The Name Game
Traditions of names and naming is common through the range of human rearing abroad and broadly. Celestial bodies, ancestors, and the spirit world can all take part in the selection. While it might be tempting to name a child to forecast their success in life or their beauty, some cultures assess the risk of this practice as it makes them valuable for kidnap, or to be shuttled early into death by desirous spirits, local gods, and demons that would have the attractive child for themselves. For instance, grandfather’s name means dirty rag. So it is a practical and reasonable matter to give a child an unattractive name, in attempts to stem their early departure or capture from this realm. As you may find many self-proclaimed experts who can choose your child’s name by the horoscope or from list of historic names, one might establish themselves as the purveyor of greatly undesirable names (or brands). It could after all be the key to long life on earth! Here are some samples of my wares.
Calcified Soft Tissues, Constipated then Loose Entrails, Parasite Filled Offal, Incessant Chatterer, Gagging Gurgle, Convulsive Dripper, Concentrated Stench, Squeezed Ejaculate, Rotting Straw, Disemboweled Excessively Lubricating Fornicator, Bodily Waste Smear, Anemic Pooler, Fecal Pocket, Fermented Nose Run, Pin Worm Tape Worm Ring Worm Platter, Perpetual Nausea and Vomit, Grated Elder’s Flesh For Pancake, Emergent Coils From Cyst Pits, Evacuating Sores, Leper Sandwich Meat, Infection Fume Censer, Cancerous Depletions, Stump Tarred Burning Hair, Finger Snipper, Genital Liquid Nitrogen Dip, Entire Human Species Puke Register and Unabridged Sampler, Pustules and Oozing Stitch Holes, Bile Squirts, Exsanguinating Torso, Sewage Porridge, Spontaneous Dismemberer, Organ Puncture, Gland Secrete and Industrial Vacuum Suckage, Jaundiced Reproductive Tissue Bath, Head Compacter, Exploding Eye in a Glass Container, Lactating Corpse, Septic Guts, Cesspool Dry Heave, and Jimmy.
One might also provide unattractive business names, to assure similarly that the company is not cursed in the spirit world by its desirability. Here are some examples.
The Smashed Testicles Group, Putrid Milk and Co., Asthma Phlegm and Associates, Moldy Butter and Unwashed Asses Ltd., Stool Eaters and Dirty Mouth Rings Syndicated, PASTE Inc. ( Puss, Ascaris Stain, and Tetanus Engorged), Fish Filled Dumpster Hot Summer Bros., Invasive Probing Orifice Blockage Release Incorp., and Jimmy and Sons.
Otis of Otis Pond
Days in fields are long when they span wide and take time to cross. Out near Otis Pond, mostly lengths are long. You can skirt for a bit across some solid flat ground with high grass, but expect to get bogged down in the wet sods, and avoiding water snakes, and after you’ve navigated the wide flats, enter into wooded and be-shrubbed terrain as nearing creeks and steep banked shoulders, and suddenly emerging caves from stone, and sink holes, sun bleached rustic foot bridges, distractions, like remains of native made clam mounds, and the glint of, tools and hunting implements fashioned from flint, or even semiprecious gems. In the small acreage, you may find yourself exhausted from the hike, or even lost in the endless challenge. As this is so, most think it likely or true that there is an Otis Pond hermit, and that it is likely Otis Pond is named after him, and not the opposite. You could evade discovery, and indeed, rescue were you out here with enough sense, or not enough, as the case may be. Some think it was a boy name Guptill who have been so given up on he had given up on too, and found his way while wandering out to starve, and didn’t die, but grew like the moss and lichen on the rocks without change. Elders recalled how they would see Guptill, when they and Guptill were both children, hanging from the back of his father’s carriage desperately waving and screaming “Hi” when he would see another child, so needy was he to be seen and recognized. Yet this boy’s father kept him to the yard and farm without affection or contact of his fellow humans, like a beast of burden. This boy had even been taken from school to work, when reaching legal age to so remove. Escaping seemed reasoned, even suicide, and rather than to seek him out, everyone assumed him dead in the wilderness and let it seem the case. Or it might have been Timmy Height, whose ugly appearance made him shunned, who yet was thought a deep genius who scratched numbers and symbols on fences rocks and stone along the riverbanks until some day when he had disappeared and thought to have drown. This case too, some child had been thought to have found a semblance of a home or tranquility in a torturous existence. Some think it might be Butch, the town strongman who famously took a chainsaw and cut down the biggest tree at one end of a field. It was rumored to be a massive beehive inside. When Butch had circled the tree with the chainsaw, it had fallen over abruptly, and was clearly seen to be hollow, and packed with massive slabs of honeycomb. The citizens of the town cheered from a distance. But the celebration was short lived. A black cloud emerged from the hollow and covered Butch, who appeared as a growing black ball. There must have been millions of angry bees that covered him, and yet he didn’t fall on the spot, but rather lurched and ran, this growing mass, emitting a cacophonous buzz that exceeded his chainsaw’s sounding by many time, and indeed, nearby, the spectators to this horror had to cover their ears. Butch ran out of the field through the tree-line and into the untamed reaches beyond the town, and was never seen again, or, was he Otis, whose pain remained, whose form was so twisted and reshapen by the incident that it had made him mad, who lived there still?
