The Filthy Marauders by Bob Freville

The Filthy Marauders are heading down to Delacroix for fun and debauchery. They’re looking for the sort of antics the filthiest and most depraved motorcycle club in existence would be seeking out because that’s precisely what The Filthy Marauders are.
As Spunk leads the rest of his crew down the highway, he’s excited about the annual Hilljack Games in Durr City, but when they arrive, the city is unnervingly empty and silent. Something is off, but nothing could prepare them for their run-in with The Cunty Scoundrels or the discovery that they’d attended the Hilljack Games the year before. Not only had they been too wasted to remember it, but they hadn’t made any friends in the process.
The Hilljack Games aren’t in the cards for Spunk and the other Filthy Marauders this year. On this trip to Delacroix, they’ll need to survive The Dirty Rooster Fuck-Off!
Easy Rider meets Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas as Bob Freville takes his readers on a ride they’ll never forget. Prepare for absurdity, violence that approaches the cartoonishly pornographic, and the most thrillingly horrific set of challenges ever met by man or beast.
Delacroix County is Freville’s answer to Burroughs’ Interzone, a place where anything can happen, and one never knows who to trust…or what they might be ingesting.
The two additional stories Freville includes are no less perverse than our main course, though unrelated to the trials and tribulations of The Filthy Marauders.
Stuffing tells us the story of the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner. As Cooter and Nana find that revenge is a dish best served hot and sloppy, the orphanage will never be the same again.
Of course, The Pink Sock probably needs little introduction. Savannah lives in a world where everyone aspires to be the biggest slut, but she can’t bring herself to tolerate a certain fluid. All seems hopeless until Savannah discovers a hidden talent.

This title will be released March 17th, 2022.

Woom by Duncan Ralston

Duncan Ralston’s Woom is a masterpiece of an anthology tale with the most seamlessly incorporated framing story I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It’s like Campfire Tales if that movie had been X-rated and situated in a run-down, no-tell motel room. While Woom works as a single, longer-form piece of literature, it’s also a series of vignettes that flows together surprisingly well. As Angel and Shyla share their respective stories, the content becomes progressively more unsettling and vile. That shouldn’t bother you, though. It’s what you checked in for, after all.
When Angel checked in to Room 6 at The Lonely Motel and requested a big girl from the escort service, he expected disappointment. It’s what he’d experienced previously, both in life and in his previous attempts to find the right woman for the objective he has in mind. When Shyla arrives at the door, it seems like Angel might have found just the woman he’s been looking for. As the night progresses, and he opens up to her as she opens up for him, it becomes increasingly likely that Shyla will be uniquely suited to provide Angel with what he needs.
Mental illness, childhood and adult trauma, sexual fetishes, graphic violence, and a desperate need for redemption and rebirth swirl together into a perversely entertaining book. Woom is a story that dares the reader to continue reading, the whole time knowing that things are only going to get worse but that the way out is through.
What follows might be a spoiler, but I’m not sure I’d consider it one. While it’s obvious from the outset that Angel was telling stories from his own life, I don’t think that was meant to be a surprise to the reader, so I feel comfortable commenting on that without worrying that it’s too much of a spoiler. I suspect Shayla might have been the only person taken aback by that revelation. She wasn’t the brightest character, after all.

Unbortion by Rowland Bercy Jr.

