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Topics - urkelbot666

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Your Stories / Serious Inquiries Only, Please!
« on: 11:16 AM, 12/24/17 »
Content removed by author. Sorry :(

   The place was a goddamned madhouse. I thought waiting until Wednesday would mean less people, but it was still more crowded than I hoped. We parked by Inspector Moomoo's Malt Shop at the Plaza and just walked to the unit. Number 17. I got the key from Russel and unlocked it. The door screeched and rattled as I hoisted it up into its track, and a cool, stale breeze swept over my face. It was sparser in there than I remembered.
   "I still don't get it," Russel said.
   "What?" I asked, stepping into the cold steel-and-concrete enclosure.
   "Them making us take all our stuff. Our unit isn't even near where they found that guy. And Fleming not even offering us any compensation or anything. It's bullshit. What if I was out of town and couldn't--"
   "I get it. It's a terrible injustice against all mankind and the universe owes you an apology for making you get up before noon with a hangover. Just be glad there isn't much stuff in here."
   Russel glared at me through half-lidded eyes. “I'm not hungover,” he muttered. We didn't get along too well these days, but we could still manage to be civil.
   I took a quick stroll around the unit, trying to figure out what was worth taking back home. There was only a handful of cardboard boxes and plastic tubs which I had remembered leaving pushed against one wall, but were now strewn about the floor. Russel was never much for being tidy. He must have stopped in here sometime in the past few months to look for something. "Hey," I called out, "thanks for moving all my shit around."
   "Why are you always blaming me for stuff?" Russel said. "You think that maybe the cops moved your stuff around when they were searching last week?" I hadn't actually thought of this, and felt a bit bad for assuming the worst, but I didn't want him to know that.
   "Well, did they?" I asked. Russel turned away.
   "No. It was like this before. Whatever." He knew I hated when he said "whatever." He used to do it just to tick me off. But that's not my problem anymore. So whatever.
   I sat and searched through some of the boxes while Russel went back to the truck for a minute. Probably to light-up, but that wasn't my business anymore. Most of what was in the boxes and tubs was holiday decorations that neither of us wanted, and some of my old college stuff. Textbooks and notebooks mostly. One of the boxes was full of old toys as well, G.I. Joes, Ninja Turtles, and pro wrestling action figures, along with some Pound Puppies, My Little Ponies, and a bunch of Little Mermaid stuff. The former were attempts from my parents to get me to play with things "for boys," though the wrestling dolls may have backfired given my eventual fascination with well-built, shirtless men.
   I stepped outside for a smoke and looked down the rows of units. Still some folks tittering around. A couple of cops were wandering around, helping people out or just observing. I hoped they'd leave us be. As I was finishing my cigarette, I saw Russel returning, tossing a screwdriver up and down in his hand while weaving around people. When he got closer I saw something sticking out of his mouth and was horrified that he might be smoking a joint in what was effectively, an active crime-scene. It turned out to just be a lollipop stick.
   "What's the screwdriver for?" I asked. He just shifted the lollipop from one side of his mouth to the other and passed by me, walking toward the back of the unit. "Okaaaayyy..."
   "Close the door," he called from the rear of the room.
   "No. Why?"
   "Just do it please," he replied annoyed.
   "If I shut the door it will be pitch dark in here."
   "Shit. Well, could you lower it like, halfway then? I just want some privacy, you know how I get in public places sometimes." I didn't feel like arguing, so I just did as he asked. "Thanks," he murmured.
   I dragged the box of old toys near the half rolled-down door and sat down to examine them further. The box had a pleasant old, musty wood smell leftover from my parent's attic. Some of the dolls were actually in pretty good shape. A couple were still in their packages, duplicates of ones I already had. I knew that in the plaza there was a place that did Magic the Gathering, or D&D games or whatever people played these days. Some kind of nerd shop. I figured I'd swing by and see if I could sell any of the toys. They might be worth something to someone. I picked the box up and stood from the freezing cement floor.
   Russel was in in the back of the storage unit, standing near something I hadn't seen before. Leaned against the wall was my old bicycle, a sky-blue Huffy Deluxe Classic Cruiser. White wheels, tan pleather seat, front basket, no gear shift, no wheel shocks, looking like something right out of 1975. Only a few minor details betrayed its youth. It's a lady's bike, but who cares? It's goddamned gorgeous. "Russel!" I called, "I'm heading to the plaza for a bit. Would you set that bike aside? I want to take it back home, thanks." He was facing the back wall, but waved his acknowledgment.
   I walked out of the FSU complex and up the sidewalk to the Plaza. Stars and Bards, that was the name of the nerd-shop I was thinking of. I entered and walked to the counter and set my box down next to the register. Someone walked from somewhere behind me and looked into my box.
   "Oh, what have you got there?" He asked.
   "Well, I'm not sure. I found some stuff in my storage unit, bit of a cluster over there."
   "Yeah. Real shame about what happened, and now you guys are stuck getting everything out in, what... four days?"
   "Something like that."
   "I'm Gregg, I'm the proprietor of this humble shop,” he grinned. "Some pretty cool stuff you've got here."
   "Yeah, I was wondering if any of it was worth anything, I don't really have any use for it," I said, hopefully.
   "Sure, I'll see what you have and do some research. Maybe you've got something good. Feel free to check out the store while I look at  some of these."
   "Thanks," I said as I turned and took in the place. Strolling around the various displays of cards, figurines, and comics, I came to a stairway. I could hear some familiar, unmistakable sounds coming from the basement, and quickly went down the steps to take a look. A very small video arcade was bleeping and flashing away in the dank room. Among the handful of old machines was Metal Slug, a favorite of mine from my teenage years hanging at the cheap arcade in Hi-Line Lanes bowling alley. Russel and I had gone on a few dates there. That was years ago.
   I walked over and leaned on the smooth control board of the machine and watched the title screen and demo game. I could feel the hum of the fan in the back of the machine and smell the hot dust in the air around the cabinet. The little man on the screen ran and slaughtered all the bad guys in his path, shooting bullets, then rockets and generally causing mayhem. Then he got the Flame Shot, the best weapon, in my opinion. It was so satisfying to shoot through entire waves of baddies and watch them writhe while screaming and burning up. FWOOM! Incineration. I watched the demos for a little while before checking some of the other machines (nothing quite as much fun as Metal Slug) and heading back upstairs.
   I saw a rack on the wall of older video games. "Oh, hey you've got old games here, too?" I called to Gregg, but he was busy checking things on his computer at the counter, and didn't reply. I turned and saw a young woman also looking at the display of games. A cute little thing in her twenties. She said something about how old all the games were. "Yeah, a lot of these are more from my era. I don't know much about anything post N64. But I'll whip anyone at Bubble Bobble"
   "I wouldn't doubt it," she said with a giggle. She was polite to laugh at my dumb joke about a game she was probably too young to remember, a nice change from being with grumpy Russel all morning. She went on, "I think one of my friends had one. My first video game system was a Gameboy Advance. If you don't count those times at Blockbuster where I played with the PS2."
   "I never played much PS2. I had a cousin who owned one. He was really into this 'Breath of Fire' game for awhile. Some RPG about fire breathing dragons, it looked pretty cool. So, what brings you in here today, if you don't mind my asking?" She told me she was from the storage units, looking for games for the Playstation 2 she had found there. We chatted a bit before she suddenly became serious.
   "Do you know what happened to the man that died there?" she asked.
   "I haven't heard anything, and as long as there's no psychotic killer running around town, I'm not sure I want to know." This was something I had been trying not to think about. "But if it was just a death of natural causes, I suppose they wouldn't be closing the place down, or having everyone move their stuff out."
   "It makes me wonder..." she trailed off in thought, her head turning to the displays in the windows. There was a woman in a green jacket that was walking by with two white carry out boxes. "Oh I have to meet up with my mom. Bye." She said suddenly then left the store in a hurry.
   After a few more minutes of perusing the store, I went back to the counter to see what Gregg had to say. "Well?" I asked. "I know nothing about this stuff, so you can totally hustle me here." He chuckled.
   "Most of what you've got here is pretty standard stuff. The Ninja Turtles aren't worth much, but they come back in style every now and again. The Pound Puppies and the ponies are all a little too beat up to fetch much. The wrestlers, I could get a few bucks for. The G.I. Joes though, there's some money there. The loose ones, I can probably get ten, maybe twenty dollars for some of those. Maybe more for a few. What I'm really interested in are these that are still in their boxes. You've got Blizzard, and a Tele-Viper that I can probably get forty or fifty for, and you've got a Blowtorch that might get up to two-hundred dollars."
   "What?" I couldn't believe my ears.
   "This guy here,” he showed me the box, it contained a tiny man in a brightly colored flak-suit next to an array of accessories: a respirator, a flamethrower and a backpack to hold the fuel for it. “The package is a little messed up, so it might be more like one-fifty, but collectors will pay good money for unopened Joes." He smiled.
   "So... what can we do here?"
   "You have any interest in keeping them?"
   "Nope, I'm planning on walking out of here empty handed or just giving them to my nephew."
   "No, no," he said, a little abruptly. "Don't do that! I'll take this stuff off your hands. Hmm... I can't get much for a lot of it, but I hate to see it go to waste." He thought for a minute. "How about two-fifty for the box?"
   "Wow," I laughed. " I expected to come out of here with twenty dollars at the most. Yeah, two-fifty sounds great to me. Some of the easiest money I've ever made!" He seemed somewhat relieved that I accepted his offer so graciously.
   "All right then, you've got yourself a deal, eh?"
   "Oh, sorry. I'm Dan," I said. "I've never been here before, I might have to come back sometime and pump some of that two-fifty back into your Metal Slug machine downstairs."
   "Well, she'll be waiting for you if you ever feel like giving her a go," he said while counting bills out of a zipper-bag from under the counter. "Pleasure doing business with you." He handed me the money.
   "Thanks again!" I said. Then I turned and left the shop. I was actually excited to tell Russel about the sale I made, and about the Metal Slug machine. I got back to unit 17 and hoisted the door up. "Hey Russel, you know tho--"
   "Shut the door!" He snapped, interrupting me. I stepped in and lowered the door back to halfway closed.
   "What the fuck?" I barked at him. "What's your problem? And what in god's name have you done here?" There were panels of corrugated sheet metal lying on the cement, and two-by-fours running along the floor and sides of the unit.
   "Okay, so like... just listen a second," he said. "I got some stuff that I had to store someplace. It was too..." he searched for the right word, "'hot' to keep at my house. I didn't want to worry you, and I was sure you wouldn't let me use the unit if you knew, so I like... just hid it here."
   "You did what?" I'm not sure if I was more angry or confused at this point.
   "I just like, got some metal from Home Depot, the same kind they use for the siding in here. I glued some lumber around the floor and walls and kind of built a new wall in front of the stuff I was storing. Only about two feet in front of the old wall, so nobody really noticed," he said. I was stunned. I couldn't believe he would do something like this, storing god knows what in our unit. Except, I could actually believe it. This part of his personality was one of the reasons we weren't together anymore. And though I hate to admit it, I was sort of impressed with his creativity. He always had that going for him. He was good with his hands, and clever.
   I stood and looked at the rear wall of the room for a while. There was a stack of boxes, most identical, about two feet long by one foot deep and tall, with a few others larger or smaller. They each had some text printed on them that I couldn't read in the darkness of the unit.
   "You're unbelievable," I said. I think he fought back a smile for an instant. "Well, I mean... we can't leave it here now. Not with the police lurking around and snooping. But you can't keep it at my house. No way."
   "It's okay, I've got a place now. Another storage unit in Chinook."
   "How many do you have?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer.
   "A few."
   "Well, what even is it?" I asked, kneeling down to look at the boxes. They looked old, and the text printed on them was in several different languages. The identical boxes of which there were probably eighty to one hundred only had one bit of text on them which I could read as English. It read MUSTERD AND MEET.
   "I'm not entirely sure," Russel began, "The guy just told me it was some old survivalist stuff from like, the Ukraine, or Russia or some shit. Rations and gas masks and tents I guess. He just wanted me to hold it for him until he picked it up. That was like, almost a year ago. I already got paid though, so..." He trailed off as he knelt down and pulled the peeling tape from one of the MUSTERD AND MEET crates. Inside it, in vacuum sealed plastic was some kind of brownish-yellow, viscous liquid. On further inspection, the bags also had solids in them, hard strips that looked like tree bark. Russel suddenly pulled from his back pocket his butterfly knife, which always used to make me nervous. He flicked the blade out and cut a slit in the top of the bag. An acrid, overpowering smell immediately filled my nostrils.
   "Oh my god!" I coughed. "That's vile! It's like someone fed Guldens mustard to a... a wild boar, then gutted the thing two hours later." To my horror, Russel pulled one of the solid bits from out of the bag and bit off a chunk. "What are you doing?!" I shrieked.
   "Settle down," Russel said while chewing.
   "Is it even food?" I asked. Russel held up the bag and turned it to show me that on the other side of the bag was printed a crude pictograph of a person putting food in their mouth. "Well, it must be ancient. It can't still be good."
   "Aw, this stuff never spoils. It's vacuum packed, it lasts forever. And to be honest, it doesn't taste half bad." He pulled another strip out of the bag. "It's just what it says, mustard and meat. It's like jerky." He held out strip of the “meat” as if to offer it to me.
   "No thanks," I said, jerking my head back and holding my breath. "But why did you have to hide it? What's so unsavory about old, disgusting food rations?"
   "Don't know," Russel said, his mouth now full of the putrid food. "He just told me to make sure that no one else found it or took it."
   "Fine, let's just get this stuff loaded into my truck and over to your other storage unit. I still can't believe you're eating that. If you get sick in my truck, I swear..." I saw his lollipop resting on one of the boxes. "Couldn't you at least find a garbage for that?" I reached to grab the candy, but he put his hand out and snatched it away, popping it back into his mouth. "Ew, you're especially gross today, man. On top of mixing mustard with whatever flavor candy that is, that thing has fifty year old Ukrainian dust all over it now. If you insist, I'll buy you a new lollipop."
   "Not one like this. And you don't suck em' for the taste anyway." He smirked, and with the lolly stick poking from his lips, I remembered why I thought he was so cute.
   "I don't want to know. I don't even want to know what kind of lollipop that is, what's in it, or where you got it. Let's just get started, there's a lot of boxes here, and we're parked far away."
   For the next two hours we lugged stuff from the unit to my truck. The crates of MUSTERD AND MEET were heavier than I thought they would be, so we each only carried one at a time. We got about fifty of them in my truck, a few in the cab, and most in the bed, tarped and strapped down. My bike was on top of the load, I wanted to bring that home with me. We drove the twenty miles to Ham's self storage in Chinook, to drop off the boxes. Along the way Russel insisted on keeping a bag of the mustard and meat up front, eating it and sucking his fingers after every strip of jerky. I drove with the windows down, despite the chill breeze blowing.
   As we unloaded the truck to his new unit, I told him about the money I made from the action figures and about the Metal Slug machine. "Holy shit," he exclaimed, "you can get two-hundred dollars for a G.I. Joe doll? I wonder if I've got any lying around."
   "I guess it's only certain ones, and in-the-package is better. This one was called Blowtorch, and he was in his box. I never opened him, he had this awful jumpsuit that was blindingly bright red and yellow. Garish and ugly. I guess didn't want him associating with the other, more fashion conscious guys." I laughed. So did Russel.
   After the work was done, Russel ran back into the unit and took two more packages of the rations, walked to my truck, then turned and got a third. He was going to be staying at my house tonight. When we got back to my place it was getting late in the afternoon. I showed Russel to the guest room, then went to my own bedroom and shut the door. I was a little worried that if I spent too much time with him, I might do something stupid. I just lay in bed and watched Netflix. I went to sleep early and hoped Russel did the same.
   The next morning, I was up at about eight. I figured we could get started on the rest of the unit at around nine or so. It was Thursday, and we still had until Saturday to get our stuff out of the unit, but I wanted to finish it as soon as possible. I gave Russel until about nine thirty before I knocked on the guest room door. There was no response. I opened it, he wasn't there. The bed was unmade and there were three empty bags of the mustard and meat meals on the floor.
   I looked around the house, but I knew he wasn't there. I stepped outside to have a smoke and saw that my bike, that had been leaning against the house, was gone. I drove around for awhile wondering where to even start looking for him. He hadn't brought along a cell phone, so I couldn't think of any way to get in touch with him. Eventually, I just drove to the storage unit to at least start loading in case Russel showed up later. I parked on the side of the street, closer to the Fleming Units than yesterday. When I got to unit 17, Russel was there, pacing back and forth, my bicycle was lying on its side on the ground.
   "Jesus, where have you been?" He said.
   "I was going to ask you the same thing! You just leave without saying anything? Did you bike all the way over here? That's like, what? Eight miles? What's going on?"
   "I wanted to get some more of that mustard and meat stuff, it's really good. The cops wouldn't let me in until the place opened. Then, they wouldn't let me use their bolt cutters even though I told them I'd buy you a new lock."
   I closed my eyes and tried to comprehend what was happening. "What time did you get here?"
   "Like four, maybe. Can you open the storage unit now?"
   "You're insane. There's something wrong with you," I said as I unlocked the door and slid it up. Russel ducked under and into the unit before the metal gate was all the way up. He ran to the back and ripped open one of the boxes, quickly looking in it before dumping it and opening another. The first box lay torn open on the floor. "What's that?" I asked.
   "I dunno," he replied through a mouthful of meat; oily, speckled-yellow sauce coated his lips. It was foul. "This stuff is really good, you should try some. It's been a whole day and I didn't get sick from it! I told you it was still fresh."
   "No thanks, and I don't think you should be eating it anymore either."
   "Okay, look," he said earnestly. "You know from the lollipop yesterday that I'm not totally clean, but I stopped drinking. The lollies help take the edge off when I start itching for a drink. Anyway, since I'm not boozed-up all the time like, you know,” he paused and looked ashamed, “... before, now I get these weird food cravings. You must have noticed the weight I've put on." It was true, he was thicker than I remembered him being. "For a couple weeks it was white chocolate peanut butter cups, then it was saltines and Slim Jims. It's never really anything nutritious, but my body is like, craving something. And this stuff is really hitting the spot for some reason."
   "But getting up in the night and biking eight miles? That's not normal," I said, concerned.
   "Yeah," he laughed grimly, "can't sleep so well either since I got 'on the wagon.' I thought that instead of just lying awake I could take a ride down here. I didn't realize it was so far away." I wanted to be furious at him, but at the same time I was touched that he seemed to be at least trying to take better care of himself. The drinking was pretty bad at the end of our relationship.
   "Well, you could have left a note or something," I said sternly. "Let's get to work. We've got better than half the stuff gone already." I bent down to pick up the box that Russel had tossed aside in his frenzy to get his MUSTERD AND MEET. It was heavy, and when I looked inside I saw why. It wasn't another box of rations, it was some kind of tank, or metal vessel. It had tubes attached to it and valves and gauges like maybe it was some kind of diving equipment or respirator tank. I set it aside and started grabbing the uniformly sized boxes of which we knew the contents.
   The loading took longer than I had thought it would. I figured we'd go faster than yesterday since we had less stuff, and I parked closer, but it took just as long. Russel seemed to be having trouble keeping up, and seemed sort of distant at times. Of course he kept munching on that disgusting survival food. A few times it sounded like Russel was talking to himself, or maybe singing something. It wasn't something I was used to from when we were together. Maybe a new habit he had picked up. It was a little unnerving, like he didn't know he was doing it.
   We finally got everything in the truck, including a few containers filled with gas masks and more of those heavy, metal oxygen tanks. It seemed  this was just old survival gear, and nothing else. I couldn't figure out why it had to be hidden or anything, unless it was just some international customs snare. We made sure that the unit was empty, aside from the few things I was leaving in there just to get rid of. I left the sheet metal in there too, thinking that we still had another day to remove any trace of the false wall Russel had built. It looked all clear and as I was about to shut the door, Russel whizzed by me into the unit on my bike.
   "Wheeeeee! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" he shouted.
   "Hey, be carefu--" He got to the end of the unit, turned too widely and crashed into the left wall. "Jesus." I ran to him. When I got there, he was face-down laughing hysterically. I grasped his shoulders and he got into a sitting position. Where his face had been on the floor there was a wet spot. Drool. I looked into his face and spoke.
   "Hey. Hey Russel. Are you okay? You're freaking me out." He choked out a few words between fits of laughing.
   "I'm just... This past two days has been great!" He stifled more laughter, then leaned in and kissed me. I pulled back.
   "No. No, no. That's not okay. It's been nice seeing you too, but... No." He just gazed at me dreamily with an innocent smile. Part of me wanted to kiss him back. "Come on, let me help you up." I was trying to sound collected and comforting instead of concerned and confused.
   We walked back to my truck, Russel wheeling the blue bicycle alongside himself. We loaded it on the back with everything else and strapped it all down, then got in the cab. "I want to stop at the house first and drop off the bike before we go to Chinook," I told him. He didn't respond, just stared forward and scratched his cheek. On the short ride back to my home he turned on the radio and flipped through the stations one at a time, spending probably ten seconds on each one whether it had music, talk or just... static. When I asked him what he was doing, he just gave me a big, dumb grin. We pulled up my long gravel driveway and I parked.
   "Russel," I said, "are you okay? You're acting sort of--”
   "I know, I'm just not doing too great right now. My head is kind of squirrely."
   "Why don't you wait here while I drive to the other unit? You can nap, or take the bike for a ride if you think that will help."
   "Yeah, I think I might actually do that," he said, rubbing the side of his face. "Yeah, I think I might actually do that," He repeated. "I've got a half a lolly left in my bag, that should help. And a ride on the bike will burn off this nervous energy. I think I might actually do that."
   I unstrapped the load and he took down the bike and, of course, a couple of boxes of the mustard and meat. "Are you sure you ought to eat more of that?" I asked.
   "It's like I told you, just a weird craving. I'll feel better with a full stomach." He did seem calmer when he was eating that garbage. I let him keep two of the boxes and we re-strapped the rest to the bed of my truck. He gave me the key to his other storage unit.
   "I'll be back in probably an hour and a half or so, maybe a little longer," I told him. "Don't go too far on the bike."
   "You haven't got any booze in the house, right?" He asked.
   "No. None."
   "Good," He seemed honestly relieved. "I don't want to be tempted. I'll see you soon, okay sweetheart?" He stopped suddenly, catching himself falling into an old habit. "I'll see you soon."    I got in my truck and started down the driveway, watching Russel shrink in my rear view mirror.
   It was a tough ride. I kept wondering if I should just turn back, if leaving him there alone was the right thing to do. But he had been taking care of himself on his own for a while, he was an adult. I got to Ham's Self Storage and unloaded the rest of the crates into the new unit. I wondered if Russel was going to do the same false wall trick in here. But that was none of my business, I didn't need to worry about what he did.
   After getting everything in and locking the gate, I got in my truck, then thought of something. I went and retrieved one of the ration boxes to take with me. I drove back to Havre, and because it was sort of along the way to my home, I stopped at the Fleming Plaza. There was some survivalist, gun-nut who owned a shop in there, and I wanted to see if he knew anything about the stuff that Russel had acquired. I parked and walked into Hopper's Firearms and Consignment carrying the box I had kept from the unit.
   The place wasn't very inviting. It was just sort of a jumble of all kinds of tools and supplies, and it smelled like old concrete and WD-40. One of the signs I had read said that he carried rations here, so I felt a little hopeful. I went up to the counter and saw who I assumed was Mr. Hopper tinkering with some unnecessarily lethal looking firearm. "Excuse me," I said. He looked up.
   "Yeah?" He replied, then added, "we don't sell butterfly catching nets here, son." A real class-act.
   "I'm sure... I was wondering if you could tell me anything about this." I presented the box and he seemed to perk up.
   "Oh, what have you got there?" He grabbed the box from me and started turning it over in his hands. "Looks Soviet, where did you find this?"
   "Um, my friend brought it back from uh," I searched to think of someplace feasible that we were at war with, "his deployment. He's a veteran."
   "He's a good man." Mr. Hopper seemed to almost swell with pride for a moment.
   "Yes... so um, he brought it back and he's not sure exactly what he's got. It's some kind of food ration or something, you can open it." Hopper produced a small switchblade from his back pocket and flicked it open. He smirked.
   "Like her?" he asked.
   "...Cool," I said trying to sound somewhat interested. He sliced open the box and pulled out one of the vacuum sealed bags, inspecting it closely. He put it down and reexamined the box, seeming to brighten. He whistled.
   "Hoo boy, this the only box he's got?"
   "I think he has, um, one more," I lied.
   "Shame. This stuff could pull in a pretty penny from a collector. Fairly rare stock. Of course, you wouldn't want Uncle Sam finding out about it."
   "But what is it?"
   "Well, back in the 80's the Soviets were at war with the towel-heads. So it being toward the end of the Union over there, things were a real mess. You had part of them fighting the Afghanies, and part of them trying to help." He pointed to the text on the box. "This here is a crate of the humanitarian aid they were sending to the camel jockeys; Mustard and Meat, I don't think I'd eat that even if I were starving!" I doubted that. but didn't say anything.
   "But here's the beauty. The Russians were playing both sides. See this here?" he pointed to a spot in the corner of the box where an X had been drawn with a permanent marker. "That X there, that was a sign for the reds, that meant that this one was spiked. Clever old bastards."
   "Spiked?" I asked, getting concerned.
   "Yeah, if there was an O there, it meant it was good to eat. No problems. But the X shows that the food was poisoned. Some kind of nerve agent to soften the civilians up for the next wave." He sounded giddy. "Get em' all fucked up and crazy. Make it easier to take them out or capture them."
   "Oh my god," I said.
   "Yeah, this is a rare find. They only pulled this scam for a few weeks back in 81'. It's way outside the Geneva Convention. Hey, where are you going?" I was running out of the store. When I got outside I heard someone calling
   "Hey! Hey, Dan!" It was Gregg from Stars and Bards. "Thanks again for that Blowtorch! I've got a bit of a bidding war flaring up here for him!" I just ran to my truck and peeled out of the lot.
   I sped home and as I was coming up my drive I could see black smoke rising over the trees. I smelled a sharp, tar-like odor thick in the cold air. When I got to the house, I saw Russel. He was on my bike, riding around in circles, something held in his hand, strapped on his back. Some kind of backpack. There was fire all around my lawn and driveway.
   "Russel! What's happening?!" I shouted.
   "Hey! Check it out! That thing we found wasn't a scuba tank or anything like that. See?" With his hand that wasn't on the handlebars, he pointed up in the air, a black tube coming from his fist. Then a large plume of fire exploded from his arm, like a burst from a fire breathing dragon. "It was fully loaded too! That's why it was so heavy!" He laughed madly while continuing to circle on the bike.
   "Russel!" I shouted, starting to cry. "Russel stop! Get off the bike. The food is poisoned, it's messing with your brain! Oh god." I wanted to run to my house and get the fire extinguisher but the ground was patchy with burning gel fuel, and Russel was still shooting off his Soviet flamethrower all around. "Please, Russel!" He wobbled on the bike, bringing his hand holding the weapon down to grasp the handlebars when he did, a small jet of flame spat out and ignited the front wheel of the bicycle. The tire burst and became a ring of spinning fire, leaving a burning snake trail in the dying autumn grass.
   I saw Russel's face, the left side drooping with a string of drool hanging from his mouth. His cheeks were rosy and glistening with sweat. He turned toward me long enough that I could see part of his scalp was red and raw, the hair having been burnt off. He shot me a toothy grin with the half of his mouth that still worked. He waved to me, and when he lifted his left hand from the handlebar, it brought with it several long strands of tan, melted plastic from the hand grip. Burning fuel was splattering from the front tire onto Russel's pants, onto the body of the bike. Its beautiful baby blue pain began to peel and flake off.
   There was a moment of quiet in which I heard the flames crackling. Then, FWOOM! The tank of the flamethrower on his back had ruptured and erupted into a giant cloud of smoke and fire. I watched it rise for a moment, a column of billowing flame. It was blindingly bright red and yellow. Garish and ugly. The bike toppled over and Russel was engulfed entirely in wild flames. I heard him scream and he writhed for a few seconds on his knees. He screamed and writhed and looked just like he had been hit with the Flame-Shot in Metal Slug. Then he went limp and hit the ground. I ran to the house, dodging burning puddles of fuel. I ran to get my extinguisher, but I already knew there was no hope. There was nothing I could do.
   I went out and feebly sprayed at Russel's immolating body, sobbing, then collapsing. My brain snapped clear momentarily and I grabbed my phone to call 911. I told them what was happening through choking sobs and they sent the fire department. In the minutes until I heard the sirens, I sat weeping in the warmth of my burning man who had kept me warm on past October evenings. My lover. My friend.
   I spent some of the next day in the hospital for treatment of minor burns, and most of the rest of the day on the phone with people. Friends, family, trying to explain to them and to myself what had happened. Why I shouldn't have left him alone. I couldn't sleep that night. The smell of ash and chemicals hung heavily all around my house. I would need to stay in a hotel or with family.
   On the morning of October 14, the second day after the incident I remembered the Fleming storage unit. I drove down there, down to where this had all started. I just wanted to officially close my account. Never go there again. Someone from the office came with me to do a final inspection of the unit. I opened it and explained that anything left in there was fine to go to police auction or a dumpster. I didn't bother to hide or even say anything about the extra sheet metal and lumber from the false wall. I knew that everything would come out in the open now. I knew that I would relive these past few days countless times, and maybe for the rest of my life.
   I was tired. I signed a form for the person from the office and then rolled down the door to the unit for what I hoped would be the last time. When it hit the ground, it made a sound that was harsh and hollow.

