Caesar Naples Wiki

Self-taught story-teller, Naples was a master of climax. Deep, dreamy, fantastic themes characterize his short stories. In high school, he read short stories voraciously, and upon finishing one would emulate that author's style. Particularly interested in the structure and development of a good story, he focused on creating high-quality work from a very young age.

School

"Class, open your vocabulary notebook. Your assignment is to copy the words written on the board into your notebook and define them. You must use a dictionary. You may line up to get a dictionary from the back wall now."

Small posters hung evenly against the back wall with upper- and lower-case letters printed in blue. A low bookshelf sat beneath the twenty-six letters. However, only one red book lay on the bottom shelf. Brightly stamped in gold, its title read:

The Complete English Dictionary

Mrs. Johnson approached the small, usually full bookshelf. "That book doesn't belong in this classroom!"

The class stood and crowded eagerly around Mrs. Johnson. Jimmy asked, "Where did it come from? And where did all the others go?"

Mrs. Johnson grasped the book from the shelf and said, "I have no idea." She tried to hide her apprehension.

Sue asked, clearly disappointed, "Does this mean we don't get to look up the words?"

Mrs. Johnson sternly approached the board and began to erase what she had written. She said, "No. We won't have enough dictionaries for all of us to use."

"Oh--!" Sue stopped herself, embarrassed. Jimmy suppressed a mocking laugh. "It's just that we usually do vocabulary right now! Can't we all use one dictionary together? Wouldn't you read it out loud, Mrs. Johnson?"

Mrs. Johnson stopped erasing and frowned. "I guess we could, Sue. I'll begin to look up the words."

Sue smiled. The rest of the classed groaned.

"Everyone back to your desk.Get out your pencils." Mrs. Johnson stood facing the class. "The first word on the list is abeyance. A-b-e-y-a-n-c-e. It will be found near the beginning of the book because it begins with the letter a, the first letter in the alphabet." The teacher opened the dictionary.

She blinked. "I just had a moment of perspicacity."

Jimmy awed. "What has elicited such verbosity, Mrs. Johnson?

Sally, in the back, squealed. "How disconcerting!"

Jimmy said, "This presents a haranguing quandary. I exhibit virtuoso rhetorical ability and speak with absolute fidelity. Some grand, cosmic altercation has rendered me totally articulate!"

James nodded. "My consciousness has been dilated by an extreme degree!"

The teacher did not look happy.

Jack, in the very front, shook his head slowly. "By no small increment has my ineptitude emaciated. Is it clairvoyance that persuades me to suggest the dictionary has metaphysical powers? For I deduce that something divine must be playing games with us."

"Shutting the book will circumvent its evil machinations!" Mrs. Johnson snapped the dictionary closed. Silence fell upon the classroom. All eyes were upon the red volume. Mrs. Johnson seemed to cringe before it.

Jack suggested to reopen the book. "We have to!"

Slowly, anxiously, Mrs. Johnson pulled open the cover for the second time. "Alas---the fiasco continues."

"This incident surpasses any daily classroom vicissitudes in its propensity to invoke dysphoria—and curiously, engender a certain feeling of euphoria as well." remarked Jimmy.

James, next to Jimmy, noticed that Mrs. Johnson was upset. "Mrs. Johnson! Is that rancor I discern, enflamed behind those consternating eyes? What ill thoughts cogitate within you? I sense that you abhor an enigma as anomalous as ours. "

Mrs. Johnson growled, "Trepidation creeps, slithers and crawls from the crimson anathema!"

Jack urged her to calm down. "Do you believe the book to be in collusion with demons?"

"Not demons. The book must be a periphery of the Devil himself! I cannot allow my psyche to be debauched by the occult." The volume of her voice rose—she was shouting now, with spittle flying from her mouth onto Jack's desk. "This schism encroaches upon my very rectitude!"

Jimmy stood. "Discontinue your peroration, you geriatric virago."

She slammed the book shut again. "That's it!" The children's heads followed the dictionary from the teacher's hand towards the window and through, downwards out of sight. Jimmy turned accusingly to Mrs. Johnson and bellowed one word. "Knavery!"



