• Creative non-fiction: My parody bulletin: A tribute to dumb and annoying

    30 nov. 2010, 21h24m

    oh hells YeaH!!! you opened this and sonow you have to compleat this surVey an repost iF u dont SATAn will materialize in front of u and piss on you're leg. Alot!!! IF you Plz fill this out and REPOST as BULLETTEN thn child in china will be saved. we all gotta prove support that we love the children so cum on guys do this .
    make sure you repost as 'Proove that U dont hate Children"

    >>are you stupid LoL! ?

    >> do you get horn33 like all humans?

    >>everybodies dieing to no yur favorate color so what is it

    )5.R you a empty fanboy of the [insert relevant decade here] huh you think you are well then tell me what year it was?

    >what time is it right now?

    >>what about now hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha jis playin ;p?

    >>do u put on close when you go outside or before that?

    :>>are the kind of person that eat food?

    >>will you DIE? how come where what day

    >>when you sleep what it is in then? at night or day or other? why?

    >>if youre hott do you flunt it if no then your fugly! and i hate you?

    >>how many dance partners Have you slept with ssense you started filling this out?

    >>willl you show me ur nekkid type speed?

    >>list all the movies, albums, books, school chums and foods youve every read in less then 50 seconds can you?

    >>if youre species was dog would u play fech with men or not like dogs?

    >>do you have an age?

    .>who is yo' daddy and whut deos he do?

    >6.)is youre left leg differant then the other yur right leg?

    >> you may B soft indside cause do you lick bunnies and cuddeling be honest?

    >>what do you have a name?

    >>do you drink milk and cry then you spill it ??
    >>name 88 things u could live without ..

    >>Y R U feeling this out?

    >>Do you ride STICK?

    >>do you have a sense of smill?

    >>were you born?

    >>did you notice that this surveY sucks on question 5 and 6?

    >>if you had million $$ what denomonations will bills be in?

    >>have you ever had seXX or thought about it before who would you do?

    >>has another human being ever made you attracted at them what is there name adress & phn number?

    >>for comando do U rather have boxers briefs boxerbreifs?

    >>do you use words when you talke?

    >>did yuo kiss you're mother with that mouth?


    list your anme and tell how you will win one belowe:

    1. Stev Normo
    by shizzlin' it, PLAyA wut wut! LOL
  • Two poems religious?

    30 nov. 2010, 21h13m

    Angels at Their Posts

    Michael sneaked up in a jovial mood toward his coworker.
    What if there are monsters? he teased in brotherly fashion.
    He punched the clock and began turning the knob to his locker.
    What if there aren't? Apollo turned confidently. Falsely. Cautiously
    unfastening his armor, busying himself in undoing his daily duties and preparing for play in the night not really night in the city of cities.
    Michael furrowed his brow and stared at him.
    Their eyes met for a millisecond that dragged
    memories of off-nights at the pub since the beginning of infinity across
    an infinity of its own the odor of mercy.
    They both cocked their wings, peering
    into a masterful arrangement of celestial fire and ice, alert
    to the silence one can find in a village yet naive to the morning sun.
    I'm scared, whispered Michael into the precise everything.

    American Junior High Gothic

    The riot in hell was disheartening,
    but not in a scary dream way.
    Sure, heads were on backwards,
    but where was the real evil?
    The reason,
    the spit,
    the rot,
    the conversations about what we will tell
    our kids about sex when we grow up?

    © Stephen Norman, 2010
  • Application for Wizard Initiation; Survey 1.1

    30 nov. 2010, 20h54m

    This isn't hard. It's a survey, except this one is actually fun and interesting. You can answer however you feel, with as much or little detail as you like. Fill it out and re-post as a bulletin (or blog) if you like, or don't. You can take it seriously or as a nice quick dip of the bare feet into derangement and oddity. It's intended as a good mix of surrealism and philosophy (and stupid humor), in other words, a survey that's finally as much or more thought provoking and/or fun to read as it is to fill out. Alright, go. Now. Stop reading this.

