Kyle opened the fridge to grab a beer. “Hey, bro. How could you?”
“What, man?” Darius hollered towards the kitchen from the living room, still engrossed in his WWII Flying Aces game, his fingers dancing rapidly over the controller as he shot down enemy planes.
“You ordered pizza without me!” Kyle retorted. “And the last piece has mushrooms… you know I hate the fungi, bro.”
“What pizza?” Darius asked, still focused on his game as he leaned left with the wing of his aircraft as it tilted to avoid a retaliatory strike.
Kyle sauntered into the living room, beer in hand. “What pizza?” he quipped as he rolled his eyes. “The one in the fridge in the Pie Shack box with the last lonely fungi-ridden piece of crap in it…” he jeered.
“I didn’t get a pizza, man,” Daruis shrugged as he flew into a tailspin and crashed to the ground, struck down by enemy fire. Again. “You’re breaking my jive, man,” he said as he tossed the controller to the cluttered coffee table and got up to investigate. He walked purposefully but nonchalantly to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator.
Sure enough, there was a Pie Shack pizza box there, on that weird mid-level shelf that’s too short to hold much of anything useful (like beer), above the well-stocked sea of Brew-skee Lowball Lager below, which took up the entire bottom shelf. Darius opened the box to find a single piece of thin crust pizza bearing cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms. But no sausage. He’d have ordered sausage.
“I dunno, man,” he replied as he grabbed a beer and popped the can tab. “Pie’s not mine, no sausage…” He returned to his game.
Kyle wandered down the hall shaking his head and mumbling, “Whatever, bro.”
The next morning, there were two slices of pizza in the box where the one had been the night before, both the same kind smothered in cheese, onions, peppers and funky wrinkled up black mushrooms. Kyle smirked and grabbed a half-gallon jug of white liquid that was supposed to be milk out of the fridge door. He unscrewed the cap, gave it a sniff, and put it back. He grabbed the pizza and dissected it, removing the offending fungi and flicking them into the box lid before he stuffed the rest of the slice in his mouth. After devouring both pieces, he tossed the box and mushroom bits in the trash and left. Darius was still crashed out in his room.
After work, Kyle returned to find a new pizza box on the mid-level shelf above the Brew-skee. The text on this box was greasy and obscured and almost appeared to read Pi Shaq.
“Who’s using our fridge?” he yelled down the hall.
Darius moaned. “What?!” he shouted back from behind his closed door.
“Someone’s using our fridge, bro,” Kyle hollered as Darius stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen, scratching his head.
“Really, man?” Darius shrugged and popped his shoulders. He overflowed a bowl with Captain Crunch cereal and opened the fridge. “Where’s the milk?”
“I dunno. It should be in there,” said Kyle. “There’s another pizza…”
They opened the Pi Shaq box to find a half of a large pizza, thick crust with red sauce and unappetizing green tentacles. As the dim yellow warmth of the kitchen overhead light radiated over them, the tentacles appeared to almost… move… Darius massaged his brow and shook his head as they closed the lid on the box, returning the tentacles to their dark comfort, and put it back in the fridge.
“It’s gotta be those guys Brad and Marcus from 4B effing with us,” he said as he dumped half the remaining pot of coffee on his cereal and proceeded to shovel it into his mouth with what would have otherwise been a serving spoon.
“Fine,” retorted Kyle. “I’ve got the tech – we’ll set ‘em up, Candid Camera style…”
“Whatever, man,” Darius replied as he retreated to his room, his bowl of coffee Captain Crunch in tow.
Kyle set up the webcam later that day, aimed and timed perfectly so that the motion sensor would set it off anytime anyone opened the refrigerator door. But the only footage he got was of Darius grabbing a beer later that afternoon.
Yet, that evening when they returned from a Chinese run to the Red Devil up the street, they opened the fridge to find that the Pi Shaq box with the green tentacle pizza was gone. And now there was a tripped out head in a jar in its place, shoved into the back right hand corner of the fridge on the top shelf. Darius turned it around towards the corner, “so it’ll stop staring at us, man.”
