Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saints, Angels, Fairies, Ghosts and More Mermaids

Hey, everybody! I hope you’ve been having a great week.

I also hope you enjoyed my story that I posted in two parts between the last couple of entries. If you didn’t, drop me a comment why so I can crank out some stories you will enjoy. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can do so by going to these two links:;

A lot of events are coming up in the speculative culture, at least here on this side of California, good old NorCal. The World Science Fiction Con, a. k. a. Renovation, in Reno, Nevada, is next week, Wednesday the 17th through Sunday the 21st of August. I’m not sure if I myself will be able to attend, but if I do it will only be for a day or two and if that’s the case I’ll try to have a brief recap in my column at I’ll keep you updated.

I attended a talk sponsored by the Joseph Campbell Foundation this afternoon at Luna’s Café in midtown Sacramento. It was given by humanities/religious studies professor, Maria Jaoudi of CSU, Sacramento (my alma mater) and was on the mystic St. Hildegarde of Bingen. It was a really interesting presentation accompanied by colourful photos of the medieval art that was inspired by the German mystic’s visions. For many of you, such art may be mere depictions of a person’s high imagination due to life long health problems, but to some of us believers they’re results of divine inspiration. But whatever our beliefs are, these depictions are this for sure: works of extraordinary vision, a kind of vision all us artists, writers, film makers and such convey in our own ways. It doesn’t matter whether such visions make reference to real things or not; what matters is how they effect our audiences and whether they even effect them at all and make them see life in such a way that they would not otherwise see. That is what great art of any kind--whether a painting, a novel or short story, a song, a film or even a video game—does, is make us see life in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t and make us want to live life to the fullest. And if you’re a fantasist like me you’ll know that saints, angels, fairies, wizards, and ghosts have a lot more in common than an exclusively religious person of today would think. They are all beings of mythology in one way or another, regardless of whether any of them exist or not, and they are all associated with the mysterious and therefore the supernatural--that which is beyond the mundane. Whether such a force exists or not is up to you. However, this I will say does exist: the power of art.

After the presentation, when I was up at the counter paying for my peppermint and apple cinnamon iced tea, I discovered a Sacramento science fiction author’s novel sitting on a rack there. The title is Red Storm, and the author is actually the café owner’s brother, Frank Luna. The story takes place on a colonized Mars and seems really interesting and I would like to read it myself after I finish the bulk of my sci fi/fantasy reading that I’m presently working on. Anyway, the author is scheduled for a book signing at Luna’s Café in September. I’ll have more details for you when it gets closer to the date, probably through a link to an article I plan to do on the event.

Well, I need to get on to other things on this Saturday evening. But I want to leave you with some photos of Sacramento’s first annual Mermaid Parade that occurred last month and which you can read about in an earlier entry of mine here. You’ll find the photos below.

Until next time . . .

A mermaid in her throne being pushed by a pirate with a jelley fish to the side.

I guess you can call her Ariel, "The Little Mermaid"!

La Sirena ('The Mermaid')

A squidman and a mermaid . . .

and a merman.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Upcoming Online Horror Con, and Part II of "The Bazaar"

Warning: Contains material that some readers may consider offensive and/or objectionable.

Hey, everybody!

I told you I would have Part Two to my short story that I posted for you the last time and so I do! I hope you're enjoying it. If you missed that one, you can read it here.

If you want to read more of my short fiction I may be posting some in a blog at's very first online horror con which will occur in November. I'll try to update you on this con as much as possible, but you can also go to yourself for updates if you'd like. And while you're at it, you may as well read some of the interesting blog entries by other bloggers there who have a lot of neat things to say about the dark genres of literature, film, television, music and in some cases even video games! Speaking about video games, there are also a few music videos there. Many of these are of music genres such as dark alternative rock, goth metal, and even some horror themed electronica. Check them out!

It's way past the witching hour, so I must leave you now so I'm not up all night again like I have been too many Saturday nights/early Sunday mornings; I don't want to turn into a vampire. By no means anything against the living dead, I just need my ugly sleep. Ha, ha!

Take (s)care!

The Bazaar
by Steven Rose, Jr.

