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......MUTANT RAIN FOREST ISSUE........JUNE, 2016
Illustrations above by Shasta Lawton.

Be sure to Subscribe and Follow this blog to keep updated on the FREEZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction. If you or a friend are interested in submitting your short stories or longer works for daily serialization in a future issue, please contact us at freezinefantasysciencefiction@gmail.com, and we will reply in due time. Thank you for your participation in helping to support this nonprofit creative writing platform. Don't miss out on the current issue featuring Sanford Meschkow, John Shirley, Brian Stoneking, Vincent Daemon, and Bruce Boston. Featuring art by Will Ferret, Jason Heckenliable, Kara Koma, Marge Simon, and Shasta Lawton.

Friday, September 27, 2013

SHUGGOLETH

by Shaun Lawton







Doesn't it take you back, Suzi asked, to like, you know, the beginning?

You mean to the womb? Not really,  Drew sluiced back the last of his India Pale Ale, and winked at her as he tossed the red plastic cup aside. Grab your friend and lets go for that walk. 

Of course she knew about the underground passages beneath the old Minigolf Playland, just down the street. It remained mostly deserted after hours, ever since that Muldoon kid had been found there, stuffed into a drainage pipe (well, half of him at least—the lower half). Most of the townsfolk regarded the place with suspicion since then. Some with outright superstition.

Drew glanced up at the clock. It was two past midnight. The party raged on under the light of a waning moon. The Ramones blasted from the stereo speakers.

Most people at the party were just too wasted to go for a walk. They gestured farewell with a smile or a slur, sloshing suds from their red plastic cups onto the trashed linoleum floor, dismissing the venture without another thought.

The few who wanted to go were perfectly intoxicated for the idea. Suzis long-haired friend Jerry stepped up, quaffed the rest of his beer, and let out an enormous belch. He grinned in self-satisfaction as he dropped the empty cup to the floor, where it rolled in an arc and stopped against another discarded cup. There were dozens littered across the entire apartment.

We ready, On? A large-framed black woman in a purple dress stepped out of the crowd, glancing left and right. Arlene honey, where are you? she called out, searching among the partygoers.

A middle-aged lady in blue jeans and a loose-fitting yellow T-shirt with a stylized blood-splotched smiley face on it walked in from the kitchen. Here I am, Tirisha, she waved at the heavyset lady, smiling sheepishly.

Lets do this, Drew said, and led them out the front door and to the street.

They walked past a couple embracing on the front lawn. On the sidewalk a tattooed jock puked into the gutter, groaning and spitting out bile. A light breeze thankfully carried most of the scent of beer and vomit away from them.

They strolled through the early morning mist. Black puddles reflected moonlight from the asphalt as they passed by. Suzi conversed with Jerry while Drew looked ahead toward the fenced-in miniature golf course. Tirisha spoke in her thick accent to Arlene about the position of Venus. It was hard for Arlene to understand what she was saying.

Drew held up his right hand when they reached the chain-link fence, as if testing the wind. He motioned for them to hold up a minute.

Stoop down under herekeep low till we get to that first castle. He indicated an edifice no larger than a kids playhouse, looming quietly on the other side of the fence, no more than thirty yards away.

He led them to a spot where the chain links had been twisted and folded out. He leaned over and pulled up a loose flap of fencing, bending it back up so they could crouch down and slip into the lot.

Once inside, they did as instructed, hunched down for fear of being seen, and ran toward a seven-foot high castle replica. Within its faint shadow they felt less exposed.

They began winding their way around various miniature replicas and over kid-sized curved bridges separating the eighteen courses on the lot. For a few minutes they all wandered in silence, each lost in their own separate thoughts. Finally they followed Drew to a scaled-down simulacrum of an old watermill.

Drew crawled through a ground-level archway in its turret, and dropped out of sight into darkness. A moment later, his arm extended out from under the shadowed cupola, beckoning the rest to follow.

Jerry crawled in next, then Suzi crouched and squeezed through. Arlene stepped up, turned around, letting herself in backwards, feet first. Tirisha went last. She barely fit. The purple gown she wore with gold shooting-stars printed on it got smudged with crumbling plaster, and then torn a little as she heaved her hefty frame through the archway.

Once inside with feet firmly placed on the lower concrete level, they began walking down the narrowing, mildewed passageway. Drew was pretty sure this was an underground rain gutter that eventually drained out into the river. He removed a small penlight from his pants pocket and shone it forward, its conical beam fluctuating with each step he took, illuminating the trapezoidal hallway ahead. The floor was wider across than the low, dripping ceiling.

