November 30, 2012

Final Encryption - Part 2

   The shitty Japanese thing that still clung to the illusion of being a car more or less sped along highway 10 towards a destination unknown to Ricky.  He was driving, with the baggy-bloused lady’s gun still pointed at him, but she was just giving directions minute by minute, like a living blond GPS with too flat a chest.   At least with a real GPS you could imagine the voice’s owner according to your own preferences.  Ricky sighed and tried to focus.
   One of his present problems with focus was that the radio was playing frigging Supertramp, from a cassette tape, for Christ’s sake.  Even with the windows rolled all the way down, the noise of the wind couldn’t mask the intolerable Wurlitzer chords that filled the hot summer air.  He tried conversation.
   “Where are we going?” he asked, screaming to cover the wind and the Wurlitzer.
   But the lady shook her head.  “You’ll see.”
   “At least tell me your name then,” he said.
   “Not here.”
   Not going anywhere.  “So, you like Supertramp?”  Gunpoint was a good excuse for shitty lines.
   “No,” she said.
   Ok.  “So… why are we listening to it then?” he said, and extended his hand towards the off button.
She batted his arm down with such force that his hand hit the gearshift.  “DON’T TURN IT OFF!” she screamed.
   “Ouch!  You’re insane.”
   She clenched her teeth, muttered “I wish I was,” and said nothing for the rest of the trip.


   They finally arrived as dawn brought a fine band of pink and grey on the horizon.  She’d made them take several detours and side roads, probably to try and confuse him.  Ricky let her think it had worked, but he knew they were about 15.5 km northeast of Lac-Mégantic, near the US border.  To the best of his knowledge, there was nothing out here.
   They took a dirt road and drove through a wrought-iron gate.  Ricky looked for a sign, a name plaque, anything, but the property seemed anonymous, at least from this entrance.  Then in the distance, over the trees, he saw a bell tower.
   “Taking me to church, lady?” he said.  “Isn’t it a bit quick?  I mean, I know how sexy I am, but maybe we ought to get to know each other a little.”
   A ghost of a smile played on her lips.  Or maybe it was a smirk.  “We’re here.  Turn left.”
   They stopped in front of a grey stone building that looked more than a hundred years old.  Morning mist still hung around a small courtyard with a statue of some saint in the centre.  The light was a ghostly yellow, and Ricky wondered when was last time he’d been up this early.
   She took the car keys and they entered a small coat room.  “Wait here,” she said, “I’m going to slip into something more comfortable”.  Right before she left the room, she added, like an afterthought:       “Oh, and if you were thinking of hotwiring the car, don’t do it.  It would explode.”
   “You’re bluffing,” Ricky said.
   “Maybe I am,” she said, and left.
   Ricky stayed in the coatroom, which smelled of must and incense and something else that made his nose itchy, like a weird cleaning product or something.  He peeked through a small window on his left and saw a man in the courtyard.  He was dressed in overalls and climbing up a metal ladder.  He carried some sort of contraption in his left hand, a long pole with some large copper cables coiled over it, and what looked like a big black light bulb on the end.  Before he could wonder about this apparition, the lady walked back in.
   Except she was wearing a black and white nun habit.
   “Please follow me,” she said.
   “You looked better when I could see some legs,” Ricky said.  “Why are you dressed as a nun?”  
   She laughed.  “Why do you think?”
   “Wait…  you are a nun?”
   She nodded.
   “But you’re young.”
   “And you need to get laid but I can’t help you with that.  However, if you will follow me, I will explain to you how not to die.”


November 23, 2012

Final Encryption - Part 1

Good morning everyone,

Today we're starting publication of a serial.  I've always enjoyed reading and writing those.  As a reader, there's the feeling of being taken on a long journey, and looking forward to the next leg of the trip every week.  As a writer, there's the pressure of producing something regular and coherent over a long period.  I always found the pressure kind of liberating (when you have to post a story in two hours, you have less time to worry about whether you have properly developed your main characters profound motives and all that).
In any case, here's the first installment.  Enjoy!

