Friday, June 22, 2018

THE JOHN BRUNI MUSEUM OF MEDIOCRE (AT BEST) SHIT #58: THE WILD WEST SHOW

[I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for this story. I love it, flaws and all. I grew up going to a wild west town out in Union, IL. I loved that place. I had a lot of fun there. It's mostly geared toward kids, but I'm still tempted to go back there and just hang out. Maybe pan for fool's gold. I don't remember if I was still in college when I wrote this. I suspect it was just after I graduated. Some of this story is even true. Not the ending, though. The ending was something my grandmother always worried about. How do you know know that the guy with a gun strapped to his hip is one of the actors? Can you know? Really?]



1

When Harry got up that morning, he had no idea that it would be the worst day of his life. His only thought was to wonder how much time there was before he could pick up his son.

Little Charlie was one of the few reasons he continued to live. At ten years of age and already five-nine, he was the light of Harry’s dark life. Well, he supposed his life hadn’t been all that dark; he had been born to parents who were pretty well off, he had gone to good schools, he had won awards for his athleticism in college. He had even been working at a good job. It’s just that recently, his life was a dark moat crawling with tragic ordeals.

Everything started going bad when Harry’s parents and brother, who had been on their way to a wedding., had gotten into a car crash. His mother and brother died instantly, but his father, minus both arms and legs, managed to hold on for a day longer. Harry started going with his older brother, Max, to bars, where they would spend their nights getting drunk and remembering their childhood.

When Max finally got his grief out of his system, he moved on, leaving Harry to drink alone. Harry, not one to go drinking in public alone, gave up the bars and started bringing bottles of whiskey home. He usually sat in his study, drinking at least a fifth a night.

Eventually he lost his job because the quality of his work went down. Some days he even came to work drunk. Other days he didn’t bother to show up at all. His wife Carla covered for him for a while, calling him in sick, but when he lost his job, she started losing sympathy for her husband. She started confronting him about his illness, quoting books she read on alcoholism.

Harry shrugged it all off, but one night Carla told him that he was setting a bad example for Charlie. For some reason (he could never figure out why despite the sleepless nights he spent thinking about it), that angered him more than the rest of Carla’s babbling, and he did something he never thought he’d do. He struck his wife with not an open hand but a fist. She reeled back, her cheek puffy and red, and he instantly regretted what he had done. But no matter how many pleas and I’m-sorrys that spewed from his mouth, Carla remained adamant in taking Charlie and leaving.

A week later she filed for divorce. Harry signed all the papers willingly, but he cried the whole time. And it wasn’t just because Carla got the house, the new car, and just about everything else (including Charlie), but also because all of it was his fault. It could have been avoided if he had just listened to his wife, but oh no. He was too busy with his close friend, Jack. Or Jim, if money was tight.

Harry “vacated the premises” (which was how Carla’s lawyer referred to Harry’s exit) and rented an apartment. He started going to AA, one of the stipulations of the visitation rights granted by the judge.

Now he managed to get another job (not as much pay as before, but it was still enough to get by), and he hadn’t had a drink in three months. The pain from his dead parents and brother was as dulled as it would get, and for the first time in a long time he felt optimistic.

There was nothing that he loved to do more than spend a Saturday with Charlie.

When he arrived at his wife’s house, Harry was greeted at the door by Bob, Carla’s boyfriend.

“How you doing, Bob?” Harry asked.

“Fine, fine,” Bob said, running a hand over his perfectly sculpted Ken-doll hair. “I’ll get Charlie.”

Harry waited on the porch that once was his. He never entered the house anymore. Too many memories. Besides, he was content to look at the potted plants by either side of the door.

“Daddy!”

Harry looked into the foyer as Charlie bounded toward him. They embraced, and Harry thought back to the old days, when Charlie used to jump into his arms. Now Charlie was getting too big (not to mention Harry was getting too old) for that type of thing. Harry was only six feet himself, and he knew that in a few years, Charlie would be taller than his old man.

“How ya’ doin’ there, li’l pilgrim?” Harry drawled in his best John Wayne imitation. Charlie, who had just recently discovered the Duke, was ecstatic. They released each other.

“Are we gonna’ watch a John Wayne movie tonight?” Charlie asked.

