Twisted Pulp Magazine Issue 028

Spring is in the air and you know what that means? No? Well, it either means that some freakey birds and bees are getting it on, or it means that its the first issue of the Spring season for Twisted Pulp Magazine! In this issue we delve into some low dollar camp with an interview with "The Made For TV Club" as well as a review of the TV version of Stephen King's Desperation. We learn a bit about Gothic Horror and get a few modern-day short-story desasterpises to carry the fragments of the torch. Round that out with models, pinups, dancers, comics, rock n' roll and more, and you just might find yourself in a reading-room cuddle-puddle with a few freaky birds and bees of spring as well, or maybe just a good read... only you can decide!


  1. Interview with the Made For Tv Movie Club
  2. The Dark Arts Of Gothic Horror
  3. A Lady In White: Review of 1988’s The Lady In White
  4. A Name by Mark Slade
  5. Be Careful What You Wish For By Thomas M. Malafarina
  6. Decoy Without Warning Album Review
  7. Maladjusted Cartoons: Where Housing Developments Come From
  8. Stephen King’s Desperation: A Movie Review
  9. The Rogue Brainchild by Chauncey Haworth
  10. Interview with Artist, S.T. Gately
  11. Pin-up: Anastasia
  12. Pin-up: Mama Jin
  13. Pin-up: Mandy Frank
  14. Cover Model: Cherry Zette
Interview with the Made For TV Movie Club

Interview with the Made For Tv Movie Club

The Made-For-TV Movie Club Podcast is hosted by friends, Beth Lee and Kierstin Cira, who share their love for classic made-for-TV movies from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. With their expertise in pop culture and film, they provide witty discussions and lively debates while reminiscing about these “beloved” films. If your an 80s fan of kitch and camp made just for TV, grab some popcorn and enjoy the interview.

Where Are You From? What Is Your Background?

Beth: I’m From The ‘80s. Just Kidding! I’m From A Small, Tourist Town In Wisconsin. I Grew Up In A Blue-Collar Family With Both Parents And Two Siblings. We Didn’t Have A Lot Of Money, So Tv Was Our Entertainment. When There Was A “Tv Event” Like The Movie The Day After Or When Geraldo Rivera Thought He Found Al Capone’s Vault And Opened It On Live Television, My Mom Would Make Popcorn Or Sundaes And We Would Watch Them As A Family. Currently I Am A College Instructor With A Hubby And College-Aged Twins.

Kierstin: I’m From A Small Town On Lake Michigan In Wisconsin. Beth And I Actually Grew Up Quite Close To Each Other But Didn’t Meet Until We Were In Our 20s. I’m A Public-School Elementary Teacher In A Nearby District. I’ve Been Teaching Since 1991 With Some Sporadic Time Off To Raise My Kids.

What Inspired You To Do Podcasting, Specifically About Made For Tv Movies?

Beth: Our Original Plan Was To Start A True Crime Podcast. However, We Realized Pretty Quickly That There Are Already Many Great True Crime Podcasts. So, We Pivoted And I Thought It Would Be Fun To Find Out If The Tv Movies I Loved Were As Good As I Remembered. (Spoiler Alert: Many Weren’t. Ha-Ha.) 

Kierstin: I Love Listening To Podcasts But, Truly, Beth Is The Idea Person. I Just Said “Heck Yeah” When She Said We Should Do A Podcast.

What Was The First Thing You Remember Seeing On Tv Or At The Movie Theater?

Beth: The First Thing I Remember Is Sesame Street. Kermit Was Featured In The ‘70s, And I Loved Kermit. The Only Tattoo I Have Is Of Kermit. 

Kierstin: I Have A Very Distinct Memory Of Sesame Street. Particularly Harry Monster. I Had To Have Been Two At The Time.

What Performer Or Artist/Writer Inspires You The Most?  

Beth: That’s A Tough Question! If I Have To Pick One, It Would Be Margaret Atwood. I Majored In English For My Bachelor’s Degree And Took A Margaret Atwood Class In The Early ‘90s. She Is Far And Away My Favorite Writer, And I Am So Glad That She Has Shows Like Alias Grace And The Handmaid’s Tale On Netflix, So That Her Gift For Storytelling Can Be Shared. She Has A Huge Body Of Work Published, But I Would Recommend The Robber Bride Or Cat’s Eye If You’ve Never Read Her. 

Kierstin: My Favorite Musician Is Midge Ure. He’s Phenomenal And Gives Me Goosebumps When I See Him! I Think Just About Anyone Performing Inspires Me Because They Are Up There, Giving Their All And Doing Something That They Love!

What Other Areas Of Art Are You Involved In?

Beth: I Am A Writer. I Wrote A Textbook Several Years Ago, But I’ve Always Loved To Write Fiction. During The Pandemic, I Decided To Go Back To School And Get An Mfa In Creative Writing, Which Has Long Been A Goal Of Mine. I Will Finish That Degree In Early 2024. Kierstin And I Are Both Reiki Masters. 

Kierstin: I’m Super Adhd So I Have The Supplies To Do Every Kind Of Tangible Art. I’ve Sold Some Macrame But I Also Paint, Do Embroidery, Crochet, Draw. I Love Gardening, Which Is Definitely An Art. I Also Have Done Singing (In A Band… Many Years Ago) And Community Theater. I Also Teach Meditation. My Interests Vary Wildly.

Do You Think Your Environment, Where You Live, Has An Effect On Type Of Art You Create?

Beth: Living In A State With Four Seasons Has Always Affected Me As A Writer. I Can’t Imagine Living In A Place Where I Can’t Experience The Lows Of Winter And The Highs Of Summer Temperatures. My Husband And I Spend A Lot Of Time In The Up, Which I Talk About On The Podcast Often. I Feel Very Connected To The Up In A Way That I Cannot Explain. Our Connectedness To The Land There Was So Strong That We Recently Bought Property Up There. I Feel A Deep Fondness For It, And That Helps To Inform My Writing. 

Kierstin: Absolutely! But It’s Not Just The Physical Space That You Are In, It’s The Energy Of That Space. When We Record, We Always Have The Salt Lamp On For The Good Vibes. We Also Have Some Fun Accouterments. But, I’m Not The Creative One, That’s All Beth! I’m Just Another Pretty Voice. Sigh.

What’s The Worst Tv Movie You Have Ever Seen?

Beth: That’s A Loaded Question! Kierstin Always Says, “There’s Nothing Better Than A Bad Movie” So We Are Never Unhappy When We Pick A Movie And Then Dislike It. There’s Been Multiple In The Almost 60 Movies We Have Reviewed. I Know Kierstin Will Pick Another Movie, Because She Actually Liked And Chose This One. But, The One I Would Choose Would Be A House Without A Christmas Tree From 1972. It’s Probably A Bit Unfair To Pick A Movie Starring Two-Time Oscar Winner Jason Robards. The Acting Was Good, But The Movie Was Just Depressing And It Left Me With Very Little Hope For The Characters. If A Movie Is Going To Be That Sad, Then Give Me A Little Whiff Of Hope At The End. 

Kierstin: Hahahaha! There’s Nothing Better Than A Bad Movie!!! My Husband And I, Along With Our Kids And His Siblings Love To Watch Cheesy Movies Together! Doing The Podcast, It’s Crazy How Bad The Movies Can Seem. Particularly When You Are Seeing Them Through A Lens If 2023. Totally Different Vibe Than When I May Have First Seen Them! It’s Hard To Identify A “Worst Movie” Because The Content Through A “Modern” Lens Can Be Very Questionable But It Was All Well And Good 30-50 Years Ago. The “Zuni Fetish Doll” From Trilogy Of Terror Will Make Me Laugh Every Time! That Was So Cheesy!!!

What Do You Think The Popular Culture Will Be Like In Ten Years?

Beth: Everything Is Cyclical. I Think That Celebrities Will Reign Supreme As They Have Been Doing. However, There Will Be New Ones. I Think The Influencer Culture Will Still Exist, But I Think It Will Evolve Into Something Other Than People Who Only Post Pictures Or Make A Three Minute Video. I Also Believe That We Will See Fewer Streaming Services And A Trend Back To Services With Multiple Channels. It’ll Be Cable 2.0. I Hope Subscription Streaming Services Continue To Provide Quality Viewing That We’ve All Come To Enjoy.

Kierstin: That’s A Darn Good Question. It’s Hard To Imagine That Much Would Change And Yet, Experience Tells Me Everything Is Going To Change! I Wonder If We’ll See A Decrease In Live Entertainment In Exchange For Virtual Experiences. That Would Be A Huge Bummer As I Love Being In An Audience For Live Entertainment!

What Other Things Would You Like To Explore As A Podcast?

Beth: I Have Several Areas Of Interest I’d Love To Explore As A Podcast. I’d Love To Create A Missing Persons Podcast Or A Podcast Series That Focuses Solely On ‘70s Tv Horror.

Kierstin: Truly, I Just Follow Where Beth Leads! She Makes Suggestions And They’re Always Solid Fun! Maybe Exploring How To Get My Husband And Kids To Listen!!! Hahahaha! Whatever Beth Thinks, I’m Along For The Ride!

What Projects Are You Working On Now?

Beth: We Are Always Working On Upcoming Episodes For The Podcast, Which Is Always Fun. In Addition, For The Mfa Program I Mentioned Earlier, I Am Writing A Novel. Once That Is Complete, I Am Working With A Writing Mentor/Friend To Edit It. My Long-Term Goal Is To Get An Agent And Sell It. 

Kierstin: Lol!!! Running For School Board Is My Biggest Project Right Now!

Interview with the Made For TV Movie Club
A Lady in White Review By Mark Slade

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

A Lady In White: Review of 1988’s The Lady In White

Ah, remember Halloween was a magical time when you were a kid? Trick or treating, thinking of those frightful thoughts, watching TV where all those dumb sitcoms had their annual Halloween episodes, and playing in your backyard and suddenly you get a weird strange sensation something was in the woods watching you….or maybe you had to go back to the school to get your cap because some punk threw it on a top shelf in the closet and you get locked in school—oh, right, that just happened in that movie The Lady In White (1988). 

This is another movie that fell through the cracks that should have been a bigger hit than it was. When I ask people if they have ever seen it, they either have never heard of it, or those that have—never forgot the movie. I first saw this film on a videocassette someone had recorded off HBO. Though at the time they liked the movie, they said HBO was running the crap out of it. They thought HBO had a stake in the profits. I’m not sure about that. But after I saw the movie, I had a feeling HBO knew what a little gem the film was.

Lady in White 1988

Frankie Scarlatti is a horror author coming back to his hometown after being away for so many years. In the opening of the film, he recounts the story of Halloween, 1962, to a cab driver, and what helped him become a writer. The story of the Lady in White.  We cut to the days of young Frankie (Lucas Haas) delivering papers in his idyllic hometown. We see that Frankie lives with his Father (the great Alex Rocco) and his brother, first generation Italian grandparents.

At school, Frankie is the teacher’s pet, helps her carry her books to her car, and she lets him read his little horror stories to the class (funny scene with the kids, not exactly mean-spirited, but real kids who are excited about things) and this causes some of his classmates to dislike him. Frankie is pranked by two boys who throw his ski mask on the top shelf in the cloak room. They tell him its cold outside and he might need it later. Frankie goes back in the school and gets locked in by those classmates, who found the teachers key.

While inside the cloak room, some very strange things happen to Frankie. He dreams of his mother, her funeral, and feels the grief over her death. Then he sees the ghost of a little girl. The little girl is playing with a rubber ball and it bounces away from her into a drain. She begins talking to someone invisible to Frankie, then she sings the Bing Crosby song,  hauntingly. Then she is strangled by the invisible person. Afterwards, the person materializes and they see Frankie. The person begins to strangle Frankie. Frankie survives and the janitor is arrested.

Frankie recovers and reads in the newspaper that there were eleven other children before him. He also learns the name of the little girl that was murdered. They become friends and Frankie decides to help her by solving the mystery. I’m not going to tell you anymore about the story because if I do, it might spoil it for you. 

This movie reminds the viewer of how it is to be a kid. No matter what decade, what year, there will always be legends, urban myths, and of course, ghosts.  Some of you out there might find this film too sentimental, or not enough gore in it. You don’t need it for this kind of film, just the uneasy feeling of dread will do.

Frank LA Loggia wrote, directed, produced, and even composed the music for this film. Obviously a multi-talented guy. So why didn’t he do more? I found one other interview with him and he said he had such a bad time trying to be director for hire, he decided to drop out of film making. Interesting note he raise the money himself as a penny stock.

