The Lonesome Dark–Preview

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Available for pre-order now at DOMESTICATEDPRIMATE.COM

The following is a preview from Domesticated Primate‘s newest release, “The Lonesome Dark: Forgotten Nightmares,” by A.C. Perry, edited by Alexa Catao, with art by Dean Forsythe II.  The text includes a publisher’s note, an author’s note, and one of the stories from the collection.  The book is available for pre-order at DOMESTICATEDPRIMATE.COM or through emailing the publisher at NICK@DOMESTICATEDPRIMATE.COM.

Please enjoy this chilling read just in time for the Halloween season!

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

It was through a series of strange coincidences that I first found myself acquainted with the author—or should I say gatherer—of this volume, AC Perry.

Upon our first meeting, he shared with me this collection of stories along with the bulk of research he had done cross-referencing, verifying, and fact checking the information found within them.  Not being an expert on the legality of such things, I sought out some advisement from a friend and member of the state bar association who encouraged that we stray from sharing the research and the names as we were unable to contact any of the parties mentioned.  So, for this volume, we just stuck to the stories.

That being said, I hope you are as equally compelled as I was when reading through these accounts for the first time.  Just don’t let the lonesome dark swallow you…

This book is the first volume in The Lonesome Dark, an annual series by AC Perry.

NL

 

A NOTE FROM MR. PERRY

Dear reader,

The stories that follow in this volume were written by an unknown author (or authors) at an undetermined time. I have taken on the responsibility of organizing these tales so that they may be shared with the public. They are not tales for the squeamish nor do they all end happily. I must admit that they have affected me to a degree, but I share them with you now to lighten this load which I now bare.

My wife and I had just purchased a quaint little cape style house in a quiet part of Massachusetts. We needed more room when our second child was born and the area was ripe with inspiration for my writing. Not long after we settled in, my wife went back to work saving lives at the local hospital–she is a doctor. It gave me plenty of time alone to explore our new place. We were in love with the house, but like any old New England cape, it felt as though it had some secrets to tell. I ignored the feeling, chalking it up to my predilection for Romantic thinking—though, pondering it now, I realize it only came at the times when I was home alone.

It was a chilly October morning when I discovered the scrappy sheaf of papers which have since bred such anxiety and discomfort into my otherwise simple daily life. With our son asleep in his crib, and our daughter at school, I went about cleaning our new home. As I swept the bedroom, a droplet of water dotted my forehead. I looked up to see that ceiling was leaking, presumably from the attic. As I wiped the droplet from my brow, it dawned on me that I had yet to fully investigate said attic. I looked in on my son before pulling down the squealing metal staircase in the hallway.

There was a treasure trove of antiques in the dismal space. Light found its way in from dusty windows at either end. Next to some moth-eaten furniture I heard the dripping. A leak in the roof. Directly next to the puddle that had made its way through the creaky floor and into our bedroom was a box. In the moldering box was a disorganized stack of documents containing these dreaded pages. Three more inches to the left and the manuscripts would have been destroyed by the leak and I would have been spared—as would have you, dear reader.

As I began reading the sloppily hand-inked pages by the hazy attic light, a dread crept into my stomach. I brought them downstairs to read in safety by the fire. Like a child, I hoped the light and warmth would keep at bay whatever ghosts or evil inhabited those pages.

Many of the stories were firsthand accounts and I, of course, believed them to be fictional, ghost stories someone had written down, lost in time, doomed to be forgotten.

Though now, I am not so sure.

While doing some research for my latest book, I stumbled upon some rather shocking news articles. I had spent the day at the library reading old headlines archived on microfilm. I began to notice similarities between the news articles and some of the stories I had read. Reports of strange beings, untimely deaths, a mysterious barn fire—the coincidences were piling up!  Initially, I spoke of my findings to no one, not even my wife. I felt as though my sanity was slipping. None of it could be true, things like this didn’t happen in reality, right?

Under the advisement of my publisher, I will not name the town which we had moved to, but I will say that the more research I did, the more I noticed the rumblings of some unspoken and dark whispered history.

That sheaf of crusty papers that I found in the attic on that early October day are now collected in this volume for all to experience. The decision to do so came after I finally let my wife in on my new secret obsession.  She had caught me up late by the fire tearing through hundreds of copied pages of microfilm. She urged me to share them with the world, thinking perhaps it may provide me with some relief.

My warning to the reader is this; you open this volume at your own peril.  It has provided me with nothing more than a restless and uneasy mind.

The names of people and places have been changed to protect the legacy of those dead and the well-being of those still living.

Take care when reading and make sure to leave a light on. These are the Forgotten Nightmares.

AC Perry

THE TOYMAKER

TTTTTTT

Images & cover art by Dean Forsythe II

Gore Decker smiled at his work as he finished up the last little gruesome details of the sculpture. The pint-sized monster that sat before him was inspired by vicious nightmares the previous night. Gore always woke from his nightmares panting and sweat-covered, but he felt satisfaction immediately afterwards, like the dull ache of stretching a tight muscle mixed with the nostalgia of seeing an old flame. Nightmares were Gore’s livelihood. Every sneaking creature and every fleeting feeling of horror were poured into the art that he produced.

The little sculpture sat off to the side, forgotten for the moment, and stared at its creator with a multitude of bulbous orb-like eyes. Its python limbs were poised and ready to wrap their prey and fracture bones. Gore mixed a two part silicon with great care. The gooey liquid bubbled and clung to the side of the cup, ready to embrace the sculpture and create a negative mold.

The artist then gently placed the sculpture in a paint splattered wooden box. Next came the silicon folding and diving into itself as it filled the surrounding space.

The monster drowned and spit up a few last bubbles of air. The whole box went into a pressure pot, which was also covered in paint. Gore flipped the compressor on and the chamber did its work, crushing any air pockets that would mar the surface of the mold. These actions had been performed countless times by the artist, with hands that moved automatically. He rarely made mistakes anymore. The second floor studio apartment, which functioned more as an art studio than a living space, was relatively quiet.

