by Norsebard






This dollop of surreal nonsense doesn't really fit into any category known to mankind… ;D

All characters depicted, names used, and incidents portrayed in this story are (obviously) fictitious. No identification with actual persons is intended nor should be inferred. Any resemblance of the characters portrayed to actual persons, living, dead or undead is purely coincidental.





Written: September 19th - 21st 2021.


As usual, I'd like to say a great, big THANK YOU to my mates at AUSXIP Talking Xena, especially to the gals and guys in Subtext Central. I really appreciate your support - Thanks, everybody! :D


Description: Visiting a fan con is always a magical experience - the 214th annual Halloween Ghouls-Rulz Worldwide Convention is no exception. Although some of the events described in this report may seem surreal or even grotesque to the uninitiated, most of the things witnessed by the intrepid con-goer J. Ockser will be all too familiar to anyone who's ever been to one of the major cons. As we eagerly await the official 25+2 XWP con, sit back and read about a convention that may seem wildly different at first glance but that really isn't…





From the diary of J. Ockser, Esq.

Friday, October 8th.

Wooooooo-hoooooo!  It's almost here!  It's almost here… I can't wait!  One more week… one more week 'til I pack my knapsack and leave my humble subterranean abode for the HALLOWEEN GHOULS-RULZ WORLDWIDE CONVENTION, bay-be!


Monday, October 11th.

I just found my con diary from last year… it was the report that earned me a two-week suspension from my favorite message board due to the excessive vomiting it caused among the other members when I posted excerpts from it. I thought I had burned that piece of meanness, but I guess even the flames of the Fiery Pits Of Hell (a.k.a. my toilet bowl after I've had a triple-chili burrito) couldn't consume the raw, undiluted evil on the pages. Ouch.

All the suppressed memories I had sent up'denial came back with a vengeance when I re-read what I had written. Lemme tell you, they were no less painful now than they were a year ago.

It all started when I won a raffle at last year's Halloween Ghouls-Rulz con. The first prize was an invitation to the All-Star Banquet that took place in the Slime-Green Room where all the hellish stars and starlets assemble when they're not on stage. There had been some kind of virgin sacrifice in there so the floor was kinda slick, but it was already over and done with by the time I arrived. I missed the spectacle and that kinda bummed me out. But never mind that now.

Anyhoo… awesomesauce, right?  No, because at last year's 213th annual Ghouls Banquet, I had the great misfortune to be awarded a place at the table reserved for luminaries such as His Royal Stinkiness King Phaaart of Laxateeva and the most esteemed Lord Rasalgethi the Crimson Sorcerer who was accompanied by the Interdimensional Traveler. The latter didn't say much. He just sorta phased in and out of our dimension the entire time. Boring dude. Or maybe it was a dudette, I couldn't say. S/he was a little hazy for most of the time. Last but certainly not least, the table also saw a very charming representative of the planet Xsghwhyeymtyamyamhch, Lady Yucka Chasumqumu. It's pronounced with a sh- sound.

I suppose the appetizers were fine though I've always had a problem with food that's still wiggling on the plate. I didn't want to look like a rube in front of all the stars so I just closed my eyes and gulped it down. One of the wigglies tried to crawl up the back of my nose when I didn't swallow fast enough, but I managed to drown the li'l critter with a good squirt of the Hollershawamawingowango Blood Wine. That little drama ended well. Sorta. I would have preferred to drink a gentle white wine since the red one was quite clogged-up by the time the shared goblet made its way round to me, but I couldn't ask for special treatment being a regular fan.

However, I began to worry for my safety when I was asked to strip naked and lie on a wooden board at the center of the table. As I undressed, I had a quick look at the elaborate flyer and realized to my great horror that I had misread the theme of the banquet. To Serve Man was to be taken literally. Quite literally… I managed to save my hide and the rest of my bits and pieces, but it was touch and go for a while.

Once I returned to my suite upstairs in the convention hotel, it took me an hour to wrest King Phaaart's fork from my stomach and even longer than that to dig all of Lady Yucka Chasumqumu's talons out of my butt cheeks. Why, just the other day, I found a… no, we better not go there. Literally.

