Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.

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The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

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Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

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However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

OMG gasp

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

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Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

Illustration II: Kaleidoscope

Space Mountain

The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.

“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”

Illustration III: The Other Foot

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Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

Illustration IV: The Highway

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A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?

“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”

Illustration V: The Man

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A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

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We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

Illustration VII: The Rocket Man

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Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.

“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’

‘What?’

‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

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A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning

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Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?

“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”

Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest

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In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?

“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”

Illustration XIII: The Visitor

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Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”

Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.

“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”

Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.

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A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?

“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”

Illustration XVI: The City

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A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.

“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’

The men moved back.

‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

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In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

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But the good kind of trauma.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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For more on Ray Bradbury, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more on aliens, go to I Can Make You all Go Away! Any Time I Want To!: Charlie X, Star Trek (1966)

For more bible verses, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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In The Exiles, they mention how no one believes in Santa Claus and he has become a shadow of the man he was, a skeleton in red. No more Christmas, no more.

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This reminds me of the song I Believe in Santa Claus. This was written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass and used for the Christmas Special, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

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I never believed in Santa Claus, but I like this song as it reminds you that no matter what happens you must hold on to the spirit of Christmas.

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No matter what, always believe in its goodness and love.

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This song was performed by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

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For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

For more Christmas Carols, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

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Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?: The Twilight Zone (1961)

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She’s just like a science fiction, that’s what she is! A reg’lar Ray Bradbury! Six humans and one monster from outer space. You wouldn’t happen to have an eye in the back of your head, would you?

So yes, yes yes. I have finally gotten around to review a Twilight Zone episode. This has to be one of my favorite TV shows of all time, one of the biggest part of my childhood.

So for those of you who have never seen it, The Twilight Zone was a TV series that ran from 1959-1964. Every episode was its unique story and they all had to do with the supernatural unusual, strange, alien, etc. It was a great show.

At the beginning of every episode, Rod Serling would do an introduction, and at the end wrap it up with a concluding thoughts or moral.

To be perfectly honest, I love him so much I wouldn't care if he did pop up like that.

It was a fantastic show, and Rod Serling actually wrote most of seasons 1-3, leveling off on seasons 4-5.

So while this isn’t the spookiest, creepiest, or most traumatizing episode in the series, it is my absolute favorite, so I decided to review it.

We open on two state troopers. They are out in the snow looking for a UFO.

Say What

Yes, they were called by a woman who said she heard, something overhead. When they went out to look, they find that something crashed into the nearby pond.

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And footprints coming out of the ice and ship, leading to a nearby diner. A diner that has a bus parked in front of it.

Enter Rod Serling:

Wintry February night, the present. Order of events: a phone call from a frightened woman notating the arrival of an unidentified flying object, then the checkout you’ve just witnessed, with two state troopers verifying the event – but with nothing more enlightening to add beyond evidence of some tracks leading across the highway to a diner. You’ve heard of trying to find a needle in a haystack?

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 So in the next scene we have the troopers heading into the cute little diner.

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When they get inside everyone looks normal.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Who is the Alien????

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The troopers tell everyone they have to remain in the cafe. The bridge to go on has been declared unfit for the time being, as the ice storm has weakened it. And they need to find an alien.

Say What

They ask Olmstead the bus driver about a passenger manifest, but he says he doesn’t have one. The bus is old, business is bad, and they don’t care about names they just want what little money they can eke out.

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The head trooper, Dan Padgett, asks Olmstead how many passengers were there on the bus? Olmstead tells him six.

But wait...

But wait…

There are seven people, not counting the bus driver and the cafe owner. SEVEN!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Now Ross, one of the passengers on a hurry to reach Boston, thinks the bus driver is just mistaken. The troopers ask, but no. Olmstead is 100% sure, he counted before they left. There is an extra person in the cafe.

OMG

The troops want to be sure that they aren’t overacting, so they ask Haley if anyone was in here before. But Haley and Olmstead confirm there wasn’t anyone here until they came. Someone must have sneaked in with the group.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the easy thing to do in order to figure out who the alien is, is pick out which of the seven the passengers and bus driver don’t recognize.

