Page Five Ghouls

Infernal Ben Vereen

Byline: Gary Llewellyn
Dateline: July 15th, 2017

It’s twenty after midnight and I’ve finished burning the last of the wormwood. Now it’s just a matter of waiting. The cops pulled up and wanted to know why I was burning so much wormwood in a shopping mall parking lot in the middle of the night. Calling in a favor, that’s why. And you get the clearest signal burning your offerings right at their altar. The suburban shopping mall environ is perfect for contacting all manner of hellish entities. Especially one of the bigwigs. A grand king of Hell. The police grew impatient with my answer. One cop asked me if I had been drinking or doing drugs. The other asked to see my ID. That’s ‘yes’ and ‘no’ respectively, officers. Now, for your own safety, I recommend taking several steps back. My friend likes to make an entrance. At this, they drew their pistols and began to circle me, shout for me to get on the ground. That’s when the ground started shaking.

Now, I’m not sure what the surviving cop is going to say on the report. More than likely, he’ll be committed as a gibbering idiot who was found trying to saw his own head off. Azmoday is a fat fuck who can’t go ten minutes without eating, so when he arrived he broke his fast on raw human in uniform. His bull head started on the legs, his human head on the torso and his ram head started by gnawing on the head. After he sat around picking his teeth with a splintered femur for what felt like all night, he starts in on giving me shit.

“What the hell do want, Gary?” he asked.

“Two of your three heads are looking well. The ram one looks depressed, again.”

“I command seventy two legions of spirits. I don’t have time to get jerked off.”

“Inferior spirits.”

“It’s still legions.”

“Right. Cannonfodder is an important piece of any army.”

“You know what, Gary? Fuck you.”

“I’m calling in a favor,” I said. “I need you to lend me a legion or two.”

“Oh, you want to borrow a legion or two of inferior spirits?”

“C’mon, man. I even had a snack waiting when you got here. Besides, you owe me.”

“What does food come out as when this head eats it?” Azmoday asked, pointing to his bovine cranium.

“I’ll bite.”

“Bullshit. Which is what comes out of you, Gary. Goodbye.”

He began walking back to the Hell portal.

“What? You just gonna forget about me?”

“Goodbye, Gary.”

“You ungrateful bastard. I hope you can’t sleep at night on your big cushy pile of adulterers because you're haunted by the terrible way you treated old Gary, here. A pile of adulterers you wouldn’t even be lying on if it wasn’t for me.”

“You have quite the ego on you,” he said, cantering toward me. “How big of a part do you think you played in the whole affair?”

“When you met me you were camping in a tool shed in the San Fernando Valley living off pornstars and junkies. Now look at you, with your crown and whatever the fuck this is.”

“It’s a scepter.”

“C’mon, man. Just two legions. You’ll have them back in no time.”

“What do you need them for?”

“It’s real easy. My partner had been taken in by Interpol.”

“Nope,” he started back toward the portal.


“Not messing with them.”

“Who? Interpol?”

“You know goddamn well who I’m talking about,” he turned back and jabbed one of his chicken legs in my face. “I know why Interpol wants you. You crossed xxx xxxxxxxxx  again. Or plan to.”

“If you get any shit from xxxxxxxxxxxxx, tell them you didn’t know what I wanted them for. I told you I needed extra staff for my sister’s wedding reception.”

“You know I’m bound by nature to speak true of matters clandestined.”

“Just this once.”

“Gary, I’m bound by nature. It’s like a law of physics. How the universe works. It’s like you’re asking gravity to work at your convenience.”

“Az, listen to me. I got them this time. And they know it. That’s why they’re pulling out all the stops. Interpol, the Fae King, nixies, the Thailand spider uprising. Their whole apparatus will be level with the ground before they even get a chance to knock on your Hell portal. And somebody is caught up in this bullshit who shouldn’t be.”

He sighed and considered, “Just one.”

“One is fine. One is great. That will do.”

“One of the lesser ones.”

“Great. I wouldn’t think of tying up your superstars.”

“The least, in fact.”

“Perfect, I don’t need much.”

“You get the most inferior of inferior spirits. I’m talking bottom shelf…”

“Az,” I shouted. “Look at me. All your heads, eyes on me. I want to see six eyes. I’ll take it. Thank you.”

“I want them back by the end of the week.”

“Perfect. Three days tops.”

“Fine. Three days,” he moved back to his portal. “Burn a stick of wormwood. They’ll rally to it.”

“Thank you, Az. You’re a mensch.”

“Uh huh.”

“Oh and can I also borrow an infernal Ben Vereen?”

“It’s ‘bain marie’ and no you can’t.”

“Sure. No problem.”

I’ll have to steal an infernal Ben Vereen.

submission for PFG 7/15



Guten Morgen, Uncle Mort. Guess what? I’m bait. Interpol has me locked up in a Zurich hotel room, waiting for Gary to do something stupid, like try and bust me out. Either way, I figure I’ll be out of here in a week tops. I’ve been entertaining myself by watching a German show about a depressed loaf of bread. I can only go outside with escorts. That's so don’t make a break for it, I guess. I’m actually eating three meals a day, so there’s that. The bed’s nice too.

These guys are kind of creepy so I tried to interview one for the column, but they don’t talk. They just stare back through their black glasses. I’m not even certain they have eyes. When they move it’s like being in the Hall of Presidents.

If you know anything about this, I’m listening.

Given my current circumstances, don’t expect a submission in the foreseeable future.

re: submission for PFG 7/15



All I can say for now kid is hang in there. You're doing a lot better than you think you are!