Once I made it to bed that night (after downing most of a bottle of Fish-Breath Vodka Shots to calm my nerves. Fish-Breath is one of my favorite types of booze. It tastes just like red herring marinated in spring onions and fermented vinegar which is just one of my fave things in the whooooole wide world!)  Anyway, I thought I had been through the worst of the horrors, but the darn nightmare had only just begun. It got worse when I woke up at two in the morning 'cos something crawled all over me. I hate it when that happens. Well, actually, I do like certain beings crawling all over me, but not uninvited. And not those beings.

My mood took a bit of a knock when I realized that King Phaaart's fork had to have been laced in some kind of poison that caused paralysis and hallucinations. At least I think those critters were hallucinations. I can't say for sure, though. One of them-

No, I better leave it there or else I'll just be suspended all over again.

Four more days and I'll be at the check-in at the convention hotel. Can't wait!


Friday, October 15th.

11 AM: I'm here!  At the con!  Awwwwww-yeah-bay-beee!  In one piece but without half my luggage. Typical. The airline managed to lose the duffel bag with all my spare clothes somewhere at thirty-thousand feet. They said a family of pterodactyls had entered the cargo hold and had chewed on several of the items in there. WHATever, dude.

The hotel lady at the reception desk gave me an odd stare while she fanned her nose as I checked in. Can't imagine why - I mean, I changed undies last month. I guess compulsive cleanliness really is a thing among certain people. At least she gave me the key card for my suite on the seventh floor. To fit the theme of the Halloween Ghouls-Rulz Worldwide Convention, they've renamed the two hotel towers Hell and Even Worse. I got suite 704 in Hell, so I guess I'm on the seventh level of Hell. Eh.

But anyway. Once I got up to my suite, the key card didn't fit into the electronic reader-thingamajig-slot next to the door. Down to the reception desk to moan about it. Got new info. Was told to turn the key card over so 'This side up' was pointed at the floor. Logical, huh?  I guess it was made in China like everything else. Or maybe Australia 'cos they're always up when we're down and when we're down, they're up. Or something… never mind that now.

Back up to my suite and inserted the key card and was allowed access to the suite I had paid a whole buncha dough for. No power. Wonn-derful. Down to the reception desk to moan about it. Was told to insert the key card in the little box on the wall in the inner hallway that said 'Insert Key Card Here To Activate Power.'  Okay. WHATever, lady. Back up to the suite.

After inserting the key card into the little box, the power came on so that was good. I quickly checked everything out and was sort-of satisfied with what I found. There was a crack in the window pane in the bedroom so that was bad. The TV's got cable so that was good, but I won't have time to watch much of it (and my credit card has already been charged with 'Premium Service') so that was bad. The bed was nice so that was good. The brochure claimed there would be a gift basket waiting for me but I couldn't find it anywhere. That was bad. Down to the reception desk to moan about it. Was told the gift basket was in fact a $0.99 voucher for an apple of my own choice, worm not included unless I asked nicely. Yay. Can't wait.

I paid plenty of moolah for the con tickets so not even a pile of Donkey Kong's dirty diapers could make me stay upstairs in my suite. At present, I'm getting myself psyched up to face the mayhem downstairs. And that's just the merchandising tables.

There isn't too much on the con agenda for today. The Hall Of Harrowing Bloodshed has a couple of minor stars - Dither Willywither and Skell Bohnes - but I've never really been into cooking shows so I think I'll pass and check out the bar instead. I'll bet the beer's insanely expensive and the pretzels are from last year.

The first of several photo-ops is today as well. I haven't decided yet if I want to splash out on tickets for today's selection of stars and starlets. First up is Candy-Bandy, also known as the garden-shears serial killer from Hoboken. She used to be quite attractive, no doubt about that, but she lost a lot from being electrocuted a couple of times. Eh. Her hair looks like an old-fashioned fright-wig now… not that I'm judging her by her looks or anything. I need to think a little more about that. And then there's Rimram Puddycake who's only at the con today. That would be a lot more fun than Candy-Bandy, but I suspect there'll be one hell of a line of fans waiting to spend 0.5 seconds next to their big hero. Tomorrow has more potential when it comes to photo-ops so I think I'll save my dollars for that.

I hope to catch the Slash & Sever Show panel a little later on. Last year's edition was fascinating even though two of the panelists began to argue, then fight, then nearly kill each other over some point or other that couldn't have been more irrelevant. At least nobody asked for hugs.