UPDATE! A new judge has appeared! In the form of Abysmii who has also agreed to add a prize for the winner in the form of 20 Dollars!

I've decided that the deadline for entering the contest will be Wednesday, October 23 at Midnight Eastern time, and I hope to announce the winner(s) on Halloween! I don't think this will make it too short notice, and also, shouldn't interfere with the upcoming UCA contest :)

I ran a contest once on an creepypasta wiki where I used to admin. I had a ton of fun with it, and some folks had some fun as well, so I'm going to see if some folks are interested around here.

So here's the deal, one of the biggest parts of Halloween is the tradition of trick or treating; dressing up as something scary, or fun and going door to door and bugging people to give you some damn candy. Many of us probably have some good memories of this annual event, the fun we had, and the candy we got. But as with many things, the candy was always a bit of a crap-shoot...

The Rules!

You never knew what kind of "treat" you were going to get from most of the houses you hit. Sometimes you would get some great, sweet candies, or chocolate. Other times you got bubblegum or Nerds. And sometimes you got... a box of raisins. Ugh.

It's with this in mind that I created the Trick-or-Treat Writing Contest. A short story writing competition in which the subjects to be written about are chosen at random! The subjects or topics are like the Halloween goodies you get on October 31. Some of the Goodies are delicious like Snickers or Starburst, and make for easy and interesting writings, others are pretty good and help round out the story, like Peppermint patties, and lollipops. and still others are black-licorice or Dots, or "healthy" snacks which make writing a creepy story difficult or just... weird.

If you are brave enough to enter this contest, you will be given a mix of "Goodies" that you will use to construct a short creepypasta. You'll be given 4 Tasty Goodies, 3 'Meh' Candies and 2 gross "treats" given to you by a 90 year old lady. You are free to use all of the Goodies in your story, but you are only required to use 2 Tasty's, 2 Meh's and 1 Gross treat. This will make for some "interesting" stories, and provide a nice challenge for the writers.

If you are interested in entering the Trick-or-Treat writing contest, leave a comment on this page saying "Trick or Treat!" and say what your costume is (The costume has no bearing on anything. I'm just a goon), and you will be given your treats, selected using the Secure Dice Roller, ensuring total randomness :)

A winner (winners?) will be announced sometimes around Halloween, depending on how much interest there is in the contest.

Additional Information

This contest is intended totally for fun, so don't take it to seriously! Don't worry about writing the next great horror story, just have a good time and write some weird shit! I'm looking forward to some tales that are Sp00ky, fun, and bizarre, just like Halloween itself! I honestly don't care if it's "bad."

I'll be the sole judge of this competition, unless someone (not a contestant, of course) wants to volunteer as well. And I'll try to take into account things like creativity, style, detail, writing quality, and how well the Goodies are worked into the creepypasta. Creepiness and humor will also be taken into account. I likely won't use a numbered grading system, but just go with my gut feelings.
Remember, you don't have to use all your treats, just Two Tasty's Two Meh's and One Gross! Work them in any way you want to, Get Creative!

When you finish your story, post a link here in the comments.


I cannot offer too much in the way of prizes. I'll also do a video-narration of the winning story on my youtube channel. The video will have original artwork included.  If anyone else would like to donate anything in the way of rewards, that would be great also!

Anyway, onto the Goodies!

The Goodies!

Tasty Candy!

