?

Log in

No account? Create an account
most recent trickles friends calendar profile slide back slide back slip forward slip forward
Trickle of Consciousness
I don't know that I have a full on review of World War Z in me. It was fun in a lot of ways. And if you like jumpy-scare movies I think it does a reasonably good job of that. It did, however, make use of at least one movie trope I'm more than over. SPOILERS ahead:

I probably should have been worried when I saw how many names were attached to this thingCollapse )

Tags: ,

add a drop
And finally, the true tale which brought national spotlight onto those fascinating members of the "Side Show." This, from widely-read society columnist Alana Danae DeShazer-Opie:

It will shock no one if we say that last night's Follies New Year's Extraordinaire was one of the most highly-anticipated social events of the year. After all, how often is it that New York's elite are treated to entertainment and an opulent reception hosted by those fascinating rising stars (and lest we forget, Siamese Twins) Daisy and Violet Hilton?

What this writer might never have imagined, however, is that the real show would not be the glamorous, sweet-voiced performance by the twins, but at the party itself. There, after the Misses Hilton showed some charmingly quick wits in the face of a bevy of curious inquiries by their guests, all attending were shocked when Violet's rumored paramour, Buddy Foster, took to one knee to propose marriage!

Barely had we time to give the boy a quick congratulations than the clock chimed in the new year. And what a year of excitement we imagine it might be!


A staff artist attempts to catch the essence of the twins...


Whether it was the champagne or simply the heady news, tongues were definitely wagging as the party wound its way down from the dizzying heights of Mr. Foster's midnight proposal. Exotic heiress Noelia Altamirano nearly swooned over the romanticism of it all. We rather imagine it helped to be swooning on the arm of her escort, shipping magnate J. Saan Ellis. The sultry Leona Collesano found it fairly tired news. Of course, as the fourth fiance of oil baron William Sarazen, we suppose she is entitled to a bit of cynicism as concerns engagement.

Some found the prospect fabulous. Others seemed a bit disturbed by thoughts of how the eventual Mr. and Mrs. Buddy Foster might spend their honeymoon, given the constant presence of the unattached Daisy Hilton.

Still others found the entire affair a bit suspect. When we contacted the Orpheum Circuit for comment, a Mr. Timothy Fitzgerald informed us that Terry Connor--the girls' manager during this stellar rise to fame--had just that day resigned his position with them in order to, as we're told, focus solely on the careers of his conjoined clients.

Curious, is it not, that Mr. Connor might give up steady work to put all his eggs in one basket, as it were? Might it be that he knew about this "surprise proposal" in advance? We sincerely hope this isn't some kind of stunt posed merely for publicity (though if it is, we suppose this very reporter's column today proves it an effective one).

Or might there be another secret at play here? As Violet and Buddy basked in their happy moment, we noticed there seemed to be a bit of mooning to be glimpsed from dear Daisy in the direction of the good Mr. Connor. And though it once again might have been the bubbly, we will report it seemed to us there was something of an obvious connection between the starlet and the manager.

I daresay these girls are two to keep our eyes on. For where one sister goes, the other is sure to follow, yes? Might there, indeed, be a double wedding in their future?

Are wedding bells ringing? And for whom? Learn the secrets of the twins only now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses
His Own Boss
A True Lady
In a Foreign Land
By the Sword
For Want of a Canvas

Tags: , ,

add a drop
For your consideration, the following excerpt from an interview with acclaimed political artist Cassandra Kelley, conducted by esteemed biographer Sarah Mayper...

I think I never knew just how powerful art was until they took it away from me.

Locked in a cell for my latest series of works which cast The Dictator and his men as zoo animals caged by their own limited minds, I was quick to lose my vaunted pride. It is difficult to feel elation in the dark and dank.

There arrived another prisoner, however, who even in that hole seemed to know my work. She insisted I continue. Seeing the light she brought to this black pit, I accepted the challenge.