“Maybe later,” Harry said. “For now, I got an even better treat.”

“What?”

“You’ll see.” Harry winked.

“Where are you two going today?”

Harry looked around Charlie and saw Carla standing between the plants, her arms crossed. Harry didn’t think Carla would ever forgive him, and he knew Bob would never accept him, so he usually hurried to get out of there.

He leaned in close to Carla, who backed up slightly. He was going to whisper in her ear so Charlie couldn’t hear, but he decided that might not be a good idea. “I’m taking him to the Wild West Show,” he said.

Charlie cheered and ran inside the house, whooping like a drunken cowhand.

“Where’s that?” Carla asked.

“It’s maybe an hour west,” Harry said. “Out by Loester.”

“That far?”

“Yeah, but Charlie’ll love it. I know I did, when I was his age.”

“Just make sure he doesn’t eat too much,” she said.

Harry nodded, and Charlie reappeared, still whooping, but now he was dressed like a cowboy, complete with plastic spurs, a white hat, and a holster with two cap guns in it.

“You ready?” Harry asked.

“Yet bet!” Charlie let loose with a “YEE-HAWWWWWWW!”

“Did you eat yet?”

“No, he didn’t,” Carla said.

“We’ll stop at McDonald’s first, okay?”

As Charlie nodded with vigorous approval, Harry reached into his shirt pocket and took out the child support check. She handed it to Carla, who examined it before pocketing it.

“Say goodbye to your mother,” Harry said.

“Goodbye to your mother!” Charlie chirped and laughed.

2

They stopped at McDonald’s, where Charlie had a cheeseburger Happy Meal, and Harry had a Big Mac. Harry asked Charlie about school, a subject the fifth-grader wasn’t too keen on. He did well (straight B’s with the occasional A or C), but he didn’t make many friends. His fellow students made fun of his tall, gaunt shape. Not that he was fed poorly. Charlie reminded Harry of Jughead from the Archie comics; he could eat like a king and still remain thin as a pauper. Carla’s mother was fond of saying he should eat more and “put some meat on those scrawny bones.” Charlie didn’t mind, though. He thought he looked like John Carradine in Stagecoach.

The day before, however, Charlie got in trouble for trying to recreate the mud fight in McClintock!, which wounded two third graders and ruined about fifteen sets of clothes, one of which belonged to the principal.

Harry gave the usual reprimands (“you should be more careful,” “that was a stupid thing to do,” and, of course, the classic, “promise me you’ll never do that again”), but he found himself trying not to laugh during Charlie’s description. Besides, it was not all that different from something Harry had tried himself when he was Charlie’s age. He had taken his father’s archery set to school, and dressed as a Native American, he shot a bunch of arrows in the gymnasium, howling like what his gym teacher called “a Injun.”

Aside from getting in trouble, Charlie was also supposed to do a state project, meaning he had to pick a state and do a report on it. When Harry asked which state, Charlie said, “Vermont, because the guy who wrote those Soup books lives there.”

When they were finished eating, they hit the road to the Wild West Show, listening to the radio and talking about Westerns. An hour and a half later, they were pulling into the Wild West Show’s parking lot.

“It looks like a town in the West,” Charlie said reverently as he took off his seat belt and slid out of the car. Harry joined him, and they headed for the gate, where Harry coughed up ten dollars for admission.

The day went rather smoothly, Harry thought, until the pony ride. The first thing they did was go through a gift shop, where Charlie begged for Harry to buy him a vast number of things. While Harry nixed the pleas for replica guns, Western clothes, and the like, he did give in on buying a marshal’s badge, a couple of wooden nickels (“Didn’t yer pappy never tell ya not ta’ take no wooden nickels?” the clerk asked when he rang them up), a piece of petrified wood, and a packet of replica Confederate money. After that, Charlie took roping lessons from a guy dressed up like a cowboy. The same guy also tried to give Charlie hatchet-throwing lessons, at which he failed miserably, eliciting a series of horsey laughs from Charlie.

