Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Three) 

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting Sturgeons, chapter 4, by John L. Harmon

    I am pulling up to Newcastle Body Shop, with memories of Eddie following close behind.  His father’s business is where we would come to stock up on those candy baked beans from the quarter dispenser.  We both thought those beans tasted strangely delicious mixed with the aroma of oil and metal.  It’s no wonder we had been best friends. 

    Getting out of my car, I study the intimidating grey building.  I can’t imagine anything easily destroying such a solid structure, but nothing was spared in the end.  One of the three rebuilt garage style doors is open, so I take a deep breath and start walking over the gravel lot.  My uncertain expectations rise and fall with each step.

    The scent of oil fully hits me as I enter the garage, making me almost feel 11 years-old again.  Out of instinct, I glance towards the corner by the office door.  There stands a quarter dispenser, chock full of the burnt-red candy.  I know it’s not the same machine Eddie and I would crowd around, but it doesn’t matter.  The fire engine red metal base.  The square glass container.  The coin slot.  The silver crank.  The metal flap to lift for bean retrieval.  It adds up to a good enough facsimile to cause a smile.  A smile for the happier times. 

    A dull squeaking stops me from digging into my pocket for a quarter.  I turn to the noise and watch as a man wheels himself out from under a pick-up truck.  Dressed in grease stained clothes, blue jeans and an off-white t-shirt, the man says nothing.  He just begins wiping his hands on an old rag while remaining prostrate on the roller, staring at me with dark, searching eyes. 

    “Eddie?” I inquire, even though I know because I’m right back in his backyard on that final Saturday night ten years ago.

    “Eddie, are you awake?” I asked, thinking about my afternoon with Tommy a few days before.

    “Yeah, Jimmy.  What’s up?” 

    “If you could be frisked by any police officer, who would you choose?” 

    I studied the faintly illuminated domed ceiling of the tent and wondered if I should’ve even asked.  Was the question for Eddie’s sake or for my own?  I turned my head and saw his hazy silhouette holding perfectly still, as if in deep contemplation.  After what seemed like several agonizing minutes, the vague outline of Eddie’s lips spoke a familiar name. 

    “Chief Deputy Benjamin Straker.” 

    “Oh,” I answered stupidly, understanding this is what Tommy had been hinting at, but also understanding that my brother didn’t know everything. 

    “What about you, Jimmy?  Who would you choose?” Eddie asked, turning his head to face me in the near darkness. 

    “Deputy Clyde Woodhouse,” I answered without hesitation. 

    “Cool.”  Unlike me, Eddie knew just what to say.

    After yet another round of silence, we said goodnight.  There was more we could’ve said.  More I wish I would’ve, but we drifted off to sleep.  It was the last truly restful night of my life.  

    Eddie Newcastle skillfully maneuvers his agile 21 year-old body off the roller, effectively shaking me from the past.  Dark eyes, nearly as dark as his slicked back hair, continue searching me.  He draws closer, still wiping his hands on the rag.  After ten long years, I finally hear his matured voice. 

    “You’re taller, but your hair is shorter and isn’t as blond.  Your voice has deepened, but those eyes.  As clear as Lake Pontoon, but as impenetrable as...”  Eddie trails off and glances somewhere in the distance.  I’m about to finish his sentence with Stickler Woods, when he shakes his head and beams.  “I’d know those light blue eyes anywhere, Jimmy Schroder.” 

    His expressive, dark brown eyes hide nothing, and I’m not sure whether to shake hands or hug him.  “It’s good to see you again, Eddie Newcastle.” 

    “I would hug you, but I’m a mess.”  A lopsided grin fills his face as he tucks the rag in his back pocket and firmly shakes my hand.  “So, what brings you back here, Jimmy?” 

    “My left taillight is out.” 

    Eddie’s lopsided grin turns into a wry smile, “Don’t play innocent with me, Jimmy Schroder.  You know what I mean.” 

    I know what he means because I could never fully hide things from him.  Maybe I still can’t.  “I’ve come back so I can understand what happened to my brother.” 

    His dark eyes appear to darken as he gives a quick glance at the office door.  “Let’s go take a look at that taillight now.” 

    Following his cue, I silently lead Eddie to my car.  He performs a quick examination and nods his head.  Without a word, he walks back into the garage and returns with a screwdriver and a new bulb.  He then gets down on his knees and begins his work.  I just stand there watching him, waiting. 

    Eddie focuses on the job at hand as he speaks quietly, “Meet me tonight around 8 at Gordon’s Bar.  We can talk freely there.” 

