Twisted Pulp Magazine Issue 001

You can finally breathe! The maiden voyage of Twisted Pulp Magazine has finally set sail! In this first issue, we do what we do best, collect articles, stories, comics, and art that focus on dark, mysterious, noir, and satirical content. You say, “That’s a tall order for one magazine” and we say… “yes, it is, but we’re doing it anyway. This issue features stories from Lothar Tuppan, Chauncey Haworth, Kara Kittrick, Mark Slade, and more as well as irreverent articles, comics, and featured artist Lissanne Lake.


  1. Editorial: The Maiden Voyage
  2. A Post-Apocalyptic, Twisted Pulp Interview with Donald J. Trump… and Donald J. Trump.
  3. The Truth From Dubba Daddly (The World’s Biggest Liar)
  4. Willy Wonka Part 1
  5. “Oi, It Burns!” the Stupid That Burned the building to the ground
  6. The Camino Real
  7. Pan-dana 10 Steps To Cure Coron-er Virus
  8. The Fantastic Worlds Of Lissanne Lake
  9. Vampires of the West Coast Introduction: November 2019
  10. Vampires of the West Coast: Chapter 1
  11. Vampires of the West Coast Vignette: September 2007
  12. Rat and Miriam
Grumpy Chauncey

Editorial: The Maiden Voyage

I have a terrible habit of investing myself in things that I either don’t have time for or that hold no chance of making me rich. Every once in awhile, when the stars perfectly align, I find a project that fulfills both criteria.

I remember when newspapers died, most people had their eyes on the future, but not me. I thought, “Hey, now would be a great time to start a newspaper” and for some reason that died : (

I remember when they said radio was dead, most people looked to the internet, but not me. I thought, “Hey, I should start a radio show!” Luckily, that one has worked out a bit better.

While this may seem like a sob story or some sort of self-mutilation or depreciation, it is not. What it is, is a love story. A love for all things forgotten and rejected.

Growing up in the punk scene I used to like to think of myself as a nonconformist. As I got older, I realized that I was neither a punk nor a nonconformist… I’m an anticonformist.

If the world thinks it’s dumb, I think it’s worth taking a look at. If the world finds it obsolete, I find it necessary for a truly happy life.

There is something about kitsch, something about camp. These words convey poor, cheap, and lame to other people. To me, they convey doing the best people can with the tools at their disposal. Great art wasn’t made in graphic design shops by professionals, it was made on the streets by struggling artists on the street like Jean-Michel Basquiat. Great stories weren’t written in the publishing houses they are printed from, they are written by striving writers writing for thirty minutes before having to put another dime in the paid typewriter.

So where is the struggle today? In the world’s richest country, in a world of computers and convenience, where is that struggle?

It’s in finding the time, of which I have little, but I chose to spend it here. I hope you find our struggle worth it.

A Post-Apocalyptic Twisted Pulp Interview with Donald J Trump and Donald J Trump

A Post-Apocalyptic, Twisted Pulp Interview with Donald J. Trump… and Donald J. Trump.

By Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket

Hello, not-so-dear readers! This is Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket, in my underground bunker, hiding from the destruction of the world that occurred when all the nuclear and social unrest style shit hit the fan, splattered all over everyone in liquid form (filled with maggots), entered our noses, ears, mouths, and… well you get the idea. I am now, breaking out of my radio imprisonment and finally moving into a more respected medium for communication: Journalism! The only downside is you can’t hear my laughter that I will now have to type out like a rabid tapir! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  But the upside is that my assistant Tiffany won’t be able to interrupt!  Or attempt to kill me within these pages… Wait while I double-check the lock on the door. Ah ha! Secure!!!!

