fools rush in [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

Did you know that Chris Diamantopoulos who played Clark “Should Have Crawled Back in There, If He Knew What Was Good for Him” Ingram was voicing Mickey Mouse while filming Hannibal?

Isn’t that just a fun fact?

Has the poster for “Get a Horse!” been shopped like this yet? If not, consider it my gift to the fandom.

Moving on to story time, I asked my loyal team of 1970s experts to come up with something weirdly 70s to set the tone of this chapter, and the resounding answer was: “Wasn’t everyone doing yogi or something? I remember lots of brown leotards and all that crap.”

Thanks, Dad. He meant yoga.

By the way, you can thank my old man for all of Hopper’s asylum talk from a few chapters ago. I don’t think I ever mentioned our conversation so I will briskly sum it up below because it’s Father’s Day. Some background: My dad is sort of a rock of a man, both generous and steadfast. He has a degree in biology, is hard-working, used to run track, and was once scouted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Before I start, here’s my old man with a tumbleweed circa 1979. He was 25 years hairy and apparently in love with that tumbleweed.

“Did I ever tell you about the time your grandparents had me locked in the nuthouse after I fell off a truck?”

Um, what? WTF. No. You never did.

“I was eighteen and goofing off in the back of a friend’s pick-up. We were headed up the mountain to a party. You remember my buddy, Jeff? He fell out too and landed on top of me and we sort of slid down the road. He was fine, but I lost all the skin on my back – had to get grafts off my ass.”

Oh, my god, Dad! What the hell?! I didn’t know that!

“Oh yeah, it was bad. I didn’t really feel it, though, I was too drunk and high. A few weeks later, I sort of went crazy – started hearing things after the accident. Tried to kill a burglar with my crossbow. I was convinced he’d locked himself inside my dad’s gun safe. They opened it up and there was no burglar, so they sent me to North Warren to calm down.”  [I want to note that he rolled his eyes at that comment.] “They gave me a couple spinal taps and everything. Now, I want to tell you something: that shit is fucking painful. Some giant woman who took no shit from anyone had to hold me down. It was brutal.”

Jesus, Dad! What did you do?

“Well, I wasn’t violent or anything, but I wasn’t medicated either, not like what they did to your grandmother … Those hospitals were really boring because they never gave you anything to do. It’s like being in a drunk tank, but they never let you go because you don’t “sober up”. It was weird being around all those sick people, too. It was pretty scary for a kid. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, so I played cards with some guy who seemed normal, but he took a lot of meds, you know – lithium, I think. Everyone was on lithium.”

Good lord. How’d you get out?

“Well, Jeff was pissed because with me locked up, he lost his drinking buddy, so he broke into the asylum one night with a six-pack of beer and after we finished it off, he decided to bust me out. We lived in the woods for a few days until the cops stopped looking for me.”

Holy mother fucking shit. XD

I guess, what are friends for? (I suddenly have a new bunny for a teen Hannigram one-shot.) Also, so you can picture Jeff: imagine Tommy Chong from Up in Smoke. Even now, in his 60s, Jeff still sounds like a stoner. He’s amazing.

“Ah, it was the 70s,” said my dad, all nonchalant. Apparently, that was the style at the time.

Anyway, my mom confirmed all that, adding bits and pieces that were just as fucked up, then my Dad proceeded to tell me what went on in the basement after he went back to visit North Warren a few years later. You don’t want to know, and honestly, I don’t want to repeat it.

So back to Unhitched … there was some sort of obsession with Indian culture in the 70s so I ran with it. There was something quite enjoyable about dropping Franklyn at the front door, dressed in his gauzy swami-wear and eventually eating cheese.

The Carnatic style of playing the violin is an Indian technique which I’m sure you’ve all heard, though you might not know it.

I then sent everyone on a little visual journey to India, too, because I wanted you all to imagine Mads in a white suit and hat. No reason. I was just reading a lot of Rudyard Kipling when I wrote this. What’s he have to do with anything? Well, he wrote a lot about India and, naturally, mongooses, and with the current issues in my home country of The United States of What the Fuck is Going On, I’ve been listening to Donovan’s 1970s classic “Riki Tiki Tavi”. Give it a listen. You’ll like it.

Do you feel how meandering a writer’s mind is? It’s very chaotic.

I was grateful to have my husband’s musical mind for this particular chapter with Tobias. We’ve actually had conversations about who he thinks was the most “underrated librettist” and when I asked him to name a composter that he thought Butcher would abhor, he immediately said Arnold Schoenberg, because everyone hates Schoenberg. I didn’t totally agree that Butch would hate him, but the “atonal orgies” that all his critics call his work was too funny to pass up. Also, Schoenberg had triskaidekaphobia or a fear of the number 13. This is only funny to me because I know how this shit storm ends.

From Star Trek to Paganini, the research for this chapter was extensive but enjoyable. Chordophone, by the way, was the name of Tobias’s shop in the show and means “stringed instrument” of course. If you’ve researched anything about luthiers (stringed instrument makers) you have to know the name, Kevin Lee. That eccentric bastard is a goddamn genius, and I love his YouTube channel. I never got to use this info, but Jakob Stainer, the famous German master luthier, went mad and died on his front porch in 1683 in a straightjacket and muzzle all Hannibal Lecter style. Kevin Lee owns one of Paganini’s medals and Stainer’s straightjacket because, of course he does. He also blows shit up in the desert and carves angels into his violins. He’s incredible.

The research for fics is the part that’s hard to explain to people. Fanfic writers have a million tabs open on their browsers at all times and a ton of bookmarks. We be like, “It’s a one-shot!” and yet our history is all …

That’s not even 1% of my bookmarks for Unhitched. I have even read the DSM I. Why? I dunno. I have copies of all of them so I can stay historically accurate as my Will Grahams are institutionalized through the ages.

About 70% of what Hopper and The Music Man discuss in the workshop is a combination of various philosophical teachings and the musings of Miguel Cervantes in Don Quixote.

“I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is.

Pain, misery, hunger … cruelty beyond belief.  I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets.  I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle … or die more slowly under the lash in Africa.  I have held them in my arms at the final moment.  These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing.  No glory, no gallant last words … only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question, “Why?”  I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived.

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?  Perhaps to be too practical is madness.  To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash.  Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all:  to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”

This is actually an interjection by Miguel Cervantes who was the supposed “translator” of the historical documents that make up Don Quixote. I like the self-referential aspects of the book and made The Music Man and Hopper yell this bit back and forth as they discuss their personal justifications for all that they do.

