Thought it would be fun to look at some of the author's artwork, as well as covers for his stories.
The Shadow: Chapter 9: The Devil in White (1940) Golden Age Movie Serial Video starring Victor Jory. The Shadow knows!
The Shadow: Chapter 5 (1940) ( Victor Jory, Veda Ann Borg, Roger Moore) In Danger Above the action ramps up!
The Shadow (1940) was the ninth serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based upon the classic radio series and pulp magazine character with the same name. The Shadow battles a villain known as The Black Tiger, who has the power to make himself invisible and is attempting world domination.
The Shadow: The Ghost of Captain Bayloe, Part Two...Ghosts can walk or fly, but are they real people? The Shadow Knows!
Spread your Sauce, Mind your Mummies
"A To Hell and Back Story"
By John Pirillo
"Mustard....the only female of the squad, the DAA...Demon Asskicking Avenger... works as a programmer during the times off, expert language skills, can interpret any language in a matter of minutes or hours, gifted, never forgets a thing, hard for dating because of her innate distrust of men, though she loves her comrades in arm, she won't have anything romantic to do with them even though Squat has a mad crush on her and brings her a bouquet of flowers every day. Named Mustard because she puts it on everything she eats, especially ice cream. Emerald green eyes and loud blonde hair, frosted with strawberry."
Mustard sucked and sucked on the stick, juicing it for every drop of pleasure she could, her parched lips aching from lack of moisture. The stick had been part of a cactus that she had blown up, along with an assorted cadre of Mexican demons, the kind that manifested with huge Tequila bottle heads, multiple knifed fingertips, and a tongue that could lash you like a whip, then such you dry like she was trying to do with that sole survivor of the blown up cactus.
The first one had stepped out of the Joshua Tree, leaned against it, a cigarette between its horrid lips, and tipped its Tequila head and leered at her. "Girlie, wanta get lucky?"
She had blown its Tequila to bits with her Sig Hauser.
A second slid from beneath a shrub and sneered at her, its Tequila head lined with wrinkles. "That trick won't work on me..."
She kicked it in its privates, and then as it ducked to cover them, she smashed its bottle against her knee, shattering it. Her pants smelled like Tequila and blood. Demon blood.
She shoved the body away and it dissolved, like the other back into the soil.
She didn't hear the other five behind her until too late. She spun around to confront them. She even managed to personally smash three of them together at the same time. The same time as this MF the size of a small garbage truck rammed into her legs. Wham Bam, thank you M'am. It had said, leering at her as she laid there, her legs both broken.
She had sneered through her tears of pain and powdered him with a grenade, sending him and the other lusting demons back to the hell they had come from.
The desert became hushed and quiet again.
But now she wouldn't be hiking back to her Four by Four anytime soon. It might as well have been a thousand miles away. That was when she realized she'd have to crawl a lousy thirty miles in hundred plus heat to get back to Baker.
How in the hell...she almost snickered at that word...had she ended up in the middle of the Mojave Desert outside Baker, where the 100 foot tall thermometer reminded her of what she didn't have? Water. Cool. Shade.
How? She had been a disgusting freak and plodded out into the desert by herself, because Squat had proposed to her again. She was so disgusted at him...no, herself...that she had run out of their meeting place, jammed the pedal on her Four by Four and drove blindly, until she finally ran out of gas in Baker. That was when she decided to go to the Little Alien Store, buy some jerky, some water bottles and hike out into the Mojave. Screw the heat! Screw the demons! Screw Squat!
No, she had stopped. "Unscrew that bastard. That bastard!" She had wept, and kept walking, even though night was approaching. That's when she had been ambushed by the damned demons. Damn!
Both her legs were broken. She had to crawl to make progress. She'd made a lot in the three days since the incident. Also blown up more demons. She seemed to be a demon magnet. She would've settled at that moment for being a babe magnet...but it seemed too sexist, even to her in her more elevated spirit at that time.
"Spread your sauce and mind your mummies." Her mother had always told her, but she never understood the meaning of those words until this crazy incident. At the time her mom had been spreading tomato sauce on a homemade pizza, confusing the wisdom she was imparting. Or else maybe it was just because Mustard was only eight years old then and had no idea of what a double entendre was? Probably be the last thing she learned the way things were going.