Unbortion begins with a trigger warning sensitive readers will be remiss to ignore. What follows that warning is a description of a late second-trimester surgical abortion procedure, including vacuum aspiration. Skipping past that scene will not spare the reader much, but it will potentially relieve them from the depiction that might be a specific trigger.
From there, Rowland Bercy Jr. takes the reader on a most peculiar and revolting adventure as the discarded and dismantled fetus, tethered by loose nerve fibers, drags itself through the city in search of the host who rejected it. Initially mistaken for spaghetti by a homeless man digging through a dumpster, our vengeance-seeking fetus attempts to take up residence in the man’s abdominal cavity, only to discover it’s an inhospitable place before forcing its way through his rectum and continuing its journey. It gets weirder from there.
In the end–despite the revolting details and the absurdity of the concept–Unbortion is a tale of rash decisions made out of fear, the unbreakable bond between a mother and her child, and forgiveness.
The anti-abortion sentiments underpinning the narrative made me think that Rowland has missed an opportunity by not pushing this book on the most vocal and ardent members of the anti-abortion crowd. For all of its extreme horror elements, I can’t help but suspect that he could manage to find a ready and willing audience for this book in a subsection of that demographic. I could even imagine a world wherein some of those people would push to have copies of Unbortion sitting in the waiting rooms and lobbies of places where abortions are conducted, in an attempt to change the minds of those intending to undergo such procedures. I’m only half-joking about that because he could be sitting on a virtual gold mine there.
While I’m not in the anti-abortion camp myself, that doesn’t make this any less enjoyable or the underlying message any less poignant.

Effucuss by Tim Eagle

In the third installment of the Vasectomus Trilogy, Tim Eagle brings us back around to Charles Effucuss, the former courier who supplied Sabre with the fluids he required for his parasitic children.
While “Chuckles” was a bit player in the original story, Effucuss fleshes him out in detail. From the moment he begins buying drugs from Sabre, the small-town dynamic of Stevats begins to feel like a force of destiny. Coincidences and happenstance proliferate his everyday life, propelling the young man on a collision course that will take him from isolation and sexism, through the shattered remains of Sue and Sabre’s doomed marriage, to a peculiar sort of fatherhood.
The bizarro and body horror elements from Vasectomus are back in full force in this conclusion to the trilogy. As Eagle takes the components he introduced and amplifies them for this final tale, we’re left wondering how and why all of these events came to pass. But perhaps it’s best not to question these things.

Effucuss was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for October of 2021. You can find this story for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:

The Substrate Of My Beliefs

I like to think that most of my decisions in politics and life are informed by defensible positions and beliefs.

I believe that LGBTQ people are, first and foremost, well…people. I believe that the love between two people is fundamentally no different, regardless of the sexual organs and gender expression. I’m not always great with using the right words, but I also grew up when referring to friends as “gay” as a term of endearment was commonplace. I still try to get things right, most of the time.
I believe that there is literally mountains of scientific and sociological data supporting the argument that gender is a sociological construct that varies dramatically from culture to culture and that the biological/chromosomal nature of “sex” is nowhere near the binary thing a lot of people cling to out of stubborn resistance to waking up and embracing new knowledge that transforms our earlier assumptions. I like the use of binary in those terms, though…because 1 and 0 could be seen as phallic and vaginal, respectively.
I believe that Black People and other minority groups are arrested, incarcerated, and killed at an improportionate rate because of a series of systems that are geared for inequity and inequality. In other words, I do believe that systemic racism is a very real, life threatening issue in America.
I believe that women are no less capable and valuable within our society, and that there are numerous hurdles and double-standards in place that make things more challenging for women than for men in almost every arena that matters.
I disagree with regime-changing conflicts that aren’t specifically and intentionally for the purpose of mitigating actual human suffering and torture.
I believe that we already spend altogether too much on military and defense, and that we could easily scale things back and do a better job of repairing failing infrastructure at home.
I believe that, aside from the indigenous people, every single person here in America is here because of immigration over less than a thousand years…and that we don’t get to simply say, “no more immigrants,” because they aren’t the right color of skin or believers in the right form of superstition. Most of our ancestors came here with little to nothing, but the dream of a different life. There have always been a small number of bad people who slip through, but the majority of immigrants all along have simply been people who want better for themselves and their loved ones.

I have plenty of other beliefs that are more debatable and more a matter of my personal outlook on things…but the ones I laid out here are the core of what I base my judgments upon.

As to my less concrete beliefs and influencing perspectives:

My views on climate change (I do believe we have had a negative impact that we can–and should–work to remedy) are open to disagreement. I’m no fucking climate scientist, but I’m inclined to trust those who are.