Update at one PM: Travelling fatigues off. Outdoor shoes off. Rusty Slaughter T-shirt on. Indoor shoes on. After a little work, like water-combing my hair and gurgling in drain cleaner to get rid of the final strands of chopped parsley that were still stuck between my teeth and around the dingleberry at the back of my throat from the in-flight snack, I was all set for a grand adventure downstairs in the hotel's convention center.

The first thing that happened was that the elevator was blocked because some demon spawn kid had played with it. Well, all right. It happens. I chose to wait for it anyway and was rewarded by its arrival a couple of minutes later. The demon spawn kid was long gone, but he or she had emptied an entire can of Stink'n'Blergh into the car so everything reeked of… well, Stink'n'Blergh. Yummy. Actually, you get used to it after a while. I should know 'cos my socks-and-undies drawer smells just like it.

The lobby looked like any other convention lobby except for the fact it had a lot, and I mean a lot, of zombies dragging their feet and leaving brains and pieces of rotten flesh everywhere. Not sure where they were all going, but I did hear a few whispers about a big fan auction hosted by Alma Negra, the charming, soulless supreme ruler of whatever underworld the charming, soulless people end up in. The auction item that was expected to really rake in the dosh was 'Take Home A Zombie Of Your Choice,' but I honestly wouldn't know what to do with one of those, so… eh.

Within a ten-minute period, I said Hi to a couple of familiar faces from past Ghouls-Rulz conventions, and that's always fun. I've been invited up to a private suite later on tonight to play the brand new Merry Murder board game and watch a few episodes of the new coroner reality show Gut Rot & Gangrene. I think I'll go, but I'll put on my fastest track shoes just in case there's a hidden agenda involved.


Another update. Three PM: I'm updating this as I sit on the toilet. Oddly enough, it's the cleanest room in my suite though the whole thing cost me an arm and a leg. When I pulled off the bedspread to take an afternoon nap to get over the jet lag, I discovered a bunch of bed bugs engaged in activities that I could only describe as a bug swinger club. Man, they were really going at it. I didn't want to intrude, so I called for room service and withdrew to the john, like I said.

Yes, the beer at the bar was insanely expensive. Yes, the pretzels were from last year. Yes, the bartender got increasingly PO'ed as he was asked seventy-four times to whip up a Bloodclot-hold-the-celery-stick. I wasn't one of them as I'm not too hot on the 'clots. I had a plum and a Coke instead… I ordered a rum-and-Coke, but I guess he was hard of hearing. No, the plum didn't go well with pork rinds and spicy jerky. And, no, gosh-darnit, nobody asked me about my Rusty Slaughter T-shirt. Sigh.


Yet another update. Six PM: Yay, suppertime!  Okay, since Rusty had been a bust at the bar and the con halls, I changed into one of my favorite pieces of clothing, namely my beloved bright-orange death-row onesie. It might sound like an odd choice of garb to wear at supper, but it was the only thing I brought along in my carry-on luggage. It's got bullet holes in the back, stab marks in the front and blood splatters everywhere. I love it!  It originally came with a set of leg irons, but I took them off after an incident where I failed to make it to the bathroom in time… the chain-gang-walk literally tripped me up more than I had expected. Well, the stains only added to the onesie's patina, so that wasn't too bad all things considered.

It took room service nearly an hour to show up to change the bed spread and all those things (the maid said something about a bug porn convention taking place at the same time up in the penthouse), but I spent it applying my monster makeup and attaching the wonderful, old knife-through-skull prop that has served me so well over the years. Fully decked out with a slashed throat, a bloody nose, two swollen eyes, cauliflower ears and the aforementioned knife-through-skull prop, I strolled down to the main eating hall to get my paws on the $16,99 buffet before it was all gone.

Eh. I was a little disappointed with the things they had on offer. Oh sure, they had the ubiquitous finger food in all shapes, sizes and skin tones, eyeballs in tomato sauce, yak testicles in curry rice and filet-o-arm stuffed into genuine Italian ciabatta buns, but I had hoped to find something like the awesomely yummy Mexican Chili-Don't-Ask-Where-It-Came-From that I enjoyed so much at last year's con. I guess it wasn't a hit for some reason. Too bad, 'cos the sickly-green crust was real easy to scrape off so we could get to the good stuff underneath.

