4 Worries People With Anxiety Have When a Friend Doesn’t Text Back

1) Their offering to the bog witch was insufficient. Even know, their mouth is filling with mud, their gift– maybe a $10 iTunes card?– chucked under the roots of a mangrove, a crone’s cracked heel on their back, pushing them down into the muck. Bog witches prefer physical media!

2) Our friend’s phone is possessed. An 18th century dandy has entered it by mistake, distracted by its bauble-esque qualities. S/he knows nothing of texting!

3) Did we text the wrong person?

4) Our friends don’t exist when they’re not physically present. This entire world is an illusion. Or their phone died?

witches.town miscellany

Pity the poor Australopithecus ghost, stuck in a loop of regret and unfinished business, walking the paths it walked in life which are now sadly dozens of feet under new sediment, a haunting witnessed only by tunneling creatures with dim eyesight and no sense of the wonder.

You may dislike the President, but I admire his form. Not many people know this, but he’s made from a single sheet of flesh, carefully folded and crafted by a talented Flesh Origamist. If you were to unfold him, he would stretch halfway to the moon, which would be a good start, especially if it’s the further half away from us.

A million angel chorus, singing full-throated for aeons, but if you could record it, and could play it back at a faster speed, it would resolve itself: The words “I’m soooo booooored” repeated in slow variations, lazy chords weaving in and out, over an over eternally.

Nobody talks about how Santa, a powerful thoughtform, manages to take over the minds of millions of parents to make them do his bidding annually. They sign To/From cards on his behalf. They purchase toys with their own money! Gladly!

Your garden variety psychic sensitive or card-guessing ESPer is no match for this monster from beyond the snows.

So we just let it happen, year after year. We celebrate this psychic parasitism. Only in these summer months, when he’s weakest, can we even post about it, disguising it as jest.

lost time incident 60 – octopus bidding

A man wrestles with an octopus. TEXT: The octopus... following... her bidding!

lost time incident 60
This weekend was a writing weekend and I’m still writing. That’s how these words appeared in front of you. Just a short while ago, there was nothing here, but now there’s words. I’ve got this writing project I pitched at the end of February and I’m still not done with the first draft, so… I’m trying to knuckle down.

To bolster my efforts, I’m also reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s a book about writing, full of good advice like: If you want to write something, you should write something. Try writing a thing and if it doesn’t work out, change it.

Good stuff, good stuff.

A friend of mine named Rich pinged me yesterday from a book expo in Chicago, IL. He was browsing a table full of “bizarro” literature, which is a sub-genre dedicated to high concepts, surreal plots and characters, and oftentimes a desire to let one’s id do the driving. I love the creativity on display when it comes to, say, the output of a Carlton Mellick III, but as you might guess, you’ve got to dig through a lot to find the rare title that lives up to the promise of its cover. Bizarro fiction is not immune to Sturgeon’s Law.

There’s a work ethic there I wish I had. Mellick III has over 50 books published with titles like “The Cannibals of Candyland” and “Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes”. Chuck Tingle can come up with, write, and release a book within a day or two of a news item hitting the popular consciousness (such as “England’s Ass Is Haunted By A Hung Parliament”, on sale now).

It’s inspirational. I gotta get to work.

But first, another mirror universe beauty tip:

 

4 genius tricks for the smoothest legs ever
1) While you are still an idea, unformed, before you’re drawn to this material plane, influence one of your parents to be an octopus

2) Distribute 2-for-1 discount coupons to every hair on your legs. Thanks to financial incentives, your hair will keep doubling until you have a smooth pelt like an otter.

3) Replace your legs with mathematics. Run your hands along smooth sine curves and explain to the curious that your lower limbs are now leg-orithms.

4) Let two seals attempt to eat your legs, but ask them to stop at the hips.

 

because witches.town has a higher character limit, i will no longer be constrained by twitter’s limits
You, a buzzard-brained fool: I hope to join the Mile High Club. Me, a genius: If I ever have sex, I know that time/space is relative and I'm light-years above so much in every galactic direction and my club has the human race as members!

 

top three draculas in the tri-city area
1) Jerry the Dracula – Runs that nightclub where they got the red strobe lights and the blood showers go on at 3 a.m. out there on Route 4. Real nice.

2) Maybelle Dracula – Just a sweet lady, full up with stories. You’ll find her luring in folks with sweet tea on her white porch, friendly as you please, but them folks don’t come back.

3) Chuck the Double-Dracula – College boy, says the word for ’em all ain’t “Dracula” but “vampyr” so we call ‘im DOUBLE-Dracula. Heh. College boy. Nice, otherwise. Helps folks with their taxes and whatnot.

To all runner-up Draculas: better luck next year!

 

ending theme song
Okay! That’ll do it for this week. The sky is blue and there are hummingbirds zipping from flower to flower on the tree outside the living room window. Time to put on some coffee and hunker down on the current writing project.

As a reminder to anyone who missed it, my last writing project (written under a pseudonym) is still available over at Horrible Vacuum: SWAP MEAT! Only 99 cents for (possibly) the best (of not only) cannibal/bargain-hunting tale you’ve ever seen!

