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It’s my great pleasure to reintroduce the world to Consciousness: A Continuing Acknowledgment of Nothing in Particular. For those who don’t know (which would be all but like 100 people in the world), this was a humor zine I worked on way back in high school. It was a creative free-for-all composed of flash fiction, visual gags, comic strips, and bizarre non-sequiturs contributed by myself and a few like-minded friends. It was also a joy to make and my first taste of fulfilling, collaborative creation. I worked on Consciousness throughout my teenage years, printing it on office printers at my mom’s job and selling it through friends at schools and comic shops throughout the tri-county area.

Here for your perusal is the entire first issue of Consciousness. The original files for the zine are long gone (along with the computer that housed them), but a few hard copies are still kicking around, so I went ahead and scanned them for posterity. I cleaned the formatting up a bit while also revising text where it was too awful to overlook, but otherwise, everything is just as ridiculous as ever. Just keep in mind that this is ultimately the work of demented children and should be treated as such.

More to come!

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Never Trust a Blender_Title

Hot off the digital presses comes Never Trust a Blender, a 4-page micro-comic from myself and artiste deluxe Erin Douglas. It tells the cautionary tale of a man with a terrible nickname who must grapple with the fallout of his own ill choices after striking a Faustian bargain with the titular devil in the machine. Pour yourself a thick glass of the blue stuff and let the bad times roll!

Also, be sure to check back in the coming weeks for more new content as we begin the awkward transition from placeholder website to something actually worth visiting. How novel!

Windows

Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.

Across the ocean of roofs I can see a middle-aged woman, her face already lined, who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. Out of her face, her dress, and her gestures, out of practically nothing at all, I have made up this woman’s story, or rather legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep.

If it had been an old man I could have made up his just the same.

And I go to bed proud to have lived and to have suffered in some one besides myself.

Perhaps you are asking, “Are you sure that your story is the real one?” But what does it matter what reality is outside myself, so long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am, and what I am?

Original poem by Charles Baudelaire

Short Strokes

The Royal Wristwatch

The time has come to reward the wicked. For their defamation, for their continued refusal to curb appetite or will, the wicked shall receive three sharp strikes across the psyche. They will then be returned to the river until next time.

The Told About Horse

A man walks into a bar and begins to outline a familiar joke about a horse. The punchline is delivered, and everyone in the bar falls silent, save the joke teller who now laughs nervously and touches his wallet. A horse steps from behind the bar, hitherto unseen due to its miniature stature. “Joke’s wrong,” says the horse, moving closer to the joke teller. “It’s twenty dollars for a cock suck.”

Margonia & The Market Monkey

A girl named Margonia goes to the market, her mind ablaze with ideas of papaya. When she reaches the first stall, she sights a large bruised pear. “Maybe this is papaya,” she says, knowing nothing. She drops a quarter into the cup of a vested monkey, and the monkey accepts it, though he is not the owner of the pear. When Margonia takes her first rotten bite, she tricks her brain into feeling the peculiar pleasure associated with munching fresh papaya.

Meanwhile, the monkey bites his ill-gotten coin. Scraping the silver with his dull little teeth, he knows there’s no fruit sweeter than madness.

Off Course

“I’ll never be able to talk about this,” thought Misty.

She was right, of course. There would never be an appropriate time to reveal that her love for the boy was only in theory,  not at all in practice.

Lost in the mall maze, Misty absentmindedly turned left into a department store. She wobbled through aisle upon aisle, glancing at the different styles of yarn deftly wadded into the varying sizes of ladies’ legs and torsos. She wasn’t looking for anything particular, just giving her body something to do as her brain puzzled irreversible things.

Misty’s eyes scanned  the racks, mechanically, viewing line-by-line the suggested coverings for women her age. She was twenty years old, though no longer the right shape, it appeared.

This much was clear to the teenage sales girl who approached Misty, offering assistance in the form of directions to the maternity section.

“This isn’t permanent,” Misty snapped.

The girl frowned a little, then gave a nod and returned to folding tank tops.

“It’ll pass.”

She was right, of course. Pregnancy would pass, though prolonged conditions always leave their mark. The boy would be forever.

Misty walked slowly to the children’s clothing and began rifling through outfits. She picked up a blue shirt and a pair of green shorts attached to the same small hanger. She stared at the drawing on the tiny shirt: a tiger riding proud on a surfboard. “A novel thing,” Misty thought with a sigh. She shook the hanger back and forth and watched the clothes swish like holey dishrags.

Settled on the tiger, she made her way to the nearest register and took her place behind a woman who was paying for a pink sun dress and white shoes. Misty looked from the items on the counter to the outfit in her hand. The tiger grinned behind sunglasses, enjoying the crest of his wave.