In any case, I took a little of this, a little of that and plenty of the other. The choice of beverage was an easy one: Frizzie's Classic Cola. They sold it by the bucketload, and I just love that stuff… there were also diet Cokes and other types of sodas, but I can't stand diet-anything. It's so artificial and tastes like yuck-on-duck. Afterwards, everyone engaged in a belch-a-thon as expected. Some guy from Jersey City won: he was able to belch most of The Star-Spangled Banner before running out of air. We all clapped 'cos it was so beautiful, man.


Update: eleven PM. Bedtime!  The highlight of the entire first day was being invited to the private suite further up the Hell tower with a handful of like-minded bizarros to play Merry Murder and watch the entire first season of Gut Rot & Gangrene. That's such an inspiring show!  Fun-fun-fun all the way through from the opening credits to the bucket of guts that's thrown at the viewers at the end.

Merry Murder was less fun than I had expected considering all the hype on the message boards and video game blogs and vlogs. I guess my host thought the same 'cos we didn't play it for long. The rules were really complicated, like when a player got murdered, he or she had to sit out the entire round until they could come back into the game. I mean, is that dull or what?  Haven't the game developers ever heard of killer ghosts?  Whatever the reason, it was just a flat gaming experience which bummed me out a little. I declined the shared ganja dutchie but the booze served was awesome, so that was good - Fish-Breath Vodka shots, bay-be!  Downed most of a bottle and bought another from the host to keep me warm during the night. And speaking of night… Nighty-night!


Saturday, October 16th

Ooooooooooooooooh, today's the big day!  Oh boy, the schedule has been packed so full that I had to set the alarm clock to five-thirty just to catch it all. After taking a dump and brushing my teeth to get rid of the last traces of Fish-Breath, I donned my full Death Row costume and headed down to the con hotel's restaurant for some breakfast - 's funny, but I wasn't aware that little green flowers could grow in strawberry jam. They were kinda pretty. I'm not a strawberry person so it didn't really matter. I took a few packs of honey instead to coat my buns, but I observed more than a little puking going on underneath the tables. Whatever. Buns, honey and chocolate milk and I'm all set for the busy, busy day.


A little later on: Huh, the Sever Show panel yesterday was the talk of the town. I had to miss it after all, gosh-darnit, and now I need to find a two-by-four to smack myself over the head for doing so. Apparently, one of the panelists tried to snap the moderator's head clean off 'cos he didn't give him enough time to finish answering the questions that came from the floor. Well, I can't argue with that. I hate being interrupted, so… but anyhow.

Today's going to be insanely busy (all right, insane on every level, but that's any type of fan con in a nutshell, right?) so I probably won't have time to update my diary on a regular basis. I'll jot down a few words of wisdom if and when something awesomely cool or awesomely yucky happens.


Okay, I've been back in my suite to take another massive dump, comb my nose hair and remove the cauliflower ears. They looked cool but impaired my hearing too much so they had to go. With my beloved knife-through-skull prop back in place, I'm off to the elevators. Wish me luck!


I. Just. Saw. Alma. Negra. Oh. My. Frickin'. Frackin'. Frockin'. She walked right past me… notice I didn't say 'straight' past me 'cos I think she may have had a Bloodclot-and-celery too many on this glorious morn. Maybe she didn't go to bed at all last night, I can't say. Does she even need to sleep?  Maybe not. I need to do a little research on that, but that's for later. Ooooooh, she looked even hotter in person than on the cover of that magazine that I've forgotten the title of. It had an X and an H in it. Wasn't it Maxhim?  No, Exhumed!  Yesssss… and she's so long-legged. Tight leather pants and a semi-sheer top. I didn't ogle her too much, honest. May I be zapped by a fifty-kilovolt power cable if I do not speaketh the tru- hoo- hooo- hoooo- hooooo- hooooooh, that tickled!


There are giganto lines in front of all the merchandising tables. And giganto lines can only be formed by a giganto number of con-goers. I've never seen it this packed before!  There are cosplayers everywhere… at least, I think they're cosplayers. They may be real zombies, though. I guess I could poke my finger into one of 'em and see if it goes straight through. On the other hand, no pun intended, my legendary crappy luck would probably strike again and get me arrested for copping a feel.

