according to Simon (part iii)

“What happened to your face?” Jacob asked as I met him at the Cyrene’s inn.

“I was attacked by one of Herod’s thugs,” I said. “They’re onto us. So watch who you talk to.”

“You didn’t tell him anything did you?”

“I told him I was a friend of Joseph’s. After that, he left me alone.”

“Shit,” Jacob said and rubbed his face. “Well good news is I met with Ananias and his wife Sapphira. Remember them?”

“The one’s from Rome?”

“Yeah. They sold some of their property in Judea. They gave the money to John to distribute to the widows outside of the city walls. It’s finally happening Simon!”

“Don’t let it get to your head!” I told him. “You still need to lie low.”

Just then a big burly fellow with six other men busted through the door. “Χαιρετίσματα Jacob,” the booming voice said.

“Hello Stephanos.”

“You’re Stephanos?!” I exclaimed.

Stephanos looked over to me and back over to Jacob. “Who’s dis?” the man asked in his Greek accent.

“Relax, he’s Simon,” Jacob replied. “He was a good friend of Yeshua’s.”

Stephanos looked me up and down. “I heard you were arrested,” he said to me.

“No, it must have been another Simon,” I replied. “I’m from Bethsaida.”

Stephanos was confused. He looked back to Jacob. “I was told that Ananias gave you money. Our women and children are starving too-“

“Now Stephanos,” Jacob interrupted, “I know where you’re going with this. But Ananias was very clear: he wanted us to use this money to help the widows of Jerusalem.”

“Because we’re Greeks we’re not as important as the Hebrews?”

“I didn’t say that. Please listen to me. I’m only respecting Ananias’ wishes.”

Stephanos was furious. “We’ve been in the streets for days while you Hebrews have been coward up in your homes! Do you support us or not?!”

“Of course I support you!” Jacob yelled then took a deep breath. “I get how you feel, Stephanos, I really do. But you gotta understand our situation. Herod and Pilate aren’t too concerned with the Greeks right now. But they are after us. We can’t be out in the streets and we don’t have the money to spread around to everyone. I’m sorry. But Ananias is a very successful man from Rome and a diaspora Jew just like yourself. If you go to him and explain your situation, he can probably provide you with some assistance.”

Stephanos stood silent for a moment then muttered something in Greek. He walked up to Jacob. “μη με σταυρώνεις,” he said. Then him and his six men left the room.

“You should’ve stayed away from him Jacob,” I said.

“I know.”

“And Stephanos is a convert. To Ananias, he’s still a Gentile. He’s not giving him the money.”

Jacob began rubbing his temples. “I need a drink,” he said.

We went down to the tavern where Levi was scribbling something down. “What are you doing?” Jacob asked him.

“The Greeks wanted something to tell the people back in the Decapolis. Something about Yeshua.”

I looked over the writing. He didn’t write much but it was all in Greek. I couldn’t understand a word of it. Jacob was puzzled. “Where did you learn to write Greek?”

“In school, here in Jerusalem” Levi replied, “I had to learn it along with Hebrew.”

“Maybe we should drop the subject of Greeks for the time being,” I said.

We sat silently drinking our wine for a few minutes. There was a commotion on the streets. Andrew came running up. “They’re about to stone some of the Greeks!” he screamed.

Jacob and Levi instantly got up. “Aren’t you coming along?” Jacob asked me. Against my better judgment, I put down the wine cup and followed them.

A few blocks away, a crowd was gathering. Some were shouting. Others gawked out of morbid curiosity. Moments later, Temple guards began dragging out seven Greeks. One of them was Stephanos.

Behind them followed a few members of the Sanhedrin, including Joseph. Standing beside him was Ananias.

“Thief! Thief!” Ananias shouted. “These men conspired with Yeshua to rob the Temple and overthrow the Romans!”

My heart began to sink. This was a setup.

The guards threw the Greeks in front of Herod’s black-cloaked mercenaries who had their spears ready. Meanwhile, the Roman guards stood back smiling at the whole affair.

A judge from the Sanhedrin stood among the crowd and faced the accused. “Conspiracy, sedition, robbery of Ananias,” the judge said, “are these accusations true?”

It didn’t matter what Stephanos said. And he knew it. From his knees, he laughed and looked at the crowd. “You stiff-necked people,” he said, “your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—”

“God help you,” the judge said.