First-time authors apparently make their main characters bookworms a lot because it’s a habit they’re well familiar with. Stephen King does this a lot, making his main characters authors … I’m not a bookworm though, so I have no idea why I made Hopper an English teacher (I mean he’s a teacher in canon, but … he didn’t have to study English). It’s actually way more work than I expected it to be. He has to feel educated, but a little aloof, and his vocabulary has to be simultaneously refined but also colloquial because he was still raised blue collar. Plus, it’s the 70s, but he was born in the 30s and raised in the 40s and 50s. It’s not actually a story “set” in the 70s other than the little techie and cultural reference bits. Hopper wouldn’t use the slang of the 70s, he’d use the slang he grew up with as a teen in the 50s.

But picture it: teen Hopper in the 50s … are you imagining him in a malt shop? Or maybe he’s a Greaser. Hannibal’s a Soc. Is this a fic already? It better be. “Stay golden, Lonelyboy.”

I have nothing more to add to this. If you have a comment or questions, drop me a line. If you want to be anon, feel free to anon me here on Tumblr with your commentary. Don’t forget to comment on the fic if you’re having a swell time with my boys. It really makes my day.

I’m still working on responding to old comments, but I will get there. Stay tuned for more stuff, readers. I’m not back in the saddle yet, but at least I opened the horse! Er, no, I mean barn door.

the great red dagon [boot tread]

Prompt from a comment on AO3:

How about a prompt based off of this:


Now, this is an interesting prompt. The link takes you to the 2001 Spanish movie based on the H.P. Lovecraft novella, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but the title is also the name of a short story which the movie is not based on, Dagon.

For this prompt, I went with the short story, Dagon, which you can all read here. It’s only 2200 words. I went outside the box for this prompt. I hope you all enjoy it.

This ficlet was originally posted on Archive of Our Own (AO3) as a short story written by one of my reoccurring fictional characters, Hopper. At the time, it was an essay he had written for his creative writing class in 1956  (complete with several errors).

1627 words

Cristobal Diaz | OCEANA

No one believed me by the time we had reached the shore. I was mad. They called me “touched by the sea,” but had no idea of the horrors I had witnessed. They hauled me inland as per my request and gave me an unlimited supply of sedatives. I did not argue, and this is why.

We were halfway to Alaska, netting the mighty blue, when we were caught in a deluge that rivaled The Great Flood. Sheets pummeled us, drowning out orders and warnings, and the mighty wind cracked against us, tipping the vessel to its side. Even our great mass was not heavy enough to stabilize the hull. The stern let out a holler that put the lightning to shame, and we were suddenly in two pieces and drowning.

I floundered and tread until I hauled myself into a small lifeless boat, already filled with water and nearly sinking. I bailed what I could, and by the time only an inch of brine was left under my heels, the storm had vanished, and with it went my ship, the crew, and the choppy waters.

The sea was suddenly glass. No breeze rippled it or moved my boat. I was soaked and now dead in the water. I feared to reach over the side, as the sea seemed to cut my boat like a knife. I was set on a mirror that reflected the blinding sun, scorching my skin as I waited for someone or something to find me.

I never thought I would wish for a pistol to turn upon myself, but by day two, when I had not drifted a discernible distance or wetted my cracking lips, I yearned for a bullet to end it. That yearning was just as palpable on day three when they finally found me. They were not Americans on large vessels, or Inuits in dugout canoes. They did not glide across the glass to me, nor did they soar overhead and spot me from a trans-pacific flight. They came from below.

Black webbed fingers crept over the edge of my boat, two at first, and then three. Three hands turned to six and I scrambled to the stern. In a matter of seconds, the boat was flipped and the bright open sky bubbled above me. I thrashed but grew weak and those webbed fingers gripped my ankles and hauled me down until the bubbling sky was an abyss miles above.

They took me where the sun no longer feeds the sea plants.  They took me to a place where schools of fish refuse to hide and the mighty sharks won’t hunt. They took me to the bottom of a great chasm cut into the earth like a scar on the face of the sea floor. They took me to a stone chamber where I was left to choke and writhe on the lung-filling icy liquids of the deep, begging for death, though it never came.

Days are not days without the sun. Nights are not nights without the filling moon. Time is unending at the bottom, and the pain in my chest was ceaseless. If given the chance, however, I would relive those freshly inflicted pains until the earth collapsed upon itself. I would live again through every burning, aching false breath and the agony of my newly frozen eyes. I would welcome once more, my numb fingers and empty gut until the universe exploded, just to avoid reliving what would happen next.

He came one day or night, I know not which. He did not rap or call to me. I was hauled out and presented to him, tied with ropes to a cross made of metal pipes from my own ship.

White globes encircled and cast us in an eerie, bewitching light. He was not a man but a beast of the depths. His body was gray, cut from stone and covered in fleshy scales. His arms were that of a titan, bulging and brutal and at the ends he bore black webbed fingers. His head was more like a honed skull than a human face. Thick pouting lips covered the fangs that protruded from his jaw and golden eyes pierced me as I wrenched against my bone-chilling restraints. As he hovered in front of me, studying me as one might a rotting corpse that washed ashore, I finally saw the rest of him.

At his hip were not legs, but a long undulating silver tail. It shone like a mirror as it flicked below his body, reflecting the orbs that circled us. An icy chill radiated from it, and though I was already numb, the cold plowed through me and I shook.

A glint caught my eye and I saw in his hand what I will never forget. He held a knife, bowed like a raptor’s claw. I couldn’t yell through the water which perpetually filled my mouth, nor thrash against my crucifix. I was stuck and waiting to be gutted like a fish.

Just below my ribs, I felt the knife slide into my body. My mouth grew agape but no shriek echoed through my watery prison. I swallowed my tongue in agonizing pain as I watched the creature disappear in a cloud of vibrant red.

My body burned and writhed and another rosy murk pulsed from below. I was twisted and yanked and was again consumed by another throb of crimson fog. When the attack suddenly ceased and the water began to clear, I felt my chest slowly rise as I floated from my lower half. Then two sharp gashes cut my wrists from my hands and consequentially my restraints, and I was left adrift.

When I awoke I had been returned to my stone cave at the bottom of the endless chasm. My body had been massacred and I shook with shock and misery. I dared not touch myself, for I knew no hands remained. When my torment grew too great, I finally pawed at my phantom legs with what was left of my frozen stumps. What I found were tingling fingers sliding down a slimy tail. Over my gut were coarse and crudely-stitched cords, laced between my soft flesh and the cold silvery tail of my captor.

In the glow of the single orb that lit my cell, I could see in its moonlight my black webbed hands. They did not move like my hands, they ached with each flick of my wrist. They trembled and pulsed, sending long black veins up my now naked arms.

