"The Likes of Carle and Silverstein" by Kurt Kamin

Categories: ISSUE 04: Eleanor

The Likes of Carle and Silverstein

I’m not a fucking monster. I’m really not. I don’t revel in their tears or torture them or rape them or some other fucked up shit you see on TV. That’s not how I do things, because I’m not some disgusting freak with something to prove to myself or anybody else. And I limit myself, too. I only do it about once a year. No, I should say I only do it once a year. There was a time, before, when I was younger. I did it more then. But I wasn’t a monster then, either; I was just finding my balance, my medium.

As you might have guessed, writing is my medium. I’m really worthless at painting and drawing and all of that new age contemporary bullshit. Hell, I have a hard enough time with poetry. Not that the kind of poetry I may need to write is complicated or anything, but poems with meaning tend to elude me. I’m not creative in the artistic sense. Not for a lack of trying, I’m just not. But I can write. So that’s what I do, I write.

Most people think writing is easy. Those people have never written a book. Those people have never been published. Those people got fucking ‘A’s for their joke of an “effort” in high school creative writing class. I’m not saying I’ve written Dune or the Holy Bible or, I don’t know, some other long book. Joyce. Ulysses. Never written anything like that. Yeah, what I write is much shorter. But it’s still not a fucking cakewalk—it’s like, really, how much is there to write about?

Lucky enough for me, what I write about can be just as shitty and formulaic as I goddamned please. But still, I have my own standards, right? I take pride in my work, and I do what I do well. Really well. I obsess over it, can’t sleep, don’t want to eat, and just do what I need to do until it’s perfect. I’m not a peddler in shit. That would truly make me a monster, to just haphazardly slap shit around on paper and profit from it. Like Pollack. Or Picasso. (I don’t give a flying fuck what you want to say about them and their “skill,” the truth of the matter is that those guys were thieves. Now they knew how to fuck people over righteously. It’s kind of funny how people just eat all of that nonsense up like it’s a… A what? A Botticelli, or a Caravaggio, or a… Fuck, I can only think of dead Italians. Sorry.)

No, I do what I do well. Which is to say I write. But you know, everybody has their own inspiration for writing, or doing anything even mildly creative. I owe a lot, and I mean a lot, to the pioneers of my art. I studied them religiously. But yeah, why I write—my inspiration—isn’t the greats. As to how I write—like what my ritual is (forgive the word choice)—well I guess that’s pretty much tied in with my inspiration. Some people take a shitload of drugs before they can get creative. A lot of people I know get drunk. Hell, I used to get drunk a lot, too, when I was younger; it really does make you more creative. Or, not you necessarily, but you know what I mean... Fuck, rambling again. I’m really a much better writer than I am an orator. Apologies.

So! Inspiration. Rituals. Other bullshit. I get my flow going once a year. Those guys that drink or shoot heroin into their dicks to get creative? They really don’t know how to moderate. It’s sad, actually; they need to do this, all the fucking time, just to get something worthwhile started. Me? As I said: Once a year. That’s it. And I’m not saying I only write one book a year. I write a book every two months or so. So I don’t need to get fat from drinking, or have my dick fall off, or some other nonsense before I can get working. I think of it as a cycle, I guess, like based off of the lunar year. It makes sense that way. Life revolves around the cycle. I respect it. I understand it.

I have big book signings and events for charity about once every three or four months (Yeah, I’m that good). I try to have at least four of these events every year. The energy and the excitement just really gets me going. I love it. I love all of it, the crowds and the smiles and the atmosphere and the electricity of it all. But you know what I like most? Helping people. Maybe it’s just my nature, but helping people or just signing a goddamned book is rewarding as hell. People deserve it. Lots of people go their whole lives miserable, and that’s sad. I don’t believe in that. Or I guess I should say, I don’t believe that should ever be the case. Barring some Buddha reincarnation bullshit, you only live once, right?