My pro-choice perspective is one based on the fact that it is not up to me to impose my own morality onto others or to have them impose their morality onto me. Additionally, the thought experiment is a solid one. If a fertility clinic were about to explode and I could either save a five-year-old child or a tank containing hundreds of viable, frozen, embryos…I would choose the child 10 times out of 10…unless they were particularly annoying. That, to me, showcases a very real distinction between which is a child and which is not.

I believe healthcare is a right and that no one should go bankrupt or have their lives destroyed because of the skyrocketing costs of healthcare in America.

That list could go on and on…but I would change those assumptions if I were supplied with logically consistent, rational, and well-informed arguments to the contrary.
The ones in the main post…those aren’t going to be changing.

Part Thirty-Four: The Hard Choices

Those who know me are well aware of the fact that I am of the pro-choice camp where politics are concerned, because I don’t feel that I (or any uninvolved party) have the right to impose a subjective moral choice in someone else’s life. Those who know me a little bit better are similarly aware that I lean towards a pro-life philosophical stance as far as my own life is concerned. Philosophy, however, has little relevance when real life comes into play a great deal of the time.

Once upon a time I met a spectacular woman and almost immediately knew that I wanted to pursue a relationship with her…strangely enough, she was similarly afflicted where I was concerned. It was less than a month into this relationship, and one of the first times that we had been intimate, when an accident happened with the birth control this woman was using and we just seemed to have the sort of awful timing that led to conception with that one slip up. It was a short while later before we discovered that she had gotten pregnant, having had no reason to suspect that it was even a remote possibility until she began displaying some of the symptoms associated with the early stages of pregnancy. Both of us already had children of our own and we were at points in our respective lives where neither of us was prepared to be bringing a new life into the world, financially or psychologically…so neither of us exactly relished this startling discovery.

My first question, not knowing precisely when the conception took place at first, was to ask if the baby was going to be mine. It may seem like a rude inquiry, but I didn’t know what her sexual activity had been like up until we had gotten together, and I hadn’t requested those specific details. It wasn’t that I was considering washing my hands of the situation no matter what he answer happened to be, that thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I really liked this woman and I wasn’t eager to jump overboard just because some other guy may have accidentally gotten her pregnant, it wasn’t like we both didn’t already have children from different partners, so the principle was essentially the same.

The timing worked out that the baby was mine though, as you might be able to predict.

We talked about the situation quite a bit, and she felt that abortion was the only viable solution since going through the pregnancy and having another child (at that time specifically) would essentially derail everything she was working towards in her life. She had a lot going for her, just on the horizon, and she was putting a great deal of effort into improving her life and the lives of her children; this was one of the things that attracted me to her, one of the things that I admired about her.

I tried to work out ways that we might be able to avoid going through with that particular decision, because I knew that she didn’t want to go through with any abortion any more than I did, but every attempt to figure out an alternate solution led to the same grim outcome…that she would be stuck losing a great deal of the progress that she’d made towards the better future she deserved. I had no choice but to concur with her assessment of our options, though I didn’t stop trying to brainstorm some other way up until it was no longer a possibility.

There was no question that she didn’t want to do it though, so don’t you dare judge her, the whole idea itself was painful to her and all I could really do was let her know that she had my support and that I was there beside her either way.

If she had chosen to keep the child we would have figured something out, as difficult as it might have been, I’m sure…as challenging as it surely would have been, we could have worked through it, because (at least for me) what we had was worth the strain. The choice was ultimately hers to make after all discussion had been completed and the options were weighed, and she made the difficult choice to terminate the pregnancy.

