Twisted Pulp Magazine Issue 027

No one expected it to return, but that's what makes it so terrifying. It sneaks up under the seat when your riding the bus, in lurks on the waiting room table of your weird-ass dentist, it hides in that magazine rack you inherited from mee-maw, it sneaks up on you when your sitting on the toilet at a friends house, ITS TWISTED PULP MAGAZINE! That's right were back and we brought with us the usual suspects of miasmic malcontents and bohemian bourgeoisie to deliver the best dang pulp magazine the good lord would allow. An interview with acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author, Michael Swanwick is bound to impress ya, but add on an interview with Herman Louw of Into the Weird and The Longbox of Darkness and now I know yer motor's a running. Round that out with pinups Stylish Irish, Amber Immoral, Sugar Demise, and Lady Jane, comics and cartoons, a story from Thomas Malafarina and more, and that makes one freaking spicy meatball of a magazine.


  1. Science Fiction: The Best and the Worst of Us
  2. The Narcissist
  3. Interview with Michael Swanwick
  4. Network System
  5. Interview: Herman Louw of Into the Weird and The Longbox of Darkness
  6. Space Girl
  7. Pin-up: Amber Immoral
  8. The Librarian by Chauncey Haworth
  9. Pin-up: Sugar Demise
  10. Cosplay Corner with Amanda (Closet Cosplay)
  11. Review of Troll (2022) by Buttonface
Science Fiction The Best and the Worst of Us

Science Fiction: The Best and the Worst of Us

Editorial from Twisted Pulp Magazine Issue #27

By Chauncey Haworth

I was born in 1976, I like long walks on the beach and science-fiction that wasn’t made to be a blockbuster movie. The 1980s, where I did most of my imaginative-brain-formulation, was the cusp of the sci-fi genre, both a good and bad time for science-fiction, the slow loss of the old and the fervent explosion of the new. And, like all media since the turn of the century, we can probably blame film for the population’s view of the genre. In the 1950s and most of the 60s, science-fiction movies were still holding fast to those Space Age/Cold War Era chills and thrills, mainly directed at young people. But, by the 1970s, science-fiction films had grown up a bit and found cinematic highs like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Zardoz… okay well, maybe not Zardoz, but I still love it.

My point is that through the 1980s it was a tumultuous time for science-fiction films. Thanks to Star Wars and others, the 1980s ended up being a time that production companies were throwing money at sci-fi flicks, and not always wisely.

This very much affected all generation-xers. It taught us about diamonds in the rough and sweet thrift store deals; it very much defined the people that make this magazine. We had to learn that gems were hard to find, and that with the greatest risk comes the greatest reward. For every ten terrible movies there was one gem, hidden and dusty at the bottom. For each attempt at a movie like The Day Time Ended (1980) and Warrior of the Lost World (1983), there was that chance that you would find a The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) or Videodrome (1983).

One might be asking themselves, “Are these movies so good as to endure hours upon hours of terrible crap?” The answer is yes. Few genres have the same potential effect on people as science fiction.

Science fiction has a way of taking abstract ideas and helping us understand them. Like Arthur C. Clarke helping us to understand actual space travel better, or Robert Heinlein giving us a deeper understanding of sociology. And, while that ability of sci-fi has helped our society in many ways, science fiction has another more powerful skill, it can take the inedible and make it palatable. It can sneak in ideas about your world just by presenting those ideas in another time, by presenting a realistic idea in a seemingly unrealistic world.

1984 is a commonly cited example of ideas about the government and society. It’s now so much a part of the vernacular that the word “Orwellian” actually shows up in the dictionary, as well as every twenty minutes on whichever news channel you watch. Would these ideas be so ingrained in our society without science fiction at one point having made them palatable and relatable?

Editorial on Science Fiction

I wish there was a way for me to test this deeper. You know, ask the big questions. Questions like “Would euthanasia be a national conversation today without Soylent Green?” or “Would we fear AI without Terminator… or War Games?”. Ultimately, it is worth enduring terrible stories to find the gems. As animals we instinctively go after the food, the sex, the survival, the safety; but as humans, we just want something to entertain or inspire us in the meantime.

The Narcissist

Michael Swanwick Interview

Interview with Michael Swanwick

Michael Swanwick is a highly acclaimed American science fiction and fantasy author. With a career spanning over three decades, he has established himself as one of the leading voices in the genre. His work is known for its imaginative world-building, thought-provoking themes, and sharp wit. Swanwick has received numerous accolades for his writing, including the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the World Fantasy Award. His novels and short stories continue to be popular and relevant, appealing to fans of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. 

What was the first thing you remember reading?

My mother taught me how to read before I went to school because, based on experience with my older sister, she didn’t think the teachers were up to the task. So I started young and read voraciously.

The first works I can place in time are the Dick and Jane primers in first grade, which I despised because they were boring, badly written, and lacked any of the pleasures of real books. But I’m pretty sure I’d already read Dr. Seuss’s  And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street and If I Ran The Zoo, which I considered the absolute peak of serious literature. I may also have read The Space Ship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin and  The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron, but if I didn’t I did shortly thereafter and now I’ve told you exactly how old I am.

The first science fiction story I ever read whose author I made note of (before that, it never occurred to me that there  might be a connection between the author and the quality of the story) was “Recruiting Station” by A. A. van Vogt. Decades later, I wrote “Legions in Time,” which was in part a homage to that story, and was astonished to see it win a Hugo Award.

When did you start writing? 

One night in 1966, when I was a junior in high school, I finished my homework at 11 pm and picked up a paperback of The Fellowship of the Rings, meaning to read a chapter or two before sleep. I stayed up all night reading. I ate breakfast reading. I walked the back way to Winooski High School, book in hand, past the marsh, reading all the way. I finished the last page just as the home room bell rang.

That night changed my life forever. Before it, I intended to be a scientist because that was where all my interests lay. After… Well, here I am. I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted that experience, even though I had no say at all in where it took me.

What was the inspiration for The Iron Dragon’s Daughter and Stations of the Tide?

Two totally different stories there. The Iron Dragon’s Daughter first: I was driving from Philadelphia to Washington, PA, outside of Pittsburgh to visit Marianne’s parents, which is a 300 mile trip, and Marianne and I were talking about fantasy and about steam locomotives. I made a joke about the Baldwinn Steam Dragon Works and Marianne laughed. Then, a mile down the road, I said, “Write that down, please.”

By the time we got to Washington, I knew it was a novel and that it was about a girl who’d been stolen by the elves and forced to work in a factory building dragons. The idea was as pure as that.

For Stations of the Tide, I began with the idea of a bicentennial tide that swept over an alien planet’s Tidewater (I used to live in Tidewater Virginia and now I live on the Piedmont, just above the Tidewater, in Pennsylvania) and, because life there had evolved under those conditions, all the land life morphed into sea life when it happened. Humans, being from a different biome, had to adapt differently. That sea-change evoked not only Shakespeare but wizards. And because I had (and have) a strong interest in mysticism that happens to be true in real life, this gave me a platform to talk about things like black constellations and television and tantric sex. So it was a notion that kept on expanding and unfolding, which is to say the opposite of The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, which stayed laser-focused on premise right up to the end.

How did you feel about the adaption of your stories for Love, Death+Robots?

I really lucked out there. After decades of hearing horror stories from my peers that boiled down to “take their money and cover your eyes,” I got directors who understood the stories and wanted to tell them much as I had. Tim Miller made very few changes and they were, I blush to admit, all improvements on “Ice Age.” With “The Very Pulse of the Machine,” Emily Dean had a more difficult task because the internal stream of consciousness within the astronaut’s head, which worked in a prose story, would have driven viewers nuts. I think comparing my story with her animation would be a good exercise for any class in adaptation because she absolutely nailed it.

What story are you proudest of?

Almost all of them, because with few exceptions they’re as good as I could possibly have made them. I’m not being coy here. A haiku by Basho is, on its own terms, as good as Paradise Lost. But I particularly admire two stories which are collaborations in which the other author had no active role.

One is “The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin,” written for a Gene Wolfe festschrift. I took the opening paragraphs of “Fifth Head of Cerberus” and reversed everything. East became west, evening became morning, summer became winter, and the two brothers became sisters. I then proceeded to write a feminist Gene Wolfe story. The original was, even by Gene’s standards, extraordinary. My version served as a commentary on its delights (and would have had twice as much to say if I’d had twice the time to write it). 

