Posts Tagged ‘monsters’

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More of the Mortui Philosophies

June 18, 2018

 

 Mortui Philosophies

“The spawned element,
Rudra*,  consumed
The Living Darkness”

“Rudra uncovered the Light
Rudra gave the Darkness
To his Mother and Father
This was a gift.”

“These elements consumed
All the Darkness.
And gave birth to life.”

“The Elements gave
Life to us.”

“Then the Darkness was gone.
And our Mother and Father
Consumed their children.”

“The elements then birthed
Monsters.”

The Mortui Philosophies
The sketchbooks of the author
Matthew Sawyer

(BTW- that is Rudra’s brother, Awaran, who is speaking)

Images and music composed by Matthew Sawyer
All rights reserved

The horrible fiction of Matthew Sawyer is available for purchase from Lulu.com

Ebooks available from Smashwords.com

 

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Fondness of Monsters

February 2, 2018

Because I’m someone with a life-long fondness for monsters, I imagine someone might ask, “Why, then, do you like ordinary sparrows?”

“Well,” I tell my imaginary inquirer, “I like when they come for breakfast, and they wait for me on the stairs all bunched together.”

I know the birds instinctively approach big creatures in groups. They try to look big, but mine come together to no larger than a cat sprawled upon a stairwell – a feathered cat with a dozen beady eyes and half as many sharp beaks. It’s adorable.

 

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A Reminder: Halloween is Coming!

September 22, 2017

There is a cemetery I know that has a clubhouse. A clubhouse, with a bar and a restaurant, like a golf course. Arcadia Green, it’s called. The clubhouse is cryptically called Gothic. The place is open to the public after six. A placard in the ceiling-to-floor window list its hours of operations until midnight, everyday except Sunday. I was there for a friend. It was his birthday. He has always enjoyed arcane places.

He went outside to smoke, as that was the law in this state. I stayed inside because I don’t. The only other person I talked to went to the restroom , so I fell into an old habit of eavesdropping. There is a couple in a booth next to our own group’s, which was in an unlit corner. The windows about us were solid dark. There are no clocks, but it is obvious the day was well past sundown.

“I lived in Los Angeles for a while, too much sun,” the young, casually adorned man said to an anxious woman. He sounded as if he made an introduction. I had the impression they were probably on a first date. Although I was not watching the couple, I did glimpse them and saw they were not sitting close.

She tells him something curiously believable. “To be honest,” she said, “Men used to chase me when I was younger. I got wise with age and I now stick close to home, deal with what I know.”

Their conversation abruptly ended. I didn’t look, but when I had glimpsed, I did see them examining menus. Their menus were not the same as our own, but we were a special occasion.

“I don’t want kids,” the young man stated with uncertainty. He sounded as if he yet contemplated his future.

“What? Why?” his date inquired. She sounded surprised instead of disappointed or dejected.

He tells her, “I don’t like how they scream when you bite into them.”

“But that’s the best part,” she told him.

 

Halloween is coming!

 

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Once Gramps Had Come – A Christmas Story

December 19, 2015

An essential piece of Christmas has been missing forever, almost as if it has hidden itself. In the story Once Gramps Had Come by Matthew Sawyer, that hidden piece comes out to perhaps breathe clean air, eat or maybe stretch its legs. Whatever is done, this short tale starts in a Nursing Home. A homely man who calls himself “Gramps” offers immortality and the holidays are coming up.

Once Gramps Had Come by Matthew Sawyer

Once Gramps Had Come
Matthew Sawyer

Thursday, November 21, an ugly, old man comes to the Nursing Home. He is not the slightest seemly; not handsome like the weathering of a familiar leather jacket, nor noble like the bark of a gnarled oak. The man is ugly. Frightening, yet he looks a lot like that knotted tree and ragged hide coat. Presumably present for the terminal long-duration care and rehabilitation available here at Nueva Buena Vista, the terrible creature introduces himself to other residents. He calls himself, “Gramps.”

Mr. Breckell, who regularly assesses his own hearing, believes he has misheard the name. He shouts from his seat of padded linoleum. “What did you call yourself? Cramps?”

Mr. Breckell assumes and also asks, “Is that what’s wrong with you?”

The ugly old man lumbers near the only fellow whose spoken to him. This Gramps or cramps sits down on the stiff, yellow cushion next to Mr. Breckell. The new old man creaks and his joints crack when he bends his legs then he adjusts his seat. The racket is disquieting to everyone in the day-room. Mr. Breckell tells the creepy, wooden man next to him, “You sound like you’re going to break.”