With those words, the mercenaries plunged their spears into the bellies of the Greeks. A pool of blood formed in the middle of the crowd.

Levi screamed in horror and ran away.

But the crowd was just getting warmed up. They picked up stones or any disposable object and began hurling them towards Stephanos. He got bruised and battered and knocked in the head a few times but kept crawling forward.

Among the mercenaries, I recognized a familiar face: The scars….the scabs…the wiry frame. It was him alright. It was the man that attacked me a few days earlier.

And Stephanos kept crawling towards this man as the stones were raining down on him. When he reached his feet, Stephanos grabbed the man’s cloak and got to his knees.

I was too far away to hear anything, but Stephanos was clearly saying something to this man. Judging by his face, the figure was stunned by what was being said. But before the figure could react, a member of the crowd smashed a rock into Stephanos’ skull.

The man in the black cloak stood back with blood and brain matter splattered all over his face. He was in a daze.

Before the crowd could mutilate the bodies, Joseph stepped in to quiet them. That’s enough!” he yelled. “The perpetrators of the Passover sedition have been caught and punished! This matter is closed! Please return to your homes!” As the crowds dispersed, the Temple guards started dragging the bodies outside of the city walls.

Jacob and I returned to the inn in silence. We didn’t know what to make of what just happened. “Do we leave Jerusalem?” Jacob asked.

“Why?” I replied. “It looks like Joseph and Ananias took care of our problem.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead (part vii)

“Just be warned,” Joe said to me, “Hell ain’t what you think it is.”

“How so?”

“You just have to see.”

Joe, Pete, and I gathered our divinely blessed weapons and proceeded to the cellar in the woods. Joe went into the portal first, then Pete. I hesitantly went in last.

I felt my body break down into its molecular and atomic parts while time and space melted down. Then reality reconstructed itself and the three of us were in a large theater.

On stage was a nude couple: one an elderly woman and the other an average-looking dude with an abnormally large dong. A horse was also on stage. It was a community theater production of Equus.

“Ah shit. Now I know what you mean,” I said.

We rushed out of the theater, side by side, weapons on ready. We were men on a mission, a mission to find…and kill…Jezebel. And more importantly, we had to stop the dead from invading the earthly realm.

Outside the theater, we hailed a cab. The driver stopped and we all piled into the back. “Does anyone want to sit up here with me?” the driver asked. “Son of a bitch,” I said then got in the front seat.

“Where to?” the cabbie asked. “Downtown” Joe replied.

The cab driver then blasted Jon and Vangelis from the radio and was humming along. I turned to the backseat.

“Hell seems more boring and mildly irritating,” I said, “much like Minneapolis.”

“Yeah, but imagine spending spending eternity here,” Joe replied.

He had a point.

The cap pulled up to a downtown bank. We all piled out of the car. “Are you sure that the Empress of Hell and all of Damnation is here?” I asked.

“Of course, with their ungodly interest rates, there’s nowhere else she could be!” Joe said.

So the three of us…a wizard, an idiot, and a guy with a shotgun…walked into the bank lobby. We went up to a loan officer.

“We’re here to see Jezebel,” I tell the man.

“Do you have an appointment?” he asks.

I cocked the shotgun and blasted a hole in his chest. “She’ll be with you shortly,” the loan officer replied.

Security guards rushed into the lobby and began firing indiscriminately. Pete became an absolute beast and started slicing away with his machete. Joe unleashed fire bolts from his staff. I unloaded shell after shell from my shotgun.

As we looked over the absolute slaughter of security guards, with blood and guts strewn about the lobby, Joe nodded his head. “I think our plan is working out pretty good,” he said.

“I’m out of shells,” I said and dropped the shotgun. Then I pulled out the .38 and kissed it. “But I still got six shots.”

We all went into the elevator and Joe hit the button for the 666th floor. “Holy shit!” I said. “How many floors are in this building?”

32 minutes later, we arrived. Jezebel was in a conference call with all of her minions. She was planning the final stages of her Hellish invasion of earth.

“What took you so long?” she asked.

“Your slow ass elevator,” Pete said.

“You think your earthly powers can stop me?”

I lifted the .38. “Nothing can stop these bullets sister.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead 💀 (part v)

“I don’t know Sheila,” I said, “you’ve faked demonic possessions before.”