What else, what else. If you were following the LOST TIME INCIDENT Facebook page, you don’t have to do that anymore because I unpublished it. It wasn’t adding much to the experience.

I think that’s it! See you the next time one of these comes out!

—Michael Van Vleet

find me elsewhere
signalstation – home
TinyLetter – archive/subscription
witches.town – short nonsense Twitter – even shorter nonsense
Tumblr – reblogging
Goodreads – reading
Bandcamp – listening
Amazon – wishlist

4 Genius Tricks For The Smoothest Legs Ever

1) While you are still an idea, unformed, before you’re drawn to this material plane, influence one of your parents to be an octopus

2) Distribute 2-for-1 discount coupons to every hair on your legs. Thanks to financial incentives, your hair will keep doubling until you have a smooth pelt like an otter.

3) Replace your legs with mathematics. Run your hands along smooth sine curves and explain to the curious that your lower limbs are now leg-orithms.

4) Let two seals attempt to eat your legs, but ask them to stop at the hips.

Top Three Draculas in the Tri-City Area

1) Jerry the Dracula – Runs that nightclub where they got the red strobe lights and the blood showers go on at 3 a.m. out there on Route 4. Real nice.

2) Maybelle Dracula – Just a sweet lady, full up with stories. You’ll find her luring in folks with sweet tea on her white porch, friendly as you please, but them folks don’t come back.

3) Chuck the Double-Dracula – College boy, says the word for ’em all ain’t “Dracula” but “vampyr” so we call ‘im DOUBLE-Dracula. Heh. College boy. Nice, otherwise. Helps folks with their taxes and whatnot.

To all runner-up Draculas: better luck next year!

lost time incident 59 – what urge will save us

lost time incident 59
Night has fallen on a day spent puttering around with a fiction project that feels like it’s taking too long. It’s not, of course, as it’s a hobby and as such, has no expected delivery date. But I’m used to the quick thrills of writing short nonsense online, basking in a few near-immediate “likes” and then going back to creative loafing. Creating a longer piece is something I don’t yet have much practice at, so how would I know how long it takes?

Anyway. I didn’t start on this thing you’re reading just to chat about another piece I should be working on instead. I started on this thing because it’s easier than the other project and I thought it would make for a nice break.

So thanks for being part of my procrastination.

This week, I’m again highlighting short warm-up pieces I wrote over on witches.town. As a themed exercise, for a short while I was trawling through Cosmopolitan’s website, swiping blog post titles.

 

how to get a beach body
1) Write down on parchment a list of everyone who wants to see you fail.

2) Go to the beach under the light of the moon.

3) Wet the sand with tears, form it into a humanoid shape.

4) Insert your list into the shape’s “head”.

5) Complete the 18th Ward (Diremoth’s Chain), command the winds, and utter 3 lost names.

Voila! Your beach body will rise, ready to confound your enemies.

TO DISMISS: Say aloud “I look good” and believe it. This may take some practice.

 

3 rules anyone with oily skin needs to follow
1) All oil should stay on the outside of your skin. All of those who have attempted the reverse have liquefied and now live in tanks, or in village wells, cursed.

2) Never allow yourself to be kept from any Temple of Fortune. With your oily skin, it will be easy to squeeze your way through the Goddess Chimneys that they provide to allow Fortune herself to come and go as she pleases. Won’t the guards be shocked to see you winning at the games tables, shiny and glowing, despite their attempts to ban you?

3) Continue following our beauty tips, for though you are already beautiful, education is forever.

 

3 ways to spice up your relationship this summer
1) Marinate your partner in a brine for four hours. While their skin loosens, you can pass the time reading them love poems! When it’s loose enough, slip their skin off their skeleton and put it on yourself. Touch yourself through their skin. Let them watch you dance in it. Tell them how hot their skeleton is. TIP: Don’t forget to reglove them before they dry out!

2) Spanking! Have you tried it? Oh geez! It’s great!

3) Open a portal to the CoLoUr Realm and go with your lover outside of time, never to return. Rates are reduced while our realms are nearest! Any travel witch can arrange the trip!

 

4 Ways to Fix the Most Common Shaving Mistakes
1) Apply oil and old parchment to a mirror in a door’s shape. A small sacrifice should allow your mirror twin to exit the mirror with its untouched skin and take over your life while you recover.

2) Curse the gods until, out of fear, they restore your skin.

3) Never shave. Let dark winds and your weird will animate every hair on your body into a beautiful weapon for use against your foes.

4) With 3 sharp intakes of breath and a virgin’s eyelash, cause time to reverse until your razor’s blade is restored to ore in a mountain’s heart. That’ll teach it.

 

ending theme song
That’s it for this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed some beauty & wellness tips from a distant and weird universe. I’ve got a few more hours of consciousness left, so I’m gonna try and chip away on the big project a bit more before the weekend’s over.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

—Michael Van Vleet

4 Ways to Fix the Most Common Shaving Mistakes

1) Apply oil and old parchment to a mirror in a door’s shape. A small sacrifice should allow your mirror twin to exit the mirror with its untouched skin and take over your life while you recover.

