Suggested Audio Jukebox

[1] Miami Sound Machine “Bad Boy”

[2] Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong”

[3] Depeche Mode “Policy of Truth”

[4] Eric Clapton “I Shot The Sheriff”


Forgive me Grueheads for I have sinned. It has been way too long since my last confession. Actually, I feel obliged to come clean as I’m not actually here to avow my sins and have no intention to beg for forgiveness either. Indeed, my reasoning for entering the confessional booth is entirely different as I just wanted to get you all alone. Fret not, I haven’t packed my Rohypnol and have no premeditated plan to have my wicked way with you against your will or anything nefarious like that. I’d simply like to chat some, elucidate what is currently going down in my frontal lobe, and offer a little clarity for those who believe me to be taking leave of my senses. However, I have no great desire to blather on about matters that some may found parched without first injecting a fairly hefty dose of fun to proceedings. You see, I’m not hovering precariously over a void of my own capitulation right now and, in fact, the precise opposite is true.


I have been simply inspired of late and been scribing for dear life in an attempt to release even a tenth of the cunning ideas trapped within my cranium. Granted, this may not have translated to me being present to the untrained eye but, mark my words, I am bang in the middle of my sweetest spot yet and the prose is simply gushing out of me. Even as I lay my head down for the customary six stretch each night, the propositions just keep on coming and there simply aren’t the hours in the day to get it all out. However, the general consensus is likely that I am in dire need of saving and I would like to assure you that this couldn’t be farther from accurate. I’m way beyond saving and as comfortable in my skin as I’m ever likely to be. Moreover, I’m seeing shit particularly clearly right now and care enough to share with you fine people.


Call it an epiphany but there was no blinding light or anything as sublime as that. I simply sussed out what had been holding me back and applied any necessary alterations. You see, my strength (and formerly curse) is insight and that affords me the tools to spot things that may not be necessarily clear-cut. The affliction of said perception is that I traditionally haven’t the vaguest inkling how to apply that to myself. While I may be able to deduce some of the greatest mysteries of the human psyche, my own mind has been pretty much alien to me. That is until recently. The key to absolution is learning to live with your imperfections, as plentiful as they may be, and embrace them as opposed to battling them. I couldn’t write half of what I do if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a deeply flawed individual and have no overbearing wish to conform to normality any time soon.


Being a freak of nature has its benefits you see. Ask Rocky Dennis. His head was shaped like a buckled potato so what did he do? He bagged himself a blind chick and God bless him for turning his physical abnormality to his advantage. Besides, in years to come, he’ll be minted on account of his expansive collection of rare baseball trading cards and, when he passes his hecklers in his stretch limo whilst being blown beneath the dash by his unsighted girlfriend, any last laughs will belong to him. Granted, he’s still as ugly as sin, but he’s also got a pair of lips wrapped around his dick stalk so there’s a definite smooth to his rough. I’m just as contorted as Rocky but not to the naked eye. You see, it’s my brain that is misshapen and, after many moons of ruing its malformation, I have decided to call a truce. Thus I am no longer teetering over any chasms and terra firma sure feels good.


Allow me to enlighten you as to two things that rattle my cage. Assumption and judgement. The pair go hand-in-hand and have long since been the very bane of my existence. I make it transparent through all that I scribe that this petulant pair have no place in my daily grind. Am I any better than the next person? Do I have a divine right to pass judgement on others? Is the universe all figured out in my estimations? No, no and again no. Likewise, I have no inclination whatsoever to receive decree from others. The only commandment I caress involves my writing and will happily take to the stand to defend each and every word that splurges forth from my Crimson Quill. Judge me then on my literary output but don’t think you have me all figured out as I can’t even boast that myself and have found solace in that fact now. I know as much as is required to place one foot before the other and that suits me down to the balls of my feet and any uneven turf beneath them.


Simplicity is the key as, while I may appear complex, in actuality I am anything but. My wish is to smile as often as is feasible and pay that forward at every available opportunity. Granted, I may not be able to do that by way of constant communication but, by spending virtually every last waking hour frantically scribbling, I kind of am. Yet it may appear that I am being stand-offish and invariably this can be misconstrued as ignorance on my part. Things can appear personal when they’re anything but as, if there’s one thing I am even when it seems otherwise, then constant would be that thing. When I do rear my head, I will always be congenial and, when I don’t, then I will be grafting hard to provide a source of pleasure in my absence. Should it feel as though eyes are rolling, then I have a tendency to recess, and this is a horribly counter-productive pursuit as it leads me to hoard my words like a squirrel and end up with 100+ nuggets sitting in drafts, willing on the termites.


Ultimately I wish to share with anybody interested in a solitary word I spout and this is easier said than done, particularly when Twitter’s memory banks relieve me of my mailing list. If I don’t post to each and every last person individually then, rest assured, it couldn’t be less intentional. But time is something that is seldom on my side. On the plus side, should you click any of the links on the Rivers of Grue homepage and delve into the rabbit hole that accompanies it, then you will see that shit is constantly evolving and all pistons are firing passionately. Recently, I have been up to my follicles in updating appraisals and, while they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s often a lot more than factual shit going down. Of course, it depends entirely on each individual undertaking, but there’s introspective in every last one and, should you delve deep enough, fiction and poetry too. That’s my angle Grueheads. I may be dissecting an insipid work but that doesn’t mean I’ll be uninspired with my observations. Seek and ye shall find.


Having taken an extended hiatus from creative writing in a more literal sense, I am pleased to report that the dam is busting once more and shall endeavor to milk this for all it is worth. This is my gift to the true Grueheads, those who identify the mantle as not solely puppeteered by me. When I fashioned this ragtag group of grand imperfectionists, it was never with the intention of leading the rabble. I’m just one of many cogs and comfortable to fade into the furnishings. It is a movement far more vast than one man and should not be held accountable for either my actions or inaction. I urge you to own it as, essentially, it just means horror aficionado. That is the glue which binds us after all, our love of the macabre right? We are a most agreeable school of sickos and my only stipulations are kindness and an indifference to forming judgement. Should that be adhered to, then I will pop out of warren with a mouthful of carrots. If it falters, then the shadow of Myxomatosis looms large.


To those who have been on this crazy pilgrimage through thick and thin, I have nothing but Fonzie thumbs. Keep on keeping on and I shall bend over backwards to do likewise. Please don’t put one and two together and come up with six as I have my abacus handy at all times and, while I will not be scrawling red cross on term papers, I may back off as I haven’t the man hours to give a hoot and a half about curriculum. As for confessions, which was supposedly my reason for calling this little conference in the first place, they are scattered across fast-approaching 1500 links in the site’s archives so I feel no great urge to wash any more dirty linen right now. That said fun is, and will always be, my number one. Thus, I have decided to close with a brief acknowledgment of my misdemeanors by way of a vigil with a presence far almightier than I, just for shits and grins you understand.

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“…I banish thee to the flames of hell for all eternity. Right then, next. Who have we got here? Richard Charles Stevens”


“I know you. Indeed, I have been looking forward to this particular tête-à-tête. You see, I’ve had my beady little eye on you for some time now and have taken plenty of notes about your exploits”

“All good I hope?”

“Hmm. Debatable at best”

“Should I be concerned?”

“Well, considering my hooves are cloven and I just banished a pillar of the community to simmer in the cauldron of hell ad infinitum, perhaps just a tad yes”

“Right. Do I get one phone call?”

“Hold your horses Stevens. First things first, let’s peruse your naughty list shall we?”

“Please do. I’m all for self-improvement you see”

“Self-defillation appears to be more apt. You see, right here at the top of our agenda is excessive masturbation”



“Yes oh! What do you have to say for yourself?”

“How many charges do you have listed? I’m vaguely curious”

“Over 12,000 at last count”

“Spread across forty-one years though”

“Indeed but the first twelve of those you hadn’t the faintest idea how to grease the gears and that still amasses to an average of over 400 each calendar year”

“One a day then? Give or take”

“Give more than take I would say. A daily jostle is forgivable but you have exceeded the limit habitually. What do you have to say in your defense?”

“Check out my right bicep”


“Are you making light of your crimes?”

“No sir”

“Good as I have no problem with holding you in contempt and skipping to the infernal judgement”

“Sorry sir”

“Is it out of your system now?”

“The masturbation?”

“No you buffoon. The need to poke fun at something far more grave than you realize”

“All gone”

“Okay then but you’re skating on thin ice Stevens. One more act of defiance and it’s off to the furnace for you”

“Wouldn’t dream of it”

“Moving swiftly on, it would appear that you engaged in a spot of arson as a child”


“Involuntary yes”

“Whether you meant to do it or not is irrelevant. I’m only interested in the cold, hard facts. Did or did you not you burn a liquor store to the ground?”


“Most unsavory. It also has here something about a cyclist you almost run down on a busy roundabout”


“I didn’t make any actual contact”

“But you did flee the scene”

“I was late for work and he appeared to be okay”

“Really. Unless I’m mistaken, your rear view mirror revealed him to have misplaced his balance and landed on hard asphalt in a tangled mess of alloy”

“You got me. In my defense, I did check the local paper for weeks afterwards and not a solitary cycle-related incident was reported”

“Hardly gets you off the hook Stevens”

“No, I guess it doesn’t”

“The next charge is no less heinous”


“Yes crumbs. Or should I say boogers?”


“You’ve lost me. Is picking your nose an offense?”

“Not as a solo foible no. However, rolling up said booger into a greyish ball and bequeathing it to the earlobe of a small child isn’t looked on so favorably. What do you have to say in your defense this time?”

“I remember this now. Let me first make it clear that I too was a minor”

“Scant justification”

“We were in an arcade. In Spain if I recall. I was itching to play Ghosts & Goblins but every time I attempted to make a B-line for the machine, he was already there”


“Was he not within his rights? Was your money any better than his?”

“Yes and no to answer your questions. But he happened to be rather good at it”

“So you punished him by donating your mucus to his earlobe?”

“Not in a nefarious sense”

“Correct me if I’m misguided but, since when has it been kosher to wipe your snot on an infant?”

“It was an experiment to see whether he washed behind them. You see, the very next day he was there again and so was the booger. He should be held in contempt not me”

“Is that so. Rather twisted logic isn’t it?”

“Listen, I loved Ghosts & Goblins but could hardly make it to the first tombstone before being stripped to my boxer shorts. It just felt a dash unfair is all”


“It’s good to see that you are willing to repent for this sin”

“I apologize unreservedly”

“No you don’t. You’d do it again in a heartbeat wouldn’t you?”


“Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes sonny boy”

“Wouldn’t dream of even trying”

“Will you excuse me for a moment?”

“Of course”

“Janice. Cancel my 3.30 will you. This has taken longer than expected. Thank you sweetheart. Right then, where were we?”


“Yes sins. I think we have time for one more and then I really must cast my judgement or I’ll fall woefully behind on my daily errands”

“I’m all ears”

“That’s a sore point right now, wouldn’t you say?”

“Fire away then”

“What do you know about Justin Bieber?”


“I thought he might crop up”

“Indeed. You see, I’m rather partial to his R&B-tinged brand of confectionery pop and own all of his albums”

“It’s nothing personal”

“Nothing personal? Didn’t you write a poem by the name Bring Me The Head of Justin Bieber?”

“Maybe, it’s hard to keep track”

“No it’s clear as day. You made things very personal with that particular limerick”

“Listen, I don’t have anything against him. Mine is not to judge”

“So why mock him at every turn?”

“He’s an easy target and I happen to enjoy tickling funny bones”

“Do you think his funny bone was tickled?”

“Not sure. How’s his sense of humor?”

“I can answer that poser by presenting you with correspondence from Justin himself relating the unfortunate incident”

“You’re shitting me?”

“My dear boy, I’m as serious as The Lovely Bones. Would you like me to recite it?”