Twisted Pulp is not quite the bastion of rigorous ethics and methodology that I once experienced in academia but then, what is these days? And, of course, that was before I lost my tenure due to the chinchilla / hooker / psychologist / drug dealer hybridization experiments. Narrow-minded idiots! Who doesn’t want a soft and furry, sexually available, person who will listen to all of your narcissistic ramblings while giving you drugs I ask you? Hmm!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Now, where was I? Damn… 

Ah, Journalism! Yes! The respected 4th Estate that will keep the world from… oh… they didn’t do such a good job now did they? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Well, we will do better here dear Readers! Here, at Twisted Pulp, we will expose the truth behind Fish-Worship! We will track the wild SPAM beasts! We will distill the fermented fluids from the pineal glands of wasteland-wandering partisan politicians to create the most potent hallucinogenic substances in existence! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And today, we begin with an interview! An interview with someone… well, two someones… both claiming to be President Donald J. Trump!

Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket (MVR): President Trump and… President Trump, with so many people dead, as either carbon shadows or chemical goo, when all of civilization screwed the pooch it is amazing that you survived… and that there are now two of you—

Donald J. Trump I (Trump I): (interrupting)… Not really… Not really Mary.  May I call you Mary?  And why aren’t you a woman?  When I agreed to this interview it was because I thought you were a young, sexy, German lady.

Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket (MVR): No. I’m a man. My father named me Mary.

Donald J Trump II (Trump II): So, you’re not a transsexual?

Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket (MVR): No!!!! Haven’t you ever heard “A Boy Named Sue?”

Trump I: Of course. The Man in Black was a great American.

MVR: We can definitely agree on that! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Trump II: We think you’re a very strange man.

Trump to Trump

MVR: You. Have. No. Idea!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Anyway! So, you were explaining how you survived World War III and why there are two Donald J. Trumps.

Trump I: Yes. You see, not only do I have Dragon Energy, I have a mixture of Planarian and Cockroach Blood. I injected that mixture, and bleach, into my veins on a regular basis for years before the apocalypse that was caused by Rosie O’Donnell reenacting her role as “Sheila” from Exit to Eden.

MVR: I’m going to have nightmares now that you have mentioned that! (Yelling off microphone) TIFFANY! Make sure I have lots of melatonin for tonight! And bourbon!

Trump II: Yes. Rosie O’Donnell caused the end of the world as we know it and she is the reason there are two of me.

MVR: Do tell.

Trump I: Well, after I was reelected, with a huge landslide in both popular and electoral votes—

MVR: I don’t remember that ever happening.

Trump II: That’s because of the fallout. It’s been affecting people’s memories and their ability to digest processed cheese products.

MVR: That… actually… that explains more than a few Velveeta incidents I’ve had. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Trump I: I’m going to call you “Moronic Mary” from now on. M’kay?

[Edited note:  Tiffany here readers… I like what Donny called him. I’m editing this piece now and the idiot formerly known as Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket will now be called “Moron” in the transcript below! Yay!!!!]


Trump II: And, I am both somebody and nobody… because nobody’s perfect.  And I am hugely perfect.

Moron: I… That hurt my brain. Please continue with your story.

Trump I: As I was saying, after my landslide reelection, O’Donnell became even more unhinged than she had been previously. She dressed up as an extremely obese dominatrix, kidnapped me with the help of 1,000 boxing kangaroos, and held me captive. With ransom demands.

Moron: What was she demanding?

Trump II: She wanted me to dress up as Baby Huey and say, “I’m Sorry” while being sprayed with orange paint by Joy Behar. I of course refused. I don’t negotiate with terrorists. Or horrible, harpies.

Moron: That sounds… insane! Even by my standards! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Trump I: That woman is completely batshit crazy, yes she is.

Trump to Trump

Trump II: But it was during this time that the world didn’t have my leadership… and that’s what caused everything to break down.

Trump I: That’s right! If I had been there we would still be living in the best of all possible, and AMERICAN, worlds.

Moron: Fascinating! But, how did this end with you being, well… two?

Trump II: She finally snapped. After days of trying to break my spirit (and let me tell you, better people than her have tried… like all of my ex-wives), she took a chainsaw and sliced me right down the middle.

Moron: How did you react to her brandishing such a weapon. I’m pretty sure I would soil my labcoat. And I might have already done that earlier. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Trump I: That explains the smell. No, I just looked the horrible, horrible, woman in the eye and said, “Bring it on! I’m the Duke of New York! A-Number-One! The Big Man!”

