Cockeyed

Talking to a Cock

I guess I was a little drunk.  I was definitely over stimulated.  The boardwalk carnival at night was an intoxicating menagerie of sound and light, of beautiful bodies still in their skimpy beach-wear, smelling of sweat and suntan lotion, of sweet and salty junk food, deep-fried, slathered in cheese.  I wandered like a leaf on the breeze, my bare feet barely touching the wood.

The hawkers, luring people into sideshow attractions, were on fire tonight.  Business was booming at the Snake Boy house; patrons screamed in anguished pleasure.  The Winged Pigs, The Dragon Lady and Six Jesters Conjoined had long, eager lines waiting.  But the one which caught my eye was the only booth whose crier didn’t look like an ancient cigar-chomping sticky-pocketed circus clown with mirrored shoes.  SHE was a sultry middle-aged woman with curves and lumps and hair and eyes that melted my…bones.  It’s probably why I didn’t read the sign on the booth properly – or even care.  I just handed her my money and walked in.

There on the podium, in the center of a dark room with red satin curtains, stood a raging red COCK!

NO…I mean, it was a red rooster with bright flaming plumage.  The other people in the room sat on benches around the bird, enthralled.  I stood for a long moment, puzzled and awkward…until the cock looked over at me and said, “Take a seat there, Sparky, I’m just getting started,” in a voice that sounded remarkably like Noam Chomsky.

You know…I may have misheard the writing prompt today…What?  OH!!!  “Talking to a Cop”…Yeah, I don’t talk to cops.

***The image is “Cockeyed,” a Body-Oddy for our next book, “Body-Oddies.”  The story was recently published on page 58 of our latest book, “A Short Burst”…which you can find at our Etsy shop (search EEWbooks), or follow the links above to our site, which will bring you to our Etsy shop anyway.   -Marsha

Face Page

***”Face Page” is only a rough sketch.  It comes with no short story or clever rhyme.  It was designed to be the inside cover page for our new book, “Body-Oddies.”  John sat down in a lawn chair one warm Saturday afternoon and drew this as is, in one steady shot, without interruption or revision (something HE thinks we’re all supposed to be impressed with).  If you go to www.sallemander.com or to our Etsy shop (etsy.com) and search EEWbooks, you’ll find the final version of this image -in GREEN – used as banner art.  We also sell 11×14 prints of it at the comic cons, sci-fi cons and book festivals we attend.   -Marsha

Nose Hare

You’re welcome to pet him.  Just pet him, I say.                                       He’s never too sticky.  He’s really okay.

He’s just a wee hare, who lives up my nose.                                          SOME people aren’t very keen about those.

I don’t really know, I don’t really care,                                                           how he got in, or from where.

We’re best friends now.  BEST friends I said!                                            And if you don’t like it I’ll rip off your head.

So, go fuck yourself.  Fuck off, I say.                                                                  Just leave us alone.  GO AWAY!!!

Oh…oh my goodness.  You see that?  Wow!                                                   He WANTS you to pet him.  So, PET him…NOW!!!

***Another new one for our Body-Oddies book, which we’re finishing for publication early next year.   -Marsha

Baby Fat

This one is always hungry.                                                                                    That one’s ready to scream.                                                                                  This little one, below, with a rash                                                                            is allergic to diaper cream.                                                                                            I can’t get this one to sleep,                                                                                    but that ones usually sweet.                                                                            Either way, I can’t get a break.                                                                               I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  I’m beat.                                                          Sometimes they’re ALL in a tantrum,
or all have to vomit at once.                                                                                   I’ve got to get rid of this baby fat.                                                                            I don’t think I’ve slept in months.

***A rough sketch and poem for a new new illustrated book, “Body Oddies,” which  we’re finishing up for publication next year.  Find all four of our books and other stuff at our Etsy shop, just follow the links above to our site, www.sallemander.com, or search EEWbooks on Etsy .com.   -Marsha

First Contact

(book excerpt)

The Masset met the Earth delegation on their own carrier deck, looking formal and engaged, as if this was their actual ‘first contact’ with Earthers.  They knew better.  Admiral Geller noticed how big and beefy this group of humans was, better than average (his clients would be pleased).  Their encounter suits were unarmed, clearly diplomatic, which was a good sign.

