Category: Episode 23

Episode 23

Torture, torture, torture…..think Judy Tenuta’s voice like a droning evilness in your ear and then you are just about ready to embark on the Torture episode at In Between Altered States.  There are many kinds of torture one can endure:  physical, mental, emotional.  The stories you are about to read span these categories and then stand them on their heads.  There might be some graphic images in here so don’t read these aloud to the kiddos, trust me.

It is my awesome pleasure to welcome back writers Grace Andreacchi, Michael D. Goscinski, Tim Gager and Michael O’Brien.  Please wave your bloody stumps in appreciation for newcomers Jon Konrath, Tony Brown, Warren Danbar and Andrew Stancek.

Keep all the lights on…..

Aleathia Drehmer


In the back room of a decrepit computer store, they force-fed me laundry detergent until vivid hallucinations of a nuclear holocaust made me tell them everything I knew about gorillas who understood American Sign Language, which wasn’t much.  My body convulsed, strapped down to a wooden table customarily used to assemble low-end office PCs. I hoped the visions wouldn’t morph into distant memories of Scientology recruiting movies or episodes of Ally McBeal.

Years before, I bought an 8088 motherboard from the same store, and later smashed it to pieces because it rebooted every time Tetris got to the level with the tall stair-step pyramid and the first nine pieces are long blocks that don’t fit.  I planned my revenge, and invited the salesman, a beady-eyed Bieber clone, to Hooters. I promised him loose women, and Action Comics #800, in near-mint condition.

We went shot-for-shot with Emetrol vodka, a horrible cherry-flavored vodka produced by Adriatica Laboratories that’s also an anti-nausea medication.  I just received a full transfusion of AmsOil synthetic plasma, and the booze did nothing to me, aside from the hideous taste.  He didn’t mention the diabetes, a fatal mistake when slamming 180 proof, pure glucose/fructose rotgut.

I left him for dead in the toilet and retreated in the city’s underground tunnel system, built in the 1820s by an army of militant Freemasons. (I only knew about them because of a summer trying to screw someone that worked at the city’s tourism center.)

Now, tables turned, I wished for the Robitussin-aftertaste vodka as they waterboarded me with fake-lemony-fresh detergent from a five gallon bucket.  A lab technician dressed in an immaculate vintage Devo outfit kept screaming, “tell us more about Koko!”  I could not.

Pop hated everyone, even his own gang, and constantly sought vengeance for minor misdeeds just so he could use his torture devices. Boy John, who wasn’t bright, always provided an excuse for electrical abuse. His ears would smoke when he was attached to a battery, making Pop laugh.

One night the gang watched as Pop fed his snake a mouse. The others roared, but John scowled, thinking Pop’s action quite foul.

Pop immediately had John strapped to his medieval rack. “The next one,” he added, glaring at his wife, “gets the ‘to dye for’ bath.”

Esmerelda knew her life was endangered while Pop was breathing, and the only thing she loved about him was his cash. He was so jealous that whenever a man came near, it was Esmerelda he’d accuse.

Even so, when he gave her dough, she’d scan the newspaper ads and buy diamonds. But once she asked a fella for two quarters for the Wednesday edition.

“Can’t leave you alone for five minutes,” Pop said after he appeared from behind, then beat her black-and-blue.

The next day Esmerelda read an item about boiled peanuts, and saw her chance, since Pop’s weaknesses were eating and drinking. She had to do something before the next victim was her.

“Peanuts and beer?” she said, not verbalizing that she wanted him to soon rot in Hell.

“Tank you, Esmereldi,” he said, in his strange way of talking, not perceiving the dark glint in her blackened eye.

“I’ll take care of you, Pop, until the very, very end.”

“Damn right,” he said in his mean tone; he was a mean, mean man, right down to his bones. He guzzled peanuts and beer, calling her a rotten whore, as the boiled peanuts swelled and popped Pop’s stomach, and he was alive no more.

There were six of them in all, that much I remember distinctly. I put something into their juice, a powerful poison, and six of them died, a few were only very ill. Children between the ages of perhaps three and five, a nursery class for which I had some sort of responsibility, I don’t remember exactly what, nor why I did this thing. And having done it, was found perhaps not guilty on grounds of diminished responsibility (but I was responsible for several very young children…) and therefore allowed to go free, some arrangement must have been agreed upon, or else I would not have found myself on the train travelling at a very high speed through the flat countryside north of Paris. The land and the sky a grey blur as the rain came down, silver streaks across the broad panes of rapidly moving glass. A woman began to shriek, a cry of agony, ‘Oh no, oh God no…’, Rachel crying for her children. I covered my ears but still I heard her. I went into the toilet cubicle and locked the door, crouched down on the damp blue floor put my hands over my ears shut my eyes still I could hear her terrible shriek ‘Oh no God no…’ For the thing I had done. I don’t even know why I did it. I don’t remember. Six children. My husband came in – but I thought I had locked the door? He took me by the shoulders. Get up, he said. The woman, I said. No, no, it’s nothing to do with you, he said. Nothing you’ve done.

Rock hard Victor lay strapped to the bed.  The moonlight spiraled through the blinds; freckled on his quivering body.  His wife Janine was wearing his favorite Marilyn Monroe outfit; an almost see-through white halter dress and a blonde wig. Janine crawled between his legs, opened her mouth and leaned towards his balls.

“You gonna fuck me?” he asked.

Breathing heavily she replied.  “You’re gonna get fucked alright.”

