Real Stuff: Close Call

"Because the bartender is always on TV, I got laid a lot. There were plenty of free drugs and drinks. I lived out all my middle-class Idaho fantasies as quickly as possible." From Real Stuff #1 (Fantagraphics, December 1990).

Read the other Real Stuff stories and listen to Mark's interview with Dennis Eichhorn here.



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    1. I went into these not wanting to get hooked on another thing that would take my time, but otherwise neutral. It’s pretty interesting though, sort of Hunter S. Thompson writes crime noir.

      If I may ask, what was it you disliked about it going in? I’m just curious as a writer.

      1. The quote selected and the preview frame. I thought it would be a lot more self-aggrandizing and something that was going to go out of its way to announce that I’m not the intended audience.

        But I gave it a shot because I don’t like to miss out on things because of snap judgments.

        It ended up going somewhere  I didn’t expect it to, which made me happy. 

        1. Ah, I can see that. I guess I figured from the previous Real Stuff segments on BoingBoing that the author wasn’t self-aggrandizing, but I can totally see how that would come across just seeing this opening and understandably thinking, Oh, this is going to be another “promiscuity deserves victimization” story.

          It was very kind of you to answer my query. As a writer, the biggest hurdle is understanding how different readers are going to receive different signals based on where they’re coming from and what they’ve read. It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that a reader may not already be oriented in your style just because you yourself have the omniscient perspective.

  1. One thing about living in Santa Carla [Cruz] I never could stomach, all the damn vampires [satanists]…

        1. I don’t know what’s going on with “autobiographical”.  Grate enough weasel on top of it, and it could still be a true statement in the sense of “This work is in the style of an autobiography”, as opposed to “This is a story of things that happened to me.”

          If there really was a case of two brothers and a woman killing two different demographics of victim, specifically in Santa Cruz, and specifically in the time frame of the (well documented) killings that got Santa Cruz its nickname, then the true crime fans of the Internet have REALLY fallen down on the job– because I’m not seeing anything remotely like it anywhere.

          1. seconded.  no female serial (or even one-victim) killers in Santa Cruz then, according to murderpedia, then google.  none of the famous (male) Santa Cruz serial killers were brothers, nor satanists, nor head-shop owners.  Ah well, it’s a good strip anyway.

    1. That’s not necessarily a complete list; there was a serial killer in Peoria several years ago who killed eight women, and he’s not on the list either. (There may have been “dozens” of women who went missing, but that doesn’t mean that that’s how many died, or that they were convicted of killing.) 

  2. I always liked the Capitola Joe’s stories of Eichhorn’s especially. It seems like the sort of place that The World’s Most Interesting Man would hang out at.

  3. True – like really true, or False – like made up?  I don’t care.  I think a better question is: Which is more perverse? – three people who murder a number of other people, or one man, when offered 800 pounds of it, says, “I HATE Russell Stover Mints.  I’ll take it ALL.”

  4. Doesn’t hold a candle to some of the real serial killer cases such as Herman Mudgett or Belle Gunness.  I think that in one famous case there was even a henchman who ended up working for two different serial killers but I can’t remember which one right now.

  5. I heard those “Satanists” were playing Dungeons & Dragons, listening to Rock & Roll, & involved in all kinds of other dangerous ampersands!  & also were bunk, hookum, hogwash, nonsense, utter fabrications!  Just like every story of “Satanic murders” in America.  Can’t wait to see this on Snopes!

  6. If it were true, this story would lend an entirely new meaning to the ubiquitous “Santa Cruz — Keep It Weird” bumper sticker.

  7. Does anybody else see the middle panel as extremely blurry?  I know my browser is outdated, but I have to think it’s something else.  Any help?

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