  I haven’t actually been able to find much on him.  I saw where he is the director of a film called Fear no evil in 19981. Which I have never seen. From this interview (2011) he has raised money to make a musical. I have to say good luck, I’m sure it will be great quality.  

I know this movie was a labor of love and the town in it is based on his hometown and the viewer can see how lovingly he shot the locations. The script is tight, even if some scenes are a bit corny, but who says corny is bad? I know one thing, when LA Loggia turns his attentions to the hauntings, they are some of the creepiest I have ever seen. I know the film didn’t make much money, and I guess that could kill a career in tinsel town. Or maybe LA Loggia had other things he wanted to try. I think it’s a shame the movie isn’t remembered better. The film was first released on video by virgin, later by Anchor Bay in 1993. On DVD as a director’s cut on Elite entertainment in 1998. MGM released a version in 2005 with deleted scenes and commentary by LA Loggia.

If you haven’t seen this film, look for it so you can find out who the killer is and what happened next to Frankie Scarlatti.

Lady in White 1988


Full Movie

A Name by Mark Slade

A Name by Mark Slade

Dana Grossman of 52 Fork Rd., raised a crooked finger to the phone book and touched a name with her long, jagged black fingernail. She smiled, her crooked teeth extended over her discolored bottom lip. 

“Peterson, Alva… 32 Lorre Street…” Mrs. Grossman paused, sniffed the putrid air that circulated in her dim apartment. Very little sun crept in through the molded blinds. From the far wall of her kitchen to her desk, where she always sat, were old dusty books piled nearly to the ceiling. “I think Mr. Peterson should have very bad bowel movements for next year and a half.”

She stood, her bones creaking with every movement and carried herself slowly to her black cauldron that sat upon her kitchen counter. The hump on her back moved up and down under her black tattered dress. She looked inside her cauldron and grunted. She reached inside her cupboard and took a tiny gray mouse from its trap. It squirmed in her gnarly hands until she sliced open its throat with a long, skinny razor blade.

The blood from the mouse dribbled in the cauldron into a white murky liquid, causing a slight flash and smoke rose and fell as she spoke in very bad Latin. 

“Ah,” She said to herself. “That should take care of him.” She slowly walked back to her desk to pick out another name.

The doorbell rang. Mrs. Grossman cursed under her breath. “It better not be those horrible Calladi children,” Her heavy black boots pounded the floorboards hard, still not reaching the door any faster. “I’ll cook and eat every one of their fat little bodies and pick my teeth with their bones.”

She looked through the peephole. She saw a tall dark haired woman dressed in a business suit, her hair pulled tightly back and very white clear skin. It was her daughter Clarissa. The door opened quickly. A hand grabbed Clarissa and pulled her inside the apartment. She winced as she whirled inside, knocking a few books over, losing a high heel in the process. 

“Get in!” Mrs. Grossman screamed in a hoarse voice.

“Mother!” Clarissa cried out. “What are you doing?!”

Mrs. Grossman was looking through the peephole, mumbling to herself.

“Mother!” Clarissa found her left heel and sat in a chair filled with musty books. She carefully placed her foot in and stamped against the floorboards.

“Oh. Hello, Clarissa. I don’t want those horrible children near my door.”

“God, are you still terrorizing those poor innocent children,” Clarissa crossed her legs. “You could get into terrible trouble.

“Those are not good, kindly children who help the elderly across the road,” Mrs. Grossman ran her black fingernails through her stringy white hair. “I’m telling you, Clarissa. Those are little demon-spawns.”

“Then they should be right at home with you,” Clarissa picked up a book entitled Ferrah’s Daemonology: How To Entice And Enslave The Modern Demon. “Still dabbling in the a-cult there, Mother?” 

“Occult!” Mrs. Grossman snapped. “And yes… and yes it’s just as real as that accounting job you have.”

“Hey, I didn’t say giving people curses wasn’t. And I like my job. It took me a long time to be head accountant.”

Mrs. Grossman took a few steps past her daughter. “You meant it was silly. Would like some tea?”

“Well, it is that. Wait….do you still keep mice in your cupboard?” Clarissa raised an eyebrow.

“Of course I do!”  Mrs. Grossman dragged her boots across the floorboards, causing an unpleasant sound inside Clarissa’s already aching head.

“No thank you, Mother.” She made a face at the thought of mice and different bugs crawling over her Mother’s food in the kitchen.

“I’m having some anyway. What brings you here today, Clarissa?” Mrs. Grossman called from the kitchen. “It’s not Saturday. You never visit on a weekday.”

 Clarissa shrugged. “I’ve come to bring your glasses,” She took out a pair of silver coke-bottle frames from her purse.

Mrs. Grossman returned to the living room knocking over a stack of books. In her hands was a cup of black, murky tea as thick as mud. “There’s nothing wrong with my eyes,” She sulked. Her upper lip curled up. “My eyes—”

“Are terrible, Mother, and you know it. Last month Dr. Sheridan told you your eyesight was one of the reasons for your fall. That’s why I bought you these.” Clarissa stood and bounced toward her Mother’s desk, placed them on the phone book. Clarissa’s face fell.

“Oh no!” She quickly turned to Mrs. Grossman. “You’re using Aunt Della’s phone book again, are you?”

“Look, Clarissa, don’t give me any speeches.” Mrs. Grossman looked troubled, more wrinkles crossed her brow.

“Mother… I found you hovering in a dark corner without your clothes on last year blubbering about that book trying to kill you. I thought I burned it.”

“You can’t destroy it,” Mrs. Grossman giggled, slightly off a note.

“I know, I know,” Clarissa threw her arms up. “Once you use the book, you have to keep doing it’s bidding.”

“I guess I never should have taken it at her wake thirty-five years ago… but I was so eaten up with getting revenge on your Father. He ruined us. Took all the money he made with the Syrup Company. Left us for that woman—”

“Yes, Mother. It happened. And we made it out okay. You raised me perfectly. With the exception of mistrust of men… Mother?” Clarissa lowered her perfectly drawn eyebrows, puzzled.

“Yes?” Mrs. Grossman barely took herself from the thoughts of yesteryear.

“You copied this name from the phone book?”  Clarissa picked a yellow notepad. She showed it to her Mother.

“Yeah, so what?”

“The name you wrote down is not Alva Peterson, but Alan Patterson of 42 Shore Street. God, Mother! Use the damn glasses if your gonna do this stupid curse thing!” Clarissa slammed the notepad back on the desk and picked up her purse.

“Where are you going?” Mrs. Grossman whined. 

“I’m late getting back work. I only came on my lunch.” She rushed to the door, opened it.

“I love you, Clarissa,” Mrs. Grossman said.

“I know you do, Mother,” Clarissa turned to her, thought a moment, smiled. “I love you, too. I’ll try to come over Saturday.”

Mrs. Grossman smiled back, her rotting teeth were like barbwire on fence posts. “Be careful out there, darling.”

“Bye, Mother.” Clarissa closed the door, and she was gone.

Mrs. Grossman had to quickly get her mind back on her work. She went to her desk, sat down. She picked up her glasses, mulled over what Clarissa had said. She threw them in her trash can. “Nothing wrong with my eyes,” She scoffed. 

She took a crooked finger and flipped through several pages of the phone book. She heard a voice moan. “All right, all right,” She said to the phone book. “A name is coming up… Daniele Gestling… 25 Fredrick’s Rd… hmm…let’s stop her heart.”

She checked off the name by underlining it with black marker. Then copied it on her notepad.

She went to cauldron on her kitchen counter. From her cupboard, Mrs. Grossman removed a jar of crushed wasps and poured half them into the white, murky liquid. The cauldron sizzled, then bubbled up. 

Mrs. Grossman dropped the jar of crushed wasps. It shattered into a thousand pieces under her feet. She clutched her chest with her gnarly and stopped breathing just as she fell to the tiled floor of her kitchen.

In the phone book, a name underlined with black marker, was Dana Grossman of 52 Fork Rd.

A Bubbling Pot on a Stove


Be Careful What Your Wish For by Thomas M Malafarina

Be Careful What You Wish For

By Thomas M. Malafarina

“Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”


“The only suitable gift for the man who has everything is your deepest sympathy.”

Imogene Fey

“Protect me from what I want.”

Jenny Holzer

It had been yet another in a seemingly endless series of monotonous days, a day just like every other boring day of late, and Stephen had become frustrated beyond his ability to reason. He had had enough of walking about aimlessly with no destination, plan, rhyme, or reason. Was this truly to be how he would spend the rest of his natural life? He felt as if he might lose his mind and scream with insanity just thinking about how miserable his life had become. It consisted of the same old tiring routines day after day, week after week, for low these many years. 

This was all the more frustrating because Stephen knew he had enough money to completely control every aspect of his life, much more so than most people. Nonetheless, he continued to trudge along with the same mundane daily routine without deviation. Although Stephen hated his life, he did nothing to try to change it because he knew it was of his own making, and emotionally, he could no longer change anything. An outside observer might say he had everything, but Stephen knew, in reality, he had nothing, at least nothing that mattered to him any longer.

Stephen had fallen into an exceptionally deep pit of depression, having no idea how he might dig himself out and no longer caring if he ever did. He had been depressed several times over the years, but it seemed much worse this time. The creeping bouts of malaise had slowly begun several years earlier, shortly after it had all happened after his pitifully bad luck had done an abrupt about-face, that is to say, at least from an economic standpoint.  

Now Stephen had the kind of financial good fortune most people only dreamed of. He had never even imagined having such vast amounts of money. However, he knew if he could be granted just one wish, that is to say, one more wish, it would be for everything to return to the way it had once been, and all of what he now possessed would simply go away. But Stephen knew there would be no more wishes for him; those days were long gone. If he were going to find a way out of this miserable pit of despair, he would have to do so of his own volition. 

However, Stephen understood that he had to come up with some means to put some sort of distraction or excitement into his life; something new; something to stimulate him; even if that was out of his control and potentially dangerous. He needed to find some activity that might alter his normal mind-numbing practices, any sort of change whatsoever.

Stephen no longer worried about death or injury; his luck was much too good to allow something as trivial as physical injury to occur. He had tried all of the most hazardous activities he could think of, from mountain climbing to sky diving, to bungee jumping to walking down a dark alley with one-hundred-dollar bills hanging out of his pockets, but he realized his good luck would not allow him to be hurt. 

During one of his past bouts of depression, he had considered trying to commit suicide, but he instinctively knew no matter how hard he tried, he would never succeed; his good fortune simply would not permit it. He was destined to live a long and healthy life of great wealth, a life he no longer wanted.

As he stepped onto his enormous mansion’s elaborate brick and stone porch, Stephen thought about all he had acquired and lost and how foolish and naïve he had been. God, he missed his wife and daughter so much, and no matter how much money or good fortune came his way, it would never even begin to make up for their loss. 

He inserted his key into the lock on the finely hand-crafted front door and, with a click, walked into the darkened hallway. He switched on the overhead hall light, which simultaneously turned on a small lamp on the oak hall table. He knew he should have put the table lamp on a timer, but Stephen had no interest in bothering with such things. The dense mist of apathy that had taken over his psyche like a creeping fog of malcontent was most likely responsible. It could also have been that he simply found technology to be more of an annoyance than a benefit. This was also why he could enter the home without hearing the blaring of an alarm system in desperate need of resetting. He didn’t feel like dealing with the hassles of owning such devices. Besides, he knew he had nothing to worry about from any living being, including himself. 

Stephen casually approached the hall table and placed the large grocery bag he was carrying on top of the table, then reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a wrinkled lottery ticket, and laid it next to the bag. He took off his coat and hung it in the hall closet, deciding to walk down the hall, past the living room, and out to his kitchen. Perhaps he could make himself something exciting for dinner. Stephen was not much of a cook, but maybe the distraction might be good. He knew he could simply select any one of hundreds of phone numbers in his smartphone, and he would be able to order whatever he wanted from wherever he chose anytime, day or night. If he so desired, Stephen could hop on a plane and fly to France, Italy, or even China simply to have an interesting meal. His vast stores of money no longer meant anything to him, as neither did life itself. 

“I think that’s about far enough.” Stephen heard a gruff voice say from inside the living room as he attempted to pass by the wide-arched opening. He looked up and saw a trace of shadowed movement from deep within the darkness. A few seconds later, he caught a glimpse of two dark eyes reflected in the light from the hall, along with a flash of something metallic located approximately waist high. 