Tirisha cursed unintelligibly, wiping chalky grime and spider webbing from her gown. Jerry peered about in the long hallway lying ahead in darkness. He thought he heard a rat squeak from the shadows. Suzi grabbed his arm while staring into the dim flashlight beam, trying to make out details. Arlene stepped up directly behind Drew.

They walked forward with caution. The passageway came to an end after thirty feet. They stood before the darkened opening of a ten-foot-diameter corrugated pipeline. There was no place to go from there, except back the way they had come—or into the pipe.

Immediately they noticed something fishy in the air. It originated from the yawning pitch of the pipe. Its open hole slowly breathed out a diseased exhalation.

The fish-stink intensified suddenly to an unbearable degree. Drew yanked the hem of his T-shirt up over his nose. Suzi and Arlene gasped and pinched their nostrils shut. Jerry breathed in the noxious fumes and choked.

The smell was acrid and punishing. First burning, then sharpened stabs of pain attacked their sinuses. Drew felt as if a flaming axe had cleaved through his head, shearing off the top, leaving the lower jaw gaping in a smoking, cauterized cross-section. He suddenly felt as if the upper portion of his head had slid forward and off, dropping to hit the floor at his feet with a wet thunk. His hands flew to his face, trembling and feeling the familiar features still there, as if nothing had happened.  Suzi slipped in the implied blood puddle forming and fell right on her ass.

Jerry reached out to lend her a hand when a long pink tubular tongue curled out of the dripping pipes opening. It encircled his throat with a slippery viscosity. The last word on his lips, the girls name, was aborted with a sudden drawn-tight whiplash motion and a muffled crack could be heard from deep within his neck. As everyone registered what they were seeing, Jerrys head nodded at an off-kilter angle, and he was yanked into the pipe.

Arlene sobbed at the image of his glassy stare as she tried to claw away from there, but what sounded like a mumbling rag-stuffed voice in her head beseeched her to consider otherwise. With each breath emitted from the pipe, the stench intensified. Bizarre scales opened up along the ground beneath her like sharpened dominoes standing up along a ripped-out scar. Screaming, she was rolled up as if into a spiny carpet. After two revolutions, her shrieks were significantly muffled. On the third turn, the scaly rolled-up appendage slithered back into the yawning pipe, taking Arlenes slack body with it.

Tirisha found herself standing directly on the leathery hide of what appeared to be a large ray or flounder. She calmly stepped off of it. The insensitive creature is a mutation of a poisonous species of Lungfish that lurk deep within the citys drainage system, she thought to herself. 

Tirisha indicated the paler, wider scales she had just stepped off of. That his stomach, Ondrew, she indicated. Both eyes on udder side.

Drew cursed beneath his breath. What the fucks in the pipe?

Tirisha shook her head reassuringly. It full now. I tolled you. She only take two.

Suzi picked herself up, and slowly backed away from the pipes opening. Her eyes shifted between Drew and Tirisha, swiftly calculating their collaboration. She thought she recalled them having whispered together at the party.

Her eyes were radiant. She indicated the flounder-like creature that remained still as a tanned hide before a fireplace. So it sleeps face down...on its back? she asked, the whites of her eyes visibly arched.

Tirisha looked at her and nodded.

Drew knew they should never have come. It was just a miniature golf course...this could not be happening to them. He looked over at Tirishas bulky outline. Sometimes, she really gave him the creeps.

How could he have anticipated that her stories about the dreaming tunnels below the golf course might have anything to them? He still didnt know what she meant by that. Back at the party laughing, they all thought it was such a great idea to come here.

He began feeling really queasy, as if he were under the effects of a strange new drug. Jerry and Suzi came along on a lark.

He glanced over at Suzi and caught a glimpse of her fingers caressing the sides of her face, exploring the growing, veined shadows there with delicate abandon. The illusion that her hands moved on their own was uncanny.

He reached out for her with longing and his arm extended from his dirty sleeve like an adder leaving its burrow, his smoothly polished hand swaying to and fro, scales glinting from it in the guttering cavern light. Veins along his wrist somehow morphed into the snakes jawline, a wart on his first knuckle became one of its nostrils, and his arm just slithered away from its sleeve through the air, trailing an X-ray shadow of his knobbed spinal cord along with it. The apparition disappeared into the gloom of the open drain pipe.

Suzis skin appeared to peel off her flesh and drift down like dried flakes of onion skin to the ground.