I'm writing this as I wait in line for the Splatastic Gore & Co. booth. Splatastic Gore & Co. was an attempt at making a splatter sitcom but the plug was pulled halfway through the first season despite having real ghoulies as guest stars. I didn't think it was that bad, but I guess the bean counters did.

One of the guest starring ghoulies is signing autographs and that's why the line is going so slowly. She's kinda popular with the fangrrrrls and they're duly asking for bite marks on their arms or thighs. One young lady with green hair even dropped her britches right then and there for ease of access.


I didn't drop my britches - the Death Row onesie didn't allow it - but I bought a Splatastic T-shirt and a collector's edition value-pack gift set of fifteen multi-colored fingernails. They also had one with toenails, but that was a little too expensive so I had to pass on it. The female ghoulie autographed my box of fingernails so that was neat. I never caught her name (and I can't read the scribbled words) tho' I did catch a strong whiff of her natural scent… it was kinda odd. I got the impression she had been boxed up in a basement for a decade… wait… maybe I should have told her my life story 'cos we had something in common. Nah. I probably wasn't her type anyhow. Off to the buffet for a little pick-me-up!


Darn, the mayonnaise-chorizo-cucumber-pickled herring slap-together I had for lunch ($9,95!  Highway robbery or what?!) didn't agree with me so I had to find a restroom expeditiously. I did… and I also found a long line outside said restroom. Onto Plan B: a potted plant next to the door to said restroom. I don't want to go into detail, but it always surprises me that what comes up isn't necessarily what went down earlier. In any case, I got rid of whatever it was that upset my tummy. Now I need a can of Frizzie's Cherry Cola. I hope I can find one before the next item on the agenda: a photo-op with Hairy Harriet Huttner, better known as the Heartthrob of Hangman's Hill. Plenty of H's which is a good fit 'cos she's a plentiful dame, too!


The photo-op went well tho' I was a little disappointed by how few fans had turned up to say hi to the great dame Hairy Harriet. Maybe they can't remember her, I dunno. It had a plus side too 'cos we true fans got to spend plenty of time with her and that was neat!  She's such a charmer and she has the funniest stories to tell after working in the traveling execution bizz for nigh-on thirty years.

I'm going back to the merchandising tables now to be nearer to the center of the action. There's another discussion panel later on in one of the side halls, but that's hosted by none other than His Royal Stinkiness King Phaaart of Laxateeva so I'm not going anywhere near that.


Just a brief note: the day's headlining event, the All-Star Extravaganza, will commence in the Grand Hall Of Death, Doom & Disgusting Diseases in two hours' time. My fellow fans are buzzin' so hard already it's almost impossible to get away from - not that I want to!  It's gonna be sooooooooo much fun!


Would ya believe it… I only made it into the Grand Hall by the stubble on my butt cheeks. The hall is packed, I'm telling you!  Packed!  This has got to be the biggest congregation of goreheads, hellhounds, horror freaks, bizarros, zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, goblins, gargoyles, walking cadavers, demons, devils and assorted other upstanding citizens since I don't know when!  I even spotted a pincushion goth chick wearing a Rusty Slaughter T-shirt just like mine… maybe I'll chat her up later on. Trying can't hurt, right?  Famous last words, I know.

The reason for my difficulty in getting in was because several members of Alma Negra's security detail doubled as bouncers. Those guys aren't to be messed with. I still think it's creepy how all twenty of them are identical, but I guess cloning has come a long way since Dolly. The sheep, not Parton. What's the singular of sheep?  Shoop?  Shap?  Shemp?  Who cares… I'm the only one who's ever gonna read this!

I can't get over how jam-packed the Grand Hall is… there are freaks and bizarros everywhere. The first three rows or so are reserved for the Gold Club Members - they pay through the nose for the once-in-a-lifetime chance of having Wahooma The Avenger slobber all over them while she poses on the stage. Some may even have the privilege of being splattered with embalming fluid by the seasoned veteran Mommy Mummy who's here as a guest of honor. I'm sure there'll be plenty of crusty residue for sale online tomorrow.

Never mind that now 'cos the emcee just began his spiel up on the stage!  Heeeere we go!


Update: a few minutes past midnight - my brain is fried but my heart is full. Ohhhh, that was beautiful. Just beautiful, man. The sense of camaraderie and kinship just flowed through everything and everyone present. As I write this, the last chorus of Burn, Burn, Burn Thy Flesh is still rolling around the Grand Hall.

