Sad Girls Por Vida

On hold, line two, still crying

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 Today marks a rather odd reunion in my life. A little over a decade ago, I was forced rather against my will to go to a church youth group ordeal that was held in an old storefront in the mall. This was a weekly struggle, because even in my young age the whole religion bit never stuck very firmly. It only took a week or two for me to figure out, however, that I could excuse myself to the bathroom and just go wander around the mall until it came time to pick me up. Individually, more and more kids figured this out, and the mall stopped letting the church meet there, an early volley in the war between malls and their client-base.

Like any young friendless nerd, I more or less immediately headed to B. Dalton, which provided me with all sorts of lurid dreadful things that fascinated me to no particular end. Chief among these were Dungeons and Dragons books, more than partially fueled by the fact that my uncles loved the game and my mother more or less saw it as one step beneath active devil worship. Roleplaying games appealed to this primal reptilian pleasure knot in my still-forming brain that listed to see numbers become bigger numbers through the help of juvenile fantasy and random number generation, a lust that still exists inside me and has seen more development than my work ethic or emotional control. Around this time I even made my own little solo game with the dice in our Risk set that ended up bearing more than a passing resembalance to Dragon Quest, right down to Goldmen and a spell that was probably just as originally named as HURTMORE. Naturally, when my family found out why I was constantly checking a sheet of numbers after rolling and comparing red and white dice, I was in for a pretty intensive amount of prayer.

DISCLAIMER: My family has since then considerably cooled on the more insane parts of Christianity. My mother now leaves her pornographic "urban horror" novels strewn about the house without a care as to who finds out about the fact that she pounds down two or three books about nubian werepanthers engaging in BDSM with ghoul strippers or whatever a week. 

My favorite books to read are the Monster Compendiums, given that when you don't know what 2d6+2 means, it's a lot easier to fall back on kind of crazy illustrations and descriptive text. I grabbed one of the smaller ones that particular Wednesday, and met the creature that would sell me on fantasy for more or less the rest of my life:
(click for the full page of maggoty goodness!)

Disgusting, yes. A juvenile idea that more than likely came from a fat bong rip and the hundredth listen of a 5th generation tape dub of Cannibal Corpse's Gallery of Suicide, but it stuck with me. I was never much into dragons and found most undead to be fairly wanting, but this was a brave new milestone for what I could consider fantasy. It wasn't long before I was consumed with the idea of a fighter ready to dispatch his nth zombie of the encounter finding his target absorbed by a wall of larval insects. Being chased through an underground labyrinth, his since of direction completely scrambled by the shimmering white wall of necrotic ruin closing in on him. Backed into a corner and swinging wildly, watching his sword do little else besides collect the occasional grub. Not even being able to scream as the maggots consumed him, using his body to hunt down his friends, sating the creatures for only a moment. I doubt I even left that page for the rest of my brief window of freedom, just absorbing this terrible idea while glancing at my watch to make sure I got to my mom in time to pretend I learned a lesson in forgiveness or whatever.

I may be romanticizing the story a bit, but I believe that was the last time the youth group met at the mall. Maybe the freakish fat kid staring at a single page in a D&D book was a bit too much for management to handle, or more likely some boys tried to shoplift  something from the baseball card shop. Either way, it would be years before I finally decided to "rebel" in my own way by picking up some D&D books, and never actually saw the entry for Golem, Maggot again until just now. But it always stuck with me in some regard. And my hobbies still change pretty often, but I find myself drawn back to fantasy again and again, unable to give up the allure of a world that I'd last three seconds in. And everyone I know has a giant writhing mass of putrid flesh and maggots to thank for that.


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