She scheduled the appointment with Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls (a few hours away) and I set aside money in order to assist her with the cost of the procedure. The scheduling wasn’t optimum and it conflicted with my work schedule, being an overnight trip…and it was like pulling teeth for me to get any time off work, which meant that I was going to be unable to accompany her. It turns out that, to this day, that it can be said that I do have two regrets (regardless of my bluster about not regretting anything); not working harder to find a way that I could be there with her during that trip to Sioux Falls is one of them, the other is that I didn’t find a better solution for us so that she wouldn’t have to go through with that.

Thankfully she had a close friend who was both willing and able to be there with her, and he took the trip with her in my place. I was grateful that she didn’t have to be there alone, because she shouldn’t have had to go through it by herself. It broke my heart not being there anyhow, especially when she told me about the counseling that took place before the procedure itself. I should have been beside her when she was forced to read about the development of her fetus and where it was at this point. I should have been there next to her when they asked her if she wanted to see the ultrasound video, which she couldn’t bring herself to watch (and I don’t blame her).

After it was all said and done, we never really sat down and talked about it. We never took the time to mourn together or really process what had happened. Maybe it would have made no difference if we had tried, as we each mourned our decision separately in our own ways, but it seems to me, looking back, that some good may have come of us doing so.

I didn’t make it easy for her to talk to me though, my coping mechanisms are off-putting at the best of times, but they can be devastating during times of extreme emotional fragility (which, thankfully doesn’t occur often). I wrap myself up in thoroughly inappropriate humor or flat affect detachment when working through difficult quandaries and the like; sometimes fluctuating between the two with seemingly no warning…and this was one of those occasions.

Maybe if she had been a part of my life longer than she had, she would have been accustomed to that trait enough to see it for what it was…but, as it stood, it simply pissed her off and made her feel like she was alone in coping with the loss we had sustained. If only I had developed better habits when dealing with unpleasant things, that whole situation could have turned out better.

There are people who bounce back just fine from something like an abortion, there are even people who can be casual and dismissive about it, but we were not two of those people…and scars still remain to this day.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later that she told me that she blamed me for the whole thing. She knew, logically and rationally, that it wasn’t my fault…that, if anything, her error with birth control was the proximate cause of what happened. But what she knew and what she felt were two very different things. She knew that it made no sense to resent me like she did for what happened, both the unexpected pregnancy and the following termination…but that didn’t stop her from resenting me just the same. That undercurrent of animosity wasn’t made any better thanks to my inability to take the trip with her and be supportive in that respect as well.

There are a number of questions and possibilities that I have mulled over since then, little ways that I wonder if things might have been made at least somewhat better. Maybe if I had less jarring coping mechanisms or maybe if I had been able to be with her as a shoulder to lean on before and after the procedure…or even if we had communicated better with one another openly and honestly after the abortion, we could have mitigated some of that resentment and animosity. I never hated her for what happened, but she was the one who actively had to bear the burden of both the choice and going through the actual process involved, and I honestly can’t imagine what that had to be like for her. She tried to appear stoic and undisturbed, but I knew that it was a façade and I avoided probing at it because I thought that she needed that appearance of stability to keep from falling apart.

Even now I wish that there was something I could have done differently, because maybe things would have been better between us if that had been the case…but nothing can ever be done to repair the mistakes of the past, and we have to go on living with the repercussions no matter how painful they might be.

I may be pro-choice still, but I will never pretend that abortion is something that should be decided upon without very serious consideration. It takes a toll on the parties involved, at least it did for the two of us…and maybe that toll was just too much to bear on its own, even without the additional factors involved like my stupid, ill-advised reactions, it certainly seems like the price of that decision we approached together was much higher than either of us was properly equipped to pay.

Here We Go Again! Another Semi-Religious Discussion Transpires

It happens again, my “friend” from the earlier religious discussions lets loose with something that I found impossible not to address. In this case, he posted the statement, “If a single living cell was found on a distant planet, scientists would exclaim that we have found life elsewhere in the universe. So why is a single living cell found in the womb of a pregnant woman not considered life?” I’m loath to even refer to that as a specious contention.