That first night, I used a stick to sketch into the dirt of the floor. The next morning, the guards forced us to rake it all away. The second night, I gathered mud and dust and the grease from the cell door hinges and painted the walls with a gray and black toned image. The guards handed us soapy water and brushes and forced us to scrub it clean.

I began to despair that, despite the glow my work brought to my fellow prisoner, despite the lightness it gave my own soul, I might never find a canvas the guards would not wipe away in the morning.

But my prison patron refused to give up. She collected my makeshift palette, fashioned a brush end on the stick with a collection of stray hairs we had, and removed the rag she wore to cover herself. And I knew this was our solution, for the guards refused to let us bathe in our prison, wanted us to wallow in our filth as we awaited our release, and so here, upon the flesh of my fellow, was the one place they would never find my art, would never force us to wash it away.

I crafted in secret the art which sustained us both. It was a slow process, between the lack of light and my own unfamiliarity with the way the human body might twist and distort line and color. But we had time, and so I worked on tiny patches of skin, honing and perfecting a masterpiece upon her.

After our release, we lost touch through unfortunate circumstances, and it was many years later when I next saw her. To my amazement, I discovered that my art remained. The crude mud and grease I used in that pit was gone, but in its place, the woman had commissioned a tattoo in the same shape and shades. And not just my work, but all across her body over the years she had built her own massive collection of art, had turned herself into a living canvas, a walking archive, an embodied museum.

An artist often wishes to know her work has pressed itself deep into the souls of those who experience it, but here was a woman who bore her soul across her very body, and I have never had a prouder moment than to witness it.

And where might one see this living museum? Only now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses
His Own Boss
A True Lady
In a Foreign Land
By the Sword

Tags: , ,

add a drop
Our second report in the hair-raising events of yesterday was recently recovered from the flight journal of World War I flying ace Craigson Engle

When Mr. Monde hired me to fly folks back and forth on these little treasure hunts he funds, I figured I had things free and easy. Making it through The Great War, after all, a fella supposes everything else is tame.

Then there was this trip to pick up the dame he sent on over to the desert. Seems she'd gone and got herself into quite a pickle, and Mr. Monde sent me to track down some fella he knew thataway.

Quiet guy, that one. What's the word? Stoic. Yeah. Carried a sword and a knife and not a lot else, which seems like it wouldn't be much good against a pistol, but the boss thought he was the fella to fix things, so I just stayed quiet and drove. That's how I made my dough, after all.

A lot of sun and sand later following that map the dame sent, and we pulled up on that oasis. All fancy silk tents clustered up around that pool of water that shouldn't have probably been there with all the heat, but there it was.

And there was that Sheik the boss warned us about, and just like the boss's buddy, this one had a sword, and he already had it out, shouting something about guarding his home and never giving up his wives.

There were the wives, too. Pretty little things. Or I think they were pretty. They were all veils and big eyes, but they sure had nice shapes. I could see why a fella might be inclined to protect 'em.

I might have tried to talk to him, myself. With all those women, I supposed he might not miss one of them, especially since the boss had the money to make it worth his while. But that quiet fella I brought with me? Jumped to the ground and had his sword out quick as you please.

Didn't last long, the fight. Not because the Sheik was a slouch with a sword. No, actually, it looked pretty quickly like he was much better than our man, and I cringed a bit as he stabbed past the guy's guard and got him right in the mouth, of all things. Not a pleasant way to go.

But then, he didn't go. That satisfied grin the Sheik got when our fella staggered backward fell right away when he didn't fall down. No siree, he stood straight and tall, that sword shoved all the way down his gullet. Then he reached up, grabbed the hilt, and pulled that sword right back out, clean of blood. Then he was holding his sword and the Sheik's, and it was our man's turn to smile.

After that, well, what else is there to say? The Sheik fell to his knees and begged for mercy, and I can’t say as I blame him. A man who eats metal for breakfast shook even this soldier.