“A gun.” Stephen thought. “There’s an intruder in my home, and he has a gun.” Yet he remained surprisingly calm as if the sight of a weapon pointed in his direction was a daily occurrence, which of course, it was not. 

It was just that Stephen had realized the intruder, who, although intent on something nefarious, might prove to be exactly what he was looking for; the answer to his unending plight. He tried to see back in the gloom to determine what the prowler might look like but could only see the man’s pale extended hand, the one holding a very menacing-looking pistol. 

“You know.” The mysterious stranger said. “Owning a house like this and not bothering to install a security system is pretty damn stupid, in my opinion.”

Stephen didn’t reply but stood staring into the darkness. The intruder continued. “I could have simply come up behind you and slit your fool throat if I was so inclined. You are either extremely naïve or very stupid. If you hadn’t come home just now, I had every intention of robbing you blind. Oh, and for the record, I still plan to do just that.” Then the robber was suddenly caught off guard when, instead of appearing terrified, Stephen shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t care one way or the other. Stephen stood quietly for a few more moments before shaking his head as if disbelieving the strange situation he now found himself in. And then, to make matters worse, Stephen chuckled aloud, apparently unable to control himself.

“I don’t see what you find so funny.” The stranger said with rising indignation and a significant amount of confusion. “In case you haven’t noticed, I have a gun here, Einstein, and that means I hold your life in my hands and can end it at any time I choose with the simple pull of this trigger.” Stephen was perfectly aware of the severity of his situation, but the intruder didn’t realize that this entire situation was exactly what Stephen had found so oddly amusing. 

After a few more moments of silence, Stephen finally decided to speak up and said with surprising calm, “Yes, I see your gun. And yes, I can also see it’s pointed directly at me. But I think I need to let you in on a little secret. If you truly believe you hold my life in your hands, then you are sadly mistaken, my friend, because you do not. However, if it makes you happy to believe in such fairy tales, then go right ahead and shoot.” Then Stephen waited for a beat expecting to hear the crack of gunfire, feigning nonchalance while hoping against hope that his amazing luck would suddenly fail him, he would be shot, and finally, he could once again be reunited with his family. But there was no gunshot. 

Although Stephen couldn’t see the man’s face, he was certain he must have worn an expression of utter astonishment at this last audacious statement. After all, what sort of madman would boldly suggest to someone pointing a gun at him that the attacker should pull the trigger? But Stephen knew things, many things which the intruder did not. And even without that knowledge, Stephen was fairly certain the man was not even an experience burglar and certain by the man’s actions so far, he was not a murderer by nature. Had the intruder been so inclined, he would have already knocked Stephen unconscious or killed him rather than stopping him and issuing what Stephen was certain was an idle threat. 

“No, I didn’t think so. I don’t believe you’re a killer, my new mysterious friend.” Stephen said, now standing in a surprisingly relaxed pose as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

“Look, buddy. The man replied nervously, growing more nervous, “I’m not your friggin’ friend. And maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m not a killer; at least I may not have been a killer when I walked in here, but that don’t mean I can’t become one.” Although the man was still hidden in the shadows, Stephen could see by the way the gun was fidgeting in the reflective light that the man was getting anxious and uncomfortable. “Look… I’m a very desperate man… and desperate men have been known to do things they might not normally consider… especially if they are pushed too far. And for your information, you are beginning to push me too far.”

Stephen said, “Although you may not believe it, I honestly do know where you’re coming from, and I understand your situation completely.” 

The man menacingly waved his gun and replied with frustration, “Understand? Understand? How in the hell could you possibly understand what I’m going through? Look at this place. It’s a mansion, a friggin’ palace. You’re obviously filthy rich, and you want for nothing, while every day for me is a struggle just to try to survive.”

Stephen insisted, “Look, despite outward appearances, I understand more than you realize. And I can empathize with you. Please, allow me to help you. Just tell me what happened to you to drive you to this. And considering that you plan on robbing me anyway and have already threatened my life once, I think you owe me that much. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“What? Agree? Are you insane? I don’t owe you a damned thing.” The man shouted, “I’m here to take your money, and that’s all you need to know. That, and the fact that if you don’t tell me where you have hidden your cash, I’m gonna splatter your guts all over the wall.” He lifted the gun shakily and shouted, “And don’t think for one second that I won’t do it either!”

Stephen tried again to reason with the man using a calm voice, “Easy now, my friend. I intend to give you everything you want, possibly even more than you anticipated. All right? For starters, why don’t you come over here and look in this grocery bag? You can have everything inside if you want it. Go ahead. Take a look. It’s all yours.”

“What? Groceries?” The man screamed. “I’m not here to beg for food, you idiot, and I’m not looking for your charity either. I am here to rob you… R. O. B. Rob! So, give me your money. NOW!”

“Well then,” Stephen replied, still sounding strangely calm. “Then take a look inside the bag, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Furiously, the man waved his gun, ordering Stephen to step aside. Then forgetting himself, the robber stepped out from the shadows, and Stephen got a good look at him for the first time. He was a tall, thin, relatively good-looking man with dark hair and surprisingly intelligent eyes. Stephen had expected a thug or, at the very least, some sort of street-smart tough guy. But what he saw before him was someone who was very much like he had once been. The man was inexperienced in his newly chosen profession. Stephen was suddenly excited at the potential the man offered him. This man really could be the answer to all of his prayers.

Keeping the gun trained on Stephen, the robber slowly approached the large paper sack and quickly peeked inside, immediately turning his attention to Stephen. Then he did a double-take, looked back into the bag, and for a moment froze with amazement, his eyes growing wide with disbelief. The hand holding the gun began to tremble slightly, and for a moment, Stephen worried it might accidentally go off. Then realizing the absurdity of his worry, he brushed the thought aside. 

“What the hell!” The man shouted. “What is all this? Some kind of joke? The bag is full of money. There must be several thousand bucks in cash in here.”

“Yeah. I know.” Stephen replied. “Based on experience, I would say maybe twenty or thirty grand give or take a few.”

The burglar, whose real name was Thomas Stewart, stared at Stephen for a moment with perplexity, then recognition appeared on his face. He thought to himself, “Oh… Yeah… Now I think I get what’s going on here. This guy isn’t just some rich a-hole who inherited a ton of money. He’s a thief, a crook just like me.” Then just as quickly, Thomas realized that if his would-be victim was a robber, he was much more successful at the trade than Thomas had been so far. The house was incredible, so there must be more to the man than he had originally assumed.

Keeping his gun trained on Stephen, Thomas asked, “So what did you do, rob a bank or what?”

Stephen realized the intruder had misunderstood and mistaken him for a fellow criminal. He laughed, “I didn’t rob anyone. I found the bag along the highway, just as you see it there.”

Thomas would not fall for such a preposterous lie, “Yeah. Right. Do you mean to try to tell me that you were walking down the street and found a grocery bag full of cash? Just like that!” Thomas snapped his fingers to accentuate his statement. “What do you take me for, some kind of idiot? Nobody has that kind of good luck.”

“I do,” Stephen replied matter-of-factly. “I have that sort of amazing financial luck all the time. Do you see that lottery ticket I found?”

Thomas looked down at the crumpled ticket. “Yeah, I see it. What about it?”

Stephen replied, “Well, I also found that while I was out walking. And although you interrupted me before I had time to check the website, I’d be willing to bet it is a winner, not just a winner but a really big one.”

“Uh-huh!” Thomas replied with disbelief, “You must take me for a real chump, expecting me to believe this load of crap you’re shoveling. Do you know the odds of anyone winning big on the lottery, let alone winning with some wrinkled-up old discarded ticket you found along the road?”

“The odds are probably astronomical.” Stephen admitted, “Nonetheless, I guarantee the ticket will be a major winner. That’s just the way things work for me.”

 “Look. I don’t know exactly what your story is, my friend, but you said you were a desperate man,” Stephen continued. “Once, I, too, was an equally desperate man. Now I have all of this. But I’m going to venture a guess at your current situation. I suspect you once were a fairly successful upper-middle-class professional earning a good living. Then the economy went bad, you lost your job, and you either lost your home or are about to lose it. How am I doing so far?” 

Thomas looked at Stephen with shocked surprise, wondering how this stranger could have possibly gotten his story so correct. He had never met the man before, but somehow, he knew about his job loss and the fact that the bank was about to foreclose on his home. Thomas could not reply, so he just stood staring slack-jawed at Stephen and slowly nodded in agreement. 

“I would also speculate that you have a wife and family, and although your wife has stood by you so far, things are getting rough on the home front,” Stephen said. “And you’re afraid if you lose your home, your wife will leave you and most likely take the kids with her.”

This was all so bizarre. Thomas had no idea how this man, with his oddly confident manner, could know so much about his life.  

Stephen continued. “Yep. I think I nailed your situation down perfectly. And although I know you may find this hard to believe, just a few years ago, I was in the same boat as you were, or perhaps sinking ship might be a better description, then everything changed for me overnight.”

Finally, Thomas found his voice and asked, “Overnight? Not possible! What do you expect me to believe? That you found a magic lamp with a Genie who granted you three wishes? What sort of fool do you take me for?”

“Well. It was not exactly like that but something along those lines.” Stephen said. “I was like you. I had a wife and daughter, but I had lost my job and could not find another. The bill collectors were banging on my door and ringing my phone off the hook. The bank was about to take my home.”

“Alright.” Thomas said, “Suppose I buy into your cockamamie story. Where did all of this come from?” Thomas waved his arm to indicate the opulent surroundings of Stephen’s home. 

Stephen replied, “Someone offered me the opportunity to change my financial luck, and I took it. This was the result. And if you think you’d like to have what I have and more, I can arrange that for you as well.”

“And why in the hell would you want to do that for someone like me who came here to rob you?” Thomas asked suspiciously. “What is this, some kind of con? Is it some ridiculous get-rich pyramid scheme? Look, buddy, I’ve been approached by all these types before, and I’m not about to fall for such crap and head down that particular road to ruin.”

“I assure you,” Stephen said. “It’s not a scheme or business. And although it may seem like I’m doing you a favor, I guarantee my reasons are purely selfish; I am doing this only for myself. You probably won’t believe me, but the truth is that I am tired of all of this. When I was in trouble like you were, I thought money would bring me happiness, but it has not. All it has brought me is sorrow.” Stephen said. “You and everyone else might think I should be the happiest man alive, but I’m far from it. So, the only way for me to truly change my life is to get someone like yourself to voluntarily take my place.”

Thomas asked, “Take your place? What is that supposed to mean?”

Stephen explained, “All this amazing good fortune can only belong to one person at a time. Before me, it belonged to another man, and before him, someone else. I have no idea how far back in time it goes, but I suspect centuries. The important thing is that I have it now and am offering it to you.”

Thomas once again looked perplexed and said, “This is insane. But just assume for a minute that I’m desperate enough to be willing to play along with you. How in the hell do you propose making this supposed good luck transfer happen?”

“It’s quite simple, really.” Stephen said, “All you have to do is ask me. If you just tell me you wish you could have all the luck I currently possess and all the money you could ever need, and I agree, then it will be yours. What will happen is that good fortune will leave my body and go into yours. And from that moment on, you will never want money again. But you have to be sure this is really what you want. And I must warn you to be very careful what you wish for because you just might get it, as I did.”

Thomas was sure this stranger was out of his mind, some kind of rich eccentric wacko. And what was that last cryptic statement supposed to mean? “Be careful what you wish for?” What was that all about? The guy was some kind of nut job, Thomas was certain. But as he said earlier, he was a desperate man, and desperate men tend to do things they normally would never previously have considered. So, he decided to play along with the lunatic. The worst-case scenario was he might get some cash out of the deal. “Not that it matters to me, but what is supposed to happen to you if I make this wish and take away all of your good fortunes? What will become of you?”

Stephen said, “That’s a good question. Here’s how it works. When you make your wish, all of my luck will become yours. When the transfer is complete, this house and everything in it will be yours. I’ll simply leave, and you will never see me again.”

“Wait a minute! Hold your horses! I get this now.” Thomas said distrustfully. “You’re trying to con me into letting you go. Then as soon as you walk out that door, you’ll go around the corner and call the cops. They’ll bust in here a few minutes later and haul my sorry butt off the jail. Well, fat chance, buddy! If you honestly think I’m going to let you walk out the front door like that, then you’re crazier than I thought.” Thomas raised the gun and pointed it straight at Stephen’s chest. 

