Pillow Fight

Barry received the ax from G & L Fabrications. Temporary lack of work evolved to an indefinite separation. Unemployment sufficed for basic necessities and Candice paid the bills while maintaining two High Schoolers’ upkeep and the minor needs of their youngest. They made it, and Barry was content, yet Candice felt betrayal sink in like a brooding sickness, eating her alive from within.

“Don’t worry, I’ll do everything before I end another sixty-hour work week.”

Candice paraded her martyrdom while tidying-up minuscule clutter around the living room.

“I said I’d get to it when the kids go to bed.”

“You mean kid,” she corrected. “Beth and James are sleeping over at their friend’s tonight, or did the beer make you forget?”

Barry took a sip, then a chug. “You know we’re getting by fine without the need to work overtime every week,” he leaned forward and placed the empty on the coffee table. “I know you like to spoil everyone, but there is no need for to make yourself miserable.”

“You know who is miserable? You, Barry. All you do is sit around waiting for something to happen. It’s time to realize that they’re not calling you back in. It’s time to move on. And when you can finally do that, maybe I won’t be so miserable.

Her footfalls, deliberate with thunder, crashed towards the far bedrooms. Barry heard his youngest whine, pleading for mommy not to go again, not to leave him alone. That thunder returned, “Maybe you can give your son some attention tonight, or are you too drunk? Just make sure he goes to bed at a normal hour. Can you handle that?”

Rage never allowed him the moment to respond and Barry was fine with that. The front door slammed and the reverberation lingered like a caustic ripple in an acid pool, burning the air and scouring his skin.

Trevor whimpered from the mouth of the hallway.

“Hey buddy,” said Barry. “What’s the matter?”

He rose from the couch. Trevor wiped his nose and sniffled through clogged nostrils.

“Mommy said it’s your fault that she has to work at nights. Why daddy, why?”

“Oh bud, that’s not really true. Mommy is just tired from working a lot and sometimes when grownups get tired, they say things that are silly,” he ruffled the brown tuft of Trevor’s hair. “What do you want to do tonight?”

The squeak of his youngest child followed him into the kitchen, and to the liquor cabinet.

“Petey and I are playing in my room. Do you want to play with us?”

Beer before liquor, never been sicker he mused in his mind I guess I can’t get much sicker than this. Two finger widths of bourbon filled a rocks glass, and he drank.

Barry cleared his throat with another round.

“Sure buddy, whatever you want.”

Bourbon was left out, waiting for him to return, and Trevor reached up, grabbing his father’s hand.

“What are you two playing tonight?”

“Cars and trucks.”

“My favorite.”

And those cars and trucks scattered atop the Nascar playmat Barry bought Trevor for his birthday.

“You want to race, Daddy?”

“Sure thing buddy, let’s take a second to clean up this mess,” he pointed at the unkempt bed and strewn blocks. “It’ll make it easier for us.”

“Okay,” he huffed.

Bourbon swelled his veins, warming body and mind. Recent memories surfaced like vile oils, acrid and hurtful.

“Watch the attitude,” said Barry.

There was no backlash here. No passive-aggressive reminders of his worth nor damning glares to crush him further in the ground like a child squishing bugs out of boredom. Trevor shoved the corner of his comforter in and received a tilt of approval.

“Why are you playing with your cars? Didn’t you hear me when I said bed and blocks?”

“Sorry, Daddy.”

“Blocks, Trevor. Let’s make it happen,” he said. “I want you on blocks now.”

What am I doing? Barry asked himself. This is meant for Candice, not him.

“I’m sorry, Trevor,” this was hard for him to say. He bent down, and moved the cars around on the mat. “You work on that and Daddy will get us a nice race going.”

“It’s okay, Daddy. Petey says that he will help me and play with me,” said Trevor.

Barry took the hint and ran with it. “That’s good, son, that’s good. I’ll come back in a few minutes.”

A blast of invisible air, frigid and menacing, struck Barry as passed the threshold of Trevor’s room and into the hallway.

