Some end-of-the-year website cleaning prompted me to do something about two post drafts from months ago that I never finished. Yes, I’d see them every time I log on, but I put mental orange construction barrels around them. Until today!
DELETED SCENE: 4TH STREET. This was a post that for some reason never got past the draft stage. But I thought it’d be a shame to waste this picture a friend of mine took at the 2019 4th Street Fantasy convention.
The panel was “Fantasy About Everyday People.” Probably the most fun I’ve had on a con panel!
DELETED SCENE: CHANNELING MY INNER ERIC BOGOSIAN. This was a post I was preparing ahead of a scheduled appearance at last year’s Boskone that I had to back out from unfortunately. I’d signed up for the third time in a row for their annual Open Mike.
I’d decided to post the piece I did for the second open mic in 2018, complete with pictures that represented actual props I used.
Hey, you found us! Craigslist, huh? Gotta love it, right?
Uh, so look, I’m sorry you missed out on the cauldron and the curved knives. And most of the candles, but there’s still a LOT OF STUFF left. In fact, I saved some the best stuff JUST FOR YOU! Because I can tell from your emails that you’re a SERIOUS collector. You want real super-villain memorabilia? I got some right here, in the back of my Dad’s van!!
That’s right — MY DAD, also known as The Satanic Panic!
Look, just please tell me you’re not some kind of reporter or writer, trying to cash in. This stuff is personal to me. These are MEMORIES.
I remember him reading me his manifesto when I was 10. At bedtime. I didn’t really understand it at the time. But I was going through his stuff after he died, and I saw where bits and pieces of it came from. Check this out…
I know, I know, “It’s just a game.” But to my dad, this was a BIBLE. And I’ll tell you, you go through this and see all the highlights and with notes in the margins… it’s just like Mom’s actual Bible.
And there’s more — see all those boxes? Books. Files, too. He kept FILES on his enemies, you know — “heroes.” You got names. Statistics: how strong they were, how smart they were, how wise they were, how dexterous they were.
And, MAPS — just keep digging they’re all in there. Hideouts he had in different cities like Detroit and Los Angeles. Different ISLANDS. All sketched on graph paper, and you can even see where all the booby traps were.
He’d make me learn them every other weekend after the divorce, when he had visitation. And even in-between… he’d show up randomly at school and sign me out. Mom would get SO PISSED. But it was bonding time, you know? Father and son.
He had a lot of stories about his exploits: Fires on Devil’s Nights? That was him. Tainted Halloween candy? All him. Inspiring kids to express themselves however they needed to, wherever they needed to — in the woods, sewers, tunnels, with makeshift swords and armor…
I know people wanna judge, but in his mind he was fighting the system. The system that gave him Vietnam, Watergate, high gas prices, got him divorced, all that stuff. He really was the hero of his own story.
He was to me, at least. I know; what do you want, I was 10.
Actually — you wanna talk about MEMORIES? Let me tell you about this… this is a TREASURE, I don’t care what my mom and her Pastor says…
EH?? A lot of things made sense when I found this.
After the divorce and the restraining order, mom said I needed help. She tried her church first of course, but that was just people touching Bibles to my forehead. Then I got in trouble a little bit, and Social Services came in, and made her take me to see a bunch of kid shrinks. One time, I got HYPNOTIZED and a bunch of things came FLOODING BACK that I’d totally forgotten!
Flashes, really. My Dad, and some of his friends in costumes — ROBES and GOAT MASKS. I didn’t get one — I guess I was naked? I’m not sure, but the THERAPIST SAID I was, so okay. I guess there was some blood and chanting and… well, I dunno, it kinda fades after that.
Funny thing is, when I wrote Dad asking about it (which technically violated the restraining order — OOPS.), he swore up and down he had no idea what I was talking about.
Anyway, flash forward 33 years later. Dad dies and his OLD VAN gets towed to our driveway with all his stuff. Mom sees it and FREAKS. “I want this stuff out of here. You ain’t keeping it. Not under MY ROOF…” blah blah blah, I mean, Jesus, I’m 43 years old, I’m a certified goddamn accountant, and I live here too… I’m keeping the van, though, I don’t give a shit what she says.
Anyway, when I saw this, I got a flash of something. I’m back in that room, and I SWEAR, now I remember a voice saying, “This is your legacy! You are the son of The Satanic Panic.” You are the Son of Satanic Panic… I am the Son of Satanic Panic…
So… anyway… Actually I have MORE stuff, if you’re interested. Just down the way, at the storage place. I can show you. C’mon, hop in the van… what, you just got here, you got time.
Oh, c’mon… wait, look, hey…
I got candy.