Category Archives: Paffooney

The Haunted Toy Store… Canto 14

Canto 14 – En el Mercado de Dallas

Rogelio was definitely in la Tierra de los Muertos, the Land of the Dead.  The general scene around him was black.  The ground, the sky, the distance… all darkest black.  The buildings, trees, and other physical features were painted in with lots of shades of gray, the sparse highlights being white.  Rogelio himself was still naked, riding the skeletal horse with white bones and flesh of nearly transparent gray.  He could feel the leather saddle under him as if he was naked, but he did have a semi-transparent appearance of grungy, homemade clothing, and a nearly transparent gray cowboy hat that looked beat up and droopy all around.

“So, this is what Texas looked like in your day, before cameras were invented?” he asked Steven. Mainly to test if Steven was still there in his head.

“Of course not!  We had cameras then.  Just not around here.  And what you’re seeing is the long-dead world of the past through inadequate living-human eyes from the present world.  Nothing that lived then is still alive in the here and now.  So, all you can see is the bones of the dead world.”

“But this is Dallas?”

“The outskirts…  It was a big city for the time, but much smaller than the Dallas you live in.  We’re headed for the place I first met her… the Mercado.”

“The marketplace?”

“One of them, yes.”

“And you mean you met Yesenia there?”

“No, I mean Imelda, the girl I fell in love with.”

I continued to wonder at the people I saw as we entered the mercado.  They were all skeletons of varied colors with only the merest gray outlines of the clothing and hats they wore.  There were many cowboy hats like mine and many more Mexican sombreros.  There were also three civil war kepis that were probably confederate, but you couldn’t tell by the gray color because all clothing was made of lines of gray.

I dismounted from the horse outside of what was obviously a general store.  I mean, of course, Steven made me dismount.  I felt kinda funny walking around naked wearing only ghost clothes, but when anybody looked at me, they weren’t looking with human eyes, but only the dark eye sockets of their colored skulls.

And then I saw her.  It was Yesenia naked, dressed only in what was obviously supposed to be a fancy hooped skirt.  She was with a bright pink skeleton lady similarly dressed in what was likely an expensive hooped skirt.

Steven made us saunter over to the display box of mangos where Yesenia was looking at the ghost-gray produce.

“I bet those mangos aren’t near as sweet as you, hon,” Steven said.

“Don’t let mama hear you talking to me, gringo.  I am not allowed to speak with the Americanos from England.”

“Ah, but you do seem to speak English.”

“I do.  Father taught me.  It helps our business that I can speak it good.”

“What’s your family business?”

“Vacas y caballos… ah, I mean, cows and horses.  We have a ranch out west of town.”

“My name is Steven.  I herd for Bill Davies’ Bar W Ranch, to the East.”

“How old are you, Steven of Bar W?”

“Fifteen.  How old are you?”

“Fourteen, but soon to be having my quinceañera.”

“Oh, wow!  That’s going to be a big day for you, huh?”

“Oh, yes.  I wish I could invite you.  But mama won’t allow it.”

“What’s your name, pretty lady?”

“Imelda Dolores Gonzalez.”

“Where are you staying tonight, Imelda Dolores?”

“At Zuniga’s Inn down the street.”

“If you are awakened at midnight, it will be me.”

She looked at us and blushed in the most heart-stabbingly beautiful way.  I knew in an instant that Steven was completely in love with her, and he was capable of doing really crazy things about that love.

The pink skeleton that was obviously Imelda’s mama was coming back out of the store.

“Run away quickly so we are not discovered!”

“Midnight, my lovely… remember!”

“Perhaps.” That beautiful blush returned to her face.  Steven made my legs run back to the horse.  We mounted and Steven waved our cowboy hat at Imelda/Yesenia from a distance.

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Filed under ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel, Paffooney

The Bare Necessity

I intend to to spend a lot of time in this essay talking about Twitter nudists, but that is not what this essay is about. A rather large amount of the meaning behind all of this has more to do with setting priorities, what things to pursue, and what things to abandon.