Mr. Monde's lady friend insisted we take the other girls with us, which made for a ride home that was crowded, but not so you'd mind. I heard a rumor the girls went over to the states. Heard another that the Sheik got his nerve back and went hunting for them. Not that I know anything about that. Wouldn't surprise me, though. Nothing much can after that.

At least, not yet.

Can a man really make a meal of metal, or did some kind of heat stroke mar a good man's memory? Find out for yourself now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses
His Own Boss
A True Lady
In a Foreign Land

Tags: , ,

add a drop
From French antiquities collector Jean-Paul Monde, comes a startling field report of polygamy and peril made by his agent, trail-blazing tomb raider L. Roeming....

I have long held a fascination with Araby, and so must thank you again for your sponsorship, good monsieur, but what I have found here, I am afraid, is a world harsher and more shocking than I could have imagined. Your insistence on my escort, the messieurs Bowman and Vallence, is well taken.

Other women in these harsh climes have not my same protections, I am afraid, a fact which leads me to the reason for this report.

As I browsed the local market today in preparation for our outing to the local ruins, there came into the center of town a veritable caravan of opulence. At its head, a broad-shouldered Sheik, filled with vigor and arrogance. He bounded off his camel with an inhumanly-spry spring, landing on his feet as if gravity herself could not bend him to her will.

Fascinated, I followed him as he wound through the market, then down an alley I had somehow never noticed before. He tore aside a wispy curtain, and as I tried to follow, the brutish thugs on either side of the entry attempted to bar my way.

It was here those gentlemen I had so foolishly characterized as roustabouts when you loaned them to me came in quite handy, as they provided just the distraction I needed to enter and see the tawdry truth: The Sheik, it seemed, was shopping for a bride.

The seller toured about the lot, babbling their praises, when he finally stopped at a small group of girls huddled together in fright. I had trouble hearing much more from my position hidden in shadow, but I did let loose a gasp as I caught their words for "harem" and "virgin."

That dark, exotic, rough man turned then, his piercing gaze sweeping through the shadows to uncover me. I found my heart beating in my ears such as to make thought difficult, but I managed, in a fit of momentary epiphany, to claim I was a Western journalist, sent to write of his noble existence in an effort to educate the curious masses.

He seemed less than thoroughly convinced, but for the moment, his fascination for a woman who labors was enough to distract him from pressing further. He turned back to the seller, pointed to four of the virginal girls, then threw him a small sack of gold before gesturing for the four of them and myself to follow.

And now my time grows short. The caravan is almost packed, and I cannot in good conscience let it go alone. I must protect these poor young women, and so I continue my ruse. I send you this report with your stalwart men to ensure its safe arrival at its destination.

With it you will find a map to the Sheik’s oasis that one of my newfound Wards, a waif named Laurencia, managed to acquire. I only pray you might send me aid in my quest before the Sheik grows wise to my ruse, or decides that a Western bride is just the thing his growing harem needs!

Did help arrive in time? We have just now uncovered further evidence, but must wait until next time so that we might check its veracity. Come back tomorrow for the heart-pounding second installment, and see the Sheik and his harem for yourself now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses
His Own Boss
A True Lady

Tags: , ,

add a drop
From the estate of Delilah Dimples, a letter signed by esteemed philanthropist Mr. TL Duncan...

Please forgive my prattle, but I feel I might only explain this letter by explaining, however briefly, myself. My entire life has been a polite one, filled with rules and expectations and, as you might imagine, a dearth of pleasure.

Most would find my complaints trite. Born with the right pedigree and a strong jaw line and, not incidentally, a healthy bank account, I have lived a life of privilege. The best food, the best clothes, the best women. Or so everyone kept telling me. Especially as concerned the women.

I must admit, however, that I rarely enjoyed their company. Certainly the women in my life had the same advantages as I. Surely they took great pains to show this, as well. Their waists were all cinched until they most closely resembled a wasp, the better to fit into their expensive clothing, tailored as it is to the barest inch for breathing.