Stephen never flinched or showed the slightest sign of fear. Instead, he said, “Then I suppose I have to prove it to you. I have to convince you that what I am saying is true. What do you suppose the odds are of a bullet missing me from your current distance?”

“What?” Thomas again asked, caught off guard, “What the hell are you saying? From this distance, a blind man wouldn’t miss. Are you telling me you want me to shoot you from this point-blank range? Are you suicidal or what?”

“No, not really,” Stephen said. “I have to admit, at one time, I was but no longer. I also believe even at this proximity, if you shot at me, you wouldn’t hit me. You have no idea how powerful all of this is. Look, I realize you don’t consider yourself the murdering kind, but I assure you that you won’t harm me if you pull that trigger.”

Thomas said, “Ok. Wait a minute here. Maybe you’re just out of your friggin’ mind or something. I don’t know. But I have no intention of killing you unless I have no other choice. So I’m not about to pull this trigger just because you say so, ok? How’s about this… why don’t I just take this bag of money and leave?” Things were getting way too weird for Thomas, and his gut told him to get out of Dodge and pronto. 

Stephen retorted, “If you think that will satisfy you, then please just take the bag and go. And feel free to take the lottery ticket as well. But I don’t think that will be enough for you; I suspect you want more. And if you do want more, so much more, then I have a better idea. All you have to do is tell me that you wish you had all my luck, and I was left with none. If you do, all the riches you ever imagined will be yours. But the key is, you can’t just say the words; you have to mean them.”

For a moment, Thomas stood silently, staring at Stephen as if studying his expression for signs of deception. There were none. Thomas thought, “This guy believes everything he is saying. In his mind, he thinks he’s telling me the truth.” Then Thomas suddenly realized that it didn’t matter whether he believed in wishes or good luck himself because the man standing in front of him most certainly did. And what that meant to Thomas was that if he could convince this strange man that he believed what Stephen was saying and that he would accept Steven’s proposition, then the madman really might be crazy enough to sign over his house and all of his money to him. Thomas decided to do his best to gain the man’s confidence. 

“What is your name?” Thomas asked Stephen, figuring that was as good of a place as any to start. 

“Stephen.” The man replied, “Stephen Albright is my name. And yours? If I may ask.”

Thomas hesitated for a moment, then decided to be honest with Stephen. If he was going to pull this off, he had to be truthful. He said, “My name is Thomas Stewart.”

Stephen said, “Very well, Thomas Stewart. May I assume you are considering taking me up on my offer? Are you ready to assume my place and claim your financial fortune?”

“I am,” Thomas replied, but still somewhat warily. He was playing all of this interaction by ear, and since he had never dealt with a crazy person before, he had no idea what might happen next. There was also something so very odd about how this Stephen character was in such a hurry to give away his fortune that, for the first time, Thomas began to feel apprehensive about everything. Although he was not prone to superstition, something felt not quite right about all of this. He thought of something his father had once told him, “Tommy, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

But Thomas needed to believe Stephen was nothing more than an eccentric crackpot. And since Thomas still held the gun and had it pointed directly at Stephen, there was little the man could do to harm him. Yet he felt something was still a bit wrong with the entire situation. All sorts of internal alarms seemed to go off at once, warning Thomas to grab the bag of money and flee. But Thomas was certain these feelings were unfounded, and he decided, why should he settle for a bag of money when he could have it all? This crazy man was offering him a whole new lease on life.

“Ok.” Thomas acknowledged, then asked, “What should I do? I mean… how do I make all of this happen?” He didn’t want to screw up what could be a very sweet deal.

“Stephen explained, “Just say aloud that you wish you had all of the luck I currently have and that I would no longer have any of it. It’s as simple as that. But once again, I have to warn you to make sure you really mean what you are saying and that deep down in the very pit of your soul, this is really what you want.”

Thomas realized such a declaration would not be a problem for him because he and his family had been struggling just to stay afloat for so many years. Things had gotten about as bad as he felt they could ever get, so bad that he had stooped so low as to try to rob Stephen’s home. He even realized that if it had become necessary, he could have murdered the man; shot him in cold blood. That was exactly how bad things had become. Thomas loved his wife and family and would do anything in his power to help them. He would have sold his soul to the devil if it meant helping his family. So unbelievable as it might be, what Stephen offered could be the last chance he had to save his family.

“Yes,” Thomas said. “I’ll do it.” He braced himself for what he was certain would prove to be a major letdown, took a deep breath, and said, “I want what you have. I want all the luck you possess to leave your body and come into mine. I want your riches. I want your good fortune. And I want you to have none of it any longer.”

For a second or so, nothing seemed to happen. Then slowly, Thomas noticed a sparkling white vapor seeping from Stephen’s body as if every pore of his flesh was emitting the haze. Soon a cloud-like fog hovered above Stephen’s head, and he seemed to swoon a bit on his feet as if the strength had been sucked out of him, and he looked as if he might pass out.

Then the sparkling mist slowly traveled between the men and surrounded Thomas’s body. He felt his skin tingle and the hair on his arms seemed to stand on end as if he were in the middle of an atmosphere charged with electromagnetic energy. Next, the vapors entered his own body through his pores and he became filled with a strange, satisfying warmth.

Thomas could see Stephen standing across the room watching him, watching the spectacle with calm reservation and what appeared to be a look of relief as if he had been somehow freed from some horrible curse rather than having just given away a fortune. Once again, Thomas began to sense a deep discomfort in the pit of his stomach, as if all of this perceived good luck might suddenly go very bad.

After a few moments, the tingling of his flesh stopped, as did the deep heat he felt inside. Those sensations were replaced with a sudden euphoria, the likes of which Thomas had never experienced before. His previous thoughts of concern vanished amid all of his happiness. Thomas realized he had never felt so strong, positive, and self-assured in his entire life. He believed he could do no wrong as if anything he ever attempted would be successful and every thought he would ever have would be deemed a pure genius. Thomas could not comprehend why Stephen would have ever become tired of such feelings or why he would have willingly given up the incredible sensations. He felt as if he was on top of the world. 

“Open the top drawer of the hall table,” Stephen said, still sounding a bit weak from the ordeal. “There are some documents in there for you.”

Still, under the positive influence of his newfound euphoria, Thomas didn’t even question why there might be anything in this house specifically meant for him. Instead, he opened the drawer and withdrew what appeared to be a large legal document and several smaller documents. 

Stephen said, “That top document is a deed to this house and the surrounding land. There are also copies of all of my active financial accounts and investments, or should I say, your investments now.”

Still stunned, Thomas opened the top document and was astonished to see the name on the cover sheet begin to change right before his eyes. Stephen Albright began to fade and was simultaneously overwritten with his name, Thomas Stewart. As he leafed through the remaining documents, the same thing happened to each of them. His name was now on every single financial certificate. He had seen numbers totaling in the millions flashing by as he skimmed the papers. 

“You mean to say it’s true? All of this? Everything? It’s all mine?” Thomas asked with utter disbelief.

“Yes,” Stephen replied. “Everything, all of the wealth and riches you could ever imagine, will be yours for the rest of your life. That is unless you choose to offer it to someone else, as I have done with you.”

Thomas looked aghast. “And why would I ever want to do that? Just because you were stupid enough to give it all away doesn’t mean I am equally as crazy. This is everything I’ve ever dreamed about all of my life. It’s more wealth than I could spend in several lifetimes. What amazing luck! I’d never give away such an incredible gift. All of my troubles are officially over. My wife, kids, and I will have everything we ever dreamed of. She won’t believe me when I tell her. Speaking of which, I have to call her right now and tell her the good news.”

Stephen said nothing. He just looked knowingly with pity as Thomas tucked his gun behind his back and pulled out a cell phone. Thomas’s face filled with joy at the thought of telling his family of his newfound fortune. But Stephen stood silently, knowing what was about to happen next. 

Some laws governed the universe; some were known by man, others unknown. There were physical laws as well as spiritual and economic laws. One such law, which Stephen knew far too well, stated that there was only so much of everything available, and for everything you chose to get, you must give up something else. If you, for example, had two hours of spare time available and had to decide between going to dinner or a movie, to choose the one, you must sacrifice the other. This rule was one Thomas was sadly about to learn.

“Jenny? It’s me.” Thomas said into the phone. Then after a bit of hesitation, he said. “Excuse me? Who is this? Where’s my wife, and what are you doing with her cell phone?” Then a dark shadow seemed to pass across Thomas’s face, and he replied to the voice on the other end of the line. “Oh my God! Which hospital? Saint Luke’s, you say? I’ll be right there.”

Stephen didn’t ask what the problem was because it didn’t matter what the particular circumstances might be; he understood the result would be the same. He already knew Thomas’s wife and family were dead and that the policeman simply hadn’t wanted to break the news to Thomas over the phone. It was a similar scenario to that which he had been through several years ago when his wife and daughter had been killed within a few seconds of his taking ownership of the very same gift. 

“That … that … was … he said … he was … a … police officer.” Thomas stammered. “He said there was … was … an accident. My wife and kids were injured …” His voice caught in his throat. “… and they are on their way to the hospital by ambulance. I had better get right over there.”

“If you feel you must,” Stephen said. 

“Of course, I must!” Thomas shouted. “It’s my family, for Christ’s sake. They’ve been injured. They need me.”

Stephen said, “You mean they needed you. And you weren’t there because you were here claiming the most important thing in your life; money.”

Thomas said, “How dare you! Screw you, Stephen. You know that’s not true. I was only here trying to secure my family’s future.”

“And it appears you did just that. Now your family has no future.” Stephen said. “I might as well tell you there’s no need to hurry to the hospital. It won’t do any good. By the time you get there, they will all be dead if they aren’t dead already.”

Thomas looked confused, “What? How … how can you pretend to know that? What the hell are you talking about?”

Stephen said, “Remember I warned you to be careful what you wished for. But apparently, you were so busy thinking about all the money you’d have that you didn’t think things through. I understand completely because, as I said, I, too, was once as desperate as you are.”

“But this … this thing … was supposed to bring me good fortune.” Thomas pleaded, “And now you tell me my family is dead. What kind of good luck is that?”

Stephen said, “A simple law of the universe is that you can’t have everything. For each thing you choose to have, you either voluntarily or involuntarily choose to give up something else. And you have made your choice.”

Thomas asked tearfully, “Are you trying to tell me I caused this to happen to my family by choosing to make one stupid wish?”

Stephen said, “I promised you that you would have more money than you could ever spend, and you would never have to worry about being injured and killed for all of your natural life. I said you would live a long, healthy life and someday die of natural causes as a very old, wealthy man. That is what this particular good fortune is about. And now you have all of those things.”

“But my wife and my children! How can they be dead?” Thomas shouted as best as his sobbing voice would permit. “What good is all the money in the world if everyone I love is dead?”

“That might have been a good question to ask earlier. I tried to warn you to be careful.” Stephen repeated, “But you didn’t. And now what was mine is yours.” Then Stephen slowly turned to leave.

Thomas shouted, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” He reached around his back and brought out the pistol, pointing it menacingly at Stephen. 

Stephen replied, “I told you before I was going to leave, and so now, I’m going to do just that. You have what you came here for, and now I’m going to try and start a new life, and maybe if I am truly lucky, I will find some semblance of true happiness before I die.”

“You bastard! You knew this would happen!” Thomas said accusingly, “you said you had a family once. They probably also died because of this horrible wish, this curse. You tricked me into this devil’s bargain, and now I’m all alone in the world.” He began to sob uncontrollably. “It’s all your fault! Don’t you dare move another step closer to that door or so help me, God, I will shoot you!”

“I’m truly sorry about your family.” Stephen said, “As I was sorry about my own. I’ve hated myself every day since I made the same bargain you just made, and I’m quite certain you will be wallowing in misery for many years to come. But that’s no longer my problem. It’s yours. So if you will excuse me, I will be leaving. So, unless you are truly prepared to shoot me, I suggest you just accept your good fortune and make the best of it.”

Thomas shouted with insane rage, “Die, you bastard!” Then he pulled the trigger, and the room echoed with the deafening blast from his handgun. Stephen was slammed against the wall as the bullet entered his stomach. He involuntarily reached down to where he had been shot, and his hands came away covered with the blood pouring from his wound. 

To Thomas’s shock, Stephen didn’t cry out or look like he was in any pain whatsoever. It looked to Thomas as if the man was happy; he had just been mortally wounded, evident by the expression of satisfaction Stephen had on his dying face. 

“You … you … wanted me to shoot you,” Thomas said. “That was your plan all along. Oh my God, you wanted to die and got me to kill you. You played me the whole time.” 