A lot of my time on Twitter is filled with tweets by nudists, authors who write about nudists, Russian video artists, and Tom Hiddleston fans. I do not fully understand the connections between those things.

If I manage to stay alive long enough to see the next Avengers movie, and hopefully even beyond that, then I am going to have to budget my time and moderate my efforts towards certain endeavors. Does that mean I intend to give up all association with nudists? Or possibly twitter?

Of course not. I am simply not that smart. To give up on Twitter, I mean. It is an ungodly waste of time. It is a media of questionable value to me because I have achieved no measurable marketing value as a writer from it. I have learned a lot about actual nudists and naturists from it. I have made connections with naturist authors and thinkers and other websites through Twitter. I have even learned how valuable some young women and men find pictures and .gifs of Tom Hiddleston with his shirt off and smiling. I am not sure I understand it. But I have learned the obsession is very real.

This is an example of a nudist Tweet from Twitter that I get daily in my feed.

And I have come to accept, to a large degree, that nudism is a good thing. It is a way of life that has good effects on the people who participate in it. They have more confidence in themselves. They are definitely firm in their beliefs about most things. They are positive. And they get enough vitamin D from sunshine to be happy most of the time, and are rarely depressed. I wish I had embraced nudism when I had the chance back in the 1980’s. I might have been happier and healthier than I am now. And even now they are a very accepting group of people, willing to welcome me when I am old and weathered and covered in psoriasis plaques and sores. They are almost as inclusive as Tom Hiddleston fans. But I don’t actually know why his fans want to fill my Twitter feed every day with Loki’s face.

But I said this essay was really about setting priorities. And, like the video suggests, I have to be willing to let go of things. I have to adapt to circumstances and stop doing things that don’t really help me. I have to finish more of my long list of projects. I have to focus. ed

Drawing nudes that are not sexual or erotic in nature has long been an obsession with me. Anatomy drawing is essential to learning to draw believable figures… even cartoon figures.

Uber driving was on my list of things to evaluate and I have already discarded it. It does not pay well. The accident I had in August of 2018 was a difficult financial blow as well as an effective confidence-shaker. The penalties for Uber driving become apparent at tax time because they don’t take care of withholding like other employers are required to. So there is extra money to pay at tax time. I had to continue Uber driving for a while simply because I had another large tax bill to pay on top of the expenses that go along with the sin of being in poor health.

I also have to finish things I have started.

Look for the BARE NECESSITIES, the simple bare necessities… forget about your worries and your strife…ed

I have finished paying taxes for 2023. I have finished rebuilding the retaining wall in the yard. I have finished driving for Uber to make money. I have absolutely no problem finishing writing projects, considering all the novels I have published in the last three years. And I definitely need to finish this essay.

So, what have I decided to give up? Twitter? Twitter nudists? No. I might give up following rabid Tom Hiddleston fans, though.

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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, insight, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Mirror in the Clown’s Hand

Self-reflection is the bane of stupid people. Essentially, they don’t want to risk encountering evidence that they actually are stupid. It would shatter their world to learn that they are idiots and most of what they believe is true is actually wrong. This fact goes a long way towards explaining why the Republican Party in its current form even exists, let alone the actions of the current mutant Cheetos monster that pilots their agenda and hates healthcare, the Special Olympics, and Puerto Rico.

So, if I am doing a self–reflection piece today, then that proves I am not a stupid person, right? What do you mean you agree with that? Yes, I can actually hear you mentally answering my questions as you read this. And if you believe that, then you have proven that even relatively smart people like you and I are capable of stupid thinking.

I believe in some stupid things, even though I think I am not stupid.

An example of this stupidity factor is my lingering belief that I am a nudist. I mean, I am rarely ever nude any more. I keep most of me covered up constantly because when my psoriasis plaques dry out they tend to flake and itch and force me to scratch to the point of infected bloody sores.

