Unmasked

Rayburn rose from the dead and donned his mask. Halloween night! Time to party with his deceased neighbors. Long time no see. He shuffles to the Chambers mausoleum, thinking how ornate it looks compared to the Drakes’ crypt from last year’s bash. The sound of bones clacking discordantly reached his ears as he entered the marble structure. Rayburn immediately recognizes Theodora, even with her mask on, who welcomes him with a request to dance.

The evening wore on with much animation as everyone had been still for so long. Suddenly, someone screeches with alarm. Quiet befalls the group as all eyes turn to Jack O’Lantern, whose mask has somehow slipped off and is dangling from one ear. In all the years they’ve held their annual gathering, they’ve never had such carelessness happen. It was one rule they’ve all agreed to – “Wear a mask and hide the decay; for today is when we can forget we’ve not passed away.” But seeing the slitted nostrils and jagged mouth jolted them to realize such visages of horror also lurk under their own masks.

The Strain trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (a trilogy blurt)


Thanks to fellow blogger Lashaan, I became aware of this book trilogy written by one of the writers/directors I follow – Guillermo del Toro. With the first book published in 2009, The Strain, followed by The Fall, and ending with The Night Eternal, the series echoes what’s happening today in the context of a life-changing pandemic.  However, other than the mention of mask wearing and growing absenteeism in the workplace, that’s where the similarity ends between the present reality and the story. The trilogy takes us through progressively deteriorating apocalyptic conditions with little hope for a cure to a virus that stems from biblical times. As the storyline unfolds throughout the series, we learn more about how vampirism has become mythologized. It’s a horror story full of gore, action, and imagination worthy of a triple read during these Covid times.

The Unbearable Bite of Bossiness

“Better butter my beans.”
“Better butter and pepper my beans.”
“Better butter and pepper my beans and broil my beef.”
“Better butter and pepper my beans, broil my beef, and bring my beverage.”
“Better  butter and pepper my beans, broil my beef, bring my beverage, and burp me.”
“Better butter and pepper my beans, broil my beef, bring my beverage, burp, and bathe me.”
“Better butter and pepper my beans, broil my beef, bring my beverage, burp and bathe me and b .  . . .”

The Escape of El Cheapo

Eyes darting from the restaurant’s kitchen to the exit, Hobart is poised to leave before the server comes back. Timing is essential. So is nickel and diming and penny pinching. He earned the nickname, El Cheapo, for suckering his friends to pay for him until they wised up and dwindled to zero. No loss for him, as he saved time and energy by not having to scour for birthday and holiday gifts through lost and found bins in various places. Right now his goal is to dash out unnoticed. He considers changing his nickname to Dodger. It sounds more adventurous.