Stephen seemed to be staring out into space as if seeing and smiling at something or someone invisible to Thomas. Then he slid down the wall landing on his backside on the floor, still sitting and staring joyfully at the same seemingly empty space. 

Thomas dropped the gun to the floor, then fell to his knees and buried his face in his hands, allowing the tears to flow freely. He had been desperate and greedy and had not listened to the warnings his subconscious had been giving him. He had been a fool. He now had all the money he could ever imagine, yet like Stephen, he had nothing. He stared at the bloody corpse of Stephen Albright and mumbled, “Be careful what you wish for… you just might get it.”

Man in Hospital Hallway
Decoy Without Warning Album Review from Lucy Hall

Decoy Without Warning Album Review

By Lucy Hall

If a listener is drawn in immediately, then you know that Decoy has done their job well concerning their latest album, “Without Warning.” Whether by chance or by careful planning the intros and outros for this album are amazing. It was something that stood out to me. The track list contains some of the catchiest introductions of all time. Every single song on the album began with riff or synth patterns that intrigued me and built suspense to draw me into each one. Every well-produced outro was a satisfying conclusion to the hard rock intensity built up in the song’s timeline which keep me engaged, and left me lingering and wanting more. These patterns made the album flow for me. 

Decoy is the brainchild of veteran rockers, singer Peter Sundell (C.O.P., Ex-Grand Illusion) and guitarist and songwriter Torben Enevoldsen (Fate, Acacia Avenue). The band produced its debut album Call of The Wild in 2007, following the release Torben and Peter went on to work on other projects. Fifteen years later Decoy has unleashed a powerful and long-awaited follow-up album that fans have been anticipating. The new album features Pete Steincke (Fate) on bass and Dennis Hansen (Acacia Avenue, Section A) on drums.

The tracklist consists of eleven melodic hard rockers with a touch of classic rock. The rich, layered sound, heavy melodic hooks, catchy sing-along choruses, and Peter Sundell’s powerful voice instantly hooked me as a listener. The album is full of both fast-paced hard rockers, anthem-worthy songs, and pop-influenced up-tempo grooves. 

I enjoyed “Without Warning” and “Reach Out.” I felt that both were epic, adventurous songs with soaring vocals, and great guitar solos, and they have a power metal edge to them which I loved. Other highlights for me were “We Live, We Learn” which is an upbeat anthem with catchy guitar riffs, and iconic keyboards that drive the song forward with its melodic chorus. “All or Nothing” is another noteworthy song I enjoyed that displayed Enevoldsen’s impressive guitar work.

It is evident that Decoy has not lost its edge. This is evidenced by their ability to continue to produce well-crafted, memorable songs, and the fact that they still possess that superior musicianship and powerhouse production quality. After, fifteen years they are still hitting listeners right between the ears with their top-notch brand of melodic hard rock. Buyers will not be disappointed; every song is awesome and has been well worth the wait. So, do not waste another single second! Pick up the album today from Perris Records. 

Perris Records Official Site:

All tour dates are listed daily at Decoy Official Facebook:

Official Band Site:

Maladjusted Cartoons: Where Housing Developments Come From

Maladjusted Cartoons Where Housing Developments Come From
Stephen Kings Desperation Movie Review from Buttonface

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

Stephen King’s Desperation: A Movie Review


When an old god is dug up in the desert, it’s up to several groups of unrelated travelers to ban together and put his ass back in the ground.

Buttonface Says:

The movie is based on Stephen King’s novel Desperation, which was published in 1996. I was 20 at the time and got the book in a set with the pseudonymous, The Regulators, written by King’s previous nom de plume, Richard Bachman. I was super excited by this because, oddly enough for the year, I was introduced to Richard Bachman before Stephen King.

My mom was an English teacher and aspiring writer and several of the rooms in my house looked like their own little libraries. When I first fell in love with horror in my pre-tweens my mom grabbed The Bachman Books off the shelf and told me to give it a try.

Stephen Kings The Bachman Books

King used the pen name Richard Bachman for several reasons. One reason was to publish more than one book per year. His publisher had the policy of only releasing one book a year from each author, a practice that was not uncommon at the time. By publishing some of his work under a pseudonym, he was able to release more books without diluting his brand. By 1977, the release of the first book attributed to Bachman, King had already released Carrie (1974), ‘Salem’s Lot (1975), and The Shining (1977).

King also used the Bachman pseudonym as a way to experiment with different writing styles and explore more unconventional ideas. By writing under a different name, King was able to distance himself from his more mainstream work and take more creative risks without expectations. He’s said that he enjoyed the challenge of writing under a pseudonym and the freedom it gave him to “test the limits” of his writing.

Prior to this 1996 box set release of The Regulators and Desperation, King, as Bachman, only released four novellas and one novel. The four novellas were the ones given to me in the Bachman Books, and the lone novel was Thinner, a book we all ascribe to Stephen King today.

Novellas in The Bachman Books:

Rage The Bachman Books

Rage (1977) is a psychological horror story follows high school student Charlie Decker, who becomes increasingly frustrated and angry with the people around him. He begins to lash out in violent ways. After a series of confrontations with classmates, teachers, and school administrators, Charlie holds his classmates captive in their classroom and demands to be heard. Rage ended up being eerily similar to several school hostage situations that came years later, but that’s a whole article unto itself. 

The Long Walk The Bachman Books

The Long Walk (1979) is a science fiction story set in a dystopian future in which young men are selected to participate in an annual event called “The Long Walk”. The event is a grueling marathon-style walk from Maine to Florida that tests the endurance and will of its participants. The rules of the walk are simple: walkers must maintain a speed of at least four miles per hour, and anyone who falls below that speed is shot

Roadwork The Bachman Books

Roadwork (1981) is a post-apocalyptic story that follows a man named Barton as he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his home, wife, and son. He tries to navigate a world that has been ravaged by a series of disasters, including a nuclear war and a devastating plague. As Dawes struggles to survive, he is forced to confront his own inner demons and dark secrets.

The Running Man The Bachman Books

The Running Man (1982) novella is set in a dystopian future where a man is forced to participate in a brutal game show called “The Running Man.” In the game, contestants are hunted by professional killers. As he struggles to survive, he must also confront the corruption and cynicism of the society that values entertainment above all else.

Needless to say, I loved The Bachman Books, and I loved both The Regulators and Desperation when they came out, with Desperation definitely being my favorite of the pair.

Richard Bachman The Regulators
Stephen King Desperation

Desperation and The Regulators are “spiritual siblings.” They have some similar elements, but are not closely related enough to be a sequel or some sort of reboot. But, there is enough there for fans of either book to enjoy the other (Tak).

Stephen Kings Desperation Movie Review TAK

King has described Desperation as a darker novel than some of his other works, and noted that it was inspired in part by his own experiences driving through the desert. He also said that the novel was influenced by his interest in the concept of evil and the nature of faith, and that he wanted to explore these themes through the characters’ experiences.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, King described Desperation as one of his scariest novels and said that he enjoyed writing it because it allowed him to “confront the darkness” and explore “darker corners” of his imagination.

He was right! And, if there is such a thing as a great TV movie, this great book was turned into one. 

First off, I’m a sucker for a big hole. In fact this movie has a great hodgepodge of things I find mysterious and potentially terrifying. Like the desert and desert animals, cops in general, being locked in the back of a police cruiser, a big ass creepy hole in the ground.

The desert is always great because it fulfills one of the necessary components of a horror film, an isolated group. A lot of horror films fail because they never explain why people don’t just run away, but when you know there is nothing out there for hundreds of miles, that fulfills the isolation requirement pretty good.

I do have a sociological question about Stephen King and TV movies. Is this life imitating art or art imitating life? Did he define the tv movie and miniseries? All TV movies seem to have the same pacing and the same style with one key difference, they tend to be better if they are based on Stephen King. In fact, my favorite TV movie of all time is one that King wrote as just a TV script called, Storm of the Century. If you have an answer send you fan mail to wherever I get fan mail at. While we’re at it, there’s another sociological Stephen King TV-movie question to address in future articles. This one pertains to the ‘90s only: “What’s up with all the chicks on TV in the ‘90s having red hair and green eyes?” Do you know how few people have red hair and green eyes? Every female star in the ‘90s apparently.

I remember falling in love with the book right away. Unlike most King books it opens quickly and picks up pace from there. Most of his stories start with several chapters explaining how the protagonist feels and describes some small town in main. The first line of this book is something like, “Ew Gross” as a girl sees a cat stuck to a speed limit sign, and the movie ain’t far off.

The opening line and face of the flick is actress Annabeth Gish. You’ll likely know her as Agent Monica Reyes from later years of The X-files. I’m a fan of Agent Reyes, is that something I should be ashamed of. I always thought she was a looker, even though there is something inherently soccer-momish about her, but soccer mom’s need love too… respectful platonic love, of course.

Stephen Kings Desperation Buttonface

One thing that Stephen King can do, and does in Desperation, is make me interested in the lore of Christianity. I find mythologies and belief systems interesting. Everything from ancient lore, to satanism, to old religions from the far side of the world. But I have an issue with Christianity. Outside of possession movies, it’s hard for me to get wrapped up in the lore of Christianity. Perhaps it’s just too close to home, too right in my own neighborhood and believed as fantasy for me to also believe as fantasy. So there are very few stories that are able to capture my interest from that angle. There’s Desperation and a few other King stories, C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, maybe others.

One part I found a little weird was the mom’s apprehension to the Christianity. I’m a pretty secular guy, down right agnostic if pressed, and my daughter ended up being very Christian and involved with the church. I guess my point is that I dont see what that fucking lady’s problem is? Maybe it’s an undefined Tak thing, it has been years since I read it. I mean I get it her daughter was just killed, but Jesus lady, get your shit together. I do appreciate a freaking-out character in my movies. Most good movies have one and I’m sure it’s hard to write and harder to act. So, maybe I need to get my shit together and give the lady a break.

It has lots of things that I think most horror, and movie fans in general, enjoy. Cops have a great horror quality. The idea of authority in the middle of nowhere is terrifying; especially authority with Ron Pearlman’s face. Personally, I have a fear of dogs, and that is well covered. For those that find old silent films and broken projectors creepy, there’s a bit of that. Of course there are spiders, snakes, demons, skin conditions with an air of rotting body horror, and dark warehouses. I’m impressed he fit so much cool stuff into one story.

Stephen Kings Desperation Sherif

While, I appreciate the whole “these crazy hicks are gonna fuck us or eat us” schtick, its getting a little played out. I realize this came out in 2006 and was written in 1996 and a lot has happened since, so let’s take that into consideration, shall we:

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • High Tension (2003)
  • Dead End (I) (2003)
  • Wrong Turn (I) (2003)
  • The Locals (2003)
  • House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
  • Wolf Creek (2005)
  • The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
  • Rest Stop (2006)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
  • Hatchet (2006)
  • And a whole lot more!

On a political level, it’s funny how back in 2006 they were playing up the red state vs blue state divide. There’s a great quote from Ron Pearlman as the town sheriff saying, “Do you understand your rights? Do you or not? Answer me, you smart-aleck blue-state unisex swingles!”

Now, I know a lot of people are probably concerned that it is a made-for-tv movie. The directing is definitely made-for-TV, but they did try, to some success, to put in interesting shots like dutch angles and odd close-ups that helped up the tension. The cast is also definitely a TV cast, but they sure got the cream of the crop of TV actors.

Anabelle Gish and Ron Pearlman would be enough to carry a decent flick for me, but they also had Tom Skerritt (also from King’s The Dead Zone), Steven Weber (from Wings and King’s TV movie version of The Shining), Charles Durning (nominated for two Academy Awards), Matt Frewer (Freakin’ Max Headroom ad was also good in Eureka! and Watchmen), and Henry Thomas (Who played Elliot in E.T. and played the perfect bartender in Doctor Sleep).

Stephen Kings Desperation Tom Skerritt
Stephen Kings Desperation Group of Travelers

Notice how there aren’t many great women actors listed? I wonder why that is? Think deep on it, those who feel there were always great roles for chicks in the past, there weren’t. Fewer great roles means fewer noticeable great actors. But, I don’t blame King for this. In fact, I don’t really blame anybody. The world was fucked up then and the world is fucked up now, the only goal is to try to make it a little better when we depart.

