Balls Full Of Gold, And Other Stories
Time to slice up those pumpkins and dust off that Edgar Allen Ho costume: Halloween is upon us! In the spirit of goth Christmas, I’ve put together a festive explainer featuring some of my favorite Halloween myths, superstitions and science to get everyone in the spirit. From my cold, black heart to yours, enjoy. And try not to OD on candy corn this year.
He’d made a pact. With earth still fresh under his fingernails, the sorcerer breathed hard into his sleeve as the naked corpse of his friend dared him onward. Jón’s bloated body gave a tiny hiss, an ominous warning to the man wielding a object well-suited for puncturing the groaning membrane of a fetid peritoneal cavity. The screams of Borghilda still echoed in his ears, her purloined coin weighing heavy in his pocket. Guilt lapped at the edges of his thoughts. She’d only just lost her husband to those damned Barbary Coast pirates, but her grief and destitution made her an easy choice.
The sorcerer steadied his hand.
The edge bit the skin with ease. Slicing in shallow strokes across the white expanse of abdomen, the incision bloomed like a hideous smile. He was glad Jón was a thin man, shuddering to think of the depths of adipose he’d face, had the fat bastard died first. Sliding the sharpness south, the sorcerer carefully began to separate the skin from the meat. Once enough progress was made, he slipped his fingers into the wound, rubbing away the connective tissue, inching towards the shriveled genitals of his dead neighbor.
Being inside the corpse made his hands cold, but the task was too precious to play fast with the blade. The stench of decay filled his mouth, sweet and thick like a throatful of blubber. Gingerly, he cupped the testicles with his free hand, twisting them this way and that while he worked a probing index finger through the scrotum. Circling his thumb and forefinger, he slipped the skin of the penis off with the expertise of his favorite whore. This elicited a giggle that escaped like a sneeze.
Faster now he worked, both hands in the body, pushing his fingertips down through the thighs, peeling the skin away. There could be no tears in the flesh, but the sorcerer had found his rhythm, rocking to and fro as he worked. The toes were tricky, the knobby little fuckers.
When the skin was finally freed, the sorcerer was wet with exertion. He removed his clothes and set them on the table, next to his masterpiece, next to the corpse, next to the purloined coin and a small piece of parchment upon his he’d marked a stave. Nábrókarstafur.
The slime inside the skin felt rude against his body. Slipping his toes inside Jón’s, his shins up against the twin scars of his neighbor, feeling the sag of Jón’s once-muscular thighs bag around his own, he drew the necropants all the way up to his waist. Where once the legacy of children rested, the sorcerer placed the coin and the parchment.
All that was left to do now was wait. Soon, the necropants would meld into his own flesh, the scrotum promised to him in during a drunken pact forever cursed to fill with coins, so long as the widow’s contribution remained. The sorcerer dressed carefully, flushed with anticipation at the weight that would soon pull between his legs.
Berry-Flavored Shit, All October Long
When a plant loves another plant very much in a grown-up way, they can do something special and make a new baby plant of their very own. Some plants can even fall in grown-up love with themselves, and make a baby plant all on their own! When a speck of daddy juice, called a pollen grain lands on the top of the mommy part, the stigma, the juice gets all excited and burrows deep into the girl parts, all the way into the ovary. Inside the ovary is where Mommy Plant keeps all her special future plant babies, ovules; when the daddy juice meets the future babies, a seed begins to develop! Lots of daddy juice and future babies inside Mommy Plant mean lots of seeds, growing up together. Later, Mommy’s ovary wall will turn into something delicious called fruit. Fruits that are fleshy and made from one Mommy ovary are called berries. This is how pumpkins are made so fuck you, I told you that Pumpkin Spice Latte was goddamn berry-flavored drink.
The iconography of witches riding on broomsticks is Halloween canon, but its origins are murky. This classic image may have its roots in a fertility ritual that involved jumping over brooms in the fields, to show the crops how high to grow. I find this particular explanation... unsatisfying. Let’s go deeper.
The cultural idea of “witches" focuses on two major themes: flying on broomsticks and stirring a cauldron. Let’s start with that first part. It’s important to note that the broomstick, a symbol that is both male and female - literally, “the rod which penetrated the bush" - is purely sexual and should be interpreted as such. A witch riding her broomstick? Jesus, no wonder the religious nuts freaked out.
But we’re not just concerned with broomstick riding - we’re talking broomstick flying.
Humans have long enjoyed hallucinogenic plants, which leads to a rather obvious question: what, pray tell, is in that cauldron? Might she be cooking up some flying ointment? Perhaps! And I do mean ointment - drinking the brew of such things as henbane, deadly nightshade, and mandrake would likely make one very sick, if not dead. Ointment or oils applied to mucous membranes provides a welcome alternative. Ointment applied to the mucous membranes of the vagina via greased up fuckstick? The best alternative.
Take, for example, this quote from the 1324 investigation of Alice Kyteler:
“In rifleing in the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin."
Or this, from the 1477 trial of Antoine Rose, during which she confessed (under torture) that the Devil had given her an 18 inch long stick and a pot of ointment; she’d smear the ointment on the stick, place it between her legs, and shout “Go; in the name of the devil, go!"
What I’m saying is that “flying on a broomstick" is a nice, seasonal euphemism for tripping balls via hallucinogenic-smeared dildo.
How To Carve The Perfect Pumpkin
- Buy a pumpkin.
- Fuck a sculptor.
My, That’s A Firm Hunk Of Meat
Don’t lie. You’ve always wanted to know how professional slaughterers deal with the inescapable fact that meat gets hard when it’s dead.
Rigor mortis occurs when cells run out of their precious energy currency, ATP (adenotriphosphate). Without ATP, cells can’t operate the calcium ion pumps that allow for the normal cycle of muscular contraction; the result is a state of contraction that lasts until muscle tissue is decomposed sufficiently to counteract the effect. As such, corpses that harden into a giant flesh popsicle. And yes, I think about this every time priapism is discussed at the end of a commercial for erectile dysfunction medication. The early stages of death as some octogenarian's turgid, unyielding erection.
Back to the meat industry. Rapid cooling of a carcass before rigor sets in can drastically shorten the muscles; the phenomenon, known as “cold shortening", can result in meat that is many times tougher than normal. Worse still is rapid freezing; if you freeze dead muscle before rigor has set it, upon thaw there will be extreme shortening. This is because ice crystals do a nice job of slashing things up, freeing all the biochemical bits to induce a massive contraction upon thaw, leading to really tough meat.
There are ways around this. Not cooling the dead thing too fast is the Captain Obvious choice. The fun choice involves “electrical stimulation" of the carcass, zapping the shit out of it to expedite the entire rigor process. On a microscopic level, it’s the equivalent of beating the meat with a giant hammer, which, as one might surmise, damages the meat. Actually beating the meat also results in a tender steak, albeit a visibly fucked-up one. As such, the sneakier electroshock method is prefered; the steak is still fucked up, you just can’t tell by sight.
Cue the inevitable “gritty re-boot" of Frankenstein, featuring Vic, a career carcass-electrocuter at the soul-sucking commercial abattoir, Prometheus Packing House.
You Won’t Believe These 3 Cool Things Dead Bodies Can Do!
Now that you’ve left your early twenties and the spectre of death looms large in the insipid monotony of your life, you often think that you’re having a heart attack.
But it’s not all bad...
Corpses can sometimes do really cool shit!
So if you die by drowning...
Your teeth will literally turn pink!
Or if you die with your eyes open…
You get a cool stripe across your eye!
And even if you decide to end it all…
Looping that noose against your useless flesh...
Everyone will see your boner when you die!