Then they went for a ride on a miniature train, after which they stopped in a saloon for a couple of Cokes. Then it was on to Charlie’s favorite part: the shootout. Five actors took guns that fired stage blanks and ran about, acting out a ten-minute play. Before they began, the actor that played the marshal gave a speech about how you should always be careful with guns, even ones loaded with blanks. He illustrated this last point by shooting at a soda can from close range with a blank. The can ended up with a small hole in one side and a frighteningly big hole on the other.

After the show came the pony ride, where the nice day went to hell. Charlie stood in a line of children, all smaller than he. When it got to be his turn, the cowgirl eyed him carefully.

“Yer too tall fer this ride,” she said. “Sorry, pilgrim.”

“But I wanna’ ride the pony,” Charlie said, his voice raising an octave.

“Sorry,” the cowgirl said again. “Yer too tall.”

Charlie looked to his father, his lips quivering. Harry said, “He’s only ten years old.”

The cowgirl didn’t look like she believed him, but she said, “That may be, but he’s still too tall.”

Harry sighed. “Come on, Charlie. Let’s go pan for gold.”

Charlie started crying, and Harry put an arm around his son’s shoulder, leading him away so the next in line could have his turn.

“It’s all right, Charlie. Let’s go get some fool’s gold.”

Still, Charlie cried on. Then, out of the Marshal’s Office ambled a tall (maybe six-three or -four), well-built man with a more than passing resemblance to Sam Elliott. He wore a tin star and the usual cowboy attire. As soon as Marshal Sam saw Charlie, he stopped in front of the boy.

“What’s ailin’ the li’l pilgrim?” he drawled.

“They wouldn’t let him on the pony,” Harry said.

The marshal (not the same one from the shootout) put his hands on his knees and lowered himself slightly so he could look Charlie in the eyes. “Ya know, we don’t allow cryin’ in my town,” he said with a gentle smile. “Dry those eyes, li’l pilgrim, ‘fore some lynch mob sees ya.”

Charlie sniffed. “Lynch mob? Like in Young Guns 2?”

“Yep,” the marshal said.

“I don’t see no lynch mobs.”

The marshal straightened up. “Then I guess I’ll have ta’ take ya myself.” His hand drifted down to the butt of his gun.

Charlie’s face broke out into a smile, and he imitated the marshal’s hand. “Make your move, lawman.”

Harry would have worried about the marshal’s gun, except he remembered the other marshal talking about how the guns everyone wore outside the shootout stage couldn’t fire at all, not even blanks.

The marshal pulled his gun, but Charlie was faster. He fired off a bunch of caps before the marshal could even clear his holster. The marshal grimaced, grabbed his chest, and fell down. Charlie laughed as he twirled his cap gun on his finger, then holstered it.

“Ya . . . no good . . . varmint!” the marshal gasped from on the ground. He lifted his gun, pointing it at Charlie.

Charlie went for his gun again, but this time the marshal pulled his trigger first. There was a loud crack, and Harry jerked, his heart rabid in his chest. It was too loud to be a cap, so at first he thought the marshal had fired a blank. When he saw his son collapse with blood squirting out of his head as if he was a water fountain, Harry thought, No way. This is a dream. A damn nightmare.

The marshal fired twice more, and Charlie’s body jumped with each shot. That struck it home. Harry knew this was real.

“Charlie!” he screamed, and he ran to his son. Harry knelt down next to Charlie and pulled him into his arms, turning him over to see his face. He looked into his son’s eyes, but it was like examining a pair of blank television screens. There was a third eye in his forehead, like something out of a sci-fi movie, except this eye was red, and it was crying.

“No,” Harry croaked. “Please no. God no. Wake up, Charlie. Please wake up.”

A shadow fell over Charlie’s body like a shroud, and Harry knew without looking up that it was the marshal. “Quick pilgrim,” he said. “Not all that smart, though.”

Each word stabbed into Harry’s heart, burned his eyes, flayed his mind. He heard something crunching in his head and realized he was grinding his teeth.

He killed Charlie. He killed Charlie. Hekilledcharlie!

The mobius thought charged through his mind as he gently placed Charlie’s head down and looked at the marshal, who was looking down at the corpse of his victim with a gaze akin to one trying to figure out whether a painting was art or not.

Harry roared and jumped at the marshal, tackling him to the ground. His hands went for the marshal’s throat, and he began to squeeze as hard as he could, which wasn’t much. His stint as an alcoholic had taken much of his strength away.

