In a glass case, on a shelf in a jar, is all that remains

of a woman named

Tansy Arvensis.

How is it that Tansy

– you might ask-

who once performed as

a Fire Breather, a Sword Swallower and Trapeze Artist for a Traveling Circus ended up in a jar on a shelf in a museum?

– In addition –

you might wonder

how is it that all that is left of Tansy is a head in jar with a single horn sprouting from the side of her head?

And you may question

why is it that Tansy’s eyes are sometimes closed and sometimes opened and sometimes her mouth is twisted in rage and her neat white teeth and her dark red lips are pushed up against the glass and at other times she is facing the wall?

How would someone like me

-you might wonder-

an unremarkable woman, living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable town called Mountlake Terrace ever have known a person like Tansy?

and

how is it that this unremarkable woman came to know what happened to Tansy

on that night Tansy lost her head?

What a silly question.

You should really be asking why is it that an unremarkable woman living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable town

isn’t the one

whose head is in a jar. 

Advertisements

One Night

I set out on a trip all by myself.

I did not have a map or a ticket I did not know where I was going.

I went alone.

And I stayed alone.

For awhile.

Towards the end of the trip I heard someone coming towards me-

slowly.

And then I heard someone breathing

just around the corner from where I was was walking

all alone.

And then I stopped.

” Someone there? “

I asked.

No one answered.

” Hey!  Is someone there? ” I called a little louder.

The breathing stopped and the footsteps came towards me

from around the corner.

I closed my eyes tight and put one foot in front of the other and then I flew towards the breathing and the footsteps and the voices that cried out:

” What the hell was that? ” came the voice from behind me and then below me as I took to the darkness above

” What the Hell was that! “

williamstrangdeathimprisone.jpg 

We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea

The Garden of Prosperine
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Clover Boonan takes the bus to work, she’s taken the same bus..the 477 for the passed ten years. Before that it was called the “S-4” but it was the same route and much like the town of Larkspear it hadn’t changed much in a very long time.

 She tries to sit somewhere in the middle and she listens to tapes she recorded herself; they don’t follow any musical style or artist. They’re just sounds and voices and phrases that the Mortician likes to fill her head with before she turns the key to the Prep Room at the Funeral Home she’s worked at for over 20 years and disappears from the world of the living into the home of the dead. 

When she was about 12 Clover wanted to be a writer, she wanted to write about demons and ghosts and cemeteries and the living dead. She wanted to dress in black and never smile and she wanted to live in one of those old Victorian style Mansions on Basam Hill. 

Then one summer, after she turned 18  her Mother’s friend offered her a job at the Leaning Birches Cemetery in Larkspear.

Had Clover thought it was cool in those days to smile she would have.

Instead she looked up from her book (must’ve been something by Anne Rice…of course) and she shrugged, “Sure.” Was all she’d said from under her heavy black shadowed eyelids. “ I think I’d fit in there.”

 That of course turned out to be so far from the truth it was a joke. 

The  Morticians Clover worked for were two brothers that inherited the Funeral Home from their Father.

Hunter and Calvin liked to sing Elvis and Frank Sinatra Songs while they worked, they attended every single Science Fiction Convention to come to town and they always dressed up as the bad guys from a show called “ Doctor Who” 

“ You know Clover, “ Hunter suggested one day “ you’re looking a little pale around the gills. Why don’t you go out and walk through the Memorial Park? All that sun, all that white marble. That’s put some color on you really fast.” 

“ No thanks” Clover said from the supply cabinet where she was taking inventory. 

“ Hey Clover” Calvin said with no room for debate “ why don’t you go out to the Memorial Park and do some maintenance? Rake up the leaves, clean up the dead flowers. That sort of thing. In fact, you should probably hop to it before you loose the Sun.”

Then Calvin opened a package on his desk and pulled out a little toy space ship that hoped you would live long and prosper when you pushed a little button on its  underside.

He held the toy up to his brother, “ Score.” He said with awe.

 Score. “ Hunter echoed back with reverence.

Clover was odd and pale and wore too much black but in the end she found out it was impossible to be around Hunter and Calvin Larkspear and not end with some color in your life.

It took a few years but Clover made it all the way through Mortuary College, she attended Comic Book Conventions and she even got it into her head that she might start writing some day.Mysteries were her thing now and the only horror books she read anymore were true crime novels.

Over the years she couldn’t read or watch a horror movie with out laughing out loud, so she have them up ages ago.

But when she put her headphones on and took that bus ride to work it was music she thought about. She loved the way the notes went together and the stories the songs told and she loved the voices, those lively colorful voices that wanted to tell you their secrets.This was the world she was in the day the lady in the gray linen shirt dress got on the bus.

The woman dropped some change into the fare box and carefully made her way down the aisle as the bus pulled away from the stop. As she walked towards Clover Boonan, something about the dress yanked out of her day dream of rock stardom and to the little black belt that circled the woman’s dress.

It looked like one that Clover use to own.