The mold would take about six hours to set fully, so Gore pushed himself to fill customer orders in that time. Each of his past creations had slowly gained popularity in the relatively small community of custom toys and collectables. He found himself thinking of hiring an assistant to keep up orders. He had around twenty to package that day. Each figure was delicately wrapped with colorful tissue paper. A thank-you note and stickers that read “Gore Customs” were also thrown in the box. They were then taped up, addressed, and moved to the outgoing pile.

It was a lot of work, but the money that was slowly accumulating in the bank was worth it. The figures being shipped out all stood before him on the table like a hideous army—nightmares brought to life in four-inch figures. The paint jobs had gotten better. Beautifully sleek faces and eyes shone darkly in the light. Gore gazed at his own collection of figures lining the wall as he finished packing up another order. There was a knock at the door that snapped him out of the repetitive task.

As he approached the door, a wrinkled and stained piece of paper was shoved under it. He bent to read the messy words scrawled on it. “Down the fire escape NOW!” Gore stared at it dumbly, not sure if it was some weird joke or prank. He reached for the door handle just as something huge threw itself up against the door. THUMP. Dust fell from frame and wood cracked. The suddenness of the sound caused Gore to recoil. THUMP. More wood creaked and splintered.

The frightened artist went quickly to his lone window. He pulled the screen up as the being-turned-battering-ram threw itself against the door more frantically. He was halfway down the escape when he heard the door explode inward. He didn’t wait to see if whoever or whatever it was followed him to the window. The night swallowed Gore up as he moved into the shadows of the alley. There was an inhuman roar of rage and then silence. The artist, with his back against the cool brick apartment wall, panted and tried to pull himself away from the edge of a panic attack.

He stayed in the blackness and stench of the garbage-filled alley for a long time. There were no sounds, as if the world was dead. Slowly Gore moved back to the fire escape and began to climb hesitantly. He hazarded a glance into his room. It was the same as when he had left it. The door was still shut, the air compressor still hummed, and the monstrous army still stood at the ready on his table. Confusion hit him like a migraine. He had hallucinated. That’s the only explanation that made sense. The clock showed 3:21am. Lack of sleep; that had to be it.

Laughing, the beleaguered artist climbed back into his humble studio and shut the screen again. He made a move to the bathroom to splash some water on his face and he saw that same piece of paper lying on the floor. “Down the fire escape NOW!” He stopped and felt unease creeping underneath the relief. He picked the paper up and turned it over. There was another message. “They’ll be back. They need your nightmares.” This time he did open the door and sprang out into the hallway. His fear fueled an anger that rose in his throat. The building was as quiet as the night outside.

Once back inside, Gore locked the door and continued back to the bathroom. He flicked the light switch and his reflection stared back at him from the mirror. Seeing his bloodshot eyes and dark circles suddenly made him feel very tired. His reflection blinked. He hadn’t blinked.

“Please,” whispered his reflection in a glassy faraway voice not unlike his own, “please leave and don’t come back. They’ll do to you what they did to me. You will be nothingness.”

Gore pounded the mirror with both fists in a tired fearful rage. The glass shattered and his hands bled from tiny shards that fought back on the mirror’s behalf. His reflection stared back with an eerie teeth-bared grimace. What was happening? Gore decided he desperately needed sleep. He suddenly couldn’t remember the last time he had slept. He washed the blood from his hands and did his best to pick glass out from the wounds. Bandaged and washed, the sleep-deprived artist went to his bed.

He didn’t dare turn the lights out. He was afraid of what his mind would manufacture in the darkness. It was one thing to experience nightmares in his subconscious dreams, but it was too much to handle in wakefulness. Sleep would make him feel better and the mold would be done curing by the time he woke up. Eventually, with no more hallucinations manifesting, he fell asleep with a pillow over his head.

Morning came like a violent storm; Gore was soaked with sweat and feeling feverish. He stumbled to the bathroom and turned the shower on. He gazed into the cracked mirror warily as if his reflection would reach right through the compromised barrier. The shower made him feel better, but not much. Maybe what he needed was some fresh air and a coffee. There was a coffee shop not far from his apartment and Gore was a regular. They’d fix him up a sweet caffeine cocktail. He shut the compressor off and pulled his cured mold out. That would be his job for the day; casting some tests with resin. He was looking forward to seeing his otherworldly monster come alive.

Gore’s footfalls were distant thuds in his feverish head. He felt strange and there was something about the world around him that was a little bit off. He stopped and appraised the swaying trees across the street. His anxiety grew when he realized how still the air was. The trees were swaying, independent of any wind or breeze. He averted his eyes and kept walking towards the coffee shop at a quicker pace. At the door he glanced behind him. The trees were still swaying. The door opened to admit him into the safe little shop.

The windows of the coffee place were covered and the lighting was dim, creating a moody atmosphere. The place was devoid of people. The barista wasn’t behind the counter. Perhaps they were in back? What time was it? Gore approached the counter and leaned over it, trying to view the back room area. There was slight movement back there. A subtle sound like cloth rubbing cloth was steadily rising. Gore called out. “Hello?”

The subtle sound stopped and a different more unnerving sound began. Like the tearing of flesh. Someone or something began crashing through the kitchen towards the front of the shop. Gore froze. Around the corner appeared a gigantic bulbous creature, multiple limbs and multiple eyes all moving in different ways. Somewhere within the thing came a guttural call like a bull gargling water. Gore screamed and fled from the monstrous thing. The thing pulled itself over the counter, knocking the register and cups all over the place. It stood to its full height, almost touching the ceiling. Gore gagged on the thing’s stench.

