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Monthly Archives: July 2018

A Deep Dive into The Devil’s Work

The Devil’s Work is a short story I created to explore one man’s experience of Hell as a serial killer and cannibal. The Devil’s Work is the story of the first time Wesley Black dies and captures a brief moment during his multiple life prison sentences. Wesley Black is an inmate in the world’s most secure prison, Outpost 86. Outpost 86 is a structure with several levels below ground and several above. It is situated near the South Pole next to the Transantarctic Mountains and was built as part of the creation of a new branch of government in charge of overpopulation of prisons. Wesley chooses to live underground because of greater opportunity for privacy, and the permafrost helps extend the shelf-life of the meat of his victims.

Outpost 86’s remote location offers a unique opportunity to create a prison without cells or guards. A single cyanide filled chamber facilitates entry and exit from the prison making local security obsolete. The prisoners regulate themselves through survival of the fittest and security is provided by its remote location and the inhospitable environment escapees would face in the unlikely event they got out of the prison.

Because of the lack of formal security, Wesley can continue to murder and eat people in the nearly vacant lower levels. Only society’s worst criminals are committed to Outpost 86 which makes the population relatively sparse in such a huge facility. At the time The Devil’s Work takes place Outpost 86 is less than 25% filled, and with total square footage several times larger than The Pentagon, there are plenty of isolated places. Wesley uses this isolation to carry out his nefarious practices and lives his life in relative peace as the other inmates lack the stomach for his lifestyle. As one of the initial inmates, he has always carried an imposing presence and instilled a certain level of fear into subsequent arrivals who are happy to leave him alone in his subterranean lair.

Before his time at Outpost 86, Wesley was a medical doctor who exhibited acute psychopathic behavior. Wesley controlled this behavior well, but occasionally the urge would get so strong he would have to act on his impulses to get it out of his system for a while. This recurring theme led to the longest and most prolific serial killing spree in history and launched Dr. Wesley Black into the history books upon his conviction.

His mental illness influenced the decision to opt out of the death penalty and to place Wesley into the newly constructed Outpost 86 where he could serve his time and subsequently fulfill the facilities’ medical needs. This alleviated the need for outside doctors and put Wesley’s medical expertise to some use. Unfortunately, it also gave him all the tools necessary to continue his psychotic episodes and raise his victim count.

Wesley lived a normal childhood devoid of the normal tragic experiences traditionally associated with mental illness like molestation or abuse, so the circumstances surrounding his affliction are unclear. He earned excellent grades throughout his education and graduated with honors from John Hopkins University. On paper, his life was the model of success and control, but he waged a constant war with an unseen inner demon that forced him to carve a normal existence from the cacophony of psychological disharmony in which he perpetually existed.

Outpost 86 will be featured in its own full-length novel that is currently in work, in which Wesley Black plays a significant role in the story. It portrays the moment Wesley Black dies and sets the stage for the events in The Devil’s Work. This spin-off story grew from an urge to explore events in Wesley Black’s life that I felt did not fit into Outpost 86. I am also planning to write a novel about Wesley Black’s life before he was sentenced to Outpost 86 and chronicle his life as a serial cannibal. Click on the cover below to buy The Devil’s Work from Amazon for only .99 cents.

The Devil's Work

 

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Who is Mr. Crispy?

 

 

Mr. Crispy is a character in my Purgatory series. He is a pyromaniac that gets caught in a blaze of his own making and dies.  He winds up in Purgatory sporting the scars of his sins.  Mr. Crispy is not his real name, but it is the name bestowed upon him by the Purgatorial community after his arrival. His skin is charred black and mottled with shiny swollen areas that constantly seep pus and plasma from eternally fresh wounds. Purgatory’s inhabitants bear the evidence of their sins for all to see and Mr. Crispy will be afflicted with his burns until a higher power sees fit to let him pass. This is a sentiment he begins to doubt as time creeps on and there is no communication or interaction with God. He feels he has surely atoned for any sins out of the agony of his existence alone and is beginning to think there is no place to move on to.

Mr. Crispy, formerly know as…well, you don’t get to know his real name yet, is a young man of undetermined age, however, I see him as being in his early teens. He is a typical teen, aside from a strong desire to burn things, but feels like an outsider because of his affliction. The fact he recognizes it as an affliction means he knows better than to do it, but lacks the self-control to fight the urge. This secret weighs upon him and defines his interaction with his friends; slightly introverted, guarded, and quick to make an excuse to bugger off from group activities. He would much rather spend time alone than with people so he doesn’t have to hide his dark side, his dark friend, as he often thinks of that part of himself.

Fire intrigues him and he has wielded it for so long that he feels in control of it. There was only one time that control slipped from his grasp, but since the fire was contained in his neighbor’s back yard and was extinguished quickly, his illusion of control held. His final battle with his dark friend made him realize how small and inconsequential he was compared to nature, and could have been a therapeutic turning point for him had he won. Tragic situations sometimes have a way of clearing one’s head and changing perspective, but all to often people don’t get the chance to use that realization to enact positive personal change. Maybe part of what makes situations like his so tragic is that the answer shows itself too late to help, like deciding too late the correct course of action to avoid an automotive collision.