“Are you cold, Trevor?”

“No,” he said. “Let me ask Petey. Petey, are you cold?” Trevor pivoted to a shadowed corner between bed and window. “He says he is fine; just perfect for him.”

He nodded to his son. The walls and closed doors spun like a lazy tumbler as he shuffled through, turning into the kitchen. Bourbon told him to forget a sweater, drink me instead.

“Yeah, just a little more,” he said to the bottle. “You always warm me up good.”

Lips sucked around the stout glass neck and Barry hauled, chugging until air grasped strained lungs. Gullet burned, scarring with memories of Candice’s poking and prodding. Palpable are his festering sores, oozing with infections left by her hatred. His head swam in those echoes, and underneath was the cutting squeak of Trevor, calling to him from his room.

“Daddy, Daddy,” he said. “Daddy, come play with me.”

Feet heavy, legs woozy. Barry made it, bracing himself for the impact he yearned for, for the fire to soothe and encourage.

“Whaddya want to play next?” Barry asked, teetering at the door.

“Pillow fight, Daddy,” he jumped with joy.

Barry gripped the pillow and allowed Trevor to hit him over and over. He stumbled around the cars, dodging what he could, laughing with his son. Cushioned blows countered at Trevor’s side, pillows danced and danced like puffs of joyous innocence.

And he tripped over the blocks.

“I told you to pick these damn toys up,” he slurred, pulling himself up by his dresser. “Can’t you do anything right?”

He made sure his palm was open on the first strike to his stomach. It dropped Trevor with an umphf. Barry wound the pillow over his shoulder and brought it down, hard. Trevor sprawled over his cars, and wept. Barry couldn’t stop. He imagined Candice with each blow, picturing the pillow as a bat or an axe, bludgeoning and cutting and killing.

“You think you can get away talking to me like that?” Barry yelled. “Always jabbing with your nastiness. Huh?”

The pillow was ripped from his hands by an unseen force. It floated in the air with a drunken blur before crashing into his face. His nose crackled, blood gushed. Barry staggered and his heels tripped over bawling Trevor. He tried to stand, but was pushed back onto the bed. He could only crawl backwards, scooting his body towards the headboard. A weight trapped his hips to the mattress and the pillow smothered his face. Hands flailed, slapping only wall. Legs kicked, hitting nothing but air. Hot, whiskey soaked blood poured choked Barry. He gurgled his son’s name, apologizing with muffled pleads. They never reached him.

Death took him, and Trevor thanked Petey for always being there when he needed him.

© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.

That’s a picture of Petey the Pirate. He is my son’s first “stuffy”, a gift for his first birthday. Petey has been there through thick and thin, watching life progress for not only my son, but for my family.

Petey has seen some shit, man. He has witnessed me at my worst with depression and drinking, has seen my wife and I fight over the latter, and was there when I came around to sober up; long enough to function either for a day, or for my long stretches. It sounds confusing, so let me explain: I slipped up a few times during the last five years to equate to roughly eighteen months of drinking, and three and a half years of sobriety.

Speaking of stretches in sobriety, I will be at two years straight without a sip of alcohol come July. Woot! 

My son also has an imaginary friend. The other day when we were pillow fighting (nothing like in the story, obviously) he wanted GiGi to get in on the action. He said that he was just kidding, because GiGi is pretend.

I held out the pillow anyways, and watched it drop to the ground. 

I took a few moments and thought about GiGi. Would he still have relevance if I was drinking, and what would that bond between my son and him (or her, we’ve never determined GiGi’s sex) be today? Would I have been replaced? Would it manifest into something real?

I was Barry at one point; minus abuse of physical nature.

This was an easy story to write. My wife hated it. It hit too close to the recent past, and that abhorrent history is easy to fictionalize, yet hard to stomach. She said it made her sick, and when I heard that, I thought of success. The impact was delivered to what I desired with this tale.  

