Best Teacher Ever

Mr. White was one of the greatest teachers we knew, but his love for apples made him rather fat so we decided to make the world a better place by destroying him.

We put lard in his briefcase, we made loud noises at night in the boys dormitory, we burned a lock of his hair on the altar of Greed. All to make sure Principal Black gave him the pink slip. But what really did it was when we put strychnine in Mr. White’s coffee. He seemed to taste it a little bit, he made a sour face, like he just ate a lemon, but he either thought he deserved bad coffee, or he simply decided to die. Either way, he was out within six hours.

We celebrated by dancing in front of the big mirror in the music room. Oh la la la la la la laaaah. Oh la! The music was so beautiful.

Alas! The day after that the school already had a new Mr. White. It must have grown him as a defense mechanism against sinister schoolboys. What were we to do? If only we could put strychnine in the school’s coffee.

Unemployed

When I was little, we would play all day and live off the land all day. Tommy, Derek, Lisa, Hugh, and I, all the kids from the neighborhood. We would eat berries and apples, or dig up roots and make stew. We knew how to make a fire, we had an old pot, some bowls. We even knew how to catch fish. I would come back home late in the evening, not have any dinner, not watch TV, just go to sleep, anxious for another day.

When my sickness finally made me stay in bed, my dad, who did not have a job, would spend all days with me. He would come up with games and things to do, we wrote a few books, painted some pictures. When we ate spicy food, our eyes would water and we would laugh about it. It was the best thirteen months of my life.

When I died, my mom told my deadbeat dad to move out.

Ghost Stories

All ghost stories are bullshit. I know, because I have seen real ghosts in my life and it is nothing like what people describe.

See, in ghost stories, people see an apparition emerging from the wall, or something moving in the dark, or perhaps objects flying across the room. In reality, this world and the next one are too far apart for things like that.

When I see a ghost, it is always only late at night, and it always hurts. It is a searing headache, a flash of bright lights, a deathly glow, loud noise. There are sometimes people in the other room, or neighbors above and below, and they never hear or see anything. That is because I am aligned to see it and they are not.

And the ghost is not a dead person, or at least not quite. It is pieces of a dead person, memories, still images, happenings. Ghosts are like wild animals or deep-sea invertebrates. They only pretend to be quasi-human. They are nothing like us.

A girl often appears to me. Her name is Barbara. Sometimes, it is only one eyeball filling the entire room. Bloodshot, tired, frantic, it searches until it finds me in my bed and then penetrates me with its dead light. Judges me.

My uncle sometimes appears, or what is left of him and my cousin. They died a few years apart, must have morphed in the afterlife. They behave like a spider. I do not know how else to describe it.

Sometimes I see the ghosts of organs they cut out of people and threw away, or the ghost of a Thursday last month. I know the sky is full of giant ghosts of nations and institutions, monstrous creations of the human mind. I am glad they do not care to appear to me, but just to be safe, I never sleep outside.

Sometimes, ghosts have a purpose. They ask me for a prayer, ask to hear a story, or even a single word. Other times, they just torture me, or do something that leads to their own destruction.

The sexual ghosts are the worst because they make me do things that are forbidden by the Bible. I tremble at the thought of righteous ghosts coming to take revenge. I am terrified of dying and meeting God. He must be the worst of them all.

Real Jealous

Veronica was climbing up the stairs of her apartment building. Jeremy was not home, he was working late that night, so she would have the apartment all to herself. She was already thinking about the bubble bath and glass of wine.

“No, I’m listening, mom,” she said into the phone, “And I agree, it is a problem. I’m sorry I can’t be there with you.” She did not think it was a huge problem, but she sympathized. “Yes, I will make sure.”

She passed the girl who lived next door to them, who was also called Veronica. The other Veronica was on her way downstairs to do the laundry. They exchanged smiles.

The other Veronica was shorter than this Veronica, had really nice long hair, and was also much prettier than this Veronica.

Veronica let herself into the apartment.

“No, mom, I just got home,” she sat down on the couch and wiggled out of her coat. “I just saw this girl, this other Veronica who lives next door to us. She’s a mean one. No, actually, she’s not mean. I’m just… I guess I don’t like her. No reason.”

She walked into the kitchen and got herself a glass of water.

“Yeah, I’m sure Jeremy is working late. What kind of a question is that? Mom, I am sure. I am not jealous.”

