By Chef Crystakat
Let me tell you the secret of the century: being a single parent is hard. Yeah, of course it’s worth it and all, but I’m not sure how anyone does this for eighteen years. Shift at the hospital, hurry home and check on Tommy, four hours of shut-eye tops, then another eight hours working retail, rinse and repeat. It’s awesome.
With a schedule that tight, you think I’d froth at the mouth for the chance to get some extra sleep, but lately my insomnia’s getting real bad. The circles under my eyes are starting to look like a permanent fixture. When Tommy’s crying is ringing in my ears and I feel like I’m about to shatter into little pieces, there’s only one outlet: late-night TV. Infomercials, to be exact. More infomercials than you can count. Continue reading “Has Anyone Seen This Strange Infomercial?”
By Chef Unxmaal
“Whose mug is this?” Becky asked.
“No idea,” I replied. “What are you talking about?”
“This mug right here,” she said. I leaned back in my chair and craned my neck to see.
“I’m trying to watch this show,” I said. “What’s the big deal about a mug?”
“I’ve never seen it before,” Becky said, getting that tone in her voice like I was about to be in trouble.
“So what? You collect cups and mugs like most people … er, don’t,” I said. If I was going to be in trouble, I might as well go for broke.
“Well, look at it. It’s weird. And I’ve never seen it before.” Continue reading “The Mug”
By Chef Mr_Outlaw_
We’d been driving around Texas for a while. Clayton, Tom and I had recently graduated, so we had no destination. We were just there to dick around and create some memories until we had to snap back to real life.
At one point, Tom had gotten into a heated bar-fight at some dingy joint in Bexar County. The police were called. Although he hadn’t gotten any charges, the cops pretty much warned us that we weren’t welcome back in the area. Fair enough. We decided to tone it down a bit. That’s when we started planning some shit that wouldn’t get us potentially stabbed and/or arrested. We all settled on the paranormal. That stuff was just so interesting, you know? I guess it really preys on that esoteric fear of the unknown that the human psyche implicitly holds, stimulating some kind of fucked-up rush to the brain. Anyways, we were in the market for some spooky shit. Continue reading “Some People in Gas Masks have been Standing Outside of a Building in a Dead Cornfield”
By Chef M95Gar/Matt Dymerski
//Some of this Chef’s dishes are available as books, including this one. You can find them on Amazon.
I don’t know when you’re going to read this, but I can tell you when it started: I was out for a walk alone in the woods when the entity came for me. It was beyond a blur. It was, for lack of a better term, absence of meaning. Where it hid, there were no trees; where it crept closer, there was no grass; through the arc it leapt at me, there was no breeze of motion. There was no air at all.
As it struck, I felt the distinct sensation of claws puncturing me somewhere unseen; somewhere I’d never felt before. My hands and arms and legs and torso seemed fine and I wasn’t bleeding, but I knew I’d been injured somehow. As I fearfully ran back home, I could tell that I was less. I was vaguely tired, and it was hard to focus at times. Continue reading “A Shattered Life”
By Chef -IAMSANTOS-
//Story contains themes of sexual violence.
She used to be the sweetest girl. Our little Abbie. When my wife got pregnant I did the chauvinistic thing and bragged to my friends I was having a son. He was going to be a pro football player, or baseball. No, he was going to be an astronaut or a cowboy or a space cowboy! Unfortunately Maurice was never born, instead we got Abigail. Our sweet little girl. At that moment all my chauvinism went away, and I wanted nothing more than to spoil my little angel. I didn’t care about anything else but her happiness. Whether she was famous or rich, it didn’t matter. She was my little girl and I was going to take care of her.
As you can imagine, Abbie grew up spoiled. Anything she wanted, she got. For the first ten years of her life she was the happiest little girl in the world. I quit my job and became a stay at home dad. I got to spend all day with her, it was everything I could ever want. We did everything together. We had breakfast together, bathed together and did errands together. There wasn’t a moment in our day we weren’t together. My wife didn’t mind, she had made her success as a lawyer years ago. Sometimes I think she was more excited about the idea than I was. Her firm needed her and she was able to be there without feeling guilty. By the end of it, she was sure it was her idea to begin with! I didn’t mind her taking the credit though, it made it easier to get what I wanted when she thought she was in charge, and if things went bad she’d be the one feeling guilty. Continue reading “15 years ago my daughter was kidnapped and murdered. Today, she called me.”
By Chef Unxmaal
//This is part five of a series. Click here for part one.
When I was about thirteen, I stayed at my uncle’s house over the summer. I didn’t know it, but my parents were getting divorced and they wanted me to have a fun summer without dealing with the stress of moving. I loved my uncle’s place, so I was thrilled to find out that I would get to stay there all summer. Continue reading “The Thing on the TV”
By Chef Unxmaal
//This is part four of a series. For part one, click here.
I hated that town. Sprawled across the rotting foothills of a dead mountain chain, the city was a mass of Old South racism and corruption, filled with inhabitants too poor or too sentimental to leave for someplace better. The city sweltered in the mid-summer heat, smog from traffic mixing with lethal amounts of pollen and dust to form a soup that killed asthmatics as effectively a whiff of mustard gas.
I had acquired a sum of money from a job a few months back, and my needs were modest, so I had nothing better to do than hang out at the fountain downtown, or at the coffee shop nearby. I met Charlie first, when I noticed some truly phenomenal photographs on his laptop. They were all of beautiful, decayed structures, some of which I had seen around town. Charlie never made eye contact as he explained, in his mild, halting speech, that he didn’t take the photos, those were Jack’s, but he handled setting up Jack’s website. Continue reading “The Side Tunnel”
By Chef Unxmaal
//This is part three of a series. For part one, click here.
Can a house be evil? Is it possible for a structure of wood and stone and plaster and glass to become more than the sum of its parts, in the negative sense? It certainly happens in the positive sense. Fill a house with light and love and family and that sense of comfort and well-being seems to permeate the very walls of the place. But … is it possible to architect a bad place, however inadvertently, through the unwitting intersection of board and beam? Continue reading “The Space Between”
By Chef Unxmaal
//This is the sequel to The Stairs and the Doorway
“Your honor, I’ve seen shit that would turn you white!” — Winston, Ghostbusters.
There’s not a lot of work out there for a twenty-ish ex-security guard with a bad case of PTSD. And if that dumb kid was hideously scarred by a ‘serial killer’ that had carved a swathe of victims across three states and disappeared without a trace? That kid can barely get a hamburger at McDonald’s, much less gainful employment.
My parents weren’t able to help much. The wounds on my forehead and cheeks healed after a few weeks, or months. I wasn’t counting. You can still see them if you look closely, or in the moonlight. Nobody looks too closely these days. There’s something about my eyes that seem to reflect the things that I’ve seen.
I can identify with Winston. I’ve seen some shit. And that shit would turn you white, if not stark raving mad. And I may in fact be mad, because I keep seeing shit. Continue reading “Storage”
By Chef Unxmaal
The Goat roared down the dusty country road, shattering the silence of the late October twilight. The Goat was a 1969 Pontiac GTO “Judge”, Ram Air and a Rock Crusher transmission. Jay had painted it a glowing, canary “arrest me” yellow, and he had mounted a goat skull on the dash. “You wanna see Methenes Chapel?” Jay shouted at me over the roar. “Sure,” I said. Continue reading “Methenes Chapel”