Part II (The Conclusion)

The woman said, “Well if you’re interested in the time and want it, you’ll have to buy it, like anything else.” Then she pointed to one among hundreds of watches laying on the scarlet velvet inside the glass case and said, “For a small fee I can give you this watch that–“

Suddenly Monte burst out, “Oh, damn it! Son of a bitch! Does this store have to make jokes anytime a customer asks a simple non-retail question around here?” He swung his cart back around towards the direction he felt sure he had been walking in before he stopped in the watch and clocks department. As he was doing this, he noticed the hand clock hanging in the very center of the stand-alone wall of the service counter: the clock’s front consisted entirely of a photographic image of Narcissus Wallace’s face. The face seemed to gaze and grin at Monte mockingly. In fact, all the clocks and watches seemed to watch Monte make a scene. Suddenly, he noticed that all the hand clocks up on the wall, including the one of Wallace, were each pointing both hands towards the direction Monte was shoving his over-piled cart in: the three o’clock position. This time he could no longer stand it. His dick was growing and hardening to get that mirror home to his girlfriend, who he knew must have been getting pissed off by now for having to wait so long. Maybe the gloves and mirror would cheer her up, even though she was not a materialist when it came to reconciling.

Half holding his breath in to control his tension, he calmly asked a nearby customer, “Do you know what time it is?”

The fellow customer, a 60-something man, said, ”Oh I’m sorry. My watch stopped several hours ago.”

Monte exclaimed desperately, “How many hours ago?” He thought if the man told him, Monte could figure out how long he had been in the store. But the old man said, “I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s been dead since fifteen after three.” He held up his wrist to show his watch to Monte; both hands pointed to the three, the exact direction Monte was headed in. Monte was stunned. All clocks and watches were suddenly reading fifteen after three!

At first he pushed his loot forward, passively. Then the anger of feeling that the store was doing him an injustice because “nobody” had the time blazed up in him. He did not know specifically why, but he wanted to smash all the clocks, especially the one with Mr. Wallace’s face. It was as though every clock in the store was denying him the correct time. He shoved his loot onward. He ran his cart through racks and display shelves both out of anger as well as determination not to lose direction to the store entrances. Customers and employees were flashing their heads towards him, commenting to each other with shocked looks. An Anglo-looking security guard ran towards him raising his voice saying, “All right, sir! Just what the hell is the problem here?”

Monte said, “What the hell is the problem here’ is that what ya’ wanna know? I’ll tell ya’ what the hell is the problem! The problem is this whole fucking store!” He glanced around indicating the entire store. “I ask the simplest of questions, the fucking way out, and there’s not one damn clock or person here that can tell me what time it is or the way out!”

The guard said, “Sir, if you keep up this attitude, I will show you the way out.”

Monte said sarcastically, “Good! Because it’ll be about time somebody does!”

Suddenly Monte was interrupted by a girl’s voice, crying, “Monte! What’s

Even though the voice contained shock in its tone, it was very soothing because of its familiarity. Monte turned in the direction of the girl’s voice: standing there among the spectating customers with a cart that was nearly loaded to the top, was Grace. Monte immediately ran over to her and jumped into her arms, wrapping his own around her waste, burying his face in her breasts, exclaiming, “Oh, Grace! I thought you–“ No, that would be stupid, he thought in restraint. It would be stupid to tell her that he thought she had left him; he used to think that his mom had left him whenever he had gotten lost in a store when he was little. Tears were starting to rise up in his eyes but he blinked them back. He was always taught never to cry around girls, that it would make him look weak. It was enough that he was twenty-one years old yet four inches shorter than his own girlfriend who was younger than him by two years.

Grace exclaimed, “Monte, what’s wrong? What happened?”

As soon as the tears rolled back, he lifted his head toward her smooth brown face and whispered, “I’m sorry, Grace. But, I almost forgot our date tonight. I thought you had given up on me. I thought you left . . .” Realizing that he was about to make the same mistake again, that he was about to say, “I thought you left me,” he revised, “I thought you left my house.”
Grace covered her gasping mouth with both hands. Then she confessed, “I was never at your house, Monte! I forgot we even had a date. I’ve been shopping here since . . .” she paused, looking up at an angle as though she were struggling to recall what time she had come into the store. Then she said, “I’ve been here nearly all day.”

The security guard asked her, “Is this your boyfriend, ma’m?”

She flashed her head toward the security guard, her mouth open and eyes wide with disbelief, and said, “It’s not like him. He’s normally not this way. He’s . . . had a hard week.” She lied for Monte. The week had actually went by well for him because that was the week she had returned from her trip back east. She had been gone for two whole weeks. For Monte, it had been two whole weeks without Grace, which had caused him to begin doubting his sexuality again. Even though throughout the week he had known he would have to wait until that night for her to stay over, since she only stayed at his house on the weekends, the week had looked bright to him. It had looked bright to him until after he had been compulsively shopping in Wallace’s Bazaar for the last several hours. However, things were brightening up again. He was so delighted that she could lie for him, which doing so was an act that went against her spiritual beliefs.