Outside the trees still swayed and somewhere behind the sprinting toymaker, the door to the coffee shop exploded, birthing the otherworldly being into the universe. He ran screaming for help. Nothing living existed besides the waving trees, Gore, and the monster. Then there was a whisper in his ear.

“I told you to leave.” It was his own voice.

“Who are you?!”

There was no response. Gore was back at his apartment. He exploded into his studio and slammed the door behind him. He crouched by the window, heart beating and lungs sucking air. The street was empty. The trees waved. There was a deadly quiet in the world and then the horrific flesh ripping sound of the impossible being as it went lumbering by Gore’s apartment. It had lost him and let out that guttural gurgling roar once more.

He carefully picked up his phone with the thought of calling the police. There was no dial tone. What was going on? The toymaker sat at the window, defeated. Had he gone insane? He got up slowly and went to the fridge. Despite the insanity of the morning, he was hungry. The refrigerator door opened up to a humid menagerie of mold and insects covering the entire inside. There were no recognizable food items among the purple, blue, black, and green molds. The smell assaulted his nose and stomach and he slammed the door before any of it could escape.

Gore laughed. It was the laugh of a man cracking up. He reached over to the sink and twisted the faucet on, hoping for at least a drink of water. There was a bang in the pipes somewhere below and a grotesque fat centipede dropped out of the tap. It scuttled up and over the edge of the sink before disappearing under the microwave. Gore wasn’t even surprised in his broken, defeated state.

“Steal my nightmares? They made them real.” He went to his kitchen table and sat in front of the wooden box that held the sculpture in the now-cured mold. The mold came apart easily revealing the details of his recent sculpture. It wasn’t too far off from the thing that had chased him. He put it back together and began to mix up a two part resin that had a five minute cure time. He poured the liquid into the mold, minding the heat it produced from its chemical reaction. Five minutes later he pulled the mold apart, and a marvelous white miniature of the beast from the coffee shop sat before him.

Gore moved to the window with the still warm and slightly pliable figure in his hand. He clutched it to his chest like a protective talisman. Upon reaching the window, he saw the insane beast standing in the middle of the street staring up at him silently. Something within him urged him out onto the fire escape. The monster didn’t move from its position, almost waiting obediently for orders from its creator. Gore realized he had created the thing. It was the sculpture he had crafted and birthed into reality.

He continued with purpose and descended the fire escape. The whisper sounded in his ear again. “They were afraid of your nightmares. They were afraid of your power to create.” He moved closer to the monster and its ominous stink. It made no sound and made no moves towards the artist. Gore laughed as he began to touch the thing. It was warm and slippery. He held the white miniature aloft while touching the creature.

Gore dashed the miniature on the ground, shattering it into hundreds of resin slivers. The being screamed out, gurgling and growling as it fell backwards. Gore backed up as it thrashed. The trees no longer swayed and Gore could begin to hear sounds of the city of in the distance. The thing dragged itself with the last of its strength into the darkened alley before dying. The monster’s body splashed onto the ground and rapidly drained away like the remnants of a quick summer rainstorm. The artist cackled maniacally. He had created that thing somehow.

A car drove around him and honked, trying to scare him out of the street. To be sure the insanity was over, Gore headed quickly to the coffee shop. He found it bright and full of people talking, laughing, and quietly reading. He ordered his usual coffee and the barista asked about his health, with a look of genuine concern. He was fine. Finally fine. He laughed and paid and headed out of the coffee shop.

A few weeks later, after some noise complaints and a steadily ripening smell of decay, the cops were led to Gore’s apartment. They found his dead body curled up on the floor in a fetal position, his hands clasped around his ears. Around his body and littering the house, they found hundreds of grotesque resin figures. Yet the autopsy revealed no apparent cause of death. Gore Decker had just died. They were unaware of Gore’s newest creation, however. Had they seen it as the toymaker had seen it (in the flesh), they would have likely suffered a similar miserable, screaming death as Gore Decker.

The End

 

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The Lonesome Dark: Forgotten Nightmares

by AC Perry

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An Accidentally Experimental Post about New York City

Here’s a post I started writing in New York City, then stopped writing, then couldn’t re-enter the train of thought I was on when I had initially started writing it, so I abandoned it.  Looking at it now, it feels more like a piece about how mood and environment can drastically alter how we process things.  But anyhow, here it is, I liked some if it so I couldn’t bring myself to delete it.  You be the judge:

SnapseedA dense fog sits over Central Park as I look out of the window of my 28th floor hotel room somewhere near what I think is called Midtown Manhattan.  I would never pay to stay in a room this nice, but that’s one of the benefits of being lucky enough to have friends who can help out with those sort of things.  Last night we went to a fancy dinner at a well known and well reviewed restaurant.  We split a few entrees, appetizers, and desserts–my picks being a double cut tobacco smoked pork-chop with a cipollini onion jam and a honey-tangerine-pistachio spumoni with brûlée tangerines and pistachio dust.  Yes, pistachio dust.  It was one of those kind of places…

After dinner we went to see a concert put on by a man who was relatively well known in the ’90s for playing slow and sad music and has now in the 2010s become infamous for long and rambling songs that often take dives into melancholy personal tangents and occasionally break out into short patches of dry humor.  He played with the drummer from Sonic Youth.  My favorite track of the night was a song I’ve never heard before where he sang from the perspective of a house cat, forced the string section to improvise over a part they’ve never heard before and had lines like, “Trump did this and Trump did that/blah blah meow meow meow/I don’t care, I’m a house cat.”  It was fantastic.

After the show, we walked back to the hotel.  There were at least 4 halal vendors on every corner and the city air was thick with that mysterious and disgusting smell that always seems to pour out from the cracks in the NYC pavement on particularly humid evenings.

