Countdown to Texas Frightmare Weekend: some concentrated evil

With a bit less than 48 hours left until the opening of the 2013 Texas Frightmare Weekend, I won’t be one of those pests who constantly tries to remind customers “Hey, I have an event this weekend, so who wants to come out and say hello?” Well, I am, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, any small businessperson wouldn’t mind having a tremendous show, but there should be more to it than merely asking people to come out and buy. Since Texas Frightmare Weekend is a convention dedicated to all flavors and nuances of horror, it’s time to share a proposal. Thankfully for all, it’s such an insidious proposal that I don’t see any need to put it on Kickstarter.

Part of the inspiration came from running into an old and very dear friend at All-Con last March. I first ran into said friend at a long-defunct science fiction convention held out at DFW Airport, where I was trying my best to promote an equally long-defunct genre magazine. This friend was working security at the convention, and he demonstrated right then why his nickname was “Ogre”. Taller than I was, definitely a lot more muscular, with hair and beard that gave every indication that his distant ancestors and my distant ancestors had grand fun together raiding England and Scotland in longboats and waving swords at monasteries before setting them afire. Not only was he dressed for the nickname, but his crowd control device of choice was a buffalo femur, with a rawhide thong tied around one end so he wouldn’t lose it if blood or other fluids caused it to slip out of his hand. And yes, he used it a couple of times, which was something I kept in mind when I later dated someone he treated as an adoptive daughter.

For a very long time, Ogre was a fixture at conventions where I was a guest, and it was one of these shows where another friend came up with what was one of the more disturbing wagers any fellow human has ever contemplated in my vicinity. At the time, Ogre was in a bit of financial constriction, so this guy had the idea of a fundraiser. All we had to do was get $200 together, and all Ogre had to do was stand out on Dallas North Tollway during morning rush hour, in a Sailor Moon costume, singing “I’m A Little Teapot”. Maybe it was the thought of the thousands killed, maimed, or permanently blinded by that image that caused the backlash, or maybe it was the realization that anyone who could come up with that image of cosmic horror was someone who would have left Howard Phillips Lovecraft screaming in fright. Personally, I think it was the wager rider that someone threw on that stated “Oh, and the skirt on the costume has to be ‘regimental’,” but suddenly Ogre had more fans than he knew what to do with. Of course, they were all chipping into a counter-wager, offering him $300 if he didn’t do this. From what he told me later, the counter-wager fund managed to snag almost $500, with some of us chipping in to both funds just to see what would happen. (I was regularly blasting up and down Dallas North Tollway, commuting to and from Frito-Lay’s corporate headquarters through most of 2000, so I was open to a serious diversion on the Monday morning commute.)

This came up when we ran into each other last March, because I’m in a similar situation. That is, I have a large carnivore planter that I want to set up, and the Czarina specifically banned me from doing so. Merely mentioning “You know, it’s recycling” would cause the vein on her forehead to pulse like the strobes in a goth club, and I knew perfectly well that my setting up this project in the back yard was a good way to discover exactly how comfortable sleeping out there could be all summer long. It was winter that worried me.

That all changed last month with the construction of the new greenhouse. Installation of shade cloth to fend off the worst of the summer heat meant that the Czarina can’t see inside. Since she can’t see inside, she doesn’t care what sort of nightmares I construct. This means that I can do a tutorial on my paternal grandmother’s second-favorite form of gardening planter (second to the giant combine tires, painted bright pink with latex paint, full of cosmos and black-eyed susans in her front yard), knowing that she won’t start screaming until she sees the photos. Since the greenhouse is full of carnivores at the moment, though, the only way I’ll have enough room for this is if I sell a lot of Sarracenia this weekend. A LOT of Sarracenia.

As to the project itself, let’s just say that it’s a tribute to my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, and it’ll give whole new meaning to the term “bog garden”. I also owe George Lucas a great debt, for casting Ewan McGregor in his Star Wars prequels before going absolutely insane with merchandising based on McGregor’s character. You’ll understand when it’s done, and yes, it’ll be exactly as horrible as you can imagine. Now back to work: I think I can hear the Czarina’s forehead vein from here.

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