I want characters that people hate. I want their conflicts and demons and mannerisms and lifestyles to be felt deep within. I want you to relate to them and to know that these creatures I weave have a sense of potential realism. Barry was part of me, and if you’ve been around enough alcoholics, you’ll see that he is a part of them all in some way.

That, my friends, is horror in my eyes.

“The Haunting of Hill House” was a fantastic read! I plowed through that last weekend and would recommend it to anyone. Right now I am reading a Robert E. Howard horror anthology and Sarah Langan’s “The Missing”. I should be jumping back to some graphic novels afterwards. I have issue five of “Chew: The Omnivore Edition” and I am forcing myself to get to it as soon as I can. I’m a slow reader so this is a tricky task. “Chew” is  one of my favorite series as it is both hilarious and extraordinarily unique.

Ghoul’s Ice Skating nonsense continues. It’s a fun mini-series and I think next week will see it’s conclusion.   

I’m back to work come this Monday. A friend reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me to be one of his supervisor’s at a group home for wonderful folks with brain injuries and personality disorders. I’ve worked in that field for a few years now and I absolutely enjoy it. 

I have enjoyed taking the last six months off to sharpen and energize my craft. I think it was a necessity for my mind and core. Physically, not so much. I’m usually active and have become rather lazy. I’ve accomplished a lot for myself and will continue to work at becoming a full-time writer. Realistically, I would like to work for a couple more years and by then I should have a novel ready or an anthology of short stories. I still plan to post weekly, but the next few weeks may see a delay with posts. I’m going to be right straight out with classes and traveling.

Thank you all so much for being a constant reader, and with that, I bid you farewell….

… Until next week!

John Potts Jr

Rounding Numbers

Jankowski was an odd fellow.

He locked his house at night like everyone else, except when five minutes lapsed—to the second, mind you—Jankowski made an extra trip downstairs to check each deadbolt, twice. Permanent markers stained his bathroom sink so he knew how far to twist each knob; red for hands, blue for teeth. Every third Wednesday of the month a package arrived with his household supplies and paper goods, and when he recycled, his bin was filled with the same three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle that waited for trash day.

Food for Jankowski was ritualistic, and controlled. He bought groceries once a week and prepared most of his meals on Sunday nights for the work week ahead. Lasagnas and casseroles were frozen in his basement icebox; chicken seared and sliced for salads; veggies cleaned and prepped ready to be reheated; egg mixtures sat in milk quarts for scrambled Thursdays or omelet Tuesdays. These were his comfort foods, passed down by parents whom never understood computer programming or how one could work out a bedroom every day.

Eating out was reserved for twice a week on Fridays and Saturdays, divided into his favorite authentic cuisines that hit his palate’s desires. The first and fourth Fridays were of Asian tastes, Thai and Chinese. Never sushi, though. Burgers filled the second and third dates, cooked well-done from the same corporate chain with unsalted fries. On Saturdays, he’d roll an eight-sided die and chose from a prewritten list of circumstances; one and two, his friends decided; three and four, he decided; five and six was a re-roll, and seven and eight was pizza.

He only ordered pizza dictated by his rolls, and he stuck to this rule.

Jankowski would convert the lid of the box into plates equal to those whom ate with him. Most of his friends thought he was a loon, and that was quite fine with him.

And Jankowski never tipped more than the total rounded to the nearest five-dollar interval.

There was a knocking on his door. It was abrupt, and loud like the strikes of a framing hammer on stubborn two-by-fours.

“Must be dinner,” said Jankowski.

Harold did the math for him, and proclaimed without reassurance from a calculator that a twenty would cover the bill, minus the tip.

“Do you have a few ones to throw in?” He asked while fishing in the pockets of his tight jeans for crumpled bills. “Least we can do.”

“I would, but it’s against the rules,” said Frank.

“Rules? What do you mean?”

“It’s Murray’s deal. He’ll tell you when he comes back.”

Frank admired Harold for scoffing, and even more for insisting.

