

I’m going to whore my way across the Arctic. This will be a complicated trip involving many logistical decisions but the only thing you need to know is that I chose lambskin, not latex condoms, and once I get there I’m going to gut seals and tear out their intestines and make my own sealskin condoms. That is really the most important thing about this journey.

I have high standards. It’s true Arctic pussy I want. I’m not going to squander myself on the way. I’m going to keep it in my pants in upstate, keep it in my pants when I cross the Canadian border, keep it in my pants across Ontario and Quebec and the Iqaluit archipelago. When I cross the Arctic Circle, Katie bar the door. I’ll fuck everything in sight. When I say everything, I mean people, and when I say people I mean women. I have high standards.

Everyone whores their way across Southeast Asia. That’s the cool thing to do. Everyone thinks they’re Hunter S. Thompson on a bender in Soi Cowboy, baptized in the se`ropositive cunt of some Myanmar 8th grader. No thanks. The Arctic is untouched. My dick will find hospitable cushion in velvety Inuit snatch, in slant-eyed tundra unspoiled beneath permafrost. Like a melted Klondike bar, crisp and icy on the inside and all vanilla butterfat in the middle. (They’re all the same gene pool as in Bangkok, anyway. Land bridge and all.) I have packed sticks of butter and mukluks and a carbine rifle. I will shoot caribou to feed the dogs, and I will chaw butter for energy. That’s what they eat in the Iditarod. Full of saturated fat.

I have just crossed into the Arctic circle. The dogs are yelping and hissing, huuuhhhh, white breath in the air. I start looking for women.

There’s this joke about this guy in the Arctic, this hermit. He’s all alone in a little lean-to shack, until one day there’s a knock at the door. Come on out, the stranger says. We’re going to a party. They trudge into the snow. Now, I gotta warn you, the stranger says, There’s gonna be drinking at this party. Fine by me, says the guy. And there’s gonna be fighting, warns the stranger. Bring it on, says the guy. And just to let you know, says the stranger, there’s gonna be sex. Wild Arctic sex . Hot damn, says the guy. So who else is going to be at this party? Oh, says the stranger, it’s just you and me.

Heh, heh.

No, seriously, people think that joke is funny because of its desperation. That men’s standards are constant and fluctuating and sink to rock bottom in hostile enough circumstances. My standards are unwavering. The need in my balls ticks along like an atomic clock. Other men fear me because I have standards. Other men fear me because I can wait. Men like me, we need a wilderness. Unspoiled by the pissing and wretching and posturing and groveling of other men. I need a wide Arctic like the blankest piece of paper.

I set up camp. I sleep. I don’t even allow myself a wet dream. The dogs whine outside and I purposely tease myself. I see the land bridge of fat gold flesh spread between the wet pink triangular corners of my beloved’s Mongoloid eyes. I see the plush mauve spread of her mouth and the tiny thorn fringe of black bee stinger eyelashes peeking out from the swollen hood of her eyelids. I see the black triangle and the owl eyes of her nipples. Then I go to sleep, undisturbed.

Come out, the stranger says. We’re going to a party. They trudge into the snow. Fuck your party, the guy says. I don’t want anything you can give me.

I pack up camp. I ride. I glide on the back of my sled as my dogs yip and strain and propel me through a flat white void that never changes. My thighs are not sore at the end of day. I set up camp. I sleep. The dogs won’t sleep. They’re hungry. They’re anxious and nippy in that anorectic way. I didn’t see caribou today. They eat tomorrow. I chaw my stick of butter and don’t let them have any of it. I am the lead dog and they need to see that.

I test myself again. This time the swell of her buttocks, the way her thick Eskimo cheeks smush into a sealskin pillow and the ouch-ouch-ouch look of pleasure on her face as I ram her from behind. I don’t even itch when I close my eyes. Gandhi tested his celibacy by sleeping next to nude virgins. I out-Gandhi Gandhi. Gandhi’s got nothing on me.

I pack up camp. I ride. No caribou today. The dogs are unruly. I take out my stick of butter and a dog butts into me below the knee, knocking me back a step. I drop the butter and five dogs crowd around it, ten dogs crowd around them, yowling and squealing. I take out my rifle. I smash the ringleader’s head. The butt slips. He dances away. I can’t kill them all. They already ate the butter. Even the greasy wax paper is gone. I zip up my tent and eat another stick in private. The dogs dance and bay around the outside, their bodies black and sharp like pine trees on the orange nylon. I got the kind of tent that has a bottom sewn in. They paw and dig at the seam. Their nails make a zuh zuh zuh zuh sound on the nylon. I listen all night. Zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh.

Zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh. Come out, the stranger says. Come out, come out, come out. I want your butter. Zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh zuh.

I wake up. They tore the pack to bits, gobbled up my butter in the night. Knocked over all my supplies. Left my matches to leach red phosphorous in the snow. I could shoot one dog and feed them all. Would they eat their packmate, I wonder? Would I? Raw dog meat steaming in the cold. I ponder it. Then I remember caribou and seal and white lardy slabs of whale blubber. Full of omega-3s, I bet.

I can wait for the good stuff.

I pack up, tired. I harness the dogs. They nip at me. They growl at me. I kick them, hard, in the ribs. Their growls punch with the extra air like a bagpipe note, ggggRRggRRRghggRRR.

I ride. The white never changes. The mosquitos are a thick grey fog of needles. Nobody told me about the mosquitos. The whining is unbearable. The sled dog’s asses bob in a sea of fur in front of me. They pucker like a woman’s mouth. If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.

I’m very hungry. I actually don’t know how to hunt seals. Penguins are easy, I hear. Penguins walked right up to Admiral Perry, practically bowed down and presented their tuxedoed necks to be rung. Was it Admiral Perry? Is it penguins or polar bears here? I’m not stupid enough to think they’re in the same place. I’m not stupid enough for a lot of things. I’m still going to faint.

There’s a black smudge on the horizon.

My heart leaps. I steer the dogs.

It’s a woman. A native. Standing over a pile of bloody fish, that two-pronged kakivak fishing tool in her hands. I’m so hungry I can smell the fat in the air, smell the iron tang of the fish blood spilled on the snow, smell the punk musty stink of female skin oils rising from her unwashed furs. She looked like the goddess Nuliajuk. I bet she is hungry for a man like me and kills fish as some kind of hunter-gatherer sublimation for the sex she can’t have. I bet the juice in her pussy is full of omega-3s.

I have a plan. I will not call her an Eskimo because that’s considered pejorative. I would find out if she was Inuit or Yupik, and then I would address her properly. She’s probably a virgin, so I would show her how to tongue kiss, and then give her oral pleasure the likes of which she’d never had. This all before I introduce the concept of vaginal intercourse to her, which may take some explaining. I would explain push ups and jumping jacks to her. Then I would make her do pushups and jumping jacks until the piss inside her was superheated and she would piss on me and it would be the warmest water I had felt in months. My mouth waters. Oh my god, she is the great Whale, the Whale whose offal gives Vitamin A in its liver and Vitamin C in its adrenals and whose voluptuous carcass keeps on giving and giving and giving . . .

Hi,” I say.

She lifts her kakivak and stabs me in the neck. The two bone barbs rip through my jugulars. One time when I was a kid I punched bottle opener holes in a big economy sized can of V-8 and the thick red juice shot out of the triangles in a solid tomato rainbow, all over the table. This is just like that V-8 can, I thought as I fell backwards and the red rainbow gushed and I couldn’t see or talk or think. It only hurt about 15 seconds later, once the wind kicked up in the cuts.