“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.

Nothin

“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”

“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”

“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”

“You will join him soon enough!”

“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”

I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.

I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.

Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.

I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.

“Thank you Jesus,” I said.

“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”

I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”

“119 to be precise.”

Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.

“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.

“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”

“He’s still alive dumbass.”

“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”

“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”

“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”

“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”

Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.

“Mother!” Pete screamed.

“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.

I took a moment to gather myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead (part iv)

I quietly hoped that Pete lived a lonely, miserable life. He never mentioned anything about a spouse. His mother was barely cognizant of his existence. Honestly, he seemed to be a stupid sack of shit and nobody would have missed him.

But I didn’t want anyone reporting his disappearance. What would I have told the police? That he was sucked into some black hole in the middle of the woods?

I had to find Pete. And finding Pete probably led to solving the mystery of Joe Morris’ death.

Actually, I could have walked away from this entire thing and no one would have been the wiser. But I knew the spirits were listening in. I had to get to the bottom of this thing before they got to me.

I picked up the spirit box. “Listen here, damn you,” I said, “I know you can hear me. I want some answers! Where’s Pete? Who’s Jezebel?!”

The spirit box began scanning through the channels before spitting out “suck.my.penis.”

That’s it, I thought. I reloaded the .38 and went back to the Morris Estate.

It was 12:30am. I pounded on Dorthy’s door. “Is it the milk man?” I heard her ask. “Come in!”

I opened the door and there was Dorthy playing Trivial Pursuit alone. “Damn it Dorthy!” I said, “I need answers! Who’s Jezebel?!”

“Jezebel? She’s been dead for 20 years.”

“Records say she died in 1951. Stop jackin me around!” I pulled out the .38. I meant business.

The candles around the aged mansion began to flicker. Random objects started to move: books flipped open, mirrors were rattling, the record player was blasting Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’. Dorthy meanwhile went into a trance. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she backed up into the shadows.

I turned on the spirit box. “Alright Jezebel! I know you’re on to me,” I said. “Talk to me! Let’s settle this thing!”

Suddenly the doors flew open. A woman floated into the room. Her eyes were as dark as night.

I lifted the .38.

But it was Sheila.

“Sheila, you’re drunk,” I said. “Go home!”

“I am not Sheila,” the demonic voice said. “I am Jezebel!”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies for the dead (part iii?)

“Sorry babe,” I said to Sheila. “I got the whiskey dick.”

“It’s alright, I’m used to it,” she replied. “Maybe you shouldn’t drink before sex.”

“I wouldn’t know. Never tried it.”

Sheila climbed out of bed and got dressed. As she put her shirt on, she noticed the crap on the floor. “What’s this stuff?” she asked.

“Don’t touch it,” I said, “that’s a spirit box and a Ouija board. You might awaken a demon from hell. Trust me, that’s one can of worms you can’t close.”

“What are you doing with that?”

“It’s some case that I’m scamming *ahem* I mean helping some old lady solve.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“Oh yeah, totally.” I looked over to the clock and noticed it was 7:30pm. “Speaking of, gotta get to work.” I got out of bed and threw my pants on. “You can stay here for the night,” I told Sheila, “but remember: DO NOT touch that damn Ouija board.”

I was running late. I had to meet Pete at the Morris estate where he was going to shed some light on Jezebel’s identity.

I arrived 45 minutes later. It was nearly pitch black. I grabbed my flask and flashlight and got to work. “This better be worth my time,” I told Pete.

“I told you that you’re not gonna need that .38,” he said.

“You let me be the judge of that.”

We began venturing into the woods. There was allegedly a cellar back behind the mansion that contained the remains of Jezebel. “I’ve been told all my life that this is an old Indian burial ground,” Pete said.

“Why didn’t you tell me that before I pissed on that hedge?” I asked.

“There it is,” he said. I shinned my flashlight in that direction. The cellar was only a few yards ahead.

“How far down is it?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I never been down there.”

I lit up a cigarette. “You go first,” I said.

Pete gathered up his courage and proceeded towards the cellar. He took a deep breath before going down the stairs. The cellar was deep. Too deep for my liking.

I put one hand on the .38.