His personality does not improve any after reaching Purgatory.  He loathes his situation, but is happy he is not in Hell, regardless of how much fire is there. He loathes his neighbors, except for the beautiful but troubled Annabelle, an ex porn-star with whom he is infatuated despite her…shall we say rather noticeable genitals. He is confused about the physics of Purgatory as it seems things are possible there that weren’t when he was alive; more of a dream-like state where his environment can change on a whim, leaving him often ill-prepared for his circumstances.  He is stuck in this suburban version of Hell and can find no peace.

Mr. Crispy has discovered a hidden side, a special place where he can go to another dimension, an escape from one Purgatory into another. This second Purgatory is more reminiscent of when he was alive and it draws him incessantly.  Spending time between the two realities has caused him to be confused as to which one is real, or if they both are real. His struggles are not only physical, but mental and psychological as well as he fights to figure out reality and reaffirm his sanity.  Will he figure out which dimension is real? Is it even possible? Will he learn the truth about where and who he is? Is there a Heaven or Hell?  The second reality and the ensuing struggle are introduced in Purgatory: Episode II. Both stories can be accessed by clicking on the pictures below or the hyperlinks in this post. I hope you get to meet Mr. Crispy, he is quite a character and his continued adventures will be chronicled in future episodes.  Happy reading.

Purgatory - Episode IPurgatory - Episode II

 

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Is America Still the Greatest Country in the World?

Us Flag Banner Clipart - Clipartfest in American Flag Banners

Photo courtesy of www.soccerbbc.com

My opinion is yes, America is still the greatest country in the world. Statistical data aside, the U.S. offers many opportunities to live a fulfilling and prosperous life. Besides occupational opportunities, America offers plenty of leisure activities to help provide a well-rounded lifestyle. It also offers democracy, which allows the People to elect their leaders. Democracy is the cornerstone of the foundation of our government and must be protected for America to retain its identity in this ever-changing world.  Political freedom is the spirit of democracy and is meant to protect and promote the People’s rights, welfare, and interests (Unknown, 2018). Great is defined as being considerably above the normal or average (Dictionary.com, 2017) and it is upon this definition the following points rest.

  • Land of Opportunity – America is the greatest country in the world because of opportunity. America earned the nickname Land of Opportunity because people are mainly limited by their own imagination when deciding what they can do here. A fast-food employee can take the necessary steps to transition to a company CEO if they are motivated enough.
  • Justice and Equality – America may not have always promoted equality, but modern times showcase the great strides made to correct this egregious mindset. America’s judicial system attempts to ensure justice is provided fairly and without bias. The system may not be perfect, but the mindset of innocent until proven guilty presents the best opportunity for fair and impartial treatment. American laws are the culmination of growth and understanding as times change and only when it is determined what is just and unjust can justice and injustice be properly related to what is fair or unfair (Adler, 2002).
  • America, like every country, has had its share of growing pains and atrocities. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted, the racial inequality of segregation caused much avoidable suffering and unjust treatment in the court system (King Jr., 1963). Some of the things that make America not the best country in the world have been from atrocious acts of mistreatment of humans. No country is without blame in this area, but the thought of this mentality being condoned in what is supposed to be a free country throws a dark stain on America’s image and calls into question the sincerity of America’s claims of tolerance and diversity acceptance, even today.
  • Racial tensions aren’t the only blemish on the America’s social fabric, and as technology advances, the country seems to be weakening from the inside out. More and more people are turning to electronic sources of entertainment and social interaction which results in a decline in personal social skills needed to physically interact with each other. Putnam noted that the Internet and other virtual means of collaboration are causing a civic vacancy due to lack of personal engagement (Bella, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, Tipton, 1996). This is creating a nation of zombies more focused on the screens in front of their faces than real world around them. Of course, this is not only an American problem, it is a global epidemic that is contributing to the loss of the feeling of civic responsibilities.

America is still a great country and an economic powerhouse. Despite its learning stumbles, it is a shining example of capitalism and the application of the democratic method. The U.S. may not statistically top many of the lists societies use to gauge “greatness”, however, the constant stream of immigrants of all nationalities seeking entrance into our borders suggests many countries see America as a place they would rather be than in their own country. The U.S. still offers many opportunities to thrive beyond expectation and live a fruitful, engaging, and fulfilling life despite the issues/conflicts inherent in any democratic government setting.

References

Adler, M. J. (2002, January 8). Six Great Ideas. From Cyberspacei.com: http://cyberspacei.com/greatbooks/h2/6gi/gi_024.htm

Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1996, May               08). Individualism and the crisis of civic membership. The Christian Century, 113, 510. Retrieved from: https://www.religion-online.org/article/individualism-and-the-crisis-of-civic-membership/

Dictionary.com. (2017, April 26). Great. From Dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/greatness

King Jr., M. L. (1963, April 16). Letter from a Birmingham jail [King, Jr]. From African Studies Center – University of Pennsylvania: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Unknown. (2018, April 26). Week 1: The USA and the World. From Cyberactive.bellevue.edu: https://cyberactive.bellevue.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_478003_1&content_id=_9665260_1

 

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A Social Media Study

Social media has come to dominate society’s spare time. Rarely do I see someone just sitting and looking at the world around them without a mobile device in their hand. I am a huge fan of everything zombie and I never thought there was any chance of a zombie epidemic, but I was wrong, along with everyone else that rejected the idea as nonsense. Modern society is creating a world full of mindless zombie’s shambling through life with their heads down and their attention focused on a barrage of mainly meaningless data. I can’t tell you how many times I watch someone walking towards me while focused on their phone and I have to make my way around them because they don’t realize I am even there and would run into me if I hadn’t.

I am not excluded from this technological evolution of humanity and find myself trying harder and harder to just say no to this addictive behavior. I too have to fight the urge to become a mobile device zombie and achieve different levels of success depending on my mindset at the time. I notice several things during my on and off relationship with social media and I believe you will find they are all too familiar.

Social media empowers people to act, or interact, in ways they probably wouldn’t in face to face conversation. Hiding behind online personas allows people to disguise their true self, but often reveals insight into the very thing they are trying to hide. You don’t have to be a psychology professor to understand that people often expose their weaknesses or fears by over compensating for them or being defensive about them.  We hide behind psychological masks that intuitive and perceptive people can see through and it is rare to create a mask or persona that fools everyone.

Posting on social media sites is like jumping into a pool full of sharks. People are quick with a hateful comment to differing opinions or questions deemed “stupid”, and there are very few positive things posted. The myopic and petty behavior witnessed on some platforms, such as the ever volatile Facebook, is staggering and showcases society’s hate and pervasive negativity. Hate and negativity are nothing new, people have warred since the beginning of humanity, but today’s social media platforms have made it easier to portray that dark side globally and instantly.

Social media makes it easy to give opinions and make your voice heard, but it seems a lot of those people giving opinions are not very at good at dealing with contradicting viewpoints or constructive criticism. Common sense and logical thinking take a backseat to emotion and self-centeredness which instigates hostility and aggression when another dares to challenge their viewpoint. It has become a platform for picking fights and attempted bullying. I say attempted bullying because bullies never know the intelligence or communication ability of the person they are attempting to bully. Removing the physical aspect of bullying opens bullies up to harsh consequences of picking on someone more intelligent.

I think a bigger question about social media is, who cares? What makes people think their opinion matters to anyone but themselves anyway? Is narcissism so rampant that everyone considers themselves popular social icons whose status updates and matter of fact opinions provide the world a greatly needed service? Where is the culture of kindness and support so many people supposedly guided by a moral or spiritual compass claim to have? The odds of winning would be very high if you were to gamble that many people spewing hate and discontent and who are quick with a negative word show up at their chosen place of worship on Sunday and defend their behavior as being  “only human” instead of taking responsibility for their actions and changing their behaviors. Failure to change behavior after identifying behavior deemed wrong, inappropriate, or destructive by the individual, whether through religious, moral, or personal integrity highlights character weakness and lack of self-discipline with maybe a sprinkling of plain old asshole mixed in too.

This article is no exception, you have the choice to read it, or not, and to comment on it as you see fit. Your comments, should you choose to share them, will simply either validate or contradict the presented information from your perspective; emotion is not part of the equation. This post is merely a visual representation of my thoughts and opinions and an exercise of my right of free speech. One might see this article as cynical, but it is merely the documentation of observed processes. Not all people are bad or have a dark side, but if you do, social media can bring it out and blur the lines of morality and decency.

Living in a world dominated by social media and unfiltered online personalities seems to contradict modern views of tolerance, acceptance, and integrity and provides a canvas for painting the darker side of society’s psyche. It’s like the cursed mirror in my story, Reflection of Truth, that shows people what they really look like behind their psychological masks instead of their physical appearance. Social media creates a construct for generating horror stories and rampant narcissism supported by dishonesty and misrepresentation that I use for inspiration for some of my stories.  Social media will continue to provide material for authors of all genre’s and continue to bring out the best and worst of people.

As I age, I find myself in a catch 22 concerning social media.  Personally, I want to stay away from social media, but it is a great way to preserve the memories of our adventures, especially since the era of the physical photo book has long passed except to the nostalgic. Sometimes I just find things that appeal to me and I want to share them with others in hopes they can brighten someone’s day somehow. Additionally, as an author, social media is an important and necessary marketing tool, which forces me to try to maintain several sites on multiple social media platforms, unsuccessfully I might add because of my internal fight to stay away from them.  The customer base available through multiple social media platforms is staggering which creates potential for large volume sales and worldwide marketing exposure.

Harnessing the business power of social media is imperative in today’s business environment because that is where millions of people are looking all day, everyday.  That still makes me a slave to social media, and an unwilling one at that, which foot stomps how powerful the effect of social media is on modern society and how ingrained it is in our every day lives. Social media is here to stay and part of our social DNA that will shape communication and human interaction for generations to come and continue to perpetuate the emerging zombie apocalypse.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in Social Media

 
 
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