“Miss?” came a voice from behind the counter. “Miss? Are you ready to check-out?”

Misty looked up, startled, her hands then empty. She shook her head and took two steps backward.

“No,” she said, “This isn’t what I wanted.”

She was right, of course. But her wave broke all the same.

Thanksgiving Dinner

This one has been in my family for years. We’ve tried a few schemes to ditch it, but nothing’s worked so far. Not the healthiest meal you’ll ever have, but it’s guaranteed to add some zest to your holiday.

Ingredients

  • 75g (3-oz.) butter, plus extra to grease the doorway for cousin Angie
  • 12 buttermilk rolls, likely from a tube, but homemade will suffice if a certain show-off aunt insists
  • 3lbs. green beans
  • enough mashed starch to fill a casket
  • 25lbs. turkey-shaped sleeping pill
  • 24-oz. canned cran goop
  • 2 gallons of sour mash whiskey
  • 1 large pumpkin pie (Sara Lee)
  • Nutmeg to taste

Directions
Invite people who share your surname to gather at your house for a Thanksgiving meal. Be sure not to discriminate based upon personal history- by design, the holiday is equipped to handle distasteful occasions by applying a thick, yet palatable coat of whitewash.  Before the guests arrive, pour one full glass of whiskey directly into throat, then shamble around the house, straightening picture frames, tidying clutter, and performing other general maintenance to decrease the chance of snarky claims to “love what you’ve done with the place.”

Arrange the ingredients in a row (buffet style) and have another glass of whiskey. Review the ingredients carefully. Consider whether you would like to eat any of them now. According to preference, eat the pie. Rearrange remaining items as needed.

Next, choose some dishes to serve the food on. Use a turkey plate for the turkey, a rolls plate for the rolls, a whiskey plate for the whiskey, etc. Remember that in order to get at the cran goop, you’ll need strong teeth or something else sharp. If you’re a lady, maybe use your nails? Have another glass of whiskey and consider the best approach.

Preheat the oven to 355F (180C). Place any of the dishes into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the skin or crust or whatever has set and the top is golden-brown. Pour whatever isn’t in the oven over whatever is in the oven. Have another glass of whiskey, then sprinkle nutmeg somewhere and maybe sit down a minute.

When the first guest arrives, inform him that the door is open and to come on in. If the door is not open, have another glass of whiskey, and try to recall when it was you locked it. If the door is open, have another glass of whiskey.

Once all the guests have arrived (inside the house or just massed on the front porch), take a moment to remind them of why you only get together once or twice a year. Ask them to consider going home.  If they still aren’t convinced, show them the contents of the oven.

Lastly, share what you are most thankful for by distributing the second gallon of whiskey amongst any lingering relatives. Order a pizza, and once it arrives (or before), have a lie down ‘til New Year’s.

Acceptance, OR A Fawn Farewell

It was one week after his grandmother passed when Noah was led into the dense forest behind her estate. In the evening, the woods would terrify the young boy, but it was not yet dark and his grandfather enjoyed taking walks after dinner, believing that solitude and motion were the perfect capstones to any meal. The meals themselves were lacking lately, a victim of loss as much as those who ate them. The old man was not a good cook, but he had managed simple stews and had no qualm consuming stale bread baked a week before.

That day marked the first time Noah had been invited to join his grandfather in the woods, though really there had been no invitation, merely a statement of fact. “We will go for a walk after supper.”

Now they had been walking for nearly an hour, and Noah began to wonder why he was brought along at all. His grandfather hadn’t spoken a word to him, just walked deliberately forward, though with no real haste. When at last they neared the edge of the property, the two observed a fawn lying motionless by a rusted barb wire fence.

“She’s caught,” stated the old man.

“Can you free her?”

“We will see.”

“Will she die too, grandpa?”

The man did not answer. He approached the animal with his same, purposeful gait. Bending close, he saw that the barbs had cut deep and that a great deal of blood was pooling around her. The fawn shivered, but made no other motion, no attempt to flee.

“She’s accepted it,” said the old man, unaware that Noah was crying, now having glimpsed the blood as well.

“I don’t want her to die.”

“What we want and what will happen… There is little link between the two.”

The boy continued sobbing, but now with a new kind of grief, one born from understanding. If he was older, he might’ve wondered if this ordeal had been prepared.

His grandfather whispered something that sounded like goodbye. Then there was a soft crack, and the man was on his feet.

“Did dying hurt her?”

“Less than living. There’s no more pain for her.”

The boy paused for a second, looking around his grandfather to the dead fawn on the ground.

“It’s ours now,” stated the boy, “We took it for her.”

The old man nodded, returned once more to silence. He placed a coarse hand around his grandson’s shoulder and steered the young man home through the dimming light.