Stephen King finds awesome ways to deliver fun, scary and interesting lore about some weird and sometimes downright silly shit… and I love him for it. I don’t want to give the plot away, so I will give away the plot to IT as an example. IT is about a bunch of loser kids that defeat an interdimensional space clown through the power of friendship, oh yeah and the space clown is really three lights in a spider disguise. Enjoy Desperation, it really does bring the made-for-TV movie to the highest art form it’s capable of achieving.

More on cogitations on 1996’s Desperation:

  • Who doesn’t love a movie with Tom Skarrett? (Other than Poison Ivy)
  • I did read this book before I saw Super Troopers, but I unfortunately saw this movie after I’d seen Super Troopers. Mew. I mean Tak.
  • You know you are sucked in when a movie has you believing in magic soap from God as a plot point.
  • The Bachman novella The Running Man inspired the Paul Michael Glaser film. King didn’t want his name on the credits, and insisted the credit go to Richard Bachman.
  • King used his Bachman persona as a kickoff point in his book The Dark Half where a writer’s darker pseudonym takes over.
  • Most of the filming took place in Bisbee, Arizona, in the nearly deserted Lowell borough.
  • During off-set filming in Tucson, a set caught fire and five people were injured. The fire destroyed all production gear and equipment.
  • Desperation was originally intended as a two-part miniseries, but aired in its entirety on May 23, 2006 on ABC, after a red-carpet premiere screening at Tucson’s historic Fox Theatre.
  • ABC aired Desperation at the same time as Fox’s American Idol, which pissed King off. Desperation got 7.5 million viewers, while American Idol had 12 million (and it was the second night of the season finale) ouch.
  • I realize that everybody might be getting sick of this world of prequels, but what happened to all the people of Desperation and how they were used up is a story I’d like to hear.
  • It’s one of the few good movies you can watch on YouTube for free, so there’s that.
  • Tak a lah!
Stephen Kings Desperation Movie Review


Full Movie

The Rogue Brainchild

The Rogue Brainchild

By Chauncey Haworth

Deborah Oakdale woke in her bed in a panic, her vivid dream burnt into her waking memory. A dream of being caught in a grave as mangled, dirtied and bloodied arms reached out to her; a dream she’d been having often lately. She peeled her sweat soaked nightgown from her chest, swung her legs to the side of the bed, and sat there as she rested her head in her damp, trembling hands.

Deborah ‘s parents owned Oakdale Cemetery and it was here Debbie had grown up. But, even through all the funerals in the fields, wakes in the chapel,  and corpses in the preparation room, never once had she been scared of the bodies. Sure, she hated them for what they’d done to her life. They’d made her a social pariah at times and at others kept her away from fun to deal with the family business of death, but she had never been scared before. But when that grave opened up and she fell in, she felt like she was being pulled in, like the old dead in the east field knew she hated them, and they hated her in return. Like, they wanted her to feel the way they felt, nothing and to be nothing. Years she had helped her mother and father transport the bodies, passed bodies while they played in the old parsonage, but now, the thought of seeing one again felt like it would be the end. She felt like she was running and to put herself within their grasp again would give up the game. Give up her ghost, to theirs.

The past couple of days had been a nightmare. A few days ago her parents found her unconscious from screaming in a triple stacked grave in the east field. In the early 1900s a massive fire at Pierson’s Flouring Mill had killed so many that their bodies were buried three deep out in the east field. An unfortunate long-term side effect of this was unstable ground, which Debbie had discovered when stepping on one and falling neck deep into the sinkhole of deteriorated wood and decayed bodies. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, she then had to be babied and fawned over the whole time, forced to repeatedly tell her parents she was fine, and she was fine, right? Other than the dreams she was fine. God the dreams. All night long, she dreamed of corpses and zombies and graves. Her parents had relieved her of her duties until today. They had done it out of concern for her physical well being, she had appreciated it because she hoped to never again visit the east side of the cemetery.

She put on a robe to cover her nightgown that was practically transparent with dampness, and went downstairs. She walked into the kitchen

“Good morning sleepyhead,” her mother said.

“Mornin’,” she mumbled back. On the table was a pretty good spread. Too good of a spread.

“Why all the food?”  Debbie asked.

“Today is the life celebration for the Trumbleson family. I wanted to make sure that you and dad were all filled up and ready for work. Do you think that you can manage today?” Her mother’s tone switched to concern.

“Shit… and yes.” Debbie Said. She knew today was important. It was a big funeral and a local one. The Trumbleson family was a fairly big name in town, with many factions in all sorts of things from construction to law to politics. This celebration was for George and Bradley Trumbleson, the first being an operations manager at the mine, and the latter being his teenage son. The two had been found dead in their home of apparent heart attacks. Maybe not too shocking for George, but a total mystery for Bradley.

“Shit? Why shit?” Debbie’s mom asked.

Debbie lied to smooth things over. “Just tired is all, I’ll be okay.”

“Well eat up, I’ll go get your father.”

Deboah sat down at the table, a fresh made breakfast in front of her. Eggs, bacon, ham, potatoes, everything anyone could desire. But she didn’t desire any of it. She forked the yolks as they bled neon yellow across the plate, soaking the ham and bacon in their flow.

Her mom called down the stairs. “Hurry up honey, we need to start getting prepped.”

Debbie quickly took the food from her plate up to the sink and shoved it down the garbage disposal side and sat back down.

Her mom returned. “Oh, have you finished already? Do you want more?”

“No thanks mom, I’m already full. I better get ready”

“Okay honey. Black and white today as usual.”

“I know mom, like this is my first funeral.”

“It’s a life celebration, Deborah”

“Whatever, I know, sorry.”

Deborah returned upstairs to shower and change. Once she was in the bathroom she removed the robe and peeled the still wet nightgown from her body. Looking at herself in the mirror she noticed that she’d lost weight, but what was she supposed to do, are you supposed to eat if you’re not hungry. She noted her ribs sticking out from her sides. She grabbed her breasts and popped them up. At least her breasts weren’t losing weight. “Ribs and tits,” she thought, maybe she had a future in modeling once she was away from this hellhole. She got in the shower and took all the time she wanted, she felt she deserved it.

After, dressed in a white shirt with black skirt, socks and shoes she no longer felt like being a model was in her future. She wondered to herself if it was more healthy to feel confident with clothes on or off, and then decided that she wasn’t exactly dying to be seen either way. Today she didn’t have a choice. She may hate this place and her role at it, but she knew that the mortuary life was not her parents first choice either. She knew that they were all doing the best they could. Being filled with so much hate for this place, it wasn’t easy for her not to direct it at her parents, but she normally did a pretty good job of it.

She watched herself in the mirror as she forced a smile onto her face. It looked realistic, so she was ready. She heard chatter and directions from out the window, no doubt her mom bossing her dad around in the yard about decor and flowers. She headed down the stairs. As she came to the front door she paused. She again took inventory, Black, white, smile, I got this.

Debbie stepped out on the porch to see what she thought she would. Her mother yelling lovingly, but still yelling, at her father and pointing in random directions. Kids see more than parents think they do. Over Debbie’s seventeen years she’d watched her parents. Their most common fight was over working together. Her mother had everything figured out, could track every issue, track every item and thing that needed tracking. Her father would forget everything, but still do all he was told with a smile on his face. On the flipside, her mother was stressed and overwhelmed by all the bullshit in her head and her father was always there to try his best to alleviate it. It still ended in a fight sometimes, not often but sometimes. Debbie wondered if they saw what she saw, a pair of people that did a pretty good job of supporting one another and made mistakes along the way.

Her mother noticed her standing there. “Honey, what are you doing? We need your help. Would you go down to the undercroft at the parsonage and grab some more chairs?”

“How many?”

“How many can you carry?”

“Four,” Debbie grunted.

“Then, four,” her mom mocked.

With a roll of her eyes Debbie headed to the parsonage. Her parents did what most business owners did, get in character when being businessy. An undercroft was a churchy name for a basement and the basement at the parsonage did not deserve such a fancy title. It was basically a mop closet at the bottom of some stairs. But, her mom liked to play up the history of the mortuary.

As she walked across the ground she couldn’t help but to think of what might be beneath her. She tried to put it out of her mind. The return to the attitude she had before the east field, before falling in the hole of bones. Death was death, and fear was fear, and while the two may be connected by people, they were not connected in reality. But still, under every footfall she imagined an echo spreading through the ground, alerting the dead to her location, letting them know where her next step would land, making it easy for them to spring their next trap.

Debbie knew she was moving slow, too slow, slow enough to garner her parents attention. She looked back. They were distracted in their usual prep bickering. She sped up just in case. She moved quickly across the grass, the blades sweeping beneath her black mary janes, the black soles digging into the damp ground with each step just to be plucked from the sunken indentation with each stride, leaving a trail, a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to her. Sunken holes for the residents of sunken graves.

The last two feet to the deck of the parsonage was practically a leap. She felt relief as her heavy soles landed on the wooden refuge. Debbie reached out and grabbed the door handle. It was cold to the touch and she paused for a second as she processed the fear she’d built up. Why was she being so foolish? She stared at the brass knob in her hand, its mix of black and tarnish swirling before her, her receding panic slowing the swirl to a stop.

“Deb, Hurry up, we need those chairs!” She heard her mom yell from in front of the church.

She turned the knob and opened the door. The lights were out. She traced the wall for the switch, starting about a foot too high, she slid her hand down until her fingers found it in the darkness. She flipped the light on. What was once the living room of the parsonage had been converted to an office. Surrounding her were several desks with stacks of papers. She assumed that the papers were unsigned death certificates. Her mom complained about how hard it was to get doctors to sign death certificates.

She made her way across the room, winding around boxes, papers, desks and chairs, the typical mess that a family owned business was buried in. When she came to the door at the dark end of the room she stopped. She stopped, her arms hanging limply at her sides as she stared at it. Her entire field of vision was taken up by that door, the door. The door to the preparation room. She felt cold again. She felt the fear again. She felt like she was a fool again. How long was this going to last? She only fell in a damn hole. Why was this bothering her so much? Why did it bother her to begin with? Sure, falling in a hole is startling, but this is getting ridiculous. She reached down to the lever shaped doorknob and rested her hand on it.The weight of her hand started to drop the lever, she flexed her arm to stop it.

“I am going to open this door,” she thought to herself. She pushed the lever down a little further, stopping again. “I will open this damn door,” ran through her mind again. She pushed the lever until it wouldn’t go any further and the door latched and popped open, but only an inch.

Through the cracked door was only darkness. She rallied her strength and opened the door fully.

Again she had to find the lightswitch. Again her muscles knew exactly where the switch was. The light sprung on. Darkness immediately washed away as the situation went from imagined nothing to immediate everything. The walls with framed diplomas and recognitions, the sinks with their polished steel and shining faucets, the lights with their fluorescent buzz and offensive glare, the stainless steel tables with their twisted reflections and draping white cloths, cloths that covered bodies. The bodies of George and Bradley Trumbleson were still in here! She could smell the chemicals, she could smell the bleach, they had been embalmed, but the bodies were still here, in the room with her, right in front of her, blocking the path between her and those fucking chairs! Debbie froze.

Nothing moved in the room but, to Debbie it felt like the room was spinning. One of her hands was still on the handle and one on the switch, both hands clamped down on the item they were closest to. SHe clutched the switch and handle for deer life as her feet gave way, the jelly beneath her that was once legs barely holding her up. The fluorescent lights flickered as her panicked eyes did the same, causing a throbbing in her eyes and mind. She did the best she could. Why?  Why should it be so hard to get a few chairs? She closed her eyes and breathed. Slowly, her body tried to speed up but she forced it back to a measured pace.

She calmed herself. “You are okay. They are dead. Not in a scary way, but in a sensible way. They were alive. They were probably good people that wanted to still be alive, but shit happens and we are all sad that shit happened to them, but they are not here any longer.

Her premeditated breathing slowly became her natural breathing. She opened her eyes. The room was the same, sinks, fluorescent light, stainless steel tables and two bodies, but the fear had subsided. She released her grip from the switch and knob.

In front of her were two bodies, the dead unmoving two bodies, and beyond that? Beyond that was the door to the undercroft, the basement, the door to the fucking chairs! Whatever the fuck its called! Debbie took another deep breath and started her trek across the room

She put one foot in front of the other, looking down so as to only see the white tile and black grout. Each tile was about half a foot, the door was about thirty feet away, that’s sixty tiles. She stayed focused on the tiles, arms out to stabilize her stress-waning weight.