    01. How was your day, dear?

    02. Is the penis mightier?

    03. Are you alive?

    04. Do you think that Smarties taste like chalk, and if yes, how the hell do you know what chalk tastes like?

    05. Do you believe in "right and wrong"? (It would be much more interesting if you would) Explain (if you like).

    06. Do you have a sexual fetish? What is/are it/they, if yes?

    07. Chocolate or cheese?

    08. Give me a ratio, how old you are : how young you feel.

    09. What would win in a fight between a pen and a pencil?

    10. Be honest; are homosexuals gay?

    11. True or false? Jesus was a white dude with long brown hair and a beard.

    12. If you were given a piece of paper and a choice, would you rather draw or write?

    13. Is skateboarding a sport? Hackey sack? Paper rock scissors?

    14. If you had a hammer would you hammer in the morning, and in the evening, all over this land? why or why not?

    15. Which would be worse, to be blind or to be deaf? (If from birth, then for both; if suddenly, then suddenly for both. Let's make this equal and fair)

    16. Why is the United States the only industrialized nation in the entire world that has not at least experimented with hemp to see if it has any viable benefit for us economically or otherwise, let alone actually to start growing and using it (seeing as how it definitely is viable in more ways than economical)?

    17. Do loaded questions bother you?

    18. Do you have a soul? If yes, can i have it?

    19. Where do you go when you dream?

    20. If the statement "no statement is true" is true, then it must be false. Is that interesting?

    21. Do you believe in other dimensions?

    22. Which were cooler when you were a kid, dinosaurs or airplanes? If neither, what the fuck was your problem?

    23. Is there a ninja behind you now? How do you know for sure?

    24. If you were a wizard what color robe would you wear? Would you have a beard? What kind of animal familiar would you have? What kind of magic would you perform? Would you charge for you services? Can you help me turn my enemies into one hundred dollar bills?

    25. Do statistics successfully persuade you?

    26. When you hear the word "country," Which of the following definitions do you immediately think of?
    a) the country—rural areas
    b) country music
    c) a nation
    d) none of the above
    e) all of the above
    f) the word "country"
    g) my hometown
    h) Amur'ca, g'damm't
    i) I think this question is stupid (because I am in fact myself stupid)

    27. Do you think it is more likely that natural disaster will wipe us out or that we will blow ourselves up with technology?

    28. Think of nothing, right now. Can you do it? Oh yeah!? Then, tell me about nothing, asshole.

    29. Which of these terms is the "biggest": reality, life, the universe?

    30. If you could have any superpower, what would you want? Just one, and what would your superhero name be? Describe your costume and sidekick.

    31. Does God place dice?

    32. If you could have a clone of yourself, but in order to start the procedure you'd have to impregnate a digital duplicate of yourself via virtual reality heavy petting, would you do it? In other words, there's this voyeuristic mad scientist, genius but perverted . . .

    33. Are sex toys gross, whatever, funny, cool, or essential?

    34. Do you think downloading music is more like sharing or stealing? Either way, you're either a filthy communist or a filthier pirate.

    35. Hypothetically, if Satan could be forgiven and return to heaven, do you think he would?

    36. Is a spork the equal of both its counterparts, or does it lose a little something from each in its mishmash makeup?

    37. If you were being attacked and the only thing in your immediate reach was a hot pot of coffee, would you describe the pot as half full or half empty when you told the story later about how you took down the burglar and called the police?

    38. Pets: bugs, dogs, cats, fishes, birds, rodents, unicorns, lizards, or rocks?

    39. Salt or pepper?

    40. What is your biggest pet peeve?

    41. Would you rather watch a reality TV show involving a group of people in the process of making a documentary or a documentary about reality TV shows?

    42. What's the shortest full sentence you can think of?

    43. Do you identify better with your gender or the opposite?

    44. Do you think that we send people to prison more for the purpose of revenge, punishment or determent?

    45. Does the line "I will think about you daily" become more poetic when rearranged "about you daily I shall think"? Hint: there is only one right answer here.

    46. You encounter a god one day, and he offers you godlike strength in exchange for a candy bar. You happen to have a candy bar. Do you accept? If you do, the god explains that your new power will be nearly infinite, save for one weak spot somewhere on your body which if punctured in any way will render you normal again. You get to decide where the weak spot will be. Where will it be? If you don't except, then you must have a really good candy bar, like peanut butter Twix, and I demand you share it with me.

    47. You are granted two full sentences to your pet which will be understood and responded to limited to two full sentences in your language. You can ask one question and make one statement. What would these be? What pet would you talk to? How do you think your pet would respond?