What evidence or harm if so, does an Otis Pond hermit represent? Some hikers first reported seeing an abundance of frogs in the area that were missing their hind legs. This begs the question, who has gone frogging there so regularly to make this noticeable impact in the population of frogs, and, who could account for the cruelty, of leaving the frogs without their legs, the way the fin of a shark is harvested, and the shark is released to suffer as it may? Perhaps, another sufferer who cares not for inflicting pain. Some years passing, it was noticed that the situation remained, but, with a difference. A specimen of the two legged frog was caught, and because of its strangeness, was sent to the university in the closest city. It was discovered that this specimen had never had hind legs. It was a mutated frog. Had they been hunted so long and so well that the frog born without legs had a reproductive and survival advantage? Think of the new strain of elephant born without tusk, and how that previous advantage now represented a liability at the hand of poachers. Another sign of a mysterious presence was the rigging of dangers along the paths and ruins of the past habitations. Along the footpaths appear some sharpened sticks that one might step on. Sun bleached wooden bridges, built ages ago and falling down by natural course, seem provoked to fall in places, seeming wood supports where passing over flowing water have been freshly broke and carefully pushed together again to hide the recent break. If walking over, one were not taking care, and the hidden break letting go under an average person’s weight, it would send them down into rock strewn streams and rivers to their injuries or deaths. And it seems like thistles and briers are in over abundance, thorns seemingly cultivated to discourage perceived trespass. How, and why? A mystery. I’ve pondered before, if every place and every moment of our time might have a haunting. I think it better however not to know.
The Hobo Mutant
Raymond sat in a corner of the restaurant, slowly eating a Reuben sandwich and watching others. He was king of voyeurism. He sweated out the conversations, had his villains and heroes. Raymond thought about his childhood train transformer. It had a sixty watt output. Put that on the end of a spoon. An electric meal! Raymond went to light a cigarette but could find no matches. This seemed to always happen. Nothing was ever in synchronization. Raymond swings open hand at a fly circling his plate. The fly escapes. It’s a bloater, a fat mother ready to let go. She buzzes into a fan above the grill in the kitchen, fan blade whacks her foolish, her blobs of eggs are grated through the screen and some land on a customer’s omelette below. Raymond flinches, yards away. He squirms a bit, then settles to eat the last bite of his sandwich. He drinks down a pitcher of iced coffee. He thinks about his recent experiences, his meeting in Wyoming with a man who had seen the most vile of legends face to face. As the story goes, as told to Raymond by a grainy truck driver, there was once a hobo who was so adept at hopping freights that he traveled with his young son, grabbing onto train cars with one hand and holding his boy against his body with the other. Sad but true, that one night, Hobo Joe, as he was called, became blind drunk on some bad liquor, and still dragging his five year old son with one hand, bravely tried to tackle a high speeding train. Hobo Joe was cut clean in half. Little son falls by the rails and reaches for Dad. Train wheels— right over little arms, just above the wrists. The boy crawled away, just barely alive— but still alive. He stumbled into a crevice between two rocks, surrounded by a thicket of bushes, and like an animal, he licked his wounds. His hands, miraculously, were still attached to his arms. Attached now not by bone, but tendons, a few surviving veins, and thin strands of muscle tissue. The little boy was strong. He ate foliage around his little hole in the ground. He had a deep understanding of what had happened to him, and was determined to make his mutilation work for him. For hours on end he practiced trying to move his little fingers. Soon he was able to hold objects. In not much longer time, he could throw. But a strange adaptation was taking place. The strands that connected his hands to his arms were constantly becoming longer, stretching out, and as he redeveloped his coordination and muscles, they became thicker and rugged as steelcables. Flexible, threaded— a new kind of man he was becoming! He developed his skills and control in isolation. He stayed on this stretch of deserted railroad track, sleeping in the thickets by day and working his body by night. By the time he was thirteen years ofage he was able to coil the strands of tissue like a length of rope, his hands dangling from the ends. He fixed these lassos on his sides, on the leather belt he had salvaged from his father’s body. He could throw his hands a good thirty feet distance on the ends of these cables and grasp objects with hydraulic strength. Itwas at this point that he began to crave meat, and found he could quite easily capture small animals, thinking the were safe at such distances. He would rope his