What Does Grief Mean To Me?

I haven’t been writing because on Thursday 7 December, 2017, my mom died. I’ve been in a ball of solitude and depression over the fact that we had tried so hard to have a relationship and it had not worked, and now it never would.

I was waiting on the F train platform at Smith and 9th Streets in Brooklyn. It was just after ten in the morning and I was planning my visit to the hospice my mom was in for the next day. She was in the final stages of cancer, off her food, and I wanted to see her one last time. I received a text from her supposed “friend” Fran. [More about Fran later.]

Not a phone call.

Not even a, “Are you sitting down?” Or, “Are you alone?”

Just a, “Your mom died this morning.”

Tears streamed down my face as I tried to cover my face with the hood of my sweatshirt. I wanted to scream, shout, yell, “FUCK CANCER! I FUCKING HATE CANCER! IT ISN’T FAIR!” And then fall to the ground and sob like a child: hands in fists, punching the ground; kicking; ignoring the tears and snot running down my face.


“Are you my mom’s friend? Why spread her ashes in a city she hated? What is wrong with you?”

I felt like a little kid. When I’d just had the chicken pox, my mom and I were waiting for the 3rd Avenue uptown bus (we liked on 15th street on 3rd Ave in NYC) by the corner of 16th street. I turned to face her in her long black wool winter coat with the big black buttons and received a hug — which pulled off a chicken pox scan above my eyebrow; I still have the scar.



You knew what Fran was like, Mom!

Who sends a goddamn text message saying your mom is gone???


Why did you leave me, how could you leave me?

The train arrived and I wiped my face and rocked back and forth with the rhythm of the train: my mum is dead, my mum is gone, my mum is dead, my mum is gone… Over and over, in my head, as the train made the rhythm with it’s wheels along the tracks.

I made it home and sent the same email to my dad, my paternal grandmother, my uncle (dad’s older brother) and his wife, my aunt. Subject: My Mom Is Dead.

I am alone and my mother is dead.

Fran is a lawyer and was a friend of my mom’s in the 1980’s. My mom stopped talking to Fran because she said Fran was, “cold, out for herself, selfish” and something else. Fran had recently spoken to me on the phone, had my email, texts (since she had my phone number), Fran knew how to contact me, but she texted me about my mom instead of calling.

Yet Fran is claiming she was friends and her sister even went to NOLA [New Orleans Louisiana = NOLA] with my mom. When? I guess when my mom’s other friends left NYC.

What does grief mean to me?

Pain. Suffering. Wanting to curl up in someone’s arms, screaming and crying, and letting the world know:

I. Am. In. Pain.

I. Hurt.

Help. Me.

Make. It. Stop.

Mommy… Has your pain stopped?

My mom was from New Orleans, Louisiana, so I’m getting a fleur de lis tattoo with 1945 – 2017 on it. Or something. I don’t need people to know its for my mom; I’ll know.

My mom hated NYC. She only stayed here for my son and me. We discussed moving to NOLA a lot. Not living together, just close together.

I want to spread my mom’s ashes in NOLA. Fran plans to spread them in NYC (as big a “FUCK YOU” to my mom if ever there was one).

Fran sent me (she says) half of my mom’s ashes as a “courtesy”.




You sick, demented bitch! What the fuck is wrong with you?

I’m an only child; as is my son. My son is sole heir; I’m his legal guardian. My mom would hate to be in NYC. But Fran doesn’t care. Selfish and out for herself as always. Fran plans to put my mom’s ashes in NYC, a city my mom hated. Some friend. Why not let me bring them to New Orleans, where my mom would want to be?

Nobody — except Fran and Fran’s sister (since my mom’s friends don’t live in NYC) — will be at Fran’s spreading of my mom’s ashes (I’m not going because my mom would hate to be spread in a city she hated; but why should Fran care?)

My mom would be happy in NOLA. Period. I hope my mom haunts Fran for this; nobody liked / likes Fran, and everyone who knew my mom knows my mom would want to be in New Orleans.

This is a major reason that I cannot move on from anger. I want to grab Fran and say, “Are you my mom’s friend? Why spread her ashes in a city she hated? What is wrong with you?”

Grief, to me, is a feeling of being alone, even when I have family and friends around me. Grief is a sadness that nothing can lift. It is solitude. It is a pain that cannot be shared with anyone because it is something we must bear on our own.

What does grief mean to me?

Sadness. Pain. Separation.

In high school I wrote (about myself; back then “cutting” was considered a “suicide attempt”),

She cuts herself

not to die

but to give the pain

an opening

to escape from.

Grief mean there is no escape. It’s with me 24/7. I dream about my mom. We had a rough relationship. We tried to get along but I couldn’t take the ups and downs of her schizophrenia. We would joke about how my dad said she was schizophrenic; I knew she was and I’m sure she knew that I knew. But we never spoke seriously about it.

I’m an only child, so I am alone in my grief. I try to hide it from my son, but he knows. I cry at the worst moments.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross came up with a “model” for the “Stages of Grief“. While I agree with most of the stages, I think they go in different orders for different people and often overlap. This is my experience, anyway. It has been two months, yet I’m stuck in stages One (Denial) and Two (anger).

In most of my dreams we, my mother and I are fighting. Mostly verbally, but definitely in each others’ faces. In other dreams, she has faked her death and is alive and I’ll hear from her in a few years. After all, I never saw her body. How do I know the ashes I received were hers?

I’m definitely angry. I’m angry at how my mom handled things; she didn’t like Fran, but with her other friends scattered across the country, she was left with Fran.

