The Lucidity of Love: Memoirs of a Ghostwriter, Part Two

Excerpt from the second book in my so far two part memoir series:

Now that I’m settled, I must reflect on my past as a happy-go-lucky single. How can I forget the many times I’ve misled myself into a man’s loving arms, and how much I loved every minute of it?

Why, I squirm as if caught in a velvet trap…well, I could, but my second husband is standing right behind me and might ask me what I’m sitting on.

I loved my first husband, a wonderfully funny Jew whose parents had fled the Holocaust as kids. After a dozen roller-coaster relationships before my first real commitment, he was the only man I ever truly loved (Remerio, don’t look over my shoulder!)
Anyway, several years and sanity-defying relationships later, I landed in a seat in front of Him 2 in a Certified Nurse Aide class, next to a perking coffee pot.

My first husband thought he lucked out marrying his attendant. Gary was dying. I fell in love with his stubborn courage. He was the first person who ever needed me. After he died, I had a tragically brief affair. If I write about everything that happened, it’ll make an excellent trashy novel.

But Remerio stopped my new single life cold by kicking the back of my chair-HARD! He distracted me from talking to a middle-aged black lady, catching me in the middle of sniffling at her. I had a head cold.

I had been “taking it out” on Grace, who was overweight, casting her sidelong glances and sniffing loudly, while considering fetching her a cup of coffee. The pot was brewing close to me. It would’ve been hard for her to squeeze between the plastic seats. I began getting her coffee.

Sometimes I added creamer. I stirred it with the plastic stir sticks. She would ask me to add a sugar packet, please. But our relationship was rudely interrupted by the entrance of Remerio’s foot through the back of my plastic chair.

Turning around after the “kick-off,” I faced a flatly Filipino cold stare. The face, however, reminded me of a Middle-Eastern teacher I’d noticed at Ohio University, back in the 1970s.

I gulped, “So how’re you doing?” My Mom told me to be friendly to handsome strangers. And then Remerio smiled back. We got married, and near Christmas day three years later we were blessed by our Princess Angela, nut-brown as her Daddy and sporting my chipmunk cheekbones.

I guess I’d suggest more single ladies try sniffling at people to see whose attention they attract. If so, it helps if you fetch cups of coffee. It soothes people’s tired, ruffled feathers.

Be sure and add cream and sugar.

The Rainbow Horizon: A Tale of Goofy Chaos – world's first truly multicultural American humor novel

The Invisible Mitzvah: Memoirs of a Ghostwriter

the invisible mitzvah

By Karen S. Cole

This book is about how I saved Seattle from a giant spreading forest fire. By reading a book by a very evil man who found that he needed to be a good person and that was kept from him by circumstances beyond his control. He reminded me so much of my sister, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. He had a life, but he complained that he couldn’t do any good. For anybody. I’m a victim of my own sibling rivalry is all I can see. But over time, I’ve come to understand more about what happened during some monumental events.

On the other hand…I write comedy and magical realism. So my book reflects that copiously, including love affairs I had briefly with Jerry Lewis and Ted Bundy. Tragedy and comedy intertwine throughout this first book in a two-book memoir series.

The Invisible Mitzvah is my ribald, facetious, fiction based on fact memoirs. It recounts actual love affairs I had with the famous and the infamous among men of the last century and this one. I’m a book ghostwriter. But my primary purpose in life was to save human lives by fighting forest fires. Other than that, I was a home health care aide for the Independent Living Movement and spent 16 years and counting arranging the publication of well over 500 books, scripts, screenplays, music pieces, business documents et al.

Well, that was it by acclamation. It’s your life stories and books, screenplays, scripts, music, art, business documents and other wonderful stuff that matters to me. So do read the below if possible. Meanwhile, my memoirs cover the ground mostly of what I’ve done along the lines of being inspired by other people and their books, movies, TV appearances, and my many loves and lovers.

I was assigned at school to study the Holocaust and one of the evilest men in human history. With whom I found myself being inadvertently attracted, once I began to reason things out. Evil wasn’t what I found so attractive. So I set out to do good in my life, to make up for some major human losses. Also, the National Parks and Recreation Department and the US Forestry Services, plus President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, not to mention Malcolm X and Dr. King, pointed in the direction I wished to go. I ended up preventing two forest fires in Washington State. The biggest one was on the night of June 16-17th of 1986.


By Karen S. Cole – Book Ghostwriter who dearly loves Pablo Picasso and his artwork. Below please find Guernica by the Spanish painter of War.


Motto of Ghost Writer, Inc. (GWI)

Ghost Writer, Inc. does it all. Ethically, without plagiarism. Every genre and type of freelance and contracted writing, joyfully and productively. But it’s up to you to help us choose the right ways, at the right times. With professional courtesy, while creating a close relationship with your ghostwriter, editor, marketer or other ghostwriting services co-creator.

Blurb for Ghost Writer, Inc. (GWI)

GWI’s ghost writer services does everything affordably. No matter how hard the road, we always go that extra mile. Affordable ghostwriting rates, ghostwriter fees and prices for ghostwriters that fit your budgetary needs.


Are you secretly a book writer or book author? Do you have a novel idea deep within you? We will help you unearth, polish and make it shine! As a book ghostwriter who offers you the best ghostwriting services, my job is to determine what work I can do for you as an affordable professional ghostwriter. I also run an agency staffed with book, screenplay and music ghostwriters – capable as I am of churning out great written copy.

The ones at the bottom end of the scale are student writers, and they are each experienced and published. The ones at the top are NYT and Amazon bestselling ghostwriters, who can help you at reasonably affordable rates. And we have middle of the road writers, editors and artists who have lower pricing for more studied experiences.

But nothing comes for free in this world; it’s largely a matter of “you get what you pay for.” Our writers are multifaceted, witty, charming and deserving of your consideration, polite devotion and legitimate payment plans. It’s entirely up to you to determine what you can afford. When you hire a book ghostwriter through GWI, you will find the best ghostwriting services that cater to your dreams, requirements, needs and desires.

You will not run into major delays, over-payment or inadequate writing – instead, you will be deeply satisfied.

The closer you work with us, the happier you will be with the best of our ghostwriting services. We will professionally guide you through the entire ghostwriting, editing, marketing, promotions and publishing processes, from start (a book outline, background docs, and a timeline) to finish (published full-color print copies, ebooks, and maybe audiobooks on CD too).

We can even help you get up and running overnight, on self publishing services like Amazon’s CreateSpace, Mark Coker’s Smashwords, Booktango, or the new – for a small preparation fee each time. No matter what, we will find your work a home and get you published!

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Funny Angel Fiction Story

FUNNY FICTION: Satan’s Cutesy White Angels – what do YOU Think?

By Karen S. Cole – Book Ghostwriter with Ghostwriting Services

Meant to be taken with a GALLON of salt. Slightly racy material, but not so much. (In other words, DO NOT take this, uh, “serially.”)

ghost writer short stories


They flee the forest fires, then email you an autoresponder: We’ll be back in the office one week from now (in other words, lotsa luck.) That’s the US Forest Service for ya. They spot the fire coming, and then THEY LEAVE!!! Nah, some of them don’t. But this is about stuff ‘n nonsense — or “white” people.

Well, you may have noticed them. Rank “Aryans,” really. All white and racially pure – looking. This is a story based on true life events. When you look around, you see, errr, people. Wonderful, slightly depressed people, who know they are due for something better for them than just working for a living. People who were taught to play as kids, people who look like buildings…a little too much.

Anyway said people are white. Stark staring? No, more or less a healthy shade of pink, from the blood running under their skin. Their skin is dead when you look at it, so they all look a bit too good. Something is up with that. Lack of a major political orgy? Something rotten in the state of mayonnaise and sugar? Something that means that those people are angels, of some kind?

Right, you see. They can’t possibly be people, but it’s always consider the source. So they may be overly evolved humans, getting ready to be in extreme pain during global warming. They look like the most ultimate thing in blond-blue-eyed specialized depressed angry humans, but what if that is not so? What if instead, they are all tall, smaller headed, and getting ready for the total lack of pain that being in Hell delivers? What if they are “Satan’s Angels” – hell is indeed a blood-drenched Forest Fire! Full of red, orange and yellow which you can see from a distance. That mostly white people as yet appear to be in charge of, in this area anyway.

They must show mercy on the rest of us, sooner or later. They must step aside, take lesser jobs such as grocery store clerk, or duck hunters. They know that life itself is no picnic, only another attempt to bring them death too soon. They are White Aryans, and not racial supremacists. They know they have to either work for a living, be on welfare, or be independently wealthy. What is life for them? A frowning smile on an empty face, looking for something new. Maybe they are no whiter than I am? Taller, more sophisticated looking, and loaded with Black People/Aryans/Armenians anyway? That should lead to freckles – oh what a horrible atrocity!!!

Maybe those White Aryans all need sex with Black America. “Maybe” that has already happened, uh, frequently. Maybe this, maybe that. What if they are our tall friends, with less brain capacity to worry about how much agony they must keep to their silent selves? New improved humans, like a certain German philosopher said once, but nobody can live their lives for them. Where they are going, who knows? Some of them are Jewish, and some of them are other people.

And one of them wrote this story, with no capacity to be them. I’m seen as a short or tall witch, something that can never attain Whiteness Whitey Hood. I’m a former Robin Hood, a ghost writer, a saint in my own right. I saved Seattle, WA and the surrounding environs many long years ago. Sometimes the US Parks and Recreation Services and the Forest Services hire people from outside. Who tend to be pressed into fighting fires, like I was, so that Seattle denizens of any color can be safe. Or safer.

I saved it for them. So they can make it up into Canada. The glaciers there are slowly melting back, and the same with the ones in Iceland and Greenland. It is too early for the death of the human race. Brown and Black people shine like demented stars, along the way to roads in space. Everyone in America comes from somewhat else now, somewhere else really. I come from Ohio, and my husband comes from a place called Viet Nam, or Nam Viet. Vietnam. He knows what I’m talking about, because he fought a war for someone else’s country there. He’s just far, far nobler than he knows he is.

Me, I hail from the most overcrowded state in the Union. Overpopulation was discussed every day in Columbus, Gahanna, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. The latter seemed when I was there to be where the “Black” People were. Run down, decrepit, full of strange ghettos and persuasions. Then I realized I was leaving anyway, for Washington State, where the Rainier Valley and White Center kept such matters going. The “black” areas of town are growing, moving, changing, not so much a matter of Kill or Be Killed. We have better places that are no longer ghettos – where all kinds live. But, unattended forest fires make my mind murderous…fleeing forest rangers…ahhhhhhh!!!

I would like to be able to kill people and get away with it? No, not at all. I’m waiting for some kind of major event that already happened, such as extreme tornados in Ohio. I’m stuck on permanent panic mode. There is no need to kill another human being, ever again. We shouldn’t even be aborting our fetuses. Under any conditions whatsoever! But I’m a woman, and I like the idea of not being raped, and leaving the act of pregnancy as something that is my decision instead of being raped, at that. I hear from praiseworthy left and right-wingers. And those who make less sense than I do.

Free speech? Is it all gagged and bound? I would like to die for your purpose of saying anything you want whatsoever. I’d like to die for a reason, but not just yet, no not that. They removed my favorite Founding Father, whom I think was Patrick Henry. President Obama is discussing whether or not to use the missiles on Isis or Isil there and letting us stew about it for a change. He wanted to be assassinated and is frustrated about it not happening yet. He even has to hate his wife a little bit. Now North Korea and Perfesser (he of the Brooklyn accent) Trump need to contest, while everyone gripes. Over Trump’s latest Tweet – yes, it’s too long!!!

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy to don the mouse ears hat, but Daisy is quite dead in a traffic wreck back there somewhere. Serious subject I should not make fun of – but, forest fires? People die in those, too. Well, where can this ramble go now? Onto one of my blogs.

I don’t need a moving herd of huge white Aryans who stand around at fires, Hitler gave me the word for them, and is ALMOST right about one thing: I’m not one of them. Oops, also I’m not a Nazi! Nor do I hate the US Forest Services. Honestly, they do their best. But look like they’re fleeing sometimes. Which I plan to do, as soon as I see anything orange above our treelines. Fight fire with hitting the car running. Hubby and I have purchased two old WWII gas masks from Czechoslovakia – we will don them. He is not white, I only look white, and we will BE white if we ever see those flames!!!

I’m German-American and the above was my lack of multicultural nonsense. I’m just an American, not anything else really, part Cherokee and some other stuff. I’m writing a book called “The Rainbow Horizon: A Tale of Goofy Chaos,” and this rant is going onto both Ezine Articles and my own blog, or just the latter case. A lot of this is due to me being stuck on a medication that zones me out propitiously. It’s for my thyroid gland, I have hypothyroidism, which means I just want to chuck it all sometimes. Using iodine seems to work, so I eat seaweed while worrying about forest fires in Western Washington State. We have a place called Log Boom Park to flee to. We grab the gas masks (I will put them into the car trunk) and drive, drive, drive.

Also Wise, I think the large moving herd of Aryans will find a way. I had a teacher back in Junior High School who said he has no idea where it came from. Me either, Mack, I don’t understand being the shortest person everywhere I go. I just hang in there, baby, really, and the lack of mercy from God is all I can comprehend. We are mostly making money as a general American rule. We are torturing animals, to get our meat, and experimenting with people “funny.”

We Americans continue to live off the Child Chocolate Slaves of Africa, in a very confusing manner. Hershey’s and Nestle have been sued, and they are still making their boy slaves ride cute little trains while making their girl slaves pose for semi-nude photos. Of their obscenely welted backs, from whippings (also not funny in any way). We Americans are unable to understand what bad people we are, or are not. My folks are waiting for the WA State lottery to come though. We Americans have been friendly to me, nearly in all cases. But, we still appear to be running worldwide slavery through major corporations – do we deserve forest fires?

If not, I would not have been alive to have written this short story.

Meanwhile, thank you for Gratitude, my sweet lord God. Thank you, Allah, for being something further along. But we are supplying the enemy with the money, the weapons, and everything else they need to keep the War Machine going. We are responsible for their actions at all times. They don’t know where else to go, apparently, except to throw their weapons down and to be in Hollywood movies, under conspiracies having to do with the Freemasons on a regular basis. I thought I was in the Ku Klux Klan once, and it’s just another attempt to blame women for them, or to kill off their women and children…

…I don’t know which one. Do YOU?

End of ramble: we are all now human lives of value, like Jews, Blacks and Native Americans said, and we should all be racing into the medical field. My daughter is thinking about it, joining it to see what will happen. I used to work in it. My prior day job was to be a lowly butt wipe for the Disabled, who don’t seem to need my kind anymore. The job went obsolete in ten seconds. Just like overnight, we had the first Black President of the United States…and we still do! No, there are still Home Health Care Aides in spite of AIDS and Personal Care Attendants in spite of Escort Services and Sexual Slavery Worldwide, which may already be gone by the time I type this.

GOD. What does he think about all those large Aryans? I hope he noticed them. Anyway, I’m just killing time anymore, and waiting for money to come rolling in from my family. I’m just another human being who needed the Seattle Police Department to go on living, and that is the sound of one hand clapping. I’m a martial artist who hung it up for Gandhi, and you are now significantly reaching the end of this rather demented, rambling story.

Julius Caesar

Jesus Christ

They met once, you know?

White People are…the “Right” People? But, who is Left?

Julius Caesar
Jesus Christ – the Seattle Jaycees, you and me.
Joe Chill
Jerry Cole

Jerry Can. Can what? It holds gas for hybrid vehicles. Do not sprinkle with gasoline, buy gas masks (one for each family member, due to super-heated onrushing air) and heavy woolen blankets. BUT DON’T GET THEM WET. Hit the freeways, while keeping those inside. Look for orange color over the Horizon. Etc.

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.


Book Ghost Writer | GHOST WRITER, INC.

SEEMS you don’t have the time, patience or writing experience? Hire a book ghost writer! Here at Ghost Writer, Inc., you will find all types of book ghost writing services, in every style and genre of affordable, ranging through New York Times and Amazon bestselling ghost writers.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Sample from a Sales Book

“You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem.”

– Eldridge Cleaver 

background rainbow circle with refraction nice 2

“Is it possible for business to get any slower?”

These words echoed all around the sales floor, wafting on conservatively a 75-yard trip from Anthony’s mouth over to me. I was sitting at the far end of the floor; between us, a showroom filled with perfectly aligned cars glowed, each fender neatly parallel to the one next door. I knew instantly that the major recipient of Anthony’s comment was without question not my own ear. As I looked toward him, it also became apparent that he was completely oblivious to whether I had heard him, or was even in the room for that matter.

Anthony’s words piqued my interest. A voice echoing deep inside mentioned that I should consider listening, no matter what the intended cost might be. I decided to take my chances, do a bit of detective work – and pivoted directions. I headed backward, going for where he might be, thinking this could mean something “big” and interesting.

I meandered back across the sprawling sales floor, looping the tightly packed cars. Behind the large rectangular glass display case that presented modern auto-oriented merchandise near the walls of the showroom, while keeping my distance from where Anthony was standing, in order to avoid alerting him to my presence. But I kept hidden behind the case, which offered the perfect amount of room to shield me from his sight.

Using the display as my camouflaged watchtower, I found a better view. Anthony stood flatfooted, legs akimbo like perfect suited straws, inside the spacious lounge area – one arm propped up against the cabinet, the other clutching a Styrofoam cup with steam rising in lazy coffee curlicues from it. Friday afternoon, 4 pm, and the July air hovered moistly at 90 degrees on the thermometer. The sun blazed through the glass façade of the showroom. Despite the noble efforts of an air-conditioner, cranked up full blast, the urbanely alive showroom dripped with humidity. I wondered which one of us was suffering the worst.

Anthony nervously cradled the auspices of civilization: a coffee cup. A sizzling brew wasn’t my first choice of beverage. It sat perched in one meaty male hand, like a torch held by a pedestrian considering what to do with it. Perhaps he wasted time rather than taking a break, or at least that’s the impression I was getting. In front of him, standing cross-armed and appearing far, far too interested in the words flowing from Anthony’s mouth stood Matthew. Too late, I realized that these two men were altogether too familiar to me. Broad shouldered, wide-eyed and a good 15 years his junior, Matthew made a decent salesman like Anthony, but the similarities stopped there. One knew more than the other, plain and simple, about sales.

Both men were veterans of the U.S. sales force, but I had never seen them interact much socially, and based on my experiences with both I never would’ve guessed Matthew to be Anthony’s “ear” of choice. Describing them as opposites severely underestimated the two poles: formidable, pointed and competitive. They both warranted attention, but one of them had more to say than he himself could find within him.

“I’m telling you Matt, something’s headed straight downhill with our advertising. They must’ve cut the budget…I don’t think I’ve talked to a real sales prospect in a week!” Glancing skyward, Anthony took a long, slow sip from his half-filled toss-a-way mug. I continued peering in, neither man realizing I owned both an ample eye and earful of their conversation.

As I continued eavesdropping, my mind drifted – stark contrasts defined these two men. I hadn’t given much thought to it prior; both were good performers, but hardly on par with one another. In this regard, Matt was far superior. As I’d known for several years.

Anthony wasn’t a bad salesman. More accurately, he was an average salesman. His results were barely good enough to avoid any sort of recognition, positive or negative. But now, framed within the context of this peculiar set of circumstances, I began to see, even to paint it as a vivid picture clearly showing why one man could be accurately described as the consummate overachiever, while the other was better defined as the consummate underachiever. From my unique perspective, Anthony’s failures began illuminating themselves.

Although Anthony never did or said anything that specifically bothered me, there was always something about him that nagged my subconscious. It was as if my instincts alerted me that something was off, every time we crossed paths or his name came up. It was never personal; that argument held no water. From the day he started, Anthony acted in a manner nothing short of professional and courteous. He spoke eloquently, proud of his constantly dapper appearance, articulate while selling – and had a knack for making conversation easy and pleasant. In fact, the combination of his meticulous combed and parted jet-black hair, coupled with his horn-rimmed eyeglasses, made him appear to be a middle-aged Clark Kent. Tons of experience, and an impressive degree from a prestigious alma mater. On paper, hardly a better resume in terms of predicting success. However, despite the aesthetic comparisons – Superman he was not! His results were precisely as I’d described, only average. Until this strange day, I had been too preoccupied to ask myself why?

As I listened to him continue to spew complaint after complaint, aggravation began to manifest upward through my body. His mouth arched snidely, a runaway freight train of bad news with no brakes. I sat silent, listening as he blamed his most recent sales drought on everything from management’s advertising failures, to the downturn of the economy, to whether matters were “too good for anyone to want to buy anything.” Staying stoic, I trembled and listened in disbelief as he rattled off every possible culprit that excused his own personal sales droughts. He was the sole non-guilty party, himself alone of course.

At some point during his rant, I tuned out – because it dawned on me that I finally had put my finger on what had been eluding me for years. Finally I fully understood what made me so uncomfortable with Anthony’s presence. Under normal circumstances, it was difficult to properly explain; but framed within this bizarre scene, it became too obvious to miss. Anthony’s problem was Anthony. Clearly this was not his first rant in public. It was a character trait that he had carried with him for a long, long time. Anthony spent so much time fixating on his perceived problems that there wasn’t any time left to even consider solutions.

As I remained hidden behind the cramped display case, I listened as the complaints kept coming. At this point it became obvious that the content of Anthony’s grievances was irrelevant, even if there were some element of truth to his words. Hardly anything else mattered as he besieged Matthew with countless trivial observations founded on conjecture. What did matter was what I saw as plainly obvious, a man who was genuinely enjoying the sound of his own voice. He had little else to offer to the bored gentleman in front of him.

Convinced by his own honey-dripping words, the more he talked, the more it became evident that despite all the abilities in the world, left to his own devices, Anthony’s attitude ensured he would remain mediocre forever. His complaining had stunted his abilities. His thinking engraved permanently in concrete, his rank sales failure was complete.

The adequate success he’d managed in days gone by involved leveraging his natural wit and charm, with probably quite a bit of luck sprinkled in. Anthony was blessed with all the right tools and abilities to be great, but was obviously unwilling to take it from there. He was a walking, talking, breathing example of wasted talent.

And as this notion began to sink in, I understood that my latent frustrations had been validated – sighing, I kicked myself for not having seen it sooner. How had this not dawned on me before? I thought to myself. Standing there listening made it so plainly obvious. I couldn’t believe it had taken me this long! Breaking the habit called him was now a more difficult proposition than it would’ve been, if I’d addressed this years earlier when he first started with our company. How could I break the awful news gently? My thoughts of “fixing Anthony” were soon interrupted by an even more alarming sight: Matt wasn’t just standing there listening. He was nodding his head in agreement, as if in tune to Anthony’s beat!

That traitor! If my blood pressure wasn’t already sky high, that pumped it up beyond the furthest layers of the stratosphere. My brain screamed at the tops of its lungs, Matthew can’t conceivably be buying into his crap, right? Not Matt!


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

The Spanish Inquisition of 2001

The Spanish Inquisition of 2001

Or a True Tale of the Bad “Old” Days – Not so long ago

By Karen S. Cole

1601-1630 Our Lady of Grace Church Makati City Philippines

Start with: the Nazis were real, and it really did happen, the Holocaust:

Okay, there was and is a Spanish Inquisition in the Philippines. I saw a giant, black cathedral there, and didn’t manage to have a camera on me at the time. The cathedral was screaming quite loudly about the poor victims inside it that it must have eaten. It was complaining about them. All those screams of protest, or closed mouths of stoic indifference. Or something. Something else. I checked out the Catholic Church on a website, and yes, they still have the Inquisition going. Maybe nowadays, only to ask priests if they like having sex with little boys, but who knows what they’re doing…they still have gangs of power.

Anyway, I think Malcolm X may have seen the same cathedral, back when he was alive and studying to be a lawyer, perhaps, while travelling the world. He was the kind of Moslem dude who was possibly in danger from it, but not really…as he was American. But I was American, traveling there, and saw the red black and white pointing down Jesus Christ statue, the one that claimed all Filipinos, especially the white ones, seemingly, had killed him. I was being told, “YOU KILLED ME!”

Jesus Christ of the Philippines in other words. The statue was hate ridden, pretty dynamic, and pointing down at the audience, namely me and about 50 or so Pinoys. That’s short for Filipinos, and they were all quite short as people go, not much taller than me. Not much, about my height. I am only 5 foot 5, and used to be 5 foot 4, so I am obviously a type of midget that grew. Size is relative, and so our blog, Serious World Politics, is actually based on the Catholic Inquisition. Which was already shot all through Europe in the Medieval Ages, including Germany, and thus Martin Luther happened. You may have heard about Dr. King, but he was named after him.

Martin Luther stood up to the worst possible inquisition, the German one. Maybe it was. It’s hard to tell. But there have been rumors for centuries about the Spanish Inquisition.

Maybe they are very good looking, white and all racially pure – or something else – under that massive cathedral in the Philippines. It may be stuffed with a lot of dead Filipinos. However, they found something out; but while we were in there we were forced to worship a short stuffed white man with a big nose, wearing a white robelike garment, in a cathedral that was blacker and more encrusted with the slime of human flesh, apparently, than anything else. It seemed like they used that to make the black weeds grow all over it, and look incredibly intimidating, even though the tiny little weeds were all dead. I got close and touched them; they were teensy small flowers, blacker than Hades. Must have been specially chosen by the Inquisition. That was their job; be ridiculously scary. I think H. G. Wells might have seen it, he wrote about those Morlock people, the ones who lived underground in a fiction novel.

Anyway, the helper who had taken me away from our family, visiting there in the Manila area and subject to being kidnapped by some local Moslems who were doing that around those times, wanted me to patiently file in there with a long line of Philippinos who were headed inside to worship. The door was wide open when I got there. We entered one very large but kind of narrow room, sort of like a church. It did have two lines of pews, and the usual aisle between them, but for some reason we never sat down in the pews. And nobody came out of the back, in order to preach or whatever to us. We just stood there, but I had ended up somehow in the front rather than in the back of the line. I think I had to see what was on the stage this time, what was up there that had anything to do with Jesus Christ the Nazi-colored statue, which was accusing everybody of killing people in the Spanish Inquisition. It was a Spanish Jesus. But the others had parted the way, really, misleading me up to the front pews in the cathedral.

So I was standing up front there, looking at what seemed to be a smaller statue. It could be that it was simply a stuffed person, oh no, that’s not it, one who had died so many long years ago, back in the 14th Century perhaps, preserved for centuries by embalming fluid. Or it could have simply been another statue on a stage made out of something, oh perhaps the famous Biblical shittim wood. The thing looked like the shortest and scrawniest dead Jew who was white, had been cut to pieces but also sewn directly back together in parts, was still smiling like they needed him to be, after stuffing something up something, history of torture stuff I guess – mostly part Filipino dwarf that I had ever seen. Are people down there, in the larger underground sections of that cathedral? It was huge, must have held some 200 rooms above ground alone. What if they come out of those shadows…I decided to feel more bored than afraid. Whatever happened, I was not going to call lots of attention to myself. I would remain calm.

Maybe they took a normal Filipino, somebody who had protested either the statue or the ways in general of the Inquisition, or both, cut him up and made him much smaller, changed his nose around to make it look Semitic…and died (sorry, dyed) his originally brown skin white, to make sure the object of worship was white. And through systematic terror, coming into people’s homes at night wearing those tall, conical caps like the KKK wore later, covering their faces…maybe they made the people in that area come in and worship that dead, altered local man. If they didn’t go, they disappeared, and their relatives and friends knew this.

Why were we still doing that, a little boy across from me asked? I was the only American in the room, and yes, I did know something about this. He and the others were looking at me, as if I had the answers to their questions…yet, I said nothing. And I resisted the urge to climb with that little boy onto the stage, to check out the statue or stuffed “dummy” close up. I would have had trouble climbing back down, anyway. Obviously, the helper had brought me there to, well, either answer those questions…or to become the Spanish Cathedral’s next chosen victim. I had family at home, and wasn’t “into” the overall concept. I kept quiet, planning to return to my husband and daughter, and eventually leave this very, very strange place.

What they are probably still doing in that huge, monstrous sized cathedral has got to be both unmentionable and unspeakable, like H. P. Lovecraft gave a mention. I think that stuffed corpse, centuries old and put on a stage so we could all “show respect,” probably to his tormentors, was originally brown. They died him white, like they forced so many other people to be white, act white, and do the things Catholics do: dress as Catholics, pray as Catholics, etc. If you go to the Philippines, it’s mostly Catholic and American influenced – a McDonald’s and a Starbucks on every corner…and also, the Remains of the Inquisition.

That whole incident brought out my full scale paranoia. Was I being lured into becoming the next white statue? I was the only white person in the crowd; they’d surely just have stood there while “people” came out from the back and dragged me into the huge remainder of that hideous cathedral, making me into the next object of painful worship. Maybe that was the whole idea. I didn’t go along with it, didn’t look up to see what may have been watching from above, didn’t go into either of the side exits. Whoever was opening the doors to the crowd did it silently from the inside. I filed out just as silently with the other people, and didn’t observe who or what closed the cathedral doors. The whole thing was like a Twilight Zone episode, and I can only figure whoever was in there lived underground, and didn’t want us to see what they looked like…pale, pasty, and subhuman anymore.

Are you still reading this? Maybe the children of the Spaniards are nowadays down there, running things. Churning out their own “kids,” having learned, well something, something about torture. How it’s incredibly fun, maybe even still lucrative. They used to pay the tormentors you know, and they still have enough money to do so. Maybe they live down there, and maybe they are Morlocks who feast on human flesh. Repeatedly. Making women pregnant, and then eating some of their babies for food. That could really last for a very long time. Tunnels and undergrounds and intersections. For all I know, they intersect with our ground right under the Seattle area. I got interested in these things due to a journalist and writer named Rudolph Hess. They were real…Hess one was one of the Nazis who started the Holocaust.

The Spanish Inquisition was every bit as real…you think?

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Autumn Leaves Never Die

Autumn Leaves Never Die

By Karen S. Cole

Word count: 200

Dancing, prancing, floating leaves excite my sight

Cascading down in wet sheets like chunky rain.

Some fall singly, each one a summer’s death knell.

How is this, year after year, they die as they appear?

As at my feet they fall, I pick up one up to study it,

Searching for the secret of its splendorous attraction.

Why is a dead plant part lovely, and so obvious?

Who was its beauty meant to attract and why?

Even though eventually brown, and crunched underfoot

So like the oncoming snow, sticking to my rubber boots

The same way, each one is a microcosmic pageant’s

Reflection – why in the world do they show off this way?

Russet, orange, yellow as the sun, neither blue nor pink,

They twirl about in midair defiant of their yearly demise.

I envy their colors, dreaming of a death like this for me.

What if I myself radiated the patterns of a dying leaf?

I’d spin around in sophisticated lazy circles as I expired,

Hurling my body gently to the ground in so many colors

And styles that God would have to keep me on Earth,

‘Til I crisped brown enough on my edges to finally leave.

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

The Night I Became Both Superman and Batman

The Night I Became Both Superman and Batman
By Karen S. Cole
– Alias Wonder Woman
Words: 1,800

Black man with his newborn son
This story is about how I saved a Middle Aged Black Lady. However, I keep thinking she had relatives. I was saved by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris that night, through Rich Little the famous Jewish impressionist. He taught me how to imitate others. So Bruce and Chuck came in extremely handy that night, I used their finest moves. Lucky me. I’m no expert at martial arts, but David Incarnadine also helped us all. Yay Kung Fu, and also Black book author Ralph Ellison!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a professional freelance writer, perhaps mainly due to my youthful reading of thousands of comic books. But one night back in 1986, I actually became one of my favorite comic book superheroes – the Batman. And I’m not sure, but I am pretty aware of the fact that I probably also became his best friend, Superman, as well.

My true story goes like this: I woke up that morning in June thinking, “Today is the day of the arson fire.” I have no idea why I was thinking that, and wondered if it had to do with my relationship with God. I had asked God for some things, and they had come true for me. I had asked Him to send me where I was needed by others, and I had ended up working for the disabled in the Seattle area; plus, I had asked to be able to fight fires, due to my time spent in the YACC fighting a small forest fire that was accidentally set when we burned a huge pile of slash.

We’d been clearing out an acre of slash on Bainbridge Island that was built during WWII in order to have a bunker from which to spy on any Japanese ships invading the area. This concrete bunker was completely buried under trees and other brush, which we cut down and burned in a pile in the center of the bunker area. But the slash pile burned so well, it being a very dry year in 1980, that the fire looked like it might escape the deep pit we were burning it in; it was leaping skyward, making a huge pillar of fire some 50 feet high. It looked like an atomic explosion, too.

I helped the others to contain it, and then found myself liking this. I wanted to fight more fires, especially big ones that encompassed huge areas. I turned down one chance offered to us YACC kids soon later to leap into or alongside such fires, as I thought it was too dangerous. I was right; some teenagers I knew who were dumped into such forest fires did die due to this dangerous practice. But that other day six years later, I suddenly found myself one morning thinking, “I have to fight a huge arson fire today.”

So I took the Metro bus all over Seattle, looking for the likeliest source of the fire. I finally ended up near a very large forest-like area, the Arboretum in Seattle, down a ways from where I lived. I got off the bus while it was approaching nightfall, and began walking downhill from my neighborhood, entering a new one I’d never seen before, in a mostly Black area of town. This place was full of small, run-down row houses, all of which could easily be tinderboxes that year; it was a hot, dry summer with no rain being predominant. And there was no fire department anywhere close to that neighborhood, too; only a recently built brand-new police department. I kept walking downhill, and off in the distance, I heard what sounded like a fire alarm wailing – like hellish jazz.

It couldn’t be a fire alarm, so I pondered what it meant. I thought I was probably crazy to be doing this, and wondered who’d set off the alarm. But I kept walking downhill towards it, and finally the house with the alarm sounding off came into view. Back in 1986, there weren’t that many houses outfitted with burglar alarms in Seattle, so this was something new to me. While walking, I decided this wasn’t any of my business. It was obvious that someone had broken into the house, and that the alarm had scared them away.

My memory turned back to when I was 14 years old. I was reading Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” all about how a Black man was spurned by the entire white race, and there’d been a short passage concerning how Black people were murdering each other, Jack the Ripper style, doing terrible things – without the white police interfering with it the right way. At that moment, I swore that if I ever came across such an event, I would do my best to interfere with it, and to somehow end it. So going back to 1986, I had two events I had requested for God to assist me with: stopping a large wildfire and assisting with ending a Ripper-style attack.

I went all the way down to the end of the street, though; I was scared, and thought it wasn’t any of my business by then, pretty much forgetting my earlier promises to God. I went up a cement stairway to exit the neighborhood; night suddenly fell, and the noise up at the top of the stairway increased until it was a Hellish roar, and from where it came I couldn’t tell. I stopped halfway up, sitting on the cement steps and wondering what to do next. God or the Devil or something wasn’t into letting me out of that neighborhood!

So I got up, thinking that I had enjoyed enough Christmases, and ran back up the hill all the way to the house with the alarm going off shrilly – continuously. As I walked up to the house, not knowing what else to do or how to handle this, I banged on the front door. But pivoting at a noise behind me, in the street lights I saw the house’s owner pulling into her driveway. She was Black, and she electronically opened the garage door and drove on in. I scrambled down her porch steps, banging on the garage door, to ask her about things.

She did not reply, going back into her house suddenly. I heard an inner door shut. It dawned on me that whoever had set off the alarm might still be around, waiting for her to come home. I climbed back up her house steps, sitting on the porch and thinking about what I could do. Surely this was the scene of the arson fire – it was an older Black lady, a row house alongside a lot of other tinderbox houses in the awful heat of a dry summer night, and I thought that an older lady like her would probably keep a gasoline can in her garage. It wouldn’t be that hard to break in, under cover of darkness and also the loudly clanging alarm, and to “humiliate” and kill her while setting the house on fire!

The whole neighborhood would go up, including the Arboretum just down the street. I looked around, stood up on the porch, but didn’t see anything. A plan came to mind; I had some training in martial arts, and could possibly take on whoever it was that was planning this attack. I got up, went over to the overhang above the Black lady’s garage, and hung from it like a bat, upside down. It was very dark by then and I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing, but I knew I had to lure the terrible people who had broken into the lady’s house out into the open, so that I could take them on or at least scare them off.

I hung like that for twenty minutes, looking down at the ground and gauging my chances; then I launched myself downward, after tucking my head down into my shoulders. I landed all right, rolling in a perfectly executed back flip down at the very end of the driveway. There they were! It was two young Black teenagers, standing there in awe of what I’d done, and holding a basketball. But it was nighttime, not time for any pickup games, and there were clearly no basketball hoops in any of the driveways around. Still, I knew I couldn’t take any chances on their not being the perpetrators; what if they were innocent, and I broke their necks or ruptured their stomachs by attaching them with my karate?

So instead, I loudly yelled at them, and they swiftly set off running. In the dark, as my teachers had taught me to see behind and all around me in my university martial arts classes, I could tell they were running back around the house, maybe to another house down the street. The Black lady suddenly popped her head out the window, asking me if I wanted her to call the police. I yelled, “Yes! Call the cops!” at her loudly, so that she and the boys could hear me – and she pulled her head inside and disappeared. I knew then that if the police discovered me, they would arrest me for the break-in, as they didn’t know about the two boys. I would have to find them somehow, holding them until the police came.

They were down the street somewhere. So I walked down there, somewhat slowly, and found them sitting on a porch in front of a house. I was still very scared, but I confronted them, and apparently my karate wasn’t as good as I thought. They quickly surrounded me, pinned me down, and were about to do various unspeakable things to me involving using the screwdrivers they were both carrying. They apparently had used these to break into the house, as it turned out later – shades of Bernhard Goetz! But fortunately for me, two police cars appeared noisily out of the darkness. The cops grabbed each of the boys, pulling them off of me and standing them against a nearby tall rock wall.

Mrs. C—–, as her name turned out to be a year later when I revisited that Black neighborhood, had called the cops just in time. I was safe, and relatively uninjured. But I discovered soon that I had a mild concussion from landing on the driveway previously, even though I had tucked my head in for the back flip. It felt like a throbbing pain, and it soon went away. But the police took me to a hospital, and like it has happened to Batman many a time, they thought I had done something illegal. This was although I’d found the real crooks for them, who otherwise would’ve entered Mrs. C—–’s house and done hideous things to her and the entire neighborhood.

Those boys were clearly waiting for her to come home. They turned out to be pretty young, so I was glad that I hadn’t attacked them before, although I was somewhat injured myself. The police grilled me for hours, but I kept to my story of having only wandered onto the scene to be a “good neighbor.” I checked the county police records months later, and the two boys had gotten into subsequent trouble, although juvenile detention had released them after they committed their initial crime. During my interrogation, I found out it was definitely them who had broken into Mrs. C—–‘s house, and one of them is still in the King County Jail system, last I checked.

Eventually the police let me go, after the hospital nurse sewed up the small wound on my head. I was fine, but felt sad that I’d not gone ahead and used my karate skills when I had the chance to come from in front of the boys and surprise them. Well, that’s the real-life story of the night I became both Superman (fighting the probable arsonists, as it was an extremely dry, hot night and a likely house fire was involved) and Batman (saving Mrs. C—–, a nice Black lady in a tiny Black neighborhood, from Jack the Ripper once more having his way in the worst possible style with a woman).


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.


Be careful reading this. Serious act of loving Fanfiction about The Batman. Maybe he’s Satan. Or just mildly satanic. Or something else, a long list of somethings else. Like a rather lost but completed King Richard the Lionhearted.


By Karen S. Cole

Ghost_Writer-15 (1)

(Slow pan right to the usual eerie shot of Rod Sterling, in color this time, standing there with that maddening know-it-all smirk on his face.)

…what happens when someone crosses the line into the reality of her wildest dreams, only to find that the end of them is closer than she thinks? Picture if you will, a woman who wants only to live life to the fullest, who finally finds herself stepping smartly into…the Eventide Zone.


As though it knew of my presence, the white park bench embraced both me and the snow. I stretched slowly, yawning, taking a content appraisal of my surroundings. Covered in newspapers that crinkled and floated off me banally, as though all was suddenly well, I simply stood up as the snow caressed my face. Why was the park bench white? It seemed odd.

I remembered being so hungry, and lying down in Central Park to sleep. I was very cold. I knew it was somewhere near Yuletide. But I had no home, no place to go to celebrate the holidays. My husband…had been cruel to me. I had ended up outside, asleep on a bench. The newspapers had been my last refuge of warmth, and they now blew around my chilly feet.

I was standing, and had a touch of my former disability, which involved turning left. Patting my head with the flat of my hand, I discovered my handicap had rather abated, which was a nice feeling, and I heard a female scream to my immediate right. It echoed around in my head like a narcissistic wail of mistaken ecstasy.

It was regal, absurdist, and I knew better. She was in trouble. I suddenly bent over in a humble bow, like I was reintroducing my Marsha Larts self to me. I could trash me. Had I done so? Was I dead at last?

Running would be best. I must not be thinking straight, I mused. Therefore, I had best get over there, and see what I would be interfering with.

Toddling off in that general direction, I found tragic panoply of a winter’s scene. There were four young guys. Three of them lined up to one side on my right, and the dude to my left was clearly the leader. He…had a rather menacing looking long knife in one hand, and was threatening “the girl” with it. She was simply standing there, laughing, held in another’s arms. The leader started tossing his knife from one hand to the other ever so lightly. I was watching, and clearly looked intrigued, like I rather enjoyed the sight – to fool them.

She was laughing merrily, lines of drug tracks on her arms, and was “grabbing the strawberry” like crazy. That means she was enjoying her last moments. Guy was going to slice and dice her. I thought, hey, it’s my turn. I am, after all, Marsha Larts! Don’t I hate all such rippings? Maybe I shouldn’t…what is – caring? Isn’t it what Christmas is all about, I thought squeamishly?

It’s true that my husband knew more martial arts than I ever would, I mused to myself. But he only used them for self defense, and when he got defensive he was impossible to appreciate. He had given me a permanent disability while I was under his tutelage, and the general shape I’d been in lately was lousy. Sometimes I felt like I’d lost all ability to feel, about myself or anyone else. Still, that girl needed help, or I would be stuck observing her murder.

So I grabbed her left arm, swiftly jerking her away from there, and danced The Unexpected. I moved right into place as “the girl,” as Laughing Boy behind me took me right into his big ol’ arms. But he was shaking with laughter, certain about what would happen next.

Everybody seemed to be having a great old time, and most of their seasick emotion eluded me completely. I was sober, and they were under water, filled with alcohol and crystal meth. I stood there smiling, and said, “You look like a great leader, guy. Say, what’s that?”

“Huh?” he said, his Male Self suddenly alerted to the presence of a wise gal. He stood perfectly motionless, getting his drug-tired self to reappraise the situation. Which made a perfect moment to Japanese-karate-style sidekick him. You see, I really didn’t know what knives are.

That was indeed unexpected. The knife went flying, I pulled the right arm of the guy holding me simultaneous to that moment of lurching time, just as I twisted sharp too, and I was out of there.

I took off, running like the wind, but knew I was going to run out of it. Like a character in a movie, I tried to relish the moment of my demise, while fleeing. I was grabbing that final strawberry, as they had told me to do in Karate Class. I wondered why they had prepared me to die. I would only be unconscious forever…was that what my husband, the one who had hurt me, had wanted? No, he was too altogether into dying for me.

Unfortunately, I was now headed down a weirdly angled city street. Curious and a little off in my timing, I started to lose “running abilities” as I right-angled into an obvious dead-end ally. I was slipping on the snow, and surely was heading toward my downfall. I slid into the alley, and saw the end of the road – and death.

Tears began streaming down my freezing cheeks, and froze instantly. Wheeling around, I grabbed two frost-covered trash can lids that were handy. I thought maybe I could distract the thugs, as I could at least lift those things. They weighed about as much as sea foam. I lifted Flotsam and Jetsam, waving them around at the oncoming pack of guys. They definitely had all their Larger Knives out now.

I didn’t matter. Somehow that girl did. I would at least die fighting.

Then, something swooped straight out of the cold and isolated darkness itself, and clobbered their leader. I could tell it was an evil thing, not a good thing, that was so swooping and darting and ploughing through their faces like several sledgehammers leading at once into nowhere.

Languages, once written, can never be taken back or destroyed, came a voice into my head, clear as a bell, like the insanity around us.

The trash can lids, as though disappointed, drooped down to my Marsha Larts sides. For indeed, my name was not that, and something most intriguing had shown up. I kept up a brief time of holding trash can lids before me as I felt their coldness sink into my grasping fingers. It, whatever it was, seemed to be a ninja made of no substance, and it took out the other three one at a time as they looked up, robbed of their easy victory.

Then the moving shadow of a sudden took the shape of a very large man. “Jesse Jackson? Not the dead Bruce Lee?…no, Vlad Tepes,” I muttered under my disgruntled gasping breath, referring to Compte Dracula, the Moslem ruler who had killed the 700 Christians of the 700 Club. “Jim Crow?” Was this a racist figure, with which to spook superstitious blacks? Nah, I thought, honest to gosh, from an even older Italy…”Pierrot-?” A somber doll this, one with lengthy black horns on his head, and yet somehow it was so. And finally, I thought to myself, the thing somehow smacked of a medieval Jewish knight.

But that was not what Pierrot had been, though, quite. Out of nowhere, I was smack dab in the middle of the Commedia del’Arte, the centuries old farce of farces, of the clown and the serious man. It was ancient, Mediterranean, and mystical. What could I make of the serious man?

Pierrot had been white, handsome, and held up a head of straight black hair. He had contested with the curly haired Harlequin the Madcap Clown for Columbine the Beautiful, lost, and then hung himself due to losing his “wife.” It was the woman he was going to marry. That was the Italian “del’Arte” thing, I recalled so vaguely from my dreams. It dawned on me; this black, masked and still hard to see figure must indeed be…Pierrot.

“No,” said this deeply masculine but vaguely boyish-sounding voice, “I’m Me.” I thought: I can’t believe how much I feel at this moment of time. I’m disappointed. I had lost the fight. It would have taken less time if I’d been killed. What did this now mean? I had risked my life to save another’s – for what? For this?

You see, it simply wasn’t Vlad Tepes, or any such vampire, knight, Kung fu artist, medieval Moslem leader or Italian farce comedy star who was standing there before me. I immediately phased into an abject terror mixed with my lack of disability, changing into a childish sense of wonder. No it couldn’t possibly be…Bateman.

How understated. The snow blew about in the alley, swirling around his draped costume, the grey and blue-black suit of The Bateman, a mere comic strip, book and movie character.

“Who are you? What do you think you’re doing?” was said to me in this deep, bell-like carefully measured tone of an actual someone trying to reach an actual someone else. I choked, reaching for my own knowing throat. I had something very strange to tell him, as though it now gripped my brain, and I knew what it was well in advance.

He only thought I was “one of them,” a street punk, and was trying to “reach me.” Was it possible that I was like Columbine, and that Old Italian Farce, so faded in the echoes of time, had caught up with me? Was it my turn to dance away, off the cliff and into infinity? Surely – not with him. Not with such a laughable premise!

Why, this was evidence of the downfall of Western civilization!

Because he really was “The Bateman.” And he was angry at me, for so much as existing, for being what he wasn’t; what…was he? A comic book superhero – or Pierrot? I knew what I had seen back there, and my mind was screaming that as much as this looked like Bateman or the Bateman, it was indeed the Old Italian serious man.

He was standing there, thinking. I dropped both trash can lids with a loud clatter as “one of them” took off running and made it to elsewhere. Must have been an onlooker. The other three boys had been flattened. I achieved a wise gal look on my face, and shrugged. My husband was a tall Semitic Jew, non-practicing, who to me had always looked a lot like the Jester. I’d always thought it to be a mere coincidence. Now I had to stop and wonder…could it be? He had told me that though Jewish, he hated all Hebrew people. He was somehow anti himself.

The Jester…that would absolutely have to be Harlequin, from The Harlequinade. Nothing, nowhere, and no one else. The Madcap Clown himself.

But now Bateman was going to arrest me, or something.

And the Jester had reeked summarily all along of being Harlequin. The many bright colors of his costume clearly showed it. That comical character of yore, which was surely now going to take vengeance against me through such a ridiculous proxy as this – The Bateman.

Vengeance—again? Harlequin had won so many times at the Harlequinade. He had made fun of the police, and he had practically pulled the rope that had hung Pierrot when the serious man had finally suicided…from losing Columbine to him.

If anything ever began to happen, or if “Bateman” there ever even moved. Snow swirled coldly about us both as he stood patiently watching me. A final clatter of noise seemed to hum in the background, as if some cars were nearby.

I squeamishly thought to myself about this. The Jester had started out as a “grubby” Jew in Detective, in the very first panel of the very first comic book strip he had appeared in, December of 1940. Harlequin had lost his battle in the eventual death throes of the Harlequinade, so long ago. He was not “pure.” Racism had pulled its own ancient strings, one way or another. Harlequin was either too boring or too evil, and therefore Detective had found their victim, someone to lampoon as a villain, apparently. Casting him as a Jewish miser was fairly typical of their occasionally dismal style. A clown to contest with a vampire, for the kids buying “all in color for a dime” funny books. Bateman had merely been a Suprememan ripoff, a detective as a superhero. I remembered it.

My husband, on either the same or the other hand, had not been any too heroic. He was a curly black-haired clown. He had been up until now my loving and laughter-ridden companion of many years, and we had practiced the martial arts together. But I have already told you about him. He wasn’t…nice.

And this weird guy in front of me didn’t look any better than him. If anything, he was meaner, tougher and more domineering than my mate. And younger. He now recalled to me nothing more than a black suited boxer, or perhaps a pro wrestler.

The Bateman, or whoever he was, remained motionless, with that cape surrounding him like an enormous black wrapper. Then he shrugged it off with one arm. He stood there silently, as if appraising me. I briefly wondered if I was good-looking at all to “The Bateman.” For some strange reason, I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and shorts, which didn’t help much in the cold.

Who was this guy really, and why was he dressed up as…the dark knight?

“You are going to tell me what your role in this is,” Brice Wayne breathed into my errant ear from too far away. Something told me this man was somehow named that, memories and fleeting impulses did. I had used to read scads of those silly comic books while growing up. And indeed, I had shown that “cop” there fighting capabilities, and had to deal with him – while at the same time trying to figure out what to tell this…human being.

“Yes, you’re right, Brice,” I muttered, “Good old martial arts are to save only me. Self defense.” I had to droop down to Columbine’s status in my innocence. She was, I think, the innocent ingénue of that old Italian farce. “After all, it’s always self defense, isn’t it?

“What are you doing here?” was said in this quizzical Italianesque voice, one that enveloped my soul with deeply baritone overtones of stolid hurt-you Cop. He would kill me, his voice implied, if I so much as moved.

Wondering briefly if this subhuman monster ever molested people, I shrugged again. “Thought so,” I breathed, it is indeed Bateman, and Suprememan is nowhere in the vicinity of…”Is this Gothic City?” I wincingly asked him. I realized that whoever he was, he could kill very quickly.

“You know where you are, do you?” he asked me back. It sounded like he was pumping me for information. Maybe he didn’t know me at all. It sounded like a command taken strictly for an early grave.

I thought, does this man read minds? He used to clobber my ferocious husband on a regular basis, somewhat. My…husband? But that had been my one true love, not The Jester. It was surely a coincidence that they looked so – alike. My husband often liked to dress colorfully. A strange coincidence, that’s all.

If this was Bateman, wherever I was, what did that make me? Who was…I? Surely, no, I was not Columbine! That was only Columbine High School, where something awful had happened, too. The black suited Bateman-like kids had shot some of the other kids at a high school. I was not seeing Bateman. I was dreaming, but everything was real. And I had a feeling my hair had gone right back to being a bright and cherry colored red, as when I was a teenager.

And what was worse, at an earlier point in time, I had been named Karen Louise Cole…Schwarz.

“Climb on my back, and up we go. On board now.” What? I thought, as weird fantasies go, this one should disappear rapidly. Maybe if I shut my eyes, it would all go away. But I had to open them and go over there, and be next to him. It was like a command from a very serious man, and I was utterly forced to obey it.

I moved behind him, and got on his back. We were heading up the building at a rapid pace, and I barely had time to clutch those broad shoulders as that Damned Jock went straight up the alley wall. I saw the technical equipment, trembled, and grew dismal. I finally had to say it.

“Is Harlequin really my husband?” I screamed aloud as we made it over and plumped like bricks, my knees bouncing without too much pain, onto the rubbery roof of the building. That Giant Sucking “Moslem” or Musselman who had once been my childhood God and Hero stood there, looking at me as though I were something that was only vaguely amusing. I don’t weigh that much, I thought, as he lead me over to some metal pipes. I felt very embarrassed and ashamed of myself.

“No, but he’s probably only your basic hilarious Jewish ‘sidekick.’ I’ve met several of those. Remember Jerry Lewis? Actually, he was the main guy and Dean Martin was the sidekick. Did you ever watch their movies? I never had the time to enjoy…” Before he could finish, I cut him off curtly.

“Take care of my girl, Woman Hater,” I muttered as he chained me to the old, grey pipes sticking out of a slab of concrete, probably something worth studying as I was going to be standing there for awhile. I meant the girl I had earlier saved by this curt comment. She was surely wandering around out there somewhere.

“So that’s what you are, a woman hater?” was chuckled as he simply clicked the handcuffs into place. They were loose, and I was suddenly on a long leash. How long I would be standing there, I didn’t know, time enough to find what to tell this overdressed wombat or whatever it was who was calmly leaving me. “Oh and Satan, there, would you go look out for my…girl?” – He was gone.

Quite disappeared, having hopped off the roof like a demented humungous chocolate bunny the size of a football linesman. I didn’t even know what those were actually called. How had I placed that sidekick back there, I wondered.

First time in my life I’d ever really done that. I’d karate sparred with my husband, but he’d always won. That was my husband, the one who…had done what? Something, I knew. I watched the snow fill the space where Bateman had been.

I knew why he’d done that. He went looking for her. Maybe she needed more help. Surely that was it. She was wandering around in the cold.

I thought, maybe he’s right to have chained me. I wouldn’t have stood there forever. Maybe I would have jumped off, merely to see if I could fly. Perhaps Bateman knew what I was! Cold, tired, and a little too well off. Where was my old and familiar disability, though?

I was “on Earth Primus,” having landed from plain old Earth, the planet that wrote about the adventures of Bateman, etc. Somehow I needed to tell him so when he got back. Meanwhile, to wait the time out, I thought of The Girl. Why was there another planet full of us…victims? Why was my disability vanished, why was there air, what is Gothic City? Dear God, it was everywhere I could see. Is Gotham City in New Jersey?

I looked around, and the place seemed to materialize before me, as if it was an area of New York City that lay untrammeled by its acres of skyscrapers. Coated whitely all about me, as far as my blinking eyes could grasp, roofs peaked and sloped so that I could only gauge everything for a short distance. I sighted along the minaretted rooftops of a gleaming silver-grey neighborhood.

But several monumental buildings stretched in a greyly sprawling, spreading group, overpowering in their rugged austerity and achingly far away, forcing themselves into my newly heightened sense of awestruck wonder. This city contained -held insanely – over many dozens and even more of them. There were the usual NYC-style shining tower shapes of rectangles, but inhabiting a much bigger metropolitan area. The whole gigantic sprawl of a city could only be described as unspeakably huge, gargantuan, spread out further than my eyes could see. And I suddenly realized none of it was blurry. I could see without my glasses.

I thought, possibly all I could ever see was Gothic, from this low and relatively flat crowded rooftop anyway, and what part of “town” was I in?

It looked like one district, almost carefully laid out, but with the usual sudden erratic problems of individual, grainy structures that inhabited their huge vista of space. It was a city, yet like none other I’d seen before in my thirty-five years of life. It hit me that a younger me would die to explore a city like that. I would haunt its snug little shops, read its newspapers, and drink its exquisite coffees.

The VIEW! As it slowly appeared, it was a gargantuan of monolithic color. Sounds of beeping cars and grinding busses pulling up to curbs festooned my ears. This WAS Gothic City. Greens, blues, silvers, reds, purples, sparkling golden were the twinkling lights of the distance between us. Astonished, I strongly yearned to head for the Heaven that was obviously out there. What was that like at night for the Bateman? The place needed Gabriel’s Trumpet to announce it. In the broad daylight, it made Frisco’s sunset mall of loveliness look like a distant memory. It made NYC’s looks become a pale comparison study. It dwarfed Dallas, Texas in its own beautifully symmetrical way. There was no weight on those floating lights, as though the swirling colorful palette of an actual artistic hand had drawn it all for a comic book spectacular issue.

I could finally see All in Color for a Dime. Gothic City lived and breathed all around me, although I had a clutching thought about drug abuse, ladies of the evening, and cheap hotel rooms. And I knew I was too old for it. I took one deep in breath, and all of the pollution was mysteriously missing. And yet I smelled a cheerful breezy air all about me. Were there bloods out there researching? Did anything of the black race have a chance against the supposedly chosen people? The group I’d fought were as white of trash as I had ever seen. Surely there were black heroes about, brown wonders with strange…I’m imagining this dream I’m having here, I thought.

What in the world did such a juxtaposition mean? How could there be drug abuse in such a situation as this? Surely there weren’t enough jobs available. The city bustled too harshly, beauty that she was. There was crime in this trap of a Queen. Maybe Metropolis, being King, did not have enough resources to spread them around. Maybe NYC, the Jack somewhere nearby…I got randomly lost in speculation. What the Jester had to do with such a very odd deck of cards.

Such a Heaven on Earth deserved to be only entered by young lovers, and the young at heart who could jam their millions of souls into a steady stream of hotel rooms. They were appearing, the antlike people, bustling on the streets, zooming at a brisk walking pace into and out of the glassy, glistening hotels…the word “hotels” didn’t do those buildings justice. I would die gladly to keep such a city clean. I was young again, able again, and the immense broad gargantuan that was The Big City was finally there, after having been hinted around at poorly before. There were superior, colorful babies being born at those hospitals over there. Or were they being torn to ribbons to seek out the chosen people, and experimented upon? Where they being torn to blind rags was in order to make others valiantly see?

I could get the right job in that thing. I would become an office ant for it. The girl I had saved deserved it, she was so young and so pretty and so utterly heartless. She could do such office work. She was young enough to be trained for it.

But I knew I wasn’t that age…I was supposed to be billowing with weight and over-the-hill anymore, feeling too goddamned good to remember how terrible of a physical condition I’d been in lately. I checked my nubile body out, finding it altogether female and there, and smiled lazily to myself. I must be drunk on some new wine. I was wearing a green cotton top and my old baggy Army shorts, which showed off my legs extremely well, and for some reason I felt better than I ever had in my life. My legs felt eerily like they had no color, and all of them.

I’d definitely been “fixed” by someone. Yes, I was real, but most of my disability was gone, and I turned to the right, feeling so much better about myself and hoping that Suprememan or Supremegirl was watching. Frowning, I knew it had to be one of those two who’d done it, and made me be this way.

Can’t trust anyone else, I spurted out in a laugh. I had not been sliced and diced, at least. I’d had a Mexican friend who’d thought the Justice Legion of America in the comic books, of which Bateman had been the vice president, was actually the Klu Klux Klan. He hated them completely. But I thought they’d make an excellent Greek chorus for this tragic play.

That, that, I laughed, I’ll wake up from this soon enough, suddenly thinking of The Girl and her nonexistent life; he’s out there trying to chase her down, and she’s a “druggie” who thinks she’s fine.

Perhaps she’s Columbine, I gasped! What was her name? He’s talking to her, I figured, and I “got jealous,” after having had a decent go at trying to help her. But maybe she always had a rotten life. He probably wasn’t beating her up. Most cops don’t really do that. They try to help. But he might have her down on her back in a cheap motel, somewhere. I hated him.

Anyway, maybe he took her home. Perhaps I was only…Pierrette. She was the least important character in the ancient Italian mystery play. She was supposed to marry Pierrot…that’s right, and she didn’t. She merely slipped offstage. Did she end up hanging herself, too? I was all hung up on the handcuffs. I looked at the edge of the building roof, longing to jump off it and die. Columbine had danced off a cliff, and I totally had forgotten what had happened to Pierette.