“I do fear it,” Gramps answers.

Before he forgets, Mr. Breckell asks him again, “What did you call yourself?”

“Cramps,” Mr. Breckell swears he’s heard again.

He suggests to the badly weatherworn stranger, “Cramps, I would change that nickname. You could then go talk to someone else.”

“I think you are mispronouncing it,” Gramps tells him.

“Me? How about you?”

Gramps, or still possibly cramps, immediately interrupts the fresh argument. “Are you afraid of dying, Mister…”

“Breckell,” Mr. Breckell automatically replies.

“Sure,” he then insists. “Yeah-”

“I can help you live forever.”

Mr. Breckell finishes his thought. “But I get less fidgety the older I get.”

He then pauses, gazes into impossibly seeing and dense cataracts then tells cramps, “I don’t think you can help yourself. By the look of you…”

Mr. Breckell shakes his balding head.

“I know the worst of it,” Gramps promises his indignant comrade. “You can help me.”

The idea makes Mr. Breckell chuckle. “I will see what I can do.”

With yet no response, he asks the ugly stranger directly, “Who are you?”

“Everyone has forgotten me.”

Mr. Breckell tells him, “Welcome to Anonymous-Anonymous. The ladies across the room cry about the fact at weekly meetings.”

Gramps adds, “And any who do remember me, and if they still believe, they think I have gotten lazy over centuries.”

Mr. Breckell assures him. “That’s just how it feels.”

Pink light glows behind the opaque eyes of the stranger. “I’m telling you, Mr. Breckell, there is another way. You can live forever.”

Mr. Breckell laughs and the sound grows. He stops his guffaw when Gramps admits, “But there is a horrible exaction. There are crimes you must commit.”

“Go figure,” Mr. Breckell says entertained and newly curious. A meager rush of adrenaline reminds him of the shadow of being a young man and alive. Enthused that little bit, he grins and banters. “What evil things must I do. How many children do I need to eat?”

“The children are never eaten,” Gramps declares.

Mr. Breckell tells him, “Then that explains why you’re so scrawny. Tell me, mister, who are you?”

“I told you.”

“Oh, no you don’t. I am not about to wake up tomorrow and remember my name is Al Z’heimers. Who are you?”

The ugly stranger next to Mr. Breckell tells him, “The Krampus. The, the Krampus.”

“Huh?” Mr. Breckell grunts without purpose. His recollection is vague. He goes on and says, “Remind me who that is. Are we talking about Christmas? The elves and the magical Saint Nick, right? Not the Jesus and Christian Santa Claus, correct?”

“And not the American who drinks Coca Cola,” specifies the Krampus.

The name, or its shaded memory, fits the horrid personification here in the ugly stranger. The monster tells Mr. Breckell, “I am his nemesis, his companion and cohort. The folklore all across the world will tell you the same.”

The Krampus rants. “But I refuse to do his work. I won’t do it and I only want to pass away – and join our brothers. Somebody else can be remembered to be the Krampus. And he or she can be that until the end of time.”

“End of time, you say?” Mr. Breckell repeats. “That’s the part that includes living forever you were talking about?”

“If you do those things you must do.”

“And what does that mean? What do I got to do?”

The Krampus scowls when he says, “Make toys.”

Jokingly, Mr. Breckell answers, “Well, how do we get this operation done? I can live forever and do that.”

“Hell, what are all the toys for?”

The Krampus reveals in earnest, “They are the years of your life. Each toy is a day, you live one day for every toy you make. And you must keep them secret.”

Carried by high spirits, Mr. Breckell continues to play with the ugly man. “That can’t be bad. I suppose I can make seven toys in a day, or make fourteen or even seventy.”

“Saint Nicholas takes them away,” replies the Krampus. “And you will die if you do not have even one made and hidden away. Then, at least, you will live that single day. You can use that time and make a new toy that you can stash away.”

Having never truly stopped, Mr. Breckell laughs aloud once again. “Are you telling me Santa Claus steals your toys.”

The Krampus alludes, “A thief by any name… what would he do if he was ever successful and he murdered me?”

“You are telling me, you can die if Santa takes away all your toys.”

“You will die, Mr. Breckell,” declares the Krampus. “When you become me.”