Red bull

Another story inspired by energy drinks. We don't know where the girl came from in this piece, and can only trust our instincts when we say that we believe he actually was in a casino when he wrote it. How else would you explain the scattered thoughts? However, he still brings it home in this touching piece.

It started as a cutesy story but I couldn't bring myself to create that kind of mock-up. It would have been a true story, too. I wouldn't have to make anything up but I don't know how to begin. Maybe with the jacket. She gave it to him. Oh, before I forget, I'm writing this from a casino travel plaza and I'm pretty sure that this guy that came up to me was on meth. It's just that it's awfully early to be drinking a F'real milkshake at 5:08 in the morning. Also, he said hi like someone who was stimulated. Maybe he's just gay. I mean, I'm stimulated myself. I drank two red bulls about an hour ago. Not one. Two. They upset my stomach so I'm burping and farting in discomfort.

She gave him the jacket and he always wore it.

Oh God, I think I'm racist now. I think all black people are threatening. I can't believe I'm admitting this. Well, I guess I find white people threatening too, so it's not all bad. But anyway, I didn't used to be racist. It happened last year when I developed a phobia of the Black Panthers, and now I think all black people are somehow connected to them. I feel like someone's going to attack me for being racist.

I hate it when people look like they can read your mind. I think I'm tripping right now.

She was the stimulus of his ongoing transformation. He said, "I'm sorry," but wasn't really apologizing for anything. This is what I'm talking about. And if it wasn't for her New World Order beliefs, he's even be afraid of her. She tempered extreme views with an enlightened perspective. Her actions were extreme, too. For example, right now she was giving him some extreme lovin'.

The red bulls made me super edgy. I'm clenching my teeth and paranoid and I know I wouldn't survive as a meth user like that other guy. I can only assume this sensation is just magnified with meth. That sounds horrible. I think I'm creeping everyone out by sitting here and writing. I look really uncomfortable and I keep burping. Just imagine that coupled with being extremely skinny from meth, or worse, include an angry element to my demeanor, because I've heard that meth makes you angry. Not that I ever got angry when I did it.

I don't know why I talk about meth so much. She didn't do it and neither did he. He wondered if everyone there was being fooled by some rogue deity. The he said he was sorry again.

"Why does that comfort you," she asked.

"What do you mean?"

"You know, you don't have to say you're sorry. I want you to know that it's OK."

"OK." I was really disappointed in the people here. I was like him, I wondered if they were being tricked somehow. I mean, I feel like I'm being tricked somehow, and I'm more intelligent than most of these people. It just seems like they should be more on the defense. And I'm talking about the other people in this gas station that I'm sitting inside, at a table, with all the other chairs upside down and on top of the table, because they mopped earlier. I met someone named Darryl her earlier.

He said, "I just don't want to hurt your feelings."

"Nothing you could say could hurt my feelings unless you said something really mean."

"I wouldn't do that."

I think I need to calm down. It wasn't that he was insecure, he was just down and, well, insecure.

She said, "Look, you've never hurt my feelings before and I don't expect you to start now. You're a respectful man and I know you have the highest regard for me. We're just going to wait in this parking lot for a little while longer and at 6:00 when we're allowed to we'll go in there and buy some beer. Then we'll go home and get wasted at 6 in the morning."

He laughed and it was a tingly, delicate laugh that made his whole body feel better. He was sick, like me. I think they started necking to pass the time but I don't remember too well. I know he was wearing his jacket.



Magic

A Facebook note/story written just 2 months before the election, this one covers both candidates in a fantastic way.

A sad woman can't escape the confines of her hut. Oh, she can leave, but it's not like there aren't more huts outside. She's from Hawaii and she used to know Obama and his third cousin, of course, Romney, although Romney never visited. It was a bungalow really which is a word with such connotations as "bung," "dung," and "low," from a homo-phonic standpoint.

The worst part was how heavy all her clothes were that summer. They were drab, and dull, and full of awful gravity. She couldn't afford new ones. It was sad. She was a sad woman, after all.

Then, a magical man, who may or may not have been Obama's third cousin Romney, in full hipster regalia, arrived and mentioned also that his underwear may be magical. The sad woman wondered, is my underwear not magical? And of course mystery-Romney knew what she was thinking, being magical, and said,

"No, dear. Your underwear is not magical."

