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Free to Read in Print

The free to read horror ezine is doing well. We’ve received positive feedback from plenty of readers, and as much as we love it, we wonder if there’s more we could do.

What if we made the free to read ezine into a paperback? Who doesn’t like free books? Imagine Amazon Unlimited but with physical books. Logistics and shipping prevent it from being free, but what if it’s as cheap as possible?

We’re talking cheaper than a value meal at McDonald’s cheap, cheaper than buy 2 get 2 Monster Energy Drink deal. We wish we could make it 99 cents, but shipping makes that an impossible deal. What if we made it $5?

Does that sound like a good deal?

Right now we have a limited number of copies of the September issue on hand. This issue features three gruesome short stories, two articles, and fan mail.

Yeah, you could read it for free by going to

But… if you like to hold what you’re reading in your hands then this is the best way to go.

Hurry and get your copy for $5

Send payment via PayPal and we’ll ship it out next day or as soon as possible.

Now, I hate to say this, but this deal is available for the US only. Shipping to Australia and the UK is too damn high!

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Drama Box

Drama Alert!

People send me their grievances about other people anyway, might as well make a thing of it. Don’t worry, I’ll protect peoples names. No names will be mentioned. The drama would be cross verified though.

Go to Drama Box to send your problem or grievance. It might be read on the Deadman’s Tome podcast, if it’s worth it.


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Would You Adopt Jason?

Old news, but in case you’re not aware. Friday the 13th, the entire franchise, is on pause while Manny Company (production company) and Victor Miller (writer of the original screenplay) battle it out in court. Jason Voorhees lost his mom and his two dads fight over custody for the child support and SSI money that would surely come from it.

I joked about this situation on the Deadman’s Tome podcast with Tim Murr and co-host Becky, and it lead to the question: would you adopt Jason Voorhees?

Of course, we would be talking about child Jason, not fully adult going to space Jason. Think about how you could be the one person to reach out to him. You could be like Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver, struggle to find how to reach this one kid, but when you do, you would be a hero.

Let me know in the comments if you would adopt Jason Voorhees and how you would handle it. I’ll share your comments on the podcast.

Here’s the episode where we talked about the Friday the 13th lawsuit

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DramaAlert! Author Lies, Lies, and Lies Some More


I think I only have myself to blame. After all, I did three podcasts on Nickolaus Pacione, one on Blake Leibel, and another on Will Bernardara. Calling a spade a spade, these episodes were loaded with goss and drama, but focused around specifics. Nickolaus Pacione is a deranged troll that wouldn’t stop stalking, so I had fun with him. Blake Leibel is a psycho that mutilated and killed his girlfriend, and Will B. is a dangerous individual that is probably trying to find ways to target certain people that put restraining orders against him.

I woke up on Saturday, hungover from the countless shots of Jim Beam Bonded, and had received a message from an author that will remain nameless. This author explained in a message that he’s sorry for not coming on the Deadman’s Tome podcast, but his phone was disconnected because his agent did not pay him, and that the agent advised him to not come on the show.

I rolled my eyes and was going to ignore it, but then there was a screenshot of the person he was talking about. Who was this person he claimed was his agent? Well, it is a co-host in training for the Deadman’s Tome podcast. I immediately asked her what the dealio was with this guy to find out that she’s not his agent, she never told him not to come on the show but advised against talking about Nickolaus Pacione as it might come off as petty, and that she paid this guy. Not only did she pay this guy, she paid $800! Mind you, I saw the screen shots of her PayPal account.

Sack of Lies

Lie Number 1: When I confront this author about this, he claimed that he wasn’t even talking about the co-host, yet she was the person in screen shot he sent, and the person that had sent him payments.

Lie Number 2: The author started off by blaming his “agent” of withholding funds, but she paid him. Not only that, but based on the screen shots the request for money and the payments sent are within the same and following month.

Lie Number 3: The author then claimed that his “agent” paid him but only $400. What is this, People’s Court? More than $800 was sent to him, and when approached about that his story changed to that she was late with payments. So why start off with a fucking lie? How am I supposed to believe you now? Am I supposed to take his word for it? The word of liar?