While walking, I made the mistake I always seem to make in New York, or really in any city with monstrously tall buildings–I looked up.  I would look up at the spot where the tops of the buildings scrape the sky, where the clouds seem to move faster past the tops of the buildings, almost like a time lapse video on a cinematic environmental science documentary.  I’m not sure what it is, I can look down from almost any height and feel perfectly fine, but every time I look upward at the tops of skyscrapers from the ground, I feel like my stomach is going to fall out of my ass.  I think it might be that something about it just reads as unnatural and my Primate sub-brain starts firing warning signs at me, “What kind of monstrous hell-world have you entered?!”

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This type of monstrous hell-world.

Trying to re-ground myself and gain some composure, I traced the concrete spine of the skyscrapers down to their concrete bases, I looked through their crystal glass at the beautiful light shows beaming out from their concrete interiors, I imagined the steel beams holding this concrete up and wondered what type of expensive rugs or even more expensive tiles the interiors of the buildings were floored with, I saw our president as the sultan of this city, his name plastered on so many buildings, his grubby and gross fingers smudging his gaudy style all over so much of its economic landscape.  It was in this moment that I started hating New York.

The large beautiful buildings bordering the park were now the walls of a giant prison we had built for ourselves which was suffocating the small patch of green in the heart of the city–which was already scarred over with roads and walkways for human’s sensitive feet.  I saw the storefronts as monuments to capitalism and income inequality, I felt like I was running from giant Monopoly pieces which where slowly closing in on me and trying to crush me to death, I knew that if they got their grubby hands on me they’d strangle the humanity right out of me.  I knew if I stayed here for too long, I’d become one of them, whatever them might be.

I squeezed out a few blinks and took a deep breath, trying to return to where I had just been a few minutes ago: walking back to my hotel with my girlfriend and our good friend.  As I shook the tightness from my shoulders, a phrase floated through my mind as if lobbed by a (friendly?) ghost, “New York is kind of bullshit.”

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I hear, “New Yawk is da greatest city in the woyld you un-American Scum! 9/11!”

I felt on that walk home the same thing I feel every time I’m in a Metropolitan area, complete existential dread and incommunicable loneliness.  I like that NYC is a late city, it is nice to grab a slice of pizza or a coffee at some random spot on some random block, but that’s about the only thing I’d like to bring back to my little seaside MA city that no one really cares about.  The Louis Vuitton stores and the 40 yard long Chanel ads with pictures of elegant women with (apparently) golden skin and the disengaged self-absorbed hordes of people can all stay can stay in the Tri-State for all that I care.

I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing on America’s favorite hub of “multiculturalism” and gentrification.  What I’m trying to say is that NYC, to me–and yes, I know I don’t matter and life is meaningless and yadda yadda whatever–I repeat, to me, the city represents a microcosm of most of the things about capitalist consumerist American culture that is just so damn uncomfortable and wrong.  By just being present in that environment, I’m forced to reckon with the reality that I don’t hold the same values that many of my peers and fellow countrymen do.

When I’m here, I’m forced to self-analyze, to wonder why I have such a visceral reaction to that stimuli.  It almost makes me feel crazy; I was standing in the middle of Times Square after seeing Annette Bening and Michael Moore hug one another on the corner (and presumably give one another the Big-Time-Democratic-Donor Secret Handshake) and I couldn’t help but wonder why everyone else was so happy and excited, while I was feeling a deep paranoia and unease burbling in my gut…or maybe that was just the pizza.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I never feel more alone or more out of place than when I’m surrounded by thousands of people in a city with far too many places.  Yes, I do realize that sounds pitiful.

**NOTE** I stopped writing at this point because we were going to go to the Natural History Museum.  I really had a great time at the museum, I felt much more suited to that environment and that type of stimulus, so I think when I left there I was in a much better place and that prevented me from crawling back to whatever dark corner I was in when I was writing the first part of this post and calling New York’s “bullshit” like that actually means anything.  I know that’s a harsh and cynical claim that many people would disagree with, probably myself included.  But, that’s where I was in the moment.  Maybe it would be better to say it more politely, “Well, gee by golly that Manzana Grande might just not be for me, old chap!”  But anyhow, here’s an afterthought/postscript:

One of my secret favorite parts of the weekend was when I was walking by Columbus Circle and took a vertigo-inducing picture of one of Fuhrer Trump’s towers.  I imagined that I could practically see the burning eye of Sauron atop it.  It’s such an obvious example of a Villain’s Evil Lair, comically so.  It just made me laugh at how absurd life has become in the 21st Century and it reminded me of the reason why we go to places that make us uncomfortable in the first place: because they force us to learn things, and that’s the meaning of life.

Here’s the aforementioned picture:

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Can’t you just see the Eye of Sauron burning up there?

 

 

 

To Cook a Steak. (or, a Meaty Piece)

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A piece of meat.

For as long as I can remember, my father has been in sales.  He’s sold a few different products or services, but for the most part it was always the same business model.  I have also been a salesman at different times in my life so I as well am more familiar with the process than I would like to be.  For those of you who don’t know, or maybe haven’t considered what being a salesman actually is, here is what it means when broken down to its most basic level:

Someone who has more capital (aka cash, c.r.e.a.m, dollar bills) than you has purchased a large inventory of something.  You, being employed by this capitalist, are expected to do all of the work necessary to convince consumers that they require this specific product more than any similar product.  This process is a fairly simple one, you’re  painting a picture where the product is a necessary part of the consumer’s life, and the consumer is happily buying your painting.  Though sometimes the process becomes more complicated, usually with consumers who are more fiscally savvy or who possess a lower amount of capital than others.  Here, the salesman is expected to become a psychologist.  This consumer is already aware of the fact that they may not necessarily need this product and instead see the sales process as an obstacle course that they have to successfully navigate in order to get what they want.  In this situation, the salesman must become the consumer’s capitalist spiritual guide, occasionally conducting pseudo-therapy sessions right there on the sales floor.  When I worked in sales, I once found myself hugging a consumer as she cried into my chest about the fact that her husband had recently unexpectedly died, and she had a son who was a junior in high school, and she was just so nervous about keeping everything afloat, and she just really hoped I wasn’t putting her through the ringer–as she said–and that she really wanted to trust me because I seemed like an honest person and she was just so very very sad and…etc.