The stars were already waving goodbye and throwing souvenirs like hats, key chains, boney fingers and eyeballs into the audience when somebody began singing the age-old campfire song. It didn't take long for everyone to catch on and the entire Hall was soon echoing with the classic tune. Alma Negra made all the stars join in - she's in the music bizz after all - and it was so beautiful to see Mommy Mummy, Hel The Dark Traveler, Wahooma The Avenger, Graewe Digger, Lillith Frogsucker, Chieftain Wulfgar of the Norselands and his special friend from the Underworld, Thorbeinn Groundpounder, sing along!

The bar is offering Bloodclots, DrillerKillers, Wiggly Worms and Fish-Breath shots at half price, but I'm gonna stagger up to my suite and hit the sack instead. I only hope the sack won't hit me back 'cos I'm dead on my feet already. More later… maybe.


Sunday, October 17th - the final day.

Hangover. Hannnnng. Overrrrrrr. Actually, I'm still drunk. Punch drunk!  Not from excessive boozing but from The Beautiful Vibe that permeated the Grand Hall Of Death, Doom & Disgusting Diseases last night. If I could bottle that, I'd be a gazillionaire in no time flat. On second thoughts, I'd keep it all for myself. Mwu-hahaha!  How d'ya like them pineapples, World?!

The night itself was sort of, kind of okay though I couldn't fall asleep at first - I was simply way, way too buzzed to relax. I tried turning on the teevee but I couldn't find anything other than infomercials and, get this, a live candid feed from the bug porn convention. Talk about up close and personal!  I'll never look at a lady bug the same way again… 'who knew' is all I'm saying to that particular subject. Other than yowzer, yikes and Yumpin' Yehoshaphat.

But anyway. The classic canon song from last night kept playing in my head for hours until I got up, went into the bathroom and gave myself one helluva whack over the brow with the toilet seat. That helped and I was able to fly to the land of Nod.

I'm back on the toilet as I write this, actually. Not only because I had to go but because the bug swinger club slash porn convention seemed to have spilled over once more. Into my bed. I mean, really… that's twice now!  Hey, I'm not a narrow-minded individual and I'm not opposed to bug porn or swinger clubs, but why does it have to be in my bed?  After watching that candid feed stuff on teevee last night, I know for a fact they have their own beds!  Gotta go… the room service maid is knocking on the door so I better let her in.


The convention staffer who scheduled the Do It Yourself Brain Transplant star panel on Sunday morning at nine has to be suffering from that exact condition. Everyone I met in the corridors looked as if they were the last human survivors of the zombie apocalypse… actually, more than a few looked as if they hadn't survived the zombie apocalypse at all. Breakfast was a muted affair and I only had time to clamp my paws around a pair of hot buns before I was off for one of the smaller convention halls - The Unholy Cathedral.

I felt real sorry for the nice surgeons and scientists on the DIY Brain Transplant panel. Not only did they have to put on a brave face when only twenty fans could be bothered to come and see them at that ungodly hour of the day, one of the members of the audience went through the entire list of convention no-no's during his lengthy me-me-me-centric monologue. First he left his chair and approached the panel so he could give them a wrapped gift and take selfies with each of them holding the package; then he waffled on endlessly about topics that had zilch to do with the theme of the panel. He did a bunch of other annoying stuff before he broke the final rule by asking the members of the panel for a handshake or a hug. He even became a little snippy with Dr. Mary-Margaret Hoogenplaster when she politely - but firmly - declined the invasion of her private space.

By this time, I felt like crumpling up a can of Frizzie's Classic Cola and throwing it at the annoying fellow's neck. I didn't because I couldn't be sure it would find its target and knock him clean out - if there's one thing I don't have time for, it's a lawsuit. Or a lawyer. Or a lawyer handing me a lawsuit. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the annoying fella is a lawyer. Maybe that's just me being grumpy at this time of the day, I dunno. In any case, he ruined the entire panel.

According to the notes that had been handed out among the meager crowd, the chief surgeon of Mount Wipperwapper Hospital, Dr. Edwyn Beuttleneck - the fellow who had come up with the DIY Brain Transplant concept in the first place - was supposed to have demonstrated the best techniques for extracting and pickling brains and other internal organs through the nose or similar orifices, but it seemed the low turnout had nixed the spectacle. Darn.

