Tag Archives: art

Primal Urge


I love brains!…LOVE them.  Can’t remember why I ever ate anything else…ever.  I vaguely remember being bitten, I think there were six of them.  They ripped out my stomach and organs as I turned…..then I joined in…and I tasted pretty good – but not as good as brains.

I don’t talk much any more, nobody in my group does.  It’s okay, I never was much of a conversationalist…and most folks seem too afraid of me to chat, anyway.  They run away screaming a lot or try to stab me in the head with sharp stuff… I never liked most people that much, so it doesn’t really hurt my feelings.  Their brains, though…ooooooohhh, nice!  Better than goose liver pâté and double fudge brownies.

I saw my own reflection yesterday, I’m looking pretty rugged.  I’ve really slimmed down without my guts…finally lost that extra thirty pounds.  And my skin, well…a mottled blue-ish grey with black streaks – reminds me of camouflage, my favorite color.  But oooooohh, the brains…did I tell you how good those are?  I highly recommend them.  Ooooooom!  Ughhh!!  Brains!!!  I love the brains.  Ummmmmm…I can’t remember why I ever ate anything else…ever.  I vaguely remember being bitten, I think there were six of them.  They ripped out my stomach……

***I posted this to celebrate another amazing show this past weekend…my first of 2018, at the NJ Horror Con and Film Fest.  HOORAY!!!  It would have been perfect if I made any money…and if all the vendors weren’t illegally searched (without probable cause) and harassed by the NJ Dept. of Revenue – before any of us were allowed to enter the show.  It was all an intimidation/scare tactic for a bunch of pussy tax cops who had full access to a list of prepaid vendors long before the show opening.  And it was all facilitated by the convention’s organizers/owners.  It’s really not a matter of whether I participate in future shows with those people — it’s about whether I include them in the legal action that follows.  I no longer tolerate being bullied.  -Marsha

Faith, in Brand Name Products

The worms had invested several generations in this project.  They were steadfast and intrepid.  It took months to meticulously scour every inch of the box to find flaws in the smooth laminate – the tiniest gaps in the seal – then year upon year of boring , rotting and tunneling through hard woods and glues.  They had never met Faith…had no idea what kind of person she was, but from the quality of her box, they trusted that she had taste…was tasteful.  (Tasty?)

The worms celebrated their first breakthrough as a holiday.  It was a momentous achievement.  A pauper’s box was easy to tap but was quickly overrun by poachers, a rich person’s box, though a major endeavor, was a rich prize.  The worms took time to reflect and remember their forebears who began this campaign with such hope and ambition.  It was good to be a worm and sure to get better…

…But, when they finally breached Faith’s inner cavern, they were appalled at the stench.  It wasn’t the tasteful (rotten) odor of a well fed, well groomed lady, whose conquest would fill their bellies as much as their pride, it was the vile reek of toxins…death to worms.  They found Faith, in brand name products.

She was slathered in chemical cosmetics, pumped full of formaldehyde, lead and mercury and her flesh, saturated with food additives and preservatives.  She had fake hair, fake nails, fake boobs, lips and joints.  She looked as perfectly pickled now as the day she was buried…but for the worms, Faith was completely inedible.  Disconsolate and defeated, they turned away wondering what the modern world was coming to.

***Some would qualify Faith, with all her enhancements, as a “cyborg” (how exciting!).  However, the products which enhanced her beauty also shortened her life.  Oh, but never mind that!  I’m sure she’s been looking up at her corpse this past decade, quite proud of its everlasting glamour.  As to the worms, I’m afraid there isn’t much hope.  Perseverance and integrity don’t count for much any more.  Meanwhile, today’s graveyards are tomorrow’s superfund sites.  This image is published in our new book, “Bludgeon the Clown” as the ‘Chapter 6: Death’ page illo.  It was originally our 21st post from Feb., 2016.  Good luck Christmas shopping…try not to poison your children.  -Marsha  


First Contact


While Marsha is away (once again), I get to post something I like.  This illustration has some awkward bits in this context, but it made for a good cover and was (strictly) scene-specific to the story/ assignment;  The Earth delegation approaches, having landed their shuttle (by invitation) on the surface of a massive alien starship orbiting Jupiter.

“First Contact” is the cover illustration for the May, 2006 issue of Analog Magazine.  This is the first of 5 images (a cover and 4 interior illos.) for a 4 month serialized story by Edward M. Lerner called “A New Order of Things,” part of his ‘Interstellarnet’ series  It’s a great story and well worth reading.  I got to meet Lerner at the 2010 Nebula awards – nice guy.  I’ve read a few of his books over the years and highly recommend them.  -John

Orbital Fracture

“Well, that was pretty weird…” Quinn’s dad said, as they strolled out of the hospital emergency room toward the car.  Quinn nodded in solemn agreement.  His brain rattled a little, still full of purple marbles and tapioca.  He winced as his now full blown concussion sent steam whistling from his ears and left a trail of silly string on the asphalt.

Just a few hours earlier, Quinn, the goalkeeper for his club soccer team, came out of his box low and fast, to intercept a couple of players desperately sparring for the ball.  He dove in, punching it away as one of the players aimed a kick…but instead of connecting with the ball, his foot caught Quinn in the face like a grizzly car crash (an all-too-common goalie accident).