Kyle dropped off his leftover Kung Pao Chicken and closed the refrigerator door. He tweaked the webcam, tied up the trash with the first Pie Shack pizza box, and took it out to the dumpster. Darius returned to his WWII Flying Aces game, beer in hand.
Later that night, Kyle opened the fridge to find that his Kung Pao Chicken was gone and the head jar was facing forward again. A platter of what appeared to be sushi filled the mid-level shelf where the pizza boxes had appeared. The overstuffed sushi rolls were filled to the brim with the same green tentacles, which writhed slowly when exposed to light. Bulbous fish eyes in the middle of the tentacles seemed to follow their every move.
“Bro, check this out,” Kyle called to Darius. Darius paused his game, wandered into the kitchen and had a look. Together, they stared at the wriggling mass in silence.
“I don’t think it’s Brad and Marcus,” Darius finally spoke. “What is it, man?”
“I dunno,” Kyle exclaimed.
“Well then, what should we do with it?” Darius asked.
Kyle grabbed the head jar and the platter and heaved them both into the trashcan, which was outfitted with a fresh new bag from after he’d taken out the previous Pie Shack box earlier. They landed with a soft thud as they hit the empty bottom of the plastic bin. He tugged the bag off of the edges of the trashcan, tied it off in a haphazard knot, and handed it to Darius. “Your turn, bro,” he said.
Darius dragged the mess to the dumpster and hoisted it in. When he returned they opened the fridge and stared.
It was completely empty. There was no pizza, no milk, no Kung Pao Chicken, no sushi, no head jar… Even the empty glass butter dish that had come with the fridge was gone. But, most notably, the sea of Brew-skee Lowball Lager had vanished – there was no more beer to be found!
The refrigerator found itself on the curb beside the dumpster that very same night.
LTD Tripped Out Motivational Posters
Tripped out… in case you just couldn’t get enough of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the return of the infinite bagel with EVERYTHING on it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic image of pink hairy horror (This is actually a fink fuzzy frond plant not unlike a Cockscomb but with longer thinner flowering feelers rather than the fuller protuberances you see on a full-bodied Cockscomb plant. I have no idea what it was, but it was very odd so I had to snap a photo.)
Image text reads: Mixing Magic Mushrooms & Peyote Just remember: once you open that Pandora’s box, you’re never going to get the pink hairy tarantulas back in it…
Artwork description: kaleidoscopic sunflower backlit by the sun with text and rainbow eye overlay
Image text reads: Eye See You Eye See All (in circle text so you can start and end reading wherever). In an ideal context this would be printed in the bottom of your tea mug or on a record that can slowly spin.
For more crazy tripped out fun, check out Weird Al’s post on Craig’s List…
The Elves Reunion, a short story by Jennifer Weigel
I had heard tale that The Elves dwell in these woods. Many underestimate The Elves; they have a fondness of heart for Tolkienesque Middle Earth fantasy stories and tales where Elves are the most highly civilized, virtuous and intelligent. They forget that those are just myths, save for The Elves being cunning. Remember that the Pied Piper was an Elf, and the children he took were not destined for such a glorious fate.
My sister lost her firstborn to The Elves. She hadn’t noticed the Changeling until it was too late. Her baby had already long since been stolen away. She was so distraught she refused to eat or speak. She locked herself in her room. Or my family locked her into it as she succumbed to the madness. Such are the ways of the family, for all of our protection. We never question but follow as expected, as a means of self-preservation. It has kept us all alive.
But I couldn’t get the sinking feeling out of my stomach; the grief became too overwhelming. That is why I came here. I know I will not be able to rescue the child, nor my sister. But I seek to avenge their meaningless deaths. To ensure that it doesn’t happen again. My family will never act. I am tired of the Village Elders just shrugging these things off in hushed whispers and badly shrouded secrets. It happens time and again. We are all expendable. They never do anything.