    I stare as his fingers nimbly remove the damaged bulb and replace it with a new one.  A few questions form in my mind, but there isn’t time to ask.  The bellowing voice of Harold Newcastle cuts through everything. 

    “Eddie, the Thompsons need their truck finished today!” 

    “I’ll be right there, Dad!” Eddie shouts and then reattaches the plastic cover.  He stands up, facing me with a whisper, “Gordon’s, 8 o’clock.” 

    “Ok,” I whisper as I  reach for my wallet. 

    He shakes his head.  “On the house.  Just be there.” 

    “Get your ass in gear, boy!” his father continues to bellow, stepping outside.

    “Alright already, I’m coming!”  He gives me a quick smile, “It’s really good to see you again, Jimmy.”

    Before I can respond, Eddie is tromping away from me, looking back once.  Reverse deja’vu threatens to surface, but the cold stone stare of Harold Newcastle keeps me grounded in the here and now.  His eyes, as dark as his son’s, tell me I’ve overstayed my welcome at Newcastle Body Shop.  I give a nod and get into my car.  Pulling away from the intimidating grey building and its owner, I reclaim a piece of myself that I thought was lost all those years ago. 


The HAUNTING continues in...

Chapter 5

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



Are you wondering what to do while waiting for another rivetinginstallment of HAUNTING STURGEONS


Click the pic below ⤵️ to explore other titles from the bent mind of John L. Harmon...

Dark Excursions, darkening sturgeons, vision bent

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter Two) 

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting Sturgeons, Chapter 3, by John L. Harmon

    I am staring straight ahead, waiting for the officer to appear.  I know it will not be him, but I still expect to see the lawman, looking just like he did as he strode past my family’s car all those years ago.  A quick and efficient rap at my left causes me to flinch.  I begin rolling down the window, looking out at the beige-clad officer. 

    “Good afternoon, sir.  Do you realize your left taillight is out?” she inquires with that perfect provincial blend of friendly authority. 

    “No, I didn’t...” I give the badge a cursory glance, “...Sheriff Johns.”  Even with the higher rank and her brown hair mostly hidden underneath a beige hat, I recognize this keeper of law.

    Sheriff Johns gives me a curious expression as she asks for my license and registration.   I gather the requested documents and offer them through the window.  As she takes them from my hand, I slip back ten years. 

    We were driving around town after skipping stones at Lake Pontoon.  Tommy loved showing off the sleek power of his new red convertible.  His short blond hair barely reacted to the wind as we sped through the streets of Sturgeons, while mine blew every which way.  It was exhilarating and he didn’t even care when he was pulled over.  After receiving a speeding ticket, he gazed in the side mirror as the light-blue clad officer walked back to her vehicle. 

    “Man, I wish Leslie Johns would’ve demanded to frisk me.“ 

    I sat in the passenger seat, keeping my thoughts on police officers to myself.  “What about Tracy and Stickler Hill?” 

    “Well, I’ll tell you, Jimmy...” he gripped the steering wheel tighter, “...Sunday morning is a long ways away and it won’t be my first time.” 

    “Are you Tommy Schroder’s brother?” Sheriff Johns sudden whisper grabs me away from my memories. 

    “Yes,” I answer cautiously.  “Is that a problem?” 

    “No,” she again whispers and briefly chuckles, continuing at a normal volume.  “No, not at all.  We just don’t see many returns these days.  So, what brings you back to Sturgeons?” 

    I flash a relaxed smile, like Tommy always did in these situations, “It was just finally time to visit a familiar face or two.” 

    The Sheriff looks at my license and then into my eyes.  I see her hesitation as she takes one more glance at my license before returning the documents.  “I’ll let this slide on one condition, Jimmy.  You need to drive directly to Newcastle Body Shop and get that taillight taken care of.” 

    “It’s a deal, Sheriff Johns.  Is it still in the same location?”

    “Yes,” she answers, giving my car a quick pat.  “Now you have a nice visit and welcome home, Jimmy Schroder.”

    Unlike Tommy, I don’t ogle the keeper of law as she returns to her vehicle.  Instead, I take a deep breath and put the car in gear.  Pulling away from first contact, I imagine my brother smirking beside me as Newcastle Body Shop draws me deeper into Sturgeons. 


The HAUNTING continues in...

Chapter Four


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



Pssst...over here...

I managed to squeeze a “freakboy on film” in between HS chapters.  So click the pic ⤵️ to experience my view of an Andy Milligan masterpiece...