   Custom cars lined the parking lot.  Ricky leaned on the hood of his ’74 Mustang convertible and smoked.  He’d found the piece, and paid a high price.  Now so would his buyer. 
    On the nearby sunken highway, cars screamed by.  Strings of multicoloured lights hung between lampposts and the giant, orange, spherical restaurant that overlooked the parking lot where classic car enthusiasts gathered every week.  Ricky distractedly appreciated a ’68 Citroën DS idling by the fast-food counters as its owner, a redhead in expensive jeans and ridiculous red and gold high heels, ordered an amount of fries that no one with that figure should have been able to eat.  He liked the car, and he liked the girl, but his mind was elsewhere.  Trying to figure stuff out.
   Like, for example, what the hell had happened to Hans last night?
   He lit another cigarette and squinted in the blur of headlights as an ugly, grey, recent, fucking japanese car turned into the lot and headed towards him.  It looked like a Tercel but it was hard to tell with all the rust.
   From it emerged a woman with straight, blond hair cut at the shoulders.  She wore perfectly creased jeans and a white blouse that looked too big on her.
   “Are you Ricky?” she said.
   Ricky nodded, blowing smoke through the side of his mouth.  Manners in front of a lady and all that.
   “Do you have what I asked for?” she went on.
    Ricky nodded again.  “Do you have the money?”
    She gave a strange smile.  Ricky had never seen that kind of smile.  It contained an equal mix of contempt, pity, sadness and some sort of vindictive glee.  It made him wary.  And curious.
    “Of course,” she said, and produced a large reusable shopping bag that read Magog Army Surplus
    Ricky checked it and counted. “All there,” he said, and went to the trunk of his Mustang.  “I’ve got your thing right here.  Genuine, original 1956 Ford radio antenna with vintage copper coil and couplings.  Took me forever to find it.”
   “Thank you, mister Ricky, well done,” she said, putting the antenna in the trunk of her own, well, car.
   “I hope you’re not planning to waste it on this shitty box on wheels you’re driving,” he said.
   Her smile grew enigmatic.  “I’m not,” she said.
   “Can I ask what you’re working on then?” he said.  “I’m the best mechanic around.  Maybe I could, you know, give you a hand.”  Get her talking.  Find stuff out.
   The smile disappeared, and she suddenly looked twice her age.  “There are things that you’re better off not knowing.”
   Ricky lost what little patience he had.  He took a step forward and loomed tall over the woman.    
   “Alright, let’s cut the crap,” he said, “What happened to Hans?  You know, don’t you?”
   She didn’t flinch, didn’t take a step back, just looked at him calmly, and again with that hint of pity.   
   “Hans is your partner, isn’t he?  You seemed to have a lot of affection for him when we first met.  Is he alright?” she added, with what seemed like genuine concern.
   Ricky lost it.  He often did.  “No, he’s not alright!  Last night, when we tested your goddamn antenna, he just… I don’t know… he disappeared!”
   She frowned.  “Disappeared?” she said.  “How?”
   “I don’t know, lady!  It’s just like he was a pile of sand and some invisible wind blew him away or something.”  Yeah, and he was ready for the nut house.
   The woman’s frown turned into a look of intense concern.  “Get it the car,” she said in an anxious voice.
   “You’ve been compromised.  Give me your phone.”  With surprising speed, she reached into his jacket, grabbed his phone and threw it in a storm drain.  “Now get in,” she said again, shoving him towards the Tercel. 
   “Hey, my phone!  You…”  he stopped when he saw her pull a revolver from inside her baggy blouse and point it at him.
   “I’m sorry,” she said, “Get in the car.  Please.”
   “But…  my Mustang…”
   “We don’t have time.  Get in now.”
   He got in.

November 7, 2012

HBM at Expozine 2012

Hello everyone!

Here Be Monsters will be at Expozine this year. Last time we were there (2010), we were nominated for one of the independent press awards. We're excited to be a part of it again. For those that have not been, it's an amazing collection of independent and small press works from all over the place. The mix is very eclectic, from books like HBM to handmade unique art books to comic books -- It's an awesome experience and I'm looking forward to checking out all our fellow exhibitors.

It'll be held in Montreal on November 17 and 18. Our table will have the brand new issue, Tongues and Teeth, as well as some copies of the older books if you're looking to complete your collection :)

For more information, check out their site here: