Murk (2008)

He reached underneath the XXXL t-shirt with his other hand and, in what had become a familiar gesture in these final days, felt the surface of his belly. The skin was hard with swelling, just a membrane of pressure and pain coating an enormity of numbness. The more he ran his hand across his gut, the more he could feel the individual balls of globular tissue inside him.

Yes, “Murk” is one of those stories, full of body horror, transformation and madness. It was also a landmark publication for me as it was my first real fiction publication and began my relationship with Dog Horn and Polluto. It’s one of my subway tales — a favorite setting of mine — and concerns a man named Nathan Griggs and his quest to understand why his torso is swollen with what may be the eggs of a giant spider. Luckily for him, he encounters a helpful guide in the form of a speed-addled bum with a wound in his side. Just what will they uncover beneath the streets of New York City?

I think the tale holds up well and contains some nice splashes of action and Lovecraftian mystery. Plus, bizarro author Carlton Mellick III had some very nice things to say about it, which was quite encouraging. A number of friends also helped me out on this one — including then-New Yorkers Marilyn Cole, Kurt and Zelda who answered annoying questions about the subway system.

Want to read it for yourself? You can still pick up copies of “Polluto: The Anti-pop Culture Journal – Issue 2: Apocalypses and Garden Furniture” over at Dog Horn Publishing.



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