Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Jumpin’ Jack
 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Who’s That Creepin’?
 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Why Me
Oh no, now we’re all in big trouble. I bloody love this song. Tell me I’m not the only one tapping his toes right now and I’ll make a start on my Trilby. If there’s a more infectious ditty in existence, then clearly I need to get my ears syringed as the merest suggestion seems utterly preposterous to me. Judging by the fact that my jazz hands are currently a blur, I’d say I’m already done for. But there’s still hope for you good people, provided the rhythm hasn’t already got you that is. Feeling the overwhelming urge to light up a Cuban cigar? Got your eye on the redhead dame over by the bar? Starting to come over all noir? Then the writing is on the wall and I’ll be seeing you at the state sanitarium in the time it takes us both to humiliate ourselves publicly. In extreme cases, the effects of a full-blown scat attack have been known to take 72 hours to wear off; no short slog in such a harsh metropolis as I find myself currently. They may call it the City of Angels, but all I see right now are dirty faces. Smells suspiciously like voodoo magic to me.
Yes, you did here me correctly. That’s voodoo as in “what a load of hokey old hoodoo” but I’m here to tell you it most certainly isn’t. I wish it were as I’ve been deeply wary of black magic ever since watching Live and Let Die as a wee bairn. My nightmare maker that day was a certain Baron Samedi and he went on to become a frequent flyer in my phantasms for years afterwards. You ever heard the term “dead man walking”? Well this Haitian harbinger is all that and a bag of festering bones. Stepping out in a top hat and black tail coat, he is regular master of ceremonies at occult gatherings, but don’t be fooled by his debonair appearance as beneath the contrasting war paint beats a heart so black that he can snuff out daylight with a solitary smile. Affable he ain’t however and heaven forbid he should flash you his teeth as you may find your name inscribed across one of these heinous headstones. Among his favored pastimes are disruption, obscenity, and debauchery, plus I hear he’s somewhat partial to tobacco and rum. A chink in his armor then? Fraid not my little soon-to-be-slaughtered lambs. You see, the Baron can handle both his smoke and liquor so good luck shaving his eyebrows off while he’s passed out.
To be fair, I have seen hide nor hair of Samedi for some time now and there’s no conclusive proof that this dapper death dealer actually exists. While that comes as a tremendous relief, something sinister is certainly going down in the dance hall this night and it has “Baron woz ere” written all over it. Maybe I pushed the boat out a tad too far with that last Flaming Shaman, although this doesn’t feel anything like regular inebriation to me. Indeed, it’s more akin to the feeling that washes over one shortly after dropping acid, only minus the good trip part. Either that old black magic has me in its spell or I’m coming down with a rather rank case of the sickness – hardly the most appetizing menu options. That said, I’d much prefer to spend the next three days curled up in fetal position than being dragged kicking and screaming into the fiery depths of hell, catchy tune or no catchy tune. Something tells me my soft spot for this song will have hardened considerably by the third wave of projectile vomit in swift and acrid succession. I just pray it’s not the dreaded delirium as that really would be unfortunate.
Have you ever been blighted with delirium? It’s no picnic, I can tell you that for free. In order for this nightmarish condition to take hold, one’s temperature must be running extremely high, to fever pitch at least. Once sufficiently off colour, the most basic orientation becomes nigh on impossible and it’s best just to launch oneself directly into bed linen until the feeling passes. However, it’s not done with you yet, not by a long chalk. You see, delirium has a tendency of distorting our sleep-wake cycle to such an extent that we’re just as helpless in either state and not entirely sure which of the two we fall into at any one time. Open our eyes and the nausea comes rushing back to greet us instantaneously. Close them and whatever phantasm has been pre-selected will pick straight back up from where it left off. There’s literally no escape. What makes me such an expert on delirium? Well I may have only suffered from this particular scourge the one time, but sometimes once is all it takes. I was nine-years-old at the time and, to this very day, I’ve never felt even a fraction of the woozy terror I did on that fateful night.