I dared not look upon my tail. It was grotesque and unnatural and I was fearful of it. I could move around my cell with ease and grace, but the sheer magnitude of its strength terrified me. It had razors down its spine, and in its silver scales, I could see the outline of my face. I’d looked once, and what I saw was ungodly so I never looked again.

I was neither fed nor clothed, but left for an eternity to rot. Over time, my skin bloated and softened like a dead fish and chunks were nibbled away by passing crabs. I gradually covered in a slippery mucous by the fungus that grew on the walls of my craggy hole.

I begged for sweet death to come and rescue me, since my heart had stopped beating years before, but that cruel witch never came. Perhaps she was as scared of him as I was.

He returned not long after I’d given up. I’d burrowed beneath the sandy bottom when I felt fingers grasp my gritty hair. I was ripped from the ground and twisted to face him, his golden eyes furious at what his glorious tail had become. It hung loose and pathetic from my abdomen, the cords pulling and gaping below my navel. My white skin stretched and tore from the mighty girth hanging from it, and a lack of use had caused my long black fingers to twist into ebony claws.

He bared his silvery fangs, bubbles erupting from his nose and mouth. I had laid unmoving on the seabed, allowing the bottom dwellers to pick at my skin and my sanity, and he was furious at this disrespect I showed him. The knife glinted again and I closed my eyes this time, as it tore into me with an even greater and more ferocious fervor. We were plunged again into a great red plume that devoured us both, and then some. I waited for more, but there was only one crimson tide before the creature, and the depths, took my consciousness from me.

When I awoke on my back, surrounded by merchants ordering me to breathe, they were certain it was a nightmare I had witnessed. The men yelled and screamed and demanded to know who I was and from where I had come. I spoke of a creature who gave me black hands and I showed them. They scoffed at my lily-white fingers. I pleaded for their faith that a creature sewed a tail to me, but when I kicked my legs, they laughed.

I was mad. I was locked away where I begged for sedation. Instead, they plunged me into twilight sleep, though I had already lived through a decade of that at the bottom of the great ocean. They left me to flounder in a forgotten room in a long-abandoned building. They left me weak and comatose, waiting yet again for death, and this punishment was fair and just. They said I had been “touched by the sea,” and would never know how right they truly were.

The sea had touched me, gutted me, molested me. It had drowned me, stitched me, and presented me with an abysmal new perspective. The sea had given me a rare gift, and I wasted it.

mixed emotions [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

This Tumblr post is going to be another random info dump because my mind isn’t functioning in any logical order at the moment (writer’s block and cold meds). In fact, that was my personal challenge for this chapter: jump in time, scatter the order of events, and somehow keep it readable – present, near past, far past, present again, a fleeting memory, near past again, etc …

The Desease and Desist

Do you even remember that? It feels like a million years ago. Also, that was the stupidest joke I have ever written, and I refuse to apologize. 

Question: Would Hopper know who Mapplethorpe was?

Answer: No. Mapplethorpe’s X portfolio wasn’t even produced until 1978. *gasp*

Mapplethorpe was a photographer in the 70s who took a lot of black and white photos of the underground New York City BDSM community. There is no reason for you to know this or for me to share this info. Hopper wouldn’t know anything about him, so my #headcanon (which I suppose is just #canon) is that Hopper got a blowjob from one of Mapplethorpe’s models at a gas station in Catonsville, MD. He was a transient with a few copies of his photos from the shoot. He had a thing for latex and mouth tubes. Let’s call him NYC Joe.

Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation | J. Paul Getty Museum

The names.

We left chapter 28 with Harvey Dent/Two-Face and a feather-covered Axe. By ch. 29 (and a month later) those names have morphed into the two-faced Greek god, Janus and Fledge.

Naturally, Butcher would take this opportunity to jab Hopper by calling him a wee bird (a fledgling) and Hopper’s attempted jab at calling Butcher a villain (Two-Face) was never going to stand. Butcher basically refuses Hopper’s new name for him and starts calling himself Janus, the two-faced god of transitions and doorways. No symbolism, bro.

The door carvings.

Let me attribute all those back-and-forth carved quotes for you:

Butcher: “He was not a prisoner of fate, but a prisoner of his own mind.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Hopper: “There is no heavier burden than a great potential.
— Linus (Charles M. Schultz)

Butcher: “Love feels no burden.
— Thomas a Kempis (Medieval priest and author)

Hopper: “When no one loves you, you have to pretend everyone loves you.
— Sally (Charles M. Schultz)

Butcher: “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.
— Victor Hugo

Hopper: “Happiness is a warm puppy.”
— Lucy (Charles M. Schultz)

So, why all the Peanuts quotes? Because canon-Will made that stupid analogy comparing the, um, situation with Abigail to “Lucy and the football,” and for some reason that says more about Will’s personality to me than anything else he does for rest of the show. “Lucy and the football” was about as jarringly unpoetic as Hannibal’s “mic-drop”.

Charles M Schultz Museum

“Augh!” —Will Graham, being emotionally and physically gutted by the death of his surrogate daughter

Old Macdonald and his big ugly wife.

I have no commentary on this. I just wanted to type it again.

This chapter isn’t that deep. I only really wanted to share the door quotes. So that’ it.

I’ll be taking a break from Unhitched for a bit. It’s draining and I have a really strong urge to do a massive pick-apart and edit to the first 28 chapters.

Sorry to leave you all hanging at THIS particular spot. The next chapter is ludicrous.

I warmly welcome all comments on the fic. I’d be eternally grateful for any and all encouragement. It’s been a rough month (for Hopper too!) and I, like everyone, am not immune to blocks. They suck in the most discouraging way.

Thank you all so very much for reading. It means a lot to me. <3

dog-eat-dog [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

First, I promise there is a plot, like a legitimate plot with action and a point. For some reason, ch 27 was originally 1k words strapped to the beginning of a said actiony chapter. Then I was all, “You know what I want? A mind palace or something,” and then I added 5k more words and a whole new plot arc and IT’S NOT COMPLICATED THOUGH. I swear.

If you believe anything I say, you have not been reading carefully. I am a very unreliable author. *head desk*

I don’t feel like this chapter was unnecessary, but it does seem to drag. I’m sorry about that if you feel it dragging. But maybe it’s just me because I’ve read it 800 times. I feel like I lost my ability to pace in the last few months. The last two chapters were building up to this inevitability (ch 27) and I swear there will be less redundancy in the very near future.

redundant [n.] –

  1. characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas.
  2. exceeding what is usual or natural.
  3. having some unusual or extra part or feature.
  4. characterized by superabundance or superfluity.

Oh, who am I kidding, the first definition applies too.

That said … they fuck – missionary, then doggy, teaspoons, then lotus – for reasons … probably. I’m not a fan of symbolism.