Obviously this is not totally a photograph from the 60’s. That does not make it a total lie either, though.

I have been pretty much accepted as a member of the nudist community on Twitter. I enjoy the artful pictures of nude people they share with me. And since I did a couple of blog posts for nudist websites, there are actually completely nude pictures of me available on the internet. I can be found on for one, if your eyes can stand the horror. But I have only been to a nudist park, the Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas. twice as an actual nudist. I can tell you, they were very hot days even though I was not wearing clothes. I am comfortable with nudity. I am comfortable around nude people. I fully accept it all as a non-sexual thing. But am I really a nudist? Or am I only playing at it? If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I don’t retweet pictures of naked people. I engage a lot with other writers there, and most of them are not also nudists, or even open-minded about naturism. I write about nudists in some of my books, but they are not about nudism, and most of them don’t even mention it. So, what good does it do me to think I am a nudist? Well, the very idea of it does a heckuva good job of embarrassing my wife and daughter. So, I do get some crazy-old-coot satisfaction out of it. Otherwise it simply proves that rational and otherwise intelligent people can be committed to irrational ideas.

I am also of the often mocked and ridiculed opinion that not only are alien beings from other worlds real, they are capable of space travel and have been visiting us for as long as there has been an us. I did not always believe this, however. Before I wrote my novel Catch a Falling Star I believed as Carl Sagan said on the original Cosmos that it is wrong to accept things without proof, and true results are testable. My novel was about aliens who watched a lot of Earther TV and learned to speak English from watching I Love Lucy reruns, I wanted to make the aliens different from humans, but at the same time, alike with humans in the most fundamental ways that translate easily into humor and relatability. Not all of my hero-characters were Earth humans.

Brekka the Telleron tadpole (also a nudist) with her friend Lester the man-eating plant (who only ate her once)

As I did research on the internet (a tool I didn’t have when I originally created the story in the 1970s), I found a ton of researchers and writers and con men and MUFON and the Disclosure Project and nuclear physicists and astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell who were all believers and mostly not stupid. Wow! What a huge and complicated hoax! Why would anybody believe , based on so little tangible evidence, and so much contradictory evidence, that the government’s position could possibly be right? I learned that I now believed, until significant further proof comes along, that I believe stupidly in alien visitors.

Today’s self-reflection post has now proven that I am a stupid old coot who thinks he is a nudist and an insightful conspiracy theorist. But the results of my look into the mirror have not made me upset about my stupidity. Maybe I am simply satisfied nudism is healthy and the universe is more complex than I am capable of understanding. Whatever the case, that’s enough with the mirror for today. You have to keep such dangerous weapons out of the hands of clowns.

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The Fey Children

The Fairies : Butterfly Children

In the background of several of my novels, there lurk little people with magic powers. In this modern age of science they still exist, but are reduced in size to about three inches tall for the adults. As I am now working on a book set in their world, I am therefore using today’s post to elucidate what they are and categorize them a bit.

Butterfly Children is a nickname for the winged fairies. And most fairies not only have wings, but don’t wear clothing because, not only do shirts, jackets, jerkins, and such interfere with wings, but they, like me, prefer to be nude if possible.

The Butterfly Children are not really made of flesh and blood, but rather coherent magical energy. That is the reason they rarely become spellcasters themselves, but can lend their energies to the spell-casting Sylphs; witches, wizards, sorcerers, warlocks, liches, and some Storybooks.

They refer to us as “the Slow Ones” because we are easily fooled into not seeing them for what they are. They use concealing glammers to convince us that we are seeing a bug or a bird or a glare of sunlight instead of what they actually are. They also have the ability to allow slow ones to see them if they choose to voice the necessary spells. Some rare slow ones are able to see through their glammers and view them in spite of their wishes.

