Horst, God of Whimsy

I spotted the airship coming in over the treetops about a half mile out.  I met them on the roof of my marine supply shop, securing the anchor line, as Vanessa slid down to collect their order. Horst stood at the rudder.  He almost never set foot on solid ground anymore, but he smiled down to me with cheerful eyes and raised a hand in friendship.  Vanessa, his young protégé handled everything, as usual.  Together, we hoisted a bolt of sailcloth, 6 tackle blocks and 200 yards of hemp rigging into the gondola.  When I offered to help him refit, she laughed and asked, “What kind of God would he be if he couldn’t handle his own repairs?”


I had never met a God before.  I saw one once, from a distance, when I was a kid.  It was Dolores the Forlorn, Goddess of the sad and disenfranchised.  She was in the street, amid throngs of the poor and homeless…not to be worshipped, NO!.  She was a REAL God, a working God, teaching them to bathe and cook and forage for food, encouraging them to rob and murder rich fascists.

Real Gods had no need for blind believers.  Their job was to inspire us to be better…or whatever.  But their existence had been obscured for eons by the big, fake God, who seemed only able to inspire homophobia, racism and war.  It’s funny, now, to recall how he was destroyed by the pedophiles infesting his own deranged priesthood.  When his followers found out the truth, they gathered on mountaintops by the thousands, drank poisoned cool-aid…and sent themselves to heaven.

The Muslims, the Jews, the Capitalists…all the other false religions fell like dominos after that.  You know…I never wanted to go to heaven.  I figured it must be an awful, pungent place.  It took years for the stench of 3 billion of the stupidest people on Earth to wash away.  I remember that smell as a kid, too.

But soon the real Gods began dying off as well.  Without cognitive dissonance to hold us back, the human race began to evolve again.  We were growing up, shedding childish things.  There was no need for Gods any more.

The first to go was Bradley, God of Greed.  Rabid fanatics ran him down, along with his friends, Dieter the Angry and Brutus the Incontinent, God of Fear…they burned them like witches and ate them, bones and all…before offing themselves.  It’s not as if mankind had suddenly overcome greed and anger and fear, it’s just that we were already good at being horrible and certainly didn’t need help from any God for that.

I remember George the Smarmy, God of Conmen and Corporations.  He was ripped apart in a category 7 hurricane, caused by the same global warming he and his followers refused to “believe” in.  Then there was Milton the Mediocre, God of Bureaucrats….who sat on a park bench one windy day and blew away, page by page, like a loose stack of photocopies.  These Gods and many more like them were never missed or mourned.  As the corporate world collapsed under it’s own incompetence, the environment rebounded and people got busy, recovering.  They grew food, formed communities…and slowed down.

The Gods who lingered a while longer, were the ones who needed to teach us love and patience…how to be kind and generous again.  We needed to recover our civility and common courtesy, which centuries of intolerance seems to have squeezed from our souls.  When those Gods finally left the world, they went quietly, in peace and dignity.

But the last one (and in my opinion), the greatest…was Horst, God of Whimsy.  He was the God of clowns and tricksters, of bawdy songs and practical jokes.  He reminded us to laugh and be happy.  It is because of him that I throw away my umbrella every time it rains and splash in the mud-puddles, like an 8 year old kid.


I handed Vanessa the parachute, the last item on his list.  He watched us from the rail above.  “What’s this…?” she asked absently.  I didn’t answer as I stepped away to release the anchor line.  She knew…we both knew that this would be his last journey…and she need not go with him.  I saw understanding creep into her eyes as she thanked me and climbed aboard.  Horst waved his final farewell as the airship lifted away into the rising sun.


I saw Vanessa again a few years later.  When the world was already a brighter place.  I spotted her from the docks, teaching children to sail.  I smiled, glad she had not flown into the sun with God…..she saw me too and smiled back.

***I wrote the short story for this post quite recently and thought it well suited to certain current events, even though it’s slated for a new science fiction short-story, sci-fi book project.  The illustration was first commissioned for the April, 2006 issue of Analog Magazine.  It was meant to be re-published in my latest book (Bludgeon the Clown), but it didn’t make the cut.  We had 200 pages of stuff to try to cram into a 100 page book.  More recently John loaned it (with permission) to our friends at Monsterz Tea Party, in France, for the posters and adverts for their upcoming art and music exposition on September 15th  (Check it out:  monsterzteaparty.com), go there if you can, they are the best.   -Marsha

Old Wives’ Tail


Last night she came in through the bathroom window…the one up on the third floor.  At this point I’m too numb to be surprised.  Last week, before bed, she reached up to take her glasses off and her whole head came away.  She paid it no mind, just set it down on the nightstand next to her spittoon and went to sleep – I slept on the couch that night.

Three days ago she came home from a visit with her mother dragging a massive, spiked tail behind her as if nothing was amiss (talk about an old wives tail).  The dogs were pretty upset.  I spent the night ‘working’ in my office with a bottle of scotch and a joint.

So, the bathroom window thing last night was hardly a bother – and the mystery of how she managed the climb was solved when I noticed her folding leathery bat wings up under her coat.  What those long curly tusks could possibly be used for, I cannot guess…..but I think I’ll sleep out in the car tonight.

***This is a true story.  It happened to a guy I knew…well actually the next door neighbor of a second cousin, twice removed of my best friend’s cubicle mate’s mother-in-law (from her old job).  It’s really sad how people drift apart but its inevitable and sometimes we just have to adapt to the new paradigm.  This is another unofficial ‘red rough’ sketch from our upcoming book “Body-Oddies” which I’m forbidden to post…but what John (my illustrator) doesn’t know won’t kill him.  Find our books at www.sallemander.com    -Marsha




Darryl woke up with that feeling again – impossible to describe but all too familiar at this point. He kept his eyes closed for a while longer, savoring the dream he was having about his old, normal life…before all the changes…before every morning became a horror show, wondering if he would find another growth.

He did his best to soothe his anxiety, tried to make lemonade out of the lemons that seemed to be smothering him.  After all, how could yet another, extra hand possibly be all that bad for a skilled craftsman who worked with his hands?  Each one seemed to have all his talent and strength.  His productivity tripled, he was making money hand-over-fist (no pun intended) and for the first time in his life, people found him “kinda” interesting…..

But…waking up every few days with another fully formed hand growing out of some empty patch of his flesh was really starting to effect his insanity.

***This was a tough image to pull out of John’s thick head, but with an iron skillet and a power drill I finally managed it (long story).  It comes from our new book project, “Body-Oddies,” now scheduled for publication in 2019.   -Marsha

Red State Blue State

red-state-blue-state-58-copyDemocrat?  Republican?  Who can fuckin’ tell?                                          Red state, Blue state?  Die and go to Hell!                                                    Argue ’bout it all you want, knock each other out.                                 ‘Right-Left’ bullshit ain’t what its about.

***All over the country (and especially social media) stupid people are still arguing over inane political ‘issues’.  Pull your heads out of your asses, we live in a broken, corporatized society.  It is broken on purpose.  It is the natural result of Capitalism.  It’s not about right vs. left, it’s about rich vs. poor.   We owe it to those who come after us to do more than just argue, pointlessly over ‘D’ or ‘R’ like “Good Germans”.  We owe it to them to get off our lazy asses and resist the corporate state…then get out, join a movement and rebel.  This page is from our first book, “Marsha Mellow’s Blue-ish Freaks.”  Find it by following the link above to www.sallemander.com.   -Marsha Mellow