FYI, I’m not doing the lube stuff anymore, at least not for now. It’s implied. You don’t need to read about it all the time. Did the Jinn lube up in American Gods? No. (Look at me making that ridiculous comparison. I’m laugh-crying now.) And you don’t necessarily know what Butcher did while Hop was sleeping (creepy bastard). Just assume they are still slicked up from the last sexual escapade they all went on. It’s not like animal fat dries out and disappears or something …

The “no more unnecessary descriptions of lube” declaration is a blanket statement tossed over the rest of the fic because Unhitched is rapidly turning into a philosophical novel, and how much lube does Plato really talk about?

Ok, I looked that up. A little actually … in Protagoras. But he’s talking about olive oil and he basically says “USE IT IN MODERATION.” And he’s talking about eating it, not fuckin’ with it, but who am I kidding … he was Greek. I mean … we all know what he says in Symposium … ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called androgynous [the man/woman beast that Zeus split to form the sexes] are lovers of women, adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust after men. The women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments: the female companions [that is, lesbians] are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they have affection for men and embrace them [the Greek verb implies a sexual sense], and these are the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature.

Plato said that the manliest men were the little gay boys … I’m kidding. Not really though; we’re talking young truckers dressed in flannel and slicked in oil … Blue? Nah. Why am I talking about Plato? I don’t even mention him in this chapter. Maybe the next though …

Stopped_clock |

Hopper has a dream – a very strange dream. What is your take on the dream? I  know my take on the dream, but that’s ‘cause it’s in my head.

Then it gets a little kissy. Declarations of love (to be inside each other – no rampant symbolism there) and some nipple tonguing is thrown in (for a friend) and then the bite that ruins EVERYTHING (not really though).

Hopper is such a twat. Why’s he gotta be so antagonistic? Butcher’s just doing what the good lord makes him do! *CHOMP CHOMP* (That’s all a lie.)

And then we got to his quiet stream. Readers of my Pusher/Hannibal fic, A Thousand Dreadful Things, might recognize Hop’s stream. It’s behind Will’s farmhouse in Purcellville where he likes to hide. It’s also where Tonny kicks Freddie’s ass and where Tonny gets to watch Will have a panic attack. Fun times. That was a pairing no one asked for, but you got it anyway. Huzzah!

So teeth and eyes … that was the inspiration for ch 27 in case you missed …

  • 15 uses of teeth
  • 11 uses of jaw
  • 9 uses of bite
  • 30+ uses of stares/looks/eye fucking/whathaveyou

I have this “beast with many teeth” meets “beast with many eyes” thing going, and they are doing the monster mash …

Out of curiosity, do you all lose respect for me after these long-winded posts in which I ramble and blather and divulge shit no one cares about? Because I do.

Hey, this is jewelweed:

Belleville New Democrat

And all that shit I said about it is true if you didn’t know.

It really does shine underwater.

flora.forager | Instagram

See? Pretty and relevant (later, though).

Oh yeah, I reference shit that happened in ch. 15: Ride out the Stormch 21: I am a Victimch 26: Like Grimm Death and probably more. Who’s keeping track?! *sweating intensifies*

In case you were unaware, these chapters are carefully stitched together and fawned over for weeks. I edit them daily (in many cases over 20 times by the time they are posted), painstakingly selecting every single word with intention and a purpose. It then goes to my anal retentive editor who I pay in sexual favors. He’s cool with it.

Not having the entire story finished is a monumental burden, because I have to keep track of over 120k words without missing one because some of you fuckers are analyzing this fic like it’s a goddamn Shakespearean play.

I love you, though, because you see beyond just the surface. You read down into the several layers of meaning, and you start to get a glimpse of just how much work has been poured into this fic. My heart goes out to all my readers for sticking with me and encouraging me thus far, despite the long update time. Much love, folks, many kisses.

And let’s not forget: it’s all FREEE!!! *whooping and hollering and crying*

In other words, support your favorite authors. And I’m not trying to make you comment on my work. I’m not your favorite. The writer with all that fluffy smut is your favorite. Go find them and comment on your favorite fic. Make that author’s day. If you get enjoyment from fic authors, pay it back a little. Writing isn’t easy.

cookies [boot tread]

Part of Unhitched’s prompt collection, Boot Tread

Prompt from Tumblr: 

I grew up … around [trucker] culture, where truckers love nicknames, booze (gallons) and Girl Scout Cookies. Lucky for me, I never had to sell a cookie, I gave the sheet to dad, he gave it to the truckers and they bought cases. Not boxes, cases. I can see Hopper loving him some Girl Scout Cookies and Butcher giving him shit about it.


2484 words

Rated: G
Girl Scouts of the USA | People

We’re coming up on the truck stop exit when he peers over at me. “Why am I getting off the highway, Hop?” 

“Because I asked nicely.” He loves it when I’m vague, but he hasn’t changed lanes yet. I’m not sure he’s enjoying it this time.

“You’ve got to give me a better reason than that or I’m staying put. Have a plan? Target? Need something?”

“We have nowhere to be, Butcher, just let me pick where we’re going for a change. Get off here and head east toward those houses back there.”

He eyes me but does exactly as asked, though he’s huffing and scoffing the whole time. He knows I’m still pissed about his incessant nit-picking about where and when we eat. I’m getting sick of his stews and dutch oven cooking. Campfires are nice when you don’t have to rely on them for every hot scrap of food you eat. I’m not saying the shit he makes isn’t good; I just want to eat something that hasn’t been smoked, covered in a wine-tinged gravy, or pressed into a three-inch square.

“Pull off,” I say, and he parks in a gravel lot by the off ramp. “I’m going for a walk.” I grab my school bag from behind my seat, dump out the books and gear, and pop open my door.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, son. What am I going to do without your pretty little face keeping me company?”

“You’ll live. I need a break. You’re driving me crazy.” I’m about to jump out when he stops me.

“Get the hell back in here. You can’t take off like that. ”

I turn to him because he’s right. I can’t just leave willy-nilly without saying goodbye. I lean over the console, grab his shirt, and pull his mouth into mine. He gasps because he was probably expecting a slap, but I like to keep the bastard on his toes.

His eyes eventually close as I pull him against me, sucking and chewing on his lips. It’s when I let go of his shirt and slip my hand down the back of his pants that he pulls away.

“What the hell are you doing, Hopper?”

I peck his cheek, steal the smokes from his breast pocket, and slide back into my seat. “Going for a walk, Sugar. Don’t leave without me.” I snicker and drop out of the cab before he says a goddamn word, and book it for the truck stop. I am getting something decent to eat. Fuck him and his murder wagon. I can’t take that goddamn food anymore. 