“That’s absurd,” he checked his watch. “It must be the last order of the night and I know that I would feel insulted—deeply insulted—if change was offered. I can’t believe it, I have to say something.”

He rushed to the door, still wriggling a bony hand to produce more cash from his pockets. Frank moved from the couch to the recliner, sticking his head to the hallway like a giraffe observing a mild ruckus nearby. The doorway was crowded by Jankowski’s husky frame and Harold’s wiry attempts to offer the deliverer money.

“Nah, I got you, asshole. Keep your damn money.”

The door slammed and the female shriek continued outside.

“Eighty-six cents isn’t much of a tip,” said Harold.

Jankowski nodded, and shuffled his feet across the living room carpet, disappearing to the rear hall. A vicious click of the deadbolt filled the home.

“Locking it up early tonight?” asked Frank.

“Something like that,” his voice quivered. “I feel sick all of the sudden. I think I need some air.”

Headlights streaked outside and tires wailed their rubber-on-tar frustrations. He checked the blinds on each window with a systematic flick of the blinds, and once satisfied that she left, he stepped outside to his porch.

“I’ve never seen him get angry before, let alone slam a door,” said Frank.

“That wasn’t him, it was the delivery driver,” said Harold. “Where are the plates?”

Frank explained the lesson in maximizing the pizza box and dissected the lid into thirds. I could’ve prevented this he thought as he slid two slices onto his cardboard wedge. A medium would’ve been fine for us.

Jankowski joined them at the breakfast bar of the open kitchen. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” his stout nostrils flared when inhales that skipped like a drummer who failed to grasp basic timing. It was early spring and the nights remained chilled, yet his face and pits stained with contrary splotches of sudden perspiration.

“I’m fine, I’m really fine.”

Hunger grabbed the reigns, and Harold folded the crust while Frank used two hands; one cradled the bottom and the other guided from the rear. Jankowski sat and stared at his makeshift plate, breathing calmer but still, strained.

“You alright?” Frank asked in between chews.

“I hate myself sometimes,” he said. “I hate that I can’t break away from my stupid obsessions and now I made her cry.”

Harold mumbled with a mouth full and Jankowski exploded.

“She was crying!” His fists slammed with an unmatched rage that Frank, nor Harold, knew Jankowski to possess.“She was destroyed, all because I can’t break away.”

“It’s okay, man. And I’m sorry, she is beautiful,” said Harold with a shrug and a wink.

“Do you want us to leave?” Frank asked.

“No, no. I want to apologize to her. I want to find her and give her what she is owed… I just don’t know what to do.”

“Call the pizza place and explain that you short changed her by accident.”

Jankowski was out the door after he spoke with the manager of the store. He explained that he meant to give her an extra five and felt awful that she left upset. “I told him it wasn’t her fault that she slammed my door. I made her upset, and I need to make this right.”

Frank and Harold endured ten minutes of  white-knuckled silence until Jankowski swerved from the main drag and onto the store’s lot.

“He said he would tell her to stay and wait, but he didn’t know if she’d stick around, because he had to talk to her about something. I know I can make this right–I have to.”

“Okay man, just don’t get us killed in the process.”

Breaks squealed and bodies rocked as he forced his four-door to a stop in the dirt parking lot behind the store.

“There she is,” he said. “Oh my, there she is. Now I can make this better.”

He took a five out of his wallet, pressing it down to make it flat and closed the door behind him.

“Roll the window down,” said Harold from the back seat. “I want to hear this.”

Jankowski approached. Luminescence, feeble and yellow flickered from the stores outside lights, creating a void of darkness around the lone car and the meager frame of the pizza delivery girl.

“Hi, my name is Murray and I just want to say that I am sorry for—

She bent her fingernails forward in malice, cutting his face when she smacked.

“I got fired because of you. Not only are you retarded, but you’re a damn rat. I don’t want your money, or your apology.”

Frank couldn’t giggle like Harold was. Mild horror crept over his nerves and muscles like cynical frost bite, striking him feeble.

