Bizarro Con is almost a whole year away, and many of us still have great memories of the 2017 bizarro fiction convention. Bizarro Con is the most magical time and place on earth. Not Bizarro Con is a yearlong slog of boredom and normalcy. Luckily, Madeleine Swann created a lovely video log of her experience at last year’s Bizarro Con. I’m posting it here in the dead of winter to help us get through the next ten months until the magic time returns.
And a round of applause for Ms. Swann, also. You can check out more of her weird videos over on her YouTube channel.
Here comes some of that ultra-modern video web logging! Madeleine Swann and Christoph Paul are hard at work providing content that moves and talks on your screen. First is Ms. Swann, who catalogs some of her favorite weird books…
and Christoph with some writing advice…
by Madeleine Swann
I can hear Simon breathing behind me. His black body is as comforting as it always is and his shadow joins the others in the dark early morning room, a contrast to my pale flesh and long blonde hair. His warmth reaches me from his side of the bed. I decide to stay awake otherwise I’ll be groggy when I get up. I blink.
When I open my eyes again I see I’ve not managed this simple task. In the distance is a marzipan kingdom with a marzipan castle, and the sugary ground stretches out as far as the eye can see in white, baby pink and soft blue. A flesh and blood terrier yaps at my feet and I know he’s mine, even though I don’t own a dog in real life. I lean down to pet him and he licks my face. When I straighten up he’s standing in front of me, the Marzipan King.
“Yum, sweetmeats, thanks!” he says as he picks up the dog, swallowing it in one mouthful. I feel annoyed as I’d started to get attached to him.
“That’s fine,” I say, hoping he notices the sarcasm in my voice.
“Want to come to my magic kingdom?” he says with a leer and a wink. I realise he’s kind of a dick.
“Not really,” I say.
“Oh.” He looks disappointed and folds his arms. “Well, I thought you were ugly anyway.”
I want to hit him but I’m too shocked to move. “I think I’d like to wake up now,” I say eventually.
“Fine, whatevs,” he says dismissively. As I feel myself fading his Marzipan hand shoots out. “Poob,” he says in a high pitched voice as he grabs my breast and squeezes. I simply stand there and let him as this isn’t the kind of thing that’s supposed to happen. When I open my eyes I’m back in bed. I’m relieved and turn to Simon, snuggling into him. I’m a bit troubled when I smell sugar in his hair.
by Madeleine Swann
A mother wheeled a very large pushchair through the entrance of Pod Pals Cor. They passed the factory floor where rows of green plants were watered or inspected with checklists. Some were having ripe pods removed – cut at just the right point above the sleeping inmate.
They arrived at the doctor’s office, knocking before heading inside. Though he looked worryingly young he had an air of knowledge about him. “Ah,” he said, “It’s a progress check on Albert here, is it not?”
“Yes, doctor,” said the new mother, taking a seat beside her ward.
“Now,” the doctor addressed the gentleman in the pushchair, “how do you feel we’re getting on?”
“Well,” Albert removed his pipe, “I must say this process is damned irritating.” The doctor held up his hand.
“I absolutely agree, if there was a way to bypass it we would. Now, have you managed to take any first steps at all?”
Albert adjusted the zip on his jump suit and thought for a moment. “I did manage to pull myself onto the sofa after crawling for a moment or two.”
“Very good,” the doctor sat back in his chair, appraising the six foot man bundled in blankets. He proceeded to check ears, throat and nose while Albert not so patiently let him.
“J-just one thing,” said the woman in a mousy voice, raising a hand slightly. “Well, it’s sometimes hard to get him to eat and he complains non-stop.” Albert sighed in irritation.
“I know rusks and milk aren’t ideal,” said the doctor gently, “but your system just can’t take solid food yet.”
“Well it’s damned humiliating.” Albert sulked in silence while the doctor continued his checks. “Tell me doctor, when can I start applying for managerial positions?”
The doctor pursed his lips, unwilling to say his next words. “I really wouldn’t apply for anything above a clerk until you’ve been toilet trained, Albert.” He placed an understanding hand on the pod man’s slumped shoulders. “Just a few more weeks and you’ll be raring to go.”
Albert nodded in defeat, meekly allowing the doctor to finish his checks before his mother/partner wheeled him back out the door, past the plants and onto the streets.
Madeleine Swann has had articles published by magazines including Bizarre and The Dark Side.
She also has surreal comedy and horror in American Nightmare, Polluto magazine, LegumeMan Books, Black Petal magazine, The Strange Edge and Bizarro Central. She also has erotica published on the Forbidden Fiction website, The Darker Edge of Desire anthology and the ‘Big Book of Bizarro’. She blogs here: http://madeleineswann.wordpress.com/
by Madeleine Swann
My neighbour and I were clearing out my garden for the bonfire when he fell out of the hedge. Through the smoke I saw Dan from next door and a multi-coloured, sparkling butterfly man.
“Oh, bollocks,” said the intruder, fluttering his wings, “wrong place, sorry.” With that, he launched himself into the foliage growing against the back fence. Dan and I peered into the branches and were quite surprised to see a thousand or more iridescent butterfly men cavorting to house music.
“There’s a gay club in my hedge,” I said simply.
“There is,” said Dan, picking up the shears. “The whole thing will have to come down.”
“Wait, maybe we should just leave it for now?”
Dan shrugged but I could tell he wasn’t happy.
The next day I was making homemade lollies when there was a knock at the door. It was Dan and he looked strange and pale like he hadn’t slept. He held up a box of stuff. “I brought Hedge-B-Gone,” he said, his left eye twitching slightly.
“Just leave it.”
“No!” he shrieked, “they’ll destroy the flowers, they’re known for that, and they eat dogs.”
I shrugged. “I don’t have a dog.”
That night I was about to go to bed when something in the garden drew me to the window. There was Dan, struggling with the grace of an epileptic elephant, clambering over my goddamn fence. “Dan,” I yelled, “sod off you freak!”
I heard a dramatic “Noooooo!” while the dark figure outside shook his fist at the starry sky. Maybe it was time to back off from Dan, he was a bit weird. I went to sleep and dreamed of glitter and prancing pachyderms.
No one heard from Dan after that. Every friend and relative was called and all searches led nowhere. I didn’t tell anyone that on the morning he’d gone missing I looked in my hedge; there was a new figure amongst the other butterfly men, furnished with fake wings and garnished with diamanté. He smiled and laughed, prancing and twirling amongst the branches. I went back inside and had a lolly.
Madeleine Swann has had several articles published by various magazines including Bizarre and The Dark Side, ranging in subject from church restorations to toe wrestling championships.
She writes from her home in deepest, darkest Essex and has surreal comedy and horror in Polluto magazine, LegumeMan Books, Black Petal magazine and The Strange Edge. She also has erotica published on the Forbidden Fiction website, The Darker Edge of Desire anthology and the Big Book of Bizarro.