Grace offered to pay for the damage that Monte had done from knocking over the merchandise. So the security guard decided to let the situation go. Then after the guard walked away, and the crowds of spectators broke up and returned to their shopping, Grace said to Monte, “I can’t believe you! You knocked down all that stuff just because you realized you had forgotten our date?”

Monte explained, nervously, “Look, Grace, I don’t know why, but this store is built very strange. I’ve been looking for one of the entrances so I can leave the store, so I could go home and meet you. I didn’t want you to think I didn’t care about you anymore. But I can’t even find the ends of the store!”

Grace assured, “It never even occurred to me that you no longer cared about me, Monte. As I just said, I forgot about going out myself, because I’ve been here all day.”

“But I never would have thought that you would be here.”

“Normally I wouldn’t, but I needed some detergent and their prices are so good here that I decided to get it here. Then I saw how good of deals they had on their bath items, their shampoo, soap, and such, I thought I’d load up on them.”

“I understand that now. What I don’t understand is how it’s nearly impossible to find the way out! Do you know how damn big this place is?”

Grace assured, “Baby, you’re just not used to shopping in stores this big; you usually go to the mall. Wallace’s is the biggest mega store in the world so far, so it can be a little overwhelming for some people. I tell you what, since we both forgot about our date, why don’t we just stay here and look around some more, and call this a date. There’s still some things I want to look for; you can help me pick some stuff out.”

He said, “That’s fine, but let’s try not to take too long, because look what I got for us to put on the ceiling in the bedroom,” and he lifted out of the cart the body size mirror to show Grace. “Straight from the Classical Greek era,” he exaggerated. Grace was overjoyed with the mirror. Without hesitation, she agreed to speed things up.

Although Grace’s cart loaded up to the top, it did not overflow like Monte’s had. It also did not take her long to find everything else she was looking for compared to when Monte had been shopping. She very seldom shopped at chain stores and so there was very little that she wanted at Wallace’s Bazaar, considering the store’s size. Monte, however, was too ready to keep piling more treasures in his cart. But Grace would not let him. She said to him, while grabbing a plastic, classical style mermaid out of his arms that attracted his attention in the home and garden department, “I thought we were going to make love under the new mirror?”

“You think I want the mermaid to make love under the mirror tonight instead of you?” Monte sassed.

Grace dropped the mermaid back into the school of its replicated and therefore identical sisters. Then she said, “I think you want the mermaid like you want anything else too much. You’re going to overspend your credit accounts again, Monte. I don’t want you to go into dept like you did the last time. We didn’t do anything, not even talk to each other for weeks!” Monte had come up with excuses of why they could not see each other during that time he had went into dept. He had been trying to hide the fact about his poor financial responsibility until he could pay off his debts. However, Grace cared too much about him to trust the excuses; so she had ended up doing exactly what he had not wanted her to do: she paid off the debts. Now she already paid off another set of debts that came from the damage that Monte caused earlier. However, it was a set of debts caused by his frustration from not being able to get home to Grace. Therefore not only was too much of his compulsive consumerism leaking out from him, but perhaps even his sexual insecurity too. Suddenly, he noticed the satyrs on the mirror frame. They seemed to gaze at him, as though saying with their lustful smiles, “Don’t forget about our mirror!”

So he decisively agreed with Grace’s point. “OK, let’s go pay for your stuff so we can get out of here.” She smiled gently, and intertwined her slim arm around his over-weight one and they walked off to find a register.


After she paid for her stuff at the nearest register, she and Monte headed toward, what the cashier had indicated to them was, the nearest entrance. Which they were not able to find. After they futilely asked several clerks and fellow customers about how to get to it, Grace said to Monte, irritably, “I can’t believe how obsessed the people are about selling or buying products here. You ask even another customer a non-consumer question and they rush a very vague answer to you that’s hardly an answer.”

Monte said, “I told you, Grace, I’ve been getting responses like that all day. The management wants you to shop forever here to make sure they fill their damn vault. Nothing you buy here is enough for the store.” Monte suddenly realized with shock that that same fact went for him, the consumer.


They soon happened to stroll their carts into the bed and mattress section. Their eyes were specifically attracted to a lush red and pink quilt covered queen-size bed, the quilt looking like it was made of the softest, smoothest material. The pillows bulged with tenderness. The bed was in a display scene that simulated a master bedroom. The scene was decorated with several erotic items on the stand-alone walls, the book shelves, and lamp tables. Light from the lamps, one on each side of the bed, glowed through scarlet dome shaped shades. The lamps were two of the many erotic items since each lamp consisted of an erect, feminine, porcelain leg wearing a black high heel. On one of the stand-alone walls hung a red, neon lamp made to resemble feminine lips. On another wall hung a photorealistic painting of a hard, muscled, masculine torso. Miniature, nude statues stood in different places on the book shelves.