“I guess”


“Dear Him Downstairs. Please find tickets to my upcoming Polish tour. Hope you can make it along, they’re V.I.P. so perhaps afterwards we can hang out and shoot the shit a little. However, there is a different reason for this letter and it has been eating me up all week. Somebody has it in for me and has been writing all manner of vitriolic slander about me. At first, I tried to ignore it but it’s just so hurtful. I don’t even know the guy and still he deems it necessary to take me down a peg or two. I’m off my food, haven’t been sleeping for days now, and am considering throwing in the towel altogether. Please advise as I’m on the last thread of my tether and you always seem to know what to do. By the way, I hope the wife and kids are well, perhaps soon we can do lunch and I can show you my first chest hair. It is coming along nicely. Keep beliebing. Yours sincerely, J.B.”



“Yes yikes. I beliebe I have heard enough. It is time for my final judgement”

“You’re going to throw the book at me aren’t you?”

“Not at all. People make me out to be this unforgiving bastard but I’m far more congenial than they realize”

“So I’m off the hook then?”

“Again no. But I have figured out a punishment fitting of your heinous crimes”

“Go on”

“You must cycle over to Justin’s house, spend an hour listening to his greatest hits while he masturbates into a gym sock, then allow him to plant a booger on your ear lobe, and singe every last one of your pubic hairs (accidentally of course). How does that sound?”

“It’s a fair cop I suppose”

“I’d say I’ve been more than equitable”

“Do I have to go there right now? I really need to pee”

“Toilet is on your right as you pass reception but remember I will know what you’re doing in there and next time I may not be quite so lenient”

“Next time?”

“You didn’t think that was it did you? You’re still alive. This is just a half-time judgement”


“Can I just ask one more question?”

“I suppose but make it quick”

“Masturbation is still acceptable right? I mean, as long as I curtail it a little”


“You are in severely negative equity at the wank bank Stevens so I would make each tug count if I were you and perhaps keep a log of your activity”

“Gotcha. Thanks for not condemning me to the flaming pits of hell. You know, you’re not so bad after all”

“Half-time remember. You’re still a far cry from out of the woods”

“But I will take on board your grievances and endeavor to lead a good life from hereon in. My word is bond”

“We’ll see. For now, please get out of my sight as I am becoming overwhelmed with a desire to plant my hoof between your testicles”

“Sure thing. Later”

“Goodbye Stevens. I’ll be seeing you again soon. And, if you would be so kind, can you tell my next filthy sinner I’m ready to see her now?”

“Oh, it would be an absolute pleasure.”

Click here to read Satan’s Little Helper

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

Click here to purchase All of Me Vol. I, II, III, IV, V & VI

Click here to purchase on Amazon

© Copyright: Rivers of Grue™ Shadow Spark Publishing™


  1. Grand moment ! Vraiment merci infiniment ! Quel bonheur que cette introspection parfaitement mise en musique. C’était un pur régal. Félicitations aussi pour la petite histoire absolument hilarante. Tu es le meilleur. Tu as mon infini et mon inconditionnel soutien. Toujours là pour toi +++ Em #Grueheads dure <3

    Big Time! Really thank you so very much Keeper! What a joy to read this insightful introspection perfectly set to music. It was a pure delight. Congratulations also for the absolutely hilarious story. You are the best. You have my full support and this for ever. Always here for you +++ Em #Grueheads <3

    1. I am so glad that it resonates strongly and that the fiction brought you a smile. It is always my aim to engage in any way I can and it pleases me massively that this did so. Moreover, I know that this particular topic is close to your heart too so I trust that it reached inside. This is my only goal, to remind others that they are never alone, even if it feels that way from time to time. United we slay and I am honored and privileged to call you True Grue. <3

  2. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for those beautiful words dearest Keeper. You’re absolutely right on all levels and I can’t thank you enough for this. Your piece truly warmed my heart and lit up my soul. Unquestionably United we Slay and I am beyond honored and proud to be called True Grue <3 Thank you endlessy

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