the following is an excerpt from Master of Horrors, written and illustrated by Michael Lopez. It is available for purchase through Bred Press here.
Master Of Horrors
I, Michael Lopez, have been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. I was a poli sci major at Kent State when my friend’s head exploded and sprayed brain and blood all over my corduroy blazer on that sunny afternoon a lifetime ago. Before that I was one of the curious middle class whites who moved to the South for the summer to do good and to simply be and learn about the people that lived there whose lives I wished to improve.
I’ve been incarcerated for regular assault and sexual assault on separate occasions. I’ve changed my identity more than once, one time to avoid assassination from the mafia and another time because I did a drive-by that killed and maimed several innocent bystanders waiting in line at a hot dog stand, one of them was pregnant.
I lived like a king before 9-11 tanked the market and I had to sell my company for pennies in San Francisco, sun-bleached hair with the sides shaved, a rich tan, tiny jean shorts, torn, even though I was a millionaire and could buy anything, a neon green tank top, pink neon rimmed sunglasses with metallic aqua lenses. An addict. There were days when I had three-ways with socialite teenagers in Manhattan penthouses and ended up using sandpaper to sharpen dull needles on a bayou with toothless and face-scarred meth addicts. After shooting up they watched me masturbate onto the belly of a bloated crocodile carcass floating in swamp water. The meth addicts, my deranged family, exiles from Cuba, shined a flashlight on me to witness the magic ritual that guaranteed Al Gore wouldn’t become our next president, thank god it worked.
My father was wealthy, cruel, and crippled, and died a long painful death following a life filled with administering punishments to me, my mother’s favorite. She became a prostitute after he left us with nothing and would put cigarettes out on me so that I would stay awake on long drives to the country where she tricked with militia men and did odd jobs for them, collecting manure for explosives, some of which found their way to Oklahoma City. I felt a strange sense of pride while watching the scene unfold on the news, putting the pieces together that we were somehow part of this national event.
In college a fellow student made an art performance where they wore a toilet seat around their neck the entire four years because I roasted them so hard during a freestyle battle rap. They were upset that the school administration did nothing to publicly chastise me. I was bullied and harassed by my peers until I had to drop out, but wisely I sued, and won, and now there is a law that allows you to mercilessly insult your fellow students so long as it is in a musical or poetic fashion.
After prison I couldn’t get a job and was so low I became a pedophile and was getting away with it for a while. But then I got brain damage to a particular part of my brain that completely changed my personality and now I literally work five different manual labor jobs and can only get aroused by freakishly leggy women between the ages of 26-38. I give away all the money I make to these women and the rest of the money I make working these jobs to charities concerning all interests, even if they conflict with one another. I have surrendered to these lustful and altruistic drives in me, but that is just me right now.
Even before that I had been married a few times, one ended as I was a domestic abuser and they died of natural causes, another time my wife died of cancer and she left me her five children, one of whom I married, but she left me for a younger man who sodomized me in front of her to put a great big bow on the whole situation. After that I married another man in a satanic ritual and I miraculously conceived a child even though I was born a man. I had to give up my firstborn to the government because of the postpartum depression that had me throwing myself into traffic, forcing the police to shoot me, and picking fights with people who were stronger than me, had histories of violence, were sexually repressed, and had damaged their frontal lobes. But my child was adopted by scientists and now I see them grown on television as a reporter for a left wing cable news network. Nightly, I see my first and only born’s hatred for their divorced adopted scientist parents playing out in the stories they insist on reporting, their frenzied animus poking through in everything they say and do. I pray nightly to the un-responding television that my child will learn to eventually surrender this hatred and learn to love, knowing from personal experience that hatred is common, dumb, and unproductive. I know my prayers are in vain, I know that the part of my child that was capable of this kind of surrender died when they ripped her from my arms and I looked into their eyes in real life for the last time.
I have also married every known ethnicity, orientation, race, and body type at different times in my life.
I miss the old Chicago I grew up in and cannot connect with any of my peers or the people who have moved here and have selfishly claimed it as their home.
I pray for a full-death because there is no place on this planet that has not been perceived through my eyes, I know everywhere has become the same. All that I have been through has created concrete tunnels that I look out through and it is sad to say it isn’t even cold, it is numb, my brain rubbed raw from all the shit that I have seen and have had done to me and have done to others.
I say “full-death” because somewhere along the way I have half-died in a weird way and I consider myself a husk occupied by some other spirit that is doing the work now while I lay back in the cut, behind those tunnels, maintaining this possessed corpse like a pet, ensuring the genitals are plump, weighty and warm, until the spirit is shat back out to return to heaven a place I hope to one day feel.