Anyroad, I’m growing increasingly concerned that I’m headed back to that infernal place as we speak. My palms are clammy, throat dry, temperature soaring, and I swear I just spotted a 6″7″ spook step out of my bedroom closet clutching a skull staff. If that ain’t delirium, then I’m switching both bedroom and medication. No I’m reasonably certain I’m flirting with delirium here and, if memory serves (which I really wished it didn’t on this occasion), then I’m going to be needing these jazz hands of mine to endure its ragtime antics. Forget about rhyme or reason as neither have any place here. Admittedly there is a vague degree of excitement tied up in the whole hallucinatory side of things, but this is offset by creeping dread as there’s no getting off this creepy carousel once it’s in motion. At least with nightmares, you’re guaranteed to wake up in a cold sweat just as your will to live is diminishing; delirium offers no such saving graces. Grin and bear it is then. Not wishing to come across as some kind of lily-livered wuss here but “mommy”.
Okay so I guess I should start with a few basic observations just to set the mood. Let’s start with the spinning room shall we? This heady sensation should be more than familiar to anyone who enjoys a tipple, albeit some way short of the revolution count I’m experiencing here. Attempting to sit up at this precise point of time could result in repercussions most dire as the G-force alone would likely sever my spleen the moment I assumed position. Even more disheartening is the fact that this spiteful twister cannot seem to decide which direction to take. One minute it’s clockwise, the next it’s all about the anti; meanwhile I’m left flat on my back with cheeks bulging like a Bangkok brass during rush hour. Surely it has to level out some time soon. If I choose to ignore it, then perhaps this wheel of misfortune will lose heart and grind to a pathetic halt. Then once parity has been restored to the kingdom, I can puff out my chest and proclaim myself full of beans before collapsing in a broken heap and hemorrhaging profusely from the eyes. What can I say? I get cynical when I’m poorly.
It’s commonly known as feeling sorry for yourself and I’m all about the self-pity right now. Feeling like death warmed up is grim enough but inadvertently inviting a witch doctor along to check your vital signs may well be my undoing. I can hear his bones rattling as we speak; no doubt working out what kind of horrid hex to strike me down with. It’s tough trying to pinpoint him amidst all this whirling madness but I’m under no illusion that he’s present and biding his time for the perfect moment to pounce from the shadows. Ordinarily I’d construct a fortress from my bed sheets, screw my eyes shut, and wait for the threat to pass. But I just know he’ll be right there behind my eyelids the very second I do so; like the mischief-making mind terrorist that he is. Should I afford my opposite number this kind of intimacy, then I’ll be rotting in a corpse’s shell by dawn, with only the indignity of having my eyes pecked out by a rowdy raven to look forward to.
There’s no way I’m granting this creeper the lend of my peepers as I highly doubt they’ll be returned baby blue, if indeed they come back at all. He’s probably got jars of them down in his wine cellar, pickling in Jamaican rum, and heaven doesn’t know what other atrocities await me once he gets his bony hands on the true prize. If I were more of a man, I’d puff out my chest and have it out with him once and for all. Alas, I’m currently running at approximately 10% integrity and mental breach is as inescapable as it is imminent. Indeed, outside of a handful of colorful expletives, I’m currently all out of words to use in my defense – not ideal when I’m facing such a bogus barrister. If I state my case in a concise and persuasive enough manner, then there is a slim chance I could sway the jury. Do this and I’ll be back on easy street before you can remind me it’s not Sunday morning as I hear Baron Samedi isn’t just the lord of the dead, but also the giver of life. Can you feel the plot starting to thicken or is that just the funk of forty thousand years? Actually, no need to grace that one with an answer. Who wants to see how my jazz hands are doing?