“Hold on,” Mr. Breckell says and stunts the conversation. “You told me you wanted to retire. What did you say? Pass away. You can do that if you let Santa have all your toys.”

“There is something else you must do,” states the Krampus solemn and cold. “Someone must take your place. Someone else must always be the Krampus or we will never be at peace.”

Unswayed by any prospect this whole week has presented him, Mr. Breckell remains engaged in his lively discussion. “I don’t know about your offer, mister. I heard that Saint Nick character was one tough hombre. You know, burglary is his thing – creeping down chimneys and eating cookies and all.”

An idea occurs to Mr. Breckell. “Hey, I have never seen the jolly old man. I know for a fact my parents put all my presents under the tree. I never heard from you, either. Or were you part of all those pagan parties before the twentieth century? Before my time?”

“I was hidden,” answers the Krampus. “Me and my toys and my workshop have been hidden all your life and longer. Saint Nicholas had no toys to give to good girls and boys.”

Mr. Breckell rambles, “So Santa Claus canceled giving away presents because he couldn’t rip you off…”

“What about his little helpers? Where are his elves?”

The Krampus shakes his head, gasps then sighs. “I am so tired and I cannot bear the things I do. I can no longer bear my guilt.”

Mr. Breckell wonders aloud, “Why? What have you done? You make toys.”

“Listen,” musters the Krampus. He leers into Mr. Breckell’s face. “You can’t just take them – I never did. I gave them warnings. They get two?”

“What are they and who are them?” Mr. Breckell asks. He is not one bit interested in hearing any admonitions.

The Krampus tells him, “The first warning I give is a lump of coal. I put it in their stockings.”

“Are you talking about kids?” indicts Mr. Breckell. “I was just kidding when I mentioned earlier that I was hungry. Certainly no veal.”

The Krampus ignores the man’s comments and he continues speaking. “The second is a bundle of twigs bound together with reed. After that second year, I just come and take them.”

“Where – where to?”

“The North Pole. I hide my workshop there in a cave washed out by ocean waves.”

Certain who they are talking about, Mr. Breckell shouts, “Why?” Not one deaf head in the day-room turns.

The Krampus confesses, “Children can make your toys for you. That’s allowed if you keep them under your control.”

“Slaves?”

“I use a potion brewed from an extract of mistletoe. I mix it into their porridge of ice and snow.”

Mr. Breckell mumbles at a volume hardly overheard. “You brainwash children with poison.”

He then judges aloud the beast by his side. “Inhumane.”

“No, no, the potion makes them happy.”

The Krampus’ speech sounds scrambled.

“Don’t you see? Saint Nicholas has no workshop in the Arctic Circle. He doesn’t have any elves. All of that belongs to me. He takes away my toys and the children who are glad they help the Krampus stay alive.”

“What does Santa do with the kids?”

“I suppose he takes them home. I don’t know, I don’t know… I don’t care.”

Mr. Breckell says proud, “It’s good to know he is still a good man.”

“Is he?” cries the Krampus. “Is he, Mr. Breckell? The Sinter Klass hunts us, sir. He will not let our souls rest and he only wants to keep us desperate. We are forced to desperately make toys to stay alive.”

“Hold on,” Mr. Breckell states and mimes as if he physically pulls in an equine’s reins. “Who are you talking about when you mention ‘we’? Certainly not you and me.”

“There is only now you,” replies the Krampus.

“What do mean?”

The gnarled creature tells the man, “Mr. Breckell, you agreed to take my place.”

“No,” Mr. Breckell objects. He has stopped laughing. “How did that happen?”

“Because you spoke to me.”

****

The nursing home vanishes from all around Mr. Breckell. The Krampus goes, too. Rather, old Mr. Breckell has himself gone. The elderly man discovers he is alone atop snow and an iceberg larger than his poor eyesight might measure. He shivers only a little because the air and ground are both cold. Mr. Breckell does not already know it, him standing outside fully dressed overlain with his nursing home bathrobe, but for some inexplicable reason the man is lucky he is not shaking more. Foremost in his audible mind is, “I have been teleported to the North Pole.”

“The dirty scoundrel,” grumbles Mr. Breckell. “What am I going to do now?”

He recognizes a scraggy voice whispering from out of his own ears. The voice of the original Krampus tells him, “Watch out for Saint Nick. Your brothers are watching you.”

“Hey, get back here,” Mr. Breckell shouts. “Send me back! I didn’t agree to anything.”