When I wrote the final paragraph, I thought, “My God, this is bleak!” And then, “But I can make it bleaker.” So I wrote another paragraph and it is.

The other story is “Vergil Magus: King Without Country.” The story was submitted to Gardner Dozois at Asimov’s Science Fiction shortly after Avram Davidson’s death. It was set in the mythologized Rome of Avram’s Virgil Magus fictions and the writing was spectacular. The problem was that it read like the most brilliant man on earth maundering on about whatever came into his head—until the ending, when the story revealed itself to be as clever and carefully constructed as a Swiss watch. But at the very moment a conventional reader’s interest would be piqued… it ended.

Gardner, with the permission of Avram’s estate, handed the story to me, thinking I could extend it. I saw immediately that if I did that, everybody would know where he stopped and I took up. I couldn’t possibly out-Avram Avram.

So I broke the story into sections. I let Avram begin with his seductively beautiful prose, then introduced an action scene involving wizards and a black magician (from Africa! but not what you think) ending with a cliffhanger. Back to Avram. Then back to the pulp action of Avram’s youthful reading. I studied his original text and figured out almost all of its implications and let them lead me to places I think he would have been only slightly disapproving of. Where I needed a touch of his prose, I lightly borrowed from his non-fiction essays.

A critic who knew Avram Davidson’s work very well indeed wrote that he couldn’t tell which parts were mine. Standing in the shadows, I silently took a bow.

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on type of art you create?

I think my environment, where I lived when I was young, had a tremendous effect. Right now, living in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia, not so much, though I have set a few stories here. But Winooski, Vermont, was everything I wanted to grow up and get away from. It was a mill town whose fortunes had peaked decades before and was in a decades-long decline. It was small, it was provincial, and when you walked into Winooski Memorial Library, the librarians looked at you suspiciously, wondering what you were up to. Nothing of consequence was going to happen there. When I found my voice, I wrote of everything Winooski was not. 

With age, judgments grow less harsh. “The Bordello in Faerie” (which borders on the pornographic, so be aware!) and “Triceratops Summer” both look back on Winooski with fondness and even, yes I admit it, love. One of the novels I’m considering writing is set in Winooski.

But when I lived there, fantasy was my way of escaping what seemed an impossibly and unavoidably dreary future.

Is it easier for you to create if given an assignment or does it get in the way of your creativity?

Contrary to my experience with “The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin,” I usually cannot write to order. Janis Ian asked me to contribute to her anthology, Stars, of stories based on her songs. Because I loved Mary’s Eyes and understood it in a way that only an Irish-American could, I said yes. Alas, the story I wrote, “For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Loneliness and I’ll Not Be Back Again,” was finished two years after the anthology came out. 

I sent her a copy anyway, to let her know that I’d taken the task and the song seriously and Janis very generously opted to add  it to the audiobook of the anthology as an extra. Cool, I thought. But it gets better. Janis decided to put a song that Mary sang to music, and did, and gave me a co-credit. The words weren’t mine but a 19th century Irish clerk’s and I told her so, but it seems that ASCAP’s arcane rules are such that I now have a co-writing credit with Janis Ian.

How wonderful is that? I have a co-writing credit with Janis Ian! The writing career rewards you not with money but with joys you never could have imagined.

Where do you think the world of literature/popular culture will be like in ten years?

Slicker, glitzier, more sentimental, and more predictable. We’re creating so many tools to help new writers,  all of which encourage stories that look like everything that came before them only more so. The “hero’s journey” is the worst of them, but there are others. I know of a writer who gives prompts to Chatbot and lets it write the first draft. Fortunately, there will always be writers like Howard Waldrop and Kelly Link who go their own way and these are the writers who will create new art and new readers. Look for them,  seek them out, and be happy. A hundred years from now, the merely publishable will be forgotten.

What was the oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to do in your writing career? A specific assignment/books for a publisher?

Back when Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann and I were collaborating on stories and selling them to the slicks, we wrote a comic fantasy about a computer salesman in Faerie. Penthouse decided they wanted to buy it, but only if we would cut the story to 5,000 words.

The story was 10,000 words long.

Gardner and I got together one afternoon (Jack was safely away in upstate New York) and started cutting. We cut scenes. Then we cut paragraphs. Then we cut sentences. Then we cut phrases. Then we cut adjectives. Then we cut adverbs. Then we changed every “did not” and “could not” to “didn’t” and “couldn’t.” With each pass, the story got leaner.

Somewhere toward the end, Gardner lost the will to live. I remembering him shaking his head like some great shaggy beast, saying, “I don’t know, I don’t know… Maybe we should just…” But I was ruthless. I wanted the sale, I  wanted the money, and I didn’t like the story as much as he did.

We cut it to 5,001 words. I counted.

Our title for the story was “Golden Apples of the Sun.” Penthouse (which, remember, was the highest paying fiction market in the country), in its infinite wisdom, changed that to “Virgin Territory.”

Michael Swanwick

What projects are you working on now?

Oh, my God, everything. Like the introduction I’m working on with Ellen Kushner for the French edition of E. R. Eddison’s Mistress of Mistresses. Some is simply for the pleasure of it, like the essay I’m writing on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, an interpretation which runs contrary to all popular wisdom.

But I’m also working on several stories, including keystone works about Darger and Surplus and Ritter and Sir Toby. Also a few stand-alones, though they can wait. Mostly, I’m writing the opening chapters of three different novels to decide which one I’ll want to devote the next two years to writing. 

If all goes to plan, I’ll have a novel and two fragments which I can eventually turn into novellas.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh yeah. I’ve got a couple of books coming out this year. But neither has been announced, so I’m not free to talk about them yet.

The Iron Dragon's Daughter

Network System

Herman Louw of Into the Weird and The Longbox of Darkness

Interview: Herman Louw of Into the Weird and The Longbox of Darkness

Herman Louw is a passionate podcaster who hosts two popular shows, "Into The Weird: A Marvel Bronze Age Comic Book Podcast" and "The Longbox of Darkness - A Horror In Pop Culture Podcast". With his deep love and knowledge of comic books and horror fiction, Louw takes listeners on an entertaining journey into the madness of Marvel Comics in the Bronze Age and the shadowy corners of fiction. From trippy Doctor Strange stories to H.P. Lovecraft, Louw explores the horrors and humor in books, film, and comics.

Where are you from? What is your background?

I’m originally from Cape Town, South Africa, but I’ve been an expat living in Taipei, Taiwan since 2002. I have a background in Literature and Linguistics, and after a brief stint in the UK as a copywriter I moved to Taipei to pursue a career in academic publishing. Currently I’m an editor by day, and by night I blog and occasionally podcast about horror and the weird in comic books and pop culture. 

What inspired you to do a podcast on old magazines of the ‘70s and ‘80s,  and comic books, especially the bronze age?

My main inspiration came from the desire to be part of that particular community, the community of bronze age comic book fanatics I met in Facebook groups and Twitter circles between 2012 and 2017. Most of my old comic book friends from childhood either don’t read comics anymore or have left their bronze age fandom behind and now read more “literary” comic book fare. For decades now I’ve yearned to talk about and pick apart key issues and storylines from my formative years as a comic book reader in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, but to do so as an adult, partly to discover why these books still exert such an influence over me. The friends I made online galvanized me to create a platform through which I could finally do this, and this is where my blogs and podcasts come from. Why my obsession with the Bronze Age specifically? Well, that’s the era in which I discovered comics, so my fondest comic book memories come from the period between 1970 and 1985. Looking back, the Bronze Age was the perfect marriage of science fiction and superheroes, horror and the occult, the experimental, the underground, the taboo, the outré. It’s writers and artists even managed to bring back the horror and weirdness of the Golden Age, but transformed by psychedelic drug culture, music, new age philosophies, nascent organized fandom, and societal fears into something completely unique. For me there has never been anything to rival the Bronze Age’s explosion of rampant creativity. 

What was the first comic book you remember reading?

That is a very difficult question to answer. After nearly five decades memory becomes a tricky customer. I will say that it was probably either an Asterix or a Tintin comic album, one of my dad’s old MAD magazines, an annual of the British Beano mag for kids, or an issue of 2000AD. My first American comics came from a collection my uncle gifted me when I was 4 years old, but the first issues I pulled from that monstrous old long box are lost to the vagaries of memory.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

As a kid it was Steve Gerber, the writer of Marvel’s Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, and the Defenders, among many other great titles. After I got a bit older it was Alan Moore. As a teenager it became British sci-fi and fantasy scribe Michael Moorcock, and that hasn’t changed yet. If you’re a lover of the weird, you’ve GOT to be a disciple of Moorcock. 

