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The Long, The Short, and The Ugly

October 28th, 2007 Comments off

Its about 10 PM and I figure if I start typing now, I’ll finish this post by midnight, so there you go. Years ago, there was some small press magazine that wanted every story to start with “I stared death in the face.” I never wrote anything for said mag, but the idea of Death with a capital D as another individual stuck in my head until I had a titled to go with it. It actually wasn’t long before I wrote the story “Death Clown!,” which appeared in the Barnes & Noble book for those rough nights in the outhouse, HORRORS! 365 SCARY STORIES. Each story had to be under 500 words, so my babbling was to be kept at bay. Here goes: DEATH CLOWN!

Jimbo the Clown stared Death in the face.

And he didn’t like what he saw.

“Look, Faceless One,” He made a feeble attempt at chortling. “I’ve been in this business for awhile now. And before I was entertaining the kiddies I put in a good twenty years at Axeman’s Carnival out in Thalmus–”

“Indiana.” Death cut the clown off. “I know. I was there when many crossed over the midway of life”

Oh, can the melodrama, Jimbo thought, fluffing the collar of his costume. Makes you wonder why he even showed up here in my minivan.

The vehicle in question was a Dodge Expplorer from his in-laws, Vern and Murline. After Jimbo had loaded the vehicle with his tricks and gimmicks, he found Death ready to ride shotgun.

“And I say you’re going about this all wrong,” the clown continued. “You say you’re going to take the Cassady kid out of the picture while everyone’s eating the cake?”

Death nodded.

“And what’s the point?” Jimbo was as adamant as a clown could be. “So that the other kids there will learn about choking? Give me a break!”

Death remained as silent as, well, a grave.

“Its a violent world, pal. A kid should be scared of more than just gagging on a hunk of chocolate cake with banana filling until he turns blue. But that’s why you’re here, am I right? Because of what I’m gonna do.”

Death nodded again. Jimbo was thinking he looked like an oversized hood ornament, with the head bobbing and all.

“Damn union’s retiring me after today, anyways.” The clown shrugged, pulling the van over to the curb, yanked a bag of his gags into the front seat.

His special props, this time only.

The plastic explosive for Pin The Tail On The Donkey.

The hydrochloric acid in the seltzer bottle.

The joy buzzer with enough juice to cause seizures.

“All right,” Jimbo said, again staring Death in the face, as he opened the door. “We’ve got a party to go to.”

***

Before writing fiction, I wrote a hell of a lot of poetry, most vignettes that I eventually realized worked just as well as passages in a story. But there were times that I just had phrases in my head that would really only fit a certain way, and so, from GRUE#2, way back in 1986 (so be kind), I give you the poem “Old Haunts“:

returning in October dusk
to the other side of town
silent as a werewolf stalks
dead as a Dracula dawn
I passed Lenore and Annabel Lee
and dear old cadaver Ligeia
Cthulhu’s crypt & King’s casket,
where my love was I had no idea
then it hit me like a reaper’s scythe
one quick left then two slow writhes
I entered through the bedroom wall
she was watching CREEPSHOW on cable teevee
I jumped her bones and oh her moans
how they gave me the heebie-jeebies

So now you have the long and the short. So what’s the ugly? I work hideous hours at a printing plant, sometimes marveling at the fact that I am, in part, producing magazines and books saddle-stitched or perfect-bound like the ones on my shelves. But madness does take its toll, and there are times when a different kind of muse comes to cozy up to the crazies already living. So, if you will bear with me, I offer you a piece of crap I call “The In-Print Graphics Rap,” which basically is a complaint about health insurance:

got a twelve pack, in my ass crack
I called Aflack, they said call back
Found a thumb tack, in my Big Mac
I called Aflack, phone played Tupac
I said “What’s that?”, phone went click clack
Lumbar pain in my spine, Aflack say use a Lojack
This is whack, says the guy, sleep-deprived,
from the south side, bald guy look like Kojak.
Word up. True dat. He gone.

At least something like that keeps me from falling apart mentally and physically, now that I no longer have Internet access during the 12 hour shifts. I did get the copy of the voice activation DVD, by the way, but can only get it to work in French and Dutch, which is pretty much how my life goes in the battle of the machines. I’m getting the original sent to me so that the English version should work. Next month, I should be writing this in about seventeen seconds, or at least one would think, based solely on the quality of my last entry. But there you have the best of both worlds, the short fiction (before there –WAS– a flash fiction) and the poem that tries its best to rhyme. The rap poem, the less said the better. Told you in the heading there’d be some ugly, though. Happy Hallowe’en and do something with the clocks, change the time stuff, you know. What do you know, I have a minute until midni…

— Wayne Allen Sallee

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