Rogues’ Gallery #10: THEODORE WHISTLES

The incongruity of a human head next to the KitchenMaid Mixer on his kitchen counter made Theodore giggle. Not that murdering someone was funny… he wasn’t deranged. It was just absurd. Certainly nothing like anything he had ever seen in Martha Stewart Living.

He had never set out to kill anyone… indeed, the idea that he had done it made him just as queasy as it made him excited. He couldn’t imagine that anyone who met him ever would have expected him to do such a thing… they probably wouldn’t have even imagined him killing a cricket. He had never imagined himself doing such a thing either, for that matter… and that he accomplished it in such a gruesome manner was frankly inconceivable.

Really, in a world where such an improbable thing could happen, anything seemed possible. It was this sense of possiblity that excited Theodore more than anything. The grass could be purple… the air could taste like cotton candy… there could be moonbeams coming from the Sun. He could indeed accomplish great things, he had no doubt. Why had this not been apparent before?

Theodore tenderly set the head in a plastic shopping bag, and let it hang from his hand. It felt just like the groceries! He stepped out the front door, and squinted at the sun.

Rogues’ Gallery #9: “COLD BILL” PATTERSON

It was ridiculous how long he had been in the otherwise-empty waiting room. His tooth hurt like hell.

Nothing to read but an old Cosmo and an issue of Highlights. What child likes the Timbertoes, anyhow?

He felt mild pity for the receptionist as she chased him into the office, but really she was as culpable as anyone in wasting his afternoon. As he went to work on the dentist, he marveled at the array of tools at his disposal. Extraction was easy.

Still, it looked like a doorknob and a piece of string was in his immediate future.

Note: I wrote this today for a contest. The theme is “found in space.” Wish me luck! I’ll need it.

Rogues’ Gallery #8: CARL “POP” BEAUMONT

“Old age is not for nancies,” Carl’s Great-Grandfather had told him all those years ago, between coughing up black bits of his lungs in his handkerchief.

It was a betrayal, that’s what it was. Getting put in a home! Forty-three years of Carl’s life to support a family that left him here to die alone. The last time he saw them was almost ten years ago, now. Ingrates! Almost ten years in this hellhole!

There was no reason for it. Sure the old brain had slowed a bit, but he was hardly senile. Limbs all working… strong, even. Organs still performing their assigned tasks. No incontinence either, thank you very much.

He felt like an alien among these dying people. How he hated them all… Frail, diseased, weak and stupid with brain rot. They were pathetic.

At first, he justified killing them as putting them out of their misery. He would have wanted someone to do the same to him if he started shitting his pants at the dinner table, he lied to himself. The hatred was the real reason, of course.

It was certainly easy enough to kill them. A nudge towards the stairs, a little bleach in an iv bag, some extra pills in the tri-daily dose. They were here to die, anyhow, why would anyone suspect his help? He must have sent fifty of the sorry schmucks to Hell by now.

It was actually TOO easy. A revelation came to him as he lifted the pillow from his formerly snoring neighbor’s breathless, peaceful face. What was the true root of his hatred of his fellow inmates? Disgust for these pathetic souls, or the frustration and impotence he felt about his own situation?

As satisfying as he found these simple little murders, how much more gratifying it would be to eradicate his entire family, those foul thieves who had stolen his life from him. His son, his court-appointed “caretaker,” in the home Carl had built with his blood and sweat… his son living there with his fat-ankled wife and moronic children. If his back hadn’t gone out reaching for the carving knife at that last Thanksgiving dinner, things would have been different.

Easter was coming. The Resurrection! The family would have an unexpected guest for Sunday dinner.

Seeing his house again was like a strange dream, it had been so long. The years had streamlined it in his mind; the mailbox, the shutters, the crack in the concrete… how could he have forgotten so much? As he bent down in the dark to dig out the house key he had left under the brick next to the front door, he shit his pants for the first time since childhood, liquid feces trickling down into his shoe. It was at that moment he knew that he would never be returning to the home.

Rogues’ Gallery #7: CLIFFORD “CLIFF” JONES

Once, in his youth, Clifford had dreamed he would someday be famous. He wasn’t sure how or why, he only knew that it was fated.