Harold giggled from the backseat but Frank shook his head with mild fear when Jankowski stalked forward.

“Please,” his voice raised to an angered shake. “I’m not like this and you have to take the tip.”

“Get away from me, you prick.”

When he stood upright, he towered over her and she never once backed down. When he placed his hands on her, she didn’t cry. When he covered her mouth with a sweaty palm to hush her, she bit down. Jankowski never noticed pain nor blood. He shook her like a loose body pillow limp from losing too much down and he didn’t stop. The back of her head cracked against the top of her car over and over until her neck lolled to the side.

“What do we do, what do we do? Jesus he’s killing her,” said Frank.

Harold dialed on his phone, whispering to the emergency service that he witnessed a murder, and Frank thought there was maddening beauty when Jankowski shoved the five in her shirt pocket, kissing her head goodbye before he ran in front of the semi barreling down the main drag.

© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.

I round my numbers sometimes. Not like Jankowski, though. Working in restaurants taught me to never short change those who handled my food in anyway, shape, or form. It’s Karma, I guess. That feeling of “what goes around, comes around,” will surely catch up if you eat out enough while failing to reciprocate gratitude. Luckily I have avoided shortchanging servers or delivery drivers, and I have tipped the minimum regardless of work quality. 

I bump my bills to the nearest five or zero so I can save a little money as I go. It equals out to be a gain of twenty or so bucks every month, and over a years time, that makes out to a couple of date nights or something for the kids, maybe some books or graphic novels. Either way, I save some loot for when I want it.

When I write (or read) I try to hit my goals for word counts at the end of the week. Sometimes I surpass and bank them for later. Sometimes I fall short (like this week), and realize that I need to work overtime at some point in the near future. I personally avoid beating myself up over lost productivity, and instead, I instill appreciation to the fact that I was able to write anything at all.

I an article last night that talked about forcing yourself to write even when you don’t feel that it can be beneficial. It makes sense, really it does. Writing is a job that pays off later with financial gains, but has instant gratification on your mind. But what if this was a gig that supplied an immediate paycheck. Would I want to show up and not put in the effort? Or should I at least try, and gain some ground along the way?

I’ve had jobs that I didn’t like. I worked them to pay the bills until I found something better, and trust me, I always found something better that would fit my drunk lifestyle at the time. I get restless or complacent, easier than most, and sometimes I just like to start something new or something familiar that may seem fresh at the time. I have to repeat this insanity with writing to keep my energy level at a high whenever I can. I try to minimize this though, as taking on more than I can handle is counterproductive. It’s about finding that happy medium to keep the sparks flying, and hen you are a scattered-brain-goof like myself, it can bite you in the ass if you haven’t mastered balance of workload.

Like myself. 

Damn, that was quite the ramble. 

I am reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”. Great story so far! I am a third of the way through it and I see myself finishing it this weekend. I just finished some Sarah Langan and I am going to read some more, but I need to mix it up a bit so I don’t make her horrific writing stale. I am also delving into “The Strange Case of H. H. Holmes” for a short story that I am working on. An episode of Lore Podcast turned me onto America’s first serial killer, and I knew I had to learn more.

His title is arguable though, since there may have been more before him that remain undiscovered.

Ghoul is continuing his Ice Skating shenanigans, and I have decided to make this a three-parter. It’s fun, and his undead antics fills the void in my body like cheap fiberglass insulation jammed around plumbing fixtures. It itches and warms simultaneously and is ever compliant to building codes. 

Or something like that.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time!

John Potts Jr

Call of the Sumac

Children hear it first, and regardless.

Whispers embrace new life like flint creating spark and blaze that is warm as the swaddles of a mother’s encroaching womb. Hums caress like gentle kisses of wind gliding between broad leaves and fir needles as crawling infancy advances to a toddler’s stumble. The tall grass parts way, allowing verse and chorus and inaudible melodies a linear route to entice minds both youthful in innocence and ignorance. When the young hear the final encore plain as day, they are coaxed to that epicenter, and the old tend to forget.