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The snow was coming down so hard, everyone bordered the bus as quickly as possible. The bus driver counted, and then they headed for Boston. They decided to stop at the diner, and with the snow still falling down like crazy, no one really remembers seeing anyone.

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So now we have a perfect setup for an amazing episode. Like Night of the Living Dead, tensions start rising and everyone begins turning on each other.

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So which one could it be? Which of the seven passengers is not human?

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1. Ethel McConnell

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Ethel McConnell is a dancer going to Boston. When asked for ID, she says she doesn’t have it. It was sent on ahead. Now the bus driver says she was the only one he noticed, as she is hot, but is he just saying that because he thinks speaking up for her might win her over?

New plan

She does point out one interesting fact. The best thing to do is cross off the couples.  As they were together most of the, they are less likely the alien.

Is it Her?

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2 & 3. George and Connie Price

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George and Connie are newlyweds heading to Boston. George says that they are in the clear as they are a couple, but it’s too late. Tensions are starting to rise and doubt is creeping in.

[Connie looking at George intently, studying his face]

George: What are you doing.

Connie: I…I thought you had a mole on your chin.

George: I’ve never had a mole.

Is it One of Them?

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4 & 5. Rose and Peter Kramer

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They are a married couple, and also believe they should be exonerated. But they too are suffering from doubt and fear.

Peter Kramer: We’re all going to get so panicky that everyone and his brother will start picking up invisible clues from everybody else. 

Rose Kramer: It’s completely ridiculous for a husband and wife to question whether the husband is really the husband and the wife is really…[starts staring intently at her husband Peter]

Peter Kramer: I think twenty-three years is long enough for a wife to know who her husband is.

Is it One of Them?

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6. Avery

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Now Avery just looks crazy and inhuman. Every time he speaks he either is joking or pointing fingers as to who could be the alien.  In fact the troopers suspect him more than anyone else. They interrogate him, asking about baseball, of which he knows everything.

Avery: Didn’t figure us Martians would know nothin’ about the great American pastime, did ya?

Is it Him?

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7. Ross

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Ross is in a hurry to get to Boston for business. He is grumpy, rude, and trying to get the show on the road. The whole time he has been pushing and pushing to get out of the cafe and away from the area, saying that the hunt for an alien is stupid.

Is it Him?

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While they are questioning the passangers, all of a sudden the jukebox starts playing, even though no one is over there.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

And then the lights start flickering.

You know what that means. Someones coming after you.

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They are all freaked out when the phone rings.

LOL Cotton and Cotton

The trooper listens, and when it is over he tells everyone that it was the county engineer, the bridge has been cleared. They don’t want to release the group without figuring which was the alien, but have no real way of being able to keep them.

Olmstead doesn’t want to go, as he feels the bridge is unsafe, but what the heck. Let’s go. So they all settle their accounts and everyone leaves with us not knowing who the alien is.

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Not too long after, someone comes back into the cafe.

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It is the passenger, Ross.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

What is he doing back here? Haley starts questioning what happened, when Ross tells him everyone died. The bridge wasn’t safe at all. It was all an illusion; like the jukebox, lights, and phone.

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Ross is the alien!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Yes Ross is a Martian and he has been sent ahead to check out the area. In fact, his friends should be there soon to start the colony. Haley is surprised, to say the least.

But wait...

But wait…

That’s not all,

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What a twist, what an ending!

Narrator: Incident on a small island, to be believed or disbelieved. However, if a sour-faced dandy named Ross or a big, good-natured counterman who handles a spatula as if he’d been born with one in his mouth, – if either of these two entities walk onto your premises, you’d better hold their hands – all three of them – or check the color of their eyes – all three of them. The gentlemen in question might try to pull you into – The Twilight Zone.

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to Monster Mash

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For more on The Twilight Zone, go to A Trip to the Mall Turns Into the Twilight Zone

For more on aliens, go to Its Mrs. Archer. She’s on a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

Only A Woman: Queen of Outer Space (1958)

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How did she manage to overthrow the men? They didn’t take her seriously. They were preparing for war. After all, she was only a woman.