She bit her lower lip.

“I am more worried some skank is out to get him. I am not jealous.”

Something New

The man looked in the mirror. He was getting more handsome with age, and the beard was a good idea. He turned sideways. Unfortunately, a tummy was beginning to show. He lifted his shirt, the pale hairy gut did not look any better without any cloth over it. He sucked in, but no abs showed.

He looked at the hair, it was getting long. Maybe a pony tail, or some kind of eccentric hipster coif?

“Hun,” he shouted across the living room.

“Yes, hun?” his wife shouted back, not lifting her head from the papers.

“Should I change my hair? Do something new?”

“Sure.”

“How about a new style in clothes? Cowboy boots?”

“Of course, love. Whatever love wants,” she said.

“A jersey? Tattoos?”

“Uh-huh,” she agreed.

“How about a new wife?”

She threw a boomerang at him.

“Well played,” he said when he woke up in hospital. She had missed the heart by half an inch, because it was only a lesson.

Lonely Writer

Howard finished another story. He put the period at the end of the sentence of the revised ending. He would read it through again, but he knew it was as good as it was going to get. He put the leather-bound notebook into his desk drawer. There were more in there. A notebook per story, sometimes half empty, but each story deserved its own notebook. It was the least he could do.

He got back to the letter he had started reading earlier that afternoon, it was from an editor who published one of Howard’s stories a few months ago. The editor was inquiring about any “longer piece of writing, perhaps more of that intricate prose of horror.” In his mind, Howard began formulating a letter that said he had nothing presently.

“What do you mean, nothing?” said the umbrella stand in the corner, “What about those notebooks that fill your desk drawers? What about the ones on the bookshelf, or the floor by the window, or the pile in corner?”

“Not ready,” said the writer.

He did feel a certain fondness for the umbrella stand. The stand was with him when he was a little boy, listening to stories told by his grandfather in the ancient study of their family estate. He took the stand when he moved to a smaller house with his mother, and then again when he moved to the various locations with his wife. (The marriage was short-lived. Much shorter than his relationships with a lot of the furniture he possessed, like the umbrella stand.) He later moved the stand into this small one-room apartment. There were no umbrellas in it anymore.

“Well, some of them are pretty good,” said the stand, “All you need to do is type them up and put them into envelopes. Let them colonize the world.”

“Not good enough,” said Howard and put the letter on top of his to-do pile. Presently, he took up an edition of the daily newspaper to look through the job ads. He focused on a particularly dull clerk job.

Just Blinked Out

I do not remember what I was doing on the day some of the stars disappeared from the sky. I did not even know it happened because you cannot see the stars in the city. I found out the next day, when people were talking about it at the office.

A bunch of stars went dark, leaving a small black hole in the sky. Not bigger than a penny, but nevertheless, pretty scary. Especially if you imagine these stars are not all together, by spread across billions of light years. The obvious thought was that there was something in the way, blocking the view, but scientists were divided on whether that was the case. Also, a few other stars here and there all across the sky were extinguished as well.

Around that time, I had a huge fight with Beth and then she was killed in a road accident. Last words we exchanged were words of anger. Years later, I am not sure if it was the same day as the stars or not.

Hastur!

So I have been granted the privilege of becoming a Dreamer, or whatever. And I do not mean I have plans and aspirations. I am a Dreamer with a capital D, a privilege granted to me by Hali, the undying necromancer from planet whatever who came to me in a dream.

At first, I thought it was all just a dream. Everything was dreamy and cloudy with gusts of snow and ash swirling around in fantastic spirals that both obscured the senses and titillated the spirit, drawing forth the images of long-forgotten half-intuitions about the world, visages of True Gods and the clockwork of the ever-turning spheres of the spirit world. But then all that blew over and I saw a great cold-swept room. Like a throne room in a European castle, except for some scary statues that were not human. Ancient horrors that dwell behind our eyeballs, fear and flight being the natural reactions to the mere recollection of them.

In this great big hall, I saw the apparition of an old alchemist who introduced himself as Hali. He told me I possessed a rare talent of Dreamscaping or Dreamtravel, or whatever, which meant my mind could explore realities hidden from the eyes of mankind. I called his bullshit but he insisted on proving it was true which he did, over the next five nights and in a very convoluted way. I am not going to bore you with the details, suffice it to say, he was telling the truth, and I was actually travelling through time and space in my sleep. Weird, right?