Trump II: And that’s when I became aware… right after she cut him in half.

Trump I: We quickly healed up and took her down.

Moron: This is, frankly, unbelievable.

Trump II:  That’s because you are a moron. Mary. Not a very nice man.

Moron: Tiffany! I can hear you laughing! Stop it!

Trump I: We split into two and became even more awesome than we were when we were one.

Trump II: And now I can refer to myself as the “Royal We” without looking weird.

Moron: I wonder what it would be like to have two of… ME!

Trump I: Well, I can tell you about one major benefit.

Moron: Please!

Trump II: Back when I was in college, I was playing a Yoga drinking game.

Moron: A what?

Trump I: It’s like Twister but it’s good for your health and your soul. Anyway, my friend Randy Roy convinced me to try sticking both of my thumbs up my ass at the same time.

Moron: Eeep!

Trump II: Which I did.  Because I’m absolutely excellent.

Trump I: But it was hard. I wasn’t able to spend time enjoying it as much as I would have liked.

Moron: I can only imagine (and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to NOT imagine this now).

Trump II: Now, we can do this for each other. As much as we want.

Trump I: We have added it to our MAGA platform: “Make Ass-Play Great Again.”

Moron: I…. I think that is all we have time for this issue. Thank you President Trumps for the exclusive interview. And, if I don’t succumb to drinking industrial strength cleaner-degreaser from the visions this interview has conjured up, I’ll back next issue for more hard-hitting, rigorous JOURNALISM as only Dr. Mary Von Rocksprocket [MORON] can bring you!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Trump to Trump
The Truth from Dubba Daddly

The Truth From Dubba Daddly (The World’s Biggest Liar)

You know, a lot of people don’t believe me when I say, “I was there.”

A few weeks ago, I just happened to go into a lounge-type bar, just to kill time while I was staying in a hotel in Oklahoma. The place was completely empty except the bartender, a fortyish woman with pink hair and silver sideburns. I swear she was wearing a wig. One guy in a suit was slumped over at the bar nursing a tropical zombie.

You just won’t believe who was sitting there!

Adolf Hitler.

I swear on my mother’s grave. He was sitting there moaning and groaning about the state of the world today. How no one seems to like each other and can’t see each other’s side.

He said, “Why can’t we just love each other?”

Oh you say he’s been dead all these years and if he was alive, how can I understand German? Well, I just can. I can’t speak it. Like a lot of languages, I just understand human language. I asked him how he’s still alive. 

He said, “The government has been giving me Clorox treatments to keep me alive.”

I said, “Come on, Adolf. The U.S. Government is keeping you alive? For what?”

He said, “Advice on world affairs. Alas,” he sighed, drank his Tropical Zombie. “I’m at a loss anymore.”

I said, “So, what are you doing in Oklahoma?”

“Oh, I’m here for the Trump Rally.”

Dubba Daddly
Dubba Daddly
Willy Wonka Part 1 by Rob Lowe (Not that Rob Lowe)

Willy Wonka Part 1

By Rob Lowe (Not that Rob Lowe)

We currently are living in the #speakout movement and many stories have come out about many celebrities. There are some stories unfortunately that will go unnoticed. Some stories that will get pushed aside. I recently talked with someone who has tried to speak out about his story but nobody will listen. His name is Larry Furgenstien. Larry was born with dwarfism and was teased about it his whole life. He ran away at the young age of thirteen where he found other people with dwarfism. They formed a mini colony under an overpass off of I-95 in South Carolina. They were doing well for themselves until one day a limo pulled up. Out of the limo steps a man in plaid colorful pants, a purple jacket, a yellow top hat, and crazy hair. His name. Was Willy Wonka. Yes Willy Wonka—the same man who has graced us with candy for generations. This is part 1 of my interview.

Larry told me, “He (Wonka) came up to us and smiled and said he wanted to help us. And that if we came with him that he would provide us with shelter and food. So, of course, we went with him! We were tired of living under that damn overpass! We thought this guy might look crazy but hey its a place to live.” Willy Wonka took all thirty of the little people to his factory as they looked out the windows in awe. Larry said, “We couldn’t believe it! On the car ride over he was telling us that he works at his own factory and makes his own candy by hand. We didn’t quite believe him at first until we got to the gates and saw his name on the building.” At that point the limo stopped behind the factory and that is when all hell broke loose.