"Where are those brats?"She wondered out loud. For the last day or so she'd found herself having great conversations with the sand, the occasional rattle snake, and scorpions that rustled her way for a peeksy. They never rustled away though. She hated them with a passion. Devil's work for sure she thought sourly, thinking of the last scorpion who'd she'd ripped it stinger off, then its poison sac and sucked its juices from its body for nourishment. That had been her last meal. The one before that, several days after her fight that broke both her legs, she'd grabbed a rattler by its throat, ripped off its rattler, pounded it flat, then extracted its poison sacks, and munched on it raw.
She was long past caring about raising a fire. It might signal the other demons out there.
She looked up again as she painfully dragged herself inch by inch through the blazing hot sands, over prickly rocks and fallen thorns, ignoring the red ants and the scorpions who popped from under rocks to raise their tails at her when she accidentally disturbed their homes. She wasn't hungry anymore so she let them live. They let her live.
She swept...if you can call moving as fast as an arthritic old lady almost two hundred years old fast...some fingers through her straggly blonde hair. It would need a good shampoo and rinse once she got back. If she got back. No when she got back.
The thermometer was getting bigger in her vision now. How far? Maybe another mile?
She felt as if the ground were moving under her. Ahead of her was a large Joshua tree with the shade in the right direction and about the right size. It took her most of the rest of that day to reach it and she collapsed into it, letting herself go at last. Tomorrow would take care of itself. Almost automatically, her hand snatched out for a huge scorpion that rushed her from the shade she had invaded.
She quickly tore out its stinger and poison sacs, then sucked it dry, spit out the remains and rolled over onto her back. She edged up a bit to look at her legs. They were twisted like pretzels. "What a mess you've gotten yourself into now." She sneered at herself, even though only she could see it...in her own mind's eye.
Where was Squat when you needed him? A soft spot had grown in her psyche towards the man. He was no looker. But what he lost in looks, he made up for in his gallantry. No man had ever bought her flowers every day. Every single frigging day!
She burst into laughter. It came out as a hoarse, broken choke that sounded like a dying horse. Or at least what she imagined one would look like.
She heard a sound. New. Loud. Closing in.
She tried to roll over to look. A large shadow swept by. A horse and its rider. She glimpsed them for a brief moment. They were looking toward where she was crawling, a cell phone on their damned ear, their eyes lost behind thick sunglasses that blurred any side vision which might have caught her in them.
"Damn!" She swore, which came out as "Sham!" Making her sound like she was drunk. Hell, maybe she was. Dead drunk.
She laughed at her own stupid joke, and then sighed, making a gurgling sound in her throat. Her legs didn't hurt anymore. She suspected that the nerves had given up from all the banging around she had done to them as she fought off the last of those damned demons. Who would have thought that any country would have its own demons? But they did.
She remembered when she was in Russia, the demons there all looked like polar bears with vodka glasses for eyes and leering smiles. In Florida they all wore Hawaiian shirts and had noses that trailed behind them. In San Francisco they all dressed like drag queens and smoked long cigarettes that stuck between puckered red lips. Some damn heterosexual had given birth to that crazy version. Some Baptist preacher, whom they had to rescue from his own stupid demons. He had such a hatred and fear of being gay that he had manifested it as real demons.
Last she heard he had been busted by reporters for engaging in homosexual behavior with a prostitute that had cost his church hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up. Such hypocrites. Why can't they just admit what they are and love themselves anyway? Why do they always have to take someone else down because of their fear of admitting what they themselves were?
That's the danger of hatred. It's powerful. Very powerful. And what we hate we create, even as what we love, we create. What a damned strange world, she mused.
Hell! Demons were nothing if uncommon. Generated by all the stupid fantasies of the people who feared them, they came in all flavors, and all dangers. Some ate you. Some sucked you up like soda. Some sipped. Some nibbled. Some fried you. Some dissolved you. Some married you, then exposed themselves on the night of the...here she fell into a smile. Romantic, she wasn't. So she refused to even go there with that thought.
Men disgusted her.
Women disgusted her.
She wasn't into sex. She wasn't into sex. Not with anyone or anything.
Her mind began to reel, so she reeled it back in, blocking out the visions of horror that began to overcome her, of groping hands, of a large face with a friendly smile, and a woman. A woman too. She shook the thoughts out and the images, her whole body numb with grief, despair and a growing anger. The last kept her awake, even as the sun began to sink and the temperatures drop. She had made it through the last nights because her fever had been so high that she had sweated through the dropping temperatures, but now she had beat that she felt the drop intimately, as intimately as if she were being dunked in a cold bath of ice water.