victim, throwing his hands out, wrapping them around the animal like octopus tendrils and reeling them in with spastic jerking motions of his arms and contractions of his cable extensions. One year in Wyoming, there was a horrible drought. Most of the small animals died and our Hobo Mutant was a hungry twenty-five years old. His fuel intake was decreasing drastically as time passed, and he felt the pangs of starvation coming on. Hobo Mutant woke dizzily one day, hearing the sounds of human voices in the distance. Crawling from his thicket cave, he observed two ‘bos, sitting on a rock next to the railroad tracks, passing a bottle of clear fluid between them. Mutant’s throat was parched raw like sandpaper. But he waited still, like the sly predator he had become. In not too long, one ‘bo dropped on his back in the dirt. The other leaned over him, his head turning in slow circles. Hobo Mutant acted. His hands flew high and accurate, wrapping firm about the seated ‘bo’s throat. The bottle flew in the air as the ‘bo went to the ground. The bottle smashed on a rock. Hobo Mutant squeezed tight and felt something snap beneath his hands. The ‘bo went limp. Hobo Mutant rushed to the scene and devoured the dead ‘bo like a hungryanimal. When there was nothing left, he wiped his chin. The other ‘bo groaned, laying in the dirt. Mutant dragged the remains of his lunch into the bushes and covered it with shrubs. He lay on his belly out of sight and watched the other ‘bo come to. The ‘bo got up on his knees, put one hand to his head and sighed loud. Seeing the splotch of blood in the dirt, he scuttled to his feet and staggered screaming along the tracks, out of sight, his holler like a train whistle fading into distance and heat waves. Hobo Mutant scuffed away the bloodstain on the dirt and pulled the dead ‘bo’s remains into his hidden dwelling. Then he slept until dark. Mutant woke to the sound of voices. This time, there were more than two. Hobo Mutant crawled up to a viewpoint and observed.
“So you said it was here, huh?”
“Yeah, it was right here, see, here’s the rock.”
“There’s a rock like this every twenty feet.”
“But I know it was here. And the blood was right there, a big patch of it.”
“Well, I don’t see nothin’.”
“I tell ya, someone killed Jesse and left a big patch of blood, right here.”
“Well, there’s nothin’ here now.”
“It was here. Something happened.”
One man stood, nodding his head as one pleaded, occasionally saying, “Yup, yup.”
A man in uniform continued. “I think you was just drunk. I think your buddy wandered off. Or caught a freight while you was passed out. Nothing happened here. Now why don’t you just go back to your friends in the jungle and tell your story to them. I ain’t got the time.” He stormed off along the tracks, the others following him. “Yup… yup… yup….” train whistle, gone again. Mutant waited until they were out of sight and pursued them. As he neared the hobo jungle, he began to recognize the landscape— an oil drum, rusted out and abandoned over there, just as it had been twenty years earlier. A railroad switch, an unusual rock formation, and the voices of people, many people. Off of the tracks, over in a gully between two sloping hills, he could see the light of a fire rising up and giving off an orange glow. Mutant got close enough to watch the ‘bos eating and laughing, seated around the fire, some drinking, some sleeping, huddled together like a pack of wolves. Mutant went back to his lair and gnawed on bones. Then he slept. The following night was the stuff that folklore is made of. Hobo Mutant was hungry again. He ground his front teeth to a fine viperous point on a rusty section of track. There was a full moon this night, it hung low over the hills and dirt like a giant porthole into another world. Hobo Mutant headed out toward the jungle, drooling lasciviously. He waited on the hillside, overlooking the gathering of ‘bos. One of them would be his meal. Blood pumped hard in his veins. Capillaries burst in his eyes. ‘Bos toasted eggs and strips of smelly meat over the fire. There was no talking this night. The ‘bos were grave and afraid. Hobo sense told them that this was not a good night. One ‘bo nodded, swaying back and forth sitting cross-legged, moving to a silent rhythm as if listening to a railroad song in his head. He stood, hobbled over a hill and began to relieve himself. He was alone, on the other side, out of sight of the others. Hobo Mutant scurried around the periphery of the camp to the other side and snuck behind the pissing ‘bo. His Mutant arms lashed out from twenty feet. A finger went through the thorax, but still it screamed. The throat, out in seconds, but not before the camp heard that last painful sound. Mutant pulled the corpse toward him and devoured. A voice rose from the camp.
Hobo Mutant dragged the body to the top of the hill and pushed it over the edge towards them. Silhouetted against the moon, he howled with the voice of a man cut in half— his father’s legacy. He raised his stubs to the sky and swung his attached hands in circles whose ropes cut the moon at every angle. He howled once more and ran for his cave, miles away.
Raymond shivered thinking about the story. He ordered another sandwich and swatted at a fly.