On the other side of the underpass is the truck stop. It’s flanked by a 7-Eleven and a strip mall on one side, and a diner and a Piggly Wiggly on the other. I’ve finally found a decent civilization to explore. I’m hitting the supermarket first and then I’m grabbing a coffee, a slice of pie, and plate of food that I didn’t have to chase down and tackle.

In my hand is Butcher’s wallet. I lifted it when the bastard was getting hard with my tongue down my throat. I feel a little bad about that, but not really. I have no money and he sure as hell wasn’t going to give me any for this little jaunt.

I’m halfway to the store when a familiar and mouthwatering sight catches my eye. A couple of little girls, maybe ten, eleven, are pulling a red wagon down the sidewalk. Rosy cheeks, long brown hair on both of them – just my type. They are laughing and having a grand old time.

My plans immediately change. Fuck coffee, fuck pie. I’ve always been more of a cookie man myself, so I take off to catch up to them.

“Hey girls!” They stop and turn right when I reach them. “Whatcha got there?”

“We got sandwich cookies, chocolate mints, Shorties, and the peanut butter ones. All out of the Pecanettes. Did you want some?”

“I do indeed. They still fifty cents?”

“For the small ones, yeah. A dollar for the big boxes. They’re new.”

“How much for all of them?” I say. I’m starving.

“All of them?!” They look at each other like I’m crazy. I could have done the math in my head, but they’re the ones supposedly building life skills here.

The taller one picks through the boxes. “Twenty-three dollars for all of them.”

“Sold! You are one hell of a salesman, sweetheart.”

The girls giggle while I sift through Butcher’s wallet. He is going to be pissed. He has a twenty, a five, and a couple singles, and I should really tip these gals. Their feet have got to be killing them by now, and Butcher wouldn’t want me to be rude. I hand them the twenty and the five and I dismiss the change while they start handing me boxes.

“How many of these are chocolate mints?” I wonder, fingering the stack in the girl’s arms.

“Uh, I think three.”

“Only three?” Damn it. I was hoping more. She hands me boxes and I start filling my satchel. Have you ever had to carry thirty boxes of cookies? It’s problematic. My bag’s puking, I’ve got them stashed under each arm, and a half-dozen tucked in my coat.

The girls are giddy because they get the rest of the afternoon off, while I’m left shell-shocked about what the flying fuck I just did. It’s all the goddamn shit Butcher’s feeding me. I can’t think straight. Why the hell did I just buy thirty boxes of cookies?

The girls thank me with a couple curtsies and carry on their merry way, an empty Radio Flyer nipping at their heels. I’m now in the middle of a parking lot with a couple armloads of cookies and nowhere to go.

I grab some coffee at the 7-Eleven, still juggling boxes, and plop down under the grocery store awning with my haul. A hot cup o’ mud, a smoke, a partially crushed box of shortbreads, and no Butcher slapping food out of my hand. I am in heaven.

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to sit and watch people interact. I’m not picking marks, or locks, or leaves out of my teeth after diving off a porch to hide. I’m just enjoying the peace of a revving and bustling truck stop. Moms on vacation are stripping and changing their messy kids in back seats. The dads are checking tire pressure and shooting the shit with the chatty station attendants. Good buddies are meeting for a bite at the diner before the road takes them halfway across America. Deisel and chicken grease fill my nose and the warm concrete under my ass never stops rumbling. I said it was heaven and I meant it.

The shortbreads are perfect – crumbly and sweet – and I pop the lid off my coffee to let it cool. This is the life, right here and now on the ground outside of a Piggly Wiggly. This is what I can’t get Butcher to see. He has his ideas about what constitutes a good life – special meals cooked with “special” meat, a certain level of civility maintained with trimmed nails and good posture – but he misses this. He misses the sweet smiles you can give little girls when you take a silly burden off their shoulders. He misses the absurd frivolity of being a grown-ass man with thirty boxes of cookies shoved in his jacket.

Jokes and puns are fun and all, but what happened to sitting in the shade and having a smoke? What happened to just sucking each other off and going fishing one afternoon? We can eat a piece of pie in a diner without waxing on about rabbits and butterflies and fucking mongooses. 

Point is: I didn’t sign up for this. I didn’t chase after him to have the joy sucked out of my life. I’m chasing him because he has a nice ass, a sharp tongue, and he fits me like a glove. He saw me in the shadows because he is a creature of the night. And I do sometimes thank him for noticing me. We all like to be seen on occasion, but just because he can see me, doesn’t mean he sees all of me.

I don’t share his opinions on God. I don’t share his opinions on happiness. And I sure as shit don’t share his opinions on what constitutes good fucking food. It pisses him off, but so be it. Let the scary man sulk.

It’s getting late when I finish the pack of cigarettes and debate opening another box of the chocolate mints. They are my favorite, but honestly, I’d rather wait and save them for a special occasion. My coffee’s gone anyway, and I realize that I now have to walk back to the truck, juggling the remnants of my shameful purchase. Maybe I can convince Butch to try one … maybe the bastard will like it?

I gather up the boxes and my bag and make my way back through the underpass. The sun’s barely setting and he’s outside the truck, watching Garm bouncing around in the weed. He sees me, and he’s already shaking his head.

“Do I have to put a goddamn leash on you, boy!?” he shouts.

“Sounds good to me,” I say back. 

He’s laughing, but his jaw is clenched so tight his cheeks are bulging.

“Three strikes,” he says. “In a single go, too. What’s to be done about that?”

“What do you mean three? I bought us snacks for the road … One strike at best.”

He holds up three fingers. “One, you bought junk that neither of us is putting in our mouths. Two, you stole my wallet, you little shit. Three, you lied to me.”

“One, it’s not junk; it’s delicious. Two, I have no money so you leave me no choice but to pick your pocket. Three, I did not lie. You are insufferable, and I had to take a walk.”

“When I agreed to let you have your little walks, that agreement did not include thievery or whatever the hell this is,” he says, gesturing around my stuffed coat.

“I was peckish.”

“You are not eating that shit. It’s full of processed garbage. Your body is a temple, not a dump.”

“It’s my temple, and it wants to bask in the processed garbage.”

“Our temple, and too bad.”

“Fight me, you dick!”

He finally cracks a smile, but still  motions for me to hand over the goods. I drop everything to the ground in a pile. If he’s going to be this anal-retentive, he can toss it all out himself.

I kick a couple boxes under the truck and then pat my thigh. Garm bolts out of the tall grass and joins me as I hop back in the truck. He can take my snacks like an asshole, but at least I got some peace today without him peering over my shoulder while I read or grilling me on Descartes while I’m trying to take a shit.