“Oh yeah baby.  I want you to take control”

“For seven years I’ve waited for those words.” She said.  “Through the misery and the abuse all I’ve wanted was to not lose myself.” She leaned forward and bit down with ferocity.  Victor screamed and convulsed desperately trying to free himself.  Janine released and went for her night stand.  Numb with pain Victor yelped and cried.  “Why?  Why Janine? I’ve been good to you!”

“Yes, at one time you were good to me.  When I was new you treated me like a princess, but over the last five years I’ve become your showgirl.  I cook, clean and do laundry while you watch your sports.  You won’t even look at me unless a commercial is on.  Sometimes I just don’t exist.  You won’t touch me unless I wear this stupid fucking outfit.  No matter how miserable I tell you I am you won’t give me a divorce.  I never have a say.  This isn’t love.  It ends here; tonight.”

Janine laughed as she pulled a bottle of Ronsonol from the top drawer.  “I hope you like it hot.”  Spurting the fluid onto the bed she was careful not to get any on Victor.  She wanted him to feel the flames slowly swallow his body.  With the flick of a long stem match and a flash the bed ignited.  Victor tugged on the restraints and screamed but it was no use.

As the flames engulfed the bed Janine made her way to the door.  Before exiting the room she looked back, took off her blonde wig, threw it down and said.  “Now I’m gonna go and find a gentleman that doesn’t prefer blondes.”

He hadn’t slept for four days. It was more like 72 hours, but he was starting to lose track. Their skills were more effective than the last time he had been here. He was tied naked to a small wooden chair in the corner of a twelve by twelve windowless room. Most the time it had a single bulb that hung low for lighting. That was, when they weren’t interrogating him. They would give him water regularly but let him just piss on himself. They started out slow with pictures of dogs shitting on dead bodies. But by the end of the first night they had taped his eyes open to watch erotic videos interwoven with psychotic violence. A masked man hatcheting apart a body as a woman moans in extacy. A man sreaming in horror while you see a woman getting fucked from behind. It was a real number. Then they peirced his nipples with fish hooks. While leaving them in they strung them to a small mower battery. That was where it started to get interesting. The pain of the piercing interspersed with mild shocks, well that kept him awake for the next day and a half. During which they played him all kinds of weird shit. Bears masturbating. Politicians apologizing. It was on his final thread that they did him in. A muscular man wreaking of french cologne leaned in close, and shaved his chin clean. “You are free to go Mr.” he whispered in his ear when he was done. He grabbed his suit off the wall, and proceeded to get ready for the work week. Being it was Monday, he prepped himself for what lay ahead, after this weekend. Numerous starlets had done irrefutable harm to themselves. It was only Monday, plenty of damage to be done

Aunt Greta says, “Have a little egg, Bobby. You want to be big and strong, don’t you?  Have a little egg for your Mommy.”  I look at her and say nothing.  I won’t eat eggs anymore.

My Mommy does not care if I eat my egg.  She’s not coming back.  I heard the kids laughing that after she stabbed Dad in the gut, she cut off his fingers and was eating them when the police came.  The policeman had to hit her with a night-stick to make her let go of the bloody knife.  They threw away the keys of the loony bin, the kids said.

Dad and I used to eat eggs sunny side up.  He’d throw one up in the air, then catch it and break it into the bowl.  He let me try, too.  I had yolk running down my forehead and my second one splattered on the table.  He laughed so hard his hands were shaking when he wiped the oozy shell from my hair.

I woke that night when Mommy was screaming that he was a whoremonger and she’d make him sorry.  I don’t know what that is but I guess she is sorry.  She can’t eat his fingers.

Aunt Greta wants me to be big and strong.  Dad was big and strong.  He could lift me and sit me on his shoulders.  I won’t eat eggs anymore.

Dayle runs into the house, flattens a coffee table, and knocks over a lamp; Clyde’s face is red in hot pursuit. Sid and I watch the horror movie   Treat ‘r Treat stoned. He says, “Who the fuck was that?”

“The girl?”


“It’s Anna Paquin.”

“No! Who ran in here?”

“Oh, that’s Clyde’s Dayle.”

“Clydesdale? A horse?”

There is a scream in back room. “Wait,” Sid says. “Anna Paquin is going to gether tits cut off.”

“Oh man! I’ve seen this before,” I say.

Dayle comes back out with blood on her shirt and pants. “You didn’t see shit,”she says.

If one was aborted before the mask that is called life, what would you ask it? Why am I lonely? Why a cricket bat doesn’t taste of sourdough? If you need to know the reason why the cottage cheese turned sour, just smash it into the sweet darling’s postulating face and paint Van Gogh replicas with the results. The result/s will lead you to that tell tale gutter in San Francisco. A sailor will walk by with, ‘the jokes on me’ tattooed on his arm. The blackbird will ignore the sunflower.

Frank will ask: What’s new? But all you will here is throat cancer, and a sly French remark in an Algerian brothel. You will find newspapers, but all you will see in them is the ridiculous and the sublime fever that is Ivory malaria. You wanted to write songs; but ended up sowing maggots into Rachel Anne McAdam’s bosom.

I missed you most all when the turpentine fell on to my King James edition of the bible. I hated you most of all when I was stood up in Groningen, and all I could think about was that cold January Pacific rain falling onto to the back of my rotten skull. Poor Theo will be unable to cover up the pain that cripples his heart. It is hard to think of the pain that was born in those sun swept meadows.

This was long ago. This was long ago. So why do I still rest my face in that same sallow gutter? The police will arrive soon – they paint the eye’s of grey mullets on Fridays. All it was, was a way to make it to some sort of promised land: a sowing of aluminum sunflower seeds, if you will.