“Don’t stray too far ahead you two,” Anna called out.

“We won’t, mother.”

Madison was ever the tomgirl; overall shorts hung over a green short sleeve. She mimicked her father’s memory and owned his resemblance with pride.

“Yeah, we won’t Mommy.”

Bret wanted nothing more than to be just like his sister and how he protested when Mother dictated his attire. That stubbornness was inherited, not taught, and in the end Bret yielded to the threat of creepy crawlies and wore his loose pants without further argument.

The late morning was sticky and Anna could feel her body warming fast. Patches of cloudless sky peered through the exposed canopy of stout oak and elm branches. Anna felt a sensation of being watched, like many blue-eyed spirits winked and marveled whenever an unsuspecting gust chimed overhead. Maybe he is watching over us. She’d learned not to cry in front of the children, and when Bret smiled over his shoulder, she knew it would be alright to let a tear break over her cheek. He was too young to know the sorrow of loss.

“Mommy,” Bret giggled.

“I think a creepy crawly is coming for you,” Anna hooked her arms and crouched low like a stalking mantis. “You better run.”

Short legs hastened and Brett burst with uncontrollable laughter as he caught his sister’s side.

“Help me Madison, the monster is coming. Run, run,” he said.

“This way, this way. I know a place where we can hide forever and Daddy will be there. He’ll keep you safe, I promise.”

“Is he going to sing to us again?”

“Of course, silly. Let’s sing it together.”


Anna froze, staring like a deer caught in the headlights of a raging big rig as her children ran off hand-in-hand, humming a tune masked by a foul wind that rattled the trees. She couldn’t hear the words nor the cadence. Her mind waded through the caustic mist suffocating her emotions and she gasped breathes that shocked her senses. Why is she doing this? Why?

“Madison, come here, now,” she said. “I need you to stop and come back to me. You too, Bret.”

They skipped together down the path of shadows cast by towering deciduous sentinels and disappeared out of Anna’s view. “Come back you two,” she yelled. “You’ll both be in big trouble if you don’t listen.” Her stride erupted, fighting against sudden trepidation and the meanness of her children. Anna followed into the creeping darkness.

“Madison Jane and Bret Matthew,” cried Mother. “I said stop and I mean it.”

Words stumbled, sight waned. The darkness crowded, concealing the fleeting images of her children running deeper and deeper down the trail. They bound over roots and rocks, dipping below fell pines that cracked from Anna’s boots stepping over. Rays of Sun trickled through the canopy like scattered mists of a Sun shower’s feeble finale. It was dark and cool, yet perspiration leaked from mother as she struggled to keep up.

“We’re going to be okay, mother. You worry too much, such a worry wart.”

“Such a worry wart,” echoed Bret.

Their laughter taunted, always a step ahead of Mother’s relentless advance.

Beige pants flickered between dying spruce while red-and-blue stripes danced with the dead birch. Those colors blended beyond the grey expanse of forgotten woods. Anna sprinted, pausing to lurch over a fallen petrified birch. Her ankle twisted on landing, and she swallowed the pain.

“You two better come back, right now.”

Her breathing ticked upwards to a minor strain and her boots hit the uneven earth with a thud. Muscles burned and joints ached with every yard passed. Anna’s voice rose with distress when she ended at a clearing absent of her children.

“It’s alright mother,” Madison called from deep within thicket of dead trees. “We will be okay and will never have to worry like you do. Daddy said it’s alright, and he’ll be with us soon so don’t worry!”

“Worry wart, worry wart,” said Bret.

“I’m scared,” said Anna. “You two need to stop playing and come back to me.”

Anna advanced, ducking below dead branches and squeezing between dense trees. Her lungs heaved and her skin itched. The winds steady, unrelenting. Oh no Anna thought as she looked up and saw crimson drupes and leaves. Sumac swayed above her head, and she crouched lower, to avoid it from touching her skin.

