Thanksgiving in Dunwich

I’ve been so busy with my own personal Thanksgiving plans that I lost track of what the town of Dunwich was planning for the holiday.  Last year the COVID lockdown put a damper on this but this year First Selectman Cthulhu and the rest of the Board were determined to get things back to normal.  So, to get the ball rolling Cthulhu invited fifty of the wealthiest and most influential Dunwichians to his house on Monday for a sumptuous dinner.

Of course, there was a misunderstanding.  The guests assumed they were going to eat instead of being eaten but you can hardly fault the First Selectman for that.  He was specific that the menu would come directly from his favorite cookbook, “To Serve Man.”  When I spoke to him, he was still recovering from overindulging but after a couple of barrels of Alka Seltzer he was feeling much better.  He told me his favorite moment was when the guest walked through a doorway and after failing to find any light switches on the walls used their phone lights to determine that they were inside their host’s mouth.  Their screams of terror made the meal all that much more enjoyable.  Oh, that First Selectman, he’s incorrigible!

I read an advertisement in the Dunwich Complainer that a town fair was going to take place on Wednesday.  There would be the usual pie contests and a silent auction for the various crafts that the townspeople would donate.  There were also supposed to be games.  The one that interested me the most was the sack race.  In most towns this is a pretty straight forward affair but the twist that is employed in Dunwich is that Cthulhu alters the geometry of space in the playing field.  This makes moving in a straight line rather tricky.  Three years ago, Josiah Bishop ended up falling through a portal and landed inside of Azathoth’s gallbladder.  He reappeared three weeks later in pretty horrendous condition.  His ears had pretty much melted off and his hair was orange.  When asked what happened he said, “Outside the ordered universe is that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.”  A lot of people just assumed Josiah had just stomped off because he’s a sore loser and because Jenkin Brown took the prize and they’ve never gotten along.

But by far the oddest story I’ve heard this week was from Arthur Birdsong.  He was walking through some of the more overgrown areas of the northern hills of Dunwich when he was caught in one of the frequent thunderstorms.  Searching for cover he saw a very dilapidated house and ran to it.  The door wasn’t locked so he let himself in.  Finding a fire in the living room he warmed himself and then looked around at his surroundings.  There was a very old book open on a table and he saw that the book was describing cannibalism among certain tribes in Africa and an illustration showed a butcher’s shop with human body parts for sale.  Arms, legs and organs were grouped on tables.  Suddenly he heard a door open above and a white-haired man in 17th century garb walked down the staircase.  The man saw that Arthur had been interested in the book and he began a long meandering tale, the gist of which was that he had come to the notion that feeding on human flesh would enormously extend the human lifespan.  Just then a drop of blood from the ceiling splashed down in between the two men and Arthur looked up and saw an enormous spot of blood on the ceiling and realized that the horrid old man was a cannibal and had just been butchering of one of his victims upstairs.

At first Arthur was hoping that a bolt of lightning would burn the house and the cannibal in the righteous fire of heaven.  But when that failed to happen, he asked the old man what time was dinner.

Arthur had to admit that human pot pie wasn’t bad.  A little gamey and fatty but no worse than mutton.  And the old fellow even threw in some pretty decent hard cider.  So, they became pretty chummy and after dinner they stayed up late chatting and Arthur discovered that they had both gone to the same prep school.  So, they sang school songs and Arthur invited his new friend over for Thanksgiving dinner.  He had been planning to serve a turkey dinner but in light of his new perspective on health food he decided to invite his least favorite blue-haired feminist wine-auntie over and serve her up instead.  I told Arthur that was splendid and I hoped it became a family tradition.  He sadly informed me that he only had three wine-aunties so it would be a short-lived tradition.  I told him to cheer up.  I have dozens of relatives that need eating.  I told him I’d donate one of mine every Thanksgiving for the foreseeable future.  Well, this brought tears to Arthur’s eyes and he declared it a “Thanksgiving Miracle.”  I said, “Nonsense, it is always better to give than to receive.”

So, you can see we here in Dunwich have a lot to be thankful for; friends, family and meat tenderizer.  Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving allows you to enjoy your family as much as we intend to enjoy (parts of) ours.

Roll Call of Cthulhu – Dunwich Complainer – Special Election Edition

The final results of the November election here in Dunwich were posted today.

First Selectman –              Cthulhu – 800 votes

Selectman –                        Nyarlathotep – 800 votes

Selectman –                        Fred Peterson – 800 votes

Selectman –                        Yog-Sothoth – 800 votes

Selectman –                       Dagon – 800 votes

Treasurer –                         Azathoth – 800 votes

At the town meeting announcing the results, town resident Dave Farber raised a motion to have the election results challenged on the basis that only the incumbents received votes and all the tallies were exactly 800 votes whereas the voter rolls only included 417 registered voters.  Dave was promptly eaten by Cthulhu and the motion was not seconded.