It was so cold. I began shifting my legs back and forth to keep myself warm. Would “Bateman” ever return? The very thought of it made me sick. Surely, that was a new form of cop who knew martial arts, all dressed up as Bateman. I was in New York City still, and this was only a dream. Furthermore, they were really doing it, and I had read about it in the newspapers, near the stories about the gangs of teens who were raping, knifing and killing people in Central Park.

Some dream. I breathed, sighed, looked out into Gothic City. Might be worth exploring. Might be like NYC of my wildest dreams. I cackled suddenly and clamped my own hand over my mouth.

Then “the sight” happened. He looked mildly tired as he climbed back over the roof. He strolled over to me, as though something was on his mind. Or Mind? Let’s see, these guys are more highly evolved life forms than me, sort of like the X-Men from Marvel, but slower or something, and human enough to relate to. Or, he’s just some bastard of a ludicrous cop. I showed him what I thought of this with deep tiredness on my face.

Let’s see what he does with that, I reflected.

“Yeah. So, who do you think I am?” The very idea startled me out of my reverie. I hadn’t expected him to say anything like that, so fiercely and protectively, so deeply. The voice there was quite austere, was letting me know what I was, and was angry at me. I paused, gathering myself, and said, “Who, me? Uh unh. I’m an ex-journalist, sorta like – Clark Kane, your buddy Suprememan there – but my name’s…Marsha. Do you know what’s up with that?”

“What’s up with what?” Said harshly, slowly, almost movingly. I nearly wretched my lunch out with the aching and utter disappointment I felt, even though I was hungry. It was true! This was a weird new police tactic, not Bateman!

What had I been thinking, I grabbed myself and inwardly shouted, no, this is not Bateman! I have to collect my soul, and tell him off. Now.

“Brice, I know who you are. This is Earth Primus,” I choked into my palm. “Remember C. Bates? The guy who rewrote all your stories, changed your suit, put a yellow circle around the bat on your chest, and reestablished everything about your planet? The hippie writer for Detective? That didn’t exactly hit your newspapers, did it?” All that spilled out of my mouth, spewing out beyond my capacity to understand. I had to say it; there was nothing else to say. Maybe if I played along with the farce, “Bateman” would confess his falseness.

“Okay,” said the same voice, sounding totally tired. “What are you doing here…no, come home with me, and…I’ll show you where I’m living…right now.” I remembered that The Bateman didn’t necessarily get a lot of sleep at night.

“So you do read minds? But I’m married…” I stumbled out, feeling extremely embarrassed. What I’d said. No, that was not right. I breathed to myself, thought it wasn’t, and collected myself. “Please remove the handcuffs.”

“Of course. Calm down. You’re riding piggyback all the way home.”

Okay, I thought. And I told him what I remembered of my entire life story as we swooped through the enormity that was Gothic City down to the car. It was tumultuous and too lengthy to herein describe, but scared me a little less.

“James Band of NYC, you homebody you, oh Haunter of Gothic City, don’t…something me,” I breathed into his comic-book ear. I was sure his real ones were somewhere under those Mr. Spock-like protrusions. Maybe he wouldn’t do that. No, he wouldn’t cut off those ears.

“No, I’m technically deaf today,” he intoned like a distant church bell. We made it to the car. Good old…Batemobile. We landed with a pronounced thump, and I staggered over to it, my head reeling from all that. The car looked so weird, and yet so normally familiar. My parents had owned a lengthy Cadillac with tailfins.

“You must be used to soaring. Swoop and snatch. I mean, you like Suprememan, you! You will not take anything unacceptable out on me, who am, is surely imagining this. Not!” He’s dressed up as the enemy, I reasoned out, slowly, over along period of time.

“No, it’s not. I’m not. Get into the car, vagabond. And do exactly what I say.” Who knows what he was making of my knowledge of his identity. Probably wants me to stay at home all day. What will we do while I’m trying to stay faithful to my husband?

But he had done something terribly wrong, my usually sweet man had, something undeniably hideous – which I could not remember.

It seemed in a dismal blur to have to do with my husband’s breaking open my breastbone, ripping my screaming chest open, and tearing out my…soul. It had hurt. There’d been great pain and blood, everywhere. Then I’d passed out.

“‘Nkay,” I blurredly intoned as he opened the car door. I was wobbling on my feet after the wild and windy ride. It had taken some time, and it was growing dark outside. I was staring at the car, which looked pristinely black, but menacing.

He nodded, while looking carefully at my head, and blithely he ducked my entire body down into the vehicle. I sat there waiting as he climbed artistically, the same old familiar moving shadow, down into his own side. “Whatever you do, don’t turn me over to, uh, them,” I suddenly said. “The JLA.”

“What, the Justice Legion of America?” Who were those, I mused, that group of superheroes with their own Earth-centered satellite, of which The Bateman was supposedly a member – or something like the B’nai Brith or the Italian Anti-Defamation Legion? Strangers in suits, who fought for civil rights? Or was the Justice Legion of America only the Klu Klux Klan, like my Mexican friend had told me before?

He had really hated the JLA and would never read their comic books. That “Bateman” the concept was mas o menos a racist ode to a version lower-than-Suprememan -of the Black Man – had probably hit him too. It seemed an accident, yet Bateman was clearly not as powerful as Suprememan.

Meanwhile, I was with that same racist cartoon character. Where to now?

“No sweat. We’re going to my apartment, and we’re leaving for there starting right now. You’ll be safest at home, o careless female. You know too much. You’ll have to stay put while I figure out what we should do with you.”

The car swiftly fired up, and we were out of that shadowy back alley after all of the vehicle’s systems had shut on – too rapidly for me to follow.

I sat back, lurching not at all. “So tell me why we’re moving so fast and easily.”

“Might be Suprememan,” intoned The Voice of The Bateman, “But this incredible journey is mostly being brought to you by me, a lot of technical equipment including ozone positors that you can’t possibly understand, and my need to fill you in is…nonexistent.” Long pause. “As yet.”

“Understood,” I whispered ramblingly, glancing around. We were on the freeway pretty fast, honking at exactly one fannish driver. I guessed the guy was just saying hello. The Batemobile strutted neatly to her own purring repose, nonchalantly maneuvering into place as though circumscribed lines and angles were all around, guiding and lighting her way. The snow was glistening, streaked by the side windows without affecting them, and in an instant was melting.

The same gorgeous sight, Gothic City, was still out there. Now it was starting to “jewel up,” or become lustrous with the many bright lights of late evening, reminding me of one time I’d entered San Francisco at night. It was so beautiful.

“I finally broke down and thought ‘her,'” I said, to measure his mental telepathy. I nonchalantly waited. Nothing. “I mean the car. No, ‘the girl.’ What happened? What did she turn into? A beastly parking garage?”

That’s when the Batemobile suddenly dove downward into a midnight blue underground garage, after doing a swift swoop straight off the freeway. We were in an enclosed space, deep underground. The Bateman turned to me, and whipped his demonic mask off. I was gape mouthed again, because I couldn’t believe what I saw. What I shouldn’t have been able to see, three mere inches away from my face.


And so I waited for The Bateman’s considerate reply, as the cold beneath and around us slowly melted. A cocoon of warmth emanating straight from the sun surrounded us, and I heard Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s old poem about Xanadu, something about “…weave a circle round him thrice, and close your eyes with holy dread, for he on honey-dew hath fed, and drunk the milk of…”

“The Girl, Brice. What did she turn into?” I interjected.

“I turned her into rehab, and you don’t care about her at all. You are now with me, with me you will stay forever, and there will be no more running around rescuing people. Got that? Leave that to us. Good. Oh, and by the way…”

“What?” I breathlessly asked Brice Wayne, who with his mask off looked very dark, male and awesomely handsome. In a way beyond telling, one that wasn’t strictly…human. Looking down shyly, I noticed the black bat symbol on his massive chest.

It wasn’t really a picture of a bat. It seemed to emblemize something else, like a massive gaping wound. I remembered that Bateman was sometimes called “The Dark Knight.” And I recalled he’d been nicknamed “The Caped Crusader.” Didn’t those titles have to do with the Crusades? There had been Jewish, Christian, and Moslem knights, I realized. Had Pierrot been one of their number? I had heard Jesus Christ invented vampire bats.

It was as if something had happened to him, because of something having happened to me. I blinked, looking again, and the symbol was back to being a filled-in outline of a black, “campy” bat, surrounded by the yellow glowing moon that Cary Bates had long ago supplied.

I had a feeling the Commedia del’Arte was over. Finally.

“Happy Holidays, my dear Marital Arts,” the Bateman sighed, taking off one glove and cradling my small chin smoothly in his large, tawny hand. “Ever hear of a legal matter called getting a divorce? Works much better than running away. If you’re hungry, there’s plenty of food upstairs. By the way, I’m cooking our dinner. What do you like? Chinese, Thai…Italian?”

“I love spaghetti. What happened to Albert?”

“He’s still around. He has tonight off.”

(Cut a long, slow pan to Rod Sterling, who isn’t smiling as usual, as he never did at the end of each episode. Instead, he’s wincing mildly – as if in great pain about the unknown.)

…and such is the tale of a simple woman who came to a startling realization about a potentially Christian, or presumably otherwise, winter’s holiday. One that could be portrayed by almost anything, such as: a bat-like symbol; a tawdry joke by a fat, unsmiling black man as a TV show’s earnest host; or a somewhat realistic hero who could save a nice, brave lady from something far, far worse than a storytelling white man like me…the Eventide Zone.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Annie Chapman – Our Lady of Whitechapel

Annie Chapman – Our Lady of Whitechapel

(Subtitled: Dandelions in the Garden of Eden)


By Karen S. Cole

Word count: 32,000

This novelette is strictly fiction based on fact. I chose to write about Annie due to the coincidence between her last name and the district where she both lived and was murdered: Whitechapel. And I interchanged her death’s circumstances with that of another Ripper victim: Catherine Eddoes.

The names Chapman and Whitechapel are possibly where the British term “chap” originated, as the Ripper murders are that well known. When it comes to the Internet regarding Whitechapel, the only website not dealing with the murders I could find was about a small art museum. I also found a website relating where they put Annie’s lovely new grave marker; some of the other victims’ graves have been equally updated.

Meet Victorian Era London:

The Whitechapel murders in the district of that same name in London, England in the late 1800s have gone down as some of the most grisly and infamous crimes in all of history. This is generally thought to be because the killer wrote local newspapers boasting of his work, making pithy comments like, “I hate whores, and I love to rip them.”

He called himself “Jack the Ripper,” and thought he had a handle on the type of person the authorities would let him get away with killing: ladies of the evening, chippies, or in other words, whores, hookers and prostitutes. And in fact, nobody ever stopped him. He disappeared and was never caught. There is, however, hearsay evidence he may have drowned himself in London’s Thames River to avoid dying of venereal diseases.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD, revealed the probable identity of Jack the Ripper was a doctor acquaintance of his who was dying of such illnesses, whom everyone knew fornicated with corpses: Dr. Jack Reinhart. Doyle wrote of shaking his hand and laughing with Reinhart over something hideous to do with killing people. Doyle could be overtly meaningful about death sometimes, and mostly wrote his “Sherlock Holmes” stories to capitalize on the crimes being committed; but what else can I say about myself? I guess I can argue this story is mainly a tribute empowering two of the victims, namely Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddoes.

In order to show the similarities between them, and for a reason I reveal at the end of this story, I invented for Annie something similar to her own personality – but also gave her Catherine’s circumstances instead of her own, interchanging their lives in a somewhat consistent manner. For example, Catherine Eddoes, not Annie Chapman, died in the rented room I mentioned, where death may have taken eight hours – or three weeks.

Also, in order to further flavor and color their lives, which were miserable but not without some happiness or merit, I added characters and nuances based on situations in which I knew they were involved, and political and social events of those intriguing times about which they may have truly cared, such as women’s liberation, local ethnic groups like Negroes, Hindu Indians and the Chinese, the liberal arts and the literary world, gay and lesbian rights, and overly brutal police tactics.

Meet the Story Itself:

An ordinary domestic dandelion is a beautiful, golden yellow weed that may gradually take over your house’s garden, if you let it. When I was a child, I hated to destroy them, because they were lovely flowers. I cried when my father rooted them out of our lawn with vile poisons.

It is up to you to decide if the people in this story are yellow weeds like the dandelions, or human beings with souls which require better fates.

There is a young British woman who died long ago, in the company of at least eight others. Is she something that needs to be rooted out of a giant lawn – namely, London, England? Before she takes it over, ruling and dominating it with the world’s most painful forms of diseases and death?

And is she to blame for what is oft exaggerated and not such a terrible way to die, or even deadly – or the actions of those who work against her and her kind? Is she to blame for her own oppression, or is something else?

Or is it Charles, a stranger in a strange land, whom Annie sees as her “bonnie Charlie,” who is the real yellow dandelion? Could you see him seeking his eternally lost soul, which he thought was in the future, or could it possibly never have existed at all? Is he only a human weed?

Lastly, could it be the person or people you would most suspect of such a status – murderers? Are they the true “dandelions” of life? Some think death is something to be imitated, though it may be a lone weed in all of our gardens, especially as its menace struck deeply in Whitechapel.

And one of the world’s most famous killers, so hideously imitated by so many pathetic but intelligent others, is a major part of the following fact-based fiction story: Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart.

Meet Annie Chapman:

“This will never be easy,” sighed me to myself as I gazed out the filthy panes of the room I was renting. It was a beautiful day in our many districts of London, some of which I inhabited in England of the late 1800s.

I knew, however, that I was special and different, not merely a blithering idiot of a street whore, though I was set to fast become one of such illegal creatures of the night. I had been favored by the gods that be for some unusual purpose, or I was imagining things. Some unnatural being, or my own natural feelings, had been telling me what to be for life’s purpose.

For my name was Annie Chapman, born of two parents as all such usual people are; but I was definitely stuck now living in the Whitechapel area of a small but scattered parish of London. ‘Twas a city of multiple desires and random lost causes, but mostly punishment. In my time, it was well known – and all our mortal souls had to suffer its bitterest stings.

So far as I could tell, women and children seemed to suffer most from these prejudices. The men, both young and old, poor and rich, had a hideous freedom to their causes widespread throughout Victorian England, in spite of the fact we were ruled by a queen.

Feeling depressed about this, I gazed out a window, looking at an autumn tree beginning to sprout its wondrous and small leaves. I recalled my late father, a man of austerity and grace, who was born impoverished. The fact he had been stuck presiding over what upon my reflection was always only an overly complicated ant farm . . . bothered me.

I sensed to myself, that although I was some colored and unfavoured, as I was not very coloured, I could perhaps get a job from the Juwes down the street at one of their many small perfume, antique and trinket shoppes, a jewelry store, or perhaps a lasting slot as a flower girl in another district. Still, as my parents had told me to trust Jesus our Lord and Saviour, I was curious. I had found Whitechapel district, and it seemed to me that we were so overcrowded and under favoured in London of that time and place that it would be best to end my existence here. I did not much apply at the shoppes. I saw my looks to be somewhat freakish – and felt work for me was scarce in all known quarters.

I was not certain of suicide, but had taken to light drinking of the only local beverage that afforded me any substantial pleasure at all, which of course was small beer. I noticed these imported beers were oft German or Irish. As I was with the other local “girls” who inhabited the lodgings of our elderly female landlord, who winked at me and let me know that only pleasures of the evening or money could reconcile her duplicate balance sheets, which I was dead sure she was forced to keep, I was sad, for I knew my eventual end must come from intractable diseases.

On the other hand, nightly I dreamed of a time when I could experience genuine sexual pleasure. This often involved fornication in broad daylight, which I only imagined. Sometimes I also envisioned a husband, who looked peculiarly like my father. He was finally killing me to get rid of enforced existence, and I hated this as much as anyone would in near same situation.

I loathed being only a girl in a men’s world, and did not want to be anything else. For to me, it would make no difference if I lived or died, as it seemed to be for all others in my time, but in some way I would have liked to lead an entire human existence.

My soul’s body was to be for the filthy old men – and the younger, equally filthy rogue, lordly and absurd – but well dressed middle aged gentleman of that era, and whatever else came my way, one which would only be stifled as far as ultimate heartbreak and pain needed to be hidden. I cheerfully went about my business, sometimes wondering if a time would come when I would meet my true lord and saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.

For I could not forsake the duty that God Himself had apparently handed me. I was surely to leave this world too soon. With the juxtaposition of a name like Annie Chapman with Whitechapel, I knew my end would not be pleasant, nor a good example. I understood my tale that was never told was not for your children, the god fearing, or the happy.

I often thought: the word between me and Whitechapel was “chap,” a common word used in England at that time. There was a logical – perhaps religious – explanation for my concupiscent, unstoppable fate. Perhaps our local, bitter deaths were supplying its greater usage. Yet after having applied at a dozen small shops, including apparently two Juwish ones, and after several episodes of being winked at, tormented by flies and insects, and smelling the street garbage, I felt something like a voice telling me where to go. I knew I was no such “chap.” I was a crappie and would never be a dowager. I had to learn that man is the dominant life form, and that woman was only a feeling appendage.

I headed for Whitechapel based upon this. There was simply nowhere else to go. But I wondered. Was there some other place for one like me, I thought as I looked down the length and breadth of my home’s glowering streets, wandering for the sake of exercise alone, during the day. I thought, it is time. I must gather my long skirts to myself, and reflect upon what I must do. It will not a good thing be. I must never gain too much weight, or I would lose the one job I had left my family early to access.

I will have to sell myself at night to these strange men, as I cannot seem to get another job. Yet, it is not so much because of my eerie skin color, I reflected. Surely, although I am “dirty,” and “filthy,” and all of those things, this could not be a pre-ordained fate. I am as much blonde and blue eyed I decided, as I am a lady of colour, although I am only one person, who must decide if she is a person. Surely a lady of the evening could never be let to be. Although at one time, I found myself at a veterinarian’s office, being told that the only living I could have was cleaning animal cages.

I wondered to the man in charge if I could have any facial coverings for this. “No, chit, hurry up and clean those cages, or you are terminated from this job. Get over here, and when you are done, come in the back. I have a big surprise waiting for you, chippie.” He wanted it clearly for free. As I left, I told him, “Next time, supply the “chippie” with a mask of some kind.”

Needless to say, once outside this office, I realized what my definite fate would have to be. I had been too defiant in my own way of something I could not understand or relate my life about. I was rooming near the Whitechapel district at the time, in a rundown and filthy hovel, and I simply went to the office of the renting hostelry, talked to the manage, and was told I owed sixteen farthings for rent, even though I owed none. I knew I needed a certain amount of farthings to make my way in the world, and had oft lost count, as the varieties of pence and farthing, quid and crown danced through my growing mind. I had not met the level of souls who needed only pence, as that would come later.

I remember thinking, damn you, God in the highest. You are simply some concept dreamed up by man. I am going to live in Whitechapel district, alone, and away from you. But at night, I cannot even dream of a man. I must face down the British Empire beasts who think they are lions at night, one at a time, until “it” finally happens. And the unicorn can never help lasses who cannot see straight after two days of life. As the seal of the British Empire dictates, something is a lion, and something is a freak.

Therefore the first is a predator, it casts around for what to feed upon, and it must eat in order to survive. If this is its wife, its husband or its own land, it must make its statements, sign onto its “just” causes, and take on its own workloads. But these are always assigned to it by another force, one which subsumes it to cause its death.

Meet “Our Bonnie Charles”:

Casting about for the dozen girls whom I was to work with, whom I had first met at a trade school, I found Cecilia, and Mary. I asked Mary if there was anyone else named same as her in Whitecap area. I immediate thought there ought to be two such Maries. “I should like to live in the same rooms with her,” I told Cecilia, planning to thus pay less money out.

“What are you – an invert? Do you like women? You don’t look ugly, dark or short enough. I’d think beer and the high life would be enough for the likes of you. I have a nice man who wants to see you. His name is Charles. He’s the cutest bloody bloke in England. Come back here.” She was indicating the deep interior of the tavern we congregated at, to speak between us.

I paused for a moment. “What, is Charles not lit up? Is he, ah, a drunkard, and perhaps not white or something?” I had been introduced for breeding purposes to many such. Having turned them all down as unsuitable, I had slept only with white men.

“Whatever would make you say that? He has a name and a pedigree. Don’t you think you would like to meet him? By the way, he wants to discuss an arrangement with you. He told me he wants to organize us ladies into sort of union. Can you imagine, Annie, we could work for decent wages for a change?” She giggled. “Really, he thinks he’s bonnie Prince Charlie, oh, he’s a rough but good hearted cuss. No, he’s out for blood.”

I had read in the newspapers, having been a schoolgirl and able to read, and having greatly enjoyed this period of time in my life, of things such as unions and also how men only took advantage of women. Still, I knew how men lived and died on the job. My father had perished away from our apartment, and we had never known what had happened. There had been a story in the papers out of Sussex about an industrial accident in the silver mines of Brazil. I wondered how my father had traversed the waters, maybe easily, maybe hard.; in a ship, or in a slave boat?

Such had begun my long slow slide downwards. I had taken to drinking and also carousing with the local men. But I had also contemplated drug abuse, especially cocaine, and had turned aside. I had thought of my education. But my mother ran out for our four other children, all younger than me, and I had to go work for my living. For a time, I had to suffer cocaine withdrawal, but we were all tough girls and rowdies, an’ no problem was had waiting out the shaking.

We ladies of the evening were more disciplined in those times than you modern day folk might think. You see, the elaborate clothing of our Victorian era dictated our existences almost completely. It took well nigh unto fifteen minutes to lace up one’s high button shoes, and they cramped one’s feet sufficiently to cause intolerable agony, although removal of them felt like surrender.

Most fortuitously, in Leeds I found a new style of shoes that were less ponderous. These simply laced up to the ankles and had become widespread in America. Made of patent leather, they were expensive but not impossible to buy with our wages.

Penny small pence for my thoughts, where I could ever head them, as my dark friend Cecilia, who was good at slipping in and out of the shadows and back alleys as she introduced me to the Life, dragged me to the back of the dingy tavern and I came across Charles. He was standing there, and sure enough, I had to think what I thought. He was indeed a Negro man, and he had on the most arcane African grin I had ever seen.

“Would you care to make more money at what you are bound to do?” Charles asked me, taking my hand quite gently and giving me an obviously acquisitive peck on the back of my hand. “I’ve never been treated so like a lady before, Charles. Isn’t it your real name?”

“Yes, but you are now to have a new name. I want to call you something else, but you may select it, my fair lady. What would’ a care to be called, now if you work for us?” He was a scant taller than me, but loomed larger than my desires could push him back.

I reflected upon how much I loved my Lord and Saviour, and how much Charles looked like the Devil. As he stood there, he resembled pictures of the Moors I had seen in my book. They were treated as the enemies of our England, and I wondered. Would this man help secure me better fortunes? No, there was no such thing as hope. He held my hand for the briefest of moments, and then released it as his gently slid downwards.

“I’m sorry, Charles, but I do so work alone. I will reside in Whitechapel, and, ah, I will await the coming of the one who will save me from my appointed task. Upon the coming of my Lord, I will then go home. Do you understand this, my Charlie?” I decided to give him his grin back, and smiled the smile of one I knew was quite uncertain. Perhaps this boyish man had something in mind along the lines of gathering up our monies.

His hat was cut of the finest cloth, and his costume smacked of recent times and extremely well adjusted accouterment. He looked like a good “old boy” from say, Liverpool, where I understood the fine arts were gaining in attention, and there were nice museums. But I doubted he’d long attended school, from his overly active mannerisms. His frown was too like his smile; arduous, songlike, and full of evil implications.

“Ah, I understand. But would you like me to buy you a beer first?” The fellow stood there, looking at me proudly and far too arrogantly to be thinking he would be in any trouble for accosting me. I knew now what my prospective clients would also probably be. There would be no mercy whatsoever from the disease threat. I knew now beyond all certainty what I was going to be forced to become. And it might last longer than long. There were growing hospitals that could take me in, and the treatments there for disease were as medieval and arcane as any I had studied in my way at school.

I would be taking some of the men of England with me on this unpleasant Biblical Job like journey, I decided. If not many a long year would await my misfortune, I should be a slit throat. It would help make up for some of I and my girls’ lack of good circumstance. It was not the men folks’ fault; I could not see it any other way. And yet they all seemed to think that sex was something they owned or otherwise could throw away as some sort of ungodly machinelike contraption. I was sure I myself would turn out to be one.

“Charles, I need initiated into this. Could you buy me a beer, and could we step upwards into an upstairs bedroom, one last time, before I settle down into my life of prostitution?”

He snidely frowned, and said, “Look, young lady, I am definitely not liking your mood and would require some recompense for your time, if I was to be a fancy man for you. I have done this now for several years, and it is high time I became upwardly mobile. When do you want to go into an upstairs bedroom with me?” As he stood there, I saw that he would be rankled if I took anything like a sweet time with him. Also, I picked up a deep sense that he wanted something nice out of life which he could never obtain.

I took his two toned but silken left hand in one sudden motion. “I have sixteen pence in my pocket. If you must be such a small boy about this, I can certainly pay you for going through the motions with an aging and soiled dove such as me. It is my rent money, and it is all I have. Let us go upstairs, and for one hour, let us be a man and a woman together. You can show me the way. I will even lead the way upstairs for you. Do you want to beat on me? Do you have equipment, or is it as simple as it looks?”

“No,” said Charles, casting his eyes away. “I do, but actually, I will take your sixteen pence and get you out of here. Let us go buy you one beer, and be done with you. Come on now, such a choppy; let us go buy you a glass of wine. Come on now, Dove.”

So he led me over to where I and my friends congregated, and was the only one of his kind there as we settled in to what would be one of my few last glasses of heavy and dark brew. I sat and tired watched its aged traces swirl in the glass, wishing I could be a fish, and float.

The piano player was fetching a good tune out of the wooden instrument, and several of the girls were dancing merrily, pulling their skirts up aways, sometimes doing what we thought of as the stage dancing which I had seen growing up, down in another district, one which the rich were known to haunt and which had many a festive ballroom hall dance going in it. Some journeymen, carpenters and tradesmen, were dancing about, as the tavern was not as small as it looked from the outside, and it was a good time being had by all. Even…me.

I was surprised as I looked around, happy for a moment at the lack of Christian antipathy. The men whirled their girls around, dipping them, sometimes dancing erratically. I began tapping my shod foot rapid time to the music, and clapping my hands.

“Chuck – my bonnie lad,” I tittered into my feminine hand, which had beautiful red nail polish on each nail – but it was starting to chip round the edges. “Charlie, my darling, let us get up and dance.” As I gazed down the bar, I could see the Juwish owner of the tavern, or so I thought of him, wiping all the glasses with one towel, and dreamed briefly of securing a job as a tavern girl. Charles seemed to flinch. I thought, would the tavern owner hire him? Perhaps he would not work there. I wanted to reach out and grab him by the waistcoat and haul him – slowly – upstairs with me.

“Wait. I have to go dance with the ladies who work for me. Wait here.” He left me, his grey tailcoats swirling around in mock protest. Then one of what I assumed now were his girls handed me a newspaper. It was a headline on that grabbed my attention. As I read it, my heart sank, although it was nothing unexpected and I had been looking for it. We all knew there had been more frequent deaths of street life in the District as late.

It read, “Ladies of the Evening Disappearing in Whitechapel.” As I read the story, it turned out they were doing anything but disappearing. Our bodies were being found in strange and peculiar places, splayed out like carpetbags, in odd positions. And I felt chilled to the bone when I found other Mary indeed. It was a young girl I knew who had gone to a separate school than mine, once I had met her at a coffee shop, and we had shared dreams of working as writers, musicians, waitresses and artists, and she had been found in an alley with her throat ripped wide open and her abdominal cavity also gutted through her heavy clothing, in a position which began to sink deeply into me.

Sitting with my head spinning out of control, I happenstance saw a street at night. It was one of many – with dead bodies upon it. I also viewed an absolute picture of what had happened. As the grey cold swirls of a thick London negotiable fog gathered around both the victim and the oppressor, I saw who it was. He wore a long black cloak and a broad grey brimmed hat. He knew what he was doing, too good of a job at it. If it was one person, it was an unlined medical doctor. I read other articles, and there was some attempt to blame the entire local Juwish population. It finally centered on a butcher named Leather Apron, and there was talk of arresting this Juwe. I knew for a cold hard fact that it was not him, but a cadaveric that lived and worked near the vicinity.

And I next saw a sepia toned picture of what the “vultures” that gather and make money off of us had done to her “pretty” corse. She was so dark and mysterious, and had lovely long black hair. They had sewed her body all up to pose her both as a new thing called pornography – and as a medical item. I had to think, I somewhat minded the porno, but was happy about the medical aspect. Then it dawned on me. This would lead to the widespread abuse of women. However, it seemed a new way to make money, one that might get some of us away from the horrendous sweatshops, where in crowds you could only work until you dropped, were out on the streets and got yours. And the growing photography arena must of course have something strange to take on. I thought, Charles should try taking pictures of us, but perhaps he has not such knowledge as that.

I was sure of a sudden that it had all been a necessity, and that it had happed before, but had not been reported on by the newspapers so frequently. Please if there be a God, I briefly prayed: do not take enormous photographs of my dead naked body. And what if this attitude spread out, engulfed the other citizens of London, and destroyed her?

“Excuse me. I have to go see a doctor now, everyone. Oh, I have to get out of here.” Being medium height but of slight build, yet a little paunchy round the middle, it took quite a lot of lifting my skirts and pushing to get the crowd aside and to leave the large room of a tavern. God was telling me where next to go. I cruised lightly down the street, giving a glance to the left of me every time, seeing the beautiful shops of the Juwes and others gleaming in the broad daylight. It looked like a nice home for real people, the sort that could wish you a taught day and hand you the proper portion of goods. I looked, and there was someone who looked like Charles working in the back part of grocers.

It turned out to be an island woman who was sweet on white men, the likes of whom gave her three children, but had deserted her each time for someone else. Every time I needed fresh fruit, I would ask her to give me an extra portion for the others. But she finally stated that her billet was too long to give us any further. Her name was Hattie, and I almost asked grocers if they would hire me instead of her. Grocers was white mostly, but Hattie had been so nice to us I could not bear to hurt her and ruin her life.

I sighed, adjusting my bonnet and retying the strings alongside my glowing cheeks. In autumn in London town, there were many bustling down the sidewalks, heading places all unknown to me, many of which I had already been. I knew the shop of the doctor was down the street about two more blocks. I shifted my skirts about my leggings, and began padding like I was some sort of panther – or perhaps another cat of my own – a bit further. As my eyesight was perilously obscure, I could barely make out the sign above the door. It had been hand painted, but I had been told long ago that only men folk painted signs.

Meet the Doctor, Jack Rinehart:

“Dr. Jack Rinehart,” it seemed to proudly proclaim, “Mortician, barber, necrologist, and exterminator.” But not, “Jack the Ripper.”

As I lingered over the last word, I seemed to hear a macabre song in my head, one about cockroaches and the plague. I shuddered as the wind whipped around my bonnet, and as I looked over at a greenly growing oak tree in a planter, it sent some leaves over to me. They slicked across my eyes – and then I took one – and peeled it off. It was the only way I could be a “peeler.” That was a member of the authorities, such as Scotland Yard, or the local bobby police. The job of a policewoman was rare indeed. All of our girls made the lowest possible wages, and were easy to take advantage of, but so were most of the men, I supposed.

I had dreamed of taking the train to Stratford of Avon on Sea, but I’d no relatives there whom I could stay with while I found work. I had hoofed it to the chap’s office, thinking that if enough of us were dead, they would eventually catch the miscreant.

Still, considering what we were doing, it seemed all right to me either way. Surely, the population of England could use lowering. I bet I could avoid dying outright myself, for awhile. Shame on me, I thought to myself, not for being a street whore, but for thinking such thoughts.

I paused at the door of his offices. It was so crowded in downtown London that it probably was also his place of abode. There was at least one set of rooms above, and a gaslight already flickering in one of them. In those days, you see, we had no electric light everywhere and relied on flame lights. I entered the front, and there was a short stairway up to his actual offices. I climbed it tentatively, as the day was growing late, but came to rest right outside of a door reading, “Dr. Jack Rinehart – Necrologist.”

What should I tell him, that I need to see a doctor for something? But this man was a practicing corpse doctor, and I’d heard tell of him by way of the district. My street friends told me he took a shine to young “fancy” boys: dead ones. Victorian England brought out the worst in people; they looked askance – but away – at such matters. Even so, as I pushed the glass fronted door open and entered, I choked in horror.

There were various undone dead naked girls on the tables, and quite a few boys; dead naked boys, everywhere.

They were some adult, but all very young, and none were old people at all. Corpses were openly spread wide, to be examined spuriously in patently sexual ways. As I wheeled around, having seen dead people for the first time in my life, I gulped, wheezed, and gasped. I drew a hand to my throat, putting it away, and stared at the man with a kind of astonished shock.

Something real was telling me this was our persecutor, and not a good man, nor an ordinary medical doctor. But he was smiling at me.

“Are…you a mortician? Is this where you take their lives, or save them?” He looked slowly over his pince nez, taking his spectacles off, rubbing them on his blooded sleeve. I looked into what appeared to be a Teutonic face, one which I had never seen before. It was white but red with a kind of age, and looked furrowed above the brows. His hair was uncombed, and his brown leather apron as blood soaked as I had ever seen on a cattle butcher. There would be news of another man called “Leather Apron” in the papers about Jack the Ripper, but it wasn’t this man.

For one moment, in the dim light, his body seemed shot full of diseases, especially his ruddy face. Then, in the next space of time, he looked merely normal, seeming a plain, smooth-faced, charming pink fellow.

“Miss, I presume you want to speak with me? Come have a seat over here. Would you like to get up on a table, so I can examine you?” His lips curled into a kind of vicious snarl, as he began to reach behind me, perhaps to close the door at my back. I inched myself backwards, holding the door’s handle grasped firmly, ready to swing it open, but had nowhere really to go at this point in time.

“Nooooooooooo,” I scattered through my loose and probably rotting teeth, as I had not seen a dentist in years, thinking this could be the occasion I had been waiting for right here in his office. I’d best make ready, as I might be entering Heaven or Hell shortly, depending on God’s good graces.

“Do you, that is, are you Jack Rinehart, and would you come up with me to my rooms and we could have a good time?” Astonished at what I had said, I paused – on my part such cheek! I wondered if trying to make him into a customer would settle his hash.

But it was more than obvious he had something utmost lifelong in mind that I couldn’t approach. “Do you think, ahh, Jack, you and I could go up the street to a lovely restaurant?”

Meet Jack the Ripper:

“Women are the xx chromosome, an eternal optimist. Men, on the other hand, are an xy chromosome. Far superior to women, they are so much more ready to kill than to be optimistic. Eating is out of the question when you are the thing that needs to be eaten. By the way, only one of my little poppet whores – what makes you think my name is Jack?”

I thought to myself: that is the most inane thing I have ever heard.

“Do tell,” rang out the hollowest voice I ever heard a man speak with. “Are you ready for me now, little whore? I am certainly ready for you. Come, lie down,” he breathed, motioning behind himself.

He was about medium height, and for one moment, I daydreamed about describing him to Scotland Yard. He had a brush of brown hair on top, and his bluish green eyes danced with foul wickedness. Yet I was finally confronting my male self. He was as diseased as he could possibly be. I had never seen a white man or anyone else look that far along when it came to dying. His voice began echoing in my head for awhile, like a ringing declaration of the bottomless pits of hell. I knew he could have no wife, no lover, and no children. I wondered if he cerebrally loved men. I finally decided he had been having at those corpses – indeed.

From the positions of their being splayed out, he had obviously been having…intercourse with them…even the ones left of…boy children. What an outrageous, perhaps even courageous…man?

No, he wanted us to fare far worse than him. Did he actually need to be doing what he was doing, and what was it for? And I knew his total lack of mercy must be sustained for life. He had been plotted by the forces of chaos for infinity before he was even born.

At this I knew, right now I had only freckles, and my minor acne surely did not matter that much. It was almost as if I had seen my “other” at last, where I was putting my possible victims and most significantly, myself. And I know how I accidentally looked at him. The dazed wonder that crossed my face, combined with devastating loneliness, spread wide.

For a long instant of time, we gazed levelly at each other, I with a kind of quaint friendliness, and he with the utmost disdain and deep hatred.

In the next moment, the lust for blood or something else took over his finely, elegantly alabaster features, twisting them into a sort of malevolent but farfetched grin. It couldn’t be described as happiness. But I thought I saw a new spark in his eyes, as though he took an interest in me.

Surely he didn’t see me as anything but another of his potential dead victims? As I stared, he finally gave me a boyish grin, and then licked his lips. Some flush stole into his face, as if he were growing excited.

“You…don’t know me. Yes, you’re quite lovely. Or, perhaps I should know you better. Come on, chippie,” he said, patting his thigh as if I were a dog and he were summoning me to his side, “and let me tell you what I’m doing for you people, you idiotic, racially impure…little girl.” I began to realize that his voice held a slight German accent, quite Teutonic really.

When I really was a girl, we had a neighbor who let us climb his trees and pick apples; he was from Germany. His accent was thick, enough to confuse you. Sometimes he yelled at us, if we stayed in his trees too long: “Get down here, or I’ll strip your stupnegle skins off!” That was clearly understood, and we would instantly climb down.

“I won’t hurt you; I promise. You only need to climb up, and tell me your troubles. I will treat you like a father. Here is the place, babe, and your home, new child of the night. I will save you much pain – and take no long time with you.” He motioned in a Londoner’s way towards a sterile, empty vivisection table, with a pure white cotton cloth spread perfectly on it.

His suit under the brown leather apron was impeccable, expensive Scottish grey and brown tweed with a high thread count, and with a shiny brown silk vest buttoned across his muscular chest. I could see he was a young and vital man, perhaps somewhat short for a German, and he was ungodly handsome, except for traces of acne in his finely etched face.

“I won’t hurt you, honestly, as I promise. Simply perch on this table, pretty bird. You need your health checked into, and regular medical care. Isn’t that what a doctor is here for, to help you? I have two decades of experience working with whores. It won’t hurt one micron.” His grin turned friendly, and he looked so normal and polite.

He did not even reach for me. Letting me stand there, he had me silently contemplating only the silver slab of an examination table.

I saw my shallow death, only about five feet away from where I stood. It would involve much blood letting, and an agony he would not want to cause here. My screams would carry, so he must be somehow mentally gone. I knew how it had to happen, and I felt so disappointed, and not afraid. A kind of disgust appeared as well. I could not really see his medical instruments, and a few of them began to gleam at me, vacillating in the autumn heat as they loomed larger. I had seen pictures in books of Inquisition tortures.

For a moment, I wished he would use smaller implements instead. Then I realized what that would entail, and closed my eyes for ten seconds.

The idea occurred that perhaps hundreds of children had fallen to this maniac. A ping in my head, and I felt as though it told me many more virgins would in the future, in the natives’ countries especially. Innocent children would fall – who had no life in the sex trade.

Or was it only we “whores” who would die, should these “maniacs” keep their practices? My head and heart would tell me no further. Yet, as I eased the door behind me back and forth, I did not say anything and looked, to see if any of the “bodies” moved. I dreamed of childhood prostitution leading to the sale of body parts. I’d heard this done.

A voice whispered in my ear that the doctor was going to go down in history, as possibly one of the world’s evilest men. He would even be blamed somewhat for the actions of other, even viler Germans, during times of civil strife and world war.

Why would a Britisher named Jack Rinehart be held accountable for world evil? It was a German born name. It flashed through my mind that he had been writing letters to the newspaper, boasting flagrantly of his many crimes. Perhaps he was simply the “very first” murderer to seek such widespread publicity. He had left his “lady” corpses as widespread indeed as humanly possible, with slit vaginas open wide for the public to view, in as nauseating of final poses as could abuse fragile senses. As I found later, so much doubt would be held about them.

No one knew if he had committed four or twenty such murders, and all supposedly of London prostitutes. One source settled on nine, stating that was the apparent number of such deaths in his vicinity. And so many other crimes were committed that were similar to his, by other “people” at that time. People placed on fires in crowded hovels, people left to die in the gutter. Our overcrowded city was why, and it took awhile for me to collect my mind.

He had been German, and something had sent him to “our” country. His name meant River Heart. I thought, when he is done, he will throw himself into the Thames. It was a splendid yet now polluted river winding its way through the heart of London, which of course had nothing of the sort but the Strand region. Right in downtown London, they sold popular magazines for those who could take the time to read them. I often had nothing but time on my ladylike hands. I liked to read the publications which were housed in that area, and once I had bought something new. It was a tale of a pair of learned sophisticates who roomed together, named Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It was said the author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had based them on a doctor he respected and himself. I had a feeling the stories were a distant attempt to solve our murders. The real life doctor could tell where you were from anywhere in England by examining you. I chuckled, thinking he certainly at least knew where our Charles was from.

They were something new called private detectives, and they wanted to help mankind – howsoever, only in a fictive way. The writer was an optometrist who had friends in the medical profession, and I had a feeling one of them was probably the “gentleman” before me, well protected by his lifelong cohorts. They would never do anything about him, only boasting and bragging about their abilities to save us, be like us, or some other way steal our stories from us – and otherwise pretend to help us without ever doing so. The entirety of London was abuzz with what was happening to us, and what to do about it.

“You are a good man, Dr. Jack Rinehart,” I stumbled out. “I am not trying to save myself. Not anymore. But would you give me some time to be sure of where I am located? I am Annie Chapman, and this is most assuredly Whitechapel District of England. Is it not, and oh, I would like so to lie down, but I must hurry back as I never finished my beer. Also, I should enjoy it much if you would take me out to lunch, once, as I have never been escorted to luncheon by a real man before,” I lied, liberally applying the butter of my best charms. I was trying to save myself, I decided. “Would you do such honors to a lady of the evening as I am now? I was once a good girl, much like…”

It occurred to me of the strong Juwish presence about this district of town. Lately, there had been some reports of doing something about “the Juwes menace.” I felt sad, thinking somehow perhaps we were possibly to blame for their woes. Then I realized the “good doctor” was tapping my knee with a rubber instrument. I had not read of our “menace” by far, although there was talk of running us out of the districts. We were too “needed” by the local insatiable gentry to think of ruining the Victorian English “male” life. And I had thought it proper to live such a life in its way, but had finally run into our deaths. I knew that women, men and children were being used in obscene and furtive manners. It could only be our overcrowded city’s living conditions, and lack of jobs…no, he was not a good man. Somehow, it was a decision; he was not above me, he was beneath me.

“I hate you, Dr. Rinehart. You are killing people, real people with lives, needlessly. You must stop what you are doing, before it’s too late!”

“Hah. Lie down, whore, and I will get the instruments of torture. There you go.” He seemed to gesticulate in the general direction of the table. Being quite fast on my feet, I was already out the door, and knew who “Jack the Ripper” was…now. I thought his instruments of torture are the medical devices we currently have to use, and they certainly were.

As I hurriedly passed by everyone who must have missionary position to get pregnant and all of whom “Knew” women were somehow smutty whores, or that somehow certain ladies were all right and being such judges of character as I, I smiled. The lot of them seemed to have someplace to go, perhaps home to a hearth and fire. I watched a carriage pull up to someone elegant and she got in with a man and their three children. “Dear God, Allah, Mary…whomever,” I thought to myself, when will they ever learn to stop? I figured me probably – and all whom I knew – could find pregnancy on our own.

Stop what, I deemed to myself. But as a sewer rat, white as a sheet and larger than a cat lurked in an alley ten steps from where I trod, I took myself down another side street to make my way “home” and pack swiftly enough to leave. I still had my sixteen farthings. And I highed myself over to Whitechapel District, on the other side of where I had lived before, earnestly endeavouring to look as harried and impromptu as I possibly could. I thought to the crowd, see me, feel me, touch me, reel me in – and peel me. Peel me, it dawned on me for the first time, peel me like an onion. Diaries, I twittered, coughing into my hand, a head cold that felt like pneumonia. Again that time of year, as I pulled my blue shawl about my neck and dreamed of such a death. Well, now that I have met the murdered, it is probably only a matter of time before he comes. How will he know which rooming house I am lodging at? I must enquire there to see if I can elude him, or if the police would be intrigued enough to settle this incident of mine.

Meet the Lodger:

“‘allow,” I breezed to the night manager of the lodgings, who was a short and settled unkempt Indian man, probably a Hindu landed immigrant, keeping his books behind a complicated hand carved antique desk in the lodgings. The desk was not Victorian, like our Queen, and was something particularly beautiful and exquisitely fashioned from his own nativity. “What’s your name?” I leapt forward with, anxiously searching him.

“If you think you are going to make a lay instead of paying me money outright, upfront for your rooms, each paid every week you stay here, until you are gone for good, you are wrong. Would you care for room 221 A? There is a girl staying there, but it is a private room. We have another one available for two people, but of course, chippie, you will want a private room. Or would you like something more expensive?”

“Ah, I have but sixpenny farthing.”

“Sixteen will bring you recompense and a good night’s sleep, for a time.”

“I have sixpenny farthing.”

“Here’s the key and there’s a good girl. Go downstairs and to your left,” he said, and I complied immediately. It was good enough that I had an honest man for a manage and I didn’t mind his attitude, but he could change on me any time. I dared think his kind might steal from me if I owned anything, but I wasn’t planning on it. Maybe if I lasted, I would slowly gather some few cheap items for my room, such as I could buy at local shops. I had trouble inserting the key in the lock, and it nearly bent twain – although it was made of a thick iron. Finally, I jimmied the door open.

There’s your room. Put the key down on the filthy table. Now you can see what you are. Look in the mirror. See what used to be your pretty face? Now it will be gone for a long time. Look at the bed? See the stains. It used to be a bed, and it is still pleasurable. Now, lie down upon it. There’s a dear. Ready for a good time? The bed is not as bad as those “the slaves” used to not own, but you are already exposed to mildew. And now, I thought, what would I be exposed to? I had seen bloodless hookers who seemed normal. When Allen had first suggested I try Whitechapel, he had said, “Do not fear the diseases.” I had tested out well in school – but did not think my abilities were sufficient for the sweatshops; however, I had applied at them and been told to go away. I had waited in a line for over twelve hours, and Allen the shop steward had brought me a jug of pure water to drink. The sweat had soaked my entire two sets of clothes, and the water was a stream straight from Jesus. I downed half of it and said, “Here, you have some.”

I had thought those were the longest half day of hours I had spent in my life. Little did I know that a half day must repeat itself, even though the first one had been arduous. It had involved noise and a feeling I could not handle a life of severe work without any breaks. I was sure they let you attend a lavatory and at least have time for a sitting down.

No, I have to wash up and get ready for tonight. I have to go out and collect my rent money. And I have to be sex in any position any man wants outside, even in the pouring rain. I have to do this in spite of a good Christian upbringing, and being as sturdy as I am from running in the woods outside of Leeds, to compete with the other girls at school, I must not retire, truly, ever again. Also, whoever you are, I am not a man. Nor am I an invert, nor an object of worship. I daresay I sham not ever get a proper grave.

Oh, but you shall, my deario cheerio, you shall. And there will be colour pictures, and such wakeful and “new” celebrity. All English women whatsoever, no matter what their birthright, will come to fear your attackers. You will be photographed repeatedly in various odd positions. Also, the photographs will improve over time until you are making money hand over fist, you and all such beings of worship everywhere. There, see yourself in the mirror? See how pretty you are? Ah, you think yourself an ordinary girl of the streets. The grave will be equally pretty, over one hundred and one years from now. Forsworn, you all had told me that I, Annie Chapman, must live life in the 1870s as best I can, and it will not last long. For what is life if it is so dominated by perversity?

I am going to leave your heart laid out on a pillow, the voice of Jack said arch deeply into my head. I have gone mad indeed, I reflected as the voices continued. Perhaps smart I had an overactive imagination. Once a teacher said “we” could imagine anything you want, and it would happen to you. Now, lie down on the bed. There’s a girl. I am going to come soon, no, don’t get up. I will send Charles if you don’t listen to me, and he will not be happy with you as you are not helping him earn his keep. He’s such a caged up little spoiled bratty monster. I trust you would not wait for him? He is my own male Negro.

“Thanks none, and now I have no volition of my own.” I looked out the dusty window at the street traffic, and realized to my happy surprise and painful downfall simultaneously that the avenue or whatever it was outside obscured all street noises coming in. The rattling carriages and push carts could be heard by me no longer. I was trapped, decided I was insane for “knowing” what Jack Rinehart was, and lay down to relax on my bed. Oddly, for a moment I almost felt a kind of luxury. I looked up at the cracked ceiling, and at the tiny bedroom I now inhabited, probably for life. I thought, I never knew I could live in such a space as this. It was plenty for me, and I felt a deep relief.

I cast my white arms to either side of me, feeling the soft nature of the smelly old bedding, relaxing myself solely for the purpose of readying my body for what must soon take place. I would have to go out beyond, out in the alleys of the district, which wound and twisted in the deep nightly fog of industrial Great Britain, so polluted with the tars of factories that tended to hire men alone and some women, and listen for the tomes of Old Ben, the biggest standing clock tower in the world, to tell me when to come home. I would have to stand and wait, as the odd “rich” men of London came to while me away, taking their time, as I insisted on pay in advance for each opportunity they took.

In a few hours, I must begin the process of somehow dying for and against Great Britain. I would feed the birds and insects soon, the rats and cats and dogs of the streets, or perhaps only be carried away to the morgue to await perhaps a notch longer fate. I had often seen indications of the Catholic Hell, and perhaps it would be eternal, as I was uncertain if I had somehow chosen this. I recall coming through Leeds where I was borne on a train, and seeing the scrawling of a madman or two on the train depot walls. It said, “Blame us your problems then lengthy kill yourself.” And underneath, I had seen the words, “Annie will light the way for no one’s life.” As I got off the train, a professional looking man pushed into me, stating, “I have been waiting for you, and you come across my way when you least expect it. Then you will be our great stupid whore for life.”

However, as a schoolgirl should, I shuddered to myself as a surge of pleasure tackled my parts below. I would never feel fulfilled by a man, I reasoned; I would have to tolerate a kind of abstract torture indeed. This my hideous master had so informed me. But eventually, I also believed, he would have to share similar fate to all of his victims. If nothing else, he would have to work especially hard for his living. And surely he would have to be as my real father, who had gone somewhere. Perhaps I could even get him to give up, trust me, love me, and marry me. Lastly, as the pleasure checked by me went off, I made my way into the train station.

But as I was searching for the public loo, a feeling assaulted me in the center of my clothed but parted bosom. It seemed to be proclaiming what a “heart” I had, and how it would be of some use. I did not want to touch my own bodice over this. I shuddered, as for the first time I thought I had felt the “passion” of Christ. It was not a good feeling, felt like having sex with myself alone, and I put it right away. I flashed on somehow it would involve the slow removal of my living heart from my dying body.

As life is unfair to all, I gathered myself up, smiling, and pulled my brush and comb out of my traveling bag. I had done this at the train station, and now in my final room in Whitechapel. It was a large carpet bag, dotted with flowers, and I opened it carefully, pulling the brush through my long hair that was brown and shone with some other colors. It made straightway as I pinned my hair back and put on my choice bonnet. I was bathed and dressed, due to the water closet right there at my disposal. I had thought it would be down the hall and to be shared with the other girls, but for an unknown reason, it was right there next my room. I wondered briefly what a long fall “death” would be.

I stalked like a true whore out of my room, gathering my courage and smoothing my long dress. As I entered the darkening of the nighttime, I took small steps, spacing each apart, my high button shoes clicking lightly on the pavement. What a thing being a detective would be, I mused; what a life that would have been, under other circumstances. Peering over my spectacles, if I could have afforded them, I would be looking all around for clues, in order to tell the authorities what to do to solve these awful “crimes.” But I was a criminal, an illegal person called a prostitute, and I had to do what I was doing. For half a distracting second, I thought I saw a brief glimpse of someone. He was standing there in the fog. As I moved towards him, he disappeared, quite out of sight.

Meet a Typical Client:

I followed him. “Oh sir, kind sir, would you like to come see my lodgings? I live up four blocks, in Whitechapel district, and need you to share my wares. Would you like to be with me for a brief while, and spend my time or perhaps dinner with me?”

“No, stranger, I am busy. Perhaps you are seeking some other gentleman to take your time with and find another pastime which you can overcome with greater ease. Say, would you like to stroll down this alley with me? I find that the night air allows some other beings of an evening to make their choice appearance, oh say in a dark manner, that might need such a lovely girl as you,” said this man new to me as he grasped my arm so lightly and then harder as we went down an available alley, making me think he must believe he is nearer to God than I, and an obvious conclusion to that, as we strolled past a Bobbie, the local London police. The bobby looked away. I winked at him as we walked past, quite a couple of chips floating along the avenue, like a kind of steered boat. I noticed the man was doing all of the steering. I trembled, but said nothing.

I somewhat wondered if this gentleman’s god was a man named Charles. As I had studied somewhat that people came from either Jerusalem or Africa, I had to figure so. I was being silly, but he was grasping my arm quite hard and pinching it. I sighed, reflecting on oops he does seem to be pinching me. “I believe you are a bobby at this rate.”

“What? Are you talking to me, whore? I am not pinching you.” To pinch someone at the time was a London expression for arresting them. Of course I was in danger of this.

“Well, where would you like,” I whispered, “to stop and get our business done? I must take payment in advance, and I must know what you can afford to pay me. I would take at least ten quid for a standing up, and at least twenty-five quid for lying down.”

“That is way too much money for a good girl like you. I will tell you what. Go over there, and stand up. Then I will give you a real treat. You will like what I am doing so much, that you will beg me over and over for more. First, I will take of your behind.”

As he squeezed my buttocks, a silence passed over and within the steady fog. I heard the clanging of the bells far away signaling the passing of the boats through the locks. They had always been musical to me, letting me know life held at least one good in it.

“No, actually, I have to make my rent money, and I need you to pay me in advance,” I declared, wrenching painfully away from his tight grasp. But I was still held. So I said, “Look, young sir, I need payment for anything I am going to do here.”

He released me. “You like what I am going to do to you.”

“I do, and indeed, you are such a fine young gentleman. But I require minor recompense for my actions on your behalf. I tell you what; five quid is enough for a standing.”

“A standing what? Surely you want to wrap your fine,” here he put his hand under my chin and stroked my face so fetchingly that I wanted to wretch up my dinner, which I had not had that evening, “Mouth around my wonderful loins and suckle like a babe.”

“No, but I will do that for you if you pay me ten quid and five farthings in advance. I must have the money first, or I will refuse to do anything for you whatsoever.”

“Then I will hit you repeatedly, my dear,” he said, drawing me over to the alley wall. I wrenched away, and backed up. As he started towards me, I screamed at him, “Save me!” to see if the bobby would arrest me or what he would do. Then I ran, raising my skirts. “Idiot chit, I would have pleasured you! Stop, I will not run after you!”

Scared, I wondered at this, as the event had seemed not to make sense. Would I make any money at this, with such discouragement? Perhaps I had best find my friends again and discuss matters with this Charles. Was there some way to make a better arrangement? I strode over to my new abode, trying to hide myself, and then it dawned on me. I would have to go out again, this same even, and try to find someone else who would pay.

I decided to cast around and see if Charles or any of my female friends were in the vicinity. As I walked casually through the London fog, I sneezed. I took out my Becky box and a pinch of snuff, applied it to my nostrils and felt good about not being too scared to sneeze in public. Snuff was common for colds back then, although it cured nothing. I looked for shapes in the fog as I took the opposite way from my first “customer,” who was obviously recalcitrant about payment.

Noticing I was heading out of Whitechapel and into outer downtown London proper, not far from where I could go to the Strand, get a nice cup of tea and a paper to read, and while thinking perhaps of buying me the Strand Magazine to read the further adventures of the two detectives, who fascinated me for a reason I could not fathom, I cast around. There were too many persons of interest in this district truly to make a customer. Bobbies lurked around every other corner, and I could barely see. Whistling for a taxi, I pulled over a carriage and boarded it. I had plenty enough money.

“Take me out to the waterfront. I have payment, and need to view the ocean for my health. And thank you,” I told the carriage as he helped me step into the vehicle, and he took his seat and the horses’ reins. As we traveled, I began to hear a voice. It said that some day, such carriages would be without drivers, and would involve an internal combustion engine. Fancy that, I chortled. I tilted my bonnet, which had a nice but fairly unkempt hat perched upon it, back over my mildly sweating head. I did not wear makeup, although whores of the time did, as my features were pleasant and passable.

Big Ben began its nightly chimes, sounding that the hour was two am. There are three victims of Jack before you, said the voice. I thought, now I know I will end up in Charing Cross, on the mental wards. I had best tell no one of this, although that would be one way out, and I thought this would have to do as the way out. I dreamed of drowning myself once we got to the water. But I deduced the thing to do was take a long stroll, paying no attention to anyone, until some man approached me. Surely such would then have the money to pay for my business, which I planned to work at.

Meet London’s Chinese:

I debarked the carriage, paid the driver, wished him a good even, and took myself down to the waterfront’s edge, pushing through the fog with a light air. It parted before me, and I heard the voices of men fishing off the docks, all of whom looked strangely Asiatic. I thought, these are the Chinese, the chinamen who fish out here beyond most public reach. I had heard they might be good for some conversation from my girlfriends. Approaching shyly and tentatively, I came behind one who was pulling bait from his hook.

For a moment, I recalled the British habit of dropping articles such as “the” and “a” and “an” when speaking, especially in the poorer districts, among the lower classes.

“Any luck catching worthwhile garby? I hear they flock down here…droves.”

“Who, me? No speak you. You not lady. Go away. Aw, such unhappy face. Don’t cry. No, stay. I show you how to fish. You look like work hard.”

I leaned across the wooden railing of the deck, not understanding the tears. Then I registered that he’d said, “Work hard.” It seemed to jar something inside me.

Really, I inwardly squealed! And then he did it. He actually baited a hook for me. “Here you go. Now, when fish nibble on line, pull up. You wait for jerk on line. I jerk, ha. You jerk, now you go down in line and pull up when fish bites.”

I stood there, ready to fish until I died. I had found a nice man. But he was not a paying customer. Nonetheless, I let the gentlemen there show me how to fish for the next three hours, listening carefully to the chimes of Big Ben letting me know when I should make my way back. I had the best night of my entire life fishing with the chinamen. And after one and a half hours, I had caught me the finest groupie that ever had cleaned the waters of the Thames in our backwaters. Then I caught another, and another.

“You done now, Lady? We go fish and keep ourselves now. You go home.”

Wanting to hug this man like he was my Saviour, I held back fresh tears. Then I said, “Yes, I must be toddling off to my rooms – and you get a night’s or a day’s rest. There is so much I have to finish tomorrow. By the by of this river, do you happen to know where I can find male clients? Do you have the business around the docks?”

“Nah – that is not nice girl. You should get work. Tell you what. You come back here tomalley night, and I think maybe find job for you shelling clams and oysters. You likee? Wife and I love have you cook dinner for us. I own a big inn on these docks. We have food and serve liquor drinks.” I marveled at this simple man’s ironic honesty.

I paused. This man was not a Christian, but was offering me a job. I had heard the poisoned waters of the Thames made the shellfish unpalatable, and knew British shops refused to sell them to their regular customers. Looking away, I said, “Thank you very much for your kind concern. But I have to do business as I should. Thank you. I hope you and your families prosper and never have any more problems.” I knew the industrial pollution being pumped into the Thames would last for possibly centuries. The rest of the entire world would have to suffer from our horrific practices, and perhaps die.

Gathering my long skirts again, I headed off in the direction of the street, where the regular carriages gathered in a long row, waiting for gentlemen. And also ladies. I had not ascertained that any such clients were in the vicinity of this whereabouts, but the carriages were obviously waiting for them. I approached the lead carriage, a silky black in the pale moonlight, and asked the driver pardon. “Could you tell me, is there any place a girl can work “the business” around here? Are there any other prostitutes in this vicinity?” My boldness shocked me, as if I thought I had found a way to have others at my beck and call.

“Yes, there are those Chine whores who go down back the buildings. Maybe you should go over there and talk to them. They have a good time down there, and you can check at the local tavern…or the opium den as to how they would expect you to…perform.” For once, I dreamed of the lure of strong opium, recalling my stint with cocaine. But the Chinese charge you for using their dens, and I had no money. They would probably demand payment for entering the seedy drug havens, built mostly for men, but not the taverns. I wanted to go back and fish with my “friend” forever. I needed something more. There were real folks around these parts of the sea, who had good souls.