The marshal struggled under him, but all Harry cared about was squeezing the fetid black soul from this murderer’s body. He felt his fingers sinking into flesh like dough, not even aware of the yell pouring from his own mouth in a perpetual biblical flood.

He felt something press against his belly, but he paid it no mind; he was too busy with the pulsing skin in his palms.

There was a crack, and he felt pain, but he would never relinquish his grasp on the marshal’s throat. Not if he could help it.

He heard two more shots, and he began to worry that he might not be able to hold on long enough. The world was lopsided and fading. His hands no longer felt strong, and the next thing he knew the world vanished into darkness.

3

Charles Harold Fleming was pronounced dead at 4:30 pm by a paramedic. The ambulance packed Harry in the back and headed for the hospital, where the bleeding was stopped. Harry was stitched up, but the doctors knew he would never walk again. Still, they said, Harry was lucky. He did, after all, survive.

Harry didn’t look at it that way. Upon waking up, he remembered that Charlie was dead, gunned down by a maniac dressed as an Old West marshal. The news that he was paralyzed from the waist down didn’t help matters, either.

The worst part, though, was when Carla and Bob came into his room. Carla was bawling her eyes out, and Bob was playing the role of the comforting boyfriend. The first thing out of her mouth wasn’t hello. It wasn’t how-are-you-I’m-really-sorry. It was:

“How could you let our son die?!”

Bob gently tried to shush her, but it was no use. She just kept on shouting curses and questions at Harry, who could do nothing buy cry.

The detective that took his statement told him that the marshal was really a man called Wesley William Johnson, and he didn’t even work at the Wild West Show. Johnson had been a patient at a mental institution who thought he was living a Western. Unfortunately, he had no insurance, and the shrinks had to let him go. Besides, they thought he was harmless.

Johnson ended up killing a couple more people (one of them being the real marshal from the shootout play) before he was gunned down by the police.

Carla’s lawyer was busily preparing a case against the institution, the Wild West Show, and Harry Fleming, but Harry didn’t pay much attention.

He was too drunk for that.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

THE JOHN BRUNI MUSEUM OF MEDIOCRE (AT BEST) SHIT #57: HORRORSHOW

[I remember seeing Michael Allen Rose after performing my first reading ever. He was surprised that this was my first reading because it went really well. Fast forward a few years. I found the manuscript you are about to read. Imagine my surprise when I remembered that I actually did do an earlier reading waaaaaaay back in college. It was a poetry reading at a coffee shop in Elmhurst (which, by the way, no longer exists). I did it to impress a girl, which did not work out. I was so green that when I got to a part where I cursed out loud, I actually said sorry to my audience.

I wanted to write a love poem to horror movies using quotes from those movies. I grabbed every VHS horror tape I owned and went through them, looking for quotes that really stood out. The stanzas each represent a different decade. Reading it now, there is some kind of structure, aside from the refrain from Bride of Frankenstein. Not much. Probably unintentional. See if you can match the movies to the quotes.

In fact, now might be a good time for a contest. Let's see how many of you truly love horror movies. Some quotes are pretty easy. Others . . . not so much. The first person who sends me a complete list of the movies I quote below will win a copy of my new book, BLOOD. Failing that, whoever gets the most correct wins. I can't really forbid you from using Google, but try not to cheat. The contest ends on June 30 at 11:59 pm CST. Without further ado . . .]