    48. Do you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand.

    49. Do terrible jokes bother you?

    50. There is a dissertation about you. No, there isn't really, but say there is. What is the title? Or maybe it's a play. Is it a comedy or a tragedy? Or maybe it's a movie. What genre is the movie, and what actor do you want to portray you?

    51. Which scene would be the hardest to write?
    a) vampire-zombie-werewolf fight
    b) vampire-zombie-werewolf orgy
    c) a chess game between Stephen Hawking and The Count from Sesame Street?
    d) a hip-hop battle written in Olde English
    e) the opening to a porn involving nothing but Quakers
    f) a battle scene for a Teletubbies musical

    Why do people think Chuck Norris is such a badass, when really he's a bible-thumping moron, and especially in light of the fact that even Bruce Lee's zombie could take him down with its arms dismembered and tied behind its back?
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Unsettled

    24 oct. 2010, 21h40m

    The Good, the Bad, and the Unsettled

    Skepticism has become an invaluable tool to modern philosophy for propelling precision and accuracy, and this is no better exemplified in the study of ethics than by moral non-cognitivism. Moral cognitivism holds that moral claims have truth values, while non-cognitivism obviously objects. In his book, Whatever Happened to Good and Evil?, Russ Shafer-Landau attempts to demonstrate that a particular branch of moral cognitivism, moral objectivism, is the best explanation we have for explaining the world in which we live and participate. His argument is that in light of our most common intuitions about behavior and conduct moral objectivism fares best paired against any other meta-ethical theories, and therefore most consistently describes the ethical sphere of reality. Moral non-cognitivism opposes the cognitivist assumption that moral utterances have truth values to begin with, positing instead that such claims are nothing more than emotional statements. Shafer-Landau’s demonstration is a poor one, because it fails to fully consider the debate between these more macroscopic views, swallowing a particular moral cognitive paradigm without chewing on the proper competition.

    As noted, Shafer-Landau is determined to show that because moral objectivism is the one and only meta-ethical theory that can withstand academic scrutiny that it alone can provide a clear picture of our expectations and experiences regarding behavior and conduct. This aim is one he attempts to reach with two basic steps; first, to show that no other viewpoint is coherent, and secondly to offer solid ground that moral objectivism is, that it succeeds where everything else fails. In both endeavors, Shafer-Landau does an excellent job in concisely confirming moral objectivism’s superiority to other forms of moral cognitivism. What he utterly fails to fix and secure is any severely crippling deficiency in moral non-cognitivism. My contention is in fact, that this issue left unattended undermines Shafer-Landau’s conclusion, leaving too wide an open space for debate. Moral non-cognitivism seems equally equipped to explain ethical experience(s).

    I’m resolute on maintaining the fortitude of moral non-cognitivism as pitted against its opposition, and so my argument will most closely examine the first step of Shafer-Landau’s project and prove that because moral non-cognitivism is never fully expunged its ground is equally fertile for outlining the ethical dimension of the world. One of Shafer-Landau’s schemes is to expose that every other meta-ethical view save moral objectivism will in some way betray some of our most principled, commonly held intuitions.

    Most generally and historically humans have held certain assumptions about life and how to live it very close to heart. Some actions are bad, some good, and the people that do bad are themselves bad and vice versa. There is moral difference. Moral difference makes it possible for moral error to take place. People can do wrong. On the other hand, because some things are good progress can be made. Moral difference allows that people or even whole societies may accomplish vast improvements upon their former flaws. Moral comparisons can be drawn to assess whether we have evolved or regressed in certain situations. Assessment requires critical evaluation, and as smoke to fire, where there is contemplation there is often quarrel. Moral difference as well permits for the possibility and probability of moral disagreement. Deeds are not ethically equal, but exactly which ones are positive or negative has been and will be hotly debated. Debate depends upon a focus, without which disagreements would be vacuous and counter-productive to any resolve. External critique must be possible in moral matters.

    The basic intuitions thus listed rest upon the specific one, moral difference, and because the idea is so extremely common, Shafer-Landau has a powerful foundation from which to begin his thesis. From these seemingly inalienable inklings Shafer-Landau skillfully weaves non-objectivist forms of moral cognitivism into webs of contradiction. The details of these yarns, which make up the bulk of the material, are however, irrelevant. The specific assumption that moral difference exists is just that: an assumption. It is an assumption based on an even more general one which posits the very presence of right and wrong; Shafer-Landau presupposes moral cognitivism from the very beginning of his project. This is clearly and absolutely a mistaken route if all other meta-ethical standpoints are to be indubitably debunked. That people believe a proposition has no necessary bearing on the truth of it.