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I write the occasional short story every now and then, and like most avid dreamers I have a novel or ten sitting in the back of my head. Other than that I’m more of a consumer and analyst of creative content than a creator myself. 

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on the type of art you create?

Not particularly. My creative life is lived online or in publications that not a lot of people in Asia might be expected to consume. All my interests and inspirations come from western sources. Although I am fascinated by Asian culture, it’s not something that influences the content I create, as I cater mostly for western audiences. 

What long term goals do you have?

Of course I’d like to see The Longbox of Darkness and the Into The Weird podcasts grow. At the moment I am vetting some new co-hosts for both shows, so the future is uncertain, at least until I find some new creative partners. My former co-hosts Billy and Misty have their own projects and commitments, and are unable to continue podcasting on a stable basis. But never fear, both podcasts will be back ere long. My blogs over at and are still active though, and I hope to expand the range of content over there in the coming months.

What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?

I think that, sadly, more short-form content will become the norm. The comics from my youth were wordy bastards, but nowadays everything is being tailored to suit the needs of the TikTok generation. Perhaps a new style of anthology filmmaking will debut to cater to the shorter attention spans of the impatient dopamine fiends. I know I’m sounding cynical, but that’s the way I feel at the moment. I also suspect that Superhero Box Office success will be on the wane by then. I have no inkling as to what will replace it. Perhaps a new sub-genre of Science Fiction? We’ll have to wait and see.

What other things would you like to explore as a podcast?

I’d dearly love to talk Horror Movies if I could find the right co-host. Horror Cinema is something I’m obsessed with, and might even eclipse my love of Bronze Age comics. Other than that, a podcast focusing purely on Science Fiction comics is an itch I would like to scratch one of these days.

What projects are you working on now?

Well, I can’t say too much, but there are some Into The Weird mini-episodes I’m working on that will be available on the ITW podcast feed in early 2023 featuring two major Marvel properties from the 1970s. There’s also something focusing on DC Comics’ Silver Age in the works, slated for 2023 as well. Hopefully it will garner the attention of some old school comic book fans and turn some eager younger readers on to the glory of old comics. 

Herman Louw of Into the Weird and The Longbox of Darkness
Space Girl by Thomas Malafarina

Space Girl

By Thomas M. Malafarina


The high school cafeteria was buzzing with excitement on Monday. The 1956 championship football game between the Johnsonville Spartans and the South Clarion Blue Devils was scheduled for the following Saturday night. The two schools had been rivals for as long as anyone could remember, and the excitement was palpable. Students, faculty, and staff planned to attend a pep rally in the gym after lunch that Friday.

Friday night, a special sock hop was scheduled with Mr. Edwards, the science teacher spinning records on his hi-fi turntable system. He was everyone’s favorite because he had albums from all the greats, like Bill Haley and the Comets, The Four Aces, Pat Boone, The Chordettes, and The Platters. The word on the street was Mr. Edwards even had the debut album by a singer from Mississippi named Elvis Presley. His single “Jailhouse Rock” was being played everywhere, and people were saying he might someday even be bigger than Tennessee Ernie Ford.

The sock hop had the potential to be one of the school’s finest events of the year. Unfortunately, the rumor was that the old maid, Miss Wilson, the Social Studies teacher, would be chaperoning. That meant no spiking the punch bowl, and only a few absolute best make-out spots would remain safe from her ancient evil eye.

Almost every table in the cafeteria that day was packed with chatting and laughing students talking about how incredible it would be if the Spartans won and took the state championship. It would be something that would become Johnsonville legend for decades to come. But not everyone was excited about the upcoming event.

In a secluded corner in the back of the cafeteria, a lone figure dressed in shabby, soiled clothing sat reading the February 1955 issue of EC comics Weird Science-Fantasy #27, with artwork by Wally Wood. The loner’s name is Billy Enders, and the comic book was almost a year old, tattered, with most of the ads removed except for the Charles Atlas advertisement entitled “The Insult That Turned A Chump Into A Champ.” 

It featured the typical 98-pound weakling being shown up at the county fair by a muscle-bound moron who could swing the heavy mallet, ring the bell and win a prize. The weakling’s ditsy girlfriend tells him to be a man and then dumps him. Of course, the weakling buys Charles Atlas’s dynamic tension course to eventually become an even bigger muscle-bound idiot. Ultimately, he punches the bully in the face and wins back the brain-dead girlfriend. Billy figured the couple would eventually marry and live in a run-down mobile home with a dozen of their muscle-bound, equally stupid children.

Billy didn’t like this ad very much. It was different than the one he usually saw called “The Insult That Made A Man Out of Mac.” That one was more well-known, and although it was essentially the same theme, it took place at the beach with the muscle-bound bully kicking sand in the weakling’s face. The result was the same; Charles Atlas, dynamic tension, big muscles, punch in the face, dopy girlfriend, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The truth was Billy didn’t care about the ads anyway or the fact that the magazine was almost a year old. He had no money to buy anything advertised, even if the ads were still there. Billy couldn’t even afford the ten cents to buy the comic book he was reading. He had found it on the sidewalk next to a trash can, and although it was torn and soiled, Billy felt like he was holding something sacred.

To say Billy Enders’s family was poor was an understatement. It would be considered a substantial economic advancement if Billy’s family could move up to the poor side of town. His clothing came from the second-hand store, and he suspected most of the stuff he wore might have been fourth or fifth-hand, like the battered comic book he was reading.

That condition of the comic didn’t matter to Billy as long as he could see the action, adventure, and those incredible-looking babes Wally Wood drew. Billy had no idea how Wally Wood got away with publishing the buxom, curvaceous women he depicted in his cartoons, but every teenage boy with raging hormones was grateful for Mr. Woods’s skills with pen and ink.

Billy had spent many private moments in the bathroom with his imagination and Wally Wood’s drawings. He heard some older boys refer to these illustrations as “whacking material,” and he had to admit, he agreed wholeheartedly. Billy especially liked when comics featured incredibly well-proportioned young ladies depicted as space aliens. He often fantasized about meeting a hot-to-trot babe from another world. As far as Billy was concerned, any beautiful space chicks that wanted to have their way with him, well, that was fine with him. In fact, it would be his duty as a red-blooded healthy American male to accommodate them. He chuckled to himself.

Unfortunately, there were no space girls in real life. Billy figured if there were space girls, they would probably ignore him, just like those popular cheerleaders and snotty rich girls who wouldn’t spit on Billy if he were on fire. He was sure his reputation as a social misfit loser was known all over the galaxy. That was just his sort of luck. But little did William J. Enders know that his luck and life were about to change drastically.


“Is this seat taken? May I join you?” A soft female voice said from across the table.

Billy looked up, appearing at first a bit angry, and was about to tell whoever it was to leave him alone. But what he saw left him a speechless, blithering idiot incapable of forming even the shortest sentence. He sat mouth agape, eyes bugging out of his skull, staring at a sight he couldn’t believe. It was a girl, a young woman, and for some bizarre reason, not only was she speaking to him, but she was asking if she could sit with him.

“W… waaa… what did you say?” Billy managed to squeak out.

“I asked if anyone was sitting here and, if not, was ok for me to do so.”

“You… you… want to sit… with me?” He said again in amazement. The girl was pretty, not movie star gorgeous like Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield, but far more attractive than any girl who had ever paid the slightest attention to him. She had long dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, with a wide headband holding everything in place. She wore red lipstick, eye shadow, and a pair of dangling earrings that seemed a bit too modern for 1956 Johnsonville High. As if that wasn’t unusual enough, she wore a sleeveless turtle-neck sweater and tight-knit pants, which no girl ever did in his school. Most of the girls wore poodle skirts and Bobbie socks. Around her neck hung a gold chain with a large exotic blue stone. She was a sight to behold, and the vision left Billy’s mouth dry.

“Yes, if you don’t mind.” She replied, “My name is Cindy, Cindy Jones. What’s yours?”

Billy struggled to form the words, “Me? Ah… I’m Billy, Billy… um… Enders.”

“Well, Billy Umenders, it’s nice to meet you.” She stood with her hand outstretched, waiting for him to shake it.