And from the sky fell a wardrobe. Not a wooden rickety one, which would have been smashed by the fall. But an entire set of hipster magic attire, like skirts and stockings, and especially underwear, and especially hats, remarkably.

She wondered aloud because she had not realized that Romney could read her mind. She said, "Are these mine?"

And they weren't. They were the Gods'.

"Romney?"

Romney had disappeared, leaving behind a note which was floating to the ground very slowly. The note said,

"May you flip the dimensions with this full set of magic hipster gear,
and may your bungalow not be so bongy, bungy, dungy, and low.
The collars will fill the skies with the reflections of the gods, my dear,
And the pumps will, should I be elected over him, set your walls aglow."



Bio

Experts agree, while this may have been inspired by Caesar Naples' life, it is definitely not a bio. It is fiction. The assignment for a podcast was to create an inspirational piece. Naples' said, "I felt I was out of my element for this one. I was completely focused on recovery, and this happened. I think what made it challenging was the prompt. It's the first piece I've written since high school for a prompt..." And went on to add that the landlord was supposed to be his grandfather.

Not long ago, homelessness was the devil on his shoulder. He felt the devil was real. As real as seraphs or sirens. It was sirens that led him to that place in the past.

He switched his car from manual to automatic transmission because he was already on the highway. It was three hundred and forty-five miles from his home to his destination, most of it on the highway.

He never became homeless, really. If it was not for his parents, he questions whether or not he would have survived.

He had read about schizophrenic people before but never thought twice about it.

"That's not right," he said to himself. "I was intrigued by their disease in high school." He drew a deep sigh. "It's not important."

Remembering, he thought of the time he had been referred to a psychiatrist. The depression therapy sessions had become paranoid investigations into his delusions about cameras and murderers. The therapist finally gave him a card for a bona-fide psychiatrist.

"I can tell from your body language that you don't want to be here," his therapist said. "I regret ending our sessions but I am no longer qualified to help you."

Ending his depression sessions was like putting on a mask he couldn't take off. His psychiatrist was impersonal and cold, prescribing his medications only after intense interviews that filled him with shame. He saw nothing in the rorschatz ink-blot tests that indicated a problem, but they still gave him the feeling that the corpse of his childhood now unquestionably could never be revived. He once found rorsach tests to be interesting. Now he felt like half a man.

It was this, he thought, that characterized his illness. Not forgotten but trampled upon, his innocence and curiosity from youth had been lost.

He saw his psychiatrist once a month for twenty-four months.

Once, his psychiatrist asked, "Have you ever thought of making any friends at church or in your neighborhood?" It was out of form with his new in-and-out sessions.

He responded bitterly. "That's exactly what I need," he said. His psychiatrist told him later that he should avoid spending time with anyone new.

At that time, he identified with homless people in his large metropolitan city. Insane conversations of aliens and CIA plots, fidgety men and women cursing their damned luck. But something he never let go of, in these streetside discussions, was his sense of self-identification. On the highway, he compared himself to the homeless people and found many similarities.

Another time, his psychiatrist asked him what he intended to do with his life.

He said, "What's it to you?" and swore. "Why does everyone ask me what I'm going to do with my life?" He was furious and the doctor upped his medication.

In the clutches of his disease, he did have plans--grandiose plans that only embittered him more as he lacked the faculties to follow through with them.

Throughout this entire period, relationships with his family suffered. Screaming, he told them he was moving out to sell drugs. He could barely remember their reaction; he wasn't looking at them--he was looking at the voices in his head.

But something he did remember very clearly indeed was a conversation with his landlord, months later. It was after he had moved out, and failed to successfully sell drugs as he had planned. He was sitting on his porch, and his landlord was inspecting the windows.

"Am I getting new ones," he asked.

His landlord replied, "Weatherproof, sound-proof, double thick and double paned. The guy's coming saturday."

Alternatively pleased and terrified, he asked "Will I be here when he installs them?"

His landlord put down his tape measurer and looked at him with frustration. "I don't know, will ya?"