As the voice falls further away, Mr. Breckell hears it say, “The souls of your brothers depend on you to keep our peace. Hide. Hide and make toys.”

“Wait a minute,” Mr. Breckell begs the voice before it is gone. After no answer except a frigid gust of wind, one that chills his limbs, he appeals to the overcast sky. “Where am I suppose to go?”

“He said he made a cave,” Mr. Breckell tells himself. As if he knows the direction, he marches toward the ocean side.

Along his solitary journey, he first asks himself, “Who are the brothers?” Further along, Mr. Breckell answers the question.

“I bet it’s you,” he says to himself, meaning the voice he recognized was the Krampus he met tonight in the day room at Nueva Buena Vista.

He chides the Krampus he knew while tramping downhill into deepening snow. “Some wretched fiend looked at you and found a fool to pass a curse onto.”

“That’s what this is, isn’t it?”

The question is rhetorical. The hypothetical answer is, too. “Some eternal life this is, I tell you.”

A gunshot makes his insane reality legitimate. A bullet immediately blows snow and steam from a hole made into a snow drift concealing most of his thin and aged body. Hidden so, he has avoided injury.

“I got you,” declares a hoarse old man with yet a jolly shout. “I found you. Where are your toys?”

Mr. Breckell says without hunting the horizon for the shooter, “Santa Claus, is that you?”

A skinny man wearing a long gray beard and longer, hairy, green coat shouts back. “I’m Ole Nick, to you. Ho.”

Ole Nick pauses and asks the rookie Krampus, “You’re a new Krampus aren’t you? ‘Course, I haven’t seen you for over a hundred years. And I’ve been looking. I promise you that. I guess I’m just lucky everybody hasn’t forgotten about me.”

The stretched elf laughs aloud. “Ho, ho, ho,” then he fires a shot into the air. An AK-47 then swings over his head once more and unleashes a burst that drowns speech.

Dropping the weapon, Ole Nick tells the new Krampus, “I said, Christmas is coming this year. Show me where you’ve hidden all your toys.”

“I don’t know,” pleads Mr. Breckell. Challenging the safety of his snowdrift, he raises his head and looks over his shoulder. Saint Nicholas comes up behind him, following his target’s fathom-deep foot prints.

“I am feeling charitable all of a sudden,” promises Santa Claus, “I’ll give your a break because you’re so brand new. Look at you – your wrinkles haven’t yet turned into bark. Give me all your toys and I’ll let you live this year – well, at least until Spring.”

“You’re going to kill me?” asks the unbelieving remnant of Mr. Breckell.

Ole Nick grows serious. “You, your kind and your undead hive mind are an abomination.” He spits. “Ptah, you all-in-one and everlasting…”

“The Krampus is a dreg of Creation, the root of jealous anxiety. You don’t feel it yet, but you will quick enough. I exist to clean you up.”

The human that yet survives claims, “This is crazy. Please, let me go. Take all my toys. Please, just allow me to make more.”

“Your type of immortality is a mad idea,” judges Santa Claus. “Well, I’m the balance. You must die – after Christmas this year is sorted out”

The Krampus stammers. “Just take my toys, leave me in peace.”

“I will rescue the kids, too,” Ole Saint Nick pledges.

“What kids?”

“The ones you hypnotize and they make all your toys.”

The Mr. Breckell inside the Krampus tells Santa, “Take them. I’ll make my own toys.”

Ole Nick chuckles. “And just like all your brothers, you will be disappointed to find you can’t keep up.”

Mr. Breckell asks even though he sort of knows, “Who are my brothers?”

He is ignored. Instead, Ole Nick waves a rifle into his face and commands him, “Show me your toys.”

“Yes, yes,” replies the Krampus. He then takes Saint Nicholas to his lair.

The entrance to the ice cave is near. Truly, the two eternal spirits have almost always shuffled through snow over the length of saltwater carved caverns. Having arrived at the cave mouth, the Krampus points toward the dark hole. Uncertain of the intention of the man with the gun, he invites Saint Nicholas inside using only a nod and an arm gesture.

“There is candlelight inside,” promises the Krampus and Mr. Breckell knew.

“You go first,” Santa responds. “I’m right behind you and I’ve got an automatic weapon pointed at the center of your back.”

Before either spirit steps further toward the underground, gaunt and pale children fizz out of the hole as if they were bubbles jumped from a boiling cauldron. All of them smile. They shout in song, “The Krampus!” Apparently impervious to the freezing cold, the skinny kids banter with each other in the snow wearing only pajamas and slippers.