“Perform what? You mean like in a play? Do they have plays and arts down here?”

“No, not for a girl like you I don’t think, although I suppose you could ask.” The man was white, and I felt like I noticed this for the first time in my life. He was friendly, and smiling at me. But he had the same aura of an uncertainty I could strictly feel.

There will be horseless carriages someday, I had heard the voices in my head speak, and as I had now insanity, I did not suddenly want to pollute the troubled Chinamen of this good district. They had their germs they were born with, and I mine. Even though Charles seemed so well and not to mind his trade, which was obviously not in his best interests. I was sure there were rougher Chinese than the good man who had helped me fish, but he obviously wanted to pull me in. I thought, perhaps he only wants a cook, and the wages do tend to be rather low. I will go die alone.

As I left, I saw a somewhat Occidental Chine looking girl pass by, obviously diseased. She glanced at me as though she could love no one, and I immediately swayed. As she passed, I longingly glanced in her direction. Shamed, I hurried on and took the second closest carriage back to the district I had decided I would be working from until I found out whether the voices were correct in their assumptions. I saw a gathering of Asian girls, all chines looking, clustered around a tavern as I left the area. What a splendid place. I saw the lettering of the Chinese and obviously the Nipponese or others begin to magically appear in the gaining twilight. It must be about five o’clock morn. I had found the Occidental district of London – at last. There was lettering on the shops I would never see again, and I could almost read it in the gaslight. I wished I could stop and get one of their newspapers and read all about what their “doings” were, and how they fared. But they only used whores here too, and the streets were perhaps lined with them.

I called out as I passed, “What is the name of this sweet district?” The crowd of Chinese people looked at my carriage with narrow and staring eyes. I fancied the neat pigtails on the menfolk, and the pertly drawn black hair of their women. They towed their children along, holding their tiny hands. Not knowing what it would be like to be an ethnic group for a change, I yelled, “I mean – what it is in Chinese?”

“The Waterfront,” said one lady, “and you go away now, you white whore.”

Pulling up to the kerb, the carriage let me out, and I felt the chill begin to grip me. It was the end of autumn, and winter’s awesome grasp began to clutch at everyone around me. The day labourers and their present accompaniments such as street clearances surrounded me. I felt rather trapped, like a person perilously close to realizing the total authority of nature in a large metropolitan city. I began to wonder if it was possible to seek male clients during the day, perhaps in a guarded back alley of some kind. Then it dawned on me. Seek out Charles. It wasn’t a voice in my head; it was my mind, calling me to understand that I would have to use a male authority figure to collect my prostitution monies. Surely, if I went back to the tavern in the other district, I could find “our” Charles, or someone like him. I wandered through the streets, being pushed aside by people repeatedly until I wound my way through them, and came to the tavern where I had initially began my search as to where to live to become a street lady.

“‘Allow, governor, where’s the bloke who runs our racket around here?”

“What d’you mean?” said the tavern keeper. It was the same bloke as before, and he seemed no greyer or older than when I’d last set eyes upon him, but he acted as though he had never seen me before in his life. I strolled up to the long, shiny and flat brown bar between us, the zone delineated and marked by that which kept the customers away from the professionals. It was meant both to be sat at and as a wall of separation.

“I need bonnie Charles the…what is it called? The union of prostitute’s organizer. Could you tell me, kind sir, where I can find him nowadays?”

He looked at me to punish me again for having said the word most awful. Then he coolly turned to continue putting glasses away and straighten out the various drinks and bottles behind the bar. I sat myself down on the wooden chair pulled up by me, and asked him, “Dare you listen to me at all? Is there someone else around?”

“If you think that is it, you are sadly mistaken. I only tolerate your kind when there is the lot of you, and no other time, mollycoddle. I will ring the authorities if you pester me.” He turned to me with a look on his face which shot through my entire beginning to come down with influenza, but yes I was a sturdy girl, and he said, “Go straight to Hell.”

“No,” I said, “I need to talk to Bonnie Prince Charlie, my one true love. Where is he, oh barkeep, that I may talk to him and treasure him and treat him as my husband?” There was a long pause. The barkeep stepped back one pace as if to ram his fist down my throat, but then he sighed and paused. “I don’t know. He usually hangs out at the pool hall down three blocks apace, turn left, saunter down that avenue, and turn right.”

That was it and so I bought a glass of beer to thank the keep and paid for it with what was left of my sixpenny ha’pence, and you don’t need to know how much I had on me. Turning to leave, I left a halfpenny on the bar as tip, and said thanks to the gods again.

Meet Robert – the Teenage Irishman:

Following the directions, I found the pool hall, and many a fine swarthy fellow and some girls were hanging about in the smoke filled atmosphere, some with glasses of beer, wine and liquor, others smoking pipes and some simply playing billiards. I sauntered up to one table and was told to lie low, so I went quickly over to another and watched their game. Two men, obvious in their teens, were trying to figure out their routine and how to gamble, and having a right time by gauging a scoring system hanging as a giant sign of something perverse overhead. Before I watched the game, I looked at the scoring system. It was pretty, made of multiple colors. I thought on how Charles was not pretty, nor made of multiple colors, as the twosome playing the game bestowed before me were having. One of them sudden looked at me and said as in reply to my twisted thinking, “Would you like to play the winner, sparrow? I’ve got this right down to brass tacks and only need to shove in three balls.” He came over and showed me slowly how one plays the game of billiards. One uses the laws of averages, and computes the many angles of knocking the rainbow coloured balls into the six pockets of the enormous green table. There are now ten balls to knock in, and it is so fascinatingly tricky. “I’m Bob McKenzie, and you are lovely, my dear.” He held my arms as I learned the tricks of the pool trade, for the next two hours, and we made the loveliest music together as we danced. The entire time, as I was stuck looking for Charlie and had to call him my love, my mind turned evil. It seemed the right thing. I decided to peach on him and thus kill him.

“I am going to arrange something of an intrigue for you, Mr. McKenzie. Oh, that’s best, tuck your arm under my bodice, no, put it over there, oh you did, and let me hold the stick myself now. Why, I can line up the shot perfectly. Let me do this, Bob! I will arrange a neat demise of my supposed “suitor” over this incident.” I looked at him with a lust for murdering Charlie that must have illuminated my youthful visage well. “All you need do is turn authorities and order the death of…” I was swift interrupted.

“What? I would like to die for you, my lady, if you would come lie down with me. I should not die there, but will do a job servicing…” His voice trailed off. “Actually, I tend to let out my spleen playing pool during the day, mostly, and I do brickwork around these districts plus out in the country occasionally.” His look at me made my jaw drop. Oh dear God, no, not that sort of man and he is one. “Uh, hi. Are you eligible for marriage?”

Laughter, heard all around the room, raucous and loud, prolonged and proud. Bob put his stick up, motioned to grind chalk into it, and then stopped. He looked at me as if seeing me for the first time in my life. “Nah, I don’t make anything financially sound naught to get a wife, but you know, I should certainly think about that. Say, do you live around here somewhere?” The laughter had been coming from the surrounding crowd. “Bob, you’ve got a pretty girl fascinated by you. And as you are, it’s again and again.”

“Lucky man! Hey chaps, Bob’s found a sucker! Chit, you’re a street whore or no, aren’t you?” And other such calls began to sound out. However, Bob sudden put a hand about my waist and stated, “Any further men calls this lady anything but,” and then he bounded onto the pool table with the pool cue, “Shall feel the wrath of the billiards champion!” He towered over the crowd, a thin figure with great wits and learning about him. He slowly twirled the pool cue in a kind of figure eight motion, taking up his entire frontal space. “And if you think I don’t mean it, I have a switchblade on me.”

“Awww,” said a girl several tables away, “C’mon Bob, you’re everyone’s love, admit it, don’t fool the poor girl, there’s a love and come down.” The manage assistant at the hall yelled, “If you don’t get off the table, you are out of here forever, Bobbers.”

“I’m a copper and I’m arresting you all for impersonating a lady. Come up, here, Annie. Daresay I know your name. Why do I know your name, Annie, when you didn’t.…come up here – there’s a love.” I was up on the table with him in one second flat. “Awww, you silly twits, you don’t know a real man when you see one. I like this one. Come here and give me a kiss, Bob, and make it deep and last forever….” I was rather cut off by the kiss, one of passion and great splendour. “Let me die defending you, Annie Chapman. Please, let me do it now, and not to you.” He heaved a heavy but too menacing sigh as he swept the pool stick out, encompassing the crowd. “Let me take on each one of these until I am cut entirely to long and bleeding ribbons. You can watch, and cheer me on.”

I stroked his fine and extremely handsome ruddy Irish face. “Betimes, I would let you, but I have another idea in mind. Would you like to find me a man named Charles, who is our current boss?” I and he gazed across a distance greater than that between Scotland and the South Pole, as I took his hand. “Here come the coppers you two, get off the table and run for it, the lead rang up and there’s bobbies at the door out the back!” We leapt off the table, I nearly tripping and falling in a mass of clothing that tore under my shoe and I followed him out the back through a winding alley at top speed as we ran demons.

“Bob, I should think we heading back to my place or yours pant oh I haven’t run like this since division school when I did cocaine and lost my two sisters…no dear I have a flat up the street here’s the way in come on Dove let’s go in there by the way, you’re mine now,” and he turned to me and said, “Now, shall you come in with me? Or no?”

Breathless, I caught myself and spurted out with, “Let us not tarry about anything!” And we walked up the steps of the brownstone building, which I assumed was an apartment somewhere outside the districts surrounding Whitechapel, and we made our way up a narrow dark stairway to Bob’s rooms. “Oops, I forgot, I’d best go downstairs first. I have to talk to our landlady about this. Please come back down with me.”

“No, I shall await your return.” I watched as he leapt down the stairs as lightly as a feather and raced off to go talk to his manage about something unknown. I really gulped as I knew it might mean my getting kicked out of the building permanently. And the cops or bobbies or whatever they were waited outside – thus to arrest only me. Bob had at least a good chance at life, and could travel wherever he damned well pleased.

Waiting, I then saw a heavy hearted Bob come shamefaced up the stairs. He glanced at me once, and said, “I don’t need to live here anymore. Would you let me take you to my room? I don’t want anything. Whatever you would like.” He came up the stairs, looking far too much like something I had waited my whole life to achieve, and I said, “No.”

“I have a job and can rent elsewhere. What makes you think I don’t?”

“You need the reference to get another apartment, and I won’t let you.”

“I can live off the streets as I choose, and even be you as well as this Charles. It doesn’t matter to me one single whit.” He came up the stairs and took my hand and kissed it fully. “And for that matter, if you tell me to drown myself in the Thames, I will instant. But first, you need to be taken out to dinner with the last of my pocket money.”

He smiled up at me, a grin that implied another face I had previous seen. I trembled with an anger beyond the scorning of women. “You only fear the weather, and how badly you will chill each season with pneumonia. I don’t care a brass farthing for your petty courage. You will be taken away from me shortly, and you don’t count for a thing.”

He looked down over the railing. “Ask me to jump off these legs first up there, and I will do so. But pardon me, I had rather stay about and tell you where to go if you think I would not, beautiful Annie. But first, tell me why I know your name?” He flared with an arch grimace up at me. “You are meant and bound for elsewhere, are you not? I know now what I must do to. I shall suicide first in the Thames. You are not for here. I love you. Now tell me what I must do.” Trembling, I realized he was dead serious.

“Before you suicide,” I said with an iron look crossing my face that I had never known before, “You must arrange an arrest with Charles. You must have that what is it a pimp called arrested for extorting money from us prostitutes while claiming he is trying to form up a union for us. It is a false precept and he needs to be arrested for it. You need to inform the papers of a black man wearing…” and I gave him the remainder of the details about Charles, whose last name I could not recall, fearing that nothing would happen. But I had decided that “his kind” needed to be trounced out of England.

More’s the pity; I chuckled to myself as we took to downstairs slowly. I lifted my skirts over a restaurant’s threshold for the first time in it seemed three years and we had a most pleasant dinner out. “This wine is called which name, my gentleman Bob? Is it a merlot, or a rose? I have it between my thighs. I am a wine most seductive myself, don’t you think?” To which he replied, “I have not a life and you have guessed me, but nobody else here does, and they all strive to defend it. I have never understood why. Will you come up to my flat with me? I did not want to deride our landlord, as she is a lady.”

He looked at me so archly with his bushy eyebrows, as he raised his glass. I thought how men such as him were called “Archie’s.” It was the usual invert label for them. “But if you think you are the first I have, you are mistaken, although I do love you. Toura loura loura, my sweet, do toura loura lie. Say you love me as well. Or I will kill you.”

The Irishmen of that era were almost always part English and other things, and they boasted of not fitting in to our society as beings I could not believe in – forever.

“In which case, you do not, although you would die for a woman of any stripe. I am not impressed.” I put my wineglass out, the type of which he had not told me. “Let us clink these stems together and salute the Queen.”

He laughed, and the restaurant suddenly rang with his Irish laughter. “Do tell. Long live Queen Victoria, the Dowager Slut of England! I have a lady with me tonight, but no.” He clinked with me in a swift motion and we set them both down. “You receive no toast. Oh look,” he said, reaching down to the floor. “The thing has landed butter side up. Let me show you what to do about that.” He stomped the floor with one foot, smiling to himself about something I could not see. Everything as usual was blurry over there. “Now we are married. And if you don’t away with me, as I seek better work, I shall die.”

“So what?”

This seemed to present a pickle to Bob. I reflected on how nothing I meant to this man, in all probability. He had a long string of harlots at his pool halls and life of Riley, and I asked him what else he did than sleep around with harlots or men.

“Mean of you little lady, but I am trying to organize some unions around here and I’m involved with the bunch trying to get better pay for the brick workers. It’s Chapter 89 of the United Kingdom Brick Workers Association, and I am attempting to move up in the ranks. Say, did you ever see a real riot, where people might get bashed, or hurt each other,” and here he hung over the table with a kind of high born expectancy, “Or do anything along those lines? I keep expecting something evil to break out and be. The bosses are all English, some of us are English, and we have a few of you in membership. They are all inverts I think, but I’m seventeen years old, and dropped out, so I’m as ignorant as they come around here. Oh, and you need your mouth wiped.”

Bob reached out and dabbed daintily at the sides of my mouth, as I brushed his hand away. “No, I have work to do, and don’t want to see you contesting for greater social position as you vainly attempt to get ahead in these crowded rooms. What is the use, McKenzie, as you will never find your way to conquering the world?’

“Don’t want to. And I can help organize our union, but as for you, I will go find this Charles and filet him outright. How long do you want him to suffer? Do you want me to use a knife on him? I think that would be best, although I should like to get a few of my boys and show him his cowardice. We can all use pocket knives and I know where I can get scalpels from a friend. Also, we can have his almighty purple muster stuffed and mounted by a taxidermist friend of mine.”

He meant what had been harming me. I was not a virgin. I grew as aghast as a God fearing Christian woman had, namely my mother, when confronted with such an enormity of an undertaking. “Right, you can kill him later. I want you to simply have Scotland Yard organize a search party for a wanted fugitive, get it how it prolongs his agony, and have him arrested for the crime of organizing women of the evening. There is no such thing – and can never be as that. I cannot believe a Negro is innovative in such a light, although I could be wrong, but no one else could either. Therefore, before the manage of this has us arrested, please make arrangements toward this with your buddies, and go find him. I know he is trying solely to make his keep off us, and has no other options in life I suppose, but he could be working else wise. Please stop him – and this practice of his leaching off us ladies and young men, as he is simply a madam.”

“You ought to be one,” Bob heavily breathed at me. “If you require his manhood at your disposal, you must want it in some other way indeed. Leave him and it alone and let him rot somewhere in the jail system. It is the only alternative that makes sense.” I leveled as firm of a gaze as I could at my suitor, who was only one of many and I was only one of many, as I surest knew, and supposed he would attempt to follow my command. In the British jail system, you were presumed guilty until proven innocent, which in Charles case could happen or no, but only after extreme and heated debate.

“Queen Vickie, at your humble disposal, your servant, Sherlock Holmes. Say, do you read those? They are getting so popular lately. I keep thinking everyone thinks I am insane for wanting to like those, but the two gents in it and everyone else is so bloody inspiring. I should like to do such work as comes in myself, like the detective in the story, as he chooses what work he does by which clients he cares to take on, but I have to go soon to work for those I cannot chose. Let us leave for your place, and make the music I was meant to make with you together.”

“Let’s,” I breathed into his ear as we stalked simply out the door, me scared because no one had accosted me for what I had proposed as we took ourselves into the carriage, rattling through the many districts surrounding downtown London proper and settled in for a long ride while we held hands and kissed many times. “You think you are my brother and you kiss like a girl. I hope you are better when we are in my rooms.”

I noticed how cool Bob was to the touch, as if he were a fairy from the north of Scotland, and I had to wonder about our Charles. I was sure love with him would have been spicy hot, and I dreamed of him the entire time I and my temporary Irishman made love. It was simultaneous cool and warm, so chary and fairy and temporary, and as I looked in the mirror at us, never had I seen a man so handsome and so boyish looking. I was twenty, and we were the same size and wore the same looks as we cajoled and frolicked. All the time, I was thinking, this bed is meant for customers, and I need to invite the boys in here. They are simply too unsophisticated to get chance taking down. Unlike Bob, they had nothing material in mind when it came to escorting a whore. I could only figure each man had his own plans, something like the good doctor, whom I would probably not meet again. Each one needed to be guided by me to a place where aging I could show each one of them how to handle a woman sexually, how to do it right, and how to have his own way without unnecessarily blaming me for our universal undertaking.

Wishing Bob farewell in the morning, I washed up, deciding to never see him again, and as I looked in the mirror, I thought I saw something on my face. It seemed to be a ripped tearing across both my cheeks, one which split my face down the middle in red. I looked again, and the voice said, “Don’t worry; the Dahlia is not due to your actions. As you think, this is a bad situation all in all. You are not the world’s only hooker. Or, perhaps you are. Do you suppose you are responsible for all of these horrendous crimes?” Then as I told the mirror I didn’t care if my face went back to normal, it did.

I finished washing in the metal basin and dressed, preparing for a day of killing time by hanging out around the Strand area, as Bob had given me a week’s wages out of our special night, and I certainly had both time and money to kill now. It saddened me that he was only a customer in the end, that our love could never be, and that I was having him kill a man or perchance a partial man for me. He would probably find our Charles. As I strolled the long walk to the Strand’s tea parlors, coffee shops, candy stores, and places where I could now buy some new clothing, I reflected upon Charles’ life. Like me, like Bob, he had no such toy to play with, but seemed to think he had. Poor little bear of a man, but now I have arranged to take what circumstances he had completely away and stuff them down his dark African throat for the next unknown time period. Well, when he gets out of our jail system, he can certainly find me and do whatever he wants. There is no such justice for the likes of me far above the likes of him. Or perhaps, I deigned to imply without speaking as I bought my clothes, poking through the flower children’s wares, there’s a nice boy and thank you for that here’s three pence, and I strolled through the milling crowd over to have coffee at the French pastry shop.

Meet London’s Negroes:

Charles ilk or lot in life, I could not tell which, as I sipped some excellent java from Spain, grown in the finest outlying forests, while eating a cheese sandwich and having a glass of unreported milk that had the cream mixed in it, mind you, he could come here too, but then again I see not his kind again anywhere. I don’t suppose they chase them off? Then again, I see someone down at the other end of this café area, and she looks lonelier than I have seen woman before. Then others sat down with her, black like her so far as I can see, and settle into their food and unknown way of life. They look like us, but I know of something wrong. Yet it is strictly invisible at all times to me.

I am afraid that to me, they do not resemble people. Such plug noses, and such an air of authority they do not have in this country. Charles and I would never have got on, such an idea, he was only there to take advantage of us, why would I think he knew anything right, oh thank you for taking my plates away – and here’s a quid. It’s a young red haired girl who looks vaguely like someone from another country, or is one of us. “My name is Karen, and you might talk to me later. Don’t feel bad about your Charlie.” It’s hard to tell when all is a blur, and I thought of going to the spectaclist’s. Maybe I could buy myself an eyepiece or perhaps a monocle and attain the silly authority old ladies had, or even a pince nez. Like Jack’s. He’s around here somewhere, and eventually he will spot and force me back to my hovel, I suppose. There is simply nowhere to go in all of London, or he is keeping busy. He looked busy with “bursting” others, indeed. Yet I have checked the papers, and there are only three murders so far reported. Do the rest go unheeded? It is a long wait to become the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper.

In Victorian England, I sighed to myself, I suppose all things are possible. Most of them seem to be evil possibilities. It is only a matter of time before I die of either diseases, going into Charing Cross or a local lunatic ward, or die of the knife. I saw in my mind Jack approach my window, leer into it with his overwhelming grin, and grew dismal. He was sizing up as to when he was going to come in with me and take his time.

If photographs are taken of me after he is done with me, I reasoned, there would be a move to do more of the same. I thought, I shall pray to Jesus that mine is not the best stepping stone for subsequent murders, and that like my name, there be something most special about it. My mind reeled for a moment at how that would have to make my murder be much more prominent, and then it dawned on me. Two kinds of people in the world. Maybe I didn’t have much life choices, or left, but someone else might.

Send this message to my lover Jack, oh Jesus, oh there you are Jesus, now I see, and I do have to start work for real tonight and let me skirts up all the way as they act like boys, no, I am going to lure them into my room, but wait, there is not the way to do that because of the manage who is too conservative as he’s from India, oh no, I have to do the street routine still, even though I have a perfectly good room, sigh, I knew Dove you would have to do it that way, I dared dream for an instant of something else.

Ten nights later, and after I had learned several hellish ways of finding roughly two clients per night, and several of which had banged my head against the brick walls, thrown me down upon the back alley pavements, insisted upon all the wrong orifices of my body and otherwise had “their way” with me, which had assumed a turn in the direction solely of punishing me for being a whore and nothing else, as I had assumed, but which was growing to be an unspeakable experience beyond words I barely handled or should take, I found the article in the paper. They had executed Charles.

I prayed to Jesus, God and Allah that I would never meet him again, and that he was gone forever, not because I hated him, but because I wanted to see him safe from any harm. In my inner being, beyond all reach, was a longing for the unattainable him. For one prolonged moment, I wanted him safe with his mother, somehow encompassed within. But I knew his execution had been tepid, beneath his dignity, and still malevolent, of the nature I had deeply hoped for; he was revealed as a raw coward at the last moments. Somewhere else, where he knew himself, he would be the bravest man alive.

With an anger beyond all mentioning, as I feared forsaken his life, I read on. No, they had only decided he was a new Cause Celebre, as he had been trying to organize more than one union after all, which I read with a kind of perverse glee and longing, and there was much talk of parties attempting to lynch him. I had never heard of such a thing before. They were keeping him in jail in the county area and talked of shuttling him around, but the discussion largely centered on whether Negroes in England had any such social rights or justice, or turned toward discussion of what to do with the Juwes who were supposedly also “making trouble” and causing a general stir. None of these people seemed to have enough to do with each other, and all of them appeared out for each other’s blood, but at a distance where it looked to me like they were all showing off to imaginary women, children or circumstances all of them could never truly obtain. I pitied Charles, as he and his kind were rather alone in this, as all the discussion finally proved to be about them and not by them, but I pitied him more for not taking a job at the newspaper. I have no idea why he needed to be a leach off us instead, I thought, and then realized what a leach off of men I had become indeed. What else in life is there but being a leech?

We are a society of ants in Great Britain, I’ll warrant, each keeping the other’s truest measure beyond all reach, and pretending that by doing nothing but contesting or working against each other, we shall someday work our single ways up. It is all we have at present in the late 18th century, and as all animals are competitive, I think it is all we will ever have. I vacillated between reading the newspaper stories to kill time during the day, or the fiction stories, some of which were being written by women and children who were way ahead of me in the brains category, and I especially loved Sherlock Holmes.

If only there were a ways to stop fools from dreaming, or otherwise to go on living in some house out in the country, from the city where all overbuilt monstrosities of lovely but bloody brownstone and multi storied buildings were going up, I would like it. But you know, as fast as the brinkmen and carpenters lay them down, and as seldom as they fall or are razed, you would suppose it were less crowded around here. My father wants to see me in Heaven, I supposed, but that is where he is. He said once about the traffic around Stratford on the Sea, “They must have opened up the gates of Hell.” That’s when I decided life was too crowded for me to be a good girl or ever have a life.

He would pat me on the head and send me out the door to buy at grocers. A good and handsome man of excellent British stock, and some other, he had a handlebar mustache and a walking cane, but he was too lower classes to get a proper education. He kept us well and we had our family, but he disappeared out of here so long ago. And I of course have not spoken with my mother or sisters since I undertook this life of utmost shame and complete utter degradation. I wonder if work in a steel mill is anything like this? They often fall off of bridges as they build them, and the rest line up to complete the work. And as the paper mills and smoke stacks create a smell worse than the odor of dead bodies, they die too. I suppose the work of creating dead bodies must exude such a smell really as awful, and you would think it would not, if we are a lot that is so condemned.

I have done what Jesus did, to deserve my death somewhat, and imprisoned Charles. I know he would not have helped us any, but as I read the papers, they claimed he had been trying to, and I thought they but threw a sop to his race. The stories eventually ended and centered on other things, but I finally told God, “If you are sending me these voices, please end it with bonnie Charlie. Have them haul him out and finish him off.” I knew he was reveling in his chance to somehow take on the entirety of England by himself.

Charles Surest Meets Death:

The next day, I hit the Strand, and was going to reach for the latest magazine installment of several wonderful earthy stories about many English and worldwide locales such as America and apparently most of the rest of our cosmos, which humanity was only beginning to uncover, and I reached for “The London Times” which had one summary headline halfway down the page, front page though. They had taken, “A Negro, Black as Our Spades, Out to His Scaffold.” For a moment, I thought Scaffold was a town. His name turned out to be Charles Augustus Murphy, of Essex, and a local university as well, which he had actually graduated from to my surprise, with more than one degree, and they had done him in anyway. What a fool to never have found his career.

An illegal lynch mob. Now some of them were in trouble with the authorities. My goodness, I have done something fierce but I warrant it under this sky I suppose. It has nothing to do with justice, as we are all blind fools who must live out our lives. Mine was now a satanic misery on the face of the planet, and deep in my heart, I wanted to believe that I had my Bonne’s kind to blame for it. Chocolate is so acid when you eat it and you have to take on every germ in the vicinity, including all tropical ones, but who cares. On the other hand, I could only pretend to enjoy myself during the day, and await my inevitable one of several potential death sentences at night.

I lay in bed one night to take it off, having made enough wages of sin indeed to pay off the rent, buy some canned food I could keep in my rooms, plan ahead for extra clothing, and have a Chinese silken fan tucked away in one corner that I could look at occasionally and dream of other people, other places, where they had lives and houses and children and grandchildren, polar explorers found my attentions the most. And the women’s movement of England was pledging to an eternal fight for the right to vote. I thought, it’s time I did something completely different with my body for a change.

Meet the Women’s Movement:

“‘Allow, I’m Annie Chapman. Is this the office of Women’s Suffrage?”

The tall woman at the desk as I had strolled up to the flat above stairs in my best clothes frowned at me. “Are you a street girl? We don’t take those when it comes to our campaigning. If you need help with domestic issues or violence, or abuse and neglect, welcome, as we are striving forward in these directions, but we cannot help you.”

“Why not?” Of a sudden, I asked God to retract my question. I kept it to myself, thinking I had nothing of the sort said. “Of course, I am a lady brick worker. I have a friend I could refer over to you who could sign verity to my job.” The author of the Sherlock Holmes series himself worked for women’s rights, but not for us, only for working women. He never wanted it for us or for housewives, I think. “So you could have your friend sign and verify you are a brick worker? If you can do so, have him come in.”

“Is there a reason I need a man to do such a thing for me?” I was rudely interrupted by a short woman who looked eerily familiar bursting in through the door. I had seen her gracing the local papers recently. “They are beginning to arrest our suffragettes outside the dockets of the prison, and they are mishandling them. I had the papers lined up and there are photos being taken. It’s a whole new world when it comes to publicity. Alice and whoever you are, come, let’s go and get arrested! We need to add bodies to the stack! They might do anything, including shooting into the crowd.”

I serious doubted this, but thought they might tell us to quietly disperse and go home.

I was racing out the door when the tall lady grabbed me from behind. “Not you, chippie, you have to go get the signature and come back. We’ll take care of this for you and your kind, but you will have to do that ere any of us can help you. Ophelia, look to the stairs.” They both ran down it, slowing to a sedate pace as others glanced out of offices at them. I decided I had enough of attempting to be a suffragette, winked at myself, and took off after them. I joined them as they attempted to board a carriage.

“I’m paying for this and you can’t stop me. I’m paying all the way, all the time. By the way, my name is Annie Chapman. I’m boarding this thing invented by men first.” I then barked onto the carriage, slamming the door in front of the two ladies’ faces. “I am faster than any wind you have ever met in your banal lives. Do you want aboard?”

“Ah, I think she means it. Gloria or whoever you are in there, please ape the door and let us in. We are the local leaders of this chapter and you must let us get to the protest.”

“Maybe.” I breathed to myself heavily, whooping air out of me in a whoosh, and paused with my hand on the door handle. “You must pledge to let ladies of the evening get the vote before I will ever let you into our carriage. This carriage is now for us.”

There was the strangest minute of silence on the other side of the carriage door. As I sat there, burning more with pneumonia I thought than the other diseases, and still looking a young lady although I now had quite some facial acne, I also said, “If you are thinking what we are doing is a choice, you are sadly mistaken Christian old farts who mean nothing in this life. You are waiting for “you” Jesus to rescue you from inversion. I am not. You are going to stand there forever until I let you into this taxi cab. I am doing this for the Chinese, for Negroes, for so called white people, and everyone on Earth.”

“We are going to call the CC mental wards and have they come take you off.”

“Those are the Catholics and their hideous medieval tortures. You two are men forever and traitors to our cause. I am sitting here and thinking about what I will do to you. You are rats in a pack who only can oppose one person. I am not.”

It came to me the entire human race is but descendants of the amoeba, which surrounds its food as a particle and then eats it. I would be long slow eaten indeed. Where, I did not know, and it would be a long process of wondering why there had been so many indications of Hell. I would have faith in something else for other people. And I am a suffragette against this vixen. I dreamed of my nonexistent friends, and laughed. Charles and Bob and everyone else, whom I dared pretend to represent. There would never be such a thing as the vote for women. I looked at the front of the carriage, and called out, “Driver, be off with you, and take me to where those ladies were going.”

“Absolutely, and this ride is completely free for Annie; horses, I lash you and away with you.” I thought I was speaking his words for him, it was so strange. We were off, and had left the invert or those who hated inverts couple behind. I sudden knew the driver was a woman. “How are you, Shirley, no that’s not your name is it?”

“No,” called out this booming but not quite masculine voice, “And I’ve been pretending to be a man for years and not gotten caught at it, but I’m joining you at this.”

We arrived at the rally, and I had to stand through the most boring presentation by men and women that I had seen and there was a crowd of protestors marching, but it was quite small as we had suspected. “Shirley” – who may have been man or woman – strode with me as we walked nonviolently through the ringing mob about us, shouting things like, “How can you believe you need when none of you take political office, and women are too weak minded to govern,” and such nonsense as that. Then the bully boy cops, who were huge, showed up to wind at us and rub our sex parts. They also hit us with their sturdy clubs, but there was not much screaming. Only about three dozen or so were on parade in public for this, although as I could not see, it may have been more or less. For a moment, caught by surprise, I realized I had been expecting something else, but it was not too much of a surprise. They were aiming the guns upon us. I could not tell if anyone else was being handled, but as one giant copper had my skirts up and was severely pinching my parts – until I screamed in direst agony, my friend reached to lay him low with one single punch. He stood over the man for a second merely to crow, which due to my friend’s size was an incredibly loud sound that silenced some of our crowd.

“No problem,” he growled, for I thought of her that way, “And you will return me the favor, but not in a way I can ever understand or appreciate. By the way, I’m really a man, I’m not into women, but you are getting out of here before they arrest you all. Hey, let’s go over there,” said my now unknown assailant, grabbing my arm in a firm but gentle way as he pulled me over to the side of the street. “You don’t need arrested, sweetie,” he said in the most welcome unfamiliar womanly voice I had ever heard. “You are one of them!” I cried aloud, “You do have dark hair and look foreign, but you’re so tall.”

“Well, I try to be, sweetie. You are one of us if you want to be. Anyway, I’m going to hug you, and see if they get any messages. Sure enough,” he whispered in such a high falsetto in my ear, “Now don’t think it’s how I’m large sized. See, they are going after all the alone ones to teach them a lesson. My kind will never get married or is a family or anything but homosexual perverts for a long time to come. Let’s get out of here!”

“Who ARE you?” I squealed as he and I raced away, him not dragging me at all now, and we slowed to a walk. I had been willing to get arrested, but only was manhandled. “Ah love, I’m a charmer but I have had more boys than you can ever see, and you know what has probably happened to them all. If they are not in the Thames, they have sought graves in many other places. Thay, would a like an American bear hug?” He gave me such a nice squeeze, and we traversed over to where the photographers were. “My name is Alvin and I have a “friend” named, ohhh, Oscar Wilde – you should see his wordy portrait – who has the most fantastic salon around here, ah yes, it’s about one mile south of Lancaster, here’s the carriage, Righteous Dove, and let’s pile in. Oh, and I’d like to introduce you to all of our satanic familiars. We’re witches. And I can’t stand the idea of being sent to jail to be stuffed up the bum, as I have and never done that to others.”

Meet Half of England’s Gay Movement:

The carriage was stuffed full of men dressed as women. Full makeup, clothes, and clear attitude problems from being sent to boys’ school for all their lives. I had gone to an all girls’ school and hated it, which set me to wandering and chasing men. These were the faggots of England truly. I was so freaked out at this I could not be angry anymore. They were teenagers and grown men mostly, and as we took to the streets in broad daylight, the arrogance and lack of same of these jesters made me laugh so loud I was feeling free again for the first time in my life. We felt for each other and only hugged and kissed lightly as we sped along in our bumpy, rocky coach, where over every rough spot in the roadway, it bounced and went up our rears. Most carriage rides were like that for everyone back then, when the road was rough. “So you are the Jokers of London.”

“Darling, we are the Ladies of the Day and Night – and Forever Mourning.” Meeting the boys who laughed at death all the time was most refreshing to all my senses. “Would you like to meet the ‘Gentlemen’ Who Satisfy Nobodies? I think not. But you will hear some of them speak for you.” I decided they meant the lesbian inverts, as I figured they must have an active fantasy life, not much else. I wasn’t one myself, and wondered. Was it any fun being an invert, or was it a life much like mine – only abysmal?

“Did you take it up the bum? Ooooh, Charlie and Freddie, you are the bums I like.” I pulled the two of them over to me, as they had rescued me from the perverted cops! We caroused like lovers who had known each other time immemorial all along the way.

“Say, chit, come to America with us after we show you the best salon and the best homo pervert and lover of boys in all of London. You are such a grand lady next to his sickened and lost soul, you don’t know yourself. You need a permanent wave and some brand new fetching bodices and you know what? You need a new district entirely to work in. That Whitechapel thing is SO inappropriate for you, Turtle Dove. Come with us and we’ll fix you up so you are a beauty princess, next to that ugly old doggie Queer of ours, and you’ll eat with us if you want to and we have plenty of drugs if you’d like and we can show you our special little world. Now, don’t mind the young boys; they’re all mental retards, but they love our Oscar and he tells them all the literary realities and detailed fictional fantasies they want. Now, stop jouncing the carriage like that, Oscar! Say, have you read those ridiculous little gay stories in the Strand? Sher and Doc, ohhh, such a couple. We’re waiting to see them break down and go after Professor Moriarty and have a major three way. Look, Alice in Wonderland, there’s the Kasbah!”

Meet London’s Esteemed Literati:

I now knew I was among the best and finest fancy men I had ever seen in my life. We bailed out of the carriage and I tripped all over my long skirts to their incredibly girlish and unseemly laughter as we joined their party. “Look, Alice, there’s the caterpillar and his hookah, oy gevaldt such a long snout it has, hey, gang, let’s ignore that and hear Oscar do a reading.” What’s a reading, I thought to myself.

“You know how you used to like the arts and want to get involved? We have a whole French poetry society going here, and the best literary lions of Europe gather around us just to see a bunch of peer farts – it’s insatiable, darling! And we host them. Tonight we have Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, all three Bronte sisters, Emily Dickenson who is such a feminist, and you.” Needless to say, I decided they must mean they had imposters who took the roles of said notables.

I entered a room where we all slowed down and I finally saw the other side of Victorian London. There was a huge hall where the social types and others were gathered for literary readings and poetry. It had a supremely festive atmosphere, which had obviously been supplied by the entire local invert community, and gaily festooned every wall with gorgeous artwork. I was crying and tears were streaming down my checkered face freely. I was no longer in hell; I was in literary, not pervert heaven. There were all kinds of real people, everywhere, so far as I could tell maybe Britishers, French, Americans, my God them too, oh look Asians, and we were taking our seats and listening to some speakers.

“Ladies and gentleman, as a special treat tonight, high mathematician Charles Dodgeson is going to give a reading of his award winning book of numerical poesies, limericks, puzzles, creative brain teasers, mysteries, children’s fantasies, riddles, especially for bright little girls,” and here I had to sigh and wonder what that meant, “intellectual spoofs and jokes, and by the way, I was molested repeatedly as a child and withstand you, but I’m here, and for your elucidation and enjoyment you know me as Lewis Carroll. I wrote strictly to get in with the queen and her society and achieve knighthood. This never really occurred, not in time, and I could never be such a thing as a crusader.

“In Detective Comics of America in the twentieth century, I will be known as the Riddler. It had to do with the Inquisition. The question always was, “Is a Raven like a Writing Desk?” So they took the title of a show from the Black Crow Shakespeare and me. Could you look into the future? Do you think life will be a breeze? I decided, being of a mathematical mind, that black girls needed their formal education, nothing I was allowed to affect or change in England, but they do receive education there.

“Yes, I also dreamed of going to Hell for you girls. Never rate down certain Americans again, unless they beg you for it. Thanks to American television, the answer is now “yes.” We now have Raven the Anti-heroine. In the audience there is one special young lady, and although I named Alice as the heroine of my series of books, she bears no mention in them. I will only write two books in honor of our Annie Chapman. I have borne the insult all of my life and announce it now, and forever more will not mention it. But I have taken photos of living women, to show the world girls are not ashamed of being naked, and they are not. I could only handle the public embarrassment none.

“This young lady will have to be photographed, ah, some other way, and now I have to do the reading. I have chosen a poem you find popular and consequential called “Jabberwocky” – in which I invented several new panjandrum words which will find dictionary status, thus rendering me immortal in an insignificant way. Our Annie is about to become immortal in a significant way, one which she will never understand or know. It has to do with the Pacific North West of the United States. The event transpiring in the future involves nothing she is to be credited or blamed for, and indeed no one else is either. It is because all events are already past, and there can be neither time nor future forevermore. Moreover, here are the “sick and sadistic ravings” as many have said of a man gone mad who likes children and you:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Beware the jabberwork, my son,
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch,
Beware the jubjub bird and shun,
The frumious bandersnatch.

He took his vorpal sword in hand,
Long time the manxome foe he sought,
Then rested he by the tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling throught the tulgy wood,
And burbled as it came.

One two, one two, and through and through,
The vorpal blade went snicker snack.
He left it dead and with its head,
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day, callou, callay,
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”

Did all girls get jealous of this part of his book, where he favoured boys? It was about going to war, and fighting. Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice through the Looking Glass,” who made one think of someone going through a plate window and breaking a glass ceiling, but perhaps it was not a wage earning thing, finished up with some poetry – and left and right winged his way home.

When Emily Dickenson came on, she read the poetry we have never found. It was far better than the earlier poetry, but still involved the impossible longing for a man. The audience asked her why she couldn’t write of other things than sex, and she said, “Ask Dorothy Parker. She always had trouble finding carfare home from the Algonquin Round Table, and although she had a ready wit and a sharp tongue, she was still hanged. Probably had a lot to do with being a Native American who could never exist.”

Then there were many others, but the final entrant in what was to be a contest of wits as they joked around and carried on, was Oscar Wilde. “Here comes the Wild Ass Man!”

“I can’t be you ladies; I’m an attempt to keep you from troubles. It will never happen, nor be there a world where troubles are swept from those who don’t seek them, never find them, and become Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. You may think I was simply “Batman’s” Oswald Chesterfield Cobble pot. I am too huge to be a penguin – and that is an insult to short boys and men. I certainly may or may not have done what you think I did, but on the other hand, I was trapped in England and what else is there to do but eliminate as many people as I could reach while fearing the dockets. As I am going to be arrested for the crime of inversion shortly, with minor boys who were willing but I am not, I have to give a final speech and say this: I did love but indecently, and there are no tape recorders in this room. I am a coward, and did love once the sword but no more. All things must turn to a reckoning, and I plan to hold them off while finally giving up to the law as soon as I possibly can. Then I suppose the rotting of my flesh will not be great, but my reputation may or may not allay such friendships as I cannot obtain here. I go before the insanely unjust and illiberal dockets as a dark, huge bear of a man who does not want to bring on sex with children, but worked as a pioneer for gay rights. I will swear one more time that all of the boys I had were willing, and not coerced by me. Meanwhile, my Annie, I would have loved to have twelve boys and twenty girls with you, but that is no longer possible, and you would not have survived the first child due to the fact I am well over six foot eight inches tall. My dear, I am your ‘batman’ for the moment, when it comes to playing cricket, but you are destined for the worst possible one. I would sooner die than hurt you, but cannot help you, and must face the law in my own way. If it takes homosexuality to do something about our problems, it is the least violent method.

“Annie Chapman, could you come up to this hideous stage, based on nothing but public executions of your friends, and read me some of your poetry?” Oscar looked me up and down with an expectancy not quite of sexual longing, hovering on the brown edges of each dying leaf like a tired freak with no received human understanding had to say. I knew it was still autumn, but winter was nearly here. He was the Gentle Giant that I had envisioned, a soul who needed love in his life and had absolutely none. He did give it, such as in his work, “The Portrait of Dorian Grey.” He was rotting from lack of love. I had deucedly known this – as I had read all his works.

I said, “Your woes are nothing next to mine, and I have turned the man I originally loved over to the unknown. Some day he may end up in the deepest dungeons of Spain, and for no reason whatsoever. When you are shuffled around, you don’t know where you go. But he shall not get out of jail in time to injure me. His woes are nothing next to mine, I must suppose. I must go home now, and tidy up. Then I must apologize to you, and say I understand your moral dilemma.”

“Come read us your poetry, Annie Chapman, who forever resides in Whitechapel. Come, predestined girl ‘whore’ of the ages, please tell us about what you feel, and how slime must slide throughout your entire body. Tell us how you can never feel clean, no matter how oft you bathe, and how your death is not one any of the rest of us can experience. Or, recalling you are on the dockets by being on the stage, say anything. Perhaps you could mention you should have fought the urge to follow your name and live there.”

“It can’t possibly be the worst life and death in all of human history.” I felt a baited expectancy seize me coldly, wanting me to heave all of my lunch out. I threw myself out into the aisles, racing and tripping over my long dresses as I sought the lavatory. When I got there, my headache roared through my bursting head and I threw up all the food for the past two weeks, which was not much, into the pull chain toilet. I lifted up, and saw how others in a day with no way to say it must die a long, slow death from the ancient life forms that cause both disease and illness. They must face the worst hospital deaths in all of their histories, each to his or her own, and they would suffer them. Why should not ladies of the evening be treated for disease? AIDS was treatment for them in Africa. It probably only ended their lives, and put them in drug agonies. Then I reflected upon those with no such hospital and longed to be them. Would there ever be a time when science was not out to make its “money” off of victims? There was no cure for what I’d come down with, and acne was the tip of a mysterious iceberg. But the legal head of state of England, a land that avoided the Nazi tyrants’ bloodshed for a long time by being nonviolent and resistive, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and many others had suffered such arcane and incurable diseases, and had children who recovered and were normal, and who subsequently had other normal children. In spite of Winston having venereal diseases, he has had great grandchildren and they still live in England.

Meet Death in the Mirror:

Do you really think Annie “Whitechapel” Chapman needs to be heartlessly slaughtered? Is she a disease spreading menace, or only a victim of life?

Wiping my face myself as I always had, I gazed upon my acne, which was increasing. I was nothing but food, and as I lowered my head in extreme shame, racing somehow to the past to remake every decision I had made in my entire life, the room reeled and bobbed as I grew sick and had to fight with myself, perhaps for all infinity.

Do you believe it would be a good idea to seek cures for venereal diseases?

“No, infinity is not the same as eternity, and you must go to seek timelessness. It is out there beyond London, way beyond the Moon, far beyond Antares, and isn’t that the most idiotic thing you have ever thought, little whore? You are so unimportant. I am so important, that I am a man. I am Jack the Ripper. Do you know what I have started to do for you? I have to treat you to the way of life you already know, and you are naïve and know nothing. Meanwhile, do you not feel a thrill somewhere in the vicinity of your chest? It is an artificial lion – and you know it is falsity which dooms Moslem boys to never-ending battle. Not to mention their people and it is a vengeance that will kill them some day. What they believe comes from their Allah; they know it must be the other side of life. I am a German and I seek vengeance for some known reasons.”

Annie thought, I believe Israel could win someday, and make peace there happen.

“Some people never realize how important some things are. You must take your carriage out of here and go home. Run, run home at your top panic and rest in your room. Relax, lay back, and let the good doctor take care of you.” I whewed, now feeling I knew who this was. But all my life I did not know why I was a babe, a girl, a woman, and never to be an old curmudgeon. I would not have minded being a grandmother and would not be a mother under such overcrowded living conditions. And now Satan was in direct contact with me, pretending to be Jesus Christ the White Man and deliver me. But he would, I thought, to what? To a moonlit walk up the beach? Given the vast misfortunes of my life, I could only hope to be delivered to death. I said to the mirror, “Charles is more a man than you will ever be, and he is a stupid, arrogant, omnipresent lout. He thinks he is you, you think you are him, and the two of you will never awaken.”

“Then how am I a stupid lout? I have an education and am fully accepted in England. We are not ex-slaves with axes to grind, and we know what your place is here.”

“I know members of your kind who are good people who want to help us. They don’t feel they can under these present conditions.”

Malevolent chuckling emanated from the mirror. I said to the reflective glass, “There will be real doctors oh you know someday I suppose, perhaps on another planet, and you and your ilk will be reduced obviously to the same fortunes you think you are bestowing upon me. I suppose you simply want your mother to hurt over you.” Recalling what I had thought earlier about Charlie, I winced.

“Idiotic whore, whose mind is now as composed of yeast shit as mine, don’t despair. Come back, and let a man who can handle a brain full of excrement from millions of sources show you the clear light of day. Why would I make you hurt worse than me? I am a charitable man, a medical doctor, and cannot harm you as you say. Why, as you know, I plan to find out the lay of this land by drowning myself in the biggest local river. Why would you think you would die an equal death to mine? Or even lead an equal life? Did you not have fun and interesting but dreggy time in your existence, as I worked and slaved away on my divine mission from Satan? Or was it God? Or your Mary?

“Do you really think you matter to me? You do. I am a medical doctor, and I must tell you, oh, you know, just come back. I set out to serve mankind, stupid whore. Where else would you go, dearie?” I thought, I should find any other “doctor” at all.

“I have listened to a mathematician tonight, and it all sounded alike to me.”

“Come home.” As I looked at the mirror, I only saw scientific reality. It felt like a magical burden had lifted from my entire mind, and that I knew I could go back to my simple rooms. I gagged on what this probably meant, and went over to the toilet, sticking my fingers down my blue clad throat and loosening my widow’s collar. I thought, it would be nice to have something like dignity as I died. Who knew if I would?

He was going to have to tie a gag into my mouth, to stifle the screams. I was sure he’d stuff it right in there. It had been “right” to be brave and await mine end in a small room away from the street, if being reclusive was the right thing to do in this shocking situation. Also, I could get drunk every day, and that might take out some of the pain. I thought, I should get drunk as I pleased, and not bother. Finally, he was going to have to tie me to the bedposts or otherwise enchain me, splay me out as Jesus on the Cross, which must have happened to multiple people, and begin eviscerating me. This heroic tale was not heroic because of the need for the missionary position, which makes women pregnant. Anyway, in future I dreamed, others would devise new ways to make women pregnant. We would however never be free. And thus neither would anyone else.

If one were “free,” I chuckled; they would all Christian think they’re me. And many will subsequently do this when they find the corse – they will get jealous. I feel sorriest for the Jews, or the Juwes, who own those nice shops I almost took work at. Oh dear God, they will come to get them. Please do not flee; Juwes of England; take a brave stand at them. You know, everyone else must make their living at photography. I am now a mother goddess who will be discounted at all times because I spread diseases. I will start truly only one industry, known as pornography, and perhaps it is because I did not trust Charles. But his viewpoint is to lionize our prostitution, and sneakily degrade our England as an act of vicarious vengeance. He could have gotten a job, or no. I could have done the same, or no. Such questions can never be settled, by perverts who could have gotten a job. And all of us our working our jobs. We are the sea of army ants.

I loved this planet, and the turning of it. I wish I could make things better, as I like people. But there is no way to do it, and yet evolution may make certain that such better ways of life will at least occur for some. I looked in the mirror one more time, and thought I saw a beautiful young lady. Having never seen myself that way before at all, I wondered where my desiccated corpse would end up. I thought I would somehow tolerate all of the pain along the way. Jesus was a sick joke by sillies like Bob, who wanted us to have a good time. It was only human. The pain would be incredible, and perhaps I would go straight to Hell, simply because it is there. I had seen so many indications of this. And none of the religious theories including this one held water for a feeling animal, a partially white woman such as I. I had seen the other women with their perfect spiritual lives, and their essences smacked of what I could never fathom. Human perfection. Maybe they would all go to a perfect heaven. I never wanted or sought to join them there. Nonetheless, I had best be hurrying home, to await my hideous tormentor.

It would take only a few hours at most, I was thinking, but then as I boarded the new train back in order to speed things up, a few thoughts occurred to me. I put aside the ones about fleeing almost immediately. I would simply stay in the rooms and probably I would have to go out and work some while waiting. As some of my life was good, it probably meant that there would be a long fall as I descended into extreme pain. There would be an end to the pain, in all likelihood. It would be like a major surgery. Yes, he was probably going to use his instruments. All those silver clad implements, all designed for me. Jack was my gold, and I was his silver, I suppose. I should somehow take the blame for it all, but refused to do so. I would disown this Hell if I should ever have to face it.

I had to wonder; was our acne only the result of not washing up right? I had done so plenty of times, and washed regularly, but perhaps something like dirt was blocking my pores. What if it wasn’t exactly deadly? I had acne for years as a teenager, and then most of it had gone away. I did feel tired all the time, but was up nights – and much of the days.

“And you can destroy me, but I will not leave. I will haunt this place somehow through my death, until one such as me or someone else or several someone else’s do something about these problems. I shall stick around, and wait, or perhaps, sigh, it is too late. Even Dr. Jack Rinehart had something in mind to help people originally, I should guess. I feel like you are listening to me and judging my character. I will see you there, and say nothing until you move. Then I will do something again that takes care of you. No, I don’t know what I am going to do. There, that’s the building rooms. I’m going to torment the manage, or at least his wife, the other one, before I die. Let’s see; what could I say?

“Hello, sir, is your name Gunga Din? Like in that poem by Rudyard Kipling? Do you really run about giving soldiers a final drink?” I dreamed of the sweat shops line, where I had given back the jug of water.

Meet London’s Hindu Indians:

“I don’t know why you ladies torment me when I rent to you. Where is it?” I had been building up quite a rap sheet with him, and owed him over four month’s rent. “Sir, I can only pay you when I get the money, and you always charge me on a schedule.”

I cheerfully paid the manage all of the owed money. “Because we are afraid you will overcharge us.” He smiled at me in that peculiar way the ex-inhabitants of “our” erstwhile India have, and said, “I think you are not Sherlock Holmes, Annie. Come back around here, and have a spot of coffee with me. No, I am not a Mahatma. I have something to show you, if you want to look at it. I own several pieces of antique Indian furniture that was designed by the British overseers of our land, the Raj. You would like to see these pieces I am sure, so come back here with me.”

The man was too old and looked about eighty to do anything to me back there, and I certainly didn’t care anymore. We went through a parted glass bead curtain, and the back of the manage’s area was revealed at last as the loveliest little living room with curtains and some strategically placed sofa pillows, which were hand stitched in the most elaborate Hindu fashion. They were so beautiful and seemed to be made out of millions of tiny threads with the greatest of care taken to make the most heavenly pictures of white fleshed people intertwined with other people that I have seen and I will never see it again. Then I looked at his carvings collection. “Does your wife do or own any of this?”

“Yes, she carved that elephant, and I carved that piece with the lion and the tiger and the three insects that represent peace, prosperity, and long life. Welcome to Cabalistic Hindu. Seriously, we’re Jewish and Hindu, and you know, my kind thinks it rules the universe. It thinks we thought up all of the world’s religions, thoughts and belief systems. My wife has always reassured me that we are not immortal, nor anything but old. Say, Geneva, would you go ahead and fetch us a tea cozy, the one with the hand painted bone china service and the gold and copper edging? I think that one will do for the young lady.”

I was angry and didn’t want to hold back any more tears. “Why?”

“We don’t know these things, but if you want to look at what we used to have, go ahead. This was all for a passing period of time, for a limited time only, you might say.”

“Honey, show her the telephone. Oh miss, look here it’s such a device technology you can dial this and guess what, you can call your friends from far away, maybe across the world in a few years. See, when you ring them up, it’s not to make them come over. You can talk to them, and I understand someday there will newer forms of communication.”

“Can I ever ring up Sherlock Holmes and ask him to solve my murder case? The man involved is so hot to be evil he might slaughter all of England pretending to look for just me. You too. Maybe he will find you and kill you. Please don’t call the cops on me. Understand? I’m not asking you to save me, but please, tell them and save yourselves.”

Annie Enters the Twilight (Eventide) Zone:

The brown skinned and English looking couple glared first at each other, then me. “We don’t mind so much, as we’re old. Really,” said the old lady, “I wish I could take your place. I would hurt a lot less, but you are young and it will be so painful. He’s going to take over twelve hours, or maybe longer, to slowly slice you a half inch at a time with a small but razor sharp scalpel. Really, he doesn’t have all day, so he’ll have to leave.”

“So…he’s going to make a series of extremely small cuts until I’m quite opened out?” I thought clinically, he was going to make a series of incisions – and keep going. For a moment, I leapt into the future, and didn’t like what I saw.

The Twilight (Eventide) Zone Enters Annie:

I saw a young woman who looked a lot like me being splayed out all over the Seattle Center Fountain sometime in the 20th Century. It was in Washington State, and her boyfriend had decided that because she was not the marrying kind, he had to kill her exceedingly slowly and leave her “lengthy” guts trailed all along a fountain. Seems he needed the Virgin Mary approach to living to even so much as draw breath.

I whispered to the Goddess, kill a “black” man instead of her. They will both use the same maneuver of turning their backs to the enemy. Hmmm, the black man is a phony medical doctor who used tactics on his enemies to serve mankind. How better than Jack. It seems his name was Michael King, he turned his back on his enemy, and he got shot. Then the young woman, the Goddess told me, will be saved by turning her back on her enemy. They will then both get up and leave the Seattle Center, and she will put her enemy on a bus and see him again later. Then he will help Dr. King through the X-Men. Meanwhile, the young lady in the future will never get the sick joke. As I envisioned this, I realized the young woman was being saved for the purpose I had seen earlier. She was to return the favor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by saving the lives of a black family and their tormentors, who thought for some reason they had to be Dr. Jack Rinehart.

I asked God and the Goddess and someone else’s if I would get to see this when it happened. It said many people would, several of whom were victims of something odd called the Holocaust, another odd thing called the Green River Murders, including the murderer, and that it was all being televised and shown to a being named Alfred Dimeworth – and another being called Aunt Hattie who resided on Earth One.

Then I saw a strange American man, a descendant of Sherlock Holmes’ called The Bateman, and he explained to me that in a completely unlimited universe, all things are possible. His costume was dark and mysterious, and made him look sort of like a Moorish vampire. He said that where he was from, which was in another dimension, he was something called a superhero, and that he combatted crime in the middle of the night.

I thought to myself, I have been committing crimes in the middle of the night. Does this peculiar chappie care to arrest me?

“I thought you would only be a detective,” I said. He sat down beside me, brushing his cloak away, and held my hand clasped in his.

But I am also Jewish. The Juwes of England wanted to save you, Annie Chapman, and instead they saved a young American lady. You see, once you were dead, they were blamed for your murders, and the authorities came to get them. Years later, they did get them, in Rinehart’s Germany, on the Night of the Long Knives. The Juwes wrote on a wall that they were either innocent or guilty of the crimes of Jack the Ripper; that fact is in dispute to this day, or our days. The Nazis claimed they did it; American Jews say not only didn’t they do it, they proclaimed their innocence.”

How do you know these things? Annie whispered.

I know them because my secret name is Outer Space, which you are entering tonight. I’m Scots-Irish, like you, and English. But I am the Night, of Jewish descent, and I oppose those who commit murders.

Omigod, I thought; that was Satan. No, I’m the Phantom of the Opera. Grey Canary was the lady who sang for me, when I wore a mask, when she needed to be free. And the Juwes are now in Israel. Someday, maybe we will figure out a way to end world war and not overpopulate. Meanwhile, there are concentration camps again, and yes, they are death camps. US President George Bush is known for torturing the innocent, but he will be leaving office soon, hopefully…as he spoke, his darkly cloaked figure blinked out of existence, not unlike a hallucination. I felt somewhat relieved, as his cloak and gloves had reminded me too much of Dr. Jack Reinhart when he was dressed as Jack the Ripper. A reporter had done a composite drawing for the papers.

“Yes, that’s all we can figure. Your Jesus is not going to save you, and you are going straight to Hell forever, but would you like a lovely cup of green Ceylon tea? It’s the finest that we have available.” The old woman poured the tea into a simple but exquisite Indian China cup for me. Her husband scowled at her. “I only mean she’s not a nice young lady.”

Then the old man looked down at me. “I had a feeling this was going to happen. Shoot, I have to go get the beef in the oven. Hold fast; this is being explained to us as we go. I have a feeling it’s to punish you for those other hookers in England while they die. Good grief, you are not to blame for that. Anyway, here’s your tea, and I have to go get the roast.”

“Can I stay for some roast beef?” They harrumphed an of course as I eased myself into their absolutely gorgeous couch. I was so happy. Now I knew exactly what was going to happen. It was so mysteriously lovely, and involved the infinite eternal universe and – omigoodness – all things beyond what I could ever imagine or begin to understand. Surely that’s what the visit from Bateman had meant; surely, he wasn’t Satan, who didn’t have a pair of relatives for his housekeepers in Hell, of course.

Then an older gentleman whom I recognized appeared in the chair next me. He was a famous local playwright, one who had rewritten “Pygmalion.” Some said it was loosely based on the lives of loose women like us. And a voice whispered in my head, it would be made into “My Fair Lady.”

“You are made out of solid matter, and you are entering outer space tonight. Along the way, you will not be wondering what is going on anymore. Instead, you will be in Hell itself for approximately the length of time it would take you to sneeze if you hadn’t a kerchief, the sneeze caught in your throat, and remember the line you had to stand in to wait for a job at the sweat shops? Uh, what do you think, maybe it beats the diseases. Well, young lady, remember this; you will only feel your own pain, and thus pain is limited. You won’t feel anyone else’s pain but your personal own.”

That was George Bernard Shaw, creator of “Man and Superman.” He faded off, and next was a handsome, normal looking young gent with glasses.

He had been named Clark Dent, and was also sitting next me. “You see, we had been looking into this Hell fixation for quite some time, but don’t worry. It won’t take overlong. I’m well known for saving the world, but I can only try to save you from a bad afterlife. I believe in a God called Roa, anyway, and he was only a Cryptonian philosopher who pleaded for peace. But even I have no idea where you are going after you are murdered.