Not sure a manicure is gonna cut the mustard, you know. I do have a cunning plan however. You see, Samedi has been known to lower the tone on occasion and is never more content than when causing sweet little old ladies to throw up in the back of their throats. This is where I’ll be needing all the limbo skills I can Google as I’ll be required to take shit even more subterranean if I’m to find favor at this tribunal. So basically I’ll have to out gross him; give him a sufficient taste of his own vile medicine to placate this devil’s advocate. Sounds like a challenge to me and I love me one of those, albeit preferably not mid-scourge and scented with napalm. Screw it, what have I got to lose? Sanity? Slipping rapidly. Status? What’s one of those? Dignity? Shat that out in my very first diaper. Bodily function? Bit of a sore point at present. My pitiful existence? Okay you’ve got me, that is kind of at stake. But as my sisters the Neuro-Twins would remind me – “We don’t quit!” Yeah, what they said. Bring it bonehead!
“What’s the jive Clive?”
“A honky. Grr! I hate honkies”
Says Mr. Two-tone over here. Need I remind this half chalky motherfucker that he’s sitting on the fence with regards to ethnicity? Granted, I’m reasonably assured one thorough flannel wash is all that stands between the Baron and his Cosby sweater, but something tells me now is not the time to kick off a Marmite debate. Personally I grew tired of the whole race deal way back in the eighties – black or white we all unite right? If he even tries to play that card with me, I’ll be like “say what!” and kick the tip of his abnormally long dong. I’d do nothing of the sort of course as I take no pride from prejudice; just making a point that we’re all just flesh and blood at the end of the day, regardless of the color of our skin. He’ll have to do a shit ton better than sticks and stones to take this old dog down.
“You’re Baron Samedi, am I right?”
“That’s my name and I’d thank you not to wear it out”
“I’ve tried, believe me”
“I thought I recognized you. You’re the nine-year-old kid I’ve been tormenting since the Bond marathon of ’79”
“The one and only. Remember me then?”
“Only the smell of your fear”
“Actually I’m trying out a brand new fragrance this evening”
“Oh… and what might that be?”
Time to get an early dig in, just to establish the mood.
“Yo Mama! Heard of it?”
“Okay. So it’s gonna be like that, is it?”
“Just keeping it real”
“Real? You know nothing of what’s real. You think that miserable thing you call a life is real?
“Was last time I checked. Why, what would you call it?”
“Bite my bell you lanky streak of diesel”
“Well looky here. We’ve got ourselves a defiant one. Tell me whitey, if I were to tap you with a spoon would I find yellow inside?”
“I do consume a rather outrageous amount of dairy if that answers your question”
“You a chicken rude bwoy?”
“Bwork… I mean all man last time I checked”
“Is that so? Look more like one of those pussy boys to me”
Where does this joker get off with the animal references. I’ve never once had to outrun a famished fox or chase a ball of string around the living room. Besides, I can barely even clean a litter tray without retching, let alone do my business there. If he’s scanning the animal kingdom for inspiration, then may I suggest something that doesn’t lick its own asshole or dress up in batter. Fuck Colonel Sanders and the scabby nag he rode in on, fuck Garfield for his #IHateMondays tweets, and fuck Kid Creole for getting all possessive about his coconuts – I want to be something cool like a hawk or a cheetah. Perhaps it would be a good time to start calling him Badger Boy and see if he likes it. On second thoughts, I just remembered one of his signature hexes is the headshrinker and have no burning desire to wind up resembling an olive on a haystack. Best just play it coy for the time being and not give him cause to break the seal on his skull staff.
“I’m nothing. Pure pond scum. Hardly even worth taking the time out of your hectic schedule to torment”
“Don’t be fooled by the dashing good looks or winning personality, I’ve got absolutely nothing going for me whatsoever. Well, apart from my foul mouth that is”
“Foul mouth you say?”
“The filthiest in the entire Eastern Hemisphere no less”
“Interesting. So if I was to say the name Katy Perry to you, what would be the first thought to spring into your mind?”
“That could just be beginners luck. How about Nicki Minaj?”
“Big stinky dumps”
“The Olsen Twins?”
“Two Girls, One Cup”
“I’d tap that”
“Where? You leave that little jizz flake to me”
“You really are a repugnant creature aren’t you?”