“He doesn’t look like the Krampus,” one boy observes.

A smaller girl tells him, “He smells like the Krampus.”

And the boy replies, “He doesn’t look like him.”

“He will look like one in a hundred years,” another child answers.

Boggled, Saint Nick wonders rhetorically, “What poison?”

Ashamed because of this evidence left by a guilty brother who had come before him, the one who had been Mr. Breckell claims, “I’m sorry – it wasn’t me.”

“You will commit this same crime one day soon. You always do,” Santa retorts. “I’ll be back and shoot you. You can join your brothers… and there will always be another one like you. There has always been.”

Although the children are reluctant, Saint Nicholas gathers them together and puts all the boys and girls the Krampus has kidnapped behind him. He tells the Krampus, “You can make as many toys as you want until then… enough for next Christmas, I expect.”

“You want the toys for Christmas?” reiterates the desperate Krampus. “But they are the days of my life… I’m sure we can work something out.”

The inconceivable notion brings another, “Ho, ho, ho,” from Ole Nick.

“Give me your toys,” Santa Claus orders the Krampus with no condition or exception.

“Please,” the Krampus begs Ole Nick while the children go directed back into the cave to haul out all the unwrapped Christmas presents.

Santa salutes the Krampus, “I loathe your kind – that is just the nature of Creation. Because of you, it has been a hundred years since the world has truly seen what Christmas was meant to be.”

The Krampus presents a feeble defense before the dangerous elf goes away. He says, “Is Christmas all about gifts? Toys that are better made to save the life of a man?”

“You are not a man,” answers Ole Nick.

Near sundown, after a day that seemed to last months, Saint Nicholas tells the Krampus, “I’ll be back before sundown to clear out the rest of your lair. Merry Christmas – you better be gone by then.”

Confused and having nothing sensible to say, the Krampus who had once been Mr. Breckell watches Ole Nick go. The tall, green elf presses the rear of his caravan of gift-bearing slave children. Establishing distance between them and their slaver, Santa Claus calls back to the Krampus from across tundra. “You’re going to die… I’ll kill you myself.”

You can’t hide forever. – you will come out and find another…”

“Even before that, you’ll start collecting slaves…”

“Then I will find you again.”

“You better get those toys made!”

****

After the once been Mr. Breckell finds the recipe for mistletoe poison, and he’s discovered a new lair for his toy workshop, the following news is broadcasted on Christmas day. While half of the United States still awaits dawn, WSIN television newswoman Sue Niam reports in an urgent voice,

“How do I describe it? These worldwide incidents of the opposite of breaking-and-entering are simply pandemic. Homes all over the globe – the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and even Israel – everywhere – have seemingly been forcibly entered by persons who resemble the sixteenth century Father Christmas.”

“Father Christmas is the Jenny Craig Santa Claus who wears green instead of red. Viewers are probably most familiar with him as the Ghost of Christmas Present in the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol.”

Ms. Niam pauses on-air live and she asks an off-camera someone, “Is this a hoax?”

The preened television personality then continues describing, “Images and videos captured all over the world portray a single identical intruder in all these incidents – intruder is not the word for him – because he leaves wrapped presents then disappears”

Her cameraman is told, “Charlie, this is one man. How can one man appear at once in millions of homes?”

The response from the cameraman is loud enough to register on the recording. “I hate wrapping presents.”

“Hold on,” Ms. Niam tells Charlie and her viewing audience. “Reports are coming in saying the intruder carries an automatic military firearm. Our Santa Claus is shooting pets.”

After a moment spent quietly listening to her earphone, Sue Niam tells her audience, “Gunfire has been exchanged… witnesses have reported skirmishes between the intruder and armed homeowners”

Interrupting herself, she states, “We have a caller from Arizona.”

“Hello, Mister Rood? You said you exchanged gunfire with the man dressed as Father Christmas.”

“I sure did.”

Eager to curb the mania in her caller’s voice, Ms. Niam says, “We’re just now learning about the hundreds of incidents. These armed encounters seem focused in the Western half of the world.”

“America!” rallies Mr. Rood. “Damn, yeah.”

Ms. Niam cautions the man from Arizona. “Please, language, Mr. Rood. And it is Christmas Day.”

Mr. Rood grumbles, “Libtards.”

Refocusing the report, Ms. Niam asks her caller, “Can you tell us what happened to you this morning?”