By the way, GB Shaw practically invented me, but up until now, he hasn’t gotten any of the credit for it. The being he invented is my other self, called Superman. I’d call myself Suprememan, but in reality, Detective Comics shouldn’t own rights to the name Superman. GB Shaw invented it.”

Then he too vanished. Shaw had been ruddy English, and had written a play which I now knew was all about me and our girls. Fancy that! I began laughing uproariously; I was being visited by comic book characters from America, and a famous British playwright – who was I kidding?

“I have diseases in my brain, and now they have caught up with me. I am having hallucinations.” Everything vanished, and I saw the Indian manage and his fair lady. They were laying into their beefsteak, and then one of them said, “Oh, I forgot, here’s your plate.” It was the other of the manages. She handed me the plate with vegetable, potato and some roast beef. It was all quite delish. What was all that about another dimension? Did they mean Heaven, or Hell? I wondered which Earth I was on suddenly, but it felt like solid ground.

You have to go home after you eat, and then really go home again, said the same mysterious man, only a voice now, who called himself The Bateman. I had to wonder once more if t’were the Devil in Disguise.

I hear you, I spoke in my mind, and I am finishing my dinner now, give me some time you arrogant bastard. Are you a bastard like my father? Why are you impatient with me? Because I am impatient with you. There, the steak is finished, and I don’t need much else. That’s a good potato; please sit there while I eat you. And some lovely broccoli…before I die.

“Would you like some desert?” enquired the lady manage. I said I’d take a piece of chocolate cake, and they served it to me. It wasn’t any cake I had ever eaten; it had ginger in it, and such a familiar flavor from long ago. But I had never tasted it before, and then I remembered. My mother had given me some Indian cake from a shop up the street, and it had ginger in it. I was eight years old. I saw myself in an odd picture, and someone named Bruce Wayne was trying to escort me somewhere. I was in a place called Gotham City, instead of London town.

I thought, I’m daydreaming that the incredibly handsome Oscar Wilde has reincarnated as someone else. It’s very Hindu to believe in reincarnation for a moment before you die. Imagine if Oscar was Batman and he finally found his boy Sparrows at last. And maybe instead of having sex with each other like blind fools, they fought crime. What a strange idea. On some other planet. “Would you like to visit us sometime, Annie Chapman?”

“No, that’s okay. Lola Lane can come visit us, and try to stop our Jack, and all, but I would really like it if you could slow down your birth rate, make prostitution legal or at least put legal controls on it which help ladies of the evening, stop oppressing hookers and do all that, but I don’t tell you what to do. I’m going home and straight to bed.”

You saved one woman named Karen in the 1980s. You thus saved about over one hundred people’s lives in the future, as Karen went on to save a whole black family from misery and heartache, as it can spread out far from even one murder alone; and Karen still hopes to go on living. She feels bad because some naïve serial murders happened due to “something she did” back when she lived in Ohio as a teenager.

Mostly, she lazed around her living room watching TV, which caused her to get a spoiled suburban attitude. She then ordered a book on Jack the Ripper and acted like she was going to enjoy it, which her father overheard. When she read the book she was horrified, of which her angry father was not aware, and then some serial murders began to happen.

Her Dad seems to have accidentally ordered her execution because he thought Karen was laughing at the Ripper murders, and apparently he slipped a man at his work some money to murder Karen. This started the man at work on a serial killing spree. Karen refused, however, to get into his car, which saved her for later, when she opposed the Mexican man at the Seattle Center Fountain, and when she helped save the black elderly lady from being sliced and diced. She’s amazed that she’s alive to tell anyone about these things, which not unlike these stories are all true to a certain extent – nah; it’s the truth in her case. She’s become a world renowned ghost writer since then, and she does ghost writing, copy editing and proof reading among other such freelance writing services for people.

She’s married to a Philippine-American-Canadian who had to run around a war torn country trying to die rescuing people. He wasn’t “trying to die” – he was straining to do the job right. However, he was so lonely he didn’t have a lot of motivation to go on living. Both he and she have tried to commit suicide, but now they are together.

Those two have also saved plenty of lives; they are ex-civil rights workers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights movement, which he didn’t own, and Karen was involved in the Independent Living Movement, but Dr. King saved her life apparently by getting shot in the back when she wasn’t stabbed in the back. Something metaphysical must be involved, like some sort of political tradeoff. Something rescued her from being murdered at the Seattle Center, when her back was spared, and Dr. King’s was not.

Also, he got her to marry Remerio – and “Remmie” had a daughter Angela with her, and they are trying to do the move north to “The Promised Land” of Canada with insurance money Karen received from the deaths of her grandmother and great aunts. It’s ironic; Malcolm X’s family lost out on most of their insurance money when his father was murdered, but they finally received a small portion of it. Karen feels very lucky that she received all of her insurance monies. She felt bad while growing up that Brother Malcolm X Shabazz had such a hard life and didn’t get the insurance money. She wasn’t Moslem, but felt sympathy for him.

A famous Canadian book author named Farley Mowat told her to go live in Saskatchewan, Canada, because there’s no other place on Earth like it. So the Coles are buying a large, six bedroom house up there. It almost has room for the entire United States to fit inside it, that is, Saskatchewan, not the six bedroom house, but not everyone can move there. You can even look up where and how to move on the Internet…you’re yawning.

Annie Meets Death at Last:

Really? I’m tired, and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head. Stop showing me the way to go home. And I miss Charles and Bob. I also miss my fellow dead chippies. Where are they? And why did I have no career? If all this was so helpful and meant to be, why am I going to be murdered by Jack the Ripper tonight? Tell me that, all you voices and blokes discussing Heaven and Hell. Anybody else?

Maybe, said a voice. Go upstairs, and wait, woman. It is not going to be a good time, but haven’t you been used to that before? Yes, it’s going to be evil, bloody murder that takes its time and toll. Recall: it’s only pain.

He’s coming for you, and he thinks he’s the world’s most evil man. He even wants to be him. Wait, and bide your time. He’s just a little lost German with Hell on his conscience, and he doesn’t take forever to kill people. He’s going to take a long time with you because he had fallen deeply in love with you from a great distance away. And yes, it could take anywhere from eight hours to three weeks for him to finish the job. These two Indian landlords have been told not to interfere with history. And he will have to keep coming back and forth, to maintain his job and civic presence. He will keep you waiting. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to keep him waiting.

The voices paused, ever so dramatically, for one minute.

Therefore, Annie told the voices – I must go up to my room now. All you people are “bloody smashing,” whatever that’s supposed to mean – it sounds like getting hit over the head with a shillelagh – but I am the most tired young whore I have met and need to get some rest. I don’t want to hear about being murdered any longer. I am going to get some much needed sleep…she trailed off and yawned, but Annie knew what they were saying had to be the case. She was to be murdered, tonight; maybe.

She wasn’t afraid; only deeply disappointed. Still, she had been expecting such a terrible ending to her awful life. And so she toddled off to bed, waving a lovely Chinese fan she’d bought at the Strand.

There. I am on my bed, and waiting. I am too restless for sleep. It is because of old Ben, that I use to tell time as it rings outside. It chimes every hour on the hour. I counted to three bells. It’s getting kind of late, and I’m tired of waiting. Time to go to Dr. Jack’s office and try to lure him down to where I live. Or perhaps I should simply stalk the streets. I will put on my fresh bonnet after I wash up and change my two sets of clothes, I will put on my laced shoes from America – and stop these depraved fantasies.

Was that a noise I heard on the street? It sounds like the clicking of men’s heels against the pavement. They sound more solid than women’s heels.

I am not dying to save anyone else. I am only another whore of England who lives in a small rooming house and I must die later my painful but uneventful death. I was dreaming about those real and unreal strangers and hallucinations celebrating my demise as it were some important.

I am overripe with disease and must be shortly slaughtered like a rude pigeon, or I shall have to haunt these streets at night forever, looking for men to torment me with what I am doing. And when I am dead…the newspapers will use the terrible photograph of what Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Rinehart did to me to accidentally and uncaringly…begin a wave of serial murders…that will heartbreakingly sweep the world…Annie drifted off to sleep, but was rudely awakened by Jack entering her tiny room. At last you are here, she sighed. Yes, for a very long time, he growled.

“I and I” – the Mystique:

The rest of this is mixed up, much like the remains of the women Jack the Ripper killed; a little messy, but well but together by experts. It involves the “I and I” mystique of the murders, where you feel like you are two people, like a somewhat good doctor and also like an evil, awful killer. It relates to the characters in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which I like to think is loosely based upon the fact that doctors sometimes accidentally kill people. It can give them some strange attitude problems, like those had by the writer of the “Sherlock Holmes” series of stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD.

I will not describe in detail the gory beginnings of serial murders. Later, dozens of paid photographers took her sad picture, splayed out on a bed from perhaps thousands of cuts, he face completely unrecognizable, her heart draped over a pillow to her left. For the sake of identity purposes, physicians like Dr. Jack Rinehart made their money sewing her back up together like she was a mere rag doll; then they could see her face. It had been lovely, but in the photograph I saw, her heart was still missing. Yes, that was the awful and hugely publicized beginnings of the horrifying history of worldwide serial murders.

Cold blooded torture and foulest murder had gone before, but nothing as spectacularly prolonged and hideous as this, or so the serial murderers who copied Jack seemed to think. Most of them have imitated his methods, for example the Zodiac of San Francisco, who contacted the newspapers to boast of his crimes, and to give difficult clues to them. Other murders had happened before in London, perhaps as bad. But the overly widespread photographs of the equally splayed out Ripper victims appeared to make serial murdering widely imitated – and otherwise very intractable.

It will be so bad; it will affect major aspects of Dr. King’s civil rights movement of the later century. A man named Ralph Ellison, a Negro, will write of this in his book “Invisible Man” – and then Karen Cole will read it. She is not a Negro. She is someone her own family accidentally slotted as being black, or something. She has always wanted to write, and now she has helped write over 100 books for other people. But she has a book based on IM that she wants to get out to a lot of people to read. It’s unlikely that it will go far in life as it is not a particularly needed book. Yet it is humorous, contains fun Hispanic, Black and White and other people characters who interact and have adventures, and it makes fun of violence in the movie cinema, which has gotten so excessive nowadays. She has several scenes where the main character gets to be courageous in a non violent manner, and where unspeakable violence is made fun of and laughed to scorn. She wonders if such a multicultural book could be useful, change society and the cinema, and go places someday.

I wonder if there are any of those types of books out nowadays. Karen thinks she hasn’t seen any. Must be some other type of book.

This is not important when it comes to reading books, but sometimes it is important when it comes to time periods, being selected for fame, and the writing of books. So her first reaction to Mr. Ellison’s book was, “He got published, and I never will!” She doesn’t know how lucky she is that she’s alive, because something is tormenting her. She has helped over 100 people get out books, and published five of her own, but she wants “The Rainbow Horizon” to finally hit the big time and give her some well deserved recognition. She has literary credentials under her belt. But it’s a rough modern day book market for anyone. In spite of all her experience and wisdom, she’s afraid of lack of commercial publishment. She thinks somehow her book may not sell, and flop.

Nor does she think sometimes that she stand a snowball’s chance of getting her book published, and if it is published, she will have to arrange all promotional activity, or perhaps if she reluctantly agrees, she will get it self published in spite of her exhaustion. When she is upbeat, she thinks she can land a literary agent and sweep the country with the book. I wish she could read the writing of all this down I have been doing faithfully every day in my journal, the journal diary of Annie Chapman, fatal Lady of the Night. No, I’m not that romantic, but I did write all this down over time, including this last bit I’m scrawling in my bed while waiting for “him.”

Yes, she will read it, because something good told her to. Or something good told her not to. She will read books and get somewhere and she will write this epitaph for me, for Annie Chapman’s grave. Dr. King did not understand what we had been through, but Ralph Ellison did. Ellison was not shot in the back for what happened to us – and Dr. King apparently was shot in the back in an effort to convict murderers of other people. It worked, and his allowed murder helped against the violence of death.

In which case, I suppose Dr. King gets his “revenge” for being shot instead of stabbed, for being a man instead of a woman, for having a crowd when I was alone. Do I thus get something for going on living, and for reaping the benefits of what he bestowed? And did he reap the benefits of getting to die, namely helping to end racism? I ponder such deep questions.

Even now, I also blur the line between me and Annie, because when I read the Jack the Ripper book, I was afraid. I sort of entered the schizophrenic “I and I” mystique of the Ripper Murders, feeling like two people; one me, the other with some stranger feelings. So I told something of a “tall tale.”

The true lady murdered in her bed, over eight hours to three weeks of hideous time, was not Annie Chapman. That’s why this was a fictionalized account. I didn’t quite tell you the entire truth. The lady found in her bed was actually Catherine Eddoes, an entirely different Ripper victim. And I gave Annie, who had black hair and fair skin, the brown hair and probably freckled features of Catherine Eddoes.

I was seventeen years old at the time I read their stories. As my name is Karen, and I have brown hair and freckled skin, I was too “freaked” to use the other lady’s name. My name of Karen is a derivative of the name of Catherine, which means “purity”; another strange coincidence – like “Chapman” and “Whitechapel” – as Eddoes’ life and death were almost purely sad, miserable and evil.

I decided to not identify with anything but a combination of the two victims, to put myself at a safe distance from the murders. One of them had died indoors, and the other had died in the cold and heartless streets, found somewhere in an alley, out in the bitter cold. That was the real, dark haired, well-figured Annie Chapman. The woman who died in a room – but perhaps over three weeks – was entirely someone else, Catherine Eddoes.

Near my name, near my face, near my skin; what did that mean? Was I condemned to die? I settled down swiftly and read further, but a part of my mind entered “I and I” – and has never quite escaped. It wasn’t much later that the strange man tried to make me get into his car, a man who later turned out to kill another girl who attended my school. After that, my Mexican boyfriend tried to kill me with a knife, and I escaped; then there was the 1986 incident. At least three times, I have almost been killed violently by men with knives; why, I do not know.

So I substituted another Ripper victim, Annie Chapman, whose poor and sexually abused body was found in a doorway outside, or in an alley somewhere. The Ripper didn’t harm her as badly as he did Catherine Eddoes, perhaps because Annie Chapman did not have freckles or dark skin. It is a mystery to this day. Annie’s pretty face and lovely black hair are visible in a photograph and not as badly deformed as Catherine Eddoes, who was literally cut to ribbons over time. The sewn together features of Catherine reveal patches of darkness, but she’s very hard to see.

Epitaph for Annie, Catherine, the others – and Jack:

So this story is a kind of a fictional epitaph for Annie Chapman. She has her new and beautiful well appointed grave after much effort by others on her behalf, somewhere in England, where it is right and proper to bury a young woman who only fell to an impoverished profession. As in the case of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Mrs. Coretta Scott King, they took awhile to figure out exactly where to bury “our” Annie.

So I have written this story, hidden away in the back of a long piece on my Google blog, perhaps to be read by no other eyes than mine.

It is so long, it is a novelette. I may go ahead and combine it with other related stories, and make a full scale novel out of the tales I have written: stories of Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddoes, and Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X Shabazz; possibly Stan “the Man” Lee; and of all people, “The Bateman.”

It’s enough material to make a solid novel.

Meet the Blended Us:

It may never be seen by other human eyes than hers. It will only be seen by I and I. Annie Chapman and Karen Cole will see these words together, and someone will think I wish I had done a better job portraying the most exploited white women in the world, but I think there have been other such people, a googolplex number of them, indeed. They all wanted to do something about the “World’s Worst Murder,” really they did.

Well, there have been worse deaths, the on the field soldier Nazis notably died quite a few of them, as they were oft large individuals and it took them some time to kick off, and so forth. And of course your own death has to always be the worst of all. You have to suffer through that eventually, it will vary from person to person, and who knows? And there are the people the Nazis dumped alive into the crematoriums, and piled upon blazing fires. God only knows who in human history has died the worst possible death. That’s what the story of Jesus Christ was for; get you to believe someone else would perform that onerous task for you, namely Jesus Christ.

Do not try to get someone else to die for you. They never will be able to do that, and unfortunately, in a world full of schemes, dreams and ideas, both the lucratively and romantically minded brands of erstwhile fools will try to do something like that. And fools like me will daydream that someone else was shot in the back to save her own life later, so she could save someone else’s, a black lady’s, a life that was near and dear to Dr. King’s heart.

For the world has its many parallel coincidences, and to die for someone else will always be – strangely enough – one of them. Jesus Christ cannot die your death for you; someone else might die to save you at some point in time. It’s strange, but we’re stuck doing that for each other, sometimes. They say it happens every day, in parallel universes, on street corners, and perhaps even in dark and infamous British alleys. Such are my dreams, and also my nightmares. But I prefer to dream of life being good, than to nightmare about it being evil. I dream of a different path to follow.

I dream that Brother Malcolm X Shabazz would be happy my pagan family got the insurance money to buy our house, especially since my family is now Philippine and mostly brown skinned. And I dream that Catherine Eddoes, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and the other Jack the Ripper victims reached out to save my life from their graves, by letting me know what murder is: irreparable, impossible to escape once its too late – but not unstoppable. And finally, I dream of a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – who bravely and purposefully laid his life down to end murders not unlike mine – on an all too often imitative, and all too soon over with, exotic, quixotic, and altogether sometimes pleasant – sometimes unpleasant – ant farm.

Rest in Peace, Catherine Eddoes. Remain beautiful forever, Annie Chapman. Be avenged by the Thames River, Elizabeth Stride, the two “Marys,” and the other four victims of the world’s first major serial killer, Dr. Jack “the Ripper” Reinhart. And stop being imitated, Dr. Jack!


Editor’s Note: Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MD, revealed the probable identity of Jack the Ripper was a doctor acquaintance who was dying of sexual diseases, whom everyone knew fornicated with corpses, namely Dr. Jack Reinhart. Doyle wrote of shaking his hand and laughing with Reinhart over something hideous to do with killing people. Doyle could be overtly meaningful about death sometimes, and mostly wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories to capitalize on the crimes being committed; but what else can I say about myself? I laugh when I’m nervous, too.

Anyway, Dr. Doyle knew it simply had to be Dr. Reinhart. Jack was “Jack.” The man simply had too much experience dissecting cadavers, and that was obvious from the position the victims were found in and the shape and manner of their murders; they were just like dissections of corpses, showing a doctor’s knowledge of human anatomy and physical characteristics. The book I read said he probably threw himself into the Thames to keep from dying of venereal diseases. A fitting end. That may be why nobody bothered to turn him in for his crimes, including Doyle.

Reinhart probably even confessed to Doyle. He had nobody else as friends but his fellow doctors. So if you trust the author of the “Sherlock Holmes” canon of sixty stories – and his own intuition about who the Ripper had to be – now you know.

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

The Incredible Transition of Dr. King

The Incredible Transition of Dr. King

(One long short story – or perhaps a novelette)

By Karen S. Cole

Word Count: 12,000

Having to contemplate the meanings of the word “colored” and “black” was once a social issue for certain famous American people, who promoted civil rights as their primary political cause. Colorful and lively is what they were often forced to become, in order to help their kind of people become more welcome in American society as they sojourned away from black and white racial segregation.

The arts, music and theater gained from the addition of remarkable talent from these hallmarks of American and world society, who felt they had to prove themselves in a world which was capable of killing or incarcerating people solely due to their skin color. Racial segregation was definitely the road to extreme enforced injustice as the only alternative for not granting people their full civil, legal and human rights, so these people wanted to make sure their attainments were not in vain, and that they taught people racial equality.

“The Movement” is an umbrella term for all kinds of people gaining and exercising all kinds of human rights. This is sort of their partial and jumbled story, as told by me. It covers some of racism, sexism, disability rights, gay rights, and God knows what else. It’s set in a cross between “the sixties” and modern times. The pitfalls of cigarette smoking also figure in.

The one uniting factor is the Civil Rights Movement. I came along much later – when it comes to the major problem with this story, namely lots to write about, I had to “fictionalize” everything. I spent years as a personal care attendant for the disabled, working for black, brown and white people, in dozens of peculiar and challenging situations. It was difficult but rewarding. However, this story mainly concerns a pair of civil rights workers you may have heard of before: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King.

Dr. King has to be Dr. Queen, etc., in case somehow I’m accidentally “racist,” to make me be more “controversial,” and also because of “libel and slander” laws. It’s a serious matter. I don’t believe I’m entitled to ever use those two real people, who are both now deceased, as fictional characters. Instead, I’m going to use fictional “people” loosely based on them, and thank them profusely for being “my purple godparents.” I know it’s okay to write factual accounts using real people, and a lot of what I mention in this story are facts about Dr. King and his wife, but this is highly fictionalized. Not everything I say herein holds true about them. I’m breaking or bending a few rules to write this, so please bear with me.

You are the judge, gentle reader. You will see what you think of the below. But first, grab yourself a tall glass of lemonade, as this is definitely going to be somewhat a long winded – short term adventure in reading.




That was the real name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His Dad may have tried to rescue mankind by bestowing a title on his son, and on himself as well. He named them both after Martin Luther, the white founder of Protestantism, who wanted to rescue people several centuries ago. Such a rescue may or may not be an option nowadays, in the time of Global Warming and worldwide uncertainties about race and religion.


Believe it or not, this is all excusable background for the main story below, which is largely about racism and the supernatural. But this digression is over for now. I have to now talk about my purple African “godparents.” I have to thank them, trust me.

They are mysteriously appearing in an extravagantly well appointed, but “seedy” and “cheap” hotel room somewhere. They are from the past, and currently no longer exist. They both died, spaced centuries apart, at least to one of them. “Dr. Queen” was shot and killed, and his widow had to go on without him. But in my story, they get to play a little “catch up” with each other, for a change.


It had to do with certain circumstances. How does one thank such people? How does one even attempt to know them? My ignorance, and your innocence, dictates this. What can I say to people to whom I may owe my life?


May we enter their life story somehow, and be right there with them?




One night, a celebrated chocolate man decided something had gone wrong with his entire set of circumstances, and his wife did, too. Out of nowhere, they had melted into an extremely hot scenario — like unearthly large horizontal giants on a hotel bed.


One of them, not being altogether fat, having the build of a boxer, was strikingly virile and handsome with his little mustache to the point where one’s mind would be boggled. He was relaxing on “never his own bed” looking at a black and white hotel television, lying down prone and relaxed after a hard day of walking and terse interviews. He was sprawled but composed on top of the pilled and soiled covers, which had seen lots of use and wear, but were still elegantly shiny and soft to the touch.


For some reason, a disgruntled look slowly crossed his dark, plump, beautiful – manly, perhaps not at all lovely to some – Negroid facial features. A quizzical, bemused grin crinkled the corner of one sleepy but slanted dark, large brown eye. And then a look of raw, unadulterated joy melded through all of his deeply brown facial features.


For you see, the black Negro man on the bed had ended up with what was once the most precious and prized ownership problem of our proto-nuclear age — the TV remote control. He cradled it, firmly enclosed in his massive brown hand. He intelligently scanned the television screen, squinting with a gimlet eye at what he saw on it. None of it was familiar.


The man knew one of his black eyes looked eerily Asiatic, especially his right one. The staleness of the surrounding air permeated his brain as the cig smoke seeped away from his fingertips. He knew the room, one of many in which he had practically been living, was smoke-filled. Over the years, ash had seeped into the walls, permeating and blackening the wrinkled fabric of the room’s wallpaper. He had guarded himself from the awful effects for millennia, perhaps.


He often wondered why people smoked, being the victim of second-hand dust since before he was born. Both the sandy plains of equatorial Africa and the non-pleasurable smoke of industrial America had clotted his darkening, sighing pink lungs. “Rod Sterling” appears briefly and says: For you see before you a man going almost completely and quietly insane, both with and without his quite desirable woman.


She’s not around him as much as he’d like her to be. Normally, he lets his stress out at the camera. His wife does not have much to tell people ordinarily, at least not what he wants to say. She’s right there beside him, but could be killed at any given time. She’d rather, seemingly, pour his coffee and serve him his food. Or would she? To wonder about this is not unusual for her. She took classes at her school so many long years ago on how diseases were the main reason they were in this predicament, stuck whiling their time away in hotel rooms. The classes had informed her of why their lives were a color coded obscenity. The “better people” had to be kept healthy. It was “natural law.”


While he’s watching TV, you also see this elegant man studying an “Eventide Zone” episode, realizing meanwhile that he must die shortly. He’s “known” by the FBI – who may have doctored all of the tapes on him – to have one of the world’s most wanton sex lives, asking both men and women to be “his” for a brief period of time. This is perhaps because he’s destined to die young, and wants to live it up. Or it’s because audio tapes are easy to change, especially those run by your enemies.


He also wants to not bend over backwards to make himself look unapproachable – like “colored wouldn’t dare do that.” He’s a Negro. He thinks in his darker moments that he’s only headed nowhere, or at least somewhere not so wonderful.


He gets stressed out about that sometimes, to the point of appearing paranoid. He fears intensively that most people see his four ghostlike “kids” as giant African animals that need slaughtered. To try to prove the naysayers and bigots wrong, our hero is in full dress, a business suit as it were, sometimes called a monkey suit, and is beginning to deeply indent the scratchy, prickly box spring mattress of many an ancient lost love. He has actually spent time with both boys and girls in his prime, not having sex but somewhat getting them into obtuse trouble due to the violent events at his political protests.


The political protests were to get those children their full legal and civil rights back, stolen from them when they were hauled away from Africa to America. But this usually gentle man likes life and living, to the fullest when he can, to do everything a black man can do. A lot of white people would rather that he shut up and die, but he’s not very game for that. He doesn’t like being told what to do.


His university self is watching a show on TV that he secretly liked, as it involved his special underground buddy, Rod Sterling. He could relate to the short, dark, intense white man on it, who was artful and clever and told him a good, moral story most of the time. It was fun for a change back there, when he gritted his teeth and turned away, to watch. Well, Freddie Hitchcock was good for an in-joke as well. Both Rod and Fred promoted white male death interests enough to morbidly fascinate Dr. Queen, who generally liked the news and sports far more than any TV fiction story.


Yet the man we see before us also had a good story to tell. He had formed up the Montchapel Bus Boycott, to make sure Negro people didn’t have to ride solely in the far back of a city bus. Alabama was – however – not the only place with such problems. In the Seattle Metropolitan area, the buses clearly indicated where “colored” should sit with brown trim around the back windows. What could this be but an unspoken BM reference, even that far north? What being shuffled off to Buffalo would that mean, if it kept up forever, with black people being told they were made of s–t?


Why spend life as a chute joke? It made no sense to him. Maybe gay sex was okay, but not being “lost,” out in public as the world’s foremost representative of human manure. Nothing was Christian about that – nada.


Sideways slides the black and white camera – Rod Sterling, with his usual slouching class, slips upright in with the following words: For you see, the man on the bed is electronically color coded to die in advance by history itself, and he doesn’t know why. It’s his fate, written in the stars and planned by many others, although his final destination remains unknown. Some onlookers, noticing his name, have rather Inquisitional plans for him. He keeps surrounded by an entourage, rather like the President, to protect him from being snatched away and burned alive at the stake.


He knows his name is coincidentally Martin, and that he’s destined to die a martyr. He knows he is the king of a most peculiar kingdom, not unlike “The King.” Elvis was his own brand of a soul singer, but thought of as a white man. Michael, otherwise named Martin, disgruntledly accepts the fact of his own “niggerization” by nearly everyone who must continue their strange color coded way of life.


Almost everyone seems to be a believer in Jesus, God and the Afterlife. Michael believes he’d like his kids to go on living, even if they eventually become white someday. Dr. Queen is there to ensure that they will grow up, even if he himself does not “make it to the Promised Land.” Who needs it?


He shares in a wonderful African American subculture, but his own version of it is studiously religious and arrogantly bombastic in its peculiar style. He is his own behemoth of paranoia. In a jovial way, he knows that, but doesn’t laugh at himself. Even if he grew large as the planet Jupiter, he wouldn’t break so much as a smile on certain occasions. He had to go down in history as an angry young man, not one who “got the joke.”


That would be to give into a belief with which he has no accord. And that is why he must now enter The Eventide Zone. For indeed, without a jester, a king, and a kingdom…is there even truly a jest? – The camera then zooms away from Sterling, focusing on a black night of sparkling white stars.




No man is truly a queen until he puts on a woman’s dress. Martin Queen, on the other hand, never notably did so. The head of the FBI was a noted transvestite, but no, not our hero. J. Edward Hoover once tried to get Dr. Queen to suicide by “telling” on him to his wife, who got quite a chuckle out of that. As Dr. Queen lay on his hotel bed, he bemusedly wonders what the attraction is to women’s clothing, but decides he likes it better on Coletta, who was quite a voluptuous pinup girl in her day.


Instead, he thinks to himself how the color coded nonsense where his people have to sit or eat or live in seedy, cheap places has to do with how things are organic or inorganic, as he’s been involved deeply with his college of supposed choice. He was fourteen when he began attending it. His whole life was laid out before him, in spite of the hard work, and he had to go to that particular accredited and acclaimed Negro oriented school.


At fifteen, he breezed through his white oriented paperwork. His graduate thesis in college was a work of artifice, not art, as he had plagiarized it – he could have done his own work, but was in a great hurry. His speeches, lowest common denominator to reach the masses, were written largely by his fellow ministers. He is however a fully accredited minister in the Baptist Church, able to marry people legally, or lecture them about the twin devilries of racism and classism, either.


But he’s not really able to attain the Presidency, as many people want him to; the separation of church and state precludes this. Being kept from other high social positions by white people caused this problem, where a Christian minister must “pine” for death and not for life. And he knows the hotels he’s staying at are no longer cheap. Racial segregation had led to an impasse, where many “colored” commodities were getting to be as good as or better than their “white” counterparts – such as jazz music.


But as he lies there on the bed, his life is running through his head, as a kind of demolished motion picture show. He’d had to fake his own resume to prove he wasn’t scared of going to Hell when he died, as white people liked to accuse them of that by literally putting them there. He had to face it down as a civilized white man, by being unafraid in the face of certain death, and worse yet, he enjoys doing it that way for others. Sometimes. Mostly, he figures his end will come from gunshot wounds.


Everywhere he’d been at his brief college, a tacky red carpet was splayed out for him. Most of his friends seemed to be other Baptist ministers. And he did attend to the great place’s more esoteric science classes, where they’d taught him racism was part of human nature. He really liked to think he had written a good thesis proclaiming loudly against those “Natural Laws” where he wasn’t allowed to marry the wife he’d chosen. According to racial supremacists, his fair-skinned Coletta wasn’t allowed to so much as exist. A beautiful young lady, she’d done more for the Civil Rights Movement than most people knew about, while still remaining faithfully wed to her dark-hued gentleman.


But he is wearing velvety black skin, he was my “knight in shining armor” you see, and he is feeling sleepy, large and queasy because he hears his wife preparing him dinner in the kitchen suppinette. They had hiked around town by themselves for a lark, without their entourage, and picked up some lovely casual food at an Asian grocery store. This hotel room at least had a cooker and a fridge, not to mention a cigarette machine. An extremely prominent grayish one – it stood in the hallway outside their room and had a silvery top – which was always cleaned off. The colored/black lady maid had also visited their room that morning, and all was in tip top shape for them.


But the black Negro man, not being an animal, doesn’t feel like he has to work hard for a living. He’s been plugging away at words all his life. He feels a bit lazy at the present moment. Maybe even sleazy. How had he done a damn fool thing right? He was stuck thinking this to himself earlier as he punched the cigarette machine with one plump index finger, receiving a pack of Marlboros. Usually he doesn’t smoke.


He appears slightly guilt ridden as he slinks down the hallway. He knows I don’t know if he even smoked. He knows my parents smoked. And he knows, while lying there, all about me. He had seen the black and white episode on TV in his hotel room, on Sterling’s show. Twice, now. Why? And far more familiar to him was the look of the people on the show, in ways that none of them should have been familiar to him. Why, he muses to himself, do I know about this stranger who is haunting my head? The drug certainly works; he gags, as he balls up one fist. But the childish cough he was going to withstand filters away. He is stalking slowly, slowly back to the bed, while carrying the cigs he bought.


In the prior Eventide Zone episode, the one Martin viewed originally, he had seen my father cruelly teasing me into running into my bedroom. I was white, and so was my father. But I was not entirely white. My father had run after me screaming what he was “gonna” do to me. I had ended up under my bed – scrunched up against the wall. My father obviously tried to not lift up the bed to tear me to pieces. He scrabbled under the bed with one arm. He then finally left. Later – I found a little black hole in the wall – and had disappeared into it momentarily. I stayed in the hole to escape my violent father, in case he came back. I emerged unscathed after a long, long while.


He was someone whom I dearly loved. Maybe I had been a bad girl, to get fat and all. And I had wished someone could find me in the tiny hole and save me. No one seemed to have done so. And my father was harmed psychologically by the misery of having lost me forever. That is because, in the episode as seen by Dr. Queen, I’d permanently vanished. It wasn’t so much “the poor girl” got through it: I’d disappeared away completely. When my father came back in the first episode, I was gone forever.


Funny thing was, in the newer episode Dr. Queen was watching, the ending had changed. The little girl was not lost, and had ended up elsewhere. And the entire episode was now in color, very realistic color at that. Dr. Queen wondered when the hotel had managed to install color TV in their room. He pinched himself and felt a slight “pang,” and so knew he wasn’t dreaming. He had thrown the open packet of cigs down on the night stand near him.


The black man, lounging around on the well appointed soft bed, sighs to himself about the episode. It’d reminded him about something stupid in his own upbringing, which he had both liked and disliked. His father was a yeller, and had been an occasional “curser.” It wasn’t such a nightmarish upbringing as the little girl’s had been. No one had been around his small but sophisticated home, jotting all down on a reporter’s notepad. Instead he recalled family and friends, almost a worthy life that implied greater living to be, if he could get the others moving in time.


But cameras have been around him frequently lately, and the black Negro man feels like he has become pretty much only a personal media circus. Would anything he has done mean anything real to someone, his own human history? Would it matter if he died in public, or in private? He didn’t want to die, or make it look like he liked dying. He’d rather work – hard.


He honestly doesn’t even know what the Godlike reason is why he’s stuck working for a living, so often away from his family, giving odd speeches here and there. He has a doctorate in the religious sciences, and wishes he was able to answer all of those theosophical questions. He knows the whole thing is a political setup for men to use to manipulate others’ minds. But he’s a phantom stranger who uses big words indeed – such as philanthropist and egalitarian – and perhaps lethargic toad. But at least, he muses to himself, I use that about weirdos and not myself.


The phrase “hopeless romantic” also comes to mind. He is stuck forever trying to write a perfect speech, as he must “dumb” them all down. Stuff like the “I Have Dreams” speech was written by an obscure third party, most of it taken from a speech by a fellow minister. And all of his actions, including the wiser ones, are questioned by everybody.


He is trying to get some well deserved rest while lodging around, a sniper gun sight could spy his bulky figure through the dirt streaked window one foot away from his bed, and he hears noises outside that don’t belong to him. He’s very anti the Viet Nam War. He knows communist Africa could attack the United States through the atom bomb. One of the colored motels he was going to stay at was recently bombed, probably by the Ku Klux Klan. He is a pacifist, but gets angry enough to kill people sometimes.


Whether or not he ever “punched out” white women is not known. Some people said he used church money to buy “loose” girls, and then beat on them. It was the infamous “Marquis de Sade” claim. Lonely on the road, he had seen black hookers, according to his minister friends. They said he was nothing but absolutely gracious with them. Now Coletta was with him – at his side for a change, but so what?


I have a dream, he thinks to himself. Good line for a great speech, by an absolutely phony white man. I’ll never be one, he muses. He has his own self doubt all nailed. He drifts off for a few moments and subsequently has the strangest actual dream as he snores profoundly on the bed: a decade after a gigantic herd of colored Africans and other myriad minority groups have defended humanity through the leading philosophy of being peaceful warriors, a small passel of white wheelchair people, all disabled, learn how to get Seattle’s Metro buses reequipped with proper wheelchair lifts. They are thus able to get their civil rights that way – mainly, the right to spontaneously ride the bus, without it being a “planned trip.”


As some of them must go out, or perhaps die along the way, they need to get on the bus. Every other transit option is a hard to arrange trip. No spontaneity. The disabled people have to fill an independent living need, even if it involves white women deliberately falling off the first misguided attempts at wheelchair lifts. One of them did go ahead with that, and she managed to live through the hospital stay later. If she were here, she would say that being alive is the best way to go – but one must risk death for a good reason. It’s better than waiting to die of a head cold.


How do they do that, in Michael’s dream? The original “folding camel” lifts on the buses are lousy. Wheelchair people might get hurt on them, especially little old ladies. So the younger disabled radicals boldly risk their lives purposefully pointing out how faulty the lifts are by riding them the wrong way. One, John Tyler, is my 350 pound weighing radical black haired white Indian hero man. He successfully breaks one of the faulty lifts. The guy has polio and is seriously disabled, and dropping like that is extremely hard on him – and anyone else, if it happened accidentally.


The new lift company then puts the right lifts on the buses. Those “jobbers” hold up to 1000 pounds and have solid metal flaps on the rims of the lifts to ensure your personal safety. And disabled women were involved in the attempt to make sure the lifts didn’t support “worthless” life forms. One of the ladies apparently deliberately fell off the folding camel lift, once. Basically, when you gotta go, you gotta go. But fortunately, she lived through it. Gee, I wish I was that kind of brave.


Anyway, I come along. I’m the girl as the personal care attendant for one of these brave wheelchair people, a male handsome Jew who is the son of two Austrians who fled the Holocaust, and I help ensure the buses are properly ridden once the wheelchair person is strapped in. I have to do battle during this time with white male bus drivers who want to strap in the wheelchair people improperly.


I was the little girl who disappeared through the hole in the wall to avoid her white male father. I manage later to not disappear and hide. I calmly end up accepting having to strap people in while being “bugged” by those drivers, until they learn how to do it right. Their argument is that disabled folks “can go ride in the vans.” Some of them drove vans for the disabled, and I made friends with one such driver, so in general they weren’t actually that discourteous.


Nonetheless, I make sure my Jewish fiancée is strapped into a slot on the bus, with what used to be airplane cargo straps from Boeing. It works. Later on, we get married in Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, near Ballard Locks, through a hippie wedding. Both sets of our parents and all our living relatives and friends are there. It’s quite a mixed rainbow crowd of different skin colors and religions, white men and disabled folk alike. Our catering is Matzo Mamas’ cold cuts and cheeses combined with my family’s hot dogs and hamburgers — plus potato salad. It’s a virtual smorgasbord. Ron and I are wearing Hawaiian shirts, and it’s a lot like a luau too.


Dr. Queen, feeling relaxed, hungry and happy, finds he’s applauding away at a great distance of deep, sleepy space and time. Largely, he’s trying to fight the image off. The wedding looks mostly like white people. As he turns to Coletta, he wakes up, as the dream ends with many black disabled people not being able to ride the bus. These are guys like him with no lives of their own. No women to marry, no way to make children. No real job they’ll be allowed to work, no real place to go. They’re stuck living at United Cerebral Palsy Residential Center, working for Boeing, putting together machine parts and not being able to work for an honest living.


And yet, they all need to ride the bus. It would get them out – help them look through a window. The whole entire situation robs them of anything like true dignity, and what they need is to learn to read – mainly. They’re stuck in a strange existence until something gets done. They need to help themselves. Unfortunately, none know if they can. What is the meaning in such a life, you might ponder? I have been away from those black men for so long, maybe somebody has done it, and they are at least riding the buses at long last.


The black man on the bed can barely think. Deep sleeplessness…it will be affecting her again. She was always lovely, but he had noticed her looking extra bedraggled today. She needed something real. Something good in her life, some way better she could feel.


“Coletta, are you ready for this? Something is coming across on the TV that didn’t belong to Sterling. I remember the previous episode — and this is not the same one in any way, shape or format. Some such is way wrong, and it’s happening, my dear mother goddess. Do you suppose we can do anything about it? HMMMMM!?!?!” He stormily threw an unusually level gaze at her, but glanced away. He was always afraid of his own arrogance with her. But she looked back at him without any fear in her face.

All that ran through both their minds was: we could use a vacation, not more utter nonsense in our lives. Instead, now we have to hear from the supernatural.


“Well,” she said dryly, her throat parched with smoking the cigs and the surrounding arid atmosphere, “I suppose we can die at it, handsome, but is that all we’re going to do — given this?” Is that all there is, she meant. She regained her composure, stretching out on the bed in a luxurious business suit of sorts, one that cannot be described herein but as very lovely in the dark, and yet quite wretched. It was relatively expensive and grey, but rumpled somewhat.


For you see, she had been about town, and her feathers, as her man knew, were completely ruffled. She relaxed assiduously on the bed, and reclined. “Yes, you’re right.” She snuggled next to him. She knew something weird was set for the premises. A sudden heat wave had been drying everyone up, even black people. She is staying the day with him in the middle of a dreadful summer, somewhere in Mississippi, where the summers are usually heat drenched. It is her time with him, found on the run, when they could get together and be.


Something is certainly melting in their mutual intellectual heavens, and as the two spontaneous detectives are learning, there was nothing right on television. Doctor Queen is flipping through several channels at once. He keeps punching the remote with his thumb, wondering why they had what appears to be cable television. He knows that in 1967 or 1968, although the exact year they’re in was weirdly escaping him, all they have is the ability to manually change the channels. The TV is set up for manual, not automatic transmission. He suddenly recalls it was supposed to be 1968, and he has an eerie feeling something monumental has already happened.


Dr. Queen doesn’t know what they are watching, but he and Coletta had certainly come across something new. What was going on, really, that didn’t involve bombings, dead people and having a color coded name? It’s a little hot outside, the weather. Steamy, sultry, Mississippi mysterious. The television is full of the war coverage, and local news, sports and weather, but it’s not right. It is all from the future, which is getting to be pretty obvious. The war is being held in Iraq and the Middle East, not Viet Nam and South East Asia. They both wonder if cig smoking, rare for them, has anything to do with this particular mystery switch.


Much earlier, back when everything was still normal, they had seen an unusual sight. Two perfectly white cigarettes had been laid out by someone on the small and dingy plastic table next to their hotel room bed. They had obviously been set up by and for someone else, who had roomed there and left. Yet they’d seemed briefly inviting. Both Dr. Queen and his Coletta had broken down briefly, had decided to enjoy life, and had lit up.


They felt themselves drifting back and forth in time, between the past and the present, with a feeling that the future cannot be far behind . . .the not so fat man gets uncomfortable, and breaks the silence. “Hey, Mommy Dearest there, what do you think? How about exploring outer space without all those Chinese veggies between our teeth?” He neatly flicked away the leftover part of his burnt down cigarette. “Did you unpack our toothbrushes? What do you say? Let’s go exploring. The last thing we were ever responsible for was Viet Nam. Or these bed bunks, sweet as they almost are. I honestly think the war is the reason they want to kill us. Some of us are even Moslems, you know, their old enemies. Did white people do this? It’s like something out of “Ray Radbury” – all of a sudden, we’re in the future. Something tells me we have to go somewhere else.”


He smiles at her. Is there any other soul out there who thinks Africa was maybe the original pits? Heavy duty heat. Dr. Queen thinks, I don’t always like being me, but I’m all we’ve got. I don’t want to go back there, never. “What is going on? They expect someone listening to them as they rant and rave about Heaven and Hell. Africa was Hell, but this USA is the Heaven, you know…?”


Coletta is silent. She likes silence, but has a degree in something else. “You know there’s no God, we are their God, and we did leave the planet earlier. Whoops, lack of sleep.” She brushes her hair back with one long light brown finger, which is perfectly polished. She glares at the finger, realizing it wasn’t all that red and gorgeously shiny previously.


She tiredly spurts, “Yes, something is wrong with one who signifies nothing. Perhaps it is me, perhaps it is you, Mr. Flirt, and perhaps it is the weather…” A hole in the wall diner appears in both of their minds. One of her “other kids” had agreed to meet them there. Their Johnny was like a son to them, but was also someone else’s child. The media of late had made a fuss out of how he had children out of wedlock. How quaint, Coletta sighed, considering that any unwed reporter could be so picky.


Coletta is sighing as she is lying there, sweating mildly. It is so hot. Love with her man is stolen on the fly. Why, this room doesn’t have a fan, she thinks. She slowly drags her hand down his sizeable business suited chest, thinking things don’t change in a thousand years. “Yes, they are into watching us. Why do we in particular attract all of that attention from the European Inquisition? That’s all the KKK ever will be. It is the most curious ideal I’ve ever heard of – that YOU PEOPLE can go to Hell.”


She smiles, meaning why does the Klan attack colored people: blacks, Indians, Jews, Chinese, and whoever? She had and hadn’t studied the history of it. Race wars tended to escape her as to having any realistic meaning to them.


“We’re willing to be at peace with them. Why don’t they leave us alone? Why do they insist on f—–g us over, when they have f—–g themselves to blame?” Ladylike, Coletta coughs delicately into her curved hand. Everything they do they do for the FBI, which is constantly taping them back there in the 1960s, where they belong. A record is being made of their every other action, in an attempt to arrest them for breathing.


“Yes, Coletta, you simply overuse their words. We are not even creatures of cussing, really. Some days I feel like a closet imitation white man. We able bodied Africans will simply never get it…cannibalism. I suppose it freaks out their mental abilities. They simply MUST cannibalize us, because they have figured out that we are cannibalistic electronic color coded parts, lost in the mechanisms and machineries of time, don’t you think? And we do have sex…?


He gently and sweetly strokes her thick, luxuriantly pomaded black hair. They had four children, in a way, maybe more out there somewhere, but enough was enough. Coletta frowns at him summarily. “No, we don’t. Not in front of them. We are going to look for that hole in the wall, starting now. Get up, you old dog, don’t go for the liquor as you never do that, you know, and we don’t have any in here. I am dragging you to that wall if you don’t get out of bed,” she snarled, the angry words jerking out of her melting self.


Sometimes she felt inwardly peeved, when she thought her husband was doing all the damned work. She did help out from time to time, and was on several important committees. But now this: a strange little almost white girl wanted rescued from death at the hands of her overlord white father, whom Coletta could see screaming at her. She is hot, tired and doesn’t want to respond to any such rescue requests. She instead glances down at the cigs pulling their own suck on the bedside table. Smoke curls and wafts up inches from where they lay. Something seems mildly different about the nature of the smoke. Is it only tobacco? It hadn’t tasted quite right.


Coletta finally figures out that it was, well, probably weed. She slowly perceives that the almighty suction device of babyhood has something to do with it. For some reason, a person has “just got” to smoke, even though it causes lung cancer, whether it’s weed or tobacco. She had tried to avoid smoking, but we all have oral fixations. Yes, that was it. Then a certain disgruntled look slips across her silent face as everything goes black. Time sneaks away from the present as it fell back into the past. Falling, she reeled slightly from all of the hard work she had done before, giving one of her own public speeches – and she fainted, her head racing down to the very hard wooden floor.


Dr. Queen’s muscular arms stoutly caught her. They were both standing upright, with Coletta’s supple heels clicking on the well polished hardwood floorboards and Dr. Queen’s large men’s shoes firmly planted on his feet. For the first time ever, they realized how odd was the perfect fit of them, how silent the stranger who seemed to be guiding them.


Their gold wedding rings had also been a perfect fit when they got married years ago, and their previously raw, uncomfortable feet were now encompassed in snug, patent leather shoes. This was a bit of a problem. Earlier, they both knew they had kicked off all four of their tight, expensive thick soled shoes. What were they doing still there, with their feet still encased in previously peeled off stockings? First their television set, and now this. It had been easy enough to change the channel, but it was a color TV set.


Had they been smoking an illegal substance…was that stuff Mary Jane? Coletta knew her shoes had been grey soft toed walkers. Now they were black stiletto high heels, quite fashionable, but not what she’d been wearing a few minutes ago. This had something to do with the little girl, and the presumed hole in the wall from the TV show.


Earlier, they had been to a lovely old Chinese hole in the wall restaurant. Johnny had picked up the dinner for them. They’d eaten together and enjoyed it without cameras around everywhere, for a change. Now they were hungry again, for what reason their churning minds fathomed, must have something to do with the cigs being more powerful than they looked. But it had seemed so harmless to take a moment off. Dr. Queen’s face shifted into an wide, exotic African smile, the Black Cat.


“I know…perhaps not enough, my darling, as I am an accredited genius, but I’ve the feeling we’re needed somewhere. It has to do with this mysteriously hot onset of weather. We are experiencing a Field Effect of sorts. I wonder if it’s at all because we are dark. Let us look for that hole in the wall now, before it closes up completely. We are definitely needed by something in there. Somebody else is facing death completely, and we are needed…someone,” he spurted out with a dry chuckle, “needs us off of cigarettes. We’re supposed to not smoke them anymore. We were the university PhD crowd, nah, and she never understood us that profoundly. We are going there now, sugar, so come with me to the wall and let’s see if that hole is there. Courage? She says she has not her own life,” Dr. Queen smiled down at Coletta.


He ended this speech with a gentle note as he stared at his reflection looking back at him through a woman, a real and light black woman. A lady of color – a colored lady. He gripped her hand tightly, swept one arm around her small waist, and practically dragged her through the wall. But they made it down the brief unlit hallway to the little black hole in the wall – and were staring it over, as if waiting for it to speak. As they stood there, beads of salty sweat dropped from both their intent faces.


One of them, with the guts and panache of a lion in what he thought of as the hollow, shabby body of a man, was caught trying to grimace the hole away. Surely it was only another death threat for his woman. One of the reasons his wife was not a “limelight” person was so she could live to take care of their children. Coletta looked surprised, felt hungry, and yet neither one of them could eat the small hole — nor did both know they could not.


They were brutally overwhelmed by the simple fact they were starving. Yet life itself hinting around about food and drugs was not the answer. The cigs were way back there, and they were someone else entirely as they stared at the little black hole in the wall. Whatever was in the cigs not only clouded their brains, it made them think mainly of food alone. What that meant about how their universe had come unraveled was unknown.


They felt the divine lift “cigs” could give them, and hated it. Yet at the same time – as the brief high dribbled away – they felt like someone was trying to thank them for something, and show them some gratitude. Someone, perhaps the little girl, was trying to give them as much assistance as she could. The drug high was to get them over it, and talk them permanently out of smoking. Dr. Queen filled his hefty chest with a clean breath of air, feeling grateful for that – but growing angrier by the second.


“Your move,” he muttered with exceeding impatience. Coletta knew she wasn’t talking to him, and then something dawned on them both. Cigarettes and tobacco smoking had been invented by Native Americans, and that had something to do with what was now happening. Was it the Indians trying to tell them something through tobacco? A thank you for existing, for helping them too? They did not want to leave from their assigned task, or be poisoned by natives…as they were originally displaced Africans.


Coletta had studied at her school how all humans had originally come from Africa. We had spread out, summarily becoming other racial groups. There was, however, another school of thought where humanity was separated into several species, meeting up again later.


Were the Indians, or Native Americans, somehow an enemy of theirs whom they had discounted? Did this mean Cherokee or whatever tribal vengeance against them, where they had unknown victims due to hypocrisy? The black people marches for their civil rights – was it a mistake to base them on The Trail of Tears? Coletta gulped, recalling that for the Indians, the enforced long marches were much more like The Trail of Blood. Blown away Native American heads, bodies dropping by the roadside as the whites made them walk for hundreds of miles – was this some strange form of vengeance against them?


“No,” she sighed decisively. “We Negroes didn’t make them do that. Long marches have occurred throughout human history. This is all due to inhalation of that idiotic drug. It must be pot. I’ve never been this hungry in my entire life, and we already ate.”


The dark couple had accidentally broken down and smoked those two leftover perfect cigs, after they had a couple from the pack Dr. Queen had bought. Were they poisoned? What an idiotic assassination that would be. No cameras as they pitched to the floor in their final throes of restless death agonies. Dr. Queen harrumphed, as Coletta deeply bowed her head to such an obnoxious fate. She performed her own feminine glare.


After a short pause, Dr. Queen spoke. “I know she’s needed, somehow, and only wants to thank us for being her alternating purple godparents, yet I do know that racism is a field effect that I studied back at that college in one of my science classes,” said Dr. Queen.


The Right Reverend and all. Perhaps the nearest thing to God on the face of the planet was one proud and virtuously arrogant black man. “We must go vanish through that hole for a second and leave. Yet I know we will back out on this empty promise and broken dream that way. Shall we do either, or both? I assume we will risk not coming back. Yet our reality has been so disrupted, I don’t see how we have any kind of a choice.”


“Colored, white, white, colored?” coughed Coletta. “How they must keep us apart for fear of diseases, African and European, except when we exist at their sexual whimsy for the sake of the almighty dollar. What an empty place we must leave momentarily, my darling. Shall we do it, and show them we were Africans? Where does that obvious portal lead us to? Death?” She smiled at him, and he thought he saw the little girl he knew from her family photographs. “Perhaps the Klan has finally mastered further magic powers than wearing those sheets while riding horses – and appearing mysteriously at night.”


“Should we take such a quaint leap in time, go through a purple hole or not, and see into such a future? They will never let us approach the arousing majesty of such an arresting moment, you know,” she sighed decisively. “They want to see us groping about sexually in public. We are too conservative for that…the Cotton Club and our entire culture aside. We were practically created to be left to our own devices.”


Coletta’s thoughts faded away. It felt like someone was doing her thinking for her, but she realized she had her own private self intact. She chuckled to herself inwardly. “This is not anything like ladies’ bridge night. I thought you said the worst thing that happened when you were alone was on the spot interviews about your views on the Viet Nam War and communism, and your strange position on . . . ”


“Well, Coletta, as long as YOU feel brave,” cut off Martin, “We can play a game of detective work. What am I but the Batman’s Fatman? My growing fat is merely to survive the bullets, to speed the power of my elocution to help others, and because I already have you. We have been out in the open for quite a long time. The African veldt was stuffed with animals against us. Anything at all could come through that window over there,” stated the portly black gentleman as he stuffed a strange pocket watch out and put it back in.


“I have a feeling we have to travel forward in time, and I do not know why, except to rescue that little girl. Surely you’re feeling particularly courageous?” As his wife was endangered, Dr. Queen did not feel much that way, so he thought to himself, posing a simple question to God. He was quite certain someone else was listening.


Something next told him to examine himself from the outside in. As Dr. Queen looked down, he was puzzled. He could see his waistline, and he really didn’t feel as overweight as he had before. It was as if he was slowly shrinking back to his previously lean self.


Coletta looked at him without that lost little girl look, and then sighed. “Those cigs are indeed a drug from Hell. I suppose we shall simply have to go back to where we belong, back to the future, back to the past, back to…where we must have come from.”


“Hush up, Coletta, and let’s jump hoodoo the damn hole, now, lady.” He looked at her with a terrific smile on his lips. “We are simply needed elsewhere. So what’s wrong with taking a chance once in a while? We are the deadest ducks in all of human history. We’re Daffy Duck, we’re this, we’re that, LET’S SEE IF IT’S REALLY THERE!!!”


Even Coletta lurched back at the power and timbre of his mighty voice. But she was so used to him, she smiled as she did her favorite joke, waving in front of her face to make the breeze there go away. She was now Baptist too, like her husband, and forever elegantly so. Baptist means, let’s face hellfire, and brimstone, and actually get in a fight occasionally. The girl they were planning on rescuing was also Baptist – through her father’s East German side of the family.


The woman outside the hole paused briefly and dreamed of lighting up another smoke. She had smoked before, and it had never given her so much trouble. Lung cancer, said a voice coming from somewhere. “I can handle a cigarette or two,” she told the air.


Coletta fell silent. She realized deeply that making fun of racism was no fun, and felt mildly peeved at herself. The little girl, when grown up, had been misused by blacks, browns, and whites, and also well treated by them all. She had also miraculously saved the lives of a black woman and her two probable rapists by simply interfering with a house burglary, later when she had grown up. She had not only escaped the hole, she had become someone who was at least helpful to others.


A feeling in Coletta’s head stated this, but said they were still needed somewhere – if they wanted to go. “Why not?” interrupted her proud husband’s stentorous growl of a voice. “Don’t ever get that way, lady of mine, but I’m opening up this mystery hole with my barest hands. I’m going to jump into it alone. Unless you change your summarily untitled mind. I can’t stand being this curious any longer. Can you wait for me?”


Coletta sneakily looked up at him. “God is but a boy, and I am only your girl,” she sweetly breathed. “I’ll jump too, because your real name is Mike King – my “Mikey.” I love you and always will, but you’re not leaving me behind, not this time.”


It was malicious. Very malicious of her. She untwisted her face into a pretty grin. “Do go jump first.” Ladies only of the evening do not do specific things. They are different – they get to be “hah yallow” and say stuff apparently, mused Dr. Queen. “No, and although I may be going first, we are jumping together,” sighed the large and portly Negro gentleman. He was now rather thin and attractive, and starting to feel both afraid and angry at himself. He also had a feeling they were being watched by strange people. Surely this new trickery could not end well for either of them.


He hoped whoever it was would die more horribly than she would. He had loaded his letters to fellow ministers and certain public speeches with every word he could find that featured anything like the French term “Negro” in it. His speeches seethed with word bullets, right back at ‘em for enslaving and subsequently killing his kind, and robbing them of their freedom. Everyone in town was gunning for him – for fear of a terrible woman. My wife will always be my queen, he thought, no matter what happens. Melting, melting, is the Queen, melting, melting, so obscene.


He bowed his head in seeming prayer, disguising his dark face. The hole was emanating a mysterious power of light that was screaming white people, weird spacey noises, and the scrambling of brains.


It was so, even though he had always tried to temper his oratory with the depth and wisdom of human understanding. Even though watering down his speeches was needed, for the sake of masses who did not attend college, he had tried to include something which would not be so lowly in them. Children were what he had leaned on in his most famous speech. Airy fairy . . . children.


All children everywhere are subject to the adult laws of chance. They don’t hold hands on a playground, and can’t ever be that way. “I knew that,” said the black Negro gentleman. “I was using Christian allegory.”


Sterling cuts in sideways with: Is that enough digression for you? Dr. Queen finally pulled the wretched hole wide open with a jerk – and saw a suctioning dark vortex where it had been. It looked mysteriously like they’d get pulled into something unspeakable. He ground his capped white teeth slightly, didn’t feel like himself at all, and wilted at it.


How could he protect his wife now, by being the one who died? They were both too proud to turn down entering the thing, and it might mean being lost somewhere forever, or worse. There had to be Hell to pay.


The heat was building way up outside, and he seemed to be sweating too profusely. This was getting altogether worrisome. “I suppose I should smoke a cigarette at it and see if it does go away. Oh, it shall my darling, as I am an electronic component part of amazing humanity of the astonishing Eventide Zone that we are already in, so..?” With an arch smile, he cocked his large head at her quizzically. “Your move.” He realized even he couldn’t get the significance of this dreadful moment.


What was on the other side of that infinite . . . hell hole? “So what?” was dragged out of Coletta, as she had obviously gotten nothing that she wanted out of life but him, who was her man, and a degree, and a fabulous party of some sort had been deeply appreciated. She was suddenly aware that it was fit for a queen, to be held some thirty-five years in the future. A jubilee. Her own Irish wake. And her children were all alive.


Any such children were lost to the obscurity of the thing called history. She had graduated valedictorian from high school. She had breezed through college without much trouble. She had aced all of those classes. But she was extremely tired, and felt like she was gonna drop dead any second. And she had children. Oh, so many children to capture and shoot, like they were indeed foreign wildlife of sorts. White, black and brown children to strut before the camera in extremely disheveled nervousness.


“Perhaps we are the very partiers, my king?” was what she finally said. “I am a Scott, you know, and it is obvious something is odd around these parts….” If what one needed was a true Scot of any sort. What was that? And what’s really the nature of the God Queen had studied? It or He made people suffer, not like a good God would, and then hideously canned the entire human race.


Canned, as in forever, the human race? They both turned to stones of dour attention as they contemplated the infinite lack of meritritiousness of potential Hell. Bad feelings washed over them, breaking like painful waves on the shores of their worst doubts about life. Maybe they no longer had any reason to go on living. Life as they knew it was over.


Hell itself, right before them, as if on the horizon of their own doubt. There was something new in the world called Global Warming. The phrase came to both of them in a blinding split second. Calling them forth had happened again. Baptism by fire was happening again. They were being asked to do something straightaway about it, when nothing could be done, at least not by the studious pair of them. Who would do this?