“No, sorry. It’s just Billy Enders. Not Umenders.”

“Yeah, well, I sorta figured that already.”

Billy reached out his arm with an obviously sweaty palm in a feeble attempt to shake hands with the lovely girl. When their fingers touched, a strange, almost electric current shot through his skin and traveled up his arm and into his brain, then right down to that magical area between his legs. It wasn’t bad, like when he accidentally touched the electric fence at the farm not far from his house, but this was a good feeling, perhaps one of the best feelings he had ever experienced. 

He wanted to ask her to sit, but his words were again stuck in his throat. Fortunately, Cindy took the initiative and sat down right next to him. When she did, their knees touched, and Billy could feel those almost electric vibrations even through their clothing. He was afraid he would lose control of himself, like when he was in his early teens and woke up with a mess after a particularly erotic dream. But somehow, he managed to hold on. 

“So Billy. What’s all the excitement going on around here?”

Billy struggled to regain control of his senses and said, “That? Oh, I don’t know. Some sort of big football game this weekend. A championship thing or something like that.”

“Football doesn’t interest you, Billy?” She asked.

“Me? No, not at all. I’m not part of that scene, you know? I just sort of go my own way.”

“Ah, a lone wolf.” She said and winked at him. That wink sent another series of vibrations throughout his body, and Billy felt for the first time that he might actually be falling head-over-heels in love with this strange girl he had just met. Was that even possible? He didn’t know or understand what was happening, but he didn’t want it to end.”

Billy asked, “Are you new here at school? I don’t think I ever saw you around before.”

She said, “Well, sort of. I’m here to test the waters and see if this is the right place for me to teach.”

Billy was stunned yet again. “Did you say teach? You mean you’re not a new student here?”

“Well, aren’t you just full of kind compliments, Billy Enders?”

“No, Ma’am. I mean Cindy, I… I mean, Miss Jones, Ma’am. I honestly thought you were a new kid. I’m so sorry.”

There’s no need to be sorry, Billy. I’m flattered. And listen, Billy. You only have to call me Miss Jones in front of the other students and teachers. When we’re alone together, you can call me Cindy. By the way, Billy, I can tell already that you and I are going to become very special, very close friends, and we’ll be spending a lot of alone time together.”

“You do? We will?” Billy asked both confused yet aroused by the direction the conversation was taking. Then Cindy laid her hand on the top of his leg under the table, her fingers coming dangerously close to his inner thigh and crotch. 

He struggled to think of anything to get rid of the pup tent that had formed in his pants but to no avail. Billy suspected he’d be late for his next class, waiting for the trouser monster to disappear, or he would have to walk to class with his books strategically placed to hide his bulge.

More importantly, Billy knew from that moment on that his nocturnal fantasies would have a new leading lady resembling Miss Cindy Jones. Time to say goodbye to Wally Wood’s sexy space girls and make room in his dreams for Cindy. He knew it was probably weird and maybe a bit wrong for a school teacher to be so overtly friendly with a student, but he didn’t care. Cindy was hotter than the best-looking girls in his school and wanted to become close to him, which was all that mattered.


“Hey, beautiful. Where have you been all my life?” An oily voice said from across the table.

Billy and Cindy looked up to see Brad Parker, captain of the football team and all-around egotistical moron standing bent over with his palms on the table, flexing his overly-developed muscles and eye-balling Cindy like he was at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and she was apple pie.

Cindy turned to Billy and said, “Well, isn’t that special, Billy? This gentleman just asked you a question.”

Brad to a step back and insisted, “Woah! Wait a minute, here. I wasn’t talking to that greasy little circus geek. I was talking to you, sweet cheeks.”

“The name’s not Sweeet Cheeks; it’s Miss Jones, as in Miss Jones, your substitute teacher. I don’t know who you are, but hey, I’m not one to judge. If you think Billy is beautiful, that’s ok with me. Although, to be honest, I don’t believe Billy’s gate swings in the same direction as yours; he’s obviously all man.”

As funny as this was, Billy couldn’t show any signs that he was enjoying this interaction, or Brad and his jock buddies would destroy him. He suddenly wished she would lay off the insults before Brad decided to pound him just for witnessing the jerk jock being put in his place. Yet she continued the barrage of insults. 

“I can see by your letter sweater that you must be some hot-shot football star around here. Am I right?”

Brad recovered enough composure to boast, “That’s right, honey. I’m captain of the football team, and I plan to be the MVP of the championship game this Saturday. That means Most Valuable Player. So yeah, you could say I’m a hot-shot football star.”

“I’ll just bet you really love getting naked and showering with all those big and burly teammates of yours. I’ll bet you stand there waiting for someone to drop the soap. Or do you prefer it when you and your buddies snap towels at each other?”

Brad’s face turned red, then a terrifying shade of purple, as his bulging eyes switched from Cindy to Billy. They seemed afire with hatred, and Billy knew he would get the crap beat out of him once Brad got him alone. Billy caught Cindy’s eye and slowly shook his head, doing his best to silently tell her she had gone too far and he was going to pay for it. Cindy simply smiled her angelic smile and winked at him.

Then Cindy reached over and touched Brad’s hand. When she did, Brad became as still as a statue, petrified and unable to move. His face bore a look of complete surprise, utter confusion, and, finally, wore a vacant stare. 

Cindy said in a soft, melodic, and hypnotic voice, “Now you listen to me, Mr. Football hero. My friend, Billy, is completely off-limits to you. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Jones, I understand.” He replied in a monotone, distant voice as he stared sightlessly into space. 

She said, “If you or any of your friends even consider hurting Billy Enders, you will embarrass yourselves in a manner most degrading. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, Miss Jones.” He replied. 

Cindy pulled her hand away, and after a beat, Brad shook his head involuntarily, clearing the cobwebs from his mind. Then he recalled how the teacher had insulted him and his teammates by questioning their masculinity. He turned to Billy, again redirecting all his anger at the boy. He might not be able to touch this big-mouth teacher, but he could take his fury and frustration out on her slimy boyfriend.

He pointed his finger at Billy and growled, “I’ll be looking for you after school, Enders, and when I do, I’m going to make you pay for what your pretty little girlfriend here said to me. I’m gonna hurt you so…”

But Brad couldn’t finish his sentence. He stood, with his mouth agape, looking down at the front of his pants which had suddenly become darker and wet. A strong smell of urine filled the air. The cafeteria was thrust into silence. Several nearby students had heard him shouting at Billy and now saw his shame. Within a few seconds, the whispering grapevine had spread the news around the entire cafeteria at a speed somewhere north of the speed of light. After all, it wasn’t every day that the biggest and most popular football hero wet his pants in the cafeteria, at lunch, no less.

Brad stood dumbfounded, then humiliated. A moment later, he turned and fled the cafeteria, fighting back the tears of shame, leaving a trail of golden droplets in his wake.


“There. That should take care of that.” Cindy said as she wiped her hands together as if brushing off dirt.

Billy was shocked and said, “But… but how did you… what did you do to him?”

“Don’t worry about that, Billy. Just know that he won’t bother you anymore unless he wants to make a habit of soiling himself in public on a regular basis. So Billy, how did you like it when he called me your girlfriend? I loved it and thought it was really sexy. How about you?”

Billy’s face blushed bright pink when he said, “I liked it. I liked it a lot. But you’re a teacher, maybe only a few years older than me, but still a teacher. Ain’t there some rule that says you can date a student or something like that?”

“Oh yes, Billy. There most definitely is. So if you really want me to be your girlfriend, we’ll have to play it cool here during the day, and we’ll have to sneak around after school. As a teacher, I will be happy to show you many intimate things you probably never imagined. Would you like that, Billy?”

When she said that, the blue jewel hanging around her neck began to glow brightly, catching Billy’s attention. However, as his eyes turned toward the pendant, he focused on Cindy’s breasts. He had never seen anything so firm and round anywhere but in the pages of magazines. To be so close in real life was beyond his wildest dreams. 

He replied, “Oh yes, Cindy. I would like that very much.”

“Well, Billy. Do you know where the bandstand is back behind the gym?”

“Yes, I know where that is.”

“After school, miss the bus, then take a slow walk over to the bandstand and wait by the road running behind it. Do you know where I mean?”

“Yep. I know the place.”