Being a career celebrity like Paris Hilton or Charles Nelson Reilly would be perfect, but those gigs were hard to get.

At first, he suspected he may find fame through sports… basketball, perhaps. However, his vertical growth stopped at five foot two, foiling that possibility.

Music was his next calling. His music was loud enough that no one really noticed he was tone-deaf, but having the rhythm sense of a sick ferret in a washing machine prevented him from ever having wide appeal. His recording career was abandoned, leaving behind a legacy of one unlabeled half-blank cassette tape.

Acting was the next obvious choice. He moved to Hollywood, and started wearing sunglasses all of the time. Getting into movies he found surprisingly easy (or at least into movie studios), but his tendency to ad-lib during scenes that he wasn’t a part of kept getting him eighty-sixed from sets.

Having exhausted the obvious choices for acquiring fame Clifford considered some less obvious ones. Politics was only for ugly people. He wasn’t smart enough to invent something. He had no talent for art.

His epiphany came to him in the early hours of a warm winter evening. Without hesitation, he grabbed the semi-automatic from the basement closet, gently set it in his Shaquille O’Neal duffle bag, put on his ray-bans and headed for the mall.


Whatever did happen to all of Hiram’s friends, anyhow? High School, the best years of their lives, already 16 years gone… they won the state championship, the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP, and what does he have to show for it? Trophy on the mantle, sure… looking at it now makes him so queasy sometimes he literally vomits in his mouth. He can’t seem to take it down, though.

The recruiter from the state college had him at the top of his list. It would have all been different if it wasn’t for his knee.

The last of his buddies must have left Duncanville over five years ago now. Losers. Why did they leave?

Well, Ben won’t be going anywhere now, at least. Ben and his family were just passing through the “old stomping grounds.” Stopped in the truck stop and Hiram didn’t even recognize him, he was so goddamn fat. Ben, however, recognized Hiram right off (hardly a change other than the deeply receding hair line). “Hiram! You’re still here! Good to see a friendly face!” the doughy mass gurgled uncomfortably.

Seeing Ben obese and domesticated was just too much for Hiram. Ben had been their goddamn quarterback… their LEADER… and now he was just a sack of shit. They had been brothers… warriors! This moon-faced, jiggling monstrosity that stood in front of him was a sick abomination, an insult to the memory of what he had been. Worse yet, it ruined the fantasies that he had long harbored of their reunion. Hiram found he could no longer picture young Ben as he was in his mind without having it blotted out like an eclipsed sun by this fat caricature of his lost beauty.

How Hiram had missed him… Ben’s return as an unrecognizable slug (with a wife and kids, no less), was not merely disappointing, it was a betrayal. He put him down quick, from behind, like a horse with a broken leg. He never knew what hit him. Hiram sobbed and mourned his lost friend as the tire iron solved the problem of Ben’s bitch and brats.

It was a mess, sure, but the law is sparse and incompetent around Duncanville. Hiram saw their local Barney Fife, Officer Earl the next day, and damned if he didn’t help him load the bags of cement into his blood-splattered pickup.

Hiram would mourn Ben until the day he died.

There was still hope for a happy ending, though. Maybe Craig would pass through town, Big Craig the linebacker, just as fine and strong and beautiful as he had been that night under the bleachers…

Rogues’ Gallery #4: DR. CORNELIUS SHAM

The more you dig into the life of Dr. Cornelius Sham, the less you find you know about him.

He is pictured in two versions, the one on the right being the image he used on the labels of bottles of healing elixir he used to sell (considering his long life, perhaps it works in spite of the high amount of radium in the solution).

The only consistent information, it seems, is that he was born on May 5th, 1923. However, this lone documented fact (backed up by an Oklahoma City birth certificate) casts the shadow of doubt on many of the other tales and rumors about Sham’s colorful and mysterious life.

For example, if he was born in 1923, how could he be a part of the scores of stories about him that took place before his birth? How could he have run off to join the circus with Tod Browning in 1896, only to end up running the sideshow a mere month later? How could he have been there at Teddy Roosevelt’s deathbed to cryogenically preserve his head?