Drew stared in disbelief, seeing her face as a pale grinning skull baring gleeful eyes. Arrowing hisses flowed beneath his own skin and retracted around his heart in a cold clutch, seeming to eliminate all air bubbles in its wrapping compression. For a moment he felt strangely underwater.

Drew clutched at his chest with hands growing black spines as he watched Suzis features get tightened back suddenly, as if someone had stepped up from behind her and pulled a sheet of clear plastic wrap over her face. The skull-effect vanished, leaving her usual features impossibly stretched back. An O-shaped space over her darkened mouth steamed up against the plastic. Her pupils glinted like obsidian ball bearings in their darkened sockets.

Bark flaked off his knuckles in scabs as Drew seized upon an intangible vision in his head. With eyes shut tight an exploding core of blackness shrank in on itself while its remnants shredded into creation, leaving him gripping his own skull in his hands.

The ringing in his ears suddenly warped and sculpted into a metallic prison of eerie music. Echoing in his skull, a magnetic fluctuation lifted up his eyelids. Wide-open pupils reflected the dark spaces between stars.

Tirisha whispered And glews were there. So you know Ondrew, and he gradually came swimming up into focus to meet her carefully articulated pronouncement. She continued intoning in a guttural voice what sounded like Free to sharpen a coin at the rending of the curtain, Ondrew. You woe not get an other.  She held her wood-transformed hand out to him, tiny branches already growing from various points about her knuckles.

Suzi reached out for a helping hand, and her fingers unraveled in a spilled spiral, then swiveled wide, fanning out in a supplicating gesture. Her tongue unrolled out of her mouth, impossibly lengthening until it fell at her feet into the peach colored dust. It tasted like talcum powder and fizzled slightly against her taste buds.

Their surroundings lit up in an instant, capturing the scenery about them in a strobe-flash of lurid mockery. They were not in an urban drainage system as they had imagined themselves to be, but instead found themselves standing before some sort of translucent maze embedded within a titanic vein of quartz, as if formed inside a glacier. The drainage pipe had transformed into a lambent glass slot-canyon opening.

The vision appeared before their eyes for an instant, revealed as if by lightning flash. Before its lingering imprint faded from their retinas, they made out what appeared to be cultivated herbivorous gardens suspended within the rock crystal mountainside. This engrained arena of flora was stacked in various concentric ringed steppes, like hillocks submerged in the lucent rock. They could be glimpsed murkily arising from a series of upthrust tectonic plates.

Enormous veins of milky translucence crisscrossed over each other within this crystalline inter-leavened structure, like petrified bone marrow preserved beneath the skin of a calcified behemoth.

A wave of dizziness swept over Drew. Nausea overcame Suzi and she dry heaved for a few moments.

Have you mastered endless focus yet, On? asked Tirisha.

The feeling of disorientation intensified for Drew. Herbivorous gardens? Looking back over his shoulder, he could discern the vague shape of the archway in the watermill turret, against a gray backdrop of starlight. Through it he could see low hanging clouds passing slowly over the golf course. The puffy apparitions seemed to beckon him to follow.

Without a sound, Drew turned his gaze from the turret archway, and stepped into the pipe opening—only now it was the entrance to a narrow solid quartz canyon, illuminated from within. An eerie silence distilled amid the clouded depths within the natural crystal. Reflected on either side of its naturally formed walls, curious shapes glimmered.

Suzi followed, mesmerized by the incandescent vision around them. She felt immediately vulnerable amid the translucent crystal. The inner illumination let her see clearly about seven or eight feet into the quartz—after that, things got blurrier.

Tirisha sauntered through last. She tread through the fine, peach-colored silt, whispering in a low voice to herself.

The three of them continued deeper into the slot canyon. Tirisha ceased her mumbling.  They walked on in silence for seventy more yards.

At certain points, the walls narrowed to within fourteen inches of each other. Drew and Suzi had to turn their shoulders and expel their breath, relaxing their lungs to scoot on through. It did not occur to them to turn back.

Tirisha flowed through with startling ease. One particular narrow segment went on for ninety feet—Drew couldnt turn his head to get a glimpse of the woman behind him.

How is she possibly fitting, he wondered. He could hear her breathing easily just behind him.

Suzi stopped with one ear pressed against a faceted crystal wall, Shhh— she insisted. The smooth surface of the crystal was equivalent to her own body temperature. After a few moments, she held up her right hand in the peace symbol, palm out, last two fingers tucked under her thumb, as if signifying everything was okay.