We ate at the finest restaurants. Or, rather, I ate, and they nibbled daintily at the edges of painstakingly-groomed salads, sipped at their water with their tiny pinkies raised just so. They tittered coyly at my jokes, though never too loudly least they seem unladylike.

Good Lord above, but I cannot imagine my evenings being any more tedious. Each of them a waist-cinched and coiffured copy of the other, such that I admit there was more than one evening when I quite forgot the name of the lady I was with. But this seemed to be what the world expected, and I followed along like the obedient child I was.

Then my cohorts insisted on a night of the exotic, and I came along more because this was what men of the world did, on occasion, was it not? I stifled my yawn and prepared for the worst.

But then I saw you, my dearest Miss Dimples. In one glance, I knew my pathetic life of drips and drabs for what it was, as in you I saw what I had so long lacked: A woman who looked at the world and was not content to nibble on the edges of life, but who sought out the delights in this world and vowed to experience them fully and completely and with reckless abandon.

My cynicism fell away, and all those poets I once mocked for writing about love at first sight suddenly became the chroniclers of my soul. For, indeed, I must tell you with no equivocation that I love you with every fiber of my being. God knows such a proclamation is surely forward and brash, but if I have learned nothing else from you this night, it is the importance of embracing the delights of this world without care for what polite society might have to say about them.

So I declare my love and devotion, here and now and always. Marry me or use and discard me, only please allow that you will meet me. If only once, I long to bask in the presence of a woman of true and honest substance, a lover of this life and all the joys it carries within it.

Grant me this smallest of pleasures, and I can promise you I will forever treasure it, more than my name or my money or the jewels I might buy, and certainly more than a hundred nibbling, "proper" ladies.

Discover more of "Dolly Dimples" and the Side Show now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses
His Own Boss

Tags: , ,

add a drop
From the work journal of ranch hand DW Walker, the story of a man obsessed with the very oddities our series explores...

For a guy so tall, that cook never seemed scary. For one thing, he was awful young. For another, his nose was always in a book. And when it wasn't, he was spouting off about one weird fact or another: men with claws for hands, who had scales 'stead of skin, or drank animal blood 'stead of cooking meat like normal folks. And the twins. Lord, how he went on 'bout the twins.

"Born from the same life germ." I can't ever remember the whole rigmarole, but I remember that part, since I never understood how a germ grew into people. But he kept talking about how his parents had them a pair of those Siam-ite twins and that's how they made their living, and he figured if he could find a whole buncha folks like that, why, that'd be easy money, wouldn't it?

Probably would have done better to talk less and work harder, I always thought. The boss was always up in his face about mucking up the food not paying attention. And you didn't want to mess with the boss. He was a big guy who was scary. All broad shoulders under that leather longcoat, cracking that whip like it weren't harder than waving a bit of string. Nobody liked him, but since we'd seen him turn that whip on a ranch hand or two when they got too big for their britches, weren't none of us going to tell him that.

So anyways, there was cookie, all books and cowering and barely keeping his job with the stale bread and slop he was serving. But I worked lots of ranches, and ain't never been much better anywhere else, so never seemed worth all the fuss the boss made.

I expect maybe it was about something else. But if cookie wandered off some nights with one or two of the other ranch hands, I always thought: to each his own. Ranch can be a lonely place. You find yourself some companionship you enjoy, ain't no never mind to me, I say.

Then he got that letter. Started caterwauling like wasn't no tomorrow when he read it. One of his buddies let on cookie'd just found out his folks had died. I felt bad for the guy, I did, but when dinner came and weren't even all the potatoes peeled with all his blubbering, the boss wasn't nearly so nice.

Started on a tirade, screaming and yelling, and odd thing was, instead of cowering like he always had before, that cook looked down at the wad of paper in his hands, nodded like he'd just had a talk with it, then stood up tall and proud. And boy, but those eyes, red from crying, got cold and dark and oh so mean.