It was inevitable that the Earthers would detect the Masset at some point.  Still, Geller was disappointed.    He had hoped to exploit them for a few more decades.  He was getting very rich.  Hopefully only a change of tactics would be necessary.

With a gesture, Geller invited the Earthers inside, but they insisted on the formalities (it was a really big deal – for them).  Their ambassador introduced himself as Colonel Smith and welcomed them to the Terran Solar System,  tediously explaining that they called their world Earth but that we were all currently orbiting Jupiter.  He offered the esteemed greetings of a long, boring list of political, corporate, and religious luminaries, and with a load of bows and flourishes he droned on through the standard diplomatic script.  Geller responded as expected.  This Col. Smith was testing his patience, but he and his warriors knew the drill…nothing was to happen until everyone was inside.

That’s when he heard Smith say something very odd; “…and thank you Admiral Geller.  The people of Earth thank you personally for all the advanced technology you’ve been sending us…”  And every Masset warrior switched-on to full alert.  This was not what Geller had expected to hear today…but just then his earpiece came alive with the clutter of proximity alerts and his senior officers barking frantic orders. Meanwhile, an Earther ship was de-cloaking just above them.

According to the Rhee Republic, Earth was off -limits.  It was illegal to land there or to fly within the orbital proximity of Jupiter.  Humanity was considered an “emerging culture.” It was either on the brink of advancing to eventually join the Republic…or of catastrophic self-destruction.  Quarantined.

The Masset, however, had commerce to conduct and orders to fill.  They were a diverse culture, but elements of it controlled the Republic’s vast black-market trade cartel…and some people had a taste for Earthers.  The Veen used humans for slave labor, the Binnish used them as lab rats for biomedical research, and the Lumia just found them delicious.  Apparently, enough Earthers had been abducted over the centuries for a strong market demand to develop…and the Masset owned the franchise (for which all Masset benefited).

On the other hand, the Masset were in good standing with the Rhee Republic.  They had helped to repel the last three military invasions, had powerful advanced technology, and were influential in Republic politics… so they had no wish to upset the balance.

That’s why Admiral Geller (who was only a legal consultant at the time), came up with a clever solution around the quarantine law.  Since they couldn’t go to Earth to harvest humans, they would have to ‘lure’ them off-world.  It wasn’t strictly legal, but it would work (and it did for a good long while).

Geller labored for decades, secretly transmitting propaganda to maintain division between Earth’s nation states, while feeding them choice bits of advanced technology to get them off the ground and into space, to explore and colonize.  So, when they started leaving the quarantined area in really profitable numbers, the Masset were there to intercept and abduct them…and nobody was the wiser.

In retrospect, Geller might have miscalculated the adaptability of the Earthers.  He’d never thought them intelligent enough to apply and integrate the technology he sent, into all the different alien ships and technology abandoned on Earth over the centuries.  He certainly had NOT counted on them outmaneuvering him…in an ambush.  Perhaps the Masset had become complacent…

In the time it took for the Earther ship to de-cloak overhead, Admiral Geller had a few additional thoughts:  First, he had never actually given Colonel Smith his name…curious.  Second, the Masset were the only culture with cloaking technology.  Hmmm…and third…wait.  Were those jet-packs they were wearing?

“Thanks again, Geller…” said Colonel Smith, “and have a nice day!”  And on his order, the entire Earth delegation lifted off the deck in perfect formation toward their ship above….and as it pulled away, Geller saw the first of an impressive flight of earth missiles de-cloak before slamming into his ship’s broadside.  As to Geller’s third and final thought, he said, “The Earther MISSILES are cloaked too?  How clever!!!”

***We posted this image a few years ago, but the story is new and written especially for our new book, “A Short Burst.”  It’s one of the longer stories, almost two whole pages.  Burst is a clever compilation of illustrated flash science fiction.  Find it at our Etsy shop (search EEWbooks) or by following the links above to www.sallemander.com…which will take you to our Etsy shop.   -Marsha

Assmonkey

I was in no particular hurry at 7:15 on a Saturday morning.  I was driving north on Interstate 295 at about 70 mph. and there was hardly anyone on the roads.

I used the center lane.  It kept me out of the way of the odd car entering or exiting the highway on the right, and there was no reason to be in the passing lane on the left.  But even at that hour, the occasional knot of fancy, expensive cars came up like a swarm and flew past on either side as if I was standing still.  No problem.  It was no bother to me.  There was plenty of room for everyone to do their thing.  They could all crash and die, for all I cared, and I would simply steer around the mess and be on my way, unfazed.  I just never seemed to be in a hurry any more, and I couldn’t imagine that kind of stress ruling over me…or the lack of self control.