Lie 4: Phone Bill. Even if she was late, how the fuck is it her fault you didn’t pay your phone bill! Pay your damn phone bill!

Messy and Grimy

First off, he blamed his phone being cut off on an agent he doesn’t even have. Instead of taking responsibility and owning to why he can’t pay his bills, he had the nerve to blame someone else that isn’t even his agent, someone that actually did pay him.

Secondly, he pretends like I don’t know who he’s talking about. The person he claimed was his agent was Becky! He wants to pretend that I have no clue who he’s talking about and has to be slimy like a snake around the subject. He thinks he’s playing 4D chess when he’s actually playing checkers with a no king rule.

Third, why does he feel like I even care about this. I don’t. The only reason why I wrote this post is because I invested enough energy to warrant a response. If you can’t make it on the show, then just say you can’t make it. Don’t send me a sack of lies and act like I wouldn’t figure it out. Who the fuck do you think I am?

But it gets better

Now, I learned some things about what this payment was for and it’s very sad and a freaking scam. This author claimed he was a great poet and his “agent” requested his services. The author was hired to edit a book for .10 cents, an author that can’t even make a living off his own material. Let that sink in, an author that can’t even make a living off his own writing wants to edit the works of others. You wouldn’t hire a salesman that can’t sell a car to sell a car, so why would anyone hire an author that can’t produce a book that people want to assist in producing a book that people want?

Charging .10 cents to edit as a struggling writer isn’t bad enough, but he didn’t even edit but made suggestions and recommended books to read. Not even worth the $800, because unless this guy is some poet guru why would you trust what he has to say?

Even Becky agreed that the service wasn’t worth paying for, but the reason she sent the money was because of his financial hardships he would tell her about. I seen those conversations, too.

Closing thoughts

It’s very fucking grimy and low to make false claims about someone, especially when that someone actually did fulfill their end of the bargain. Maybe the fulfillment was later than expected, but that doesn’t give permission to present it as if it hadn’t been fulfilled! That’s just a blatant lie. To have the nerve  to present that lie wrapped in other lies is just so pathetic. I wont name who this person is, but he knows I’m talking about him, and he needs to just think about what he does and how it makes him seem. One’s character is very important, and I know I joke and act like a fool on the Deadman’s Tome podcast, but that’s not business. That’s putting on a show.

Oh, and for those that don’t like I did this. Remember, I didn’t ask for this. He sent me that message and lied about someone behind their back. Where I come from, that’s not tolerated. People like that get made examples of.



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The Medium Hour

Deadman’s Tome is excited to announce a brand new podcast that dives deep into the paranormal by meeting with interesting and brilliant minds in hopes to discover the truth. We present The Medium Hour. A bi-weekly show where your host, Wolf Boy, will explore whether or not certain things are a thing.


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A blend of a old and new blood. A tribute to all of those that have helped Deadman’s Tome throughout the years. Deadman’s Tome ReUnion is collection of grim, chilling stories of reunions gone wrong. We all know the feeling, surrounded by people you don’t really know, yet you’re supposed to, because of flesh and blood. Sometimes, what binds us are secrets, dirty little, horrible secrets of blood shed and buried bodies.



S.J. Budd

Mr. Deadman

James H. Longmore

S. Alessandro Martinez

Rick McQuiston

Tom Gade Olausson

Gary Robbe

Celeste Wilkinson

Mercedes M. Yardley

Get the limited time special edition, a sleek 188 pages with full color interior, or get you digital copy for your amazon kindle or other ereader capable device.



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Conversations this week


The Deadman’s Tome podcast is a live show where guests meet with Mr. Deadman to talk about who they are and what they do.

Monday 9/3/2018 at 9:30PM CST – Ray Garton – The Grand Master of Horror


Wednesday 9/5/2018 at 9:30PM CST – Leo X Robinson – Jesus of Scumburg


Friday 9/7/2018 at 9:30pm CST Deborah Sheldon – The Gym Bunny turned Horror Writer

Catch the new shows here or listen to previous ones.