2) Curse the gods until, out of fear, they restore your skin.

3) Never shave. Let dark winds and your weird will animate every hair on your body into a beautiful weapon for use against your foes.

4) With 3 sharp intakes of breath and a virgin’s eyelash, cause time to reverse until your razor’s blade is restored to ore in a mountain’s heart. That’ll teach it.

Saturdays, right?

It’s Saturday and you know what that means! Time to swap out the cartridges on the respirators that keep us safe from the Plant Fog and time to lead the children in writing polite letters to the Vegetable Lord asking him to spare us from his green judgement!

THREE WAYS TO SPICE UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP THIS SUMMER

1) Marinate your partner in a brine for four hours. While their skin loosens, you can pass the time reading them love poems! When it’s loose enough, slip their skin off their skeleton and put it on yourself. Touch yourself through their skin. Let them watch you dance in it. Tell them how hot their skeleton is. TIP: Don’t forget to reglove them before they dry out!

2) Spanking! Have you tried it? Oh geez! It’s great!

3) Open a portal to the CoLoUr Realm and go with your lover outside of time, never to return. Rates are reduced while our realms are nearest! Any travel witch can arrange the trip!

lost time incident 58 – a choice of dooms

lost time incident 58
There’s a smell of baking bread. I’m at the end of a week-long staycation, much of it spent right where I’m currently sitting, in the corner of a large couch in my living room.

Tomorrow I go back to work. This weekend, this couch is leaving, to be replaced with one that isn’t collapsing on one side. None if this is going to last, so I’m writing some small part of it down. The electrons that bounce around and convey this to you will one day spin free and forget all of us. Nothing is actually preserved, but isn’t it pleasant to pretend?

At the end of staycations, I waste time trying to figure out where all the time went. Even though moment by moment, I was doing exactly what I wanted to do, I still suspect that I was wasting an opportunity. The past-me never accomplished what I want to have already accomplished (without requiring me to actually do it myself in the present).

Instead, I relaxed. Watched some movies I’ve been wanting to watch and some TV that I probably could have skipped. Read. Listened to a lot of music, and put out a music mix.

But I meant to do more writing, so here we are. Typing things out. You ready? I’m ready. Let’s get recycling!

 
how I made my fortune
You ever seen a bunch of dudes wearing fingerless gloves, all huddled around a trash can what’s on fire? That was me. I invented the trashcan with a fire in it. Cornered the market with drifters, rounders, and ne’er-do-wells. Sure, most of ’em paid in hobo nickels and purloined apple pies, but some of ’em… they paid in wisdom.

Which I reinvested. Now I sleep on a bed made of wisdom. And you could too, for a small monthly fee, to join my newsletter, written in chalk under highways or inside railcars! Convenient!

 

5 easy steps to home security
1) Use a deadbolt.

2) Whenever you leave home, leave your shadow behind, pinned to your front door, muttering to itself like you’re still home, and as the sun stretches it over the day its extended fingers can scratch the window sills and confirm they’re inviolate.

3) 3-5 hours before you head out, stop feeding the Hungry Thing that lives in the eaves. Tell the Hungry Thing that you’re never coming back, that it’s on its own.

3) Make sure all windows are clasped.

5) Cast a spell so that filthy thieves can’t see the number 3 and instead see a 3 in its place.

A-ha. I’ve found you out. You read this instructional and it allowed me to see you, thief.

 

a tarot reading
The medium deals out the cards. Each one, a business card.

“Your past: Dharmesh Singh, SEO Optimization. Words have held a powerful sway over your past.” I nod sagely.

“Your future: Emily Langtree, certified public accountant. This could mean you’re going to be held accountable for your actions.”

“Hmm.”

“Your present: This is my card. After 10 visits, get 1 reading free.”

“Are there any other mediums here I could talk to instead?”

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Makeup From Sliding Off Your Face This Summer
1) Befriend a gorgon or basilisk. You’ll find them near sculpture gardens. Bring a gift basket of cheeses and a willingness to give face time and you’re most the way there!

2) Craft an iron support mask with adjustable leather straps and never take it off.

3) Drink Solomyn’s Ichor Solution #8 to seal over your pores. You’ll sweat with your tongue, like a hound, but that make-up won’t move!

4) Transform into a being of pure energy and disperse into the cosmos.

5) Lacquer? I dunno. Some kind of glue? Face glue? As a last resort, if the other tips don’t work?

 

ending theme song
Well, it worked. Putting this newsletter together got me writing a slate of short pieces over on witches.town where I was using headlines from Cosmopolitan as prompts. The sliding make-up piece above is one of them.

Now… the big question… can I keep momentum going and get back to my current, biggest writing project? Oh man, I can’t wait to find out!

Thanks for sticking around and reading this no-longer-weekly newsletter. I hope it continues to be one of the more interesting items in an inbox full of professional newsletters you don’t want to read, product updates from software you don’t care about, LinkedIn invitations, and coupons.