    Anytime in Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? when Shafer-Landau is faced to deal with the debate between the moral cognitivists and non-cognitivists he either appeals to the fact that most people side with cognitivism (19) or plays on the emotions of his readers, such as when he deems the denial of moral difference uncomfortable (18). The question of whether moral difference is real or not cannot be answered by mere observance of the fact that 99% of humanity wants very badly that the pedophile be morally different from the priest. The debate is left wide open, but non-cognitivism “isn’t a happy choice.” (42).

    The logic Shafer-Landau employs to discredit other forms of moral cognitivism is impeccable, but his negligence toward non-cognitivism is a serious strike against the feasibility of his entire proof. Our intuitions about morality, no matter how common can be doubted. To start a serious study of meta-ethics we have at hand the basic datum that people make moral statements. Either these statements have truth values or they do not. The resolve of that dispute specifically will be the primer to discovering the theory best fit to describe the ethical arena of our world. Unresolved, the best we can come up with is a meta-ethical view that best describes what people believe to be the truth. Right now I have a thought about moral cognitivism. My thought is both in process and it has content, both of which occurrences have truth values. It is true that I am thinking right now that cognitivism is inaccurate, but such a fact is vacuous; or at best, left to the epistemologist for exploring. Shafer-Landau is permitted only that many, if not most people do in fact believe that right and wrong are factual occurrences of some sort in our world.

    At this point, indeed, this whole debate starts to veer off into the realm of justification, so I need to briefly consider some epistemological issues. Moral cognitivists at this point are most likely going to make the claim that there is necessary reason or motivation to trust at least some of our intuitions; furthermore, in some fashion they may motion to include the ones mentioned as among the trustworthy. In this way Shafer-Landau may have hope in saving his entire work. There is popular contemporary contention that logic involves a normative function. If I believe that “2 + 2” necessarily implies “4” and I believe “2 + 2”, then I ought to believe “4.” However, I personally believe that this is terribly flawed. It is simply a linguistic device that we use the word “ought.”

    If I know what both “2 + 2”, “4”, and “implies” mean, then “2 + 2 = 4” becomes apparent automatically, and not by any choice I make. I have already made up my mind, by choosing to believe in all the constituents of the formula that the formula itself becomes another belief of mine by way of its definition alone. In other words, the parameters have been set; the rest falls into place. When I am sitting in my room and my girlfriend walks in it is not by any choice that I decide to believe that there are two humans in my bedroom. I simply do.

    The practice of having intuitions is impossible to justify logically; this is exactly what makes such a thing an intuition. The content of any intuition, on the other hand is possible to defend but impossible to prove because upon proof a proposition becomes fact. A certain moral cognitivist position might be that I ought to accept the aforementioned intuitions, but that would be problematic because it presupposes some moral fact. I have shown that logic need not be normative at all. The other possible position would use facts to show the intuitions to be facts themselves. Shafer-Landau has used logic backed by intuitions to posit his entire thesis. Nowhere does he attempt to prove his underlying premises, the intuitions. The fact is that whether or not Shafer-Landau is justified to believe his own premises is either based on a correlation to the world or some amount of consistency within his own belief system. He has lent no validity to the former, and the latter has nothing to do with my own belief system. With no reason to believe the assumptions Shafer-Landau makes there is little reason to buy the conclusion that moral objectivism is the best meta-ethical position. The only thing that validly follows is that moral objectivism might be true, or is true if certain other beliefs about the world are true.

    Moral difference, error, progress, comparison, and disagreement may all be illusions we ourselves evoke, and without solid evidence that this is not the case non-cognitivism stands unshaken, the equal of its opponent. For example external critique in moral matters might be simple fancy; the existence of an intuition that differs does not work to completely debunk such an explanation about the world, and neither is a moral non-cognitivist left without a response. It could be that people argue themselves into emotionally bankrupt corners because their desire to be right is overpowering. Actually, moral non-cognitivism stands in exactly the same place and esteem as moral cognitivism does during Shafer-Landau’s second step which tries to substantiate that moral objectivism prevails in all the areas in which the other theories collapsed.

    Shafer-Landau demonstrates that not only is moral objectivism the only theory left unhindered by absurdity, but that it is the best theory we can adopt for two main reasons. Only moral objectivism can deal with evil and randomness properly. However, his judgment is too quick and somewhat unfair.