Finally we reached the bottom. We were standing in a wide, musty corridor with multiple chambers. “What the hell was this place used for?” I asked Pete.

“Supposedly this was a torture chamber for runaway soldiers during the Civil War. Many slaves lost their lives down here.”

“Pete, I’m beginning to think that your family deserves to be cursed.”

“What’s this?” Pete asked. I shined the flashlight over to an old fire pit littered with ash and bones.

Then the cellar door slammed close.

I pulled out the 38. “Stay calm,” I said.

“I told you there’s something strange going on here!”

“Shut up Pete.”

“I can’t die down here! The Celtics are in the playoffs!”

“Pete, so help me god, if you don’t shut up I’ll shoot you myself!”

Suddenly my flashlight went out. Then something grabbed Pete. “Damn you Brad Stevens!!!!!!!” he screamed before disappearing into the dark.

I started firing indiscriminately into the shadows.

“Pete!” I screamed out.

There was only silence.

The flashlight kicked back on and I shined it all around the corridor. Pete was nowhere to be found. “Fuck this,” I said as I sprinted back up the stairs and to the car.

I floored the Geo Metro back to the apartment. I rushed in through the door and began frantically looking for the Ouija board. “Damn it Sheila!” I yelled. “What did you do with the Ouija board?”

Sheila stumbled out of the kitchen with a glass of wine. “The planchette began moving around,” she said as she slurred her words. “It started spelling out ‘You’re next’, ‘Hail Satan’, and ‘I heart ass’ I didn’t know what that meant so I threw it into the fireplace.”

“Sheila,” I said, “I might’ve opened a portal to hell.”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies 4 the dead (part II)

I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed.

I had a hunch that it was the repo man coming to take the Geo Metro. I pulled out my .38 and shouted into the dark. “I have your filthy money!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”

Out of the shadows, I heard a thick Boston accent: “Are you Mista Cahson?” it asked.

“What’s it to ya PAL?!”

The figure stepped forth slowly from the shadows. He was tossing a baseball into the air.

“I’m Mista Pete Morris,” the figure said. “I’m son of Dorthy Morris, your client. I understand that you’ve been taking my mutha’s money.”

“She’s been giving it to me in larger amounts than I’ve been asking. That’s hardly stealing,” I replied.

“Hey ohhh, buddy! I ain’t said nuthin about stealing.”

“Then you better make your point. I have a .38 aiming between your eyeballs.”

Pete straightened up his jacket and began stammering nervously. “All I’m asking is that you let me in on the cut,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “I work better alone. Besides, fuck the Red Sox.”

“I’m tellin ya,” Pete said, “there’s somethin goin on with Dorthy.”

“Yeah, it’s called dementia.”

“No. There’s something else goin on up there at that estate. Something that can’t be explained, not of this world. Some things just can’t be stopped by bullets, ya know?”

Pete then tossed the baseball again and I shot it out of the air.

“I haven’t found one yet,” I said.

“Look, I have all the answers you’re looking for,” Pete continued. “The death of Joe Morris is deeper than you think.”

I put the gun back into my holster. “Buddy,” I said, “if you’re trying to grift your rich elderly mother out of her money, you’re gonna have to find another angle.”

As I turned around to finish my walk home, Pete spoke up again. “I know about Jezebel,” he said.

“So do I pal,” I said as I continued walking, “she was Dorthy’s sister who died of pneumonia a year before Joe’s death. She was 20 years old.”

“That’s not the whole story,” Pete replied, “in fact, she wasn’t Dorthy’s sister.”

I stopped, turned around, and pulled out a cigarette. “Alright bucko,” I said, “now you’ve got my attention.”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies for the dead )part I)

Yeah yeah, I know that my detective stories are unpopular and always peter out before I finish them. But I’ve never written a story with supernatural/horror elements in it, and a detective mystery is my only way in.

Will this story work?

Lol, I never promise that.

So let’s see how this goes…

****

So I was doing a seance during the middle of the night in a cemetery when a security guard approached me.

“The hell are you doing?” he asked.

“Conjuring the dead. What does it look like?”

“Well hurry up. Gates close in an hour.”

So I cranked up the spirit box and pulled out the Ouija board. I asked the spirit box, “is a Joe Morris present?”

The box scanned through the channels before saying “Beelzebub”. Oh shit, I thought. I probably just cursed myself.