“The limo just kept driving around to the back of the factory. My buddy Ron at the time piped up and asked, ‘why aren’t we going through the front?’ Wonka just let out a little giggle as we pulled around back where about ten of these guys in suits and sunglasses were standing. At that point I knew we were in trouble.” Larry began to cry as he told this part of the story. He told me that the door opened as Wonka instructed all of them to remain seated. He saw Wonka go up to one of the men who was wearing regular glasses and not sunglasses. He whispered something to him and walked away into the factory. The men then surrounded the car and the man with the glasses ordered them all to get out of the vehicle. Larry went on to say, “Of course, we refused because we knew something was up. Then he reached into the car and grabbed my buddy Ron by the legs and yanked him out. We all started screaming and the car door was slammed shut. The driver locked up the doors and opened the sun roof as a can of sleep gas was tossed in. We all panicked but the roof was shut already. I looked out the window and all ten of those men were beating the shit out of Ron. I haven’t seen him since.”

After that bit Larry needed a small break. He was crying hysterically about losing his friend. He told me that they used to play Care Bears together. Join me next time as we dive deeper into the story that is Larry Furgenstien.

Oi, It Burns

“Oi, It Burns!” the Stupid That Burned the building to the ground

By Phillip Lester Seymour Bangs Hoffman

British Rock band Deep Purple is known for hard driving drums, loud droning, melodic keyboards, heavy basslines, and loud, screeching guitars and vocals. But I bet you didn’t know the true story behind their classic “Smoke on the Water”, did you?

At this point, Deep Purple had one U.S. top 40 hit, a cover of Joe South’s “Hush.” They languished slightly, went through a lineup change replacing vocalists Rod Evans with Ian Gillian and Nick Semper with Roger Glover. They tried a musical change by combining hard rock with symphonic music, but it didn’t click. They shifted to what they are more known for today, basically (along with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin) as Godfathers of Heavy Metal. 

After recording In Rock, Deep Purple was in financial dire straits. Overworked, with little to show for it.

And who came to their rescue?

You wouldn’t believe it.

Jerry Lewis.

Yes. That Jerry Lewis. The comedian who made it big in the late ’40s as a duo with Dean Martin and made a huge impact on the French (even to the point wanting to appoint Lewis as their President without holding elections) with a string of hit films such as the Nutty Professor. Lewis was feeling old and realized he’d lost that connection he once had with anyone under 12 and decided to embark on a tour as a psychedelic crooner.

But he needed a backing band. 

“A groovy band, sweetheart,” as he told one female journalist he convinced to sit on his lap, in 1970.

How that came to be was Lewis shared the same manager as Deep Purple, legendary confidence man, Chips De-oink.

This was just another less smart decision on the band’s part for trusting manager De-oink.

 Twenty minutes into the first concert in Swindon, U.K., Lewis had a tendency to delve into shtick, such as placing drumsticks up his nose and getting stuck, or getting into a fist fight with guitarist Richie Blackmore for telling the audience his surname was a reference to Blackmore’s family being slaves in Barbados. 

The band quit the tour that night.

Two days later, Lewis called. Saying, “I need youse help. A guy from Californ-i-a, called and said we go to Montreux. Two hundred thousand dollars, men. Come on, lil’ babies. Uncle Jerry needs your help for one more show.”

They agreed—but only if Lewis would not do his drumstick in the nose shtick or refer to Blackmore as the “Slave boy who can really play the Ukulele.”

They really shouldn’t have agreed.

One source claims, Lewis, once again, showed his ass to the band. Picking a fight with who he called “that pol-lock Frank Zapper guy who talks weird” Another source says, while at the casino trying to impress a Swiss girl too young to spell her name in the casino, Zappa walked in and proclaimed, “Some little Jewish guy leaked oil all the way from the entrance.” Pushing and shoving ensued. A fight broke out between both celebs’ entourage, while Zappa and Lewis crawled away to hide separately.