Then there’s the fact that Fran cleaned out my mom’s apartment without telling me. Fran knew how to call, text, and email me. There was the original tarot deck I learned on. There were the silver Shabbos candlesticks, handed down from my great-grandma (my paternal grandma’s mother). And other things. But Fran didn’t brother to ask or offer to let me come and look for those things.

Fran also wouldn’t tell me what was in the Will or who my mom’s lawyer was. She would ignore texts for weeks. And she’s supposed to be my mom’s friend, yet she can’t answer a few sentences from her friends’ only child? I’m curious to know how much Fran scammed financially off of my mom. After all, Fran claims there might not be anything left in 12 years when my son is 25.

Yes, my mom listened to me and left everything to my son (not me). But she gave Fran full say in what to do with her (my mom’s) remains. And now my mom will be spread in a city she hated. And that feels like a knife in my heart.

I’m in emotional and physical pain daily. My mom is gone. Fran has screwed my son and I badly. I want to scream, shout, cry, sleep…

I want this pain to stop.

Blessed Be,

D. K. Stevens


Pogo the Clown

Note: John Wayne Gacy, Jr was an American serial killer who would abduct, assault, sodomize, then kill young men in the 1970’s. He would also dress as a clown by the name of “Pogo”. He killed over 30 people. (Wikipedia)

Also: this story is in the horror genre, but also contains some sexually scenes which are not appropriate for children. And, NSFW. thanks

Andrew dropped his work bag at the bottom of the steps, and began unbuttoning the large, brightly colored buttons as he carefully made his way up the stairs, feet turned out to make room for his oversized shiny red shoes. Orange button, then green, and the blue which was getting loose. At the top of the stairs he glanced sadly towards the room to the right which had a bathroom and, at the end of the hallway, the storage room, which was supposed to have been a nursery, once upon a time. He sighed, turned left and walked to the bed quietly, without turning on the light. As quiet as he was, he still flinched as the bed sank down under his weight and let out a loud squeak.

“Sorry, love,” he said aloud to the empty side of the bed furthest from the door. He paused and then continued quietly, “The kiddies were so happy the parents asked me to stay for a drink or three, heh-heh,” he said, now consciously aware he was talking to an empty bed, in an otherwise empty room. First one shoe dropped, then the other. He no longer tried to keep quiet.
As he stood to step out of the one piece clown costume he wore, he saw himself in the mirror. He watched himself sway a bit as the mirror showed first one, then two, then one of him again. “I know, I still haven’t bought the blinds to block out the street light… Yes, and, truth be told I might’ve had more than a couple of drinks. I’ll get those shades tomorrow,” he stepped out of the costume, put it on it’s hanger, and walked into the adjoining bathroom to wash his face. He turned on the light and looked at his reflection. He found himself just staring at his reflection a lot since Tracy had left. Why had she left him? He was as thin as when they’d met, his hair was still thick and dark, his eyes a nice blue. He’d been in clown school when they met, and he’d over heard Tracy comment to friends more than once that his love of children was a major reason she had agreed to go on a date with him; back then, Tracy had wanted kids.

Andrew really did enjoy the children’s parties, the look of awe and happiness when he made balloon animals or pulled a quarter from behind a child’s ear. This was why summer was his favorite season. With no school, parties were thrown for birthdays, holidays, and just for fun. Now that school had begun a couple of weeks earlier, and parties were only thrown on weekends, Andrew would normally have called his childhood friend Justin for some construction work to make ends meet. It was the beginning of October, and he hadn’t called Justin yet. Justin had called him, more than once, but Andrew was usually nursing a hangover or passed out. Now Andrew stood and looked at the reflection himself in the mirror. He turned on the sink water, and waited for it to get warm. “Why? Why can’t I move on?” he asked his reflection. “Almost three years. Three years.” And he leaned over the sink, splashed water on his face, and began to wash off the clown makeup.

Five years earlier, Tracy and Andrew had bought the house. It needed work, but Andrew was able to do most of it on his own while Tracy worked from a lawyer up to District Attorney, and paid most of the bills. Tracy’s main complaint was the street light which lit up their bedroom. Andrew had told her he’d get blinds to block out the light but, before he had a chance, Tracy left. She said that she, “couldn’t live with a figurative and literal clown” any longer. They’d been together almost six years, almost three of those years married. Almost.

The nursery to the right of the staircase remained unfinished as Tracy had changed her mind about wanting kids. “I can be a stay at home dad, ” Andrew had pleaded, the same old argument, one night in mid-September. “That’s the new thing, you know,” he’d added, watching her from the doorway of their bathroom. She took off the jacket and unzipped her work skirt, hanging each on it’s own hanger. She unbuttoned her white shirt, and unrolled her stockings and dropped both to the floor. She stood and looked at him, wearing a brand new bra and matching underwear. He felt himself getting hard, “That’s sexy, where did you get them?” He’d asked, stupidly not suspecting a thing from his wife who had never cared if her bra matched her panties. “Oh, these? Nowhere,” her body was almost as fit as when they’d met, as she’d recently taken to running before he even woke up. She’d come home sweaty and glowing, and immediately take a shower before dressing for work. Her lunch breaks had been taken over by exercise, so Andrew could no longer show up to have lunch with her.

