Terrible Monsters: Lange Wapper (Long Strider)




Over the course of this series I have reviewed the feckless and pitiable beast of Scotland, the twisted object lessons of Greek mythology, and the bloodthirsty child murdering perverts of Slavic and Germanic myth. Some were monsters worthy of the name, some cruel by circumstance, and others fearful only in appearance. The motivation of the Lange Wapper, the shape-shifting giant of Flemish legend, defies easy categorization. A little backstory:

The Lange Wapper was born in Wilrijk in the 16th century. And by born I mean a farmer found an enormous garden parsley and red cabbage in his bed, and when the farmer touched the abandoned produce it transformed into a baby. The farmer, a confirmed bachelor,  gave the mysterious infant to his neighbor. The fact that the Lange Wapper was born as two separate vegetables, that spontaneously changed into a single human baby, is never mentioned again, and has nothing to do with his trademark shape-shifting and size changing abilities. He acquired those as a reward for thwarting a local youth gang’s attempt to throw an old woman in the river.

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My summer as a Ninja

As I child I was bored, persuasive, and suggestible. The facts of my personhood were uninspiring so I was prone to self-invention, with little regard for plausibility or consistent back story.

I once told my friend Dan that I knew how to teleport. When he demanded proof, I asked him to leave the room, crawled under my bed, wedged myself into the box spring, and held myself there for a couple of minutes. If my arms and legs had been stronger I might have spawned a lasting urban myth, but gravity eventually won out and I was revealed as a liar. The bizarre part was that in the small window of time between Dan leaving and returning, I thought I might actually crack teleportation. I knew the initial claim was groundless, but I figured the pressure of the moment might spur some profound leap in human potential. Continue reading

The Sea Is Not My Friend


I was in Salvador, in Brazil, and I needed to get to an island. I distrusted the potability of the water so I’d been dehydrated for days, and the night before I’d tried to fist fight a hotel manager for demanding my passport. This was my first real travel experience and I was coping badly. Sally assured me things would be better on the Island, a brisk two hours jaunt on a high speed catamaran. She was concerned about my motion sickness, which presented itself in all other forms of travel. I told her that I’d be fine because this was a boat, and I’d never been sick on boat…as the sea was my friend. Continue reading

Middle Aged


I have become middle aged. This rocket launched by puberty has reached the weightless apex of its climb, turned balletically, and is now plummeting to earth. I still have time, but there is a clear change in direction and momentum. The panic is arbitrary. I am a day older than yesterday and yesterday was fine. Today is something else. Continue reading

Tales From My Vasectomy: Part 3, The Procedure


The morning of I ate a hearty breakfast and 10mg of Clonazapam. I expected a dreamlike opium haze, instead I was fairly mellow with a two beer buzz. The common high and shared trauma made for a social waiting room. Everyone had ginger ales and patient wives, except one man who was alone and close to passing out. They made him lay down before he left, and I wondered if he was getting the vasectomy on spec, and hoping to use it as a selling point for future partners. Continue reading

Tales from my Vasectomy part two: The preparation


You can’t have anymore wine until you shave your junk. And make sure you use the dry shave razor they gave you.”.

The wine in question was about half a bottle, enough to calm the heart but not unsteady the hand. The razor was a blue disposable number that was intended to be used dry, but not engineered in any way to make that feasible. I tried a practice swipe near my hip bone and it removed a patch of skin, while somehow leaving the hair in place.

Fuck this, I’m getting wet and using a five blade razor that has earned my trust”

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