I saw the black Mercedes approaching in my rear-view from two miles back.  A minute later it was right behind me, center lane, barely a car length away.  There was no one else on the highway.  There was an empty lane on either side of us as I just explained…and there he stayed.  This tailgating assmonkey with a bloated sense of entitlement, decided to try to bully me out of his lane rather than use his signal and steer around.  He pulled right up to my bumper, flashing his high-beams and honking.  I could see him  shaking his fist and hollering something which looked like, “Let the fudge outta my brain!”  Weird.

Oooooh, the seething madness that consumed his face and filled his luxury cockpit with vitriolic bile, the angry expletives bellowed, the spittle sprayed at the indignity I caused him to suffer by obstructing him, in HIS lane, at a measly five miles over the speed limit…and to watch it increase as I smiled and calmly took my foot off the gas petal, slowing down to 65…was priceless.

The sheer hugeness in the way his rage increased at that moment made me laugh out loud.  By the time I’d slowed to 58, he literally seemed to expand, turn beat-red and blow white steam out of his ears, and just as I reached the minimum, at 40, he popped.

I saw his windows suddenly pasted with gooey chunks of reddish bits,  teeth and slabs of fatty flesh (though, no brains).  His car veered off, crossing the left lane and slammed into the concrete barrier dividing the north and southbound lanes, exploding in spectacular fiery carnage.  Mangled pieces littered the grassy median and black smoke rose 400 feet into the sky…..which NOBODY actually saw.  None of it inconvenienced anyone.  No lanes were closed, no traffic jam formed, nobody was the least bit bothered…because there was nobody else on the friggin’ road!  And no reason for that assmonkey to have tailgated me.

With a carefree smile, I slowly brought my speed back up to 70 and turned the volume up to eleven as “Dead and Lovely” by Tom Waits played on the radio.

*** Where I come from, Assmonkey is the name we use for tailgaters, people with no self control who drive their cars close enough to your rear bumper to smell your last meal.  This red-rough sketch and short story draft are new for our 5th book, “Body-Oddies,” which we’re finishing up for publication early next year.  They will surely be revised and finished beyond recognition, so you should try to enjoy them while you can.  As it is, only a fraction (barely 13 percent) of the material from any of our books is ever released on social media, so you really should try to get the books.  Find all our stuff at our Etsy shop (search EEWbooks), or follow the links to www.sallemander.com, which will take you to our Etsy shop.   -Marsha 

It’s Not About You

It’s Not About You…

“It’s not about you…” she said in her best, most sincere tone, “Really.  You’re fine.  I’m really okay with it…it’s just that, I think…I’m in a different place in my life right now…”  She smiled, looking away, trying to remember some of her gentlest brush-offs.  A bead of sweat  began it’s descent down the back of her neck, even as frustration and indignation came up in her bile.

“Oh, to HELL with it!  I can’t do this!  Listen…you seemed like a nice, normal person and all but… JESUS effin’ CHRIST!!  Your dating profile NEVER said anything about THAT!!!  I mean, come ON!”  She pulled up her boot zipper, buttoned the top button of her blue jeans and grabbed her jacket off the floor as she made for the bedroom door. “You might have warned me at some point during dinner!”  She was really hollering now.  “Seriously?  I had to wait until we both undressed to find out about…..THAT?!?”  She slammed the door, making the whole room shudder, and with one final “AAAAUGHHH!!!!  FRIGGIN’ FREAK SHOW!!” she stomped away.

***This image, never posted before with this short story, was first published in the June 2008 issue of Analog Mag.  You can find it NOW in the pages of our NEW book, “A Short Burst,” by following the links to www.sallemander.com. or search EEWbooks at Etsy.com.   -Marsha

Badger

CLOWNS ARE REPULSIVE

Knob Noster, Missouri.  There is no doubt that Badger the Clown was an obnoxious, bile-inducing weenie.  That’s not an uncommon talent for a clown.  No, Badger’s unique gift was being repulsive.  I mean, he was impossible to touch – like trying to connect two positive-ended magnets.  No matter how big an object it was or how fast you threw, it veered away from him…uncanny!  He once stood stock still to let John smash a tomato on his head, point blank…and he still missed.  Badger laughed so hard he wet himself (but not a drop touched him).

***Taking another break from posting pages from our NEW book…to post one from our third book, “Bludgeon the Clown,” which is still quite brilliant and can be found, along with all three of our other books and stuff by following the link above to www.sallemander.com or go straight to our Etsy shop and search EEWbooks.   -Marsha

Twisted

Clown Juice is Pure and Potent.  (book excerpt)

Clowns are twisted, pressed, squeezed, milked and otherwise drained…regularly.  It’s how we get all the yummy juice out.

Pawtucket, RI.  When I first met Snazzy the Clown, I knew nothing about clown extracts.  He gamboled about pissing his juice everywhere, indiscriminately.  I had no idea how potent and valuable his goopy fluids could be…but when we met again two years later, he was all grown up and working for a major pharmaceutical company, squeezing powerful drugs out for erectile dysfunctional old softies.  I’m amazed at how many vital jobs clowns perform in our society.

***This image was originally commissioned fro the Oct/Nov 2005 cover of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.  Now it resides on page 29 of our third book, “Bludgeon the Clown.”  You can find all 4 of our books and other stuff by followings the links above to www.sallemander.com or by searching EEWbooks at Etsy.com.   -Marsha

Spare Rib

BAT CRAP CRAZY

Ancient Christian texts claim that when God removed one of man’s ribs to make “woman,” he also yanked out the other, just to even things up…but not needing it for anything, tossed it into a dung heap.  This, according to Christians, is the key to the miracle of their existence.  That single bit of rib bone and ragged flesh flourished in God’s blessed poop, reforming as a gangly, festering, embryonic growth.  When it finally gained enough strength to scrape and scrabble into the light of the world (like a schloppity bubble of methane), it burst forth and immediately began juggling rancid chunks of excrement for God’s divine amusement “…and it was gooood…”  Apparently, early Christians were as loopy as our modern, bat-crap-crazy kind.

Ancient Babylonians were quite certain that the first clown hatched like an egg from the severed nut sack of a pregnant goat, caressed by the triple tongue of Ama-Arhus, goddess of fertility.  This theory has some merit, as I’ve observed and documented similar occurrences in this book.

Most American Natives agree that clowns came to the “New World” from Europe as a plague of sickly, pale ghouls in great smelly wooden canoes.  They say they were invited here by the legendary trickster “Coyote” as a prank…which backfired when he became an alcoholic and died of smallpox.

In all, I unearthed about 407 clown origin myths from the records of dead religions across the globe, some of whose sheepish followers still blindly believe…and continue to provide a rich source of entertainment to American popular culture (bless them).

The U.S. University of Clown Knowledge (U.S.U.C.K.), in Waldo, Maine, are the government contractors who track and monitor clown activity throughout North America (they are also the esteemed fact-checkers for this book) and are the ones who ultimately revealed the truth.  They discovered that early clowns (about 7 billion years ago) made a significant evolutionary choice which divided them forever;  A majority of clowns decided to fully integrate with the most dynamic and intelligent race on Earth…and live out their lives in contented, peaceful bliss.  The remaining minority chose to merge with primitive humans…..who by now, have managed to hunt their brethren, the whales, to the brink of extinction.

These days, there are clowns so integrated into our society, they no longer realize they’re clowns…and their subversive influence is incalculable.  The fate of the world, it would seem, now rests in the hands of the sort of delightful fellows featured in this book.

After all my intense research on the history of clowns (an entire Saturday afternoon…wasted) a couple of things stand out.  First, people think clowns are creepy (surprise!!), and second, nobody gives a squirt about history.  As long as clowns distract the kids, folks will overlook just about anything.  Not even the telltale stench of rancid armpits and boozy puke breath – or a police rap sheet of armed robbery and indecent exposure – will put people off these days.  And here they remain, hidden in plain sight…waiting.

***This post is NOT from our latest book, “A Short Burst.”  It is an excerpt from our third book, “Bludgeon the Clown.”  While the image makes me want to puke (John loves it of course), it is the most exhaustively researched article on the true history of clowns ever written.  True, it’s kinda short, but piss off!  It’s all we REALLY know about the clown species.  You can find “Bludgeon” and all our books and stuff by following the link above to www.sallemander.com.   -Marsha