A future icon, they simultaneous realized – an ode to the future – called a disease free white person. That was the nature of the so-called God. Which Coletta knew was technically impossible. One has to digest one’s food. The little “white” girl was freckly – and not disease free, either.


“Oh yes, the Klu Klux Klan. They are the ones who leave them scattered through the woods like so many lost limbs of brown trees . . . it must be her, on the other side,” Coletta finally stated decisively. “Let’s enter the hole, but I don’t want to at all. It would be so lesbian, so very thespian and I simply don’t do anything like that. I’m nervous, my dear! I thought of lesbianism. A voice told me Johnny would have problems with that. He wanted to not have a separate but equal marriage license for them.” In real life, “Coletta” supported gay rights, as well as other left wing rights.


“Are we physically disabled or not? Do we ask questions or not? What is life, after all, my dear Coletta? We are obviously nowhere near it at the moment – and I’m tired as you are. It is a drag knowing we are both African enough to tolerate this and unable to do it permanently. Something now thinks we need life amongst the joyful stars and … ”


They stopped. They realized they were human, and afraid, not of evil, but of something good for them. They were highly selfless, unselfish types, generally speaking. They had almost stalked away from the potential obtuse field effect that Queen had been studying. It had to do with major flocculation between joy and sorrow. It had to do with a baby’s cry at night, and how it taught you not to need sleep anymore. Lack of sleep can make people into strange bedfellows, in the racially segregated hotels they are forced to sleep in at night. And to be watched can make certain African wonders – oh so angry. While breathing. Hard, deep and with a mounting angry curiosity at the immense hole. It seemed to beckon them inside, with a suctioning fearsome blackness.


What little girl?


But they kept it themselves in the quiet of a restful sleep they had once altogether shared, the sleep of those who had never done a specious drug, and also of those “done gave away” no sleep. They remembered a certain “son” of theirs, Johnny, who seemed to have accomplished nothing. In short, he may have accomplished something. He may have helped there be brief peace, the only kind possible, in the Middle East. He had at least won awards for helping others, and cared about poverty stricken black people, even at his own expense. Dr. Queen broke a noble grin as he peered across the small distance at his wife, whose ample, redly bow rimmed mouth stretched into a sort of petulant grimace.


Call it churchy experimentation, screw the afterlife, and eat some socks. Did either of those two want to go to Hell for other people?


“One moment, my sweet, and do take my hand. We must leap through time and space, but must leave our world behind to do it. We must take this…jump…indeed,” he mused as their two fairly slim black bodies in business suits scrunched through the symbolic cervix that was finally dilated enough for them both, albeit it being several feet wide instead of several centimeters. They were smiling a secret African smile, and needed to “go back to where they once belonged,” swiftly moving up the stairs of a large and silver hued machine.


One of them was outracing the other and practically leaping up the stairs, for you know, at least then, they could truly be African at last. But the other one was heading up the stairs with mounting terror. Yes, it was Coletta. She grabbed the coattails of Dr. Queen, who was sprinting upward as “superior man,” and she decided this must be a prettier way to die. He always had been the impatient type. She was slowly inching her way up the stairs at lightening speed, while wearing stiletto heels yet, and while tightly holding his hand. She had to assume her place behind him with a casual reluctance. It seemed mostly like home to her.


She was escaping the KKK’s Inquisition, and taking her man with her – all the way. She and he were leaving the most major commitment of their lives behind, to help a little white girl who now had a brown daughter, to save her from the same thing that had gone for them — that which notices any vulnerability and always ruthlessly exploits it.


As the former little girl – and then grownup personal care attendant – had lost my job, I was feeling like too much of my life had been devoted to the disabled. It had hurt me a lot to lose my disabled husband to death. I’d been rescued by someone much older than me – a man from the Philippines. He was a degreed doctor who was an osteopath. He’d been a helicopter medic like on TV’s MASH series, but during the Viet Nam War.


He appeared to me after my disabled Jewish husband had died. He sat behind me in a certified nursing class, and kicked my chair hard to get my attention. We ended up having one child – a girl. It turned out that Pinoy Remmie is a bar mitzvah Jew, which is rare in the almost entirely Catholic Philippines. His Dad gave him the coming of age party.


Meanwhile, the pomade in Coletta’s hair had loosened, and what was left was strikingly gorgeous in the light filtering through the filthy silver windowpanes. Surely, mused Dr. Queen, we are still in a cheap hotel, but it’s mutating into something like NASA Headquarters. Slowing down, they filed up the stairs, thinking that whatever it was it was — and it was — and it WAS — up there, and they must seek it out, kill it possibly, or simply withstand it. One of them got humorously adventurous. Yes, it was Dr. Queen.


He looked handsome to her, and she winked back at him – oh so tiredly. She smoothed her own ruffled feathers of a lady’s rumpled grey clothing. “Somehow,” she sighed in an awesomely dry and sophisticated way. “To the stars, as we all ooze into a giant grilled and ham patty cheese melt . . .”


“Somehow,” agreed Dr. Queen, panting as he moved up the stairs. “We should hate to tell her, but we already know what’s going on in everyone else’s heat heightened mind. We go where we head, but I know precisely where I wanted to be. Shall we? Compassion was made for this life, and you are surely the next one. I shall send for all of our children.”


He reached down, helping Coletta up the final steps. But as they silently approached the stair top, they both realized they were destined to go back to The Movement. Breathing sighs of relief between them, they made a final advance up the stairs. Other phrases were whispered in their ears.


“You shall have to wait for me after all, my dear Coletta,” smiled Dr. Queen. “I will be leaving the planet first, as we all figured, when we return. For a moment, I had hoped to keep you with me.”


“I’ll wait for you until I die. And I never wanted to desert all those people for one little girl,” said Coletta. “But we had to answer this supernatural challenge. I didn’t mind rescuing her, even if she was white, but I’m relieved we’re definitely returning. Now, what is up there?”


For what are mere words? – With this, Rod Sterling cuts in again and then leaves. He exits to the left, and I enter from the right. I say this: Gratitude came to me when John Tyler had rescued me from my father. John had wheeled up to me on the street in Seattle and hired me for a job working for the disabled, which happened before I went home that day to tell my Dad in Bremerton that I wanted my parents to fund my school in California. I was going to tell them that community colleges in CA were pretty cheap. If my volatile dad had found something wrong with that – who knows? Maybe he would have succeeded at killing me off – directly or indirectly.


It is that “Who knows?” that drives all unsoiled machinery. Would colored and white parts on the bus have worked out? I doubt it. All those people knew in their own heads what that meant. As I knew that it might work out working for the disabled, as it allowed me plenty of time for writing.


Once NASA keyed in on our couple, they’d entered the small area within the octagonal white spacecraft. They felt like they were vacationing in the Florida Keys, where the National Aeronautics and Space Administration used to be located. It was dingy white on the outside, incredibly complicated in its divine machinery all around, and high tech wonderfulness on the inside. And outside, the scenery was spectacularly lovely to their swiftly filling up senses.


They were in something like the Space Shuttle combined with an immense rocket of a futuristic stripe. They strapped themselves into the lounge like capsule seats. Somehow, they now knew what the Hell they were doing as they worked the controls. The past has again fully become the future, at least for the moment.


There is a little girl standing near the launch pad, watching them. The girl – mine and my husband’s – some grown and with nut brown skin and freckles – is waving at them from a short distance of space and time. Unlike my auburn red hair, she has long, shiny black hair. “Welcome to your trip to Jupiter,” she says as the spaceship begins its ascent. And I am putting it all down for posterity, or possibly for my posterior, which is beginning to smart. I’m sure yours must be starting to feel much the same way.


But as the immense moon-sized red spot on the surface of the gaseous giant named Jupiter hovers into view for them, the Queens peacefully fall asleep. They’re still holding tawny and brown Negro hands as we watch the white spaceship disappear into the warm summer sun. As it vanishes, it seems to melt throughout the far-flung distance.


Jupiter has a long history of waiting for someone really cool to settle on it. It’s too big of a planet to go entirely without any intelligent life forms forever. The Movement will have to wait, or perhaps was finished a brief while ago. Some folks think it is over with, anyway.


We now switch to the vast depth of nighttime space, bejeweled with myriad glowing stars, as Sterling comes back on stage. “You know who the Queens were,” he enchanted sighs. Rod finishes the episode: Such is life itself, moody, mysterious and altogether Mississippi charming. You never know which twists and turns it may take, even though you might be able to guess. Such as when you are a pair of relatively unpaid civil rights workers. Or something more than a mere pair of them.


Such is life when you yourself happen to be the key component of The Eventide Zone. Oh, and by the way – drink some more lemonade. It’s good for you.



Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

You Are NOT Disabled, Too!

By Karen S. Cole

You Are NOT Disabled, Too!

I meant it when I said to you that disability is
Not a “state of mind,” nor spirit, nor emotion.
Tendencies to regard people as the source
Fertility of spiritual essence make me angry.

“Goodness” is the standard you must bear
When every day the tactic is to be warmer
Than ice trickles capturing the essence of
A cold doubt about when you are disabled.

You’d like to think you’re still normal, also
Always young, forever unmatched by time.
You know the mirror has told you only your
Story: the end of your life being what it says.

Hear voices, feel touches, see sights you’ve
Seen before as you gimp around the block,
Hurting too deep inside at the lack of sanity,
Hearing, “You people are all street people!”

And go inside, pulling your wheelchair over
To the television, having no job and no way
To have sex ever again, or get married well,
And tell me once again that you’re disabled.

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Rag Doll Man

Rag Doll Man – Short Version

Fan fiction about Malcolm X

By Karen S. Cole

Word Count: 9,000


Did you know that in the sixties, the men of X were Malcolm X’s, trying to remake the country for Black America? And did you ever think that the X-Men from Marvel Comics might be a hidden derivative life form from them, probably one inspired by their heroic feats and nobler natures?

The Marvel comic book company’s X-Men, as created by Stan Lee, claim to be super mutants; I think they are almost total derivatives from Malcolm X’s Black Nationalist movement. But some think such a derivative evolution is simply a “sport,” which can go off in any direction it pleases, finding new natural zones in which to perform its adaptations. And some other beings say that man always has an eternal soul, meant to go places, do new things, and become and create wholly new people.

Lastly, some say that if you are alone, heroic and isolated, you are Satanic and meant to die in a particularly horrific way…

…howsoever, I’ve changed the names in this story to protect the innocent – namely, me and everyone else – from libel or slander charges. The last thing I wanted to do was to make light of an amazing man’s political assassination, or to make fun of such a tragic occurrence. The death of Malcolm X was dramatic, however, in its own way; he even ended up dying in his loyal wife’s loving arms. But this story isn’t about his actual assassination – it’s also not an attempt to exploit it, either.

Instead, I wanted to emphasize the heroic nature of Malcolm X’s death, along the lines of what would be the Marvel Comics X-Men and their sometimes overly heroic exploits. I wanted to bring said mostly white and obviously derivative superheroes back to their roots – as the original Men of X, true militants who existed in real life, and from which the X-Men to me seem to be clearly purloined, being they constantly complain about the world “misunderstanding” them and their mutant origins.

This story is an attempt to avenge the original Mr. X, and to keep to a respectful distance from any attempts to discredit, malign or otherwise badmouth him and his policies of Black Nationalism and self defense against racism. In short: it’s fan fiction about Malcolm X.

The story itself proceeds as follows:

In a time of vast opportunities and no splendor but the eternal ongoing murder of one’s family and friends by each other, the authorities, petty circumstances, poverty, guilt and unknown hideous romances, an overburdened tall man once tried to halt the violent spread of social injustice. His way was rife with political questions that were never truly answered. Due to many frustrating circumstances such as these, that young man was stabbed four times in the chest; touching his heart oh so deeply before he went home. His home was a nice, normal house at the time, not far away from the black section of Harlem in New York City. That area is still poverty stricken to this day.

He looked in the mirror, saw a tall, skinny but thick cheated bull looking exactly like Satan, and he reflected. He had turned in some other people to the authorities, and now he had to pay the price for his actions. This largely involved suicide by firing squad. He had wanted not to be killed, and to be murdered meant its own diabolical implications.

“I’m black finally,” he thought to himself, “and they still don’t love me. Gee, why is that?” Mur knew he was only having a hangover for half a split second. “I have spent year after unadulterated year trying to become black for them, after moving around enough to have run away from nearly everyone. I am the utmost coward that I have ever met, and I only want to kill all of you. I don’t even know who you are as yet, strangely enough. It is because we are forever at war with each other. I am standing here with four gaping open wounds slowly closing and unclosing, and I have no desire left to go hit up a hospital anymore for my dough. I have pulled stickups, heists and burglaries.

“What gives with that, Mur? What happened to you? Ah shit, all my old family is dead, every last relative, and I am the man in the middle. I now have a family through Bette and the kids, and they’re waiting for me to give the last speech. I have to go mount that podium, don’t I? And I’m unlikely to make it there before I fall down dead.”

He knew Bette cared about him, as she loved him deeply. She had only had children with him, but he also had a feeling she was always afraid for them. She didn’t look around at other guys, and she seemed to be very proud of him. But he wondered what she really thought.

He felt like such a miserable failure at life, sometimes. Who was going to provide for his family? And what if the people who killed him killed them as well? It wasn’t that unlikely. And so far as he knew, Bette was pregnant again, due to give birth in a few months.

He watched himself ooze, shooting his cuffs. Assuredly, he thought it would be best to change these clothes, but considering the lack of anyone caring about me at all, he decided, it would be better to mount that podium as my own red self. Red, red, nothing but red. I would say a green light would be a better chance for him, the devil in the mirror, he sighed. And altogether, I am a Muslim no longer tonight.

As he gazed upon himself in the mirror, he gasped. He pulled his rag doll self deep inside to him, for he really had to “be a man” now. He had to still be his old, familiar self to his own eyes – but everyone he met had seemed to see a good man in Satan. He was the biggest, tallest, most strapping Lucifer that he had ever seen, as a yellow man. He didn’t feel half as unique as he looked, being surrounded often by other black men. Scots, he dreamed, must lead the most arrogant existence as white males that the world had usually told of. Old Nordic civilizations ruled his universe, but he liked the Islamic ones.

He drew himself up in full pose, reflecting upon how much a mirror can bleed. The pain that tore through his right chest enormously suited this new perspective. He smoothed back his simple haircut, a fifties crew that felt easier to take care of – but pathetic.

“At last, at last. Well, I’ve told Bette off for the final time. Bad cat.” He smoothed down the walls of his contained within a roughly six foot four body thick chest. It throbbed. It was interesting to feel such a noise coming from deep within him. “Help me, Allah. No, don’t. Actually,” he chuckled, “As you must kill me at the theatre, I suppose you would not like to be me any further, would you? I think I should make a cutting fellow for a few bullet wounds that could insist on. Dad, would you mind if I f—-d up your speech?”

No, the chap in the mirror reflected as he frowned in supple manners. Black people, we don’t seem to go away, even when we’re ninety percent white. It is the heat of an African sun that lends us any such thing as mere superiority. A strong man who was laid in front of a moving street car with a bashed head should never have woken up. How could he – but if the streetcar had jarred as it cut into him, he could’ve felt it. Murdock was tired and getting dried out now. His Dad should’ve had his human rights somehow, and not simply been a human gravesite for good ideas.

I should be a Scot, as named “Sir Murdock,” he shyly whispered, smoothing down his newly bleeding white lapels. Africa suits me better, though, and I’m handling this death of mine well enough. He thought they would wince as inwardly as he did, chuckling. It felt good to be dying oh so slowly. Still, if he kept them waiting at the better theatre for his choice appearance…he raised his hand up to his mouth, lightly licking blood off his steak like fingers. They tasted awfully good. He drew his long tongue over each one in turn, relishing the taste of it.

Huh, he thought. I shall never impress my lady, but at least I already have her set up with her new husband. It shall not be more than a pain than (wince) to die slowly on stage, but my heart is stabbed through. As it opened, Murdock knew momentarily that he must die right now. The pain was telling him so, although the ache in his actual heart of a black and lonely selfless but fatherly soul began to override it. It pulled through him as it ripped wider within him. Needing to be saved from himself, he grabbed at his dresser drawer, staring above it at the vanity’s surface, which was slick and nut brown like him.

In the mirror of his handsome features lurked a witless presence, peering through centuries of time and insane persecution. “Wander down to that Catholic Church on the street corner, and see what you saw before in the sidewalk, written in the anti Semitic letters of sand. Yourself, super stud, wanting to save the whole entire world through Satan. That is not the way, the truth or the guiding light. Who is an individual must reap the benefits of all human misery, and as a Black Scot, don’t you think? Would you rather be torn apart with knives – or with more bullets? What is the best performance?”

“Myself,” he freaked casually at the mirror, lips curling into a fair snarl. “Too much to take into infinity, and yet I have seen you before, whoever you are, and here I am as you. I am not your white, am I? I have never been allowed to be white under this set of circumstances which I think now I freely chose. Chuckle.” He decided he’d better set to straightening out his clothes and going, so he laid out a pair of shoes on his bed and began to shine them well. As he worked, which took all of five minutes, he thought about the audacity of a man who had been mostly shining shoes for white men. But having children in poverty meant to better their circumstances.

And he seemed to have a reflective crowd of black statues who pulled a fine spooky figure – for cowards. Actually, so many of them had helped him out so often, and had died bravely to serve the Cause. But were they his real friends? Or did they have nothing further to give him, now?

Completing the act of fixing his personal appearance, he combed his scrubby hair as his newly dying body throbbed. “How long I have is beyond me. Falling down on the way to the theater suits, but I must walk there now without panting. Hold on, bud, I really have to do this. It’s the last mile. I have murdered so many people through proxy, I must be akin to Hitler and surest will meet him where we all must go. I suppose I shall end up shining his shoes by making him eat them. Well, let’s be off.”

As his bloody hand pulled at the doorknob of his small bedroom, he looked back through time at the wall. He remembered when a chunk of it had flown over to him and landed at his feet, which were clad in bedroom slippers at the time. The noise of guns had been deafening, and he had reached for his, but once more, it had been spectacularly missing. “A cracker, a cracker, a kingdom for such sustenance from you, shadow weirdoes. I know I am hallucinating all this. Still, Bette’s safe, and so are the kids, so far. It must be the new family. I shall buy them tonight as my own personal future. It is best that way.”

A “cracker” was once an alliterative slur about white people in America. It has to do with them being shot full of little holes. However, such a being is improper sustenance.

Meanwhile, as he was dying, Mur began to wonder about the audacity of guns that were always placed conveniently out of his handsome reach. He also thought that Allah must be kind on one hand, as all his life he had never really wanted to shoot one. Too many people had been shooting at him personally for him to really want to kill them. On the other hand, he would have deeply relished the chance to slaughter them all back.

As a shadow slipped over the horizon, Murdock little peered around Harlem. Others waved at him, then flinched slowly as they moved away. Oh, I smell of iron, thought Mur to himself. Red blood is so full of lovely dark protein. Sustenance I suppose, but as the evening shades enveloped the wan smells of stores and people milling throughout the grey streets, he casually strolled towards his reckoning premise. On the way, he passed the filthy doors of that same Catholic Church, the small one for blacks that had inhabited Harlem since some time immemorial. It was never the same regal church twice, being frequently updated by its invisible black hierarchy. He turned right to brutally sigh, letting all the air out his huge chest, as the four wounds gainfully poured forth their fullest measure. How touching. It promised peace in heaven for the spiritual, such as his wife and children. They somehow seemed whiter than white to him.

“Well, this is as good a time for it as any, I would guess?” he stated aloud. The filthy door taunted him with its message of green paint peeling back the layers of the necessity of the thing called Death, which had been chasing him forever his short life, as he had noticed from when he was in crib and his mom had spilled talcum powder right into his mouth. The sound of multiple guns firing had come right through the door. This had over time put his mind into a useful state of grace, which he used to get around in traffic.

If I could quite recollect, I need to go down Cherry, take a right on oh here we go there’s the stoplight. Right, stay right there. Oh heart that is not made out of candy – be good. It is good. Yes, there’s the light. Murdock the Red walked against the light and then saw the theater and realized it was not where it ought to be. It had definitely been located between Alder and Bourbon with a little white people flower shop situated across from it. I believe that if I ever sliced into those white people I would see red blood, but I have never seen them at all in that form. My mother was whiter than I, and she ended up in many mental asylums over my dad. Meanwhile, I have never really killed anyone, he supposed.

For one second, he clutched his failing heart, feeling it thud…once.

He briefly harrumphed, pulling at his collar, which was quite wet with perspiration. As the finality of the thing called Death began to travel through his entire body, he jerked himself awake. He had a fantasy about having killed a hooker and also being a gay prostitute who pimped. It promised him a summer sun, deep in the heart of equatorial Africa. He loved this strange continent, which was merely a giant world in his mind. But it was full of communist countries. Mecca had been fun to contemplate, as long as he didn’t really want to go to heaven. As he frowned, he realized he was being told that a total fix of heroin like before was on the horizon, and all he had to do was not walk into the theater. If he simply went over to the Busted Denizens coffee shop across the street, he could avoid falling down. It was a sweet little coffee shop, one where he’d almost had a good time. It beckoned to him like a way out of dying now.

A voice in his head said if he called it off, life would be normal again. He had been busted so many times, it was a wonder his military crew cut was yet in place. To be busted means to be under arrest for impersonating a large, scary animal, he reflected. He coughed into his reddened hand, gazing upon it with undying affection for himself. He was martial and military without feeling it. Having a tiny military of his own was entirely out of the question now, and he had to keep aware that many people didn’t like him or his new family anymore. These people would be gunning for them in mysterious ways, all of which promoted supernatural feelings. He wanted to kill the supernatural and stop.

The voice in his head, so very like his own, told him it is easy to kill it. All you need to do is face it down fearlessly, and then you can tell it what to do. But if you do that, you will have to suffer the immediate consequences of your dire and violent actions.

He looked over at the theater door. There was the usual bright red neon glowing sign, reading Apollo Theater. It winked on and off up high in the air, floating above the stacks of the chimney factory area down the block away from the street. Murdock sighed. This was going to be tricky, because he suddenly felt like his wife and children were not there in a theatre he was about to enter. As pain wrenched his body, he mumbled, “Enough. I am a radio program but not a television one. I don’t carry this forward anymore.”

The theater had been the one thing he could count on to be normal. It was not. As he searched out the front of it, he knew it was not at all the same theater he knew.

As the undying pains of possibilities racked that young amateur lawyer who had determined that merely attempting to save his people was enough for his soul, he pulled himself into place. His whole body coldly told him to fall down and die. As his knees buckled, he pulled a buck and wing and stood sharply erect into place. It had been a good idea, to wage war with the United States, and then die fighting. It had been appropriate.

There. That was enough. Feeling cold all through him, he realized the wounds had quit oozing momentarily, perhaps for the next twenty-five seconds or so. Ah yeah, I can reach for that door – push – and there we go, now it’s time to enter the theater and meet Death or not. Say, the thought occurs that I am already Death myself. It is like being made half of hot summer air, like usual. Right now though, I wish I could rend another wound most deeply into my lonely immortal soul. My last female cousin whom I can remember fell to a house burglary recently, but at least I still have one or two relatives left alive. There is something wrong with leaving my entire older, almost dead family completely behind. Yet I have now to save a father headed family – of mine.

I read somewhere that I am only two percent solid matter, and the rest must be winging its way around in there like crazy. If I push through this door, what could happen? Bette and the kids – and those murderous assholes – might be waiting in there for me, but come to think of it, I’m going to have to follow my elaborate plan. I have a speech prepared, but I have no idea when the bullets are going to begin through the air at me. Or us. And she and the kids are right there in the audience. “Whoops, there goes my heart again,” he told himself, nearly falling down on his knees. He finally tried, and got back up again.

As he went through the open door and gently let it slide shut behind him, he walked down the steps. Each concrete bar shot through him, but he was trying to guide it back behind him. Ouch, he thought, now I have to do something other than stepping forward, I think. So he bounded down the last five steps and landed, going: now I do feel I’m a nightmare marine. Odds bodkins, I’m definitely service personnel here, aren’t I? I’m going to have to lure them away from Bette and her kids. I wonder how. They are not out to kill only me – so far as I am aware, although I have done my best to attract them like a dust magnet. If I am truly Satan here, the racially mixed Jewish black man, they should be out to kill only me, under Islamic rules. However, they view Bette and the kids as pagans and are equally out to kill them. If they want to get at me. Satan should be enough to get their attention, but is it? Am I real enough a performer to pull this off?

Roger. I’m a big strapping Black American. So patriotic. If I needed to be patriotic to get out of this one, that ended a long time ago. I can’t stand the attitudes of the country which I am born into, as it is full of shit. Still, I am good at blaming our and their womankind for my problems. Yeah, blame mom, which will get me out of this one. She’s long gone in my mind, he thought smiling to himself – as he approached the stage door back. He peered silently around it, whipping off his narrow black glasses to quickly wipe and put them back on. They were now obscure, relatively difficult to see through. Shrug. I’ve handled that before, he thought. But no, there was something wrong this time. Still, I have about five minutes to get on stage. Umm, no, these go off. So Mur took off the glasses, carefully placing them in a side pocket. Then he shook with laughter at himself. Why keep the glasses, when he was not going to go on living?

He took his prescription frames, which he had worn since a boy, back out of the pocket, saying, “L’chaim.” Now I’m summarily Jewish, he smiled to himself, crushing them under his left shoe succinctly. This will make a stronger Satan for them, but I do not like this. I fear much for my true family. Stomping them once, they were a clear mess in the shadows under the floor, seeming to disappear as they so blended in. At least it will be a life without glasses for five minutes, he wheezed, patting his chest down again. Something was strange, for it seemed to be rising and falling in an unusual rhythm for a change. Well, he figured, this is not it. The floor is weird and flesh colored. I had a deep cut on my hand after a knife fight that I let to go, and it healed all right. These cuts can never heal again under any circumstances, and I would relish their claiming me.

Why, this is not it, again. Walk through door. There they are. Walk forward, stand in front of – no – behind podium. There is the white podium, off in the near distance. It is a few meager steps away to my simple death. The lighting is great tonight here at the Apollo. I see a huge crowd of the vultures, gathering to feed on the upper sky lighting. Not on me, I suppose, but on Negroes. None of them seem to know there are Negroes – and I believe they have now all become demons, white or black.

They seem to be gabbling away at each other, a hubbub. I wonder what a hubbub is going to turn out to be in the next realm. Surely, something pitiful, circling the skies over my head as I pitch up my lunch. Nah, I’m walking toward this. There is the gravesite podium, two steps away.

So Brother Murdock Shabazz leapt up the final steps to the podium and grabbed it with one fine thin brown paw. He was standing on a wooden platform behind it, one of those short stepstool ones, and needed to get rid of it. So he jumped back, kicking it away to the right side with one foot. He had done this solely because it had seemed “right.”

Something again clicked in his head. As he did so, the upper lights all flew on. He was looking over the podium, the top of which hit about chest level under his stomach, and he felt a little too tall and moist for the podium. So he grabbed it bodily, shaking it back and forth as it swayed, letting it settle down, and began his final speech.

It had been supposed to be about the Marcus Garvey return to Africa movement, but in fact Murdock had finally decided that movement was the one the white men had kidded his father into believing was possible. It might be, he thought, in an actual world. This is however not the real world so far as I can tell, he reasoned out, and I am leaving it. So he had to begin his “speech” now, while unable to read off the paperwork.

“Ladies and gentleman, welcome. I am now the Wizard of Oz. Oh, and I have no such announcements to make. As the Mafia is now situated in the audience, can I see a show of hands? What, no hands? Hey, looka here. Hi there, how ya doing? Wait a minute, this podium is getting a little juicier than me.” Mur tipped his head to one side, thinking this was surely the Jesus Christ moment of reckoning. It could slip away there, but as he had to protect Bette and only Bette surely, the best way to do it was to crash the podium. So he grabbed it and pulled it away to the right, where it neatly bounced off the side wall of the entry area he had come through, landing within a curtain and pulling if off stage to one side. It nestled there, after having made a lot of loud noise, crashing resoundingly.

The distant echoes of this shut up the entire audience momentarily. As he grabbed the mike, he looked down and noticed the speech someone had prepared for him was held within his left hand. He frowned at it summarily, and ripped it into several bunches of white pieces of paper, the lofty ripping of which filled the entire anteroom. These then dribbled down, as he pitched forward a little. Then the strangest feeling enveloped him. Bette and the kids were over on the right wing side of the auditorium, and she was giving his oldest girl a sandwich, but she wasn’t looking at him. Checks, that’s Bette. She remains calm in these difficult situations, but tonight I have to show her something, he decided, involving what she should do to leave immediately. She’s the best…

My wife, he brutally cried to himself inside, spent a lot of time in her life noticing me, my accomplishments, and many of the things we did together; she helped me all along. She isn’t selfish; she’s oppressed, and that is what I always wanted to believe, thought Murdock X. But I have this all set up for her if I can ever survive this theater, which I cannot do. Meanwhile, I have to keep the audience as distracted as humanly possible. She has got to handle the kids in a few moments.

Frowning summarily, while clenching his teeth against the pain, he decided to make his final announcement anyway. He had been listened to before in the early days of his movement, but now he was apparently getting old and slow. “Okay, I always have been completely one with “Stan” – the Devil White Man. I sold my immortal soul to all of your white Christian enemies millennia ago. I am Satan, and it is time for my public execution, which should be in keeping within the heavy rules of Koran order. I hereby commit the unforgivable sin of evil pride and renounce all ties to Islam whatsoever. I am obviously supposed to go straight to Hell itself for you. Wonderful, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do here tonight for all of you wonderful…Godly folks.”

In the original version of this, the event was supposed to hit the newspapers and cause political changes to happen, several of which may or may not occur in anyone’s real lifetime. Some people think they may, and some people think it may never happen. But in this instance, something had to go in an entirely other direction.

“Unfortunately, the entire Jewish race is not dead in a major forest fire yet. That is what the Hell in the Koran is about, up in the frozen north. That’s what is in the book in the portion preceding my death. That is supposed to happen before the Devil here can hit such a town as Hell. I have an associate who has slipped me this impertinent information. Would one of you guys in the audience like to tell me who it is?” He crossed his mostly African feeling business suited arms across his massive chest, which was heaving inwardly with the sighs of a lost paradise that he’d never truly obtained. Everyone in the audience seemed to be having a lot of a good time at his expense – as true universal cold enveloped his entire body. It felt excruciatingly good. Still, as he looked the thing over, he could not see anything out there that looked ripe for a kill. He needed about ten men with guns, he figured, to show up. Ten, twenty, four, whatever was there.

“Hey, friends, where are you? Please show up, now. I’ve come to give you milk and honey and all the images and all that. You know, guys with the guns. You must have about ten of you ready now, like a Roman numeral ‘X,’ c’mon, lemma see those major firearms. I’ve been waiting for rifles all of my life – and you’ve all been keeping them out of reach. Please, pretty please, I beg you on the mercy of being a Negro, come show me your guns so I can see how pretty they are. There you go!”

As the paced out group of men in the middle section pulled out their handguns one at a time, they pointed summarily at his closed off chest, telling him to open up so they could begin the firing squad action they were set to do. He had already turned himself in for the petty crimes he had committed, and now it was time to be blasted away. He had fought with something like meager thousands of these before, and had suffered through some skirmishes, but as the coalescing group began to murmur about how long it was taking, the solution materialized in his own mind like an Egyptian pyramid.

Maybe it was time to unleash brute force upon you people, but you can’t dive into an audience like they’re a swimming pool. How do I keep these guys busy, when my family is not going to leave the theater without me? Bette is the least realistic person I have ever met in my life, though she guides me to paradise in her own lost fashion. Still, this must be done. Perhaps keeping these children of mine distracted enough to ascertain their own political purposes and not bring in the other beings with weapons would help. I can keep both groups at bay until something right comes of this situation – or something wrong.

“You know,” said Murdock as he unbuttoned his shirt collar, “It is getting so bloody hot in here, muggier than the deep south, and oh pardon me is that my ugly Mommy in the audience? Say, I am going now to open up my chest and front and get some air. It’s stuffy here at this Asshole Theater. You know, how about if I rip myself wide open, to make it easier for you? Maybe I can show you the right methodology of dying.”

He daydreamed about an earlier obscene group of white men, easier to keep track of, called the Ku Klux Klan, which had faded away into obscurity and become several black groups, all of which wanted the honor of disposing of his body in improper fashion. The Klan had been big on killing blacks, and so were all his present groups of people.

Brother Murdock then slowly pulled apart the sticky remains of his reddened shirt and undershirt, ripping it all open as he went, baring his black and hairy muscular chest ever so carefully until he pulled it all away as far as he could get it open. He exposed himself as much as possible to the wall of guns that were steadily pointed at around his chest walls and stomach, peeling himself like he was a kind of overripe tomato. As he peeled, a mysterious change started to overcome him. He had to pick off parts of his brown skin and white shirt, tearing a goodly shred of it over one of the stab wounds. Then he finally grabbed everything he could scratch at with large hands, and pulled it all away. Now he felt his reddened and raw chest expand appreciably. It felt so lousy to take in lots of stale cigarette smoke laden air, so he wrenched his dying chest outwards, inwardly cursing out loud. Heaving back a single sob, he thrust out what he could feel moving.

“Here am I, crowd of strange African wonders. I love you all with my entire being, with all of my heart and soul. Here – I am a strange voodoo object of merriment and good times remembered, in the last fifteen seconds anyway.” He bent his head back and said, “I wish you could all be here instead of me. It’s such an enjoyable experience.” Wilting inwardly, he began to realize he could croak before any of his persecutors bothered to fire. He thought: I must tell them exactly where to end this altogether, for it looks like the weather outside could tend to rain shortly, and there are those on foot who must leave this our major theater and walk home in the pounding rain. Therefore, I am going to have to sacrifice my family and friends. There is no other way out of the theater and into this movie. I honestly don’t know who is making a major production number out of this, but it’s for the media so far as I can tell. Perhaps the Mafia is here also. The cameras are steadily rolling over there, and every flash bulb is ready to be popped.

“Hey Rubes, would you believe I have a speech all prepared in your shaggy heads? It’s about how you need to shoot me right here, and aim at it really well. See the chest? It’s deep brown – for no apparent reason. It doesn’t light up that well, I guess. Please, lighting, go ahead and train the spotlights on it. Whoomph! There, that’s good. Now you can all see exactly where to aim. Wouldn’t want anyone in the audience to get hurt.”

Heaving harder, Mur stuck his manly breast out much further. The lights at the Apollo seemed to flicker momentarily, as though they would go out as he pushed himself open. “I’m crowing, world, I’ve done this before – and it is finally the time. Hey guys, how come none of you are human beings yet? I woke up and didn’t become one either. Here’s the blood, the meat and the wine and all that, here’s this strapping black animal and all, here’s what you have been coming to this theater to collect on an artificial altar and pray over and feast upon for hours. Where are the billions of gunshots? I’ve been waiting for this moment all of my life. Shoot Bette!” He had said this last thing to indicate to her she had better get her act in gear and soon. But he also truly meant it, down to the bottom of his black hearted soul. He shouted, “If you shoot my wife first, shoot me next!” 

As the hubbub died down, one large portly lady in the audience said, “What, boy?” There was a loud crashing sound in the back of the auditorium. No one however was coming through the doors in back. It seemed to be a distraction of some kind. As Mur overlooked the crowd, he could finally see the faces of some of the unusual beings with the guns as they began looking over to their right at his wife, who seemed to be putting her hand over her face. No, this is not the right way to have done this. I should have simply read my prepared speech, been shot in the middle of it and my chest, and died.

“No, actually,” he cried, “I didn’t mean that. Say, look over here, why don’t you? I am here already. I just wanted to let you know that Satan makes a great shoot. Look, I’m ready to take down and all, meat on the table for you and everything. The cameras are sitting all around this beautiful goddamn auditorium training on my gorgeous existence and you all are here for the ride. Look, suckers, calm down. I’m ready for Hell here.”

Every move a serious politico makes is always questioned in great detail by the authorities, the petty ones or otherwise. Would this one work better for the cameras? Every cut hurts, every trait any man has is magnified if one is a bull well boy or something like that, every drop of blood screams for high pressure, every taunt is a welt, and every time someone must come up with something new, the question occurs.

He raised one eyebrow as the men with guns pulled away their attention from Bette, slowly spreading the guns out in a wave at the entire audience, as though they would begin to fire if there was so much as even another mild crashing sound. Then there were several little streaks of light filtering in from outside, cluttering up the windows. Murdock X knew there was an odd chance of other groups occurring on the premises, ones which also wanted to kill him. Still, it felt as though something was controlling the premises. Maybe the sixteen other groups with rifles, machine guns and bombs were busy.

Still, Murdock reflected, the “people” in this audience don’t seem to be getting any of my outer space messages. That’s pretty normal for them. I’m the leader of “us all” and that must be an influence on life, I guess. “So it would,” he roared at the top of his bull stomach, “be most kind of all you shits in the audience,” he smoothly squelched through his dying outthrust lungs, “to continue to point all them guns in my general direction, no, put them together a bit more, there you go. Are you almost there?” The fetching group of silver automatics, each with one or more potential rounds, waved like tentacles from the octopus like group of faces behind them. “Do you think you can tell us what to do, when you’ve condemned us?” said one of them, not materializing from the crowd at all. “We were hired to blast traitors who don’t believe in the Nation of Islam – to death.”

“Yes, I told them all about Black Nationalist Supremacy, but the problem is that I am now a Black Nationalist. So I decided to die at them, so sue me. No, don’t. Put the guns back in place and point them straight at me, here’s the target and everything, right here. I love you. I love you all. I am a huge undying wall of blue meat here, I am going to die incredibly slowly – and I am waiting to be slaughtered, fools! Seriously, fire right into these major holes, or I’ll kill you. I’m Satan, I’m burnt ready, and here I am. C’mon, what took you so long?” Murdock looked down at the unmoving guns and flinched inwardly. Now was the time of reckoning. All of this could go any way, or another.

If they would shoot him, he would not be there to make sure his family got safe home. Meanwhile, the theater ushers were starting to open the back doors as if to give him some air. This alone caused a great unutterable disappointment to rack his very being. He had tried, he figured, and now that he was about to faint dead on the floor he oh pardon Satan that’s it he decided – summarily pitched forward and pointed at the open doors.

“Those who stay in their seats get an expensive prize for inadequacy if they move at all. I have six open guns trained on all of you behind the stage doors on either side of this auditorium. If you so much as move, I will have them all fire at you. Say, bunnies with the guns, is you ready? I am determined to not be the only cuss to die in this theater tonight. When I give the signal, all of those guns are going to open fire.”

As the entire audience froze motionless, and the ushers alone rushed to shut the back doors, Murdock sagged down. This was getting to be a dismal meeting for a night at the good old Apollo, one where he had summarily enjoyed nights out with friends on rare occasions. He’d even circulated a depraved underground flyer claiming he needed someone to kill someone else for him, for once, maybe a blond kid. Circumstances had forbid it ever being anyone else but him. What was with Black America?

“Well, can you get back here with the guns? There you go.” Murdock now had a clear field to see them get ready. He asked them inwardly if they were really subhuman enough to fire at nearly the one exact spot that was hurting the most. Then he asked them repeatedly if they were really subhuman. The guns bobbed up and down with a kind of silent laughter, then pointed steadily at various parts of his anatomy.

“That’s more like it, blind fools. Can you listen to the sound of my voice? It’s a mighty timorous majesty now, one which you’ve seldom encountered. Listen, you need to take aim right all over my body, or even my head. It’s there, just don’t be nervous. I see you’re not nervous. There you go. All over myself. You’re my children at last.” Murdock waved over at Bette, trusting she was looking, and smiled. “Please plug this sucking crow right now, as soon as I give you the order to fire. We’re not going back to Africa except on vacation from now on, and for the entire consecutive future.” I wonder how these folks will afford such vacations, he had to realize. We could, or at least Bette could, as her family has some money.

Murdock heaved a sigh, knowing he was only himself and not Satan. He never had much thought as that stereotype, but it came together in a blinding flash that he would have to be one of the most Satanic caricatures for whites ever if he kept this up. He tightened himself, breathing slightly, and realized he was far, far away from his own dying process.

Coldly, he stood erect and eased back on the execution stage. He briefly recalled himself as a young man, but knew that everywhere he’d been, he had seen something unfamiliar at every turn. The supernatural could kick butt, he figured, but only if it was under my own particular command. I don’t want to do this, he suddenly decided.

He froze in a summary surprised gape. The guns were still trained on him, as though the beings behind him did not exist. And the beings in front of him began to pull him back to his human status. “I know I’ve been a bad daddy for all of you pukes who have been following me for so many years, for to have to live with this haunting imagery is the most pathetic attempt at a buck god of raw meat the world has usually seen. We have them on the run at last, I believe, those frozen stones of the north. Do we not? And now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. There. All of your guns are now aimed right at the center of my immortal soul.” He appreciated the fact. Here we go.

Ahhh, they are indeed. The strangely marine-like head of Murdock X, which had come up with one number as the digit signifying his death and the deaths of many others, centered over his manly body in a nearly perfect diametrical line. He froze up, thrusting his meaty white chest out, making sure to pull back the last of his shredded black clothes, which were oozing in porous layers every drop of life and banal men’s soul left in him. He looked over the huge audience, thinking he would have liked it if any of them had ever chanced to be real or human in any form. In a way, they were almost like his Bette.

They still weren’t doing anything in his direction. Not just yet. Somebody switched on the music from “Carmen” and it began playing sweetly and softly in the background.

“Red is for blood, black is for death, white is for all right, and pure yellow is for me. Meanwhile, are you ready? I doubt it. But you must take aim and fire. Point the guns now. Straight at me in perfect little lines. There. You are now ready.”

I mutter as I mumble, methinks himself ah yes I am surely this at last. I would rather go to the permanent hell as a boy than see Bette and my children ever get shot, leave their home again, or go anywhere else but the shopping mall and to all the wonderful places I have seen in a distant dream as we packed going from house to house to evade their awesomely boring enemy. They had come through the walls too many times. Yes, this is surely scientific reality, and I will not get my death – as I am an utmost raw fearless coward. I am made out of shit, excrement and pee, and that is where I must go.

Looking at the stage lights in their myriad crystalline colors, he begged God to let Allah there go to the best possible place where a girl could make up for a strange difficulty. To the pages of a book serene, or perhaps a small field and a polluted stream. He smiled, smirking to himself as one silver point crossed his mind. None of this was fun. It seemed like the setup for children that his life had streaked through, in a wonderful way.

He looked, feeling weirdly like himself one last time over at Bette and his children. She seemed to be staring at him with something like hatred but akin to respect lighting her features, as if at long last. He swung his head back to the beings awaiting his purple command in the audience. They still awaited it. I am a good little tin soldier, I am, he thought with the greatest swell of black pride he had ever felt in his life. It filled his whole being, overflowing into his soul as it finally dawned on him what was doing. He had figured the enemy was somewhat right about something, and this must be what it was. They had been evolving the form of the thing that opposes the sun, and he was still its primary victim, merely a man. His children were now on the proper path. Or were they? He fretted for them momentarily. Then he gazed up at the lighting, which was not the same way it had been before. Oh, my oath for a better Apollo. Take me, do not take my wife and kids, do what you will with me, but make it a better theater.

Stuff it up my rear later soon as can be for a better reality for all the below, he thought to himself. “Oh and you suckers in the crowd, now is the time. Here are the simple commands for you to never follow again, ever again, in the future.” You don’t know that I am genuinely thinking that for you, and you don’t even care. You don’t know how ready I was to flay my soul itself completely to Hell for you, to serve all mankind. For I am only a father now, Allah and Moses incarnate, and I am also the supper. I am the only level God incarnate in this entire room. It is all that I ever wanted out of life, save death, but you still know that I am only a bugger. That means I want to only bug you into shooting me as painfully as possible. Please take your time and fire each bullet slowly.”

“What?” smirked one of the white Mure denizens with the guns. Each of the ten or more guns was pointed straight to the center of his chest, which was throbbing with a kind of sexual ecstasy. He couldn’t get past an enormous feeling of infinite endless love for all human and otherwise mankind, and the mostly sexual part of it was dribbling away rapidly. As he spread his bleeding, growing and bursting arms wide, and as each brutal shot rang out summarily spaced apart by exactly one century or more of time, or as each shot spaced itself farther and farther out into space, the slowly dancing rag doll prayed the event would matter somehow – and also that the crowd would not descend and feed upon him later, or that they surely finally would. I must now keep this up, he figured out, to the last me. He also prayed that Bette and all of his real children would shortly vacate the theater, as they were getting nervous. He heard the doors of Hell open and close, and knew his wife was perhaps locked in there with him, but waited. Suddenly, the voice said they left summarily and were gone home. He breathed a sigh of relief – for awhile.

Still, the rag doll witlessly danced on the stage, absorbing each bullet and pushing it out his burst open back.

He spread his demonic white boned winged shoulders back as if he was one plunging black crow, a hunk of exploding feathers that were opening up to the center of his virile but exploding chest. A deep blue and black fissure was swiftly forming, exploding ever outward into an enormous blossom, the only flower of truest Scottish manhood. How erotic, smiled the once incredibly handsome black man – to only himself.

As he fell over backwards, on his knees forever at last, all the scarlet sap of a true Harlem sucker was oozing out of his sunken in chest – and it felt so weirdly cool. A round of applause came cascading over the rafters.

Could be the best draw for tickets the Apollo will never get again. And this one time, I got to tell off the crowd the right way, although I cannot do it ever again…I’m slipping away. Funny; this doesn’t feel like death. It seems like my body’s whisking through time and space, to somewhere else, a place that I was somehow always destined to be.

But why is it raining on me? I thought that was blood at first; but there’s a lashing wind and rain falling all around. I’m on a slippery, sloping hill, in the middle of a rainstorm. I’ll look around, but this is not pretty. In fact, I’m out of doors, in the middle of a hundred men racing around me.

As someone who’d always looked like a U.S. Marine, with a square head shape and a liberal’s outlook on life, Murdock had to take a quick appraisal of his new surroundings as he cocked his handsome head to one side. He had shown too good of form to live. He stood up. Everything was wavy, nauseating, and increasingly painful, only set to go further along. He also had to tell them where to shoot him. Or for a change, he had to tell them where to shoot them, as he had to tell them that every time.

They were on a jaggedly, verdantly green hill. It was in Scotland, where they had to defend the overhanging mountain pass while the enemy was coming. As several of them charged up the hill, most of the clan had to hold positions downwards. Using swords, bows and arrows, and shillelaghs, they swarmed fiercely. Guns weren’t involved and shields were too heavy to carry, except for the lighter cowskin ones.

T’was the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689. It involved the Jacobite army. Dunkeld was the last battle in Scotland in the 17th century to restore the Stewarts to the throne. The men were all cowards, so slow and stupid – no, they were but worn out from battle, which had raged many days.

Murdoch’s army was made of a tattered, almost wretched horde of men in both animal skins and Roman cloth and garb; but they were of no one skin color, some being quite dark and some very pale and white. They staunchly wielded their bloody weapons and archery equipment slung over their broad shoulders, which pumped up and down with the rage of battle. And as Murdoch wheeled around, he saw the enemy’s fatal charge.

Out of nowhere, an impenetrable wall of sticks began arcing through the clear sky like straight skinny dark birds. For one long moment, they eclipsed the sun itself. Mur heard them whistling as they raced down, sinking deeply into his side’s exposed chests, limbs and faces. But many of them raised their cowhide shields, determined to survive, as Murdoch’s side whipped out their own bows and arrows – to bravely fight back.

They wouldn’t go down without trying, and it could easily go either way. But Murdoch’s men would all surely die, if he didn’t move. Shocked into the utmost living horror, he gave them his screamingly loud eternal orders:





The finit of this story was based on how after the death of James Graham, Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie, the Jacobite army was said to have “no leader of quality.” So I gave them one, though how the battle went largely depends upon your point of view.

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

The Amazing Hotel Towel

The Amazing Hotel Towel

By Karen S. Cole

Word Count: 4,000

Not entirely true to life in all cases, especially the placement of the body and the participation of the hotel maid, this tempestuous fictional tale is about the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther “Kane,” Jr. The year of 2008 happens to be the fortieth anniversary of the real Dr. King’s untimely and tragic death via gun crime.

The names herein have been changed to protect the author from accidentally committing any crimes – or hurting the feelings of anyone real who might happen to come across this story.

By the way . . . I’m not racist. And life itself is ludicrously sexist. Our Baptist Church was colored only, and we worked very hard for civil rights during those times, but hardly at all for women’s rights. This story is partly about that silent and much neglected fact.

When the Negro menfolk in front of the fateful scene at the colored hotel got together for the photo of the murder of Dr. Kane, they pointed their arms wildly in circles, more or less in the direction of the sniper. Shocked utmost, they couldn’t think or point straight. They had been the great black man’s protective entourage. Lots of people would have died to have taken those bullets, and those young men were no exception. But it was too late; Dr. Kane was dead of several gunshot wounds in his hotel room.

So the men were quite put out, completely frightened witless, as they gesticulated like waving palm fronds in a house fire. Screaming loudly, appearing to be forever lost, they were nonetheless an equivocal bloblike group of all male togetherness. I stood there, trying to get to the hotel room, unable to push past their bunched up moving group.

I was the maid. I had to go inside, into Dr. Kane’s hotel room. I had the equipment around the corner. I was waiting – because I was stark staring terrified the sniper would shoot me. He was right around the corner on the opposite side of the tracks, only about a hundred feet away. And he had a gun with an excellent sight. Pausing momentarily, I was standing there realizing something, and then I hated myself completely. I had been told by our hotel management to go mop up the room.

I had to get at the hotel room’s towels first. I would be cleaning up some excess blood, slightly. And of course, in the popular and famous colored hotel we were working at, the towels ran short sometimes. I was stuck taking the blame for that, and they were constantly threatening to fire me from my job for breathing. In spite of them, I liked the man who had been kindly staying at our hotel – for being what he wasn’t: a fat comic.

Dying in public was such a martyr thing to do. Martin the Martyr – what a name, what a fate. He was a serious victim like me, a social pawn. I was in love with the guy for breathing, even though he wasn’t. I still wanted to. Anyway, I was stuck standing there, idiotically wondering if James Earl Ray, the assassin as it turned out, liked to shoot hotel maids.

I finally let out a dry chuckle. Both of those young men, famous and infamous, would have to face a terrible final reckoning. Life was totally unjust and unfair. I had no real man in my life to take care of me. Also, I had no unearthly paradise known as Heaven, especially anymore. Now that Dr. Kane was dead, who knew what was going to happen next?

Trembling with both fear and rage, I had a feeling the murderer was going to shoot me. Meanwhile, I had to plan something to get in there to mop up the room, if I wanted to keep my job. Coughing into my fist, I thought I’d rather be shot dead than to undergo such ridiculous indignity.

Then Joshua Jackson ran into the room. I thought, the guy is going to check on the “amazing grace character” in there, namely a Baptist fountain of blood. Y’see, our church worshipped such strange stuff as “fountains of blood of Jesus.” They hated it, but we Baptists were supposed to go be Jesus more so than we ever seemed to. It was somehow important culturally. So I wondered if he went in there to mourn, or worship.

Suddenly, it hit me that someone else was going to see it all. Childish curiosity almost got hold of my so-called “soul.” I wanted to see what was happening briefly, but felt screamingly depressed. Not because I wasn’t bathing in a fountain of Jesus’ amazing blood, like our church was always singing about, but because I had to hold my amazing job. The streets are not a pretty thing to do, especially when you’re colored in the Deep South. Mostly I had to go in and do my job, or I’d be fired.

Anyway, I waited a long time for Mr. Jackson. I thought I heard mumbling sounds and some thrashing. I waited until it settled down, figuring that while I harrumphed to myself, the amazing toy man – at least, people treated him like he was one – was getting dead in the usual way. Previous to my maid job, I had been a nurse at a county hospital. I had seen people die. I would miss the amazing toy man to myself, but I was getting impatient, and I had to get back to my house at five o’clock or five thirty and fix dinner for my abusive husband, or he might beat me – or even kill me. That’s why I didn’t suffer much over the death of Dr. Kane., aside from worrying over whether the assassin would shoot me too.

Why bother? If my death didn’t matter, why mourn someone else’s?

Coughing, I wondered if Dr. Kane abused his wife Coletta. I was a bold Coletta fan to myself in my own Hitchcockian Star Trek Twilight Zone. Fairer skinned than her husband, she was a much learned lady and his intellectual equal. I was also part white, kind of Semitic, having to hide myself from strangers, sometimes. Because I wasn’t really Jewish, but I came from those roots and looked medium toned racially impure. The hotel the great man had been killed at was one of the few places that would hire me, as back in those days places didn’t often hire colored folk, along with the white people geriatric hospital – at which I had been a bed pan orderly.

At the hospital, when someone died, we had to vacate the bed rather quickly. You don’t leave dead people lying around for very long. You get them down to the morgue and they then get shipped out by car to the funeral home. Standing around outside the hotel room was getting to be rather obtuse; I couldn’t keep the people downstairs waiting any longer. I’d have to get in there, sniper or no sniper, even if I died doing it.

So after a long time of feeling like cowering, I finally breathed a big sigh of relief and shouted, “So are you still over there yet?” I screamed really loud, but got no response. Gathering myself, I waltzed the ten million light years around my maid cart. Death was actually real. I had to leave the hotel cart behind – because it could barely fit around the wall’s corner. I thought as I left that I was to blame for not getting around it. I paused. I went back and tried to pull the cart around, and managed to get it in front of the room.

Then it dawned on me what a nice hotel this had been for a fat man who was now in Paradise. It had housed many of the greats of jazz and black culture in its time, including comedians. But Dr. Kane was not truly a fat comic, as he’d been dead serious about everything he’d ever said, which involved getting human rights for colored people and getting rid of racial segregation. I was in favor of that, but not very grateful, being an abused wife with a small daughter at home. I was not in Paradise myself, not yet, but I briefly had to wonder where “He” had gone.

He was so cool, I smiled to myself. But then, clutching my throat, I realized he was so – dead. And he was inconveniently leaving a mess for me to clean up. I frowned summarily, and froze up. But I thought, well, it’s really only some blood, nothing special I haven’t seen before. Any diseases didn’t really matter to me, as I’d been exposed to them when I’d worked in the hospital. And Mr. Jackson had raced right in as I had read he had done in the papers. The man had done his track at college.

I finally got the cart into the room by jerking and pulling it around the tight corner. I was standing behind the cart in the room with the dead great man. I was solid there for two seconds, hoping that all “great men” would die someday. One of them was coming home to me. I wondered briefly about the relationships between suns, moons and stars, and life on Venus and Mars. “Fly me to the moon,” I muttered to myself under my breath.

Meanwhile, I understood that any second now, unimportant I was possibly going to be executed. Briefly, I had seemed to see the assassin’s face by looking over yonder. Gazing down at the dead man’s corpse, I stared for a moment into an unequivocal “maybe.” I would join him by jerking around like a demented puppet, or not. My heart sunk as I realized that such a death would not have anywhere near the honor of Dr. Kane’s death. His had been an assassination; mine would be an accident. I was merely the hotel room maid – and was being made fun of by impertinent people.

Would the gunman shoot me? And for that matter, did I really care? At least we’d go down in history together, although I could only picture the brief newspaper story reading, “Maid dies after Dr. Kane.” I had been involved in civil rights protests, but only as a minor participant. I was a nobody.

Gazing off into the far distance, I twisted my narrow lips into a thin smile, daydreaming that one of these overgrown boys had summarily died for me. I was about to make up for the debt through my chosen husband if I didn’t get home in time, and I was immobilized by the thing called death that was behind me. What if the crazy sniper so much as saw another human back? Would I find a proper towel in time? What about the fat man’s lacy white kerchief? Would they arrest me if they thought I had stolen that? And that thing on the floor was no longer human; it was a motionless death trap. In the shadows, it loomed large – as the Specter of Death.

Not to worry, I told myself. I smiled the Black Cat, an African grin that means you’re not afraid, and began the search for towels. Sooner or later, they would come to collect the body. I wrangled with myself, and then I “got it up” – already – and went to the Spartan little bathroom, did my business, and flushed it, but shakily. It was like the room was spinning all around me, a kid’s ride in an obscene amusement park, waiting to die.

I successfully wiped, washed my hands and got out, but then I remembered I needed to get some towels. I had to go back and collect them – while facing the awful cataclysm in the room behind me. The dead great man’s body was in outer space for a moment, but I was definitely in my own disembodied living body, breathing for a space of time longer.

I received the anointment of the towels in a white shaggy pile against my chest, and stalked slowly out to the room. The great man’s sad corpse was still bunched up, lying there. He was partly turned onto his right side, wearing a dark grey business suit and oozing puddles of blood.

I looked behind me to see if anyone was watching, and gave the corpse a medium kick to see if anything was going on. Nothing was, so I began the mop up with the towels. I poked him gently, and then I looked closely at his beautiful, handsome black face, so Negro and with a fine mustache.

It was extremely destroyed. It had been there, but it was not there. It was a cave with no smile, peeled back and sunken in. As it was dark in the room, I didn’t feel like throwing up, though I almost did. Throwing my head to one side, I could see out the glass window. The sniper was still over across from me, disassembling the gun. He was visibly shaken. I began to realize once again that I could see him, and so did he. What should I do?

What if I acted like I was friendly? Would he buy it, coming from a colored lady who might have loved the dead man for trying to win human rights for our people? Or would he think perhaps an underprivileged woman would not have respect for him, as his speeches had oft mentioned men and children, but not women, usually speaking of “the brotherhood of man?”

My hands trembled as I bent partway over, but I knew that I had to hurry and get home. My husband was always trying to make me come home by five or five thirty, or he’d threaten me. I glanced at my watch. Then the loudest, most obnoxious sound occurred, filling the air around my head with its sad smelliness – a final, ceremonial and gratis fart.

I breathed in an elegant, funky sigh, which was at least partly a painful sob, bending over to mop at the sunken body some more with a small face towel. I suddenly saw the larger hand towel I was looking for, scrunched up against me; it was so thick, white and fluffy, and I dabbed at my tears. I cursed myself for showing my pained feelings in front of the sniper.

Rubbing at my dripping nose, I let the towel drop from my heaving chest. I soaked up some of the major blood, waving it at the still visible sniper, and stuffed it briefly into my green apron’s pocket – while thinking something about what a great man this dead guy might be. In a world of sexism where wife abuse was common, was it possible to be great, even if you were dead – or especially if you were dead? Briefly, I wondered, and gulped.

I stuffed the red stained hand towel all the way clear down into my pocket. And I used a face towel to wipe off my right hand with the other wedding ring on it, deciding to keep only the hand towel. Sniffling, I determined to keep myself from crying – or feeling anything further. I was only soaking a towel in blood to sell it later, not mourning the dead, and this man was not a relative of mine, or anyone who could help me any further.

I left the corpse behind, and then I looked at the door that wasn’t exactly being pounded on. I heard noise, but nothing coming near the room. Well, I went out on the balcony and waved the towel at whoever was still across the way, and saw the man who had killed Dr. Kane. I waved my towel at him, smiling the Black Cat to let him know “all was well.” I was taking my chances. He was at the end of dismantling his gun, and he seemed to look down – as if his faith in humanity had greatly died.

Much relieved, I knew now he wasn’t going to shoot me. I memorized his ugly features, but figured they would find him, so I wasn’t too worried. The great man’s entourage had seen him earlier, and had probably summoned the cops. I heard later they chased him all the way to England.

I figured it was for the best. If my own husband ever murdered me, I didn’t think anything real would be done about it, so I didn’t care whether or not they caught Dr. Kane’s murderer. It didn’t bring him back to life or undo anything that had already happened. It’s not that I was ungrateful when it came to the wonderful things Dr. Kane had done. I merely needed the money. I had a young daughter to raise, and might have to leave my husband. Surely the amazing towel would make me a fortune, once I found the right collection-minded buyer.

Most importantly, I now held the amazing, blood-soaked hotel towel. The martyr-born sacred object was finally in my cold fingered grasp. I knew that it would sell someday as prime memorabilia. It had no special scent of justice on it. I walked away from my job in the room. I was going home at last. I had the most expensive towel I had ever collected in my life. I smiled. I was going to make My Favorite Martyr appear in human history later, all by myself. I had established a collector’s item – in my own greedy mind. All I had to do was wait a couple years, after the hubbub had died down.