When did I half-die? I could have died during any point in my life and I’m not sure when the change happened, all I can remember is when I realized I was half-dead. My chiropractor snapped my spine in a way that I could feel a chain reaction of readjusted muscles snapping and popping around my bones. I shat and ejaculated immediately in that moment and realized the situation I was in. I have been half-dead for years and was only walking around and living thinking I was in control because of the tensions in the body. Once I found it gone it was clear something else was driving me. It wasn’t my history, beliefs, desires or fears. It was something else that I can only think of as a spirit.
Today it is what makes my art, it is who drives my car, and it is who is speaking to you right now. They took over and their only job is to construct offerings to god that are so alive that he is fooled and inspired by my spirit’s work. My interactions, feelings, digestion, off-gassing, and noise, everything is the spirit. Because of this you cannot believe a word I say because it is not the spirit’s duty to tell the truth, the truth/facts are earthly and miserly small inhuman offerings and the half-alive me feels a burning hot poker pressed into my stomach when I try. The spirit refuses and tries desperately to push down this impulse I sometimes attempt to squeeze out. And the spirit punishes, sometimes with the hot poker feeling from before and other times they come up with new tortures and I can’t even tell if it is a punishment at the time. That’s what the spirit does to me when I try to speak a truth.
Even that is not true! I’ve found that I’m allowed to speak only one truth. The only truth so far that I have been able to know is true, that my colonizing spirit overlord allows me to speak, is that you are guaranteed to endlessly suffer. Suffer like I do and did, as a Rwandan magician tortured and murdered by my fearful neighbors, like I suffered as a middle class Brazilian accountant whose skeleton calcified incrementally since puberty who later fled to Texas, too late to make amends with my mother—who through recovered memory techniques I found tried to strangle me as a toddler—as my plane was delayed by a storm and she died before I could make it to the hospital. You will suffer like I have in so many small and theatrical ways. Heed my words, because they are untrue and I have suffered more humiliations and lost more mental capacities than you will ever possess: TWO THINGS ARE TRUE: YOU ARE BORN TO SUFFER, YOU MUST SUBMIT, and THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE OR RELIEF.
One day I visited my father at the home he was put in. After years of being a diabetic and cripple from a botched back surgery to repair spinal pain from playing football in high school, we felt it was best to put him in an old folks home. The cost was high but we were all making more money at that point as real estate agents that lived in Pilsen but also sold property to white people in Pilsen to become more middle class.
This was around Christmas time and all of the old people were acting out because of all of the cookies and candy canes they were given to celebrate the birth of Christ. The second I walked in I noticed the old people fighting and running around like children. To my right I saw them playing Kick the Can indoors. To my left I saw some of the old people slow dancing to old music, beyond them an old man was pouring a flask of alcohol into the punch bowl. My whole body shuttered from the fireworks some other old people were setting off in the courtyard. I felt something happening to my rear and I noticed an old man in a wheel chair trying to pick my pocket, when I caught him he smiled with lazy eyes and a toothy grin and he rolled away laughing.
I also noticed that there were two administrative people having sex behind the front desk. Orderlies were drunkenly fighting each other while the old people looked on, spitting and throwing money around. One elderly man I recognized was taking bets and had the odds on a dry erase board that was normally used to show the day’s activities.
In a daze I was led to a row of rooms. Each room was lit in different way. Each room had a different nurse wearing different revealing outfits.
They led me down the hall and I found the nurse I wanted. She was small, had long brown hair, porcelain skin, a nice figure, and a shy demeanor. I handed a wad of cash to some of the old people that seemed to have organized the situation, and they greedily circled around the loose bills, stifled their giggles, and peeked over their shoulders as I approached the woman.
We stripped our clothes and I began passionately eating her out and she wrapped her legs around my head. I thought I heard yelling and talking as this was happening. After she was done she relaxed her legs and I found my father had been in the room and had witnessed the whole thing. He was with a man dressed up as Santa Claus, they were taking sips out of a flask.
My Dad tapped my erect penis with his cane. And I’ll never forget this, he said, “Mike,” while shaking his head, “I may not have been the best father but at least I taught you how to trough like a man. You do it with your heart and you seem unafraid of anything.” After that my father, Santa Claus, and I took turns orally pleasing the nurse, sometimes even sharing in the labor at the same time, once all three of us were throwing down at the same time. I’ll never forget that.