She took the sled dogs.

As I lay dying I remembered this one party I went to. It might have been at the first college I went to but I transferred out of there after only one semester so it was probably the second one. There were these three girls there and I was striking out with two of them but the third, the sandy blonde in the ice-blue shirt, the one with the tennis racket charm on the little gold chain and the parentheses slouch around the shoulder blades you sometimes see on tall girls with big breasts, the ones that are shy about both, and maybe she was shy about her big tennis arms too because she kept hugging her chest. She was sort of looking at me. I didn’t say anything. I thought she was too tall and I guessed that her breasts sagged and her girlfriends were Asian besides. I should have told her that joke, the one about the two guys in the Arctic and how it’s just you and me. She would have laughed, I bet. I should have said that. That would have worked.

Sneak Preview: New Bizarro Author Series 2015 – Coming November 2015!

2015 marks the seventh year of annual releases from our series designed to introduce readers to work by new authors in the Bizarro Fiction genre, and with nine new authors it’s our biggest lineup to date!

This year, we brought on editor Garrett Cook to curate the series. Cook has his finger on the pulse of the Bizarro Fiction genre and has long been a champion of new writers. As a workshop instructor, freelance editor, Wonderland Award Winning author and two-time Champion of the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, I knew I could trust Garrett not only to find us freshest voices with bizarro sensibilities but also make sure that they would satisfy bizarro fiction fans.

What can we look forward to from this year’s New Bizarro Author Series?

Okay, fine. It won’t be those things but this year we’ve got an erotic thriller about a man falling for a spider, life inside a giant planet eating robot, a Gamergater at a high school for Japanese magical girls, Alice Cooper’s head, Van Gogh as an ice cool 80s vice cop, the terrible truth behind rainbows, living siege towers in a Kaiju ravaged future, hijinks at a Summer camp for slashers and a Brazilian giant much loved by our community tells the story of a headless boy and a yellow balloon seeking the meaning of life at an insane apocalyptic mall. We think you’ll find pretty much everything there is to love about the genre in these nine books by authors from four different countries, stories that range from bent science fiction to splatstick to psychedelia. These books are fucking cool and so are the people who wrote them.

The books will be released November 5, 2015 to correspond with the first night of the 8th Annual BizarroCon. For now, here’s a sneak peak at the covers and authors:

Elephant Vice by Chris Meekings

“Elephant Vice”
Chris Meekings

He’s  the master of post impressionism. He’s the Hindu  Remover of Obstacles. They’re cops.

Vincent Van Gogh is a cop with a dark past. He painted some of the greatest artistic masterpieces of our time. He cut off his ear out of love for a prostitute. He was a great painter. He isn’t anymore. He’s a tough as nails loose cannon cop who plays by his own rules. When a drug called **** hits the streets, it starts turning people into the object their essence most resembles. Van Gogh is put on the case. But this hard case has a new partner. His methods are unusual, his attitude incompatible and he has the head of an elephant. He’s the Hindu God Ganesha. Can these two put aside their differences and learn to work together? Probably. It’s a buddy cop thing.

Slasher Camp For Nerd Dorks by Christoph Paul

“Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks”
Christoph Paul

Freddy versus Jason Meets Wet Hot American Summer. Nuff Said.

Jason Voorheesberg has struggled to become the great slasher his mom believes he can be and has as bad case of Slasher Anxiety. He is sent to one of the worse ranked camps for young slashers: Slasher Camp for Nebulous Youth #987.When she drops Jason off at the camp, he gets bullied by the Jock Slashers and is attacked by the rich, snooty protagonists of the rival Final Camp across the lake. He hates the camp and is considered the worst slasher by the Pred counselors. Even though he makes a friend with Slasher Candybee Wamack and develops a forbidden relationship with a Slazer (Final Girl who slays Slashers), he struggles even more with his slasher anxiety. Can love (and homicide) conquer all and save Jason from a life of mediocrity?

Towers by Karl Fischer

Karl Fischer

When we are locked inside ourselves, nothing outside could be worse.

After fighting giant monsters for a thousand years, a sentient guard tower is set to go to heaven with his soulmate. But for reasons unknown, the lovers are reborn as lowly humans living inside the Towers they once operated. Separated by thousands of miles and trapped within menageries of horror, only a profound transformation of mind and body can reunite them.

Pixiegate Madoka by Michael Sean LeSueur

“Pixiegate Madoka”
Michael  Sean LeSueur

Does a Gamergater have what it takes to be part of Japan’s worst magical girl squad? Fuck no.

Julian Argento is a socially-awkward, Reddit-obsessed nerd about to start his junior year of high school. He finds his foreign exchange program request to Japan has been approved, and he’ll be joined by an “almost perfect” dream girl that looks just like his crush Jennifer Lawrence—That is, until he enters the wrong transfer rocket and is sent to Urobochi High, academy for Magical Girls. He is assigned to the “kitchen appliance” squad, and he must learn to be good-hearted, maintain friendships, and spread love in order to become a true Magical Girl… all while stopping his psychotic sister and her sea punk boyfriend from destroying Japan with their dark powers. Shouldn’t be too hard. After all, he’s a “nice guy”!

Benjamin by Pedro Proenca

Pedro Proenca

Sometimes, hope is a yellow balloon named Benjamin. Life kinda sucks for Benjamin.

The mall shouldn’t be a dangerous place. You shouldn’t have to fear green men abducting you and feeding you to a tentacle monster. You shouldn’t have to fear the anaconda that serves as the staircase to the movie theater. And you shouldn’t have to face off against ice cream men with a strange knowledge of black holes. But if you’re Benjamin – a sentient yellow balloon – or the Boy, his headless chubby teen sidekick, you have to fear all those things. Because this mall is sick, and it’s your job to heal it, or go insane trying.

King Space Void by Anthony Trevino

“King Space Void”
Anthony Trevino

When you love someone, sometimes they can mean the whole world to you. Or several worlds.

King Space Void is a planet-eating entity whose consciousness resides in the body of a gargantuan machine made to look like a man and powered by thousands of people. Dane Shipps is one of the best workers of in King Space Void, until the day he finds a mangled woman named Scarlet still alive and intertwined in the machine’s ductwork who convinces him to step outside of his routine. Together they plan to take down King Space Void and everyone inside.

Rainbows Suck by Madeleine Swann

“Rainbows Suck”
Madeleine Swann

Finally, the terrifying truth behind rainbows

Tilly, an aspiring artist has been chosen by a race of evil rainbows from space to become a work of art. Works of art are forced to entertain people and gain votes on a crazy reality program to avoid being devoured by the rainbows. What seemed like a dream becomes a nightmare as Tilly is forced to indulge in escalating acts of degradation and insanity to protect herself from these colorful abominations.

Rock n Roll Headcase by Lee Widener

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Head Case”
Lee Widener

When Alice Cooper’s head starts telling you what to do, you probably shouldn’t listen. Chaino Durante did. And this is his story.

Chaino Durante works at the worst fast food restaurant ever. He has the worst job in this fast food restaurant. And the worst life he possibly can. When he discovers a mysterious bag in the fryer, he takes it home. The bag contains the head of rock and roll icon Alice Cooper. This is unfortunate. What’s more unfortunate is that Chaino gets the gun he’s going to use to rob his workplace stuck in the head and the head stuck on his hand.  A new weapon is formed. A weapon that lets Chaino rob his workplace and subvert the order of the world around him. A weapon that blasts holes in reality itself, which does not come without consequence. A no holds barred psychedelic cartoon in the tradition of Bill Plympton and Ralph Bakshi, with Pink Floyd’s The Wall thrown in for good measure, Rock N’ Roll Headcase explores the ins and outs of expanding consciousness with a madness that never lets up.

Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady

Betty Rocksteady

Hatred and desire collide when the girl next door is a giant spider

Alex’s arachnophobia may be old fashioned, but he’s able to live a life of relative peace despite it. That all changes when a spider moves in next door. His girlfriend is sick of his attitude and begs him to give the new neighbor a chance. He overcomes his fear, but finds a twisted sexuality in its place. His attraction to the spider affects all areas of his life, and changes everything he thought he knew.



[EDITOR’S NOTE — This is Chapter One of the Fungasm Press title, HUMAN FURNITURE (AND THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT WOMAN). Reprinted here as part of the Indiegogo campaign, now entering its second and final week!]

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.32.59 pm

A Typical Session

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”

~Smashing Pumpkins

Time to get up. I can’t sleep when the sun starts poking its business through the Roman shade. In the morning, I’m all business and it’s time to check emails before the rest of my day as an entrepreneur commences. There’s a promise of a nap if I have a session past 2 AM. Night is the time for deviant thoughts and quiet fantasies when I’m too tired to judge their stability. Darkness has always been a blanket and a friend, warm and intimate with plenty of false promises told extravagantly well.

What is a sessionist, a session wrestler? Let’s take a look at the sexual provider world.

On one end, you have the prostitution business, a land in which you can find almost anyone to do almost anything, regardless of how much the provider despises what’s she’s being asked to do. On the other side, what the BDSM world calls a Mistress, in which you can find almost anyone not to care how much you suffer at her expense. Loosely translated, escorts are paid to say “yes.” Dominas are paid to say “no.”

In the very center where gravity has its most settling effect lay the land of session wrestlers or women who care what you’d like to do as long as it doesn’t exceed their own boundaries. Don’t get me wrong, you can mix n’ match. The ambiguity is thick like pea soup, but for now, trust me when I say it’s all about the intention.

This gray area holds wrestling, domination, sexuality, fantasy, you name it. That’s where I am. I have swung to both sides of the extreme, like an enormous pendulum in a grandfather clock, digging away the seconds one scoop at a time.

It begins with a simple email. I’ve had a professional website going over six years. At one time it was very odd to broadcast one’s own dimensions, attributes, and talents in hopes of finding likable partners looking for the same. Now it’s commonplace to view myself or rather Scarlett as a marketable commodity. A gallery, contact page, erotica, nothing but cyber postcards really. The blush has faded from the rose.

I don’t post my phone number because I don’t want potential harassers, poor kids stuck in the basement diddling for phone sex, religious nut jobs, or stalkers. My disclaimer on my site is typical legal limbo:

By entering, you agree to the following:

1. That you are a minimum of at least 18 years of age.

2. Viewing of adult material is legal within your community and state.

3. You are not offended by adult material.

4. You are not employed by, or an agent of, law enforcement.

5. You will not allow the contents of this site to be viewed by anyone under the age of 18.

6. You will not copy, or use, alter, or steal any part of this website for use elsewhere.

7. You understand that money exchanged for services is simply for time and companionship only. Anything that may or may not occur is a matter of personal choice between two or more consenting adults of legal age and is not contract for, requested to be contracted for or compensated for in any manner. Any offer of prostitution, though understandable if you’re just sharing a fantasy, will more than likely piss me off. I’m a lady. Treat me as such and we’ll be fast confidantes.

This is posted for the same reason coffee cups, department stores, rental cars, hotels, restaurants, and public pools have some sort of tiny script stating the obvious; the establishment is not liable for injury. I’m fairly certain that one guest out of a hundred actually reads this.

It’s time to change up the website. It’s been the same layout, same header, same message for over a year. I view the Scarlett site like I view shoes, hairstyles, costuming, make-up, and all other fancy wrappings of commercialism. In the age of instant gratification, the “newness” factor is what attracts and keeps the green enthusiasts, whereas the hardcore fans are those that want to see I equal their passion for the sport.

From the feedback I’ve received, there are a number of reasons my clientele is attracted to Scarlett. The writing is a big part and confirms my belief that most men who are intelligent look for extra curricular activities that are as discerning as their fantasies. More than a picture, a story, a cookie-cutter greeting, they desire a conversation. The sexy pictures of one’s self in provocative display doesn’t hurt, either.

To generalize, the perfect woman is forever evolving but at her core she is everything a man could wish for: beautiful face, athletic but feminine body, and a rapier mind capable of turning his life upside down. This is a woman who can reflect everything a man wants to believe about himself.

One out of ten emails sounds like this:

Hey, you’re really hot! I wanna wrestle you in a school girl outfit like Britney Spears.”

Once perhaps, this ideal woman made a man feel ten feet tall and that was her job. I want to dress the unknown offender like a Barbie doll and throw him to the G.I. Joes. I don’t. Even if that bi-line is weak, there is a human beneath it, and even if I’m not the right outlet, I can at least direct him to a more adequate route. Times are changing.

It takes serious balls to actively seek out something considered against the norm, and super balls to invest hard-earned money and time in an earnest hope that it happens with the same person advertised.

When you add the risk level, the fact that you never really know exactly who you’re talking to, the possibilities of mishap are endless. Might as well sign up for an experimental drug or take a desert drive in a pimped out Cadillac sandwiched between two dime-slinging G’s.

When it comes down to the bare bones of why some women succeed at desirability and others don’t, I’d say the Beauty Pageant is 90% responsible at first sight.

After catching a man’s attention, the real skill is in communicating a level of competence and invitation without coming across as desperate for work. I have to check the mirror for comparisons, I have to define what is beautiful and what is real, I have to be the fantasy. Research, society, and my own ideals of how a dominant, self-assured woman walks her talk pave the way in boring details that become vital in a really cool story. Or not.

Some folks like the natural look, face scrubbed and youthful starry-eyed ambivalence of a swinging ponytail. Others, they aren’t getting much glamor at home and a red-lipsticked coiffed pedigree rings their bell for all its lethal feminism. The perfect balance in this niche is a mix of both. Either way, you’re going to wrestle and you’re going to sweat that make-up off. Best not to gild the lily when it will surely wilt layers of plaster.

I don’t remember my real hair color. Have no clue. When my days are done and they are roasting me in a furnace somewhere, I will still have colorful hair. This isn’t without work and a healthy wad of dough. Dye jobs fade quickly and I like hot showers. The same goes with nails, which reminds me, it’s time for a manicure. These puppies are more addictive than peanut M&Ms. I love changing the length, the color, the shape. I’ve played with them so long I never worry about scratching my playmates.

I have to find a nurse uniform for later this week. I take costume requests. Villains, secretaries, 1980’s GLOW girl, fitness instructor, pin-up femme fatale, Roman Goddess, the list goes on. Halloween is never a problem. Playing dress up gets me in the mood. The more tools I have, the more I will embody the fantasy.

At any rate I don’t have time to attend to rituals today. I have an early appointment. 11 AM. These aren’t so bad. They always make me feel like I’m going to the gym for personal trainer abuse.

The client in question, I’ve put him off two separate times in the last three days. Scheduling conflicts. I hate when this happens, I feel bad about it. Everyone’s time is as important as mine. If I’m completely honest, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to go to this one. He’s staying Downtown and I hate Downtown hotels. The casinos are caves, low mirrored ceilings that reflect dingy carpets, dingy lights, dingy slot machines. The cocktail waitresses are grand-mothered in and they wear that fact on their faces. The patrons of these hotels could be beaten down retirees spending their pension or youngsters busing their way across the desert. Downtown is getting a makeover. Downtown is the best place to score drugs without trying.

Because my guy is so amendable to my hectic schedule, I feel indebted. It’s also his story, or the short nibble that he gave me in email, that encourages me to pull up the bootstraps and be my word. A Vegas trip was a yearly staple for him and his wife. Ten years running, his girl had loved to wrestle and yet he was here alone, a fact I vaguely catalogued as important.

Walking into any hotel/casino has become forever branded in my mind as going to work even when I’m not there for work. A discreet dress, a business suit, sunglasses, hair up, I try to look executive and unapproachable. From the parking garage to the guest elevators, my stride eats up the distance like I’m late for a corporate luncheon. Not that my kind are targeted by the city in a wrestling ring crack-down, it’s the principle. I am not flashy. Flashy means attention. Neither my guy nor I need or want the extra attention.

I breathe through my mouth in halls that look and smell like bleach, beer, and spilled bong-water. I find his door and shove a piece of gum into my mouth. Half of my day feels like used chewing gum. He has already displaced furniture, stripping the top sheet of the Queen-sized bed and laid it on a 10 x 10 square where we will throw down.

A is quiet and resigned. He smiles but doesn’t engage. Once upon a time I thought men like this opened the door and were disappointed at what they found. Conspiracy theory would take over. The language of The Assumption. I’m not thin enough, buff enough, pretty enough, skilled enough. None of that was true but it gave me the opportunity to prove myself, to myself, over and over, which stuck as empowering over time. What doesn’t kill you and all.

To look and feel his energy now, his reticence isn’t about me. It’s never about me but every woman he’s experienced in his life. Put them all together, ideally, that’s his perfect woman. He’s quiet because he’s a private person, his generation doesn’t spill the beans to those they don’t know.

Probably in his mid-40’s, this is my range. From the 21-year-old burgeoning alcoholics to the 72 year-old veterans that play, most are middle-aged and have the same story with varying details.

Imagine that you are young, very young and at the cusp of sexual awakening. Puberty isn’t discussed, it’s dealt with under flannel sheets and quaking wet dreams of unknown origin. Before this, before sex mattered and took over, you are innocent and free to play with nothing more than the sun as a dinner-time guardian. There’s a girl down the street. She’s just a girl and nothing more yet. The idea of dating and mating hasn’t been introduced outside of the unspoken glances your folks sometimes share over coffee. She is a Cop and you are the Robber. She is the Indian, you are the Cowboy. You share things with her, bugs, cartoons, secrets and then you forget what you tell her because there’s no such thing as stress and it’s time to play tag.

You live on a block where people don’t speed, where everyone knows each other, and kids that disrespect their elders, their mothers, it’s the belt when Dad gets home. You live in a world where Dad comes home.

The little girl down the street, she’s bigger than you. It’s a growth spurt thing but you don’t know this. All you know is that she’s bigger than you and that makes her the boss. You like this. It feels good. She’s a fun version of your mom, if you could picture your mom as a kid.

When you find her in the grass field at the end of the street, this is how you will define feeling happy for the rest of your life. With the sun in her hair, she’s a chameleon in the tall grass and you, dumb as stump, race after her.

This is where it all starts, the altering of your adult fantasies, your DNA, your mate-finding criteria. She’s a blur of color you lose behind a crop of trees and while you’re looking for her, she hits you from behind. This will continue to happen to you for the rest of your life.

When she takes you to the ground, when her weight knocks the breath out of you and you inhale dirt and grass and twigs, the sweet tang of summer sticky skin, and that subtle fragrance, something you know nothing about, her pheromones, this becomes your Heaven on Earth.

Because you’re a male, because you’ve watched men and been programmed for years already, you know you’re supposed to resist. You’re supposed to dominate.

“Hey! Get off me.” You somewhat mean this.

She bounces on your tough, tender body and pins your arms down. Helplessness is now in your vocabulary.

This scenario and thousands like it, from this impressionable age of youth before you’re jaded and hardened by all the things you’re supposed to do and feel as a man or woman, gay or straight, cross-dresser or transgender, tall or short, you get my drift, will be forever implanted as what you need and want and crave. No matter what you do in life, who you screw in all the ways you’ll screw them or be screwed by them, this will be your ultimate button, the launch pad to which all orgasms will stem.

That’s not such a bad life.

A and I have been wrestling a good twenty minutes. It’s old school, respectful, considerate athleticism. He’s trying to pin me, I’m trying to avoid carpet burns. Both to no avail. At intermission, we wipe sweat from our faces and let the heart rate calm between sips of water. This is the appropriate time to chat.

It’s always the same for me, the inevitable prying. I like the wrestling, the domination, but what I love is the story. No matter how many times I hear it, I never get tired of hearing someone unravel themselves. A’s story is similar to the one above with a little adjustment.

I’ve forgotten why A is here, too busy, too much on my mind, too many other thoughts crowding for attention. He sits red-faced on a worn blanket seen by thousands of parched and used bodies. His voice is factual, almost pleasant.

Every year for ten years he and his girl would come to Vegas. It was their time off for good behavior. This girl, she was special. He taught her how to wrestle and she loved it. She loved controlling him, driving him crazy, and he loved her loving that power. He was a blessed man. This open-mindedness led to a flexible relationship free of jealousy and possession in which excitement and passion could be shared with an extra playmate. There wasn’t a need for cheating, deception, or lies. Guilt and shame didn’t have a place in their home.

Until one day his wife meets a different kind of girlfriend that offers her a line of blow. Maybe it was crack, he’ll never know, he never heard the same version twice. In the parking lot of a bar, this was the beginning of the end.

Not one to bail, he stuck around as she did rehab and worked the steps. Eleven months clean and he believes they may have cleared the speed bump to greener pastures. A month before their anniversary, she’s gone off to work and there’s a knock at the door. It’s her mom.

My bikini is sticking to me. Wet with sweat, it rides my crack without mercy. Half of my life is a wedgie and I don’t notice. He’s got my full attention. I’ve heard worse, much worse. Some of my sessions, the child-men I play with have been through tortures that make this look like a tea party.

It’s not the details of his story, it’s the way he says it. He could be giving me the stats of the last Phillies double-hitter. He couldn’t possibly be talking about how the love of his life drowned their future in a guest bathroom he’d helped paint.

This is a man resigned. No victim here. No depression-laden black circles under his eyes, no use taking responsibility for something that wasn’t his to own. Just acceptance for what was and what is.

It’s this that got me. This makes me come back for more. This happens to me all the time.

We wrestle again, rolling around on a sheet smelling of chemicals and dead skin. I’m pinning him and laughing because he’s not here to feel sorry for himself or impress me with his bad luck.

What I feel, the geyser-style leaks breaking the dam of my composure, isn’t what he wants or needs. My job is very, very simple and it’s why he waited so patiently for me to make time.

He has a hard-on. For one second, two seconds, I consider, really consider giving his pecker a conciliatory hand job. A pity wank. If he’d been less of a man, if I’d respected him less, I might have done it to make us both feel better.

But that’s not why I’m here.

I’m here to take him away from that, to when he was a child and this kind of heartache didn’t exist. I’m here to remind him that he was once happy because it was easy. His choice, his to remember. I wouldn’t be here otherwise and here is that young kid running through the grass, never knowing when he’s going to get blindsided.

When I am dressed, having left my filters on the blanket of a room I almost didn’t make it to, we hug. I kiss his cheek and tell him I’m really glad we met. He lets me hold him longer than expected. I squeeze him even as I feel him pull back into himself. He might not have pinned me, but right now I want to leave him with something, some kernel of my love and admiration, even if it’s in the form of an embrace.

Driving home, I’m left to myself again. I’m more humbled than when I came, more compassionate, more understanding about everyone that finds me. There’s every chance I’ll never see A again and that’s fine. Whether it was for a moment, an hour, I can’t help but feel I got lucky. I could have missed this.

It’s like this every time I step outside long enough to see a story other than my own. It’s the jacket lining of a soul, a heart turned inside out, the vulnerability of a newborn, and the surrender of the old.

It’s why I session.

And it’s just another day.

THE LAST GODDAM HOLLYWOOD MOVIE by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow

[EDITOR’S NOTE — This is Chapter One of the Fungasm Press title, THE LAST GODDAM HOLLYWOOD MOVIE. Reprinted here as part of the Indiegogo campaign, now entering its second and final week!]

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The first red rays of dawn wring blood from the clouds over Santa Catalina Island. Our hero and sole survivor, PETER KORNBERG, strolls through the ruins of the town of Avalon to sit at the head of Green Pier with his camera in one hand, and an hourglass containing the island’s last ounce of unirradiated cocaine in the other.

The black bay still burns in patches where fuel leaked out of the island’s sunken yacht armada. None of the villas and shops facing the harbor stand tall enough to feed a fire, but the gutted casino off to his left burns merrily on, a huge gray-black tower of smoke leaning to curl an accusing finger at the rising sun, and the blasted wasteland of North America.

I can’t direct myself, let alone act, for shit. My name is Peter Kornberg, and I am a recovering liar. I am writing this to tell the truth.

The prevailing ocean wind kept the worst of the fallout from reaching us for six blessed months. It’s a miracle we survived as long as we did. There were refugees and pirates, but Avalon was not merciless, nor defenseless. The big 70mm artillery on the headland never fired a shot at the ones who burned us to the ground until it was too late.

I check my hat––the peak of the brittle white straw Stetson is chopped open where a piece of shrapnel narrowly missed my brains. Lucky hat, stained by red rain and the darker dapples of someone else’s blood.

The black sticks scattered around the dead bonfires along Casino Way are not wood. I shot enough footage of the barbecue, got close enough that the stink will never come out of my hair and clothes.

They took all the women. They cooked and ate all the men, the living and the dead. As thorough as if they drilled for it, they left nothing for the gulls.

I should bury them. I should erect a shrine, a monument, and compose a noble epitaph. They didn’t fall like the Spartans, and nobody would go to heaven following in their footsteps. If they had anything worth passing on to the future, it was their good fucking luck, while it lasted.

But once, they made movies and sang songs and wrote books, and they tried to keep the torch lit.

A younger Kornberg would have carved something, if only an angry THEY DESERVED BETTER on the pedestal of the statue overlooking the bay. But Kornberg at 45 has no words, and can not even cry.

* * *

I quit writing poetry in college, and built an enviable career writing scripts for movies I sincerely believed in. Nice work if you can get it. Many came, but few were chosen.

I was holed up in Zane Gray’s cabin on Paramount’s tab – strapped for a second act to a serious Oscar-bait melodrama – when L.A. detonated, and the radios went crazy, and the superheated pyroclastic clouds rolled over the island like a magic wand.

When the dust settled, the streets of Avalon were littered with roasted corpses, haunted by shrieking survivors who wasted away in days. I helped with the dying, listened to the garbled bits of news from the mainland, and went to a party that lasted a week. Then I went home and burned my script.

I’d avoided the news while I was writing, but it didn’t matter how it happened, any more than it mattered all the times it almost happened. The men in power had fallen down on the job, and now there were no more countries, because some assholes believed lies some other assholes told them, that they could do it and survive, that they could win. And the world had let them make such awful weapons and whip them around the global stage like big prosthetic dicks, because the world was drunk on the hail Mary happy ending lies Hollywood told them.

No more lies.

I haven’t seen another survivor since I came out of my hole in the hills. The war hit at high season, but there were fewer than a thousand residents, and three hundred visitors. Another fifty or so came along after, in lonely sailboats, yachts, the Coast Guard cutter… and the Chinese freighter, but never mind that.

Most of the island’s defenders were sitting shivva at Masada, Avi Sobel’s compound above Cabrillo Mole, when the attack came. Sobel’s reformed Jewish grief cult was a huge drag, but they fought like tigers with the arsenal he’d built up from his cheap action movies. A salvo of missiles erased his fortress. Sobel let his pretensions go to his head, and passed out cyanide.

Most of the island had come down to the harbor to greet them. The news spread like a case of crabs, and everyone who wasn’t dead drunk or praying to an Israeli film producer gathered on Casino Way. The harbormaster had received and acknowledged a hail and request to enter port with serial numbers and spit and polish on it.

The raiders searched the island and rooted out everything with a heat profile, then came back to feast and flatten the town. And like that first lethal heatwave, they left with the wind.

I was there with my camera. I have it all on tape.

Not that it matters anymore…

At least that’s what I’m thinking when something solid and shiny winks in the ruddy sunlight, out beyond the mouth of the bay.

* * *

I stand and strain to see what slides out of the smoke into the harbor against the smoking tide. No masts or pilothouse break the haze, but a low, long profile plows the water in dirty New York snow waves. For a moment, I believe I see a whale.

Sergei the sound guy, who used to carry his Oscar around as a club, took over the marine biology gear on the backside of the island. He recorded the nightmare-choirs of whole pods of gray whales dying in the first week, then nothing.

I fire up my camera and zoom in on it.

The last whale coming here to die would almost ruin the mood––too on the nose––but the viewfinder shows me a sleek, overgrown dorsal fin with men standing in it. Déjà vu, post-trauma flashback tremors. They’re looking at me through binoculars and a camera. One of them zooms in on me taping them. None of them points a gun.

I figure they can see my middle finger well enough.

Maybe these assholes got lost on their way to our Pirates of the Caribbean reenactment, or maybe they’re just some whole other assholes. For all I care, they could be the real Navy, hot on the trail of the fuckers who raped and pillaged Avalon. This would be a perfect ending, better than the anticlimactic starvation death scripted for me. They could shoot me down and cook me, but someone, someday, would find the camera and the disks in the bag on my hip, and they would know the truth.

But nobody shoots. A Zodiac raft with three men in it pops out of the submarine and buzzes across the bay to idle alongside the half-submerged wreckage of the pier.

“Top of the morning, Pete!” A short man draped in a billowing poncho hails me through a bullhorn. The flat metallic slap of his bright, cheery voice echoes off the ruins at my back.

I can’t see the man’s face, but the dripping red beard under his billed captain’s hat gives him away. In the world before the Day, only a handful of people could truly seem worth the karmic damage of hoping for their death, but producer Julian Harvey was one of them.

“Of all the people I hoped I might find alive, you were on top of my list!” Harvey squawks as one of the pair of able-bodied seamen climbs out onto the charred pier and lashes the raft to a concrete piling. “I told Shahmir this morning, if anyone’s got the wits to see this through, it’ll be Kornberg.”

The sailor comes up to me and stops with his hands in the pockets of his peacoat. I zoom in on his studiously blank face. The hourglass will make a shitty weapon. Too bad I never won an Oscar, like Sergei. “I don’t have any food, Harvey. And I probably have AIDS, so raping or eating me would be stupid.”

Harvey cracks up, overloading the bullhorn. He puts it down and shouts, “Fantastic, that’s hilarious. You can joke, so you’re probably still sane. Good, great. Come onboard, man. I want to talk to you.”

The raiders sank every boat that they didn’t take with them. I was planning to go up in the hills to snort the coke, gibber and tweak until I had a heart attack or got morose enough to jump in the sea with my pockets full of rocks. Catalina is a dead island. And God is a hack, if he let Julian Harvey escape.

“What do you want from me?”

“I was hoping we could have lunch and talk on the sub, but if you’re going to be a dick about it, I wonder if you might be looking for work.”

“I worked in the bakery and took my turns on harbor patrol. You find a new island with a live town, and I’ll bake their bread.”

“There’s nowhere else to go, Pete. This… it’s sad, but you survived it. You’re double-lucky, and if your work meant anything, it matters now, more than ever.”

If there was any other living soul to take up with, insane, cannibal or otherwise, I would walk. But Julian’s talking like the raid never happened, like the bombs never dropped. Some of the craziest people on the island talked like that, in deluded loops, like this was all just a grueling shoot, like the world was still out there.

I repeat myself. “What do you want from me, Julian?”

“I want you to come with us. We’re going back to America to make a movie.”

My laughter is like a bloodied animal escaping from a trap. “You’re fucking insane.”

Harvey shrugs, but his lackey clenches up, about to strike. “No, I’m doing what I do, Pete. So long as I live, I’ll make movies. What are you going to do, with however many hours or days you have left? Come with us. Live a little longer, and do one more picture. America needs it.”

“America is dead, Harvey!”

“Not a bit of it! She’s down, and she’s bleeding, but she’ll rise up. Never dead, Pete. Don’t say that.”

Harvey stands awkwardly in the raft. Behind his pretentious hornrim glasses, his eyes look like they’re tearing up. “I have actors and a crew. I have equipment, and I have supplies. I even have a decent caterer. All I need is a genius to make it happen.”

“I meant what I said, Harvey. Whatever happened to the rest of the world, so long as I’m alive, I’m never working with you again.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake, get in the boat! I’m trying to be a better me, when it’s never been easier to be worse.”

“You’d kidnap me?”

“Kidnapping? Pete, they ate our friends and neighbors!”

“So that makes whatever you do kosher?”

“You’re still mad about the Indian Giver deal. That’s kind of mental, but I understand pride. You think yours is bigger than the whole world, but I’m big enough to swallow mine, to show you that you’re wrong. Tell you what, I saved the best for last.”

“If it gets any better, just kill me now.”

“I want you to direct.”

I swallow my next words. This calls for reevaluation. I didn’t survive, and this is Rod Serling’s hell.

“Get in the goddamned boat, already!”

The sailor helps me down the ladder of debris and into the raft. Harvey points at my backpack. “Is that your only luggage?”

“Just the camera and my disks. I shot the island the entire time. I’ve got hours of raw footage, interviews with everyone…“

“That’s wonderful, really. No, I mean… Is that what I think it is?” He points at the hourglass.

It came from Avi Sobel’s bunker. Avi saved the last ounce from the marathon orgy that gripped the island in the first month, and recast it as a totem of their lost lives. I never had much of a taste for the stuff, but figured it’d serve as currency, or a last, stupid fling, if there’s enough of it to kill me.

Harvey signals a sailor, who takes it from me. “You’re a godsend, Pete, and this from a devout atheist. I was starting to worry about how I was going to keep my crew happy, once the vodka ran out.”

CRYSTALMOUTH by Autumn Christian

[Editor’s note — For the next 11 days, Fungasm Press will be presenting excerpts from its full run of titles. The following short story is from ECSTATIC INFERNO, the astonishing new collection by Autumn Christian. It’s available for pre-order at Indiegogo, via the following campaign:

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We saw a ghost in the corner of the room. Hard black poison. Porcelain fingers and teeth set in six rows. He never slept. He scratched the floor in our dreams. He unlatched the window to let the cool air in so we couldn’t get warm.

Momma said, “no ghosts here. No ghosts since the last exorcism,” but she was superstitious like that. She’d been superstitious ever since her mother smeared blackberry and hemlock on her belly and we came out of her slippery blue and stuck together.

We are Craniopagus conjoined siblings. Conjoined sisters. Siamese twins. That means in the womb our skulls fused together. The nurse tried to smother my smaller sister because she didn’t know any better. My sister ghost-haired and octopus-limbed. She clung to me screaming and screaming until they dragged the nurse away.

It means we dream the same dreams.

It means we saw the same ghost, no matter how many exorcists our mother hired. He dragged his toes against the hardwood floor. His claws clickened and clackened. We clung to each other. His mouth stretched. Heavy. Yawning. Burrowing, big mouth. Big tongue. Crystals studded his tongue. They shredded the roof of his mouth so that the skin hung down in thick strips, and when he breathed the strips fluttered.

Each night he came a little closer to the bed. My sister threw salt down on the floor but he stepped right over it. Clicken. Clacken. The crystals grew heavy in his mouth, and when he unlatched the window they sparkled in darklight. My sister’s snowpowder hair fell off the bed and he bent down and wound it around his wrists to drag himself closer to us.

She said, “This wouldn’t have happened to anyone else.” “Don’t talk like that,” I said, but as always, she was probably right.

“You’re lucky,” the doctors told our mother, “most Craniopagus siblings come out stillborn.”

The doctors told our mother that they could separate us. My sister would die, of course. She’s smaller, the parasitic twin, growth stunted in the womb because I’m greedy. Greedy. But our mother could only shake her head and speak like a gasp.

“No. No.”

I feel sorry for our mother: only 22 years old when she birthed her mutant. I can see her in the hospital bed cradling her new child, that eight limbed with a swelling head. She’s a mousy fern of a girl with a deadbeat dad and a religious father with what looks like God’s strident vengeance spilled into her lap and all she can think is,

“I only bought clothes for one baby.”

She took us home unsplit and fed us and clothed us. Even when her mother, poison alchemist, tried to put arsenic in our pudding, rat-poison in our milk formula. Killing us would have been her special delight. I imagine she wanted to dip us in formaldehyde and nail us to a piece of wood to sell to a curio shop. Or to take revenge on her daughter for not dying in her womb after she drank wormwood tea and ingested parsley and rotten berries and Vitamin C. After she screamed “Out! Out!” like performing an exorcism, after throwing herself down the stairs.

Yet our mother lived. And we lived. Me and my pale rasping sister. We lived.

And we grew. When we were six years old we played marbles in the woods out behind the house, the two of us splayed out in the dirt and our eyes oriented toward the trees, beaded sweat dripping from my cheek to hers. Another neighborhood child, little Thomas, stumbled into our clearing and screamed when he saw us. Tears sprang to his eyes. Hot and wild tears. He started running in circles because he couldn’t find the way out. He tripped over our marbles and fell in the dirt.

My sister laughed. “Don’t do that,” I said. She couldn’t help herself. She laughed and laughed, and this only caused Thomas to scratch

harder at the dirt, to press his hands into his cherub curls and tear out patches. My sister grabbed at his ankle. He screamed louder. I slapped her hand. He scrambled to his feet and ran off into the trees, vine scratches on his face.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” I said.

And though I couldn’t look at her face with our heads fused together, I felt the muscles in my head tense as she smiled.

“It’s fun,” she said, “to be a monster sometime.”

As the ghost crept closer to the bed, my sister wouldn’t let me sleep. She tugged on my hair at the nape of my neck. She scratched my skin.

I grabbed at her stomach. I slapped the side of her face. “Stop it,” I said, “stop.” “It’s not a ghost. It’s an incubus.” “How do you know?” I asked, my head pressed to the sheets, jaw pasted to the wall. In the periphery of my vision the ghost – incubus – stared at the wall with a blankless stare. His

mouth heaved. Underneath his skin his organs glowed. A faint, blue glow. “I read about it,” she said.

She kicked the sheets off the bed.

I turned and tossed in bed, my legs catching chill. But when I brushed up against my sister she’s burning up. Her skin cooking on the surface, skinny little legs flushed red. She panted with her teeth twisting in her mouth.

The incubus could almost reach over and brush her toes with his fingers now. Bend over and

snap them off. “Go away,” I whispered to the incubus. I shivered as the cool air blew through the window. I shivered but my sister’s hot hot hot.

Our teachers told us we could be anyone we wanted. Doctor. Scientist. Stripper. I was always the studious type, but my sister preferred to roll in the grass, blow bubbles into a child’s mouth. I imagined myself trying to perform open-heart surgery with my head twisted to the ceiling and a lopsided blue mask slipping off my nose. I saw my sister welded to me, pregnant and laughing and shaking my surgeon’s knife. In my dreams she released butterflies in the operating room. Wove a spider’s net into my hair.

No, I couldn’t be a doctor. We couldn’t be doctors. We’d read the books about people like us, we’d visited the websites. Chang and Eng Bunker, the conjoined twins from Thailand that performed in P.T. Barnum’s circus. Millie and Christine McCoy, or “The Two-Headed NIghtingale,” conjoined slave children taught to sing and dance for money, stolen away in the night like a toy. Daisy and Violet Hilton, performed in movies like Freaks and Chained for Life. Died alone in their apartment, passing bad blood from one to the other.

They may chain us to the floor or give us a violin or open our mouths and climb inside, but it doesn’t change anything. We can never be anything but Craniopagus conjoined siblings. Conjoined sisters. Siamese twins.

I know this because once my sister fell in love. Some deadhead marijuana mouthed boy who thought he had a savior complex until he met us. He climbed over our fence from a nearby party, drunk

and laughing to himself. We were outside on the porch alone, drinking our virgin margaritas that our mother made for us, pursing our sour lips.

“I know you,” he said, “you’re the twins everyone talks about.” He crawled across the grass in the dew toward us. “You’re the pretty one,” he said to my sister. Of course he would think that of my parasite. She was the glass skinned Ophelia sprung from

my head. The girl with the kind of stunted limbs usually only seen in dead anorexics and jellyfish on the bottom of the sea.

“You don’t know what pretty is,” I said. “Can I have a drink?” he asked my sister, ignoring me. “It’s virgin,” she said, and for some reason this made both of them laugh. She held the drink out to him and he spilled it on his chin. It dripped down onto his shirt. They

laughed and laughed. Someone called for the boy over the fence. He scrambled up, knocking the glass out of my

sister’s hand, and After that night he sent my sister little lace and sugar messages hidden in the trees out in the

forest. He tied candied pecans and tiny teddy bears to balloons that floated through our window. “You look so happy,” our mother said to her. “She thinks she’s in love,” I said. My sister touched the lace heart that he’d wedged underneath the door. She stroked her

snowpowder hair. “Let her think that then,” our mother said. “Fine. I won’t ruin her fantasy then.” “What’s gotten into you? Why talk to your sister like that?” And as my mother strained over the kitchen sink, trying to rub the leprous spots off her hand, I

thought: because maybe I wanted to be a doctor. Because maybe I wanted to go to sleep for once knowing that my dreams belonged only to me.

“She doesn’t get to fall in love,” I said. I went back to bed hauling my parasite. One morning a matted, lean stray cat dropped down the hallway window and came screeching

down to our bedroom. We jumped out of bed. My sister caught the cat inbetween her knees. Around its neck we found a string with a letter attached.

Party at my house. Wednesday night. Dress pretty.

She demanded a dress. Silver. Peach ribbons. A pearl necklace. Something that could be zipped up in the back, We had to shop in the child’s section of the department store, with the children and their mother’s staring at us blank-faced and wounded for life. When she picked out her dress we stood together in front of the triple-way mirror. Three monsters. Three lady trolls grimacing and mad.

She tugged at the ends of her hair. She smoothed out the silver dress. “I could almost…” “Almost what?” “Feel like I was real. A real girl.”

“Pretend like I wasn’t here, you mean” “That’s not it. That’s not it.” At the party I refused to drink but became drunk anyways, because the boys kept feeding my

sister drinks. They smoked her out and my head went sluggish and slow. The boy stroked her hair, told her that he loved her. We went into a back room with my brain crumbling. I ached to fall asleep. It’d been so long since I slept. My sister giggled shy as he led us onto the bed.

“Undress for me,” she said. “He’ll break you,” I said, laughing as the room spun, “you’re just a little parasite.” She slapped me on the nose. The cheek. The boy panted as he unbuckled his pants and he

stepped out of them with skinny, breakable legs That’s when I noticed the ghost in the corner of the room. Another incubus, I thought. They’re

everywhere these days. Becoming immune to the exorcisms, probably. If only we hadn’t exorcised those demons from the bedsheets and the baby crib, the staircase and the water glass. If only our grandma hadn’t rubbed hemlock on my mother’s belly, then maybe the demons wouldn’t be here now.

The incubus dragged himself closer to the bed. He didn’t have a crystal mouth or a glowing rotten seed for a belly or porcelain skin. He had dirty fingernails and a baseball cap and a t-shirt that smelled of whiskey.

The lover boy lowered himself onto my sister. He wound knots into her hair. They kissed. “Hey,” I said, all I could manage to say, a whiskey slur. They ignored me. “Hey, does anyone else see that?”

The boy-disguised-as-incubus jumped onto me. He smashed his lips against my jaw and the room tilted on its side. I thought we’d fall off the side of the bed, with his tennis shoes digging into my pelvis and his hunch-limbed spine hitting the sea-side portrait above our heads.

My sister smashed a lamp over his head, spraying me and him with glass. Incubus boy fell off me laughing. Lover boy jumped off my sister wiping at his mouth.

She picked up her torn party dress and we fled. “I didn’t know,” she said as we limped back home. We left behind pieces of silver, tattered pieces of her dress, pieces of glass. By the time we got

to the porch our legs were about to break. We quivered with the strain. My sister tried to keep from crying but I felt her tears drip onto my shoulder. So hot they nearly burned through my skin.

We dragged ourselves up the stairs, our mother asleep down the hall. “Do you know what an incubus does?” my sister said, tugging on my hair. “Please,” I said, “I just want to sleep.”

“He steals your energy.” “Please.” “He fucks you while you sleep.” We fell into bed and the incubus waited in his usual spot. She choked like she couldn’t breathe.

My heart pounded with the sudden rush of blood from her to me. In the dark my fingers tip-toed over the wasteland of her stomach.

“Him?” I said, “he won’t. We’re more of a monster than he’ll ever be.”

I opened my mouth and hissed. My sister tried to laugh but only rasped. The incubus tapped his toes against the floor. Clicken. Clacken.

In the morning we lay on the couch shell-shocked and half dressed. One sock for four feet. Sweaters with split buttons. Our mother sat cross legged on the carpet with a book of demonology in her lap. A thick, black leather bound tome of a book. She was seeing curses everywhere again: little runic prints on our arms and faces. Maybe she even saw the brand of the incubus like a dark crystal hovering over us.

If only we’d been born real twins, Momma, without this piece of skull sewn between us. Maybe then the incubus wouldn’t have come. Maybe lover boy wouldn’t have brought his friend into the room to rape me while he made love to my pale ectoplasm of a sister. I could have been a doctor.

“I’m sorry, girls,” our mother said, because she could see the scratches on my face where the glass sprayed against me, because she’d found the tattered remains of my sister’s silver dress stuffed into the trashcan.

“Don’t be,” I said, “it’s not like you weren’t expecting it.” Our mother hummed underneath her breath – some ritual incantation. “Don’t worry, Momma. It won’t happen again.” In that moment I could see every place she’d ever been hurt. I saw the broken stem-cells in her

belly, the way me and my sister sought each other out in the darkness of her. I saw the scars that

tattooed her back where her father struck her with belt-straps, the place where the dog bit her as a child and she screamed and screamed but no one came.

She stretched out on the carpet until her face almost touched the floor, the book underneath her stomach. I reached out for her. I was so tired, everything out of proportion. She seemed a thousand years away.

“It won’t happen again,” I said. In the night the incubus unlatched the window. He crawled onto the bed. He opened his mouth and the crystals bulged heavy on his tongue.

They glowed fiercer than I ever remembered before. So bright, that tears sprung to my eyes to look at him. He heaved and I shivered. My sister melted down into the sheets. She couldn’t breathe in the heat.

I tried to throw off the sheets and run, but I couldn’t move. The air pressed down with an unbearable heaviness. My lungs welded themselves into my chest. I couldn’t scream for my mother. I couldn’t whisper help. Help me.

The incubus lowered himself onto my sister, puffs of shadow for arms. He ripped my sister’s dress apart with his studded tongue. The shredded skin on the roof of his mouth spilled out on her bare stomach like pale ribbons. I wanted to close my eyes, but I couldn’t.

I’m so sorry, my sister. I’m so sorry. I wanted to give you love but I can’t even turn my head. You can let butterflies into my operating room, sister. You can fall in love. Please, sister.

Sister, please don’t let us disappear. Through the darkness my sister reached out and held my hand. The spell broke. She grabbed the incubus by the throat and pulled him closer. “Come here,” she whispered to me, her tongue in his mouth, “come here.” The fever could have burst her brain. My hands sizzled on the back of her hands. We fell

backwards into the sheets, hit our head on the baseboards. Kept falling. Spinning, until we were nauseous, his breath distorting space, our heads.

Something. A little something inside of me stirred. I touched the cool place on the back of the incubus’ head. I touched his shadows for arms. “Come here,” I whispered. We wrapped our legs around him. Our bare legs touched on his back, hot and cold. We rolled

him onto his back, pressed him down. We stretched our spines and rolled our hips. We tossed our hair back.

The incubus squirmed beneath us with his mouth unable to be closed. The crystals grew and grew until his tongue throbbed. We grabbed his arms and wrestled him to the floor, the three of us a worn pile of bodies, our limbs indistinguishable from him to us.

“I told you we were monsters,” I said to the incubus I didn’t feel cold anymore. My sister reached inside his mouth and grabbed his tongue, studded with crystals. He started

choking. He heaved and heaved. She reached in with her other hand. Pulled. The incubus collapsed underneath us. My sister opened her hands and his crystal tongue

studded thudded to the floor. The dark disappeared. The incubus squirmed underneath us, unable to scream. Rasping, without his crystal tongue.

The heaviness in my chest left me. I could breathe again. We grappled him to the floor.

Maybe our mother would find us in the morning on the floor, melted into the hips of a demon. Three instead of two. Or she’d find us worn down to the bone with the light burning a hole through our ends. Either way we’d be laughing. Laughing.

I didn’t know where I ended and she began. I touched her hips and wondered why I’d gone numb. My head ached in the back, my skull trying to reach around and escape.

I don’t know if we’ll stay together forever like this, torn-fused Kali monster, or if we’ll tear each other apart.


Summer 2015 New Releases from David Agranoff and Andrew Goldfarb

We have two very special new releases on Eraserhead Press this summer: AMAZING PUNK STORIES by David Agranoff and MIDNIGHT EARWIG BUFFET.


David Agranoff is a razor sharp writer, a storyteller with a hard rock pacing, a magician of ideas, an adventurer in subcultures, an expert in underground music scenes–all of which is apparent in Amazing Punk Stories. But he’s fundamentally something else. David Agranoff is an idealist in Hell.”
– JOHN SHIRLEY from his introduction

Gasp in horror at redneck cannibals who eat a steady diet of bands!

Tour the underground music scenes at the edge of the universe!

Behold the insanity of mosh pits at the end of the world!

From the frontiers of deep space to a punk rock village in the wasteland of a world nuked by Ronald Reagan. Amazing Punk Stories will take you to a punk scene in the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. A punk scene both familiar and utterly bizarro.

Riffing off themes from the genres of mystery, western, cosmic horror and science fiction; Amazing Punk Stories contains thirteen studded and spiked tributes to classic pulp fiction.

Available from: Amazon, Kindle, Nook


“A dark, floating, surreal gumbo; part Edward Lear, part Dr. Seuss—and who knows what else. You could almost show this to kids—or could you? Buy two—color one in. The Slow Poisoner strikes again!” —JELLO BIAFRA

“Andrew Goldfarb has imagined, written, and drawn a new 21st-century classic of disturbing beauty and lasting revelation. With ingeniously rhyming concision, and emotionally-impactful  noir  (literally) pen-on-ink graphics, he has inscribed on our psyches an extended, updated mythology for our traumatic times. Renewing the “Biological Horror Genre” with “At the Midnight Earwig Buffet,” he has provided food for nightmares forever! Moral lessons abound (but subtly); let us fervently fear the underrated spectral force known as hubris (“The Compliment That Killed” and “And This Shall Come to Pass”). Fans of the divergent, the unusual, and—yes, let’s use the word: genius—will find much to savor in this distilled depository of doom. Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Lynd Ward must be stirring happily in their graves…” —V. VALE, founder of RE/SEARCH and SEARCH & DESTROY

“Midnight Earwig Buffet is a morbid Smörgåsbord of vulgar verse vignettes from the mercury maddened mind of Andrew Goldfarb—the Slow Poisoner. Echoing the works of Roald Dahl, Gahan Wilson, Carl Sandburg & Jim Flora, Andrew Goldfarb channels poetry & pictures from the waterlogged badlands between the Age of Romance & the Age of Reason. Expertly serving up a series of worm infested small plates spiced with alektorophobia, hypochondria, vermiphilia, bogyphobia & thanatomania, Goldfarb is your personal grotesque gourmet leading you through a sensational journey of aberrant antipasti.” —SEAN ÄABERG, editor of PORK Magazine

“Goldfarb’s whimsical derangements are enticingly strange. Charming. Alarming. And cost mere pocket change!” —JOHN SKIPP, author of The Art of Horrible People

“Andrew Goldfarb’s strange, verbal effusions are matched perfectly to his equally oddball accompanying drawings —a perfect cocktail of words and ink!” —BILL GRIFFITH, author of Zippy the Pinhead

Available from: Amazon


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