“Yeah, sure,” Mr. Rood grants with heavy breaths. “I heard that sucker rattling my front door at four AM. I don’t go work at Walmart until six fifteen so I heard what was going on.”

The caller raises his voice.

“He come in my house with the ‘Ho, ho, ho’ and touting his rifle. Well, I brought mine.”

Interested in summarizing the witness, the television reporter asks, “How was the gunfire initiated?”

Yelling because of adrenaline, “I shot first – the man was in my home. He shot at me but I think I got him. All the authorities got to do is follow the blood trail. That’s red enough for Christmas for you all.”

– End –

If you liked my story, the least you can do for me is send me a Christmas card. You can do that by buying this story on Smashwords. Merry Holidays (how does that sound?).

– Matthew Sawyer

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I Remember One Saturday Night When I Was About The Age For Middle School

July 31, 2014

 

It must have been a Saturday night. According to a Rule of Life as revealed by the Wisconsin PBS on a Three Stooges television episode, my twin brother and I each took separate baths. I was in my bath.

We didn’t share baths, not anymore, because we were growing up and had become conscious of our anatomy. I don’t know who got the tub first and that does not matter. We never used the same water – Wisconsin is far from California. H-two-O comes to the Midwest from underground springs. And this was my bath.

I was soaking alone when my now-deceased dad barged in. The man had to, “Crap.”

I am pretty sure that’s what he explained and he used that word. He couldn’t wait or even ask how long I might take and finish. The option to abandon my bath never occurred to me nor was suggested by my father. He rushed into the unventilated room, dropped his drawers and immediately squatted upon the pot.

Gad, the odor was horrible. I swear I smelled death coming out of the man. Yeah, by my age then I knew precisely what dead things smelled like. At the same time, I remembered my dad coughing up blood before, in the same house. He left his diseased phlegm in that same un-flushed bowl. His liquid stew was now added to the contaminated cauldron. Thinking back, I recall my family had not yet lived in that house long.

I am certain the bowl had been flushed a number of times between these incidents. And I do mean I imply there anyway grew some infectious disease. Such was my imagination as a child. And being a sharp kid, I rationalized because my family no longer lived in the country or depended on a septic tank, the danger was carried by the city sewers, professionally strained and dumped a decent distance away into Honey Creek. Us kids or those before us, I can’t claim credit, nicknamed that thin waterway, “Shit-crick.”

At home and in my bath, I protested my father. “Why can’t you use the toilet in the basement?”

Nobody hardly ever used the toilet downstairs – it was used that often. The antique throne was in the laundry room. There was a lock on that door.

There was also a lock on the door beside that second toilet, which admitted, the exit opened into an attached garage. The architecture of the house and its plumbing was fashioned upon the foundation of the original stables of the city’s fire department. As were many abodes in my hometown, its prominent features were often cock-eyed.

The second toilet was taller than it’s younger upstairs cousin. The porcelain was cast that way, way back in… I don’t know when. It was old but it worked. I know in order to properly sit upon that particular John, in order to feel as if you have retained your balance and traction – Hey, those about to poop know the movement I’m trying to invoke – one had to sit on the tips of his or her toes.

I loathe to think my dad told me, “The toilet downstairs is broken.”

I knew it worked fine, but I think he said something in that respect. He didn’t know. Dad never did laundry or park the car in the garage.

“How could he know,” I grumbled to myself and held my nose. I am sure I answered something equivalent. Such was my attitude back then.

I crouched naked in the tub and grew anxious I retain some peace and dignity. Yeah, the man was unquestionably my biological father but I just did not know him well. I slept on the sun porch each morning he woke before dawn and smoked himself hoarse in the adjacent kitchen and I just never really knew enough to trust him. I didn’t want to know him, especially after suffering the second hand odiousness of his lungs. I would not because of random absurdities like this evening.

I didn’t like what I did know about him. For example, I knew he had not even considered using the second toilet because he was short guy. His legs would have dangled free from atop the seat. Swept like blowing curtains, his squashed and inverted trousers would have brushed silverfish and daddy longlegs across the bare and cold concrete floor. My own feet then already touched the ground but barely.

He hated being conscious of himself. He was that guy who refused to try on new hats because he believed his head was too small, smaller than anyone he knew. And dad never hunted for alternatives. He never explored, ask other people or just pick a different hat. Dangit. His static self-destruction was infuriating. Religion cemented my distrust of him.