    As far as evils go, according to a moral non-cognitivist the statement “dogmatism is an evil” is categorically synonymous with a statement such as “compared to vanilla ice cream chocolate is gross.” In fairness, it probably holds true that things like intolerance upset people more than preferences in certain confections, but whether there is an objective rule or not, phenomena like intolerance will not ever be necessarily abolished. The rule of thumb for centuries concerning intolerance and “evils” like it has been some variation on the golden rule, which works whether an objective rule or not because it incites emotional response. It is true that moral non-cognitivism cannot denote displeasures as bad with regards to any coordinates such as entity, place, or time, and it is true that it forces no agreement upon moral practitioners. However, it is not necessary that a cognitivist meta-ethical theory be true about the world in order for any one person or group of people to adopt certain codes of conduct. In fact, it is as equally possible that moral non-cognitivism is true about the world, our very one, as it is for cognitivism. That fact need not change anything in terms of how we may proceed.

    The randomness issue plagues moral relativism and subjectivism, other forms of moral cognitivism, because they are defined by the idea that moral laws are decided upon or created by one or more mind(s). The claim is the fairly obvious one that this makes the whole business of morality look more than a bit arbitrary, but moral objectivism is not the only theory to escape this problem unscathed. To claim that moral objectivism escapes from arbitrariness is to claim that objective moral laws are just part of the natural order. Along the same line of reasoning a moral non-cognitivist can claim escape because the lack of any such laws would also be part of the natural order. This aside, it is not even clear that the very nature of the universe itself is not arbitrary and random.

    Recognizing that Shafer-Landau has chosen the path of the best explanation argument to prove his position, it is foggy what “best” might mean in his context. It could only convey that a theory is worthy based on popular consensus or perhaps emotional harmony. Shafer-Landau gives moral non-cognitivists no room to breathe by deeming them detestable for noncompliance to beliefs in certain intuitions about human experience. It is not the uncertainty in the reality of such intuitions itself that mars his position, but that certain phenomena can be explained in an opposite and equal way that shows that moral non-cognitivism is just as feasible a meta-ethical theory.

    Work cited
    Shafer-Landau, Russ. Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

    © Stephen Norman, 2010
  • The Book of Cain

    24 oct. 2010, 19h44m

    For my folklore class at IUPUI we had to rewrite a fairy tale. This is my assignment. It might be useful to first read "Bluebeard" if you're not familiar with the story. I chose to make reinvent Bluebeard as Cain from Genesis, and to reimagine YHWH from a pagan perspective.

    The Book of Cain
    or “The Titan-Killer and his God”

    A piece of pseudo-folklore inspired by S-T tale type AT312, The Bible, and neo-paganism.

    In the land of Nod, there was a merchant called Beard. He roamed from village to village, and all the people of every settlement knew him for his superior wares, though no one in the land knew of his past and that he was Cain of Eden. Beard was apparently wealthy. Very wealthy, he traveled everywhere with a great caravan of mules, oxen, carriage, and the finest goods including rugs and coats and instruments from several exotic lands.

    For all of Beard’s prosperity, he had no wife. He bore a terrible mark, a long beard the color of cobalt which frightened and repulsed every woman he encountered. This was the curse of God: like the salt of the earth, like a pillar of smoke following the admonishments of the Lord to the lot of man, his beard was blue and could never be cut or dyed.

    In the land of Nod there was a village called Pomum, whose people were rich and worshipped earth and water. In the principality of earth was the god Pan, of which the people were particularly fond. One day Lilly, youngest and fairest child of Pomum’s priest-ruler, and her sisters Lac and Lamia were delivering fats and oils to the temple. On their way they met Beard on the road, and snickered as he passed. They mocked him saying, “Go up, you bluebeard! Go up you bluebeard!”

    Beard turned around, and first saw Lilly, and cursed her in the name of Lord. And two worms crawled from the earth at that moment, and crawled up her snout. The worms took her mind, and she was suddenly possessed with lust for Beard. Terrified by his face and words, the sisters dropped their baskets and fled, Lac and Lamia grabbing and prodding their sister home.

