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Elizabeth Hammer


1. Goth Off!

2. Beauty & the Jackass

3. Fattractive Untruths

4. Discomfort Zone

5. Drawn and Quartered

6. Vengeance is Mine

7. Decease and Desist

8. Poetry is Averse to Me

9. Prophylactically Challenged

10. Telepathetic

11. Pwned in perpetuum

12. Pestiferous Date

13. Slime-Hearted

14. Primeval Train Wreck

15. First Loser

16. U-N-L-O-Q-U-A-C-I-O-U-S

17. Martyr

18. Bloody Mary

19. All Haloes' Eve

20. One of the Classic Blunders

21. Blue Screen of Death

22. Propaganda Machine

23. Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

24. My-Newt Mishap

25. Class B Pyrotechnic Explosives? Check

26. Nothing But Reruns

27. The Tiniest Violin

28. Cringe Cauldron

29. If You Don’t Believe Me, You’re in De-Nile

30. Fattening the Calf

31. The Disinterment of Marianne York

32. Epilogue

Thank You

Copyright © 2021 Elizabeth Hammer

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 9798589460261

For Kevin, of course


Goth Off!

Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, Anaheim, California.

October 3rd, 2008

The external screen of Marianne’s Nokia 6102i flip-phone glowed blue with a new text message.


If Dark Lord Alvin wanted to communicate actual thoughts to Marianne, or any other human, he should have used proper words instead of acronymic gibberish. And while he was at it, he should stop calling himself Dark Lord.

Sally stuck out her hand for the phone and wiggled her fingers. “Do you require my services?”

Marianne moved the phone out of reach. “No.” Hoping a bit of old school phonics might help, she stared at the offensive code for another minute, mouthing out the sounds. “Geez. Take it,” she said, handing the phone over to Sally. “And please edit this time.”

Marianne could handle the discomfort of having the Dark Lord as her first boyfriend—a couple of pity-dates with a weirdo didn’t officially count—but his texts were growing racier by the day. Though she didn’t want to offend him, she had boundaries, boundaries that did not include the term “TDTM,” whatever that meant. When you can’t translate a certain texting term on the internet because it trips your mom’s parental control program, you know you’ve got to take action. The reality of breaking up with him was giving Marianne a stomachache, but tonight was the night.

After giving the phone half a look, Sally dropped it into Marianne’s bag. “He asks that you meet him at the Haunted Mansion smoking section.”

Easy, as she was already there, less than a mile from home, though it felt like a million from where she sat. On a fake wooden bench near a fake nineteenth-century pier, staring out over Disneyland’s fake lake, surrounded by a clan of clove-smoking fake vampires. Correction: Goths. Sally insisted she call them Goths.

A Goth herself, Sally wore Victorian-style clothes, painted her face white on a daily basis, devoured poetry like fundamentalists devour the Bible, and was utterly devoted to the virtues of personal truth and recycling.

“Thanks for waiting with me,” said Marianne, reaching out and mussing up Sally’s orange, clown-like coif. “How did I get into this mess?” moaned Marianne, putting her head down onto her knees. “I feel like I’m gonna puke.”

Sally nodded. “You look like you’re gonna puke.”

“Seriously, how?” said Marianne, ignoring her. “How did I get here? What possessed me to agree to go out with Alvin in the first place?”

“It wasn’t for his looks, that’s for sure,” said Sally. “You once said he looks like a possum. A sick one.”

Wince. “I did not.” Well, maybe she had done that. But he kind of did look like a possum, and he had the personality to go with it, all anger and pathetic-ness. “I’m going to throw up. Really. I can’t... Is he going to be upset?” She looked up at Sally. “Or maybe he’ll get mad. What if he yells at me?”

“Punch him.”

Marianne rolled her eyes and put her head back in her lap. When she’d first met him, Marianne would catch Alvin watching her, his eyes flitting to the ground, feet shifting, fingers twitching. He was one of those kids who seemed like they were only Goth because they didn’t fit in anywhere else. How could anyone with a heart say no to him?

Get to know him, that’s how. Yes, childhood teasing had made Alvin vulnerable, but it had also made him into a complete and total tool. Maybe awkwardness incites name-calling, then name-calling causes bitterness. And bitterness turns humans into cockroaches. Call a kid a weenie enough times and he changes, starts to act like a loser instead of just look like one. The only difference between then and now is now he deserved it—he was rude, conceited, crude, and annoying. And Marianne was dating him.

“Wuzzup, Marianne?” said a slurring, girly voice.

No. Not now. Lifting her head, Marianne looked up into the alcohol-glazed face of Georgia Pike. Another tortured adolescent gone Goth, but of the female variety. She was more punk than Sally—long dyed-black hair, leather jacket, and black lipstick. From the way she was sloping to the right, it was obvious that she was on her third bottle of cranberry juice (not really cranberry juice), and that those elevator platform boots had been a terrible idea.

“Hey,” said Marianne. “Nice, um... safety pins.” They were everywhere, from her cuffs to her collar.

“Psh,” said Georgia, sloshing her bottle and tossing her thick hair. “Yeah, they totally gave me hell in the security line.”

Marianne nodded. “How ridiculous of them.”

“I mean, do I look like some al-Qaeda bastard?” Georgia spread her arms. “Why don’t they start worrying about the real terrorists and stop oppressing people because of how they look?”

Marianne squinted, trying to follow the logic, but decided against arguing. “Yeah,” she said. “Fascists.”

Georgia lit a clove cigarette with a black plastic lighter while she studied Marianne. “Bet they didn’t bother you any. That t-shirt goes great with your, um, blonde highlights.”

Georgia couldn’t make it through one single conversation without a passive-aggressive remark about Marianne’s lack of Gothiness. Apparently, the black nail polish and Weezer shirt weren’t “anti-” enough to appease the undead fashion police. It seemed that a major tenant of Goth subculture was nonconformity, but from

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