So here I am, in the Elven wood. Alone. As soon as my family figures out that I’m here, they will disown me. They probably already have. Again, it is for our own protection. I’ll be just another casualty of The Elves. Everything is so structured, so regimented. Anyone who dares act in opposition to the rules vanishes. We are all so afraid.
I lay in wait. It’s just a matter of time before the portal appears. The Elves use the portals to travel across time and space. They appear where and when they wish. But this time, I will go through first. I know not what is on the other side, just that the portals allow only one to traverse in each direction. We will trade places, if only for a moment until another portal forms. Hopefully that will be enough time.
The trees shift and morph. Falling leaves drift slower and slower towards the ground. There is a stillness that I cannot fully express. My breath hangs heavy in the silent air. There is no sound, no smell, no taste. It is time. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise. I can sense the opening forming. There is an uncanny familiarity in this moment, as if I have been here before.
As soon as the portal opens, I dash through. But something isn’t right. No one came through from the other side. Or did they? I cannot tell. I am alone, in limbo between states of existence. The world spins around me. I can feel the drift. Is this what death feels like? Cold unbroken silence? I feel distant eyes upon me everywhere, all around me, in the trees, the clouds, pinpoints of light that shimmer through.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Maybe this is all according to plan. But who was orchestrating the exchange? My idea was only half formed in those passing pensive moments I am able to think for myself, few and far between. My family, the Village Elders… no one allows time for freeform thought. I hadn’t considered what would happen after the portal exchange. I never really got past step one.
A voice greets me from the trees. It is hauntingly familiar but seems only a distant memory.
“I’ve been expecting you.”
The world slowly comes into focus. Clarity restored, the leaves circle me in an embrace. My sister emerges, her dark eyes smiling. She cradles the baby in her arms.
“You made it. You escaped,” she sings.
“I didn’t see anyone,” I retort, skeptical. I hadn’t recalled having seen any Elves, dark nightmarish fiends that they are, wild, unkempt, uncouth. Savage beasts like Pan or Krampus. Is this an illusion? My sister seems so lifelike, so much herself. She is the joyful young mother I had known her to be. Filled with love and laughter. Light dances about her, and she shimmers.
“Not in passing,” my sister clarifies. “You have been living among them your whole life. I had done so as well until the baby was stolen. My heart broke; I had to follow after. That was when I learned the Truth.”
“Why do you think we are so sheltered? Why are we forbidden to do anything? They do so to protect us from the Truth about who and what we are,” she continued. “We’ve spent our lives evading that which we truly know ourselves to be. We were the stolen ones, not the other way around…”
I notice that the portal I came through is still open, reinforcing my idea that no one had passed through the other way. It is as if the portal was opened specifically to call me through. My sister extends her hand, beckoning me to join her. There is a gleam in her eye I cannot pinpoint. She seems happy, but something still isn’t quite right. I’m still uncertain why I am here, in this time and place, as if destined to be present in this moment, in this decision.
The Village has fallen away to the woods. There are no breadcrumb trails to follow home. The idea of home itself seems distant like yet another illusion. Nothing makes sense anymore. I am unsure whether I am coming or going. Two paths lay open before me. Which shall I take?
Eye Candy Jewelry by Jennifer Weigel
I have been getting ready for a jewelry show in February and thought I’d share some of the fun eye candy necklaces I’ve been working on. Do they thwart or attract the Evil Eye? I think that depends largely on the wearer’s intentions… Each is hand-beaded and features a spooky printed eyeball pendant as its focus.
And the piece de resistance… A RAINBOW Evil Eye necklace with magnesite stone skulls! I love these happy little deadheads – they are just too spoopy… I have seen these beads ranging in size from very small to huge and I love all of them.
I love using eyes in art in weird and unusual contexts in my art. They have so much presence and symbolism. They also bring a sort of surreal atmosphere to any artwork, which bears just a hint of spookiness regardless of context.
Other artworks & graphics by myself that prominently feature eyes have appeared here on Haunted MTL in Insomnia, Indecision, Illuminati, Carriage Factory art installation, The Watchers, The Red Key, and Shaman Sticks.