“I’m an ‘orrible bastard, me”
Just so there’s no confusion, I’m really not an ‘orrible bastard in the slightest. This is all just part of the ruse and it appears the Baron is falling for it hook, line and sinker. In order to defeat evil, one must first flirt with the fungus some, at least until the deception is approaching its twilight. That’s when the element of surprise comes in handy, the all-important sucker punch for when his guard has been sufficiently lowered. Perhaps I’ll recite some W.B. Yeats when he’s least expecting it; that should toss a cat among the pigeons. Just because I can reel off a few profanities, doesn’t mean I can’t be cultured. If you ask me, Samedi could do with being brought down a peg or two, and what better way to shame the shaman than a spot of public humiliation. First things first, I must continue to keep up appearances so he doesn’t start suspecting the foul play I’m evidently planning.
“As much as I’d love to offer you the benefit of the doubt, it would satisfy me more to see first-hand just how ‘orrible you can be”
“Absurdly ‘orrible I assure you”
“It’s all well and good you saying that, but I’d much prefer a demonstration of you at your most appalling just to reassure me”
“A demonstration you say?”
“Yah man, you got a problem with that?”
“I do actually. Not to be an insubordinate prick but do I look like a fucking QVC hostess to you?”
“Nah, you look like one of those child actor types who never quite grew into their skin”
“Sounds like you’ve already made your mind up about me”
“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, for the time being. Now do some evil before I change my mind”
“What kind of evil were you thinking of?”
“Real nasty evil”
“I can do that”
This could prove my undoing you know. You see, I haven’t the faintest idea how to commit evil and normally draw the line at stupidity. Heaven don’t know the kind of malevolence he has planned for me this night. I wouldn’t mind but the room is still spinning wildly, the thick glob of bile rising in my throat has practically sealed off my airwaves, and I’m sweating like a bishop in a brothel here. I’d much sooner he rub some decongestant into my chest, sing me a lullaby, and rock me to sleep than force me to engage in acts that my handy little pocket bible taught me are wrong. But I’ll never make it inside his inner trust circle without making a few compromises along the way. Besides, what’s the very worst that could happen? Whatever it is, it has to beat puking up your stomach-lining and the explosive diarrhea that follows.
“Come on then Baron. Hit me with your best shot. Whatcha got for me?”
“You ever seen one of these rude bwoy?”
Is he pulling my staff or something? Of course I’ve seen one before. Having been practically raised by horror, I know a voodoo doll when I damn well see one. Kind of like phoning in an acupuncture session, sticking pins into an effigy resembling your sworn enemy appears to be the deal and this is purported to induce illness and, in extreme cases, death most horrid. Should you be diagnosed with shingles then, chances are, someone out there somewhere doesn’t like you. Always felt like a cowardly way to make your point to me.
“Cute. Unless I’m mistaken, that’s a voodoo doll is it not?”
“And I’m supposed to do what with this little wicker man?”
“Well that depends”
“Who you wish to make suffer”
“Hmm. Let me see. Who could there be?”
Too obvious a choice? He is something of a dick boil though right? But as much as I wish there were a magic cream you could rub into Donald Trump to make him go away, I’m not over-enamored about the prospect of assassinating the president. Surely someone else will take a pot-shot soon or perhaps that ridiculous hairpiece will go rogue and tear the face off his skull. Must I really be the one to do the tenderizing? Tell you what, how about we split the difference and I plunge pins in Justin Bieber instead? He’s like twelve-years-old so his body’s regenerative abilities should still be in their infancy. Naturally I’ll wait until he’s urinating in a mop bucket before sticking it to him; just so he pisses on his Adidas Gazelles. Sorry JB but, as you remind your adoring teenage fans before doinking them in the parking lot, you may be about to feel a tiny prick. Sweet, sweet irony!
“Whatcha got for me, my dreadlock rasta in training?”
“How far is the range on this thing?”