For on that Saturday night years ago, I interpreted the Curse of Ham had come down and been revisited upon me. Satan engineered my damnation beyond my control. For that night, as had the iniquitous son of Noah, I glimpsed the Junk of My Father. I wondered if my dad or mom knew my tragedy. Neither of my parents regularly attended church and they usually went only on Christmas and for weddings. So I doubted either understood me.

I knew right away I was preordained for Hell. The United Church of Christ helped me realize everyone’s general fate. Here was mine in particular. The shameful vision was all that was required. The sight of the man’s spud-ish cudgel knocked me into the Lake of Fire. I felt the shame of Adam, and I sat naked, cowering beneath the noxious and invisible cloud of an indifferent god.

Mortified and left alone after a sponge-inducing ten minutes or forever, I collected myself, dressed and shunned the desecrated chamber. There was nothing more to my Fall. At bottom, there was no more to go. Even there, I did not wish my father to Hell. Soon after, a truthful stranger told me the place could not exist.

Almost twenty years after the death of my father and much further away, I do regret I could not say to him what I have tried to tell him so abrupt and at his end. There is nothing my father must answer. He missed me as much as I did him. And I decided I would make my own standards because no true ones were dictated to me. While I took care of the ‘me,’ I needed the man to save himself. Even today, I expect this miraculous thing from a father. I got a stinking memory.

 

– – Matthew Sawyer

 

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Lazarus the Pig

December 7, 2013

 Matthew Sawyer's Pazuzu Trilogy

Children throughout the Shur desert, Chosen and UnChosen alike, attend mandatory lessons in the same classrooms. The Church does not discriminate. There is no segregation among these people. This Saturday afternoon, the plump supplemental school teacher tells eight year old boys and girls “Our two social classes are united against bloodthirsty heathens. You do remember who they are, right? superstitious animals who destroy our cities. Evil.”

Chosen and UnChosen children alike are educated about this singular threat to the oasis parishes in which they cower. Today, a full class in the unguarded city of Gomorrah learns from a Chosen teacher “A marked difference between the composition of Church parishes is simply geographical – a majority of Chosen people live inside walled cities such as our capitol, Khetam.”

She tells them “Descendants of UnChosen workman, those men who physically built the defensive barrier, are also permitted to live behind the protection of the Wall.”

Ms. Mendel worships. “Praise the Church and its wisdom. How else would we have water?”

Benedict Ishkott thinks over the question. Deeper, the boy contemplates the unclassified information Ms. Mendel has imparted.

“Hell with that,” he says to himself inside. As quietly, Ben whispers “I wish I was Chosen.”

Inflected with equivalent disdain, the boy asks his teacher aloud “Where do heathens get water?”

Ms. Mendel laughs. “Silly, they drink blood.”

Ben stutters “But…”

Before the kid recovers his sensibility, the plump teacher comments. “I’ll tell all you children something the Church doesn’t talk about anymore.”

“Is is illegal?” asks a little girl. Her name is Tamara.

Ms. Mendel says “No, this was before visual media was banned.”

“What?” the whole of the pubescent kids wonder together. The question feels as would an ocean wave all these children will never feel roll over even one.

Their teacher replies “Printed materials – book, magazines. Television and movies.”

The examples Ms. Mendel provide are as ephemeral as unseen seas. Any nostalgia reflected in the faces of these children is merely a pining recollection inherited from their parents. A whole generation has passed since the ban had been enacted.

Difficult still, Ben queries concerning the restrictions the Church levied upon communication – all that remains is radio broadcast military bulletins and Church doctrines. “Why?”

Ms. Mendel knows what the boy is curious about. “Images are subversive, Ben. And there was that discovery of background cosmic radiation. The Church will allow no avenue into the world. The Chosen will dictate when the Mortal God will be allowed to join his creation.”

“What were you gonna tell us about, Ms. Mendel?” demands a precocious little boy.

Ms. Mendel gives the kid respect he obviously lacks for his genetic superiors. Judah Ismael here is UnChosen, but his father has money. The Ismael family commands crime all throughout Gomorrah. This power makes each of them equivalent any priest in the Church beside the pontiff. The Chosen school teacher defers to the kid’s unquestionable might.

“I was going to tell you children about Lazy the Pig.”

Judah says “Go on.”

The woman clears her throat and actually presses out a frown with the palm of her hand. “Okay, all of you know how heathens lay siege to walled cities, right?”