“No no no,” I replied. “JOE Morris.”

The box continued to scan but I was receiving no answers. The Ouija board was no help either. It kept spelling out “anal sex” and “go fuck yourself”. This was getting me nowhere.

I packed everything up and took out my flashlight. Next to Joe Morris’ tombstone was the name “Jezebel Morris”.

Dorthy Morris neglected to tell me that name.

Joe was Dorthy’s father. He was allegedly poisoning in 1952. The autopsy, however, was inconclusive. Dorthy’s been wanting this case solved her entire life. Now, in her twilight years, she lived a reclusive life on her family’s estate while her brain slowly demented away.

In my opinion, Joe died by natural causes. You know how men lived in those days. But I hadn’t had a case in months.

Was it wrong of me to take this elderly lady’s money? Yes.

I immediately left the cemetery and stopped at the Voodoo shop. I had to do something to spurn any demonic curses, ya know? Afterwards I drove to Dorthy’s estate.

I pounded on the door. She was hard of hearing.

“Is that you Lyle?” she asked

“No ma’am. It’s Ty Carson, private detective,” I replied.

I opened the door and found Dorthy with a blanket covering her lap in front of the fireplace. She was playing checkers.

“Who are you playing checkers with?” I asked.

“I’m not playing checkers.”

I quickly moved on to the business at hand. “I did what you asked,” I said. “I went to the cemetery to talk to Joe. I found out that the dead aren’t too keen on talking.”

“But I talked to Joe this morning,” she replied.

I ignored that comment.

“Who’s Jezebel?” I asked.

Dorthy gave me a puzzled look. “Jez has been dead for years,” she said.

“I know. Who was she?”

“No. I can’t betray Joe like that.”

“But she might be key to understanding Joe’s death.”

“No. That matter is closed.”

I shrugged. I figured that I could just go through public records in the morning. As I began to leave, I turned around.

“Oh, by the way,” I said, “the spirit box and Ouija board came to about $150. That will be charged to your account.”

“$5,000 you said?” Dorthy asked as she pulled out her checkbook.

“Yes.”

TO BE CONTINUED

what dreams may come

I’m a hard sleeper.

Nothing can, nothing will, wake me up. Construction, gun shots, home invasions, house fires, nuclear holocausts…nothing.

So I get to have incredible dreams. Last night, for example, I dreamt that I was a football player buried deep down the depth chart. The team boarded a plane en route to a game with the pilot both coked up and drunk. The pilot thought it would be cool to do a barrel roll in a passenger plane which caused some concern. I brushed it off and took a nap. When I awoke, the plane had to make an emergency landing onto a road but ended up crashing into an apartment building. No one was killed,miraculously, and the people in the building didn’t think anything unusual about it because it was in Mississippi and apparently things like that happen all the time. Nevertheless, one player thought this was the perfect opportunity to exact revenge…for whatever reasons…on the head coach and a few other players. So it was up to me, some nobody, to save the team.

Once when that was done, I had to book a flight home but chose to fly to London, England instead. The price came to $20,000 and I didn’t have the money. Then the dream ended.

There were dreams on the periphery, one which includes me fighting a rabbit in Monument Valley and sending it to a highly mechanized version of hell.

I guess dreams are just a hodgepodge of shit stored in our heads and when we sleep, our brains randomly throw things together which we later attempt to make sense of (or in my case, project a story onto). Does it ever mean anything? Probably not.

At least not most of the time.

But I do have recurring dreams. Not dreams where the exact same things happen, but they share similar themes, people, places, etc. I suppose that there are shreds of truth in these kinds of dreams: a revelation of regret, dread, loss, and so on.

I find the subject of dreams fascinating. It reveals the chaos that exists in our own minds. Even the purest of people will experience a gruesome nightmare. Despite their outward practices in real life, even in their minds they will produce true horror. That emanates completely from them. We try to project some sense onto our dreams, but the fact is that there isn’t any whatsoever.

We do the same thing to our reality.

😎Midsommar 😎

I like to talk about movies that people usually know but have somewhat forgotten about.

That being said, Midsommar is relatively recent and probably still discussed.

Oh well 🤷‍♂️

I’m not really a horror fan, so I haven’t seen Hereditary, Ari Aster’s other film. But Midsommar caught my attention because someone mentioned that it was a horror film that lacked any of the tropes found in such movies.

