a highly organized and efficient psychopath

It was the morning after Dr. Lorelei had seen the little girl with brown hair being chased by the elephant down in the sinkhole. In the relative comfort of The Emerald House, he rose from his creaking cot, dreary and hungry, fearing the sort of breakfast that would be available in his new abode, the accursed circus.

He rifled through the mania of discarded items around the room. His tunics, his briefcase, a clattering pile of empty bottles — all Drutherstone’s mezcal — paperwork on lost experiments, several of his favorite knives, and numerous pharmaceuticals. Dr. Lorelei knew his own habits well enough. Typically a highly organized and efficient psychopath, Lorelei was sometimes given to bouts of animalistic and explosive rage, especially when change was in the air and drink was in the blood. He made a mental note to tidy things up later. He also knew that soon he would need to reinstate his honed routine of Personal Dispossession. This consisted of self-inflicted pain — in carefully measured intervals — to conjure that sublime and acute state of dissociative thinking. In his dissociated state, he found himself to be as rational and objective as a blade’s edge is gleaming and sharp. An ideal frame of mind for his scientific work.

Outside, he slid carefully down the muck covered grade of the hill. Everything was so humid and greenish, he noticed. The rides were rusted to a blue-green hue, the ubiquitous muck shimmered with verdant, oily swirls. Even the grass seemed the greenest that green could be. It was fecund, wet, and inviting in its own way. A lusty pull that seemed to typify circuses and other impermanent clusters of occultae.

He found the public mess house easily enough. The concomitant blur of both the circus’s staff and its performers were writhing in a mass all around it. Liquor was already flowing freely even though the sun had barely winked out of the teal fog of early day. A vein of barbarism snaked through the familial din. Hard punches and snarls constituted salutations all around. Even the women seemed to be baring too many teeth than could reasonably fit inside their fairer heads. Lorelei did not see Drutherstone anywhere and yet he felt certain that the Clownmaster’s pneumatic discharges were all around them.

A plate was slopped together for the Doctor and he barged back up the hill, completely unaware that vicious Marrionetta had clocked him. Standing aloof, she was thoughtlessly lighting matches and tossing them into the strata of oozing footprints. The orange coals of her eyes burned through the steaming morning sunlight.

Drutherstone’s Mezcal

Dr. Lorelei poured himself a small salut to celebrate the acquisition of The Emerald House. The liquid tasted sweet with anise but there was an alkaline after-choke, probably due to the fact that the rancid alcohol was brewed in a rusted out canister on the grounds of an accursed circus.

Dr. Lorelei now poured heavily from the brown bottle and drank deep draughts of the stuff to achieve either drunkenness or brain damage. Though, arguably, the latter had already been done. Even he knew his experiments represented something insane. But, fortunately, Lorelei did not possess the moral compunction to stop himself from trying.

As he sucked down the dry, disgusting swill, he watched a scene play out beneath his window. In the murky green of evening, a little girl with short brown hair was crying and hurrying along the inner perimeter of a massive, rectangular sinkhole. The sinkhole was nearly as long as a rugby pitch and her small, 10-year old legs could barely carry her through the thick grass, especially as it was wet from the thin, freezing rain.

Dr. Lorelei swiftly recognized that the little girl was in a nightmare. The nightmare had transported her here to Drutherstone’s circus. He wondered what petit triste in her real existence had transmuted her spirit to this idiotic and buffoonish place. He refilled his glass with the burnt mezcal and continued watching her.

She was running as fast as she could which was not very fast at all. She was screaming for help because, behind her, one of the circus’s enormous, skeletal elephants — the one with the dead eyes and zombified skin — was chasing her and chasing her and chasing her and would not stop for it was a massive, undead fury. He thought, if the elephant overtook her, she would probably just wake up in bed. Safe and snuggled in covers lightly soaked in the sweat of her terror. So it would be better then that the elephant should overtake and mash her into the ground. But no. Somehow in her nightmare logic, her fat little legs, wicking this way and that on the waxy grass, carried her just beyond the maniacal elephant’s tusks, trapping her in unending fright for many tours around the sinkhole.