Saturday, August 21, 2021

freakboy on film: NIGHTBIRDS (1970)

What the hell has happened to me?  I’ve been reviewing cheesy ‘80’s flicks and starting a blog serial instead of compulsively blogging about Andy Milligan films!  Have I taken ill or developed a less freaky filmic taste?  Fear not!  My Andy Milligan obsession is still pumping and may have even jumped to a new level! 

I watched BLOOD (1973) last month on Tubi.  This shorter film was an enjoyably crazy mash-up of werewolves, vampires and man-eating plants, with an ending that made me grin despite knowing (hoping) exactly what was coming.  I also ordered a Region-Free DVD of NIGHTBIRDS from a sketchy website.  Don’t worry, I used a Visa gift card, but it was a waste of time.  The order didn’t go through, which left me with a problem.  How do I watch a film that I’m salivating to experience when it’s not streaming anywhere and not legitimately available as a Region 1 disc? 

Well, this freakboy threw caution to the wind and ordered a Region 2 Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack and gave the DVD a spin on my Region 1 player.  No luck there but I wasn’t surprised.  (Interesting side note, my dad’s player recognized the disc as a DVD but the picture flipped like an old-time TV set.)  Proving I’m not a quitter when it comes to something I am obsessing over, I used some of my stimulus money to order a Region Free DVD player (ARAFUNA) for around $30.  The contraption arrived and hooked up like a Region 1 DVD player and had a standard U.S. electrical plug.  It’s such a tiny thing that I am surprised it works at all, but it does.  So, I finally watched Andy Milligan’s NIGHTBIRDS...

The DVD cover of Andy Milligan’s NIGHTBIRDS.  Dink & Dee stand gazing into darkness
written & directed by Andy Milligan 

I feel like a vampire in the sunlight when you smile.” - Dee 

NIGHTBIRDS was somehow both everything I expected and nothing like I expected.  There is the usual Andy Milligan craziness with eccentric characters, quirky-raw dialogue and subplots that leave you scratching your head.  On the flip side is a deadly seriousness that quietly slips in and builds tension until the startling conclusion.  

Two young fair haired people named Dink & Dee
NOT Dinkel & Cheryl from DARK EXCURSIONS

Dink is a 20 year-old man living rough on the streets when a woman named Dee swoops in to help.  She takes him to her small, dingy flat where a relationship soon forms.  They consider the squalid living conditions their castle, a safe place to be themselves with one another.  Slowly but steadily, the outside world begins seeping in between Dink and Dee, throwing their relationship off balance from kindness to controlling.  As the castle begins to metaphorically crumble from pain and cruelty, who will be left standing?  It’s an Andy Milligan film, so the chances aren’t very good for anyone.

Dink & Dee lying on the dirty floor
Hold on tight 

Berwick Kaler exudes a damaged innocence in Dink, which makes it believable that Dee would trust him.  Julie Shaw crackles with underlying energy as Dee, which makes it easy to see why Dink would be attracted to her.  I must add that Elaine Shore as Dink’s friend Mabel brings a bittersweet eccentricity to the mix.  Throw in Bill Clancy as Dee’s suspiciously demanding landlord Ginger and this emotionally damaged tableau is complete. 

Movie poster for NIGHTBIRDS

NIGHTBIRDS is a bridge between the claustrophobic drama of VAPORS and the gutter theatrical of FLESHPOT ON 42nd STREET Filmed in stark black & white, NIGHTBIRDS takes an unflinching look at how we hurt the ones we allegedly love.  It’s almost like a horror film, but instead of vampires or werewolves, reality is the monster out to get us.  The story is sometimes hard to watch, especially scenes involving a real pigeon, but it’s a must for Andy Milligan devotees.  

The little region free DVD player with NIGHTBIRDS and other Andy Milligan dvds
Oops, I forgot...

In conclusion, I have no regrets with my purchases.  The ARAFUNA Region Free DVD Player is easy for me to use and NIGHTBIRDS has pecked its way beneath my mind-skin.  Contrary to what I’ve said before, this London-filmed motion picture may be Andy Milligan’s masterpiece.  He visually finds beauty in despair and fuels the story with subtle intensity.  So, if you enjoy something uncomfortably different, and you can locate a copy, I believe NIGHTBIRDS is worth your time and effort. 

The DVD player remote sitting on the dvd of nightbirds
...the remote!

