Mandrake the Magician saved the day

Facing another day


These days when you wake up old and alone and don’t want to face another day you pull the covers over your head, just like when you were a kid and woke up to the voice of your mother telling you to get out of bed and go to school because she had to go to work. There was no father in the house. And you’d pull the covers over your head, it was cozy under there as rain thundered on the roof and gully winds roared down from the hills and shook the window panes.

Riding your bike to school down Steeple Road was a breeze, freewheeling most of the way, freedom that ended in the classroom when you didn’t know the answer to an impossible algebra problem the teacher had written on the blackboard. Who the fuck’d know that, you muttered under your breath but not under enough because the teacher heard it and ordered you to the front of the classroom to be over-bending and receive six sharp slashes on the behind with a birch rod, the only thought preventing tears of pain from filling your eyes was the resolve to one day when the opportunity arose to barricade this son of a bitch in the classroom and set fire to it.

Riding back home up Steeple Road was a hard breathing ordeal on a bike before gears, relieved only by a stop at the Comix Shop halfway up and laying down seventy-five cents for the latest Phantom, Dick Tracy, Dan Dare and Mandrake the Magician.

An assorted collection to be read in lieu of homework which is why to this day you still couldn’t solve that algebra problem.


You had a bedroom full of comics. Some you still have, now you’re old and still pulling the covers over your head.

Header photo effect by Outosego

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Avoiding the Lake of Fire

Demons and ghosts

This is the house of sloth. Nothing much goes on here except a whole lot of drinking and thinking. 

The lowly bungalow is small but large with demons and ghosts. They are real. There’s no room for fantasy here, no room for fairy tales. Our Father who art in heaven art not here. Father Christmas never comes down the chimney. The Easter Bunny hops right on by. Puff the Magic Dragon never shows up.

There is some magic going on, however. Mandrake the Magician often makes an appearance and gestures hypnotically, causing the occupant of the house (that’d be me) to see illusions, but at least no delusions, neither of grandeur nor of glory nor of the kingdom of heaven — only of the pit of hell where ‘the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars… will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’ [Revelations 21:8]

The Bible calls it the ‘second death,’ but I call it the first, here on Earth, in this life — and I am guilty on four counts out of eight. Not a good verdict — not amounting to hell in the first degree perhaps, nor in the second, but maybe in the third, so less time in the lake of fire. Perhaps I’ll catch a break and be guilty of the lesser offense of man/soul slaughter, or get even luckier and get the minimum charge of reckless endangerment with a life/soul, which carries no time in the lake of fire.

Well, hello, Mandrake just dropped in and he’s had a busy day gesturing hypnotically. He wants a vodka martini and I’m just the man to make it for him.

Demons and ghosts

— Image trick by Outosego

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