Sylphs and Elves : The Man-shaped Fey

Once, long ago, the Fey Children who looked human could pass themselves off as slow ones. The Elves, of course, had pointed ears to hide. But they looked like what we would call “regular people” because they were our size. But human science developed things that stop magical energies like brass or drain magical energies like iron and copper. The Fey became smaller and smaller. Things like discarded nails and lost pennies decreased the places where they could live and build homes.

Eli Tragedy (in the middle above) is an example of both an Elf (with pointed ears) and a magic-using Sorcerer. His apprentices, Bob and Mickey, are both Sylphs. Like Butterfly Children, many Sylphs would rather not wear clothes. Magic-using Sylphs and Elves learn to wear clothes because garments can be invested with protective spells.

Mickey is different than other Sylphs in that he has been bitten by a wererat and has been infected by lycanthropy. Since he is now an uncontrolled wererat, he constantly looks like a boy with a mouse head and tail, a fur-covered boy’s body, and paws instead of feet.

Sylphs can occur in many different non-manlike forms. The Mouse from Cornucopia is a Sylph in the form of an anthropomorphic mouse. Radasha, also seen to the left, is a Faun. Pixies, Nixies, Boggarts, Gremlins, Centaurs, Minotaurs, and other magical creatures have gotten far smaller since ancient times when human beings added greatly to the magical energy loose in the world through their imaginations, faiths, fears, nightmares, and dreams.

All of those magical creatures have odd and sometimes horrific shapes. You can see that in the insect-like Pixie to the right.

Storybooks : Immortals Amongst the Fey

The other Fey Children that need a special mention are the Storybooks like Silkie pictured in the acorn beret and leaf dress to the right. These lucky Sylphs, Elves, or other Fey Children who’ve been singled out by slow ones in their slow-ones’ books and literature are made magically immortal by the power of stories told by humans, especially those preserved by print. They no longer die. They can no longer be killed or grievously wounded.

General Tuffaney Swift is another good example of a Storybook. He exists as an immortal because some of his early adventures, were overheard and written down in stories about Tom Thumb. He was instrumental in bringing Grandma Gretel and her daughter, Anneliese, into the Fey World. She is responsible through her magical baking skills for the entire races of Gingerbread Children and Cookie Monsters.

So, there’s a brief overview of the Kingdom of Tellosia and the World of the Fey Children.

The book below is free in ebook form from Friday through Tuesday starting this weekend.

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Filed under collage, fairies, gingerbread, humor, magic, Paffooney

Mickian Artistical Nonsense

The word for it is Paffooney.  I know that is not a real word.  It is a Mickian word.  Kinda like the word “Mickian”.  It is entirely made up gibberish, made up by Mickey, and used to mean an artwork made by the hand of Mickey.  So I can’t really explain it.  I have to show you what it basically is.


This is a Paffooney.  It is inspired by the incredibly unbelievable time in Mickey’s life when they let Mickey be a teacher in Texas.  It has no other relationship to reality.  Chinese girls in Texas generally do not have manga eyes and blue hair, and while Hispanic girls have been known to eat pencils, they never bring their own notebook paper to class.  They always borrow.  So there is the basic formula.  Colored-pencil nonsense drawn by Mickey and attached somehow to a story.


This Paffooney has a self-explanatory story embedded in it.  It is obvious this is the story of an average family car trip in Texas.  Notice how they demonstrate the Texas State highway motto of, “Drive friendly”.


And this Paffooney is a Mickian recurring nightmare about a duck with teeth.  Silly Mickey, ducks don’t have teeth in real life!


And moose bowling is a Paffooney that needs no explanation… or does it?  Well, never mind.  I have forgotten what it is for anyway.


And this oil-painting Paffooney speaks volumes about a philosophy of life.  See the pilot giving the viewer a thumbs up? And that isn’t a parachute on his back.  They didn’t have parachutes in World War I.  It is a message pouch with German war plans in it.  I even painted it with a bratwurst sandwich inside for the pilot’s lunch.  Don’t I do great detail work?  But he will have to eat it quickly before he reaches the ground.