Upon seeing this, I reply by saying, “That’s a pretty god awful loose correlation to draw. No one disputes that bacteria are life, but we kill them wholesale when we’re feeling ill. I love your capacity for oversimplification of things in such a way. Now, if we found a cell on another planet and exclaimed that it was “human life” you would have a leg to stand on with this sort of nonsense.”

He accuses me of sticking up for the murder of a child in the womb and tells me that I am weak, further he states that I am “a loose correlation of what strength should mean.” He proclaims himself a voice for the voiceless and protection for those who cannot protect themselves.  He follows that by saying, “If you were to stand for human life then you would not be full of nonsense you would be full of truth. A baby is not bacteria but bacteria is life makes no sense.”

I respond with, “No…It isn’t murder, first of all. Let’s say that, yes, you’re correct and a single cell produced from intercourse is a human life…and imbued with a soul. If that were true, then identical twins share one soul…because that process doesn’t begin until well after germination (and you claim life begins). Conversely, we have chimera…which is far more common than you probably suspect…when two cells are germinated but one absorbs the other during the process. In those cases, is the surviving organism a cannibal? Are they guilty of murder, since they did (by every standard that you uphold) take a human life? Or, since some of the genetic material of the other twin remains, do we have one person with two separate souls? After all, where in the human form is the soul located? Which piece of the body contains the tether to the soul? Because maybe my kidney has one soul, and the rest of me another? I’m not being flippant either, I really want you to share with me the great wisdom that you have regarding what a soul is, and when exactly it supposedly becomes a part of me or you or anyone else.”

A mutual friend of ours gets involved in the conversation by telling our friend that ‘life’ is a loaded term, that sperm and egg are individually both considered alive yet we don’t grant them personhood and we kill or allow them to die all the time.

To which our friend replies by saying, “a sperm and egg together make life!”

I say, “Actually, my friend, the sperm and egg are alive in and of themselves…prior to conception.”

This mutual friend responds likewise, by saying, “Yes but separately they are still alive and yet not a person, neither is a zygote or embryo a person.”

Our friend responds by admitting that life exists without fertilization, following that with, “but yet bacteria is a baby, genius. Wish I would have thought of that myself!”

Frustrated, I reply, “You did! You’re the one who posted that nonsense about finding a cell on another planet and equating it to human life.

“You are exhibiting the very definition of circular logic. You don’t even pay attention to what you profess as truth…”

He ignores what I said and tells me to explain the human eye to the “enth degree” and then claims that I can’t, because no one can. (Misspelling is his)

To which, I say, “Yes we can…there is no irreducible complexity argument. There are varying stages of eye from single cells on an organism that are photosensitive all the way to eyes that are more complex than our own.”

He replies by stating that this means nothing and demands that I explain the human eye.

I decide that I will do my best to explain it in such a way as to get through to him, “Everyone can explain the eye…you start with an organism that happens to have a cell that is slightly more photosensitive than the surrounding cells…it is capable of evading a predatory organism or an obstacle…and is able to breed more successfully (and more frequently) than an organism without said cell…the cells breed true and the next generation has said “eye” as well. Down the road we have a descendant with a cluster of said cells…and they are better able to survive than their kin…they breed that trait on…and so on…that is how evolution works, my friend…it’s actually quite simple.

“The trait that improves survival is the trait that is most frequently bred into the next generation…and so on…mutations occur over time…most of them harmful, some of them beneficial…

“That still happens today. It’s not really so difficult.”

I finalize with, “Hell, my focus in school was physics and chemistry…but I know enough about biology to comprehend all of that.”

He follows that by claiming that I am, “circular speaking nonsense, “ and that he finds me hilarious.

I don’t know how to respond to that but to say,  “There is no circular logic there. You do understand what circular logic is, right?

“That wasn’t nonsense at all…there are presently organisms with essentially every stage of eye development from the most rudimentary to our own and beyond.”

Our mutual friend states, “Saying no one can explain the eye is just silly. How many PhDs in biology or genetics do you know? How many scientific papers have you read on the topic?”