Halfway across the room she felt a common feeling on her finger tips. A feeling that would normally cause her little grief but a feeling that in this moment filled her with dread, sent tingle through her body, made her want to run, made her heart beat into her throat, she felt the gentle scrape of cotton on her fingertip, she felt one of the sheets.

She stopped in her tracks, her world started to spin again. The once uniform geometric shapes of the white tiles and black grout turned to parabolas and hyperbolas, the black and white tiles blinding her with their starkness. She was touching a body. Her legs turned to jelly and she fell to the cold tiled floor, slipping her way to a sitting position. With her back against cold metal drawers she looked up at the table, the fluorescent lights flickering beyond. Her eyes felt like they were in seizure, her body felt paralyzed, but her mind was clear, she could think clearly, she could see what she saw and what she saw was the body under the cotton sheet rolling over, rolling toward her.  Fucking moving!

As the corpse moved, the sheet peeled away revealing the face of the young, dead, Bradly Trumbleson, his mouth gaped open, his eyes rolled back into his head like consciousness was gone and death pulled the strings. The dead body flopped to its side, gravity flinging one arm over the table to hang right in her face. But that was no longer the strongest fear, the fear had been knocked down a peg, the fear of dead bodies was no longer the immediate concern, the new fear to fear was the black blood, the black goo, the black slime that dripped from the mouth of the body of the once Bradly Trumbleson.

At first it came in slow drips, thick and chunky, flowing out of the corpse’s mouth with the help of its own weight. But soon it poured with purpose, impossible amounts of black ooze, ooze being retched in waves from the mouth, splattering on the white tile with black goop, splashing up and hitting Debbie in the face. The pool of slime grew, it reflected no light, it was blackness incarnate, darkness realized. The pool sled around the floor of the preparation room. Deborah tried with what little strength she had to move her body but she slipped and slide in the muck and ooze around her. The ooze started to absorb into her black skirt and black socks, making their blackness blacker. The ooze crept up her body, her fear holding her, keeping her from getting to her feet, from running away, from finding somebody to help her, if only somebody would help her.

The blackness started to spread across her shirt, turning the white to coal black, the wet liquid reflecting no light as it crept its way up her body. It slid across her stomach, across her model ribs and breasts. It didn’t care, it had one goal. It made its way up her neck and into her mouth, silencing her scream.

It was an hour before her parents found her. They found her on the floor of the pristine preparation room. No moved bodies, no black ooze, just one catatonic girl, breathing, but unmoving, with a frozen look of fear on her face.

Artist ST Gately

Interview with Artist, S.T. Gately

S.T. Gately is a Massachusetts-based 2D visual artist and educator with over two decades of experience in creating and teaching art. 

Gately's wide-reaching style can be both serious and whimsical, ranging from realistic animal portraiture to colorful abstracts. Influenced by religious art and street art, Gately's aesthetic style is ruled by line, creating works that are both traditional and rebellious in their use of subject, medium, and style.

Gately has exhibited in both solo and group shows throughout the New England area, and their artwork can be found in various locations, including the Mill District Gallery, Bistro 63 in Amherst, Quality Creations in Williamsburg, and the LAVA Center in Greenfield. As a former K-6 Art Teacher, Gately is also available for commissions and has a passion for inspiring artists of all ages and abilities to use the visual arts for creative expression.test
Artist ST Gately

What was the first thing you remember drawing?

I remember my father sitting down with me and showing me how to create tight contour lines around the letters of my name. Repeating the shapes over and over until it filled the paper. We used rainbow colors. He also showed me how to break up space with lines and shapes and to fill each shape with contrasting colors.  That was my first lesson in creating abstract art. I think I was three or four? My Father is not an artist or an art teacher, but I utilize those skills in my work and in my teaching. For many years, I ignored the visual arts, believing I had no talent or ability, despite driving a van around in my teen years in which I would allow strangers and friends to paint. I even led a mural revolt in my high school day student lounge and a similar one in our college lounge but didn’t believe I had any real talent or ability. It wasn’t until my first year in college did I start really paying attention to my need to express myself in the visual arts and placed value on my talents.

What inspired you to be an artist? 

I wasn’t so much inspired to be an artist but it’s more like a compulsive addiction. It does not really seem like a choice to me.

Growing up, I engaged in a lot of theater, dance and music, but as I grew older, I felt more introverted and chose to express myself visually. It felt emotionally safer.

I lived with a lot of visual artists my first year in college and I think that had a big influence on me. They taught me some skills, but mainly I just could not stop painting.

We had illegally painted our common space lounge and we were about to have a meeting about how the school was going to charge everyone on the hall, even the people who didn’t participate. I was still drawing on the walls and they had to yell at me to stop.

The next year, I used oil paint for my room window, which is toxic and it caused the widow to crack, but it looked beautiful.

I’m that same artist, unable to stop unless threatened and even then….it’s debatable whether I can actually stop.

I forget who said this, but it’s something like “stop waiting around for inspiration and just put in the work.” I rarely feel “inspired”, I am usually just trying to work and evolve.

Inspiration is a bonus, not a necessity.

Is it hard to get noticed these days?

There are a few ways to get noticed, online or at local art events. Online you are competing with thousands of artists, so much so, that they seem to have started supporting each other to stimulate the algorithm. I have done a lot of gallery group shows, solo shows at restaurants, libraries, even universities. No matter what, those types of shows cost money to apply, and money to invest in your setup and time and energy. I am an artist with physical challenges, it’s not easy for me to drag all my work to a spot, set up, sit for 10 hours and break down all by myself. Usually, I don’t even break even on my application investment. Maybe I haven’t found the right venues? Most of my sales have come from friends and family or word of mouth. I get more buzz and clients from a posted photo of me going to an art show in which I was featured, than the actual show where no one showed up. I started applying to be in shows just because it looks good online, but that was before the pandemic. I am severely immunocompromised and most recently went through a year of treatment for kidney disease, so I’m not really out and about these days. Not that I was before, since I was working as a full time elementary art teacher and have chronic inflammatory arthritis in all my major joints. I really need an assistant, but I am not making enough money to support myself, I can’t afford a helper. Also, although I want my art to communicate a message and be seen, I guess my goal is not to “get noticed”, which implies notoriety or fame? I just wanna sell art and have it be valued by the client….and even if I don’t sell, it’s great if my art speaks to people at all.

Artist ST Gately I Don_t Recognize Myself, Part IV Crown of Tears, Mixed Media on Canvas

What artist inspires you the most?  

I really like Hannah Faith Yata. Her subject matter is so original and fantastical and her skills are beyond “on point”. I love that her work is so large as well. It’s not so much inspiration as admiration. I also really like Kehinde Wiley, Remedios Varos, Egon Schiele, Lucien Freud, Alma Woodsey, Jenny Saville and Friedensreiche Hundertwaser But, I get a lot of inspiration looking at religious art from multiple cultures as well as street art. I am very interested in the intersection between what is considered sacred and what is considered profane. I am constantly trying to blend these styles in my work. I see myself as bastardizing both genres. I create street art styles on canvas, rather than in public, so that neither genre can claim me as their own. I use street art materials such as paint markers, and mix up my supplies, but I use Galkyd, a fine art oil painting medium. I use these things in a different way for which they were intended. Galkyd is supposed to be used in small batches or glazes of oil paint and layered thinly over time to create colors that could not be created any other way….but I used it to prep my canvases into having a smooth, glass/mirror like surface, so that my paint markers are not absorbed and I am not throwing money down the drain. 

Artist ST Gately Space Travelin_ Pig, 8.5x11, Mixed Media on Paper, 2022, Available for Purchase and Print

What painting are you proudest of?

I know it’s silly but I am most proud of a pumpkin carving I did of an owl. I am not the most adept sculptor, but after I finished that piece, I felt like I could truly call myself an artist….after almost twenty years of practicing the visual arts.

It’s not necessarily my best piece, but it made me feel accomplished. The details were time consuming, and it turned out better than I expected. Usually, my work does not turn out the way I want and I feel as if I am settling, but this was smooth like butter. (featured below)

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

Where I live has a major impact on my mood. I have created despite my location, and I am unsure whether my art would have shifted otherwise. I lived in the city for the past fifteen years and most recently I moved to a rural area. I think what affects the tone of my art more than anything is my career as an art teacher. Recently, due to illness, I resigned from being a teacher after almost twenty years of being in the education field. For the last eight years, I worked in a basement classroom with no windows or proper ventilation, teaching hundreds of students every week. Rarely, during the school year, did I have the energy to make my own art.

Artist ST Gately The Sleeping Kitty, 9x12, Mixed Media on Paper, 2021, Sold, Prints Available

So, when Summer rolled around and people were going on vacation and engaging in outdoor activities, I have been wildly content to be at my easel plugging away at my latest piece. I think a lot of my work reflects my feelings about being trapped in an unfit environment in which I am not valued as highly as I should be. Since I moved, the tone of my art has changed, but I think that is due to coping with illness. As a result of being very sick, I was creating more lighthearted work, throwback 80’s stuff from my childhood that makes me smile. Trying to stay upbeat in my work helped me get through all the terrible side effects of the treatment.

For a while there, I was so sick and so busy moving, there was no art making. I go through several month periods, sometimes ten month periods without making art….but since I resigned and have not been working a regular job, I have been able to make art more regularly and that is what has really shifted. Although I fear for my financial future, I am pleased that now I can focus more on more important parts of my life, like caring for my handicapped Mother and spending time with my partner.

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

It’s funny that I became an art teacher because I don’t like going to formal fine art classes. That’s why in my classroom, we did a lot of mixed media and focused on learning art history and art basics. I have found most of my formal art classes to reek of elitism. I do not like to have a constraining assignment. I create my own assignments. I am my own teacher. I create assignments for which I am interested. I have always preferred to provide my own structure. When I was teaching, I strived to be the art teacher I wish I had growing up….

Artist ST Gately The Bighorn Sheep, 36x48, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2015, Sold

Where do you think the world of visual arts culture will be like in ten years?

I really have no idea. I am not really interested in the world of fine art per se. I am much more interested in individual artists, doing their thing and making incredible work. That’s one way in which social media is amazing. Fine Art galleries are exclusive, but Instagram shows all and gives access to almost anyone. That’s the thing about street art that I value most: access. Every person should be able to access and create art. The exclusivity and snobbery surrounding it is nauseating. I should not have to pay money to go to a museum to see some amazing art, not to say that an artist should not be rightfully compensated for their work, but art should not be kept under wraps of a gallery or a museum. It is my hope that in ten years artists will be more highly valued members of society, although I feel like the likelihood of that is somewhat nil, given the direction in which human intelligence has gone in the last five years. 

Artist ST Gately Painting

What was the oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to do in your visual arts career? A specific commission for a client?

I don’t really get a lot of “odd” commissions. Many of my clients request a specific animal or idea and give me freedom to create what I want in my own style. I try to incorporate the client’s preferences as much as possible, especially to avoid the client saying they don’t like something and then I have to start again. I learned the hard way about that….no, so far, I think my personal life is much weirder than my art career, but I guess that’s something to look forward to?

What projects are you working on now?

I am currently taking my works on paper and adhering them to canvas to make them hangable. I have been using oil-based paint markers to draw my own frames. As I said before, I am not really into formalized ways of presenting art, so I don’t want to invest in traditional frames. Glass in frames is a liability,  they scuff easily in transportation and break in shipping. Creating a drawn “frame” has allowed my work to become more than what they were on paper.

More specifically, over the last six months, I created a series of illustrations based on popular cartoon and childhood figures from the 80’s, giving them my own spin, but mainly I was just trying to cheer myself up while still flexing my drawing skills. Even more recently, I started a series of mixed media work titled “I Don’t Recognize Myself”. With the kidney disease, I was treated with high dose steroids which caused so many side effects including hallucinations, weight gain, my voice changing…I have a list that fills about two pages….It’s one thing to not feel like yourself, it’s another when you stop looking and sounding like yourself as well. This new series addresses the isolation, pain, and alienation I have felt as a result of the treatment. Only in the past month, when I have tapered down to a manageable dose, have I been cohesive enough to express myself visually about this experience.

Last, I have been doing this series of dried/pressed flowers, painted with acrylic on canvas. I got the gardening bug a few years back and although cut bouquets of flowers are beautiful, they aren’t eco-friendly…I don’t like the idea of the bouquet’s life being in vain, so I have saved any cut flowers I have received, dried and pressed them and then adhered them to canvas with Galkyd and painted them with metallic and pearlescent paints. The process creates an abstract texture, and it preserves the nature that would have been just thrown away.