“How do you do? Mr. Carl Laemmle feels that it would be a little unkind to present this picture without just a word of friendly warning. We’re about to unfold the story of Frankenstein, a man of science who sought to create a man after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. It deals with the two great mysteries of creation: life and death. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you do not care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now’s your chance to . . . well, we’ve warned you.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“Call all the elders of the community together to pray. The stars predict disaster.”
“Damn it, I don’t like it! You’re tampering with the supernatural!”
“His eyes are ghastly beads in which there is no light—like holes in a grinning skull! His face is like leprous parchment, yellow skin strung tight over protruding bones! His nose—there is no nose!”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“Master, the sun is gone!”
“That body is not dead. It has never lived. I created it. I made it with my own hands from the bodies I took from graves, from the gallows, anywhere.”
“Corpses taken from their graves, all made to work in sugar mills and fields at night.”
“We didn’t lie to you, folks. We told you we have living, breathing monstrosities. You laugh at them, shudder at them, and yet, but for the accident of birth you might be even as they are.”
“Sometimes he drinks heavily. A night like this will set him going, and once he’s drunk he’s rather dangerous.”
“Death. Eternal punishment for anyone who opens this casket. In the name of Amon-Ra, the king of the gods.”
“When I am dead, my funeral . . . you will bury me at dusk in the clothes I told you. You will place the figure of Anubis at the west of the inner chamber . . . And on the night of the full moon, at the first star I will make my offering of the eternal light to Anubis, opener of ways. If I have done well in his sight, those fingers will close over the door, and he will open to me the gates of immortality.”
“It’s easier, really, if you’re clever. A few chemicals mixed together, that’s all. And flesh and blood and bone just fade away. A little of this injected under the skin of the arm every day for a month. An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob or rape or kill!”
“It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is full of monsters.”
“You fool. You insulting beast. I will kill you but honestly and fairly. I challenge you to combat with any weapon you choose. Sword, dagger, mace, lance, stones, a horse, a foot, standing on our heads! Or your favorite joust, with wine.”
“Oh, by the way, your place cards are rather amusing. If you care to glance at them, you’ll find something to your disadvantage. In this corner is a figure which gives you the order in which you are to die tonight, and in this corner the exact time. You will be the first, Judge Bowman, at exactly 7:00. In fact, you have a trifle less than two minutes to live.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“Even a man who’s pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
“He’s a beast, an animal. And someday I’ll have to destroy him.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“Crimes of violence will be reproduced in wax and exhibited while they are still fresh in the public mind.”
“My boys call it the Black Lagoon. The paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.”
“I’m Fredrick Lawrence, and I’ve rented the house on Haunted Hill tonight so that my wife can give a party. A haunted house party. She’s so amusing. There’ll be food and drink and ghosts and perhaps even a few murders. You’re all invited. If any of you will spend the next twelve hours in this house, I’ll give you each ten thousand dollars, or your next of kin in case you don’t survive. Ah, but here come our guests.”
“A scream at the right time can save your life.”
“Sure. You loved her. That’s why you chased her through the swamp with a shotgun.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“In 1692, Elizabeth Selwyn went to the stake. She was buried in the churchyard in New England. And yet, three years later . . . three years later a new wave of blood sacrifices broke out from the village that had condemned her. The daughters of the elders who had condemned her were themselves found murdered with every drop of blood drained from their bodies, and afterwards, people came forward to testify that they had actually seen Elizabeth Selwyn.”
“My mother . . . um . . . what is the phrase? She isn’t quite herself today.”
“Now, no Novocain. It dulls the senses.”
“Nobody ever leaves me.”
“Surely as the village of Arkham is risen up against me, so shall I rise from the dead against the village of Arkham.”
“An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for ninety years and might stand for ninety more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
“But don’t forget you saw her, too. Perhaps we’re both mad.”
“Oh Satanis! I bring to you this girl with the humble hope that you will accept her quickly. Let thy power envelop her senses, and let thy cold be thrust upon her being for all the days she has upon her.”
“And now the spider gets to give the bug a big sting.”
“Tomorrow you are taking the little czar to the frozen river. While you are there, you will see to it that he meets with an accident.”
“I’m not mad, you know. They call me Mad Peter because I find it difficult to grasp some of the things that seem so important nowadays, like being able to make money. But I’m not mad. I’m just a little vague, sensitive. This is an evil place!”