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Free to Read September Issue 2018


Brand new issue loaded with chilling stories. Seriously, straight out the gate, this issue does not pull any punches. Horse Play is a demented story that works as a gut punch for the beating delivered by the other stories. What is Horse Play? a tale about a good ole country boy with a psychopathic edge.

This issue features:

HORSE PLAY by Amiel Rossin

TAKE A DUMP AND DIE by Marc Shapiro

FRAGMENTS by Derek Muk

Read the issue for free by going here

The free ezine is available in mobi, epub and pdf. download for free at the Deadman’s Tome patreon page.

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September 2018 Meat Grinder Contestants

The all female August 2018 Meat Grinder proved to be relentless. Amy Grech and Renee Miller were neck and neck, but Renee encouraged people to leave comments, which paved a smooth road to victory. Let that be a lesson for you. It’s not enough to share, you need to motivate people to leave a comment, even a discussion.

Enough of August, it’s September and it’s time to bring in the new challengers!

Ray Prew enters the ring with The Feast of Beltane

Clark Roberts enters the ring with Craftsmanship for Food

Luke Peace brings Walnut Street to the fray


James S. Malheiros enters One Night in 1988


The story that receives the most views, likes, and comments wins $50 (minus Paypal fee).

Contestants can share as much as possible, can encourage and motivate in a number of ways.

Stories that receive consistent negative comments (3 in a row) will be eliminated.

Stories could be eliminated due to judge discretion for fraudulent or suspicious activity such as view boosting or buying comments.





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[Sep 2018] Craftsmanship for Food – Clark Roberts


Clark Roberts

Like the story? toss some change at the author


Craftsmanship for Food

Good God, Gary Jennings thought as he hustled to his car, I can’t get away from this place fast enough. He’d spent an extra hour at the dealership crunching numbers, trying to come up with a way to persuade a customer into one of the new cars displayed in the front lot. His efforts were futile; it was written on the woman’s face when they shook hands that she would be buying elsewhere.

If only he could sell his writing, just get a foot in the door in the publishing business, maybe life wouldn’t seem so unbearable. Maybe the ball would get rolling for him. Even if he never made it big-time, so what? He could keep working jobs he really didn’t care about. He’d been doing it his whole life. If some of his stories were published, he’d be able to say he accomplished the one goal in life he was bent on making happen. Of course the possibility of striking gold always lingered in the stretches of his mind. That would be the life. Novels, cocktail parties, and women. Heck, with a flourishing career as a novelist he might even find a woman suitable for marriage.

He glanced at the clock—six-thirty. Of course he was in a pissy mood. He’d wasted an extra hour at work, an hour he could’ve spent drumming his mind for magical words and phrases.

As he turned onto the expressway ramp he noticed a man dressed in rags with a sign propped up against his legs. Scrawled and colored in with dark marker, the crude yet bold penmanship read, Craftsmanship for food. Jennings had seen the man there yesterday, slumped on his ass in the same tired posture, the same sleepy face.

This time, when Jennings passed the man they made eye contact. Jennings instantly felt downright deplorable for the pity-party he always threw for himself over his job and not being able to achieve some otherworldly goal. At least he’d always had a steady income.

On impulse, Jennings slowed the car down, pulling over to the side as a couple commuters sped past. He wasn’t sure how many days the bum would be out there in the heat begging for work, but Jennings knew he couldn’t just drive by ignoring him every day. After all, the man was a real life representation of the types of characters Jennings so desperately tried to portray in his stories. Besides, Jennings liked how the sign was written.

Craftsmanship for food.

At least it didn’t read, Will work for food. That phrase was so tired, so overused, so banal.

Craftsmanship for food.

The phrase was tight, to the point, and about as original as a sign begging for a handout could be.

Jennings waited as another car whizzed past, then backed up to the stranger. The stranger idly watched as Jennings leaned over while thrusting open the passenger side door.