That really happened to me.  Consider that for a moment.

Anyhow once you have led the consumer through this inception and brought them to the place where they are sure they either want or need your object, it is then your job to convince them to give you their capital in exchange for the product. This becomes difficult with the latter example I spoke of before.  Usually this person really values their capital as the amount of time they have sacrificed in order to achieve it is astoundingly high, and with large purchases that sequestered capital disappears fast enough to make your head spin off your body and shoot all the way to Mercury.

Once you’ve completed this process and filled out the (typically excessively complicated) paperwork, you then deliver the product to the consumer and give the capital to your boss who then gives you a peanut’s share of it, even though you are the one who has done ALL of the legwork, and sends you on your way.

Often in commission based sales you get paid by what’s called a draw system.  A draw system works like this: At the start of each pay period, an employee is advanced a specific amount of money, the “draw.”  This draw is then deducted from your commission at the end of each pay period.  After paying back the draw, the employee keeps the rest of the money.  If you go a couple weeks without any significant sales and rely on the draw, you are then liable to repay that draw once you start to again make some sales.

Yes, what you’re thinking is correct, that is completely insane.

I can say from experience that it is wholly possible to go one or two weeks without making any significant sales.  When this happens not only are you in a situation where your next paycheck may result in negative pay, you are also likely to be under harsh scrutiny from your bosses who will can you as soon as you start to look like a liability to them.  For a practical example, imagine you go two weeks without a significant sale, and let’s imagine that the weekly draw is $300, leaving you with a balance of -$600.  This means that on the third week when you make your first sale and you net a commission of $650, $600 of that commission is going right back to the employer.  Now, if that ends up being your only sale in the week, then that means you have made $50 for what is most likely over 40 hours of work.  Yes, it is possible to be selling for over 40 hours and not make a sale–that’s called catching a bad break.   This is why many salesman, especially those who have caught a bad break, end up working insane hours and often times fall into drugs as a means of self medication and coping.

This also explains why we have such an aversion to the desperation that we often encounter with salesmen.  Thinking of things this way, does it not make you feel pity instead of aversion at their behavior?

So when we break it down, being a salesman means doing a tremendous amount of frustrating work for no salary and watching all of your hard work translate into a lion’s share of the capital returning to the original investor, your boss or the owner of the company.  It’s a tough gig.

I bring up my father and what he does for work for a specific reason; I bought a ribeye steak from a farm that I work at during the summer and I want to cook it for him.  But, considering what he does, I cannot cook it for him now.  I’ll explain, bear with me.

My mother has had a wider range of jobs than my father.  She worked in the service industry, she worked in human services, she’s been an interior designer, and is currently working in furniture sales.  Hmm, sales again, eh?  Like my father, my mother is good at sales and she does well enough at it to survive.  But, she has a very bad back.  A back that is probably bad enough for her not to have to work anymore.  But for some reason, whether it be willpower or fiscal anxiety/necessity, she continues to work everyday standing on hard linoleum floors and faking smiles to consumers as the bones in her spine aggressively grind one another to dust.

My parents are good, caring people.  Combined they work an average of about 100 hours per week.   Save for my mother’s back, my parents have had limited health problems and look remarkably good for their age, my father is in his early 60s and my mother her late 50s.  I am (regrettably) their only child and they have always cared for me greatly.  Sure we’ve had our problems and we’ve both been at fault at different times for those, but at their core they have always meant well and have had my best interest in mind.  They’ve worked very hard to ensure that we never went without and that we always had enough stability to be okay.  I appreciate that immensely and have learned from their work ethic in surprising ways that continue to reveal themselves to me.  It is because of how they raised me and who they are, for better and for worse, that I have been able to become who/what I am and that I am able to lead a fairly comfortable life with no pressing wants or needs.

This is why I wanted to cook a steak for my parents.  I learned to cook from watching them and in recent years have become pretty good at it (in an amateur way).  I just wanted to give them a night off where I prepare a nice little feast for all of us, and they can sit back and enjoy it.  In preparing for this, I defrosted the steaks a day in advance, and salted them for an overnight age in the refrigerator.  Then, this morning, I find out that I am no longer able to cook the steak for my mother and father because my father has to stay at work late on a day he was supposed to be leaving in mid-afternoon.  He does this because it is asked of him by his boss and if he doesn’t stay, his paycheck and job can be adversely affected.

This makes me sad.  Not for me, I can cook for myself anytime, but for them.  And yeah, I realize it’s just a small night that can be rescheduled but it sent me on a bad trip.  It just reminded me that my father– a man who possesses genius level rational thinking and pragmatism–and my mother–a woman who possesses such an empathetic sensitivity that she can practically read people’s minds–are stuck working for giant, unsympathetic money machines who will replace them promptly as they get older and their meat-bag bodies start to fail, turning them from capital-generators into liabilities.

Anyone who has read my blog or is subject to my social media presence can gather that I ma not the biggest fan of capitalism.  But today when I talk about it, I implore you to understand it on a human level rather than a socio-political one.  I don’t want to hear retorts about economic machinations and how capitalist incentive is necessary to drive progress or yadda yadda whatever.  I just want to relay the fact that it makes me sad that as a result of the coincidences of their lives, my parents–the good, working, tax-paying, voting, children of immigrant families that the news likes to talk about–are stuck in a system that does not appreciate them for who they are; that does not value them as intelligent and sensitive people with a lot to offer; that doesn’t see the sacrifices of time and health that they make by standing in their fluorescent-lit showrooms and inhaling clouds of printer ink and toxic cleaning products; and that will replace them as soon as it is deemed practical in the pursuit of more capital.