However, the birth certificate is all the tangible documentation of this man that we have… no paper trail has ever caught up to him. No social security number, no addresses, no license plates… it would be easy to think that the man never existed if there wasn’t such a wealth of anecdotal evidence of him from so many different sources.

Did he really kick Mrs. O’Leary’s cow? Was that really him on Elm Street in Dallas opening the umbrella in the sun as the motorcade passed? And if he really had a flying solar car in 1953, why did he choose to bike the Appalachians distributing hallucinogenic toads for breeding to the poor in 1955? And why is he wearing an Eleganza leisure suit in the grainy photos of him meeting Rockefeller in 1948? Certainly, that couldn’t really be his reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s helmet, even if the photos are from NASA.

Obviously, many of the stories about him are complete fabrications… but it is troubling that there are often scores of corroborating witnesses in many of the seemingly impossible ones. In spite of reports of his death in 1968 (honey overdose), 1972 (plane crash in Antarctica), 1997 (fell into vat of hydrochloric acid), and 2002 (eaten by elder god) there have been sightings of him as recently as three months ago. He was reported to have been operating a smuggling operation moving cloned sheep out of Australia in the pouches of kangaroos.

His current whereabouts are- you guessed it- unknown.

Rogues’ Gallery #5: THE AZZOLI BROTHERS

Meet Gino “Calamari” and Freddy “Muzzle” Azzoli AKA the Azzoli brothers. These two are as inseparable as Laurel and Hardy… they are rarely seen in public without each others’ company.

Technically, they aren’t brothers, if you must know… cousins, but raised in the same house… Gino’s old man Tito’s place… Freddy’s Uncle Tits. The old man liked Freddy best (everyone does, really, even though he never says much, and he does the vast majority of the killing), so everyone just treated it like he was the old man’s kid, and not the bastard offspring of Tito’s whore of a sister. Easier for everyone that way. Besides, Tito beat him just the same as he beat Gino when the wine told him to.

Still, Gino wasn’t without remorse when he flushed the old man’s pieces down the john.

One might assume that such an upbringing would breed intense competitiveness between the two brothers, but this was never the case. They have always had an incomprehensible understanding… an unspoken language that they shared.

It probably helped that, although they are both quite stupid, Freddy is about one pube this side of retarded.

Thus, Gino has always had an easy time dominating Freddy intellectually, and Gino generally does the talking for both of them. As a result, you can’t shut the guy up without a blunt object. The only time Gino keeps his yammering maw quiet is when they’re on a job. Few people realize the depth of Freddy’s dim wit, because the way Gino tells it, the guy is Socrates.

Freddy is certainly an asset in his own way, though. Freddy’s good looks get enough tail for both of them in spite of Gino’s obvious and severe physical shortcomings (as long as Freddy doesn’t open his idiot gob). Freddy never insists on taking the pretty ones, either. And, of course, Freddy is strong as a lion and kills on command without hesitation.

Together, they make a pretty perfect team, really. Few professional murderers have long careers, yet these guys have been at it since John Travolta was still dancing in a white suit. Part of this longevity comes from being protected by the mob, certainly, but beyond that they are extremely skilled at what they do.

All together, they have only been in the pokey five times (Gino for burglary, Freddy for assault, assault, assault and pissing in public). This is not through any sort of cleverness that they have avoided being caught for any of the abundant corpses they have created. Pure talent is what keeps them alive and in shiny shoes. Freddy is fast and remorseless, Gino is brutal and thorough. They go and get the job done and leave before the blood stains the carpet.

Rogues’ Gallery #3: “STARRY-EYED” LESTER

Christ knows Lester would do things differently if he could do it all over again.

The misery of his present situation… cigarettes as cash, eating with sporks, counting the days until it is over with a line drawn with an off-white pebble on a his wall… these things, and others much darker, force him to take his thoughts to elsewhere, another time, another place, anywhere but here.

In the black and white 1965 Zenith television of his mind, Lester never did the things they said he did to anybody. At least not permanent, or to anyone that mattered, or to anyone who would talk about it afterwards… and certainly not to that cop’s kid. He’s innocent as the day he was born, when he pissed all over that doctor.