She smiled, winked at him, then said, “Excellent, Billy. If you wait there for a few minutes, I’ll drive by and pick you up. I’ll be driving a brand new red and white Chevy Bel Air. I bought it as a college graduation present for myself. You’ll love it. It has a lot of room in the back seat, and I plan on us spending a lot of time back there.” She winked at him again, licked her red lips seductively, then got up to leave. As she walked away swinging her round backside, Billy noticed that every boy in the cafeteria was watching that magnificent specimen in action. However, if his luck held out, he would be the only one in the school to see it in the flesh.

Billy couldn’t believe his good fortune. It was beyond his comprehension. Not only did he get to meet the girl of his dreams, and she liked him, but she had practically told him they would do “the deed” that night after school. But maybe he had imagined that part. Perhaps his raging testosterone-driven mind had made more out of this than Cindy had meant for him to understand.

After all, he was just some nobody, a shabby kid from the poorer side of the poor side of town with nothing to offer such a gorgeous woman. Yet she had come on to him; he was certain of it. Billy supposed he would have to wait until the end of the day and see what happened. If he stood behind the bandstand and she never showed up, he would know it was the butt of yet another mean joke. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it likely wouldn’t be the last. But Billy didn’t believe it was a joke this time.


That night after school, Billy did his best to sneak out to the bandstand without anyone seeing him. At least he didn’t think anyone had seen him. But he was mistaken. As he waited by the road for Cindy to arrive, he heard boisterous laughter and jeering coming from around the side of the bandstand.

A moment later, Brad Parker and three teammates came strutting across the grass toward him. Billy could tell by their overconfident swagger that they were there for one reason; to beat him to a bloody pulp.

“Hey there, Billy boy.” Brad said, “I bet you thought I forgot about you didn’t you? Oh, you should know better than that, you greasy little maggot. I never forget, and I always pay my debts. The way I figure it, I owe a big debt thanks to your smart-mouthed girlfriend. Say, where is the little slut anyway? I was thinking we’d let her watch us messing you up. Then when we were done with you, we could each take our turn showing her what real men have to offer.” The group laughed, enjoying making the little wimp squirm.

“But she’s a teacher,” Billy said.

Brad said, “Ah, that’s where you’re wrong. She hasn’t officially been hired yet. I checked. She’s just here to audit some classes and sub for a few, hoping to get a permanent job. But when we make it known that she’s banging one of our fine school’s students, one who is mentally deficient, she won’t be able to get a job cleaning the toilets.”

One of the other boys, Jim Sheaf, grabbed his crotch and said, “I got a job for her right here!”

“Yeah, me too.” Another boy said, duplicating the crotch-grabbing gesture. “It don’t pay much, but the tips are big.” They all shared a good laugh at that one.

Then Brad said, “Ah, poor Billy. It looks like your skank whore girlfriend stood you up. Too bad. But that’s ok, ’cause we’re going to mess you up anyway.”

Billy realized he was either going to have to try and fight them off or run away. He had no problem with running away but knew it would be useless against this mob of shaved apes. He might get in a lick or two if he fought, but that would be moot compared to the beating he would have to endure.

The four muscular troublemakers simultaneously took a step toward Billy, their hands clenched into fists, ready to rain a shower of pain down on the helpless boy. However, as soon as they did, the young men stopped in their tracks, looking down at the dark stains spreading out from the crotch of their pants.

“What the Hell!” Jeff shouted, “I just pissed myself. Hey, you guys did too. What the Hell is going on?”

“Forget it.” Brad shouted, “Just ignore it and let’s beat this clown.”

But when they took another step toward Billy, their stomachs clenched, ached, and gurgled, and then all four attackers simultaneously had explosive running diarrhea in their pants. They fell to the ground, clutching their convulsing stomachs, then began experiencing projectile vomiting. 

As Billy watched in amazement, he heard a car horn and turned to see Cindy waiting at the curb. He climbed into the passenger seat, and they drove away.

“It looks like Mr. Touchdown didn’t learn his lesson today. Too bad his boys had to suffer right along with him.” Cindy said.

“Yeah. But I still don’t understand how you did that.”

“Not a problem Billy. I’ll tell you all about it soon, but first, we have some urgent business to take care of.”

“We do?”

“Yes, we most certainly do.” Cindy winked at him and jerked her head toward the back seat.

Billy slowly turned and looked into the rear of the car and saw that the back seat was covered with thick warm blankets. He realized he hadn’t been imagining things after all, and for whatever reason, this gorgeous creature was going to have her way with him. “Well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” He thought.

A short while later, Cindy pulled the car onto a dirt road, drove for a few hundred yards then turned off the engine. She looked at Billy with large seductive eyes and said, “I want you, Billy. I need you more than you can ever know. I hope you find me attractive and want me too.”


A few minutes later, the two were in the back seat doing what countless red-blooded American couples had been doing in their back seats at drive-in movie theaters for many years. They didn’t call drive-ins passion pits for nothing. 

When they were finished, they sat naked, covered with one of the blankets; Cindy asked, “Was that good for you, Billy?”

Billy looked at her with wide eyes and said, “Good? It was way beyond good; it was incredible. I think I’m in love with you, Cindy.”

“Oh, Billy. My silly boy. You’re not in love; you’re in lust. But that’s ok too. Because, you see, this was a test to see if you had what we needed, and believe me, you passed with flying colors.”

“I don’t understand. What do you mean, ‘test?’ And who do you mean by ‘we?’ I’m confused.”

Cindy sighed and said, “Well, I suppose I’d better come clean about a few things, Billy. You see, I’m not really looking to get a job teaching at your school. In fact, I’m technically not really a teacher, or for that matter, I’m not even a college graduate.”

“You’re not?” Billy asked with disappointment obvious in his voice, “I mean, I kinda liked the idea of sneaking around with one of my teachers. It made everything seem… I don’t know, dirtier. The idea was sort of… exciting.”

Cindy looked at Billy with pouting eyes and said, “Does that mean you don’t want me anymore?”

Billy was stunned, “Oh no. It doesn’t mean that at all. I want you plenty.”

Cindy looked under their blanket and said, “It certainly looks like you do.”

Later, after another half hour of the Chevy rockin’ and rollin’, Cindy said, “There’s something I need to tell you, Billy. It’s something you might have trouble wrapping your head around, but it’s very important.”

“Ok. Sure, what is it?”

“Well, you know how you enjoy reading those comic books with the space girls running around dressed all sexy, with their boobs practically hanging out?”

Billy found himself blushing again, “Um… yeah.”

“How would you feel if I told you that I was actually not from Earth but was from another world?”

“You mean like another planet?”

“No, Billy. I mean like another universe, light years from Earth.”

Billy looked at Cindy in awe and said, “I suppose I might think that was cool. I might be a bit freaked for a while, but it would still be really cool.”

“Then I suppose you’ll have to prepare to be freaked because the truth is, I am from another planet in a universe far from Earth.”

Billy realized despite his desire to think otherwise, he actually believed her. It helped to explain the strange hypnotic thing she did to Brad and his friends. He said, “I don’t understand. Why are you here, and why are we here doing this?”

“It’s like this, Billy. Our planet is in trouble. All of the males on our planet have died off, either through war, old age, illness, or misfortune. Now we are unable to reproduce. We searched space to find a race of beings physically close enough to ours and found that Earth had males capable of impregnating us and allowing our race to carry on.”

“But why me? Why not some big strapping guy like Brad back there? I’m just a weak, nerdy guy. Why would you want me?”

“Those overly masculine types are just like our previous males. They always end up fighting and killing each other. If we were to bring back those types of men, we would be in this same situation all over again.”

“Bring back? Does that mean what I think it means?” Billy asked with concern in his voice.

“Look, Billy. It’s not that we would kidnap you or anything. We want you to return to our will with us voluntarily.”

“There’s that ‘we’ again,” Billy said. 

Just then, an identical Chevy Bel Air pulled up behind Cindy’s car, turned off its headlights and engine, and Billy heard two car doors open and close. Cindy opened her door and slid out from under the blanket, standing naked in the moonlight. Billy got out as well but kept himself wrapped in the blanket.

Two of the most gorgeous women he had ever seen slowly walked toward him and Cindy. They were clad only in see-through sheer gowns, which left nothing to the imagination. They smiled seductively at Billy, and he was surprised to find he was as smitten with them as he had been with Cindy. Obviously, Cindy knew these women, and Billy realized she had been expecting them.

“Is this Billy?” One of the girls asked.

“Yes, this is him,” Cindy replied.

“Did he measure up to the task required?” The second girl asked.