1. Arson

2. Zombie(s)

3. Ghost(s)

4. Illness

5. Abduction/ Kidnapping

6. Disease/Infection

7. Matricide

8. Snake(s)

9. Telekenesis

10. Monster(s)

11. Hallucinations

12. Drowning

13. Demon(s)

14. Spirit(s)

15. Serial Killer

16. Dismemberment

17. Dreams/ Nightmares

18. Leeches

19. Patricide

20. Doctors

21. Vampire(s)

22. Re-Animation

23. Scientific Experiments

24. Lucifer

25. Possession

26. Mental Illness

27. Guns and/or Shootings

28. Sleep Deprivation

29. Cannibalism

30. Subterranea

31. Stabbing

32. Mutation and/or Transformation

33. Asphyxiation

34. Buried Alive

35. Acid

36. Conspiracy

37. Paranoia

38. Amnesia

39. Premonitions

40. Insects and/or Spiders

41. Mask(s)

42. Clown(s)

43. Imprisonment

44. Insane Asylums

45. Torture

46. Mental Abuse

47. Mirrors

48. Portals and/or Gateways

49. Swamp

50. Corpse(s)

Meh Snacks

1. Television

2. Thunderstorms

3. Computers/ Internet

4. Journal/Diary

5. Music

6. Ocean/Lakes

7. Drugs/Alcohol

8. School/ University

9. Wheelchair

10. Blindness

11. Trains/Subways

12. Books

13. Youtube

14. A Wedding

15. A Funeral

16. Painting/ Artwork

17. Radio

18. Hospital

19. Deafness

20. Orphanage

21. Winter

22. Arcade

23. Children's Toys

24. Outer Space

25. Police

Gross treats... Srsly? ಠ_ಠ

1. Man/Men with Fish Face(s)!

2. Delicious Waffles!

3. A Sex-Toy Factory!

4. A Sp00ky Dancing Skeleton!

5. Fluffy Bunnies!

6. Water Balloons!

7. A Pie Fight!

8. Justin Bieber!

9. A Talking Hippo!

11. Flying Cats!

10. Rubber Dog Poop!

12. Edible Underwear!

13. A Sexy Merman!

14. A Fat Nazi!

15. A Statue of Shrek!

16. A Singing Troll!

17. Rampaging Chickens!

18. Gallons of Fruit Jelly!

19. A 12 Foot tall Snowman!

20. A Four Foot Long Tongue!

21. A Suit Coated in Glitter!

22. Sassy Tentacles!

23. Twerking!

24. Hulk Hogan!

25. Robot Dinosaur(s)!

Let's Start Trick or Treating!
Leave your comments below, Say Trick or treat, and tell me what kind of costume you're wearing. As soon as I see an entry, I'll run the dice roller and take a screenshot of the results, and give you your goodies!

Distilled Spirits
By Urkelbot666

     The rose bushes on the east side of the house were completely out of control. They were already in rough shape when we bought the house, and my wife and I both hated them. However, what I hated more was the thought of wrestling with about a hundred stalks covered with thorns and spines, and so the rose bushes remained where they were.
     The excuse I used was that I had found a recipe for homemade rose petal wine, and I wanted to use my D.I.Y winemaking kit to make a batch before we got rid of the bushes. One September my wife went to visit her sister for a few weeks, and she delivered the ultimatum. "Either have the roses gone when I get back, or have a bottle of rose petal wine waiting for me." So wine it was!
     I dug out my winemaking kit, a little unhappy that I hadn't misplaced it at one point, and been able to take my time looking for it as an excuse to avoid the roses. In any case, there was no getting around it now, so I grabbed my work gloves and a pair of shears and went outside. The roses were worse than I had remembered. I snipped off several blooms and plucked the petals away, tossing them into plastic bag. Grunting and swearing the whole time, I waded into the sea of red blossoms and thorns to snip more buds.
     Eventually I had half filled the bag, and decided that I was fed up with getting poked and scratched. Not to mention that when I got to the center of the rose patch, it was starting to get really, really cold out. I'd never actually been in the middle of the rose bushes, and despite my bleeding scratches, looking out from there, I couldn't help but appreciate the color and fragrance of the flowers.
     By that evening, I had the rose petals simmering with water in a saucepan. I strained the pink liquid and tossed out the wilted petals. After adding sugar and yeast and letting the rosewater cool, I transferred it to one of the bottles that came with my wine kit, and capped it with the airlock stopper for fermentation. Now it was just a matter of keeping the yeast active with warmth and waiting for it to turn into hooch. I stored the bottle in my closet with a lamp shining on it for warmth.

     I read somewhere that people can't feel pain in dreams? But that's horseshit. The night I made the wine, I dreamt something about the rose bushes that I can't quite remember, but it ended up turning into a kind of sleep paralysis or something. I felt like I was conscious, but I couldn't open my eyes or move or wake myself up, and I could feel the stinging from all the cuts I got from the bushes. They were aching and stabbing, and I couldn't do anything about it. Then I had the sensation that little wires or strings were wrapping around me in my sleep, encircling my arms and legs and throat until I couldn't breathe. Mercifully I woke up at that point.
     It was too late to sleep more, but too early to start the day yet, so I decided to check on the wine. I lay down and stared into the closet where it was fermenting. The light shone on it and I could see the tiny bubbles from the fermentation rolling up the insides of the glass. You're not supposed to touch the bottle or disturb the process, but I wanted to make sure that the stopper was still tight on the bottle, so I gently pressed down on it while gripping the bottle. It was freezing cold. The light was shining on it, throwing a decent amount of heat, and I could see that the yeast was working in the glass, but the bottle just felt so cold.

     The process is supposed to take about two or three weeks to complete, so I figured I'd just let the wine do its thing in the closet. After a few days, I started to notice that the cuts and scratches on my arms from the rose thorns weren't healing up normally. I thought that maybe I should bandage them up to help them heal so I slapped Band-Aids on a few and gauzed a couple of them up.
     The odd dreams came back a few nights, but not as vividly. There wasn't as much pain in them, but I felt I could hear choked breathing noises, and muffled sounds that could have been a voice. I awoke a few more times to the feeling of being unable to breathe. I never knew which nights the dreams would come, so I started to get anxious around bedtime as the days progressed.
     About one week into the fermentation process, I once again checked the wine to see how it was doing. It was still bubbling away in the closet, but the glass of the bottle was now frosted with tiny ice crystals. The lamp was still putting out plenty of heat, not to mention that it was nowhere near cold enough in the closet to explain this. I thought that maybe this was something to do with the winemaking process, maybe some chemical thing that I hadn't read about, but that seemed unlikely. I threw a few towels around the bottle to see if that helped.
     Over the following days, on a few mornings I was finding small amounts of soil on the floor. Little clumps of dirt and roots in places where they could not have easily gotten. I wasn't bringing in any dirt on my shoes, I was sure of that, and this was too much for me to have not noticed.
     The third week after I started the wine, things had gotten significantly more disturbing. The wounds I had gotten the day I clipped the rose petals still hadn't healed, and every day I had to scrub them, as they would consistently be crusted with dirt and bits of root and leaves. I woke one morning after another strange dream coughing and unable to breathe at all. I fell from the bed onto the floor where I choked up a large clump of wet soil. When I looked up through tearing eyes I could see the light of the lamp in the closet and a stain coming from under the door.
     I crawled over to the closet door, still gagging and coughing, and opened it to see that the wine bottle had shattered and the pink fluid was all over the carpet. After getting my bearings, I threw on my boots, grabbed my shovel and stomped out to the rose garden, driven by some compulsion I couldn't explain. I stalked to the center of the cluster of bushes and started digging, tossing soil all around me.
     After several minutes, I struck something that was neither a root nor a rock. I dug around it a bit and leaned in to see what I had hit. The sun was coming up by that point, and the world was an ashy gray. What I saw in the garden was a badly decomposed skull, its jaw ajar, locked in a frozen scream.
     Since that day, I have not had any more nightmares of choking, and my scratches have healed entirely. The local police hypothesized that the skeleton in our garden could close a case that was decades old. I never got to give my wife the rose petal wine she wanted, but thanks to the police investigation and forensics teams, those damned rose bushes are finally gone.

Story Critique / Perforated
« on: 06:10 PM, 11/ 2/16 »

I was bored the other day, as I am most days, and was doing my usual dicking-around-on-the-internet routine. DeviantArt was full of softcore porno "art photos," and poorly drawn Undertale fan-art, Youtube was full of people bitching about fair-use and how unjust the world is, and I didn't feel like trying to sift through a bunch of Reddit posts in hopes of finding something I hadn't seen yet.
People sometimes say it's fun to Google your name and see what comes up, and I've done that before and I don't remember anything interesting popping up. But I somehow got the idea to Google my most commonly used Username and see what came up that way. Nothing. Just accounts that would have led me back to DeviantArt, Youtube, and Reddit.

I decided to give DA another shot, at least until I had gotten tired of looking at Sonic the Hedgehog "Original-Characters (DO NOT STEAL)." At about the fourth page of images, I saw an ad banner for a Kodak digital camera, which struck me for some reason, as I felt like I hadn't even heard about Kodak in a long time. I usually thought of Canon, or Nikon as being the top brands for digital cameras. "Kodak?" I thought to myself. "I haven't thought about them since Bill Cosby was hawking their film when I was a kid."

