View Full Version : Herzog ~1000w **Possible Language/Mature Themes**

July 4th, 2014, 12:40 PM
Just wanted to share this one. Let me know what you think. Had intended to work on polishing it up and refine it but thirty other ones have my attention now. Enjoy.

Herzog's Wiggin'
by Ewe Noh Hooo

Janie carried her purse to the table and dumped out a pile of empty prescription bottles. In the next room, her husband Herzog snored and coughed. She paused each time she heard him and listened for his movement, then returned to her pile of orange plastic canisters. One by one, she unscrewed the lids and set them there, upside-down.

From each bottle, she read the name, and the type of drug that had been inside. Adderall. Wellbutrin. Klonopin. Zoloft. Lithium. Each bottle a different patient, each drug prescribed by a different doctor to treat a different malady. The bottoms of some of them had remnants of white powder, or small chips of pills. She made a melange, scraped it all together in the center of the table. A pile of powder and fragments the size of a keyring. She smiled and listened and screwed lids back on bottles.

From the pack of cookies she plucked an Oreo, twisted it apart and, like a white-trash surgeon, cut out the center of the filling. The powder fit nicely in the center. With a light dab of filling from another cookie, it was all pressed together and ready to eat. This one might do it, she thought. Might send him hurtling off into the promised land of guacamole rainbows and ostrich diarrhea where nobody believes your stories anymore. A place where he couldn’t tell her what to do anymore.


Small objects pelted Herzog’s arms and the back of his neck, stinging him and causing him to shriek and cry as he ran for cover. The sky opened up and swarms of black things fell to earth, whapping the rooftops and shaking the leaves. The old man lunged under the overhang and sprawled, panting and coughing. The tightness in his chest came in waves. He forced himself to relax, slowly returning his breathing to normal. That was better. He turned his head slightly to see if the strange storm had passed, and a wave of swirling, busy legs were upon him.

So many spiders, each the size of his thumbnail, covered his legs, his torso, and his face. He slapped wildly at his face, knocking his glasses skittering across the concrete. Instinctually he yelled for his wife, exciting the arachnids further and letting them into his mouth. They started to bite him all over, small pinches at first, cascading into an exquisite scream of pain up and down him. Birds cried out in the yard, converging for a feast, and in his ears their caws and squawks combined with the sound of millions of tiny legs crawling upon him.

Sensing he was going to be unconscious, he tried to sit up but couldn’t lift his head. The pain was overpowering and he wept at his inability to resist. Somehow, slowly, it began to subside. The bites became less frequent, then stopped altogether. He kept his eyes closed tight and reached an arm out, slowly feeling around for his glasses. The concrete glistened with moisture, either venom or innards, he reasoned. But the spiders were gone. Completely gone, every one of them. The birds walked around in the grass, heads bobbing and beaks pecking the earth, curious.

Herzog looked himself up and down, wondering where the pain had gone. His arms were pale, just as before, with no visible marks. Just before, covered in the spiders, he’d seen puncture wounds and trickles of blood. But now, nothing. Sanity flinched for a moment and he squeezed his fists tight.


The old truck coughed to life. He didn’t let it warm up, just pushed the gas and spun tires out of the driveway. The neighbor downstream was out fixing his riding lawnmower. He waved at Herzog, who stopped and motioned him over. “Olson, how ya been?” Herzog asked out of the non-cigarette side of his mouth.

“Oh, real good Herzog. You? Been out fishing lately?”

Herzog looked up the gravel road and chose his words carefully. “Nah, not this year. Wait’ll it warms up a bit. Been getting the yard ready. Say, you been out all afternoon?”

Olson’s eyes reflected the clouds moving overhead. Herzog thought he saw a flicker of something, then it was gone. “Been out here about an hour. Damn tractor threw the belt again. Get this—rode the stupid thing all over the yard, lap after lap, not even realizing it stopped cutting. Damn thing just idling, no blades. You believe that shit?” He grinned wide, turned his torso and spat.
“Why do you ask, anyway?”

“No reason. Just keeping an eye on the weather,” Herzog said. “They say we’re about to get some nasty storms up this way later on tonight, into tomorrow. Some severe stuff, so they say.”

Olson stuck out a stubby red hand, shook Herzog’s. “Stay safe, Herzog. Good to see you my friend. Say hullo to Janie for me.”
The sun was ducking behind the trees, and Olson kept looking in the direction of it. Looked nervous, like he didn’t want the sun to go down. Herzog shook off a chill as he drove off, thinking about those damn spiders.


Once Herzog was out of sight, Olson hurried across the street and in through the gate at Herzog’s. Inside, Janie waited for him, sprawled out on the couch, holding a plastic jug of drain cleaner marked “lemonade.” Olson pulled loose his overalls, wiped the sweat from his brow, and took the jug from her. He threw his head back and chugged the bottle. He cast it aside and wiped his lips with a muted belch.

“Janie, let’s run away together.” As he said that, Olson began to hallucinate. He climbed atop her, completely obscuring her from the view of the window where the camera was perched.


Herzog, on the next block, licked his lips and finished his bag of rat-poison Cheetos. He looked into the screen on his phone, watching the action unfold. “Janie, you cheating little tramp,” he said as he slumped over the steering wheel.

The three of them were found in a canoe, floating upriver, covered in spiders and marshmallow creme.


July 4th, 2014, 03:55 PM
Interesting. One thing I noted was that Olson lived "downstream" from Herzog, which I took to mean a few housed down but later he only has to cross the street to get to get to Herzog's house. Good descriptions and nice twist at the end.

July 4th, 2014, 04:27 PM
Perhaps you could say, “...her husband snored and coughed occasionally.” Because the next line, “She paused each time she heard him,” would make more sense to me.

I’m not sure why, but I prefer having big things put off in a story, and instead learning only small tidbits over time. At the end of the third paragraph, when the narrator says, “[To] A place where he couldn’t tell her what to do anymore,” I was tempted to stop reading because enough of the “story” of the piece was revealed to me.

You used “coughed/coughing” in the first and fourth, and eighth paragraphs (“The old truck coughed”). Is this on purpose, like a theme? I know, nitpicky, but they stuck out to me.

“Exquisite scream?” By "exquisite", do you mean intense, or was the scream was something of special beauty?

The second sentence in the “truck coughing” paragraph, the character is identified as “he.” As the paragraph is a new section (separated by the “#) symbol, shouldn’t “he” be replaced with “Harzog”. Otherwise we might think he’s a third character.

Why would the canoe be floating up river? Someone would have to have put it there. Who is the fourth person in this story?

The last third of the story seems rushed and not smoothly connected.

I keep getting stuck with wanting more subtlety. Remember the movie Rosemary’s Baby? It was foreboding like this story, but the viewers were given only bits here and there. Perhaps you could consider that.

July 5th, 2014, 04:05 AM
Good comments, guys -- thanks for reading!