And this is me teaching an ESL class.  When you teach English to non-English speakers in Texas, you get to hold the big pencil.  And it helps to be a big white rabbit.


And this is a science fiction Paffooney, although the science is questionable.  Don’t doubt that the flower-people of the planet Cornucopia are real, though.  And Mai Ling, the psionic space ninja really can elongate her arm to get maximum thrust into her left-handed karate chops.

Stupid Boy

And we end for today with the Paffooney of a stupid boy.  He’s not really me.  Not really.  And I don’t even know who gave him the black eye.  So it can’t be me.  So maybe he is not so stupid.  You can’t say that about somebody you don’t know and is not even you.

So, now do you know what a Paffooney is?  No?  Me neither.  But if you Google images with the words “Beyer Paffooney” you can see a lot more of them.  Nobody else uses that word but little ol’ me.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, colored pencil, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Haunted Toy Store… Canto 13

Canto 13 – The Doll’s Bargain

The owl-guy had demanded that Maria work for another half hour dusting toys that apparently hadn’t been moved even an inch in five decades.  And when she was done, the toys seemed to have accumulated the exact same amount of dust as they had possessed before she started cleaning.

Stan had spent time talking and prodding the weird old man all the time Maria had been working, and then when it was over, the private dick wouldn’t even tell her what they had been gossiping about.

She went straight to her room, her laptop and her cell phone, as soon as she was home.

Mom was no help.  She had gone to bed the moment that she had drug herself home from work.

And then… the phone rang.


“Ma-Maria?  C-can I talk to you… please?”

“Who is this?”

A little girl was crying into the phone on the other end.

“Hannah?  Is that you?”

“Yeah… you said I could… call you?”

“Of course, I did.  But what’s the matter?”

“I have to tell you something.  Something terrible.”

“What is it?”

“It’s something terrible… that I did.”

“What did you do?”

“If I tell you… You will never forgive me.”

“Yes, I will.  I promise.”

“You can’t.  Daddy won’t forgive me if I tell him.”

“Please, Hannah.  You can tell me.  And maybe I can help you tell your daddy in a way that will make him forgive you…”

“Really?  You would do that?  For me?”

“I promise.  I like you, Hannah.  You are a nice little girl.”

“No, I’m not.  I made a deal with a Lonely One.”

“A Lonely One?”

“She was a ghost… err… something… inside a really cool doll.  And she… she was…”  Hannah dissolved in tears, unable to finish the sentence.

“You can talk to me, Hannah.  You can tell me anything.  I wish you were here right now.  I could hold you… hug you.  Make you feel better.”

“The doll was made of hard white stuff.  And she was beautiful… She looked just like me… but her hair was all white.”

“And the doll did something?”

“She asked me for something.”

“What did she want?”

“She asked if she could play with my mom.  She said if I just let her play with Mom for a while, she could make Mommy love me better…  She said…  But she lied to me.”

“What was the lie?”

“She was supposed to give Mommy back to me.  But when… when she was done playing her tricks, Mommy was sleeping on the floor and couldn’t wake up.  I let a monster play with my mom.”

“She tricked you, Hannah.  You didn’t do anything bad.  She did.  It was not your fault.”

“But, can your daddy get my mom back from the ghosts?  I mean… the Lonely Ones.  She said they were not ghosts, but Lonely Ones.”

“Stan is a very good detective.  He’s solved cases nobody ever thought he could.  If anybody can get your mom back, he’s the one who can do it.”

“You promise me?”

“I can’t promise for sure.  But if he can’t do it, then nobody can.”

“Thank you, Maria.  I love you,” Hannah said in a tiny, strained voice.

“I love you too, Hannah.  Hang in there.  I’m gonna tell Stan.  Then we’ll figure out these Lonely Ones you are talking about.”