I pull off my boots and flop in the sleeper while Garm curls up in the driver’s seat. My pocket crinkles as I land and I realize I still have half a sleeve of shortbreads on my person. Lucky me. I can hear Butcher shuffling around the truck, chucking my treasures into the weeds. Well, fuck him. I’m going to enjoy my last bit of peace before that blackbird of unhappiness starts cawing in my face again.

I have three shorties in my mouth when I hear the door creak open. The dome light flicks on, throwing it’s shameful glow across my sorry ass, chewing on a pile of cookies like a rat. I force my jaw shut and scramble to hide the wrapper. As he steps up, I choke and blast crumbs all over myself and the bed. He stops and stares as I fight to breathe through the dry wad desiccating my mouth.

“I’m fine,” I choke.

“Hopper, what is God’s name are you doing?”

I cough and clear my throat. “You’re a joy sucker, Butch. You suck joy.”

“That’s not all–“

“Enough dick jokes!” I cough.

He holds up his hands. “Alright, Hopper, calm down,” he snickers. “I know you prefer swallowing, but you might want to consider spitting thatmouthful out.”

I glare at him and swallow as I wipe my mouth and dust the crumbs off my shirt. He chuckles and crawls into bed, flopping next to me.

“You know what your problem is?” I ask.

“Tell me what’s wrong with me, Hop. But use small words so you don’t choke again.”

“You hate happiness. You loathe it, actually.”

He snickers and unbuckles his belt. “I’m the happiest fucker who ever lived, Hop. And you know that.” He slides off his jeans and tosses them to the front seat like we aren’t having a serious discussion in which we should both remain fully clothed.

“I’m trying to talk to you,” I say, but his hand is untucking my shirt so it can slide up my belly.

“You think I stifle your happiness. You think I force you into a box, pray on your weaknesses, and trick you into feeling victimized so I can save the day.”

I pause and narrow my eyes. “No, actually. What? I wasn’t thinking any of that. Well except the happiness part … what did you just say?” He kisses my neck, completely disregarding me yet again. “The happiness part, Butcher, that’s what I’m talking about.”

He stops and pulls away. “Shit food makes you happy?”


“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.”

He’s sorry I feel that way? What a crock of shit.

He kisses my jaw, rubbing my crumb-filled beard against his while his fingers scour my body for the snap and zipper of my jeans. He thinks it’s all about the food. He thinks if he gets rid of my desires, it solves the problem. It solves his problem, but mine is still front and center.

He sighs in my ear and I feel my body relax despite my anger. He does things to me – powerful, disturbing, anger-inducing things. He makes me seethe … but also melt, and it frustrates me to no end.

I let him unbutton my jeans and slide his hand down my pants. I let him play with me and toy with me and have his fun.

And then I let him kiss me on the mouth and he sucks my tongue, but when he pulls on my lip, I suddenly taste it. Chocolate … and mint.

I grit my teeth as I stare up at his innocent face, and a resolve suddenly washes over me: I will kill this lying, cookie thieving son of a bitch if it’s the last thing I do.

See? Hopper’s not the only liar in this dynamic duo. 

So, where could you find 7-Elevens and Piggly Wigglys in 1972? Ohio, apparently. They’re in Ohio. That took forty-five minutes to confirm … all because I wanted the grocery store to be a Piggly Wiggly. (All my gas stations are 7-Elevens because they are universal … and also because Tonny and Frank bumble through a 7-Eleven in Pusher. Shut up.)

And with inflation *bangs hand on calculator*, Hopper just spent $146 on cookies.

Also, Thin Mints were not branded as such until 1973. WHAT THE HELL? They were called chocolate mints. So don’t blame me. Blame the Girl Scouts.

Also, this prompt was by dandelionwishes70 (Tumblr) who created a lovely bit of Unhitched fanart with Rocket and Sinman. Check it out! And thank for the prompt, dandelion_wishes, I had a blast!

chapstick [boot tread]

Part of Unhitched’s prompt collection, Boot Tread

Private prompt: 

Butch needs some chapstick. Go wild.


1000 words

Rated: G
Joseph Dennis | Flickr

I didn’t grow up with cold winters. Maryland saw its fair share of snow storms, but it was nothing like this. This is bitter, unrelenting, and I die a little each time I step outside. These are not unfamiliar feelings for me, but the chill is new.

We’re standing at the side of the road, somewhere in western New York which is the worst place to be in late January. Butcher’s trying to recap the ass of the log pile before the damn thing fills with ice. The wind roars and snow whips around us – a blinding white sheet. My fingers are frozen to the axe handle, my toes are numb, and there is no good reason for us to be here. We could be in fucking Florida right now, but we aren’t. Someone wanted to go north.

I, also, could be helping him, but I don’t want to. I like watching him struggle, and those wood plugs are not easy to maneuver.

Butch shouts over the storm and his shoulder, “AXE!”


He holds out his hand. “My axe, asshole!”

How was I supposed to know? I hold out the handle and he takes it, smacking the axe butt against the logs before he grabs his shit, and we both high-tail it to back to the truck cab.

The doors slam and we sit, huffing out clouds and listening to the wheezing and moaning of the white wind haunting the entire state.

Butch tears off his soaked gloves and throws them on the dash. “Could’ve used a little help out there, Princess.”

“If you’re going to keep calling me that, then don’t expect me to do grunt work, Butcher.”

He glares at me. Yeah, I’m bringing back an oldie but goodie. And he’s not going to argue about it. He likes calling me Princess way too much to make a fuss about his name.

He tosses me a brick of dried meat, and we both sit back and finally relax, chewing on whoever this used to be.

“Why don’t you ever feed Garm?” I say. She’s out running around in this shit and it kills me.

“You feed horses. You don’t feed dogs,” he growls between bites. “They feed themselves.”

“Then why do they sell dog food?”

He stops and shakes his head. “You want that beautiful creature eating that shit? No. She’s strong – stronger than you – and can take care of herself.”

He goes back to gnawing on his pemmican like a fucking animal. He suddenly hisses and when he wipes his mouth, blood smears across the back of his hand. He looks at it and touches the corner of his mouth. Yeah, that’s right. His lips are chapped and bleeding.

He glances at me because he knows exactly what I’m thinking. I’m thinking of cackling and pointing at him, and calling him a weak little shit. He can’t even eat without his face cracking open in protest.

“If I remember correctly,” I say, “you called it lipstick.”

He scoffs and leans back in his seat rubbing his eyes.

“If I remember correctly,” I continue, “it prompted my lovely little nickname.”

He stares at me now, blood gathered in the corners of his mouth. I’ve seen that before, but it’s not typically his blood.

“What I find funny, Butcher, is that you are Mr. Prim and Proper, but it’s all an illusion. You dress me up in fancy clothes and insist that I scrub my nails–“

“You’re not sticking your grimy fingers up my ass. It’s called common courtesy.”