She sighed, and then closed her eyes. What was the use? She'd never make it. No one knew where she was. They had probably all written her off as another casualty. Another lost comrade. There had been others. Her heart grieved even now for them...Soothsayer, a gentleman who always wore a tux and carried a machine gun that could saw through solid steel and demons like butter. There had been Marge the Large. A very heavy woman who used her weight to demolish the demons, immobilizes them, and then finishes them off with huge slaps of her karate hands. Deadly hands. Even if fat. And the last...Norman. Normal in all ways. Petite, almost feminine. Had he been born in Frisco, he might have become a drag queen back in the Haight Ashbury Days, but he wasn't and wore his femininity like a cloak, but without blazing it for all to see. He had been the most hurtful of the lost ones. He was kind to a flaw. His kindness had let a demon get through his defenses.
It had been a ten year old kid, sucked into a demon, which had assumed its form and acted like a normal kid. The kid inside the demon would surface, sometimes naughty, sometimes nice, but always wanting to be...just a kid. Norman had taken pity on it, and spared it, securing it in his home's basement.
They had found him a week later after he didn't come for their regular meeting. He had been shredded to pieces. They found him intertwined with the ten year old boy in a pool of red and green blood mixed together. He had scribbled with his blood. "I saved him."
And for all she knew he had, the kid, now demon skinless, laid there with a serene look on his face and an arm wrapped around Norman's neck, his face wet with streaks of tears he had cried before he had died of heartbreak.
Shaker had told her all of that after she had come back from the madness it had temporarily flung her into. She had a sensitive nature and the sight of that destruction...a good soul and a young child, destroyed by the loathing and hatred of the darkness of demons created by humanity. That drove her over the edge for a time.
As she considered those days she fell into a merciful sleep. She felt her body struck hard, as if by something huge. But she didn't care anymore. What was the use? She was dying.
She heard a voice keep saying, "Don't leave me now. Don't leave me now."
It made sense, but it shouldn't have been there. Not with all the pain and agony her body felt as it was roughly moved. Every nerve in her body screamed.
Finally, she woke up screaming, every cell in her body letting go of all the pain and anguish she had been carrying for years now and those last few days.
She felt something wet her cheek and opened her eyes. Her screams stopped.
It was Squat. Looking into her face.
"You ugly sonuva bitch!" She greeted him.
"I love you too, Mustard." He told her.
Then everything swirled into a deep, blissful darkness. One she could surrender too, knowing she would escape to the other side with a man who cared for her as much as he loved his own life. Maybe when she woke up she'd tell him something about that. Maybe. But then she became lost in a beautiful white light that surrounded her and enveloped her, healing her mind, heart and soul.
"Spread your sauce, mind your mummies." Mom told her for a brief moment, her big, compassionate eyes looking into hers, and then she was lost again in the light and surrendered to unconsciousness.
Time to rest and heal.
You may say that size doesn't matter -- these guys disagree!
Short Story. "The Dragon Slayer." A tale of love and cartoons. Dragons and slayers. And maybe a little devil too.
The Dragon Slayer
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
Most kids his age were out zapping flowers and angry birds, tweaking Mario's mustache, or daring a Halo jump on their game machines or handhelds. But him? No, not really. He was too busy trying to make a living as a part time janitor, servicing the needs of three different girlfriends, only two of whom were real, and none of which were the one he was in love with. Or at least that's what he thought when they weren't around. However, when they were around, his intellect fell into his pants, along with all other working parts of his brain.
He wasn't depraved or a horn dog, turnt, bopping, slung up, nor was he a juanish kind of person seeking relationship after relationship. He just happened to be the kind of guy that certain girls were attracted to. In this case two real ones and the other...a cartoon. Not a piece of paper, or TV one that he had to read or watch...though he did do that...a lot...but a real, living breathing cartoon that just happened to be the sexiest girl alive, hotter than a stick of dynamite, and able to blow his mind in a single bound. In other words, she was perfect. For him. He should know. Because he had made her. Or at least she had made him think so at first, until he really got to know her, and then everything went turnaround drone hellfire ballistic.
Cartoon was the Princess of a world of cartoons. Of course, to themselves, they were as real as he was to his fellow planetary humans, but they to us were of a race of light and substance that only someone like Albert Einstein or Steven Hawking would or could understand.