Maria spent the next half hour listening to the little girl cry over the phone.  She tried to comfort her whenever she was given the chance, but it was mostly just being there to listen that mattered.  Maria was crying too by the time she went to the living room to tell Stan.

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Filed under ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Illustrating in Novel Ways

I have just finished a novel project that I worked on for a year, from Spring of 2016 to Spring of 2017.  And part of my personal project procedure involves using drawings to help me visualize the characters in the story and begin to view them as real people, even when they most certainly aren’t real.  I even have this derfy Mickian idea that Paffoonies (those picture ideas that are inseparably fused to words) are essential to Mickian fiction.  (Mickian fiction= another frighteningly goofy idea that needs to go unexplained.)

Gingerbread Children

The book, Recipes for Gingerbread Children is about an old woman, a German immigrant and Holocaust survivor, who comes to a small Iowa town with a gift for story-telling and a gift for baking things, especially gingerbread cookies.


Grandma Gretel Stein, seen in the Paffooney on the left, is the main character of the story.  She tells stories, mostly fairy tales, that have lessons about being true and faithful even in the face of great evil.  The fairy in her hand is General Tuffaney Swift, an immortal Storybook fairy who leads the army of the local fairy kingdom called Tellosia.    Gretel believes he is real  Honestly, she gets so into story-telling that her fairy friends seem absolutely real to her.  And who is to say that there aren’t little magical people living in a hidden kingdom among the cornfields in Iowa?  Gretel convinced me that they were real.  She even has a hand in making new fairies by the baking of gingerbread.  She gets a magical recipe from the fairy Erlking, a wise and magical being, and uses it to create living gingerbread boys and gingerbread girls.


The gingerbread girl on the right is Anneliese, named after Gretel’s own daughter and decorated with frosting, food coloring, and gumdrops by the favorite story listener who constantly listens to Gretel’s stories and helps bake Gretel’s gingerbread, Sherry Cobble.

Sherry is a beautiful young eighth grade girl who reminds Gretel of her long-lost daughter.  Sherry has a twin sister named Shelly and they are identical twins, but Sherry not only looks like Anneliese once did, she acts like her with the same confidence and enthusiasm for life that Anneliese once had before the war.

Sherry and Shelly are both part of the Cobble family, who have a reputation locally as wacky-pants loonies because they believe firmly in being nudists and engaging in nature completely naked while not actually wearing any wacky pants.  I haven’t done any actual pictures of Sherry  in the nude, but if you look carefully at the first picture of her above and see clothing, then you are seeing things that are not there.  Yep, the girl bakes and decorates gingerbread men in the buff, wearing her pale pink birthday suit, even when the weather outside in Iowa makes that nonsensical.


So by now you can probably draw several conclusions about me as both a novelist and an illustrator.  #1, There is definitely something a little bit off about me.  #2, I haven’t said anything yet about this book having dead Nazis and a werewolf in it, even though I rarely talk about this book without throwing those things in somewhere.  #3, Number 2 is actually taken care of in a backhanded way if you are reading this whole list carefully.  #4,  This story is probably about things that really aren’t just gingerbread recipes.  #5, You should congratulate yourself if you read this far in this post.  You have unusual amounts of patience and curiosity, and an extremely high tolerance for levels of goofy that put actual Goofy to shame.

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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing, writing humor

The Haunted Toy Store… Canto 12

Canto 12 – The Interview with the Ghost Owl

“So, somebody’s going to pay you for all of this?” Maria asked in the car before they reached the toy store.

“The Merriweathers want their boy Mark back.  They are going to pay me the standard investigation fee for every day it takes to find him.  Of course, I have to find him to earn the money,” Stan answered while turning the corner in his run-down little Ford Fiesta.

“What about Rogelio’s parents?”

“The cops told them that he’s a probable runaway.  They didn’t seem interested in paying to get him back.  The dad says that if Rogelio ran away to be with Yesenia, then he’s following his heart.  And if he’s been murdered, they are not anxious to find that out.  Of course, no body has turned up for either of the missing kids.”