Now she was in the shower, and Andrew pulled off his pajama bottoms and undershirt and stepped into the shower behind her. She was completely immersed in the shower water, breasts taught, nipples tight; they hadn’t been intimate in months. He soaped his hands and began soaping her breasts up, pleasantly surprised that they had grown a bit and each seemed to overflow out of his hand. When his thumbs brushed her nipples, she gasped in pleasure and reached behind her to stoke his erection. “Oh, baby, you’re so close,” she murmured as she slid him inside of her and leaned forward. He moved his right hand down to help her climax, and was shocked when she came almost immediately, her spasms pulling him to his finish so they both came at the same time, as when they were first together. Still inside her, he pulled her close to kiss her neck and was surprised to find her climaxing again, something that had never happened in their entire relationship. He held her as she shuddered. The shower was turned off and they were wrapped around each other in bed, “I love you, Tracy,” he’d murmured in her ear, as he wrapped a fluffy towel around er and led her to bed. Sleepily she mumbled, “Love you, too,” before rolling over to her side of the bed. “We should be more careful,” he thought he heard Tracy mumble, before, “Goddamn street light! When are you getting the blinds?” That was the last time the were intimate, and Tracy moved out near the end of October.
And Andrew never did get the blinds to block out the street light.

Andrew stared at his reflection, again, in the sink mirror, bleary eyed. Tracy never let him come to bed with his clown makeup on, saying it got all over the sheets and pillow cases, and why couldn’t he just wash it off? He sighed, soaped up his hands, cupped them to fill them with water, and continued washing off the makeup. White all over his face, red on his mouth, blue on his lids with black eyebrows above. He wet his whole face and began scrubbing off the makeup from his left cheek, then his right cheek, forehead, nose, mouth, chin. Rinse hands, rinse face, and work off the eye makeup. He’d sometimes wondered what would happen if he kept scrubbing, kept adding soap and water onto the scrubbing sponge until his skin was pink, then bloody, then…

He stopped and looked in the mirror to see his reflection. It was just him, with some paint, and very pink cheeks, which felt raw to the touch; the red was only the paint from his lips.

It was mid-October (3 years since Tracy left, don’t think about it, move on, answer the phone, sound happy) when he received the call. It was from two towns over, wanting to know if he’d be willing to work an adult party on Halloween. “By ‘adult’, I just mean a bunch of drunk adults, no nudity. I just wanted a horror house as it’s my second anniversary with my wife and she’s always had a thing for clowns,” the man explained. “I’ll pay you double your usual rate.” Andrew thought about the pile of bills on his desk and knew that he had to take the job. He wrote down the address, date, and time.

A week before the party, the man, Jim, called again. “Um, hey, odd question, but can you come as Pogo?”

“Pogo?” Andrew repeated, confused.

“Yeah, you know, the clown that John Wayne Gacy dressed as. Pogo.”

“Oh,” Andrew paused. He needed the job, the money. “I guess so, why?”

“To make it scarier. My wife was with a clown who did kiddie shows, but I want to really scare her,” Jim laughed.

“Okay,” Andrew said, and hung up.

The party was already going when Andrew showed up dressed, uncomfortably, as Pogo. “I’m looking for Jim?” Andrew tried yelling over the music as he tapped various people on the shoulder.

“I’m Jim,” a man who looked similar to Andrew finally answered. “You must be the clown,” Jim said. “Come on, you can leave your stuff in the kids room.”

“Kids?” Andrew asked.

Jim looked proud, “A two year old boy and a 4 month old girl,” he said. “My wife wants tons of kids but I think we’ll wait a bit before the next,” Jim explained, as both he and Andrew stepped over the baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs. “They’re at my parents tonight,” Jim added.

“And your wife?” Andrew asked.

“Up here getting dressed as a zombie attack victim and I’m the zombie haha,” Jim pointed at the corner of the room. “Drop your stuff over there.” Jim looked at Andrew. “Huh. We could almost be twins,” Jim added, looking at Andrew up and down. Sure enough, they were both just over six feet tall, slender, same hair and eye color, Andrew felt uncomfortable.

“So, um, how did you meet your wife?” Andrew asked.

“Whirlwind courtship, divorce from her ex, then babies less than a year later. You’ll meet her later,” Jim turned on the lights and Andrew saw the perfect nursery, with a toddler bed in one corner and a crib in the other corner. Just as he’d imagined he and Tracy would have.

“Hon?”, a female voice called from down the hall, as the clicking of her heels got closer. Her voice sounded familiar, and Andrew gripped the edge of the crib, finding it hard to breathe. “I need some help with the skirt, it’s a bit tight with the extra baby…” Tracy stepped into the room, saw Andrew, and almost whispered, “weight.”

“Tracy,” Andrew stated.

Even with the Pogo makeup, she knew. “Andrew?” She turned to glare at Jim. “If this is your idea of a joke, it’s not funny.”

Jim put his hands up in an ‘I’m innocent’ stance and took a step back. “Babe, I called two towns over! How was I supposed to know?”

Tracy paused, then went over to Jim, the invisible knife in Andrew twisting as Jim fixed the last button on her skirt and they gently, lovingly, kissed.

“Now,” said Jim, clapping his hands once. “Welcome to the truly horror house! From now on, it’s everyone for themselves,” he smiled gleefully. “Oh, Andrew, before I forget. Fake knife, stab, blade goes in the handle, fake blood pours out. We’ve also hired professionals who have blood bags and will do the whole, ‘I’ve been stabbed!’ thing.”

Andrew took the knife and felt the tip. “Seems real to me, ” he said.

“Hence, professionals, who don’t mind a bruise or two. You have to push a bit harder than a regular fake knife,” Jim said and escorted Tracy out. “I’ve gotta get dressed,” he called over his shoulder. Andrew tested the knife a few more times and decided that he wouldn’t actually use it except as a prop; the blade seemed stuck and he wasn’t comfortable with that.