The stranger hid any excitement or gratitude behind a poker face.

“Come on, hop in,” Jennings invited. He took off his sunglasses, grinning hugely. “I think I can help you.”

“What do you have in mind?” the stranger asked.

“Umm, I don’t know really, but I’m sure I can find some kind of work for you to do. Clean my apartment maybe.”

The stranger coiled his face in a look of disgust. “You people are all the same. Read the sign again, Asshole. Craftsmanship for food. It doesn’t say I need charity, or that I want to be a pet monkey.”

“Come on, man. I’m just trying to help you out.”

“Yeah, and maybe when I’m done changing your toilet paper roll I can clean your ass too, but that would mean wiping away that shit eating grin.” The stranger’s face dared Jennings to make another offer.

“Sorry,” Jennings mumbled, more than a little bewildered. “I didn’t mean anything by saying…anything.” Mentally, Jennings kicked himself for sounding so stupid.

“Piss off!”

That was tight and to the point, not very original, but definitely concise.

Jennings opened his mouth to say something but found he was lost for words. He swung the door shut and drove home.


Jennings cried himself to sleep that night. Not over the confrontation with the man, but because nothing had gone right with the story he was currently drafting. He’d studied the first few pages, analyzing them, trying to pinpoint why exactly the pieces weren’t fitting snuggly together with the tale he was trying to weave. After only a half-hour he pushed away from the computer screen cursing and throwing papers. Nothing could be done to save the story. It was doomed, sentenced to the half-finished, half-imagined vault of his mind. It was a one-way vault, never opened to retrieve something from the past.

He broke down in the shower, curling himself into a knot of limbs while the water pelted his bare skin. Wasn’t this how professional authors behaved?

Yes, of course people with artistic minds behaved in this manner. Didn’t they?

Or did they go so far as to bleed their stories out?

Eventually, still passing tears, he got out of the shower and went to bed naked and wet.


He traipsed through work the next day, meddling only with the customers he knew had already been helped and avoiding those with questioning faces.

The times he did talk to a customer he used a surplus of adjectives, big fifty-cent words without knowing their full meaning. Alabaster. Albescent. Using this type of vocabulary on a daily basis would strengthen his writing. An insane thought, still, he’d arrived at the conclusion that this very well might be the last method of self-training to help his cause.

Another day droned by, and Jennings made no sales. Mr. Johnson called him into the back office at the end of the day. Johnson told him he’d better get his act together—a salesman is supposed to sell.

Writers are supposed to write, Jennings thought, but bit his tongue and complacently nodded.

On the way home he stopped at a fast food joint to pick up dinner. There was no time to cook at home. All attention had to be given to the craft.

Craftsmanship for food!

Jennings prayed the bum would be at the onramp again today, hopefully looking shabbier, hungrier than the day before and more willing to bargain.

Yes, the man was there.

The man was standing instead of sitting, as if expecting Jennings’s arrival. The sign was propped against his shins. Jennings didn’t drive by him but wheeled his car in frantically enough to strike fear in his own heart that he might actually strike the man. The man stood stock still, looking down curiously at the nose of the car only inches away from his legs. Jennings rolled down his window.


“Hello, Asshole,” the stranger said.

“Get in the car. I’ve got an offer you can’t refuse.” Now he sounded like a salesman.

Amazingly, the bum did not retort. He simply folded the cardboard sign in half before dropping into Jennings’s car.

“Listen,” Jennings said, pulling the car back onto the ramp. He ignored the honking from the traffic behind him. “I’m trying to become a published writer. I like your style. I don’t know why you live the way you do, but you seem intelligent, and more than anything I like your style.” He cursed himself for sounding so pathetically redundant. “Your sign I mean. I like the style of phrase there. Craftsmanship for food. That style…that…that voice. I really like it. I like the style of that voice you used on the sign.”

“Get to the point, Asshole.”

