Nightmare Number One

Am I real? My feet feel like blades. They carve into the ground. Am I here? I turn my gaze to the window, swamped in contempt with myself. Am I dreaming? My head feels like a vacant tomb. I am immobilized. And the children sing: He's here. He's here. The Boogeyman is here.


Some facts about Me

I have ten imaginery friends.
I don't believe in magic. I believe in fantasies.
My best friend is a toad. Although, she wishes to be a frog.
I would like to be an Octopus.
I would like to be a suitcase.
I love Yogi bear.
I like creepiness, darkness, and Hammer Horror.
I like lollipops.
I married a member of the Melodramatic Idiot Society.
I have a beer belly and a hollow head.
I am not myself today, or any other day.
I am breaking into fragments...


This is me on a bad day

This is me on a good day

Grace Waits

A freezing cold day. Grace waits outside on the steps. She stares at the building that she cannot enter. Grace opens her flask, the smell of fresh coffee makes her smile. A fly lands in her flask. "Oh shit" she cries. Then the sight of the fly drowning brings a strange kind of pleasure. Quickly, the moment passes, now utterly disgusted, she pours her coffee out, watches as it trickles down the steps.

For a fleeting moment, Grace wishes the building wasn't there. She wishes she had her coffee now. She throws her flask down the steps. It rolls onto the busy road and under a passing lorry. Crushed. Grace is devoid of hope.

Grace is feeling cold. She picks herself up and heads home with her transparent demons side by side. She calls them Insecurity and Melancholia and the other one she tries to forget, the one that lingers behind - What's her name?


The Devil and Me

The Devil takes out his purse.
He hands me a dollar bill.
I tell him,
he has a bloody nerve.

he supplies the ammunition.
I make the tea.

Coconut Monkeys

The one and only


My Interview with Jeremy C Shipp - The King of the Yard Gnomes

Author of dark fantasy, horror and Bizarro. His books include Vacation and Sheep and Wolves.

Q. Would you say that your new book 'Cursed' is your best book to date and if so why?

A. I see all my books as equally powerful and successful, in terms of what I set out accomplish. In a sense, Vacation is my book of ideas. Sheep and Wolves is my book of fears. And Cursed is my book of the heart. The focus of cursed is always the characters. Their relationships, their problems, their complex thoughts and raw emotions. I feel more connected to these characters than I've ever felt with any of my other characters, because they're all made up of pieces of my heart.

Q. If you could be any character in your stories who would it be?

A. Cicely, probably. She's the one of the main characters in Cursed, and while she suffers through many hardships in the novel, I admire her passion and her perspective. When life gives her lemons, she makes yard gnome figurines out of the lemon peels.

Q. What age did you start writing?

A. I wrote a rather long short story in 4th grade, about a green alien named Chomper with an affinity toward opera. But I didn't really start writing full-time until I was 13. That's when I started my first novel, and I've been writing constantly ever since.

Q. I think Bizarro Bytes was a genius idea. Would you like to briefly explain it and entice folk to join the gnome kingdom.

A. Bizarro Bytes is a magical place where yard gnomes jig, and robotic toasters learn valuable lessons about life, and baby monkey angels sing the theme song from Charles in Charge. Bizarro Bytes is also my new subscription service. Subscribers receive 12 new, previously unpublished short stories by me, one story a month. These dark tales range from 2500 to 6000 words and are delivered via email in ebook format (PDF, Mobi, or ePub). Higher level subscriptions are available for those readers who want to provide extra support and receive special bonuses in addition to the 12 stories. These bonuses include having your name appear in one of my future stories, or me writing a story based off a title you come up with. All the details (and yard gnome art galore!) are here:

Q. Do you need to be in a special state of mind to write and if so what is that state?

A. I almost always make myself write a certain amount of hours every day. And sometimes my mind tells me, "I'm not feeling creative right now," but I keep writing anyway, and eventually I find myself joyously lost in my alternate realities once more.

Q. What are your writing rituals?

A. I don't have any rituals, per say, but I do enjoy being surrounded by beautiful natural environments or weird sculptures, figurines, art, toys, etc.

Q. How do you feel about the film Egg. Does it do justice to your screenplay?

A. The director, Jayson Densman, did a fantastic job with Egg. He understood my vision, and he expanded on the imagery in many compelling ways.

Q. How is the yard gnome liberation army?

A. We're on schedule preparing the hunter-gather-based eco-villages for the collapse of civillization. We're also going to be putting on a Full House musical in three months.

Q. Do you ever worry that one day you might wake up and look like a gnome?

A. I don't worry, because that already happened years ago.

Q. Your stories are disturbing, surreal and provocative, what inspires you?

A. There are many things in this world that inspire me by horrifying or heartening me. The horror: civilized social systems, disrespectful behavior, racism, sexism, ablism, animal cruelty, fat hatred, etc. The heart: my family, the acts of kindness and love I witness every day, etc.

And I'm also inspired by books, movies, music, art, creations, sporks.