In fact, he is not merely innocent, he’s famous. The star of his own tv show, a household name and idol of the hungry millions. It’s a sitcom, if you must know: Lester is the single father of three precocious children (Gary Coleman, Jaleel White and Emmanuel Lewis), trying to make it all work out in spite of comical hardships, often with the help of a wacky oddball neighbor played by Pat Harrington, Jr. Ted Knight plays the man who lives in the wall with a cat.



Meet the “Deizel Weezel,” or the “Deez” or or “Wheez” or “Easy Deez” or “Deez-eeze” as he is known in his native Keokuck, Iowa. “Deizel Weezel” is actually the nickname he gave himself… for a nickname to stick, generally it must be assigned by one’s peers. Not so with the Deez… he gave it to himself in his Chevy lusting teenage years, before he even owned a car. He is actually usually the only one who refers to himself as “The Deizel Weezel.” This generally occurs upon introducing himself (or certain parts of his anatomy), to a member of the opposite gender… “Meet the Deizel Weezel, baby!” Others who have encountered him unanimously opt for one of the other variants of the handle.

In actuality, the Deez has never owned or driven a diesel-fueled vehicle. However, every vehicle he has owned has been a Chevrolet, and every vehicle he has owned has cost him more per month than his rent.

His resume has included a wide variety of professions… Carnival Worker, Gigolo, Dish Pig, Crank Dealer, Burglar, Newpaper Vending Distributor, Bartender… unfortunately, he has been a complete failure at every career he has ever attempted.

In spite of occupational failure, there is one thing at which he has been a resounding success. The Deez has the single largest collection of mesh shirts in the entire world (although he remains clueless about this fact… the shirts are simply his chosen uniform). Indeed, he only owns one shirt that is not meshed, which he uses for special occassions, such as weddings, funerals and proms (which, although he is 28, he still attends at every opportunity). For such occassions, he has his tromp l’oeil tuxedo t-shirt.

Although some may find this fashion statement unappealing, the Deez has a “passion for fashion.” He is always accutely aware of his appearance and how he presents himself. He once also had a huge collection of different single hoop earrings that he would wear in his pierced ear. He thought this gave him the look of a bold individualist, but an associate informed him that he was wearing it in the “fag ear,” and in spite of his fervent belief that the other ear is the “fag ear,” he nevertheless ceased wearing earrings entirely the next day (after beating his associate bloody, of course). However, the entire collection of single-hoop earrings remains to this day under his bed like a dark, dirty secret (next to his collection of Hustlers).

The earring fiasco had a happy ending, though… as a new off-center accoutrement to highlight his bold persona he has adopted an always-attached black toothpick to his lower lip, which he buys in bulk at Wal-Mart. To his credit, he can make one pick last the entire day, which is no easy feat by any measurement.

Rogues’ Gallery #1: “HONEST” SAM DINSMORE

I’ve decided to start a new feature (or possibly features) to fill in gaps where I don’t have time to do a Soapy strip… the working name for the first new feature is “Rogue’s Gallery,” but I may end up changing it. This should make it so there are less days here where nothing gets posted, of which there have been too many lately. Anyhow, here’s the first one.


Although known as “Honest” Sam, Sam cheats at cards, steals candy from the grocery (jelly nougats) and would claim to like the Beatles when asked even though he finds them boring and overrated, and once smashed his car stereo with a ball-peen hammer in a tequila rage as a reaction to the 26th verse of Hey Jude.

Those days of angry inebriation are behind him now, though… he’s learned to meditate. When he feels his blood begin to rise, he now pictures Abraham Lincoln’s calming visage floating benignly four inches in front of his face. He tried other presidents first… Washington, Jackson, Fillmore… Lincoln seemed too easy… but Lincoln’s mug just harmonizes alpha waves like nobody’s business.

He made the mistake of telling one of his co-workers at the bank about it… thus the inaccurate nom de plume.

He’s fine with it though… it can’t hurt, considering the embezzlement and all. Only one month to go and he’s off to South America for a new life… he imagines that Abraham will be an infrequent visitor as he relaxes on white sand beaches with an alcohol-free pina colada. In the meantime, he’s visualizing Abe levitating in front of his monitor for a minimum of three hours a day, patiently ignoring the spreadsheets, databases and powerpoint presentations that one must endure when pulling a bank job in the early 21st century.