Well, that was a bust… but at least it gave me a fun idea for a fanfic. I hope the rest of the final day will be a little more positive.


Everything is winding down. It's always the same at every con, and it's always so unbe-frickin'-ly sad. It's just the saddest feeling imaginable. As the hours tick away toward certain doom, more and more fans pack up and point their noses and feet homeward. My poor credit card is still smoldering from the abuse of having paid for the 'Premium Service' so I'm determined to stay for as long as I can and get the most out of the final few panels, photo-ops and contests. Also, I'm hoping some of the merchandising tables have clear-out sales. I always find great stuff there that keeps me entertained during the long and lonely winter evenings in my humble subterranean abode.

Wa-hey, I just remembered something… I did meet the pincushion goth chick again but she was already hooked up with someone else. That's to be taken literally as she and a similar-looking goth chick were connected by a metal chain that had been attached to their nose rings. Ah, young love. How odd it always looks. I hope they can sit next to each other on their flight home, though. It may get a little uncomfortable in the long run if one is flying coach and the other isn't. Of course, they may not even share a flight… huh. I didn't think of that. Bound to be awkward.

This update needs to be finished in a hurry 'cos I don't want to be late for the last of the scheduled photo-ops. Hel The Dark Traveler needs to catch a fiery chariot back to the Norselands half past two (Chieftain Wulfgar and Thorbeinn Groundpounder have already left, gosh-darn'it… I wanted their autographs across my brow!) so she's only doing a limited photo-op session between noon and two.

I can't say for sure, but I have a sneaky suspicion the line will be long after her great show at the All-Star Extravaganza last night. That she could dance a Texas Two-Step came as a complete surprise to everyone. I think she's kinda cute. Well, I guess it depends on which shape she's in… literally. If she shows up as her rotting self, people will be projectile-puking before they can hand over their hard-earned cash - I doubt the convention staffers will allow that. Let's see.


Ye gads above and below. It's over for another year. As I write this, I'm standing in the lobby trying to soak up the verrrry last traces of the wonderful atmosphere we had this year. The Halloween Ghouls-Rulz Worldwide Convention was a brain-smashing success, that's a fact. I exchange glances, knowing winks and flowery pleasantries with some of the other con-goers as they walk past. We show off new T-shirts, blood stains and facial scars. It's so bayu-tiful to be part of a group of like-minded goreheads and hellhounds, some of whom have traveled halfway around the world just to experience the inevitable thrills, spills, murder and mayhem of a Ghouls-Rulz con. Well, I say 'murder,' but I don't know if anyone has actually been murdered at the con this year. Maybe the annoying fella at the DIY Brain Transplant panel?  I wonder if the cops would classify it as murder or a gift to mankind if someone bumped him off?  Hmmm…

This will be the final update. Once I'm done, I need to drag my heavy luggage outside and hope a taxi cab will soon swing by so I can get back to the airport. Why is my luggage heavier than when I arrived despite the fact the airline never found my other suitcase?  Weeelll, I may have pinched a bathrobe or two. Maybe some towels and an ashtray. And a few bars of soap. Not that I use it, but you know… it's there, so why not. And maybe I pilfered a twelve-pack of toilet rolls as well. It was really soft and comfy to use.

Gotta go… a bunch of cabs just turned up. Catch you later!


Back home. Sigh. The same subterranean abode. Sigh. The same dreary walls with the same dreary mildew fungus on 'em. Sigh. I miss the con already. Double sigh. The same cans of anchovies and baked beans in my pantry. Sigh. The same leftovers in my fridge. Note to self: scrape off the green stuff from the liver paté and it'll be fine for another two weeks. Sigh. The same beers… save for the one I've already chugged down. Triple sigh. I think I'll order a pizza tonight. Or Mexican. Or Chinese. Or maybe all three so I can binge-eat my sorrows away.

The proctologist who sat next to me on my flight home didn't help matters. Look, I understand professional pride and even the need for talking about one's trade, but did he have to go into such gory detail during the meal?  I thought I had seen, heard and smelled everything there was to that subject, but nuh-uh!  That's an entire field of medicine that I have zero interest in learning more about. It didn't help we were served Cajun meatballs and mashed potatoes in spicy pepper sauce while he held court.