Andrew waited in the kids’ room until he could breathe normally again. Tracy. Whirlwind courtship then divorce. Had Jim known? No, she was never good at faking, Andrew thought. So how had Jim found him, among all of the available clowns — and the ones who would be available for twice the price? Andrew methodically checked his many pockets: long balloons in this one; long checkered scarf his sleeve so he could easily slip it into his mouth, or just pull it out of his sleeve if someone sneezed; fake flower with water; and so on. He walked out of the room and down the stairs, only to realize halfway down that all of the guests were vampires with fake blood dripping from fake fangs; zombies with dried blood and gore; nurses with white uniforms splashed with fake blood; even Tracy was dressed in a torn nightgown her arms holding a dead fetus — presumably ripped out by Jim who was a zombie, with fresh blood on his face.

Andrew paused on the stairs, but Jim, already drunk saw him and yelled, “Here he is! John Wayne Gacy, also known as Pogo the Clown!” Andrew reminded himself that he was being paid double, took a deep breath and held up the knife Jim had given him.

“Here, have some punch,” a female dresses as a bloody nurse ordered, handing him a cup. He gulped it and handed it back. She giggled. “Have a nice trip!” She said in a sing-song voice.

“How are you all tonight?” Andrew growled, having no idea what Gacy sounded like. “You’ve all come to party. Some of you will leave, some won’t!” Andrew did the last part in a sing-song voice, similar to the nurse, “Have fu-unn!”

And then the lights went out, and there were screams from below. Andrew figured that this was something Tracy and Jim had planned, and he slowly made his way down the last few steps to the dim light of the jack o’ lanterns.

Oddly, the house was laid out almost exactly like the house Andrew and Tracy had bought. Andrew headed for the kitchen for a drink and almost jumped out of his skin when someone grabbed his arm and pulled him under the stairs. She laughed and he knew it was a tipsy Tracy.

“What do you want?” he asked in a stage whisper. “More kids?” And then she was crying in his arms, and he was comforting her.

“You didn’t drink the punch, did you?” Tracy asked.

“Just a cup, but I’m starting to feel a bit odd,” Andrew responded.

“Oh, oh,” Tracy said sadly. “Jim dose it with LSD -acid — so everyone would be tripping. I was hoping that you… Andrew, I’m so sorry. I truly fucked up. I was horrible to you. Yes, I wanted kids, but I kept getting promoted and a pregnancy would’ve ruined all of that,” she was crying hard, now, gripping his costume; even in her heels, she only reached his chest. “But Jim, he didn’t care. I love my babies, I do. But I wish you were the dad.”

“Hey, hey, Trace, me, too, but, wrong time and place,” Andrew said softly, lifting her chin. Even in the dim light, with people running and screaming and stabbing at others with the heavy fake knives Jim had given out, he could see Tracy’s eyes red and swollen. He smiled sweetly. “Hey, wanna see the fake knife Jim gave me?”

He pulled his arm back, knife in hand, and as he stabbed her in her fake stomach wound, he heard her say, “No! They’re real!” And then she was on her knees, crying, again, “I was trying to tell you! He’s sick!” Blood, real blood, poured from her stomach. In his altered state he thought at first it was fake and giggled, but she commanded him, “Andrew. Real blood. Injury. Tear the bottom of this nightgown and wrap it around me tightly.”

Clumsy, fingers not working as they should, he ripped off the bottom of the nightgown to slow the bleeding. Suddenly, though he was seeing trails of of any movement, Andrew became sober. Standing, he yelled, “Stop! The knives are real! Find Jim!” If anyone heard him, they ignored him. “Call 911! Tracy needs an ambulance!” He yelled again. “Fine. New game: find Jim!” He yelled as loud as he could. This time people stopped and began agreeing. “Yeah, new game!”

“New game!”

“Find Jim”, followed by crazy laughter. “Find Jim, find Jim!”

Andrew got down by Tracy. “I’ll call for an ambulance,” he said, and they kissed.

When Jim heard Andrew’s hoarse voice scream the new mantra, “Find Jim!”, he knew he had to get out. He had a bag packed, and the kids — which he’d said were at his parents for the night — were sleeping in the back of the car, as he’d drugged them.

At this point, most of the guests were tripping on the huge dose of LSD Jim had put in the drinks, and were bleeding from some serious stab wounds. Jim remembered his drug education teacher saying, “A person on LSD can be hit by a car, yet get up and walk away.”

Jim pulled out one of the disposable phones he had bought and, called 911. “Oh my G-d, it’s crazy, everyone is stabbing everyone else, but it’s mostly some guy in a clown suit like what John Wayne Gacy wore — Pogo the Clown? it’s at…” Jim gave the address and then let out a real scream as people found him and surrounded the car. He dropped the phone, hanging it up accidentally.

The guests, dressed as vampires, zombies, and so on were rubbing real blood on the car windows as they tried to get to Jim. He couldn’t back up or go forward without hitting someone. He honked the horn. At the same time, some guests climbed on the hood and began kicking the windshield. The guests laughed as his windshield started to crack and then fell into the car on top of him. 

Jim put his arms up to block the glass and then the knives as they plunged into his flesh. Other guests followed, some getting trampled along the way.

“There are kids in here! Get out!” Jim yelled over the sirens of an ambulance, two police cars, and a fire engine.

 As he screamed, Jim heard guests commenting on the realistic knives and blood flowing onto his shirt. He stepped on the accelerator but his tires couldn’t get traction. The last thing Jim heard was, “Oh, these babes look so realistic!”