Jennings cleared his throat. “I want you to edit my writing. I’m not sure why I think you’ll be able to do it, but there’s just something about you I can’t describe, can’t quite put into words. I guess it’s the style of that sign. I can just hear a voice when I read it. It’s got—oh I don’t know what it is—style man. Style is the best I can do.”

“I think we can come to some kind of terms of agreement.”

“Great!” Jennings said. “This might work out just great. By the way, I really am sorry about yesterday. I certainly didn’t mean to insult you in any way. What’s your name anyhow?” Jennings freed a hand from the steering wheel and extended it out.

“Jennings,” the bum said. “Gary Jennings and I’m a cannibal.”

The man leaned over to spit on the floor as if this were a practiced custom after shaking hands.

They rode to the apartment in mostly silence.

The stranger sat with a smug smile covered by his wildly unkempt beard. Humming, the bum twiddled his thumbs.


“I don’t know what’s going on here, but your name can’t be Gary Jennings. I mean, I’m Gary Jennings.” Jennings stood in bafflement as the stranger strode into his apartment not bothering to remove his dirt-caked shoes. Paying no attention to Jennings, the man headed straight to the kitchen, pulled a glass out of the cupboard, and drew water from the tap. He took a long drink, gulping nearly half the glass down in one giant swallow. Jennings feared the man might actually eat the glass.

Why had he let this man into his home? Why had he even bothered to try and help the man? Had he heard the man correctly when he’d said he was a cannibal?

The man went right past Jennings to sit on the couch. He propped his feet onto Jennings’s hand-me-down coffee table and flicked on the television. A cold sweat broke out on the back of Jennings’s neck. His hands began to shake. He had to show some authority here. He couldn’t allow a stranger—a bum of all things—to act like he owned the place.

“Hey buddy,” Jennings’s intoned while trying to sound authoritative; yet his voice rattled with nerves.

“What, Asshole?” The stranger turned, his expression frozen as a winter gravesite.

“First of all, quit calling me asshole.”

“Asshole! Asshole! Asshole!”

“Get out of here!” Jennings roared. He pointed towards the door as if sending an impudent child to bed without dinner. “Get out of here! Leave! Leave at once!”

“Is that really the best you can express yourself?” The man stood. He placed a sympathetic hand on Jennings’s shoulder. “No wonder you can’t get published, Asshole.”

The man strode away taking his invasion of Jennings’s home even farther to the back of the apartment.

Call the cops, Jennings thought. They’ll come and throw this piece of shit out, probably haul him off to jail. Cops enjoy kicking this kind of person around.

Then Jennings heard the familiar sound of his computer booting up. He ran for the spare bedroom where he attempted to write every night. The stranger was sitting in front of the monitor, looking as patient as a sea turtle on a nest of eggs. The stranger canted his head to the side to spit on the floor.

“Don’t do that. Stop spitting all over the place.”

The stranger spit again. “Shut up, Asshole.”

“Who the heck do you think you are?”

“Jennings. Gary Jennings, and I’m a cannibal.”

“You’re not Gary Jennings! I’m Gary Jennings! You’re nothing but a bum!”

The stranger’s hand clicked on the mouse. The word processor opened on screen. He began diligently typing. There was deftness in the manner the man’s fingers worked, lightly gliding over the keys, barely pressing on them. He never once glanced down at his hands. From time to time he would pause to spit. The current of anger in Jennings ceased as he watched with his mouth agape.

“Listen up, Asshole.” Typing at a mind-boggling pace, the man’s attention didn’t stray from the screen. “This is how it’s going to work. I write. You leave. Jesus, Asshole, don’t you know the first thing about this craft? It isn’t easy. You have to let a man write in peace. Now go fix some dinner. I haven’t fed in nights.”

The man was a lunatic, an absolute lunatic. Jennings couldn’t imagine why on Earth he’d thought to help out this bum. He’d let a total stranger into his home. He’d let the man invade his life.

“Didn’t you hear me, Asshole? Believe it or not, I can get extremely agitated. I suggest you find me something to eat.”