“Oh yes,” Cindy said, “And then some. And I should say most energetically.”

The first girl smiled and said, “May I test his capabilities now?”

Cindy turned to Billy and said, “Billy, sweetie, would you mind doing what we did in the car with Mindy here? She would like to make sure you meet our requirements.”

Billy couldn’t believe his ears, “You mean you’re ok with Mindy and me… you know… doing it? You won’t be jealous?”

 “Oh no, Billy. As I said, we are here on a mission to find males to help repopulate our planet. As much as I like you, I can’t let jealousy get in the way of saving our species.”

“Well then,” Billy said, “Let the festivities continue.”

Billy and Mindy climbed into the back seat, and the festivities did, indeed, continue. While they were in the back of the car, Cindy spoke quietly with the other woman who, for this mission, went by the name Lindy. 

However, these two women no longer resembled the gorgeous creatures Billy had seen. That was all an illusion they created based on the characters from the noted cartoonist Wally Wood, meant to satisfy the young boy’s carnal desires. Had they appeared in their true form to him, not only would he not be able to perform sexually, but he would have likely run away screaming or dropped dead of fright.

These women might only vaguely resemble humans if perhaps seen in silhouette, in that they had the general shape and outline of women, but that’s where the resemblance ended. The things standing next to the car, which was currently bouncing rhythmically on its springs, were hideously alien in appearance. 


Their foreheads extend far back along their skulls from large, segmented, insectile eyes, ending in a cluster of long stringy tentacles hanging down like serpents. The hideous appendages even moved like snakes, as if they had minds of their own. The segmented eyes glowed blue-white in the moonlight and were wide apart, almost positioned near the sides of the creature’s heads. 

These creatures had no noses to speak of, but each had three nostrils positioned where a nose should be found. When the aliens breathed, these nasal orifices pulsated with each inhalation. The creatures’ ears were large and pointed with long floppy dangling lobes. However, the most frightening facial features were their large, thick-lipped, wide mouths that stretched from one ear to the other and were filled with multiple rows of sharp shark-like teeth. 

Although the women were naked, they had no firm breasts like those Billy had believed he had seen. Instead, they possessed a series of eight teats, like those found on some nursing animals. Although their bodies were mostly hairless, the area between their legs was so furry it appeared like a thick thatch of tumbleweed had grown there. Their fingers and toes were four times the length of their human counterparts, had thin, fleshy webbing between them, and sharp claws on the ends.

The alien, who called herself Cindy, looked through the steamed window into the back of her car and saw Billy giving Mindy all he was good for. Mindy’s tentacles were glowing bright red and moving hypnotically like Medusa’s head full of snakes. She cried out with fake pleasure as her segmented eyes rolled back and her cavernous mouth opened wide to scream.

Lindy looked at Cindy and asked, “So you’re sure he has no idea what we actually look like?”

“None at all. You know that. They never do. And if he did, he wouldn’t be able to perform so admirably.” Cindy said in their guttural native language. Then, handing her the comic book Billy had been reading. It showed one of Wally Wood’s sexy space girls in an action pose. “Remember, this is what we look like to these humans.”

“Ugh! Hideous!” Lindy replied in her deep, harsh, and raspy voice. “And they find this attractive?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so. But what else can you expect from such a primitive species? The point is that Billy is more than willing to come back with us and service our needs.”

Lindy asked, “If he only knew what our real needs were. Did you feed him that line about repopulating our species?”

“Oh yes. And he bought it, hook, line, and sinker, as did the other several dozen recruits I found. How did you and Mindy do?”

“We managed to find more than fifty candidates. They will all be ready when we leave at midnight.”

Cindy said, “Excellent. You know, the males on this planet are easily persuaded simply by offering them sex. It’s like they stop thinking with their brains and think only with that ridiculous appendage between their legs. Little do they know, if they would only take a few minutes to forget about what they’re doing, they might see through our disguises.”

Lindy said, “Then they might also realize that we were asexual creatures that self-reproduce and have no need for insemination or sex of any kind.”

Cindy smiled with that mouth full of shark teeth, licked her thick lips with a serpentine tongue, and said, “They’ll find that out once we travel through the interdimensional portal and come to our world. But then it will be too late. They’ll see us as we are, and their interest in sex will instantly disappear. Then eventually, they’ll learn the painful truth. We only want them for food.”

Pin-up: Amber Immoral

Where are you from?

I am from south central Texas. In my day to day I am a leader of operations for a large financial institution. After spending years as an executive assistant I found a way to be able to work for these large companies by helping its employees be successful and their sounding bored for frustrations.

What inspired you to become a model?

My partner pushed for me to accept my attractive qualities that he’s always seen and let others enjoy them as well. I may have thought he was full of shit all of this time but the response I’ve received has helped boost my confidence and embrace modeling that much more.

Whats the best thing about being a model and the worst?

The best thing about modeling is being able to express myself through an art form that can truly capture your emotions. It helps to feel heard in my own way while also boosting my confidence with all the positivity received through this expressive avenue.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

Other areas of art I’m involved in are primarily making my own sketches.

How do you feel about some people saying pinup and custom photos and videos are degrading to women?

People who say that these things are degrading are ones who feel bad about themselves and lack the understanding of empowering one self. I feel bad that they contain such a mental hiccup on their own self image.

The Librarian

By Chauncey Haworth

Johnny yawned as Mary prattled on about school history and the campus’s numerous bathrooms as she gripped a stack of books in front of her like a flotation device. He tried his best to pay attention, but Johnny’s short attention span made just about everything tedious and boring.

Johnny was there as a member of a band, Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the Stars. They were there to play a dance at the college. How that led to being toured across the campus by the school’s odd couple was news to him.

It wasn’t uncommon that people would read Johnny as “some-dumb-jock-bro.” While that was the world he grew up in, as well as the world that molded his mannerisms, it was not the world that defined his life. When Johnny was young, fitting in was important. His family was poor, his mom was sick and his dad had run off. Not the ideal for any growing American kid, but doubly so for Johnny. As a first generation American, Johnny was held to very high ideals of success. His mother, as a Japanese immigrant, not only had high expectations for her and Johnny, but was also held to high expectations herself by her adopted Christian community, expectations that she had already failed in being impregnated and abandoned by Johnny’s Father.

While Johnny found it difficult to fit in with the community’s families, his father did give him one advantage. His father was a very big man, naturally athletic, tall, and muscular, and in this way Johnny took after his father.

For a while he found it easier to move amongst his jock friends than his community, even if that meant putting up with the subtle racism and the sometimes-not-so-subtle racism. At least there he knew where he stood.

As the years went on his loyalties drove the wedge further. High school eventually ended and all of a sudden kids were no longer forced to be around one another. He found himself without a metaphorical home.

In high school, guitar was also something that Johnny picked up. At the time he figured it’d get him in with some girls. It did, but in the end he found himself tuning out and getting lost in the chords. He wasn’t particularly good, he knew that, but he liked the melodic and percussive repetition of power chords, there was something cathartic about it..

In his metaphorical homelessness he scoured coffee shops and bars, trying to play a little and never finding much. For a while, he had a bit of popularity with the band Las Víctimas Nuevas. On one Friday night at CHUDs Coffee, a member of the band broke a string on his only guitar in the middle of the show. To fill time, Johnny played and sang A New England to the bored audience. They watched for a minute, but it wasn’t long until all of them went to the bathroom, or ordered drinks, or played pool… almost all of them. A few rows back in the dark audience area were four people, all wearing black. Three standing, and in front, sitting in a chair, the fourth. Ivan Rocket.

And that is how Johnny left his band and joined Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the Stars. All it took was one statement and one question from Ivan himself. After the show Ivan and his ebony clad compatriots approached Johnny as he was packing up and Ivan said, “I love the way you ride those crispy power cords, such magic. You wouldn’t wanna come play with us would ya?” That night Johnny packed his stuff from the stage to the RV and across the country they went.

Every once in a while, as Mary droned on, Johnny would make eye contact with Gladys and feel a shiver. She had a look in her eyes like she loathed him, but she chewed her gum in a way that implied otherwise.

“And finally this is the library,” Mary said as the trio stopped in front of the marbled, collegiate monstrosity.

“Finally,” Gladys sighed, rolling her eyes and twisting a bit on one of her high heels, which Johnny was sure wasn’t regulation height.