(Side Note: The late Andy Milligan is still not through with me.  Yes, that means more are coming.😉)

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 


P.S.  Click the pic below ⤵️ to release a different NIGHT BIRD...

Night bird, a poem by John L. Harmon


Click a pic ⤵️ to view other MILLIGAN posts...


Seeds of sin

Fleshpot on 42nd street

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read Chapter One

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting sturgeons, chapter2, by John l. Harmon

    I am sitting in my two-door hatchback, taking one last glance at the serene beauty of Lake Pontoon in the rear view mirror.  There is a sensation of leaving a piece of myself behind as I pull away.  A fragment of innocence lost by growing up in the shadow of tragedy.


Population 2,622 

The Good Life Begins And Ends Here! 

    I pass the colorful display, nearly identical to the original one, but this sign isn’t just a marker for the city limits.  It’s a reminder that I am entering old but new territory.  The population decrease tells the story of destruction, even while the town’s morbid slogan remains unchanged, as if nothing ever happened.  I wonder why no one has defaced this piece of contradiction.

    A residential area unfurls around my car as I consider what I would like to do to the sign.  Suddenly, familiar houses, with a tree or two in nearly every yard, catch my attention.  I circle the block and gaze at my reconstructed old neighborhood.  It looks so much like I remember, but something is different.  Something only obvious to people who lived here ten years ago. 

    The trees are young, just like the houses and buildings of Sturgeons.  What little remained standing after the destruction was completely leveled.  The remnants torn down and hauled away so life could begin anew.  An entire town resurrected from the ground up so all who fled could return.  Some did.  Some didn’t.  Some couldn’t.

    I continue slowly driving through the streets, remembering wanting to move back to Sturgeons when rebuilding was complete.  My parents said it was too soon, that the memories of Tommy were too raw.  They said a lot of things.  Things about what happened to Tommy.  Things about the lawman.  Even things about Eddie, but it didn’t matter.  I was just a kid without a choice, but I have one now.  Maybe more than one.

    A burst of siren rattles me out of my thoughts as red and blue lights flash in the mirrors.  I anticipated a police greeting because no one enters Sturgeons unobserved.  Besides residents peering from behind curtains, it’s standard small town practice for officers to keep watch for out-of-state plates.  Trying to stay focused, I pull over to the curb and stop, expectations twisting me up inside.


The HAUNTING continues in...

Chapter three


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



The Collective Eye interview for August is on...


(click the pic ⤵️)

Nick nack paddy whacked

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


 Previously in this blog serial...

(Click here to read the Prologue

Now the HAUNTING continues...


Haunting Sturgeons, Chapter 1, by John L. Harmon

    I am standing as still as the surface of Lake Pontoon, its secret depths stretching out before me.  It has been ten years since I last stood here and the warmth of the late afternoon summer sun takes me back to that deceptively simple time.  A time when I was 11 years-old and my brother was still here.  

    It was a few days before his disappearance when Tommy and I visited the lake.  We were standing barefoot by the water’s edge, skipping stones and talking about weekend plans.  He always had plans, but he seemed eager to share something specific.

   “Don’t tell Mom and Dad or I’ll toss your sorry ass in the lake, but I’m sneaking out early Sunday to meet Tracy for a sunrise breakfast on Stickler Hill.” 

    “Why would you go there?  The woods are haunted.” 

    Tommy rolled his blue eyes at my belief.  “Stickler Woods isn’t haunted, but it will be once Tracy and I are done with it.  She wants our first time makkn’ it to be memorable.” 

    “Making breakfast?” 

    “Makin’ sex, dumbass.” 

    “Oh,” I said, skipping a stone. 

    “What about you?  Hangin’ out with Eddie again?” 

    “Yup.  We’re gonna catch a movie on Saturday and then go camping in his backyard.” 

    “You know, Jimmy...” he started.  Tommy was never at a loss for words, but for some reason he was struggling.  “Tracy’s been telling me some things about her cousin.” 

    “What about Eddie?”  I stared at my brother, daring him to say anything negative about my best friend.

    Tommy knew better than to cross that line.  He just shook his head and skipped his final stone, “Never mind, Jimmy.” 

    The memory fades and I stand alone, gazing across the tranquil water.  I imagine being that stone traveling over the surface, causing ripples with each impact.  Ripples spreading and colliding with one another until not a single area of Sturgeons remains undisturbed.  


The HAUNTING continues in...  

Chapter Two
Click to read

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 

Freak Out, 



I’m in the process of remodeling my online home.  Click the pic ⤵️to check out my progress.

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