I crave a change in value systems.  I don’t want capital to be the goal, I want peace to be the goal, or happiness, or the progress of the human race, or a peaceful coexistence with our environment.  I’m not even sure exactly what I want, but on days like today it becomes incredibly clear what I don’t want.

I don’t want my children to be exposed to the same sadness, hatred, raping of natural resources, abuse of people, and the resulting global famine that is the fallout of the frantic pursuit of capital.  I don’t want to see pathologically insecure people blaming other people for their fears and anxieties on a global level, treating their bullshit self image by plastering fake magazine covers of themselves all over the golf courses that they own.  I don’t want to see people killing each other over money, or my economically disadvantaged students competing to see who has the most expensive shoes, or rich white men denying people the right to universal health care and preventing peaceful immigrants from coming into the US in an attempt to stay alive.  I don’t want to see my city’s infrastructure falling apart due to shriveling tax bases and socioeconomic devastation.  I don’t want to see gentrification destroy culture and chase people out of their neighborhoods to put up some other trendy fad business that caters to the rich.  There’s so much, you know?  It just feels so overwhelming…

Well, Nick, what are you doing to help?  I’m trying, I swear.  Often times I feel like I’m not trying enough, but I’m slowly doing what I can to help, teaching, buying local, working with local sustainable businesses, etc.  Today, I just wanted to cook dinner for my parents to show them some appreciation and was reminded that there are victims in the pursuit of progress, that my vision of a re-alignment of values is made possible by the wage-slavery of people like my parents, and that the future is built on top of those who have sacrificed themselves to an immoral, socio-pathic system both willingly and otherwise.

 

Domesticated Primate needs HELP!

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One of our logos, drawn up by Meaggsy.

I need help. Summer is coming up, and being a teacher, with summer comes free time. With that free time comes the opportunity to do some more work for Domesticated Primate. Given the scope and the type of work that needs to be done, I could use some help setting up a system and getting reliable individuals involved who can help keep us afloat throughout the year.

I started Domesticated Primate with the intention of having a little publishing venture that shares interesting work by creative and unique artists. So far, this mission has been fulfilled. I have been running this endeavor as a non-profit, or more accurately, without personal profit.

Let me explain what I mean…

After putting in an initial investment on our first run of printing (and a smaller investment on every subsequent printing), I have taken the profit and immediately reinvested it into the publishing company. In other words, I am yet to recoup my personal costs, but with every book sold, it becomes easier and easier to publish more works and in more interesting formats. The low pricing of our books is achieved by my not attempting to recoup my initial cost. I have taken into account all of the physical expenses for creating the books and averaged that out. Using this number I devised a complicated method of pricing our works based on percentages, which allows for fairly

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A bullshit logo I just designed using a free online “Hip Logo” generator.

even pricing across the board—save for when things like photo paper or alternative bindings are used, two things which I’ve learned can quickly escalate the costs on a product.

 

By doing this, I’ve been able to keep our traditional paperbacks at a cost of $7, our staple bound books at a cost of $5, and our 100+ page traditional bound paperback photo-book at around $25—though with the sales from our newest releases, this price is about to decrease down to a solid $22. I’m happy with these prices, I think they’re more than reasonable for the quality of the product, and as more product is sold over time, the cheaper the prices will get!

We also have a few amazing artists and writers who have been working with us on things like editing, design, and art. They have done this for no financial benefit, just to be involved in a creative process, and to help bring some interesting art to life.  I am so grateful for and energized by their help. Hopefully as Domesticated Primate grows in the future we will be able to provide them with some capital as well—if they desire that (it’s not always about the dollar, you know?).

But right now, we need some help, a different kind of help.  Particularly in the areas of social media, website, and marketing.  Unfortunately, I cannot pay anyone.  In fact, I’m not even paying myself.  But what I can provide is a free copy of every one of Domesticated Primate’s releases for as long as you’re helping, as well as back issue copies of our already published material.  You will also have the first look when it comes to submission time.  In other words, if you submit a manuscript or a collection, you will have first consideration over anyone else for getting it published.  Also owning this business, I will do whatever I can to help you in any way.  For example, if you need me to sign off on volunteer hours, or edit some work for you, or whatever you might need.  We can make it work for you. You know, the wonders of reciprocity.

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Another of our logos drawn up by Meaggsy.

Here’s a list of a few specific places where we could use some help:

Social Media/Marketing:

>Someone to manage our Instagram.

>Someone to manage our Facebook.

>Someone to manage our Twitter.

>>A note about social media; I’m not the type to be insane about “staying on brand” or “using our company voice.”  In truth, I can’t stand most marketing and cringe at nearly every attempt by a company, organization, or person to “brand” itself.  My goal with social media for Domesticated Primate is to share interesting things with people and keep them updated on any happenings/upcoming works.  We aren’t trying to take over the world or spam the living hell out of anyone’s pages.  I don’t care if it’s one person helping out, or a team of people, or three separate people who manage this or whatever. Ideally it would be someone (or multiple someones) with some free time who like to wonk around on social media and have an interest in books, art, publishing, literature, or things of that ilk.  The only requirement is reliability and communication.  I don’t care posting at exact times everyday or anything, but semi-regularly with relatively similar quality images or blurbs would be ideal.

Website/Marketing:

>Someone to help with design on the website/streamline it.

>Someone to help set up an online store.

>Someone who can help with the google search term algorithm crap.

>>A note about the website; I am not very good with website design or management.  I believe our platform is based off of wordpress, though I am willing to switch to whatever works best for you—as long as it isn’t cost prohibitive. A huge help would even be just sitting down with me a few times and helping get the website into better shape, ie more streamlined and easier to use.  I don’t know much about online stores but I would like to set one up where I don’t have to pay a hosting site just to sell our own product.  I’m sure there’s a way to do this through our website, but not being literate in this area makes it very difficult for me.