When Dr. Lorelei went to refill his cup again, he noticed that the bottle had changed. Just another quirk of battening down in a whimsical, horror circus. Bottles could change their labels at a moment’s notice. The new, decorative label depicted the small child herself, running amok ahead of the charging elephant, Drutherstone’s Mezcal in curling gold script.

“Nicely done,” thought Lorelei.

Marrionetta in Full Tilt

“Drutherstone, you pathetic wince of a cock!” Marrionetta strained so abruptly and with such force that several of her strings sang a final note of tension and popped straight out of her skin, carrying off little flecks of flesh.

“Netta, calm down, for the last time…”

“Calm!” she screeched, “Down!?”

The full tilt jostle of her mosaic body slammed towards him. His cock winced.

“The Emerald House is mine!” she thundered. To make her point plain, she began to destroy the furniture. Drutherstone’s top hat came under her control and she tossed it out a window.

Drutherstone sucked his teeth. Wordlessly, he turned around and egressed from The Emerald House. He retrieved his hat from the green muck. His throat issued a large slime ball. Then he reentered the house containing their disagreement.

“Don’t throw my hat.”

“I’ll murder you. I’ll sever your neck with piano string. I’ll quit. I’ll move to Arabia! Janus Tewditch still knows how to appreciate me.”

“Janus Tewditch is broke and he married his contortionist.”

Marrionetta turned purple, mottled pink and finally settled on a piqued beige. “He’d put me in his act.” She snapped her woody fingers. “Like that.”

Drutherstone sank to his knees and took her hand in his. She let him kiss her hand while she stared at the ceiling. “Please, Netta. This is temporary. Just let the doctor stay in the house and pay some exorbitant rent for a while. I’ll buy you a bracelet. You know how badly we need the money. We’re off peak this century.”

Marrionetta removed her hand from his and tapped his forehead with calculating malice. But she was thinking about it. Soon, she crossed her arms. It was a complex crossing given the hinged nature of her being. Many angles seemed to intersect within her intersections and the grain of her stood out, lithe and beautiful. She was in major disrepair but an underlying elegance shone through the grime and the disappointment.

“A pretty one. Big big rubies.”

“The biggest,” Drutherstone intoned.

bats bATS BATS!

The merry-go-round churned at 75 miles per hour, casting the children’s bodies out and along a thousand scattered angles.

“Eeeeeeeeiiiyyaaaahhh!!” the demonic children screeched, sprouting wings midtoss and taking flight into a gloomridden sky. The merry-go-round gnashed its horse teeth, crunching up the gold polish poles like stale crackers. With mechanical slovenliness, a pack of laborers set in motion to its repairs.

“And if you purchase the property today,” Clownmaster Drutherstone gloated, doffing his hat and bringing it to his hollow breast, “I can almost guarantee a 10% return on investment before the end of the summer. Provided it never rains.”

Dr. Lorelei wrinkled his face in careful consideration but also in disapproval as this was the last place he wanted to be, practically on the face of the earth. Though the clutches of his pursuant detractors would still have been worse than this idiotic and buffoonish place.

Wordlessly, he dropped a small bag of jewels into Drutherstone’s outstretched paw. Immediately, the Clownmaster of untold years snuffled inside the bag. “Ah, a down payment?” But Dr. Lorelei was already striding away. Drutherstone sniffed and spat.

“Prepare the Emerald House for the doctor” he wheezed to Ungulen, the groundskeeper.

Ungulen arched an eyebrow. “Marrionetta’s still usin’ it, sir.”

“Blow her out by the horns. We’ve got a paying tenant now.”

Drutherstone continued sniffling and spitting, becoming agitated or allergic. He gargled back a disease and rhapsodized a tremendous splatch out of his throat, just beside Ungulen’s boot. But Ungulen was resolute.

“Fine,” said Drutherstone. “I’ll tell her.”

50 Incidents of Undiscovered Treasure


21. An overview of Sid Vicious’s early poetry is in Katie McConnor’s 2017 Stanford thesis.

22. An overgrowth of rare, Manuego lichen is covering the primary Skyhook amplifier for the Pacific northwest.

23. A pyramid of No. 2 pencils is still in defunct locker number 5046.

24. A package from an adult video store in San Francisco and addressed to Margaret Atwood is lost somewhere inside the postal processing center in Dallas, TX.