“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“I have used my knowledge of music and acoustics to recreate my voice.”
“But no one’s ever got the better of Phibes, sir. To our uncertain knowledge, he’s already killed fifteen men. You can’t hope to win.”
“How many merits does an Eagle scout get for seducing a Brownie?”
“The pound of flesh Antonio owed to Shylock. It’s Lionheart, all right. Only he would have the temerity to rewrite Shakespeare.”
“Now, those children out there, they are jumping through the flames in the hope that the god of fire will make them fruitful. Really, you can hardly blame them. After all, what girl would not prefer the child of a god to that of some acne-scarred artisan?”
“Let Jesus fuck you! Let Jesus fuck you! Let him fuck you!”
“They’re all going to laugh at you!”
“Do you believe the dead are returning to life and attacking the living?”
“Certain sources have indicated an increase of incidents involving cannibalism, but the government has denied this categorically.”
“The greatest mysteries in the world are not mysteries at all unless we take the time to become familiar with them.”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“I said I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just going to bash your brains in. I’m going to bash them right the fuck in. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“First, right after it happened, I was in shock. I just functioned automatically. I didn’t feel anything. Then one day it hit me: Julianne and Kathy are gone. I just kept walking around the apartment saying it over and over and over. They’re gone, they’re gone. I guess I was about half-crazy.”
“You’re going to Camp Blood, ain’t you?”
“He’s an old man over fifty years. You’d think you’d know what he’s capable of.”
“Meteorshit!”
“Your torments call us like dogs in the night, and we do feed and feed well.”
“I stood there and watched him kill that girl.”
“She had the smell of a brand-new car. That’s just about the finest smell in the world, except maybe for pussy.”
“The feathers are a clear sign to keep away. If you don’t, the trail will disappear behind you.”
“We’re gonna get you. We’re gonna get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.”
“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again.”
“Your worship, the animal in question is by no means a normal product of nature. Its armor is a thick layer of gristle that can’t be penetrated by a rifle shot unless it’s fired from underneath it.”
“The closet door was open. Not much. Just a crack.”
“Gatlin? They ain’t nothing in Gatlin.”
“Help yourself, fucker!”
“Upset. Grief-stricken. You don’t know what those words mean. My son was torn to pieces. Pieces! My son was torn to pieces! And you come in here and talk to these men about private justice? You dare do that?”
“I am Peter Vincent, vampire killer!”
“See? It wants me. It wants food. But it has no stomach. It can take no nourishment from what it ingests. It’s working on instinct.”
“The important question is, where do they get all the skeletons with the perfect teeth? I’m going to ask you a serious question. How many people you know die with a beautiful set of choppers in their puss?”
“And what would the note say, Dan? Cat dead, details later?”
“Old people’s history is written in blood on pages of flesh.”
“Do you know what they do to girls like Nicole? Huh? They chop her up and film it to show it to the psychos. Is that what you want?”
“Your goddam stupidity is the reason my son is dead.”
“I dare you to pull your eye out.”
“They are . . . delicious.”
“Honey, come on over here, sugarbuns. This machine just called me an asshole.”
“I said, where’s the fucking bourbon?”
“But that coffee machine was fucking defective, and we’ve got to nail the bastards so no one else gets killed.”
“It’s the damnedest thing, Sam. His eyes are burned out. Never saw anything like it.”
“My neighborhood is the target of some maniac, and my sister’s been kidnapped, probably by the same guy. How are you this morning?”
“Don’t let them bury me. I’m not dead!”
“What do you think’s happening? A guy got creamed, that’s what happened. Happens all the time.”
“That’s it, Johnny. Take a good look. However cleverly you sneak up on a mirror, your reflection always looks you straight in the eye.”
“You bastards! You dirty bastards! Give me back my hand! Give me back my hand!”
“Every drop of blood you spilled was more flesh on my bones, and we both want that, don’t we?”
“You think you’ve got what it takes? I’ve been guarding my game for a long time, bitch.”
“Well, the wall was built to mark the stream. Supposedly, the evil spirits that haunt the land can’t cross over running water or something.”
“You’re looking at vengeance. Cruel, devious, pure as venom vengeance.”
“Give me the power, I beg of you!”
“You’re going up there to take on Casper the fucking ghost. You don’t need a detective. You need Bill Murray, for Christ’s sake.”
“You admit that it’s possible for a piece of glass to retain the image of someone who sits in front of it for a great period of time?”
“Well, I’ve been watching them on and off all day, and they don’t seem to be making any movements. They just stand there.”
“Is she delicious, or am I crazy?”
“This is the place where the dead speak. Don’t go on, Doc, no matter how much you feel you have to. Do not go on to the place where the dead walk.”
“You just still don’t understand, do you? This is no longer about just reanimating the dead. We will create new life!”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”