Martha Featherstone put a question to the selectmen asking how a being of primordial chaos and bubbling space ooze could work a keyboard for the treasurer’s report spreadsheet.  Martha was eaten by Cthulhu and the only answer to the question was some muffled digestive tract rumblings from the First Selectman.  Needless to say, there were no further motions or questions from the audience.

The next item on the agenda was a report by Dagon on the Miskatonic River Reclamation Project.  It was a particularly long and repetitive power point slide deck that concentrated on the dredging of Sentinel Hill Pond to allow for stocking the pond with game fish.  Unfortunately the stock proposed were all relatives of Dagon and based on what I could see from the photos of their size any fisherman that went out on that pond in a small boat wouldn’t be coming back home.  But polite noises were made by all there because Cthulhu was starting to get a little agitated again.

The next item was a report by Fred Peterson on COVID vaccination mandates and how it would impact town government.  When Fred finished his report he mentioned in an off-hand way that all selectmen would have to be vaccinated by Winter Solstice.  All the other selectmen recoiled in fear at being exposed to this kind of health risk.  A quick vote was taken by the selectmen to vote down this requirement after which Cthulhu ate Fred Peterson.  A note was added to the minutes to reflect the need to call a special election to fill Fred’s vacant spot on the board.  Cthulhu asked for a moment of silence in honor of Fred who everybody agreed was a heck of a sweet guy and always a good sport about his minority status on the board as the only Methodist.

And that concluded the business at hand.  It was decided that less important items like the Christmas light displays and the somewhat backlogged missing persons report would be handled next week in a closed session before the Thanksgiving through New Year Recess.  The First Selectman thanked everyone present for their public spiritedness in showing up at a time when everyone was so busy with holiday shopping and fighting for their lives against ghouls erupting out of Arkham Forest.  He wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and a Blessed Kwanzaa.  I left at that point but based on what I heard later Cthulhu may also have eaten the last five people in the building on his way out.  That First Selectman!  You’ve really got to watch him.

13NOV2021 – Dunwich Complainer – Irregular Edition

After a day of rain, some wonderful late fall weather has broken out in Western Dunwich.  Up here in the hill country there have been only sporadic sightings of shoggoths and the odd micro-eruption from the parallel dimension where the lobster fungi of Yuggoth hang out.  Out in the west field I noticed some strange and indescribable colors to the foliage on an elderberry shrub which I immediately attributed to a meteoric landing of the Color Out of Space.   But then I remembered I’m color blind so I dialed that back to perfectly normal green.  When I drove out to our grocery store, the one that’s housed in a ruinous, desanctified, former church the proprietor, a man named Jedediah Spoonhandle, eyed me suspiciously when I entered his building.   When I asked to buy some soap, he accused me of being in league with the devil.  But when I told him I wanted to purchase a dozen frogging gigs he became enraged and attacked me bodily.  Apparently, he has some relatives from Innsmouth who have a slightly batrachian look to them.  I finally subdued him by clubbing him senseless with a leg of lamb that was at hand.  I took the gigs and left the price in paper and coinage on his stunned carcass.

Travelling back to the Compound I reflected on the wonderful world we live in and the strange occurrences that seem to follow me wherever I go.  But then I remembered that it’s Saturday and Saturday is a strange day around here so that put things in perspective.  When I arrived home, I asked Camera Girl if anything had happened while I was gone.  She said no but looking out the kitchen window I noticed that something had flattened two sheds and about a dozen cattle on the neighboring field belonging to Josiah Whateley.  When I brought this to her attention she stopped to reflect then said, “Yes, but it is Saturday.”  So, I shrugged and said, “Yeah, that’s true.”

I hadn’t spoken to old Whateley in a while so I ambled over to his field where he was collecting cow carcasses for salvage and I greeted him cheerily.  But for whatever reason he seemed sort of quiet.  So, I asked him what was the matter and he said, “T’ain’t right that unspeakable, blasphemous, eldritch abominations from beyond space and time keep flattening my outbuildings and livestock whenever they get a notion.”  So, I said, “Well Josiah, why don’t you ask for help at the next Town Council?”  But he backed up with a look of revulsion and said, “And be branded a complainer like you?  No thankee.”

I should have known that even in the heart of a quagmire of unspeakable horror that good old Yankee independence would recoil against asking for help from his neighbors.  I agreed with Josiah and mentioned that one of his flattened sheds looked like it could be used as a patch for one of his other sheds that had only been half flattened and that his smashed cattle would make a very good mulch for his alfalfa field.  I like to think that my talk cheered him up some.

As I walked back to my house, I noticed that a tentacle about as thick as a telephone pole and about a hundred feet long was dragging a full-grown black bear into the swamp.  The panicked roaring of the animal as it was pulled under the surface reminded me that life in Dunwich was full of unexpected problems that could ruin your peace of mind if you didn’t make sure to look on the bright side of things and whistle a happy tune.  I thought, “That poor bear, he probably forgot to look on the bright side of things and he certainly wasn’t whistling a happy tune, and now look at him.”