So anyway, he explained he hailed from a distant planet whose name I forgot, and that he had an important message for me which would alter my destiny. I asked him how come he looked human if he was an alien and how come could aliens be humans and what are the odds of evolution on a distant planet have “accidentally” (I know evolution is not an accident, but it “kind of” is) lead to creating an identical organism. He told me his ancestors were born on Earth and transported to this faraway star system. I asked him to go on.

He told me the universe was full of unfathomable intelligence so alien, that any glimpse into its workings, even if just a look at their architecture, was sure to drive a man mad. I asked him how come we spoke the same language, and he told me he was using telepathy, and I said okay, but then I asked how this communication worked. Energy can travel at the speed of light, if he was in a different star system, it would take his “telepathic messages” AT LEAST a few years to reach me and my response would take another few years to reach him. That is if his planet was orbiting the nearest star, whose name I could not recall at the time. He said we were talking DESPITE time and space, across centuries and endless vastness of an empty, unforgiving cosmos. I said that was very convenient.

He rolleth his eyes at me and transported me to the even vaster hall of Carcosa where the King in Yellow dwelleth in his monstrous throne. A cage was hung up high over the stone floor in which the Demented Pope of The Sea of Steam was imprisoned, treated as an oracle plaything by the king himself. Hali, my wizard companion, explained that the king was plotting to reclaim his dominion over the planet Earth again and that his emissaries would infiltrate the governments to make people worship the king as they did millennia ago. I asked what was the problem with that and I said people had always worshiped gods and there was no way of knowing which were “true gods” and which were not, and who is to say it is worse to worship this King in Yellow dude than it is a magic carpenter or a camel salesman from the Middle East.

Hali seemed baffled at my words and proceeded to warning me that once the king’s reign of minds was established, he could unleash the horrors or Yog-Sothoth and the Abominable Snowmen upon our world. I rolled my eyes loudly and then nodded my head in defeat, knowing Hali would go to great BORING lenghts to prove to me he was telling the truth, so I just agreed to listen to what my part in it was.

He said we could not do anything, for the king’s machinations were much more than any of us or all of us together. So I asked him what the point of it all was. He made me swear I would not reveal any of this to anybody on Earth to preserve their peace and serenity while they can still have any. I sighed at that nonsense and swore, double-swore, cross my heart and hope to die.

Except I did not keep my word, and I am revealing it all to you. Writing this from my boring cubicle at a boring ass job, seemingly indistinguishable from other boring shlobs like me, and yet imbued with the great power of Dreamvision, or whatever. Oh reader, across the vastness of the Internet and the sea of time, be warned. There is a darkness stirring millions of light years away and it wants to use us to its cruel ends. And possibly make us slaves and/or food for awesome space monsters.

No Way to Break Up

I was having lunch with my girlfriend.

“You’re always mean to me,” she said. “Why do you always make fun of me?”

“I guess I am tired of you. Maybe we should take a break.”

“Yeah, I need a break from you too,” she said.

“Fine, then it’s settled.”

That night, she showed up at my place as if nothing really happened. She brought a bottle of wine. I did sleep with her, but I could not help but wonder if she thought I was kidding about taking that break.

Late at night, I was watching her sleep. She was like a warm little ball of coziness.

“Oh, well,” I said to myself.

Contractors

I got my mom a new house. Well, it was pretty old, but it was new to her. She moved in happily, and I hired a young girl called Nadia to be her nurse. My mom was not well anymore.

But then, there were some repairs to be done, so I hired some contractors and my mom complained about them.

“I woke up this morning, and my head was covered in that foam they use to fill the crawlspaces. Some pieces of it were stapled to my head, actually. I got most of it off, but I could not get rid of that muffled feeling all day.”

“They started a fire, burnt the whole kitchen, and rebuilt it. Now the kettle tastes like plastic. It’s fake. I always made sure to get that real kettle, but I guess they don’t make them anymore, so the contractors had to buy a plastic one.”

“Some of them have been having sex with Nadia. The poor thing is pregnant and has been hiding that from me, but I know. She should stop lifting heavy things, it’s bad for the baby.”

“They keep moving my room and I cannot find it anymore.”

I always nodded and tried to console her. Poor mom, she was not well.

I slipped the contractors some extra cash each week, just to come up with crazy shenanigans, but after that last one, I asked them to bring my mom’s room back.