    Finding this satisfactory, Beard went along his way. This night was Pomum’s summer bacchanal, so he was heading for the temple grounds. For he had business to conduct. When he reached the temple wood, he made camp far from anyone else. For he had business most private to conduct. Beard owned a very special amulet; he unpacked this, crossed himself, kissed and pocketed the amulet. He did not worry over being vandalized. For Beard was marked by the Lord, and tonight he had His business to conduct.

    When the priest, Labruscum arrived at the temple with his family for ritual preparations, Lilly snuck away to find Beard. In a half-mesmerized state she seemed to know exactly what direction through the forest. In this way she found him halfway through the forest. They met, and he was very startled. She was suddenly changed in his eyes; no longer did she detest him but wanted to lie down beside him.

    What sorcery is this, wondered Beard, remembering his talisman and fondling it in his robe pocket. She was very persistent, and it occurred to him then that it was no sorcery. He remembered his curse and knew it was the Lord’s work. Not wanting to waste opportunity, Beard proposed marriage. Utterly enchanted, Lilly agreed.

    “But tonight let us celebrate the bacchanal,” said Beard. “Tomorrow we will be married, but now I must make my way to the temple. I have business with your father. My camp is not far behind me. Make yourself welcome to my food and comforts, and I will return to accompany you to the festival tonight.”

    “I will find your camp, and make myself welcome. I am famished.”

    “You will find fruits and salted meats in my carriage. There is just one thing I must command. You are welcome to anything of mine, but you must not open my gold and ivory chest.”

    Lilly was made to promise on punishment of death, and Beard hastily headed for the temple. When Lilly reached his camp, she made herself welcome to some berries. Searching the carriage for meats she came upon a most handsome gold and ivory chest.

    “I must not open this box,” said the young woman. But Lilly’s curiosity was too much, and she pried open its ornate lid. At first it was nothing but darkness, but she soon made out bloody shapes. She screamed then, realizing that the chest was filled with many mangled corpses. These were the gods of several exotic lands. Lilly was so startled one worm dislodged from her head and fell out through her right nostril, making a bloody clump on the floor next to chest. This caused her to immediately faint.

    About this time, Beard was making his way back with the unconscious body of Letum, Lilly’s brother and heir to the Pomum priesthood and kingdom. Letum was possessed of a very special demon called Adramelech, known to the Carthaginians as Baal Moloch; to him they sacrificed their children. This was something only the Lord can command, and so Beard had been seeking him out specifically.

    Beard was Cain of Eden. He was banished long ago and marked in punishment for slaying his brother, but the Lord soon found for him a purpose. The Lord God is a jealous god, and marked Cain. Cain became Beard, deicide for YHWH.

    Beard dropped Letum’s body gingerly to the ground close to camp. Looking for Lilly he peered into his carriage to find her unconscious. Good fortune, he thought. Now I can make preparations without distraction. Then he saw the bloody worm.

    “Foolish woman!” he cried. This awoke both Lilly and Letum, though Letum pretended to be unconscious still. “You have disobeyed my one command!”

    Lilly cowered, realizing the severity of her situation. She saw her brother’s body on the ground and feared the worst. As a priest’s daughter she recognized the rites of eikonoklastēs. She lost hope upon the realization that Beard was a god-killer. “I know I must die for my transgression. I beg you, first let me pray and make consilience with Pan.”

    Two gods with one stone, thought Beard. This will only make things too easy. He agreed, because he was already planning to use Lilly as avatar to Pan, to slay the satyr. If Lilly’s rite went unsuccessfully he planned to use Lac; barring her then Lamia. What Lilly did not know was how readily she was delivering her god to him, to Him. What Beard did not know was that her brother had silently summoned a hummingbird.

    Beard raised his amulet. It shined with divine fury. He liked to call it his cosmic egg, as it resembled a serpent’s egg, and because he used it to return the divine to a fetal state of unreality. This was Beard’s gift to the world, an inside joke. As he contemplated this, the hummingbird flew into Lilly’s face and ate the other worm left in her mind.

    This confused Beard just long enough for Letum to stab him through the heart with a sturdy tree branch. Beard fell to his knees. He invoked the names of the archangels and spoke the secret name of YHWH, but he received no answer. His blurring vision took in vacant stars only and finally total abyss. “Was I any more jealous in my sin than you in your envy of other ghosts? Am I not your first law’s keeper?” But he received no answer and perished without a god. This is how “bluebeard” died, a limp husk of a legend, staked through the heart and clutching an egg.

    © Stephen Norman, 2010