Grace exclaimed in an erotic whisper, “Look at this bed,” rushing over to the display. She began, stroking her left hand across the bed’s comforter.

Monte said, trance-like, “You don’t have to tell me,” staring at not the bed but Grace stroking it. He felt himself lying on the display bed and Grace’s hand stroking his smooth brown chest like it did when they would go to bed together on the weekends. But even this sensual fantasy was not enough. So he examined the price tag: $695, including mattress, bed sheets and comforter! This was far more reasonable than any bed he had seen at any furniture store! With a sly smile, he suggested to Grace, “Why don’t we go two ways on the bed–“

Grace cut him off, raising her voice, “Monte, you don’t have enough in your accounts and neither do I. We can get along fine on either of our own beds.”

Monte explained, “We’ll use what we got and take out loans to pay the credit. It costs enough to where the bank will give us a loan. We’re both working, we can pay it back.”

Grace said, “It’s not that easy, Monte. The banks are going to come asking us to pay them back before we can even make any of this,” she pointed at the price tag. “You should know that; you work at a bank.” She paused for several seconds glancing at the mirror in Monte’s cart. A slight worried expression formed on her face. She looked back at the bed again saying, passionately, “It is beautiful though. So beautiful I would not even be able to wait until after purchasing it to lie down on.” Her voice had lowered back to a whisper. She stroked her smooth, Mediterranean brown hand over the cover again.

To Monte, Grace sounded like she could not wait to get the mirror home to his house; there was no anticipating how soon they would find an entrance. So he also stroked his hand over the cover until his and Grace’s met and intertwined like two spiders mating. Soon their bodies pressed together and their lips touched and sucked at each other. Even though Monte’s feet were sore from the extensive walking, the rest of his body was fired up. And so was Grace’s. The two lovers dropped themselves onto the bed, continuing to suck at each other’s lips until Monte noticed himself and Grace in the mirror that peeked halfway out of the cart. He remembered what he bought the mirror for besides just for its classical frame. Monte walked quickly over to the cart and heaved out the body-size mirror. He leaned it against the side of the cart that faced the bed, since he had no way that was in close enough reach for him to nail it onto the ceiling above. For now, he thought, this will be good enough. His sex organs could not wait. Apparently neither could Grace’s. She looked at him impatiently as he set up the mirror and walked quickly back to the bed where she lay. They could not remember where they were, as they unbuttoned and unzipped, and pulled off each other’s clothes, including the under garments. They did not slip under the sheets; they wanted to see as well as feel everything. And so they did.

The classical figures, all of them, in the mirror’s frame stared back at the love makers, lustfully watching the show. And so did Narcissus Wallace, grinning widely and lecherously from a portrait up on the wall of the bedroom display. And so did the two lovemaking figures in the mirror.

Monte no longer had any memory of his sexual insecurity.


As though waking up from a dream, Monte suddenly heard the authoritative voice shout, “OK, that’s it! No mercy this time you two; getch’or clothes on and come with us quietly!” Monte could not remember where he was at until he looked up from Grace and saw the Anglo security guard they encountered earlier. This time, there were two other guards and three cops with him. One of the cops spoke something into his radio which statically garbled back an authoritative voice. Also standing nearby were another crowd of spectators, most of them with wide stunned eyes--except for a few teenagers, low-lifes and counterculturalists who were either busting up with wicked laughter or howling cheers at the two spontaneous porno performers.

The two lovers reluctantly obeyed. After they dressed, they immediately felt the cold metal hand-cuffs clicking around their wrists, and the shoving of heavy calloused hands from in back. The spectators, customers and clerks alike, followed the legal procession while one of the cops read the two lovers’ rights. It did not take the two lovers long to arrive at the set of glass doors that lead out into the now black night. Monte noticed another photo portrait of Narcissus Wallace on the wall between two sets of the outer doors of the entryway. The founder seemed to grin slyly at the two arrested spontaneous porn stars. If Monte’s hands were free he would have definitely smash that copy of the portrait. However, as the two young people were steadily pushed out into the night air, Monte noticed items dropping out of a man’s overloaded cart. The man picked them up and then tried holding them under his arm while he pushed his cart, his cheeks puffing up, entire face growing red, and brows knitting an expression of distress. Monte realized that he was looking at another reflection of himself. He no longer felt a need to smash any of the store founder’s portraits. He raised his voice above the noise of rolling carts and passing traffic, saying, “I finally found what I was really looking for here, Grace.”

Grace raised her voice back, “What was that?”

“The way out.”