So every three or four months I load up my bigass van with bigass boxes of books and go to an event. God, I love it. I love the whole ritual. It’s better than Christmas, it really is. Now here comes the good part! That one inspirational, magical time of year comes around during one of these pre-scheduled events. People line up at the doors before I even get there, chatting and pontificating and just generally getting excited for me to show up. And when I do, I don’t let them down. I sign books, smile, take pictures, the whole nine yards, all for free, and 100% genuine. I’m not a gigantic dickbag like some of my contemporaries (I won’t name names but you know who you are, you rotten bastards). But at one of these events, once a year, I get to make my decision.

It’s easy. Everything is prepared already. Remember that bigass van with the bigass boxes of books? Well, those really are some bigass boxes. Once I make my decision—I’ll get around to that part in a second—I just throw my choice into a box and voila! Ok, ok, let me rephrase that. I don’t just “throw” my choice into a box. I respect my choices too much for that: I gently place them into a box. How do they get there? Bathroom. I provide punch and cookies and all sorts of fun stuff. Lots. Works every time. And the decision making? Now, it goes without saying that I don’t really get to be super choosy. They have to be alone, for one thing, and the timing has to be right, otherwise I’m SOL. But there’s just this thing I feel when I see the one I want—their face is bright and happy, or their body is tense with excitement, or both or something else or fuck all. I love choosing. But yeah, I’ve gotta be honest here and just say outright that I need to pick like, five to be on the safe side—sometimes it just doesn’t go down how it should. Still, the five I choose are easy choices. A guy’s got his preferences, but you know. You’ve got to be flexible.

You’re probably thinking that I’m bullshitting, but honestly, people wander off all the time at these things, more often than you’d imagine. I’m usually gone long before things get too suspicious. I will admit that I have actually (pretended) to help find a choice on two occasions. Other than that, though, it’s smooth sailing. I’m the last person they’d expect, really—I’m a beloved fucking author. The rest of it… God. I’m excited just thinking about it. I take them out to somewhere remote—no, I’m not going to tell you where—and tie them up to a tree. They’re almost always awake by this point, since chloroform doesn’t make you sleep forever, and where I do my signings or charity could be states away. Ok, yes, smart guy, “somewhere remote” could be really anywhere, since my event could have been held really anywhere, but the place isn’t as important as the ritual itself. Suffice it to say I plan it all out ahead of time (and this is why I hate details, because they get me sidetracked).

This is the best part. I tie them up to a tree and take the gag out. Their eyes are usually red, noses runny, what have you. They sometimes scream, but usually they just whimper and beg. I actually hate that part, but hell, it’s ritual. I tell them I’m sorry, but that I need to do this, and I love them more than they could know, and that their family loves them, too, and will miss them very much. But they will go to Heaven and be happy soon, happier in Heaven than here (shut the fuck up, I know you’re probably thinking “You’re a dick ‘cause there is no Heaven and you’re lying and you’re killing them and I’m an agnostic atheist self-righteous cockmonger and there is no God,” but you can’t possibly know that to be true or untrue since you’re not God so shut the fuck up and let me finish).

I tell them they will be missed, and I’m sorry. And then I strangle them. Not with a wire, or a rope; I don’t shoot or stab them either since that shit is weak and removes you from the whole experience. I just use my hands. It’s more personal that way. And I love it. I love the struggle, the tensing muscles, the impotent thrashing of bound limbs and corded bodies. I close my eyes and just feel it, ride it out and let myself take it all in. Slowly, slowly, as their flesh gives in to the pressure of my hands and my fingers sink into their windpipe, they slow down. Eventually they jerk about a bit before they finally pass out, but I don’t let go until I feel their throat collapse. It’s a strange feeling, but you’d definitely know it if you felt it. And you’d probably even like it… Completely unlike anything you’ve ever felt before in your life. It might seem barbaric and sick, but it’s actually quick and relatively painless. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it. I mean, come on now. I’m not a fucking monster. I’m really not. Besides, I hate seeing children suffer. That’s not why I do it.

--Story by Kurt Kamin
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--Background photo by Lisa Guidarini