Let us take a brief glimpse into the Infernal Insurance Answering Service… because you always suspected as much.
A cherry-red-skinned woman with slightly pointed ears and long black hair wearing a studded black leather miniskirt and matching corset wakes from her nap. She turns to answer a 1950s era black rotary dial telephone from an office in the depths of Hades. A red light on the phone flashes to indicate that there is a caller on hold, which is released as an incoming call finally rings through after several attempts.
The demonic receptionist spins ever so slightly in the oversized leather office chair, using her barbed tail as a sort of paddle to push herself lightly along. She glances at an old microcomputer on the desk in front of her, its black screen just sitting there staring blankly ahead as if powered down permanently. She coils the tangled phone cord around a long black claw tipped with red.
As the receptionist speaks, smoke and brimstone curls around her yellow jagged rows of sharks teeth barely hidden behind her ruby painted lips. Her small wings rise and fall teasingly. Her flame yellow eyes glow, like those of a cat in the darkest night. She is both stunningly beautiful and terrifying at the same time.
“Hello and thank you for calling Infernal Insurance. May I put you on hold?”
The phone clicks over before the caller can respond. The loudest, most obnoxious elevator accordion and bagpipe music imaginable wafts from the receiver as the receptionist sets it aside to manicure her claws. After a long interlude she picks it up again.
“Thank you for holding.”
“Ok, first I’ll need you to verify your account with us…”
The computer screen in front of the demonic receptionist sits black and vacant until she presses a button on the keypad and it springs to life. An account number must be entered and verified to continue. The receptionist speaks into the phone, pausing just long enough to give the caller time to respond.
“What is your account number?”
“What is your current name as well as any other names, nicknames and pseudonyms you might have used or been associated with over the course of this lifetime and the three prior?”
“Yes, I need all of them.”
“Ok, now what is your most recent date of death associated with this account?”
The receptionist types in all of the information given over the next 12 pages without verifying the spelling of any of it. She enters a string of 6s scrolling through the last three pages until she is satisfied with her entry and hits the Enter button. She turns back to the phone call.
“Now we need a sample of your blood. Use the razor blade built into the phone receiver to slit your wrist and bleed into the phone mouthpiece.”
The receptionist types madly into the system. The screen flashes a red warning error message and goes black again.
“I’m sorry, we have no record of that account number as associated with you. Can you repeat that? Did you perhaps miss a nickname or misread or transpose any of the numbers? Sometimes the account number tattooing becomes less legible or migrates over time.”
The receptionist types the caller’s information in again, this time adding six more 6s at the beginning and again at the end than were spoken.
“You’re right, that was the correct number associated with your account. It seems we didn’t get enough blood to run through our verification process the first time, I’ll need for you to do that again. Try holding the receiver to your wrist for several minutes while you bleed out this time.”
The account appears on the screen, its content information slowly forming character by character in flaming red from the dark void in old school DOS fashion. The screen locks on a bill for $2,720,322.46 owed for services both rendered and not. A payment plan must be initiated to proceed.
“Ok, I found your account. You owe $2,720,322.46 in back policy payments.”
“Yes, I am sure that is the amount owed. Would you like to pay in full today? Do you have a bank account that you would like to use?”
“Yes, we can arrange for scheduled payments but there will be a surcharge for that service.”
The receptionist types in the bank account information given by the caller, this time verifying every figure three times to be sure to plug it in correctly. She hits the button to schedule monthly payments.
“Oh I see that you are already on our scheduled payment plan which is how you came to owe $2,720,322.46 with the surcharges, compounding interest and inconvenience fees. We will up your payment amounts, then. If you can offer a down-payment of your firstborn, we can minimize the amount you owe for each payment processed to the account.”
“Ah yes, I see that you have already done so, Carrie is in the system accordingly. Her balance is $1,425,866.53. We cannot transfer any more of your balance to her account. Do you have any other offspring?”
“Oh, I’m so very not sorry to hear that, what a tragic loss,” the receptionist smiles and runs a forked tongue over her jagged teeth. “No, we don’t cover those circumstances. Let me see what I can do.”
She downgrades the insurance plan from a Deluxe Super Premium plan to a Super Essential Premium Plus account. The resulting savings are -$35,609.24 so that now $2,756,933.70 is owed in total. It doesn’t add up, but that is to be expected.
“Ok, after some changes to your policy, I managed to get your payments down to $527.31 per month. It’s only a 300% increase.”
“I’m going to need to put you on hold again while I make those updates.”
The loud, obnoxious elevator accordion bagpipe music returns as the phone clicks over. The only comparable sound anyone can think to associate the hold music with is that of someone skinning a live cat. Fortunately, few callers have actually heard such a terrible sound as that of a live creature being skinned, but this so-called music is exactly what they would imagine it to be like.
The receptionist continues to file her claws to sharpened points, moving onto her exposed feet as she removes them from her thigh high leather boots to manicure those nails as well, before answering again.
“Thank you again for holding. Now, what did you need?”
She types “Maggots eating face” into the line to open a claim. She hits Enter.
“No, I’m sorry, but your policy type does not insure against maggots eating your face off. You would have to upgrade to a Deluxe Super Premium plan for that, but we cannot offer that policy type with your current amount of back payments owed.”
“Let me put you on hold while I look that up.”
The yowling cat elevator accordion bagpipe music returns briefly, inspiring even the most stubborn callers to want to cut out their eardrums or lobotomize themselves with an ice pick or do whatever it takes to make it stop. The receptionist yawns, takes a swig of coffee, flexes her wings, and clicks over the phone again.
