Steve Grogan is an ongoing contributor to Writer to Writers. He has published several short stories on the site, which can be found on the main page under the heading “Steve Grogan’s Fiction.” He has had several poems and short stories published over the years, some of which are available on Amazon. (See the announcement at the end of this post.)
He is the writer and creator of the ongoing, zombie, post-apocalyptic, Romero-meets-Dungeons-and-Dragons webcomic REDemption. Alternatively, Steve describes the comic by saying, “It is to zombie fiction what KILL BILL was to kung fu movies: everything I love about the genre housed under one roof and mixed with my voice.”
October 2, 2008
Twenty-nine days until Halloween. That used to be my favorite day of the year. Seeing as how I’ve lost the ability to go outside and participate in it, it’s no surprise that my interest in it has vanished.
There are some parts of the day (and the month of October in general) that I still enjoy. Like the movies. AMC runs nothing but horror movies for the entire month. Occasionally they’ll play a shitty one (like Exorcist 2), but for the most part they show all the old-school classics: Halloween, The Fog, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Omen, The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Come to think of it, AMC has always been cool in the horror movie department because they always have Fear Friday: nothing but horror movies from 7PM until about one in the morning, sometimes even later.
Back when I was writing my gruesome short stories, I used to be a horror movie fanatic. Why? Always looking for inspiration for the deaths in my fiction. I’d take what I saw and make it just a little bit different in my stories.
I watched a lot of foreign horror flicks. Got a subscription to Fangoria. The whole nine yards. These days I don’t have the same passion for it, but every now and then I’ll hear about some obscure horror titles and hunt them down on the Internet. Some of them are absolute garbage. Others deserve a wider audience. Sometimes I used to drive myself crazy about how damn near criminal it was that great horror directors (like Dario Argento) had no more than a cult following in America, yet everyone knew every detail about crappy flicks like Friday the 13th Part 20. Even when these lesser-known movies turn out to be celluloid shit, I’d still prefer them over the mindless eye candy that floods the local multiplex. Some of those movies are so boring and poorly plotted that it’s like watching paint dry for an hour and a half.
The worst offenders are all the pointless remakes: The Fog, House of Wax, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the like. In my mind, the two worst remakes of all time would have to be Dawn of the Dead and Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
At this point, I’d like to say something specifically about Mr. Zombie here: first he made shitty music; now he makes shitty movies. What frustrates me the most about that is not that he makes bad art, but that so many people fall over themselves to praise his work. Personally, I don’t know what the fuss is about.
When Lions Gate stepped in and allowed House of 1,000 Corpses to see the light of day, Fangoria was happier than a pig in shit. I thought, “Damn, if they’re singing the praises of it, then I guess it’s going to be one hell of a good movie.” Then it came out, and I could barely sit through five minutes of that cinematic turd. Halloween was even worse. It was almost bad enough to erase my memories of the original. Given Carpenter’s classic is one of my favorite horror films ever, that is quite a mean feat indeed.
The problem is that Zombie makes all the victims in his movies so goddamn unlikable that you wind up rooting for the killers. Now I’m no stranger to the whole “antihero” motif, but sometimes there is such a thing as going too far. There are people out there who don’t mind rooting for the bad guy. Fine with me. Let them shell out their hard-earned cash for that hump Zombie. If they enjoy wasting their time, there’s not much I can do to stop them.
Looking outside my window this morning, I saw the leaves have already started to change colors. A good deal of them had even fallen to the ground. When the wind blew, I heard the bare branches clicking together, like someone tapping their fingernails on glass. How I wished I could be out there!
Autumn. My favorite time of year. “Hoody weather,” one of my friends used to call it. It’s amazing how long ago it seems I could go outside.
Time has always been funny like that. Sometimes things that happened two days ago feel like they are buried far in the past. Then the reverse is true for older memories: something from years ago seems to have happened only last week.
Earlier in my narrative, I left off at the point where I was trying to come up with a medical excuse to give my landlord. As I said before, I had no idea what excuse I could use. After all, he’d seen me walking around my apartment so it’s not like I could say I was a para- or quadriplegic. Naturally, telling him the truth was out of the question too. Besides, even if I told him, that’s something Bob wouldn’t believe unless he could see it.
And that’s when it hit me: a condition I didn’t want him to see. How about one that no one could see? In other words, my fictional problem could be mental instead of physical. With that in mind, I got on the computer and went to my old friend Wikipedia and ran a search for psychological disorders. This proved to be no good as it included things like schizophrenia and OCDS, so my next step was to narrow the search down to phobias, and I hit pay dirt right at the top of the list.
An anxiety disorder where a person goes into a panic attack if they are in an unfamiliar place where they feel they have no control and/or means of escape. Panic attacks can also be triggered by being in wide-open spaces, standing in line, or waiting in a car on a bridge. This disorder fit perfectly because all these things would be involved in getting Bob his rent. Think about it. I had to go outside to my car. Naturally my car itself was an enclosed space. Then I had to go over a bridge to get to the nearest branch of my bank. Finally, I would have to wait in line there. The only way I could have found a better disorder was if I had made one up myself.
I scrolled down the article to a section called “Causes and Contributing Factors.” Directly underneath that, in bold type, were the words Family Factors. It had three items listed, and do you know what the last one was?
“Having an overly critical parent.”
I must have spent a good five minutes laughing at that one. My stomach muscles hurt as if I’d done one hundred crunches. You just can’t make up some of the humorous curve balls life throws at you.
Speaking of things related to balls, I happened to look down and notice my cock had returned. It was about six inches long while flaccid. This made me realize one other bizarre characteristic about my condition: there were no growing or shrinking pains. I never noticed the size change until I looked down. How was that possible? Then again, how was any of this possible?
I guess the answer to those questions doesn’t matter. It’s not like knowing them would give me any more control over the size curse.
If you like what you have read and would like to purchase this serialized novel as one complete PDF, then please send $3.50 to Steve via PayPal: email@example.com
Also, don’t forget to check out his other writing at the following links below:
Author: Redemption Comics
Steve Grogan was born in the often-filmed city of Troy, NY. He has written in a variety of formats (novels, short stories, poems, screen and stage plays, blogs/articles) and genres (horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, drama).
Steve is also a father, a boyfriend, a musician, a fitness fanatic, and a martial artist. He has been studying Wing Chun Kung Fu since 1995, and he maintains a blog/YouTube channel that describe his training habits, epiphanies, and advancement. It also candidly discusses his stumbling blocks, such as his struggle with nutrition and mental health issues.
He is no relation to the New England Patriots quarterback from the 1980’s.