To get even, Lewis decided he would disrupt Zappa’s concert. He stole what he thought was a BB gun from the Casino security. 

In actuality, it was a flare gun.

Lewis fired and the flare zoomed by Zappa’s face, catching a beam on fire. The flames rippled through the roof. Zappa coolly called out to the audience, saying, “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but… we’re all going to die! Fire!!!!!”

Panic. Tramplings. Screams. 

Some members of the audience remember hearing a man scream, “Oi! It burns!” as he ran out of the building, climbing over people like a spider monkey from hell.

There you have it. The truth behind one of rock’s greatest anthems:  “But some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground.”

Deep Purple made out all right from this disastrous concert. Frank Zappa got a really cool story to chastise interviewers with. And Mr. Lewis? Well, he still hosted the MDS Telethon for decades. But Zappa got his revenge by secretly financing Lewis’ career ending film “Hardly Working.”

Camino Real by Lothar Tuppan

The Camino Real

by Lothar J. Tuppan

She had been walking ceaselessly on the Camino Real, the day stretching past the road under her feet. The sky was a clear, bright, blue that promised to cover her for as long as she walked. Sounds came and went as she focused on different groups of scrub brush and rocks. She was tired but in a distracted sort of way. Her chest, right above her left breast ached. She stared at her Doc Martins as she walked down the cobblestones connecting the Spanish Missions of California. Rhythmically the cobblestones asked her who she was, and where she was going. She didn’t know.

“Where does this road lead?” she asked, matching the rhythm. “What cities lie ahead?”

“None,” answered the stones. “Only the Missions lie on this road.”

She rubbed at the pain in her chest. It felt like there was something inside of her, something hard and hot. A small sob escaped her lips but she looked down at her feet, and kept walking.

When she next looked up, she saw a Mission in the closing distance. The sounds of the wilderness stopped as she stepped through the gate of the outer wall. The sun shone down upon the courtyard from an interminable mid-day point. The shadows were small and weak, barely daring to step beyond their roots. She turned to the left and entered the main building.

The door led to a hallway, which led to more doors, leading to rooms. Rooms filled with statues of saints and angels, madonnas and martyrs. The rooms spoke to her. In the room-of-the-bleeding-Madonna, she heard her mother, telling her not to upset her father who, having had a hard day at work, was in a surly mood. She heard her mother’s panicked voice pray to Mary, and left the room, ashamed at the disgust she felt for the woman who gave her life.

In the room of the saint-with-the-axe-in-his-head she heard her father, asking her to forgive him while trying to convince her that it was her fault anyway. She didn’t like the way the saint looked at her. She hadn’t put the axe to him, and a daughter should never feel foul when her father looks at her.

One room had a statue of Christ, looking to the sky in his crucified state, waiting for his father to deliver him. The room echoed noises of the past. Of people walking on the street around her, people ignoring the dirty runaway, alone, without a friend.

The Camino Real mission

She visited all the rooms, and calmly, albeit uncomfortably, left all of them after hearing what they had to say. There was no love here, no god of any kind. This place was not her destination. Sitting down in the hallway, she sighed. She would have to keep walking the Camino Real, and she would be even more tired when she reached whatever lie ahead.

Walking back out into the courtyard she noticed an alcove against the far wall. Within the shade of the alcove she saw a man sitting. She walked over, shading her eyes so that she could better see, and said “Hello.”

“Hello, young lady.” said the man. He wore dark clothes, smudged by the dust, a brimmed hat (for working the California fields), and a smiling masque, reminiscent of the Greek comedy masques. The toes of his bare feet wiggled as a light breeze passed through the courtyard.

“Why are you here?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “Why are you here?”

“Perhaps I was waiting for someone like you. Are you Catholic?”

“No. I don’t believe any of that.”

“Then why are you here?”  He poked a stick into the mortar of the alcove and chuckled.

She felt the glimmering of a memory, of an old black man who wrote something unseen in wet cement with a stick. He had laughed too.