Andrew had noticed most of the guests run outside. Luckily, Jim and Tracy were one of the last people he knew to have a landline. He picked up the receiver only to find that someone had cut the wire.

He was sweating, so he wiped his face with his hand up his face and pulled the wig off as he saw no reason to wear it anymore.

“Trace,” he said, “Tracy!” He added forcefully. “Stay awake!” He tried to avoid looking at all of the blood she had lost. “Do you have a cellphone?”

She shook her head, “no.”

“Let me wash off my makeup,” Andrew said. He was still feeling the effects of the LSD in the punch.

Andrew went to wash his clown makeup off. It was a very strange night. He washed his face in the usually and checked in the mirror. Somehow he’d missed a lot, especially his cheeks. He redid the usual routine: soap on scrub brush, wet face then wet brush and scrub. He closed his eyes and scrubbed his whole face, but especially the cheeks.

The paint was still there, mixed with red, but not from his lips. He leaned over the sink again, using only hot water, splashed his face, added soap to the scrub brush and scrubbed. He checked in the mirror to see the white had faded.

He moved on to his left cheek and repeated the process. When he checked, he was dismayed to see his right cheek was still white. Was he doomed to look like a clown forever?

Left cheek, right cheek, forehead, eyes, mouth, scrub with towel… The makeup was still on. Not his usual, but Pogo. He was losing it.

Tracy came up behind him, one hand over the stab wounds, the other ran a bloody print across his face. “I’m so sorry, Andrew, so sorry,” she murmured. “I didn’t plan this, you know. Jim was always so jealous of you. So jealous.” She faded in real life, but remained in the mirror. “Go home. The police are coming. He set you up.” And she disappeared from the mirror. A hallucination, he thought.

Andrew was determined to get the paint off of his face. Rinse, scrub, wash, dry. Still there. He began using his nails to try and scratch the paint off. Blood streaked down his face, on to his costume, but all he saw was the paint. Rinse, scrub, dry; rinse, scrub, dry.

Eventually he went downstairs, still scibbing his face with the towel.

He scooped Tracy up in his arms. Jim had disappeared, so Andrew would take her to the hospital. He heard the sirens, and hurried to get Tracy to the ambulance. But when he stepped out of the door, a police officer on a megaphone say,”Put the woman down and your hands up!”

Confused, Andrew complied and yelled back, “She needs an ambulance!”

“So do a lot of your victims,” the officer yelled back.

“Victims?”, Andrew asked, as Tracy was gently put on a stretcher and he was roughly forced to his knees. The handcuffs we’re purposely clasped too tight on his wrists as he was read his rights.

“Are you sure it’s him?”

Rinse, scrub, dry.

“He’s wearing a clown suit. Only one alive. For now, he’s our guy.”

From the backseat of the police car, Andrew kept at it: rinse, scrub, dry.

“What’s he doing? Should we cuff him behind his back?”

“Nah. He’s just crazy,” the second cop answered the first. “Drive back to the station. Our shift is over.”

Andrew kept at it: rinse, scrub, dry. Rinse, scrub, dry, he was now using his sleeve to dry his face, not realizing that he was slowly ripping away at his skin and the red — so red! Like blood! — was the wetness that he kept wiping on his sleeve. Rinse, scrub, dry.

The police drove past the station to the hospital where, even after they strapped Andrew down to a bed, still in his blood spattered clown suit, he could be heard muttering, “Rinse, scrub, dry. Rinse, scrub, dry,” as the blood from his scratched face continued to slowly drip down onto the clean white pillow and sheets.

Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at horror (almost) sans Zombies.

Blessed Be,
D. K. Stevens

The Room

​previously published

There is a Room.
It is at the top of a three storey building, but it is not the attic. The ceiling is high, perhaps 12 feet, with sturdy pipes and beams which crisscross at about 10 feet. The windows are blackened, the walls soundproofed, though there wouldn’t have been much of a view and the rooms on the second floor are unused.
There are four small rooms on the first floor; these are rented by the hour. Or the half hour. Depending on what the customer is willing to pay for.
The office on the first floor used to be the pantry, but Sal had cut the door in half, and made it his office. The top part of the door could be closed, and locked with a vertical lock to hold the door together. There is a small card table that Sal used for his desk and for eating his meals. His meals are brought to him by one of the ageing women who work in the rooms that rented by the hour. Or the half hour.
The front door had a chain with a lock, so customers were forced to enter thru the back door.
Sal’s balding, shiny head, looking down at the newspaper, was the first thing customers saw when entering the house.
“Wipe your feet,” is Sal’s greeting.
When he looks up, he is able to tell which room the customer is looking to rent.
Today, he looks up and sees the bulge of cash in the pocket and the hangdog look. He slips the lock connecting the top with the bottom half of the door, and points to a chair for the customer.
After finding out that the customer is looking for the top floor, due to a breakup with a lady, Sal instead calls one of his “girls”.
” On the house,” Sal grunts at the “girl” of 63 years. Sal winks. She will still be paid.

Two days later, another man enters. His head is up, but his neck stiff.
The lock is put in place, and the man sits to the right of Sal.
“Everything is in order,” the man says, handing over a copy of his will and the letter he has written.
Sal reads it, slowly. Sal grunts.
“You know how this works, yeah?” Sal knows the answer. “What have you decided on?”
The man pulls a small handgun from his front coat pocket, and slides it, handle first, towards Sal.
Sal puts his hands in the air, a mock signal of, “I give up!”
“Don’t want no fingerprints, now,” Sal says. The man nods slowly. “Got the fee?”
The man reaches into his pants this time.
“For the room, for the clean up, and for putting the will and the letter in the proper hands.”
The man recites this in a monotone voice. Sal nods and opens his office door. “Top floor,” Sal points.
The man takes the gun and places it back into his jacket pocket. He heads for them slowly but with purpose. As soon as he’s disappeared out of sight, Sal calls for two of his others “girls”.
” Should be about fifteen minutes, ” he says, a loud *pop* from the top floor interrupting him. “Or less.”
The girls get their cleaning materials and head up the stairs, as Sal fills out the tax deduction form for a Suicide Premises.
Sal whistles as he signs his name at the bottom of the form.