"Earth base to Johnny. Come in."
His mind fell from heaven to heaven. Thoughts raced from the past to the present where Cartoon sat opposite him in Denny's sipping at a huge milkshake, sucking it down like it was caught in an oceanic whirlpool. "Hi." He said.
She twinkled at him. Literally. Not so as anyone else could see it. She'd gotten better at hiding her cartoonish nature. What with Lady Clairol, lots of pancake carefully applied, and a heavy generation of non-see through clothing so her neon nature wasn't so readily visible, though she had to be careful about how she bent or turned, or parts of her clothing would flash someone if happened to be looking that way.
He had to smile because he'd seen lots of people shake their heads after such a thing, wondering if they'd just lost their mind for a moment. He didn't care. She was a good person, even if a bit showy. He grinned.
"What you grinning about?"
"Oh."She brightened. Literally.
I frantically made the tune it down gesture and she dimmed, but not before half the place had lit up like a Christmas Candle. People began to turn to look our way, but since she was back to normal, they all began assuming it was just a truck or car that had swung past the huge glass windows of our restaurant. And to help things out, a huge Raley's Supermarket truck swung past, its huge headlights on high, lighting the interior of the restaurant up even brighter still.
I sighed with relief, and then gave her a scalding look.
She giggled like a school girl caught with her hand in a bag of cookies.
I shook my head. No use. I could never stay mad at her.
"Okay. Okay. I'm not mad." I muttered angrily.
She slipped a bronzed hand over mine. It was holding a fork with which I had been eating a blackberry pie mounded with vanilla ice cream. Whole reason I came to Denny's. Didn't really like much else they ruined. They used to be a high quality restaurant, but these days they were just the fast food of sit downs.
"You've got to come off high alert sometime, Johnny." She teased me, squeezing my hand warmly.
I sighed. She was right. When I wasn't busy trying to protect her from visibility to the whole world, I was turning into some kind of comic book freak. And I don't mean just reading comic books all the time and holing up in my bathroom or bedroom. No, the real thing. A comic book freak. Able to bound three stories one day without breaking a sweat, stretching my right hand out for candy a mile away, turning invisible, manifesting a wicked sword, turning translucent, firing up and blasting away. You name it. Whatever comic book I held, I became the hero of it, or a reasonable fact simile.
Unfortunately, the reverse was also true. When I had a comic book, its villains would sometimes come to life and I would have to fight them. Not only to save the world, but my usual suspects...namely me, and anyone close to me.
"Johnny!" She scalded again.
I snapped from my thoughts. It had been a rough week for both of us, but on me, it was showing. On her...well, she just absorbed it like a sponge and brightened up anyway. She couldn't help it, it was her nature. Just like it was mine to worry. A lot.
"The Zombie King." I started.
She put a finger to my lips. Shook her head.
"He's not here."
Again she shook her head. "You don't have any comic books on you."
"I didn't last time he showed up in that Burger King with the huge slide that zombies kept spiraling around and popping out of, terrorizing the kids and parents there."
"What about the time they invaded that shopping mall? Was that also a fluke?"
"You had been in Barnes and Noble. Read a comic book."
I sighed in exasperation. "It doesn't even matter which one I read anymore. That bastard keeps on coming. He's like an Ever Ready battery, takes a beating and keeps on ticking."
"It's a dumb commercial with what they call an Energizer Bunny..."
She clapped her hands together. "I know him."
I gave her a look of dismay.
"What! That's impossible!"
She touched herself.
"Loud and clear." I acknowledged, knowing I was sitting across from Missus Impossibility herself.
"Anyway, there are commercials..."
"Oh, those funny things where men make love to their cars and trucks?"
I gave her a suspicious look. "They..."
She shook her head. "No they don't exist in my world."
I let out a breath of relief. "Anyway, there's this battery that is so powerful, that when this mechanical bunny uses it, he just keeps on working when all the other battery run toys stop."
"Sort of like you and me, sweetie." She pointed out.
I gave her a look that portrayed absolute hopelessness. She giggled and smiled. Game over. I was caught back into the dragnet of her love.
"Anything else for you two lovebirds?"
We looked up and Candy, a sweet-faced waitress, about forty years old, with three kids, a mortgage and working on a college degree to become a doctor, stood there her pad out to take orders.
"Nah." I responded.
