Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters

I held off on reviewing this for one simple reason:  I really loved it and I wanted to get this right. When you come across something as powerful as this, that resonates as it has within you after you've read it, and the voices are still there months later you tend to want to slow down a bit.  It's important.

I've loved Damien's work for years.  And when she announced almost two years ago this was going to be coming out I squeed like any grown man would.  Her voice is something that sticks with you and every short story written by her that I have read has reminded me of M.R. James with feminine attention and texture.

So yeah, I got this at Midnight on the day it was released.  Dove right into it, too.  I didn't care if I had to be at work the next day--I had plans.  This shit's important and we do it right around here.

But there was something different about this collection.  This wasn't the tapestries of horror told in fantastic worlds I had expected.  Sing Me Your Scars is on a higher plane.  This is the fine wine those snooty people on television are always tasting and sniffing.  It's something to be savored and pondered.  There is much more going on here than just stories, my friends.

The best way I can describe it is each and every short story is the searing pain that courses through a human soul.  But instead of being screamed out in dramatic quotes, each story is a portrait delicately put on canvas with oils by the masters from the Dutch Golden Age, with blood mixed into the pigments to get that proper oxidation.

This ain't your high school English teacher's required reading, Bubba.  These stories look like a bloody feather but hit like a sledge hammer finely tooled by Elves and swung by a juiced-up Sammy Sosa.  There is power here.  Real power, too.

Sing Me Your Scars is what wordsmithing is supposed to look like.

In the vast spectrum of human existence we endure all that is unleashed upon our souls by the cruelty and depravity of our enemies, the ones we love, and even ourselves.  What Damien has done in each of these stories has woven a tapestry out of words and spice that illustrate the depth of those painful moments but also the strength of our species.

These stories will stick with you.  They have staying power long after you've put the book down and you'll remember them for a while, or maybe always.

Buy this book.  Go out, or click the link, and get it.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Unplugger

I came home to find my neighbors were having very loud sex.  It wasn't the first time I've had to deal with it, either.

So I got on youtube and found the most obnoxious Baptist preacher I could find spouting off about fornication, pulled up the video and played it at the loudest volume I could, then left my apartment for the bar around the corner.

Serves those two right, too.  They need to get right with Jeebus!

It's just not right to be having sex that loudly.  They need to either get right with Jeebus, do that at his place, or invite me over to join in.

And judging from the sounds she was making, she's a huge freak, and he wasn't all that into it.  I'm not sure what the details were but I'm certainly prepared to do my part.

Her:  Oh!

Me:  Yeah!  Now call me Uncle Ted *slap!*

Her:  Yeah, Uncl--wait.  What?  Eww!

Me:  Just say it, wench!  *slap!*

Her:  Oh.  My.  God.  That is so creepy!

Me:  Oh yeah!

I only mention this because I'm thinking of starting a new business.  What got me thinking about this was how today at work, I was so miserable, and angry.  I really hate my job.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:  If I ever got a chance to make a deal with The Devil, it would be so I could reach through the phone lines and strangle motherfuckers.  Seriously.  Some people need to be throttled because they don't know how to act on the phone.

So I thought about starting my own business.  All the good ideas are taken, or are illegal, or are really fun but don't pay any money.  It got me to thinking.

What's one of the hardest choices somebody will ever have to make?  More to the point, what is one of the most difficult tasks somebody will ever have to do?

I thought about this a lot at work between talking to assholes and the idea suddenly came to me--most people cannot face having to take a loved one off life support.  The very act of pulling the plug on somebody dear to you isn't easy.  That's why you should hire me to do it.

Uncle Ted's Unplugging Service.

Yes, that's right!  For a modest fee, I will come to the hospital and pull the plug on dear old Dad or Mom for you so you don't have to do it.

Feeling squeamish?  I don't.

Are you afraid of killing somebody?  I'm not.  I'll unplug anybody, anytime, anywhere.  For a modest fee, of course.

I'll even dress for the occasion.  I can put on a suit and look like a professional.  Or I can wear a black robe and hood while carrying a scythe.  And if you pay a bit more, I'll dress up like a cowboy and sing Happy Trails while I pull that plug.

Uncle Ted's Unplugging Service will even have a special package for poetry readings, Biblical Quotes, Vince Lombardi motivational speeches, and Captain Kirk's Eulogy for Mr. Spock from Star Trek IV.

Uncle Ted's Unplugging Service will even play We're Off To See The Wizard on an ocarina if you so choose.  One never knows what a family wants for these special moments.  But with Uncle Ted's Unplugging Service, you can rest assured, that moment will be one to remember!

Call Uncle Ted's Unplugging Service today and let us pull that plug for you!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Are You There, Lucifer? It's Me, Ted.

I'm so bored.  Really.

I've been so bored lately even watching Japanese balloon porn hasn't been fun--and I tried for hours but just couldn't get into it.  Endless videos of Japanese women in cartoonishly large shoes stomping on balloons and not a minute of it was interesting.

Nope.  I'm bored.

Life is boring, really.  It has gotten so predictable I no longer feel the urge to see how far I can push somebody before they report me to HR or call the cops.  I already know where the lines are and it bugs the shit out of me.

Sometimes I write about monsters.  Mostly, I don't.  Mostly I write about humans and all the fucked up shit we do to each other.  That's easy to write.  When there is a monster, it's usually a better soul than all the humans it has to suffer through.  That says a lot about how my opinions of humanity.

I've often said humanity was a parasite hurling through the void of cold space on a planet nobody cares about.  At least Charlie Sheen is having fun.  I'm jealous of him, actually.  He turns 50 this week and I wish I had his life.

But no, I'm bored.

In fact, my biggest wish isn't for being able to party like Charlie Sheen.  My biggest wish is for all the monsters I do write about to be real.  Every single one of them.

I would love to look up in the sky and see some ancient god everybody had forgotten about stomping his way to a metropolis.  Cloverfield was a boring.  He should have gone rampant on New York and ignored the tiny people.  Destroy the city, you destroy the people.  Nobody survives demolishing an entire city.

But that monster was stupid.

I would love to live in a world where magic was real, werewolves really howled at night, vampires lurked in the shadows, witches really did want to eat our kids, and evil scientists were looking at ways to take over the world.

I would have become a Sith.

And why can't we find at least one talking spider anywhere?  We need something real.  I need something real.

I'm so bored!

We need evil clowns in our sewers.  We need possessed cars running people over in the streets.

I firmly believe that if we had such evils walking the Earth the rest of humanity would rise up and be more than what we are and act with more kindness towards others.  It would be how we defined ourselves.  We could say, "at least I'm not a monster like that thing in the newspapers!"

Humanity would be worthy of living on this planet if somebody built a robot army to take over the world.  Humanity would show itself to be noble if flying monkeys attacked us in our cars when we drove through the dark, wooded areas at night.  And humanity would be a lot more fun to be around if it knew how easily they could all die.

Granted, I'd be on the darker side of things.  I've always thought I'd make a nice warlock or sorcerer.  Maybe I'd get into some necromancy and make a name for myself through curses and hexes.  I'd be good at it.

But no, I'm living a nightmare here.  Really, this boring existence is killing me.  Between the soul-crushing job and constant rejection from editors, I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to make it.  Something needs to happen and it needs to happen soon.

Spontaneous combustion or exploding goats, dogs with venom, cats that really transform into beautiful women.  Something!