Here came the reporters. I stepped back against the outside floor’s metal railing, and one of them brushed a certain body part as they all shoved their way into the room. I was jerking like a puppet, my heart was pounding, and I had been there and in on it, all the way. I had both an incredible story – and the hotel towel. The one from the room he’d died in, the very room!

As the flashlights popped, I turned to race down the stairs. Uneducated me was holding a small fortune in her blood-reddened apron. I collected my amazing “character,” as money-oriented as it may be, and knew I was going to be late home. If so, my husband might beat me up, or even kill me. But I had a chance at life nestled in my apron pocket.

“I hate men, all men,” I chanted to myself as I descended the first flight of stairs. “I’m doing this for my daughter and me. You can’t stop us!”

Dead men take vengeance, I suppose, from a time and a distance away. Banging into the stairs railing, I was looking down far onto the ground below. It seemed to zoom upwards, as my stomach did flips, and I lurched. Pulling away, I was diving around the stair’s corner in a lost little world that I was only too glad to throw away. The railing was there, hard, tempting me to throw myself off. Trembling, I did not jump over the edge.

“There’s no such thing as justice; I’m not evil.” I thought perhaps I lied, but while thinking I might be right. After all, when was my life ever fair? “Don’t judge my by the color of my skin; judge me by how much money I’ve got,” I breathed to myself, glancing down at the metal steps below. Their peeling paint attested to my poverty stricken life, which would surely change.

Sighing, I collected myself and “established justice” by waltzing down the stairs. It was wonderful of me to judge a man – not by his skin color – but by my amazing towel. The dead Dr. Kane had helped someone else out again. I thought to myself, surely he would approve – if he knew about it. And if not, so what? He’d be another hard headed, hard hearted man. I didn’t believe he was like that, and hoped for his blessing. Still, I felt a little guilt ridden, taking a hotel towel soaked in his dying, martyred blood, only to sell it.

I was headed home in a big fat hairy hurry with a gift from God himself in my green hotel maid apron’s pocket. I was going to keep that amazing towel for several decades, until it was worth some big bucks in the Heaven which I would surely never obtain, as it didn’t exist.

Years later, I sold the amazing “Elvis Presley” souvenir towel. I could find no one who wanted to buy the one from Dr. Kane. For you see, I told everyone that it contained the blood of the amazing “Elvis Presley.” And so I sold the towel to the one “true believer” in Elvis the Pelvis – who had tried to come on to me after I got the Black Eye from my abusive husband. The divorce had settled – and I’d gotten custody of my daughter. She had talked me out of selling the towel as Dr. Kane’s, saying that it was in poor taste to sell an American Negro martyr’s blood.

“Just say it’s Elvis Presley’s blood,” she said, “Nobody cares about him; he was only a white Indian who sang really well, not an important martyred political figure responsible for the lives of millions of people.”

I still went to my church sometimes, but it was filling up with other colored people with angry characters, so I left. I was hiding like sixty, but at least I had someone well convinced about the nature of the amazing “Elvis Presley” towel. I finally sold it on EBay, where we traded pictures, and he really went for the Elvis routine. He himself was rather handsome, and we dated – for awhile. He threw me over for some blonde chick with a limp. He kept telling me he had to take care of her.

In my dreams, in my sleep, I was “burninhellvalkery” – my EBay username – who had sold her soul to the Devil. But I received only $500 in cash for said amazing towel. It helped put my daughter through school, and she excelled at most of her subjects. But she was killed by a drunk driver last August. She had been nice, but she tended to blame me for taking the towel of a fat – but macho – martyred Negro comic…

…away. Take it away, whoever you are. Take it away. And play jazz on it forever.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Beyond all Time, Beyond even Space


By Karen S. Cole


Author: “Tom Paris”
Ghost Writer: Karen Cole
Word Count: 12,500

Surely, this was the bravest possible thing to do…I saw an attractively shiny and elegant black surface, the only one of its kind. It drew me closer, pulling me straight forwards with its seductively sweet blasphemy. I stroked the smooth, polished machine, pleasuring myself, as if anticipating something wonderful. What could I say to it? It knew me, but I didn’t know it…

Then my memory said it was a hyper-dimensional resonator, easily
connectible to a space-time modulator for the necessary power boosting, which uses a tesia coil to generate the zero vector. The HDR, both invented and built by the legendary genius Steven L. Gibbs, of course, only moves one a few years in time either way, without the STM attached to it. You could make big money off the stock market, but so what?

I sucked in my Spartan guts, knowing the combined force of these two technological wonders could move me centuries into either the far-flung past, or the omnipresent and surely ever-darkening future. What would I find, what would I seek or would seek me, if I went either way?

My shaking hands connected the two, the glowing electromagnet overheated, and there was a blinding flash of light with a loud POP! I bilocated. My mind and body swerved into two directions as the POP! lingered, not redly volcanic like a firecracker, but sucking small, like a mysteriously vague blue balloon.

Violent waves of dizziness and nausea overcame my entire soul. I knew I was going somewhere real but otherwise, as the whole room spiraled over my exploding head, as my limp body slumped to the multi-colored parquet floor.

I arose, looking wildly about everywhere at everything, but there was an obvious view port straight ahead of me. And people! It dawned like a starburst that I was onboard an alien spacecraft, clearly orbiting the planet Earth, or so it seemed. Wow, whose side was I on, now? Everything was dark inside, but there were small track lights everywhere, lending a soft, velvety ambience to the environment. The spaceship itself was clearly gargantuan, resembling an overdeveloped version of the Queen Mary, or a similar luxury cruise liner.

It was nearly identical to what we had on Earth before…I could sense a presence behind me. I felt a hand clutching my shoulder. I wheeled, expecting only the worst. For I could see clearly, in spite of the eye-protecting light. Now my time had surely come!

“What are you doing here?” inquired one of the crew, and somehow I just knew it was the ship’s main navigator. Stammering with all the excitement I could muster, I almost screamed aloud every minor detail of how my time machine worked. But then I shut up, realizing they must already know all about it.

“Surely, you’ve studied what Gibbs and I accomplished!” I cried, as the gentleman nodded in an offhand manner, looking more bored than anxious.

“Look, I’ll make a deal with you,” the ship’s main navigator said in complete English, speaking a tongue perfectly appropriate to my own century and locale, right down to its regional Arkansas accent. “If you help us fight the Draconian Empire for one prescient year, we will take you home.”

“HOME?” I screeched into his smiling face. “Home?” I said, suddenly realizing the repercussions of my actions. However, I had no real family, back there, always being an alienate in my own time, stuck perpetually in another’s place.

“But I just got here! I have so much to learn from you, if I’m not so retarded that I can’t understand anything, next to you people!” I had immediately begun ingratiating myself, apparently. The main navigator chuckled, clearly amused, and then became serious. He seemed almost to know what my next question would be.

“Please, can I stay here onboard your ship, and live here with you? I’ll be no trouble, honest!” I stopped short of begging, but had already done so, and held up my hands in prayer to the main navigator.

He suddenly “tsked,” as though what I’d said had been highly inappropriate, anyway. As if what I had blurrily stated held some deeper contextual meaning, like what was supposed to be an ad on a cereal box had already memorized my credit card number. Back and forth, I had slid into a totally fluxing place, one with a constantly realigning, strange new divisional meaning.

He nodded, indicating an answer to my many questions and long-withheld desires to lead a happier life. “Okay, our traveler from both the past and the future. If you vow to Yahway you will stay with us for one single year, we will give you the most appropriate, wonderful, and splendidly possible of all permanent wives.”

This sounded quite peculiar, yet so fetching! Unsure, and promised a way out of perpetual loneliness, it was all I could do to not nod, but my head moved joyfully and expectantly by itself into a firm, and patently normal, yes!

The main navigator took me to a good old-fashioned cafeteria. We had an extremely nutritious soup and salad, and I gratefully devoured sliced and peculiarly tasty turnip greens with green kale, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. I saw some vegetables I could not recognize, and devoured them all summarily!

Yet, there really was nothing unusual or alien-looking about the soup, merely a thin beef broth with onions. The main navigator slowly explained that this was a minor “punishment,” the idea being to keep us going and guessing. I could tell something was ahead of me, something that would require my full attention, and all my wits and resources. I was so excited!

But the main navigator solemnly handed me sparkling and Puritan-era silverware, obviously made out of undyingly treated pewter: a knife, a fork, and a spoon. This he did to explain the time-factoring. I had already eaten. By the time I finished again, we had “elaborated” the factoring, and I was finally in one piece, permanently established in the time zone I had entered.

Imagine, all this done in the midst of a cafeteria meal!

Ikonor was the main navigator’s name. He was a Kel, one of a highly specialized warrior race of astonishingly tall blond soldiers, virtually created to fight the evil reptilian Draconians. I did not need it explained to me that the Draconians were universally repugnant slavers, from a constantly invading other planet. The Kels were always looking for men of valour with heroic courage to continuously fight, and to most probably perish doing so, these Dracs. I was ecstatic; my mission in life had been found at last! Was I tall enough, was I brave enough, was I real enough? Of course! But surely this was not to be.

For Ikonor gently took me aside, and walked me for seemingly miles to a tiny little crew cabin buried deep within the labyrinth of the huge ship. And he left me there, to rot in blind ignorance.

All that night, I dreamed of death, and where it might lead. To
nowhere, again? Was this to be my perpetual fate? At least I could see all the twinkling stars from my tiny porthole.

Upon the brightest one, I wished to have my supposedly promised wife for exactly one night, just one night alone, and that I would make it the most magnificent night she could ever experience. And I prayed that my wife would be truly a woman, and that in spite of my rampant indecision, that I would truly always be a man, though that way could clearly only lead in one direction.

Then, thanks to a melatonin gas steadily entering the room, I fell asleep on the small bed in deeply exhausted comfort, oblivious to all my fears, hopes, and fickle dreams.

Strangely enough, the next day I was not led off to die. Nor were we anywhere near the planet Earth, which greatly excited me. When we arrived at my new home of Zambawa City on the planet Calarian, I was stricken like thunder by its sheer, raw, unbridled beauty – a world of statuary, of a blazing golden green and all other colors, richly stark virginity beyond compare, constantly changing to the flickering lights of a carefully and respectfully kept illuminated darkness.

It was just like San Francisco used to be when you entered her at night, the brilliant sparkling skyline drifting majestically into view, all the beckoning myriad lights of an unsurpassable distance. I was finally going to live in it forever, or so I wished to myself.

Arching like a vanguard above me was a robin’s egg blue sky. The pollution of darkling clouds of any nature was gone, and the air smelled so fresh and clean I instantly gasped lungfuls of it, like a hungry shark gulping fish. Huge and sprawling coniferous forests swallowed the obviously distant and soul-beseeching mountains, with receding and comfortably well-placed small towns in the valleys, spaced expertly between the spreading meadows and available flatland greens.

I thought I saw a magnificent scientific laboratory observatory, off to the left. Zambawa City, as we entered its sweetly downtown area, was packed with small and curvingly graceful round domiciles, and wide open tree-lined cobblestone streets. I suddenly thought of them renaming it “Sleepless City,” due to the ever-present domed brightly twilight sky.

Ikonor had already explained to me how the past, merged neatly with the future, had simply left our people motionless, giving us a way to stay stable in time. He did not blame any of my actions for the presence of the Draconians, none of which were in sight anywhere. But the destructive nature of their presence permeated the whole area, full of many signs of death, down to the very structuring of the buildings.

They had left scars on the people of the town, scars on the sidewalks, scars on each building’s walls that could be seen by all awakened eyes, many other than mine. Everything was designed to be a shelter in a storm, beautiful, but stonily and deathly silent.

The tallest, most strikingly artistic structure in the peacefully lit and overwhelmingly sunny downtown was a huge oxygen generating tower called the “Big Southern Belle.” The O-tower made the planet habitable by all the Kellian people.

They needed air blended with concentrated 30% oxygen, in contrast to the 21% oxygen that humans like me needed. Having been told that much, I could not understand what I was doing being alive at all, then laughed aloud, realizing that I would be automatically “high” on oxygen for the rest of my existence in the alluringly splendid city! Possibly, it would build up my muscle and stamina, to prepare me for what lay ahead. Everyone looked very well-exercised, and someone would surely hand me the equipment, the encouragement, and the time that I desperately needed. I had completely accepted whatever challenge would
come before my new people, whatever idiocy would continuously menace and evade me. I would live and die defending us, wife or no wife.

No longer the main navigator, Ikonor was now apparently my personal trainer. He presented me with the sparest of small utility apartments, where everything was completely within reach, and all was systematically appealing to the senses. My refrigerator was waist-high, like I was back at college. The stark-white walls, however, were weirdly clean of artwork, or any other adornments or ornamentations.

Just as I reached out to touch what looked like an old black telephone from the late 1800’s, it rang, and I picked it up. Ikonor said all of my preliminary training had been performed in advance, and coughed loudly into the receiver. Instantly, the entire wall in front of me parted neatly like the Red Sea, and I saw all that I ever needed to know or do displayed on a wide screen, with full surround sound.

It was stupendous, awesome, a terrifyingly prolonged Drama of War, a brutal conflict stretching into its frozen, lingering totality.

Much to my surprise, instead of packing me off to boot camp, Ikonor, now the Kel Commander, handed me a huge ray rifle and put me immediately on the front lines of yet another planet. It was barren and deserted, full of the vast unknown. I looked wildly about for mercy, saw none anywhere, and randomly shot my first “Being of Vast Importance.” The Red Sea merely parted again; he sprawled in meaty profusions at my very feet, one pile of very exploded lizard dung.

Each morning was new, each day was a Drag. We were all herded into the humungous flying space buses in vast multitudes, to fight this weird race of 15-foot reptilians; they were seemingly the most subhuman monsters, the kind with a choice which “we” Kels could never have. Our Yahway-given duty was to fight and die while attracting the other Kels, or so I figured. Both sides at first seemed to be grotesque demons straight from the nether bowels of Hell; but then I noticed only one side was scaly all over, like idiotic mini-dragons, with radiation-emitting eyes that could blind one permanently.

These malevolent creatures could only cause utter despair and hideous circumstances wherever they sojourned. I could not feel sorry for them. I couldn’t ever see things their way. They were sheer, raw, unmitigated evil. Our incredible and eternal job was to destroy them all, before they destroyed all of us.

The ugly lizards fought stupidly but fiercely, using their laser rifles, supplied by Yahway-Knows Who Else, to poison our eyes mostly. Every night was fit for laughs about your life, for the terrible lizards even possessed invisibility suits. How could we ever win? How could I even so much as live another day?

I often checked for foot and tail prints, to see if Dracs were around. Most of my time was spent out in the open without shelter, either getting rained on, or being broiled like an Arcturian lobster under the wretchedly dry and consuming vast summer sun of the awesomely desert planet Tory’s war zones. For this is where we fought our battles, in a mutually agreed-upon No Man’s Land.

Howsoever, the race of Kels always treated me as one of their own kind. Every moment with them was nice, complete, and alluring. I was always their total equal. I swore to give my life solely for them. They made me feel I was home, unlike the elder planet Earth, where people knew I was nothing but shit. I was happy to risk my life, even my afterlife, for all of them!

I began learning to speak Kellian, a very elaborate language, similar in style to ancient Sanskrit, with great difficulty. Most of the Kels just used English with me, or something very like it. The vast majority of my time was spent avoiding death and trying to bring it to the Dracs. Once I had bagged three of these monsters, the Kel Supreme Commander, Traxis the Great, held a conference with my Kel superiors. Thanks to Ikonor, now a dear friend, whose life I had saved on more than one occasion, a major decision was made regarding my circumstances. Although technically I was supposed to have killed ten Dracs and to have spent one hazardous year on the front lines, probably to be killed while fighting, Ikonor had discussed my especially alienated selflessness and attainments with our High Command. It was decided to give me my dues, a good, faithful wife and a brief time off, quite a ways ahead of schedule.

My daredevil attitude, where I would bravely scream aloud to attract all available Kels to my side, helping us kill more Dracs with sheer teamwork, had attracted this special attention. The High Command would give me an actual person, a wife, and a small newlywed’s two-bedroom apartment; my dreams of ecstatic pleasure had come true!

It was incredible to me that I would be receiving a life-long partner in the same way that my Dad had given me a puppy dog when I was a kid. What about her feelings, I wondered vaguely to myself; for I did not want to lose this opportunity to mate with the sophisticated, sociable, and highly moral race of Kels. Surely, this was the epitome of a short life and a gorily circumspect death, serving a worthwhile society even if only briefly, gratefully breeding new warriors for this tremendously important struggle between our radically different two empires. I could only imagine what a vastly superior beauty my wife would turn out to be, and dreamed of her every single day I fought. And I finally managed to kill my ten Dracs, right on schedule.

All of my wildest possible visions were fully realized! Her name was Ikanya, which means “faithful to the end” in Kellian. She was over 7’2″ tall, built like a spartanly strong and rawly proud Olympic athlete. She embodied the physical incarnation of total perfection, sweet as honey dripping from a bending tree; she possessed a smooth, milky white peaches-and-cream complexion that was glowingly radiant. She smelled of flowers after the spring rains, and her stride was more graceful and delicate than that of a balletic prima donna’s.

She had been bred for an especial perfection of womanly purity and size, bequeathing the best of health to all our warrior offspring. Her loosely flowing mane was the purest of finely spun gold webs; her eyes were pools of azure blue, gigantic in size next to mine. She was so huge, but always kind, loving, and compassionate when it came to serving me with anything at all. I fell deeply in love with her the instant we met. It was an inner fire that burned us both, a growing flame kindling with our every touch. With one single angelical kiss our inmost passions ignited, sparking the pursuit of our marriage’s eminently fated infinite excellence.

Ikonor told me one thing, however, which only made me more overjoyed: the penalty for ever hitting my wife, or even so much as yelling at her, was instant death! In a broken combination of English and Kel, I whispered, “I accept this fair and just fate!”

Ikanya, who was more than worth it, simply always understood me. She had studied Earth’s history pertaining to my time, which was the main reason she had been paired with me. I, however, was given one mere month to learn the Kel language with her, and to experience our honeymoon, a brief time off where I did not have to kill and die, for one sweet and lingeringly luscious moment…

We spent my off-time in our spacious, luxurious, and well-appointed living room, mostly. It had a continuously shiny linoleum-like floor, which Ikanya never needed to clean, with real old-fashioned wooden furniture from turn-of-the-century France, and a holographic television planted in the centre of the room, surrounded by the usual walls that slid away to reveal command controls for any instructions I would need regarding our new life together. One of the bedrooms was the master, of course, with a larger than king-sized bed, well-suited for our mating rituals; but the other bedroom was smaller than a tiny shoebox. It simply awaited our first blessed and naturally planned arrival, which elated both me and my wife’s very souls’ essences.

I had certainly found my place, if it could ever last.

Ikanya, so knowing about traditional Earth sustenance, prepared an easy meal of spaghetti and meat balls the very first night in our new home. She knew every custom of my territorial birth, taking my small hands into her large and feminine fingers, and looking deeply into my overflowing eyes. When I reached up to kiss her, she blossomed like a lily-white rose, and I murmured softly that we should proceed upstairs and begin to fulfill the expectations of our society, and our
deep love for one another.

In a voice full of honeyed mischief, she said, “Okay, sweetie, whatever you wish.” We casually strolled up the winding, compactly circular staircase, to the master bedroom. As she laid her gorgeously large body down on the bed, I slowly peeled the soft cottony socks off her gargantuan, yet blithesomely female, feet. Suddenly, she stared up at me, frightened as any virginal child.

“Please, don’t hurt me,” she moaned, afraid, yet truly womanly and totally seductive.

“I could never hurt you. I love you more than life itself,” I whispered gently as I massaged her velvety-soft and spotlessly clean rose-pink toes. I need not relate the sanctity of our pure love-making; our kisses alone were surely envied by the cloistered winged minions of heaven itself. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true!

When I awakened the next morning, my wife’s gargantuan form lovingly sprawled across my achingly spent body, I dreamt to myself of my supremely good fortune. On Earth, I had fretted about getting fired, losing my house, my car, and even my girlfriend, from not being able to keep up the hectic pace of day-to-day occupations. But here on the planet Calarian, I had virtually nothing to worry about. Ikanya, ever-faithful, would never leave me, for the Kels always mate for life! I would have a faithful wife and a steady job, and very close and decent friends, until I died virtuously from a just and unusually conscionable war between morally divided eternal equals.

Nothing would make me feel lonely and unwanted, ever again.

Upon the next blissful morning, we feasted on an old-fashioned breakfast of eggs and toast, lovingly prepared by Ikanya, who in the middle of our meal began showing me the various foods and naming them for me. “You must learn our Kellian,” she softly breathed into my rapt ears. Touching an apple, she said the word for it was “tochan.” “Hobi” was the word for bread, and “juzzot” meant melted butter, as smooth as my wife’s velvety warm skin.

After a time of whiling away the hours happily with my wife, she began teaching me the Kel’s history. I learned they were originally from Earth, as I’d long suspected, from the lost continent of Atlantis, before the Great Wars between many different fighting peoples had nearly destroyed our two planets.

All of a sudden, seemingly from nowhere, my wife looked intently into my eyes, which were gazing at her with unspeakable love. “You’re part Kel!” she announced loudly, to both of our amazement.

“Huh?” I haltingly asked. “Are you sure?”

“It’s in your eyes. Our people were scattered during the Great Wars.” I guessed she was probably right. Ikanya, an award-winning student of ancient Earth history, knew all the generals of the ancient Roman Empire, and often compared me to the heroic Marcus Aurelius. I would always quote him to her, while we made our briefly blissful love:

“How quickly all things disappear, in the universe, the bodies
themselves, but in time, even the remembrance of things.” But I knew I would never forget our brief time together, even beyond my death and utter obliteration.

We went outside a lot together, to enjoy and cherish the beautiful city we were protecting and repopulating for our monumental fight. One day we sauntered out of the apartment, strolling down the cobblestone streets of Zambawa City, locked ritually hand-in-hand. We happily found a lovely verdant meadow, cheerfully blown by the wind, with a gurgling stream running through it.

We both took our shoes off, and began wading until we were waist-deep, and wonderfully cooled off, a most magical moment indeed.

Hours later, Ikanya and I sat on a small marble bench as we searched the heavens for the awesomely potent and available stars. There were millions of them, but sad to say, no readily apparent moon.

“Do you miss the moon?” Ikanya inquired, in her lovely sibilant and sylvanly sweet voice. “Yes,” I replied, burying myself in her soft embraces. “I wish we could be together under a silver moon, forever, not just a few weeks.” My wife smiled broadly as a river, while a meteor shower flashed a spectacular show overhead.

“Make a wish,” she tittered girlishly. “You have that expression, too?” I muttered into her smooth neck. “Yes, it’s old hat with us,” she sweetly sighed, so versed in our old expressions.

I put both arms around my wan, winsome, and somehow petitely glowing girl, and we slowly walked home, going to bed, gamboling playfully as we always did, and falling asleep locked in each other’s embrace. Under the twilight streaming in through the skylight, I gazed upon the gorgeous face of my queen, wondering how she would look under the old-fashioned, delicately pale streaming moonlight of Earth; that light would be able to precisely capture the diaphanous glow that always seemed to radiate from her austere, yet childish features.

There was something ethereal about my wife’s face; it held mysteries about Earth and my new planet that conjured up visions of boldly spiritual places and far-off wonders to come that I would surely get to behold, someday, and soon.

Unless I simply died – first.

The next morning, Ikanya gave me her family’s greatest and most
treasured heirloom, an old Terran music box. Its singing was so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes as I held it. The box was fashioned of antique burnished rosewood, with brass cylinders and myriad bells all working in perfectly refined unison.
I gazed at my wife through a hazy, grateful blur. But suddenly, Ikanya was crying too, enormous tears running down her reddening face. What had I done, and would I receive the death penalty for it? I richly deserved it, to have made my wife cry so. I asked her what was wrong. “It’s only because I love you so much,” she stammered.

That was always her way. She had a fabulous gift for selfless compassion, and cared solely for my well-being, constantly. She held a sweet, forbearing kindness, and a gift for love I have never seen in any other living person.

The month flew by like a single summer’s day, and I was back on the space bus, sent to fight with the constantly oncoming Dracs. It was truly the most boring of work, standing in the hot sun with nothing to do, only more sad and gray days on the battlefield. Overwhelming black clouds drooped near the horizon, affording some shade, and beckoning a terrible thunderstorm that dropped sheets of scarlet rain, drenching me to the bone.

Cold and shuddering as I was, I knew that if I survived, I’d soon be embraced and held in the warm and loving bosom of Ikanya, my truest reward for being a heroic and valiant warrior. But it seemed forever and ever before the space buses finally gathered us all up, and ferried us swiftly home.

Ikanya slowly peeled off my soaking wet uniform, as my frozen and aching form huddled near her. “I’m cold,” I chattered through my teeth. Ikanya simply said, “Don’t worry, we’ll warm each other right up!” And we immediately began to do so.

Each morning was the same routine. Ikanya gave me a huge kiss, handed me my lunch, and I went out to catch an aging space bus. These ancient flying contraptions from earlier days rattled in flight when full of people, and took us all far away to the planet of Tory, where we had managed to relocate the raging war between our peoples. Over the course of immeasurable time, we had lost many brave and lusty warriors, including our Captain, our Troop Commander, and my dear friend Ikonor. His loss grieved my heart most greatly.

Our new Troop Commander, Zykor the Magnificent, named me our new
Captain, assigning me the job of piloting one of the old space buses. Its controls were written in ancient Kellian, and were difficult to read, but I slowly eked out their meaning; the lettering looked like scribbles, scrawls, and loop-de-loops, which Ikanya translated from my hasty scrawls, brought home at the end of the day. Ikanya was always my lifesaver, my guide to everything mysterious and Kel.

As the weeks wore on, the battles became high-pitched and feverish. I was forced to crawl on my belly through a mucky and brackish swamp, swarming mud flies eating me alive, worse than the sweat bees of old Earth. They would sting me right in the eyes, big and mean things that they were, just like the damn Draconians.

Thoughts of Ikanya flooded my mind constantly. She was more holy and pure than a church’s sanctuary, a true womanly vessel of sacred honour and right. In spite of the pressing need for battle, we attended church regularly, once a week, for the Kels were a very religious race. I often thought of mortality and what it meant, seeing and experiencing death every day of my sure to be brief life. I thanked Yahway each second for my wife and continued existence, day after tiresomely lengthy day, night after serenely blessed night.

One typically sweat-drenched, mind-numbing afternoon, I heard a peculiar grinding noise, and froze like a naked statue. An odd-looking machine was making its way towards me; I finally recognized it as a remote recon ‘droid of the Dracs. I shot it down, realizing there must be more Dracs nearby. I brought my squad together in a huddle, and told them, “Men, the Dracs sent their toys out to do their dirty work; keep your eyes open, and be alert!”

Out of nowhere, thousands of Dracs arrived. My men were being cut to pieces, and after an hour of heavy fighting, most of us were wounded or dead. Moans and screams of the lost dying filled the air. This was duly recorded as the famed Battle of Carmoosh, where many valiant warriors died, including my Troop Commander Zykor. Right there on the field, I was summarily named new Troop Commander.

A raw recruit, a mere twelve-year-old boy, as we needed even these youngsters in our hard-pitched battles, told me right there on the red-soaked battlefield that he wanted to bag his ten Dracs, so he could get a wife before he died. Dripping sweat, looking over a nearby ridge, I saw a swarm of at least three large oncoming “bugs.”

“Can I take ‘em?” asked the boy. “Have at them!” I screamed. “But be sure you know what you’re aiming at, not our men!” As he shot his ray rifle, far away to the horizon, black clouds of dusky smoke filled the sky with an odor of burning rubber. Firing their lasers, the Dracs blinded the boy in one eye.

He screamed out his rage and protest. It got even harder to see, as the smoke from distant fires blocked even my vision. “Do you have a pair of binoculars?” I begged of the boy, having lost mine. “Of course I do! I’m just like anyone else!” But the faded, fuzzy images on his nightscope could have been anything…disregarding my feverish precautions, as the voluminous smoke cleared, the boy fired.

I heard his abject screams of horror, frozen in time and space, too late. He had exploded the chests of three of our best men.

We carried his limp body over to an instant military tribunal, where it was decided that although he had meant no harm, an example needed to be made of him. He was found guilty, and executed very painfully by firing squad. This was indeed a dark day for the Kels. But a new boy was instantly sent out to replace him, a much nicer and more cautious lad, of twelve years also.

I felt a swiftly growing concern that so many youngsters were dying in this hideously prolonged war against the Dracs. But the new kid only told me the same thing: he wanted to kill his ten Dracs quickly, and snag his promised wife. So I decided to give him tips and tricks on how to fight the beasts.

“Dracs wear invisibility suits, so you have to scout out signs of their presence. Look for bending blades of grass, large dirt and mud trails. And remember, Dracs always travel in threes, so if you shoot one, shoot all around it for the other two. It’s the only way you’ll survive. Finally, Dracs use chemicals and lasers, so remain behind your head shield at all times, no matter how hot it gets. You can see infra-red around a live Drac when it’s turned on.”

After this speech, and several weeks later, the new kid, whose name was Virkon, had slaughtered his ten Dracs. Ecstatic, he jumped up and down, hugging me with a man’s strength. His fortitude had paid off well. The Kel Central Command gave him a beautiful, innocent little twelve-year-old girl, who wore dazzling, virginally white silken robes, with her golden hair flowing freely over her narrow shoulders. She had smoothly pearl-white skin, flawlessly glowing teeth, berry-plump ruby lips, and starkly pure blue eyes that radiated kindness and virtue. She was an absolute angel, almost as lovely as my Ikanya.

Her name was Bellayette. She strode bravely up to Virkon and breathed with words like pure air, “I am so fortunate, for I get to marry a courageous warrior.” Virkon simply and boldly said, “I am surely the lucky one, here.” When he came back from his one-month honeymoon, he was not the little boy I’d known before. He was truly a man, respectfully full of “Yes, Sir!” and “No, Sir!” but expecting to be treated the same as any other man. He told me, “I thought being married would be wonderful, but I had no idea how magnificent it was until I kissed my Bellayette. She is the kindest, sweetest person in the entire endless universe.”

I pounded him soundly on his back, and cried, “Welcome aboard, proud warrior!” He asked me, a broad grin stretched across his face, “How’s it going with your wife, Commander?” I replied, “I have to be honest with you. There is no one who will ever come close to her, for everything she does is the best. For example, she performed an ancient medieval Japanese flower arrangement ceremony yesterday that almost rivaled herself in its beauty and modest perfection. You should have seen it.”

Virkon cried out, “Come by our place sometime, and we’ll see what my wife does!”

I told Ikanya that we’d been invited by the newlyweds to eat at their new apartment. “Perhaps we can bring them a little gift,” she gently suggested, and produced a crystalline ball of pure glass that refracted all the kaleidoscopic colors of an overarching rainbow.

Yet, I thought I could see something looming dark and menacing, huddling secretly within the curious ball’s most hidden shadowy depths.

The very young couple cooked an awesomely appropriate meal for us, a series of little ancient Italian pasta dishes, antipasto, and three flavors of ice cream for desert. Ikanya helped Bellayette in the kitchen, and we four sat down to a most delightful repast.

During dinner, the kid asked me, “So how do you like it here? I mean, compared to ancient Earth, where you grew up.” I answered, “This place is ever so much better. It’s like an unearthly paradise. The Kels are the best; everyone is so friendly and helpful, ready to give his life to serve our valiant cause. Earth was terrible, with rivers like sewers, and oceans that were gigantic cesspools.” Virkon said he’d like to see it anyway. “You mean use the time machine? Trust me; you would never want to go there. It’s hopeless. Here, we have a majestic land, people we can be proud to be part of, and a real cause, worthy of our entire lives’ devotion. This is the place to be!”

Ikanya and I spent the night at their lovely apartment. We both felt happy to have made new friends. Soon, squeals of delight came from both their bedroom and the guest one where Ikanya and I frolicked, locked in a chorus of joie de vie.

There was no smoking or drug use anywhere on our planet, no casinos, bars, or dance clubs. There was no need for anything like that there. It was a great place to raise your family, though it could be a bit boring at times if it was not for the war raging constantly, and reminding us how precious our lives were. Alcohol consumption was extremely rare among the Kels, sort of a bow to the distant past. I was given a ration of one bottle of medicinal wine per month. I saved my rations for four months, and invited the kid and his wife over for dinner, having enough wine saved to fuel an army.

Yahway, did we ever party that night! We each downed one bottle, and sang and danced the night away. My wife pounced on the table, singing her lungs out, and the kid’s wife drunkenly joined in. Then from nowhere, the kid punched me out, and it was over. Everything spun around, then went black, just like before.

I woke up in the brig at military headquarters, with two angry Kels pounding on my chest and screaming at me. “Why did you get them drunk? What were you thinking, Commander? ANSWER ME!” Supreme Commander Traxis the Great was highly insulted by my behavior; his face was contorted into a mask of crimson rage. He told me my wife had been found naked in a ditch, totally covered with mud, and crying. The kid was found in a treetop, howling like a Wactovian monkey, and his wife had been captured by feral humans and dragged into a cave, where she was brutally and repeatedly raped.

They blamed only Virkon for the crimes, as the Kel’s policies on getting drunk had never been properly explained to me. A firing squad was immediately convened, as the poor kid had also struck an officer.


The Kels, who had always welcomed me as one of them, felt I had brought deep dishonor upon their people. They shunned me. My poor dear wife was sobbing uncontrollably, in a lot of physical and mental anguish over what the ferals had done to her friend. What were these ferals, I asked? The Supreme Commander told me they were human/ape hybrids created by the Dracs to demoralize and weaken us. Ferals could not talk, or even walk upright, but they could mate with Kels. Ferals lived in the hidden mysterious depths of dank caverns, only crawling out in the black of night to seek out any errant victims, arcanely stalking the dark penumbral shadows of our bluely domed city.

On the spur of our drunken night and the attack on Bellayette, Supreme Commander Traxis the Great decided to destroy all the ferals. “We’re going to smoke those devils out of the caves!” he screamed. And so we poured gas down every cavernous hole we found, and then exploded them with torches, setting the caves on fire like raw infernos. Angry, red, screaming ferals raced out, dazed, into the broad daylight. God, they were ugly! We simply shot them one by one as they came out. I ached to make them die slowly, for what they’d done to Bellayette.

I thought we’d got them all. But somehow, I knew otherwise.

For several months after the incident, Ikanya slept with all the lights on; the slightest noise would wake her up screaming in the middle of the night. Our nightly ecstasies were gone, tainted forever. Oh, well; I was usually so tired at night, anyway. I tried to get her to talk, but a Kellian cultural taboo kept her from ever telling me exactly what had happened to her. All I could do was longingly gaze upon her sleeping, restless form, nightly keeping watch, forever scarred by hideous guilt over my thoughtless and selfish acts.

But slowly, ever so softly, our lives began returning to us.

We men pressed on in the battlefield, warring constantly with the Dracs. And every evening I drove all of my squadron who were left safely home, leaving the bodies behind for the medics. It was all of a fifteen-minute flight, vast miles being travelable in mere parsecs by the rickety old buses, the very least examples of Kellarian engineering excellence. I knew when I got home I’d find her, my faithful wife, tearfully afraid I would not return, waiting for me. As I pulled the thing up to the space port near our apartment, she’d spurt like a track star joyfully straight to me, shouting my name aloud, her voice filled with excitement as she yelled, “HAYPAYPERRI-AH!” It was the most common of all Kel greetings, and the most endearingly loving one.

But a horrible day was soon to follow. My own mortality was drawing ever nearer, and I was nearly wounded by a special unit of Dracs assigned to kill me in particular. When I returned home, I was battered and bruised, but only happy to once again see my beloved. Ikanya immediately saw to nursing each of my cuts and bruises, while I vainly tried to assure her of my physical health. We hugged each other tightly, both knowing that one day, probably very soon, she’d never see me again.

Just as we entered our humbly peaceful abode, a SHRIEK! hit my ears. The piercing alarms of air raid sirens were signaling a direct Drac attack on Zambawa City! Huge Draconian bat-like ships swiftly materialized over the horizon, peppering our once beautiful and fertile landscape with rapid bursts of outspreading, voluminous fireballs!

Every building around us seemed aflame; all our scientific and cultural laboratories broke into enormous infernos, funeral pyres for everyone inside them. Hundreds of buildings exploded to smithereens. I couldn’t drown out the pitiful screams of my fellow noble Kels as they and their children were systematically burned alive.

The cremated centre of the city was now only flame and ash, pouring liquid metal out of the fortified steel like molten lava from an erupting volcano. Although the Kels had prepared for such an awful attack, apparently the Dracs had forged ahead with new technologies, and we only lay open and helpless before their horrendous onslaught.

A shrill hissing noise, the cry of a gigantic abandoned infant, filled my ears. The Big Southern Belle, our oxygen tower, had been blown apart, and was leaking out all our air supply! Horrifyingly, this would only feed the flames much faster, incinerating the city.

Meanwhile, I could feel the thinly oxygenated air deserting us, becoming weaker every passing minute. I was forced to gasp for what life I could keep. But what would happen to my oxygen-deprived wife?

Thinking fast, I forced her into an emergency hyperbolic oxygen chamber, concealed within a sliding wall in our living room. Ikanya needed much more oxygen to survive than me, a mere human. Her skin had already become bluely cyanotic; her breathing was forced and labored as the hypoxia worsened. I prayed fervently to Yahway, while the enclosed and carefully monitored pressure within the chamber slowly grew from two to four atmospheres. Alive and well, Ikanya smiled kindly at me as I gaspingly breathed what was left of the air outside the glass.

I stumbled outside, somehow managing to draw halting breaths. But the emergency evacuation procedures had already begun. I was forced to strap an oxy-tank onto Ikanya’s back, as the alarm system turned into a loudspeaker blare announcing the evacuation of the entire planet of Calarian. The oxygen production towers had been destroyed, not only in our decimated city, but everywhere in the Drac’s reach.

It was now time to leave. We wept as we boarded the buses.

My wife and I gripped each other, milling among the saddened throngs, whose lives had been shattered. Most had relatives, snuffed out by smoke and flames, or buried forever in deep and twisted rubble that had once been beautifully wrought fortified steel and concrete.

The Dracs had won. We had lost the war. It was all over.

While I muttered this to myself, a sobbing, dirty-faced girl wandered into our midst, tiny and lost in the teeming throngs, crying inconsolably about her dead mother. Ikanya, ever the comforter, even during this worst of all possible times, held her closely to her breast and rocked her like a baby, slowly calming her down.

All was insanity, but this moment was microcosmically precious. Two other little girls, intrigued by Ikanya’s motherly graces, drew near. We gently assured the crying girl that we’d keep her as our own, if she didn’t have any other family left. Then the two other girls began teasing Ikanya, pulling off both her shoes and socks.

“Whatever are you doing?” my wife asked, giggling timidly. Everything was just crazy, and now this! “I am a confirmed nibbler,” said one of the two girls, who were twins. She began sucking on Ikanya’s big toe, and the other one joined in. Ikanya laughed, quite relieved by this simple comic act, and hugged them both very hard.

It turned out the crying girl’s name was Mitalla, and the twin’s names were Chiaretta and Samayette. The twins were quietly whisked away from poor us by their relatives on the space bus, leaving us very bereft. We never forgot how much we’d laughed at their silly antics.

The space buses finally packed themselves in, huge fleet after endless fleet, arriving on the nearby world of Kumara, friendly to the Kel Empire. It had been carefully prepared for our arrival in the sad event of such an occasion, although we could not have anticipated the destruction of our entire planet, but the Draconians had already broken several war zone treaties; they simply invaded anywhere they wanted. Anyway, a spacious hostel system was organized, committees being formed in hours to assist loved ones in finding one another. Many people were forever scattered by this tragedy, akin to the olden time’s Great Wars.

As we stood in one of the largest hostel lobbies, a man surged from the crowd and tore the little girl my wife had claimed on the space bus out of her loving arms, crying, “That’s my daughter, let her go!” Ikanya instantly faded, like a rose losing its petals as it died. “I’m sorry. Here she is. We were only protecting her.” The humbled man took pity on us as he saw the heartbreak in our eyes. He reassured us we could visit them, once they had found their assigned quarters. The little girl cried again, struggling as she left with her daddy.

“We almost had a child,” Ikanya sighed, listlessly watching their fading backs as the noisy crowd swallowed them whole. “We will, someday,” I told her, trembling with a guilt-ridden rage, fearfully induced by the overwhelming commotion, sorrow and suspended reality of vast suffering, on a scale the likes of which I’d never experienced before, and certainly never would again. Or so I thought.

Somehow, it shocked me less that it took a mere twelve weeks for the planet Calarian to become basically habitable again. The Kels, with limited help from the Kumarans and others, simply descended on it in unstoppable droves, and we broke our backs restoring and upgrading Kellarian technology to its rightful place, exploiting any opportunity to make things better, safer, and longer-lasting. I was immediately assigned an enormous work crew, and we drove ourselves remorselessly, a struggle much more difficult than the battlefield had ever been.

Our magnificently crumpled, broken-down city came back to life again, as we slaved away like tireless dogs. The huge O-Tower was the first structure to be revitalized, with new materials engineering to make it more firmly proof against the Draconians. She was pumping out breathable oxygen, freeing my wife from her oxy-tank prison, as each factory and laboratory came back to life, repainted, shiny, splendidly sound, and virtually renewed. Even the scorched grass sprouted green new shoots, filling out as we formed fertilizer spreading teams by the hundreds, helping the greenways, plants, gardens, and even the burnt-out corpses of splintered trees sprout from their musty, dead stumps.

My life, honour, and sense of worthwhile purpose had fully returned, along with a renewed sense of deep humility. We frequently attended church, and always thanked Our Yahway. Hope hadn’t died, and the women and children were flown home, summarily. We all kept busy like ants in an anthill, repainting our restructured domiciles. Soon our small apartment was fully functional and back to normal, and Ikanya celebrated our grateful return by fixing us a meal of rare roast beef, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and chocolate mud pie. I felt great, but couldn’t shake a displaced sense of alertness, and constantly worried about the future. Wasn’t it unlikely to not happen again?

Twenty weeks after the unforgettable “Rain of Awesome Terror in the Skies,” or RATS, I was back in command on the front lines, glad to be fighting and killing the evil beings who’d wreaked such havoc and devastation on my beloved homeland. Meanwhile, the Dracs had not been idle. Another heavy attack had totally destroyed the mining, farming, and industrial planet of Ronson, in the Kellarian Empire’s incorporated Mutara Cluster. We slowly gleaned from unbelievably wretched but vital star system reports that we had only twelve planets left of an original galaxy-spanning empire of over fifty. And our own situation, though hopeful, was edgy at best. From the original Kel population of nearly one trillion people, less than fifty million survived the evil tragedy.

Though I kept busy fighting, daily worry became more prominent, riddling my head with fears. But our concentration on death was broken one day by the sudden appearance of an unreported small shuttle space bus. Thank Yahway, we didn’t fire, for out of the entry hatch stepped Ikanya, smilingly delivering my lunch, a peanut-butter sandwich!

Rule-breaking was one of the things I loved most about my silly and vivacious wife. I shook my sweaty head in wonder, but told her she wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the battle zone; women were never allowed in mortal combat roles, only as nurses, doctors, and medical personnel. Of course, the medics had to venture behind enemy lines, sometimes. She laughed at my vain concerns, while we ate together.

Then from the unknown, a thin cry escaped from a nearby cave. Was it a leftover feral human? I drew my weapon and clambered down the dismally yawning hole, with Ikanya’s taughtly breathing form close behind me. Such caves were common in the war zones, and often full of ferals, which the Dracs sometimes used to attack our wounded, and those stuck attending on them at night.

Incredibly, there was a row of filthy, smelly cages, and each one of them held a tiny little Kel child inside.

Ikanya shouted, “OH MY GODS!” For her, such a bold statement approached blasphemy, but that was my wife. She didn’t care about her. I blasted open each of the locks, freeing the children. Several were dying, and we screamed loudly for the medics. I pulled out one ravaged little boy, apparently about three years old, who hugged me like he couldn’t ever let go again.

“Please, help me!” he cried, black and blue all over, with open wounds that bled; he was covered in sores, and had unnatural, twisted injuries. My wife immediately realized the truth. “Those monsters! They’ve been experimenting on them!” I coughed into my hand, overcome by sadness and the underground stench of disease and death.

Several of the children died in hospital. But we personally flew the tiny little boy home with us. He screamed almost constantly, even at night. He would wake us up, pleading and crying for mercy.

My wife, sadly well-versed in torture from the past unpleasant experiences I had caused, turned grimly to me one night and said, “He’ll have nightmares like this for the rest of his life.”

“Why?” I questioned, in a daze of shock and sleepless horror.

“They destroyed him,” she replied, in a low, guttural murmur. We both turned over and tried to rest, stuck listening to him scream his fear and rage like a demented baby, sometimes all night long. But we took turns getting up and trying to quiet him; he would finally fall asleep in our arms. We relaxed, finally having a child, at last. At least that much, and someday he would surely be normal and happy again.

We had only our faith, recovering ourselves after losing so miserably, to guide us. Night after night we kept watch, and waited.

But his mother and father finally turned up, through the local civil authorities, and the boy was taken away from us. His parents were so grateful and relieved that we all streamed in tears at their touching reunion, and for the first time, the little boy smiled! They told us his name was Bato, and his cheerful grin made this both one of the happiest and saddest moments of my entire short and eventful life.

“Well, I guess we’ll never have a baby of our own,” I sighed, as my wife looked alluringly into my drooping, listless eyes. “Yes, we will,” she softly whispered, “for I just happen to be pregnant!”

O, my wonderful Ikanya! I grabbed her, and we bear-hugged.

Supreme Commander Traxis had given me some time off after the tortured children’s rescue, which I spent answering to the media about the awful feral prison experiments, and even signing autographs. We never did find out how they’d kidnapped those kids. Was there someone amongst us on the enemy side? And of course, Ikanya and I had put our time together to good use. We’d laid awake nights from the poor boy’s screaming; we must’ve accidentally done something right, in our sleep.

After this little erstwhile vacation, one blessed announcement of my family’s invigorated life, it was straight back to the battle fields. This time we fought over the devastated planet Ronson, which the Dracs now savagely held captive. There were few living Ronsonians, and we didn’t hold out much hope for them. We kept attempting find and rescue missions, to no avail. We fiercely battled, coming very close to losing the planet to superior forces. But we fought on, undyingly, in the relentlessly scorching heat. It was enough to affect anyone’s judgment, and I was far from immune from such desert abandonment.

Early one morning, before the twin suns were up, I ran down the dried-up banks of the Green Moon River, towards a rocky escarpment. I thought I was spying out Dracs. As I ran, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky; the summer doldrums were on full blast, with not even the faintest whisper of a breeze. What had been the simmering kettle of an absurdly glorious morning, given the wastelands created by the Dracs, had become the boiling cauldron of a wetly molten afternoon. Yet the battle raged on, blindly, as in any other war. Was this one really just as unfair, just as mistakenly waged as our Earth wars had usually been, and was I finally waking up to that salient fact? Were we somehow misguided?

I had to rest. I took a moment to duck out of the glaring sun and into a darkened cave, tired and worn from baking like an apple in that oven of a desert. It was extremely hot and stuffy inside the cave, but at least it was shady. I raised my visor, wiping my face, and realized that I’d been wounded, shot in both arms by a laser rifle. I began to treat my injuries, as taught by the female Kel medics.

My vain attempts at comfort fled as I saw three large devils approaching the cave’s entrance, armed with flame throwers, jabbering away to each other in Draconian. They must have smelled the blood that dripped from my wound, and were drawn directly to me. They knew who and what I was! Dropping bandages, I gripped my laser rifle tightly, fell to the ground, and fired three shots, one right after the other. If I missed just one, I was a dead meat. In spite of the heat, my aim was fantastic, and all that was left was smoking lizard shit.

One of the monsters was a Drac Commander, not unlike me. I proudly ripped the gold chain from around his scaly throat, placing it around mine as I shakily strolled through the smoking ruins of that infernally hot planet. Now I had a proper war souvenir to give my good wife, to remember me by when my aim was finally sloppy.

The desert heat made the horizon violently shimmer. Beyond the sand dunes lay an old, abandoned Ronsonian building, from the looks of it a museum or library once, now empty for time immemorial. Ducking inside to wrap my wound, fearing lurking Dracs would kill me, I found instead one of my best warriors, Yak, the youngest in the group I now commanded. He was worse than mortally wounded; his entire midsection was weirdly and surgically removed, by what, I couldn’t fathom. How was he even alive? It was only a matter of moments.

I cradled him in my bleeding arms. Over and over, he cried, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die!”

The very next day, at a mass funeral held on Calarian, I gave a eulogy speaking of this boy’s heroism and honour. His mortal sacrifice and valour were what saved the planet Ronson that day, I very solemnly intoned, as the Kels wretchedly sobbed into their sleeves. The truth is always the most painful aspect of our reality, I realized. For the first time in years, I wondered to myself about the moral righteousness of the Kel’s cause. Were we just as blind and stupid as the lizards?

Were we, in some way hidden and unknown to me, well, evil?

My beautiful, brave wife now stepped up to the podium, her head held high. Overcome with emotion, I could only hug her. She read off the names of those killed in the battlefield for the entire past week, over three hundred men, as it had been a particularly bloody stretch.

Later, I whispered in her velvety ear, “Thank you for being so kind and compassionate. It’s not just your hair; your very heart is entirely composed of the purest gold.” I thought she’d like my words.

“Don’t ever say that,” she whispered back. “Your hair is not gold-coloured, but your heart has always been exactly the same as mine.” Apparently, in spite of the Kel’s general blondness, they were not racist; a part of me was thus secretly relieved of a heavy burden.

In the months that followed, my wife’s already large, normally flat belly began to grow, swelling quite profoundly. I started doing all the housework. The Kel culture didn’t use servants or maids, and you had to pull your own weight, unless you were very disabled. My wounds had healed, and I set to, even with the little energy I had left after a long day in the battlefield. I’d been elevated to Head Major Commander, so I didn’t have to actually fight in person anymore, but I usually waded in with the rest of them anyway. I was needed. And I still managed my chores every evening, while a cranky Ikanya chided my mannish incapabilities. I couldn’t seem to do anything right.

Boy, was it ever worth it!

In the spring, our glorious ball of wonder, Tirana, was born, looking every inch like her mother, though her hair was more a straw colour, not richly golden like Ikanya’s. And for some reason she was sickly at first, and we almost lost her. But then she rallied, and by the time she was two, there was a definitively Kellarian glow in her chubby twilight cheeks. After two years of limping around, she was able to run and horse with the other children, when the boys played soldier, and the girls pretended to nurse them and dress their wounds. This form of activity was more dead serious practice than mere kid’s playtime, unfortunately. But at least our Tirana was a girl, and not predestined to die in a barren pile of dirt, like her daddy.

On a lazy winter day, and for no particular reason, Tirana was boredly playing with the antique music box Ikanya had gifted me when we first married. As she wound it, the charmingly melancholy melodies brought me back to a happier time, when I had first started out with all my dreams of fortune, death, and ecstasy, on a new world and in a new time. I smiled dreamily at my little girl, knowing I must cherish every minute spent with her and my wife. The battle front afforded me precious little time to spend with them, as tedious battle strategies now consumed every waking moment of my hard-working existence.

That night, we three gathered together on the balcony, and we watched as our brilliant little girl tried to count all the equally brilliant stars. What was out there that the Dracs needed so much, I vaguely wondered. Our empire was always trying to enlist support from any inhabited planet we found, warning them about the slavers’ threat.

I began singing to Tirana, “Star light, star bright, Daddy loves his star tonight,” and I hugged her tightly. She beamed up at me, and impishly replied, “Star loves her Daddy, too.” My eyes twinkled with tears. Ikanya brought us all a hot chocolate. We sat, and drank well.

Another night, our little girl came into our bedroom while we two were sleeping. She climbed up and whispered “Daddy, I’m scared, there are shadows in my room.” And then she added “and I’m lonely.”

My wife smiled, and I knew there was nothing to do but give in. “Then why don’t you stay here, with us?” With a beaming grin on her openly innocent face, our little angel crawled under the sheets.

In the morning, I watched her sleeping for a long time, feeling very grateful indeed. She was so sweetly beautiful, clearly down from heaven. Our union had been blessed, all of my dreams richly fulfilled.

But the war was getting steadily worse. I knew this well, from my strategic duties in the field. My troops were almost gone. We had
tried very hard to keep what few men we had. I’d been promoted to Head Major General, and had been given a lovely three-bedroom house. But it couldn’t contain the restlessness and helplessness I always felt.

Once again, it was just another day. I went off to the front as usual; nothing extraordinary happened. It was dull and dreary, and I couldn’t keep down the stale old rations and the liquid nourishment from my canteen. Something was different, something was weirdly wrong.

When I got home, my wife and child were gone. I knew they’d been kidnapped by the Dracs, who had rumoured methods of using certain traitorous Kels, unknown spies who’d been promised prestige and life by the Draconian Empire. These subhuman traitors had enticed my family into a vehicle, and taken them to the Drac Territories. They were somewhere out there, lost and alone, and I was so important now, they’d show them both absolutely no mercy. Immediately, I flew back into the battle, leading my troops deep into Drac-held areas. We checked out three different planets, which took over a week, and we fought harder than we’d ever fought before. But there was no sign of my wife and child. We rescued a few other people, but not them.

There was a chill in the air, making my panic even worse. We marched on the planet Ronson finally, through the cold of the twilight. With an ever-impending sense of doom, finally, we found them.

They’d tortured my little girl with incredible ferocity, before finally killing her. Then I saw an unspeakable horror beyond Hell, or any possible description. It was the thing that was left of my wife.

I cried a river of tears, then suddenly stopped. The fright had left me entirely. The vast emptiness of space hollowed out my insides, engulfing me in a black, starless cloud. There was no such entity as love in this sick universe. It was beyond all time, beyond even space.

Beyond all time, beyond even space. What did that mean?

Our Supreme Commander, Traxis the Great, approached me with some overdue caution, as I appeared absolutely insane. But I was really just standing there, deathly still, feebly lost in thoughts of suicide.

He told me to take all the time I needed to recover. Recover?

“Use the time machine. Go back to Earth, visit your folks, and when you’re ready, then come back.” The time machine–?

“I don’t want to fight anymore,” I replied weakly. My heart was haunted by the thought of killing anyone for any reason, ever again.

“You’ve personally slain over a thousand Dracs. They did that horrible deed to your family because of your virtuous, loyal service to us. Retire if you like, and draw yourself a pension.”

Mental disability, the women doctors said. So I did.

A year later, I finally gave up the struggle of holding out. I decided to kill myself, having nothing to live for; I would have to die slowly, painfully, and ingloriously, after what I’d done to my family.

I would jump off the Qumran Bridge, an old relic leftover from bygone days of glory on the once-industrious planet of Ronson, where we’d found my loved ones, at which point my life had come to an end. I would linger where they’d perished, completely isolated from any hope.

And far away from the damned time machine! I didn’t even know where it was anymore, having lost its location years ago. Thank Yahway that such a temptation was stolen from me! I didn’t even deserve to go home, to the wretched old planet of Earth I’d originally fled, seeking my fortune, life, and nobility. What good was leaving the best place that ever existed, without being able to defend it anymore? I had doubted our noble cause, and not upheld the virtues of love and honour. I was too cowardly to fight the Dracs, and they were winning anyway. We were being quickly overwhelmed, losing planet after planet. There was no hope left, yet of course the Kels and others bravely continued to fight, probably to the very end. I was retired, so it wasn’t really desertion, but even that thought came to me. Though there was nothing I could do but pray to Yahway, or maybe even to God, it felt like I was deserting the Kels, and the entire universe. I was just like the damn Draconians, which I’d known all along. I wasn’t good enough to be a Kel warrior. Clearly, I deserved anything at all that happened to me.

What good was War, what price my wretched honour? My family had paid it in full. Now I must pay, too.

I stole an old space bus, took it to a deserted area of Ronson where even the Dracs never went, and marched several sandy, sweaty miles to the bridge, rusting and shimmering verdantly greenish under the molten sun. I would fall, break my body, and probably suffer for hours, which I clearly deserved, having thought things over carefully.

At the top of the bridge, I took one final breath, absurdly hopeful in the moment of my final reckoning that somehow there could be an end to the pain. Though I knew it was cowardly, I prayed to anyone listening that there would be. Then I took my dive, falling forever, and landed with a pronounced THUD! that scattered sand around my body.

Against my prayers, I lived! Writhing painfully in the sun-blackened sands, hideously hot, but so broken I couldn’t feel it at first, after some time I finally settled down, gasping. The pain was impossible to bear, beyond all human suffering. But I remembered what I’d done, my final plans to atone for a reckless life filled with guilt and stupidity. Though my every bone was broken, I would fulfill them.

I’d strapped powerful post-nuclear explosives to my back. They were on a timer, and in about three hours an explosion would rock the planet, destroying all Drac outposts and any chance they could hold the irradiated deserts anymore. The Ronsonians were all dead, or suffering unspeakably, so it didn’t matter. This was my last act of desperation, one calculated to cover up my disappearance mostly, not to further my good reputation. I hoped to go down in history as an insane fool.

Screaming and crying uncontrollably, begging the God I vaguely remembered and the Yahway I had pledged my soul to for the blessed peace of death, I began to crawl on my bleeding belly. Through a time unendingly long, I suffered, and was almost glad of it, due to my supreme mental anguish. Seemingly hours later, I finally despaired.

I wasn’t going to die. I had gone to Hell, forever, like I deserved. Looking straight at the blasting sun, I let it melt my eyes out, like the Draconians had always wanted. For I was one of them.

An eternity later, making myself feel all the pain I could muster, I crawled into an abandoned building. The bombs had not gone off yet, and I guessed they never would. Fainting, I shook myself awake, knowing why I hadn’t bled to death yet. It was my destiny.

I was stone blind, and without mercy made myself lurch to my feet. With my years of Kellarian training, I was able to perform such an act of titanic strength, but I didn’t know where I was going. God didn’t love me anymore. Yet something rattled through my broiling brain, the words I’d heard across a remorseless distance so long ago:

Beyond all time, beyond even space, that’s where they keep love. That’s where you can find it, that’s the only place. Beyond all time, beyond even space, beyond any meaning. The only place is with God.

I laughed weakly, insanely, knowing there was no such thing as love! And I fell down, rolling, and bumped into something that felt peculiarly familiar. It was hot to the touch. I held it in my hated, bleeding fingertips, which had slowly scraped off all their nails on the desert’s rocky floor, and without any sight knew it instantly.

My memory said it was a hyper-dimensional resonator, easily
connectible to a space-time modulator for the necessary power boosting, which uses a tesia coil to generate the zero vector. The HDR, both invented and built by the legendary genius Steven L. Gibbs, of course, only moves one a few years in time either way, without the STM attached to it. You could make big money off the stock market, but so what?

If I had my family back, hang the stock market, hang adventure, and hang me. God, I begged, save the universe. Make it whole.

My shaking hands connected the two, the glowing electromagnet overheated, and there was a blinding flash of light with a loud POP! I bilocated. My mind and body swerved into two directions as the POP! lingered, not redly volcanic like a firecracker, but suckingly small, like a mysteriously vague blue balloon.

This time, there were no violent waves of dizziness and nausea. Instead, I arose, looking wildly around me. I could see.

There were people everywhere, happy smiling faces strolling past gorgeous statuary and portraits on the colourful museum walls, chatting amiably about the most fascinating topics. Ronsonians. I’d never really seen them before, in all of their splendour and majesty.

“Look! It’s that famous retired Head Major General of the vast Kelliconian Empire, What’s His Name! Oh, I’m sorry! Whatever is your name?” chortled an overweight, buxom lady spilling over with expensive jewelry. “What?” I gasped, in a raspy and totally unfamiliar voice.

Looking over at an antique silvery mirror, lost in a cloud of confusion, I could only gape at my new reflection. I was over ten feet tall, with magnificently flowing blond hair spilling over my uniformed and medallioned shoulders. I was wearing the gold chain I’d taken off the dead Drac Commander around my muscular, scaly green neck…scaly? Green? A pale, winsome shade of green, and quite attractive, really! I cut a nobly tall, combination Kel and Drac figure, and I knew the gold chain had never belonged to any “Drac Commander.” It was mine. It had been mine all along, a treasured wedding present from my wife.