After a breath, Ms. Mendel adds “All right, this is about a cartoon.”

“Huh?” Judah grunts. Other kids copy his response.

Ms. Mendel insists “Let me explain, this is the origin of a cartoon called Lazy the Pig. This story is in the Bible. I can petition the Church and read it to you directly. They’ll give me permission, I’m sure.”

“No,” all the kids groan.

Empowered, Ms. Mendel tells her class “This happened long after the crucifixion.”

The woman inhales, holds her breath then says “This happened about 420 AD.”

She is still stingy with her air and claims “But Masada isn’t very far from here.”

A story accompanies her exhalation.

“I don’t think any of you children have heard about the Siege of Masada but I know your parents know what happened. Masada was built on a steep hill – a mesa, really. And there was a wall around that. Well, heathens slaughtered its division of the Chosen military – for what it was in those times – and the enemy breached the wall. But they couldn’t get into the city itself.”

Judah insists “What about the pig?”

Ben wonders “Where did Masada get water?”

Ms. Mendel is quick and snaps “Lazy is why the siege came to an end. The heathens lost and the Chosen prevailed. The UnChosen did nothing to help even then.”

The woman’s outburst has no impact on the little Ismael. The boy decides he sits quietly and waits for a more complete answer. His passive demeanor prompts the teacher and Ms. Mendel continues her story.

“Heathens surrounded Masada forty months. Thank the wisdom of the Church, the Chosen had stored provisions for just that long. Food, water – they had livestock, too, but in the end the animals became diseased.”

Tamara wonders “Did the UnChosen of Masada die?”

“A few, some.”

Ben asks the teacher “What about Chosen?”

“No,” Ms. Mendel attests with a smile. “There was a miracle.”

“The Chosen are never helpless, even when we’re starved and locked behind walls. Our power manifested that day.”

“What happened?” Tamara asks but the teacher already speaks. The girl boggles at what she hears.

“The Chosen didn’t die and the heathens were running out of food, too. The enemy didn’t have stores like the Chosen of Masada but they did bring their women. The heathen impregnated their wives, aborted their babies then ate the dead fetuses. Some of them were still alive.”

Giggles and gasps divide the class.

“In the end, all either side could do is taunt each other. Heathens did something else that isn’t in the Chosen Bible, it might be in their book…”

“Their clay tablets, their mud pies,” Judah chuckles.

Ms. Mendel laughs with the boy. “If they ever learned to write.”

The woman returns to her story. “The Chosen of Masada eviscerated a sick pig – they tore out the animal’s guts because heathens have this strange idea that heaven is located in the intestines. Then the people of Masada erected the disemboweled carcass upon a cross. The beams of that cross were arranged the same as the one used when we crucified the Mortal God.”

“Were the heathens pissed?” inquires a disturbingly attentive Ismael.

“No,” confesses Ms. Mendel. “So the Chosen catapulted the dead animal into the heathen army.”

Judah laughs so loud that Ms. Mendel must stop talking until the boy needs air. The woman thinks what comes next will help the kid split his side open. When his echo is done, she tells more.

“At first, nothing happened. The heathens were too afraid and wouldn’t touch it. Then the pig came to life.”

A tumult of laughter deafens the giggling class. Nobody hears Ben ask “Without its guts?”

Ms. Mendel yells above the noise “And the heathens ran away.”

The class quiets enough and the teacher summarizes a sermon. “The children of Masada – not one older than any of you kids – children shouted after the retreating army. They screamed.”

“There’s your Living God. His name is Lazarus. Lazy the Pig.”

“All the Chosen and the UnChosen who survived laughed because the heathen ran from their god. That’s where the cartoon came from,” she tells her class.

Chuckling, she concludes this day’s lesson. “Heathens say their Living God will return and destroy us. We point and laugh at their pig. We used to, on TV.”

“What about the Mortal God,” Ben asks the woman. “Aren’t the Chosen and heathen gods the same?”

Ms. Mendel promises the boy “No gods are getting into our cities. Chosen lock their doors.”

 

 

Like this story? Read Matthew Sawyer’s goddamn Pazuzu Trilogy. All of it. The epic languishes.

 

 

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The Monsters in O’Melveny Park

November 9, 2013

Monsters bred from the artist’s Mortui Philosophies sketchbooks.

Art and Animation
Matthew Sawyer

“Gypsy Shoegazer No Voices” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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