Quinn’s jaw spun away with a funny “vip-vip-vip!” and hit a light post, exploding in a shower  of sparks.  His teeth peppered everyone within fifty yards…but his head flew straight up in the air at such velocity that we lost sight of it shortly before his “AAAAAAAAAAAH!” diminished into the night.  What a mess!

Willy the Astronaut was a clumsy buffoon who, for the second time this month, slipped and splashed into the molding tank at the polar ice mine on the surface of Mars…as it’s contents began to freeze.  His heavily insulated vac-suit protected him from harm, but he wasn’t discovered until the 60 ton cylinder of ice had already been rocket-lifted up to the orbital processing plant, where it would be transformed into liquid oxygen rocket fuel.

Willy’s coworkers labored fruitlessly for eight frustrating hours with a laser drill to free him, without luck…..until Willy noticed Quinn’s gnarly, high velocity head glance off the ice and careen away, still hollering, “Aaaaaaaaaah!”  Quinn’s head must have hit a sweet spot in the ice, just so, because it fractured the cylinder neatly, allowing Willy to escape unharmed and without a costly, shattered mess for the mining company.  Willy never mentioned Quinn’s head to his employers, he was a known buffoon and his credibility was already compromised.

As to Quinn; his dad managed to gather up all his bits and parts and take him to the hospital, where the clever use of duct tape and super glue had him back on his feet in a few short hours.  We figure his wild story about ice mining on Mars was probably just a symptom of his concussion.

“Well, that was pretty weird…..”

***This is a totally true story which happened to John’s son, Quinn, last week, at a soccer game in Millburn, NJ on June 9th, 2017.  Quinn is recovering (slowly but steadily) and has been corresponding with Willy the Astronaut on facebook.  Quinn’s dad is building a rocket ship in the barn out back, so they can visit the ice mine on Mars next month.  -Marsha     


Roger-79 copy***No clever poetry this week and no flash fiction, just an old sketch originally done (by John) for Analog Magazine back in January ’04.  It seems to be the perfect image to illustrate the incredibly mediocre NJ Horror Con and Film Festival we worked last weekend.  NEXT weekend we’ll be sharing a table at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con in Oaks PA. with our good friend Richard Laslo, the Cel King.  After that, there will be no shows until our new book, “Bludgeon the Clown”, is done and published.  We’re still shooting for the first week in May for our release…but it will just have to take whatever time it takes.  -Marsha 

Art & Poetry HAHA!



Tepid the Clown had really bad gas.                                                                    He made ’em strong, and made ’em to last.                                                     He could fly around town propelled by his ass,                                       could leap a tall building with just one blast.

But ran out of luck with a wet squirty one                                                     and at ten thousand feet he was done                                                              and hit the street like a jelly-filled bun                                                             but, by golly! Wasn’t that fun?!!

***I may have posted this one last year but here is again…see, the darndest thing happened recently when the owners of The Rectangle Studio & Gallery invited us to be part of their inaugural ‘Art and Poetry HAHA!’ show.  I figured they must be crazy people if they liked John’s horrible clown illustrations…but John will be reading a piece or two of My work too, so they obviously have good taste.  The show is on Saturday, Feb. 25th at The Rectangle Studio & Gallery, 540A Freeman St., Orange, NJ 07050.  Open mike is at 6:30p (RSVP only) and open house is from 7:30p to 10p with froo-froo wine and snacks.  Find it online at http://www.therectanglestudio.com/.  -Marsha 

Peek-a Boo


I had a good breath diving under…good for at least 3 minutes.          50 yards out from the dock, I went down deep, about 35 feet and counting. The fish were strange today. They weren’t acting right. Just my instinct but…they seemed to crowd me instead of scattering at my approach. Pensive.

Weeds were thick but I didn’t mind. I liked swimming through them, like parting curtains…..until I saw the eyes – big eyes – cunning eyes. They were staring back at me with unnerving intelligence and all the little fish were darting about frantically – and I nearly lost my breath.

Through the gloom, I began to make out the long, hulking form behind the eyes; Strange limbs, sharp fins, long feelers, fleshy lips with menacing barbs, monstrous teeth…..smiling at me?

Now I was afraid! In one swift motion my hand swept down to draw my knife from its ankle sheath – but lightning fast, the creature’s arm shot out from between the weeds and wrapped its long scaly fingers around my throat – my jaw – my entire skull.

I lost my air…and then, lost consciousness.

I woke up. I was breathing. I started to remember…..I was swimming through weeds – fish acting oddly – then the eyes…and a massive claw, engulfing my head. As it all went dark I thought I heard a sinister, gurgling: “Peek-a-boo!”

I was inside now. It was stifling and it smelled like cat food mixed with burning tires. I sat up in a lumpy soup of viscous bile and big bloody chunks of meat. My hands and face burned but my wet suit protected the rest of my skin. A sphincter opened behind me and sucked me along with my steaming meat-soup down a tube, whose bulbous nodules bathed us in a spray of acid. It stripped the fur and skin from the meat and dissolved my hair and a painful layer of exposed skin.

