KING C





NATHAN CARSON



















I guess I’ve known about C since I was real young. Plush toys. Cartoons on the boob tube. Those ski masks with the yarn tentacles that say, “I gave up on sex with other people years ago.” But it would be a lie to say I had an ounce of faith before I met Dolphin.


She used to come hear me sing at casinos on the strip. She said I did Glenn and Mr. Mojo Rising better than anyone. And Dolphin did me better than everyone. I couldn’t help falling in love. She was always on my mind. I was hooked on her and she was high on Mythos. Pretty soon I started to see the lights in the water, which was a good trick since we lived in Vegas.


Pappy told me about that magician that made the Statue of Liberty disappear. How he sat in front of the screen and watched it go poof with a steaming Swanson dinner in his lap. Dolphin and thousands like her had a pledge drive going to raise the big C right out of his slumber, into the homes of reality streamers everywhere. The crowd funding popped off because half the donors believed in him, and the other half—the ones with Miskatonic U bumper stickers on their Priuses—thought it was funny. They wouldn’t have been laughing if they knew what was coming.


Dolphin moved into my penthouse. I was wrapped around her finger. We knew this event was our big shot at those fifteen minutes that only come once in a lifetime. Or is it four times an hour? I forget. The problem was that everyone wanted that spotlight to shine on them. We needed an edge.


Dolphin showed me the ads. Cosmetic surgery was no big thing on the strip. But a faceful of tentacles? Dolphin said I’d give the best mustache rides in Nevada, and I aimed to prove her right. In fact, I have, quite a few times. Just not with her.


We shared a taxi to the clinic. held hands and kissed, ready to take our love and faith to the next level.


We walked down the aisle to separate operating tables. “It’s now or never,” she said.


I went under the knife with a burning love in my heart. But Dolphin was a hard-headed woman.


When they unwrapped my face, she was standing beside me, pretty as can be. Only she still looked like her. And I looked like a seafood platter. I guess Dolphin got cold feet. When she saw me, she got all shook up. “Don’t be cruel,” I begged her. But she was just another devil in disguise. By the time the staples came out of my face, she’d already packed up her things from our heartbreak hotel and hopped an Amtrak for California.



That didn’t pan out well, since the Del Yuge put the golden state underwater. When the cameras rolled and the chants were phrased, C didn’t show up for his call. Well, a lot of us like to think that maybe he turned over in his sleep. One helluva bloop echoed out of Point Nemo, returning to sender. Sea level rose like an overnight sensation.


Maybe a couple hundred of us had the surgery, and made the cut—hand-selected by producers who practically drooled over our extreme makeovers. After the show was over, the sun still shined, the world kept turning. If you think getting a job is hard for someone with facial tattoos, well let me tell you what a bitch this was.


Lucky for me, only a couple dozen of the faithful had musical talent. And we all know that Mythos Rock is always a pretty limp imitation of the real thing. The only guys that really made a go of it stuck to death metal. That gave me a monopoly of sorts on the blue-haired buffet crowd.


My agent helped me distill the mash-up. The music of The King and the majesty of C. It was too dumb not to work. Just when tickets on the Carnival Cruise Subs started selling out, Disney California opened up like some bonafide trip to Atlantis. Well, let’s just say I haven’t collected a fun employment check for a few years.


Sometimes when I’m singing “Suspicious Minds” I’ll look out the bay windows thinking maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of her body drifting in that seaweed that sways all dreamlike in the fronds of palm trees lining the ocean floor. The rusting graveyard car lots, and the sunken stadiums remind me that the end is nearer than we think.


Here’s the thing. C’s been stuck on the porcelain throne of R’Lyeh pushing out a peanut butter and banana sandwich the size of Memphis for eons now. All things must pass, but some things pass slower than others. No disrespect intended, of course. I personally worked my way through The Wheel of Time on the shitter, so I have some concept of Cosmic Magnitudes.


Maybe C’s gonna sleep for ten thousand years. Or maybe the big hunk o’ love’s planning his oft-prophesied 2068 Comeback.


All I know is that somewhere in that Pacific apocalypse is my Dolphin, singing the unchained melody that I hear on the crashing waves in my squid-faced jailhouse rock and roll dreams.


Uh, thankyouverymuch.



INTERVIEW: NATHAN CARSON





What music best captures the mood and feel of cosmic horror to you? What do you listen to, while writing?


In high school, I wrote (awful) weird fiction while blasting albums by gothic punk bands like Social Unrest and Rudimentary Peni. These days, I really require silence. In a pinch, I’ll dial up a 12-hour rainstorm video on Youtube. But my life is so full of music and high volume assaults that writing is a respite and I prefer quietude. As for music that conjures that air, I’d point people directly to Heresie by Univers Zero. It’s Belgian chamber-prog from the late '70s, and was long described as “the darkest album of all time.” For something more modern and grim, try Things Viral by Khanate. I also think the microtonalities of Wendy Carlos’ Beauty In The Beast and the barnyard vocal cacophony of Diamanda Galas’ early b-side “Wild Women With Steak Knives” are highly unsettling—in a good way.





An editor once wrote in submission guidelines that he defined a prospective Cthulhu Mythos story by taking out the Mythos element, and if it did not totally collapse when any other supernatural agent was substituted, he rejected it. What unique properties of the Mythos keep you coming back (or is it just the glut of markets looking for Mythos stories)?


Lovecraft is in my DNA. I spent many hours of in-school suspension with a math book dustjacket cloaking my copy of Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre. Luckily I outgrew trying to write remotely like HPL a long, long time ago. But since there is a market, and seemingly unending fascination with new twists on old ideas, I’ve found myself in print in a few tribute anthologies. Generally speaking, I like to update my mythos with all the sex, drugs, and rock & roll that Lovecraft missed out on. Lovecraft wrote often of unearthly, indescribable music––in The Music Of Erich Zann, the daemon pipers in the court of Azathoth, et al.––but attempts to reproduce said musical madness has yielded a mixed bag.





Your book Starr Creek describes an upbringing that would seemingly render one impervious to sanity loss as a result of witnessing supernatural abominations. What would it take, to actually drive you insane?


That’s a good question because I’ve done a pretty remarkable job of steeling myself to the horrors of this privileged first world life I enjoy. I feel like I have more of a solid foundation and grasp on reality than most—something I worked hard on during my development as a highly psychedelic teen. But being a booking agent for thirty bands from around the world is certainly putting me to the test… Essentially all of my stresses are external, mostly a factor of me being den mother/shrink to a bunch of brilliant, crazy artists. I guess the best way to push my buttons and lead me off an emotional cliff is to stand in front of me at a concert and start filming the show with your phone...



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