“Do you know my friend Elliot?” she asked.

“We’ve met before. Do you know God?”

“I… No. No I don’t.”

“What do you know?  To what are you true?”

The hard thing in her chest burned. The pain made her double over and cry out softly, “Elliot.”  A tear landed in the dust and within the wet margins she remembered a gun, held by a sharp dressed man. She remembered the old black man beside her saying run, his voice filled with love. She remembered feeling that love and choosing to step between him and the sharp dressed man. She remembered the freedom and peace of her choice. She saw in her mind an even earlier time:  Elliot writing in wet cement, “Karen is my friend.”  She remembered dying.

The man in the alcove touched her gently.

“Do you know who you are?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”  She touched the pain in her chest.

“And do you know God?”

“Yes. If you want to call it that.”  And she pulled out the bullet, feeling the warm flow of blood over her hand and chest.

“And where do you belong?”  He said, tears running down the cheeks of his masque.

Gently, she placed the bullet in his hand, and touched the lips of his masque, painting them red.

She turned away from him and left the Mission. Back on the Camino Real, she looked south (where her previous life ended) and north (towards further Missions). She knelt down to the stones of the road and touched them softly before walking west into the shadows of the wilderness, away from the Camino Real.

“My name is Karen.”

The Camino Real Statue

Pan-dana: 10 Steps To Cure Coron-er Virus

By Dr. Hillary Chestnut

One night, my husband Chestnut gulped down the last of his Budweiser and stopped watching a video of last year’s Nascar race at Talladega and said:

“I reckon you know more about that coron-er virus than anybody I know.”

“You think so?”

“Well,” he chewed a piece of bacon that had been stuck in his back teeth for two weeks and swallowed. “I know you know more about it than that Faoul-chee feller!”

I got to thinkin’ about that one late night and I come to a-clusion that Chestnut was right. For instant, flu shit didn’t come from no damn bat in china. No siree! It came from Spider monkees  in south America. Yep. You can lookit up on Google and it’ll tell ya fact-by-fact that I’m correct. Those little buggers peel the banana rinds and wear ‘em around their necks wherever they go Poopin’. Sexin’ their partners (which is usually their mommas, kinda like my cousin Brody and his trashy family) or just playin’ golf with coconuts they find in gutters on the streets. Then those stinkin’ spider monkees wrap the bananas back up and hang ‘em back on the trees, usin’ their spit to hold the rinds together.

Yep! It’s all facts there. I Googled ‘em on the dark web.

I’ve even come up with a better name for that virus. Pan-dana!

Here’s a step by step guide on how to cure Coron-er:

Step 1: Get drunk real fast by drinkin’ Dr. Pepper (a 12 pack), Nyquil, and Bourbon. 

Step 2: Fill a light bulb full of grape Kool aid and rub it all over your body. (Hint: that was a huge turn on for my husband Chestnut. The grape Kool-Aid smell set him off!)

Step 3: Avoid any George Lopez shows. Obviously because he’s from South America and cohorts with spider monkees.

Step 4: Don’t take a crap in the bathrooms of Taco Bell. Obvious reasons.

Step 5: Shoot. I can’t remember step 5. Oh, well.

Step 6: No banana daiquiris. They ain’t real fruit, but I wouldn’t take no chances.

Step 7: Eat fresh grass. Right after the lawn is mowed is the best time.

Step 8: Take Q-tips soaked in Clorox and swab yer own nose. Yep. Not only is it a home test and you ain’t got to pay nobody, it also meets up with that killer Coron-er and eats away the germs! Tested and turns out to be true!

Step 9: Do what me and Chestnut do every Friday after he gets off work at the Ciggertte outlet. Drink a 12 pack and turn up Metallica’s Ride the Lightning. Come Saturday afternoon when you wake up, you’ll find you ain’t got the Coron-er.

Step 10: Don’t eat bananas a-tall!

There you have it. By the way, I ain’t no real Doctor, they just call me that cause I cook the best Meth this side of Sunny Hills trailer park.

Bye for now!