“But you have some bizarre thing about mouths, don’t you? Why? Is it just my mouth? Is that what you find so insulting? Are you so jealous that you can’t stand watching me put on lip balm?”

“Princess, you’re delusional.”

“You’re jealous of my Chapstick, Butch. Who here is delusional?”

I laugh at him and then I open my mouth, nice a wide – no cracks forming, no blood – and take a bite of dried meat. “It’s so good, Butcher. You should have some.”

“By all means, continue,” he says, “But you’ll find out later just how much I love your pretty little mouth. I’ll treat it with the reverence it deserves and I guarantee you won’t need your lipstick anymore.”

“It’s a balm … for your lips,” I snap. “You make all sorts of crazy shit – that poultice for my face after Vegas, and the balm when I burned my hand – so what is the big damn deal?”

“There’s no deal. This is all in you’re head, you little shit. You made this all up like you always do!”

“Your lips are cracked, Butch, so what are you going to do now?” I pull the tube out of my pocket and wave it around. “You want some? It looks mighty painful.”

“I’m not sharing it with you.”

“Is it the germs? Do the germs scare you? You know all that shit you do with your mouth – sucking on my fingers, licking my cock, the kissing – same germs.”

He bites his broken lip and tries to snatch the tube from my hand, but I pull it away. “No, no, no. We aren’t the snatchy types. You can ask nicely.”

Oh, he’s pissed now. He’s chuckling, but he’s pissed. “You’re right,” he says. “May I borrow your Chapstick?”

He doesn’t like it when I order him around so I take every goddamn opportunity to do it.  “And what’s my name? I’ve forgotten already.”

“Hopper,” he sneers.

“All together now.”

“May I borrow your Chapstick, Hopper?”

He’s going to bite me later. I’ll be lucky if I keep both my ears after these shenanigans. I raise my eyebrows, still waiting.

“Hopper, may I borrow your Chapstick, please?”

I smile and nod. That was very sweet of him to say it like that. I feel respected now. “Can you borrow my Chapstick? No, Butcher. That’s fucking gross. Get your own.”

boot tread [boot tread]

Part of Unhitched’s prompt collection, Boot Tread

Prompt from a comment on AO3:

These characters are so rich and faceted… nothing about them is uninteresting. You could describe the tread pattern of Axe’s lost boot in 3-5 precise words and it would somehow be profound, meaningful, and completely in-character.


100 words

Rated: G

My vision is lost when thunder rolls over the sky and clouds burst with a flash.

I crouch into the brush, waiting for the downpour to stop, staring over the yard of the smoking rancher across the street. In the mud, my boot prints fill – a foot-shaped puddle with a spine flanked by islands of chevrons. Those chevrons point shamefully toward the house fire trapping Wild, but I have to wait.

As instructed.

I have to wait, hoping to watch his prints overlap mine.

I have to wait while that house burns, praying that he is stronger than me.

i never had options [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

So this chapter has a lot going on. We open with Hopper cynically ruminating on feeling optionless all his life, even though he makes a ton of decisions all the time. He is also denigrating his father, calling himself unloved and yet he can’t quite get a grip on the reality of this situation, which is understandable. He freaks out and temporarily fluctuates between denial and blameshifting, and feels like Butcher is trying to control him. The many various stages of grief are represented: denial, anger, even self-harm, but I won’t bore you with those details. We’ve all felt the clutches of grief.

I have written Hopper as an unreliable narrator to this story. There are several types of character voices to choose from when writing, but this fits the way he is portrayed in the show. From S1E1 we have no clue what Will’s doing. Some of the telltale signs of unreliable narration are having the narrator contradict himself, having gaps in his memory, or lying to other characters. Will does all of these things, just like Hopper does in Unhitched. I mean Will literally say this is S2E2.

Unreliable narration can also be achieved by contradicting the reader’s general world knowledge or pushing impossibilities (within logical boundaries). I especially did this in the last chapter when he contradicts himself and reimagines his own childhood. Now that chapter was logically explained and concluded, but it makes you wonder what else he is choosing to overexaggerate or recreate in his head. What else is he lying to the reader about?

He is also testing boundaries by challenging the reader’s literary competence. He’s questioning his own villainy in this story. He will NOT call himself the bad guy. He refuses to acknowledge his atrocities outside of his own head, though those walls will eventually crumble.

He knows he’s falling apart, but still thinks he’s the good guy in all this. He’s even referred to a known murderer a “hero” because he’s so delusional that he feels it is a strange justification to himself (yes it began as a joke, but there are no jokes in this story that aren’t almost 100% truth). The archetypical good and bad are thrown out the window when we watch Hopper slowly start justifying his own criminal activity despite his strong desire to not be a criminal. I tried to overlap all this with the show though it is difficult since Hopper has no formal police training, didn’t study forensics or psychology, and grew up in a decade that didn’t consider any mental illnesses to be legitimate problems. Neither he nor his father would have sought help for depression – no one did in the 50s and 60s. This was a hard truth to research because I have mental illness in my family and my grandmother was born the same year as Hopper, 1937. It was disturbing to hear about what they did to people suffering from depression and mental breakdowns. You were either whisked away to an asylum or drugged up and left to your own devices. If you didn’t like those options, you suffered through it alone. Both Hopper and his father suffered in silence.

Sometimes I feel like an idiot when I type all this out … Is this even interesting? Stop me if it’s not, but I’ll continue for now …

Hopper’s guilt and empathy for his father really blossom at this bit:

It’s a lie that you fall in love with your children the day they’re born. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to mask the truth – that our children are born to us as strangers, having the inherent capacity for unmitigated cruelty. We don’t like the thought of birthing the next murderer, the next psychopath, or the next Hitler, so we pretend that it’s impossible. We tell ourselves this lie for one simple, but very important reason: so we don’t grow so fearful of the unknown that we slaughter our children at birth. There is another name for this lie – a more flowery and sickeningly sweet term. It’s been coined unconditional love, though it is very conditional, and has nothing to do with love.

It kills me every time I read it. This, to me, is a prime example of Hopper’s unadulterated cynicism and also the flaw of pure empathy. He has to draw conclusions from his own bank of experiences which, in Hopper’s case – is limited. He can research and observe all he wants, but you cannot fully appreciate another point of view unless you live that experience yourself. Will finally does murder someone in Hannibal and it changes him forever. He can truly empathize with a killer and it disturbs him because he does feel a certain appreciation for killing. This happens to Hopper too and he struggles like Will, though his lack of FBI backing and there being no secrecy needed on Butcher’s side, the transition a little more rapid and open.