It took hours of explaining matters to me, by the distinguished Ronsonian scientists, to learn what I’d accidentally accomplished. The bombs had gone off, somewhere back there in time, when I had miserably gone unconscious. Due to the lingering aftereffects of my previous time travel, a space-time continuum was instantly created, which had thrown me through the flux I’d experienced again, when I’d first used the time machine. It brought me back to the moment when I’d connected the blackly seductive machine to its smoothly white counterpart. But something important had been altered, as inalterable but flowing past events had entered the continuum, changing my reality.

There never has been any evil, slaver Draconian Empire, nor a separately good Kellarian one. We have been the Kelliconian Empire since time immemorial, and our duty is to police the universe, making sure that all hosted planets are safe from disaster or any attack by outside forces, though there never are or were any. We’re fortuitously locked by time and space into a graciously eternal, infinite peace.

My job is to continuously scout and monitor the Kelliconian Empire, and attend to any problems or troubles our widespread, mutually helpful alliance of thousands of planets ever has. And my family?

My wife, Ikanya, is beautiful and moral as ever, and now over ten feet tall, as I am. I can finally kiss her without craning my neck, and she is the most wonderfully vibrant shade of emerald green you can imagine. And our little daughter, Tirana, is fair and glowing as ever, but mysteriously darker, with deeply green skin covered in fishlike scales that protect her from any harm. She plays constantly with her brother Yakanyo, a handsomely tall lad of twelve who thinks he’s already a man, here on our brilliantly twinly moonlit planet, far away from any such imaginary planet as “Earth.” Sometimes, I tell the children chilling fictional tales of it, and wildly weird stories about strange “wars” we once fought there.

“Silly Daddy,” they chant in unison, sometimes. “There’s no such thing as ‘war.’ What on Calarico are you talking about?”

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

Overpopulation in Ohio – A Murder Mystery

Overpopulation in Ohio – A Murder Mystery

By Karen S. Cole

Word Count: 3,700

Fiction Based on Fact Murder Mystery:

There was a murder I didn’t exactly participate in around Gahanna, Ohio in the 1970s. I simply told my father to ask “the guy at work” to pick me up, implying something. I think that man, who’s dead by now, murdered his wife and buried her somewhere. Up until now, I’m not sure if I caused those murders, or was only an innocent victim. Did it matter that I asked my Dad an open-ended question, more like a command, one which meant I was giving up on life in order to become a murder victim?

I ran alongside the road with my track team members, two girls, in front of me, running oh about a quarter mile ahead. I didn’t think they could hear me if I screamed. We were way out in the fields and farmlands of Ohio, and we were the long distance girls’ track team of Gahanna Lincoln High School. I had been expecting the guy to show up, the man from Dad’s work. I’d seen him in a photograph, and he looked like he was being picked on by the guy looming behind him in the photo, probably on a daily basis. Dad’s work could be odd sometimes.

He was a mentally disabled WWII veteran of the US Navy, retired, working at North American Rockwell in Ohio. He was prone to violent temper tantrums and liked to tease me into crying. He’d then get extremely angry, running me down and screaming like a male banshee in my streaming yellow face. I thought he was going to kill me, several times, but Mom always stopped him from falling over the edge. She was psychically well, had the patience and mannerisms of a saint, and held us all together like glue. I miss them both royally. I was their youngest, the princess, why we lived in Ohio.

I had to choose whether or not to stop, let the guy come out of his white sedan car, and maybe then I could fight him, but I didn’t know enough yet on how to fight with someone. That takes karate, judo, kung fu, martial arts training. I wouldn’t attain any of that until years later, when I went to college. I only vaguely knew how to side kick from watching David Carradine on “Kung Fu,” the television show in the 1970s. I was running with the girls’ track team during the early summer of 1977, when this terrible event transpired. I would later win my high school letter, but for now the man had come to me, and was swerving in front of me, constantly cutting me off.

So I wouldn’t stop running, even though I felt like some sort of female Jerry Lewis, and I was constantly running, more so than he ever did in his entire jaded celebrity life. I ran and ran and ran, achingly slowly, as the guy from Dad’s work constantly cut alongside me, at perfect 45 degree angles about two feet ahead of me each time. I had to pace myself so that I was not run over by the nose of his car. It was white and unfamiliar, like the Lincoln used by James Earl Ray when he shot Dr. King in 1968. Anyway, the driver kept cutting a perfect angle in front of me; I kept thinking it was a sign of certain death, the perfection of how he angled the car each time. It surely meant he had a gun ready, armed with an expensive silencer.

Did that tell me something about the driver being too innocuous to truly be innocent in an overcrowded Ohio? There was plenty of wide open spaces and fields dedicated to spreading, major commercial farmlands, with smaller farms being sold out to the government on a regular basis back then, so it was overcrowded maximally in Ohio’s major cities. People rode bicycles on the sidewalks, and the major arterials were clogged with cars and other vehicles. The papers claimed statistics showed looming overpopulation, and my Dad believed Ohio was getting crowded with people, coming in like we did from elsewhere, to the beauty of a nearly East Coast State that was loaded down mainly with farmlands. I read recently on the Internet that Ohio is now more overcrowded than ever, but I don’t know who is keeping such statistics, or what they are used for, really.

I read in Mad Magazine in the 1970s that people across the entire planet “have nowhere else to go.” I learned at school from one of my male teachers that we had reached the ends of the Earth in the early Twentieth Century, and that is why the Holocaust, the Purges and the Gulag etc. happened, as historically the right wing elements of male history have decided the planet was overpopulated. This also led to mass homicides through knifings in Mexico several centuries ago, due to a crying need for more protein – albeit human food – and the huge, million member genocide by gore-covered machetes of Rwanda, Africa in 1994. So this came to me right there in Ohio – I would become a murder victim to stop from ever getting pregnant, along with other girls, and would not add to the problem. Murder was surely better in some way than concentration death camps. It meant dying on your feet and not living on your knees, hopefully!

Anyway, the guy in the white car looked like someone hideous mentioned by Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl in his Holocaust book, cutting perfect, deathly still and grave-like marker corners right in front of me, to let me know I was a lifelong faggot going straight to Hell – simply because I’d joined the girl’s track team, a recent event under Title 9 for women’s sports back in the 1970s; or because I had accidentally arranged the murder of his daughter. The truth is that I walked up to my father while he was reading the papers, after having gotten sick and tired of waiting around for something like that guy from Dad’s work to show up in my life…his daughter was blond and blue eyed, gorgeous but a little odd looking…tall, not doing her homework. Unless the girl I thought was his daughter was the class valedictorian, and was never killed by anyone.

Something like God was screaming at me that the girl I saw in the cafeteria, not doing her homework, was the one, though. But I was lonely, tired of waiting for a nonexistent Prince Charming. She looked like she had one of those prearranged, down a road of Soccer Motherhood and bliss. But she also looked phony, off and all-pervading…gone evil. Ghostly, outlined in glowing white as if barely in human existence. It may have been my autism, where I sometimes see people appear in a moon aura of grey, black or white, as if they’re ethereal or otherwise not particularly here.

Perhaps her Dad kept her worried into place. Was that blonde girl his daughter? I practically zoomed sideways, falling into the seat in front of her. I tried complimenting her, telling her that if she wore two different earrings, they might offset her beauty and make her look much more appealing. I didn’t like judging her, so I tried to talk, make her smile, something. I was afraid to tell her stuff, for fear of being labeled a lesbian. I didn’t want to care about anyone, considering the overall situation – especially some all-white girl much taller than me. She could be a model, someone who didn’t need to put forth any relative effort in order to attain an almost perfect life, sitting in the cafeteria and smiling completely without any fear for her personal safety. She didn’t have to worry about being bullied by the other girls and the miserable, misbegotten boys, like I did. It was an everyday event with me. She didn’t run track way out in the countryside, alone, without the other runners keeping alongside her, like I did.

The two girls far ahead of me on my team, a straight quarter mile away and shimmering off in the distance like twin fairies, couldn’t possibly hear me. I waited while the guy in the white car kept cutting me off, at least half a dozen or more times, maybe a dozen, maybe two dozen. It was a long moment of forcing me to realize that he had a lovely “naked gun” as well as his gun in the car; maybe he also had a nice, sharp Jack the Ripper knife. Maybe the perfect death reference was subterfuge, hiding what he was really planning to do to me. Take half an hour, two hours or more to rape, cut up and kill me, inserting the knife into my vagina slowly, or whatever.

It was a long time of worshipful respect for the Ripper, and the lessons that had taught me. According to the Victorian Era book I had read, girls like me think it means sex. Hope lasts until the very end, does it not? Screaming with my mouth taped over, nobody to hear until it was too late. My body dumped along the road, in a secluded woody area, similar to the Green River in Washington State. Excruciatingly alive, waiting for the ants and other bugs to slowly finish me off, my mind gone coldly to die of eventual thirst. It takes a week to leave from no water, they taught me at school. Since I was athletic, maybe two weeks, biting my lips to produce blood to suck on.

And yet angrily, fearfully, I longed solely to oppose that guy, if he ever stopped the car and pulled over to uh, greet me. Or grab me and stuff me in. I waited for centuries, millennia of sloppy, Jerry Lewis style running around the place, stumbling over myself, arms and legs crossing and crisscrossing and flailing around in a spastic, terrorized manner, as if I was signaling for help from a nonexistent male, jealous God hating girls like me and who wanted to teach me a horrible lesson. Something like my Dad, who hated me more, who had arranged for this while laying the blame at my own doorstep?

It must be a huge fat man. I was right; I saw his form as I glanced through the window, so terrified I was barely able to turn my head to the left. I picked him out years later in the two photos Dad had of his work. I guess my father did, maybe innocently, mention me to the guy at his work, pent up and frustrated after years of not getting promoted, being picked “up” in a funny way by another guy at work, a dark man obviously making fun of him. The dude at work was innocent in a hideous way; but how innocent is a man who’s willing to kill someone because they think they are the “wrong” sexual preference, just because they are newly in a women’s sport? Or are too willing to give up trying?

He must have killed his wife, he surely killed his daughter. What he did, I don’t know. Daddy, he dropped bombs on the Japanese during WWII, so he didn’t particularly care because he was trained to kill during boot camp in WWII. Totally necessary for the country. He was a decorated WWII veteran, and to him his daughter seemed to be a latter day hippie, gay, odd somehow. To him and my Mom. I wasn’t really one, I just liked to dress up differently for various reasons. And maybe the whole thing was sexism, where those two men had no real respect for women at all.

Anyway, I didn’t ask Daddy to kill me. I just stated, “Dad, have the guy from work come pick me up.” Not a question – a command. Did he mistake it for an order from his Navy days? Mom told him to do a lot of things, such as stop drinking beer; did Dad listen to me on this, when I asked him to let me give up trying? Inescapable fate, like Mad Magazine said. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Nothing. Where was I going to go in life? I did my homework faithfully, and I was getting ready to go to college. But my low thyroid made me tired all the time, shoving me to push myself to the outer limits. Work for Dad and that guy must’ve been simple, easy and incredibly difficult all at the same time. However, my Dad had a Trick Knee and that made work, much, much more difficult for him. So he went to work and three days later, the guy from work showed up to become Jack the Ripper at me.

You know, serial murder and cannibalism in crowded apartment buildings. The gifts that keep on giving, that people just know all about, and can tag everyone in some simian way about. Repeating ourselves over and over, without ever doing anything real about the problem. Such labor has to be through the authorities, paid work. And 99% of the time, it involves coming in after the crime has been committed, after the deed is done, after the bodies are found. The murderer may finally be stopped, but only after he’s ruined dozens to hundreds of lives in an overcrowded, fitful world.

The guy from Dad’s work, after he tried to get me into the car, failing miserably to do so because he wouldn’t stop the car and I wouldn’t stop running…well, after I shouted the single word “HELP!” at the tops of my lungs, with it coming out like a “peep” – I thought for sure no way could it be heard by anyone – my two fellow female track runners, Nancy and Jeanie, turned around and raced back toward the car. As dark-outlined, screaming, claw-extending shadowy little Valkyries. My autism made them both look unreal, like shadows without any form or substance. They dove in the car’s direction, and you should have seen that white man jerk the car into a perfect U-turn, right around, heading back the way he’d come with screeching tires. I saw through the window that he was now far more terrified, horrified and scared than I was, having witnessed the Valkyries. He zoomed away like a vanilla bat out of interminable Hell, beaten and found guilty out of his mind – ecstatic, I jumped into the air, laughing!

The car was gone; I didn’t have paper or pen in my pocket to write down that horrible man’s license plate. Maybe I should have memorized the number, but we were way out in the country and I would’ve needed to chant it silently for the next half hour. I was far too tired and too happy to do so. It was only two seconds before the man in the white car took off. I wonder what happened to his wife and daughter. Did he bury his wife out in the backyard, with no one caring about it or maybe he did it at night; Dad told me the girl’s body was found two blocks away from our house. He said she was drenched in semen, her arms and legs were broken, she was cut everywhere and that her eyes were gouged out of her unsmiling face, with blood caked all over her body.

“Do you want to go see?” Daddy gloated. I was in the bathroom, waiting too long in my shocked response. “No,” I sighed. “That’s okay.” Daddy smiled, the worst knowing smirk I’d seen in my short life. “By now, the ambulance has picked her up. Too bad; they don’t know if she is dead or alive.” I didn’t need to find out more; nor did I like the way Daddy looked. I wondered if he was proud of me for having escaped, fighting a battle of wits where someone other than me, normally luckier in our privileged society, had lost. Should I have tried harder to rescue her? She was all-white and tall, I was off-white and short, and maybe she usually did her homework at home and not at school; but if that had indeed been her Dad, apparently she had nowhere else to go.

Actually, I think that “dead or alive” comment indicated there was no dead body. Dad had laughingly sent the guy from work to “teach me a lesson,” being worried about my tendency to range around the Ohio countryside, running down country roads and touring for miles and miles on my ten-speed bicycle. It was merely a stern warning that the sort of thing he was describing could happen – he gave a damn about me. I loved my Dad; he provided quite well for us, moving us to Ohio so I could grow up in an innocent, untrammeled place, one without too many people. We were disappointed soon after we moved there, with a giant freeway thrusting into our neighborhood. The city put up a concrete sound deflection wall, but you could hear the roaring noises wherever you went. “They opened the gates,” Dad sighed one time while driving, indicating lines, lines and more lines of stacked up cars going by while he tried vainly to pull out into traffic. He clearly meant the Gates of Hell. I believe Hell is in this life, not the next, but I try to deal with it the best I possibly can.

Dad is dead, and so is my Mom as of last year. I can say this now, and get it off my chest: I don’t really know if walking up to my father and giving up my life and everything counts. Was my idea based on the Holocaust; was I an idiotic little mini-Hitler? Planning was involved; I thought I might be the first in a string of serial murders, and I also thought I might not be the first victim after all. I reasoned that if I weaseled out, there might be other such female victims, as I had gotten the guy at work started on murdering girls and maybe women. I was willing to take a chance, yet had a feeling I might get away, while having to realize what I had done. However, what I really believe to this day is that the guy from Dad’s work had already murdered somebody, probably his wife…and that somehow I came along, with my usual hideous luck, seemingly someone he could blame his vile actions on.

After all, wouldn’t they have had to make one more child, eventually? Maybe he had slowed it down to one kid, through intemperate habits like overeating, smoking, drinking, seeing hookers, etc. That would be sad, if they only had that one girl and no others, and he still felt like Ohio was overcrowded enough or he needed vengeance enough to murder people. On the day after the car had cut me off, I decided that when I grew up, I would only have one baby, and no more after that. I would battle overpopulation that way, even if it never did anyone any good – I was sick of murder and its aftermath.

Recently, I looked up the local papers in both Gahanna and Columbus, finding no evidence of any such murders or bodies left two blocks down from where we lived. Maybe my Dad and the guy from work had pulled a joke on me. Surely the murder would have been reported. One week after the incident, I read in the Columbus Dispatch that a man had gone around in a white car, shooting 100 men, women and children before he turned himself in as the 101rst victim. He explained that his crime was due to overpopulation in Ohio. I don’t know if he was the same guy or not, and what I meant by I am not exactly white is that I’m “racially impure” or otherwise have more than just freckles under very pale skin. 101 in number is a reference to a children’s movie by Walt Disney, “A 101 Dalmatians.” Those are the dogs that are…covered in spots. Black spots, making them look like me. I was the only kid in my whole high school with freckles, so far as I knew, and it was like that nearly everywhere I went in life.

But the other white, etc. people in an overcrowded Ohio? The type that don’t talk, don’t dance, don’t do anything but drugs, or smoke and drink? That stand around idly chatting, chain smoking, swilling cheap beer and wine, lonely, bored and disinterested in life? The type that believes in Jesus above all else, snorting cocaine in the bathroom and shooting up heroin in the bedroom? In an afterlife, something to do with the theory of relativity, all orchestrated by men somehow? By people locked into power struggles, making up organized religion, causing an overpopulated, overbuilt, overcrowded grey-shaded world without any foresight, mercy or lasting useful memories?

What happened to the three of us, my Dad, me and the guy from work? I left for college and didn’t find out, except Dad died a few years back. I tried to turn in the murderer one day after my father said it had happened. All I could tell the authorities concerned a fat man in a white sedan car; the cop I called over to our house was righteously disgusted because I couldn’t give him any further details. For my Mom’s sake, and because Dad was psychologically “off,” I didn’t mention the guy from work; there was no report in the papers either. Maybe none of it so much as took place. Maybe I dreamed up the whole thing; but I remember too much, especially running down the road.

I grabbed Jerry Lewis tight in my limping, heat-stricken mind as I forever continued to ploddingly run, after the white car had fled, after the two girls has run far away from me once more, and I had to continue along a narrow, dirt-lined straight path, forcing my body universally forward. Eventually, I grew up, married, bore that girl child of my dreams, not a killer at heart in any way. She’s a runner herself, grown up now too, and she learned her basic karate skills from me.

That old guy from Dad’s work is certainly dead by now, as he was outright obese and otherwise patently ignoble. We were all German Americans, really, prone to the most disastrous of habits. I hope he’s not reading this. I don’t even remember his name.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

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If Puget Sound is Falling Down

If Puget Sound is Falling Down

By Karen S. Cole

Word count: 3,000


This article won awards for featuring what you should do before, during and after an earthquake. Largely, fall down on the floor, get in a doorway, and cover up – that sort of thing. It might help to be concerned about your surroundings, bottle up some water, stow away some canned food and stably pin down your water heater and any loose shelving. Planned use in advance of these simple techniques works in a time of great crisis.


William Steele, the Seismology Lab Coordinator at the University of Washington Geophysics Program, has a son, Chris, who goes to elementary school. “He comes in sometimes and he loves to do stuff.” It seems he’d recently put a sticker on one of the lab’s monitors, and his father had some trouble accessing the equipment. “What an excuse!” Steele never did get into the program he’d wanted to show me.

December 4th of last year there was a magnitude 5.1 quake in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Aftershocks were felt in Washington State. I had headed out to the UW in search of information on recent earthquake activity in the Puget Sound region.

“Oregon is relatively quiet next to Washington. But this year, we’ve had an enormous amount of activity in Oregon, counter to past patterns.” Klamath Falls couldn’t be noisier, said Steele, ticking off the numbers: September 4th, 5.9; Sept. 20th, 5.9, 5.0, 4.3; Dec. 4th, 5.1; and Christmas Day, 4.0, 3.4.

Most of our local activity in the Puget Sound region is recorded by the UW’s lab equipment. They have an emergency preparation computer program called “Beat the Quake,” hailing from the land of quakes, California, which has suffered through quite a lot of severe earthquake damage lately. That’s the program Steele had trouble running on his computer. Fortunately, the UW’s Seismology Lab has far more emergency preparedness information “so we don’t have to begin from ground zero” in the likely event of an earthquake. Steele is also the Public Information Officer covering quakes through the UW. “We have 135 seismic stations throughout Washington and Oregon, currently operating, and we’re expanding. We really cover a tremendously broad area.”

They locate quakes precisely, then determine the magnitude (quantity of total energy released by the quake), location (area affected by the quake), and epicenter (location on the surface directly above the focus, or place where an earthquake originates.)

They collect data about the geology of the region as well. “It’s critical data. This lab is an educational center for graduate students in geophysics.” They also educate citizens. School groups bring in students, and Steele speaks at civic organizations, encouraging people to take action and make themselves safer from earthquakes.

Of course, the big question everyone asks is, “When?”

“We’re not able to put down a date. It’s more complicated because three types of quakes occur in the Puget Sound region. The most common are deep earthquakes.

“Signals travel through the planet’s crust, sometimes all the way from the other side.” Events from anywhere show up on their helicorder sheets, making an analog, a 24-hour record, of every quake. For example, the Klamath Falls quakes, which are very near California on the Oregon coast.

“We cover the Cascade Range, and have multiple stations on every volcano. We have a good station at Mt. Baker, adequate to cover the region.” Earthquakes around volcanoes are very common.

The lab shares data with California for quakes occurring on the border of California and Oregon. “We’re part of the Washington Regional Seismic Network.” Steele showed me a map of Pacific Northwest Seismicity, 1969-1991. There were huge blue clusters in Puget Sound. What are those, I asked. “Moderate, shallow, and deep quakes. The deep clusters are in the Puget Basin.”

Deep earthquakes, the ones you really tend to write home about, are the largest in magnitude as measured on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. The values usually range from 1.0 (not felt) to 7.0 (extreme damage to buildings and land surfaces). They can go even higher, as they have in recent deep quakes in Alaska.

Here’s what’s happening in Puget Sound: about 300 kilometers or more out from the coast is where the deep quakes are generated. There’s a ridge 500 to 700 kilometers out called the Juan de Fuca Ridge, and new material, new sea floor, is being deposited all the time along it. It pushes the Juan de Fuca plate toward the North American plate underneath the Seattle area. The Juan de Fuca plate moves an average of two inches a year, towards us, lifting the other plate.

A border zone locks it up, an interface between the two plates that stops the oceanic plate, making it subduct beneath us, forcing the ocean plate down into the mantle of the Earth. This boundary is called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and extends from the middle of Vancouver Island in British Columbia down to Northern California.

The Earth’s mantle lies beneath its brittle crust. It’s semi-solid, due to tremendous heat and pressure. “Our Cascade volcanoes are probably there because of plate subduction beneath us. The push deforms the crust and builds up tremendous stresses. Right now, the coast of Washington is rising. It’s bulging up.” The oceanic plate is “cold rock” and the shock of the two forces meeting leads to deep earthquakes. Washington has recently experienced two large ones, in 1949 and 1965.

A flyer from the lab states that roughly 1,000 earthquakes per year are recorded in Washington and Oregon. “Between one and two dozen of these cause enough ground shaking to be felt by residents. Most are in the Puget Sound region, and few cause any real damage. However, based on the history of past damaging earthquakes and our understanding of the geologic history of the Pacific Northwest, we are certain that damaging earthquakes (magnitude 6.0 or greater) will recur in our area, although we have no way to predict whether this is more likely to be today, or years from now.” Steele thinks it will be soon.

“In 1949, there was a severe earthquake in Olympia, 7.1. Eight people were killed and there was millions of dollars worth of property damage. The quake was located 70 kilometers deep.

“In 1965, there was a magnitude 6.5 quake between Seattle and Tacoma.” Both earthquakes were felt as far away as Montana. But there were no aftershocks, as is usual during a deep quake. The infamous aftershocks, known to catch people in the middle of recovering from a bad earthquake, happen during land-based shallow earthquakes. The ocean-based shocks occurred once, causing ground tremors that lasted several minutes. “The 1965 quake killed about five people, and again there was millions of dollars of property damage.” Other deep events, difficult to calculate from records of the times, occurred in 1882, 1909, and 1939. “Every 35 years or so a 6.0+ magnitude quake occurs beneath Puget Basin. The whole region along the coast will shift at once. When it finally builds up enough pressure to kick up, it’ll be a big one.”

Eighty percent of the quakes on the planet happen along the Pacific North West Rim, which is referred to as “The Ring of Fire” because of all our volcanic activity. In 1964, one year before this area’s last big event, south-central Alaska generated a monster 9.3 quake, shaking the ground for twenty minutes, generating tidal waves that decimated Seward’s coast, affected 34,000 square miles, and killed 143 people. And there’s been recent large quakes in Cape Mendecino, California, and Parkfield, California, infamous for ground shaking, in 1992.

Brian Atwater of the USGS (United States Geological Service) and the UW geology department has done studies along the coasts of Washington and Oregon. He’s found a kind of layered soil…”what he found…ghost forests killed by the last big quakes. Subduction zone material covered by coarse black sand.” A layer gradually turned into forest floor and then the sand layer. “As bulging continues, coastline rises, and low-lying areas are flushed clean by salt water. Stress released during the quake makes the coastline subside by seven or eight feet. It ‘drops.’ If you’re living at five feet above sea level, it’s not a very comfortable thing.”

Earthquakes also generate large tsunamis, or tidal waves; the biggest ones, generated by larger quakes, can rip up an entire coastline for miles, wiping out bridges, roads, and buildings. The really great subduction zone quakes, 9.0 or more, only occur about once a century on the face of the planet. Strangely, a big quake may result in only about three-and-a-half minutes worth of strong ground shaking, which doesn’t sound like much. “One recent California quake was only seventeen seconds of strong ground motion, a 7.1 quake. A 7.0 quake releases the equivalent of 199,000 tons of TNT in energy; a 9.0 releases 200 million tons, or 17,000 atomic bombs’ worth of force.

“The difference between an 8 and a 9 is greater than the difference between a 2 and an 8, because of the logarithmic scale. The force increases exponentially. It gets 30 times greater each time.” I wondered if it ever goes up to 10.0.

By carbon-14 dating organic matter in ground and sea levels, “scientists can determine approximate dates for events going back 10,000 years.” Finding clues about these earthquakes involves both painstaking research and educated guesswork.

Research has recently identified a Seattle fault which generated a large quake between 1,000 to 1,100 years ago. “There were landslides, and a huge seiche-when something big falls in the water, creating waves like tsunamis. Large block landslides occurred in forests. Restoration Point on Bainbridge Island rose twenty feet from Puget Sound in seconds during that event.”

Buildup from glacial ice sheets once covering the continent make it difficult to analyze shallow crust faults. But geologists are pretty sure there are two major Seattle faults. The biggest one runs from the north tip of Mercer Island through Eastgate to the Kingdome, just north of West Seattle. The other fault runs through White Center, parallel to the bigger one. In 1872, an estimated 7.3 shallow quake caused what seismologists call “felt reports” from observers, the only evidence of some older quakes. Native Americans tell legends about what must have been some very sizeable earthquakes and tsunamis.

Nowadays, all the real-time telemetry (automatic transmission of data from a distant source to a receiving station) comes through in the back of the lab, where Steele poured me a cup of Starbucks coffee at their metal sink in a very equipment-crowded space. “Relays ‘zap’ activity energy in nanoseconds to the lab. Before people in a region know what’s going to hit them, we do.” The helicorders monitor 23 stations on analog. “We focus on volcanoes. All stations, including the ones on helicorders, go onto the computer system in the next room. The discriminator in the back takes FM carrier signals and separates them from seismic signals, leaving an amplified seismic signal. It goes to the front room, changing into digital information the computer can read.

“If it picks up a ‘jump’ (a skip in the needle on the helicorder) on a station, it checks other stations and records all data, whether there’s a signal or not. If it’s a big quake, it does estimates of the magnitude etc. via programs, beeps the people (like Steele), and sends information to seismologists around the region.” Steele might hear a “beep” anytime.

As I drank my coffee, Steele told me he’s a grad student, his life’s partner works, and together they support their family, renting a house in Wallingford and raising two kids. “It’s a rewarding job, but…the rewards are not monetary.” Nonetheless, he feels treated as a colleague by everyone, and has a good working relationship with all his “fellows at the lab.”

About earthquake preparedness, Steele is adamant. “The secret is not fear and loathing in Seattle, and that we have to hide under our beds. Let’s get ready. Our schools need to get to the point where we can withstand a 7.4 earthquake. How many little bodies do we need under bricks before we start spending some money?” Right now, there are no definite laws enforcing earthquake building codes, “if the building code years ago said you could pile bricks without mortar on top of each other.”

Unreinforced masonry creates structures that fall during even moderate earthquakes. “The entire wall of a school can fall down and kill students. A brick that falls three stories doesn’t slow down,” he said, referring to the death of a boy during the 1965 earthquake. Steele is certain such deaths are preventable.

At least six schools in Oregon have unreinforced structures, bricks that can fall and fill a doorway, blocking the exit. “Retrofit them, or tear them down and build another school. If a school has been considered unsafe for a quake lately, they can sell it, and it becomes a senior center. No laws stop that. These buildings need to be brought up to code or taken down. Deaths will happen unless we act. India just had a 6.8 quake…tens of thousands dead. There needs to be water and food stored away to last 72 hours. You need to get under a table and ride it out; get down on the ground, under something; check to see if you smell gas, and turn it off; electricity, too.”

You should get to know your community resources, Steele said. And in case of severe aftershocks, if you’re in a building “you should wait until the shaking stops, and then get out.” Lots of people are killed by falling debris while evacuating buildings.

The number of FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) in Woodinville, headed by Chris Trisler, is (206) 487-4645. It’s their job to assist people with earthquake preparedness.

What does Steele see in the immediate future? “I expect more of the same. Probably some quakes greater than 4.0 in the Puget Sound area. While we’ve been talking, there’ve been events in Klamath Falls,.” As I write this, there are aftershocks east of the Dec. 4 “sequence” starting in Klamath Falls. “The question is, are we going to recognize the danger and do something about it, or are we going to wait until we have an adequate death toll? I’d like to see a dedicated plan and some leadership from the state. It’ll be a lot of money.”

Steele said a colleague of his said it best: “The next great disaster will happen as soon as we forget about the last one.”

Some of the information in this article is from “Washington State Earthquake Hazards,” by Lawrance, Qamar, and Thorsen, 1988.)


Apparently, you may hear a very loud, building sound before the frenzy begins. The below is from “How to Survive in Earthquake Country,” a FEMA pamphlet. Find out about your risks, at home, and in your workplace. Get more specifics from the American Red Cross, or FEMA.

Learn what causes injuries: parts falling off building exteriors and interiors; flying pieces of broken glass; overturning bookcases; unanchored water heaters; storage facilities; anything made of glass; fires from damaged gas lines; electric lines; wood stoves; chimneys; toxic fumes.

Create emergency preparedness plans: find safe spots in your home; identify escape routes; plan two ways out of each room; pick two places to meet, outside your house and outside the neighborhood if you can’t return home; show everyone how to shut off water, gas and electricity; practice your plans, now.

Read “Your Family Disaster Plan,” and “Emergency Preparedness Checklist,” which you can get from FEMA.

Reduce earthquake hazards: evaluate your home; strap water heaters and gas appliances down; remember, stiff items snap; place heavy objects on lower shelves; anchor everything heavy; anchor hanging objects; support community earthquake preparedness.

Businesses, schools, daycares, neighborhoods, churches, clubs: hold workshops. Assemble a disaster preparedness kit: store food, water, clothes, a first aid kit, a radio, flashlights, and batteries, good for 72 hours of use, in your car trunk, home, and office. For more details, consult the FEMA brochure, “Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit.”

During/after an earthquake: stay calm; don’t panic or run. Earthquakes are usually preceded by loud sounds, so take quick action. You actually have about two seconds, so get ready for that earthquake now to protect yourself and others. Stay where you are: drop, cover and hold something solid, or take immediate cover under a heavy desk or table, in a doorway, hallway, or against inside walls. Turn away from glass. Keep away from chimneys, windows, tall bookcases, and objects that might fall.

Evacuate only after the shaking stops. Use the stairs, not the elevator. Remember, aftershocks may occur at any time. Listen to a radio or TV for instructions. Outdoors: move away from buildings, trees, and utility wires. Sit on the ground until the shaking stops. Flee inland immediately when near a coastline. Check for injuries. Do not move seriously injured people unless they’re in danger. Indoors: evacuate damaged buildings, as aftershocks could cause additional damage, or buildings can collapse.

Do not re-enter a building until it’s declared safe by responsible authorities. Don’t use the telephone except for emergencies; stay off the phone. Check for fires. Have a fire extinguisher, and know how to use it. Check utilities: gas, electric, and water lines may be broken. Gas: do not use matches, candles, open flames or electric switches indoors, because of possible gas leaks. If you smell gas, open windows, leave, and shut off the main gas valve, which is usually outside.

Electricity: if wiring is broken, shut off electricity at the main switch. Don’t touch anything near downed or damaged lines. Water: if water pipes are broken, shut off the supply at the main valve outside. Use water from ice cubes, water heaters, toilet tanks (if they don’t contain chemical cleaners). Clean up spills. Attend carefully to spills of potentially harmful materials such as medicines, drugs, and household cleaners. Provide adequate ventilation, as chemicals may combine to produce toxic gas. Remember to assist others in need.

And also remember: it’s not your fault. (Sorry about that, I couldn’t resist the joke.)


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen S. Cole writes. Ghost Writer, Inc. is an online affordable professional ghostwriting services agency. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters. We do book covers (front and back), graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. GWI has book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and a paid analysts service. We also do high-end pitch and presentation services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

The Last of a Dying Breed

The Last of a Dying Breed

Karen headshot

By Karen Cole

Word count: 800

Right here in downtown Seattle are half a dozen old-time newsstands, the kind that tend to be made of wood and painted green or brown, with a simple roof for shelter in a downpour, and a hard-edged lean-to look. Spare and Spartan, such booths have existed here since at least 1919. But the news hawkers are in deep danger of disappearing forever…potentially overnight.

Just as he closed for the day I met with one of the men in the downtown newsstands, peak-chinned and hawklike, green-eyed, small, lithe and sharp as a news hawker should be.

We sipped two dollars worth of coffee at the Turf near First in the Market’s part of downtown as he told me about his particular newsstand at Third and Union in front of the old Woolworth’s building.

“My name is Pat Hickey. I’ve been here since August of 1975.” Twenty-eight years hawking papers from inside an old run-down newsstand. “I manage the stand. My boss is Dennis Hogan.

“It was put up in 1919. The legendary Frank Turco opened up the stand. He ran it until his death in 1966. There have been 85 years of continuous service on this corner.

“Some of our customers are wealthy men who own horses and depend on us to sell their racing forms. We make most of our money selling the racing forms.

“When they built the bus tunnel and narrowed Third Avenue, we lost most of our car trade and never got it back.”

Times and PI sales have fallen off pretty badly over the years on account of so many vending racks on all the downtown corners.

“You see, people don’t depend on newspapers anymore, because they get their news off the television. The truth of the matter is that the downtown newsstand, for decades a fixture in all the major American cities, is going the way of the dinosaur.”

I interrupted Hickey with “I caught you just in time!”

“Well, sort of. Due to the fifteen cents profit per paper. It goes to the dealer or the owner of the vending rack. Ten cents is the wholesale price. We buy it for ten cents and we sell it for twenty-five, hence the fifteen cent profit.”

To clear fifteen dollars one would have to sell 100 papers.

“In the old days selling that many papers was nothing. Now to sell 100, one would have to have hot headlines or a great day.”

Frank Turco, Hickey told me, was middle-aged when he founded the first downtown newsstands.

“He came out from Pittsburgh, PA and he lost a leg in a train accident in Montana. He was quite an industrial entrepreneur. In not too many years, he had newsstands over a good portion of downtown Seattle.”

For a long time, he was one of downtown’s most recognizable faces; people in the thousands knew him by sight. In the 1940’s he ran for city council as a reform candidate.

“A reform candidate is one who’s going to, you know, radically reform the whole system. Politics in the 40s were very corrupt,” Hickey stated significantly. “Frank Turco was very involved in union politics. He was the head of Seattle’s newsboy union.

“It was sort of a closet union…it was set up for the benefit of the union to make money off the newsboys who made peanuts for money. Turco was a newsboy and believed in justice for the working man. You gotta handle that with a little more skill. He was exploiting the newsboys.”

Too soon, Hickey had to get back to his beloved newsstand.

“The idea is, you’re in a dinosaur, and you may be catching the tail end of something that really has a very long history.”

Downtown newsstands are almost as old as the cities. Over the years there have been hundreds of colorful newspaper vendors, such as PI Mary, an eccentric old lady who sold papers down on First. She went back to the Second World War. She would boldly go right into the First Avenue bars, and directly sell papers to the customers.

“We’ve definitely been a part of the fabric of downtown life. Unfortunately, most of the newsboys have been pushing up roses for a long, long time,” Hickey sighed.

When I left the newsstand, an unknown gambler in the booth, whispering to Hickey, “I.M. Anonymous” by name, closed its green doors at me as a definitive sign-off.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen Cole writes. GWI at is a renowned affordable online professional copy writers, book authors, ghost writers, copy editors, proof readers, coauthors, rewriters, book cover creation, graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, publishing assistance and book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and paid analysts service. We also do presentation and pitch services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.



Bubbleator 2010 – 2044

Bubbleator 2010 – 2044

Set in Seattle Science Fiction Story – Tongue in Cheek & Liberal Left

By Karen Cole

Word Count: 2,300


“We are like animalculae in a drop of water…” Fredric Brown
AN UNDERGROUND “BUBBLEATOR” TRANSIT SYSTEM operated for 34 years through President, Calaveras, and Snohomish Counties in Western Washington without suffering through one solitary mishap. The Regional Transit Authority’s “Vision 2010” plans were now well-realized, and you could go almost anywhere via underground transit – if you weren’t too claustrophobic.

Sat 4 JUL, 2044, President County’s Chief Exec Cho-M’Bobea lasercut the SoulGold(k) across Pioneer Square Main Station’s (and Sealth’s) newest public toy. The former King County had been renamed President County when Pres. Norm Rice, our second Black President, died in the Virus Riots of 2019. This was done along with renaming the City of Seattle to the “apropos” Native American name of Sealth, for Chief Sealth of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, who made peace with local snotty white people of 1856 A.D.

Construction on each colorful rainbow-painted Bubbleator or “shoebox car” in the brand-spanking new underground transit elevator system had commenced in December 2010, not being completed until March 2045. But by the time this story was told over the Net, TV, video, cells and all other handhelds, people were able to access most sections of this splendid aboveground and underground transit system. It was developed to be absolutely accessible to physically, mentally and spiritually challenged bods – no mercy for the able-bodied!

Literally 1000s of “shoeboxes” dotted the landscape of “Pretzel” County, 1342 in the City of Sealth alone. The 80 Underground Access Elevators of Pioneer Square propelled 20,000+ people an hour through SEAPAC’s three levels of transit, linking the rail systems, van transit, the flyways and the new underwater marine channels to cities all over Western Washington and downcoast into Oregon, California(k), and far, very far, down into Mexico.

CE M’Bobea, a naturalized human Pan-African, spraypainted her name with harmless vegetable dyes outside Main Station’s shoebox, or UAE, on the ever-changing Rainbow Motion Board. ComPugenta(k) cool air, sights, sounds, smells and textures emanated from the board, overpowering a crowd of metallically dressed men, women, kids and natuchildren(k) gathered to watch as members of SEAPAC’s Planning Committee prepared to ride the giant “Levitator.”

“You wouldn’t believe our track improvements,” murmured Zien Pea, a grown natuchild of ten and comember of 2044’s SPC, to a Globavid reporter from East Kenya, then a white-held territory.

The reporter, David Hopdotter, an Anti-Sectionist Jew, was a known crusader on behalf of multi-nationalist groups, and a Western Bloc government-paid news agent. He was nearly keeling over from ComPugenta’s Virtual Reality show, while most of the crowd could barely converse, even in TAP.

“Isn’t work boring you?” David mouthed back. He OMG hated TAP.

But Zien, eyes large and blue-green-golden, TAPPED slowly, in a way sure to enforce her ideas SOUNDLY into David’s mind, that she LOVED the shiny clothes generated for comembers by Seabell/the Coastal Transit Project.

“I HATE autoleather. It’s SQUISHY, growing viraclothes in labs. They mined TONS of Snohomish County gold building the tracks!” She pulled his sleeve, signaling “NO WAY.” Always TAPPING the latest permafrozen slang, Zien.

You TAP using the other’s whole body. That lets in the Deaf-Blind. Zien could see and hear, some, but used a Chair. Suddenly, the entire crowd surged forward when the huge Main Elevator doors opened, letting everyone into the biggest shoebox in town. Zien and 50 other Chairpeds backed in. Padded grabbars merged as the thirty-foot wide doors whispered shut on the hunplus-foot deep shoebox. An unseen natuvoice came on, explicating the UAEs.

“Built to accommodate Sealth’s six-and-a-half million people, not to mention the two million traveling through, the shoeboxes also help generate energy, pumping out excess water from First Level. A circulating hydraulic system drives the new, totally safe, pollution-free Levitator…” droned their invisible female robot, as the leviathan elevator swooped around in loopdyloop passages.

“We’re going through the pretzel now,” David gently TAPPED on Zien’s right shoulder, “If my stomach survives all the twisting.”

Sure enough, the UAE inserted into the Water Table, the very first Underground restaurant in Sealth, just waylay enough to switch corridors while inundating all 328 passengers with gentle virtual reality tastes and aromas, one meal with drink at a time on “menu display.” Only Tokyo’s sub-cafes surpassed its quality.

The giant elevator then merrily zoomed along sideways, its foot-thick Plass front allowing full display of 1000s of tiny restaurants/drug bar fronts, markets and businesses, the six-mile Mall River Forest Park, the PoliBuilding, and Sealth Aquarium’s Salmon (Coho, Chum and Steelhead) Causeway on Mezzanine Level. David loved the salmon causeway, mouthing and TAPPING at Zien constantly about fishing privileges and waiting lists.

“Next month, honey, when I drop in from Qakar (Kenya’s new Pan-African name) I’m gonna take you fishing, up-up-up, I promise!”

Zien didn’t care. David’s third daughter, via fertilization of two women and much frantic labwork to fuse her halved body parts—David had been overtested for IDC (k) (Immune Deficiency Condition) during the Virus Riots of 2025—had a mission. Her single-minded purpose was to promote awareness of genetically altered people as legitimate human beings, in spite of their strange looks, multiple disabilities and scary but exciting potentialities.

Other than that, she ECSTATICALLY loved organic beancream!

But she was more worried than excited about her entry into Underground Sealth’s “Hell Realm,” her Chinese cultural aspects appalled by the cosmopolitan closing-in metallic walls surrounding her, plus the lack of a beautiful blue sky overhead. She knew no colors, but loved blue, able to discern its vibratory patterns the best out of the entire refractive spectrum. She leaned against her IDC-treated father, a man who’d grown up in hospitals, screaming his lungs out to leave.

Care providers of the 21rst Century were a grand delusion of medical skills and elemental soul-casting, taking life quickly with huge doses of poison when it became unpalatable, steadily experimenting with people’s bodies.

“They force us to be made sick and well,” according to megacare reformer Flo Ware X-806 .

Very few comembers were worried about this, Zien found, as she TAPPED on them; SPC Shirley Fung believed medcare to be an attempt “to help, not harm.” Bored with phrases, Zien wanted full citizen’s rights. She was already mayor of her aboveground urban village.

Zien’s burg led SeaTac region’s disposal of wastes into utilizable natural and methane gas pockets. Meanwhile plants, Earth’s chief oxygen source, had cornered AMCA’s inarable land, as everyone wildly sought solutions to the Global Warming problem…something better than air conditioning.

Disabilities, racial/sexual issues and animal rights remained as distantly soluble problems for AMCANS after the World Bank released Engas, the special bonds freezing funds of all countries in Interchange, the major global work of the tens, twenties and thirties. But money as a concept was finally destroyed by computer exchange systems. They couldn’t keep track of theft!

Only human, natu, and animal efforts, computer signals and group co-op signatures were needed to start projects anymore. That meant a multilevel Washington connected by rail to upper Canada, the southmost Baja tip, and all points east by 2039. Rail would have been global if not for planecars. Licensed drivers still flood the buzzing skies over most urban centers. They whiz around each other at lightning speeds.

Ten minutes after taking 43 planned angle turns, the west coast’s tenth largest UAE phwoomphed to a gentle, caressing stop at the Third Level’s biggest platform, Denny RetroParque.

Right under the Upper Queen Anne Transit Island, the parquet was delineated by universal animal and plant symbology. This inculpated regional Sealth landmark symbology, such as ancient Ojibwa totem poles. Aboveground, Metro TransVans provided all short trips within President and Calaveras Counties.

Everyone disembarked, some onto moving platforms, others onto the tree-lined walk/bikeway below. Zien chose the walkway, subfluorescence pulsing robin’s egg blue from the rounded walls. Third Level’s ceiling was an incredible 550-feet high, solar subfluorescence pulsing robin’s egg blue from the rounded walls. Light-emitting diodes wrapped each comember in a unique, 500-tone rainbow that caressed one’s body with orgasmically liquid warmth.

Much is being done at present to help prenatu eyes that reflex poorly against indoor light, disabling children from normal sight. Nowadays natus have all the worst vision problems as keratotomy surgery, widespread since the late ‘10s, has corrected all human vision problems. Some AMCA laws bar natus from the upper levels of the AMCA Armed Services, government and the private sector.

The Jewish father and daughter team deboarded with a knot of 20 comembers, shimmering to the tune of rainbow lights and foggy background attracter music wheezing from sardine-packed restaurants/drug bars, arriving at the commemoratively named Belated Health Bar. The recessed front of the eight-foot wide, 60-foot deep, hunplus-level, hydraulic transfloor Bar stood on the Chairped-access leftpad hologramming Sealth’s famed ruddy terrace-cotta.

David bought them one of the only family of drugs proven to benefit the human central nervous system by encouraging regrowth of damaged myelin tissue. They sipped twin cool sprinkice freshments with whipped cranboysenberry syrup, and felt the soothing effects of…PPOOOPPPPPPPP ! ! !

Both of them looked up as all light around Third Level boomed off. The last thing David saw was the glimmer of a pretty remate human’s…or was she natu?…silvamesh, pinfeather-striped organo-metallic dress.

A human-sounding voice vibrated their table as Zien clung to David, TAPPING frantically; the voice echoed like the usual David, TAPPING frantically; the voice echoed like the usual public address PoliSystem Regional Transit operative. But David sensed something amiss. Transit usually hired natus as Vocals.

“Do NOT panic. Your transit system and the Underground parquet are SAFE while service repairs are made. You will experience TEMP darkness…”

Troping the story to Globavid as he carefully listened, David also touched his cellwave phone, capable of wave rescinding through fifty thousand miles of concrete, and called Field Supervisor Terno Farquhar-el-Grey. A Pan-Arab infused with Korean body parts, Farquhar was an old friend of David’s from the Virus Riots. “Far” accidentally took a viral explosion that saved David’s life by swerving his Boeing Eagle convertible, a flying car, into an oncoming blast of fuel, aimed at David, a war analyst for the Redmond Massacre.

“FARQUHAR! My daughter is up a tree! She’s practically climbing into my outer pockets. Why’s it taking forever on this?”

“Tell your daughter to calm down, and press the receiver of your ear. Stat? Good. Third Level is being held by pro-Kenyan terrorists.”

David stoked the word “safe” into Zien’s silver hair. Zien never believed anything but her own Formachair’s computer-laden Envir(k) was safe. But she kinda liked danger. Her chair did not have normal legs. It was not a Spider Chair. It hovered over the ground on a cushion of air, and the legs were receded into the frame.

“Oh, Garamond Adonai, yer HOLLOW!” David laughed at his cute girl. “Farquhar, what is your central life’s difficulty, LOL, anyway?”

“We have about an hour to track down a team of White Party Nairobis before they blow up Third Level with a SUBGUM of a thermo-nuclear explosion, imploding SEALTH. Y’COPY???”

“‘NAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.” Zien could tell something was wrong. Everyone else was pulling out pocket lights and marijuana (filtered) lightups, creating a flickering candlelit glow. She finally grabbed David’s pocket lighter and beamed his face.

“If you don’t tell,” she TAPPED, all over his body, turning on her background noise inhibitor so she could hear him, “I’LL TICKLE YOU!” That was Zien’s most dreaded trick.

Farquhar steadily intoned David’s doom into one red-veined ear, giving him details the Metro PoliSafety Teams had uncovered through multicam TV detection systems. They’d spotted two alien men clothed head-to-toe in light-absorbing black Starcloth(k) when one of them idiotically lit an unfiltered hash joint.

“We turned on each sprinkler system to dampen their clothes so we can ranar ‘em better. Plus, now there will be no more fire-setting. The Purple Team saw them in Zone 14. Definitely the body shapes of human pro-phobics.”

Phobics were what media called “white” people scared of racially merging with brown people. Worldwide. There were plenty of these, holding assets of resources in centers of power, since the Virus Riots; and the Darwin-based pleas for supremacy from the former rich wielders of money and securities. David, a former phobic, hated it passionately since natu Zien was born.

Zien’s mothers were the only match possible out of available candidates for BirthQuest(k) from David’s tired, medic-tampered body. By the time he pushed to have kids he had to face that. Two Szechwan women selflessly tolerant of his Life Profile were needed to combine every sustainable, undamaged chromosome.

“The City is the place where the diffused rays of many separate Beans of Life fall into focus…” spoke a Chinese proverb in 1994 on the wall of a Metro office. “Far, how in HELL do a Jew and a disabled natu enter Zone 14, alone and unaided, when we’re all the way – Zien, gimme light – INTO ZONE 36 UQATI?”

“You don’t, we do. We’re in Zones 12 to 16, searching, and we’ve got ‘em surrounded. There go the batteries,” Farquhar sighed as hundreds of backup superconductors flooded on. “They have a combined life of about a million years. Since the world lost money as a concept we can use either system anymore. But I guess we’ll pull easy handle on Third Level’s generator soon…

“…Yup. McCaulough says they submicrowaved terminals in the fused Permaplates(k). One of the Green Team must be THEM. Oops. There’s only…all twelve of them just surrendered…their liaison says Nairobi used to be allies with my old country! We have the thermo-nuclear BOMBO – enda problema!”

Farquhar’s words, assimilating in David’s recording cells, pared down to an essential story. David troped film/voice to Globavid pretty much like sneezing. Smiling at his relieved daughter and their refreshing liquid drugs, he touched his cell off by gently stroking it with his left little finger.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen Cole writes. GWI at is a renowned affordable online professional copy writers, book authors, ghost writers, copy editors, proof readers, coauthors, rewriters, book cover creation, graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, publishing assistance and book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and paid analysts service. We also do presentation and pitch services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.


Happiness is a Head Cold


Short Version


By Karen Cole

Word count: 750

How could marriage result from a head cold? Why, I squirm as if caught in a velvet trap…well, I could, but my husband is standing behind me and might ask me what I’m sitting on. Yes, it’s been nothing but high misadventure for me, especially since I lost my brave and sincere first husband, a wonderful Austrian-American Jew, to combined MS and cancer in 1985.

Anyway, several years and as many nerve-wracking, tumultuous, and sanity-defying relationships later, I landed in the plastic schoolroom seat in front of Remerio, my future second husband, in a five-week Certified Nurse Aide class held at a nursing home near Northgate in Seattle, next to a merrily perking and brewing coffee pot. Innocent and unknowing, I was headed for yet another high-pitched roller coaster ride.

Grace was sitting to the right front, I was seated to the rear left, and I was mildly jealous of her degree of nursing home experience. I was fitfully “taking it out” on Grace. I was casting her sidelong glances, and sniffling loudly and intermittently. It was quite embarrassing. So I started guiltily fetching her a hot cup of coffee sometimes, as the pot was brewing closer to me than her. It would’ve been hard for Grace to squeeze between the seats and fetch herself a hot, fresh cup without spilling it. I began getting her some coffee.

But our commiserative relationship as two ladies of eldercare was rudely interrupted by the rapid-fire entrance of Remerio’s sneakered foot through the reverberating back of my nearly shattering cheap plastic chair. Turning around, right after the “kick-off,” I faced down a middle-aged, flatly Hispanic cold stare. His face reminded me of a similar nut-brown countenance, a Middle-Eastern teacher I’d been attracted to ‘way back at Ohio University. Said chap always mispronounced the word “equilibrium” in a characteristic accent that could shatter a glass retort. He explained the rules of physical science to us neophyte med students in as high of a pitch as he could muster, but it was musical and alluring somehow…and this kicky guy behind me looked a lot like him.

Remerio turned out to be a multi-talented Philippine/Hawaiian import, a seventh-degree black belt, a fabulous chef of his regional cuisines and one heck of a lip-locking rugged kisser, in approximately that order. I was an artist and writer of long standing who needed some work “on the side,” so I’d decided to take a Certified Nurse Aide training course and move in with a little old lady I knew who needed the help. It was a great way to continue my career without interference. But now this new guy had shown up in my life. I tried out assuming there was something nice about him. He gradually began merrily chasing me to the bus stop in his beat-up old blue and white pickup truck. He soon followed me home, and Mommy said I could keep him.

Actually, “Mommy” was Carrie, a disabled little old lady freckly dwarf I was working for and living with at the time. She needed in-home care, and Remerio helped us move into a larger apartment, cooking and cleaning for us. I scarcely had to lift a finger; he was simply everywhere, driving us to church and generally relieving me of my cares and woes until Carrie abruptly died, peacefully in her sleep.

We married a week after Cinquo de Mayo. On Christmas Day three years later we were blessed by our little princess Angela, nut-brown as her Daddy and sporting my chipmunk cheekbones. This incident may be the only time in history that a cold-stricken gal every attracted a lonely, jealously protective guy through being an apparently obvious, blatant and coffee-fetching sniffling sicko.

I guess I’d suggest that more single ladies, and any other intrigued parties, try sniffling at people sitting nearby to see whose attention they get. You may attract a wonderful soul, which might work out quite well, especially if they happen to be an excellent cook — as the husband of a friend of mine (who used this method) turned out to be. Hope that he or she has a weird sense of humor.

If so, it helps a lot if you fetch them some coffee. It soothes their tired, ruffled feathers. Seems some folks are more descendants of birds than lizards.

Be sure and add some cream and sugar.


Let There Be Dragons

Let There Be Dragons

Alligator Lizard B_edited_edited

By Karen Cole

Word Count: 500 words

Well, once upon a time there were people, according to intellectuals. They said, “If there was not a God, we would be forced to invent one.” One day, two married souls, a man and a woman, got together but else-wise. I mean, they handily dropped all ineffectual pretenses, realized they were only animals, and followed a clarion call from Nature.

They entered a car that they owned, drove out to the desert, and stripped off all of their clothes. It was the Red Desert down in the American Southwest. They stuck their people butts up in the air, cracks in them, and began to run around in the desert like that. It took years, no decades, no centuries, no millennia…their passing generations grew smaller. Also, real people joined them. Many other “humans,” in fact, did.

After millions of years, they became small, insignificant lizards. Evolution is a process, and it can leap ahead through the centuries, and backwater until it turns into devolution, which is not Satan worship.

So anyway, it was a lot later, and they still had human brains. But they were different than ours, in an awful lot of ways. Also, the nuclear war that wiped out all of humanity transpired, without our “new” lizard folks. They just survived it, for no known reason, and the cacti around them kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So did the lizards. Natural selection began choosing out mostly the huge and more visible lizards to reproduce. You can see it coming.

In a few years, what looked like giant Tee Rexes but sporting the most mellifluous feathers, sparkling scales, gorgeous skin colors, beautiful attractive darks and lights, were stomping towards the former big cities. In order to comprehend their former selves better, they thought inwardly.

“Hey,” said Dinah, “How you doing, Horatio, what is shaking?”

“Earthquakes, we’re making them happen now. I am looking over the scenery, and it must be our honorable ancestors, the people. However, they are obviously dead from nuclear radiation.”

Another female got curious. She wasn’t as brainy as the others, so she strolled lightly over to one of the other buildings. So lovely that she was their Queen, she peered into an office window, gazing at everything inside in a loving way. Her courage was merely inquisitive.

“Oh my God,” she breathed, “There are still people in there, and they are doing…something. Why, they are groaning with their arms extended in front, moaning, rotting and looking…sorta like semi-naked corpses with lots of freckles!”

“Is it Mad at Mance?” crooned the King. “Another Zombie Apocalypse rudimentary dance?” He boldly stroked her errant backside. “C’mon, they know better now. Let’s take off for where we belong…you’re right. They’re what we used to be. Except some of us were far more worse looking. Well, it may be better than puking.”

And so they ate those former people, who were all grateful for the change.

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A Disabled Little Girl

A Disabled Little Girl

A Feminist Horror Story

For all you who have had enough


By Karen Cole

2,000 words

Do you really think she was diabolical? No, she was not. She was extremely pretty. And so, she was the nicest, sweetest, most good-willed person. And she absolutely positively, couldn’t ever walk? No, she could not. In fact, she was quite helpless, and unfortunately she was also very attractive. So very pretty.

So the men would come in to take the job to take care of her. She was very simple care, easy to get along with – and she only had a few of those minor little human impulses that are not so pretty, so very pretty. Hardly any. And some of the men were nice to her, and took care of her. But they had a sad tendency to leave for better jobs and lives of their own. Because the pay was so low, with her.

Do you really think she was faking it and could walk? Good for you, Handsome.

Anyway, one day, her veriest Prince Charming showed up. This old scruffy bearded guy, a chronic longtime boozer, with no income again. There was next to no income in working for her. Do you now sympathize with the guy, oh you Handsome Stud you? Oh how wonderful of you – how very, very wonderful.

Because she was pretty. So very, very pretty. In her very own way.

She was a human being, b’gosh! And you can hurt a vulnerable human being’s deepest feelings, and get away with it, right? Well, not hers. Because her feelings didn’t hurt all that easily. She just kept it bottled up inside her a lot because she thought that all women are disabled next to a big ol’ macho man. But she forgot about all those little scrunched up guys who couldn’t get a kid either. She forgot about all of those other people. One strange day. In her very own way, which was of course very pretty.

So that day came. Along came a big ol’ macho old drunk man who was kind of scrunched up. He was attractive. But as usual, he was bossy. So he raped her. He very, very cruelly raped her. In his own special way. He was the first one to take it that far, although others had hurt her before when they were supposed to be working for her. He was supposed to be working for her, too. He kept saying that he loved her. That he really loved her. And he plunked her down on the bed and began fiddling with her vulnerable doohickey and made her wonder about that. That wasn’t the right guy, though. This old guy finally drank himself to death, and died, right in the middle of the pretty girl needing him to take care of her.

The real guy who got her undivided attention in this shows up later, you see. He’s very handsome, and even young. But he has no income whatsoever, and he really thinks he needs to show off at someone who’s worse off than he is. He somehow knows he’s got some other broad somewhere, somewhere in his upstairs, who’s blonde and pretty and is his total mommy. In fact, maybe it was his mommy, his mental picture of her anyway. He really thinks he deserves that perfect woman, and he never went to look for anyone else. He seems really normal to everyone else. He’s been around. He married someone, and she split after years of pain and suffering and hardship. So it goes.

But she was pretty, so very pretty. The girl in the wheelchair, that is. She was even prettier than his wife had been. But you see, he couldn’t get the woman in his head out of his mind. It was his mental picture of how subservient to him his mother was supposed to be. She was supposed to be all “blonde and blued eyed” – you know, eye die could become the next big thing, and really blind people – and he couldn’t accept anything less out of life. She was supposed to be all perfectly able bodied and able to bear sixty thousand live young. Every day. Of the week. To fend off his imaginary enemies.

Because she was pretty. So very, well – beautiful. Gorgeous. Attractive. Voluptuous. Curvy. Obviously, always twenty and always able to bear live young in droves. Without ever getting pregnant and having that siren wail fill the air. It needs food. Food costs money. Mama in this didn’t have any such money, just a little. Not enough.

Not having money could bend a man’s mind, don’t you think? But he was handsome. So very, very handsome. The handsomest man on the face of the planet. You picture him.

Well, let’s see. Here’s where the heart of this story begins.

He finally got into taking care of her, but she was either anti-Semitic, anti-black, anti-white, this or that, up or down or sideways, even though she was never anything but polite about all other people, and about him. She wasn’t oh my gosh his mom. So he started raping her like that on a daily basis. Because she was pretty and out of reach. They couldn’t have sex at all. She was so out of reach and he was so Daddy, so very Daddy, that he kept trying to tell her to get up out of the wheelchair and walk. It always sounded to her like the utmost in cruelty. He couldn’t get it, the skimp.