Something happened. Something happened inside his head. The delusions, the false thoughts and rapid, impressive hallucinations suddenly were in his landlord's voice where he could examine them more clearly. His landlord's face reminded him of his youth, reminded him of the personality that had been transformed over the past year and a half and longer. He saw a glimmer of he former faculties in his landlord's features.

"I guess I will be..." he said, voice trailing.

Solidarity. Continuity. These were his new ideas, two things he had forgotten about.

His landlord said," I'm using your deposit to pay for em. Should block out the noise."

And he remembered thinking, the noise IS very bothersome.

He was on the highway still, almost to his destination. He said to himself, "It was his body language, that's what helped me. Rationality. Presence. And it was an out-there question, after all."

Arriving in town, he flipped back to manual and galloped down the streets at a determined pace. He was a skilled driver. And, after buying the car, it was a challenge to stay under the limit.

He felt like he was floating as he entered the office. A familiar voice greeted him, then his depression therapist said quiety, "I can tell from your body language that you want to be here."

And twenty-four months slipped from his memory.



Leatherworking

What can only be described as a magical piece, Caesar Naples hints at Eastern psychedelia, Western gaming and technology addictions, and the burden of nightmares. Written during a psychotic time in his life, he was not incapable of pumping out haunting fiction.

I woke up and sucked the life out of two cigarettes before stepping into my living room. Windows, couches, television.

I checked the paper on my electronic book reader. New York Times, every word of it tearing out my eyes. I try to read the yogi book, reflect on its insistent, almost commanding tone, the tone of a spiritual icon hidden from Western life trying desperately to confirm his faith to millions. I cough. That's me.

And it really is me, in a way, though the Times claws at my faith like nothing, not even my current situation, and the only place I'm a real "icon" is to my guild-members, cybernetically dreaming in polygons of elves and warlords, that new type of imagination that taxes the lingual skills almost like turning your brain into lines of talking code.

My house isn't alive like it used to be, waking me up, talking to me, asking me to settle down and enjoy tea, look outside and think about the neighbors. Now its dead and I'm left with this technological feeling like I'm being scanned, or remembered posthumously in a catalogue. Its all because of this new world-view I had adopted, determining the brain of God must be the ultimate processor, rendering every atom for me like my new graphics card. I push the button on my PC. I expect the usual shift in energy of the objects around me but get nothing. I'm lying in the bottom of an empty hole. My nightmare.

Logging in, I think about how I no longer log-in to my daily world. I've learned to skip the procedure and watch reality warp in respect to how out-of-touch I am. The mail arriving without me registering what time it is. Television talking to somebody else in the room. He pushes his finger under his lip to suck on the joy of my daily living.

I think, somebody must be reading this. Somebody must be reading my mind.

Jennifer arrives. She brings with her a materialized golden Indian palace all bejeweled in our minds. Solid as the house I rent. She's been reading the same yogi book which claims you can do such things with the simple human brain. We've mastered it.

"Catch the Times?"

"Caught the Times."

Everything is forgotten as we choke down a mutual feeling of real pleasure then she disconnects and I'm left back with these shards of humdrumness in my stomach.

If every atom in the universe is in God's mind then what happens when God takes his dog out for a walk (I almost feint)? I ask her that question in a different form. "Have you logged in today?"

Of course she has, its already eleven am. She watches me log in typing my password and waiting for the update. She sighs. "Why did we ever even start this?" She's talking about our role-playing guild.

"I don't know. Do you want to stop?"

She closes her eyes. "Yes." It's like the breath of a prayer. The guild is taking a drain on both of us.

"We can't stop. We've invested too much time. We couldn't stop if we wanted to. I've forgotten how to cook a real dinner."

She starts crying. "I had a dream last night."

"Don't tell me about it. I had a dream too." I have dreams every night.



Strip

A more "chill" piece, as the youngsters would say. This describes a character who enjoys painting. Naples loved to paint, as well. We can't help but wonder if this story was meant to be continued. Naples' drastic egotism is on full display in this one. He is both characters. He is the old couple walking by. He is the ones who look homeless. He is this and more. He is Caesar Naples.

He was walking down the strip and saw neon signs sort of combining with the car headlights. He saw it with a painter's vision, but he wondered if the paints would mix on the canvas and become smudgy. He sighed. Some things just weren't replicable.