The Fantastic Worlds Of Lissanne Lake

Lissanne Lake

A Gallery Of From One Of Leading Cover Illustrators In Publishing

Lissanne Lake has been a full time freelance illustrator for over thirty years.  She earned her bachelor of arts in illustration at Jersey City State College, and then went to work in advertising in New York for a number of years before turning to illustration and fine arts.

Since then, she has done art for over two hundred covers, including covers for best-selling authors such as Terry Pratchett, Thomas Disch, Raymond Buckland & R.A. Lafferty. In addition, Lissanne has created numerous paintings for magazines book interiors and other products and publications.

In 2001, she published her own tarot deck jointly with Raymond Buckland, the Buckland Romani Tarot, for which she did all the art, and is working on another. Recently, she has painted 4 large murals for the cities of Jersey City and Hackensack

She lives and works at her home in North Bergen, NJ, and has always been a NJ resident.  To see more paintings, visit her Facebook page The Fantastic Art of Lissanne Lake.

The Horse Thieves
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Rat and Miriam

Story By Mark Slade Art By Amanda Turco
(Dedicated To David Drake)

Rat and Miriam

“I see those dog-faced assholes now,” Miriam screamed as he looked through the periscope and shifted into fifth gear. The tank kicked up a cloud of dust, burying the skeletal dune buggy baring down on it quickly. The desert sun was high in the sky burning, a hole in old Earth’s atmosphere. We were being chased by The State’s Imperial police and they were looking to throw Miriam and me in the underground slammer for selling black market oxygen. 

Hey, wherever there’s a buck to be made, Miriam and me will sell the nipples off a dead bitch’s tits.

“Hey Rat,” Miriam called out to me. “Those dickweeds are closing in on us!”

“Go into sixth gear and hit the hyperspeed button,” I said. I spun around in my chair, flicked on the necessary switches on the tanks motherboard. The tank wheezed and jittered. The wheels rolled over branches, bushes, a hillside, finally crushing a small house by the sea. We were ready to jump head first in the polluted waters off the coast of Maine when the tank sputtered, choked, died on the shore of rolling waves.

Rat and Miriam

“Fuck!” Miriam cried out. “If they catch us with that oxygen it’s over with!” He bawled. Being a mutated hermaphrodite must be hell with those wild mood swings. I’m a woman and my mood swings stay in check at all times. Well, mostly.

“Shut your fucking gob, Miriam!” I screamed at him. He lowered his head, sobbing quietly. “The damned override crossed the lines on the motherboard again. Remind me to give Gav a swift kick in the nuts when I see him.” Gav was our mechanic. I pay him in ten percent of the cut from the oxygen I sell to the dead on the streets who still think they are alive. The oxygen goes to their brains and they can function like the rest of us with minimal cannibalism of the living. Minimum I mean opening their own butcher chops to sell to the living. Oh the government does not want zombies to become the norm of everyday existence. They wouldn’t have a war to wage, thus the world would pay attention to other things fucked up. Such as the water supply being taxed or no regular citizens are allowed to have any transportation unless they are a part of the government beat down.

“Get out of your unauthorized vehicle, citizen!” We heard the voice of the police officer. “We will count to three before we commence artillery fallout.”

I looked at Miriam. He wiped his eyes and reached for the laser dispenser Gav converted from an AK-47. I shook my head. 

“Let’s go out there without those.” I said.

“Are you sure, Rat?” He asked, ready to break into tears at any time.

I thought about it, then nodded. “Yeah.” I said. “Something tells me the Glorious Ninth can’t take any more hits right now.”

Rat and Miriam

“AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Stupid tank! Fuck you Gav!” Miriam punched the dashboard. Several 8-track tapes of digital speeches by the former president of the world fell to the tank’s floor. It’s only fitting that a fallen leader who opposed military politics would fall. Ten years ago Henry Beasley was gunned down and the military released a virus that killed off most of the population in hopes to rebuild the world with better citizens. Instead they created a zombie apocalypse that 21st century movies used to make and crammed down our throats. I motioned for Miriam to open the tank’s lid first. He cursed me under his breath. The lid slid open and Miriam poked his head out. He saw two deputies pointing flash guns at the tank. They all look the same. Those deputies have long spiky pink hair, no shirt under their overalls. Large boils cover their bodies and they have to wear sunglasses because the sun’s rays could burn holes in their retinas. I swear the chief of police were cloning these fuckers.