Now this is a film I didn’t really care for. It was HIGHLY sexist.

No thank you

So the film is about four astronauts going on a mission to Venus to try and find out what it holds.

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The interesting thing is that they used the same space station and uniforms from Forbidden Planet.  I spotted it right away.

When the guys arrive at Venus they discover it full of only women!

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I know you guys are thinking that it sounds really great. However you are dead wrong!!!! These women hate men.

Hate Men

The women take the men and lock ’em up.

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The whole Venetian society is run by one woman, the Queen, who is the biggest man hater of them all.

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Now Zsa Zsa Gabor is often thought to be “the queen of outer space”, but she is just an underling (unfair as she gets to be all over the poster). However, it is actually played by Laurie Mitchell. Anyway Queen Yllana (Mitchell) hates men, and when she took over the planet she rid them of them. She wears a mask and forces everyone else in a position of power to follow that credence.

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While they lock up the men, we get to hear all the beautiful things that the men say:

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Lt. Larry Turner: How can a doll as cute as that be such a pain in the neck?

Lovely guys, just lovely.

Ugh

Ugh

So the Queen doesn’t know how the men were able to get to Venus and that is something she is trying to figure out.

Capt. Neal Patterson: I didn’t say anything to the Queen. I didn’t want to put her on guard, but I’m beginning to think our being here is not an accident.

Prof. Konrad: I’m afraid I must agree with you.

Lt. Mike Cruze: What is that? What is that?

Capt. Neal Patterson: The ray that destroyed the space station and knocked us off our course may have originated right here.

Lt. Mike Cruze: Oh, come off it! How could a bunch of women invent a gizmo like that?

Lt. Larry Turner: Sure, and even if they invented it, how could they aim it? You know how women drivers are!

Ugh, men

Ugh, men

They find out that Talleah (Zsa Zsa Gabor) was the one who brought them. She leads a rebellion that doesn’t like being away from men. She wants to end the Queen’s rule.

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She and the Captain of the vessel start a relationship. However, someone else is interested in the Captain.  The Queen. She saw him and wants him.

Laura what I want

He thinks he can use it to his advantage, by romancing her.

Talleah: I hate her! I hate that queen!

Lt. Mike Cruze: She’s jealous!

Lt. Larry Turner: Twenty-six million miles from Earth, and the little dolls are just the same.

Ugh, men

Ugh, men

So he tries to romance her and the Queen is actually eating it up. In fact he convinces her, that he likes her so much he won’t be turned away by her face. She is so convinced of his care that she allows him to unmask her.

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Queen of outer space

She has horrible scarring on her face from radiation. This is why she hates men. No one would give her any attention because of her ugly face. She becomes so angry she wants to destroy the opera house…I mean the Earth!

“Queen Yllana: I’m going to allow myself the exquisite pleasure of watching you while I obliterate the Earth.”

While Queen Yllana is crazy and evil, but at the same time you understand it. She could have been a nice person, but if no one is willing to give her a chance and look past her outer self, than how could she not turn evil?

So in the end Talleah and her group take down the Queen and allow the men to roam free. And Talleah becomes the new queen.

Ugh, men

Ugh, men

Yeah, I didn’t really like it. It wasn’t that interesting and I hated the men’s attitude to the women. It was just so hard to get through.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to What Is This Thing?

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For more on aliens, go to Friday Night Fun

For more on men being a disappointment, go to Men What Happened?

For more on radiation poisoning, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on unmasking, go to Feast Your Eyes on My Accursed Ugliness

I’m Batman!

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Now I’m not pulling an Alfred, I really am Batman. Why do you ask? Why I think I’m Batman? I don’t think, I know. How?

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So yeah…

Dean Winchester Batman

Yep, it’s true. And I’m going to stand for justice!

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Comment below as to who you are!

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For more on Batman, go to A Twist on Wrecking Ball

For more quizzes, go to Unbound

For more on Supernatural, go to You Can’t Have Just One!