The businesses were lively this time of night, the restaurants and bars, some with neon lights or something like neon lights glowing from inside, with people bustling in and out, forming into lines outside the clubs, with big doormen allowing access one by one. Party busses were traveling down the roads, and he remembered that he used to think they were full of people trapped by their own drunkeness, balls of energy, filling club after club or bar after bar with their zombie-like fear and delinquency, an urban nightmare of sorts where, he used to imagine, people got picked up and taken away never to be seen again, forgotten by their friends, and killed in the most sarcastic of ways by the rulers of the strip. But he realized now that that fantasy wasn't real, and these people were there by choice, and most would go home safely. That is if they weren't arrested, in which instance his fantasy still kind of made sense.

He saw two people that with all fairness weren't homeless but looked homeless anyway, more delinquents, sitting next to each other in heavy coats, a picture of renaissance poverty, and he wondered if he could capture the weight of their demeanor in a painting. Maybe if it were daytime. A night scene would suggest they were hiding something fun, and he thought there wasn't much they could hide sitting on the sidewalk like that, chainsmoking like little demons. They were talking to each other in a certain city-trash dialect that honestly scared him with its suggestion of ignorance and infantility.

He turned to enter the parking lot where his roommate was waiting for him in his slick black car; with working air conditioning and a cd changer system, leather seats and tinted windows, utterly clean and polished.

They didn't speak, his roommate just quietly zoomed onto the street, those lights and headlights still combining in his vision but from behind the tint of the windshield, and he thought that the scene might be easier to paint from behind the tint.

"I have to stop," his roommate said.

He didn't really need to reply but he said. "Do you think green goes well with dark shades of blue?"

"What shade of green?"

"Apple."

"Are you designing a dinner plate?" His roommate was all but disinterested.

"Yes. I'm going to eat these people I saw for dinner. I'm designing a new ceramic for it." It was sarcasm. His roommate always made him sarcastic.

"Why do you even try to paint? It's not your thing."

That was true. But he loved sitting down and working with color, choosing a palette. He learned composition from photography, which wasn't his thing either, and could form shapes into beautiful depictions of faces or trees. It was a messy art though, and he alway had to change clothes before starting. He actually had framed two of his paintings and put them in the kitchen of their apartment, a wine glass and the back of someone's head, two things he saw a lot of at his job in the restaurant.

"Look, we're different from these people. We have talent. We have vision. If we didn't focus our time on improving the things we're best at, we'll never become virtuosos." His roommate talked about virtuosos a lot. They were still downtown so the streets really were full of people. "Do you see those two?" It was a middle aged couple on the passenger side. "They spent their lives in the doldrums. Inspiration for them is having the idea to take a shit. Do you know how little they've seen in their lives? How little they have learned? They look like they went to college. They look like they have nice jobs. But think of where they begin and where they end. It's two distinctly average points."

He said, "I hope you're joking about becoming a virtuoso," and they pulled into the downtown convenience store.

"No. I have to get cigarettes."

"That's distinctly average." But he smoked too.



Monster Energy

Inspired by his gay roommate, this story is an allegory of the hypersexuality of drug users.

Weeks upon horseback ended here. He stood before the legendary lake, heavy boots sinking into the silver mud shore. Craggled mud-clay dunes shaped the surrounding the landscape. A quiet wind chilled his skin.

The face of the lake was stiller than he had imagined from the stories of the mysterious traveler who had first describe this legendary lake to him. The man, who appeared at the tavern one evening, had quietly mentioned a place where he had once been and gave away a map leading there.

He retrieved from his dry saddlebag the piece of soft parchment. Its edges were frayed from travel--this leaf had seen many hands and many more miles. Markings of lead pencil forming a basic map upon it had been smudged almost to indiscernability. The mysterious traveler had given him this page, insisting that he himself did not have enough strength left to ever return, but with a promise that any adventurer willing to make the long journey would be rewarded in unimaginable ways.

He was not checking his bearings, as he had checked countless times during his journey. He squinted, and his rough voice recited the incantation scratched above the map:

"Awaken Monsters, Caffeine kings,

I need a booster--give me wings."