DPFUT

Another bullshit logo, this time I used a “FutureText” Logo Generator

Blogging:

>We need bloggers

>>>A note about blogging; If you’re a good writer and have some ideas for blogging, I’d love to have you on our site.  A quick pitch e-mail for the blog—ie subject matter and approximate length—and a quick convo, and we can be off and running.  I’m open to basically any subject matter as long as it is well written and unique, creative, or engaging.  It doesn’t even have to be literature or publishing specific.  Ideally I’d like to put up 2-3 blogs a week by different authors.  So, you wouldn’t have to be a regular blogger, even a one of two-off piece would be helpful.

Something to consider is that we are always looking for artists.  Writers, graphic designers, painters, sculptors, musicians, anything and everything.  If you have any idea for a collaboration, project, or experiment, please shoot a message our way. Anything you think might be too ridiculous or outlandish or risky or unlikely to get picked up otherwise, make sure to send it.  We’re probably crazy enough to turn it into something.  I’d love to hear it and see what we can workshop.

Thanks for reading, and if you know of anyone else who might want to help out an experimental little indie publishing venture and get some free books in the process, be sure to loop them in!

Thanks!

–Nick (Grand Poobah at Domesticated Primate)

Proust Questionnaire: Meaggsy

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Today we continue the Proust Questionnaire series with artist Meaggsy.  Meaggsy has been an integral part of the establishment of Domesticated Primate.  She designed our logo, drew the cover art for our release “Other People,” and sculpted out of clay the two main characters from our collaboration with photographer Brandon Cabral, “What’s Next?” for an art installation we put on at the New Bedford Bookfest.  She is an incredibly talented artist with a wide range of abilities.  We’ve got some ideas on the back burner for some future releases, so stay tuned for those!

NAME: Meaggsy

PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  being controlled by anything with monetary value… that, and never getting a chance to meet my dog sophia.

Where would you like to live?  i like it here, so this must be the place.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  when the human race devolves into nothingness.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?  never being satisfied…. gift and a curse, really.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?  siddartha for showing me the worth of ones self, and sam gribley for being wise enough at such a young age to say fuck society, go live on his own, and get a sick falcon.

Who are your favorite characters in history?  david byrne, robert johnson, peter green, bob dylan, lou reed, iggy pop, eric burdon, hank williams, blind willie mctell, jack white, lightning hopkins, john lee hooker, paul mccartney, john lennon, matt groening, seth macfarlane….. just to name a few.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?  honestly, all those i surround myself with, and the those who are positively impacting the city (and the world) on a daily basis in the way that they do… thanks ladies.

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?  jasmine (since i can’t pick aladdin) cause she was a princess and wanted a chill life… and had a fucking tiger as a sidekick.

Your favorite painter?  Picasso. i’d drink to him.

Black and White study for ‘Guernica’–Pablo Picasso, 1936

Your favorite musician?  mannnnn, too many to have a favorite, but i do wanna shout out Peter Green, he’s the fucking man… and also wanna give recognition to Bob Dylan on this day, as it is the god damn day he graced the world with his beautiful presence.

The quality you most admire in a man?  being able to stay true to his own self… and the ability to communicate feelings. it takes a lot for someone to put their feelings out to the world. makes you vulnerable… and to not change themselves when the feedback hits takes a strong person. i know that’s two qualities, but fuck off.

The quality you most admire in a woman?  doesn’t matter if you’re a lady or man… same qualities apply to an individual.

Your favorite virtue?  wabi-sabi.

Your favorite occupation?  occupation is a shitty word. reminds me of jobs like a nurse, an accountant, or a cop. none of those interest me. i don’t wanna have a label, i just wanna draw cartoons, smoke weed, and swim in the ocean forever.

Who would you have liked to be?  i feel great being meaggsy. should i want to be someone else?

Your most marked characteristic?  if i don’t know how to do it, i will try to learn how to.

What do you most value in your friends?  the fact that they can stand to be around me.

What is your principle defect?  i try to learn how to do too much. i’m good at a lot of things, but i’m not great at one thing.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?   lack of self awareness… that and if Robert Johnson never met the Devil at the crossroads

What would you like to be?  always have and always will be me, meag, Meaggsy, or whatever form of myself is present.

What is your favorite color?  black on white. i like the contrast and can’t choose one over the other.

What is your favorite flower?  ones that grow all over buildings…

What is your favorite bird?  black crow cause they look best in snow.

Who are your favorite prose writers?  i had to look up what a prose writer was, which must mean i don’t have a favorite…

Who are your favorite poets?  you already know what day it is, so it should go without saying… Bob Dylan.

What are your favorite names?  atticus, rupert, levi

What is it you most dislike?  commercialized glorified bullshit and the sheep that follow it.

What historical figures do you most despise?   i could state the obvious, so i will, fuck hitler and donald chump.

What event in military history do you most admire?   one if by land, two if by sea.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?  simplemindedness.

How would you like to die?  assassination… or lightning strike.

What is your present state of mind?  meaggsy sucks.

What is your motto?   win some, lose some… it’s all the same to me.

Proust Questionnaire: Alexa Catao

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Alexa and Olive.

After a short break, we’re back with the Proust Questionnaire series.  Today we feature Alexa Catao.  Alexa has done work editing for Domesticated Primate, her keen eye and proclivity to ask questions instead of cross-out and change words has become a valuable part of our artistic process here. I hope at some point soon she will be ready to put some of her own work out into the universe through us.

NAME: Alexa Catao

PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  Long-distance endurance running. And exploitative melodramatic programming like TLC shows/ The Kardashians.

Where would you like to live?  There once was a small city by the name of New Bedford that I saw myself in. But futures change.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  The squiggly warm way that my dog readjusts herself against me while she’s trying to get optimally comfortable to take a nap.