Johnny checked his discomfort, reminding himself he was several years older and should probably act like it. He turned to Gladys and said, “Well, Hell-on-Heels, I’d expected you to be as interested in the library as I am?”

“I’m glad cuz it’s the end you dolt,” She answered, the disdain in her voice as loud as the constant smacking of gum.

“I am a dolt,” Johnny agreed then turned to Mary. “In that case, I’m with Gladys, no offense. This has been nice and all but I’ll need to get some practice done.” The odd phrasing punctuating that he was lying.

Mary didn’t notice the lie. “None taken, but we aren’t quite done yet. There’s still this.” From under her tower of books, Mary pulled a large card back flyer and handed it to him. “It’s the dance this evening followed by the bonfire. We hope you guys will all be there. we were hoping you could play something at the bonfire after?”

“I’m sure that we can oblige. That is what we’re paid for,” Johnny said taking the flyer from her. He looked at it. In big letters, it said the word “Pyram.” The flyer was modern and obviously designed by a first year graphic design student. It had all the bells and whistles, bold lettering, poppy color contrasts, and Johnny? Johnny was a little shocked. Was it a man playing with fire in one picture? In the other, what Johnny was sure might have been a naked woman.

“What is Pyram?” Johnny asked.

“It’s Latin for Bonfire.” Mary answered with unreasonable pep.

“Well it looks like a lot of fun,” Johnny said with a skeptical tone verging on sarcasm.

“We better get back, would you like to walk with us?” Mary asked, changing the subject.

“Oh um, no,” Johnny said, wanting to get away from the snooze-fest as fast as possible. “Maybe I’ll step into the library here and use one of those awesome restrooms you told me about on the tour.” He gave them a wink and strolled off to the front entrance, immediately breaking into a whistle as he did. The two girls watched him as we went, their expressions unchanged.

Reaching the entrance, Johnny threw the door open to freedom from his capture while literally whistling dixie. As the massive metal and glass door came slamming shut with a high squeak and a crash he made eye contact with the librarian. Her piercing, laser eyes burning whatever scarlet letter represents agitator into his forehead. Probably an “R” for Rebel, Johnny thought.

She was a gaunt, pale older woman. One of those old ladies that one might still use a word like ‘marm to describe. She wore a black polyester knee length skirtsuit atop stereotypical black-buckled puritan shoes. With her glare unbroken, she brought up two fingers and pointed at her own eyes, and then at him. Johnny put his hands up and smiled in apology.

Beyond the librarian’s main desk was the massive reading floor of with scores of desks. At each desk sat a student holding a book, but none were reading, they were just all looking at him. Johnny alternated between mouthing and whispering the word “Sorry” as he slinked off to the side and down a row of books.

Johnny wandered the stacks looking for the restroom, or even an exit at this point, nothing more natural than pissing outside. At the end of a particularly long row of books he turned to see yet another long row of books. The further he delved into the stacks, the dimmer and less natural the light became, the gabled roof of the library pinching the atmosphere in closer and closer at the edges. He stopped, turning front, then back, then front again, not able to make up his mind to go forward or to head back at this point. He wasn’t dying to ask the bookworms up front for help, but nature called and he really needed to answer that call.

“Fuck,” he said out loud to himself as the sound cut though the silence, echoless, it’s reverberations absorbed by the varied surfaces of endless books.

What felt like a drip of freezing cold water ran down the ridge of his back as he heard the silence respond with an angry shush sound.

“Oh, hell no,” Johnny either said aloud or thought to himself, he wasn’t sure. He looked back the way he came, back toward the entrance, toward the students, toward the librarian. “Are you there?” He asked the silence. Again, he was audibly shushed by the nothingness.

“And, I’m out,” He thought, as the moment decided for him to move, and move quickly away from the shushing. He picked up his pace down the halls, through the stacks, weaving through books. The shelving, once perfectly organized, slowly gave way to haphazardly stacked books, sideways on shelves, the halls becoming more and more littered with taller and taller piles of books, piles on shelves and on the floor. Behind he thought he heard footsteps. He ran. He ran in a panic, half looking back, half not wanting to look forward.

He finally stopped himself at a four way intersection. Behind him, the garbled stacks and piles of tattered books, to his right another row that quickly slipped into darkness, ahead of him more of the same, and to his left, a long hallway.

The hallway was empty of books and of doors, just a tiled floor, institutional walls and lighting. Far away, at the end was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, at least recently. At the end was a glowing, pearlescent sign that read “Restrooms.”

Johnny’s sight went black with fear, or maybe white, like the contrast-grey of a television as the power shuts down. He stumbled back landing on his ass and hands, the stinging pain to his tailbone giving him the extra burst of adrenaline his body needed to see clearly again. As the world returned to his mind’s broadcast he quickly remembered his situation. His eyes darted to the shadow behind the door. There was nothing there.

The lights in the hall flickered creating pockets of shadow along it’s walls and corners. Johnny’s adrenaline-fueled tunnel vision created a stark vignette, zeroing in his sight to the corner where he had seen the reflective eyes.

His hands inched back, his feet pushed him back, and he repeated. Inch by inch he started scooting back down the hall, back the way he came, toward the exit sign. Each slide stinging his probably bruised coccyx.

With a heavy compression the silence was drowned out by the buzz of the fluorescent lights and the white noise of the room, but in it, in the silent din he could hear scratching. He looked at the corner and quickly found his focus pulled back to where he saw the eyes, but the scratching, the scratching was closer now. He looked to the other corner, he looked to the closed bathroom door. He saw nothing as his focus darted between shadow pockets and the black shadow at the back where the initial sighting occurred.

As the light flickered more and more, the strobe of the quick change from light do dark started to burn the light spots into his vision. A black corner line across the ceiling and walls where they met, same with the floor. A flickering bulb above him leaving an almost paisley shape of light engulfing him and his feet, the paisley light tail swooping out in front of him. And again that scratching noise. He used his feet as a focal point. Every time the light would flicker he would survey a different shadow, then return focus to his feet and push back another inch, mitigating the panic of fight and flight, a second to look for danger, a second to move away.

The left wall corner, back to his feet, the right wall corner, back to the light on his feet, the back wall, his feet, the door, and his feet, but they were different. His feet were no longer in the light, there was a shadow cast upon them.

Instinctively he pushed his legs out sending him sliding across the tile floor as the librarian dropped from the ceiling landing on the ground with a cracking sound as her nobbed, blackened knees knocked together.

She stood there, looking at him. She looked confused, partially trembling, her body looking like a ragdoll with a stick in it’s ass, like a dead person in a coat, both of which had been hung on a coat rack.

She started to walk toward him, her face still confused, but her black reflective eyes looking right at him, her eyes almost appearing to plead with him to help her, but her teeth and jaw were grinding back and forth, the sound of her teeth grinding cutting his ears like nails on a chalkboard. Her veins bulged and pulsated as she walked toward him, her once freckled white skin tainted by and engulfed in veins that flushed from red to black. She was silent other than the grinding of her teeth and the occasional knock of her knees and crack of her bones.

Johnny started to crab-walk backward in a panic, stumbling back to his ass as he went. The librarian moved toward him. She seemed to be in a struggle, as if half of her body wanted to move one way and the other half wanted to move another. Johnny wanted to believe that the woman was in there somewhere, struggling to gain control, struggling to free herself, struggling to not hurt him, but he couldn’t believe that. The look of confusion had been replaced with a look of terrifying joy. While it did appear that she had two faces struggling for control, each moment a different face won the battle for control, each had its own grimace of happiness; happiness that it was going to get Johnny.

Luck? Adrenaline? A strong constitution? What ever it was, Johnny got to his feet and ran. He ran down the hall, faster than he’d ever run before.

There was a lot of talk on the campus that day and the days that followed. Talk of the band that had come to the college to play, talk of the weird band members. Talk of strange happenings behind closed doors, questionings as to if Pyram had ever taken place before… and on top of that, there was the hilarious story about the weird, loud guy in all black that went screaming though the library claiming to have seen a “fucking monster.”

Pin-up: Sugar Demise

Pinup Sugar Demise

Where are you from? What is your background?

I’m a California girl. I have a professional background in writing. This part sounds kind of cool to say aloud – I have a dance background. Even though I’ve always been a dancer and have danced tons of styles, my heart lies with traditional Egyptian bellydance. I’ve been doing it for about 20 years now. I mainly dance for myself and for fun nowadays.

What inspired you to become a model?

