Weird West Storytellin’ Night

Picture, if you will, a campfire. Symmetrical logs, artfully arranged, all about the same size, which might seem odd if you think about it for too long, because if you look away from the campfire, there aren’t any trees around for miles. Just stands of cactus plants. Tufts of wild grass taller than a man on a horse. There are also men on horses, and men near horses, and horses on their own, all gathered around a camp fire as night approaches.

Out there in the darkness, beyond the ring of campfire light, are cows, occasionally lowing, milling about. It’s a mostly quiet night, except for those cows. Creaking metal from somewhere… oh, it’s the bean pot! A pot of beans suspended over the fire from a tripod!

We’re in the Wild West somewhere. One of those big flat states in the US.

From the way the conversations are going, we’re just in time for the post meal story telling. These men have got story themes for every night of the week when they’re out on the “range,” which is what they call this depopulated stretch of land they’re passing through.
The man with the largest beard clears his throat. “All right, men, it’s Tuesday, and you all know what that means.” There’s a general murmuring of assent.

“It’s Ghosty Story Tuesday, so anyone who’s got a good spooky story’s gonna wanna get themselves our prime story-telling seats by the fire. And everyone else, hurry up and wash out your cups and get them put away, because we don’t want to hear any mid-story clanking… unless it’s relevant to the story, because we all remember that time Elmer told that story about the ghost with the chains and how he used some cups to supplement the tale. That’s all right. But it was purposeful, too.”

A man wearing a Stetson hat cracks his knuckles, his wrists bearing two differently patterned handkerchiefs. “Reckon I’ll go first,” he says.

There’s a general murmuring of assent, and a “Go ahead, Patrick.”

Patrick, with a grand gesture, begins his tale.

There was once a guy who was in charge of getting a whole herd of cows from Kansas City down to Amarillo because there was going to be a big cow sale and the guy who owned these cows, Mr. Eldridge, wanted to sell them there. So Eldridge hires this guy, who went by the name of Erik Guitar. That wasn’t a family name, “Guitar.” Just a nickname. Guy probably owned a guitar once. Didn’t have it with him when he got the job. Anyway.

So he gets on his horse and with the cows heads out from Kansas City and on his first night camping, right when he’s trying to bed down, this cow comes up to him. And it talks.

“Erik Guitar,” said this cow. “You should not have taken this job.”

Erik, though, he knew more about the state of his finances. He knew he had to take this job. But even more important than that, he knew cows didn’t talk.

“Cows don’t talk,” Erik said.

“Dead cows talk,” said the cow.

Now… this was new. Erik, to the best of his knowledge, had never talked to a dead cow before. “So how is it that I can–”


A cowboy with a well-waxed moustache, handle-bar shaped, with one handle slightly bigger than the other, seemed agitated. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Patrick, but this story sounds a lot like the last story you told, where the cowboy was dead the whole time and he didn’t even know it.”

Patrick frowned at the ground. “This is a different story, Eustace.”

“So you’re telling me,” said the asymmetrically-moustached cowboy named Eustace, “that this cowboy who’s talking to a cow in your story is 100% definitely alive?”

“Ayup,” said Patrick. “At least… so far!”

And at that, all the other cowboys leaned in and Patrick continued his story. But I’m going to save us all some trouble and skip ahead, because Patrick wasn’t telling the truth. About 20 minutes later, after the story involved a quest to bury the bones of a troubled cow, plus a mad horse chase through a flooding canyon, he did say that the cowboy was dead the whole time, sort of, but as this was a universe where life wasn’t even a concept, and everything was composed of a kind of spiritual energy that his fellow cowboys might recognize as “dead,” in the universe of his story, it’s… it’s convoluted. The other cowboys mostly shouted him down when he tried to explain the big twist.

The horse chase through the flooding canyon was fun, though. Maybe we shouldn’t have skipped that part. Too late now. So yeah, the cowboy was dead the whole time and that’s why he could talk to the dead cow. And all the other cows were dead the whole time. And Kansas City was a cemetery. Something like that.

Any Pirate Will Do



My high school reached out to me to find out if I was interested in staying in touch. I am not. But the best part of this communication is finding that, judging by the address label, if I were no longer a resident, they would be happy to extend this invitation to whomever now lived here.

“Sure, you didn’t go to school here, but… would you like to pretend you had? Would you like to wear the prestige of Pewaukee-association about your shoulders like a regal cape?”


And Now It's Showtime

The Signal: NAQ (never asked questions)

And Now It's Showtime

Nobody has ever asked for more information about The Signal but I’ve decided to write about this project of mine  anyway, because I’ve been doing it for over 10 years, so it must be important. There must be something to it.

So below you’ll find out a bit about the history of this ongoing sound project that has consistently found and maintained a listenership of at least 10 people or so.

Continue reading The Signal: NAQ (never asked questions)


The Signal: EP115


The Signal: EP115 – 45 minutes of global sounds, the product of a day off and an idiosyncratic library. If you have a free hour, then you could spend 7.5 minutes getting ready to be attentive and still have 7.5 minutes at the end to unwind and recover.

As is traditional, the list of included tracks are built into the mp3 itself, which you can download by clicking on the image above. The link will be available for a limited time only, so even if this is your first visit, it can’t hurt to grab it now and give it a listen later to see if it’s your kind of thing. If it helps any, upwards of 10 people listen to these mixes as they come out and they seem to enjoy them.

Continue reading The Signal: EP115

No Mercy Project

No Mercy printed vs ink No Mercy pencils/inks/printed No Mercy word/pencils/ink No Mercy taco bell pee


Story By: Alex de Campi
Art By: Carla Speed McNeil

I thought it might be interesting to display an “idea to execution” framed set of page one of No Mercy #1 from Image Comics. On the left is page one in script form from de Campi, followed by McNeil’s pencils, then inks.  Many thanks to both artists for their participation!

Single Panel Comic Strip

In front of an outdoor canvas tent, a trio of bears wearing party hats share an awkward moment facing three older gentlemen who are dressed in lederhosen and holding steins. We can see the tail end of a banner with the letters “…r Fest.”

One of the two bears behind the lead bear is leaning to its companion, making air quotes with its massive claws, murmuring “Watch him blame this on AutoCorrect.”

She Keeps Standing Up

A private eye talks to a palm reader, hoping she can help him locate a lady living in the same building the psychic is working out of. After the private eye admits who he’s looking for:

She stood up. “Who sent you?”

“Nobody. I just thought you might be able to help.”

“Don’t know the name, mister. I just moved in here last year.”

“But I thought you might be able to use your divination—”

“Crap!” She stood up. “You a copper?”

“No. I’m an agent…”

from Shooting Star by Robert Bloch.