She swooned against the smooth, warm crystal walls, and shut her eyes. She felt as if she were crawling back into the womb. She looked up and reached above with her left hand extended, beseeching. Overhead, the luminous walls of the slot canyon met at an impossible distance.

Down at their own level, deep within the translucent walls of the mountain, inner visions blemished into a surreal, haunting suspension of vaguely beckoning formations.

There were tall bulky shapes captured inside the crystal. They appeared to flicker slowly, like syrupy constellations twinkling in and out of focus. Hung in suspension inside, livid whorls and malformations defined unnerving Rorschach images.

Drew thought he could make out a harbinger destroying the sky. He tried shaking the image from his head. There were weird, blurred, hirsute humps floating at random intervals, fixed deep within the crystal.

A few times, Drew was certain the squamous, shaggy humps moved, but every time he stared directly at them, they appeared motionless again. Violet neuron clusters bloomed out, resembling the stark silhouettes of elm trees.

Ambient music floated up into his ear canals from within the formless depths of his mind. A strange fruition began taking root. A long and rising ululation, not unlike the songs of whales, made itself apparent. Drew wasnt sure if anyone else could hear it. Chords of intoned decay arose in waves, framed by the spectral glow surrounding them.

All three kept walking. The peculiar glittering within the blurred depths passed by on either side of them. No one continued to say a thing.

Drew shambled forth, helplessly leading. After passing a cleave in the crystal slot canyon, Tirisha stopped for a moment, and bade them listen.

They heard nothing. She encouraged them to hush up, and listen to the crystal. Hear it breathe. Listen to its song, and soon enough you will see, she urged.

Drew stopped and listened. The yawning throat in the mountain seemed to breathe along with them. It became evident then that they were each caught, so to speak, in the mountains jaws. It was imperative for each one of them to proceed. Drew thought crazily I hope the mountain doesnt sneeze.

Suzi realized that even if they managed to escape—to wherever this preternatural slot canyon led—it would not release them anywhere familiar. She was certain of that much.

Suzi looked over at Tirisha, who still had her ear pressed to a wall.  What do you hear it say? she asked.

Tirisha replied I am afraid it want us all.

Drew stood stock still and quietly cried.

Suzi had enough of Tirishas strange commentary. She grabbed Drew by the wrist and led them both onward.

Fuck this place, she said. After another twenty feet, the slot canyon made a hairpin turn to the right, and they walked around it.

Taking several more steps, they saw the shape immersed in the solid crystal directly to their right, like something trapped in amber. Caught within the frosted depth, a large purplish mound streaked with blurred orange spots hung suspended and motionless.

Suzi turned to ask Tirisha what it was, but the large lady wasnt behind them anymore. She whispered to Drew Hold on, Im going back for her, and backtracked to the sharp bend, peering left around the corner, but Tirisha wasnt anywhere to be seen. That was odd. It seemed as if she had simply disappeared. Or had she merely turned back the way they had come? Why didnt we think of that—?

She said flatly Shes gone Drew, and sidled back up next to him.

He was still staring at the purple bulk embedded in the crystal to their right.

Drew jarred himself out of his reverie. Lets get out of here. Lets go back, he said, and turned to face her. She nodded in silent assent, although the look in her eye expressed doubt.

They both took several steps back in the direction they had come, back towards the hairpin turn.

At the sharp bend, Suzi collided against a sweltering quartz wall. Drew bumped into her from behind. Suzis hands scrabbled against the glowing crystal, feeling desperately for the corner. There was none.

She turned around then, and the two embraced.

Behind Drew, more crystal formed, like new layers of strange warm ice filmed in stop-motion.

The pellucid slot canyon was sealing up around them from both ends. They embraced within a shrinking vacuole for a few more moments. Finally the living quartz compressed around them in an airtight seal.









This Monday
September 30
prepare for...


Servitors of the 
Outer Darkness


by Adam Bolivar


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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sanford Meschkow's
INEVITABLE

Sanford Meschkow is a retired former
NYer who married a Philly suburban
Main Line girl. Sanford has been pub-
lished in a 1970s issue of AMAZING.
We welcome him here on the FREE-
ZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE RECIDIVIST



Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's
THE MEMORY SECTOR

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking currently
resides in the high desert of Phoenix,
Arizona where he enjoys campy horror
movies within the comfort of an Insane
Asylum. Search for his science fiction
stories at The Intestinal Fortitude in
the Flesheater's World section.
The Memory Sector is his first
appearance in the Freezine of
Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Owen R. Powell's
NOETIC VACATIONS

Little is known of the mysterious
Owen R. Powell (oftentimes referred
to as Orp online). That is because he
usually keeps moving. The story
Noetic Vacations marks his first
appearance in the Freezine.