And by golly now I was right back in step with the world.  I dashed for the side door just as a squadron of eagle sized dragonflies made a bee line for me.  I beat them to the door just in time to hear them slam into the outside of the door after I had drawn the deadbolt.  Suckers!

After a wonderful dinner I sat down in the living room to write up this little post when the motion detector on the west side of the house activated the flood light.  In the dazzling light half a dozen ghouls were staggering back toward the tree line.  I thought about running for my rifle and trying to pick off a few of them but I remembered that ghoul hunting season didn’t start until December so I smiled sheepishly and went back to finishing this report.

Well it was a quiet day in Dunwich today but enjoying nature and the simple pleasures of interacting with neighbors shows you what’s really important in life; timing, muscle memory and pure dumb luck.

05NOV2021 – OCF Update – photog’s Chores Day

We’ve had a decided break in the weather.  Each night dips slightly below the freezing point (27F to 31F) but each day is sunny and in the low fifties.  I’ve used this warning from the weather gods to finish up some of my more time and weather sensitive chores.  So today I mowed the grass.  That’s the last cut for the year.  Now it’s time to winterize the mowers and move the snow blower to the front of the shed and try it out.  I’ve already swept and filled the pool shed with all the pool furniture.

I’ve removed the gigantic air conditioner from the first floor window using these cool three wheeled rollers, a big yard cart and some bricks to move it without tweaking my back (which is key).  I felt like Pharoah’s  construction engineer moving monolithic basalt blocks to build the pyramid.  Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but I did learn a thing or two from the riggers I used to hire to install the really heavy equipment when we needed it done carefully.  There’s nothing like dropping a twenty thousand pound custom chiller package to blow the project budget.  Watching those guys do their job with the minimum of power equipment was highly interesting.  It took an experienced old guy, several block and tackle set ups, 4X4 and 8X8 wooden “shims,”  heavy duty pry bars, and one or two young guys with unbelievably strong arms, legs and backs.  It truly is an art and not a science.

To say I was mowing the grass would be an exaggeration.  Mostly I was shredding leaves.  My more fastidious neighbors collect these shredded leaves and mulch them because they have “lawns.”  I have fields that are mostly covered with various grass-like vegetation.  Cleaning up leaves when you live on the leeward side of a forest is sort of delusional.  I make a last pass about this time of the year and stop thinking of the grass until it starts annoying me in late May.

I still have a card full of projects to do but the grandkids are coming tomorrow.  We’re hosting a birthday party and I’ll have chores for that and also I’m too lazy to do too many things all at once.

Today I sent off my Sony LA-EA3  and LA-EA4 adapters to a used photo equipment store.  This will mostly pay for the LA-EA5 adapter I intend to use with Sony A7 IV camera I intend to buy in January.  Looking at what I could have sold them for on eBay gave me a pang of sadness.  In fac the two of them would more than paid for the new adapter with something left over to add to my fund for the camera but fussing with eBay is something I hate doing.  And buying there is bad enough.  I hear selling is fraught with problems and real risk.  So half a loaf for me.

I enjoyed the gag of calling my town Dunwich.  I think I’ll make that a continuing saga.  I like spoofing on Lovecraft’s mythical New England.  Expect to see more eldritch horror and small town minutia in the future.

I promise to make up for chore day so stay tuned and I’ll produce some good stuff soon.

Local Election Results in Dunwich

Living as I do in the mythical New England town of Dunwich, election results take a little longer than they do in the outside world.  What with eruptions of elder gods and eldritch horror of nonspecific origin popping up incessantly it takes the election committee quite a lot of time to count the white and black pebbles that we use for voting purposes.  I mean when they’re distracted, they lose count and have to start all over.  And then there are the disqualifications.  If one of the candidates is discovered to have webbed fingers or toes or gills during the mandatory examination, then everything has to stop while the unfortunate individual is burned at the stake or crushed under a door stacked with large smooth stones.  Lately they’ve switched completely to door crushing because of the greenhouse gases emitted by the stake burning procedure.  Time marches on.  Of course, the runner-up is glad, as long as he isn’t similarly non-conforming.

Well, the point is we finally have our results and they are pleasing.  The stupid party was resoundingly re-elected and the evil party was gratifyingly defeated.  I performed an exorcism rite complete with incantations from the Necronomicon (or was it Comic-Con?) and rendered all attacks by the power of darkness null and void (in other words I paid up my property taxes).  And now I can expect to enjoy another two years of quiet, efficient, demonic public service by the good people of the stupid party as they do their best to hold the powers of the evil party at bay.

I intend to continue attending the local Republican Party meeting and find out if I can get involved in some less painful volunteer services.  I’d like to work with the election committee and find out how the sausages get made.  And in fact, I’d also like to find out what other functions I can help out around town.  I may be trapped here in Dunwich for a few years so I might as well make the best of it.

Who knows, maybe I’ll become an adjunct lecturer at Miskatonic University in advanced perpetual motion engineering.  We all have to do our best to save the planet.  After all, both Greta Thunberg and Cthulhu are depending on us.