Halloween Thoughts

Today, I will…

Listen to Halloween by Dave Matthews Band and A Nightmare to Remember (instrumental) by Dream Theater.

Think about the original Flatliners and how right-on-the-money spooky it was.

Try to justify waking early, in quiet darkness, with an astounding piece of writing, or altruism, or world-building innovation. (It probably won’t work, and my dreams were lousy, anyway).

Enjoy the crackle and crunch of dry leaves underfoot, coupled with the cold burn of autumn in my nose.

Recall when a gust of wind through leaf-stripped trees was powerful.

Dream about a house I’d build to look exactly like a woodsy haunted mansion, with purplish paint and crazy roof angles and twisted chimneys and vines and wicked statues. I’d put it at the end of a suburban street by the woods and host pumpkin-carving parties.

Dream about a similar house, all decked-out in Halloween imagery and decor, and make it a restaurant called Halloween. Year-round, servers in costume (nothing too scary) would serve delicious, family-friendly food with great names and nifty menus. Black cats would greet people on the front porch. Kids would each get one small souvenir. And I’d set the place just off a lonely highway heading southeast, where even the height-of-summer trees whisper to you.

Black cat's wisdom eyes via free image site

Enjoy the decorations my wife and kids have put up–even the giant spider hanging over the front door. And when we go trick-or-treating, I’ll soak it all in, absorb and revel and sigh…and forget about being an adult.


The Prince of Endless, pt. 4

Dirkennion calmly walks up the road approaching the town gate to Dillingham. The gate is manned by twin brothers from a simple watch tower and walkway over the road. Upon seeing him, one lifts his crossbow while the other holds up a hand.

“Halt, Ehara.”

Dirkennion displays empty hands. “My name is Dirkennion Singh. I was requested by your constable, Marvella.”

The two brothers whisper to each other. One descends a ladder to get Marvella. The other says, “Would you kindly wait there?”

“Fine. Would you kindly put down your crossbow?”

Soon, Marvella approaches and a twin opens the gate for her. “Greetings,” she says, sizing him up. “You…you are…Dirkennion?”

“I am. Your letter spoke of an urgent matter.”

“You got here quickly.”

He looks back down the road he’s traveled. “I am accustomed to fast travel.”

She comes closer, tentatively.

“I do not bite,” he says.

She clears her throat. “I, uh, my apologies. I have never encountered your…kind before.”

“Ehara often have that effect. The urgent matter?”

“Yes, um, sorry. I have bad news.”

Human skull (fake) sitting among greenery



Dirkennion and Marvella are carefully walking down the old dock toward the body. The fog has thinned out. Dirkennion steps slowly with his boots on the most-supported parts. Marvella notes this. The dock creaks beneath them.

“How, may I ask, is your kin involved here?”

“Unknown,” Dirkennion says, coming to the corpse. “Behrattia.” He kneels and examines the body with care, but shows little emotion.

“He said, ‘They took the Prince of Endless.’ Do you know what…?”

Dirkennion stands up, focused. “Endless. Endruskenlessinia? The prince is but a boy, perhaps ten years of age.”

“A little boy?”

Dirkennion approaches the boat, looking it over. “This is a merchant vessel. It came from the east. The nearest port to here is Morondava.”

“Between here and Endless, right?”

“Correct.” Dirkennion glances at her. “Ehara do not meddle in small affairs. If you will permit a few moments of privacy, I will then be underway.”

“To find your cousin’s killers?”

“His path has ended. I go to rescue the prince.”

Marvella grows intrigued and excited by this. “Do–do you need help?”


She glances back toward the town. “Would you accept help?”

He looks at her. “You are a town constable.”

She shrugs. “Ibix will be upset, but he can handle local pickpockets for a few days.”

“If you are are offering, then you will need a horse. And supplies.”


to be continued…





A Conversation With Christopher Walken

Sometimes, it’s healthy to simply let your zany side off the leash. Let him/her speak, howl, whatever. As it were, this “conversation” formed as I waited in the car outside my kids’ martial arts practice. If there was some hidden or higher inspiration for such a moment, I wouldn’t know where to begin looking.


“What if I told you,” Christopher Walken says, dropping into the passenger seat, “that that Kind bar is the last thing you’re ever going to eat?”

“What?” I stammer.

Christopher Walken is in my car. I know it’s him because I’ve seen him a hundred times on the screen. Those eyes and that slightly testy smile with a voice that lets you know, at any second, for any random reason, he might deliver amazing bodily violence–via a henchman, of course. He’s sitting in my car.

I look down at my machine-pressed stick of nuts, chocolate and caramellish glue.

“What would you say?”

“How-how did you get in here?”

“Spare me the trifling details of that, Mister Edison. My aeroplane broke apart leaving Vancouver. Meryl Streep faxed over a fill-in request. I fell out of God’s ass when he evacuated last night’s green curry. A little too hot for the Big Guy.” He leans closer. “Does it matter?” he whispers in that sinister Christopher Walken whisper.

