“I mean, that makes a girl feel all creepy, having all that ‘ocus-pocus said over her!”
What do you think it feels like?
When you “switch off”, I mean. When you suddenly wake up and you’re wearing clothes that you don’t recognize, and you find out that you just had a fight that you don’t understand, with somebody that you’ve never met.
You haven’t been drinking; it wasn’t a blackout. You were just sitting in a room, and you heard a strange sound, and the next thing you know, it’s an hour later, you’re downstairs, and you’re screaming at an oil painting.
And what do you think it feels like, when somebody that you hardly know looks you right in the eye, and tries to convince you that you’re the intruder?
I don’t know about you, but if that happened to me? I’d probably punch that person in the face, and keep on punching until there’s nothing left to punch.
Continue reading Episode 874: The Rape of Kitty Soames →
“Would you like to try and resist this hand again, my dear?”
The story so far: Count Andreas Petofi, magical gangster from the Boston Carpathians, is engaged in a tense low-speed chase with a pack of howling vengeance gypsies. For all his bluster, all Petofi really wants to do is run away and hide — in somebody else’s body, living in somebody else’s house, and traveling to somebody else’s time zone. It’s not much to ask, really, and so far it’s been going pretty well.
But as the poet said, the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley, and this one is drifting in an agley direction. It turns out he’s not the only mouse in town.
Continue reading Episode 866: The Briar Patch →
“What could there possibly be new about falling in love?”
At this point, Count Petofi has just about had it. All he wants to do is get away from this crummy burg, with his legendary magical hand still attached at the wrist. He’s tired of being stalked by aggravating gypsies who shake tambourines and threaten him with scimitars, and he wants a ticket out.
He happens to know that Barnabas has the ability to travel forward in time to 1969, and if Petofi can tag along, it would give him a nice seventy-two year cushion when maybe the gypsies could calm the hell down. But Barnabas insists that he doesn’t know how to travel in time, despite the fact that he absolutely does know and I have no idea why he keeps saying that he doesn’t.
And now one of Barnabas’ friends pops up — having traveled exactly through time, thank you very much, like she can obviously do — and she still won’t tell Petofi how it works. I mean, at a certain point, they’re just being dicks about it.
Continue reading Episode 840: The Grown-Ups →
“I remember the firelight, how the knife gleamed as it came close to my hand.”
Imagine, if you will: A gypsy, emoting furiously, on a high cliff overlooking the sea. The night is rough, and thunder-kissed. She has banished the shade of her dead husband, refusing to accompany him to the world beyond. Then a mob boss from Boston in a check suit emerges from the darkness, accompanied by his muscular, partly-clothed assistant. “The game is over, Magda,” he says, advancing on her with a switchblade. “You lost.”
But you don’t have to imagine this scene, because here it is, recorded and preserved for posterity, using magnets and lasers and nostalgia and hope. They actually performed this scenario and broadcast it on television; I can’t say why. Surely somebody tried to stop them.
Continue reading Episode 827: A Cloud of Bats →
“I could kill you a dozen times over in five minutes!”
Count Petofi doesn’t play by the rules. He’s a maverick, a mad god who could murder you, show you visions, and then pick your pocket in six directions. He’s bad news. He answers to no one. He could change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. His outer casing is made from a metal ten times stronger than Earth steel. He’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. He will stop at nothing. He will kill you. He has probably already killed you.
But you show the guy a tambourine, and he goes to pieces. Go figure.
Continue reading Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine →
“We borrowed a good citizen’s hand. His spirit is understandably restless and disturbed.”
I know, I’ve been hammering on this forever, but including a major subplot about gypsies in a television show based in Maine is a source of constant amusement to me, and I refuse to grow up and get over it.
Several months ago, free spirit Magda Rakosi liberated a rare and valuable magical talisman from her tribe, and the gypsies have had enough. I don’t think she’s been doing her weekly three hours of mandatory tambourine-shaking, either. The gypsy community is a lot more law-and-order than people think.
Now, Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — has swung by in person, to take the suspect into custody. Magda asks what’s going to happen, and King Johnny announces, “We’re going to go — back to Boston!” Magda looks terrified, but I bet she’s also wondering if they could swing by Filene’s Basement on the way to the tribunal.
Continue reading Episode 821: The Big Switch →
“This is a little more grisly than your usual request.”
There was a storm kicking up that night, one of those dry storms you get this time of year that are heavy on sound effects and light on moisture. The boss had a plan, or at least he said he did.
The gypsies were in town, he said. Black-robed, silent, faceless gypsies with curved scimitars and impenetrable cloaks, who could melt into the shadows and then appear over your shoulder, ready to chop something off and keep it as a souvenir. Some kind of unstoppable Persian ninja gypsy with a prop-closet sword, who needs an extra hand in a big hurry.
The boss said he saw them in somebody else’s dream, which figured. It’s just the kind of thing an android vengeance gypsy would do, show up in some hallucination next door just to let you know they’re en route. Everything’s got to be a legend with gypsies; they’re theater people with a bad case of mythology. But the boss had a plan.
Come on, he said. Let’s go out back and see what we can dig up.
Continue reading Episode 820: The Hand Shakedown →
“Count Petofi, do you think this is some sort of a carriage ride?”
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a mad god, an assassin and a vampire walk into a basement. The mad god says, “Look into that cupboard, Mr. Collins! What do you see?” And the vampire says, “I see the inside of the cupboard.”
All right, it’s not that funny, but you have to admit you haven’t heard it before. It’s kind of hard to believe that we’re hearing it now.
Continue reading Episode 815: The Time Television →
“Only I know that… and the gypsies. Those deadly gypsies!”
In his secret lair in the basement of an old mill, Count Andreas Petofi waits for his magical Hand to be returned to him. The mad god’s spirit is currently inhabiting the body of young Jamison Collins, while his mortal form lies unconscious, biding its time. Soon, the boy will bring the Hand, just as he’s planned, and Petofi will rise.
But time may be running out, for Petofi and Jamison. The boy is weak, confused, lying helpless in the clutches of the Count’s frenemies. Barnabas and Quentin have the Hand now, and they don’t know what to do. Must they offer the Hand to Petofi, to save Jamison’s life?
So obviously, that’s super exciting. We have a lair now. Dark Shadows has an actual lair!
Continue reading Episode 814: Another Thing Coming →
“I don’t understand how to believe these things.”
I talk a lot on this blog about how serialized narrative is natural selection for stories, and when I say that I talk about it a lot, what I really mean is that it’s my incessant catchphrase that I’m really hoping will catch on, because otherwise I don’t know what to do with all these T-shirts I’ve printed up.
Continue reading Episode 808: Twisting →