People aren’t as big of a fan of Midsommar as they are of Hereditary. Was Hereditary really that good?

Many have said that the subtext of this movie is dissolution of the relationship between the two leads. If that was the case, then I hardly noticed (or cared). For me, what was terrifying about the movie was how it kinda reminded me of Salo: Or the 120 Days of Sodom, albeit far more emotionally engaging. In fact, if Midsommer is a “horror” film, then Salo is as well.

But Aster uses the “horror” elements wisely. Much of the film is actually pleasant to look at: pleasant locations, pleasant faces. Naturally, this pleasantness is used to lower your guard.

Except for one dream sequence, all of the horror takes place during the day. The most noted example is the suicide scene with the two elderly people. If you watch a lot of movies, you’ve definitely seen gorier shit, but this one hits different. It’s a beautiful scene juxtaposed against two old people getting their faces smashed in. Additionally, for the two groups present for this ritual, one finds the scene beautiful while the other is utterly horrified.

And it happens relatively late in the film, long after you get adapted to the tone. Usually horror films do something like that early, just to tell the audience what it’s capable of.

Many have discussed why this movie is terrifying, and none of it works as an explanation for me. The most common is “it’s an American perspective on a foreign culture and how we find them terrifying “ blah blah blah. That never once occurred to me. What I found terrifying is the passiveness of the characters and the bullshit myths that the cult had to justify itself.

And the film does call bullshit on it (some guy argued that the film has a neutral take on the cult, which is partly why some find it scary. But that’s definitely not true).

Case in point is in the euthanasia scene, after the old man jumps off the cliff, breaks his leg, and lays there in pain. After the scene, the male lead tries to justify it by saying something like the “community might find our methods of elderly care barbaric”, but that old man met a truly barbaric end (his face later gets smashed in). I’d take a nursing home any day of the week.

The other example is at the end when the temple gets set on fire. Two members of the cult volunteer for the burning and are given a drug so that they won’t feel the pain of burning. However, one guy watches his friend, the last image he’ll ever see, scream in horror as he burns alive! All the drugs and nonsense clearly did him no good.

So to me, this film was kinda a commentary on the cult mindset and how people can be persuaded to do unusual things in the name of nonsense (and a lot of drugs). OR how people use these rituals to mask truly horrific things. That explains Florence Pugh’s smile at the end: she was an emotionally unbalanced person that’s suddenly found her place.

To me, the most terrifying thing was the brief moment when the male lead opens his eyes and sees a smiling face telling him that he is drugged, can’t move, can’t talk, and that’s that. Bye!

But what this film also does effectively is give you a solid sense of geography. You get used to the nice setting and that’s when bad things start happening. It plays out like a dream that suddenly turns into a helpless nightmare. Just as in a dream, the actors don’t know what’s going on but they play along nonetheless.

Ideology works the same way.

Masking the Horror

My buddy Randy got really drunk and started watching 9/11 videos.

“Never forget”, he told me.

“How could I?” I replied. “A bunch of people got trapped above the site of impact on the Twin Towers and either suffocated or leaped to their deaths. Can’t think of a worse way to go, ya know? Having to chose between choking on fumes or falling hundreds of feet to your gruesome death.”

But Randy forgot. And that’s kinda the point behind the “Never Forget” sloganing and the virtue signaling behind saying it, right?

The unfortunate thing about honoring and mythologizing tragedies is that it helps mask over the absolute horror behind such events. This is true for not just 9/11, but pick any war. I’m sure that soldier was really concerned about getting a posthumous bronze star after getting his legs blown off and bayoneted.

Sure, I can say that this due to some conspiracy from the government to feed us propaganda and keep their war machine fueled, which is true. But the fact is that it is much easier to focus on the mythos, revenge fantasies, and conspiracies regarding tragedy rather than on the tragedy itself.

To do so means recognizing that death is ever present. It can strike with no warning, no rhyme or reason. The universe itself is completely indifferent to our condition. In fact, it seemingly despises us. So love today, laugh when you can, because it can all be gone in an instant.

Anyways, started taking viagra today. They caused me to pass out in the Walmart bathroom, but at least they gave me a boner. Just can’t go back to Walmart anymore. 😩