He goes on to say, “Take a 5 minute break from scouring the Internet for anti-Obama propaganda and pictures of dead babies and learn something.” And he takes that time to share a brief video from Richard Dawkins: http://youtu.be/mb9_x1wgm7E

I thank him for sharing that, stating that I had actually forgotten that Dawkins had gone into that.

I continue by saying, “I just don’t understand why our friend seems to think that understanding and accepting science is any sort of negative thing. If anything, I would suspect that God would want humans to explore and admire the wonder of the natural world and the universe…and the best way to do that is to strive to understand it better and better.”

The mutual friend provides a possible explanation by saying, “Look at the stars…Goddidit. Look at the ocean….Goddidit. Look at the extreme variety of life….Goddidit. There is no creativity in religion. Only blind acceptance, which is why the Republican Party has no problem lying constantly to their own constituents. They know they have already been brainwashed and well-trained by their religious handlers to accept whatever is put in front of them without question.”

I follow that with, “Hell, I used to be primarily conservative…but this pandering and bowing to the religious right is precisely what made me distance myself from the Republican Party. I don’t have a problem with people practicing whatever damn religion they choose…but when they decide that it’s their place to force other people to live as if they believed the same things…that’s where I take exception. Abortion being legal would never impose abortion onto those who wanted to carry a child…homosexual marriage being legal would never force a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman. It’s funny that there are religious people who would call me arrogant for being an atheist…but I’m not the one parading around under the mistaken assumption that the whole universe exists just for me and that my choice of lifestyle should be imposed upon everyone else. I don’t think that they understand what “arrogant” means.”

Our friend responds by questioning how we two douches think he doesn’t like science. He goes on to say that he loves science. He continues by saying, “What I don’t love is people who think it answers everything science is merely a way to try to understand things that are far beyond us. So you posted some dude explaining the human eye. He still didn’t explain the human eye to the enth degree it is humanly impossible to do. It is for understanding things that is it. Arrogance is thinking you can fully explain something with science and math for that matter. You can’t even explain it fully with math you just cant not yet anyway. Take 5min and LEARN something!!!”

I decide that the conversation has probably gone about as far as it can go and I finalize by saying, “No, my friend, maybe he didn’t explain it to the nth degree to your liking…but if he had, you wouldn’t have followed a good portion of it anyhow, not when you instantly begin by claiming (incorrectly, I might add) that no one can. It is explained, and thousands of times over, in numerous college level biology textbooks, classrooms, and elsewhere. The workings of the human eye are well understood by numerous medical practitioners, biologists, neurologists, and others…and most of those people also understand how it developed by stages. There’s nothing magical about the human eye. You tossed out the old irreducible complexity argument without bothering to check your facts and learn that it had been more than dismissed a good, long time ago. You call it arrogant to believe that science can fully explain something, when science does a better job of explaining anything than your Bible ever has. For one second, think about the Bible (a book supposedly crafted by God, a being of infinite wisdom). In the Bible there is no information even alluded to that is beyond the superstition of a bunch of primitive agrarian people. There’s even an inaccurate calculation of pi to be found within the Bible with respect to the Temple of Solomon, even though Greek mathematicians of 250BC (and earlier) had already calculated Pi with greater accuracy. Babylonians and Egyptians had just as good of calculations of pi as early as 2,000BC as you find within the Bible. If it was actually the book of God, you would think that maybe God could do better math than the primitives who were making the same calculations a thousand years before. There is no information, no wisdom, no science mentioned in the Bible that was even advanced for the people of the Hebrew culture of the time. Science does explain things, more things every day…whereas the source of your wisdom explains pretty much nothing unless you look at it as a cultural relic that tells us a bit about one particular primitive group at the time. You can’t claim to love science but then dismiss all of it that doesn’t fit into your argument. Science and scientists do understand the human eye, how it came about, how it works, and can (and do) explain it on a regular basis (in classrooms every semester).”