“As long at there’s a wi-fi hotspot nearby, we cool”
“Booyaka! Ontario, Canada – it’s about to get decidedly prickly for your boy Justin”
“Nah man… Bieber”
“You’re not a Belieber then I take it?”
“You fucking kidding me? I wish nothing but STDs and rectal tearing on that little pipsqueak. No I’d say I fall strictly into the Non-Belieber category thank you very much. Comprende?”
“Ooh. Tasty. You really hate Justin Bieber don’t cha?”
“Well… hate’s a bit of a strong word. Pity may be more accurate. Actually, nope. Not that either. I dunno…fuck… embarrassment?”
“Embarrassment for you or for him?”
“I reckon… it’s a dash of both”
“Shank him up then, bad bwoy”
“Just to be clear, this can’t be traced back to me in any way right?”
“Safe as snakes”
“Right… not much of a salesman are you?”
“I reckon I could haggle that soul of yours down, if your life depended on it”
“Really? And would that be a threat?”
“Viral gastroenteritis is pretty rude, bwoy. That’s all I’m saying. I can’t guarantee you won’t be snatched away into the shadows to be devoured. But stick with me and I’ll see to it personally that you never want for anything again. Just one long blazing hot siesta. And did I mention titties? There’s a whole lot of titties”
“Titties you say?”
“Bwoy we got every kind of flavor titty going. There’s plain old vanilla titty, chocolate chip cookie dough titty, strawberry cheesecake titty, raspberry nipple ripple titty, lemon zest titty, rocky road titty, salted caramel core titty, phish food titty, chunky monkey titty and my own personal favorite… rum ‘n raisin titty. Mmm”
“Uh-huh… where do I sign up?”
“Right here on the dotted line”
“I prefer to call it a mortally binding gentleman’s agreement but yes you could call it that”
“Just so there’s no confusion, you want me to stab Justin Bieber repeatedly and sign my soul over to your sole ownership. Is that the general gist?”
“Sounds like a big deal when you put it like that”
“Not trying to be a dick here, but first-degree murder followed by having your soul eaten, that’s something of a whopper where I come from”
“Even more reason to come join me in the realms of the dead. Anything goes there, don’t cha know”
“Would you mind if I have a minute just to mull it over?”
So whaddya think? Would you trust him? No, I thought not. This bag ‘o wire must think I’m some kind of bamba clot fool. Let’s not rattle dem bones just yet, I do find the idea of causing Bieber all manner of pressure point related mischief insanely attractive and admittedly you can’t place any monetary price on a soul. But when all else turns to mulch, it’s this ingenious piece of kit that has kept me halfway in the game. I can’t just relinquish it at the first sign of delirium; that would make me an even more repugnant human being than Bieber. Besides, I think the fever might actually be passing now, after all that jazz.
“I really am frightfully sorry old bean but I will have to politely decline your kind offer on this occasion. Feeling better you see”
“I called you a wasteman, wasteman. Gwaan back to your miserable existence and see if I care”
“But I thought you might like to hear some W.B. Yeats before you dash off”
“Fuck off and die. Then come see me”
And just like that the Baron is gone. What a thoroughly hateful fellow he was. Where the hell does he get off trying to coerce me into maiming a young man barely quarter of my mental age? If that’s what it takes to earn your top hat from Samedi, then I reckon I’ll stick to my Trilby after all. At any rate, the most important thing right now is that the fever has ended and my “miserable existence” as he calls it can recommence uninterrupted. No more clammy hands, vivid hallucinations, or feeling like death reheated. Better yet, I feel like I’ve done my good deed for the day in sparing my nemesis. So why do I still feel faintly needled? Could it have something to do with the sudden sharp stabbing pains in my throat? Or the mouthful of tepid blood I just spat into my open palm? Surely it couldn’t be Bieber. Justin if you’re reading this, I swear blind I wasn’t going to prick you.
I know it looks bad buddy but… OW! Justin I’m sorry! OUCH! Quit it you little fuck turd… AAARGH!
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Grueheads Films 2017