Edward Morris's
MERCY STREET

Edward Morris is a 2011 nominee for
the Pushcart Prize in literature, has
also been nominated for the 2009
Rhysling Award and the 2005 British
Science Fiction Association Award.
His short stories have been published
over a hundred and twenty times in
four languages, most recently at
PerhihelionSF, the Red Penny Papers'
SUPERPOW! anthology, and The
Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He lives
and works in Portland as a writer,
editor, spoken word MC and bouncer,
and is also a regular guest author at
the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)
GROUND PORK


Gene Stewart's
CRYPTID'S LAIR

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
He currently lives in the Midwest
American Wilderness where he is
researching tales of mystical realism,
writing ficta mystica, and exploring
the dark by casting a little light into
the shadows. Follow this link to his
website where there are many samples
of his writing and much else; come
explore.

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL & SIR
FRANCIS DRAKE



Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee.


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


David Agranoff is the author of the
short story collection Screams From
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vegan and tireless environmentalist.
His contributions to the punk horror
scene and the planet in general have
already established him as a bright
new writer and activist to watch out
for. The Freezine of Fantasy and
Science Fiction welcomes him and
his defiant vision open-heartedly.

David is a busy man, usually at work
on several different novels or projects
at once. He is sure to leave his mark on
a world teetering over the edge of
ecological imbalance. David's latest
books include the Wuxia -Pan
(martial arts fantasy) horror
novel called Hunting The Moon Tribe,
already out from Afterbirth Books.;
The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies,
[Deadite Press, 2010]; and
[Deadite Press, 2014]

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR


Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
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With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.

When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found here.


Johnny Strike's
AS YOU WISH



Johnny Strike's
NIGHT FLAMERS



Johnny Strike's
THE HOMELESS MUTANTS



Johnny Strike will beat you with his guitar
and leave you lying in the gutter wishing you
had never dared enter his under ground world
of fake passports, lucky amulets, rain soaked
hotels, and occult mystique. If you don't leave
nice comments under his story, he's sure to sic
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Ports Of Hell (Headpress), recommended by
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from William Lee himself unless you are the
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CRIME's album Exalted Masters? It was
released in 2007 on the Crime Music label,
on vinyl only, featuring a slew of their old
rare hits. Its real punk music from seasoned
veterans. Now go track yourself down a copy
before its out of print. The Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction is proud to host the story
that contains the line which titles his first
From Above (Rudos and Rubes).


Paul Stuart's
SEA?TV!


Paul Stuart is the author of numerous
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appears in The Vault of Punk Horror and
His non-fiction financial pieces can be found
in a shiny, west-coast magazine that features
pictures of expensive homes, as well as images
of women in casual poses and their accessories.
Consider writing him at paul@twilightlane.com,
if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall
2010, look for Grade 12 Trigonometry and
Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.


Rain Grave's
MAU BAST


Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
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David Niall Wilson). Her most
recent book, Barfodder: Poetry
Written in Dark Bars and Questionable
Cafes, has been hailed by Publisher's
Weekly as "Bukowski meets Lovecraft..."
in January of 2009. She lives and
writes in San Francisco, performing
spoken word at events around the
country. 877-DRK-POEM -



Icy Sedgwick's
THE PORCELAIN WOMAN


Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK
but dreams of the Old West. Her current
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and a Western tale of retribution. Find her
ebooks, free weekly fiction and other
shenanigans at Icy’s Cabinet of Curiosities.


Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth
with LIPSTICK



BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
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He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and
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G. Alden Davis's
THE FOLD


G. Alden Davis wrote his first short story
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afterward he discovered that words were
not enough, and left for art school. He was
awarded the Emeritus Fellowship along
with his BFA from Memphis College of Art
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Shae Sveniker's
A NEW METAPHYSICAL STUDY
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Shae is a poet/artist/student and former
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Nigel Strange's
PLASTIC CHILDREN


Nigel Strange lives with his wife and
daughter, cats, and tiny dog-like thing
in their home in California where he
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J.R. Torina's
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J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
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SLC, now closed). He is the dark force
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K.B. Updike, Jr's
THE GOLDEN THIRD EYE


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Virginia writer. KB's life work,
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has lost his Virginian virginity yet.)