Modeling is a hobby. So is my photography. I’ve always had an appreciation for decades past – music, movies, fashion. Others have told me I was born in the wrong decade and I fully agree. Pin up is a type of modeling that is for every gal (or guy) with a fun twist.

I wanted to become a pin up girl once I hit a milestone age, but I didn’t make it happen. So, I did the following year. When I first started, I worked with both a professional photographer and a hair and makeup artist. It was so much fun and I wish I could do that all the time! It’s nice to be pampered, transform for the day, and have a photographer coach you and do the work.

Since my life and the world changed, I began doing my own thing as a hobby. In school, I took photography and enjoyed it. When I was younger, I loved playing dress up. I still think of it as dress up! It seemed like a natural transition to use my clothes, style myself, and take my own photos. Pin up is accepting, it’s positive, it’s empowering. And that’s exactly why I started doing it. Confidence is addicting.

What are the pluses and minuses of modeling?

The biggest plus of modeling is that it’s fun! You dress up and become someone else for the day. It’s hard to hold a smile, especially while sticking out parts and sucking in others. You take hundreds of frames and only end up with about a quarter of decent shots. Eventually your smile and your body will just tank; your feet will get sore and heavy. When you shoot your own photos, it’s even more physical. Up and down, all the time. It takes hours. But through it all, you end up with some fantastic shots.

Pinup Sugar Demise
Pinup Sugar Demise

When you model, you find yourself producing expressions and poses that you had no idea you could even do with your face and body. There are some hilarious ones too! It’s incredible! For me, as actually a fairly shy person, it’s a way to express myself without performing for a live audience. My advice to others would be – don’t expect to get into modeling to make any money. Do modeling for you, do it until it stops being fun.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

As a pin up, Jeanne Crain, Rhonda Fleming, Greer Garson, Ann Sheridan, Ann-Margret, and Brigitte Bardot. Gotta love the fellow redheads, and then, there’s Brigitte – she has that undeniably sultry, ‘60s look. As a photographer, the queen of pin up photography, and model, “Bunny” Yeager as well as Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman transforms herself into so many different personas and takes her own photos. If you haven’t seen her work, check it out. She’s amazing! I love costumes, vintage lingerie and kitsch, Halloween, and Horror movies and books as well.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I used to paint with acrylics. I write. I always have a sewing project going; I hand sew everything. I do lots of crafts and love creating my own costumes and accessories!

Do you think your environment, where you live, has an effect on the type of art you create?

Absolutely! I currently live on a farm, which makes for a lot of neat backdrops, but I’m running out of places to shoot here. Gonna have to venture out into the world more… which is a little challenging in lingerie.

What long term goals do you have?

As far as pin up goes, I know you’re not supposed to say this, but I’d like to score a cover. It would feel really good. I imagine I’ll want a couple once I receive one. I value the friendships I’ve made with other pin up gals. I plan to keep on playing dress up until it stops being fun.

For my life: own a home, travel a little, be in love, maybe be a stepmom… be a (pretty) good person. I’d like to be a good role model for my niece, and any kids in my life, and show them a different type of caring, beautiful, confident woman. You can be quirky, confident, beautiful, AND smart.

What do you think the popular culture will be like in ten years?

Ugh, I don’t even want to think about it, haha! Seriously, I don’t. Pretty sure I’ll always live in the past in some capacity.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to do in your profession?

The strangest things are acts I make myself do! Being a Horror genre fan, I like to push the envelope a little. I don’t mind getting messy with fake blood or dirt. Some of the photos I took for this publication were in 100-degree heat. That was brutal! I fell during a shoot last year and ended up with cuts and bruises. I just laughed it off!

Sometimes I get bold and go on a field trip elsewhere. It becomes kind of a rogue operation, trying to take photos before I run into someone or until they start staring! I took some photos at a local pumpkin patch, down the road this past Fall, and was surprised how accepting the staff and owners were with me shooting! They were very supportive!

In general, once I get a little comfortable, I take more risks with poses. It’s neat to see how far outside the box I can think.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m always working on something creative! Sewing costumes and outfits for shoots and events. I’ve started working with reflectors in my photography (as you might be able to tell), and that has made a world of difference in what I can create on my own.

In looking ahead over the year, I usually plan one shoot a month. I have some neat ideas up my stockings… Maybe a possible pin up-esque side business venture or two. I have loads of ideas, just gotta do them!

Pinup Sugar Demise
Cosplay Corner with Amanda

Cosplay Corner with Amanda

In this month’s issue we’ll be covering closet cosplays and thrifted cosplays! As I’ve mentioned in previous issues, all cosplay is valid cosplay. Whether you spend hundreds of hours and dollars, or one hour and twenty bucks on a cosplay, what matters most at the end of the day is if your creation brings you joy. If it does that’s all that matters and what each of us strives for in our own ways. 

Closet and thrifted cosplays can be a wonderful quick fix for the cosplay itch in-between big builds that consume a lot of time. For instance, one of my most time consuming, skill heavy, and costly projects is Commander Shepard’s N7 armor. It requires quite a bit of high density foam, specialty fabrics, and time. As I work on this long term project I still crave completion and fulfillment and I’m able to accomplish that with closet cosplay! 

A closet cosplay of Commander Shepard was cost effective and also flexible enough to wear in my day to day wardrobe.  The whole outfit cost about 57 dollars, and every article of clothes can be worn separately with the rest of my daily ensembles. 

The key to a successful closet cosplay is to stick to the characters color palette and to capitalize on a recognizable characteristic or feature. In the case of Shepard the N7 stripe is almost universally recognized. Utilizing the N7 stripe and matching the color scheme creates a casual outfit that would be believable in the closet of Shep. 

This is possible with any character and cosplay really,  the other key factor is a good wig and good makeup to sell the illusion. Combined with the recognizable characteristics the addition of a great wig and a prop or two completes the costume. My favorite challenge for closet cosplay is challenging myself to stay under my budget and to use what I already have in my closet! 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @ladydevinecosplay and use the hashtag #ladydevineclosetcosplay to show off your creative creations!

After the review, watche the Trailer or the Complete Film on NetFlix.

Review of Troll (2022) by Buttonface


When an archaeologist is called to join a Norwegian government team to deal with a natural disaster, she discovers that this natural disaster happens to be a giant freakin’ troll.

Buttonface Says…

Ever thought to yourself that if only the 1998 American version of Godzilla needed to be a hell of a lot more like Jurassic park… only about a troll? If so, you’re in luck!

Is it a paleontologist? No, it’s an archeologist… I think, but she finds footprints and blah blah blah. What this really comes down to is, “How do you feel about derivative work?” Maybe a better question is, “Where do you draw the line between derivative works and derivatives?”

The word derivative isn’t necessarily bad. As a noun its “something that is based on another source” as an adjective it’s “imitative of the work of another person” and that’s normally perceived as bad.

Ultimately everything is derivative of something, it’s just how far back does it go. I guess it’s like marrying your cousin, different cultures have different standards… and the results can create some questionable duplicates.

In the case of trolls, it’s a little close to the family tree for comfort. If this was an american movie, it would be released direct to the scifi channel, but being a Norwegian flick, it has better acting (I think, its either subbed in Norwegian or dubbed in English), it has way more charm, and much better special effects.

But the story. The story is a cobbled hodgepodge of every one of this type of movie. It’s basically Twister, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Jaws, etc, only about a big-ass troll. Luckily, it’s not hard to get a guy like me behind that concept.

I should also point out that some of the best things in the world are completely derivative. Music, for example. In the world of pop they do it all the time, but for me, bands like the Ramones and the New York Dolls were not intentionally reinventing music, they were more putting their own spin on a proven concept.

But only time will tell. Will Troll go on to be that derivative movie that spawned a new world view, that changed the way movies are made, that birthed a whole new genre? … no it will not. But, it is some fun B.S. So, if you’re looking for something that is at all creative, pick another flick.

More on cogitations on 2022’s Troll:

  • The Director, Roar Uthaug, also directed 2018’s Tomb Raider. So, if that was your thing this might be too… oh and a few Norwegian thrillers and disaster flicks.
  • David Kosse of Netflix described the film as “a giant four-quadrant event movie that happens to take place in Norway… with a troll.” Apparently, a four-quadrant movie in the film industry is one that attracts all four main demographic groups of moviegoers: men and women, and folks older and younger than 25.
  • It’s a shame this wasn’t better because I find the lore of trolls to be interesting and would love better stuff about it.