“Well, yeah, it kinda–”

Does it? Really? I’m trying to pass on a little two-bit wisdom, and you’re sitting there like a landlocked frog trying to divine the ins and outs of metaphysics. What’s important to you, Mister Edison?”

“I don’t know,” I mutter. It feels like a confession. “I don’t know, sometimes…”

“Ah, now we’re gettin’ somewhere. You’re spending too much time worrying about cyclones of moss chunks and how the new houses are thirteen right angles with goofy paint choices and Kansan-farm-ancient wood. Rubbish, all of it!”


“My spooge is more impressive, for Christ’s sake!”

Legendary film actor Christopher Walken and his famous glower.

“You’re saying…I’m trying to impress people?”

He leans closer. “You’re failing to impress people. How’s that for a little dose of reality?”

“Great. Even my daydreams are aligned against me.”

“Hey,” he barks with an icy-eyes stare. “No babies here. Don’t be a baby.”

“Y-yes, Sir!”

“That’s better.” He seems to soften when I slump against my window, suddenly tired. “Look,” he says. “If you continue on this path, your destiny is to get backed-over by Granny driving her gold Caddy at two-inches-an-hour. Whump-crunch-crunch. It’s not gonna feel good.”

“How do I change?”

His expression becomes a smug smile. “I like to help people, Mister Edison. That’s who I am. Right now, I’m gonna help you. Ya ready for it?”

“Ready,” I lie.

“Get off your ass! Do something. You wanna help people in Ghana get clean water, then step up, put your hat in the ring. You wanna employ people? Then start your website business, get this circus moving down the road. Just do it!”

“Okay. Okay!”

“And don’t you waste another scintilla of time worrying about how you could’ve done this better, or not shanked that opportunity. You’re too old, now, to die young. Ya understand me?”

“Yes, Sir!”

“All right,” he says. “Time’s a-wastin’. Tick-tock.”

“You’re right.”

“Novelist,” he says, with a smirk towards the darkening city. “Kids these days.”


The Prince of Endless, pt. 3

In Dillingham, a walled village a mile uphill from the boat dock, Marvella and Ibix enter the constable shack. A messenger is waiting for them, holding two sheets of parchment. Ibix, the boss, takes the parchment from the messenger, who calmly ducks out.

Ibix reads the first message while removing his sword belt. “Miss Tammy’s half-blind cat is stuck up the oak tree. Again.”

“Prepare the trumpets,” Marvella says.

Ibix hangs his sword belt with other weapons behind the simple desk. “And we have a pickpocket operating near the Black Dragon pub.”

“Probably the Simmons kid,” Marvella says. “I’ll go.”

At the door, she pauses. “What of this Prince of Endless business?”

“Endless is a hundred miles away. It’s not our affair.”

“Do you think they know?”

“If what that dying Ehara said is true, that must’ve happened last night. They certainly know.”

“And what of this Dirkennion fellow?”

Ibix, feeling tested, says, “Marvella, we can’t get involved. Later today, I’ll take some pubbies down to bury the Ehara. Okay? Now, go save that goddamned cat before Miss Tammy’s heart gives out!”

Marvella lifts her hands, conceding defeat.

Outside, she pauses, looking at pink flowers near the footpath. With a wry grin, she moves on.

A lone pink azalea bloom in October


Later, far uphill, Marvella comes to a stand set in a clearing. The wooden stand has a large, peculiar horn set on one post. Two brothers are playing catch near the stand. With a bare finger, Marvella’s touching a fresh claw mark on her cheek. In her hand, she holds muffins wrapped in a large, clean leaf.

A boy says, “Constable.” They both come over.

“Young squires,” she says. “I am in need of a griffin. Do you know of anyone brave enough to call for a loyal messenger, perhaps to be rewarded with a treat?”

The boys eye the muffins in her hand. “Aye, Ma’am. We can do it.”

“Very well.”



High above, soaring calmly below the Aviarinelle river, is a griffin. The creature turns its head at a shrill whistle, which is coming from Dillingham. It sounds a second time, and the griffin turns into a swooping descent.



In Greenhump, Dirkennion is helping to mend a fence. The workers pause when a griffin announces itself with a bark. It calmly lands in the field beside them. Dirkennion looks at it and says, “Misha, would you please see if the butcher has anything for our visitor?”

The man named Misha runs off. Dirkennion approaches the creature with calm movements. Attached to its front right leg is a leather thong with a rolled-up parchment. Dirkennion gently goes to the thong, unties the note and takes it. Misha returns with a chunk of meat, and sets it on the fence post while Dirkennion reads. The griffin barks and eats the meat.

“An urgent matter in Dillingham,” Dirkennion says.


to be continued…