“I’ve done life. Now, I’m doing death.”
“What’s the big deal? You swish a little alcohol in the hole, you tape it shut, it’s fixed.”
“So why did you end the story on an image of children burying this old man?”
“See, according to this, you’re already dead.”
“A small, twisted deformity whose most striking feature is an unnervingly human face.”
“They’d stake one of our boys to the ground, through his hands, through his feet, they stake him like Jesus. Then they make the cut just above the abdomen. Now, this isn’t a fatal cut. This is merely an entry wound. Then they get a rat. A real hungry rat, one that hadn’t been feeding for about a week, and they put it on the wound, and they’d stick its nose down inside.”
“Good. Kill it, bury it and bring me its tail so I can throw it in the fire and watch it burn.”
“Life’s a bitch, and then you die. Usually.”
“Every town has an Elm Street.”
“I am dead. Let me go. Wake me, and let me go.”
“I blew it up. Mm-hm. ‘Fraid so. I blew the shit out of it. And if you ever want to go home again, you’re going to have to do it with a shovel.”
“Not lying down dead, my friend. Walking around in my fucking cell dead!”
“His right hand is sawn off, and he has a hook jammed in the bloody stump. And if you look in the mirror, and you say his name five times, he’ll appear behind you, breathing down your neck. Wanna try it?”
“That’s right. I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I’m here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.”
“Hail to the king, baby.”
“The devil is among us. Stay back, boy. This calls for divine intervention! I kick ass for the Lord!”
“For within the pages of the Necronomicon lie the very secrets of the universe both past and future.”
“We are human beings. Plural. Each of us is two separate beings. Now, there’s the outer being, the one we show to the world at large. Inhibited, timid, often a pathological liar. And then there’s the inner being. The truthful one. Passionate, uninhibited, even lustful. Most of us keep that inner being hidden away, locked up. He doesn’t have to do that. He doesn’t have to hide it. He doesn’t have to keep it from anything. He can let it out, bring it out into the open, let it live, let it breathe. Hell, he can let it party, man. Give it the car keys in let it ride! In fact, he has to do that. It’s essential. The writer has to let that inner being out of the lock-up. He has to let it have a voice in his work, otherwise the work itself will be inhibited, timid, without passion. It’ll be a pack of lies.”
“You really must excuse me if I don’t join you, but I have already dined, and I never drink . . . wine.”
“Forgive me, Lord. I have to sin.”
“However it happens, once the story dies, the evil is set free.”
“What of my soul? Do I have one? Or is that the part you left out? Who were these people of which I am comprised? Good people? Bad people?”
“Miss Webb, I have been to hundreds of houses, countless seances, and I have never yet seen something that can’t be explained in rational terms. The people I have met all have one thing in common: pain.”
“Those acts of God really stick it in and break it off, don’t they?”
“This is reality. Hear that? Reality.”
“There are two worlds of magic. One is the glittering domain of the illusionist. The other is a secret place, where magic is a terrifying reality. Here, men have the power of demons, and Death itself is an illusion.”
“This is bullshit, Mark. Reality, bullshit. Bullshit, reality. Bullshit.”
“I didn’t kill her. I fucked her, okay?”
“Me? I’m just another chunk of meat lost in brain land.”
“I’m being erased!”
“My body is a roadmap of pain.”
“Oh sure. He came back from the dead, he raped her and bit her to death. Is that what he did?”
“Rednecks. Just ‘cause us good ol’ boys like to stick it to our sisters every now and then does not give you a reason to oppress us. Redneck Zombies. Shit. My neck ain’t red. You call a member of the undead a zombie, why, that’s like callin’ an Eye-talian a dago!”
“I hope you don’t mind me slicing you across the face like that. It’s just I get so sick of, you know, stomachs and chests.”
“Give me the power, I beg of you!”
“We must all go through a rite of passage. And it must be physical. It must be painful. And it must leave a mark.”
“The creature remains undiscovered.”
“Yet legend tells a different story, one whose evidence is all around us, etched in stone.”
“I see dead people.”
“Does it hurt to be dead?”
“I am not your monster!”

“To a new world of—!”

“Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive. It’s alive. It’s moving. It’s alive. IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE! In the name of God, now I know what it feels like to be God!”

“To a new world of gods and monsters!”