The edges of the belt were finished off with purple thread and because of that the belt had been considered flawed and she had bought it for less then dollar.And the dress…that dress looked like one of four shirt dresses her Mother had donated to the Funeral Home last winter. They had a closet full of donated clothes that they dressed  Jane and John Does in. Jane and John Doe were people the County brought to Leaning Birches, which had some years back devoted at least 20 acres of the Cemetery to the surrounding cities less then fortunate citizens to be buried.

Calvin and Hunter had started the “ Closet” because the idea of burying people in sheets and plastic bothered them. “ I’ve buried Gold Fish with more dignity then this, “ Hunter had mumbled one day as he prepared John Doe 21704 for his casket. The next day the brothers brought in some clothes and the closet grew from there.

Clover decided it was nothing, the belt and the dress weren’t unique. But the thought raced around her head all the same, “ no-  they’re not unique but those things are yours Clover. You know it…that’s your Mother’s dress.

The woman took a seat across the aisle from Clover and she smoothed her dress out before she sat down and Clover  just knew the woman was going to look over at her and smile.She moved her eyes forwards and tried to concentrate on her tape where a man was growling into her ears that he could do dirty deeds for cheap.

Now Clover could smell the faint sweet odor of Jasmine, her Mother’s perfume. The thing of it was Clover’s Mom has worn that scent for so long she can’t smell it on herself anymore and she has a tendency to wear too much of it now. So all of her Mother’s clothes, no matter how many times you wash or dry clean them the always smell like Jasmine Delights by Lucia.Lots of ladies that age wore that scent, Clover told herself,  lots of women that age wore that style of dress and lots of them had that hair style too.  Clover did hair and makeup at the Funeral Home and of all the things she had to do that was the task that worried her the most.

“ It’s cinchy Clover,” Hunter explained on the afternoon she had finally run out of excuses for not doing  hair “ it’s a pretty basic style just take the small barrel curling iron and make three curls on the top, two on each side and brush it out.”

It was  called it the Granny  Brush Out and even though it turned out it was an easy do Clover usually had to cheat and use bobby pins to hold the waves above the ears  up.

Clover’s eyes shifted to her right, and of course right  above the woman’s ear were two crossed bobby pins with a tiny bit of cream colored thread to hold them in place.

As the bus slowed down and pulled over to the next stop Clover hoped the woman would do what most of them did when someone got on the bus, the seated passengers  looked out the window. And the Grey Lady was no exception. She turned her head too as the next passenger started towards the back of the bus and when she did Clover’s eye went to the woman collar bone.

Just under her white linen collar it was there, just like clover knew it would be because she was the one who put it there.

The little line of puckered skin held together with string.

Clover had made that incision herself and she had gently reached inside of this woman and found the artery .

And then Clover embalmed her.

She was sure of it as the woman turned and looked at Clover and smiled and when she did Clover decided she knew this woman.

Clover after all had shaped the woman’s mouth into a small smile with her own hands and she had brushed her hair and put blush on her cheeks and colored her pale lips with a soft shade of red.

The Gray Lady was a dead Lady and she was riding the bus with all of the other morning commuters like she belonged there. She fussed a little more with her dress and her hair and then she reached up and pulled the yellow cord and the bus slid to a stop.

She got up and before she could pass Clover, Clover reached out and touched her hand, still bearing traces of the power she had dusted on to give the woman’s hand’s some color. “ Where are you going? “ was all Clover could think to ask.

The Gray Lady looked down at Clover and smiled and she leaned towards Clover a little and said, “ I’m just visiting dear, just like everybody else.”

“ Just Visiting. “

for more ” Weirdness ” visit

Weird New Jersey

996867-018.jpg

the_count_01.jpg  

This was a comment left for a post I wrote called ” Did You Check Under The Bed ” ….  I thought I’d go ahead and run Scott’s comment as a post- it’s a wonderful read about a great show.

 When you’re done visit his site and enjoy…I know I did!

anita marie 

I found your blog while doing my monthly search for all things Nightmare Theatre online, and as usual I enjoyed the reminisces of people who remember the show with as much fondness as I do. I was born in 1968, and watched it religiously from when I was three to when it went off the air in the late 1970s. (As cheesy as many of the films seem now, I’ll take them over 98% of the dreck on the market today.)

 Poe was a favorite of mine as well. (The House on Haunted Hill was the bomb, and his performances in Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations were absolutely unbeatable.) I was also a big fan of the Hammer fare, with Curse of the Werewolf and Brides of Dracula (both regulars on Nightmare Theatre’s sometimes repetitive schedule). One of my favorite memories, though, was the showing of The Mole People followed by Invasion of the Saucer Men, a double-bill which I repeat for nobody’s pleasure but my own about once a year. God bless VHS and DVD technology.

