Thomas Wictor

I live in a portal to hell

I live in a portal to hell

After twenty years here, I can say without fear of contradiction that my city is a portal to hell. There’s always hip-hop music playing (Doom! Doom-doom! Doom! Doom-doom!), car alarms going off, cars crashing, fireworks exploding, dogs barking, and people shouting unintelligible phrases over over.

“Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh! Byoo drawer deh!”

A few minutes ago, I suddenly heard the sound of a flying insect. It was a cross between a fly’s buzz and a miniature helicopter. The thing battered itself against my walls and then landed on the ceiling.


Looks like a regular fly, doesn’t it? Well, it was over half an inch (1.27 cm) long. It landed on the lamp next to me and rubbed its back legs together. I almost screamed when I saw what it looked like. Then it smashed itself into my computer screen, hit me in the forehead, and fell to the floor dead.

Here it is.


What the hell is it? A bee-fly?


Ms. Liza Thorogood informs me that this is a Stripe-Eyed Flower Fly, a bee mimic. Only a handful have been found in California, and this one committed suicide by ramming my rock-hard head.

Every animal in my city is some kind of aberration. There’s Man-Bear-Pig-Cat, a huge monster that attacks my cats every night. I set out a trap for him, baited with ham.


As I watched though my window, Man-Bear-Pig-Cat sat and examined the trap, cocking his melon-sized head, and then he went in and carefully avoided stepping on the trigger plate. He leaned as far forward as he could and took the ham without springing the trap.

He’s a reincarnated human.

I’ve been trying for two days to catch my stupid Houdini cat, Brother.


After sixteen failed attempts to catch him, I’m done playing nice. He ate in my house three or four times a day for almost three months, but now he won’t set foot inside. Like Man-Bear-Pig-Cat, he deciphered the workings of the trap and can’t be fooled by it. So I haven’t fed him or given him water in two days. He’s not getting another morsel from me until he comes inside again.

Last night—before I realized he’d figured it out—I put the trap by the back door, and as soon as I turned out the light, five cats appeared from all directions. It was like a John Carpenter movie. They’d all concealed themselves so they could watch me. I went out and chased them away, so of course Brother fled with them.

Every night he has the crap bitten out of him by Man-Bear-Pig-Cat, but he won’t come in my house. He rolls around and tries to be cute; he isn’t taking this seriously. We’ll see how cocky and stubborn he is after a weekend without food or water.

Brother’s affected by the demented vibes here. His disgusting mother is always sleazing around, making him crazy. If I capture him and get him neutered, and if he’s free of feline leukemia, he’s going on some kind of psychotropic medication for a few months. I almost trapped him in the house two days ago, and he ran toward the door faster than any living creature I’ve ever seen. He kamikaze’d through the one-inch-wide gap, and I let go because I didn’t want to decapitate him.

All I’ve done is been nice to him. This hysteria is so annoying that I’m rapidly losing interest in him. If he wants to get bitten to pieces every night and starve rather than simply come inside, there’s nothing I can do to save him. He’s off his rocker.

Little bastard.

His brother Lyle made the transition from feral maniac to calm lap cat in three days.


I’m probably going to have to keep him now because he’s so bizarre, intelligent, and funny.

Little bastard.

We sit up on the second floor of the house and watch the world.


That’s the house on the left—the white one. Today as we sat there, a young woman in bright red trousers walked by on the sidewalk. Lyle sat bolt upright and growled.

I told Tim about it. “Maybe she kicked him or something,” I said.

“Maybe she’s a demon,” Tim replied.

That’s a good point.

My neighbors have a dog that sounds like a human goat. It doesn’t bark; it screams. The sound it makes is the perfect blending of a goat’s bleat and the yodeling of a drunk, pubescent boy having a tantrum. It’s the most repulsive vocalization I’ve ever heard, which is fitting, since my neighbors are the most physically and mentally repulsive people who ever walked the earth.

The mother looks like an upright manatee and emits a gravelly bellow, like a harbor seal. She’s got impeccable aquatic-mammal action going. The teenaged daughter weighs 350 pounds and has a perfectly spherical head. Her eyes are squeezed almost shut by adipose tissue. And the father makes a U-turn in my driveway every single night in his giant truck with the high beams on. Every night, it looks like a silent nuclear explosion is going off outside, as blinding white light pierces my blinds for five or six seconds.

Their screaming human-goat dog is relatively new. The sound was so horrifying that I had to go out and identify both the source and location. Once I’d done so, it became marginally more bearable. It was the alien quality that upset me. I didn’t know if a mummified prospector who’d died in the 1849 gold rush had gotten rehydrated and come up out of the ground to find something to eat. Or maybe someone had stumbled on a hidden stockpile of dioxin from the fifties, had half-melted himself, and was yelling for help. When I found that it was a malformed dog owned by a manatee-lady, a girl with an orbicular head, and a man too stupid to know one end of the street from the other, I was able to put up with the noise.

The daughter’s head is so wide that it takes up half the windshield of her car. When she drives, she looks like Jody the Pig in the window, from The Amityville Horror.


But someone impregnated her. She’s a mother now. Unwed, of course.

This guy tracked me down after fifteen years.


He hit on me seventeen years ago in West Hollywood, and then he suddenly appeared at a gas pump about four blocks from my house. He loves my beard.

“How long did it take you to grow it?” he asked as he glided toward me.

“I’ve had it since I was born,” I said. “I’m a werewolf.”

While he laughed, I managed to get into my car and escape. What he’d done was walk from West Hollywood to my city, knocking on every door along the way.

Just now I heard end-of-the-world screams as Brother had his nightly run-in with Man-Bear-Pig-Cat. Brother’s too afraid to fight, so Man-Bear-Pig-Cat bites his feet as Brother runs. He’s had abscess on all four paws now. A few days ago he was limping on two feet. But he’s more terrified of coming inside a safe house and being fed by a nice man than than he is of being killed by a monster with a giant head.

This is what happens to your thinking when you live in a portal to hell. Lyle broke the pattern, but Brother might be terminal. If he is, I’ll feel bad for him. However, I’m running on fumes now. I can’t afford to invest any more emotion in those who stubbornly cling to bad decisions, regardless of the cost to themselves.

As a last resort, I’ll use this on Brother.


I know I can get him in my house if I stand far from the open door. The problem is that when he hears me take even one step, he runs out as fast as he can. So if he hasn’t come into the house after a week of me not feeding him, I’ll put the food on the floor in the kitchen, step away from the door, and let him go in. Then I’ll slip off my shoes and run as fast as I can to the door, where hopefully I’ll catch him as he makes his flying leap to what he thinks is freedom.

Wish me luck with the little bastard.

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