Halloween Miscellaney

For Halloween, I’m posting some links to some scary stories (in other words, I’m not quite finished with my own. It just keeps getting longer and longer, despite my constant editing.). Most are in English, some in Spanish, all are free:

    * Google Play Books has Grimms Fairy Tales in at least five different languages.

    History of Halloween – Halloween – HISTORY.com

    What would Halloween be without some Neil Gaiman?


      And, for those of us who know Halloween as Samhain (pronounced: “sow-een”):

      Blessed Be,

      D. K. Stevens,

      A.k.a., Lalita Devi Bastet

      How To Properly Insult Someone (updated Free Write, again)


      (From 19 May 2014 #crazy #foolish #lollipopskinny #manjaw ; now it’s October, 2017. So this is more for fun.)

      After dealing with my son’s dad, his last three girlfriends (one of whom sent 350+ in 24 hours from different email addresses–one using my cats name. Do the math. Yeah.), and a person who once lied to sound more like me (my biggest mistake was taking her to that Brooklyn party). When I called the latter — my “frenemy” — on her rewriting history, she decided to try and insult me (13 texts when I awoke. Because I’d blocked her on Facebook. Thirteen. Couldn’t make it up if I tried)! So, I have decided to write a short piece on How To Properly Insult Someone. I.e., How To Insult Someone So You Are Not Laughed At / Made To Look Like An Idiot.

      RULE #1A: Stick to the truth. The truth hurts. Usually.

      For example, call me, “fat”, and I’ll tell you how my ex “fattened me up”, and when I began losing weight, he snapped my spine so exercise is out of the question. (Rule #1B)

      There was this guy whom I had an on and off “something” (relationship?) with from high school thru college and a bit more. (We’ll call him, “Bunny”; “Frenemy” is the girl who was cool until she tried to be like me. And until she became obsessed with “Bunny” — I’m guessing he’s the only one to turn her down, no matter how drunk he might be.) I freely admit that, at the time of my misspent youth, I was very much into Bunny. And Frenemy took advantage and would call to let me know, word for word, what he’d said. Which I just found creepy.

      Fast forward almost twenty years, and Frenemy and I decide to have lunch at Dojo’s on West 4th Street. My son came; he was, maybe, 7 or 8. She brought up Bunny, we laughed, and then I asked how she met her husband. A sentence, then more Bunny. Every time I tried to change the subject, she brought him up. I pointed out that he and I were in relationships with other people. Didn’t matter. What did I think of the girlfriend? Haven’t met her. What did I think of his hair length? Hadn’t thought about it. And so on.

      She also made a claim about a mutual friend who was married, saying they didn’t see each other because they’d have sex. (See Rule #4 for more details.)

      Then back to Bunny.

      I hadn’t seen Bunny in person in years, I explained. We were Facebook “friends”, but didn’t talk. From the last time I had seen him in Park Slope, he had gotten over me, so I did the same. Yes, he’ll always have a special place in my heart but he hurt me emotionally* (in addition to making me happy).

      RULE #2: If the person is better looking than you, do not attempt to insult their looks.

      An example from my most recent hater, “Nobody likes a fat girl with crooked eyebrows”.



      This is coming from Frenemy, a girl whose eyes are close set (a sign of lower intelligence) and has a huge man-jaw, made ever more prominent by her latest eating disorder.
      First off, I chose to get fat so guys wouldn’t hit on me. Yet they still do. A lot. So that was a miss.
      As for my eyebrows? I didn’t care if they were even or not. Why would I care about impressing her?
      As for why they are penciled on? See…Rule #3

      RULE #3: Find Our The Insultees Medical History So You Don’t Look Stupid

      I had cervical cancer my last year of college, plus a few more years. My brows grow in patchy. So I pencil them. If I care, I make them even. If I’m meeting someone who had, literally, one friend til I introduced her to mine, I don’t care if they’re even.
      This latest frenemy thinks I’m living in the past. Yet she’s the one obsessing over someone from decades ago. Move on, girl! If I were living in the past, there are a lot of things I could repeat. I don’t so Frenemy won’t realize some people saw through her lies…(See Rule #4!)

      RULE #4: If You’re Trying To Insult Someone Who Refers To The Past, But Not All Of The Past– They Are Trying To Spare You The Truth

      “You’re obsessed with the past because it was the best time of your life…I’ve blocked you from my iPhone.” (Recent frenemy, once again showing lower intelligence, since I’d already blocked her on her lifeline, social media.)

      First, you’re showing your lack of intelligence by having an iPhone. The most basic research will show you the many problems with iPhone. Androids are infinitely better.
      Secondly, no, my life with my son, now, is the best.