“No, I see no record of your having been in that policy type before. You are in a Super Essential Premium Plus account. This account type has limited liability when it comes to bodily harm, possessions, and damages caused by weather, insects, animals, humans, demons, angels, and any other supernatural or otherworldly beings.”
“No, I’m sorry but as I’d stated previously, maggots eating your face is not covered by this account type. It will cover any routine losses caused by ordinary houseplants, several highly uncommon diseases, and some specific interactions with Azamir but not while online in any form. You will have to read the fine print on the 5,687 pages following the policy account information to discern just what is and isn’t covered in what circumstances.”
“Yes, you can file a formal complaint if you wish. As a receptionist for Infernal Insurance, I am mandated not to give you my name or identity so you will have to file any such complaint without said information.”
“To file a complaint, you will have to call back on Saturday morning between 2 and 5 AM and wait your turn on hold. We do not get to everyone in the queue every week, so it may take several Saturdays to get through. I’d recommend calling as close to 2 AM as possible.”
“All complaints are promptly incinerated the following Tuesday at 10 PM.”
“Thank you again for calling. I will put you on hold until the phone system will allow you to hang up. Have a horrible day.”
The demonic receptionist smiles a wide toothy grin as she clicks the call over to the grating hold music, takes another swig of coffee, and curls up in her chair for a long overdue nap. The red phone caller indicator light blinks that there is a call on hold waiting to be released as she drifts off to sleep again until the next call comes in.
Nightmarish Nature: Zombie Snails
This time on Nightmarish Nature, we will look into zombie snails, because we were having so much with the Whore Snails recently. So this is a lot like the Freaky Fungus except that this time it’s a parasitic worm that is the cause of the horror… Leucochloridium paradoxum, the green-banded broodsac worm, forces snails to be a part of its nefarious plans to take over the world (well, really more just continue on keeping on in its strange and bizarre life cycle).
This Is What We Get for Eating Poop
The worm, which spends much of its life as a parasite in birds’ digestive systems, is part of a weird cycle that includes both birds and snails, though the snail end is much creepier. It starts when a snail ingests worm eggs in bird droppings. These eggs hatch into worm larvae that eventually turn the poor hosts into zombie snails! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The worm larvae work their way up into the snails’ brains and take over, hijacking them on suicide missions to continue their own life cycle. These worm larvae eventually grow large and worm their way into the poor snail’s eye stalks, pulsing and throbbing therein to resemble maggots or other tasty treats.
The worms use the zombie snails to get into their bird hosts by mind-controlling them into climbing out of the shady undergrowth where they will be easily spotted by bird predators which will feed on them, ingesting the eye stalks and continuing the worm’s life cycle as it gets into the bird’s digestive tract. The huge, bulging eye stalks are irresistible to birds looking to snatch maggots and other delicious delicacies. Eventually, after the worms are well ensconced in its bird hosts, the bird poops out more worm eggs for unsuspecting snails to ingest, completing the cycle.
You can watch this in action on Nat Geo Wild: World’s Deadliest here, if you dare. Warning, it’s a little gross but not near so much as some of the other topics we’ve covered. If you enjoyed this slimy segment of Nightmarish Nature, please check out past segments:
Snails a Whorl Whirl Whore World…
So a friend and I made some artsy snails awhile back. Essentially this was in response to her granddaughter proclaiming that her favorite animals are whorl snails. My friend heard “whore snails” and was a bit perturbed that the child would use such a word so nonchalantly, whether or not she knew what it meant. But then again toddler-speak is like that sometimes… Anyway, it stuck.
So we made some whore snails, all glammed up and ready to go. We started with these flat metal snails and then painted and decorated them, to whore them up a bit. I figured this would be apropos after my recent Valentine’s Day posts and that the end results were horrifying enough to appear here.
This is my friend’s creation. I especially like the David Bowie star and cherry bling to match her cherry red lipstick. The purple shell is a great color on her too. I think my friend went back and decorated her shell more after the fact, but I didn’t see the snail after those changes.
And here’s my whore snail. She’s a bit more of an ice queen with her deceptively lovey-dovey eyes and mouth full of poison darts, like the underwater snails do. I believe I called her a Hoar Whore Whorl Snail as when the discussion first came up I heard “hoar” and thought of hoarfrost. Hence the ice queen take…
And another friend joined us via Zoom just to visit and have fun making art together.
This little Zoomed in snail is kinda cute, like she’s out on the beach in her bikini… Mixed media on paper.
So if that wasn’t disturbing enough, check out my inappropriate Shrinky Dinks posted here before, or maybe this Eye Candy Peeps Easter basket, both taking some innocuous thing(s) turning into something… else…
Have a Dystopian Girls on Film Valentine’s Day
So it’s finally actually Valentine’s Day, and thus marks the final segment of our dysfunctional dystopian romance. So far, we’ve survived both Gen X and Krampusnacht, what else could possibly be in store? Girls on Film…
Image description: Video camera umbrella shower succubus stares through the lens at the viewer, surrounded by eerie Cthulhoid horror embellishments with text.
Text reads: Happy Valentine’s Day; lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling; give me shudders in a whisper; take me up ’til I’m shooting a star; (she’s more than a lady)
OK so this Valentine’s Day dystopia ends in a Duran Duran video, because of course it does. If the video doesn’t load properly, you can find it by following this link. Girls on Film.
Here’s the camera eye succubus all by itself, for your viewing pleasure. Actually this is the original original image from an Unselfie performance art piece in the shower before I decided to forego the umbrella. Girls on Film.