That was all that was written. He lifted his eyes from the page and to the glassy surface of the legendary lake. Nothing.

Then the wind shifted almost imperceptibly. Now, a stronger gust blew into his face from the lake. The gale was warm and broad, causing pebbles to roll up along the shore. His hand rose to protect his eyes from the lifting dust. Invigorated waters jostled tumultuously; crashing downwards and upwards, twisting, misting. Tall, roaring waves began to form and rise up the shoreline towards him, fall, then blast up again, higher, pushed by the bizarre wind. Chill sharp wetness bit his face as a wall of water crashed upon him. A crescendo of deafening noise filled his ears and he cried out as the wave washed his body to the hard ground.

Silence. Flat on his back, he could feel the water retreating; hear the sound of it peacefully flowing back into the legendary lake. The wind was again quiet and cold.

Soggily he arose. He still gripped the parchment in his hand. Dunes had been flattened; big stones scattered about. Wood had been ripped from trees on the opposite shore and accumulated in dense piles around him. With sudden alarm, he searched for his horse. Gone. Spooked, perhaps--or lifted to the sky, blown away? Thick remorse enveloped him. Though a beast, the horse had been a steadfast companion to him during the many trials of travel.

As he scanned the area for signs of his beloved horse, he noticed something odd about nearby boulder. The boulder, not too far off between him and the shore, had been one of the dunes. The powerful gale had washed away the mud to uncover this huge stone. Although the boulder was itself unremarkable, what sat atop it struck him as very strange. Something shiny; blue. Cylindrical. Fully intrigued and with mounting excitement, he navigated around debris towards the bright object that winked at him in the sun, remembering the mysterious travelers promise of great rewards.

When he reached the object, he bent and brought his face very close. Tiny letters spelled foreign words: "Nutrition Facts," "Please Recycle," and a long list of incomprehensible ingredients. The largest words appeared in a menacing text on the very front:

Monster Energy

A noise. Pop. Fizz. The top of the cylinder had, by some unseen force, snapped open. Thrilled, he reached for the blue object and marveled at its temperature. Ice cold. He tried to bring the hole up to his eye for a close look but a light blue liquid splashed out onto him when he tipped it. Cursing himself, he straightened it and peered in from above. More blue liquid sloshed around inside.

Should he cleanse his body with the gift? He put the cylinder to his nose and sniffed curiously. Fruity. Perhaps this was a potion of some kind? Yes, that would make sense--given the magical nature of recent events, it seemed appropriate that he would be given a potion. Cautiously, taking care not to spill any more, he tasted the liquid. The flavor was not repulsive. He swallowed bigger and bigger gulps, slurping the contents until finally the cylinder was empty. He belched.

Beside this legendary lake anxiously awaiting something--anything--to happen, a new sensation settled within him: a stomach ache. Groaning, he clutched his middle region and harbored resentful thoughts towards that mysterious traveler who had directed him on this journey, so ill-fated that he had both lost his horse and become rather sick, alone and far from any doctor.

Pacing--brooding--before the boulder with his supposed reward tossed carelessly to the mud, he was struck with the awareness that his heart was thudding loudly against his chest. And his breathing was different--he drew great gulps of air, more quickly and deeply, as if he had run a great distance. When a facial muscle began to twitch rhythmically just above his cheek bone he thought that perhaps the drink was magic after all and would begin to work soon, after this short attack of strange side-effects. The muscle on his cheek then smoothed and ceased to flutter, but, gasping still, he became hot suddenly. A drop of sweat marched down his forehead.

Panic clenched him when muscles all across his skeleton were seized by great, shuddering spasms. A violent convulsion toppled his body. He writhed upon the ground, blood-pulse beating too brutally against his skull to hear his own shrieks; lungs near bursting, face contorting as extreme nervous malfunctions warped his features into gruesome expressions--inhuman, monstrous. His curled fingers dug into the mud. Grey sky oppressed him, clouds assuming forms that jeered at him, guffawing with the wind. The legendary lake, like a flat, oblong eye seemed to peer downwards at him--silent and amused.

