Electric Heart, Neon Nightmare: The Strange, Sad Dream of Los Angeles, or Oh! You Miserable Mutants!

This piece was originally commissioned by Scottish writer Cara Ellison to appear as a 500-word blurb in Paste Magazine. It did not end up appearing in Paste Magazine—mostly because the author was an absolute God damn mess as a result of being submerged in the psychedelic fever dream called “Los Angeles” for way too long. Deadlines were missed, calls went unanswered, and absolutely no one cared. 

The following words, all twenty-five thousand of them, were written in dark places and at late hours with a sort of manic desperation not previously thought possible. In all likelihood this is probably the worst thing anyone has ever written. We present to you now a coffin filled with spider parts—a rotted ugly mindscape where no good thing grows. Its existence, though awkward, is pure and unedited. Please enjoy.





The Doomsmobile rolled onto Sunset Boulevard at exactly midnight, the two of us strapped inside, my partner and me, feeling like hell and looking it too. For six hours and three hundred seventy miles we had rocketed down that dark empty California highway, guzzling black coffee from mason jars and smoking dozens of cigarettes and popping little pink pills till our nerves were useless. And finally, by God, we had arrived in the city of Los Angeles, scarcely understanding why we had come in the first place. . . .

I was slumped over the wheel, mindlessly steering that fat bitch up and down the street as tears of exhaustion collected under my drooping eye sockets. My brain was slushed to hell and I was vibrating past reality big time. I absorbed external stimuli as it came to me—the palm trees, the stupid billboards, the lights in the hills—and then, like a radio transmission from the moon, I endured the few seconds of dead air before the noise and the lights were received at mission control.

Only I knew there was no one at the switchboard . . . just a frightening room full of blown circuitry and sparking wires dangling from the ceiling. Flickering fluorescent lights and static on every monitor. Maybe a distant scream from down the hall followed by an eternity of silence.

The Doomsmobile’s headlights carved through the stillness of Silver Lake as I swerved erratically in the dark, thinking that maybe we would be dead soon enough. There was no doubt about it: we were food for the Reaper. Yes, it really was only a matter of time. . . .

I didn’t say anything about this to my partner. He was silent in the passenger seat, his eyes hidden behind cheap sunglasses and layers of caffeine and speed. The poor bastard was blissfully alone inside himself just then. No sense telling him he wasn’t long for this world.

I turned down a side street and parked next to an overflowing dumpster. I killed the engine and sat there for a moment, fooling around with the FM tuner. “Don’t Stop Believin’” was playing on three separate stations, each of them about thirty seconds apart. There was bug shit all over the windshield. Continue reading