That, and being surrounded by people who “see” you, love you, support you, challenge you, teach you, inspire you, and meet your wavelength of weirdness with their own complementary weirdness.

And a jar of Nutella.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?  Internal disregulation to the consistent passing of time.  And piles of clothing everywhere—assigned subtle patterns of categorization that only the more delusional parts of my mind can grasp.

Who are your favorite characters in history?  I like the wording of this question—the idea that real people who lived a long enough time ago, and did something out of the norm—took action and altered the status quo in some way—are able, with the passage of time, to take on a sort of mythological, archetypal “character” status in our minds. Now just picture Martin Luther King, Jr. farting and giggling with his kids, and nicking himself while shaving, and having a stomache ache on a Tuesday afternoon.  Now imagine someone in fifty years filling out this survey and wracking their brain for notable historical “characters” and coming up with your name, in the narrative of the thing you did that you became known for.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?  Pippi Longstocking,

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?  Lolwut. See above.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?  Malala Yousefzai. Ashley Graham. America Ferrera. Tara Mitton Catao and Lourdes Catao. Elizabeth Warren. Steph Paquette. Terry Gross. Janet Mock. Emerging comedian/writers like Jessica Williams and Abby/Ilana Glazer and Rachel Bloom. Rep Maxine Waters. And about 897 other people I can think of.

Your favorite painter?  As a child I adored Monet—the colors, gardens, bridges, soft brightness. In college I loved Klimt—the vivid textured patterns and intriguing figures.  Now, I love thick chunky textured paint that globs off the canvas and invites you to break etiquette rules by touching it.  And watching watercolor videos on instagram.

Your favorite musician?  I’m exploring again. I’m not sure right now.

The quality you most admire in a man?  <Again, with these next two questions my initial response was to take issue on the basis of reinforcing gender binaries. But I’ll acknowledge socially-constructed binaries for the sake of the question…>

Critical self-awareness, including deconstruction of gender norms/ toxic masculinity, a sharp intellect that breaks apart and analyzes the world around him, a value on listening to the perspective of others, the ability to reflect and own up to flaws when necessary, and the capacity for growth. And a splash of goofiness.

The quality you most admire in a woman?  Unapologetic strength and self-love and opinions and changing the world though acts of radical love and accountability, both big and small.

Your favorite virtue?  Genuine curiosity/ a desire to always be learning.

Your favorite occupation?  Teacher (the really revolutionary, mind-blowing kind. You know what I’m talking about.)

Who would you have liked to be?  To be an entirely different person for their life? I don’t think I would. (This suddenly makes me feel warmly grateful for my own me.)

Your most marked characteristic?  Apparently I smile a lot more than the average person. I didn’t realize this was unusual, perhaps because I always mean it when I smile. I wonder how other people smile less. It’s usually the kind of smile that takes over my whole face. I like to make people feel good about their lives. I’m always subconsciously brushing hair out of my eyes. I have opinions and I really like other people’s opinions too. I’ve had my nose pierced for 10 years and I swear I forget that it’s part of my face. If I’m unsure how to answer something, I often default to the open, honest truth.

(Note: I copied/pasted the above response from my OKCupid profile’s “First thing people notice about me” section. See? Open, honest truth.)

What do you most value in your friends?  That they’re complex, thoughtful individuals, who also see and value the complexity in me.

What is your principle defect?  This reminds me of the “what faults you are the most indulgent” question, but if we’re talking about physical defects, then I’d have to say my body is a temple so fuck all y’all’s conventional beauty standards—but ya I have this weird dark dot on the side of my nose that won’t go away.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?  To hide your self and your dreams for your whole life out of the obligation to conform, and never feel “seen” and therefore experience an even more intense sense of isolation than we all already feel. And the misfortune can get greater when bigotry, violence, hatred, and trauma are added to this equation.

What would you like to be?  Under the sea. In an octopus’s garden in the shade. (An octopus.)

Ranunculus.

What is your favorite flower?  Those with substantial blossoms, an overabundance of fleshy layered petals, like peonies and ranunculus, that make you want to take a bite out of them.

What is your favorite bird?  Fluffy-chested springtime ones, hopping and shivering in a puddle with a certain elation.

Who are your favorite prose writers?  Vladimir Nabokov always tops the list. Faulkner. Daniel Handler. Nick LeBlanc. And I recently was reading Elena Ferrante, whose subtle depths I appreciated, so I’ll add her.

Who are your favorite poets?  e.e. cummings, Mark Strand, Billy Collins, also the age-defying words of Naomi Shihab Nye, and Nick LeBlanc again (and Moraes and other Domesticated Primate/ local-NB poets that I’ve enjoyed)

What is your favorite color?  Teal. Or coral. Or yellow.

What are your favorite names?  When I was little I named my favorite doll—the one that looked like me with tan skin and brown straight hair— my then-favorite name. However, it’s currently my least favorite word, because now it makes me think of spaces— actual loft apartments and doily-covered dining room tables and passenger seats—that are not only lost to me, but tainted. (Again, futures change.)

What is it you most dislike?  I may have mixed this up with the above question. I dislike the historical figures below and the television programming in the “depths of misery” question. I dislike the way humans can tend to fall back on shallow, judgmental, categorical thinking.

What historical figures do you most despise?  45 and his cronies, puppeteers, and sycophants.

What event in military history do you most admire?  Nah.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?  The kind of easy self-discipline that allows you to complete the tasks you set your mind to right away.

How would you like to die?  I think like most people, at the end of a fulfilling life, with some level of peace and support of loved ones. Sorry I didn’t choose any sort of action-movie response.

What is your present state of mind?  Crackling with energy, open and eager for new experiences, but also more settled, certain, confident, and honest to the point of being blunt. On the verge of finding my words again and letting them out on paper. (This has been a fun exercise in that).  Present.

What is your motto?  Words matter.