Then, as if his tormentor had been satisfied, the convulsions reduced by degrees. He sensed the energies which had animated and overwhelmed him internalize within his flesh, become part of him--a fire digested in his blood. He arose with an ease that surprised him. Arteries pulsed and sizzled beneath his skin like lightning coils. In his head, the violent toll of his heart had been replaced by his own thoughts. His consciousness had grown loud, huge, towering, filling the broad sky. A spectrum of bare emotions vibrated within him now--and he had not only gained an immense intellect, but an influence upon the outer world as well: the dark clouds swirled no longer by the forces of nature but at the beckoning of his own foreboding desire. His breath was the cold wind. His thoughts were the toppling clouds.

He exercised his newfound powers by materializing an image of his former self upon the moist mud in front of him. Sharp disgust pushed nauseatingly upwards like vomit; disgust which like an animal he expurged with an atmosphere-shattering, roar. In a vision from the ancient past, he remembered how he had slowly made this journey upon horseback. What had he been seeking? He hadn't even known then, hadn't any clue; had followed his intuition unquestioningly with the mysterious traveler's promise dangling like a carrot before his stupid face.

And at what a slothly pace he had progressed, inch by inch along the stretching roads, entertained only by that dull horse! He would have the power now to make the trip in two great leaps--if he wished to return home--but he flinched at the memory of that abysmally drab house and his vapid wife, and her filthy children and the pale grass, and those thin clothes and his meritless job (tending the horses on his boss's farm) and his limp voice, and his lame grip and his shallow breath and his defeated acquiescence. . .

He knew he was no longer that man. His core self was the same--his ego remained intact, in fact magnified--but that insipid flesh which so limited him before had been transmogrified into an indefatigable muscle without inhibition; a wild horse without doubts or fears or weakness. And yet this couldn't be the reward that the mysterious traveler had promised. What he yearned for before, he still yearned for now. Although capable of anything, he yet remained with nothing to satisfy him. Acute rage combusted within him and he lunged wildly at the materialized image of himself; its clone face mocking surprise, it shortly dissolved leaving him alone again before the legendary lake.

When he perceived a muted neigh, the hanging clouds began to ripple weirdly. His heightened senses could actually detect the odor of the mare's dank sweat. He noticed the deep hoof-tracks leading away from the water and scoffed at the ineptitude of his former self. By following the impressions to the crest of a hill he could then see the fretting animal near a thick, solitary tree not far away.

He felt compelled to approach the horse. There was no need to ride it, and he was not in the mood for companionship, but something about the sound, the sight, the smell of this horse made him flush. His heart thudded once more; his palms moistened. The heat from the horses body radiated to him, and he was drawn to the flesh. He brought a hand forward to touch the fur, and in the instant he touched it, he gasped. Every follicle made his skin tingle with a pleasant sensation; the smooth texture was sublime. He walked around to the end of the mare, hand gliding along the curves of the mares body, and when he stood behind it with heavy breath, pangs of longing made it difficult to not caress the hind legs with both hands. The clouds were havoc.

Shirt ripped off, he was unable to resist the urge to press his full body up against the animal, the flesh so warm and wet. The horse tried to step away, but he gripped its rear, holding it forcefully down. Wildly, he pulled his leather pants down and pushed his erection into the animal. The animal struggled, whinnied and it attempted to pull away, but he used all his strength to keep it in place. He began to thrust deeply into the animal, with growing force, pleasure-waves coursing from his groin to his entire body. The satisfaction was overwhelming when he pushed his fingers into its anus. As he plunged his entire fist deep into its rectum, the mares hind legs tried to kick--but his forcible grip caused its knees to snap. He neighed.

"This is my reward!"

He achieved orgasm. And the clouds were limp.



Mendax

A poetic piece, Naples began to write this in Bethany's public library. Pay attention to his vocabulary. A master!

He dwells inside the moistened candle-lit basement beneath his mother's bedroom. Thick black ink drips from his quill onto damp parchment like hot tar poured upon bleached flesh. His heavy printed runes run straight and evena text comprehensible only by himself and few others. Slowly he writes, speaking aloud with hissing consonantshollowed vowels.

