Ugliest Man Alive

ugliest-man-alive-56 Billy O’Banion had to be the ugliest man alive.   He was  monstrous to look at – an absolute fright – and there was no hiding it.

Some liked to speculate that his father was a mutant clone or an alien invader.  There was even a vicious rumor that his mother took a demon into her bed.  Really though,  the O’Banions were perfectly respectable.  In fact, Billy’s birth was completely normal and he had a decent, happy childhood.  He’d never succumbed to any horrible illness or accident and was never bitten by an irradiated lab rat.  He simply started getting ugly at some point in his twenties, and kept getting uglier and uglier with each passing day.  He was an inexplicable freak of nature…an awful, tragic figure… sad!?

The funny thing about Billy, however, is that he was perfectly okay with his predicament.  He took it all in stride and made lemonade out of the rotten tomatoes he was dealt.  He figured he was a cross between Darth Maul and a Gothic dragon…cool!  See, Billy had an outrageous sense of humor which dwarfed his ugliness.  He was a clever practical joker and filled his days with gigantic gobs of fun.

Nothing tickled his tendrils more than slipping quietly into a mob on the street, disguised in a hoodie…only to burst out suddenly, flashing his most charming grin, yelling “Surprise!!!”  He could barely contain the giggles as they screamed, shat themselves and fainted (usually in that order).  It never got old.  He could clear a fast food joint or a movie theatre in seconds and never had trouble getting a good seat.

For a while, he made piles of money in the Mexican masked wrestling circuit but eventually retired on a generous pension provided by several New Jersey towns – “to stay the hell away!” These days, he lives quietly in a posh Hoboken penthouse where he writes creepy clown poetry and practices his banjo…but still gets a kick out of scaring the bajeebies out of solicitors, delivery boys and trick-or-treaters. He likes to leap out of the elevator and gobble them down whole.  Oh, don’t worry, he craps them out onto the carpet an hour later…completely unharmed (at least physically), after all, he always was a vegetarian.

***I wrote this in our weekly, Saturday morning ‘Montclair Write Group’ free-write workshop with John’s horrible self portrait as the prompt.  It’s good practice, good exercise and good inspiration.  John’s image was originally published in a 2010 issue of Analog Magazine.  We have 3 books available for sale, you can find them by following the link above to:    -Marsha

Book Festival

Paranoia Smith was the most exhausting, obnoxious, insufferable, skate-punk, tattooed, cross dressing poseur I ever met at a book festival.  Within a minute in this lunatic’s presence I wanted to rip off his head and crap down his neck.  He babbled incessantly (when he wasn’t ‘rapping’ or screeching heavy metal lyrics) and his fake blonde goatee and dreadlocks smelled like a port-a-potty.  He was one of those touchy-feely dudes who never let up.  Comic-Con-image-30He had a finger puppet named Yak Feces who insisted on probing all of my facial orifices.  And he simply could not convey any of his incomplete ‘ideas’ from a distance further than an inch from my nose with breath like the putrid steam at the edge of a volcano.  He was a wild eyed maniac with no self control….actually dribbled chaw juice on my shoe, then apologized as he hosed it off with urine…..BUT, he just bought a copy of my ridiculous new book, “Bludgeon the Clown” and I love him for it.  I think we could be brothers.

Oh no! Next in line was Lisa, an enormous middle aged woman in a teeny-tiny Sailor Moon costume with bits bulging from under her adorable skirt that I didn’t know women even had.  I think her blue hair was her REAL hair.  “Could you sign mine?” she croaked like Jabba the Hut…and I was grinning (as she pulled out exact change) too horrified to look away from…this beautiful, elegant creature who loves my book.  I could have married her on the spot.

Next in line is…oh, sweet Jesus…..

***John and I brought our new book out to sell at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Maryland last weekend.  It rained…but it was brilliant.  We met so many talented, decent, cool people – and artists – and vendors…What a great time – and you would not believe how many books we sold (my mother told me we should have brought more…).  Wish you were there.   -Marsha

Search Me…

Search me-image-40

They were big and beefy and incredibly strong.  They were aggressive, poking their weapons everywhere and they smelled like belligerent fear as they shouted and snarled.  They had plate armor like insects but were pasty and bony underneath with beady eyes and a ridiculous tuft of hair on their tiny heads – like hand puppets.  They were most definitely …ALIEN!

When they landed their starship in my back yard and demanded; “Take me to your leader!”  I was so stunned – so baffled that I froze and just blinked at them.  Their exasperated captain tried again; “Where are your leaders?!” sneering with contempt, as if I was a child.  I simply shrugged and said, “Search me…”

Now…I don’t know if they misunderstood me or just had a REALLY strange sense of humor…..but being held down in a medical lab with a gnarly probe approaching my buttocks is taking things waaaaaay too literally.  These humans area  nasty bunch.

***This story reminds me of my last colonoscopy…And can anybody explain what the deal is with Aliens and anal probes?  They’re almost as bad as the CIA (at least Aliens ask intelligent questions).  This was the (lucky) 13th cover John did for the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Analog Magazine.  You won’t find this image in any of our 3 current books but you can find our books by following the links to and our Etsy shop.   -Marsha 

Freaky Uncle


We never spoke about Uncle Dixon. Our whole family tip-toed around the subject…but I could tell there were powerful feelings just under everybody’s skin.  He was a horrible pariah.  The black sheep of the family.

We kept him straight-jacketed in one of the padded cells in the catacombs below our cabin.  He was never allowed out in the light of day (lest one of the neighbors spot him), only after midnight on stormy nights and always tightly chained, gagged and bound in one of those psycho metal hockey mask get-ups.  He got wheeled around in a steel cage on a hand truck under constant, heavily armed guard.

As if that wasn’t bad enough…Uncle Dixon was never allowed to go wilding with the rest of the family, never allowed to invade homes, to rape and burn and shoot folks in the face with shotguns or dismember them with his best machete before skinning and roasting them on the Bar-B-Que for the family feast… sad and dull.

I felt bad for him.  What possible meaning could his life have?  I always wondered what awful thing he could have done to deserve such treatment – until I overheard Pappa Ripper telling old cousin Head-Stomper that Dixon was a pacifist, an atheist and… a vegetarian (whatever that was).  He also said that he had NEVER murdered a baby in his whole life – actually refused to do it!!!  Eeeeew!  What a Freak!?!

***Every family has at least one crazy relative that makes Thanksgiving an unforgettable event, rivaling any ten episodes of The Jerry Springer Show….and worth 6 months of therapy.  I think my illustrator, John, serves that role in his family.  John’s illustration is from our new book, ‘Bludgeon the Clown.’  You need this book.  It explains EVERYTHING!  Find it at (links above)  -Marsha