“Please Madison, Bret. Please come back.”

Laughter danced on the wind, and she saw them ahead. Her children slipped beyond the Sumac’s and out of sight. Anna ducked lower and lower, but it was no use. Boils appeared on her arms and legs, small and pus filled like angry pimples of an adolescent face. She knew that her outbreak would spread if she continued; Mother’s don’t have that luxury to choose.

The Sumac’s crowded her movement and Anna reverted to crawling like a lost baby, looking for resemblance of familiarity and care. Her hands swelled, her breathes hobbled. Gusts morphed into consistent torrents, bleating a song of her rasped cries over the hums of her children—oh they are close, Anna thought.

We return to you oh sweet, sweet forest.

Need not worry oh mother, mother of mine.

We leave only to arrive home and are forever,

forever yours and we cry not for the loss.

We are yours again, and together again,

again to the forest and the spirits so.

“Stop this… stop this now, please,” Anna begged as she crawled.

The drupes fell with an explosion of Sumac dust that wafted to her face. Her eyes burned and vision blurred with fury. Anna held her breath before a forced inhale choked her throat before her windpipe swelled. She slumped forward and rolled to her back, gazing one last time to her children as they stood over her body.

“It’s okay, Mother. The forest will bring you back and you’ll be able to watch over us, reborn,” said Madison.

“Daddy, look, it’s Daddy,” said Brett.

He held the hand of a creature, and when Anna squinted through the blanket of grey that shrouded her last sight, it was her husband, who was reborn as a spirit of the woods.

“Anna, we’ll be together forever,” he said as he bent down to her. “It’s okay. I came out here not to die, but to be reborn. You’ll be with us soon and we will all flourish in this grove.”

Undergrowth cradled Anna’s lifeless body, dragging her below into the earth and her essence twisted into the Sumac.

© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.

I found out last summer that I have an allergic reaction to Poison Ivy. This was rather shocking as I have lived in Maine most of my life and played in the woods since I could crawl. I know for a fact that I’ve ran through patches of that, Sumac, and Poison Oak before and I’ve never had a reaction.

Want to see some pictures? You do! Alright then….

Some of these are nasty so if you have a weak stomach, then you might want to buzz past them for the rest of the afterthought.


That’s when I first go it. I thought they were bug bites, and subconsciously I scratched the hell of ’em thinking that it was nothing serious.


I was wrong! Yikes. That is an infection right there.


Other site of the same arm. The white stuff is dried Calamine Lotion. It helped, sure. Not for long, though.


My legs saw the worst of the topical rash/reaction, but the infection stayed in my arm. I remember being prescribed antibiotics and a steroid to fight it. It was awful.

Apparently as we age, our immune systems can shift or weaken or even strengthen; for me it certainly wasn’t the latter. Lesson learned, I guess. What is funny about this is that the patch of Poison Ivy I mingled with was in my new back yard, that is part of the original land for the cemetery behind my house. True story right there. Did I disturb cursed ground by landscaping it? Did I piss off restless spirits by stepping foot on their domain? Or was it just dumb luck?

The realist wishes it to be dumb luck, but the writer and glutton for punishment hopes that it is actually cursed. That’d be kinda cool, right? 


Ghoul kicked some ass Figure Skating this week. It’s a two-parter, and next week he will compete against a pair of former Russian Olympians in a pairs competition. Ghoul is an animal on the ice, but can his skills surpass those of proven Athletes? Find out next week!

I have been engrossed by Lore Podcast. It’s amazing. Aaron Mahnke does a great job explaining folklore, myths, and urban legends and if you haven’t heard it before I highly recommend it. Go and take a listen! 

Do you enjoy these stories (but not the horrendous Poison Ivy pics)? Then spread the good word! I’ll be posting every Friday, as I have been, and would love for as many folks to read the horror that is my Collection of Endless Nightmares. 

Ghoul is every Tuesday, too. Tell your friends if you think they’ll enjoy his nonsense. 


John Potts Jr