"My dearest love Mera,

May you never so drearily decompose. My limbs loosen and my mind liquefies inside this inhuman hive. Still alive, yesI have managed to survive. But the worms appear less often than before and some days not even one will crawl onto my yellow dinner plate. Now so emaciated and anemic, my meals appear not like earthworms but as tendrils, insipid; as if plucked from some ripening cave-bound corpse.

Winter approaches and as the food thins, so do I thin. You would recognize me, but who else? Perhaps Mother, were she to ever free mefor now that I am enfeebled, I have become nearly identical to my memory of her. Though unknowingly, she glances upon my own haggard face at her every reflection. The witch would loath me all the more for that!

Eternally yours,

Mendax"

A cold breath sets the ink. Mendax mutters a final soft incantation and hangs the page between two fingers above his candle flame. Fiery blue tongues consume the message in an instant. After a disappointed glance around his cave to check for recently emerged worms, his head falls dully to the wooden desktop. The quiet wheeze of his atrophied lungs grows softer as drowsiness overcomes him.

* * *

"Mendax, awaken."

His eyes snap open and he turns, raving, to pronounce a spell with hands clawing the air before him.

"Stop" and he stops mid-syllable. "Sit" and he sits stiffly cross-legged on the cold ground. "Your mother has missed you, Mendax. You should greet her with love and affection, not thin curses to set her ablaze."

Furious rage; his eyes smolder and yet he remains still, unable to combust--frozen by his mother's gripping magic.

"Ah, amusing--you still exhibit no control over your primal emotions. I birthed a wild beast!" The grin is dark like cheated death. "Tell me, is your mother beautiful? Go ahead, I'll allow you to speak this once."

By a foreign volition his voice activates. "You are more beautiful even than the wild moon, Mother." Silent horror reverberates inside his head. Her high laughter is nauseating.

"How you flatter me, my charming boy. Perhaps you wonder why I have come to visit you this glorious day, after two years of your solitary confinement? It was love that brought me here, mostly--and to tell you the wonderful news. I have finally met young Mera: stunning, absolutely stunning young woman. Do you know, she attempted the very same curse that you did just now when she saw me herself? It seems you told her of my weakness to fire, in those long hours you spent studying the arcane with her. Darling son, I forgive you, I forgive youit's all behind us. We can devote all our love to each other now, as it should be; as it always should have been. Do you want me to tell you what I did to your Mera, Mendax? Do you want to know how she screamed when I pulled her eyes out of both orbits with a single word? And how pitifully she did scream, Mendax; how pitiful and weak she was." She turns her back to him, and lifts her arm to open the door atop the staircase which led to her bedroom. Blinding light shines through the threshold, silhouetted by a girl's figure.

Mera! He strains with all his will against the forces tying him down; struggles with all his love to stand and run up to her. Shrill crow laughter smothers him. He can only watch as the figure sways alarmingly, and then topples forward down the staircase. Brutal thuds sound as skull and limbs crash down each step. Billowing in the wake of the body, hundreds of pages float downwards--Mendax's letters. Only when her body finally reaches the bottom of the staircase does his mother free him from bondage.

In an instant, he reaches Mera and kneels to hold her soft body, brushing off the scattered pages, hoping that life still could exist, even dimly, within her. He turns his lover over to see

"Mendax! I stole her face, Mendaxall her beauty, mine!" Hysterical cackles echo around him. Too mortified to even summon the words for a spell, he turns to his mother and looks upon a new face: a face with youthful, vibrant cheeks and full lips and crystalline clear eyes--a face he had yearned for each day spent alone in this basement--Mera's face. He returns again to the cold corpse in his arms, and sees an unrecognizable visage: red, gory muscles glistening where supple white skin once had been; horrifying jagged cuts made under her chin, around her jaw, all the way up to hollow eye sockets.

"Beloved son, I ask a favor before I depart. You are looking rather thin lately. It would comfort your mother for you to eat that girl's corpse, before it begins to rot. The flesh should provide more than satisfactory sustenance for several days." One final shriek of laughter. "And I worry so for your health that if you don't do it soon, I would simply force you to eat her myself!" She disappears. The basement door slams shut above him, locked by his mother's icy magic. Mendax weeps, trapped below his mother's bedroom once more.

Then both eyes fall upon Mera.