“Get out now!” Deputy 1 screamed.

“Or we’ll blast you to kingdom come!” Deputy 2 screamed. 

“That’s original,” I said. “You two are a couple of cards.”

I pushed Miriam out of the way so I could pull myself out of the tank. We both lined up against the tank, our backs to them so they can frisk us. I felt hands roll across my breasts and cup my nipples. If I could find clothing less revealing I could wear in the tank other than a tank top and cargo fatigues, I would.

“Hey! Watch it buddy!” I told one of them. Deputy One giggled and snorted. He probably hadn’t had any since shore leave, unless he found a willing corpse in a ditch somewhere. Miriam seemed to enjoy the frisk as well as Deputy Two. He hovered over Miriam, breathing heavily, smiling ear to ear. Miriam wiggled his fat ass to encourage him to do more than touch. 

That’s when an idea popped in my head. 

Rat and Miriam

“You like her?” I said to Deputy Two. He grinned and nodded. “Yeah?” I smiled back. “If you let us go, she will fuck your brains out. How’s that, stud?”

The Deputies exchanged glances.

Deputy Two nodded immediately. Deputy One had his doubts.

“The Chief would have our asses for this.” He stated. “Zeppo there would be content with a piece of hairy ass and his walking papers. He can always work on his Uncle’s pig-shit farm. Me,” He jabbed his thumb into his own chest. “I got a family, see. I got four little snot-nosed grubbers, a bartender, and two fucking wives that rely on me. What do I get out of this?”

I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. I looked over at Miriam and he and Deputy Two were already tonguing each other touching places no one needed to witness. I made up my mind to fake a smile and flutter my eyelashes. “You know,” I made my voice a little more husky and whispery. “I have always wanted to fuck in the Glorious Ninth,” I pointed to the tank. 

Rat and Miriam

Deputy One’s chest heaved. He shook a bit and stepped closer to me. He laughed, showed me the one good tooth in his jar shaped head. Whatever he’d eaten before did not kill that horrible stench that rose from his rotten gums.

“Let’s make hay, baby,” Deputy One said.

Rat and Miriam

Let’s make hay? That was the best that moron could come up with? Pathetic. I smiled at him, took him by the hand. I climbed the thin ladder and watched Deputy One follow closely. I climbed down inside the tank slowly. I found a nice dark corner so I couldn’t see the nasty fucker’s tiny dick. He rushed toward me, tried to plant one on me. I turned my head and giggled

With my left hand, I found the gasmask connected to one of the tubes of oxygen. “Come here and give me that kiss,” I whispered to him. He giggled and pushed his face into mine.

I ducked to one side and placed the gasmask on his face. He jerked back slightly, mumbled something inaudible. Before he realized what was happening, I already turned the oxygen lines on. They hissed and popped. 

Rat and Miriam

I heard him struggle, began screaming. There was nothing he could do. I turned the knob all the way to ten. Deputy One was stuck to the gasmask, his lungs taking in five meters of oxygen. In mere seconds he had lost consciousness. I heard a pop. He fell in the slim sunlight that came from the open hatch of the tank. The gasmask was full of his blood.

I tossed Deputy One to the ground before I lowered myself out of the tank. I saw Deputy Two lying face down, the top of his head had been melted by his own flash gun that Miriam had in his belt.

“I see you scored too,” I said.

Miriam had a satisfied look on his peeked face. “You don’t know half the story, sister,” He smiled sheepishly.

“C’mon, you shit-picker,” I yelled at him and climbed in the dune buggy. Miriam sat in the seat behind me, found a pair of goggles. “That fucker Gav can come out here and kickstart the Glorious Ninth!”

With that we sped away in a whirlwind from the shores of Maine and headed toward Old Boston, leaving behind us two dead State Imperial Police officers and cloud of black dust.


Rat and Miriam