For whatever reason, I got this little tickle in the back of my brain, the familiar sensation of a forgotten memory returning.

"Jell-o Pudding Spirit-Bomb"

That's what popped into my head. What. The. Fuck... For several minutes I had no idea what it was, what the significance could have been, or why I would even think of that, let alone "remember" it. I mean, the Jell-o thing, sure, Bill Cosby was the spokesman for them as well as Kodak, but how the hell would that tie-in with a Dragonball Z reference? Sometimes my brain scares me a bit.

Probably because of how odd and random the thought was, I pushed it out of my head, and chalked it up to some forgotten memory or, just my mind short circuiting. For a couple days I didn't even think of it. However, a week or so later (I think) I was watching CNN or something, one of the channels with the scrolling bar at the bottom that shows headlines and stuff. One piece of information I caught scrolling by was about the Bill Cosby rape case, or hearing, or accusation... whatever it is. Anyway, the point is that seeing something about Bill Cosby triggered another random thought to occur.

"Super-Saiyan 4 Bill Cosby"

...Okay. So I pretty much had no idea what the connection was with Dragonball and Bill Cosby, but I was a little alarmed at the ease with which these strange phrases were materializing in my head. I mean, yeah I used to watch Dragonball Z when I was younger, and everyone jokes about Bill Cosby and Jell-o. But what's the significance of the two together? Fuck if I know. But I couldn't help but feel like there was an answer, and that it was on the tip of my tongue.

It wasn't until the space of another few days had passed that something hit me. I recalled a time in school, at lunch I think, when I was talking with a friend of mine about Dragonball cartoons. One of us was arguing that Super-Saiyan level 4 was stupid and not canon to the original series (you know, typical teenage nerd shit). My friend said something like "No, there is Super Saiyan 4 cause... be... before--" But I didn't hear the rest of what he said, due to my sudden outburst of laughter. "Did you just say Super Saiyan 4 Cosby?!" I shouted. We had laughed about that for far longer than anyone ought to. It became a sort of in-joke. I think I even used it as a chat name, and as an e-mail address briefly. (Yes, Rocketmail. I am that old).

How did I forget that? We had joked and drawn pictures of that for the rest of the school year. It's like it was just gone from my memory without a trace until some random innocuous internet ad triggered it. Strange business.

So what does this inane nonsense have to do with anything? I'm getting to that...

I decided that I would do another Google search, this time for SSJ4c0sby to see if I ever did anything with it. If I forgot it even existed, who know what I might have done with it? It actually took me a few searches to remember that I had used a zero for the "O" in Cosby, but when I did, I finally hit a couple of results. A few broken links to old forums that had died or been assimilated, not surprising considering the posts would have been made like, 15 years ago.

A few pages in, I hit a site that was available in a cached format. Some kind of Xanga or LiveJournal knockoff, or precursor. Either way, it's long dead now. Luckily, a few posts remained on the SSJ4c0sby account. I always love seeing ancient internet stuff, like old Geocities and Angelfire pages that have sat unattended for years. It reminds me of a time when things seemed simpler.

At any rate, my teenage self had made a few sporadic blogs, some running for a few weeks, others only containing one or two entries. I'd like to say that reading them was the proverbial trip-down-memory-lane, but to be honest, I barely remembered any of the shit I was writing about. Posts about Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon (don't laugh, back then you took whatever anime you could get), random accounts of happenings from school, that kind of stuff. I didn't really remember any of it.

I paged through the posts that were there, working my way from the latest to the earliest, wondering how I survived being so boring as a teenager, trying to imagine what all the missing images were, and where all the dead links would have led to. I got to a fairly early post referencing something... strange. My younger self kept referring to how it hurt to type much due to the pain from having lost two of his fingers recently. I read farther back, and discovered that shortly before the blog was created, the boy writing it, I, had lost my left pinkie and ring fingers in an ATV riding accident. That I rolled my quad, had been knocked unconscious, and didn't remember anything else until I was home with my hand stitched and bandaged.

I have never ridden an ATV. Of that I am certain. And, even stranger, I didn't lose my fingers in an accident of any kind. I was, in fact, born with some congenital birth defects which required my needing several surgeries in my infancy. As a result, among other things, I am missing my right index finger, and all but my thumb on my left hand. So why would I have made up some story about losing a couple fingers in an ATV wreck? I didn't remember much of the blog, so I suppose I was maybe just making shit up? I really don't know.

I went through and read all the blog entries again. Nothing else was really strange about them. I assume they ended where they did because my family moved. We moved house a lot when I was growing up. I didn't remember stopping the blog, but then, I didn't remember starting it either.

Toward the end of the blog, there were some entries about some character I had drawn and was going to "make comics" about. That probably meant, doodling in a notebook. Again this was nothing of which I have any recollection, but I guess one wouldn't necessarily remember something like that from over a decade ago. Below a few broken image thumbnails was typed "KRANIATHAN - @ Power Level - 96,000" -- Wow... I really was a nerd.

On a whim, I decided that since I had found an interesting, albeit confusing, thread by searching one old name, I might as well try another. I did a search for KRANIATHAN, just to see if I had gone any further with the concept. I hit on one forum post (a dead anime forum) with people listing their original characters and such. The post referencing KRANIATHAN was made 14 years ago by a user named Darsh684. The 684 stood out to me, as I was born in June of 1984, along with probably two million other living humans, so that's not such a stretch.

I did a Google search on "Darsh" though, and it triggered another lost memory. Continuing in my descent into teenage nerdhood, I had happened accross a Japanese OVA called "Bastard!!" and fell in love with it. It was an anime that had magic, heavy metal music references, a smarmy-asshole protagonist, sword-fighting, and tits. Everything I could have hoped for. The main character (after his magical transformation... it's... it's not as gay as it sounds), was named Dark Schneider, and was sometimes called "Darsh."

How had I forgotten about that? Of course I would have used something from Bastard!! as a username. Is my memory really that spotty? I clicked to view Darsh684's profile, and got a somewhat broken, barebones html page. There was some interesting information on it though, interesting, and confounding. Darsh684 identified himself as a 17 year old living in Tennessee. All bets were off, that was definitely my profile. It continued to list some shit I used to like and dislike (Though I obviously didn't remember much from that time of my life, I was pleased to see that I still hated Creed then just as much as ever), as well as a brief personal description. This was what bugged me a bit.

"17 y/o male artist, 5'8" 175, white, br/eye, br/hair, goatee. Missing left eye and most of left hand from childhood automobile accident. Figured I'd get that out of the way ahead of time..." And it just went on from there describing ordinary stuff like you would find on any personal profile. No pictures (I don't typically like to be photographed since I'm kind of uncomfortable with the way I look).

Aside from the obvious incomplete and incorrect information about my appearance that I had for some reason typed up, the last line of the profile really struck me. It read "just picked up my first skateboard, I'm gonna try my hand at that!" I have never, ever skateboarded. I am certain of that, beyond a doubt.

Among the various dead links on the page was a link to another forum that vaguely jogged some memories. My younger, dishonest self had provided a link to a music board for discussion about the band Life of Agony. I kind of remember listening to LoA when I was younger. I think so anyway. That link was still active, though the discussion board was full of closed threads. I checked my profile there, I had apparently adopted the handle "HanzGroobr" on that particular site. The profile was inactive for a few years, then started getting some use when the LoA album "Broken Valley" was released in 2005.

"I must have forgotten I signed up for this forum years ago. When I went to make an account, I was already registered with this name (HanzGroobr). 21 and already going senile xD"

So I guess my memory was already pretty shoddy that point. The profile didn't have much information on it, but what it did have really shocked me. It was a photograph of me. A photograph of me sitting at bar stool in some dingy little club, flanked on either side by the guys from Life of Agony. I was sat there looking ecstatic as they made goofy faces around me. There was a caption along with the photo, it read; "Holy shit, got to chill with the dudes from LoA in Philly! I'm the crip in the center in case you couldn't tell. Being a gimp does have its benefits x3"

Though I'd been following this strange trail for a while now, actually seeing a photo of myself really made this whole thing real to me. I've ever been to Philadelphia, yet there I was in a rock club. I never really got too into Life of Agony (It's too whiny), yet there I was geeking out with the band. I don't remember a fucking second of it. And the biggest thing, the thing that freaks me the fuck out, is that in the photo, I've got one foot up on the rung of the bar stool, while my left leg is dangling off the cushion, a stump, gone from the knee down. There's a pair of crutches behind me in the photo. Apparently so I could still get around upright.

Remember I mentioned about the surgeries and the congenital birth defects? I don't have either of my feet. I've never had them as far as I can remember. They both got infected after a surgery when I was a baby. I had them both removed within 6 months of one another. At least, that's what I've been told my whole life. Now I'm looking at a picture of myself with a right foot I've never fucking had.

Is my memory fucked up? Am I going insane? Have I been insane? Why do I think I remember looking the way I do now for my entire life? Come to think of it, a lot of my memories are kind of fuzzy, especially the farther back I try to recall. All those old profiles, talking about the ATV accident, losing my eye and some fingers in a car accident... both incidents that couldn't have happened. I've always been missing fingers and feet and an eye. I'm sure of it. I think I am. Fuck. I don't even know.

Maybe I was telling the truth in all those profiles. Or maybe I thought I was telling the truth. Why did the story change every few years? Why do I now know... why do I now think that I've been like this from birth? Jesus, has this happened before? How many times? Is this the first time I've stumbled across this shit? I don't really remember any of my friends from school. Everyone I know I've met in the past few years. I can't even call anyone to do any fact checking... not that I really would. If even I think I'm nuts, what would other people think?

So I'm putting this out here because... I don't even know why. Maybe in hopes that it will somehow validate my existence, or my memories (lack thereof). Maybe this is just one more message in a bottle I'll be sending, reading it a few years the road. I wonder what will even be left of me then.


Your Stories / My Buddy Sandman
« on: 08:39 PM, 11/ 1/16 »

This story has some accompanying imagery. I won't add the photos to this post, but there will be links throughout. Some of these images contain content that some may find offensive. These images are marked [Graphic] for violence or sexual themes.

[Title Screen]

In the early nineties, when I was attending Penn State University, I knew a man named Sandman Archibald Bundeford. Yes, that was his honest to God, real life, on the birth-certificate, on the driver's license, stitched in his underwear birth name. I thought the names that celebrities were giving to their children these days were awful, but this kid had a stupid name before stupid names were chic. I always figured his parents were flower children, and named him while on some kind of acid trip.

In any case, Sandman and I had a freshman composition class together, and would occasionally kill time in the library. He was a nice guy, 17 years old if I remember correctly, mulatto, I mean mixed race, shy, but friendly, and always carried around the biggest laptop computer you would ever want to see. At that time it was pretty impressive to see someone with what was considered to be a portable computer. I would sometimes see him with his nose to the LCD screen analyzing some code, or scrutinizing the pixels of some image he was trying to edit.

Sandman hung around with some older students who were either interested in, or taking classes in computer programming, film, graphic design(his current major), and photography while I gravitated toward the other freshmen in the world literature courses I took. I was however, kept in the loop as to the progress of a project that Sandman and his pals were working on. He would talk to me sometimes about this game he was helping them make. From what I gathered at the time it was mixture of text based horror, and point and click style dungeon crawler they were calling Warlock, with an “E.”

He was wildly excited about being involved in this project, and would get almost giddy when he talked about it, grinning stupidly while assuring me Warlocke was going to be the next big thing in gaming. I always humored him, although in reality I thought the whole thing was sort of a pipe dream. There was progress being made though, as he would sometimes show me bits of what the “team” had accomplished thus far. It looked okay, but I didn't quite see how it would achieve the popularity of which he was so sure.

The premise was a simple one, get through a dungeon, collect items, fight baddies, save the princess, you know the drill. The hook however, was that this was going to be an “Adults Only” game with digitized photos depicting graphic violence and nudity. That adult theme was the gimmick that would serve as the selling point, getting grown ups to pick it up, and teenagers to lust after it. I guess I couldn't really argue that sex and violence sell.

Sandman's contribution was to help with the digitizing, and editing of the photos to be used in the game. Lots of blood and guts stuff like you would see in Fangoria Magazine, of which Sandman usually had a copy. He let me, or more accurately made me borrow a tape to watch one time on which he had recorded his favorite bits of movies like Mondo Cane, Faces of Death, and various “Italian cannibal films”... which is apparently a genre. Pretty sick stuff, not my cup of tea, but nothing unheard of.

For a few weeks I was hearing lots about Warlocke, and how underground gaming was going to break into the mainstream, but gradually Sandman's excitement seemed to wane. I eventually asked him about the progress of the game, and he said that all he knew was that it was “in development.” a few days later, I saw him fervently working at his monolith of a laptop again. When I inquired, he stated that the game was getting a graphical overhaul, and he was in the process of digitizing, and cleaning up a few new grisly photos. I chuckled and wished him luck.

It was later in the month, after spring break, that I met up with Sandman in the library after a statistics class. When he saw me approaching, he let loose the toothiest grin I ever saw from him, and he proudly held up a 3.5” floppy disk. He reminded me of Lady Liberty, towering high with her torch in hand. I sat next to him and he proceeded to tell me that the beta version was playable, and almost ready to shop around to distributors. He opened his laptop case, and handed me one of a stack of about a dozen floppies. “Here,” he said “take this home and let me know what you think!”

“Sure,” I agreed with a chuckle, adding “I hope my computer has enough juice to run it.”

The Game.

After a few days of “Didja play it yet?” from Sandman, I finally got around to checking out what I was told would be the best selling game of 1992, the year by which they were sure they would have mass distribution. On a Thursday evening at home, I popped the floppy disk into my Packard Bell, and booted her up into DOS.

[Installation Screen]

The setup ran smoothly, and was finished and configured in about 10 minutes. Upon launching the game program, I noted that the title screen looked fairly professional, maybe I had underestimated the ragtag band of artists and coders who, according to the startup screen, were calling themselves Tesserakt Solutions. More “rad” misspellings to distinguish themselves as an edgy, forward thinking upstart. I smirked to myself after reading the ALL CAPS LOCKED message explaining that this game was not intended for anyone under 18 years of age, despite being created by kids barely that old.

[New Game]

I selected a new game and hit return. A text box popped up telling me that I had to rescue the Queen's handmaidens from a dungeon before some ritual called “The Bloodening” occurred. Oh man, The Bloodening? Really? This was going to be interesting. I hit return again and started the game.

[Starting Corridor]

The interface looked pretty fresh and user friendly which was nice, the graphics were nothing to write home about. I noted the mouse cursor was a blood soaked arrow, and I appeared to have a few items in my inventory. I clicked the up arrow, which prompted the forward command, and came to a figure in a dark cloak. It was nice to have the option of either entering text commands, or clicking with the mouse. The hooded figure gave me a dagger, which of course was stained with blood, and I continued on.




Not having a list of text commands didn't seem to affect my game-play, as almost every command I used seemed to work. I figure they must have loaded a lot of variables into the command section, which was a nice touch for those of us who haven't played many text adventures. After coming across a wooden chest and obtaining a spell-book, I learned a lightning spell. I was starting to wonder when I would get to the digitized photos that Sandman had been working on.

[Enemy 1]

[Enemy Attack]

Eventually an enemy appeared, and I battled him. The skirmish was uneventful, I took some damage and then defeated the foe. When I killed the enemy the display area went from showing the dungeon ahead to displaying a crudely digitized photo of a red face I assumed was my enemy after his defeat. It was a strange and somewhat off-putting image “I guess this is where they're going to earn that 18+ rating,” I though to myself.

[Victory 1 - Graphic V]

[Wizard 1]

Hitting any key or clicking anywhere seemed to remove the photo and bring the dungeon back. I explored some more and came across a guy in a wizard cloak and hat. He asked if I was “friend or foe.” I typed “friend” and he proceeded to call me a liar and engage me in battle. I could tell this game wasn't shooting for any points intellectually. 

[Wizard 2]

[Victory 2 - Graphic V]

I attacked him a few times, and finished him off with the dagger. I was “rewarded” again with another picture of a bloody face. The color palette the designers were using really didn't lend itself well to this kind of digital photo display. Through the mess of grey, black, and red pixels I could tell that the face being shown didn't look anything like the wizard I had just battled. This was a matter of content over form, and the content was simply shock value.


After receiving another spell, and a key from the wizard, I continued my search through the corridors of the labyrinth. Honestly there weren't even very many wrong turns or pitfalls. I guess they just wanted to keep pace pretty action packed. I eventually came to a set of iron bars and used the key I got from the wizard on them. What I saw next caught me off guard.

[Maiden 1 - Graphic S/T]

A pixelated image of a topless woman tied down with rope popped up in the display area, accompanied by text offering to thank me with either a spell, or her “body.” I'll admit, I was more than a bit curious as to what would happen if I took her up on the offer of her body. I was a college student without a girlfriend, give me a break! So I typed “body” into the text field,and was shown another picture of a topless woman, this time not tied up. She was staring at me as seductively as a 4 color block-woman could. I admit, it was pretty funny, and hey, maybe it would work as a selling point for the game! Maybe there's a market for pornography resembling glitched out Nintendo games, as for me, I'd rather just look at a Penthouse magazine through a kaleidoscope.

[Reward - Graphic S/T]

[Brute 1]

 After you see the handmaiden's naughty bits, you can just type “spell” and get the new attack anyway. So my journey through the game continued on, as I fought baddies, got items and rescued handmaidens. For each fight I won, I was rewarded with a new gruesome photo, “The spoils of victory!”   

[Victory 3 - Graphic V]

[Victory 4 - Graphic V]

Some of them looked like they were out of a horror magazine, or a slasher flick. Others were harder to make out, but were slightly more upsetting. I was noticing that they didn't even seem to fit with the dungeon crawl theme of the game, they were more like crime scene or emergency room photos. Like I said, not easy to see exactly what was happening in them. I guess Sandman did the best he could with the low resolution and minuscule color palette he had.
[Victory 5 - Graphic V]

[Maiden 2 - Graphic S/T]

The pictures the handmaidens were a little odd to me also. I'm not a prude or anything, I know that some chicks are into bondage, but the women in the pictures all looked kind of frightened, or worried. They did not appear at all relieved to see the Warlocke come to save them, despite their constant offers to ludicrously satisfy his physical needs. Whatever, maybe I'm just not into tied up girls.

[Reward 2 - Graphic S/T]

[Maiden 3 - Graphic S/T]

I eventually saved the third and final handmaiden, and when I turned around was face to face with a new enemy known as “The Blood Demon.” Well, who else would you expect to hold a ritual called the Bloodening? This was the toughest opponent I had yet faced, all the othersup to this point were almost criminally easy. I had the health potion though, and the items didn't seem to disappear after use, so the only thing that really made the Blood Demon tougher was that he took longer to kill. I wondered later if it was even possible to die in this game.

[Blood Demon - Graphic S/T]

[Blood Demon Defeated]

So I handily defeated what turned out to be the final boss of this short game. The game showed me a picture of my slain foe, which looked like some kind of dead raccoon, or turtle, but I was surprised that they actually got an image that wasn't just another human victim from a slasher flick. I was told that I would be receiving a handsome reward. I hit the return key and was compensated for my efforts in the labyrinth by another nude female, who I assume was the Queen, telling me to “Come hither and collect thy reward.”

[Reward 3 - Graphic S/T]


Another tap of the return key brought up a thanks for playing message, and a list of the guys who made the game together. I saw Sandman's name in the special thanks category, and imagined how stupidly proud he must have been. There were one or two other names I thought I recognized, only as friends of Sandman's though.

Tesserakt Solutions.

Since I beat the game in one night, I was able to talk to Sandman about it the following day in the library. He once again asked me “Didja play it yet?” And this time I was finally able to give him the answer he wanted. Of course he wanted to know what I thought about it, and how blown away I was by it. I didn't really have the heart to tell him that the plot of the game was wafer thin, the characters were all but non existent, the game-play was inane and repetitive, the dialogue was ridiculous, comparable games were offering sound, and sometimes music, the sex and violence would probably kill any mainstream release, or that the graphics were barely up to par with other computer releases, and totally eclipsed by Nintendo and Genesis... So instead I said that it was bitchin' and really fun.

I wasn't going to rain on this guy's parade, and hey, maybe the game would get picked up and become popular in some form or another. The fact remained that this group of college kids actually did put together a playable computer game that worked and might garner some attention. That's more than a lot of young programmers can say.

When he asked, I told him that the digitized photos looked really good, and would probably be a lot better as computer technology improved. He agreed, and continued to talk my ear off about all the work that he and the others at Tesserakt had done, and how this was only the beginning for them.

Finally, he had to go to class, and I was spared having to hear about adjusting the resolution on the in game photos for the third time. From that point on, his mania seemed to level off, and we got back to talking about things other than Warlocke. But after several weeks it was actually me who brought it up again. I asked what was going on with the video game, he told me that Aaron and Robert, two of the programmers, were just working out minor bugs. Just before the end of the semester I asked again, and he said that he had been able to get into contact with neither Aaron nor Robert, and others who worked on the project either didn't know, or wouldn't say what was going on. I told Sandman it would probably work out in a few days. Personally, I figured things were going nowhere with the game, or that there was too much adult content in it to get picked up.

Over the summer break, I was still living back home with my folks. One day in July, my dad told me to read an article he saw in the paper about some Penn State students that had been arrested, or questioned by police. I read over the article, and saw a few names I recognized. I knew them either from the Warlocke game credits, or through Sandman, who wasn't mentioned in the paper, but was still a minor. I told my dad that I knew some of the kids' names, but didn't know any personally.

The news story read that Jeffrey Maxwell, Robert Porter, Aaron Alvers, Peter Bodine, Daniel Scannel, and an unidentified minor had been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, assault, and burglary, in Philadelphia county. I was quite surprised by this, and wondered what had happened, as the news article didn't give much detail.

I didn't hear much more about this for a week or so, when a news report came on the local station. It elaborated and gave new developments about the PSU student events. Apparently Jeffrey Maxwell, and Daniel Scannel were questioned and released while Robert Porter, Aaron Alvers, and Peter Bodine were being held on charges that now included murder, and conspiracy to commit murder along with another man named Jerome Watts. Obviously this got my attention.

Porter, Alvers, and Bodine, allegedly traveled from State College PA to Philadelphia and the Bucks county area at least 3 times between February and May of 1991 and hired prostitutes. The three were accused of taking the prostitutes to an empty house and assaulting them, causing bruises, broken ribs, and in one of the girls, a concussion. This abandoned house, a former residence of Jerome Watts, was also thought to be the site of at least two murders committed by Porter and Alvers. Watts, a 34 year old sanitation worker had copped a plea deal in return for further evidence on Porter and Alvers, Bodine was still being held on conspiracy.

After gathering physical and circumstantial evidence on Porter, police obtained a warrant, and allegedly found a shotgun which may have been used in the murders, as well as photographic evidence linking himself, Alvers, and Bodine to the scene of the crimes. There were also several incriminating files found on his computer, and some “body parts appearing to be from small animals” hidden in his bedroom walls.

The next day I got a call from Sandman, to whom I can't remember giving my number, but my family is in the phone book. He sounded nervous and almost frantic. He told me that I had to “Delete that game” from my hard drive and shred or burn the disk he gave me. I told him I saw the news and asked him what the hell was going on. Still sounding shaken he said that he had no idea where the photos he had digitized came from. “I swear, I thought they were just from Fangoria and some titty magazines!” He choked out. “And some of em were! I swear to God some of those dead people were just special effects from movies, I know, I've seen em'!”

I told him to calm down, and that he had nothing to worry about. That he couldn't have known what he was doing and the police would realize that when he was questioned. He seemed to be settling down a bit, but said he had more calls to make. I told him that probably wasn't a good idea at this point. He just said “yeah...” and hung up.

That was actually the last time I ever spoke to Sandman. I had heard that he transferred to Penn Tech to finish school. I can't blame him, PSU main campus is a big place, and I'm pretty sure almost everyone would have been eyeing him, as well as the other members of Tesserakt Solutions. And I never asked him, nor anyone else about which of the photos in Warlocke were from horror movies, and titty magazines, and which ones... well, weren't. I didn't want to know, I still don't want to know. I deleted the game from my hard drive, but I couldn't remember where the disk was.

I actually found it not long ago, and couldn't resist the temptation to play through it again. Incidentally, it never got picked up for major distribution if you can believe it. But there must still be a few copies floating around. I remember how silly I thought it was back in school. It didn't seem silly this time through, and I kind of wish I hadn't replayed it.

I wonder what ever happened to those guys, I know that Jeffrey Maxwell and Dan Scannel got off with extended probation, and Aaron Alvers, and Pete Bodine, served 6 and 4 years respectively. Bobby Porter is still in the Penitentiary I think. I guess in this day and age it would be easy enough to track them down, and see what they're up to. Seems kind of morbid though. I do still think about that quirky mulatto kid from freshman comp though, how hard could it be to track down someone named Sandman Archibald Bundeford?

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