      HOWEVER, what I didn’t want you to know is how they were laughing AT you, not WITH you. (Example: the first party I brought you to in Brooklyn, you threw up on our — Bunny’s and my — bed, on yourself, etc. As you sat, passed out in a chair, vomit down your shirt, the guys who would later drunkenly sleep with you were throwing popcorn — points if it stuck.)
      We would try and schedule hang-outs without you because someone would have to take care of you (though we all knew you had to be faking it. But since everyone else was above average intelligence, we weren’t sure if things affected one if average intelligence– you– differently. And since I was usually stuck with you, and when you were sober I’d tell you not to trip because you never had a good trip and ruined it for the rest of us, eventually I just stopped going if I knew you’d be there. They’d complain to me about you, but I told them not to invite you.)
      One of the many jokes about you was if I’d kissed a boy, he’d better not get drunk around you because you had a thing for my leftovers but they had to be drunk to do you.
      When we met for lunch a few years ago, and you said you didn’t meet up with a certain someone because you’d go at it– how many times in the first few years was he sober during the act? Did he ever take you on a date like he did with me? (BTW, I know the answers, from him. No, he’s never been sober. No date; wouldn’t want to be alone or in public or both with you. He’s still embarrassed. Wouldn’t hook up with you now unless drunk and horny and first one there because you’d apparently do anyone I’ve been with. And only if he wasn’t married. Shame you don’t have the same respect for your vows.)

      RULE #5: Know What You’re Talking About

      Back to the frenemy. I didn’t read through all thirteen texts but from what I read:

      — you call me crazy. (Lol.) I have been in therapy, by choice, with various therapists over the years, but none for less than three years with one visit a week. All of them have declared me sane. Quite sane.
      Can you say the same? (Nope.)
      When I blocked you on Facebook, you texted me to tell me I was blocked from your iPhone. Yet when I used a friends phone to text you back, lmao, you said, lol, that I was crazy for using another method of response.
      What does that make you for texting me when blocked on Facebook??? According to your definition, “crazy” Lmao.
      Those close set eyes give away your average IQ (nothing to be ashamed of. Someone has to be average.), so I’ll explain:
      According to YOUR logic, if one is blocked on one medium and uses another, they are crazy. Like when you were blocked on Facebook and texted me, you were… (Psst. The answer is “crazy”.)

      — Being obsessed with Bunny. He’s married. I’m happy you got invited, although I’m not sure how (either he or his wife feel bad for you or can’t see through your lies or can’t tell you’re obsessed with Bunny. Which is odd. One would think, by now, your obsession would’ve been noticed. But, to quote you, “you win!” You should be proud of yourself.)

      First Update: despite being told I was using a friend’s phone, frenemy texted him. Something about how ”You win, Dee, [I’m] going back to [my] life! Thin”.
      He called to tell me of the text and asked if “thin” was all she had and could he text and tell her what a pathetic nutjob she is.
      I told him not to. If thin is all she has, she is more sad and pathetic than we all thought (my friends and I).
      Anyone can lose weight. I’ve been thin. I’ve been so thin that one could see the outline of my internal organs. (Tho I owe that to the cancer.)
      And as fluffy as I may be, on my worst day, in my attention getting jeans, T, and sneakers, with uneven eyebrows, I still LOOK BETTER THAN HER.
      You see, your hatred and jealousy make you ugly on the inside and it shows on the outside.
      Yet I don’t hate you. I pity you. If thin is all you’ve got– not your son or husband, etc– I feel bad for you.

      — you made some comment about getting a job and people with fibromyalgia having jobs blah blah blah. First off, nobody with fibromyalgia has JUST fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia ALWAYS comes with another illness.
      So, let’s see, first of all, fibromyalgia is not all that is physically wrong with me. But the other things — herniated discs and such — are none of your concern.
      Let’s just say with my physical disabilities, I have been unable to find a job. So I created one: I work as a freelance / ghostwriter.

      Which brings me to your husband: You said he couldn’t find a job. He has no disabilities. Where’s the problem?
      Oh, wait: solution.
      Marry a girl with low self-esteem. Have her work to support husband AND his kids from previous relationship.
      Give Low Self-esteem a kid.
      Send Low Self-esteem out to work and support husband, kid with husband, and husbands kids from previous relationship.
      Problem solved for husband.

      (Frenemy, you’re, “Low self-esteem” in this.)

      — from an ex of my son’s dad: ” it must suck knowing that your dad hates you.”
      (Odd. Then why does he make a point of seeing my son and I once a week? And email more often?)

      “It must suck knowing that your mom hates you.”
      (Hmmm… Which “mom”? Biological? The ex-stepmother who was more a mom than my own, whom I’m still in touch with despite being married to a man– not my dad–for the past two decades?)
      Put those two together and you get someone throwing darts with a blindfold. (Oddly, her eyes were close together, too.)

      — I cut and pasted the thirteen texts sent by frenemy so friends could read and comment. Apparently, frenemy says something about my being an ”attention whore”. Well, that really gave me a good laugh. But you know what? She must be right since it took her 6+ years to get through a city college and she has a masters in sociology, the easiest of all studies.
      But she was referring to me. The attention whore who didn’t leave her apartment for two years. The girl who got fat so guys wouldn’t hit on her. The girl who has worn jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers or Doc Martins her whole life.
      Methinks someone is jealous that the girl in the last paragraph received more compliments than the frenemy in her ill-fitting dress the time they hung out. Oh, and, yes, my son kicked you under the table on purpose because even he was sick of your rudeness, attemped insults and talk about Bunny this, Bunny that.
      It must suck to starve yourself, get all dressed up, and still have everyone look at the “fat chick with uneven eyebrows” and have nobody look at you. (Which they did when we had lunch. But you know that.)
      I see where the hate comes from.