Artist ST Gately Bouquet III, Dried Pressed Flowers and Acrylic Paint on Canvas

I am hoping to put all these pieces together into two or more solo exhibitions in my area, but I still have a lot to do to be fully ready to apply for solo shows. Honestly, I would rather sell out of work before I get the chance to show it in public, because as I stated earlier, I feel like actual shows are not really money makers. It’s more like, if potential clients see that you have been accepted by a gallery or institution they feel as if you are worthy enough to invest. But, I know my work is worthy enough for an investment and the hard work/time/money of putting a show together isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I mainly want to participate in local shows so I can meet other artists and become more known in my area. Only most recently have I been feeling almost good enough to do that…

Artist ST Gately

Pin-up: Anastasia

Where are you from? What is your background?

I’m originally from a small town in the Scottish Highlands but am currently based in Dundee with Marvelesque Cabaret. Crazy to think I’ve been with them now for nearly 4 years! If you could describe me and my acts in a few words it would be: classically sultry with a very witchy inclination!

What inspired you to get into burlesque?

I joined when I moved away from my small hometown, wanting to grow and develop as my own person and feel comfortable in my own skin. Burlesque seemed like the perfect way to do this! Even just being able to dance got me into it, as I’ve always loved the idea of performing, but never had the chance to before now.

What about modelling? What inspired you to do Pinup?

I have always been drawn to the more alternative, vintage and glamorous styles, but never felt confident enough to fully embrace it when I was younger. Doing modelling, specifically pinup modelling, lets me do this! I get to explore and embrace my femininity, and feel more confident!

What’s the best thing about being a model in burlesque, and what’s the worst?

The best thing about this whole gig is being able to express who I am and feeling happier about myself! There aren’t many “worst” things about it—I’d say the only thing might be trying to not look too anxious whilst posing still! Just means I need more practice in front of the camera!

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most? 

Recently, I have been finding lots of inspiration from Miss Chrissy Kiss. She has such a strong stage presence that I aspire to have myself one day—not to mention her costumes! Would absolutely want to meet her one day.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I’ve always been involved in different forms of art growing up in some way. Currently, I’m very into creating my own clothes through knitting and sewing, allowing me to make stuff that genuinely is me in both style, fit and colours. I’ve also been looking into pursuing a career in art therapy in the future—if that counts!

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

Definitely! Moving to the city allowed me to open my horizons and let me meet all the other people in Marvelesque. Back home, there weren’t many opportunities like this (not counting Highland dancing). So, I appreciate it a lot! 

What long term goals do you have?

One day I would love to perform in more shows around Scotland or even further afield, because as of right now I have only ever performed in Dundee. I also need to desperately create a solid burlesque wardrobe!

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

Although I haven’t been doing it too long considering a certain pandemic hit right in the middle of it… It has, however, made the accessibility of attending virtual shows and lessons a lot easier for those who may typically be unable to. Hopefully, this will continue on into the future, making this art form and others more present in popular culture. And with it the revival of vintage styles.

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

I’ve had a message come through asking if I was interested in doing women’s wrestling! Definitely the weirdest thing I’ve ever been asked—and I’m not entirely sure why they thought I’d be interested in the first place!

What projects are you working on now?

My most recent project is a new siren-inspired classic act for my next performance alongside Marvelesque. With it comes new choreography and a new costume to design! I also have a few fun photo-shoots lined up for the coming months.

Pin-up: Mama Jin

Where are you from? What is your background?

I live in Dundee, Scotland. I’ve recently celebrated my 10 years of performing burlesque and I’m proud to be the founder of Marvelesque—Burlesque & Cabaret, a body positive burlesque troupe! Run with a wonderful team of directors: the irreplaceable Tequila Diamond, Mell N Dowed and Captain Blair, we hold year-round burlesque shows and photo-shoots and a jam-packed time table of lessons and crafting costume workshops. In my muggle life I trained as a geotechnical engineer but I’m currently studying to move into the medical sector.

What inspired you to get into burlesque?

Burlesque artist and longtime friend Scarlet Carson took me one of her early shows and I was hooked from there! She taught me during my first few burlesque years over in Glasgow. I was struck by a disability in my early twenties and had to take a step back from performing burlesque; I couldn’t stay away for long and decided to create and manage shows until I felt physically and mentally well enough to get back out there myself.

Burlesque has been one of the most influential and uplifting things that I have ever done, it helped me accept my body the way it is and it is my absolute honor to share that with the world; be it performing, instructing, managing or creating.

What about modeling? What inspired you to do Pinup?

Modeling is a really fun transition from burlesque, we have such fabulous and fancy costumes already that it would be a shame not to show them off more! 

Modeling for me feels more like still life burlesque. 

What’s the best thing about being a burlesque artist, and what’s the worst?

The best thing about being a burlesque artist is having an excuse to fill your house with fancy costumes, feather fans, boas and recently a brand new burlesque martini glass that my dad and I designed and made together!

The worst part is probably the sheer amount of glitter that you can never, ever get rid of. Don’t get me wrong, I love glitter, I LIVE for glitter. But there are only so many socks full you can take before the madness sets in.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?  

The artist who inspires me most is Lady Gaga, she’s an incredible creator and performer who has pushed through so much personal and physical struggle to keep doing what she loves and I really respect and admire that.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I have been trying out flower pressing and craft making with scavenged animal bones. I used to make these silly little creepy craft paperweights, my favorite is a resin resting place for Triops that I grew and taxidermized myself after it passed away.

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

I think it has to, probably more than I know. I’ve heard people talk about regional accents in performance style and artistic flair, perhaps my art has a twang of Scotland or Dundee in it too.

What long term goals do you have?

10 years of Marvelesque is the first one, although that’s almost on the horizon now. I’m currently studying for another STEM degree in my spare time, so finishing that. I don’t really mind what other directions life takes me in, it’s been a wicked ride so far and I’ll make the most of it while I’m here. And definitely to get another dog.

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

As someone who has been doing burlesque for 10 years, I’ve been able to watch the slow tide of acceptance for the artistic portrayal of nudity, tease and empowerment. I think and hope that in 10 more years there will be a far greater acceptance and understanding for our and similar art-forms.

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

Run up an outdoor fire escape in only underwear and balloons! 

And yes, of course I did! For the love of the art, right?

What projects are you working on now?

The biggest project we’re currently working on is launching the first ever Dundee Burlesque Festival! Planned for July 8th 2023. We’re going to have performers and instructors from all over the world with a range of performance styles and master classes like Dundee has never seen before. It’s a really exciting project and it’s going to be an amazing festival!

Pin-up: Mandy Frank

Where are you from? What is your background?

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I grew up loving city life. Staying out late with the neighborhood kids, walking to the local movie theater, and playing hide and seek after dark (we called that release).

I now live about an hour south of Pittsburgh, way out in the country. I enjoy long rides on my ATV and bonfires. I also have a lot of room for my 3 classic cars and my old skool Harley.

I grew up a dancer focusing on ballet. I also have a love for acting. My dream was to move to NYC and get a job on broadway, but I wasn’t mature enough when I graduated high school to figure all of that out.
So, I have spent a lot of time teaching dance. I really love teaching dance to children five and under. I also take roles in local theatre productions to scratch my acting itch. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be on broadway!

What inspired you to become a model?

I have always been a lover of all things vintage. I routinely say that I was born in the wrong era. It would have been so kool to live in the ‘50s—the cars, the cloths, the music! I would gladly turn in my iPhone for a trip back to the 1950s.

I am also huge fan of the 1940s/1950s pinup style. So, way back in 2010 I dipped my toe into pinup modeling trying to recreate some of Gil Elvgren‘s and Varga’s images with photographers.

I spent a year or so shooting pinup style photos, but then I took some time off. During that time I thought about entering my first pinup contest, but I couldn’t work up enough courage to enter one.

Then in 2016 or so, I bought my first classic car—a 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe. Having my car got me exposure to the car kulture—car clubs, rockabilly bands, and the pinup community.

I entered my first pinup contest at the Steeltown Shakedown in 2017. That was it, I’ve been hooked ever since. The car kulture and pinup communities are so welcoming and encouraging!

What are the pluses and minuses of modeling?

The pluses far outweigh the minuses. I get to meet a lot of really great people, I’ve made a lot of friends, and I get to encourage those thinking about getting into pinup modeling to take the leap!

I love watching new models learn, grow, and develop their own styles and personas. I really enjoy giving them advice, guidance, and encouragement so that they can be successful.

Pinup modeling has helped me develop confidence that I can use in other areas of my life. Confidence speaking in front of a crowd, confidence in front of a camera, and confidence in dealing with trolls on social media.

Pinup modeling also gives me motivation to eat healthy and stay in shape.

I’d say the biggest minus is the time it takes me to get ready for a shoot or a show. Two hours on hair, an hour or so on makeup, plus the time I spend figuring out my outfit.

I’ve also heard horror stories of creepy photographers taking advantage of models. Fortunately, I’ve never had that problem, but models need to be careful choosing their photographers.

What performer or artist/writer inspires you the most?

Geez… I’d say that it’s too difficult to choose only one. I’ve been inspired by many models, photographers, musicians, dancers, and performers over the years!

It’s difficult not to compare your work to others and say I’m not as good as him/her. But I’ve learned over time that, it’s art, and we all have our own unique style and perspective.

I’ve taken many different ideas and concepts from many different places and used them to shape me into who I have become as a model.

What other areas of art are you involved in?

I grew up a dancer. There’s a special place in my heart for ballet, but I learned all styles: jazz, musical theatre, hip hop, tap, contemporary, and acro. I’m a dance instructor, so dance is still a big part of my life.
I also love the theatre. I attend as many shows as I can and I always love it when I get an opportunity to be part of the cast.

My dance and theatre background have helped me be a better model. I already know about proper body alignment without looking in a mirror. I know how to point my feet and make my legs look longer than they are.

Photographers always tell me they’re happy that they don’t have to pose me!

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

The only impact “where I live” has on the type of art I create is that I’m geographically far from California, Las Vegas, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest. The car and pinup kultures on the west coast are huge. So, my location makes it difficult for me to experience those events live.

With the internet and social media, however, we get exposure to what others are doing all over the country in real time. So, I get creative ideas from seeing what pinups, musicians, car clubs, and car builders are doing from all over the country!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a pinup model?

My advice is “go for it!” The pinup community is so welcoming and it’s full of really great ladies!

I’m proud to be a member of such a great community—where women build each other up, provide advice and guidance (and sometimes safety pins and lipstick), and enjoy each other’s company.

So, go get yourself a vintage pencil skirt, thigh high stockings, a pair of heels, red lipstick, and some victory rolls and sign up for the next contest!

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

It won’t be what I want it to be. I’m sure we’ll continue on the path of digitizing everything!

In my view, I hope it’s influenced by our past. I wish I could walk out in public with victory rolls, and not get stares. I love seeing old vehicles parked on the street. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cool vehicles out now, but none of them are as exciting as the cars from the ‘40s through the ‘70s. I’d also love to see Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Reverend Horton Heat influence the music of tomorrow.

Who knows what it will be like in 10 years? Maybe we will all be walking around in silver space suits, with flying cars, iPhones plugged into our arms, and techno music! But I’m voting for a return to the ‘50s.

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

Hmmmmm… the strangest thing? I’d have to say having an older guy at a car show ask me if he could touch my boobs! That question caught me off guard. I told him maybe at the next show! LOL.

I’ve also had guys ask me for pictures of my feet and to buy my used stockings. Everyone has their own unique interests I guess.

I’m pretty go with the flow, so no ask really offends or surprises me! Oh…you want me to stand on your car, ok! Pose with your goat, sure! Be carried on stage by the lead singer of a band pretending to be dead, yep I’m your girl! (I’ve actually done all of these things).

What projects are you working on now?

I’m always working on something. A few years ago, a good friend and I started the Steel City Rockabella pinup club. We have grown that club to eight members. The Steel City Rockabellas focus on raising money for various charities that help veterans of the armed services. Every summer we pick a new veterans’ charity and spend the summer raising money for it by taking donations and selling t-shirts.

I am also committed to building the car kulture and pinup community. I attend as many car shows and pinup events as I can. I also spend time building my Miss Mandy Frank brand through social media to get more people exposed to the pinup community! TikTok loves the pinup community.

I’m also trying to figure out a way to put on a really big car and motorcycle show event. One of the biggest and best shows in Pittsburgh is no longer. Its absence has left a big void in the car kulture community. So, I’m working on a way to fill that void!

Cover Model: Cherry Zette