Because he was thinking it would be more fun to torment her with her inability to walk, he would dance her around the room, then lie her down on the bed and rape her with his fingers before raping her with other unspeakable means.

And she was always, all through it, so pretty, so very very…aw, I’ll shut up. You know. She stayed that way. Nearly forever, even though he had been hurting her emotionally and physically for years. She finally prayed to God to help her. And then one day, she looked at her helper cum rapist, saying, “Please stop it.”

“Stop what? I’m not doing anything,” he sighed, fingering her area.

“Stop…raping me,” she sighed, in a very pretty way.

“You’re too mentally retarded to know what rape is, my dear. Here, I’ll clean up your bm.” And he did so, for he was only a lowly butt wipe. He cleaned around her perianal area and her anus, but not with a washcloth. He did it with his finger, so very slowly, without really getting around to cleaning her. She was getting infected again, from the poor care she was receiving. But it was hard, so very hard, to find a new attendant. They were always men, and cruel to her.

Because. You know. The Dance of Death is oh so slow. He had to go and make fun of her. He had no choice. He was backed into it by utter circumstances. And he did not have a wife at home because he left her before. Because she was pretty. Oh, she could take good care of herself. And therefore, she had been worthy of being left behind, but not exactly stranded. She was worthy, his first wife there. Of being able bodied. This disabled little girl was clearly not worthy to God. He could do what he wanted, because God did not love her pretty, pretty little body.

And wasn’t his ex-wife the most gorgeously pregnable thing you ever did see? Just an ordinary woman, really, with her little gaggle of male and female friends. And so able bodied and able to work and able to do anything at all she really wanted to do that was within reach. She was a kid in a candy store, no really. She could walk, even, and talk, even, and he left her because she wasn’t his mommy, you know.

So he ended up slowly dissolving and getting a very spurious job that was a bit on the low side. No income in it, you know. But some people depend on their “good” pasts and their own mental pictures of themselves, to the absolute death. They’re twenty in their heads, and they keep thinking disabled people are space fools. Apparently. And that they can have their way with them. Even the guys…I mean, they think that about the guys, too. That they are their kids. So it goes. They think they can correct their “rude behavior” of not going to the bathroom properly or whatever. In gay couples, yet. And they even think they can rape them, both the men and the women, and get clean away with it.

But the lady of the house is the lady of the house, I suppose. The guy crossed the line. Did she call the cops? No. She was too scared to do it. She was very afraid of him. He kept doing that over and over and she simply wasn’t herself anymore. Even though it had happened to her millions upon millions of times before. He, she thought, was just trying to get her pregnant and didn’t know better that she was in charge because he was on his own little superiority trip. It was pretty heavy duty. That’s how pretty it was.

One day, he stooped down to put his face in it and eat her. Mommy saved him, okay? You know what she did? Do you guess what Mommy there did? God muster loved her. He finally smiled on her. She grew a big old whopper red fanged mouth, ten feet tall and twelve feet wide, the size of Manhattan Island, yes, she most certainly did, and her handsome prince there backed off a little. He looked at her, went totally gaga and pranced around a little while locked completely in place by his own mortal terror. Having taken His time, God had finally, finally answered her prayers. He’d merely given the rapist time to feel sorry for what he had done, which had not happened.

The inhumanly large red maw gaped – with a no longer pretty grin. It dripped gallons of saliva down its sides, and then it ROARED as the tongue protruded.

The one scrap of macho dignity left to her obscene rapist was that he couldn’t scream or say stuff high “like a woman.” He did get that, at least, if you like him so much. Then, she ate him, chewing him painfully first, and then swallowing him alive in one big noisy, slurpy and not so pretty – GULP!

Death, it’s pretty abrupt, don’t you think? Her mouth went back to normal size. The next day, she hired a nice young girl who answered her newspaper ad to work for her, and it’s been working out ever since. But maybe it’s only because she warned the new girl about her mouth. How it could get a little big sometimes, if she wasn’t very careful and very nice to her.

She showed the new girl her big mouth only once. It made quite an impression. It made sure she was treated right, even if she had to threaten another innocent young girl. She would probably never feel sorry about it. And thanks to her big mouth, the new pretty girl will perhaps never, ever leave. But she does pray to God sometimes. For answers, and for His help.

Because she is pretty. So very, very pretty…and patient, too.

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My Best Christian Romance


By Karen Cole

Word Count: 7,750


“What if Romeo had Stayed the Morn, and Slept In?”

The End Result Might Be


(Or, the World’s Vaguest Possible Explanation for pro-white racism—does that mean it helps?  Or right-horned Unicorns.  Take your pick!)

SET IN TOLEDO, but not in Ohio; a city Besieged by bloodthirsty, Allah-fearing Moslems, possibly carrying Tourister luggage, on and of the Iberian peninsula, rudimentary Espana or not, Here We Go, circa 795 A.D.; this lengthsome, toothsy ee-vent occurred approximately 85 years after the commencement of the Very First Moorish Invasion of Southern Europe, said Invasion being accomplished through the Aid of four small ships…

…I soothed myself…she was Alone…truly, Magnificently Alone, beyond Most human reach, bereft but Lovely, loss for All Immortal Time, or at Least for a few Days, in her loftily isolated enclosed Room, one of Many such imprisoning rooms disbursed throughout the luxurious interior of the local Enemy Morisco Castle, misplaced by North African Usurpers here in my pastoralan Toledo. Upon the sacred Soil of my Native Espana.  For the past half-century.

The local rumors held Aloft Her Gloomy and Sorrowful Tale, listed to by me, as I said impoverished in the tavernas.  It set me to dreaming of sword-drinking Moslem blood instead of poisoning myself with Boorish stale beer and flat rancid wine.

“Beer!”  I would cry, an’ find my pockets emptied at once.  Dado a la bebida.

The Lady’s Cruel lunk of a Muslim husband, the current bloody Noble, having Beaten her the prescribed ONCE for Family standing up for Herself, he further had Followed the instructions of the Base and dastardly Moldy Quo’ran, those Moorish Dogs’ choicest Bible, the one that Loveth Slavery and the Degradation of Women, and indeed did sended her veiled and apart, Angry and Forsworn, to her lofty-heighted, forlorned room, rankly Alone, though she were one of the Loveliest of Spain’s Untamed and Blossoming Self-Willed Women.

TheretoFore Was She my Set Life’s Goal, Ultimate and remotely Attainable, dreamed on as I drank my life away.  Bleeding?

You see I, Too, was Alone in my Unique and tragick situational Life, through the unhappier Contrivances of what was to me a usually loving, compassionate and Mysterious God of Happy Splendour and Lofty Purpose. This My God at last didst Assist me in the Hastening of my Ultimately fulfilled Life’s Highest Calling and my Most blessedly Ever-lasting Heart-Won Triumph and Doom.

I could not dwell Forever in peace and safety upon the green Meadows of Espana, my Home.  For I was not a bored, callow and tawdry Youth, and very little Else, with Good Reason Being vastly Disenchanted with the Overwhelming Moorish Presence in Spain.

In Spite of its Inexorable, execrable Persistency, I wished to take my Upmost Ending it, at Whatever the discovered Cost. I care virtually Nothing for my eventual Fate, as is stood in Our Present Hell, or in God’s Future Schema.

In fact, I PREFERRED the thought of Dying Nobly in Heroic Attempt to do so.  Even while I was Leandering around…

…as I was All Too Aware of my own Unimportance.

As to Actually Doing so, accomplishing this feat, I Contemplatively Sought the impossible Demise of the Ghastly, Monstrous, and Devilishly Treacherous Abd-al-Rahman II, son of Abd-al-Rahman I, son of the Original invader, son of…who Tricked our Toledoan Leaders, through invitation to a supposed welcoming banquet, into Death through Decapitation. His Monstrous soul then ordered Their pitifully bereft Corpses Idly tossed into the fortifications of his newly established beachhead castle-fortress, which appeared to be quite Impregnable.

Why, this Merciless Tyrant thugee had his Moorish men Slaughter Seven Hundred Native Spanish Christians of Toledo! This being nearly its Population at that Time!!!

This Impromptu club of Dead Spanish Goths, a Bloodbath famous throughout Spain as “The Day of the Foss,” only led to the Inhuman Demon Rahman’s creation of a Second Massacre. That time ‘twas of his own kind, though they were presumably Far more Pious and truly Devout Mohammedans than He of the Arabs, Abd-al-Rahman’s unscrupulous successor. They were known to be Religious Intellectuals, Frequenters of a certain large Mosque, who seriously opposed and planned to circumvent his Horrifying social Inequities. This Brave movement lasted Scarce long enough to Record it.  Rahman’s men took care of that; those wretched…

Rahman II additionally had Seventy-Two of that group’s leading citizens, his greatest Moorish opposition, Crucified and Exposed to the general Publick; then he levied Crippling taxes on All he held sway Over and had his Followers Butcher another Three Hundred Toledoan citizens through Crucifiction. You Know Fiction?

All were opponent Rebels to his Moorish Reign of Terror.  I had heard all this from Local accounts; I have also seen some of the Corpses.

Razing the Original Moslem suburb in Cordoba to the ground, causing 20,000 Moorish Survivors to flee to North Africa (ewwwww), and landless, was another of Rahman’s Malefactotums.  An’ the only good Work he ever Did! But Those had been the mostly Peaceful Moslems of Europa!!!  Not Aggressors like he, himself.

He’en tried to Justify himself, proclaiming him as Fair, Honest, Righteous and more than Bountiful to his Women. He were None ‘a That, an’ were but a Monster worth Destroying, holding sway o’er the Terrified hearts of Christians, Jews, Moslems and –ah—pagans, Alike of southernmost Iberia.

It would be Worth my Whole heart’s Destiny to so much as Touch him Once with my Sword. Or so I Dreamed as I plumbed the Depths of my minor individual’s soul in the shadows of the Tavernas.

There is No Better place to Realize one’s Lack to Power, and one’s Transience in this Mortal Coil, than in a Bar. There came I to The Decision. In my Schranks.

I, at Last, on my Knees, begged God, whom I Possessed Not, to Aid me in bringing this Seasonal Opportunity to Pass, ere my own short Season had Ended, and my Life’s blood gone scorned and acidly sour. I begged the Heavenly Father to Allow me RESCUE of the trapped Lady and to Kill the Monster and Madman Rahman II.

And so, after a youthful Lifetime too brilliant, brief and Unexampled for love, unexamined as the vast depths of Outer Space, in a World too Great, Immeasurable and Rich for my meager, pitiful Sealfhood to spread out In’l, I had gradually discovered, as in a Foregone conclusion, that my beloved but Futile Life was eventually to be Proven Worthless, anyway; do Not ask How. I do not wish to say.

There was no Greater thing for me to do than this. For I owned no Property and could scrape Nothing together for myself and my Tyrannized Land.  And I never founded me a Wife, having Nothing to offer Her but my Lusts, coupled with Our nonexistent future hopes.

Yet it was Not as if t’were Solely brought about under my own malefactor’s Duress, Unincarnated Sense of Worthlessness; that Being an illusion I would Most blissfully perpetutate.  It was for me Always and Ever Only as Though I were Condemned as victim, Hopelessly Transfixed as a fly in Amber, caught in Time with Many another.

Easily I could do Nothing more than basely fruitful with Either my lowlands villager Lusts or my peasant lights. Such WAS the life of a Landless lowlands pagan with no Important family Connections or Inheritances in Spain.  Not E’en simple horse could I afford to Keep or to Own. I had callused, bleeding Feet to Rely upon.

I slept where the morning sun found me, oft throwing me Down on the Ground on a Field, lying Bonily but Gratefully Wrapped in my only Rough Cloak…

… Having Decided to Attack, I was All too Rapturously Willing to Live, Twice or Thrice Wildly, getting in minor Scuffles and Skirmishes of No merit or meaning, and to Suffer or Surfeit, eventually, Moral or Immoral, there Being no Casual Difference for me, and Ultimately to Die, a death Most Merrily welcome. But if only I could Love, and Help, and Another, especially One special Female, Any one Home I could truly Love, especially She of the Putrescent Castle-Fortress, this for Whatever Deeply felt Reason (which is ofttimes, a Most Perilous Undertaking), I would ha’ Cheerfully sacrificed Anything! Nonetheless, I knew Enough to Plan on being Definitively, thus e’en Most Briefly… Undertaken.

Yea, Under them I would most Surely Be.  An’ it Would satiate me Only if Certainly all Such Love were infinitely Deep an’ in my Heart. By my Troth!

For, as it Were, I simply Had No Choice Otherwise, save for the Infinitely Cowardly Act of joining with the Moslem oppressors, or fleeing Northwards to Gaul, There to Unite with Native Christians or Others, e’en to be Forced to Unite Them myself. Would my Feeble voice carried that far? I Doubted it very Much. In fact, Laugh! Laugh at Me.

I Being Truthfully and Artless Commoner, having No political connections, this Course of Action, likelier to be Successless and ridding my Native Espana of the Invaders seemed Inevitably Doomed to Apathy and Abject Failure.  Naught would be e’er Done ‘til It were Too Late to Back out with Grace. None in the distant North were Aware as Yet of the Awful Dangers to their Future Safety, nor probably did they Care (one LONG excuse for Why he just Couldn’t flee to La Bella Noche, such as France.  Shrug.)

In fact, it Took the Tactical Intervention of the Frankish God, through a Bargain I had Not the Ability to Reveal unto e’en my own Wrackless self, or friendly Others, nor to fully Comprehend, to Bring my Plans to their Eventual Completion. Some would Say I’d done Little but Sleep, and with Drink, but While Residing with Evil, Lost to health and Naturality in the Tavernas, I had also discovered the pow’r of prayer.

My failing strength, alone, Insufficed to Realize my larger Desires, and therefore to bring them to Fruition took a trebled Elan Vital, and a doubled Strength of mine. I searched for Assistance among the people of my country in this Endeavor.

I found no one. God’s Supreme Love, added to mine, which clearly be All that helped to Bring these Adventuresome events to Pass. I would Die against them alone.

I Choose to come to my Blessed Lady, Whom I had seen Repeatedly, both in Town and now Betimes Enclosed shadowedly Within a High Window of Her Castle, a blurry Form scarcely Discernible as Female, as a Loving Martyr, cloaked as Handsomely as possible in…the blackest Dead of Gothic Night, though Lighted in my way by Heaven’s Golden Stars, having sended a swift-winged Dove–a Creature Made (by my Chanting certain Spells, and offerring up my Life, my Heart and my pitiful Soul) to be under the protection of God for this One occasion Alone–with a simple Letter attached to its Avian leg by Silken Gold ribbon, purchased at Market with my LAST pence.  I kissed it scaled leg and Released it. It mattered Not that it wanted my Eyes, or to Lay my hand Open!

The eight-line Note Expressed my Distant mad Affections, making plain my Yearning need for Her Delicate and Dream-laden Love. All my Heart was Enclosed within that Note; but I mentioned Nothing of my other desires towards Her husband.

The little Dove flew far Afield, ahead of my Beleagured hopes and tattered Dreams, which WERE All mostly atrophied to Rot, DEAD from want of Care and the Surfeit of Sorrows.  I e’en had stooped to Robberies to procure the Dove at hand.

But, I patiently Endured Life’s pitiless Distresse, waiting Calmly and Steadfastly for the Situation I was Contriving, with daily Prayers, to Grow into meaningful Existence. I mentally, emotionally and Spiritually Entered into a braver and more Developed expectancy of vastly luminous Joy, and tremorous, Vital Focusing Masculine Will. At the Night, I Placed my trivial mean fears, ceremonially Invoking both the Goddess and the God, into the GROUND where my body would Probably come to Sojourn.

These fears, so Intended towards Death, were thus to Stay There, to Await my likeliest Bourne Return, if others would be so Kind. This was too Doubtful.

The Task now Being to Risk my own Terrible and Painful Death, and in the process, somehow, plausibly via Stealth, to get at the dog Rahman.  I wanted him Not on Top o’ me, any a’more.  T’would be Thyrlian, my Greatest Act, and the crowning Glory of my otherwise most Trivial existence. I would NOT escape Alive without having Crushed the Monstrous life of the Tyrant Rahman II.  I would SEARCH the Castle, once Breached, risk-king Capture and Unspeakable Torture to find him. I would Kill him.  I WOULD!!!

I made myself ready as could to Climb the Castle Wall at Night, hoping never to be Spied and Shot Down with arrows.  ‘Twere a Daring risk, a Harrowing manoeuvre involving Fantastic Potential for falling, as the Brick outer Surface of the Castle was Smooth and slick with Rain…Being CERTAINE ten or Further stories Tall to the Window; thus it were Likelier I was Meant to Break ope’ my aching and care-worn body ere I Reached my Lovely Imprisoned object Princess.

Alas!  Not that it mattered a whit. I was then merely Lose my pitifully Ignoble, base, Tavernous and relatively Worthless halcion life to the Looming, Darkened and, Blasphemous Steaming wet Ground. I Swore to myself that I would NOT fall until I had ‘least Gotten up HIGH Enough for ‘t…to MATTER, to MATTER, to MATTER, if it Hap’d that my bloodied hands could No Longer Grasp another rarely protruding, Sharp, Reliable and Consecrated-with-my-Extraction Stone.  Wide Open was the inner Curtains, drawn WIDE…

But, it WERE a climb Grandly Fun, Glorious and Diverting, I Found as I Arrived, Finally Meeting with My Enchantingly Voluptuous Lady, my hands Torn, my face blushed, my breast Heaving, and my body still Whole, lustful, and Voluntarily BOWED to Her Whimsy.

I would do NOTHING without Her Calm Acceptance of me. Nothing. If She said No, I would Begone, an’ not Tarry another Instant, if it meant Leaping.  But LO, if ‘twere God’s Will, I would Touch the Hidden Face of this Goddess, my First, at LAST!!!  Oh, Absolutely…a bad marriage is like a car that won’t start; it sits there and…

Painting, Gulping in precious Air, I stood Trembling enou’ to fall, content but to merely Gaze upon Her Invincible Radiance. Inwards me I Burned in abject Dread of Her, of either Her Approval or Her Rejection. I Awaited Her Commands.

My Wonderful and vastly fortunate Ideal, originally a nueva Christianna from al norte Espana, a former (pre-Castillian?) Native Pagan like myself, as I had Gleaned from village gossip, Reclined luxuriantly upon a richly Tapestried, plush, and Thickly covered Bed, overhung in Rich Gold and Silver weaves of Moorish arcane Craft.  It paled unto Death before Her.

This Same Beauty was buried Deeply with a Candlelit, colorfully Feminized room made for her expensive and presumably Delicate sexual natures. Immediate I took it upon me to Wonder who Maintained the Candles. She looked that Frail.

She had only Recently been Reconverted to Mohammedism, Solely for the CURSED Sake of her ENFORCED Wealthy Marriage, Being probably his Two-Dozenth such marriage Captive, to the Fiftyish Abd-al-Rahman II.

Certaine, she was No more than Twenty Years on the Earth!!!  An’ fresh as Flowers.

And She was No’ the Least bit Happy to sit Lost and Alone in Her Isolated chambers. She Freely admitted me with Her gently Pretty Nod. I entered, walking forth with Trepidatious Care towards Her vulnerable Bed, feeling as Though I Glowed within Throughout with the Veriest Internal SUN of hopeless Courage and Reckless, forbidden mortal Love.

Ohhh, how the ACHE Grew, staying with each passing Moment, Slowing my forwards stride, I not Wanting to Close our Distance yet while Feeling SO…SO…

in the Realm of Her. Silent Screams

how I wispishly remember Her, both of them

shocking, shocking, every shocking, they in Reversal

me as the Hellion they are ever Representing, REPRESENTING!

Neither here nor There, Looking for What I Want from You, from YOU…









Lord, Her Don

with Her

locked                          and                              Perfect

I was Completely Enraptured by Her keenly abrupt Loveliness, still Hidden behind Her sylphlike black mesh muslin Veil, and Discovered with deep shock après my Freakish and Death-defying Clamber up the Slippery, treacherous outer Wall. I had anticipated her Not being as Beautiful as my more expectant Hopes; but She far Exceeded All of them, insane and futile as they were. I pantingly entered into the hollow of the Room through the Expenses tinted-glass frames of Her Always-open Window, through which I had Viewed her Veiled Beauty. I had originally viewed Her from afar, with Her Richly bedecked and cushioned, saddled Horse, She Always seated on an Arabian, and Later standing framed within This window. She WAS a mysteriously Lovely being seen in passing as I voyaged on my Eternally quartered space called the solid Ground. Having Not wings, like the Dove, which, released by Her Hand, flew Out behind me, as Upon I entered, I was Ever to be Involved with a stretch of Ground–four Her Sweet Sake, if only to be Near Her, in All Happiness. Anything!

I Hoped to God She had seen me Before, Knowing me Now, when I was Straining to Fly Upwards to Her with Every ounce of my Poverty-stricken Spirits. I was Rather thin. I Had hoped that She’d viewed me with Longing, and artless Solicitiousness.  If Not, what Would I do?  Peradventure, I will run from my room, Yelling for Discovery by Rahman or his Hundreds of Armed men, and Kill as Many as came within Reach.

“Twas moat Heartliftingly not the Case! Her Loving, Youthful face Shone with soft trust and Ladylike concern…for me! She clearly Recognized me as the Love Letter’s real Author, and was Affected by its Obvious Passion for Her.

Her Arms were stretched towards me in a Loving, Joyous and Welcoming Embrace. Tears ran down Her Cheeks, Blessing Them and Lacing Them with Glowing precious Pearls.

I could stand Alone No Longer!

Flocking as a Quadrum of docile Sheep to Her Ornately and Sleekly Clothed Side, I Created and manipulated Her steady Relaxation through the Worthiest of the Masculine Charms entrusted me by Sacred God, Ensuring at the least Her Momentary Happiness and at the Most installing my ultimate vindication, the Which I put little hope for, in thrilling Reward and harrowing sterner punishment, mayhaps Suffered with Her, and facing the

Gabe cuts in on ‘is own fantasy, ‘ere


oh I cannot remember the Inquisition, what was it like, DOZE…DOZE…DOZE…..DOZE

up Your nose with a rubber hose? Doze…doze…doze…doze….doze

life of a pickpocket…once they’ve forgotten the Inquisition, they’ll have the Question to write about, once they’ve forgotten the Questions they’ll have another diet or lifestyle to worry

ghosts of the Past

Freedom at Last

Lashed to the Mast

outside the windows they’ve remembered to plant all the green, and its boring Nature is Watching you


Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow to facing the morrow, morrow, morrow, morrow, morrow, morrow, morrow the morrow’s The THE THE Morrow’s likely Conclusive Expenditure of my meager life. No, I would NOT let them seize me, Alive.

They would Surely come, and it would be Muerto Sin Falta to be Found here, Abiding with Her. But that was NOT going to be my chief-most care. I solely Yearned to render any payment that are made for the single heartfelt Noctourne most Happily and joyously Tendered, and still I maintained the Hope of getting within Reach of Rahman and causing his Death and the Last century’s Worth of Southern Spanish Tyranny’s abruptest possible End. This could Never be called Morally wrong, Nor could it put Anything Already done to right, but my Lover’s Heart held No such mortal fears, an’ so We Two definitely were to Make Ours into a Most Enchanted Evening.

I smoothed her worried Brow, Worshipped Her cool, soft, Shining tresses, richer and Dearer to me than Any gold, caressed and lightly massaged her Wondrous, Sweet, and Supplely Smooth Body in Every Well-Meant and Gentle manner that I was Able to contrive in the Naked and Trembling soul of my Newly rediscovered masculine Mysteries. Our Universal selves Interlocked, and I Powerfully Brought Her to the Afarthest most Wracking Spasms of Love, eleven or twelve Times at Least over the course of Our brief Spande-temps Together.  Yea, She made Noises. I Awaited, but Naught…

Her Lithesome Body Arched in Passion, Her Head, so Gorgeous and Real Beyond All my Wildest Dreams, fell backwards, softly into the palm of my hands, light Sleep Descended Upon Her, light Wakefulness from Lust keeping Her Asking for More. I Gave, WITHOUT ASKING.

For, the most verifiable soul of Wit is in Brevity, as it stands to Reason that brevity is the Better part of Wit.

We lightly Discussed multiple Weighty topics of present-day Concern, and I made some good but simply Rude jests with Her, causing Her such fabulous Attacks of unleashed Glee, that She was Bathed, Uncovered by an obsecuring, unflattering Cloth in the Magic Spill of the luminous Fair Humours of Moonlight.  For my Undeserving and Humble soul’s insignificant Sake, the Goddess WAS, for just One Night. I WAS the Emperor of All the Universe, and Spain and Unimportant Vertigial act of Tyrannic Lore.

I Listed Close to Each and All flights of fanciful Ideas and fantastical Dreams.  She had Ne’er Dared to ever Express, even in Whispers to Her girlfriends, Until this Single Blessed Night, and Me.

O Happiest Hour of my Life! We were as One for What seemed to be the duration of the Most Iotan of eyeblinks.  Mind you, We fell Asleep Intertwined, Innocent as Two breathless Children, Locked Together unto Death, Forever Lost to Sanity, and Deeply and Love. I Vowed Aloud, if T’was in my Power I Would Not let Go until I Had Absorbed Her Into me. Yes!!!!

The Next Morning, Which arrived Far too Soon, I lay Glowing with Love upon my back, Reclining in luxuriant Heaven, with Her long, soft Tresses lying Majestically across my Naked, muscular Bosom, Acknowledging All the Joy that Blessed God e’er had to Offer me. After this brief Prayer of Thankfulness, I began tremorously Awaiting the fearfully Repugnant, but Torturously Exciting, secondary phase of This the Very Last Adventure of my Necessarily Limited and Transitory life. In moments, I would have Left to look for Rahman, if not for Fear of Leaving her. I stroked her Hair, Running It through my fingers, an’ it Felt so Cool and Heavenly and I stroked Her Sweet Cheek, trying to Make my still Benumbed Senses Alert without Disturbing Her; my One True Love’s Sweet Cheek Touched in Undying, Eternal, Immortal fondness. By God, I would hap’ly kill and die for Her, if it meant still just Holding Her!

Midst this dreamy morning Fondness, I began Breathing an internal Stubborn Fire, as would an Overheated Bellows that is by accident Caught in the Flames, the Wood starting to smoke, and the Bellows to Burn. Cheerfully I would ha’ Burned for Her; Ha ha!  No!  Or swung.  But Life felt Good.

Darkly, she was quietly Asleep, mercifully Oblivious. I had not Given Her all the Love left In me.

Inside me, and outside As Well as I fell, once Again, into the Habit of talking Aloud, something Mortal Remonstrating ‘gainst me. I was Debating the Worth of leaving Her to Live, Returning in Bliss for Her ‘gain Later, or No, so as Not to depress the Happiness I desired of my Lady Love, and to Keep Her Safe from the wrath of Her husband and Lord. But I Knew not the Length of Her Stay, Here in This Room

Rather, though, that She were Happy and Safe than that All the Enemy Moslems in Spain were Permanent Buried Alive. I would do Anything to Ensure Her Safety, in Spite of my growing Insecurities concerning our Mutual Fates.

But wait, Something was Altogether WRONG…I reached for Her HAND, but Nothing Alive was anymore Veiled, so Elusively and tantalizingly, within Her Naked, supple, and once passionate Frame. A Coldness filled her once warm form. I Harshly Gasped, a breathless Sob choking my Piteous outcry, just as a muted Pounding began to resound Ominously upon the Locked door of the Cursed Punishment Cuarto de Dormir.

This Awakened me Fully, Piercing the Yellow haze Clouding and Dulling my Sleepy and Thickening-with-Despair, and Puzzled, head.  Certaine it Was, WAS, Her Untrue, Madman husband, the Unrighteous, Leperous Murderer, and his Sold-out party of Underlings.

These were Sure to Be a large and highly dangerous number of Supremely fine Swordsmen, at least three or e’en four Unhesitate killers and Tearers of little children’s Blessed Throats.

The group Was clearly Attempting a voluntary Entry, Loudly, and WOULD be Breaching the Locked door Much sooner than Later. With unaccustomed Speed, I resolutely donned my Rough cotton village pants and homespun calico Shirt, dwelling for Unknown reasons perhaps, Cowardice winning o’er after All, on the Donning of my brown leather zapatos; they were finally on me at last. And, I belted about me my Good iron Sword.

There was an INFINITE, empty, and nerves-wracking pause of linear Time, wherein I was Gifted, again by the most Merciful and Bountiful Interceptor, God Himself, with the Greatest possible chance…of Leaving, for to ‘scape with my Cowardsome meagre Life, and perhaps hers… Life…which I could no Longer highly value…in Hand, through the Same entry I had Previous Taken. There were an Excellent likelihood of my making Rapid Diversion once back, Shod, on my accustomed Spanish soil. But then, I’d not Have me E’en Once Crack at the Wretched, Bigamous thing that was my poor Lady’s bombastic, Slavering, thieving (how could I say?  I had stol’n his Wife! preposterous “husband,” None at All.  Never.  Well, hardly Ever.  Certes.

My soundest heart’s Fear, and an Inmost Desire for God’s Love, and Acceptance, and…Cried out that to Flee was the very Thing I must in Minutes Do!  An’ my Heart Pounded fit to burst the Walls of my errant soul, pounding to match the Screaming Door, shaking in the Utter Vulnerablest Castle of its only corpus foundation Home.  Could I face my own doom unflinchingly?

The door began to screechingly flex inwar’s with the Combined might of its Sonorous Assailants.  They only waxed Louder and Stronger with each Infinitely Passing Moment.

However, my Life Highest Love, a Flame incapable of any Extinguishment, yet of Only the one Swift night, was Deadly still; and so Awfully was She Cealed, that in my Firmest Unmoving Mind, there was NO other welcome place I, a Libertinous Gadabout and No-one of Any measurable import could e’er Become truly Responsible enou’ two Attempt to Attain.  HERE Would I Take Life, Totally Grateful to God for the smallest of chances at Tyranny’s Defeat at my hands, having done what I could to Love another, first.

I had forsaken Christian wife and children, as my pockets• were Unsold Surest Always Unlined; and, indeed, what meant Christian wife and children? D’you Recall Christ?

My small leather purse near Always hung Empty. Where was my Own Land, and Mine Home? I was but the poor son of a few Honest but Tradesmen, and their Christian and pagan Wives, merest farmers’ Maids.  They Sold at the Market, but were Unsold oftener, Better than They Themselves Being Sold. We went thus Unenslaved, and were Proud without Thought. We were once Landed and Farmed, and Twice Extruded, but were Ne’er Well-ensconced enou’; I became a Drinker subsequentially, and an able Gamesman of the tavernas and inns, a Tradesman in small repairs and carpentries, as was Our Lord.

I was no Abject Follower of Him. Not a single one Else of people but SHE had ever said they really Wanted or Needed me. Why not Take, this time for the very Last Time, the Golden, Holy, stranger Madcap Opportunity? It was COMING.  It was Mine.

I would Never get another, Ever.  I Shouted, loud as Jericho’s Trumpet, I WILL!

I Resolved to Die on my feet, as I’d foremost Boldly planned, but now Alongside Her, As I Idiotically had Not foreseen…Her Revealed Death gently and Nobly Made and Absolute of My Upcoming murtherous but Fated Demesne.  Here Would I Stand.

It could only be via the Best and Most reasonable will of God, I’m silently Swore, that (say, you are folks beginning to remember that this is secretly only one of Gabe’s favorite masturbation fantasies? Yawn? Yup. I thought so.  Whooo, has Saragina maybe got a nice surprise, coming…)  I would at Last be allowed to Warship, if only in Passing Greeting, the Kings of Kings and the Prince of Princes.  I, who was Neither truly Christian, Moslem nor Jew, nor follower of the Nordic Wotan, God of Wisdom and Learning and disability, but possibly an Adherent of the Earth’s Mother at that, being that as my Direction, desired Deeply to Meet and converse with this Frankish God of Men’s Fortunes, that others claimed they Owned, in their Reckoning, to be as Male, and who Legally Punished the ignorant, through Sundry Wretched human Medium, All who did Not know properly how to Address Him. Him? Him WHOM?  A Dress?  Again?

Why, I would RUN, Swiftly as a Deer, for to Meet this the Coeur…

…the cur.  Let Him disclose my starving Throat.  I would Live, Live, to tear open only His.  If!  If only His heart was set on…no…

And so I took, with a Nobly fierce heart, the Best to stand against the noisome Mob, which I had Prayed would at least Contain the Lady’s visiting husband Rahman II, my simple Celtic iron weapon, a jewelless and dull-seeming Blade. This I had two days ago honed Razor-sharp, and It wiped Clean, Fair to Shine in the Sunlight of this Last Morning on My Earth.

I first o’erleaped my dear departed stolen “Wife,” now entangled Forever in damned and forgotten bunching bedclothes, and as I reached the Middle of the floor I drew my dull but silvern blade, beaten to sturdiness by Me, on a simple anvil, and More Than a Match for All “better” such Forged Gem-Encrusted Junk, crossing the floor in my powerfullest single stride.

Organized Rage flooded Every fiber, limb and vein of my Being, strengthening me with Awakening, conflicting Not at All within though I meant Likeliest only to Perish, surely. I would Rather Not, yet was Overjoyed.

“Twas the swiftness and Shiningest Walk I had ever taken, as I made One momentous Leap straight for the shuddering, straining, Cracking open wooden Door…

…GOING OUT OF which Gabe was taking off, heading Directly for the Krakatoa, where he didst findeth his favorite Princess, as though at meeting place, the Lady Saragina, wearing a peaky auto de fe witch’s hat she had Impishly Purloined from a wandering errant Druidic wizard Klansmen, and which she had dyed a startling shade of Emerald Green, the dyed genuine satin Item to be formally presented as a lovely Gift! For the Lady Caza’s upconning birthday.  Caza LIKED to spaciously bedeck and present herself, belaborously beladen in decorative, formalized watercolors. She was known by many in her Secret Identity as Aqua Girl. Her entire wardrobe consisted of greens and blues.

“It’ll go with anything she has!” She was known by many in her Secret Identity …nuff said.  “It’ll even make her Taller!”  Nuff Already!

Sara was shortly enticed, through begging, to join with Gabe avec the furtherance of the heroically astounding and improbable story he’d written out of his silly fave masturbation fantasy Piece. He said it was only a story, but he got the idea from…  Real Life.

“I die Nobly this way,” quoth he, “with my Rustickly leather boots on, in Southern Medieval Spain, the Iberian peninsula, under heavy-duty tyrannical Moorish domination (Pre the SAME exact Thing by the Catholic Choich), sword in Hand (Course!), facing down a goodly half a football team–all of them Armed to the Teeth–as an indigent, starving, Native Spanish peasant.” He coughed into his little pink palm, politely, having to grab for a KleeNecks.

“Would you care for some tea, laced with honey, m’dear, while you tell me what you think I should do with this, sweet Sarai, my Lady?”  Gabe was starting to space out, imagining his amazing tale as a play, or as toilet paper on a worksite. Perhaps hand towels. Perhaps something like a one-act episode of “Lucy Kills Ricky,” with the hero having bright red hair. Would it woik?  Oink?

Sara guffawed.  “The spurting, ah, blood, is my favorite Part.” Oh. We think so. “Beau” said he thought so, too, but heated filtered tap water for her, anyway. She sank back sooo comfortably into a cushiony, large-sized, voluminously scratchy and phloomphy with dust from centuries, chaise lounge easy chair, the finest, oui, for her. Gabe found this reunupholstered Wonder at a Unionville garage sale. Buddies at work drove it back for him.

And so THE lady Saragina, peaked witch-princess’ satin Hat greenly folded (the errant Klansman had said, “here, Girl, we don’t seem to need or use these any more,” and somehow Sara just couldn’t resist, being as the chap was already in a wheelchair and in the Hospital) away, away from her Lovely young Brown face, yes, reached with Niceties and simple farmlands gentrified sophistication to her mental Bag of Tricks to turn Gabe’s heroically titillating Tale into a Genuine Article of Shakespearean-derivative Quixotic mayhemystic Misadventure…

The Gestalt of GEVALDT

Making Juliet into Desdemona—It’s Easy;

Saragina Adds a Woman’s Perspective in Part II of

The Madcap Opportunity

Dhaba’s Story

THE WRETCHED OVERLORD who was my giant husband never once treated me an’ as he should ought to treat an human Woman. He but mercilessly took vengeance on me, for so much as casually mispronouncing the overly sacred religious phrases, such as his Stupid Name, the which I never clearly held.

I was only bloodlessly languishing, living for naught, in my echo-ridden mausoleum of a lacy, saucy bedchamber, when the most miraculously sensual lover from my fondest dreams became a Body too warm and Real to his emaginary.  God’s life-bestowing Breath!

He swept aside the inner curtain, a blindingly Lustrous miracle of Manhood, tall and wrapped about Him in cheapest grey broadcloth, pouring into the darkened punishment bedroom as a Flood of purest light enters an opened, moldy, and Bitter eternal Crypt. With two sure strides He was at my bedside, humbly attending me upon His bended knees.

He was so vastly Imperial even this made Him hardly any shorter; He stood as a tall candle stands in its bailiwick.  His sheathed sword scraped ‘gainst the floor but Once, and His magickal hands gently cradled my face as He gazed wistfully and angelically into my Wondering eyes.

Our Kisses turned all of Realty into the lingering Highest Strata of love.

Then, He boldly asked me where He could find Rahma II, my husband.

“I cannot tell you, for this I do not Know,” I replied. He blinked, as if in answer.

I had sat straight up, bolt upright, at His immediate first sign of appearance. That night there had not been any sleep, no, only the slow formation of bottomless sadness, flooding with my tears, that I was no longer capable of crying. I held a swelling inner FRUSTRATION; it filled my childish whole body, which was supple and lean with taught muscle,’til it threatened to freeze my poor neglected heart to my ribs, leaving it Locked in place and frozen.  An’ it near cracked wide and split in two with the inexpressible anger and unfathomable disappointment of life’s cofounded impotencies.  I felt as all condemned prisoners must feel: abandoned, lost. Dead.

Sans hope, I lay powerlessly abed, thirsting and hungering for the boldness of real love, and for my own promise and nuptialed sexual powers. Someday they would …free me. At last I did not have to work…I could relax.

But all my Minorest problems died merrily away in my newfound Lover’s powerful, fearless, gentle-sweet caresses.  He held me and kissed me, over and over and over again.

Love became my God and my universe.

I had known Him never-naught from before, He was not any of my friends, but I slowly recognized Him as a handsome and sturdy Gothic freeman, a raven-haired villager lightly but brassly tanned with the sun whom I’d seen twice from our wealth-laden horses’ backs as I an’ my husband’s magnificent party rode into the raucous and varietous marketplace section of usurped and hapless Spanish Toledo.  We hied forth to shop the unnecessary, expensive imported Tangierian and Moroccan gifts that my strange enforced Unnatural mate was quicker and more prone placably gift to his harrowing, always rather than his Unnatural mate was quicker and more prone placably to give to his harem, always rather than his Unfounded true heart’s Love. He had no time for it, or for the Likes of helplessly Installed and “schackled” me.  I would cheerfully ha’ done Anything to experience a Legitimate love, even for one night…it hap’d that I prayed to the One true God for this and so my humblest and profoundest prayers were soon enou’ Well-Answered.

And verily, all that night We played sweetly moonlit Lovers’ games, warm Our fertile and lushly sex-inspired touches, hushed Our sibilant sighs and whisperings.

Dark and bitter-sweet were Our emagined, melancholy future Partings; upon this We did not really dwell.

Before We fell to sleep, however, He Did vainly promise me, with a Princes’ clear and Breaking Voice, that He would never-ever Leave me. Not without the ultimate cost to his life, He softly added, just before I blithely fell back again to sleep. I do not believe that he Meant it. Drowsily I saw Him leaving back Out the window from whence He came.

But, my monstrous proud and Jealous husband–upon discovery of my Lover, what will he DO?  I worry, and shiveringly wondered.

I knew my Lover feared nothing evil at all, but I do it. Somewhat…

I would not wake to HIM ever again, to that loathsome Rahman snake, I would NOT!  Not for Anything, not even for my inclement Life!

In my deepest dreams, I wandered with my brother and lover in a Valley of mountains shaded with my clutching fears, groping Uphill towards my pitiless heartaches, and remotely, when I at last tired of this wandering, I never to attain good Peace or fleeting Rest, at last I came…as though to an Opening deep Within MY…soul, finally Owned, and THUS I stopped all my realistic animate fears, so, idly stroking my cooly smooth and velvet forearm ‘gainst my Lover’s radiating warm and Noble muscular Side for an honestly final Instant of Beloved time.

He felt as a tropical Ocean breeze must feel, where there are Oceans, when one is surrounded by date palms, by grape vines and fields, by immense olive orchards ripening.

Pain ran out of my suddenly fountainous opening like a running forest stream of gushing water, leaving my best and truest Friend to the base and slavering hellish torturing wolves’ misfortunes, as He had promised to stay here and staunchly face them.  He would!  I would not.

Though I shrinkingly tried to stay, so as to witness the upcoming “lovers’ quarrel”, my soul unfolding doves’ wings hollowing in flickering synchronic time, my happy and sui generis satisfied Mortal being trickled out with surest speed, entering a brand-new undeniably present…WAY, into the Limitless nexter world.  A world, perha’s, of limbless Sleep, numbing, I nervelessly thought as I fell, unfeelingly, coldly, as I fled without trace or any discernible Impetous or Calling in order to follow God, or Night, or whatever Avenue was being poured out to Freedom from the rushing blood of my lowering Soul…

As though in a dream, hovering o’er my Obscene and richly canopied bed, I awakened slightly, and, hearing in the terrible crash at the door, saw my Courageous Lover arise with Absolutely no fear, the Uncontested progeny of the most ferocious Lion, to meet His long-chosen, well-accepted and painfully unmastered Fate.

I saw Him boldly throw back the Bar and sans-pause gapingly fling WIDE the destroyed and caved-in and splintering wooden door, He having NO desire nor thought of Any safety, and two abhorrent, Instantly oncoming, blunt-ended, unswerving and razor-sharp raised scimitars erupted downwards and mercilessly Split ope’ the proferred surface of His too-freely Tendered an unready Breast, twice bloodily rending his shirt and his youthful scan, causing the painfullest fleshly HARM, RIPPING Him exposed in two foot-long places. Even as They All surge bodily forward as a Wave of bristling swords, Bloodily oncoming, He precipitantly sideways turned away and, hurdling backwards, Pivoting in full circle, narrowly escaped Instant Death by merest Inches. For one moment He lost His purchase of flooring and lurched backwards, but instanter recovered.

He’d leapt with Grace and alacritous speed back into the open center of “my” ungodly ruination room.  For now, and forever, His splendid and magnificent young Life was all-foresworn, completely Bankrupt and Hellishly lost. He hadn’t e’en the merest possible Chance of drawing another Holy breath.

The swordsmen began to follow Him into the room, blocking the doorway and fanning out to either side.

SIX stout Fiends, FIVE with Drawn, well-forged, expensively bejeweled three-foot long Egyptian scimitars, were brutally, Entering into my Awful and unnatural room, mercilessly Unchecked.  My baleful Lover of but One Eventide, the Holiest of Days, fainted Not, Nor did He quail.  Did not He step back e’en a single Step.

He however palely and thinly smiled at ‘em, through His jagged and yellowing Teeth, grit Sound tight through His sparse and furry youthful Beard. His exposed and blooded breasts, cut to the bone, yet strongly Heaved as the cold Winter when does, with a lustful, Empowering and highly Passionate Rage.

Staring All of them down, he gauged his Incredible chances. He had none. He was going to fight to the Death. Otherwise there only would be Torture. And THIS was going to be torture.

As a sturdy unbowed Oak He stood, surrounded, tall, thin and Commanding, Trembling hard thro’ All His sinewed and heart-rendingly youthful body. These Demons crept softly about Him, waiting. He was deeply spell-bound, Locked into to His Taken place Forever, spiritually Bound by Death and Lost to the God-fearing anticipation of His horribly Inexorable fate.

With a look of fiercely Ardent savage Pride, He brazenly tore ope’ His blood and dirt-stained, sliced to Ribbons white linen peasant’s shirt, Full of the Passion of a Raging Wildfire (sound of tearing) with His left. Thus He nobly Requested that His ruthless Enemies brutally Honor Him and take Aim for the fatalest possible lunges.

Reft wide, He thus also Displayed the frightening wounds they had already Bestowed upon Him.  Turning in ALL directions, but No, He Cried Aloud, befitting a tragically Mortal and fearlessly condemned, damned and Transported Soul:

“HERE is your lost and found child, your BROTHER and once miserable SLAVE, your basest component YOKEL, spit here WITHOUT your regard as an unyielding MAN upon the SACRED shores of YOUR profoundest MISERIES!  Here is BUT ONE MORE, and something as PRODIGIOUSLY like you MOORISH, for you to spit upon your bloody GUILDED precious swords!  And with no saying, my childishly helpless but Extremely proud Lover was Hopelessly Doomed to Butcherous cuts of Overwhelmingly unendurable Profoundest Agonies, and the unspeakably Loathsome, bestial Slaughter of His once warm caring, and exquisitely beautiful male form.

To see Him then was to view the Incorruptible final moments of a Compassionate, Majestic, and totally courageous Clear-Hearted incarnated corporeal God of Love. There was Nothing finer standing on the Earth; he was Excellence itself.

Nothing any better than He would save Him. This Being rendered Impossible by His Enemies’ numbers. His blood was Going to be Spilled in wretchedly proven Torrents. By the red, the black and the White of His Rivalship in Loyalty, by His unsurptive Murtherers.

In complete Veracity of This, He was instantly set about Him by Three Dogs, of my husband’s better-trained swordsmen, sworn in their Rightest and most subserviently Bloated courtlier vassal’s duty as the Moslem-Spanish fiefs of their well-appointed and state-approved Arabian Lord of Terror. They were prepared to Slice my Lover into Tatters of screaming, violated bloody flesh. They would manifest Absolutely no Mercy. There was No ‘scape.

E’en so, as Neither did my Cruelly Savage Lover guy to mercy’s Graces, He was swift indeed to Impale, up to near half the farthest Hilt of his rough-hewn, two-edged self-beaten Celtic broadsword, the closest one of my Cowardly husband’s surprised and Bested vicious henchmen. This abruptly miraculous Deed most happily brought Down the sturdy, brawny Semitic mongrel!  What a Fool he’d been to step up first!

DOWN fell his worsted Corse, an’ Tumbled all at Once! My Lover had drawn dear Payment for His wicked, Lost Life.

My Haughty and untouched macabre husband, Who stood back a-ways, not Any sword At All in his hand, followed his own COWARDSOME, servile course of Basest self-protection. He was being Blindly ignored simply as he Remained obscurely unrecognized. Though he was their Master and Lord!  I was too weak to call out and tell my Valiant Lover which one it was, Was he. And the Dog-Beast himself was too far back out of the way, and shrinking too Readily, to be in any way obvious as the castle’s All-powerful, Moorish Master. He did nothing to call attention, and thus escaped All Harm.

But, MY Lover, scant seconds before His hideous Death, Outshone Every Star in the Sky! He LAUGHED with Raw, Insanest passion and most Wanton profligate’s Lust at Their Buffonish insignificant Lot, a Ludicrous sound fit to shake ALL of my canopied bed flattened down. As they ALL surged forwards to Groove on Him. He turned in Embracement.

That very Moment I Expired where I lay, Unable to look anymore Upon these tragickal Dreadful sights of bloody Murther…I never saw them Kill my Splendid Lord, nor did I Witness his Blessed Fall, but only Knew that He did, while Desiring simply to join in Bliss with me in the immortal Heaven of Love, forever.

FINI – But if you Believe, the Beginning and not the End!

The Jewish Kid and the Cannibal

The Jewish Kid and the Cannibal

A medium rare to well-done true story about overpopulation

By Karen Cole

1,300 words


You only get a partial tale when you read this. Due to dismemberment of limbs, and how things are not good when you’re…involved.

Once upon a time, I visited the mental ward of a psychiatric hospital. I had lost my first husband to a disease called putting people on phony, major pharmaceutical cures for depression. His mental illness was caused by his girlfriend Angela committing suicide by shot gunning herself in the stomach. This was due to his having made her pregnant, and also she had a daughter who died of so-called genetic leukemia. My first husband was Jewish, with parents who’d escaped the Nazis via being teenagers and traveling with their folks to America.

Anyway, some three score years after that, when I was visiting my husband’s now deceased cousin on said mental ward, I met a Semitic, youthfully wiry teenage boy, probably around 14 years old. I had read extensively about the Jews of New York, researching old books. Did you ever notice that all books are old books? The reality there is that you can only get a recent book. It’s amazing, but there’s no such thing exactly as books of the present or future, unless you’re reading them in progress, sometime during the publication or whatever process of print.

The young boy I met in the paragraph above? Well, he slid back and forth along a number line at me, stating with his body language that he was and still is possibly less than zero, which is a book title. The lad I now call the Jewish kid explained his situation. He said he originally lived in the Seattle area, and that he had been staying at an apartment somewhere in the vicinity, but was now looking for another place. A knife-wielding maniac dwelled in his building. Meanwhile, the kid had been gauged as mentally ill, possibly by himself. Or someone or several such someone else family members, teachers or friends. But he appeared completely normal, and gave me no indication of any evaluable mental illness.

He was small, white, dark-haired and Semitic-looking. I recalled those stories I had read, about New York Jews in the old days. So the kid explained to me while we were on full view by the nurses on the mental ward that he didn’t really care about his life much anymore, he just wanted to maybe…an allegedly Hebrew word…find a new place to live, one apart from the cannibal down the hall. He was worried about that knife-wielding man, but he made a mistake of sorts. He was talking to someone who knows how to throw a karate punch. I learned it over six months’ worth of time in a Japanese-style dojo. The kid was quite interested, mentioning that he might stay where he was already living instead of finding a new place, if I taught him how to fight correctly enough.

I immediately told the Jewish kid to settle down, softly so that no one would interfere with us. I risked a lot doing this, teaching that kid how to punch his cannibal opponent out; but maybe he wasn’t a real man yet. That would require some silly boyhood party where he gets elevated on a chair, receives ritzy adult presents, and has to believe he’s become an overnight adult. Maybe he’d already had his bar mitzvah – another phrase my Word program accepts. Well, Jews are around nearly everywhere.

I taught that boy how to punch, and like Ray Bradbury the science fiction writer stated, he was done in a red-hot second! Intelligent and muscular, he threw a gorgeous split-moment punch in the air to my left, inches away from my face. In an instant, he chose exactly where to punch the criminal haunting him, who lived down his apartment’s narrow hallway. But he didn’t see himself as more valuable than a weirdo who had unnecessarily disappeared into the bottommost pit of human depravity, namely a stranger waving a knife at him down the hallway.

The fact is the cannibal was human – there for a reason, not necessarily under God, but something like that. Maybe, who knows? So the kid left the mental institution, with a punch in him, and the right thing was clearly to attack the human, not-so-miserable and overly enjoying his life cannibal – before the Jewish kid joined a long list of dead people. Not too many, because of course the smell of rotting parts is way too there, hovering around, and makes it obvious which one is the cannibal’s apartment, and eventually he gets turned in by the police, of course. After a lot of dead victims; but even one is way too much!

Well, the Jewish kid was supposed to punch him ‘til it hurt enough to stop eating say, 10, 50 or 100 or plus people in his apartment building. I don’t know how large it was there, before he got caught at it. Sort of like a depraved lion stalking folks. The Jewish kid learned well in just that short, snappy way, either using it to punch the man, or of course, he could have jerked him inside and simply ate him. How many people move into or out of an apartment building near you? Do you live in one?

Or maybe at least the cannibal learned some respect. And stopped waving cutlery at the lad, and inviting him in. Then the Jewish kid got his things together, leaving the building for good. Anything could have happened from teaching that boy how to fight properly, and my having run out of time to teach him how to actually kick and block. Without the dude grabbing a leg or an arm, and my not teaching how to twist his arm away either. The nursing staff was too close by. I was lucky they didn’t see me demonstrate how to punch, or the kid’s returned overhead blow.

I guess it is largely a case of anything goes. Well, the kid potentially ended up at a karate dojo somewhere. Maybe he attained his resources, as he was on a locked mental ward – and they moved him to Section 8 housing. Once there, he must have made a fresh start. But he told me he was weirdly fascinated by the strange man who kept waving that knife at him, and saying, “Hey, come here, I got something for you! You can come visit me, you don’t have anyone else! Right, Hymie?”

I’m hoping the kid punched him out. In the face, several times; the dude’s knife clattered to the floor, and that calm, cool kid waltzed over the body and texted the police. But, what if the cannibal got up? The kid would have to figure that one out by himself. Well, he could’ve shouted, “I’m calling the cops, I punched out a knife-wielding looney!” But I had no time to teach him how to shout a karate ki-yi; you need to know about that. And the Jewish kid was living alone, with limited family support. The cannibal probably had…uh, nobody. Except for severed bloody parts, smelly ones leaking out into the hall and attracting neighborly attention over time.

Did I teach a kid how to be a man in ten seconds? I met a young Jewish soul cashiering at the Safeway, years later. He told me: anything could happen out of that, including a hideous job on the side. What if the kid descended into stark, raving depravity over what he had done? But I like to think that it simply meant fewer human lives were destroyed. And that everyone else in that apartment building is safer now, while things go up and down in the realm of overpopulation.


Herman the Fool


Alias: a Tear Jerker, otherwise known as a Tragedy

By Karen Cole

Word Count: 1,500

Herman the Fool

A dummy sits on the shelf, broken, twisted, its life deformed by the many obstacles it has faced. It is both soft and hard to the touch as your eyes fondle its many parts. It has no sex, no life, no meaning, and yet you can tell something about it is different as you ruthlessly scan it. It is not a dummy – it stands out.

It’s sheer luck when you are completely visible, as your entire life is known to no-one but you; on the other hand, is it known to someone else?

“Hello,” the little dummy seems to say to you as you slowly draw closer to it. What does it really look like? It has hair, teeth, clothing, and a mystery to it. There is a poking out of black, yellow and green hair. It does not seem to look like anything, sort of sexless, a clown that could be anything. Is it really a “gay” dummy? Yes, but no, it seems to scream somehow it was once male at you. And it seems once – it altered itself to its basic soul.

Yet you know you have met this person before, perhaps as a woman. Pushing past the forces of nature, realizing you might get caught and thrown into a mental institution, suddenly you wake up and see bright lights all around. You are at a simple store, a shop of sorts. As you look around, the imagery resolves into a woman at a puppet store.

Fascinating, isn’t it? You are staring at the dummy in your hand. You have picked me up well, the dummy’s lips say, in your own mind. You are now that woman, but it is all in the past, as human life on the face of the planet is over. Well, maybe in a few years.

“Pick me up, woman of my soul,” it told her as she lifted it to her lips.

“I’ll take it,” Sandra sighed at the cash register. “No problem. Just make sure you take care of Herman when he comes home with you. He always takes up too much space.”

“Well, the little fellow does seem small for that.” Easing away from the cash register, Sandra pushed herself out the door, as she weighed over 300 pounds. She now had a new friend for her collection of Pierrot dolls, she knew to herself, heading to her own apartment downtown. She could not be a lesbian any longer.

She was too old and fat – mattered – to her previous lover any longer. And she knew she had to die. Her lover had gone out the door once and simply never returned. She was nobody. Her lover had often given her this feeling, partying on her sometimes.

She had never really been a lesbian, Sandra smiled to herself. She had known the only heaven was in the afterlife. But her body groaned and creaked as she made it go up the stairs after she keyed into her small but dingy apartment building. She made it up the steps to the top floor where she was forced to live. It had taken a long time to find the small studio apartment, as demand was incessant in the area in which she lived, far away from the boyfriend who had always made fun of her, in an occasionally fun way. He had been an actual man, before the lesbian.

He was a Daddy. He had his own kids earlier, or had made it up. Anyway, he was long gone far away, due to his own personal war with her over poverty, over the lack of children due to her fat, over life.

Far away from the man she had almost driven into killing her. The man had interesting hair too, like this Pierrot doll, but it had been all black and shady, spikes in the morning, feathers at night like her other lover’s hair had been.

There had never been any such “love” going on. Still, Sandra smiled. She knew now she had no such “soul,” but it had been fun playing let’s pretend.

Some days, she wondered if he had murdered her. He had driven her into becoming an overweight lesbian, or not. Was it her fault or his? It was a “he says she says,” and he had eventually found another such somebody. She thought maybe she had said something, and he had taken offense. She now weighed enough to die.

She gazed longingly at the dummy, as though expecting the mystery event. But she smiled her own smile as she held back against the heart attacks. They were bursting her chest out inside. And she was holding her 1001 Pierrot doll.

For you see, her apartment was stuffed with Pierrot dolls, the Crying Clown, the smiling clown, the clown everywhere. She had built small wooden shelves from kits. These were her children, for she had aborted only one once, but there were none available now. She was going to join the only child she never had, in outer space.

He was worried, the little Herman, for her. She shook him. Then she shook him hard. “Say you’re sorry. Say you’re sorry, Daddy, for telling me there is an afterlife, and that you were God. There is too a hell in this life called War.” The doll shook, oh how it was shaken. Suddenly, Sandra noticed Herman’s little face was cracked. Ouch!

She had broken her favorite pastime doll. Not only, that, her death sequence was starting to seem a little pathetic. Pant pant pant, hold doll. Look at doll. Pant pant pant did I waste my time back there? Yes, I did.

“Daddy,” she murmured to herself, “Daddy, you are broken now. Come to my home,” she intoned as the melodious…mommy. She placed Herman neatly on a shelf. She couldn’t or didn’t want to remember any of their other names. As she looked around, the place resounded with marching band dolls, sophisticated dolls, Barbie dolls, kewpie dolls with their little blond heads, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls which were stuffed with wonderful candy hearts by her as she had sewed them in herself, plastic dolls made by anyone whatsoever, purple and green ceramic dolls and some which were merely other kinds of clown dolls than Pierrot dolls.

The camera that was her eyes refocused on her brain. Something had been in there long ago, recording anything as she slumped to the floor, falling into her fat, having whittled down to the skinniest person in the universe. She smiled at me, thought Herman. She had finally gotten on SSI and her own apartment was all hers. It happened the very day she noticed she was dying.

Now I am home at last. I hope, he thought to himself. He hopped up and immediately walked over to her. “Godspeed, my dear, but I don’t know where you went. You have probably disintegrated. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I would say altogether. Now we can party down. Yet somehow, I would have liked to get to know you, my sweetheart, my…” Herman stopped, and he saw a small glow surround his chest. He gulped, and realized the worst fate had befallen him. This could not be Heaven.

He looked up at the ceiling. He looked down at the extremely filthy carpet with trash all over it. He looked at the peeling, cracked walls. He felt at home, and extremely brave. Then all resolved into a perfectly livable apartment. He was happy.


There was absolutely nothing left but dead silence.

Herman crouched down next to the dead body, and wept. For he was stuck forever, in an insignificant little apartment, blithering on to a rotting corpse. He had been from England once, and the teeny weenie little white tag said it out loud so strongly. In tiny hard to read blurry print. He couldn’t help that someone else had been his Maker.

Many doors slammed downstairs to let little him know this: that he had only his survival urge and his urge to have fun somehow left. There was no little boy to play with; there was no errant ear in which to fathom the obscurity called time.

He even tried mounting it, but there was nothing there.

As it grew time, over the years, he groped in boring devotion to the nonexistent dead woman. But as he was unable to do anything to bring her back alive from the dead, they finally killed him. Bugs, weasels, cockroaches, and tiny spirochetes: all ate him. Mildew really, but he had to remain alive to suffer through it all. Finally, he just keeled over. And the gods were not there to pronounce his fate.

Who are they? No one, nothing at all.


Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen Cole writes. GWI at Ghost Writer, Inc. is an affordable online professional ghostwriting service. We help book authors, ghostwriters, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors and rewriters.

We do book covers, original artwork, graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, and publishing assistance. Also, we foster book and screenplay writers, editors and developers. We also do paid samples, and paid book analyses. Plus midcoast presentation and pitch services for book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.