      — from all three of my son’s dad’s girlfriends: “he doesn’t want you. He wants me.” Oh, please. Take him. I’ll PAY you to take him!
      Each girlfriend was the same.
      They’d say he doesn’t want me, move on.
      I’d say, “Take him, with my apologies. I don’t want him.”
      They’d say, “Then why are you all over him? He tells me everything.”
      And I’d say, “So, he’s the one telling you this. But all the calls on his phone are TO me. You’re in front of MY place; I’ve NEVER been to yours.” Etc.
      He’d come to me with a choice: have sex or my /our son comes home with cuts and bruises. I said, “Neither. Have sex with your girlfriend. Be a dad to your son. And tell your girl to leave me alone.”
      And the truth would come out: he wanted two girls to physically fight over him. And these dumb girls would fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.

      I’m sure my frenemy has given me more rules, but, honestly, I have better things to do than read all of her texts. I’ll put them in the folder with the ex-girlfriend who sent 350+ emails in 24 hours a few years ago. One day I’ll read them.
      Maybe not.
      All I know is Frenemy keeps emailing me and I’ve told her three times: you are harassing me. If you contact me again, I will get a restraining order.
      Yup, after all this time, she’s still obsessed with me.
      Sadly, even after reading this blog, the only insult she could come up with is, “Your blog with zero comments.” Lol. As if all comments are public; I have to approve them to make them public, but since most were insulting to you, I kept them private.

      Plus, even if I had zero comments, who cares??? I don’t. Apparently she does. I guess she wants her idol to have more public comments… but I keep most private.

      Either way, the lesson you should take from this is:

      RULE #1B: Stick To The Truth. The Truth Hurts. Usually.

      Tell Frenemy that she looks bad thin, as it emphasizes her big head, close-set eyes and man-jaw, and she’ll be hurt, but will simply use her standby with me, “At least I’m thin!”.


      Guess who can lose weight?

      And when we’re both thin, what will you say then?

      I’m still a better person on the inside; I didn’t lie to get friends; I didn’t try to be like somebody else.

      I was me. Always have been.

      And I noticed that once I stopped putting you on the list at clubs you’d never get into otherwise, and I stopped paying for your drugs, you were one of the first to go. Why? Because you had my, now your, Brooklyn friends to hang out with. No, “Are you ok? Can I help?” from you; just more talk about Bunny.

      P.S. Frenemy: you know who and what you are.
      When diagnosed with cancer, I removed all negativity from my life.
      As I’ve told the girlfriends of my son’s dad: do not contact me again or there will be a restraining order against you.

      Blessed Be.
      Dee Kat

      * Freshman year of college, I got a role in a play. My roommate was a perv, so I spent most of my time living with Bunny. One day, a bunch of us females were talking and the girl in the lead mentioned that she’d met a boy in the Smoking Lounge. Same first name as Bunny, same physical description. They planned to meet the next day. Before I could stop myself, I said, “That sounds like the guy I’m living with!” Cue pity looks. I felt as if a knife had been shoved slowly into my heart, and was slowly being turned. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to cry, scream, something.

      After rehearsal, I went to take the bus to the apartment I shared with perv, to change for a party that night. Who comes along, but my ex. We go back to my place, have meaningless sex, and I kick him out so that I could cry in peace.

      I get to the party and Bunny says, “I thought you should know that I made out with X because I know you were with your ex today.” I was stunned. He was acting like he was the hurt party! If he hadn’t flirted with and planned a date with another girl, I would’ve never considered my ex. I was in love with Bunny (or as close as I can get with a guy), and I was just someone to pass the time. The knife twisted deeper.

      Then there was the time when Frenemy excitedly called to tell me that Bunny had kissed a mutual friend, a bartender, “FULL ON the mouth!” Again, the knife twisted.

      And him moving, with another girl, to a city my mother’s family has lived in or near for generations. The same city that I would describe to him when he couldn’t sleep. No, “Let’s fuck them all and leave, just the two of us”. At the time it was like having your ex fuck another girl in your bed.

      I’m so happy that knife no longer twists.

      I promised myself that I’d never fall in love with a guy (or as close as possible) and, 20+ years later, I haven’t. I will never let a guy hurt me like he did.

      Now if only I could talk to women.

      Writing a Horror Story — With No Zombies

      My apologies but this week’s blog is being postponed until next week. My son is taking his high school entrance exams, so I’m helping him study for that. I’m also working on a short story in the horror genre which, surprisingly, has no Zombies.

      Many of you know of my obsession with Zombies. Even before my ex snapped my spine, they scared me because, due to large breasts, I haven’t been able to comfortably run since I hit puberty. Now, with a snapped spine, even with medication, I’m in constant pain. Take away the meds and there’s the withdrawal, followed by even more pain. Which also brings us back to possible running. Even if my son and I found a nice group of people, I would simply be a drain on precious resources. I couldn’t go on runs, I can’t cook or clean… And so on. Which is why Zombies scare me more than anything.

      With Samhain / Halloween coming up, I thought it would be a fun exercise to write about something scary without Zombies. According to my informal survey, clowns seem to be in the top two spots regardless of the age or gender of the person. (Oddly, my ex only made my list and my son’s list.)

      Hopefully it will be finished by next Monday.

      Blessed Be,

      D. K. Stevens

      Crochet: Not Just for Those Who Can’t Knit

      Great Apps / Sites:

      * Basic Stitches: Single; One and a Half; Double (two); Treble (Triple; 3):

      Notes for Granny Stitch:

      * A granny stich is used to make a square a bit bigger than your hand.

      * Once you have enough squares, use the single stitch to connect them to create your blanket.

      [The following instructions are taken directly from the awesome app, “DIY : Granny Square Crochet”]