But as far as empathy goes, Hopper has never had a child. He’s never been a father and his father’s own guilt and cynicism is a perspective that he applies to all aspects of his own life. We are seeing that good old “unreliable narrator” here again when he calls unconditional love a lie, despite having claimed many chapters ago that he feels compelled to protect innocent children. He will flop again and again between feeling that life is simultaneously precious and also dispensable, which is, of course, an element of the show that Will also struggles with. Hopper has been so inundated with the bad parts of life that there are simply no good parts left.

Goddamn it, Butch, show him some good parts! Show him your good parts … all the parts need to be shown!

So Hop spins the wheel in his head, and this is where we get to see, in plain English, how much control Hopper has over his own life. Which road does he take? Which choices are good and which are bad? Which lead him somewhere safe and which to certain death? And how does Butcher react to each of Hopper’s decision? Does he help Hopper cope? Does he encourage particular behavior? Does he see a weakness and look to strengthen it or exploit it?

And this is where everything is up in the air, waiting to come crashing down.

a little man stands in the forest [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

First off, the idiom “ducks in a row” wasn’t popular enough to recognize until the late 70s. Shut the fucking door, did I really use it in 1972?! Damn right I did! Such a rebel.

So my friend shared Rob Cantor’s Shia LaBeouf song (below) about one-million-and-a-half years ago, and I laughed hysterically. At the time, I had no story arc for Colorado Guy nor Unhitched in general (I think I was on chapter 9), so I thought, what the fuck? How about Colorado Guy is actually Shia LaBeouf?

I’m not writing award-winning literature, here. I’m writing fanfiction (Becs writes award-winning literature). And since it’s fanfiction, I’m making this shit fun (if I don’t, I fear that I will drown in phallic symbols and metaphors for dicks).

So here’s the video:

I just followed the song, and that’s the chapter – no great mystery, but I will say: IT IS FUCKING BRILLIANT, RIGHT? I mean, come on. Butcher had set up the “Colorado Guy” shit before I even saw the damn video. It just fell in my fucking lap one day. Colorado Guy was kind of a mistake, too. I forgot Boulder was inColorado because I’m stupid. Colorado Guy was supposed to be Nevada Guy, because originally they were going to meet the Truckee River Killer in Reno and piss off the Reno 911! crew. Aren’t you glad I derailed from that arc long ago? JFC.

To top off THAT, the boys needed new names and … NIGEL. COME ON. I mean, get it!? Charlie Countryman! With Shia LeBeouf! I’m still proud of that one.

And then you have the whole Axeman and “my axe is my true love” … that was corny, but sometimes I have to bite the bullet and smash the metaphor RIGHT IN MY READER’S FACES …  like a creampie.

I watch a lot of porn – don’t judge me. It’s research for that fic you like so damn much. #ColbyKeller4Life

Point is … I have no point. Oh wait, A Little Man Stands in the Forest. I did have a point. Do you know where my title came from? If you read Hannibal Rising you’d know!

It’s a German children’s song, “Ein Männlein steht im Walde”. Hannibal and Mischa sing it together. Awww, right? But really, my inclusion of the song is fucking sad as hell. From Hannibal Rising,

“No,” Mischa said. “Anniba sing ‘Das Mannlein’!” And together they sang about the mysterious little man in the woods, Nanny joining in in the swaying wagon and Mr. Jakov singing from horseback, though he preferred not to sing in German.

Ein Mannlein steht im Walde ganz still und stumm,
Es hat von lauter Purpur ein Mantlein um,
Sagt, wer mag das Mannlein sein
Das da steht im Walde allein
Mit dem purporroten Mantelein—

No, Anniba! Sing it in English!


A little man stands in the forest completely still and quiet.
He wears a little, pure purple cloak.
Say! Who can that little man be
Who stands there alone in the forest
With the little crimson cloak?

The little man stands in the forest on one leg
And has on his head a little, black cap.
Say! Who can that little man be
Who stands there alone in the forest
With the little, black cap?

The little man out there on one leg,
With his little, red cloak
And his little, black cap
Can only be the rose hip.

Any of that imagery ring a bell? It’s about rosehips, which are the little red seed of rose bushes. Colorado has a couple native rose species and if you were perceptive, you’d have noted that Axeman was getting snagged on rose bushes on their way into the forest. From Unhitched,

I keep stumbling and snagging my jeans on thorny bushes covered in little red berries; they keep catching my attention like beady little eyes when my light swings over the ground.

Axeman’s getting snagged on ROSE BUSHES. Let’s just consult my vast knowledge of Victorian Flower meanings … *peers over glasses at giant book about roses* Ah yes, here is it … love. Oh yes, the rose is the classic symbol of love. How trite and stupid and lovely.

So, roses … foreshadowing. Also, rosehips – I’ll probably use those somewhere. And wild roses are pink and a timeless symbol of love, beauty and balance. All coming up as major themes.

And of course, I couldn’t include the little nod to the song without … giving Nigel a red shirt, describing Colorado Guy like a rosehip at the end, and of course, mentioning little Mischa.

Axe learns a bit about Nigel’s past and feels his pain when they talk about the girl. So sad. So tragic. So delicious.

Just remember that any inconsistencies in Axeman’s dialog, personality, or behavior are all totally intentional. He’s an unreliable narrator after all …

i am a survivor [notes]

Unhitched chapter notes …

Read chapter on AO3

This was a total indulgence chapter on my part.

Hopper starts realizing that he only has one life, so he better suck it up and starts working towards laying to rest all the shit that’s ever bothered him. He’s letting the chips fall where they may, so to speak, which is why he puts up with Butcher’s behavior.

This is a chapter where you get to see a new angle to the boys. Hopper is cynical but agreeable, Butcher is indifferent and almost child-like in his apathy.

In the end, they work together to get the body buried all the while Hopper is finally allowing shit to roll off his back, rather than internalizing it.

Not a lot of depth to this chapter but it wasn’t supposed to be overly emotional except for Hop’s eulogy.

Butcher’s coin is his canon 20-franc from 1904.

When my indecision gets the best of me, he says, “Then Marianne decides,” and he pulls a strange gold coin from his pocket.

“What’s that?” I ask, yanking his hand to my face. It’s a twenty-franc gold coin with a woman’s face on one side and rooster on the back. He withdraws his hand and flicks it up, catching it before it hits the ground.

“Mary follows you, and the cock follows me,” he says with a smile. The goddamn dick jokes are getting old. “And we’ll let daddy pick.” His thumb tings against the coin and it flips off his finger, spinning over and over as it arcs away from us and lands in the freshly-turned dirt of my father’s grave.

Marrianne is actually the name of the woman on the coin; she’s a French symbol. The back’s the cock, of course.