At least there's one ray of shining light: as I unpack my suitcase, I marvel at all the wonderful merchandise I bought at the Ghouls-Rulz Convention. First up, the promo DVD from Chester 'Commander Claw' Drake's Rusty Slaughter theme park. Love the slogan 'Guaranteed to scar you for life.' I hope I can scrounge together enough dough to go there for their Christmas Slay-Ride. Maybe Santa Claws will be there!  I'll bet that'll be a ripper, dude.

There's the Splatastic T-shirt and the autographed collector's edition value-pack gift set of fifteen multi-colored fingernails - I've already talked about those so I'll move on to…

The special bottle of mead I bought at Hel's booth after the photo-op. Although 'Best before December 829 AD' is stamped onto the bottom of the bottle, I think I'll open it tonight. At $16.98 it was kinda pricey, but I'll bet it's worth every cent.

I took a couple of freebie buttons and decorative pins at a merchandising table that was run by one of the smaller vendors. Eh. They looked better back at the con, but I'll still wear 'em. They didn't cost me a dime so I might as well flaunt them. I just need to figure out whether to wear 'Have You Sharpened Your Carving Knife Today?' or 'Manson, Bundy, Me!  Wanna Flirt?'  Hey, why not both at once?

The temporary Polaroids from the photo-ops are awesome even if the picture quality itself is crappy beyond belief. When the proper hi-res photos are delivered next week, I hope the mailman can find my subterranean abode this time unlike last year where I needed to bribe my neighbor into giving me the package with the photos. He said he would send 'em to the tabloids unless I slipped him a C-note. I thought about slipping him a brick over the head instead, but I eventually paid up. I hadn't counted on spending that amount of extra money, but I had to 'cos a future employer might have seen the pic where the really nice lady zombie I stood next to had a wardrobe malfunction… uh, yeah. That was a spectacle all right. I nailed my neighbor with interest later on, but that was all covered in last year's con diary.

ANYway, as I throw my sweat-soaked socks and soiled undies back into the proper drawer, I can't help but ponder a few things:

1) Why does it always smell like something crawled into my humble subterranean abode and died each time I return after a few days on the road?  I mean, I turn on the ventilation at least once a decade.

2) Why do I always end up getting pestered by aggressive salespeople pushing worthless merch like a $0.99 token for a download of LaTerri's first (and only) album?  Thanks but no thanks.

3) Why do my convention snapshots always turn out blurry even though they look perfectly fine on the display?  Must be all those darn vampires running around everywhere. Hate it when my snapshots are ruined.

4) Beyond the great experience with the veteran Hairy Harriet, I was disappointed with my photo-ops this year in general. None of the female ghouls tried to get frisky, darn it. Not sure I want to pay $139 to stand next to Hel The Dark Traveler next year… she looked good and all, but not only did she smell like a bucket of pus, she didn't utter a word while I was there. She hardly looked at me!  Okay, she's built up this Big Image Thing of being glum, introspective and constantly ready to send the next poor sap to the Norse Underworld, but even a simple "Hi!" goes a long way, you know. And what's up with the $300 photo-op for Alma Negra?  I mean, sure, she's technically the Really Big Kahuna, but…

5) No wonder we con-goers and general gorehounds always end up catching the Con Sniffle when most of the ghoulies, monsters, critters, demons, devils, hellspawn and assorted other denizens of the deep walk around with gaping, oozing wounds and/or putrid body parts that seem to be dropping chunks all over the place!  That's just disgusting, dude - and when that word is used by someone like me, watch out!

6) The entire con experience just isn't as much fun as it used to be. The newer fans ask the stupidest questions. Or ask for hugs. It's way too expensive. Some of the food reeks worse than Mommy Mummy did. The bug porn in my bed was too much of a good thing.

But on Wednesday, I'll pre-book the hotel room for next year's Halloween Ghouls-Rulz Worldwide Convention. Maybe. Or maybe not. Perhaps. Or perhaps not. I can hardly afford it. I probably shouldn't… but of course I will. It's my home away from home.


And that wraps up things for another year. This is J. Ockser signing off.


THE END (Can't Wait For Next Year's Con!)

Bard's Page

Back to the Academy