Shook the boss for a minute, but you don't get to be a foreman by having no spine. Stood nose to nose with cookie and told him dinner better be ready lickety split or he'd take the whip to him just like he did the cattle.

Cookie just let out a laugh cold as his eyes were. So the boss backed up a few steps, and he swung that whip. I almost couldn't look, but boy am I glad I did. 'Cause there wasn't a whip crack, not like normal, on account of that mewly bookworm cook snatched that whip end right out the air and yanked it out of the boss's hand.


His own Boss now...

Oh, but that was a sight mighta sent a man blind from surprise all on its own, but it didn't end there. One, two, three steps, then a hell of a haymaker, and the boss crumpled to the ground like he was nothing more than a scarecrow.

Cookie took that fancy leather coat off the boss, and hell if it didn't fit like it was made for him. Stood tall and proud, and we all for a minute sent up a whooping cheer to see someone teach that bully a lesson, but then the cook bellowed, twice as loud and nasty as the boss, and we all stood still.

"All you big, strong, normal men," our bookworm said, glaring at us all. "Can wrangle a steer in a minute, but you don't have the decency to stand up for anyone else, or listen when somebody wants to educate you.

"I've had it with your little show," he growled, holding up that letter he'd been weeping over all morning. "I've got my own to attend to now. I think it's time I was my own boss."

Struck his tent right then and there, and by the time the boss woke up, wasn't nothing left of that cook but raw potatoes seasoned with a pinch of our own shame.

But what kind of man will this new Boss be? And what of the show he'll be running? Discover his Side Show now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood
If Witches Worked Curses

Tags: , ,

add a drop
S. Ron Bartley and Kellan Mueller shared with us this story from their upcoming dissertation on Louisiana folk tales. Their interview subject, a local storyteller, insists on the veracity of the details...

Now, cheres, when all this started, our boy was a looker, him. And he knew how to use it, he did. The ladies all but threw themselves at him, and didn't he never say no. More than once he found himself on the wrong side of an angry beau, but that was always just time to find a new town, no?

But then he met himself just the wrong gal, didn't he? 'Course, he didn't know that at first. Just like he knew to keep his true self hid, that gal knew to leave her secrets at home when she went into town.

So all he knew about this chere was that he wanted her, and weren't no magic could help a body when our boy turned on his charms, yes? Weren't no time at all before he'd bedded that gal and had his way with her, and while she was sleeping, he ran right off into the night to find another bed he ain't yet warmed.

Only I already told you, this wasn't just any angry girl, no. She had power, she did. That girl, she went back to her swamp, and she called up her powers and found just where that rapscallion run off to.

Sure 'nough, the next night she snuck up and found that lothario making nice with another gal. Heard her telling him how sweet his mouth was and how she just wanted to curl up with him, and that was about all she could take, her.

She sprung up in a cloud of smoke, and oh, that couple they cowered like les petits at that sight. And when he saw that gal there, with a giant snake draped around her, our boy knew it for a familiar, and that gal for a swamp witch, and he knew just what a big, big mistake he made, but it was already too late: that witch had her arms going, and both those souls knew there was a curse coming.

"You like that sweet mouth so much, you'll see it from the inside," the witch said while her snake writhed and she worked her magic in the air. "Make you a hare, I will, and you little man, you can be the snake you really are, and eat her up quick as a crawfish gobbles down minnows and fish eggs."

Ah, but that was her mistake, see, 'cause that witch's familiar didn't like one bit his lady using 'snake' for an insult, him. So just when she was casting the last of that hex, he tickled her rib, and the curse went sideways: instead o' turning into a hare, the poor gal in her nightdress grew hair, all over her chin. And that man? He didn't get the scales or the forked tongue, no. He wound up with claws just like that hungry crawfish the witch talked about.