“And the little black girl?”

“To be honest, I got a real bad vibe from that stepfather.  They call him Poppa Dark, but his real name’s DeAndre Rork.  He doesn’t like answering questions.  And he’s probably the killer, if my instincts are right.”

Maria shivered as they turned into the parking lot near the toy store.

“Two dollars for the rest of the day,” said the attendant.

Stan grumbled something about wishing for an empty parking meter as he fumbled in his pocket for change.  Then he handed it to the attendant.

“Park in F13.”

Stan and Maria parked and went into the toy store.

The man behind the counter looked to be old… the indeterminate age sort of old.  He had white hair, a wrinkled white face, and glasses that made his eyes look huge, a magnifying effect.

“Eule Gheist?” Stan asked.

“Yes.  I’m still me.”

“We need to ask you a few questions.”

“The young lady still owes me a few hours of cleaning.”

“I finished picking up the mess I made that day, trying to open that door, I mean,” Maria said defensively.

“How about dusting the shelves where the wood goods sit?  That could count as another of your hours.”

Maria gave Geist a pouty-lip look, took the feather duster from him, and headed for the wood goods.

“So, Eule, how many toys did you sell today?”


“And how many have you sold this week?”


“This month?”

“Again, none.”

“Not a very profitable business, it seems.”

“Mr. Mephisto is a collector of rare antique toys.  We are not in business to sell toys.  He is a billionaire, and he uses this business as a tax-write-off.”

“Hmm.  How much do you make working here, if I may ask.”

“I make nothing.”

“Then how do you live?”

“Quite well for a barn owl that was made human by magic.”

”That’s just a tale you tell kids, right?”

“If that’s what you choose to believe.”

“A barn owl?”

“What the Latinos call a Lechuza.

“Sure they do.  Did the police ask you about a boy named Mark Merriweather?  Or a girl named Shandra -Johnson-Rork?”

“Yes.  They were in here, apparently right before they decided to disappear.”

“Did you see where they went?”

“Not where, exactly, but I know they left with a dark gentleman.”

“Did you tell the police that?

“Yes.  It seemed to be exactly what they wanted to hear.”

“Wait a minute… did you say a black man?”

“Of course not.  He was dark of personality, not skin color.”

“Did the police verify that too?”

“Of course not.  They heard dark and accepted that as what they wanted to hear.”

“So, what do you mean by dark?”

“Like the devil is dark.”

“Are you saying the devil took them?”

“Something like that.”

As Stan was pondering that, Maria came back to the front of the store with a decorated paper skull like the one she had told him about before..

“This is the one Rogelio was talking to,” she said, showing him the decorative thing.

“Eule?  What do you know about that?”

“It’s cursed.  It’s also a family heirloom.”

“Can we borrow it to study it?”

“Help yourself.  But don’t damage it in any way.”

“Because it’s valuable?”

“No.  Because it’s cursed.  And it can take revenge.”

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Art Self-Edited

I have been working at illustration and drawing for the majority of my life, but it took computer technology and digital photography to allow me to maximize the use of my abilities.  Let me go through a couple of case in points.


The Red-Haired Girl picture is a good example of what I can do.  I originally drew the picture to illustrate a Charlie Brown poem.   Here is the poem if you don’t remember it.  (A convenient excuse to re-post something and fill this post with words already written.)

Little Red-Haired Girl

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children for old age

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown.