Q. Why do gnomes say coconut monkeys are evil?

A. Us yard gnomes try to separate "being" from "behavior." So even if we view certain coconut monkey behaviors (like trying to eat our spleens) as horrible, we don't think of the being itself as evil.

Q. Do you really believe that yard gnomes and coconut monkeys will one day join forces and become unstoppable?

A. I'm not sure if we could ever see past our differences. But maybe, just maybe if we put on a Full House musical together, we'll learn to love each other. That's what Full House is all about, after all.

Thank you Jeremy for the interview, it was fun.

Down the Pub

I fumble in my pockets for some coins. Determined to outrun these desolate thoughts, I stride down to the local bar, imitating the motions of a drunken fool. In here the locals are vulgar and brash and the conversation never fails to amuse. Tonight, I need any distraction from what I have become.

Enjoying the music, we sing along to the jukebox. We talk in jest, banter and wisecrack until it all becomes too much. I shun them and consider my options. Feeling coy, I turn for another beer. I wait a few minutes, then a few minutes more. By now I'm growing impatient. I bang my fist with force and a few heads turn. Feeling embarrassed I turn to leave but as I do, I see you standing by the door. I catch my breath. I feel your attraction and you draw me in like a voluptuous dream.


The man in the long black cloak

There's a fire in his soup. He chuckles as he bites the flame. The man in the long black cloak says he can't untie my hands for a while. I don't protest.

He looks out the window. Who is he waiting for? He utters something under his breath. There is a knock at the door. A man enters, tall, thin and disgustingly ugly. 'Meet Mr. Mold' the man in the long black cloak says.

Mr. Mold spooks me. He unfastens the zip on his coat to reveal a blood soaked shirt. He removes both garments and rummages through his bag and puts on a clean t-shirt. Mr. Mold stares at me with his evil protruding eyes. Eyes that want to pop like a cork. 'Nice to meet you little girl.' Mr. Mold takes out a jam jar from his bag. Slugs squirm inside. He place the jam jar on my face, it is cold and I turn my head quickly. The jam jar smashes to the floor. A slug lands on my shoe. Mr. Mold howls. As he is doing so, I notice his tongue. Yikes, it's green! I kick him. He pulls my hair until the man in the long black cloak yells 'Stop this tomfoolery.'

Both men are at the other side of the room. Not talking, not watching but waiting.

The man in the long black cloak walks towards to me. 'So will you tell me now?'

Figuring I have nothing to lose, I tell him I will.

It's cold outside but my hands are free.

We reach the place and wait.

Heavy footsteps march towards us. The men stand and reach in their pockets for their guns.

Gracefully, the creature makes itself known. Its mouth is foaming. Its eyes are like jewels. Its tail is like colours of the rainbow. Each spike has a different colour. The creature is awesome.

The two men point their guns at the creature but hold their fire.

The creature races forward. Grabs Mr. Mold. Mr. Mold vomits. The man in the long black cloak looks on. He is stunned. He staggers before the fall. I am swimming in delight as I watch the carnage.

Once it's over the creature dances with me. We dance under the blue moonlight. We dance and dance and dance...

Early morning: I wake up in my bed. The man in the long black cloak is waiting for me.


In New York with a Budweiser and Bob

He stands a solitary figure. An entertainer for the bruised and broken hearts. I am here, lost somewhere amongst the hullabaloo, hoping to remain concealed between the jokerman and the fool. The people here claim to be everything, except what they really are. I turn to the guitar man. His large hat covers his face. He slowly lifts his head, our eyes meet and he receives me with a grin. I look beyond him, something has stirred my curiosity. I would have taken a closer look but the sound of the strumming guitar sways me. A major, followed by D major. He hesitates a little before he sings 'With your mercury mouth in the missionary times.' The slow guitar sound makes me feel melancholy, as he sings 'Sad eyed lady of the lowlands.' I head to the bar for another beer.

After spending my idle days in limbo, I am now as reckless as a convict on the loose. I stroll through Central Park and follow the stars, as a dog would his master.

I think of Bud. I think of Bob.

The Nymph in the Bubble

The heavy rain is falling like bullets. I wait in my bubble. I have not forgotten you.

When I first met you, I knew we were destined to become lovers. You plagued my mind for weeks. Then one cold winters night you enticed me out of my bubble. You brought me a gift, patent leather blue shoes. They were a perfect fit. We sat on your bed and you spoke of your masochist ways. You gave me my first infliction of pain.

Remember making out under the stars, you tied me to the tree in your garden. The rope burnt my hands and made them bleed. I felt alive.

This summer we spent hours in the blistering sun. Reciting poetry amongst Lady Lazarus and Ariel. You always had my full attention when you spoke of passionate tales, torture and love.

Twenty-eight days ago, October 21st, it was a beautiful day. I had good news. I had never felt so elated. I felt giddy, like a child each step was unsteady... Then I found you, hanging from the tree lifeless.

I have retreated back into my bubble. Without you, it's a desolate journey.

Today, my bubble shimmers, my bubble spins, my bubble bounces.

I crawl on my hands and knees close to the edge. Plummet towards earth and burst this fucking bubble.