Author Archive | Mark A. Rayner

Excruciating Album Cover Art — Mr. Bat Sings

Mr. Bat Sings

“Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.”
–Bart Simpson

I always used to think one of the silliest phobias was coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — until I saw this album cover.

This thing is terrifying. I mean, it just reeks of menace! Mr. Bat is wearing some kind of traditional Pagliacci-type of outfit, and though I do find the color scheme kind of foreboding, it’s not so bad. And he has your usual whiteface on, but instead of a nice happy red smile, he has a black frown painted over his mouth. And a tiny red soul patch underneath. (Or is that just a glob of human flesh?)

Then there are the glasses. I know Mr. Bat can’t help it if he’s short-sighted, but he might want to invest in some contacts for his clowning around. Wait a minute. . . wait . . . is that Dick Cheney?

That would explain why he’s holding up his left hand as though he was going to pummel us with his meaty Vice-Presidential fists of anguish. Maybe he’s called Mr. Bat because that’s what beats the children with. Then again, if Mr. Bat is Dick Cheney’s alter-ego, then he probably wasn’t ever holding a bat in that fist — it was probably a shotgun and they decided later to airbrush it out. (An easy enough feat, given the brooding black background — the pitch of evil that spawns malevolent Mr. Bat.)

“Hey kids, I’ve booked Mr. Bat to come and sing at your birthday party!”


No, the kiddies wouldn’t scream and run. They’d be too paralyzed by their dread to run. And certainly not scream.

First a whimper, and then the awful wet sound of Mr. Bat “singing”.


cover for Clown Apocalypse

If this isn’t enough nightmare fuel, then I suggest you join my mailing list and get a free, exclusive copy of Clown Apocalypse and Other Calamities.

Alltop once ate a clown, and thought it tasted funny. Wikipedia entry on coulrophobia, and if that doesn’t help, here is a collection of evil clown pictures. Originally published, oh, eons ago, in 2007, well before the ClownScare of 2016.


The 2nd Monday of October

moose killing hoser in front of hosette

Meanwhile in Canada … Every year on the second Monday of October, Canadians celebrate the end of the Moose Ascendency.

During this dark period of Canadian history, the moose reigned supreme, forcing our provocatively dressed women to worship them, and slaughtering any man who got in their way. Eventually, Canadians discovered the mystical powers of Flannel, and we reached an uneasy detente. (Except in Newfoundland, which joined Confederation quite late.)

We call it Thanksgiving.

Alltop is thankful for hoser-free donut shoppes. Get more goofiness by joining my mailing list:

New fiction: The Real Primo

Cover for the Corvus Review, Fall 2016
Corvus Review just published a new short story that I’ve been noodling with for some time: The Real Primo. (pp. 59-67)

If you’ve ever watched (and enjoyed) Groundhog Day, or read Friedrich Nietzsche’s difficulty concept of the Eternal Return, or have a passing familiarity with the “Eastern” concept of reincarnation, then this story will appeal to you. Here’s the opening lines:

The Real Primo

by Mark A. Rayner

Would you believe me if I told you Buddha had the set up all wrong?

It didn’t dawn on me right away. One moment I was in my rental car, minding my own business, and the next, there are headlights shining in my face. The driver looked up at the very last minute, shock on his face. Thinking about it, he was probably texting, or maybe working on his laptop, but he was definitely not paying attention to the road. He’d slipped across lanes, in the dark, doing about 60 miles an hour. His massive truck intersected with my non-upgraded, economy rental car – a Chevy Spark “or similar” made out of tissue paper and paint. That was the underwhelming end of both the car and what you might think of as my life.

There was a horrible screeching sound of metal and machine disintegrating, a flash of terrifying light and a moment of exquisite, transcendent pain. It was more than just a physical pain. It was a feeling of loss, of absolute tragedy; but also, mixed in with the sadness, a feeling of warmth and love. There wasn’t time to remember anything. There was a blurry light, and the sound of a baby crying.

Read the rest of the story on pages 59-67, here.

La dolce vita

Dinosaur in shopping cart

It wasn’t always so easy. There used to be an anger in him. An emptiness that nothing could fill … nothing material anyway.

He fell through time and space, and into a kind of dream. And it seemed as though ages passed him by, the stars streaming through the sky as though he watched them in time lapse photography. A billion billion tiny wisps of light circling the sky and flaring out.

And when it all stopped, when the spinning ended, he was filled.

Though the cart was still empty.

Alltop has no idea what the fuck just happened there. Photo by mugley on Flickr.