I dropped into a bony chamber in which long, razor sharp blades shredded the meat into hamburger (along with most of my wetsuit). I was quickly evacuated into another chamber which flooded with thousands of tiny, finger sized worms (with very sharp teeth), who consumed every speck of the remaining meat sludge before I alone, the inedible lump, was expelled once more, through slimy bowels, into a vat of solid waste.

This wondrous fleshy sack looked and smelled like the inside of a rotting, bloated elephant carcass. Minutes passed, possibly hours, while a steady stream of sticky, gloppy gunk filled the space, until there was no more room…this was the end. With goop filling my ears and covering my mouth, I took my last solid breath of air (a three minute breath?) before black sludge covered and consumed me. One minute…two minutes…nearly three minutes passed before I felt a great shuddering shift, followed by a resounding (satisfied) grunt….and I was suddenly shot, like a torpedo, out into clean lake water.

I surfaced near the shoreline, gasping for air. Although I emerged from the lake a raw, tattered and thoroughly disgruntled piece of fish poop…I was alive. It was, perhaps, not my greatest adventure but surely a ‘fantastic journey.’


***The only thing better than a giant fish swallowing a dude and crapping him back out is doing the same thing to a great old Asimov concept (like I did here).  Aaaaah, fish poop!…one of the great mysteries of life.  ‘Marsha Mellow’s Blue-ish Freaks’ is nearly ready…e-mail me for advanced copies. -Marsha

A stranger’s fleeting glance


He was lonely. He saw her on a crisp Tuesday morning as he got on the train. She gave him just a fleeting glance…but he was lonely and it was enough. She was attractive. His mind wandered after her all day….no, it raced!

He saw her the following Thursday. She smiled at him (he thought) and he lost himself again in sweet daydreams full of romance. He was lonely.

Two days later, in a light snow, he saw her drop a glove without noticing. He got there first and took it to her…she thanked him in a voice like pure milk chocolate. He was SO lonely. He dreamed of them holding hands on the beach, of spooning by the fire, of marriage and contentment. She was so nice…so perfect…

Monday night was a late night at work – a late train home – a late walk through the park toward his lonely apartment building. He saw her standing in the cold. She greeted him with a warm smile. They spoke together quietly. His fatigue melted into a pool of elation…anticipation…happiness. This was his moment! She was so much more wonderful than he ever dreamed. He asked her to join him for a drink – perhaps dinner – sometime? She smiled as she reached elegantly into her purse…pulled out an exotic handgun and forcibly inserted the barrel into his left nostril. And as she fleeced him of his wallet, cash and remaining self esteem, she melted into a screaming demon harpy…..and shot him in both kneecaps before she walked away.

He never saw her again but his loneliness wasn’t much of an issue for a long while after.

***Aaaaaaaah!  There’s nothing like a bit of romance to soothe those lonely winter nights.  This little piece sums it all up neatly for most people in our modern society.  Some writers waste volumes to essentially come to the same conclusion (though I have been known to be pretty cynical).  John’s image was first published in the November 2013 issue of Analog Magazine.   -Marsha 


Can’t take it with you


We stood at the intersection looking down on the body – hit by a bus…how ridiculous!  After all the times I’d stopped people on their stupid phone gadgets from walking into traffic…now this?  I must have been daydreaming…what an idiot!

Cars were still swishing through the scene while a small crowd of cynical bystanders gathered to make snarky comments in hushed voices (as if they might offend me).  The police arrived to push the crowd away and redirect traffic.  One of them walked right through me…uugh!  Weird!!  I shuddered. My companion just grinned.

I felt some regret.  It was a good body for a middle aged clown.  I’d kept it fit and healthy – not too bad looking, either…but now it was broken and mangled.  There were scattered bits of gristle and a thick dark liquid splashed across the asphalt.  One of my eyes hung by a thread down my cheek and my skull was split wide open like a busted watermelon – but hey,  I always wondered what my own brains looked like….Eeeeew!!!…(Cool!)

My companion stepped over to me with a ‘we should go soon’ attitude.  I must say, for a scythe wielding hippy weirdo in a medieval bathrobe, he seemed like a decent chap.  He was good enough to give me time to adjust.  Finally, with a friendly clap on the shoulder he whispered, “Come along, son.  You can’t take it with you…”  We turned away and began walking off into the ether.

“Hey Grim!” I said, “You think I’ll come back as a sea slug or a tapeworm?  I hope not…maybe I could be a hockey puck!  Yeah!…That’s where all the action is…”  He shook his head and rolled his eye sockets.  “Hey, can you introduce me to Jesus?  No…ELVIS!!!…..Yeaaaah!”

***My little fiction aside, Liam the Clown did his best work squashed like a bug.  Not much of a song-and-dance guy, Liam’s twitchings had an artsy aesthetic.  Anybody who knows anything about Clowns, knows they’re incredibly hard to kill, so Liam never met Jesus – or Elvis but he and Grim became pretty close.  -Marsha


handyman-image-06     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 sanity.

***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) and it lead to a new book project called “Body-Oddies” (which won’t be done for at least a year).  -Marsha