Weren't nobody quite come out happy in the end of that, no, but just about everybody learned them a lesson about making the wrong person mad. Whether that's a gal, a swamp witch, or even a cranky old snake. Always watch your words, I say. And that's all the more there is to it.

Did a supernatural mishap change three souls forever? And where might such transformed bodies go? Find out now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King
In the Blood

Tags: , ,

add a drop
From a collection of letters in the estate of one Mariah Glantz, comes this compelling letter from her sister, Josephine Grosso

Dearest Mariah,

It is with a heavy heart that I must relate to you sad news as concerns the loss of my husband.

I have written before of the troubling effects his drinking has had on life here at the farm. Pray as I might for his salvation from the demon in the bottle, however, again and again he would fall. Eventually, a full three months passed without a single dry evening. He spent the dark hours indulging in spirits, only to sleep past the cock's crow and leave me alone to tend the pigs and chickens and cattle.

Mornings were a solitary, tiring time, as he slept off his night's debauchery while I toiled at the chores for two souls. Each afternoon, he would wake with apologies and promises that he would change, and as I had vowed to honor and obey him in health and sickness, I would allow that this time, perhaps, he might succeed in his endeavors to become the man he had once been. Or so I told myself.

I admit here to my own weakness, dear sister. After so long in this dark place, there came a dawn, as the chickens mobbed me in their always-ravenous frenzy for morning feed and my husband snored and drooled through the morning, when I reached my wit's end. I smashed his still, and mixed all the liquor that remained in the house into the chicken feed. The fowl never noticed the difference.

By the time he woke, there was no liquor, and for that day and into the dry evening, sister, I truly believed we had reached a turning point. My loving husband thanked me for my courage, and together we had a laugh at the stumbling of the cock and his hens. As the next morning would be Sunday, I pressed his good suit before I retired to bed, and of his own accord, my husband joined me there. His easy breathing lulled me into the most restful sleep I could remember in years.

So restful was my sleep that I awoke with the sun well and fully risen. I had, it seemed, entirely missed the cock's crow. As the space beside me in our bed was empty, I smiled to realize my husband must have chosen to tend the morning chores on his own. A penance on this Lord's day, surely, and a blessed sign. With a light step, I wafted through the front room, where I was mildly puzzled to discover my husband's Sunday best missing. Surely he would not have gone on to church without me? 

I wandered outside, looking for him, and found my gaze drawn to the chicken coop, where only a single hen wandered about. I worried that a fox or coyote might have made its way inside. Perhaps that was where my love had gone, to hunt the creature down.



Mariah's crude drawing of the nightmare her sister conveyed...



I tell you, sister, the truth was much more horrifying. As I stood, before I could call out, a man rushed from the coop. No, I cannot in conscience say that the monster which charged the solitary hen was a man at all. For what man would act as he did? I can barely relate the details, but only in knowing them can you fully understand my loss.

He snatched the hen in his bloody fingers, broke its neck with a fierce efficiency, and then, Lord help us, he tore open the poor creature's neck with his own sharp teeth. As the head fell to the ground, he slurped the chicken blood as if it were the most delicious nectar to be found on this earth. The blood of the fowl trickled down his chin, over his neck, stained his suit which was no doubt torn by the struggles of the other hens and the cock (whose demise I was now certain to be the reason there had been no crow to wake me).

This was not the only realization I had in that moment. For as the blood further stained his suit, I recognized first the suit, and then, with a horror I cannot relate, the man who wore it.

Yes, dearest sister, it was my own husband. Driven by his demons to find the spirit which had come to define his nights, he had fallen to this.  He drank bird blood for the merest taste of liquor, and became himself something apart from man. By that evening, when I finally unlocked my door to allow his pathetic apology, he did nothing of the sort. Rather, he admitted to a new and deeper pleasure to be gained by the fresh blood of fowl. There was now, he claimed, nothing he craved more.

