I write a wide variety of dark, speculative fiction. Most often it is horror, though for the novels I see a strong magic realism quality; this was not planned out, it just happened that way, even if the magic realism is branded with horror or, at least, major mindfuck (excuse me) psychological tendencies…with a nod to the supernatural as well. (Oh, wait until the novels get published, especially, The Wilderness Within. You want to be taken for a real ride? That one builds and builds and then—Crack! All bets are off and…where was I? Better jump out of this parenthetical aside and get back to the point…) Every now and then, it’s simply a story that decides to go off the rails and, as Mick Jagger might put it, PAINT ITself with BLACK humor. Still horror, but the tone is laced with absurdity.
Man, perhaps I shouldn’t be doing this blog. I think my brain is leaning toward those tendencies as I type it right now!
[Straightens self in chair, shakes head, squiggly lil’ imps fall out of his ear and onto his shoulder; brushes them off, much to their dismay, and continues…]
“Things That Crawl…In Hollywood,” is one such story. I have no idea where they come from, but they sure do come…I think they’re coming for me. Damn, am I almost quoting Ted Nugent now? What the… Yeah, anything goes, with all of my fiction; but when it gets loopy, well…
I have a great distaste for celebrity, false idols and such, and those who follow blindly, as if their words are law. I also have a fascination with anatomical horror, body horror, because I know when using the body within fiction, people can relate on a deeper level. If one gets one’s eyelids duct-taped open and a beetle crawls slowly across the naked eye, well…yeah, that reaction, the one you just had. See, you can sense it; you can relate.
Mixing these two subjects promises a perverse union, what with the narcissistic, plastic surgery, ego inflating vanity of said celebrities. And with the celebrities all falling apart, piece by piece…
And the pieces aren’t exactly…dead.
Okay, I’ve said too much but once in a while you get that, so there! Here, now, I’ll drop this sample on you as we join devious TV producer, Merrill Thatcher, and second-hand celebrity in need of a career boost, Josh Brance, as they discuss the show they are to film:
“So…we’re looking for…Things That Crawl…?”
“In Hollywood! Don’t forget the tagline.”
“Well, yes, body parts. Kind of…”
Before Brande could delineate further info—more to give his confusion density, not really furnishing a finer understanding—Thatcher put the handle of the wheel bound cage in Brande’s sweaty free palm. He had his own odds ’n’ ends accoutrements to deal with, what with a net, taser, Bowie knife, and his own .44 Magnum.
Then, Brande’s bewilderment nudged through the haze: “Body parts? Kind of?”
“Yes and no. Has something to do with environmental and geological oddities—EGO, as the rags like to humorously call them. Something about how, after The Big One hit L.A. six months ago, having split deep into the earth and released heretofore unknown airborne elements—gases and toxins—a breakdown had ensued. Seems those who had undergone plastic surgery of any sort, be it face-lifts, breast implants, Botox, collagen, you name it, anything unnaturally altered, because of the chemicals or process itself—nobody really knows—well, the tainted parts began to mutate, take on a life of their own and—”
Thatcher hesitated, a wry grin addressing his lips—all absurdities confirmed—the North and South poles of his thick, bulldog-like head bobbing in concurrence.
“So the object is to—what?”
“Our initiative is to capture and catalogue.”
Brande’s eyes narrowed. “Catalogue what”
You are as dumb as a sock puppet, thought Thatcher. “The body parts we capture.” Thatcher smiled, bit off the end of a cigar and knelt down to strike a match against the pavement. “The celebrity body parts we capture.”
And away we go!
There’s a sequence later in this story, when we find out the true reason why Brande has been asked along for this venture that contains one of my favorite lines in any or my stories. Add to that some love--yes, this is a love story, of sorts, and as I like to say, all bets are off. Did I mention the multiple layers within the fiction I write at some point in these teasers? Yeah, I’m sure I did.
So, that’s the last of the teasers. Twelve stories, quite varied, overlapping themes, sequenced with intent…I'll now take a deep breath, let out a heavy sigh, and realize as I type these words, there’s less than two days until the release of my first collection. I hope you enjoy the collection when it's released 11-11-11--yes, I'll post a blog with the purchasing info in a day or so, as well as post purchasing info on all of the pertinent social networking sites and what-not.
The Dark is Light Enough for Me.
Are you ready?
Take my hand, I'll lead the way...
This fantastic art by Chris Mars seems appropriate, reveling in a similar essence. Well, look, it works for me and you can tell me yes or no once you get to read the story in a couple days. ;-)