Now the man did stop to look up at Jennings. He grinned. For the first time Jennings noticed that every single tooth came to a point, as if they’d been sharpened with a steel file.

Jennings stepped out of the room shutting the door behind him. He went to the kitchen to cook a dinner.



“Here it is, Asshole.” The stranger plopped a thick bundle of papers onto the kitchen table. “Your first story that will get published. I’ll send it out tomorrow. You should probably read it just so you know the basic plot if any editors have any questions.”

The man sat down and heaped a large portion of noodles on a plate. He smothered them in a thin sauce with meatballs.

Jennings picked up the manuscript. Judging by its thickness it was about fifty pages deep. Jennings’s name and address were at the top of the first page. The title was “Running with Rabid Dogs”. The corners were marred with dirt where the stranger had handled them.

“You got all this done in under two hours?” Jennings asked, digging a red pen from a drawer.

“Yes. You can put the pen down. It doesn’t need any editing.” The stranger stabbed a meatball and took it right off the knife with his mouth. He chewed and then spat it out. “I thought we had a deal.”

“Huh?” Jennings looked up from the story.

“Our deal. Craftsmanship for food. Remember? I’m a cannibal.” Red sauce dripped down the man’s chin, and of course, Jennings remembered. “Maybe I’ll take your story back. How would you like that?”

“No!” Jennings cradled the pages to his chest. “Please don’t do that.”

In a flash the knife was an inch away from Jennings’s eye, the point of it promising unrelenting pain.

“Tomorrow night you feed me better, or else I start finding my own meal around this place. I won’t have to search far.”

“Yes,” Jennings trembled.

“Yes, what?”

“Yes, sir.”

The knife dropped away from Jennings’s sight. The fear was so strong he thought he might retch over the table.

“Good. Go ahead and read your story. It’s good.”

It was good, better than good. The man was some kind of deity of the craft. Just two pages into the story Jennings found himself enthralled by the simplicity of the writing as words and phrases coalesced drawing out perfect sentences, perfect paragraphs. He was too deep into the story to feel any jealousy towards the man sitting next to him. The action of the story was fast, happening in flashes. The dialogue minimal but absolutely essential and effective. There was just the perfect amount of imagery painting a background to allow the reader fill in the details with his or her own experiences. Emotionally it packed a punch; there was love and love lost, pain and sorrow, and in the end a hint of redemption as the protagonist’s soul bled out whether to heaven or a dark nothing was left for the reader to contemplate.

Jennings was lost to reality. He finished reading in what seemed five minutes, but when he shook his attention from the imaginary world, the clock on the wall indicated over an hour had passed.

The seat next to him was empty. The shower was running.

After the shower turned off the stranger stayed in the bathroom for an impossibly long time. When he came out he was naked and clean-shaven. The resemblance was undeniable: the muscle-build, the facial features, even the birthmark on the man’s back shoulder. How had Jennings not before recognized this man as his doppelganger?

“What did you shave with?” It was all Jennings could think to ask.

“My razor of course. I keep it in the medicine cabinet.”

“That’s mine!”

The stranger smiled, a second time flashing his predatory teeth. “Your story, it’s good isn’t it?”


“I’m glad you like it. No small market publishing, it deserves much more. Goodnight, Asshole.”

The stranger spit on the floor once more and left the room.

Jennings ran to his bedroom, but the stranger was already in bed with the light off.

“I never said you could sleep in my room.”

“The story, Asshole. Your first published piece. Go sleep on the couch.”

Jennings glared flatly. When the man in his bed ignored him and rolled over, Jennings headed for the couch. The apartment seemed dark and cold.

Jennings stayed awake most of the night listening to his own thoughts. Maybe fame wasn’t so far out of reach after all. The story really was that good.  It was early morning when he finally nodded off.


Someone was shaking him.

“Wake up, Asshole.”

Jennings rose out of sleep, his joints complaining and cracking from the awkward, strained positioning he’d been forced into from the restraints of the couch.

Jennings realized he’d never set an alarm clock. He popped his eyes alert and gasped, “What time is it?!”