I looked at Cartoon. She eyed the carousel menu which showed a flaming piece of gooey chocolate fudge cake, heaped with vanilla ice-cream. "One of those." I pointed at the object of her affection.
"On it." Candy said, and then bounced off like she usually did. I watched her walk off, until Cartoon grabbed my chin and turned me back to her.
"Is that how you treat your Queen?"
"You're not my princess!" I snapped back at her, angry for her intrusion on my thoughts.
She gave me a sharp look. "That's not what you tell me when..."
I put a finger to her lips. "I was just admiring how much energy that woman has after taking care of three kids, going to college three times, studying all day, and basically sleeping a few hours and that's it."
"Because I'm starting to fit into that same groove." I shrugged her hand from my face, and then scrubbed my eyes with a finger. They felt like sandpaper.
She gave me a gentle look, took my hand and kissed it. "I love you, Johnny."
"Ditto." I replied.
That was when all hell broke loose. When hadn't it lately?
We both jerked away from each other and looked towards the source of the commotion. It was a huge man. He had thrown his plate down on the floor, shattering it. Candy came running to pick it up. "I'll have this cleaned up in a minute, sir." She said warmly, not realizing he had done it on purpose.
The man said nothing as she worked, but he slowly turned his head and fixed his eyes on us. His eyes lit up like embers from a hot fire.
"Oh crap!" I muttered, angry at myself at that moment.
I looked at Cartoon. "It's the Devil."
"There's not such thing." She reminded me.
"Not in your world maybe, but here, he's got free rein most of the time."
"But he's not a cartoon."She insisted. Then she gave me a sharp look. "Where is it?"
I sighed and gave it up. A crumpled newspaper sheet with a page of cartoon strips.
"Johnny!" She sighed. "When will you learn?"
The man smiled at us, and his teeth were long and jagged. The back of him twitched and then a long tail with a sharp dagger like point came into view. He looked at Candy on the floor and smiled.
"Cartoon Man to the rescue." I said with a smirk, jumped up from my table, grabbed a salt shaker and ran at the Devil.
As I did his clothing burst into flames.
Candy screamed as the heat struck her. Customers knocked over tables and scrambled to all corners of the diner to get away from the impossibility standing in their midst. As I ran I grabbed more salt shakers.
By the time I reached the Devil, he had shaken off all resemblance to a mortal man, and assumed one of his more demonic forms. All teeth, claws, sharp tail and burnished red skin with glowing red eyes.
"You are mine, Johnny!" He screamed at me.
"Eat this!" I yelled at him, then twisted a bottle of salt's top off and flung it, then the next and the next, faster and faster, until my hands and arms swung like windmill blades.
The Devil screamed as the salt struck him, and began to hiss as if water had struck him. I didn't stop flinging. I stretched one hand out like gooey plastic and grabbed another salt shaker, hurtled to my free hand and kept tossing, until the Devil was impinged in a dozen places of his body by salt shakers and spilling salt.
"Arrrgh!" He screamed over and over, and then he exploded, hurtling chunks of fuming, stinky substance all over the diner.
People screamed in disgust as the matter hammered at them.
They weren't as close as me. It was Hammer Time for me.
When the smoke cleared, which was after a long and silent twenty seconds, Candy told me that later. Everyone came out from beneath their tables and from their hiding places and slowly began to clap as I stood there, a dripping monument to salted Devil. I blushed. I never liked the attention. And it usually didn't last. For some strange reason everyone always forgot what happened within ten minutes of every episode like this.
Cartoon told me it was the nature of our minds to shut off and shut down when faced with the impossible. I just think it was God's Grace looking out for me and everyone else, though I couldn't understand the part where He let all those monsters loose. Or maybe He didn't. It's too existential for my mind to handle, so I usually switch off. With a mind as big as a god's, I can't even begin to imagine how they think, or would think...though there are plenty of humans around who would like to tell you they do. You think?
Cartoon came over and slipped her hand into mine, gooey as it was.
"Let's go home. I feel all glowy after this." She said in that splendid warm voice of hers that blew away all my hormones and turned me into a tornado of love.
I looked into her bottomless eyes. Really, they were bottomless. A cartoon thing.
Hell might cloud my day once in awhile, but when I looked into those wonderful eyes of hers hell didn't have a chance.
"Come here, Dragon Slayer!" She said with a promising smile.
Who am I to argue with a Princess?