That was the last I saw of him, sister, as he wandered into the night to seek liquor and chicken blood, a man lost to his vice by my own petulant choices and blind hopes. I may only now pray for both of our souls.

Where will The Geek's quest for booze and blood lead him? Find out now through May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller
The Cannibal King

Tags: , ,

add a drop
From the memoirs of Terrance Rhodes, "radical" education activist best known for establishing schools for African American children in the states of Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas as far back as the 1920's…

There are days when I fear my project may never truly succeed. It seems for every school that manages to find roots, there are half a dozen more which shrivel and die (or, let us be honest, are burned to the ground). Little, Missouri obviously hasn't been the first place where my project has seen opposition, but I daresay I shan't forget the events which have surrounded the founding of this particular schoolhouse.

The community initially responded as I've become accustomed: education is something for which only the White mind has a predilection, goes the reasoning, and thus nothing but 'uppity notions' are to be gained by trying to educate young Negroes. As before, however, some brave parents and children saw fit to give me a try. I set up a half-dozen homemade desks in the abandoned church near the edge of the forest (I've grown to be quite the carpenter after all this time, it seems).

My small handful of students were timid, at first, but soon took to my curriculum with abandon. So much so that I had even begun to make inquiries to find a permanent teacher to take over the classes when I moved on to the next town. I was on my way back from a meeting with one such prospect when I happened upon one of my students, young Master Brandon, being accosted by a small pack of agitated White men his own age. I would rather prefer not to transcribe the specifics of their taunts other than to make clear they were none too happy with the notion of Brandon or any of his contemporaries rising above their current stations in life.

I was about to intercede myself when another student, Jacob, arrived from the other direction.

"You better watch out," he told them. "You keep picking on Negroes, and the Cannibal King's gonna hunt you down," he said. The small mob seemed to chitter amongst itself a moment before one of them managed to ask just who this mystery King might be.

Without missing a beat, my young pupil launched into a tale spawned from the fear and mystery the locals clearly have of those with roots in the so-called Darkest Continent. From its deepest jungles, he explained, comes the immortal Cannibal King. Draped in the pelt of a leopard slain with his bare hands, the skull of the first child he murdered hangs at his belt, and his own flesh has fallen away from his face as the price of the dark powers with which he holds congress.



The Professor attempts a rendering based on his pupil's description...


Woe betide those who threaten his descendents, Jacob warned, for the Cannibal King guards them against all threats. Once he has marked you, there is no escape. There is only the hunt, and your vicious, painful death, and then the Cannibal King feasts upon your flesh, sucking your bones dry.

"His years in the jungle taught him to hide in any shadow," Jacob finished, "to stalk like a panther or a lion, and you won't see or hear him until he's already leaping out at you when you're alone, and then he won't stop 'til he runs you to ground."

The White children expressed their doubts, but did suddenly find themselves remembering that they needed to run home. I would normally have expected such a story would only work the once, and soon enough the boys would regain their hate-filled courage and begin the taunting again.

But the next morning, Little was atwitter with a gossip of dread. It seems each of the boys who had taunted young Brandon and Jacob had awoken to discover a small skull hung before his window. The local mortician confirmed the skulls to be human, but the cemeteries were entirely undisturbed, so no one could quite explain the origin of the skulls.

When I discovered that I must improvise my lesson on the human skeletal system due to the loss of some physical learning aides, well, the local White populace had made it quite clear that I had nothing to teach them. Who was I, with my uppity notions, to argue?

A quiet foreboding seemed to take the town after that, as the Negro citizens of Little suddenly found themselves, if not accepted, at the very least given a respectable space within which to conduct their lives: to shop, work, and—of course—attend the small school at the edge of town.

Who or what is The Cannibal King? A force of nature? A protector spirit? Explore his secrets April 24 - May 5 at The Players Theatre!

Previous entries in the series:
The Fortune Teller

Tags: , ,

add a drop