So close to TCAF!! I had someone ask if it was more helpful to pre-order or to buy a copy in person, and it’s way more helpful to pre-order—if you put a note in your etsy order I can refund shipping to you and set your copy aside if you plan to pick it up at TCAF or SPX. This way is easier than paying the printing cost out of pocket and then earning it back spread out through sales.
When Jensine Eckwall approached me for a submission to the “creepypasta” zine she was co-curating with Peter Schmidt, I hadn’t heard the term before but had come across plenty of urban legends proliferated on the internet that would certainly qualify.
The thing is, I hear about the truly horrifying shit real people—real, actual people with names and social security numbers and families—do to other human beings that urban legends can seem…..quaint by comparison. My aunt’s first husband kept her trapped in their house for years and the day she decided to escape he jumped off a building on live television, just to punish her. A family friend of ours discovered her husband was planning to kill her and her children while they slept and got out just in time. Her best friend, a pianist, was later murdered by her husband moments after their last phone call, during which my friend sensed something wasn’t right and begged her to leave the house. He cut off her fingers before strangling her to death, and then hung himself. What urban legend is really going to frighten me more than the knowledge that human beings are fucking evil sometimes?
I wish urban legends scared me. I am so thrilled at the excellent art featured in Jensine and Peter’s zine by people with the talent (and perhaps the innocence) to really capture the spirit of the stories and myths they chose. Seriously, there is so much amazing art going in to this thing, I can’t wait to own my copy. But I hesitated, because I wasn’t sure if I could get into the spirit of things. So I asked Jensine if it would be alright to do a real story, something true and traceable, but with that haunting “there but for the grace of God go I” atmosphere that, in my opinion, distinguishes the best creepypasta.
I got the go ahead, so I chose this story, told by Jay Roberts, who met a handsome stranger on the beach one glorious day and decided to follow him back to his motel room for some beers and stimulating conversation. From Captain Awkward, who first introduced me to this story:
“(Randy Kraft) got Roberts, a straight, strapping male Marine to pose for sexy photos and even consider a sexual encounter, and he did it by making the guy feel, in his own words, *loved.* Such was Kraft’s charisma that years later, despite evidence that AN EXTREMELY BIG NUMBER OF OTHER TIMES this guy murdered people exactly like the writer in situations exactly like that one, even recognizing that the guy was manipulating him, had likely stalked & selected him as a good victim, he *still* questions whether that “really” would have happened to him and still has complicated feelings about the guy.”
This story gives me The Fear. If you read Randy Kraft’s wikipedia article, you can get an idea how close Roberts was to becoming a special guest star in Randy’s nightmarish sexual death game, but Randy chose to let him leave that motel room alive that day none the wiser. And yet, he didn’t—it’s clear from reading Robert’s account that Randy made him feel things he’d never felt before: adored, worshiped, sexy. Being the object of another’s gaze catches some straight men off guard, when they’re so accustomed to being the ones who do the looking. Randy didn’t need to butcher Roberts to get under his skin, and I think a part of him lives there even now.
“Based on what I knew about Marines, I told him that approaching them for gay sex seemed like a foolproof way to get a right proper ass-kicking.
He responded with a line I remember more than anything else said that afternoon, and I was struck by how casual, confident, and analytic he was about the thought: “No, you just have to get them away from their friends.”
Though he was familiar with the concept of sleep, Mr. Sand had never tried it himself. “Perhaps tonight I should try this sleep thing,” he muttered to no one in particular…but quickly put the idea out of his head.