He’d overslept. For sure Mr. Johnson was going to fire him.

“Relax,” the man said. He was dressed in Jennings’s best suit. “I still have over an hour before I have to be at the dealership. I’m just getting an early start because I’ll be hitchhiking. You’re going to need the car today. Remember, I want a solid meal tonight.”

“Wait,” Jennings said. “I just have one question.”


“Young or old?”

“Doesn’t matter, just make it human.” The stranger held up the manuscript. “I’ll mail this out today.”

He walked out the door, smiling.

To Jennings, it was like watching a happier version of himself leave.


Could he do this?

Why not?

He’d already committed murder. The wound on the old man’s head had finally stopped bleeding so profusely. If Jennings shifted the neck in the right position more blood would seep out, but it wasn’t as messy as he thought it would be. He’d used a hammer, only meaning to knock the man out before toting him home to slice away a muscle or two that would make a good slab of meat. If the man’s consciousness came around the plan was to simply crack him in the head a second time. Then he was going to ditch the old man in a side-alley and make an anonymous call to 911.

Instead, the old man had expelled the weakest, most haunting groan Jennings had ever heard and died in the backseat of the car.

So he’d killed an old man.


Could he actually carve him up to cook the meat?

The flesh came away from the bone considerably easier than he’d anticipated. He didn’t worry about the blood spilling. The kitchen floor was linoleum, easy to mop up with a little time and elbow grease.

Maybe the meat of a human was actually palatable.

Maybe it was like chicken.

When he was done butchering the legs he decided to try a thigh for himself. He melted some butter and slapped a slab of meat in the frying pan.

The meat sizzled; juices jumped. A sweet aroma wafted about the apartment.

It didn’t taste like chicken, but with some added spices, it was good.


When the stranger came home he told Jennings all about his day. He’d sold three cars and Jack Johnson, not Mr. Johnson, had thought that was just exceptional.

“By the way, I mailed out the manuscript today. We should be getting an acceptance letter in about three weeks.” He said this mildly with the slightest overtone of confidence. He spit on the floor. “We can expect a check for at least five-hundred. Smells good in here, almost like veal. You must’ve tried some. I like my meat pretty rare. Did you eat it rare?”


“That’s fine,” the stranger said. “but you’re losing all the juices by cooking it that long. I’m going to bang out some more pages. The old noggin is just crammed with ideas. Fry me up some back straps. You did butcher out the back straps didn’t you?

“I did.”

“Great. Don’t overdo mine, and hold off on the spices.”

Jennings unwrapped a cut of meat he’d stored in the freezer. It was amazing how fast it had frozen, so he had to unthaw it in the microwave.

Jennings cooked the meat along with a baked potato as a side.

The stranger ate dinner without complaint.


Gary Jennings woke up the following day feeling fresh, ready to make some more sales. He was silent on his way to the shower so not to wake up his roommate sleeping on the couch. He shaved using his razor, pissed in his toilet, and brushed his teeth with his toothbrush. He took the time to make sure his shirt was tucked in just right and the knot of his tie was nice and snug.

Have to look sharp to make sales.

He would let Asshole sleep in today.

Gary Jennings found the couch unoccupied.  He wasn’t all that surprised as it had been a rough couple of days for Asshole.

There was a note on the end table.

Dear Mr. Jennings,

What happened to me? I killed a man yesterday,

an old man. Then I cooked him. I ate part of

another human!  And—oh God—I liked it.

I don’t deserve my life. I’m gone. Please don’t

worry or look for me. Good luck with your future

in writing. I killed an old man. Don’t look for me.

There was no signature at the end of the letter, only a damp spot, as if spitting was the perfect closure.

A whistle on his lips, Gary Jennings strolled out of his apartment.

Please don’t worry or look for me.  

That part of the letter was almost funny. In time, Asshole would be fine. He just had to learn what it meant to be a starving artist. He’d figure it out eventually, once he reached a point where he’d eat almost anything. Then he’d have some real stories to tell.