The program was such an influence on me that I am now a professional writer focusing on–you guessed it–all things horror, from award-winning fiction to film history and criticism. Since there has been very little written up about KIRO-TV’s late night show and it’s star, Joe “The Count” Towey, I decided a few years ago to start a fan site devoted to both, which–in light of web host problems over much of 2007–I had to rebuild this last month. (Just in time for Halloween! Forget Christmas; we Nightmare Theatre addicts know what the best holiday of the year is.) Anywho, if you are interested in revisiting a bit more of your childhood, check out my site (Nightmare Theatre NW) at www.nightmaretheatrenw.net.

I have a page devoted to nothing but reminisces like yours, and you’ll probably get a kick out of reading the television schedules for the Friday nights you found yourself–like me–glued to the tube.

It’s nice to see that others are trying to keep this small piece of Northwest history alive. Keep up the great work!

Scott Aaron Stine

P.S. The Scary Mary clip is absolutely hilarious! It’s amazing what a little bit of creative editing can achieve. (Now if modern filmmakers were at least half as clever, some of the more recent horror fare might by as “scary” as they claim.)

I don’t know much about Unkle Pigors, but I first saw this music video the other day and now I can’t get the song out of my head.

Yes!!  Our Gwenerrella has a spooky story to tell you!!

gwenerrellla-blank-bpspimage.jpg

Hi!  I gotsa spooky story ta tells ya!!  My friends wanna hear it too.

Theys Loodlelalla an’ Sassy. 

 loodlelalla.jpg

Loodlelalla gotsa black eye from beatin’ up da bully dat was teasin’ Sassy.

sassy.jpg

Sassy is one a my favouritest friends, she’s funny an’ smart, an’ she lissens ta me.

Once upon a time, there was a fam’ly that liveded by a semmaterry.  There was da Momma, Daddy, an’ three little kids.  One day, Momma askded da biggest one to go to da store an’ buy some libber for dinner.

 Da biggest one goed to da store an’ bought some candy, and toys for de kids, an’ then dinnunt have any money leftded for da libber. She was scareded to go home, but she knowed Momma was gonna be lookin’ for ‘em. 

So da kid stopded in da semmaterry and founded somebody that was dead but not inna ground .  Da kid tookded out they’s libber an’ took it home for Momma to cook for dinner. 

When dinner was already, da kid dinnunt wanna eat none, and said they tummy hurted.  Momma sended her ta bed and tol’ her ta feels better. 

Den she goed asleep and got waked up later, accause she heared somebuddy walkin’ and sayin’. “I want my libber!” 

gwenerrelazombielibber.jpg

She getted real scareded, and hided under the blankets, and acted like she was asleep. 

But she could hear dem feets walkin’… 

Thump!  Thump!  Thump! 

An’ she could hear ‘em sayin’… 

“I want my libber!” 

It getted louder an’ closer.   

Thump!  Thump!  Thump! 

“I want my libber!” 

gwenerrelazombielibber.jpg

Den she could hear de buddy she takeded da libber from walkin’ onna driveway. 

Crunch!  Crunch!  Crunch! 

Da girl feelded unner the piddow an’ feelded da candy unner there.  She getted even more scareded, an hollered for Momma. Momma dinnunt say nuthin’, an Daddy dinnunt, nobuddy sayed anything when da girl callded for ‘em.   

She getted up an’ peekded out da winnow and dere was da man hers takeded da libber from, comin’ up onnna porch. 

“I’s onna front porch, I wants my libber!” 

The door wented creeeeeeeeeeeeeeek an she could hear da man inna house!  She getted sooo scareded dat she started cryin’, real quiet.  

Thump!   Thump!   Thump! 

“I’s inna libbing room I wants my libber!” 

Den da girl heared da man onna first step goin’ up to da bedrooms.   

Groooooooaaaaaannnnnnnn!  Goed the loose bored.

 Gwenerella Playing Zombie

“I’s onna first step I wants my libber!” 

Thump!  Thump! 

“I’s onna second step I wants my libber!” 

Thump!  Thump! 

Da girl was snifflin’ by den, an’ the piddow was getting’ wet. 

Thump!  Thump! 

“I’s onna forth step I wants my libber!” 

Hers tried to holler but she counnent make any noise. 

Thump!  Thump! 

Thump!  Thump! 

Thump!  Thump! 

“I’s onna sebbenth step I wants my libber!” 

gwenerrelazombielibber.jpg

Now da girl getted eben more scareded accause she knowed dere was onny ten steps to da bedrooms. 

Thump!  Thump! 

Thump!  Thump! 

“I’s onna las’ step I wants my libber!” 

Da girl was so scareded dat she wetted the bed and was cryin’ loud. 

Thump!  Thump! 

Thump!  Thump! 

Thump!  Thump! 

 “I’s at yous bedroom door I wants my libber!” 

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!   Now da kid could smell da man, an he smelded awful. 

“I WANTS MY LIBBER!” 

gwenerrelazombielibber.jpg

But Daddy neber tellded us what happeneded to da kid.  He neber telleded us if da man getted his libber back ever. 

gwenerrellla-blank-bpspimage.jpg