You may not see what I did without looking at the two pictures very closely.  The better, more brightly-lit photo is not the answer.  I originally created the Red-Haired Girl as a Charley-Brown-y creation complete with a bigger than natural head, a Charley-Brown head.10305044_602428713227020_8427155857664240183_n

I have ulterior motives for my evil cartoon manipulations.  I like this image I have created very much, in fact, one might say that I have fallen in love with it just a bit…  Pygmalion-like.  I wanted to use the image to illustrate Anita Jones, a character from my book Superchicken.  Anita is the fictional re-imagining of a girl that I had a deep and abiding crush on (possibly still existing today, though she is now a grandmother in real life.)  She is literally my little red-haired girl.  So what did I do?  Look closely.  I lovingly shrank her head.  Yes, like the headhunters of old, I used the paint program on my computer to shrink it, re-attach it, and make it more human-like.  Realistic proportions, though only a very slight change by actual percentages, make a realistic difference in how real the viewer perceives her to be.

I know you probably think I am full of goofy-gas to make such claims.  If you don’t see the difference in the first example, perhaps you will see it here.  Compare these two David Copperfield pictures carefully.  Look at Little Emily’s head.

David C David C2

You don’t have to believe me, but it does make a difference.

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Filed under art editing, humor, Paffooney

Me, Myself, and Eye…

I am aware that nobody who looks at my blog ever clicks on my videos. This one, however, would be very useful if you are really going to read and engage with this essay. This self-reflection came into being as a response to watching this video. The video talks about how most people can’t stand to actually sit alone in a room with only themselves. And it has an impact. I have claimed in the past to being a devotee of the Theodore Roethke maxim, “Being, not doing, is my first love.”  But how does one go about becoming truly self-aware? How does one enumerate the concept of “being”? I believe I can do it, but it requires a bit of self-examination. How do I do it?  

Let me count the ways…

I put myself down on paper, through drawing or writing in English and look at the way it portrays me.

I find myself in both the written characters I create and the cartoon characters I draw. In Hidden Kingdom, my graphic novel, the Mouse and young Prinz Flute are both me. I can see myself both as the reluctant romantic hero and the snarky child-thing with a dangerous little bit of wisdom.

I learn to know more about my secret heart and what I truly think about the world I live in and react to by writing about what I think and the things that happen to me, both for good and ill. This blog is all about learning about myself, just as your blog is a mirror of who you really are. Consequently, I have no secrets left.

I not only reveal myself in this blog, but I also attempt to sing about myself in much the same way that Walt Whitman did in his poetry.

I live most of my life in my own imagination. It is a silly Willy Wonka world of images, songs, music, and dreams. It can all blow away in a moment when the sun comes out. It can also keep me in a light-obscuring cloud wrapped and safe, well away from the things I fear and the things that worry me. I came to realize I was repressing the memory of being sexually assaulted when I was ten through a dream when I was nineteen, re-living the event in a dream from which I awoke with a blinding flash of realization. I came to grips with the horror that mangled my childhood and young adulthood first by facing the fact that the nightmare had been real, and then by finding ways to overcome it. I became a teacher of young people in large part as a way to protect them and prevent such a thing from ever happening again to someone else.

I use my fictional stories about the girl Valerie Clarke to examine my relationships with my own daughter and a couple of old girlfriends from my youth.

I often worry that I don’t see real people as being real people. I tend to think of them from the first meeting onward as potential book characters, walking collections of details and quirks, conflicts and motivations. But I recognize too that that way of seeing with the author’s eye is not incorrect. People really are those things. There are rules and generalizations that everyone falls under at some point. It is not so much that I see real people as book characters as it is that I realize that book characters are as real as any other purportedly “real” people.

I am myself both the subject of my cartooning and fictionarooning, and the cartoon character of myself as well.

Mickey is not a real person. He is a cartoonist persona, a mask, a fake identity, and the lie I tell myself about who I actually am.

In this essay, I have attempted to explain to you who I think I am spending time with when I am alone in a room with myself. He is not such a terrible person to spend time with, this Mickey. Or else he really is truly awful, and I am lying about me and who I think I am when I am alone with me and have no other options. But probably not. I have been getting to know me for about 562 years, only exaggerating by 500, and I am not finished yet.

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Filed under autobiography, being alone, irony, Mickey, Paffooney